- "I had no idea how they had overpowered the Emperor, but I didn't stop to think about it, either… I didn't care. It was my job to save him."
- ―Maarek Stele
The battle of Imperial Center was a conflict which took place near Imperial Center around 3.5 ABY between forces loyal to the rogue Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin and those loyal to the Galactic Empire after Zaarin decided to launch a coup against Emperor Palpatine. Bringing his flagship, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Glory, to the Coruscant system, he caught the Emperor in his private ship, the Star Destroyer Majestic. Zaarin disabled the ship and boarded it, capturing Palpatine by using the Force powers of Emperor's Hand Arden Lyn and her students to overcome the Emperor's own powers.
As Zaarin's escort shuttles returned to the Glory with the captive Palpatine, a flight group of six TIE/D Defenders led by Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader and Colonel Maarek Stele appeared out of hyperspace. Stele inspected the shuttles and disabled the one carrying the Emperor. Zaarin responded by launching TIE Avengers to assist, but it was too late. Vice Admiral Thrawn arrived in the Star Destroyer Vanguard along with the corvette Mescue. The Mescue boarded the Emperor's shuttle and rescued him, while Stele, Vader and the remaining TIE Defenders destroyed Zaarin's TIE Avengers. Zaarin saw that his coup had failed and left the Coruscant system in the Glory.
- "It seems as if Zaarin has developed some dangerous plans, and we believe the Emperor to be in great danger. I want you to join me, Colonel, on an urgent mission. You have trained in the new starfighter. I want you to accompany me and break through Zaarin's lines. I must get to Coruscant immediately."
- ―Darth Vader, to Maarek Stele
Shortly after the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin, head of the Galactic Empire's TIE Series research and development, plotted to kill Emperor Palpatine and assume the Imperial throne. While Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader was preoccupied with the hunt for rogue Imperial Admiral Harkov, who had defected to the Rebel Alliance—a campaign which Zaarin openly supported—as well as his own personal crusade against Prince Xizor, head of the Black Sun crime syndicate, Zaarin finalized his plans. The Grand Admiral sought to draw like-minded personnel within the Imperial Navy to his personal command and recruited the services of Emperor's Hand Arden Lyn as his agent on Imperial Center. Lyn, an ancient practitioner of the martial art teräs käsi, had herself decided to turn against Palpatine shortly after the Battle of Yavin three years earlier, after the Emperor failed to deliver on his promise to resurrect her deceased lover, Xendor.
Immediately after the death of Xizor around 3.5 ABY, Vader discovered that the remnants of Harkov's fleet had fled to the Ottega system and traveled there aboard the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Garrett to oversee its destruction. Seeing his opportunity, Zaarin began to move his own fleet to Imperial Center. Meanwhile, the Grand Admiral dispatched several Assassin-class corvettes to the Ottega system, ostensibly to reinforce Vader's own forces, but with orders to attack the Garrett upon arrival. Though the Garrett survived the attack, it suffered critical damage. With the Garrett unable to return to Imperial Center in time to stop Zaarin's coup, Vader selected Colonel Maarek Stele to lead a group of prototype TIE Defenders on a mission to stop any attack on the Emperor, taking one of the starfighters for himself. Despite an ambush by Zaarin's forces in the Parmel system the TIE Defender group was able to rendezvous with the Nebulon-B2 frigate Osprey, before proceeding on to the Coruscant system.
- "Mayday! Mayday! This is the Star Destroyer Majestic, we have been boarded by Imperial traitors."
- ―Distress signal from the Majestic
Bringing his flagship, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Glory, to the Coruscant system, Zaarin caught the Emperor in his private ship, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Majestic. With Lyn's assistance, Zaarin was able to catch Palpatine unaware and his forces disabled and boarded the Star Destroyer. With the help of her students, the Gamorrean Thok and the stormtrooper 17786, Lyn used her Force powers to nullify the Emperor's own powers and he was taken into custody.
Vader and Stele soon entered the system with their TIE Defender group and promptly received a distress signal from the Majestic. Moving toward the ship, the group detected the launch of six Delta-class JV-7 escort shuttles from Haven and Hellcat groups, carrying the troopers from Zaarin's boarding party, along with the captive Palpatine. As they moved to intercept, Vader instructed Stele to identify the shuttle carrying the Emperor. After determining that Palpatine was aboard Haven 3, Stele joined his wingmates in engaging the other shuttles, choosing to leave Palpatine's shuttle until it could be disabled without fear of damage. Once they were destroyed, Stele dispatched his group toward the waiting Glory while he used his ion cannons to disable Haven 3.
