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Katana fleet: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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There are two conflicting canon sources for this article, from Thrawn Trilogy and Outbound Flight.

A cohesive timeline has not yet been devised by Lucasfilm Ltd. Editor discretion is advised.

"That's a myth so far as I'm concerned."
Mellor Yago on the Katana fleet

The Katana fleet, also known as the Dark Force, was a starfleet launched by the Galactic Republic several years before the Clone Wars as part of its attempt to restore the Republic Navy to its long-gone glory. The fleet was named for its flagship, Katana. Other ships in the fleet included the Braxant Brave, Harrier, and Peregrine.



The Katana fleet in action

Highly advanced for its time and equipped with state of the art automation systems; it was lost in its first hyperspace voyage. The fleet consisted of 200 modified Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers, all carrying experimental AT-PT walkers. The ships' controls could be slaved to the controls of Katana. This slave circuit system reduced the crew required from 16,000 to 2,200 per ship, allowing larger numbers of craft to be fielded. The fleet may have been a "showcase" of the slave-circuit and/or Dreadnaught design, as the ships' interiors were in a comparatively flamboyant blue color scheme rather than the standard gray; indeed it was this distinctive feature that partially alerted the New Republic to the fleet's continued existence.

The fleet fell victim to a hive virus (possibly caused by carsunum spice) that wiped out the crew after driving them insane. In their insanity, the captain ordered a jump to random hyperspace coordinates before his death.[1] Because of the slave circuits, every other vessel in the group followed suit, and the Katana fleet disappeared, presumably making no further communication with either the Republic or the galaxy at large. The loss of the fleet was a huge scandal that contributed to the growing dissatisfaction with the Galactic Republic, and also to a shift in starship systems from slave-circuitry and computer control to vessels with substantial crews and human control of vital systems.

The Dark Force was undiscovered until smuggler Captain Hoffner and his ship stumbled upon it in 6 BBY. Hoffner and his navigator, Talon Karrde were the only ones aboard aware of the find, but neither realized the other person knew the secret. They concealed the fleet's location until the right time to make use of it. Hoffner later arranged to sell individual Katana Dreadnaughts to Garm Bel Iblis, who eventually accumulated a strike force of six of the ships, including his command ship, Peregrine.

By 6 ABY, the balance of power between the New Republic, Imperial Remnant, and warlord forces was so precarious that, despite their age, it was believed that any faction that recovered the fleet would immediately become the dominant force in the galaxy. The enormous potential value of the Katana fleet was used to draw the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Eviscerator away as a prelude to the Second Battle of Borleias.

The battle for the Katana fleet rages.

In 9 ABY, nearly fifty-five years after being lost, Grand Admiral Thrawn became interested in obtaining the fleet. However, the Grand Admiral's treachery turned Mara Jade against the Galactic Empire and she, along with Luke Skywalker, rescued Karrde from Thrawn's forces and brought him to the New Republic. Thrawn was nonetheless able to acquire the information from Hoffner, and though both sides secured some of the fleet in the Battle for the Katana fleet, Thrawn had acquired all but twenty-two of the Dreadnaughts before the New Republic forces arrived. These remaining vessels, except for the one Dreadnaught destroyed during the battle, became part of the New Republic fleet, along with the AT-PT walkers later used in the campaign against Thrawn. Initially, the New Republic believed Thrawn would not be able to take advantage of his new vessels, since he would require over three hundred thousand crewers for the Katana fleet—2,000 each of the 178 ships. However, Thrawn proved to be more resourceful, using clones produced in days (instead of the years) from Spaarti cloning cylinders in the Emperor's storehouse on Wayland to crew his ships. In a conversation between Luke Skywalker and Talon Karrde, it is revealed that the New Republic estimates that Thrawn's clones were 'grown' to maturity in 15 to 20 days instead of the typical 1 to 3 years. Clones grown too quickly were mentally unstable but due to the use of Ysalamir and its Force neutralizing abilities, Thrawn's clones could be grown to perfection in a fraction of the nominal time.

Behind the scenes

It was stated by Talon Karrde that the fleet was lost in 32 BBY (at the time of The Phantom Menace), but Captain Gilad Pellaeon set it at fifty-five years prior to the date of the story (which is set in 9 ABY.) The New Essential Chronology sets the fleet's launch at 46 BBY, but does not implicitly state it was lost the same year, although the implication is that it was lost before 44 BBY. It is far more likely that a high-ranking Imperial officer has the correct date than a smuggling chief, especially because it was stated by Karrde as being "about ten years before the Clone Wars".

However, the date mentioned in these books no longer stands in light of the release of Outbound Flight which lists the deployment of Outbound Flight as being in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones in 27 BBY. Since Jorus C'baoth was listed as having been killed on board Outbound Flight in the computer archives of the flagship, Katana,[2] this means the information must have been added after Kinman Doriana returned to Darth Sidious with the news that Outbound Flight had been destroyed by Thrawn. This therefore means that the deployment of the Katana Fleet was much later than previously stated, being probably in between 27 BBY and just before the outbreak of the Clone Wars in 22 BBY.

In the real world, "katana" was a Japanese long sword used by the samurai. "Katana" is also common in phonetic alphabets for the letter "K".



Notes and references


This article uses material from the "Katana fleet" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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