- "We don't get to question. We don't get to pick the mission. Our job is to complete the mission, whatever it takes, no matter the cost. That's what we do."
Ran Harkas, also known by the nickname Hardcase, was a Human male who served as a sergeant in Joker Squad, which was part of Company C, 9th Battalion, of the 407th Stormtrooper Division. During the Sith–Imperial War, Harkas fought with Joker Squad against Mandalorian forces in the Battle of Botajef and remained in command of the unit following the coup against Emperor Roan Fel, serving in the Imperial faction loyal to Darth Krayt.
The Battle of Borosk in 137 ABY witnessed Harkas and Joker Squad fight against the 908th Stormtrooper Division, who had sided with the fugitive Roan Fel. During the battle, Harkas was among the stormtroopers who confronted Darth Maleval, and was later evacuated off the planet due to wounds received at the hands of the enemy. Following his recovery from the injuries received on Borosk, Harkas was part of the stormtrooper contingent sent to the planet Ossus, under the command of Darth Stryfe, to root out any Jedi that may have been using it as a refuge and was later assigned to hunt down any survivors of the bombardment of Da Soocha's moon Napdu.
A grizzled veteran of many conflicts, during both the Sith–Imperial War and Second Imperial Civil War, Harkas was known for getting missions done, and developed a reputation for bringing his troopers back alive. Under his command, Joker Squad developed a reputation as a unit capable of handling a wide variety of missions. In 138 ABY, Harkas led Joker Squad in an attack on the Jedi Hidden Temple on the planet Taivas and was killed during the battle.
Battle of Botajef
- "Whatever you were, you're a member of Joker Squad now."
- ―Harkas to Hondo Karr
The Human male Ran Harkas became a sergeant in the Imperial Army and leader of the 407th Stormtrooper Division's Joker Squad at some point prior to the end of the first year of the Sith–Imperial War. Joker Squad, fought in the Battle of Botajef against Mandalorian forces hired by the Galactic Alliance to hold Botajef against the forces of the Fel Empire, taking heavy casualties during the battle. Towards the end of the battle, Joker Squad came upon two Mandalorians, Hondo Karr and Vevec, who had been left behind during the Mandalorian retreat. Karr had changed into stormtrooper armor in an effort to evade capture and, believing that Karr was under threat from Vevec, Joker Vax Potorr eliminated the Mandalorian to save his comrade. Approaching the injured man, Harkas ordered Potorr, Armang and Kniffler to secure the perimeter while he inquired as to the whereabouts of Karr's unit. When the trooper replied that he was the only survivor, Harkas drafted him into Joker Squad as a replacement for their own losses in the battle.
- "Apologies, my lord. I'm Sergent Harkas, Joker Squad. This kid's ours but he's a "newbie"—a noob. No disrespect was intended. This won't happen again."
- ―Harkas speaking to Maleval regarding Anson Trask
The Empire emerged victorious from the Sith–Imperial War but, by 137 ABY, it had fractured into two factions—those loyal to Emperor-in-exile Roan Fel and those loyal to Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Krayt. Joker Squad served Krayt's Empire and were stationed on the Imperial world of Yinchorr, which served as the headquarters for the 407th Stormtrooper Division. Due to recent engagements, Joker Squad was in need of a replacement trooper, and Anson Trask was tasked to fill the position. However, upon arriving on the planet he made the mistake of asking Darth Maleval, who was not used to common soldiers speaking to him, for directions to his new unit—the only thing that saved him from the Sith's wrath was the quick intervention of Harkas, who explained to Maleval that Trask was a noob.
Following the confrontation with Maleval, Harkas took his new replacement to meet the rest of Joker Squad. His reception, however, was somewhat cold in reality. Due to the brutal nature of the war they fought in, the veteran troopers had witnessed too many new recruits die shortly after arriving. After introducing Trask to the other Jokers, Harkas informed the squad's officer, Lieutenant Gil Cassel, that their replacement had arrived and that they were prepared for their new orders. With the addition of their new trooper, the squad was ready for their next mission, which Cassel informed them would take place on the world of Borosk.
Lieutenant Cassel advised Harkas and Joker Squad that their new mission was to fight against the traitorous 908th Stormtrooper Division, who has established their headquarters on the planet of Borosk. The mission, however, was not well received by the soldiers of Joker Squad, including Harkas, though he preferred to keep his thoughts to himself. Despite his own misgivings about the coming battle, Harkas packed his gear along with the rest of Joker Squad.
Battle of Borosk
- "I'm going to do my duty. Anyone else?"
