- "I cannot leave the Empire in the hands of fools like you."
- ―Natasi Daala, to Harrsk and the Deep Core warlords
Blitzer Harrsk was a Human male admiral of the Galactic Empire who was considered to be one of the Imperial Navy's most talented tacticians and commanders. During the Battle of Endor, Harrsk suffered a cranial injury that left him brain damaged, which resulted in him developing a split personality that alternated between Harrsk himself and his deceased second-in-command, Captain Bolla Thoath. When Captain Gilad Pellaeon gave the order to retreat following the death of Emperor Palpatine, Harrsk initially agreed, but later refused to follow an officer of such low rank and took his fleet into the Deep Core, where he established Zero Command, the first breakaway warlord kingdom of the Empire. Styling himself Lord High Admiral, Harrsk carved out a territory for himself in the Deep Core and Core Worlds. The warlord broke from many of his contemporaries in keeping watch on events outside his fiefdom, forging relations with Sate Pestage, Ysanne Isard, and many disaffected Imperials seeking new allegiance.
Harrsk weathered the New Republic capture of the Core and Coruscant, and ignored the unification of factions under Grand Admiral Thrawn, but when a mysterious power broker on Byss sent entreaties to him, Harrsk joined forces alongside many other warlords and Imperial factions under this new banner—that of the resurrected Emperor Palpatine. Though the reunified Empire saw success with attacks on the New Republic during Operation Shadow Hand, Palpatine was ultimately killed and Byss was destroyed, and Harrsk retreated to his holdings which had been severely reduced during the campaign. From there he attempted to grab more power in the Atravis sector, which brought him into conflict with a fellow Deep Core warlord, Treuten Teradoc.
Harrsk allied with Admiral Natasi Daala, whom he trusted to put an end to Teradoc. However, Daala turned on Harrsk and joined forces with Gilad Pellaeon, now Vice Admiral of Teradoc's forces, and the two brought Harrsk and Teradoc to the negotiation table. At Tsoss Beacon, Daala gathered Harrsk, Teradoc, and eleven more of the most powerful Deep Core warlords with the goal of uniting them. They were unable to come to any agreement, however, and so Daala arranged for the assembled warlords to be executed. Harrsk survived the original attempt due to his brain injury, but his fractured psyche drove him to commit suicide shortly after when he finally realized the extent of his madness.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Imperial service[edit | edit source]
Blitzer Harrsk was a Human male who served in the Imperial Navy during the Galactic Civil War. Holding the rank of Admiral, Harrsk was considered to be one of the Navy's foremost military strategists, and he commanded Arrowhead Command from the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Whirlwind. Harrsk's sphere of responsibility was the Core Worlds portion of the Slice, dubbed the "Arrowhead." In 4 ABY, Harrsk was contacted by his friend, Admiral Firmus Piett, commander of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor. Piett convinced Harrsk to attach his command to Lord Darth Vader's Death Squadron to bolster Imperial forces set to ambush the Alliance to Restore the Republic fleet at Endor, where Emperor Palpatine had laid a trap for the Rebels.
During the fighting, the battle turned in favor of the Alliance, with the death of Emperor Palpatine, and the destruction of both the Executor and the second Death Star. During the battle, the Whirlwind suffered damage, and a console exploded near Harrsk. The detonation sent durasteel debris spearing through Harrsk's left eye and into his brain's frontal lobe. The same explosion claimed the life of his second-in-command, Captain Bolla Thoath. Harrsk's resulting injury caused him to develop a divergent personality, in which he took on the persona of Captain Thoath. In his Harrsk persona, he forgot that Thoath was dead, and hallucinated the presence of his second-in-command. In either case, Harrsk was unaware that his psyche was fractured. When Captain Gilad Pellaeon of the Star Destroyer Chimaera called for a retreat from Endor and to fall back to the planet Annaj, Harrsk—in his Thoath persona—agreed with the order. During the retreat, the admiral was placed in a bacta tank to heal.
The first warlord[edit | edit source]
- "Warlords like Teradoc and Harsk[sic] claim they can protect our richer citizens."
