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Voss Parck
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"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

Voss Parck was an officer in the Imperial Navy who discovered the future Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo and later served as the commander of Thrawn's Empire of the Hand. Hailing from a naval family on Corulag, Parck followed the expected career path and joined the Republic Navy, serving in the Clone Wars.

Shortly after the Galactic Republic became the Empire, Parck came across Thrawn while chasing smugglers in the Unknown Regions. Impressed by Thrawn's tactical abilities, Parck offered him a position in the Empire and took him back to Coruscant, where Emperor Palpatine was greatly pleased with Parck's find.

Parck remained attached to Thrawn's career, following the Grand Admiral on his mission to subjugate the Unknown Regions and its myriad aggressors. Deeply devoted to and admiring of Thrawn, Parck served as his right-hand man throughout the deployment. When Thrawn returned to known space to take up command of the Empire's military forces, Parck was left behind as steward of the Empire of the Hand, an Imperialist territory Thrawn had carved out of the Unknown Regions.

Upon Thrawn's death, Parck assumed sole command of the Empire of the Hand, continuing its mission to pacify the hostile civilizations in the region, which he regarded as essential to the future of the galaxy. When a hoax proclaimed the return of Thrawn ten years after his death, Parck cautiously opened relations with the galaxy at large, retaining high-level diplomatic ties even after the impostor was exposed.




Early career

Born to a Corulag family with a tradition of naval service, Voss Parck entered the Corulag Academy to begin a military career, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who had both captained capital ships.[1] There, he trained alongside several siblings and cousins, and carried on a rivalry with one cousin in particular, which would last into their military careers, though Parck generally came out behind.[5][2]

Parck graduated the academy and by the end of the Clone Wars was a captain in the Republic Navy, commanding the Victory-class Star Destroyer Strikefast. When the Republic was reorganized into an Empire, Parck continued his service in the fleet. In fact, he was a great admirer of Palpatine and felt that the new Emperor would bring positive change to the galaxy.[2]

The discovery of Thrawn

Parck: "You're still studying us, aren't you? Even now, as our prisoner, with little hope of escape, you're studying us."
Thrawn: "Of course. You said it yourselves: you are potential dangers."
Parck: "True. On the other hand, how better to neutralize a potential danger than from within it?"
—Voss Parck and Mitth'raw'nuruodo

Around one week after the Declaration of a New Order, Parck and the Strikefast were in pursuit of a smuggler ship suspected of carrying arms for an anti-Imperial resistance group. The ship made a blind hyperspace jump into the Unknown Regions, but Parck would not be deterred and followed.[2]

The ship was forced down onto a strange planet, where it faked a crash and took refuge in a cave. Parck and his crew were taken in by the ruse, and Parck dispatched a ground team and several starfighters to locate and examine the crash site of the ship and the two T.I.E. starfighters downed as well. In the process, they discovered the abandoned dwelling of what appeared to be an unknown species. Parck was exasperated by the additional bureaucracy forced on him by the obligation to follow the Empire's Unknown Alien Encounters Orders.[2]

Mitth'raw'nuruodo as Parck found him.

Parck organized a technical team to send down in support of his man on the ground, Colonel Mosh Barris. Meanwhile, Barris's troops found the body of one of the fighter pilots, clearly killed and scavenged for technology. Shortly thereafter, mysterious explosions began to plague the Imperial ground camp, followed by the crash of another T.I.E. When Barris contacted him to report these new developments, Parck correctly deduced that the dead pilot's comlink had been stolen by the unknown aliens, and had it cut out of the network.[2]

The next morning, Parck contacted Barris again. Barris had taken casualties and wished to simply raze the forest and pull out. Parck, however, was intent on finding the smugglers and the location of the resistance cell they were supporting. Parck sent down two squads of stormtroopers to relieve Barris's Imperial Army troopers.[2]

