- "You have a noble family history."
"And that's just what you know about me."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Bhindi Drayson
Bhindi Drayson was a Human female and daughter of New Republic Admiral Hiram Drayson. She served with Wraith Squadron as a tactics expert during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and was with the Wraiths on Borleias after the Battle of Coruscant. As part of the defense of Borleias, Drayson participated in several efforts to keep the Yuuzhan Vong at bay.
Her stay on Borleias was cut short when she and several other Wraiths were assigned to an infiltration mission to the fallen galactic capital of Coruscant, along with three Jedi. In the original mission plan, Drayson was to remain on Coruscant until the New Republic returned to take the world; her skills would be put to use aiding survivors and transmitting intelligence to the New Republic. After seeing the situation on the ground, however, Wraith Leader Garik Loran decided that leaving Drayson behind would be pointless. Following the completion of their mission with the Jedi defeating the renegade Dark Jedi Irek Ismaren, Drayson instead returned with the rest of party to Borleias, except for Wraith biologist Baljos Arnjak, who decided to remain on Coruscant. Drayson would later serve as part of the briefing team in preparation for the final stages of the Yuuzhan Vong War.
In 44 ABY, after the Wraiths were disbanded during the Daala administration, Drayson was recruited by her former leader Loran to reform Wraith Squadron. She recruited and led a team of operatives tasked with investigating Galactic Alliance General Stavin Thaal, who was suspected of conspiring against the government. She and her team were able to gather evidence that implicated Thaal, but stumbled across another Wraith Squadron team. The two teams were discovered and pursued by forces loyal to Thaal. In an attempt to delay the pursuit, Drayson and another Wraith, Huhunna, split off and opened fire on their attackers. During the firefight, Drayson was mortally wounded. Her last orders were to not surrender to save her life and Voort saBinring took over the now combined units after her death.
- "Bhindi is one of our two tactics experts, along with Piggy, and she's been learning whatever she can about Yuuzhan Vong tactics."
- ―Garik Loran on Bhindi Drayson
Bhindi Drayson was the daughter of Admiral Hiram Drayson, a high-ranking New Republic Intelligence director, who long-operated the Alpha Blue agency. In her adult life, Bhindi Drayson eventually followed in her father's footsteps and entered a career in New Republic Intelligence.
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Drayson was part of the NRI unit Wraith Squadron, specializing in tactics and analysis of Yuuzhan Vong strategems. In 27 ABY, after the galactic capital of Coruscant fell to the Yuuzhan Vong invaders, Drayson and the rest of their Wraiths made their way to the newly secured garrison on the planet Borleias, which was commanded by New Republic General Wedge Antilles. While on Borleias serving in its defense, part of the Wraiths' duties included analyzing a recording for scientist Danni Quee, which later helped expose a civilian named Tam Elgrin as a Yuuzhan Vong agent.
When Jedi Master Luke Skywalker assembled an expedition to infiltrate Coruscant, Drayson was assigned to it, along with several other members of the Wraiths. The initial plan for the intelligence-gathering part of the mission was for Drayson to remain behind on Coruscant after the rest of the group—which also included Quee and the Jedi Mara Jade Skywalker and Tahiri Veila—departed. After she was left behind, Drayson's objective was to help organize resistance movements among the Coruscanti survivors to combat the Yuuzhan Vong, as well as continued passing of information to the New Republic to assist in the eventual recapture of the capital. One type of equipment that Drayson brought on the mission was a series of surveillance droids disguised as fungi to unobtrusively wander Coruscant while collecting and transmitting data. Drayson claimed that such information would be vital for future military engagements on Coruscant. Preliminary reports from Coruscant suggested that the Yuuzhan Vong had destroyed much of the city and were releasing worldshaping toxins into the atmosphere, so the New Republic wanted to learned more information about the alterations.
The Wraiths, three Jedi, and Quee were transported to Coruscant by former general Lando Calrissian in the freighter Record Time. Once in orbit, they were jettisoned from the ship, and descended in pods disguised as debris and the remnants of Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers. The expeditionary force landed safely on Coruscant without being detected by the Yuuzhan Vong.
Mission on Coruscant
- "Don't taunt the Jedi. And don't take credit you don't deserve. I'm the one who dug most of the information out of the wrecked guts of those maintenance machines."
