- "Shuttle TYA77, transmit clearance codes."
"Copy, Chimaera, transmitting codes now."
- ―An Imperial shuttle prepares to land aboard the Chimaera
The ISD Chimaera (pronounced /kaɪˈmɪərə/) was a modified Imperial I-class Star Destroyer captained by Imperial officer Thrawn prior to the Galactic Civil War. It served as his command ship following his promotions to commodore, admiral and later Grand Admiral, transferring commands with him and eventually becoming the flagship of Grand Admiral Thrawn's Seventh Fleet. During the Liberation of Lothal, the Chimaera was pulled into hyperspace by purrgil summoned by the young rebel Padawan Ezra Bridger with Thrawn, Bridger, and most of its crew aboard.
Early service under Thrawn
Defending an Imperial space station
The Chimaera was an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer that saw service during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Just as the seeds of rebellion began to spread across the galaxy, the vessel was placed under the command of the Chiss officer Thrawn following his promotion to Commodore. The ship, with Thrawn as its captain, was dispatched to quell early rebel uprisings, with Lieutenant Commander Karyn Faro serving as the Chiss' first officer.
Thrawn captained the vessel for some time, using his effective tactics to deal with the Empire's enemies. One of the rebel groups gaining influence at the time was under the command of a mastermind who went by "Nightswan." Nightswan had been Thrawn's personal nemesis for years, although the two had never truly been formally acquainted. The Chimaera received orders to aid the recently attacked transport vessel Sempre, which Thrawn believed was attacked by Nightswan's forces. He theorized the attack was led by the recently stolen frigate Castilus. In an effort to arrive at the scene as soon as possible and ensure that they were prepared to face whatever awaited them, Thrawn ordered Faro to inspect the Chimaera's weaponry and engines.
The Chimaera was unable to reach the Sempre in time, finding it adrift and the crew killed. Thrawn ultimately determined that the Sempre was actually carrying Wookiee slaves, and that they had been rescued by rebels. In an attempt to neutralize the terrorists deemed to be behind the attack, the Chimaera headed to the space station Lansend Twenty-Six, an Imperial slave processing center and former Separatist fortress. The station had fallen under attack by the time the Chimaera arrived, under an assault spearheaded by the Castilus. Colonel Zenoc, the station's commander, did not have sufficient forces to defend it from the insurgents. The presence of the Chimaera turned the tide of the battle. The Chimaera's TIE fighter escort kept the frigate Castilus and its detatchment of V-19 Torrent starfighters occupied while the Star Destroyer itself fired upon the Imperial space station, concentrating all batteries on the areas where the attackers and escaped slaves were located. Once it had eliminated the threats within the fortress, the Chimaera turned its fire on the Castilus, neutralizing the frigate's threat and emerging victorious from the battle.
Pacifying a rogue Governor
The Chimaera continued to deal with insurgent threats under Thrawn's command. A few years before the start of the Galactic Civil War, it was dispatched to the Belsmuth sector, where Governor Quesl of Botajef declared his planet independent from the Empire's rule. Quesl declared the Galactic Empire to be tyrannical, oppressive, and illegitimate; wording that would later be echoed by the Declaration of Rebellion.
The Chimaera rendezvoused with Fleet Admiral Jok Donassius, who needed assistance reclaiming Botajef for the Empire. Arriving in the Belsmuth sector, the Chimaera began to carry out initial strikes against the Botajef revolutionaries. The planetary defenses were very strong, and one Star Destroyer would not be enough to subdue the world. Fighter wings under the command of the Starfighter Commander Senior Lieutenant Yve were dispatched to perform fly-by's past the two Botajef Defense Force CR90 corvettes that orbited the planet. The Imperials were informed that they were invading the sovereign territory of the Jefi, a species indigenous to Botajef.
Soon thereafter, the Chimaera began its attack. Using its tractor beams, the Chimaera subdued one of the corvettes, which was manned entirely by Jefi. In the meantime, the Chimaera's TIEs made short work of the planetary turbolasers. After focusing firepower on various planetary bombardments, the defense emplacements were effectively neutralized. With the planetary forces in disarray, the Chimaera could focus on capturing the second corvette, which was manned by humans. Thrawn had pieced together that Governor Quesl's supposedly righteous and revolutionary rhetoric about justice and self-determinate was a ruse for Quesl to steal Botajef's valuable artwork, and that the Governor would not trust his life to the Jefi. After his CR90 corvette was captured, Quesl surrendered and agreed to return to Coruscant and face trial for treason.
