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In the aftermath of his betrayal of the Galactic Empire and failed coup de'tat against Emperor Palpatine in 3 ABY, the treacherous Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin continued to wage war against the Empire through an extensive campaign aimed at stripping the Empire of its technological advantage on the battlefield through the destruction of its military industrial centers. Already in possession of the very best Imperial technology through his former role as the head of research and development for the Empire, Zaarin was able to effectively utilize these vast resources to wreak havoc upon loyalist production facilities spread throughout the galaxy, primarily in the Outer Rim Territories. Through a costly yet successful campaign, Admiral Zaarin eventually eradicated nearly all of the Empire's means of producing the formidable TIE/Advanced starfighters, and subsequently set his sights on recapturing the valuable TIE/D Defender technology which he helped produce. Zaarin subsequently laid siege to his former center of research and development in the Parmel system, forcing the loyalist Imperial forces to evacuate the few working TIE Defender prototypes by means of a convoy bound for Admiral Thrawn, who would personally ferry the TIE Defenders to the Emperor on Coruscant. Among the evacuees was the lead scientist for the TIE Defender project, whose knowledge of the starfighter's advanced technology could not be allowed to fall into enemy hands.
Despite the success of the evacuation, the mission was wrought with setbacks as various factions and pirate forces pursued the convoy in the hopes of acquiring the TIE Defender technology for themselves. Through their journey, the TIE Defender convoy came under constant attack by forces loyal to Admiral Zaarin, necessitating a desperate defense led by Tan Maarek Stele who swiftly routed the traitors in their attempts to capture the convoy. Unfortunately, the convoy was eventually cornered by a faction known as the Rneekii Pirates, who succeeded in disabling the convoy and kidnapping the lead TIE Defender scientist, whom they intended to hold for ransom. A subsequent attack led by the Rebel Alliance succeeded in distracting Imperial forces long enough for their allies, the Nami to hijack one of the modified corvettes carrying a TIE Defender prototype in the hopes of replicating the technology for themselves and their Rebel allies. Although the convoy was eventually relieved by Imperial reinforcements and the surviving prototypes safely transferred to Coruscant, the loss of one of the TIE Defenders and the lead figure behind its construction posed a grave threat to the security of the Empire. Emperor Palpatine made the recovery or destruction of the stolen TIE Defender technology a top priority for Imperial forces.
Eventually, loyalist Imperial forces negotiated a deal with the Rneekii Pirates to secure the release of their scientist in exchange for the sum demanded by the pirates. It was agreed that the exchange would take place near the planet Kiilimaar in the Kiilimaar system. Unbeknownst to the pirates however, the Imperials intended to reclaim their prize without paying the cost that had been demanded of them.
Full Speed to Kiilimaar!Edit
When negotiations concluded, the Empire agreed to paid the full ransom to the Rneekii Pirates in exchange for the safety of the TIE Defender scientist above the planet Kiilimaar. The Strike-class medium cruiser Ayenzii would send the transport Ibutho 1 with an escort to rendezvous with an Imperial shuttle designated Lambda 1, under the condition that the latter fly with only a single escort on hand. Tan Maarek Stele was selected for this mission, flying an Assault Gunboat designated Mu 1. Once the exchange was concluded, the Imperials intended to ambush the Rneekii Pirates with a quick strike spearheaded by the Interdictor Red Claw, which would prevent the escape of the pirates. The Imperials intended to seize both the ransom and the scientists, and either capture or kill all of the pirates in the process. The attack would be launched once the code message "Full Speed to Kiilimaar!" was made to Stele at the conclusion of the exchange. All pilots were cautioned to remain on alert for any intervention attempted by the Nami, who were now relentlessly pursuing possession of the TIE Defender.
The exchange proceeded as planned with Lambda 1 docking with Ibutho 1 as Maarek Stele oversaw the meeting from his Assault Gunboat. The pirates did the same as they sent a single wing of R-41 Starchasers to guard the transport. Once the scientist had been secured and the ransom handed over, the Imperials declared "Full Speed to Kiilimaar!", clearing Maarek Stele to attack the pirates. Upon realizing the deceit, the pirates declared: "Imperials! Your treachery will be your undoing!", and the Ayenzii unleashed its entire force of R-41s to intercept the Imperials. The Red Claw then entered the area, launching several wings of starfighters to aid Stele and initiate the attack that would destroy the Ayenzii. Stele quickly disabled Ibutho 1 and then proceeded to lay waste to the Rneekii Pirates who were swarming him.
During the battle, a Nami strike force entered the area as the Imperials had predicted, spearheaded by a force of T-Wings and Y-Wings. They engaged the Imperials head on while the YT-1300 light freighter Choora pursued Lambda 1, hoping to capture the TIE Defender scientist before he reached the Red Claw. The attack failed however as Stele disabled the Choora before it could complete its mission, and with nowhere left to escape the Nami strike force was swiftly crushed. The Choora was quickly captured and its entire crew incarcerated. Unfortunately, they succeeded in destroying the Red Claw's hyperdrive before they were destroyed. Despite this setback, the Imperials were able to destroy the Ayenzii and capture Ibutho 1, securing both the scientist and the ransom while dealing a crippling blow to the Rneekii Pirates.
Despite the success of the ambush, the Red Claw remained stranded above Kiilimaar, leaving it vulnerable to enemy attack. With the TIE Defender scientist having not yet been extracted and the entire crew now an easy target for the pirates and Admiral Zaarin's traitor forces, the Red Claw called for immediate assistance in replacing its damaged hyperdrive. Imperial High Command dispatched two Strike Cruisers Nagan and Shotel to reinforce the stricken vessel, sending ahead two Assassin-class corvettes from Chemeti group to deliver the replacement parts for the hyperdrive. Chemeti 1 would extract the TIE Defender scientist and pirate prisoners to a safe location while Chemeti 2 delivered the new drives. Maarek Stele was charged with defended the Red Claw until help arrived.
Chemeti 1 was the first vessel to arrive to provide aid for the Red Claw, informing them that Chemeti 2 had been delayed but would proceed with its mission to rescue the scientist. At that moment, Zaarin's TIE Defenders entered area, breaking up into four groups that simultaneously attacked the Red Claw, its defending fighters, Chemeti 1, and Stele himself. Zaarin's forces attacked relentlessly and inflicted heavy losses on the Red Claw's defenders, but still sustained heavy losses as Stele and his allies fought back. Their defense proved successful as Chemeti 1 docked with the interdictor and picked up the scientist and the pirate prisoners. The corvette then fled into hyperspace before it could be intercepted by Zaarin's forces. Zaarin was soon forced to break off the attack as Stele routed his forces.
Following the failure of this attack, Chemeti 1 and Chemeti 2 emerged from hyperspace carrying the needed replacement parts to repair the Red Claw. Upon seeing the reemergence of Chemeti 1 mere moments after it had left, the Imperials realized that the previous craft under that name was in fact an impostor loyal to Admiral Zaarin, and that they had been deceived into handing over the scientist and their prisoners to the enemy. Zaarin then followed up his attack with an assault led by the Strike Cruiser Z-Kopsh, intending to finish off the interdictor before it could escape. Chemeti Group suggested that the crew of the Red Claw prepare to abandon ship, but the Imperials were determined to save the vessel. Stele and his surviving wingmen engaged the Kopsh's strike force while Chemeti 2 raced to save the Red Claw. Zaarin attacked with a wing of TIE Advanced starfighters, but these were swiftly routed by Stele's wing. As Stele attacked and destroyed the Kopsh, Chemeti 2 successfully delivered the new hyperdrive to the Red Claw, with the crew moving swiftly to have it installed, saving the Red Claw from imminent destruction.
The Battle of Kiilimaar proved a major setback for the Empire. Despite having inflicted enormous losses on Zaarin and the pirates, they had failed to recognize the deceit instrumented by Admiral Zaarin and unwittingly surrendered one of their most skillful scientists over to the traitors, who would go on to exploit his technological knowledge for the purpose of producing TIE Defenders. Having collaborated with the pirates in setting the terms for the failed ransom, Zaarin sold the TIE Defender technology to the Nami and eventually transferred custody of the scientist over to them, with both sides forcing him to further develop the means for them to mass produce the TIE Defender for use against the loyalist Imperial forces. The procurement of the TIE Defender technology by Zaarin and his accomplices further endangered galactic security, creating fear among the Imperial High Command that eventually such technology could fall into the hands of their main opponent, the Rebel Alliance. Determined to prevent this from occurring, Admiral Thrawn was assigned by the Emperor himself to track down and destroy all enemy TIE Defenders in order to isolate the spread of the technology.
The ultimate failure in rescuing the scientist held major consequences for the crew of the Red Claw as well. Despite their valiant defense of the vessel it had still sustained heavy damage during the battle and the command crew had fallen for the ruse staged by the corvette that had originally boarded the ship. While Tan Maarek Stele was spared in part due to his superb piloting skills, it was strongly suggested that the commanding officer of the Red Claw would face the wrath of Darth Vader for failing to recognize Zaarin's deceit.
In spite of this strategic failure, the battle was not without success. The Imperials had all but destroyed the Rneekii Pirates by demolishing their main force, leaving the remnants of the Rneekii unable to stage any further attacks against the Empire. Additionally, the Nami and Admiral Zaarin himself lost an irreplaceable number of vessels in their efforts to destroy the Red Claw. The Red Claw itself had also lived to fight another day.
It was upon the conclusion of this battle that Thrawn announced to the Emperor his plans for the new Missile Boat, a starfighter he intended to use to tip the scale in the Empire's favor in their hunt for Zaarin.
Behind the scenesEdit
This battle appears in the 1994 PC game Star Wars: TIE Fighter. Its the first and second combat missions on the Battle New Threats. This article assumes completion of all "Primary", "Secondary" and "Bonus" objectives completed.