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Literature / X-Wing Series

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Impossible is our stock in trade, and success is what we deliver.
Rogue Squadron motto

Pretty. What do we blow up first?
Wraith Squadron motto

The X-Wing Series is a sizable part of Star Wars Legends. This page covers the novel series. For the related comic book series, see X-Wing Rogue Squadron. For the video games, which are only vaguely connected, see X-Wing and Rogue Squadron.

The books are written by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston. Most of those run directly from the end of one book to the beginning of the next, but Isard's Revenge starts just after the last book of The Thrawn Trilogy, and Starfighters of Adumar and Mercy Kill each take place several years later. Each book is prefaced with "Star Wars: X-Wing", but we're trying not to develop Colon Cancer here. The books are:

  • Rogue Squadron (1996)
  • Wedge's Gamble (1996)
  • The Krytos Trap (1996)
  • The Bacta War (1997)
  • Wraith Squadron (1998)
  • Iron Fist (1998)
  • Solo Command (1999)
  • Isard's Revenge (1999)
  • Starfighters of Adumar (1999)
  • Mercy Kill (2012)

The first four novels, written by Stackpole starting in 1996, are collectively and informally known as the Rogue Squadron series. They cover a self-contained plot concerning members of Rogue Squadron, a starfighter formation famous for two things: achieving mission goals that are thought suicidal and losing a lot of personnel in the process. Ascended Extra Wedge "Look at the size of that thing!" Antilles rebuilds the squadron from the ground up, bringing in pilots from all walks of life, including Ensemble Dark Horse Tycho Celchu and untrained Jedi Corran Horn. They have a crucial role in the New Republic strike to retake the Imperial capital of Coruscant, or Imperial Center as it is currently called. Their big enemy is Ysanne Isard, head of Imperial Intelligence and current de facto leader of the Empire, whose tactics include torturing/brainwashing people into becoming Manchurian Agents, using The Mole, and designing the Krytos Plague to induce a major case of Divided We Fall.

The next three novels, written by Allston, concern a second squadron founded by Wedge, and are informally called the Wraith Squadron series. Starting just after the end of The Bacta War, this series keeps Wedge and X-wings but takes on an entirely new squadron. Literally — Wedge forms it in the first book, looking back on the most successful Rogue rosters and realizing that they were fundamentally composed of pilots with commando skills, then mixing that idea with the odd Career-Building Blunder and amping it up as part of a gambit to avoid being promoted to General and becoming a Desk Officer. The Wraiths are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, commandos with flying skills, formed (initially) exclusively of pilots who are on the verge of being kicked out of service due to their various dysfunctions; their long-term opponent is the Large Ham Warlord Zsinj, who uses a Harmless Villain facade as Obfuscating Stupidity. This series is known for being much more focused on characters and humor than Stackpole's novels, but isn't without deeper themes. The end of Solo Command leads right up into the earlier-written The Courtship of Princess Leia.

Isard's Revenge, by Stackpole, takes place directly after The Thrawn Trilogy and concerns the efforts of Rogue Squadron to bring justice to Stackpole's Big Bad, who escaped — twice — despite her defeat in the Bacta War, and ties up a few loose ends left after the end of the comics.

Starfighters of Adumar, by Allston, though marketed as a Rogue Squadron novel, is really about Wedge himself; this is essentially his Day In The Limelight, focusing on his life, career, friends and love life (or lack thereof) during a diplomatic mission in which he attempts to bring the planet Adumar into the New Republic by winning a flying-duel-based popularity contest.

While the Rogues and Wraiths also appeared in the New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force, the latest true outing of the X-Wing series is another Wraith Squadron novel: Mercy Kill, written by Allston, which was released in August 2012. It takes place primarily in the immediate aftermath of the Fate of the Jedi series, but fills in the time from the end of the Wraith Squadron books up to the "present."

Half mention also goes to I, Jedi, written by Stackpole and starring Corran Horn.

Unlike later multiple-authored series, the X-Wing novels are somewhat smaller in scope and fit into events established by other books and comics, often retconning little things to make events more sensible. There are some references between the games, the comics, and the novels; ties are most obvious between later comics and Stackpole's novels. Stackpole is known for getting along well with Timothy Zahn, and the two trade Shout Outs with some frequency. Aaron Allston also incorporates characters and events from the series into his mainstream entries of the saga, such as Wedge and the Wraiths in the New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines duology, or Wedge's family in his Legacy of the Force volumes.

Has a character sheet.

This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes appearing across multiple works 

  • Ace Pilot:
    • Just about every pilot character in the series is or becomes an ace. Or dies. Or both. Since Rogue Squadron is made up consistently of the absolute best pilots in the galaxy, this is almost required before joining.
    • The Wraiths are less focused on flying, but they also have a few, like Kell Tainer, Face Loran, and Falynn Sandskimmer, who was already a Y-wing ace before joining. A few other members also make ace in the course of the series.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: Shows up about once per book, usually with a reference to the "trench run" on the original Death Star.
  • Aerith and Bob: As in the rest of the Expanded Universe, Tatooinians such as Gavin Darklighter are more likely to have real-life human names than the rest of the human characters.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Regularly. It is about Star Wars fighter pilots, after all.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first four books have Rogue Squadron, with Corran Horn sharing the limelight with Wedge. The next three have Wedge leaving the Rogues and founding a new squadron. The non-Wedge protagonist character in Wraith Squadron is undoubtedly Kell Tainer, but his character arc ended with that novel. The next two Wraith books have no single central character — Iron Fist focuses more on Face, Phanan and Wedge while Solo Command deals primarily with Gara/Lara and Myn Donos. Isard's Revenge is another Corran focused story, but in Mercy Kill Face takes over the Wedge role while Voort/Piggy and Wedge's daughter Myri pick up the slack.
  • Anyone Can Die: Except for Wedge. Or almost anyone else who made appearances in earlier books set chronologically later, but especially Wedge.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: The more badass Rogues quickly shoot up the ranks. Late in the series and in other EU books, old Rogue and Wraith squadron members later become Generals, Admirals, and other high ranking individuals.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: A consistent habit for the Wraiths, and other characters occasionally get in on the act too.
    • In Rogue Squadron, Kirtan Loor figures out Rogue Squadron's base world by analyzing sensor readings taken during their fight with an Imperial Interdictor Cruiser and combining them with what he knows of the Rebellion's normal operating patterns.
    • In Iron Fist, when Zsinj demands that the "Hawk-bats" (who are the Wraiths pretending to be pirates) prove their loyalty and ruthlessness by having one of them execute a prisoner (who is really their squadron-mate Castin Donn), a single glance is enough to tell Dia Passik that the "prisoner" is actually already dead — so she doesn't hesitate to shoot him and prove their story to Zsinj.
    • Also in Iron Fist, Zsinj gives the Hawk-bats information on a target he wants them to raid. It looks like the target is Coruscant, but that doesn't make any sense. In a leap of intuition that borders on a Bat Deduction, Wedge figures out that Zsinj's real target is the Kuat Drive Yards, where he intends to steal an almost-completed Super Star Destroyer and add it to his fleet.
    • In Solo Command, Wedge and the Wraiths figure out Warlord Zsinj's "Funeral Project" operation by looking at who was affected (only nonhumans and only mammalians), what they did under Zsinj's mind control, and what the result was (a growing distrust between humans and nonhumans that threatened to undermine the entire new Republic).
      (Koyi Komad, a Wraith mechanic who is a nonhuman, a Twi'lek, has just been relieved of duty because another Twi'lek tried to kill Wedge Antilles)
      Wedge: Cause. Effect. What's the cause and what's the effect?
      Nawara Ven: I'm not following you.
      Wedge: It didn't matter whether Admiral Ackbar died. Or Mon Mothma. Their assassins were successful.
      Ven: What? No, they weren't.
      Wedge: Yes, they were. Koyi Komad was their first victim.
    • Also in Solo Command, the Wraiths figure out the exact location of a secret lab within a large Imperial installation by methodically eliminating all the other possibilities. What makes it awesome is that different Wraiths look at the data in different ways based on their differing individual skills and backgrounds, and all their reasoning is entirely plausible.
  • Badass Normal: Other EU focuses on Jedi, or Han Solo, or clone commandos trained from birth by elite Mandalorian mercenaries. This series? Pilots. The Wraiths are even screwup pilots, at first.
  • Boldly Coming: Discussed by Corran and Gavin when the latter is getting into a relationship with Asyr Sei'lar, who's Bothan (descended from canines). He urges caution, as unexpected problems will arise between different species, relating his own experience having sex with a Selonian (who seem similar to weasels). While they both enjoyed themselves and everything was apparently "compatible", both had allergic reactions to each other (her fur, Corran's sweat), which made them break things off. Gavin later reports no issues with Asyr however (aside from the fact they can't have children). Rhysati (a Human) and Nawara (a Twi'lek) become a couple too with no apparent sexual issues; ditto Face Loran (Human) and Dia Passik (Twi'lek) in the Wraith trilogy. It seems to be fairly common, although the Empire hates interspecies pairings.
  • Brick Joke: The series in general is fond of them. Some even span entirely separate series. For example, in Wraith Squadron Kell tells off Grinder for calling him "Demolition Boy" ("That's 'Demolition Boy Sir'") while by the time of the New Jedi Order books the Wraiths are using nicknames of this type as standard code names (Face is "Poster Boy", Kell is "Explosions Boy", Bhindi is "Circuitry Girl"). It gets brought back again late in Mercy Kill, with one of the squad's family members who helps out getting an honorary callsign of this type (a gemologist mocking up weird jewelry for them, he's called "Gem Boy").
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp":
    • As the books deal with everyday life more than most EU books, we get a lot of Star Wars terms for items. For example, refrigerators are 'conservators', bathrooms are 'refreshers', and showers are 'sanisteams'. (Sanisteam even sounds like a brand name that got genericized, like kleenex or aspirin.)
    • Allston pulls off a brilliant 'bilingual' pun with the latter one in Starfighters of Adumar when Tomer Darpen mentions the local ablution facilities are a bit more primitive than what they're used to and they may need teaching how to use them. Hobbie immediately quips "A refresher course." Janson is so angry he didn't get there first.
  • Captain Crash: Hobbie and his much joked about tendency to spend long periods of time in bacta tanks after spectacular crashes. (Shadows of Mindor, though not part of the series, also reveals he has several cybernetic replacements for lost limbs.) Which among other things, results in jokes that he should be getting endorsement deals from the bacta cartel. Despite this, he's unquestionably an Ace Pilot.
    Hobbie: The ground and I get along so well we sometimes get together a little too vigorously.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Every time a pilot dies, Wedge has to write the letter to the family. It Never Gets Any Easier. And it certainly doesn't help when he has to write one to his own long-time commanding officer, Admiral Ackbar, telling him that his niece is dead. On another note, his loyalty to the New Republic is such that if it's for the good of the Republic, he'll do it. No matter how he feels about being jerked around to serve. He has some survivor's guilt. By Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge at least briefly ponders resigning his commission when asked to do something he views as unethical. (He takes a third option, however.)
    Wedge: I'm the quintessential soldier who does his job very well. But what is that job? Two things: neutralizing Imperials and, the part I take most seriously, keeping my people alive.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Ysanne Isard's office on Coruscant manages to look the height of opulence despite being very spartan, as despite being a large, high-ceilinged room it only contains carpeting and a simple but elegant desk and chair. On the extremely densely populated city-planet, space is at a considerable premium and wasting that much room is the height of decadent luxury.
  • Cool Starship: We are talking about Star Wars novels, after all...
  • Deadly Escape Mechanism: Pilots sometimes suffer mishaps due to their ejection seats. When Talon Squadron is ambushed early in Wraith Squadron, one pilot manages to eject, only for her seat to launch her straight into a canyon wall. A nonfatal example also forms part of Tomer Darpen's backstory, with him being dubbed "Ejector" as a result of being accidentally ejected from a Y-Wing after making a bumpy but otherwise safe landing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many, many examples among the Rogues and Wraiths. Most notably Hobbie, Janson, Face, Phanan, and Wedge himself. Corran also does it, though a lot of that is his own interior monologue.
  • Declining Promotion: Commander Wedge Antilles spends more than half the series trying to keep Admiral Ackbar from promoting him to general and out of the pilot's chair. The two of them even make a bet in the Wraith Squadron sub-series on whether the squadron will fail, and if Wedge loses he has to take the promotion. He finally accepts in Isard's Revenge upon finding out that his pilots have also been refusing deserved promotions, following his example.
  • Do-Anything Soldier: Invoked. When Wedge is rebuilding Rogue Squadron and has to choose between two pilots of roughly equal skill, he picks the one who has useful ground-based skills as well. Done the other way around in the Wraith Squadron books, where Wedge wants commandos who can fly... although in contrast to his selection process for Rogue Squadron, picking the Wraiths comes down less to selecting between stellar candidates and more to trying to cobble together a stable squadron out of a gallery of astounding misfits.
  • Dramatis Personae: This series started the trend of including these in Star Wars novels.
  • Dying Alone: Happens to most of the pilots who die in the series, due to them being in one-man fighters when they are killed in battle.
  • Ejection Seat: Used frequently, but sometimes with complications.
    • Ooryl Qyrrg loses part of an arm in the course of ejecting, but regrows it; Nawara Ven later loses part of a leg while ejecting, which costs him his place as a pilot (he stays on as their new Executive Officer instead).
    • The R2 and R5 units also have their own ejectors, but they don't always use them (as was the case with Thirteen, Kell Tainer's first astromech).
    • Wedge sometimes laments the TIE model's lack of an ejection seat, a result of the Empire viewing their pilots as disposable and easily replaced.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Most of the novels focus on Rogue Squadron, the best starfighter unit in the Rebel Alliance/New Republic. Commando/pilot unit Wraith Squadron feature in just under half the novels, while the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group are frequent adversaries. Both of the latter, however, actually zigzag this trope; the Wraiths are initially formed from misfit pilots being given their last chance before expulsion from the New Republic military, while the 181st was a unit with low morale and a poor reputation before the arrival of Baron Fel.
  • Expecting Someone Taller:
    • This comes up a lot, since pilots tend to be shorter than average due to the small size of cockpits.
  • Also Corran on occasion. According to other books, it's a Horn family trait. Or rather, a Halcyon family trait.
  • False Flag Operation: Shows up in multiple books, used by various sides, for a variety of purposes. Sometimes it's a ship with a fake transponder so they appear to be a legitimate trader rather than a military vehicle, sometimes it's a pilot flying a ship from the other side to infiltrate a secure location.
    • One memorable example of a false flag operation backfiring spectacularly: in The Krytos Trap, Kirtan Loor gets his hand on a report about a convoy of bacta, but he's not supposed to know about it, as the report was meant solely for Isard. Loor decides to send his specially prepared fleet of X-Wings, disguised as Rogue Squadron, to destroy the convoy, and tell Isard about it when it's too late for her to do anything about it. However, Isard already knew about the convoy, and passed the information along to Zsinj. Loor's fake Rogues show up and begin attacking the convoy, then Zsinj's SSD shows up, massacres everybody in the area, then leaves just as the real Rogues show up. End result: the New Republic loses a lot of valuable bacta, Zsinj catapults to the top of their priority list, and Isard learns that Loor has his own agenda.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Borsk Fey'lya definitely fits this trope: while he claims to be advocating for all the species trampled under the Empire, it quickly becomes clear that his beef is with humans generally, whom he considers inherently prone to oppression and power-mongering. It reaches the point where he even threatens to use all of his political power to ruin Bothan hero and Rogue Squadron pilot Asyr Sei'lar's career if she doesn't break things off with Human pilot Gavin, which he considers sets the wrong example for Bothans. He does though have a point in lampshading how even the language used by good Humans is pretty anthropocentric — why should everyone else be called "nonhuman" or "alien" after all? It's rather glaring.
    • The Imperial institutionalized speciesism caused backlash. This becomes a major plot point when an alien resistance cell on Coruscant decides it hates the human members of the Rogues. One of the members of the resistance was Asyr Sei'lar, and she decides to kill her future boyfriend Gavin (a Human) as a speciesist because he's too shy to dance with her (a nearby Gotal mistakes his emotions for speciesism). Misjudged a little there, Asyr.
    • Rhysati and Nawara (a Human-Twilek couple) also face this from Imperials when on Coruscant during the undercover mission to liberate it, with unsubtle threats over "flaunting" it.
    • The Krytos Virus was designed to affect multiple species, though not Humans. It wasn't simply a matter of the Empire not wanting to be infected themselves. Rather, they hoped that this would cause resentment toward Humans by these species as they weren't affected, and weaken the New Republic. Similarly, one of Zsinj's plans involves using Manchurian Agents to encourage mistrust between the human and nonhuman members of the New Republic.
    • The Empire had a secret program, Project Chubar, to "upgrade" members of other species into Human-level intelligence who could then be their agents. Due to her speciesism, the doctor who takes over has no problem with this (although her predecessor killed himself out of guilt after he grew close to his "children").
    • Kryneck and Isard discuss how the other species aspire to equality with Humans. Conversely, Humans such as them aspire to superiority over them. One of Kryneck's officers also reflects that he can understand the New Republic wanting liberty to some extent, but can't accept living with other species — it would just be too unnatural to him.
    • In Wraith Squadron, Kell plays a prank that convinces a cantina full of people that Falynn was married to Piggy. Piggy asks an extremely pissed-off Falynn if she would have been so upset if it were, say, her and Face? Surprisingly for this trope, she then realizes she's being kind of an unwitting dick to Piggy, apologizes, and they agree to walk out of the bar holding hands.
    • Cyborgs don't seem to be well liked either, or make people pretty uncomfortable at least. It gets worse the more cybernetic they become. Tom Phonan especially suffers from this, since he's gotten most of his body replaced due to a series of injuries (which because of a bacta allergy, require cybernetics instead). He also feels this about himself — that every time another part of him is replaced by cybernetic prosthesis, he's further diminished and feels less himself. In the end, he expresses relief at dying because of it.
    • After the trauma of the Yuuzhan Vong war, Piggy has an open dislike and distrust of all Yuuzhan Vong.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Wedge (choleric/sanguine), Hobbie (melancholic/choleric), Tycho (phlegmatic/melancholic), and Wes (sanguine/phlegmatic), especially in Starfighters of Adumar. They're also a team of three, with Wedge and Tycho splitting Ego.
  • Franken-vehicle: "Uglies", homemade starfighters built out of salvaged wrecks, frequently turn up throughout the series, usually flown by Space Pirates who don't have access to proper spacecraft. The Twi'lek warriors in The Krytos Trap and Gands in The Bacta War build variants of more consistent quality through collaboration with professional engineers.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Wedge and Wes Janson, to a degree. They've been friends longer than any of the other pilots, having been pilot/gunner together at the Battle of Hoth as well as being first-generation Rogue Squadron veterans. Wedge eagerly brings Wes along when he forms Wraith Squadron, and then brings him to Adumar when told he can choose 3 other pilots out of the entire New Republic military.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    • "The hologram" rather than "the picture" in phrases using the latter mataphorically, such as "I get the picture" becoming "I get the hologram".
    • Along with some other Star Wars Expanded Universe books, these use farm animal metaphors but replace the Earth originals with Star Wars analogues such as nerfs and banthas.
  • Humans Are White: As usual in Star Wars, this is mostly played straight. Though averted with Shalla Nelprin, who's explicitly dark-skinned.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills:
    • Rogue Squadron is made up of some of the best pilots in the galaxy, including, at times, multiple Force-users. The Wraiths are merely better than average, but they make up for it in other ways, most importantly their improvised tactics. This skill is Lampshaded by one of their superiors.
      General Crespin: 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.
    • Crespin and his A-wings count as well, even being referenced in-universe. Given that A-wings are the Fragile Speedster type — not quite as bad as TIE Fighters, but still pretty dinky — his wing's pilots must be very good to keep consistent numbers.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Tycho is probably the second-best X-wing pilot in the New Republic, behind Wedge, and is in command of Rogue Squadron by the time of Starfighters of Adumar. And yet, in said book, he gets shot down three times. Allston mentions why in his FAQ. Part of the fairly long answer about why Tycho didn't do so well:
      After reviewing Tycho's flying history (training originally in TIEs, moving to A-wings and X-wings when he moved to the Rebel Alliance) and his performance in I, Jedi, I concluded that Tycho's strengths as a pilot might not translate so well to less maneuverable spacecraft. In short, Blades, Y-wings and the lot can't really keep up with the speed of his own physical reactions.
Long story short, as Hobbie explains after the first test fight in Blade-32s, Tycho's a Fragile Speedster pilot stuck in Mighty Glacier hardware. This also may fall under The Worf Effect.
  • Second, and perhaps even more minor, example of this is Kell from Wraith Squadron. He does relatively little on-screen with bombs, despite being demolitions. His best example was slapping charges into place to damage structures, and slapping a charge onto a probe droid. However, he DOES do a good bit of off-screen bomb defusal, puts together some small explosive charges for Shalla's infiltration of the Razor's Kiss, and manages to design a bomb in his head. He's on the border, but it's interesting.