At that point, the unknown enemy—in fact an exiled Chiss by the name of Mitth'raw'nuruodo making clever use of Imperial supplies—began jamming the ground forces, and Parck was cut out from communications with them. Barris ordered a retreat, and when he returned to the Strikefast, Parck seemed unusually calm. Parck took Barris to the hangar control bay, where he ordered that the lights be dimmed. Parck's suspicions were confirmed when Mitth'raw'nuruodo sneaked out of the shuttle that had brought Barris back from the surface.[2]

The Chiss was captured and questioned by Parck, who asked what he had hoped to accomplish by sneaking on board and also sought to find the methods by which Mitth'raw'nuruodo had outmaneuvered the Imperials, though he had to reign in the overly hostile and anti-alien Barris. Impressed by his resourcefulness and intrigued by the alien's desire to protect his people from assorted dangers, Parck offered him a position in the Imperial fleet, phrasing it as an opportunity to put the Empire's resources to work against the threats of the Unknown Regions. Thrawn—Mitth'raw'nuruodo decided to use his core name among the Imperials—accepted the offer, and Parck abandoned the hunt for the smugglers in order to take what he saw as a more promising prize to the Emperor.[2]

Thrawn and the Imperial court

"You were one of the people every faction in the court used as an example of what not to do in the middle of a political fight. But then, those were the same people who also thought Palpatine sent Thrawn out here as a punishment. So what did they know?"
―Mara Jade to Voss Parck
Voss Parck, early in his career.

Palpatine was in fact greatly pleased by Thrawn's recruitment, and Parck's career saw a boost. On the other hand, Barris was shunted aside to backwater assignments and his career plunged sharply, for which he always resented Parck.[6]

Parck remained associated with Thrawn throughout the Chiss's swift rise through the Imperial ranks. When Thrawn, who was an active player in Imperial court politics, was ready to return to the Unknown Regions and exert the Empire's influence, he and Palpatine staged a court scandal. The political fallout forced Thrawn into exile on a lowly mapping expedition to the Unknown Regions, or so it was thought. Parck, who backed Thrawn in a move so clearly unprofitable that it became notorious among the court, was likewise exiled with him and demoted to the rank of commander. In fact, Parck quite deliberately put himself on the losing side in order to be assigned to Thrawn's expedition, which was entirely orchestrated by Thrawn and Palpatine to allow Thrawn to conduct his mission of Imperial expansion in secrecy.[4]

Mission to the Unknown Regions

"There are tremendous things out there waiting to be discovered, Captain. New species, rich worlds ripe for the taking, and any number of potential threats to the Empire. Our job is to find those threats, identify them… and eliminate them. […] The Empire is on the move, Captain. And we're the ones who are taking it there."
―Voss Parck to Dagon Niriz

Parck was assigned to the Admonitor, Thrawn's new flagship, as first officer to Captain Dagon Niriz. Niriz despised Parck for having brought the alien admiral to the Empire, deeming him arrogant. In the initial stages of the journey, Thrawn assigned Niriz to demeaning tasks and frequently countermanded Niriz's orders in such a way as to look passive and weak-willed. This was, in fact, part of a ploy, of which Parck was aware, to strain Niriz's patience and loyalty in a test.[3]

The test was further extended in the first engagement of the mission. When confronted by the pirate leader Creysis, Thrawn continued his pattern of frustrating and seemingly incompetent behavior. Thrawn devised a plan to deal with Creysis and find his superiors, as he had deduced that Creysis was not the sovereign warlord he pretended to be but in fact reported to pirate overlords, but did not share the details of the plan with Niriz. Parck was sent to negotiate with Creysis as part of a fictitious "Council of Colonists", part of Thrawn's ruse being that the Admonitor was a colonization ship. Parck and the stormtroopers with him were captured, as Thrawn had expected they would be, and confined in Creysis's ship.[3]

