Brigadier General Qi Tian Mu of the New Republic is the heir of the ancient Coruscanti Noble House of Qi. His family was killed by a corrupt Imperial official when he was still a teenager. He fled Coruscant to avoid the same fate. He joined the Rebel Alliance in order to spend his life fighting the evil Galactic Empire. After serving for a period of time in the Army, Tian Mu accepted the position of CEO of Neurosaav Technologies. After serving in this position, he passed that responsibility to another and worked his way up through the Army to the rank of Brigadier General.
After experiencing a major shift in his personal philosophy, he foreswore the use of offensive violence and became the Army Chaplain.
Qi Tian Mu gazed with unseeing eyes on the scenery before him. The beautifully stark landscape of the Alderaanian desert at dusk had no effect on him as he sat on the little rock overhang and pondered his life. Tian Mu wondered, not for the first time, if there was a rhyme and reason to his life.
'What difference does it make that I belong to a noble House?' he thought softly to himself. The "noble" House of Qi was noble only in name. It was scorned and ridiculed by most of the other Houses on Coruscant these days. In fact, he was all that was left of it! Of course, those other Houses were all bootlickers of the Empire.
He kicked at a rust-colored rock with the scuffed toe of his boot, hoping against hope that this time wouldn't just be another pipe dream, another of his fanciful chasing after rancors to slay.
He remembered back eight years earlier to the first time he tried to play the hero. He was only twelve years old when he tried to "rescue" his older sister from three older boys who were taunting her. Tian Mu was big for his age, but not that big. If it weren't for his sister rescuing him, he would have returned home that night in much worse shape. That night, as his mother applied ointment to the worst of his cuts, she told him a story that would forever change his life."
Tian Mu's mother told him about the ancient House of Qi, and how his father and grandfather had served the old Republic with honor and distinction. After the rise of the Empire, though, House after House capitulated to the Empire until there was just a handful left, the House of Qi among them.
Then, when Tian Mu was only 4, the emperor took matters into his own hands by confiscating all of the durelium mines on Geonosis, most of which were owned by the House of Qi. When his father went to Geonosis to look into the slowdown in production, he was caught in an 'accidental' gas explosion that supposedly killed everyone in the mine, only there were never any bodies.
That was the beginning of the end for the House of Qi. The other Houses who had changed their loyalties to the Empire shunned the Qi family and treated them as outcasts. It wasn't long before the status of pariah was applied to the children, especially Tian Mu's older sister Jin Mei.
His grandfather, Lao Ye spoke up then and said that it was time for Tian Mu to begin learning his heritage -- the Order of the House of Qi. His grandfather reached into a closet and brought out a long package wrapped in leather, and then proceeded to draw from the package a pair of broadswords, beautiful yet simple and unadorned except for the ancient characters of their House etched on each blade.
Not only did his grandfather teach him how to use the sword and push him to the limit to condition his body, he also trained him in the art of logic and the manners of a courtier. But most importantly, he imparted to Tian Mu the wisdom of virtue, and the importance of being a man of honor, integrity and compassion for the oppressed.
For the next five years, Tian Mu's training continued unabated, going from lesson to lesson, his skill and strength increasing until he was more than a match for his grandfather.
His newfound poise asserted itself at school, as well. It didn't take long for his classmates to learn the hard way that it wasn't safe to mock Tian Mu or to bully the smaller students when he was around. At the same time they learned that he was a natural leader. Tian Mu projected an aura of confidence that was easy to follow. Gradually he earned the respect of his classmates so that they deferred to him whenever there was a need for leadership. It was this respect that ultimately saved him, at a time when he didn't think he wanted to be saved.
One night, Tian Mu and some of his classmates decided to prove their bravery by spending the night on the surface of the planet, but their adventure turned into a nightmare. They were attacked in the dark by creatures they couldn't see, and the boys fled in all directions, only two of them making it home alive that night. One of the boys was the son of Kalin Meer, the district commissioner who had long coveted the Qi House estates. Kalin knew that once Tian Mu reached his majority when he turned 17, he would inherit the Qi estate which would put it effectively out of his own avaricious reach. That night, when he learned of the reported death of the group of boys including Tian Mu as well as his own son, he immediately began plotting the complete downfall of the House of Qi.
The next morning he swept into the Qi estate with a cohort of city guards at his heels. He denounced the family as traitors to the emperor, and since the heir was dead, he claimed the estate in the name of the emperor. When Tian Mu's mother, sister and grandfather heard about Tian Mu's death, they chose to die and take Kalin with them rather than give up. The resulting firestorm from the thermal detonator incinerated the main house and everyone in it, along with many of the lesser buildings.
Five days later, when Tian Mu limped up to the gate, terribly wounded from his battle on the surface, the destruction that met his sight was more than he could handle and he collapsed at the gate of his ancestral home.
That was where Yong An, the family gardener, found him later. He carried Tian Mu to his little cottage -- the only one on the estate that didn't get destroyed by the blast -- and cared for him and nursed him back to health. He told Tian Mu the terrible story of what had happened.
He then asked Tian Mu: "Where will you go, young master? What will you do?" concerned for his young master, not even turned 17 yet, for all that he appeared 20 or 21.
Tian Mu gratefully put his hand on Yong An's arm, "It's best that you don't know. Don't worry, I'll find some way of communicating with you. Thanks for all that you've done for me, Yong An. You've been a mountain of support just when I needed it most." Tian Mu began to choke up when he thought of his grandfather always being the strong one he turned to. Now he was gone, just like all of them. Tian Mu was alone now, completely alone.
Three days later, with nothing but borrowed clothes from Yong An, a carrysack full of food from the gardener's kitchen, and his sword sheathed in a leather scabbard and slung over his back under his cloak, Tian Mu finally talked himself onto an old drop ship transport that was just ready to lift off for Alderaan but still had an extra berth. Tian Mu didn't care where he went, just so long as it was off Coruscant. The ticket was three times as expensive as it should have been, which caused Tian Mu to be very grateful that Yong An persisted in giving him all of his currency when they said their final goodbyes.
As Tian Mu lay in his tiny berth that night, he also remembered the old gardener's parting words, "Young master, I know that you feel empty inside, with only hate to guide you. Please remember the words of your grandfather as he trained you in the Order of Qi: Strength, Wisdom, Virtue, Honor, and Compassion. If you hold to these truths, you will never fail." He didn't realize at that time just how important those words would become to him in the next few years.
After his arrival on Alderaan, Tian Mu decided to enroll in the University of Aldera's Institute of Intergalactic Diplomacy. The next four years seemed to fly by. Tian Mu realized that the philosophy of his professors were in stark contrast to what he remembered hearing about the diplomatic world on Coruscant. Here at the university, the ultimate goal of diplomacy was always peace, whereas the goal of diplomacy on Coruscant seemed to be how much you could get while giving the least. Tian Mu quickly realized that, while he certainly did not agree with the Coruscani school of thought, he also didn't fully agree with the Alderaanian philosophy of peace at any cost. He believed that force was at times necessary to ensure peace, and so he frequently was at odds with his professors over his unwillingness to accept their ideals as his own.
Still, Tian Mu was constantly amazed at how his training with his grandfather had prepared him for this course of study. Even though he did not wholeheartedly agree with his professors, the courtier skills which his grandfather taught him stood him in good stead with both his professors and his classmates so that, before the end of his first semester, even though he was the youngest student in his class, he was accepted as one of the leaders.
His life was still empty, however. As semester after semester slid by, Tian Mu felt that he was just marking time, just doing things to fill up the empty void in him that threatened to engulf him. By the beginning of his fourth and final year, Tian Mu was much changed from the not-quite-17-year-old boy who had arrived three years earlier. Tian Mu was now a young man, fairly good looking with noble features except for the slowly fading scar from his misadventure on Coruscant, of medium height and build, his skin a rich shade of yellowish brown, with black hair, and almond-shaped eyes. It was his eyes that attracted the girls, intense black eyes that seemed to see right into your soul. But he wasn't interested in any deep friendships much less a romantic relationship. It was just too difficult for him to form any close relationships for fear that he would lose them just like he lost his family. Then he met Theron, and his life once again changed forever. Theron was actually one of Tian Mu's classmates, but they didn't seem to move in the same circles. One day, though, Tian Mu began talking with him about Theron's theory of Truth.
"What if I told you that you can know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free?" Theron asked Tian Mu. "What if I told you that it is possible to know the Truth and then live by that Truth, no matter what happens around you? What if I further told you that this Truth will enable you to live life the way you were intended to live it?"
As he spoke, Tian Mu felt a thrill go through him, almost as if he had experienced an electric shock. After long discussions with Theron over the next few months, Tian Mu knew that he had finally found the guiding principle of his life!
A couple weeks before graduation, reps from hundreds of different corporations from all across the galaxy came to recruit graduates. Jael Our, a friend and classmate of Tian Mu's, approached him with a proposal. Rakishly handsome, confident almost to the point of being cocky, friendly and generous, everyone who met Jael liked him. And for those who didn't like him, they needed to be fast to avoid the sting of the whip that Jael kept coiled around his waist under his vest. He was Corellian, and like most Corellians he was restless, always looking for adventure. He and Tian Mu had spent many hours out on the Alderaanian desert alone, just the two of them, teaching each other the skills of sword and whip until they had become an even match for each other.
But Jael also had a serious side that most of his acquaintances knew nothing about. He was deadly earnest in his desire to join the Rebel Alliance and work toward overthrowing the Empire. He had had many long conversations with Tian Mu on this very subject, and now he asked Tian Mu if he would like to join the Rebel Alliance!
'Not only an ideology to live for, but a cause to die for!' thought Tian Mu. He quickly made up his mind to follow through on this chance to be a part of a brotherhood united together with one purpose -- the overthrow of the evil Empire and the establishment once more of a government with the people's needs at heart. He could hardly wait for graduation to take his part in this greatest and noblest of all adventures!
That was two weeks ago. Now, with graduation behind him, as Tian Mu sat on the rock waiting for the Rebel ship to come and take him to one of their secret training bases, he had time for second thoughts. 'Did I make the right choice? Is this really the right thing to do? What difference would I really make, anyway' Then he saw a speck in the sky that very quickly became visible as a Firespray, landing just a hundred meters away from him.
'Well,' he told himself, 'The time for doubting is past; now it's time for action!' With that, he stood, shouldered his carrysack, checked to make sure his whip was securely wrapped around his waist and his sword slung over his back, and he stepped out to meet his future.