- «If they suspect you're hunting pirates—»
«You think they only suspect? Yes; point taken. Let’s remove any lingering doubts.»
- ―Navigator Qilori and Junior Commander Thrawn[src]
A skirmish took place in the Chiss Ascendancy's Kinoss system between the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet and pirates of the Lioaoin Regime. Prior to the skirmish, Junior Commander Mitth'raw'nuru "Thrawn" of the Expansionary Defense Fleet believed he could prove that the Regime was supporting piracy against the Chiss and other peoples of the region. As such, Genderhe undertook a mission to the Lioaoin heartworld under the guise of a merchant, loudly broadcast that he had discovered pirates, and baited Lioaoin security ships to attack his vessel.
Thrawn and the Lioaoin pirates were both navigating using Pathfinder navigators, who had the special ability to track each other through hyperspace using the Force. Thrawn used this to his advantage, baiting the Lioaoin corsairs to pursue his freighter through hyperspace to the Kinoss system, where Mid Captain Irizi'ar'alani of the Chiss patrol cruiser Parala lay in wait. The corsairs fell into Thrawn's trap and were destroyed by the Parala upon arrival. Following the skirmish, the Chiss officers were promoted.
- "I wasn't suggesting we attack the Lioaoin Regime or worlds. Merely the pirates."
"If you can distinguish them from the innocents."
- ―Junior Commander Thrawn and General Ba'kif
Prior to the skirmish, the merchant vessels of the Chiss Ascendancy had been under attack by unidentified pirates for several months. Even if members of the Ascendancy military and Chiss Syndicure suspected a faction as being behind the attacks, the Ascendancy's preemptive-strike laws prohibited military action unless culpability could be proven.
On a diplomatic mission to the Scoftic homeworld Bardram Scoft, Junior Commander Mitth'raw'nuru "Thrawn" of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet observed Lioaoin ships resembling the pirates ravaging freighters at the Ascendancy's edges. The Junior Commander believed he could prove the Lioaoin Regime was supporting the pirates. Thrawn had also learned that the Pathfinders of the Navigators' Guild had the ability to track and pursue each other through hyperspace.
Shortly after a pirate raid that Thrawn suspected involved the Lioaoi and Pathfinder navigators, he approached General Ba'kif for permission to undertake a mission to the Lioaoin heartworld. There, Thrawn would either prove his theory or take no action, following the Ascendancy's preemptive-strike laws. Thrawn hoped to conduct his mission promptly, before the Regime's hired Pathfinders could return to Navigators' Guild stations. If Thrawn was correct, he would lure Lioaoin Regime forces or their pirate proxies into attacking the Chiss, proving his theory and allowing the Lioaoin pirate campaign to begin in earnest. Ba'kif granted Thrawn permission to perform the mission, assigning two freighters to pose as Chiss merchants seeking trade with the Lioaoin heartworld and a Chiss patrol cruiser to lie in ambush at an agreed-upon destination.
- «Alert! I've found the pirates. Repeat: I've found them. Get out of here and report back!»
«There. Now they know for certain.»
- ―Thrawn declared that he had discovered pirates in the trade language Minnisiat, supposedly to the other Chiss freighter but actually for the Lioaoins to hear. Pathfinder Qilori objected, but Thrawn wished for the Lioaoi to know he was hunting pirates.[src]
Thrawn hired the Pathfinder navigator Qilori to navigate his freighter to the Lioaoin heartworld under the guise of being a Chiss merchant. Another Chiss freighter, navigated by another Pathfinder, accompanied Thrawn on the mission. Thrawn correctly suspected that the Lioaoin pirates hired Pathfinders to navigate their vessels. He planned to utilize the Pathfinders' ability to follow each other through hyperspace to lure Lioaoin Regime forces or pirates into a trap, which would prove beyond doubt that the attacking pirates were sanctioned by the Lioaoin Regime.
Qilori could sense some of his Pathfinder colleagues aboard Lioaoin pirate vessels through the Force, and warned Thrawn that searching for pirates would be dangerous. Qilori insisted that if the Regime suspected he and Thrawn were hunting pirates, they would be in danger. Thrawn interrupted Qilori's warning, realizing that the Lioaoin Regime might only suspect that he was hunting pirates and opted to remove all doubt. He thus broadcast his "discovery" of pirates in the Minnisiat trade language, urging the other Chiss freighter to "report back." Thrawn then retreated to the Kinoss system through hyperspace, pursued by the pirates he sought to ensnare, whose Pathfinders followed him by sensing Qilori.
- "Mid Captain Ziara, this is Junior Commander Thrawn. I believe your targets await you."
"Indeed they do, Commander. I suggest you continue on your present course. It should give you the best view of their destruction."
- ―Thrawn and Ziara
Shortly after Thrawn and Qilori arrived in the Kinoss system, four Lioaoin corsair starships followed them out of hyperspace and prepared to attack. However, Mid Captain Irizi'ar'alani of the Chiss patrol cruiser Parala lied in ambush above Kinoss and quickly destroyed all four Lioaoin pirate vessels. To Qilori's horror, that included killing the Pathfinders aboard the corsairs.
- "Junior Commander Thrawn, you are hereby promoted to senior commander."
"Two ranks, sir?"
"Two ranks. Yes, I know. But your success against the pirates has you riding high at the moment, and the Ascendancy does cherish its heroes. And, of course, you're Mitth."
- ―Supreme General Ba'kif promoted Thrawn to Senior Commander, skipping the rank of Mid Commander.
In the aftermath of the Kinoss operation, Thrawn was promoted two ranks, rising from the rank of Junior Commander to Senior Commander, skipping Mid Commander entirely. Mid Captain Ziara was promoted to Senior Captain. Ziara noted that she was then one rank below Commodore, the lowest flag officer rank and point at which Chiss officers had to forego their family ties. With one more promotion, the Ascendancy would be considered Ziara's family, and she would no longer belong to the Irizi family.
Just before his promotion, Thrawn sought permission from Ba'kif to strike at the Lioaoin heartworld. Ba'kif angrily told Thrawn that they could absolutely not attack the heartworld without ironclad proof of the Lioaoin Regime's culpability, per the Ascendancy's non-aggression protocols. Ba'kif believed Thrawn had neutralized the Lioaoins as a threat to the Ascendancy. However, Thrawn was not satisfied leaving them as a threat to others in the Unknown Regions. Thrawn's desire to protect other nations from the pirates eventually led to the Stivic incident, in which he told Garwian defenders at their colony world of Stivic how to defeat attacking Lioaoin pirate vessels.
A few years later in 19 BBY, Thrawn returned to Guild Concourse 447 to hire Qilori for his planned raid on Rapacc. Qilori was surprised that Thrawn, who was a Junior Commander during the events at Kinoss, had achieved the rank of Senior Captain so quickly. However, the navigator then reflected that it should not be a surprise because of Thrawn's performance during the skirmish in the Kinoss system.
Behind the scenes
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising audiobook) (In flashback(s))
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising audiobook (In flashback(s))