- ―Bhindi Drayson to Baljos Arnjak on Coruscant
Some time after landing, the expedition team was exploring the ruined cityscape when they came across a party of Yuuzhan Vong warriors near a walkway connecting two buildings. Due to the fake vonduun crab armor that the group was wearing, they were mistaken for Yuuzhan Vong warriors by the other party. However, after the other warriors demanded they yield the right-of-way, an insult that no true warrior would tolerate, a firefight ensued. Drayson remained in the rear, firing her blaster in support of the Jedi, who bore the brunt of the skirmish. After fellow Wraith Kell Tainer destroyed the walkway with a bomb, the rest of the warriors were slain by the Jedi, and the team left the area, thankful that they had escaped unharmed and with their disguises intact.
Shortly thereafter, the Jedi sensed several people approaching, and a group of armed Coruscanti survivors rushed them. Drayson did not wait for the survivors to declare their intentions, however. Instead, she ran, urging the others to follow her, which they did. After they eluded the survivors, Drayson explained that maintaining the secret of their disguises was part of the reason why she had encouraged flight, but she also wanted to avoid being mistaken for Yuuzhan Vong and caught in a trap by the survivors. The others understood her reasons, and thereafter, she accompanied Luke Skywalker, Mara Skywalker, and Wraith Leader Garik Loran—now dressed in civilian clothes—back to where they had run from to make contact with the survivors.
Returning, the four met a group of people called the Walkway Collective and their leader, Tenga Javik. Drayson learned that the air on Coruscant had been somewhat altered by the Yuuzhan Vong, and also learned that the survivors had heard rumors of some kind of monstrosity they referred to as "Lord Nyax." Skywalker asked for one of the survivors to guide them to where Nyax was supposed to be, but they were unwilling to do so. Drayson, Loran, and the two Skywalkers returned to the other members of the expedition so the mission could proceed.
Over the next several days, the group split up, with various parties making scouting trips searching for a hideout from which they could operate. Eventually, Tahiri Veila discovered a devourer tank, which Luke Skywalker determined led to a hidden compartment, and after using the Force to protect him from the organism in the devourer tank, he opened the compartment. The resulting passageway led to a concealed research facility, and once the expedition entered, they found signs of a struggle—lightsaber damage and at least one dead Human body. However, the space was abandoned and relatively secure, and Drayson recommended that they use the lab as their base of operations, presuming that the Jedi would deal with Nyax. She then worked on operating and extracting information from the computers in the lab.
Several hours later, Drayson produced results by reassembling one of the destroyed medical droids and obtaining information from the computers. She then revealed the fact that the installation was originally an air purification complex, but had been later modified to serve as a hideout and experimental station for a Human male who underwent significant cybernetic modifications. According to the medical droid and Drayson's results, the Human later broke free and destroyed anything in his path. With that information and the lightsaber burn marks, Skywalker concluded that this "Lord Nyax" was the cyborg Human who had escaped the facility, which did not comfort him.
Over the next few days, Drayson continued searching the laboratory and other nearby facilities for information, while the Jedi continued searching for Lord Nyax. On one occasion, Nyax and Luke Skywalker saw each other from a distance, and Skywalker, Drayson, and Loran quickly left the building they were exploring after the encounter. Just after they left, a group of frenzied survivors ransacked the building they had vacated. Later, Drayson and Wraith member Baljos Arnjak were able to obtain more information on Nyax, and they revealed that his real name was Irek Ismaren, whose mother, an Emperor's Hand named Roganda Ismaren, had had him cybernetically altered to make him into a killing machine. She and Arnjak also told them that Ismaren had most of his humanity and higher-order thinking burned from him by a lightsaber wound to the head, and would therefore not respond to negotiation.
The Jedi soon found Nyax's trail and began tracking and chasing him down, while Kell Tainer was able to successfully locate a spaceworthy transport, Ugly Truth. Skywalker called the mission completed, and ordered Drayson, Quee, and the other Wraiths to board the transport and pick up the Jedi once Nyax was defeated. While Drayson had originally been scheduled to stay on Coruscant, Loran determined that the situation did not merit her remaining, as the altered worldscape—which had also included a changed orbit and the destruction of one of Coruscant's moons—and strategic scenario would not allow Coruscant to be retaken any time soon. However, Arnjak opted to remain behind instead, to continue his studies of the altered ecosystem and pass on information to the New Republic.
The Jedi were ultimately able to defeat Nyax, and met up with the Wraiths, before Loran and Skywalker flew Ugly Truth back to Borleias. There, they rejoined the defense of the besieged garrison, which was ultimately abandoned by the New Republic after significant damage was inflicted to the Yuuzhan Vong attackers.
- "You got my last butter pastry, and had a one-minute window in which you could have married me. So far, you're doing great, rewards-wise."
