- "If you had your way, you'd continue flying snubfighters and commanding fighter squadrons until you were a century old."
- ―Ackbar, to Wedge Antilles
Wedge Antilles, a Human male, was a famed Corellian pilot and general, known as a hero of the Rebel Alliance and New Republic. Orphaned at age seventeen, he joined the Rebellion after Imperial forces killed his girlfriend, Mala Tinero. A standout starfighter pilot, he was one of the few to survive the Battle of Yavin, after which he founded Rogue Squadron with his friend Luke Skywalker. Antilles and Skywalker built Rogue Squadron into a renowned unit, and after the Battle of Hoth, Antilles took command. He flew as Red Leader in the Battle of Endor, striking the blow that destroyed the second Death Star alongside Lando Calrissian and becoming the only pilot to survive both Death Star runs.
As the Rebel Alliance became the New Republic, Antilles continued to serve, gaining a reputation as a consummate soldier and the New Republic's greatest pilot. He led Rogue Squadron in a covert mission to bring down Coruscant's shields, allowing the New Republic to capture the galactic capital planet. When denied permission to remove Imperial leader Ysanne Isard from power over Thyferra, he resigned with his squadron and led a private guerrilla war that successfully toppled Isard. Accepted back into the New Republic, he formed Wraith Squadron as a commando unit and led it in operations against the Imperial Warlord Zsinj.
In 9 ABY, Antilles accepted the promotion to general that his friend, Supreme Commander Gial Ackbar, had long desired for him. As a general, he reluctantly moved out of the cockpit and into a role in fleet operations, frequently commanding the Star Dreadnought Lusankya. During a mission to the planet Adumar in 13 ABY, he ignited a romance with Iella Wessiri, a friend in whom he had been interested for several years, and married her after the mission's conclusion. They had two daughters, Syal and Myri, as Antilles became Chief of Staff of New Republic Starfighter Command and then finally returned to command Rogue Squadron in 18 ABY. In 19 ABY, after peace was achieved with the Imperial Remnant, Antilles retired with more than twenty years of service to the Alliance and New Republic, ten as a general.
When the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the galaxy in 25 ABY, Antilles emerged from retirement, becoming the commander of New Republic Fleet Group Three. He participated in the failed defense of Coruscant, then retreated to Borleias. There he made a stand against heavy opposition for several months longer than expected and defeated the famed ex-Warmaster Czulkang Lah, inspiring hope across the New Republic that the war against the invaders could be won. In 29 ABY, Antilles was one of the commanders in the Recapture of Coruscant that ended the war.
He returned to retirement, but after being imprisoned by the Galactic Alliance, the New Republic's successor state, in the run-up to the Second Galactic Civil War, Antilles escaped. He joined the forces of his homeworld, Corellia, as it revolted against the galactic government, reluctantly taking a side against his best friend, General Tycho Celchu, and his own daughter Syal, who had become a Galactic Alliance pilot. He served as the Supreme Commander of the Corellian Defense Force, but he came to believe that the Corellian regime was itself corrupt and immoral. He resigned and instead offered his services to the New Jedi Order, led by his lifelong friend Luke Skywalker. Skywalker formed a Jedi Coalition and, with Antilles's help, destroyed the Centerpoint superweapon controlled by the Corellian Confederation, then went on to defeat the Galactic Alliance's Sith leader, Darth Caedus, and end the war. Afterward, Antilles retired for the third time, hoping to finally be able to live quietly with his family.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Youth
- 1.2 Rogue warrior
- 1.3 Rogue Leader
- 1.4 Hard campaigning
- 1.5 The campaign for Coruscant
- 1.6 Defeating Isard
- 1.7 Wraith Squadron
- 1.8 Imperial resurgence
- 1.9 General Antilles
- 1.10 The Yuuzhan Vong War
- 1.11 Shifting loyalties
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Sources
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
- "When I was your age, I borrowed a Headhunter, that's a type of starfighter, from a friend, and used it to kill the men who were responsible for my parents' deaths. A deliberate act of revenge. The whole universe changed. All the things that had surprised or shocked or offended me just the day before became nothing, instantly."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Cheriss ke Hanadi
A Human male Corellian, Wedge Antilles was born in 21 BBY, the son of Jagged Antilles and his wife Zena, who owned a fueling depot in the Gus Treta Inner-System Market Station over the planet Corellia. He had a sister, Syal, who was ten years older. She left Corellia while Antilles was only seven and lived estranged from her family. The Antilleses never had any word of her and spoke very little about her, but Wedge Antilles remained fond of the sister he never really knew. He lived untouched by the Galactic Empire and the dissent rising against it. Simpler concerns occupied his mind, such as his dream of living in Coronet City, the glittering capital of Corellia. He had maps of the city projected onto the walls of his bedroom, and he longed to contribute to those maps himself by becoming an architect and building great structures. At the same time, he was fascinated by space, and daydreamed of naval adventures.
Antilles split his time between a farm school located in Corellia's northern hemisphere and his parents' fueling depot on the Gus Treta station. At farm school, he received training in rural tasks along with his education. He learned to ride thaks and slopewings, and from them herded nerfs and naugas. The other half of the year, Antilles traded pastoral pursuits for immersion in the world of spacegoing technology. Even as a child, he flew tugs and shuttles in busy Corellian space. He worked as a mechanic as well and developed a great proficiency in repair as well as piloting.
His family was friendly with Booster Terrik, a noted Corellian smuggler. Terrik's daughter, Mirax Terrik, was about Antilles's age, and she frequently stayed with the Antilles family when her father was on dangerous smuggling missions. She and Antilles were close friends throughout their youth, calling each other by the respective childhood nicknames "Myra" and "Veggies." Antilles often put his talents to work assisting the smuggler in the upkeep of his ship, the Pulsar Skate, and sometimes even accompanied the Terriks on smuggling trips. In return, Antilles learned many of Terrik's underworld tricks.
Just before his eighteenth birthday, a time when Antilles was in his last days of upper division school, the Bonestar Pirates' ship Buzzzer under Loka Hask docked with the fueling station. Antilles was aboard Booster Terrik's Pulsar Skate just off Gus Treta when the Corellian Security Force arrived. The Buzzzer fled the station without unhooking its fuel lines, starting a fire that threatened to destroy the station. Terrik established communications with Antilles's parents, and Antilles listened in horror as Jagged and Zena decided to sacrifice themselves in order to reach the lancing charge that would separate the fueling module from the station, keeping the rest of Gus Treta from destruction. Antilles could do nothing but watch the destruction of the module and listen to his parents tell him goodbye.
As Antilles grieved, Terrik's information sources revealed that the pirates had destroyed the station on purpose to cover their escape. Antilles asked Terrik for Hask's name, the location of the ship, and the use of a Z-95 Headhunter fighter. The two were able to track the Buzzzer to the Jumus system. Though Terrik, aboard the Pulsar Skate, urged Antilles to merely disable them and let the authorities deal with them, Antilles fired on the pirates from the Headhunter, destroying the ship and avenging his parents. The act immediately changed his outlook on life, forcing him into a hardened maturity.
On his own
- "Wedge…when you come back, will you think about helping Dad? The Rebellion could really use you and your ship."
"I admire what your father is doing. I do. But…"
"You just don't see what it has to do with you…"
- ―Mala Tinero and Wedge Antilles
Antilles was orphaned but wealthy, left with the insurance payout on his parents and their depot as well as the bounty for killing the pirates. Though he had some surviving relatives, he did not stay with them. With guidance from Terrik, he used the credits to buy a tiny Corellian-made freighter, which he modified heavily and put to use as a legitimate pilot. Electing to live the life of a simple trader, Antilles struggled economically and had a hard time finding work, despite Terrik's aid in finding contacts. He was unwilling to smuggle but unable to compete in a market where only smuggling paid enough to keep his small freighter in business. In his difficulties, he caught the eye of Car'das syndicate lieutenant Talon Karrde, who once approached him with an offer to transport a cargo for him. Having heard no negative gossip about Karrde and therefore believing the man to be too unknown a quantity, Antilles declined.
In 2 BBY, Antilles was operating from the Corellian moon Gus Talon. There, he enjoyed the hospitality and services of Rallo, an older man and mechanic who ran a garage, and fell in love with Rallo's daughter, Mala Tinero. Though Rallo was active in the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Antilles was uninterested in revolt against the Galactic Empire. Though he casually disliked the Empire and admired the Rebellion, he did not desire to get involved himself and did not find living under the Empire so objectionable.
When Tinero asked Antilles once more to join the Rebellion and announced her own plans to join her father in resistance activity, Antilles grudgingly said he would consider it but put off further talk until he completed a delivery of machine parts, his first contract in weeks. He would not get the chance to conclude the conversation, as he returned to find Gus Talon space in lockdown. Rallo's workshop had been raided and he and his workers had killed the Imperial stormtroopers who threatened Tinero. In retaliation, the Empire had leveled the settlement. A pair of Imperial TIE/LN starfighters engaged Antilles as he attempted to land; outraged at the loss of Tinero, he instinctively unleashed his anger against the fighters, shooting them down. As more TIEs arrived, Antilles was forced to flee.
Determined to find Tinero, he spent nine days waiting for the Imperial vigil over Gus Talon to end and hearing stories that the Empire had bombed the town and taken all survivors prisoner. Once Imperial forces withdrew, Antilles landed and investigated the town—although Tinero had been killed, he was never able to determine her fate. Tinero's statement that he had been "lucky" when he got the contract wore on him, as he thought it tragic that he had not been there with Tinero. In the future, despite frequent accolades to his luck, Antilles never felt comfortable with the label "lucky," though he kept his private tragedy to himself and maintained that he had joined the Rebellion due to his inability to make a life as a legitimate freighter pilot.
- "If I may answer a question with a question, how old were you before you first disagreed with a commanding officer—and later found out you were right?"
"Twenty. Which is when I first had a commanding officer."
- ―Jagged Fel and Wedge Antilles
Fired to battle the Empire, Antilles decided to join the nascent Rebel Alliance. With his experience as a freighter pilot and mechanic, he served as a gunrunner and proved an asset to the Alliance. His Alliance contacts hinted his skills could be even more valuable in the cockpit of a combat ship, and when the Alliance Starfighter Corps put out an open call for pilots, Antilles enthusiastically joined the branch where he could strike directly against the Empire, as the Alliance was increasingly doing. His first notable assignment was among the Tierfon Yellow Aces.
While on one patrol, Antilles happened across a secret Imperial research facility where prototype TIE models were tested. He reported his discovery to Alliance command, and a lone Y-wing was sent to obliterate a shipment of prototypes as they were being unloaded in a major coup for the young Rebellion.
In 1 BBY, Antilles flew in a Y-wing squadron when he participated in both an orbital and ground assault on Imperial cloning facilities on the planet Kamino led by the Rebel general and Jedi Master Rahm Kota, together with Commodore Yat-De Viedas. The planet's shield proved stronger than expected, and the attack force suffered heavy losses attempting to breach it. After his squadron was torn apart by a concentrated blast of turbolaser fire, Antilles called for a retreat to be ordered. However, Kota commanded Antilles to hold his position and for all ships to keep pressing the attack. Starkiller, a clone of Force-sensitive Rebel leader Galen Marek, whom Kota was mentoring, piloted the Salvation into the planet's shield generator. Antilles piloted his Y-wing to the planet's surface, covering the ground assault on the cloning facility. Starkiller leaped onto Antilles's fighter during the operation, asking the pilot to carry him to the cloning towers where the Sith Lord Darth Vader, Starkiller's former Master, was holding Rebel Captain Juno Eclipse. Heavy fire kept Antilles from reaching it through the dogfight, so at Starkiller's urging he dove underneath the platform on which the facility was built, then shot his way through the platform near the spires. He emerged near the target and Starkiller jumped into the building. There, Starkiller rescued Eclipse and managed to capture Vader, though Vader did not remain in Rebel custody long.
Antilles served with Red Squadron aboard Mon Calamari Admiral Gial Ackbar's cruiser the Independence in 1 BBY. In the Battle of Turkana, he notched three Imperial kills before he was forced to eject from his T-65 X-wing starfighter.
By 0 BBY, Antilles was a lieutenant in Red Squadron, listed among the squadron's key personnel as an active threat to the Empire in the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide. Lieutenant Antilles flew as Red Two under unit commander Garven Dreis, Red Leader. Among the pilots in the unit whom Antilles befriended were Jek "Piggy" Porkins, the butt of many good-natured fat jokes, Cesi "Doc" Eirriss, nicknamed for her political science doctorate, and Jal Te Gniev. He quickly began flying in raids on Imperial convoys. Though considered a show-off, Antilles was a standout pilot and emergent leader in the squadron, and so was quickly put in a position of responsibility. He trained some junior pilots such as Bren Quersey, was responsible for assigning starfighters to the unit's pilots, and was given command of some missions on which Dreis was not present.
In 0 BBY, Red Squadron, stationed at the secret Rebel base in the Great Temple on Yavin 4, a moon of the planet Yavin Prime, was joined by a squad of defectors from the Imperial ship Rand Ecliptic, led by Biggs Darklighter and Derek "Hobbie" Klivian. Antilles's first mission with Darklighter was a convoy raid in which Darklighter acquitted himself extremely well. Antilles greatly admired the defector's skills in the cockpit, and quickly became good friends with him. Antilles, Darklighter, and Porkins all came to room together on Yavin 4 and shared a strong camaraderie.
Late in 0 BBY, Antilles, along with most of the other pilots stationed on Yavin 4, was part of a mission to strike an Incom Corporation facility and acquire several X-wing starfighters for the budding Rebellion. In a battle plan devised by General Jan Dodonna, Darklighter led his squad of TIE fighters to draw off the enemy fighter complement. Antilles and the other pilots landed at the facility on a transport, quickly seized the advanced new fighters, and flew them back to the base on Yavin 4.
Shortly thereafter, Antilles commanded an undercover mission to the planet Commenor for the purpose of acquiring smuggled R2- and R5-series astromech droids for the new complement of fighters. The group of Red Squadron pilots—Antilles, Darklighter, Eirriss, and Porkins—sneaked onto Commenor in the new X-wings, where they were supposed to play a game of sabacc in a particular cantina until receiving instructions to meet their contact. They played for some time, listening with great interest to news reports of the dissolution of the Imperial Senate, until one of Antilles's cards, during sabacc's usual flux, altered to display a message to meet the smuggler at Hangar Bay 31. Outside the cantina, they encountered a group of thugs who attempted to shake them down for a protection fee on their rented landspeeder. Taking exception to their fat jokes, the hefty Porkins started a fight with the toughs. Antilles and the others became involved in the brawl, and despite being heavily outnumbered, the Rebels came out the victors.
At the hangar bay, Antilles met Nera Dantels, the smuggler captain, and arranged to escort her to the Alliance with the shipment. On the way off Commenor, the Rebels were ambushed by fighters from a secret base on Folor, Commenor's moon. The defeated thugs had spied upon their meeting and alerted the Empire. Antilles ordered Darklighter to engage the enemy fighters with him while Eirriss and Porkins covered Dantels's starship, the Starduster. Antilles destroyed three fighters in the battle, and when Eirriss suffered damage to her fighter's hyperdrive, he ordered her to transfer to the Starduster. Eirriss insisted it would take too much time for her to transfer and the Rebels would be stopped. As Eirriss headed to engage another incoming wave of TIEs, Antilles reluctantly accepted the situation, and Eirriss instead plunged her damaged fighter into the formation of TIEs, taking most of the opposition with her.
Victory at Yavin
- "I remember the days before Yavin when we were all young, armored with the invincibility of youth and fired by the belief that the Emperor's evil Empire could not win. It didn't, but the cost was more horrible than any of us could have imagined."
- ―Wedge Antilles
Soon after the pilots returned to Yavin, the Empire's planet-destroying Death Star superweapon advanced on Yavin 4. The base's pilots were quickly mustered for a briefing by General Dodonna. Antilles sat next to the newest Red Squadron pilot, Luke Skywalker—a friend of Darklighter who had, with the assistance of the legendary Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi, rescued Princess Leia Organa from the Empire. Skywalker took the place of Jal Te Gniev as Red Five, as Gniev was down with the measles. Organa, a Rebel leader from the world of Alderaan which had just been destroyed by the Death Star's superlaser, had obtained the Death Star plans, and from them Dodonna found a critical weakness. He told the assembled fliers that a proton torpedo fired down a thermal exhaust port that lacked particle shielding would cause a chain reaction that would destroy the enormous battle station. Antilles voiced his skepticism that the two-meter target could be reliably struck while flying at full speed, under fire, down a trench in the station's surface, only to be reassured by Skywalker that the newcomer had hit targets of that size many times while bush piloting on his homeworld of Tatooine. Antilles remained skeptical, considering the station's powerful defenses a difficult obstacle to overcome.
With only fifteen minutes until the Death Star rounded the gas giant Yavin and could fire on the moon Yavin 4, the Rebel fighter force was dispatched to battle the Empire's greatest weapon. Antilles, astounded at the space station's size, flew with the Reds as they engaged the station's surface defenses. He destroyed several defense turrets in the initial strafing runs, but Porkins was quickly killed, and when enemy TIEs emerged to dogfight, John Branon, who was flying as Red Four, was shot down immediately. When Skywalker was having difficulty evading a TIE tight on his tail, Antilles swooped in to destroy it in a bold head-to-head attack, adding to his high kill count of six enemy fighters over the course of the battle.
After Gold Leader Jon Vander's trench run was foiled by Darth Vader piloting his TIE Advanced x1, Dreis held Antilles, Darklighter, and Skywalker in reserve as he and two wingmen made their own attempt. Dreis's wingmen were killed by Vader and his shot barely missed. Hotly pursued by Vader, he ordered the young pilots to make their own run on the exhaust port and was quickly killed by the Dark Lord of the Sith. Antilles and Darklighter hung back to cover the crack shot Skywalker as Vader and his wingmen again dropped on the trench runners from behind. Antilles took DS-61-3's fire, which destroyed his micro-maneuvering controls. As Antilles's fighter was damaged to the point where he could no longer safely remain near the other fighters in the trench, Skywalker ordered him out. Antilles was left observing as Vader killed Darklighter but was disabled by the timely arrival of Skywalker's companions in the rescue of Organa, smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca. With cover from their ship, the Millennium Falcon, Skywalker made the shot that destroyed the Death Star and saved the Rebel base.
In the wake of the Rebellion's crucial victory in the Battle of Yavin, the base's complement turned out to honor Skywalker, Solo, and Chewbacca for their heroism. The victory was tinged with sadness, however, as Skywalker and Antilles were the only Red Squadron survivors from the battle. Antilles emerged with a reputation as a hot young pilot, however, and received medals himself as well. Antilles soon became fast friends with the budding Jedi Skywalker and Solo, a fellow Corellian smuggler. Antilles also shared a camaraderie with less famous figures such as Finn Darktrin, a Rebel agent who later was discovered to be an Imperial spy, and Voren Na'al, a Rebel historian, journalist, and propagandist.
The day after their victory at Yavin, the Rebels were alarmed to find a Carrack cruiser entering the system. Dodonna called a briefing including Antilles and Skywalker, with whom Antilles was already very friendly, to inform the pilot complement of this and forbid them from engaging it in the hopes that the Imperial ship would pass through the system without noticing the Rebel base. Solo, who disagreed with the orders, left the briefing and forced the ship down on Yavin 4. The Rebels dispatched its crew after a battle in which the captain, Skeezer, was captured, keeping the base secure for a brief time more. Nonetheless, the Empire soon learned of the battle and placed the system under blockade.
Soon after the Death Star's destruction, Antilles was on patrol when a force under crime lord Tyber Zann entered the system, intent on retrieving data from the Death Star's wreckage. Antilles challenged him, but his patrol could not stop the Zann Consortium's superior force. He called for the Rebel picket to regroup, but before they could drive Zann from the system, an Imperial force emerged from hyperspace in hopes of enforcing the blockade. The Rebels had to fight off this greater threat, and Zann was able to steal the data he sought and escape.
Forming Rogue Squadron
- "My brother is a hero of the Rebellion."
- ―Syal Antilles, to Soontir Fel
In Yavin's aftermath, Commander Arhul Narra of Renegade Flight was put in command of Red Squadron. With an increasing core group of pilots flying independent missions with Antilles and Skywalker—Derek Klivian, a Red Squadron pilot who had been bedridden during the Battle of Yavin; Tierfon Yellow Aces pilot and expert gunner Wes Janson; veteran Zev Senesca; Sarkli; and Dak Ralter, a new recruit—Skywalker and Antilles developed a new unit under Narra's guidance. The pair co-founded Rogue Group, also known as Rogue Squadron or Rogue Flight, as a subunit of Narra's squadron, with Skywalker serving as Rogue Leader. Primarily an X-wing squadron, they were known for an ability and willingness to use a variety of fighters as suited their mission profiles. Both Rogue and Renegade Flights eventually developed into full-strength squadrons, with Narra remaining the commander of both forces. The unit served as a highly independent elite squadron, having no permanent assignment so that it could be dispatched to whichever hotspot in which it was most needed. Antilles made fast friends with his fellow pilots, especially Janson, with whom he shared interests in drinking and gambling, and whose skills as a pilot and gunner provoked Antilles's admiration. During his time as a Rogue, Antilles developed into a noted pilot, considered among the best in the Alliance. He devised the Antilles Maneuver to counteract legendary Clone Wars starfighter tactician Admiral Adar Tallon's Tallon Roll.
Narra dispatched Antilles, Skywalker, Senesca, Solo, and Chewbacca to investigate a secret Imperial research facility on the planet Kamino that recently had been abandoned. On their arrival over Kamino, they were ambushed by a group of mercenary fighter pilots. The mercenaries chased Skywalker, Solo, and Chewbacca toward the planet, where the three were tractored by a surface installation, along with the mercenaries. Antilles and Senesca were able to avoid being tractored, and when they detected no signs of life coming from the surface of the planet, they returned to Yavin 4 and reported the situation. Leia Organa led a rescue mission that found the three missing Rebels and Lune Divinian, leader of the mercenaries, already escaping the planet.
When the Rebellion ceased receiving shipments of metal from the planet Vactooine, the Rebels feared there had been trouble with their allies at the mining colony. Skywalker, Solo, Organa, and Chewbacca, as well as their droids C-3PO and R2-D2 and the ancient mining droid Q-7N, set out to investigate in the Millennium Falcon, while Antilles and three fellow Rogues escorted them. There they found that an army of rebellious droids, led by 12-4C-41 under the influence of criminal mastermind Olag Greck, had seized the outpost. The Rebels convinced the droids to turn against Greck, foiling the plot.
Two months after the Battle of Yavin, Antilles's friend Jal Te Gniev was still devastated at having missed out on it, his place taken by the inexperienced farmboy who had become the Rebellion's greatest hero overnight. He became given to drink, muttering of how he should have been in Skywalker's place and deserved the youth's glory. Antilles found the older man drunk and belligerent in the halls of the Great Temple, and attempted to counsel him, only to be cut short by an alarm. Antilles and Te Gniev rushed to the hangar, where Skywalker's protocol droid C-3PO explained that he had accidentally triggered the alarm. Te Gniev, still intoxicated, insensibly attempted to launch anyway. Antilles, shouting at him to stop, had to scramble out of the way as the bitter veteran clipped the side of the exit and plowed the expensive fighter into a tree outside. Te Gniev faced a military council, led by General Dodonna, that moved to transfer him to a recruiting position on Dubrava, a backwater planet. Te Gniev, who denounced the council directly, emerged angry at his treatment, feeling he had been cast aside in favor of the "golden boy." Antilles, waiting outside for word, explained that Skywalker had personally asked the council for leniency. Te Gniev sarcastically thanked Skywalker before storming off. He soon had a change of heart, however, sacrificing himself to save Skywalker after he accidentally endangered a mission Skywalker undertook to Jazbina.
Eventually, the blockade of Yavin gave way to invasion as the Imperial forces struck unexpectedly at the base. Under bombardment, the Rebels undertook an evacuation of the base they had previously saved. Antilles, Skywalker, and Sarkli flew together, shooting down enemy landing craft as the command staff attempted to evacuate. When the commanders were trapped inside the Great Temple by invading Imperial troops, Antilles and Skywalker put down and rushed into the temple to save them. They shot their way through the stormtroopers and rescued Dodonna and his staff before making their way to the hangar. There, Sarkli saved them from a pair of All Terrain Scout Transports, allowing the Rebels to make their escape. After the evacuation, the Rogues were assigned to pick up Tycho Celchu, an Imperial defector, on the planet Dantooine. Skywalker and Sarkli rescued him from storm commandos who had captured him just as he attempted to defect. On his next mission with Skywalker, Sarkli defected to the Empire. Eventually, Celchu, a skilled TIE pilot, replaced Sarkli in Rogue Squadron. Antilles was initially distant from Celchu, as he was from many new pilots, fearing to get too close to them lest they die early. In time, however, the pair became inseparable friends.
Rooting out a spy
- "You are a long way from the family fueling depot, Wedge Antilles…"
- ―Antilles, reflecting in the middle of a firefight on the Devastator
Antilles, Skywalker, and Organa began flying missions to scout out potential locations for new bases, but consistently had their missions ruined by the appearance of Imperial forces. On one such mission to the planet Dominus III in the Outer Rim, Organa and Skywalker began discussing recent events after arriving, but Antilles interrupted them; he had spotted a Star Destroyer exiting hyperspace. The Star Destroyer immediately launched a squadron of TIE interceptors and Antilles ordered the other two pilots, each flying X-wings, to make for the surface of Dominus III in an attempt to lose the enemy fighters. On the way in, Organa was shot down, taking a TIE with her; after hitting the ground, she climbed out of her damaged X-wing and shot and killed the TIE pilot. The three Rebels burned the downed TIE with an incendiary device to destroy its transponder. After Skywalker patched Organa's X-wing together, Antilles initially planned to spend the night on the planet, but soon discovered that the Imperials had sent TIE bombers out to search for the Rebels. Estimating that they only had a few minutes before being found, Antilles and the other two were forced to take off immediately, escaping the planet under cover of a polar storm and quickly making the jump to hyperspace.
Back on the Rebel Nebulon-B frigate Redemption, Antilles ran Skywalker through a simulator training session before they and six other pilots attended a secret meeting with Organa. Organa tasked the group with an off-the-record mission, classified deep black, to root out the Imperial spy that High Command believed was sabotaging the Rebel missions, such as the one to Dominus III. Antilles was placed second in command to Organa. The group was assigned brand new X-wings painted black; when group member Falback Kord marveled at the new fighters, Antilles told him that Rebel leader Mon Mothma had spent a lot of money to obtain them and to take care of them. After a training mission, Antilles gave the other member of the group a tour of the new X-wings before Organa took the squad into space for more training. Once in space, Organa, needing to release some frustration, ordered Antilles alone to switch to a private channel, in which she arranged a heads-up dogfight between the two of them.
The secret group, internally designated as Gray Flight or Stealth Squadron, then launched on a scouting mission to the Pybus system, after Organa assigned Antilles to the same flight as herself. Upon arrival at the planet Pybus, Gray Flight was surprised by an Imperial Star Destroyer plus an Interdictor cruiser. Unable to make for hyperspace due to the Interdictor's gravity well projectors, Antilles ordered his flight and flight two to make for the planet's surface, where he believed that the atmospheric cover would protect them from the Imperials' turbolasers. When the Imperials began orbital bombardment, however, he instead ordered the entire group to attack the Imperial ships at point-blank range, where they would be protected by the capital ships' own shields and by being inside the effective range of their main weapons. The Imperials responded by sending out two full squadrons of TIE interceptors. Corellian Tess Alder, part of flight three, ignored an order from Organa to bug out and instead came toward the group, firing several proton torpedoes at the approaching cluster of enemy fighters. Antilles, knowing how the TIE pilots would evade Alder's torpedoes, formulated a plan to box them in by having Organa assist him in launching their own torpedoes to either side of the TIEs; together, the two Corellians' plans eliminated eleven interceptors. Organa then created a plan to take out the Interdictor's gravity well projectors, ordering Antilles and Alder to form up behind her and acquire a torpedo target lock on her own emergency transponder. Antilles denounced the plan as "insane," but complied, firing torpedoes at his own squadron leader, who accelerated toward the Interdictor, then ejected her transponder directly in front of the gravity well projectors before breaking off. The torpedoes took out the gravity well projectors, enabling the Rebels to make an immediate escape into hyperspace.
Upon exiting hyperspace, however, they discovered that they had been followed by a TIE bomber, which quickly self-destructed in a kamikaze attack against Organa's fighter, severely damaging it and injuring Organa herself. Organa ordered Antilles and the rest of Gray Flight to get out of there and save themselves, but Antilles, along with Alder, argued against that course of action, saying that they would rather die wherever they were than leave Organa, who was crucial to the survival of the Rebellion, behind, and Organa yielded, thanking both of them for their concern for her. Knowing that they would be followed by the Star Destroyer, Antilles began moving the group, including Organa's damaged fighter, away from where they had reverted to realspace in an attempt to put enough distance between them and the Imperials to allow for a quick torpedo volley. They detected ships exiting hyperspace, but instead of Imperials, they were surprised to find the two members of Gray Flight who had been grounded back at the fleet for disciplinary reasons: Skywalker and Prithi. Skywalker, who had earlier received a warning through the Force from Ben Kenobi that Organa was in danger, and Prithi, who was also Force-sensitive and thus had overheard the warning, had set out in violation of their grounding orders to save the Rebel leader. Antilles walked Skywalker, who had left his cockpit and spacewalked over to Organa's X-wing, through removing two fusion thrust reactors and attaching them to a manually armed proton torpedo, which was then pushed toward the Imperial capital ships as they arrived. The resulting blast obliterated the Star Destroyer and took a huge chunk out of the Interdictor, and the Rebels retreated into hyperspace.
At the fleet, Antilles and Skywalker met with Mothma, who questioned them on why Organa, a critical Rebel leader, had gone on a mission that resulted in her having to be put into a bacta tank. Antilles pointed out that he didn't know the full details because the whole thing was classified on Mothma's own orders, and Mothma admitted that she knew everything and came to the realization that complete secrecy was no longer appropriate. She promoted Antilles from lieutenant to commander and Skywalker to a full lieutenant, and gave both of them security clearances sufficient to allow them to know everything that was going on. Antilles officially restored Skywalker and Prithi to active duty, and also requested and was granted permission from Mothma to move the squadron to the main hangars, giving them access to full support staff, since their cover had been blown by the manner in which they had returned. After Organa was out of the bacta tank, she briefed Skywalker on the problem with the spy, and Skywalker concocted a plan to find the mole from the other end by infiltrating the Devastator, the Star Destroyer of Imperial Colonel Bircher, who was leading the forces the spy was believed to be reporting to. Soon after, Antilles found himself on a shuttle with Skywalker as they arrived at Bircher's fleet. Along for the ride was Prithi, who detached her stealth X-wing from the shuttle and attached it to the Devastator as the shuttle was pulled into its docking bay.
