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- "Interesting. I seem to have a rival. Perhaps even a formidable one."
- ―Darth Vader
Beilert Valance, also known as Valance the Hunter, was a former Human male Imperial stormtrooper non-commissioned officer who, after a crippling injury in combat, was rebuilt as a cyborg and, after leaving the Stormtrooper Corps, went into business for himself as a bounty hunter. His hatred of droids, and his own half-mechanical nature, was incensed when he chanced upon information of an unidentified Human who befriended droids. In his search for this boy, his path crossed with that of the former Star-Hoppers of Aduba-3, until finally locating Luke Skywalker and his droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Rather than ending in a fatal firefight, their confrontation actually caused a change of heart in Valance, driving him to protect Skywalker from the Empire in hopes that one day the Rebels might create a society that had room for cyborgs like himself. His new mission brought him into conflict with Darth Vader, and he sacrificed himself on Centares to prevent Vader from learning Skywalker's identity.
- "But that's the past… I've destroyed that!"
- ―Beilert Valance
Beilert Valance was a Human male, who—according to Imperial service records—was born on the planet Shinbone, a mining world in the Wild Space region of the galaxy. Valance's parents died from the Hardan plague when he was still a child, leaving him to fend for himself until he reached the age of enlistment for Imperial stormtrooper service. After enlistment, Valance was sent to the planet Sirpar, an Imperial heavy-gravity training center in Arkanis sector. After performing superbly in training, he was assigned to Nembus sector, a volatile part of the Outer Rim Territories. The legion to which Valance's platoon was attached saw extensive action against both pirates and members of the Rebel Alliance. For his actions during the pacification of the planet Praadost II, Valance was promoted to Sergeant Major. As the Nembus Sector campaign died down, his legion was reassigned to the nearby Kwymar sector. There, Valance participated in the Kwymar Suppressions, a series of Imperial campaigns against Rebels spread over the planets Picutorion, Protazk, Doniphon, Kestos Minor and Telos IV.
On Picutorion, Valance led a squad of twelve stormtroopers, two elite stormtroopers and two scout troopers against a Rebel force consisting of twelve men and two droids. Valance's squad defeated the enterenched Rebels and prevented them from sending a distress signal through Imperial jamming. With Picutorion calmed down, Sergeant Major Valance was transferred to the nearby Doniphon, where he manned an Imperial towed gun during a battle against Rebel starfighters. The Rebels strafed his position with proton torpedoes, one of which gravely wounded Valance. Not expecting him to live, the retreating Imperial forces left Valance's ruined body at Anglebay Station, a medical facility located on Telos IV. The Anglebay Station's medics, however, managed to save Valance, but at the cost of replacing half of his body with cybernetic parts.
- "But ya can't escape Valance. Once that bounty hunter has your scent, he—"
Due to outright Imperial prejudice against cyborgs, Valance could not continue his stormtrooper service. Distraught at the abrupt ending of his military career, Valance developed a strong hatred toward all non-organic, including himself. Keeping his identity as a cyborg secret by covering most of his exposed mechanical parts with synthskin, Valance ultimately chose to become a bounty hunter. Valance first gained notice when he apprehended a Sikurdian berserker pirate, Alabar Double Ax, whom he had chased from the planet Sikurd to the Red Nebula. When he caught up with and captured Alabar, he claimed the pirate's ship as his own, renaming it the Kill Switch. Valance then assembled a gang of mercenaries to serve as his crew and chose the Hutlarian Slssk as his first mate. Together with his gang, Valance routed the Chorran shipjackers that had threatened Bamula sector on the planet Donadus in the Inner Rim and captured an entire slavers' ring on the planet Thraisai; these missions established Valance's reputation as an elite bounty hunter.
