An ambitious, ruthless proponent of military power, Wilhuff Tarkin became a favorite of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and rose rapidly through the Imperial ranks. Shortly after the Empire's creation, he was put in charge of the construction of the Death Star. Tarkin saw the Death Star as a way to crush all dissent to the Empire's rule -- fear of the station's planet-killing superlaser would keep the galaxy's star systems in line. He demonstrated the station's power by destroying Alderaan, but died soon afterwards when the Death Star itself was destroyed.
A young, ambitious Imperial officer from the Outer Rim world of Seswenna, Admiral Motti saw the Death Star as the ultimate power in the universe, and burned to use that power against any who dared challenge the Empire. The commander of the Star Destroyer Steel Talon, he served as one of the Imperial military’s Joint Chiefs, becoming an ally of Grand Moff Tarkin’s and head of naval operations aboard the Death Star. He died when the battle station was destroyed.
If ever one needed an example of the irredeemable evil that was the Empire, turn to the shattered remains of Alderaan. An influential world, Alderaan was represented in the waning days of the Republic by such venerated politicians as Bail Antilles and Bail Organa. A peaceful world, Alderaan was bereft of weaponry in an era of galactic strife. It was not without spirit, however. Alderaan was one of the earliest supporters of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, though its officials prudently kept all ties to the Rebellion secret. Despite such discretion, the Empire knew it to be a haven of Rebel activity, and Grand Moff Tarkin targeted the beautiful world for reprisal as soon as the Death Star was operational. The massive primary weapon of the battle station obliterated Alderaan, leaving only a lifeless asteroid field behind.