Serving the Ninety-Sixth Task Force
- "I am content with the Ninety-Sixth Task Force."
Due to his success, Thrawn was promoted to the rank of Admiral and assigned to the Ninety-Sixth Task Force. Even as he assumed control of the task force, the Chimaera remained under his command, serving as his command ship. The captaincy of the vessel was granted to a newly promoted Commander Karyn Faro, with Commander Eli Vanto, Thrawn's protégé, as another of the ship's commanding officers. The Chimaera and the Ninety-Sixth were dispatched to the planet of Batonn to deal with a faction of insurgents in the midst of a mounting uprising in the sector. At the last minute, however, the Chimaera and the Ninety-Sixth were recalled after Thrawn refused to initiate an immediate attack against the rebels on Scrim Island.
The Chimaera and the other vessels of the Ninety-Sixth were diverted to Sammun to quell the rebellion on that planet. On Sammun, the Empire secured a victory, with the rebels surrendering after two of their ships were destroyed and another four were captured. With the battle over, the Chimaera returned to Batonn to reinforce Admiral Durril and the One Oh Third Task Force, which was in complete disarray. However, instead of assisting the broken Imperial fleet, which was being battered by the planetary defenses, the Chimaera remained a safe distance from the fray. Upon returning to Batonn, Thrawn sent Vanto to confront Nightswan, who turned out to be Nevil Cygni, a former military contracting consultant who used his resources to fund a growing rebellion.
Thrawn and Vanto eventually returned to the Chimaera, which was then tasked with destroying the rebel base on Scrim Island. Instead of firing directly upon the fortress, the Chimaera fired its ion cannons in the oceans surrounding the island, triggering a tsunami. Thrawn and Vanto once again headed down to the surface to meet with high command. In the meantime, full control of the Chimaera and the Ninety-Sixth Task Force was handed over to Commander Faro, who remained in command over both the vessel and the fleet during the Battle of Batonn. Not long after, most planetary forces and rebel ships in orbit were destroyed. What was left of Nightswan's force then retreated to Paeragosto City, holing up in the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex. The Chimaera could not bombard the facility without destroying the entire city, so the capital ship remained in high orbit, awaiting further orders.
Thrawn, who respected his nemesis Cygni greatly, met the insurgent leader covertly to learn his reasons for opposing the Empire. Thrawn offered Nightswan a position within his native Chiss Ascendancy, believing his adversary could be of great service to his people. Nightswan refused the offer, stating that his people were here, and understanding that he would die on Batonn for his convictions.
After meeting Cygni face to face, Thrawn returned to the Chimaera and reassumed command of his ship. A fleet of thirty rebel starships emerged out of hyperspace not long after, engulfing the Chimaera in the fray. While commandeered light cruisers managed to shield the Star Destroyer from the bulk of the fleet's fire, the Chimaera was still exposed. It positioned itself behind the cruisers, which were, in fact, bait to attract most of the enemy's fire. Wings of TIE fighters were then sent to harass the fleet, while the Chimaera focused all fire on the ships. The insurgency on the surface was crushed after an explosion destroyed all remaining rebel forces in the mines and many civilians and Imperial personnel. Unbeknownst to practically anyone else, the explosion was secretly caused by Thrawn's friend Governor Arihnda Pryce of Lothal. Continuously weakened by the Chimaera's fire and disheartened by news of the death of Nightswan and the planetary insurgents, the remnants of the insurgent fleet retreated, granting the Ninety-Sixth Task Force a strategic victory.
After the victory at Batonn, Thrawn was commended for what were believed to be his actions. In fact, Thrawn sharply disapproved of the unnecessary loss of so many civilian lives, but his career was advanced anyway for the eradication of the rebels and the pacification of the sector. In exchange for his many years of service, Thrawn was promoted to the prestigious rank of Grand Admiral and placed in command of the Imperial Seventh Fleet. The Chimaera transferred with Thrawn, going on to serve as the flagship of the Empire's Seventh Fleet.
In 2 BBY, Lothal Governor Arihnda Pryce lacked the forces to deal with a growing rebel threat in her sector and system. Governor Pryce correctly suspected that the Lothal rebels were affiliated with a larger cell. Pryce believed the current chief Imperial military officer stationed in Lothal, Admiral Kassius Konstantine, was grossly incompetent, so she petitioned Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin to provide professional assistance to eliminate the rebels. Governor Pryce specifically requested her friend Thrawn's Seventh Fleet to help strengthen the Empire's hold over her sector.
