Originally, it was called Helot's Shackle and was a slave ship that had operated out of Ylesia. When Han Solo escaped from the planet along with Bria Tharen, they narrowly avoided being captured and boarded by the orbiting ship.
Nine years later, Tharen had founded Red Hand Squadron as part of the Rebel Alliance to free slaves around the galaxy. She masterminded an elaborate plan to hijack Helot's Shackle and free the Exultation-addicted slaves who were bound for either Kessel or various Imperial pleasure houses. Despite heavy losses and intense fighting, Red Hand Squadron prevailed and captured the ship. She renamed the ship Emancipator in homage to freeing the slaves.
Behind the scenesEdit
There is a scene in Rebel Dawn where Bria Tharen is talking to her superior officer about renaming the Emancipator. The captured corvette is later referred to as Retribution. This seems to be either an editorial or writer error, since the Retribution was Bria Tharen's Marauder-class corvette. Although the Helot's Shackle's new name is only mentioned twice (once as Emancipator, once as Retribution), it was likely an editorial mistake to call it Retribution.