- "What's to stop me from breaking your neck right now?"
"You could try, even if I didn't have a blaster, but I wouldn't advise it. I am stronger than you, and my heritage is… somewhat fiercer. Your chances of victory would be exceedingly small. Even with the knife and me barehanded, the odds are probably no better than fifty-fifty."
- ―The criminal Mathal receives an anatomy lesson from his Sakiyan business partner, Tarnese Bleyd
The Sakiyans were a humanoid sentient species whose anatomy featured slit-pupils, pointed ears, and hairless skin that varied in shade from pale to jet black. Until the rise of the Galactic Empire, xenobiologists had differing opinions as to whether Sakiyans should be classified as near-Human. However, internally, the species was vastly different from Humans and related species. The Sakiyan brain was nearly twice the size of its Human equivalent, and the portions devoted to sensory input and processing were superior even to those in the brain of the Bith species. Sakiyans had incredible vision that extended into the infrared spectrum, as well as highly acute and motion-sensitive peripheral vision. Sakiyan aural and olfactory senses were considered nearly supernatural by other species, as they allowed a Sakiyan to track and detect days-old odors and faint noises. The species' musculature granted them 150 percent of the strength of a Human of equivalent size. Sakiyan Force-users were rare.
The species evolved from predatory animals on the planet Saki in Hutt Space. Such ancestry endowed them with a love for the thrill and glory of hunting. Because of this, Sakiyans were often employed as assassins and bounty hunters. Sakiyans had a poor sense of humor and disliked being proven wrong. Honor was exceedingly important to members of the species, and they divided it into distinct types such as monthræl—personal honor—and yithræl—pride honor. After suffering personal dishonor, a Sakiyan's family and descendants were dishonored as well. However, a family member could lift the dishonor from the clan name through glory-bringing acts. Sakiyans tended to place the interests of themselves and their communities above those of others, and they were cautious in their dealings with other species, in part due to a succession of alien invasions of their homeworld. Members of the pale-skinned subspecies were treated as outcasts in Sakiyan society. Along with the Riileb, the Sakiyans were one of the few Hutt Space species to resist conquest and invasion by the Hutts. However, the Sakiyans did fall into an economic dependence on their galactic gastropod neighbors when the Hutts took controlling interests in Sakiyan technology companies that specialized in repulsorlift engineering. The Sakiyans established colonies on worlds such as Sakidopa, Sakiduba, and Sakifwanna.
Biology and appearance
- "This is a—whattayacallit—an outrage!"
"This is how it is, Naxy. If you think you're going to have free roam of the Mynock, you better think again. I don't trust you. Until we find safe harbor, we're just gonna keep you safe and sound."
"It reeks of gorg goo! Don't scum like you got any sense of smell?"
- ―Naxy Screeger demonstrates his species' keen senses to Cade Skywalker
Sakiyans were sentient humanoids who ranged in height from 1.6 to 2.1 meters. The species was divided into both male and female sexes, with dimorphism making the men taller than the women on average. Individuals had four or five fingers per hand, the digits capped by fingernails or claws. Each member of the species had a skeleton that included a spine and cranium; their bones contained marrow.Tendons and ligaments connected bone to muscle at angles that made Sakiyans one and a half times as strong as a Human of the equivalent size, and faster-moving as well. Ganglia of nerves lay under the flesh. Each Sakiyan also had a heart, whose pumping of blood escalated when a Sakiyan was excited, a condition detectable in the individual's pulse. At least some members of the species were ambidextrous.
Sakiyan skin was highly reflective, shining like burnished metal. Their skin tones tended to be dark, ranging from pitch black to deep violet, red, or green. However, lighter shades appeared as well, including gray, plum, bronze, jade, light blue, and pink. The pale-skinned Sakiyans constituted a separate subspecies. Sakiyan skin darkened when the individual flushed. Members of the species were resistant to extremes in temperature, able to operate comfortably—without breaking a sweat—at heat levels that might injure non-Sakiyans, as well as frigid depths, although those were less appealing to them. Sakiyans were able to use synthflesh to heal wounded tissue. They were vulnerable to the effects of dendriton toxin.
The shiny, hairless Sakiyan pate left visible both subcutaneous veins and the bifurcated cranium below, which was larger than that of a Human. The expressive visage was characterized by two eyes, a nose, and a mouth with two ears on the sides. In some Sakiyans, the ears were pointed, although those points were less pronounced in some members of the species and completely absent in others. Facial structure varied such that some Sakiyans had prominent jowls while others had svelte cheeks. Sakiyan eyes resembled those of Humans except that, whereas Human visual organs shrank to round pupils, the Sakiyans' narrowed to slits. Eye color varied less than that of Humans, with white, gray, silver, blue, yellow, and orange rimmed by red obtaining. In other specimens, the eye color changed depending on the lighting: one example had a red sclera, with irises that ranged from yellow to blue or green. Sinuses lay behind the nose, and those cavities were susceptible to burning from certain foods, such as ganno juice. Sakiyans sported fangs among their white teeth, which sprouted from pink gums. The depths of the Sakiyan throat could produce a low, rumbling noise, almost subsonic in nature, and at least some members of the species had a gruff voice.
Because their appearance was so similar to that of the Human species, xenobiologists debated whether to classify the Sakiyans as a near-Human species or one completely unrelated. Those scientists who argued for the latter status cited the species' vastly different brain structure as their strongest evidence. The brain was nearly double the size of its Human counterpart, a result of the organ's highly developed centers devoted to sensory input and reflexes. Indeed, the Sakiyans reached nearly supernatural levels of sensory perception, surpassing even the large-brained Bith in perceptual capabilities. Sakiyans enjoyed excellent visual acuity, with sight extending into the infrared range and with keen peripheral vision. Infrared light appeared as a silver glow to Sakiyan eyes, and their capability at detecting it allowed members of the species to even see through walls if adequate heat sources lay on the opposite side. The wide variety of wavelengths to which their eyes were attuned made full-spectrum light seem almost like a glare to a Sakiyan, even to the point of proving bothersome and bringing tears to the eyes. The species' hearing was also well developed, acute enough to detect a creature as tiny as a gravel-maggot burrowing through the soil. They enjoyed discriminatory smell, keen enough to track prey; a skilled Sakiyan hunter could smell the slightest trace of quarry, down to the smell of its sweat or the after-odor of a recent blaster fight, and with a good whiff, a Sakiyan could detect a quarry's species and age. In sum, the Sakiyan brain, evolved over centuries, gave them the senses and reflexes to be natural-born hunters.
Sakiyans entered adolescence at age 11 and reached full adulthood at age 16. They entered middle age at 49 and had a life expectancy of 85 standard years. In advanced age, various Sakiyans suffered from dulled senses, with some even going deaf. Possible physiological reactions to dying included trembling and inability to focus the eyes. Some members of the species exhibited sensitivity to the Force, but the trait was generally rare among the Sakiyan population.
Society and culture
- "You're larger and much stronger, true, but I'm far faster. You are obviously adept with these [knives], but I still have the advantage."
"You really think so? I'm a hunter and a warrior, bird-man, and I've killed half a dozen opponents with this very blade. You are fast, yes, but your bones are hollow and your feathers no protection against cold durasteel. No matter how fast you are, you can't get to me before I gut you."
- ―The Nediji assassin Kaird faces off against his Sakiyan target, Tarnese Bleyd
Sakiyan family structure separated the species into groups known as prides or clans. Each Sakiyan recognized an individual known as a pride-father, and other individuals were known as pride elders. The Sakiyans had highly developed concepts of honor that dictated how to respectfully treat others. Honor came in many varieties, each with its own distinct name and rules. Monthræl was a Sakiyan's personal honor, thought to also control the individual's destiny. Yithræl—pride or clan honor—was held in particularly high esteem. In the case of a clan's reputation being besmirched, the members might go to great length to redeem their collective honor; indeed, piquing a Sakiyan's honor even caused physiological response, such as a racing pulse. Obtaining large amounts of land or wealth was one means to do so. Sakiyan males were expected to provide for their families lest their personal and pride honor be diminished. Sakiyans wed to a mate, while the children were referred to as younglings. Dying with a mark against one's honor was considered the cruelest fate that could befall a member of the species. Sakiyans recognized special expanses called bonepits; seeing an avian scavenger known as a flensor fly over one's bonepit was considered an ill-omen. In Sakiyan religion, the afterlife was known as the Realm Beyond.
Clans were organized into convoluted family–political units. On their homeworld of Saki, also known as Sakiya, these manifested as communities headed by selected leaders. The Sakiyans were a wary people who valued the survival and safety of their own community above those of others. Coupled with a natural territoriality, especially when other hunters encroached on their domain, they were cautious around outsiders—especially non-Sakiyans. Their mantra was "survival demands efficiency." Indeed, each settlement developed a detailed plan to enact in the event that an outside force attacked or attempted a conquest. To that end, communities maintained underground escape routes known as warrens. Lightweight repulsorlift platforms lay in wait to evacuate children, the infirm, and important leaders, as well as to carry away important equipment and supplies in case of such danger. The Sakiyans were no pacifists, though: standing armies responded to invading forces with tactics of harassment and retreat. Most invading forces gave up in the face of such resistance. In a worst-case scenario, a Sakiyan had no compunction about eating other sentients, especially if family survival depended on such a decision. Despite the wide variety of skin tones evident in the species, the Sakiyans ostracized their pale-skinned members as aberrations.
Hunting was highly valued in Sakiyan society. While many Sakiyans practiced hunting on their homeworld, the species considered themselves self-assured predators in a galaxy replete with grass-eaters and only a few other predatory species worthy of Sakiyan respect. They used not only their senses but also cunning, planning, and patience to capture prey; for instance, when hunting for gwayo bird eggs on Saki, the hunter stalked the bird until led to its nest. Sakiyan hunters trained themselves to slow their heart rate and calm themselves; such measures allowed the individual to move with greater speed. Sakiyans also hunted for sport, with the more dangerous the quarry and the more perilous the hunt, the more honorable and satisfying it was to the hunter.
Saki was a planet abuzz with industrial activity, and Sakiyan technology was on par with other spacefaring species. An intelligent and hardy people, they particularly excelled at repulsorlift technology, with particular emphasis on the engineering of components to be lighter and more efficient. For that reason, Sakiyan repulsorlift technology was highly sought after by the Hutts, which led the gastropod species to commission Sakiyan-designed repulsorsleds in ever more dainty and elaborate models. Hutt interests in Sakiyan repulsorlift engineering were so great that the Hutts virtually controlled the market, placing the Sakiyans into an ineluctable financial relationship with their galactic neighbors. A variety of Sakiyan flute made a noise that members of the species found pleasant; the sound resembled a member of the Ghostling species sighing.
At least some Sakiyans viewed other species as inferior due to their underdeveloped senses; in comparison to the Sakiyans, the belief went, other species could only hope to flail about in near blindness, lacking as they were in the ability to see into the infrared. Still, some non-Sakiyans entered the tutelage of a Sakiyan hunter to improve their own hunting skills; the Nimbanel Tawss Khaa was one example. Because full-spectrum light bothered them, Sakiyans in the galaxy at large coped by wearing dark visors in bright light or dimming room lighting to avoid glare. Typical Sakiyan clothing included elaborate robes or full-body jumpsuits. At least some Sakiyans sported facial markings. Sakiyans disliked being doubted and even less being shown to be wrong. They were not entirely fearless; for instance, one Sakiyan joined a Ryn and a Sanyassan in keeping a safe distance from a Sarkan.
Sakiyans expressed emotion through their faces; a frown indicated discomfort, while a smile indicated pleasure. Although able to laugh, Sakiyans were not known for their well-developed senses of humor. Raising two hands and shaking the head conveyed that the Sakiyan recognized his or her interlocutor's attempt at trickery, while rolling the eyes indicated annoyance. Another gesture was to snap fingers when struck by an idea, and to shrug to indicate disinterest or self-deprecation. A snort indicated derision, while a growl denoted anger. Anticipation might cause a Sakiyan to tremble. Their native language was also known as Sakiyan, which the typical member of the species could both speak and write. They could also speak Basic, and many learned Huttese as well. Sakiyan names consisted of two parts, a clan name followed by a personal name; for instance, the Sakiyans Tarnese Bleyd and Tarnese Lyanne both came from Clan Tarnese. Other examples of names included Ejaf Ya-Drun, Johr Penyk, Djas Puhr, Kol Rzad, Tuden Sal, Moja Skunaz, and Vihn Thas. The clan name doubled as a Sakiyan's personal blood cry.
- "My people's ancestors were warriors, but they can't match—no one in the galaxy can—humans for sheer bloodthirstiness."
- ―Tuden Sal
The tropical world of Saki, in orbit around the star Saki Prime, served as the backdrop for the evolution of the Sakiyan species. The planet's little seasonal variation gave rise to wide swaths of jungles, swamps, and veldts punctuated by savannas and lakes. The species' ancestors were prey animals who dwelt in trees and atop natural high points. As a response to the dangerous predators of their world, the early Sakiyans evolved advanced senses as a survival mechanism. Eventually, the Sakiyans themselves developed into a species of successful hunters, their senses honed to track prey, and sporting dark skin to camouflage them against the backdrop of their homeworld. Based on their highly developed brains, xenobiologists postulated that the earliest Sakiyans arose far back in the galactic past. As the species developed the capacity to use tools and create their own shelter, they maintained their advanced senses, unlike countless other species. Meanwhile, generations spent as hunters made the Sakiyans tough and durable.
From at least 25,000 BBY, the Sakiyans faced numerous invasions by offworlders intent on conquering their planet. Due to their homeworld's location in the Bootana Hutta, close to Hutt Space's astrographical center, the species came into contact with the Hutts in the distant past. Indeed, Sakiyan records were some of the oldest to chronicle the early spacefaring civilization of the Hutts, telling of "Hutt cavaliers" in armor—sometimes speculated to have been precursors to the Shell Hutts—and recording Sakiyan tribute sent to the Hutts, including technological expertise in the form of help with developing planechanga, enormous railguns able to propel boulders through space at such speeds that they could crack a planet upon impact. The Sakiyans were careful to keep the Hutts at a distance in all aspects of life on Saki save commerce; in this way, the Hutts were wooed into settling for economic domain over Saki and its denizens rather than outright political control, a feat only bested by the Riileb of the planet Riileb, who evaded even economic control by the Hutts. The arrangement allowed the Sakiyans to avoid becoming a slave species, as was the fate of most other non-Hutt natives of Hutt Space—although at least one Sakiyan did serve the Hutts in some capacity. Instead the Sakiyans remained independent and respected by their Hutt neighbors. Relations remained fraught between the two species for millennia, with the Sakiyans referring to their neighbors as "slugs."
Other invasion attempts were made by the Tion Hegemony, the Sith, and the Drackmarians. As the Tionese expanded under the reign of Xim the Despot, the Sakiyans had already established their relationship with the Hutts. When the Tionese encountered Sakiyan and Nimbanese traders who claimed to serve the Hutts, Xim's curiosity was piqued, prompting his war with the Hutts. The Sakiyan homeworld later fell within the bounds of Sith Space from 1004 to 1000 BBY, during the New Sith Wars. Xenobiologists postulated that as a result of those hostile encounters with outsiders, the Sakiyans developed their propensity for caution and mobility in their communities.
At some point, the Sakiyans received peaceful visitors from the Galactic Republic, scouts, who shared with the species the secrets of repulsorlift technology. The Sakiyans recognized the possibilities that repulsorlift afforded them in their efforts to remain deft and mobile, and their engineers tweaked the technology to emphasize those attributes. Their efforts came to the attention of the Hutts, who soon established their economic dominance over the Sakiyan repulsorlift industry. The Sakiyans were represented in the Galactic Republic by senators. They eventually founded three colony worlds, Sakidopa, Sakiduba, and Sakifwanna, each located in a star system of the same name.
After the rise of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, the Sakiyan homeworld's location in the bowels of Hutt Space kept the species insulated from the grasp of Emperor Palpatine and his forces. However, the Empire abducted Sakiyan technicians and forced them to work in Imperial research and development centers to improve the Empire's repulsorlift technology, particularly in the development of new repulsortanks. During that period, xenobiologists finally settled the debate over whether to classify the Sakiyans as near-Humans or non-Human, coming to the consensus that the Sakiyans were non-Human based both on their appearance and the vast differences in their brain structure.
With the fall of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic in 4 ABY, both that new government and the Hapans of the Hapes Consortium approached the Sakiyans to broker political and commercial alliances. Nevertheless, the Sakiyans remained wary, telling the outsiders to speak to the Hutts instead. After the species known as the Yuuzhan Vong made their first advance on Hutt Space in 26 ABY during their invasion of the galaxy, they spared the Saki system. The unorthodox tactics of the alien invaders worried the Sakiyan leadership that the outsiders might be able to circumvent the Sakiyans' battle-tested strategies to resist invasion. They thus began to make furtive overtures of support to the New Republic and the Hapans in the case those groups decided to counterattack the Yuuzhan Vong. After the Yuuzhan Vong devastated Hutt Space, the fate of the Sakiyans remained unknown to the rest of the galaxy. By circa 25 ABY, the population of the Saki system was between 100 to 500 million inhabitants.
Sakiyans in the galaxy
- "Thorp! Thorp, after all I've done for you… Short memory, eh, Thorp? Short memory!"
- ―Ackmena reacts to the refusal of her Sakiyan patron, Thorp, to leave her cantina
Sakiyans rarely ventured away from their home system, let alone away from what they considered the ideal conditions of their homeworld proper. They generally lacked the inclination to trade with outsiders. The same attitudes prevailed on the few Sakiyan colony worlds. Still, Sakiyans could be found off Sakiyan planets in small numbers, making them not uncommon sights in areas where beings of diverse species and background congregated. For example, in 32 BBY, a Sakiyan with a heavily scarred head was present at the Dewback Inn on the planet Coruscant when the Human clerk Lorn Pavan and his droid I-5YQ visited the establishment. Another Sakiyan was present at a cantina in the city Mos Espa on the planet Tatooine that same year while the Devlikk Podracer Wan Sandage negotiated to have the Glymphid assassin Aldar Beedo kill the Dug racing champion Sebulba. Likewise, a short time after the Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY, a Sakiyan was present on the Wheel space station when the Twi'lek Jedi Aayla Secura searched for her missing Jedi Master, the Kiffar Quinlan Vos. Later in the same period, a male Sakiyan was present in a bar on Tatooine when his companion, a non-Human named Oked, crossed the Dathomirian Asajj Ventress—and paid with his life. After the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, another Sakiyan was eating nexufish sulyet at Gort's, a restaurant on Coruscant, when the Human Jedi Jax Pavan and the Korun soldier Nick Rostu patronized the establishment. Later that year, a Sakiyan with an eye patch hustled to get out of the way of Prince Xizor of Black Sun in the Yaam Sector of Coruscant. Thorp was a pale-skinned Sakiyan active after the Battle of Yavin in 0 ABY. By that time, he had come to owe Ackmena, the Human bartender of the Mos Eisley Cantina, a favor. When the Empire established a curfew on Tatooine on a night that Ackmena was on duty, the Sakiyan ignored the bartender's pleas for the patrons to go home, even starting a round of jeering to demand more drinks. Intoxicated, he eventually stumbled out, ushered along by Ackmena and her bouncer, Tork.
For employment, Sakiyans at large often operated as nobles and scouts, or held more mundane positions in galactic society. For example, circa 20 BBY, the Sakiyan Brug D'Shar served as the aide-de-camp to the Human Counselor Westa Impeveri on the planet Cularin, a position that earned him a reputation for electoral fraud. As a panelist during a meeting moderated by Human reporter Yara Grugara, Brug advocated the use of platform cities on Cularin because they benefitted the economy and helped deter overcrowding. Vadoo was a young Sakiyan captured by Trandoshan hunters and brought to the moon Wasskah to be hunted for sport during the Clone Wars. Vadoo was killed by the Trandoshans after arrival, as the hunters opened fire with their ship's laser cannons to identify the most worthy target for their hunt. A male Sakiyan cargo hauler was present on the planet Stobar near a restaurant called Plop Dribble's during the same war when the Zabrak Nightbrother Savage Opress demanded that he take him to the planet Lotho Minor. Upon arrival, Opress kicked the pilot out of the starship to plummet to the surface of the planet. Finn was a Sakiyan bartender at a tavern called Rik's circa 137 ABY; in addition to mixology, he was a competent fighter—skills that allowed him to act not only as the chief bartender but as an enforcer as well.
Sakiyans made talented scientists and engineers. Members of the species were especially common in repulsorlift engineering and development. During the Clone Wars, a Sakiyan scientist found work as a contractor for the company Arkanian Microtechnologies. She participated in a project to re-engineer animals, a process that rendered its subjects stronger and more docile. However, she made enemies who placed a bounty on her head, so she thus became the target of a Gand Findsman named Vaskau Farg—who viewed her not as a researcher but as a "witch." The Sakiyan traveled to the planet Arkania, where she bought a speeder in the settlement of Novania and headed off into the tundra to an Arkanian Microtechnologies installation. Farg tracked her with his Force abilities and confronted her there. Later, under the regime of the Galactic Empire, Sakiyans were forcibly removed from their homeworld to toil in such facilities for the Empire.
Hunters and prey
- "I smell blaster fire. What's going on? Why the security alert?"
"Intruders. I found them messing with our slaves. I took a shot at them."
"What kind of intruders?"
"Small creatures, wearing hooded robes. They might have been Jawas."
"Not Jawas. Humans. I smell human children."
- ―Sakiyan bounty hunter Djas Puhr corrects his Dug partner, Khiss
Many offworld Sakiyans found work as assassins, an occupation in which their keen senses gave them an advantage over their competitors. Similarly, keen senses made Sakiyans apt bounty hunters as well. An example was Djas Puhr, who, in 32 BBY, was one of several Sakiyans working for the Dug Podracer Sebulba to capture luckless victims to sell as slaves while the Dug took part in Podraces in the Outer Rim Territories. On one occasion, Djas led an expedition to the planet Datar to collect Ghostling children from their nests. After being transported to the desert planet Tatooine, the children escaped with the aid of the Human child Anakin Skywalker, so Sebulba tasked Djas with recapturing them. The Sakiyan also hoped to nab the Human boy and his companions to claim a bounty placed on them by Gardulla the Hutt. Nevertheless, the children evaded capture again and again, eventually seeking refuge in the pleasure garden of Gardulla's fortress. When the Ghostling Princess Arawynne escaped the bounty hunter's pursuit with the help of a Wistie lookout, Djas deduced that the Ghostlings and their allies intended to escape through the garden's ventilation system. Djas homed in on the would-be escape vent and covered the garden side while Sebulba blocked the exterior exit. The ploy worked; Djas recaptured the children, who were then scheduled for execution in the Mos Espa Grand Arena. Nevertheless, Djas was forced to track the slaves down once again when they escaped the arena and fled to a natural formation called Bantha Rock. By the time he arrived with Sebulba and his Abyssin partner Gondry, the quarry of Ghostlings had already been evacuated from Tatooine.
Djas remained an active bounty hunter for decades. By 0 BBY, he had developed a reputation as an imposing figure who followed through on his promises. As a regular fixture of the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine, he kept to the shadows, watched the denizens of Mos Eisley go about their business, gathered information, and sought out bounties to hunt. The process worked; Djas was highly sought after by the later stages of his career, even earning contracts from Jabba the Hutt. Djas sat at a table with the Talz drifter Muftak, the Abyssin scout Myo, and the Bith musician Lirin Car'n on the day that the Humans Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi Master, and Luke Skywalker, a moisture farmer, met the Corellian smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca.
Another bounty hunter and a contemporary of Djas's was Sixtat. The Sakiyan, also known as the Outlands Butcher, became infamous for his skills as a hunter, which led him to become supercilious and overconfident. His renown was so great that during the Clone Wars, the Head of State of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Count Dooku, chose Sixtat as one of twelve bounty hunters to take on the Box, a death machine invented by the Phindian criminal Moralo Eval. The last few surviving hunters would earn themselves a lucrative contract: to kidnap Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Sixtat fought through a succession of challenges alongside his competition and survived to face the final test: firing a sniper rifle to hit three small, moving targets. Sixtat made his first two shots, but he missed on his third; the blunder caused the ground to retract from below him, and he plunged to his death in a pit of fire.
Sakiyan soldiers found employment in military and bodyguard posts. In 20 BBY, during the Clone Wars, the Sakiyan Tarnese Bleyd served as an admiral in the Republic Navy, posted as the commanding officer of MedStar Nineteen, a MedStar-class medical frigate stationed at Drongar. Reeling from his clan's misfortunes when his pride-father, Tarnese Lyanne, was betrayed by underworld business partners in the Black Sun criminal organization, and resentful of what he considered a backwater assignment, Tarnese entered an arrangement with Filba the Hutt of Black Sun to steal a medical substance known as bota from the frigate. Tarnese hoped both to restore his clan's prestige through the new wealth but also eventually to double-cross his Black Sun contacts as retaliation for what they had done to his pride-father. During his dealings with the underworld, Tarnese made a sport of hunting down and killing Black Sun operatives who attempted to strong-arm him. However, when a Sullustan reporter named Den Dhur overheard Tarnese meeting with Filba, the Admiral knew the jig was up and attempted to pin the operation on his Hutt partner. Black Sun sent a Nediji assassin named Kaird to kill Tarnese instead. The Sakiyan put up a fierce fight in the ensuing knife battle, but the Nediji used dendriton toxin—a dishonorable move in the Sakiyan's eyes—to gain the advantage and slay the Sakiyan.
In 19 BBY, a Sakiyan worked as the bouncer at Quarek'k, a rough-and-tumble establishment in the underlevels of Coruscant. In 0 ABY, the Sakiyan Glocken worked as an enforcer for an old, Human cantina owner named Merl in the spaceport city Muracie on the planet Centares. When the bounty hunter Beilert Valance arrived at Merl's to ask about Tyler Lucian, a deserter from the Rebel Alliance, Glocken and the Gotal enforcer Uri attempted to stop him from using force on their boss, but both were shot and killed by the intruder.
In the shadows
- "You don't want to make an enemy of me, Fett!"
"No. You're a dangerous madman. I have no interest in having you as an enemy."
- ―Tayand and Boba Fett, shortly before the latter kills the Sakiyan crime lord
Other Sakiyans became even more enmeshed in the galactic underworld as scoundrels, outlaws, and members of criminal organizations. For instance, although the Sakiyan Tuden Sal was ostensibly the owner of a chain of restaurants during the latter years of the Galactic Republic, he maintained ties to several smuggling outfits as well. Lorn Pavan called in the favor with Tuden in 32 BBY—the Human had previously provided key information that had helped the Sakiyan keep his liquor license—to ask Tuden to introduce him to criminal organizations, such as Black Sun, who could help him leave Coruscant and track down the Zabrak Sith Lord Darth Maul, who had information vital to the Jedi Order. Tuden secured clearance codes to allow Pavan to leave the capital world, but the Sakiyan doubted the Human clerk's potential for success with a Sith awaiting him. Tuden kept I-5YQ, insisting he would deliver the droid to the Jedi Temple to deliver Pavan's critical information eventually, but he instead wiped the droid's memory and kept the automaton for his personal bodyguard. Tuden went bankrupt soon thereafter when Senator Palpatine, via a proxy, initiated a hostile takeover of his business to help finance his plans to become Emperor. Tuden thus became blacklisted by both the Empire and Black Sun. He lost his family and mate in the process, and he was forced to sell I-5YQ and liquidate his other assets. With nowhere else to go, Tuden had joined the Whiplash, an anti-Imperial organization on Coruscant by 19 BBY. As part of the group's leadership, Sal spearheaded a plan to assassinate the Galactic Emperor. The plot necessitated distracting other Whiplash leaders who thought the plan too risky, and it ultimately backfired, ending in Sal's death.
When the Togruta Padawan Ahsoka Tano lost her lightsaber on the planet Coruscant during the Clone Wars, she consulted a database of wanted criminals in the Jedi Archives; one of the profiles she considered as the possible thief was a Sakiyan. During the Galactic Civil War, a Sakiyan smuggling ring ran supplies for the Alliance to Restore the Republic from a base in the Syvris shadowport near Hutt Space. Their routes ranged as far afield as the planets Corellia and Terminus. The operation came to the attention of the Galactic Empire shortly before the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, when Death Squadron, the personal flight group of Darth Vader, enforcer for the Galactic Emperor, found the smugglers during a raid on the Ulkantha asteroids. With knowledge of their operation, the Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn formulated a strategy by which Vader would send Death Squadron against the smugglers' base in the Syvris shadowport. The raid succeeded; Death Squadron nearly destroyed Syvris and gained custody of key members of the Sakiyan organization.
Tayand was a Sakiyan crime lord active during the Galactic Civil War, reputed for his insanity and bloodthirstiness. When Tayand lost a large pot to the Human Connor Freeman in a game of sabacc, he claimed that Freeman had cheated. The Human fled the scene, but Tayand put a bounty on his head. The Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett pursued Freeman, but another hunter, a Human named Daquinn, reached the man first and brought him to Tayand's base on the planet Cilare. Fett retook the bounty from Daquinn and his partner, the Whiphid Yarttar. However, when Fett tried to buy off Freeman's bounty to prevent him from being executed, Tayand refused. Freeman immediately offered a three-credit bounty for the Tayand, which created an excuse for Fett to kill the Sakiyan crime lord. Another Sakiyan underworld figure during the Galactic Civil War was Torgas, who headed an Assassins' Guild on the planet Challon. The Empire contracted Torgas and his guild to assassinate Princess Leia Organa, a Senator from the planet Alderaan, but the Human mercenary Giles Durane stymied the Sakiyan's plan after being hired by the young woman's father, Bail Organa, to train her in weapons use. When Torgas decided to take out Organa himself, Durane killed him. Naxy Screeger was a Sakiyan gambling addict active during the Second Imperial Civil War. Naxy rarely found himself out of debt and was almost universally disliked, a condition exacerbated by his loquacious nature and poor command of Basic. On one occasion, Naxy skipped bail on the Feeorin pirate Rav, a move that brought him to the attention of the Human bounty hunter Cade Skywalker and his crew. They captured Naxy alongside a Bothan Jedi named Hosk Trey'lis at Brogar's Cantina on the planet Lok, then turned him in to Rav. Nevertheless, the Sakiyan talked his way out of captivity, and he even teamed up with Skywalker and his crew on their ship, the Mynock, on a mission to obtain the Grinning Liar, a ship owned by a Wookiee smuggler named Chak. In return for his help, Skywalker dropped Naxy off at the planet Socorro. Naxy drifted to the planet Kaer, where he found work for the Houk criminal Lun Rask; he then wound up working as the Hutt Vedo Anjiliac Atirue's gatekeeper on the moon Nal Hutta.
Behind the scenes
- "He's hard to spot in the cantina, but he's definitely there, with his gleaming black skin and inexpressive face."
- ―Pablo Hidalgo, on the Sakiyan Djas Puhr's appearance in Star Wars: Episode IV
Rick Baker's special-effects team created a bald, large-headed alien known as "Coal Man" as a background character to be featured in the cantina sequence of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, first released in 1977. The actor wearing the mask was part of supplemental shooting done in Los Angeles, California, on January 24 and 25, 1977. When CBS television made The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, a pale-colored mask based on the same mold was used for the character Thorp.
The A New Hope character was first identified as Djas Puhr and his species as Sakiyan in 1995, when the character was featured on a card for Decipher's Premiere Limited set, part of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. The card also provides the earliest reference to the species' super-Human sensory powers. Authors Steve Miller and Owen K. C. Stephens provided even greater detail about the species in Alien Anthology, a 2001 supplement for Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, which offers the Sakiyans as a species choice for characters created by players of the game. Author Michael Reaves fleshed out physiological and social aspects of the Sakiyans through characters featured in his MedStar Duology, published in 2004, and his Coruscant Nights trilogy, published in 2008 and 2009. In the book The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, published in 2007, author Jonathan W. Rinzler confuses Djas Puhr with another large-headed cantina alien with his brain seemingly exposed. The second character, known as "Brain-guy" during filming, was later dubbed Pons Limbic and made a member of a separate species, the Siniteens.
The various games that have featured Sakiyan characters have represented their unique abilities in disparate ways. The collectible card game version of Djas Puhr makes him more powerful after nightfall to reflect his advanced senses, for instance. Sakiyan characters in Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game enjoy the ability to see in the dark, a bonus to sensory skills, fast reflexes, but a slightly lowered constitution. Ultimate Alien Anthology, a revised and expanded version of the Alien Encounters sourcebook published in 2003, maintains the same general statistics for Sakiyan characters but also gives them bonuses to wilderness survival when the sense of smell can be used, does not lower their constitution, and gives them the ability to detect danger. The Legacy Era Campaign Guide, the iteration of the species written by Rodney Thompson, Sterling Hershey, and Gary Astleford and published in 2009 as an update to Wizards' Saga Edition of the roleplaying game, allows Sakiyans to see in the dark but not to make out colors; it also gives them lightning-fast reflexes. According to Alien Anthology, most Sakiyans could speak Basic. However, the expanded version of that book, Ultimate Alien Anthology, does not indicate that the language was common among the species. The later book Legacy Era Campaign Guide grants all Sakiyans the language. This article follows the last source as the newest of the three. The young-reader game books Episode I Adventures Game Book 6: The Hunt for Anakin Skywalker and Episode I Adventures Game Book 7: Capture Arawynne, both written by Dave Wolverton and published in 2000, allow readers to take on the role of the Sakiyan bounty hunter Djas Puhr. However, the novel versions of both stories attribute the actions in the game books to Sebulba, relegating the gamebooks to non-canonical status. In the video game Star Wars: Yoda Stories, first released in 1997, the Sakiyan Thorp is one of several characters who may spawn randomly during quests and interact with the player character.