    • Unlike most examples... he's still made pretty awesome. He's just not awesome at his niche.
    • Kell actually does manage to show off his bomb making expertise in the Cold Open for Mercy Kill, where he manages to build a bomb that looks like a priceless gemstone sculpture, is powerful enough take out several city blocks, and is programmed to detonate when it reaches a certain depth below ground. He considers the bomb a work of art and gets highly offended when somebody suggests otherwise.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Corran was once involved with a Selonian, and he advises Gavin about his relationships with Bothan female Asyr.
    • Rhysati (a Human) and Nawara (a Twi'lek) also become a couple.
  • The Juggernaut: Several Imperial Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts (also called Super Star Destroyers) are featured in the books, and are treated as the Oh, Crap!-inducing megaliths that they truly are (19 kilometers in length and bristling with fighters and guns). Usually an entire novel will be centered around taking one down, and in most cases the normal operating procedure is to stay the hell out of one's way.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Averted in one key respect that is usually ignored in Star Wars. The novels note on a number of occasions that New Republic starfighters are much more capable than Imperial TIE designs while fighting in atmosphere because of their superior aerodynamics. In space, TIEs other than bombers are generally faster and more maneuverable than anything but an A-Wing, but in aerial combat, the more airplane-like design of an X-Wing allows it to pull off maneuvers a TIE couldn't hope to match.
  • Last-Second Term of Respect: Several members of Wraith Squadron are watching a camera feed from Face and are analyzing the security measures at a hangar controlled by Warlord Zsinj.
    Kell Tainer: Maybe an alarm on timer; if they don't switch it off with the comlink within the appointed time, the alarm goes off.
    "Grinder" Thri'agg: That's my guess, Demolition Boy.
    Kell: I'm leader here; call me 'Demolition Boy Sir'. Uh, roll that sequence back to the point at which he hit the button on the comlink. (watches as Grinder complies) Jesmin, how long have you been recording?
    Jesmin Ackbar: (snaps to attention) Since we came on station, Demolition Boy Sir.
    Kell: (gives her a Death Glare)
  • Legacy Character: Several members of both squadrons are younger relations of Rebels from the film era (Pash Cracken is General Cracken's son, Jesmin Ackbar is Admiral Ackbar's niece, Bhindi Drayson is Admiral Drayson's daughter). Then in Mercy Kill several of the original Wraith Squadron members' children have joined the squad. Kirney Slane is very adamant that hers will not be among them.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Wedge repeatedly passes up promotion, preferring to be a Commander. Forming Wraith Squadron was actually part of a bet — if he couldn't get them functioning as a full-fledged squadron within three months, he would be forced to accept promotion to General. He wins the bet, of course, but eventually (as in, a year later) he takes the promotion, mostly because his pilots have been refusing promotions too.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • This is adopted throughout the series as a way for starfighters to take down capital ships. It is a sub-tactic of "Trench Run Disease", the tactics that killed both Death Stars: large volleys of starfighter proton torpedoes can damage capital ships, but the turbolasers on most capital ships are too big and fire too slow to effectively target individual fighters.
    • One particularly impressive example has the Rogues and General Salm's Y-Wings faced with a Lancer-class frigate, designed as an ack-ack platform, backed up by a Carrack-class cruiser which is less well-protected against fighters but outguns the Corellian corvette the Republic force brought with them. The Y-Wings can handle the cruiser but can't get close enough to the frigate to get a lock and kill it, so Corran has them lock onto his X-Wing's transponder, and then uses a random number generator with the autopilot to evade the frigate's fire and lead the torpedoes into it. One pair of torpedoes actually gets past the frigate, but his astromech Whistler kills the transponder before they can catch up.
    • The Rogues are also prone to using proton torpedo salvos to "thin the herd" when they fight the Imperials, given they're usually significantly outnumbered by fragile and less heavily armed TIE fighters. The NRDF's logistics people consider this wasteful, and increased production of proton torpedoes is given as a reason to bring the Adumari into the Republic in book nine (it would just be a matter of converting the very large indigenous arms industry).
    • How do you take down a Super Star Destroyer if all you have is snubfighters, a 30-year-old frigate and some freighters? Well, Lusankya's Smug Snake captain is told that his ship has been painted with more than three hundred missile locks: the Rogues transmitted targeting data to the freighters, which their smuggler allies had converted into self-propelled missile batteries.
    • The "Loran Spitball". The Wraiths capture a Corellian corvette that has been modified with a forward docking bay, and develop the tactic of simply firing torpedoes from their parked X-Wings out the front door, using the corvette's more powerful targeting sensors.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage:
    • The Imperials, as speciesists by and large, naturally are less than pleased by Humans who have relationships with members of other species. In Wedge's Gamble, a stormtrooper on Coruscant tells an undercover Nawara (Twi'lek) and Rhysati (human), who by now are a couple, that "Your kind makes me sick." Without missing a beat, Nawara retorts that the stormtrooper's "kind" makes him sick. The man then none-too-subtly threatens Nawara's life assuming they don't knock it off.
    • Bothan leader Borsk Fey'lya also disapproves of Bothan pilot Asyr Sei'lar having a relationship with Human Gavin Darklighter, not only because he dislikes Humans, but due to feeling she's setting a poor example with other Bothans as a result. He pressures her into breaking their relationship off by threatening to use his political power toward this if she doesn't. Before this, the pair had discussed marriage and adopting children (since they can't reproduce naturally). Asyr reluctantly complies, but both she and Gavin still bear a grudge against Fey'lya for this many years later.
  • Mighty Glacier: B-wing bombers, which are slow and clumsy compared to the dedicated dogfighters the characters are used to. Wedge once used one and said he felt less like a pilot and more like a driver, but on the other hand they can dish out vast amounts of punishment.
  • Mildly Military:
    • Both Rogue and Wraith squadrons are noted to be far less rulebound than most squadrons, though the Rogues at least follow military discipline in-cockpit and during formal brief/debrief sessions. The Wraiths... not so much.
    • Wedge noticeably allows mildly military behaviour if and only if it's beneficial. Wacky hijinks and harmless jokes like Kettch that improve moral are tolerated; insubordination like Falynn's or Castin's is shut down.
  • Military Maverick: Wedge is one of these, while in book four the Rogues go, well, rogue. The Wraiths, however, surpass them by several orders of magnitude.
    Wedge: 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.
    • He really has no one but himself to blame, since this was why he put together the unit in the first place.
  • Military Moonshiner:
    • In Wraith Squadron, Cubber looks at a hastily-cobbled-together ship he just out built of a smuggling compartment ripped from a shuttle and the ejection seat boosters from a crippled fighter, he says it's the second most hazardous thing he's ever made. The most hazardous was his first still.
    • In Starfighters of Adumar, one pilot mentions that he knew their new diplomatic liaison when said liaison was a pilot. He didn't make his own alcohol, but he smuggled it and all manner of other things in.
  • Mook Mobile:
    • TIE Fighters. Wedge absolutely loathes them because of this:
      No shields. No ejection seat. TIE Fighters were disposable attack vehicles for disposable pilots, and Wedge never cared to feel disposable.
    • One of the "Ugly" mix-and-match starfighter designs used by some pirate groups is the "TYE-Wing," also known as the "Die-Wing" or "Why-Wing." It consists of a TIE Fighter's ball cockpit between a Y-Wing's engines, combining the fragility and lack of firepower of the Empire's mook fighter with the sloth and sluggishness of the Rebels' oldest bomber craft. All they do in stories where they appear is die horribly to proper strike craft.
  • Multinational Team: Both Rogue and Wraith squadrons had members from a whole slew of planets. And half of Rogue Squadron's initial roster were political appointees, which annoyed Wedge intensely — they had to include two pilots from Thyferra to satisfy the rival bacta cartels from the planet, for example.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Both Twi'leks and Bothans are annoyed that they get stereotyped as merchants and spies respectively, and pilots or other warriors from those races often feel they have to prove themselves. Wedge actually lampshades this in a negative fashion in Rogue Squadron. The assault on Borealis is being commanded by a Bothan general who's very confident in his intelligence, but Wedge brings up that the Bothans are also proud of their sacrifices in getting information on the second Death Star... which turned out to be a trap. It should be a humiliating mistake, but the Bothans wear it like a badge of honor.
  • Mythology Gag: The training simulators are basically the X-Wing and TIE Fighter video games. An infamous That One Level from X-Wing even makes an appearance as a training scenario. Other references such as the targeting systems on the fighters functioning like those in the games, are sprinkled here and there among the early books.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Ysanne Isard is nicknamed "Iceheart" (similar to the pronunciation of her last name) by both her own subordinates and her Rebel enemies. Analogously, her Rebel counterpart Airen Cracken is nicknamed "Kraken" by Imperials.
    • And, as usual, the names of Imperial ships. Wedge has a discussion on the subject with Teren Rogriss in Starfighters of Adumar:
      Wedge: Admiral, have you ever wondered why the Emperor gave such nasty names to his Star Destroyers? Executor, Agonizer, Iron Fist, Venom?
      • The above even foils an attempt by Adm. Trigit to pass his Star Destroyer off as a freighter to Commenor flight control. One of the Wraiths notes that it has the kind of name the Empire gives to ISDs, not freighters.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: Apparently Corellia's hat. Quietly subverted with Wedge. He jokes about it, but he actually does care about the odds.
    • Amusing, Wedge's R5 Gate appears to have acquired this attitude by the time of Isard's Revenge, responding to Whistler saying the odds of them succeeding were low with 'his microprocessing time was too valuable to waste analyzing meaningless odds'.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Happens to many characters, but the prize goes to Peshk Vry'sik: ion cannons fire upon a warship, one of the blasts shivers a little as if it had hit a shield but leaves no debris behind... and Wedge, Peshk's wingman, only realizes what has happened when he subsequently fails to raise the Bothan pilot on comm.
  • Not Quite Dead: No one ever comes back from actual death, but there are many times when a character is believed dead and isn't. Corran Horn is king of this. If you count the number of times his friends have thought him dead, his enemies have thought him dead, and the reader has thought him dead, it actually amounts to more times than he has appearances in the X-Wing series, if each novel featuring him counts as one appearance. This went noticed In-Universe and gave birth to a joke: the day Corran really dies, everyone will just assume he's alive somewhere and will reappear soon.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Both averted and played straight. Alliance pilots tend to initiate fights with their missiles and proton torpedoes to soften up the often numerically superior Imperials (it also helps that most TIE fighters are only armed with lasers). However, there are still many opportunities and situations for fighters to mix it up old school style.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted. Bail Antilles, the Alderaanian captain killed by Lord Vader in A New Hope, happened to be the former owner of the Wraith's quartermaster, one of the droids aboard ship. He's pleased to be serving another of the same name, though they aren't related, and he hopes he has better luck. It's implied that "Antilles" in Star Wars is like "Smith", a rather common last name. For example, there's a Jedi named Jon Antilles (his real name is unknown, with the alias being chosen apparently to be as generic as possible).
    • And a xenoarchaeologist named Henrietya "Corellia" Antilles.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Hobbie's real name is Derek Klivian, but not many people actually call him that.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the wisecracking, fun-loving Wes Janson is injured, surrounded by enemies, and him and his friends need to cut though anything standing in their way to escape, he can become a very dangerous person.
  • Original Position Fallacy:
  • Outranking Your Job:
    • When Wedge finally accepts promotion to General, in order to alleviate the Limited Advancement Opportunities his prior refusals had created for his fellow pilots, other longstanding members of Rogue Squadron were promoted en masse. This results in Rogue Squadron's roster including General Antilles, Colonel Celchu, Majors Janson and Klivian, and Captains Horn and Darklighter. Other squadrons mentioned in the series are depicted as being commanded by Captains or Commandersnote  while Generals typically command at least a wing of fighters — General Solo leads an entire task force.
    • Averted in the case of Pash Cracken, an A-Wing pilot who voluntarily accepts a demotion to join Rogue Squadron on the grounds that he feels he's hit a wall in his development as a pilot and wants to see if he can learn something new at Wedge's knee that can help him get past it. He leaves the squadron in The Bacta War rather than join in their mass resignation, and has an Offscreen Moment of Awesome later when he is inadvertently brought out of hyperspace on top of a star destroyer that Booster Terrik trapped, convincing the captain to surrender.
  • Paranoia Fuel: An in-universe example with the various types of undetectable brainwashing available to the enemy.
  • Pardon My Klingon: In a slightly unfortunate for continuity case of Depending on the Writer, in the Stackpole books everyone's swearword of choice is Sithspawn, whereas in the Allston books it becomes the earthier Sithspit.
  • Pet the Dog: This has become an ongoing theme in the Star Wars EU: the idea there are no small number of Imperials who believe much more in The Empire's Lawful side than its Evil side. Generally these Imperials can be persuaded into Heel Face Turns (seeing as how they were hardly Heels to begin with). It also adds to the Gray-and-Grey Morality of the EU, making it clear that The Empire did have positive traits, and that La Résistance (now that it's The Alliance) can end up wandering down similar paths.
  • Planet of Hats: Explored and subverted.
    • The Twi'leks are thought of as a race of merchants and smugglers, which tends to piss off their warriors, as seen in The Krytos Trap. Zsinj then takes advantage of this in Solo Command — it's become common knowledge that there are touchy Twi'lek Proud Warrior Race Guys around, so people will take his using Twi'leks as killer Manchurian Agents as being a real radical-militant development in the race.
    • Lorrd, Face's homeworld, is a relatively straight example of this trope (it was introduced in earlier books). Lorrd's hat is observation and control of body language, but this is justified by backstory — the planet was once enslaved by aliens who forbade verbal communication, so the Lorrdians were forced to develop complex body and sign language instead.
  • Posthumous Character: Wedge, Tycho and Janson often mention the pilots who died in Rogue Squadron's early years (i.e. in the films) such as Jek Porkins and Biggs Darklighter.
  • Prequel: The Rogue Squadron quadrilogy is essentially a prequel to The Thrawn Trilogy, filling in the backstory of the New Republic's capture of Coruscant from the Empire and its transition from a revolutionary junta to a republic in fact as well as name. The Wraith Squadron trilogy similarly fills out the backstory of The Courtship of Princess Leia, explaining the history of the grudge between Han Solo and Warlord Zsinj.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Twi'leks are generally perceived like this, but they have an increasingly vocal minority who resent the stereotype as they would rather be a Proud Warrior Race. This first shows up in The Krytos Trap and is later exploited by Zsinj in Solo Comman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Wedge and at least some of his superiors, including Admiral Ackbar.
  • Reporting Names: They're pilots; the com lines are full of these.
  • Rescue Equipment Attack: The plot begins with an attempted kidnapping of the members of Wraith Squadron by agents of Warlord Zsinj disguised as police, only for Face Loran to spot the thread and alert the others. In the ensuing scuffle, unit medic Ton Phanan cuts the leader's throat with a laser scalpel from his emergency kit. While being debriefed later, Ton remarks that, under the right circumstances, he can kill a person with anything in the kit.
  • Space Is Cold: Used quite often. The magnetic containment ("mag-con") fields around ejected pilots and covering open launch bays explicitly keep atmosphere in, but the heat tends to escape. It comes up pretty often, what with all the holes getting punched in spaceships and pilots having to punch out of them (i.e. eject).
  • Space Police: Corran Horn, one of the pilots, was on the Corellian Security Force, essentially the police of the Corellian system. Corellia's Jedi tended to work pretty closely with them. Largely the CSF stayed within the system. The Jedi had a saying — "There is no luck, only the Force", and the CSF liked to modify it to tell criminals who chalked up being caught to bad luck — "There is no luck, only the Corellian Security Force".
  • Spell My Name With An S: The various weird spellings of Klivian, lampshaded by the man himself.
  • The Squadette: The series was perhaps the first piece of Star Wars fiction to show female grunts to any major degree (if ace fighter pilots can be called 'grunts'). Interestingly, reading the series suddenly makes you realise how odd the absence of female pilots in the films is, especially all the Rebel pilots who went against the Death Stars. (It's doubly so if you've seen the stills from deleted scenes of female pilots at the Battle of Endor...)
  • Suicide Mission: This is Rogue Squadron's bread and butter, and because they're elite, they always manage to make it out alive (minus the Red Shirts and Mauve Shirts in the squadron). Defied by Xarcce Huwla; she was given the honor of being assigned to Rogue Squadron, and immediately asked for a transfer. When Wedge asked her why, she stated that the death toll of the squadron was far too high for her liking.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Understandable given the series is a significantly more Military Science Fiction take on Star Wars than is typical: notwithstanding Tyria Sarkin's and Corran Horn's Force-sensitivity, the series mostly eschews the Science Fantasy aspects of the property, favoring a practical ground-level view of the Imperial-New Republic conflict.
    • Exploited in Wedge's Gamble. Coruscant/Imperial Center's Ecumenopolis means that it has really wacky weather patterns: at one point a pop-up thunderstorm knocks out power to a moving walkway the Rogues are traveling on (the viewpoint character wryly observes that the walkway doesn't have backup power, but the state media feeds overhead do). It also uses large orbital mirror arrays to assist in controlling the climate of the polar regions. The Rogues bring down part of the planetary Deflector Shield by triggering a gigantic thunderstorm on purpose, by using an orbital mirror to vaporize a water reservoir.
    • Unlike the elite Rogue Squadron, the less glamorous, less famous Wraiths have to wait in line for replacement parts and fighters, leaving them regularly with more pilots than X-Wings. This leads to several of the pilots becoming proficient with TIE fighters that they acquire during their missions.
  • Suspiciously Idle Officers: Discussed but ultimately averted in the novel Solo Command. When The Mole Lara Notsil infiltrates Iron Fist, she hatches a plan to subvert the ship's maintenance droids and have them perform sabotage on the basis that they are Beneath Suspicion. In order to keep the ship's crew and A.I.s from noticing anything is amiss, she orders half of the reprogrammed droids to continue on their usual duties for half of each day, then assumes the identity of another saboteur droid for the other half of the day, thus convincing the main computer that they're all still on the job.
  • Token Minority: Reina Faleur and Sixtus Quin appear to be the only Humans of color in the comics or books. The cast will also always be majority Human, with a few people of other species as well.
  • Training from Hell: Played with. Training for the Rogues and Wraiths isn't shown to be physically demanding. Likewise, while the debut novels for each unit do depict one or more candidates washing out, Wedge's intentions are less about eliminating all but the most elite pilots and more teaching those who do make his units that however skilled they are, they still need to work as a team if they hope to accomplish their missions and live to tell about it. While he isn't above throwing the occasional Unwinnable Training Simulation his pilots' way, overall his methods reflect this: feeding the rest of Rogue Squadron Corran's targeting data behind his back so their scores will all eclipse his, having pairs of fighters suffer complementary system failures so their pilots are forced to work together to destroy a target, scoring protocols where pilots are directly responsible for their wingmate's success and vice versa (which causes Kell Tainer to be credited with no kills, while his wingman who went Leeroy Jenkins and was shot down two minutes in gets Kell's actual five), etc.
  • 2-D Space: Averted, even in capital ship combat.
  • You Are Number 6: Each pilot has a number as a call sign — Wraith Four, Rogue Five, etc.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Some pilots in Rogue and Wraith squadron can't return to their home planets due to various reasons. Wedge's home station was blown up and Corellia is aligned with the Empire, Tycho's from Alderaan, and Corran is (falsely) accused of murder on Corellia. A particularly poignant example would be Tyria's home planet of Toprawa. Her people helped pass along the Death Star plans to the Alliance, and as punishment, the Empire bombed their planet to the Stone Age and enslaved the survivors, making them go through humiliating apology rituals to get even the most basic supplies.
  • Zany Scheme: Minimum one per book. Especially prevalent in the Wraith Squadron series. I mean, just look at how many times it's referenced on this very page!
  • Zerg Rush:
    • From time to time the Rogues or the Wraiths find themselves severely, insanely outnumbered, due to Imperial doctrine being to throw clouds of TIEs at them.
    • In Starfighters of Adumar and The Bacta War, their opponents are all basically rookies (in some cases, flying their first mission ever) and/or in undergunned and underdefended ships. Numbers are the only thing the enemy have going for them during those engagements... and, as we know from history (such as the 1982 Lebanon War), superior training and equipment can be the equal, or superior, of sheer numbers.
    • It's a common Star Wars trope general, as TIE Fighters are cheap-but-fragile craft in comparison to the Rebels' more durable, but hard-to-obtain, fighters. Which is why the TIE Fighter video game was such a change — as an Imperial pilot, your character was drastically outgunned (on an individual basis) most of the time, but had a lot of friends.
    • Finally averted in Isard's Revenge and Starfighters of Adumar when they face enormous odds (six-to-one in the former case)... and lose. In the first case, several Rogues are killed and the rest only survive due to being rescued by Imperials, while in the second Wedge's flight is forced down to the ground, although they do really well against the Adumari — four against thirty, and they kill the thirty — before the odds finally get them.
    • Happens as early as the first novel.
      Tycho: We recorded thirty-four kills out of a possible thirty-six with no losses. If I hadn't been there, I'd think it was propaganda.

    Rogue Squadron series 

  • 2 + Torture = 5: Part of what happened to Tycho Celchu at the beginning/in the backstory of the series. He was bent pretty terribly by Isard but didn't actually break. When she overlaid Rebel and Imperial insignia and tried to transfer his loyalty to one over to the other, the contradiction sent him into a catatonic state. She later tried it on Corran Horn with even less success. However, Isard used it successfully to brainwash many other people into becoming Manchurian agents before. Horn, Celchu, and a number of others were resistant from the start and would not turn.
  • Action Girl: Iella Wessiri. Not a pilot, but a police officer turned intelligence agent, who helps the Rogues take Coruscant and partners up with former Rogue Elscol Loro to run guerrilla cells on Thyferra. She's also the one who ultimately gets to kill Isard.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated:
    • Used interestingly. The Vratix, a species of insectoids, trust their sense of touch above all others. While we don't see their outright art, we do find that they build their homes with texturing on every surface, and a human character mentions that the textures seem to conjure up emotions.
    • Played with when Rogue Squadron personalizes their fighters' paint jobs. The human pilots opt for paint schemes that are personally meaningful or symbolic of their home planets. Ooryl Qrygg, as a Gand the least humanoid of Rogue Squadron's pilots, has a fighter that appears plain white to human eyes; the squadron's chief mechanic, a Verpine, assures his colleagues that it is "a masterpiece" if you can see in the UV spectrum.
  • Altar the Speed: Corran Horn and Mirax Terrik become engaged partway through The Bacta War. When Mirax's father Booster finds out about this later, he strongly objects (understandably, as Corran was the son of the policeman who caught him and sent him to Kessel for five years). He's called away on business, but fully intends to "discuss" things with them once he's finished. To avoid this, they have a brief marriage ceremony aboard Lusankya (with Commander Antilles, temporary captain of the ship, in the role of "priest", and a few droids as witnesses). Booster takes the marriage itself relatively well, but not how it happened... mostly because fellow smuggler Talon Karrde had wagered a large amount of money with Booster that Corran and Mirax would do exactly this.
  • Always Second Best: Inyri Forge has a resentful relationship toward her sister Lujayne for being a New Republic pilot and member of Rogue Squadron whose accomplishments she believes she can never measure up to. This becomes even worse when Lujayne is killed and becomes something of a martyr to the family, particularly since she is suddenly the one put under (self-inflicted) pressure to make something of herself and prove someone from Kessel can have worth. Unfortunately this leads into her becoming the Black Sheep through her rebellious actions; see Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling and My Sibling Will Live Through Me.
  • Always Someone Better: Bror Jace to Corran Horn in the first book.
  • Artificial Limbs: As a plot point — Nawara Ven gets an artificial limb that reduces his piloting skill enough to drop him out of the squadron. He still stays on as the Executive Officer, however.
  • Artistic License – Ships: In-Universe example in Wedge's Gamble. During a patrol the Rogues run across a couple of freighters, one of them christened Contruum's Pride. Lt. Pash Cracken, new to the squadron this book, is from Contruum and asserts that the ship is bad guys (it turns out to be Zsinj's people) because Contruum naming conventions restrict virtues to warships. Cargo ships are supposed to be named after rivers and beasts of burden.
  • Artistic License – Statistics: Kirtan Loor deduces that a certain squadron of X-Wings is Rogue Squadron through noting that their equipment performance is within two standard deviations of the norm, making them very well maintained and therefore a top-end unit. Two standard deviations places one in a range consisting of 95% of the entire sample set. The middle 95%. Being in a range that large proves nothing.note 
  • Ascended Extra: Wedge, Wes, and Hobbie were relatively minor names and faces in the movies. Wedge was a Mauve Shirt who somehow managed to survive all three movies despite being a minor character, Wes was Wedge's gunner during the battle of Hoth ("Good shot, Janson!"), Hobbie was the guy who asked, "Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?" Tycho was retconned in; Stackpole picked a random A-wing at Endor and said "That's him."
    • Another case is Pash Cracken. In Zahn's books, he's known only for creating the 'Cracken Twist' and for his appearance in the briefing for the Bilbringi mission. In Stackpole's novels, he becomes a fleshed out pilot almost as good as Wedge but lacking the ego.
  • Asshole Victim: None of Imperial mole Erisi Dlarit's former Rogue Squadron colleagues shed a tear for her after Corran Horn shoots her down over one of Thyferra's moons. No one cares that the way she died was one she probably would've hated.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Variant — Corran Horn misses his own funeral, but manages to show up for the final phase of the trial for the murder of Corran Horn.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Kirtan Loor can do this, although he tends to rely on his perfect memory more. Once he starts doing more analysis on Isard's orders, he discerns the base of Rogue Squadron from their flight patterns and fuel reserves after just two engagements (it helped that one of those engagements was the Rogues accidentally running into an Interdictor on the way to their base).
  • Bad Boss: Isard. When one of her ship captain minions betrays her, her response is to order not just his death, but the death of his girlfriend and her entire family; a calmly delivered, easily missable line reveals that she started killing the families of all the ship's crew hours ago. Additionally, Isard states that she had killed families of Imperial personnel before. Even Isard's co-conspirators hold her in such contempt for her excesses that one of them (who's the POV character for the scene above, and has pretty well already decided to betray her) decides that he'll make sure as many of the people in question remain safe despite not giving a damn whether they live or die, just because it'll annoy her. Her backstory in the comics and a mini-novel by Stackpole and Timothy Zahn makes it abundantly clear she's willing to throw anyone to the rancors to advance her own agenda. Including her own father, whom she has arrested for treason (it's rumored that she shot him herself) before taking over his post as Director of Imperial Intelligence.
  • Badass Crew: The Rogues.
  • Big Bad: Ysanne Isard, formerly the head of Imperial Intelligence and now the eminence grise of what's left of the Empire.
  • Big Damn Gunship: While escorting a bacta convoy in the Alderaan Graveyard, Rogue Squadron is ambushed by a Victory-class Star Destroyer and an Interdictor Cruiser. Suddenly, an ancient, automated Alderaanian frigate appears and starts blasting away at the Imperials, tipping the battle into the Rogues' favor.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Ooryl Qrygg sees in the far-ultraviolet. His race doesn't sleep much and can in fact "store" rest for later, and some Gand can also regenerate lost limbs, too. It's admitted that even the Rebel medics are just as surprised by all this as Ooryl's squadmates. He also kills a stormtrooper at one point by ... punching him in the back of the head through his armor. Ow.
    Ooryl Qrygg: Ooryl does not respire.
    Inyri Forge: What?
    Ooryl Qrygg: Gands do not respire. [...] Ooryl gets the metabolic ingredients Ooryl needs through ingestion, not respiration. Fex-M3d will not affect Ooryl.
  • Blind Jump: In The Bacta War Gavin makes a blind 15 second jump to escape an Imperial ambush, even though as he put it jumping blind to lightspeed was, "about as stupid as making fat jokes around a Hutt, and nearly always as fatal." For him it's the longest 15 seconds of his life.
  • Book Safe: During his escape from the Lusankya, Corran Horn discovers a blaster hidden in the purported casing of The Complete History of Corvis Minor, in a reference to The Thrawn Trilogy. He then spends some time searching the library in hopes of finding The Complete History of Corvis Major, to no success.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Yag'Dhul station is equipped with three hundred proton torpedo targeting sensors but no actual missiles. Being targeted by this many sensors is enough to scare off a Super Star Destroyer and convince a Star Destroyer to surrender.
  • Call-Forward: Common in Stackpole's books to other Star Wars Legends books written earlier but set chronologically later.
    • Warlord Zsinj is a background villain in the first four books, and Leia's mission to the Hapans (which plays a more prominent part in The Courtship of Princess Leia) is mentioned.
    • Isard mentions that Thrawn is still out in the Unknown Regions. Corran and Erisi Dlarit also tour the Imperial Palace in Wedge's Gamble and admire the grove of decorative trees inside (which, unbeknownst to them, actually contain eavesdropping equipment Thrawn would eventually make use of).
    • In Wedge's Gamble the Rebels recruit troublemakers from Moruth Doole's prison camp on Kessel, while in The Bacta War Isard gets assistance from the Imperial warlords Teradoc and Harrsk (Jedi Academy Trilogy).
    • In Rogue Squadron Corran bitterly reflects that the old Corellian Security Force of his youth has been turned into the Secret Police organisation called the Public Safety Service, which will appear in The Corellian Trilogy.
    • The first attempted attack on Borleias in Rogue Squadron prominently features the star destroyer Emancipator, one of two Imperial-class star destroyers that were captured at the Battle of Endor. Emancipator and Liberator were both destroyed in Dark Empire, which is set four years later.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Nawara Ven loses a leg in combat and proves insufficiently able to use his prosthesis, and is permanently grounded. He does stay with the squadron as its new Executive Officer though.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Bacta War, there is an offhand comment how Tycho decided to use an old Alderaanian IFF code for his fighter. Later in the novel, the squadron goes into the Alderaan debris field to escort some freighters. Tycho keeps receiving anomalous pings to his IFF, but just assumes it's some leftover satellite. Then it turns out his Alderaanian IFF just summoned a Alderaanian War Frigate, which arrives just in time to fend off an Imperial ambush, and even starts using Tycho's targeting data to attack the Imperial ships. Said IFF code was for the Another Chance, a ship that was sent out with all of Alderaan's armaments when they disarmed, and the frigate was part of the ship's escort.
  • Citadel Planet: Coruscant is quite well defended with a fleet and double-layered planetary shield. Wedge's Gamble has the Rogues trying to shut down said shield.
  • Clear Their Name: Tycho is framed for being an Imperial sleeper agent and causing the death of a teammate (Corran). His friends have to track down the real evidence and defend him in court. The murder trial, of course, is called off in short order when the supposed victim arrives to provide testimony. Since Tycho's lawyer was absent at the time, there was no opportunity for "The defense calls Corran Horn," unfortunately — instead, it's the prosecutor who gets to say "We call Corran Horn.". And the charges of treason and espionage are cleared away immediately afterwards with evidence provided by Corran, Wedge Antilles, and General Cracken.
  • Colony Drop: Played with.
    • Inverted in The Krytos Trap when the buried SSD Lusankya blasts its way out from underneath Coruscant, killing millions.
    • Defied in The Bacta War when the captain of SSD Lusankya has an apparent psychotic break and threatens to ram his ship into Thyferra rather than surrender to the Rogues. Before he can do it, his first officer shoots him and then surrenders.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mostly in the Stackpole books, which have lots of bits referring to characters and situations from the comics. Wedge's Gamble also has two nods to Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, with Winter Celchu being code-named Targeter and mention of ch'hala trees on Imperial Center/Coruscant. For those who've read Zahn's trilogy, it also explains some of how Isard knows Rogue Squadron is on the planet.
      Corran had overheard from the numerous tour guide droids that ch'hala trees had been a favourite of the Emperor's and placed here at his specific request.
    • And there's the hold-out blaster found in the datacard file for Corvis Minor (which gets only briefly mentioned when the Rogues — including Corran — later go on a mission to Corvis Minor), which also started as a Zahn thing. The two authors have collaborated together and don't come to blows in person, so perhaps it's not surprising. Some fans like it, some find these Zahn nods to be unnecessary or contradictory (for example, Winter was supposed to use the Targeter codename only while with one cell on a single planet, and it wasn't for the taking of Coruscant).
    • Stackpole also namedrops a lot of species, events, and places established in other novels. Black Sun from Shadows of the Empire has a role, for example.
    • After a shoot-out at Chalmun's Cantina, Wuher the bartender can be heard calling dibs on a Rodian's corpse as a reference to his appearance in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina.
    • The shuttle Narra flown by Tycho Celchu in Rogue Squadron is named for fighter pilot Commander Narra, who was killed at the Battle of Derra IV, depicted in the Action Prologue of the Empire radio play. Zsinj's infiltrator ship Vengeance Derra IV in Wedge's Gamble uses the name of the battle as a cover.
  • Continuity Porn: Stackpole likes the Continuity Nod, but the first book Rogue Squadron qualifies for this trope, as it manages to reference just about every single other EU book published at the time.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In a series of interlocking chapters in Wedge's Gamble, Corran Horn flees from an attack by his Arch-Enemy Zekka Thyne that results in him accidentally sending an empty speeder sidecar crashing into an apartment where Wedge, Iella, and Winter are conversing, then finally crashing right into a warehouse where Gavin and his group had been taken by the human-hostile Alien Combine movement — an act which both saves the undercover Rogues from being executed and provides a distraction to help them all get away from an Imperial raid (and incidentally become allies because of it). (And also results in Corran saving Inyri Forge's life, so that she in turn later has a Heel–Face Turn, saves him from her boyfriend Thyne, and joins Rogue Squadron.) Stackpole has said in convention appearances that the sequence was intended as an homage to a literary trick he'd read in an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Basically the entire Xucphra bacta cartel Bacta War. The rival Xaltin cartel, on the other hand, clued in that not being corrupt is good for business.
  • Court-martialed: In The Krytos Trap Tycho Celchu is tried for treason and the murder of Corran Horn at the end of Wedge's Gamble. It was partially a covert operation to smoke out The Mole in Rogue Squadron, which Tycho is suspected by some of being, and charges are summarily dropped when Corran turns up in the courtroom very much alive and identifies the real mole.
  • Dating Catwoman: A somewhat mild version between Corran, a former space cop, and Mirax, a smuggler. The fact that Corran's father was the space cop who arrested Mirax's smuggler father and sent him to Kessel doesn't exactly help.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Isard responds to the repeated Rogue Squadron pirate attacks on her bacta convoys by sending a Victory-class Star Destroyer to a defenseless colony whose "crime" had been to accept the stolen bacta from the Rogues (in order to cure a plague) since, like a lot of people, they couldn't afford the ridiculously high prices set by Isard and her allies. Isard decides that if the bacta can't be reclaimed, that's because it's given the colonists life; therefore, if she can't take the bacta or payment for it, she'll take all of their lives.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe. In Rogue Squadron, while the new group is sharing personal history, it comes out that Corran has a death sentence against him for the murder and vivisection of six smugglers. When Corran busts out laughing at this, it freaks everyone out. Realizing how bad it looks, Corran quickly provides the mathematical key which lets their droid verify the true story: the "smugglers" never existed, and their "murders" were part of the cover story that let him escape Corellia.
  • Dying Alone: When Kirtan Loor is dying, he remembers that Corran once stated that there's nothing worse than dying alone, and realizes that he was right.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: These are particularly common in Rogue Squadron, which includes both Call Forwards to events from books written earlier but set chronologically later (Thrawn, Zsinj, the Hapans) as well as featuring things that will come up in later books such as the planet Toprawa.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: In Wedge's Gamble, after the initial plan to deactivate Coruscant's shields by taking control of the computer system ends in failure, the Rogues are trying to figure out another way before the invasion has to be called off. When it's mentioned that taking the planet by storm (ie a direct assault in which the shield is broken via orbital bombardment) would be a bloodbath and also leave it difficult at best to hold the planet afterward, Gavin responds with "That's it! We take the world by storm!" As in, create a giant thunderstorm that will knock out the shields from the inside.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Happens a lot, particularly to subordinates of Isard. Uwlla Iillor, captain of the Interdictor Cruiser Black Asp, decides she's though putting up with Isard's Bad Boss tendencies and defects with her ship. Kirtan Loor decides bombing a school is beneath him. Fliry Vorru is more practical — he hates having to pander to Isard's Revenge Before Reason.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: General Derricote, creator of the Krytos Virus.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: In Wedge's Gamble we learn that the Empire allows nonhumans only in certain parts of Imperial Center which are called ethnic neighborhoods. One is officially the "Alien Protection Zone (dubbed "the Invisible Sector" or "Invisec") walled off from the rest. Supposedly this is for their protection against prejudice (hence the name) and they have prominent statues of heroes from different species living there, although they're really massive ghettos, as you would expect. A rebel group named the Alien Combine arose in Invisec because of this. It turns out that General Evir Derricote is having residents of Invisec rounded up for use as test subjects in his secret development of the Krytos Virus.
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: Discussed in The Krytos Trap as Princess Leia tells Wedge that the legal system of New Republic remains very new so they haven't worked things out entirely, which comes up as Tycho has been charged with murdering Corran. The question has been raised, Leia says, of what jurisdiction a case should be tried in when the defendant and a victim are from different worlds (like here). In the actual case, Tycho's tried on Coruscant, where the alleged murder occurred (he and Corran are both from other planets), as is the most logical course anyway (closest to real jurisdiction here on Earth too).
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Shortly before they went fully pacifist, the Alderaanians loaded all of their weapons into a cruiser called the Another Chance, crewed it with droids, and sent it off into space with a trio of automated frigates to serve as escorts. The intention was that Alderaan could call the cruiser back if the planet ever needed to rearm. Then the planet got blown up. The Alliance eventually found the Another Chance and one of the frigates around the time of The Empire Strikes Back. The third frigate had become separated from them and returned to Alderaan, where it saved the Rogues' bacon in The Bacta War.
  • Five-Token Band: In Rogue Squadron Wedge complains that the New Republic is trying to turn Rogue Squadron into one to act as a propaganda symbol, meaning he's having to accept pilots based on political considerations rather than absolute skill. The most absurd case is that the New Republic wants Thyferra on its side because it is the only world in the galaxy that can cost-effectively produce the best medicine in the galaxy... but Thyferra is ruled by a corporate cartel duopoly of two big companies who hate each other, so Wedge has to take on two Thyferran pilots, one from each side.
  • Fold-Spindle Mutilation: InThe Krytos Trap, the Rogues launch an attack on a space station in the Yag'Dhul system. The station manager's office suffers a hull breach during the battle and the manager gets sucked out into space through a hole smaller than he was. Given that the manager was unpopular and the hole was described as the size of "say, a blaster bolt", it's likely that this was a case of Cut Himself Shaving, and that the real cause of death was asphyxia.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Inyri and Lujayne Forge, respectively. The latter became a Rogue Squadron pilot, brave and intelligent, a good friend to Corran Horn who provides him with the wake-up call he needed to know he was too distant and isolated from the other pilots... and then dies senselessly during a stormtrooper infiltration on Talasea. Inyri, now suddenly put under the pressure to step into her sister's footprints and make a good name for the family, but always living in Lujayne's martyred shadow and blaming the Rogues (and by extension the New Republic) for her death, rebels by abandoning her family and joining Zekka Thyne as his girlfriend and co-conspirator. Inyri does later on him though and becomes responsible too.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • While the illness affecting several of Rogue Squadron's nonhuman members late in Wedge's Gamble is obviously meant to be an indication to the reader that they are infected with Krytos, Nawara Ven is weathering the illness better than the other ones affected thanks to his use of ryll spice to deal with the symptoms. At the end of the following book, the New Republic announces an effective treatment for Krytos consisting of a mixture of bacta and ryll (called 'rylca'), which will reduce the amount of bacta needed to eradicate Krytos.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • The Rogues' mission to Alderaan in The Krytos Trap had at least four plans going on at the same time, including ones by Kirtan Loor and Zsinj. The winners of that mess: Isard mostly, though New Republic Intelligence and Mirax got a minor side benefit. As for who lost... the New Republic as a whole lost a great deal because of the bacta destroyed, Zsinj gained an untrustworthy reputation and vaulted ahead of Isard as the New Republic's primary target for elimination, and Loor was outed as a traitor to Isard.
    • The Empire is hurt by this in Rogue Squadron when General Kre'fey attempts to take Borleias. If he had succeeded, the Imperial Star Destroyer Eviscerator would then have come in and destroyed the Rebels on the ground, giving them a considerable setback. However, Borleias' commander General Derricote had his own secret defensive plans that managed to defeat Kre'fey, acting as a Spanner in the Works that ultimately hurt the Rebels less than expected.
  • Gambit Roulette: Subverted. When Corran returns from the Lusankya with information exonerating Tycho, someone wonders if the information could have been planted to keep the accused Imperial sleeper in place. This is casually dismissed, as it would have required an absurd level of planning and foreknowledge of completely random events.
  • Gravity Screw: Exploited by the Imperials who run Lusankya, which to its inmates seems to be a penal mining outpost, but in fact they are in an area with artificial gravity and are standing on the ceiling. Thus, if they try to escape, they will try to go 'up' to the surface, which is actually deeper into the facility. Corran figures it out when he's hit with a stun blast in a prison riot, and while being treated at the clinic, hears a group of stormtroopers marching past on what he thinks is the ceiling.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Several Imperials end up defecting to the New Republic over the course of the books. Most of them aren't really Heels to begin with, but honorable people who happened to be working for the Imperials who finally got a wake-up call.
    • Captain Uwlla Iillor in the first two books goes from being an Imperial Interdictor commander to defecting to the Rebels, mainly due to being mistreated by Isard and her subordinates; she and her ship are then instrumental in the conquest of Coruscant.
    • Captain Sair Yonka does so in The Bacta War, giving Isard an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech on the way out. Yonka's turn was accelerated by Wedge offering him a hefty bribe, but based on his career afterward it's clear that he'd have switched sides on his own the moment Isard ordered him to engage in one of her various atrocities. The only reason he'd stuck with the Empire as long as he did was because he'd managed to spend his career to that point doing actually good things, like taking down pirate gangs.
    • On a more humorous note, one of Virar Needa's subordinates suggests that he pull a posthumous turn for his cousin (Captain Needa from Empire Strikes Back) by claiming that the captain privately confessed his Rebel leanings to him and thus allowed the Millennium Falcon to escape Hoth; all to save the collective skins of the orbital mirror crew as Coruscant was changing hands.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: The first indication of a relationship starting between Corran and Mirax is her walking into the fighter bay wearing his flight jacket. She even pulls it closer around her when she notices one of the female pilots (who was also attracted to Corran) glaring at her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: An unnamed Gamorrean, who, when realizing he had been infected with Krytos, sealed himself inside his home and died alone and in agony to help prevent the plague spreading.
  • Humongous Mecha: Part of the Rogues' plan for disabling the Coruscant shield network involves hijacking a giant construction robot and rampaging around a section of the city.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Karrde must be dealt with." (groan)
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...:
    • In Krytos Trap, it is mentioned that the Twi'leks sometimes fiddle with the pronunciation of people's full names to avoid insulting the person in question. In particular, they call Wedge Antilles "Wedgan'tilles", which is close to "slayer of stars" in Twi'leki. Apparently pronouncing it the same way that humans do ("Wedge'antilles") changes the meaning to something like "one so foul as to induce vomiting in a rancor". Wedge understandably prefers the former pronunciation when on Ryloth.
    • Apparently, in the Twi'lek language the meaning of a phrase can be radically altered by shuffling syllables between "words". It's sometimes done even to a fellow Twi'lek's name, for the opposite reason: twisting the pronunciation into something insulting. It is also specifically used to denote that a particular Twi'lek is a dishonourable individual — Jabba the Hutt's henchman Bib Fortuna is subjected to this treatment, as other Twi'leks distinctly break his name up to denote the distance between he and his people.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Before Tycho's trial, one person suggests that they're finding so much evidence against him since Isard wanted him to face justice if he were ever caught spying for her. Justified in this case, as General Cracken knew that Tycho wasn't really the mole and used the trial to draw out the real traitor (though he didn't know if Tycho might be another spy).
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Gavin (a human) and Asyr (a Bothan). They're ultimately forced to part ways in Isard's Revenge.
    • Nawara (a Twi'lek) and Rhysati (a human). Isard's Revenge notes that she's since resigned from the squadron to start a family with him; they're still happily married during the events of the Fate of the Jedi series.
    • Corran tells a story about a brief relationship with a Selonian that dealt with some of the issues of such a romance: their personal chemistry was fine, but their biochemistry was incompatible (Corran's sweat was acidic enough to irritate Chertyl's skin, and he was mildly allergic to her fur) and they parted amicably.
  • Irony: The Krytos Trap opens at a funeral, and Wedge begins his eulogy with the words, "Corran Horn does not rest easy in that grave." Unbeknownst to Wedge, this is quite literally true, as Corran isn't dead.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Observed during a funeral in Rogue Squadron.
    "No, and it never should. If it ever does, that means we've become the enemy."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Bror Jace of Rogue Squadron receives Character Development that turns him into this eventually.
    • Booster Terrik is a Jerkass in general (and to Corran Horn in particular), but is very protective of his daughter Mirax, and his adopted son Wedge.
  • Kick the Dog: After Corran had caught Bossk (who had been responsible for his father's murder), Kirtan Loor managed to frame it as collateral damage from a legal bounty (the gun who'd been sitting next to Hal Horn was the mark, and Bossk simply sprayed the area with blaster fire, which Loor said was unintentional as Trandoshans don't have a great deal of manual dexterity) to got Bossk released. It's outright revealed that he did this just to spite Corran.
  • Kill Sat: Rogue Squadron remote-control-hijacks a solar mirror orbiting Imperial Centre. Hilarity (and explosions) ensue.
  • La Résistance: The Ashern are a Vratix badass resistance group dedicated to freeing their fellow Vratix from virtual slavery under the bacta cartels. They're later joined by remnants of the Zaltin cartel after Xucphra stages a hostile takeover.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: References commonly give a huge hint to the massive Plot Twist at the end of The Krytos Trap by giving "Lusankya" in italics, hinting that it's the name of a ship. In the books themselves, it is never given in italics until after The Reveal. Also, future books feature Tycho Celchu prominently, so you know he's not the traitor, and gets off somehow.
  • Manchurian Agent:
    • Tycho is accused of being one of these. He's not.
    • Iella finds out that her husband, thought dead for years, is alive, but unfortunately...
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Rogue Squadron. As an adjective, one definition is "no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade." The squadron was founded by Luke after Yavin; he leaves the squad several times during the war for Jedi training and exercises. When Wedge takes over, he gets a reputation for sometimes creatively misinterpreting orders (but still getting the job done), his pilots (when he reforms the squadron after Endor) are often seen as cliquish and a bit elitist, and at one point the entire squad resigns their commissions. Humorously, once that situation is dealt with, the squad finds that the New Republic made a temporary Rogue Squadron for morale purposes; Wes Jansen, the commander, gleefully points out that he's leading Rogue Squadron, while Wedge is leading "a rogue squadron".
    • The Lusankya was named after the infamous KGB prison Lubyanka.
  • Meet the In-Laws: In X-Wing: The Bacta War, Corran Horn is introduced to girlfriend Mirax Terrik's father Booster when they inadvertently run into each other on Tatooine while the Rogues are trying to get supplies to go to war with Ysanne Isard. Booster is understandably furious that his daughter is dating the son of the man who once put him in prison (he later accepts them getting married but never really warms up to Corran).
  • The Mole: Erisi Dlarit is a perfect mole whose secret is kept from the characters and the reader until the end of the third book.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: At first the pressure to be just like Lujayne (and bring honor to the family) causes Inyri Forge to rebel against this trope, actively rejecting her family and a life of service for one of lawlessness as the Black Sheep. Once she is abandoned by her criminal boyfriend Zekka Thyne and thus realizes he was only using her and never loved her, she performs a Heel–Face Turn, joins Corran Horn (the one who saved her life) and Rogue Squadron, and with genuinely heartfelt regret decides to fulfill the trope after all.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The "Redemption Scenario" in Rogue Squadron is based on an infamous level in the PC game, which also later appeared in the Rogue Squadron game for the N64.
    • Wedge's Gamble has one of the squadron's pilots tell a stormtrooper, "You don't need to see her identification," while offering him a bribe. It works.
    • The Bacta War has untrained Jedi Corran Horn mind trick another stormtrooper with the words, "I can go about my business." It fails horribly.
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: In The Krytos Trap, Rogue Squadron visits the planet Ryloth, where Wedge learns about some peculiarities in their language, such as how they run names together to get one meaning, but changing the pronunciation also alters the meaning, with some of these translations being rather long. Wedgan'tilles means "slayer of stars", while the Basic version of Wedge Antilles roughly translates as "One so foul he could induce vomiting in a Rancor".
  • The Needless: As revealed in Wedge's Gamble, Gands such as Ooryl Qrygg don't breathe, meaning inhaled poisons have no effect on them. When asked how he talks, Ooryl explains that the air goes in, crosses the vocal cord equivalent, and goes right back out.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • Even when Corran Horn is actually really dead, they won't find his body.
    • In The Krytos Trap, Wedge lampshades this by noting that every once in a while he half-expects dead squadmates to walk through the door because they Never Found the Body (the body having gone up with their starfighter, admittedly). He and his childhood friend Mirax Terrik discuss how they were taught by Mirax's father Booster never to trust that somebody's dead if you don't see it yourself, because he made that mistake himself and ended up losing an eye to that presumed-dead enemy. As they're talking about Corran, this is actually a nice bit of Dramatic Irony; the audience knows he's alive, but they don't.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • While the Krytos plague severely strained the New Republic, it is estimated that the outbreak was not as bad as it could have been due to the fact that the virus debilitates and kills its victims so quickly that its ability to spread person to person among effected species is limited.
    • It is also mentioned that a large part of keeping the outbreak down was Rogue Squadron's efficiency in taking Coruscant. If they had held off for a few more days, the Rebels would have rolled in as the first wave of victims were dying. It's also estimated they inadvertently killed a large percentage of the initially waterborne virus by boiling off a major reservoir with an orbital mirror as part of their plan.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted.
    • Wedge's Gamble: Part of the job of Rogue Squadron is to take Coruscant's planetary shield down to ensure the planet falls swiftly, and as such minimize civilian casualties.
    • In The Krytos Trap, Rogue Squadron goes on a vital mission in a civilian-filled area. Wedge acknowledges that collateral damage is unavoidable, but tells the Rogues to pick their shots to minimize the casualties. Later in that same book,the Lusankya unearths itself from the planet and shoots down a skyhook in the process. That devastates over 100 square kilometers of land freeing itself and causalties are in the millions.
  • Noodle Implements: The notorious lanvarok. All the books mention is that it's a weapon, it's built by the Sith Species, and it's a distinct advantage to be left-handed when using it. Draw your own conclusions. Sadly, other sources ruined it by explaining exactly what it is.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Discussed in The Bacta War after the Thyferran Home Defense Corps troops try to attack an Ashern village. The Ashern (rebel Vratix who look like giant praying mantises with razor sharp claws and super strength) defeat the ambush, and Elscol orders their bodies dumped where their THDC comrades will find them. Iella instead suggests removing all traces of them, so the others will be left to imagine what horrible fate befell them.
  • Obfuscated Interface: Verpines, insectoid aliens, use base six mathematics rather than the base ten used by humans. There have been instances where Verpine technicians inadvertently "fix" X-wing controls to work on base six math, much to the annoyance of the human pilots. Even worse, they occasionally forget that other species don't have microscopic vision and can't see UV light, and so re-jig the instrument displays to be 'more efficient'.
  • Obfuscating Disability: At one point, Wedge Antilles disguises himself as Colonel Roat, an Imperial pilot who was badly wounded and given clumsy, poorly-functioning temporary prosthetics, on his way to Coruscant to get them replaced with sleeker models. Imperials at once look down on obvious cyborgs, generally thinking that only someone very clumsy or unlucky can be injured so badly as to need cybernetics, and at the same time respect the character played as a survivor and a war hero, and so feel guilt and shame if they get caught staring... so no one managed to connect him to the second most famous Rebel pilot. He played the character a second time, and while he had similar prosthetics to wear, they were not "dialed down" and he was able to act and fly more or less normally; the Imperials he met weren't rude enough to react visibly.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Wedge, during his attack run on the Star Destroyer Corrupter, has one when an Alderaanian War Frigate appears directly in front of him. He is immensely relieved to learn that the frigate is on his side.
    • Wedge also does it in Rogue Squadron when an Imperial Lancer-class frigate, a ship not very effective in most engagements but specifically designed to take on starfighters, appears right in the middle of the exact sort of battle it's suited for.
    • He also gets a good one on The Krytos trap, when sensors pick up the Super Star Destroyer.
  • Orbital Bombardment:
    • In Rogue Squadron the New Republic ISD Emancipator uses one to try to bring down the deflector shield of the Imperial base on Borleias. Wedge thinks to himself during the mission briefing that ground attack (i.e. the Hoth solution) has historically been more successful. In the end it doesn't matter thanks to General Derricote having an extra power supply for the shield.
    • In the background of Wedge's Gamble Warlord Zsinj uses the Iron Fist for a hit-and-run attack on the New Republic base on Noquivzor.
    • In The Bacta War, Corran half-jokes that this is how he would begin a theoretical plan for a raid on Chalmun's Cantina.
  • Orgy of Evidence:
    • Tycho Celchu is accused of being a sleeper agent, as well as murdering Corran Horn. His lawyer is quick to point out to the military tribunal that not only is there an overwhelming amount of evidence that proves Tycho's guilt, but that someone has been actively destroying anything that could exonerate Tycho. In the end, Tycho is found not guilty after other clues come up, like the fact that Corran himself walks into the room and declares that Tycho wasn't the one who tried to kill him.
    • It also doesn't hurt that General Cracken, head of New Republic Intelligence and Tycho's greatest critic thus far, declares he's known all along that Tycho wasn't the traitor in Rogue Squadron and was using Tycho's trial to draw out the real traitor.
  • Override Command: After taking Coruscant from the Empire, New Republic computer experts go through and close off some of the more obvious computer backdoors, hacks, and other override commands. Not having had time yet to close off some of the more obscure overrides, Imperial agents use those commands to communicate with the Empire. Erisi uses one when she sends reports to Isard by sending a message via the public networks, then using a batch command typically used to erase a large number of messages at once. When prompted by the batch job for the state and end times she uses the exact time she sent her message. It writes the message to a tape which is sent to a drop box, and erases the message and all records of it from the system. The message is then retrieved by intelligence operatives and sent to Isard.
  • Pacifism Backfire: During his pilgrimage to Alderaan's remains in The Bacta War, Tycho Celchu reflects sadly that he has become a different man than the one his murdered fiancee thought she was going to marry; unlike his current lover, Winter, she never would have understood or accepted that some conflicts cannot be resolved without violence, and that it is in fact possible to be a pacifist and yet be willing to use force against someone trying to harm you or your family and friends. He cannot help but wonder if Alderaan's destruction could have been averted if the member worlds of the Old Republic had taken a more militant stand against the rise of the Empire.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Defied. Mirax's father Booster doesn't like Corran, both generally because of the Dating Catwoman scenario between an ex-cop and a smuggler, and specifically because Corran's father Hal caught him and sent him to the Imperial Penal Colony on Kessel for five years. So in The Bacta War, Corran and Mirax choose not to give him the chance to stop them from getting married, and have Wedge wed them just after the Battle of Thyferra.
  • Pet the Dog: In The Bacta War, the captain of a Star Destroyer with the unfortunate name of Sair Yonka (the captain, not his Impstar) fusses over which outfit his lover would prefer to see him in, and has a gift for her, not knowing about her Rebel sympathies. The Rogues bribe him into switching sides.
  • The Plan:
    • Loads of them, many but by no means all of them Isard's doing.
    • Emtrey. Alliance Intelligence already knew about Emtrey's "special" programming and deliberately assigned him to Rogue Squadron. This was to find out if Tycho was really a sleeper agent or not, since Emtrey would have been the perfect droid for a spy to exploit.
    • Batman Gambit: the titular Krytos Trap of the third book — Isard wanted the Rebels to conquer Coruscant, as she had infected several species on it with a disease that the Republic would be hard-pressed to cure and then all the bad publicity would land on the Republic's doorstep. However, halfway through the book it's revealed that Coruscant fell two weeks earlier than Isard wanted (thanks to the Rogues), with the result that the plague was nowhere near as bad as it should have been.
  • Posthumous Character: The Stackpole books also often have Corran Horn thinking and talking about his deceased father Hal Horn, who was killed by the Bounty Hunter Bossk while meeting an informant Bossk was trying to collect a bounty on. Hal himself appears in the Spin-Off novella Interlude at Darkknell, cowritten by Stackpole and Timothy Zahn.
  • Ramming Always Works: In the Redemption Scenario at the start of Rogue Squadron, Corran at one point rams an opposing TIE Bomber with his X-wing. The text makes a point of mentioning that if Corran had hit head-on, the bomber's mass advantage would've been enough to overcome the X-wing's shields, obliterating both ships. What actually happened was that Corran struck a glancing blow, reducing his shields to a third and getting the bomber's controls bent up to the point where it went careening out of control for long enough that a torpedo Corran had launched earlier caught up.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Kirtan Loor attempts one after capturing Gil Bastra at the beginning of Rogue Squadron. It backfires, and Gil gets to give one in return by revealing that he allowed Loor to catch him and had actually been using himself as bait the entire time, because as long as Loor was chasing him, he wasn't chasing Corran Horn or Gil's other ex Corellian Security Force colleagues.
    • Corran Horn to Zekka Thyne:
      Corran: My father was smarter than you.
      Thyne: He's dead.
      Corran: My point stands.
    • Corran Horn and Booster Terrik go all out on each other in The Bacta War. Booster accusing Corran, as an ex-cop, of having been a lapdog for the Empire for far too long while real men (like himself) were out there challenging it. Corran responds that Booster wasn't a freedom fighter, just a black marketeer who helped criminals like the Hutts thrive while dodging the taxes legitimate society is built on. Subverted in that Wedge tells them to put a sock in it before they can go any farther, and reminds them that since Mirax (Booster's daughter, Corran's fiance) loves both of them a great deal, they have more in common than they think.
    • Sair Yonka in the same book, upon his defection, leaves Isard a holographic message noting that she was, among other things, irrational, narcissistic, sociopathic and unfit for command.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After the events of The Empire Strikes Back, the Needa family's name became pretty much worthless within the Imperial military. Virar Needa was apparently one of the lucky ones, with him only being relegated to being left as the officer in charge of one of Coruscant's orbital mirror platforms.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Ysanne Isard has odd-colored eyes and a skunk stripe.
    • Krennel literally has an obvious prosthetic right hand which glows red.
    • Zekka Thyne, an old nemesis of Corran's, is half-human and has Hellish Pupils.
    • Loka Hask, the man who caused the deaths of Wedge's parents, has a Corellian limpet covering half of his head, including an ear and an eye, with tentacles reaching into his nose and mouth.
    • Captain Semtin has obvious, creepy prosthetic eyeballs and mechanical thingies in his ears. He abandons some of his soldiers on Ryloth, which has local rules that offworlders with no influence or transportation get sold into slavery. The soldiers promptly switch sides. Bear in mind that these were highly skilled elite commandos who had flawlessly accomplished their mission, and Semtin had no particular need to leave them behind.
  • Red Shirt: In the Michael Stackpole books. Generally a bunch of characters are introduced and get maybe 1 or 2 lines at best, and then are barely mentioned until they die later on. In the Rogue books: Peshk gets no lines outside his cockpit. Andoorni says "Inspiring, Horn" (plus a few other lines in-cockpit) and actually survives their first real perilous situation, then dies with Peshk at Borleias. In The Bacta War Shiel bites the bullet after literally getting one line in the second book of the series and one more line after that (in book four).
  • The Reveal: The Krytos Trap features three doozies in the climax. The Lusankya has been on Coruscant the whole time, Erisi Dlarit is The Mole and the biggest one, Lusankya is a fully functional Super Star Destroyer.
  • Room Full of Crazy: During his escape from the Lusankya, Corran stumbles into a room full of defaced and vandalized Jedi statues and artifacts. It turns out to be the Galactic Museum's Jedi wing, sealed off after the rise of The Empire and turned into Palpatine's personal playground.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After a liftoff that kills millions, the Lusankya begins heading out to space. The TIE fighters defending the Super Star Destroyer waste no time getting back to SSD before it leaves Coruscant, knowing that those who weren't shot down would eventually have to land on a planet of very angry Corcuscant residents.
  • Secret Test of Character: Emtrey's override mode, triggered by stating the words "shut up!" three times in a row in his presence, turns out to be one of these. Emtrey was deliberately assigned to Rogue Squadron because of Tycho Celchu, and things were arranged so that Tycho would be spending a lot of time in Emtrey's presence. Emtrey's tendency to talk too much would naturally lead Tycho to (repeatedly) tell Emtrey to shut up, leading Tycho to discover the override mode. Had Tycho been The Mole, he might have been tempted to use Emtrey to obtain information he was not privy to, and report such to the Empire. However, while Tycho did at one point use Emtrey to gain access to classified information, he only did so in order to provide help to the Rogues (and while in the presence of Mirax Terrik), and he freely revealed the mode's presence to Corran afterward. The override mode has been removed by the end of The Krytos Trap, and the whole thing is revealed to be the doing of General Cracken, the New Republic Intelligence director.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: In Rogue Squadron, Corran's old enemy Imperial Intelligence Agent Kirtan Loor captures Corran's friend Gil Bastra and tortures him for information. He puts him in a bacta tank to heal up between sessions, but Bastra suffers a fatal allergic reaction. He turns out to have been previously exposed to a contaminated batch of bacta which caused a cluster of such allergies. Loor believes it was a freak accident, but Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard thinks Bastra exposed himself to the bad batch deliberately just in case he was ever captured.
  • Shout-Out: The name Lusankya is inspired by Lubyanka, the infamous KGB prison in which similar activities went on.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: When Kirtan Loor is summoned to Director Isard's office, the room strikes him as large but almost absurdly spartan in decoration. Then he realizes that on a City Planet as crowded as Coruscant, wasting that amount of space is the height of conspicuous consumption.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: In the first book, Imperial forces attacking Rogue Squadron's base in the pre-dawn hours when only a few were awake got into a firefight in one of the barracks where one of the Rogue pilots was killed before having a chance to wake up. It was later revealed to be Lujayne Forge, who was becoming something of the group's Team Mom. The Rogues took her death pretty hard, not only because of that, but because they felt she had been murdered in her sleep, rather than killed in honorable combat.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Wedge remarks on this to another officer about the Bothans, who have a smug sense of superiority about so many Rebel Bothans dying to get the information on the second Death Star, yet conveniently leave out the fact that they were meant to get the plans and the Rebel fleet was nearly destroyed because of it, but the Bothans wear that deception "Like a badge of honor".
  • Smug Snake: Kirtan Loor.
  • Soft Glass: Averted at every opportunity. In chronological order:
    • During the swoop bike chase in Wedge's Gamble, Corran gets rid of a sidecar by flinging it through what from a distance appears to be an advertising screen. It's a window upon closer inspection, and coincidentally Wedge and some of the other Rogues are inside. Wedge overturns a sofa and hides everyone behind it, but the flying transparisteel shards still injure him.
    • When Corran breaks a glass display case in The Krytos Trap, he wraps his hand in cloth to try and keep from injuring himself. It still hurts, but he prioritizes getting the lightsaber inside over avoiding injury.
  • Synthetic Plague: Krytos, tailor-made by the Empire to kill several species in an impressively squicky fashion. Designed specifically to exploit multiple weaknesses of the New Republic simultaneously: first, it only targeted non-humans, inflaming species tensions. Second, it could be cured with bacta, the most common medical treatment in the galaxy—which meant all their bacta supplies went to treating Krytos and caused severe shortages everywhere.
  • The Syndicate: Black Sun plays a role in Stackpole's run of X-wing novels as a third party in the Galactic Civil War: both the New Republic and the Empire try to enlist kingpin Fliry Vorru in their campaign against the other side, only to have it blow up in their faces.
  • Theme Naming: The planet Contruum enforces this strictly for its ships, with virtues only being used for warships. This causes problems for Zsinj when one of his spy ships in Wedge's Gamble is disguised as a freighter called Contruum's Pride and Rogue Squadron includes Pash Cracken, a native of Contruum.
  • Third-Person Person: Ooryl. Apparently, among Gands, using the first person makes the arrogant assumption that you're so famous that anyone ought to know your name. By the end of The Bacta War, Ooryl is judged by a trio of high officials in Gand society to have become sufficiently famous that any other Gand should know who he is, making it appropriate to refer to himself in the first person. A Gand who has accomplished nothing of note is to refer to himself as "Gand". They can earn the right to use first their surname and then their given name as a self-reference through accomplishments in their respective career; for example, Ooryl earned the right to call himself "Qrygg" through learning basic piloting, and to call himself "Ooryl" by completing advanced flight training. And when a Gand feels ashamed due to a perceived failure (or, as in Wedge's Gamble, has other need for anonymity), they will temporarily "demote" themselves to a lower level of naming.
  • This Cannot Be!: In The Krytos Trap Wedge at first cannot believe what his X-Wing's sensors are telling him, that a Super Star Destroyer has just broken free of a secion of the planet-wide city on Coruscant and is slowly gaining altitude.
  • Torture Is Ineffective:
    • In Rogue Squadron, Kirtan Loor finds he cannot use his preferred interrogation technique on Corran Horn's friend Gil Bastra because Bastra has been taking a drug that reacts with one used for torture in such a way that the subject could suffer anything from amnesia to death. Loor uses a different technique and then puts him in bacta to heal between sessions, but Bastra dies due to an allergic reaction.
    • In The Krytos Trap, Corran Horn is tortured and subjected to brainwashing techniques by Ysanne Isard in her Lusankya prison in hopes of turning him into a Manchurian Agent. She fails and puts him into gen pop. That doesn't work either; he figures out The Alcatraz's secret and escapes. He also finds her private Manchurian Agent database and discovers it didn't work on Tycho Celchu, either. However, Corran comments in his Internal Monologue that she probably did get whatever useful intelligence he knew.
  • Trigger Phrase: Emtrey has "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!" activate some ultimately-benign hidden programming, while telling him to 'scrounge something' causes him to flip from fussy bureaucrat to expert barterer. The former gets fixed later due to understandable security concerns — imagine how often any sort of protocol droid, even a military protocol droid, gets told to shut up — and even the "scrounger" personality is implied to be throttled back because he started buying and selling based on what he expects the Rogues to capture in their next mission. Ultimately it's revealed that New Republic Intelligence chief General Cracken had the "shut up" trigger phrase installed as a Secret Test of Character for Tycho Celchu.
  • Unprocessed Resignation: In The Krytos Trap, the New Republic refuses to authorize a military operation to capture the bacta-producing planet Thyferra from Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard, believing Warlord Zsinj a greater threat. Rogue Squadron resigns en masse to conduct their own private war against Isard, which takes up book four, The Bacta War. Upon returning to Coruscant in Wraith Squadron, the Rogues find out their resignations were "accidentally" misfiled and the New Republic has retroactively declared the whole endeavor an official operation.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The first book starts with the pilots running the infamous Redemption scenarionote , and the strategies described are, in fact, the recommended tactics for that mission (also called Requiem, for obvious reasons). The Redemption scenario isn't perceived in story as being unwinnable, but it is very difficult, especially on the first try. Corran Horn legitimately manages to win the level — barely — an impressive feat on its own.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Isard has a number of choice moments during The Bacta War, but the best is when she watches Captain Sair Yonka's message explaining his defection. Her subordinates get to watch as she begins ranting at his recording. At times in the book she seems to realize the breakdown is happening and thinks she's got it under control, but ultimately she's wrong.
    • Then there's the last moments of Lusankya's captain's life. He promotes himself to Grand Admiral, threatens to crash the Lusankya into Thyferra, and is then shot by his first officer, who surrenders the ship.
  • Visual Pun: The marquee of the Headquarters, a bar on Coruscant that Corran finds his way to in Wedge's Gamble. It features a stormtrooper's helmet being torn into four pieces.
  • With Us or Against Us: Elscol Loro, an anti-Imperial fighter who's much more extreme than the New Republic, has come to believe this by The Bacta War. She tells Iella that there's no way to really stay "neutral". Either you're with the Empire or against them. Attempting to not get involved just tacitly supports the status quo of the Empire. As a result, she claims she'll target civilians if they don't wake up and side with her fight, but Iella reigns her in.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian:
    • The Rogues at one point attack a spaceport. Rogue Leader, Wedge Antilles, is aware that it is tactically necessary, so he goes through with it, but gives orders to try to limit civilian casualties, and later sets up funds to help the families of those who were killed there, remembering that his own family was similar collateral damage.
    • Discussed in The Bacta War, where Elscol tells Iella that if the civilians don't side with her insurgency, they're tacitly on the Empire's side and she'll target them as well. Iella is appalled by this and makes it clear she won't go along with that.
  • Worthy Opponent: Booster Terrik saw Inspector Hal Horn as this, and vice versa.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Isard is the Queen of this trope, whose murderous punishments for failure were known to go as far as patricide. Isard's love affair with this trope is skewered in one of Allston's novels, where the slightly more benevolent Admiral Trigit notes that anyone working for a capricious psycho like Isard had nothing to look forward to except either death by the Rebels, or death by her.
    • Averted once by her in the first novel (before we really get to know her, possibly?). When someone he's interrogating dies before giving up the information he needs, Kirtan Loor is summoned back to Imperial Center by Isard, Empress in all but name. All along the way, even while marveling at the view, he's sweating and expecting her to kill him. She doesn't — not at that point in time — but she does make her displeasure at his poor thinking clear, and wants him to perform better. It's notable that his shuttle docked at the same port as the one Vader was summoned to after Yavin — and that, we learned in Zahn's novels, the Emperor nearly killed Vader for failing to prevent the Death Star's destruction...
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: When Iella Wessiri is holding Fliry Vorru at gunpoint after thwarting his escape attempt from Thyferra, he confidently states that he's familiarized himself with all of Wedge's group and knows she wouldn't kill an unarmed man who's already surrendered. Iella agrees that she wouldn't. But points out that her companion has no such compunctions, and lets Elscol Loro shoot. Iella had in fact switched Loro's blaster to "stun" before doing so, to guarantee that Vorru would in fact be captured alive. She did this without Loro's knowledge, to make sure Vorru (who'd been boasting that he'd be able to get away with all his crimes because he knew about so many other criminals that he'd be able to cut a deal) would experience the fear of not being in control of his fate like he thought he was.

    Wraith Squadron series 
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Wraith Squadron's mechanic, Cubber Daine, is basically Scotty from Star Trek transposed into the Star Wars universe, right down to his habit of multiplying estimated repair times.
  • Always Second Best: Falynn Sandskimmer from Wraith Squadron insecurely feels that she's never more than the second best at anything. At the end of the book, she finally feels vindicated when she becomes the first pilot ever to fly inside a Star Destroyer and shoot it up from the inside, but dies in the process. This is very much a case of Grass Is Greener, because one of the pilots Falynn feels inferior to (Tyria, as regards her tracking skills) is even more insecure and starts out as the worst or second-worst pilot full stop. Worse for Falynn, she never even considers her versatility as a quality (yes, she was "always second best", but to different people).
  • Androcles' Lion: After sabotaging Zsinj's flagship in Solo Command, Lara takes the time to free the creatures being experimented on in Zsinj's secret lab instead of immediately trying to escape the ship. When she does try to escape the ship, she is caught by General Melvar, but is rescued by the lab refugees.
  • And This Is for...: When Donos shoots down the fleeing fighter carrying Admiral Trigit, who is responsible for the death of his girlfriend and his former squadron.
    Donos: One for Falynn. Two for Talon.
  • Artificial Limbs: Ton Phanan is allergic to the bacta used to promote tissue regeneration, and has had to make do with prosthetics to replace several limbs (and about half his face).
  • Artistic License -- Alien Biology: In Iron Fist, Castin comes across a group of imperial scientists experimenting on a Talz The Talz is described to open its mouth and roar during the experiment. Just how wide can those little things open?
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Face has a Holmesian ability to determine someone's planet of origin and past just by the way they walk. His homeworld has a cultural specialty in body language, and he was trained as an actor from a young age to recognize, analyze, and adopt body language.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Admiral Trigit, despite mocking Isard's blatantly bad-boss management (noting that anyone who worked for a capricious psycho like Isard only had one of two things to look forward to: You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, or You Have Failed Me). He's a Benevolent Boss as long as things are running smoothly, but when the chips are down, he's perfectly willing to sacrifice his Star Destroyer and everyone aboard to save his own sorry ass.
    • Zigzagged with Zsinj, who is sometimes prone to You Have Failed Me, but other times displays a Thrawn-like pragmatism. It's implied in Zsinj's case that his ruthlessness may be part of his Obfuscating Stupidity: execute the real failures to get a reputation, but competent people who make mistakes get promoted/rewarded, very similar to Thrawn's treatment of his subordinates. One example of the latter: he gave a commission to a former enemy stormtrooper who tried to help Zsinj at the last minute — that attempt failed, but through no fault of said stormtrooper, and he kept the promotion. However, a bridge officer who persistently defies orders by running flight simulators instead of doing his job gets executed, because as Zsinj points out, even if the officer turned out to have a genuine aptitude as a pilot his complete inability to follow orders makes him useless as a soldier..
  • Bar Brawl: Staged twice in Iron Fist. At the very beginning of the story, Zsinj's operatives start one involving the Wraiths so that other agents posing as MPs can capture or kill them. This plan is later adapted by the Wraiths into a Zany Scheme to start a bar fight with some off-duty Imperials, so that other Wraiths disguised as military police can arrest the drunk and disorderly soldiers... and thus get waved through the gate of their base in the guise of MPs escorting the drunken losers of the fight to the brig. The fact that the Wraiths consider starting a bar fight to be a perfectly sensible way of infiltrating an Imperial base says a lot about them.
  • Becoming the Mask: Gara Petothel was an Intelligence officer who managed to get herself into Wraith Squadron so she could rat on them to Warlord Zsinj. However, she quickly came to realize that A: she didn't agree with the underhanded methods of Zsinj and his followers, and B: she was addicted to the genuine welcome and trust she received from the Wraiths. It caused her some serious identity issues, mostly because her Intelligence training really screwed up her sense of personal identity.
  • The Bet: The trilogy is set in motion by a bet between Wedge and Admiral Ackbar: if Wedge's attempt to turn the misfits of Starfighter Command into a functional special operations unit fails, Wedge accepts the promotion to general that he's been putting off for years and joins Ackbar's staff — meaning he's out of the cockpit. It looks initially like a Leonine Contract since Ackbar himself is the one who gets to decide whether the squadron is a success or not. By the end of Solo Command, Ackbar agrees that Wedge has won, letting him stay in the cockpit another two years until after Isard's Revenge.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Several pilots tend to be a bit mild-mannered, but Piggy is jarringly so among the rest of the slightly-messed-up Wraiths, not even raising his voice. The one time he loses his temper, after being gut-shot by an assassin out to kill Admiral Ackbar, he picks up Ackbar's desk and hits the assassin with it so hard that the wall behind the assassin bows out and knocks unconcious an ensign on the other side. The assassin had to be scraped off the wall afterward. His defense against the false charge that got him in the Wraith selection pool — striking a superior officer — is that it was filed within half an hour of the alleged incident, and none of the people he did hit (during well-moderated challenge matches) were able to speak coherently within a half hour.
    • Tyria Sarkin. Apparently the most stable member of Wraith Squadron. Nice lady, mild manners. Punched three hells out of Eurrsk "Grinder" Thriag when a proposition he made in jest hit her Berserk Button.
    • Wedge himself. He's a good guy with a sense of duty that outweighs everything else, he's very accepting of Imperial defectors, he has survivor's guilt and doesn't lessen his opinion of someone when they dislike a friend of his. But he can be pressed too far. In Wraith Squadron, after the titular group was ambushed by a group of pilots that Zsinj was trying to ally himself with (resulting in the death of Jesmin Ackbar and a Heroic BSoD for Donos), he walks in on the pirates with a terrifying glare on his face. The pirate leader tries to bluff him by saying the battle had taken place in an unclaimed star system and so there were no laws there and they had the right to defend themselves. Wedge agrees and says in that case they were free to go — but of course if there were no laws that also meant there were no laws against the Wraiths killing all the pirates and looting their supplies. The pirate leader changes his mind about if there were any laws in the star system.
  • Big Bad: Warlord Zsinj is a Wicked Cultured and Affably Evil mastermind, who is frequently a step or two ahead of his enemies, although the Wraiths' sheer unpredictability tends to allow them to catch up.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: The Wraiths avoid a face to face meeting with some of Zsinj's men by infecting them with a contagious disease while on shore leave, so that they have to quarantine themselves. The moral issues of bio warfare (made more severe by the shadow of Isard's Krytos plague in the previous series) are evaded by Phanan deliberately selecting a disease that, while highly unpleasant, is rarely lethal given access to a proper medical facility and works its way out of the victim's system in a week or two.
  • BFG: Voort "Piggy" saBinring takes over an Imperial vessel armed with a two-meter-long cannon stripped from his starfighter. He uses it to blow a hole in the ceiling of the hangar and through the floor of the bridge, and only after he's subdued the crew does he realize that his shot also inadvertantly vaporized the unlucky captain.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In Solo Command the Wraiths fall into a trap, but rather than just shoot them Zsinj's forces just demand their demolitions bag and try to incinerate the Wraiths. This allows them to figure out that they can blast their way out of the room and they throw up a different bag and (narrowly) escape the incinerator room.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Piggy is a Gamorrean, a naturally strong but mentally stunted species, which means they often find employment as muscle for hire. Piggy, on the other hand, is genetically altered to be a mathematical genius and control his temper. This means he has both the intelligence and patience to master martial arts, making him a terror in close combat.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: In Iron Fist, two of the Wraiths on a mission are surprised to find that another Wraith brought his sniper rifle, even though the mission wasn't one that should have called for any sort of sniping. He offhandedly tells them that he takes it with him everywhere — sleeps with it, bathes with it, goes to the fresher with it.
  • Captain's Log: Taken a few steps further in Wraith Squadron, where the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits captures the starship Night Caller and find that the Small Name, Big Ego Captain stores his Captain's Log in hologram form. We're talking hours of holo-footage here. There's so much of it that the Wraiths are able to to use it cobble together a CGI Captain to mess around with the Big Bad of the novel in a rather delicious Indy Ploy.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • The running joke about Wraith Squadron having an Ewok pilot ends up having an entirely serious effect on the plot.
    • In Solo Command, there's a running joke about how Former Child Star Face Loran had an ongoing rivalry with another child star named Tetran Cowall (the rivalry actually gets mentioned even earlier, but not Tetran's name). Near the end, it's revealed that Cowall has been working for Zsinj all through the trilogy in a role that mirrors Face's.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Wraith Squadron, Wedge orders that a new scenario (the sneak attack that annihilated Myn's Talon Squadron), be programmed into the flight simulators as one of the tests for pilots hoping to join the squadron. At the time, the other pilot-hopefuls wonder why Myn is excluded from that scenario. Later, the other pilots snap Myn out of his Heroic BSoD by strapping him into a simulator and forcing him to relive the massacre.
    • In Wraith Squadron, Face tells a creepy story about how as a child star on Coruscant, he was due to be presented to the Emperor but, as Palpatine was called away, ended up sitting in Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard's lap instead. Towards the end of the book, he makes a mistake in his impersonation of an Imperial Intelligence-trained captain that almost rouses (also Intelligence-trained) Admiral Trigit's suspicions, but is able to smooth it over due to his knowledge of Isard's perfume from this incident — which Trigit assumes is something only Intelligence officers could know about.
  • Cold Sniper: Myn Donos, due to the psychological trauma he suffered when he lost his previous squadron in an Imperial ambush. Even after partially working through it in Wraith Squadron he's still very aloof with everyone except Lara Notsil.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Face offers an Imperial guard an entire credit while pretending to be an Agamarian stereotype.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Tyria Sarkin is from Toprawa, the planet Leia picked up the Death Star plans from in the A New Hope radio play. The Empire was not kind to the Toprawans for their Rebel Alliance faction's role in the Empire's collapse.
    • You remember one of the celebration cuts at the end of Episode Six? The one on Coruscant with the statue falling? In Iron Fist one of the Wraiths recalls witnessing that event — and then how it was violently broken up by stormtroopers who fired blasters (that weren't on stun) into the crowd.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Zsinj has secret deals with a number of corporations in unaligned and even Republic controlled systems in order to supply his fleet, although several of those were made under the "I have a Super Star Destroyer, so I will give you either credits or orbital bombardment, your choice" school of negotiation.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Imperial Intelligence agent Gara Petothel has a back-up identity she can escape into if things go bad. She can't use a disguise, like make-up or a wig, to change her appearance to match the new identity, because if things go that bad there will be people watching out for disguises. So what she does is to have surgery to change her appearance to match the new identity, and then uses make-up and a wig to change her appearance back to what it was before. She spends weeks disguised as herself, so that when trouble hits she can remove the wig and makeup and change her clothes and Gara Petothel will disappear.
    • This is actually the same ploy that Thaal uses in Mercy Kill, interestingly enough.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: After capturing the Night Caller, Wraith Squadron has thirteen people to crew a corvette, fly combat missions, and guard the captive former crew. Sleep levels are described as being "barely adequate". They make a point of returning to New Republic space to offload the prisoners and get a new crew for the ship at the first possible opportunity.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: When Wedge catches Tyria and Grinder in the middle of a fight, Phanan tries to explain it away in this fashion — the pair were "demonstrating a martial arts move." Wedge is having none of it, however.
    Wedge: Do you know how many times I've heard that "We were discussing a boxing maneuver" excuse?
    Phanan: I... don't know, sir.
    Wedge: That was a rhetorical question, Flight Officer Phanan. Do not re-enter this conversation.
  • Dating Catwoman: There is a complicated version between Myn and Lara. Made more so by Lara's Becoming the Mask.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While the series has a fixed Protagonist in Wedge Antilles and Tritagonist in Lara Notsil, the Deuteragonist rotates between novels with each character confronting their own book-long character arc.
    • Wraith Squadron — Kell
    • Iron Fist — Face
    • Solo Command — Myn
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Can be done with holograms. The Wraiths take over the role of the captain of the Night Caller in this way, helped by his extensive, data-expensive series of holographic logs.
  • Defictionalization: An in-universe example — the Ewok pilot Lieutenant Kettch started out as a Running Gag among the pilots in Wraith Squadron, then in Iron Fist Face claims to Zsinj that he's real and Wedge has to fly his TIE interceptor with an Ewok puppet in his lap. (Wedge wears a black flight suit to blend in with the cockpit's black background, so that only people who looked in the cockpit very closely would notice that the "Ewok" was sitting on somebody.) Finally, in Solo Command, Lara discovers that Zsinj has an actual Ewok pilot called Kolot. (Which he had created after hearing about Kettch from Face.)
  • Did Not Think This Through: A minor case occurs in Solo Command, when Wedge makes a mission plan that involves Chewbacca going along as his copilot. It's a relatively well-thought-out plan, but Janson points out that he did overlook one thing...
    "Wedge, you don't speak Wookiee."
    "I—oh, Sithspit."
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: Competition towards the end of the Wraith selection process is fierce. Admiral Ackbar's niece Jesmin Ackbar is initially signed up just as the unit's communications specialist, which she fears will be yet another desk job, but then a competing Quarren candidate slaps her in a racially motivated incidentnote  and is washed out of the unit. Overall it's implied that this was rampant in the selection process; Wedge was hoping for a full squadron of twelve, but ended up with only ten viable candidates, and ended up filling the gaps with himself and Wes Janson.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Played for laughs in one of the Wraith Squadron books. Face Loran has his R2 unit modified to produce cold bottles of beer on command. And Wedge then has it secretly reprogrammed so that he can also use the 'dispense beer' command.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!:
    • Falynn suffers from a serious inferiority complex and hates the idea of being coddled.
    • Phannan, to a lesser degree, due to people reacting to his cyborg status as opposed to recognizing his talents as a doctor.
  • Dramedy: The Wraith Squadron books are prone to being Mildly Military and getting up to wacky hijinks and Crazy Enough to Work plans at the drop of a hat.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe. Wraith Squadron has Grinder's joking offer that he could slice into Tyria's records and improve her piloting scores in exchange for a favor. Unfortunately, he hit a nerve with that suggestion — he couldn't have known, but someone had done exactly that in Tyria's past (and she felt extremely guilty about it).
  • Dysfunction Junction: As a consequence of being a group of screwups on their last chance (a deliberate ploy by Wedge, so that he could claim the new squadron wouldn't cost the New Republic anything), nearly everyone has some sort of problem plaguing them and much of the drama is around them coming to terms with their problems and resolving them. Interestingly enough, even those who join later, theoretically skipping the "almost washed out" selection criteria, still generally turn out to have have serious issues of their own, like Lara's crisis of identity and loyalty, or Castin struggling with internalised Fantastic Racism.
  • Elite Mook: Zsinj's Raptors, which were mentioned in the backstory for The Courtship of Princess Leia but get a fuller treatment in Allston's books.
  • Emotional Torque: Allston's writing. It borders on Mood Whiplash sometimes. In the later books the emotional torque itself is a large part of the plot. Since so many bad things keep happening, Wedge is constantly trying to find ways to keep the mood and morale up, but Zsinj or just his own pilots keep on bringing it down.
  • Enemy Mine: Two permutations:
    • New Republic + Zsinj vs. the Empire. In Iron Fist, during part of their long term plan to infiltrate Zsinj's organization, the Wraiths discover that they're about to be used in his upcoming attack on Kuat to steal the Empire's newest Super Star Destroyer. While the Wraiths do intend to monkey-wrench Zsinj's plan, Wedge clarifies during the pre-mission briefing that the people they and Zsinj are attacking are still Imperials, and therefore enemies, so any damage done to them as part of the attack is good for the New Republic.
    • New Republic + Empire vs. Zsinj. In the next book, Solo Command, Admiral Rogriss, the Imperial task force commander in charge of pursuing Zsinj, reaches out to his New Republic counterpart Han Solo, whom the Wraiths have now been assigned to, suggesting that they pool their efforts. Han accepts, despite it being clear to both of them that with the New Republic/Imperial war still going strong, they might both be pursued for treason if this is ever made public. When springing a trap on Zsinj, both Rogriss and Solo go to great lengths to conceal from their own fleets the fact that an Imperial Interdictor cruiser is temporarily serving as part of a New Republic task force.note 
  • Epiphany Therapy:
    • Kell's fear and hatred of the man who killed his father and his, for lack of a better term, performance anxiety are cured this way. The first is after he realizes that Janson isn't the You Have Failed Me type, the second when it dawns on him just what running away will mean to the love of his life. (It's not quite so simple, as it's mentioned Kell will never get rid of the fear entirely... but then the fear is mentioned only fleetingly.)
    • Tearjerkingly used in the case of Myn Donos. After entering a Heroic BSoD after his astromech (the last survivor of his previous squadron) is destroyed in battle, the other pilots wait until he falls asleep and then strap him into a simulator, forcing him to relive the battle where Talon Squadron was annihilated in order to force him to confront his feelings rather than keep repressing them. Surprisingly, it works, allowing him to come out of his depression and begin moving on.
    • These two cases are related; Kell realizes he was wrong about Janson because while doing repairs, he overhears Janson talking with Wedge about Donos's breakdown. He's surprised to hear that Wes wants to wait and see if Donos recovers, while pretending they never knew about his issues, instead of just booting him out of the squadron (as they'd have every right to do).
  • Escalating War: The prank war in the Wraith Squadron books. The moral of the story: Wedge doesn't have a particular love or knack for practical jokes, but he does have resources.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: A couple of them in Solo Command:
    • Lara, stuck on Zsinj's flagship Iron Fist, sees an MSE-6 mouse droid and pictures herself as being as small and beneath-notice like the droid... and then realises she can use them to sabotage the ship.
    • The Rogues and other squadrons are pursuing Iron Fist into an asteroid field when Donos has a sense that he remembers being here before, and tells the others to break off and that it's an ambush. Wedge initially thinks Donos has snapped again due to his PTSD from an ambush that wiped out his squadron, but actually Donos was remembering an earlier incident from a training simulation based on an old battle, when the original Iron Fist under Captain Zsinj had wiped out a fighter squadron by luring them into an asteroid field and then blasting the asteroids to destructive shards.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Garik Loran has a dramatic facial scar that could easily be removed with New Republic medical technology but he chooses to keep it as a reminder of the debt he owes to balance the help he gave the Empire in his youth. He has it removed at the end of Iron Fist after Ton Phonan convinces him that he doesn't need to keep punishing himself for his actions when he was too young to make effective choices.
  • Evil Counterpart / Shadow Archetype:
    • The Allston books sometimes portray Warlord Zsinj as being one to Han Solo.
    • Baron Fel, the ace TIE pilot, to Wedge, except that it turns out he's an impostor created by Zsinj and the person he's really the evil counterpart of is Face.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Gast, in charge of Zsinj's Frankensteinian experiments on various non-human species.
  • Fake Static: A variant. When Wedge attempts to recall members of Wraith Squadron during a major battle, they claim his signal's breaking up as static comes through on the radio. Wedge immediately recognizes the old trick of rubbing one's gloves over the microphone, since he's done it himself a few times.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Near the end of Solo Command, a Mauve Shirt pilot investigates a bomb and realizes that Zsinj has set it up to fake the destruction of his flagship and get his enemies off his tail. Moments later, the bomb goes off, killing the pilot before he can pass on what he's learned. This scene serves to clue in any reader who hadn't already figured out Zsinj's plan from the scenes of Zsinj's preparations, so that they're not confused by what happens next.
  • Fix Fic:
    • To The Courtship of Princess Leia, particularly in regards to Warlord Zsinj and General Melvar. Allston had to modify Warlord Zsinj's personality in Courtship of being a generic frothing-at-the-mouth-when-things-go-bad Imperial into a character with actual panache that could pull off victory after victory against the New Republic for novels at a time. He does this by making Zsinj into a skilled actor who pretends to be overly evil and angry on occasion either to impress and mislead his viewers or for his own amusement. The only disadvantage to this otherwise very successful reinvention is that it makes Zsinj's final defeat in the chronologically later Courtship seem very disappointing in retrospect, considering he is barely even a character in that novel.
    • Allston also managed to come up with a plausible explanation for how Zsinj's flagship had been blown up... twice... in the later-set, but earlier-written, novel.
    • Allston also fixes (with Lampshade Hanging) a slight continuity error on Stackpole's part, where Corran Horn meets Han Solo for the first time in I, Jedi, despite having served on his ship during the Zsinj campaign several years earlier. Allston has the pilots have an In-Universe Running Gag that Horn and Solo are the same person, despite being completely different physically, because thanks to several coincidences they are never seen at the same time in the same room. This is also justified In-Universe, as Horn's father was a Corellian Security officer who unsuccessfully tried to catch Solo when he was a smuggler, so it's natural the two would want to avoid the awkwardness of this matter being raised. Humorously enough, in the course of I, Jedi, Corran ends up using the same alias that Han had been using when Hal Horn tried to arrest him. Without either Corran or his knows-virtually-everything-in-the-underworld father-in-law realizing it.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Zsinj is able to command a dazzling array of invective in multiple languages, considerably impressing his nemesis Han Solo. Han actually has the ten minutes of cursing directed at him recorded, so that all the insults can be translated later. This is also a Call-Forward to a brief passage in The Courtship of Princess Leia. "Did you know he really is a genius? He can swear fluently in sixty languages."
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Iron Fist Wedge assigns the Wraiths to psychologically analyse Zsinj, and one of the points they mention is that he renames all his ships after his first command, an old Victory-class Star Destroyer named Iron Fist. In the next book, Solo Command, Donos suddenly calls off an attack on Zsinj near an asteroid field. Wedge asks why and Donos mentions that one of his old instructors made them play a simulator scenario based on an old incident when a Victory-class Star Destroyer had wrecked a Rebel Y-wing force by blowing up nearby asteroids:
      Wedge: Which Victory-class Star Destroyer was it?
      Donos: Iron Fist, sir. The original one. Zsinj's first command.
    • In Iron Fist, while the Wraiths are trying to figure out what makes Zsinj tick, Face nearly gives Wedge a heart attack by mentioning his theory that Ysanne Isard is still alive, pointing out how odd it was that she was shot down in a shuttle she was never seen boarding, after having shown a tendency for going to ground during losses instead of fleeing. Sure enough, two books later...
    • In the scene at the museum, Donos notices the family resemblance between one of the portraits and Shalla, and realizes she's the daughter of a famous man who went into hiding when Palpatine took over rather than serve the Empire. Immediately after this realization, an old man comments on Lara's resemblance to a young woman he once knew — actually Gara Petothel's mother — which later turns out to be the final clue Face needed to figure out Lara's true background.
  • Former Child Star: Garik "Face" Loran used to be a child actor in Imperial propaganda holodramas. He regrets his involvement, and now uses his piloting skills and considerable acting ability to help the New Republic.
  • Fun Personified: The Wraith books in general are probably the funniest thing in Legends, but specifically, Wes Janson. Making it all the more dissonant in Wraith Squadron that Kell (because of being misinformed of the manner of his father's death) is terrified of him, believing him to be a General Ripper prone to You Have Failed Me.
  • Gambit Pileup: Near the end of Solo Command, both Warlord Zsinj and Han Solo have come up with plans to try and get the other to bring their flagship into a situation where they can be trapped, and both have (different) plans involving a fake copy of a well-known ship. This naturally leads to lots of "Not So Different" Remark dueling dialogue scenes.
  • Game of Chicken: Used as a tactic by Zsinj in Solo Command when Han Solo traps his fleet with a borrowed Interdictor Cruiser. Zsinj has the Victory Star Destroyer Serpent's Smile position itself in front of the Interdictor to force it to change course, knowing that the Smile's captain is a bigger Determinator than that Interdictor's captain. He realises his mistake when it turns out that Admiral Rogriss is commanding the Interdictor personally, but then the Smile's bridge tower is destroyed so it can't flinch first anyway.
  • Gaslighting: We see the effects on Grinder, and then we find out how and why it was done; basically, the squadron was growing tired of all the pranks being pulled by the victim of this trope, and Face decided on the lowest form of revenge he could think of as payback and a warning against future pranks.
  • Genius Bruiser: Voort is a Gamorrean whose brain chemistry was altered, making him intelligent and stable enough to become a very good pilot, as well as being such a mathematical genius that he probably doesn't even need an astromech; he can make the hyperspace calculations in his head. And he has a habit of being able to knock out any human in one punch.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Wraith Squadron had a Talz try out for the squadron. He did well during the simulation (a replay of the Battle of Endor) but his adrenaline and heart rate were skyrocketing all the way through, showing that he wasn't comfortable even against simulated targets. Wedge and Wes recommended he transfer back into freighters as a result.
    • Piggy as well. Cultured, intelligent, and overall a very kind being, he is also capable of hitting a wall so hard that a person on the other side is knocked unconscious.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Wraith Squadron does this in Solo Command after they unwittingly walk into a Death Trap at the Saffalore biomedical complex. After just barely escaping being dropped into a medical waste incinerator (leaving almost all of them wounded, some seriously), all bets are off, with the whole team united in wanting to a) escape and b) destroy anyone or anything who tries to stop them. Even the normally mild-mannered Runt casually beats an enemy close-combat trainer to death bare-handed, and the usually happy-go-lucky Janson briefly becomes an utterly silent, coldly ruthless killing machine. Face gives the order to act this way in no small part because he knows his team is, despite appearances, so incredibly furious that they wouldn't accept any other orders at that point.
  • Good Feels Good: Along with realizing just how bad her side was, this is the big reason for Lara's Heel–Face Turn. "The one thing Lara understood was the expressions turned on her. They were the eyes of a group to whom she belonged. Not since her parents' loss had she seen that expression."
  • Good with Numbers: Voort "Piggy" saBinring's engineered intelligence makes him a mathematical genius who can do hyperspace calculations in his head, making the "navigator" portion of the astromech droid's role redundant. Basically, any R2 unit assigned to Piggy's X-wing is just along for the ride unless in-flight repairs become necessary. He later on manages to also act as a kind of tactical computer. As of Mercy Kill, he's using it to augment his macrobinoculars' rangefinder while acting as a spotter to calculate to the centimeter how far the sniper is off target.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Castin Donn, established early in Iron Fist as having a deep-seated loathing of alien species due to his upbringing, ultimately meets his end trying to rescue one of the non-human victims of Zsinj's experiments. However, the other Wraiths know only that he was caught after disobeying direct orders not to try and infiltrate Zsinj's flagship.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: At the beginning of Iron Fist, Runt is assaulted with a bottle which doesn't break, and gets a concussion. When the Wraiths recycle the scene for one of their schemes, Phanan uses a fake bottle on Kell — the bottle shatters and leaves the latter unfazed. However, someone else uses a real bottle during the ensuing brawl (which, like the bottle used on Runt, doesn't break), leaving Phanan a bit dazed afterward.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lara Notsil, born Gara Petothel, was an Imperial spy previously, and was responsible for the destruction of Talon Squadron. She came to realize she was working for dishonorable people, and sought to change that. She ends up marrying the sole survivor of Talon Squadron.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Donos starts Wraith Squadron with his sanity hanging by a thread, loses it twice during his time with his new squadron (slipping into an Angst Coma in one case), and comes perilously close at least one other time. Near the end of Solo Command, he thinks he's about to lose it again... but realizes he's thinking about an entirely separate incident in time to save most of his fellow pilots from a dangerous trap.
    • Kell gets a couple of smaller examples during Wraith Squadron, especially after failing to save Jesmin, and almost panicking like his father did during the battle against the Implacable. Nothing quite up to Donos' standards.
    • Both Lara Notsil and Dia Passik get their own breakdowns in Iron Fist: Lara because of the whole double-agent thing, and Dia because of having to shoot Castin Donn (having been pretty sure he was dead, but not certain). Lara's is more drawn-out, Dia's more immediately catastrophic (to the point of attempting suicide).
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: During a private moment aboard the "false" Millenium Falcon, Han admits to Wedge what a fraud he thinks he is; he was never trained to command such a huge group of ships and people, he often wishes he was back in the old days when it was just him and Chewie, and worst of all, he wonders deep down if he volunteered to command the task force not because it was the right thing to do but because he wanted to impress Leia, who has thrown her whole heart and soul into building the New Republic after the Empire's collapse — and if he's right, that makes it inevitable that one day Leia will wake up to what a lowlife he is and leave him behind. Wedge just shakes his head and says if Han wasn't his superior officer, Wedge would smack him a good one upside the head for being such an idiot.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Face and Phanan. Phanan, who has no family, made Face his emergency contact and the beneficiary of his will. We learn this after his death. Then there's his last message to Face, and his will, which forces Face to acknowledge that he doesn't have to be The Atoner for the rest of his life because of what he did as a child. Face notes that within a couple of days of meeting Phanan, they were best friends to the point of completing each other's sentences.
  • Hospital Surprise: Wraith Squadron pilot Garik "Face" Loran is injured pretty badly when his X-wing is screwed up beyond repair by enemy laser fire. His behavior and the little detail we're given as to the exact nature of his injuries lead us to believe he's dying, but then he wakes up in the hospital at the end.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: (Well, "historical" in the sense that Zsinj's character had been invented by another author a few years earlier). Warlord Zsinj and his lieutenant General Melvar, who previously appeared in The Courtship of Princess Leia as cardboard cutout Imperial villains, are given a Not-So-Harmless Villain upgrade with Allston showing that this stereotypical villainy is just an elaborate act to make their enemies underestimate them. That, and each is a Large Ham who enjoys playing the part of a stereotypical villain.
  • Improvised Weapon: When the Wraiths are ambushed by Zsinj operatives disguised as Military Police, Phanan kills one of them with a laser scalpel since they had been frisked and had their conventional weapons confiscated before they discovered the ruse. When they are being questioned by New Republic officials afterwards and Phanan explains what he did, he is asked if surrendered this deadly weapon to the guards at this meeting. Phanan mock-innocently asks what weapon, since his scalpel is a medical tool, not a weapon. He could also kill people with his bandages and bacta treatments if he had to, but they're all necessary tools for a doctor to carry out his duty.
  • The Infiltration: The top example is the entirety of the Wraith Squadron book, where the Wraiths maintain a disguise as Imperial operatives for several weeks without even being suspected, despite having their cover blown fully during a battle. They take out everyone else on the other side, and turn around and tell the boss that they were ambushed and escaped, the only survivors, and the enemy BUYS it! It reaches Refuge in Audacity levels.
  • Interspecies Romance: Face and Dia (human and Twi'lek respectively).
  • Ironic Echo: Sometimes done with entire paragraphs of narration.
    • Iron Fist begins with a description of a cyborg attacking the Wraiths in a bar, all part of a setup for Zsinj to have them taken out. The Wraiths (after thwarting this) borrow his idea, and a few chapters later, an almost identical opening describes Phanan pulling the same setup on an Imperial planet as part of a scheme to steal some TIE fighters.
    • In another example from Solo Command, Han and Warlord Zsinj each oversee work on a secret project, the Millennium Falsehood and the Second Death respectively, and both of them consider what they're looking at the "ugliest ship they'd ever seen". (This is Played for Laughs on Han's end, since the phrase is a Call-Back regarding the actual Falcon, but he thinks the fake looks nothing like the real one.) Wraith Squadron itself opens with what will become an Ironic Echo, the "twelve snubfighters swooping down through the sky" appearing first as the newly-reinstated Rogue Squadron performing for Leia and the Provisional Council, then as Myn Donos's doomed Talon Squadron.
    • And again in Solo Command (Allston really likes this trope) as part of the Evil Counterpart/Shadow Archetype between Han and Zsinj: At the battle of Comkin Five, Zsinj and Han each are eager for the other to bring in their flagship, actually speaking to the viewscreen "Come on, bring in [Mon Remonda/Iron Fist]". When the New Republic fleet gets away, Zsinj has a near Despair Event Horizon where he bemoans, "I can't kill him, I don't know the formula, I don't have the plan" which is then echoed by Han at the battle of Vahaba: "I can't beat him."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron receives Character Development that turns him into this eventually.
    • Castin Donn, too, although his development came right before his death.
    • Wraith Squadron's first slicer, Grinder, is just a relatively harmless Jerkass, but gets a Redemption Equals Death moment.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Dr. Edda Gast is guilty of war crimes for involvement in one of Zsinj's projects, but Nawara Ven, Rogue Squadron's legal attache, offers her immunity and a new identity funded to the tune of half a million credits in exchange for intelligence on Zsinj. She insists on being paid in Imperial credits, presumably so she can settle someplace else in the Imperial Remnant. Nawara conveniently neglects to inform her that bringing that much Imperial currency through a New Republic port without the proper security clearances carries a life sentence for sedition.
  • Kick the Dog: Zsinj and his crony General Melvar are entertaining, but we're not allowed to forget that they're the bad guys.
  • Large Ham:
    • "Elassar Targon, master of the universe, reporting for duty!" Hilarity Ensues and Wes withdraws his objection that, being fresh from the Academy, Targon isn't enough of a misfit for the Wraiths. Wedge, for his part, wonders if they've gotten such a reputation for being crazy that a new member would feel comfortable introducing himself that way, or if Fleet Command really had found another lunatic for him. It turns out to be a little of both.
    • Also, Captain Darillian of the Night Caller. Until they had to scrape him off the ceiling. And Face, especially when he's impersonating him.
    • Zsinj and Melvar. Possibly a case of Obfuscating Ham-osity.
  • Loving a Shadow: In Wraith Squadron, Kell gets a crush on Tyria almost immediately, but is shot down in flames when she figures out that she only fits the criteria for his perfect mate and that he doesn't know the real Tyria. In a bit of a subversion, after Kell takes the time to get to know Tyria, he confesses his love again... and she immediately jumps him. Turns out she'd fallen for him at first sight, but wanted to make sure he could properly return the sentiment.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Loran Spitball. In its first deployment, there were nine X-wings in the bow hangar of a ship. The hangar opens while facing an enemy frigate, and all nine X-Wings fire despite being parked, resulting in a full eighteen torpedoes into the engines. The ship is badly crippled right off the bat, and another barrage later in the battle causes the frigate to literally split in two. The second time this technique is used (against a Star Destroyer), the effects are far less devastating, but they still manage to cripple the larger vessel's shields.
  • Manchild: Wes Janson acts like this a lot. He enjoys life wholeheartedly and likes pranks, puns, and having fun without caring about dignity. A fellow pilot once says that getting him up to the mental age of twelve, maybe thirteen would be impossible. However, despite evidence to the contrary, he's actually a responsible person, and he's perfectly capable of being serious when the situation calls for it.
  • Manchurian Agent: Zsinj turns out to have developed a rather nasty version, where a code phrase causes the victim to become irrationally fixated on a goal; for instance, "Wedge Antilles hops on one transparasteel leg" makes Tal'dira, a generally friendly guy, utterly devoted to killing Wedge. The technique was specifically created to work on aliens, in order to drive a wedge between them and humans of the New Republic. Disturbingly, it takes less than a day for a victim to be fully brainwashed, although this speed means that the programming fades within a few months.
  • Master of Disguise: Face. It helps that he's a former child actor... and a member of a people whose hat is communication and identification of body language.
  • Maybe Ever After: Myn and Lara's budding romance is derailed when her past in Imperial Intelligence becomes public, and then she apparently dies a heroic death during the climactic battle. In the final scene, he receives a message from her letting him know that she's survived and established a new identity as a civilian pilot, and that she'd be happy to see him again if he's willing to give it another shot. The novel ends without showing his response... but he and her new identity turn up married in Mercy Kill.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Invoked with Wraith Squadron where the name is picked to represent the squadron's (supposedly) stealthy nature.
      Runt: What is a wraith?
      Tyria: Something I heard about in my childhood. Dark things that come in the night for you. That's what I think we are. For the Empire, for the warlords, we're the phantoms under the bed, the monsters in the storage cubicles.
    • Also parodied with the suggestion Dinner Squadron, meaning "Face came up with this after missing dinner".
  • Meaningful Rename: Warlord Zsinj renames every ship he personally commands, including his Executor-class Super Star Destroyer at the time of the books, after his first command, a humble Victory Star Destroyer.
  • Medal of Dishonor:
    • The accidental kind, concerning Kell's Kalidor Crescent. He received it for pulling off a series of crazy maneuvers trying to save a fellow pilot's life, and he's disgusted with it because he failed.
    • There's also the "Award of the Mechanic's Nightmare," awarded to Face after returning his ship in a state almost as bad as its pilot's. It consists of a little statuette of a mechanic with a wrench upraised like a weapon, its expression pure, if silly, rage. Face accepts it in good grace: "I want to thank everyone who retrieved pieces of me, everyone who retrieved pieces of my X-wing, and especially those who sorted them out correctly."
    • The Wraiths greet Piggy coming out of a bacta tank with talk about bacta-flavored cheese, bacta-flavored ale, and a self-defense manual entitled "How to Dodge".
  • The Mole: Lara Notsil. She starts out the series as a bad guy Mook, is portrayed sympathetically, has ethical dilemmas about her role, and eventually makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Murder by Cremation: In Solo Command, the Wraiths are nearly killed this way by Dr. Gast. A room in the complex the were infiltrating was given a giant Trap Door for a floor and filled with fake furnishings, and when they entered it they were all dropped into the giant incinerator below, which then activated. Fortunately, they were able to trick the stormtrooper sent to relieve them of their explosives, so they were able to blast their way out in time to survive.
  • Mythology Gag: Possible in Iron Fist. A stormtrooper begins to ask Castin "What's your— (operating number, presumably)" but Castin just starts blasting his way out straight away.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Twice in the Wraith Squadron books — once, the epic revenge Wedge gets on Janson for the escalating prank war ("Nice rear, Lieutenant."); and the other when Phanan, Kell, and Face get payback on Grinder for his series of pranks — looking for the Storini Crystal Deceiver, he looks out the door of his room naked to Phanan's disgust. (The next time he goes to look he "remembers to grab a towel first".)
    • It's also mentioned in Face's past: a fellow cadet stole his clothes and locked him out of his quarters. Subsequently, while running around trying to find something to cover up with, he runs into a superior officer and explains himself by saluting and saying "Major, I regret to report only partial success with the Personal Cloaking Device." The major, despite being described as having "the same sense of humor as a Wookiee with a rash", turns out not to be a bad sort and instead of punishing him says, deadpan, that he'd better go cover up the project's shortcomings. Even Myn Donos, who was still suffering from PTSD after the loss of his previous squadron at this point, has a faint smile on his face during the story.
  • Nepotism: Played with. Jesmin Ackbar wasn't the recipient of nepotism by her famous uncle Admiral Ackbar, but she had been stuck as a Desk Jockey for much of her prior career because no commander wanted to potentially have to explain her death to him. This caused her some mild depression before the opportunity came up to join Wraith Squadron.
  • Never Found the Body: Somewhat notable, Falynn Sandskimmer isn't actually seen dying, and the last we saw her, she was alive, flying through a star destroyer and shooting it up, it's just that she was trapped inside and never came out before it exploded. Unlike many examples of this trope she does appear to have died though.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Falynn Sandskimmer in Wraith Squadron is fed up of people mentioning Luke Skywalker when they find out she's from Tatooine. Unfortunately, her hot temper means her responses come across as insulting to Luke, which results in her being blacklisted in the New Republic military (the higher ranks being filled with people who for obvious reasons think very highly of Luke) before being rescued by Wedge's Wraith Squadron project. While Wedge is a friend and former squadmate of Luke (and as such, also thinks very highly of him), he's also more forgiving of Falynn's attitude in this regard.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Tyria gives one to Grinder when he offers (in jest) to hack into a computer and change her training scores in exchange for future favors. This was a Berserk Button for Tyria thanks to that being a personal Moral Event Horizon that she crossed when she was blackmailed in the past.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Warlord Zsinj, who in an earlier book was just a dullwitted fat sadist with a love of theatrics who somehow had enough ships to threaten the New Republic. The X-Wing novels retcon him into a very smart fat sadist with a love of theatrics who had the ships, money, and tactics to threaten the New Republic. It's mentioned that a lot of the people he works with see through his facade, but he enjoys playing to an audience.
    • Lod, Dod, and Fod Nobrin of Agamar (actually Wraith Squadron pilots in disguise).
  • Oh, and X Dies: The opening paragraph of Solo Command introduces a new character and then immediately informs the reader that he will be dead in twelve minutes.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In Iron Fist, when the Wraiths have been playing pirate against a nonaligned system to try and bring Zsinj in as their protector — and succeed a little too well, with a ship's silhouette appearing over the horizon:
      "A cruiser?"
      "A Star Destroyer. At least."
      [Gilligan Cut to narration] It was a Super Star Destroyer, by name Iron Fist...
    • The look on Phanan's face when he tries to cover up a fight, when Wedge asks him how many times he, Wedge, has heard the "we were discussing a boxing maneuver" excuse.
      Phanan: I... don't know, sir.
      Wedge: That was a rhetorical question, Flight Officer Phanan. Do not re-enter this conversation.
    • Face has one in Solo Command when he prepares to confront Lara with what he has discovered about her over a secure channel, is interrupted when he has to help save another pilot from an enemy attack, then returns to his conversation with Lara... and then realises he forgot to go back to the secure channel and it all went out to everyone.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: During Wraith Squadron, Piggy's translator breaks, and his grunts aren't understandable, so when asking if he's okay, his squadronmates resort to this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Face, Piggy, Runt, and Grinder are never called by their actual names except in formal settings.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Wedge, while a career military man, tends to be relaxed with his pilots. This means that when he suddenly starts invoking rank with Castin Donn, after the latter has told Wedge (in front of the whole squadron, and without even a With Due Respect) that he thinks Wedge is wrong, everyone in the room realizes that Castin has dug himself a shallow grave.
  • Overly Stereotypical Disguise: Done deliberately. On a mission to an Imperial world, Face disguises the Wraiths in a variety of deliberately stereotypical roles so that the customs agents won't bother paying too much attention to them. Pride of place goes to Wedge, Face and Myn pretending to be a trio of yokel farmboys from Agamar; they even consulted Captain Hrakness, an actual Agamarian, for more details on the stereotype.
  • Pass the Popcorn:
    • In Wraith Squadron after Falynn makes one too many claims that Wedge is "old" at twenty-eight and no longer capable as a pilot, asserts his skill and authority by challenging her to a race in creaky old ore haulers. The other pilots watch via a screen and, after a while, start taking bets on the outcome.
    • When Zsinj launches into a long rant where he swears in 60 languages, Han records it so that he can watch it again later.
  • Paying for the Action Scene: After starting a Bar Brawl with some local soldiers as step one of the latest Zany Scheme, the Wraiths rob their now unconscious victims and use the proceeds to pay off the barkeeper for the damages.
  • Pet the Dog: Gara Petothel is a staunch supporter of the Imperials, and later Zsinj, but she draws the line at an admiral's sacrifice of thousands of his troops to cover his escape. She issues an abandon-ship order and tells the Wraiths where to find Trigit; he's taken out before he can escape. It serves as the start of her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • Wedge. "Yub yub, commander."
    • Everybody, on first being introduced to Face, has some comment to make about the holos he starred in.
  • Planet of Hats: Explored and subverted. Agamar is seen as the planet of stupid hicks, though that's really just a stereotype (although it is a mostly agricultural world). At one point, three Wraiths plan to go undercover as Agamarians and ask the captain of their ship, who actually is from Agamar, to help them flesh out the stereotypes.
  • Prestige Peril: At the conclusion of Solo Command, when the Republic's task force has (they think) succeeded in destroying Warlord Zsinj's Super Star Destroyer, Zsinj calls General Solo and swears revenge. Han replies with one very simple truth: he's neither rich nor ambitious, which means that no matter how often they cross swords, Zsinj will always be the one with more to lose.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The first part of one of Zsinj's plans hinges largely on Gotals and Twi'leks being viewed or wanting to be viewed like this, so when brainwashed agents begin to act on his schemes, the overall plan is to foment distrust of these two races precisely because of their Proud Warrior Raceishness. And because he's just proven that they can be converted very quickly into Manchurian Agents.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Wraith Squadron is originally composed of pilots on their Last-Second Chance who'd screwed up with one thing or another, like cowardice under fire, fighting with superior officers, or being the victims of corrupt training master schemes. It's deconstructed at times when it's shown exactly what kind of people you get with this kind of recruiting policy. Props go to the pilot accused of stealing, who is sure things will turn out okay. As the guy leaves, Wedge notices the family portrait he keeps on his desk is missing...
    • And while the pilots brought in to make up the numbers don't seem to have issues, it is quickly found that all of them are just as screwed up. Also, the actual real life implications of having such a team are discussed by Wedge and Wes in a pretty serious moment.
      Wedge: I'm leading children Wes, and I'm getting them killed.
      Wes: That's true.
      Wedge: What did you say?
      Wes: It's true. Wedge, you asked for misfits. You had to know that even with the ones who made the grade, they were going to takes losses that were heavier than in a normal unit.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Janson gets in a semi "The Reason You're Poor Dating Material" speech to a squadmate, noting that he acts like a dead man who gets no joy out of life so he has nothing to offer in a relationship.
  • Red Right Hand: Allston's books tend to subvert this. Several good guys have stereotypically villainous-looking appearances, such as Ton Phanan and General Crespin, while Zsinj's General Melvar does have razor-sharp metal fingernails, but this is a deliberate act to make enemies underestimate him as a cardboard cutout villain.
  • Reverse Polarity: Admiral Rogriss does this in Solo Command to prevent his Interdictor Cruiser crashing into a Victory Star Destroyer (see Game of Chicken). He reverses the polarity of the gravity well projectors to make them repel rather than attract, and pushes off against the VSD, propelling both ships away from each other. Solo's bridge crew note that this probably wreaked havoc with the gravity on the Interdictor's decks. It also means that the Interdictor requires significant repairs before its gravity well projectors can be used again.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Some truly hideous tourist clothes worn by the Wraiths during an infiltration.
  • Running Gag: Some in-universe examples.
    • Lieutenant Kettch, the fake Ewok pilot. This becomes something of an Ascended Meme or Defictionalization In-Universe: after their enemies/employers overhear the Wraiths' comm chatter, in which Wedge's voice was modified to sound like an Ewok, some ad-libbing and improvisation culminated in Wedge having to fight a battle with a stuffed Ewok in his lap to keep up the illusion that Kettch was real. To say nothing of Kolot...
    • Despite both serving on the Mon Remonda, Corran Horn and Han Solo are never seen at the same place at the same time (including one moment when Han leaves the pilots' lounge, and Corran enters moments later — then wonders why everyone's laughing), which naturally leads the rest of the pilots to conclude that, despite a significant difference in age and appearance, they must be the same person. (This particular joke goes metastatic in I, Jedi — in which Corran and Han actually do meet, multiple times. One of those times, Han jokes that he once had a Horn, Corran's father Hal, chasing him. Later, Corran goes undercover with the false name of a man Hal had once pursued, who hadn't been seen anywhere for more than a decade, and not even Corran's Knowledge Broker grandfather knew where he'd gone: Jenos Idanian. This also doubles as a Call-Back to the Han Solo Trilogy.)
    • The "[job] [boy/girl]" callsigns make a return in all the books where Wraith Squadron feature.
  • Scotty Time: Used by the Wraiths' engineers whenever Wedge asks for an estimate. One time Wedge then sticks around the hanger for awhile, forcing the engineers to discreetly kill time doing busywork so he doesn't figure out the trick.
    • Used more honestly with Zsinj's chief engineer who gives an honest worst case estimate and then does his best to beat it.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!: In Wraith Squadron Falynn challenges Wedge to a race in antigravity ore haulers (It Makes Sense in Context). Wedge wins by ramp-jumping his hauler onto hers and bouncing off, taking the lead. Falynn says he cheated, and Wedge laughs and has this to say:
    Wedge: Falynn, consider this. When an Imperial laser cuts through your canopy and hits you, the energy will superheat the water in your tissues. They will literally explode. If there's enough of your X-Wing left to retrieve, they'll have to hose down the inside. When that happens, will you complain that the TIE fighter pilot cheated?
    Falynn: No, sir.
    Wedge: What will you say?
    Falynn: I won't say anything. I'll be dead.
    Wedge: So to keep one of these bad boys from cheating until you're dead, what are you going to do?
    Falynn: I guess I'll have to learn to cheat, sir.
  • Sexual Extortion: A lampshaded subversion. Tyria tells some of her squadmates about a bad experience she had in flight school, when one of the instructors offered to fudge her scores if she did him a favor. At this point, one of her listeners winces and says he thinks he can see where this is going, but it turns out the instructor was actually trying to recruit her into a smuggling operation.
  • Sincerity Mode: "Honesty to On."
  • Screaming Warrior: Runt was like this when he first joined the squad due to his warrior personality taking over. He finally stops when his wingman, Kell Tainer, gets his attention by locking a torpedo on his ass.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: When he's quickly required to appear on screen when the Wraiths are impersonating an Imperial crew, Face Loran improvises a disguise and calls himself "Lieutenant Narol".
  • Sherlock Scan: Garik "Face" Loran was an actor and spent some years on his parents' homeworld Lorrd, whose hat is body language and the reading of such. As a result, he's enough of an expert that he can identify your planet of origin (unless you've managed to train it out through, say, military service. And then he can tell you which planet you trained on) and the condition of your legs by seeing you walk a few paces. Not 100% reliable, no, but he's very good. This skill is a Chekhov's Gun from time to time — it saves the Wraiths from an ambush and leads to Lara's identity being outed.
    Face: He didn't walk like a Corellian.
  • Shoot Your Mate:
    • Several of the Wraiths meet with Zsinj while disguised as pirates, trying to strike up an alliance. The talks seems to be going well when the guards haul in Castin, who had secretly snuck along without authorization. Zsinj is uninterested in interrogating him and asks Face to kill Castin; it's clear that he suspects that this unknown intruder is in league with the "pirates". Face stalls with a grandiose speech about wanting payment first while futilely trying to think of a way out, but Dia offers to do the deed instead... and she actually shoots Castin in the throat. Only once they're safely away does she tearfully explain that Castin was already dead; his breathing was unnaturally regular and likely done by a mechanical pump, his chestplate was clearly replaced to hide a fatal wound, and the guards' body language was of hauling cargo, not guarding a prisoner. Despite her actions saving the mission, Dia still has a heavy Heroic BSoD about desecrating the body of a comrade.
    • A similar situation happens in the next book with two major scientists at Binring Biomedical, when Zsinj is angry with them for screwing up and then trying to cover it up. One of the scientists continues trying to talk his way out of the situation, while the second doesn't hesitate to shoot the first. When Zsinj tells her that they were supposed to commit suicide as atonement for their failure, she dismisses that as ridiculous, saying that if Zsinj wanted both of them dead he would've just had them shot by his stormtroopers. And notes that obviously the blasters were rigged so that they wouldn't function if she tried to shoot Zsinj himself. This convinces Zsinj that she's still smart enough to be useful.
  • Shout-Out: Elassar Targon's name references two The Lord of the Rings characters. Elessar is Aragorn's elven name (Elassar is the Wraiths' new medic, Aragorn is a ranger and king with healing skills and powers), and Targon is the blink-and-you'll-miss-him armorer in The Return of the King.
  • Sixth Ranger: Atril Tabanne (first officer of the seized Night Caller) joins the wraiths for a few of their missions, usually as a pilot, but at least once during an infiltration mission.
  • Smug Snake: Dr. Edda Gast. She carries out highly unethical experiments with cool confidence that doesn't falter when she's facing a warlord looking for somebody to say "You Have Failed Me" to, or when she's captured by the New Republic. She's too useful to be killed and she knows it. In the end, she gets her comeuppance when New Republic Intelligence gives her exactly what she's bargained for without pointing out a pitfall that she didn't notice for herself.
  • Soft Glass: Played for laughs and then later drama in Iron Fist. The Wraiths instigate a bar brawl with a group of Imperial pilots by having one of their members hitting a fellow teammate in the head with a glass bottle. The bottle shatters because it is made out of stage glass. After the fight, the team member who took the bottle to the face stated that the first bottle didn't hurt him but complained that he was hit by a second bottle and that one was made out of real glass (the bottle didn't even break). Earlier in the book, in their inspiration for setting up the scene later, a person who instigated a bar brawl for similar reasons smacked Runt on the head with a bottle, which not only didn't break but gave him a minor concussion and left him unable to fight for a while.
  • Space Pirates: The majority of Iron Fist involves the Wraiths setting themselves up as space pirates to capture Zsinj's attention. Some of them enjoy it a little too much for Wedge's comfort. Naturally, when Wedge reminds them that they are not actually pirates, Face and Phanan pretend to be surprised by this revelation.
  • Split Personality:
    • "Runt" Ekwesh of the Wraiths is a Thakwaash, a species whose Hat (apart from looking like a Wookiee (except taller) with a horse's head) is that they naturally form multiple specialised personalities and flip between them as the situation demands. While his primary 'social' personality is erudite and quiet, his 'pilot' mode is practically Ax-Crazy, resulting in him washing into the Wraith hiring process.
    • Interestingly, when members of his race don't have multiple personalities, this is correspondingly considered a mental disorder. When Donos has his Heroic BSoD, Runt treats it as an example of this and tries to help him 'switch to a less damaged mind'. This is something that most Thakwaash, even mentally ill ones, can do easily, as it's rare for the mental illness to affect all of their minds.
    • Lara Notsil's breakdown includes having something like three different identities go to war in her head.
  • Staging an Intervention: After he has a psychotic break around the mission that destroyed his original squadron, the other Wraiths throw Myn into a simulated version of the mission in question, forcing him to face the fact that it wasn't his fault and start recovering somewhat.
  • Starting a New Life:
    • Shalla's father was a senior officer in the intelligence service of the Old Republic, who disappeared and started a new life in a new identity when the Emperor took over, to avoid being either executed or forced to work for the Empire.
    • After Becoming the Mask, Lara apparently dies a heroic death during the climactic battle. In the final scene, it's revealed that she's survived and established a new identity as a civilian pilot; she doesn't want to go back to her old life in the Empire, and if the New Republic finds out she's still alive they'll be obliged to execute her for the things she did as an Imperial agent, so she's starting over with a clean slate.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted in one case where Kell uses an explosive on a probe droid. He and Wedge are too close to the blast, and for a while their hearing is messed up. It slowly returns as the mission continues, and presumably they get proper treatment for it back at the Night Caller afterward.
  • Stepford Smiler: Underneath Ton Phanan's snarky, carefree and humorous exterior is a suicidally depressed loner who despises his cyborg appearance.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guy: Grinder presents himself as this, commenting on the 'immaturity' of the pranks going on in Wraith Squadron. Turns out he's actually Not So Above It All, except he deflects people's suspicions with his claims of Serious Business. Which is why no one suspects him of actually being the culprit. At least until he gets sloppy and pulls pranks that require a slicer's skills.
  • Stuff Blowing Up
    Kell: I don't have to blow up everything I see. I just like to.
    • This one actually becomes Wraith Squadron's motto:
      Myn Donos: Pretty. What do we blow up first?
  • Suicide by Cop: In Solo Command, a brainwashed Tal'dira intentionally lowers his shields just before being able to complete his mission of killing Wedge Antilles. This enables Corran Horn to place a killing blow, thus saving Wedge. Upon being told that he'd tried to shoot Wedge in the back, his honor and his brainwashing conflicted and basically put him into a mental lockdown where the only option was death.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: Mentioned and defied by Zsinj at one point, where he decides to withdraw from a losing battle rather than (as he puts it) "throw good money after bad".
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Storini Crystal Deceiver is said to stalk its prey no matter how far it has to go. A notable subversion in that it's not real.
  • Tactful Translation: A translator droid that Wedge uses to communicate with Chewbacca removes Chewie's... colorful language. Chewie (who can understand but not speak Basic due to physiology) is not pleased with this. The same thing happened in a previous book when C-3PO translates for a Wookiee Senator during a New Republic Council meeting.
  • Tactical Reminiscence: Face does it at the start of Iron Fist when he figures out that their 'rescuers' are impostors, saying one of them is Corellian just like their reception committee at a planet in the last book, when that reception committee was a pirate ambush.
  • Take That!: Aaron Allston's run on the series has a quiet one. An earlier book, The Courtship of Princess Leia, had as its main villain Warlord Zsinj, a self-important shallow bad guy distinguished by being fat and very stupid. Apparently the only way he'd become such a threat was because of the size of his fleet, which he'd been able to take control of because... because! While retconning the various continuity errors in the novel, Allston makes Zsinj very smart, resourceful, and someone who played the buffoon in front of others to get them to underestimate him. The Wraiths even note that anyone with brains would see past it, so it's not really fooling anyone. He just likes playing to an audience.
  • Tempting Fate: After Wraith Squadron sees action for the first time, one of the pilots has a heartwarming conversation with her uncle, where she tells him that she's glad to be finally doing something useful after all her previous commanding officers insisted on giving her safe jobs away from the fighting. A few chapters later, she becomes the first Wraith to die in combat.
  • That Man Is Dead: Dia Passik states in Iron Fist that "Diap'assik", her young Twi'lek self, has long since been dead.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Han Solo, who until this point hasn't commanded any ship larger than the Falcon, is given command of the Mon Remonda flotilla and miraculously proves to be a tactician and strategist on par with Warlord Zsinj. However, this could be due to Solo's fleet being an elite unit, and thus not requiring much experience with fleet command, or an in-universe case of Informed Ability on the part of Zsinj, who may not be quite as good an admiral as he'd like everyone to think he is.
  • Tranquil Fury: Wedge gets into this a few times. You do not want to be the target.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: During the final battle of Solo Command, Zsinj inexplicably sends the 181st Fighter Group, his most elite unit, away from the battle to start strafing an already-destroyed colony on Selaggis' moon. Despite it being ridiculously implausible that any of the colonists could have survived when a few years earlier Zsinj had subjected it to orbital bombardment by his Super Star Destroyer, not to mention that Zsinj isn't Stupid Evil enough to go Kick the Dog in the middle of a crucial battle, Wedge decides they can't ignore even an infinitesimal chance that innocent people are being slaughtered and sends the Rogues and Wraiths to investigate. Exactly as expected, it's a trap to draw him away from the Iron Fist.
  • Trigger Phrase: Used to active Zsinj's Manchurian Agents.
    • "Those Wookiees are dancing in the parlor again."
    • "Wedge Antilles hops on one transparisteel leg."
    • And nobody will hire a cargo pilot with Ewoks up his nose...
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Gara/Lara's astromech droid manages to hack the Iron Fist's army of toaster-sized maintenance and utility droids and use them to sabotage the ship's systems. The result is a hilarious version of a Robot War where the crew is running around smashing any rogue droid they see. Mostly by stomping and kicking them to pieces with their boots.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation:
    • Donos' new squadron is ambushed at the beginning of Book 5, and only he escapes. This becomes a notoriously difficult training simulation for the Rogues and Wraiths later.
    • Subverted with Kell's first training scenario: the given objectives are failed before you start... the ACTUAL objective is simply to escape alive. It's a nice bait-and-switch exercise.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Kell calls his first astromech "Thirteen", because every time he would request a random number, the first response was always "13". The bug was patched after he first got the astromech, but it (at least temporarily) returned after an EMP/ion bomb disrupted the droid's electronics, which had the effect of resetting the droid to factory default settings.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Watch Zsinj be informed that Dr. Gast has been captured, along with all her secrets. Watch Zsinj flip the fuck out. Most of the time, when Zsinj expresses extreme rage, it's an exaggeration to play up his public image. This time? It's in private, and he's not faking a thing.
    • Solo Command is sort of a Villainous Breakdown in slow motion; as all of Zsinj's schemes fall to pieces, he sinks farther into depression. While he seems to have recovered his control at the end of the book, it's possible that the obfuscating stupidity has become non-obfuscating madness by the time of The Courtship of Princess Leia...
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Ton Phanan is "allergic to bacta" and has to get cybernetic replacements for any and all damaged parts. He has a lot of damaged parts. A huge plot point for him, since he deeply resents this side of himself, leading to much very uncomedic angst.
  • We Have Reserves: Admiral Trigit. Revulsion over this is what drives Gara Petothel's defection to the Republic in Wraith Squadron, after Trigit decides to sacrifice the tens of thousands of crew members to keep his Star Destroyer out of Republic hands and doesn't even bother ordering an abandon ship when setting the self-destruct... while taking his own hyperspace-capable TIE Interceptor to flee, hoping that the continued futile resistance of his crew will create enough distraction for him to slip away. Despite knowing full fell that the New Republic has insufficient forces on hand to capture the planet below (giving any shuttles and escape pods a safe place to land) and would be unwilling to shoot down the escape pods. Trigit's boss Zsinj, though, is a little more canny — in Iron Fist he decides to hire a fleet full of mercenaries and pirates to get shot at in lieu of his troops during a major attack. Zsinj is also smart enough to know when not to waste resources on an objective; at one point he refers to "throwing good money after bad" when choosing to fold 'em.
  • We Were Rehearsing a Play: Phanan attempts a variation when Wedge walks in on Tyria and Grinder about to exchange punches. Wedge, having heard the "demonstrating a hand-to-hand combat move" excuse many times before, doesn't buy it for a second.
  • We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future: Averted, as happens a lot in the Star Wars EU, such as Face's itchy scab makeup.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Subverted with Kell. While inside a building during an escape in Solo Command, he notes a metal support column. Face, knowing that Kell's main role is Demolitions, informs Kell that blowing up the building with them inside it is a bad idea. Kell replies that wasn't the idea; he wanted to use the column as a makeshift antenna to signal Rogue Squadron for help.
  • "Will Return" Caption: Solo Command ends with a caption directing the reader to The Courtship of Princess Leia for the return of Zsinj.
  • Worthy Opponent: Imperial Admiral Teren Rogriss, although most of the time we see him he's actually cooperating with the Rebels against their mutual enemy Zsinj. Despite the fact that if he didn't keep it secret, this could get him executed as a "Rebel collaborator."
    • And Baron Fel, though he really only gets cameos (if that) in the Wraith books.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Skated around — most of the characters, protagonist and antagonist, don't care if about their enemy's gender, which is aided by a lot of the combat being in cockpits, but this trope still comes up when lesser villain Atton Repness hits Lara. It's a rather shocking moment. Fully averted by the time of Mercy Kill — in his Star Wars novels after the original Wraith Squadron series Allston started featuring more and more explicitly female soldiers on all sides, and when battles occur sometimes they die.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: The Wraiths, undercover posing as the crew of one of Zsinj's ships, have to figure out how to swap cargo with genuine Zsinj counterparts without the latter noticing anything is amiss. Someone suggests using this trope so they'd all be in containment suits, but it's pointed out that Zsinj is suspicious and would investigate something like that. So instead they concoct a Zany Scheme to infect the other ship with a disease, inverting the trope.
    Face: Zsinj can investigate all he wants... because he won't be investigating us.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Zsinj goes back and forth on this trope. On the one hand, he has had a number of subordinates killed—some for major things (losing a highly valuable Ewok test subject, then lying about it), and some for not-so-major things (slacking off on the bridge one time too many).note  On the other hand, he knows when to shut up and let people do their jobs, as in Solo Command when fighting off Lara's sabotage-bots—even giving the chief engineer a bonus for fixing his ship early (he approves of efficiency).
    • Part of the friction between Kell Tainer and Wes in Wraith Squadron. Tainer's father was killed by Janson because he panicked and fled during a mission. Wes shot him down not because he chickened out, but because the mission was a stealth mission and the guy was about to blow their cover. Kell however grows up assuming that Janson was simply a cold-blooded General Ripper type.
  • You Killed My Father: Wes Janson was forced to shoot Kell's father during a mission. This makes things very awkward when they're on the same squadron.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: In Solo Command there's a bit after Tal'Dira tries to assassinate Wedge where Wedge goes to Nawara Ven and asks him if the phrase "one-leg-hopping maniac" (something Tal'Dira had said about Wedge during the incident, a mangling of his Manchurian Agent trigger phrase) has any significance in Twi'lek culture. Nawara says, "You're asking me?" and gestures to the prosthetic leg that took him out of the cockpit permanently back in The Bacta War.
    Wedge: Sorry. And yes, I am asking you.
  • Your Money Is No Good Here: Edda Gast learned this the hard way. When (grudgingly) offered her reward money in Republic credits, she instead insisted on being paid in Imperial credits. Hilariously, she was then arrested on the first planet she set foot on, as carrying such a large amount of Imperial credits was not just considered smuggling, but smuggling for purposes of sedition, which carried a life sentence. She was not amused. The fans were.
  • Zany Scheme: The Wraiths are a unit all but purpose-built for the purpose of creating and implementing them until they go horribly right.

    Isard's Revenge 

  • Always a Child to Parent: Discussed in Isard's Revenge, with a side of Calling the Old Man Out. Booster Terrik got caught smuggling and spent five years in the spice mines of Kessel, and during that time his still underage daughter Mirax took command of her father's ship and built her own business — going from his little girl to her own person. Booster never had the chance to see that, and Mirax bluntly points out to him that she may be his daughter, but she's not his little girl anymore, along with the fact that his recent actions (sending someone to serve as backup for her when doing so may have been what tipped off their enemy to her presence, along with "joking" that he'd have tipped off the enemy if it was her husband going on the same mission) show that he still doesn't trust her or her choice in husband. Booster finally admits that she's right, she has grown up, and that he's never had the chance to really get used to the idea... but he's going to try and do better.
    Booster: "You went from being my little girl to the woman you are now, and I never got a chance to get used to that idea. Don't know if I ever will. Don't know if I would ever want to. I figured I'd delay trying until I had no choice. Delay's over."
  • And I Must Scream: Implied in the very end that they may have rescued the dying Isard, who had just realized that death was preferable to realizing she'd failed the Emperor, only to stick her in the ultra-secure quarantine cell mentioned to have been built in the Lusankya that was served only by droids, and vented to space if security was breached. To be kept alive in what had been her own prison until she died of old age.
  • Anti-Air: Corran's X-wing is badly damaged by a stormtrooper wielding a shoulder-fired missile, forcing him to make an emergency landing.
  • Big Damn Gunship: In the midst of a battle, Krennel orders an interdiction field to be raised, preventing the New Republic ships present from retreating. Ackbar, upon hearing this, begins phase 2 of his plan which involves having reinforcements jump into the system, using the field to drop right on top of the enemy ships — a trick he learned from Grand Admiral Thrawn and refers to as "the Thrawn Pincer".
  • Chekhov's Gun: It is briefly mentioned early on that the Super Star Destroyer Lusankya had been repaired and refitted by the New Republic, and was nearly ready for deployment in the upcoming campaign against an Imperial warlord. Admiral Ackbar dismisses the idea, saying that the ship wouldn't be operational in time to participate in the battle. It is then not heard from again until the very end of the book when Isard attempts to steal back the ship with a team of commandos, but ends up being shot dead by Iella Wessiri.
  • Clone Angst: There turns out to be a clone of Ysanne Isard who believes she is the original. When confronted with evidence that this is not the case via comm, the clone lets out a scream suggesting a major Villainous Breakdown.
  • Continuity Nod: At the start, which shows the Battle of Bilbringi from The Thrawn Trilogy from Corran's perspective, Corran muses that he'd like to meet Thrawn and shake his hand. (And then kill him, of course.) In the short story Side Trip co-written by Zahn and Stackpole and set years earlier, Corran indeed met Thrawn and shook his hand — while Thrawn was disguised as the bounty hunter Jodo Kast.
  • Enemy Mine: Several Rogues die and the others end up having to work with an old enemy.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: During their brief alliance, Ysanne Isard cannot understand why Corran keeps trying to get a message out to his wife reassuring her that he's alive and well, since he'll be able to do it as soon as the operation's over. That Corran might want to spare a month's worth of pain and heartbreak to someone he loves simply never occurred to her.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Used almost word for word in the following conversation:
    Isard: "I expected you to be taller."
    Wedge: "I expected you to be dead."
  • Golden Mean Fallacy: Referenced by Tycho. Specifically called the "Gray Fallacy" — one person says white, one says black, everyone assumes gray. He brings this up in response to the New Republic claiming Prince-Admiral Krennel is building a mini Death Star with little solid evidence, and Krennel responds that the NR's attempt to vilify him is Imperial in nature.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: After the Rogues are saved at Distna, they find themselves working for the real Isard, which leads to an interesting conversation between Corran and Isard as the two work out in a gym together. Let's not forget that only a few years ago, Corran was Isard's prisoner on the Lusankya, where she tortured and attempted to brainwash him.
  • Hypothetical Fight Debate: Happens early on, when Corran, Mirax and Wedge are discussing what Booster Terrik was up to during the Thrawn crisis (in short, avoiding Thrawn so the Empire wouldn't try to steal his Star Destroyer back from him).
    Corran Horn: "Booster versus Thrawn. Now there's a match I'd pay money to see."
  • Interspecies Romance: It's suggested at one point that Corran's R2 unit Whistler has a one-sided crush on Corran's wife Mirax.
    Iella Wessiri (thinking): If Corran could fall in love with Mirax, there's no reason why Whistler couldn't do the same.
  • Kill Sat: The "Pulsar Station" that the Rogues discover the plans for on Liinade III is a variant — a space station designed as a system domination weapon, equipped with gravity-well generators (to prevent ships from entering hyperspace while in its range), a number of superlaser emplacements each capable of destroying a Super Star Destroyer, half a dozen TIE wings and a number of smaller anti-ship weapons. Overall, the design is based on the Emperor's use of the Death Star II at Endor to destroy capital ships, rather than the former's intended use as a Planet Killer.
  • Little "No": Iella's use of this trope, instead of an angry Big "NO!" as expected, is what clues Ysanne Isard into the fact that things are about to go to pot, quickly.
  • Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor: This is discussed in regards to Gavin's relationship with Asyr. While he says "the parts line up just fine" it seems they can't have children. Not surprising, given that Bothans appear to have evolved from canines.
  • Pet the Dog: The captain of a Star Destroyer ascended to his position after his predecessor refused to annihilate a village that had produced someone who tried to assassinate Prince-Admiral Krennel. This new captain did wipe out the village, but first he took a shuttle down to the town square, explained that bombardment would commence as soon as he was back in the big ship, laid out the plan in minute detail, then dawdled in the shuttle making weapons checks for three hours. Not a building was left standing, but no one died. This captain later surrendered to the New Republic.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Corran tells Isard that "The one thing I trust about you is that you'll be true to your nature. And that nature, Madam Director, is what will kill you in the end." He's proven right by the end of the book.
  • Red Herring: Used In-Universe. During the Rogues' assault on Liinade III, Corran discovers a secret lab with plans for a highly-advanced space station (which the Rogues dub a "Pulsar Station"), a system domination weapon based on the Emperor's use of the Death Star II at Endor to destroy capital ships. The whole thing turns out to be not a plot by Krennel but a set-up by one of his enemies, using it as bait to lure the Rogues into a system where they can be recruited by said enemy of Krennel and given the chance to infiltrate his forces under the guise of an elite Imperial unit who would then turn on him and quickly complete their goal of liberating the Ciutric Hegemony and rescuing the Lusankya prisoners.
  • Red Shirt: Both of the never-before seen additions to the squadron, Lyr and Khe, die.
  • Shout-Out: Wedge, in disguise as Colonel Roat and pretending to be a standard Imperial racist, complains that the "wait-beasts" serving him on another planet once tried to serve him red wine with fish, very similar to a line from the James Bond movie From Russia with Love in which a spy pretending to be an officer of culture drinks red wine with fish, which Bond notes as suspicious.

    Starfighters of Adumar 

  • Abdicate the Throne: After his air and ground forces are defeated by the Adumari Union forces, perator Pekaelic ke Teldan of Cartaan cannot bring himself to surrender, thinking it dishonorable. At Wedge's suggestion, he instead honorably retires and passes the throne to his eldest son Balass ke Teldan, who promptly comes up with an honorable yet logical and strategic solution to the problems facing both Cartaan and the Adumari Union, forging a world peace in a matter of minutes and preparing them to face Imperial reprisal without delay.
  • Actually Four Mooks: The antiquated "light-bounce" (i.e. radar) system used as sensors on Adumari aircraft sometimes reads objects in tight formation as single objects until they get close enough to differentiate This is exploited by the heroes later: they reprogram the IFF transponders on some of their heavy aircraft, including bombers and gunships, to read as fighters, and the other way around. The Glory Hound Cartannese pilots come in thinking they're up against other Blades only to be faced with a single Giant Mook, and Blades group together and put out a single bomber's IFF signal.
  • All Nations Are Superpowers: Averted. The top power on Adumar is Cartann, which controls over half the planet. It's mentioned, however, that Cartann's power is partly because it's imperialist, controlling several other smaller countries as puppet states. The opposition consists of a coalition of smaller states, led by the Yedagon Confederacy and Halbegardia — and it's mentioned that the coalition's military power is still dwarfed by Cartann.
  • Ascended Fanon: An In-Universe version.
    Wedge: I still have to figure out what sort of reason to give them for simulated duels. Something they'll accept within the parameters of their honor code.
    Hobbie: Oh, that's simple. Do to them what you do to us at times like that.
    Wedge: [frowns] What do you mean?
    Hobbie: Tell them what you're doing but not why. Then let them speculate. Listen to them as they speculate. When they come up with an idea you really, really like, tell them "You finally guessed right. That was my reasoning all along."
    Wedge: I don't do that. Much.
    Hobbie: All the time, boss.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Someone on the Imperial side (or possibly in the Cartann nobility) hires a group of armed assassins to take out Red Flight. Unfortunately, the pilots are all very skilled street-fighters, and their guide is the reigning ground champion of blastsword dueling. The pilots and guide all survive; the assassins are all killed or captured.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: When Wedge is sent to try and convince the Adumari to join the New Republic, he doesn't follow the Adumari's strongest traditions. In fact, he barely makes secret his revulsion towards them. Of course, this is because these traditions are all about killing opponents for honor, and Wedge does not kill for honor, to say nothing of Cartann, the strongest nation, acting more like the Empire than the Republic. The diplomatic liaison in the same book is worse, as when Wedge finally says that he refuses to work to bring the planet into the Republic any longer, the guy tries to have them killed by saying that Wedge and the other Rogues want to die. Thankfully he's found out and arrested, and the court defense that he's undoubtedly plotting oh-so-carefully is already shot full of holes by an audio/holo recording that Iella had gotten hold of.
  • Badass Crew: The four pilots of Red Flight; they're the four Rogues that were there since before Hoth, and they know what they're doing.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Adumar situation causes even Hobbie ("The Dour One") to snap. When Wedge suggests that a pilot go ahead and ambush the Cartann pilots, Hobbie is astoundingly the first one to volunteer.
    Hobbie: I'm sick to death of "Hello, I'm so-and-so and I've killed this many enemies, and I challenge you, and we bow and go by the rules and say cute things to one another, and isn't it nice that we're all dead now?" Tycho, I want to shoot something. I want to blow something up. No apologies. No advance warning. Just lethal efficiency. Before frustration kills me.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Inverted: Cheriss ke Hanadi could never become a pilot on Adumar because heights make her nauseous. When she's beaten unconscious in a duel, Wedge has her medevaced to the Republic star destroyer Allegiance. Sickbay traces this to a neurochemical imbalance, which the Republic can treat to enable her to fly. She asks Wedge to get her into flying school in the New Republic.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The heroes tend to win their fights through this. Their guide, Cheriss, is impressed when the pilots use street-fighting tactics to take down a group of armed assassins. She herself is a practitioner of pragmatic fighting techniques—illustrated in the assassin battle, where she takes down two — which is why she's the ground champion of blastsword dueling.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Hallis Saper mentions that the reason she uses a modified protocol droid head mounted on her shoulder to record footage instead of an actual camera is because she read a study that people generally found protocol droids to be nonthreatening. Wedge is tempted to point out the potential of a two headed woman walking around. One who also wears opaque black goggles (which are connected to the droid head camera and make it look where she looks).note 
  • Common Tongue: Subverted. Adumar is said to have been colonized by people from the mainstream galactic society, and so started out with the same language — but then the planet has been relatively isolated for sufficiently long that it has diverged, to the point that the dialect they speak is almost unintelligible to the Rogues. However, educated Adumarians are fluent in modern Basic as well, though they have an accent.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison:
    • Humorously discussed:
      Janson: I am so glad the people on this world like to wave and shake hands.
      Wedge: Why?
      Janson: Well, what if their usual greeting for visiting dignitaries was to throw paint?
    • In the same book, Wedge hopes a handshake is an appropriate response to an outstretched hand and they don't expect him to "kneel on the floor and put the hand on his head" or something.
  • Death Seeker:
    • Cheriss becomes this after Wedge and Iella had gotten together. Wedge convinces her to stop, but not early enough before her earlier mindset puts her in mortal peril and Wes has to save her.
    • The reason Wedge and his fellow pilots are forced to run a gauntlet after being exiled from Cartann is because Tomer Darpen claimed he was ashamed of his assignment and orders and wished to die with honor.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Wedge, the leader and responsible type of Red Flight, reconciles with his old love interest Iella Wesseri. The next morning he is exuberant, a little flighty, and joking readily, while Janson, who normally is the one with all those traits but spent the night in the hallway watching for attackers, is grumpy. It's never said outright, but the scenes do imply that Wedge and Iella had sex, and Wes almost-but-doesn't-quite ask him.
  • Downtime Downgrade: The first scene consists of Qwi Xux breaking up with Wedge, freeing him up to finally have a Relationship Upgrade with Corran's former partner Iella Wessiri about two-thirds of the way into the book.
  • The Echoer: Whitecap has this issue once Hallis has raided him for components and is left only able to repeat what he hears. Mostly this is used for comedic effect to troll Darpen.
  • Ejection Seat: An anecdote about the "official" ambassador to the Adumari, a former Rebel Alliance pilot named Tomer Darpen. Apparently, just after he successfully crash-landed his battle-damaged Y-Wing on a low-gravity planetoid, his Ejection Seat malfunctioned and he achieved escape velocity. He was stuck with the moniker "Ejector Darpen" for the rest of his piloting career.
    Tomer "Ejector" Darpen: At least I managed to save the astromech.
  • Fix Fic: One of the explicit challenges Allston took on for Starfighters of Adumar was squaring away the fact that Wedge went from dating-Qwi Xux to married-to-Iella Wessiri with no explanation.
  • Funetik Aksent: In Wedge's first conversation with an Adumari, the differences in the Adumari accent are rendered phonetically, such as "Red Flight" coming out as "Rad Flat". After that, the narration says that he's started to get used to the accent, and from then on all the Adumari dialogue is rendered normally.
  • Gilligan Cut: Wedge's escape plan:
    Wedge: We'll need a wheeled transport, one of the flatcam units our pursuers are carrying, and four sets of women's clothing.
    Hobbie: Boss, please tell me you're not putting us in women's clothing.
    Wedge: Very well. I'm not putting us in women's clothing.
    [In the next chapter, the Rogues are in women's clothing]
    Hobbie: You lied to me.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Admiral Teren Rogriss, at the end of Starfighters of Adumar. He did so in order to not break a promise he'd made to the Adumari people.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: It's implied that all of the heirs of Cartann are hidden. The perator's sons grow up under false identities so they won't be shot down for the prestige of it. Or assassinated by the perator's enemies. Or assassinated by each other. When the perator is captured and forced to Abdicate the Throne, his eldest son is found, identified, and takes the throne in the course of about an hour.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Empire and the Republic, compared to the terrestrial nation-states of Adumar. Red Flight's X-Wings are significantly faster and more maneuverable than Adumari Blades, and have Deflector Shields. They're also far more spaceworthy and have their own hyperdrives (a rarity on Adumar). Imperial TIE Interceptors are even faster than the X-Wings, though lack shields and hyperdrive... which is rectified when the surviving Imperial Ace Pilots return in TIE Defenders. The TIE pilots joining the planetary war on Adumar forces Wedge et al. to risk a dangerous landing in Cartann City to retrieve their X-Wings, which had been impounded by the Cartannese when they escaped the city.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Adumari have this practically as their hat, due to them actually telling someone that they want to kill them and then following the most prestigious pilot and ignoring everyone else. Wedge points this out to them, and is disgusted by the way that the Adumari take no consideration into the fact that the Imperial delegation that's on the same planet is killing dozens of people and no one is sickened by it. Before the big battle at the end of the book it leads to a Beware the Nice Ones moment for Hobbie (who asks to fly in an ambushing flightknife because he's tired of the whole "honor" thing) and for Wedge (as he threatens to shoot down anyone that flies for glory instead of to accomplish their objective).
    • Also serves as a no-holds-barred Deconstruction of the Proud Warrior Race trope, by playing "Soldier vs. Warrior" deadly straight. The desire for glory and honor through waging war leads to Cartann in particular, the most powerful (and stereotype-adherent) of the nations of Adumar, acting as imperialist belligerents (at one point Wedge asks his pilots if they even want Adumar in the Republic anymore). The obsession with Dueling To The Death leads to a high attrition rate among Adumari pilots, which means few of them live long enough to become proficient. Etiquette prevents the Adumari from being as effective as people who fight without rules. Shunning teamwork in favor of personal glory makes them undisciplined and uncoordinated, and ignoring battle objectives in favor of personal glory makes them inefficient as a military force, all of which leave them vulnerable to more professional armies like the Republic and the Imperials. Earlier X-wing books had already touched on this: cocky aces Corran Horn and Kell Tainer were both introduced to Wedge's unit with grueling and deeply unfair training sessions, designed to hammer home the notion that it's not their personal achievements, but the squadron's (or army's) as a whole that matters in this job.
  • Hurricane of Puns/Lame Pun Reaction: Talking to a documentarian with a camera made out of a droid's head on her shoulder, that is currently malfunctioning:
    Janson: (grinning) "Some days make you just want to beat your heads against a wall, don't they?"
    Hobbie: "Maybe not. The young lady might not have her heads on straight, after all."
    Tycho: "Still, I think she ought to get her heads examined."
    Wedge looked at them, appalled.
    • You know something's too good to resist when Tycho Celchu gets in on that action.
  • Idiot Ball: Why, Wedge, did you tell Tomer Darpen exactly how much you had already guessed about his plans and motivations when he was still in a position to do something about it? Did your so-called "ego problem" actually come into play for once?
  • I Like Those Odds:
    Wedge: Tycho, what are we facing?
    Tycho: A hundred fifty, more like two hundred, easy. So, fifty to one odds.
    Wes: Not too bad.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: On Adumar, Red Flight is introduced to blastswords, dueling weapons that deliver an energy blast upon hitting with the tip.
    Janson: So it's like a blaster you have to hit someone with. I have to have one.
    Tycho: Don't give him a new kind of weapon. It would be like giving a lightsaber to a two-year-old.
  • Invented Linguistic Distinction: Adumari speak a dialect of Galactic Basic with slightly different pronunciation: "Rad Flat" is heard in an early scene, referring to Wedge Antilles's Red Flight. Later, he greets another officer, who responds with an accent described in Wedge's Internal Monologue as "clipped, precise, Imperial", and Wedge recognizes him as being from the Imperial Remnant (referencing the films' use of British actors to play Imperials). Also, all named Adumari use a Fantastic Naming Convention that interposes the syllable "ke" between their given name and surname (probably meaning something akin to "of the family x" by implication).
  • Karma Houdini: The other nations of Adumar consider former perator Pekaelic ke Teldan of Cartaan to be one, avoiding prosecution "for his poor judgement and autocratic politics", but his son and the new perator of Cartaan insists as a condition of their joining the Adumari Union. In practice though, it's subverted — he may have avoided legal prosecution, but he did see his forces trounced, lost his throne and authority, and is quite embarrassed and furious at having been hoodwinked by a New Republic Intelligence agent (which ultimately led to ke Teldan's downfall) who was willing to use dirty tactics to manipulate him into trying to have Wedge and his fellow pilots killed because they'd stood by their own code of ethics rather than falling for the manipulations of said agent.
  • Loophole Abuse: The new perator of Cartann refuses to formally surrender to the Yedagon-Halbegardian alliance, because that forces his allies to stay mobilized and obey his orders — which are now to fight with The Alliance and the New Republic against the Imperial Remnant when they inevitably come back to take Adumar by force.
  • Meaningful Name: Discussed. When Wedge bumps into Imperial Admiral Rogriss in an Adumari tavern, he brings up Luke Skywalker's theory as to why Star Destroyers have foreboding names — that the Emperor took perverse pleasure in giving subtle reminders to those who joined the Empire with honorable intentions of the true nature of their chosen cause.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Adumar contains several competing alliances of nation-states, not all of which are as battle-happy as the most powerful nation, Cartann.
  • Mythology Gag: Hobbie makes a comment about people often spelling his surname wrong, which is a nod to the fact that the novels consistently spelled it one way and the comics consistently spelled it a different way.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: Adumar is an attractive prize to both the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant on account of its massive arms industry for internal wars: Wedge has constantly tried to get production of proton torpedoes and concussion missiles increased,note  and if either side gets Adumar, all they really have to do is convert existing missile factories (significantly cheaper than building new ones).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Janson challenges an Adumari to a blastsword duel, quickly disarms his opponent, discards his own weapon, and proceeds to treat the royal court to a display of down-and-dirty knuckle-brawling, ending with a humiliating bitch-slap. Janson being Janson, he draws stick-figures in the air with his weapon beforehand.
    Janson: Your orders are simple. I punch. You suffer. Got it?
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Hallis Saper. Her initial stated reasons for wearing "Whitecap" (A 3PO droid's head with her holography equipment inside) were that 3PO droids were found to be reassuring to children. (Whitecap actually was an in-universe example of Accidental Nightmare Fuel; Wedge noted the creepiness of the setup, and it got mentioned later as well.) It turns out to be a cunning method of disguise; while she wore Whitecap, people paid attention to the droid head and not to Hallis's face. Hallis also had other, more covert methods of disguising her holography equipment, some of which were seen later on.
  • One World Order: The source of the conflict in the book is whether Adumar can form one of these (and whom they'll then support, the New Republic or the Empire).
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: At one point, Hallis's 3P0 head malfunctions and starts repeating everything it hears. The pilots shut it up by sticking it in a cabinet... where it continues to repeat everything it hears, with the muffling represented by removing all the vowels.
    Tomer glanced at it. "What's this?
    "Wt's ths?" said the cabinet.
    "Cabinet," Wedge said.
    "I know it's a cabinet, but it's talking."
    "...ts tlkng," said the cabinet.
  • Paparazzi: Hallis Saper, now a documentarian and intelligence agent who used to work in "sludgenews", the Star Wars term for shallow celebrity gossip news.
  • Planet of Hats: Explored and subverted. Adumar appears to be the planet of blood sport, pilot-worship, and melodrama, but as it turns out only one country is that obsessed (but it's the major superpower and is falsely presented for most of the book as being the world government, so it takes a while for this to be revealed to both the main characters and the reader), and its people can be coaxed into seeing the problems with how they're thinking. The other nations do care about honor in combat, they just don't obsessively devote all aspects of their lives to it and aren't Lawful Stupid about it.
  • Proud Warrior Race: An odd example, in that it's specifically pilots who are the Proud Warrior Race Guys. Red Flight's local guide Cheriss ke Hanadi instead has the title "Ground Champion", meaning she's a skilled duelist but not a pilot (which makes her a major target for duels, since the pilots view her status as an insult to them collectively). Deconstructed in that the emphasis on lethal duels in the air and on the ground (plus assorted Honor Before Reason cultural mores) means Adumari pilots usually don't live long enough to become very skilled.
  • Proxy War: The Adumar mission turns into a world war between Cartann's coalition, backed by the Empire and egged on by a rogue New Republic ambassador, and the Yedagon-Halbegardian coalition, backed by Wedge and Red Flight. Despite the overwhelming numerical mismatch, Wedge wins, mainly by launching a surprise attack and requiring his side to fly like the mission-oriented New Republic pilots he's used to commanding instead of being Proud Warrior Race Guys.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Janson delivers a few Reason You Suck Quips to Adumari noble Thanaer Ke Sekae before and during their duel. First, he challenges him to a duel, but only if the stakes are Cheriss' life (a grievous insult in Adumari culture since it means he's only dueling as a means to an end and not for the honor it brings him, which Janson confirms by saying Thanaer's "just not good enough" to duel for the honor points). Then mocks him just before the fighting starts by drawing a picture of him in the air with the glowing trail left by his blastsword — it's a stick figure with a ridiculously small head. Then beats the crap out of him with everything but his blastsword, pointing out that "real warriors" fight with their hands, their feet, the head, whatever's available, but that Thanaer can't do that because he's "just a dilettante."
  • Relationship Upgrade: Wedge and Corran Horn's old partner Iella Wessiri (whom he had been crushing on since The Krytos Trap, but was stopped from pursuing when her husband turned up alive then died as one of Isard's Manchurian Agents) finally get together in this book.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Hobbie's outfit on Adumar:
    Hobbie: There are three types of dress clothing. The kind that offends the wearer, the kind that offends the viewers, and the kind that offends everybody. I'm going for the third type. Fair is fair.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!: The Adumari, particularly the Cartannese, have a Proud Warrior Race mentality that this book heavily deconstructs. Wedge's Red Flight pilots openly disdain the honorable single combat mentality: Wes Janson inflicts an intentionally humiliating No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on a pilot in a hand-to-hand duel, Hobbie Klivian tells the group when they join forces with a coalition of other Adumari nation-states against Imperial-backed Cartann that after dealing with the Cartannese for so long, he just wants to kill something without "rules", and Wedge tells the allied pilots before they sortie against Cartann's alliance that if he catches a single one of them flying for glory instead of victory, he'll shoot them down himself.
    Wes: Here's the rules. I punch. You suffer.
  • Shout-Out: Hobbie comments that Red Flight has been given nicknames by the inhabitants of Adumar, calling them things like "the dour one," a reference to the nicknames given to the Beatles when they came to America.
  • Stop Copying Me: Hallis and Whitecap (who's little more than a sophisticated recording device) accidentally got knocked down at one point offscreen, and the blunt force trauma caused a hardware problem that led to Whitecap's repeating anything within earshot. She's never quite able to get him fixed before deciding to dismantle him and repurpose his parts.

    Mercy Kill 

  • Action Girl: Bhindi Drayson is a rare exception; though not a pushover, she is comparatively with almost any other member of Wraith Squadron, even before one factors in her age.
  • Blood Brothers: Voort speaks of the late Runt as this, despite the fact that they barely interacted with each other in the other books featuring the Wraiths. This likely stemmed from a) the two of them and Face being the last of the original Wraiths (as all the others eventually all died or left to pursue other interests), and b) them having a lot of adventures together, most of them offscreen, in their almost twenty-one years in the squad.
  • Book Ends: Mercy Kill begins and ends with a Gamorrean strip show.
  • Continuity Nod: Seeing as it's been sixteen years in-universe since the last non-cameo appearance of the Wraiths and thirty-seven years since the last Wraith Squadron novel proper, Mercy Kill is full of them.
    • Kell and Tyria's daughter is named Jesmin.
    • Wedge, Tycho, and Kirney have a cameo.
    • Kirney and Myn are married and have a family, and she made Voort repeat himself, four times, that he would not recruit her children like Face had recruited Wedge and Kell's (and Shalla's nephew).
    • The Friendly Sniper is Shalla's nephew.
    • Runt is still describing things in terms of split personalities, but he's far more eloquent and understandable.
    • The Big Bad is utterly convinced that the man trying to bring him down is none other than the long-dead Ton Phanan.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: General Thaal aspires to be this, planning to fake his death and reappear under a new identity as a tycoon. It doesn't work out.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Piggy.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Ton Phanan.
  • Fan Disservice: Half-naked dancing Gamorreans. Though Piggy, at least, was good at it. And some people in the crowd definitely enjoyed it.
  • Internal Affairs: Wraith Squadron becomes this in practice, investigating corruption within the New Republic.
  • It's Been Done: The second generation Wraiths think they are the first to come up with certain tactics. Piggy delights in telling them that some of the tricks are older than the new Wraiths are.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Piggy's math skills allow him to judge distance down to the centimeter while acting as a spotter for Wran.
  • Master of Disguise: Taken up to eleven with the second generation Wraiths, who include Turman the shapeshifting Clawdite, a species that can mimic most humanoid species, and Scut, a Yuuzhan Vong who can use modified Vong biotech to create disguises.
  • Mercy Kill: Piggy gives one to Runt after he's bitten by an amphistaff.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Coruscant, in this case — the scenes of Mercy Kill set on Coruscant make no mention of the utter devastation brought upon the planet by Abeloth (earthquakes, volcanoes and toxic gases that killed billions) no more than a few months earlier. (On the other hand, as noted in one of the New Jedi Order novels, if you assume a hundred billion people were killed when the Vong took Coruscant, there were still nine hundred billion alive. Billions dead is no small number, but as far as total populace is concerned, it's a drop in the bucket.)
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Bonus points for Scut: even his "real" name, Viull Gorsat, is one he adopted (as a Take That! to Yuuzhan Vong warriors) rather than one he was born with.
  • Passing the Torch: Only two of the original Wraiths play a major role in Mercy Kill outside of flashback scenes. The rest of the cast is a second generation of Wraiths — literally. Two of the new Wraiths are children of former Wraiths, and a third is the nephew of a former Wraith. Kirney makes it quite clear to her former teammates that she does not want them recruiting any of her kids for their latest operation.
  • Posthumous Character: Voort often dwells over the death of Runt.
  • Potty Emergency: Jesmin Tainer needs to access the auxiliary bridge of a small imperial warship. She does so by using the Force to give the whole crew an urgent need to pee.
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: General Thaal does this to a Duros forger by killing his own former mistress.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The metaplot of Mercy Kill is assembling the new Wraith Squadron. Face even uses the phrase "getting the band back together."
  • Screening the Call: In a rare successful example, Kirney Slane (formerly known as Lara Notsil) insists, several times, that ex-squadmate Piggy is not dragging her children into his latest mess (not an entirely unfounded fear, since a number of current Wraiths are the children or students of her former companions). He eventually has to promise point-blank that he won't, twice, before asking her about the information he really came for.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Pulled off by Friendly Sniper Wran Narcassan.
  • That Man Is Dead: At the point of the events of Mercy Kill, Voort saBinring no longer goes by "Piggy". Subverted at the end of the book.