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Puck Naeco

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"You can't take on a Star Destroyer in a fighter. Stick to something five or ten times your own size."
―Puck Naeco, to Samuel Raider[src]

Puck Naeco was a Human male pilot from Denon who served as a captain in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, Naeco transferred to Red Squadron on the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Independence where he helped defend the dispersal of captured Imperial communications satellites near the Cron Drift, leading to the interception of plans to the Empire's Death Star battlestation. When the Death Star attacked the Rebel base on Yavin 4, Naeco was one of several Independence pilots sent to help assist in its defense. Naeco flew as Red Twelve during the battle and covered Red Leader Garven Dreis on his failed trench run alongside Red Ten, Theron Nett. Naeco was killed when his T-65 X-wing starfighter was destroyed by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced x1.

BiographyEdit

Red SquadronEdit

"My last mission, I caught a TIE with a fantastic shot. I'd slowed down to blast a TIE Bomber, and this TIE fighter comes up behind me too fast. I caught him coming on the rear sensor, and just pushed my nose down a little. Then, as he came over me, I raised the nose and squirted a laser blast. He went nova on one hit. It was a beautiful deflection."
―Puck Naeco[src]

A Human[2] male native of the planet Denon[1] in the Inner Rim,[4] Puck Naeco joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic as a starfighter pilot during the early days of the Galactic Civil War and, by 0 BBY, was a captain in the Alliance Starfighter Corps and a combat veteran. Shortly after the end of Operation Strike Fear, a major Imperial offensive against the fledgling Rebellion, Naeco transferred to Red Squadron aboard the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Independence. Soon after arriving, Naeco joined several of his squadmates, including Commander Hamo Blastwell, Captains Keyan Farlander and Samuel Raider, Sunnar Jan-lo and Speedy in the pilots' ready room, where they discussed their combat experiences and preferred targets.[3] Naeco served as a mentor to some of the younger pilots, including Farlander, Milar Travis and Fin Danglot[1] and became known on the Independence for his practical jokes.[3]

NaecoCronDrift-XW

Naeco's X-wing chases an Assault Gunboat in the Cron Drift.

Shortly before Naeco joined Red Squadron, the Alliance learned of a secret Imperial military construction project. In an effort to uncover the nature of the project, Alliance High Command devised a plan to tap into the Empire's communication network, and a previous operation had captured a shipment of Imperial communications satellites. The satellites were to replace several Imperial satellites near a Rebel listening post in the Cron Drift asteroid field.[5] Naeco was assigned as Farlander's wingmate in a pair of T-65 X-wing starfighters to protect the transfer of the stolen satellites from the BFF-1 bulk freighter Ojai to the CR90 corvette Jeffrey in the Cron Drift. Less than a minute after the Rebels arrived, they were attacked by several Imperial Assault Gunboats and four Delta-class DX-9 stormtrooper transports. The two pilots engaged the new arrivals, with Farlander leaving Naeco to fight the Assault Gunboats while he destroyed the transports, until the Rebel ships completed the transfer.[3] The Jeffrey later deployed the captured satellites, allowing the Alliance to intercept plans to the Empire's new weapon, the Death Star battlestation.[5]

When the other pilots became aware that Naeco was attracted to Jan-lo, several of them devised a scheme to get their revenge for his numerous practical jokes. Jan-lo indicated that she was interested in Naeco and told him to meet her in a storage area of the ship's Quarren section. Following Farlander's advice not to waste any time, Naeco walked into the dark room, straight over to who he thought was Jan-lo and kissed her, only to discover when the others turned the lights on that he was kissing a Quarren member of the kitchen staff. Though he laughed the incident off, Naeco cut down on the practical jokes afterward. Jan-lo was later injured during an attack on the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Intrepid, and Naeco was among the pilots who visited her while she underwent bacta therapy.[3]

Some time later, Naeco, Farlander and Raider witnessed the arrival of the Mon Calamari privateer and trader Tuz aboard the Independence when he made a delivery of stolen Imperial equipment. Curious about the visitor, Naeco invited Tuz and his entourage to join the Rebels for a drink in the pilots' lounge. When Raider voiced his opinion of Tuz's business practices, one of the pirate's Gamorrean bodyguards attacked the pilot. As Naeco and Farlander moved to help their friend, Tuz brought a halt to the altercation and admonished his bodyguard's behavior before explaining that he was working for the Alliance as part of an arrangement with the Independence's commanding officer, Admiral Gial Ackbar. On another occasion, Naeco suggested taking Flight Cadet Breth Gart to Lucky Lower 13, a bar aboard the Independence, in an effort to help him to integrate with his wingmates. The pilots soon attracted two female crew members, one of whom was clearly interested in Gart. When the young pilot decided to follow Farlander's lead in retiring for the night, the women stayed in the company of Naeco and Raider.[3]

Battle of YavinEdit

"Red Twelve, right behind you, Red Leader."
―Puck Naeco[src]
Xwings trenchrun

Naeco and Nett navigate the Death Star trench.

