Maarek Stele was a pilot in the Axis Navy and one of the Emperor's Hands. A native of Kuan, he enlisted in the Axis Navy after the Axis rescued him from Bordali agents near the end of the Taroonian Civil War. Although he initially served as a mechanic, Stele was offered the opportunity to train as a TIE pilot after saving the life of Admiral Mordon. Over the course of several campaigns, Stele fought against the forces of the Alliance of Nations and the Coalition of Independent States, as well as those of the treacherous Imperial Admirals Harkov and Demetrius Zaarin. Stele quickly became an ace pilot and went on to be considered one of the greatest pilots in the Axis of Empires, rivaling against Sera of the Alliance of Nations. He was also well known as a test pilot, being one of the first to fly the TIE Avenger, TIE Defender, Su-80 Farron, Death Glider Mark 5, Haak-Tai Star Fighter, TIE Eradicator and the Missile Boat into combat.
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Due to Kerek's kidnapping by Bordali agents, the young Maarek Stele developed a hatred for the Bordali and grew up having to cautiously guard his identity in order to evade being captured himself. His true identity was known only to those closest to him, though even with them, Stele remained unwilling to discuss what had happened to his father. During his early Imperial service, Stele would remain somewhat insular, picking his friends and confidants with great care. Despite this, Stele developed a surprising friendship with Admiral Mordon, coming to view the older officer as something of a father figure and feeling free to speak his mind around him. After leaving the Vengeance Stele found little time to get to know his fellow pilots and frequently tired of inter-pilot banter, leading him to become even more isolated, with few others he considered friends.