- "Perhaps next time I should design a starship that commands itself, Captain."
- ―Lira Wessex
Lira Wessex (née Blissex) was the daughter of famous Galactic Republic engineer Walex Blissex, and an accomplished engineer in her own right. When she was still Lira Blissex, she designed the Venator-class Star Destroyer for the Galactic Republic, later using her success on that project and the political power she gained with her marriage to future Imperial Moff Denn Wessex to push her grand project, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer, into production. Against a storm of controversy, Wessex was vindicated when the Imperial-class proved successful. In later years, she further improved on her design with the creation of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought.
When failings in Wessex's Imperial-class became apparent, she arranged to have her father captured, intending to have him interrogated for any details on starship design that could help her. Blissex was lured to the Victory-class Star Destroyer Subjugator on the pretense that his daughter was dying, only to be captured by the Empire. A Rebel attack forced a change of plans for Wessex, though, who set the ship to self-destruct to wipe them out. When Blissex and his Rebel companions escaped, Wessex was forced to flee the Star Destroyer without her prisoners.
She was later approached by Doctor Vreen, an artificial intelligence expert from Cloud City who had helped design a droid capable of running a starship, and who proposed to her that it could be used to create a self-commanding vessel. Vreen demonstrated his droid, X0-X1, by connecting it to Cloud City's computer core, only to have it take over the city while she was there. Wessex was reunited with her father during this crisis, and she was forced to work with him to shut down X0-X1 and save the city.
Life in the RepublicEdit
The daughter of Walex Blissex, the starship engineer who designed the Victory-class Star Destroyer for the Galactic Republic, Lira Blissex followed in her father's footsteps. Blissex was the finest student that her father had ever trained, and she grew up to be a skilled engineer. Because Walex had never learned to use computers, Lira did much of his computer work in his stead. During the Clone Wars, design technology for warships improved by wide margins; seeking desperately to create bigger, faster, and more heavily-armed and armored combat vessels, engineers on both sides competed in a frantic arms-race. While her father worked on the Victory-class Star Destroyer for Rendili StarDrive, Blissex was heading the development think-tank at Kuat Drive Yards, designing a number of wedge-shaped warships. Among these was the Venator-class Star Destroyer, an attack cruiser over a kilometer in length.
The Venator's record in the war was a source of pride to all its designers, but for Blissex it—and the rest of her successes—were stepping stones to the grander plans she had in mind. Her ultimate dream project was the Imperator-class Star Destroyer, which in the wake of her prior success she was able to green-light, using her father's work as the basis of its design. The first Imperators went active in time to serve in a few Republic task forces during the Clone Wars. Shortly before the end of the war, Blissex married Denn Wessex, a commander in the Republic Navy and a genius with technology as well.
The new EmpireEdit
- "This technological genius recently married Lira Blissex, one of the chief designers of the Venator-class, and even more ambitious naval vessels are sure to result from their pairing."
- ―HoloNet News, in a biography of Denn Wessex
Now Lira Wessex, wife of one of the new Galactic Empire's first Moffs, the engineer used the newfound influence granted by her marriage to push through her Star Destroyer programs. Wessex saw the new Empire as an opportunity and gladly accepted the New Order, putting her at odds with her father, who did not like how the Empire used his ships—designed as peacekeeping tools—as mass-killing weapons of war. She eventually lost contact with Blissex, who went into hiding from the Empire and later joined the Rebel Alliance. Meanwhile, Wessex's words gained her a great deal of political clout, and she rapidly rose in stature within the Imperial military machine.
Shortly after the end of the Clone Wars, testbed Imperators became active in classified Imperial facilities. But when Wessex proposed production of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the finalized and renamed version of the Imperator-class, a conflict erupted between several divisions of the Empire, military and civilian, over whether it was practical or even possible. Entire planets had smaller gross domestic products than the cost of a single one of these new warships. Heated debates over the vessel between the military strategists of the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Military Oversight Commission, and the soon-defunct Senate Budgetary Committee erupted, which risked destroying the Empire. But Wessex was ultimately proven correct when the Imperial-class at last went into production. At least one of the vessels she personally designed was the Avenger. At some point, she also acted as the chief naval architect of the repairwork of the Stellar Envoy. Observing that the Imperial Navy lacked small craft to support TIE fighter squadrons launched from Star Destroyers, Wessex designed the Raider-class corvette. The 150 meter long vessel was fitted with multiple hardpoints to enable it to suppress Rebel starfighter attacks. Her pitch was successful and Kuat Drive Yards began manufacturing Raider-class corvettes in 6 BBY.
