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During the Imperial Era, an incident occurred when the freighter Dromedar was raided and captured by the pirate band Culoss, which was led by the insurgent leader Nevil Cygni. The pirates took the crew prisoner and captured the ship's tibanna cargo. When an Imperial boarding party led by Lieutenant Thrawn answered the Dromedar's distress call, they were greeted by Cygni, who trapped the Imperials. However, Thrawn turned the tables on his captors by using a buzz droid to cut a hole in the cage and expose parts of the shift to the vacuum of space. Despite his efforts, Cygni and some of his followers managed to escape with the smuggled tibanna canisters.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

Nevil Cygni, undercover pirate

During the Imperial Era, the Galactic Empire faced numerous insurgent groups that threatened its rule over the galaxy. One of these was the insurgent leader Nevil Cygni, who was part of a pirate band called the Culoss, an offshoot of Q'anah's Marauders. He regarded the Empire as a corrupt tyrannical government that oppressed the galaxy. Cygni engaged in the smuggling of doonium and tibanna in order to raise funds to help avenge people who he claimed had been hurt by the Empire.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The Dromedar was a freighter led by Captain Fitz and crewed by several people including Toom. Sometime before 3 BBY, Nevil infiltrated the Dromedar by posing as a new crew member. His fellow Culoss pirates attacked the freighter while it was carrying Tibanna gas. They overpowered the crew and locked them in a metal cage in the cargo hold of their pirate ship Marauder. The Dromedar's distress call was picked up by the Imperial Gozanti-class cruiser Blood Crow, led by Captain Filia Rossi. Captain Rossi reluctantly dispatched a boarding party consisting of Lieutenant Thrawn and his team—Ensigns Eli Vanto and Merri Barlin and engineering technician Jakeeb, and electronics technician Layneo—to investigate the Dromedar's distress call before responding to a crisis on Moltok.[1]

They found Nevil Cygni and his crew, who claimed that their comrades had been kidnapped by pirates. Cygni tricked Thrawn into revealing how to extract the tibanna from their cylinders by disengaging their static locks. Thrawn, however, was aware that he was a pirate due to his dusty clothing but played along in order to trick Cygni. Despite Rossi's objections, Thrawn convinced her to allow him and his team to remain aboard the Dromedar to protect the crew. After the Blood Crow had left for Moltok, Cygni asked the Imperials how to extract tibanna from the cylinders. After Thrawn and his team divulged this information, Cygni and his fellow pirates revealed their true intentions and disarmed Thrawn and his team. The Imperials were locked inside the improvised brig on the pirate ship Marauder with the Dromedar's real crew. A pirate called Angel wanted to kill them, but Cygni refused and insisted that Angel keep his promise to drop the prisoners off unharmed.[1]

Cygni and Angel then departed aboard the Dromedar with the stolen tibanna cargo. Before leaving, Cygni left one of Thrawn's buzz droids behind to test the Chiss captain's resolve. With the help of the Imperial technicians, Thrawn managed to reactivate the buzz droids he had brought and used it to cut a hole through the cage's bars. The Imperials and the Dromedar's crew then overpowered the pirates that had been left behind to guard the Marauder. In addition, Thrawn had another buzz droid secretly moored to the ship's hull. This buzz droid then exposed the Marauder' entrance chamber and amidships section to the vacuum of space, eliminating the other pirates while leaving the ship intact.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant Thrawn interrogating the surviving pirates

Despite rescuing the crew of the Dromedar, Lieutenant Thrawn was chastised for failing to prevent the pirates from stealing the freighter and its tibanna cargo; the latter an important commodity for the Imperial Navy. Thrawn and Ensign Vanto were ordered to remain behind on Ansion. Despite this setback, Thrawn took the opportunity to help Admiral Plor Wiskovis interrogate three of the surviving pirates. Knowing that the pirates were descendants of Q'anah's Marauders, Thrawn managed to convince the pirates to cooperate by offering to protect them from Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. While the pirates discussed Thrawn's offer, Thrawn used his knowledge of Sy Bisti to eavesdrop on the pirates' conversation and learned that Angel and Cygni had fled with the Dromedar to Uba. In an attempt to mislead Thrawn, the pirates claimed that Angel and Cygni had traveled to Cartherston on the planet Keitum. After the pirates accepted Thrawn's offer, Thrawn revealed the information he had yielded from the eavesdropping to Wiskovis.[1]

Acting on this information, Admiral Wiskovis dispatched an Imperial Security Bureau agent to Uba. While the Imperials managed to recover the canisters and capture more pirates, they found that the pirates had extracted the tibanna from twelve of the twenty recovered tibanna cylinders. Despite the cordon, Angel and Cygni eluded the Imperial authorities. Thrawn was later exonerated by an Imperial court-martial panel and promoted to Captain of the Arquitens-class light cruiser Thunder Wasp. Using his Nightswan persona, Cygni later hired smugglers on an oceanic planet to smuggle iridium inside mollusk shells in order to raise funds to buy Vulture droid parts. However, this was foiled by Thrawn, who continued his hunt for Nightswan.[1]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Dromedar incident first appeared in Timothy Zahn's 2017 novel Thrawn, a rebooted origin story of the titular character. This incident also introduced the novel's main antagonist, Nevil Cygni.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Nightswan's campaign
Galactic timeline


Concurrent: Great Jedi Purge · Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire · Battle for Botajef

Next: Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire

Events of Nightswan's campaign
Dromedar · Umbara · Coruscant · Cyphar · Sempre · Lansend Twenty-Six
Batonn sector (Sammun · Denash · Batonn (Scrim Island · Creekpath))
Related topics and articles
Nevil Cygni · Culoss · Thrawn · Eli Vanto
Arihnda Pryce · Driller MarDapp · Juahir Madras · Higher Skies
Yinchom Dojo · Batonn insurgents · Denash insurgents · Sammun insurgents
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