|Chronological and political information|
- "I went through the academy with Garoche. We were rivals, but also friends."
- ―Captain Shale
Shale was a Human male who was serving as a captain in the Imperial Navy around the time when the Old Republic was reorganized into the first Galactic Empire. Aside from his friendship with Admiral Garoche Tarkin, he had also earned the trust and confidence of his friend's father, then-Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. During a mission to locate the missing Admiral Tarkin, Shale showed himself to be both a capable officer and an effective soldier on the battlefield, albeit a ruthless one as well.
The disappearance of Moff Tarkin's son
- "I know how he thinks, and I'll do everything in my power to find him."
- ―Captain Shale, regarding his rivalry and friendship with Garoche Tarkin
After enlisting into military service, Shale trained at an Academy to become an officer. During his training, he met a fellow cadet named Garoche Tarkin, the son of Wilhuff Tarkin. Although the two competed against one other as rivals, they also respected each other as friends. Shale's friendship with the young Tarkin not only gave him an insight into his friend's mind, but also acquainted him with Garoche's influential father. By the time he had reached the rank of captain in the Imperial Navy, Shale had earned the respect and trust of the elder Tarkin, by then a Moff at the time.
Not long after the creation of the Galactic Empire, Admiral Tarkin had disappeared along with his Imperial I-class Star Destroyer during a mission to hunt down insurgents in the Ghost Nebula. This unexpected setback caused Moff Tarkin to request the aid of Emperor Palpatine himself. When the Emperor summoned his Sith apprentice Darth Vader to the throne room, Moff Tarkin was present with Captain Shale at his side. Tarkin was displeased that the Emperor had chosen Vader to find Garoche, given the Sith Lord's previous record of losing sight of his mission objectives when ever the opportunity to hunt Jedi fugitives presented itself. Not only did Tarkin openly voice his lack of confidence in Vader, he also presented his contingency plan in the form of Captain Shale, who was to assist Vader in the search for Garoche and to ensure that the mission would still succeed in the event that Vader strayed away from the core of his mission once more.
Although Shale assured the Sith Lord that he would be most useful in finding Admiral Tarkin, Vader merely saw him as a nuisance and blatantly insisted that he did not need a "shadow" to follow him and watch his every move. But the Emperor made it quite clear that Captain Shale would be part of the mission, thus forcing Vader to back down on the matter. Thus, Shale disembarked on his new assignment to find his lost friend with Vader and two battalions of the 501st Legion.
Assault on Atoa
- "The snipers are blind! Let's go!"
- ―Captain Shale, during the fighting on Atoa
After reaching the Atoa system in the Ghost Nebula, the last known location of Admiral Tarkin before his disappearance, Vader and his Imperial force began their search on the planet Atoa. Arriving on the planet's surface in the same gunship as Darth Vader and a contingent of 501st stormtroopers, Shale and the Imperials located a nearby inhabited city protected by armed soldiers.
While Darth Vader wasted no time at all in ordering his stormtroopers to assault the city and slay many of its inhabitants, Captain Shale used the Sith Lord's distraction to covertly infiltrate the city with a squad of dark-armored stormtroopers. When a lone enemy soldier managed to ambush Vader and his troopers by shooting at them from high ground, Shale was able to knock her out with a single deft attack from behind after he and his men entered the city without being detected. Although Shale somewhat egotistically tried to claim credit for his action, Vader ignored the officer and pressed deeper into the city with Shale and the 501st in tow.
Discovering that the last of the city's protectors were holed up in a tower guarded by heavy artillery and snipers, Commander Voca suggested that an AT-TE Walker could destroy the tower without any risk to the Imperials. But Vader, having little concern for Imperial lives or resources, was only interested in capturing the city's leaders alive for interrogation and thus settled on the direct approach of storming the tower head on. Captain Shale, on the other hand, insisted that Vader's objectives could be completed without suffering more casualties than was necessary. To that end, Shale requested that the Dark Lord create a distraction while he and his stormtroopers infiltrated the tower. After a moment's consideration, Vader agreed.
To ensure that Shale's plan succeeded, Vader stepped out from hiding and presented himself in open view to the snipers, much to the surprise of his stormtroopers. But before the snipers could target Vader, the Dark Lord used the Force to create a massive snow storm, hurling it in the direction of the tower and thus blinding the snipers. With the distraction working perfectly, Captain Shale and his men quickly climbed to the top of the tower and easily dispatched the snipers, but only wounded them as per Vader's instructions to take the tower's occupants alive for questioning.
In the aftermath of the battle, Vader had Commander Voca and the 501st stormtroopers transport the remaining enemy soldiers to the bank of a river just outside the city. After a short and unsuccessful interrogation, Captain Shale stood by and nonchalantly watched as Vader ordered Voca to burn the city and drown the prisoners. At that moment, however, a boat loaded with white-robed figures drifted towards the Imperials. Before either Shale or Voca could open fire, Vader commanded them to stand down. A female priestess disembarked from the boat and greeted Vader and his men as "servants of the Empire". Identifying herself as High Priestess Saro of Atoa, she promised to help the Imperials in finding whatever they were looking for.
Search for the missing Star Destroyer
- "This is my command!"
"And it will be your last command if you fail. Moff Tarkin will see to that."
- ―Darth Vader and Captain Shale
Shortly after returning to Darth Vader's Star Destroyer, Captain Shale and Lady Saro watched as the Dark Lord had one of the Atoan prisoners dissected in an attempt to scare the priestess into unconditional cooperation. During dissection, Vader noted a surprising discovery about Atoan biology to the repulsed captain—Atoans are literally heartless. In addition to Admiral Tarkin's whereabouts, Vader demanded to know how Lady Saro understood Galactic Basic, to which she revealed how she swallowed a stormtrooper's tongue in order to learn the language of the Imperials, but at the expense of the trooper's life. Before being escorted out, Lady Saro made it clear that the only condition for her cooperation was that the Empire support her bid to rule the entire Ghost Nebula and that she would only offer lies and false leads if Vader tried to force her compliance.
Captain Shale felt that they should consider accepting Lady Saro's request as he did not find it unreasonable, given that Emperor Palpatine had made Moffs out of lesser men. Darth Vader simply ignored the captain's advice and proceeded further with the dissection, prompting Shale to remind Vader that they needed Lady Saro more than she needed them, especially since they had no other leads to the whereabouts of Garoche Tarkin. Vader lost his patience with the impertinent and seized him in a Force Choke, angrily reminding Shale as to who was in charge of the mission. But Shale defiantly threatened that it would be Vader's last command if he should fail and that Moff Tarkin would personally see to it. After a moment of consideration, Vader released Shale and left to meditate on the matter. When the medical droid asked if it should proceed any further with the dissection, Shale saw no need for it to do so and ordered the droid to dispose of the body in the incinerator.
Once Vader agreed to Lady Saro's terms, provided that she swore fealty to the Emperor as her sovereign ruler, the Atoan priestess guided the Imperials to the location of Admiral Tarkin's missing Star Destroyer—or rather what was left of it. Captain Shale assisted Darth Vader and Commander Voca in leading a squadron of V-wing starfighters to investigate the wreckage of Tarkin's vessel. However, the group suddenly set upon by Atoan insurgents in an ambush. Although caught off guard, the Imperials quickly turned the skirmish around, mainly by utilizing their starfighters' greater maneuverability to their advantage. Soon after successfully interrogating a few captured insurgents, Shale met with Voca and Lady Saro in order to discuss the best way to rescue Tarkin.
While analyzing the features of the unknown planet where Tarkin was allegedly held prisoner, Shale deduced that the vast black oceans were actually hot tar pits. When Voca suggested that they resort to orbital bombardment since a ground assault could be too costly, Shale immediately rejected the clone's idea since such an action could potentially burn the entire planet with Tarkin still on it. While still trying to draw up a plan for how to retrieve Tarkin alive, Vader entered the room with a pair of storm commandos and ordered Commander Voca to launch a ground assault. The purpose of the attack was to merely serve as a distraction while Vader and Captain Shale led a stealth attack on the Atoan insurgents. However, unknown to Shale at the time, Vader had secretly gained the Emperor's approval to assassinate Admiral Tarkin and to blame it on the insurgents in order to further incite Moff Tarkin's dedication to the annihilation of the Galactic Empire's enemies.
A Pyrrhic Victory
- "Another squad gone."
"That will be the last. The Atoans believe they have escaped. They will not be prepared for us."
- ―Captain Shale and Darth Vader, regarding the loss of Imperial assets as a distraction tactic
Darth Vader, believing that Garoche Tarkin was being held prisoner in an insurgent city located on the unknown tar-pit world, ordered the 501st Legion to assault the city by utilizing several AT-AT Walkers. Captain Shale and a contingent of storm commandos accompanied Vader and Lady Saro on an Imperial gunship. However, the Atoan city was built as a ship that could travel on the tar-pit surface, thus enabling the insurgents to maintain distance between their city and the approaching Walkers. As a result, a few Walkers were destroyed by the city's defenses and several stormtrooper squads were lost as well.
When Captain Shale updated Vader on the casualties that were sustained in the initial attack, the Dark Lord asserted that the insurgents would not be prepared for a stealth attack since they were under the impression that they escaped from the Imperials. Once the gunship was in range, Vader led the first squad of the commandos into the city while the second squad followed Shale and Lady Saro. While Vader and his commandos navigated their own way to the prison center, Lady Saro acted as a guide for Shale and his men. After stealthily executing the insurgent guards without alerting the rest of the ship's crew, both groups rendezvoused at the cell where they believed that Tarkin was held. But instead of finding the missing Admiral, however, Vader and Shale discovered Tarkin's personal protocol droid that had been instructed to wait for their arrival. The droid presented a small package as a gift to Vader, as instructed by Tarkin in the event that Imperials should come in search for him. But the "gift" turned out to be a bomb. When the explosive detonated in Vader's hands, Shale used himself to shield Lady Saro from the explosion. Although he sustained some damage to his armor, Vader emerged relatively unharmed. Furious at Tarkin's apparent betrayal, he informed Shale and Lady Saro that their new objective was to storm the bridge and capture its crew.
After easily catching the bridge's crew off guard, Captain Shale and the storm commandos killed a few insurgents but took most of them hostage as per Vader's orders; the Dark Lord personally apprehended the ship's female captain. Shale was then present at the interrogation where Vader sought information from the captives in regards to Garoche Tarkin. But the insurgent captain failed to satisfy Vader with her answers, and so Vader began flinging one prisoner after another into the tar-pit, burning them alive. Both the insurgent captain and Shale were horrified by Vader's brutal tactics. When she ran towards Vader as another prisoner fell to his death, Shale shot her in the back and claimed that he thought she was trying to attack Vader.
Although the battle turned out to be a wasted effort for the most part, Vader came to suspect that Admiral Garoche Tarkin had betrayed the Galactic Empire. He then ordered Shale to sink the city and return to the Star Destroyer with the rest of the 501st. Before Shale could leave, Vader told the Imperial captain that they would discuss the apparent treachery of Shale's friend, Admiral Tarkin. But upon returning to the Star Destroyer, Shale executed his secret agenda—deserting the Empire and turning the storm commandos against Darth Vader and the rest of the 501s Legion. When Vader awoke from his sleep, he was surrounded by a group of commandos, all of whom had their weapons pointed at him. Enraged by yet another act of treason, Vader assured the commandos that Shale would die for his treachery.
Traitor of the Empire
"I'm sorry, Commander."
- ―Commander Voca and former Captain Shale
Before leaving the Star Destroyer, the former Captain Shale retrieved Lady Saro after killing her guards. Together, they escaped from the warship, but not before rigging it with many explosive devices. Meanwhile, Vader survived the attempt on his life and before killing the last storm commando that was sent to kill him, he discovered that the commandos were told by Shale that Vader was the traitor for plotting to kill Admiral Tarkin. Thus, they believed Vader to be a traitor.
When the explosives detonated and rendered the Star Destroyer inoperable, Darth Vader and his remaining 501st stormtroopers evacuated the ship and crash-landed on another unknown planet in the Ghost Nebula. With only a handful of stormtroopers left, including Commander Voca, the Dark Lord led the search for both Shale and Lady Saro. A large group of Atoan insurgents caught the Imperials completely off guard. While Vader engaged the enemy in a direct confrontation, Voca tried to lead his soldiers to safety, only to be caught off by more insurgents led by Shale. Exhausted and outnumbered, the stormtroopers were in a hopeless position. Voca tried to inquire as to why Shale was a traitor, but the former officer only offered an apology in place of an explanation. As the insurgents opened fire on the clones, Shale chose to look away rather than join in on the execution of his former comrades. At the same time, Lady Saro revealed her treachery to Vader, who was then captured by the insurgents after sustaining severe damage. When he awoke to find himself a prisoner, Garoche Tarkin revealed himself and his new allegiance to Lady Saro and the Atoan insurgents to the Sith Lord.
- "Liar! Traitor!"
"I know you…you think I have betrayed the Empire. But it is the Empire who has betrayed me. I swore an oath…to be a good soldier…not a slave."
- ―Darth Vader and Shale, just prior to the latter's death by suicide
Darth Vader did not remain in captivity for long. He succeeded in escaping from his confinements and proceeded on a rampage, killing many insurgents that stood in his way until coming face to face with Shale. The former Imperial officer tried to save Garoche Tarkin by killing Vader whom he hoped to kill by using Sith Lord's own lightsaber. But his efforts were for nothing and Vader easily overpowered him. When Vader accused Shale of high treason against the Empire, Shale proclaimed that it was the Empire that betrayed him. At that moment, Shale revealed his feelings of guilt and remorse over the crimes he had committed in the Empire's name; he asserted that his oath was to be a good soldier, but in serving Emperor Palpatine, he had become a slave to a murderous tyrant.
As such, Shale swore his allegiance to his friend, Garoche Tarkin, who shared similar sentiments in regards to the cruelty and injustice of the Galactic Empire. Vader was not swayed by the traitor's confessions of guilt and remorse. But just as the Sith Lord prepared to execute the ex-captain, Shale revealed several explosive devices that were strapped to his torso. He then activated the explosives to go off in a mere few second, intending to kill Vader with his act of suicide. With only a moment to react, Vader flung Shale's body away as it exploded, thus resulting in the traitor's death and Vader's survival.
Shale, and by extension, Garoche Tarkin, would ultimately prove to not be the only ones to harbor disgust for the atrocities they were ordered by Palpatine to commit. Less than a while after the insurgency, the Imperial Academy headmaster Gentis would establish a military coup against the Emperor in order to stop him from constantly sending soldiers out to their deaths for his warmongering ways.
Personality and traits
- "Don't die on me quite yet."
- ―Captain Shale
As an Imperial officer, Captain Shale was efficient as a soldier and strategist. In contrast to Darth Vader's blatantly aggressive tactics, Shale relied on stealth and was a proven master of covert operations, given his successful use of stealth tactics twice in his first combat engagement on Atoa. He had no qualms towards the Empire's military doctrine of brute force or Vader's resort to the slaughter of defeated prisoners, though he did concern himself enough with the lives of his stormtroopers for the sake of efficiency in battle.
Although he considered Admiral Garoche Tarkin as a rival, Shale also respected him as a friend and was determined to find the lost admiral. His skills had even earned him the respect of Garoche's father, Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, even to the point where the elder Tarkin had more faith in Shale than Darth Vader himself. Much like Moff Tarkin and unlike most of his fellow officers, Shale apparently did not fear Vader and was not afraid of suggesting more efficient ideas over the Dark Lord's orders. He was even a little too familiar with the Dark Lord, once directly addressing him as "Vader" rather than "Lord Vader".
However, despite his obedient service to the newly-formed Galactic Empire, Shale's loyalty was only a facade. In less than a year since the Empire came into existence, the Imperial Military had committed numerous atrocities at behest of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader—atrocities that Shale was disgusted with and thus came to doubt the cause he originally believed in. Though he lost his faith in the Emperor, Shale remained loyal to his best friend, Garoche Tarkin, who shared the same disillusionment with the Empire. When Tarkin switched his allegiance to Lady Saro and the Atoan insurgents, Shale secretly joined his friend's cause while continuing to feign loyalty to the Empire.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command (First appearance)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 5
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 2
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 As an Imperial officer in the first year of the New Order, Shale would have served in the Navy of the Galactic Republic first. Before becoming a captain, he was trained in an academy an unspecified number of years before the rise of the Galactic Empire.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 4
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 3
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison