|Chronological and political information|
- "I keep an independent mind."
"In the long run, that could be extremely unwise."
- ―Raith Sienar and Wilhuff Tarkin
Raith Sienar was a prominent engineer during the closing years of the Galactic Republic and early days of the Galactic Empire, producing countless highly advanced designs, most well-known among them the TIE fighter; he was also the originator of the concept for the Death Star. Ambitious and keen, Sienar was raised inside the Sienar family, which had run the prominent shipbuilding concern Santhe/Sienar Technologies for thousands of years. Sienar struck off to prove himself as a teen before returning to the fold, where his father Narro Sienar trained him to take over the company. When Narro was killed by assassins seeking Raith, the younger Sienar, only in his twenties, took over the company. For the next decade, Sienar lived an aristocratic lifestyle, designing unique and cutting-edge ships on Coruscant for wealthy and secretive clients, among them the Scimitar for Darth Sidious.
In 29 BBY, Sienar's friend Wilhuff Tarkin recruited him into a scheme to take control of Zonama Sekot, a world producing advanced living ships. Sienar already knew of the world and had plans of his own, but acquiesced to Tarkin's demands. Sienar was given command of a squadron of ships and sent after Sekot, but Tarkin had designed the mission to fail, and swept in expecting to save the day with his own force. The Sekotans defeated them, however, and fled; Zonama Sekot was equipped with enormous hyperdrive engines that allowed it to jump to hyperspace. Tarkin was only able to save himself from disgrace by presenting Palpatine with Sienar's plans for an Expeditionary Battle Planetoid; Sienar had lost interest in the design, but it would form the basis of the Death Star years later. Sienar continued developing ships, and when Palpatine declared himself Galactic Emperor, he placed Sienar in command of a new company, Sienar Fleet Systems, where Sienar designed the iconic TIE fighter and became one of the new Empire's primary arms providers, a role he held until he was cut down by assassins financed by corporate rivals.
- "I hope you recognize I am versatile."
- ―Raith Sienar, to Wilhuff Tarkin
Around 60 BBY, Raith Sienar was born to Narro Sienar, the Chief Executive Officer of the massive engineering firm Santhe/Sienar Technologies, and his wife. Sienar was raised among the wealthy and secretive Sienar clan, which had a history of starship design stretching back thousands of years. Young Raith Sienar's mind quickly turned to engineering as well, developing an outlook that saw life as a series of engineering puzzles. He grew to be highly competitive, but eventually channeled that competitive streak into only those areas suited to his talents, competing only where he knew he could win. Quick to learn and with an overriding desire for intellectual stimulation, Sienar grew restless within the upper-class confines of his family, seeking to distinguish himself and be unpredictable and innovative. In his teens, he struck off on his own to make his mark independently.
Sienar took his own personal funds and created his own scouting firm. The youth took to the star lanes, mapping new hyperspace routes and probing the Unknown Regions to find habitable and exploitable worlds. Some of his discoveries, such as one uncharted black hole that he found, Sienar kept to himself, seeing a possible future advantage in such personal knowledge. Others, he shared and sold, turning a tidy profit and becoming independently wealthy by the age of twenty. He had built a personal fortune without the aid of his family and untouchable by them.
Feeling that he had proved his own independent worth, Sienar returned to his family at age twenty, where Narro was impressed by his son's accomplishments. The Sienar patriarch began to groom Raith as his successor in the prestigious family business; Raith, as usual, felt the need to gain experience his own way. He wanted a broader knowledge of starship construction than that of simply his own family firm, and he wanted to make sure he would be ready for the pressures of upper management.
To that end, Sienar assumed a series of false identities and took work with competing firms, moving through the management of the Corellian Engineering Corporation, Baktoid Armor Workshop, Incom Corporation, and even the Trade Federation. There, he gained firsthand experience undercover, without the distraction of his family name, and picked up various techniques from his competitors. Sienar also spent time among the Xi Char, for whom precision engineering was a religion. Sienar studied their techniques deeply, seeking to master the engineering craft. Sienar picked up several advanced techniques, but eventually his true motives were exposed, and the Xi Char, feeling betrayed and sullied by the presence of a nonbeliever in their sacred workshops, turned against the faithless spy in their ranks. They exiled Sienar from Charros IV and then hired four bounty hunters to take Sienar's life. Sienar eluded them, leading them through a hyperspace chase until he emerged near an unrecorded black hole that he had discovered—but never reported—in his exploring days.
- "Raith, for a decade you have sequestered yourself with your collections, executing small contracts, trying to promote a strategy of small, elegant weapon design long out of fashion, complaining bitterly about lost opportunities and unimaginative buyers."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar
With his corporate studies—some would say espionage—concluded, Sienar returned to Santhe/Sienar. Narro created an internal workshop for Raith to head; Sienar Design Systems was to specialize in unique, personally-contracted work for the ultra-wealthy, and its clandestine Advanced Projects Laboratory worked on experimental, cutting-edge designs with a specialty in ion drive technology. Under Sienar's leadership, SDS's engineers designed new vessels as well as modifying existing ones for higher performance. The workshop tended towards unorthodox and unusual technology, especially cloaking devices, and armed all its ships, even if the craft's purpose did not call for it. Mysterious and secretive, its products were known to few. The workshop was a perfect fit for Raith Sienar, who always sought a challenge and looked to innovate.
Around 39 BBY, Sienar made the acquaintance of Wilhuff Tarkin, a young man about his age and similar in appearance. A promising officer in the Republic Outland Regions Security Force, Tarkin occasionally visited Coruscant and, while there, befriended Sienar. At some point, they took a military training course together. Tarkin would eventually rise to the rank of commander within the Outland Regions Security Force before resigning to pursue a political career on his homeworld of Eriadu. The two still kept in touch, however, and Sienar considered Tarkin a valuable friend, whose skill in military and political matters complemented Sienar's own proficiency engineering and business. He also felt Tarkin to be rather simplistic in his brute-force preferences and thought that he would thus be manipulable to Sienar's advantage. Also in that year, Sienar smuggled a squad of battle droids past Republic customs and onto Coruscant to be housed in his private collection of failed experiments.
In 38 BBY, Sienar was aboard the family yacht with his father for a pleasure cruise. Over Dantooine, mercenaries hired by the Xi Char attacked; after the failure of their first attempt only a few years at most previously, the religious engineers tried once more to end the life of the man who had stolen their secrets. Raith was able to make it to a smaller ship and escape, but Narro was killed in the destruction of the yacht. In the aftermath, Santhe/Sienar's board chose Raith, still only in his early twenties, to succeed his father as CEO of the corporation. The company's stolid, longstanding, and not particularly innovative contracts with the Republic and other major clients bored Sienar, and he continued to focus his efforts on SDS, giving the workshop additional funding and reserving most of his mental output for the corporate subdivision as well. Republic contracts came attached with specifications that limited his creativity and forced him to work with old, conservative Senate-approved engineers. Sienar preferred his contracts with wealthy buyers and corporations such as the Trade Federation, whose contracts allowed Sienar more leeway and more profit. Despite his disdain for the Republic contracts, however, Sienar maintained connections and contributed sufficiently to the Republic to merit its award of the right to wear the prestigious robes of senatorial favor, given for extraordinary service to the Republic. Sienar's criticism was known, though, and he was personally disliked by much of the Senate. Sienar was highly successful, however, paying minute attention to the market, closely and effectively managing his employees, and keeping his facilities small and centralized on Coruscant. Under his leadership, the company profited.
One indulgence was his collection, over many years, of failed experiments. Sienar maintained a secret facility deep under his main Coruscant factory. Leading into it was a hall filled with holographic representations of Sienar's various triumphs—successful designs, accolades from his customers and the Republic, and prototype vessels. In the main chamber, Sienar had collected a massive museum of his competitors' failures. Buying up droids, ships, and various other items of technology that had failed—sometimes spectacularly and even dangerously—Sienar indulged his intellect, examining mistakes and learning what to avoid. Sienar considered the area his sanctum, going there to make important decisions; he found that the reminders of missteps technological, economic, and political helped clear his mind and keep him from making his own errors of judgment. By 29 BBY, Sienar had amassed two thousand twelve exhibits of failure, his favorites among them being the squad of intellectually underpowered battle droids he had brought on-world ten years prior, a droid-making asteroid miner that made malfunctioning product, and an assassin droid made by—and the cause of death of—a former classmate at Rigovian Technical University, an institute he had attended at some unknown point, perhaps in his early youth. Another luxury was his collection of three expensive trith prancers, which he loved to ride and had highly trained. Sienar entered them into competitions across the galaxy, taking several prizes.
Around 33 BBY, Sienar was approached by a shadowy figure—in fact the Sith Lord Darth Sidious—to design a high-performance courier ship. Sienar did not know the client's identity, but suspected that he was extremely highly placed and knew that he had made an important connection that would last him through the coming turbulence. Sienar brought together a hand-picked group of trustworthy engineers and led the design of the ship that became the Scimitar, Darth Maul's personal Sith Infiltrator. Sienar started with an advanced armed courier from his laboratories and equipped the ship with a stygium crystal cloaking field, exceptionally high-yield sensors, and an experimental high-temperature ion engine system—which required a special cooling system—among other optimizations. When the ship was fully completed to Sidious's specifications, he hired Fa'ale Leh to deliver it; with its delivery, most of those with the most sensitive knowledge of the ship were killed, though by Sidious or Sienar was unclear.
When Maul was killed on Naboo in 32 BBY, the Scimitar was found, with investigators linking it to Sienar Design Systems. Sienar flatly rejected accusations of his involvement, but the political uproar forced him to close the SDS imprint. However, it was more a change of name than one of practice; the secret Sienar Advanced Projects Laboratory survived, and Sienar took its existence public a few years later, presenting it as a new unit of the company and using it for the same purposes as SDS. Found along with the Scimitar was C-3PX, a droid modified to serve as a guard unit. Palpatine had its memory wiped to keep its knowledge of the Sith from becoming public, then remanded the droid to Sienar's custody. Sienar then modified the droid, encasing it in new 3PO plating, to serve as a top-notch espionage unit for him and his companies, in which the droid was highly successful.
Sienar had heard rumors of a world called Zonama Sekot, a remote and mysterious world whose inhabitants constructed organic, living ships with incredibly advanced technology and extremely high-speed hyperdrives. Fantastically expensive and rare, they were a technology he desperately wished to study. He put out feelers, seeking to even merely inspect such a ship, but the owners were under obligation to keep their purchases secret. In 31 BBY a gang of thieves approached Sienar; they had captured a pilot and his ship, though both were wounded. Sienar bought them and then had the thieves killed. The dying Gensang who owned the ship was subjected to truth serums in order to pump as much information about the world from the man as possible before he died. Upon the owners' deaths, the Sekotan ships died as well. Sienar learned much, surmising that the Sekotans were desperate for money, quickly, but was not certain why. Sienar did all he could to preserve the ship, which was subject to decomposition, deep-freezing it among several other preservation techniques. He had it flown to one of his old facilities on Coruscant, deep in an abandoned industrial area where he kept various illegal or highly sensitive purchases. There, it remained in a refrigeration field, but offered Sienar few answers. With the pilot was a droid certified to sponsor clients for the Sekotan manufacturers, but Sienar waited to take advantage of it until he knew more.
A new age, a new scheme
- "Raith, you've been angling for this kind of opportunity for years. Whether you knew it or not, you've always wanted to be there for the dawn of a new way of doing business. But you must find it interesting that you have no friends you can trust. Friendship is a thing of the past. All now is alliance and advantage. Reliance on trust is a great weakness."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar
In 29 BBY, Sienar began devising designs for an Expeditionary Battle Planetoid, a gargantuan three-sphere battle station with a tremendously powerful turbolaser powered directly from the station's core reactor. Highly expensive but, Sienar was confident, technologically executable, it could serve as a fleet in and of itself. Sienar intended it more as a proof of concept and a grandiose showpiece to awe potential clients; the Trade Federation was not interested and he did not particularly expect to be able to build such a thing. He did think that the design might prove popular in the future among the new elites he felt would arise. Sienar had become contemplative, smelling political change on the wind. He was a man who preferred elegance and finesse, but he felt that a new ruling class was coming, one which would prefer sheer power and brutality. Sienar was deeply concerned that he would not prosper under such a system and was worried that he had grown too rigid in his thinking to deal with it and too attached to luxury over the past years. Even though he was only in his early thirties, he thought he had become too entrenched and soft since his rambunctious youth, ever since he had taken the helm of the company.
Later that year, Sienar was approached by Tarkin, who informed Sienar that, through highly-placed contacts, he had learned that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had finally forced sanctions against the Trade Federation, which was to be disarmed and have its forces absorbed by the Republic. Tarkin intimated that Sienar would lose a significant customer, but Sienar had had some notion of the coming decision himself and was not concerned; he had many clients willing to pay, and in any case he did not feel the Trade Federation would be as easily diminished as his friend suggested. Tarkin then turned to the true reason for their meeting. He had made new and valuable allies, though he refused to say any more. They proceeded from Sienar's factory to a secure conference room, filled with furniture and security measures of Sienar's own design. Tarkin revealed that his new friends had a grandiose plan for the galaxy, a Humanocentric one, and implied that Sienar would do very well to be allied with them when they made their move. In the conference room, Tarkin told Sienar of legends surrounding a world called Zonama Sekot, a world that manufactured living starships of extremely advanced design, and suggested a plot to take control of that valuable resource. Sienar was furious that what he had thought to be his own secret was now out in public, but accepted that there was little he could do to change the situation; he simply had to deal with the present circumstances as best he could. To distract himself, he turned on the display of the plans for his Expeditionary Battle Planetoid, which attracted Tarkin's interest. He explained the basics of the design to Tarkin, who had been assuring Sienar of his own rising influence, and Tarkin was quite taken by the design.
Tarkin departed, but Sienar remained torn about the proposition. Sienar had a comfortable and profitable life and worried that Tarkin's scheme was too vague and risky. His instincts, however, told him that it was indeed an opportunity to grasp. Tarkin's statements had seemed to confirm Sienar's own intuition that a new, brute-force elite was on the way, and that too unnerved him. Sienar proceeded to his museum of failure to contemplate the issue. There, Tarkin, accompanied by a Blood Carver bodyguard, surprised him; the man had used a tracking device to follow Sienar into his sanctum. Tarkin told him that time had suddenly grown short, and he required information of the engineer. If Sienar turned it over, he would not kill him. Sienar quickly saw that Tarkin was desperate and had no wish to push him. He volunteered the information; Sienar had participated in a refit of multiple YT-series vessels and planted tracking devices in them without the knowledge of their owners or the authorities, and Tarkin wished to have the code to a tracking device Sienar had planted in a particular freighter. Sienar also volunteered his participation in Tarkin's scheme. Tarkin revealed that he knew of Sienar's familiarity with the world and wished him to command an expedition to it. Sienar was shocked that Tarkin's information sources were so good, but Tarkin assured him that Sienar had always underestimated him and that their combined resources in the project could make them both even more powerful men.
They moved to Tarkin's Coruscant apartment, where Tarkin explained the plan in greater depth. A pair of Jedi had departed from Coruscant on a mission to find Zonama Sekot, and the tracker Tarkin and Sienar had activated would give them the world's location. Tarkin would remain on Coruscant, where he had duties to attend to, while Sienar would lead a small expeditionary force consisting of Trade Federation warships the Republic had not yet confiscated. He would proceed to Sekot and take control of the world for Tarkin's secretive new masters.
Sienar returned to his quarters to await the signal from the tracking device and began putting his affairs in orders for a prolonged absence; he resented Tarkin's sudden and presumptive interference in his schedule. He remained of two minds about the undertaking, as he had since the beginning; he accepted that it was probably a fantastic opportunity, but knew Tarkin was manipulating it for his own gain. Within a few days, he went riding on one of his trith prancers and enjoy one last ride before he left while he contemplated the situation. Tarkin intruded on Sienar's arena, however, demanding that Sienar show him the Sekotan ship. Sienar acquiesced, displaying the rotting hulk. He lied to Tarkin about the circumstances of its acquisition, however, telling him he had bought, at the cost of one hundred million credits, a dead ship from a Trade Federation lieutenant who had killed the ship's original owner.
- "From the beginning, I've been assigned the role of patsy. Our mission was meant to go wrong. It has gone wrong. We've alerted Zonama Sekot to our presence. Subtlety and finesse are out of the question. From now on, it will be brute force and coercion. More Tarkin's style. Nothing I do or don't do now can change that."
- ―Raith Sienar, to Kett
At last, the Jedi ship left hyperspace and the tracking device sent its signal. Tarkin had the location and summoned Sienar, who gathered his personal effects, left instructions with his protocol droid should he not return, and embarked. Sienar was given the rank of commander and a squadron of light capital ships with Ke Daiv, Tarkin's Blood Carver bodyguard, as his assistant. His flagship was an antiquated munitions carrier dubbed the Admiral Korvin, and the three other ships of his task force were no better—a diplomatic boat, a Taxon-class probe ship, and a mobile astromech repair station. None of Sienar's own designs were among the ragtag fleet. The three thousand droid complement the squadron carried, though, was of the newer E5 make, designed to operate independently of the central control computers upon which the Trade Federation's battle droids had previously depended. The droid starfighters were also so modified. Sienar did not like droid armies, despite his love of droid security guards, considering them inflexible and unintelligent, but had little choice in the matter. He was bitterly disappointed in his fleet, which he did not consider nearly enough to hold the world. He increasingly suspected that Tarkin was using him as a fall man if the expedition were to fail and said as much to him. Tarkin maintained that the fleet was all he could get at the moment and that Sienar was lucky to have as much as he did. Sienar still felt the mission was deliberately doomed, but it was too late to back out.
He did not depart immediately, but instead spent time running final systems checks and dealing with equipment breakdowns. After six hours, he finally ordered Captain Kett to enter hyperspace. With three days of travel to cover, Sienar ordered continued defensive drills and requested the complete records of his senior officers, then spent time examining the droid complement. The long journey bored Sienar, and he found his duties as commander tedious. After a day, he had an E-5 combat droid sent to his quarters, where he replaced its verbobrain with a highly modified one of his own design, giving him complete control over it, and maintained the droid as a personal bodyguard. He then sent for Daiv. With the droid in his quarters as security, Sienar attempted to make Daiv feel comfortable before questioning him about the mission. Sienar wished to have an ally on the mission, as he still felt there was a secret agenda at work. More importantly, he wished to make sure Daiv would not assassinate him if he took unusual action. He was quick to remind Daiv of his superior status, but persuaded the Blood Carver that Tarkin did not have his best interests at heart; that he was, in fact, paving the way for a future of Humanocentrism. Sienar presented himself as a compelling alternative whose interests were more mutually compatible with Daiv's. By the end of the discussion, Sienar had the assassin's loyalty.
Just before the squadron came out of hyperspace, Sienar ordered Kett to upload an entirely new set of programming to all the battle droids, one he provided. Kett objected, but Sienar made it clear that his orders were to be followed, then had his battle droid step onto the bridge. He did not trust his subordinates and wished to have a reminder of his position present. The squadron then reverted to realspace and took up a far orbit in Sekot's system. They remained standing off while Daiv and a pilot took the squadron's scout ship in. After listening to the Blood Carver's report, he decided to send Daiv down in a personal ship he had stowed and present him to the Sekotans as a prospective client. To that end, he provided Daiv with the Sekotan droid agent. What he did not tell Daiv was that, if he returned with a ship, Sienar would have the assassin's mind wiped and make him his servant while he studied the ship's secrets. With that knowledge, Sienar felt he would be in a position of incredible power. If Daiv failed, Sienar would make a show of force; he wished he had a more powerful force, but did not think that relatively undeveloped Sekot could muster a serious defense. He was concerned, however, that there was more to Sekot than met the eye.
Daiv was rejected for the shipbuilding process, and at the same time Tarkin sent a message requesting an update on the situation. Sienar sent a response saying that Daiv had tried and failed to assassinate him and consequently been sent on a suicide mission. He then told Tarkin he had discovered something fantastic, but would need no assistance. He was sure that message would bring Tarkin to the system in a few days with all the forces he could muster. In the meantime, he expected to follow other strategies; Daiv had a last-ditch plan to attempt to capture a pilot and ship. In the middle of the next night, however, Sienar was suddenly awakened by unusual noises from his guard droid. He found it shuddering and ordered it to stand down; Kett then reported to him that five droid fighters had left for Sekot without authorization before the rest were locked down. Sienar ordered Kett to destroy them, but only one was destroyed before they were out of range. Sienar quickly grasped that Tarkin had had subroutines inserted that were able to override Sienar's own programming; Sienar had underestimated Tarkin and not looked for them. With their presence revealed by their fire, Sienar had Kett perform a full active sensor sweep of the system while he himself shut down his guard droid and set to work finding the hidden code.
Tarkin had brought a stronger fleet to the system and issued orders to place Sienar under arrest and take command of his fleet. Sienar calmly complied, but refused to aid Tarkin in taking control of the droids, which he warned were set to self-destruct if tampered with. He realized he had been set up to fail from the beginning, allowing Tarkin to sweep in as the hero and solve the problem with brute force. Meanwhile, the runaway fighters attacked Zonama Sekot, stirring up its inhabitants. Tarkin arrived aboard the Admiral Korvin and had Sienar accompany him to his own flagship, the Rim Merchant Einem. The two argued in Tarkin's cabin, and Tarkin played innocent, suggesting Sienar's tampering with the droid intelligences had caused them to attack. Sienar knew he had been outplayed. Tarkin deployed sky mines and fighters to take control of Sekot in the name of the Republic. Sienar, resigned, merely watched passively as Sekotan ships outfought Tarkin's fighters. He also did not bother to mention the mesas he saw rising from Sekot's surface. Meanwhile, Daiv tried to execute the contingency plan to steal a ship, but was killed by Anakin Skywalker.
Tarkin had his forces seize a lone, seemingly abandoned ship from Sekot. Sienar went down along with him to take control of the ship, where they found Skywalker and Daiv's body. Sienar suggested they take Skywalker, who was the pilot of the ship. Skywalker and the Sekotan ship were loaded, then the mine-laying ship they were using returned to orbit. While they flew, Sienar examined the ship and Tarkin questioned Skywalker about it. Skywalker's master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, was able to cut his way into the ship, forcing Sienar to retreat. He freed Skywalker and escaped in the Sekotan ship. The ship Kenobi had arrived on set a charge, and Tarkin and Sienar, sharing an escape pod, evacuated for the Einem. Zonama Sekot itself jumped into hyperspace; the money Sienar had suspected it needed had gone into the purchase of massive hyperdrives. Tarkin's fleet was scattered and badly damaged in its wake. The pair limped home, where Tarkin salvaged his position by secretly presenting Palpatine with the plans for Sienar's Expeditionary Battle Planetoid; Sienar was wary of the idea, deciding it was too dangerous, and allowed Tarkin to take full credit. In time, Sienar's design would evolve into the Death Star in the hands of Tarkin's scientists and Geonosian weaponsmiths. In the face of his own failure, Tarkin's threats of an inquest of Sienar's conduct apparently did not materialize.
A place in the New Order
- "You…will be selling equipment to whatever political force emerges from this turmoil."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar
Sienar continued in his corporate position much as he had before, producing custom designs; the designation as a "Raith Sienar original" still commanded respect. The Trade Federation, as Sienar had predicted, retained its independence and power, and was a frequent buyer of Sienar's work. In fact, Sienar was able to maintain an address in the prestigious 500 Republica complex as well as a private spire of his own. Sienar Advanced Systems, under Sienar's personal lead, used precepts that had originated with the Scimitar's prototype engines to develop the SIE-TIE twin ion engine design, which passed its initial evaluation with flying colors, highly unusual for such a radical design. Sienar announced its successful adoption by Republic Sienar Systems, the main Sienar shipbuilding company, in 22 BBY. The news was eagerly accepted by investors, who boosted Santhe/Sienar stock by fourteen percent; Sienar's personal assets increased by six hundred forty million credits with that jump. The twin ion engine system would be implemented in, and give the name to, the T.I.E. starfighter, the prototype for the TIE series.
Shortly after that announcement, the Clone Wars broke out, during which Sienar supplied starfighters to both the Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems, earning the Senate's disfavor. After three years of battle, shortly before the end of the war, the Republic dissolved Republic Sienar Systems and absorbed its assets. After peace was established, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was declared emperor of the new Galactic Empire. The new regime Sienar had foreseen and Tarkin had aligned himself with was in place. Palpatine nationalized Santhe/Sienar Technologies within a month, but created a new corporation, Sienar Fleet Systems, to replace RSS and placed Raith Sienar in charge. SFS built the TIE/LN starfighter from the T.I.E.'s foundation; over time, the TIE line broadened to include bomber, interceptor, and various specialty and advanced models. In very short order, Sienar was already at work on a prototype fighter designed by Darth Vader himself in his Advanced Projects Laboratory. Soon after the establishment of the Empire, Palpatine called upon Sienar to design a successor to the successful Cygnus Spaceworks Theta-class T-2c shuttle. Sienar spared no expense to hire away major designers of the Theta-class, who engineered the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle using advances they had intended to implement under Cygnus. A powerful and secure shuttle designed to transport personnel or high-value cargo, it, much like the TIE, proved a widespread and iconic symbol of the Empire. Later, at Vader's orders, he engineered a starship for Imperial scientist Jenna Zan Arbor.
Sienar Fleet Systems was under exclusive contract to the Empire and quickly became one of its primary arms suppliers. Its TIEs were the backbone of the Imperial Navy's starfighter corps, enforcing order across the galaxy. Starfighters were not Sienar's only contribution to the Empire, however, as Immobilizer 418 cruisers, Skipray Blastboats, and the Lambda-class variant Sentinel-class landing craft were also among his projects. The Death Star, which had started as Sienar's brainchild before he divorced himself from it, was another key Imperial project. When the Empire was confounded by hit-and-fade Rebel Alliance starfighter assaults, Sienar was called upon to engineer a faster, more maneuverable fighter that could counter the threat. Using advances pioneered in the TIE Advanced x1 that he had designed for Vader, he succeeded, producing the TIE/In interceptor.
Sienar remained intelligent and involved as he aged, profiting greatly from the rise of the New Order of which he had earlier been so apprehensive. He kept Sienar Fleet Systems focused on producing designs that would please the Empire and interviewed all applicants for research and design jobs himself, focusing on potential employees' ability to produce exceptional and useful designs. Sienar preferred to hire Humans due to the High Human Culture policies of the Empire, but was willing to put alien minds to work on non-Imperial contracts if they had the genius he looked for in his engineers. Sienar continued to maintain his collection of technological rarities, selling a Ssi-ruuvi battle droid to scientist Borborygamous Gog. By 3 ABY, though, Sienar was cut down by assassins, likely paid by factions within Sienar Fleet Systems itself. He was succeeded by Lady Valles Santhe of the Santhe family, who shared ownership of Santhe/Sienar with Sienar; she had previously served as the company's president.
Personality and traits
- "You know I'm an ambitious man. I have plans, Tarkin, extraordinary plans, which impress anyone with imagination."
- ―Raith Sienar, to Wilhuff Tarkin
Raith Sienar was born into a wealthy, longstanding Core Worlds family and grew up as a member of the Core aristocracy, with all the expectations of luxury and culture that came attached to such a background. He was a highly competitive youth, but over time he began to concentrate his efforts only in those areas for which he knew he was suited, minimizing his chances of disappointment. Sienar developed a highly inquisitive mind that quickly turned to engineering; he had a constant wish to innovate and fine-tune, and constantly thought up new designs. Sienar also strove to be more unpredictable than the other members of his staid family, and so pursued an adventurous scouting career as a teen to prove his own independent worth. After his exploration and his covert corporate tour, in which he accumulated yet more expertise in engineering, Sienar returned to Coruscant. After a decade there, he had become far more complacent, more accustomed to luxurious circumstances, attached to his possessions and position, and set in his ways, a fact that worried him. He began to be concerned about his ability to adapt and change, but his ultimate success under the Empire, a regime whose advent he had feared would displace him, showed that his worries were excessive.
Sienar followed no moral code, instead approaching issues dispassionately; he considered excessive emotion a weakness. He considered all life's challenges engineering problems, and worked to solve them for his own benefit. His goal was power—the ability to do and build as he wished. Sienar was not tempted by physical luxuries such as food, drink, or sex; only those of the mind appealed to him. Sienar also approached friendship merely as another tool; he preferred friends he could manipulate and turn to his own advantage, rather than companions. In fact, Sienar preferred his own company and spent much of his time alone with only droid systems around him. Despite his own moral neutrality, Sienar found the Jedi highly interesting and even honorable, though he ultimately had no problem in acting against them if required.
Sienar was extremely confident in his own intellect and technological expertise, which could cause him to underestimate others, especially those whose preferences he considered less civilized. Tarkin's preference for brute-force solutions, for example, led Sienar to think him less politically and technologically capable than he ultimately turned out to be during the Zonama Sekot mission. He did in general strive to be cautious, though, and always think things through carefully and prepare multiple alternatives should any decision go wrong.
He preferred a more elegant and aristocratic design philosophy in which ships were designed for maximum performance and beauty, pushing the envelope and delivering force with precision and finesse. He also preferred small, customized orders rather than mass-produced ships, and in his first decade with the company, he devoted his energies to that ideal and argued for it, complaining of what he perceived to be a coarsening of design ideals and, most importantly, lack of imagination. Sienar was not entirely averse to mass-production, however, but merely left that aspect of the business to others as he innovated and produced custom work. Many galactic citizens believed that Raith Sienar designed every Sienar product himself, though that was not so; he tinkered with all designs before approving them, but left much of the corporate product up to his engineers, whose hiring he oversaw to make sure they were worthy of his corporation. He made sure his engineers were kept comfortable and happy and paid all his employees well; it was only the bureaucrats and accountants working for him that Sienar disdained and did not pamper. While his professional products consisted mostly of spaceships, Sienar's engineering skills were versatile, and he designed many products, from droids and droid-neutralizing systems to security systems to chairs, both for personal and corporate use.
Behind the scenes
Raith Sienar was first mentioned in Episode I: Incredible Cross-Sections, and his first appearance was in Rogue Planet, released one year later. Rogue Planet remains Sienar's only appearance to date, however; further in-universe works have only mentioned him or, in the case of HoloNet News, mentioned him in conjunction with an illustrated depiction.
- Star Wars: Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Rogue Planet (First appearance)
- Starfighter: Crossbones 1 (Mentioned only)
- HoloNet News Vol. 531 51 —
- Labyrinth of Evil (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novel (Mentioned only)
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
- The Last of the Jedi: Against the Empire (Mentioned only)
- Death Star (Mentioned only)
- Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse (Mentioned only)
- Episode I: Incredible Cross-Sections (First mentioned)
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 74 (CRE2, Creating the Death Star)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 87 (German Edition - SIE1-2, Raith Sienar)
- Hero's Guide
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate Collection
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 9
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 15
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 22
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Sienar family
- Santhe/Sienar Technologies
- Sienar Advanced Projects Laboratory
- Sienar Design Systems
- Sienar Fleet Systems