- "Hey Armitage, you think they'll rescue us? He'd probably like it. Suits his artistic temperament, right, Armitage?"
- ―ICO Austin, on Armitage's opinion of being stranded in the Unknown Regions
Armitage was a Human male who lived during the Imperial Period. Hailing from the Colonies world of Faro, Armitage studied as an artist and planned to attend the PanGalactic Arts Conservatory on Miele Nova until he joined the Galactic Empire as an officer in the Imperial Corrections Service. Early in his career, Armitage was stationed aboard the Imperial prison barge Purge under the command of Captain Jareth Sartoris. During his time on the vessel, he had difficulty fraternizing with his fellow officers, as his artistic spirit was often at odds with their crass behavior. In 1 BBY, the Purge suffered serious damage to its thrusters while transporting prisoners to the corrections facility on the detention moon Gradient Seven, leaving the ship stranded in space in the Unknown Regions.
The Purge was in fact the prey of the seemingly derelict Imperial Star Destroyer Vector, which was being controlled by the undead victims of Imperial bioweapons Project I71A. Believing the Star Destroyer to be a ghost ship, Purge Warden Bissley Kloth ordered that a party of Imperial Corrections Officers and engineers board the warship and salvage it for usable parts. Armitage was a member of the ten-man party sent to the Star Destroyer, where he was separated from the rest of his team during his effort to avoid conversation with his colleagues. While exploring the Vector, he came upon a laboratory containing a vat filled with Human lungs that he was transfixed upon for a period of time. Before he was able to return to his team and the Purge, Armitage was killed by the Vector's undead inhabitants.
Life with Imperial Corrections
- "The most critical factor is that we may be able to salvage equipment for our thrusters and get back on course before we're completely behind schedule. To that end, I'll be sending a scouting party up—Captain Sartoris, along with ICOs Austin, Vesek, and Armitage and the mechanical engineers, to see what they can salvage."
- ―Warden Bissley Kloth explains the mission to repair the Purge
Armitage was a Human male hailing from the Colonies world of Faro. He lived on the world with his younger brothers and sisters and studied as an artist in his youth. Armitage specialized in airpaint murals and often created works for his siblings with this medium. He hoped to one day attend the PanGalactic Arts Conservatory on Miele Nova, but before this dream was realized, Armitage joined the Galactic Empire and entered into the Imperial Corrections Service.
As an Imperial Corrections Officer, Armitage was charged with guarding prisoners of the Empire in various detention facilities. One of his first assignments as a rookie officer was aboard the Imperial prison barge Purge, where the young man served alongside stormtroopers and other ICOs under Warden Bissley Kloth and Imperial Corrections Captain Jareth Sartoris. During this time, Armitage's talent as an artist went largely unused, save for the few times that his comrades requested that he craft an image of the female form or a beloved piece of machinery from their homeworld, such as a speeder or flitter. When he had the opportunity, the rookie officer made an effort to avoid the company of his fellow ICOs, as his artistic disposition did not mesh well with their generally obtuse conduct.
In 1 BBY, the Purge undertook a journey to the prison on the Imperial detention moon Gradient Seven. After collecting approximately 500 criminals from across the galaxy, the prison barge began its trek to the moon. Several weeks into the voyage, the prisoners aboard the Purge initiated a riot in the General Population level, instigated by inmates Han Solo and Chewbacca. The riot was quickly quelled by ICOs and stormtroopers, and Solo and Chewbacca were removed from General Population to solitary confinement. A short time after the riot, the Purge suffered critical damage to its thrusters while traveling through the Unknown Regions. In response to the crisis, Warden Kloth summoned Armitage to his office, alongside Captain Sartoris and fellow ICOs Austin and Vesek. After the three officers met up with Sartoris en route to the Warden's office, Austin and Vasek discussed the issues that had befallen the Purge and speculated on the chances of the Empire rescuing them. Austin teased Armitage after questioning him on the matter, claiming he would enjoy isolation in the Unknown Regions due to his "artistic temperament." Austin continued to ridicule the rookie for his manicured and well-tended hair and joked that Armitage had spent extra time arranging it in order to catch the attention of Chief medical officer Doctor Zahara Cody, the lone female aboard the Purge. Sartoris silenced Austin, saving Armitage from further derisive remarks from his fellow officers.
Upon the group's arrival at his office, Kloth explained to the four ICOs that the barge's thrusters were damaged beyond repair. As they were still seven days out from Gradient Seven, those aboard the Purge were all but stranded in space. Armitage groaned in exasperation upon hearing the news, but his expression of despair was heard only by Sartoris. Kloth continued on to inform the men that the Purge's navicomputer had scanned the system and detected another Imperial vessel—an Imperial Star Destroyer identified as the Vector. Although the Purge had attempted to hail the Vector to request assistance, the Star Destroyer failed to respond, prompting the prison barge's commanders to initiate a bioscan on the vessel. The scan indicated that the destroyer, which was capable of accommodating a crew of 10,000 or more, was only carrying ten or twelve living beings. The revelation shocked the officers, who doubted that the Empire would abandon an entire Star Destroyer in the Unknown Regions. Despite Sartoris's voiced concerns that the situation was far too risky, Kloth insisted that there may have been a misreading on the part of the Purge's sensors. The Warden claimed that the Vector represented the only hope that the Purge had for returning to their scheduled journey to Gradient Seven, and so ordered that Sartoris, Austin, Vesek, and Armitage lead a scouting party up to the Star Destroyer to salvage it for parts that could be used to repair the barge's thrusters.
