- "This is Captain Vaclen Tor, in command of the Imperial frigate Steadfast, Third Coruscant Imperial Fleet. I'm sorry, Admiral, but your command to surrender is incorrect and not in keeping with Imperial code."
- ―Captain Vaclen Tor
The Steadfast was an Ardent-class fast frigate in the service of Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire during the Second Imperial Civil War, seven years after the Dark Lord overthrew Galactic Emperor Roan Fel at the end of the Fel Empire's war with the Galactic Alliance. In 137 ABY, under the command of Captain Vaclen Tor, the Steadfast was assigned to the Coruscant Third Fleet, which had been tasked with protecting the strategically important planet of Ralltiir. That year, the fleet of the Galactic Alliance Remnant launched a surprise attack on Ralltiir, intending to capture as many of the Third Fleet's ships as possible. Under the command of Admiral Peto Kelsan, the Third Fleet engaged the Alliance forces until the Bastion Second Fleet, aligned with Emperor-in-exile Fel, arrived to bolster the Alliance fleet.
Facing overwhelming numbers, Kelsan surrendered the Third Fleet to Admiral Edouard Fenel, the commander of the Bastion Second Fleet. However, Tor declared from the command center of the Steadfast that he must decline to follow Kelsan's orders to surrender, as it was their duty to ensure the enemy did not capture their ships. In response, Fenel ordered the crew of the Steadfast to rise up and replace Tor, and when that failed, Fenel ordered his entire fleet to open fire on the Steadfast. Refusing to help fire on the now heavily damaged frigate, Kelsan instructed the crews of the Third Fleet to disregard his previous order and to initiate the self-destruct mechanisms on their ships, before using lifepods to evacuate to Ralltiir. When Fenel ordered his ships to fire on the lifepods of the Third Fleet, the commander of the Alliance fleet—Duros Admiral Gar Stazi—intervened, protecting the lifepods and escorting the Steadfast, as the frigate's lifepod and self-destruct systems had been damaged. After the battle, under orders from Stazi, Tor and the Steadfast crew were deposited on the surface of Ralltiir, and the Steadfast was given to Fel as a gift.
The Steadfast was an Ardent-class fast frigate, a class of ship originally manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards for the Fel Empire. Ardent-class frigates were known to be one of the fastest capital ships in the Imperial fleet. The Steadfast was propelled through space by three engine units and carried lifepods. The frigate was also outfitted with a self-destruct mechanism. Internally, the Steadfast featured a command center that was equipped with a holoprojector for communicating with other ships.
- "Admiral Kelsan, I gave an order for all Imperial ships to open fire on the Steadfast. That includes your ships."
"We can't! The Steadfast is one of our own…!"
- ―Admiral Edouard Fenel and Admiral Peto Kelsan
In 137 ABY, seven years after Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Krayt deposed Galactic Emperor Roan Fel and established his Sith regime at the end of the Fel Empire's war with the Galactic Alliance, the Ardent-class fast frigate Steadfast was assigned to Krayt's Coruscant Third Fleet and served in the Second Imperial Civil War. Under the command of Admiral Peto Kelsan, the Coruscant Third Fleet had been tasked with protecting the planet of Ralltiir, a strategically important Core World and one of the great financial centers of the galaxy. As neither Fel nor the Galactic Alliance Remnant were deemed to have sufficient warships to attempt an assault on Ralltiir, it seemed unlikely to the Imperials that the planet would be attacked.
However, in 137 ABY, the fleet of the Galactic Alliance Remnant, led by the Duros admiral Gar Stazi, launched a surprise attack on Ralltiir, intending to seize as many Imperial ships as possible. The Third Fleet engaged the Alliance fleet, with the Steadfast commanded by the Human Captain Vaclen Tor during the battle. The two fleets exchanged blows until the reason behind the Alliance's audacious attack became clear—an Imperial fleet loyal to Emperor-in-exile Fel emerged from hyperspace and joined Stazi's forces.
