- "Soon he will have nothing but his pitiful Force to rely on."
- ―Demetrius Zaarin, on Emperor Palpatine
Demetrius Zaarin was an Imperial admiral who sought to install himself as Emperor of the galaxy during the Galactic Civil War. Originally a Grand Admiral, Zaarin was the Imperial Navy's head of starfighter research and development. At his facility "Research," he developed such starfighters as the TIE Advanced and the TIE Defender. He also secured new technology for the Empire from third parties, such as the Habeen. In addition to his design skills, he was a talented tactician. At some point in his career, however, he grew dissatisfied with Emperor Palpatine's rule, and began making preparations to take over the Galactic Empire.
Allying himself with disenchanted Emperor's Hand Arden Lyn, Zaarin eventually decided to move against Palpatine in the wake of crime lord Prince Xizor's death in 3 ABY. His loyal forces captured Palpatine over Imperial Center, but they were thwarted by reinforcements from Lord Darth Vader and Vice Admiral Thrawn. Left with little alternative but to flee, Zaarin began harassing Palpatine's TIE Advanced production facilities in the Omar system, and then attempted to cripple Imperial TIE Defender factories. He was eventually outwitted by Thrawn at To-phalion Base, and he perished in the Unknown Regions when the corvette he was aboard, the Vorknkx, exploded due to a malfunction.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Sources
- 6 Notes and references
Head of research and development
- "The Emperor is very interested in your progress, Admiral Zaarin."
- ―Darth Vader
A native of the Imperial capital world of Coruscant, Demetrius Zaarin served in the Imperial Navy during the reign of Emperor Palpatine. During New Year's Fete Week in 2 BBY, Zaarin was one of twelve officers promoted by the Emperor to the newly created rank of Grand Admiral in an elaborate ceremony. In 0 ABY, eight months after the destruction of the Empire's Death Star battlestation at the Battle of Yavin, Zaarin was joined by Emperor Palpatine on a secret tour of the Outer Rim Territories aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Predominant. During this tour, the Predominant delivered the Emperor to the forest moon of Endor, where construction had begun on a second Death Star and where the Emperor met with Senior Captain Thrawn to discuss the defenses for the shield generator bunker protecting the construction project. By 3 ABY, the Grand Admiral was made the head of research and development for the Empire's starfighter technology.
Zaarin used the power that his rank brought sparingly, ensuring that he had all the resources required for his research and development projects but not getting involved in Imperial Court politics. He rarely wore the white uniform of a Grand Admiral, preferring instead to wear the gray uniform of a standard admiral while in Imperial service, and insisting on being referred to only as "Admiral Zaarin." Despite his low profile in the Imperial Court, Zaarin gained the respect of both Emperor Palpatine and Lord Darth Vader, in the process earning the ire of many within the Imperial Navy, including his fellow Grand Admirals.
Zaarin surrounded himself with a hugely loyal staff. He utilized the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Glory as his flagship, and in the Parmic system, Zaarin had a research and development space station, dubbed "Research." One of the earlier projects that Zaarin had been involved with was the Vorknkx Project, which involved research into hibridium-based cloaking devices, an alternative method of cloaking smaller craft to replace the Empire's dwindling supply of stygium. Only Zaarin, Emperor Palpatine, and the project staff were aware of its existence. In addition, he contributed to other projects, including Sienar Fleet Systems' TIE Advanced x7 starfighter.
Despite his lofty position, Zaarin sought a higher post: that of Emperor. He did not agree with Palpatine's modus operandi, and did not think that the Emperor was infallible. Zaarin planned to take the Empire for himself, but Grand Admiral Martio Batch was developing cloakable Phantom TIEs that would soon give Palpatine a technological advantage over Zaarin's own designs. Batch's operations forced Zaarin to accelerate his plans. He found an ally in Arden Lyn, an Emperor's Hand who sought to resurrect her long-dead lover, the Dark Jedi Xendor. Palpatine had promised her that he would try to help her bring back Xendor, but she soon realized that the Emperor had no such intent. Following the Battle of Yavin, Zaarin recruited her to his cause, and she began training students that she could one day turn against Palpatine. She also acted as Zaarin's agent on Imperial Center.
TIE Advanced development
- "The first TIE Advanced are now seeing combat. We also have prototypes of the next generation of TIE fighters."
- ―Demetrius Zaarin
Following the Battle of Hoth, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader tasked Zaarin with the continued development of the TIE Series of starfighters and he had all such projects moved to Research. There, the production model of the TIE Advanced, based on Vader's TIE Advanced x1 prototype, was developed. Zaarin believed that the starfighter was only a step towards completion of the TIE Defender—the evolution of the TIE Advanced x7—but both projects depended on developing a hyperdrive system small enough to fit inside their respective fuselages, something which proved a hindrance to Zaarin's technicians.
Scientists working for the Habeen and the Nharwaak species had made a breakthrough, however. They had designed a suitable unit for use in the TIE Advanced, but their world, Mylok IV, was not a part of the Galactic Empire. Nevertheless, Zaarin sought a demonstration of the unit, and traveled to the system in his frigate, the Shamus. He had one of his officers, Major Crundha, check and double check the security of the convoy before arriving. Crundha cautioned Zaarin, noting that the Nharwaak were uneasy about the Empire's presence, though the admiral was not concerned at all, despite the warning. Before he arrived, TIE Fighter squadrons Alpha, Beta, and Gamma were dispatched to cover for the Habeen freighters carrying the technology to the rendezvous with the Shamus. The Nharwaak, however, were clearly not happy with the Habeen's new association with the Empire, and dispatched fighters to destroy the freighters from Verack and Stimner groups. Scores of Nharwaak BTL Y-wing starfighters from squadrons such as Striker, Yellow, and Scarlet attacked the freighters while Zaarin's TIE pilots fended them off. The Nharwaak corvettes Charger 1 and Charger 2 also entered the fray.
Zaarin eventually arrived on the Shamus, in the middle of the engagement. He launched TIE bombers from Eta Squadron to deal with the corvettes, as well as TIE Interceptors from Zeta Squadron to aid the existing fighters in combating the Y-wings. Zaarin's forces eventually won the battle, and the freighters were free to dock with the Shamus, transferring over their technology into Imperial hands. As soon as he had possession, Zaarin sent the hyperdrive technology to his technicians and scientists, who immediately began analyzing it. The Habeen scientists visited Zaarin on his private observation deck, and informed the Grand Admiral that the Nharwaak were livid, and were threatening to sell the hyperdrive technology to the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Angered, Zaarin decided that it was time to deal with the Nharwaak personally. He subsequently dispatched the Shamus to a nearby Nharwaak base, and succeeded in destroying it.
The Nharwaak subsequently attacked one of the Habeen's research facilities, but the Imperial Navy was able to successfully defend it. The Imperial aid helped convince the Habeen to surrender their technology into the possession of their saviors. Zaarin finalized the business terms with the Habeen, and planned a formal signing during a rendezvous over Mylok IV. In addition to gaining the new hyperspace technology, Zaarin had convinced the Habeen to join the Galactic Empire. Despite the apparent success, Crundha was wary, and thought that the situation was dangerous. As per usual, Zaarin dismissed his advice, and went ahead as planned. He took the Shamus to the rendezvous point, and the Habeen EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Lendova arrived soon afterward. Imperial diplomats were dispatched aboard the shuttle Nexus, while Habeen diplomats set out in the Fairfax. The shuttles docked, and the signing began, but Nharwaak raiders entered the area, hoping to disrupt the rendezvous. The corvettes Phazer 1 and Phazer 2 moved to attack the frigates, while Nharwaak Y-wings attempted to destroy the shuttles, as well as Zaarin's TIE Interceptors from Alpha Squadron. The attackers were fended off, and the signing was a success. Shortly thereafter, transports from Ferry group were transferred to the Shamus from the Lendova, carrying the finished hyperdrive technology. With business concluded, Zaarin was free to complete his development of the TIE Advanced.
The Nharwaak, however, had not been totally stopped. They also possessed the coveted hyperspace technology, and had dispatched one of their corvettes, the Coffey, to rendezvous with the Alliance frigate Xerxes. In order to prevent the Rebellion from gaining the technology for themselves, Zaarin rushed to the rendezvous in the Shamus, and dispatched his bombers to destroy the Xerxes. The Grand Admiral won the battle, and the threat of the Alliance gaining the technology was eliminated. Following the destruction of the Xerxes, installation of hyperdrive units on TIE Advanced prototypes was completed, and Zaarin simultaneously began pushing forward development on the next generation of TIE craft, the TIE Defender. He summoned Vader to Research for a demonstration, and the Dark Lord was suitably impressed. Zaarin then informed Vader that he was working on the successor to the Advanced, and the Dark Lord speculated that Palpatine would want a prototype post-haste.
The TIE Defender
- "You will serve me?"
"Yes. Of course."
- ―Demetrius Zaarin and Maarek Stele
With the TIE Advanced project complete, Zaarin dedicated his resources to creating a successor to that starfighter model. His scientists and technicians drastically redesigned the standard TIE, and were able to create prototypes of the new TIE Defender, a more heavily armed and faster craft than its direct predecessor. As Vader had predicted, Palpatine did want prototypes shipped to Imperial Center for inspection. Around the same time, a pilot who had served Zaarin during the Mylok IV campaign, Maarek Stele, was transferred to Research. Stele had been making a name for himself as an ace pilot, and Zaarin personally gave him a tour of the facility. The pilot was genuinely interested in Zaarin's developments, but the Grand Admiral cared initially only for Stele's opinions on Imperial politics, particularly on just who was the backbone of the Empire. Zaarin suggested that it was the high-caliber pilots that were the foundation of the Empire's strength, but Stele claimed it was the commanders and tacticians, although he eventually conceded that Palpatine was the true foundation.
Shortly afterward, cargo ferries from Sela group arrived to pick up the TIE Defender prototypes, but the transfer suffered a raid by the Rebel Alliance. The attackers were fought off, however, and the ferries moved on to their rendezvous over Vinzen Neela 5 with the Ton-Falk-class escort carrier Hininbirg. Following the battle, Zaarin invited Stele to enjoy a meal with him. The pair discussed the late Admiral Harkov, who had recently tried to defect to the Rebellion. Zaarin then began questioning Stele as to whether or not he thought Palpatine infallible. The pilot, shaken by the almost treasonous question, thought that the worlds of the Empire should be united peacefully, but then insisted that he had no doubts about Palpatine's right to rule. The Grand Admiral then changed the subject, and the pair discussed the TIE Defenders for a short while, before Crundha interrupted them by insisting upon Zaarin's presence.
At Vinzen Neela 5, the prototypes were to be transferred to the Hininbirg, but the meeting was again disrupted by Rebel ambushers, including the corvettes Mar Duun and Vop Hui. Imperial fighters once again staved off the attack, enabling the transfer to be completed. The Hininbirg successfully delivered the prototypes to Palpatine. With that business concluded, Zaarin met with Stele once more, and concluded that the pilot was a loyalist to the throne. He offered Stele an opportunity to one day fly a TIE Defender in an elite squadron before questioning the young man as to whether or not he would serve him with utter loyalty. Stele was careful in his wording, however, claiming that since Zaarin was an admiral in the Imperial Navy, he would serve him absolutely. At the time, the young pilot was confused by Zaarin's proposal, and clearly not prepared to serve the admiral more faithfully than he would the Emperor.
- "Is the beam weapon completed?"
"Yes, Admiral Zaarin. We are ready to deploy the weapon."
"Excellent. Begin arming my fighter squadrons at once."
- ―Admiral Zaarin and an underling
With the TIE Defender designed, and prototypes completed, Zaarin moved onto yet another project. This time, he was refining beam weapon technology for use within starfighters, which would allow smaller craft to utilize devices such as tractor beams. However, in order to continue development, he required fresh supplies from the freighters Anterab and Degathem. The freighter Docking Plt was moved into position over Research to receive the supplies, but during the transfer the station fell under attack once more. Alliance starfighters harried both of the incoming freighters with new magnetic pulse warheads, which had the ability to knock out the weapons system of any craft that it hit. The freighters' escort, shuttle Omicron 5, was unable to properly fend off the Alliance craft, but Zaarin's pilots, particularly Maarek Stele, were able to do so. Stele even disabled one of the attacking craft for capture, so Zaarin's scientists could study the mag pulse weapon. The supplies were then delivered with a minimum of fuss, so that the Grand Admiral could continue his work.
Shortly thereafter, Zaarin received a communiqué from Imperial High Command, claiming that the mag pulse technology originated with Galactic Electronics, a company based in the Corporate Sector. The Grand Admiral was ordered to lead an attack on Galactic Electronics, recover the mag pulse technology, seize all personnel, and destroy their base. To accomplish this, Zaarin transferred his staff to the Star Destroyer Glory. Zaarin dispatched Alpha-class Xg-1 Star Wings, as well as Gamma-class ATR-6 assault transports from Omega group to capture the Galactic Electronics platform Pondut. The company scrambled Z-95 Headhunters to defend their facility while their employees and executives fled on the transports Lucky Day, Kalree, and GEC U47. By the time that Zaarin had arrived in the Glory, the station had been disabled and captured, as had the fleeing craft. Alliance starfighters from Blue Squadron arrived in-system shortly afterward, escorting the cargo ferry Bujiboi, but they were far too late to collect more of the mag pulse warheads from Galactic Electronics. The Bujiboi was destroyed, and the starfighters captured, since they carried mag pulse weaponry.
With the threat of the mag pulse warhead eliminated, Zaarin's technicians were free to complete work on the beam weapon. When it was finished, the Grand Admiral oversaw installation of the device into his TIE Advanced squadrons, and ordered that the modified craft be prepared for combat as soon as possible.
TIE Experimental Project
- "A shame, but the project will continue."
- ―Demetrius Zaarin
With the TIE Defender development complete, Zaarin moved onto alternate forms of arms progression. He commissioned Director Lenzer to create the TIE Experimental Project, resulting in a new series of modified TIE craft, piloted remotely from a Beta-class ETR-3 escort transport. If successful, the project would allow the Empire to field an almost inexhaustible supply of fighters against the Alliance with a minimized loss of life. From research station Obsidian, Lenzer had the fighters ravage shipping and Alliance operations in the Vilonis sector, while Shadow Squadron, made up of Zaarin's TIE Defenders, was deployed to protect development stations such as Bretie Facility. Alliance Admiral Yamarus' Liberty Task Force soon got the better of Lenzer, and with Bretie destroyed, they moved onto Obsidian. They demolished that research station as well, and Lenzer was killed. Zaarin afterward salvaged remnants of its computer from the resulting debris and upon surveying the wreckage, he was confident that the project could continue in another form.
- "These traitors must pay the ultimate price!"
- ―Darth Vader
While Vader dealt with Prince Xizor of the Black Sun crime syndicate, a rival for the Emperor's favor, by the second half of 3 ABY Zaarin had finalized his plans for a coup against Palpatine. Immediately after Vader killed Xizor in a battle over Imperial Center, the Dark Lord cornered the remainder of the late Admiral Harkov's forces in the Ottega system. However, Vader's forces were struggling there, and so the Dark Lord requested the aid of Zaarin's forces.