With Palpatine's shuttle disabled, the loyal Imperial Assassin-class corvette Mescue arrived in the area to board the vessel and rescue the Emperor. At around the same time, the badly damaged Majestic was able to escape into hyperspace. With the situation turning against him, Zaarin responded by launching TIE Avengers to assist, but Stele's group moved to engage them. The TIE Defenders eliminated the attacking TIEs, losing all but Stele and Vader in the process. Around the same time, Vice Admiral Thrawn arrived in the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Vanguard to assist the Imperial forces and began launching TIE bombers to attack the Glory. Around ten minutes after Vader's group arrived, Palpatine was safely aboard the Mescue and Stele joined the TIE bomber attack on the Glory. Seeing that his coup had failed, Zaarin fled into hyperspace. Palpatine was taken to a secret location while Imperial forces planned their pursuit of Zaarin.
- "We are here to honor one who has served the Empire."
- ―Emperor Palpatine awards Stele the Emperor's Will
The Emperor had been rescued but both Zaarin and Lyn had escaped. Stele was rewarded for his part in rescuing the Emperor in a ceremony attended by the cream of Coruscant society at the Imperial Palace. As the Emperor watched from high above, Stele was presented with the Emperor's Will medal by Lord Vader. The Emperor continued to take great interest in Stele, instructing the Secret Order of the Emperor to train Stele in the Force, and the pilot went on to become an Emperor's Hand.
Thrawn pursued Zaarin into hyperspace and began a long campaign to defeat the rogue Imperial, who focused on gaining technological superiority with starfighters, first by attacking in the Omar system, before Thrawn drove him to the Outer Rim Territories and eventually the Unknown Regions. Zaarin later made a second unsuccessful attempt on Palpatine's life, before he was ultimately defeated by Thrawn. Thrawn was promoted to the rank of grand admiral, taking Zaarin's place in the circle of twelve.
The task of hunting Lyn was given to High Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne. With the failure of the coup, Lyn released Thok from her service and began searching for the Kashi Mer talisman in her continuing attempts to bring Xendor back to life. She was eventually killed by Palpatine in 10 ABY.
Behind the scenes
- "Lyn's betrayal of Palpatine is another new wrinkle, and an example of how Star Wars continuity works best, in my opinion."
- ―Abel G. Peña
The battle was first featured in the 1994 LucasArts video game Star Wars: TIE Fighter, in which players fly as Maarek Stele. The battle is depicted in the mission "Save the Emperor," the fifth and final mission of the game's seventh tour of campaign, "Treachery at Ottega." In TIE Fighter, which of the three shuttles in Haven group carries the Emperor is randomized. TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide established that Palpatine was canonically aboard Haven 3 in its mission walk-through, which is presented as Stele's after-action report.
The battle has since been referenced in several other sources, including The New Essential Guide to Characters, The New Essential Chronology and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. Arden Lyn's involvement in the battle was first mentioned in the Star Wars Gamer 5 article "The Emperor's Pawns" by Abel G. Peña, Juan Schwartz and Pablo Hidalgo, which also elaborated on Stele's fate following the battle.
In the manuscript for the original version of Peña and Daniel Wallace's Star Wars Insider 66 article "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals", entitled "Dirty Dozen: Imperial Grand Admirals", more information is given about the battle than in the final version. The article indicates that Zaarin's timing was motivated partially by a desire to strike before Grand Admiral Martio Batch's TIE Phantom project took away his technological advantage, and that Lyn was not alone in pacifying the Emperor but was aided by her pupils. Lyn's pupils, Thok and 17786, were later confirmed to have assisted her in Peña and Rich Handley's 2013 article Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire.
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter (First appearance)
- TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide
- TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM: The Official Strategy Guide
- The Essential Chronology
- The Emperor's Pawns"—Star Wars Gamer 5 "
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 67
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 Star Wars: TIE Fighter
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The Emperor's Pawns"—Star Wars Gamer 5 "
- ↑ 7.0 7.1
- ↑ The New Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- ↑ Word document of original "Dirty Dozen: Imperial Grand Admirals" manuscript.