With the Steadfast and the Third Fleet now outnumbered and outgunned, Kelsan was contacted by his opponent from the Fel Empire, Admiral Edouard Fenel, commander of the Bastion Second Fleet. Fenel issued an ultimatum for Kelsan's command to surrender within ten minutes or face total destruction, ordering Kelsan's crews to eliminate their commanding officers if they refused. Kelsan regretfully announced to his fleet that they were to comply with Fenel's orders; however, to the surprise of Kelsan, Fenel, and Stazi, Tor announced from the Steadfast that the orders to surrender were not in keeping with Imperial code, and he stated that he must decline to follow them.
Speaking over a general frequency from the command center of the Steadfast, Tor declared that they had to deny the enemy the chance to seize their ships, as it was both their duty and a matter of honor. Reminding Kelsan that they had sworn oaths to the throne now occupied by Krayt, Tor suggested that they activate their ships' self-destruct mechanisms and escape in lifepods. Enraged, Fenel ordered the crew of the Steadfast to rise up and replace Tor; however, the crew was loyal to Tor, and Fenel ordered his entire fleet to open fire on the Steadfast when they refused. After the Steadfast took heavy fire from the Bastion Second Fleet, Tor maneuvered the damaged frigate so that one of Ralltiir's moons was between him and Fenel's fleet. When Fenel ordered Kelsan to fire on the Steadfast, Kelsan refused, instructing the crews of the Third Fleet to disregard his previous order to surrender. Kelsan went on to order the crews to initiate the self-destruct mechanisms on their ships before evacuating in lifepods and fleeing to Ralltiir.
In response, Fenel ordered his forces to open fire on the Steadfast and the Third Fleet's lifepods. However, Fenel was defied by Stazi, who positioned his fleet between the two Imperial fleets to protect the lifepods. The Duros admiral also ordered one of his starfighter units, Rogue Squadron, to escort the Steadfast back to the Third Fleet. Now that it was safe to proceed, the crews of the Third Fleet evacuated their vessels, and Kelsan initiated the fleet's self-destruct sequence. The ships of the Third Fleet began to detonate, and Kelsan perished with his flagship, the Pellaeon-class Star Destroyer Avenger.
However, the Steadfast encountered a problem; it had suffered severe damage, leaving both its lifepods and its self-destruct mechanism offline. Taking advantage of the situation, Fenel sent his Predator-class fighters to destroy the Steadfast. Unwilling to let that happen, Stazi brought his fleet around and had his ships spread suppression fire around the frigate. After being contacted by Emperor Fel, Stazi came to an agreement with the Imperial Head of State. Once they had deposited Tor and the Steadfast crew on Ralltiir, Stazi would send the Steadfast to Fel as a gift.
Commanders and crew
- "I authorize the crew of the Steadfast to rise up and replace Vaclen Tor and any of his staff who agree with him!"
"Won't work Fenel. This is my crew. They are loyal to the throne—and to me. They will not take orders from renegades."
- ―Admiral Edouard Fenel and Captain Vaclen Tor
As a ship in the Coruscant Third Fleet, the Steadfast was under the overall command of Admiral Peto Kelsan. The vessel itself fell under the authority of the Human Captain Vaclen Tor, who commanded the vessel during the battle above Ralltiir. Tor was regarded by Admiral Gar Stazi and others as a good man fighting for a bad cause. The Steadfast was crewed by Imperial officers who were loyal to Tor and to the throne on Coruscant.
After the battle, Tor and his crew were taken to the surface of Ralltiir under orders from Stazi, and the Steadfast was given to Emperor-in-exile Roan Fel as a gift.
Behind the scenes
The Steadfast made its first appearance in the thirty-sixth issue of the Star Wars: Legacy series, Renegade, published in May 2009. The issue was written by John Ostrander and penciled by Omar Francia.