STAR WARS: RECKONING
General Airen Cracken
Former Republic spymaster, General of the Resistance
Outwardly ordinary in every respect, the bland, even forgettable appearance of Airen Cracken provides a convenient facade for one of the most brilliant minds in Galactic warfare. By turns measured, sorrowful, and utterly determined, the Resistance general may be an old dog…but he’s always coming up with new tricks.
Born and raised on his parents’ farm on Contruum, Cracken developed an early proficiency with machinery and modifications. He put these skills to use performing repairs on nearby farmers’ equipment, and eventually Cracken opened a mechanic’s shop. He married a Corellian woman called Josta, and had two children: Pash and Dena.
When the Galactic Empire took control of Contruum, Cracken organized his mechanics into a group of guerrilla resistance fighters waging war on the infrastructure of the Imperial occupation. Supply depots, mining operations, star docks, and landing bays were all targets of Cracken’s Crew. According to the account in his official Alliance biography, their sabotage distracted and frustrated the Imperial commander while a planetary militia was raised, and they subsequently fought alongside the militia in a years-long war which caused so much damage to the Imperial garrison that it forced the sector’s Moff to cede control of the planet to its people.
The Alliance source goes on to claim that Cracken grew preoccupied with the thought that other worlds were still laboring under Imperial domination, and left Contruum with the aim of joining the Rebellion. However, it seems that Cracken and his crew initially operated independently of the Alliance, traveling from planet to planet aboard a freighter, targeting Imperial facilities.
Eventually, the crew caught the attention of the Rebels, and Cracken found himself as an officer of Alliance Intelligence. He was a general before the Battle of Yavin, and soon succeeded General Vernan as Supreme Allied Commander for Intelligence, overall leader of one of the Allied military’s six galaxywide commands.
Much of Cracken’s work involved overseeing the galaxywide network of agents through which Intell worked to undermine the New Order—spies, scouts, infiltrators, and sympathetic Imperial officers. Cracken was directly involved at every stage, from recruitment onwards, profiling a number of his most valuable assets were documented in Cracken’s Rebel Operatives, among them Rivoche Tarkin, Tru’eb Cholakk, and Jan Ors (under her alias Jan Strange).
His imagination also spawned several innovative operations, such as the infiltration of BlasTech’s weapons research department by Inat Rangoon. He even used his teenage son, Pash, as an agent, sending him to join the Imperial Academy, where he suborned his classmates, and subsequently led his entire TIE fighter wing to mutiny. While it was Pash who would become best-known as a fighter pilot, the elder Cracken was also formidable behind the controls of a combat plane: it was Airen Cracken who taught Pash how to fly a fighter, and he personally flew close-support in-atmosphere operations for SpecForce commandos in a Z-95t Headhunter designated Tala 1.
When the Alliance became the New Republic, Cracken took command of New Republic Intelligence, keeping a watchful eye on former Imperial warlords like Zsinj and Ysanne Isard. During the New Republic’s liberation campaign from 4 to 6 ABY, Cracken oversaw a collection of operatives known as “Shadow Operations”, which performed sabotage, spread disinformation, and where necessary conducted assassinations to exacerbate tensions between the feuding Moffs, Admirals, warlords and advisers that had erupted after Emperor Palpatine’s death. Shadow Operations would later form the heart of Hiram Drayson’s Alpha Blue division.
After NRI relocated to Coruscant, Cracken oversaw the investigation and prosecution of Tycho Celchu, and took up the challenge of forming the New Republic Security Force. Subsequently, he was instrumental in stopping a Zsinj-led program to isolate nonhumans from the New Republic, including Sullustan Rostat Manr’s attempt to crash a starliner into the atmosphere of Coruscant.
But as the grip of the Skywalker Clan tightened, Cracken found himself increasingly disturbed by the direction of the New Republic. NRI became the center of an unprecedented surveillance state, and deep within its heart lay Project SAVANT.
SAVANT used the HoloNet, local informants, and a growing cadre of Skywalker-trained ‘Peacekeepers’ to find and recruit Force-sensitives into their ranks, the core of a corrupt army wielding forbidden powers. Airen, once he was aware of the program, demanded answers from Chancellor Organa. What he received was an assassination attempt by the Peacekeepers.
Gathering the members of ShadowOperations, Cracken fled Republic space to the Unknown Regions, accompanied by Grand Admiral Thrawn. Together, the human and the Chiss vowed to break the grip of the Skywalker Clan on the Galaxy before a new age of Sith Lords could descend.