Niriz found Thrawn's performance intolerable, and so did General Larr Haverel, the ship's infantry commander. Haverel approached Niriz with a plan to mutiny, suggesting that their admiral could not possibly be so incompetent and must in fact be in league with Creysis. Niriz passed Thrawn's test when he refused to mutiny, sticking proudly to naval regulations and his sense of tradition and propriety. With that crisis averted, Thrawn took action when the key of his plot, a tracker-equipped statue, was sent to Creysis's masters by courier. Stormtroopers erupted from Parck's captured shuttle, easily rescuing him and returning to the Admonitor. Parck, who was fully informed of Thrawn's plans, was able to watch as Thrawn demolished Creysis's forces and followed it up by laying waste to the base of Creysis's superiors.[3]

Parck visited Niriz after the battle was over, telling him that Thrawn had turned down his resignation. He informed the captain of the nature of Thrawn's test and the fact that Niriz had passed, as well as revealing the truth of their mission. Niriz took heart, and turned to the mission with much greater eagerness and respect for Thrawn.[3]

The Empire of the Hand

"There are a hundred different threats out there that would freeze your blood if you knew about them. The ruling families can't stop them; neither can any other power in the region. If our people are to be protected, it's up to us."
Kres'ten'tarthi to Mara Jade

As they proceeded on their mission, more and more ships and resources were quietly transferred to Thrawn, giving him a small armada.[3] In 3 ABY, Thrawn and Niriz returned to known space in the Admonitor in order to execute a small mission on behalf of Lord Vader, which earned Thrawn control of the Noghri assassins. Parck did not appear in either of two conferences Thrawn held with Niriz to review the mission, and as it was unlikely that Thrawn, a notorious micro-manager, would leave his forces without himself or either of his protégés in command, Parck most likely was left in command of the fleet for that period.[7] During this period, it was also likely that Parck was promoted to captain.[4]

The Admonitor, to which Parck was assigned.

Under Thrawn, Parck participated in numerous campaigns against the various aggressors within the region. Eventually, Thrawn organized his conquests into the Empire of the Hand.[8] Thrawn placed his headquarters on the planet Nirauan, inside a building known as the Hand of Thrawn due to its distinctive shape.[4] It was this fortress that gave the Empire its name. It was made up not only of conquests, but also of planets that willingly joined. This empire, unlike Palpatine's, was tolerant of nonhumans, fitting Thrawn's meritocratic style.[8] A major component of the Empire of the Hand was Syndic Mitth'raw'nuruodo's Household Phalanx, an organization of Chiss supporters of Thrawn who worked on the margins of and even deep within Chiss society to recruit numerous warriors to Thrawn's cause.[4]

Even after Palpatine's death, Thrawn continued his work in the Unknown Regions. He remained in contact with the mainstream Empire, however, and had some degree of cooperation with Ysanne Isard, Palpatine's eventual successor. It was this connection that gained the Empire of the Hand another crucial servant, Imperial fighter ace Baron Soontir Fel. However, after the fall of Isard to the New Republic, Thrawn departed to take command of the Imperial Fleet, leaving behind Parck, at this point an admiral, in command of the Empire of the Hand. Thrawn remained in contact with Parck, and Parck was fully appraised of Thrawn's strategies as supreme commander. Conversely, Thrawn, who was well-known for his centralization of information within himself and minimal dispersal of it to his subordinates, informed no one within the Empire of the existence of the Empire of the Hand, knowledge of which had apparently died out among the Empire's upper echelons if indeed it ever went beyond Palpatine and later Isard. This meant that when Thrawn was unexpectedly killed in 9 ABY by his bodyguard, the Empire of the Hand's existence was completely lost to the galaxy at large. Despite having perhaps the largest databases in the galaxy and retaining some sources of information within the mainstream galaxy, Parck's attention was turned outwards as he continued the fight in the Unknown Regions, choosing not to reveal himself and the Empire of the Hand's plentiful resources to the Imperial Remnant. Not even the return of Palpatine drew Parck from the Unknown Regions.[4]

Parck did, however, have a source of hope in Thrawn's promise that, if ever his death was reported, Parck should wait ten years for his return. Within that interim, Parck continued the Empire of the Hand's relentless campaigns against anything which threatened the Empire or the Chiss Ascendancy, whether the Chiss desired their help or not. Parck's top assistants in this period were General Fel and the Chiss officer Kres'ten'tarthi, the commander of the Household Phalanx.[4] Parck also had some contact with the Chiss Ascendancy despite the fact that the existence of the Empire of the Hand was officially unrecognized and would likely cause a diplomatic incident if it was acknowledged. Aristocra Chaf'orm'bintrano was at least one highly-placed Chiss official who was on speaking terms with Parck.[8]

The return of Thrawn

"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 to Mara Jade

Ten years after his death, as promised, Parck's known space contacts brought to his ears rumors of the return of Thrawn. Parck immediately dispatched scout ships to search out Mara Jade, whom he saw as a perfect intermediary due to her Imperial past, New Republic connections, and close relationship with the galaxy's largest information broker, Talon Karrde. Parck was doubtful of the current rumors, most likely because Thrawn had not established contact with his most loyal servants, the Empire of the Hand, and wished to be completely certain before revealing the Empire of the Hand's existence. Parck was in fact right to doubt, as the "Thrawn" of the rumors was in fact an impostor, hired as part of a scheme by Moff Vilim Disra to seize power within the Remnant. The timing was coincidental; Thrawn's actual promise was to be fulfilled by a clone grown in a secret sublevel of the Hand of Thrawn, to be awakened by a timed system which was continually reset by Thrawn up to his death.[4]

By triangulating the vectors of two of the scout ships, Jade followed them back to Nirauan, but was shot down over the planet. Luke Skywalker was contacted by Karrde, and set off to rescue her. Eventually the two of them infiltrated the Hand of Thrawn, where Jade was captured and brought to Parck. Parck, by now an old and gray-haired man, revealed the basic history of the Empire of the Hand to Jade and offered her a position within it, stressing the vital nature of its mission. However, Jade refused, and their conference was broken up by Luke Skywalker, who cut his way into the room and rescued Jade. The pair escaped to the hidden sublevels of the base, while Parck decided to risk contact with the Empire. The clone of Thrawn was killed in a flood of the lower levels caused by Skywalker and Jade's escape attempt, and before Parck could dispatch a scout craft, Jade remotely steered her ship into the Hand's hangar, disabling the base's ships. Parck was left to clean up his damaged base, while the false Thrawn was exposed before Parck could make contact, keeping knowledge of the Empire of the Hand and its vast territories limited to Skywalker and Jade.[4]

In the chaos and vulnerability immediately after the attack on the Hand's hangars, the Hand was attacked by a well-organized gang of pirates and fell to them, forcing Parck to evacuate the planet.[9] However, this did not last, as Parck was back on Nirauan by 22 ABY.[8]

Diplomatic dealings

Jade Skywalker: "What makes you think Parck even wants diplomatic relations with the Chiss?"
Fel: "We do. Very much."
―Mara Jade Skywalker and Chak Fel

Knowledge of the Empire of the Hand slowly leaked out, with Skywalker and Jade informing New Republic Chief of State Leia Organa Solo. The Imperial Remnant, under Thrawn's former protégé Gilad Pellaeon, also had some contact with Parck, though Parck chose not to ally himself with any particular group or engage in serious diplomatic relations. One group with which he did wish to have better relations was the Chiss Ascendancy, whose citizens provided much of the Empire of the Hand's manpower and which the Empire of the Hand existed to protect. However, as Thrawn was an exile from the Ascendancy and Chiss military doctrine refused to recognize the Empire of the Hand's tactics as moral, relations remained strained and unofficial, despite Parck's wish for better cooperation.[8]

In 22 ABY, Parck was notified by the Chiss that the remains of Outbound Flight had been found. The destruction of the extra-galactic mission had been Thrawn's first mission for Palpatine. The Chiss intended to make a conciliatory diplomatic event out of the mission to recover its wreckage, and Parck forwarded their message to Skywalker and Jade—now married to Skywalker—who were invited along as representatives of the Jedi and New Republic. However, his message was intercepted by one of Talon Karrde's employees who had had family aboard Outbound Flight. Consequently, the Skywalkers arrived over Nirauan instead of at the rendezvous point contained in the message. They spoke with Parck, who had overcome whatever resentment the destruction of his hangar might have caused him, and Parck informed them of the Chiss Ascendancy's request. Parck also sent his own representatives to the meeting: Commander Chak Fel and the four stormtroopers of Unit Aurek-Seven. Fel and his bodyguards were allegedly there to protect the Skywalkers, but Parck seemed to have had knowledge of the true nature of Chaf'orm'bintrano's diplomatic mission, which was to force the Vagaari into an attack, allowing the Chiss to declare war on the threat, since Chiss military doctrine did not accept the idea of the preemptive strike.[8]

By the time of the Yuuzhan Vong War, however, General Baron Soontir Fel had become the public face of the Empire of the Hand in its dealings with the New Republic and Parck had largely disappeared from the scene.[10] In addition, the Empire of the Hand was said to have been dissolved at some point in or around the war, placing Fel inside the Chiss Ascendancy proper. Luke Skywalker expressed a belief to Chief Navigator Peita Aabe of the Chiss Ascendancy that Parck had "joined the Chiss"—possibly suggesting that Parck had transferred along with Fel, or possibly the result of a mistaken understanding of the situation on Skywalker's part. It is possible that Parck's wish for cooperation had come true via a merger between the two governments, and even that Parck had been part of that process. Given Parck's age and sudden disappearance from the public stage, it is likely, though not certain, that he passed away between 22 and 27 ABY.[11][12]

Personality and traits

"The task ahead of us is far too serious for anyone to waste time on anything as petty as politics or personal gain."
―Voss Parck, to Mara Jade

Voss Parck began his career as a dutiful and ambitious officer, seeking promotion in the Imperial Fleet.[2] However, his time with Thrawn transformed him into a zealous crusader determined to combat the myriad enemies of the Unknown Regions, unconcerned with personal gain or advancement. He genuinely, almost fanatically, believed in the cause, enough to unsettle Mara Jade during their interview.[4] He was convinced that the mission of the Empire of the Hand was truly vital to securing the Empire and the galaxy as a whole.[3] An avowed Palpatinist at the dawn of the Empire, he also believed strongly in order and obedience to government.[2] His Palpatinism was apparently crowded out, however, by his deep loyalty to Thrawn. He considered the Empire of the Hand to be the property of Thrawn, and did not turn it over to Palpatine upon the Sith Lord's return in 10 ABY.[4] He was committed to the Fleet as an institution and resented what he regarded as meddlesome political oversight which handcuffed its effectiveness.[2]

Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, Parck's patron and role model.

Though Parck began as Thrawn's discoverer, he quickly found the relationship reversed. Thrawn was already known to Emperor Palpatine and was greatly sought by him. Thrawn was promoted swiftly while Parck was left in his wake. Thrawn apparently remained quite loyal to Parck, however, keeping Parck as his right-hand man throughout his career. Parck returned this loyalty in turn. In fact, Parck was so overawed by Thrawn's tactical genius, command style, loyalty to Parck, and determination to protect the galaxy from the threats of the Unknown Regions that he developed a profound admiration of Thrawn which bordered on hero-worship. Even after Thrawn's death, Parck remained utterly assured of Thrawn's promise to return, to the point that Mara Jade considered him almost delusional. At a minimum, Parck was deeply impressed by Thrawn, and expressed tremendous loyalty to him throughout his career.[4]

