- "It's not fair! I want to be an Imperial officer! I want to serve the Emperor!"
- ―Zarang, aghast at the apparent end of his Imperial career
- "I found out my mother died en route to Zygerria. My father didn't get that far. They decided he was too old. There was nothing I could do but hide."
- ―Penn Zarang's recollections
Penn Zarang lived with his mother and father, who ran a depot on Syngia Station in the Sertar sector. Zarang's parents were uninterested in politics and simply wished to make a living. A group of Zygerrian slavers docked at the station to make repairs to their hyperdrive and decided they couldn't leave witnesses. Zarang hid in a maintenance conduit, but his parents were both taken. His mother died during the trip to Zygerria, his father slaughtered simply for being too old. Zarang decided that not being involved in politics had offered his parents no protection. He decided to enter into the Empire's service in order to bring stability even to remote sectors such as the one he had grown up in.
- "Penn Zarang. He's not the bottom of the class, but no one thinks he'll be able to pull up his marks, and he's not Arkanis material. Eliminate him and you'll be one of us."
- ―Cadet Le Hivre testing Zare's friendship with Zarang.
Accepted as a cadet at the Arkanis Academy of the planet Arkanis, Zarang was a candidate to become an officer in the Imperial Military. Zarang, however, did not do well in his studies and was quickly identified as one of the academy's worst-performing students. Though not right at the bottom, he was regularly placed on academic warning. During his time at the academy, he developed a friendship with Zare Leonis. Leonis liked the young cadet, as he had been one of the few cadets at the academy who had been nice to him, notwithstanding the fact that he had already heard that Zarang was generally regarded as a "loser."
The two sat together during meals and Zarang introduced Leonis to Scaparus Port, a small port-town that offered Leonis he chance to use a comm booth to contact his family and girlfriend on Lothal. While traveling to Scaparus on their diplopod mounts, Zarang related his past to Leonis. Zarang recounted how his experience of seeing his parents being killed and enslaved by Zygerrian Slaver's had motivated him to serve the Empire. He believed that a strong Empire with a large military would be able to protect people like his parents from the depredations of pirates and slavers. Though Leonis was sympathetic, he personally wondered whether Zarang would obey orders to kill protestors, evict farmers, and take children from their parents.
Unfortunately, Zarang's poor academic performance made a target for the Commandant's Cadets, a secretive group of some of the top-performing students at the academy, culled by its overseer, Commandant Brendol Hux. Leonis, meanwhile, had been identified as a candidate to join the ranks of the group. When the time came for Leonis to perform a task in order to be initiated into the group, he was told that his task was to kill Zarang. Leonis was horrified at the idea, but played as if he would complete the task in order to not arouse suspicion.
He reported what he had been asked to do to Lieutenant Chiron, an Imperial officer that had been reassigned from the academy on Lothal. Chiron devised a plan to save Zarang's life. With Zarang's help a side of nerf was buried on the academy's grounds as a stand-in for Zarang's body. Though this deception meant the end of Zarang's time at the Arkanis Academy, Chiron promised to raise his case personally with Governor Tarkin if necessary and get him transferred offworld to another Imperial Academy.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Trying not to to get involved in galactic affairs offered my parents no protection. They needed a government that had the military might to protect them. The Empire wasn't strong enough to do that so far out in the Outer Rim back then, but I'm going to help make sure it can in the future. For my parents, of course. But not just for them—for other people's parents, too. So something like that can't happen again."
- ―Penn Zarang's experience with the slavers led him to develop a positive view of the Empire
Penn Zarang was a friendly human boy who was an Imperial cadet at the Arkanis Academy. Zarang had red hair and many freckles on his face. He was friendly and approachable towards Zare Leonis, a new transfer student from the Lothal Imperial Academy and secret rebel sympathizer. Zarang joined the Imperial Academy in order to help make the galaxy a better place. Zarang was traumatized by the experience of seeing his father killed by Zarracine slavers and his mother enslaved. As a result of that experience, he came to believe that a strong Empire and strong military would protect the Galaxy from pirates and slavers.
While he was not an exemplary student at the Arkanis Academy, Zarang still believed that he was not the worst performing student and was shocked and horrified when Leonis informed him about the Commandant's Cadet's plot to kill him. Despite this brush with death, Zarang still wanted to serve the Empire as an officer and relcuantly accepted Leonis' and Chiron's offer to help him.
Behind the scenesEdit
Penn Zarang first appeared as a secondary character in Jason Fry's junior novel Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy, which was published on October 25, 2015. His lines are told from the point of view of Zare Leonis, one of the novel's two main protagonists.
- Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy (First appearance)