- "The Empire that Senior Captain Thrawn is carving into the evil that pervades our worlds is not the Empire you chose to leave. His is an Empire of justice and dignity for all beings. His Empire is one we gladly serve. One we are willing to die for."
- ―Vaantaar describing the Empire of the Hand in 0 ABY
The Empire of the Hand was an autocratic government secretly established in the Unknown Regions by Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Galactic Empire. With the support of Emperor Palpatine, Thrawn organized an expedition to explore and pacify the Unknown Regions while the Empire consolidated its rule over the known galaxy. Though the Hand was created as an extension of the Empire, its ideology was an amalgamation of Imperial ideals and Chiss principles. As a result, non-Human aliens were permitted to enter military service. The main objective of the Hand was to defend the galaxy from various threats within the Unknown Regions, including extra-galactic invaders.
Government and politicsEdit
The Empire of the Hand was a faction that Grand Admiral Thrawn founded in the Unknown Regions by combining Chiss and Imperial ideologies and weaponry into a new military and political force. Thrawn's empire was intended to establish the order and efficiency of Emperor Palpatine's New Order, but without the Emperor's megalomania, the Tarkin Doctrine, and the institutionalized xenophobia.
The Empire of the Hand drew its name from the Hand of Thrawn, the Grand Admiral's main fortress based on Nirauan. Though largely based on the authoritarian structure of the Galactic Empire, the government of the Empire of the Hand operated more like a confederation than a true empire. The Hand worked to form alliances with the native governments within the Unknown Regions as opposed to conquering them through brute force. Also unlike the Empire, the Hand accepted the alien races that lived in the Unknown Regions of space into the ranks of their military. The connection between the Galactic Empire and the Empire of the Hand was kept mainly for historical aspects, but also for the psychological value as well.
The Empire of the Hand's military ethics were based on Thrawn's vision of war. It was an original combination of Chiss and Imperial tactics personally arranged by the Grand Admiral, such as respect of the enemies, careful consideration of soldiers' lives, surgical strikes, demonstrative invasions, preventive strikes and the significant use of intelligence gathering.
Despite the premature collapse of the Empire of the Hand, many of its political and social values gradually infiltrated the Imperial Remnant, thanks in part to the leadership of Gilad Pellaeon, a former follower of Thrawn. The recruitment of aliens and female Humans into the Imperial Military's ranks, as well as the decrease in xenophobic behavior, continued as the Remnant steadily reemerged as a resurgent Empire by 130 ABY.
- "There's an invasion coming. A massive assault force of dark ships, shadowy figures, and weapons of great power, based on organic technology of a sort we've never seen before."
- ―Kinman Doriana, to Thrawn
Thrawn made his first contact with the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious—the Sith persona of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine of the Galactic Republic—in 27 BBY, at the time of the destruction of the Outbound Flight. The Sith Lord and the Chiss Commander agreed with the idea that an unknown and powerful threat was rising in the Unknown Regions.
Soon after the Declaration of a New Order, Captain Voss Parck of the Victory-class Star Destroyer Strikefast discovered Thrawn in exile on a remote planetoid in the Unknown Regions. Thrawn insisted he return to his people to protect them, but was convinced by Parck that by offering his service to the Galactic Empire, he would be better equipped to do so. Thrawn was convinced by Parck's reasoning and accompanied him to Coruscant.
Upon reaching the Imperial Capital, Thrawn formally met Emperor Palpatine in person. Impressed by the Chiss, Palpatine decided to have Thrawn trained as an Imperial officer. After rising through ranks of the Imperial Military and sharing many ideas with the Emperor about the Unknown Regions, Thrawn was tasked with a mission to explore and pacify those as yet unexplored territories. However, in order to keep the true purpose of the mission secret, and because there was still resentment among the Imperial hierarchy about the heights to which the non-human Thrawn had risen, his assignment was disguised as an undermanned cartography mission, a seeming exile as punishment for his involvement with the losing side in one of the Imperial Court's petty feuds. In truth, the Emperor provided Thrawn with an enormous supply of ships and manpower.
