- "You can't even call your wife on a comlink without Talon Karrde hearing about it."
- ―Han Solo
Talon Karrde was a smuggler and information broker who dominated the underworld market in information. He began his career in the organization of Jorj Car'das, where he moved quickly through the ranks to become one of Car'das's top lieutenants. When Car'das disappeared in 0 BBY, Karrde quickly and quietly took over the organization to avoid internal feuding. The smuggling and information-brokering organization was already formidable, and when Jabba Desilijic Tiure was killed in 4 ABY, Karrde was able to pick up the most pieces and guide his group to the top spot in the smuggling world. Known as an honest and honorable man, Karrde kept a low profile despite his lofty underworld position.
In 9 ABY, Karrde was drawn into the Galactic Civil War, in which he had previously avoided taking sides, when he rescued Luke Skywalker from being stranded in deep space and helped Skywalker avoid capture by Imperial leader Grand Admiral Thrawn, though only after his hand was forced. Thrawn placed a bounty on Karrde, driving him to sell the location of the Katana fleet, a secret he had kept since his days in Car'das's employ, to the New Republic. Karrde then organized the Smugglers' Alliance to represent the smugglers to the New Republic and aid in the battle against Thrawn. When Thrawn was defeated, Karrde remained a valued ally of Skywalker and the Solos but was not trusted by the New Republic leadership as a whole due to his shady past.
In 19 ABY, Karrde undertook a mission to find Car'das, whose retribution he had long feared, in order to seek out a copy of the Caamas Document and end the political crisis regarding it. Car'das did not have a copy, but did provide information that was key in exposing the hoax regarding Thrawn's return. In the aftermath of the peace treaty between the New Republic and Imperial Remnant, Karrde turned his organization into an information-sharing agency to maintain trust between the two governments. He lost his valued second-in-command, Mara Jade, in the process as she married Skywalker and took up the Jedi life. When the Yuuzhan Vong invaded six years later, Karrde revived the Smugglers' Alliance to combat the Yuuzhan Vong and played a key role, in partnership with Lando Calrissian and longtime friend Booster Terrik, in helping pro-Jedi Chief of State candidate Cal Omas be elected to office during the crisis. When the Jedi were declared enemies of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances in 40 ABY, Karrde put his organization at their disposal, having become a staunch ally of the Jedi in contrast to his previous desire for neutrality.
Climbing the ranks
- "Talon Karrde is one of the major players in the underworld; most folks just don't know it, and that's not an accident. He's picked up a rep as one of the few infochants […] that a sentient with credits can actually trust—more than average, that is. Respectable is a word you rarely hear on the fringe, but Karrde's one of the few barves it gets applied to on a regular basis."
- ―Wrenga Jixton in an Imperial Security Bureau report on Talon Karrde
Born sometime before 31 BBY on a planet Karrde always kept secret—feeling it would cause others to label him politically—Karrde entered a life of crime as a young man. He began his career in the employ of Jorj Car'das, the leader of a smuggling and information-brokering gang. There, Karrde rose through the ranks, gaining much experience in both the smuggling and information-selling trades. In 6 BBY, Karrde was serving as a navigator and sensor specialist aboard one of Car'das's ships under a captain named Hoffner; he ultimately served under Hoffner for two years. On one smuggling mission, Karrde plotted a short blind jump to escape determined pursuit by a pair of Carrack-class cruisers. The jump landed them directly in front of a Dreadnaught-class cruiser; terrified, the ship fled once more, wrecking its hyperdrive in the blind jump and killing several of the crew. It was only when Karrde later examined the sensor records that he realized there had been hundreds of Dreadnaughts present; he had found the legendary lost Katana fleet. He memorized the coordinates before erasing them from the ship's navigation computer; he did not believe any of the other crewmen knew the location. He knew the discovery could make him a rich man, but he did not yet have the resources to adequately exploit his discovery. Karrde also piloted in his early career, drawing a young Ellor into helping him make a smuggling run at one point and so pulling the Duros into the smuggling life.
Later, Karrde approached a young Wedge Antilles, attempting to employ him, but Antilles declined; at this point Karrde had an extremely good if low-profile reputation, with no negative rumors widely circulating about him. Despite his quiet manner of operating, Karrde was able to make many contacts throughout the underworld, including such figures as Billey, Samuel Tomas Gillespee, Jett and Fenig Nabon, Par'tah, Lando Calrissian, and Booster Terrik. Karrde did not initially get on well with Terrik, hiring a spacer to rough up the rival information broker and smuggling boss after Terrik meddled in Karrde's business once too often. Their relationship developed into a friendly rivalry over time as their mutual skill and love for information brokering led them to cooperation. Karrde tended to come out ahead in their deals but each considered the other a valued partner. When Terrik was put away on Kessel, Karrde helped Car'das incorporate much of Terrik's network into his own. The underworld was not Karrde's only source of affiliates; he found allies inside the major galactic factions as well, such as Tarn Innis of the Imperial Army's Supply Branch.
In 0 BBY, Car'das suddenly disappeared along with his massive private store of information. Karrde, by now one of Car'das's chief lieutenants, conferred with the other lieutenants as to what should happen to the organization as Car'das's absence wore on for three months. A bloody internal squabble nearly developed, and it was suggested each lieutenant take his own portion of the organization and go his own way. Instead, Karrde took over the organization, neutralizing the other lieutenants and announcing his control in a single night. Two lieutenants immediately made attempts to gain back control, which Karrde thwarted and by early 0 ABY had solidified his position. In short order, he acquired a reputation as trustworthy and respectable, as much as any member of the fringe could be considered so. Karrde's operation was not on the scale of Black Sun or the Hutt kajidics, but he was considered a major underworld figure and preeminent information broker, and he had ambitions to expand even more, though he was always keen to keep his profile low and his true power concealed. Only those truly in the know realized his importance, though his stature was brought to the eyes of the Imperial Security Bureau early in his career. Karrde's organization retained the name of the Car'das, at least initially; the name eventually fell out of fashion. Six more takeover attempts by the old lieutenants or their supporters followed between the suppression of the first two and 3 ABY, all of which were thwarted. The leaders of four of them confessed under interrogation to having been backed by Car'das. Karrde was left worried that Car'das wanted his organization back and terrified of his former boss, who had been a ruthless, deadly, and seemingly prescient and unstoppable man.
Karrde maintained a scrupulous neutrality in the Galactic Civil War, aiding either side as it profited him but never clearly casting his lot in with any one party; he had no desire to become involved in galactic politics in any significant way. Karrde used the heavily modified bulk freighter Wild Karrde as his flagship, outfitting it for maximum performance. He also had offices installed on the ship from which he worked, sorting the massive amount of information fed to his sensor-stealthed ship. He also maintained the luxurious private yacht Uwana Buyer, though he preferred the Wild Karrde and used the yacht only for undercover missions or impressing potential business partners. During this period, Karrde was loosely associated with some members of Billey's organization in what was sometimes referred to as the Smugglers' Alliance.
In 1 ABY, Karrde spent some time in Doaba Guerfel on Corellia, where he recruited an operative to make minor deliveries and aid him in undercutting a Hutt rival, Shalera. He then moved on to Mos Eisley on Tatooine looking for operatives; as Karrde treated his employees very well and was considered a desirable employer, he was able to hire many agents, who returned his loyalty to them with a steadfast fidelity to him. At this time, Karrde had been selling information about Imperial troop movements to the Rebel Alliance. Though he tried to operate evenhandedly, this drew the Galactic Empire's ire when they learned of it, and it placed Karrde on the Emperor's Most Wanted bounty list in response. Zuckuss and another bounty hunter attempted to collect it by arranging a meeting between the second hunter and Karrde aboard the Wild Karrde. Zuckuss was smuggled in, and when suspicious Karrde called in his guards, the hunters attacked. They managed to overpower Karrde's guards and take him captive. He was turned in and imprisoned on Tatooine near Bestine, but was quickly broken out by the Rebellion along with several other prisoners.
In 4 ABY, Karrde gained the services of Aves, a young smuggler who would eventually grow to be one of Karrde's top associates and advisers. Also in 4 ABY, Karrde hired Fenig Nabon to make a delivery for him to Sullust, where he knew the Alliance Fleet was massing to strike against the Galactic Empire. He had heard of Jabba Desilijic Tiure's death at the hands of Leia Organa and was among the first to hear that Luke Skywalker had defeated Galactic Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader as the Alliance to Restore the Republic destroyed the Death Star II. He realized that a major shift was occurring in the balance of power and found a resurgence of the Jedi Order likely under Skywalker. This would be bad news for the fringe, in his opinion, as Jedi would crack down on smuggling and enforce law and order for the new Rebel government; even Skywalker alone could prove a formidable threat to his smuggling operation. However, opportunities abounded with Jabba's fall from preeminence.
When Nabon returned, he was waiting for her in the Black Dust Tavern on Socorro, where they discussed the recent events and exchanged tidbits of information. Karrde was able to make some credits by informing her that Han Solo had survived and escaped the Hutt's custody. Karrde had decided to take advantage of the chaos to expand his organization, and offered Nabon a position in his group, which she declined. He then offered her a deal finding information for him; he wanted a location for a new base, one which would have room for massive expansion and would be secure against Jedi. Nabon promised to search out a good location and was able to earn some money from Karrde for her information about a new arrival in the Black Dust Tavern, Ghitsa Dogder. Karrde departed as a bar fight broke out, leaving Nabon a heavy tab to make up for having overpaid for the information about Dogder.
- "A lot of good people are loose now with Jabba gone."
"Yes. It will be some time, I think, before anyone has the resources to pay any attention to us."
"And even longer before the Hutts, or at least Jabba's clan, regroup."
"I've decided it's a good time for building."
- ―Fenig Nabon and Talon Karrde
Karrde saw Jabba the Hutt's death as the perfect opportunity to build his own syndicate into a larger business. As he had revealed to Nabon, he wished to build a large secret facility; Nabon's investigations led her to Myrkr, a remote forest world with sensor-baffling flora and Force-repelling fauna—the rare ysalamiri. Myrkr became Karrde's home base, from which he operated comfortably; he kept its location a secret, preferring to let no one know his headquarters. While in the forest there, he encountered one of the local vornskr predators and happened to shoot its tail off when defending himself. This immediately reduced the creature's aggression, so Karrde named it Sturm and began to domesticate it with the aid of Chin, one of Karrde's top employees and a Myrkr native who had some skill with animals. Some time later, he encountered another vornskr in a perimeter trap, docked its tail, named it Drang, and domesticated it as well, taking the pair as personal pets. Karrde would eventually write an article for Galactic Zoology Monthly describing his domestication of the vornskrs. Karrde immediately began absorbing a great many personnel from Jabba's employ, such as Melina Carniss, a part of the Hutt's former security team who became one of Karrde's top lieutenants.
