Eli N. Vanto, known during his time with the Chiss Ascendancy as Eli’van’to and Ivant, was a human male who initially served as an ensign and later a commander in the Imperial Navy during the era of the Galactic Empire. For several years, Vanto served as a translator, aide, student, and protégé of the Chiss known as Thrawn, who became a rising star in the Imperial Navy. Vanto served alongside Thrawn in several Imperial military operations against smugglers and insurgents. Due to his close connection to Thrawn, Vanto’s promotion was overlooked for several years by the Imperial Military hierarchy which despised aliens and looked down on Wild Space outsiders like Vanto.
Following the intervention of the future Lothalian Governor Arihnda Pryce and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Vanto received his long-overdue promotion and eventually rose to the rank of Commander. While pursuing the shadowy insurgent leader known as Nightswan, Eli discovered evidence that the Empire was transporting large quantities of doonium and other valuable metals for a mysterious mega-project which turned out to be the first Death Star. Following the defeat of Nightswan during the Batonn sector insurgency, Commander Vanto was dispatched by Thrawn into the Unknown Regions to serve as the Empire’s attaché to the Chiss Ascendancy.