Early Life Edit
Karin Shale was born on Appanacht, a farming colony supplying several neighbouring industrial systems, seemingly destined to life as a farmhand or farmer's wife. Her own ambitions were, by her own admission, barely any higher until the arrival of then-Fleet Admiral Duvash and the Eighth Fleet. It was during that visit and the ensuing customary naval parade that Shale was first exposed to the pomp, circumstance and splendour of the Imperial military, so at odds with her own modest upbringing. From that moment Shale knew she would apply to IANTA (the Imperial Advanced Naval Tactical Academy) based on Hauzer-41. Applying shortly after her seventeenth birthday and against the wishes of her parents Shale was accepted and left aboard the first Imperial transport. She never returned to Appanacht.
Imperial Career Edit
Shale initially found life on Hauzer-41 difficult. The adjustment from a farming colony to a state-of-the-art Imperial facility in the heart of an asteroid took some time. Despite early reservations from both her trainers and Shale herself, she persevered with her studies and within the first year had achieved remarkable success, coming in the top ten percentile of her intake. Most records of Shale's time at IANTA are highly classified, common Imperial practice for any senior career officer in the fleet, though it is known that she particularly excelled at Deep Space Warfare and Long Range Tactical Manoeuvres.
During her time at IANTA Shale came into contact with several men and women who would help to shape the future of galactic history. As well as Karras Lal, a future Imperial Fleet Admiral, it would be Shale's friendship with Andronikus Akadon that would be the most defining of her life. The two struck up an unlikely friendship whilst studying at IANTA, one born of a mutual respect for the other's abilities rather than any underlying interests in common. Shale was impressed with Akadon's ability to plan strategically and tactically whilst on his part he is said to have admired her abilities to place such plans into delicate and deadly practice. This friendship would endure throughout their time at IANTA and during their respective military careers in the Imperial fleet.
Upon passing out, Shale was awarded a High Distinction and the rank of Lieutenant, ensuring she had the choice of any posting in the fleet. Her choice was to be posted to the Tantalus as it was scheduled for a deep space patrol mission in the direction of the outer rim. Serving with distinction for four years, Shale received two decorated honours for her actions during the patrol, including one incident suppressing pirate activity along the lucrative but dangerous Laxertes Corridor. Promoted to Sub-Commander she accepted a position as second executive officer of the Hades, serving for over two years in that capacity under Captain Corallan. She was decorated three more times, all for activities involved in the Fsiod Rebellion in which the Hades played an integral part. Following the death of Commander Jore Tenal, Shale promoted to Commander and the position of executive officer of the Hades. She served in this capacity for a further four years until she was transferred to the Cerberus as executive officer at the request of then-Captain Andronikus Akadon.
Shale and Akadon had maintained their friendship and the latter was keen to employ Shale's talents. He also sought a close friend and ally to support him as he became increasingly disillusioned with Imperial military commanders and the decisions taken by the Imperial family for the Imperium at large. The Cerberus was assigned to patrol the region of space bordering the Tarantula Nebula following the Imperial withdrawal, and Akadon ruthlessly pursued his personal vendetta against the inhabitants of the regions whenever possible. Shale was a constant advisor and supporter in these plans, relishing the opportunities provided to demonstrate her talents and earn further admiration from her friend, a man whom she had begun to fall in love with. Five years aboard the Cerberus earned Akadon and Shale fierce reputations each and a growing following from approving military officers in the fleet for the hard stance taken against the former-rebels and revolutionaries of the fledgling Free States. Sympathetic staff officers were able to push for the promotion of Akadon to Admiral, and Shale took command of the Cerberus directly. Reporting directly to Akadon, who was placed in charge of all Imperial defences around the Tarantula Nebula, Shale was tasked with continuing the Cerberus' accomplishments and, more covertly, in seeking out support for what had become a growing conspiracy - a military coup against the incompetence of the Imperial bureaucracy.
The growing fame surrounding both her abilities and her formidable stance against rebels, pirates and revolutionaries was quickly capitalised on. Shale was able to galvanise support amongst her own crew and her former postings and from their develop a network of sympathetic allies and supporters. With Akadon's influence, Shale was quickly promoted to Admiral, enabling her to expand her network of contacts even further.
Civil War Edit
Shale did not participate in Akadon's initial strike against the Imperium at the Dardanius Shipyards; instead she was attempting to rally support for the insurrection amongst the outer colonies. The Cerberus had remained under her direct command, but upon her arrival at the Dardanius Shipyards Shale was rewarded for her loyalty and friendship with one of the captured state of the art dreadnoughts being developed at the facility. The Abraxas, like her sister Demon-class dreadnoughts, was effectively a mobile weapons platform, capable of unleashing devastating fire-power upon the enemy. By now in love with Akadon, Shale was initially thrilled with her reward and the level of trust that Akadon had placed in her to deliver into her hands one of the most powerful starships in the galaxy. Her orders were to lead a task-force to secure several Imperial territories bordering the Tarantula Nebula, an area she was very familiar with, and Shale undertook this mission with her usual methodical perfection.