In this same time frame, Karrde rescued Quelev Tapper and his small smuggling organization from an Imperial attack; the two groups merged, with Tapper becoming Karrde's trusted second-in-command. Another key acquisition was that of Zakarisz Ghent, a highly skilled slicer. Karrde heard of his reputation and went to Sibisime to recruit him, but Ghent had gone to Chibias on another offer. Karrde was able to track him down and rescued him after the deal had gone sour, with Karrde's personnel able to secure the city against both Imperial and Rebel pursuit of Ghent while he got the young man to agree to work for him. Karrde made more mundane gains as well, such as the purchase of two G2 "Goose Droid" models after the Star Tours corporation folded. Karrde's organization quickly became the top smuggling gang in the galaxy, though he continued to keep his prominence a secret from all but the best-connected. By approximately 9 ABY, Karrde employed over eight hundred individuals and nearly two dozen ships. The growth of Karrde's organization was unusual in that he avoided the bloodshed and feuding typical of other underworld expansion efforts. He was willing to work for both the Empire and New Republic, taking cargo-moving jobs from both but never allying himself with either.
In 6 ABY, Karrde's sources brought him news that, in the aftermath of Palpatine's death, Jeng Droga had crashed one of the Emperor's private yachts, complete with a cloaking device, on an unnamed waterworld. Eager to get his hands on this valuable technology, Karrde began searching likely locations, eventually settling on Kaal as the most likely world. He took advantage of negotiations offered by Tirgee Benyalle for contracts to harvest the world's aquaculture; he hoped to be able to use the aquaculture operation to cover his extraction of the intact yacht. Arriving on the world as Syndic Pandis Hart, chief purchasing agent for the Sif-Uwana Council, he began working the casinos before the negotiations opened, with Admiral Uther Kermen of the Empire, the warlord Moff Utoxx Prentioch, and a team of New Republic agents also competing. Meanwhile, Tapper led a team in searching for the downed ship and was able to locate it. When the time came for the negotiations, Karrde and the others were taken on a tour of the harvesting facilities and began making their offers; Karrde offered to set up an independent operation with generous terms for Benyalle around the Unis Islands, where the yacht went down, and allow one of the other bidders to run the main operations. Kermen, however, had infiltrated agents aboard Benyalle's barge and made an attack to take the facilities for himself. Karrde, Benyalle, and the New Republic agents were able to take the bridge, but the barge remained filled with Kermen's agents. Karrde had the barge rendezvous with Tapper's submersible and escaped, evacuating the others with him as well. Realizing, however, that he had no chance of recovering the yacht quietly, he had Tapper destroy it rather than let someone else exploit it before leaving Kaal.
In early 7 ABY, Karrde was contacted by Booster Terrik and his daughter Mirax, who had taken over the family business while Booster had been imprisoned on Kessel. They were supporting Wedge Antilles's guerrilla war against Ysanne Isard and wanted Karrde, who was temporarily operating out of an asteroid base found by Tapper's group—or so he maintained; this may simply have been a cover to maintain the Myrkr base's secrecy—to help supply the effort. Terrik bought three hundred missile launchers and three thousand concussion missiles and proton torpedoes from Karrde, a hefty order paid in the bacta Antilles's group was stealing. Terrik arranged rendezvous locations for the shipping; Karrde's people would not be allowed all the way to Antilles's base. Karrde had Carniss handle his end of the shipments. She proved a traitor, however, selling the rendezvous location to Isard. Antilles's Rogue Squadron was able to destroy the Victory II-class Star Destroyer and damage the Interdictor that ambushed Karrde's convoy and the transfer went off smoothly, with Tapper, who led the convoy, gaining salvage in the bargain. The evidence suggested that the leak had come from Karrde's operation, and Karrde quickly realized it had been Carniss. He began watching her to determine the depth of her treachery and was able to tell that she was working alone.
When the Terriks arrived to discuss the compromise in security, Karrde was ready to have them kill her. When they demanded she live, Karrde refused—he would not tolerate betrayal. The Terriks, who wished to use her to feed Isard misinformation, were able to buy her life by giving Karrde several expensive contracts—acquiring a gravity well projector, and refitting several TIE fighters with lucrative pay in bacta and sole control of the Coruscant market for the Terriks' bacta. With Coruscant in chaos due to the Krytos virus, Karrde was obligated to donate most of the bacta to charity, but reserved a sizable portion for the black market which he subcontracted to Billey and Billey's new lieutenant, Dravis. He was also able to sell a recently procured Sith lanvarok to Mirax Terrik, who specialized in exotic items. Antilles's rebel group was able to use Carniss to lure Isard's forces into a trap and defeated them. With Thyferra freed, Karrde arrived in the system and joined up with Booster Terrik, who had taken control of the Virulence, one of Isard's Star Destroyers, in negotiations. Airen Cracken of New Republic Intelligence was aghast at the idea of Terrik possessing the Star Destroyer, but Karrde was able to come up with an acceptable compromise, manipulating Admiralty law regarding salvage to buy the Virulence's surplus weaponry and TIE fighters from Terrik for enough to give him full control of the ship, then selling the hardware to Cracken and the New Republic for a seventeen-million-credit profit. Karrde made yet more from Terrik when he bet the other smuggler, with odds, that Mirax would quietly and immediately marry Rogue Squadron's Lieutenant Corran Horn, having just announced their engagement, in order to keep Booster from effectively opposing the union. Terrik refitted the ship, renamed the Errant Venture, as a mobile casino and smuggling center after he and Karrde drove the bargain through. With her usefulness over, Karrde had Carniss killed.
Six months into 8 ABY, Karrde and Tapper visited Varonat, where they knew the Krish crime lord Gamgalon was involved in a safari operation; Karrde wished to know what Gamgalon's true interest was and if he could cut in on the business. Masquerading once more as Pandis Hart and with Tapper claiming to be his pilot, Seoul, Karrde claimed that his ship had suffered a hyperdrive failure and entered one of the Morodin-hunting safaris supposedly to pass time while it was repaired. His hyperdrive mechanic was a young woman named Celina Marniss who impressed him with her competence and wide-ranging knowledge; her name's odd similarity to that of Carniss's also drew his attention. On the safari, Karrde noticed something that looked like a transponder before the guides pulled him away. When examining the Morodin trails, Karrde became increasingly concerned about the guides' behavior, and when he finally tracked one down he held his fire, noting that it did not attack; another hunter killed it. When they returned to the camp, Karrde tweaked the settings on his comm relay in order to pick up Gamgalon's transponders; while in the forest, he followed the Morodin trails with Tapper and realized that the Morodins were sentient and the trails were in fact a maze. Gamgalon's personnel had followed them, along with Gamgalon himself, and took Karrde and Tapper prisoner. Gamgalon admitted that the safaris were only cover for their efforts to harvest modified aleudrupe berries which could be used to create blaster gas. Tapper grabbed a blaster rifle from a guard in an attempt to escape, but was cut down by a hidden Krish sniper. While he was being marched back through the forest, Karrde was suddenly saved by Marniss, who had recognized him as likely being Talon Karrde by virtue of his tendency toward punnish names. Karrde offered her a reward for her assistance; she requested a job. Impressed by her skills and versatility, he agreed to hire Marniss, who now revealed her true name to be Mara Jade.
- "It's a matter of relative strength. Here on the ground, with an Imperial Star Destroyer orbiting overhead, we have no bargaining position at all. I wouldn't do business under such circumstances even if Thrawn was the most trustworthy client in the galaxy. Which he's not. Now do you understand?"
"I don't agree. But I'll accept your decision."
"Thank you. Perhaps after the Imperials leave, you can ask General Calrissian about the perils of making bargains while stormtroopers are strolling around your territory."
- ―Talon Karrde and Mara Jade
After five and a half months of watching Jade in action and being continually impressed by her talents and demeanor, Karrde decided to promote her to be one of his lieutenants with an eye toward grooming her to take the deceased Tapper's place as his second-in-command. Karrde invited her to a private dinner in which he gave her the news, but that was quickly broken up by the arrival of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Chimaera over Myrkr. Karrde knew through his sources that this was the flagship of the Empire's new secret military commander, Grand Admiral Thrawn. When it dispatched shuttles that were clearly going to land near Karrde's forest base, Karrde hailed the Chimaera himself and offered his assistance while displaying his unusual knowledge of the Empire's doings. Captain Gilad Pellaeon remained suspicious, but Karrde freely offered his aid in showing the Imperials how to safely remove the ysalamiri, which he had deduced the Imperials were after, from their branches in an attempt to ingratiate himself with Thrawn. Deciding that Thrawn must have some reason for harvesting so many, he decided to begin carrying ysalamiri aboard his personal freighter, the Wild Karrde, as well. He then returned to conversation with Jade, who offered several ideas for comprehensive reform of his organization which she felt would make it more efficient; he tended to agree with her analysis.
Karrde kept Jade by his side, teaching her more about the upper levels of his business and introducing her to his regular business contacts. They were both present for a delivery in the Sluis sector when several of Thrawn's Star Destroyers made a hit-and-fade strike, forcing Karrde to cancel the delivery. He stayed to watch the battle, however, finding Thrawn's unorthodox use of Star Destroyers for a hit-and-fade attack intriguing. When Thrawn attempted to capture Luke Skywalker, Skywalker escaped using a technique that would wreck his hyperdrive in short order, but Thrawn did not have time to recover him; instead, he contacted Karrde and several other smugglers and offered a bounty if they searched along Skywalker's route, captured him, and brought him to Thrawn. Karrde declined, citing a heavy schedule; in fact, he simply did not want to get involved in Thrawn's war effort in such a major way. On one routine journey, however, Jade, acting on a hunch, brought the Wild Karrde out of hyperspace where Skywalker's X-wing had broken down. Karrde rescued Skywalker and spoke with him, asking him why Jade had such an intense hatred for him, a hatred Karrde had been able to discover in his conversations with her. When Skywalker could not answer, Karrde ended the conversation and had him stunned by ysalamiri-protected crewmen. He took Skywalker back to Myrkr, where he was imprisoned without access to the Force.