Parck was also a highly intelligent man with a well-developed deductive skill similar to, though not as extensive as, Thrawn's. Parck had in fact out-thought Thrawn at least partially in their first meeting, correctly predicting his stowing away on the shuttle.[2][4] This ability may have been why Parck was the only one of Thrawn's three known protégés—Parck himself, Niriz, and Pellaeon—to be consistently informed of all aspects of the Grand Admiral's tactics and strategies. Thrawn, who was generally miserly with information, seemed to have kept Parck within his confidences throughout his career and trusted him implicitly.[3][4]

Besides a firm grasp of tactics, strategy, negotiation, and information-gathering, Parck spoke multiple languages in addition to his native Basic, including Cheunh, Honoghran, Twi'leki, and Zabraki.[1]

Behind the scenes

The character of Voss Parck was created by Timothy Zahn. Parck initially appeared only in short stories by Zahn relating to Thrawn's backstory until his appearance in The Hand of Thrawn Duology, which dealt heavily with Thrawn's backstory.[2][3][4] This placed Parck in command of the Empire of the Hand, though that organization's name was only given in the subsequent Zahn book Survivor's Quest, in which its organization and purpose were also fleshed out.[4][8] While these appearances pushed the Empire of the Hand and the Chiss into the mainstream, Parck largely dropped out of the picture, with the primary face of the Empire of the Hand becoming General Baron Soontir Fel.[10][11] Whether this was intended to signal Parck's death; was a conscious decision to put the better-known Fel, who had a significant fanbase, into a more prominent role; or was an unconscious result of Jagged Fel's appearance in the New Jedi Order series and the fact that his early reports were to his father placed Fel in a prominent role and other authors continued that, perhaps unaware of Parck, is unclear.[10] Whatever the cause, the result is that Parck has been written only by Timothy Zahn, and his only other in-universe mentions are in a short story involving Mosh Barris, another short story dealing with Jagged Fel and the Empire of the Hand, and a novel dealing with Soontir Fel and the Chiss.[6][9][11]

The matter of Parck's rank is somewhat unclear. He was demoted to the rank of commander during the fallout of the staged political scandal that began his mission to the Unknown Regions and appeared as an admiral nineteen years after the Battle of Yavin.[3][4] This promotion seems to have been given sometime before 6 ABY, and possibly even before 4 ABY.[13] However, Imperial characters Grodin Tierce and Vilim Disra, speaking of Parck in 19 ABY, refer to him consistently as "Captain Parck" in their conversations and thoughts. While this may be simply the result of ingrained habit due to the fact that Parck's most prominent years were between his discovery of Thrawn and his exile, a 20-year span in which he was active in court politics and seems to have consistently carried the rank of captain without promotion, it seems more likely that the promotion to admiral was not recorded on Imperial records, which had no mention of Parck after some point subsequent to his transfer to the Unknown Regions.[2][3][4] What is less clear is whether the references to "Captain Parck" signified a promotion from commander following his demotion which did in fact appear on Imperial records.

This question of rank is applicable to another question raised about Parck, which is the nature of his relationship to Dagon Niriz. At the outset of their expedition, Niriz outranked Parck. However, Parck was clearly acting as Thrawn's right-hand man during Command Decision while Niriz was left out of the loop. In addition, as Parck's demotion was essentially a sham, it is likely that Parck was quickly elevated to his old rank, especially once more ships, carrying more captains, began arriving to supplement the Admonitor and Thrawn required more officers to manage them.[3] It would certainly seem that by the time of Thrawn's departure, given the choice of Parck as commander of the Empire of the Hand and his rank of admiral, Parck outranked Niriz, who is never mentioned to have played a significant role in the Empire of the Hand, and appears to have been out of the picture entirely by 19 ABY, though a promotion to admiral and a behind-the-scenes role for Niriz are not entirely out of the question.[4]



Notes and references

See also

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


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