The Grand Admiral, however, had other ideas. With Vader so far away from Imperial Center, Zaarin decided to make his move against Palpatine, in an attempt to install himself as ruler of the galaxy. He agreed to send aid to Vader, but had in fact given his men orders to attack the Garrett upon arrival. Nine of his corvettes from Arditi, Falcon, and BaKaar groups, as well as transports from Upsilon group sped to the Ottega system, while Zaarin moved the Glory to the Coruscant system, in preparation for his planned coup d'état. While there, Crundha reported to Zaarin that an officer by the name of Trace had attempted to steal technical readouts to the TIE Defender. When Zaarin asked that Trace be brought before him, he was informed that the man had in fact escaped the Glory already.
Vader's forces, however, overcame Zaarin's corvettes and transports, but the Garrett had been severely damaged in the fray. The Dark Lord had realized Zaarin's intent, though, and decided to put the Garrett's TIE Defenders to use. Vader, along with five other pilots including Maarek Stele, who had been recently transferred to the Garrett, raced from the Parmel system toward Imperial Center. To stop them, Zaarin dispatched the Immobilizer 418 cruiser Harpago, as well as gunboats from Z-Mu and Z-Tau Squadrons. Vader and his pilots fought off the fighters and the Interdictor, and the Dark Lord continued his race to the capital.
Nevertheless, Zaarin continued in his coup attempt. Over Imperial Center, his forces boarded Palpatine's flagship, the Star Destroyer Majestic, and Arden Lyn, aided by her students, the Gamorrean Thok and the stormtrooper 17786, used her powers to subdue and capture the Emperor. As he was being brought back to the Glory aboard a Delta-class JV-7 escort shuttle from Haven group, the TIE Defenders piloted by Vader and his wingmen entered the system, just off the aft of the beleaguered Majestic. Zaarin intended to have Palpatine executed, but his plan fell apart before him as Stele disabled the shuttle carrying the Emperor, which was then boarded by the corvette Mescue. Making matters worse for Zaarin was the arrival of Vice Admiral Thrawn in the Star Destroyer Vanguard. Although Zaarin scrambled TIE Advanced fighters, the battle was lost, his coup a failure. Now a traitor to the Empire, he was left with little choice but to flee the Coruscant system in the Glory, although he was pursued doggedly by Thrawn. Lyn too was forced to evade the Imperials, as she was tracked relentlessly by High Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne.
The Omar bombings
- "Omar 1 is under attack, Alpha 1. It is your primary concern."
- ―Imperial briefing officer to Maarek Stele
Although his attempt to capture Palpatine and install himself as ruler of the galaxy had failed, Zaarin was not defeated. Since he had been head of research and development for the Imperial Navy's starfighter technology, he had an intricate knowledge of the Empire's inner workings, making him a significant threat to Palpatine's New Order. With a considerable fleet at his disposal, Zaarin formed his own faction, and began harassing the Empire to much the same extent that the Alliance had been doing for years, although the admiral had no ties to that particular group. Zaarin sought to gain a technological advantage over the Empire, and although his fleet was on the run from loyalists such as Thrawn, he was not entirely hamstrung. He planned to begin raiding Imperial facilities, stealing valuable technology, and then destroying the facilities, rendering them useless to Palpatine. During this time, Zaarin began wearing the uniform of a Grand Admiral, even though, having abandoned the Empire, he no longer held that rank.
Zaarin's first target was the Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Advanced factories at Omar. Three Deep Space Manufacturing Facilities, Omar 1, Omar 2, and Omar 3, were to be destroyed by one of Zaarin's frigates, the Raptor. The Emperor's forces were unable to reach the Omar system in time to stop Zaarin's attacks, but Palpatine ordered that the plants be evacuated. TIE Defenders of Alpha Squadron, launched from Thrawn's new flagship, Victory I-class Star Destroyer Sceltor, were dispatched to cover the evacuation while Zaarin's TIE Bombers from the Raptor laid waste to the stations. To further the attack, Zaarin sent in Delta-class DX-9 stormtrooper transports, but they were fended off by Alpha Squadron. While the stations were effectively rendered useless, Palpatine's forces were eventually able to evacuate all personnel.
While the goal with the three Omar stations had been to destroy the installations, Zaarin took a different approach with ZA-13, a hyperdrive manufacturing plant that he had once supervised. The plant was one of the few of its kind left in the Empire, and the hyperdrive units made there were for use with TIE Advanced models, although Zaarin would be able to modify them for use in his TIE Defenders. However, Zaarin's forces were once more harried by Thrawn. The Assassin-class corvettes Z-Oz 1 and Z-Oz 2, the YT-1300 light freighter Z-Coral, and the modular conveyors Z-Cod 1 and Z-Cod 2 were dispatched to ZA-13 to board and loot the factory. Their escorts from Z-Delta and Z-Beta Squadrons, however, had to contend with Thrawn's TIE Defenders, which were able to stop the looting and destroy the recovery craft, thwarting Zaarin's initial plan of theft.
ZA-13 had been captured by Zaarin's forces, but the Imperials would not relent. An assault force was dispatched to the station with the intent of recapturing it for the Empire. Zaarin responded by sending three CR90 corvettes, Z-Caplure 1, Z-Caplure 2, and Z-Caplure 3, to ZA-13, as well as gunboats from Z-Tau Squadron. They were fought off by the Imperial fighters, and so Zaarin sent in the cruiser Z-Jumimi, fighters from Z-Gamma and Z-Zeta Squadrons, and transports from Z-Omega group to destroy ZA-13, rather than have it fall back under Imperial control. His forces failed, and ZA-13 was recaptured.
The Imperials refurbished the plant, and converted it into a TIE Advanced factory. During the resupply of ZA-13, the facility was attacked by a Rebel force utilizing mag pulse warheads. Leaving two EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigates to defend ZA-13, Thrawn defeated the Rebel attackers, and pursued them back to their base, RS-32. While Thrawn was attempting to take RS-32 for himself, Zaarin's forces returned to ZA-13, attempting to destroy the plant and one of the frigates in the process. At the same time, Zaarin had his forces destroy most of the other TIE Advanced factories that remained across the Empire.
Although Thrawn had managed to capture RS-32, he was left vulnerable. To put an end to the Chiss, since promoted to the rank of admiral, Zaarin dispatched the Interdictor Grappler, as well as the cruiser Serpent, and the frigate Shadow. Thrawn had, however, fitted his starfighters with the mag pulse technology, and with pilots such as Maarek Stele aiding him, he escaped the trap at RS-32 by destroying the Grappler. Shortly afterward, the last Sienar TIE Advanced plant in the Omar system was bombed and destroyed. Zaarin was pleased, but insisted that his harassment of the New Order continue. He then ordered Commander Raveen to take his fleet to the Outer Rim Territories, and from there Zaarin planned to launch new assaults against Palpatine's regime.
- "Commander Raveen, order our forces to the Outer Rim. From there, we will launch new attacks against the Emperor."
- ―Demetrius Zaarin
With the Empire's ability to produce TIE Advanced craft effectively eradicated, Zaarin set his sights on the TIE Defender. He hoped that by crippling Palpatine's starfighter supplies, he would distract the Navy's focus away from the Alliance and onto him, which would allow the Rebels to inflict considerable damage. Zaarin then planned to take full advantage of the ensuing chaos. He moved against Research, the facility at which he had developed the Defender. His men began to loot the platform, but were stopped by the arrival of Imperial forces. Zaarin sent the escort carrier Jitte—which was bearing TIE Fighters with built-in shield generators to reinforce the station—but the battle was lost, and his forces were left with little alternative but to retreat.
Zaarin would not abandon Research easily, though. The Star Destroyer Adarga had been moved in to defend the platform while it was repaired, but apart from the destroyer and a few TIE Defenders from Delta Squadron, it was lightly defended. Zaarin sent in assault transports from Z-Omega, Z-Sigma, and Z-Lambda groups to destroy the Adarga and the platform, but they were defeated by the pilots of Delta Squadron. Although the attack had failed, Zaarin's forces had been able to cripple the Adarga, forcing the evacuation of Research.
Zaarin was not satisfied with the result, however, and resolved to have the platform, as well as its personnel and any TIE Defender prototypes stored away within, destroyed. Sending in Alpha-class Xg-1 Star Wings from Z-Mu Squadron initially, Zaarin himself arrived in-system on the Glory. The Imperials were trying to evacuate the platform's staff, including the chief engineer on the TIE Defender project, aboard the shuttle G'nabgib, while transferring prototypes to the BFF-1 bulk freighter Mharsup. For defense, the Imperials only had several escort shuttles and one TIE Defender, piloted by Maarek Stele. Despite having the odds on their side, the fighters Zaarin launched from the Glory were destroyed by Stele and his comrades, allowing the G'nabgib and the Mharsup to escape to hyperspace, along with several of the TIE Defender prototypes.
While in transit, the prototypes were transferred to corvettes from Hashim group. The corvettes were in turn attacked by Rneekii pirates. Although Stele drove off the attackers, the corvettes and by extension the prototypes, had been rendered vulnerable by the attack. The Alliance, as well as Nami pirates under the command of Ali Tarrak, attempted to take advantage of this vulnerability by capturing the prototypes while the Imperials were waiting for reinforcements. Zaarin decided to send his own TIE Defenders into the fray as well. While the Nami stole one of the prototypes, the Rebels and Zaarin left empty-handed. The remaining TIE Defender prototypes later found their way into Thrawn's possession.
During the earlier ambush by the Rneekii, the TIE Defender chief scientist had been captured by the pirates. Thrawn's forces subsequently set up a trap over Kiilimaar, and rescued the scientist from the Rneekii. However, during the engagement, the Imperial Interdictor Red Claw was severely damaged by Ali Tarrak's intervening forces. As the Red Claw waited for replacement parts from corvette Chemeti 2, Zaarin and his forces set up a ruse of their own. They disguised one of their own craft as the Chemeti 1, which was to retrieve the scientist from the waylaid Red Claw. The false Chemeti 1 rendezvoused with the Red Claw successfully, as Zaarin's TIE Defenders entered the system and began harassing the Imperial forces. Due to the distraction from Zaarin's fighters, the crew of the false Chemeti 1 spirited away the scientist without the Red Claw's captain detecting them.
