Whatever happens to us, we’ll face it together. I won’t leave you alone.
—Lena Quee to Samtel Kraen
Lena Quee Kraen was born on Commenor as the middle of three daughters to a middle-class family. Her father was often away from home, as he was a Senate Guard, and Lena grew up withdrawn and alone. She could often be found reading about exploring other worlds. While she was smart and hard-working, there was no denying that she was a dreamer. It therefore came as no surprise when she decided to become a hyperspace mapper upon graduating from the University of Commenor. Her mind was able to fathom the complex dimensions of hyperspace, and at age 22, she joined the crew of a Barloz-class ship which went on long expeditions to the Outer Rim and Wild Space, mapping new systems and hyperroutes, with funding from the Obroan Institute. The Barloz ship, the Sunflash, was also accompanied by a secondary vessel, a small YT-1210 freighter, the Quick Step that was supposed to serve as an escape vehicle or secondary transport. The work was somewhat dangerous, as hyperspace jumping into unknown space could be dangerous, but though there were often mishaps, serious danger was usually avoided. As such, the crew grew complacent and relaxed, particularly with the use of the Quick Step, which they increasingly sent on detached missions in order to reap more profit, as they were paid for the systems and routes they surveyed and mapped.
On one such mission in 49 BBY, Lena, along with a pilot, engineer, and a planetary mapper, was sent to survey an isolated system in the Quick Step. Upon reversion from hyperspace, the ship suffered a reactor overload, which killed their engineer. The pilot, Jebvui, then crash-landed the ship on a hostile planet, but perished in the attempt, leaving Lena with only one other companion, Samtel, the planetary mapper. They quickly discovered that the world was extremely inhospitable to Human life, with their injuries sustained in the crash exacerbated by venomous insects, allergen-laced air, and shocking temperature extremes. Lena and Samtel had to seal off part of the ship to breathe filtered air, and fought off painful insect attacks. They soon found that the planet had long, freezing nights, and equally long but blistering hot days, and so spent the nights in a cabin which they sequestered and insulated as best as they could. Initially, the pair did not get along, but having to work together to survive eased their gruffness. Lena's cabin was destroyed, but Samtel managed to find a memory chip containing some of her personal holos and shared it with her. A venomous insect nearly killed Lena, but Samtel was able to treat the stings and she recovered after a prolonged fever. Together, they survived for the next five weeks, scavenging to find food supplies and seal off the wrecked ship. With supplies running low, they decided to attempt to transmit another call for help beyond the automated beacon deployed before they crashed.
Venturing out in an attempt to plant a communication beacon led them to an encounter with hostile wildlife, which severely injured Samtel. Faced with the prospect of his possible death, Lena confessed the feelings that she developed for Samtel since their crash-landing. A second try to plant the beacon was successful and they make contact with another ship belonging to a pair of Jedi Knights, who rescued the two stranded spacers and took them back to civilized space, where Samtel and Lena decided to live their lives together.
Following their marriage, they agreed to move to Lena's homeworld, Commenor, and take up professions that would allow them to raise a family. Samtel took up law, as he had known a decent amount of surveying law in his previous occupation, while Lena became a mathematics professor at the University of Commenor. It was difficult for them at first, trading their wild exploration days for classes and holotexts, but they persevered. In time, Samtel gained his own practice, while Lena became a tenured member of the faculty. In the mean time, they were able to acquire some land of their own on the outskirts of the city of Munto. They had their first son, Sarth, in 41 BBY, and a second son, Selusda, three years later. Both sons would inherit Samtel's excellent memory.
However, Selusda was taken from the Kraens shortly after he was born, after he was found to be Force-sensitive. Samtel and Lena unhappily relinquished their son, but did not protest overmuch, knowing that Selusda would be better off with the Jedi. Throughout the years, they followed Selusda's career from a distance, all the while doing their best to raise Sarth and maintain their own careers. Sarth displayed an early aptitude for both academics and mechanical devices, and both Lena and Samtel tried to instill as much knowledge into their son as they could. When Sarth befriended a girl named Annita Daowot and helped her escape her abusive father, Lena reached out to Annita, feeling sorry for the girl.
Lena continued to lecture at the University of Commenor for years, gaining a reputation for being a hard but fair teacher and a skilled lecturer. She did some research into hyperspace mechanics, but her work was overshadowed by a team of Givin and Bith mathematicians. Unable to compete with their natural understanding of mathematics, Lena rededicated her focus to the classroom, though she missed the challenge of exploring new things. She did her best to support her husband, though she tried to avoid the media spotlight that some of his higher-profile cases garnered.
