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Shea Hublin

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Shea Hublin
Biographical information
Homeworld

Talcene[1]

Born

c. 35 BBY[2]

Died

5 ABY, Sanrafsix[1]

Physical description
Species

Human[3]

Gender

Male[3]

Hair color

Black[3]

Skin color

Light[3]

Chronological and political information
Era(s)
Affiliation
"Eriadu endures."
―Shea Hublin's dying words[src]

Shea Hublin was a renowned Human male pilot of the Galactic Empire known as "the Rebel Destroyer." Born around 35 BBY, Hublin grew up on the planet Talcene before joining the naval forces of the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars at the age of sixteen. Hublin had not yet completed his flight training when the Confederacy of Independent Systems surrendered, but entered the service of the Republic's successor, the Galactic Empire, at the end of the war and soon became an ace V-wing pilot. As leader of Sword Squadron in the 77th Air Wing, Hublin fought in the Western Reaches Operation of 17 BBY, helping to bring Imperial law to the Western Reaches of the galaxy. HoloNet coverage of Hublin's actions, most notably his assault on the Citadel of Axes at the Battle of Kelrodo-Ai, made him famous throughout the Empire and his likeness was subsequently used on Imperial recruitment posters.

Following the end of the Western Reaches Operation, Hublin moved to Eriadu, where he was appointed as air marshal of the Greater Seswenna and married Eriadu News Service reporter Eris Harro. Hublin led Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's starfighters against pirates and criminals until he was injured when his squadron was ambushed by enemy fighters in 13 BBY. He subsequently took a position aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Kabalian Cross. After the death of Emperor Palpatine, Hublin returned to active duty as a TIE pilot in service to Superior General Sander Delvardus's Eriadu Authority. He was killed in action against New Republic forces at Sanrafsix in 5 ABY.

BiographyEdit

Imperial aceEdit

"Okay, boys, we're going in—and we're going in full throttle."
―Shea Hublin[src]

The Human male[3] Shea Hublin was born around 35 BBY[2] and raised on the planet Talcene[1] in the Mid Rim[5] during the latter years of the Galactic Republic. As a boy, Hublin raced swoop bikes and made a living working as a courier for his homeworld's industrial guilds.[1] In 22 BBY, tensions between the Galactic Republic and the breakaway Confederacy of Independent Systems came to a head with the outbreak of the Clone Wars.[6] Seeing the war as an opportunity for glory, Hublin joined the Republic Navy in 19 BBY at the age of sixteen, but after he had completed just five months of flight school training, the Confederacy of Independent Systems surrendered and the Clone Wars were brought to an end.[1] The conclusion of the war saw Supreme Chancellor Palpatine announce the reorganization of the Republic as the Galactic Empire[6] and Hublin entered service with the newly formed Imperial Navy. Assigned to serve with the 77th Air Wing aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Destrier, Hublin saw action against pirates, smugglers and Separatist holdouts operating along the Great Gran Run hyperspace route and soon became a reputable ace V-wing pilot.[1] Within two years, he attained the rank of captain and command of the 77th Air Wing's Sword Squadron.[4]

Western Reaches OperationEdit

"We are the best-equipped and trained military force in galactic history. And we are the Emperor's justice. We may face setbacks, but we will prevail."
―Shea Hublin[src]
Shea Hublin

Shea Hublin, featured on an Imperial recruitment poster

At the conclusion of the Clone Wars, Separatist holdouts had fled towards the Outer Rim Territories and sought refuge among the pirates and slavers operating in the region of the galaxy known as the Western Reaches. In 17 BBY, Emperor Palpatine charged Moff Wilhuff Tarkin of Eriadu with pacifying the region. Hublin and the Destrier were assigned to the Western Reaches Superiority Force under the command of Admirals Bannidge Holt and Terrinald Screed.[1] Hublin served with distinction at Cimarosa and the Feather Nebula as the Western Reaches Operation swept through the area, bringing Imperial law to eight sectors and almost one hundred worlds. As part of the campaign, Hublin and the 77th Air Wing were deployed to the volcanic world Kelrodo-Ai, where Separatist forces had taken refuge in the Citadel of Axes. Kelrodo-Ai was the key to control of the Steniplis sector, but the world's planetary shield prevented a full-scale assault and the 77th Air Wing was charged with destroying the reactor core buried deep inside the Citadel of Axes which powered it. The Imperial forces met with heavier resistance than expected, resulting in the loss of fifteen 77th Air Wing pilots and reducing Sword Squadron to nine V-wings.[4]