On board the Devastator, Antilles and Skywalker were placed in handcuffs as Bircher ordered them to be detained at maximum security. Placed in a cell, Antilles turned to his companion for escape ideas. Skywalker had concealed his lightsaber, partially disassembled, in his boot and slipped it past the guards using the Force. After reassembling the Jedi weapon, Skywalker used it to cut their way out of the cell and take out a lone stormtrooper guarding the detention area. Antilles then used the stormtrooper's blaster to destroy the locks in the cell bay, freeing several other prisoners to provide a distraction while the two Rebels headed for the data core facility to insert a worm into the system. With both Rebels now armed—Skywalker having also obtained a blaster—they proceeded through the ship. Approaching the computer junction, they were surprised by a squad of stormtroopers; after Skywalker beat back the initial attack, Antilles went to the computer to do his work while Skywalker continued holding them off. After completing the task, Antilles and Skywalker found a TIE interceptor hangar, hid in a pair of cockpits, and began discussing whether Prithi, whom they were unable to contact, would have left; Antilles noted Skywalker's apparent feelings for Prithi, and the continuing discussion prompted Antilles to remember his late girlfriend, Tinero.
Prithi had in fact left and made it back to the Rebel fleet, but her life support system had failed and she was near death. She had also been tracked by Bircher, who, now knowing the location of the Rebels, soon followed with the Devastator. Upon the Devastator's arrival, the entire wing of TIEs that Antilles and Skywalker were hiding in was scrambled, and the two Rebels launched as well, with Antilles instructing Skywalker to blend in. Upon receiving orders from Bircher, who was personally leading the wing, to attack their own fleet, Antilles and Skywalker engaged the afterburners on their interceptors, streaking away from the Imperials and dodging Rebel fire until they crash-landed into Home One's hangar and revealed their identity by popping out of the hatches. Quickly transferring to X-wings, Antilles and Skywalker were asked by Organa to take the lead in the dogfight; Antilles quickly briefed the squadron on what they were facing before they entered the fight. After some brief combat, Antilles was surprised to receive new orders from Home One, instructing him an all other Rebel pilots to stand down and let the Imperials go. He initially refused, desiring revenge for everyone that had been killed at Yavin, but Organa convinced him to comply.
The reason why soon became clear: Bircher contacted Mon Mothma directly, gave her the override codes for the Devastator and the TIEs, and landed his own fighter in a hangar on Home One, where he revealed himself to be the spy—but one working on behalf of the Alliance, not the Imperial spy that Stealth Squadron had been searching for and in fact didn't exist. The entire Stealth Squadron mission had been a scam to retrieve Kell Bircher, Mothma's nephew. Antilles, along with Skywalker, were present in Mothma's chamber a short time later, seeking answers. Mothma explained that she and her nephew had come up with the plan in infiltrate the Imperials before the Battle of Yavin, and that no one other than them and a Bothan slicer who had set up his fake history. Antilles wanted to know if Bircher had had any safeguards in place when those under his command had been attacking the Rebels; the spy answered that he had, the entire time, kept his thumb on the same override switch that he had used to end the battle, a response that Antilles was content with. Later, Antilles briefed the former Stealth pilots; he informed them that the TIE interceptors that had been captured with Bircher's override codes were being checked for tracking devices, but after that they would become theirs to play with first.
It was not long before the Rebels were once more established on Yavin 4, sneaking back to reoccupy their old base. There, they were again found out and encircled with an Imperial blockade. Rogue Squadron was dispatched to Kwenn Space Station, in orbit around the planet Kwenn, to search for tips on poorly-traveled hyperlanes that might provide suitable locations for another hidden Rebel base. There, Antilles learned that the Empire had been interfering with many of the formerly safe trade routes to stifle the Rebellion's mobility in the Outer Rim. When he observed the Empire seizing the Action VI transport Stellar Manx without explanation, it aroused his suspicion. He dispatched a message drone to Organa, who was herself scouting Malagarr, reporting the oddity and requesting her aid as he, Janson, and Celchu investigated. The trio puzzled over what the Imperials were doing with the Stellar Manx, Antilles surmising that they simply wanted to seize it to replace their losses in cargo capacity at Yavin. They were surprised by a trio of stormtroopers, whom they outfought. The Rogues were able to rescue Kar Lamoran, the Stellar Manx's captain, and recapture the freighter after the Imperials tried to escape in it. They discovered and reported that the operation had been carried out at Darth Vader's orders, and the ship had been destined for the planet Bonadan. Solo and Organa followed up on the tip, taking over the effort of foiling Vader's plot.
Plague on Gobindi
- "Test cases. They're using the city to see how effective the blobs are, I'd guess. We're all lab rats."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Tash Arranda
Dispatched to the world Gobindi with three other Rebels, Antilles intended to spend only a few days there investigating the Mah Dala Infirmary, which was suspected of being a front for the Imperial Biological Weapons Division. He was trapped for three weeks when the Empire began blockading the planet on the pretense of heavy pirate activity in the area, and labeled the four Rebel operatives as wanted pirates. Around the same time, several strange blob creatures began emerging from the forest. The Rebels suspected a connection.
Antilles was outside the Mah Dala Infirmary in the planet's sole city Mah Dala—consisting entirely of buildings perched atop massive ziggurats projecting from the world's fierce jungle—when one of the blob creatures attacked a droid that was with a young girl. He rushed to peel the blob off the droid, but it began creeping up his arms. With the droid's aid, he was able to drop it over the railing of the ziggurat. Antilles then introduced himself to the girl, Tash Arranda, and the droid, DV-9. He offered them a tour of the city, and in conversation found that Arranda seemed to have anti-Imperial sympathies, though she had arrived during the blockade—an action accomplished only by Imperials. When Arranda mentioned that her brother, Zak Arranda, was in the hospital due to an illness, Antilles felt he could trust her, and revealed that no one had left the Mah Dala Infirmary alive recently. At that moment, a squad of stormtroopers rushed to the plaza in which they were speaking and arrested one of the other Rebels, a Rodian, on grounds of piracy. Antilles slipped away to avoid capture himself.
He gathered his remaining compatriots and entered Arranda's ship, the Shroud, after trailing her there. He asked for her help in getting offworld with whatever clearance codes had gotten them past the blockade originally. Arranda proved to be friendly to the Rebellion, but before she made a decision one of the other Rebels was attacked by another blob. They pulled it away, but the man fell ill immediately, leading them to deduce that the creatures were carriers of the bioengineered malady the Imperial scientists were developing. Antilles took the man back to their safehouse with a last request for Arranda to help them escape.
After giving their companion aid, Antilles and the last Rebel, a Bothan, returned to staking out the Shroud. When Zak Arranda and DV-9 arrived, saw the slime trail, and followed it down the ziggurat and into the jungle thinking Tash Arranda had been abducted by a blob, the Rebels hurried to follow them. The boy and the droid were cut off from ascending the ziggurat by a swarm of blobs, causing them to flee. Antilles and the Bothan gave chase, and shot the blobs off the unarmed pair when they were cornered. DV-9 found a door into the nearby ziggurat, which warned in Gobindi script that a virus was locked within. From it, they were surprised to see Tash Arranda, her and Zak's "uncle" Mammon Hoole, and Doctor Kavafi—the head of the infirmary who had been replaced by the bioweapon designers—emerge. Hoole, a Shi'ido shapeshifter, transformed himself into a mammoth frog and leaped the beleaguered individuals to safety atop the ziggurat. With information from the ziggurat inscriptions, Kavafi was able to manufacture a cure, defeating the virus project. Antilles piloted the Shroud past the Imperial blockade and returned to the Rebel base.
Escape from Yavin
- Dodonna: "You have your orders, Commander. Get that last transport your flight is escorting to the rendezvous immediately! I'll see the Empire doesn't follow you!"
- Antilles: "Luke! What's General Dodonna talking about? What's he going to do?!"
- Skywalker: "From his remarks about his health failing since the death of his son, Wedge…I'm afraid he's chosen to retire…in a way that will take those Imperial attackers with him!"
- ―Jan Dodonna, Wedge Antilles, and Luke Skywalker[src]
When Darth Vader brought his mammoth Star Dreadnought Executor to Yavin for a final strike at the Rebellion six months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebels were forced to evacuate the base for good. Skywalker and Vrad Dodonna, the son of General Dodonna, departed on a mission to breach the Executor's shields with a power gem before it could reach the Yavin system. With backup from Han Solo, they were able to cripple the ship's control systems, buying the Rebellion more time to evacuate. Antilles oversaw the fighter escort for the evacuation transports, which came under attack sooner than expected when Vader ordered blockade commander Admiral Amise Griff to proceed with the assault without the Executor. As the transports left, Dodonna, distraught at the death of his son in the attack, stayed behind to detonate concussion charges that decimated the attacking fighters. He was assumed killed in action.
The Rebel fleet rendezvoused out of the immediate grasp of Griff's forces, but still within the blockade. A Mon Calamari fleet under Admiral Ackbar provided a surprise attack on the blockade forces at multiple points, hoping to draw Griff out of position, but the canny admiral found the Rebels' hoped escape route and cut it off. Solo scouted another, which was blocked by unpredictable stellar flares. Skywalker had to call on his knowledge of the Force to guide the fleet through a safe route, narrowly missing an ambush by the Executor.
Escorting the convoy, destined for the new safeworld Hoth, through the Ison Corridor, they came out of hyperspace in the debris of a previous convoy. The Rebel ships had to pick their way through the debris field and a nearby nebula before they could reenter hyperspace, but before they could do so they were set upon by the Imperial force that had destroyed the first squadron of transports. Unable to keep up with the enemy TIEs as they tore into the convoy, Antilles suggested he and Skywalker transfer to the new A-wing interceptors. They docked with the Nebulon-B frigate Redemption and transferred. In the new, speedy interceptors, they were able to ward off the TIE attackers. In the nebula, they held off TIE Interceptors, allowing the transports to proceed safely to Hoth.
The Hoth base would not be ready for occupancy for another two years, however, and the Rogues operated elsewhere. They trained briefly on the planet Tatooine, during which period Skywalker and Antilles, out for a morning flight, noticed the Empire bombing Mos Eisley in retaliation for the smuggling activity based out of the starport. They struck against the Imperial TIE/sa bombers, saving the city from annihilation. The Rogues moved on to further missions, escorting a supply convoy that came under attack on Barkhesh and finding and rescuing the crashed Rebel ship Nonnah on the planet Chorax, holding off Imperial forces that attempted to seize the freighter's personnel and captured supplies.
Betrayal in the Poln system
- "That's Antilles for you—flies as crazy as Solo does."
- ―Colonel Airen Cracken, on Antilles's flying
Later, the Rebels were approached through Alderaanian Vestin Axlon by Governor Bidor Ferrouz of Candoras sector with an offer. Ferrouz, who claimed to harbor Rebel sympathies, proposed that the Alliance use abandoned mines and caverns on the planet of Poln Minor as a base in return for protection against the mysterious alien warlord Nuso Esva. While Axlon, Solo, Chewbacca, and Skywalker headed for the sector's capital planet Poln Major, located in the same system, to meet Ferrouz and discuss terms with him, an advance scouting team, including Antilles, Rogue Squadron, Colonel Airen Cracken, and Organa, was sent to Poln Minor to evaluate the area and check things out. While exploring a system of caverns, Antilles was surprised to run into Solo and Chewbacca, who had been ordered to remain on Poln Major. Antilles called Cracken over to report their presence.
The offer was not as it seemed, though; Ferrouz was in fact a loyal Imperial whose family had been kidnapped by agents of Esva, who in turn had given the governor a list of demands that included the "deal" with the Rebels. Furthermore, Axlon planned to kill Ferrouz in an act of revenge for the destruction of Alderaan, but the renegade stormtrooper unit known as the Hand of Judgment stopped and killed him before he could carry out the murder. Solo and Organa were talked into helping mount missiles on attack ships, though they didn't know it was for Esva's people; eventually they were forced to flee through unfamiliar tunnels in a speeder bus. Cracken established contact with them and told them to turn into a side tunnel; Antilles and two other pilots in X-wings flew the other way down the side tunnel and past the bus to look for Solo and Organa's pursuers, but were unable to find any sign of them or the cavern where the missiles were being installed.
At a meeting aboard Cracken's transport, Antilles reported his failure, though after reviewing what she had observed, Organa was able to locate the main cavern through deductive reasoning, so Cracken began planning an attack on it. Since X-wings were too large for the tunnel they would have to use, Antilles proposed using the new T-47 airspeeders that the Rebels had obtained on Poln Minor earlier in the mission. Cracken objected on the basis that the T-47s weren't armed as well as the X-wings, but Antilles dismissed that, pointing out that firepower was a secondary concern to getting there in the first place and that the Rebels would have the element of surprise. After a moment, the Colonel agreed to the plan.
As they prepared for the attack, Antilles told Organa that she did not have to go with them, but she insisted on riding with him anyway. With Organa in the gunner's seat of Antilles's T-47, the Rogues took off. Upon arriving at the cavern and beginning attack runs, Antilles and the other Rebels were surprised to find the missile ships operational, ready to fly, and firing back. Outnumbered fifty to ten and outgunned as well, Antilles began attack runs anyway. As he flew and Organa fired on the ships, they realized that the T-47s' firepower wasn't enough to get through the missile ships' armor and shields.
Suddenly, Cracken came over the comm and ordered the Rogues to break off the attack and return to the staging point. Antilles requested confirmation, and when that was provided, recommended against that, but Cracken told them that Solo had other plans. On their way out, at Organa's request, Antilles ordered Rogue Three to pull alongside him. Organa attached a harpoon cable to Rogue Three, and Antilles maneuvered so that the cable took off a sensor bulb on one of the missile ships. Antilles ordered the Rogues to leave, and the other pilots and gunners repeated the trick on the way out. Antilles and the Rogues got out of the cavern just before Esva's people blew the roof of the cavern to allow the ships to take off. Solo, who had bluffed his way onto the Golan I defense platform orbiting Poln Major, had the platform's commander, Barcelle, order his men to fire all of their proton torpedoes in the direction of the ships, which destroyed them all.
The Imperials, with the help of the seven ships of Death Squadron, won the ensuing battle against Esva's Eastern Fleet, while the Rebels escaped with plenty of war materiel, including the T-47s. Later, back at base, Antilles was seen with Skywalker and Organa as the latter was talking to the two men.
Soon after the evacuation, Antilles was stationed on the planet Thila. When the Rebel base there was discovered by the Empire, the Rogues scrambled to cover while an evacuation was prepared. Antilles quickly launched in his T-47 airspeeder, on which Chewbacca had been working. Though Antilles was friends with Chewbacca, he did not understand Shyriiwook and did not understand Chewbacca's warning that the Wookiee was still repairing the ship. He took off with Chewbacca dangling from the airspeeder's belly, his hands in an access hatch. After a TIE pilot displayed confusion upon seeing the Wookiee, Antilles had Wes Janson perform a visual check and was horrified to learn that Chewbacca was precariously caught in a high-altitude dogfight. Han Solo, who had been informed by the other mechanics, contacted him by comm and insisted that Antilles match velocity over another airspeeder and let Chewbacca climb down, but Antilles did not think he could spare the time for another Rogue to exit the battle. He slipped over a TIE, allowing Chewbacca to commandeer the fighter and return to base. Once the battle was over, Antilles spent some time hiding atop a suspended cargo crate, avoiding the Wookiee's wrath. Despite Antilles's misadventure, the Rogues' performance at the evacuation of Thila proved that they were a highly effective team of pilots, gaining them greater respect within the Alliance hierarchy.
Seven months after the Battle of Yavin, Antilles, Skywalker, Arhul Narra, and Zev Senesca were sent to escort a unit of Alliance Intelligence agents tasked to set up a listening post on Lubang Minor. While the Intelligence personnel set up their equipment, Skywalker explored the jungle, only to rush back with news that he had discovered graves and a crashed Clone Wars–era LAAT/i transport. As he reported this, an Imperial landing force arrived and attacked. Antilles and Senesca were able to launch their X-wings, but Skywalker and Narra were trapped on the ground. Antilles and Senesca handled the TIEs, with Antilles shooting one down just as it was about to strafe Narra and Skywalker. Increased TIE reinforcements, however, drove the pilots to orbit; unable to take on that many starfighters, they retreated to the other side of the planet from the Imperial capital ship launching the fighters. With the aide of a clone trooper who had been stranded on the planet since the Clone Wars, BL-1707, nicknamed "Able," those left on the ground were able to escape, and the Rebels slipped away.
Soon after, the Jabiimi Loyalist leader Nolan Gillmunn requested Alliance aid to his cause as he battled the Empire's control of Jabiim, exercised through the Jabiimi Nationalist party. The Rebels sent a diplomatic party consisting of Leia Organa, Skywalker, and statistician Jorin Sol, transported by Nera Dantels aboard the Starduster. Antilles and Derek Klivian escorted them and remained in orbit as backup while the others landed on the planet Jabiim. Once the Loyalists heard that the Alliance had sent Luke Skywalker, the son of Anakin Skywalker, as a representative, they were furious and ordered Antilles and Klivian to depart Jabiim planetary space. Anakin Skywalker had been ordered off the planet over two decades ago by the Galactic Republic, when it had been supporting the Loyalists against the Separatist Nationalists, and as the symbol of their deprivation of aid in their hour of greatest need the Loyalists hated him virulently. As Klivian and Antilles debated what to do next, they were attacked by TIEs aligned with the Nationalist government. The pair of Rogue pilots fled, unsure if killing more Jabiimi would inflame the diplomatic situation with the others on the ground. They ran into an Imperial fleet arriving to capture the Rebels—sold out by disillusioned Loyalist Tal Hesz—and enslave the Jabiimi, and decided they had no choice but to rescue their compatriots. The pair outran their pursuers and arrived on the surface in time to save Organa and Dantels from a TIE attack. The group then rescued Skywalker and Gillmunn from the Imperials. Gillmunn insisted on staying behind, but conceded that the Rebels could not save the planet and should flee. Sol was already captured and aboard Darth Vader's Star Destroyer, forcing them to leave without him. Antilles and Klivian drew the fleet's fire, allowing the others to escape aboard the Starduster before they jumped to hyperspace themselves.
Around two months after the abandonment of Yavin, with the Rebel leadership centered aboard roving fleets and in need of supplies, as well as compromised should Jorin Sol give away the escape algorithm used to plot hyperspace jumps when the fleet came under sudden attack, Antilles was part of a group that undertook a supply raid on the planet Kalist VI. Antilles led elements of Red Squadron in destroying the escort frigate accompanying the Imperial fuel tanker Nuna's Twins, allowing the Rebels to hijack the tanker. Skywalker and Captain Harran led a prize crew that took over the ship and continued on to Kalist VI, where they planned to steal supplies from the Imperial base and rescue Sol, held captive within. The half-dozen Red Squadron pilots continued on as well, harrying the ship as it emerged over Kalist VI until they allowed themselves to be driven off by the base's TIE complement, reinforcing the undercover Rebels' cover story. At a prearranged time, Antilles led his pilots and a Y-wing bomber group back to cover the mission's escape. Skywalker led the rescue not only of Sol, but of a mass of Jabiimi slaves they had not known to be at the base, and with cover from Antilles the entire group escaped.
In the next month, Antilles was part of a shipping raid over the planet Per Lupelo. The Rebels easily picked off the light enemy fighter cover until Skywalker's fighter lost power in the middle of the battle. With a TIE on Skywalker's tail, Antilles had to rush to defeat his own opponent before saving his friend. They successfully hijacked the four-ship convoy, bringing much-needed supplies to the fleet. After returning to the flagship Rebel One, Antilles fetched Skywalker so Rebel spymaster Tungo Li could inform him of a message sent by Skywalker's childhood friend Janek Sunber, whom Skywalker had encountered as an Imperial officer on Kalist VI. The message stated that Sunber wished to defect. Li considered it a trap, but Skywalker left to rescue him against orders. Meanwhile, Sol left his bacta tank and attacked Deena Shan, a supply officer. He did not kill her, instead revealing that he had been "reprogrammed" during his Imperial captivity but was fighting his conditioning. Antilles was chosen to interview him under Li's supervision, and Sol was told to rest and return to his duties later in the belief that he had overridden his Imperial brainwashing.
As soon as Sol was cleared to return to duty, however, he called in the Imperial fleet and attacked Organa and a portion of the ship's command staff. The fighter complement scrambled to defend the fleet, which could not flee together as Sol had given their escape algorithm to the Empire. The ships scattered, except Rebel One, the bridge of which was in chaos. Antilles remained, defending the headquarters ship and frantically comming the bridge. Finally the injured Sol overcame his conditioning one last time and launched Rebel One into hyperspace, letting Antilles leave the battle. Antilles was able to link up with the fleet element under Admiral Ackbar, and when the remaining crew of Rebel One returned to the fleet with information about an upcoming attack on the planet Ansion, Ackbar sent Antilles and Skywalker to warn the planet, though the Alliance did not have the strength to tackle the attack force head-on.
Defectors and captors
- "How was the hovertrain?"
"Food was good, but the service was lousy."
- ―Kasan Moor and Wedge Antilles
When elite Imperial storm commando General Crix Madine was willing to defect to the Rebel Alliance, Rogue Squadron screened his pickup from a safehouse in Coronet City, Corellia. Antilles detected odd readings near the meeting site and scouted the location of the anomaly with Skywalker, only to find Imperial probe droids spying. They destroyed the droids, but as they did so Imperial ground and air forces moved against the Rogues' superior officer, General Carlist Rieekan, who was meeting with city officials in the Capitol Tower. Antilles rushed back to help secure the area, and kept protecting it while Skywalker sped to the Technology Center, where Madine was besieged. Antilles held bombers off long enough that Han Solo and Chewbacca, nearby, were able to help evacuate the beleaguered Capitol Tower just before it was destroyed.
The Rogues soon found themselves cooperating with Madine. When the inhabitants of the planet Gerrard V revolted against the Empire, the Imperial governor, began looting the world as he prepared to flee. The Rogues were dispatched to escort General Madine's Y-wings as they used their ion cannons to disable the yachts into which the plundered goods were being loaded. Antilles led half of the unit to one city, where they were attacked by the 128th TIE Interceptor Squadron, an elite unit under Lieutenant Kasan Moor. He had to call in Skywalker's forces to reinforce him, allowing the Rogues to defeat the 128th and capture Moor. Moor, an Alderaanian, expressed a desire to defect, and she was admitted to the squadron after some consideration.
Though Antilles remained distrustful of her, Moor began giving the locations of Imperial bases to the Rebellion, leading to strikes by Rogue Squadron. An Imperial supply depot on the planet Loronar's Jade Moon fell to Crix Madine's commandos while the Rogues provided air cover and disabled the depot's shield. In a swift raid, Antilles and several more Rogues then struck a factory on the planet Balmorra that produced walker and TIEs. They subsequently took Y-wings to bomb the Imperial Enclave on the planet Kile II. As that mission was completed, Antilles was ambushed by TIE Interceptors. Unable to avoid them in the sluggish Y-wing and subjected to heavy fire, he put down rather than be shot out of the sky, and was captured by Imperial forces before the Rogues could intervene.
His captors transferred Antilles to the penal facilities of the planet Kessel. Aboard a Kesselian hovertrain taking him from his initial holding facility to prison, Antilles was suddenly rescued by his fellow Rogues as they disabled the train. Brought his own X-wing, Antilles was relieved to escape and shared what he had learned aboard the hovertrain: other Rebels were being held in Kessel's prisons. Madine and his commandos were called in to perform a rescue. Antilles helped provide cover as Madine's men raided several penitentiaries based on Antilles's information. After this series of raids and her participation in his rescue, Moor had earned Antilles's trust.
Rogue Squadron then turned its attention to the emerging threat of ambitious and oppressive Moff Kohl Seerdon, formerly Moor's patron. Seerdon was planning to move against Thyferra, the vital world that produced bacta, and shut off Rebel access to the immeasurably important healing agent. The Rogues began striking at Seerdon's holdings, hoping to retard his battle preparations and cripple his supply chain. They began with a hit-and-run A-wing strike at planet Taloraan, where the Empire mined the tibanna gas that powered its weapons. With support from a CR90 corvette, they destroyed much of Seerdon's accumulated gas stockpile. At the same time, a commando unit attempted to steal several All Terrain Personal Transports from a research facility on the planet Fest. Their escape was compromised, and the Rogues sped to Fest to cover the AT-PTs as they made their way to an Alliance transport under heavy Imperial attack. After shepherding the walkers to safety, they destroyed the research facility.
Seerdon then turned to blockading Chandrila, the peaceful, anti-Imperial homeworld of Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, in retaliation for his recent losses. He isolated one of its major cities and began bombarding it, prompting Rieekan to send the Rogues to escort a relief hovertrain filled with supplies to the besieged city and eliminate Seerdon's forces. Antilles helped guard the hovertrain as Imperial fighters and bombers assaulted it, and once it reached the city safely he began shooting down Seerdon's bombers. Once that threat was eliminated, Rieekan sent several shuttles to evacuate the population, which the Rogues protected. They then settled in to defend Chandrila until Seerdon's threat was eliminated, letting Seerdon escape the planet. In retaliation for the attack on Chandrila, the Rogues struck at one of Seerdon's bases on the planet Sullust. Flying into a volcano, they destroyed the important shielded station within, exacting their revenge for Chandrila. However, as they finished the mission, they learned that Seerdon had decoyed them into the attack and then used it as a diversion, striking at Thyferra while Rogue Squadron was otherwise occupied. The Rogues rushed to Thyferra, and in a hard-fought battle they protected Rebel bacta supplies and destroyed Seerdon's invasion force. Skywalker personally killed Seerdon when he shot down the Moff's Sentinel-class landing craft, ending the crisis.
In 1 ABY, Antilles was stationed at the Rebel outpost near the city of Kor Vella on his homeworld of Corellia. While assigned to that hidden base, Antilles got into a dogfight with several TIE Interceptors, and his fighter was damaged. While it was being repaired, he worked to recruit new allies for the Rebels. He entered into negotiations with a group of Corellian Engineering Corporation workers' union leaders, who were interested in joining the Alliance, but wanted to hear Antilles—by now considered a hero of the Rebel movement—speak about the Battle of Yavin. He had a Rebel agent referred to him by Alliance Major Qual'do Herm carry a letter confirming their meeting to the prospective allies' spokesman Devlin. Devlin agreed to the time and place, and Antilles gave a speech that convinced them to throw their support behind the Rebel Alliance. Only one union leader, Iris, dissented. Antilles had to send the same Rebel agent to reason with her, as he knew she was likely to turn the other union leaders in to the Empire. When she insisted on selling them out and drew a blaster on the agent, the agent killed her, an outcome Antilles regretted but accepted as the only way to protect the Alliance.
On hearing intelligence reports of Imperials bringing power generators from the abandoned Rebel base on Dantooine to Corellia, Antilles called on the same agent to capture the officer in charge of the mysterious project, General Graise, and bring him to Kor Vella for interrogation. The agent did so, and Graise confessed that the generators were being rebuilt and shipped off-planet for use in another project. Antilles sent the agent to assassinate the man in charge of that endeavor, General Boize, allowing the Rebels to recover the valuable generators and stymie the Imperial plot. Further information from documents on Graise's person revealed that he had been running storehouse of impounded starships and parts. Antilles again ordered the agent to undertake a mission, this time to seize the code cylinder allowing access to the building from Emil, the quartermaster for the storehouse. Once Antilles gained the code cylinder, the Rebels were able to raid the facility for an important boost to their starfleet. With no more tasks for the agent, Antilles forwarded the being to Leia Organa for further assignments.
Antilles later used another agent to eavesdrop on two Imperial officers in the city of Bela Vistal on Corellia in the hopes of finding the location of a hidden Imperial base in which several confiscated Rebel X-wings were stored. The agent found and infiltrated the base, killed the guards, and disabled the security systems, allowing the Rebellion to retake the fighters. During the Rebel holiday Remembrance Day, 1 ABY, Antilles attended a celebration in Coronet. There, he tasked a Rebel to rescue several Alliance pilots who had been captured and imprisoned in a prison bunker near an Imperial base erected on Yavin 4. The agent completed the mission and returned to confirm the success with Antilles—and to ask the famous pilot for an autograph. While traveling with several other Rogues to inspect a Corellian Engineering Corporation yard after the Battle of Talus, Antilles was ambushed by 4-LOM and another bounty hunter. After a firefight that wounded most of his companions, he was captured and turned over to the Empire, having been put on the Emperor's Most Wanted list. A Rebel strike force freed him and several other inmates from imprisonment near Bestine on Tatooine, returning them to the Rebel cause.
When Lando Calrissian, Baron Administrator of Cloud City and sympathetic to the Rebels, contacted the Alliance with information that a missing medical shipment of ryll they had been seeking was located on the asteroid Skip 52 of the notorious asteroid field hideout, Smuggler's Run, Antilles was sent to meet a Rebel ally who had been working for Calrissian at the planet Wrea. He flew the agent through the treacherous asteroid field to Skip 52 in a modified two-seat Headhunter. When they arrived they found that Imperial Intelligence agents under the notorious and secretive Blackhole had already taken control of the spice. Antilles and his ally battled Blackhole's shadow stormtroopers, overcoming them after a drawn-out gunfight. The pair contacted Calrissian, who arranged to ship the ryll to the medical facility for which it had originally been destined.
Antilles was at the planet Xyquine II when it was struck by an Imperial attack. There, to cover the retreat, Rebel pilot Pash Cracken invented the Cracken Twist, a trick in which modified jump coordinates were transmitted to recipients who knew to subtract from the second digit in the coordinates for the actual course, allowing them to fool eavesdropping enemy ships. The Cracken Twist proved popular, prompting Antilles to design a maneuver that could be used when a Cracken Twist was called for, letting any eavesdroppers think the motion was the twist. Antilles's invention, the screen formation, worked both as a distraction and as a way for a handful of skilled pilots to provide comprehensive protection, forming a sphere of starfighters, rapidly switching position, around an escorted ship.
- "If the Death Star didn't stop you an' me…what can these things do?"
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Luke Skywalker
By 3 ABY, the Alliance's Echo Base had been established on Hoth. Antilles and the other Rogues were assigned there. As an expert pilot and experienced officer, Antilles was put in charge of training new pilots at the base. While escorting a vital supply convoy, Renegade Flight was ambushed near the planet Derra IV; the convoy was lost with no survivors. In the wake of the battle, Rieekan promoted Skywalker to fill Narra's position. When Skywalker went missing during a ground patrol of Hoth not long afterward, the Rogues were sent out to rescue him and Solo, who had gone out in search of him upon tauntaun, as soon as the base's T-47 airspeeders were properly adapted to Hoth's cold. Senesca found them after they had managed to survive the bitterly cold night.