Soon, Valance's men obtained a tape from a Rebel spy. An illegal duplicate of an Imperial transmission, it was a report concerning the rescue of a political prisoner, Princess Leia Organa, from the Death Star battlestation. The tape was not specific, but it showed that among Organa's rescuers were a smuggler named Han Solo and a boy, who cooperated with—and even befriended—two droids. Although the boy had a bounty put on his head by the Empire, it was not the money that attracted Valance's attention, for the very thought of a Human willingly allying himself with mechanicals repelled Valance. Vowing to make the boy—in reality, Luke Skywalker—pay for his friendship with droids, Valance embarked on a search for the "droid-lover."
Destruction of Anglebay StationEdit
- Droid: "This facility is neutral. Even the Empire, re—"
- Valance: "Shut up…junk."
- ―Anglebay Station's droid and Valance[src]
During this time, Valance also decided to return to Anglebay Station and destroy all records of his treatment there. In the weeks following the Battle of Yavin, he announced his plans to his crew, informing that they would proceed with the complete destruction of Anglebay Station; the mission paid for out of Valance's own pocket. Nothing was to be left behind that could be salvaged, and not one being, staff member or patient, was to be left alive. His crew was unable to understand why Valance would order the sacking of a politically-neutral medical station that offered care to anyone, even bounty hunters. The mercenaries, however, feared Valance and sought his credits too much to say anything that might set him off. To this end, the Kill Switch soon pushed up the Hydian Way, bound for the Telos system.
Once his gang breached the station, they shot the patients where they lay; the droids were rounded up and blasted en masse. Valance himself saw to the obliteration of the computer records, destroying his Anglebay personal medical files along with everyone else's. Meanwhile, inside one of patient bays, Valance's crew found an old man named Don-Wan Kihotay. The patient deliriously spoke of a boy and a droid, who had teamed up with Han Solo and individuals named Amaiza Foxtrain and Jaxxon the Lepus carnivorous and fought with them on one occasion. Tired and weak, the old man finished his speech before revealing the name of the boy—Jimm Doshun—or the planet where such an event occurred. Falsely thinking that the boy Kihotay spoke of was the same as the one depicted in the Imperial transmission, Valance decided to find out the name of the planet where his prey had served with Solo. After completely destroying Anglebay Station, Valance—certain that Jaxxon could reveal the needed information—put a bounty on the Lepi's head and dispatched several of his mercenaries to capture and interrogate him.
- "Between my obsession and the crew's greed… we did this all for nothing!'"
- ―Beilert Valance, to Jimm Doshun
Valance's gang soon tracked Jaxxon to Nar Shaddaa, where they captured him and unsuccessfully tried to interrogate the necessary information. The Lepi refused to tell anything and was soon rescued by Amaiza Foxtrain—who killed all mercenaries except for one—but a slip of the tongue made by Foxtrain revealed the planet's name—Aduba-3. With that knowledge, the surviving bounty hunter successfully made it back to Valance, who immediately set off to Aduba-3. As soon as the Kill Switch reached the planet, its sensors detected another ship on the surface—the Rabbit's Foot, a freighter belonging to Jaxxon, who, along with Foxtrain, had rushed to Aduba-3 to warn Doshun about Valance.
Valance then confronted Jimm Doshun, the "Starkiller Kid," on his homeworld of Aduba-3, mistakenly believing him to be the companion of Han Solo responsible for destroying the Death Star. Though Doshun had been a friend of Solo's, he was not Luke Skywalker, the battle station's true destroyer. Still, Doshun, joined by his friends from the former Star-Hoppers, the mercenary group that had once defeated a pirate band from Aduba, routed Valance's crew and sent the bounty hunter off to begin his search anew.
The destruction of Ultaar OutpostEdit
Undaunted, Valance continued investigating leads alone. Eventually he came upon a Rebel information-retrieval team operating in the blossom-laden jungles of Ultaar. The Rebel team, one officer and four troopers, were surprised to see Valance charge into their hut and confront them, demanding information about the group of Rebels aiding Leia Organa, particularly a boy with two droids. They did not have what he needed, but one of them tried to draw a sidearm, igniting a firefight; Valance shot him immediately, critically wounding him. The other three tried to flee into the jungle, but Valance gunned them down. Leaving them where they fell, Valance returned to the hut to examine the Rebels' computer core, but he was only able to confirm that they really didn't know anything.
