- "I still may be the only woman to have dragged two Imperial starfighters around like boat anchors. I want that logged."
- ―Falynn Sandskimmer
Falynn Sandskimmer was a Human female from Tatooine who served as a starfighter pilot in New Republic Starfighter Command. Already a Y-wing starfighter ace but with a record marked by insubordination, she was among the first to join Wraith Squadron in 7 ABY. Sandskimmer was selected for her ground vehicle proficiency and skill in flying TIE fighters and X-wings. She was also in charge of the Wraiths' acquisitions in the event that they were away from their support crew. During her time in Wraith Squadron, Sandskimmer developed an attraction for fellow Wraith Myn Donos, but their relationship never progressed.
Sandskimmer's service in Wraith Squadron included participating in the evacuation of Folor Base and the subsequent capture of the CR90 corvette Night Caller by the Wraiths. The Night Caller was then used by the squadron for a number of covert missions against various outposts and holdings of Warlord Zsinj and Apwar Trigit while posing as the corvette's crew. These missions would ultimately climax in the Battle of Ession against the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Implacable. In this engagement, Sandskimmer flew into the Star Destroyer's hull to attack it from within, but perished when she became entrapped inside, and the Implacable crashed into a moon.
Early life and career
Sandskimmer grew up in Mos Eisley, living an impoverished life and subsisting through theft. At one unspecified point, she contracted Bunkurd Sewer Disorder from living near the broken-down sewers in Mos Eisley. She also lived an adventurous lifestyle, as Sandskimmer once attempted a canyon run in a skiff and received a broken collarbone for her troubles.
Eventually, Sandskimmer left Tatooine behind and joined up with the New Republic, entering the New Republic Defense Force as a pilot after attending the New Republic Academy. Sandskimmer began piloting BTL Y-wing starfighters, flying in combat and achieving the accomplishment of becoming an ace after scoring five aerial kills. She received two promotions to lieutenant, but these promotions were canceled owing to her chronic insubordination to officers whom she did not respect.
- "Falynn Sandskimmer knows a lot about ground vehicles, and is a Y-wing ace."
- ―Wedge Antilles
With her career at a low point, Sandskimmer was selected as a pilot candidate for a new unit, and was transported to Folor Base for an interview. Her interviewer, Wedge Antilles, was impressed with her flying ability, but noted her marks for insubordination. When she was asked about Luke Skywalker, Sandskimmer replied that she had neither met nor had any desire to meet the Jedi. To Sandskimmer, Skywalker had cast a long shadow on Tatooine pilots and set an impossible example for her to follow.
Sandskimmer performed well in the initial selection process established by Antilles, the commander of what was to be Wraith Squadron, scoring second out of the ten pilots chosen. As such, she was selected as one of the pilots in the new squadron, temporarily named Gray Squadron. With her proficiency in ground vehicles, she was also placed in charge of acquisitions until the unit obtained a support crew. For the next stage of training, Sandskimmer received the designation Gray Three. However, mere acceptance into the squadron did not indicate that they were ready for action, and Antilles continued his rigorous schedule of exercises and simulated missions.
In one mission, which had the sensors of their X-wings fail as soon as they locked onto their target, Sandskimmer, along with many other pilots, failed to score a hit on the target. However, she took it in stride, knowing that there were other missions. Afterward, she and some of the other pilots crowded around taciturn squadmate Myn Donos in the DownTime tapcafe, attempting to make him smile, and they were able to open him up to a conversation. As they talked, Sandskimmer felt that Donos's willingness to lay down his life for his friends made him a better man than some of the other pilots, belying her feelings for the Corellian. However, Donos, who was still recovering from the destruction of his command, Talon Squadron, had many emotional issues that kept him from realizing how Sandskimmer felt.
While at breakfast one day, Sandskimmer overheard the squadron's executive officer, Lieutenant Wes Janson, claim that Wedge Antilles was the best pilot ever. Sandskimmer expressed her skepticism at that announcement, claiming that Antilles was too old to be an effective pilot. In response, Antilles brought her to a pair of old repulsorlift ore haulers and challenged her to a race through a lunar fissure known as the Pig Trough. Despite all her staying neck-and-neck and even ahead of him at some points, Antilles won by landing his hauler on top of hers, pushing her vehicle back. Sandskimmer spluttered that he had cheated, but Antilles reminded her that there were no rules in combat, and she admitted that she needed to learn to cheat also.
Shortly afterwards, the fledgling squadron, newly designated as Wraith Squadron, was rushed into combat as Admiral Apwar Trigit led his Implacable to attack Folor Base. In the ensuing Battle of Folor, Sandskimmer and the rest of the Wraiths, along with another unit of RZ-1 A-wing interceptors, flew cover for the GR-75 medium transports launching from the base in an evacuation effort. The result was a dogfight between the two New Republic squadrons and a full wing of Imperial craft. Their efforts were successful, and after the last transport escaped, they jumped into hyperspace towards a rendezvous point designated Doldrums.
However, the squadron and their support shuttle the Narra were pulled out of hyperspace en route to Doldrums by the gravity well projector of a unique ambush weapon that they would later learn was called an "empion mine," which also disabled their starfighters and astromechs. Sandskimmer and most of the squadron were ordered to take cover on the nearby world of Xobome 6 to effect emergency repairs to the disabled fighters. While the world was not hospitable, it gave them a place to hide with atmosphere in which they could make repairs. Meanwhile, Antilles and demolitions expert Kell Tainer set up an ambush vehicle dubbed the Lunatic that would act as a lure for the enemy vessel they expected to arrive shortly. Sure enough, a modified CR90 corvette allied with Trigit and Warlord Zsinj, the Night Caller, arrived to investigate the explosion of the mine. The Night Caller pulled the Lunatic into its hold, unaware that Gamorrean Wraith Voort saBinring was concealed inside. As saBinring blasted his way into the ship's bridge with a chopped off laser cannon, the Wraiths in starfighters quickly destroyed the pair of TIE/LN starfighters that the Night Caller had deployed. After saBinring demanded and received the surrender of the crew, the Wraiths took over the ship and used it to get them back to New Republic lines. However, Wedge Antilles also concocted a running deception that would have the Wraiths impersonate the crew of the Night Caller as a platform to launch strikes and gather intelligence on Trigit's and Zsinj's operations.
Night Caller charade
- "Falynn, suit up. You and I are going to buzz the capital of Viamarr 4."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Falynn Sandskimmer
On one of their first missions while impersonating the crew of the Night Caller, Commander Antilles and Falynn Sandskimmer took the two TIE fighters that they had captured to fly over the capital of Viamarr 4, a poor agrarian world loosely aligned with Zsinj. The mission plan stored in the Night Caller's computers had specified nothing else for their visit to the world, but Sandskimmer and Antilles found themselves surprised when a pair of aged Z-95 Headhunters challenged them. Before the confrontation could escalate into combat, the planetary authorities ordered the Headhunters off, relieving Sandskimmer, who had not wanted to destroy the obviously amateur pilots. Sandskimmer and Antilles continued on to fly over the governmental buildings, prompting the planetary governor to contact the Night Caller. After Sandskimmer and Antilles returned to the corvette, they learned that, via former actor and current Wraith Garik Loran, the governor had wanted to discuss a partnership with Zsinj. Later, Loran would use more elaborate charades to aid in his impersonations of Captain Zurel Darillian, the former master of the Night Caller, and in other members of the ship's crew. Apparently, the warlord had been making discreet alliances with worlds in exchange for protection.
After Antilles received permission to continue with the charade, Sandskimmer spent much of her time aboard the Night Caller training in a TIE fighter simulator, hoping to amass prestige for herself by flying TIE missions alongside Antilles. However, piloting missions were not the only operations that the Wraiths performed in the guise of the Night Caller's crew.
On Xartun, Garik Loran posed as an Imperial lieutenant meeting with planetary officials, touring a manufacturing complex belonging to Zsinj. After Loran's visit was ended, Sandskimmer and the other Wraiths infiltrated the complex, planning to destroy it. While Kell Tainer planted explosives, though, they came under attack by Imperial probe droids. The Wraiths managed to destroy the droids, but the local garrison had been alerted. Converging on the vehicle hangar, Sandskimmer remotely activated a landspeeder and sent it towards a group of Imperial troops and a pair of TIE fighters that were guarding the hangar. With their distraction in place, the rest of the Wraiths clambered into a cargo skiff, which Falynn piloted out of the hangar. To defeat the TIEs, Sandskimmer rammed the cargo skiff into the first one, then had Wedge Antilles use the electromagnets attached to the cargo skiff to drag the TIE fighters along behind them. As they escaped the complex, Antilles released the two dragged starfighters into the tree line, destroying them as the Wraiths made their way back to the Narra with the facility exploding behind them.
With the successful completion of the trip to Xartun, the Wraiths continued to pose as loyal crew members of Zsinj in the Night Caller while quietly launching subterfuge missions after the corvette had left the system. Consequently, Sandskimmer participated in raids on Belthu and the M2398 system. In the latter location, the Wraiths scrambled when they were attacked by a nest of pirates operating in the system. For several tense moments, Sandskimmer and Antilles, both in TIE fighters, were the only starfighters protecting the Night Caller until the rest of the squadron could deploy their X-wings from the ship's hold. Sandskimmer helped engage a group of Uglies that boiled out of the pirate base Blood Nest, though she was unable to score an aerial kill; her target surrendered first. The Wraiths easily defeated the rest of the pirates' motley force, though Wraith Jesmin Ackbar was killed in action when she lost control of her fighter. Furthermore, Myn Donos had been rendered catatonic by the loss of his astromech, Shiner, whom Donos had come to regard as the last member of Talon Squadron. The rest of the pirates then also surrendered to Antilles, and Sandskimmer and Eurrsk Thri'ag were assigned to guard them while Antilles decided what to do with the pirates. In the end, they were transferred to the Night Caller as prisoners while the Wraiths seized the rest of their supplies.
With Donos sitting in a stupor, Sandskimmer and some of the other Wraiths devised a way to help him confront his grief before his career was terminated. Working with Loran, Tainer, and Tyria Sarkin, Sandskimmer and the others placed Donos through a simulated recreation of his squadron's destruction. As they impersonated the pilots of Talon Squadron, they told him that if he cared about his lost squadron, he would fight to avenge them and to continue living instead of wishing he was dead. After Donos swore that he cared about life, they ended the mission, igniting the ire of the Corellian pilot. However, Sandskimmer and the others were able to talk reason into him, and he was able to begin his emotional recovery process. Additionally, Donos admitted to Sandskimmer that he had been pushing her away every time that she tried to get closer to him. As he returned to his quarters to get some sleep, Sandskimmer followed him discreetly to ensure that he arrived there.
As the squadron recovered from the pirate ambush, Zsinj contacted the Night Caller, ordering them to assist Admiral Trigit in engaging the Alliance at Talasea. Prior to the attack, the corvette was scheduled to rendezvous with one of Zsinj's supply ships, the Hawkbat. Furthermore, the Night Caller was supposed to be carrying four TIE fighters; the two that the Wraiths had destroyed in the initial seizure had yet to be replaced. To these ends, the squadron planned a mission to the Imperial world of Storinal, where the Hawkbat was scheduled to stop prior to the rendezvous, to find a way to spread a contagious disease on the Hawkbat while acquiring two more fighters.
As they were inserted into Storinal, all of the Wraiths were disguised and the unit was split up according to mission tasks. Sandskimmer, saBinring, and Lieutenant Atril Tabanne of the Night Caller were disguised as bodyguards for Janson, who was posing as an expatriate senator from Bakura. Their mission was to acquire the pair of starfighters that the Wraiths would need to effect a successful deception at Talasea. With Janson's more noticeable disguise, Tabanne and Sandskimmer were chosen to do the preliminary scouting. With the initial reconnaissance completed, members from each mission group, including Sandskimmer, met at a local establishment, the Howler. She reported that there were four TIEs kept constantly ready in a nearby bunker in the spaceport. In response, Antilles ordered her to investigate the facility that evening, with Donos providing discreet cover for her with his laser rifle; he had also been a sniper in the Corellian Defense Force. Before they left the Howler, though, Kell Tainer played a joke on her by informing the establishment that she and Gamorrean Voort saBinring were celebrating their fifth wedding marker. Sandskimmer at first bristled, but saBinring pointed out that her reaction was due to her revulsion at the thought of being married to a Gamorrean. Mortified, she admitted he was right, apologized for offending saBinring, and readily accompanied him outside the bar holding hands.
That evening, Sandskimmer easily gained access to the roof of the bunker, where the door that allowed the TIE fighters to exit was located. While waiting for the door to open, she fell asleep. Awaking as it opened, she was able to see the interior of the TIE hangar, but the door began closing after she had crawled onto it. As such, she had nothing to hold onto as it finished sealing. With her only alternative to have her fingers crushed, she let go of the doors and fell off the roof to land on the ground three meters below.
Though she was unconscious for a couple of hours and suffered cuts and bruises, Sandskimmer escaped both detection and serious injury, making her way back to the hotel room where she, Janson, Tabanne, and saBinring were staying. Donos was present in the room when she returned, and he confessed that he had been worried when she fell. She assured him that she was fine, and rested for the rest of the day, as the Wraiths planned on stealing the TIEs the next evening.
For the next phase of the mission, Sandskimmer rewired a vacant cargo skimmer, programming it to jump up two meters in height to allow her, Antilles, Loran, and Tabanne to jump onto the roof of the bunker. At the same time, Wraith Hohass Ekwesh made a strafing run on the spaceport in his X-wing, drawing out two of the four TIEs and allowing the four Wraiths access to the bunker. While Loran and Tabanne dealt with the personnel in the bunker, Antilles and Sandskimmer seized the two unoccupied fighters and used them to destroy the two Imperial TIEs after Loran, posed as the fighter commander, called them back. As the rest of the Wraiths evacuated on the Narra, Ekwesh, Antilles, and Sandskimmer flew back to the Night Caller in their fighters. Despite the complications, the Wraiths had managed to acquire two fighters and infect the Hawkbat, completing their objectives.
The squadron had one final mission before the expected meeting with Trigit at Talasea. In the Todirium system, the Wraiths posed as Rogue Squadron after Loran obtained the location of one of Zsinj's facilities. They were only opposed by Ultra-Light Assault Vehicles, which they easily defeated, though Sandskimmer's fighter sustained some damage in the skirmish.
Talasea and Ession
- "Sir, I see an opportunity to do some real harm to Implacable. Request permission to enter through the hole we've made in her keel."
- ―Falynn Sandskimmer, during the Battle of Ession
Sandskimmer then participated in the Battle of Talasea, which saw Wraith Squadron and the Night Caller matched up against the corvette Constrictor and the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Provocateur. The battle was originally planned as a trap for the Star Destroyer Implacable, but Trigit discerned the ambush and held back, though he remained unaware of the true nature of the Night Caller's crew. Flying in a TIE fighter along with Antilles, Tabanne, and Janson, Sandskimmer, and her comrades focused on targeting the Constrictor. On a successive pass, Antilles and Sandskimmer caught the bow hold of the corvette as it prepared to launch its own fighters. The resulting detonation crippled the vessel, and it surrendered, while the rest of the squadron in their X-wings destroyed the Provocateur with the aid of the Night Caller.
Although the battle had heavily damaged the Night Caller, Antilles decided to use that to his effect, having Loran report to Trigit that the ship had barely survived against a New Republic trap. Additionally, Loran was able to persuade both Zsinj and Trigit to create an opportunity to set up an ambush for New Republic forces at Ession. In reality, the Wraiths were planning another engagement to defeat Trigit once and for all. The battle involved an additional three squadrons of New Republic fighters, including Rogue Squadron, dropping into the system ostensibly to attack a Zsinj-allied facility. Meanwhile, the Night Caller stayed in formation with the Implacable near one of Ession's moons, waiting for the opportunity to strike.
As the New Republic starfighters arrived, the Wraiths struck. Sandskimmer, in a TIE alongside Tabanne, saBinring, and Janson, was already launched and was escorting the Implacable when the signal to attack came. The four starfighters made a quick strafing run on the Implacable, destroying the sensor globes and the bridge of the ship, while the Wraith Squadron X-wings launching from the Night Caller overloaded the shields with a barrage of proton torpedoes. Sandskimmer continued attacking the destroyer; its own fighters had been distracted by the other New Republic starfighters. During the battle, her wingman, Tabanne, was disabled by enemy fire, leaving Sandskimmer to press the attack. As the Wraiths concentrated their fire on the ship's power cells, Sandskimmer hit upon the idea to fly into the interior of the damaged ship and attack it from within. She suggested it to Antilles, who refused her order. Regardless, she pretended not to hear him and flew into the ship to attack it. Once inside, she inflicted significant damage to the Star Destroyer, aided by Wraith Eurrsk Thri'ag, who had followed her in. However, while the two Wraiths were successful in destroying the main power cells and dooming the Implacable, they had to escape the ship before it crashed into Ession's moon. Sandskimmer found that her fighter was caught on something, trapping her inside the ship. She ordered Thri'ag to leave the vessel, but his fighter was destroyed by a turbolaser emplacement. As the Implacable fell, Sandskimmer knew she had no chance of escape and warned the other Wraiths not to attempt to rescue her, even firing her laser cannons to keep them from a futile exercise and similar fate as she would soon experience. She died when the Implacable hit the moon.
Sandskimmer was mourned by her squadron after the battle, which the New Republic ultimately won. In particular, her death affected Myn Donos for months afterward. Her callsign, Wraith Three, was later assumed by Wes Janson.
Personality and traits
Falynn Sandskimmer was considered a talented fighter pilot by her peers, but she had difficulties relating to others in her units. She was wont to disrespect authority figures whom she felt were incompetent and had issues with her self-worth. This was largely what led her to recruitment into Wraith Squadron, as her career was nearly finished. Sandskimmer, often feeling overshadowed by the legacy of Tatooine native Luke Skywalker, sought to be the best at something or strive to perform an innovative, unique deed. She felt that she could never achieve first place in anything as she was regarded as second-place in piloting TIEs, second place in bypassing security systems, and Donos's casual rejection of her advances only contributed to her lack of self esteem. Her fixation with an accomplishment that only she could profess doing indirectly led to her death when she disobeyed orders to attack the Implacable from the interior.
She could also be proud of her abilities, even going so far as to profess equality in skill with X-wing ace Wedge Antilles. However, Antilles later proved the error of this claim, and she admitted that he had won, though with the caveat that Antilles performed unfairly. Sandskimmer did admit when she was in the wrong, though quite reluctantly. Her commanding officers considered her volatile, and she was known to vent her frustrations in the midst of combat.
During her time in Wraith Squadron, Falynn Sandskimmer developed an attraction for fellow Wraith Myn Donos, feeling that she understood the solitary Corellian pilot. Initially, though, Donos was unresponsive. However, after eventually confronting and dealing with emotional issues related to the destruction of Talon Squadron, his previous command, Donos began warming up to Sandskimmer instead of pushing her away. Before their relationship could truly progress, Sandskimmer was killed in the Battle of Ession. Her death pained Donos for some time afterwards, as he knew she had loved him, but he had never taken the time to develop the relationship further.
Skills and abilities
- "She's actually moving that bucket around pretty well. She was probably a pretty hot stick back on Tatooine."
- ―Myn Donos
Sandskimmer was a competent starfighter pilot, and well versed in flying X-wings, Y-wings, and TIE fighters, though not on par with luminaries such as Wedge Antilles. She was already an ace in the Y-wing before she trained to become an X-wing starfighter pilot with the Wraiths. During the Night Caller charade, she further honed her skills in a TIE fighter, employing them on several missions.
Due to her rough upbringing on Tatooine, she was also a proficient scout, though not as capable as fellow Wraith Tyria Sarkin. Sandskimmer's particular area of expertise on the ground lay in the area of piloting and controlling ground vehicles; she was familiar with any number of models and could reprogram or activate them using little more than a datapad. Once in control of a vehicle, she could successfully execute maneuvers that some other pilots considered daredevil. This expertise also meant that she was proficient in bypassing security systems.
Behind the scenes
Falynn Sandskimmer was first created by Aaron Allston for his novel X-Wing: Wraith Squadron. Aside from brief mentions in other books by Allston, Sandskimmer has only appeared elsewhere in articles about Wraith and Rogue Squadrons.
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron (First appearance)
- X-Wing: Iron Fist (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Solo Command (Mentioned only)
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron"—Star Wars Insider 59
- Wraith Squadron"—Star Wars Gamer 9 "
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia