"This court cannot condemn me! Only history will decide if I am a villain or a hero. And our history will be written by the Kilrathi!"
― Zachary Colson at the conclusion of his tribunal
Zachary Colson
Rank Major
Gender male
Race Human
Born 2622;[1] 2633
Birthplace Earth, Kansas City[1]
Died 2667
Affiliation Terran Confederation/Society of the Mandarins
First appearance Wing Commander I
Last appearance Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi

Major Zach Colson is a Terran Confederation pilot. He is also a jazz musician, and taught himself piano.[1] Colson had joined the Society of the Mandarins, a rogue group of humans that working for the Kilrathi. He then began a campaign of betrayal and murder. Colson would sabotage ships, commit several murders, transmit classified information to the Kilrathi, and planted explosives on the Concordia's flight deck.


Colson graduated top of his class.[1] Originally he served on the TCS Austin.

On the Austin he implemented a visualography machine with holographic goggles to test and improve combat reflex skills. Serving as a Terran Confederation pilot he managed 28 Kilrathi kills, 3 during the Vega Campaign.[1]

By that time he was a young and unexperienced pilot when; he had iced only a Salthi and a Dralthi.[2]

His brother was a Confed Marine on Goddard Colony. All were killed because reinforcements arrived late.[3]

Jazz was in the Austin with the TCS Tiger's Claw in the Firekka system for the Firekkans's entry to the Confederation.


Jazz on the Claw.

When the Austin and the Claw retreated from Firekka to Corsair, Lieutenant Colson and Etienne Montclaire were transferred to the Claw on 2654.110[Source?] for 2 weeks, to meet with Tactical Plotting group and discuss air defense procedures.[4] While there he met Iceman and discussed the earlier Operation: Thor's Hammer, although he hid his dismay about his brother.

In order to learn more about the Kilrathi invasion to Firekka, Prankster and Jazz flew a pair of modified Dralthi Mk. II that were supplied by Ralgha nar Hhallas as Beta Wing in a recon mission. Keeping radio silence, they reached a convoy of 2 Snakeir-class with an escort of Jalthis and Krants. Targeting one of the capital ships, their computers requested information from them.[5]

Having learned from Ralgha that the Kilrathi plan to invade Firekka, the Confed decided for a Confederation Marines invasion to assist the Firekkans. Prankster and Jazz once more flew Dralthis as Mu Wing and briefly returned to Firekka to intercept military communications and calculate the safest place and time for the marines to land. Keeping radio silence, they passed through the area and also met Kilrathi-piloted F-44 Rapier IIs that had been captured from the former TCS Johann.[6]

He was termporarily reassigned to the Claw. When suspicious presence was detected in the system. Peter Halcyon decided to pair experienced with fresh pilots in the patrol and Jazz was assigned with Hunter, who soon recognized his flying talents. Soon after, Halcyon redirected Hunter to Nav 3 to support Spirit and Puma, and despite Jazz's protests who wanted to follow, Hunter ordered him back to the Claw.[7]

Much later, the Austin came under a sudden attack by a wing of Grathas. At those last moments only one Rapier could be launched, piloted by Jazz. In the meantime, a mysterious Dralthi Mk. II attacked them; Jazz was fighting with one of the remaining Gratha, which banked close to the cruiser in an attempt to escape him until it exploded against its side. Jazz turned tightly and 'burned directly at the Dralthi and launched a missile, destroying the last Gratha that was hunting it. He performed a close maneuver and he saw that the pilot in the Dralthi was Hunter.

Hunter docked into the Austin and to celebrate their saving of the ship, they drank some beers with his friends before he returned to the Claw.[8]

The Confed ships eventually had to retreat back to Confed space. In that time Jazz was again on board the Claw. In a poker session with other officers, he saw Blair showing a hand of 2 Kings and 3 Queens Jazz grimaced and bowed out of the game.[9]

By the next decade, Jazz was assigned to the TCS Concordia with other veterans from the Claw, such as Angel, Spirit and Doomsday. He was considered the best pilot of the ship.

Vengeance of the KilrathiEdit

He was not at all friendly with Christopher Blair when he visited the ship, being one of those who believed him responsible for the destruction of the Claw; Angel attributed this behaviour to jealousy as Blair had always been a better pilot.[10]

Later he played (and won) a hand of Five-card draw with Maverick, Spirit, Stingray and Hobbes.[11][12]

The first major incident Jazz caused on the Concordia was the murder of Comms Specialist McGuffin. Jazz volunteered to watch the comms room while McGuffin took a short break, giving Jazz the chance to contact Kilrathi agent Krihakh with the location of the Concordia. When McGuffin caught him in the act, Jazz shot him down, putting Dirk Wright's pilot's wings in his hand to make him the main suspect.[11][12] He and Spirit related McGuffin's death to Blair, Jazz also suggesting that it was Blair's arrival that triggered the latest strange things.[13][14]

Because of the constant bickering with others, Angel assigned Jazz and Stingray to escort one of the daily garbage shuttle to the asteroids.[15]

When Spirit was taken off the light roster, Jazz discussed this event with Stingray and Doomsday in the O-deck. Jazz pretended to hope that Spirit was not a Mandarin, but Tolwyn had his reasons to ground her.[16]

While Maverick and Spirit were investigating an unknown area of the Heaven's Gate system, Jazz showed up in an F-54C Epee although it was not his patrol assignment, and helped the two pilots against soe Jalkehis.[17] He would claim that earlier he killed a Kilrathi carrier with its Sartha escort. The next day he played cards with Maverick, Downtown and Stingray. Downtown expressed his concerns about how difficult it would be to retake the starbase and Jazz jokingly compared him to Doomsday and suggested to tattoo his face on the next shore leave.[18]

He anonymously blackmailed Mariko Tanaka with her long-lost fiancee's life, Philip, if she refused to betray the Terran Confederation. When she refused, Jazz planted explosives on her starfighter. Her gunner Meron died and she committed suicide by ramming her craft into the Heaven's Gate starbase. During the attack against the Heaven's Gate starbase, Stingray, Jazz and Doomsday led wings against the Kilrathi strike fleet approaching the Concordia.[19]

In Tesla Jazz shared his thoughts that the system was teeming with Kilrathi and Downtown also shared his worries about the two carriers that approached. Maverick commented that he had seen worse, like in Firekka system, which made Jazz comment on the destruction of the Claw once more.[20]

Shortly before the retreat from Tesla, Jazz was with Stingray and Hobbes discussing Downtown's death and mentioned his brother.[3]

In the Enigma system he was told by his friend Cole that entrance to the commo room was denied. He shared this to Hobbes, Maverick and Stingray who was puzzled about what might be going on. Jazz explained that they are in a very serious position and they can't afford any mistakes.[21] When they reached K'Tithrak Mang he derided Blair once more for mentioning the stealth fighters, and pretended to hope that Geoffrey Tolwyn will find the traitor onboard the ship soon.[22]

Colson was assigned with Blair. They flew a F-57A Sabre Ralatha-class.[22] Later in the O-Deck he made some smart-ass remarks concerning Blair's relationship with Angel. He explained he tries to makes the best out of a bad situation, like that one, believing it will be a matter of time before being found and the big fight. During the later patrol, the pair encountered wings of stealth fighters, the third time for Blair, but this time his flight disk proved they were real. After talking to Tolwyn, Angel debriefed Jazz[23][24] who displayed confidential knowledge about the upcoming arrival of the TCS Agincourt, which persuaded Angel about his betrayal. He threatened her with a blaster and in an attempt to escape, he stole a Sabre and flew from the Concordia, only to be intercepted by Blair who was flying a patrol. Blair blew up his ship and Jazz begged for his life, promising to provide the flight disks he stole proving Blair's innocence, and to provide intelligence about the Mandarins. Blair was still considering to shoot him dead, but he was convinced by Angel that he deserves a trial.[25][26]

Afterwards, Blair went to see Colson to ask his motivations. Colson believed that the Goddard colony and his brother would have been saved if the Claw hadn't detoured to attack a Kilrathi troopship. He had sworn to kill everyone who served on the Claw.[27][28]

Conviction and deathEdit

Colson faces several Confederation officials at his military tribunal. Colson is convicted of murder and high treason and is sentenced to death by Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn. However, Colson is rescued by members from the Mandarins. He spent a few days in hiding on Ayer's Rock station in the Ayer's System, but fled in a Morningstar when the base was destroyed by Blair. Blair eventually tracked down Colson and was able to shoot him down, ending his life of treachery.


Colson is a self-taught jazz pianist and elite pilot who balanced his creative and analytical minds. He thinks that his poise determines his survival, visualizing his attacks during action.[1] He used to play piano in the Rec Room of the Austin several nights a week.[29]

Behind the scenesEdit

WC1 VDU Jazz

When Jazz dies in Wing Commander I, this is spoken in his funeral:

"We now bid farewell to one of our newest pilots, Lieutenant Zach Colson. We barely had the chance to meet this brave, talented flier... a young man that I know could have made many contributions to our war effort but we'll remember him as we continue the fight against the Kilrathi."
Peter Halcyon
"You were a good pilot, Jazz. I'll miss you as my wingman."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Super Wing Commander Claw Marks (Wing Commander I box package), Comm Relay
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fr3
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Enigma series (Mission 1)
  4. SWC marks, pg 3
  5. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission a1)
  6. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission a2)
  7. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 3
  8. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 6
  9. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 8
  10. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Gwynedd series (Mission 3)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Niven series (Mission 2)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission L3)
  13. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Niven series (Mission 4)
  14. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission L4)
  15. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Novaya Kiev series (Mission 3)
  16. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heaven's Gate series (Mission 1)
  17. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heaven's Gate series (Mission 2)
  18. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heaven's Gate series (Mission 3)
  19. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heaven's Gate series (Mission 4)
  20. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 4)
  21. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Enigma series (Mission 2)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, K'Tithrak Mang series (Mission 1)
  23. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, K'Tithrak Mang series (Mission 2)
  24. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Gwynedd series (Mission L2)
  25. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, K'Tithrak Mang series (Mission 3)
  26. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Gwynedd series (Mission L3)
  27. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, K'Tithrak Mang series (Mission 4)
  28. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Gwynedd series (Mission L4)
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cor1

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