Subject: Come now, that's a tiny bit unfair to the Empire
Posted on: 2021-03-09 01:17:22 UTC
Yes, the Alliance destroyed the Death Star II, but for one thing it wasn't just those plucky little starfighter (and the Falcon), they had a whole fleet to draw the fire of the larger ships. Ace pilot or no, you don't want to take chances when there's a few hundred turbolasers pointed at you and you're their only target, not to mention swarms of TIEs. More to the point, however, they were only able to access DS2's reactor because it had a giant hole in the superstructure. To pull off the same trick on DS1 you'd have to walk through miles of corridors and catwalks, most of which have easily sealable blast doors. Even the Empire isn't quite incompetent enough for that.
I'll grant you the knockoffs are basically worthless, though. Frankly recycling the idea once was silly in-universe and out, and it only got worse from there.
Now, as for the idea of infiltrating the station, it's certainly a more feasible attack strategy than engaging it ship to ship, but I think you're being a tad harsh on the ol' murder machine. Yes, Leia escaped, but only because Vader let her. He knew from the moment the Falcon landed that something was wrong, and it didn't take him long to figure out what. Think back to the detention level, how long does it take for things to devolve into a shootout? The plan doesn't last fifteen seconds before they have to kill everybody, and after Han's attempt at covering their tracks fails Tarkin himself is notified. Obviously they wouldn't have been allowed to even make it that far on a truly competently run station, but the security force doesn't even need to catch any intruders on the first try.
The beauty of having everything important buried under miles of durasteel is that it doesn't matter if your clever ruse fools the first set of guards, or you're fast enough to gun down the second, there would have to be scores of similar checkpoints on the way to the core or the navigation systems or the firing controls, with security getting tighter and your alibi wearing thinner at every single one. And once you're discovered, it's over. Even if you had a lightsaber you couldn't cut through every blast door between you and your target in time. Sure, you can muck about for a while on the surface in some of the less important areas like the hangar bay or the detention level—remember the Death Star isn't meant to be a prison, the Empire has whole planets for that—but the biggest points of failure have the least reason for a bunch of strangers to be.
As for your point about defection, I think you have more trust in individuals than the Empire does. On something so massive why would they ever trust just one person to do, well, anything? Navigation? The thing's so big and dense it probably generates it's own gravity, would you trust one person to run the hyperspace navigation? Maintenance? There's got to be hundreds of minor points of failure in every system, you'd need people checking them around the clock.
Even if some of your ideas would work at first, they might not even accomplish anything. Consider the cannon technician. Even if you managed to somehow sabotage an emitter, and you did it at the last minute so there was no chance anyone else would fix it, and none of the other operators who know exactly how the procedure is done notice that you're deviating from protocol, you've still only damaged one of six beams of the actual laser! You might have slightly better luck with the navigator if you got really lucky and you were actually close enough to something dangerous to fly the station into it before your shift ended, but we know from TCW that onboard navicomputers alert the crew when they detect hazards. Is everyone you work with going to ignore that? Do you know how to sabotage that specific alert? Can you trust that tampering with the system won't trip some other alarm, or that there are no redundancies in the navicomputer? I wouldn't bet on it.
Of course all of this is rather redundant if you're right about it not working, which... yeah, no, you're totally right. I am tempted to argue that the Death Star might have been a bit less of a rallying cry if it hadn't, y'know, exploded, but the point remains that the Empire paid for Alderaan over and over and over again. Even if it were the only example in Star Wars the pattern would remain.
However, I didn't say the Death Star was the right csll, I said it made sense. :p Semantics, maybe, but the point is that the Death Star wasn't so daft as much of the internet (myself included) have made it out to be over the years.
I am going to be a teeeeeny tiny bit petty and contest the bit about ol' Sheevy. True, in later canon he was basically a god, but when the Death Star was actually written all Palpatine could actually do was see the future and shoot lightning from his fingers. Legends and RoS gave him a huge power boost, but from the perspective of the original Lucasian canon (films 1-6 + TCW) he wasn't really capable of soloing a galaxy, so it seems a touch unfair to judge the Death Star based on his later appearances. After all it's hardly its fault if later canon took out its logical framework at the knees.