- ―Bhindi Drayson motivating Trey Courser
Drayson continued to remain active in intelligence work through the later stages of the war, and was part of the unit in the aftermath of a mission to Chashima, which caused long-time Wraith veteran Voort saBinring to retire. Drayson was still part of the Wraiths following the New Republic's reorganization into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. After the rescue of a Jenet prisoner named Thorsh from a Yuuzhan Vong camp, Drayson was present at a debriefing on the planet Contruum, where Thorsh provided them with information. The data that was passed to the Galactic Alliance on Contruum later allowed them to intercept a Yuuzhan Vong convoy carrying prisoners and rescue them. Ultimately, the Galactic Alliance was able to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong and reclaim Coruscant.
Following the installation of the Daala administration in the Galactic Alliance following the Second Galactic Civil War, the Wraiths were decommissioned. Drayson took it hard, making sure to inform her former comrade saBinring of the dismantling. However, in 44 ABY, Drayson was approached by her former leader, Garik Loran, to re-assemble the Wraiths unofficially. Their mission, handed down by the chief of Galactic Alliance Security, Borath Maddeus, was to investigate the head of the army, General Stavin Thaal, who was suspected of being a member of the Lecersen Conspiracy. The conspiracy had attempted to subvert the Galactic Alliance during the recent war and Maddeus asked Loran to look into Thaal. Drayson readily accepted and put together a team consisting of Trey Courser, a hand-to-hand combatant and mechanic, Jesmin Tainer, an Antarian Ranger and daughter of two original Wraiths, Myri Antilles, a pilot and con artist whose lineage included Wraith Squadron's founder, Viull Gorsat, a Yuuzhan Vong biofabricator, and Turman Durra, a skilled Clawdite actor. To round out their team, Loran recruited a reluctant saBinring back into the team, but while Drayson attempted to add a sniper, a medic, and a communications specialist to their lineup, she was unable to before saBinring arrived and their mission began on Coruscant.
Drayson, Durra, Gorsat, and Tainer met Antilles, saBinring, and Courser at a warehouse chamber in Coruscant. Taking charge, Drayson arranged for the Wraiths to leave behind forensic evidence that created an appearance that a group of blaster rifles had been stolen from an army store. Meanwhile, Durra replaced the batteries in their rifles with droids that were capable of providing surveillance data. The Wraiths changed attire and, as expected, a group of special forces soldiers attacked the warehouse in search of the rifles. The Wraiths retreated, using flash and smoke grenades to cover their escape and an airspeeder with a false exterior to throw off pursuit. Having fled safely, they withdrew to their safe house, an abandoned tapcaf. There was immediate tension between saBinring, who had lost his best friend to the Yuuzhan Vong, and Gorsat, but Drayson was able to temporarily quell it.
The Wraiths brainstormed a series of possible angles to explore if Thaal was crooked, including greed, Imperial sympathies, and vengeance against either the Jedi or the Yuuzhan Vong. Drayson assigned saBinring, Antilles, and Courser to oversee the droid operation while the rest of the Wraiths worked on uncovering Thaal's motivation. The droid operators traveled to Vandor-3 and were able to gather data from the droids implanted in the blaster rifles, which activated after being taken out of storage. To help further the ruse that a group of terrorists was behind the blaster heist, Drayson and the other Wraiths with her on Coruscant sabotaged a turbolaser assembly line in the name of the Quad-Linked Militant Pacifists. She then summoned saBinring and Courser to meet with her at Gagrew Station in Hutt Space for the next part of their plan.
At Gagrew Station, Drayson assumed the part of a vapid heiress out to explore the sleaze of Hutt Space, with the other Wraiths forming her entourage. She arranged for them to board a liner, Bastion Princess, which made a port-of-call at Gagrew Station on its way back to Imperial space. Once aboard, Drayson planned for them to sabotage the ship's engines and then flee in an escape pod to be rescued by a small Imperial vessel, which they then would seize. Their plan was to have Durra pose an Imperial special forces officer with an "offer" that they would use to lure out Thaal. In the event that they weren't rescued, Drayson planned on them to be recovered by Antilles, who had remained on Vandor-3. Less than a day after they boarded, Courser had completed his sabotage, impressing Drayson. As a reward, she offered him her last butter pastry and facetiously offered to marry him, which was quickly retracted after being informed of Courser's daily early-morning workouts. The first phase of the plan went as planned and the Wraiths departed the liner in an escape pod when Courser's sabotage brought the ship out of hyperspace.
As expected, they were rescued by a small Imperial patrol vessel, Concussor. The crew believed Drayson's empty-headed Imperial heiress impression and her tale of being attacked by pirates. They provided her and her entourage with their own quarters. Drayson took advantage of the ship's hospitality to tour it, learning its crew complement, security measures, and layout. She also had to settle the tension between saBinring and Gorsat again, pointing out that only saBinring had the experience to lead the Wraiths if she were to suddenly die. The Wraiths were able to quickly seize the vessel, largely thanks to Tainer and Courser, using their close-quarters combat skill and black infiltration attire to covertly move through the ship and subdue its crew.
Now in charge of Concussor, the Wraiths hired a pirate crew to help man the ship and moved to rendezvous to an assigned meeting place where they would attempt to lure out Thaal to see if he would collaborate with the ostensible Imperial special forces officer, as a message to that effect had already been discreetly slipped to Thaal. A Galactic Alliance corvette, Starhook, approached and began negotiations with them, but the situation was quickly revealed to be a trap, as other Galactic Alliance vessels closed on them, intending to take them prisoner. Drayson ordered the Wraiths to abandon ship and they escaped in the ship's hyperdrive-equipped shuttle while the rest of their hired crew evacuated in the escape pods. Drayson activated the Concussor's self-destruct to destroy any evidence and they fled to safety.
- "I know it's not the way we used to do it. Things change, Voort."
- ―Bhindi Drayson to Voort saBinring
Drayson and the Wraiths made their way back to Vandor-3 by way of Tatooine to their safe house where Antilles was waiting for them. Antilles informed them that Loran was believed dead after an assassination attempt, but saBinring insisted they go through with their mission. Based on the response to their ploy, the Gamorrean concluded that Thaal was duplicitous, because Thaal's response was not characteristic of a senior officer, due to him neither trying to lure out the Imperial offer or with a stronger capture attempt. Antilles then informed them that their concealed droids had been activated at a hidden subterranean facility at the nearby Javat Caridan Environment, which turned out to be a sizeable equipment barn. Drayson arranged for the Wraiths to infiltrate the facility, approaching it in a speeder disguised as a fruit-carrying produce vehicle.
Over the objections of saBinring, who believed that only one or two Wraiths were needed to investigate the facility and gather evidence, Drayson brought the entire team. Leaving saBinring with their vehicle as their getaway driver and Gorsat as lookout, she led an infilration team of five Wraiths into the facility. The infiltration team approached the facility slowly, bypassing the sensor wall by digging underneath the sensor fences, avoiding a cargo speeder and came upon a large square building. Entering it, they found that it contained a sizable cargo lift shaft, which they descended using winches. The Wraiths waited for several Pop-Dogs loading cargo to leave. They found casks of bacta headed for the black market, which prompted Drayson to order her team to split up, explore, and record everything. She also assigned Durra to sabotage a large collection of vehicles, including stolen mobile artillery units, they found in a speeder pool using explosives.
Pairing up with Tainer, the two found large quantities of stolen electronics, glitterstim, and bacta. Tainer had to incapacitate one Pop-Dog who nearly found them, but otherwise they were able to make it back to the others after recording their evidence. Antilles and Courser found stolen weapons and liberated two Duros prisoners, Usan and Dashan Joyl. With their evidence gathered, the Wraiths prepared to leave, but found signs of alteration as they regrouped. They soon stumbled upon a second Wraith Squadron team led by a former colleague of Drayson's from the Yuuzhan Vong War, Sharr Latt. Before the two leaders could resolve their differences and coordinate, the base became altered to their presence. The two teams' combined infiltrations had set off security alarms.
The combined Wraiths made a hasty escape back up the cargo shaft under fire. Drayson called for saBinring to evacuate them and he soon arrived, charging into the complex with their getaway speeder. The Wraiths piled on board, pursued by Pop-Dogs. Since Latt's Wraiths had stumbled upon Durra and sedated him, the vehicles in the speeder pool were not sabotaged and soon, the traitorous soldiers were after them in vehicles of their own. With no contingency plan for an evacuation, the Wraiths headed for the nearest mountainous terrain. Drayson was panicked and irritated, unable to quickly fathom a plan. Jamming prevented them from transmitting their evidence and they soon came under fire from their pursuers.
At this point, Drayson recalled a defensible abandoned installation, the Mount Lyss Meteorological Station, and ordered saBinring to head there. Antilles volunteered to sneak off and get clear of the jamming in order to transmit their data and call for help from one of her personal assets, her father, Wedge Antilles. Drayson agreed and sent her with Tainer. In order to delay their pursuit, Drayson then decided to debark the speeder and provide diversionary fire on their pursuit. She asked for and received the help of Latt's best outdoorsman, the Wookiee Huhunna. Drayson's participation in the diversionary effort displeased saBinring, who pointed out that infantry work was not her training and that he could do it. She refused and departed with Huhunna. Together, the two were able to stall the pursuit and inflicted several casualties on the Pop-Dogs. However, Drayson was flanked by a soldier. They both fired simultaneously and while Drayson slew her foe, she was mortally wounded.
