- "But we all feel that we would have a greater chance of discovering Zsinj by disguising ourselves as a pirate band and trying to impress Zsinj enough for him to employ us. This would keep us in close association with starfighters and play to the strengths that I think we demonstrated in the pursuit of Admiral Trigit and the Implacable."
- ―Voort saBinring
In 7 ABY, Wraith Squadron disguised themselves as the pirate group Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, preying on the Imperial-aligned planet Halmad. Their goals were to make a name for themselves as a pirate group in order to attract Warlord Zsinj's attention; and to pressure Halmad's government to seek aid and protection from Zsinj.
The mission began with disguised pilots Ton Phanan and Kell Tainer starting a fight in a bar on Halmad, in a similar manner to a previous attack on Coruscant against the squadron members. A group of six Imperial pilots became involved, and within two minutes, all of the Imperial pilots were unconscious. By then, the bartender had called the military police, and the rest of the Wraiths arrived dressed in military police stormtrooper gear. The Wraiths took the malefactors captive and led them out of the bar. Once outside, the Wraiths stunned the Imperial pilots and waited. Another Wraith, Castin Donn, had laid down money at other bars in the capitol city, Hullis, and as a result, the military police had been called multiple times that night. The Wraiths approached a military police skiff that was returning to Victory Base and reported that their own skiff had broken. They were allowed to board and rode into the base.
Once inside, all the Wraiths disembarked except Shalla Nelprin, who hid inside. After reporting to an officer, the Wraiths dumped the Imperial pilots in an alley and began moving towards their objective, the starfighter hangar. Nelprin stayed in the skiff until it arrived at the vehicle hangar. She waited until the pilots disembarked, and then attempted to stun them. However, her blaster was not set to stun, and both troopers died. The other Wraiths had arrived at the hangar by now and stunned both of the guards. Phanan and Garik Loran took their places. After five minutes, Donn cracked the hangar entry code, and the Wraiths entered. To their surprise, they found TIE interceptors instead of fighters. They quickly set to work disabling the TIEs' security systems as well as painting graffiti glorifying the Hawk-bats pirate group on the hangar walls.
Outside, Phanan and Loran got into a firefight with a group of stormtroopers who were supposed to relieve them. The other Wraiths joined in, but some of the troopers escaped and reported the Wraiths. Wedge Antilles, the mission commander, ordered Donn to use one of the planned distractions. A moment later, the base's antiquated air raid sirens went off and the turbolasers began firing at the sky. This was Donn's distraction. He had, in fact, sliced in to Victory Base's archives and found an old simulation of an Imperial raid on the base. He patched it in to the sensor net, and the base's computer flagged them as unfriendlies. The Wraiths with TIE interceptor training took five of the Interceptors and took off. The rest of the Wraiths were picked up by Nelprin in the skimmer she had hijacked. On the way out, the Wraiths in the Interceptors blasted Victory Base's command center and then headed for space. The other Wraiths jumped the skimmer once outside the base and waited until the pursuit had passed before stripping off their stormtrooper armor and leisurely heading back to town.
During the absence of the squadron's majority, those who were left in Hawk-bat Base put their time to a good use. Kell Tainer planned a couple of missions on his own initiative, one of them involving a raid on the city of Fellon's port warehouse district. The Wraiths managed to pick up large quantities of Imperial propaganda and recreational holos.
When they took off, they strafed the city's marina where a large number of recreational water vessels—owned by the city's wealthy citizens and officers of Victory Base—were docked. Tainer estimated that the property damages caused by their raid amounted to millions of credits.
The Wraiths began their operation by sending their slicer, Castin Donn, a day before the raid to slice into the building's security system. The following day, Tainer and Ton Phanan blew a hole on the building's side using their TIE Fighters and stole as many Imperial credit notes, coins, and gems their TIEs could carry.
They were pursued by the planet's own TIE Fighters, but the Wraiths managed to out-fly them, suffering only minor damages to Phanan's fighter.
- "All right. Let's keep the pressure up on them. I want those two starfighter bases eliminated —a clear message to the Imperial forces on Halmad that anything they can construct, the Hawk-bats can knock down. And I think, to demonstrate our superiority and their helplessness, we ought to stage those two eliminations simultaneously. So let's settle in and do some planning."
- ―Wedge Antilles to Wraith Squadron.
In 7 ABY, Wraith Squadron disguised themselves as the pirate group Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, preying on the Imperial-aligned planet Halmad. Their goals were to make a name for themselves as a pirate group in order to attract Warlord Zsinj's attention; and to pressure Halmad's government to seek aid and protection from Zsinj. After a series of successful raids on the planet, Halmad's government began construction on two starfighter bases—Fellon base and another east of the city of Hullis—which Wraith pilot Kell Tainer surmised as a way to counter their ground raids. Commander Wedge Antilles then decided that the Wraith's next operation was to eliminate both bases. To further show their superiority over the locals, Antilles announced that both missions were to be executed at the same time. Sometime during their planning session for the operation, it was nicknamed Operation Groundquake by Tyria Sarkin.
The first part of the operation was spearheaded by the group led by Tainer, and was composed of Sarkin, Hohass Ekwesh, Myn Donos, Voort saBinring and Castin Donn. They captured the refueling tanker Bastion—which Tainer had rigged to blow— as well as its two TIE Fighter escorts. The plan was to fly Bastion into the base near Hullis while Sarkin and saBinring would fly cover in the seized TIE's. Once the tanker was close enough, Tainer would send a message to the base's personnel to evacuate before the tanker explodes.
Simultaneously, the second group in the operation flew their TIE Interceptors and Fighters towards Fellon base to eliminate it. Led by Garik Loran, in his disguise as General Kargin of the Hawk-bats, the group was composed of Antilles, Dia Passik, Wes Janson, Ton Phanan, Lara Notsil and Shalla Nelprin.
Unbeknownst to the Wraiths, the planetary government of Halmad had already accepted the protection of Zsinj and both assault groups found themselves ambushed by superior forces. The tanker Bastion was tractored by Zsinj's flagship, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Iron Fist, before it could complete its mission; while Loran's group found themselves engaging three squadrons of TIE Fighters and Interceptors—led by the famed 181st Imperial Fighter Wing—that suddenly flew out in defense of Fellon base. To further complicate matters for the Wraiths, Tainer realized that their comm systems were being jammed by Zsinj's forces.
Not willing to give up, Tainer's group came up with a plan for escape. Tainer reoriented Bastion using its repulsorlifts so that the tanker's upper surface was facing Halmad instead of the Iron Fist. They then flew out of the Narra, which was stowed inside Bastion. Another tractor beam was then used on the fleeing Narra and Donos, using a modified sniper rifle, fired a stream of data into Bastion's communications array. Due to a hasty program sliced in by Donn, it caused the tanker to detonate and the Narra managed to break free of the tractor lock.
Loran's group on the other hand, downed several enemy fighters despite the lopsided odds. When Phanan's fighter was shot down, Antilles issued the code phrase "Stormies", which was the Hawk-bat's version of the retreat order Omega Signal. Loran however, was pursued by two TIE Fighters and was not able to join the others in retreating. He managed to destroy both fighters and despite having the opportunity to escape, he landed on the planet and went off to find and rescue Phanan.
- "We're all concerned about Face and Phanan, and we have to face the possibilities that they didn't make it. But I want you all to understand this. It's very important. Today, tactically, was a victory, a tremendous one. We cost them far more than they cost us. We also led them into this situation, and if the Hawk-bat identities remain uncompromised, we can continue with our plan. If we're going to have any perspective on what this has cost us, we have to remember that."
- ―Wedge Antilles to the Wraiths after the operation.
Loran was able to find Phanan but the latter succumbed to his injuries and soon died on the planet, making him the only casualty the Wraiths suffered in the operation. After destroying Phanan's body to deny the opposition any evidence, Loran then made his way back to Hawk-bat Base. There, the Wraiths learned that Halmad had joined Zsinj's protectorate and through a holomessage recovered by Donn, Zsinj himself wanted to meet with the Hawk-bats to discuss terms of a possible partnership.
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (As "Operation Groundquake")
- The Essential Atlas (First identified as Halmad campaign)
- The Essential Reader's Companion