- "I tried so hard just to be Lara. But they wouldn't let me. The whole universe wouldn't let me."
- ―Gara Petothel
Gara Petothel, also known as Lara Notsil and Kirney Slane, was an Imperial Intelligence spy who defected to the New Republic during a covert mission as a pilot with Wraith Squadron. A Human female from Coruscant, Petothel served as an Imperial Intelligence agent for nearly 15 years, during which time she assumed several different names and identities. Upon the supposed death of Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard in 7.5 ABY, Petothel switched her allegiance to Zsinj, a warlord who went rogue in an attempt to gain control over fragments of the Galactic Empire. While undercover aboard a New Republic frigate, she provided Admiral Apwar Trigit with information that led to the destruction of Talon Squadron, a New Republic starfighter squadron. She then worked as an intelligence analyst for Trigit aboard Implacable, his Imperial-class Star Destroyer. During the Battle of Ession, Petothel secretly provided information to the New Republic that led to Trigit's death after the admiral decided to sacrifice his ship and over 35,000 crew members rather than surrender.
To avoid arrest following the battle, she posed as an innocent farmgirl from Aldivy named Lara Notsil. She intended to return to service under Warlord Zsinj, but was first approached by Wraith Squadron pilots Garik "Face" Loran and Ton Phanan, who promised her a spot in one of Commander Wedge Antilles' squadrons if she helped them expose the black market ring of New Republic Colonel Atton Repness. After exposing Repness, Notsil joined the ranks of Wraith Squadron, which she planned to betray to Zsinj. However, after flying with the squadron and bonding with the fellow pilots, Notsil realized much of her Imperial Intelligence teachings about the treachery of the New Republic were lies and propaganda. She found that she wanted to remain with the squadron and the New Republic.
She attempted to feed false information to Zsinj and keep her true identity a secret from the Wraiths; she even developed a romantic relationship with Myn Donos, the sole survivor from Talon Squadron. However, attempts by Zsinj to reconnect with Petothel sparked a severe identity crisis stemming from her many years of adopting and discarding multiple names and personalities. Her past was eventually discovered and exposed by Loran, which forced her to flee from Wraith Squadron. Along with her R2 droid, Tonin, Petothel returned to service with Zsinj and was given a post on Iron Fist, his Executor-class flagship. She developed a plan to destroy Iron Fist and Zsinj by having Tonin capture and reprogram hundreds of MSE-6 mouse droids to sabotage the ship. The New Republic triumphed over the Iron Fist during the Battle of Selaggis thanks to her assistance, and the loss set into motion Zsinj's eventual defeat at the hands of General Han Solo. She faked her death during that battle and submitted a secret message to Myn Donos proposing to rekindle their relationship. The crucial role she played in Zsinj's demise remained unknown among the people of the galaxy.
Upbringing on Coruscant
- "You must become your role."
- ―Anonymous Imperial Intelligence trainers
Gara Petothel was born on Coruscant to parents Dalls Petothel and Edallia Monotheer, two Imperial Intelligence agents during the first years of the New Order. She was close with her mother and father, and with them shared a deep feeling of trust and belonging that would be lacking in her developing and adult years. As a youth, Petothel enjoyed some carefree moments, learning such dances as the Alderaanian waltz and watching many holovids starring child star Garik "Face" Loran, developing a childhood crush on the young actor. As a member of the higher Coruscanti social class, she learned Coruscant Charm Signing, a method of body language that conveyed signs and intent.
Petothel dreamed of becoming a starfighter pilot since her early childhood, but her parents and their Imperial superiors recognized her talents for intelligence work even from an early age. Petothel possessed a trick memory that allowed her to permanently remember facts, trivia and statistical information, although her ability to recall faces was less efficient. She also demonstrated a powerful ability to read people and an unusual control over her own emotions; her ability to cry and stop crying on command particularly delighted Imperial officials. Almost immediately, she was being groomed to follow in her parents' career path as an officer in the Bureau of Imperial Intelligence.
She was also raised learning long-standing Imperial doctrines and traditions, including Humanocentric speciesism; although she allowed affection for certain members of alien species, like household servants or lowly merchants, Petothel otherwise believed strongly in the basic superiority of humans. In addition, she was taught to distrust the Rebel Alliance; teachers described Rebel soldiers and pilots as little more than undisciplined, unrestrained mad dogs with no regard for law and order. She was also taught to believe Rebel ideologies of individual freedoms were little more than simplistic and unrealistic propaganda.
During Petothel's early teen years around 8 BBY, Dalls Petothel and Edallia Monotheer were arrested for unspecified charges of treason and executed. Imperials records indicated the pair funneled Imperial Intelligence information to anti-Imperial factions on Chandrila; years later, however, New Republic Intelligence Service officials would conclude Petothel and Monotheer had nothing to do with the Rebel Alliance and the charges were likely fabricated to provide an excuse for persecuting Petothel and Monotheer for a less significant offense.
The now-orphaned Gara Petothel experienced mixed emotions at the sudden, disgraceful arrests and deaths of her parents, switching repeatedly between hating and missing them. The lack of information and explanation about their execution further denied her any sense of closure. It was during this time Petothel was officially indoctrinated into the Imperial Intelligence Agency, which also removed any official documentation of her connection to Dalls Petothel and Edallia Monotheer from their records. Petothel threw herself into her Intelligence training, learning eagerly and demonstrating great loyalty so as to keep her mind off the deaths of her parents and avoid any such fate for herself.
Imperial Intelligence training
- "Let Gara go. All today, you'll be Kirney."
- ―Anonymous Imperial Intelligence trainers
Gara Petothel underwent an intense and ultimately traumatizing education at the hands of anonymous Imperial instructors. She was taught only to retain practical information or information significant toward her missions and Imperial service, and to push from her mind anything with personal or sentimental attraction, such as memories or emotional attachments. As such, she failed to remember the names, personalities or physical appearances of her teachers; in later years, she would only recall them as shadows silhouetted by lights behind them.
Petothel was taught how to create new identities for herself and pose in various roles in order to fulfill assignments as a spy. She was trained to plant triggers deep in her mind in order to activate a new identity, then to bury that same identity once her objections were accomplished. Once the identity was abandoned, she was also expected to shed any personal connections or memories she may have developed while living that life. Petothel was taught to scrape away everything that did not pertain to her current mission; she was forced to abandon the concepts of friendship and trust, and forbidden even from talking with anyone who did not fall within her mission parameters.
She was also taught to abandon any negative connotations of the concept of treachery, and instead focus on efficiency. Petothel learned to abandon her scruples and personal honor in order to do whatever was necessary to complete her mission. She was also taught that Rebels would do the same in order to defeat the Empire, furthering the propagandistic lessons she had learned about the Rebel Alliance from an early age. These lessons, combined with the impersonal and overwhelming teaching style of her instructors, afforded Petothel no sense of personal attention or belonging to a group; with no basis for comparison, however, she felt no longing for these things, and would not realize the extent to which the training damaged her until years later.
She proved to become an Imperial Intelligence prodigy. Her trick memory, ability to control her own emotions and skills at manipulating others made her ideal for covert assignments. Petothel's youthful wish to become a starfighter pilot became reignited during basic pilot training, and she requested a permanent transfer to the Imperial Naval Academy. Although her instructors believed piloting was a valuable side skill, they rejected the transfer, believing her intelligence-related skills were greater and more valuable. Her primary training focused on infiltrating the enemy, getting their secrets back to her superiors and sabotaging data the enemy possessed.
Upon completion of her training, Gara Petothel was assigned her first practice role under the identity of Kirney Slane, a Coruscanti student of economics and the daughter of a fictional hotelier. She was given no significant mission or task as Slane, but simply ordered to pose as a member of Coruscant's middle society in order to test and hone her skills as a spy under an assumed name and identity. Under the guise of her first new identity, Petothel flirted with Imperial officer candidates and chatted with the spouses of the married men. She attended dances, pretending her ultimate motive was to find and marry a promising officer. She mastered the small talk of the social class and lost herself in Slane's carefree personality. But once the usefulness of Kirney Slane as a training tool ended, Petothel was pulled from the assignment and, as her training mandated, was forbidden to assume the name, manner or mentality again. Her training now complete, Imperial Intelligence officials began giving Petothel assignments of far greater importance.
Destruction of Talon Squadron
Gara Petothel assumed many different names and identities over the next several years in her service to the Galactic Empire. Following the death of Emperor Palpatine at the Battle of Endor, she continued to serve in the Empire under Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard. Under her command, Petothel infiltrated the New Republic Fleet Command and posed as a New Republic Intelligence Service operative and code slicer under the name Chyan Mezzine. Mezzine was eventually assigned a post as a communications officer and mission coordinator aboard the New Republic Frigate Mother Sea. She was serving on that ship in 7 ABY when Isard was supposedly killed during the Battle of Thyferra, the final conflict of the Bacta War; her controller, the only contact between Petothel and the Empire, also died along with the rest of Isard's support staff during that battle.
Realizing Isard's death would lead to further fracturing among the Empire, Petothel decided to switch her allegiance to Warlord Zsinj, a former high-ranking Imperial officer who had gone rogue and was fighting for control of the remnants of the Empire. She offered her services to Admiral Apwar Trigit, who also defected to Zsinj after Isard's death. He eagerly accepted, and Petothel transmitted a significant amount of New Republic data to Trigit, including information about Talon Squadron, one of several new New Republic X-wing starfighter squadrons. Under Trigit's direction, Petothel set into motion a plan to destroy to the newly created squadron.
Petothel falsely marked the uninhabited Gravan system as having been recently secured by New Republic Intelligence. This allowed Trigit to lure Talon Squadron into the system using what appeared to be a lone TIE interceptor with no hyperspace-capable starships in its vicinity. The squadron followed the lone starfighter into Gravan Seven, where an ambush claimed the lives of 11 of the squadron's 12 pilots; only Brevet Captain Myn Donos, the squadron leader, escaped the trap alive, although he was severely traumatized by the assault. The attack resulted in the decommission of the squadron.
Aware that the destruction of Talon Squadron would lead to an investigation into the intelligence leak, Trigit arranged for Petothel to abandon the Chyan Mezzine identity and rendezvous with him aboard Implacable, his Imperial-class Star Destroyer. Petothel covered her tracks sufficiently enough that her true identity was not discovered until after she left Mother Sea. New Republic Intelligence officials did eventually discover, however, that Chyan Mezzine was in fact Imperial Intelligence agent Gara Petothel. An arrest warrant was issued for Petothel and a bulletin was circulated among the New Republic military branches.
Service under Admiral Trigit
- "Good work, Petothel. You've probably saved us a considerable pounding."
- ―Apwar Trigit
In 7.5 ABY, Petothel was assigned a commission as a data analyst on the crew pit of the Implacable's bridge, working directly under Trigit. She soon because one of Trigit's favorite officers based on her intelligence and performance, and the admiral even developed a physical attraction for Petothel and considered eventually proposing a sexual affair. Petothel took notice of his affections but made no attempt to return them. Nevertheless, she held a feeling of respect for Trigit, knowing that Isard, known for her impulsive ruthlessness, might have preferred to let Petothel die rather than risk bringing her back from Mother Sea as Trigit had.
However, Petothel decided to design a contingency plan in case her service under Trigit failed to work out. In researching the admiral, she discovered Aldivy, an agriworld in the Outer Rim Territories. Trigit bombarded New Oldtown, an Aldivy farming community, and killed nearly all of its residents after they failed to provide him with supplies. Among the dead were Lara Notsil, a farmgirl of whom very little official records existed. Petothel replaced pictures, fingerprints, cellular coding and other record data for Notsil with that of her own, essentially taking the identity for herself. She studied the planet on Imperial surveys and other publicly available data, as well as the Aldivian accent, teaching herself to speak only bare traces of it in order to keep up the guise of a farmgirl who always longed to leave her home planet.
After conducting her own secret research on Implacable, Petothel illegally gained access to Trigit's personal headquarters and discovered his secret personal escape pod. She devised a plan in which, in the event of Implacable's downfall, she would pose as Notsil and claim to have been kidnapped by the admiral after the New Oldtown bombardment and forced to serve as his unwilling mistress, kept in a state of submission by glitterstim and other drugs. She memorized HoloNet addresses that would allow her to reestablish communication with Zsinj, and stashed away a stolen pair of expensive lingerie, several datacards with other alternate identities and make-up in order to change her appearance if needed. Although she had no intention of using the Lara Notsil identity except in the case of an emergency, she resolved to make as little contact with Implacable crew as possible so they could not identify her in the event of New Republic capture.
Petothel quickly proved herself a valuable asset to Trigit, who immediately tasked her with analyzing information gathered by Morrt-class parasite-droids, small, box-shaped droids that attached themselves to the hulls of New Republic starships and tracked their movements as part of Trigit's Project Morrt. The data led Trigit to attack a New Republic starfighter training base on Folor, but just as the battle began, it was Petothel who analyzed the planetary data and determined the location of mining facilities most suitable for New Republic occupation were on the exact opposite side of the moon from where the base reportedly stood. From this analysis, Trigit was able to determine that beacons and other electronics were activated remotely by Wraith Squadron, the New Republic's newest starfighter squadron, in a deliberate attempt to draw the Imperials away from the base. Although the successful tactic prevented Trigit from inflicting as much damage as possible, it was Petothel's intelligence work that allowed him to turn his attention and resources back to the actual base.
A few weeks later, Petothel made a similar discovery in her analysis that saved Implacable and its crew from capture or destruction at the Battle of Talasea. As Trigit's fleet was in hyperspace en route to Talasea, a planet in the Morobe system where Project Moort information indicated survivors from Folor Base had congregated, Petothel analyzed the data and discovered almost all of it was coming from the same Morrt droid units. This indicated Project Morrt had been compromised and their information deliberately falsified. Petothel notified Trigit that the fleet was heading for a trap, allowing the admiral to drop his flagship from hyperspace prematurely. The quick action furthered Petothel's standing with Trigit, even though the discovery came too late to save other ships in the fleet, including the escort frigate Provocateur and corvette Constrictor, from the ambush orchestrated by Wraith Squadron.
Betraying Admiral Trigit
- "Let Trigit remember me as a willing sacrifice. Let him regret an affair he wanted but never had time for. Let him think whatever he wants. He'll be dead in ten minutes. How dare he? Thirty seven thousand men and women."
- ―Lara Notsil's thoughts
Petothel last served under Trigit at the Battle of Ession, an attempt to use the Pakkerd Light Transport on Ession as bait to destroy New Republic starfighter forces, including Rogue and Wraith Squadrons. Implacable was quickly placed on the defense, however, when the battle proved to be a trap designed by Wraith Squadron to eliminate the Star Destroyer. Petothel demonstrated her usual skill and usefulness during the initial stages of the battle, such as when she accurately determined and reported to Trigit that Red Feathers, an old container ship, was actually a disguised delivery mechanism for sending three starfighter squadrons and Katarn Commandos to the planet's surface.
Implacable's shield generator domes and bridge transparisteel viewport were destroyed during the battle due to fire from Atril Tabanne, a former Imperial TIE pilot leading Wraith Squadron's TIE contingent. While most of the bridge deck crew were sucked into space, Petothel was among the minority, including Trigit, who crawled their way through the bridge into the safety of the ship's security foyer. As the crew struggled to continue operating the ship, Petothel was forced to assume some of the duties of her fallen crew members, including coordinating the fleet's TIE squadrons for the battle. As she performed these tasks, Petothel discovered that something had infiltrated the Implacable's power cells and was methodically destroying them. Although she did not realize the source of this destruction was Wraith pilot Falynn Sandskimmer, she correctly deduced that the action would ultimately lead to the ship's destruction.
Petothel reported this information to Trigit and advised surrendering in order to save the 35,000 crew members. However, the admiral refused to allow the New Republic to capture and use his flagship, and instead opted to sacrifice both the ship and its crew. Trigit himself, however, planned to escape via his personal, hyperspace-capable TIE interceptor, and offered Petothel one of its two escort interceptors so she could save herself. Inwardly, Petothel was furious that Trigit would allow thousands of loyal soldiers to die, and disgusted at the lack of personal honor in secretly acting to save himself while his crew sacrificed themselves. Although taught to disregard personal honor, Petothel consciously decided to orchestrate Trigit's death due to his lack of honor.
She pretended to be unable to pilot a starfighter and told Trigit she would rather die with the rest of the crew than risk New Republic capture. The admiral felt a genuine sense of loss for Petothel, but nevertheless activated the ship's self-destruct mechanism. Once Trigit fled, however, Petothel secretly transmitted a message to the New Republic informing them of the admiral's escape attempt. Thanks to Petothel's information, Trigit and his escorts were killed by Myn Donos, now serving as a Wraith pilot, and General Edor Crespin, former Folor Base commander.
Petothel also transmitted a message to the Implacable's crew informing them of the ship's imminent destruction and ordering them to abandon ship, saving thousands of lives. Finally, she retrieved her Lara Notsil disguise and identity and went to Trigit's now-unguarded personal chambers. After putting on the lingerie and disguising herself as the admiral's unwilling mistress, she injected herself with enough drugs to give herself the appearance of a prisoner, but a small enough amount to keep herself clear-headed enough to fulfill her deception. She then used Trigit's private escape pod to flee Implacable just before its destruction.
Approach by Wraith Squadron
Gara Petothel was presumed dead and officially declared among those killed aboard Implacable in New Republic records. In fact, Petothel, now under the identity of Lara Notsil, ended up in a military hospital on Borleias, a planet in the Pyria system where the New Republic established a fighter training base. During previous missions as an Imperial Intelligence spy, Petothel distanced herself from any Rebel staff members, but her days in the hospital was the first time she spent actually interacting with New Republic personnel. She found they were different from the undisciplined, unrestrained people she was taught they were during her training, but she believed this was due to recuperating from serious injuries and thought little of it. One of the people Notsil met during her hospitalization was Ton Phanan, a doctor and pilot of Wraith Squadron who lost his spleen during the Battle of Ession. The two spoke for some time and Phanan became smitten with Lara Notsil.
Notsil was soon transferred to Coruscant for further debriefing. She provided a significant amount of information about Apwar Trigit, including scandalous, fictional details of her captivity and Trigit's horrible mistreatment of her. She pretended to be severely damaged and traumatized by Trigit, and used her lingering anger with him for sacrificing his crew to feed her performance. The New Republic interrogators believed everything she told them and, whereas most Implacable survivors became military prisoners after their escape, Notsil was released without being charged with any crimes.
Upon her release, Petothel had every intention of shedding the Lara Notsil identity and reentering service under Warlord Zsinj as soon as possible. She rented an inexpensive and inconspicuous warren in the fortieth floor of a Coruscanti building and took a job as an information processor for a shipping company. During her brief time in the job, she was able to accumulate a great deal of information about different worlds, companies and planetary officials, but the main purpose of her employment was to gain HoloNet access. She reprogrammed both Imperial and Rebel records to provide incorrect information about Gara Petothel, then designed a code program that would allow her to send New Republic data to Zsinj without leaving any trace that it came from her.
Before establishing contact with Zsinj, however, she was visited at her Coruscant dwelling by Phanan and fellow Wraith pilot Garik "Face" Loran, the child star she had been infatuated with in her youth. The two Wraiths were seeking to disrupt the illegal activities of Colonel Atton Repness, a New Republic training officer who manipulated test scores of struggling pilots, then blackmailed them into helping him steal starfighters and equipment, which he sold on the black market. Since Repness specifically targeted attractive female pilots, Phanan recalled Notsil from his time in the hospital and felt she would be perfect for the job; Phanan also knew she still harbored aggression toward Trigit, and felt it could be channeled against the corrupt colonel. Loran and Phanan asked to sponsor Notsil for pilot training, where she was to perform poorly on purpose and catch Repness in the act when he approached her.
Notsil immediately saw an opportunity to infiltrate one of Wedge Antilles' pilot squadrons, thus giving her the chance to either provide sensitive information to Zsinj or to kill the famed commander, either of which would increase her standing in the warlord's eyes. Notsil initially refused Phanan's and Loran's request, insisting that she had dreamed of becoming a pilot ever since operating farm skimmers on Aldivy, and that taking this job would brand her a traitor and ruin her chances of becoming a New Republic pilot. In response, the two Wraith pilots promised her the chance to join one of Antilles' squadrons, just as she hoped. She agreed to the task, and Loran began the process of entering her into pilot training.
Phanan and Loran later explained the scheme to Antilles, who disliked the idea but agreed to allow it, under the condition that he would not accept Notsil into one of his squadrons unless she passed his own evaluation and lived up to his standards, both for pilot skills and character. Simultaneously, Notsil contacted Warlord Zsinj and offered her covert services to him, informing him she expected to soon gain access to Antilles as one of his pilots. Zsinj, vaguely familiar with Gara Petothel through her work with Trigit, expressed interest in her services, but did not discount the possibility that she had been captured and was being used by the New Republic to flush him out and capture him. He ordered Melvar, his top general, to research Petothel, independently verify her information and learn her real loyalties before committing any resources to her.
Exposing Atton Repness
- "Careful as always, aren't we, Atton?"
"You'll address me as Colonel Repness and show respect."
"I'll address you as Colonel Bantha Sweat and show you whatever I want."
- ―Lara Notsil and Atton Repness
Lara Notsil trained under Captain Sormic, who nicknamed her "Deadstick Notsil" due to her poor abilities and test scores. She deliberately performed far below her actual abilities, and she was surprised to realize she was secretly bothered by the fact that she wasn't able to do as well as she could. Although she could fly better than most of her classmates, Notsil would fall into traps she knew were coming and make mistakes that she would never make as a real pilot. Sormic suggested she switch her concentration to astronautics or communications, where she earned excellent scores, but Notsil insisted she wanted to be a pilot. Unbeknownst to the captain, Notsil reprogrammed one of the simulation machines not to record her performance, and would repeat her simulations to great success when nobody was watching.
Although she was trained to consider her classmates enemies, Notsil found herself becoming charmed by their kindness and enthusiasm. Some of the students, like her group leader Lowan, insulted her to the point that she imagined vaporizing them in a dogfight. But others, like her Sullustan wingmate Lussatte were so kind that she dreaded the thought of one day fighting them. Lussatte in particular challenged her prior teachings, which taught her that aliens were inferior to humans. Notsil nevertheless tried to shake these lingering doubts and concentrate on her mission for Zsinj.
As expected, Atton Repness transferred Notsil to his Screaming Wookiee Squadron, a remedial Y-wing training squad considered by most pilots as a "last resort" for pilots on the verge of washing out. She trained aboard the Nebulon-B frigate Tedevium, where her scores began to improve, although she knew this was owed to Repness manipulating her simulation results. Notsil also continued involuntarily bonding with such fellow students as Bickey, an eager and boyish young pilot far unlike any TIE pilot candidates she had ever known.
Shortly after her arrival, Notsil broke into Repness's private office and discovered his cylindrical comlink-like device, which he used to detect and block any nearby listening devices or eavesdropping equipment. She altered the device so it would instead record conversations and send them to a secret account in the Tedevium's main computer, which she could later access herself. Two days later, Petothel was summoned by Repness, who used the device and unwittingly recorded their conversation. Repness revealed that he had been altering her scores and informed Notsil about his black market operation and offered to continue improving her scores if she agreed to take an A-wing on a simple training mission at an uninhabited planet and fake the starfighter's destruction. Repness would then sell the intact A-wing on the black market.
The rigged recorder picked up far more evidence against Repness than she expected, including conversations with subordinates like training Captain Teprimal about how to hide and sell the stolen A-wing. The paranoid colonel even used the device when working alone at his computer terminal and, due to his tendency to speak aloud, the recordings included passwords and secret account names that gave Notsil access to evidence about all his stolen Tedevium goods and meetings with fellow conspirators.
Based on her positive experiences with the other candidates, Lara Notsil decided not to expose Repness's other pilots and ruin their careers. She destroyed any evidence specifically about the pilots even though she knew doing it would have inflicted damage to the New Republic, her sworn enemy. Rather than contact Loran and Phanan and reveal that they had set up Repness, she instead submitted the recordings, accounts and passwords to Director of New Republic Intelligence Airen Cracken in a secret message signed by a mysterious (and fictional) code slicer named White Lancer.
Once the message was sent, Notsil confronted Repness, who threatened to end her flying career, Notsil said she would rather suffer that fate than live without honor, and she was surprised to realize she truly believed it, despite her Imperial Intelligence training to forget such notions as honor. Repness attacked Notsil, drugged her and made her a prisoner in the Tedevium's infirmary. He planned to modify her records to give her the pattern of a compulsive liar, so that her claims about his black market scheme would appear to be a lie she concocted after failing out of pilot training.
Notsil's message reached Cracken, however, and the New Republic Intelligence Service placed Repness under arrest before he could inflict any more harm upon Notsil. Notsil told the officials confronting Repness that he helped her work through some of the psychological issues she continued to suffer since the destruction of her Aldivy farm colony and asked for a second chance in her pilot training.
Assignment to Wraith Squadron
- "Rogues, Wraiths, I'd like to introduce you to Lara Notsil, newest pilot in Wraith Squadron. She hasn't seen any action yet, but she's already brought down a black-market ring operating on a New Republic training frigate. That's a pretty good start."
- ―Wedge Antilles
Her trainers agreed to put Notsil through an advanced training regiment, during which Notsil no longer held back her true piloting abilities. She did so well that even averaging her old scores with her new scores, she not only qualified as a pilot but was eligible for one of Wedge Antilles' elite starfighter squadrons. She put in for a transfer to Rogue or Wraith Squadron and, although both were at full capacity, Antilles accepted her to the latter squad to boost their compliment of snubfighters aboard the Mon Calamari Cruiser Mon Remonda. Edor Crespin, the new commander of the Tedevium, gave Repness's personal X-wing to Notsil as an act of poetic justice against the disgraced colonel. He also gave her Tonin, Repness's R2-series astromech droid, a top-of-the-line model brand new from the factory.
Notsil immediately notified Zsinj of her assignment, and the warlord ordered her to deliver the Mon Remonda's course and schedule. He planned to use Notsil to kill Han Solo, the famed New Republic general who was using Mon Remonda as the flagship of Solo Fleet, a task force for hunting down Zsinj. The fleet included both Rogue and Wraith Squadrons, so Notsil would be particularly close to Zsinj's greatest enemies. If she was successful in this task, Zsinj planned to give her any position she wanted, including command of his own flagship, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Iron Fist.
Notsil was transferred to the Mon Remonda as a temporary third member of an existing X-wing pair with Antilles and Loran. She was assigned the call sign Wraith Thirteen and shared quarters with Tyria Sarkin. Notsil did her best to appear friendly and made jokes in order to fit in with the fellow pilots, although she planned to resist bonding with them, as she had in all her previous missions. Antilles confided in his squadrons Notsil's part in exposing Repness.
- "I can live without flying. I can't live without honor."
- ―Lara Notsil
Lara Notsil's first mission with Wraith Squadron was the Battle of Lavisar. Zsinj had been leaking what New Republic Intelligence believed was false information that the warlord controlled the neutral planet of Lavisar in an attempt to draw the New Republic to attack it, allowing Zsinj to come to the planet's defense and be viewed by Lavisar as a hero. The Wraiths were to stage a purposefully unsuccessful assault on the planet and then withdraw. Notsil was familiar with Lavisar from her job as an information processor on Coruscant. She informed Antilles that Carmal, governor of Lavisar, enjoyed sunfruit liqueur and suggested presenting it to him as a gift, impressing the squadrons with her trick memory and making the first of many intelligence- and planning-related contributions to Wraith missions. Immediately upon meeting the Rogue and Wraith Squadron pilots, Notsil was surprised to see they were not the wild and unrestrained as she had previously been taught, and found Antilles trusted her in a way her Imperial superiors never had. She began to suspect that Imperial evaluations of the New Republic and its staff were either wrong or purposefully propagandized, but she nevertheless tried to ban such treasonous thoughts from her mind.
During the Battle of Lavisar, Lara Notsil realized Zsinj was a dishonorable man and switched her allegiances to the New Republic. The mission proved to provide many internal conflicts for Notsil. First, Notsil considered gunning down both Loran and Antilles, the latter of which she knew would do tremendous damage to New Republic morale. Although her Imperial Intelligence training would have encouraged her to take the shot, Notsil decided shooting them in cold blood would be too dishonorable, especially given the fact that Antilles and his pilots had already demonstrated respect and trust for her in their short time together. As the Wraiths approached Lavisar, Notsil had Tonin scan normal Imperial frequencies, and overheard chatter among TIE pilots about an Imperial garrison moving from a lunar station to intercept the Wraiths. Notsil briefly considered allowing the Imperials to ambush the Wraiths, but instead informed Antilles about the impending attack, allowing the squadron to better prepare for the ambush.
Notsil particularly dreaded the idea of facing her fellow Imperials in battle, and wondered whether destroying some of the TIEs would hurt her standing with Zsinj. However, upon confirmation that Lavisar was indeed independent and Zsinj was trying to trick the New Republic into attacking it, Notsil realized Zsinj was equally dishonorable and treacherous as Apwar Trigit when he opted to sacrifice his crew. When the time came to engage against the TIEs, Notsil ultimately decided she could never serve Zsinj or the Galactic Empire again. She shot one of the Imperial pilots down; her internal conflict over the action was further perpetuated by the fact that Tonin had not stopped monitoring the Imperial frequencies and she actually heard the slain Imperial scream.
After the successful mission, Notsil returned to the Mon Remonda and was embraced and congratulated by her fellow pilots. Among them, she felt a sense of belonging that she had not previously felt since before the deaths of her parents, and realized in that moment that she wished to remain with Wraith Squadron. She decided to try to remain within the identity of Lara Notsil and forget her previous life as Gara Petothel. This marked the first time Gara Petothel became personally attached to one of the identities she had assumed, and it caused her to have dreams in which Petothel and Notsil argued with each other as if they were two separate people.
Crisis of identity
- "Hello, Lara. I don't imagine you ever thought you'd hear from me again."
- ―Tavin Notsil
Over the course of the next few days, Lara Notsil became further addicted to the feeling of trust she got from her squadmates and, although she still felt tense and out of place herself, the Wraiths found her quick-witted and good company. Wedge Antilles took notice of her abilities both in flying, planning and her ability to work with other pilots, and placed her high on his list for prospective lieutenant candidates. "Face" Loran, an expert in body language and mannerisms, noticed she seemed to lack any affection for the life she lost of Aldivy, and occasionally spotted Notsil adopting a Coruscanti posture that betrayed her supposed farmgirl background. Loran thought little of the observation and guessed Trigit might have trained her to walk that way in an attempt to control her, but it was the first time he deduced that Notsil was far more troubled that her fellow Wraiths realized.
By now, General Melvar had verified Gara Petothel's previous message to Warlord Zsinj, but was having difficulty finding a way to contact her. He eventually discovered Tavin Notsil, the brother of the real-life Lara Notsil from which Petothel created her false identity. Tavin Notsil was a criminal who was supposed to be in New Oldtown's jail during Trigit's bombardment, but had made arrangements with the town constable to leave the city before the farming community was destroyed. Melvar contacted Tavin and hired him to record a hologram message for Gara Petothel.
Lara Notsil received the message from Tavin, who pretended to have recently learned she was alive and asked her to return to Aldivy to meet with him. Since the family photos in the background included Gara Petothel's face, not the real Lara Notsil, she realized this meant the message was a probe from Zsinj and that her identity as Lara Notsil was no longer safe. In an uncharacteristic lack of self-control, Notsil suffered an identity crisis in her mind that was so severe, it took her a few moments to remember whether she was actually Gara Petothel or Lara Notsil. It was the first time she realized the extent to which her Imperial Intelligence trainers had damaged her psyche.
Once she recovered, Notsil decided to feed Zsinj false information as much as possible and continue serving with Wraith Squadron until the warlord was defeated, after which he could no longer expose her. While reflecting on this, Notsil was approached by Donos and, against her better judgment, she decided to confide Tavin's message to him, describing her supposed brother as a criminal who would only contact her if he wanted something. Donos suggested Zsinj could have hired Tavin to contact Notsil in an attempt to infiltrate and destroy Wraith Squadron, and insisted on going to Aldivy to watch and protect her in case of a trap.
Before visiting Aldivy, Notsil participated in a Wraith Squadron mission over Halmad, in which several Wraiths disguised themselves as a group of pirates called the Hawk-bats and infiltrated an asteroid base over Halmad, as well as a refueling tanker called Bastion. Notsil was one of seven Wraiths who provided cover in TIEs and, although Notsil played a fairly small part in the conflict, she destroyed at least two enemy fighters and impressed Antilles with what he considered her uncommon skill with a TIE fighter.
Although the conflict proved successful for the Wraiths, Ton Phanan was killed during the battle, resulting in a heavy morale blow to the squadron. Notsil was assigned as Loran's permanent wingmate and, with the loss of Phanan as doctor, she was assigned as the squadron medic, since she had gone through the military first-aid course the most recently out of the Wraiths. She was also asked to keep a subtle watch on Loran for any undue signs of stress resulting from the loss of his friend.
Trip to Aldivy
- "They wanted me to go back to Iron Fist with them. They weren't going to leave me an option where I could feed them false information. I was just going to disappear. I couldn't do that."
- ―Lara Notsil
With Antilles' approval, Lara Notsil and Myn Donos took their X-wings to Aldivy to meet Tavin Notsil. Donos asked many questions about her homeworld during the trip and even identified gaps in the story about her past, which made Lara nervous that he would catch her in a lie. When the two pilots landed at the ruins of New Oldtown, Lara insisted upon confronting her brother alone, to which he agreed only if he could monitor the situation from afar with his sniper rifle. She was startled to realize that Donos seemed to truly care about her. In order to avoid Donos hearing anything about her true identity, Lara left her comlink off during the meeting with Tavin, but said she would make a fist gesture if she needed assistance.
Armed with her own blaster, Lara approached a makeshift dwelling, where she was confronted both by Tavin Notsil and Todrin Rossik, a captain with Zsinj's forces. Rossik said he planned to give her a special transmitter that would allow her to send very small packets of information via the old Imperial HoloNet, so Zsinj could track and destroy Mon Remonda. Rossik insisted they would arrange for Notsil to leave the vessel before the attack, although she was skeptical of the claim. Notsil lied about Antilles and the Wraith Squadron, insisting she was kept in the dark about most information pertinent to missions and that her belongings were searched so thoroughly she doubted she could sneak the transmitter aboard.
During the course of their conversation, Rossik detected Myn Donos and told Lara he would have to be killed. When she insisted that she would not be able to return to Mon Remonda without Donos, Rossik said he could not take the risk and she would have to instead return to Iron Fist after Donos was killed. Lara knew she could not take Rossik and Tavin Notsil prisoner without compromising her identity, but nevertheless attempted to arrest them and asked for their surrender. When Tavin drew his blaster on Lara, she motioned to Donos for help. He shot and killed Tavin Notsil with his sniper rifle, distracting Rossik long enough for Lara to pull her own gun and kill him. Although genuinely rattled by the encounter, she was relieved her identity was, for the time being, safe.
Assault on Razor's Kiss
- "As for you, Lara, good work, and thanks."
- ―Wedge Antilles
When Notsil returned to Mon Remonda, she learned that the Wraith code slicer, Castin Donn, had been killed during a Hawk-bat mission. Since Notsil was now the most knowledgeable in computer technology, she was assigned as the squadron's code slicer and asked to develop a program that could translate statistical data of large military forces into an equivalent force of ships from other cultures. She designed the program in only two hours, adapting programming from ship analysis programs in the Mon Remonda X-wing and TIE simulators. Antilles applied Notsil's program to data Zsinj provided the Hawk-bats about the defenses for an upcoming assault. Thanks to her software, he correctly deduced that the attack would be on the Kuat Drive Yards in order to steal Razor's Kiss, a new Executor-class vessel being built there.
Donn previously designed a tracker program he hoped to upload into Iron Fist, and Antilles asked Notsil to modify the program so it could be programmed into Razor's Kiss. When she finished the program, Notsil also designed fake dossiers for herself and Wraiths Shalla Nelprin and Dia Passik, with the hope that Zsinj would choose one of them to accompany his advance team to the new Super Star Destroyer. Zsinj chose Nelprin, who would board Razor's Kiss and to install Notsil's tracker program during an undercover mission. Wraith Squadron and the Solo Fleet launched an ambush on Zsinj's forces at Kuat and, when they escaped into hyperspace, used Notsil's program to track Razor's Kiss.
The Battle for the Razor's Kiss ended with the Super Star Destroyer's destruction and Lara Notsil scored enough kills to push her overall kill rate over five, earning her the status of ace. During the course of the battle, "Face" Loran took severe damage and, still distraught over Ton Phanan's death, considered a suicide run against the Imperial forces. Loran was partially snapped back to reality by Notsil, who came to his assistance and escorted him safely to Tedevium's landing bay. After the mission, Notsil's call sign was formally changed to Castin Donn's previous sign, Wraith Two.
Growing closer to the Wraiths
- "I just want you to give me a chance. But even more, even if it's not with me, I'd really like to see you give yourself a chance."
- ―Myn Donos
In the next weeks, Lara Notsil developed a stronger sense of belonging among the Wraiths. She grew to feel more comfortable around them, becoming more playful and joking around with them more often. She developed a particularly strong bond with her wingmate, "Face" Loran; together, they developed an offensive tactic in which one starfighter shielded itself behind another fighter until the final seconds needed to line up a shot against an enemy, after which the two fighters broke apart. But despite her newfound comfort, Notsil occasionally was faced with reminders that her true identity would likely not remain secret for long. A particularly close call came during a Wraith Squadron visit to the Galactic Museum on Coruscant, when an elderly Old Republic intelligence official mistook Notsil for Edallia Monotheer, Gara Petothel's actual mother. The encounter was overheard by several Wraiths, including Loran.
Notsil played the encounter off as if the old man was simply senile, but the encounter visibly startled her, and she realized one day she would have to reveal her true identity to Wedge Antilles and the squadron. In the meantime, however, Notsil planned to remain as helpful to the Wraiths as she could, such as during a covert mission to Saffalore. During that infiltration of the Binring Biomedical facility, a medical research lab on Saffalore for biologically altered non-human sentient species, Notsil and fellow Wraith Elassar Targon were charged with planting tracers on the roof. When Targon realized part of the roofing had been replaced recently, Notsil discovered new security measures had recently been installed, which prompted her to warn Wraith Squadron of possible trap. Her instincts proved correct, and the Wraiths survived in part due to her warning. Targon and Notsil were attacked by stormtroopers and TIE fighters, but were saved by the intervention of Donos, who was watching them as a sniper.
Donos, who by now had made great strides in overcoming the traumatizing destruction of his Talon Squadron, found himself attracted to Lara Notsil's beauty, intelligence and what he perceived as her strong sense of secrecy. He approached Notsil and asked whether she would consider getting to know him on a more intimate level. Due to her part in the destruction of Talon Squadron, she initially resisted and even went so far as to hint that Donos would not approve of her if he knew her secrets. Donos persisted, however, and said he believed Notsil closed herself off from others so severely that even she did not know who she really was. Eventually, Notsil gave in and began a romantic relationship with Donos, even as she predicted to him that it would end tragically. The two began spending far more time together, even kissing and holding hands in public, although some of her fellow Wraiths observed that Notsil tended to occasionally grow tense and kept a little separation between the two of them.
During a celebration dance, "Face" Loran observed Notsil use Coruscant Charm Signing to invite Donos to kiss her. Loran was surprised and confused by the gesture, which he knew to be confined mostly to Imperial social classes of Coruscant, and was reminded of previous mannerisms, gestures and postures he observed of Notsil that seemed Coruscanti in nature, as well as the elderly man at the Galactic Museum who referred to Notsil as Edallia Monotheer. He decided to request additional information from New Republic Intelligence about both Lara Notsil and Edallia Monotheer.
Sabotage of Iron Fist
Departure from Wraith Squadron
- "I want you to understand something. I don't care if you understand it now. I want you to understand it later. I have never betrayed the Wraiths. I will never, ever betray the Wraiths. Do you read me?"
- ―Lara Notsil
Wraith Squadron was dispatched to escort New Republic Intelligence operatives to Kidriff 5, the closest Zsinj-controlled planet to the Galactic Core. During a quiet moment in that mission, Loran reviewed transmissions he received earlier in the day, including a response to his information request. He discovered nothing surprising about Lara Notsil's file, but was shocked to see Edallia Monotheer's husband was named Dalls Petothel. Recognizing the surname as that of the Imperial spy who compromised Talon Squadron, Loran realized that Lara Notsil was in fact Gara Petothel. Concerned that she might try to attack Wedge or others in the squadron, Loran stayed on the outskirts for the rest of the engagement and Notsil, despite her confusion, followed him.
As Wraith Squadron prepared the leave the system, Loran refused Wedge Antilles' request to rejoin the group and asked to speak to the commander on a private channel. Notsil figured out that Loran was trying to protect Antilles, and realized he must have discovered her true identity. She explicitly asked Loran if he knew, and he admitted that he knew she was Gara Petothel. Although mortified that her time with Wraith Squadron had come to an end, Notsil felt a sense of relief that she no longer had to keep her secret. Loran told Notsil that he would have to arrest her, and she agreed to comply. However, Loran had forgotten to switch his communications to a private channel and the comment was broadcast to the entire squadron, including Myn Donos.
When Donos realized Lara Notsil was the woman who betrayed his former squadron, he snapped and attacked Notsil, launching a proton torpedo at her X-wing. She was saved when Loran placed his starfighter between hers and the torpedo and ordered Donos to detonate it prematurely, which he did only at the very last moment, nearly killing Loran. That attack startled Notsil and made her realize most New Republic officials would not believe she had stayed loyal to Wraith Squadron, and she became convinced she would not survive long enough to be court-martialed if she surrendered. She told Antilles and Loran that she would continue remaining loyal to the squadron and, after one last failed attempt to communicate with Donos, jumped into hyperspace and escaped the system.
Notsil fled to the Halmad system, where she refueled her X-wing at the squadron's abandoned Hawk-bat Base and took the time to regroup her thoughts. Distraught, she realized she could never return to either her Gara Petothel or Lara Notsil identities, and instead decided to rename herself Kirney Slane, her first new identity in her Imperial Intelligence career. She was attracted to the identity because it had been so care-free and insignificant, and she resolved to use that identity to make new choices and a new life. She also decided that she would return to service under Warlord Zsinj and get a post aboard Iron Fist, where she would attempt to find a way to sabotage the starship. In order to prevent Zsinj from discovering any of her actions while living as Lara Notsil, Slane wiped Tonin's main memory and reprogrammed the droid so that his memory would return only when she entered the correct password.
Meanwhile, her former New Republic colleagues debated among themselves whether Lara Notsil was truthful about her loyalty to Wraith Squadron. While "Face" Loran's gut instinct was that she was trustworthy, Myn Donos, who no longer wished Notsil dead, was still conflicted as to whether she was trustworthy or not. Some, like Rogue Squadron standout Corran Horn, believed that she could not be trusted and would defect back to Zsinj, which would render useless such undercover operations as the Hawk-bats and the Millennium Falsehood, a modified YT-1300 light freighter designed to resemble the Millennium Falcon. Although Antilles seriously considered all of these perspectives, he ultimately believed that the operations were safe.
Infiltrating Iron Fist
- "I have to do this for myself. I have to do this because it's right. I have to do this because I have nothing else to do."
- ―Kirney Slane, about destroying Iron Fist
Kirney Slane established contact with General Melvar and, presenting herself to him with her original name of Gara Petothel, arranged to visit Warlord Zsinj on Iron Fist. She was secretly committed to destroying both the ship and the warlord, and fully believed she herself would be killed in the process. When Melvar inquired about her experiences with Wraith Squadron and about the incident that left Tavin Notsil and Todrin Rossik dead on Aldivy, Notsil told him Donos had fallen in love with her and followed her, killing Notsil and Rossik when he believed she was in danger.
She agreed to provide all the information she could about Han Solo, Wedge Antilles, Mon Remonda and its squadrons, although Slane secretly withdrew any actual relevant or sensitive information. Slane used her actual contempt for Zsinj to fake a feeling of hatred toward the Wraiths. Zsinj assigned her a post as an intelligence analysis on the Iron Fist bridge, under the rank of naval lieutenant. However, he remained skeptical of her true loyalties and ordered Melvar to set up constant surveillance, in which her every minor action was monitored and recorded by human staff members every hour of every day. Zsinj, who planned to kill her if her loyalty proved false, also assigned an ensign named Gatterweld to shadow her at all times. Aware of Zsinj's paranoia, Slane correctly assumed he would monitor her room, and was conscious not to act suspiciously even in the privacy of her own room.
Slane concocted a plan to destroy Iron Fist after observing the MSE-6 mouse droids on the ship. Slane told Tonin whenever she left her quarters, he was to open the door a few centimeters from the ground so he could use his sensors to detect stray mouse droids. Whenever a lone MSE-6 droid passed, Tonin would capture it and reprogram so that it would obey Tonin's commands. Since Tonin had to wait for completely unattended mouse droids, he would only able to capture about three every day, and it would therefore take at least several weeks before enough droids were collected to implement the plan.
The droids would be strategically placed around the ship so that when enough were under their control, they could use it to sabotage Iron Fist's hyperdrive and other functions. Some of the wheels of the mouse droids would also be fitted with magnetic strips so they could crawl on the outside of the ship and inflict damage onto the hull. Slane and Tonin formed a very close bond during the implementation of the plan, which felt particularly strange to Slane, who had been raised to shun all notions of friendship with anyone, let alone droids.
Contacting Wraith Squadron
- "Whoever I am, I'm staying here, like a vibroblade right next to Zsinj's vitals, and when the right time comes I'm going to stab him deep. That'll probably be the last thing I do."
- ―Lara Notsil
In performing her intelligence analyses for Zsinj, Kirney Slane found she was able to secretly manipulate the warlord into inadvertently making himself vulnerable to Solo Fleet. She used a data package of the supposed Millennium Falcon (actually the Millennium Falsehood) on Kidriff 5 to convince Zsinj that Solo was launching attacks against Zsinj-controlled worlds with a direct or indirect connection to Alderaan, the home planet of his lover Princess Leia Organa, in an attempt to please her. Slane therefore convinced Zsinj the next assaults would be on Comkin V or the Vahaba asteroids. In actuality, she fed Zsinj those locations because she believed the New Republic would be ready for him at both places.
Slane used the TIE simulators aboard Iron Fist and proved once again to be an excellent pilot. Without realizing it, she participated in a simulated dogfight with the man believed to be Soontir Fel, widely considered the greatest Imperial pilot. In fact, actor Tetran Cowall was impersonating Fel as part a Zsinj scheme to ultimately kill Wedge Antilles, but in both the simulations and actual flights, Cowall flew with the help of droid-assisted piloting routines designed to mimic Fel's skills. Although Slane lost the simulated fight against the supposed Fel, she proved herself a capable pilot against his superior skills. Impressed, he invited her to fly in Broadaxe Squadron, a TIE interceptor squad that would accompany his elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group in an upcoming battle, and she gladly accepted.
The battle proved to be an attack against the Millennium Falsehood on Comkin V, drawing concerns from Slane about facing her former squadmates in combat. However, she quickly developed an idea to use the battle as a way of making contact with Wraith Squadron. Before the launch, she recorded a long message to Wedge Antilles and the Wraiths explaining that she was working on a plan that would allow her to transmit Iron Fist's whereabouts to the Wraiths to destroy it. She also told them they would be able to encounter Zsinj at the Vahaba Asteroid Belt. Slane then recorded another, emotional message to Myn Donos, saying good-bye and trying to explain her state of mind both as an Imperial Intelligence agent, and later as a loyal Wraith. Finally, before launching into battle, she reprogrammed her TIE interceptor so that its laser cannons would convey fragments of her transmission. She also reduced the strength of her lasers so that when she fired upon a New Republic starship, it would communicate her message while inflicting little actual damage on the target.
During the mission, Slane knew she was being watched closely by her Imperial superiors to see her reaction to engaging in fire upon her former New Republic colleagues. Slane not only fired upon the Millennium Falsehood but also sent a message taunting the ship before she did so. Although the Wraiths initially believed her attack to be a confirmation that she had defected, the Wraith Squadron protocol droid, Squeaky, was aboard the Falsehood and recognized that her laser attacks were veiled communication transmissions. Squeaky asked Antilles, who was piloting the Falsehood, to let Slane fire upon them, and the commander reluctantly decided to trust Slane. When the Falsehood's shields failed, Slane knew she would be exposed as a double agent if she failed to fire upon it, but also knew she would destroy the Falsehood if she did. Instead, she faked a partial collision with the freighter, taking herself out of commission and risking her own life to save the Falsehood. She ended the mission by hammering her head against her cockpit to simulate the effects of being knocked unconscious from the impact.
The plan fooled her Imperial superiors; the supposed Fel expressed satisfaction with her piloting performance and General Melvar personally congratulated her for her tenacity and courage in pursuit of the enemy. Meanwhile, her message was viewed by Antilles, Han Solo and Mon Remonda Captain Onoma, as well as former Wraiths Myn Donos, "Face" Loran and Shalla Nelprin. Antilles asked each of the three Wraith pilots to analyze and interpret the message, and all three believed it was genuine for different reasons. Loran, himself a former actor, believed her emotions were genuine and not an act, and Nelprin said the risk she took in sending the message indicated she was telling the truth. Myn Donos felt if she were lying, she would have falsely expressed hope that the two could be together once Iron Fist was destroyed, rather than speaking as if she thought she was going to die when her mission was over.
Discovery of Projects Chubar and Minefield
- "I'm going to do what I can for the test subjects on Iron Fist. I'll end their suffering, one way or another."
- ―Lara Notsil
Several weeks had passed since Tonin began collecting MSE-6 droids, and by now he controlled hundreds of the tiny robots. Slane had him strategically place the droids throughout the ship; some were in the engine departments, while others spliced into the computer data cables. Many of the mouse droids gained control of cables and dataports, providing Slane access to many different parts of the ship, as well as the computer archives via her monitor goggles. Tonin also had one droid tapped into the security system monitoring Slane's quarters, so she could move about freely without risk of being monitored.
Yet another droid discovered an unmapped portion of the ship containing medical wards, an operating theater and cages filled with non-human sentient and near-sentient life-forms, including Ewoks, Ranats, Bilars, Ortolans, Chadra-Fan, Talz and Gamorreans. Slane insisted on more information about this section of the ship, and discovered it was the base of Project Chubar, an operation in which non-Humans were biologically altered to take on a variety of genetic, chemical and behavioral techniques; it was the same as the Binring Biomedical project Wraith Squadron previously encountered.
She further discovered that Iron Fist was also the home of Project Minefield, an outgrowth of Project Chubar in which the non-humans were brainwashed into making suicide missions against a specific target once activated by a programmed code phrase. The project had already been used in previous assassination attempts, including against Wedge Antilles and Admiral Gial Ackbar, Supreme Commander of the New Republic Defense Force. Slane, by now completely shed of her previous Imperial Intelligence notions of the inferiority of aliens, was mortified by the discovery of the project and the horrors that were being unleashed against the unwilling subjects of the experiment. She resolved to free the subjects, whether by helping them escape or ending their misery along with the eventual destruction of Iron Fist.
Disabling Iron Fist
- "If everything has gone correctly, Iron Fist is now in the Selaggis system with her hyperdrive inoperable. Other portions of Zsinj's fleet are continuing on to their rendezvous points and won't be able to get to him for a little while; minutes in some cases, hours in others. I recommend you come by and take a look. Oh, bring your fleet, too. Lara Notsil out."
- ―Lara Notsil, in a transmission to Han Solo
With enough mouse droids in place to knock out the Iron Fist hyperspace engines, Kirney Slane decided to implement her plan. Solo Fleet was awaiting Zsinj at Vahaba based on Slane's message, and when the warlord brought Iron Fist to the Vahaba system based on her intelligence analyses, the New Republic launched a surprise attack. Although calling in his fleet would have allowed him to engage Han Solo in the battle, Zsinj ordered a retreat based on his doctrine, which demanded changing the battleground if it was selected by the enemy. Slane prepared to shut down Iron Fist's hyperspace engines, which would provide Solo the opportunity to engage the disabled ship, but a New Republic-aligned Interdictor cruiser rendered the Super Star Destroyer unable to jump to hyperspace, providing Slane more time before she had to unleash her trap.
As she waited, she came up with a new idea to separate Iron Fist from the rest of Zsinj's forces, which would further turn the odds in Solo's favor. She asked Tonin to secretly change Fist's hyperspace course to a different location than the rest of Zsinj's fleet. Once Iron Fist escaped the interdictor's gravity well projectors and escaped into hyperspace, Zsinj was surprised to find his flagship had jumped to the Selaggis system, while the rest of his fleet was elsewhere. Slane then had Tonin order the mouse droids to shut down the hyperspace engines, rendering Iron Fist disabled and unprotected. Since the ship changed its hyperspace destination, Zsinj's fleet would be unable to reinforce Iron Fist for some time; while some ships could respond in minutes, others would be unavailable for several hours.
Amid the confusion on the bridge, Slane programmed a false radiation leak in the flight deck that contained her X-wing, so she could attempt to escape later. Lastly, she sent a message to Mon Remonda notifying Han Solo where she could find Iron Fist, then fled the bridge, aware that Zsinj would intercept the message. The warlord, although admittedly impressed with her deception, ordered an immediate capture, torture and execution for her treason. Slane, however, was aware of all Iron Fist's access routes thanks to her mouse droids, and immediately traveled along with Tonin to the secret Project Chubar portion of the starship as Solo Fleet launched its second attack against Iron Fist.
Posing as a new liaison officer, Slane pulled a blaster pistol on the Chubar crew and released an imprisoned Ewok named Kolot. Together, the two freed the rest of the imprisoned aliens and traveled to the deck containing Slane's X-wing and a Sentinel-class landing craft. Slane was confronted there by Ensign Gatterweld and General Melvar, who noticed the falsified radiation leak and correctly deduced it was Slane's passage of escape. Melvar had not expected the gang of biologically altered aliens, however, and they attacked Melvar and Gatterweld, leaving them tied up to presumably perish along with Iron Fist.
Kolot explained he had been taught how to fly shuttles when fitted with prosthetic limb extensions due to his Project Chubar modifications; this drew a parallel between Kolot and Lieutenant Kettch, the fictional Ewok pilot commonly used as a prank among Wraith Squadron, and Slane felt an instant connection with Kolot as a result. She asked the Ewok to fly the aliens and Tonin to safety while Slane took her X-wing and assisted Wraith Squadron. Tonin begged Slane to reconsider, fearing that even if she was not killed in action, she would be captured and imprisoned by Wraith Squadron due to her prior Imperial connections, but Slane insisted that she had to follow the life path she had chosen for herself. She also ordered Tonin to broadcast all data about Project Chubar and Project Minefield to the New Republic. Before taking off, she disabled the automated comm signal that would normally indicate an ejection, which would allow her to eject from the X-wing without leaving any traces for detection.
Faking her death
- "I know, after the way we parted company, you may not want to see me again. But I had to find out if there was any sort of chance for us. I think I'm finally ready and able to give it a try again."
- ―Kirney Slane, in a transmission to Myn Donos
Kirney Slane observed Wedge Antilles and Wraiths descending into the atmosphere of Selcaron, the moon of Selaggis VI, in pursuit of the fake 181st Imperial Fighter Group. The Wraiths were attacked by a squadron of TIE Raptors, one of which tried to destroy Tycho Celchu, whose fighter had crashed on the moon surface. After destroying the Raptor and saving Celchu, Slane turned her attention to Antilles, who became separated from the rest of the Wraiths while pursuing who he believe to be Soontir Fel. After shooting down Fel's TIE interceptor, Antilles landed on the surface to try to capture Fel, only to learn that he was actually actor Tetran Cowall, who was hired to lure Antilles to his death. The TIE Raptors descended to attack Antilles, who barely made it back to his ship, but knew he would not be able to launch before they destroyed him.
Slane attacked the Raptors just as they were about to reach Antilles' X-wing, and her diversion saved his life and allowed him to take off and join her in the attack. The two pilots quickly dispatched the Raptors, but not before one of them fired a concussion missile at the stern of Slane's starfighter. She ejected from the ship before it crashed onto the surface and, because she previously disabled the automated comm signal, there was no trace left that she survived the crash. Antilles was "unable to confirm" whether she ejected or not, and Slane successfully faked her own death, thus avoiding any criminal prosecution at the hands of either Warlord Zsinj or the New Republic.
The Battle of Selaggis ended with what appeared to be the destruction of Iron Fist. In fact, Zsinj saved his flagship from destruction by utilizing Second Death, a secret vessel laced with explosives that contained the reconstructed debris of the Super Star Destroyer Razor's Kiss. Second Death, which was fitted with an orbital nightcloak that allowed it to escape New Republic detection, detonated just as Iron Fist was at the brink of destruction, thus scattering the remains of Razor's Kiss and creating the illusion that Iron Fist had been destroyed. Nevertheless, Zsinj and his forces would never fully recover from Kirney Slane's plan and the Solo Fleet assault, and Iron Fist was destroyed at the Battle of Dathomir less than a year later.
With a new life ahead of her, Slane decided to start a new shuttle business on Corellia with her Sentinel-class landing craft, along with Kolot as her co-pilot and Tonin as her supporting staff. She sent one final holographic message to Myn Donos, using her new Kirney Slane name and posing as a Corellian. She proposed that Donos join her in the shuttle business excursion, or to at least contact or visit her, but she said she would accept whatever decision Donos made, even if it was to never talk to her again. The message was intercepted by Han Solo and Wedge Antilles before it reached Donos, Solo realizing that she was alive (and that Antilles knew it). They decided not to report it, however, knowing that she would face death sentence for treason, despite all her work in helping bring down Warlord Zsinj and Iron Fist. They instead chose to send the message along to Myn Donos and erase all other traces of the communication.
- "What did I just tell you?"
"I do not recruit from your children. This cockpit smells like fur."
"Shut up. What did I tell you?"
"I do not recruit from your children. How's Myn?"
"Grinning from ear to ear. You know why? Because we have a very profitable business and all our children are alive. What did I tell you?"
"I do not—"
- ―Slane reprimands Piggy during a rescue mission
Donos accepted Slane's invitation, and the two founded a transport company Donoslane Excursions together, operating out of a section they leased from Behareh Spaceport, a spaceport on the Corellian capital of Coronet City. The company operated a Lambda-class shuttle with a short, furry alien as a co-pilot. In 40 ABY, Jaina Solo, Zekk and Kolir Hu'lya rented a shuttle from them at the outbreak of the Second Galactic Civil War. By 44 ABY, Slane and Donos had at least two children, and that year Slane was recruited by the now-retired Antilles to extract the new Wraith Squadron from Vandor-3 after the pilot was contacted by his daughter Myri Antilles, a member of the Wraiths. While Antilles and Tycho Celchu dealt with the attacking Pop-Dogs, a group of soldiers under the command of the traitorous General Stavin Thaal, in a pair of StealthX fighters, Slane piloted the Donoslane shuttle down to the Wraiths so that they could escape. She then proceeded to reprimand their leader Piggy, warning him repeatedly that he was not to recruit from her children as she piloted the shuttle back to Corellia.
- "I have to do this to be who I decided I want to be. Do you understand?"
- ―Gara Petothel, to Tonin
Although Gara Petothel played a crucial role in the demise of Warlord Zsinj and his forces, her deeds remained unknown among the galaxy. Due to the need to keep her participation against Iron Fist secret to avoid criminal prosecution, most people within the New Republic either continued believing she was a traitor, or were left with lingering doubts as to where her true allegiances fell. Due to the decision by Han Solo and Wedge Antilles to keep her message to Myn Donos a secret, most never learned that she survived the Battle of Selaggis.
Personality and traits
- "Lara, does anyone know who you really are?"
"Least of all me."
- ―Myn Donos and Lara Notsil
Petothel was extremely intelligent, possessing a trick memory that allowed her to permanently memorize facts and information immediately, a trait that came in hand when managing the back stories of her various identities. Imperial Intelligence officials used Gara Petothel's grief and confusion over the executions of her parents to manipulate her and shape her into an Imperial prodigy during her childhood. Thanks in part to their training, Petothel herself developed the ability to read other people's emotions and manipulate them into doing what she wanted without their realization. By spending her life adopting and shedding multiple identities during her 15 years as an Imperial Intelligence agent, Gara Petothel failed to develop any sense of her own individual personality or sense of identity. The training did substantial damage to her psyche, although she would not realize it until she joined Wraith Squadron in 7.5 ABY.
The decision to align herself with the New Republic over the Galactic Empire she had long served stemmed from a discovery of her strong sense of honor, which lied dormant within her for most of her life. Her Imperial Intelligence training demanded she forget honor and embrace whatever means were necessary to achieve her ends, however treacherous. However, during her associations with Apwar Trigit Atton Repness, and Warlord Zsinj, men she deemed to be treacherous, she discovered a desire to stray from their examples and remain honorable. Her decision not to destroy Wedge Antilles and Garik "Face" Loran in cold blood during the Battle of Lavisar further reflected this new sense of honor.
In addition to honor, Gara Petothel discovered the concept of trust during her time with Wraith Squadron. Her Imperial Intelligence training prohibited her from trusting anyone, and her Imperial officers failed to place any significant trust in Petothel during her mission for the Empire. But she experienced trust from her fellow students during New Republic pilot training, and was instantly trusted by Wedge Antilles and her fellow pilots upon joining Wraith Squadron.
By the time she realized how damaging her Imperial training had been to her, Notsil realized she lacked any sense of who she really was and suffered an identity crisis and psychological breakdown uncharacteristic of her normally strong control over her own emotions. Only after this breakdown did Gara Petothel realize she could make her own choices and chart out her own life. Her first such choice was the decision to remain within her Lara Notsil identity as a pilot on Wraith Squadron, leaving behind her Imperial Intelligence past and her association with Warlord Zsinj.
Petothel became addicted to the trust they shared in her and, after meeting and bonding with Myn Donos, Petothel eventually learned to trust others. With the trust came the stress of understanding her actions made her responsible for her entire squad, whereas as an Imperial she was only responsible for herself. But she came to love the trust she gave and received, and began befriending her Wraith pilots and even began joking around with them, something that never happened during her time with the Galactic Empire.
Although she was devastated when her past was discovered and she had to leave Wraith Squadron behind, Petothel was also in a sense relieved that she could shed both her Gara Petothel and Lara Notsil identities and start her life afresh with a clean slate. She chose to become Kirney Slane, an innocuous identity from her earliest Imperial Intelligence mission, precisely because it lacked any true past, she began to choose to truly her own life. In doing so, she chose to infiltrate and attempt to destroy Iron Fist and Warlord Zsinj.
Petothel planned everything ahead, demonstrated by her preparation of the Lara Notsil identity and memorization of Warlord Zsinj's HoloNet addresses in case her association with Admiral Trigit failed to work out. She was extremely resourceful, enough so to devise a plan to use small mouse droids to disable a Super Star Destroyer. Petothel was also very patient; aware that Warlord Zsinj was monitoring her private chambers aboard Iron Fist, Petothel pretended to be suffering from insomnia for several hours before trying to communicate with Tonin, demonstrating a strong sense of self-discipline and resolve.
Talents and abilities
- "You're very good. More work, and you might train up to the standards of the One Eighty-first. Shall I keep you in my records as a candidate for the group?"
- ―"Soontir Fel"
In addition to her intelligence, Gara Petothel possessed an acting ability that made her ideal for spy work. She was able to speak not only with accents, but also with a bare trace of accent when posing as someone who was trying to distance themselves from their home planet, which she described as a very difficult skill to master. She was also able to control her natural mannerisms and replace them with fake ones, such as when she flinched in feigned disappointment during her deliberately poor New Republic training simulations, and when she feigned disgust for Wedge Antilles and the Wraith Squadron pilots during her conversations with Warlord Zsinj.
She was skilled at many military trades, including communications, astronautics, medical care, electronics and computer slicing. Her technical proficiency was demonstrated numerous times during her Wraith Squadron missions, including when she developed programs that could track capital enemy ships and translate statistical data of large military forces into an equivalent force of ships from other cultures. She also demonstrated her slicing skills aboard Iron Fist when, without leaving the cockpit of her TIE interceptor, she reprogrammed the starfighter's laser cannons to send stored fragments of a communication transmission when fired.
One of her stronger skills, however, was starfighter piloting, a skill she longed for as a youth and honed as a side skill during her Imperial Intelligence years. Petothel was one of the few pilots in the galaxy who can claim to have flown alongside and against (in simulations) Wedge Antilles and Soontir Fel, the best pilots both the New Republic and Galactic Empire had to offer, although the Fel she encountered was actually an imitator using droid-assisted piloting routines. Her piloting skills were demonstrated by the fact that even averaging her deliberately poor New Republic training scores with her later real scores, she qualified for placement both in Wraith Squadron and in Antilles' other elite fighting force, Rogue Squadron.
Gara Petothel was also a master of disguise. Although she was fair-skinned and considered by many to be attractive in each of her identities, she was able to make subtle changes to her appearance that successfully separated her from each new name she took on. Gara Petothel was born with black hair and a small birthmark on her right cheek, which she had surgically removed. She adopted the same color and style hair as Chyan Mezzine during her undercover operation about Mother Sea; she even used a false birthmark to replace the one she previously removed. As Lara Notsil, she gave herself short, downy blond hair and used makeup to further conceal her any features that might have carried over from her Mezzine identity. After the destruction of Iron Fist, when she permanently became Kirney Slane, she had long red hair draped in a braid over her shoulder.
- "I could say twelve words, and when I was done, the very least you'd do is turn away and leave me alone forever."
"Then don't say them."
- ―Lara Notsil and Myn Donos, before sharing their first kiss
Myn Donos became attracted to Lara Notsil's beauty, intelligence and sense of secrecy during her time on Wraith Squadron and started a romantic relationship with her, unaware that as Gara Petothel, she had caused the death of his 11 squadmates on Talon Squadron. Although attracted to Donos, Notsil attempted to stop the relationship before it began, even going so far as to hint that he would not approve of her if he knew her secrets. Donos persisted, however, and said he wanted to help Notsil stop closing herself off so severely from others and herself. The two became lovers, despite Petothel never having any such romantic experience in the past due to her strict Imperial Intelligence training. However, when Donos learned of Notsil's past during the Battle of Kidriff 5, he suffered a psychological breakdown and tried to kill Notsil, who was only saved by the intervention of Garik "Face" Loran. Notsil was devastated by the turn of events and, during her covert mission aboard Iron Fist, took the time to record an apologetic and confessional message to Donos. After his breakdown, Donos tried to resign from Wraith Squadron, but eventually regained control of himself and realized he did not want to kill Notsil, although he still experienced mixed emotions regarding her past. He vouched for Notsil to Wedge Antilles and Han Solo, insisting that she was honest in her intentions to destroy Iron Fist and had not betrayed Wraith Squadron. After the destruction of Iron Fist, Notsil (now using the identity Kirney Slane) contacted Donos and invited him to start a shuttle company with her, which he accepted.
Behind the scenes
- "For purposes of dramatic potential, Lara Notsil is probably my favorite."
- ―Aaron Allston
Gara Petothel was created by Aaron Allston for his novels in the X-Wing series, first appearing in X-Wing: Wraith Squadron and playing significant roles in X-Wing: Iron Fist and X-Wing: Solo Command. To date, she has not been featured in a work by any other author. Although Allston said he does not have a clear favorite among the Star Wars characters he has created, Gara Petothel is his favorite for purposes of dramatic potential.
Allston said he believes Myn Donos and Gara Petothel would rekindle their relationship following the events of X-Wing: Solo Command, most likely before the events of The Courtship of Princess Leia, which would place it in 8 ABY. Allston strongly hinted at this with the inclusion of the Donoslane Excursions shuttle service in his 2006 Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novel, Legacy of the Force: Betrayal. The company name is a combination of Kirney Slane and Myn Donos, and the co-pilot is almost certainly Kolot. Nevertheless, it was not considered canon until 2008, when Petothel's ownership of the company was explicitly confirmed in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia Kolot's presence, however, remains a mere implication until it is directly expressed in a canonical work, and Allston has said he had no idea when and if that would ever happen.
Ian Liston, the actor who played Wes Janson in The Empire Strikes Back, noted in an interview that Lara Notsil's last name was his own last name spelled backwards. He incorrectly referred to Lara Notsil as Wes Janson's "girlfriend" in this interview. Liston described the gesture as "very funny and hugely flattering," but said Aaron Allston claims it is only a coincidence.
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron (First appearance)
- X-Wing: Iron Fist
- X-Wing: Solo Command
- Legacy of the Force: Betrayal (Indirect mention only)
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill audiobook
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron" – Star Wars Insider 59
- Wraith Squadron"—Star Wars Gamer 9 "
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia