- "Pretty. What do we blow up first?"
- ―Wraith Squadron motto, first coined by Myn Donos
Wraith Squadron, originally dubbed Gray Squadron, and also known as the Wraiths, was a hybrid New Republic starfighter/commando unit developed in 7.5 ABY by Wedge Antilles. The original Wraith Squadron was largely made up of wash-outs and misfits, which gave the unit a number of psychologically and emotionally unstable pilots, albeit experienced members of the military with useful commando skills. The Wraiths were designed to fulfill the mission responsibilities of both a traditional starfighter squadron and a commando unit—a revolutionary concept in tactics for the New Republic, and one that its founder felt was an essential development for the New Republic.
The Wraiths first saw action against Admiral Apwar Trigit, which resulted in the destruction of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Implacable and the death of Trigit following a prolonged campaign that started with the Wraiths' seizure of the modified Corellian corvette Night Caller. Following Trigit's demise in the Battle of Ession, they continued to mount a number of often unorthodox covert operations against Warlord Zsinj. At one point, members of Wraith Squadron posed as a pirate group in an attempt to become employed by Zsinj. They were successful in that aim, which allowed them to assist in the destruction of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Razor's Kiss. During this time, Garik Loran assumed command of Wraith Squadron from Wedge Antilles. Afterward, they returned to more normal fleet service in a lengthy campaign against Zsinj, culminating in the Battle of Selaggis, an engagement made possible by a double agent from Wraith Squadron who was stationed aboard Zsinj's flagship, the Iron Fist. At Selaggis, the Wraiths helped scatter Zsinj's forces, believing they had destroyed the Iron Fist and largely defeated Zsinj himself.
Their success was such that the unit was then moved from Starfighter Command to the New Republic Intelligence Service, undertaking missions such as the elimination of Imperial admiral Kosh Teradoc in 13 ABY. Wraith Squadron continued to play a vital, if unique role in the military into the Yuuzhan Vong War, during which its members jammed yammosk war coordinators, flew covert missions behind enemy lines, crafted a psychological campaign by helping Jaina Solo impersonate a Yuuzhan Vong deity, and infiltrated Coruscant. After the New Republic government transitioned into the Galactic Alliance, the Wraiths served the reformed government through the Swarm War.
Following the Second Galactic Civil War, the Wraiths were viewed with suspicion by the new Daala administration and disbanded. However, Daala's ousting in 43 ABY by the Jedi Order gave the Wraiths a new chance at life when former commander Garik Loran was asked by the head of Galactic Alliance Security, Borath Maddeus, to investigate the chief of the Galactic Alliance Army, General Stavin Thaal, for treason. Loran unofficially assembled two Wraith Squadron teams led by unit veterans, one under Bhindi Drayson and another under Sharr Latt, and kept them isolated from each other. The two units separately discovered evidence of Thaal's duplicity while Loran was also able to implicate Maddeus as a co-conspirator with Thaal. Following Thaal's and Maddeus's exposure, Loran was promoted to head of Galactic Alliance Security and unofficially reinstated Wraith Squadron.
Conception and training
- "You're going to form a new squadron? Just like that? Wave your hand and it appears?"
"Well, I thought I'd tell High Command so they'll know what they need to give me."
- ―Wes Janson and Wedge Antilles
Following the conclusion of the Bacta War, wherein Rogue Squadron had undertaken an independent guerrilla war to overthrow Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard's regime on the world of Thyferra, Commander Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron returned to the galactic capital Coruscant and New Republic Defense Force service, with each member of the squadron reinstated to their former positions. However, Antilles's experiences in both the liberation of Coruscant and the Battle of Thyferra had impressed upon him the need of a new starfighter unit with different tactics. In a meeting with Admiral Gial Ackbar scheduled by Antilles, the veteran starfighter pilot outlined his idea for a new type of unit: a squadron that would be equally adept at commando-type missions on the ground as well as starfighter missions in space. Antilles wanted the pilots in the new unit to have a full range of intrusion and subversion skills, as well as the equipment needed to pull off planetside missions rather than having to call in another unit to deal with a problem on the ground. Antilles also hoped that the commando/pilot squadron would formulate new tactics and methods for conducting military operations, providing what he saw as a necessary tactical innovation for the New Republic military.
An ersatz Rogue Squadron had been formed for public-relations purposes, complete with their own X-wing fighters, but Ackbar planned on disbanding the unit and returning the pilots and fighters to their prior assignments, since the returning Rogues had their own craft already. However, Antilles told Ackbar that his Rogues would be happy to sign their personal starfighters, which they had used as private property during the Bacta War, back over to the New Republic only if the next dozen fighters sent to the military were issued to his new unit. Ackbar was less than thrilled with that idea, citing personnel expenses, but in turn, Antilles told Ackbar that he wanted experienced pilots with a wide variety of skills, but also he wanted pilots that no one else wanted. Antilles sought to recruit pilots that few other commanders would want, pilots known for causing trouble or making grave mistakes. Ackbar was incredulous and noted that Antilles was more likely to be killed by malcontent pilots than form an effective unit. Antilles was willing to face that risk, though, stating that Rogue Squadron's executive officer, Captain Tycho Celchu was qualified to lead the Rogues in his absence. Unable to find another way to derail the persistent X-wing pilot, Ackbar granted Antilles's request on the condition that if—in Ackbar's sole evaluation—the unit had not proved its worth, Antilles would accept a promotion to general and join Ackbar's staff. As Antilles detested the notion of ever serving a staff job, that was a significant career decision. However, he was committed to the idea of a new commando/pilot unit and accepted Ackbar's challenge.
With Ackbar's approval, Antilles took another Rogue Squadron veteran, Lieutenant Wes Janson, as his executive officer and set about making plans to form his new squadron. Departing from Ackbar's flagship, Home One, with Janson, he set out for Folor Base on the Commenorian moon of Folor, where the new unit would train. Before they left Home One, Janson was assigned the task of finding pilot candidates and seeing if they were open to permanent assignment to a new squadron; those that agreed would be sent to the base without being informed of their destination.
- "After due consideration and review, I think it's a terrible idea."
- ―Edor Crespin, to Wedge Antilles
Antilles, however, met more official opposition to the new squadron, this time from the commander of Folor Base, General Edor Crespin. Crespin viewed a squadron of misfits as poor representatives of the New Republic. Antilles pointed out that if he was successful, the pilots would be hailed as unlikely heroes and provide a broader definition of the defenders of the New Republic than merely hologenic pilots with clean backgrounds. Crespin eventually acknowledged that Antilles had permission to carry on with his experiment, though it was expected to fail miserably. The general also reminded Antilles of the need for increased security, as Folor Base was near the border of Warlord Zsinj's territory and therefore a possible target for a raid by the warlord's forces.
Antilles's next task was to sort through the motley assortment of pilot candidates that had been gathered to the barren moon. Janson indulged in some needling, telling Antilles that one of the pilots was an Ewok named Kettch. Ironically, the fictional Kettch was to prove crucial in later months. The candidate group of forty-three was varied, ranging from Flight Officer Falynn Sandskimmer, a Human female from Tatooine, to Flight Officer Voort saBinring, a Gamorrean male who had been biologically modified to have a greatly enhanced mathematical acumen and piloting abilities. When Antilles had asked for pilots facing court-martial, his request had been granted, as the lineup included a kleptomaniac candidate who stole a small hologram from his desk and a mentally unstable Talz pilot. Another pilot that was entered into the ranks of candidates was Lieutenant Myn Donos, a former sniper and the only survivor of an ambush over Gravan Seven that had destroyed Talon Squadron, which had been trained by Janson and veteran Rogue pilot Captain Derek Klivian. The last pilot candidate to go through the initial interview process was Flight officer Kell Tainer, a talented man who was cross-trained in mechanical skills, unarmed combat, piloting, and demolitions. However, what Antilles and Janson were unaware of was that Tainer was the son of a Rebel pilot that Janson had killed. Many years earlier, the pilot, Kissek Doran, had been in the same squadron as Janson. Doran had panicked and fled the battlefield in his BTL Y-wing starfighter, which would have compromised the upcoming strike mission. Janson was forced to use his lasers and shoot the pilot down for the sake of the mission, and Doran's son, Tainer, had hated Janson ever since. Antilles and Janson were both aware of the considerable talents that Tainer would bring to the unit, so Antilles allowed him to proceed further into the evaluation provisionally, though both the squadron leader and executive officer would be keeping a close eye on the bitter pilot candidate.
One of the first drills that the pilot candidates endured was a simulator mission to protect launching transports from oncoming TIE/LN starfighters and TIE interceptors that were screening a capital ship. However, Janson added new dimensions to the scenario including the addition of an ambush by Imperial fighters and the stipulation that the kills scored by each pilot were given to their wingmate. In response to the adjusted conditions, Kell Tainer, Thakwaash Flight Officer Hohass "Runt" Ekwesh, Voort saBinring, and and Human Flight Officer Tyria Sarkin engaged the fighters, and then jumped to hyperspace once the fighters were defeated, which marked the end of the exercise. Ekwesh was recorded as destroyed in the exercise, as he had gone off on his own and disregarded all tactics and strategy. However, the changed protocol meant that Tainer, who had scored five kills, would actually receive Ekwesh's zero kills. Tainer fumed at the perceived injustice, which he blamed on Janson's personal distaste for him. Later, Ekwesh revealed to Tainer that his species had multiple minds or personalities, and his pilot mind had been known to make mistakes in the past. That would prove to be an initial obstacle for both Tainer and Ekwesh to overcome. Other pilots who experienced the switched and altered scenario were a Human cyborg Flight Officer Ton Phanan, a former medic, and Flight Officer Garik "Face" Loran, who was once a famous holodrama star in his youth.
The next scenario experienced by the squadron was a simulator run that involved an ambush of TIE Interceptors over a volcanic moon that was a simulation of the destruction of Talon Squadron. As such, Donos was not required to participate in that scenario, as he was still recovering from the destruction of his squadron and had actually been at the real engagement. Following that was another simulated mission where the pilot candidates were assigned to defend a space station from starfighter attack. In this mission, Tainer was finally able to get across the idea of flying as a team to Ekwesh by threatening to target his craft if he did not obey orders. With such a forceful means of getting his attention, Ekwesh reined in his pilot mind, and as a result, they both scored higher on the scenario, even though Antilles destroyed Tainer in simulated combat.
Forming the squadron
- "Now to what we're here for. You ten, plus Lieutenant Janson and myself, are forming a new squadron; that much you know. What you probably don't know is that we're doing something a little new."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to the new pilots
Shortly thereafter, Antilles announced the final unit roster. Ten candidates had been selected by Antilles and Janson to form the new squadron. Temporarily designating the squadron as "Gray Squadron," the initial roster comprised Antilles, Janson, Donos, Tainer, Loran, Sandskimmer, Phanan, a Mon Calamari communications specialist named Jesmin Ackbar, saBinring, Ekwesh, the Bothan slicer Eurrsk Thri'ag, and Sarkin. Each member had a specific skill set that they brought to the unit, ranging from sniper skills, to intrusion, to slicing, to medical expertise. One pilot, Tyria Sarkin, also had a limited amount of untrained sensitivity to the Force. In terms of squadron organization, the unit was divided into three flights. One Flight was led by Antilles directly, Two Flight was led by Tainer, and Three Flight was led by Janson.
As the unit was being formed, the first batch of four new X-wings arrived, and Tainer, along with unit mechanic Cubber Daine, was assigned to examine them and ensure that they were combat-ready. After significant amounts of work to bring them up to operational standards, the squadron's fighters were finally ready for use. As the fighters were brought up to full readiness, the Millennium Falcon, flown by General Han Solo, arrived on Folor Base. The famous general had arrived with orders from Coruscant and was warmly greeted by his old friend, Wedge Antilles.
Meanwhile, the new squadron continued training, with Janson and Antilles adding new surprises such as the failure of all targeting sensors in a strafing drill to keep the pilots on their toes. Tainer did not do well in the drill and continued to blame his series of bad luck on Janson's supposed quest for vengeance against him, a continuation of the events that had led to the death of his father. However, his wingmate, Ekwesh, was finally able to convince Tainer that his single-minded determination and obsession with success was harmful to him, and that he should spend some time relating with the other pilots. The squadron was already beginning to develop camaraderie and friendship outside of their training, usually at DownTime, a tapcafe on base, while continuing to hone their skills. A running topic for the new squadron was the subject of practical jokes, which would soon become a favorite pastime. Given the eclectic nature and motley composition of the elite commando-pilot group, unusual entertainment preferences were unsurprising to Antilles.
- "They're just… different. Hand them an ordinary set of instructions and they'll carry them out in an ordinary fashion. Hand them an objective without instructions and they accomplish it some strange way. Like that whole fake Millennium Falcon ploy, and what Piggy was doing, and the data they got off Commenor's planetary computer net. I'm having a hard time anticipating them."
- ―Wedge Antilles, to Wes Janson
Unbeknownst to the Rebels, Imperial Admiral Apwar Trigit, an ally of Warlord Zsinj, through his Project Morrt—a plan using parasitic spy drones distributed and assigned to latch onto New Republic vehicles—learned the location of Folor Base. With the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Implacable, Trigit planned a raid on the base to deny its use to the New Republic.
Meanwhile, the emotional dynamics of the squadron continued to develop. On one occasion, Tainer shared his attraction to Tyria Sarkin, but she rejected him outright. He was also the victim of a practical joke that involved a wriggling mass falling out of a locker onto him when he opened it. Also during this time, Falynn Sandskimmer challenged Antilles' prowess as a pilot after Janson pronounced that Antilles was the best starfighter pilot living. Bemused, Antilles challenged Sandskimmer to a race in a pair of repulsorlift ore haulers down the Pig Trough, a local canyon on Folor. The race, though close, was decided at the last instant by Antilles, who brought his hauler down on top of hers, pushing him ahead to cross the marker first. When she complained that he cheated, he merely reminded her of the futility of that complaint had the contest been a starfighter duel with an Imperial pilot. During this period, the squadron also received its name, courtesy of Sarkin: "Wraith Squadron." According to Sarkin, wraiths were creatures that were used as frightening images in children's stories and equated the unit as phantoms or monsters waiting in the dark to attack the Empire or Imperial warlords. Additionally, the squadron received its supply officer, a cantankerous protocol droid named Squeaky. Most of the pilots were familiar with the droid from when it had been a waiter at the local tapcafe, where it was known for its ubiquitous rudeness and lack of service.
While on a routine hyperspace navigation training mission to the Inner Rim star Doldrums, Jesmin Ackbar, the squadron communications specialist, detected a tight-beam Imperial transmission in the vicinity. After some quick analysis and deduction by the squadron, the pilots determined that the transmission was originating from the Implacable. Scrambling back to Folor, the Wraiths prepared to defend the base while the personnel evacuated.
As the Implacable approached, the fighters remained grounded at the base while the facility's transports were loaded. The Imperials launched their first strike on an abandoned mining outpost rigged to emit signal transmissions, and the New Republic forces, on the far side of the moon, began powering up their engines in preparation for evacuation. While the transport Bright Nebula launched without problems, the Borleias sustained an engine malfunction. To buy the craft time to escape, General Crespin, personally leading Blue Squadron in his A-wing, ordered the Wraiths and Blues to delay the Imperial assault force. Antilles and Crespin dispatched two pilots from each of their units to hide in the Pig Trough ahead of the others with their engines powered down. When the Imperials flew over, they would activate their fighters and ambush them. Tainer and Ekwesh of Wraith Squadron and Dorset Konnair and Tetengo Noor of Blue Squadron were assigned this duty.
After racing to land in their ambush position, the four advance pilots soon spotted the formation of TIEs inbound to Folor Base and relayed that information to their superiors. However, Tainer also noticed the advancing Implacable, which the New Republic starfighters would be hard-pressed to delay even momentarily in the midst of a dogfight with its TIEs. In order to stall Trigit's capital ship, Tainer and the other pilots used older encryption codes and made a crude simulacrum of the Millennium Falcon by pretending to be Han Solo and Leia Organa, and crowding their shields to give the four fighters an erratic shield signature that bore some resemblance to the famous freighter and an escorting wing-pair of "Rogue Squadron" fighters.
At the same time, the rest of Blue Squadron and Wraith Squadron engaged the TIEs, scoring at least twenty-one kills on the opposing fighters, though with the loss of two A-wings from Blue Squadron. Trigit's Implacable abruptly changed course, though, when an intelligence analyst aboard the ship, Gara Petothel, discovered the ersatz Millennium Falcon. Trigit commenced pursuit of the vessel, intent on capturing the famous Princess and Solo. He was quickly disappointed, though, when the four pilots emerged from the canyon, revealing the deception. His irritation increased when he discovered that the Borleias had also managed to escape due to his wild bantha chase. The remaining Imperial fighters then withdrew as the New Republic forces made their way into hyperspace. Tainer, Ekwesh, and their Blue Squadron partners also made their escape, evading the Implacable's fire long enough to plot a course into hyperspace.
- "This is, without doubt, the most inelegant rig I have ever had the pleasure of working on. Not counting the first still that I ever built, which was even more dangerous."
- ―Cubber Daine, on the Lunatic
After the squadron was reunited, along with the shuttle Narra, piloted by Cubber Daine and Squeaky, the Wraiths made another jump into hyperspace to Doldrums, where they would rendezvous with the other evacuees. However, en route to Doldrums, they were pulled out of hyperspace near the Xobome system by an empion mine laid by one of Trigit's support vessels. As they reverted, every vessel was hit by a powerful ion pulse that scrambled the systems and astromech droids of their craft, to varying degrees. Antilles knew that they were low on fuel and with the ion surge having erased their navigation computer calculations, jumping back into hyperspace was not feasible. Instead, he ordered most of them to take their craft to the uninhabited, frigid world of Xobome 6 to effect repairs.
However, three of the fighters were completely inoperable, so Antilles, Tainer, and Daine, along with the pilots of the damaged craft, remained behind—about half of the squadron. Being trained in both mechanics and demolitions, Tainer found himself on demand in both professions. Based on his experience, Tainer surmised that the weapon that hit them consisted of an ion projector, electromagnetic pulse generator, sensor array, communications system, and gravity pulse emitter, which would detect ships reverting from hyperspace, pull them out, hit them with ion energy, and alert the ship that laid the mine. Antilles agreed with the assessment, realizing that a support vessel would be inbound. Even as Tainer and Daine worked on Thri'ag's fighter, Tainer received a call from Myn Donos, reporting that his astromech, Shiner, was offline. Donos viewed Shiner as the last member of Talon Squadron and felt a psychological need to keep the droid "alive" and active. Tainer was able to help him restart the droid even while he worked on the starfighters; he and Daine soon had two of the three disabled fighters flyable. However, Ton Phanan's X-wing was a loss. In response to the Wraiths' situation and threat of an incoming vessel, Phanan proposed placing a pilot in his fighter to disable, board, and capture the pursuing vessel when the X-wing was seized.
Antilles was at first incredulous, but as the plan took shape and the pilots answered all his objections to the idea, a crude vessel, dubbed the Lunatic, was built as a more effective insertion vehicle than Phanan's disabled X-wing, with Antilles' somewhat reluctant approval. It was a converted smuggling compartment from the shuttle Narra with makeshift thrusters, a chopped-down laser cannon, and an astromech droid to help steer it, and was designed to allow an intruder to gain access to an enemy vessel. Based on his physiology, which would insulate him from the cold of space, Voort saBinring volunteered to pilot the ungainly craft.
With the rest of the fighters finally repaired on Xobome 6 and equipped with a fake distress call made by Loran, the Wraiths' desperate plan was set. While they waited, Cubber Daine and Tainer realized that there were out-of-place attachments on both the Narra and Phanan's fighter. However, before they could investigate the devices, Imperial signals were detected. SaBinring was hastily loaded into the Lunatic and launched, in hopes of finding prey to board, while the rest of the Wraiths waited in a nearby asteroid field.
The Imperial vessel turned out to be a modified Corellian corvette. The warship pulled the Lunatic into its hold, and saBinring burst out of the compartment with his blaster pistol at the ready. However, a pair of stormtroopers were waiting for him. Using a docked TIE Fighter as a shield, he shot both of them with his pistol and then fired the Lunatic's chopped-off laser cannon into the hold ceiling. After the bolt tore through the ship, saBinring climbed up one level into the bridge and demanded the surrender of the crew, which he received. The rest of the Wraiths dealt with the pair of TIE Fighters that the corvette had launched, afterward boarding and capturing the craft.
Landing their prize on Xobome 6 to investigate it, the Wraiths found that the vessel's design had been extensively modified from a standard corvette, with increased starfighter-carrying capacity, among other features. Furthermore, the unit slicer, Thri'ag, was able to gain access into the ship's mainframes with little trouble; saBinring's quick capture of the ship had meant that the crew had no chance to wipe its memory or activate security protocols. This led to him discovering the ship's ties to Warlord Zsinj, as well as its complete itinerary. Also, Tainer and Daine were able to pull off the incongruous attachment on the Narra and learned that it was a tracking droid of some type, one of which had led Trigit to Folor Base.
Night Caller charade
- "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
Now that they had transportation, Antilles decided that they could impersonate the crew of the vessel and carry out its missions while engaging in covert acts of sabotage using Night Caller. Taking the initiative, he led the starfighters and the corvette on its planned schedule, which was first to recover unexploded empion mines. With the Wraiths aboard, Antilles hoped to both uncover valuable intelligence and cause harm to Zsinj's war effort.
As the Wraiths became accustomed to their new base of operations, Jesmin Ackbar discovered that the ship's former captain, Zurel Darillian, who had been incinerated by saBinring's laser cannon blast, had recorded his diary in full holo. The Wraiths would later use this to help Loran impersonate Darillian with the use of a holographic overlay.
With the X-wings stored in the holds on Night Caller and the pilots operating in shifts between manning the corvette and flying the X-wings, they retrieved the three undetonated empion mines laid by Night Caller as scheduled and made some modifications to the corvette, chief among them being an adaptation suggested by Tainer to let them store the pair of TIE Fighters that were on the ship in the escape pod hatches. The end result was that the corvette could safely store eleven X-wings and a pair of TIE Fighters. Antilles, pleased, prepared to commence the next part of the impersonation.
On their first stop, Night Caller arrived at the small agricultural world of Viamarr 4. Following the mission profile stored in the ship's databanks, Antilles and Sandskimmer took the two captured TIEs down to inspect the rural and undeveloped world, particularly its capital of Velery. The mission was fairly uneventful, aside from a pair of local Z-95 Headhunters attempting to challenge them before the two locals were ordered to return to base by their superiors. However, Night Caller was then contacted by the Velery planetary authority, Governor Watesk, who alluded to some secret negotiations that were not in the mission profile. Loran quickly rigged a disguise and pretended to be "Lieutenant Narol," a bridge officer on Night Caller. Using his skills as an actor, Loran was able to get an idea of what Velery's governor had previously negotiated with Zsinj via Darillian. Apparently, Zsinj had arranged to buy land and exports from Velery under a pseudonym in exchange for protecting the agrarian world.
After leaving Viamarr 4, Night Caller journeyed to the rendezvous point at Doldrums, only to find that Admiral Ackbar's Home One was there waiting for them. The Mon Calamari admiral announced that the squadron was fully operational. While they did not receive a replacement for Phanan's ruined starfighter, they did receive additional equipment, including an X-wing simulator and a crew complement to take over running the ship. The Imperial prisoners were also offloaded at this time. After witnessing a holographic overlay of the late Captain Darillian for Loran to use in impersonating the captain, Ackbar approved Antilles' plan to use the corvette in a massive deception.
As the crew and pilots settled into their new routine and performance, Tainer, Thri'ag, and Phanan went to encourage Tyria Sarkin, who had been working obsessively to improve her piloting, to relax. When Thri'ag, the unit slicer, made a joke about improving her scores by altering the data, Sarkin reacted negatively and attacked the Bothan slicer. Just as Tainer and Phanan pulled Sarkin away from Thri'ag, Janson and Antilles entered the pilots' mess. Antilles, furious, placed Sarkin on report after she refused to explain her actions.
Phanan and Tainer went to discuss the incident with Sarkin, who reluctantly told them about how she had been blackmailed into keeping silent about a starfighter theft scam during her academy training. Sarkin had been close to failing her training when a corrupt colonel named Atton Repness had tried to get her to allow him to sell a starfighter in exchange for boosted scores. Sarkin confronted him, but Repness had stalled for time so he could make accusations of his own against her. Rather than wash out of training, Sarkin had accepted a reprimand from the colonel after agreeing to keep silent about the scheme, and she graduated at the bottom of her class. The guilt had plagued her since then, and Thri'ag's jesting suggestion had been enough to drive her over the edge. After hearing her story, Tainer and Phanan took Sarkin's secret into their confidence, as it would spell the end of her career.
Continuing with their missions, the Wraiths next took Night Caller to the Outer Rim world of Xartun. Loran, disguised as a naval lieutenant, journeyed down to the surface to meet with the governor, Nojin Koolb. The other Wraiths infiltrated the surface separately, awaiting Loran's data. Loran received a tour of a secret transparisteel manufacturing facility in an underground bunker. Before he, accompanied by Daine in the Narra, returned to the waiting zone, Loran sent the other Wraiths holographic data of his tour, as the majority of the squadron, led by Tainer, waited to launch a sabotage mission. While they waited for nightfall, Thri'ag discovered that there was an extra layer of security present in the complex. Jesmin Ackbar had recorded the earlier transmission from Loran that showed the security code sequence being entered, allowing them to bypass the alarm.
The Wraiths easily penetrated the bunker's security and discovered an additional level to the facility that contained finished transparisteel products. Thri'ag transferred all the data in the operations console from the facility, but then the mission ran into a snag. Two Imperial probe droids located and attacked the intrusion team. Realizing that they were compromised, Tainer destroyed both of the droids with his explosives, after Antilles distracted one to allow Tainer to plant his charge, and Sarkin pinned the second one in place with a loaded cart of transparisteel windows.
While Tainer finished planting charges to destroy the facility, Janson, saBinring, and Sandskimmer, left waiting in the upper hangar, came under attack by about thirty local militia troops, accompanied by a pair of TIE Fighters. The three repelled the troops from that location, though, with the help of Sarkin and Ekwesh. Realizing it was time for their egress, the Wraiths remotely piloted a decoy landspeeder out to lure many of the troops away from the hangar. While their adversaries were distracted, the Wraiths piled aboard a cargo skiff and charged out toward the nearly grounded pair of TIE Fighters. Sandskimmer rammed the first fighter, sending it temporarily out of control, while Antilles and Tainer grabbed the two fighters with the skiff's load lifter electromagnets. Dragging the fighters along, Sandskimmer brought the skiff outside of the hangar, gained some altitude, and then dropped the fighters into the forest below, tumbling to their destruction. As the facility exploded from Tainer's charges, the Wraiths returned to the Narra and then from there back to Night Caller.
Based on their findings, the Wraiths concluded that Zsinj was forming a cell-type underground financial empire to funnel funds and matériel to his war effort. In exchange for these businesses and profits, Zsinj provided the governors with technology and weapons. Another anomaly they analyzed was a group of cube-shaped cells that had been in the Xartun complex. saBinring informed the squadron that they were habitation cells, such as the one he had grown up in at Binring Biomedical. Antilles decided that they would continue to get in touch with Zsinj's planetary governor associates in an attempt to determine what collaborations Zsinj had set up. Then, after any connections had been ferreted out via Loran's interactions or Thri'ag's slicing, the Wraiths would attempt to destroy or sabotage Zsinj's business, though only after Night Caller had already left the system, so the vessel could not be blamed for the sabotage.
Belthu was their next stop. On that world, the Wraiths, courtesy of Loran, learned of a durasteel production foundry controlled by Zsinj. The Wraiths discovered its location and passed it on to a New Republic Intelligence team dispatched by General Airen Cracken to assist them, and the other team later blew it up.
- "Sir: It is my sad duty to report to you the death of Jesmin Ackbar."
- ―Wedge Antilles, in a message to Admiral Ackbar
The next destination for Night Caller was an uninhabited system known only as the M2398 system. Upon arrival, Jesmin Ackbar picked up simple transmissions coming from a pirate base on one of the moons. Loran, impersonating Darillian, drew upon the pattern of typical negotiations and managed to convince the pirate leaders to let them land at the base, Blood Nest, for further discussion. However, Antilles, waiting in a TIE Fighter docked onto Night Caller, spotted a hidden laser cannon preparing to fire on them. Antilles destroyed the cannon, and the Wraiths scrambled as two dozen Ugly starfighters came boiling out of Blood Nest to engage them.
The Wraiths quickly sent their opponents fleeing and gave chase. However, the pirates were leading them back to an ambush with tracked artillery units. In the quick barrage of fire, the Wraiths destroyed all the vehicles, but Jesmin Ackbar's starfighter was hit. With her inertial compensator damaged, she quickly lost consciousness due to the acceleration. Additionally, her wingman, Donos, lost his R2 unit. The loss of Shiner, who was in Donos's perception the last remaining member of Talon Squadron, rendered him psychologically incapable of anything but simple flight. As Ackbar plummeted toward the surface of the moon, Tainer attempted a maneuver by which he used the hull of his starfighter to nudge her craft back up into a trajectory away from the moon. His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. Without any other means of arresting her descent, Ackbar's starfighter plunged into the moon, killing her instantly. Meanwhile, Sarkin, guided by an insight from the Force, assumed the role of a member of Talon Squadron in order to coax Donos back into responsiveness.
At the same time, though, the pirates did surrender Blood Nest to the Wraiths. Antilles, furious over the loss of Ackbar, confronted the pirates and their leader, Captain Arratan. They were initially defiant, but after Antilles informed them that their continued survival was contingent on the quality of information they provided, the pirates were much more open to talking. Antilles ordered Tainer to check the base for bombs and traps and then had Night Caller seize all useful matériel while informing the New Republic military of Blood Nest's existence.
Meanwhile, Tainer was in the corvette's sickbay, along with Donos. Both of them had experienced psychological trauma, Donos from the loss of Shiner, and Tainer from his failure to save Ackbar's life. Needing Tainer's expertise in demolitions, Antilles confronted the pilot and told Tainer that he was capable, but that he locked up mentally any time people were depending on him or he failed at something; in this case, both. Furthermore, Antilles ordered Tainer to return to work and check the pirate base. Then the commander returned to his quarters to write a message to Admiral Ackbar informing him of the death of his niece.
After Tainer finished checking the base and defusing the mines and traps present there, he returned to his quarters, where Sarkin came to inform him of Donos's condition. Donos was completely catatonic, and the other Wraiths were unsure of how long they could conceal that information from Antilles and Janson. Antilles decided to keep them on their mission schedule, though not before they held a brief funeral service for Ackbar. As Loran eulogized the fallen Wraith, Antilles fired off a proton torpedo to symbolize what would ordinarily be a capsule containing the pilot's remains. As Night Caller departed the system, Janson ordered Tainer to aid with repairing minor damage the ship had sustained during the battle. As he was working, Tainer overheard Janson and Antilles talking about Donos and realized that they both knew about his condition. The two superior officers discussed how they sought to give Donos as much of a chance as possible to recover. At that point, Tainer realized that Janson, whom he had thought was out to get him and cause him harm, was an honorable man who had killed his father only because of duty, not because of spite. Tainer dropped down from where he was working to confront Janson and informed him of this revelation. That incident started to heal the rift between the two men.
Eventually, some of the Wraiths came up with a plan to get through to Donos. Using a simulator, they re-enacted the final mission of Talon Squadron and impersonated the other Talon Squadron pilots. The Wraiths flew the simulator mission to their deaths, telling Donos that he did not care about them, which he furiously denied. After he swore that he did care about whether they lived or died, they deactivated the simulator. As Donos realized that they had just made him relive the nightmarish experience of the destruction of Talon Squadron, he was livid. Donos charged Tainer, who deflected his wild blows. Donos then accused Sarkin and Tainer both of having a similar bitterness-laden attitude to his own, with Sarkin having no hope for the future and Tainer hating Janson. Both of them, however, informed him that they had found things to live for and convinced the pilot that the best way to honor the fallen Talon Squadron was to live. Their words finally broke through Donos's grief, and he was able to realize all that he had been blocking out, including Sandskimmer, who had been attracted to him for some time. The next morning shift, Antilles awoke to find Donos functional and Tainer no longer harboring glaring resentment of Janson. Furthermore, Tainer had confessed his rekindled attraction to Sarkin after helping Donos, and this time, she had reciprocated his feelings.
- "You're going to help that fool Trigit finish off the survivors of Folor Base."
- ―Warlord Zsinj, to a disguised Garik Loran
Not long afterward, Night Caller received an Imperial transmission, but not from Admiral Trigit, as the Wraiths had suspected, but from Warlord Zsinj himself. Zsinj informed the ersatz Captain Darillian that he had been shadowed by Alliance agents, but that he was to rendezvous with the supply ship Hawkbat prior to meeting up with Trigit for an attack on Talasea in the Morobe system, where the survivors from Folor Base had gathered. In order to prevent the crew from the Imperial ship from boarding Night Caller and seeing through their ruse, the Wraiths decided to infect the Hawkbat with a contagious disease to prevent any face-to-face contact. In addition, they planned to steal two more TIE Fighters so they would have Night Caller's true supposed complement of TIEs, as two of the original fighters had been destroyed when they seized the ship.
In order to obtain the two prerequisites for their rendezvous plan, several members of the Wraiths journeyed down to the surface of the planet Storinal while Night Caller waited in another system. While Ekwesh waited in an ambush position in an X-wing parked on one of Storinal's moons, the planet-bound Wraiths flew in on the Narra. Accompanying the Wraiths was a member of the Night Caller's crew, Lieutenant Atril Tabanne, who had experience in TIE fighters. They landed and debarked on Storinal without incident and then split up into their respective roles. After a brief reconnaissance to confirm that members of the Hawkbat's crew were present on Storinal, locate some TIE fighters, as well as a suitable infectious agent, the Wraiths were ready to execute their mission.
Sandskimmer quickly moved into position on the roof of one of the bunkers housing four TIE fighters while Donos covered her with his sniper rifle. Once there, she settled down to wait for the other Wraiths, but fell asleep. Shortly afterward, Sandskimmer fell from the roof and was knocked unconscious. She managed to find her way back to Janson, saBinring, and Tabanne, bruised, but not severely injured. Meanwhile, Thri'ag, Phanan, Tainer, and Sarkin entered the Scohar Xenohealth Institute through the waste shaft and obtained samples of Bunkurd Sewer Disorder, a non-lethal but contagious disease with which to infect the Hawkbat's shuttles, which were parked in Bunker Twenty-two Aleph.
Later, Tainer, along with a sizable party of other Wraiths hidden inside a maintenance skimmer, was able to enter the facility's hangar, using a fake work order, where the shuttles from the Hawkbat were parked. They were able to place their disease agents in the air intakes of the shuttle, but just as they finished, another maintenance skimmer bearing a legitimate mechanic arrived. After a short fistfight with the replacement mechanic over the work schedules, the Wraiths departed and no reports were logged on the incident.
Concurrently, Antilles, Loran, Tabanne, and Sandskimmer used a jury-rigged cargo skimmer to gain access to the roof of the TIE fighter bunker that Sandskimmer had previously reconnoitered. As Runt Ekwesh brought his X-wing in on a diversionary strafing run, two of the TIE fighters scrambled to deal with him. Donos eliminated an anti-air turret, preventing it from attacking Ekwesh. The four Wraiths on the bunker then broke in and were able to quickly seize the building. Loran, posing as the bunker commander, recalled the two already-launched TIEs with a code seized from an interrogated survivor of their assault. However, the recall was temporary, as the central control center soon realized the deception and ordered the fighters back to the assault. By that time, though, Antilles and Sandskimmer had seized the other two TIE Fighters and destroyed the Imperial craft with ease. As the other Wraiths made their way back to the Narra for egress, the three pilots in starfighters swiftly suppressed any hostile guns, and the entire unit returned safely to Night Caller.
At the rendezvous with the Hawkbat, the Wraiths learned that a disease outbreak prevented them from meeting the other ships' crew face-to-face. Pleased to learn that their mission had been successful, they received cargo and spy satellites from the other vessel for their next mission. Jumping into the Todirium system, the Wraiths deployed the satellites that they been assigned to deliver for Zsinj and then prepared an attack on the world in their X-wings, which had been freshly painted in Rogue Squadron colors in an effort to conceal their identity from the defenders, after learning the location of a Zsinj-owned mining facility courtesy of Loran's impersonations. As the X-wings roared through the skies of Todirium, they were opposed by a group of Ultra-Light Assault Vehicles. The vehicles were easily defeated, and the Wraiths proceeded to attack the mining facility. After destroying it, they returned to Night Caller without sustaining any casualties.
Shortly after they returned, Trigit, having learned about "Captain Darillian's" auspicious negotiations on behalf of Zsinj, sent a transmission to Night Caller asking for more information. Loran, based on his interpretations of Darillian's character, informed Trigit that it would damage his honor to reveal that information. Somewhat surprisingly to Loran, Trigit was not angered by his response and sent him the attack plan for the premeditated engagement against the New Republic at Morobe.
Around this time, Thri'ag was quite surprised to hear sounds of insect movement while in his quarters. Thri'ag had been executing a number of practical jokes among his fellow Wraiths since the formation of the unit and had acquired a Storini glass prowler insect while on Storinal for use in his pranks. However, his target, Loran, had determined that he was behind the pranks and turned the tables on Thri'ag with a mechanical insect decoy. Loran was able to use the fake insect's noises and falsified data to scare Thri'ag to the point where he fainted when the decoy landed on him. The fake insect fled his quarters immediately thereafter. In the sickbay, Phanan told Antilles and Janson that Thri'ag would need overnight supervision, claiming Thri'ag had experienced a stress-induced hallucination. After Janson and Antilles left, Loran and Phanan informed Thri'ag that they had concocted the fake insect as their revenge for his pranks. Humiliated, Thri'ag agreed to cease his jokes, though this would be far from the last time that pranks found their way into Wraith Squadron.
Battle of Talasea
- "Foolish of us to bring along Rogue Squadron, all those A-wings, Home One, and a pair of frigates when all it takes is Wraith Squadron and a battered corvette to deal with the enemy."
- ―General Crespin after the Battle of Talasea
The Wraiths, aboard Night Caller, jumped towards the Morobe system along with three other vessels from Zsinj's fleet, the frigate Provocateur, the Star Destroyer Implacable, and the corvette Constrictor, after meeting at a pre-designated jumping point. However, on reversion, the Wraiths noticed that Trigit's flagship had failed to arrive; they also received a message from Trigit advising them that a trap awaited them. With Implacable failing to arrive, Night Caller maneuvered to fire upon the two other vessels while the Wraiths, in X-wings, launched a proton torpedo barrage at the frigate. The Wraiths then engaged the opposing TIE fighters, swiftly inflicting casualties on their surprised enemies. In the following battle, the Constrictor quickly sustained heavy damage from the TIE fighter strafing runs of Antilles, Tabanne, Janson, and Sandskimmer, combined with the firepower of the Night Caller. With its engines damaged, the other corvette surrendered in short order. Conversely, Provocateur put up significantly more resistance and a return salvo from the frigate destroyed the bridge of Night Caller, temporarily rendering the vessel without a command crew. Loran, however, who had remained on Night Caller in case he was needed for impersonation, quickly raced to the auxiliary bridge and took command of the vessel after Thri'ag gave him the necessary access codes. Operating from his X-wing, Tainer, with the aid of Loran, coordinated an attack on Provocateur by the unit's X-wings, which utterly destroyed the vessel. Not long after the few survivors surrendered, the New Republic forces which had been waiting to trap Implacable arrived in the system, only to find the Imperial forces soundly beaten.
Night Caller landed on the surface of Talasea for some quick repairs with the goal of returning to space. However, Antilles decided to continue the Night Caller deception, hoping to get another chance to end Trigit; as such, the repairs were purposefully makeshift. While the ship was being repaired, Admiral Ackbar, who had been commanding the ambush force, found Antilles and thanked him for the letter Antilles had sent after the death of Jesmin Ackbar and also passed along a series of commendations for the squadron. In an impromptu ceremony, Flight Officers Tainer and Loran were promoted to the rank of lieutenant, with Tainer further receiving the Kalidor Crescent for bravery in attempting to save Jesmin Ackbar's life, and Sarkin was fully restored to flight duty. Also, Atril Tabanne, the ranking officer from the reduced crew complement of Night Caller, received a promotion to captain and command of Night Caller. Afterward, most of the Wraiths spent the few hours they had left on Talasea celebrating their victory and remembering those who had fallen in combat. However, Tainer declined to celebrate his new accolades, feeling that they were undeserved. Sarkin, his girlfriend, was unable to fully coax him out of this state, but she at least managed to persuade him to accept that he might be wrong. Shortly afterward, the Wraiths boarded Night Caller and returned to space.
- "We have broadcast codes that will get us past the Ession system's security forces. Implacable will join us on Ession's primary moon for the ambush. Then we drop the heavy end of the hammer on them."
- ―Wedge Antilles before the Battle of Ession
Following the Battle of Talasea, Zsinj and his subordinate Trigit had determined that a New Republic presence was following Night Caller and decided to trap the New Republic force, whom they believed was Rogue Squadron and commando support. Zsinj sent a transmission to Night Caller's captain, whom he believed was Zurel Darillian, but was again Loran in disguise, informing him of the rendezvous at Ession, the location of a Zsinj-allied starfighter manufacturing plant. Under the command of Tabanne, Night Caller set a course for Ession while Wraith leader Antilles contacted his superiors to request reinforcements.
While Night Caller waited in formation with Implacable around Ession's primary moon, Loran had managed to convince Trigit to keep the Implacable in one place near a relay dish. Tainer, as the unit's backup mechanic and demolitions specialist, had come up with the idea to place a permanent relay dish on the surface of the moon in order to hide their sensor signature, ostensibly to conceal the presence of the Star Destroyer from the New Republic. However, it would actually jam Implacable's targeting sensors, hopefully preventing severe damage to the much smaller corvette.
After Night Caller received a signal informing them of the imminent arrival of other New Republic forces, Trigit called "Darillian" to ensure that New Republic forces were expected. Loran experienced a momentary pang of nervousness when Trigit used a catchphrase that Darillian should have been familiar with but covered his lapse by drawing on his experiences with Ysanne Isard to divert the inquisitive admiral's attention. Furthermore, Loran was able to persuade Trigit to let his TIE fighters escort Implacable, placing them in a position to deal significant damage to the unsuspecting Star Destroyer. At the last minute, Wedge Antilles and Captain Atril Tabanne switched places, with Antilles commanding Night Caller and Tabanne piloting a TIE fighter, as Antilles was the more experienced pilot of Corellian corvettes. As a result, Janson, Sandskimmer, and saBinring, along with Tabanne, were in TIE fighters docked into the Night Caller's escape pod hatches while the other Wraith pilots Thri'ag, Sarkin, Tainer, Donos, Phanan, and Ekwesh, waited in their T-65 X-wing starfighters in the Night Caller's hold.
Shortly afterward, the cargo transport Red Feathers jumped in-system. The ship was actually the former pirate Super Transport VI Blood Nest, recovered from the moon of the same name and renamed Red Feathers. Additionally, it concealed three New Republic starfighter squadrons that Antilles had requested as reinforcements and was rigged to detonate upon entering atmosphere, releasing the fighters. On Implacable, Imperial Intelligence analyst Petothel accurately predicted this strategy and informed Trigit. The transport soon began losing structural integrity and self-destructed to avoid impacting with the planet, as the New Republic forces aboard had previously planned. An escape pod was launched, which actually contained a commando team led by Judder Page. Page's commandos landed on Ession and sabotaged the launch tubes for the Pakkerd facility's own TIE fighters, denying Trigit his expected fighters from the ground.
When Blood Nest broke apart, X-wings of Rogue Squadron, Y-wings of Green Squadron led by General Horton Salm, and A-wings of Blue Squadron led by General Edor Crespin, escaped from its cargo bay. Implacable and Night Caller launched their TIEs in response. However, while Implacable's fighters raced ahead to engage the New Republic fighters, the four TIEs from Night Caller took up station around Implacable as Garik Loran reported to his starfighter.
Night Caller quickly revealed its true allegiance by firing on Implacable with its turbolasers and activating its tractor beam. The X-wings in its bow hangar executed a Loran Spitball, which sent a salvo of fourteen proton torpedoes towards the Implacable. Meanwhile, the unit's TIE fighters opened fire on the unshielded Implacable, hoping to inflict a critical blow. Tabanne, in her TIE fighter, fired a series of laser cannon blasts destroying the Implacable's bridge and shield generators in her surprise attack. Antilles used Night Caller's tractor beam to throw up dust from Ession's moon to conceal the corvette from the Implacable's gunners, and then took over as gunner for its main turbolaser turret. The torpedo barrages were able to destroy a large amount of Implacable's power cells, and with their targeting jammed, Implacable was unable to effectively employ its batteries. With its starfighters engaged with the three other New Republic squadrons, the Star Destroyer found itself increasingly beleaguered by the Wraiths and their comrades. Trigit recalled his starfighters; however, they were pursued by Rogue and Blue Squadrons while Green Squadron destroyed the TIE manufacturing facility on Ession.
As Implacable's fighters raced back, Tabanne's fighter sustained a glancing hit, but she was rescued by Daine in the Narra, the Wraiths' Lambda-class shuttle. However, Tainer, suddenly overcome by fear at sighting the returning TIEs, began fleeing the battlefield. His wingmate, Ekwesh, followed him in an attempt to persuade him to return. Tainer refused and Ekwesh returned to the fight. Tainer suspected that one of the Wraiths would be sent to destroy him for his cowardice. However, he was snapped out of his fear-stricken state by the thought of forcing his lover, Sarkin, to destroy him. Tainer then returned to battle. As Implacable's remaining TIEs returned to their mother ship, they engaged the Wraiths, who shot down several of them. However, their action prevented most of the Wraiths from attacking Implacable.
In defiance of orders from Antilles, Sandskimmer flew her TIE fighter into a hole burned through Implacable's armor, and began systematically destroying its power cells from within. She was followed in by Thri'ag in his X-wing. Between the two them, they quickly savaged the interior of the Star Destroyer's power cells. The damage to Implacable was compounded by fire from Night Caller, which Antilles kept concealed within the dust cloud he had created from the moon's surface.
Realizing that his ship could not be saved, Admiral Trigit activated its self-destruct and fled with two bodyguards in hyperdrive-equipped TIE interceptors. Petothel was disgusted with his sacrifice of thousands of crewmen, and announced Trigit's escape to the New Republic forces. She also gave the signal to abandon ship, and used Trigit's personal escape pod for herself.
Even as Implacable commenced its self-destruct countdown, the starfighters continued to engage each other. While several Imperial fighters were destroyed, Phanan was forced to eject after sustaining damage from what appeared to be a TIE interceptor belonging to the 181st Fighter Group, as was Tainer. As Implacable, heavily damaged, lost control and fell towards the surface of the moon, Antilles ordered Thri'ag and Sandskimmer out of the interior of the Star Destroyer. Thri'ag managed to bring his fighter out of the ship's keel but was vaporized by a turbolaser battery. Meanwhile, Sandskimmer's ship was caught on internal framework inside Implacable. Unable to escape, she perished when the Star Destroyer crashed into the moon.
Still, the battle was not over yet, as Imperial fighters remained. After noted holodrama star Tetran Cowall, disguised as noted Imperial ace Soontir Fel, killed a dissenting TIE pilot, Implacable's remaining starfighters agreed to a cease-fire proposed by Antilles. However, General Crespin and Lieutenant Donos pursued the fleeing Trigit and his escorts, who had refused to surrender. Crespin shot down the admiral's bodyguards, while Donos killed Trigit himself with a pair of proton torpedoes.
After the battle, the surviving Wraiths were granted leave on Borleias, where they were commended by Admiral Ackbar for their skill and dedication. However, Phanan was not among them, as he was recovering from injuries sustained during the battle. Meanwhile, Petothel, having disguised herself as Trigit's sex slave under the alias Lara Notsil, was rescued by the New Republic and sent to Coruscant for debriefing and recuperation. The aftermath of the battle also saw the relieved spirit of Kell Tainer, who overcame his performance anxiety in the heat of battle. Donos, whose Talon Squadron had been destroyed by Trigit, found peace over the loss of his squadron, though the death of his significant other, Sandskimmer, plagued him.
Ambush on Coruscant
- ""Easy, Runt. We're about to go somewhere you can relax for a few hours. In the company of some charming people, too, I'll bet."
- ―Ton Phanan to Hohass "Runt" Ekwesh shortly before the Wraiths were attacked on Coruscant
Later, after they had been assigned leave on Coruscant, the members of Wraith Squadron were in a tapcafe when they were accosted by a cyborg who broke a bottle over Ekwesh's head, concussing him. The cyborg was quickly dealt with by Tainer, but shortly after Tainer put the cyborg down, New Republic Military Police members arrived to take the squadron and the cyborg into custody. While they were being escorted to a police skimmer, Loran was able to deduce that the policemen were impostors based on differences between their body language and alleged backgrounds. Loran discreetly signaled the rest of the unit about his hunch and the Wraiths exploded into action. A short melee ensued, in which the cyborg was killed and several guards injured by the Wraiths' sudden attack, though Ekwesh was knocked down by Phanan to keep him out of the fight and Janson suffered a minor blaster crease along his ribs. The fight came to an abrupt halt, though, when Phanan used his laser scalpel to slit the throat of one of the ersatz policemen and seized his blaster rifle. The other policemen immediately surrendered.
The Wraiths returned to the Starfighter Command base they were operating from on Coruscant, where Loran, Phanan, and Antilles were questioned by a New Republic colonel named Atton Repness and Admiral Ackbar over their handling of the matter. Loran demonstrated his ability to recognize an individual's homeworld by their body language and the authorities eventually agreed that the Wraiths had been justified in their response. Antilles and Ackbar furthermore concluded that the attack had been planned by agents of Warlord Zsinj in revenge for the destruction of Implacable. Also, the only member of the ersatz policemen who had any information about his superiors had died in the scuffle, eliminating the New Republic's opportunity to interrogate him. The end result was that the Wraiths had their shore leave canceled, much to the dismay of the squadron.
Setting up a sting
- ""This had better work…or had better produce absolutely no results. Because if there are any foul-ups, General Cracken will personally feed you, and me, into a food reprocessor."
- ―Wedge Antilles to Ton Phanan and Garik Loran
After the questioning session, Phanan spoke with Tainer regarding Repness, the officer who had previously forced Sarkin into serving as an accomplice in his corruption scheme. As Repness was still serving as a training officer, Phanan figured that he was still employing the same tactics to sell New Republic military property on the black market. In a plot to stop the corrupt officer, Phanan proposed using Lara Notsil, a woman who had been rescued from the destruction of Implacable and who had been revealed to be the unwilling mistress of Trigit, as bait for Repness by putting her through pilot training under Repness's watch. Tainer agreed, and the two brought Loran in on their plan and arranged to meet with Notsil to ask for her help.
Phanan and Loran eventually met with Notsil and discussed their idea with her to use her as bait for Repness. Little did either pilot, nor anyone in the New Republic know, that Notsil was in fact Gara Petothel, a member of Imperial Intelligence who had served on Implacable. Her Notsil identity had been designed to help get her back to Zsinj's forces and she was quite surprised by the two pilots' offer. However, she improvised and, after displaying initial reluctance, told them that she would help them if, upon successful completion, she would be inducted into either Rogue or Wraith Squadron. Though they had no authority on their own, Phanan and Loran agreed to place the idea before Antilles. When they presented the idea to Antilles, he was significantly less than thrilled about it, but eventually relented after Loran and Phanan convinced him that this was the best way to deal with Repness. However, Antilles did attach the caveat that Notsil had to be good enough to serve in one of his squadrons. Phanan and Tainer wrote recommendations for Notsil and left her a HoloNet contact and some funds for her use, setting the plan in motion, though Antilles warned them of the consequences for failure.
- "We'll be founding our own pirate band, Wraiths, and then assaulting a planetary system that Zsinj is courting—or should be, if he isn't. Officially, we'll be assigned to the Mon Remonda with Rogue Squadron; funny, though, the other pilots will never see us in the ship's corridors."
- ―Wedge Antilles to the squadron regarding their new orders
During their time on Coruscant, the Wraiths received three new members of the squadron to replace the losses they had sustained in the Night Caller charade. Replacing Thri'ag as a code-slicer was a human male named Castin Donn, while vehicular specialist Dia Passik filled the gap left by the death of Sandskimmer. Also added to the Wraiths' numbers was Shalla Nelprin, an experienced unarmed combatant and well-versed in tactics employed by Imperial Intelligence. Since Jesmin Ackbar, who had been the squadron's communications specialist had died, Ekwesh took her place. The Wraiths were also split up into three teams to participate in a theoretical exercise whereupon each team would pretend to be Zsinj in an attempt to anticipate his motives and next moves.
As such, the rest of the squadron's time on Coruscant was spent working on simulating Zsinj and anticipating his next moves while incorporating the new members of the squadron into the unit. Loran and Phanan were quite surprised to find that Donn and Passik had both volunteered for service in the Wraiths based on the unit's reputation of effectiveness against their opponents and not because of previously flawed careers. They also found that both Passik and Nelprin were already accomplished pilots. Passik, who had grown up as a slave girl, had already seen combat when she took an armed shuttle and destroyed the ship of her owner, and then escaped to join the New Republic armed forces. On the other hand, Nelprin had been trained by her father in a variety of skills, including piloting. Lastly, Donn was newer to piloting, having previously served in a ground-based resistance force on Coruscant. However, he was also xenophobic, and had difficulty with his roommate, Ekwesh. When he requested a transfer from Antilles, the commanding officer recognized this attitude and denied the request, informing Donn that he would learn to deal with non-Humans in time.
Antilles would eventually review each of the three team's theories and submit them to his superiors for evaluation. The first team, led by Ekwesh and containing Tainer, Sarkin, and Nelprin, postulated that Zsinj was relying heavily on a network of friendly planetary governors and undercover businesses, so Ekwesh proposed provoking problems for one of the governors that only Zsinj could deal with, leading the warlord into a trap. The second team, led by saBinring with Donos, Donn, and Squeaky as members, hypothesized that Zsinj's ties with pirate groups such as the one encountered in the M2398 system could be a path to infiltrate Zsinj's network by posing as pirates. The last group, led by Garik Loran and consisting of Phanan, Passik, and Janson, was split between supporting the pirate idea and Ekwesh's proposal. Loran also supposed that Kuat Drive Yards was constructing another Executor-class Star Dreadnought and that Ysanne Isard had survived the Battle of Thyferra, and although these claims were made tongue-in-cheek, Antilles had them followed up, albeit with much skepticism. Little did he know that both of them were true. Ultimately, the Wraiths were assigned to pose as a pirate band operating out of the Halmad system, using TIE Series fighters launching from an old and decrepit Xiytiar-class transport, Sungrass.
First strike of the Hawk-bats
- "KNEEL TO THE HAWKBATS, WORMS. GET OUT OR BE SORRY; THIS PLANET IS NOW OUR PROPERTY."
- ―Vandalism courtesy of Tyria Sarkin and Myn Donos
For the first mission of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, as their pirate group was called, the Wraiths were assigned to "obtain" some TIE fighters from a local Imperial starfighter base on the world of Halmad, a world that was not well defended and would be easily courted by Zsinj. Arriving on the planet, the Wraiths repeated the ambush that had been used against them on Coruscant against a group of Imperial crewmembers off-duty in a local drinking establishment, albeit with reversed roles. They trotted out cyborg Phanan and Tainer, who was dressed as a businessman, to start a fight and drew in a party of five Imperials. The surprised Imperials were quickly beaten unconscious by the two experienced fighters, though Phanan suffered a mild concussion. At that time, the rest of the Wraiths arrived in stormtrooper armor and took Phanan, Tainer, and the Imperials into custody. As the unit, aside from the all-too-distinctive saBinring, who stayed behind with one prisoner, were walking back to the nearby Imperial Victory Base, the Wraiths were found by a military police skimmer transporting another pair of prisoners, whose pilot was willing to drive them to the base.
Upon arrival in Victory Base, the disguised Wraiths reported their unconscious prisoners to the duty officer and then deposited them in the nearest alleyway in preparation for seizing the fighter hangar, except for Nelprin. Despite her newness in the Wraiths, she had been assigned to remain in the transport skimmer and overpower the pilot and guard, and then secure transport for some of the Wraiths during their egress. Meanwhile, the rest of the Wraiths conglomerated around a starfighter hangar, where they discovered eight TIE interceptors, which were designated for theft. They quickly stunned the two guards at the hangar and sealed the doors behind them after they broke in. Once inside, they disabled the tracking devices on the fighters, fudged a maintenance schedule to open the launch doors, and vandalized the hangar. However, a group of Imperial stormtroopers eventually arrived to relieve the two hangar guards, and Loran and Phanan were unable to impersonate them for long. Instead, Loran shot his questioner and a brief firefight ensued. The Wraiths quickly took down the troopers, but the skimmer that had carried the Imperials escaped, meaning that they needed to leave quickly. Unit slicer Donn was able to hack into their network and fool the Imperials' defenses into thinking they were under attack, buying the Wraiths time to steal five interceptors.
Meanwhile, Nelprin had dealt with the skimmer pilot and a stormtrooper guard filing a report in her office but ended up killing them instead of incapacitating them as she intended. However, she was able to cover their disappearance and the brief close-quarters fight she had instigated, and then steal a skimmer to evacuate the Wraiths who would not be flying starfighters out of Victory Base. In the confusion surrounding the false air raid, Nelprin brought a transport skimmer in time to evacuate the remaining Wraiths who had not launched in TIE interceptors. The five starfighters strafed the base's command center and then departed for space, while the remaining Wraiths roared out of Victory Base in Nelprin's skimmer to link up with saBinring outside of the nearest city. There, they made their way back to Narra. For the squad members, the trip back to the hollowed-out asteroid near the Halmad system known as Hawk-bat Base, was an uneventful one.
Back at Hawk-bat Base, the Wraiths set to work redecorating their newly acquired fighters in the garish and unorthodox schemes expected of pirates and worked with the captain of Sungrass, Captain Valton, on procedure for launching the fighters from the ancient transport. Also, orders from Coruscant had arrived, including funds that had been appropriated for use in their piracy scheme. At this time, a stuffed Ewok toy started popping up in various unexpected places, and the doll quickly became a recurring squadron joke, even if the identity of the prankster was unknown.
- "We don't mind running. Even when we don't have to."
- ―Garik Loran on Wraith Squadron tactics
The first strike of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force was against a freighter whose navigator Loran had met in a bar in the town of Hullis. The navigator had been inebriated and had given away the location of where his ship, Barderia, would be arriving from hyperspace. With their combination of TIE interceptors and TIE fighters, the Wraiths quickly disabled the ship's communications and weapons systems. As a result, the captain, a man named Rhanken, was obliged to surrender his ship. The Wraiths, led by Loran in the guise of General Kargin of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, boarded the vessel and seized a large amount of cargo, including costly Halmad Prime grain liquor and a selection of medicines. During their boarding, they advised the shaken Captain Rhanken that while they were reasonable businessmen with no desire for fatalities, they also were short-tempered, and resistance would be dealt with harshly. With that threat leveled, the Wraiths received no resistance from any of the crew. Before leaving, they broadcast an emergency signal so the crew could be rescued.
Not long after their first raid, the Wraiths again struck Barderia, as Donn had obtained the ship's listing of destinations on their first raid and had correctly anticipated which location Rhanken would journey to next. Rhanken was even less than pleased to see them than the first time, but once again was forced to surrender a large portion of his cargo—including replacement parts for their stolen TIE interceptors—to the Wraiths. Eventually, though, eight of the Wraiths in X-wings returned to Mon Remonda for at least one mission, in order to maintain the illusion that the squadron was still stationed on the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser with the rest of Han Solo's anti-Zsinj task force. Remaining behind to continue the Hawk-bat illusion were Donn, Phanan, Tainer, and Ekwesh. Exploiting a gap in Halmad's sensor coverage, the four pilots strafed a marina filled with expensive pleasure vessels and also robbed a bank. Also, thanks to Donn's skills, the pilots were able to obtain sensor and satellite feeds from the planet and discreetly route them to inform the Wraiths if there was an incoming ship or attack. By the time Antilles and the rest of the squadron returned, the four pirates had done quite well for themselves.
For the eight Wraiths who flew to Mon Remonda in their X-wings, the agenda was quite different. After analysis of how the task force centered around Mon Remonda had been responding to various moves of Zsinj, Nelprin concluded the responses were all too predictable, which would eventually result in a trap being laid by Zsinj. Instead, Antilles and Solo worked to incorporate Wraith and Rogue Squadrons in a more unconventional response on the industrial world of Lavisar, which had a large presence of Zsinj's elite forces, known as Raptors.
Also, by the time they arrived on Mon Remonda, the sting operation involving Notsil had been concluded. As planned, Notsil had entered training and done her best to stay below desired levels of performance. While she at times maintained the emotional detachment desirable on a mission for Imperial Intelligence, Notsil eventually developed some camaraderie for some of her fellow pilot candidates. Just as expected, she was approached by Repness, who told her that in exchange for graduating as a pilot, she could help him steal an A-wing fighter which he would sell on the black market. Although Repness carried a device that was supposed to block anyone monitoring their conversation, he did not know that Notsil had already broken into his quarters and altered his device to record the conversation instead. Furthermore, she had sliced into his records and obtained the names of all his contacts in the black market ring. During their conversation, however, she feigned reluctant cooperation. After she had concluded her talk with Repness, she took the recording from the device and the files that she had obtained and anonymously sent them to New Republic Intelligence. Knowing that Repness's downfall was imminent, she confronted him, but was surprised when the irate officer assaulted her and knocked her unconscious until he could deal with her later. However, New Republic Intelligence acted first, arresting Repness and rescuing Notsil, who then requested an opportunity to show her true merit as a pilot. Given a second chance, she showed considerable ability in the cockpit of an X-wing and not only did she graduate, but she was accepted into Wraith Squadron; even though its ranks were full, she joined the squadron on Mon Remonda shortly before the raid on Lavisar, using the X-wing that had previously belonged to Repness. However, her own loyalties to Zsinj remained secret and she discreetly notified the warlord of her placement in Wraith Squadron. After Notsil was welcomed into the squadron, though, Sarkin approached Antilles and revealed how she had been blackmailed into protecting Repness. In response, Antilles asked her if she would ever bow to Repness again if he approached her and she said she would not. With that, Antilles placed her under direct orders not to speak about her involvement in the scheme before he had been notified. To protect Sarkin, Antilles decided to fabricate a story where he had learned about her unwilling involvement in Repness's scheme and assigned Phanan and Loran to find someone as bait to bring down Repness. That matter settled, the Wraiths prepared a mission to the world of Lavisar.
After thorough analysis, Antilles and Nelprin had concluded that a standard New Republic approach would be to use a ground-based team to sabotage the world's sensor station and then launch an airstrike to attack Zsinj's forces there. Furthermore, detailed analysis of earlier New Republic strikes in similar scenarios revealed that some of the worlds had not fully agreed to join Zsinj until the New Republic had weakened their defenses and made them appeal to the warlord for assistance. To vary the response, they decided to use a dud of a bomb in the assault on the sensor station but launch the starfighters as planned. Then, when fighters from Lavisar launched to defend their world, the New Republic craft would turn tail and run. Later, the team that had planted the fake bomb would approach Carmal, the planetary governor, and inform him that he had been set up by Zsinj to take the New Republic hit, hopefully persuading him to join the New Republic or at least not ally himself with Zsinj. The eight fighters of Wraith Squadron were selected by Antilles for the feint on Lavisar, though Rogue Squadron was ordered to hold station near the engagement zone in reserve.
As the Wraiths approached the planet, their communications were carefully scripted to make it seem like they were unaware of the "failed" sabotage of the sensor station. When enemy fighters launched in response, they fled, as planned, but Notsil triangulated the transmissions of the incoming fighters and concluded there was an additional lunar garrison whose craft would intercept them before they could escape. The Wraiths engaged the lunar garrison in a swift melee, eliminating all but five of the dozen TIE fighters and all of the accompanying Lambda-class shuttles before they left. During the engagement, Notsil had the opportunity to eliminate Antilles, but decided not to, as she felt the attack would be treacherous. Instead, she protected Antilles and even shot down one of the Imperial fighters. After the lunar garrison was defeated, the Wraiths withdrew, having sustained only minor damage to some of their fighters. Following the battle, Notsil decided that she no longer served the Empire or Zsinj; her loyalties were now to the New Republic, as the camaraderie and friendship she had experienced among the Wraiths was something she had never had in Imperial service.
Following the mission to Lavisar, the Wraiths returned to Hawk-bat Base, where Antilles was updated on the activities of the four who had been left behind—namely the raid on the marina and bank robbery. Tainer and Phanan also informed him that two new starfighter bases were under construction. Knowing that the people of Halmad were being pushed to the breaking point where they would call on Zsinj for aid, Antilles planned a single mission that would eliminate both of the partially-completed starfighter bases as the death knell for Halmad's independence.
The day before the mission, Loran noted that his wingmate Phanan seemed unusually despondent after enjoying a pleasant dinner with Notsil. Loran tried to inquire if Phanan was all right, but the other pilot brushed him off. Stopping by Phanan's quarters later, Loran found him drinking and Phanan, after some persistent questioning by Loran, told him that he felt he had no future. Despite all of his efforts, Loran was unable to dissuade him of that notion and left after confiscating the Halmad Prime that Phanan had been drinking.
Also that evening, Notsil received a datacard from Aldivy which contained a message from the brother of Lara Notsil, Tavin Notsil. Lara was thrown into shock by seeing her supposed brother again but quickly deduced that the message was actually a subtle cover by Zsinj to try and make contact with her, and she recalled her earlier overtures to the warlord. Thoroughly angry at Zsinj for shattering the existence she was trying to make as Notsil, she went to a remote area of Hawk-bat Base and had an emotional outburst. Eventually, she considered her options, concluding she had no desire to return to Zsinj's or Imperial employ but that confessing everything to Antilles would only result in her being expelled from the squadron she had come to value. While she was sobbing, Donos found her, and having heard a sanitized version of her story where she claimed that Tavin was a petty criminal, supposed that Tavin might be working with Zsinj, a guess which surprised Lara due to its accuracy. Donos offered to work with Antilles and put together a small team to go to Aldivy with her to protect her in case it was a trap by Zsinj. Grateful for his offer and trusting Donos, Lara assented.
The death of Ton Phanan
- "I was just imagining what a sad galaxy this would be without my superior intellect and general state of wonderfulness."
- ―Ton Phanan on Halmad
Setting out for Halmad, a team of Wraiths consisting of Tainer, Donos, Ekwesh, Sarkin, saBinring, and Donn boarded and took over an asteroid base and an ancient refueling tanker known as Bastion and persuaded its pair of TIE fighter escorts to dock with the base, ostensibly for the purposes of getting fresh caf. Once the two pilots were inside, the Wraiths took them prisoner and prepared to use their starfighters to attack ground targets on Halmad while Bastion would be outfitted with timed explosives and detonated in close proximity to one of the starfighter bases after an evacuation signal was sent to the base. Once the refueling tanker was away, the Wraiths on board would escape in the Narra. To protect the fragile craft, Sarkin and saBinring flew escort in their newly acquired starfighters, taken from Bastion's escorts.
Meanwhile, the other seven Wraiths—Antilles, Notsil, Phanan, Loran, Nelprin, Janson, and Passik—flew the squadron's five TIE interceptors and pair of TIE fighters from the Night Caller charade down to strafe the other base. However, upon their initial strafing run, their lasers encountered shields, and three dozen hostile fighters launched to engage them. Furthermore, a massive capital ship, later determined to be Zsinj's flagship, Iron Fist, began using tractor beams on Bastion, hauling it in. The Wraiths immediately aborted their mission. The starfighter group engaged the hostile fighters briefly, and then retreated, destroying numerous TIE fighters and interceptors. However, in the frantic retreat, Phanan was shot down. The Wraiths in Bastion ordered Sarkin and saBinring away and prepared to launch in the Narra. Since the initial plan to detonate the explosives would not work to maximum efficiency, Kell Tainer planned on remaining behind on Bastion to arm them. Instead, though, Donn modified Donos's sniper rifle to fire the activation transmission in its laser beam. Donos was able to successfully detonate Bastion and the shock and explosion were enough to stall Iron Fist and allow the Narra to escape without damage.
While most the squadron had withdrawn from the engagement zone, Loran remained behind, destroying the TIE interceptor that had shot down Phanan and another that was pursuing him. Landing discreetly in the forests of Halmad near where Phanan had been shot down, he began searching for the downed Wraith in hopes that he was still alive. Near the wreck of Phanan's starfighter, Loran encountered a pair of Zsinj's Raptors and a stormtrooper examining the scene. He shot all three of them and stole their gear and a speeder bike, albeit a damaged one, that had belonged to the Raptors. After destroying the remains of Phanan's fighter, he set out through the forest and eventually located Phanan, who was badly injured but still alive.
Loran attempted to bring Phanan back to his fighter on the speeder bike, but the engine died, forcing him to drag the bike with Phanan on board instead. Loran proposed surrendering to Zsinj's forces to get Phanan medical help, but Phanan bluntly rejected the idea, knowing that it would mean the end of the Hawk-bat scam. Furthermore, Phanan left Loran a datapad with his will on it, and in his typically witty manner, told his friend that he was far too conscientious about his past and needed to let his guilt over his childhood deeds go. Loran did not fully agree with him, but shortly thereafter, Phanan died and Loran lost his wingmate and best friend. Loran then made his way back to his interceptor and took off for Hawk-bat Base after destroying Phanan's body, per the other pilot's request. As the search for him and Phanan had been called off, he met no resistance during the trip.
When Loran returned to Hawk-bat Base, Antilles evaluated his actions and found them exemplary, despite the loss of Phanan. Furthermore, Loran learned that the Hawk-bats had received a message from Warlord Zsinj complimenting them on their performance but also warning them to stay away from Halmad, as it was now allied with him. He was also rewarded to hear that Zsinj wanted to meet with the Hawk-bats, in hopes of discussing mutually profitable business arrangements. In short, the Hawk-bats had fulfilled their purpose.
- "Mission One is the meeting with Zsinj. Face commands and has chosen Dia and Kell to accompany him. This is all intelligence gathering, very delicate, which is why the crew is full of deadly killers."
- ―Wedge Antilles to Wraith Squadron
The death of Ton Phanan had a significant impact on the Wraiths. Notsil was re-assigned as Loran's wingman and Antilles had her and the other pilots discreetly observe Loran for evidence of psychological trauma. Loran also found himself the sole benefactor of Phanan's will, as the deceased pilot had no kin. Notsil, having recently undergone the military first-aid course, was also assigned as unit medic. In another matter of concern to Notsil, Donos approached Antilles about accompanying Lara Notsil to Aldivy as backup on a trip for her to meet her brother.
In response to Zsinj's overtures, the Wraiths hastily assembled a contact team to meet with Zsinj aboard Iron Fist. In addition to the contact team, Donn volunteered to accompany the team, as he had devised a program that, when inserted into Iron Fist's computers, would broadcast a signal that could be easily traced, giving the New Republic Zsinj's location. Antilles liked the idea, but refused to grant Donn permission to accompany the mission, saying the program would be of better use at a later time due to the heavy security Zsinj was sure to employ. Donn was flustered and annoyed by Antilles' refusal, to say the least.
Ultimately, three simultaneous missions were put together. Loran, Tainer, and Passik would take the Narra and meet Zsinj, while Notsil and Donos flew their X-wings to Aldivy for a meeting with her brother. The third mission was led by Antilles and involved him and five others flying back to Coruscant for rest and recreation for the pilots and an exchange of reports and orders with his superiors for Antilles. During the briefing where Antilles outlined the missions, Donn took the opportunity to publicly challenge Antilles over his decision regarding the computer program. Antilles once again denied him permission and confined him to Hawk-bat Base.
For their trip to Iron Fist, each member of the expedition was heavily disguised. Loran was once again disguised as General Kargin, the founder and leader of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, a heavily scarred pirate leader. Passik operated under the cover of Seku, a pirate with a considerably uncivilized appearance. For his part, Tainer went by the alias of Dissek, a hand-to-hand combat expert with flowing red hair and an arrogant personality. Before they left, Loran had Tainer check the smuggling compartment of Narra for stowaways, namely Donn, but found none, aside from the Ewok doll nicknamed Lieutenant Kettch that had been involved in numerous practical jokes beforehand.
The ersatz pirates arrived on Iron Fist and were welcomed by Zsinj's aide, General Melvar. During a weapons search conducted by Zsinj's stormtroopers, one of the troopers provoked Tainer, who easily put him down with an unarmed combat move and claimed it was entirely reflex, impressing Melvar, who was not in the least annoyed with Tainer. The three Wraiths were then led into a false bridge, where Zsinj had staged the appearance of a nonchalant crew with little regard for military posture. Zsinj greeted them amiably, and they sat down to partake of a banquet that had been prepared for the occasion. During the main course, Zsinj asked Loran about the possibility of an Ewok pilot in the Hawk-bats. Loran affirmed, giving saBinring's true background of being raised and modified in an Imperial lab as the fictitious Ewok's history, whom he named Kettch. The exchange of looks that Zsinj and Melvar gave each other upon hearing this told Loran that they knew more about that type of experimentation than they were letting on, but the two Imperials did not elaborate further.
Meanwhile, Donn had managed to sneak aboard the Narra thanks to the use of a mirror to hide his presence in the smuggling compartment. Disguised as a stormtrooper, he made his way to a seemingly unoccupied level of Iron Fist to insert his program. Finding his way onto a little-traveled part of the ship, he found a lab where various alien species were being experimented upon and altered. Donn found a computer terminal and began his work, but his typical xenophobia was disturbed by seeing the non-Humans treated in such a manner. He was subsequently discovered by a group of stormtroopers. He tried to make an escape, unleashing a Talz maddened with rage on the troopers as a delaying action, but was shot. However, before he lost consciousness, he managed to destroy his datapad, concealing his identity and destroying his program.
Back on the bridge, Zsinj offered the Hawk-bats a chance to participate in a major military engagement as mercenaries. He refused to elaborate, other than saying the target was retrieving sizable cargo from an orbital space station, but offered the Hawk-bats a generous commission to help serve in his attack force, which Loran accepted. Loran also deduced that Zsinj would need an intrusion team to help secure the cargo and offered the services of Tainer's teacher, Nelprin. Tainer described her as "Qatya" and gave a vivid description of her killing a Wookiee unarmed. Zsinj was interested in reviewing some of the Hawk-bat personnel for intrusion purposes, but also took that moment to bring in a captured Castin Donn. Zsinj requested that one of the pirates shoot Donn as a test of their ruthlessness. Loran stalled for time, unsure of what to do, but Passik eventually told Zsinj that while the Hawk-bats' charter prohibited Loran from killing unnecessarily, she would be happy to do the job. Taking a blaster pistol proffered by Zsinj, she shot Donn in the neck. That effectively concluded their meeting, and the three Wraiths were escorted back to the Narra for their departure.
Once the Narra was back in hyperspace, Loran had Passik explain her actions. She told him that Donn was already dead, based on several indications, and the effect of breathing had been simulated. Suddenly, she lost control of her emotions, striking out in all directions. Then, she attempted to commit suicide with a blaster pistol, saying that she never would have shot an innocent man. However, Loran stopped her from pulling the trigger, thanking her for saving their lives on Iron Fist. Recognizing that the emotionless streak that Passik typically showed was replaced by her true personality, Loran simply comforted her through her emotional outburst. She eventually calmed down by the time the shuttle returned to Hawk-bat Base, though a shaken Loran now found himself in the position of having to explain why two subordinates had died near him in just a few days.
Detailing the events of the encounter with Zsinj to Antilles, who himself had returned from Coruscant, Loran attempted to take responsibility for Donn's death, which Antilles dismissed as ridiculous. Antilles then detailed the elaborate measures that Donn had taken to sneak aboard the Narra, saying that Donn was responsible for his own death. Loran also tasked Nelprin, Passik's wingman, to keep on eye on her. Antilles advised that Loran discuss Donn's death with Tainer to reassure him that it was not Tainer's fault, as he had actually examined the compartment where Donn had hidden. Overall, though, Antilles was pleased both with Loran's performance and the results of the mission, despite the considerable cost to the unit.
While Loran and the others were meeting Zsinj, Notsil and Donos arrived on Aldivy without incident. Landing near the ruins of New Oldtown at a predesignated location, Notsil went in to meet her brother by herself, her comlink deactivated. Donos was unhappy about that but remained about a kilometer away, covering her with his sniper rifle. As Notsil expected, an operative of Zsinj's, Captain Todrin Rossik, was present and offered several means to allow her to sabotage Mon Remonda. However, Rossik also detected Donos and decided to kill him. Notsil tried to stall for time, but Rossik eventually left her no choice if she was going to avoid being returned to Zsinj. After claiming that he was now in New Republic custody, she had a blaster pointed at her by Tavin Notsil, so she signaled Donos. The sniper killed Tavin, and Lara slew Rossik after he attempted to draw a blaster. Rossik's death meant that her identity remained intact. Shaken, she was escorted back to Hawk-bat Base by Donos.
Battle of Kuat
- "It's Kuat, all right. Zsinj is making a raid on a space platform at Kuat."
- ―Wedge Antilles to Wes Janson
Analyzing the data for the attack provided by Zsinj to Loran, Antilles and Janson spent considerable amounts of time trying to determine Zsinj's target. While Janson initially supposed that Coruscant was the target, Antilles was unconvinced, as the defenses that Zsinj listed did not match up with what he had seen recently in his visit. Then, in a flash of inspiration, he scribbled a note down on a piece of flimsiplast and folded it up. With the unit slicer Donn dead, he called in Notsil, the next most technically proficient Wraith and had her translate the forces Zsinj had provided into purely Imperial equivalents. Notsil did so, and Antilles compared her results with known planetary defense data of various Imperial worlds. It took less than five minutes for Antilles to correlate the strength of the defense fleet to Kuat, which was also what he had written down on the flimsi. Just as Loran had predicted earlier, Zsinj was after the next Executor-class Star Dreadnought under construction at Kuat Drive Yards. Antilles then directed Notsil to adapt Donn's program for use on the new Star Dreadnought.
In the midst of the preparation, Ekwesh organized a formal dance to help relieve tension and ease the minds of the unit over the deaths of Donn and Phanan. Though it was a surprise to most of the participants, they were soon enjoying the break from the strains of war. Antilles complimented Ekwesh on a job well done, and Notsil and Janson maneuvered Passik and Loran together, where Dia confessed that she had not known who she was after the meeting on Iron Fist. She also thanked Loran for saving her life and admitted that he was the last person whom she felt safe around, eventually kissing him. This dance marked the beginning of their relationship.
The next day, with unit morale having been lifted by the previous night's festivities, the Wraiths were again broken into several units. Six of the Wraiths would be disguised as Hawk-bats for Zsinj's attack on Kuat: Antilles, Passik, Tainer, Loran, Sarkin, and saBinring. Notsil, Passik, and Nelprin had dossiers submitted to Zsinj as candidates for an intrusion team, and the rest of the squadron would be taking their X-wings to Mon Remonda in preparation for an ambush on Iron Fist and Zsinj's second Star Dreadnought once they left the Kuat system. Nelprin, in the guise of Qatya Nassin, was chosen by Zsinj to join the intrusion team and the Wraiths began to implement their plans.
The six Hawk-bat pilots and Nelprin boarded Sungrass and journeyed to the designated rendezvous point. Due to the fact that his communication system had been made to sound like a voice of an Ewok, Antilles also came prepared with the Lieutenant Kettch doll, which he strapped to his body for the battle in case of visual identification by other pilots. Joining with Zsinj's fleet and a large assortment of other pirate and mercenary leaders, the massed armada closed in on Kuat. For her part, Nelprin easily passed a test by beating up one of Zsinj's hand-to-hand experts, a man named Radaf Netbers, in order to prove her skills.
Nelprin traveled with a shuttle full of Zsinj's infiltrators to the new destroyer, named Razor's Kiss and they boarded it discreetly, their arrival unannounced. Taking point, Nelprin incapacitated several Imperial troops en route to the bridge, allowing the team to take the bridge of Razor's Kiss swiftly. As soon as she was unnoticed on the bridge, Nelprin used her datapad to activate Donn's program and it began attempting to bypass the ship's security. The ship, nearly deserted, was rapidly secured by Zsinj's forces and Nelprin waited patiently for the ship to leave dock. As Razor's Kiss broke its moorings and slid free, the Kuati defense fleet began maneuvering to engage it. However, once Donn's program had successfully been implemented, Nelprin reported some suspicious activity outside the bridge of the ship. She was given permission to investigate and informed Zsinj's operatives that a demolitions team was attempting to breach the bridge. Activating a small explosive charge she had concealed on her person, Nelprin faked her death and initially decided to find an escape pod to wait out the battle. She later changed her mind and made her way back to the hangar bay instead, choosing a TIE interceptor for its potential to cause further sabotage.
By the time Razor's Kiss was outbound from its dock, Zsinj's fleet, accompanied by Sungrass and the other pirate vessels, had reverted from hyperspace and were engaging the planetary defense fleet. The Hawk-bats, followed by about forty other pirate vessels, were detached as the lead strike wave against an Imperial Star Destroyer, Mauler. The experienced flyers of the Wraiths easily destroyed numerous oncoming TIE fighters with the limited aid of the other pirates. Soon, though, the battle degenerated into a sizable dogfight.
Nelprin floated alongside Razor's Kiss in her interceptor pretending to be a derelict craft until she reached the shield generators. Once there, she remained on station, waiting the appropriate time to act after discreetly signaling the Wraiths of her survival and potential to harm Zsinj. As the Hawk-bats continued to destroy the Imperial loyalist TIEs, they were joined by a group of Zsinj's TIEs supposedly belonging to the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group. In particular, Baron Soontir Fel spoke to Antilles, whom Fel believed was an Ewok. Antilles and Fel flew together again, as they had once done in Rogue Squadron years earlier, and destroyed several more Imperial TIEs. Antilles began subtly asking Fel about the fate of Syal Antilles, his sister and Fel's wife. Fel confirmed she was alive but did not disclose her location—as in the Battle of Ession, the real Fel was not present, but only actor Tetran Cowall impersonating the Imperial ace. After Mauler was disabled and Razor's Kiss was clear of the shipyard, Zsinj's fleet began withdrawing. As the Hawk-bats returned to Sungrass, saBinring and Sarkin staged a deception by pursuing a lone Imperial TIE fighter across Iron Fist. saBinring let the Imperial craft get behind him and faked his death while Sarkin destroyed the TIE fighter. As such, saBinring was now in position near Iron Fist's shield generators. In the mean time, the rest of the Hawk-bats landed their fighters in Sungrass, which was in turn parked aboard Iron Fist for their jump away from Kuat. Loran, still disguised as General Kargin, accepted Melvar's sizable payments in the form of accounts on Halmad. The unit then left Iron Fist to rendezvous with the New Republic fleet waiting to ambush Zsinj's already battle-worn fleet.
The destruction of Razor's Kiss
- "We'll vape Zsinj together and you can go back to a life of irresponsible good cheer."
- ―Wedge Antilles to Han Solo
Not long after boarding Han Solo's Mon Remonda, the Wraiths were alerted by the program implanted in Razor's Kiss, giving them the ship's location. Solo's fleet jumped to intercept Zsinj's forces and launched all fighters to engage. The scattered way that Solo had deployed his fleet meant that Mon Remonda and her fighter group would bear the brunt of the battle for several long moments until the rest of the fleet arrived. However, only the two Star Dreadnoughts were present, as Zsinj had already dispatched the rest of his fleet. Bypassing Iron Fist temporarily, Antilles led the X-wings of Wraith and Rogue Squadrons, the A-wings of Polearm Squadron, and the B-wing starfighters of Nova Squadron on attack runs against Razor's Kiss. Thankfully for the New Republic, Zsinj had decided to quickly fly past Mon Remonda for the safety of hyperspace and did not launch his TIEs, which would have been unable to jump to lightspeed on their own. Just as the New Republic fighters closed, Nelprin powered up her starfighter and destroyed the topside shield generators and bridge on Razor's Kiss, rendering the under-crewed ship vulnerable to assault. The four New Republic squadrons dove on the Star Dreadnought, hammering it with proton torpedoes. In response, Zsinj launched all his TIEs. Antilles sent Rogue and Polearm Squadrons ahead to engage them, while the Wraiths were kept escorting Nova Squadron, as they were still under-strength.
The Wraiths guarded the Novas as the B-wings struck at Iron Fist, destroying numerous fighters in their path. saBinring then powered up his craft and disabled the topside shields, leaving Zsinj's flagship vulnerable as well. Reinforcing the New Republic was a group of Y-wing fighters led by General Crespin and the Wraiths handed over the Novas to Crespin's group while they went to engage the fake 181st, who were fighting the Rogues. With Iron Fist rapidly taking damage from the starfighters and Mon Remonda, and with Razor's Kiss slowed to a crawl from the earlier attack runs, Zsinj ordered Razor's Kiss abandoned and Iron Fist's withdrawal. During the final stages of the battle, Loran's craft was badly hit and he briefly considered ramming Iron Fist's bridge in order to kill Zsinj, but, recalling what Phanan had told him on Halmad before dying, Loran decided that his life was worth living and managed to regain control of his craft, abandoning his guilt from his childhood deeds.
The New Republic starfighters, including the Wraiths, continued to engage targets of opportunity, but the TIEs returned to Iron Fist. The Star Dreadnought jumped to hyperspace, leaving Razor's Kiss to explode in a large cloud of debris. The Wraiths did not lose any of their pilots in the engagement, having retrieved Nelprin and saBinring and suffered no losses against the TIEs, though Loran's fighter was badly damaged. In addition to the medical treatment required from the injuries he had sustained, Loran had his facial scar removed. Phanan's will had stipulated that he do so, or a large sum of money would have gone to Cowall, a childhood rival of Loran's that he detested. Also, in recognition of her role in the battle, Nelprin was promoted to lieutenant and given half of the kill for Razor's Kiss. However, as successful as the Wraiths had been in eliminating Razor's Kiss, Zsinj remained at large and in control of Iron Fist.
- "Not bad, man-who-looks-like-Wedge. What's Stage Three?"
"In Stage Three, we track down Zsinj and blow him up."
- ―Han Solo and Wedge Antilles
A brief respite
- "Since Elassar hasn't run up against Zsinj—or anyone but his instructors—before now, we're going to take him to the Galactic Museum's new display on Imperial Intelligence. Give him an idea what he's up against. Then we get a drink. Then you and Myn and Elassar give in to male biology and insult a bar full of soldiers, and Dia and I haul your battered bodies back to base."
" You see what happens when we don't get involved in the mission's planning stage?"
- ―Lara Notsil and Garik Loran on Coruscant
The Wraiths returned with the rest of Solo's fleet to Coruscant for leave while the Mon Remonda, which had taken considerable damage in the Battle for Razor's Kiss, was repaired. While they were on leave, the Wraiths received their newly created unit patches for the first time. Also during their leave, saBinring discussed the battle with Admiral Ackbar, noting unusual behavior in the pilots of the 181st, who were turning in exactly the same way when faced with a similar situation. However, their meeting was interrupted by a security officer, Jart Eyan, who proceeded to shoot saBinring and then attempted to kill Ackbar. saBinring, though badly wounded, was able to stop the assassin by smashing his head with Ackbar's desk. He collapsed immediately after due to the combined effect of his wounds and the effort needed to stop the assassin. The Gamorrean pilot survived, though he required extended bacta immersion.
Meanwhile, Notsil and Loran had developed a new tactic involving X-wings and TIE interceptors working together. In a simulator duel against Antilles and Celchu, who were flying TIE Interceptors, Notsil's TIE interceptor flew behind Loran's X-wing except when firing, which allowed her to take advantage of Loran's shields. The tactic was successful enough that Celchu was defeated with it, though Antilles was able to flush out Notsil from behind Loran's X-wing. While it was not the great success Loran had hoped it would be, Antilles commended his pilots on their invention and encouraged them to develop it further.
However, their leave was soon to end, as Mon Remonda was returning to space to battle Zsinj's forces and the Wraiths were officially stationed onboard the cruiser, despite conducting numerous detached missions. Antilles informed the Wraiths that they had one last day of freedom but advised them to be cautious, considering that Zsinj had tried to capture or kill them the last time they were on leave. Antilles also introduced Elassar Targon, a medical corpsman and the newest member of the unit. Finally, Loran was promoted to brevet captain and placed in charge of Wraith Squadron, as Antilles was returning to Rogue Squadron while acting as overall commander of all four squadrons stationed aboard Mon Remonda. The Wraiths spent their last few hours of leave in various ways. A group of them, including Donos, Loran, Targon, Notsil, and Passik, went to see the Galactic Museum's new display on Old Republic and Imperial Intelligence. For his part, Antilles went on a date with New Republic Intelligence agent and fellow Corellian Iella Wessiri. However, they were all soon back aboard Mon Remonda, heading back to war.
Return to war
- "Once more into the gauntlet, Wraiths."
- ―Garik Loran during the Battle of Levian Two
The first stop for Solo's fleet and the Wraiths was Levian Two, a world that had recently been raided by Zsinj's Raptors. As Solo's fleet arrived and deployed its starfighters in a search-and-rescue operation, Zsinj dropped three groups of his fleet, including Iron Fist, into the system to engage Solo's fleet. In response, Solo blasted straight at Zsinj's main group, seeking to fly through Zsinj's ships and withdraw from the engagement. The Wraiths and Rogues were ordered to escort Nova Squadron to attack Iron Fist, while the A-wings assisted in engaging Zsinj's fighters. The three squadrons damaged Iron Fist's portside engines with proton torpedoes, and while the Novas continued to use their ion cannons on the Star Dreadnought, the Wraiths set about dealing with one of the two Carrack-class cruisers that Zsinj had in his main group. Expending the last of their torpedoes, they damaged the vessel badly as Rogue Squadron gave the same treatment to another cruiser. Janson was hit by an ion cannon during the attack run, but a shuttle from Mon Remonda was able to retrieve him. The Wraiths, along with Solo's other starfighters, then returned to Mon Remonda. With another Mon Calamari cruiser in close formation, Mon Remonda was able to shrug off the brief exchange of fire between it and Iron Fist before Solo's fleet fled to hyperspace. All the pilots of Antilles's command had survived, for which the pilots were grateful.
However, the Rogues and Polearms were concerned by this turn of events, as Zsinj had previously been cautious about bringing Iron Fist into a gravity well. That the warlord had determined their pattern of response and had enough forces readily available to directly engage Solo's fleet was disturbing. In response, Rogue pilot Inyri Forge suggested using Solo—or more accurately, a fake Millennium Falcon—as bait for Zsinj, as the two had become personal enemies. To the pilots' surprise, Solo was not only present in the pilots' lounge as this discussion was taking place, but liked the idea and authorized it. Solo also agreed that the Wraiths should follow up the one lead they had on Zsinj's operations after the destruction of Razor's Kiss—the Binring Biomedical facility on Saffalore, where saBinring had been raised and altered.
- "Wraiths, no rules. No mercy. Take out anything that gets between us and home."
- ―Garik Loran on Saffalore after an Imperial ambush
For the raid on Saffalore, Antilles decided to have Rogue Squadron on hand to assist the Wraiths. While the unit had done well without support in the past, he felt sure that having the extra help would be useful, as they anticipated Zsinj to have a presence at the Binring Biomedical facility. However, Loran was in charge of the mission, as he was now the commanding officer of the Wraiths.
To cover their approach, crews from Mon Remonda diverted a series of asteroids to create meteor showers over Saffalore. The third such shower included two dozen New Republic starfighters. The two starfighter squadrons flew undetected to the polar ice caps of Saffalore, then down to near Lurark, the largest city on planet, and the home of the Binring Biomedical facility. Setting down in a remote location, the Rogues remained with their fighters while the Wraiths made their way toward the city. There was a brief period in between landing and the Wraiths' approach on Lurark, and Donos took that opportunity to express his attraction to Notsil. Little did Donos know that Notsil had aided in the destruction of his previous command in her previous identity as Petothel, back when she served in Imperial Intelligence. Nevertheless, he felt strongly towards her and she reciprocated, to some extent.
To gain access to Lurark, the Wraiths had one of their number lie down on a road. As a passing civilian speeder slowed to a stop to investigate, they emerged from behind cover and seized it for use as transport to get them into Lurark. They quickly located the Binring Biomedical facility, a sprawling complex at least two square kilometers in area, and spent most of the day observing it discreetly. In the afternoon, Loran, Janson, Notsil, Donos, Nelprin, Tainer, and Sarkin met at a local tapcafe to discuss their results and between them narrowed down which entrance was a likely location for Zsinj's special facility within the compound. Notsil pointed out that the areas she specified lacked power meters, meaning they had their own generators to supply power. Janson's criterion for eliminating several of the sites Notsil had mentioned were that most of them were not defensible and were too obvious as locations to house a secret facility. As the first two Wraiths' analyses had eliminated all but two entrances, Nelprin slimmed down the list even more by pointing out that one entrance, on the east side of the complex, opened onto a major thoroughfare and looked more like a private entrance for executives based on the speeder traffic in and out of it. Sarkin confirmed that the one remaining entrance, on the northwest side of the complex, loading area two, was the proper location. When asked how she determined that, she explained that it had been a sensation in the Force. With their target confirmed, the Wraiths planned a nighttime assault on the complex to break in and investigate.
As they approached near to the target location known as Northwest Two, the Wraiths had Donos ditch their acquired speeder as it would be dangerous to use a vehicle that had surely been reported stolen. After Donos lost the speeder, he got into position with his sniper rifle to provide cover for the other Wraiths from several rooftops away. They approached the ground level and quickly detected both a set of holocams and a gap in their coverage. However, Sarkin informed them that there was a redundant, harder to detect layer of surveillance pointed at the gap, based on her Force senses. Rather than risk walking into a trap, Loran opted for an alternate approach. Scaling a nearby rooftop, the Wraiths used a small projectile cannon to fire a grapple connected to a fibra-rope at the roof of the Binring facility. Then, sliding along the rope on two devices to grip their hands and knees, the Wraiths made their way over to the roof of their target, one by one.
Tainer quickly found and disabled the security system around one of the roof accesses, granting them entrance into the facility, and while most of the unit descended into the building, Targon and Notsil were left on the roof to plant targeting markers for use by the Wraiths in case they needed to spot air strikes for Rogue Squadron. While Notsil was laying down markers, Targon located a second, hidden layer of security that had been laid down in the roof, in the form of pressure sensors. The Wraiths had not triggered them, but Notsil was concerned about the additional warning and used her comlink to warn the Wraiths. In doing so, she alerted the defenders to their presence.
The Wraiths inside the building cautiously made their way into its interior, doing their best to avoid setting off any security systems. As Tainer and Nelprin investigated, though, they found several examples of the secondary layer of security Notsil had warned them about, hampering their investigation. Furthermore, while saBinring recognized some of the rooms, their furnishings and locations had been rearranged.
As the intrusion team advanced, they were caught in a trap specially prepared for them. Walking into one room, the floor dropped out from under them, depositing them several meters down into an incinerator. A group of stormtroopers appeared at the rim of the chamber and demanded their demolitions gear. Tainer quickly grabbed Nelprin's pack and tossed it up to them and the ceiling of the chamber closed. As it did, the floor and ceiling began to ignite, and the Wraiths knew they would all be burned to death in a short amount of time. Tainer, however, blew a hole in the wall of the chamber, allowing them an escape path, but the heat had already started melting through their clothes and shoes, adding to the injuries they had sustained in the fall into the incinerator.
Meanwhile, on the roof, a squad of stormtroopers burst out and attacked Notsil and Targon. Compounding their problems, the Imperial forces had jammed their communications, preventing them from summoning Rogue Squadron. They were pinned down, but Donos flanked the stormtroopers, opening fire with his laser rifle. Under fire, the stormtroopers charged the two Wraiths on the roof, and Notsil and Targon were forced to withdraw. Combined, Notsil, Donos, and Targon managed to kill half of the stormtroopers, but the arrival of two TIE fighters pointing laser cannons directly at them forced all three of them to surrender.
With almost all of the intrusion team wounded and cut off from aid, Loran ordered the unit to find a way out of the facility. As they were making their escape, they ran into at least a dozen more stormtroopers, a civilian woman, and Netbers, who recognized Nelprin as Qatya Nassin. Knowing that she could not risk compromising the Hawk-bats, Nelprin rushed at Netbers, and the Wraiths followed. The foolhardiness of their maneuver caught the stormtroopers by surprise, allowing the Wraiths to quickly take them down, though Janson sustained a blaster graze after single-handedly killing five stormtroopers. Although Nelprin attempted to fire at Netbers, her blaster malfunctioned, leaving her to face him unarmed. Already injured, she was quickly knocked to the floor by Netbers. However, Ekwesh grabbed Netbers and slammed him into a wall with enough force to break his neck, killing the man and preserving the Hawk-bats' secret. As the stormtroopers withdrew in the face of the Wraiths' fire, the Wraiths managed to capture the civilian, Doctor Edda Gast, one of the scientists behind Zsinj's work at Binring Biomedical. Gast, knowing Zsinj would execute her for her failure, was cooperative and showed them through access tunnels that gave them an escape route. On the way, Tainer routed a local power station to a main support beam and transmitted a communication signal along it, effectively transforming the entire building into an antenna that cut through the jamming to let his message reach Rogue Squadron.
Within minutes, the Rogues were over Lurark, swiftly destroying one of the TIE fighters that had forced Donos, Targon, and Notsil to surrender. The other one fled, and the Wraiths on the rooftop quickly gunned down their unsuspecting stormtrooper captors. Four of the Rogues then destroyed the sealed entrance to a speeder garage, allowing the intrusion team an egress from the facility, while the other eight moved to intercept a squadron of TIEs that had been scrambled to engage them. Donos, Notsil, and Targon then brought another speeder that Donos had stolen over to the intrusion team, picking them up for a rapid departure from Lurark.
While most of the Rogues strafed the local military base and drew off pursuit, the Wraiths made for their fighters, followed by an escort of two Rogue Squadron X-wings. Targon applied limited first aid to the injured pilots, and they all were able to fly their craft away from the scene. Gast was placed in the cockpit of Nelprin's interceptor, and Nelprin claimed that if the scientist tried to resist, she would be killed by Nelprin. In response, Gast assured them that she merely wished to negotiate with the New Republic. The Wraiths were unopposed as they lifted off from Saffalore and returned to Mon Remonda, as Rogue Squadron had successfully diverted Imperial attention.
- "Polearm Two, power down and announce your surrender or I'll blow you out of space."
- ―Tyria Sarkin to Nuro Tualin
The Wraiths returned to Mon Remonda with only four pilots fit to fly. All of them were injured, and Ekwesh and Janson required bacta treatment for their injuries. As they recovered, Antilles came to see Loran, asking him how he felt about the mission. To the surprise of the senior officer, Loran explained that he felt well about the mission, even if they had sustained a large number of casualties. Loran stated that the Wraiths had entered an environment specifically fashioned to kill them and all of them had emerged alive, which he saw as an impressive statement not only to the unit's deadliness, but also the fact that they were enough of a threat to merit such a response from Zsinj. Antilles, pleased that Loran was not taking the injuries too hard, acknowledged that he was doing well with his command.
Later, Donos made his way to the pilot's lounge to meet with Notsil, asking her about how she felt about him. Notsil, who was still struggling with her own identity, was uncertain at first. Donos replied that he merely wanted to be given a chance, that he wanted Notsil to give herself a chance, and she relented. However, she warned him that she would probably end up breaking his heart.