After learning that the Lothal insurgents were en-route to Mykapo in order to extract rebel sympathizers, Thrawn dispatched Konstantine to put a stop to the operation with a single Arquitens-class command cruiser. The Chimaera traveled to the system in order to reinforce the defeated commander, although the rebels were able to escape the battle.
Thrawn continued the hunt for the Lothal rebels, sending out Imperial E-XD-series infiltrator droids to secretly land on worlds in search of their hidden base. EXD-9, one of the droids, landed on Chopper Base and began its infiltration of the facility, but was compromised when Fulcrum informed the rebels of the infiltration. The droid was ultimately powered off after a skirmish against Captain Garazeb Orrelios; however, it was programmed to self-destruct if it was powered off while in combat mode. Orrelios and the droids C1-10P and AP-5 managed to disrupt the program long enough to send the unit back to the Imperial fleet and detonate its proton warhead. After Imperial engineers discovered it had returned and reactivated it, the droid self-destructed, destroying the Imperial Star Destroyer it docked with. The Chimaera was present for this, and as a result, Agent Kallus boarded the ship to inform the Grand Admiral. Thrawn was relatively unconcerned by this, as the sabotage helped narrow his search for the rebel base from a thousand systems to just ninety-four.
As the Seventh Fleet continued to blockade Lothal, Thrawn requested many officers who had encountered the Spectres to board the Chimaera. These included Lieutenant Lyste, Kallus, Konstantine, Pryce, Commander Brom Titus and Captain Brunson. Lyste had recently captured a disguised Ezra Bridger, who wanted to rescue Kallus, as he was secretly Fulcrum. Bridger was brought aboard the Chimaera. While Bridger was locked away in Detention Block B7, Thrawn, Konstantine, ISB Colonel Wullf Yularen, Kallus and Lyste met in Thrawn's Office. There, the Grand Admiral informed them of a rebel spy threat, and that one of them was likely a traitor. Later, Kallus made his way to the Detention Block to release Bridger, using Lyste's code cylinder. They then made their way to Thrawn's office to erase information of the Rebels' base from his database, while also gaining clearance codes so the retrieval team could land and extract them.
Thrawn noticed the prisoner's escape and returned to his office to investigate any tampering. Kallus, Chopper, and Ezra hid while he inspected his office, while Kallus reprogrammed Thrawn's sentry droids in the adjacent gym to attack the Chiss. However, the Grand Admiral, a skilled martial artists, was ultimately able to disable them. Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus and Captain Rex landed on the ship with a Sentinel-class landing craft, and attempted to extract Bridger and Kallus using stormtrooper armor as cover. However, Pryce confronted the intruders and attempted to shoot them. Seeing Pryce shooting at who he thought to be actual stormtroopers, Lyste stunned her with his blaster, erroneously believing her to be the traitor. This chaos both allowed the Rebels to escape and provided Kallus with an alibi as he had successfully framed Lyste as the traitor. Kallus thus chose to stay behind on the Chimaera to continue his role as Fulcrum. However, Yularen and Thrawn later discussed the outcome of the incident, not satisfied with the results. They both concluded that Lyste was far too loyal to the cause to be capable of treason, correctly deducing that the only possible traitor was Kallus.
After more investigation, Thrawn was able to discover the location of the rebel hideout, which was situated on the planet Atollon in the Atollon system. Just as Phoenix Squadron prepared to launch a surprise attack on Lothal with the intention to attack the TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter factory, they received a transmission from Kallus that Thrawn was preparing to launch a surprise attack on Atollon, delaying the attack. After realizing what Kallus had done, Thrawn saw it as an opportune time to apprehend Kallus, subduing the double agent after a short fight. Thrawn mobilized a portion of the Seventh Fleet from aboard the Chimaera and set course for Atollon.
After little time to prepare, the rebels found themselves outgunned and outmatched by the Seventh Fleet, which was commanded by Thrawn and Pryce on the Chimaera. The rebels proved no match for the fleet, which managed to destroy the forces of General Jan Dodonna within the early stages of the battle of Atollon. To make matters worse, the broken rebel fleet was unable to jump to lightspeed due to an active Interdictor vessel captained by Konstantine. Admiral Konstantine defied Thrawn's orders and broke formation to face the rebel flagship Phoenix Nest commanded by Konstantine's old rival Jun Sato. Sato evacuated his ship and crashed it into Konstantine's, killing both men and destroying both vessels. The destruction of the interdictor gave Lieutenant Commander Ezra Bridger of the Alliance to Restore the Republic the opening he needed to seek out reinforcements before Thrawn could order the activation of the second interdictor.
The Chimaera and the rest of the Seventh Fleet decimated the entire rebel squadron, forcing what remained of their ships to the surface. Although the rebels managed to raise the base's shields just in time, Thrawn ordered the Chimaera's turbolasers turned to the ground to intimidate the rebels. When he believed that the rebels had finally had enough, Thrawn mobilized a ground party consisting of Imperial walkers and a large detachment of infantry, heading down to the surface with his own personal squad of death troopers. Thrawn temporarily relinquished control of the Chimaera to Pryce, who commanded the fleet in orbit.
While Thrawn led the ground assault, the Chimaera and the rest of the fleet were faced with the unexpected arrival of a small force of Mandalorians. The third party managed to take down the second Interdictor ship, allowing the remnants of the rebel fleet to escape. Aboard the flagship, Pryce ordered the now-disavowed Agent Kallus to be executed by shooting him out of the Chimaera's airlock. However, Kallus was skilled at hand-to-hand combat, and used his prowess to incapacitate two stormtroopers in an elevator. He slipped away to the ship's escape pods and was rescued by the rebels before they jumped into hyperspace.
Working with Darth Vader
- "While Woldar and Tarkin find and deal with the rebels, you and Lord Vader will take your flagship to deal with this other matter."
- ―Emperor Palpatine, to Grand Admiral Thrawn
Following Thrawn's incomplete victory at Atollon, the Chimaera returned to Coruscant with Thrawn. After receiving word of his incomplete victory, Emperor Palpatine did not take the Seventh Fleet away from him, as he knew the reason for his failure was due to factors not under the Grand Admiral's control. However, the Sith Lord Darth Vader did not have the patience for any sort of failure, even if the failure was reasonable and expected, unless the failure was orchestrated by the Emperor or Vader. Therefore, The Emperor tasked the Thrawn and Vader to travel aboard the ship to the planet Batuu, to deal with a disturbance in the Force felt by Palpatine. Thrawn and Vader traveled to Mokivj to deal with a disturbance in the force felt by their Emperor. Upon their visit, they realised that the Grysks, the ancient enemy of Thrawn and his Ascendancy, threatens the security of the entire empire. Therefore, they investigate the matter, and realise that, the Grysks, who had once tried to destroy the Ascendancy entirely, threatens the future of the Ascendancy yet again. Therefore, Thrawn, who studied their tactics and who pledged to fully protect the Ascendancy, bought the Empire time to prepare for their upcoming skirmish against the Empire after the Chimaera, along with Vader and Thrawn's team of Tie Defenders, attacked the Grysks. The Grysk forces dispatched were destroyed entirely, with a chiss courier ship escaping.
Return to Lothal
- "Whatever happens next happens to both of us."
"That's the idea."
- ―Thrawn and Ezra Bridger
Some time later, the Chimaera and the rest of the Seventh Fleet returned to orbit over Lothal. Soon after, the Spectres covertly returned to Lothal to disrupt and learn about Thrawn's TIE/D Defender Elite program. Following a successful mission on the surface, several of the Rebels attempted to flee through the Imperial blockade in a UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft. Despite Thrawn commencing an attack on the starfighter from the Chimaera's bridge, the craft managed to escape by commencing a hyperspace jump through an Imperial construction module.
Over a dozen Rebel X-wing starfighters arrived soon after to attack the TIE Defender factories on Lothal. They fought the Imperial blockade and Captain Hera Syndulla lured Commander Vult Skerris over the Chimaera. Thrawn warned Skerris to steer clear as he prepared the Chimaera to fire on Syndulla, but Skerris refused, keen to the rebel captain. Thrawn commenced the firing, and both fighters lost their shielding in the barrage. Syndulla then attacked Skerris's fighter, and he crashed into a cruiser, sending it hurling into a Star Destroyer. The remaining X-wings then made for the surface. However, Thrawn had prepared for such an event and placed a swarm of TIE fighters to attack the X-wings, all of which were destroyed. All of the pilots were captured or killed, excluding Mart Mattin, who escaped with the help of the Lothal resistance group.
Shortly thereafter, Thrawn took the Chimaera to Coruscant for a meeting with the Emperor over the funding for his TIE Defender project, leaving the rest of the Seventh Fleet to guard Lothal. In that time, the local rebels rescued Syndulla, and after some fighting, AT-ATs accidentally destroyed the Lothal City fuel depot, halting the TIE Defender production. This affected Thrawn's plea for more support for the TIE Defender project, and Thrawn became apoplectic toward Governor Pryce for trying to cover it up.
Shortly after, the Rebels plotted to liberate Lothal from the Empire while Thrawn was absent dealing with the Grysks and the Skirmish against the Third Fleet. After ending the Skirmish against the traitor Grand Admiral Balanhai Savit, Thrawn sent Commodore Karyn Faro to Coruscant so that she'd get to lead the Eleventh Fleet. He and Captain Gilad Pellaeon traveled to Lothal with the Seventh fleet and the Harbinger to end the insurgency on Lothal with one devastating blow. Knowing Thrawn would soon return, they acted quickly, setting a trap for Governor Pryce and Thrawn's Noghri assassin, Rukh. Pryce fell prey to the trap and was captured, but Rukh escaped; sending word to Thrawn afterward. Thrawn soon arrived on the Chimaera to find that the rebels taken over the Imperial Complex and prepared it to launch into space. Thrawn contacted the Rebels, demanding their surrender, to which Bridger replied that they had all of the Imperial ground forces hostage. Thrawn dismissed it as the Rebels actually rescuing the Imperial forces from what he was about to do, and began a bombardment of Capital City. Bridger gave in and surrendered to Thrawn, taking himself to the Chimaera. While on board he met with an altered hologram of the Emperor, presenting as a kindly old man and offering to return Ezra's dead parents to him. The offer was a ploy meant to distract Bridger and, if possible, turn him to the dark side. After contemplating the situation, Bridger escaped and made for the bridge to confront Thrawn.
The other Rebels managed to activate the Imperial Complex's shield to protect the city from any further bombardment. Furthermore, some of the rebels were circling the city on the Ghost, transmitting on frequency zero to attract purrgil. Bridger made it to the bridge of the Chimaera and faced Thrawn when the purrgil arrived and destroyed the blockade, before engaging the Chimaera and its escort. After taking out the other two Star Destroyers, some of the purrgil attached themselves to the Chimaera and dragged it into hyperspace, ending the short battle. With the Chimaera gone, the Rebels launched and blew up the Imperial Complex, killing the last Imperial forces on Lothal and liberating the planet. In the process, Bridger, Thrawn, and the crew of the Chimaera went missing.
Despite being an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer, the Chimaera had many design differences from standard Imperial Is. On the underside of its hull, the Chimaera had a large engraving representing a chimaera. Thrawn had first been exposed to the artistic depiction of chimaeras as a Senior Captain of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet when he met a Paccosh official named Uingali foar Marocsaa. Uingali, fearing his species' extinction at the hands of the Nikardun, entrusted Thrawn with a double-ring of a chimaera, a prized heirloom of the Marocsaa subclan.
Another difference was the Chimaera's eight turbolasers surrounding its command tower. Unlike some other Imperial Is that had large double-barreled turrets, the Star Destroyers of the Seventh Fleet featured eight-barreled turrets. Additionally, the Chimaera had two opposite hangar bays, one located at either end of its ventral docking bay, unlike some other Imperial I-classes. A large door could cover the aft bay when it was not in use.
Many of the crew of the Chimaera wore a stylized symbol of a chimaera, either on their arms or pauldrons, to show their allegiance to Thrawn. The second in command on the Chimaera was Commander Karyn Faro. She took control of the ship whenever Thrawn wasn't present. Other officers on the Chimaera included Senior Lieutenants Lomar, Pyrondi, and Yve, Major Ayer, Flag Captain Albus Marinith, and Thrawn's aide, Lieutenant Commander Eli Vanto. The bridge of the starship had its own officer corps.
Behind the scenes
The Chimaera was first identified in the 1991 Star Wars Legends novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It was later retconned within the Legends continuity to have appeared in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, by Decipher's 2000 Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Death Star II Limited. Unlike in Star Wars Rebels, however, the Legends version of the Chimaera was an Imperial II-class star Destroyer.
- Star Wars: Armada – Chimaera Expansion Pack (Card: )
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 70 (Weapons & Uniforms: Grand Admiral Thrawn; Highlights of the Saga: Liberating Lothal)
- Star Wars: Armada – Upgrade Card Collection (Card: )
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
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