When Skywalker awoke, Karrde interviewed him, asking him why he had suddenly become an Imperial target. Skywalker did not know, but offered to pay for his release. Karrde, however, knew that if he released Skywalker to the New Republic, Thrawn would find out, and he could not afford to have such an enemy. On the other hand, he was disinclined to hand Skywalker over to the Empire and run the risk of the New Republic finding out. He decided to look into why exactly the Empire wanted Skywalker, and to keep the Jedi imprisoned on Myrkr until he knew. Karrde kept it a secret even from most of those on Myrkr that Skywalker was a captive there. While Skywalker was still imprisoned, however, Fynn Torve, one of Karrde's captains, arrived with Lando Calrissian and Han Solo. The pair had saved Torve on Abregado-rae, and he felt obligated to grant them an audience with Karrde, which was what they had wanted. Karrde had to rush to move Skywalker to an outbuilding and hide his fighter before they landed. Karrde met with Solo and Calrissian, and Solo offered Karrde the same proposal he had been making for smuggling groups: the New Republic, suffering from a shortage of cargo transport, would hire his organization to haul legitimate cargo for them at favorable rates and with no consequences for their prior activities. Karrde, however, was not interested in tying himself to the New Republic and said as much to the two smugglers-turned-generals. Solo had other business to discuss, however, and Karrde suggested they do so over dinner.
In the midst of that meal, though, the Chimaera once more arrived in orbit. Karrde rushed away to speak with Pellaeon, but Thrawn actually appeared on the other side of the connection. When Thrawn mentioned desiring Karrde's help in procuring capital ships, Karrde momentarily thought Thrawn had somehow discovered that Karrde knew the location of the Katana fleet, but it proved to be otherwise. The Grand Admiral had decided to come down for a personal talk with Karrde, and Karrde had to rush once more to hide the Millennium Falcon and its two passengers. Just before the Imperials landed, however, Skywalker escaped and stole a Skipray blastboat; Jade set off in pursuit in another Skipray. When Thrawn arrived, Karrde had to dismiss it to him as a dissatisfied employee stealing a ship and attempting to make off with it, but Thrawn sent a team of stormtroopers to investigate the site in the forest where both ships had crashed, ostensibly as a favor to Karrde. They found nothing, however, and Thrawn soon departed after discussing his bounty for captured warships with Karrde. Solo and Calrissian returned from the forest; they had sneaked out of their ship and seen Karrde speaking with Thrawn; he assured them he was not working with the Empire. They began snooping around the base, however, and found the storage shed where Skywalker had been held. They deduced that it had been Skywalker in the shed just as Karrde tracked them down, and Karrde admitted that he had kept Skywalker imprisoned; by pointing out that he had turned over neither Skywalker nor Solo and Calrissian, however, he was able to gain back some of their trust.
Karrde felt an obligation as their host to protect Solo and Calrissian; he considered taking an individual in as a guest to involve an implicit guarantee of protection, and would not break that trust. Once Thrawn departed the system—leaving behind a small force in nearby Hyllyard City to wait for Skywalker and Jade—Karrde began organizing a search party for the forest. He could not allow Skywalker to enter Thrawn's hands alive, as the Grand Admiral would then feel Karrde had sided against him and take appropriate action; Karrde was prepared to kill the Jedi rather than let Thrawn's forces capture him. Karrde grew sad as he realized that one way or the other, he would have to leave Myrkr; over time, the base had become his home and he had grown quite attached to the peaceful location. When Skywalker was able to use R2-D2 to send a counterpart-encrypted message to Skywalker's X-wing, though, Karrde received his and Jade's report and was able to reply to them, warning them that Imperials were waiting in Hyllyard City and telling them the cover story Karrde had related to Thrawn. Karrde was not able to intercept them before they made it to the city, but a team of his personnel, working with Solo and Calrissian, were able to ambush the Imperials as they led their captives through the city and free the pair. Karrde visited the battle site after it was over and was impressed by Skywalker's role in taking down most of the stormtroopers and the Chariot Light Assault Vehicle; some of the forces had escaped, however, and Thrawn would be able to figure out what had happened at any rate. Karrde knew he had to leave Myrkr; he had Aves begin an evacuation while he spoke with Solo and Skywalker. They were able to put any hard feelings mostly behind them, and Karrde requested a warship to help the evacuation, half-hoping he could still win his way back into Thrawn's graces while letting Skywalker go, but Solo said that aid was unlikely, and Karrde knew that Thrawn would not be so easily pacified in any case. He had made the Empire an enemy, something he had so long avoided, and was beginning to fear Thrawn's retribution.
Karrde successfully evacuated the Myrkr base and set up a new one on Rishi; Jade had by now been promoted to full status as second-in-command. When Thrawn returned to Myrkr deal with him, Karrde remained hidden behind an asteroid to watch Thrawn's attack on the abandoned base and make sure the group had not left anything important behind. Jade became increasingly uneasy as they continued waiting, feeling that an attack was imminent. Finally, she powered up the Wild Karrde against his advice, giving them just enough time to escape the gravitic effect of the Interdictor which suddenly jumped into the system. Karrde was impressed by Jade's seeming prescience, and mentally added it to the list of mysteries surrounding her.
The hunt for the Katana fleet
- "What are you talking about? No one's authorized either of you to come along."
"I'm authorizing it, Councilor. The Katana fleet is still mine, and will remain so until the New Republic takes possession of it. Until then, I make the rules."
- ―Borsk Fey'lya and Talon Karrde
Karrde returned to his base on Rishi, set up in a townhouse in the middle of one of Rishi's major cities with a drop site in the swamp. There, he attempted to press Mara Jade about her hunches, but she turned the topic to Karrde's strange reaction to Thrawn's demand for warships on Myrkr, an explanation of which he had promised her. Karrde explained to her his knowledge of the Katana fleet's location, and Jade suggested selling the secret to Thrawn. Karrde declined; he was of the opinion that while aiding the Empire would be profitable in the short term, the New Republic was best-placed to win out over time and making an enemy of either would be counterproductive. Jade left to pick up some supplies, and during her trip was attacked by a bounty hunter looking to collect on the twenty-thousand-credit bounty Thrawn had placed on Karrde. With their location compromised, Karrde began the process of pulling out of the Rishi base, which had not yet even been fully set up; the group packed its equipment up and left in the middle of the night.
When Jade was captured picking up the Etherway from impoundment on Abregado-Rae, she decided that the only way to escape Thrawn's custody was to give up the location of the Katana fleet in hopes of buying Karrde's way out of trouble. Thrawn agreed and released Jade to track down Karrde and obtain the location for the trade; Thrawn, however, in turn tracked her ship. Karrde had been worried over her delay and came out to meet her personally; once he was in the open, stormtroopers rappelled into the docking bay and surrounded him. When Jade herself disarmed him as he fought back, Karrde realized that her strange reactions to mentions of Palpatine and Skywalker were remnants of an Imperial past to which she had returned. Karrde felt regretful that he had been fooled and was losing his second-in-command, but could not bring himself to be angry with her. Karrde was imprisoned aboard the Chimaera and left largely alone for the first few days, with Thrawn hoping to wear him down mentally and emotionally before the actual interrogation began; if he answered swiftly, Thrawn would give him the pay he had agreed upon with Jade and send him on his way—the bounties on his organization had already been canceled. His captors tried to imply that Jade had knowingly betrayed him, but he found their efforts so strong that he became convinced that the opposite was true.
Jade, meanwhile, was released; Thrawn's ambush had broken any faith she might have had in the Empire. Karrde's group, thinking her a traitor, would not work with her, but Aves trusted her enough to lend her a ship and other supplies. Jade recruited Skywalker to help her rescue Karrde, and the pair infiltrated the Chimaera in a supply ship. Karrde was surprised to see Skywalker enter his cell; the heavy interrogation had not yet begun and Karrde was in good spirits. They escaped the detention area through the trash compactor and Karrde donned a TIE pilot suit as Skywalker and Jade already had. Before they made it back to the supply shuttle, however, Thrawn detected their attempt and raised the alert aboard the Star Destroyer. Karrde suggested they steal a vehicle from deep storage instead, a move he felt the Imperials would not expect. Karrde distracted the first search party to come across them and armed himself; in deep storage, they found the Millennium Falcon, which Thrawn had captured, abandoned, over Endor. They took back the ship, which Karrde piloted out of storage, out the hangar bay, and along the Chimaera's hull and exhaust trail, maximizing his cover, until he could jump to hyperspace while Skywalker held off pursuing TIEs from the gun turret.
They went to Coruscant, where Karrde had decided to sell the Katana fleet's location to the New Republic, as the Empire was now clearly an enemy of his. On Coruscant, he received the news that Thrawn had tracked down Hoffner, who apparently had realized the true nature of the Dreadnaughts as well and had his own copy of the coordinates. Karrde was rushed to negotiations with the New Republic Advisory Council, where Councilor Borsk Fey'lya responded hostilely, questioning Karrde's honesty. When Fey'lya was able to push a recovery effort off until after a reconnaissance team, launching the next day, had checked the location, Karrde felt far too much time would be wasted. Karrde sent Jade to the Trogan system, where Aves had hid after taking temporary command of the organization. Karrde had Aves gather all the forces he could and rendezvous with them at the Katana fleet's location while sending Ghent to Coruscant in order to look into suspicious bank transfers regarding Admiral Gial Ackbar that had the New Republic's supreme commander imprisoned under suspicion of treason. By disproving the dubious allegations, Karrde knew he would weaken Fey'lya's political position and hopefully keep the Bothan politician from being in a position to carry out a grudge against him. Karrde also met privately with Councilor Leia Organa Solo and they agreed to launch a quiet mission of their own that night to outpace Fey'lya's group and prevent his handpicked personnel from being the only ones present.
Han Solo and Luke Skywalker left overnight in charge of a small task force; by the morning, news had gotten out and Fey'lya was furious. He prepared to lead the recovery team itself and ordered Solo and Skywalker's arrest. Karrde and Organa Solo invited themselves along in Fey'lya's force; enraged as he was, Fey'lya was not in the position to refuse Karrde, who remained the only one on Coruscant to know the fleet's location. When they arrived at the fleet's location, Fey'lya ordered the arrest of the prior party, which had already boarded the Katana. Before any orders were able to be carried out, however, the Imperial Star Destroyer Judicator entered the area. Fey'lya intended to abandon the first group, outraging Organa Solo. Karrde quietly showed Organa Solo a datapad message telling her to turn on the intercom and comm using the Force, then prodded Fey'lya into a conversation in which the politician confessed that he did not care for the lives of the soldiers who formed his growing ranks of supporters in the military but instead regarded them merely as tools for his political ambitions. The rest of the task force heard this and abandoned Fey'lya, pressing the fight against the Judicator. A small fleet of Karrde's men soon arrived as well, led by Aves and Jade. Further reinforcements under the long-disappeared Senator Garm Bel Iblis also arrived, summoned by Han Solo, who had contacted his small resistance group recently. Karrde had scanned the area, however, and realized that only fifteen Dreadnaughts were left; the Empire had already been there and retrieved the rest. When a second Star Destroyer arrived, Aves called a retreat, which Karrde approved; they did not have the forces to oppose two of the battleships. The team aboard the Katana was able to use the fleet's slave rig system to ram a Dreadnaught into the Peremptory, causing the Judicator to retreat and winning the battle for the New Republic. Jade had been forced to eject from her fighter, however, and was injured when she passed across the path of an ion beam; Skywalker was able to find and rescue her, and she was brought in for medical care and eventually moved to Coruscant to recover. While Karrde remained grateful to the New Republic for their care of Jade, he still refused to side directly with the New Republic and insisted that he was neutral; he had made an enemy of Thrawn but did not feel that the New Republic was a good long-term ally for a smuggler like himself, especially with the notoriously anti-smuggler Ackbar back in command after Ghent successfully cleared him of wrongdoing.
During the Battle for the Katana fleet, the New Republic had discovered that Thrawn was using cloned troops. Karrde, deeply uneasy with the thought of Thrawn winning out, began looking for the site of Thrawn's cloning facility by tracing back the flow of clones to the battlefront. One month after the Katana fleet incident, his investigations led him to Calius saj Leeloo on Berchest; Karrde was able to move relatively openly there despite the now fifty-thousand-credit bounty on him and Berchest's status as Imperial territory due to his longstanding smuggling contact with Governor Raccyx Staffa. There, he came across Skywalker investigating the clone pipeline himself. Skywalker was able to convince Karrde to sell the New Republic information about the Empire, but Karrde maintained the right to sell only the information he wished; when he returned to Coruscant, Skywalker set up a line of credit against which Karrde could draw in exchange for his information.
Karrde continued tracing the clone supply back to Chazwa, where he encountered his old friend Samuel Tomas Gillespee in orbit. Gillespee had retired to Ukio, but that world had recently fallen to Thrawn due to a mysterious superweapon. Gillespee had macrobinocular records of the bombardment, which Karrde realized would be valuable to the New Republic, which was still unsure what exactly had transpired on Ukio. He arranged to sell the record to the New Republic, but they were interrupted by the approach of a pair of Lancer-class frigates, which Karrde assumed were after him. He began to run, but saw they were in fact pursuing Gillespee's ship. He could have continued in his mission to pull the garrison records on Chazwa, but Karrde refused to abandon his friend and took his small force into battle against the Lancers. Both were able to escape, and Karrde arranged a rendezvous with Gillespee in eight days on Trogan; he had Gillespee extend the invitation to any other major smugglers as well.
The Smugglers' Alliance
- "Sounds like a dream assignment. Except for the tiny little problem of finding someone in the New Republic stupid enough to pay privateer rates for snoop duty."
"Actually, I wasn't planning to waste their valuable time telling them about it. Have you ever met my associate Ghent?"
"Why not? On the contrary, we'd be doing them a service. Why clutter their lives with these troublesome accounting details while they're trying to survive a war?"
- ―Samuel Tomas Gillespee and Talon Karrde
Karrde met the others at the Whistler's Whirlpool, an abandoned tapcafe on Trogan. Karrde had his people secure the location and received a guest list from Gillespee. Dravis, Brasck, Par'tah, Ellor, Mazzic, Clyngunn, and Niles Ferrier would all be there. Karrde was annoyed at Ferrier's inclusion, as the man was primarily a starship thief and had been working directly for Thrawn, capturing Hoffner; Karrde did not trust him. When they arrived, Karrde proposed to them that they unify against the Empire, which he felt was bad for the smuggling business. Brasck and Mazzic responded coolly, though Par'tah was more open to the idea. Karrde was about to admit defeat and adjourn the meeting when it was suddenly raided by Imperial forces. The smugglers fought back, destroying the force. The ambush turned the others against the Empire, leading them to join Karrde in his plan to track down the clone supply line. Mazzic, who had lost a friend in the battle, and Ellor preferred to take the fight to the Empire more directly but supported Karrde's plan. Only Brasck refrained from joining, though he promised not to sell them out to Thrawn; Karrde did not mind too much, as he personally did not care for Brasck's methods. Before leaving, Karrde agreed to meet Par'tah and Clyngunn once more over Chazwa in five days.
Karrde continued devoting much of his resources to tracking down the clone pipeline. Ferrier procured an assault shuttle for Karrde but, not trusting the ship thief, Karrde had it taken to the Roche system to be checked over by some of his Verpine contacts. At the meeting over Chazwa, Par'tah conveyed a message from Mazzic suggesting the smugglers visit Bilbringi; Karrde made his way there, where he noticed several irregular objects in the Imperial shipyards and, scanning them, discovered twenty-two asteroids being worked on. While he was incoming, Mazzic led an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer under construction in the shipyards, destroying it. Karrde nearly began attacking to cover Mazzic's escape before Ellor arrived and destroyed Mazzic's pursuit. Karrde realized that this attack would earn the smugglers serious enmity from the Empire, and felt that organizing their groups together to meet the threat was more vital than ever. Karrde moved his operations to a long-abandoned fortress on Hijarna, where he continued collating intelligence reports. As they failed to turn up any cloning source, however, the smugglers were forgoing business and running short on money; Gillespee confided in Karrde that most of them were ready to quit. In an attempt to salvage the alliance, Karrde decided to have Ghent slice into the New Republic's coffers and divert payment to the group; Karrde considered it advance payment to keep them going until they found the cloning center. He planned one more meeting to present the idea to the other smugglers.
Karrde declined to invite Ferrier to this gathering, though the man showed up anyway; he assumed one of the other smugglers had invited Ferrier due to his prior involvement. Before the meeting itself began, Karrde received a report of an intruder from Fynn Torve and proceeded to the Wild Karrde's berth, where Chin thought he had seen someone moving. Karrde kept the disturbance from his guests and went down to deal with it himself, leading a search of the ship and the area around it which turned up nothing. When he returned, he was discomfited to see that Mazzic had brought a squad of bodyguards with him. Mazzic began confronting him, insisting the meeting be held aboard the Wild Karrde and accusing Karrde of having something to hide. Karrde realized that the intruder had been the nearly-invisible Defel Ferrier employed and he had been set up. He consented to the change of venue, but Karrde's employees were uneasy about Mazzic's actions and stalled the group, leading one of Mazzic's bodyguards to draw a blaster on Karrde and insist they be allowed aboard. Karrde refused to allow anyone more than the eight smuggler chiefs on board, where Mazzic demanded all Karrde's datacards. Karrde complied, and Mazzic admitted that Thrawn had captured him and told him that the attack at Trogan had been staged; someone had paid the troops to attack the meeting. Ellor found the datacard which held details of the deal in Karrde's collection; Karrde realized that the Defel had planted it. Karrde attempted to persuade the others that he had been set up by Thrawn and Ferrier, who was acting increasingly defensive; finally, Ferrier blurted information he should not have known and suspicion fell squarely on him. Ferrier was able to pull a thermal detonator and force Karrde to the bridge, where Karrde used the external lights to draw the attention of his employees outside. Karrde ferried Ferrier to his ship, but the ship thief failed to escape as Mazzic's fighters pursued him and shot him down. Ferrier's betrayal re-solidified the alliance, keeping the smugglers angry at the Empire and willing to work together.
Karrde's informants were able to put together news of a major New Republic strike shaping up against Tangrene in order to capture a crystal gravfield trap array for use in clearing Coruscant of a mysterious threat which had kept civilian traffic blockaded out. Karrde brought the information to the other smugglers and suggested their alliance plan its own raid on Bilbringi at the same time, seizing the crystal gravfield trap there for sale to the New Republic. The others agreed, and Karrde left Aves in charge of his contribution to the Bilbringi strike as he took the Wild Karrde to Coruscant himself to contact Ghent about slicing them payment and information and to pick up Jade from the infirmary. There, he was barred from landing but conversed by comm with Leia Organa Solo, who indicated that Jade was under arrest after coming under suspicion of involvement in an attack on the Imperial Palace. When he still would not be allowed down, he demanded an explanation and was told that several cloaked asteroids had been placed in orbit during a raid by Thrawn; only twenty-two of the hundreds launched had been destroyed. Karrde connected this with what he had seen at Bilbringi, assuring the New Republic that the twenty-two were the only asteroids to have been launched; the rest were dry-fires. Organa Solo then cleared Karrde to land and met with him, explaining that Jade had actually been released to participate in a raid on Wayland, Thrawn's cloning center; Jade knew the location due to her time as the Emperor's Hand, a top-level assassin for Palpatine. She had realized just then that the cloning facility was full of ysalamiri and wanted Karrde to bring her there to reinforce the raid and warn Skywalker. Karrde wanted to help Jade, but knew that leaving immediately would keep him from being able to have Ghent slice into the New Republic's systems and pay his smuggler allies. Fortuitously, Fey'lya was found lurking nearby and revealed that he was desperate for the Mount Tantiss facility to be destroyed, as information deleterious to the Bothan people was stored there. Karrde was able to convince the Bothan councilor to pay him seventy thousand credits for his aid and set out for Wayland with Organa Solo.
Masquerading as an Imperial supply freighter, the Wild Karrde was able to land on Wayland, faking a crash in the forest at the last minute. Karrde set out on foot with Organa Solo and her Noghri bodyguard as well as Sturm and Drang; he had realized that the vornskrs hunted by using the Force and could be used to track Force-sensitives such as Skywalker and Jade. They were able to infiltrate Mount Tantiss, where they met up with Han Solo; Skywalker and Jade had gone ahead. Organa Solo detected that the Force had recently been restored to the area; the ysalamiri inside the mountain had been killed. They suspected a trap by Thrawn's mad Jedi clone, Joruus C'baoth, and rushed to aid the pair. They found them in the throne room, Skywalker dueling a clone of himself that C'baoth had had created. C'baoth attacked both the Solos, knocking them out of the fight; he ignored Karrde, who had yet to take action against him. Karrde got on the comlink to Lando Calrissian, who was leading the sabotage of the cloning chamber, and asked if there were any ysalamiri he could bring up, but Calrissian informed him that they were all dead. C'baoth disarmed Karrde using telekinesis, but Jade was able to grab a lightsaber and kill the clone. C'baoth made a tremendous telekinetic attack against the entire group in retaliation, bringing much of the ceiling down and blocking off the turbolift. Skywalker was able to release Karrde's vornskrs, however, which attacked C'baoth and provided enough of a distraction for Jade to kill the insane Dark Jedi. They escaped through the hole C'baoth's death had torn in the wall, where the Wild Karrde picked them up and pulled clear of the mountain facility before it blew up thanks to Calrissian and Chewbacca's sabotage.
Karrde's smuggler coalition, meanwhile, had been surprised to find that the Tangrene attack was actually a diversion and the New Republic was striking at Bilbringi, a move Thrawn had anticipated. In the battle, the smugglers helped Rogue Squadron open a new front in the battle while Thrawn was assassinated by his bodyguard, forcing an Imperial withdrawal and ending the major threat at the time. In the aftermath, Karrde decided to forge the smuggler coalition he had build into a new, formalized organization, the Smugglers' Alliance, which could represent the smugglers' interests and liaise with the New Republic to sell information and move legitimate cargo.
While working on Coruscant to help establish the Smugglers' Alliance, Karrde learned that Lando Calrissian had possession of a beckon call likely belonging to Car'das. He attempted to buy it, but Calrissian would not sell. Instead, Karrde assigned Jade and Calrissian to track down his old boss, whose disappearance had long bothered him. Karrde himself became semiretired, running his organization from a distance and letting Jade handle the day-to-day operations; he contacted Jade only at prearranged times to receive her reports and lived life on the move, enjoying the private life and making his own efforts to find Car'das. He announced that he had retired fully and this was maintained publicly, but he still quietly ran the organization and had every intention of returning to full command eventually. It took some time for him to tie up loose ends, and close associates such as Booster Terrik knew he had not truly retired. Karrde's success in aiding the New Republic led to the circulation of rumors that he had been trained by New Republic Intelligence, though he flatly denied them.
- "How is Karrde? Still retired?"
"Hah! More than a few months of relaxation was enough to bring him to the brink of insanity and boredom. He's back at it and busier than ever, with his hands in more schemes than I can keep track of."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade
Not long after the Battle of Bilbringi, Karrde received a message supposedly from Booster Terrik requesting a meeting in Oradin on Brentaal IV, though he quickly decided it was not from the smuggler himself. He decided to meet anyway, taking some security precautions. The sender of the message actually turned out to be Corran Horn's astromech Whistler, working with Antilles's astromech R5-G8 to escape the custody of Ysanne Isard, who had secretly survived her supposed death over Thyferra and had captured Rogue Squadron, who were presumed dead by the New Republic. Whistler requested passage to the Errant Venture, which, given the sensitive nature of the information the pair carried, Karrde decided to grant. He had been preparing to turn the Lastri's Ort over to Aves, but was willing to make a detour. He brought the two droids to the Venture and turned them over to Terrik's custody.
In 11 ABY, Jade gained interests in the Kessel glitterstim mines, now under Calrissian's management, for the Smugglers' Alliance; by this time it had became a large, organized, and well-regulated interest group capable of working well together. Not long after that, Karrde returned full-force to active duty leading the group, having grown bored with his semi-retirement and apparently content that his deception had played out. Around 12 ABY, Karrde was approached by Nabon and her partner, Dogder, with information about what appeared to be military expenditures on the part of the Hutts; they trusted him to funnel this information into the New Republic's hands. Spending time on and off following Car'das's trail, Calrissian and Jade eventually succeeded around 13 ABY, finding that he had taken up residence in the Exocron system but, per Karrde's instructions, not making contact with him. Karrde, not knowing how he would deal with the man or what Car'das would feel, decided not to contact him at that time. Over time the Smugglers' Alliance drifted apart, and Karrde was left running his own operation, still the top smuggling and information-brokering group. Karrde grew increasingly distant from the New Republic leadership as its politicians distanced themselves from him and the Empire grew weaker, lessening their need for fringe allies. Karrde also lost Ghent's services, with the young man becoming the Crypt Chief of the New Republic.
In the course of the next years, Karrde became aware of a growingly dangerous situation in Smuggler's Run, an old smugglers' hideout. He found the new situation distasteful, with a mysterious and, he felt, sinister new influence controlling much of the business there. When the Senate Hall was bombed in 17 ABY, it created a panic and Calrissian contacted Jade, temporarily meeting with Karrde, about the situation, and Karrde suggested he investigate Smugglers' Run. Calrissian, along with Solo, investigated the situation and it was eventually discovered that a Dark Jedi warlord known as Kueller was leading a new secret rebellion from Almania. Chewbacca contacted Karrde and had him rendezvous with the Millennium Falcon in the Almanian system and bring ysalamiri. There, a New Republic fleet under General Wedge Antilles was engaging Kueller's forces. Karrde transferred the ysalamiri to Solo, who began to make for the planet. One of Kueller's Star Destroyers moved to cut him off, but the Wild Karrde was able to destroy the ship with a surprise barrage, covering Solo's descent. Once Solo landed, Karrde took his ship into the main battle, aiding Antilles's force. When Antilles realized the enemy ships were droid-controlled, he began firing near misses at the Wild Karrde and the other ships in his fleet, which confused the enemy friend-foe identification systems and caused them to cease fire on his ship. Karrde initially failed to understand the tactic, but Antilles used it to infiltrate the enemy fleet and line up a precision barrage on the weak points in Kueller's ships, destroying the Star Destroyers. Meanwhile, on the surface, Solo used the ysalamiri to block Kueller's powers while Leia Organa Solo killed him, ending the threat.
Later that same year, the industrialist Ja Bardrin abducted Jade and the Wile Karrde's crew while Karrde was away making a deal in the Gekto system. His daughter Sansia had fallen into the hands of the crime lord Chay Praysh and he forced Jade to go undercover in Praysh's fortress and rescue her by threatening the crew. When Karrde learned of this, he was enraged and contacted Organa Solo, who was able to put a team of Noghri commandos at his disposal, with which he took Bardrin's private residence and captured the man. He began preparing a team to rescue Jade from Praysh's fortress, but she returned on her own with Sansia. Sansia had been betrayed by her father so that he would have a record of Praysh's defenses created by Sansia's ship with which he could return and seize a competitor's prototypes which Praysh had stolen. Irate, Sansia gave the highly advanced ship to Jade, who renamed it the Jade's Fire. Karrde remained furious at the endangerment of his people, however, and demanded a heavy fee from Bardrin in exchange for the industrialist's life. Karrde picked up a new employee as well: H'sishi, a Togorian scavenger who had aided Jade in her escape. Karrde sold the data gathered by the ship to Skywalker, who was able to lead a New Republic raid on Praysh's fortress and free his many slaves. Jade had been feeling pressured by her situation lately, and Karrde decided to give her a break by setting her up with a small legitimate cargo business aboard the Jade's Fire in which she could gain experience away from the fringe and without the responsibilities of helping run Karrde's massive organization. After about a year of independent operations, Jade returned to Karrde's organization, refreshed. At around the same time, Karrde began hiring Noghri, who had relocated to Wayland, as bodyguards for his more vulnerable informants and employees.
The Caamas Document Crisis
- "You're expecting him to kill you, aren't you? And you think…?"
"You're not associated with me, Shada. Everyone else aboard the ship is. I would have come alone, but I knew I couldn't survive the trip to Exocron in anything smaller or less well armed than the Wild Karrde. Car'das is a vengeful man; but like Bombaasa, he likes to consider himself cultured. I hope to talk him out of killing me, of course; I hope even more that he won't harm my crew. But if he's adamant on settling old scores…I hope at least I can persuade him to let you go back to the New Republic with a copy of the Caamas Document."
- ―Shada D'ukal and Talon Karrde
In 19 ABY, Karrde was approaching Wayland when he received a call from Cakhmaim, Organa Solo's chief bodyguard. A Devaronian thief, Lak Jit, had made off with a datacard stolen from the ruins of Mount Tantiss; the Wild Karrde forced Jit's ship down. He examined the datacard with Organa Solo and discovered that it was a copy of the Caamas Document, implicating a group of Bothans of complicity in the destruction of Caamas under Palpatine; any list of specific conspirators that might have been on the card had been too damaged to recover, however. They had already let Jit go free after he turned over the datacard, and realized that he would spread the story and spark a major incident as blame was placed for the long-ago but much-detested attack. Jit indeed did so before Mazzic, acting under Karrde's instructions, captured him. Karrde contacted Organa Solo to report the news but reached her husband, who took the news and informed Karrde that, in an engagement against pirates, Skywalker had sensed clones aboard the pirate ships. Karrde promised to look into it—at New Republic expense. He also dispatched Jade to aid Skywalker in a raid on the Cavrilhu Pirates after Solo mentioned it.
Karrde went on to visit the Errant Venture, where he was supposed to rendezvous with Jade. Coming aboard, he found Terrik's daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild on the bridge; Horn had come to discuss an organization called "Vengeance" which had been mentioned in relation to the growing Caamas Document Crisis. Horn's mission was secret, but Karrde got word of it and knew enough to expect Horn's son Valin to be there as well, bringing him a gift. His demonstration of knowledge convinced Horn to let him in on the request for information, and Karrde promised to look into it. Karrde asked Terrik if he had information on the Cavrilhu Pirates' new base after being chased from their former base by Skywalker, but Terrik knew nothing. Karrde also wanted to ask if Terrik knew anything of the pirates whom Skywalker had sensed using clones, but Terrik again could turn up no new information. While Jade was inbound on the Starry Ice, a small fighter of strange design buzzed the Venture's bridge, transmitting a message in a foreign language. Jade had run across a similar ship during her pirate raid, and recognized Thrawn's full name, Mitth'raw'nuruodo, in the transmission. Cross-checking the vectors of the two ships as they had jumped to lightspeed showed a common destination in the Nirauan system; Karrde sent Jade to investigate it, as the New Republic was too busy handling the political crisis to check out what Karrde felt could be a significant discovery, possibly the Hand of Thrawn mentioned on one scrambled datacard Organa Solo had recovered from Jit.
Karrde went to Cejansij to check it for evidence of Vengeance activity and retrieve some data from an employee, Moranda Savich. She was attacked by a gang of thugs on her way to the meeting and was saved by Skywalker, who had been looking to get in contact with Karrde. Skywalker came along. In the midst of speaking with him, Karrde received a report that Jade had been knocked unconscious on Nirauan and possibly captured. Skywalker agreed to make the rescue attempt, and told Karrde just before he left that he had had a Force vision in which Jade appeared dead, leaving Karrde dreading the possibility that his trusted second-in-command had been killed. Karrde assigned Savich to Drev'starn, the capital of Bothawui, to keep an eye out for subversive activity—especially attempts to bring down the planetary shields—as the Caamas Document Crisis grew stronger.
Karrde proceeded to Coruscant, where he was blocked from landing by a traffic controller connected to political factions who opposed him; he had to call Organa Solo, whom he intended to meet, to gain permission to land. She was in fact in the middle of a meeting in which the Ishori senator Ghic Dx'ono was attempting to suggest that Karrde was involved in the recently revealed supposed return of Thrawn; she had Karrde go to her Orowood Tower apartment and wait for her. When she, her husband, and Lando Calrissian arrived, they filled him in on Calrissian's capture by, interview with, and subsequent release by Thrawn—unknown to anyone other than the conspirators, this "Thrawn" was in fact a con man working in cooperation with the clone of a Royal Guardsman and Moff Vilim Disra in a conspiracy to revive the Imperial Remnant behind their leadership. They brainstormed possible ways to handle the situation, deciding that having a copy of the Caamas Document would defuse the Caamas situation and allow the New Republic to concentrate on Thrawn. Calrissian began intimating that Car'das might have a copy himself, eliminating the risk of a raid on the Imperial records. Karrde was annoyed with Calrissian, as he had no desire to face Car'das, and went to speak privately with the other man, telling him to drop the subject. Calrissian was able to prevail upon him to go by convincing him that it was far more dangerous to let the crisis burn out of control. Karrde, however, was convinced that Car'das would kill him; he was willing to die for the chance to secure the Caamas Document. They returned to share this with the Solos, but were followed by the Mistryl Shadow Guard Shada D'ukal—Karrde recognized her as Mazzic's former chief bodyguard—who had infiltrated the apartment and overheard their conversation. She expressed to the Solos her desire to join the New Republic; she had been unable to contact them through official channels. After being convinced that she was trustworthy, the Solos assigned her to aid Karrde in finding Car'das and convincing him to help. Karrde hoped that Car'das would allow D'ukal, not affiliated with his organization, leave without killing her, and further hoped that Car'das would let her have the Caamas Document as well. They also offered him C-3PO to aid in any translation required during the journey to Exocron. In addition, Karrde fulfilled his original purpose for the visit by informing the Solos of Jade's situation and Skywalker's departure on the rescue attempt.
The Wild Karrde set out for Pembric II, the first stop on the journey. Karrde put down there and, with D'ukal, went to request protection from Crev Bombaasa, the dominant crime lord in the Kathol sector. Walking up the ThrusterBurn, a tapcafe Bombaasa used as his place of business, they were accosted by the swoop gang members serving as guards. As D'ukal took on the four guards, Karrde stepped out of the way but was seized by a group of corrupt Pembric Security Legionnaires in Bombaasa's employ. Karrde was able to get the drop on their leader and seized his weapon, incapacitating the final guard and covering the Security Legionnaires. Bombaasa was impressed enough to invite the pair in, where Karrde requested protection from Bombaasa's pirate gangs in the sector as the payment for a favor Jade and Calrissian had performed for him on their trip, saving Bombaasa's life. Bombaasa agreed, but warned Karrde that another pirate gang, outside his control, had recently moved into the area and begun competing with him; he could not guarantee protection from them and placing Karrde under his protection would likely increase the chance that they would target him.
Karrde continued onward; after seeing a spotter ship at one change of course, he expected a pirate attack at Dayark. They were indeed ambushed as soon as they exited hyperspace but were able to drive them off; D'ukal, manning a turbolaser, was wounded in the battle. Landing on Dayark, the capital of the Kathol Republic, Karrde was invited to meet with General Jutka, the head of their military. Taking D'ukal, C-3PO, and a backup team dressed as locals with him, Karrde was ushered to meet Jutka by an aide named Entoo Needaan E-elz. Jutka gave them the name of the opposing pirate leader, Rei'Kas, and suggested Karrde leave to avoid bringing about action on Rei'Kas's part. Karrde was not intimidated, and after the conversation ended E-elz approached Karrde. He could tell that Karrde was looking for Car'das, and confirmed that Car'das was on Exocron. He offered to take Karrde there, but before Karrde could agree, he was accosted by agents of Rei'Kas. Karrde's backup was able to take care of them, but D'ukal was offended that Karrde had not trusted her with the knowledge that they were there. The Wild Karrde took off for Exocron without E-elz, and on the trip there Karrde approached D'ukal and told her the full story of his involvement with Car'das, information for which she had pressed him. He also confessed his true motive for bringing her along.
When Karrde made it to Exocron a week later, the authorities there hailed him and asked if he was coming to meet Car'das; Karrde admitted he was. They were allowed to land, where E-elz met them. Taking only D'ukal and C-3PO, Karrde allowed E-elz to lead him to Car'das's home. They were led into a small, poorly-kept house on a mountainside where Car'das lay in his bed as an old, feeble, and senile man. Deeply disappointed, Karrde made to leave but was informed that Rei'Kas had apparently tracked him to Exocron and was sending his entire fleet to assault the planet. Feeling responsible for having brought them, Karrde stayed and prepared to fight. Admiral Trey David, second-in-command of the Exocron Combined Air-Space Fleet, came aboard the Wild Karrde—the best ship in the defense force—to coordinate the defense. When Rei'Kas's fleet arrived, David ordered a retreat, and a fleet of Aing-Tii ships appeared behind Rei'Kas's fleet, easily destroying it. Karrde quickly realized that David had used him to lure Rei'Kas to Exocron, within striking distance of the Aing-Tii; he also realized that Car'das was behind the deception. He transmitted a request to the surface to see Car'das again, which Car'das personally granted.
Returning to the house, he found Car'das hale and was invited deeper inside the mountain to Car'das's true dwelling. Car'das, friendly, showed him around the house, including his massive information library. The Caamas Document, however, was not among his files. He told Karrde the story of his disappearance, having been shamed by the Jedi Master Yoda into recanting of his prior ruthlessness and self-centered attitude, and thanked Karrde for taking such good care of his organization's personnel after his departure. Relieved of his burden of fear, Karrde was invited to stay overnight; Car'das had arranged for the Aing-Tii, using their instantaneous transport techniques, to carry the Wild Karrde back to the mainstream galaxy the next day. Overnight, D'ukal attempted to sneak into Car'das's library to find if he had information on who had been behind the attack that devastated her people, the Mistryl, many years ago. Car'das caught her and Karrde arrived during their conversation, summoned by Car'das. The older man told D'ukal that the Mistryl had been attacked in retaliation for a campaign of conquest they had begun, and offered her a choice between taking the attackers' identities with her and taking a datacard which he promised held information useful to the New Republic. D'ukal chose the second and Car'das ushered them to the Aing-Tii.
Karrde and D'ukal read the datacard, which proved that "Thrawn" was an impostor and that the supposed Guardsman was in fact a clone of the original Grodin Tierce with some of Thrawn's genetics spliced in and Thrawn's tactical knowledge added to his flash-learning. Knowing that taking the data to Coruscant would take too long, he went directly to Supreme Commander Gilad Pellaeon of the Imperial Remnant, hoping Pellaeon could unmask the deception directly. He took Pellaeon aboard the Wild Karrde and proceeded to Yaga Minor, where the Thrawn impostor was leading the defense of the Ubiqtorate base there against an information raid by New Republic General Garm Bel Iblis which hoped to obtain a copy of the Caamas Document. Karrde called in the favor Horn owed him to have Rogue Squadron escort the Wild Karrde through the New Republic lines; with Pellaeon aboard the ship had the codes which would allow it through the Imperial lines. Making it to the base, Karrde, Pellaeon, and D'ukal made their way to the command center, where Pellaeon exposed the conspirators and reasserted command, ceasing hostilities. He had agreed to a truce with the New Republic. The conspirators had been negotiating with the Mistryl to join the Empire and one of their leaders was there observing; Karrde pressured her to remove the death mark they had put on D'ukal for deserting after refusing orders she felt to be unethical.
- "How in the worlds did you talk Gavrisom and Bel Iblis into this joint Intelligence service idea?"
"The same way I talked Pellaeon into it, actually. I simply pointed out that the key to a stable and calm peace is both sides knowing the other isn't plotting some kind of move against them."
- ―Leia Organa Solo and Talon Karrde
When Karrde realized that Pellaeon was preparing to negotiate a peace, he felt spurred by D'ukal's desire for a higher purpose to suggest that his organization become an information-sharing body between the two groups, helping ease tensions by forming a neutral intermediary body which made sure both sides were equally well-informed. Both sides agreed and the deal was struck; Karrde was invited to the formal signing of the Pellaeon–Gavrisom Treaty. Skywalker successfully rescued Jade and came back with a copy of the Caamas Document, defusing the situation—though the pair remained tight-lipped as to their source. During the rescue, the pair had realized their love for each other and were now engaged to marry. Jade would be leaving the organization to join the Jedi, but D'ukal formally joined Karrde's group and he began grooming her to be Jade's replacement; she eventually replaced Jade as his lieutenant. D'ukal had come to consider herself his bodyguard and friend and was fiercely loyal to him; Karrde also felt loyal to her as one of his people, and the Solos detected the possibility of romantic feelings as well. As part of a deal with Terrik, the New Republic agreed to paint the Errant Venture red, a desire Terrik had long had. Karrde sold the New Republic the massive quantities of paint required, unknown to Terrik, who bragged that he had managed his goal without Karrde's help. Karrde was greatly amused by the entire situation.
Karrde was invited to the Skywalker-Jade wedding to serve as the father of the bride. He sought a Jedi artifact from Terrik as a wedding present, then proceeded to Coruscant. There, he participated in Skywalker's bachelor party, surprising him along with several other friends in the Red Rancor cantina; he felt honored to be considered a close enough friend to be invited to the party. Shortly after Skywalker arrived, however, they were set upon by a swoop gang, leading to a bar brawl that the bachelor party handily won; Karrde suggested they leave quickly to avoid attracting more attention. Karrde arrived for the wedding, which was to be a huge media event, and spoke with Jade as they prepared. While they waited, they were approached by Banner Sumptor, an agent in a plot by the rogue Moff Derran Takkar to disrupt the wedding and kill Skywalker and Jade. Sumptor had come to regret his participation and confessed that the attack was coming. Karrde took Banner to see Skywalker and Solo. Antilles was also present, and insisted that the wedding go on as planned while he recruited Chewbacca, a handful of Jedi, and Rogue Squadron veterans to try to cut off the plotters before they could disrupt the ceremony. Karrde gave Jade away to Skywalker, but Takkar was able to sneak in and threatened to release a computer virus across the galaxy. With the Force and reason, Skywalker convinced Takkar to give himself up and the wedding continued peacefully.
As member systems of the New Republic clamored for the benefits of Karrde's information-sharing network as well, he was forced to expand his organization beyond the point where he could know all his employees personally, something he regretted. He also began slowly moving out of the smuggling business, a process which took several years, as did Jade's disengagement from the organization. He did maintain a reasonable shipping business, but kept his trade legitimate. In 22 ABY, he sent the Skywalkers to inform Jerf Huxley, one of his smuggling associates, that he would no longer be part of the organization as smuggling was phased out. While they were away on that mission, one employee, Dean Jinzler, made off with a message for the Skywalkers from Admiral Voss Parck of the Empire of the Hand—an Imperialist territory in the Unknown Regions which had been the source of Skywalker's copy of the Caamas Document. Karrde was furious and upset with himself for having had an untrustworthy employee, and aboard the Errant Venture, he raced to meet with them after they dealt with Huxley. They met and Karrde explained the situation, with the Skywalkers telling him some broad details of the situation on Nirauan, which Karrde had never learned. They decided to set out for Nirauan and get the message personally while Karrde tried to track down Jinzler. Jinzler in fact turned up on the mission to recover Outbound Flight to which Parck had invited the Skywalkers; he had had a sister aboard the ship and wished to visit the site of her death. Once they got back, the Skywalkers explained the situation to Karrde and spared Jinzler from his wrath. Karrde also at some point wrote a piece regarding the information he had learned about the Aing-Tii.
The Yuuzhan Vong War
- "I can be a very serious man at times, Captain Imsatad. This is one of them. I gave my word to deliver the Jedi students and their teachers safely from the hands of scum like you, and I intend to do that. Not in part, but in full."
"You're endangering our work here. The Yuuzhan Vong will not stop until they have all the Jedi. If we do the work for them, show our good faith—"
"The Yuuzhan Vong have conquered half of our galaxy in an unprovoked crusade. What about this obligates us to show them good faith?"
- ―Talon Karrde and Imsatad
When the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong invaded in 25 ABY using biologically engineered weapons, the New Republic and the Jedi were able to repel their first strike and kept information regarding them from Karrde and the Remnant, releasing only a few details. As the war grew in scope, information on it was openly shared, with the New Republic waging a life-or-death struggle against the invaders. After the Yuuzhan Vong destroyed Jade Skywalker's ship, the Jade Sabre, Karrde helped outfit its replacement, the Jade Shadow, by procuring several advanced weapons systems for the yacht.
When the Hutts struck a deal with the Yuuzhan Vong a few months into the war, Karrde knew that they would have asked for terms and began watching their spice shipments carefully, thinking that the Yuuzhan Vong would tip the Hutts off to invasions in advance and cause the Hutts to cut off deliveries. He noticed interruptions in the spice trade to Corellia, Tynna, and Bothawui, but knew that that was not enough evidence for the New Republic to act on, especially as he felt the Senate or intelligence networks had been compromised. Instead, he visited the Jedi Praxeum at Yavin 4 and asked Skywalker to send some Jedi with him for a meeting with the Hutts in which he hoped to confirm his suspicions; he felt that having the Jedi aid in providing this information would help rehabilitate their public image, which had been suffering. Jedi Master Kyp Durron and Jedi Knight Ganner Rhysode agreed to be part of his party. The two Jedi accompanied Karrde and D'ukal to a meeting with Rol'Waran, an agent of the Hutt Borga Besadii Diori. Karrde requested spice, claiming he had decided to get back in the trade because the war made his information-sharing position obsolete—the New Republic and Remnant were sharing information directly. Their meeting was interrupted by the arrival of Bombaasa, who had taken a position in Borga's organization. Bombaasa recognized Durron, but was not hostile and confirmed indirectly that Tynna, Corellia, and Bothawui had all been indicated as potential targets to the Hutts; he asked Karrde to point out to the New Republic that the Hutts were willing to aid both sides and he personally was an ally of the New Republic.
Karrde brought the information to Belindi Kalenda and Showolter, two disgraced New Republic Intelligence officials eager to clear their names. They took steps to verify it, bringing Karrde along in a stealth ship to watch as Tynna fell to the Yuuzhan Vong, corroborating Karrde's account and justifying military buildups at Bothawui and Corellia. When the Hutts resumed service to Bothawui but not Corellia, Karrde brought that to the New Republic's attention, but no action was taken. The Hutts also leaked to Karrde, through Bombaasa, that the captured Jedi Knight Wurth Skidder was being held in a Yuuzhan Vong yammosk-carrying ship headed to Kalarba. Karrde immediately recruited Durron's Kyp's Dozen squadron to rescue their compatriot. Skidder died before a rescue could be effected, however, and the information marking Corellia as a target proved to be Yuuzhan Vong misinformation designed to mislead the New Republic while the invaders in fact struck at Fondor. Karrde and the Jedi were both left in disrepute, and Karrde traveled to Yavin 4 to personally apologize to Skywalker, though Skywalker felt that Karrde had nothing to apologize for.
When the Yuuzhan Vong-collaborationist Peace Brigade began targeting Jedi in response to a Yuuzhan Vong bounty, Skywalker requested that Karrde evacuate the students at Yavin in order to keep them from being sitting targets. Karrde procured a small fleet and went to pick them up, but the Peace Brigade had beaten him there. He detected a firefight on the surface and immediately rushed to aid the Jedi. He contacted Imsatad, the Peace Brigade captain, and offered his assistance in capturing the Jedi, telling Imsatad he wished to make allies of the Yuuzhan Vong in order to reopen his smuggling business through their territory. The Peace Brigade accepted his aid and Karrde brought his vornskrs to the surface, boasting of their capability to track Jedi through the Force. He also claimed to bring an ysalamir, though the covered cage in fact held no such thing. The vornskrs began tracking the Jedi, and when he was convinced he had led the twenty Peace Brigaders to the Jedi hiding place inside one of the temples, he opened fire on them along with D'ukal and two other employees. Jedi Masters Kam and Tionne Solusar emerged from hiding to even the odds, then led the Jedi children out of the temple, where the Wild Karrde eliminated Peace Brigade resistance and picked them up. They were blockaded in their attempt to leave the system, however, and Karrde had to make a desperate proton torpedo launch to avoid being tractored, taking damage in the process. That bought him enough time for the rest of his fleet to arrive, at which point he outgunned Imsatad. Knowing that Anakin Solo, Tahiri Veila, Valin Horn, and Sannah remained behind, he forced Imsatad to ground all his ships for a search, but transferred the students and Tionne Solusar to the Idiot's Array, which ferried them to safety. Kam Solusar remained behind to aid in the search. Before his orders could be carried out, however, a Yuuzhan Vong fleet arrived in the system. Karrde sent D'ukal away on the Idiot's Array to get the children away and bring reinforcements, then withdrew to the edge of the system until those reinforcements arrived; he would not leave the remaining students.
Karrde held out through guerrilla actions, eliminating any Yuuzhan Vong ships that tried to leave the system. Once she had delivered the children, D'ukal returned with the news that the New Republic, under Fey'lya, would not grant military aid but that Skywalker was attempting to find Terrik and the Errant Venture. When a transport departed Yavin 4, Solusar confirmed that Solo and the other students were aboard; Karrde committed his small force to covering their escape. The fastest ships—Wild Karrde, Idiot's Array, Etherway, and Sudden Demise—drove to rendezvous with the students' transport; Demise was destroyed in the first exchange of fire, Etherway was disabled, and Idiot's Array was destroyed but took an enemy destroyer with it, leaving Karrde anguished at the loss of D'ukal. At that moment, the Errant Venture appeared, decimating the Yuuzhan Vong forces and clearing the way for the students' recovery. A further day of battle cleared all the invaders from the system, during which the Errant Venture recovered D'ukal in an escape pod, greatly relieving Karrde. Karrde then evacuated the slaves the Yuuzhan Vong had kept on Yavin 4, and destroyed the Yuuzhan Vong base, ending his business in the system.
The evacuation became a political issue, as Fey'lya had forbidden Skywalker and the Jedi from interfering with the Yuuzhan Vong's arrival in the Yavin system on the grounds that it would violate the weak truce that had been agreed to. On the basis of Karrde's participation on Skywalker's orders, Fey'lya ordered the arrest of Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker. The pair had to escape Coruscant and go underground with the rest of the Jedi. Karrde, meanwhile, continued operating with the Jedi and Solos. When Han and Jacen Solo went to Mos Eisley to seek information from Shalo, whom they suspected of ties to the Peace Brigade, Karrde organized their backup, eliminating Shalo's hidden enforcers around the cantina. When Shalo attempted an ambush, he was easily captured while Solo gained the location of his contacts who shipped slaves for the Yuuzhan Vong. Karrde met with Solo and gave him the registry of the Peace Brigade-tied freighters he had been pirating: Kuat Photonics. Unknown to Karrde, Shalo had had another level of backup, who struck while they were talking. While the Solos made it across the street to set up a crossfire, Karrde fought his way to the cantina's roof and eliminated the attackers. On further interrogation, Shalo revealed that a major convoy would stop over Tatooine the next day, and Karrde and Solo planned to ambush it. When it arrived, both Karrde and Solo felt that something was suspicious, and were proven right when a Yuuzhan Vong interdictor and frigate decanted from hyperspace in an ambush. Karrde's four-ship fleet engaged the frigate and some of the Peace Brigade escort while Solo made use of an unusual tactic to overwhelm the interdictor's defenses with compressed hydrogen, temporarily taking it out of commission and allowing Karrde and the Millennium Falcon to flee.
The Jedi were able to patch up relations with Fey'lya, and when Skywalker planned a Jedi strike to free hostages of the Yuuzhan Vong at Talfaglio, Karrde learned of the strike and quietly fed information to Generals Antilles and Bel Iblis, who took the new, gravity-well-projector-equipped Star Destroyers Elegos A'Kla and Mon Mothma for a "shakedown cruise" to Talfaglio to aid with the operation, which was successful. Karrde continued monitoring the galactic situation, and informed the New Republic when a huge enemy fleet departed Borleias. The fleet arrived at Coruscant, where it overwhelmed the New Republic's defenses and seized the galactic capital. Fey'lya was killed in the conquest and the New Republic's leadership fled in disarray. Karrde's intelligence network remained strong enough for him to maintain his surveillance of enemy activity, and he reported an increase in Yuuzhan Vong ability to track refugee traffic to Antilles, who had retaken Borleias and set it up a fortress work protecting refugees from the Core. Karrde helped Antilles and Calrissian set up a sting on the forces ambushing refugees with which they determined that the Yuuzhan Vong were using no technique more sophisticated than relying on refuges to turn each other in for bounties. When Antilles and the Solos began setting up secret resistance cells on worlds in danger of falling to the invaders, Karrde fed them information and contacts useful in setting up those cells.
- "I think Lando and I can help your candidate along."
"It's best you don't know."
- ―Talon Karrde and Luke Skywalker
When the New Republic finally reestablished central authority on Mon Calamari, Karrde, Calrissian, and Terrik led a sixteen-ship convoy from the Smugglers' Alliance—now revived to combat the Yuuzhan Vong—to the new capital with Calrissian hoping to sell his new YVH-series combat droids to the government. They met with Skywalker, who informed them of the political situation, which saw Cal Omas and Fyor Rodan squaring off in elections for the post of chief of state; Ta'laam Ranth and Cola Quis also seeking votes. Karrde and Calrissian decided to help Omas, the pro-Jedi candidate, along but declined to give Skywalker, who was nervous over their plans, details. Skywalker was able to put them in contact with Dif Scaur and Ayddar Nylykerka, the heads of New Republic Intelligence and New Republic Fleet Intelligence respectively, who purchased the YVH-M model droids, capable of sensing and tracking Yuuzhan Vong infiltrators. Meanwhile, Calrissian began making the rounds of Rodan's Senate supporters, offering each a portion of the relief goods they had brought for the refugees on Mon Calamari—easily interpreted as a bribe—and requesting aid in voting for the purchase of the YVH droids. Karrde recorded the transactions from an adjoining room, and after the bill had been approved, they threatened to expose the recordings to the public unless the senators cast their votes for Omas. They remained safe from ramifications if the recordings appeared, as they had only actually suggested the senators distribute the supplies, not sell them. Karrde also used his intelligence sources to dig up other incriminating information with which to pressure additional senators. With the election thus rigged, Omas was elected the New Republic's next chief of state.
Omas began building a new administration which welcomed the Jedi and planned to take the war to the Yuuzhan Vong; the legendary Admiral Ackbar returned from retirement to mastermind a plan for victory which would lure the Yuuzhan Vong into a massive trap at Ebaq 9. Karrde volunteered his Smugglers' Alliance squadron for the operation and was placed under Han Solo, reactivated as a general to coordinate the group with the New Republic military. The group was assigned to support Admiral Traest Kre'fey's fleet, and Karrde captained the Wild Karrde in the Battle of Ebaq 9, helping hold the Battle Group of Yun-Q'aah from Ebaq 9. In the battle, most of the Yuuzhan Vong forces were destroyed and, on Ebaq 9 itself, Jaina Solo killed Warmaster Tsavong Lah in single combat. It took a week to extract her group from the asteroid, which had had its entrance destroyed; Karrde stayed in the system for the entire period and was there to welcome Solo when she returned to the fleet.
Omas reformed the New Republic into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, which the Smugglers' Alliance continued serving, recruiting Bombassa into their ranks. When Han and Leia Solo went on a mission to Caluula, Karrde, Terrik, and Calrissian arrived aboard the Errant Venture to aid in their extraction. Arriving, they found the world devastated by the Alpha Red virus, engineered by the Galactic Alliance to kill Yuuzhan Vong life forms and released on Caluula in a test of its effectiveness. Horrified by the use of the bioweapon and frightened that it might cause blowback and infect life forms native to the galaxy, Karrde ordered the Errant Venture to eliminate any infected craft that tried to leave, but one ship had already gotten past. Karrde and his Smugglers' Alliance allies traveled with the Solos to the living world of Zonama Sekot, which had taken up orbit in the Coruscant system and so terrified the Yuuzhan Vong, who regarded it as an ill omen, that it was safe for the Galactic Alliance forces to land on despite being in the heart of Yuuzhan Vong territory.
When the Galactic Alliance planned an invasion of Coruscant to retake the world, Karrde's Smugglers' Alliance contingent participated. They watched quietly as the gargantuan Galactic Alliance fleet engaged Warmaster Nas Choka's defenses, waiting to make their move, when Karrde detected a small fleet detaching from the main enemy group and setting off for Zonama Sekot. He alerted the Jedi on Sekot and jumped his force to the planet's defense, where he was joined by the Hapan war fleet. They were beaten back by the superior force and could not protect Sekot from strafing attacks, though Karrde and Calrissian did their best to hunt down the harassing ships. They were surprised to be pulled from the sky by Sekotan ships. Disembarking, Karrde was shocked to see the Yuuzhan Vong likewise pulled down, where their biotic weapons abandoned them to merge with Sekot's consciousness, inducing the warriors to surrender. Meanwhile, Skywalker killed Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane in battle while Jacen Solo eliminated the true power behind the throne, Onimi. Faced with the death of their leadership and the presence of the religiously significant living world Sekot, Choka surrendered, ending the war.
Karrde remained in the system as reclamation and pacification efforts began, aiding in various tasks and basing himself on Sekot. At one point, he was spending down time with Han Solo, Terrik, and Bombaasa when Calrissian arrived and began sharing his brandy; Generals Antilles and Tycho Celchu joined shortly and a small party developed among the old friends in which they discussed the changes wrought by the war and speculated as to the future. Karrde suggested he would be pursuing legitimate profits in helping rebuild and reestablish trade routes.
Karrde maintained his information sources, and ten years later, when relations between Corellia and the Galactic Alliance were growing strained, Jade Skywalker was able to obtain advice from Karrde on how to infiltrate a Jedi strike team on Corellia, which the Jedi used in an attempt to capture the Corellian leaders and force negotiations. Tensions eventually erupted into war, in which Corellia was joined by a Confederation of worlds also desiring independence from the Galactic Alliance. Jacen Solo established a new secret police, the Galactic Alliance Guard and eventually arrested Omas on treason charges and began rule as co-chief of state with military supreme commander Cha Niathal and, having fallen to the dark side, caused Skywalker to withdraw his support of the Galactic Alliance; Jade Skywalker was meanwhile killed by an unknown assailant in a turn of events Karrde would have found deeply saddening. Solo declared the Jedi enemies of the state, but Karrde put his organization's resources at their disposal, providing information, equipment, and information-processing capabilities that helped the Jedi mount a successful raid on Solo's Star Destroyer.
In 43 ABY, two years after Jacen Solo, revealed as Jade Skywalker's killer and the Sith Lord Darth Caedus, was defeated, Luke Skywalker was arrested on charges of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent Solo's descent to the dark side. He accepted a plea bargain which had him exiled for ten years and removed from his Jedi responsibilities, unless he could find the cause of Solo's fall. Karrde was among many sorrowful friends who saw Skywalker off from Coruscant.
Personality and traits
- "I think it's occasionally good for us to remember that being a smuggler doesn't necessarily require one to be a barbarian, too."
- ―Talon Karrde to Mara Jade
Karrde had a passion for information and felt it could be a powerful asset, sometimes more important than brute force. He felt himself to be a sophisticated and genteel individual and avoided violence whenever possible, but was not averse to engaging in it when necessary. He had a strong sense of humor, leading to his tendency to place puns in the names of his ships, and frequently in his pseudonyms as well.
Karrde did not believe in displays of wealth and power, instead preferring to remain inconspicuous and avoid drawing possible foes. He did not hold strong personal grudges, realizing that foes could become allies if it was profitable; he was friendly and charismatic toward friends and enemies alike. Despite this—or perhaps because of it—he was perceived as calculating and mercenary by many of his peers. He also had no desire to ally himself with either side of the Galactic Civil War, instead playing both sides off each other. When he was reluctantly drawn onto the New Republic's side, he was resentful of his growing entanglement. He continued to serve the New Republic on only a mercenary basis, though others felt he was in self-denial about his loyalty to the New Republic. When the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the galaxy, however, he came down firmly on the New Republic's side, fighting for his life.
Karrde lived by a strict code of honor, providing protection for all who were his guests regardless of how he felt about them and was determined to keep his word. He detested slavery and kidnapping and refused to engage in either. This was recognized by his peers, who felt him to be as close to trustworthy as a fringer could be.
Karrde was fiercely loyal to his personnel and dedicated to their protection. When he gave his word, he was absolutely dedicated to keeping it, even at heavy personal cost to himself. He treated his employees extremely well, earning their respect and devotion in turn. He was known as someone who should not be crossed, and his retribution was feared. He would not tolerate any mistreatment of his people whatsoever and extracted heavy punishments for harm done to members of his organization. He would not hire bounty hunters, however, preferring to do his own dirty work.
Behind the scenes
Timothy Zahn created the character of Talon Karrde for the Thrawn Trilogy. He originally conceived of Karrde as what Han Solo could have been had he not entered the Rebellion. His organization was also created as an inverse of Jabba the Hutt's, with Karrde being an honorable and likable boss and inspiring loyalty instead of backstabbing. Leia Organa Solo makes this observation overtly in Zahn's Specter of the Past. Zahn posed as Karrde for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. Although hair extensions were needed, Zahn bore a passable resemblance to the character.
Despite A Credit for Your Thoughts placing Karrde's occupation of Myrkr in 4 ABY, the ambiguously canon Star Wars Tales story "Moment of Doubt" refers to a character being mistaken for Karrde on Myrkr, and Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption mentions Tyber Zann receiving Karrde's loyalty if he conquered Myrkr. It is possible that Karrde was already based on Myrkr and simply learned of the ysalamiri's effect after the events of A Credit for Your Thoughts, but the issue is not clear.
Karrde is a Non-Player Character (NPC) in the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies. When the game launched in 2003, Karrde was shown as a wealthy, over-40s Zabrak woman. This was fixed with the game's first big update.
Zahn has said that he "when he wrote [Karrde], he always envisioned the face and voice of Avon from "Blake's Seven."