- "Obviously Nereus is the real power on Bakura. But he's trying to keep the Bakurans quiet by letting them play government games."
"You bet he is. And he's as bugged as a closet full of rat roaches about having armed Rebel ships in his system."
- ―Princess Leia and Han Solo
Wilek Nereus was a Human male Imperial governor of Bakura during its short tenure within the Galactic Empire. Following the annexation of Bakura by the Empire in 1 BBY, Nereus administrated the planet and wielded greater authority than even the Bakuran Prime Minister and the local Senate. A staunch Imperial loyalist, he despised the Rebel Alliance and viewed alien species as objects.
In 4 ABY, Bakura was attacked by the saurian Ssi-ruuk from the Unknown Regions. With the Bakuran defenses overwhelmed, Nereus dispatched a message drone to the Imperial fleet in the Endor system. Following a truce with Alliance delegates, the Imperials and Bakurans were able to defeat the Ssi-ruuvi invaders. No longer needing the Alliance's help, Nereus then turned on his former Alliance allies and destroyed several of their ships. However, he was deposed and captured by Bakuran revolutionaries. In an ensuing confrontation with Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, Nereus was killed.
- "...I have tried to be lenient with Bakura, and it betrays my good intentions. I give up. I must operate like any other Imperial governor, branding the terror of the Empire on Bakuran hearts..."
- ―Wilek Nereus
Wilek Nereus was a male Human from the moon OrulShai III, which orbited the resort world of Gyosha in the Galactic Core. At some point in his life, he joined the Imperial Navy and served at various locations across the Outer Rim Territories, including the Jospro sector, Alk'lellish III, and Arkonne III. Sometime during his tour of duty on Arkonne III, he developed a relationship with Divina Quri Adner, who was assassinated by her business rival Phean Tic'Karcta. Nereus placed an Imperial bounty on Phean, whom he personally killed.
In his youth, he developed an interest in the dentition and parasitology of Non-Human species which he would continue into adult life. By 4 BBY, he had collected tooth samples of predators from seventeen worlds, including the Bakuran cratsch, the ketrann of Alk'lellish III, the cooha of Gandeid IV, and the orycats of Orryxia. He used his knowledge of parasitology to infect his opponents with various parasites, including olabrian trichoids and adipose louse eggs in his possession, considering the parasites to be potentially useful for disciplinary purposes.
As he rose through the ranks of the Imperial Navy, Nereus eventually became the captain of a cruiser. Prior to his tour of duty on Bakura, Nereus served on Berea in the Elrood sector alongside the Alderaanian Imperial officer Conn Doruggan. The frozen and mountainous world was a penal settlement for captured Rebel prisoners who were used as slave miners by Imperial Mining, Ltd..
In 0 ABY, Bakura was occupied by Imperial forces, who sought access to its repulsorlift industry, which was dominated by the Bakur RepulsorCorp. The Imperials also sought access to Bakura's repulsor coil industry and ore from the planet's two mineral-rich satellites for the construction of the second Death Star. The remote planet in the Shiritoku Spur near the Unknown Regions had been settled by Human colonists from the Core world of Hemei IV around 150 BBY. Due to internal unrest among the Bakuran people, Imperial forces were able to quickly conquer the planet with minimal resistance and losses.
Shortly after the annexation, Nereus was dispatched to Bakura to serve as its governor, marking his first foray into politics. Personally, Nereus was disappointed, since he had hoped to be assigned to the resort world of Gyosha in the Core Worlds. His arrival at the capital Salis D'aar was disrupted by protests. Later, Nereus was able to reach a new accord with the Bakuran leadership, including Prime Minister Yeorg Captison and the Bakuran Senate, who agreed to cooperate with the new authorities.
