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Zekk

I don't let a paycheck decide between right and wrong for me.
~ Zekk following the fall of the Second Imperium.

Zekk is the secondary antagonist in the Young Jedi Knights series. A one-time street urchin, he was once a friend of Jedi trainees Jacen and Jaina Solo. However, after he was discovered by the Nightsister Tamith Kai, Zekk was discovered to have Force potential He was stunned and taken away to Shadow Academy, where Kai and the headmaster Brakiss turned him to the dark side and into their Darkest Knight. Following the destruction of the Shadow Academy, Zekk was redeemed and trained as a Jedi Knight.

History

Zekk spent his childhood on the planet Ennth, where his parents served as colonists. However, after the colony was devastated by a natural disaster, he escaped to the next supply ship and traveled from planet to planet as a stowaway.

On the planet Coruscant, Zekk befriended Jedi trainees Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, Tenel Ka Djo, and Lowbacca. Unfortunately, he also a target of Norys, leader of the Lost One's gang in the lower levels of Coruscant. Norys nicknamed Zekk the Trash Collector because of his uncanny ability to locate wrecks of spacecraft and other items in the lower levels.

Young Jedi Knights

Scavenger

Zekk was first introduced in the third installment of the series, The Lost Ones. After returning home to Coruscant, Jacen and Jaina Solo introduced Tenel Ka Djo and Lowbacca to their old friend Zekk. At the start of the book, the five teenagers dwell into the Coruscant Underworld, where Zekk has taken up a career as a scavenger. Shortly after this, the Solo twins invite Zekk to a dinner at their apartment. While there, Zekk embarrasses himself and flees into the underlevels. He is subsequently confronted by Tamith Kai, who discovers Zekk is strong in the Force. She transports him to the Shadow Academy to become the apprentice of her superior Brakiss.

Darkest Knight

Brakiss, Zekk's Master.

During Zekk's time at the Shadow Academy, Brakiss convinces him that his friends never cared for him, and he won't amount to anything if he remains on Coruscant - but he could become a great warrior with proper training. Zekk is impressed by the respect he is shown. He is fed well and given polished leather armor, a sleek new uniform that made him look dark and dashing. Brakiss trained him in the ways of the Force while indoctrinating him to the views of the Galactic Empire.

Zekk returned to Coruscant to recruit other Lost Ones and encountered Jacen Solo and Tenel Ka Djo. They were looking for him for fear that he had come to harm. When Solo tried to call for help, Zekk stunned him; he and the gang members escaped. Brakiss gave Zekk a red-bladed lightsaber, and soon he was contending with Vilas to be head of a new order of Dark Jedi. Zekk killed Vilas in combat and gained the title of Darkest Knight. Thus, in the first half of the Young Jedi Knights series, Zekk is depicted as the leader of the Dark Jedi who seeks to bring down the New Jedi Order.

Redemption

Ailyn Vel helps Zekk decide to side with the light side.

After leading an assault on the Jedi Praxeum, Zekk was badly injured in an explosion that partly destroyed its headquarters, the Great Temple on Yavin IV. He was taken in by the Jedi and cared for. Through this, the Jedi are able to pull Zekk back into the light. However, the former Dark Jedi still feels tainted by the dark side even after the death of his Master. He decides to try his hand as a bounty hunter, where he works alongside Ailyn Vel, the daughter of the notorious Boba Fett. During this time, Zekk works simultaneously with the villains and the heroes.

However, through conversations with the wrathful Vel, Zekk discovers that he is not satisfied with the amoral lifestyle of the bounty hunter. In the end, he decides it's time to confront his dark past and agrees to train as a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. 

Later life

In later Star Wars novels, Zekk serves as a major protagonist, a friend to Jedi Master Jaina Solo Fel. During the New Jedi Order series, Zekk took part in the mission to defeat the voxyn queen. During this time, he is reunited with a former ally of his, Welk, who views him as a traitor to the Shadow Academy. In the end, Welk and his Master Lomi Plo abandoned the Jedi, ensuring Jedi Padawan Anakin Solo would die in battle. Zekk became one of the few Jedi to survive Myrkr and was witness to Jaina's near fall to the dark side, following her brother's death. Given Zekk's on experiences with the dark side, he tries to bring her back, but the job falls on Jedi Knight Kyp Durron. Throughout the series, he is depicted as a recurring protagonist and a member of Jaina's Twin Suns Squadron.

Zekk fights against his old friend, Darth Caedus.

Later, in the Dark Nest trilogy, Zekk's role as a hero or a villain is dubious at best, as he and Jaina become Joiners for the Colony. During this time, he and Jaina Solo, who he had always had feelings for, became very unhelpful characters. At the same time, the increasingly antagonistic Jacen Solo manipulates Zekk and his allies into instigating the Swarm War.

Later, during the Legacy of the Force series, Zekk joins Jaina and his rival for the Jedi's affections, Jagged Fel, on a mission to hunt down Alema Rar. As they apprehend Rar, the Dark Jedi almost succeeds at pulling Zekk back towards the dark side, something Zekk feared he would never come back from. With Jaina's help, Zekk is cleansed of Rar's influence. Following Rar's death at Fel's hands, Zekk joins the Jedi Coalition in their battle against Zekk's former friend, the Sith Lord Darth Caedus. During the climactic battle, Zekk is shot down and presumed dead.

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