- "This is Ghent, the slicer I mentioned."
- ―Talon Karrde
Born on the planet Baroli, Ghent's gift with codes and numbers was prodigious. He first came to prominence at the age of twelve, when he single-handedly cracked the Imperial ILKO code in two months—a project that took the Rebel Alliance's entire top slicer team a full month.
The crux of his early life, however, occurred shortly after the Battle of Endor. Still in his teens, he was lured to the Mid Rim world of Chibias, and blackmailed into joining a Rebel Alliance plot to decrypt the control node of a Star Destroyer. However, the plot was foiled when Ghent encountered the fugitive Emperor's Hand Mara Jade; the pair went their separate ways after the event, but before leaving the planet, Ghent was intercepted and recruited by Talon Karrde.
During the Thrawn Crisis, Ghent was brought in by Karrde after Admiral Gial Ackbar was imprisoned by the New Republic on suspicion of taking bribes. Karrde suspected that Ackbar had been framed and that the funds found in Ackbar's account had been placed there by a slicer, and wanted Ghent to prove his suspicions. Loaned to the New Republic's investigation, it took Ghent a mere two days to clear Ackbar of any wrongdoing.
Trapped on Coruscant by Thrawn's cloaked-asteroid blockade, Ghent was enlisted by the New Republic cryptologists to break the Imperial battle encryptions; he also "guarded" his friend and associate Mara Jade while she was hospitalized. Though his value as a guard was questionable as he tended to ignore most things that weren't binary, Mara appreciated the thought. By the time Ghent's month-long stay on the capital was up he had broken the Imperial code, in addition to slicing the pulse transmitter encrypt code that was used by Delta Source, an Imperial Intelligence system acquiring information directly from the New Republic headquarters for something to do. This led to the discovery, and eventual termination of the costly intelligence leak. During this time, he also sliced himself a code to get into the New Republic's war room. When Leia asked him why, he said he was bored. In his introduction to the crypt team, he was under their impression that their best encryption-breaking routines were a "silly drill."
Later during the conflict, Ghent assisted Leia Organa Solo's infiltration the planet of Wayland by rigging the Wild Karrde with a fake Imperial transponder code, allowing the ship and her passengers to penetrate the planet's defenses.
Thanks in part to his actions during the Thrawn Crisis, Ghent gained many valuable contacts in the upper echelons of the New Republic's government. After Thrawn's death he joined New Republic Intelligence, and eventually worked his way up to the position of Chief of Cryptography for the New Republic, initially based aboard the Dreadnaught Peregrine under General Garm Bel Iblis.
Caamas Document CrisisEdit
- "On the way from Coruscant, Elegos told me all about what happened on his world. It was terrible. Everyone killed, all the animals too. I hated the people who'd done it, I really hated them. And I hated the Bothans for making the whole thing happen in the first place. But he told me hatred was wrong. It was one of those things that hurt the hater more than the people he hated. He told me there can be justice without hatred, and punishment without revenge. He said we were all responsible for what we do, and what we don't do, and no one should have to pay for someone else's crimes. I'm a slicer, Councilor Organa Solo. I'm a good slicer, and I'm responsible for what I do, and what I don't do, just like you or Elegos. If I can help, and I don't, I'm just as guilty as anyone else... I'm not too good at stuff like this, you understand what I'm trying to say?"
In 19 ABY, Crypt Chief Ghent salvaged a scrambled transmission, addressed to General Garm Bel Iblis, from Admiral Gilad Pellaeon to extend peace between the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic once and for all. He delivered the message in person to High Councilor Leia Organa Solo on Pakrik Major and then accompanied her aboard the Millennium Falcon to meet with Pellaeon at Pesitiin. During their discussion, he surprised both of them by volunteering to go to the Ubiqtorate base at Yaga Minor (disguised as an Imperial Lieutenant, with a uniform and cover identity provided by Pellaeon) to retrieve an Imperial copy of the Caamas Document. He explained that his journey to Pakrik Major with Caamasi Trustant Elegos A'Kla had deeply impressed on him the need to use one's talents for the greater good whenever possible.
This assignment nearly resulted in his death when Bel Iblis, unaware of his presence, nearly destroyed the room he was in during the latter's data raid on Yaga Minor. Both the assignment and the raid might also have been futile, since the base's copy of the Caamas Document (if one existed there) had been altered weeks earlier by Major Grodin Tierce during his visit to Yaga Minor.
Yuuzhan Vong War and Later LifeEdit
Ghent remained with NRI during and after the war with the Yuuzhan Vong. In 35 ABY he was called to Ossus by Luke Skywalker in an effort to solve some programming glitches with R2-D2. During the repairs, he was able to unlock holograms that showed Luke his mother, Padmé Amidala, for the first time, and how she died. However, Mara Jade found that Ghent was installing camera bugs in the New Jedi Temple under the orders of Chief of State Cal Omas. Luke Skywalker again trusted Ghent and let him finish his work on R2-D2.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "For someone who was never intended to be anything but a minor character, Ghent has picked up a surprising following among the readers over the years."
- ―Timothy Zahn
Zakarisz Ghent first appeared in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. Ghent's first name was not revealed until the novel The New Jedi Order: Balance Point, released almost a decade after his first appearance in Heir to the Empire. Originally only intended as a minor character by Zahn, the author was suprised by the level of fan following the character gained over time.
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Handoff"—Star Wars Gamer 10 "
- Heir to the Empire (First appearance)
- Dark Force Rising
- The Last Command
- Champions of the Force
- Children of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Specter of the Past (Mentioned only)
- Vision of the Future
- The New Jedi Order: Balance Point (Mentioned only) (First identified as Zakarisz)
- The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory II: Rebirth (Indirect mention only)
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King
- Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
- Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- Dark Force Rising Sourcebook
- Star Wars Gamemaster Handbook
- The Last Command Sourcebook
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Use the Force: A Novel Trivia Quiz"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- The Smuggler's Alliance"—Star Wars Gamer 3 "
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Threats of the Galaxy
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia