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- "Nature seems to have compensated for his lack of hair by making him exceptionally thick-headed!"
- ―Simon Greyshade
Zertik Strom was a Human male who served as an Imperial Sector Commander of the Mid Rim sector which contained Besh Gorgon during the Galactic Civil War. He maintained a tense relationship with Senator Simon Greyshade of The Wheel, neither man hiding his contempt for the other. A tall, bald man with a well-muscled frame, Strom commanded the Pursuit-class cruiser Enforcement which carried TIE Advanced x1 prototypes similar to the one used by Darth Vader.
Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Zertik Strom's small fleet attacked and destroyed a House of Tagge convoy in an effort to discredit the Rebel Alliance. He used captured Alliance soldiers as evidence, leaving them inside damaged ships and adrift between the wreckage, hoping that any eventual rescue mission would see Alliance personnel and immediately assume it to have been a Rebel attack.
The Wheel was an artificial city-like satellite in which gambling was the main activity and a high source of taxes for the Empire. Imperial forces were expected to keep away from it in order to encourage visitors to the Wheel, yet Strom was convinced that if Rebels were seen to be attacking and stealing the profits it would make an Imperial presence on the Wheel welcome.
When Rebels including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia Organa sought refuge on the Wheel, Strom led his forces in to try and capture them, only to be thwarted by Greyshade who was out to get the Princess, a former Senatorial colleague.
Greyshade then suggested a partnership with Strom in which he would help the Empire take over the Wheel in return for Princess Leia. However, Greyshade took the first opportunity to double-cross Strom, who was drugged before he knew it and awoke to learn that Greyshade had stolen the profits Strom had taken from the Tagge transport.
In a rage, Strom set out to destroy Greyshade. His plan backfired when Master-Com discovered the recording hidden inside R2-D2, showing proof of the Empire being behind the attack on the House of Tagge convoy. When the recording was broadcast over the station's public communications systems, the gamblers of The Wheel rose up against Strom's forces.
Strom himself tried to flee the station, but was killed when he confronted Greyshade one last time. Rather than allow Strom to shoot him dead, Greyshade lobbed a thermal detonator at Strom, who died instantly in the blast.
- Star Wars 18: The Empire Strikes (First appearance)
- Star Wars 19: The Ultimate Gamble
- Star Wars 20: Deathgame
- Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord
- Star Wars 22: To the Last Gladiator
- Star Wars 23: Flight Into Fury
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (See Greyshade, Simon)
- (First identified as "Zertik" Strom)