around 32 BBY
|Chronological and political information|
Vin Northal was a member of the Emperor's Royal Guard who defected to the Rebel Alliance. The mystique of the Royal Guard insisted that their loyalty to Emperor Palpatine was absolute; Northal showed that this was not always the case.
Vin Northal was born around the time Palpatine was elected as Supreme Chancellor, to parents who were already passionate supporters of the future Emperor's ambitions for the Galactic Republic. As a teenager in the Empire's early years, he grew up believing that the New Order existed to create peace and prosperity throughout the galaxy, and excelled in the COMPNOR-sponsored youth programs of his homeworld. But the young man also showed a self-confident capacity for independence of thought and action: when offered paramilitary training by COMPNOR, he turned them down, and went instead to the Imperial Academy, where he graduated at the top of his class.
He was assigned to an elite Imperial Army squad led by another promising young officer Crix Madine, and was soon selected to serve as a stormtrooper commander, and then, ultimately, as a member of the Imperial Royal Guard. While on rotation with a regular stormtrooper unit, however, he led a botched raid on the planet Meastrinnar, during which his troops destroyed an orphanage. The attack was later chalked up as a crucial Imperial victory by his superiors. Struggling to reconcile his ideals with the reality of the Imperial regime, he defected to the Rebel Alliance.
Many members of the Alliance leadership were wary at first of a phenomenal front-line soldier such as Northal; who was also one of the Empire's leading infiltration specialists. However, Crix Madine vouched for him, and skeptics like Airen Cracken were dramatically persuaded of his loyalty when he single-handedly saved the entire Alliance Council from capture on Hythrope IV. He became a Colonel with the Alliance's SpecForce commandos, dividing his time between front-line missions and infiltration training.