"No one would expect you to know one Chiss from another."
Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano, to Luke Skywalker[src]

Chaf'orm'bintrano, also known by the core name Formbi, was an Aristocra of the Chaf family, one of the Ruling Families of the Chiss Ascendancy. At some point he served as an officer of the Empire of the Hand. His career apparently spanned the decades from at least 27 BBY until 36 ABY, but the man who served as the primary Chiss representative in dealings with the New Republic and Galactic Alliance from 22 ABY onwards was surprisingly different in character and attitude from the representative of the Fifth Ruling Family encountered by citizens of the Old Republic several decades earlier.

In the 35 ABY, Formbi led the Chiss military forces in the conflict with the ancient insect race, the Killiks. When the conflict erupted into the Swarm War, Formbi continued to lead the Chiss forces in many engagements including the final battle of the war at Tenupe.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Outbound Flight[edit | edit source]

"Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano is not interested in communicating with you at present."
Commander Thrawn, 27 BBY[src]

In 27 BBY, Chaf'orm'bintrano was conducting an inspection tour as the representative of his Family's interests in the volume of space along the Chiss frontier, traveling aboard one of his kindred's distinctive diplomatic vessels. In this capacity, he arrived at the base of the Expansionary Fleet's Picket Force Two in the Crustai system—where at that time the Force Commander was the young Thrawn—later to win fame as an Imperial Grand Admiral.[5]

At this point, Thrawn invited Maris Ferasi and Jorj Car'das, Corellian smugglers who he was holding as half-willing guests, to witness the formal reception ceremony for the Aristocra. To Car'das and Ferasi, Chaf'orm'bintrano seemed to carry himself with the confident arrogance of a born aristocrat—an impression broadly confirmed by his behavior toward them. He appeared to look down on them as non-Chiss, he refused to make any gesture of greeting, and he would not stoop to using the Sy Bisti trade language to speak with them. Although it cannot be ruled out that Thrawn had invited the Humans to the ceremony deliberately to rile the Aristocra, his behavior still contrasted with the reactions of Admiral Ar'alani and Syndic Thrass a few weeks later.[5]

Some weeks after this, in the aftermath of the clash between Thrawn's picket force, the Vagaari and the Outbound Flight mission, Chaf'orm'bintrano reappeared at the head of a powerful squadron of Chaf family ships, determined to take control of the Republic technology aboard Outbound Flight's Dreadnaught Cruisers, and to arraign Thrawn for overstepping the limits of the Chiss rules of engagement. Formbi was clearly prepared to fight senior representatives of both the Eighth Ruling Family and the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force if he thought that his actions would shift the balance of power within the Ascendancy in favor of his Family, but in the end, when Thrass and Jedi Lorana Jinzler took Outbound Flight out of the equation, Thrawn and Ar'Alani negotiated an alliance to their mutual benefit, and he retreated empty-handed.[5]

Rediscovery of Outbound Flight[edit | edit source]

"On my hands, and mine alone, must this rest."
―Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano, 22 ABY[src]

In 22 ABY, a communiqué was sent out via Nirauan to Luke Skywalker, purporting to have originated from Chaf'orm'bintrano on the planet Sarvchi, and inviting the Jedi Master into Chiss space as a representative of the New Republic, due to the rediscovery of Outbound Flight deep inside the Redoubt.[2]

The initial communiqué was, however, stolen by Lorana Jinzler's surviving brother Dean, then working as a communications technician for Talon Karrde's organization: Jinzler had been mysteriously tipped off by Car'das, who was attempting to fulfill a promise he had made fifty years earlier to Lorana. When the communiqué to Luke passed through Jinzler's hands, he stole it and set off for the rendezvous, intending to pass himself off as a New Republic ambassador in order to try and make peace with his sister or her memory. Car'das subsequently intercepted him when his ship suffered a mysterious drive failure, and took him to a rendezvous with a Chiss who he introduced as Chaf'orm'bintrano. Car'das soon departed, leaving Jinzler alone with the Chiss, who apparently accepted his claims to be a New Republic envoy.[2]

Thanks to Karrde's intervention, Luke and his wife, Mara Jade Skywalker, also made their rendezvous at Crustai, where they encountered the Chiss consular ship Chaf Envoy, with Chaf'orm'bintrano, his niece Chaf'ees'aklaio, Dean Jinzler, and also Commander Chak Fel and Unit Aurek-Seven of the 501st Legion from the Empire of the Hand, whose presence the Aristocra had apparently requested from Admiral Voss Parck when it seemed that the Jedi would not arrive in time.[2]

Unknown to the Jedi, the Aristocra was using the mission to recover Outbound Flight as a lure for the Vagaari, drawing them into a preemptive attack that would allow the Ascendancy to strike back, ending their threat.[2]

However, the Chiss were unprepared for the massive number of Vagaari warriors hiding onboard the "Geroon" ambassador's ship. When they arrived at the crashed ship, the Vagaari were unleashed, and killed several Chiss and Humans onboard the wreck. However, thanks to the two Skywalkers, who likely killed hundreds of Vagaari by themselves, the group won the Battle of the Redoubt. It was revealed to the others that Formbi had known the Geroons were actually Vagaari, and had attempted to lure them into a trap, and now blamed himself for the loss of life.[2]

In this, Chaf'orm'bintrano was ultimately successful. Mara and Luke later observed that his plan, with its complex subtleties, felt more like the sort of idea that Thrawn would have come up with than the thinking of the conventionally-minded Chiss nobleman that he claimed to be.[2]

The Swarm War[edit | edit source]

"Formbi's eyebrow shot up, but he quickly caught himself, and assumed a doubtful scowl."
Leia Organa Solo observes the Aristocra in action in 36 ABY[src]

Five years after the Yuuzhan Vong War, the same Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano who had led the mission to Outbound Flight played a significant role in the events surrounding the conflict between the Chiss and the ancient insect race the Killiks. In 35 ABY, Formbi visited Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker on Ossus to discuss the crisis that was brewing in the Unknown Regions and the Jedi involvement. It was during this meeting that Formbi revealed that it was due to the Killiks that the number of Ruling Families had been reduced from nine to four.[1]

Formbi led the Chiss military forces during the crisis, being in overall command at the important Battle of Qoribu. In 36 ABY, when the conflict between the Chiss and the Killiks erupted into a full scale war, Formbi once again appeared as the commander of Chiss military forces. Formbi led the Chiss forces at the decisive Battle of Tenupe, where, with the aid of the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi, the Swarm War was brought to an end.[3]

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"It remains unlawful for the Chiss to be the aggressor people."
"I've always admired that about the Ascendancy."
"In truth, I find it rather quaint. But, having no desire to find myself exiled, I'll follow the law—even if it means the destruction of the Ascendancy itself."
―Chaf'orm'bintrano and Luke Skywalker in 35 ABY[src]

As a Chiss Aristocra, Chaf'orm'bintrano carried himself with the confident arrogance of a born aristocrat. He appeared to look down on non-Chiss, as he showed by refusing the speak the Sy Bisti trade language with Maris Ferasi and Jorj Car'das. He was also a strict follower of the Ascendancy's isolation policy, as well as their rules of engagement. Formbi was loyal to his family first and foremost, and was clearly prepared to fight senior representatives of both the Eighth Ruling Family and the CEDF if he thought that his actions would shift the balance of power within the Ascendancy in favor of his Family.[5]

As of 22 ABY, Formbi's personality had changed significantly. He spoke fluent Basic and had no qualms doing business with Humans or allowing them to address him by his core name as "Formbi". Perhaps even more significantly, his adherence to the Ascendancy's hallowed policy of isolation and their rigid rules of engagement was little more than skin deep. In the aftermath of the Battle of the Redoubt, Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker observed that Formbi's plan, with its complex subtleties, felt more like the sort of idea that Thrawn would have come up with than the thinking of the conventionally-minded Chiss nobleman that he claimed to be.[2] In his later meeting with the Skywalkers in 35 ABY, Formbi expressed his distaste for the Chiss Non-Aggression Law, though he would follow it even if it meant the destruction of the Ascendancy.[1] Formbi was also a skilled military leader, being in overall command of the Chiss forces during both the Dark Nest Crisis and the Swarm War.[3]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Chaf'orm'bintrano was created by Timothy Zahn and made his first appearance in Zahn's 2004 novel Survivor's Quest as the Chiss leading the expedition to the crash site of the Outbound Flight. In the first novel in Troy Denning's Dark Nest Trilogy, The Joiner King, Formbi's name is misspelled as "Chaf'orm'bintrani".

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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