- ―A member of the Cabal
The Harrsk that emerged from the bacta tank was a different man. Cruel and megalomaniacal, he was blind in his left eye and half of his face was a mass of scar tissue. Unwilling to take orders from a captain, he informed Pellaeon that command of Death Squadron should revert to the ranking admiral, Adye Prittick. However, Prittick was unable to work out a course of action, and his indecision sparked a dispute among the fleet's flag officers. Harrsk refused to co-operate with the other commanders and he departed from Annaj with the battlecruiser Ilthmar's Fist, two Tector-class Star Destroyers and three other Star Destroyers, declining to continue the retreat to Yag'Dhul with the rump Imperial fleet. Instead, Harrsk took his ships directly into the restricted Deep Core at the center of the galaxy, and he claimed that he would remain there until a clear chain of command was established among the Imperial hierarchy. Within the Deep Core, he claimed the systems around Kalist as his own protectorate, which he titled Zero Command, and named himself Lord High Admiral. Though he did not officially break from the Imperial Ruling Council, and remained ostensibly loyal to the Empire, Harrsk had become the first independent warlord. He replaced his ruined eye with a droid photoreceptor.
With the Imperial government on the galactic capital Coruscant occupied with problems on other fronts, Harrsk expanded his dominion further, moving into the Southern Core, and claiming Abregado-rae and several planets at the origin of the Rimma Trade Route. In the Outer Rim, the warlord expanded his personal empire by maintaining forces in the Atravis sector. Unlike many of the warlords who followed in his wake, Harrsk kept a watch on events beyond the Deep Core, recruiting disaffected Imperials to his side by using his reputation as a rallying point for those wishing to join the winning side. The crew of Grand Admiral Martio Batch's fleet, in particular, joined Harrsk's cause after assassinating the Grand Admiral. Harrsk also promised to protect the richer citizens of the Empire, a claim made particularly appealing by the recent loss of the planet Brentaal IV and its wealth to the Alliance's successor state, the New Republic, and one which undermined the rule of Sate Pestage, Palpatine's inheritor to the throne. At the same time, though, Harrsk kept diplomatic ties with other factions, including offering his services to Pestage.
After recovering from his injuries at Endor, Harrsk mustered Imperial forces around him and used them to stage a campaign of harassment against the New Republic. Over the next two years, as the New Republic advanced into formerly Imperial territory and dealt with the warlords one by one, Harrsk lost his holdings in the Core Worlds. In 6 ABY he aided Ysanne Isard, the new steward of the Empire, but Isard soon lost Coruscant to the New Republic and was forced to flee to Thyferra, home of the Bacta Cartel, to start her own career as a warlord. With the Cartel's military forces falling to the New Republic's elite unit Rogue Squadron, Isard was forced to trade bacta with Harrsk in exchange for replacement matériel, a fact that Harrsk lorded over her.
Imperial reunification[edit | edit source]
- "Rogue Squadron is currently heading into the Deep Core to look into the connections between Admiral Horrsk[sic] and the rumors of rogue Imperial ships forming allegiances with the warlords in that region."
- ―Report from Rogue Leader
Harrsk's mental state began to affect his decision making. As Harrsk, he would attack his competitors on a whim, and be on the verge of defeat when the Captain Thoath persona asserted itself to save the Warlord's forces from disaster. In 9 ABY, Grand Admiral Thrawn reunited several warlords into a confederation to wage war against the New Republic. Harrsk and the Deep Core warlords, however, were not among them, and remained in their holdings. After Thrawn's death, Harrsk was one of the first to be approached by agents of a new rising power on Byss—though unknown to many, it was Emperor Palpatine, resurrected into a new clone body. Harrsk, bearing the title of Supreme Warlord, pledged himself to Palpatine, apparently not remembering that the Emperor had died years before at Endor, although the Thoath persona was aware of the fact. Unifying the factions of the Empire under his banner, Palpatine launched Operation Shadow Hand against the New Republic, and Harrsk and the rest joined in driving them out of the Core. Much of Harrsk's forces were destroyed in the fighting, and the Emperor ultimately died his final death on Onderon. His capital on Byss was destroyed, and the unified Empire collapsed though Carnor Jax quickly rose to power with the backing of his Imperial Interim Ruling Council. Many of the Empire's commanders, including Harrsk, refused to follow him. Harrsk returned to his power base in the Deep Core, and rebuilt whatever he could holding on to part of the Western Core as he regrouped and planned his next move. Rumors reached the New Republic that Harrsk was allying with rogue Imperial ships, and Rogue Squadron was sent into the Deep Core to investigate.
