- "Right now I feel I can take on the whole Empire myself."
"I know what you mean."
- ―Dak Ralter and Luke Skywalker
Dak Ralter was a Human male starfighter pilot and gunner of Rogue Squadron, who served the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. He was Luke Skywalker's aerial gunner during the Battle of Hoth.
- "I had a good teacher."
- ―Dak Ralter, referring to Breg, when asked about his natural piloting and gunnery talents
Dak Ralter was born to political prisoners in the Imperial labor colony on Kalist VI. His parents were children of the Galactic Republic, who greatly valued the peace and prosperity of those days. Born into captivity, Ralter instead only knew the galaxy as a place of fear, oppression, and the Empire. As a youth, his parents would often model his dreams with tales of the wonder and delight that existed before the formation of the Empire. These stories were about all that kept him going during his days living inside the huge transparisteel dome of Kalist VI.
His parents' stories helped to keep alive a spark of hope inside the young Ralter. He knew that someday his hopes would come to fruition, as they did when he was seventeen standard years old. A new prisoner named Breg came to the camp one day, and being just a bit older than Ralter, the two became fast friends. Breg was a Rebel pilot who was downed while on a reconnaissance mission. Luckily for Breg, the Empire did not know of his affiliation, or he likely would have faced an interrogation droid, or worse.
Breg was a free spirit who fueled the flame of liberty inside of Ralter with further tales of a life beyond the confines of Kalist VI. He made quite an impact on the impressionable Ralter. Together they planned an escape from the penal colony. Ralter took to this opportunity with all the energy born of a lifetime of pent-up anger and aggression. When his parents learned of their son's plan, they encouraged him, knowing it might be his only chance for a life beyond captivity. They also knew that trying to go with him would only hamper his chances, and they insisted he go without them. It was a difficult choice for the teenage Ralter, but he heeded their wishes.
Their plan was to hijack an Imperial prison barge and blast away from the planet. While waiting for the barge, Breg and Ralter vaulted the inner power fence of the camp, shorted out the outer fence, and managed to make it past the unsuspecting sentries. Once a few slightly-used Imperial guard uniforms were "borrowed," gaining access to the landing area was relatively easy. They triggered a false reactor alarm and staged a prearranged power outage in order to board the prison barge and clear all moorings. But before they could lift off, an Imperial stormtrooper saw what was happening, boarded the ship, and tried to stop the two youths. Breg was shot before Ralter could blast the trooper in return. The Rebel fugitive lay wounded and dying on the cockpit floor.
This left the piloting duties up to Ralter. He had no previous experience with any technology more sophisticated than a laser drill. He bravely manned the ship's controls while Breg, only able to speak, directed him through takeoff. Ralter displayed a natural affinity for flying. Under Breg's guidance they were able to blast away from the planet and escape into hyperspace. Breg instructed Ralter to plot a course for the Rebel base on the planet Tierfon. When they arrived, Ralter was forced to land the ship unaided. Breg's condition had worsened and he now lay unconscious. The landing was by no means pretty, but it was in many respects miraculous. Despite the best efforts of Ralter to save his friend, Breg died soon after landing. Nevertheless, with Breg's help Ralter was able to escape imprisonment and start a new life with the Rebel Alliance.
To honor the man responsible for his freedom, Ralter joined the Rebellion's pilot corps, presumably completing his training at Tierfon. After proving his piloting abilities, he was assigned to the burgeoning Rogue Group under the command of Luke Skywalker after the Battle of Yavin. Officially, Ralter replaced Biggs Darklighter's spot in the squadron. He was one of the youngest pilots to serve with the Rogues during his tenure.
His earliest service with Rogue Group saw him escorting convoys through Imperial territory and participating in some of the squadron's most dangerous early conflicts. He assisted in protecting supply convoys against Imperial forces on the planet Barkhesh; recovering the downed Rebel ship, the Nonnah, on Chorax; the evacuation of General Crix Madine from the Imperial assault on Corellia; the liberation of Gerrard V; the destruction of Imperial installations on the Jade Moon of Loronar; destruction of the AT-AT manufacturing facility on Balmorra; the destruction of the Kile II spaceport; and the rescue of Wedge Antilles from the penal colony of Kessel. In 1 ABY, he fought in the campaign against Moff Kohl Seerdon, including service at the Battle above Taloraan, the Escape from Fest, Seerdon's blockade on Chandrila, the Raid on Sullust, and the ultimate destruction of Seerdon during his invasion of the bacta facilities on Thyferra.
