A consummate strategist, Grand Admiral Thrawn likened combat to art and was an aficionado of both. Recognized long ago by his people, the Chiss, Thrawn’s greatest weapon was his mind. His tactics were controversial in their boldness, and his activities within the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet drew many a concerned, glowing red eye.
The rest of the galaxy made first contact with the Chiss when a taskforce dispatched by Palpatine stumbled upon Thrawn’s fleet. The young blue-skinned commander was able to decimate the intruders despite inferior weapons and numbers. The taskforce’s commander, Kinman Doriana, asked Thrawn for a parley. The two conversed, and Doriana was able to appeal to Thrawn’s cool sense of logic and order. He outlined his mission – to destroy the incoming Outbound Flight vessel – to Thrawn, spelling out the threat that this vessel filled with Jedi Masters posed to the Chiss people. Thrawn completed the mission that Doriana failed and destroyed the Outbound Flight project. Returning to Csilla, Thrawn was reprimanded for his hostilities, and eventually, his activities caused him to be altogether banished from the Chiss.
The Chiss’s loss became Palpatine’s gain, and despite a strong policy against non-human officers in the Imperial Navy, Thrawn ascended the Imperial ranks. Before long, Thrawn attained command of an Imperial Star Destroyer, the Vengeance. His star continued to rise unabated, and he achieved the rank of Vice Admiral and earned Vader’s respect and access to his secret Noghri army. After helping dispose of the traitorous Grand Admiral Zaarin, Thrawn ascended to Grand Admiral rank himself.
Thrawn’s genius manifested itself best in constructing strategies from mere fragments of information. Thrawn was able to locate one of Palpatine’s fabled storehouses, and there, found the technology necessary to begin growing a clone army. He found vessels for this army by discovering the long lost Katana Fleet. He recruited the maddened dark Jedi Joruus C’baoth and used his Force talents to better coordinate his scattered strikes. He also began to secure secret caches of cloned agents throughout the galaxy, ready to answer his call.