- "You're White?"
"Tanner. White didn't make it. It's just me and Pauling, up in the cockpit."
- ―Tanner, introducing himself to Trig Longo
Tanner was an Imperial soldier stationed aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Vector. In 1 BBY, the Vector's crew was exposed to a deadly virus, which killed the afflicted and subsequently reanimated them as zombies. Immune to the disease, Tanner and twenty-nine others sought shelter from the undead in a Sentinel-class landing craft docked within the Star Destroyer's hangar, eventually resorting to cannibalism to stay alive. During their tenth week inside the shuttle, they attempted to kill—and eat—Jareth Sartoris, an officer from the Imperial prison barge Purge, who was fleeing from the horde of undead, before brokering a deal with him for escape. Sartoris disabled a tractor beam that had been preventing the shuttle from fleeing as part of the arrangement, directing three fellow Purge survivors to the awaiting shuttle before he died. Tanner greeted the trio as they prepared to depart, but before the shuttle could get very far, he was killed by a zombie who had managed to board the craft.
- "There were thirty of us originally. Now we're down to seven, including myself."
- ―Commander Gorrister, explaining the situation to Jareth Sartoris
Tanner was a male Imperial soldier stationed aboard the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Vector in 1 BBY. During that year, the Vector transported containers of a deadly virus, codenamed "Blackwing," from the planet Meglumine to an Imperial testing facility on the planet Khonji Seven. However, during the journey, a few of the containers were breached, exposing the Star Destroyer's crew to the virus. Most died from the affliction—and were subsequently turned into zombies—but a few were immune to the airborne disease, Tanner being one of them. As the virus spread throughout the Vector, infecting its crew, Tanner and twenty-eight others, led by Commander Gorrister, sought shelter in a Sentinel-class landing craft docked within the destroyer's hangar. However, the group was unable to flee the Vector, for an active tractor beam prevented the shuttle from departing. Rather than face the horde of undead, the soldiers confined themselves within the craft in an effort to stay alive.
Over time, Tanner and the others became little more than living skeletons. Starvation forced them to resort to cannibalism as they drew lots to see who would be eaten. As time went by, the initial group of thirty survivors had been reduced to a mere seven, Tanner included, as the others were killed and devoured. During the tenth week of their self-imprisonment in the shuttle, the Imperial prison barge Purge happened upon the derelict Vector near the fringes of the Unknown Regions. Salvage teams, sent to the Star Destroyer to recover parts needed to fix the barge's inactive engines, inadvertently brought the virus back with them to the Purge, where it quickly spread and killed all but a half-dozen aboard. One Purge survivor, Captain of the Guard Jareth Sartoris, chanced upon the surviving Imperial personnel within their shuttle as he fled from the undead. The seven attempted to kill and eat Sartoris, but he managed to gain the upper hand, throwing four of the men—Gorrister included—into the sea of zombies outside the shuttle.
However, one of the three remaining men, White, managed to convince Sartoris to let them live and attempt an escape. A plan was formulated in which Sartoris would deactivate the tractor beam preventing the shuttle from leaving, and the remaining survivors—Tanner, White, and Pauling—would help him pilot the craft to safety once he returned. Sartoris succeeded in disabling the tractor beam and directed fellow Purge survivors Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Trig Longo to the awaiting craft, before sacrificing himself to ensure that the three made it safely to their destination. Upon the trio's arrival, Tanner greeted them and informed them of White's death. However, as the shuttle began its departure, one of the zombies managed to get aboard; it killed and fed on Tanner and Pauling before it was destroyed.
Personality and traits
- "It was nothing more than a simple matter of survival. We were starving, you see."
- ―Gorrister, explaining the survivors' cannibalism to Sartoris
An Imperial soldier, Tanner was one of the lucky few to escape from the horde of undead zombies aboard the Vector. In their self-imprisonment aboard the shuttle, the soldiers had plenty of water but a limited food supply, and eventually resorted to cannibalism to sustain themselves. Tanner managed to outlast many others, surviving for ten weeks as their numbers dwindled from thirty to seven. In this time, starvation had reduced him to nothing more than a living skeleton; his skin had become shriveled and yellowed, and his expression was pale. Still, he greeted the trio of survivors from the Purge with a smile, albeit an unnatural-looking one, given his appearance.
Behind the scenes
- Death Troopers (First appearance, simultaneous with Death Troopers audiobook)
- Death Troopers audiobook