The Empire soon completed construction of the Death Star and dispatched it to destroy the Alliance's base on Yavin 4.[2] The Independence traveled to the Yavin system to assist in the preparations for the imminent attack and Naeco was one of several pilots transferred to Yavin Base upon arrival to bolster its starfighter squadrons.[1][3] The stolen Death Star plans revealed a weakness in the battlestation: a small thermal exhaust port leading to the main reactor core. With the Death Star's defenses geared towards defending the station from a large-scale attack, the Rebels believed it would be possible for their starfighters to navigate down a narrow trench on the Death Star's surface, and fire proton torpedoes into the exhaust port, triggering a chain reaction that would destroy the station.[2] Naeco was assigned an X-wing as part of Red Squadron during the Battle of Yavin, one of two squadrons responsible for attacking the exhaust port. Flying with the call sign Red Twelve,[1] Naeco acted as wingmate to Red Leader Garven Dreis.[6]

Following a briefing by General Jan Dodonna, the Rebel pilots intercepted the Death Star as it prepared to use its superlaser against Yavin 4. Dreis led Red Squadron in strafing runs against the battlestation's surface while three of Gold Squadron's BTL Y-wing starfighters made an unsuccessful run on the exhaust port, resulting in the deaths of all three pilots. Red Squadron had already sustained losses, but Dreis regrouped the remaining fighters for an attack on the exhaust port. On Dodonna's instructions to split his group to allow two attempts, Dreis ordered Wedge Antilles, Biggs Darklighter and Luke Skywalker to wait while he led Naeco and Theron Nett in Red Ten into the trench. The three Rebels initially came under heavy turbolaser fire, but when the firing stopped, Dreis ordered his wingmates to watch for enemy fighters. Skywalker soon warned that a pair of TIE fighters, led by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1, was entering the trench behind them. Closing on the exhaust port, Dreis ordered Naeco and Nett to hold off the approaching TIEs while he made his shot, but the Sith Lord soon closed the distance and fired on Naeco's X-wing,[2] causing it to explode and crash into the wall of the trench,[7] killing the pilot.[1] After Dreis and Nett were also killed by Vader's group, the three remaining members of Red Squadron attempted a trench run, with Skywalker finally succeeding in destroying the Death Star.[2]

Personality and traitsEdit

"Sorry Jan-lo. I guess I've been taken."
―Puck Naeco, on finding himself kissing a Quarren[src]

Naeco was a skilled pilot and gunner. Although he could sometimes be reckless in combat, he was admired by his wingmates for his accurate deflection shooting[3] and served as a mentor to younger pilots.[1] He was popular with those with whom he worked, despite his habit for carrying out practical jokes at their expense. Examples of Naeco's jokes include tampering with his comrades' food in order to make their urine glow in the dark and playing a seductive female voice over the comlink while they engaged in simulated combat practice. When members of Red Squadron used his attraction to Sunnar Jan-lo to turn the tables on him, he reacted with good humor but subsequently reduced the frequency of his jokes.[3]

Behind the scenesEdit

"When Red 10 gets shot down, the pilot we see die is someone else – a previously unseen male pilot with a helmet that looks like Janson's in The Empire Strikes Back. That pilot, we decided, should be Red 12."
―Jason Fry[src]

Naeco was created by Rusel DeMaria for the 1993 book X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide, which presented the story of Keyan Farlander, the player character in the LucasArts video game Star Wars: X-Wing. In the book, Naeco is established as one of the previously unidentified members of Farlander's squadron. X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide established that several pilots from the Independence participated in the Battle of Yavin, but does not specifically name Naeco among them. However, The Essential Guide to Warfare (2012) by Jason Fry and Paul Urquhart retconned the character as Red Twelve, a pilot seen during the Battle of Yavin in George Lucas's 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Red Twelve is not mentioned in dialog in A New Hope but is identified as one of Red Leader's wingmates during his unsuccessful trench run in the script[8] and in the radio drama adaptation. Red Twelve has a line of dialog in the Star Wars radio drama, but the credits do not identify which actor portrayed him. In the novel and comic adaptations of A New Hope, Red Squadron is called Blue Squadron and Naeco is referred to as Blue Twelve.

While writing The Essential Guide to Warfare Naeco was one of several characters considered as the identity of Red Twelve, along with Fin Danglot from Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope (1989), Milar Travis from Star Wars Droids 8: Star Wars According to the Droids, Book III (1987), Talos Merkin from Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil (1998) and Ernek Marskan from X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide. Travis was Fry's preferred option, due to his desire to include a female pilot among Red Squadron. However, in the film, when Theron Nett's starfighter is shot down moments after Red Twelve's, the pilot who is seen dying is not Nett. As a result, Fry and Leland Chee, manager of the Holocron continuity database, decided that this pilot should be Red Twelve, making the character male. Naeco was chosen from the remaining options while Travis and Danglot were both mentioned in Naeco's biography. Naeco's first name, which was never used in X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide, was also revealed in The Essential Guide to Warfare as Puck, based on a suggestion by Chee.[9]

Before The Essential Guide to Warfare identified Red Twelve as Naeco, John Chapman, who portrayed an unidentified Rebel pilot in A New Hope, unofficially identified his character as Red Twelve, a Rebel pilot named Gil 'Drifter' Viray.[10]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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