When the Alliance High Command moved their operations to the newly established Echo Base on the planet Hoth in 2 ABY, Ralter was assigned there with the rest of the Rogues. He flew with Rogue Group during the Imperial invasion of the planet, serving as Rogue Leader's gunner in the rear of his T-47 airspeeder. It was the responsibility of the Rogues to hold off the Imperial advance long enough to buy time for the highly vulnerable transports carrying vital equipment and personnel to evacuate the planet, and Ralter's gunnery skills paired with Skywalker's flying abilities proved deadly to several enemies. Eventually, Skywalker prepared to make the first attack run on the line of AT-AT walkers, and he ordered Ralter to use the speeder's harpoon and tow cable to trip the massive war machine. However, the speeder's aft section took a direct hit from an AT-AT's powerful laser barrage, killing Ralter instantly. Any chance of recovering Ralter's body was then lost when the speeder was crushed under the massive footpad of one of the advancing AT-ATs, after Skywalker was shot down.
Personality and traitsEdit
Born inside Kalist VI's transparisteel enclosure, the only understanding Ralter had of the outside world was what his parents and fellow prisoners told him of their past life, and what new information he could cobble together from the newly imprisoned. In an environment populated by those unjustly held by the Empire, it was only natural that a great sense of anger and anxiety developed within the youth.
To say Ralter was overly-enthusiastic with a longing for excitement and a chance to take on the Empire would be an understatement. He still strongly exuded these tendencies by the time he was transferred to Echo Base on Hoth, even after nearly three years of service to the Rebellion. In his first days with Rogue Group, his exuberance was likened to that of a young Luke Skywalker. Skywalker saw something of himself in him.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Dak. Dak!"
- ―Luke Skywalker, after Dak's death
Dak Ralter was portrayed by John Morton in the 1980 movie The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment of the Star Wars original trilogy. In the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Dak's voice is provided by Raphael Sbarge.
The character's name appeared in the movie credits as "Dak (Luke's Gunner)," and "Dak" was used in the DVD subtitles. However, many third party products and official resources released after the film, such as the StarWars.com Databank, the PhotoComic adaptation and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia showed Ralter's first name misspelled as "Dack," even well after Lucasfilm Ltd. continuity expert Leland Chee went on the record to state that "Dak" was the accepted form. This naming conflict has hopefully been resolved with the 2012 release of The Essential Guide to Warfare, where the character is correctly referenced as "Dak."
Dak Ralter was also mentioned in Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times, an episode of the animated series The Simpsons. The episode ended with a tribute "to all those who died in the Star Wars films." The listed names included: "Darth Vader; Darth Maul; Greedo; Uncle Owen; Storm Trooper #5; Jango Fett; General Grievous (Droid); Storm Trooper #22; Dak; Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi; Whoever Jimmy Smits Played; Hutt, Jabba the; Sy Snoodles; Unfortunately, not Jar-Jar Binks; and everyone on both Death Stars when they blew up."
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Onslaught at Arda I (Mentioned only)
- The Empire Strikes Back radio drama
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back PhotoComic
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 1
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novel (First appearance)
- The Empire Strikes Back Storybook
- The Empire Strikes Back: A Storybook
- The Hoth Adventure
- Star Wars 40: The Empire Strikes Back: Battleground Hoth
- X-Wing: Rogue Squadron (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge (Mentioned only)
- Shield of Lies (Mentioned only)
- Vision of the Future (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: The Empire Strikes Back (Mentioned only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- ↑ Star Wars Galaxies
- ↑ Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- ↑ Star Wars: Rogue Squadron: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back PhotoComic
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ Leland Y Chee (Sep 27, 2004 10:18 AM). Spelling Discrepancies. StarWars.com forums. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.
- ↑ Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side
- ↑ Star Wars References. The Simpsons Archives. Retrieved on May 15, 2013.
- Creating & Naming the Rogue Pilots: Clearance for Immediate Launch. Veekhoven, Tim; Beentjes, Kevin; de Lange, Sander (December 4, 2013, 7:12 am). Retrieved on December 11, 2013.