When the Imperials located a 250-meter-tall, twenty-five-meter-wide exhaust tower leading to the reactor core, Sword Squadron was dispatched to fly through it and destroy the reactor. On approach to the Citadel of Axes, the squadron was approached by thirty enemy starfighters, including Z-95 Headhunters and Vulture-class starfighters. The Imperials destroyed four of the enemy fighters on the first pass before Hublin dispatched Dagger Flight, under the command of Lieutenant Starks, to hold off the remaining fighters while the rest of the squadron continued towards their objective. After approaching at near-ground level to avoid the heavy fire coming from the Citadel's laser cannons, the Imperials pulled up sharply, climbing above their target before beginning their descent. Hublin's Blade Flight, comprised of pilots Amp and Ahrens, moved in first to destroy the grating covering the entrance to the shaft. Ahrens's V-wing was destroyed by one of the tower's heavy guns, but Hublin and Amp destroyed the grating, clearing the way for Lieutenant Kaal's Scimitar Flight to enter the tunnel while the surviving Blade Flight pilots drew the fire of the enemy guns. Moments after entering the tunnel, however, all three Scimitar Flight V-wings were destroyed, forcing Hublin to order the surviving members of his squadron to abandon the mission and return to base.[4]

Back at the Imperials' forward air base, Hublin and the surviving members of Sword Squadron reviewed the footage from Kaal's flight recorder. The recording showed that Scimitar Flight had been attacked by organic entities which lived on the inner walls of the shaft. Dismissing suggestions that they should use missiles to destroy the reactor from above the shaft or call in ground support as too unreliable and time-consuming, Hublin was determined to find a way to safely navigate the tunnel. The answer came from Hublin's Kelrodoan valet, Fara. The creatures were common in the area and the Kelrodoans harvested their eggs for food; Fara informed the Imperials that the creatures responded to movement and that only by moving slowly was it possible to pass safely through the colony. Hublin immediately led his pilots back to the Citadel. Leaving Dagger Flight pilots Dibs and Rocket to hold off any pursuers, Hublin led Starks and Amp into the shaft. This time, however, the pilots quickly cut off their thrusters and proceeded down the tunnel on repulsorlifts only. After safely passing the colony, the pilots emerged into a large chamber housing the reactor core. The Imperials quickly fired proton torpedoes at the target before entering the shaft to make their escape, emerging moments before the reactor exploded.[4]

The destruction of the planetary shield paved the way for a successful ground assault by General Hurst Romodi's forces[1] and Hublin's actions were noted by Moff Tarkin, who personally contacted him after the battle.[4] Hublin went on to achieve further victories in the Western Reaches at Halm, Little Petrovi and Ichtor. After Admiral Holt was killed and General Romodi badly injured when they were ambushed by Iska pirates at Bryndar, Hublin helped Admiral Screed to defeat the pirates at Fanha. The pirate Guun Cutlax fled to the Atravis sector, where he joined forces with Separatist holdouts led by the Aqualish General Kendu Ultho. Hublin tracked Cutlax to Tosste, where his squadrons wiped out the pirate's forces. Soon after, Ultho was killed at Ogoth Tiir, bringing the campaign to an end.[1]

Hublin's role in the Western Reaches Operation had already brought him to the attention of Eriadu News Service reporter Eris Harro by his time on Kelrodo-Ai, where she interviewed him about the role that the 77th Air Wing was playing in the campaign,[4] but news of his exploits, including HoloNet coverage of events on Kelrodo-Ai and a holodrama adaptation of the battle, The Guns of Kelrodo-Ai, made him famous throughout the Empire. The Empire was quick to capitalize on Hublin's fame, featuring him on Imperial recruitment posters all across the galaxy.[1]

"The Rebel Destroyer"Edit

"You little idiot! This is Shea Hublin… the famous Rebel-Destroyer! Now, clean up that mess!"
―Lady Thalassa Tarkin castigates Leia Organa for spraying a drink in Hublin's face[src]

Following the conclusion of the Western Reaches Operation, Hublin was appointed as air marshal of the Greater Seswenna and granted a marquisate on the planet Eriadu, where he married Eris Harro,[1] the reporter that he had encountered during the battle on Kelrodo-Ai[4] and heiress of one of the ruling Quintad houses.[1] Hublin continued to serve under Tarkin, leading the Moff's forces in anti-pirate operations across Oversector Outer. In 13 BBY, Hublin lost a leg and half of his right arm when his squadron was ambushed by resistance fighters in the Vale system. At his wife's behest, Hublin transferred to a line command position and joined the crew of the Star Destroyer Kabalian Cross, where he directed a squadron from the ship's bridge and became known by the sobriquet "the Rebel Destroyer." However, Hublin later lost favor with the Imperial Navy's leadership after he urged them to replace the Empire's ubiquitous TIE/LN starfighters with a shielded, hyperspace-capable starfighter. Undeterred by the downturn in his career, Hublin continued to serve the Seswenna sector, leading numerous campaigns against criminals and Rebel forces during the following years.[1]

HublinGoesGuhhk

Leia Organa sprays a drink in Hublin's face.

Although content to remain on Eriadu, Hublin would occasionally make an appearance at military assemblies and reunions of Western Reaches Operation veterans.[1] On one occasion, Hublin attended the Thirteenth Imperial Diplomatic Conclave, a pro-Imperial gathering on the planet Phelarion that was hosted by Lady Thalassa Tarkin, the widow of Moff Tarkin,[3] who had been killed in action against Rebel Alliance forces at the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY.[6] Unbeknown to Hublin and Tarkin, Princess Leia Organa of the Rebel Alliance had crash-landed on Phelarion and was working as a maid in Tarkin's estate while awaiting rescue. As Organa administered stimufrost to the guests at the event's reception, she overheard Hublin discussing an award he was to be given for the execution of a Rebel leader on his home planet with two other delegates. When Hublin asked for a spray of stimufrost, Organa sprayed it at full strength, freezing his face and causing him to drop his drink. As Lady Tarkin attended to Hublin, she was approached by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader, who had come to Phelarion to investigate a stolen batch of megonite, an explosive moss mined on the world. Hublin watched with the other delegates as Vader questioned Tarkin and demanded to be taken to the megonite caves. Organa, meanwhile, slipped away to rendezvous with a rescue ship.[3]

Tarkin's successor as governor of the Outer Rim Territories, Grand Moff Ardus Kaine, moved his headquarters from Eriadu to Entralla in the New Territories, where he founded the Pentastar Alignment after the death of Emperor Palpatine[5] at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY.[6] When Kaine asked Hublin to accompany him, the air marshal declined, opting to stay and defend his adopted homeworld. Instead, as the Empire began to fragment in the power vacuum left by the Emperor's death, Hublin entered the service of the Eriadu Authority, a faction that was led by Superior General Sander Delvardus. Operating as a starfighter pilot once again, Hublin led a TIE/IN interceptor squadron in battle against the forces of the Nagai at the world Chelleya, driving them away from Eriadu. When Delvardus announced that he planned to conquer the Core Worlds, Hublin abandoned the general, but he reluctantly returned into the fold of Delvardus' forces following the Eriadu Authority's defeat at the planet Sullust in 5 ABY. Hublin subsequently participated in an engagement against the New Republic at the world Sanrafsix, where his squadron was destroyed by a flight of Republic X-wing starfighters. As his fighter was overcome by laser fire, Hublin opened his comm channel and in the last moments before his death proclaimed that "Eriadu endures."[1]

Personality and traitsEdit

"Some note there are no humans on Kelrodo-Ai, Captain. They say reclaiming this alien world is a waste of valuable Imperial lives and resources."
"Ma'am, those people need to remember that we are one Empire. One Empire in which every species has a role to play, to the extent that its capabilities allow."
"My goodness, Captain—you're starting to sound like one of those alien rights activists we've interviewed recently!"
"Don't worry, Mom—I'm not going to be bringing any alien girls home for dinner! But no matter what shape we are, Miss Herro [sic], we all love our children. The Kelrodoans may not have sophisticated technology. They may have primitive customs. But they deserve to contribute to the Empire while enjoying its security—and that's what we're bringing them."
―Eris Harro and Shea Hublin[src]
HublinParty

Shea Hublin attends the Thirteenth Imperial Diplomatic Conclave.

Shea Hublin was a light-skinned Human male[3] with aristocratic features and a widow's peak.[1] Clean-shaven during his early career,[4] Hublin later sported a thin mustache. By this time, his originally black hair had turned gray around the temples.[3] Eriadu News Service reporter Eris Harro was attracted to Hublin when she interviewed him during the Battle of Kelrodo-Ai[4] and the two married after the end of the Western Reaches Operation.[1] A skilled pilot, Hublin raced swoop bikes during his youth and later won numerous battles flying both V-wings and TIE series starfighters for the Galactic Empire. During his early career, Hublin was known to celebrate kills by waggling the wings of his starfighter, a maneuver which was broadcast on HoloNet footage of the Western Reaches Operation and subsequently became popular with trainee pilots throughout the Empire. Hublin was an advocate of replacing the Empire's fleet of TIE/LN starfighters with shielded, hyperspace-capable craft, an opinion which made him unpopular with senior officers in the Imperial Navy. As a young man, Hublin saw the Clone Wars as a chance for glory and was disappointed when the war ended before he graduated from flight school.[1] However, by 17 BBY, Hublin was embarrassed to be labeled a hero and by the media attention he received during the Western Reaches Operation. As a commander, Hublin saw it as his duty to make sure his flight leaders fully understood their mission and would go over the objectives one final time as his squadron flew into combat.[4] Even after switching to a line command after being injured in 13 BBY, Hublin continued to achieve victories, earning the nickname "the Rebel Destroyer." Towards the end of his career, Hublin was content to remain out of the spotlight and to quietly serve the interests of his adopted homeworld, Eriadu. He chose to remain there rather than accompany Grand Moff Ardus Kaine and even returned to active service as a pilot with the Eriadu Authority to defend the planet, though he refused to participate in Superior General Delvardus's planned invasion of the Core Worlds.[1]

During the Western Reaches Operation, Hublin witnessed and helped to close down slave and labor camps throughout the area. He came to believe that such things had been able to exist because of the corruption of the Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems and believed that the Galactic Empire would bring justice and prosperity to the galaxy. Hublin believed that all species had the right to contribute to the Empire and to enjoy its protection. Unlike other Imperial officers, Hublin was polite to aliens, but would not consider dating an alien woman and saw nothing wrong in taking the Kelrodoan Fara away from his homeworld to serve as his personal valet. Hublin was unwilling to serve as a template for cloned pilots and found himself uncomfortable in the presence of clones, suspecting that their loyalty to the Empire was the result of genetic engineering rather than free will.[4]

Behind the scenesEdit

"Here's the rest of Hublin’s tale—the story of a man whose reaction to being shunted aside was to compartmentalize his disappointment and stay loyal to those who'd been loyal to him. I can imagine him putting on his old medals, kissing Eris goodbye and hopping on the Eriadu-Phelarion shuttle. He settles into his seat, sighs, and hopes this fete of Lady Tarkin’s isn’t as boring as the last one."
―Jason Fry[src]

Shea Hublin was created by Russ Manning for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate daily comic strip Princess Leia, Imperial Servant and first appeared on December 8, 1979.[7] The character appeared in a single scene in which he is assaulted by Leia Organa while attending a conclave at Lady Thalassa Tarkin's estate on Phelarion. In 1994, the comic strip was reprinted and colorized by Dark Horse Comics in Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures 5, with the exception of the Sunday installments, which served as a weekly summary and presented an expanded version of Organa's assault on Hublin.[8] Tarkin's description of Hublin as "the Rebel Destroyer" intrigued Star Wars author Jason Fry, who provided Hublin with a backstory in 2012's The Essential Guide to Warfare and made him the lead character in the Star Wars Insider 132 short story The Guns of Kelrodo-Ai, depicting him as a "bad guy who doesn't know he's a bad guy."[9]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

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