Later in the day, an Imperial probe droid was discovered spying on the base. The Rebels immediately prepared to evacuate their new base. When Vader's Death Squadron arrived in the Hoth system, Rogue Group was assigned to hold off the Imperial landing force and defend the planetary shield that protected the base from orbital bombardment and direct landings. With Wes Janson as his gunner, Antilles piloted his T-47 against the Empire's powerful All Terrain Armored Transports as Rogue Three. They first protected Outpost Beta, site of the ion cannon covering the evacuation, then moved on to defend the shield generator against the main force. When the AT-ATs' armor proved too strong for the speeders' blasters, Skywalker ordered a shift to using the T-47s' industrial tow cables to trip up the walkers. Skywalker made the first pass, but his gunner, Dak Ralter, was killed in the attempt. Skywalker, as Rogue Leader, ordered Antilles and Janson to make the first trip. Janson made the harpoon shot, and Antilles looped his speeder around the AT-AT Blizzard 2 until the machine's legs were entangled and it tumbled to Hoth's icy surface. With the machine's vulnerable neck better exposed, Antilles scored a shot that destroyed the downed walker. When Skywalker was shot down, he contacted Antilles and turned command of the Rogues over to him. Rieekan simultaneously commed Antilles with the same decision, asking for an update on the situation. Antilles helped cover the downed Skywalker as he made his way back to base.
The Rebels were unable to hold off the Imperial ground assault, and Leia Organa called the retreat after Imperials entered the base. Imperial General Maximilian Veers destroyed the shield generator in the next minute. With their airspeeder damaged and Antilles's right arm injured, he and Janson had to bail from the crippled craft and march to the rear of the base, where they transferred to starfighters and prepared to escort the remaining evacuation transports as they ran the gauntlet of the Imperial fleet. Taking off in his X-wing, Antilles defended the loading transports from fighter and bomber attack. Along with a Y-wing crewed by Klivian and Janson, Antilles escorted the transport Thon's Orchard. When a Star Destroyer obstructed escape, Antilles hastily pulled off an expert Tallon split with Klivian, confusing the Star Destroyer's tracking arrays long enough for him to destroy one of the ship's sensors, giving Thon's Orchard an avenue of escape.
Antilles returned to Hoth and waited for Skywalker to arrive safely before making his final departure. While on the ground, he took command of an infantry unit struggling to defend against the Imperial advance. There, he learned that General Crix Madine had been captured by Imperial forces in the course of the evacuation and, grabbing another soldier, rushed to rescue Madine in a T-47. Antilles found Imperial officer Jeffren Brek and several snowtroopers marching Madine and two of the general's aides to a shuttle and attacked the Imperials. Brek escaped in the shuttle with Madine, but Antilles managed to save the two subordinates, who informed him that Brek was taking Madine to the Star Destroyer Tyrant for transfer to prison. Antilles dispatched the soldier whom he had brought with him to arrange a raid on the Tyrant, which successfully recovered Madine.
Back at Echo Base, Antilles was joined by Skywalker, who joined him in escorting the three remaining transports, including the Dutyfree, to safety. Skywalker and Antilles saw the ship out, with Skywalker ordering the transport and Antilles ahead. With navigator Areta Bell plotting a course that kept them out of the reach of Imperial Star Destroyers, Antilles and the Dutyfree jumped to hyperspace, but Skywalker hung behind, jumping to Dagobah to continue his Jedi training instead of escaping to the fleet rendezvous above the galactic plane.
Running the Rogues
- "Wedge is in command of Rogue Squadron now, and he told me if I ever needed them they'd come running."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Chewbacca
He was put to work rebuilding the survivors of Hoth and new pilots into a working unit, officially stationed aboard Ackbar's flagship Home One and able to quickly lift for any hotspot. Will Scotian was among the pilots he recruited after seeing Scotian's excellent record at the Alliance's Oracle Base. Though offered the chance to upgrade to the newer A-wing or B-wing starfighters, Antilles insisted that the workhorse X-wing was good enough to remain the Rogues' primary starfighter, preferring that more advanced fighters be given to less talented pilots who needed the edge. Under Antilles's leadership, the refurbished squadron's position as the most elite starfighter unit in the Rebellion was confirmed. Also, as a commander, Antilles's expertise was put to use for the wider Alliance. He recorded the training hologram "Alliance Strategy and Tactics Lecture 137: Combat Starfighters" for distribution throughout the Rebellion, in which he outlined the workings and objectives of Alliance Starfighter Command and presented tactics and strategy for starfighter combat.
Following the evacuation of Echo Base, Antilles returned to Hoth, where a group of Rebels had been stranded during the battle. There he encountered Arns Grimraker, a notorious pirate, arms dealer, and scavenger. Grimraker was attempting to salvage equipment left behind by the Alliance, and was preparing to attack the Rebel remnants. Antilles killed him, allowing the remaining Rebels to escape. The story of the events became a favorite of Antilles's, and he took to embellishing it wildly, generally stating that he had himself been stranded on Hoth with Janson for months, only to finally escape in Grimraker's ship and be rescued by Skywalker. Frequently, Antilles claimed Janson had died, usually as a prank on rookies who would then be shocked to meet Janson alive and well.
Antilles was sent to scout the Maw, a black hole cluster suspected of hiding an Imperial prison. Flying a Y-wing for the mission, Antilles entered the Maw's asteroid field with Rogues Three and Four. There they came under attack from TIEs and, after fighting their way through Imperial forces, disabled a force field to gain access to the prison facility. They received a transmission from Karie Neth, the leader of the Rebel prisoners, who was engaged in a prison break. Coming to her aid, Antilles destroyed the prison's defenses, allowing Neth and her contingent of prisoners to escape. Neth would later join the squadron, replacing a Bothan lost during a covert mission. Antilles also rescued Keir Santage, who similarly became a Rogue.
When Imperial Admiral Wooyou Senn's Task Force Vengeance attacked the Rebel hospital station Hormuuz in the Gelgelar system, the Rogues defended the evacuation, working with Gold Squadron. After their flight, while the injured were being transferred to the medical frigate Redemption, the Rebels came under attack from the Star Destroyer Nemesis. The Rogues and Golds, forced to fly Headhunters, covered the fleet's escape. When a supply convoy headed for the Airam sector was ambushed in the Halbara system, the Rogues fought off the attack. The Rogues and Green Squadron then made a raid of their own, retaking supplies from the captured Hormuuz with capital ship aid.
In order to gauge the strength of Task Force Vengeance, the Rogues were dispatched to a fleet rendezvous point in speedy A-wings. There they scanned the task force's ships as they arrived and destroyed cargo ships bearing munitions as they found them. On identifying Senn's flagship, the Star Dreadnought Vengeance, Antilles departed to report to his commanders. The MC80 Star Cruiser Liberty drew elements of Task Force Vengeance to the Goff system, where the Rogues served as part of a trap that destroyed two Star Destroyers. The Rogues then participated in the capture of the Immobilizer 418 cruiser Compellor in the Battle of Swellen, holding off an Imperial counterattack. They then guarded the Compellor's arrival at Mobetta and, after the first attack was defeated, held off a second Imperial assault fleet. Continuing to work with Green Squadron's B-wings, the Rogues participated in an ambush of an Imperial fleet sent to reinforce Task Force Vengeance. Afterward, they received a distress call from the X7 factory Gallofree at Mobetta and returned there to defend it against an Imperial attack. Though they could not save Compellor, they covered the evacuation of the Airam Rebels from the factory at great risk before withdrawing.
Airam leader Tamaron agreed to supply the Alliance with warheads in gratitude. Antilles's Rogues guarded the transfer against Imperial interference. When the Imperials did attack, the Rogues quickly beat off the interlopers. When the Airam clan leader Ilay attempted to negotiate a treaty with Senn, the Rogues were part of the forces that disrupted the meeting, capturing Ilay before retreating. With intelligence on a rendezvous Ilay had set up to supply the Imperials, the Rogues, equipped with B-wings, struck the convoy at Dega, destroying all the supply freighters in a prolonged raid. Senn, with his forces reduced and strained for supplies, pressed forward with an attack on the Rebel shipyards in the Nocto system. The Rebels were able to destroy the Rage and the Vengeance in the battle, killing Senn and putting an end to Task Force Vengeance's menace of the Airam sector.
On hearing a tip that several Rebel scientists captured on Hoth were being held in a detention facility over the planet Bakura, the Rogues were sent to free them. Taking a B-wing, Antilles arrived to find a transport departing the station. He rushed to disable it with the B-wing's ion cannons, allowing a Rebel evacuation transport to dock and transfer the prisoners over for rescue. As a succession of transport ships departed, Antilles disabled each one. When Klivian's fighter was crippled in the dogfight, plummeting to Bakura's surface, Antilles quickly docked with the station and stole a TIE bomber to provide a two-seat craft. Flying to the surface and through a heavily defended ice crevasse, he picked up Klivian and returned to the Rebel forces in orbit. However, when he returned, an storm commando escort carrier recaptured the scientists and fled to the planet Geonosis. Under Madine's direction, Antilles, back in his X-wing, led two Rogues and the transports to Geonosis in pursuit. When Imperial capital ships arrived, it was plain that they had flown into a trap. Antilles covered for the transports as they escaped, destroying a storm commando escort carrier and losing his own stabilizer in the explosion. Antilles plummeted to the surface, where he abandoned his X-wing and evaded stormtroopers who had themselves landed in escape pods from the destroyed ship. Antilles also encountered B1-Series battle droids, manufactured on Geonosis for the Clone Wars. He then came under attack from Sarkli, the former Rogue who had turned traitor and now served with the storm commandos, after Sarkli commandeered a LAAT/i gunship left on the planet. Taking over a turret on the ground, Antilles shot down the gunship, then found an abandoned Delta-7 Aethersprite starfighter, another Clone Wars relic. After his R5 unit repaired the fighter, he returned to orbit, where Madine had just arrived in a Nebulon-B, and flew the Aethersprite against the remaining Imperial forces.
When reports that a platform over the planet Destrillion was being used for Imperial research arrived, Antilles was sent to scout the facility in an A-wing and note vulnerable points for attack by his squadron in Y-wings. Piloting through a series of energy-shielded tunnels in open space, he made his way to an open area, where he found a swarm of TIE Hunters. Trapped inside by force fields, he had to take on the TIE Hunters alone. After eliminating them, a further tunnel opened, allowing him to continue toward the base. Exiting, he found only an Imperial convoy. He returned to the fleet, which came under fire from the surface of Destrillion's sister planet, Dubrillion. The Rebels had been lured into a trap so that a superlaser based on Dubrillion could be used against them. Antilles led a Y-wing bombing run to Dubrillion, targeting the focusing dishes for the superlaser. Unable to reach the full facility with a bomber, Antilles put down and commandeered an AT-ST, penetrating the superlaser construct. Within an internal rail system, he then transferred to an idle AT-AT and destroyed the reactor turbines. With the superlaser destroyed, he escaped in his Y-wing.
Antilles boarded the cruiser Champion, which was to proceed to the rendezvous point. It came under attack from the Tyrant, however, and fighters had to scramble to defend the ship until it could jump to hyperspace. The same soldier Antilles had earlier sent to free Madine flew in the battle despite having little fighter experience and impressed Antilles, who later congratulated him with Madine in the officers' lounge. Intercepted signals revealed that the Tyrant had been ordered to support an Imperial ambush at the gas giant Bespin, and Antilles sent the same soldier to make contact with Rebel informer Yoxgit on Cloud City and determine what was happening. He learned that the Empire had captured Han Solo and frozen him in carbonite. A bounty hunter named Boba Fett had taken possession of Solo to deliver him to the Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure, to whom Solo owed a debt. Antilles rushed to Bespin and led a raid on Fett as he transported Solo, but the bounty hunter escaped with Antilles's friend. Antilles was alarmed and frustrated, but began preparing for another rescue effort.
Skywalker eventually joined Antilles at the rendezvous, missing a hand after a confrontation with Darth Vader in Bespin's Cloud City. There, Skywalker had escaped with Organa and Chewbacca, freed from Imperial custody by Han Solo's old friend, Lando Calrissian, but had also been unsuccessful in attempting to free Solo. Skywalker, Organa, Calrissian, and Chewbacca decided to devote their efforts to tracking down Fett in an attempt to rescue Solo, pulling Rogue Leader Skywalker away from his duties. Antilles swiftly struck up a friendship with Calrissian, new to the Rebellion. During Luke's recovery, Wedge Antilles, while leading the squadron, entered a skirmish against an Imperial Strike-class medium cruiser, which they later destroyed. With Skywalker committed to another task, and Antilles already having frequently assumed command duties, the decision was made at the rendezvous point to put Antilles fully in command of Rogue Squadron. He was promoted from the rank of captain to commander, though rank meant little to Antilles, and he never bothered to correct frequent references to him as a captain. He made a point to acknowledge that if Skywalker ever needed the Rogues, he would not hesitate to assist, and when Skywalker accompanied the Rogues on missions, Antilles deferred to Commander Skywalker, granting him command and the Rogue Leader designation while Antilles flew as Rogue One.
For a strike at the vital Imperial shipyards of the planet Fondor and a cloaking device-equipped Executor-class Star Dreadnought under construction there, Antilles and two other Rogues flew captured TIE Hunters and presented themselves as escorting a captured Rebel transport; the transport was in fact a droid ship programmed to ram the shipyards' control center. They were detected by spaceport control, however, and had to battle to defend the transport as it made its suicide run. Once the control center was destroyed, the Rebel fleet arrived. Antilles brought down the shields and then led the Rogues in a run to eliminate the Star Dreadnought. He destroyed its cloaking generators, and the fleet eliminated the ship.
While the Rogues were traveling with elements of the Rebel fleet, an Imperial Strike Cruiser came across the convoy. Madine scrambled the Rogues to defend the convoy. Antilles sent Dix Rivan wide while he swept the other Rogues toward the Strike Cruiser as it disgorged TIEs. Under Antilles, the squadron cut through the TIEs, while the running Strike Cruiser, its shields focused to the rear, succumbed to fire from Rivan, who had looped in front of it unnoticed.
When Calrissian's informants located Fett in the Cadavine Sector Fleet Imperial Enclave on Gall, a moon of the planet Zhar, Skywalker called on Antilles to help him raid the Imperial installation. The Rogues quickly traveled to the system and set up a prefabricated base on Kile, a moon opposite Gall. Calrissian's agent Dash Rendar, a smuggler who had flown alongside the Rogues at Hoth, docked his freighter, the Outrider, in the simple hangar and quarters the Rogues maintained. Along with Rendar, the Rogues scouted the Imperial Enclave as they waited for Rendar to confirm Fett's presence, learning that two Star Destroyers guarded the base, with a TIE complement that outnumbered the Rogues by twelve to one.
When Rendar had ensured the bounty hunter was there, he sent a message to Calrissian that brought the searchers to Kile. Antilles was pleased to catch up with his friends, but they had to act before Fett left. Skywalker came up with a plan to tie up the entire Enclave's defenses with an attack by Rogue Squadron while Rendar led Calrissian, Chewbacca, and Organa, in the Millennium Falcon, to Fett. Antilles was happy to yield command to Skywalker for the mission. Skywalker led the Rogues against the Star Destroyer orbiting the day side of the planet, stirring up a fierce dogfight. Scotian was sent back to base and Rivan was killed in the battle, and as the second Star Destroyer approached, Antilles suggested withdrawing. Skywalker insisted they give Calrissian one more minute before making a final strafing run against the Star Destroyer and returning to Kile. When they retreated, Janson's R2 unit took control of his fighter and began firing on Skywalker. The Jedi was able to disable the craft's engines and targeting sensors, allowing Antilles to attach a grapple to Janson's ship and tow him back to base.
As they landed, Antilles was relieved both his friends had survived. Analysis of Janson's astromech showed it had been programmed to fire on Skywalker, but the investigation got no farther as both Antilles and Skywalker departed to meet Rendar when he returned from guiding the Millennium Falcon. Antilles had to calm down his commander as Rendar revealed he had abandoned the others once they found Fett's Slave I, having been paid only to guide, not fight. As they waited for the Millennium Falcon, detected approaching but with its comm disabled, to land, they returned to Janson's astromech only to find it destroyed. Viera Cheran, the Rogue crew chief, had shot it and now held a blaster on Skywalker. Antilles quickly drew his pistol and shot her. He went to check her history on the base computer, and was aided by Calrissian when he arrived, empty-handed, as Fett had escaped. They found that Cheran had recently received payments that Calrissian tracked through several dummy corporations to a known front for Imperial Intelligence operations.
A second Death Star
- "I'm proud to say this is truly the first day of a New Republic, freed from the tyranny of the Empire forever. We're all gathered on the planet's surface. I can hear music and laughter drifting through the trees. I can't help but pause and take a long look at my friends: Luke, Han, the Princess, Lando, and all the other Rebels who fought long and hard in the trenches. Guys like me, guys just doing their job. And I can't help feeling…we're all heroes now."
- ―Wedge Antilles
The team searching for Solo dispersed to other assignments, while the Rogues moved on from Kile with that mission's failure. When the CR90 corvette Razor was to rendezvous with the frigate Redemption over the planet Kothlis and relay vital information, the Rogues were assigned to cover the meeting. They arrived with the Redemption only to find the Razor being captured by the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Motivator. Antilles, in a B-wing, defended the Redemption, then used the powerful fighter, designed to tackle capital ships, to disable the Motivator. Out of control, the Star Destroyer plummeted to Kothlis's surface, necessitating a landing to recover the data from the Razor, which was within the crashed ship. He transferred to an X-wing to escort Madine's commandos to the surface, then defended them from the Motivator's complement of AT-AT and AT-PT walkers, which were emerging from the ship's hulk. The commandos successfully recovered the data, which turned out to be the revelation that the Death Star II was being constructed over the Forest moon of the gas giant Endor. Emperor Palpatine had resurrected his weapon of terror in a greater and more powerful form.
While the Rogues were with the main Alliance Fleet, a message drone from Rendar arrived, requesting that they travel to the Imperial capital world Coruscant and await his signal to provide assistance. Skywalker and Calrissian had already traveled there in an attempt to rescue Organa from the clutches of Prince Xizor, the head of crime syndicate Black Sun, and had connected with Rendar and Chewbacca. Knowing his comrades were on Coruscant, Antilles agreed to provide reinforcements, and took the Rogues to the center of the Emperor's power, where they waited, hidden among droid-controlled barge traffic in the far reaches of the system.
The Rebel group was able to rescue Organa and escape into orbit, but the forces of the galaxy's most powerful criminal syndicate remained arrayed against them. Rendar sent his signal, and Antilles rushed to find his allies. Locating the battle, Antilles quickly began shooting Black Sun's fighters off the Millennium Falcon and the Outrider. Badly outnumbered, neither Skywalker, Rendar, nor Antilles thought they would be able to escape. They feared the odds were even worse when Imperial fighters arrived, but the TIEs shocked Antilles by firing on Xizor's craft. Darth Vader was putting an end to his long-running feud with Xizor, and the Rebels were a secondary concern. When the Executor destroyed Xizor's skyhook, the Rebels rushed through its debris field to freedom, though Rendar was presumed lost in the process.
When Rebel pilot Ace Azzameen and a commando team captured the Lambda-class shuttle Tydirium from Outpost 327 in the Zhar system and came under attack before they could escape, the Rogues were summoned to cover the shuttle's retreat to the Liberty, which they did successfully. Though the Rebels seized Imperial passcodes from the ship, it eventually fell back into Imperial hands. As Madine's plan to strike at the Death Star required infiltrating Endor with an Imperial shuttle so a unit of commandos could disable the Death Star's shield generator, they needed to steal the shuttle back. Antilles was tasked with acquiring Tydirium from the Imperial Naval Academy on the planet Prefsbelt IV. Sneaking past the academy's sensor network, he subdued its defenses before taking off in Tydirium, covered by his fellow Rogues. After that mission, when vital supplies of tibanna gas for the fleet came under threat at Bespin, the Rogues came to their defense. Antilles saved the tibanna gas platforms, then eliminated Imperial defenses on Cloud City to protect further platforms.
Antilles returned to the Rebel fleet massing over Sullust in preparation for the mission to destroy the Death Star II. He worked with Ackbar and Calrissian, who had received a general's commission, to plan the starfighter assault on the superweapon. As the gargantuan station was not yet completed, starfighters would be able to fly into its reactor core and directly deliver the crippling strike. Antilles was present at Ackbar and Madine's briefing on the mission, as were Organa, Calrissian, Chewbacca, Solo—newly freed from carbonite—and the late-arriving Skywalker. There Madine outlined his plan to sneak a team under Solo, now commissioned as a general, onto Endor to disable the shield generator there that protected the Death Star in advance of the Rebellion's naval attack. Rebel leader Mon Mothma informed the crowd that Palpatine himself would be aboard the station when they struck; a victory at Endor would mean a crippling blow against the Empire.
Calrissian would command the fighters from the Millennium Falcon as Gold Leader. Antilles was placed in charge of Red Wing—named by Antilles in honor of the squadron that had vanquished the Death Star at Yavin 4—and would fly as Calrissian's wingman in the very same X-wing in which he had fought the first Death Star, tasked to make another Death Star run. Afterward, Antilles gave his own, more specific briefing to his pilots. He faced the traditional skepticism of Klivian but attempted to boost their confidence as they prepared to take on the enormous superweapon.
Once they were prepared and believed Solo had brought the shields down, the fleet jumped to Endor. As they approached the space station, Calrissian and his co-pilot Nien Nunb realized that they were being jammed, and the space station's shields were still up; they had flown into Palpatine's trap. Antilles broke off on Calrissian's orders and with the rest of the fleet engaged the Imperial force, led by the Executor, emerging from the other side of the Sanctuary Moon of Endor. When a wave of TIEs engaged, Antilles attempted to pull them away from the Rebel capital ships. He fiercely defended the medical frigate Redemption as it came under heavy attack, preserving the ship. The reason the enemy capital ships did not engage was revealed when the Death Star opened fire on the Rebel cruisers, destroying the Liberty. Only Calrissian's insistence on engaging the Imperial fleet point-blank, to keep the Death Star from firing, convinced Ackbar not to order a retreat. Antilles first made crippling runs against the bridges of a pair of Star Destroyers in the fore of the Imperial formation, protecting Home One. Then, he, Calrissian, Blue Leader Merrick Simms, and Green Wing attacked the main communications ship of the Imperial fleet. As Green Wing's sacrifice cleared the path, they were able to target the ship's reactors by flying within its cargo bay. The ship was destroyed, catching Simms in the blast. Antilles led Red Group well, preserving most of his pilots while they racked up a significant kill count.
When at last Solo's team destroyed the shield generator, Calrissian and Antilles led a squad of fighters across the Death Star's surface and then into an opening that gave them access to a series of narrow, deadly passages in the battle station's superstructure. Antilles was the first in, flying at high velocity through the constricted spaces as TIEs pursued the Rebel craft. Travel was further complicated when, moving at breakneck speed, the ships suddenly lost their instruments due to interference from the heavy-duty power sources nearby. Antilles had to fly dependent on his eyes and instincts, nearly blind at his speed. After Red Seven Keir Santage was killed by the TIE pursuit, Calrissian sent the others off to draw away the pursuit, leaving only Antilles and Calrissian to make the run with Imperial pursuers remaining on their tails. They emerged into the vast open chamber housing the reactor core, where the Millennium Falcon fired on the core itself, while Antilles targeted the power regulator with a pair of proton torpedoes, being partially responsible for the destruction of the space station. As the core collapsed, the pair flew the same treacherous route to safety with Antilles once more in the lead, escaping in his X-wing just before the second Death Star was consumed by a massive explosion.
The battle did not end there, as the Imperial fleet fought on for just under four hours. With the Death Star, the Executor, and the main communications ship destroyed, Imperial coordination was thrown into chaos, undermining the integrity of their defensive action. Only after long hours of fighting did the fleet retreat, giving the Rebels control of the battlefield. The Rebels began salvage and repair operations, their own fleet having sustained high casualties and heavy damage in the brutal fighting.
New threats and the New Republic
- "It's just that, after every major victory, I hope the fighting is over. But it'll never be over…Even after we defeat the Imperials, there will be someone…another threat to peace…"
"Sounds like you're handing me your resignation."
"Actually, I'm trying to find a way to tell you I've never been more committed. We have to keep fighting so that others don't have to."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker
After the battle had concluded, the Rebels held a victory celebration in Bright Tree Village on the forest moon of Endor, the home of the native Ewoks who had aided Solo's commando unit. Antilles was present, where he was overjoyed to see Skywalker had survived confronting Vader and Palpatine, who were both now dead, aboard the Death Star, and his friends on Solo's team alive as well. With the Empire dealt its greatest blow yet, the festivities went on well into the night as Antilles partied with his friends.
The next day, Antilles returned to the fleet on the first shuttle and immediately began patrol duty. Outer-system patrols guarded against the threat of Imperial counterattack while near the fleet salvage action continued and fighters stood ready to counterattacks by Imperial survivors within the battle area. When an Imperial intrusion by the patrol craft Daggerblade disrupted the sensor net, the Rogues were dispatched to secure the area and perform picket duty.
While patrolling, Antilles intercepted an Imperial message drone sent to Palpatine. Attempting to access its message, he accidentally triggered the drone's self-destruct mechanism. Antilles quickly clambered from his starfighter in vacuum gear and thrust his hand between the electrite crystal leads of the self-destruct, knowing he had to stop them from making contact or the drone would explode, taking him and the nearby Alliance ships with it. As the mechanism crushed his hand and the fleet evacuated, Antilles remained in vacuum in tremendous pain. Skywalker rushed to the drone in his X-wing and, ejecting his lightsaber from the fighter, used telekinesis and a Force link with Antilles to slice away the crystals with the lightsaber just after Antilles leaped away. The Corellian passed out, but was quickly picked up by a med runner and, with all his fingers saved, put in a bacta tank to heal. Afterward, he was left with a lingering wariness of zero-gravity situations, tending to flash back to the event when in null gravity.
While Antilles spent a day healing, Rebel technicians were able to decode the message. It was from remote Bakura and told of an invasion by strange attackers from the Unknown Regions. After persuasion from Organa and Solo, the Rebel leadership decided to send a fleet to counter the invasion and possibly gain Bakura's allegiance. With Organa as the negotiator and Solo escorting her, Madine thought to put Antilles in charge of the battle group, but when the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi told Skywalker he had to travel to Bakura and avert a dire threat, Skywalker was put in command.
The next day, recovered, Antilles and the Rogues departed as part of the strike force, stationed aboard the carrier Flurry. They arrived at Bakura to find its Imperial defense fleet engaged against the invaders—the Ssi-ruuk. The ranking Imperial officer, Commander Pter Thanas, accepted Skywalker's offer of assistance. The Alliance fleet struck the center of the Ssi-ruuvi formation, destroying a cruiser and driving the Ssi-ruuk into retreat. While Skywalker, Solo, Organa, Chewbacca, and their droids landed to negotiate with Wilek Nereus, the Imperial governor, the Rebel ships entered the Imperial defensive pattern, ready for a strike should the Ssi-ruuk return from the outer reaches of the system. They soon did so, setting up a blockade of the planet outside the range of the defense net.
When the Rebels and Imperials had prepared a coordinated attack, Skywalker apprised Antilles of it, but warned him to be on alert for treachery from Nereus. The Ssi-ruuk launched their own attack unexpectedly, which the combined forces were able to repel with the aid of Skywalker. Skywalker had been captured by the Ssi-ruuk with aid from Nereus and terrified the Ssi-ruuk into abandoning their flagship once he got free. Once the invaders retreated, though, Thanas opened fire on the Rebels under the treacherous governor's orders. Trapped, seemingly with no way out, the Rebels were suddenly able to escape when Skywalker used the captured Shriwirr to draw Thanas's Carrack light cruiser, Dominant, out of position. Antilles led his fighters to protect Shriwirr while the Millennium Falcon recovered Skywalker, who convinced Thanas to surrender as a Bakuran revolt swept Nereus from power. The Bakurans elected to join the Alliance, and Thanas supervised the disarmament and withdrawal of Imperial forces before defecting. Victorious, the fleet returned to Endor.
Antilles remained stationed on Endor's forest moon, where the Alliance had set up a base, Endor Station. He volunteered for salvage duty, as efforts to recover both Rebel and Imperial wreckage and bodies continued. As Skywalker returned to active duty with the squadron and resumed command, Antilles was bumped to Rogue Two. He began to hope that the Rebellion had earned victory and that he could soon retire from military service. When Mothma and Ackbar declared a major meeting, Antilles rounded up Solo, Calrissian, and Chewbacca. At the meeting, many Alliance figures were dispatched to diplomatic missions recruiting representatives as the Alliance sought to legitimize itself by holding a deliberative congress free to all worlds and species. Heartened by the crucial defeat of the Empire at Endor, many worlds flocked to the Rebel banner. Approximately a week after the destruction of the second Death Star, the Alliance to Restore the Republic re-formed as the Alliance of Free Planets, an interim government put in place to ease the transition to the New Republic.
At that time, Antilles was summoned from flying a salvaging Y-wing for a scouting mission commanded by Skywalker. With the Empire reeling, Rebel forces were being dispatched to reconnoiter major Imperial locations. Celchu, Janson, and new Blue Leader Ten Numb were also along for the assignment, which was to assess the disposition of Antilles's home system. They spent a week searching the system for signs of the Empire, but it seemed that the Empire had withdrawn from control of Corellia. At the end of that week, they were in Coronet City and hoped to relax. They were at a cantina, beginning a night on the town, when Imperial forces suddenly struck in an attempt to terrorize the city. Under the command of storm commando General Weir, a light assault force attempted to reassert Imperial dominance. The Rogue detachment held their attackers at bay, and Antilles managed to capture Weir's aide while Numb attempted to track the withdrawing Weir. Antilles, Skywalker, and Janson followed while Celchu went to retrieve their fighters. They were too late to catch Weir, who captured Numb and rushed into orbit.
Celchu arrived with their astromech-piloted starfighters, allowing them to continue the pursuit. As they tracked Weir's craft through heavy civilian traffic, they were attacked by droid-piloted TIE fighters packed with explosives. The Rogues defeated the suicide drones, which attempted to menace civilians when they proved unable to slow the Rogues sufficiently. Weir escaped, but R2-D2 was able to track him and Numb to the planet Tralus, where they learned that stormtroopers had been using the Selonian tunnel network as a base. Familiar with the natives of his own system, Antilles led negotiations with the Selonian leader Leyli, who agreed to provide scouts who could lead the quartet to the hidden Imperial base. They stormed Weir's stronghold, where the panicky general ordered an evacuation. Antilles commandeered a TIE fighter to follow Weir, who was fleeing in an interceptor. Celchu shot down their pursuers while Antilles shot down Weir, landed, and beat the storm commando into submission as he crawled from his wrecked fighter. Though Numb had died after Weir's torture, the general was brought to justice in Alliance custody.
Antilles returned to Endor, where he pondered the situation once more. He realized that victory would not come soon, and he could not shirk his commitment to the war against the Empire. Skywalker admitted to him that he was considering resigning soon to devote his efforts to restoring the Jedi Order and left it to Antilles to begin selecting replacement pilots for Rogue Squadron, which had found itself badly understaffed in the wake of Endor and Bakura.
At that time, another unexpected invasion plagued the Alliance of Free Planets: the strange and brutal Nagai, emigres from the satellite galaxy Companion Besh, began a campaign against the main galaxy in alliance with rogue Imperials. With their homeworld attacked by the Nagai, the Mandalorian Protectors under Mandalore Fenn Shysa arrived on Endor to lend their strength to the war against the Nagai. During that time, Antilles was part of a fleet sent to the planet Godo on a mercy mission to alleviate the effects of a mysterious illness under which the Godoans suffered. Han Solo, with the aid of R2-D2 and C-3PO, determined that their House of the Goddess was in fact a techno-organic machine designed to sustain life on Godo. It was missing two components—the statues known as the Dancing Goddess and the Minstrel, both formerly in Lando Calrissian's possession—and for that reason had ceased to function. They rushed to recover the statuary and replaced them, saving Godo. In his haste to reach Godo, however, Calrissian had not been inoculated against the Godoan disease, and on leaving the planet began to suffer its effects. The Godoans refused to allow Calrissian to return to their temple for treatment, insisting the Rebels could no longer trespass on sacred ground. Solo, furious at what he regarded as betrayal, threatened to assault the Godoan capital if Calrissian were not permitted healing. Ackbar strenuously objected, but Solo called for support among the fleet. Antilles pledged his commitment to disobey his superior officer, as did several more pilots, and the Godoans caved. Calrissian was saved, and Ackbar declined to impose consequences for Solo's bluff.
After that mission, the Alliance instituted a program to establish standards in its piloting corps at Calrissian's suggestion, forcing pilots to pass a simulated scenario in order to retain flight privileges. Antilles passed, but Skywalker and Solo were grounded, as their unconventional flight styles fell outside the testing computer's parameters. When an armada presumed to be Nagai appeared over Endor, Antilles was sent up under Calrissian's command, but Solo and Skywalker remained on the ground as the Alliance prepared to evacuate the forest moon of Endor. They had been betrayed, however, by Bey—a friend of Solo and secret half-Nagai—and the enemy had copies of their new formations and maneuvers. To counter this, Calrissian ordered complex, unorthodox flight patterns borrowed from the grounded Solo's repertoire that allowed Antilles and his fellow pilots to defeat the Nagai attack and cover the evacuation.
In the wake of the evacuation of the forest moon of Endor, the Tofs, mortal enemies of the Nagai, emerged as an even greater threat. Having hounded the Nagai from Companion Besh, they now invaded the main galaxy. The Alliance was forced to unite with the Nagai to defeat the Tofs, and launched a months-long campaign to root out the invaders. A month after the Alliance of Free Planets was formed, the Provisional Council declared the New Republic and completed the transition from revolutionary insurgency to full interplanetary government. Around the same time, Antilles was involved in a mission in which his fighter was badly damaged by clipping a TIE fighter in the utter darkness of a cloudy night sky. With his engines and instruments disabled, he plummeted with no way to tell where he was or what was in his way. Suddenly, the clouds parted, and moonlight shone on a lake filled with phosphorescent algae below. Able to see, Antilles put his fighter down safely and was rescued.
When Grand Moff Nivers took control of the planet Tandankin, the Rogues struck. Though Skywalker was with the group, Antilles flew as the squadron leader, scattering Nivers's forces. When Red Seven told him of a landing field filled with TIEs, Antilles shot down a pillar towering over the stretch of fighters. The tower eliminated the TIEs, allowing the safe capture of Nivers. When Antilles put down, he found that the citizens, previously jubilant at their liberation, were now outraged at the destruction of what had been a revered monument. Skywalker sent Antilles aside as he delivered a passionate speech in the veteran pilot's defense that convinced the civilians to put aside their anger and embrace Antilles as their savior.
After the Tandankin mission, Skywalker resigned from Rogue Squadron for the final time, leaving Antilles back in command. Antilles promoted Captain Tycho Celchu to the position of executive officer and his second-in-command. Soon after his appointment, Antilles's superiors tried to move him into naval command, seeing great potential. Unwilling to leave the cockpit, he masterminded his own demotion back to the rank of captain, allowing him to remain Rogue Leader. Antilles maintained the same attitude throughout his many chances at promotion, repeatedly declining advancement in order to remain on the front lines, leading a squadron, where he felt most comfortable and meaningful.
By this point, Antilles was a major figure in the military even if his rank remained low, one of its most decorated and respected squadron leaders. Among his medals was the Kalidor Crescent, earned by displaying bravery and piloting skill. A popular officer, he was admired by his superiors, the military at large, and the civilian population. Attached directly to high command, he took his orders from Supreme Commander Ackbar himself, who considered Antilles a close friend, or General Calrissian, also a personal friend. His piloting was established as a textbook and simulator standard for X-wing pilots, while those in the Empire feared and respected his talent in the cockpit.
Antilles was called on for more than just piloting duties due to his status as a hero of the Rebellion, friendship with the Heroes of Yavin, and the Rogues' general handiness outside the cockpit. He was often placed in a diplomatic role, and with the Rogues was often sent on intelligence-related missions or escort assignments for important figures. He was considered one of the New Republic's foremost heroes, but remained humble and approachable, which only endeared him more to his admirers, especially those in the working classes. His notoriety was such that Antilles received many messages from admirers, including not only marriage proposals but exhortations from supporters who wished him to make a bid for the New Republic presidency.
Encounter on Mrlsst
- "Come on, Wedge! There's nothing left there!"
"Yes—but this time I just wanted to be sure!"
- ―Isplourrdacartha Estillo and Wedge Antilles
Dispatched to the planet Cilpar to meet with an agent code-named "Targeter" and escort a food convoy bound for the planet Mrlsst, Antilles had to wait two weeks in a cave base without hearing from Targeter and with no sign of the convoy. When the squadron launched two weeks into their mission to meet a convoy that did not show, they instead came under attack by TIEs from the planet's Imperial base. The Rogues shot down the interlopers, but Janson's fighter was downed in the battle. Celchu put down to check on him while Antilles led the understrength squadron back to base. Celchu checked in as evening approached to say that Janson was safe but injured, and that they were sheltering in a cave overnight; they would attempt to return to base the next morning.
As he reported that information to his pilots, Antilles found himself captured by Elscol Loro, the leader of the local insurgent group. Having infiltrated the base with a detachment of troops, she explained that she believed the Empire and New Republic were working together, at least on Cilpar. She took the captives to the town of Tamarack, where she explained to the Rogue commander that the Cilpari Resistance had been betrayed to Moff Boren Tascl and ambushed, and she was convinced that only their New Republic contact could have done so. She did not know the contact's identity, as only her husband Throm Loro had liaised with the New Republic. He had been killed, and the life debt he had earned from the Wookiee Groznik had passed to her. While Antilles helped Loro salvage personal effects from the ruin of her parents' house and attempted to convince her he was not in league with the Empire, the Empire began to move in forces. Only the keen ears of Sullustan Rogue Dllr Nep alerted them before Tascl's forces were on them. The Rogues fled into the forests with the resistance fighters, where they took shelter in an ancient temple. Antilles had to insist that Loro give them back their weapons, and the distrustful woman finally gave in. Antilles had Klivian and fellow Rogue Plourr Ilo set up a distraction to let his pilots get into the forest, where they summoned their fighters by remote. Antilles shot up the attacking Imperial force and provided cover from his X-wing as they returned to their convoy and fled to Rogue Squadron's base.
There, Loro agreed to provide the Rogues with arms and supplies if they would depose Tascl. Antilles agreed, and Loro led him to a supply cache. While they were loading their speeders, Celchu's X-wing buzzed the temple in which the cache was housed. The Corellian interpreted it as a warning and departed in a speeder with Loro. As TIEs began pursuing them, she refused to let him fly. Between her piloting and ground support, they were able to destroy or shake the fighters, impressing Antilles. On their return to the cave base, Targeter contacted Antilles. After consulting with Loro and being unable to find who the spy in her organization was, he sent one of her lieutenants, Vance Rego, to rendezvous with Targeter while he tried to make time with Loro, to whom he was attracted.
When Rego returned saying that the Imperials had captured Janson and Leia Organa, Antilles immediately suspected him of being the traitor but kept his insight to himself. He ordered a rescue mission, with the Rogues striking from the air while Loro's troops raided the Imperial base in the city of Kiidan on the ground. As he attacked, Celchu contacted him from one of the TIE fighters and explained that he had infiltrated the Imperial base. They shot down the TIEs and Loro's men captured Tascl. Antilles put down to find that "Targeter" was Winter, Organa's aide and double, with whom he was familiar. With fresh orders from the New Republic to leave the planet, Antilles assigned Celchu to fly Tascl's shuttle out with the squadron, allowing Winter and the still-injured Janson to ride along. With a spare X-wing and impressed by her skills, he invited Loro, who confirmed that Rego had been the traitor and was now dead, to join the squadron. Having no desire to stay on her newly freed world, she agreed.
When the convoy to Mrlsst was finally arranged, the Rogues escorted it there, where Antilles was under instructions to represent the New Republic in negotiations for the purchase of the "Phantom Ship" low-energy cloaking technology from the Mrlsst Academy. He was the only member of the party aware of the fact that the Phantom Project was a hoax, created by Mrlsst faculty to bilk the Empire. His role was to convince the Empire the project was real, but allow them to buy the plans—costing them money and forcing them to make large-scale durindfire gem purchases that would allow the New Republic to trace the location of their research facilities. As they arrived over the planet, they came under attack from TIEs based on an interdictor. Antilles led Loro in an attack on the ship, synchronizing their proton torpedo fire to overwhelm the shields and destroy the ship's gravity well generator. It withdrew, allowing the convoy to land.
Antilles held preliminary discussions with Academy President Gyr Keela, and after emerging from the talks, found his longtime friend Mirax Terrik outside. They excitedly caught up for the first time in six years. They agreed to meet at the Soundmound entertainment venue with the rest of the squadron after Antilles went to his Academy-provided quarters to change from his flight suit. Passing Loro's room, he heard her crying and checked on her, finding the widow viewing holograms of her late husband with Groznik. He let them be after expressing his sympathies and journeyed to the Soundmound. While they were watching a concert, Celchu arrived, having left the group to argue with the Ante-Endor Association, a group denying the reality of Palpatine's death and the Rebel triumph at Endor. Its members had attacked him after he left them, but he had defeated them with the assistance of a Jedi apparition. The group's server, a student named Koyi Komad, told them of the legend of a Jedi's ghost haunting the campus.
The next morning, Komad gave the group a tour of the campus, pointing out where Taj Junak, the Jedi, had been killed by the Empire. Gade Yedan, Keela's aide, summoned Antilles from the tour for a meeting with the Academy's Council. There, he found that the Imperial negotiator had arrived—Captain Loka Hask, returned to Imperial service. He had barely survived the destruction of the Buzzzer by evacuating in a spacesuit, but the suit had contained a Corellian limpet that had attacked him, grafting itself onto his face and leaving him permanently disfigured. Antilles controlled his rage at seeing the man who had killed his family, promising he would not cause an incident. He entered negotiations, arguing for the New Republic, but before the Council's sales decision was announced, a messenger stated that the Phantom Project records had just been stolen. A holographic recording showed Tycho Celchu as one of the thieves, and Antilles was arrested as Hask offered stormtroopers to round up the rest of the Rogues.
Hask taunted Antilles in his cell, but when Yedan, a member of the Ante-Endor Association, reported to the Imperial, Antilles surmised that the Ante-Endor Association had stolen the datacards and framed the New Republic for Hask. Hask and Yedan left, after which Antilles found himself rescued by the Ghost Jedi, who announced he had destroyed the datacards and ordered Antilles to leave the planet and take his war with him before disappearing. The Rogue captain left only to find Celchu, Klivian, and Ilo outside, about to attempt a rescue of their own. They announced that Terrik and Nep had departed for the asteroid laboratory of Professor Rorax Falken, who they believed had masterminded a counterattack on the Ante-Endor Association.
They set off for the spaceport as Antilles explained the true plan on Mrlsst. There they found that Loro had been knocked out by Groznik on the orders of the Ghost Jedi, which had taken on the appearance of Throm Loro. The Ghost Jedi was a Mrlssi Laser Phantom created by Professor Falken, and he controlled the apparition. At that moment, Imperial bombers began attacking the city. The Rogues scrambled and shot down the attackers, then moved to orbit, where they covered the Pulsar Skate's escape from Falken's asteroid. Terrik, Nep, and a pair of students they had taken from the lab explained that Terrik had stolen the plans and control codes to a genuine weapon Falken had devised, a gravitic polarization beam. Hotly pursued by Hask's interdictor, Antilles authorized the activation of the weapon, which destroyed the capital ship and Falken's asteroid, where Groznik kept Hask from escaping. Himself wounded, Groznik sacrificed himself and ensured the killer of Antilles's parents was finally killed. Antilles made certain that the New Republic would retain the weapon's plans, knowing it would be the only way to guarantee the highly dangerous weapon would not be used again.
While Antilles traveled to Cilpar and Mrlsst, the New Republic had been continuing its campaign against the Tofs. He returned and rejoined the war effort with the Rogues. Antilles participated in the climactic strike at the planet Saijo, the forward base of the Tof effort and current home of their commander, Sereno, Crown Prince of Tof. While a ground force attempted to capture Sereno, Antilles and the rest of Calrissian's fighter force were held in reserve. As Skywalker's commando team struck, the captured Star Destroyer from which the fighters were based jumped into the system and the Rogues deployed, defeating the Tof starfighter squadrons. The Tof capital ship Merriweather surrendered, closely followed by Sereno's forced surrender of the entire Tof expeditionary force.
- "I guess you know why I wanted to talk to you privately, then."
"I figured it was to fire me from Rogue Squadron for disobeying orders. That seems to be a privilege reserved for officers."
"Point taken, but I didn't leave my teammates in the lurch. Plourr could've used your help."
"I know this isn't what I ought to be doing, not with so many places still under the Emperor's thumb. Maybe one of the outer worlds needs a troublemaker."
"What they need is an army of liberation…and a leader. I negotiated with the Tatooine government to allocate some of the Eidolon weaponry for just such a purpose."
"I don't believe it! You're a prince, Wedge Antilles!"
- ―Wedge Antilles and Elscol Loro
Six months after the death of Palpatine, Ackbar personally assigned Antilles to travel to Tatooine with Rogue Squadron and protect a New Republic Intelligence Service agent as she investigated sales of Imperial arms and supplies centered on the planet, connected with a dead hustler named Lirin Banolt. Antilles, Celchu, and Loro were to attend a reception in memory of Biggs Darklighter's death, held by his father Huff Darklighter. With Loro as Antilles's date, they would meet the intelligence agent just before the event and get her into the memorial as Celchu's date. The agent proved to be Winter, with whom Celchu was quite taken. While they were there, the party came under attack from a gang of ruffians. A pair of them escaped with the data from Darklighter's safe that Winter had been hoping to seize, prompting Antilles and Loro to chase after them in a commandeered speeder. As they pursued, they were shot down by reinforcements from the gang, as were Celchu and Winter in another speeder.
They returned to the Darklighter estate after meeting up with the other Rogues and Kapp Dendo, a New Republic commando working with Winter. Confronted, Darklighter admitted that he had been selling equipment he found in an arms cache he had located from the datacard, which he had seized from Banolt's home once Banolt had conned him. He turned over a copy he had made of the disk and identified Firith Olan as the Twi'lek gangster who had stolen the original. Winter was able to access more information on the datacard showing the existence of additional arms caches, as well as the Eidolon, a lost prototype Strike Cruiser. Winter and Antilles pressured Darklighter into giving them access to his weather satellite, which let them track Olan to another arms cache.
Antilles scrambled the Rogues to the cave cache, where Olan was able to send several TIE Interceptors against them. Against Antilles's warnings, Loro flew into the base once the TIEs were destroyed. She managed to blast her way back out again, but Antilles was furious that Loro had ignored his orders and risked herself. He saved his censure for later as they pursued Olan's freighter into space. There, they were faced by a squadron of TIEs. When the TIEs attacked Olan's escorts, Antilles decided to accept the occurrence and take his outnumbered fighters back to base.
Winter arranged a freighter to take Antilles, Celchu, and Loro to Ryloth, where she predicted Olan would be taking shelter. She also identified the Imperial ship that had attempted to capture him as the destroyer Harrow. They traveled to Kala'uun on Ryloth, where they found that the Harrow, under Captain Marl Semtin, had already arrived. Both sides bid to Cazne'olan, head of the Olan Clan, for Firith Olan, whom he had captured. To determine who would receive the captive, the Twi'leks arranged a contest. Antilles and Winter were pitted against a pair of Special Intelligence troopers and instructed to collect a symbolic globe. As they crossed harsh terrain, Winter was attacked by a lylek. Antilles killed it to save her, though it allowed one of the Imperials, Sixtus Quin, to reach the globe first. It was only after "dying" in a heat storm that they realized the contest had been simulated. Though the Imperials had won the contest, Semtin had not trusted to the competition, instead seizing Olan and fleeing during it, leaving Quin and Septaas, the other Special Intelligence operative, behind, as well as a dozen more troopers. Infuriated at the betrayal, the pair decided to throw their lot in with Antilles for a chance at revenge against their dishonorable captain; with them came their fellow soldiers.
They returned to Tatooine with the commandos, who joined Dendo and Winter to provide ground support while the Rogues attacked Eidolon Base, a secret facility that the current Imperial regent, Grand Vizier Sate Pestage, had built with the funds for the dummy Eidolon project. It launched a swarm of TIEs when they approached it, hidden behind a holographic curtain. Loro asked to engage the destroyer overhead, which still posed a threat, but Antilles insisted she stay with the rest of the squadron. She left anyway, crippling the ship from within its docking bay, before returning. Quin's men secured the base, killing Semtin, but Olan disappeared in the chaos.
Antilles had to inform Winter that Celchu had not died after being shot down in the battle—he had ejected after using a squadron code phrase saying he was "going out with a bang." He found himself slapped when she was upset they had not told her earlier, as she finally admitted her attraction to Celchu. He faced an equally unpleasant duty in ejecting Loro from the squadron for disobeying orders, as her increasing instability placed the rest of the squadron in danger. First, though, he arranged for a portion of the Eidolon weapons cache to go to her, allowing Loro to set up her own resistance force capable of freeing Outer Rim worlds. She was overjoyed at his generosity, and they parted on good terms.
- "Count Laabann, that will never happen. The Alliance cannot and will not take sides in this matter. We—"
"Captain, should you not inform your superiors of my offer? I am sure the leaders of the Alliance realize that the situation on Eiattu is a fluid one. One must be prepared to bend…as the river changes course through the land. And who knows, perhaps our newly found princess may just decide to disappear once again."
"Plourr is a big girl, she can take care of herself. I think you'll find her to be more than enough to handle. But if you want to try me as well? You're making wagers that Your Nobility can't honor."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Arian Laabann
When Antilles was looking for new recruits to fill Rogue Squadron's half-strength ranks, Ackbar's aide Firstpilot Rekush recommended Feylis Ardele. Hopeful that Ardele's experience with TIEs in the Commenor Militia would allow her to educate the squadron members and improve their ability to counter Imperial fighters, Antilles accepted her into the squadron. He also accepted the Mon Calamari Ibtisam and the Quarren Nrin Vakil into the squadron, but had to order them to keep their species' rivalry in check. Bith Herian I'ngre joined the squadron as well, despite her species's pacifistic tendencies. A month after the Tatooine mission, following simulator training working to improve the squadron and help it absorb the four new members, Antilles and Celchu were summoned to meet with Grand Duke Gror Pernon of the planet Eiattu 6. Pernon explained that his homeworld was riven by civil war between the aristocratic Priamsta and the populist People's Liberation Battalion, led by Prince Harrandatha Estillo, who had been thought dead until recently. In addition, they warred against Imperial control of the world. Antilles was assigned to escort to Eiattu its princess, also newly discovered to have survived the purge of the royal family by a faction of the Priamsta. To Antilles's shock, his pilot Plourr Ilo was Isplourrdacartha Estillo, the lost princess of Eiattu 6. Estillo took convincing, as she despised the Priamsta and wished to leave her tragic past behind her, but she agreed to return to the planet and seek peace.
The squadron landed on Eiattu 6, where Estillo was received in a royal gala. In the receiving line, Antilles met Count Rial Pernon, Estillo's second cousin and arranged fiancé. The next morning, Pernon gave Estillo, Antilles, and Celchu a tour of the site of the latest People's Liberation Battalion attack, but it was interrupted when Janson called for help after the rest of the Rogues, on a thuvasaur-hunting expedition, had encountered a group of Imperials in the swamps. They rushed back to the hangar, where all four took to fighters and provided air support for the other Rogue Squadron pilots. They shot down the Imperial air cover, while an attack by PLB partisans led the Imperials to withdraw. The grounded Rogues were invited back to the PLB's camp, an invitation they accepted. The commanding and executive officers of the squadron accepted their own invitation to a dinner with Estillo and the Priamsta leadership. While eating, Estillo issued a defiant challenge to Gror Pernon and Count Arian Laabann, that faction's leaders, insisting she would reform Eiattu, not restore feudal rule.
The next morning, Janson, Klivian, and Nep reported on their experience and on Harrandatha. After confirming both the Imperial fighters and troops had retreated deeper into the swamps, Antilles assigned Janson to lead another expedition in search of the Imperial base while he and Celchu met with Laabann. In that discussion, Laabann indirectly suggested a coup effort against Estillo to maintain Priamsta control in exchange for loyalty to the New Republic. Antilles deflected the offer and warned the count not to act against Estillo and especially not against Rogue Squadron. Laabann did nonetheless, sending kidnappers against Estillo as she walked in the woods. She and Pernon defeated them just before the Rogue officers arrived to warn her. This reinforced Estillo's determination not to ally with the Priamsta, but in discussion of the PLB, she admitted that she had killed Harrandatha on the night of her escape. She explained that he had been an Imperial collaborator, brainwashed by Darth Vader, and had attempted to restrain her and have her killed. This Harrandatha was an impostor, likely working with the local Imperial Moff, Leonia Tavira.
When they detected the PLB striking the Imperial citadel, Antilles moved to intervene. He led a strike against the Imperial defenses that allowed the impostor to take the city. Estillo then landed and confronted her putative brother, exposing him as a fake. Janson sent Antilles a message explaining that his group had been captured by Tavira, but had been freed by Nrin Vakil after Vakil had been left for dead. He was also able to confirm that Tavira was in league with the false prince. Tavira fled with only a portion of the treasury, rather than the entire sum she had attempted to steal with the aid of the PLB. The pilots were given honorary Eiattuan citizenship but quickly left on another mission: to track down the spaceliner Starfaring, a New Republic ship crewed by Bothans which had gone missing in the Malrev system. Estillo remained to establish a fair government on Eiattu 6, though Antilles left her X-wing to her and insisted she would be welcome back in the squadron as soon as she was ready.
With the knowledge that the Starfaring may have suffered a navigation computer bug transposing coordinates, Antilles led the Rogues to the Malrev system. They investigated the habitable fourth planet, where Nep's keen hearing detected an odd musical sound. Following it, they were ambushed by TIEs that immediately shot Antilles down. His fighter plunged to a fiery crash, from which the native Irrukiine pulled him. They took him to the Sith Temple that had once housed an Imperial base, where the Force-sensitive former technician Cartariun had tapped the temple's dark energies to make himself master of the Irrukiine. Cartariun used Sith powers to heal Antilles, and the pilot watched as Cartariun used his mind control of the natives to orchestrate a night attack on the encampment of the Rogues and the crew and passengers of the Starfaring, which was repulsed. That morning, the others set off in search of the temple. When they reached it, Cartariun was absorbed in coordinating the defense, giving Antilles an opportunity to escape. He fled the building—killing a serpent creature within by throwing a power pack into its mouth—recovered a pair of blasters from slain Irrukiine, and suddenly appeared to cover the Rogues and Bothans as they retreated.
It was only after they had fled that they realized Nep had been left behind. Before they mounted a rescue, Antilles led Celchu and Janson on a supposed scouting flight, using the opportunity to discuss the Bothans. It appeared that they were a covert force under the control of Bothan Martial Academy graduate Girov Dza'tey, who seemed to have designs on the temple. The pilots approached the temple, only to be attacked by more Irrukiine-piloted TIEs. Antilles summoned reinforcements as the badly outnumbered trio fought back. The reinforcements arrived, but it was only when Nep attacked Cartariun and disrupted his concentration that they were able to defeat the TIEs. Antilles led the fighters back to the grounded Starfaring, where Dza'tey's lieutenant revealed his belief that the Bothan leader had betrayed them in order to seize the temple's power. Before meeting with him, Antilles checked in with injured Rogue Herian I'ngre, who revealed that Nep had used the temple's Force power to establish a mental connection to her and proclaimed that, having been shot by Dza'tey, Nep was dying and insisted they destroy the temple, control of which Dza'tey had seized. Taking Celchu and Feylis Ardele as backup, Antilles then checked in with Dza'tey's second, confirming that the Bothan would oppose Dza'tey.
With the Bothans providing a ground assault, Antilles drew Dza'tey's attention with an aerial assault. Dza'tey's tactical training made him a superior opponent, but Estillo arrived with an Eiattuan squadron just in time to provide cover as I'ngre left her sickbed, took a damaged fighter and, when proton torpedoes proved insufficient to the task, flew it into the temple, destroying the focal point of Sith power and releasing the Irrukiine to harmlessness. Antilles was sorrowful at the loss of the new I'ngre and veteran Nep, but knew by then to accept the casualties of warfare. The losses were eased by Estillo's return to the squadron as an active pilot.
Push into the Core
- "You look surprised to see me, Captain Antilles."
"Not to see you, sir, but to have had you send for me. I know you're from Corellia, like me, but I don't know you, do I?"
"No, no you do not. It was just that I promised my wife that if I ever had the chance, I would remember her to you."
"Your wife? Do I know her?"
"I hope so. She's quite fond of you; but then you'd expect that of your sister, wouldn't you?"
- ―Soontir Fel and Wedge Antilles
When Han Solo and Chewbacca were summoned to Kashyyyk to defend it against Trandoshan slaver attacks and Imperial occupation, they realized they needed New Republic assistance and broadcast a call for the fleet's aid in liberating the planet. Calrissian picked up the call and summoned the Rogues, as well as Skywalker, to Kashyyyk. They arrived and found the Millennium Falcon abandoned on Kashyyyk's surface, so Calrissian commandeered the ship. The group rushed to the Avatar Orbital Platform, where the Imperial Moff Hindane Darcc and the slaver Pekt were attempting to escape with a cargo of Wookiee slaves, among them Attichitcuk, Chewbacca's father. Solo and Chewbacca had followed the fleeing slavers to the platform, and led a Wookiee assault within the station as the Rogues and Calrissian provided cover. They were able to free the slaves and Kashyyyk, prompting a lengthy Wookiee celebration.
In the ninth month after Endor, Rogue Squadron was assigned to scout the Brentaal system, a crucial hyperspace crossroads in the Core. During the sweep of the system, with Vakil piloting a Recon-X starfighter, they were attacked by a handful of TIEs from the moon base guarding the planet Brentaal IV. Antilles led the Rogues in picking off the interlopers before Vakil completed his pass and they retreated into hyperspace. They returned to Base Delta-Nine, where Antilles and Celchu interviewed four candidates for the squadron. They accepted Avan Beruss, Dar Keyis, Standro Jcir, and Xarcce Huwla into the squadron, bringing it to full strength for the first time in months. Huwla, however, privately asked the commanding and executive officers for a transfer from the unit, citing its unusually high death toll as the result of its arduous missions. Antilles accepted her request, keeping the Tunroth in the squadron only until her transfer to another unit went through. After that meeting, Ackbar introduced Antilles to Colonel Horton Salm, the commander of Aggressor Wing. Antilles would be working with Salm's Y-wings in an assault on Brentaal IV.
The task force spent two weeks training for the mission, half what Ackbar thought they should have, but the Supreme Commander felt that swift action was necessary to take the planet from the poorly-regarded commander of its defenses, Admiral Lon Isoto, before Grand Vizier Pestage could reinforce the planet he had just vowed to hold. When they struck in concert with the navy, they first strove to take the defensive moon base. Antilles shot down the last interceptor as they cleared the space over the base, and the troopers inside seized the garrison. They returned to Base Delta-Nine, where New Republic Intelligence informed Antilles that the TIEs they had faced at the base had been elements of the 181st Imperial Fighter Group, the renowned unit under the command of Colonel Baron Soontir Fel, the Empire's most noted fighter ace.
The Rogues were transferred to Brentaal when the moon base was ready for habitation. There, Koyi Komad, their former student guide on Mrlsst, became the chief technician for the squadron's support staff after seeking to get more involved in the rebellion against the Empire. Antilles was glad to have her, but displeased by news that the full 181st had been stationed on Brentaal IV's surface. As Ackbar moved to capture Brentaal IV itself, he assigned Rogue Squadron to attack Isoto's capital at Vuultin and pin down Fel's 181st, believed to be based there, while Aggressor Wing covered the landing of troops at the superior spaceport located in the city of Oradin. They struck at Vuultin and encountered only light resistance from one squadron of the 181st, but the 181st's excellent pilots managed to shoot down Janson and Ibtisam. When Fel, actually in Oradin, led the rest of his unit back to Vuultin on Isoto's orders, Antilles was pulled out by his commanders in the belief Fel would strike at the New Republic fleet in orbit. Kapp Dendo's Commando Team One team was assigned to extract the two downed pilots, while the forces at Oradin managed to take the city when Isoto effectively gave it up.
The Rogues were again moved to Oradin. There, Antilles was roused one morning when a convoy of ships arrived to evacuate Brentaal IV's wealthy and influential Imperial citizens. To keep the world from being stripped of its wealth in the exodus, the New Republic fighters rose to deny the evacuation. Rogue Squadron fought a furious battle over Vuultin, covering the Y-wings as they disabled the evacuation craft. Standro Jcir was killed before Fel's fighters even arrived, and hard fighting ensued after they did. As the remaining escapees headed for orbit, the dogfight moved into space. There, they lost Dar Keyis. As Fel disabled Salm's Y-wing, Antilles shot down his wingman and fired on him from behind. The Republic's most noted ace battled the Empire's in Brentaal space, with Fel quickly gaining the upper hand. Antilles led Fel into Salm's field of fire, then juked out of Fel's sights in the opposite direction he had been tending to break, allowing Salm's crippled fighter to disable Fel's TIE Interceptor with a surprise ion blast.
With the victory, Huwla put aside thoughts of a transfer and agreed to remain with the squadron. Fel was detained aboard Home One and debriefed. Antilles was surprised when Fel asked for him, and even more surprised when Fel revealed that he bore greetings from Antilles's long-lost sister, whom he had married. She had become an actress under the screen name Wynssa Starflare after running away from home and starred in Imperial holodramas. She met and married Fel, and after his capture had gone into hiding, fearing reprisal from Ysanne Isard, the Director of Imperial Intelligence and a political enemy of Fel's. Fel offered to defect and serve the New Republic, having lost his belief in the Empire, so long as it would help him find his wife.
Fel was accepted into the New Republic. Antilles, believing that Fel was a man of character, agreed to accept him into Rogue Squadron. After a funeral service for those lost at Brentaal, Antilles introduced him to the squadron as its newest member. Though some pilots objected—Vakil and Estillo most strongly—Antilles insisted that they would not ostracize Fel, who joined a long list of Imperial deserters that had served in Rogue Squadron. He dismissed the others in order to speak with Klivian, Janson, and Estillo after the meeting. He assigned them to travel covertly to Corellia and there attempt to extract Fel's family, including Syal. They returned with Fel's brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, but Syal had already fled, and the Fels did not know where she was hiding. The Empire, however, was hunting her, despite Fel's defection being kept from public knowledge. Antilles encouraged New Republic Intelligence leader General Airen Cracken's efforts to seek her out, but results were not quickly forthcoming.
Cutting a deal
- "Such confidence in the face of overwhelming odds…if the Emperor had any idea of his foes' dedication…"
"We'd just have killed that many more Death Stars is all. There's no stopping freedom."
- ―Sate Pestage and Wedge Antilles
During a training run eleven months after the victory at Endor, Rogue Squadron came across the pirate group Kavil's Corsairs raiding a civilian ship and successfully drove off the pirate cruiser and its TYE-wing Ugly fighters. On their return, Ackbar assigned Celchu and Fel to escort a diplomatic mission to Eiattu 6, which Estillo would be hosting. The mission would feature Winter posing as Leia Organa, establishing her cover while the real Organa met with Sate Pestage in order to negotiate his defection. The remaining Rogues would provide support on that venture. Pestage, fearing for his life as Imperial courtiers turned against him in a power grab orchestrated by Ysanne Isard, had agreed to a covert conference with the New Republic on the planet Axxila. Antilles and Minister of State Organa trekked through Axxila's sewers to reach the hidden rendezvous. There, Pestage surprised even Organa by offering to strip Coruscant of its defenses in exchange for asylum in the New Republic and a handful of worlds to rule. Organa agreed in principle to the deal, though the details of the arrangement would have to be worked out.
When the pair returned to base on Axxila, Janson and Klivian reported that they had encountered Kavil's Corsairs on the planet. When Antilles and Organa met Pestage again, they were interrupted by the report of Kavil himself that his subordinates had captured Organa—truly Winter—on Eiattu. While the pair hid behind a curtain, Pestage bargained for Kavil to deliver Winter. Afterward, Organa and Pestage hammered out a compromise regarding how many worlds he and his closest supporters would receive. Antilles returned to the Rogues only to hear a distress call from Celchu: he and Winter had escaped on Axxila, and were now pursued by the Corsairs. Antilles led the Rogues into a rescue and was suddenly joined by Fel, Han Solo, and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon, who had tracked Celchu and Winter from Eiattu 6. They shot down the Corsair Uglies, then returned to base.
They were trapped on the planet when Admiral Delak Krennel arrived over Axxila aboard the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Reckoning and demanded that Rogue Squadron be turned over. Fel contrived a plan to order Krennel to leave, using the Y-wing in which Celchu escaped and the Millennium Falcon's tractor beam to capture a TIE fighter, while Antilles manned one of the freighter's gun turrets. Fel then used the Imperial comlink to order Krennel, who did not know Fel had defected, to allow his group to escape. Pestage, who had boarded the Reckoning, ordered Krennel to comply with Fel's secret AT3 Directive. The Republic group was able to escape.
A year after the Endor victory, at Celchu's insistence, Antilles began dating. Celchu set him up with Lieutenant Reina Faleur, a supply officer who was quite interested in the hero of Endor. They got along excellently during a double date with Celchu and Winter, but the evening was interrupted during dinner and dancing when the Rogues were called in for a rescue mission. Pestage had been declared a traitor by Isard and a Tribunal that had set itself in power, and Pestage fled Coruscant. He was captive on the planet Ciutric IV, and Ackbar assigned Rogue Squadron, Aggressor Wing, and Commando Team One to recover him before the Empire did. They were all deeply uneasy about the hastily constructed plan, which had a restricted exit window and could fall apart if the New Republic faced unexpected force or the Empire got reinforcements there quickly.
They made the hyperspace jump to Ciutric, where Antilles led the Rogues against the defending TIEs, then provided air cover while Dendo's troops landed. The commandos secured Pestage, but as they were preparing to jump to hyperspace, Krennel's Reckoning appeared with the interdictor Binder. The Aggressors were able to flee past the ship, but Antilles and the ground forces had to put down on the opposite side of Ciutric and hope Salm could bring help. Antilles hoped to thin Krennel's fighter cover by defeating them in detail as squadrons came across the Rogues' position, then eliminate the interdictor and let Pestage escape. He had Dendo seize a holocomm, which he used to broadcast a request for assistance to Mirax Terrik. When the TIEs arrived, the Rogues shot down the squadron, but in the battle Ibtisam was killed. Furious at the loss of the being he had come to love, Vakil attacked Pestage when they returned to camp. Antilles and Fel pulled the Quarren off the Grand Vizier.
Antilles then ordered the Rogues to launch and take on Krennel's TIEs in orbit, covering Terrik as she arrived. With her came Aggressor Wing, which had remained in the outer reaches of the system rather than fleeing. The Aggressors helped drive off the TIEs, allowing the Rogues to put down and refuel. Antilles outlined a plan to take the Pulsar Skate and run Krennel's blockade with Rogue Squadron, convincing him Pestage had fled. Dendo's commandos and Terrik would then be free to leave after Krennel pulled out without facing any danger. When Terrik refused to relinquish her ship, Antilles reluctantly agreed to let his friend pilot it through the dangerous engagement. Antilles prepared to leave, but when Pestage refused to take a shuttle with Ibtisam's body due to his Humanocentrism, Antilles was outraged. He reassigned Pestage to another commando shuttle only because he thought the Imperial unworthy of sharing a craft with the remains of the pilot who had died for him.
The pilots launched a coordinated barrage of torpedoes against the Reckoning's bridge, bringing down its shields. Antilles then disabled a tractor beam that had seized the Pulsar Skate. Rogue Squadron and Aggressor Wing brought down Binder's shields and crippled its gravity generators. Binder withdrew, as did the damaged Reckoning. Dendo pulled out from the surface and escaped with the others, not realizing Pestage had slipped away to meet Krennel after promising to join forces as warlords. Krennel instead killed Pestage and declared himself the independent master of the Ciutric Hegemony. In his eulogy for Ibtisam, Antilles insisted that Pestage's death did not mean that her life had been wasted, but that she had helped to save the Rogues and given Pestage a chance to change his ways in a testament to New Republic ideals.
Early in 5 ABY, Fel finally found his wife and Syal rejoined her brother in the New Republic. Not long afterward, though, Soontir Fel was captured by Isard's agents. Within two months, Syal had vanished as well. With no sign of Fel afterward, the New Republic thought it likely he had been executed, but was never able to turn up records of his capture. Investigation of Syal Antilles Fel's disappearance raised doubts that it had been the Empire that captured her; there were signs she had vanished back into hiding on her own. Antilles was left deeply worried about his sister's fate. He kept their connection a secret, known to very few, as he prodded New Republic Intelligence to search out the Fels and eagerly awaited word of her that never came.
- "Don't make jokes, Wedge. Just get there. A lot of lives are depending on you."
"We're used to it, sir."
"That's why I wouldn't give the job to anybody else."
- ―Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles
By 5 ABY, forces under the Imperial warlord known as Lord Shadowspawn had begun a campaign of piracy, striking fear in the New Republic. To stop him, Antilles—who had been promoted back to the rank of commander and at this point reported to New Republic Special Operations commander General Calrissian—developed a plan to create a replica of the elite luxury liner Corellian Queen packed with starfighters led by the New Republic's most prestigious squadron: the Rogues. Information on its route was leaked to Shadowspawn's pirates, who arranged an ambush on the Corellian Run. Antilles turned it into a counter-ambush, using new flechette torpedoes designed specifically for this mission to counter Shadowspawn's advanced TIE Defenders and plant tracking devices on those that survived. The Rogues were able to destroy many of the attackers and traced the survivors back to the Taspan system, placed well within Imperial territory. The task of assaulting Shadowspawn's base, on the planet Mindor in the midst of an extremely treacherous debris field, was given to General Luke Skywalker's Rapid Response Task Force, disappointing Antilles, who had hoped to have a hand in the defeat of Shadowspawn.
When negotiations between Organa and a Mandalorian mercenary commander in a minor Inner Rim system failed to induce the Imperial-paid mercenaries to withdraw from the system, Calrissian was tasked with shuttling Mandalore Fenn Shysa to the system to personally insist on the Mandalorians' surrender. The Rogues traveled with Calrissian to the asteroid on which the negotiations were held, and in the hangar Antilles and Celchu encountered Organa. When Organa told him that she had sensed through the Force that Skywalker was in mortal danger at Mindor, Antilles quickly agreed to rush the Rogues to the Taspan system without orders from Calrissian.
They arrived in the system, Organa in Celchu's B-wing, shortly after Solo and Chewbacca had in the Millennium Falcon. They found the remnants of Skywalker's task force battling Shadowspawn's fighters in the debris field, trapped by a vast array of gravity projectors that had rendered the debris unstable and began a process of infall toward the system's star, Taspan, that would cause it to emit enough radiation to sterilize the system. They had to destroy many gravitic projectors in order to allow the task force to jump—but first they had to rescue Skywalker from Mindor's surface. After transferring Organa to Solo's ship, they forced their way through Shadowspawn's swarming defenses with the Millennium Falcon, making heavy use of the Solo Slide tactic to redirect asteroids with their repulsors, and covered the Millennium Falcon's landing. They then returned to the battle in the asteroids, attempting to clear an exit route.
Captain Tirossk, the senior officer remaining in the Rapid Response Task Force, developed a strategy to create an escape vector by using the task force's CC-7700/E interdiction cruisers to manipulate the asteroid formations. As the cruisers repositioned, Antilles led the fighter complement in screening them from Shadowspawn's hundreds of TIEs. With precision high-speed flight and tactical use of the gravity patterns, Antilles kept Rogue Squadron on the point and the interdictors from harm. As they were pressed, Calrissian arrived in the Star Cruiser Remember Alderaan and, with the aid of the Mandalorian commandos—he had solved the standoff by hiring them—cleared local space of threats for the moment. Calrissian summoned Rogue Leader to the cruiser, where Antilles explained the situation, including the gravity bombs being launched from Shadowspawn's Mindor base.
The New Republic forces pressed toward the planet, where Calrissian planned to take shelter in Mindor's atmosphere, which was sufficient to block the stellar radiation. The Rogues covered a decoy launch of escape pods as the stellar flares began to build, then slipped into the atmosphere from the planet's night side and worked their way through the atmosphere to Shadowspawn's base. There, they assaulted the base, despite the fact that Mindor's dust-laden air interfered with laser collimation, and faced the warlord's formidable defenses. They needed to destroy the base's anti-orbit weaponry, especially the gravity gun firing the gravity bombs, before the planet rotated the base into line with Calrissian's ships in the umbra. New Republic Marines and the Mandalorian mercenaries landed to seize control of the armored installations when a firestorm's smoke gave them cover. Antilles lost three pilots in the clash as the ground forces failed to secure the weapons before Calrissian's ships were about to enter their range. Calrissian put his ships down on the surface, avoiding Shadowspawn's fire, while Rogue Squadron engaged the gravity gun.
Antilles was shocked when Shadowspawn's gravity technology allowed him to launch the enormous volcano in which his base was housed out of Mindor's crust and into space. Suddenly, as it seemed that the New Republic had no chance of escaping the engagement, Skywalker broadcast an order to the New Republic ships to disengage and the Imperials to surrender and shut down the gravity projectors and jamming. The Imperials, trained to believe Skywalker their rightful Emperor as part of a scheme by Cronal—the Prophet of the Dark Side and Sorcerer of Rhand behind the Shadowspawn persona, as well as the Blackhole persona with whom Antilles had earlier clashed—to seize control of Skywalker's body and rule the galaxy, complied. The frigate Lancer began to transfer the warlord's captives aboard as the volcano started to break up under the stress of its own gravity bombs, earlier redirected by Calrissian's stratagem. Before they could escape the system, however, Cronal used the malleable meltmassif crystal with which he had coated his troops' armor, and his Force-assisted control thereof, to seize his soldiers, have them repower the gravity generators, and drive them to mindless rage. The TIE pilots launched themselves into suicide ramming attacks on the capital ships that Antilles desperately attempted to screen. They were saved only when Skywalker used his own developed control of the meltmassif to withdraw the crystal from the soldiers, killing them all in the process, and destroy the mass projectors. Antilles escaped with the rest of the fleet, joined shortly by the Millennium Falcon and Skywalker.
The campaign for Coruscant
Rebuilding the Rogues
- "After seven years of nonstop fighting, the leadership of the New Republic decided to rebuild and revitalize this unit. This was a wise choice because all of us—those who had survived—had seen a lot of new pilots come into Rogue Squadron and get killed in Rogue Squadron. […] Rogue Squadron had become a symbol for the Alliance. It needed to live up to its legend and become once again an elite group of pilots who could be called upon to do the sort of impossible jobs Rogue Squadron has always managed to complete."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to the new Rogue Squadron pilots
Sometime after the Battle of Mindor, Celchu was sent on a spy mission to Coruscant. There, he was captured, removing Antilles's valued executive officer and best friend from the unit. Antilles was heartbroken at the capture of a man who had become like a brother to him. Later in 5 ABY, Rogue Squadron was officially disbanded, as its heavy losses had persuaded New Republic High Command that the squadron needed to be rebuilt with a fresh roster of heavily trained pilots who could survive the squadron's taxing missions. Klivian and Janson were assigned as training officers, while Antilles's celebrity status was put to use on a publicity and diplomatic tour celebrating the New Republic's victories. Antilles found the circuit of state dinners, public events, and receptions astounding, especially the gifts and opportunities that came with it.
Celchu then returned to the New Republic after escaping from prison on the planet Akrit'tar. He immediately came under suspicion, though, as before being transferred to Akrit'tar, he had been housed in Lusankya. Lusankya was Ysanne Isard's personal prison, known to turn out brainwashed double agents who were undetectable until they turned against Isard's enemies. Captain Celchu was therefore kept from regular duties and the victim of constant scrutiny and mistrust. Antilles was among the few who earnestly protested his innocence, believing that Celchu had not been turned by Isard and that his harsh treatment by his own government was disgraceful.
In 6 ABY, as the New Republic began pressing for control of Coruscant, Antilles was summoned from his propaganda tour to implement the plan to rebuild Rogue Squadron. Overseen by Ackbar and General Horton Salm, Antilles recruited, trained, and tested a slate of pilots. Beginning with over one thousand, he slowly whittled them down to a roster of eleven, with the addition of an experienced executive officer to the squad of relatively green pilots. He had wanted to include Klivian and Janson in the unit, but they could not be transferred from their training duties. At Folor Base, he trained his pilots relentlessly, seeking to find the best of the New Republic's flight officers and incorporate skills outside the cockpit suitable for the Rogues' variegated mission profile, and often clashed with Salm, who commanded the facility and preferred stricter discipline than did Antilles. Political considerations played a part in the unit's formation, with representatives from both the Zaltin and Xucphra halves of the vital Bacta Cartel of Thyferra: Bror Jace and Erisi Dlarit, respectively. Antilles had no real say in the appointment of half his squadron, as higher powers insisted that the Thyferrans, Bothan Peshk Vri'syk, and others join the squadron.
Jace and Corran Horn were the top pilots of the group. As a result, Antilles wanted to keep them from getting too cocky, and for one of the last simulations before he declared the final eleven, Antilles engaged Celchu to shoot up Horn in simulator exercises. Antilles saw leadership potential in Horn if only the reserved man, a former Corellian Security officer who had lost all his family and friends, could come out of his shell. Antilles intended the outgoing Lujayne Forge to help bond the unit together socially and integrate Horn; as she did so, Antilles added her to the final roster despite her piloting skills being among the weakest of the accepted pilots. Gavin Darklighter, the sixteen-year-old cousin of Biggs Darklighter, was also in contention after approaching Antilles and requesting a place in the squadron. Antilles felt an obligation to the young cousin of his deceased friend and saw great potential in Darklighter, adding him to the final group.
When Antilles sent in his final roster, his superiors made changes. Antilles reported to Ackbar and Salm in order to argue for two reversions to his original choices. His first was a desire to place Darklighter, who had been replaced with Deegan, in the squadron. Despite Salm's protestations that Darklighter was too young for the elite unit, Antilles successfully argued that his youth was no obstacle and played the political card that Deegan would be the squadron's third Corellian, besides himself and Horn, over-representing the planet. Salm acceded but fully opposed Antilles on his original pick for executive officer, Celchu. Salm's pick, Captain Aril Nunb, was a talented officer and politically valuable, but Antilles knew that it would be difficult for her to help teach his pilots the skills that came to her instinctively as a Sullustan. Antilles presented a list of concessions he had negotiated with Celchu, including keeping him out of combat, installing a self-destruct in his training Headhunter, the imposition of house arrest, and constant surveillance. Astounded by Celchu's drive to contribute to the New Republic in any capacity, Ackbar agreed.
With Celchu as his executive officer, the Verpine Zraii as his crew chief, and the droid M-3PO assigned as his administrative assistant, Antilles welcomed the eleven pilots who now made up Rogue Squadron with him. Former lawyer Nawara Ven, Gand Findsman Ooryl Qrygg, Rhysati Ynr, Riv Shiel, and Rodian hunter Andoorni Hui rounded out the group. After the selection, the training regimen only intensified as Antilles and Celchu whipped the recruits into fighting shape. Antilles kept Celchu's restrictions from his pilots, seeking for the executive officer to have his squadron's trust and considering the matter Celchu's business to disclose. The commander appreciated having assistance with administrative matters, but loathed interacting with the fussy, literal-minded military protocol droid M-3PO, which he considered obnoxious and tiresome. For the exercises, Zraii fully refurbished Antilles's longtime fighter, and the Rogue commander was issued a new astromech, R5-D2, nicknamed "Mynock" for its tendency to screech in battle.
For the first exercise, Antilles sent the pilots through a ground shooting range in the canyon designated the Trench. He sent Horn and his wingmate Qrygg first and was inspired to send Horn's telemetry back to the other fighters, allowing them to surpass his scores in their later runs. For the others, it was training in using others' telemetry to set up attack runs; for Horn, it was a lesson in cooperation and an attempt to blunt his ego and competitive streak. After the exercise, an indignant Horn confronted Antilles, accusing the commander of making him a laughingstock and treating him unfairly. Antilles sharply rebuked him for egotism and insisted that Horn would accept the lessons that he needed to be a Rogue pilot, or he could leave the squadron. Chastened, Horn admitted his error. Further exercises included a staged attack on Salm's training wing of Warden, Champion, and Guardian Squadrons, in which the Rogues did incredibly well. Though Salm continued to be annoyed by the Rogues' favored treatment, Ackbar was impressed with the squadron, which was performing as well as some field squadrons. Under pressure from the New Republic Provisional Council, he activated it within a month of the finalization of its roster, months fewer than was standard.
Trial by fire
- "Someone in the Empire struck at one of my forward bases. If we don't strike back, and strike back hard, they might feel emboldened to continue such activity. I don't want this to happen. General Salm's bomber wing should be sufficient for exacting retribution."
"If you want Rogue Squadron to fly cover for such a mission, you have us."
"That was the reaction I expected from you, Commander."
- ―Ackbar and Wedge Antilles
Though Antilles objected to the activation, not even having begun hyperspace jump training, Ackbar posted the Rogues to the planet Talasea. There they would help cover the New Republic's push toward Coruscant. Antilles promoted Horn to lieutenant and gave him command of Three Flight and Rhysati Ynr command of Two Flight as he prepared to activate the squadron. For security reasons, the move to Talasea was presented as a navigation drill and the final destination kept secret. During a jump through the Chorax system, an interdictor unexpectedly pulled the squadron from hyperspace. Its original target had been smugglers, and it had managed to catch Mirax Terrik's Pulsar Skate. Antilles commanded the squadron to aid her and led a missile barrage that drove off the interdictor Black Asp.
The Pulsar Skate conveyed Horn's fighter, disabled in the battle, to Talasea. When Terrik and Horn met each other on the ground, they began to fight, as Horn's father had been the Corellian Security agent who had caught and imprisoned Booster Terrik on Kessel. Antilles told them both to set aside their fathers' rivalry and praised each to the other. After arranging for M-3PO to see about retaining many of the supplies Terrik was carrying, Antilles had to deal with Horn's suspicious inquiries as to why Celchu's shuttle, the Forbidden, was unarmed and Celchu seemed to be subject to security restrictions. The commander specified that the matter was for Horn to take up with Celchu, but counseled him to leave it and warned him against sharing his misgivings with the rest of the squadron. Privately, he also counseled Horn that he thought he and Terrik would get along well together and encouraged them to develop a friendship.
When New Republic operative Dirk Harkness's frigate Battle of Yavin grounded itself on the planet Hensara III to escape the Strike Cruiser Havoc, the Havoc deployed ground forces to search for the ship, but left the system. In response, the Rogues were sent to drive off the Imperial troops and protect the Pulsar Skate and CR90 corvette Eridain as they extracted Harkness's crew and ship. Antilles left only Horn's flight in orbit to cover them, but had to rush the Rogues into space when the Havoc returned to the system mid-operation. They trounced the Havoc's thirty-six TIEs and prompted the cruiser to flee, taking no casualties.
In the celebration on Talasea afterward, Antilles, Celchu, and Captain Afyon of the Eridain were called on to adjudicate a good-natured dispute among the pilots as to what punishment to give Darklighter, judged the worst pilot of the unit because he had not gotten any kills in the engagement. Horn stood up to Jace's teasing of Darklighter and made clear his confidence in the young pilot, engineering a compromise that saved face for Darklighter. Antilles was pleased to see that Horn was taking a leadership role and bonding with his fellow pilots, none of whom liked Jace.
One night, Imperial stormtroopers executed a commando mission against the Talasea base. Having discovered the location, they began rigging thermal detonators to destroy the barracks and flight center. Horn and Qrygg detected the intruders first and woke the others. Antilles organized the pilots—the only line of defense with their guards dead—while Horn pressed to the hangar where most of the stormtroopers were placing charges. Horn was shot, but Antilles killed the stormtrooper about to execute the flight leader. They killed or captured the platoon of Imperials and disarmed the charges, then evacuated to the fleet. Antilles organized the withdrawal to the Nebulon-B frigate, Reprieve, setting up booby traps in the base, and oversaw the imprisonment and interrogation of the captives. Horn, Darklighter, and Andoorni Hui were all wounded and had to spend time in bacta, but the well-liked Lujayne Forge became the new squadron's first casualty, killed in her bed. The squadron was deeply demoralized by the loss.
Antilles met with Ackbar and Salm about a retaliatory strike. The autopsy of the killed stormtroopers revealed that the forces had originated on the planet Vladet, and Ackbar planned a strike on the base. The Rogues were assigned to cover Salm's Defender Wing as the Y-wings leveled the Vladet base on Grand Isle. Antilles held a memorial service for Forge with a squadron suffering from its first grief, then moved to take revenge. Antilles provided escort for Champion and Guardian Squadrons, leaving Horn's half-strength Three Flight in reserve with Warden Squadron, as they blew their way through the edge of the volcanic crater in which the base was situated. Antilles was first into the base's airspace, under its shield, and with his pilots downed the TIE defenses. The Y-wings then entered and began bombarding the base, but as they did so a Lancer-class frigate and Carrack-class cruiser arrived. The Lancer-class, designed to take on starfighters, presented a daunting threat, while the Carrack outclassed the Eridain and led the Republic ship to withdraw. Salm intended to cover the fighters' withdrawal by attacking the Lancer with Champion Squadron, but Antilles knew the Y-wings could never survive and insisted the Rogues tackle the frigate. Horn devised a tactic in which Warden Squadron would target his X-wing with proton torpedoes while Horn interposed the Lancer between himself and the Y-wings, allowing the fighter-bombers to stand off and still destroy the frigate. Antilles was set on performing the deed himself, but Horn, already nearest, insisted on doing it and took off without authorization. Antilles accepted it and prepared to make his own run with the Champions if Horn failed, but the hot-shot pilot succeeded, destroying the frigate Ravager.
The door to Coruscant
- "This isn't a Death Star we're going after, and this mission doesn't have that sense of urgency. That's because back then we were fighting for the very survival of the Rebellion. The fact is, though, this mission is just as important as either of the Death Star runs. This time we're fighting for the future of the Rebellion and all the people who want freedom from the Empire. That's a lot less immediate than what we fought for in the old days, but in many ways it's far more noble a goal. This mission isn't going to be easy, but I know we can do it."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to his pilots
In the aftermath of the battle, Horn was confined to quarters for disobeying orders, and Salm was considering initiating a court-martial against him. Antilles hoped to persuade the general to let the matter go, and when Terrik arrived, he urged her to visit Horn and make up for their argument with a package of Corellian goods. Summoned to a briefing that included Ackbar and Salm, Antilles intended to argue for Horn, but received no chance before the briefing began. In it, General Laryn Kre'fey explained his plan to take a planet codenamed Blackmoon, which would give the New Republic a route to Coruscant. The Rogues were assigned to screen Defender Wing from TIEs while it bombed the Imperial base after the captured Star Destroyer Emancipator brought down the shields. Antilles was uncomfortable with the mission, believing Kre'fey had not fully thought it through or done enough intelligence work. Ackbar had similar doubts about the plan, and ordered Kre'fey to put additional work into it. Salm agreed to drop charges against Horn after the meeting, feeling Horn would be needed in the assault.
The Rogues were transferred to the planet Noquivzor, where they spent two weeks preparing for the attack with Defender Wing. When the time came for the attack, Antilles jumped into the system and waited for the Emancipator to overwhelm the base's shields. When it did so, Kre'fey called off Defender Wing's run, believing there to be no resistance, and ordered Rogue Squadron to escort the landing craft to the surface. Before they got there, the base's ion cannon began firing, the shield was brought back online, and two squadrons of TIEs launched, displaying resources Kre'fey had not observed. Antilles lost his wingman, Peshk Vri'syk, to ion cannon fire, and the battle turned into a disaster from there, as Hui was killed; Ven, Qrygg, and Erisi Dlarit had their fighters shot from beneath them; and Riv Shiel was wounded. Antilles ordered the Rogues to stay and protect the extra-vehicular pilots while Celchu flew the unarmed shuttle Forbidden into the area and retrieved them. With the aid of Salm's pilots, they successfully covered the rescue and were able to retreat, among the last forces to leave the battlefield.
Back on Noquivzor, Antilles was going over the mission's failure with Salm when Horn and Lieutenant Judder Page of the Katarn Commandos interrupted. Horn's astromech, Whistler, had used its data-collection abilities to learn Blackmoon's identity—Borleias—and discover the source of the extra power and extra TIEs that had turned the mission into a rout. The Imperial base's commanding officer, General Evir Derricote, had used the abandoned Alderaan Biotics facility on the planet in a private black-market operation, and from it the extra interceptor squadrons were based and the power was routed. Antilles worked with Horn, Salm, Page, and Whistler over the next week to devise a plan for a second strike at Borleias. They were able to find a weak point in the power transmission system, a conduit through a rift valley where the line was exposed to attack. Antilles and Salm proposed a plan to Ackbar in which the Rogues would strike at the conduit, Page's commandos would slip in through the exposed tunnel to capture the bases, and the Emancipator would be used in a plot to draw away the Star Destroyer Eviscerator, which they had learned was in position to move on Borleias and disrupt the attack. Ackbar agreed to the plan, with some modifications.
With only six working fighters and an escape window that would be very limited, Antilles called for volunteers from his pilots. Horn agreed, but insisted on being Antilles's wingman for the first run. Antilles's flight-mates Ven and Jace filled out the rest of the group with Ynr and Darklighter. After intense practice for the attack, Antilles was seen off by Terrik, who had developed a budding friendship with Horn. The Rogues entered the Pyria system, using Borleias's moon and a meteor shower for cover as they approached the planet. Antilles and Horn began their run through the rift valley while the other X-wings covered them from Borleias's TIEs. They were pursued by two TIEs; Antilles shot one down, while Horn destroyed the other by jettisoning his faulty, punctured auxiliary fuel pod, which put Horn dangerously low on fuel. They missed their first run against the conduit, leading Antilles to order Horn to return to base. With the other fighters too busy dogfighting to make their own passes, the commander made another try. He destroyed the Juggernaut assault vehicle guarding the line, then destroyed the connection.
While leaving, however, Horn had detected and destroyed two interceptors making a pass against one of Page's shuttles. Horn was without enough fuel to make it back to Noquivzor, so Antilles ordered the lieutenant to hide on the dark side of the moon while the Rogues decoyed the Borleias TIEs across the bright side, returned to Noquivzor, and came back with aid. They fled, thinning the ranks of interceptors by ten in the process, but found no need to return. On emerging from hyperspace, Antilles received a message from Horn purporting to be an in-case-of-death recording. It soon became clear that it was a prank; Horn was already on Noquivzor thanks to the speedier hyperdrive of the Pulsar Skate. Terrik had identified a possible security leak from M-3PO's trade lists, which projected the availability of Alderaan Biotics products, and left with Celchu to make sure there was no trap. There they had been in position to rescue Horn. Instead of urgently preparing to return to Borleias, Antilles instead celebrated with his comrades.
After the battle, Jace departed for Thyferra, sent to visit his dying great-uncle. He was reported dead after an ambush on his route home by the Black Asp. The loss of yet another talented pilot burdened the longtime Rogue Leader. The Rogues spent a month stationed on Borleias before Antilles gained replacements for his diminished squadron. Captain Aril Nunb, the prior executive officer candidate, transferred into the unit as a flight leader and Antilles's second-in-command among the active pilots. Captain Pash Cracken, a noted A-wing group leader, accepted a demotion to lieutenant to join the squadron, explaining to Antilles that his men had constructed a myth of invincibility around him and he needed to get out of that environment and into a unit in which he could fully evaluate his skills. Around this time, Antilles allowed historian Voren Na'al to record his thoughts on Soontir Fel for Na'al's Oral History of the New Republic.
The conquest of Coruscant
- "Corran, you did it."
"I just aimed, Wedge, you sliced the victory together."
"We can argue who gets stuck with credit later."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn
Ackbar ordered Antilles to sit in on Provisional Council planning sessions for the operation to take Coruscant. Antilles attended the deliberations on Noquivzor, where Ackbar's plan of a blockade was dismissed as too costly to civilians and too lengthy in execution. After a break in which Antilles visited with his close friend Leia Organa and with Airen Cracken, head of New Republic Intelligence and Pash Cracken's father, Antilles returned to consulting with Ackbar and Salm. As Ackbar wished, they conceded the blockade and proposed Ackbar's real plan the next day, having gained political capital by demonstrating a willingness to compromise in the face of heavy opposition from Ackbar's opponent and the Council's greatest political intriguer, Councilor Borsk Fey'lya. Ackbar proposed infiltrating the Rogues onto Coruscant. As military experts, they could collect data on the planet's defenses and devise a scheme to sabotage the planetary shields that made an assault so difficult. Fey'lya agreed to it, but appended his own plan to remove convicts from the prisons of Kessel and insert Black Sun operatives on Coruscant to disrupt the Empire's operations. Neither Antilles nor Ackbar cared for the proposal, but the Provisional Council agreed to it.
Rogue Squadron was assigned to handle the mission to Kessel, taking the dangerous Black Sun prisoners off the warden's hands in exchange for the release of political prisoners. Antilles had the Rogues and Katarn Commandos capture Kessel's Garrison Moon, then secured a landing zone where he, Horn, and Ven handled the transfers and from which freed prisoners were shuttled to the Garrison Moon. Before Antilles fully entered negotiations with Moruth Doole, a paranoid, high-strung Rybet in command of the prison system and its attendant spice-mining operation, Lujayne Forge's parents arrived. Antilles offered Kassar and Myda Forge transport from the world, but they refused, preferring to remain on the world educating prisoners as they had for much of their lives. They did, however, agree to help Ven point out additional political prisoners whom the Rogues should attempt to free in exchange for taking the dangerous Black Sun kingpins offplanet. The first prisoner freed was Zekka Thyne, a half-Human Corellian crime lord Horn had himself captured. Horn despised Thyne, and Antilles had no great desire to set him free, but agreed to the deal. Kassar Forge, however, informed Antilles that his daughter, Inyri Forge, was Thyne's girlfriend, released with him. Antilles offered to separate her from the criminal, but Kassar, as much as it pained him, refused to prevent Inyri from making her own choices in life. Antilles freed fifteen more Black Sun operatives in exchange for one hundred fifty political prisoners before making an additional ransom: getting Doole to relinquish ex-Moff Fliry Vorru, a noted player in late Republic and early Imperial politics who Horn thought could keep Thyne and the others under control.
After their return to Noquivzor, where the unit was once more based, Antilles handed out the assignments for the infiltration of Coruscant. The pilots were set to land on the world piecemeal, with the largest group smuggled onto the capital by Terrik. None of them, except Antilles, knew that there were more pilots being inserted, and even he did not know the others' covers. Suspecting that it was all too easy for operational security to be compromised, he believed he needed a personal backup. Despite the security concerns surrounding his executive officer, Antilles risked much in arranging for Celchu and M-3PO to find their way onto Coruscant secretly, reporting only to him while the droid Whistler maintained the fiction that they remained on Noquivzor. Antilles himself was disguised as Colonel Antar Roat, purportedly a TIE pilot disfigured and forced to accept cybernetics, bound for reconstructive surgery on Coruscant aboard the liner Jewel of Churba. With him was Pash Cracken in the guise of Prefect Parin Dodt. The pair met up on landing, where they were picked up by New Republic Intelligence agent Iella Wessiri, whom Antilles recognized as Horn's former Corellian Security partner.
Antilles, Cracken, and Wessiri began their mission of assessing the population's loyalty to the Empire. Antilles decided that the best way would be to tour the public facilities of the Empire, so they spent a week in halls, landmarks, and museums. Antilles determined that loyalty to the Empire was not flagging, but neither was it overwhelming; he thought that if the New Republic were to seize the planet, its citizens would support the new government. While leaving the Galactic Museum, Antilles was approached by Terrik, whose departure had been compromised. Wessiri guided them to a safehouse, where Winter, also on Coruscant, was summoned to debrief them. They were speaking when Antilles noticed a firefight outside the window, and shoved their sofa over backward just in time to save them from a speeder bike that crashed into the room.
Antilles moved out of that safehouse and into another. While there, he received a message from Ackbar stating that the Warlord Zsinj had bombarded the base on Noquivzor, killing many of the unit's support staff. Celchu was thought among the dead. Ackbar also issued orders that the Rogues were to find a way to sabotage the planet's shields to allow a swift New Republic attack. A few days later, he met with Horn, who had been working with Winter and who had actually been the one to send the speeder bike veering into the safehouse while fleeing Thyne's men. Horn had insisted that he had vital news Antilles needed to hear; he explained that he had seen Tycho Celchu meeting with Imperial Intelligence agent Kirtan Loor, Horn's personal nemesis from his Corellian Security days, in the Headquarters bar. Antilles told Horn that Celchu had been killed in the Noquivzor attack, putting his fears aside. When Antilles asked Celchu about it, the captain reported that it had been a Duros smuggler, Lai Nootka, with whom he had met, and Antilles believed him. The commander moved to briefing the entire squadron, short of the missing Aril Nunb, assembled along with support from the Black Sun faction and the anti-Imperial Alien Combine, about the new assignment to prepare to take Coruscant. They brainstormed ideas to bring the shields down, focusing on access to the planet's main computer, from which the shielding system was controlled. They hit upon a scheme to use the Alien Combine's access to the manufacturing facility for memory cores to slice the programming of some of the cores to give the New Republic access.
Antilles set up a compartmentalized program to put the plan in motion and keep Imperial Intelligence from detecting the true plan. Among the pieces in his plan were Celchu and M-3PO, who secretly arranged for the purchase of a flight of Headhunters and other supplies. Some two weeks later, Antilles led Cracken, Darklighter, and a Trandoshan Alien Combine member named Portha in delivering the rigged cores to a technician who picked them up from the warehouse. When Portha dropped and damaged the one sliced core that technician had selected, Antilles used an old smuggler's trick to force the choice of a replacement core that was likewise sliced. The deception came to naught, however, when the Imperials launched an ambush. Antilles had set up defenses in the warehouse, but they were insufficient to defend against the large body of stormtroopers; their lookouts, controlled by Thyne, had sold them out. In desperation, the commander called in Celchu and fled with his team through Coruscant's cityscape, under constant Imperial pursuit. Celchu, in one of the Headhunters, arrived just in time to kill the opposition, and the Rogues made their escape in a repulsorcraft piloted by M-3PO.
Horn and Terrik had escaped separately, connecting with Inyri Forge. On returning to Thyne, they had discovered his treachery and, betrayed, Forge shot him dead. Regretting her affiliation with the criminal, she turned her attention to Antilles's New Republic team. Antilles needed all the aid he could find, as during his escape Ackbar had issued orders for the Rogues to have the shields down in two days. Antilles moved to planning a new strategy, despite Horn's agitation once he discovered that it had been possible Celchu had been meeting with Loor. Darklighter proposed that they stir up a large storm, easily done in Coruscant's agitated, complex atmosphere, to weaken the shields and knock out power stations. Asyr Sei'lar, a Bothan agent and leader in the Alien Combine, suggested redirecting one of the Orbital Solar Energy Transfer Satellites to vaporize a water reservoir. Horn further refined the plan by advocating they hijack a nearby construction droid and point it at Subsidiary Computer Center Number Four, causing its evacuation and allowing them access to the controls for the orbital mirrors without interference. Antilles approved the plan. As he had broken his ribs in the escape from the warehouse, Antilles was not fit to fly and assigned himself to the construction droid capture team with Wessiri, Terrik, and M-3PO. Winter, Celchu, Darklighter, Qrygg, and Forge he assigned to seize the subsidiary computer center; the rest of the Rogues, minus the ill Shiel and Ven and with the addition of Sei'lar, were to fly cover for the mission in the Headhunters Celchu had bought.
They soon moved out, Antilles and the pair of women disguising themselves as Imperial officers. In the guise of Colonel Antar Roat, Antilles arrived on the massive construction droid, insisting to the droid's crew that he was performing a security inspection. They quickly took control of the droid, reorienting it and causing the whole area to be evacuated. Celchu summoned the group to the computer center, where they needed the droid to enter the control room, which had been flooded with poisonous Fex-M3d gas. Antilles's crew was pinned down by an E-Web heavy repeating blaster, though, and could not get to them. As it turned out, the Gand Qrygg did not need to breathe, and as the gas was not a contact poison, he entered the room and retrieved breath masks that allowed the others to pull off the mission. Horn eliminated the gun in his Headhunter, allowing Antilles's group to escape the droid and rendezvous with the computer center detachment.
The plan went off as the enormous storm overtaxed the power system, but on the collapse of the inner of Coruscant's two rings of shields a new power grid activated, reinforcing the outer shields. They were able to map one of the newly active substations, which Antilles tasked Horn to destroy. When an initial concussion missile strike did not penetrate, Antilles devised the idea to use his computer control to slave the TIE Interceptor pursuing Horn to his final missile launch. The combined strike of the missiles and the fighter destroyed the substation and deactivated the shields mere seconds before the New Republic fleet's arrival. Antilles turned his attention to the greater battle. Seeing a Golan III defense platform taking a toll on the fleet, he was struck with the idea to focus the power of the mirror he controlled against the Golan, burning through and disabling it. When Horn investigated an anomaly no one else detected, his controls froze, and Antilles watched in horror as the fighter plummeted, striking a deserted building. Furious at losing a pilot and friend, he rushed the Rogues to the scene, but could not find Horn's body, even after the New Republic took full control of Coruscant.
Plague and prosecution
- "This is wrong, and you know it. After all we've fought for, to get to this point and arrest someone who's risked his life time and again for the Rebellion on evidence that's circumstantial at best is a crime itself. A crime worthy of the Empire."
"No, Commander Antilles, you're wrong. The Empire would have snatched Celchu, broken him down until he confessed, then they would have killed him. He would have disappeared and no one would have dared ask about him. That's how the Empire would have handled it. The way we will handle it is to have a trial and assess innocence or guilt publicly, openly, aboveboard, so there is no question about justice being done or not. That, sir, is exactly what we fought for. You know it, and you know there's no other way to handle this situation."
"You're correct, of course, General. We did fight for justice. The pity is, even in victory, justice still eludes those who deserve it the most."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Airen Cracken
One bright spot emerged when the New Republic forces found Nunb, alive but suffering from the emerging plague of the Krytos virus, which targeted various nonhuman species. Ysanne Isard had escaped Coruscant, leaving the New Republic a world wracked with disease. Antilles was additionally mortified when Airen Cracken informed him that Celchu had been arrested on charges of treason and the murder of Horn. Though Antilles was hailed as the great hero of Coruscant's liberation, he gained no pleasure from the adulation. In the midst of this bad news, Sei'lar and Inyri Forge joined the squadron, having proved their piloting skills in the battle for Coruscant, but Antilles resented the fact that they had been selected from above for political reasons, as had the assignation of Portha to a new position as squadron security guard. He likewise despised the politicization of Horn's death; the Rogue pilot had been made a New Republic icon, taken from those who knew him and transformed into a victim of the Empire, while Celchu was vilified as his killer. New uniforms for the squadron were designed in his honor, while a monument was erected at the site of the crash. The private memorial ceremony Antilles had hoped for became an extravaganza of mourning, attended by thousands and broadcast for all to see. Antilles rose to the occasion, delivering a eulogy calling for the continuation of the fight against the Empire, warning against contentment and complacency with the seizure of the galactic capital, and calling for patience as the New Republic constructed a galactic government. After the service was complete, a bomb from the Palpatine Counter-Insurgency Front, a newly emerged Imperial terrorist organization, destroyed much of the stands—mostly empty by then—to make a point.
Antilles had petitioned the Provisional Council for a chance to speak against Celchu's prosecution, and even after a private warning from Councilors Fey'lya, Ackbar, and Organa that he had no chance, Antilles passionately argued to the Council that the evidence against Celchu was weak and that it should prevent the trial from going forward to avoid doing a great injustice to the Alderaanian captain. At the same meeting, Airen Cracken presented the case, including new evidence that Celchu had been bribed by Imperial Intelligence and had been involved in the death of Jace, whose route home he had plotted. Antilles urged that the Council at least delay the trial, as the case was being rushed to court and he was sure Celchu could not get a fair defense unless more sifting of the evidence—which pointed equally well to Celchu's guilt or to an Imperial Intelligence frame—was completed. He threatened to go public with his dissatisfaction at Celchu's treatment and even resign his commission in protest, an action that would attract great attention from the public at large. Organa asked for a recess and spoke to Antilles privately, telling him the Provisional Council would not exercise authority over the military tribunal trying Celchu. Moreover, the trial of the Human Celchu was seen as politically necessary in a time when nonhumans were increasingly hostile to the New Republic's Krytos-immune Humans. She also informed him that he was needed for an upcoming strike to capture a shipment of bacta stolen by Warlord Zsinj, and Antilles finally accepted that he would not resign and could not prevent the trial.
Antilles visited Celchu with Ven, the former lawyer, who had agreed to serve as Celchu's counsel, before briefing the squadron on the strike to retrieve the stolen bacta Zsinj had stored at the Yag-prime space station over the planet Yag'Dhul. After the briefing, he took Sei'lar aside and spoke to her about her developing romantic relationship with Gavin Darklighter. He warned her not to string along the infatuated youth if she was not serious and was relieved to hear that she fully reciprocated his feelings. He then turned to the more important point of her double loyalty to the Bothan Martial Intelligence Division and to Rogue Squadron. He did not insist she throw off her loyalty to the Bothan establishment but warned her that, though he trusted her, at some point she would have to make a choice between the two, and he hoped it would be in the squadron's favor.
Twelve hours later, within a week of Coruscant's conquest, he set off on the mission. The Rogues struck at the station in coordination with Defender Wing, drawing off the TIEs into an ambush by Guardian Squadron. Antilles engaged the patrol flight of TIEs with his own One Flight, having reorganized it to include Ynr and Dlarit and assigned Sei'lar as his wingmate. They defeated the fighters, then joined the main battle, where the station's TIE complement was handily defeated. Antilles offered surrender to the outnumbered survivors; both the fighters' leader and the station commander, Valsil Torr, accepted. The captain of the pilots, a mercenary, did not want to lose his ship and thus his livelihood, though, and Antilles arranged for the four TIEs' hire as guards to the Pulsar Skate in the convoy picking up the bacta after they promised to no longer fight against the New Republic.
On his return to Coruscant, Antilles decided to ask out Iella Wessiri, though he told himself he was only being a friend in her grief over Horn's death. He was attracted to her strong personality, so much so that he was driven to nervousness as he asked her to a friendly dinner. To his great shock, she ushered him into her apartment to reveal that her husband, Diric Wessiri, had been found as an Imperial captive recently, long after she had given him up for dead. The commander graciously dropped any thoughts of romance and spoke with Diric, who was intrigued by the Celchu case, in which Iella was working with the prosecution's investigation. Their conversation was interrupted by a comm call from Terrik, who summoned Antilles to the Pulsar Skate to deal with an emergency of unspecified nature but great import. Worried, Antilles rushed to her hangar, where he found that she had been contacted by Qlaern Hirf, a member of the Vratix Ashern rebellion against the Bacta Cartel and the tipster who had let the New Republic know about the captured convoy. Hirf revealed that the Ashern had intended to make a gift of the shipment of bacta to Antilles specifically, whom they trusted and wanted to represent them before the Provisional Council in a request for membership. Hirf also volunteered his skills as a verachen, or bacta manufacturer, in the fight against the Krytos virus. Both Antilles and the Vratix knew they could not promote their cause to the Council right away, as they needed the support of the Bacta Cartel to cure Krytos, so Antilles approached General Cracken with their offer of aid, which was eagerly but covertly accepted.
Antilles was eventually called as a witness in the Celchu trial, which he had been attending in his free time. He was deeply uncomfortable, knowing prosecutor Commander Halla Ettyk could use his testimony against his friend, but answered truthfully. Harassed by the press after his testimony, Antilles was unexpectedly swept away by Diric Wessiri, who deflected the reporters. Antilles went out for dinner with the Wessiris that night, as, though the commander and Iella were on opposite sides of the Celchu issue, they remained good friends and Antilles got on well with Diric, who maintained a belief in Celchu's innocence.
The court was recessed thereafter in order for Rogue Squadron to undertake a mission to Ryloth to negotiate for the purchase of a large quantity of ryll kor. The highest grade of ryll spice, ryll kor had proved useful in Hirf's search for a more effective cure than bacta. Antilles traveled to Kala'uun Starport aboard the Pulsar Skate, while the other Rogues were carried aboard the bulk freighter assigned to haul the ryll kor back. Antilles got to spend a good deal of time with Terrik, who was broken up over Horn's death; the pair had decided just before the last battle that they would start dating afterward. Antilles and Ven handled the bargaining with Cazne'olan and the starport master Koh'shak, offering traditional gifts to open the negotiations. Ven claimed twi'janii, the traditional right of hospitality, for the group. They were entertained with the dance of Sienn'rha, a Twi'lek whom Luke Skywalker had freed from slavery. She offered herself to Antilles, whom she saw as a hero of the Rebellion to which she owed her freedom, but he declined. The celebration was interrupted by the arrival of a squadron of Twi'lek warriors led by Tal'dira. Tal'dira insisted that the dealings of warriors should be with warriors, and demanded that the Rogue commander fight to gain the ryll, giving him a vibroblade. Antilles knew he had little chance against the warrior, but agreed that if it was the only way, he would fight. The Twi'lek warrior threw the other blade to Koh'shak, however; his true feud was with the merchant. After properly shaming the starport master for his greed, violation of Twi'lek etiquette by cutting the warriors out of the talks, and unworthiness to deal with a warrior such as Antilles, Tal'dira promised that the New Republic would have the ryll kor free of charge. Antilles was happy to have established a good relationship with the honor-conscious warrior, who himself admired the New Republic commander.
They returned to Coruscant, where Ackbar tasked Antilles with a highly sensitive mission to escort a convoy of bacta from the Xucphra cartel. The Rogues traveled to the rendezvous in the Alderaan system but arrived late, just in time to see Zsinj's Star Dreadnought Iron Fist departing the system after having annihilated the entire convoy. Antilles was devastated, as Terrik's Pulsar Skate had been in the convoy and was assumed lost, but led the Rogues in an attack on Zsinj's forces remaining in the system. He coordinated a surprise proton torpedo barrage that destroyed the Strike Cruiser Termagant, then routed the remaining TIEs. Many of them fled into the Graveyard—the remnants of Alderaan. Antilles negotiated their surrender and assigned Pash Cracken's Two Flight to arrange transport from Tatooine that could carry the TIEs and pilots to Coruscant. Puzzlingly, the pilots maintained that Rogue Squadron had been at the initial battle and that they had destroyed the Rogues.
After the mission, Antilles helped prepare a report that debunked Zsinj's claim to the public that he had destroyed Rogue Squadron—it had actually been a Palpatine Counter-Insurgency Front decoy squadron sent to attack the convoy—and that the bacta had been tainted, then turned to assembling information for Ackbar as the Supreme Commander began plans to concentrate New Republic forces against the troublesome warlord. Darklighter visited him in an attempt to console him about Terrik, but Antilles declined to talk about it.
The day Celchu's defense was set to open, Antilles was awakened in the middle of the night by M-3PO and informed that the New Republic had been tipped to an impending Palpatine Counter-Insurgency Front strike on a bacta storage facility; the terrorist group had been making several such strikes lately. The Rogues were scrambled to oppose it, and just before they were to launch, Sei'lar approached the commander and told him that Fey'lya had pushed her into the choice between the Bothans and the squadron, asking her to prepare a report on the Alderaan mission that suggested a Human conspiracy to foil the convoy. She had written the report, but now gave it to Antilles to dispose of as he wished. Antilles did not forward it to the Councilor.
The Rogues covered ground forces as they raided the warehouse in which the Front was preparing its attack. Antilles destroyed three AT-STs in the warehouse as they covered the escape of an airspeeder packed with explosives. He chased the airspeeder bomb through Coruscant's cityscape, racing through its crowded and dim undercity in pursuit and, predicting the low course of the overloaded craft, shot it down before it reached the bacta stockpile. As he did so, he was called to a disturbance southwest of the Imperial Palace involving a wing of TIEs and what turned out to be the Star Dreadnought Lusankya, the secret site of Isard's prison, extracting itself from its hiding place buried beneath the cityscape. The Rogues engaged the TIEs as Ysanne Isard escaped in her private Super Star Destroyer, pursuing them when the TIEs turned to flee to their mother ship as it pounded its way out of Coruscant's shields. With it went Erisi Dlarit, who claimed to be caught in a tractor beam. Antilles called up her telemetry, which showed no such thing, and realized it was she who was Isard's spy in the unit, responsible for the leaks in which Celchu had been suspected.
He commed Ackbar to report this, but was anticipated by none other than Corran Horn, who had already deciphered the spy's identity in the course of his escape from the Lusankya prison, where he had been held. Antilles was overjoyed that not only had Horn survived, but he was able to fully exonerate Celchu of the possibility of having been brainwashed in Lusankya. General Cracken, who had known that Celchu was not the spy all along and was using the trial to draw out the true double agent, rehabilitated Celchu's image through a public ceremony in which Mon Mothma decorated all the Rogues and lied that Celchu had volunteered himself for the trial as part of Cracken's plot.
Rogue Squadron spent the next ten days assisting in cleaning up the remnants of the PCF terrorist group, which had begun striking at random after the death of their leader, Kirtan Loor. Just after defecting to the New Republic, Loor had been killed by Diric Wessiri, a Lusankya agent. Iella Wessiri, protecting Loor, had shot and killed her husband before she even realized who he was. She was heartbroken, and Antilles worked as a friend to comfort her, suffering himself from the loss of a man he had come to consider a friend. His grief was lightened by the fact that Terrik too turned out to be alive after all, having left the convoy earlier to deliver her cargo of bacta to Borleias, where Hirf was able to synthesize a highly effective treatment for Krytos called rylca.
The Bacta War
- "I joined this Rebellion to fight the Empire's tyranny. Just because we have Coruscant doesn't mean it's ended. The New Republic might not be able to strike at Thyferra, but there are Rebels around who can. I quit, too."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Borsk Fey'lya
Ten days after the Lusankya escaped, Mothma held the ceremony awarding Rogue Squadron a newly devised medal, the highest military decoration in existence: the Coruscant Star of Valor. During the reception after the awards, Antilles spoke with Fey'lya, who was upset that Antilles had coded Sei'lar's report as Most Secret to prevent its release, but was interrupted by Luke Skywalker's arrival. Skywalker had discovered that Horn was in fact a Force-sensitive, the hidden descendant of Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon. Horn declined to join him in Jedi training, however, insisting that he planned to strike against Isard, who had taken control of Thyferra, and free the other Lusankya prisoners, among them General Jan Dodonna, captured during the Yavin evacuation. Fey'lya, however, explained that the Rogues would be assigned to the Solo Fleet under General Han Solo, tracking down and defeating Zsinj; the New Republic would not attempt to overthrow Isard, who had been installed in a coup, due to a refusal to interfere in the internal politics of unaligned worlds. In response, Horn resigned his commission so he could take the fight to Isard himself. Deciding he had to pursue his obligation to aid the Vratix in their quest for freedom, Antilles resigned as well. With him went the entire squadron with the sole exception of Pash Cracken, whose presence in any force acting against Isard would never be accepted as officially unsanctioned due to his father's intelligence role.
With time to consider it, Antilles felt deeply uncomfortable leaving New Republic service, but was sure it was the right thing to do. He and Celchu undertook the planning of a guerrilla war against Isard, who held Thyferra with the aid of native defense forces, the Lusankya, the Imperial-class Star Destroyers Avarice and Virulence, and the Victory-class Star Destroyer Corrupter. Antilles had a squadron of twelve pilots, plus the pledged assistance of Winter and Terrik, whom Antilles was happy to see dating Horn, as he thought them a highly complementary pair. Antilles thought to ask Elscol Loro and Sixtus Quin for the assistance of the liberation organization he had helped them create, potentially giving him more personnel and expertise. Horn owned his own X-wing and astromech, which he had taken with him from Corellian Security, and Celchu had ten million credits as part of Isard's frame job as well as the Headhunters he had purchased for the Coruscant mission. They were able to sell the Headhunters, which were hotly desired for their historic role, to collectors and institutions for a good deal of money, and many citizens were happy to make donations to the cause, publicly romanticized as a righteous quest for justice. Pash Cracken approached them with a suggestion that they use the Yag-prime station, which Cracken had been assigned to deny to Zsinj after his return to Commander Varth's wing of A-wings. Cracken would report it uninhabitable, giving Antilles a relatively secret and convenient base from which to operate without exposing civilians to Isard's retaliation.
Iella Wessiri agreed to join the fight against Isard just before Antilles mustered the first meeting for all the participants in the irregular force. He presented the developments in their situation and outlined the task they faced, then assigned Horn, Terrik, and Darklighter to travel to Tatooine and obtain the remnants of the Eidolon cache from Huff Darklighter. The others would handle the move to Yag-prime. Shortly after that meeting, Winter located a cache of X-wing parts on the planet Rishi, enough to assemble fighters. Antilles rented the freighter Eclipse Rider and traveled to Rishi with Ooryl Qrygg to investigate. On landing, the freighter lost a repulsor coil, which Qrygg worked to replace while Antilles negotiated the purchase of the parts, which turned out to be fewer than he had hoped, only enough for two fighters. The strict and plentiful laws of Rishi's H'kig community frustrated both efforts and pushed their return four days behind schedule.
While trying to catch up on sleep after the stressful Rishi jaunt, Antilles was awoken by Emtrey in a surprise arranged by Celchu, who had bought the squadron's entire X-wing and droid complement after they were listed as surplus at bargain prices by sympathetic officials. Zraii and the Rogues' former maintenance staff resigned as well, giving the irregular force a full working squadron. The others had begun repainting their X-wings individually, and Antilles elected to decorate his with the black and checkered green and gold colors his father had hoped to use if he expanded his operations to a chain of refueling depots. Celchu gave him a tour of the Yag-prime station, which still housed a civilian population of traders they could not evict without drawing attention. When the Pulsar Skate returned bearing with it Booster Terrik, who had run into the others on the Darklighter estate, Antilles was overjoyed to see him. At the same time, Loro and Quin arrived with their insurgent group.
Antilles began intensive and detailed operational planning for what he dubbed the Bacta War, determined to lure Isard's capital ships out singly so the squadron could eliminate them. The best way to do so was by raiding the bacta convoys of Xucphra Corporation, which had ousted Zaltin in the coup and formed the basis of Isard's power. His first strike was at a convoy in the Chorax system. After their defenses were destroyed, the freighters agreed to let the Rogues escort them to deliveries to Coruscant and needy worlds on which the bacta was freely distributed.
After arranging for Mirax Terrik and Horn to insert Loro's resistance fighters and Wessiri on Thyferra, where they could link up with the Ashern resistance, Antilles offered a role in the mission to Booster Terrik. The elder Terrik declined, saying he had lost his taste for command of a freighter on Kessel, and needed something more stimulating to engage him; he asked to be put in charge of Yag-prime, running the station and managing its civilian population and trade to bring income and supplies to the rebels. Antilles saw merit in the idea and agreed. Terrik quickly began turning a profit from trade on the station, using the credits to secure supplies for the burgeoning resistance. They were joined by Tal'dira's squadron of Twi'lek warriors in their Chir'daki Ugly fighters after Tal'dira suggested that he would like to enter the fight during a trading visit from Koh'shak. Knowing the warrior's pride prevented him from asking directly, Antilles invited him to fight alongside the Rogues, which Tal'dira eagerly accepted. They gained one more pilot when Horn and Mirax Terrik returned from Thyferra with Bror Jace, who had faked his death in order to work underground organizing a Zaltin Corporation alliance with the Ashern. Loro now had the resources of the Ashern and Zaltin to work with, while Jace was able to liaise with the squadron on the Thyferran resistance's behalf.
Isard had begun sending Star Destroyers to escort her bacta convoys to rendezvous points where the shipments would be turned over to the care of the receiving worlds, making further raids difficult. Jace informed the squadron that the Ashern had sliced the navigation computers of three freighters to divert them, allowing the Rogues to capture the three ships without dealing with the Star Destroyer. When the Rogues and Twi'leks arrived, the freighter captains refused to surrender, having been told that Isard would kill their families on Thyferra if their ships were taken. Antilles explained that it was likely a bluff on Isard's part, and offered the help of the resistance fighters on Thyferra in extracting their families. Only one ship, the Xucphra Alazhi, remained defiant. After Darklighter and Shiel disabled the ship and Antilles bluffed that he could override their life support systems with the Ashern slicing, the captain reluctantly agreed. Just as it departed with Darklighter, Shiel, and two Chir'daki escorting it, Commander Ait Convarion's Corrupter arrived in the system after backtracking the missing freighters' route. It destroyed the Alazhi and Chir'daki and killed Shiel. Darklighter barely escaped to hyperspace; Antilles thought him dead in the barrage. With half his flight gone, Antilles scattered his forces and fled.
Darklighter returned with a report that Corrupter, working with Dlarit—now a commander in the Thyferran Home Defense Corps—had destroyed the colony on a moon known as Halanit, which Antilles's group had supplied with bacta and where Darklighter had sheltered. To counter Isard's message of intimidation, Antilles decided to destroy one of Thyferra's bacta-production colonies. He also arranged for Booster Terrik to sell future captured bacta to traders who would undersell Isard, turning a profit for the resistance and making it harder for Isard to identify worlds accepting stolen bacta. Before the retaliation mission, yet more allies joined the group. Three Gand ruetsavii arrived, all capable fighter pilots with their own modified TIE bombers, on a mission to evaluate Ooryl Qrygg's worthiness to be considered janwuine, among the highest of Gand notables. They flew in the strike at the bacta refining plant on the planet Qretu 5 as Antilles led a night raid on the plant in order to minimize civilian casualties. They destroyed the plant, then shot down the Thyferran Home Defense Corps pilots who scrambled in response. Booster Terrik led a convoy of freighters that hauled away the surviving bacta supply and, on Antilles's orders, arranged to compensate civilians who had suffered damage.
Antilles ramped up the Bacta War, maintaining a constant pressure of hit-and-run strikes by forces of various size against Isard's forces. Meanwhile, he had the Terriks begin seeking out a large supply of torpedoes and missile systems in preparation for his end plan against Isard, worked out with Celchu and Booster Terrik: luring at least part of her fleet to Yag-prime, where the station would trap it with a gravity well generator and tractor beams and bluff it into surrendering with hundreds of missile-lock signatures from the targeting packages of the missile systems. The actual launch systems would be fitted to the Rogue freighter fleet and fed telemetry from the starfighters, allowing them to down those ships remaining over Thyferra. They arranged to buy from smuggling chief Talon Karrde, with deliveries to take place in selected systems where the shipments would be transferred to Terrik-controlled freighters escorted by the Rogues.
One such delivery was in the Alderaan system, and it was interrupted before the transfer began by the arrival of Corrupter and the interdictor Aggregator, rented from the warlord Treuten Teradoc. Trapped by the unexpected ship, Antilles immediately moved to cover the freighters with torpedo runs against the Star Destroyer. He made the first pass, feeding his targeting data to the other fighters and maneuvering through Corrupter's TIE screen. Celchu made a second pass while Antilles evaded fire, and Celchu's targeting data prompted the Thranta-class War Cruiser Valiant to attack. The Valiant, originally tasked to defend the Alderaanian armory ship Another Chance, had been lurking in the Graveyard; as Celchu was transmitting the Another Chance's identity code as part of the Rogues' individualization, it responded to his commands. The Rogue commander took the opportunity to run along Corrupter's hull and fire on its bridge, killing Convarion and crippling the capital ship. The other Rogues drove Aggregator off with another barrage. Antilles arranged the surrender, pickup, and capture of the remaining TIEs and escape pods.
The slave-rigged Valiant followed them back to base, adding a powerful new component to their fleet. Once M-3PO gained full control over its systems, the droid and Nunb would be assigned to command it. Antilles altered his strategy to account for the possibility of an interdictor ambush in the future, though he believed Teradoc would be loath to lend out his ships again. He also had the Terriks pursue the question of security with Karrde, believing the rendezvous had been leaked from within the other's organization. In a final move, he agreed to have the Terriks begin purchasing vital Imperial-class Star Destroyer parts and funneling poor parts to Isard, hoping to create a supply problem for her, as well as purchasing a gravity well generator for installation in the Yag-prime station. He also had his astromech's memory wiped and the unit upgraded, eliminating its annoying tendency to screech. Its designation was altered to R5-G8, prompting Antilles to give it the nickname "Gate."
Learning from his remaining sources in the New Republic that Captain Sair Yonka of the Avarice carried on an affair with Aellyn Jandi—wife of Elshandruu Pica's Moff Riit Jandi—that was facilitated by Kina Margath, a secret New Republic agent, Antilles moved to exploit the vulnerability. When Yonka traveled to Margath's 27th Hour Social Club, Margath alerted Antilles, who brought a commando team of Rogues and the Gand Vviir Wiamdi to ambush Yonka during his assignation. Rather than kill the captive, he offered Yonka the chance to defect to his insurgency with the Avarice. Between Antilles's credits and his increasing dissatisfaction with the bloodthirsty and erratic Isard, Yonka agreed.
Raging at the defection and still unable to find the Rogues' base, Isard attempted to draw Antilles out by interning Vratix and planning to execute them in one month, knowing the leaked news would force him to move against Thyferra itself. The commander sent Horn on a mission to confirm these reports, and when he did so, Antilles decided to act. He moved to complete the refitting of the station and freighters for the final conflict, and set up Karrde's final delivery directly to the base, giving its location away to Isard through her spy in Karrde's organization. Horn, not privy to the plan, questioned it and had to accept Antilles's assurances that there was in fact a working plan. He got into an argument with Booster Terrik over it, their respective moral character, and Horn's relationship with Mirax, which Antilles had to break up by telling each man that both he and Mirax respected them both, he thought Horn and Mirax an excellent match, and the pair would have to learn to respect each other and work together. The pair made up, to Antilles's pleasure.
After the delivery was made and Karrde's ships held in the station for two days to give the installation project more time to finish, they were let go and Antilles briefed his pilots to expect the arrival of Isard's remaining Star Destroyers within two days. After the briefing, to Antilles's delight, Horn and Mirax Terrik became engaged. He began an evacuation that would launch the freighters, fighters, and Valiant toward Thyferra as soon as Isard's ships arrived, tipping them off to expect the small force there. When the Lusankya and Virulence arrived, Antilles engaged his plan, jumping toward Thyferra only after rendezvousing with Yonka, who had renamed his Star Destroyer Freedom. Freedom carried the starfighters to Thyferra more slowly, but it allowed the fighter pilots to deploy fresh.
By the time they made it to Thyferra, the Lusankya had already returned, freed when the Virulence interposed itself between the station and the Star Dreadnought, but it had left its TIE complement behind. The capital ships engaged the Lusankya while the fighters handled the Thyferran TIEs, which battled the renegade force piecemeal. Between waves of TIEs, Antilles led the Rogues in making torpedo runs against the Star Dreadnought, supplemented by fire from the freighters standing off. When he detected a shuttle running from the system, presumably containing Isard, he sent Celchu, Horn, Ven, and Qrygg to shoot it down, which they did after trading barbs with the former Imperial leader and killing Dlarit. Meanwhile, the Virulence arrived, having surrendered to Booster Terrik. With Commander Varth's fortuitously-arrived wing of A-wings aboard and under Terrik's command, it jumped into the fray. Antilles offered surrender to the Lusankya's captain, Joak Drysso, but Drysso refused, believing his Star Dreadnought invincible. As Drysso's ranting grew increasingly deranged, he was killed by Lieutenant Waroen, his aide, who surrendered the ship.
The battle in orbit was over, while Wessiri, Loro, and the Ashern were able to take control of Thyferra on the ground. The victory, however, was marred by the fact that the Lusankya prisoners were nowhere to be found, having been hidden away months prior. The New Republic began a search for the prisoners after the new Thyferran government agreed to join them. Antilles used his role as captain of the Lusankya, the ship having been surrendered directly to him, to marry Horn and Mirax Terrik quickly, giving her father less time to stew over the engagement. Even so, the elder Terrik was left in a good mood by his acquisition of the Virulence, which had been surrendered to him. After negotiations with the New Republic, he was allowed to keep it after limiting its armament; he renamed it the Errant Venture and planned to turn it into a traveling entertainment complex and his personal information-brokering headquarters. Afterward, Antilles held a party aboard the Lusankya celebrating their victory, the Horn–Terrik wedding, and Qrygg's declaration as janwuine. He also announced that with their victory, the New Republic was willing to take credit for the operation and had supposedly misfiled their resignations. They were all technically still military personnel and the mission was retroactively sanctioned; they were free to return to duty, and all accepted. Ven would be the unit's new executive officer, having suffered a severed leg in the battle; his cybernetic replacement was not sufficiently well-fitted to allow him to pilot. Tal'dira joined the squadron, while Nunb left it to enter Fleet Command with the Valiant. Jace departed to head the Thyferran Aerospace Defense Force, which Antilles agreed to have the Rogues train for the next two months.
A new type of unit
- "Since the battle at Endor, the military's public relations groups have represented Rogue Squadron as if we were the lightsaber of the New Republic. A bright, shiny weapon to cut down any dark Imperial holdovers who still stand against us. But, sir, not all battles call for lightsabers. Some of them are fought with vibroblades in back alleys. The New Republic needs those vibroblades too, and doesn't have them."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Ackbar
While training the Thyferrans, Antilles began reflecting on his experiences and realized that the Rogues had frequently been used in roles suited to commando or intelligence personnel in addition to their piloting capacity. Though he had selected the new Rogues to have skills outside the cockpit, he came to believe a squadron built from the beginning for full competency in both roles could be a powerful asset, able to perform combined ground and air strikes and fill a gap in the New Republic's military capacity. The Rogues were recalled early from their training duty to join General Han Solo's task force battling Zsinj. On Coruscant they were met by a second Rogue Squadron, this one an official unit put together for morale reasons during the unit's absence and commanded by Derek Klivian. Their homecoming was made a media event, and at Antilles's instigation, both squadrons put on a display of precision formation flying for the holocameras. Antilles eagerly greeted Klivian and Janson on the ground, learning that they had been unofficially promised assignment to Rogue Squadron after the impostor duty, having trained three squadrons to commission. Antilles was glad to have them back in the unit, but was already thinking of proposing his new unit to his superiors.
Antilles met with Admiral Ackbar and presented his plan for a new squadron of commando-pilots, emphasizing the broad skill set, versatility, and potential for tactical innovation such a unit could bring to the military. He also persuaded Ackbar that the unit could be had essentially for free by using the replacement X-wings slated for Rogue Squadron and putting the unit together from pilots already trained but on the verge of washing out of the military. Though Antilles intended to eventually return to the Rogues, Celchu could be given command of the unit with Klivian as his second while Antilles used Janson as his executive officer in the new squadron. Ackbar was unconvinced, and refused the plan unless Antilles agreed to his conditions: if Ackbar judged the unit a success, Antilles would retain his rank and command; if not, he would accept a promotion to general and join Ackbar's staff. It was a long-held goal of the Supreme Commander, who thought him an exceptional officer whose talents were being wasted, to get Antilles to accept a promotion, and Antilles's equally long-held goal to remain in the cockpit and in command of no more than a squadron; he had already turned down two promotions. Ardently believing that the New Republic needed the kind of force he was proposing, Antilles agreed.
The Rogues were sent to join the Solo Fleet under Celchu while Antilles and Janson began putting together the new group, provisionally designated Gray Squadron, at Folor. There, Antilles clashed with Salm's successor as base commander, General Edor Crespin, who objected to the use of washouts and troublemakers in what could be a premier squadron. Antilles convinced him to let the project move forward as it was, and he and Janson spent their time reviewing candidates for the squadron, with Janson checking their files and Antilles interviewing them free of preconceptions. Some, such as a kleptomaniac who stole a keepsake from Antilles's office during the interview, were dismissed immediately, while others remained potential candidates.
Among the first pilots Antilles entered as a candidate was Lieutenant Myn Donos, the commander of Talon Squadron, trained by Janson and Klivian. The unit had been led into a trap and all of its members but Donos were killed. Donos, who had skills as a sniper, was accepted despite post-traumatic stress from the ambush that had destroyed his unit, as was Kell Tainer, a former commando, explosives expert, and mechanic whose father Janson had been forced to kill on an early Rebel mission when Tainer's father panicked and fled, nearly giving the squadron's position away to the Empire. Tainer showed signs of panic himself under stress, which had limited his career, but tested as an excellent pilot and had the skills the squadron needed. Antilles kept him on the condition that he and Janson could work together. Jesmin Ackbar, niece of the Supreme Commander, submitted herself as a candidate because she thought she might see action in Antilles's experimental squadron; other commanders were reluctant to risk her life due to her powerful relative. The most unusual candidate of the forty-three considered was Voort saBinring, nicknamed "Piggy," a scientifically modified Gamorrean with a genius intellect and milder than normal temper. After training and further assessments handled mostly by Janson—though Antilles flew against the candidates in occasional simulations—all four made the final unit roster, as did multiple-minded Thakwaash Hohass "Runt" Ekwesh, insubordinate Tatooinian Falynn Sandskimmer, Force-sensitive Antarian Ranger Tyria Sarkin, cyborg physician Ton Phanan, former Imperial child holostar Garik "Face" Loran, and Bothan slicer Eurrsk "Grinder" Thri'ag.
Antilles welcomed them to the unit and explained its unusual dual role. He assigned Ackbar as his wingmate and gave Tainer command of Two Flight while Janson had Three Flight. Cubber Daine was assigned as the unit's chief mechanic. After the meeting, Antilles greeted Solo when the general arrived on base to hand-deliver variant orders designed to test Zsinj's information-gathering capabilities and took his old friend out for a night on the base's entertainment facilities. Afterward, it was time for more training with the finalized unit, with Antilles devising a situation in which the targeting or weapons failed in each fighter of a wing pair, forcing the one with targeting sensors to share data with the armed pilot in order to succeed.
Over one breakfast, the nineteen-year-old Falynn Sandskimmer suggested that Antilles was past his prime; the commander immediately challenged her to a test of skill. In repulsorlift ore haulers with which neither was experienced, they raced through the Trench as Janson broadcast the contest back to the rest of the squadron. In the home stretch, Antilles used the repulsor characteristics of the hauler to launch his sled into the air and onto Sandskimmer's, allowing him to press past her for the victory. That afternoon, he announced Gray Squadron's formal designation as Wraith Squadron and the fact that the manumitted protocol droid Squeaky had been obtained as unit quartermaster.
As they prepared to leave for a hyperspace navigation exercise to the star, Doldrums, Jesmin Ackbar detected Imperial transmissions. Antilles placed the exercise on hold while the Wraiths checked out the possible threat. They confirmed that the Star Destroyer Implacable was advancing on Folor Base under Admiral Apwar Trigit, a rogue Imperial hired out to Zsinj. Crespin began evacuating as the Wraiths returned to base and let Trigit bombard a complex on the opposite side of the satellite, which had been set up as a decoy. With the transport Borleias delayed in launching due to a mechanical failure, the Wraiths and Crespin's A-wing training squad Blue Squadron had to stay and provide cover until it could flee. Trigit, realizing his mistake, began advancing on the base, and Antilles proposed an ambush of the advancing force from the Trench. While Antilles shot down Trigit's TIEs, Tainer came up with a plan to alter his, Ekwesh's, and two Blue pilots' fighters to a signal roughly equivalent to that of a YT-1300 and an X-wing squadron and broadcast as Leia Organa and a Rogue pilot using outdated encryption codes. Trigit was taken in by the deception and diverted the Implacable to chase the ersatz Millennium Falcon, allowing the Borleias to escape and the fighter pilots to follow. At Antilles's suggestion, all of the base's forces likewise headed to Doldrums. He was extremely impressed with the squadron, which had taken no losses and demonstrated great creativity and initiative.
They and the shuttle Narra, piloted by Daine, were pulled from the first leg of their hyperspace jump early and all of their fighters were disabled by a set of Empion mines. Low on fuel, with their navigation courses wiped, and likely with enemies on the way, Antilles decided to head for the nearest planet in the system, Xobome 6, where they could begin repairs in atmosphere. Antilles stayed in space, guarding the handful of wholly disabled fighters while Daine and Tainer worked on them in vacuum. Ton Phanan's starfighter was unsalvageable, and Garik Loran suggested using it as bait to get whatever ship investigated the mine detonation to pull in a live pilot. Antilles objected that the Imperials would be able to detect a live pilot, and Loran and Tainer came up with an elaborate plan to place a pilot inside the Narra's shielded smuggling compartment with ejector seat thrusters, an astromech to steer, and a cut-down starfighter laser cannon. The repaired fighters waited in an asteroid belt, and as soon as one of Zsinj's craft entered the system, the Narra deployed saBinring in the rigged-together compartment. SaBinring was able to fly into the bow hangar of the corvette Night Caller and take the bridge while the Wraiths shot down the two TIE fighters the ship had deployed.
The Night Caller deception
- "Ladies, gentlemen, I'm acting on my own initiative and sending off a request that High Command approve my new plan. Which is this: We've just become crewmen in Warlord Zsinj's fleet…and we're going to do his bidding until we can find a way to strike at him."
- ―Wedge Antilles
The Wraiths were able to fully access the Night Caller's databanks, determining that it was serving Zsinj and that its superiors had no idea of its capture. Tainer and Daine also detected and removed a spy device on an X-wing that had betrayed their location to Trigit's forces. Seeing the opportunity for subterfuge, Antilles sent Trigit a false report that the Night Caller had confirmed one destroyed fighter in the Xobome system. He continued on the Night Caller's originally assigned schedule of visits to worlds Zsinj was courting after imprisoning the crew in the hold; transferring Ackbar, Phanan, Loran, Thri'ag, Daine, and Squeaky aboard to crew the ship with Antilles; docking the Narra; and storing the unoccupied X-wings aboard ship. As they picked up the undetonated Empion mines laid by the Night Caller, Antilles rotated pilots through crew duty, and Tainer and Daine constructed a means to dock the two surviving TIE fighters in place of escape pods and store the squadron's X-wings tightly packed in the bow hangar.
The first stop of several in the unaligned border region between the New Republic and Empire was at the planet Viamarr 4, where Antilles and Sandskimmer buzzed the capital, Velery, in a pair of TIEs as in the Night Caller's original orders. Two old Headhunters rose to force them down at Velery Station; Antilles attempted to force the inexperienced pilots to break off, succeeding only when their superiors ordered them away. Meanwhile, Governor Watesk contacted the Night Caller, and Loran was able to con him into explaining that Zsinj had arranged for the rural world to sign an agreement with him granting him use of a parcel of land deeded under an alias, pay him taxes, and provide intelligence in exchange for a promise of military protection.
They then traveled quickly to the Doldrums system, where they transferred their prisoners to the New Republic, Admiral Ackbar commissioned Wraith Squadron as an operational unit, and the New Republic Defense Fleet provided the Night Caller with supplies and a full crew. Ackbar also approved Antilles's plan to continue making the Night Caller's stops, with Wraith Squadron raiding Zsinj-allied worlds afterward, in the hope that Zsinj would arrange a trap for the unit "following" the Night Caller and allow the New Republic to catch the warlord instead. Using the deceased Captain Zurel Darillian's full-holo ship's log, they were able to overlay an imitative hologram on Loran, who capably imitated Darillian's florid manner.
They returned to the Night Caller's circuit, during which time Antilles found Sarkin and Thri'ag fighting in the mess hall. Thri'ag explained that after he made a joke, she had attacked him; Sarkin offered no excuse for her actions. Startled at this behavior from one he had thought among the most even-tempered in the unit, the commander put Sarkin on report but waited to file a report until he had to, hoping to find a reason for her behavior.
The Night Caller visited the planet Xartun, where Governor Nojin Koolb signaled his allegiance to Zsinj. Meanwhile, all the Wraiths but Loran assembled as commandos on the planet's surface for a strike at the transparisteel factory given over to Zsinj. Antilles let Tainer, specifically trained as a commando, direct the operation. They waited for a day after receiving a recording of Loran's tour through the factory, then infiltrated the building. While Antilles and Tainer were setting explosives to destroy the facility, a probe droid attacked them. Tainer blew it up while the squadron leader distracted it, and the pair then finished mining the building. As guards and a pair of TIE fighters surrounded the factory, Antilles and Tainer arranged to distract them with one landspeeder on autopilot before escaping in a cargo skiff. It was the commander's idea to snag both of the grounded TIEs with the skiff's load lifters as they made their escape, then drop them from a height to disable them. They successfully fled as the factory exploded.
In the aftermath, Antilles asked the Wraiths, who continued to surprise him with their ingenuity and unconventional thinking, their analysis of what they had uncovered about the warlord's schemes. They concluded that Zsinj was operating a cell system of secret financial and industrial assets. To reduce suspicion, Antilles ordered Loran to pry less about Zsinj's business affairs, instead relying on New Republic Intelligence and Thri'ag's slicing to turn up information. As they had observed cubicles identical to those in which saBinring had been raised at Binring Biomedical Product, Antilles also asked him to provide information about Binring, which was likely collaborating with the former Grand Moff.
After an uneventful stop at the planet Belthu, the Night Caller traveled to the uninhabited M2398 system, where comm intercepts revealed what seemed to be a pirate nest. Antilles had his subordinates and new Captain Choday Hrakness of the Night Caller prepare for battle, then had Loran initiate contact. As they approached the pirate base, Blood Nest, Antilles detected an ambush. He launched in his TIE, prevented an attack by a hidden cannon, and ordered his force into combat, then engaged the pirate Uglies. In the engagement, Jesmin Ackbar was shot down and killed, despite Tainer's desperate attempt to nudge her fighter away from the moon's surface with his own. The remaining pirates were captured, and Antilles seized their base and pressed them for information on Zsinj. He then visited Tainer in sick bay, where the mechanic was suffering a nervous breakdown. Antilles sharply rebuked Tainer for his pattern of falling apart under pressure and responsibility, or succumbing to an excessive sense of failure and self-punishment, and ordered him to get back to his duties. Antilles himself then tackled the agonizing task of writing a letter of notification to Admiral Ackbar informing the admiral that his niece had died. Antilles later learned that Donos had suffered a complete mental breakdown after his astromech Shiner, the last survivor of Talon Squadron, was destroyed in the battle. The other pilots were covering for him and attempting to restore his mental health; Antilles and Janson did the same, not letting the rank and file realize that they knew Donos had suffered a collapse that could end his career. Fortunately for him, Sarkin, Sandskimmer, Loran, and Tainer managed to stage an intervention that shocked Donos out of his trauma and renewed his will to live.
Just after the intervention was complete, the Night Caller received a transmission from Zsinj himself, warning "Darillian" of the attacks being carried out in the ship's wake and instructing him to join Trigit in an attack on the survivors of Folor Base. The supposed concentration of New Republic forces in the Morobe system was in fact New Republic disinformation supplied by manipulating Zsinj's Project Morrt spy droids—the type the Wraiths had detected and reported in the Xobome system. First, they were to meet with the ship Hawkbat to resupply and host its captain for an inspection tour and meeting with Darillian. This presented the problem of contact with Zsinj's personnel, as well as the fact that the Night Caller was two TIEs short of its complement. Sandskimmer suggested that it was easy enough to steal more TIEs, but it was Loran and Phanan who hatched a scheme to infect the crew of the Hawkbat with a contagious disease, preventing personal contact with the Night Caller's crew without placing suspicion on the corvette.
The Wraiths traveled to Storinal, where the Hawkbat's crew was on leave, in the Narra, with the exception of Ekwesh, who landed on one of Storinal's moons and stood by to provide aid. With them was Lieutenant Atril Tabanne, second-in-command of the Night Caller and a qualified TIE pilot. Thri'ag remained hidden aboard the shuttle while the others debarked under the cover of false identities. Antilles, Donos, and Loran presented themselves as Fod, Lod, and Dod Nobrin of the planet Agamar, brothers who played to stereotypes of Agamarians as dim and backward. While Janson, Sandskimmer, saBinring, and Tabanne looked into stealing TIEs and Phanan, Tainer, and Sarkin planned the theft of a virus, the false Agamarians checked into the same hotel as the Hawkbat's crew. They immediately began keeping company with the crewers, buying drinks and acting entertainingly moronic. Antilles approved a plan to steal a sample of Bunkurd Sewer Disorder from the Scohar Xenohealth Institute and use it to infect the crew's shuttles. Meanwhile, he, Sandskimmer, Loran, and Tabanne infiltrated the bunker after two TIEs launched to deal with Ekwesh's buzzing of the spaceport. They recalled the TIEs while Antilles and Sandskimmer occupied the pair left behind, but Loran inadvertently used the New Republic slang "eyeball" for a TIE when broadcasting to the dispatched fighters, and the returning TIEs backed off at the last moment. Antilles and Sandskimmer each shot one down, then fled in their TIEs to the Night Caller in the outer system as the rest of the commandos escaped in the Narra.
The two ships rendezvoused in an uninhabited system, and with the Hawkbat under quarantine, the Night Caller took on a cargo of surveillance satellites but avoided the captain's tour. They then proceeded to the Todirium system, where Loran toured a durasteel warehouse. The Night Caller left the satellites behind before leaving, and the Wraiths then returned disguised as Rogue Squadron. They destroyed the warehouse and its defenses, convincing Zsinj that Rogue Squadron was trailing the Night Caller.
They then joined Trigit's strike force, consisting of the Implacable, the Night Caller, the corvette Constrictor, and the frigate Provocateur. They jumped to the Morobe system, but arrived to find the Implacable not with them; Trigit had figured out the trap mid-jump and dropped out of hyperspace prematurely. The Night Caller and the Wraiths in their X-wings fired on their companion ships, hoping to hold them for the New Republic ambush, and Antilles deployed with Janson, Sandskimmer, and Tabanne in the TIEs to cripple Constrictor. As it deployed its TIEs, Antilles fired into its bow hangar and disabled the ship, compelling its surrender. The X-wings destroyed Provocateur, but the Night Caller had taken a direct strike to the bridge, killing its command crew.
None of the ships had gotten off a message to Trigit, allowing the Night Caller to return to Zsinj's employ after time spent consulting with New Republic command on Talasea. Antilles spoke with Ackbar, caught up with the Rogues, and had the pleasure of issuing the Kalidor Crescent to Tainer for his attempt to save Jesmin Ackbar, as well as promoting Loran and Tainer to the rank of lieutenant and taking Sarkin off report. "Darillian" soon sent a report to Zsinj of the Night Caller's escape from the ambush and returned to the Night Caller's circuit with quick repairs to the bridge. Before Antilles could make the appointed buzz of Obinipor's corporate headquarters, Trigit and Zsinj contacted the ship with orders to join the Implacable in setting up an ambush of the supposedly trailing Rogue Squadron.
Zsinj decided to spring the trap at Ession, and the Night Caller quickly made for the Corporate Sector planet. They awaited on Ession's moon, but as battle with the New Republic's force neared, Tabanne grew concerned that the Night Caller might not be able to escape the Implacable quickly after the Wraiths launched. It had been planned that a faulty transmitter on the moon would provide static that would foul the Implacable's sensors, but if the larger ship destroyed the transmitter, they might be trapped. Antilles proposed a maneuver in which the Night Caller would stand on its stern but tether itself to the surface by a tractor beam, covering itself in a cloud of dust and moving within it by careful manipulation of the tractor beam. Tabanne was not confident in her crew's ability to pull off the maneuver, forcing Antilles to stay aboard to captain the ship while she took over the TIE unit.
When the New Republic's squadrons arrived, Antilles led the Night Caller in the so-called "Loran Spitball," firing a proton torpedo barrage from the X-wings in the bow hold before they launched; at the same time the TIEs targeted the Implacable's bridge and shield projectors. With its shields not yet raised for combat, the Implacable took serious damage, and Antilles immediately began his covering maneuver, personally piloting the Night Caller evasively and firing on the Star Destroyer. Sandskimmer and Thri'ag entered a breach in the ship, against Antilles's orders, and began firing on its power cells. They eventually brought it down, but as the commander had feared, Sandskimmer's fighter became hung up within and could not escape. Thri'ag barely made it out, but was killed by gunnery fire. Antilles offered the Implacable's TIEs a chance to break off the battle—an offer that was accepted by the voice of Soontir Fel. Antilles was baffled, but had more immediate worries, as Trigit had fled the ship in a hyperspace-capable TIE Interceptor. Donos, anguished at the loss of his girlfriend Sandskimmer, pursued him, as did Crespin, leader of one of the ambush squadrons, and killed him.
- "I'm leading children, and I'm getting them killed."
"What did you say?"
"It's true. Wedge, you asked for misfits. You had to have known that even with the ones who made the grade, they were going to take losses that were heavier than in a normal unit. So many of them are dragging around these weights of emotional problems. It makes it tougher for them to hop in the right direction at the right time."
"Even with that, as a group they're doing better than they ever had a right to. Some of them are fit to eat with real people. Even to fly with other units. That wasn't the case when you founded the Wraiths."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson
In the aftermath of the battle, the Wraiths were given leave on Borleias. Antilles hoped for intelligence on Fel and his missing sister, but New Republic Intelligence was as surprised as he at Fel's return. The squadron returned to Coruscant, where, while on leave, they were attacked in a bar by a cyborg. The fight was quickly broken up by New Republic Military Police, but as they were led outside, Loran determined that the police were impostors. The pilots struck out, defeating their would-be captors. Investigation suggested that the impostors were agents of Zsinj, and it was likely that the warlord had identified Wraith Squadron as the unit that had caused him so much trouble and decided to retaliate. Antilles canceled leave, and was soon joined by new pilots to replace the Wraiths' losses: slicer Castin Donn, vehicle specialist Dia Passik, and unarmed combat trainer and intelligence expert Shalla Nelprin. Antilles reorganized the squadron to deal with the additions, assigning Donn as his wingman, moving Janson and Passik into his flight, giving Donos command of Three Flight, and shifting authority over Two Flight from Tainer to Loran. Though Tainer had overcome his difficulty dealing with responsibility in the Battle of Ession, Loran was emerging as a talented and creative officer, and the commander preferred to advance him into a leadership role. Antilles had to deal with some small issues of settling in the new pilots, such as Donn's request that he be transferred from his room assignment with Ekwesh. Reviewing his record and testing Donn's reactions, Antilles became convinced that the Coruscant native nursed speciesist tendencies and told Donn that he would have to get used to interaction with those of other species.
Ackbar issued the squadron new orders: New Republic High Command had been so impressed by their performance infiltrating Zsinj's operations that the Wraiths were assigned to analyze his operations and put their unconventional minds to work attempting to determine what Zsinj's grand plan was. Antilles assigned three team leaders—Ekwesh, saBinring, and Loran—to form their own analysis groups, then submitted their theories to High Command. Meanwhile, Loran and Phanan presented Antilles with their desire to expose a corrupt training officer who had once preyed upon a friend of theirs by artificially inflating her scores in remedial training and attempting to use it as leverage to get her to participate in a scheme to steal training X-wings. They wished to bait the officer into doing the same with a contact of theirs, but she refused to jeopardize her career by achieving poor scores and turning informant unless she had a guaranteed position waiting for her. The two pilots asked if Antilles would consider allowing their contact, Lara Notsil, to fly for him after the sting. He disapproved of the entire operation, but after the pair's reassurances, he agreed to consider her for Rogue or Wraith Squadron contingent on his own evaluation of her skills.
High Command was pleased with all of the Wraiths' theories, moving on Loran's suggestion that Zsinj might target the Kuat yards to steal a Super Star Destroyer and authorizing a combination of saBinring's and Ekwesh's plans. Wraith Squadron would disguise itself as a pirate unit similar to the Blood Nest group Zsinj had attempted to recruit and begin preying on a planet that fit the profile of those Zsinj attempted to recruit with offers of protection. They would technically be assigned to the Solo Fleet, but would be operating independently as the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force from a base in an abandoned asteroid mine in the Halmad system.
With the squadron short of X-wings and without enough TIEs to make up the difference, the first order of business was to capture additional TIEs for use in the pirate deception. The Wraiths recycled the cyborg-and-military-police routine that had been used against them, having Phanan start a staged fight with Tainer in a bar that grew to include a group of TIE pilots on an evening's leave from Victory Base outside Hullis, the capital of the planet Halmad. The rest of the squadron, with the exception of saBinring, broke it up and arrested all of them, posing as military police. Lacking an official transport, they waited on the road outside the base for a military police skimmer to arrive, having had Donn pay off individuals in multiple bars to start trouble that would bring in the genuine authorities. When one did pass by, they hitched a ride to enter the base, saying that their own skimmer had broken down. Once within, Antilles led most of them to the base hangar, where they stole five TIE Interceptors and left graffiti identifying the theft as the work of the Hawk-bats. They were interrupted by the arrival of a new shift of guards to replace the ones they had stunned, but were able to drive them off and launch the TIEs. Antilles flew one away, firing on the base's command center, as the extra Wraiths escaped in a commandeered skimmer.
They began pirate missions, with Loran operating as the leader of the Hawk-bats, "General Kargin." The battered Xiytiar-class transport Sungrass transported the fighters and stolen cargo they acquired by disabling ships in the area. Those members of Wraith Squadron with X-wings were also assigned more traditional missions in the Solo Fleet in order to help maintain the pretense that they were in Han Solo's armada, operating against Zsinj. Antilles was glad to reunite with the Rogues and his friend Solo aboard the flagship Mon Remonda. While there, he learned that Notsil had executed her exposure of Colonel Atton Repness, the corrupt training officer, without Wraith assistance. She had also taken an accelerated training course afterward, proving herself an exceptional pilot. Though both Rogue and Wraith Squadrons were at full personnel complement, Wraith was badly undersupplied with X-wings, and she would bring a fighter with her, so he accepted her transfer to that unit. On hearing about Notsil's accomplishment, Sarkin approached the commander and confessed that Repness had approached her in the past; though she did not know it, she was the reason Loran, Phanan, and Tainer had masterminded the sting operation. She had not stolen a fighter for him, but she had allowed him to blackmail her into silence due to the fact that her unaltered scores were failing—it was her sensitivity to the issue of altered scores that had provoked the earlier fight with Thri'ag. She informed the commander that Repness's data could destroy her career, but Antilles quickly decided that he was unwilling to lose her and, if the investigation reached her, he would state that she had originally approached him as soon as she joined the squadron and he, not knowing who else might be involved in Repness's operation, had masterminded the training colonel's exposure. Only if put under oath would he admit the truth. He never had to do so, as Notsil had deleted all of Repness's blackmail files except her own.
Antilles also discovered that Mon Remonda was responding predictably to leads on Zsinj's operations. Together with Solo, Celchu, and Nelprin, he went over the pattern of activity and concluded that Zsinj was likely leaking information to Solo and using it to build a profile of his nemesis's responses. In addition, the sites the Solo Fleet was striking did not seem to be owned by Zsinj; they had been set up to allow Solo to do the warlord's work for him. Klivian, with the Rogues, came up with a plan to avoid doing the same with a lead on the planet Lavisar without tipping off that they were on to Zsinj: a commando strike would plant a bomb to disable the planet's sensor network, but the bomb would deliberately fail, allowing Lavisar authorities to detect the strike force's approach and drive off Wraith Squadron. They executed the mission as planned until Notsil detected Imperial transmissions from within their escape vector; they had to engage the garrison of a lunar base in order to make their escape.
They returned to Hawk-bat Base to find that Tainer, Phanan, Ekwesh, and Donn had launched several pirate missions on their own initiative, sliced into Halmad's information network, and discovered that two new TIE bases were being built on the planet. Antilles thought it appropriate that the Hawk-bats destroy the two bases simultaneously. One team took over the fueling tanker Bastion, capturing its two escort TIE fighters, and proceeded with the plan to ram the tanker into the base near Hullis. The main force, with Antilles among it but Loran directing operations in case their communications were intercepted, struck at the base near the city of Fellon. It proved to be a trap, with three squadrons lifting and unexpected shields protecting the base. In addition, Iron Fist showed itself in orbit. In fierce fighting, the Hawk-bats quickly cleared eleven enemy TIEs, and the group aboard the Bastion instead used the ship to damage the Star Dreadnought. With Phanan shot down, Antilles recommended the others flee, knowing that if they circled to protect the downed pilot they would be cut to pieces by the enemy's superior numbers. Loran confirmed the order, but stayed behind himself to rescue his best friend.
As they recovered from the battle and waited for word on Loran and Phanan, they received a message from Zsinj informing them that Halmad was now under his protection, and offering the Hawk-bats a chance to enter his employ. Both Antilles and Donn agreed that, being on Imperial records as a criminal, Donn would be too well known for the contact party. The slicer, however, suggested that he infiltrate the ship from within the Narra's smuggling compartment and use the opportunity to upload a program that would track Iron Fist's movements. Feeling any such attempt under the tight scrutiny of their first contact with Zsinj would be too likely to go amiss, Antilles asked him to work up the program but wait for another opportunity to implement it. Loran returned in time to lead the contact team as Kargin, and had been with Phanan as he succumbed to his injuries on Halmad. The veteran commander attempted to counsel Loran on the pain of losing a friend, a constant presence for Antilles. While Loran, Tainer, and Passik traveled to Iron Fist to meet with Zsinj, Donos and Notsil traveled to the planet Aldivy, where her brother had resurfaced and contacted her for a reunion in what turned out to be a Zsinj ploy. Antilles returned to Coruscant for orders and took several Wraiths with him for brief leave. Not with them was Donn, who had been insubordinate when insisting on implementing his plan immediately during a pilot's meeting. For that, the commander confined him to Hawk-bat Base.
Despite that, Donn sneaked into the shuttle's smuggling compartment and attempted to carry out the mission anyway, getting himself killed and nearly compromising the entire Hawk-bat deception. Though Loran had been successful in ensuring the Hawk-bats a highly-paid role in an operation by Zsinj, said to be a theft from an orbital storehouse, and Notsil and Donos had prevented an attempt by Zsinj to put her to use feeding the warlord intelligence, Antilles felt heavily burdened by the double loss within his unit. He put that aside as he and Janson analyzed the data Zsinj had provided to prepare for the raid, hoping to deduce his target. Based on the heavy protection, they thought it might be Coruscant, until they realized that the New Republic units Zsinj had provided were actually approximations of Imperial defenses, designed to allow for accurate strength in simulations while throwing off predictions. It was the planet Kuat he would strike, and as Loran had earlier predicted, he was attempting to steal a Star Dreadnought. With morale down, Antilles acceded to Ekwesh's urging that he order all base personnel to show up in dress uniform or formal dress at the mess, where they found the Thakwaash pilot had prepared a formal dance, which cheered the pilots significantly. Antilles left after one dance, freeing the junior officers to cavort as they wished.
Antilles had earlier found a stuffed Ewok toy in his simulator, dressed as a New Republic pilot and labeled "Lieutenant Kettch"—the name Janson had used when briefly convincing Antilles that there was a specially trained Ewok pilot candidate for Wraith Squadron. The toy continued to circulate throughout the base in pranks, which Antilles determined was the work of Janson by sewing a transmitter into the doll. The Kettch prank was continued when the voice-altering program Donn had installed in the pirate TIEs changed Antilles's voice to that of an Ewok. Zsinj had detected that variation during combat and Loran explained their Ewok pilot to him as Lieutenant Kettch, an Ewok enhanced by the same techniques as saBinring and endowed with prosthetic appendages to give him the reach to operate a starfighter. As a result, Antilles thereafter had to wear the Kettch toy strapped to his chest while flying in case any of Zsinj's pilots were able to see within the cockpit.
Antilles flew with the Hawk-bats with Passik as his wingmate, while Nelprin was selected for Zsinj's advance capture party. The rest of the Wraiths were stationed with the Solo Fleet in their X-wings, ready to pounce on Iron Fist and the new Star Dreadnought in the event the undercover pilots were able to achieve their objective of inserting Donn's program or placing a transmitter to track the ships. When the time came, they rendezvoused with Zsinj's fleet, as did several other pirate and mercenary outfits. The six Hawk-bats were assigned to attack the TIE complement of the Star Destroyer Mauler as Zsinj's forces covered the escape of the Star Dreadnought Razor's Kiss. After eliminating them with the aid of Vibroaxe Squadron and Zsinj's 181st Fighter Group, Antilles was contacted by Fel, who expressed a desire to fly with Kettch. As Kettch, Antilles surreptitiously asked about his sister; Fel confirmed that his wife was alive but not aboard Iron Fist. He was disturbed by Fel's seeming comfort in Zsinj's employ and the disappearance of the respect for the New Republic and for Antilles that Fel had developed during their time flying together, and he faced the unpleasant thought that he might have to kill his brother-in-law and former comrade.
After the ships made their escape to hyperspace, with Nelprin and saBinring each having managed to hide a TIE on a Star Dreadnought's hull in position to destroy the shield generators, the Hawk-bats took their payment and departed, rendezvousing with Mon Remonda. Nearly as soon as they returned, Donn's program returned a signal and the Wraiths jumped with Solo's task force to attack the pair of Star Dreadnoughts. Nelprin was able to bring down the shields of Razor's Kiss, leading Antilles to order a strafing run on the unprotected and under-crewed ship. Combined with Nelprin's assault on the bridge, Mon Remonda's squadrons disabled the mammoth battleship and engaged the fighters Iron Fist began deploying. Antilles ordered the tired and understrength Wraiths to escort the B-wings of Nova Squadron. Taking on nine starfighters, Antilles killed most of the enemies but had his fighter damaged. When Crespin's Screaming Wookiee Training Squadron arrived from the frigate Tedevium, he turned over Nova Squadron to the general and had the Wraiths join Rogue Squadron in facing the 181st. As he approached the 181st, saBinring managed to activate his damaged fighter and weaken Iron Fist's shields. With the ship in increasing jeopardy and Mon Remonda crippled, allowing him to finally proceed past it, Zsinj abandoned Razor's Kiss, recalled his fighters, and jumped Iron Fist to hyperspace.
Lieutenant Loran had taken serious injuries in the battle, but fully recovered. Antilles took the opportunity of the unit's celebration of his survival to present Nelprin with her promotion to lieutenant; he had seen great potential in her as an officer soon after she joined the unit. Mon Remonda returned to Coruscant for repairs, and while on the capital world Antilles did some reorganizing. He rejoined the Rogues as a pilot and active commanding officer, bumping Celchu to the position of his wingman. He remained commander of Wraith Squadron and retained the Wraith Leader callsign when operating with them, but gave Garik Loran the Wraith One callsign, a brevet promotion to captain, and day-to-day operational command over the unit. He saw a tremendous talent for leadership in the former actor, including his work with Notsil to design new tactics utilizing Wraith Squadron's combination of X-wings and TIE Interceptors, which made him stand above Tainer and even Donos, a former squadron leader.
Plot and counterplot
- "Get the Wraiths together. We're going to conduct one of their insane speculation and planning sessions. Pilots' lounge. And invite any Rogues who want to attend. As usual, with Zsinj, we have to dig one level farther down."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Nawara Ven
While on Coruscant, Antilles rekindled his relationship with Iella Wessiri, going out for dinner dates with her. His comrades picked up on the uncustomary addition to his routine, with Janson and Klivian giving him a good deal of ribbing about his attraction. Meanwhile, saBinring was seriously wounded during an assassination attempt on Ackbar carried out by a security officer whom saBinring killed, leaving the reason for the attack a mystery. To Antilles's relief, saBinring survived, but he would have to continue recovery in a bacta tank aboard Mon Remonda after it shipped out. Wraith Squadron was aided by the arrival of Elassar Targon, a fresh academy graduate with training as a corpsman who was more than willing to live up to Wraith Squadron's reputation as an oddball unit.
When Mon Remonda shipped out to resume the campaign against Zsinj, Antilles was in command of its entire starfighter complement, consisting of the Rogues, Wraiths, A-wing unit Polearm Squadron, and Nova Squadron. Among their first missions was an attempt to fight off an attack on Levian Two by Zsinj's premier Raptor units, but they arrived after the raid. The force began search-and-rescue operations, but just as it did, Zsinj's fleet exited hyperspace in an ambush. Antilles executed an attack by the X-wing and B-wing squadrons on Iron Fist's stern, targeting its port engines in an attempt to throw the ship off course as Solo's task force attempted to flee through Zsinj's primary group. He then had the Rogues and Wraiths each target a Carrack-class cruiser, destroying them and weakening Zsinj's flank. Combined with the arrival of Solo's Group Two and the combined maneuvering of Mon Remonda and Mon Karren, the task force was able to escape with no significant losses.
After the battle, Solo informed Antilles that New Republic Intelligence was worried about the possibility that the assassination attempt against Ackbar had been part of a Twi'lek conspiracy. Antilles confirmed his confidence in the Twi'leks under his command, satisfying the general. Their next mission was to the planet Saffalore, the site of Binring Biomedical Product and the last remaining major lead on Zsinj that Wraith Squadron had developed. SaBinring was released from treatment just in time to participate. The Wraiths were assigned to infiltrate and investigate the Binring facility while the Rogues provided support. The commander let Loran plan and, after revisions to the plan, lead the Wraith side of the operation. The squadrons inserted themselves on the planet in a meteor shower, then set up a hidden camp outside the capital of Lurark. Antilles remained there with the Rogues while the Wraiths acted, until Loran punched through Binring's jamming to announce the commandos had been ambushed and badly wounded by Zsinj's stormtroopers and needed immediate air support. Antilles led the Rogues there, making a snap proton torpedo shot to destroy a TIE menacing Notsil and Targon. He assigned Two Flight to cover the Wraiths' extraction and destroy the Binring facility while he and the rest of the unit took on the local airbase's TIE complement, setting up an ambush that helped to thin the enemy forces. They then strafed the base itself and led away forces raised from the next nearest base while the others escaped.
The Wraiths, having barely survived an incinerator rigged as a trap, were almost entirely unfit for duty. Antilles talked with Loran in his cabin afterward, thinking he would need to offer the new captain reassurance. He instead found, to his pleasure, that Loran was focused on their survival against the odds and their capture of Doctor Edda Gast, Zsinj's scientist running the biological manipulation program.
Soon after, the Solo Fleet traveled to the Imperial world of Jussafet Four, which had been attacked by the Raptors. As the fighters deployed, Tal'dira suddenly fired on Antilles. With only a split second of warning from Corran Horn, Antilles maneuvered away but took significant damage. Pandemonium erupted as the trusted commander of Two Flight continued to target Rogue Leader, while Nuro Tualin of Polearm Squadron fired on Mon Remonda's bridge. Sarkin shot down Tualin, but there was a protracted standoff as Celchu interposed himself between Tal'dira and Antilles. Antilles curved his crippled ship toward Horn, who had moved out of formation, and Horn shot down Tal'dira in a head-to-head pass.
Antilles took his fighter in, handing command to Celchu until he was able to switch to a new fighter and join the effort to eject Zsinj's troops. It turned into a rout, and as they prepared to leave the system, an Imperial Star Destroyer arrived. Imperial Admiral Teren Rogriss of Agonizer asked that Antilles be sent aboard for negotiations, a prospect Solo rejected as suspicious. Rogriss agreed to accept a member of one of Antilles's squadrons, so Loran instead made the trip. Loran reported that Rogriss, the commander of the Imperial task force targeting Zsinj, had relayed a secret but official offer to cooperate against the warlord, sharing information and possibly resources. He also bore the news that though Fel might be with Zsinj, it was not the genuine 181st Imperial Fighter Group with which he flew; that unit remained under the command of Fel's former executive officer Turr Phennir.
Solo accepted the offer, and in its wake met with Antilles, who had been acting as one of his top lieutenants and advisors, to review the attacks by the two Twi'leks, which had happened in concert with a Coruscant attempt on Mon Mothma carried out by her Gotal bodyguard. After that had been two more Gotal terrorist attacks. In addition, a Human mess worker named Galey had attempted to kill Gast, but was foiled by Nawara Ven, who had been negotiating with her to divulge what she knew of Zsinj's operations. Galey was killed, and Antilles announced that Gast had died in the attack as well, keeping her safe from further attempts. Galey had spoken with Tualin and Tal'dira before their attacks; as his attack on Gast was only in Zsinj's interest, it became clear that the entire spate of assassinations was one of the warlord's plots. Tal'dira had shifted his shields to allow Horn to kill him, suggesting he was not actually committed to the attack. Nonetheless, orders had come from the Provisional Council that, until the matter was sorted out, all Twi'leks were suspended from duty. Antilles was outraged and had to deliver the news to his three Twi'lek subordinates: Ven, Passik, and mechanic Koyi Komad. As he did so, he realized that by taking the New Republic's Twi'leks off active duty and raising the specter of speciesism and species war, Zsinj had achieved a victory, and he promptly called for one of the Wraiths' infamous off-the-wall speculation and analysis sessions, inviting the Rogues to participate as well. Convinced he had hit upon Zsinj's plan, he had them brainstorm as to what Zsinj's next acts might be, which species he would implicate and which targets he would select. SaBinring was able to offer the insight that the assassins had been captured and brainwashed on leave through a project related to the sentience modification program he had undergone. They predicted that Zsinj would target a major New Republic species next, playing to stereotypical roles in the attacks as the Twi'lek and Gotal warriors had. As such, they predicted a piloting accident involving a Sullustan or a Bothan slicer attack. Antilles informed Airen Cracken of their predictions and suggested that live capture of one of Zsinj's agents could provide proof of brainwashing and neutralize Zsinj's plan.
Victory over Zsinj
- "Maybe, ultimately, I believe in happy endings. I can hope for them, anyway."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Han Solo
In the meeting, Solo had also authorized Antilles to proceed with a plan suggested by some of the pilots to lure Zsinj into responding to their actions by baiting him with Han Solo. By mocking up a Millennium Falcon and suggesting that Solo was flying personal missions in it as he had earlier, they hoped to pull the warlord into a trap. Antilles took his Corellian subordinates—Horn, Donos, and Daine—to a Corellian scrapyard with M-3PO and purchased a YT-1300 freighter. Antilles then worked with Solo and Chewbacca to transform the ship into a close visual approximation of the famed freighter.
Knowing that morale aboard ship was strained, including Solo's, Antilles proposed to him a plan to boost the crew's spirits. They took over the officers' mess one evening and imposed new rules: there would be no rank insignia and no references to rank within. Officers would be treated not as officers, but as beings who looked suspiciously similar to the individuals in question. Pilots would only be allowed in with their astromechs in tow. Enlisted and commissioned personnel were both admitted. In this atmosphere of complete informality, they set up refreshments, dancing, and games, including astromech competitions alongside the predominant card games. Antilles spent most of the daylong party playing sabacc with Solo as off-duty personnel gravitated to the event, eventually overflowing into nearby facilities. When the entertainment ceased and Antilles and Solo ended the last game of sabacc, the entertainment had reinvigorated the crew's spirits.
The next morning, Antilles prepared for a mission to the planet Kidriff 5, the debut of the freighter he had dubbed the Millennium Falsehood. The Falsehood would show up at the Zsinj-held world and deploy a pair of intelligence agents to assist its pro-New Republic resistance movement. After being spotted, it would escape with the aid of the Rogues and Wraiths waiting near the planet's moon, Celchu's direct escort, and four Wraiths inserted ahead of time with their TIE Interceptors. With the burn victims finally recovered, they were able to field Wraith Squadron at nearly full strength once more, though Antilles was still forbidden from using Passik. Antilles, as the second most skilled pilot of Corellian transports in the fleet, and Chewbacca piloted the ship to Kidriff 5's surface without incident, though it took Janson to remind the commander that he would need an interpreter to communicate with Chewbacca; for that purpose, the quartermaster droid Squeaky was brought aboard. Antilles put up with Chewbacca and Squeaky's bickering for an evening, then took off at dawn the next morning, waiting to be detected by a police overflight. When TIEs closed on the freighter, Celchu, and the interceptor group, Antilles took to the gun turret. The full fighter force was able to clear them of pursuit, and they prepared to depart the system.
Loran, however, refused to form up with the main group to jump. He explained to Antilles privately that he had just discovered, through a message he had received from New Republic Intelligence after becoming suspicious and requesting information, that his wingmate Lara Notsil was in fact Gara Petothel, the same Imperial Intelligence agent who had been responsible for entering the information that led to the destruction of Donos's Talon Squadron. He wished to protect Antilles from possible betrayal, and Antilles agreed. Petothel, however, caught on, and Loran placed her under arrest. She complied, insisting she had become loyal to the New Republic during her time with the Wraiths, but Donos snapped and attacked her, firing a proton torpedo even though Loran had interposed his fighter. Donos detonated the torpedo just in time to save Loran, but Petothel refused to continue with the group after that. Antilles assured her she would be safe and he would have Nawara Ven take her case, but she knew she would never be able to fly with the Wraiths again, and after a last pledge of her loyalty, she fled to hyperspace.
As soon as they returned to Mon Remonda, Antilles rounded on Donos, demanding a reason he should not court-martial the man. Donos claimed that he had not been in his right mind and apologetically admitted that he was no longer confident in his own mental stability. He offered to resign, an offer Antilles promised to consider; the only reason he did not do so immediately was that Donos had detonated the torpedo prematurely. He then privately reproached Loran for making an issue of Petothel in the field and forcing the matter to play out in such a poor situation, especially when Petothel had shown no previous signs of being an imminent danger, and Loran admitted that his gut instinct told him she had not been a danger. Donos entered the office as soon as Loran had left and formally tendered his resignation. Antilles quickly perceived that, as when Donos had earlier suffered a mental breakdown, he was hiding his true feelings behind a facade. He took off one of his boots, propped his feet on the desk, and forced Donos to do the same, then ordered him to recite his resignation speech once more in this absurd setting. Donos was unable to, and Antilles asked him to instead articulate his genuine thoughts rather than the carefully crafted and generic speech. Evaluating him, Antilles decided that Donos was in fact unstable, and criticized him for not having done anything to remedy his fragile mental state. He ordered Donos to speak with a fellow pilot and then with the New Republic medics about his problems; he would not be on active duty again until someone other than Donos convinced Antilles he was fit to fly. In the meantime, to deflect investigation, Antilles put the incident down in his reports as an accidental weapons discharge, as Donos could not remember firing. He hoped that Donos's career could be salvaged, but he was not optimistic.
Meanwhile, Cracken had foiled an attempt by Zsinj to have a Sullustan crash a vessel into Coruscant's surface as well as an attempt to have a Bothan blow up a power station. Also, Gast emerged from bacta treatment, and Ven was able to cut a deal with her to reveal the signs of Zsinj's brainwashing program. He rigged the deal to land the hostile and deadly woman back in New Republic prison, even with the amnesty she had been granted for previous crimes, by paying her with Imperial credits in quantity sufficient to qualify for a sedition charge. With that information, the Twi'leks were allowed back on duty. The pilots then began a heavy mission load both of raids and Millennium Falsehood appearances, which took a toll on the pilots but devastated Zsinj's business network. Antilles opted to go through with the Millennium Falsehood plan, even though Petothel might have compromised it, because he believed she had told the truth about her loyalty, and she had not proved a security risk in the past.
After being provoked into finally taking revenge for Janson's many pranks when the lieutenant admitted that he had circulated word of Antilles's failure to realize he would need a Shyriiwook translator and taken bets on the commander's response when confronted with the fact, Antilles arranged an elaborate practical joke of his own. After one Millennium Falsehood mission, he made sure Janson saw a crate being removed from the ship with Squeaky inside making Ewok noises. Antilles confided in him that there was an Ewok within, brought in to play the role of Lieutenant Kettch, and drafted Janson into a supposed secret team entrusted with the knowledge of "Chulku" the Ewok and responsible for feeding him. When Janson was first called into feed the Ewok, Antilles pretended Chulku had escaped and had Janson chase after the unseen Ewok with him, making sure they crashed into a closet of cleaning supplies. Claiming Chulku would smell them and never be lured back, he had Janson strip naked and smear Ewok food on himself to mask the scent, then proceed through one door as he tried a different route. Antilles had set up most of the Wraiths within the next room, standing as if frozen, and locked Janson in with the bizarre tableau. Just as Janson was about to leave out another door, Antilles entered and the other Wraiths snapped to attention, leaving Janson thoroughly chagrined and Antilles highly amused.
The next day's mission was to show up on the planet Comkin V with the Millennium Falsehood. Though he was forbidden to fly, Donos volunteered to man the Falsehood's guns, and Antilles allowed it. They rigged the freighter especially for the mission with an outrigger set to mimic the profile of a YT-2400 light freighter, in which was hidden an A-wing flown by Dorset Konnair of Polearm Squadron and a large explosive charge. Squeaky was also set up to mimic the voice of Han Solo in transmissions, further establishing the authenticity of the deception. It became clear that the planetary authorities were on to them before they even landed, and Antilles made to escape but was cut off by the arrival of Zsinj's Dreadnaught the Reprisal and its two TIE Interceptor squadrons, among them a squadron of the mock 181st. The first attack run against them was made by Fel and Petothel and their respective wingmen. Squeaky opined that Petothel was not a threat, having detected that her lasers were on low power and transmitting a coded message. They continued to dogfight, detaching the explosive charge and setting Konnair loose. The Reprisal, believing the charge to merely be a flimsy shroud for the fighter, did not intercept it and so was crippled just before the Wraiths were able to arrive in support, driving off the enemy interceptors.
Afterward, Antilles, Solo, Captain Onoma of the Mon Remonda, Loran, Nelprin, and Donos analyzed Petothel's message. She claimed that she had predicted their mission to Comkin V for Zsinj, as well as suggesting the Vahaba system as a possibility, and was working on a plan to broadcast Iron Fist's location in her guise as an officer for Zsinj. Loran, Nelprin, and Donos all agreed that she was telling the truth, and so Solo agreed to go forward with an attempt to lure Zsinj into a trap at Vahaba. To hold Zsinj in place, as the warlord was refusing to enter gravity wells where he could not quickly escape to hyperspace, he had Loran contact Rogriss and arrange for the loan of an interdictor. Meanwhile, Mon Remonda's medics submitted their report on Donos's fitness for duty, which suggested he was at best on the edge of breakdown. After interviewing him and finding that Donos was eager to contribute, willing to follow orders, and free in expressing his emotional state, Antilles recertified him for duty.
With Rogriss aboard the Interdictor cruiser Stellar Web, Solo's fleet lurked in the Vahaba system, its fighter complement scouring the system for signs of Zsinj's presence. Once Iron Fist and its companion ships were spotted, the fleet leaped into action. Antilles led nearly the entire starfighter complement of the fleet in a long torpedo run against Iron Fist, then broke up the force into squadrons for further strafing runs on Iron Fist, pinned by Stellar Web. By sending Serpent's Smile on a collision course with Stellar Web, however, Zsinj forced the Interdictor to break off, and Iron Fist escaped. What seemed like another fruitless battle proved suddenly promising when a message from Petothel arrived indicating that she had sabotaged both Iron Fist's navigation and hyperdrive systems, causing it to jump outside the range of its support fleet and leaving it stranded in the Selaggis system. A holocomm message from Zsinj, routed from Hawk-bat Base, asking the pirates for aid confirmed that the warlord was in distress, immediately sending the fleet jumping for Selaggis.
On arrival, Antilles was assigned four squadrons of X-wings, Polearm Squadron, and the mixed Wraiths, and sent to sweep the gas giant Selaggis VI's ring for Iron Fist, where they suspected it to be hiding. Polearm Leader Todra Mayn spotted the ship first, and Antilles sent his fighters in a slow and stealthy approach, using larger asteroids for cover from the many smaller particles in the ring. As they attacked, Donos called to abort; though initially fearing the pilot had snapped once more, Antilles aborted when Donos calmly repeated his warning. In doing so, he narrowly saved the group as Iron Fist opened fire on the large asteroids, detonating them in hails of shrapnel. Donos had recalled the mission from a simulator run involving the same tactic, allowing Antilles to mount a second approach that avoided the larger asteroids. The fighters quickly began bombarding the Star Dreadnought, doing so unopposed until Zsinj recalled his own fighters from harassing Mon Remonda.
While dogfighting, Antilles observed the faux 181st moving through the ring toward Selcaron, one of Selaggis VI's moons and the former site of a colony that Zsinj had destroyed. Suspicious, Antilles pulled his two squadrons out of the group, leaving Mayn to command the effort against Iron Fist, and followed Fel's unit. When the interceptors began strafing the colony ruins, Antilles suspected a trap but felt he had no choice but to engage in case there were survivors on the surface. Fel immediately rose to duel Antilles, and his wingmate soon decelerated and exploded in a massive fireball, crippling Celchu's fighter and forcing him to eject. Fel settled on Antilles's tail, but the New Republic pilot used the interceptor's greater susceptibility to the strong crosswinds of the area to get the drop on Fel's fighter when it was caught in a gust, shooting it down. Antilles put down and rushed to drag Fel from the cockpit, only to find that Imperial actor Tetran Cowall had been playing the role as part of an elaborate attempt to lure in Antilles, whom Zsinj knew to have an interest in Soontir Fel, and allow the droid-piloted bombs that made up half the ersatz 181st to destroy Rogue Squadron. As a squadron of Zsinj's new TIE Raptors arrived overhead, Antilles was only saved by the sudden arrival of Gara Petothel, who broke up a strafing run on the still-grounded Antilles. He launched and joined her, only to see her shot down just before the Raptors were defeated. Though she survived, Antilles was content to avoid reporting it, knowing that she would be brought up on charges of treason if she returned to the New Republic.
Though Zsinj escaped the larger battle, New Republic forces found what seemed to be Iron Fist's wreckage after the ship entered a cloaked field; what they did not know was that it was the ruin of Razor's Kiss, placed to allow Iron Fist to escape unsuspected. Many of the Polearm and Nova pilots had been killed in the explosion of Second Death, the decoy ship, but Antilles reminded the survivors to take pride in their accomplishment. Rogue Squadron was rotated to planet-based assignments afterward, while the Wraiths had been so successful in their unorthodox mission profile that the unit was transferred to New Republic Intelligence. The squadron's pilots had the option to stay with the unit or with Starfighter Command. Most stayed under the now fully commissioned Captain Loran, but Janson transferred back to the Rogues as he had always intended to do, and Donos expressed a desire to remain a pilot; Antilles placed him in Rogue Squadron as well. After her presumed death, the fleet had received a recorded transmission from Notsil fully exposing Zsinj's brainwashing plot, but even later Mon Remonda's crew detected a message sent from her to Donos, stating she had acquired a new identity and was looking for a second chance with Donos; the pair had begun to develop feelings for each other just before her exposure. Antilles and Solo decided to forward the message to Donos and erase all record of it, protecting the woman who had proven loyal to the New Republic in the end.
Having received Ackbar's approval, Antilles avoided losing his bet and being commissioned a general. Zsinj was fully defeated within a month, killed when Solo