« on: January 15, 2017, 03:37:24 AM »
Zsinj is possibly one of the richest backstories and personalities in the EU. Coming from a lower middle class fondor mechanic and a rising commander from chandrilla, Zsinj rose to the position of Grand Moff, High Admiral and was given the ceremonial title of Warlord by Palpatine and after the Emperor's death he seized control over 1/3 of the entire galaxy. To some he was a coward, to others a psychopath, and to others he was an unbalanced genius. As with most cases the truth was more complicated. Zsinj was a genius of deception and he wore personalities and traits as masks to hide, confuse, and distort what everyone around him saw to his benefit.
Zsinj was a momma's boy from an early age, his mother was a rising star in the republic navy and was known as the Ace of the spacelanes. He looked up to her and in many ways sought to prove himself as her equal. he joined the Navy and displayed amazing aptitude in logistics and tech but turned down postings in them because he felt he was destined to gain glory as a great warrior instead. Fate soon gave him the chance.
Rising to command an old Victory class SD named Iron Fist Zsinj found he now faced his first challenge. His mother-pushed more and more to forced retirement and obscurity by the high huMAN culture of the Empire had instead gone rogue and was now a pirate that used her years of knowledge to evade capture and humiliate those that had rejected her.
Zsinj had to choose between his hero mother- and his dream of glory. He chose his ambition.
In an intense campaign Zsinj proved he was the better commander, hunting down and killing his mother. It's possible this incident psychologically and mentally affected him deeply. Zsinj had seen his mother declare her independence without any power base or chance of success in the open after she had taught him every secret she had and he had also seen that to gain power sacrificing morality was something that had to happen. He also became obsessed with not becoming like his mother at this point. From this point we begin to see Zsinj develop quirks, traits and mannerisms that are all directed at misdirecting enemies and allies alike. Zsinj would deceive crew members into believing he was drunk when he was actually sober and observing them, he would monitor stations from his quarters and then pretend to be ignorant of actions on the ship, he would switch personas to whatever he felt was needed to cause people to underestimate or overestimate him-all so no one knew the real Zsinj, because if you didn't know his true self you couldn't counter that self. His realization of the importance of discarding morals meant he would not hesitate to do the unthinkable to someone else if it would gain him the victory. Marrying these concepts to the extremely gifted tactical mind he possessed created a truly deadly commander. His belief in the unorthodox and deception showed in his tactics, hiding his victory in asteroid fields so that enemy fighters would use the larger asteroids for cover-so he could just blow up the asteroids making a giant flak gun essentially was just one example. With these tactics all through the outer rim Zsinj rose to the rank of Admiral and was assigned to conquer Drakmor Warlords based near Dathomir which was currently serving as an Imperial Prison planet. The inhabitants of the planet were a worry for Emperor Palpatine as the Nightsisters while a valuable source for Inquisitors, Dark Jedi acolytes and even possible replacements for Lord vader should something happen also had the potential to become a serious threat to the Emperor himself if they so chose. Palpatine didn't want them dead, but neither did he want them able to enter the larger galaxy and develop ambitions of their own. Zsinj realized this and acted with ruthless efficiency and speed. He orbitally bombarded the planet's only spaceport-stranding the Witches and the garrison then interdicted the planet itself. He felt no remorse for trapping the hundreds-if not thousands of troops there-it was justified in his mind by the results of the Witches being contained. Palpatine whole heartedly agreed and rewarded Zsinj with the Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist and a promotion to Grand Moff of the Quelli Oversector. with the added promotion to High Admiral of Crimson Command and the ceremonial title of Warlord of the Empire. Once again Zsinj had seen how unorthodox tactics and ruthless ambition had served him well. He now commanded the largest fleet in the Empire, to mark how far he had come he renamed his SSD into the Iron Fist after the old VSD that had started his rise to power-it was a name the entire galaxy would come to know well enough. It was at this time Zsinj met his future right hand man- Melvar. Zsinj saw a kindred spirit in Melvar, the man was someone who painted on the face of a sadist for the galaxy then slip into blandness in the background when it suited him. Zsinj personally cultivated Melvar's loyalty to him and groomed him as his right hand.
After Endor many Imperials went rogue right from the start declaring their new fiefdoms and declaring war on all their neighbors. Zsinj however had learned the lesson of his mother well. He declared loyalty to the Empire and ruthlessly locked down his sectors in the name of the Emperor-while actually securing it for himself, he quietly removed any commanders not personally loyal to him by framing them for rebel ties and executing them. While purging his ranks of some Zsinj took great pains to ensure others loyalty to him, Zsinj rewarded any efficiency or initiative in his forces and while firm on failures he did not waste personnel on whims of anger like the late Darth Vader. This showed Zsinj had a great understanding of the human mind, he rewarded success and punished failure encouraging the best in his soldiers. He also began replacing the stormtroopers in his territory with a new elite force of those loyal only to him and outfitting them with armor and weapons designed by himself. He called them Raptors and they were superior to the stormtrooper in training, equipment and ability. Zsinj also helped create a form of cloaking shield and a brand new TIE for his forces. Using his understanding of logistics he created a vast underworld of support networks and finance for his war machine under aliases on enemy controlled planets. In this way Zsinj would always have a second support network that was ironically protected by his enemies. With his support network set up, his elite troops and weapons created Zsinj just needed a show of force to start his rallying cry for his bid for power. The NR gave it to him. As the NR expanded they tried to push into his territory, Zsinj lured them in and then ambushed them with Iron Fist, personally crushing the invading force and sending it reeling back to NR space.
This was done at the same time the Ruling Council was failing on every front, Delvardus and Lankin were defeated and the NR seemed ascendant. Zsinj declared himself the savior of the Empire, donned the uniform of a Grand Admiral and began going by his title of Warlord to emphasize his qualifications to ignore the Ruling Council and fight the Rebels on his own terms. Not everything went as planned though, as Treuten Teradoc seized Zsinj's ally Grand Moff and with him the Crimson Command and Maldrood sector. In fury Zsinj went to full on war with Teradoc for the next four years though both sides avoided major losses.
Zsinj wanted his enemies to whittle themselves down before he struck, he felt that letting the central Empire bleed was good as he would absorb defectors and step in to save or conquer it soon. He let the IR and NR tear at each other until the NR took Coruscant and Thyferra apparently killing Isard. Zsinj now felt his time had come. He absorbed much of Isard's former network and allies and unleashed Iron Fist on the NR territories in high profile raids to appear as the Warrior of the Empire to attract support, it worked, Imperials flocked to his banner and his power swelled.
However as with his earlier actions, this was misdirection. Zsinj used the raids to distract from his true means of killing the NR- and preventing the IR from rallying WITHOUT him-civil war. and theft. Zsinj planned to use various alien species brainwashed as assassins against prominent NR members, though he didn't care if they succeeded in killing the individual targets. Their true aim was to create resentment, mistrust and rob the NR military of combat personnel and eventually trigger whole sections of the NR to abandon the faction or outright fall into civil war. While this was going on Zsinj would strike the IR at Kuat seizing the SSD Razor's Kiss while the Moffs still thought he was at least not attacking IR holdings. This would further weaken the Moffs and strengthen him while the NR was in chaos.
Zsinj also had a standard policy of only fighting where HE chose the battlefield, while some saw this as cowardice it actually ensured he always stacked the odds in his favor so that he appeared invincible. It also frustrated opponents as they never knew when or where Zsinj would attack and if they arrived Zsinj simply left and attacked somewhere else using the stateless strategy on his front. He was so effective Admiral Ackbar couldn't counter him or even LOCATE him. Zsinj was so far undefeated, his pride and sense of superiority over his opponents and so he drew himself into a three sided war.
Zsinj's plans began to unravel when Admiral Apwar Trigit fouled up the attack on Folor, it allowed the NR the gap they needed by capturing the Night Caller. The importance of this cannot be overstated, it revealed Zsinj's shadow empire of support networks, the Morrt project and worse eventually led to information about the upcoming raid on kuat through pirate recruitment.
After Trigit's death, the loss of Razor's Kiss and the resulting loss of face as well as the IR and NR both sending forces after Zsinj-in addition to the constant war with Teradoc, Zsinj had no choice but to try and regain the initiative, he sought to turn the tables on his hunters nearly succeeding at two battles, but however things began to come undone as the NR and IR tore apart his support network, his project Minefield was stopped dead by the NR and coordination between the IR and NR began pushing him back. Zsinj was despondent, he had always come out ahead as the maverick, the unorthodox, but now his tricks were being effectively countered and he couldn't reverse the situation. It seemed like he was doomed to an eventual defeat within five years. Seeing this Zsinj once again reverted to his chief characteristic- misdirection. He would prepare a ruse that he had lost Iron Fist-his main symbol his enemies chased-he would abandon much of his outer territory and consolidate at his Quelli holdings, expand his forces, let his enemies go back to fighting one another and develop new tactics and plans to rise again. First though he needed to kill the Solo Command to ensure he would be left alone. As it happened though Zsinj was badly defeated at Vahaba and Selagis thanks to Gara Petothal's treachery- his offensive fleet decisively crushed and Iron Fist itself badly damaged. Zsinj however managed to achieve his secondary goal though as he fooled Solo that he had lost Iron Fist by detonating Second Death, his use of misdirection with Tetran Cowell as Fel also paid off as it kept Antilles, the Wraiths and Rogues out of the critical arena around Iron Fist. Seeing Zsinj's threat as largely reduced the IR and NR ceased cooperation and went back to fighting each other. The manic genius had hoodwinked his enemies and gained his breathing space.
Zsinj returned to Dathomir where the Iron Fist was docked for repairs, Zsinj considered using the Nightsisters since the NR or IR didn't have any counters for them as a group at the time, but deemed it too risky to let them loose.
Then it all went to hell.
In a completely unexpected and impossible to anticipate action Solo came right to Dathomir after winning the planet from a Drakmor Warlord in a sabacc game. This act set a chain of events in place wholly outside of Zsinj's control. Zsinj couldn't retreat anymore, Dathomir was his most vital shipyard-and the ONLY one that could repair Iron Fist-still largely ruined from Selagis- abandoning Dathomir would put the final nail in Zsinj's Empire's coffin, in addition the man Zsinj saw as the architect of all his misery was ON Dathomir and Zsinj would not pass up the chance to take Solo's head. Zsinj doubled down pulling in as many ships as he could and and digging in for a fight while trying to broker a deal with the witches for Solo-and when he felt he couldn't get solo he decided to just kill the entire planet-again displaying his ruthlessness to achieve his ends. When he heard that Solo had been captured Zsinj couldn't resist killing him personally, so he sent Melvar to retrieve his mortal enemy and planned a double cross to kill the Witches in typical deviousness, but instead lost Melvar to Gethzerion's betrayal.
It's hard to know exactly what was going through Zsinj's mind at this point, it's highly possible he finally snapped seeing no way out. His every scheme had come to naught, his SSD was a crippled wreck still in dock, his nemesis had escaped him yet again, his only confidante was dead and he was now trapped with his back against the wall by the Hapan navy's 70 ISDs and twice that of Battle Dragons and his only major shipyard was at stake.
The battle was never in doubt, the ruthless ambition, actions and scheming had all led to this point. Zsinj the master of the unorthodox and the study of contradiction had been undone by random chance and the worst luck of all time. In the end, Zsinj abandoned his own doctrine, he devoted TIEs to keeping the Nightcloak up to ensure Dathomir died rather than commit them to the battle and refused to flee himself, unable to abandon the ultimate symbol of power, his Iron Fist-his one true love. Zsinj was on the bridge red faced, sweating and enraged at how the entire universe had turned against him lashing out when he got that last call from Solo, gone was the manic genius, gone was the unorthodox, all that was left was a shattered man blinded by frustration and unable to accept it was over. Seeing the concussion missiles incoming Zsinj realized that for all his attempts to differ from his mother, to ensure her fate would not be his, his scheming, hidden personality and plans, his ruthlessness and deception in the end didn't matter...because he had ironically followed her path after all. Deeming his superiors to be beneath him, he had gone rogue, he had underestimated his opponents and now trapped at the end he was going to die because he wouldn't abandon his ship...exactly like his mother. His last word was defining in that it showed that he realized just how much this woman had influenced his life-and death.
"Mama..." Warlord Zsinj's last word.
In conclusion, Zsinj appeared contradictory most of his life due to an obsession he had in believing he had to do things differently than his mother to avoid her fate. Ironically in the end it didn't matter because at his core he stayed true to what she had espoused. Belief in oneself, fighting as a warrior and love of one's ship. Zsinj could have sent forces to Dathomir and left himself, but to do so would be to admit he didn't believe he could win , that he wasn't a warrior, to do so would be to abandon Iron Fist to her fate. Zsinj could not do these three things as they were the opposed to the very CORE of who he felt he was. These traits killed him as much as they did his mother.