- "Are you saying that Thrawn and Palpatine had the whole thing planned out from the beginning?"
"Of course they did. Just look at all the territory he opened up. He couldn't possibly have done that by himself, with just a single Star Destroyer. Palpatine must have been feeding him men and ships all along the way."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade
Using the vast resources of the Imperial Navy, Thrawn mapped great swaths of territory. Voss Parck and Dagon Niriz, the commanders of his flagship, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Admonitor, were assigned to serve under Thrawn during his mission of exploration and conquest. Both men eventually became Thrawn's greatest supporters and were the first Imperial officers to join the Empire of the Hand.
Thrawn also reestablished contact with the Chiss. Much of Thrawn's own people flocked to his banner because they had been battling many dark threats from the Unknown Regions, and looked to Thrawn as a new source of hope for the Chiss. However, the Empire of the Hand was viewed with distrust by the Ruling Families of the Chiss Ascendancy, who still considered Thrawn an outcast from Chiss society, especially after his infamous campaign. But agreeing with Thrawn's vision, many Chiss aristocrats unofficially supported Thrawn's renegade actions.
Peacekeeper of the Unknown RegionsEdit
- "So Thrawn went into private military training and eventually rose to the highest rank the Empire could offer him. And then, what, arranged to have himself sent back here so he could make the Chiss ruling families pay for what they'd done to him?""
"Certainly not. The Chiss are his people, Mara. He has no interest in hurting them. Quite the contrary. He came back here to protect them."
- ―Mara Jade and Voss Parck
In 2 ABY, Thrawn defeated a group of Ebruchi pirates and captured their leader Creysis. Though he went through great lengths to avoid capture, Creysis ultimately underestimated Thrawn. Creysis was captured when a tracking device led the Chiss Admiral to his base, where Imperial forces easily overwhelmed the pirates and apprehended its leader.
Two years later, just after the Battle of Endor, the Ssi-ruuk launched a series of incursions into the known galaxy, as well as near Chiss Space. Thrawn responded with preventive strikes on the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium. Nevertheless, the Ssi-ruuk attacked several minor Chiss worlds, capturing several Chiss as entechment subjects. Ultimately, their aggressive actions incurred the wrath of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force, which retaliated with a devastating counter-attack on Ssi-ruuvi space. As a result of the Chiss's military strikes against the aggressors, the Alliance to Restore the Republic was able to defeat the Ssi-ruuk more easily.
Thrawn's final campaignEdit
- "Many years ago Thrawn told us that if he was ever reported dead we should keep at our labors here and in the Unknown Regions, and to look for his return ten years afterward."
- ―Voss Parck
In 9 ABY, Grand Admiral Thrawn returned to the known galaxy and launched a massive and brilliant campaign against the New Republic. But despite his genius, Thrawn was betrayed and killed at the Battle of Bilbringi.
Thrawn had left his Empire behind under the leadership of Admiral Voss Parck. Parck, a select group of top Imperial officers, including General Soontir Fel and Commander Stent, and a cadre of Thrawn-loyal Chiss were given the responsibility of upholding Thrawn's vision and expanding his empire. None of them believed in the Grand Admiral was truly dead, having been told it was another of Thrawn's strategies, as he said he would return to them ten years after his announced death.
During the Caamas Document Crisis, the Empire of the Hand was discovered by Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade when they were searching for the source of the clones and mysterious starfighters that had suddenly appeared. They found the Hand of Thrawn and met Parck, Fel and Stent, still waiting for Grand Admiral Thrawn's return. Luke and Mara informed them of Thrawn's death. The Jedi refused to join them but accepted to not reveal the existence of this shadow empire. They found an almost mature clone of Thrawn and a map of the Empire of the Hand. They decided that the clone had done nothing wrong yet so they wouldn't destroy it, but when two defense droids attacked them, they were forced to involuntarily destroy the clone to escape. Before they did, R2-D2 managed to download an unaltered copy of the Caamas Document.
In 22 ABY, the Empire of the Hand was involved in a local conflict on the planet Kariek. Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion were dispatched to overthrow a warlord who had invaded and conquered Kariek, where he established a tyrannical regime.
In the same year, the Empire assisted the Chiss Ascendancy and the New Republic against a third Vagaari invasion. The Vagaari were defeated in the Chiss Redoubt by the Chiss, the Jedi and the Empire. In the aftermath of the battle, many of the surviving colonists from Outbound Flight chose to join the Empire of the Hand.
The Empire of the Hand disappeared sometime during the Yuuzhan Vong War. The Jedi believed that the Killiks destroyed it, while the Chiss claimed that it was merely absorbed either by the Imperial Remnant or the Chiss Ascendancy itself. However, remarks made by Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano shortly before the Swarm War suggested that the Empire of the Hand was simply disbanded.
- "You're being granted an honor, Admiral. You're the first to behold a secret finally come to light. You're looking at the vanguard of the Empire of the Hand."
- ―Jagged Fel, to Natasi Daala
Despite their absence in the years following the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Empire of the Hand ultimately survived in deep space, far from the notice of the galaxy at large. Although rumors persisted that the Hand had either collapsed or been absorbed by the Chiss Ascendancy, Jagged Fel discovered that the Hand was still an active state. As Head of State of the Imperial Remnant, Fel kept the secret of the Hand's survival to himself for security purposes.
Natasi Daala, the deposed Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance and admiral of the Maw Irregular Fleet developed a plot to seize control of the Remnant. With his position threatened by Daala's ambition to become Empress, Fel mobilized a fleet of loyal supporters and moved to destroy Daala and her subversives with a preemptive strike at Exodo II. At the same time, he requested aid from the Empire of the Hand, which dispatched a vanguard of its forces to aid the Remnant and its leader. After converging on Daala's position, a battle commenced to determine the future of the Imperial Remnant.
- "You've met Thrawn. Any true warrior would have given up whatever was necessary for the chance to serve under him."
- ―Voss Parck, to Mara Jade
The Empire of the Hand maintained many visual connections to the Galactic Empire through its warships (including Star Destroyers), vehicles, use of stormtrooper armor and Imperial uniforms. Many regular soldiers were given stormtrooper armor to promote order amongst the Empire of the Hand's citizenry. Traditional, elite stormtroopers remained, but were relatively rare. Unlike the Galactic Empire, the Empire of the Hand allowed and encouraged aliens of all its worlds to join their ranks either as pilots, soldiers or as stormtroopers. Despite the disdain of the Ruling Families for Thrawn, the Chiss constituted the bulk of the Empire of the Hand forces.
At some point, Thrawn became a Syndic within Chiss society. With his new-found title, he created his own House Phalanx, a typical Chiss paramilitary organization. Although the creation of a personal warrior retinue did not make Thrawn more respectable amongst his own people, it enabled him to recruit many Chiss sympathizers who could publicly voice their support for him.
- "There probably aren't more than a few actual colonies out there. But you can bet there are Imperial garrisons scattered all over the place, plus intel centers and listening posts and probably a few full-blown shipyards. And if I know Thrawn, probably a whole network of alliances with the natives, too."
- ―Mara Jade to Luke Skywalker
Thrawn explored the Unknown Regions more than anyone else before him.
- Choices of One (Indirect mention only)
- Crisis of Faith
- Specter of the Past (First appearance)
- Vision of the Future
- Fool's Bargain
- Survivor's Quest (First identified as Empire of the Hand)
- Red Sky, Blue Flame"—Star Wars Gamer 7 (Indirect mention only) "
- The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide II: Ruin
- The New Jedi Order: Balance Point
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King (Mentioned only)
- Crosscurrent (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Ascension
- Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Unknown Regions
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- "Imperial Icons"—Star Wars Insider 148
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Command Decision"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 11
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fate of the Jedi: Ascension
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Vision of the Future
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Survivor's Quest
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Thrawn Trilogy
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Fool's Bargain
- ↑ The New Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ Legacy 1: Broken, Part 1
- ↑ Outbound Flight
- ↑ "Mist Encounter"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 7
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 The New Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Unknown Regions
- ↑ The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook
- ↑ The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ Red Sky, Blue Flame