In 12 ABY, Harrsk increased recruitment of soldiers in the Atravis sector and began moving his own troops there from the Deep Core, leading the New Republic to suspect he was preparing to take action. Several Imperial fortress worlds in the region supported him, and when Leia Organa Solo discovered that former Emperor's Hand Roganda Ismaren was using the superweapon vessel Eye of Palpatine as a bargaining chip to gain power among the Imperial factions, she suspected that Harrsk might attempt to make a deal for it. The Eye of Palpatine, however, was soon destroyed, and the Ismarens fled to Harrsk's Atravis sector anyway. Harrsk also had problems on his home front. With the fall of Byss, the Deep Core warlords had lapsed into open warfare amongst each other, and Harrsk's recent attempts to increase his own power brought him into conflict with self-styled High Admiral Treuten Teradoc, a fellow warlord of the Deep Core. By this time, Harrsk had established his base on a rocky world orbiting closely around a red giant star. Using resources Harrsk had strong-armed from surrounding systems, orbital facilities around the planet constructed for him a fleet of twelve Imperial-class Star Destroyers, including his flagship Shockwave, which was larger than the others and equipped with more and better weaponry. Harrsk kept his system monitored with a large network of holocams and spy satellites, and a good portion of his budget went towards bribing those in the employ of the other warlords to serve as his spies.
Daala[edit | edit source]
- "Do you honestly believe Warlord Harrsk has the greater interests of the Empire in mind—or is he merely interested in his personal power?"
- ―Admiral Daala, to the crew of the Firestorm
Later that year, Admiral Natasi Daala arrived at Harrsk's stronghold as part of her goodwill tour of the remaining fragments of the Empire. While her second in command Kratas was allowed aboard the Shockwave to inspect it, Harrsk had Daala brought to him in his base with a good deal of ceremony. Daala pleaded with Harrsk to agree to unification with the other warlords, so the combined Imperial fleets could turn their attention on the New Republic. Harrsk, however, had his own idea for unification; Daala would become his second in command, and they would together eliminate the opposing warlords and unify their forces under Harrsk's banner. Before they could resolve their disagreement, a fleet of seventy-three Victory-class Star Destroyers under Teradoc's Crimson Command arrived in-system. Harrsk mobilized his own Star Destroyers, destroying several of the attacking ships, and Kratas took command of the Shockwave. Teradoc's forces concentrated their fire on the flagship, and though it was able to withstand the onslaught for a time, the shields eventually gave way and the Shockwave was destroyed. With their mission accomplished, Teradoc's forces headed back to his base, leaving three of Harrsk's Star Destroyers severely damaged in addition to the destruction of the Shockwave.
Harrsk wanted to take immediate revenge on Teradoc, with Daala's assistance. Daala, angry at the loss of Kratas, refused to comply, but Harrsk ordered his stormtroopers to take her at gunpoint to his Star Destroyer and force her to lead the fleet against Teradoc. Under duress, she complied, taking command of the Firestorm as Harrsk took his own place on the Whirlwind. Wanting the element of surprise, Harrsk refused Daala time to plan, and the eight remaining vessels in his fleet hyperjumped to Teradoc's fortress world, a gas giant surrounded by an icy planetary ring. As Harrsk, Daala, and the fleet moved into the rings, bombs laid by Teradoc detonated inside the larger pieces; the fragments slammed into Harrsk's fleet, and two Star Destroyers were eliminated with one more left crippled. Harrsk was angry with Daala for losing three ships, but by this point the fleet had reached Teradoc's fortress, built into one of the larger asteroids of the ring system, and Victories poured forth to engage them. Harrsk and two other Star Destroyers opened fire on them, but Daala countermanded him, giving orders to disengage. Taking personal command of her vessel's firing systems, she fired all the ship's power through its ion cannon, into Harrsk's Whirlwind.
