- Carith: "What is it?"
- Ketcher: "I don't know. But I'm keepin' it."
- Alimet: "You'll get in trouble, you know. They told us to hand over anything unusual. That looks like something valuable."
- Ketcher: "Right. And I'm keepin' it."
- ―Ketcher discusses his discovery with Carith and Alimet
Ketcher was a flight officer in the Imperial Navy during the Galactic Civil War. Shortly after the Battle of Hoth, Ketcher was stationed on the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Fogger, where he befriended his fellow pilots Carith, Alimet and Maarek Stele. The group was later transferred to the Nebulon-B2 frigate Ludwick, serving under Vice Admiral Thrawn during a campaign against the Pakuuni Pirates. While being punished for an unauthorized trip to the Ludwick's hangar by helping to clean up a pirate base, Ketcher found a small, red crystal, which he decided to keep for himself. After finding the crystal, however, Ketcher started to become lethargic and increasingly isolated. He died in 3 ABY, within months of finding the crystal.
Ketcher joined the Imperial Navy some time prior to the Battle of Hoth. Around the time of the Imperial victory over the Rebel Alliance at Hoth in 3 ABY, Ketcher was serving as a TIE pilot aboard the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Fogger and held the rank of flight officer. He formed a close friendship with two of his fellow pilots, Alimet and Carith, known to the others as "Grommet", and the three spent much of their free time together, playing sabacc or carrying out practical jokes. During a series of Imperial attacks following the Battle of Hoth that culminated in the destruction of the Rebel MC40a light cruiser Lulsla, the three met the future ace pilot Maarek Stele, who was then still a cadet and newly transferred to the Fogger. Stele went on to become a friend of Ketcher and the other pilots.
Shortly after the Lulsla was destroyed, Stele was transferred to the Victory-class Star Destroyer Protector, leaving the others on the Fogger. During this time, Ketcher and his friends survived many close calls, and Carith was promoted to lieutenant. The group was later reunited with Stele, who had since been promoted to captain, when all four found themselves assigned to the Nebulon-B2 frigate Ludwick, as part of Vice Admiral Thrawn's fleet in the Pakuuni system.
Thrawn was charged with establishing a new Imperial base in the system. The campaign started when the vice admiral took his flagship, the Victory-class Star Destroyer Stalwart, to Argoon to retrieve the parts and equipment needed to establish the base. Stele was charged with identifying which cargo containers held the equipment, so that they could be retrieved for delivery to the Stalwart, but the operation was placed in jeopardy by the arrival of Rebel forces. Ketcher was one of several Imperial pilots who fought to repel the Rebel attack.
During this tour of duty, Carith convinced his friends to accompany him on an unauthorized trip to the ship's hangar during a visit by Thrawn. The group had intended to take some TIE fighters out for an unscheduled flight, but upon seeing Thrawn, just watched from behind some TIE bombers as the vice admiral explained their mission to the Ludwick's commanding officer, Commander Buckeye. Thrawn dispatched the Ludwick to destroy a Pakuuni Pirate base to clear the way for the new Imperial facility. Ketcher performed well in the mission, as Imperial fighters destroyed several cargo containers, pirate starfighters, and the CR90 corvettes Leach, Clavier, and Grapler.
After the destruction of the Pakuuni Pirate base, Commander Buckeye learned that a group of pilots had infiltrated the hangar during his meeting with Thrawn. It did not take him long to work out who, and he punished the group by sending them to the wrecked pirate base to help clean up and salvage any parts ahead of the arrival of the new Imperial base equipment. The group knew their punishment could have been worse—Buckeye had gone easy on them due to their recent performances—and enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time off the Ludwick.
The pilots found little of interest at the pirate base, but among the droid and transport parts, Ketcher found a small, red crystal that caught his eye. He showed it to the others, who felt that he should turn it over to his superiors, but deciding that it looked valuable, Ketcher decided to keep it for himself and swallowed it to prevent it from being confiscated. After the crystal exited his body, he kept it on a small wire around his neck.
Work on the new Imperial station proceeded quickly and, before long, station NL-1 was nearing completion. Thrawn was due to arrive in the Stalwart to conduct an inspection of the facility, and the Ludwick's pilots were assigned to protect the vice admiral while his transport traveled to the station and back to the Stalwart. Ketcher, along with his friends, was summoned to a briefing by Buckeye on the upcoming mission. With most of the ship's TIE interceptors undergoing repairs after recent missions, the pilots were forced to use a combination of TIE interceptors and TIE bombers. Nevertheless, they were successful in fending off attacks by both Rebel and Pakuuni forces until Thrawn returned safely to the Stalwart.
Over the coming weeks, Ketcher began to increasingly keep to himself. After a mission for which he was not on the active roster, the others decided to visit him in his quarters but found him looking listless, and he barely acknowledged their presence. Worried about him, the group attempted to talk him into a game of sabacc to cheer him up, but Ketcher assured them that he was fine and just needed to sleep. It would be the last time Stele would see his friend alive.
Ketcher died at some point between this tour of duty and the completion of the TIE/D Defender prototypes by Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin. Stele was transferred off the Ludwick prior to Ketcher's death, but the news was eventually relayed to him by Alimet, and both of them briefly mourned the loss of their comrade.
Personality and traits
Ketcher was a tall man who was just under the maximum height limit for an Imperial TIE pilot. His height meant that he tended to stand with his shoulders forward and head craning, a pose that Stele thought made him look like he had trouble hearing. He had pale skin, reddish brown hair and thin lips while his hands were long, thin, and appeared to Stele to be slightly deformed. Despite his height, Ketcher was considered by Commander Buckeye to be one of his best pilots.
He was part of a close-knit group of friends with Stele, Alimet, and Carith. The group spent most of their time together, though Ketcher was not the energetic type and preferred to play sabacc, a game at which he was known for his bluffing skill. The group was known to play jokes on the crew. On more than one occasion, Carith would make the call of a Tusken Raider outside the officer's mess, and the group would run and hide while their superiors came out to investigate. It was while doing this that they met Stele, when the pilot covered for them and said he'd seen an escaped animal running past.
However, Ketcher was the most solitary of the group. When Stele came to say goodbye after being transferred for the first time, the others gave him a fond farewell, while Ketcher hardly looked up from the holofilm he was watching. After discovering the crystal, Ketcher had little energy and became increasingly isolated, making little effort to see his friends.
Behind the scenes
Ketcher was created by Rusel DeMaria for the 1994 book TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide, which presented the story of Maarek Stele, the player character in the game Star Wars: TIE Fighter. In the book, Ketcher is established as a friend of Stele's and identified as one of the previously unidentified pilots of the non-player starfighters in the game. During the character's introduction, his name is spelled "Ketchel," however it is spelled "Ketcher" throughout the rest of the book. Since this is spelling used most frequently, it is assumed to be correct.
The nature of the crystal found by Ketcher at the Pakuuni Pirate base is left vague in the book, as are the details of his death. However, the Force-sensitive Stele sensed a dangerous power about the crystal when Ketcher first found it.
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter (First appearance) (Starfighter only)
- TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide (First identified as Ketcher)
- TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM: The Official Strategy Guide