One of his first actions as Bakura's governor was to order the execution and punishment of members of the Belden family. Due to their sympathies and support for the Alliance during the Imperial invasion, Nereus ordered Rebel operative Roviden Belden and his mother Eppie Belden executed. While he was successful in terminating Roviden's life, the dead man's father Orn Belden pleaded for his wife Eppie's life. In a twisted gesture of mercy, he spared Eppie but infected her with a debilitating parasite that destroyed her mind. Due to Orn's position as a senator for the Bakur RepulsorCorp, he too was spared but had his voice box destroyed to ensure compliance.
During his tenure as governor, he attempted to imitate his Republic predecessors by keeping the deployment of stormtroopers in law enforcement at a minimum and maximizing the usage of the local Bakuran police. Nereus's main priorities were to increase taxation and ensure increased output of the Bakur RepulsorCorp, the main reason the Empire occupied Bakura. As his tenure continued, he developed both a sexual attraction towards Gaeriel Captison and an addiction to namana, both of which he tried to moderate. He also established his own personal bodyguard, which consisted of sixteen stormtroopers who had received special training at the Bounty Hunter Guild's Skine Bounty Hunter College. He named his bodyguard squad the Protectorate.
The Bakura Incident
- "Nereus, take help when you can get it. Everyone on the planet knows why the Rebels are here. If you turn away their help, you're going to provoke an uprising."
- ―Orn Belden
In 4 ABY, Bakura was attacked and blockaded by a Ssi-ruuvi fleet under Admiral Ivpikkis. The Ssi-ruuk were a technologically-advanced saurian species from the Unknown Regions who utilized captives as sources for entechment—an excruciating and lethal process whereby a sentient's life energies were mechanically drained into a machine. In the early hours of the invasion, the Ssi-ruuk destroyed half of the garrison's ships and captured all outposts within the Bakura system excluding Bakura itself.
Desperate, Nereus dispatched an Elegance message drone, carrying a coded SOS transmission, to the Imperial presence in the Endor system, hoping to alert Emperor Palpatine. However, the Imperials had been defeated during the pivotal Battle of Endor, which saw the destruction of the second Death Star and the Sith Order. Instead, the message was received by members of the Rebel Alliance—including Luke Skywalker, Mon Mothma, and Admiral Ackbar—who decided to dispatch a task force for moral reasons.
Under Skywalker, the Alliance task force arrived in the Bakura system. Several Alliance delegates including Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo arrived at the capital city Salis D'aar, where they were greeted by Nereus himself. The Governor's first encounter with the Alliance delegates was a sour experience, as Nereus received news of the death of Palpatine. Initially skeptical, he accepted it when he learned that Darth Vader was behind it, since he distrusted the Sith Order.
Per local custom and Imperial regulation, C-3PO and R2-D2 were fitted with restraining bolts. The Rebels were then brought to speak at a special session at the Bakuran Senate. During the session, Imperials, Bakurans, and Rebels alike were shown a recording sent by the Ssi-ruuk by their Human puppet Dev Sibwarra and were horrified to see how entechment worked; the individual's life energy was sapped from his body and used to power war machinery. The Alliance party then iterated that they were there to help Bakura and offered an official truce, which Nereus said would be discussed. Across Bakura, there was a general feeling of paranoia among the populace, who feared the terror of entechment.
That evening, the Prime Minister Yeorg Captison, organized a dinner where both the Rebels and Nereus were invited. Among those who attended were his wife, Tiree, and his niece, Gaeriel. Tiree stressed the importance of the dinner, which would give the Imperials and Rebels a chance to discuss matters privately, and also expressed concern for Nereus's interest in Gaeriel; the latter sentiment was also held by Gaeriel.
Midway through the dinner, Nereus received a transmission from Imperial Admiral Prittick informing him of the veracity of the Rebels' claims of Imperial defeat at Endor. Faced with the prospect of no Imperial aid to stave off a full Ssi-ruuk attack, Nereus agreed to an official truce. For the first time, representatives of the Alliance and Empire shook hands, though Nereus was far from happy about the deal. Nereus also warned the Rebels that any attempts at what he considered treasonous or seditious activity would be met sternly.
An unworkable truce
- "One offer, Captison, one minute to accept...Tell your people to lay down their weapons and submit to Imperial rule. To me, as your designated successor. Or die here with your niece watching."
- ―Wilek Nereus threatening Yeorg Captison
Nereus himself had no urge to try to become Emperor, knowing that he had no chance and that to push for the throne and failure meant death. However, another opportunity in the Governor's favor soon arrived from an unlikely source—the Ssi-ruuk themselves. Licking their wounds from the joint Alliance-Imperial attack, the Ssi-ruuvi leadership decided to make a covert deal with Nereus by proposing a full withdrawal in exchange for the handover of the Force-strong "Outsider"—Skywalker. As part of Firwirrung's plan, Skywalker would be bound to a modified entechment rig and forced to drain the life energies of millions of sentients from light years away.
Their human puppet Sibwarra contacted the governor to make the offer. Nereus accepted, given his hatred of the Rebels and as part of his secret plan to stab his Rebel colleagues in the back. In private, he planned to execute Solo, surrender Skywalker to the Ssi-ruuk as their appeasement to stop their attack, and hand over Leia Organa to the next Emperor to curry favor. However, Nereus also had no intention of allowing the Ssi-ruuk to survive and decided to double-cross the aliens by infecting Skywalker with parasitic olabrian trichoids. His plan involved infecting Skywalker's food with tiny olabian trichoid eggs. Skywalker would be captured by the Ssi-ruuk and brought aboard one of their starships. Meanwhile, the rapidly-growing parasites would hatch and eat their way into the host's heart, with death occurring quickly. It was hoped by Nereus that the Ssi-ruuk would retain Skywalker's body long enough for the trichoids to multiply and escape into the shipboard population; infecting and killing more Ssi-ruuk. He would then add their teeth to his own personal collection.
His opportunity came when Senator Gaeriel, who had developed a nascent attraction for Skywalker, went to visit the Jedi at his apartment. She ordered lunch for them, routing the meal through a different location so as to avoid attracting attention. However, she was unsuccessful in escaping Nereus's attention, as the governor had the meal intercepted and inoculated with the trichoids.
Meanwhile, Leia Organa, Yeorg Captison, and Senior Senator Orn Belden were out on a private airspeeder cruise. Using a Disruption Bubble Generator to prevent Imperial eavesdropping, they discussed the status of the Bakuran resistance, as well as the likelihood of Bakura revolting against Imperial rule. However, the Imperials caught hold of this, and Nereus had stormtroopers arrest them on suspicion of treason. Despite Organa's brief attempts at resistance, the entire party was captured. Orn Belden was killed during the interrogation by Nereus. As word of Belden's capture spread, pockets of resistance began springing up around Bakura, as the statesman's capture had ignited flames of defiance in the Bakurans. Protests occurred and worsened after news of Belden's death was leaked. Nereus placed Salis D'aar under curfew, but the measure was of little effect. Meanwhile, Organa was rescued from a rural retreat by Han Solo, who then escaped in their transport, the Millennium Falcon.
Later, Skywalker was captured by the Ssi-ruuk during a skirmish at the spaceport while defending Captison. However, with Skywalker now in their hands, the Ssi-ruuk rescinded their secret deal with Nereus by launching a full scale attack on Bakura an hour later, striking at the orbital station that hovered over Bakura. Meanwhile, Gaeriel was rescued by the local Imperial staff. In the space above Bakura, the joint Alliance and Imperial warships launched a devastating counter-offensive against the Ssi-ruuvi fleet. Due to the chaos onboard the flagship Shriwirr caused by Skywalker and Sibwarra's uprising and their fear of dying on an unconsecrated world, the Ssi-ruuvi were unable to continue the fight and were forced into a retreat. Every ship in the fleet fled for the safety of Ssi-ruuvi home space except the flagship Shriwirr. For a moment, it seemed that victory would be achieved with the neutralization of the Ssi-ruuvi threat.
A desperate gamble
- "No! You can't be here! Get back onboard! You'll infest us all! You don't realize that—"
- ―Nereus's last stand against Skywalker.
With the vanquishing of the Ssi-ruuvi, Nereus then hatched his secret plan of back-stabbing his enemies by ordering Thanas to turn his flagship Dominant's turbolaser batteries on the Rebel Alliance flagship Flurry, destroying it along with several Rebel starfighters. The Alliance fleet was then trapped in a bottleneck between the Dominant and Bakura. Confident of Imperial victory, Nereus summoned Gaeriel into his office in an attempt to ally her with his faction in the government.
Gaeriel was initially repulsed by his mannerisms and his iron-fisted plans for Bakura, but managed to maintain a diplomatic front. Nereus then revealed to her the existence of olabrian trichoid larvae embedded in her and Skywalker's lungs and had the larva in Gaeriel removed. Nereus also intimated that he had used a parasite to debilitate Eppie Belden years earlier as punishment for her seditious activities. Giving her the chance to join him as his mistress and approve the governor as Prime Minister, Nereus also threatened Gaeriel should she not cooperate. He then threatened to shoot Yeorg Captison, whom he accused of treachery, unless the two yielded to his demands. However, his plan was quashed due to the eruption of the Bakuran Revolution. Bakuran resistance fighters under the leadership of the elderly Eppie Belden sprang into action and began attacking the garrison compound. Wilek's personal stormtrooper bodyguards were incapacitated by a painful electronic alarm system ringing through their helmets.
The elderly 123-year-old Eppie Belden and several other resistance members entered the room. Much to Nereus' surprise, she was fully recovered, leading the resistance effort and already cognizant of her husband's death. Outnumbered, Nereus surrendered to Belden and her resistance fighters. Although the revolutionaries initially wanted to form a revolutionary tribunal to try him, they ceded what power they had to the Senate and agreed to hand over Nereus to the Alliance.
During a brief war of words with Princess Leia, Nereus claimed that he still commanded three thousand ground-based troops and that Imperial survivors were landing on Bakura in escape pods. She counteracted by stating that Thanas and the Dominant had surrendered to Rebel control and that its weapon systems were aimed directly at the garrison. Earlier, Skywalker had used the Force to persuade the Dominant's captain, Thanas, to ally with them by sending feelings of peace and serenity. Admiring the heroism of his former foes and seeing the underlining flaws in his superior Nereus, Thanas ordered his ship to break formation and open fire on the Shriwirr, as a gesture of cooperation with the Alliance.
In the middle of the spat, a rejuvenated Skywalker stepped onto the scene. Having sensed the presence of the trichoid larvae in his body, Skywalker had used the Force to eliminate the parasites. Nereus, shocked to see that Skywalker had survived both the Ssi-ruuk and the olabrian trichoids he had infected the Jedi with, managed to grab a blaster and fire at Skywalker, but Skywalker's lightsaber deflected the bolt back, thus killing the governor.
With Nereus's death, his dreams for Imperial domination over Bakura were ended. Following his death, the Imperial garrison on Bakura surrendered to the Alliance and the Bakurans and was allowed to evacuate for transit to a neutral location. Under the leadership of the new Prime Minister Gaeriel Captison, Bakura joined the Rebel Alliance's successor state, the New Republic. Nereus' second-in-command, Thanas, relinquished his Imperial rank and defected to the Alliance.
Personality and traits
- "Princess Leia, that is enough—unless you wish to be arrested for your crimes here and now."
"Governor, I have only strengthened your position. The Empire rules by fear. I have just given the Bakurans one more reason to fear you."
- ―Nereus and Princess Leia
As with many Imperial governors during the Rebellion era, Wilek Nereus displayed a profound intolerance and an unabashed arrogance towards "inferiors," especially aliens and members of the illegal Rebel Alliance. This was evident in his reluctance to deal with both Alliance delegates and the Ssi-ruuvi expeditionary command. Reflecting the influence of Human High Culture so prevalent in Palpatine's Galactic Empire, Nereus disliked having to work with aliens on equal terms. One of his allies in the Bakuran Senate was Rennt Govia, who was an unabashed Humanocentrist and supported his coup attempt.
He was only willing to deal with either of the two when he had little choice or when it suited his fortunes. When dealing with both the Ssi-ruuk and Alliance, he arranged to have them double-crossed as soon as they were no longer of use to him. This was evident in his scheme to infect the saurians with olabrian trichoid parasites and his treacherous backstabbing when he ordered Thanas to open fire on the Alliance flagship Flurry during the Bakura Incident.
Despite these inherent flaws, Nereus saw himself as liberal and moderate compared to other Imperial governors. He attempted to imitate what he believed a Galactic Republic politician would act like, but he lacked both the dignity and self-control to do so. In keeping with his ideal of an Old Republic politician, Nereus let the Bakuran police quell riots as often as possible without deploying the garrison's stormtroopers. One sentiment he shared with many of his Bakuran subjects was his dislike of the Jedi who had been wiped out in the Great Jedi Purge. However, he was equally distrustful of other Force-sensitive creeds especially the Sith Order.
In his private life, Nereus was sexually attracted to the Bakuran senator Gaeriel Captison, though the latter disliked his methods and views. Toward the end of the Ssi-ruuvi invasion, he attempted to coerce Captison into becoming his mistress by threatening to kill her uncle, Prime Minister Yeorg, if she refused. However, he was stopped in his tracks by the timely intervention of a group of Bakuran revolutionaries under Eppie Belden, who subsequently apprehended him.
He was also addicted to namana—a fruit unique solely to that planet. He was fascinated with the dentition and parasitology of nonhuman species; two interests that he had begun in his youth. He enjoyed hunting exotic animals on various worlds and collecting their teeth. Later, he even turned his attention to Human political opponents and considered collecting Ssi-ruuvi jaws during the Bakura Incident.
In terms of parasitology, he liked to dispose those who got in his way by infecting them with various alien parasites including adipose louse and olabrian trichoids. Nereus used an unidentified parasite from the Jospro sector to debilitate Eppie Belden, destroying her mind and reducing her to a state of senility. However, she was later healed of the affliction by Skywalker's ministrations. Nereus also infected the Jedi Skywalker with olabrian trichoids in an attempt to eliminate both him and the Ssi-ruuk. Still, he was bested by Skywalker who used the Force to eliminate the parasites.
Behind the scenes
Wilek Nereus was first created by Kathy Tyers for The Truce at Bakura in 1994. The novel was the character's sole appearance in the Star Wars Expanded Universe media empire, since he was killed off at the end of the story. His backstory was further developed by Paul Sudlow in two Galaxywide NewsNets articles which were published in Star Wars Adventure Journal 5 and Star Wars Adventure Journal 6.
More of his backstory was developed in the February 1996 The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook which was written jointly by Tyers, Eric S. Trautmann and Bill Smith. He was also first illustrated in this book by Jordi Ensign. On July 21 1998, he was referenced in Daniel Wallace's The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons in the Bakura chapter. In April 2000, Nereus was referenced in Kevin J. Anderson and Daniel Wallace's The Essential Chronology while he was illustrated by Bill Hughes.
In March 24, 2004, he was referenced in Wizards of the Coast's role-playing book Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds which was published for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Nereus was also mentioned in Wallace's revised The New Essential Chronology which was published on October 25, 2005.
- "Galaxywide NewsNets"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 5
- "Galaxywide NewsNets"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 6
- The Truce at Bakura (First appearance)
- (Mentioned only)
- (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic II: Refugee (Mentioned only)
- The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 21
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Reader's Companion