Sparring with the alien Grand Admiral
- "I have studied Zaarin's ways and have discovered a weakness in his reliance on technology. When our newest starfighter is completed, our forces will strip Zaarin of his technological advantage!"
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn
Zaarin's next move was to relocate his forces to the Unknown Regions. From there, he would be able to launch repeated attacks against the Empire. However, in order to make the move, his forces needed supplies. Civilian freighters from Furlo group were to make a delivery to Zaarin's fleet, but they came under attack from forces commanded by Captain Kuuztin, one of now-Grand Admiral Thrawn's men. Thrawn's ascension to the position meant that he replaced Zaarin in Palpatine's circle of twelve Grand Admirals. The Rahmat, an aging Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser that was escorting the freighters, was destroyed by Kuuztin's pilots, one of whom was Maarek Stele. Stele in particular was flying a Missile Boat, which had been designed by Thrawn specifically to combat Zaarin's TIE Defenders. Stele and his comrades made short work of the Rahmat's T-wing interceptor complement, forcing Zaarin to send in the frigate Strident. This only prompted escalation from the Imperials, as Kuuztin himself arrived aboard his flagship, the Star Destroyer Courageous. The convoy was subsequently captured, leaving Zaarin empty-handed once more.
In order to put a stop to Kuuztin's exploits, Zaarin set up an ambush over Gwar, with his refitting platform Supply Base as bait. As Zaarin had predicted, Kuuztin brought in the Courageous and Stele's Missile Boat to destroy the platform, which they did. In addition to that, the Imperials demolished one of Zaarin's Interdictors, the Bomb, as well as three frigates, Kuma 1, Kuma 2, and Kuma 3. When the base had fallen, however, Zaarin dispatched two of his own Imperial-class Star Destroyers, the Imperator and the Thunderer, to destroy Kuuztin and the Courageous. They succeeded, but Stele escaped in his Missile Boat.
Shortly afterward, reports came through of a convoy carrying Missile Boats that would be traveling near the world of Serenity. Zaarin had dispatched spies to investigate Thrawn's operations, and they determined that the convoy was in fact bait in a trap. Additionally, the Missile Boats being shipped were only decoys. This prompted Zaarin to dispatch a minimal force of five Assassin-class corvettes from Kormoran group to not capture, but destroy the convoy craft. The situation did indeed prove to be one of Thrawn's traps. Stele, piloting a Missile Boat, fought Zaarin's TIE Advanced fighters from Z-Alpha Squadron, who had been sent in to escort the corvettes. When the fighters had been defeated by Stele and the Beta-class ETR-3 escort transports Bob 1 and Bob 2, Thrawn arrived in his flagship, the Star Destroyer Grey Wolf, which was escorted by three Strike-class medium cruisers, Formidable, Indomitable, and Triumph. Zaarin's corvettes were demolished by Thrawn, but while the loss had been damaging to Zaarin, he had committed only a minor force to the operation, so the loss was not as crippling as the alien Grand Admiral had hoped.
Later, another convoy of Missile Boats was apparently traveling through the Semag system, this time carrying real units. Zaarin's spies indicated that once again the convoy was a trap, but they were able to locate one of Thrawn's staging areas, inspiring Zaarin to go ahead with an attack on the convoy anyway. Holding station at the staging area was Task Force Whirlwind, made up of an Interdictor and three Strike Cruisers. Zaarin sent his own Interdictor, the Maelstrom, as well as several squadrons of TIE Advanced and Defender craft to eradicate Thrawn's task force, while he assaulted the second Missile Boat convoy. The Maelstrom fell prey to bombing by Maarek Stele, who was once again piloting one of the Missile Boats, but Zaarin's forces were successful in damaging the Whirlwind and preventing it from going to the convoy's aid.
Stele made it to the convoy in time to help shuttle group Omicron destroy Zaarin's initial wave of fighters, which were trying to disable freighters from Nichevo group. Zaarin himself arrived shortly thereafter on the Glory, which was escorted by the cruiser Yaai, and the frigate Thinin. He launched transports to capture the freighters carrying the Missile Boats, but again his efforts were stopped by Stele. Thrawn arrived in the Grey Wolf shortly thereafter, accompanied by the Star Destroyer Resolution. Two of the Strike Cruisers from Task Force Whirlwind, Indomitable and Triumph, entered the fray, forcing Zaarin to retreat. The losses he had sustained were substantial, but he was still able to disguise just how crippling the operation had been to him in the eyes of the Imperials.
Zaarin's spies once more gathered valuable intelligence: a breakthrough had been made with the Empire's Vorknkx Project. Hoping to gain control of the cloaking technology, Zaarin dispatched the frigate Z-Borus to the Vorknkx Project Base. Thrawn reacted by sending in Stele, who was yet again piloting a Missile Boat. Zaarin's forces failed to capture the base, and the Imperials were able to install a mine field around the CR90 corvette Vorknkx, which was the testbed for the cloaking experiments. Zaarin did not give up, however, and sent several waves of TIE Defenders, as well as assault transports from Z-Sigma group and three Carrack-class light cruisers from Z-Pata group, to destroy the base's defenses and seize the Vorknkx. Thrawn had realized Zaarin's intent, and had ordered the base's evacuation. The base's defenses were, unfortunately for Zaarin, successful in holding off the attack force long enough for the corvette to escape.
- "Yes, Emperor Palpatine. I have studied Zaarin's ways closely. He will not resist the bait that I have laid out for him. Soon, he too will meet his end."
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn
Although he had initially failed to capture the Vorknkx, Zaarin was not to be suppressed, choosing to continue his attempts to topple Palpatine by other means. His scouts in the Coruscant system indicated that Palpatine was traveling aboard the C-3 passenger liner Excalibur to visit his Super Star Destroyer. For a considerable amount of the trip, his liner would be vulnerable in the Coruscant system, with Imperial Center too far away to send help. Though he took the opportunity to strike at the Emperor, Zaarin did not commit considerable resources to the attack. Assault Gunboats, TIE Advanced fighters, and the corvette Z-Ram were sent to destroy the Excalibur, but they were instead destroyed by the Imperials, allowing Palpatine to escape to safety.
In the meantime, Zaarin had been able to gain possession of both a Missile Boat and knowledge of just what the Emperor was planning in the Endor system. There, a second Death Star was being built to serve as both a highly destructive weapon, and bait for a trap built for the Alliance's ultimate destruction. While Palpatine intended to let the Rebels know that the battlestation existed and was under construction, he planned to let them believe that it was not fully operational, and that it was lightly defended. What Zaarin knew, however, was that it was in fact fully operational, and would be defended by a sizable fleet. He shared his knowledge with his senior staff, but this proved to be unwise for Zaarin. One of his top commanders, Captain Namuura Din of the Victory-class Star Destroyer Zeplin, decided to take the Missile Boat, the knowledge of Palpatine's Endor trap, as well as his own ship, and defect to the Alliance. Zaarin was unable to stop him, but Din's plans were subsequently thwarted by Darth Vader.
Since the Missile Boat had been such a thorn in his side, Zaarin had the production facilities that manufactured the craft attacked, and essentially shut down. This forced Thrawn to recall his Missile Boats and rely on inferior craft, such as the TIE Advanced. Zaarin scored another success when he managed to locate Thrawn's new hiding place for the Vorknkx Project: To-phalion Base, a former asteroid mining facility in the Iast system. Acting quickly, Zaarin dispatched a force of TIE Defenders from Z-Delta Squadron, and Muurian transports from Z-100, Z-200, Z-300, and Z-400 groups to clear the station's defenses. In the ensuing battle, seventy-five percent of Zaarin's transports were destroyed, but one of his spies who had been following the Vorknkx Project managed to sabotage To-phalion Base's targeting array. The spy also tried to escape the platform with some secret data, but he was shot down in the battle.
Zaarin took control of the operation himself. Bringing the Glory into the Iast system, he began attacking To-phalion Base's last line of defense: the frigate Maru Ki, which was being personally commanded by Thrawn. Meanwhile, he brought the Glory into close proximity of the base, hoping to steal the Vorknkx from underneath Thrawn's nose. Thrawn himself abandoned the Maru Ki during the battle, and Zaarin was momentarily distracted by his hatred for the Grand Admiral. He ordered his fighters to abandon their current objective of mopping up To-phalion Base's fighters, and sent them after Thrawn's shuttle, the Lambda 1. They were unable to kill Thrawn, however, and were reassigned to their former objective. Moving the Glory into position over the base, Zaarin's operatives seized the Vorknkx and piloted it into his Star Destroyer's hangar. Zaarin gloated to Thrawn over an open channel, while the Grey Wolf entered the system. Zaarin chose that moment to destroy To-phalion Base, with his prize secure in the Glory's hangar. He then fled the battle. Little did he know that he had just played directly into Thrawn's hands: the Vorknkx had a tracking device planted on it, which the Grand Admiral intended to use to pinpoint just where Zaarin's forces were hiding.
Death and legacy
- "Once again we have evaded Thrawn's grasp. I knew I would be able to beat that… Ohhhhh!!!"
- ―Zaarin's final words
The evidence of Zaarin's folly, however, was soon apparent. While hiding in the Unknown Regions with the remainder of his fleet, Zaarin was met with the sight of Thrawn's task force, which had followed him by using the Vorknkx's tracking device. Making matters worse for the admiral was the fact that most of his TIE Defenders had been lost in the battles around To-phalion Base. The Immobilizer 418 cruiser Corvus prevented Zaarin from escaping, and the Grey Wolf guarded the Corvus in turn while the cruisers Daring and Ebolo moved in on the Glory. Zaarin would not be defeated without a fight, however. The corvette Divine Wind, as well as transports from Z-Omega group, were sent against the Corvis. The Muurian transport Z-500 2 attacked the Daring, while the transport Z-Lambda 1 moved against the Ebolo. Their efforts were in vain, though. Zaarin's forces were defeated, and soon enough, Thrawn's men began attacking the Glory.
Zaarin transferred to the Vorknkx, and demanded that its cloaking device be activated immediately. One of his subordinates warned him that the device was unstable, and could be potentially dangerous when used in conjunction with the ship's hyperdrive. Zaarin nevertheless insisted that his men activate the device. What he did not realize was that Thrawn had allowed him to take the Vorknkx for yet another reason. The Grand Admiral had altered the project's research notes, omitting portions mentioning that the ship would indeed suffer a fatal malfunction if the cloaking device was used with the hyperdrive.
Content in believing that he had once again outwitted Thrawn, Zaarin celebrated as the Vorknkx began to make the jump to hyperspace. His elation proved to be short lived, as the ship exploded upon hyperdrive activation. Admiral Demetrius Zaarin died in the explosion, ending his brief but destructive insurrection against Emperor Palpatine's New Order. Zaarin would prove to be the first of Palpatine's Grand Admirals to perish—though all except Octavian Grant died in the five years following the Battle of Endor—and, in 36 ABY, he was written about by New Republic historian Voren Na'al.
The scandal over Zaarin's attempted coup and his subsequent insurrection meant that the TIE Defender, a model he had developed, would never see mass use in any fleet, and although Grand Admiral Thrawn's strategy in 9 ABY did revolve around the use of cloaking devices, Zaarin's Project Vorknkx never proved to be truly practical, and Thrawn instead chose to recover a totally different design from the Emperor's storehouse at Mount Tantiss.
Personality and traits
Demetrius Zaarin was considered to be a brilliant tactician and scientist and was one of only twelve officers selected by Palpatine to hold the rank of Grand Admiral. Prior to launching his coup against Emperor Palpatine, Zaarin gave the outward impression of a loyal Imperial who was content with his position. He neither wore the uniform or adopted the title that came with his position, choosing to be treated like any other admiral, and was known for his passion for music, which was considered an eccentricity by some of his fellow officers. He also avoided the Imperial Court power games in which many of his contemporaries were involved. Despite this, his natural abilities and the respect shown to him by the Emperor and Darth Vader angered his colleagues, who believed that he had more than enough power and influence.
An opportunistic and enterprising man, Demetrius Zaarin would be reviled for his actions made late in life by those who remained loyal to the Emperor. He pushed the boundaries of what was conceivable in starfighter design, and was able to almost reinvent the TIE series several times over. He was, according to some, overly obsessed with technology, and he believed that a technological advantage was the key to winning a war. The admiral would almost always follow up any attack made against him, one of his ships, or one of his convoys with a punitive strike. While he was often rewarded with success during his service in the Imperial Navy, he was easily led into traps. While fighting the Empire, he heavily relied on spies to help guide his efforts.
While preparing to launch his coup, Zaarin made sure that his crew were intensely loyal to him. He was particularly derisive of timid men, such as Major Crundha. He did not accept excuses, and would often toy with the emotions of his subordinates by altering his demeanor rapidly. He became particularly hateful of Grand Admiral Thrawn during his insurrection, and that hatred almost cost him his prize at the Battle of To-phalion Base. To Thrawn, at least, Zaarin was a predictable man, as he fell into several of the Chiss Grand Admiral's traps unwittingly. In addition, Zaarin was contemptuous of the Force, and thought of it as "pitiful."
Behind the scenes
The character of Admiral Zaarin first appeared in the 1994 computer game Star Wars: TIE Fighter, written by David Wessman, David Maxwell and Edward Kilham. In an interview in The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 22, Lawrence Holland, project leader and designer of TIE Fighter, explained that Zaarin's attempt to take control of the galaxy was conceived to highlight the political turmoil and in-fighting within the Empire. His reliance on technology was intended to contrast with Palpatine's use of "mystical powers."
The role of Zaarin in TIE Fighter was performed by Denny Delk, who would reprise the character for both the Defender of the Empire expansion pack and the Collectors CD-ROM edition of the game. Zaarin also has a minor appearance in a cutscene of Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, but has no role in the plot, nor are his projects or plans taken into consideration.
In 2000's The Essential Chronology, Zaarin is identified as a Grand Admiral. While Zaarin does wear the Grand Admiral uniform following his secession from the Empire, he never wears it while in the Navy, and he is only ever referred to as "Admiral Zaarin" in both TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance. The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 67, released in 2011, explained that Zaarin chose not to adopt the uniform and title of a Grand Admiral. Zaarin was later covered in the article Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals, which gave him the first name of "Demetrius." For that article, he was illustrated by Joe Corroney. In 2005, Zaarin received another depiction, this time from Mark Chiarello for The New Essential Chronology.
The 1998 roleplaying campaign book The Far Orbit Project mentions a prominent Imperial Grand Admiral involved in starfighter development, but not by name. While Zaarin is the only Grand Admiral to have been the head of starfighter development, the Who's Who article claims that Grand Admiral Batch was also involved in that department.
- Choices of One (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter (First appearance)
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 67 (Welcome On Board: Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin)
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Choices of One
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter takes place between the battles of Hoth and Endor which places it in 3 ABY per The New Essential Chronology.
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide
- The Emperor's Pawns"—Star Wars Gamer 5 "
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
- In The Essential Chronology, it is stated that Palpatine is taken from his private shuttlecraft by Lyn, but this conflicts with TIE Fighter. This mistake is repeated in The New Essential Chronology.
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- "The Dark Side Illuminated"—The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 22
- The Essential Chronology
- The Far Orbit Project