- "This is a special bulletin concerning the disappearance of the great Shashay performer, Crying Dawn Singer. As we reported earlier, Crying Dawn Singer was abducted just minutes before a command performance for Moff Owen at the opening ceremonies for the SecPAC. The parties responsible for his disappearance have now made themselves known."
- ―A Rayter Sector News report on the disappearance of a Shashay cultural hero (extract)
The Shashay were sentient avians indigenous to Crytal Nest. They were renowned for their natural skills as singers and astrogators, giving them the common nickname of Space Singers. They had a reputation for fiery tempers and a strong loyalty to their species.
In an attempt to prevent the Galactic Empire from plundering their home planet, the Shashay kept the planet's galactic coordinates secret—to the point of not trusting that information to navigation computers and instead relying only on a Shashay navigator's memory for astrogation. The Alliance to Restore the Republic, noticing that the Shashay disliked the Empire as much as they did, approached the Shashay and tried to convince them to join their faction, with partial success: The governing Nestmothers of the Shashay did not want a Rebel base in Crytal Nest until the Rebellion could demonstrate its might, but several Shashay navigators and pilots were assigned to Rebel starships.
Despite their dislike for the Empire, the Shashay still sent artists to perform in Imperial space. One of these was the cultural hero Crying Dawn Singer, who was kidnapped by Yearo Seville, a pirate who, following orders from the Empire, pretended to be a leader of the Alliance. The Empire hoped that the Shashay would reject the Alliance from that point on. The Alliance then sent a team to track Seville and rescue Crying Dawn Singer, only to discover a conspiracy among Imperial commanders.
Biology and appearance
- "As you know, we have recently begun employing Shashay Space Singers as astrogators on many of our couriers, reconnaissance crafts, and freighters. Their skills have greatly enhanced our efficiency."
- ―Commander Zeke Rondel, Alliance to Restore the Republic
The Shashay were sentient beings that had evolved from airborne birds. Although the Shashay kept the brightly colored, thick feathers and wings of their ancestors, they lost the ability to fly. Shashay could easily use the retractable feathers on their forewings to glide roughly ten meters for every five meters of vertical fall under standard gravitational and atmospheric conditions, although they could glide farther with physical exertion. Shashay had a feathered, five-fingered hand at the end of each wing, and three-toed talons that served as feet. While some Shashay had avian legs, each of them with a joint in its back, other Shashay had Human-like legs with a knee to the front.
With short legs and a height between 1.3 and 1.6 meters at adulthood, a Shashay walked slower than a Human and commonly was physically weaker. Like other avian species, Shashay were particularly susceptible to the high levels of pollution present on many civilized planets. The movements of a Shashay were considered graceful, and they had beaks and talons that they could use in melee combat.
Shashay had bird-like heads, with an eye on each side, a curved beak with nostrils, and a crest of feathers crowning their heads. Shashay vocal cords were complex when compared to those of other species. This allowed the Shashay to sing elaborate songs that were considered particularly beautiful and valued. At the same time, this same feature prevented the Shashay from speaking Galactic Basic Standard. They could understand that language, but could only speak their own tongue.
Despite their terrestrial nature, the Shashay brain was still adapted for flight, giving them an intuitive understanding of three-dimensional space and of the complexity of hyperspace. This served them well as astrogators and pilots, as they had no need to use advanced technology to calculate routes.
Society and culture
- "In addition to our use of the Space Singers, we are currently negotiating with the Shashay regarding the establishment of a base on their homeworld. Due to the extreme security measures taken by the Shashay to conceal the coordinates of their world, we believe that this base would be totally secure. It is important that our negotiations are not compromised in any way. We desperately need this base."
- ―Commander Zeke Rondel, Alliance to Restore the Republic
Most Shashay lived on their native planet of Crytal Nest, in social units known as Nestclans. The planet was governed by a Shashay body known as the Nestmothers of the Shashay, which authorized individual Shashay requesting to go off-planet. However, the Nestmothers rarely allowed an individual Shashay to visit other planets, but nevertheless, most Shashay felt no need to leave Crytal Nest.
The Shashay had a strong community identity and loyalty to their own. They were known to protect, with their lives if needed, any information that the Shashay community considered secret, including the exact location of Crytal Nest.
The Old Republic era
- "Vors, Shashay and Chadra-Fan are among the 10 species labeled as 'at risk' of disease from air pollution that Coruscant planetary standards fail to account for, according to a study released today."
- ―HoloNet News
The Shashay were the sentient descendants of an airborne, non-sentient species. Even though their ancestors were fully capable of flight, the Shashay began to rely less and less on their wings as they evolved into an intelligent species. Eventually, as their wings became arms, their retractable "wing feathers" became useful only for gliding.
Although most Shashay had little interest in leaving their native planet, they nevertheless developed a space program and discovered space flight. While most species relied on astromech droids and navigation computers to calculate the coordinates for a hyperjump, the Shashay had a natural ability to do so and thus never needed that technology. While most Shashay remained with their Nestclans on Crytal Nest, Shashay navigators quietly roamed the hyperlanes of the Galactic Republic for many years, exploring and doing small-scale trading, but not drawing attention to themselves. They obtained certain natural resources, though not in large amounts, and carried out commerce with small colonies.
A small community of Shashay was found on Coruscant by 22 BBY, living in middle-class districts near industrial or public transit areas. These, like many other avian communities in the planetary capital, were prone to diseases due to pollution on the city-planet, as found by a study by Rhire Medical Academy. At the end of the Clone Wars in 19 BBY, octuptarra droids carrying a pathogen that targeted clone troopers were part of a Confederate attack on Coruscant. After the battle, traces of the virus from destroyed droids mutated into a form that infected the Shashay and other avian species, leading to an outbreak of molting.
The Galactic Civil War
- "You out there, you Shashay and all your mindless alien friends, you've got money, and we want it."
- ―Yearo Seville
The Shashay saw the Galactic Empire replace the Galactic Republic and disliked the measures and policies adopted by the New Order. Believing that the Empire would want to exploit Crytal Nest should they discover the planetary location, the Shashay became a secretive people, refusing to ever reveal the exact coordinates of Crytal Nest even when their lives were threatened. Shashay navigators memorized the hyperspace route to their planet and manually routed any ship, but they never input that information in any kind of computer. With these measures, the Shashay prevented the Imperial Survey Corps from discovering Crytal Nest.
Things changed when a damaged Shashay scout vessel crash-landed on Kashyyyk circa 8 BBY. The female scout pilot was aided by the native Wookiees, who helped her repair the ship. Even though the Wookiees requested no payment, she repaid them with an evening of song. The Wookiees, who commonly did not appreciate arts, were impressed by her music, and the news of the Shashay's talent spread through the galaxy. This led to the discovery of the Shashay's natural astrogation skills, and the resulting moniker of "Space Singers." Their singing talent put Shashay performers in great demand throughout Imperial space. However, the Nestmothers were afraid of that the Empire would discover the location of Crytal Nest, so they restricted most of the Shashay from leaving their planet. A very popular artist considered the most talented among the Shashay, the cultural hero Crying Dawn Singer, received a special dispensation to perform off-planet, as the Nestmothers understood that he would send useful money back to Crytal Nest, profiting the whole species.
After the Battle of Yavin, the Shashay were contacted by the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a faction that opposed the Empire and wanted the Shashay to join them. Initially, the Shashay politely refused. As time went by, however, the Shashay reconsidered their situation because the Empire was becoming more and more heinous in their eyes. The Alliance managed to sign some agreements with the Shashay. First, several Shashay began working for the Alliance as navigators and in other roles, including courier and reconnaissance duties, which increased the Alliance's efficiency. As a part of their accord, the Alliance placed a secret agent, the droid KL-6TLF7V/T, among the entourage traveling with Crying Dawn Singer. The Alliance desired a secret base on Crytal Nest, but the Nestmothers were reluctant to accept; the Shashay required proof of the real potential the Alliance had of winning the ongoing Galactic Civil War.
The Empire suspected that the Alliance was making deals with the Shashay and that they had a secret agent traveling with Crying Dawn Singer, although the Empire could not ascertain the agent's identity. Moff Nile Owen, Imperial ruler of the Rayter sector, was approached by his special assistant Nak Farool, who had an idea to create a rift among the Shashay and the Alliance: The Empire would hire an independent criminal to kidnap Crying Dawn Singer and to broadcast an exorbitant ransom demand to the Shashay, pretending to be a leader of the Alliance. The Empire would then "rescue" Crying Dawn Singer in an elaborate charade, winning the Shashay over and increasing the Empire's popularity. Although Owen approved the operation, Farool was in actuality conspiring to replace Owen with his own brother, Braig Farool, the planetary governor of Narg. After the abduction, Nak Farool would present a public press release, making Owen look apathetic and unworried about Crying Dawn Singer; this would damage Owen's reputation. Nak Farool also arranged to have the kidnapper, sectorial pirate Yearo Seville, deliver the hostage to Narg, not to Owen's headquarters; thus, Farool would get the credit for the rescue. Owen would then be forced to resign and would be replaced by Braig Farool.
Crying Dawn Singer and his entourage were all either kidnapped or killed by Seville in Capital City, just moments before a scheduled performance for Owen. Seville took his hostages to an abandoned Imperial base on the world of Najarka, where he killed the remaining members of the entourage. The Nestmothers then asked the Alliance for help. The Alliance got a signal from the transponder in KL-6TLF7V/T and located the droid on Najarka. Alliance commander Zeke Rondel of the Berrol's Donn base ordered the crew of the CRX-Tug Worthless Fool to reach Najarka and rescue both the secret agent and the Shashay.
The pirate then took the avian to the Laim system, where he would record the holotransmissions blaming the Alliance, threatening the Shashay and other aliens, as well as requesting twenty billion credits and a base on Crytal Nest as payment. During the recording, Seville shot and stunned Crying Dawn Singer. The pirate then took Crying Dawn Singer to Narg. Farool recorded a staged rescue with Crying Dawn Singer, and then caged the avian alien in his own private zoo in his office. Many Shashay believed Seville's words, leading them to abduct all the Rebel ships on which they were working. They threatened the Alliance to ask Owen for help, offering Owen the ships—something that could mean the end of the Alliance's presence in the sector. The Shashay agreed to turn back the ships to the Alliance if Crying Dawn Singer was rescued.
The Worthless Fool followed Seville's track from Najarka to the Laim system and then to Narg. At the same time, Owen discovered Farool's treachery and his press release. The Moff executed his assistant and took his flagship, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Impending Doom, to Narg: Owen wanted to rescue Crying Dawn Singer himself to regain his lost prestige. The members of the Alliance reached Narg and rescued a very angry Crying Dawn Singer from the clutches of a deranged Farool. They had to dodge a battalion of stormtroopers and TIE fighters sent by Owen, but they managed to leave the planet with Crying Dawn Singer. From that moment on, the Alliance to Restore the Republic had the full respect of the Shashay people.
Shashay in the galaxy
- "Oh, by the way, a lot of the Shashay believed that transmission. We're losing their support. And all those ships they were navigating–they're holding them hostage. If they surrender those ships to the Imperials, then we've lost."
- ―Colonel Zeke Rondel, Alliance to Restore the Republic
The Shashay were not prone to leave Crytal Nest and visit other places of the galaxy. Only a minority of thrill-seekers did so, commonly to work as traders. During the last years of the Old Republic, a number of Shashay lived on the planet Coruscant.
During the reign of the Empire, the Nestmothers forbade any Shashay from leaving Crytal Nest, as it could lead to their planet being discovered by the Empire. They made an exception with some navigators and pilots wanting to work for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and with the artist Crying Dawn Singer. This was to Crying Dawn Singer's enjoyment, as he, in an un-Shashay-like way, disliked his life in Crytal Nest and considered it too strictly controlled.
Behind the scenes
The species first appeared in The Abduction, a role-playing adventure for West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game published in 1992, written by Chuck Truett and with illustrations of Allen Nunis to depict Shashay. In their first description in The Abduction, the Shashay's first contact with the Wookiees is said to have occurred circa 8 ABY. Further sources show that they had a well-established population on Coruscant at least between 22 BBY and 19 BBY. The Abduction itself explains that the Shashay retired to their planet, apparently breaking contact with the galaxy, when the Empire rose to power. The Shashay native planet is alternatively known as "Crytal Nest" and "Crystal Nest." A detailed image in Alien Encounters shows a five-fingered, three-toed Shashay having bird-like legs, but images of Crying Dawn Singer in The Abduction seem to depict Shashay as having human-like legs with an unclear number of toes; this article assumes that none of the images are wrong.
In The Abduction, the player characters are crew members of the Worthless Fool. Should they fail in their mission, Moff Owen grasps Crying Dawn Singer and tortures him to death in an unsuccessful attempt to make him reveal the coordinates of Crytal Nest. After the death of their hero, the Shashay break diplomatic relations with the Alliance and, without their support, the Alliance in the Rayter sector fragments into dozens of independent groups, none able to achieve any major goals.
- The Abduction (First appearance)
- Alien Encounters
- "Smuggler's Log" – Star Wars Adventure Journal 11
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia