General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
A Separatist admiral known for his cunning and ruthlessness, Trench commanded the Separatist blockade of Christophsis, where Senator Bail Organa and his relief effort were pinned down and in danger of capture. Anakin Skywalker sought to break Trench's blockade by attacking his flagship with a cloaked stealth ship created by Republic engineers.
The Republic attack cruiser was not primarily a cargo transport, troop carrier or other replenishment or supply vessel; it was developed and honed for ship-to-ship combat. Its huge armored shape had an aggressive, dagger-like profile, studded with heavy weapons emplacements capable of punching through powerful shields and sturdy armor. The front half of the ship's spine contained a massive flight deck capable of scrambling the latest in Republic starfighters. The huge hangar doors opened to allow ships to land or takeoff from the deck; the vessel also had a smaller docking bay entrance on its lower side.
Escape pods are small emergency craft designed to detach from a larger vessel or launch from a planetary surface as a means of escape from a disaster. As such, these pods feature a simplified design to make them easy to use. Some planets maintain a network of escape pods to flee from surface danger into the upper atmosphere. When at a high altitude, these pods then transmit distress signals. Some pods are used for interstellar travel, and are equipped with hyperdrives, but these are rare. Use of pods is usually restricted only to organic lifeforms -- not droids. As such these pods are also known as lifepods.
In the final days of the Republic, the galactic government had grown so huge and corrupt that any attempt at change required radical thinking and extreme actions. Outlying systems that saw no benefit from being part of the Republic despite paying heavy taxes, began to rebel. This undercurrent of disgust towards Coruscant was seized by a charismatic leader, Count Dooku. The former Jedi rallied together these worlds in a Separatist movement that saw the departure of thousands of systems from the Republic. When Dooku's alliance was secretly backed by corporate titans that offered their unlimited droid armies to the cause, the Separatists emerged as a major threat to the Republic, and the galaxy tipped towards full scale war.