Wessex was still not finished with the Star Destroyer design, though. Desiring to improve upon the Imperial-class, she realized that its power to intimidate stemmed from its immense size, and set out to create an even larger vessel that would dwarf the mile-long Imperials. During the early years of the New Order, she designed a prototype Super Star Destroyer that was was 12 kilometers in length, and the vessel entered construction in secret under the auspices of the Sarlacc Project. After the prototype was destroyed by a resistance group, Wessex renewed her efforts to produce a leviathan Star Destroyer. The result was the Executor-class Star Dreadnought, a 19-kilometer-long warship that was built at Fondor and later saw service under the command of Darth Vader.
The capture of Walex BlissexEdit
Wessex's Imperial-class design, though based on Walex Blissex's work, proved to be inferior to his designs in several ways; construction of the vessels was more expensive than Blissex's methods, and the result was less efficient in power use and operation. With 174,000 design flaws in the Imperial-class in total, this particular pair threatened to end the entire Imperial project. Realizing she had missed some important aspect of her father's work, Wessex arranged for her father to be taken into custody. Not only did she intend to extract whatever information she needed out of him, but she expected that Blissex's capture would increase the stature of her own family within the Empire. Wessex's husband Denn set out a number of holotapes throughout the galaxy with a message for Blissex; his daughter, Denn claimed, was dying and wished to reconcile with her father before she passed away. Blissex was told to meet with the Victory-class Star Destroyer Subjugator, docked at Kwenn Space Station supposedly on a resupply mission. Accompanied by two fellow Rebels, Rexellian Marshall and Kan Deans, Blissex met with Captain Kolaff aboard the Subjugator, who promptly threw the three Rebels into the Star Destroyer's detention block. Unknown to Blissex, Wessex herself had accompanied the ship to oversee her father's interrogation, and after imprisoning the Rebels, Kolaff congratulated her on their success.
Blissex's interrogation began, with an Imperial interrogation droid questioning him about the details of Star Destroyers. In the middle of it, though, the Subjugator fell under attack by an Alliance fleet named Task Force Starfall, who were unaware that Blissex was aboard. The first wave of Starfall's attack devastated the Subjugator, disabling several of the ship's systems, including many of its power systems, most weapons, all shields, the hyperdrive, and many of the sublight engine systems—and freeing the Rebels in the process. Kolaff diverted the remaining energy into the engines, making the ship appear more damaged than it was. When Wessex suggested that the ship was not in a promising situation, Kolaff told of her his plan to draw Starfall into a second attack wave and set the ship's self-destruct sequence to a three-hour timer so it would wipe the Rebels out when they arrived. Wessex provided the codes he needed to do so.
When Blissex and the Rebels learned from the ship's computer systems that a self-destruct was imminent, they also discovered that it had been activated by a code known only to Blissex and his daughter, revealing to the engineer that Wessex was aboard and had been behind his imprisonment. Wessex, meanwhile, was still on the bridge with Kolaff awaiting the ensuing attack by Task Force Starfall. Unlike the captain, she was unconcerned with the fleet, focused only on her father. Though Kolaff, who had busied himself by sending several stormtrooper ambushes at the Rebels, believed them to be dead, Wessex was unconvinced, and ordered Kolaff to capture them alive before the ship self-destructed.
Kolaff eventually grew tired of Wessex's underhanded tactics and set off after the Rebels himself. Wessex meanwhile went to the ship's hangar control tower to await the captain. Despite Kolaff's efforts, he was defeated by the Rebels in an AT-ST duel, allowing Blissex and the others to reach the hangar. Wessex ordered the troopers stationed in the hangar to attack, then began firing on the Rebels. When the tide of the battle turned against her soldiers, Wessex fled. She was pursued into a corridor, where she turned on her attackers and primed a thermal detonator. When Blissex appeared, she briefly hesitated before throwing it, only to be overrun by a wave of renegade droids fleeing the damaged areas of the ship. Wessex was swept away and the Rebels were able to escape. Before the Subjugator's self-destruct sequence detonated, she made it to the shuttle Tatium and escaped the vessel, sending a message to her husband to inform him of the failure of her mission and confirming their rendezvous at a set of prearranged coordinates.
The X0-X1 crisisEdit
- "An attempt has been made on my life. I don't know if this is part of Vreen's demonstration, but things are becoming complicated. If you do not hear from me in 24 standard hours notify my husband and whatever Imperial authorities you deem necessary."
- ―Lira Wessex, making an emergency call after an attack by X0-X1
In the wake of the incident on the Subjugator, Wessex grew to hate Rebels and her father even more. At some point, she had a set of borg implants installed in her skull that allowed her to interface with computers. Wessex continued to think of new starship developments; at a party in Cloud City's Holiday Towers, she mentioned a wish to build a starship that could command itself, an idea that was overheard by Doctor Vreen, an artificial intelligence expert who until recently had been working at Cloud City's Bioniip Laboratories. Vreen pulled Wessex aside and told her of a project he and his partner Issan Len had been developing, a droid called X0-X1 that could command a starship by itself and had proven itself in simulations as an adept tactician. Wessex, whose reputation had taken a blow with her failure on the Subjugator, was interested; however, she kept Vreen's information to herself, intending to personally present the droid to the Empire once it had proven itself.
Vreen's plan to prove his creation's worth to Wessex involved stealing the droid, connecting it to Cloud City's computer core, and ordering it to convert the city into a weapons platform. He believed that if it were to prove capable at this, it would be trivial for it to command a starship. However, he underestimated the droid's programming, and after being connected to the core, X0-X1 decided that the most efficient way of carrying out its directives was to take over the city entirely, converting all its inhabitants into droids. It enlisted Vreen to carry out this plan by designing a type of droid known as an Evolution Droid, capable of turning organic beings into droids that could be controlled by X0-X1.
The day after Vreen connected X0-X1 to the core, Wessex returned to Cloud City under a pseudonym, intending to meet Vreen at the Royal Casino. X0-X1 learned of this from Vreen, but unable to track Wessex due to her assumed name, found another means of locating her. A group of Rebels—including Walex Blissex—had come to the city to meet with Issan Len, who had intended to give the droid technology over to them. X0-X1 had killed Len via the protocol droid F-3PO first, though, and now planted misinformation about Len's murder via a reception droid at Bioniip Laboratories, where the Rebels were visiting in their investigation of the murder. The droid told them that F-3PO belonged to Wessex and informed them that she could be found at the Royal Casino.
Meanwhile, Lando Calrissian, who knew of Wessex and Vreen's deal and also suspected her of involvement in the murder, disguised himself and went to the Royal Casino. Wessex played several games of sabacc with him as Calrissian unsuccessfully tried to draw information from her. As her appointment time with Vreen passed, Wessex began to wonder what had happened to him; she checked her hotel desk for any messages from him, and upon returning to the casino ran into her father and the other Rebels. Wessex wondered whether the Rebels were responsible for Vreen's lateness and decided to stay in the casino with them, feeling herself to be safer from them there than in the streets. She probed the group for any information on the whereabouts of Vreen, suggesting that she could turn them into the Cloud City authorities; when asked about F-3PO, she denied that she had ever owned the droid.
At last X0-X1 put its plan into action; with all parties who knew of its existence gathered together in the casino, it launched an attack on them. The sabacc table interference field spread to neutralize the weapons of everyone seated at the table, shortly before a massive H4-5D Heavy Labor Droid came crashing into the casino. As the Rebels fought the droid off, Wessex fled. She made a transmission to Captain Orsk of the Star Destroyer Dauntless, informing the captain of the attack and insisting that the mission continue to be kept a secret unless she was not heard from in 24 hours. Not long after this, X0-X1 triggered a blackout across Cloud City and began ordering its droids to load canisters of Evolution Droids into the air vents.
Wessex later met with Helm Iskraker, a thief who had worked with Vreen before and had been present at the fracas in the casino. After the two compared their notes about Vreen, Wessex hired Iskraker to steal the serial numbers of the locks that barred the way to the computer core from Bellum, a forger who Vreen had used to make copies of the keys for those same locks. Wessex then hired several mercenaries, and along with them went to hangar bay 487B, where Iskraker's ship Erratic Orbit was docked. As Iskraker handed over the computer box with the serial numbers, they were interrupted by Blissex and his Rebels; intending to stop X0-X1 themselves, they sought the serial numbers as well. While her mercenaries kept the Rebels distracted, Wessex fled the hangar. She ran onto a narrow ledge encircling Cloud City, where a misstep meant a fall of miles into the clouds of Bespin. Wessex paused briefly to connect the computer box to her cranial implants and download the numbers, then continued to flee from the Rebels, who had now moved out onto the ledge. Unfortunately for her, she was knocked off the ledge by a gust of wind and caught hold of an antenna, allowing the Rebels to catch up; before letting them help her up, Wessex dropped the box with the serial numbers into the cloudscape, ensuring that the Rebels needed her if they were to get to X0-X1.
Knowing the serial numbers to the locks, Wessex would be able to help the Rebels find the correct sequence of doors that would take them to the computer core and X0-C1. Wessex and the Rebels made their way back into the city, to the first door on the way to the core, while she and they exchanged information on why they had each come to Cloud City and what all the events that had taken place meant. The Rebels had a plan to destroy X0-X1 by injecting a batch of reprogrammed Evolution Droids into the droid. Unknown to the Rebels, Wessex was being watched over by a group of hired thugs from the district of Port Town. When at last they reached the door, near K'cri's Cafe, Wessex confirmed that it was the right one with the serial numbers and the party sliced their way in. Wessex helped them find the second door and subsequent ones, as the party foiled and evaded a number of traps and barricades laid out by X0-X1's droids. At last they reached the final door before the core, which Wessex opened with the lock pattern stored in her implants. After a brief attempt at fighting X0-X1, Blissex had an idea for defeating it: shutting down all power to the core, an act that Wessex pointed out would also cause Cloud City to plummet. This gave them thirty seconds to deactivate the droid; after Blissex shut down the power, the Rebels were successful in disabling it, and he turned it back on again, bringing Cloud City back to its normal altitude and ending the threat of the Evolution Droids. Wessex at that point drew a blaster and took her father hostage as her hired thugs poured into the room and held off the other Rebels.
At that moment, Lando Calrissian, his aide Lobot, and members of the Bespin Wing Guard poured into the core. Calrissian informed Wessex that he had overheard her message to the Dauntless, which he said had never made it out of the system due to interference. Calrissian threatened to reveal that she had been involved in a rogue mission and suggested that they keep the entire matter between themselves. Wessex conceded and was escorted from the core by Calrissian's guards.
Personality and traitsEdit
Lira Wessex was motivated by ambition and power, willing to do anything to advance within the ranks of the Empire. Even with her accomplishments, Wessex was continually prepared to move onto grander projects, refining and expanding on her previous work. She was cold and aloof—even masculine—used to being obeyed and capable of using her words to affect great political change. Though Wessex was considered to be beautiful, her strength made a greater impression on those around her. She was relentless in her pursuits and a stern taskmaster. Wessex was also an accomplished and intelligent engineer, and she despired to step out of her father's shadow and prove her own worth as a starship designer. Dedicated to her work, she even had borg implants installed in her skull to aid her in calculations when designing starships.
While her father rejected the ideals of the Empire and New Order, Wessex embraced them wholeheartedly, having great faith in Emperor Palpatine and seeing his New Order as an opportunity for herself. When Blissex joined the Rebellion, Wessex became willing to deceive and betray him for her own ends, even torturing him for information she needed. After the incident on the Subjugator, she came to hate Blissex and his fellow Rebels all the more, and ultimately was willing to kill him if necessary.
Behind the scenesEdit
Though Lira Wessex was named in 1987's The Star Wars Sourcebook, written by Bill Slavicsek and Curtis Smith, as the inventor of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer—a piece of information repeated several times throughout reference books such as the Imperial Sourcebook and The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels—she has only actually appeared in two sources: Starfall and Crisis on Cloud City, both released in 1989.
An illustration of Wessex from Crisis on Cloud City was originally a concept drawing of Leia Organa in Cloud City, drawn by Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. For Starfall's inclusion in the compendium Classic Adventures: Volume Five, new art of Wessex was included.
- "Republic HoloNet News Special Inaugural Edition 16:5:24"—Star Wars Insider 79
- Starfall (First appearance)
- Crisis on Cloud City
- The Star Wars Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- Imperial Sourcebook
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Cracken's Threat Dossier (Indirect mention only)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 11 (STA3, Imperial Star Destroyer)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 47 (EXE1, Executor)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 121 (BLI1-2, Walex Blissex)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 130 (BLI3-4, Walex Blissex)
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 5
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 32
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- "Imperial Star Destroyer" SpecPlate
- "Millennium Falcon" SpecPlate
- "Millennium Falcon" TechPlate
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Starfall
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Crisis on Cloud City
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Star Wars Sourcebook
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Visual Guide
- ↑ "Republic HoloNet News Special Inaugural Edition 16:5:24"—Star Wars Insider 79
- ↑ "Imperial Star Destroyer" SpecPlate
- ↑ "Millennium Falcon" SpecPlate
- ↑ "Millennium Falcon" TechPlate
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 13.0 13.1
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ Specter of the Past
- ↑ The Official Star Wars Fact File 121
- ↑ The Official Star Wars Fact File 130
- ↑ The Art of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back