Several months after the end of the Clone Wars, Lena was still teaching at the university. One day, upon returning home from work with Samtel to their estate outside of Munto, they were surprised to see Sarth, who had become an engineer on a freighter after his university studies and a brief internship, returned to visit, accompanied by their long-lost son, Selusda Kraen, who had escaped the Jedi Purge with the help of Sarth. Selusda was now also a freighter crewman on the same ship as Sarth's, the Hawk-bat, whose captain, the Bothan R'hask Sei'lar, Samtel had known years earlier. Selusda was in hiding from the Empire and technically a criminal, but the Kraens didn't care and welcomed their son back with open arms.
However, Sarth had brought danger of his own, as a group of Mistryl Shadow Guards, a group of expansionist warrior women, made an attempt to kidnap him after learning of the war-related research Sarth had done during his internship. Selusda, or Selu as he was often called, defeated the Mistryl in a bloody brawl, but was severely injured. Lena and Samtel helped cover up Selu's identity before the Investigators arrived. The Hawk-bat also arrived to lend assistance, and Selu was taken away for medical treatment, while R'hask Sei'lar arranged for a security team from Durashield Securities to protect the Kraens. During this time, Sarth admitted his attraction to the pretty young cargomaster on the Hawk-bat, Cassi Trealus, to Lena and Samtel, who were glad for him. Shortly thereafter, the Investigators arrived.
The investigative team was led by none other than Detective Annita Daowot, who was concerned for their safety. After she and Sarth were attacked during a casual interview the next day, she decided to move all the Kraens , as well Cassi Trealus, who had remained behind while Selu went with the rest of the Hawk-bat's crew to New Holstice for medical treatment, to a remote safehouse. They remained in isolation for several weeks, trying to endure the tight quarters and security restrictions. However, the Mistryl eventually found their location and attacked again. While the security team fended them off, their location had been compromised. Lena, Samtel, and the others were taken back to Munto for medical treatment for their minor injuries, and were able to talk to Selu, who was returning to Commenor. Selu reported to them the death of R'hask Sei'lar at the hands of the Empire, but was interrupted by the Mistryl, who had kidnapped Annita Daowot and held for ransom. Selu disguised himself as Sarth and went in his stead, while Sarth and some others freed Annita after learning her location. Though Lena and Samtel were heartbroken, they allowed Sarth to go with the rest of his crew to try and save Selu.
To their great relief, both their sons returned from peril, arriving safely back on Commenor—though Selu had been injured during the ordeal. After he recovered, they were both present at a party that saw Selu formally take command of the Hawk-bat, as well as introduce several new members to the crew. The ship then departed to ply the spacelanes once more, leaving Lena and Samtel behind to return to their peaceful lives on Commenor.
They had about two more years of this peaceful existence, enjoying their comfortable home and careers on Commenor. Lena and Samtel were also a large part of Annita Daowot's wedding; the detective had fallen in love with a former spacer and member of the Hawk-bat's crew, Jorgesoll Knrr. Samtel served as the father of the bride, while Lena provided a massive cake for the celebration afterward. However, Jorge and Annita warned them that the Hawk-bat crew had come under Imperial suspicion and that Jorge and Annita themselves were under surveillance. Alerted to the danger, Samtel and Lena began making plans to leave Commenor if necessary.
Their sons returned just before the wedding, allowing all of them to see Jorge and Annita marry. Unfortunately, the wedding was interrupted by a group of Imperials come to arrest Annita for sedition—she had helped cover the identity of Selu Kraen years earlier. Selu, Sarth, and the rest of the Hawk-bat crew, who had been imbued with the Force and trained in the ways of the Jedi, along with some of their companions, were present and stopped the Imperials. The wedding degenerated into a skirmish, and Samtel, Lena, and the rest of the wedding party escaped, with Sarth and Cassi covering their flight. After the Hawk-bat escaped with its crew, they reunited with Lena and Samtel, taking them to a new refuge for Force exiles that Selu had established on the Outer Rim world of Yanibar. There, Lena had the joy of experiencing a double wedding between Annita and Jorge, and also her own son Sarth and Cassi Trealus.
While Samtel went on to become one of the leading pillars of early Yanibar society, Lena was less involved. For her part, she was content to help with construction, but, with a taste of her own wanderlust rebounding, she would often accompany expeditions to map and plant sensor beacons in the space around Yanibar, as well as chart hyperspace routes to and from the world. She and Samtel lived in a comfortable house of their own on the same streets as Sarth and Cassi, as well as Selu and his wife, Milya Tayrce Kraen, whose wedding Lena and Samtel also attended in 11 BBY. Eventually, Samtel retired from public life on Yanibar in 2 ABY, allowing himself and Lena to live out a quiet retirement with their children and loved ones.
Lena's life also began to see grandchildren as both Sarth and Selu had children of their own. She was happy to dote on them, and due to busy schedules of the parents, especially Selu and Milya, was often the babysitter as well. She was still on Yanibar as of 4 ABY. She heard some details about Yanibar's involvement in the raging Galactic Civil War, but was largely unconcerned until Yanibar was attacked by the Zann Consortium. The Zannists were ultimately defeated and Lena survived the Battle of Yanibar. She later helped rebuild and repair the damage done to the colony, and also helped her sons recover from the loss of their longtime companion and adopted brother, Spectre Kraen. A year later, she and Samtel watched over Ryion Kraen, Selu and Milya's youngest son, when the rest of the younger Kraens went on a trip on R'alla.
By 8 ABY, Lena and Samtel had fully retired from most of their responsibilities on Yanibar, content to watch their grandchildren Akleyn, Ryion, and Rhiannon grow up in peace on the Yanibar refuge. Their adopted grandchild, Jasika Kraen, and great-greatchild Zeyn Kraen also held special places in Samtel's and Lena's hearts, particularly since the latter two had been orphaned in the Battle of Yanibar. As their grandchildren grew up, one of their joys was attending Jasika's wedding in early 17 ABY, followed by Rhiannon's wedding in 18 ABY. However, Rhiannon's choice to marry an Outsider and leave the refuge meant that Samtel and Lena saw their granddaughter far fewer. In 19 ABY, they journeyed outside to Rhiannon's home along with the rest of the Kraen family to welcome their first biological great-grandchild, Tavaron Burke. Later that year, Samtel suffered a severe heart attack and died shortly thereafter. Lena grieved deeply for the loss of her husband of 58 years, and her own health declined as a result. She passed away in early 20 ABY shortly after the Galactic Civil War ended, having seen the waning years of the Old Republic, the rise and fall of the Empire, and the glory years of the New Republic.
Behind the scenes
Lena Kraen's character and teaching profession were modeled off of a friend of Force Exile author Atarumaster88. She was first mentioned in Force Exile I: Fugitive, though she and her husband Samtel were not identified by name until Force Exile II: Smuggler, where they played the part of supportive parents. Despite their roles, Lena and Samtel are largely passive, out of their league in the face of the imminent danger posed by the Mistryl. She was characterized as being quietly wise, and while caring, she was intended to be somewhat aloof. Lena and Samtel returned to have a small role in Force Exile III: Liberator, which saw them transplanted to a new life on Yanibar and witnessed the marriage of her first son, Sarth Kraen. The rewrite of Liberator saw very little change to Lena's role aside from an additional scene establishing a closer relationship between the elder Kraens and Jorge and Annita, who warned them of Imperial suspicion. Following Liberator, she later had a cameo in the second Yanibar Tale, Hand in Hand, where she participated in the wedding of her second son, Selusda Kraen. She also appeared in one scene in the beginning of Force Exile IV: Guardian and also had a brief mention in the short story Deception on R'alla.
Following these stories, Atarumaster88 wrote A New Course as an origin story for the Force Exile series that showed how Lena and Samtel first met and fell in love. The story was based heavily on survivor stories such as Castaway. In the story, the younger Lena was characterized as intelligent to almost the point of aggravation and condescension and was initially stand-offish to Samtel, but she gradually warmed to him throughout the story. Atarumaster88 also chose to write her as the wittier and more articulate crewmember. Lena did not feature in Force Exile V: Warrior, as Atarumaster88 had stipulated her death around 20 ABY despite having not written the event explicitly into a Force Exile work.
- A New Course
- Force Exile I: Fugitive (Mentioned only)
- Force Exile II: Smuggler
- Force Exile III: Liberator
- Hand in Hand
- Force Exile IV: Guardian
- Deception on R'alla (Mentioned only)