Alright, Lev, what's the plan?"
"Why are you asking me?"
"Cuz I know you're gonna take the lead regardless of whether or not we let you.
—Jianna E'ron and Lev Mexxa
Leveren "Lev" Mexxa was the son and eldest child of Tasaz and Narra Mexxa. From a young age, Lev was groomed and trained to assume leadership of the Vanguard upon his parents' retirement. He took command of Combat Squad 77 in 24 BBY, and led them until the fall of the Republic, at which point he left his squad to assume command of the Vanguard. He led the organization through the course of the Galactic Civil War until 2 BBY, when he was killed in battle with Darth Maul and Darth Vader. He was succeeded as the leader of the Vanguard by his sister, Katira.
Lev's entire youth was spent being groomed and trained to lead the Vanguard. His parents regularly challenged him, physically and mentally, in order to make him a worthy successor when they retired. He was educated in a private establishment on Coruscant, and most of his friends were the children of other Vanguard board members, two of whom joined his squad.
At the age of ten, Lev killed for the first time. After a training session, Lev decided to visit his parents in their office, only to find them being threatened by a trio of gangsters with whom they had had previous business dealings. Lev, still carrying his training pistol, killed two of the gangsters, and his parents killed the third. After a brief mental breakdown, Lev rededicated himself to his studies and exercises. He graduated second out of his class of eighteen in Advanced Individual Training, though to his parents' surprise and chagrin, he chose to specialize in Combat, rather than Fleet, as they had.
After graduating from AIT in 24 BBY, Lev enrolled in an additional four-week leadership course, after which he was given command of Squad 77. At nineteen, Lev was young for a squad leader, but despite his misgivings, his upbringing had made him more than capable. Two years later, Lev and two of his squad mates, Dakran Tahruna and Desla Tayya, were ambushed by an assassin armed with a lightsaber as the Vanguard soldiers left a bar. The attacker managed to make contact with Lev before he was brought down by the other two. Lev survived his injury, but his right eye needed to be replaced, and the incident left him with a massive facial scar.
As the Clone Wars escalated, Lev and his squad found themselves deployed more often than they were allowed to rest. Near the end of the first year of the war, Lev and Squad 77 rescued the stranded Jedi Aaley Korak, with whom Lev became close during their repeated interactions over the course of the war.
In 20 BBY, a mission to destroy a Separatist battleship turned tragic, resulting in the deaths of two of Lev's squad members and the career-ending injury of a third. In the aftermath of this fiasco, two more members of Squad 77 retired, leaving Lev commanding four others, instead of the nine he had mere days prior. Lev nearly relinquished his post after these losses, but two months' rest and counseling got him back onto the front lines, now leading a squad half filled with new recruits, all of whom proved their mettle in the remaining year of the war.
The battle of Coruscant found Lev and Squad 77 onboard the Dreadnought Vanguard. They deployed to support forces on the planet's surface less than a minute before Lev's parents were killed in orbit. Upon landing, Lev assumed command of the Vanguard's remaining forces, leading six Combat squads to the Jedi Temple, deploying two more to the Senate Chambers and ordering the rest of the Vanguard to disperse to the safehouses his parents had had constructed across the galaxy. During the battle at the Temple, Lev's squad lost another member to a Super Battle Droid rocket. Lev rallied his remaining troops and drove the Separatist assault back. The remaining Jedi and Vanguard forces withdrew, leaving behind only Cin Drallig and four members of the Jedi Temple Guard to cover their retreat. While withdrawing through the Temple's lower levels, the surviving defenders came across the remains of the retreating Younglings, which had been ambushed by a number of Magna-Guards in the tunnels. After breaking out of the ambush, Lev led the survivors to the Star Destroyer Freedom and escaped the system. Two days later, Lev appointed Illianaste Felidor as the new leader of Squad 77.
The Galactic Civil War was, in part, a war of Lev's making, as he channeled Vanguard resources, including billions of credits from accounts made by his parents and grandparents in years past, into creating, training, and arming insurrectionists and militant fighters on planets with strong anti-Imperial sentiments. His actions fueled the already divisive political situation in Maul's Empire as more and more military resources were channeled into combating rebel forces across a galaxy increasingly tired of war. Meanwhile, his access to the Vanguard's safehouses across the galaxy allowed the Republic remnant to disperse and hide in between attacks on Imperial targets. Lev personally coordinated several operations, including the sabotage of an AT-AT factory on Alsakan in 8 BBY, the capture of two Imperial-class Star Destroyers over Coruscant in 6 BBY, and the extraction of several rebel prisoners, including Cassian Andor in 5 BBY. Even as the Vanguard's resources dwindled around him, Lev remained in command, supporting and coordinating the war against Maul and his Empire until the very end.
After a devastating ambush, Lev and Aaley found themselves facing off against Maul on board the Vanguard Star Destroyer Fortune. The ship had been crippled, and all other Republic and rebel forces aboard had been killed. Maul confronted the last two survivors in the Fortune's bridge, but Aaley's skill with a lightsaber and Lev's abilities in his Type 6 Combat Armor managed to match the Sith for nearly a minute before Darth Vader joined in the fray. Lev met his end moments later, as Aaley was no longer able to protect him from Force attacks. Soon after Lev's neck was snapped by Vader, Aaley was killed as well.
After Lev's death, his sister, Katira, assumed command of the Vanguard. Later that year, the Alliance to Restore the Republic was officially established, and Katira dedicated all remaining Vanguard and Republic forces to the cause. In 6 ABY, the newly re-established Vanguard christened its first new ship, the battle cruiser Leveren, in honor of the man who had led them through so much.
Personality and traits
Lev was a capable and courageous leader, both in his time with Squad 77 and the Republic Remnant as a whole. He was decisive under fire, a trait that saved others around him on multiple occasions, though he was reluctant to send others into danger if he would not be joining them. He suffered episodes of self-doubt throughout his career, most notably after the loss of half his squad in a single battle, but he ultimately persevered for the sake of those following him. When not in combat he was generally friendly, holding an air of strict professionalism until he knew the other party well enough to unleash his well-exercised sense of sarcastic humor. After the attack that cost him his eye and nearly took his life, Lev gave up drinking and stopped visiting public places alone. He suffered some post-traumatic anxiety for the later half of his life.
Lev was a decent marksman, though far from the best the Vanguard had ever fielded. He was also well-versed with explosives and melee weapons. He excelled at hand-to-hand combat, having been trained in half a dozen disciplines from a young age. As a result of his rigorous upbringing, Lev was fairly desensitized to killing, though he rarely enjoyed the act, unlike some of his peers.
Behind the scenes
The name "Lev Mexxa" was created when the author was watching TV in a family friend's basement. A lampshade partially covered an "I Love Lucy" poster from where the author sat, leaving visible only "I", "e", and the top half of the "y". Across the room, a world map was pinned to a wall, and the author's eyes settled on the country of Mexico. Hence, "Lev Mexxa".
Lev Mexxa exists in an alternate Star Wars timeline, in which Darth Maul leads the Separatist alliance to victory over the Republic and installs himself as Emperor.
Lev started as an author self-insert in his younger days, but the author feels that the character has grown separately from him in subsequent years, and hopes to continue travelling with Lev as he grows and changes.
The image of Lev used in this article was made in Hero Machine 3 (http://www.heromachine.com/heromachine-3-lab/)