Drayson was recovered by Huhunna, who carried her back to the station. Latt's medic, Drikall Bessarah, attempted to treat her blaster wound, but it was too severe. Bessarah said that they needed to surrender and get her to a full medical station immediately to save her life, but Drayson refused, saying their effort against Thaal was more important than her survival. Her last orders were to Latt and saBinring to get the rest of the Wraiths away safely.
- "Bhindi would be pleased. The way it ended. A venomous reptile rooted out from a position of high influence."
- ―Sharr Latt after Thaal and Maddeus were exposed
After her death, saBinring took command of the combined Wraiths. They were able to hold out at Mount Lyss until the elder Antilles arrived with other old allies and cleared a path for the Wraiths to escape. They left Drayson's body behind, rigged with explosives that obliterated the station and all evidence of the Wraiths, along with numerous traitorous Pop-Dogs that had entered the facility. Ultimately, the Wraiths were able to devise an elaborate lure on Kuratooine that exposed Thaal. Loran, who had survived, was also able to implicate Maddeus. The Wraiths' efforts were sufficient to have Loran elevated to head of Galactic Alliance Security and he decided to keep the reformed Wraiths as an unofficial unit.
Personality and traits
- "Sometime in the last few years she must have lost something, some objectivity about putting people at risk, especially the young. I bet she jumped at the chance to put Wraith Squadron together again. It was a chance to get back in the game. To, I don't know, prove that the unit should never have been disbanded. But the new team she assembled, most of its members so young, tripped that overprotective instinct. Kids. She was unwilling to put kids in harm's way, and when there was no other choice, she put herself in harm's way instead. And died."
- ―Voort saBinring on Bhindi Drayson.
Bhindi Drayson was described as a severe-looking woman. While her nature was mostly as stern as others considered her features, she was not without a sense of humor, and enjoyed tricking Jedi Master Luke Skywalker into thinking that the orbital insertion pods employed by the Wraiths were hazardous and unreliable. She also tolerated being referred to as "Circuity Girl" by Baljos Arnjak, as nicknames based on one's role in the unit were popular in the Wraiths. Due to her position in Wraith Squadron, Drayson was well versed in a number of fields, including Yuuzhan Vong tactics, computers, and robotics. Before journeying to Coruscant, she was also versed in skills necessary to survive and organize resistance cells on a world occupied by the Yuuzhan Vong. Drayson was cautious, and often preferred to select a more prudent course of action in hostile territory. This trait was demonstrated during the mission to Coruscant when she advised the group not to rush into making contact with survivors, in order to maintain their disguises and avoid any possible traps that the survivors might have lured them into while thinking the New Republic agents were Yuuzhan Vong.
Drayson was able to assume a number of personas, including an unintelligent Imperial heiress, in order to further her missions. She was a skilled planner and was capable of strategizing several steps ahead and training others to fill needed roles. She was also a capable recruiter and leader, and had no qualms with working with a variety of people from different backgrounds, including a Yuuzhan Vong. At times, Drayson could be forceful with her subordinates and did not accept objections to her plans well. If she felt that one of her team was out of line, she had no problems with putting them into place in front of the others. When under pressure and forced to account for unexpected variables, Drayson lost some of her composure. Ultimately, what led to her death was an irrational desire to protect her younger subordinates by volunteering for a task she was not suited for rather than put them in danger.
Behind the scenes
Bhindi Drayson first appeared in The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream by author Aaron Allston, and also in its sequel, The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, as a commando in Wraith Squadron. She later had a brief appearance in the final novel of New Jedi Order, The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force, by James Luceno, and was mentioned in the 2008 reference book The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. In her most recent appearance in X-Wing: Mercy Kill, she served as the leader of one of two separate Wraith Squadron organizations and died during the Wraiths' time on Vandor-3. She was depicted in The Essential Reader's Companion.
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream (First appearance)
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill audiobook
Notes and references
- In X-Wing: Mercy Kill, the events of which are dated to 44 ABY by The Essential Reader's Companion, Bhindi Drayson is described as being forty-five or fifty years of age. Forty-five to fifty years before 44 ABY gives a range of 6 and 1 BBY in which Drayson could have been born
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia