Hohass Ekwesh, also known as Runt, was a male Thakwaash from the planet of Thakwaa, serving the New Republic as a founding member of the starfighter/covert operations unit, Wraith Squadron and fighting in the campaign against Warlord Zsinj.
Because Hohass Ekwesh was considered small for his species, he was nicknamed "Runt". Despite this fact, he was still a physically imposing presence with almost three times the strength of a Human, as well as being considerably taller than most Humans. He had multiple personalities - often referring to himself in the plural - which proved to be a detriment in pilot training. Ekwesh would frequently lose himself to the "pilot mind," which was hostile to any potential enemies and did not readily obey orders.
After being accepted into candidate training for Wedge Antilles's new commando/fighter unit, Ekwesh suffered repeatedly in the simulators due to his "pilot mind" taking control. In his first mission, he scored zero, but ended up with the exemplary marks of fellow pilot Kell Tainer due to a scoring variation which gave each wingman's points to the other. In a later exercise, Tainer deliberately targeted Ekwesh's fighter when the "pilot mind" engaged, allowing Runt to see through the haze and behave in a more controlled manner. Thanks to this, and later exercises to ease the connection between his minds, Ekwesh soon proved himself to be an excellent and controlled pilot. Upon joining the new Wraith Squadron, Ekwesh was given the callsign of Wraith Six. Tainer became his wingman as Wraith Five and the pair became close friends.
During squadron training, the Wraiths' home on Folor Base was discovered by Admiral Apwar Trigit, and an evacuation was immediately started by the Republic forces. Ekwesh and Tainer- accompanied by Blue Squadron trainees Dorset Konnair and Tetengo Noor- were able to lure the Admiral's Star Destroyer away from the base by impersonating the Millennium Falcon, a deception achieved by modifying their ships' shield energy output and broadcasting in a code known to be corrupt. The resulting deception provided much-needed time for remaining transports on Folor (including the Borleias) to escape destruction. When Admiral Trigit saw through the ruse and opened fire on the small starfighters, Ekwesh switched minds once again - this time to "the student", a careful observer with a superb memory - and was able to lead Tainer, Konnair and Noor out of danger through the canyons on Folor's moon.
After the capture of the Night Caller, Runt was given the task of reading and answering mail for the captured Imperial crew, on the grounds that his unusual mindset would be best at formulating unique responses for multiple recipients.
Over time, Ekwesh noticed that Kell Tainer also suffered from a "bad mind" that would lash out at times of failure, causing his friend to punish himself endlessly for perceived mistakes. Runt attempted to persuade Tainer away from this mindset. This peaked during the Battle of Ession when Tainer suffered a panic attack and attempted to flee the battle (just as his father, Kissek Doran had done years before). Ekwesh followed Tainer's X-Wing and obtained a target-lock, temporarily getting Tainer's attention (rather than "the bad mind") and helping to bring him back to his senses. After the death of fellow pilot Jesmin Ackbar, Runt was trained to be the Wraiths' new communications specialist.
During the squadron's leave on Coruscant, Ekwesh was ambushed by a Cyborg and received a concussion. In truth this ambush was a trap set by Warlord Zsinj, furious at the loss of the Star Destroyer Implacable. Upon recovery, Runt was placed in charge of a Wraith Squadron analytical group to determine what steps they would take next in their fight against the Warlord. The combined theories of Runt, Face Loran and Voort saBinring led to the creation of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, a covert operation where Wraith Squadron would pose as pirates in an attempt to hire themselves out to Warlord Zsinj. While the operation was eventually successful, Runt was not selected for the group's meeting with Zsinj - as the only Thakwaash serving in Starfighter Command, Ekwesh was far too distinctive and could compromise the Hawk-bats' cover.
When fellow Wraith Castin Donn was killed onboard Iron Fist after disobeying orders and stowing aboard the team's shuttle, Runt overheard comments from Commander Wedge Antilles stating that unit morale would be seriously hurt as a result (Donn being the second Wraith to die in a matter of days). Ekwesh then spent the evening redecorating the teams' temporary base to organize a formal dance for the squadron, giving his fellow pilots a badly-needed raise in spirits. As a result, Commander Antilles unofficially appointed Ekwesh to Morale Officer for the unit.
Ekwesh served with distinction throughout the Zsinj Campaign, at one point suffering severe burns during a Wraith Squadron mission to Binring Biomedical Product when a rigged incinerator trap caused his fur to catch fire. Despite being badly injured, Runt was able to assist Shalla Nelprin in her fight against Zsinj agent Radaf Netbers (who had recognized that the Wraiths and Hawk-bats were one and the same). Runt was able to overpower Netbers, breaking his neck and preserving the squadron's secret.
After spending several days in a Bacta tank for his burns, Ekwesh was able to attend a planning meeting for the squadrons' newest tactic: using a decoy ship codenamed the Millennium Falsehood to lure Zsinj out of hiding. When Commander Antilles asked if any flaws existed in their current plan, Runt sneezed loudly - which he attributed to leftover bacta in his nose. Squadron newcomer Elassar Targon suggested the sneeze was instead a bad omen; his superstitious nature theorized that a flaw existed but nobody could recognize it. Targon would eventually be proven correct; Commander Antilles had overlooked the fact that Chewbacca would be serving as co-pilot for the Falsehood missions but he (Antilles) could not speak Wookiee. The problem was quickly resolved by assigning Wraith Squadron quartermaster Squeaky as translator for the missions.