- ―Harkas speaking to Joker Squad
The attack on the 908th's headquarters turned out to be a brutal fight, and Harkas and his soldiers found it difficult to distinguish the enemy troopers from their own. Nonetheless, Harkas did his duty and stayed beside Lieutenant Cassel during the fight, providing him cover during the squad's attempt to capture shield and gun placements along a perimeter wall. Later, during a break in the fighting, it was revealed that Cassel had transmitted a request to the 908th to surrender, rather than face destruction. Darth Maleval, however, discovered this and decided to confront Cassel about the fact that Cassel's own brother was a member of the 908th. Believing that Cassel was weak and only wanted to save his brother, Maleval advised the Jokers that they would not accept the surrender of any troopers from the 908th. The Sith Lord proceeded to threaten death to any member of Joker Squad that hesitated to follow his orders during the next attack.
Demoralized by what they felt was a conflict of interest, the troopers of Joker Squad discussed amongst themselves what they should do. However, Harkas was able to put his personal opinions aside, and delivered a gruff speech to his troopers in which he stated that a trooper's main objective was to complete a mission, no matter what it was, no matter the cost. After hearing Harkas, the troopers of Joker Squad reluctantly agreed to do their duty—if only to stand by Harkas, and not the Sith.
The following day saw Joker Squad lead the other units in the attack on the 908th, and Harkas led his troopers in breaching the main building. In what had once been the building's main mess hall, Joker Squad found themselves facing gun emplacements on the upper level walkways. As the Jokers opened fire on the targets above, Potorr stepped on a mine and was killed. Moments later, a stray round from a blaster hit one of Jes Gistang's power packs that she carried for her 'Big Gun'. The stray round ignited the spare power packs and set off an explosion, which instantly killed Gistang and critically wounded Harkas. Nevertheless, Harkas suffered through the pain and was able to continue fighting alongside the remaining Jokers—the fighting would eventually leave Harkas, Trask, and Hondo Karr as the only non-commissioned members of Joker Squad.
As the fighting wound down, Maleval confronted Cassel with a 908th prisoner, whom he intended on executing—Cassel's own brother. Harkas exploded at the Sith Lord, telling Maleval that Cassel had done his duty and the captured soldier did not deserve to be executed. Maleval, however, believed otherwise, and upon killing both Cassel brothers, was attacked by various members of Joker Squad. The fight devolved and saw rookie Anson Trask shoot the Sith Lord in the back. Realizing that the military was not what it once was, Hondo Karr decided to desert—comprehending his decision, Harkas let him go. Wanting to protect Trask and the future members of Joker Squad from any official retaliation from the Sith, Harkas filed a report which stated that Maleval had been killed in action against the 908th.
Following the Battle of Borosk, Harkas was evacuated off-planet to receive treatment for his wounds. However, before leaving, he handed command of Joker Squad over to Trask, who was the sole remaining member of the unit. Harkas's recovery took weeks, but he eventually returned to command Joker Squad, beginning the process of rebuilding it. Under Harkas's command, Joker Squad became a specialized squad, known for their ability to handle a wide variety of missions.
- "There's nothing here, Sergent Harkas."
"We're still checking this hole, Private Orland. Or do you want to make the report to Stryfe and tell him we didn't look under every stinkin' rock? Didn't think so."
- ―Orland and Harkas while on Ossus
Later that year, Harkas served along with Trask on the planet of Ossus, where Darth Stryfe led an Imperial mission to root out any remaining Jedi—Harkas and the other stormtroopers were unable to locate any Jedi, initially. As the search for the Jedi continued, Trask and another stormtrooper were ordered to investigate the lower levels of the Jedi Academy, while Harkas, Private Orland, and one other trooper continued to search the surface immediately surrounding the Academy.
Unknown to Harkas, Trask and his fire team partner encountered a small group of Jedi and Yuuzhan Vong during their search. Among the Jedi were Shado Vao who used a mind trick to persuade Trask and his partner to leave the lower levels, and report that there were no Jedi to be found. With Trask's report from the Academy, Harkas and the remaining stormtroopers on the surface were ordered back to the orbiting Star Destroyer, their search seemingly complete. Darth Stryfe, however, could still feel the hidden Jedi on the planet, regardless of what the stormtroopers reported to him. Believing that the Jedi were in fact still on Ossus, Stryfe ordered an orbital bombardment of the surface, and had the Academy destroyed.
Later that year, Harkas and Joker Squad were among the stormtrooper squads assigned to the First Sith Imperial Strikeforce, under the command of Moff Rulf Yage. After Sith Regent Darth Wyyrlok ordered the execution of the Mon Calamari in retaliation for the species' support of the Galactic Alliance, the Quarren Sith Lord Darth Azard took Yage's forces to the planet Da Soocha in search of Mon Calamari survivors. When the Hutt Azzim Anjiliac Atirue denied all knowledge of refugees, Azard ordered the poisoning of Da Soocha's oceans and the bombardment of its moon Napdu. After the turbolasers ceased firing, Harkas led Joker Squad to the surface of the moon under orders to shoot every body they found to ensure there were no survivors. When questioned by Trask about their actions, Harkas warned him not to let the squad hear about his doubts and that it was their duty to follow the orders they had been given.
- "This fight's hand to hand, Jokers. The enemy's any lightsaber that isn't red! Wipe them out to the last—no exceptions!"
- ―Harkas to Joker Squad
As the war continued, Roan Fel formed an alliance with Admiral Gar Stazi of the Galactic Alliance Remnant and the surviving Jedi in an effort to halt Krayt's Empire. In 138 ABY, Krayt learned the location of the Jedi's Hidden Temple on Taivas and planned to draw the alliance members out with an attack. Joker squad was among the units assembled for the battle.
After the initial orbital bombardment proved ineffective due to the planet's high cliffs and strong magnetic field, Moff Geist was ordered to lead Krayt's ground forces against the Temple. Receiving the order to attack, Harkas led Joker Squad into battle against the Jedi. However, as the battle raged on near the Temple's main entrance, Harkas was killed, leaving Trask to rally the Jokers under his leadership. The battle was a victory for the Sith Imperial forces due to the intervention of Emperor Krayt's Sith troopers as well as his new capital ships and starfighters, although the majority of enemy forces were able to safely escape from Taivas.
Personality and traits
- "Sgt. Harkas's nickname is "Hardcase." He earned it. He gets the mission done, but he also gets us back as intact as possible."
- ―Jes Gistang on Harkas
Harkas was a hardened soldier who served the Imperial military with a distinct sense of honor and duty. Throughout his military career he had developed a solid reputation for getting the job done, no matter the cost, and for always looking out for the well-being of the troopers under his command. After Darth Krayt's coup against Roan Fel, Harkas served Krayt's Empire but began to quietly question his loyalty to the new Emperor. During the Battle of Borosk, Harkas was not alone in feeling that the way the Sith were handling the campaign was wrong, but convinced both himself and his subordinates that their duty was to complete the mission, regardless of the cost. He later had concerns about Joker Squad's orders to kill any survivors of the orbital bombardment on Napdu. However, Harkas again knew where his duty lay, and decided to put aside his own misgivings and continue on his assigned mission.
Harkas was well liked by his troopers, and they knew that no matter the mission, he would do his best to protect their interests, as well as their livelihood. Because of this, he had earned the respect of both the enlisted and officer corps of the 407th Stormtrooper Division. Harkas was a Human male with brown hair, blue eyes and light skin who wore a beard by the time of the Battle of Borosk.
As a member of the 407th Stormtrooper Division, Harkas wore standard stormtrooper body armor while on duty. Harkas's armor was equipped with a comlink and decorated with yellow-green stripes that ran the length of both arms. Harkas carried a blaster rifle in combat.
Behind the scenes
The character of Harkas was created by John Ostrander and drawn by Travel Foreman for Legacy (2006) 4, the fourth issue of the Star Wars: Legacy comic series, first published on October 11, 2006.. Though his first appearance stood largely separate from the wider storyline of the series, his character, along with fellow Joker Anson Trask, was worked into the main storyline with an appearance in the fourth story arc of the Legacy comic series, Star Wars: Legacy: Claws of the Dragon, and the final story arc Star Wars: Legacy: Extremes. Following the conclusion of Star Wars: Legacy, Harkas appeared in its successor series, Star Wars: Legacy—War, in which the character was killed off.
Harkas's first name was not mentioned in the character's early appearances but was revealed in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, in which Harkas received an entry. An Entertainment Earth exclusive action figure of Ran Harkas was unveiled at Comic Con International 2008 as part of Hasbro's Star Wars: The Legacy Collection Joker Squad six-pack.
- Legacy (2006) 4 (First appearance)
- Legacy (2006) 16
- Legacy (2006) 17
- Legacy (2006) 41 (In flashback(s))
- Legacy (2006) 48
- Legacy—War 3
- Legacy—War 4
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as Ran)
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide
- "Imperial Icons"—Star Wars Insider 148