The ISD Chimaera (pronounced /kaɪˈmɪərə/) was an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer of the Imperial Navy that served for over forty years and fought during the Galactic Civil War, the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Second Galactic Civil War. Under command of the famous Grand Admiral Thrawn, it led the Chiss admiral's fleet during his brilliant campaign against the New Republic. In the following years, it became the flagship of the Imperial Remnant under Gilad Pellaeon. The Empire lost the Chimaera following the Yuuzhan Vong War when it was severely damaged. The starship was eventually recovered by former Imperial Admiral Natasi Daala, who made it the flagship of her private fleet, the Maw Irregular Fleet.
Galactic Civil War
Early in its service, an officer by the name of Gilad Pellaeon was transferred to its command crew; he eventually became the ship's second in command. During this time, the Chimaera was upgraded to the new Imperial II standard, increasing its shielding and armament.
At some point before the Battle of Endor, the Chimaera was seen undergoing weapons testing along with the Inexorable, the Nemesis and the Stormhawk in the Carida system. Ace Azzameen's Otana mistakenly emerged from hyperspace near the Star Destroyers but managed to escape.
Later, it was recalled to Endor as part of Death Squadron, the fleet protecting the second Death Star, under Admiral Horst Strage. It was next in the chain of command after the command ships Executor and Pride of Tarlandia, and with the destruction of both, became acting command ship. After several hours of fighting and the loss of Admiral Strage, Captain Gilad Pellaeon became acting commanding officer of the fleet and ordered a retreat to the nearest sector capital, Cannij Barr, in the Annaj system. A quarrel broke out between the new commander of Death Squadron, who wanted to counterattack the Rebels, and two higher ranking officers: Admirals Harrsk and Adye Prittick. Harrsk quickly deserted to create his own warlord fief, and Pellaeon accepted to transfer command to Admiral Prittick, who ordered a retreat to the Yag'Dhul system, in order to protect the Core Worlds. Admiral Prittick briefly commanded the fleet while at Annaj but did not remain in command for reasons still unknown; this was presumably at least in part due to the authority vested in Chimaera itself. Chimaera remained under Pellaeon's command during the tumultuous years that followed, and under Pellaeon's leadership, it came to be regarded as one of the Empire's most efficiently run Star Destroyers.
This record for efficiency may have been what made Grand Admiral Thrawn choose the Chimaera to be his flagship. Thrawn immediately left his mark on the ship, having a luxury entertainment suite once used by Pellaeon's predecessor turned into a meditation chamber/command room. Thrawn's reorganization of the fleet placed the Chimaera at the center of his personal armada, along with the Star Destroyers Death's Head, Judicator, Inexorable, Stormhawk, and Nemesis.
Thrawn soon began training the crew to his own specifications, and when he ordered the Chimaera to Tatooine to obtain the Alderaanian moss painting Killik Twilight, they were put to the test by the unexpected complications caused by Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo.
Soon afterward, Thrawn began his campaign on the New Republic in earnest, starting with an information raid on Obroa-skai. The Chimaera remained his flagship throughout this devastating campaign, until his death at Bilbringi at the hands of his Noghri bodyguard, Rukh.
New Republic capture
Soon after, he was summoned to the Deep Core to serve the clone of Palpatine. During Operation Shadow Hand, Pellaeon was forced to abandon the Chimaera in the midst of the capture of Duro, losing most of his senior staff in the process and nearly dying himself. Its burnt hulk was salvaged by the New Republic.
The Chimaera, now in New Republic hands, was nearly scrapped on several occasions. Finally, some years later, slicers working for the Empire created a false disassembly order for the ship, sending it to the shipyards of Gravlex Med, former homeworld of the Anx. Upon its arrival, its skeleton crew was overcome by Imperial commandos, who then blasted their way through New Republic pickets. Admiral Ackbar himself commanded the forces that attempted to recapture the Chimaera, but Pellaeon, now an Admiral in command of the entire Imperial Starfleet, nonetheless recovered his flagship. Pellaeon assigned Captain Ardiff to command the ship.
Flagship of the Remnant
The fortunes of the Empire soon took a turn for the worse. In a last ditch effort, Pellaeon had a cloaking device and a Computerized Combat Predictor installed aboard the Chimaera for trials. Ultimately, the trials proved unpromising, and Pellaeon began seeking a treaty with the New Republic.
Despite the scheming of recalcitrant elements within the Empire, Pellaeon succeeded in convincing the New Republic to declare peace, and Pellaeon and Acting Chief of State Ponc Gavrisom of the New Republic signed the peace accords aboard the Chimaera, finally ending the decades-long war between the two governments.
Yuuzhan Vong War
A fairly long period of peace was punctuated by the Yuuzhan Vong War. The Chimaera served valiantly at the Battle of Ithor, then was recalled along with the rest of the fleet to defend the Imperial Remnant itself.
Eventually, Yuuzhan Vong forces, under Commander B'shith Vorrik, appeared in the Bastion system, destroying planetary defense systems with ease and catching the Imperial Navy off guard, as they were expecting the force to attack the Hand of Thrawn base at Nirauan.
Only the Chimaera responded to the attack with suitable efficiency. Despite this, the Navy was able to hold its own, or so it appeared, until the Yuuzhan Vong pulled back to make way for swarms of thousands of grutchins. The Navy responded to the grutchins with what Pellaeon considered to be appalling disorganization. The Empire took serious losses from Vorrik's forces, and Pellaeon ordered the evacuation of Bastion. Chimaera and another Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the Superior, were harried by the Yuuzhan Vong all the way to a gas giant planet further out in the Bastion system, where the Chimaera took considerable damage before a coralskipper rammed the bridge of the ship. Pellaeon was nearly killed, but a junior officer pulled him from the bridge and took him to a medical frigate. Chimaera was later able to limp into the Yaga system, where it began undergoing repairs.
For the remaining duration of the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, Pellaeon commanded the fleet from the bridge of a different Star Destroyer, Right to Rule. As Supreme Commander of the Galactic Alliance Defense Force, Pellaeon's flagship was the Megador. It is possible that it was decided that the Alliance's flagship should not be one with such a distinguished history of Imperial service, especially with its commander being an Imperial as well.
Second Galactic Civil War
The Chimaera was later used by Admiral Natasi Daala as the flagship of her Maw Irregular Fleet during the Second Galactic Civil War. The ship had been refitted with unique weaponry, Metal-Crystal Phase Shifters, remaining from Daala's command of the Maw Cluster where the Empire had developed new weapon technologies. These weapons made Chimaera a serious threat to all enemy vessels as that their shields could not repel the attacks.
Daala made a theatrical arrival at the Second Battle of Fondor where the Chimaera enabled a decisive victory of the Imperial Remnant and the Alliance-in-exile against Darth Caedus's Galactic Alliance. The ship later supported the Jedi Coalition at the Second Battle of Roche.
In the years following the Second Galactic Civil War, Daala became Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance but was quickly deposed by the New Jedi Order in order to end her increasingly tyrannical rule. She eventually developed a plot to seize control of the Imperial Remnant. With his position threatened by Daala's ambition to become Empress, Head of State Jagged Fel mobilized a fleet of loyal supporters, including some Empire of the Hand forces, and moved to destroy Daala and her subversives with a pre-emptive strike in 44 ABY. At Exodo II, he engaged the Maw Irregular Fleet, once again led by the Chimaera. Tors Remal served as the ship captain during the battle.
Behind the scenes
- "In Greek myth, the Chimaera was a fantastical fire-breathing beast that combined lion, goat and snake. It was also held to be unconquerable, though it was eventually killed by Bellerophon. Nowadays, the word refers to something made up of disparate parts (usually as a result of grafting or genetic manipulation), or something wildly and grotesquely imaginary. All of those elements went into my decision to name Thrawn's flagship the Chimaera. Disparate elements (human plus Chiss), considered imaginary (and hence not taken seriously by others until Thrawn was ready to move), and unconquerable."
- ―Timothy Zahn
The Chimaera was created by Timothy Zahn for his seminal 1991 novel Heir to the Empire. As the flagship of the famous Grand Admiral Thrawn and later the Imperial Remnant, it has became one of the most emblematic starships of the Expanded Universe, and its in-universe history now extends over 40 years. In 2000, Decipher's Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Death Star II Limited retconed the Chimaera as one of the Star Destroyers seen in Return of the Jedi.
The vessel was named for the three-headed monster of Greek mythology, a beast made up of lion, goat and snake parts combined that was said to be unconquerable. In the present day, the word "chimaera" refers to something made of similarly disparate parts, often as a result of genetic manipulation. It also refers to things that are wildly and grotesquely imaginary. Author Timothy Zahn considered all three of these meanings when he chose to name Thrawn's flagship the Chimaera: disparate elements to represent the Human and Chiss who manned the ship, considered imaginary and thus not taken seriously by opponents until Thrawn made his move, and an unconquerable enemy.
Chimaera was also the name of a server—or "Galaxy"—in Star Wars Galaxies.