Even with only four pilots active, Wraith Squadron was assigned to participate in a mission to Jussafet Four, an Imperial world which was under attack by Raptors. Donos, Sarkin, Targon, and Notsil were ordered to escort shuttles with New Republic ground forces down to the surface to engage the Raptors, while Polearm Squadron cleared the way and Rogue and Nova Squadron attacked Zsinj's forces in the world's asteroid belt. Shortly after the starfighters launched, a Polearm Squadron pilot, Nuro Tualin, suffered an engine failure and returned to Mon Remonda. However, Tualin was actually part of Project Minefield, an effort by Zsinj to use short-term brainwashing to turn nonhuman victims into unwilling assassins. As such, Tualin opened fire on Mon Remonda's bridge in an attempt to assassinate Han Solo. Sarkin, however, had sensed that something was wrong via her Force intuition. She gave chase to Tualin, alerting Mon Remonda in just enough time for Solo and all the crew, save one, to escape the bridge before Tualin's lasers breached it. Sarkin ordered Tualin to stand down, but he refused and she was forced to destroy him.
However, Tualin was not the only assassin present. Rogue Squadron pilot Tal'dira, like Tualin, had been activated by one of Zsinj's agents on Mon Remonda, a man named Galey. Tal'dira, in formation with the Rogues, attempted to assassinate Wedge Antilles, but Force-sensitive Rogue pilot Corran Horn alerted Antilles the instant before Tal'dira fired, allowing Antilles to escape, albeit with significant damage to his ship. Celchu immediately interposed his ship between Tal'dira's and Antilles' craft and pleaded with Tal'dira to surrender. Tal'dira refused and Horn then killed him before he could destroy Celchu or Antilles. For his own part, Galey attempted to kill Dr. Gast, but Nawara Ven, Rogue Squadron's executive officer who had been assigned to reach a deal with Gast in exchange for information on Zsinj's projects, was able to kill him before he could do so. However, the New Republic decided to use the event as a way to hide the scientist, and they maintained the illusion that Gast had been killed in the attack, even after a Gotal assassin attempted to kill Mon Mothma and other Gotals went on shooting sprees on Coruscant.
In spite of the crisis, the mission continued, and the New Republic starfighters destroyed most of the Raptor forces in space while the Wraiths successfully covered the landing of the New Republic troops, who took control of the Raptor base. The Imperial defenders of the world were somewhat grateful for the aid, and the New Republic forces, including the Wraiths, withdrew after the Raptors were defeated.
- "You lead a task force whose goal is to get rid of Zsinj."
"Once we're done with him, we can go back to our very personal ideological differences, without having to invite anyone else to play."
- ―Garik Loran and Teren Rogriss
However, before Mon Remonda left the Jussafet system, they were signaled by a newly-arrived Imperial Star Destroyer, the Agonizer, commanded by Teren Rogriss. Rogriss requested to meet with Antilles, but Solo refused to let him go, saying he was too likely a target for assassination. Instead, Loran was sent to meet with the Imperial officer under a temporary truce. Loran was invited to a banquet with Rogriss, who informed him that he was Solo's counterpart—in charge of an anti-Zsinj task force. While the negotiations would be completely unofficial, Rogriss offered to share Imperial data on Zsinj with the New Republic in exchange for their own information on Zsinj. Loran agreed to take the proposal to Solo, even though Rogriss and Solo would likely be executed by their respective governments for collaborating with the enemy if they were caught. Before he left, Loran inquired about any known motives for Baron Fel's alliance with Zsinj. Rogriss informed that he did not know, but suggested the man was a compulsive traitor and egotist, as the true 181st was still serving the Empire under Turr Phennir.
Back on Mon Remonda, unit morale was low due to the assassination attempts. The fact that New Republic personnel had been forced to kill their own only made matters worse. As a final insult, due to the number of attempted assassinations by Twi'leks, Solo was obliged to relieve all Twi'leks in the task force of duty until the investigation was over, including Wraith Dia Passik. She was not pleased with the turn of events.
Convinced that the sudden rise in Twi'lek and Gotal activities was somehow a plan of Zsinj's, Antilles called a brainstorming session of the Wraiths and any Rogues who wished to come. He quickly postulated that the true effect of the assassination attempts was not to kill their targets, but to divide the New Republic by alienating some its people, specifically Twi'leks and Gotals. Drawing on Zsinj's history of experimenting on non-Humans, saBinring offered up the theory that Zsinj had found a way to brainwash certain species into doing his bidding. As all the assassins had not been missing for long periods of time, they concluded it was a short-term effect, possibly caused by chemicals. To follow up on this possibility, they suggested that the New Republic conduct autopsies on all the bodies to examine them for traces of brainwashing agents.
- "Um, I don't know whether this has entered your mission planning, sir, but if you go to an Imperial world, they'll probably want to kill you. And if you do land and let yourself be noticed later, they'll probably want to kill you then."
- ―Lara Notsil to Wedge Antilles
Despite their setbacks, the Wraiths continued with their plan to fake up an ersatz Millennium Falcon as a lure for Zsinj. Acquiring an old YT-1300 light freighter in exchange for the TIE interceptor that Nelprin had acquired in the Battle of Kuat, the Wraiths received the help of Chewbacca in helping to make the ship look like the Millennium Falcon.
The Wraiths also took time to celebrate the full recovery of Ekwesh and Janson, who had finally emerged from the bacta tanks following the raid on Saffalore. As part of the festivities, they held a party, complete with dancing, food, mock thrones, and kingships for the two newly recovered pilots. While he was dancing with Passik, Loran noticed yet another oddity in Notsil's behavior. He had previously noted that she tended to walk and act like a native of Coruscant when upset, and now he observed her using Coruscant Charm Signing, a subtle method of communication known only among members of that world's wealthy social classes. His curiosity piqued, he decided to put in a request to New Republic Intelligence about Notsil.
While the rest of the Rogues and Wraiths celebrated, Antilles went to see Solo, who was working on their new freighter, dubbed the Millennium Falsehood. Antilles found his friend downcast, wishing the fight with Zsinj was over so he could spend more time with Organa. To cheer him up and improve squadron morale, Antilles implemented what he called his three-step plan. The first was for Antilles and Solo to spend a few minutes in a darkened hangar simply taking in the scenery of the surrounding space. In his second phase, Antilles seized control of the officer's cafeteria on Mon Remonda and arranged a time of festivities completely lacking in any form of rank, military protocol, or regulations. Numerous members of the Wraiths, as well as personnel from other squadrons and crewers from Mon Remonda participated in the leisurely event, though Antilles insisted that the pilots bring their astromech droids so they could have fun and relax also. As such, the hours referred to on ship as evening were spent in irresponsible relaxation. When asked about the third stage of his plan, Antilles replied that it was to find Zsinj and blow him up.
- "I tried so hard just to be Lara. But they wouldn't let me. The whole universe wouldn't let me."
"Lara, I'm sorry. I have to place you under arrest pending investigation of this whole mess. Power your weapons systems down. Set your S-foils to cruise position. Don't attempt any sudden maneuvers."
- ―Lara Notsil and Garik Loran
Satisfied that his pilots' spirits were lifted, the Wraiths were given their next mission the day after Antilles' impromptu party. The plan was for Antilles and Chewbacca to fly the Millennium Falsehood to the Zsinj-allied urban world of Kidriff 5, where they would drop off a pair of New Republic Intelligence operatives. Then, the ship would leave, hopefully attracting the attention of Zsinj's forces. To cover the freighter, Celchu's X-wing would be coupled to the Millennium Falsehood's hull and the Wraiths in TIE interceptors would already be stationed on the surface, posing as Imperial pilots on leave. The rest of Rogue and Wraith Squadrons would wait near the edge of the system, ready to provide assistance as needed.
Tainer, Nelprin, Targon, and Janson flew the unit's four TIE interceptors down to the surface of Kidriff 5 in the guise of Drake Squadron. The native forces were fooled by their pretending to be bored fighter pilots in need of recreation, and they landed without incident. To maintain their cover, Tainer and Janson went to seek entertainment, but left Nelprin and Targon behind as guards, given that a Human female and a Devaronian were not likely to be found in the ranks of Imperial pilots.
While they waited for Antilles to lift off, Loran reviewed several transmissions that he had received. One of them was from New Republic Intelligence and its contents revealed Notsil's true identity as Petothel, an Imperial Intelligence agent. Before he could do anything about it, though, Antilles allowed the Millennium Falsehood to be flushed from its landing zone by local security, drawing two squadrons of TIE fighters to him. Along with Celchu, Tainer and the Drakes engaged the TIEs, destroying several of them and breaking up the pursuit. As the starfighters and freighter fled, they were joined by the rest of Rogue and Wraith squadrons, who effectively handled the remainder of the starfighters sent after them. Throughout the engagement, Loran stayed on the outskirts and Notsil, his temporary wingman, followed him, though she was uncertain as to why. In truth, Loran was trying to keep Notsil away from other members of the New Republic squadrons so she could not harm them. However, when Rogue pilot Koobis Nu was being pursued by a hostile fighter, Loran raced to assist, eventually informing Nu to link up with Notsil. Loran destroyed Nu's attacker and the Wraiths and Rogues managed to get clear of the enemy TIEs. However, before they withdrew, Loran started to warn Antilles about something, and Notsil knew he was on to her. She asked Loran if he knew, and he replied that he was aware of her true identity as Petothel.
Loran had unwittingly forgotten to switch his communications back to a private channel after assisting Nu, and Donos, whose squadron had been destroyed thanks to Petothel's efforts, had heard every word of the conversation. Howling with rage, he flew on an intercept course to attack Lara, but Loran interposed his fighter in between Donos and Notsil. In response, Donos fired a proton torpedo at Loran, defying orders from Antilles to stand down. Loran held position, but Donos detonated his torpedo at the last moment, only crippling Loran's fighter instead of destroying it outright. Finally, Donos came to his senses, and Celchu ordered him to back off and follow Celchu's fighter away from Notsil. Antilles told Notsil to resume following the group, but she refused, saying she did not think she would make it to her court-martial. She professed her loyalty to the Wraiths, stating that she would never betray her unit. Instead, she jumped to hyperspace, leaving the rest of the Rogues and Wraiths behind, and they returned to Mon Remonda without further incident.
Upon the Wraiths' return to Mon Remonda, Antilles lectured Donos sternly, who said that he was not in his right mind when he had fired upon Notsil. As a matter of fact, Donos was internally conflicted, unable to decide whether to see Notsil as the woman he loved or as the agent who had killed his command. Antilles then called Loran into his office to explain his actions. The Wraith leader told Antilles that he felt the situation had merited caution, and Antilles replied that while he could have handled matters in a better way, it was now his job to keep his unit functional. Later, when it was his turn to be called into Antilles' office, Donos offered to resign his commission, but Antilles stopped him from delivering his carefully prepared speech. Instead, Antilles told Donos that he had been shirking the duty of talking his emotional difficulties out with someone else, and the fact that he had detonated his torpedo before it hit Loran was the only thing preventing Antilles from instantly accepting his resignation. For the moment, Antilles pulled Donos off active flying duty and decided to log the incident as an accidental weapons discharge, hoping that somehow, Donos's career could be salvaged, pending evaluation by Mon Remonda's medical staff.
At the next briefing he gave, Antilles informed the Wraiths of some surprising successes by New Republic Intelligence based on the brainstorming they had done. A Sullustan attempt to crash a luxury liner and a Bothan's bid to sabotage a power station had been prevented, thanks to the warning the Wraiths had provided. Furthermore, the chemical signs of Zsinj's short-term brainwashing had been identified, and once fleet-wide testing was complete, any potential assassins would be found. As such, Antilles was allowed to return the Twi'leks, including Dia Passik, to active duty.
Furthermore, Antilles informed the Wraiths that they would be keeping a heavy schedule of engaging Zsinj's network of businesses with a variety of missions, some of them employing the Millennium Falsehood, despite Horn's reservations over Notsil's status. Horn informed the unit that, based on his CorSec experience and the investigation he had made, he believed Notsil to be a situational conformist who had likely fled to Zsinj to become a loyal officer of his. Antilles disagreed with the assessment, trusting in Notsil's final statements of loyalty to the Wraiths. As such, he believed that various plans, such as the Hawk-bats and the Millennium Falsehood, remained uncompromised. The next week kept the Wraiths considerably busy, as all four of Mon Remonda's fighter squadrons were launched on numerous missions against Zsinj. In some cases, the Wraiths would escort Nova Squadron's B-wings to hit a ground target; in others, they were inserted groundside to help guide air strikes or execute sabotage. Eight percent of Zsinj's income was lost in the following week, and Rogriss's Imperial forces were performing similar actions in Imperial space, inflicting further harm on the warlord.
During his off-duty hours, Donos took the opportunity to visit Janson and talk to him about his emotional problems, particularly those revolving around Lara Notsil. Janson advised Donos that he needed to loosen up and enjoy himself, stating that doing so would be the key to his recovery. After the interview, Janson encountered Antilles, who informed him that the Rogues had recovered an Ewok from their latest mission, named Chulku, who could pose as Lieutenant Kettch of the Hawk-bats if need be. Later, Donos took Janson's advice and assembled a crude repulsor-powered rig out of spare parts and rubbish and bouncing around off shipping crates on it, for the sheer enjoyment of the exercise. Janson congratulated himself on his accomplishment, unaware that he was being baited into a complex prank by Antilles. Antilles had learned that Janson had been behind the antics with the Lieutenant Kettch Ewok doll at Hawk-bat Base, among others, and finally unleashed his revenge. The following episode saw Janson tricked into stripping naked and smearing himself with Ewok food for the purpose of capturing the allegedly escaped Chulku. As planned, Janson ended up walking into a room with the rest of the Wraiths watching him. Antilles then revealed that Chulku had been fictitious, all part of his plan for payback.
- "Whoever I am, I'm staying here, like a vibroblade right next to Zsinj's vitals, and when the right time comes I'm going to stab him deep. That'll probably be the last thing I do."
- ―Lara Notsil
Notsil, as Horn had predicted, had indeed joined Warlord Zsinj's forces, by way of Hawk-bat Base and after wiping her astromech's memory. The warlord gratefully accepted her into his employ as an intelligence analyst, and she was able to create a story to explain her failure to report after the incident on Aldivy. However, Zsinj also had her monitored constantly, wary of a trap. In truth, Notsil had no loyalty to the man and had sought out Iron Fist looking for a way to destroy it and Zsinj. To help facilitate the effort, she had persuaded Zsinj to let her keep her astromech, Tonin, who became a willing accomplice in her sabotage. Also, between writing the analyses of the Wraiths and the New Republic that she gave Zsinj, she also spent time in TIE simulators to hone her piloting skills, even flying with who she believed to be Baron Fel, in reality, still Cowell.
Despite the surveillance on her, Notsil was able to covertly recall Tonin's memory and instructed the droid to acquire tiny MSE-6 droids. Tonin then programmed them to perform a variety of functions, from running surveillance for Notsil, to feeding false information to the holocams in her room, to prying into the engine compartments. As the ship's computer monitoring of the droids was lax, Tonin was able to alternate work schedules, allowing him to acquire more droids in preparation for a possible mass sabotage against the ship's engines. However, Notsil also served her role as one of Zsinj's analysts, informing him that either Comkin V or the Vahaba asteroid belt would be a likely target for a New Republic strike. Little did she know that the Wraiths had planned a mission with the Millennium Falsehood to Comkin V when she accepted an invitation to fly alongside the 181st as part of a temporary assignment to Broadaxe Squadron. Nevertheless, she was able to modify one of her laser cannons to transmit a message she had recorded without being detected, for use in the event that she encountered the Wraiths.
For the mission to Comkin V, the Wraiths sent in the Millennium Falsehood, disguised as a YT-2400 light freighter and crewed by Antilles, Squeaky, Chewbacca, and Donos, whom Antilles had agreed was fit enough to serve as the ship's gunner. The ship had just received permission to land when a squadron of starfighters moved to intercept them. Furthermore, one of Zsinj's Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers, the Reprisal, had arrived to intercept them, deploying the 181st and Broadaxe Squadron. Antilles called in support in the form of Wraith Squadron even as the Millennium Falsehood made a break for space. The two squadrons from the Reprisal caught up with the light freighter before the Wraiths were in position to defend it. Notsil fired repeatedly at the Millennium Falsehood, knowing she would be seen as untrustworthy by Zsinj's pilots if she did not, but Antilles had a pair of surprises in store for his adversaries. Breaking for space, he detached the fake construction that had made the Millennium Falsehood resemble a YT-2400, revealing Polearm Squadron pilot Konnair in her A-wing fighter. Konnair flew cover for the Millennium Falsehood until the rest of the Wraiths arrived, while the remainder of the fake construction, which was actually a bomb, slammed into the Reprisal, leaving it vulnerable to a coordinated volley of proton torpedoes by Wraith Squadron. The fourteen torpedoes were too much for the ship to absorb, and the Dreadnaught broke up, even as the Wraiths continued to sow heavy casualties among the two squadrons of TIEs until the Millennium Falsehood was clear. However, they refrained from targeting Notsil's interceptor, as she had identified herself early in the battle. After she had fired on the Millennium Falsehood, Squeaky had informed Antilles not to shoot her, and he had complied, relaying the order to the rest of his pilots. When the ventral shields failed, leaving Notsil with an opportunity to destroy it, she faked a partial collision with the freighter, hammering her head against her cockpit to simulate the effects of being knocked unconscious from the impact. The Millennium Falsehood and the Wraiths then escaped cleanly as Zsinj's remaining fighters withdrew, jumping to hyperspace, as Zsinj had refused to bring Iron Fist into Comkin's gravity well.
Returning to Mon Remonda, Antilles vehemently demanded Squeaky explain his willingness to allow Notsil to keep firing on them. Squeaky then informed Antilles of the message that each of her laser beams had carried. Antilles then called in Donos, Nelprin, Loran, and Solo to view the message after having it compiled. In her transmission, Notsil informed them that she still was trying to lead to Zsinj's destruction and that it might be possible to encounter him at the Vahaba asteroid belt. The final segment of her message was to Donos, in which she bid him goodbye and stated that she wished things had been different so they could have been together. Antilles viewed the transmission as proof that his trust in Notsil had been vindicated, and the other Wraiths present agreed with him. As a result, Solo brought his fleet to the outskirts of the Vahaba system, looking for Zsinj's fleet and specifically Iron Fist.
However, in order to trap Zsinj, Solo needed one more asset, something to prevent the warlord from escaping. Summoning Loran, he dispatched him to meet with Rogriss and request the use of an Interdictor cruiser, whose gravity well projectors would keep Zsinj from fleeing to hyperspace. After Loran promised the loaned cruiser would be guarded by two of the New Republic's own Imperial Star Destroyers and the whole matter could be kept secret, Rogriss agreed to loan the Stellar Web for the battle on an unofficial basis. Also, after reviewing the medic's evaluation of Donos, which said the pilot was borderline, Antilles called him in for one more meeting and asked him how he would handle various duties if assigned to them, including what he would do if he encountered Notsil again. Donos replied that he would follow orders and Antilles ultimately put him back on active flying status before the fleet reached Vahaba. Meanwhile Notsil, back on Iron Fist, found details on Zsinj's experiments on nonhumans, collectively known as Project Chubar, his brainwashing scheme, Project Minefield, and a series of sedition and terrorism missions using the brainwashed agents, Project Funeral, composing it into a transmission to later be sent to the New Republic.
Vahaba and Selaggis
- "Group Leader, this is Wraith One. Wraith Squadron in position to begin assault run."
- ―Garik Loran at the Battle of Selaggis
During the time Solo's fleet spent lurking around the Vahaba asteroid belt, Solo dispatched a number of reconnaissance pairs to scout the surrounding space for Iron Fist, including the X-wings of Wraith Squadron. Eventually, the pair of Loran and Ekwesh located Zsinj's main fleet not long after a wing-pair of Corsair Squadron located a second group. Solo decided to drive his entire fleet towards Iron Fist, launching all his fighters at the Star Dreadnought. For his part, Zsinj decided to immediately run for hyperspace, not wishing to fight on Solo's chosen battlefield, but the presence of the Stellar Web complicated matters. As Antilles led twenty-four squadrons of starfighters, including the Wraiths, to attack Iron Fist, they assailed Zsinj's flagship unhindered by hostile fighters, as Zsinj's TIEs were not hyperspace capable. Their attacks damaged the vessel, but Zsinj sacrificed two of his capital ships to force Stellar Web to maneuver out of entrapment position. Iron Fist survived a brief barrage from Solo's own capital ships before Zsinj's flagship fled, escaping Solo's trap and ending the brief partnership between Rogriss and Solo. To the relief of Antilles and Loran, both of their squadrons emerged from the shortened engagement relatively unscathed, though two Rogue pilots were forced to eject.
However, at the conclusion of the battle, the New Republic fleet received a transmission from Notsil, who had activated her sabotage plan, sending MSE-6 droids swarming into the engine compartments to attack the hyperdrive systems. Furthermore, she had altered Zsinj's course to take him to the nearby system of Selaggis, which Tonin had deleted from the ship's records. The flagship was now alone, damaged, and vulnerable. Her last action before fleeing Iron Fist's bridge was to send Solo a holocomm message informing him of Iron Fist's predicament. A secure transmission from Zsinj requesting aid from the Hawk-bats was also received by Mon Remonda, confirming that Iron Fist was in dire straits.
Solo jumped his fleet into position to attack Iron Fist, preparing to finish off his damaged quarry. However, a second group of Zsinj's ships, having been called in by the warlord, was moving into position to engage Solo's fleet, and Solo was forced to split his forces. The Wraiths were sent as part of six squadrons of Solo's starfighters to pass through the asteroid field around Iron Fist's probable location near Selaggis VI. Just as they approached the asteroid field, though, Donos ordered the assault force to break off as Iron Fist bombarded the asteroids, detonating them. Antilles had the combined group abort their pass through the field and Donos explained that he had once flown a simulated mission of similar scenario where a Star Destroyer had used an asteroid field to deadly effect by firing at them to scatter lethal fragments of rock and metal. Furthermore, the Star Destroyer involved in the scenario had been Zsinj's old command. Wise to the trap, Antilles ordered his squadrons to proceed through the asteroids following the path Iron Fist had already cleared.
Descending upon Iron Fist, the New Republic squadrons opened fire on it, but Rogue and Wraith squadrons were not among them. Zsinj had dispatched the 181st and a support squadron to head towards the surface of Selaggis VI, strafing the ruins of a colony that Zsinj had bombarded months earlier. Knowing it was their duty to render aid in case there were survivors under attack, Antilles and Loran led their respective units to engage Zsinj's two squadrons.
Meanwhile, Notsil had abandoned the bridge of Iron Fist, stunned the man assigned to follow her, and escaped to free the non-Human experimental subjects being held on Iron Fist. She successfully released them as Solo's fleet arrived at Selaggis and began heading for the hangar bay. Even as she made her escape, another one of her sabotage methods activated automatically and began relaying damage statistics on Zsinj's fleet to Mon Remonda. Arriving at the hangar, she was met by General Melvar, who pointed a blaster at her, but the non-Humans overwhelmed him and his escort, whom she had bound and left to die. Seizing her X-wing, she left Tonin and Kolot, an Ewok modified in a similar way as the fictitious Lieutenant Kettch, to take a landing craft with the rest of the nonhumans and flee. Tonin was also assigned to broadcast the message she had composed and filled with information on Zsinj's projects. However, she herself went to aid the Wraiths.
The four interceptors of Wraith Squadron, piloted by Janson, Targon, Tainer, and Nelprin, reached the false 181st's position first and tried to engage them, but the hostile pilots were defensive, avoiding their fire until the rest of the New Republic units arrived. The heavy wind and rain also hampered their effectiveness and they only downed four of their opponents before the rest of the units arrived.
Wraith and Rogue Squadron soon found themselves in a sustained dogfight with a determined enemy, though Tainer was able to put the tactic Notsil and Loran had devised into good practice by using the shields of Ekwesh's X-wing for cover while he destroyed a TIE interceptor. However, the Wraiths took damage of their own, as Passik's craft was severely damaged, forcing her to take cover in the ruins of the colony. Then, Rogue pilot Horn's burgeoning Force senses told him that half of the 181st pilots were not living beings and saBinring deduced that those ships were piloted with droids and packed with explosives. To counter that tactic, the Rogues and Wraiths activated their communications gear to disrupt the synchronization between both the living and droid pilots of the 181st, destroying many more of Zsinj's fighters in short order as a result. Still, one of the suicide fighters had already exploded near Celchu, forcing him down, before Antilles shot down its former wingmate, whom he believed was Baron Fel. Antilles landed near Fel, trying to capture and interrogate him for information on the whereabouts of Antilles' sister, but Fel turned out to be Cowall, an actor Zsinj had hired to create the deception. Cowall's purpose had been to lure Antilles to his death, and he nearly succeeded, as a group of ten of the new TIE Raptor starfighters had arrived to reinforce the false 181st. Antilles barely made it back to his ship before they were in position to attack him, but the timely arrival of Notsil broke up their attack. The Rogues and Wraiths swiftly dealt with the newcomers to the fight, but Notsil was shot down in the process. Afterward, they were unable to determine if she ejected or not.
After losing most of their forces, Zsinj's fighters withdrew, and the two New Republic squadrons returned to find the battle virtually over. Iron Fist had been seemingly destroyed and the rest of Zsinj's fleet was destroyed or had withdrawn. However, Zsinj and his flagship had survived thanks to an improvised ship, Second Death, constructed when Zsinj had collected the debris from Razor's Kiss, assembled a crude ship, and repainted it such that when it was detonated, his enemies would think they had destroyed Iron Fist. Despite Zsinj's escape, the New Republic had won, albeit with heavy casualties. Notsil's final transmission, relayed through Tonin, had reached them, providing valuable data on Zsinj's activities.
Following the battle, Antilles delivered several pieces of news to the Wraiths. The first was that Loran had been permanently promoted to unit leader, but the second announcement was the entire unit had been transferred to New Republic Intelligence. Airen Cracken, the chief of New Republic Intelligence, extended his personal wishes to the pilots of Wraith Squadron, hoping they would all transfer together. Antilles had also won his bet with Admiral Ackbar—the Wraiths had proved themselves as a unit, and he would not be promoted to a staff job. The squadron held one last get-together aboard Mon Remonda before their transfer took them elsewhere, and while most of them decided to stay together and move to Intelligence, not everyone did. At least Janson and Donos left the Wraiths, both transferring to Rogue Squadron. Before they left Mon Remonda, Donos received a final message from someone named Kirney Slane—a new identity of Notsil—telling him to look her up on Corellia when he had a chance. Antilles and Solo heard about the message, but refused to correlate it with Notsil. Instead, they forwarded it to Donos and erased any other copies, allowing for the possibility of a happy ending for Donos and "Slane."
- "As of now, Wraith Squadron has been recommissioned as an Intelligence unit. Commandos, insurgents, pilots—it will do whatever the situation warrants. With, unfortunately, less celebrity than even the little an X-wing unit typically receives."
- ―Wedge Antilles
Shortly after their transfer into New Republic Intelligence, the Wraiths were again partnered with their former commander, Antilles, as part of a plan to capture Grand Moff Wilkadon while the Imperial was inspecting his tomuon holdings on Askaj. The Wraiths, under the command of Antilles, were to be aided by a local network of resistance fighters, activated by the Shadowcast code system and assisted by other starfighter squadrons and a battle group that included Star Destroyers. Though, after Mon Mothma was apprised of the danger of a Shadowcast key falling into Imperial hands, she prepared to issue a recall order to the Wraiths. Leia Organa Solo, however, was able to locate and destroy the key, and the operation was not compromised.
In 13 ABY, the Wraiths traveled to the planet Ryvester in a covert action against Imperial admiral Kosh Teradoc. Disguised as a spacer who had found the legendary treasure Palace of Piethet Brighteyes, unit leader Loran met with Teradoc in a club, ostensibly to negotiate a partnership to salvage the treasure. Also in position in the club were saBinring, disguised as a dancer, and Nelprin, who was undercover as a server. In order to substantiate his tale, Loran presented Teradoc with a statuette constructed by Tainer that was built out of gemstones, allegedly from the hoard. To authenticate the piece, Teradoc brought along Mulus Cheems, a gemologist who had been forced to work for the admiral. However, Cheems had already been subverted by the Wraiths, as their sniper, Bettin, had shot him with a dart containing a communication implant, allowing the Wraiths to covertly funnel instructions to Cheems. Cheems confirmed the authenticity of the piece, and Teradoc chose to double-cross Loran, intending to extract the location of the treasure from him forcibly.
The Wraiths had anticipated that event and Loran gave a signal. Nelprin immediately attacked Teradoc's guards while Tainer and Bettin, disguised as Imperial Navy Special Forces troopers, burst in. With the help of saBinring and Loran, the Wraiths were able to neutralize Teradoc's guards and escape with Cheems to a getaway speeder manned by Targon and Ekwesh. As expected, Teradoc had fled with the statuette, returning back to his base. The statuette was actually an explosive device rigged with pressure sensors and when Teradoc returned to his subterranean private vaults, the explosive detonated once it reached a certain depth. The blast was enough to trigger the failsafes in adjacent labs where Teradoc had been working on biogenic weapons, activating their self-destructs and destroying the threat the Wraiths had been sent to neutralize. Having escaped from the club, the Wraiths then ventured to a nearby marina and stole Teradoc's private yacht to make good their escape. Feeling that Cheems was trustworthy and would make a good asset, Loran discreetly divulged the unit name to the man, and the gemologist was grateful that the Wraiths had found a way to save his life while completing their mission.
Under Loran's continued leadership, the Wraiths continued to carry out assignments for New Republic Intelligence over the next few years. They aided in the fight against Imperial Admiral Natasi Daala participated in the Black Fleet Crisis, that saw the New Republic battle against the expansionist Yevetha of the Koornacht Cluster and were involved in the hunt for the Caamas Document, which contained the names of the Bothan infiltrators who had been responsible for the destruction of Caamas. The Empire had hoped to use the Bothan involvement to incite internecine tension that would threaten to fracture the New Republic, but their role in manipulating the factions was ultimately revealed and the New Republic united against them.
In 19 ABY, the Wraiths were sent to Imperial-held Mulvar Sensor Station in the Outer Rim. saBinring infiltrated the imperial garrison as a janitor. Planting a fast-growing fungus on a wall as a precursor to being ordered to clean it, saBinring's actions allowed him to incapacitate the guards and admit two more Wraiths, Ekwesh and Nelprin, while the defenses were lowered for the "janitor." With Nelprin incapacitating anyone in their way, the Wraiths were able to reach the computer center. Ekwesh planted explosives at key locations within the station while saBinring used his computer skills to sabotage or spread disinformation throughout the Imperial sensor networks. Their mission completed, they exfiltrated as the explosives detonated. That mission was the last for Nelprin, who retired following its completion.
Yuuzhan Vong War
- "They've been trying to penetrate the frontier between Corellia and Vortex for six months."
- ―Han Solo on Wraith Squadron's activities
In 25 ABY, the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong species invaded the galaxy, sparking the Yuuzhan Vong War as the New Republic sought to repel the invaders and their biological weaponry. One of the missions that Wraith Squadron was assigned to during the war was to penetrate Yuuzhan Vong lines along known hyperlanes, an accomplishment they attempted unsuccessfully for six months. However, they frequently encountered Yuuzhan Vong interdictors, which pulled them from hyperspace, as the Yuuzhan Vong were trying to head off such an approach. The Wraiths found that the section of space between the Perlemian Trade Route and the Hydian Way was particularly well-defended.
Wraith Squadron later identified a Yuuzhan Vong listening post near Talfaglio, to which businessman and former war hero Lando Calrissian sent a message in order to establish his cover as a desperate Talfaglian willing to turn over Jedi Knights to the Yuuzhan Vong in exchange for the safety of his homeworld. The results of Calrissian's cover would be the mostly successful insertion of the Myrkr strike team for the mission to Myrkr. The Wraiths were not privy to the plan, though, which called for the Jedi to be captured by the Yuuzhan Vong. Instead, they began searching for the ship ferrying the Jedi back to Yuuzhan Vong-controlled space and were so close to locating it that Antilles, who did know the full plan, had to rein them in. This did not go over well with Loran.
During the Battle of Coruscant, the Wraiths were tapped for combat duty and, under orders by Antilles, placed alongside Rogue Squadron and sent to aid a group of Jedi in detecting and killing yammosk war coordinators. Eventually their efforts paid off, as the scientist Danni Quee was able to refine the results of prolonged study of Yuuzhan Vong yammosks and develop a method to jam the war coordinators.
Defense of Borleias
- "We're going out there. We'll find a pool fed by cool underground springs. We'll bathe one another while Piggy stands guard, and see what develops from there. Or, we can talk psychological warfare and how it is applied to the Yuuzhan Vong."
"I'll take the psychological warfare."
- ―Sharr Latt and Jaina Solo
Six days into the occupation of Borleias by the New Republic under Wedge Antilles, members of Wraith Squadron arrived on the world, fleeing the fall of Coruscant. Wraith Leader Loran was one of them, and with him he brought the wife and children of Antilles, who was now the garrison commander of Borleias. The Wraiths remained under the command of Antilles, contributing their knowledge and tactical skills to the defense of the world.
One of the operations conducted by Wraith Squadron members was the personification of Jaina Solo into the Yuuzhan Vong goddess Yun-Harla for the purposes of psychological warfare. Wraiths Sharr Latt and saBinring worked with Solo to help her forge a deception that would both perturb and scare the Yuuzhan Vong. saBinring and Latt joined her personal squadron, Twin Suns Squadron, and discreetly advised her in their respective areas of expertise; namely starfighter tactics and psychological warfare.
Other operations at the time included the study of captured Yuuzhan Vong technology by the Wraiths' biotechnology expert Baljos Arnjak and lending a hand in the special operations mechanics area, a task well suited to Tainer.
Mission to Coruscant
- "Kiss for luck?"
"I don't know whether to mark that down as 'exceptionally daring' or 'unusually stupid.'"
- ―Garik Loran and Mara Jade Skywalker
While stationed on Borleias, some of the Wraiths were assigned to a mission to occupied Coruscant. Jedi Master Luke Skywalker had sensed dark side evil on Coruscant and sought to go there. Intelligence chief Iella Wessiri Antilles had also been planning a mission to Coruscant to set up resistance cells, so the two missions were combined. In whole, the expedition consisted of Wraiths Loran, Arnjak, Bhindi Drayson, Targon, Tainer, Jedi Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, Tahiri Veila, and Quee.
The Wraiths and the others, equipped with camouflaged miniaturized sensor droids, Yuuzhan Vong disguises, and orbital insertion pods in addition to more conventional equipment, were flown to Coruscant in the freighter Record Time by Lando Calrissian, then jettisoned in orbit to plunge into the atmosphere in their insertion pods. The entire team survived and landed safely on the now unrecognizable planet, which had been altered by Yuuzhan Vong biological alteration to begin their mission.
On their first encounter with Yuuzhan Vong warriors on Coruscant, their disguises stood up to the Yuuzhan Vong, but the warriors they met challenged their right to be there, thinking them to be another Yuuzhan Vong party. While the Wraiths and Jedi were revealed by their weapons in the ensuing melee, Tainer planted a bomb on a walkway which, when detonated, killed the majority of the Yuuzhan Vong warriors. The Wraiths and Jedi finished off the survivors and their cover was kept intact.
Later, the party encountered a group of Coruscant survivors, and Drayson showed them techniques and methods to help them survive on the altered world, even as Luke Skywalker told the survivors that an effort to retake Coruscant might be years in the making. He did reassure them that more missions by both the New Republic and the Jedi would be forthcoming, encouraging them to survive. The Wraiths hoped to draw heavily on these populations in the resistance cells that they planned to set up on Coruscant.
After several days of surveying the area, a group of Wraiths, led by Veila, discovered a chamber with pump equipment and a devourer tank. However, Drayson quickly revealed the equipment to be fake, and the Jedi sensed a concentration of dark side energy beneath the devourer tank. The devourer organism, in addition to consuming organic material it came in contact with, acted as an air purifier. When a secondary pump control was sighted at the bottom of the tank, Luke Skywalker waded into the potentially lethal substance, using the Force to keep the organism from attacking him. His activation of the control revealed a previously sealed chamber. Their presence in the chamber's entrance activated a security mechanism, though, and only Mara Jade Skywalker's recollection of an old Imperial password prevented the Jedi and Wraiths from experiencing the intruder defenses of the chamber.
Entering the chamber, the Wraiths and Jedi found that it was abandoned, but had been the site of several deaths, as well as the destruction of numerous security and medical droids—all apparently caused by lightsaber damage. However, the area seemed safe enough, with whatever menace had caused all the destruction long fled, and the New Republic party decided to use the chamber as a staging area for the remainder of their mission. Another finding of their mission, made by Quee and Arnjak, revealed the rate of Yuuzhan Vong alteration of Coruscant was leveling off, either due to completion of their plans or Coruscant's resistance to Vongforming. As such, the planet would be habitable, albeit unpleasant, for Humans and other sentient species to live. Drayson also rummaged through the computers in the abandoned facility and determined the source of all the damage, a Dark Jedi named Lord Nyax, who had once been Irek Ismaren, the son of one of the Emperor's Hands, before being drastically altered.
While pursuing Lord Nyax, the Jedi, Loran, and Tainer came upon a group of slave workers directed by the deranged Dark Jedi. As they watched, a group of Yuuzhan Vong warriors, accompanied by a Jedi-hunting voxyn creature, arrived to attack Nyax, who easily slew the voxyn and several of the warriors. Aware that any help against Nyax was welcome, the Skywalkers and Veila joined in the battle against Nyax. Meanwhile, Loran and Tainer discovered and captured the treasonous ex-Senator Viqi Shesh, who had been reluctantly aiding the Yuuzhan Vong. Tainer discovered a beckon call that Shesh had claimed and confiscated it. Loran sent Tainer to follow the beckon call back to its source while he investigated what the workers were excavating. Loran found that their object of interest was an intact construction droid, which the workers proceeded to activate in short order. The resulting activation caved in the floor of the level where the Jedi, Yuuzhan Vong, and Nyax were dueling, and Loran had to throw a line down to save his Jedi companions, who were dangling from a suspended walkway. Unfortunately, Viqi Shesh was able to escape in the ensuing chaos.
Loran was again tasked with chasing the construction droid while the Jedi continued their chase of Lord Nyax. When Tainer reported that the beckon call was linked to a hyperspace-capable transport named the Ugly Truth, he was ordered to prepare the other Wraiths and Danni Quee for immediate departure; their work on Coruscant was finished. However, Arnjak refused to give up his studies and opted to remain on Coruscant to continue setting up resistance cells and studying the changes to the planet's environment. On foot, Loran painstakingly made his way to a former government district, where the construction droid soon broke through an ancient wall protecting a wellspring of Force energy. Observing from a distance, Loran watched as the three Jedi engaged both Yuuzhan Vong warships and Nyax with their amplified powers while evacuating the workers from the construction droid. With both Masters Skywalker distracting Nyax, Veila was able to use scavenged thud bugs to critically injure Nyax, who died under a hail of fire from a Yuuzhan Vong warship minutes later. Loran evacuated the Jedi and they made their way back to the Ugly Truth, which Tainer blasted out of the chamber of a ruined spacescraper. Before they left, though, Tainer heard weeping on a comlink he had left near the Ugly Truth's berth and deduced that it was coming from Shesh, who had been planning on using the transport herself to escape. Returning to the ruined spacescraper where Shesh was, Mara Jade Skywalker prepared to take Shesh into custody when an injured Yuuzhan Vong warrior who knew Shesh named Denua Ku emerged and prepared to attack Shesh with razor bugs. Faced with capture or imminent death, Shesh committed suicide by jumping out of an open window to her death. Denua Ku collapsed immediately thereafter, and Luke Skywalker and Tainer ferried the Ugly Truth back to Borleias, though they faced considerable difficulty in traversing the Yuuzhan Vong blockade which surrounded the beleaguered world.
Back on Borleias, Latt and saBinring had continued flying with Twin Suns Squadron, working up a variety of tricks for Jaina Solo to use in her campaign to convince the Yuuzhan Vong that she was a goddess and advising her on various courses of action. One of their deceptions, employed in the final stages of the Battle of Borleias, saw Latt remotely pilot a missile with the gravitic signature of Solo's X-wing, which he used to lure several Yuuzhan Vong fighters to their demise.
War's end and beyond
- "Wraith Squadron. I met both of you on Borleias."
- ―Jagged Fel to Kell Tainer and Garik Loran on Coruscant
The Wraiths were again present at the Second Battle of Obroa-skai, flying secret snoopships that were faster than any Yuuzhan Vong vessel. From these vessels, they deployed yammosk jammers, which were designed to cripple the enemy's war coordinators. Initially, the jammer seemed to have little effect, until Jaina Solo realized that a second yammosk was present. After the Wraiths jammed the second war coordinator, the Yuuzhan Vong forces lost the synchronization they had enjoyed, allowing the New Republic to win the battle.
In 29 ABY, the Wraiths were deployed to the planet Chashima to sabotage a new Yuuzhan Vong creature, the commbuzzer, that was being developed there. The insects were driven insane by communications traffic, which would allow the Yuuzhan Vong to track down resistance cells via their communications. To avert their completion, Wraiths Estoric Sandskimmer, saBinring, and Ekwesh journeyed down to the surface, while Bhindi Drayson provided support from a gunship. Ekwesh and Sandskimmer infiltrated a shaper's compound and planted explosives before escaping with a sample of the commbuzzers. They were pursued by three Yuuzhan Vong warriors and Sandskimmer was injured. Ekwesh and saBinring managed to confront and kill all three warriors, but Sandskimmer was slain and Ekwesh was bitten by a venomous amphistaff. saBinring attempted to rescue his stricken friend, but Ekwesh warned him of further pursuit and ordered him to take the commbuzzers and flee. In order to avoid Ekwesh being captured and interrogated, saBinring put him to death in a mercy killing. saBinring then escaped with the commbuzzers back to the frigate that the Wraiths were using as a temporary headquarters. Stricken with grief, he tendered his resignation to Loran, despite the unit leader's reassurances that they had done something meaningful on Chashima.
The New Republic's reorganization into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances did little to effect the frontline role the Wraiths found themselves playing. One of their next assignments placed them back in starfighters as part of Antilles' initial group for the Second Battle of Bilbringi, engaging waves of coralskippers. Later, Drayson was placed in charge of debriefing an agent that Han Solo and his wife had rescued from a Yuuzhan Vong prison camp on Selvaris. The information the agent relayed formed the basis for the Galactic Alliance liberation of a sizable prisoner convoy bound for Coruscant. At the same time, Arnjak continued to relay information to the Alliance from Coruscant.
The Wraiths were present in the final major battle of the war, the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar. They, a unit under of the command of Chiss Ascendancy expatriate pilot Jagged Fel, and Rogue Squadron were assigned to fly escort for a group of troop transports and gunships being sent to the surface of the planet. Also accompanying them were the Taanab Yellow Aces, a squadron of starfighters commanded by former Wraith Wes Janson. They escorted their group of transports to the surface successfully, destroying numerous Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers that attempted to stop the transports. After the transports had disgorged their troops, the Wraiths also set their X-wings down on the planet, continuing to battle on the ground. While on the planet, Loran and Tainer rescued Fel, whose clawcraft had been shot down. They also made contact with Yuuzhan Vong Shamed Ones, a slave caste which was willing to fight alongside the Galactic Alliance. Furthermore, Loran and Tainer were also reunited with their comrade Arnjak. They continued to participate in the ground battle until, ultimately, the Yuuzhan Vong Supreme Overlord Shimrra was killed by a team of Jedi. With their leader dead, the Yuuzhan Vong, now led by Warmaster Nas Choka, surrendered.
Years later, in the Swarm War, the Wraiths accompanied a fleet under the commander of the Galactic Alliance fleet, Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, to Tenupe to combat the insectoid Killik species that had been pushing into Chiss space and subverting Jedi. With Rogue Squadron, they were assigned to provide support for the admiral's fleet. The Galactic Alliance ultimately saw the battle ended victoriously due to the contributions of another group of Jedi, who slew or captured the Dark Jedi leaders of the Killiks, and the insect species was forced to end the fight, as the Jedi had seeded their worlds with population control measures that would keep them from overpopulating and rebuilding another war machine.
During the Second Galactic Civil War, the Wraiths remained loyal to the Galactic Alliance as it fought first against the Confederation and then against itself and a Jedi–Hapan alliance. Following the war's conclusion and the installation of Natasi Daala, who had re-emerged during the war to support the anti-Solo factions of the Galactic Alliance and was the only choice amenable to all sides, as Chief of State, the Wraiths were targeted as part of a purge of the intelligence services. Daala bore a grudge against the Wraiths for both their freewheeling ways and their lack of immediate rebellion against the former Chief of State, Jacen Solo. Longtime Wraiths including Loran and Drayson were forced into retirement and the unit was decommissioned.
Reassembling the Wraiths
- "I'm putting the Wraiths back together again…and the government doesn't know a thing about it."
- ―Garik Loran
By 44 ABY, Daala had been deposed as Chief of State and the Dorvan administration installed. Due to unrest in 43 ABY where a group of high-ranking officials had attempted to subvert the Galactic Alliance in the Lecersen Conspiracy, former unit leader Garik Loran was approached by the head of Galactic Alliance Security, General Borath Maddeus. Maddeus had heard rumors that the head of the Galactic Alliance Army, Stavin Thaal, had been a member of the conspiracy and had quietly remained in power after the conspiracy was thwarted. Maddeus asked Loran to investigate the allegations unofficially, supplying him with a yacht, Quarren Eye. Loran accepted and began re-assembling the Wraiths to fulfill his mission. Unbeknownst to Maddeus, Loran organized two separate teams of Wraiths, led by former Wraith Squadron members Sharr Latt and Bhindi Drayson. Each leader began recruiting members for their organization, trying to fill in unit roles that had existed in the previous Wraith Squadron. Loran personally went to Ayceezee to coax former Wraith Voort saBinring out of retirement as a math teacher and was successful in persuading saBinring to join Drayson's team. Along with saBinring, Drayson's team included the Clawdite actor Turman Durra, Human mechanical engineer Trey Courser, Human pilot Myri Antilles, Human Jedi Jesmin Tainer, and a Yuuzhan Vong biofabricator named Viull Gorsat. Latt's team consisted of himself, Human sniper Wran Narcassan, a Wookiee survivalist named Huhunna, Human slicer Thaymes Fodrick, and Devaronian medic Drikall Bessarah.
- "You're working with a Yuuzhan Vong."
"And a Clawdite and a Gamorrean and several humans, and, worst of all, a Corellian."
- ―Voort saBinring and Bhindi Drayson
As Loran returned to Coruscant with an unenthusiastic and disguised saBinring, Drayson was putting the first stage of her plan together. saBinring was covertly linked with Antilles, also in disguise, who led him to meet Courser. The three then left in a customized airspeeder from the spaceport where Loran had started a diversionary fire. saBinring was then instructed to fake an assault on Antilles in plain view of several Galactic Alliance Army troopers, who were promptly subdued and their airspeeder confiscated. Having ditched the transponder in the vehicle, the Wraiths took their stolen vehicle, now disguised thanks to flying through a specially designed banner that wrapped around their vehicle as they flew through it, to what Antilles deemed an "unsafe house."
There, the three met up with Drayson and the remainder of her team, who had used the distractions as an opportunity to steal a considerable amount of blaster rifles and fit them with small droids disguised as battery packs. The droids would be taken by the army when the weapons were recovered and then would explore their surroundings, discreetly providing the Wraiths with information. To facilitate their recapture, the Wraiths led a team of army special forces back to their location. Trading one set of disguises for another, the Wraiths briefly fought a diversionary skirmish with the assaulting forces using nonlethal weapons, then made their escape in another disguised vehicle, having convinced the Galactic Alliance military that the thieves were terrorists and had been driven off.
Having fled safely, they withdrew to their safe house, an abandoned tapcaf. There was immediate tension between saBinring, who had lost his best friend to the Yuuzhan Vong, and Gorsat, but Drayson was able to temporarily quell it. The droids concealed inside the weapons reported that they had been hauled back by the army, a successful outcome for that plan. The Wraiths brainstormed a series of possible angles to explore if Thaal was crooked, including greed, Imperial sympathies, and vengeance against either the Jedi or the Yuuzhan Vong. Drayson assigned saBinring, Antilles, and Courser to oversee the droid operation while the rest of her Wraiths worked on uncovering Thaal's motivation.
SaBinring, Antilles, and Courser journeyed to the neighboring planet of Vandor-3, where Thaal had served as a resistance fighter during the Yuuzhan Vong War, commanding a unit dubbed the Pop-Dogs after their hit-and-run tactics. They set up shop in an abandoned business, Toozler's Speeder Repair and Maintenance, located in the dingy settlement of Ackbar City outside the nearby Borsk Fey'lya Army Base where many of Thaal's Pop-Dogs were stationed. To hasten the delivery of the stolen blasters to Fey'lya base, where they had originally been destined, the Wraiths set up a series of fake domestic disturbance calls from various buildings around Ackbar City. When pairs of Pop-Dogs, who served as the city's civil patrol, came to investigate, they were quickly taken by surprise and subdued. Their weapons were then confiscated and destroyed by the ostensible terrorist group "Quad-Linked Militant Pacifists," necessitating their replacement. To help further the ruse that a group of terrorists was behind the blaster heist, Drayson and the other Wraiths with her on Coruscant sabotaged a turbolaser assembly line in the name of the Quad-Linked Militant Pacifists. Meanwhile, Loran visited Thaal's ex-wife, Zehrinne Thaal, and learned that Thaal had left her because of his unfaithfulness and had a long string of mistresses dating back years prior.
- "Alert the others. Tell them I'm bringing them blaster pistols. Patch any of those holocam feeds Seven wants to him. He can act as controller for the others. You'll be my controller."
"Oh, if only."
- ―Jesmin Tainer and Trey Courser seizing the Concussor
Leaving Antilles on Vandor-3 to monitor the droid surveillance, Drayson summoned Courser and saBinring to join the rest of her team on Gagrew Station in the Si'Klaata Cluster. There, they disguised themselves again, with Durra appearing as an Imperial officer named "Avvan Hocroft," while Drayson posed as a dim-witted Imperial heiress with the rest of the team forming her entourage. They then boarded the liner Bastion Princess, which cruised between Gagrew Station and Imperial space. Their mission was to find and seize an Imperial ship, and then trot out the disguised Durra with a subtle Imperial offer to Thaal to see if the general would take their bait. To accomplish this, Courser and Tainer sabotaged the liner to force it out of hyperspace once they were in Imperial territory and then jettisoned in an escape pod, with the back-up plan of having Antilles retrieve them if they weren't rescued.
Drayson's Wraiths were retrieved by a small Imperial patrol vessel, the Burst Fire-class Deep-Space Patrol Vessel Concussor. The ship's crew believed Drayson's empty-headed Imperial heiress impression and her tale of being attacked by pirates. They provided her and her entourage with their own quarters. Drayson took advantage of the ship's hospitality to tour it, learning its crew complement, security measures, and layout. She also had to settle the tension between saBinring and Gorsat again, pointing out that only saBinring had the experience to lead the Wraiths if she were to suddenly die.
One evening, when most of the crew were asleep, the Wraiths sprang into action. They were able to quickly seize the vessel, largely thanks to Tainer and Courser using their close-quarters combat skill and black infiltration attire to covertly move through the ship and subdue its crew. The Imperials were left on a habitable moon of a distant gas giant with ample food and water supplies while the Wraiths manned the ship as best as they could with their limited numbers.
Meanwhile, Antilles on Vandor-3 was relegated to surveillance duty on the Pop-Dogs at Fey'lya Base. She inadvertently met a member of Latt's team, Fodrick, while exploring the nightlife on Vandor-3. Fodrick had devised transponder devices which were covertly attached to bacta casks in an army base on Coruscant, which transmitted their whereabouts back to Latt. When several of them ended up in Ackbar City, outside of a normal army base, Latt concluded they had been stolen and took his team to investigate. Though Loran had initially warned them away from Ackbar City, they decided to check out their evidence, leading them to don disguises and infiltrate the city. Antilles was also assigned by Drayson to deliver a covert message that would invite Thaal to meet ostensibly an Imperial special forces officer at a rendezvous point.
To assist in perpetrating this fraud, Loran visited a naval staff acquaintance, Davian, who unwittingly allowed him to plant references to the fake "Avvan Hocroft" in the Galactic Alliance's database. Loran also discovered that a series of recent cargo ship hijackings all had occurred on ships transporting a piece of equipment manufactured by HyperTech Industries. He persuaded Davian to keep quiet about the discovery temporarily while the Wraiths investigated the matter. As he left the naval command center, he was tailed by a speeder. Loran detected them and quickly located a high-traffic pedestrian market, where he attempted to lose his pursuit. Two assassins followed him, a Sullustan and an Aqualish, but Loran was able to improvise a decoy to elude them. When they separated, he stabbed the Sullustan and then set up an ambush for the Aqualish. Assembling an impromptu Jedi disguise, he confronted the Aqualish and slew him after using a thrown toy lightsaber as a distraction. Loran returned to his speeder, where its onboard droid brain informed that the vehicle had been tampered with. He cut himself and bled on the seat to leave genetic evidence in the vehicle and then ditched it before sending it away, whereupon it exploded shortly thereafter. Loran then sent discreet messages to his close friends and family to warn them, which allowed his wife Dia Passik to kill another assailant who invaded their home. He and his family then went into hiding, faking their deaths.
On Concussor, the Wraiths hired a temporary crew of scofflaws and then moved to the rendezvous point indicated in their message. They were soon approached by the Alliance corvette Starhook. Durra attempted to make his pitch as Hocroft, but Captain Voyce Evlen of the Starhook was not interested in negotiations. She fired on them, disabling their engines, as four more contacts appeared. In response, the Wraiths abandoned Concussor, heading for the ship's shuttle. The remainder of the crew was evacuated in escape pods while Durra stalled Evlen long enough with a false surrender promise. That allowed the Wraiths to activate the self-destruct and flee in the shuttle. Evlen sent a boarding shuttle after them, as the exploding Concussor was blocking Starhook, but saBinring took to a hyperdrive-equipped interceptor from Concussor to disable the shuttle long enough for Drayson's Wraiths to escape to hyperspace.
The teams meet
- "You try borrowing two war machines, a shuttle, and two crazy pilots on short notice. I had to cash in some serious markers."
"It's not that hard. I just did it."
- ―Wedge and Myri Antilles
Drayson and her Wraiths made their way back to Vandor-3 by way of Tatooine to their safe house where Antilles was waiting for them. Antilles informed them that Loran was believed dead after an assassination attempt, but saBinring insisted they go through with their mission. Based on the response to their ploy, the Gamorrean concluded that Thaal was duplicitous, because Thaal's response was not characteristic of a senior officer, due to him neither trying to lure out the Imperial offer or with a stronger capture attempt. Antilles then informed them that their concealed droids had been activated at a hidden subterranean facility at the nearby Javat Caridan Environment, which turned out to be a sizeable equipment barn. Drayson arranged for the Wraiths to infiltrate the facility, approaching it in a speeder disguised as a fruit-carrying produce vehicle.
Over the objections of saBinring, who believed that only one or two Wraiths were needed to investigate the facility and gather evidence, Drayson brought nearly her entire team. Leaving saBinring with their vehicle as their getaway driver and Gorsat as lookout, she led an infiltration team of five Wraiths into the facility. The infiltration team approached the facility slowly, bypassing the sensor wall by digging underneath the sensor fences, avoiding a cargo speeder. They came upon a large square building that had not been on aerial maps of the surroundings. Entering it, they found that it contained a sizable cargo lift shaft, which they descended using winches. The Wraiths waited for several Pop-Dogs loading cargo to leave, and then made their entrance. They found casks of bacta headed for the black market, which prompted Drayson to order her team to split up, explore, and record everything. She also assigned Durra to sabotage a large collection of vehicles, including stolen mobile artillery units, they found in a speeder pool using explosives.
Drayson and Tainer found large quantities of stolen electronics, glitterstim, and bacta. Tainer had to incapacitate one Pop-Dog who nearly found them, but otherwise they were able to make it back to the others after recording their evidence. Elsewhere in the facility, Antilles and Courser found stolen weapons and liberated two Duros prisoners, Usan and Dashan Joyl, who were both masterful false identify preparers and had been forced to work for Thaal. With their evidence gathered, the Wraiths prepared to leave, but found signs of alteration as they regrouped.
Little did Drayson and her team know that Latt's Wraiths, drawn to Fey'lya Base by their embedded transponders, were also in the facility, having entered by boarding a ground transport. They had sedated Durra, not knowing he was a Wraith, and captured Gorsat. The combined presence of two Wraith teams increased the number of security flags detected by the facility's computer system. Just as the two teams literally stumbled into each other, the base's alarms went off. The brief confrontation concluded when they realized they were on the same side and needed to leave quickly.
The combined Wraiths and Joyls made a hasty escape back up the cargo shaft under fire. Drayson called for saBinring to evacuate them and he soon arrived, charging into the complex with their getaway speeder. The Wraiths piled on board, pursued by Pop-Dogs. Since Latt's Wraiths had sedated Durra, the vehicles in the speeder pool were not sabotaged and soon, the traitorous soldiers were after them in vehicles of their own. With no contingency plan for an evacuation, the Wraiths headed for the nearest mountainous terrain. Drayson was panicked and irritated, unable to quickly fathom a plan. Jamming prevented them from transmitting their evidence and they soon came under fire from their pursuers.
At this point, Drayson recalled a defensible abandoned installation, the Mount Lyss Meteorological Station, and ordered saBinring to head there. Antilles volunteered to sneak off and get clear of the jamming in order to transmit their data and call for help from one of her personal assets, her father Wedge Antilles. Drayson agreed and sent her with Tainer. In order to delay their pursuit, Drayson then decided to debark the speeder and provide diversionary fire on their pursuit. She asked for and received the help of Latt's best outdoorsman, the Wookiee Huhunna. Drayson's participation in the diversionary effort displeased saBinring, who pointed out that infantry work was not her training and that he could do it. She refused and departed with Huhunna. Together, the two were able to stall the pursuit and inflicted several casualties on the Pop-Dogs. However, Drayson was flanked by a soldier. They both fired simultaneously and while Drayson slew her foe, she was mortally wounded.
The remaining Wraiths withdrew into the meteorological station, with Latt taking charge. As a speeder loaded with Pop-Dogs approached, Narcassan shot the pilot, sending the remaining occupants into a fatal plunge from the sky. Latt detailed Gorsat, saBinring, Narcassan, and Courser to defend the group, Fodrick and Bessarah to explore the installation for resources, weaknesses, and escape routes, and sent the Joyls and the incoherent Durra to find cover. The Pop-Dogs surrounded the station, bringing in four mobile plasma artillery units to bombard the Wraiths. Knowing that the plasma artillery units were stolen and would draw scrutiny if discovered, saBinring and Narcassan worked together to locate a weak point on an artillery unit and destroy it with a well-aimed shot from Narcassan's sniper rifle. The Wraiths hunkered down inside their fortress and waited out the night under intermittent harassment from the Pop-Dogs.
Before dawn of the next day, Huhunna, bearing the injured Drayson, slipped through the Pop-Dog cordon. The Wraiths provided covering fire, allowing them to get inside the station. Bessarah attempted to treat Drayson's wound, but she expired shortly after reaching the station, instructing her successor to "get these kids home." saBinring chose to take command, over the objections of Gorsat. Latt deferred to his more experienced comrade, leaving saBinring to confront Gorsat alone and demand to know the reasons for Gorsat's continual undermining of his authority. Gorsat revealed that he felt saBinring was a quitter, living life with no hope or future, and was irrational. Although saBinring admitted there was some truth in the Yuuzhan Vong's words, he did not relinquish command.
saBinring questioned the Joyls and learned that they had been taken by Thaal to construct an extensive set of false identities for the general and his loyal soldiers. The Joyls also revealed that Thaal had killed his latest mistress, Keura Fallatte. At this point, Durra, who had recovered from the side-effects of being drugged, used his acting skills to portray his understanding of the general's mindset. Durra revealed that Thaal was out to create his own private empire with the Pop-Dogs as his military force. By this time, Antilles' transmission had been sent and received, and her personal rescue force arrived shortly thereafter.
The rescue force consisted of two borrowed StealthX fighters flown by retired generals and ace pilots Wedge Antilles and Tycho Celchu, along with an evacuation shuttle flown by another former Wraith, Kirney Slane—the new identity of the woman who had been Lara Notsil during the fight against Zsinj. The two X-wings scattered the Pop-Dogs and destroyed their vehicles with strafing runs while the Wraiths evacuated onto the shuttle. Slane and the elder Antilles were happy to lend their assistance, though Slane sternly warned saBinring to not recruit her children into the dangerous world of the Wraiths. Before they left, saBinring and Courser rigged Drayson's body with a sizable amount of explosives. When the Pop-Dogs regrouped and entered the meteorological station, the explosives detonated, killing many of them and destroying the forensic evidence.
Trap on Kuratooine
- "This place actually feels weirdly like home."
"We haven't yet put explosives under all the floors to blow the place up when we leave. Then it becomes like home."
- ―Voort saBinring and Jesmin Tainer
The Wraiths' next move was to assemble on the world of Kuratooine by way of Corellia following their escape from Vandor-3. Kuratooine was a neutral world with leased Galactic Alliance military facilities, including an army base manned by Pop-Dogs whose commander had close ties to Thaal. The presence of the Pop-Dogs, large refugee population which would avoid scrutiny for Thaal's operatives using false identities, and extensive abandoned mines near the base that would provide storage for stolen black-market goods led the Wraiths to suspect that Thaal was using Kuratooine as a base. The Wraiths arrived on Kuratooine in small groups so as to be inconspicuous. Once on Kuratooine, they set up headquarters in a series of abandoned office buildings overlooking a played-out quarry outside Kura City. saBinring, Durra, and Antilles landed first in their shuttle, while Gorsat and Courser followed with Gorsat's biological samples and equipment. Latt and Huhunna procured an airspeeder and food supplies, while Bessarah and Fodrick obtained speeder bikes. Finally, Narcassan and Tainer brought a delivery speeder loaded with the highly-illegal parts of Gorsat's samples and a large collection of weapons, whose arrival had been facilitated by a paying of a series of bribes to the pertinent authorities en route.
Once they were set up in their new base of operations, the Wraiths established new code names and discussed Thaal's possible involvement on Kuratooine. Fodrick and saBinring also revealed to the group that they had found the connection between Thaal, HyperTech Industries, and the hijackings of naval cargo vessels. The company had been supportive of the Lecersen Conspiracy and then Thaal had co-opted them to support his own black market activities. However, HyperTech's hypercomm systems had also been sabotaged to sample transmissions and forward them to another location for analysis, creating a serious military weakness in the Galactic Alliance that Thaal could either sell or use as leverage. The Wraiths knew that Thaal was likely to begin the next phase of his plan and change the identify of himself and his soldiers, so saBinring devised a plan that would lure Thaal to Kuratooine immediately.
To bait the general to the world, saBinring instructed Gorsat to construct a living neoglith masquer disguise of a new creature tangentially related to Kuratooine's native animals, which he planned to equip Durra with and send him in to the army base from the mines bearing an offering of gems, which would be supplied by Gorsat's adopted father Mulus Cheems. The sight of a new alien lifeform offering promises of vast wealth to Thaal would be certain to bring the general to Kuratooine. Given that the Wraiths had saved Cheems thirty years earlier, the gemologist was happy to help. To keep Thaal distracted and lured out, the Wraiths also set up multiple plans, which required the acquisition of three X-wings, trading in their shuttle for the fighters. Courser was able to restore two of them to flight-worthy status and devised rockets in lieu of proton torpedoes. Fodrick was able to discern Thaal's new identity, a wealthy businessman named Thadley Biolan, based on a profile of women that Thaal had previously been linked to. Fodrick had established a pattern in Thaal's women and noted that Biolan was involved with a Kuratooine woman, Ledina Chott, who matched the profile. Once apprised of the discovery, saBinring sent Tainer and Courser to break into her quarters and copy any transmissions received from Biolan for study. The Wraith leader also had to persuade Gorsat of his fitness to lead the group, pointing out that the irrationality of which Gorsat complained about him had also been present in Drayson. Gorsat accepted his explanation and saBinring dropped his animosity towards Gorsat over his Yuuzhan Vong heritage. Meanwhile, Latt was sent back to Coruscant to bring Thaal's ex-wife to Kuratooine to help expose him when the time was deemed right.
The Wraiths then took up their X-wings for a test flight around Kuratooine's smaller moon, Tildin, for a test flight. They were challenged by a pair of Pop-Dog starfighters, but they deceived the fighters into believing they were practicing for a holodrama. Tainer and Huhunna also located the entrance to Thaal's underground storehouse. Cheems arrived and produced a selection of gemstones from local Kuratooine minerals for Durra to use in his disguised approach to Thaal. The Wraiths also obtained a slow-moving crawler droid, loaded it with explosives and sent it underground to the cave entrance to create an appearance of a minor groundquake. After the crawler was deployed, Courser was sent to the orbiting Skifter Station to install a jamming package. With all of their pieces in plan and Gorsat's neoglith masquer complete, the Wraiths were ready to send in the disguised Durra.
- "Ten of ten for king-warlord. More not for king-warlord. What arrrrrt for me and me-spawn?"
"Oh. Yes, of course. For you we have spice and sweetblossom. Brandy. Dancing pit droids and the most sordid Hutt melodramas. We'll let you sample a thousand arts and tell us what you like best, and we'll give you that and more."
- ―Turman Durra as "Embass-Who-Climbs" and General Thaal conducting first-contact trade negotiations
The heavily-disguised Durra was transported to one of the underground entrances near Chakham Base by Tainer and Huhunna and then sent out. The Clawdite actor assumed the identity of "Embass-Who-Climbs," an advance member of a native Kuratooine species who had lain dormant underground for centuries. The supposed ambassador was taken in by the Pop-Dogs and presented himself as an ambassador who quickly learned languages and wanted to speak with their leader, offering a box of jewels and promises of more in a proposed trade deal. Thaal was introduced to the disguised Durra by holocomm and agreed to meet with the "alien," after hearing an offer of hundreds of rooms full of jewels. Meanwhile, Durra was kept in a medical facility under close observation until Thaal arrived. In a brief negotiation session, Thaal facetiously gave the "alien ambassador" the deed to the planet Bastion.
While Durra was in Chakham Army Base, Latt returned, leaving Zehrinne Thaal on Skifter Station while he landed on Kuratooine to make his report. He also informed the Wraiths that Thaal knew Wraith Squadron was on to them, although the general was actually inquiring about a third Wraith Squadron organization made of fictional members including a Defel named Queevar, a manumitted droideka dubbed Impaler and the bounty hunter Zilaash Kuh—though Kuh was actually an alter ego of Tainer, and Impaler had been a toy of Gorsat's—and allegedly-led by Ton Phanan. Unbeknownst to the Wraiths, the reason for this inquiry was that Maddeus, who had originally recruited Loran to investigate Thaal, was in league with the traitorous general. However, Loran hadn't trusted Maddeus and had only sent transmissions to this third fictional unit in the ship Maddeus had provided him. The investigation revealed Maddeus' duplicity to Loran, who was still in hiding, biding his time. Latt also informed them that Thaal had arrived, having seen the general's transport dock at the station. Finally, Tainer and Fodrick reported their discovery of the civilian exit from the abandoned mines on a plaza inside Kura City. Knowing that Thaal's mistress Chott was in danger of being abducted or killed when Thaal changed his identities, saBinring sent Courser, disguised as General Thaal in a neoglith masquer, to abduct her preemptively with the help of some unwitting Pop-Dogs.
Exposing the general
- "What's our motto?"
"What do we blow up first?"
"The other one. Good news and bad news.'"
- ―Viull Gorsat and Voort saBinring
Mid-morning the next day, saBinring sent Huhunna and Tainer to retrieve Durra when he made his escape while he and Antilles prepared their starfighters for launch. Before they left, Gorsat reported to him that a stall they had rented at the plaza was no longer available and that the scapedroid they had rented to broadcast information about Thaal remotely and display upon the droid's holoprojector had inadvertently been reassigned by its owner. saBinring charged Gorsat with fixing this, and to fill the Yuuzhan Vong's position at the changing booth, Cheems volunteered to take over. Courser and Bessarah donned the disguises of General Thaal and a Pop-Dog respectively, while Narcassan and Fodrick departed, heading for the plaza. The Wraiths were in position to execute their plan to flush and expose Thaal.
Durra arose from within the medical quarters where he was being kept, cued by a hidden commset. The guards had been lulled into a false sense of security about the alien ambassador and he was able to escape the building discreetly, where Tainer and Huhunna met up with him and they fled the base as the alarms sounded. Near the perimeter, Durra tore off the foul-smelling and decaying Embass-Who-Climbs masquer and they completed their egress from the base without incident. Meanwhile, Courser and Bessarah took the sedated Chott with them to the civilian exit for the mines. Once they had tricked the guard into opening the entrance and revealing the path to Thaal's underground lair, they stunned the two Pop-Dogs present and then left Chott there, activating her locator ring to draw the attention of the Kuratooine authorities. The two X-wings, flown by saBinring and Antilles, took to the skies and strafed the base, destroying several starfighters, a shuttle, and the on-base entrance to the mines. They were pursued by a pair of Pop-Dog E-wings and led their pursuit into orbit near Skifter Station. Once there, they activated a jamming package which disoriented the Pop-Dog starfighters, allowing the two Wraiths to quickly destroy their opposition.
Once Durra, Huhunna, and Tainer had returned to the plaza booth by way of a commercial airspeeder wash to clean the pungent Durra, the Clawdite actor assumed the role of Phanan courtesy of another masquer and placed a call to Colonel Kadana Sorrel, the local Starfighter Command officer stationed on Skifter Station. As Phanan, Durra convinced Sorrel to come down and investigate the general, telling her that someone had replaced the general with a decoy. Sorrel was intrigued and headed down to Kuratooine with an official escort. Thaal, alarmed and hearing reports of multiple incidents threatening his operations, headed towards the plaza to deal with the civilian authorities investigating the urban entrance to the mines. That action allowed saBinring and Antilles to land, leaving two disguised protocol droids with the fighters as decoys. With most of the attention drawn to that site, saBinring needed a diversion to draw notice to a hastily-devised scapedroid.
saBinring found a group of street musicians and, doffing his flight suit, began dancing to their musical accompaniment. The sound of the band and sight of a dancing Gamorrean who was strutting in public, shedding even more of his garments, was able to draw a crowd. At this point, Sorrel landed with her official party and met up with Thaal at the plaza, claiming jurisdiction. The irate general attempted to stop saBinring's performance, finding it obnoxious, but was suddenly faced with the scapedroid. The droid was broadcasting a message from Durra, disguised as Phanan, which identified Thaal as an impostor. While Thaal was being questioned by Sorrel, Antilles, disguised as a protocol droid, pickpocketed Thaal's blaster. At that point, Thaal, now angry and dismissive of the charges, was confronted by his ex-wife Zehrinne, whom the Wraiths sent out. She denounced him as an impostor—Thaal had already finished his transformation into Biolan and was wearing eye lenses and makeup to still appear as General Thaal. With his reinforcements inbound, he prepared to fire on Sorrel and his ex-wife, only to find his weapon missing.
As four Pop-Dog speeders approached the plaza, they were intercepted by Narcassan and Fodrick. The sniper shot down two of the speeders, while the other two were hit by sedative grenades tossed by Huhunna and Tainer in swift speeder bike drive-by passes. Now without help, Thaal attempted to flee, only to be hit by a tear gas grenade fired by Courser, disorienting the general long enough for Sorrel to catch up with him and arrest him, pending further investigation. Their mission complete, the Wraiths extracted in a large delivery speeder
After Thaal was transferred back to Coruscant, Loran emerged, confronting Maddeus in the general's own office about his involvement with Thaal and the Lecersen Conspiracy. Loran also charged Maddeus with the assassination attempt on him and his family and the investigation into the Wraiths. Loran was able to dupe Maddeus into revealing that he had Thaal in custody and was preparing for both of them to escape. The confession was the signal for a Wraith, disguised as General Thaal, to emerge. Maddeus thought Thaal had come to save him, but Loran knew better and placed the general in custody. Later, after explaining the entirety of the situation to Chief of State Dorvan—sans mention of the Wraiths' identities—Loran was offered the position of chief of Galactic Alliance Security, which he accepted. He also told them that the Wraiths could continue to exist as an unofficial asset, with saBinring as the leader, which was quickly agreed upon.
- "Am I mistaken, or are your methods becoming even more unorthodox?"
- ―Admiral Ackbar to Wedge Antilles
When Antilles first formed the concept for Wraith Squadron, he drew on his experiences from the reformed Rogue Squadron that he led in action against Isard on Thyferra. While the Rogues were primarily a starfighter unit, they also had a number of pilots with skills oriented towards ground missions. In creating Wraith Squadron, Antilles sought to inaugurate a new type of unit that functioned equally well as starfighter pilots or commandos. The initial group of pilots that Antilles selected for membership in the elite unit had a diverse skill set in addition to prowess in the cockpit of a snubfighter. As such, their tactics were considerably different than a standard starfighter unit.
- "Is he hurt?"
"Everybody asks that. Nobody ever says, 'What a mess! I hope the doctor is not emotionally harmed by having to deal with it.'"
- ―Voort saBinring and Ton Phanan
One of the more important mission assignments in the unit was that of medic. Initially filled by Ton Phanan, a former doctor, the unit medic was responsible for ensuring that the other pilots were healthy and that injuries sustained—and there were many over the squadron's history—received the appropriate medical treatment. The medic had a larger medical kit as part of their equipment and was trained in its use. From handling emotional trauma to patching up cuts, lacerations, and broken bones, the medic was responsible for the well-being of the entire unit. In one instance, Phanan used a medical instrument to kill an Imperial agent who was trying to take the squadron into custody. After the death of Phanan, Lara Notsil was briefly assigned the role of unit medic, as she had recently completed the military first aid course during her training. However, she was soon replaced by Elassar Targon, a fully trained medical corpsman, who continued in that capacity into the Yuuzhan Vong War.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, the position of medic was filled by the Devaronian Drikall Bessarah on Sharr Latt's team. Bhindi Drayson had hoped to recruit a medic for her organization, but had been unable to do so before they were activated. Bessarah continued in the role of medic following the merger of the two teams. Though not a licensed doctor, Bessarah had extensive knowledge of medicine and medications, which he put to use in the Wraiths' plan to unveil the treasonous General Thaal.
- "You're going to use explosives?"
- ―Wedge Antilles and Kell Tainer
Another key role in the unit hierarchy was that of demolitions expert. This individual was responsible for both planting charges on sabotage missions and analyzing or disabling hostile explosive devices. From the squadron's inception well into the Yuuzhan Vong War, this role was filled by Kell Tainer, who had served in the Katarn Commandos previously and had even been decorated for valor in combat. As many times as the Wraiths performed a mission that required them to destroy structures with explosives, they also had numerous occasions where they entered an area that had been rigged with booby traps or explosives to deter intruders. In both scenarios, it fell upon Tainer to properly employ his knowledge and skill in the area of demolitions, as the alternative was possibly the death or injury of numerous members of the squadron.
Tainer proved his capability on numerous occasions, employing explosives to destroy several facilities allied with Zsinj during the Night Caller charade. On a smaller scale, his charges destroyed several Imperial probe droids on Xartun. Miniature demolition charges were also among the items provided to Shalla Nelprin for her mission to infiltrate Razor's Kiss in the guise of Qatya Nassin. Nelprin used the charges to both fake her own death and eliminate a group of Imperial stormtroopers, allowing her to find a position with which to assault the ship's shield generators.
Hohass Ekwesh was also trained in the use of demolitions, which he used to surgically inflict damage on Mulvar Sensor Station in 19 ABY. In the Yuuzhan Vong War, Tainer used a bomb to destroy a bridge on Coruscant that was loaded with Yuuzhan Vong warriors. He also used an explosive device to clear out a blocked escape chute to free the transport Ugly Truth, allowing the Wraiths and Jedi on Coruscant to leave the occupied capital.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, Trey Courser was the Wraiths' explosives expert. He helped rig small explosive devices as a diversion for a munitions theft on Coruscant and set up a sizable amount of explosives in the abandoned Mount Lyss Meteorological Station on Vandor-3, triggered when the treasonous Pop-Dog soldiers activated a deadman's switch rigged to the corpse of Drayson. While Courser also had brought along explosive devices to sabotage a hidden Pop-Dog installation dubbed Glitterby Base, the Wraith responsible for them was sedated before he could plant the charges. Later, Courser would improvise rocketry for a pair of X-wings, which were used to strafe a Pop-Dog facility on Kuratooine.
- "Thank you, thank you. Performances every hour, on the hour. Imperial madmen a specialty."
- ―Face Loran after deceiving Trigit by impersonating Zurel Darillian
In the course of its history, Wraith Squadron executed a number of deceptions that had them pose as the crew of Night Caller, a motley assemblage of tourists, a group of pirates, and Yuuzhan Vong warriors. To help them accomplish these deceptions, the Wraiths relied heavily on former holodrama actor Garik Loran. That background afforded him considerable skill in improvisation, acting, and vocal inflection. Having lived on Lorrd for many years, Loran was also skilled in reading body language nearly to the level of one of the natives. Loran's skill was such that he was able to identify a person's homeworld simply by the way they walked. His observation skills also helped him discern that Notsil was not who she claimed to be. Whenever the Wraiths required disguises or other means to conceal their identity, Loran was placed in charge of handling the makeup and prosthetics that were needed to transform the pilots into their new identities. The outcome of these intricately planned deceptions usually resulted in a major victory for the New Republic, such as the destruction of the Implacable and the Razor's Kiss, and the successful infiltration of Yuuzhan Vong-held Coruscant.
Loran served this role for Wraith Squadron for over twenty years, from the squadron's formation through the Yuuzhan Vong War. Although he was later promoted to become the squadron leader, Loran continued to take an active role in the creation of disguises such as fake Yuuzhan Vong armor and surveillance droids disguised as various species of flora. Loran used his skills to devise a quick makeshift Jedi disguise to elude and turn the tables on a pair of would-be assassins in 44 ABY.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, it was the shapeshifting Clawdite Turman Durra, also formerly an actor, who took on the bulk of the impersonation duties, though Courser also used the masquers on occasion. During their mission to expose General Thaal, Durra impersonated a Human pilot, an Imperial officer, an unknown alien creature dubbed Embassy-Who-Climbs, and Ton Phanan. Durra was aided in his efforts by living neoglith masquer disguises which assisted in his transformation into the various roles.
- "Did I ever shoot someone in cold blood? Without giving him a chance? Yes. Three times I did that. I didn't much care for it; if I did, I'd probably still be doing it. But better to have dead enemies than dead innocents."
- ―Myn Donos
When Wedge Antilles selected Myn Donos as a member of Wraith Squadron, he was cognizant of Donos's past as a decorated sniper for Corellia. Subsequently, Donos was ordered to train back up to his previous level of skill and issued a laser rifle to accomplish this objective. The sniper's role within Wraith Squadron during ground missions was usually to provide cover for an intrusion team from a safe distance, observing and eliminating enemy targets that were threatening other members of the squadron.
Donos was adept in the role of sniper, employing his accuracy with the laser rifle on Storinal to eliminate an anti-air emplacement, on Aldivy to kill an Imperial agent attempting to kidnap Notsil, and on Saffalore to cover a pair of Wraiths under attack from stormtroopers. In one rather unorthodox incident over Halmad, Donos employed his laser rifle to send a transmission to a fuel tanker in order to activate its self-destruct; the resulting explosion damaged the Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist and bought the squadron time to escape. He also provided cover for Notsil and Targon during a commando mission on Saffalore. While Donos departed the Wraiths when they transferred to Intelligence, the position was filled by Bettin, who was with the Wraiths in 13 ABY. Comments by Loran during the Yuuzhan Vong War years later implied that they were still familiar with the use of snipers to neutralize dangerous opponents safely and from a great distance away.
When the Wraiths were reformed as two separate teams, both team leaders sought to recruit Wran Narcassan to serve as their sniper. Narcassan joined Latt's team, using his laser rifle to good effect in the mission to expose General Thaal. Narcassan's expertise with the weapon allowed him to destroy a mobile plasma artillery unit and shoot down a speeder loaded with hostile forces by killing the pilot. When the two Wraith units were united and assigned monikers, Narcassan's was "Gun Boy" owing to his lethal accuracy. The Wraiths were also known to employ spotters to assist their sniper with locating and sighting in on targets.
- "In all the time you've been here, have you sliced into Commenor's official computer system?"
"Yes, Five. Just to keep in practice."
- ―Kell Tainer and Eurrsk Thri'ag
An expert or at least proficient in computer coding and slicing into computerized systems, the unit slicer played an important role in Wraith Squadron's history. The first individual to fill this role was Eurrsk Thri'ag, a Bothan male who had graduated from the Bothan Martial Academy. Thri'ag was instrumental in the Night Caller charade, as his holographic overlays and patches allowed the Wraiths to fool both Trigit and Zsinj, which culminated in Trigit's death in the Battle of Ession.
After Thri'ag's death, Castin Donn, who had years of experiences as a slicer, was selected as the new unit slicer. His skills were enough to help divert Imperial attention during the theft of numerous TIE interceptors and later disguise the transmissions of the Wraiths' fighters during the Hawk-bats' reign of piracy. His vocal modification inadvertently put the Wraiths on the path of Zsinj's involvement in Binring Biomedical. His last effort as a slicer was to develop a program that, once implanted aboard a hostile ship, would broadcast its location anytime the holocomm was activated. While Donn died trying to activate his program on Iron Fist, Notsil retrieved it and was able to adapt it for use on Razor's Kiss. During the Battle of Kuat, Nelprin used the code to help destroy Razor's Kiss. Notsil continued to function as the unit slicer provisionally until she was forced to leave Wraith Squadron. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Bhindi Drayson was the unit computer expert and code slicer.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, multiple members of Drayson's team pulled slicer duty due to the lack of a specialized team member to fill that role. Latt's team had Thaymes Fodrick, a young man who had previously been caught slicing into secure systems by Loran, as their slicer. Fodrick continued in that role when the two teams were combined, while also handling communications duty.
- "I'm a Wraith, aren't I? We strike from nowhere."
- ―Kell Tainer
While all of the Wraiths were required to have some skill as commandos, Tyria Sarkin was particularly gifted at moving stealthily. Her heritage as an Antarian Ranger allowed her to move almost entirely without noise. Besides Sarkin, Loran was also adept at infiltrating hostile positions, though his methods were considerably different—Loran more often would impersonate enemy personnel to accomplish his missions. Dealing with security systems that were encountered in facilities they were infiltrating often fell to Tainer, though Nelprin was also adept in locating and bypassing such systems. For those security measures that were more electronic in nature, the unit slicer at the time was typically called upon to bypass or re-route the system in question. These skills were essential to many of their missions, as remaining undetected was an important part of their methodology.
In 19 ABY, saBinring was inserted into an Imperial garrison protecting the Mulvar Sensor Station. He was then able to disable one guard and admit two more Wraiths, Ekwesh and Nelprin. Nelprin's infiltration expertise allowed them to quietly move through the station, disabling guards and workers, while planting explosives and sabotaging the sensors. However, following this mission, Nelprin retired for a civilian life.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, both Sharr Latt and Bhindi Drayson had wilderness survival and infiltration specialists. Drayson's team had the Force-sensitive Jesmin Tainer, who also had Antarian Ranger training, while Latt's team benefited from the expertise of the Wookiee Huhunna. Tainer's skills were employed in the seizure of the Concussor, as she was able to incapacitate several members of the crew to forestall any alarms from being triggered. Both Tainer and Huhunna also helped in the infiltration of Glitterby Base on Vandor-3, while Huhunna was able to create a diversion during the subsequent extraction under fire. The Wookiee was able to slow their Pop-Dog pursuers, take down several targets, and then return back to the other Wraiths through enemy lines while carrying a mortally wounded Drayson. Later, on Kuratooine, Tainer and Huhunna worked together to smuggle first an explosive-bearing droid and then a disguised Turman Durra through the perimeter of Chakham Army Base as part of the plan to expose the traitorous General Thaal.
- "We'll bluff them, and if that doesn't work, we'll tear out of here like Falynn in a skiff."
- ―Wes Janson referencing Sandskimmer's piloting ability
One of the original members of Wraith Squadron, Falynn Sandskimmer, was chosen for her proficiency in piloting a number of ground vehicles. Sandskimmer's talents found employ on Xartun, when she was able to first remotely activate a speeder as a diversion and then steal a cargo skiff for the Wraiths' escape from a Zsinj-allied factory. She was also given the responsibility of acquiring ground transport for the remaining Wraiths after they stole some Imperial fighters from Storinal. After Sandskimmer's death in the Battle of Ession, she was replaced by Dia Passik, who was also skilled in piloting a variety of vehicle types. However, the Wraiths also employed several others at the role of vehicle pilot, including Nelprin, Loran, and Donos. The vehicles they used were often stolen or appropriated from their target world, as the Wraiths' starfighters did not have sufficient transport capability to carry ground vehicles. For missions to Halmad and Saffalore, the Wraiths used appropriated vehicles to gain proximity to their target and then either stole different vehicles or used the same one for their egress. This was particularly important on Saffalore as speeder traffic was prevalent to the point where a large number of pedestrians would have been conspicuous.
The Wraiths commonly employed speeders when they were reformed in 44 ABY to investigate General Thaal. Voort saBinring was one of their pilots, flying around a speeder on Coruscant while eluding pursuit. He also piloted a speeder through Ackbar City on Vandor-3, particularly during the infiltration and exfiltration of Glitterby Base. In their escape, saBinring was able to charge through the perimeter fence, scattering the guards, and then extract the Wraiths and flee while under pursuit. On Kuratooine, the Wraiths employed a number of smaller vehicles, including a delivery speeder and two swoop bikes, which gave them needed mobility in the final effort to expose General Thaal.
- "Lab Boy. I need a neoglith masquer simulating Thaal's face. And something I suspect will be much harder. A full-body neoglith suit for Turman."
- ―Voort saBinring to Viull Gorsat
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, the extensively organic technology of the Yuuzhan Vong meant that the Wraiths added a biology specialist to their roster, Baljos Arnjak. Arnjak's many accomplishments included the development of effective Yuuzhan Vong disguises and concealing spy droids in Coruscanti and Yuuzhan Vong fungi. Arnjak also helped analyze the Vongforming on Coruscant, remaining behind to organize partisans when the mission to Coruscant was called off. His efforts helped send valuable intelligence and bring groups of Shamed Ones to aid the Galactic Alliance for the final battle of the war.
In the Wraiths' 44 ABY reformation, the Yuuzhan Vong Viull Gorsat was recruited as to serve as their biofabricator. Gorsac's chief achievement was the neoglith masquer, a variation on the ooglith masquer living disguises used by the Yuuzhan Vong. Gorsat was able to fabricate multiple neoglith masquers to both disguise his appearance as well as that of other squadron members during the effort to expose General Thaal. Gorsat's equipment included tissue samples that were restricted or threatening, requiring special arrangements and bribes to get them pass security and inspection stations. However, his most impressive feat was the fabrication of an entire fake heretofore unknown alien disguise made from the stomach of a crustacean; the statement that he was having a hard time getting it to not digest its wearer was either truth or an indication that Gorsat had developed a sense of humor suitable for being a Wraith.
- "We're all going to have to become geniuses."
"I vote we start with Elassar. He has the farthest to go."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Lara Notsil
To some extent, all of the Wraiths were required to be proficient in starfighter tactics. On several occasions early in their career, Antilles ordered his pilots to get inside the minds of their enemies in order to determine their plans and vulnerabilities. Such planning sessions produced the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force and penetrated Zsinj's Project Funeral. Voort saBinring was a particularly skilled tactician thanks to his high mathematical acumen. On several occasions, saBinring was able to simultaneously fly combat missions and coordinate other pilots to increase their effectiveness.
The Wraiths would later add more members with valuable tactical knowledge after the Battle of Ession. Shalla Nelprin came into the unit with experience on Imperial Intelligence, while Dia Passik had knowledge of various facets of the criminal underworld. Two Wraiths, Garik Loran and Lara Notsil, devised a starfighter tactic that had a TIE interceptor use an X-wing's shields for cover except while firing. This tactic was applauded by Antilles and later successfully used in the Battle of Selaggis by Tainer and Ekwesh.
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, psychological warfare expert Sharr Latt and saBinring were assigned to help craft Jaina Solo into an avatar of the Yuuzhan Vong deity Yun-Harla. The two held this duty throughout much of the Battle of Borleias, and their efforts were successful enough that even a Yuuzhan Vong priest began to wonder if Solo was actually Yun-Harla in human form. Bhindi Drayson was also recognized as an accomplished tactician during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and both her, Latt, and saBinring continued in this role when the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY to expose the traitorous General Thaal. Drayson's tactics in this era tended to be more conservative, with fewer aggressive options and using more operatives than the Wraiths had previously done. Latt was also known for having a slower, more deliberate methodology in his operations, while saBinring was willing to use more improvisation and aggression to complete their missions, based on his extensive experience.
- "I don't think anyobe gould gill a Wookiee habd to habd, sir. But she gomes gloser than anyobe I'be seen."
- ―Radaf Netbers, after having his nose broken by Nelprin
Throughout their history, Wraith Squadron employed several individuals skilled in unarmed combat. On the squadron's initial roster was Kell Tainer, who was well-versed in hand-to-hand combat, as he had previously served as a commando. Tainer's unarmed expertise came into special use during the contact mission between the Hawk-bats and Warlord Zsinj, as he was able to demonstrate his proficiency as well as lure Zsinj into bringing one of the Hawk-bats on an intrusion team for the Battle of Kuat. Another member of the unit skilled in unarmed combat was Shalla Nelprin, who was considerably better than even Tainer. Nelprin was in fact the Hawk-bat assigned to aid Zsinj's takeover of Razor's Kiss and she left a trail of unconscious bodies, taken down without sounding the alarm, while she was on the ship. Nelprin also defeated one of Zsinj's unarmed combat instructors, Radaf Netbers, without taking a single hit.
Even though Nelprin and Tainer had more training in unarmed combat, both Hohass Ekwesh and Voort saBinring dwarfed them for physical strength. saBinring was able to kill an assassin targeting Admiral Ackbar by physically lifting a massive desk and crushing the assassin's head with it after being shot in the stomach. For his part, Ekwesh was strong enough to bodily throw the sizable Captain Netbers into a wall hard enough to snap his neck while on Saffalore.
Following the Wraiths' reformation in 44 ABY, Trey Courser was noted for his muscular physique and ability in close-quarters combat. Courser's abilities came in handy when subduing the crew of the Imperial corvette Concussor. Another Wraith, Wran Narcassan, was Nelprin's nephew and had similar levels of expertise in hand-to-hand combat.
- "Jesmin, how long have you been recording?"
"Since we came on station, Demolition Boy Sir."
- ―Jesmin Ackbar and Kell Tainer, prior to the mission on Xartun
To help with more specialized communications tasks, including signal interception, the Wraiths included a squadron member devoted to communications. The first individual to fulfill this role was Jesmin Ackbar, and her analysis of communications signals helped identify Implacable shortly before the Battle of Folor. Ackbar also recorded the transmissions of an Imperial base on Xartun, allowing the squadron to bypass an alarm and gain access to a secret installation belonging to Zsinj.
Following Ackbar's death, Hohass Ekwesh took her place after going through the prerequisite training. In his new capacity, Ekwesh was able to eventually call for airstrikes during the raid on Saffalore. His prowess also allowed him to jam the transmissions of the false 181st during the Battle of Selaggis, making the hostile starfighters easy targets as their computerized coordination was cut off.
In 44 ABY, the Wraiths' communications specialist was Thaymes Fodrick, a former student who had met Loran after being caught slicing into secure systems. To facilitate his assignments, he set up a sizable communications and computer workstation as well as a holoprojector when the Wraiths moved to Kuratooine to expose the treasonous General Thaal. Fodrick was also able to rig a child's noisemaker to insert into an alien disguise worn by Durra, altering the sound of his heartbeat.
- "The Wraiths will continue flying mixed X-wings and TIE interceptors."
- ―Wedge Antilles
Wraith Squadron was formed as an X-wing unit, based on the methods Antilles used to wrangle the snubfighters out of his superiors. Since the two most experienced founding members, Antilles and Janson, both had years of experience in the X-wing, it was the natural choice for the new squadron, though some of the pilots had prior experience in other types of craft, including A-wings, Y-wings, and TIE fighters.
After the capture of Night Caller, the Wraiths also utilized the two TIE fighters that they had seized as they posed as members of Zsinj's forces. During overt Wraith missions, they did utilize their X-wings though. The Wraiths would later seize two additional TIE fighters from Storinal in order to completely fulfill the obligations of their Night Caller charade, as the ship was supposed to carry four, though one was later destroyed in the Battle of Ession.
To serve as vehicles for their Hawk-bats piracy scheme, the Wraiths appropriated five TIE interceptors from an Imperial base on Halmad. They also stole at least two more TIE fighters during this time. Though one of their interceptors was later lost when Phanan was shot down, the Wraiths continued to employ the fighters outside of their role as pirate vehicles, as they were short of X-wings. That necessitated additional labor, as the unorthodox color schemes the interceptors sported as Hawk-bat fighters had to be altered back to more standard Wraith Squadron gray tones every time their missions changed. Four interceptors were still in the squadron's possession when they were transferred to New Republic Intelligence, and Antilles encouraged his pilots to become familiar with flying the Imperial vehicles.
Following their reformation in 44 ABY, the Wraiths were able to acquire two X-wings second-hand from a dealer on Kuratooine. Two of these starfighters were repaired to functional order, equipped with homemade rocketry. These X-wings were used for an assault on a Galactic Alliance Army base manned by Pop-Dogs loyal to the treasonous General Thaal on Kuratooine. The attack on the base was successful in drawing attention from other Galactic Alliance authorities and though two Pop-Dog E-wing escort starfighters gave chase, the Wraith pilots, Voort saBinring and Myri Antilles, were able to shoot them down over Skifter Station without loss. They then landed the X-wings and abandoned them for Thaal's forces to find, leaving droids disguised as pilots to further distract and confuse their adversaries.
- "We've now stolen a Corellian corvette and two TIE fighters That's good, but it's not enough. I think we should steal at least one of every type of ship in use by the Imperial Navy or the warlords."
- ―Wes Janson
While primarily a starfighter unit, Wraith Squadron employed a number of other vehicles throughout the squadron's history. They were known for capturing enemy vessels and employing them against their former owners. As improvisation was key to several of their missions, the Wraiths took advantage of whatever vehicles were in the area .
One of their first vehicles was a Lambda-class shuttle, Narra, assigned to them shortly after the squadron's inception. This craft, typically flown by unit mechanic Cubber Daine, was used primarily as a support craft to carry the squadron's equipment and possessions when they were between bases. On other occasions, the squadron employed the Narra to infiltrate Imperial-held worlds such as Xartun and Storinal, particularly during the Night Caller charade. However, it was also used as a personnel retrieval shuttle to rescue extravehicular pilots during starfighter combat, such as during the Battle of Ession. Prior to the battle, the Wraiths informed Imperial Admiral Trigit that the Narra had been taken from a pirate group in order to maintain the ruse that they were the Imperial crew of Night Caller. The Narra would later be attached to the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, serving as the means for a group of Wraiths to board the tanker Bastion over Halmad. When the mission was aborted due to the sudden arrival of Zsinj's forces, several of the Wraiths boarded the shuttle and escaped on it. From the stern of the Narra, Myn Donos was able to remotely detonate Bastion in close proximity to Zsinj's flagship, delaying its pursuit. The Narra would later serve as the vehicle chosen by the contact team from the Hawk-bats that was sent to meet with Zsinj.
A spacecraft significant to the early missions of Wraith Squadron was the modified Corellian corvette Night Caller. The ship was extensively modified from a stock configuration corvette, with the luxury quarters removed and the bow hold expanded to accommodate starfighters. Another modification was the installation of a tractor beam projector in place of a bow turbolaser. Originally part of Zsinj's fleet and captained by Zurel Darillian, Night Caller was sent with a load of empion mines while the Star Destroyer Implacable attacked Folor Base. After responding to a mine detonation following the battle, Night Caller discovered the Wraiths and was quickly attacked by them. Wraith Voort saBinring successfully penetrated the hold of the ship and incinerated Zurel Darillian with a chopped-off laser cannon. The rest of the crew surrendered, and the ship became Wraith Squadron's mobile base as they executed a series of missions against Zsinj while posing as the Imperial crew. During this time, two of its escape pods were removed and replaced with TIE fighters. Night Caller saw direct action in New Republic service for the first time while under the command of Choday Hrakness in the M2398 system, where it helped the Wraith Squadron snubfighters engage a group of pirates. The ship was later involved in the Battle of Talasea, which saw the bridge crew killed and the corvette sustain heavy damage. After makeshift repairs, Night Caller again went into combat in the Battle of Talasea and survived with minimal damage while inflicting moderate harm against the Star Destroyer Implacable, which was ultimately destroyed. Following the destruction of Implacable, the Wraiths abandoned the use of the ship as a ruse, knowing the deception was not repeatable.
The Wraiths briefly seized an ancient tanker, Bastion, over Halmad as part of their piracy schemes. They then left the crew behind at a docking station, flying it into the atmosphere. Though originally intended to be detonated over a partially completed military base on Halmad, it was instead remotely destroyed after Iron Fist captured Bastion with its tractor beams. The resulting explosion was enough to cause significant damage to the Iron Fist's hangar bay, buying the Wraiths enough time to flee in the Narra and their fighters.
To act as a transport for their TIE interceptors while they were posing as the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force, the Wraiths employed a Xiytiar-class transport, Sungrass, which, though dilapidated, served as an adequate carrier for their fighters when they needed to move beyond the Halmad system and Hawk-bat Base. The ship, captained by a man named Valton, had originally been Imperial property before being seized by the New Republic. The Wraiths took Sungrass to the Battle of Kuat and launched their six TIEs from there, though the ship, being unarmed was not directly involved in the battle.
Later, as they were trying a number of schemes to bring Iron Fist to a conclusive battle, the Wraiths acquired a YT-1300 freighter to serve as a false Millennium Falcon. Dubbed the Millennium Falsehood, the freighter was meant to draw Zsinj's attacks, as the warlord had a personal enmity towards Solo. The freighter was flown in any number of missions in the final stages of the anti-Zsinj campaign, mostly by Antilles, Squeaky, and Chewbacca, though Donos served as a gunner on a few missions. After Zsinj's defeat in the Battle of Selaggis, Solo recommended the New Republic donate the vessel to a museum as a near-replica of the Millennium Falcon.
During the mission to Coruscant in the Yuuzhan Vong War, a team of Wraith Squadron members and Jedi were infiltrated into Coruscant by means of an armed transport, Record Time, piloted by Lando Calrissian. Though the freighter fell apart under heavy Yuuzhan Vong attack over Coruscant, it was able to successfully deliver the insertion team to Coruscant's surface. For extraction, the party of Wraiths and Jedi employed a freighter known as the Ugly Truth from the fallen galactic capital. After Tainer found a beckon call owned by former senator Shesh, Loran ordered him to track the beckon back to its source, whereupon Tainer located the still intact and hyperspace-capable escape vehicle embedded inside a ruined spacescraper. Tainer blew out enough of one wall with explosives to free the craft and the Wraiths used the Ugly Truth to pick up the three Jedi in the party, who had just finished dealing with the deranged Dark Jedi Lord Nyax. They then attempted to use the freighter to capture Shesh, who had returned to the escape craft's original location, but Shesh committed suicide instead. Tainer and Luke Skywalker then flew the Ugly Truth back to Borleias.
In 44 ABY, the Wraiths seized an Imperial Burst Fire-class patrol vessel, Concussor, as part of a lure to bait out General Thaal. Their capture was successful, but Thaal's response was to send Galactic Alliance naval vessels after them. Concussor was critically damaged and the Wraiths activated the self-destruct and then fled in a hyperdrive-equipped shuttle and interceptor. The interceptor was traded for credits, while they retained the shuttle for some time before trading it for a pair of X-wings on Kuratooine. The Wraith leader, Loran, was given a space yacht, Quarren Eye, but he only used it sparingly, distrusting the vessel and not making it available to any of the other Wraiths.
- "I've often suspected that you sometimes put on disguises just to go to the refresher."
"Now there's an idea."
- ―Lara Notsil and Garik Loran
Throughout their career, the Wraiths made frequent use of disguises. Whenever they were on commando missions, they commonly wore cloths over their faces to help conceal their identities. Loran already possessed considerable expertise in the area of disguise, given his background as a famous child actor. His first disguise during his service in Wraith Squadron was surprisingly impromptu. Being the only unrecognizable member of the bridge crew when Night Caller was hailed by the governor of Viamarr 4, he quickly improvised some prosthetics out of tubing and paint coated goggles; though Loran was unaware that the paint would be difficult to remove from the goggles and skin without solvent.
Loran would later obtain a much more sophisticated and realistic disguise from New Republic Intelligence for use in the guise of Lieutenant Narol on inspection tours of planetary installations affiliated with Zsinj, and it served him well. One at least one occasion, unit mechanic Daine was also disguised and brought along as Loran's aide. Many of the raids performed by Wraith Squadron during their Night Caller charade were based on intelligence gathered by a disguised Loran. Another useful disguise employed by Loran was a holographic overlay for use in transmissions that made Loran appear and sound like Zurel Darillian; this was particularly of use when conversing with Trigit or Zsinj via long-range communications. For the Battle of Talasea, the Wraiths would take special pains in maintaining their charade, even to the point of costuming the bridge members in case of visual inspection and their efforts were rewarded with the destruction of Implacable.
For the Hawk-bats scheme, the Wraiths employed yet another series of sophisticated disguises, particularly when they went to meet with Zsinj aboard Iron Fist. While for clothing, most of them simply wore gray or black pilot's jumpsuits typically used by TIE fighter pilots, certain missions had to incorporate elaborate disguises and faces of the more distinctive members of Wraith Squadron disguised to avoid recognition. In particular, their contact team with Zsinj was completely disguised in order to conceal their true identities from the warlord. Loran, who still retained a sizable facial scar, added to it with a horrific mesh of other scars. Phanan would later dub this Loran's "Horrible Burn Victim makeup." On the trip to meet with Zsinj, Tainer added hair extensions and false facial hair while Passik was disguised with lekku tattoos and an outfit decorated with metal replicas of animal teeth and claws. Other Hawk-bat disguises included one for Nelprin during her intrusion onto Razor's Kiss, where she went as Qatya Nassin, a hand-to-hand combat specialist, by dyeing her hair white, adding cheek pads to change her facial structure, and whitening the skin around her left eye. However, they also used more ordinary disguises such as TIE fighter pilot jumpsuits and stormtrooper armor. In one such instance, the Wraiths used their stormtrooper apparel to gain entrance to an Imperial base on Halmad, while on another occasion, Donn used stormtrooper armor in an unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate Iron Fist.
Even when flying as the Hawk-bats, disguises had to be employed in case a hostile pilot looked through the viewport, though most of the Wraiths simply wore TIE fighter pilot jumpsuits and helmets as the Hawk-bats. Because Donn's modifications to the communication system made his voice sound like that of an Ewok, Antilles was forced to wear an Ewok doll on his lap during the Battle of Kuat. The Ewok, referred to as Lieutenant Kettch, later became the subject of conversation between Loran and Zsinj, as Zsinj had a biomedical program that had been working to alter species, including Ewoks, beyond their typical behavioral and intellectual limits. Another disguise used by the Wraiths was not actually worn by one of their number. While they were employing the Millennium Falsehood as a lure for Zsinj, the Wraiths had their quartermaster, the protocol droid Squeaky, dress up as Solo and wear a facial mask to make him appear like Solo. Even his voice was modified to make him sound like the famous Corellian.
Later, during the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Wraiths would employ disguises in the form of both artificial and scavenged sets of vonduun crab armor. To add to their appearance as Yuuzhan Vong warriors, their biologist, Arnjak, also produced false amphistaffs. To help them converse with the Yuuzhan Vong, they employed the tizowyrms used by the Vong as translation devices, though Loran also learned some level of conversational Yuuzhan Vong. These disguises were quite useful during the mission to Coruscant and a party of Yuuzhan Vong warriors were completely fooled by their authentic appearance. After they had established a base in an area reasonably free of Yuuzhan Vong, most of the Wraiths dispensed with wearing the uncomfortable disguises, as they did not need them and their appearance might scare away any Coruscanti survivors. Instead, they wore civilian clothing that would allow them to blend in with other non-Yuuzhan Vong inhabitants of the fallen capital. The two exceptions to this rule were Loran and Tainer, who continued wearing their Yuuzhan Vong armor in a competition to see who would give in, admit discomfort, and remove the disguise first.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, their biologist, the Yuuzhan Vong Gorsat, was able to make numerous disguises from neoglith masquer creatures, living disguises that he could mold or shape according to their needs. Gorsat himself often wore a masquer that appeared to be Human and was often smiling. During an operation devised to lure out the corrupt General Thaal by posing as Imperials and offering him a deal, Gorsat provided another masquer for the Clawdite Durra to help him appear to be a Human Imperial officer. For the final phase of their operation to expose Thaal's treason, the Wraiths called upon Gorsat's skill once more. The Yuuzhan Vong was able to bioengineer a living full-body suit that was distantly genetically related to a crustacean native to Kuratooine, where they were planning to expose Thaal. The suit held up to three days of medical scrutiny before it expired, successfully luring Thaal to Kuratooine. Gorsat also made disguises that resembled the general himself and long-deceased Wraith Phanan for other plans to help implicate the general once he arrived on Kuratooine.
The Wraiths also used other more mundane disguises during the time period. The Gamorrean saBinring was often disguised as a porter or other manual laborer due to the general perception of Gamorreans in the galaxy. On Coruscant, the Wraiths made sure to use disguises when stealing blaster rifles as part of a heist to introduce spy droids into the army's arsenal. Drayson took advantage of the inklings of an Imperial crew by disguising herself and a group of Wraiths as the party of an unintelligent Imperial heiress, placing them in position after a brief flight on a cruise ship to seize a patrol vessel. While on surveillance duty on Vandor-3, Myri Antilles employed a variety of different disguises when out in Ackbar City, never keeping the same disguise. Latt's Wraiths did the same during their excursions into the city. When entering and flying around Kuratooine, the Wraiths traveled incognito.
- "I noticed one of the quartermasters delivering Lieutenant Donos a hard-shell case that suggested 'laser rifle' to me."
- ―Garik Loran
During the initial formation of the squadron, each member of Wraith Squadron was equipped with standard New Republic pilot gear, such as flight suits and blaster pistols. However, while still in the formative stages of the Wraiths, Lieutenant Donos received his laser rifle. The specialized weapon would be the exception and only the start of specialized gear for the Wraiths, and a lack of specialized tools and gear made repairs to the X-wings in a vacuum difficult during early missions. After the capture of Night Caller, the Wraiths would receive more specialized equipment from Home One to augment their capabilities in starfighters. That included explosives, vacuum-rated tools, an upgraded datapad for Ackbar, the squadron's communications specialist, and sophisticated disguises for Loran and others. Additionally, they also received an X-wing simulator to supplement the TIE simulator in Night Caller.
After the Wraiths stole a half dozen TIE interceptors from Halmad, they also obtained a TIE interceptor simulator from the New Republic. One of their Hawk-bat raids garnered a cache of spare parts for their newly acquired starfighters, allowing them to keep the starfighters maintained. A particularly unorthodox piece of equipment not originally intended for official squadron use was an Ewok doll, nicknamed Lieutenant Kettch. Kettch eventually ended up becoming a member of the Hawk-bats, impersonated by Antilles, as Zsinj had shown clear interest in an Ewok who had been modified to be able to fly starfighters. Subsequent investigations would reveal that Zsinj had an expansive program designed to modify a number of nonhuman species.
For their raid on Saffalore, the Wraiths used a projectile cannon that fired a grapple attached to a fibra-rope. The fibra-rope had arm- and leg-rests along it, and the Wraiths slid down the rope to traverse the space between two rooftops. They also brought infrared markers which Notsil and Targon planted on the roof of a target building to help spot airstrikes from Rogue Squadron. in 13 ABY, Wraith Squadron Tainer disguised an explosives package, power unit, transceiver, and control chips in a gem-encrusted statue which Imperial Admiral Teradoc was fooled into bringing into his base, where it detonated.
The Yuuzhan Vong War saw the Wraiths employ a number of unconventional items to combat the new adversary. Among them were false amphistaffs to mimic the signature Yuuzhan Vong weapon. For discreet surveillance, the Wraiths also disguised a number of small spy droids as biological organisms to prevent their destruction by the droid-hating Yuuzhan Vong. To facilitate insertions, the Wraiths developed small drop pods that each contained one person. The pods could be disguised as coralskippers and dropped from orbit, and a small repulsorlift would slow it down during descent to allow a survivable landing. The Wraiths and three Jedi used these pods to descend from the Record Time to Coruscant during the mission to Coruscant.
In their reformation in 44 ABY, the Wraiths employed a number of unconventional technologies. For a heist on Coruscant, they flew a speeder through a banner that was rigged to wrap around the vehicle, disguising its appearance, while another getaway vehicle was equipped with fall-away panels to disguise it as well. They also devised tiny droids hidden inside blaster power packs that were programmed to subvert other droids and transceivers to track their movements. Their clothes during this heist were flash-cloth, which would vaporize if exposed to fire, destroying any forensic evidence. When seizing an Imperial patrol vessel for a lure attempt, the Wraiths built improvised blasters that were disassembled and smuggled aboard. For infiltration missions, the Wraiths wore ambience suits, thick black full-body garments that disguised their thermal signatures, and also brought an ambience shroud that operated on similar principles to disguise their getaway vehicle. While on Kuratooine in pursuit of General Thaal, Wraith Squadron mechanic Trey Courser devised rocketry for their secondhand X-wings in lieu of proton torpedoes. They also used two droids, one a scapedroid that was basically a moving holoprojector used to remotely broadcast evidence of Thaal's guilt, and a slow-moving droid that carried an explosives package to an underground mine entrance as part of a ruse. Lastly, to draw Thaal to Kuratooine, they drew on the expertise of gemologist Mulus Cheems to create intricate jewelry pieces from Kuratooine gems that would be offered to Thaal by a disguised Durra. Durra was smuggled onto the base by means of a cord-and-grapnel system operated by Huhunna, and made his pitch. Having anticipated starfighter pursuit during their exposure of Thaal, the Wraiths planted a sensor jammer on Skifter Station in orbit, allowing them to confuse and defeat the hostile pilots chasing their two starfighters.
Zsinj campaign and Galactic Civil War (7—13 ABY)
- "If you want to go by numbers and survivability, of course, there's only one pilot who has survived two Death Star runs. From that perspective, Wedge Antilles is the best pilot ever."
- ―Wes Janson on Wedge Antilles
Wedge Antilles was known as a legendary Corellian X-wing pilot, intelligence operative, and general who fought for the Rebel Alliance and New Republic from the earliest days of the Galactic Civil War through the Yuuzhan Vong War and beyond.
Antilles served in Starfighter Command for three decades, repeatedly defying terrifying odds and was among the very few to survive the battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor. He was also the only pilot to have faced both Death Stars and survive. At the time of Wraith Squadron's inception, he had just returned from a successful campaign to oust Ysanne Isard from power on Thyferra. Antilles served as the impetus behind Wraith Squadron and as its commander for several months before returning to the Rogues and handing over command to Loran, though he was also the commander of the entire fighter complement on Mon Remonda, which gave him oversight of the Wraiths even as he flew as Rogue Leader once more.
Antilles would later command the Wraiths again, albeit indirectly, during a mission to Askaj to apprehend an Imperial grand moff and years later during his tenure as garrison commander of Borleias during the occupation of Borleias in the Yuuzhan Vong War, though the unit directly answered to his wife, Iella Wessiri Antilles. He also indirectly commanded the Wraiths during several other battles of the Yuuzhan Vong War, including the First Battle of Coruscant, the Second Battle of Obroa-skai and the Battle of Bilbringi. In 44 ABY, Antilles, by now retired, came to assist the Wraiths on Vandor-3 in a borrowed StealthX, flying cover for them at the behest of his daughter Myri while they escaped a group of treacherous soldiers.
- "Your ability to talk people into wanting to kill you borders on some kind of Jedi thing, you know that?"
- ―Derek Klivian on Wes Janson
Wes Janson was a pilot for the Rebel Alliance and New Republic. He served as Wedge Antilles's gunner at the Battle of Hoth. He later went on to become a key member of Rogue Squadron, the Rebel Alliance's most elite fighter squadron. Later, he served in Wraith Squadron, the New Republic's pilot/commando unit. As an experienced fighter pilot, Janson served as executive officer of the squadron, serving under first Antilles and later Loran. After the unit's transfer to Intelligence, Janson returned to Rogue Squadron and continued his celebrated career, though he later commanded a volunteer unit during the Yuuzhan Vong War. In addition to his piloting skills, Janson was a deadly shot with blasters and skilled at hand to hand combat. When he was not fighting, he was known for his practical jokes and witticisms among his fellow pilots.
- "Face is one of our intrusion experts, proficient in makeup, speaks several languages other than Basic—"
"Don't forget, master actor."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Face Loran
Garik "Face" Loran was an Imperial holovid star in his youth. Later in life, Loran escaped the Empire and had a change of heart, joining the Rebel Alliance and serving as a starfighter pilot. After a rather unimpressive career, Loran was recruited into Wraith Squadron by Wedge Antilles. Loran flourished in the Wraiths, using his skills and talents at acting to help destroy Implacable and Razor's Kiss through unorthodox schemes such as posing as Captain Darillian of Night Caller and General Kargin, the leader of the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force. He eventually was promoted to brevet captain and became the commander of the Wraiths after Wedge transferred back to Rogue Squadron.
When the New Republic Intelligence Service took over Wraith Squadron, Loran followed the unit over to Intelligence. Loran served as commander of the Wraiths for many years, including through the entire Yuuzhan Vong War. He helped defend Borleias and infiltrate occupied Coruscant, along with several Jedi and Quee, the latter mission resulting in the successful elimination of the dangerous Dark Jedi Lord Nyax before the Dark Jedi could escape from the planet.
Loran remained in command of the Wraiths through the Yuuzhan Vong and into the Second Galactic Civil War, eventually marrying former Wraith Dia Passik and adopting her daughter Adra. After the latter conflict, the Wraiths were disbanded by the new administration and Loran was forced into retirement. He returned to reform the Wraiths in 44 ABY at the covert behest of head of Galactic Alliance Security, Borath Maddeus, to investigate the chief of the army, General Stavin Thaal. Loran put together two separate Wraith teams, kept them isolated from each other, and dispatched them to probe Thaal for corruption while funneling them intelligence as best as he could. An assassination attempt was made on his life, but Loran was able to detect his assailants and kill two of them, while a third was dispatched by his wife. Loran took his family into hiding, learning that investigators were searching for the Wraiths with intent to kill. Once his other teams were able to expose Thaal, Loran confronted Maddeus, whom he realized had been working with Thaal and had supplied the traitorous general with news about the Wraiths—the source of their assailants. With both Thaal and Maddeus imprisoned for their treachery, Loran spoke at length to Chief of State Dorvan and was given the position of chief of Galactic Alliance Security, replacing Maddeus.
- "I don't have to blow up everything I see. I just like to."
- ―Kell Tainer
Kell Tainer was a Human male pilot and commando who served in the Second Battle of Borleias with distinction. A naturalized citizen of Sluis Van, he was a skilled demolitions expert, hand-to-hand combatant, and starfighter mechanic. Tainer's last name was originally Doran, but his family changed his name after Kell's father, Kissek Doran, turned coward while serving as a starfighter pilot for the Rebel Alliance. Janson had killed his father after Doran's cowardice had compromised their mission and Tainer hated Janson for it. Despite his experience as a commando, Tainer felt the need to prove that Dorans were not cowards and so transferred to Starfighter Command.
After a lackluster career in Starfighter Command, Tainer was recruited into Wraith Squadron, though much to his dismay he encountered Janson, the man who had killed his father. Tainer, however, performed admirably in the Wraiths as an X-wing pilot, a mechanic, and as a demolitions expert. Service in the Wraiths improved Tainer's emotional stability, and he was able to reconcile with Janson and realize that he had no great desire to command. He served in the missions to defeat Apwar Trigit and later Warlord Zsinj, and became romantically involved with fellow Wraith Tyria Sarkin, whom he later married. Tainer remained in the Wraiths after they transferred to Intelligence and was still active as of the Yuuzhan Vong War, assisting in the defense of Borleias and with the infiltration of occupied Coruscant. He and Sarkin had a daughter, Jesmin, who went on to join the reformed Wraith Squadron in 44 ABY.
- "I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. Yes, I do want to jump into bed with you. It's nothing personal. You're talented and beautiful, and for some reason I find that appealing. But I'll break off my most ardent pursuit, forever, if you wish, if you'd only talk to us."
- ―Ton Phanan to Tyria Sarkin
Tyria Sarkin, hailing from the Imperial-occupied world of Toprawa, was one of the original members of Wraith Squadron. Prior to enlisting in the New Republic Defense Fleet, she had trained with the Antarian Rangers. Her early career had been discolored by the actions of a corrupt training instructor, Atton Repness, who tarnished her record after she threatened to expose his fraudulent activities; namely, stealing and selling starfighters to the black market. Despite not being one of the more skilled pilots in the squadron, she participated in a number of missions with the Wraiths, using skills acquired with the Rangers to serve as the unit's infiltration specialist.
Sarkin eventually told her comrades in the squadron about what Repness had done to her, enabling Loran and Phanan to find a way to expose him. They also helped her cope with the ramifications of having to kill a brainwashed New Republic pilot who had been trying to assassinate Han Solo. Her record in the Wraiths included a number of piloting and commando missions as the Wraiths engaged and defeated Admiral Trigit, and later Warlord Zsinj. Sarkin also developed an attraction for a fellow Wraith, Tainer, whom she would later marry and have a son, Doran; she would eventually leave the squadron and, through hard work and patience, earn the title of Jedi Knight from Luke Skywalker. Sarkin and Tainer also had a daughter, Jesmin, who grew up to join Wraith Squadron in her own right, as well as inheriting Sarkin's Force talents.
- "I think he told me about you when I was very young. One of those 'you can be whatever you want when you grow up' stories. 'The Gamorrean Who Became a Fighter Pilot.' I thought he'd made it up."
- ―Jaina Solo recalls her father's appraisal of saBinring
A Gamorrean who had been biologically altered by Binring Biomedical researcher Tuzin Gast, Voort saBinring, or simply "Piggy", joined the New Republic Defense Force after escaping with the help of his creator. His alterations included the ability to speak Galactic Basic Standard via a throat-mounted translator device and a genius-level mathematical acumen. Though successful in pilot training, his career was threatened when his first squadron commander, a Human with anti-alien leanings, trumped up charges of assaulting a superior officer. This incident plus his talents got him noticed by Antilles and Janson when the latter put together a list of prospective candidates for Wraith Squadron. In the wake of the evacuation of Folor Base, saBinring piloted the Lunatic and personally secured the surrender of the corvette Night Caller.
saBinring would later figure prominently in the squadron's operations against Warlord Zsinj, saving the life of Admiral Ackbar when the Mon Calamari was attacked by a brainwashed Twi'lek officer. He also participated in the Wraiths' raid on the Binring facility on Saffalore where he had been altered. When the squadron was transferred to New Republic Intelligence, saBinring stuck with the unit, serving with them through the Yuuzhan Vong War, where he helped General Antilles and Twin Suns Leader Jaina Solo plan the defense of Borleias, in addition to lending assistance to Luke Skywalker's mission to Coruscant, in order to hunt down Lord Nyax.
After the death of his friend Ekwesh on Chashima during the Yuuzhan Vong War, saBinring retired from the Wraiths to become a math teacher on Ayceezee. However, in 44 ABY, he was recruited back into the Wraiths by his old leader Garik Loran, who needed his help investigating the chief of the army, General Thaal, for corruption. saBinring was initially reluctant, but agreed to help, particularly after seeing the children of many of his old comrades now serving in the Wraiths. saBinring had to overcome his dislike of the Yuuzhan Vong when working with Gorsat, a Yuuzhan Vong Wraith, a process made easier after saBinring realized that he'd helped save Gorsat's adopted Human father years earlier. When the unit leader Drayson was killed on Vandor-3, saBinring took charge, helping them escape from a group of Thaal's soldiers and ultimately planning a multi-faceted scheme to lure Thaal to an army base on Kuratooine and expose him. After Thaal and his accomplice Maddeus were in prison, the Wraiths were retained under the new chief of Galactic Alliance Security, Loran, with saBinring as the leader.
- "In the time Jesmin served with Wraith Squadron, I found her to be an excellent flyer and a superior officer. Her skills with communications equipment saved Folor Base from a disastrous assault; every person stationed at that base at the time of its evacuation owes her his life."
- ―Wedge Antilles, writing about Jesmin's death
Jesmin Ackbar was the niece of the famed Admiral Ackbar and one of the original members of Wraith Squadron. Unlike many of the initial pilots that filled out the unit roster, Ackbar did not have a black mark on her record, but she joined Wraith Squadron for a chance to see action as her previous commanders were unwilling to place her in a situation that might expose her to danger. Wedge Antilles accepted her transfer, and she was made the unit's communications specialist.
Ackbar saw service with Wraith Squadron on several missions, including the Battle of Folor. In one engagement against a group of pirates, she scored her fifth victory, granting her the coveted position of ace. However, shortly afterward, her X-wing was hit by hostile ground fire. With systems failing, she lost consciousness, and her fighter crashed into a moon, killing her instantly. Ackbar was the first fatality in Wraith Squadron, and her death was mourned by both the squadron and her uncle. Fellow Wraiths Kell and Tyria Sarkin Tainer later named their daughter Jesmin after her.
- "Donos is about as warm, tender, and helpful as a methane ice comet."
- ―Ton Phanan
Myn Donos was a Corellian male and a decorated sniper before he joined the New Republic forces. Having served in Starfighter Command for some time, Donos had previously been the commander of an X-wing unit, Talon Squadron, before every other member of the squadron was killed in action in an Imperial ambush. Emotionally devastated by the loss, Donos accepted transfer into Wraith Squadron and agreed to additionally fulfill the role of unit sniper.
Donos participated in the Night Caller charade, both as a starfighter pilot and as a commando and sniper on the ground. However, he was haunted by a need to seek vengeance on those responsible for the destruction of Talon Squadron and held a deep emotional attachment to his astromech droid, Shiner, whom he viewed as the last Talon. After Shiner was destroyed in a battle against pirates in the M2398 system, Donos was rendered catatonic until his squadmates forced him to confront his guilt. With his career rebuilding, Donos found closure when he personally slew Trigit, the man behind the ambush that killed his squadron. As he continued to serve in the Wraiths, Donos even developed an attachment to squadmate Notsil, until it was revealed that she had once been an Imperial Intelligence agent who had helped destroy the Talons. Devastated, Donos tried to kill her, only to nearly destroy Loran, and he was placed on severe reprimand.
By the will of Antilles, Donos continued to participate in Wraith Squadron, though it took some time for him to be fully restored to flying status. His faith in Notsil was restored when she helped sabotage Warlord Zsinj's flagship, Iron Fist and sent him a message afterward telling him where to find her. After the Wraiths were transferred to New Republic Intelligence, Donos was invited by Antilles to join Rogue Squadron, and he flew in battle against Prince-Admiral Krennel. He later retired and married Notsil, who was now living on Corellia under a new alias.
- "I still may be the only woman to have dragged two Imperial starfighters around like boat anchors. I want that logged."
- ―Falynn Sandskimmer
Falynn Sandskimmer was a native of Tatooine and one of the original members of Wraith Squadron. She was already an ace in a Y-wing fighter when she was selected for entrance into the unit and had experience in TIE fighters but issues with insubordination had cost her two promotions. Withdrawn and somber, Sandskimmer was regarded as talented, and her skills in piloting and controlling ground vehicles were a contributing factor to her addition to the squadron as Wraith Three.
Sandskimmer had a number of self-esteem issues, always feeling that she could never be the first in anything. The attraction she felt for fellow Wraith Donos was not mutual at first, though Donos warmed up to her once she and some of the other pilots helped him through some of his emotional issues. However, Sandskimmer perished in the Battle of Ession after flying her TIE fighter into a breach in the Star Destroyer Implacable to attack its power cells. Although she succeeded, she was killed when her fighter was caught inside the Star Destroyer when the Imperial craft lost power and crashed into a moon.
- "Well, if he's as good a code-slicer and intrusion expert as he is a pilot, he's, well, mediocre. Sort of warms your heart, doesn't it? To know our lives are in the hands of a mediocre slicer?"
- ―Ton Phanan on Eurrsk Thri'ag
A Bothan male and an inaugural member of Wraith Squadron, Thri'ag, commonly referred to as "Grinder", was chosen partly because of his skills as a code-slicer, though he also had a predilection for practical jokes. Flying as Wraith Four, Thri'ag's skills stood the Wraiths in good stead on several ground missions, including to Storinal and Xartun, as well as in space combat over Folor and Talasea. His skill in bypassing security systems and programming also allowed him to help construct the Lunatic rig, which was instrumental in the capture of Night Caller. After the corvette was seized, Thri'ag constructed a holographic overlay program that allowed Loran to effectively impersonate Captain Darillian in holocomm transmissions. In the Battle of Ession, Thri'ag followed Sandskimmer into the Star Destroyer Implacable to attack it from within. Subsequently, he was killed by an Imperial turbolaser while attempting to fly back out of the breach as the Star Destroyer plunged to impact with a moon.
- "You always knew he was hard headed."
- ―Ton Phanan to Wedge Antilles, regarding Hohass Ekwesh
Hohass Ekwesh was a male Thakwaash and one of the few members of his species to serve in New Republic Starfighter Command. Small for his species, Ekwesh, commonly referred to as "Runt", initially had difficulty transitioning into Wraith Squadron. His Thakwaash mind had multiple entities within that alternated depending on his task, and Ekwesh's "pilot mind" was particularly prone to rash actions in combat, much to the exasperation of Ekwesh's wingmate, Tainer. With no alternative but to help Ekwesh or wash out of Wraith Squadron, Tainer helped Ekwesh learn to alternate his minds selectively and keep his pilot mind more in line, as well as incorporate his more studious "student mind" into his flying. Ekwesh served in Wraith Squadron from its inception in 7 ABY and was in the squadron when the unit was transferred from Starfighter Command to New Republic Intelligence after the Battle of Selaggis, participating in a sting operation which eliminated Imperial admiral Teradoc.
After the death of Jesmin Ackbar, Ekwesh was trained to serve as the communications specialist for Wraith Squadron. In addition to the set of skills that entailed, Ekwesh was physically one of the strongest members of the unit, able to lift a turbolift door without aid of hydraulics. Combined with his strength, he had enough knowledge in unarmed combat to kill an Imperial combat instructor during a raid on Saffalore, even while injured. Ekwesh was killed in combat against the Yuuzhan Vong on the world of Chashima while attempting to flee with captured specimens of a new Yuuzhan Vong creature. Fatally wounded and fearing torture if captured, Ekwesh asked his good friend saBinring to take him in a mercy killing. saBinring complied, but the deed was sufficient instigation to cause saBinring to leave the Wraiths.
- "I used to be Dr. Phanan. Fully licensed to cut you open and weld you shut again."
"Why did you give it up?"
"Because I didn't care for patching up people I don't care about and do enjoy killing people I hate."
- ―Ton Phanan and Tyria Sarkin
A medical doctor hailing from Rudrig, Ton Phanan had joined the Rebel Alliance only to be severely injured during the Battle of Endor. An allergy to bacta necessitated treatment with cybernetics and the experience embittered him enough to turn from medicine to combat. Phanan joined Wraith Squadron in 7 ABY and served as the unit medic. He soon became good friends with former actor Loran, who, like Phanan, was both witty and inwardly bitter over his past.
Phanan served Wraith Squadron in the Battle of Folor Base and later in the seizure of Night Caller, though the latter engagement resulted in the loss of his starfighter and some personal injury to Phanan when the squadron was yanked from hyperspace and disabled by an empion mine. However, Phanan recovered and participated in numerous covert missions staged from Night Caller following its capture by the Wraiths. Phanan continued his tour in Wraith Squadron after the Night Caller charade culminated in the Battles of Talasea and Ession and the destruction of the Wraith's first nemesis, Apwar Trigit.
While the Wraiths were on leave on Coruscant, Phanan was instrumental in freeing the squadron from an ambush instigated by disguised Imperial Intelligence personnel by cutting the throat of the ringleader and seizing his blaster. Phanan was also part of a scheme to use repatriated captive Notsil as a weapon to bring down a corrupt New Republic training officer named Repness. Despite Loran's and Antilles' misgivings over the idea, it was highly successful; not only was Repness arrested, but Notsil also became one of the Wraiths.
Despite his successes in the Wraiths, though, Phanan felt he had no future ahead of him. In a mission to the world of Halmad, Phanan, posing as a pirate in the Hawk-bat Independent Space Force in an effort by Wraith Squadron to gain proximity to Imperial Warlord Zsinj, was shot down and severely injured. Though his friend Loran landed his craft and located Phanan, they were unable to escape due to nearby Imperial troops. Although Loran offered to surrender to Zsinj's troops to save Phanan's life, Phanan rejected that idea outright, as it would ruin all of the Wraiths' efforts to infiltrate Zsinj's organization and possibly lead to greater loss of life. Phanan died on Halmad, and his death had a profound effect on Loran, whom Phanan had challenged to try and find a future of his own in his last will and testament. Phanan's name would be used as a ruse in 44 ABY by Loran, who sent false transmissions to a fictitious Wraith team ostensibly under Phanan in order to mislead army investigators working for the corrupt Generals Thaal and Maddeus.
- "If Castin here is any good, yes. Otherwise, we're doomed."
"It'll work. My code and patches always work. Well, usually."
- ―Myn Donos and Castin Donn
Castin Donn was a Human male from Coruscant and a code-slicer who had participated in previous resistance attempts on Coruscant, which included broadcasting feeds from the Battle of Endor. Joining the New Republic military, Donn had several citations for insubordination and was somewhat xenophobic by the time he was accepted into Wraith Squadron. As such, Donn was not comfortable with some of his non-Human squadron members, including his roommate, Ekwesh.
Donn participated in several Wraith Squadron missions in the campaign against Warlord Zsinj and composed a program that, when sliced into the computers of Iron Fist, Warlord Zsinj's flagship, would reveal the ship's location to the New Republic. Though denied permission by Antilles to insert the program during a meeting between disguised members of Wraith Squadron and Zsinj on Iron Fist, Donn ignored the orders anyway and carried out the mission discreetly. While sneaking through the flagship for an opportunity to activate his program, Donn encountered a group of non-Humans who were being tortured and experimented upon. In stark contrast to his earlier xenophobia, Donn felt pity for them and released the creatures from captivity but was discovered by several stormtroopers. His mission compromised and injured in the ensuing firefight, he destroyed his datapad which contained the program before falling unconscious. Zsinj's stormtroopers executed him shortly thereafter, but his program was later instrumental in the destruction of Razor's Kiss.
- "Nelprin is going to be our new trainer in unarmed combat. You make her the best pilot she can be, and she gets to reward you by beating the life out of you. But she's also well versed in Imperial Intelligence doctrine and tactics, which is helpful to us, since Zsinj seems to be fond of employing Intelligence personnel."
- ―Wes Janson on Shalla Nelprin
Shalla Nelprin was a female Human who had been trained as a commando and whose sister, Vula Nelprin, had previously taught Tainer. She and her sister were the daughters of Old Republic Intelligence officer Vyn Narcassan, and as such Nelprin received extensive training from her father. A skilled unarmed combatant capable of easily defeating Tainer, Nelprin was also familiar with a variety of methods and tactics common to Imperial Intelligence. Nelprin joined the squadron after the Battle of Ession and participated in the Hawk-bats scheme, which gave her numerous opportunities to show off her improvisation, tactics, team work, analysis skills, and general merit as a pilot. She was instrumental in taking down Razor's Kiss by boarding it under the guise of a Hawk-bat pirate named Qatya Nassin and inserting a computer program developed by Donn that let the New Republic track its movements. In a TIE interceptor, she also helped disable the Razor's Kiss's shields and was ultimately awarded half of an Executor-class Star Dreadnought kill silhouette on her starfighter. Nelprin rapidly advanced to the rank of lieutenant and was a member of Wraith Squadron when it was transferred to New Republic Intelligence. Nelprin remained with the unit until 19 ABY, when she retired after one last mission to sabotage an Imperial sensor station.
- "I wanted to explain. About what I did. I was fighting a war, the way I'd been trained, and that involved infiltrating the enemy and getting their secrets back to my superiors, or sabotaging the data the enemy possessed. There was never a time I saw a file labeled 'How to Destroy Talon Squadron' and thought to myself, 'Oh, that's what I want to do.' To me, it was just data about occupied territories and interplanetary borders. Then I infiltrated Wraith Squadron, just a ploy to make myself more valuable to prospective employers, and things started happening. All the furniture that made up the way I'd thought and felt about things all my life started coming loose in my head. Nowadays it slides around and breaks into pieces and I have no idea what parts of it are real and what aren't. It hurts, and a lot of the time I don't know who I am anymore."
- ―Lara Notsil
Originally Gara Petothel, she was a native of Coruscant and served in Imperial Intelligence. After the death of Ysanne Isard, she joined with Admiral Trigit and served aboard Implacable as one of his chief intelligence analysts but was disgusted by his willingness to sacrifice the crew of the Star Destroyer during the Battle of Ession. Abandoning ship after Implacable sustained severe damage in the battle, Petothel pretended to be Lara Notsil, a farm girl from Aldivy who had been forced to become Trigit's mistress as a cover to get herself to Warlord Zsinj's forces, which she planned on joining. However, while in transit on Coruscant, she was approached by Phanan and Loran, two members of Wraith Squadron, and asked to help bring down a corrupt New Republic officer named Repness by going through New Republic pilot training. Notsil was initially reluctant but eventually agreed after making her participation contingent on joining either Rogue or Wraith Squadron after Repness was stopped. Phanan and Loran secured Antilles's approval and Notsil underwent training, just barely keeping her scores high enough to stay in the program. She was eventually approached by Repness, who offered to help her scores out if she would assist him in selling a New Republic starfighter on the black market. Instead, Notsil recorded the conversation and arranged for Repness to be arrested. She later joined Wraith Squadron, with an intent to help destroy it in order to ingratiate herself with Zsinj, but she began to change her mind as she experienced camaraderie with the Wraiths.
Notsil flew numerous missions with the Wraiths and eventually decided to switch allegiances altogether, but Zsinj's forces kept trying to discreetly contact her. To further complicate matters, she began a romantic relationship with fellow Wraith, Donos, whose previous command she had helped destroy as Petothel. Eventually, Loran learned her true identity and accidentally revealed it during the Wraiths' withdrawal from a space battle. In response, Donos became outraged and tried to kill her, and she jumped to hyperspace, joining Zsinj's forces and served aboard his flagship, Iron Fist. However, her only motive was to bring down Zsinj and her sabotage was instrumental in helping defeat the warlord at the Battle of Selaggis. During the battle, she abandoned ship and escaped to set up a new life on Corellia under the alias "Kirney Slane," as she could never return to New Republic service again. As Slane, she came to the rescue of the Wraiths in 44 ABY on Vandor-3, flying a shuttle to help them escape from a group of treasonous Galactic Alliance soldiers. However, though she was happy to see her old comrade saBinring again, she sternly and repeatedly warned him not to recruit from her children.
- "Elassar Targon, master of the universe, reporting for duty!"
- ―Elassar Targon
A Devaronian male, Elassar Targon was brought into Wraith Squadron as a replacement for the deceased Phanan. Trained as a medical corpsman in addition to being a starfighter pilot, he was the only member of the squadron to muster in fresh from the New Republic's fleet academy. An extremely superstitious being, Targon's eccentric personality caused him to be shunned by other units, whereupon the Wraiths picked him up; reporting for duty as "master of the universe," he convinced Janson of his credentials as a fellow lunatic almost immediately.
Targon served with the Wraiths during their hunt for Warlord Zsinj, while under the overall command of General Solo. When the Wraiths were transferred into New Republic Intelligence, Targon remained with the unit. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, he accompanied Luke and Mara Skywalker, Tahiri Veila, and fellow Wraiths Kell Tainer, Bhindi Drayson and Baljos Arnjak on an infiltration mission to the captured and partially-Vongformed world of Coruscant. While the Jedi hunted for Lord Nyax, Targon continued in his duties as the unit medic.
- "She has experience with a broad variety of New Republic and Imperial vehicles, especially larger space vessels, and knows quite a bit about criminal organization - she's a new resource for us where things like smuggling, the slave trade, and mercenary operations are concerned."
- ―Wes Janson on Dia Passik
Dia Passik was a female Twi'lek who had grown up as a slave dancer. Eventually, her owner taught her how to fly and she stole a starfighter to blow him up, seizing her freedom. Joining with the New Republic, she became a member of Wraith Squadron after the Battle of Ession as a vehicular specialist, as well as a source of information on the galactic underworld.
Due to the time she had spent as a dancer, Passik was also skilled at reading and understanding body language. That skill, along with her abilities at impersonation, came into particular use on a contact mission with Warlord Zsinj, where the Wraiths were posing a group of pirates. At one point, Zsinj had a fellow Wraith, Donn, who had accompanied their mission without permission, dragged before the ersatz pirates and asked that Donn be shot as a measure of their ruthlessness. Passik, recognizing that Donn was already dead, shot him in the neck, to the surprise of the others in the contact team. She later tried to commit suicide out of remorse for her actions. She was prevented from doing so by Loran, who watched as the duality of her character was revealed: Dia Passik, a hardened killer and Diap'assik, the Twi'lek girl she had been before being kidnapped in her youth. Loran helped her overcome her emotional difficulties and she later became involved with him. Passik served in Wraith Squadron up until after the Battle of Selaggis and was present when the unit was transferred to New Republic Intelligence.
By 28 ABY, Passik was retired and had a daughter, Adra Passik. She later married Wraith leader Loran, but remained a civilian as a partner in a transport company. When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY to investigate the treasonous General Thaal, Passik and her family were threatened by an assassin set to kill Loran and his family. Passik slew the assassin instead and then she and her family went into hiding until Loran could expose General Maddeus for being in league with Thaal and attempting to betray the Wraiths.
- "That's Bettin. He's our sniper and exotic-weapons expert."
- ―Garik Loran on Bettin in 13 ABY
Bettin was a yellow-skinned Human male who was part of Wraith Squadron in 13 ABY. Bettin was a sniper and exotic-weapons specialist. As part of his duties, he tagged the gemologist Mulus Cheems with a subdermal transmitter from nearly a kilometer away, allowing the Wraiths to covertly recruit Cheems' assistance to smuggle a bomb into Imperial Admiral Kosh Teradoc's lab. As part of the plan, Bettin was disguised in Imperial armor in order to persuade Teradoc to return to his base with an explosive device disguised as a valuable artifact. Once the Teradoc had been convinced to take the disguised bomb back to his lab and Cheems was rescued, Bettin joined the Wraiths on a yacht they stole from Teradoc as they made their escape.
Yuuzhan Vong War (25—30 ABY)
- "You have a noble family history."
"And that's just what you know about me."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Bhindi Drayson
The daughter of famed Admiral Hiram Drayson, Chandrilan Bhindi Drayson was a computer specialist in Wraith Squadron during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Drayson was among the members of the squadron to journey to Coruscant on an investigative mission after the capital fell. Her computer skills aided in retrieving data on Lord Nyax from the computers in an abandoned research laboratory that the party uncovered. While she had originally planned to remain behind to establish resistance cells, Wraith Leader Garik Loran ordered her to return with the team after they realized the extent of Coruscant's devastation.
When the Wraiths were reformed in 44 ABY, Drayson was named one of the team leaders by Loran and assigned to investigate General Thaal for corruption. Drayson's team started a heist on Coruscant, stealing blaster rifles and planting droids in them to get surveillance assets onto an army base controlled by Thaal. Drayson's Wraiths then led a mission that resulted in them seizing an Imperial patrol craft and posing as an Imperial special forces officer in an attempt to lure out Thaal, to no avail. However, it was on Vandor-3, in an underground facility loaded with contraband that Drayson completed her mission. She and her team were able to gather evidence that implicated Thaal, but stumbled across another Wraith Squadron team that had been outside her knowledge. The two teams were discovered and pursued by forces loyal to Thaal. In an attempt to delay the pursuit, Drayson and another Wraith, Huhunna, split off and opened fire on their attackers. During the firefight, Drayson was mortally wounded. Her last orders were to not surrender to save her life and Voort saBinring took over the now-combined units after her death.
- "Baljos, can't you fine-tune that sensor of yours to detect intelligent, unattached ladies between the ages of twenty and forty?"
"If I could, do you think I'd still be working as a scientist?"
- ―Garik Loran and Baljos Arnjak
Baljos Arnjak was a member of Wraith Squadron circa the Yuuzhan Vong War, specializing in biology and possessing some sort of doctorate degree. One of his particular roles included the creation of numerous Yuuzhan Vong disguises including fake vonduun crab armor. He was also able to modify real sets of vonduun crab armor for use by the Wraiths during covert operations. Arnjak accompanied the Wraiths to Coruscant during the Yuuzhan Vong War, planning on studying the Vongforming that was taking place on the fallen capital. He also helped recover information on the fallen Dark Jedi Ismaren, also known as Lord Nyax. After the investigations of the Wraiths and their Jedi compatriots were complete, Arnjak decided to stay on Coruscant and help organize resistance cells rather than return to Borleias. Unit leader Loran was reluctant to let him stay, but ultimately approved Arnjak's decision. Arnjak survived on Coruscant until the Liberation of Coruscant by the Galactic Alliance; his resistance cells aided in the invasion.
- "We're going out there. We'll find a pool fed by cool underground springs. We'll bathe one another while Piggy stands guard, and see what develops from there. Or, we can talk psychological warfare and how it is applied to the Yuuzhan Vong."
- ―Sharr Latt flirting with Jaina Solo
Sharr Latt was a native of Coruscant and a member of Wraith Squadron during the Yuuzhan Vong War. His expertise was primarily in psychological warfare, though like all members of Wraith Squadron, he was also a capable pilot. During the occupation and defense of Borleias, Latt and saBinring worked with Jaina Solo to mold her into the personification of the Yuuzhan Vong deity Yun-Harla for the purposes of psychological warfare. Latt did not accompany Skywalker and some of the other Wraiths to Coruscant, but instead remained to aid Solo as part of Twin Suns Squadron. Latt continued to fly in Twin Suns Squadron throughout the siege of Borleias, eventually flying in a B-wing starfighter as the gunner while a Mon Calamari pilot named Beelyath flew it. In this role, he was in charge of the Goddess missile and used it to lure several Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers to their doom during the final stages of the battle.
In 44 ABY, after the Wraiths were disbanded during the Daala administration, Latt was recruited by his former leader Loran to reform Wraith Squadron. He recruited and led a team of operatives tasked with investigating Galactic Alliance General Thaal, who was suspected of conspiring against the government. Latt's team was able to gather evidence that implicated Thaal while exploring an illegal underground base operated by the general's troops, but stumbled across another Wraith Squadron team during their investigation. The two teams were discovered and pursued by forces loyal to Thaal, but managed to escape and join forces under the command of founding Wraith Squadron member saBinring. Latt then assisted in creating a complicated series of ruses that lured Thaal to Kuratooine, where the Wraiths exposed his treachery and ultimately captured him. Following their success, Latt continued to serve as part of Wraith Squadron, which had been officially reinstated by Loran.
- "Piggy, tell me that Runt or Estoric would stand in front of me and say, I won't die for just a hundred men, I don't want to go.'"
- ―Garik Loran to Voort saBinring after Estoric Sandskimmer's death
Estoric Sandskimmer was a Human male who was part of Wraith Squadron in 29 ABY during the Yuuzhan Vong War. He participated in a mission to the world of Chashima to infiltrate a Yuuzhan Vong shaper's compound to obtain a sample of a new creature under development there, the commbuzzer, and then destroy the compound. He and Ekwesh succeeded in obtaining some of the commbuzzers and rigging the compound with explosives, but were pursued by Yuuzhan Vong warriors, but Sandskimmer was injured in the process. Sandskimmer was further wounded by a thud bug and when Ekwesh stopped to defend him, the Yuuzhan Vong slew Sandskimmer and mortally wounded Ekwesh before saBinring finished off their attackers.
Hunt for Thaal (44 ABY)
- "Wran's a deep thinker. And even better with hands and feet than with that rifle."
- ―Sharr Latt on Wran Narcassan
Wran Narcassan was a Human male and the nephew of former Wraith Shalla Nelprin who joined Wraith Squadrin in 44 ABY. Narcassan was noted for his prowess as a sniper and close-combat expert, to the point where both Drayson and Latt attempted to recruit him for their respective Wraith Squadron teams. During the mission to expose General Thaal, Narcassan's skills were used to good effect in the infiltration and exfiltration from Glitterby Base. His laser rifle took down several Pop-Dogs in the base, a loaded speeder during the subsequent chase, and destroyed an artillery unit that was besieging the Wraiths' position.
When their mission took them to Kuratooine, Narcassan's rifle intercepted speeders carrying Pop-Dogs intent on reinforcing Thaal after the Wraiths had drawn him to the world and flushed him out before he could set up his own private empire. He destroyed two of the speeders before the other two slipped past, and their diminished numbers were easily dispatched by two other Wraiths. After Thaal was exposed and arrested, Narcassan remained with the unit as of their official reinstatement by the new head of Galactic Alliance Security.
- "Don't call me Doctor. You only get that honorific if you're licensed to practice medicine."
- ―Drikall Bessarah
Drikall Bessarah was a male Devaronian who joined Wraith Squadron in 44 ABY, serving as the unit medic for Sharr Latt's team and later the combined Wraith Squadrons. During their infiltration of Glitterby Base, he sedated Durra, not realizing that the Clawdite was actually a part of Drayson's Wraith organization. During the ensuing exfiltration, Bessarah struggled with the physical demands of their hurried escape under fire, as well as accurately firing his weapon at the opposing Pop-Dog soldiers. When Drayson was seriously injured, Bessarah attempted to treat her wounds, but without a full medlab, was unable to save her.
When the Wraiths' mission to expose General Thaal took them to Kuratooine, Bessarah was responsible for working up a sedative that was used to incapacitate two speeders full of Pop-Dog soldiers rushing to reinforce the general, who had been lured to Kuratooine and flushed out by the Wraiths. The sedative was also employed on the general himself to stop him from fleeing. After Thaal was exposed and arrested, Bessarah remained with the unit as of their official reinstatement by the new head of Galactic Alliance Security, Wraith leader Loran.
- "I heard about this Wookiee aerialist who'd been on Kashyyyk when Jacen Solo tried to burn the planet up. Since then, just a civilian, she's brought down a couple of military officers who abuse their privileges, which makes her very unpopular in certain circles. But when Face told me about Thaal, I thought she'd be . . . motivated."
- ―Sharr Latt on Huhunna
Huhunna was a Wookiee female aerialist. During the Second Galactic Civil War, she was present on Kashyyyk during Jacen Solo's orbital bombardment of the world. Following that, she was able to bring down a pair of military officers abusing their rank. When approached in 44 ABY by Latt to join Wraith Squadron in investigating and exposing a corrupt general, Huhunna accepted. She was the Wraiths' wilderness survival expert and outdoorsman, putting her skills to good use on Vandor-3 in setting up a diversion when the Wraiths were pursued by soldiers loyal to Thaal. She also posed as a bartender and helped infiltrate an illegal facility on Vandor-3. After they escaped Vandor-3, Huhunna helped infiltrate Chakham Army Base on Kuratooine, inserting an explosives-laden droid and a disguised Wraith member, Durra, into the facility, and then later extracted Durra. Once Thaal was exposed, the Wookiee remained with Wraiths following their official reinstatement.
- "I got well known for slicing into computer systems for fun. Got caught by a security consultant named Garik Loran, who shook a finger at me and let me go. Two years later, Sharr recruits me."
- ―Thaymes Fodrick
Thaymes Fodrick was a Human male from Corellia. In his youth, he earned a reputation for slicing into secure computer systems for his own amusement. Eventually, he was caught by a security consultant, Loran. Loran remembered Fodrick and, in 44 ABY, arranged for Latt to recruit him into Wraith Squadron as their slicer and communications specialist while the Wraiths were investigating General Thaal for treason. During their investigation, Fodrick posed as a local resident in a town on Vandor-3 crawling with Thaal's soldiers, gathering intelligence. Despite his prestige as a slicer, Fodrick was a notoriously poor shot. When the Wraiths found an underground facility operated by Thaal's men, Fodrick helped infiltrate it, where they ran into a second Wraith team. The Wraiths escaped and Fodrick helped compile all the damning evidence that the Wraiths had gathered on Thaal. After leaving Vandor-3, Fodrick continued in his role as communications specialist and slicer for the combined Wraith organization, which journeyed to Kuratooine and set up an elaborate ruse to expose Thaal. As part of this ruse, Fodrick rigged a child's noisemaker to act as a fake heartbeat for a disguised Durra. During the actual operation, Fodrick was aboard a speeder, coordinating the Wraiths' efforts. They were ultimately successful and the Wraiths were officially reinstated following the mission.
- "One shot, one kill. That's the Ranger way."
- ―Jesmin Tainer
Jesmin Tainer was a Human female and the daughter of two former Wraiths, Kell and Tyria Sarkin Tainer. Strong in the Force and trained as both a Jedi and an Antarian Ranger, the young Tainer was at one point engaged. When her fiancé was killed while investigating a series of hijackings, Tainer disappeared and assumed the identity of Zilaash Kuh, a Force-strong bounty hunter, searching for her fiancé's killers while taking other jobs. In 44 ABY, she was recruited into the reformed Wraith Squadron by Drayson, serving as the team's infiltration specialist.
Tainer's skills were put to use seizing the Imperial patrol vessel Concussor, where Tainer helped reach the ship's auxiliary bridge and disable the crew there before they could sound the alarm. She used both her Antarian Ranger stealth and Force talents in doing so, discreetly approaching the secured bridge and then using the Force to incite the urge to urinate in the crew inside so they opened the door. She also participated in the infiltration of Glitterby Base, an underground facility used to store contraband by the traitorous General Thaal. When the Wraiths fled the facility under fire, Tainer helped safeguard Myri Antilles while the other woman escaped the communications jamming to call for evacuation. Later, on Kuratooine, Tainer's wilderness survival skills were employed in breaching the perimeter of Chakham Army Base, inserting an explosives-laden droid and later a disguised Durra. Tainer prided herself on her stealth and ability to kill with only one shot. After Thaal was exposed, she served as part of Wraith Squadron following their reinstatement.
- "But maybe it's time for someone to be proud of what I do. Maybe even me."
- ―Myri Antilles
Myri Antilles was a Human female and the daughter of Wraith Squadron founder Wedge Antilles. She was an expert pilot, having been trained in X-wings since her childhood. Antilles was also talented in the use of disguises and was knowledgeable in the underworld, having made her living on the casino vessel Errant Venture as a gambler. She joined the Wraiths in 44 ABY during their reformation in order to prove herself, feeling like she was only known for the accomplishments of her famous relatives. On Coruscant, she helped retrieve saBinring and steal a set of blaster rifles as part of a heist to introduce spy droids into the army, as the Wraiths were investigating the chief of the army, General Thaal. Antilles was then part of a surveillance effort on nearby Vandor-3, disguising herself as a local girl while spying on Thaal's elite Pop-Dog soldiers, many of whom were stationed on that world. After a night of socializing in a local bar, Antilles was accosted by a Pop-Dog. However, she rebuffed him, broke his finger, and then stunned him before escaping and switching disguises.
Later on Vandor-3, Antilles was part of a mission to infiltrate a hidden facility filled with contraband manned by Thaal's troops. The Wraiths encountered another Wraith team led by Latt, but were discovered and had to flee. In the ensuing pursuit, Antilles and her childhood friend and fellow Wraith Tainer split off from the others to escape the communications jamming. Antilles called for help from her father, who arrived the next day with a pair of X-wings and a shuttle, blasting away the Pop-Dogs that had cornered the Wraiths and allowing them to escape. Following Thaal's trail to Kuratooine, Antilles piloted an X-wing on that world in a diversionary raid that crippled the Pop-Dogs fighter capability. When she and her wingman saBinring were pursued by two Pop-Dog E-wings, Antilles overcame her moral objections to killing someone she wasn't sure was idealistically opposed to her and was able to shoot down her adversary, while saBinring claimed the other one. They landed their fighters after the dogfight and Antilles switched to a protocol droid's costume, approaching Thaal and pickpocketing his holdout blaster shortly before he was arrested, having been exposed by other plans the Wraiths had set into motion. Following the Wraiths' official reinstatement, Antilles remained part of the unit.
- "In just a few hours you impressed your boss and teammates, had a very brief affair of the heart, and emerged with your heart unbroken. I'd say you did quite well."
- ―Voort saBinring to Trey Courser
Trey Courser was a Human male who recruited into Wraith Squadron in 44 ABY as part of their unofficial mission to investigate General Thaal. Courser's family was a sensitive subject and he did not discuss it. However, he was a mechanical engineer by trade, allowing him to serve as the unit's machinist, technician, droid fabricator, and light-duty slicer for Drayson's team. He was also skilled with the use of explosives. Courser also was devoted to physical fitness, exercising daily and had the muscles to show for it. His relative youth compared to some of the other Wraiths brought both enthusiasm and inexperience to the position.
Courser's role in their mission started with a heist on Coruscant that involved fitting stolen blaster rifles with small spy droids disguised as power packs. They then arranged for the rifles to be retrieved by military while making their escape, allowing the droids to infiltrate army bases operated by Thaal's men. Courser's next role was to help in capturing and destroying several blaster rifles from soldiers stationed on Vandor-3 in order to have them be replaced by the droid-bearing rifles. Next, he joined most of Drayson's team on a mission to seize an Imperial patrol vessel and then try to lure out Thaal by offering a secret negotiation to Thaal. During the takeover, Courser worked with Tainer to subdue the ship's watch before they could trigger an alarm, flirting with Tainer along the way. While they did seize the vessel and make the approach, that plan failed and the Wraiths regrouped on Vandor-3 after losing the patrol vessel to a naval craft sent out to detain them. When the Wraiths discovered and subsequently infiltrated an underground facility operated by Thaal's men, Courser found highly illegal thermal detonators there, but grew alarmed at the extensive computer security and left them alone despite his desire to steal them. Shortly thereafter, he helped free two prisoners from the facility but discovered traces of another infiltration team, which turned out to be a separate Wraith team. When the combined teams were discovered, the Wraiths fled to an abandoned meteorological station, where they were besieged before being rescued. Before they left, Courser helped rig the station with explosives, killing many of Thaal's soldiers when they entered the trapped building.
Following Thaal's trail to Kuratooine, the Wraiths planned to lure Thaal to that world and expose him. Courser impersonated the general with the help of a disguise and kidnapped his local mistress, framing the general for the crime. When Thaal arrived and attempted to forestall the various expositions being revealed, Courser fired tear gas at two speeders full of Thaal's soldiers arriving to reinforce their beleaguered general. He was with the unit after Thaal was ultimately exposed and the Wraiths were reinstated.
- "So I have Yuuzhan Vong parents who rejected me as my body rejected Yuuzhan Vong implants, and human parents who raised me. I am of two people."
- ―Viull Gorsat
Viull Gorsat, also known as Scut, was a male Yuuzhan Vong and a member of the Shamed Ones caste. He was assigned to a work crew during the Yuuzhan Vong War, when a New Republic counterattack hit. He was captured by the New Republic and given to two foster parents, one of whom was Mulus Cheems. Cheems raised the Yuuzhan Vong as his own son, hiding him from the worst of the anti-Yuuzhan Vong sentiment in the galaxy, and telling him stories of how Wraith Squadron had saved his life decades earlier. As an adult, Gorsat was eager to join the Wraiths when recruited by Bhindi Drayson in 44 ABY, serving as the unit's biofabricator. Gorsat was responsible for creating the neoglith masquer disguises the Wraiths used in many of their heists, including a blaster rifle theft on Coruscant that was perpetrated as part of a lure for General Thaal, who was under suspicion of treason. Gorsat often wore a neoglith masquer of a Human, typically smiling. When he first encountered Wraith Squadron veteran saBinring, saBinring took an immediate dislike to Gorsat due to the friends he had lost in the Yuuzhan Vong War. For his part, Gorsat was disappointed in saBinring, as the heroic image his father had painted of the Gamorrean who had helped save his life clashed with the angry, bitter being he saw in front of him. The two often verbally sparred, with Gorsat intent on disgracing the other Wraith in front of the others so he would resign.
For one of the Wraiths' heists, they stowed away aboard an Imperial liner, then escaped it and took over an Imperial patrol vessel that had rescued them. Gorsat then supplied Wraith Squadron actor Durra with a masquer of a human male, so he could impersonate an Imperial officer dangling a deal for Thaal. The ruse failed when Thaal failed to respond properly, but the Wraiths found another lead on Vandor-3, an underground facility. While Drayson led most of the team inside, Gorsat was left out on watch due to his lack of infiltration skills. However, he was surprised and overpowered by a second Wraith team that had previously been isolated from Drayson's group. He was briefly detained until the groups met, around which time they were discovered by Thaal's troops and pursued to a nearby abandoned meteorological station. Drayson was killed in the pursuit, and to disguise her body, Gorsat contributed his neoglith masquer to hide her face before the body was rigged with explosives. The Wraiths departed, their identities intact, and now led by saBinring.
Their next move was to Kuratooine, where Gorsat set up a biofabrication lab in their temporary headquarters. He was assigned to create a new full-body suit genetically related to native Kuratooine life, for Durra to wear as means to draw Thaal to Kuratooine. Despite some initial difficulties in creating a living suit that would achieve that purpose and not digest the wearer, he was successful. Gorsat also was able to settle his differences with saBinring, and the two worked together to bring Gorsat's adopted father to Kuratooine, where he supplied the jewels that would entice the greedy Thaal. Once Thaal arrived, the Wraiths unleashed multiple plots to expose him. For his part, Gorsat was assigned to improvise a scapedroid for remote broadcasting after their rented one was improperly assigned. The droid was able to transmit evidence of Thaal's guilt to the public and the general was arrested. Following that, the Wraiths were officially reinstated with saBinring as the leader.
- "You've discovered my weakness. Every actor needs validation. And reviews."
- ―Turman Durra
Turman Durra was a male Clawdite who had made his living as a famed stage actor before joining Wraith Squadron in 44 ABY. His theatrical training as well as his shapeshifting made him an expert at impersonation and covert intrusion. He was aided in his efforts by the unit's biofabricator, Gorsat. Durra's first major exhibition of his impersonation talents came when he was disguised as an Imperial special forces officer with an offer to pitch to General Thaal as part of a Wraith Squadron probe into the general. The effort was unsuccessful, but another Wraith scheme revealed an underground facility operated by Thaal's men. During the infiltration of that facility, Durra was left on watch, only to be surprised and sedated by another Wraith Squadron team operating separately and also investigating Thaal.
After the Wraith teams combined, they headed to Kuratooine where Thaal's men operated a major base. To reach Kuratooine, Durra was disguised as a Human, with fellow Wraith Antilles posing as his wife ostensibly on their honeymoon. Shortly after arriving on Kuratooine, Durra was assigned to wear a smelly living full-body suit engineered by Gorsat that was distantly related to a Kuratooine crustacean. Over the actor's protests, Durra was slipped into the army base by the Wraiths, where he posed as "Embass-Who-Climbs," an ambassador of a previously unknown sentient species native to Kuratooine that had been lying dormant underground. Durra's offer of many cases of valuable gemstones in exchange for a trade agreement to be sealed by Thaal in person was sufficient cause to lure the general to Kuratooine, where a series of Wraith Squadron plots exposed him as a traitor. For his part, Durra escaped the medical facility he was being held in and was exfiltrated by the Wraiths, shedding his decaying suit and obtaining a quick wash along the way. He then posed as long-deceased Wraith Squadron member Phanan to bring Starfighter Command's Colonel Sorrel down to the surface, where she arrested Thaal after his guilt was publicly displayed, in part thanks to a droid broadcasting a transmission of Durra as Phanan denouncing Thaal. The Clawdite actor was part of the unit when they were officially reinstated under saBinring following Thaal's exposure.
During the Hawk-bat scheme
During the hunt for Iron Fist
Mission to Ryvester
During the Yuuzhan Vong War
Hunt for Stavin Thaal: Drayson's team
Hunt for Stavin Thaal: Latt's team
Hunt for Stavin Thaal: Combined Team
Behind the scenes
- "The pilots of Wraith Squadron differ somewhat from those of Rogue Squadron; they're mostly misfits and wash-outs who are being given one last chance as starfighter pilots. They're not quite as accomplished a set of pilots as Rogue Squadron -- in an even dogfight, the Rogues would vaporize them (but would probably suffer significant losses). However, the Wraiths have additional non-pilot skills that make the squadron a unified weapon in other situations as well."
- ―Author Aaron Allston on Wraith Squadron
Aaron Allston, the author who created Wraith Squadron, was first contacted about writing books in the X-Wing book series after Michael A. Stackpole, the author of the first four books of the series, informed Bantam, the publisher in charge of Star Wars novels at the time, that he would be unable to deliver further books in the series due to other deadlines. Tom Dupree, the line editor for Star Wars at Bantam, was placed in charge of looking for a writer for the next three books. Stackpole recommended Allston to Dupree, who had also met Dupree at a convention, and Allston was handed the job. However, Dupree left Bantam shortly afterward, which resulted in the new line editor for Star Wars, Pat LoBrutto, seeing Allston's name penciled in by the upcoming novels and not knowing that negotiations had not been finalized. Nevertheless, the issues were settled and Allston wrote the next three books of the X-Wing series, which focused on the creation and early history of Wraith Squadron.
Before each book that he wrote, Allston spent considerable time researching the backstory of the Star Wars universe in the form of the movies, Stackpole's books, technical journals, and the X-Wing computer games, as well as real-life parallels for the Wraiths by reading about life for pilots on aircraft carriers. There was some confusion initially between Allston, Stackpole, Bantam Books, and Lucasfilm, as the two authors had originally thought that Allston's books would focus on a training squadron led by Wes Janson and Derek Klivian during the events of the first four X-Wing books. However, Lucasfilm Ltd. wished to keep the series revolving around Antilles, so Allston merged the two concepts, having Antilles create the new unit of Wraith Squadron along with Janson. Allston had the option of changing the storyline back to follow Rogue Squadron after the events of X-Wing: The Bacta War, but he had already developed some of the characters and so continued with the new unit.
Allston also stated that of all the characters that he made for the Wraith Squadron novels, Loran and Phanan were his favorite for comedic potential, while Notsil was a favorite due to her dramatic role in the story. Allston also stated that Janson, sometime executive officer of the Wraiths, was another favorite character of his. All these characters, aside from Phanan, who died in the Wraith Squadron books, have resurfaced or been mentioned in later Allston works.
The Wraith Squadron unit patch was developed by David Pipgras, a writer for the Star Wars Galaxy Collector magazine in 1998. It was introduced into continuity by Allston in his third book, Solo Command. The original design was more complex, with lettering that read "Wraith Squadron" and "New Republic Special Forces" and additional red stars in the outer blue ring. Allston removed those elements because they were too complex and the words were not written in the in-universe font of Aurebesh.
With regard to the unit's status during the Yuuzhan Vong War, Allston stated that the Wraiths would operate outside of the typical New Republic Intelligence structure, with their official ranks meaning little. Their funding would come from unorthodox means, according to Allston, who used this explanation in response to a question as to why unit commander Loran had not been promoted in years.
Allston was responsible for writing a follow-on novel, X-Wing: Mercy Kill, for the Wraiths in 2012, which he finished in February and edited in March. Allston described the Wraiths as a commando-pilot unit, saying that they were fun to write because they were misfits with substantial abilities and intelligence, but haven't fit in elsewhere in their professional career. They were brought together as a para-military unit, and readers identified well with them because they were sort of "common men." Allston also said that Star Wars and Mission Impossible were inspirations for Mercy Kill. Allston's use of Gorsat and Courser corresponded to the makeup artist and strongman roles from Mission Impossible, and Courser was also introduced as a counter to Myri Antilles, whom Allston described as an "obvious choice as a legacy character."
He was interested in exploring a war-weary retired Wraith as a character, realized in the form of saBinring in the novel, whom Allston said was the "heart of the story." Allston's original draft was lacking in starfighter combat, having been planned as an "espionage caper," but later added more starfighter combat to include the novel in the X-Wing series. Allston was excited to introduce the character of Gorsat, seeing it as an opportunity to bring in a Yuuzhan Vong character who was compelling and could contrast with saBinring and yet identify with him as they were both loners.
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron (First appearance)
- X-Wing: Iron Fist
- X-Wing: Solo Command
- Tatooine Ghost (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Battlefront: Mobile Squadrons
- The New Jedi Order: Star by Star (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
- The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way
- The New Jedi Order: The Final Prophecy
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill audiobook
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- "Rogue Leaders" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 4
- "Around the Galaxy" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- Star Wars Episode VII: Rise of the New Republic"—InQuest Gamer 50 "
- The Essential Chronology
- Wraith Squadron"—Star Wars Gamer 9 "
- Special Ops: The Sharpshooter"—Star Wars Gamer 10 "
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 2 (GAM4, Gamorreans)
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron" – Star Wars Insider 59
- The Official Star Wars Fact File (ANT7-8, Wedge Antilles)
- Hero's Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 109
- Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 26
- Galaxy at War
- Galaxy of Intrigue
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 134
- The Essential Reader's Companion
Notes and references
|Galactic Alliance Intelligence Community|
|Organizations||Galactic Alliance Intelligence Service · Fleet Intelligence · Galactic Alliance Guard · Galactic Alliance Security|
|Governing Authority||Security and Intelligence Council|
|Command Staff||Director of Galactic Alliance Intelligence · Head of Galactic Alliance Security|
|Covert Sections||Alpha Red · Wraith Squadron|
|Members||Galactic Alliance Intelligence officer · Galactic Alliance Core Fleet Covert Agent · Intelligence Affiliate|
- Wraith Squadron on Wikipedia
- Aaron Allston FAQ ([https://web.archive.org/web/20090512174150/http://www.aaronallston.com:80/faqswars.html backup link)