Her constant successes against the Imperial fleets ensured the initial expansion of the new-formed Alliance, securing vital supply lines and resource centres to enable the continuation of the war effort. Shale was able to perfectly interpret and, when necessary, adapt Akadon's plans to suit the situation and bring about victory for the Alliance. During her times away from the centre of power Shale remained in contact with Akadon, becoming an ever more important advisor and counsellor to the Admiral. When the civil war entered a period of stale-mate, it was Shale who encouraged and supported Akadon's audacious plans to humiliate and demoralise the Imperium by seizing the Imperial capital, Chandra. She also played a small, but important role in the events at Syr Darya, helping to evacuate Alliance personnel from the space station before it was destroyed by the detonation of the central core and ignition of the triborzon gas stored there as well as the atmosphere of Syr Darya V, a gas giant the station was orbiting. Shale ordered the destruction of the systems stargate, preventing the combined Imperial and Free States fleets from pursuing the fleeing Alliance ships and stranding them in the system. It was this action which helped to break the stalemate in the war and, by removing vital defensive fleets, allowed the Alliance to strike at Chandra.
When Sera Rozenburgh turned against Akadon it was Shale who comforted the Admiral. Crippled by an uncharacteristic bout of outrage, depression and indecision, Akadon entered a period of seclusion, threatening to stall the entire war effort. Shale not only comforted Akadon, finally becoming his lover in the process, but also took direct control of all Alliance operations, overseeing repairs to the Dardanius shipyards and organising the strike at Chandra which became a great military victory. Upon Akadon's recovery, Shale relinquished her position of authority though doing so increased her popularity amongst the rank and file who were awed both by her abilities as well as her humble nature in relinquishing power so readily. Within a year of the capture of Chandra, Shale and Akadon were married in a private ceremony on the former Imperial capital and were overjoyed at the birth of a son.
Since the birth of their first child, whose name and whereabouts still remain undisclosed, Shale disappeared from public view. Increasingly paranoid, it is said that Akadon fears an attempt on the lives of his wife and son and so keeps Shale and his heir in seclusion, moving them around Alliance territory as necessary. There are some, however, who speculate that he fears, or perhaps even knows, Shale will use her son as a means to overthrow Akadon and rule from behind the scenes with her child as a puppet leader. Such conspiracy theories are brutally sought out by the Alliance.
Rivalry with Sera Rozenburgh Edit
It was through her relationship with Akadon that Shale came into contact with Sera Rozenburgh, a career officer in the Imperial fleet and a protege of Akadon. They met during Akadon's early conspiracy attempts, both attracted by his vision and zeal to restore the Imperium to its former glory. Initially their relationship was nothing more than mutual respect, neither having particularly strong feelings about the other. However, with time, this changed. Shale, particularly, grew increasingly jealous of the friendship between Rozenburgh and Akadon as her own feelings for Akadon grew from the merely platonic to the romantic. The time Akadon spent with Rozenburgh, eventually making her his protege, grated on Shale who had known the Akadon longer and felt that she was being slighted for no reason; she was as competent as Rozenburgh. Rozenburgh, however, displayed a streak for ruthless efficiency that appealed to Akadon, demonstrating something he felt he could use in his future plans. It was a trait which, ultimately, Shale lacked.
However, it was Shale's discovery that Akadon had embarked on a relationship with Rozenburgh that generated much of the antipathy Shale felt for Rozenburgh. Her rival now also for Akadon's affections, Shale became jealous and embarked on a campaign to discredit Rozenburgh and remove her from Akadon's attentions. Realizing that Sera's vulnerability would be her family (Rozenburgh was married and had two children by the time she embarked on her affair with Akadon) she began whispering to Akadon that Rozenburgh's husband, Zaki Aurelian, could be an Imperial spy. A prominent member of the CPI (Committee for the Preservation of the Imperium), Zaki had the ear of several members of the upper echelons of power. If Rozenburgh was feeding him information, wittingly or not, it could prove fatal for the conspirators. It was from these seeds of doubt that Akadon demanded a show of loyalty from Rozenburgh, requiring her to murder her own family for the sake of the future of humanity as he saw it.
For a time, it appeared that Rozenburgh did just that; but again, Shale continued her investigations and surveillance of Rozenburgh, eventually discovering that, though Aurelian had been murdered, their daughters had not. Indeed, it was Rozenburgh herself who had hidden her daughters away. The information on their whereabouts remained difficult to come by, however, and Shale revealed nothing of what she knew; she was determined to prove to Akadon her own ruthlessness by independently tracking down Rozenburgh's daughters, killing them and presenting them to Akadon as evidence of Rozenburgh's betrayal and her own loyalty. Shortly before the events at Syr Darya, Shale received the information she needed, despatching her own assassins to eliminate the Rozenburgh children. She was only partially successful. The youngest daughter, Aleson, was found and killed but the eldest, Veronikya, escaped. Her whereabouts are still unknown. However, before Shale had an opportunity to present any of this information to Akadon, Rozenburgh herself betrayed the Alliance. Having been granted command of the newly designed advanced dreadnought Ragnarok, Rozenburgh turned against Akadon. News of the assassination of her daughter having reached her and fuelled by her own jealousy at Akadon's own affairs, in particular with Sub-Commander Leeia Staari, Rozenburgh led her ship on a successful and damaging attack against the Dardanius shipyards, destroying the keels of several advanced dreadnoughts already laid down and causing enough damage to the shipyards to put them out of action for almost eight months.
Akadon's breakdown following this act of betrayal from the woman he loved enabled Shale to make her own move, comforting and eventually becoming Akadon's lover and wife. Her grudge against Rozenburgh continues, however, and it is unlikely Shale will ever truly rest until her rival is dead.