During the final assault on the Warlords' forces- the Battle of Selaggis- Ekwesh found himself partnered with recently promoted squadron Captain Face Loran (since Ekwesh & Loran were among the few Wraiths with hyperspace-capable starfighters). Runt escaped the battle without serious injury and chose to remain with Wraith Squadron when it was transferred to New Republic Intelligence Service.
Mission to Ryvester
In 13 ABY Runt took part in a Wraith Squadron mission to the planet Ryvester. Their objective was to rescue gem expert Mulus Cheems, assassinate his captor; Imperial Admiral Kosh Teradoc, and destroy Teradoc's research-and-development laboratories, where his people were experimenting with plagues and toxins.
Runt stood guard outside the side-door of a club, inside of which his fellow wraiths were rescuing Cheems and fooling Teradoc into taking disguised explosives in the form of a statuette. When fellow Wraith Kell Tainer emerged from the club under attack, Runt picked his attacker off of him and used his strength to shake him until he went limp. He then threw two Smoke grenades into the club to cover the Wraith's escape.
The mission was a success, the bomb they had given Teradoc exploded, destroying the research facility and killing Teradoc. The Wraiths then escaped the planet with Cheems. During this mission Runt was shown to have retained his position as the squadron's communications expert.
Mission to Mulvar Sensor Station
In 19 ABY Runt, Voort "Piggy" saBinring and Shalla Nelprin took part in a Wraith mission to sabotage the imperial-controlled Mulvar Sensor Station. Piggy went undercover into the station as a cleaner, allowing him to sneak Runt and Shalla inside. They then proceeded to sabotage the station and Runt set up explosives to bring down some of the buildings, but not inflict too many casualties.
The mission was a success, and revealed Runt was now proficient with explosives after being taught by his friend Kell Tainer. Furthermore, Runt showed he had developed his ability to control his various personalities, and was able to refer to them at will when explaining to Piggy why Shalla could be retiring.
Mission to Chashima
In 29 ABY, near the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War on the world of Chashima, Runt participated in a Wraith Squadron mission to steal a new bioweapon created by the Yuuzhan Vong in order to prevent its use against the Galactic Alliance. He, along with Estoric Sandskimmer, infiltrated a Shaper compound and escaped with the weapon, however they were hotly pursued by Yuuzhan Vong warriors. When Estoric was hit with a Thud Bug, Runt stopped and faced the three warriors, defending himself with a Vibroblade. He and Estoric were charged by two of the warriors, but instead of defending himself, Runt blinded the warrior charging his companion, protecting him. He then took an amphistaff hit to his midsection. Piggy took out two warriors from his sniper position, leaving Runt to kill the last warrior, who had just killed Estoric, with his vibroblade.
During the fight, Runt was bit by an amphistaff, it's venom causing him to rapidly lose function. When Piggy reached him, Runt asked his friend to perform a mercy kill on him, as it was that or face a fate worse than death when other warriors found him. Piggy unhappily obliged, and apologized to Runt, who forgave him as he shot him in the throat.
Runt's sacrifice saved possibly thousands of lives that could have been taken had the Yuuzhan Vong still had this weapon. Piggy would be haunted by Runt's death for years, and would resign from Wraith Squadron and renounce his nickname because he believed that Runt's death was pointless as the war was already as good as over. Eventually Piggy would resolve these issues and become an integral part of the Wraiths again.
Personality and traits
Runt, like all Thakwaash, had many different minds. The two most important of these were his social mind, and his pilot mind. His social mind was the mind that he used to talk to people. It was polite and deferential. His pilot mind was an inarticulate mess, a hotshot pilot that constantly disobeyed orders. This was the reason behind him being assigned to the Wraith Squadron. While with the squadron, they, and in particular Tainer, helped him learn to switch more easily between his minds, and restrain the excesses of his pilot mind. Another mind that came to prominence was his student mind, "the one who remembers, and studies for tests", which recalled exactly how to fly down a narrow trench while avoiding turbolaser fire from an orbiting Star Destroyer.
While with Wraith Squadron, his prowess at seeing things from many points of view was put to good use. One exercise that he performed was to read and answer correspondence for Imperial pilots Wraith Squadron had captured. Another was to try to emulate the thinking of Warlord Zsinj; his Zsinj-mind was very erudite, but he was not fond of it, as it "[made] our ego puff up". He served as morale officer for Wraith Squadron.
Runt was physically the mightiest squad member, with the possible exception of Voort "Piggy" saBinring. His strength was first revealed when he lifted a turbolift door effortlessly, twice, with no help from hydraulics. The second time was when he was forced to attack an Imperial unarmed combat specialist who had just defeated Shalla Nelprin and was a moment from killing her. He picked up the warrior and smashed him into a wall hard enough to break his neck. He served as the physical trainer for Wraith Squadron.
Behind the scenes
The illustration of Ekwesh from The New Essential Guide to Characters was adopted as a humorous mascot by the concept artists of Revenge of the Sith, who referred to him as "Horse Pilot." He was often used as an inspiration during all-night design sessions. Alex Jaeger even designed a custom X-wing, basing its design on a horse trailer.
By the release of X-Wing: Mercy Kill, Allston had retroactively killed off Runt by revealing in the 29 ABY section that, dying by amphistaff venom, his friend, Piggy, performed a mercy kill on him by shooting him at point-blank range.
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron (First appearance)
- X-Wing: Iron Fist
- X-Wing: Solo Command
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill (In flashback(s))
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill audiobook (In flashback(s))
- "Rogue Leaders" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 4
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron" – Star Wars Insider 59
- Wraith Squadron"—Star Wars Gamer 9 "
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Galaxy at War