A noble of House Cambrist and the Senator of Brentaal as of 10 BBY.
It is hard to distinguish Senator Cambrist from a bad man. It is, to be sure, a subtle distinction; he has been described as "imperious" and "domineering," a "sadist" who appears to delight in the misfortune of others and to bring it upon those he disdains. Usually, these are people who aspire to things and believe in things; confident people who believe in themselves, or their god, or their "cause." Cambrist finds a certain satisfaction in demolishing the reputations of these people, but a sort of disappointment, too. It is as if, in secret, he longs for his foes to best him, to prove that there is anything or anyone to believe in. Herein lies the distinction; he is not a bad man, but a good man who cannot bring himself to believe that there is good in the Imperial era, an era without heroes.
In person, Cambrist tends to be cold and even diffident, but not necessarily poor company. A colleague recounted a time when, at a formal dinner, Cambrist improvised a joke—at someone's expense, of course—that had the entire table laughing; "Everyone was laughing except [Cambrist] himself, who went on drinking his wine and looking absolutely bored." Other senators, too, can recall no occasions when he's laughed, and few when he has smiled. He is not often found in pleasant company, however. Since few people interest him, he usually prefers to be alone at his estate on Brentaal or his apartment on Coruscant, doing what he was made to do as a child while the other children played outside; consulting encyclopedias of trade statistics, writing legislation, and studying history, sentientology, and astrography in addition to politics.
He has an intuitive sense of public opinion and the passions behind it, but sees these not as things to be respected but, rather, to be manipulated to one's advantage (passions and "beliefs," he has decided, are vulnerabilities in the human character—weaknesses that can be exploited with the right sort of pressure, the right choice of words. Cambrist, of course, has none of these "weaknesses." He seems to love no one, least of all himself, and, while not afraid of intimacy, seems to have no interest in it. "The man is positively anhedonic," remarked a frustrated countess who once tried, without success, to proposition him). He is, despite this, an able public servant. He is incorruptible, has a strong respect for the law, and he knows what is best for the people of Brentaal and usually delivers for them. He is also regarded as a responsible steward of both the people's money and the Empire's.
This has not gone unnoticed; indeed, Brentaal has profited from Imperial support, and Cambrist himself has won the appreciation of Emperor Palpatine (he also has a regular audience with the Emperor, as both of them are members of the prestigious—and secretive—Order of the Canted Circle. This is one of Cambrist's numerous accolades; he has also been honored with a "baronetecy" of Vjun, for instance. This accounts for the "Sir" in his title). Despite this, he does entertain doubts about the Emperor's rule, not in principle—as he supports the concept of an Empire—but in practice. The Empire's disregard for the rights of its people troubles Cambrist. He will not admit to himself that he feels this way out of compassion for the people, however, but rather because to disregard their rights can only cause animosity and disorder; precisely what the Empire is trying to prevent.
Whether he will raise these concerns with the Empire, whether he will some day convince himself that good men can exist and do good things in an era of cruelty and deprivation, and whether he may do these things himself, remains to be seen. What is certain is that, until he does, there will be more and more blood on the Empire's hands, and on his own.
Cambrist was born into a particularly distinguished lineage within the noble House Cambrist, on Brentaal; the ur'Tsyne-Cambrists came about from the marriage, in 1,142 BBY, of Lady Estella ur'Tsyne and Sir Whilm Cambrist, resulting in House ur'Tsyne being assimilated into House Cambrist. It was a tactical marriage, ending generations of disputes between the houses on the condition that the ur'Tsyne-Cambrists would command the most prestige within House Cambrist, which was happy to agree to the arrangement that would guarantee them centuries in power on Brentaal. Thus, because of circumstances long before his birth in 41 BBY, Reuke ur'Tsyne-Cambrist was destined to a career in commerce and politics.
He chafed when he was young at the long hours of study, but eventually the long periods of isolation from his friends and family that this required of him became elective on his part; he no longer desired the company of his peers, who were often jealous of him, anyway. Gradually, he came to accept what he was so often told, that he was better than the others, and was expected to be. And he was, indeed, well educated. He graduated from the Brentaal Commerce Academy, having studied astrogation, and went on to the University of Coruscant and, eventually, the Imperial Institute of Higher Learning. Along the way, he studied history, sentientology, and astrography, learned three languages and earned as many degrees. At 19, he was appointed trade representative to the Darpa Sector and went on to negotiate favorable terms for his world in the Brentaal/Esseles trade dispute of 22 BBY, just before the Clone Wars.During the war, he was sent first on a survey expedition to the Outer Rim for the Brentaal Merchant Fleet in order to gain experience (and also to escape from having to enlist in the Republic Navy). As the war came to the Outer Rim, however, his family sent him instead to study on Coruscant. He was there when the Battle of Brentaal occurred, and he returned to his homeworld as soon as the Republic had secured it from the Separatists—thus, he avoided the Battle of Coruscant, as well. It wasn't until the rise of the Empire, at the conclusion of the Clone Wars, that Cambrist's political career would began in earnest.
At 22, Cambrist was secured a position on the staff of Brentaal's much-despised Imperial governor, Jerrod Maclain. Here, he was both a faithful subordinate to the governor as well as a spy for House Cambrist, which fed information on his indiscretions to the Imperial Ruling Council in an unsuccessful bid to have him fired. Maclain, unaware of Cambrist's duplicity, took a liking to him (especially since Cambrist also fed incriminating information on other noble houses to Maclain). With a letter of recommendation from the governor in hand, at 25 he was apprenticed to Brentaal's senator. At 26, he published a book called The Way, about the history of the Brentaal League—an ancient trade faction seen, today, as a notorious organ of colonization. The Way, however, portrayed the League—and the Empire—in a positive light, and won Cambrist admirers on the Imperial Center. However, most of his writings from this period were bureaucratic in nature; reports on commerce, piracy, and so on. At 28, he was seen on Brentaal as the obvious choice for senator, and as soon as he was legally old enough (at 30) he was elected to the position.
Cambrist wasted no time in climbing the ranks of the Imperial Senate. His encyclopedic knowledge of interstellar commerce (and his membership in the Order of the Canted Circle) assured him a seat on the Senate Commerce Committee. Soon, he would become its chair, a position he holds to this day. He is also a member of the Imperial Loyalist Committee. Back on Brentaal, he is regarded as a capable and accessible Senator, appearing at public meetings in the city of Cormond each weekend to answer questions and listen to concerns. In addition to his work on Brentaal and in the Senate, he also travels the galaxy representing the trade interests of Brentaal and the Empire, and giving lectures on commerce.
Cambrist has proposed a number of bills during his tenure that have helped to form Imperial policy. The "Intra-Imperial Relations Act," for instance, established standards for the use of force by Imperial worlds. He also proposed, in 10 BBY, a measure placing Imperial political officers among planetary fleets, to supervise their conduct. He has supported a number of scientific and academic causes, as well, proposing an Imperial Astrogation Museum on Brentaal and an archeological dig into the depths of Coruscant. He has, meanwhile, been a consistent foe of planetary monarchies, proposing a bill that declared Imperial Governors superior to planetary Kings, Emperors, etc. "in all affairs of state." All of these measures passed.
Some of Cambrist's recent legislation has also focused on cultural matters of personal importance to him. In 10 BBY, for instance, he proposed banning government events on Taungsdays because of the historical significance of the "Taung," an ancient species regarded as hostile to early humans on Coruscant. He also proposed a ban on government observances of "Life Day," originally a Wookiee holiday that has become commonly celebrated on many worlds. These, too, passed. Indeed, a recent review of the Senate record noted that Cambrist had a legislative "success rate of 100%."
Along with a number of other Senators, he supported a blockade of the planet Aeeq in protest of harsh limits on free trade that Volus, a friend of Aeeq, had put in place. He has also supported the use of force against the rebellious planet of Carratos, the repeal of the "Unknown Alien Encounters Orders," and a ban on a biological weapons. He has been known to clash with Representative Vanden of the Naboo, most recently over a proposed investigation into the Caamas Incident, and also with Senator Kuriyoshi of the Cronese Mandate, namely over a proposal to consolidate planetary fleets into sector fleets under the control of sector Moffs. Both of these proposals were defeated. Lately, Cambrist has begun advocating for the improvement of the Outer Rim, founded a private society for this purpose, and declared it an important legislative priority.