Valance left Ultaar having found nothing new to aid him in his search. What he had gained, however, was a new enemy. Just days after his raid, Darth Vader came upon the Rebel outpost to find the entire Rebel team wiped out. One Rebel soldier, the one Valance left wounded in the hut, was captured and administered enough drugs to talk. He told Vader that it had been the work of a cyborg calling himself Valance (evidently something happened during the raid to expose his true nature to the Rebels). Vader killed the Rebel and returned to his flagship with the knowledge that he now had a formidable rival in his own search for the Death Star's destroyer.
Beilert Valance vs. Luke SkywalkerEdit
- "Droids and Humans don't behave like this…! They don't sacrifice themselves for one another!"
- ―Beilert Valance, to C-3PO
From Ultaar to Feriae JunctionEdit
Valance left Ultaar behind and started over. He had learned (possibly from the Ultaar computer banks) that meanwhile the Empire had blockaded the Yavin system in an attempt to trap the Rebels there. But Valance was sure the Rebels would try to run this blockade in order to keep the Yavin base supplied, and they would need a supply transfer point. Tracing known Rebel supply lines, he narrowed the possibilities down to the run-down shadowport of Feriae Junction, located at an intersection between the Hydian Way and the Gordian Reach, the route that led to nearby Yavin. He set up operations there and waited, certain that, eventually, the boy and his droids would show up.
In Junction City he passed the time as best he could, picking up bounties where they showed themselves. When a certain Marko Tyne, a Zygerrian slaver wanted on Thesme for unlicensed slaving activities in nine systems, appeared in the Junction City cantina, Valance shot him. He was duly paid for his efforts. To amuse himself he indulged his hobby of blasting "junk," paying his local informant, the scrap dealer Skinker, for salvaged or rebuilt droids simply so he could destroy them.
Enter Luke SkywalkerEdit
After five weeks, Skinker sent word that a young man with a 3PO unit had appeared in Junction City: Luke Skywalker had come to Junction with his protocol droid C-3PO to find parts to repair their damaged friend, the astromech droid R2-D2. Valance first acted to protect his quarry from Imperial interference: knowing where the local Imperial spy was to be found, he jammed the spy's long-range transmitter, then killed the spy himself, to make sure he beat Darth Vader to the target. He expected that killing Vader's spy also killed any chance of a monetary reward from the Empire, but evidently he was by now more concerned with personal satisfaction.
Skinker kept Skywalker and C-3PO occupied at his salvage yard long enough for Valance to get there. Sensing a trap, Skywalker shoved C-3PO into Skinker's office and dove in after, and then sent the droid out the back way while he tried to hold off the bounty hunter. Valance blasted his way in and confronted his mark. The boy proved a better fighter than he had initially assumed; he was agile, clever, and to Valance's amazement, he wielded an old Jedi lightsaber. Skywalker used the blade to deflect one of Valance's blasts back at him, melting away the synthetic flesh that hid his mechanical parts. When Skywalker expressed shock, Valance was even more angered: a man who appeared to love droids was acting shocked at the sight of a cyborg. Determined to kill Skywalker, he slammed the Rebel to the floor, far from his saber, and prepared to fire.
But then Skywalker's droid, C-3PO, suddenly reappeared and placed himself in front of his master, willing to sacrifice himself to save Skywalker. The boy in turn, concerned for his droid's safety, tried to send him away. Valance was shocked; in his experience, droids and Humans did not sacrifice themselves to save each other. "Certainly it's not widely accepted," the droid answered, "But perhaps if it were, even being a cyborg might be easier to bear." It awakened in Valance the hope that, perhaps, cyborgs like himself could one day exist without prejudice. To ponder this, he allowed C-3PO to pick up Skywalker's fallen lightsaber and carry him back to their ship, while he wandered the streets of Junction City, lost in thought.
A new questEdit
Valance found that his entire view of life had lost its meaning. He could no longer hate droids, for C-3PO had proved himself capable of one of the very qualities that made one Human: compassion. His former loyalties to the Empire were undermined, for C-3PO had sided with those who opposed the Empire. Even his bitter experiences with the Rebels had found a new context, for he now saw that the ferocity with which they fought was fueled by a belief in the very same better universe that C-3PO had suggested. Without realizing it, he had become similar to a Rebel, in thought if not in fact.
This realization gave Valance a new mission in life. The young Skywalker had already become a crucial player in the war against the Empire, and Valance knew that Darth Vader wanted to learn his identity just as badly, if not worse. Valance came to feel that if a universe that had room for cyborgs was ever to come to pass, it would be through beings like Skywalker, so Valance became determined to prevent Vader from finding him. Previously, Valance had kept what he knew about Skywalker from the Empire only for the sake of preserving the bounty for himself. Now he had to keep that knowledge from reaching Vader at all costs.
Beilert Valance vs. Darth VaderEdit
- "That boy you're seeking…and his droid…held out hope of something better, Vader. A time, a life, when even someone like me might not be a freak."
- ―Beilert Valance, to Darth Vader
The pursuit of Tyler LucianEdit
Valance's new quest took him to Centares when he learned of the existence of one Tyler Lucian, a Rebel deserter who had been stationed at the Yavin 4 base before the Death Star had arrived. Certain that the battle station would annihilate the base, Lucian had stolen a supply ship and fled, but apparently learned the identity of Skywalker afterward. This made him a much sought-after being, and at the same time that Valance had learned about him, and his location on Centares, Darth Vader had tortured the same information out of a captured spy. Lucian suddenly became the prize in a stuggle between two powerful and determined rivals who had never met.
Valance reached Centares first and, through Lucian's supply contact in Old Town, found the fugitive hiding out in a tower above the polluted and corrosive waters of Rubyflame Lake. Valance confronted him and drew his sidearm. But before he could pull the trigger, Vader's TIE Fighter suddenly appeared from out of the setting sun, screaming low over the lake and settling at the shoreline. Its arrival distracted Valance long enough for Lucian to run into the tower. Locked inside, Lucian was the only witness to the contest of weapons—and wills—between Valance and Vader.
The last stand of Beilert ValanceEdit
Vader reached the walkway leading to the tower, and found Valance there waiting, his gun drawn, determined to prevent him from passing to get the name he wanted. When the first blows were felled, Valance's cybernetic weapons brought Vader to his knee—briefly. Valance's defiance intrigued Vader; he offered Valance a chance to serve him, but the hunter was not interested. Valance blasted a gap in the walkway. Vader ignited his lightsaber and leaped over the chasm to where Valance was making his stand.
The combat that ensued was fierce, but brief. At the end, Valance was critically wounded, but even then, Valance refused to give up. He gripped onto Vader's boot, holding him fast. Vader offered to save him if he would only quit; even if he left Lucian alone, Vader argued, others would have the same information. Eventually, he would acquire it. And then what would have been the point of Valance's self-sacrifice? But for Valance, the point was to buy time. "The boy you seek, the one with the droids, is good. And he's growing. Someday he'll be your equal, or your better. Any delay works in his favor, increases his chances." Vader then decided that there could be no more delay.
Vader prepared to swing his saber for the last time, but Valance rolled himself over the edge of the walkway, hauling Vader with him. Valance dangled above the corrosive waters, his weight pulling Vader toward the same toxic end. Vader desperately swung his blade, slicing through the cybernetic hand clamped to his boot. Beilert Valance plunged into Rubyflame Lake. There, his flesh dissolved in minutes, his metal parts following hours later. But Tyler Lucian had heard his last words and found his own courage. Steeling himself, Lucian jumped from the high tower, following Valance into the fatal waters and securing, for the moment, the secret of Luke Skywalker's identity from Vader.
Personality and traitsEdit
Beilert Valance learned to be tough almost from the beginning of his life. His childhood on a harsh and unforgiving mining planet—much of it spent without the protection and emotional nourishment his parents would have provided him—left him cold and emotionally distant, and his desperate struggle for existence made him ruthless, able to make hard decisions that others, raised in more comfortable circumstances, could not make. Service in the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps would have—and no doubt did—provide a perfect outlet for the young Valance. His life on Shinbone no doubt fully prepared him for the rigors of stormtrooper training, and the two combined to make him an effective combat soldier. He was tactically astute, aggressive, cunning, and unfeeling. In short, he had all the tools required to be a superb bounty hunter long before he ever took up the profession.
His crippling injuries sustained on Doniphon revealed a new and hateful streak of his character: his hatred of droids and other mechanicals, or "junk" as he called them. Prejudice against droids had been quite common long before the bitter experience of the Clone Wars reinforced it, and cyborgs were not spared this hatred. That he should himself be forced to live out his days as a half-mechanical being Valance regarded as a bitter pill. Thus his hatred of droids became the outward sign of an even more deeply-rooted hatred of himself. His pursuit of Skywalker and his droid companions may have been meant to eliminate a bitter reminder that it was not droids, but he himself, that he really detested. He was caught completely unprepared for the possibility that one of Skywalker's droids, C-3PO, might actually prove himself to be more caring, more human, than he was. The acknowledgement of that fact completely changed him.
Valance saw in C-3PO's actions the possibility of a better galaxy, one in which cyborgs like himself need never face prejudice. In that vision he suddenly became something he had never been—an idealist. His childhood on Shinbone had eradicated any youthful idealism he might have had, and his sudden conversion to the protector of a major Rebel operative demonstrated that the Empire's ideology, which would have been a central part of his stormtrooper training, never really took hold. Lacking any trust in family, or hope for the future, or even a lasting belief in the New Order, Valance had no reason to have any ideals at all. The realization that he could believe in something beyond himself gave him new strength and purpose. He did not become a fully-fledged Rebel, but he understood enough of the Rebellion to know that Luke Skywalker's survival was a crucial component of its eventual victory, and his belief—no matter how thin—in that victory was sufficient to give him the courage to stand against the Empire's most brutal enforcer. In a conclusion laced with irony, Beilert Valance willingly laid down his life in the name of the very thing he had long ago thought banished from him: hope.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Death and destruction are his tools! The Star Warriors are his targets!"
- ―Tagline of Star Wars 16: The Hunter
The character of Valance was introduced in 1978 by veteran comic writer Archie Goodwin. He was not originally given a complete name, but when Jason Fry expanded the Valance story for roleplaying purposes in his multi-part online article The Hunt Within, he gave the bounty hunter a first name. Convinced that Goodwin took the name "Valance" from the classic John Ford western film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Fry intended Valance's first name to be an anagram of "Liberte." He also named Valance's homeworld Shinbone, after the town in the film where Liberty Valance lived.
Valance's confrontation with Vader was named as an "Honorable Mention" in the Star Wars Insider article "20 Most Memorable Moments of the Expanded Universe".
- Star Wars 16: The Hunter (First appearance)
- Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars 27: Return of the Hunter
- Star Wars 29: Dark Encounter
- (Mentioned only)
- "Crimson Bounty"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 14 (Mentioned only)
- "Predators for Hire: A Guide to Star Wars Bounty Hunters"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 6
- "ComicScan: Pulp Faction"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 6
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
- "ComicScan: Paint Him Black"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 11
- "Around the Galaxy"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 2
- "ComicScan: 20 Tales To Tantilize"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- "Shining Stars"—Star Wars Insider 52
- The Starhoppers of Aduba-3"—Star Wars Gamer 4 "
- (First identified as Beilert)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 40 (SEE12, C-3PO)
- "20 Most Memorable Moments of the Expanded Universe"—Star Wars Insider 83
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- "Comic Marvels"—Star Wars Insider 91
- "A Long Time Ago...."—Star Wars Insider 104
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 122
- "Red Five"—Star Wars Insider 137
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 152
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 The Hunt Within: Valance's Tale
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Star Wars 29: Dark Encounter
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Star Wars 16: The Hunter
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Star Wars 27: Return of the Hunter
- ↑ Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord