Shay is one of the two main protagonists in Broken Age. He is a young boy who lives alone on a space station under the care of an overprotective computer which would rather be thought of as his mother. His existence is lonely and repetitive.
Shay is a human boy living on the spaceship Bassinostra. He was sent on a mission to discover a new planet for his people as his, Loruna, is dying. He is watched over by the spaceship's artificial intelligence, whom he calls "Mom" and "Dad." Mom keeps watch over him during the daytime, while Dad takes care of him at night.
Unfortunately for Shay, Mom protects him a little too well. She keeps Shay on a strict schedule, provides him with harmless, boring "missions," and doesn't let him do anything that might be even a tiny bit dangerous, such as eating with a knife and fork. As Shay grows older, he feels more and more constrained by his ultra-sheltered life. Beginning to feel more like a prisoner than a passenger, Shay looks for ways to take control of the ship himself.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
During another typical, boring day, Shay, at last, finds a way to make his life (literally) go off the rails. He sabotages the daily mission to rescue a fake runaway train and ends up hurling himself and the passenger Yarn Pals into Spike Canyon, which turns out to be made of harmless foam. At the bottom, he meets Marek who offers him a chance at escaping a life of childish games before Shay is rescued by Mom. She decides to cancel his mission for him to heal from any "delayed fractures" and keeps him in bed.
After meeting with Marek, he is given the mission of rescuing endangered creatures on other planets using a claw system. He later realizes that the "helpless creatures" he was saving were actually the girls sacrificed in the Maidens Feast. While rescuing the creatures, Shay had endangered the mission twice to save a certain creature, which unknown to Shay was actually Vella.
When meeting Marek again, Marek tells Shay that he must take over the ship's controls to defeat the "Overmother." Shay must do several tasks and eventually succeeds in taking the ship down. However, when the Bassinostra crashes on the beach of Shellmound, he is met on the other side by Vella, who angrily attempts to punch him. She is swallowed by the monster Mog Chothra (Bassinostra), leaving Shay to explore Shellmound and Meriloft, finally free from the confines of the spaceship.
After waking up outside Mog Chothra, Shay discovers that the computers he called Mom and Dad on the ship are not computers at all but are his actual parents. He also realizes that he was never really in space. Shay meets Alex, who he briefly thinks is his future self. It is then discovered that Alex was also part of Operation Dandelion a long time ago. His ship is actually an old Mog that crashed before he could complete his mission. Like Shay, he was convinced by Marek to hack his ship to save helpless creatures, but he failed, and the ship crashed. They also deduce that the helpless creatures were really maidens from Maidens Feasts.
Alex and Shay agree to fix Alex's ship to go after the Bassinostra, which has now fled back to Loruna. Alex gives him many tasks that need to be completed before they can leave.
Walking around Meriloft and Shellmound, Shay helps his dad patch the hull, gets a radiation suit from the Dead Eye Druid's robes with Twyla's help, gets a Hexipal as an electronic's genius, makes a Super Conductive Gyroscopic Hypocam by getting help from several characters, and takes back a Heavy Duty Anti-Gravity Thrust unit from Harm'ny Lightbeard. After completing every task, he takes off in Alex's ship with Alex, his dad, and Vella's family.
While traveling on Alex's ship, they collide with the Bassinostra just outside Loruna. Because both ships are on autopilot, they cannot get around each other. With the help of the Hexipal and his telepathic connection with Vella, Shay successfully distracts Alex long enough for Vella to meltdown both of the ships into a bridge. Shay almosts falls off the melting ships, but Grabbin' Gary saves his life before melting down himself. Shay then crosses to the other side of the ship, where he is reunited with his family.
"I'm going to save my juice for a higher purpose."
"Stay on alert. I think there might be food around."
- The name Shay comes from the Gaelic word meaning "admirable"
- Shay is extremely resistant to constriction, a result of many hug attacks during his missions aboard the Bassinostra
- When he was little, he wrote letters to the "shoe fairy"
- In the End Credits, Shay is shown hugging his family, knitting a sweater, and sitting with Vella