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- "We took an oath of allegiance to serve the Empire. These people are citizens of that Empire."
- ―Daric LaRone on Janusar
Daric LaRone was a Human male stormtrooper born on the planet Copperline. He had two younger brothers. While serving on the Reprisal, LaRone became unsatisfied with service to the New Order after being ordered to massacre civilians on Teardrop. Confronted by Imperial Security Bureau Major Drelfin over his tacit refusal to kill the civilians, he was forced to murder Drelfin in self-defense. He and fellow stormtroopers Korlo Brightwater, Taxtro Grave, Saberan Marcross, and Joak Quiller took an ISB-modified Suwantek TL-1800, the Gillia, and fled, intending to go the Outer Rim Territories.
However, still feeling compelled by their duty to Imperial citizens, LaRone led the group in a number of vigilante actions on Drunost and Janusar, with LaRone christening them the Hand of Judgment. Later, he and his four comrades met up with Rebellion heroes Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca and they managed to work out a mutual working relationship between the Rebels and ex-stormtroopers. LaRone and the group ended up on Shelkonwa, where they helped Mara Jade eliminate treasonous Governor Barshnis Choard. After learning the identity of him and his men, Jade let them go and the five stormtroopers made their way across the galaxy intent on aiding other Imperial citizens.
LaRone and his ex-stormtrooper companions continued their vigilante actions, eliminating small-time warlords and forcing the resignation of a small-time administrator. Their actions were monitored by Jade, who decided to enlist their assistance in infiltrating the palace of Governor Bidor Ferrouz, who was suspected of treason, on Poln Major. With little other choice but to lend their aid, LaRone and his men helped Jade breach the palace security, only to encounter Luke Skywalker again shortly afterward. Skywalker became embroiled in a plot by a local warlord, Nuso Esva, to seize control of the system after pitting the Rebel Alliance and Empire against each other, and LaRone and his stormtroopers helped rescue him. When Jade caught wind of the plot, she rescued Ferrouz and Rebel ambassador named Vestin Axlon and gave them a temporary reprieve while they deal with Esva. She entrusted the two to LaRone and his men and they hunkered down in an abandoned tapcafe to hold off attacks from Esva's people, several of whom had already infiltrated Ferrouz's palace staff.
However, Axlon proved traitorous and, though LaRone and some local Troukree allies they had acquired were able to deal with him, they soon faced waves of attackers in the employ of Esva. LaRone and his men put up a valiant defense, fending off the onslaught. After the attackers were defeated and Esva's forces in orbit defeated by a newly-arrived Imperial fleet, LaRone and his companions were taken by the Troukree to meet their employer. That individual turned out to be Senior Captain Thrawn, who recruited them to train an indigenous force of stormtroopers from worlds sympathetic to the Empire that were located in the Unknown Regions.
In 18 BBY, LaRone watched as the new Imperial Military came to cleanse his homeworld Copperline of the pirates who had plagued it for decades. In 10 BBY, when Imperial recruiters showed up, he enlisted as a Imperial Army with the call number TKR 330, not wanting to become a poor farmer like the rest of Copperline's residents. Three years later, he was accepted in the Stormtrooper Corps. He enjoyed the first six years of duty, until his service on worlds such as Elriss and Bompreil had made him doubt his loyalty. The turning point for him came when the planet Alderaan was destroyed, and he was ordered to kill civilians during a raid on Teardrop in 0.5 ABY, while stationed as part of the stormtrooper contingent aboard the Reprisal. LaRone was hesitant to open fire on the civilians and was horrified at the deaths that were caused.
- "No matter what our current situation is, we're still soldiers of the Empire."
- ―Daric LaRone
Returning to Reprisal, LaRone was later confronted by Imperial Security Bureau Major Drelfin, who initially criticized him for not following regulations. Once Drelfin realized that LaRone had disregarded orders on Teardrop, though, the ISB officer grew more agitated and was intent on executing LaRone. In response, LaRone disarmed and slew Drelfin with his own blaster. The other stormtroopers who witnessed the event—Saberan Marcross, Taxtro Grave, Joak Quiller, and Korlo Brightwater, along with LaRone—realized that not only were their careers in the military over, but their lives would probably also be taken in any subsequent investigation, stole the Gillia, a Suwantek TL-1800 that had been specially modified by the ISB, and fled Reprisal. To facilitate their escape, they used ISB codes on the ship and pretended to be ISB operatives leaving Reprisal on a secret mission. Exploring the ship, the ex-stormtroopers soon found that the ship was stocked with weapons, several sets of stormtrooper armor, scouttrooper armor and even a spacetooper suit. Also onboard were credits, equipment for forging identities and even a pair of speeder bikes.
Journeying to Drunost in their stolen ship, the five ex-stormtroopers landed, in search of food stores and other supplies, with LaRone as the unofficial leader. LaRone and Grave were able to purchase their supplies and were returning to the ship when a group of farmers they were traveling alongside came under attack by a swoop gang. LaRone and Grave held them off with hand blasters, until Brightwater, Marcross, and Quiller arrived with vehicles and heavier weapons, handily defeating them. Unbeknownst to them, they were helping to protect a supply of arms being transported by the Rebel Alliance. Leaving the scene, they boarded their ship and left for Janusar to obtain spare parts for their speeders, as well as fuel for the ship.
Landing on Janusar, the group was shaken down by the locals, who overcharged them for landing fees and confiscated their speeder bikes for violation of planetary ordinances, annoying Brightwater. After the patrollers left, LaRone learned of the corruption of the local militia from a dockworker who was fueling their ship. The man, Krinkins, told them that Cav'Saran, the chief patroller, was behind the corruption and that the patrollers had been bullying the populace.
LaRone, outraged at the injustice, convinced the others to help him take down Cav'Saran. That evening, LaRone drove a speeder truck to Patroller Central, where he had told Krinkins to assemble any who were dissatisfied with the corruption, after having his armored comrades disarm the six patrollers outside the building. Entering the center in civilian dress, LaRone confronted Cav'Saran, who ignored his demands for justice and proper treatment of the populace. In response, Cav'Saran instructed one his men to kill LaRone. At that point, LaRone signaled the other four stormtroopers into the room, and they quickly killed the few who offered any resistance, including Cav'Saran, before the rest surrendered. Turning the town over to Krinkins and some of the former militia that Cav'Saran had forced out when he took over, LaRone coined the Hand of Judgment name for the group when Atmino asked him their unit designation so he could file a mention of appreciation to his superiors.
- "Possible. But they don't feel like pirates to me."
- ―LaRone on the Rebels
Returning to Drunost in search of the connection they had discovered between Cav'Saran and the BloodScars they had fought earlier on Drunost, the stormtroopers began looking for more info to link them to the person behind the pirates, who they deduced would have to be high in the Imperial hierarchy. They were sitting in a tapcafe on Drunost when they saw Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca, although they didn't recognize them as members of the Rebel Alliance. They also saw several known criminals in the tapcafe. When the Rebel trio confronted the criminals after Luke decided to intervene, LaRone and his men helped them when the confrontation turned violent. LaRone was suspicious about them and had Quiller follow them, unaware that they were Rebels. When Han and Luke tracked some of the pirates to the Purnham system and went to chase them, the Hand of Judgment followed them.
LaRone and the Hand of Judgment arrived in the Purnham system before the Millennium Falcon did, but when it arrived, the Falcon came under attack by pirates. LaRone and the others engaged the pirates, and decided to investigate the situation. Posing as investigators, they questioned the surviving pirates, and the Falcon's crew, who gave them what information they had on the pirates while posing as independent shippers. However, they decided to keep the Rebels on their ship for further questioning, in case the information they had been given by them was faulty. Extrapolating the data that Solo had given them and the HoloNet data they had gleaned from the pirates, they tracked the location of the pirate base to the Gepparin system.
Heading to Gepparin with the Falcon attached to their ship and the Rebels locked into cabins in the Suwantek, they arrived about the same time as Reprisal did, and they came under attack by Ozzel, who was trying to cover his own career by stopping the deserters. Meanwhile, Luke, guided by the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, unlocked the cabin doors and found one of the hidden weapons compartments in the ship. Captain Kendal Ozzel threw a tractor beam onto their ship, pinning LaRone's ship in place. Fortunately for LaRone, the Falcon's crew was willing to help them. While Solo took over the controls of their Suwantek, Chewbacca took the Falcon, detached it, and destroyed two TIE fighters in the path of the tractor beam. Their destruction created enough reflective particles to disrupt the tractor beam, and both ships escaped the Star Destroyer, after Chewbacca's deceptive transmission convinced Ozzel to journey to the location of shattered Alderaan.
LaRone and his men, along with the Rebels, landed to investigate the base. Both groups had been improvisationally working together and trying to track the source of the pirate groups, but shortly afterward, the two parties discovered each other's identities: Rebels and rogue stormtroopers respectively. Han managed to win enough of LaRone's and the others' respect that LaRone agreed to get them to Shelkonwa to help their "friend," who was actually Leia Organa, though they parted ways there.
Under the Emperor's HandEdit
- "Understood, ma'am. Orders?"
- ―LaRone to Mara Jade
Landing on the capital world of the Shelsha sector, the stormtroopers arrived to find a search operation underway, led by Darth Vader and the 501st Legion. Despite this complication, LaRone and the others resolved to find the traitor responsible for the pirate attacks, as they had deduced that someone in the Governor's office was responsible. Knowing that the Rebels would be soon discovered by the 501st if they went alone, LaRone proposed escorting them through the city, which they reluctantly agreed to. When a small ship crashed nearby, LaRone and the four stormtroopers went to investigate, leaving the Rebels to their devices.
They found Mara Jade fending off an AT-ST piloted by Caaldra, a pirate and the liaison to Vilim Disra, the man behind the pirate attacks. The stormtroopers and Mara managed to take down the AT-ST after a grueling battle, with the assistance of Chewbacca in their Suwantek.
After they defeated Caaldra—who had been piloting the AT-ST remotely and escaped—LaRone was confronted by 501st stormtroopers, but Mara Jade covered for them, saying they were on special assignment for her. Mara didn't trust the story they told her, but ordered them to obey her until she could eliminate Choard. Penetrating the perimeter of the Governor's mansion, the stormtroopers and Jade swiftly advanced, cutting through any resistance easily, and confronted the governor while Mara dealt with Caaldra once and for all. The governor blustered his way through their orders, and Marcross turned unexpectedly on the others, pointing his weapon at LaRone, as the governor was actually his uncle.
However, Marcross gave Choard just enough time to completely incriminate himself when he changed sides again, placing Choard under arrest, though LaRone insisted that they not kill him. About that time, Mara Jade and Vader arrived, but Jade again covered for LaRone, saying they were on assignment to her. Later, she made them tell her their true story in private. After some consideration, she let them go, after instructing them to lose their Hand of Judgment name. That done, LaRone and the others set off in their ship, though they resolved to keep doing good deeds wherever needed.
After leaving Shelkonwa, LaRone and his stormtrooper companions continued to clean up corruption and perceived threats to the safety and stability of Imperial citizens, typically focusing on problems that were caused or not addressed by official channels. They eliminated a small-time warlord and a pirate nest, and also forced an oppressive administrator to resign. The Hand of Judgment also settled disputes, helping resolve a water dispute in Griren Province on Hapor. They defeated a group of mercenaries there with little ease, using the advantages of stormtrooper equipment and training, speeder bikes, and the weapons on their modified Suwantek transport to good use. However, their unending streak of vigilante missions had worn away at their cache of equipment, fake identification, and credits. Knowing that their career would soon be forced to halt from these logistical problems, LaRone and the others decided to embark on two last small missions—dealing with a rigged election on Elegasso and a group of enslaved pottery artisans on another world.
They flew to aid the pottery artisans, but were ambushed and knocked unconscious by means of a sedative gas. Upon awaking, LaRone found himself and most of his group at the mercy of administrator Bok Yost, the newly elected official from Elegasso, who had created the artisan rumor to lure them there. Yost was intent on having one of his henchmen turn them in as Imperial deserters, but before he could do so, Mara Jade intervened, subduing Yost and dispatching his thugs. She freed LaRone and his men, while forcing Yost to abdicate his ill-begotten position and hold a new election, free from fraud. Jade and LaRone then rescued Brightwater from where he'd been interrogated separately after assuming the role of the pilot to protect Quiller. LaRone asked Jade what she wanted and she replied that they would be helping her infiltrate the Candoras sector governor's palace. Jade had been tasked with investigating allegations of treason against Governor Bidor Ferrouz and possibly eliminating him if they were verified. She had been monitoring the Hand of Judgment and gave them no choice but to help her.
LaRone and the others agreed to help her and they soon arrived on the sector capital of Poln Major in the Suwantek. Jade sent them to observe spaceport stormtrooper stations to learn their security procedures and precautions while she surveyed palace security.While in the spaceport, LaRone helped settle a dispute between a group of Troukree knife merchants led by Vaantaar and some irate Pineath, who claimed to have been cheated. LaRone settled the dispute by having the Pineath return the allegedly defective knife—actually in perfect working order, but did not expose the attempted scam in order to retain leverage over the Pineath. For his actions, he earned the gratitude of the Troukree, as well as information on Nuso Esva, a local warlord who had been threatening the Troukree for some time. Once done with the merchant, the Hand of Judgment followed Jade's orders and monitored the spaceport's stormtrooper contingent.
Having completed her own investigations, Jade then instructed them to abduct a pair of stormtroopers and requisition their shoulder pieces with their distinctive identification markings. LaRone followed orders, luring out a pair of stormtroopers so Jade could stun them with a sonic device. The two hapless troopers were relieved of their armor while Jade planned their next move. The Hand of Judgment was sent to follow her to the palace gate. When Jade crashed a speeder so as to be detained, LaRone and the others appeared, telling the guards that Jade had also robbed an electronics store. LaRone then convinced the guards to let him take Jade to detention, where he turned her over to Major Pakrie. Jade subsequently escaped and went on the hunt for Ferrouz, leaving LaRone and the Hand of Judgment to stand by outside the palace gate.
While there, LaRone noticed a riot stirring up, with Luke Skywalker at the center of it. LaRone sent some troopers to assist the Rebel, who was being falsely implicated in the alleged death of the governor. They were successful and Skywalker escaped his assailants. Meanwhile, he and Marcross went to assist Jade, who had been pinned down by a group of attackers in the governor's office after negotiating with Ferrouz and a Rebel ambassador named Vestin Axlon. LaRone and Marcross approached the attackers from the rear and cut them down. Using the governor's private exit from the palace, they retreated through a tunnel into the storm drains, which led them to a tapcafe. LaRone, under orders from Jade, quickly cleared out the denizens of the tapcafe by claiming it was under official investigation. He and his men then hunkered down in the tapcafe with the governor and Axlon, charged by Jade with protecting them.
Defending the governorEdit
As they waited, LaRone realized that Axlon had known about Jade's arrival in advance. Axlon fired on the troopers, wounding Grave and Quiller and revealed that he had been working with Nuso Esva, who had been planning on pitting the Rebel Alliance against the Empire over Poln Major and then sweeping in to destroy both of their forces. Axlon told them to call in Skywalker, as he intended on using Skywalker's lightsaber to kill the governor, implicating the Rebel Alliance in the assassination. Axlon had hoped to secure Esva's allegiance to the Rebel Alliance by doing so, but after Governor Ferrouz distracted Axlon, Brightwater flipped a knife to Quiller, who stabbed Axlon, killing them. LaRone then warned off Skywalker. The Rebel informed him that he'd noticed another one of Esva's men and LaRone told him to follow the operative.
Now aware of the Rebel presence on Poln Major, LaRone was able to enlist the aid of Chewbacca to bring a bacta tank from the Suwantek for the severely-injured Grave. He also sent Brightwater to recruit the Troukree merchants, who were willing to fight for him against Nuso Esva's forces after a generous payment. When Jade, who had been trying to track down where Esva's men were holding the governor's family as hostages, reported in that she had found them but there were too many guards for her to handle, Governor Ferrouz called Major Pakrie, whom Jade had revealed was duplicitous. Ferrouz gave Pakrie their location under the pretense of consulting a security officer, in order to draw off Esva's men from the prisoners. During this time, LaRone was also in contact with Skywalker, who had reached Esva's stronghold as well and was relaying information to the stormtroopers, who then passed it on to Jade.
The ruse worked, but soon Esva's men began attacking the tapcafe. LaRone and the Hand of Judgment fought off the first wave with ease, but the second group was more heavily armed and better trained, using an E-WEB repeating blaster to assault the structure. One of the Troukree drew the weapon's fire, sacrificing himself to buy LaRone time to lob a grenade at the heavy weapon. The explosion dealt with the repeating blaster and the Hand of Judgment was able to fight off the rest of the attackers. LaRone was touched by the Troukree's act of sacrifice, but had little time for commemoration.
A voice informed them that while they had fought well, the governor's death by a specific method would no longer be necessary; just his death would suffice. Surmising that their attackers were intent on destroying the building with explosives, LaRone decided to go on the offensive, but the Troukree insisted on undertaking the mission. At first, LaRone thought they had failed, but upon emerging from the tapcafe, he found that the Troukree had neutralized their assailants. Their leader, Vaantaar, then told them that they would be taken to meet their leader. LaRone was suspicious, but as he was outnumbered by armed Troukree and his men were already wounded, he had no choice but to comply.
The leader turned out to be Imperial Senior Captain Thrawn, who knew their complete history—including their desertion and murder of ISB Drelfin. Thrawn admired their combat performance and offered to give them a place in his own independent command in the Unknown Regions, a return to Imperial service of sorts, but with their names cleared. He told them he wanted them to train non-human species such as the Troukree as stormtroopers to help fight off the many threats in that area of space. After considering the offer, LaRone and his men accepted.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "You stood quietly by and let everyone voice their opinions, even blow off a little steam. But then you stepped in and calmed everything down before it could degenerate into a full-fledge argument."
- ―Saberan Marcross to LaRone
LaRone was a dedicated soldier, having put in six years of service to the Empire. He was trained in both armed and unarmed combat by the Empire, a veteran soldier. Together, he and the Hand of Judgment were often able to win fights despite being at a numerical disadvantage. LaRone often utilized flanking maneuvers involving additional firepower, speeder bikes, and snipers to defeat his foes. He was also noble, refusing to murder civilians, even to the point of accepting death. During the Hand of Judgment's vigilante actions, it was often LaRone who started them. He couldn't stand to see corruption or mistreatment of Imperial citizens, feeling that they still had an oath to protect and defend citizens of the Empire. LaRone was also persuasive, but willing to listen to the opinions and concerns of others. He was able to trust his men to carry out their duty and even became the leader of the group. LaRone was also able to look beyond his political differences with the Rebels, aiding Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Remaining idealistic, LaRone never condoned the slaughter of civilians, nor participated it, as did the rest of the Hand of Judgment. True to his nature, LaRone and the others didn't cease their string of good deeds even after a narrow escape from death courtesy of Mara Jade, who told them to stop their actions.
LaRone was also pragmatic, understanding that when their cache of supplies ran out, then so did their good deeds. He was willing to sacrifice himself for his team; they were a close-knit group. Furthermore, LaRone was able to settle disputes fairly while not releasing all his leverage or fully exposing embarrassment. Unlike many Imperials, LaRone was able to view aliens without undue bias or xenophobia, which allowed him to work with Troukree fighters on Poln Major. This trait stood him in good stead, as Thrawn later recruited him and the Hand of Judgment to form and train stormtrooper units in the Unknown Regions using nonhumans.
Behind the scenesEdit
With regard to LaRone and the Hand of Judgment's role in Allegiance, Star Wars Insider 91 explained Zahn had long been interested in exploring "the psyches of Imperials who think they're doing the right thing." The article also cited earlier examples of conscience-driven Imperials that Zahn had created such as Thrawn and Mara Jade. Zahn compared the roles of the stormtroopers in the Hand of Judgment to that of honorable soldiers such as Erwin Rommel who served in the Third Reich. He said that the central conflict for those stormtroopers that he wrote into Allegiance was whether or not to continue serving the Empire after learning of its true nature. Ultimately, LaRone would end up serving under both Jade and Thrawn in Zahn's novels.
- "Jedi Library"—Star Wars Insider 90 (Picture only)
- "Jedi Library"—Star Wars Insider 91 (Indirect mention only)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Reader's Companion