- "Sounds like your parents have it all figured out for you."
"Yeah. Except for where I wash out at the beginning of juniors and never even get off Lothal. That wasn't part of the plan."
- ―Zare Leonis and Pandak Symes
Pandak Symes was a human male Imperial cadet who briefly trained at the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal as a member of Unit Aurek of squad LRC077. His parents, Colonel Symes and Major Symes, were career members of the Imperial Army. Unable to endure the harsh initial orientation, he was one of the first cadets of his term to wash out of the Academy early and was replaced by "Dev Morgan", who turned out to actually be Ezra Bridger.
- "... My parents don't believe in failure. They're both career Imperial Army—Colonel and Major Symes. They told me this was my first stop—achieve honors here, then qualify for Arkanis Academy, or maybe Marleyvane. And then Raithal when I'm eighteen. Or Corulag at the very least"
- ―Pandak's motivations for joining the Academy for Young Imperials
Pandak Symes was the son of two career officers in the Imperial Army, Colonel Symes and Major Symes. Both his parents had high expectations for Pandak and hoped their son would follow them into the Imperial Military. Several years before the Battle of Yavin, Pandak enrolled at Lothal's Academy for Young Imperials, a one-year junior academy that prepared Imperial cadets for further training at specialized academies throughout the Outer Rim Territories. While Pandak had little interest in embarking on a military career, he reluctantly obliged in order to live up to parental expectations.
After being accepted into the Imperial Academy, Symes was assigned to Unit Aurek, a four-member cell in squad LRC077. While Pandak managed to befriend fellow cadets Zare Leonis and Jai Kell, he was repeatedly bullied by Nazhros Oleg, who despised him as a weakling and hoped to force him to "wash out" from the Academy. During the two-week orientation period, Pandak took part in frequent running drills and training exercises. Often, Symes struggled to keep up with his fellow cadets and was repeatedly berated by the drill sergeant Currahee, who was known for her harsh training methods. Unhappy with the brutal, regimented nature of Academy life, Symes planned to wash out after the orientation period
On several occasions, Leonis tried to help Symes and often tried to shield him from Oleg, who was known as the squad's bully. One evening, Oleg attempted to force Symes to hand over his fruit bar. When Pandak resisted, Oleg taunted the cadet by telling him that he could not cut it at the Academy and should instead go home. Leonis stood up for Symes and knocked the fork out of Oleg's hand. When Oleg threatened Leonis, Lieutenant Chiron intervened and issued Oleg with two demerits before summoning Leonis to his office for a discussion.
Near the end of the orientation period, Symes and his fellow cadets took part in a military exercise that involved them deploying from a Sentinel-class landing craft into a lake. Despite difficulties with his comlink, Symes and the rest of Unit Aurek managed to land safely. For this exercise, the cadets had to use a navigation system in their helmet to proceed to their next rendezvous point. After landing onshore, Leonis helped Pandak to assemble his E-11 blaster. When Oleg taunted Leonis for "babysitting" Symes, Leonis responded that they were better together as a unit then by themselves.
The third part of the obstacle course involved the cadets having to navigate across broken terrain to another rendezvous point while under fire from Imperial troops, who had their blasters on training setting. If cadets were hit, they were out. Symes and Kell voted for Leonis to lead the squad since they knew that Leonis cared for his fellow cadets. Under Leonis' orders, Symes and his fellow cadets advanced forward in file formation. Despite Leonis' effective leadership, Symes was unable to cope with the stress of the exercise and experienced a nervous breakdown a few kilometers short of their rendezvous point. Despite Leonis' best efforts to help him, Symes was unable to continue with the exercise; forcing the other cadets to proceed leave him behind as they proceeded to their rendezvous point.
Following the field exercise, Symes voluntarily withdrew from the Academy for Young Imperials. While Oleg was jubilant at Symes' withdrawal, Leonis was unhappy that his fellow cadet had given up. Symes' voluntary withdrawal was part of the Empire's policy of "winnowing out the unworthy" in order to find the best cadets to fill the ranks of the Imperial military.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Yes, sir. But Pandak wants to live up to his parents' example. And his dedication ... well, it's obvious, sir. Shouldn't the Empire find a place for a cadet like that?"
"Perhaps. No, not 'perhaps.' Yes, it should. But that's not the Empire the two of us serve."
- ―Zare Leonis and Lieutenant Chiron discussing Pandak's predicament
Pandak Symes was physically weaker than his fellow cadets at the Academy for Young Imperials and was unable to keep up with the ruthless training program. Symes was a reluctant cadet and had only enrolled at the Academy to comply with the expectations of his careerist parents, who wanted their son to follow them into the Imperial military. While Symes got on well with his fellow cadets Zare Leonis and Jai Kell, he was regularly bullied by Nazhros Oleg, who despised him as a weakling. Unhappy with his parental expectations and life at the Academy, Symes had resolved to pull out at the end of the two-week orientation program. Despite his poor physical prowess, Pandak was skilled enough to win a game of chance cube.
Behind the scenesEdit
Pandak Symes first appeared in Jason Fry's 2015 young reader's novella Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks, a spin-off book tied to the children's television series Star Wars Rebels. His lines are told from the point-of-view of Zare Leonis, the protagonist of the Servants of the Empire series who appears in the Rebels episode Breaking Ranks.
- Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks (First appearance)