Named after a legendary Rodian monster by the pirate Venslas Beeli, the Zahtjav was a CR90 corvette produced by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. The ship was owned by the Galactic Republic and used as an exploration vessel until Beeli acquired it sometime after 19 BBY, making it a part of his Solar Terrors pirate band. Beeli and his pirates used it until shortly after 0 ABY, when an Imperial task force captured them. Imperial Captain Vocis Kenit forced Beeli and his pirates into a confrontation with the Alliance to Restore the Republic privateer frigate Far Orbit; the Zahtjav was destroyed in the battle, and Beeli killed.
The Zahtjav was a CR90 corvette produced by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. Measuring 150 meters long, the corvette possessed a Class 2 primary hyperdrive, with a Class 12 as backup. The Zahtjav also had deflector shields, a navigation computer, and a set of sensors. Capable of carrying 3,000 metric tons of cargo as well as enough consumables to last the crew a year, the Zahtjav could carry up to twenty passengers, in addition to its crew of fifty and its twelve gunners; the vessel was capable of running on a skeleton crew of twenty, with five gunners, if necessary. The corvette also had an armament of four double turbolaser cannons, with a pair of tractor beams situated at the front of the starship. Possessing life support systems, the corvette could reach a maximum speed of 950 kilometers per hour in the atmosphere of some planets.
The ship that would later be known as the Zahtjav started out as an exploration vessel used for scouting the distant parts of the Outer Rim Territories for the Galactic Republic. In 19 BBY, the Republic was reorganized into the Galactic Empire, and with its creation, the corvette was sold as surplus due to budget cutbacks, becoming a secure cargo vessel. The CR90 served well, until an engineer was bribed by the pirate Venslas Beeli of the raiding band known as the Solar Terrors to cut the hyperdrive at a designated point. Right after Beeli acquired the ship, he reneged on his payment of the engineer, instead setting the individual adrift in an escape pod. Sometime afterward, Beeli named the corvette the Zahtjav, after a legendary Rodian monster. The ship later became Beeli's flagship.
Beeli's activities in the Outer Rim soon brought him to Imperial attention around 0 ABY. After a three-month hunt, Captain Lev Kepzen and his EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate, the Feral, captured the Solar Terrors. Captain Vocis Kenit forced the pirates to do the Imperials' bidding on pain of death, and they were tasked with posing as Alliance to Restore the Republic privateers and committing terrible acts in the Core Worlds' Ringali Shell under that banner to sway the public's view of Alliance privateers. The poisoning of the public's opinion was in preparation for when the Far Orbit, an Alliance privateer frigate operating nearby, announced itself to the general public. The Imperials wanted the Far Orbit captured, so they hoped the frigate would track the pirates down and engage them in order to maintain its reputation.
However, in order to prevent the pirates from simply running off, they were all infected with Vira606, an incurable virus that could only be held at bay by a serum that the Imperials controlled and rationed out to them. The Zahtjav and the Solar Terrors began to attack civilian targets near the worlds of Esseles, Rhinnal, and Brentaal IV. While they secretly worked for the Imperials, Beeli's fleet, including his command ship, the Zahtjav, operated from a deep space location with Kenit's escort frigate, the Stalwart.
With the Solar Terrors frequently hitting the area around Brentaal, Beeli's fleet encountered the Far Orbit, which was searching for the pirates in order to destroy them. The Zahtjav and Beeli's other ships, the Javiq and the Pyesmev, engaged the frigate, with all of them trying to stay out of the way of the Far Orbit's forward fire arc. However, since Beeli fought with abandon due to the illness, the Solar Terrors lost the battle, and the Zahtjav was destroyed, with Beeli dying as well.
Commanders and crew
After being acquired by the Solar Terrors, the command of the Zahtjav fell to Venslas Beeli, who used it as his flagship.
However, it was Beeli who caused the ship's demise, as he fought with abandon due to Vira606 when the pirate fleet engaged the Far Orbit.
Behind the scenes
The Zahtjav was first mentioned in 1998's The Far Orbit Project, by Timothy S. O'Brien, and appeared in the adventure scenario The Rival, published in the book. The Far Orbit Project was a supplement to West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game and had the same theme of the previous publication, Pirates & Privateers, as it followed the privateering vessel Far Orbit. As the book says that Venslas Beeli fights with abandon and will ram the Far Orbit with his ship if necessary, this article assumes that the Zahtjav was destroyed in the battle.
There are also several different ways that the battle against the Far Orbit can be played out. One way is to have the Far Orbit encounter Beeli's ships and the Stalwart in deep space. Another is that the pirates are captured by the frigate while Imperials are nearby, forcing the EF76 to pretend that it is an Imperial vessel. However, this article does not use either of those options, and assumes the course of events that are presented in this article, because it offers the fewest inconsistencies in the frigate's story.
- The Far Orbit Project (First mentioned)