Death on the Vector
- "What about the other five?"
"That's just it. The second team never came back."
- ―Dr. Cody and Warden Kloth discuss Armitage's scouting party
After leaving Kloth's office, Armitage and the three other ICOs were joined by four mechanical engineers—Greeley, Blandings, Phibes, and Quatermass. The eight men made their way through the Purge's administration level toward the pilot's station, where a docking shaft had been connected to the underbelly of the Vector. Just before entering the tube, they were joined by two stormtroopers, who had been sent by Kloth for extra protection. The ten-man scouting party entered the shaft and were carried upward toward the Vector by an interior turbolift. Although they were silent for the majority of the ascent, Austin eventually started a conversation with Vesek and Greeley regarding the derelict destroyer and their plan of action once they boarded it. Sartoris cut in, explaining that the party was to split into two teams of five—he would lead Austin, Vesek, Greeley, and Blandings in the first team, while Armitage would lead the second, comprising Phibes, Quatermass, and the two troopers.
The lift reached its destination and deposited the ICOs, engineers, and troopers into the Vector's main hangar. The men were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the vessel, prompting Sartoris to insist that the two teams keep contact with one another and return to the docking shaft in exactly one hour. As Armitage and the rest of the men prepared to disperse throughout the Star Destroyer, they noticed an array of starships scattered across the far end of the hangar, behind which a dark figure was moving. The figure frightened the men, as the landing bay was supposedly free of life forms. Much to the relief of the scouting party, the dark figure was simply a group of CLL-series binary loadlifter droids continuing their work despite the disappearance of their masters. After the discovery, the two teams split up, with Sartoris's team heading for the lower maintenance levels while Armitage led his crew toward quadrant seventeen.
In spite of being their leader, Armitage still had difficulty communicating with the engineers and troopers in his team. While the four of them discussed the poor quality of the food in the Purge's mess hall and speculated on what body parts Dr. Zahara Cody washed in the shower, the rookie corrections officer remained silent. His comrades noticed this and began to imply that his silence was reflective of a displeasure with his career in Imperial Corrections, suggesting that he would prefer a life in the "cowardly" Rebel Alliance. In an effort to escape their contemptuous remarks, Armitage broke off from his team, claiming to be investigating the supply dump on sublevel twelve. Instead, he made his way to Bio-Lab 177, where he came upon a large vat filled with bubbling fluid, in which small pink organisms floated. After closer investigation, Armitage realized the organisms were sets of Human lungs, all breathing in unison and connected to wires that ran to a monitoring console beside the vat. The peculiar sight intrigued Armitage, who counted at least thirty-three sets of lungs in the vat and noticed that they had all their organs of sound carefully preserved. As he drew nearer, he also realized that a thick, grey fluid was being siphoned out of the organs and into a series of black tanks lining the side of the vat.
Armitage admired the strange view for a period of time while the lungs began to breathe more and more rapidly until they suddenly began to emit a high-pitched scream. The noise emitting from the lungs was so loud and difficult to bear that Armitage had to cover his ears. Although Vesek was attempting to contact him on his comlink, the rookie ICO was unable to hear his comrade or explain his situation. As Armitage turned to leave the Bio-Lab, he realized that he was not alone. He was, in fact, in one of several labs in the Vector that had been used to research and cultivate Imperial bioweapons Project I71A. The bioweapon had killed the Star Destroyer's entire crew and transformed them into undead cannibals who were now stalking the ship in search of victims. Armitage and the rest of his team were assaulted and killed by these creatures while Sartoris led his men back to the Purge under the assumption that Armitage's team had already returned to the prison barge.
Personality and traits
Armitage was an artistically-minded individual from an early age. He began his study of art as a youth on Faro and used that passion to entertain his family. Despite this interest, circumstances resulted in his employment in the Imperial Corrections Service—a far cry from his former dream of attending the PanGalactic Arts Conservatory. While working for the service, Armitage continued to create airpaint murals, but in an extremely reduced capacity, as his fellow officers held little interest in his artistic talents. When they did ask that he produce a work of art, their usual requests were on the subject of females or vehicles. The requests greatly upset Armitage, as he hated painting machinery. The experience drove him away from his artistic pursuits, although the other ICOs still knew him for his background in painting.
While serving the Empire, Armitage found it difficult to fit into the culture established by his fellow officers. Unlike the other ICOs, Armitage took some level of care in grooming himself and wore his hair in a pompadour while on the Purge. The rookie guard was also unwilling to participate in their mundane and repetitive conversations regarding the Purge's mess hall food and their sexual objectification of Dr. Zahara Cody. His silence on these matters, in addition to his reputed "artistic temperament" and his well-groomed appearance, earned him callous remarks from the guards and troopers he served with on the prison barge.
It was these remarks that caused him to leave his team on the Vector while he explored the "ghost ship" alone. Upon discovering the vat of lungs in Bio-Lab 177, Armitage was immediately dazed by its perplexing beauty, even comparing the organs to small, skinned Angels. He felt as if he had some strange familiarity with the lungs, and as if he were breathing in unison with them as they were breathing in unison with one another. Entirely hypnotized by the sight, Armitage decided that he would paint the vat—which he had dubbed the "lung bath"—at his closest possible opportunity in order to express his emotions of shock and awe. Once the lungs began to scream, his feelings toward the strange experiment changed drastically, and all he wished was to be away from the Bio-Lab. Armitage never escaped and was killed aboard the Vector.
Behind the scenes
- Death Troopers (First appearance, simultaneous with Death Troopers audiobook)
- Death Troopers audiobook