- "Therein lies the future of the galaxy."
- ―Jorus C'baoth
Outbound Flight was an expeditionary project, led mainly by Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth, that sent a mission of six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and 50,000 men, women, and children beyond the borders of the Galactic Republic into the Unknown Regions where they hoped to pierce the edge of the galaxy and seek out extragalactic life.
Despite bureaucratic complications during funding and construction, Outbound Flight was eventually launched in 27 BBY as a central fuselage surrounded by six Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers. It set out from Yaga Minor, and after visiting several worlds on the Outer Rim, Outbound Flight headed off into the Unknown Regions. Problems arose when the Jedi leader and project creator Jorus C'baoth took command of the vessel and imposed severe restrictions on its civilian and military population.
In the Unknown Regions, the ship was almost destroyed by the forces of Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, at the request of Darth Sidious, though it was the Sith Lord's minion Kinman Doriana who dealt the final blow. It crashed on a world in The Redoubt, where it stayed for 49 years until it was rediscovered by the Chiss in 22 ABY. Along with Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker, they led a mission to recover it and encountered the survivors of the crash and their descendants, who had formed their own society amidst the wreckage.
- 1 Birth of the project
- 2 Vessel details
- 3 Launch
- 4 The end of Outbound Flight
- 5 The Outbound Flight Colony
- 6 Rediscovery
- 7 Passengers and crew
- 8 Behind the scenes
- 9 Appearances
- 10 Sources
- 11 Notes and references
Birth of the project
Outbound Flight was the brainchild of famed Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth. Conceived in 29 BBY, it was planned as a massive expedition into the Unknown Regions and eventually beyond the Galactic Rim to another galaxy. Families would be brought along in hopes of colonizing worlds in the Unknown Regions and beyond, extending the Galactic Republic's reach. Officially, Outbound Flight was a proposal by the Jedi Council, but the forceful C'baoth assumed control over the project, becoming its main champion. It was C'baoth who convinced the Senate to support and fund the mission.
Though hyperspace travel to other galaxies was long thought impossible due to a hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy, C'baoth believed that the Jedi could use the Force to smooth it and allow the vessel to pass. He demonstrated this technique in a turbulent area of space at the edge of the Unknown Regions, and then recommended that eighteen Jedi, including himself, be included in the mission.
Recruiting for crew and passengers began in 29 BBY. Colonists were selected by their technical proficiency, though secretly, families with Force-sensitive children were given a higher priority. They were sent to train on Yaga Minor, the launching point for the mission. Six new Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers were purchased from Rendili StarDrive to compose the vessel itself, also named Outbound Flight.
As time passed and the political situation of the galaxy changed, the enthusiasm of the project's participants faded, and the Senate and Jedi began to back away from Outbound Flight. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, not wanting to devote too much funding to such areas in a time when dissatisfaction with the government and rumors of secession were flourishing, kept the mission low-profile. The Senate Appropriations Committee made a series of budget cuts and voted to remove the families and colonists from the mission, leaving only the ship's crew. The Jedi Council, too, had second thoughts, and Masters Yoda and Mace Windu refused to send more than two Jedi on the voyage. As one of the Jedi's chief objectives was to find Vergere, many in the Order believed that only a small expedition was needed, and not the massive undertaking of C'baoth.
Despite these setbacks, C'baoth was not deterred from realizing his dream. In a meeting with Palpatine in 27 BBY, he made a deal with the Chancellor; if he could negotiate a resolution to a conflict between the Corporate Alliance and the Brolfi of Barlok, Palpatine would pressure the Appropriations Committee to restore all funding and bring the colonists back onboard.
When C'baoth foiled an assassination attempt on the Alliance and Brolfi representatives, engineered by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious through his agent Kinman Doriana, he was able to bring the negotiations to a rapid close, and the political clout he gained in the Senate gave him the power to push Outbound Flight through committee with all his original proposals intact. Even the Jedi succumbed to the political pressure, and allowed him to take as many Jedi as he needed. Final assembly on the Outbound Flight began, and as promised, Palpatine approved Measure 4213.0410 on 8:2:11 GrS, sponsoring Outbound Flight and allowing it to finally launch.
The purpose of Outbound Flight
- "I heard rumors. Some sort of grand effort to extend the Old Republic's authority outside the galaxy, as I recall, launched just before the Clone Wars broke out. I never heard anything more about it."
- ―Gilad Pellaeon
With so many participants involved in the project, Outbound Flight had many intended goals, some public, others secret, and many at cross purposes with each other.
C'baoth's original proposal, as submitted to the Senate, was to discover new life forms and new Force-sensitives in the areas outside the Republic. One of his private reasons, and one of the main reasons behind the Jedi Order's support, was to search for Vergere, who had been captured by the Far Outsiders—also known as the Yuuzhan Vong—from Zonama Sekot in the Unknown Regions two years prior. As the turmoil in the Republic worsened, C'baoth also began to speak of establishing colonies of Jedi in the Unknown Regions beyond the reach of the Republic, an idea that worried some Jedi, including Mace Windu and Yoda.
The Senate had its own reasons for supporting the project. In the original plan, colonies were to be established in the new territories that Outbound Flight scouted, and in this way the Republic would gain a foothold in the Unknown Regions and grow further. The prospect of identifying possible threats from outside the galaxy before they reached it and became a danger also appealed to the security-conscious Senators.
Palpatine had a personal agenda as well. In his alter-ego as Darth Sidious, he was working to destroy the Jedi Order and saw the advantage of being able to eliminate a large number of Jedi in a single attack far away from the public eye. He was also aware of the threat of the Yuuzhan Vong and did not wish for them to be discovered before the galaxy was strong enough to fight them; for Palpatine, Outbound Flight was always intended to fail, and become a deathtrap for the Jedi onboard.
- "You're joking... You run swoops through these corridors?"
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
Outbound Flight was composed of a central storage core surrounded by six Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers designated D-One through D-Six. The main control area for Outbound Flight was located in D-One.
Each dreadnaught was linked to its neighbors and the core by pylon turbolifts, allowing passengers to move from dreadnaught to dreadnaught or dreadnaught to core. To Obi-Wan Kenobi's surprise, Outbound Flight also used swoops and speederbikes to travel throughout a single dreadnaught. The speederbikes and swoops were monitored by a control system on the command bridge of Dreadnaught-One, similar to a podracer control and monitoring system that Anakin Skywalker had used during his years on Tatooine.
For the most part, droids handled the repair and maintenance on Outbound Flight. For example, there were droids for making large repairs such as welding large plates to patch up walls, and there were droids for doing simple tasks like cleaning up debris.
For weapons systems on Outbound Flight:
- See also: Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser
- "Ultimately, their destination was indeed another galaxy. But before that particular expedition began, it was decided to send them and their ship on a, shall we say, shakedown cruise: a great circle through part of the vast Unknown Regions of our own galaxy. A route, as it turned out, that was to bring it across the edge of territory controlled by the Chiss."
- ―Admiral Voss Parck to Mara Jade.
Outbound Flight set out from Yaga Minor in the Outer Rim, under the command of Captain Pakmillu. For three weeks, it stayed in Republic space, traveling in turn to Lonnaw, Argai via the Glythe sector, the Kokash and Mondress sectors, and making a final stop at Roxuli. 234 light-years from the edge of Wild Space, the Outbound Flight intended to stop to calibrate its navigational instruments, and then journey into the Unknown Regions. After traveling in a large circle through them, it would eventually head beyond to another galaxy.
Aboard were 45,000 colonists, 5,000 crew, and twenty Jedi—six Masters, thirteen Knights, and one Padawan. Amongst them were Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, two last-minute additions to the roster put on by Mace Windu to keep an eye on C'baoth. At the edge of the galaxy, they would depart in a two-person Delta-12 Skysprite and return to known space. As the voyage went underway, Obi-Wan began to consider staying aboard for the entire length of the mission; however, he left sooner than expected. Palpatine learned of their participation in the project, and, wanting Anakin Skywalker alive, he arranged to meet Outbound Flight at Roxuli. There, he pulled Kenobi and his Padawan from the flight, officially to mediate a mining conflict. Because C'baoth would not alter his schedule, the Outbound Flight departed without the two Jedi.
It was planned for Outbound Flight to return at the end of its mission. Though the timeframe for this was unknown, it was provisioned with supplies for ten years of travel, though it could restock on any nearby habitable planets. Some colonists would be left in settlements as well, with one of the Dreadnaughts detaching from the rest of the vessel to give them protection and, if necessary, transport.
C'baoth takes command
During the expedition, Jorus C'baoth took over the ship from Captain Pakmillu and was extremely strict and unfair to the non-Force-sensitive people. He stole children in the night to train, would not permit decoration, and punished people severely for accidents. The crew began to despise him and contemplate rebellion and escape. C'baoth's former Padawan Lorana Jinzler, who disagreed with her master's efforts, tried to appease the disgruntled passengers. Obi-Wan Kenobi advocated leniency and the ability for parents to choose whether or not to join the aboard training facility, but C'Baoth would not listen and was much pleased when Kenobi departed at Roxuli.
The end of Outbound Flight
Darth Sidious's original sortie
Palpatine, in his alter-ego as Darth Sidious, had sent Kinman Doriana to lead a Trade Federation task force of fifteen ships under the command of Vicelord Siv Kav into the Unknown Regions to wait in ambush for Outbound Flight. However, Doriana's fleet first met Chiss Expansionary Defense Forces under the command of Mitth'raw'nuruodo (known better as Thrawn). Using superior tactics, the Chiss quickly subdued the task force in the battle, destroying all ships but the flagship Darkvenge.
Thrawn contacted the Darkvenge, and Doriana explained the purpose of their mission, stating that the Jedi were a threat to Chiss space. Thrawn did not believe him, and Doriana was brought on board Thrawn's ship. There, he told Thrawn of the real threat, an extragalactic species he called the Far Outsiders; their true name, the Yuuzhan Vong. According to Doriana, if Outbound Flight were to succeed in its mission, the Far Outsiders would be alerted to the Republic before adequate defensive preparations could be made. The Jedi, he said, were too arrogant to recognize or respond to the threat, so they therefore had to be eliminated.
Thrawn knew of the Far Outsiders, as the Chiss had fought one of their reconnaissance parties before. Doriana made Thrawn contact his master, Darth Sidious, who reiterated the threat the Far Outsiders and Outbound Flight posed. Thrawn decided to disable the vessel and force it to return to the Republic, or leave the galaxy via another route; he would destroy it if necessary.
- "It was intercepted by a task force outside Old Republic space and destroyed."
"How do you know?"
"Because I was the force's commander. Even at that early date the Emperor recognized that the Jedi had to be exterminated. Six Jedi Masters aboard the same ship was too good an opportunity to pass up."
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn informing Gilad Pellaeon of the fate of Outbound Flight.
Thrawn began placing Doriana's droid starfighters on an asteroid in preparation to stop the Outbound Flight. Meanwhile, Thrawn's "prisoner" Jorj Car'das left the Chiss fleet and contacted the Vagaari, a nomadic and deadly enemy of the Chiss, in an attempt to get them to attack the Chiss forces, so as to free his friends. This was actually a ploy by the mastermind Thrawn, who saw this event as an opportunity to destroy the Vagaari as well as Outbound Flight. Using a Vagaari ship net stolen from an earlier engagement, he had it setup at a position that would be both along the path of Outbound Flight, and in between the Vagaari's last known position and the Chiss Crustai base.
Outbound Flight was forced to exit hyperspace first by the Vagaari ship net's interdiction field. Thrawn contacted C'baoth and boarded the Outbound Flight to meet. Negotiations failed, as the Jedi Master refused to return home or take another route out of the galaxy, while the Chiss Commander maintained that he could not risk letting the Jedi come into contact with the Far Outsiders.
Shortly afterwards, the Vagaari were ripped out of hyperspace on their way to attack the Chiss base. When the Vagaari threatened to attack Outbound Flight, C'baoth and the rest of the Jedi used their battle meld to confuse the Vagaari warriors. Thrawn took this moment to activate the Vulture droids to engage the confused Vagaari, as well as activate battle droids and droidekas that he had positioned on the Vagaari ship prior to the attack (with Car'Das delivering them, pretending to betray the Chiss). With the Vagaari gunners dazed by the Jedi, the droid fighters were able to get close enough to disable most of the Vagaari ships without killing the prisoners they were using as living shields, and the Vagaari themselves were slain by the battle droids and the droidekas.
Thrawn counted on the fact that while invading the Vagaari's minds, the Jedi would feel their pain. The Jedi were distracted and overwhelmed by the disturbance in the Force caused by the death of the Vagaari whose minds they were confusing. During the disturbance, C'baoth and his fellow Jedi failed to detect the Chiss forces that were sneaking in, and Thrawn managed to systematically destroy the weapon clusters of the Outbound Flight, killing almost every Jedi aboard, save for Jorus C'baoth and Lorana Jinzler.
In a fit of rage, C'baoth fell to the dark side and Force-choked Thrawn, nearly killing him. A panicking Kinman Doriana diverted the Vulture droids from the Vagaari and sent them smashing into the ship, opening it to space. The special radiation bombs on some of the droid ships (which Thrawn had intended for use against the Vagaari), then detonated themselves inside each Dreadnaught of Outbound Flight; as a result, some of the Vagaari were able to escape.
- "I've known you and your people only briefly, Jedi Lorana Jinzler. But in that time, I've learned to admire and respect you. I hope that someday humans and Chiss will be able to work side by side in peace."
Only Lorana and fifty-seven colonists, whom Jorus C'baoth imprisoned in the core, managed to escape.
Lorana, along with Thrawn's brother, Thrass, sent the ship into lightspeed and crashed it into a planetoid later known as part of the star cluster The Redoubt. Outbound Flight entered the gravitational field of the nearby planet, and with the craft's thrusters burnt out, Thrass and Lorana had to crash-land the craft. A stone-filled trench was chosen to absorb the impact of landing. A few moments before impact, Lorana and Thrass realized the fifty-seven survivors had moved from the central storage core to D-4, the Dreadnaught on the opposite side of D-1, their location. Lorana and Thrass knew they would have to land on D-1 to save D-4, and gave their lives so that the remaining colonists would have a chance for survival.
The Outbound Flight Colony
Fifty-seven of the forty-five thousand colonists survived the destruction of Outbound Flight. The injuries they had sustained in the attack and the poor living conditions in the wreck took their toll on the survivors. By the time the crash site was rediscovered in 22 ABY, only ten members of the original survivors remained. It was due to C'baoth's arrogance and draconian behavior that the survivors of Outbound Flight had such a resentment and hatred for the Jedi. In an attempt to organize themselves, a Managing Council was formed to make policy decisions for the survivors. The people who were thought to be Force-sensitive were moved and quarantined to a separate dreadnought. Traps were also made to foil any attempts of entering the colony, such as hidden turbolifts.
For forty-nine years, nothing was known of the fate of Outbound Flight. Obi-Wan Kenobi is known to have researched hyperlanes into the Unknown Regions in preparation for leading a search for the lost ship, though this attempt was obviously unsuccessful.
Following Grand Admiral Thrawn's assassination during the Battle of Bilbringi, his private notes were retrieved by the New Republic, revealing Thrawn's role in Outbound Flight's destruction. In 10 ABY, New Republic historian Arhul Hextrophon mentioned the Galactic Republic's extragalactic exploration during a guest lecture at the Brionelle Memorial Military Academy on Chandrila. He told that the Old Republic had several times tried to contact other galaxies, but all the previous attempts were deemed failures, and Outbound Flight Project was the most recent extragalactic expedition. According to Hextrophon, Thrawn's notes proved that his goal was to eliminate the six Jedi Masters. He also explained that Outbound Flight was ordered to be destroyed by Palpatine.
In 22 ABY, a CEDF patrol discovered the remains of the vessel. After doing a fly-by at long range to verify what they had found, they reported back to the Nine Ruling Families, who decided to declare that region off-limits. Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano, also known as Formbi, contacted the Hand of Thrawn base on Nirauan with instructions. They forwarded a message to Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker stating that the Chiss wished to make amends for Outbound Flight's destruction, and as it had been a Jedi project, wanted to invite the head of the New Jedi Order.
Formbi had another, secret goal in mind. Wanting to push the Chiss into a confrontation with the Vagaari, but knowing that they would not attack first, he used Outbound Flight as a lure to draw them into taking aggressive action against the Chiss.
The colonists, not wanting anything to do with the New Republic due to its association with the Jedi, chose to join the Empire of the Hand, though many were reluctant to leave the wreck of Outbound Flight. Though it would take a long time to excavate and extract any information on the ship's computers, Luke hoped to eventually find records of the old Jedi Order that he could use to build his new one.
Passengers and crew
There were six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights (including newly knighted Lorana Jinzler), and one Padawan aboard Outbound Flight. Amongst them were:
- Master Jorus C'baoth
- Master Evrios
- Lorana Jinzler
- Obi-Wan Kenobi (disembarked at Roxuli)
- Master Justyn Ma'Ning
- Anakin Skywalker (disembarked at Roxuli)
- Two Duros
- Jobe Keely
- Captain Pakmillu
- Dillian Pressor
- Jorad Pressor
- Katarin Pressor
- Brace Tarkosa
- Chas Uliar
Behind the scenes
- The Essential Chronology and The New Essential Guide to Characters indicate the project departed before 29 BBY, but this is superseded by the date given in the subsequent novels.
- Outbound Flight
- SkyeWalkers: A Clone Wars Story (Mentioned only)
- Republic HoloNet News Special Inaugural Edition 16:5:241 (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: The Bacta War (Mentioned only)
- Tatooine Ghost (Mentioned only)
- Heir to the Empire (First mentioned)
- Dark Force Rising (Mentioned only)
- Dark Force Rising audiobook (Mentioned only)
- The Last Command (Mentioned only)
- The Last Command audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Vision of the Future (Mentioned only)
- Vision of the Future unabridged audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Survivor's Quest (First appearance)
- The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King (Mentioned only)
- Crosscurrent (Mentioned only)
- Riptide (Mentioned only)
- The Jedi Path (Mentioned only)