Harrsk's ship was dead in space, but Daala expanded the shields on the Firestorm to encompass him. Two of the remaining Star Destroyers, loyal to Harrsk, began firing on Daala. Ignoring them, Daala opened a communications channel to Harrsk and Teradoc's forces; in her address, she condemned the attacks both had inflicted on the other, explaining that she had attacked Harrsk to prevent him from continuing the conflict, and entreated both forces to unite against the common enemy of the New Republic. Harrsk was able to reactivate his own comm system and sent out his own message, accusing Daala of treason and ordering the crew of the Firestorm to arrest and execute her. Holding the Firestorm's bridge crew at bay with a blaster, Daala activated the ship's self-destruct, stating that it would kill her and Harrsk within fifteen minutes unless Harrsk gave a ceasefire order. Gilad Pellaeon, now a Vice Admiral and commander of Teradoc's forces, ordered his own side to stand down almost immediately. Harrsk, on the other hand, waited until less than minute remained before giving out the order, at which point Daala canceled the self-destruct and left the system with Pellaeon to confer.
Death and legacy[edit | edit source]
- "I have seen what remains of the Imperial starfleet. I've visited most of you in the past year, urging you to put aside your differences. Supreme Warlord Harrsk has a fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers. High Admiral Teradoc has a force of Victory-class warships. You others have blastboats, capital ships, millions upon millions of stormtroopers—unstoppable military might if we choose to use it as such! Grand Admiral Thrawn proved the Rebels have not yet managed to consolidate their own meager resources. Because of your rivalries, every one of your sectors has devoted vast resources to creating weaponry. It is time to use those resources against our real enemies instead of against each other."
"Fine words, Admiral Daala. And how do you propose that we do that?"
"By forging an alliance. If the Rebels can do it, so can we."
- ―Natasi Daala and Blitzer Harrsk at Tsoss Beacon
Daala called for a conference between Harrsk, Teradoc, and eleven more of the most powerful warlords of the Deep Core at Tsoss Beacon, a small station deep in the center of the galaxy. Harrsk and the warlords were ordered to keep their fleets outside the system, with only the individual warlords approaching the stations; after two days of disagreement, they finally all assented. The thirteen warlords assembled in a conference room on Tsoss Beacon with Daala and Pellaeon, where Daala called upon them all to unite in the name of the Empire. Teradoc and Harrsk mocked the proceedings, and when Superior General Sander Delvardus attempted to leave, Daala sealed the room with a cyberlock that would not open for three hours. Daala ordered them to choose a leader in that time. For hours the warlords argued with each other. Eventually, Harrsk leaped on Teradoc and attempted to choke him to death, only stopping when Pellaeon pulled him off and flung him to the table. Having had enough, Daala condemned the warlords, she and Pellaeon put on breath masks, and Daala flooded the room with nerve gas. Harrsk and three others attempted to rush the door to break free, but it was too late.
While the other warlords succumbed to the gas, Harrsk did not. The poison gas targeted vital centers of the brain, and the corresponding centers in Harrsk's brain had been destroyed at Endor. Daala and Pellaeon left the room, believing the warlords to be dead, allowing Harrsk to escape the room after them. Returning to his TIE shuttle, Harrsk was intent on revenging himself on Daala. As far as she was concerned, Harrsk was dead so she would not see his vengeance coming. Aboard the TIE shuttle, he hallucinated that Thoath was aboard, and relayed the story of his escape to him. The Thoath persona, inspired by Daala's action and the example of Grand Admiral Batch's crew, decided that Harrsk had to be eliminated once and for all. He sent the TIE shuttle into an uncontrolled spin; the Harrsk persona reasserted itself, and struggled for control of the ship. Eventually, Harrsk's ruined brain finally remembered that Thoath was dead, and came to the realization that he had been Thoath all along. With the truth apparent to him, Harrsk allowed the craft to impact an asteroid, killing himself.
Personality and traits[edit | edit source]
- "Nevertheless, you will follow my orders and launch an immediate attack. I don't have the time or the patience to deal with your cowardice and insubordination. If you continue to argue, I will strip you of your rank and place you in the brig."
"Very well, Supreme Warlord. With full command authority of this Star Destroyer, I will do my best to strike a blow for the Empire."
"Good. My personal Star Destroyer will remain off to the side, so as not to draw direct fire. We will confuse them by having you lead the charge. Don't let me down."
- ―Blitzer Harrsk and Natasi Daala
Blitzer Harrsk had black hair, and stood less than 1.73 meters tall. During the Battle of Endor, Harrsk's face sustained great injury, with the left half burned down to pink scar tissue and his left eye blinded. While medical technology made healing his wounds possible, Harrsk had chosen instead to leave his scars as they were, both as a badge of honor and tool of intimidation. He also had his eye replaced with a droid photoreceptor. The undamaged half of his face, however, Harrsk kept trim and neat.
Prior to his injury, Harrsk was considered to be one of the Imperial Navy's foremost tacticians. However, damage to Harrsk's frontal lobe at Endor left him with a fractured psyche, which manifested itself as a split personality. Harrsk took on two personas; one was Harrsk himself, although a cruel and maniacal version of his former self. The other was Captain Bella Thoath, Harrsk's former second-in-command who had died at Endor. The Thoath personality was more practical and rational, and balanced out Harrsk's violent tendencies. Harrsk was unaware of the split, and hallucinated Thoath's presence to validate his outlook.
Harrsk was one for elaborate formal rituals and grandiose displays of power, which Natasi Daala saw as a sign of misplaced self-importance. He considered himself the most powerful warlord and the one worthy successor to the Imperial throne, with all the others as pretenders. Despite being tired of civil war with his fellow warlords, Harrsk felt that diplomacy was not a proper method to use, and was too reminiscent of the ways of the Galactic Republic, which he considered weak. Instead, he intended to kill those he saw as traitors, expecting their soldiers to rally to his side in response. He did not take well to those who questioned his orders or methods.
When attacked, Harrsk was quick to vengeance. He sometimes forwent strategizing in favor of speed, relying on the surprise and ferocity of his attack to defeat his opponents. However, Harrsk would not take the lead in his attacks, preferring to remain in a ship at the rear and side of the formation to avoid drawing fire. Many of Harrsk's men disliked service to him, preferring the unity he would not seek over continued civil war. Gilad Pellaeon considered Harrsk a war criminal.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
While making his first appearance in Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson, Harrsk first received a brief mention in the novel immediately before it, Children of the Jedi. While it is implied in the latter novel that he is preparing to take major action against the New Republic, with an ambiguous ending of Roganda and Irek Ismaren joining him, this plot was never explored again in Darksaber. In fact, the second novel places him firmly in the Deep Core, as opposed to his plot in Children, which takes place in the Outer Rim. While this was not an explicit contradiction, The Essential Atlas confirmed that he held territory in both locations. Harrsk was finally given his first name in the 2008 compendium The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. In 2013, the second instalment of "The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire" written by Abel G. Peña and Daniel Wallace, established that Harrsk suffered from a split personality after the Battle of Endor.
Different versions of Harrsk's title as warlord exist. While Harrsk is titled "Supreme Warlord" in Darksaber, Children of the Jedi gives his self-styled title as "Lord High Admiral", and the Atlas uses only the latter title. Additionally, he is also called a Grand Admiral in Children of the Jedi. Minor contradictions exist in Harrsk's rank as of Endor as well; while The Essential Chronology, its followup, and the Atlas all state he was Admiral—thus outranking Captain Pellaeon, an important part of his backstory—The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia says he was only a captain at the time.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 28: Masquerade, Part 1 (Mentioned only as "Harsk")
- X-Wing: The Bacta War (Mentioned only as "Harssk")
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge (Mentioned only as "Harssk")
- I, Jedi (Mentioned only as "Harssk")
- N.R.I. Reports (Mentioned only as "Horrsk")
- Children of the Jedi (First mentioned)
- Darksaber (First appearance)
Sources[edit | edit source]
- The Essential Guide to Characters (Under Roganda Ismaren)
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Chronology
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
- Rebellion Era Sourcebook
- The New Essential Guide to Characters (Under Admiral Daala) (Indirect mention only)
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as Blitzer)
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Essential Reader's Companion (First pictured)
- (Picture only)
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Harrsk is described in Darksaber as being "substantially shorter" than Daala, whose height is given in The New Essential Guide to Characters.
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The New Essential Chronology
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 28: Masquerade, Part 1
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 22 ("Harrsk, Supreme Warlord Blitzer")
- X-Wing: The Bacta War
- N.R.I. Reports
- Children of the Jedi