- "The white robes he wore this morning were bulky and elaborate to the point of half-immobilizing him, and he had two ba servitors waiting to help him with them when he rose again. He had his icon-look plastered back on his face again, his expression so reserved it resembled porcelain. Three white bubbles floated silently beyond his left hand."
- ―Haut Fletchir Giaja[src]
Fletchir Giaja (FLEH-cheer gee-AH-jah) was the Emperor of the Cetagandan Empire, the chief of all haut-men and son of Lisbet Degtiar, the former empress who died shortly before the beginning of Cetaganda; he had become Emperor at the unusually young Cetagandan age of thirty. As Emperor, he had a veto in all matters pertaining to haut and the direction of the genetic project embodied in the concept and functioned as the main interface between haut and ghem.
A formidable opponent, he was nonetheless deeply pragmatic about relations between the Empire's satraps, and between the Empire and other galactic governments. He also had a good deal of insight into human nature, and was not without a certain ironic sense of humor: When the question came up of how to reward Miles Vorkosigan for his help recovering the Great Key arises, he awarded Miles the Cetagandan Order of Merit, a medal which simultaneously satisfied Miles's deep need for recognition and also ensured he would be discreet about the episode back on Barrayar, where the medal would raise many eyebrows.
Personality and appearance
- "I hope you all see now the wisdom of our ancestors in arranging that the haut and the Empire shall have only one interface. Me. Only one veto. Mine."
- ―Fletchir dresses down the Planetary Consorts[src]
Giaja is described as cool and removed, while Miles observed that Giaja's "hair [was] still untouched by gray despite his seventy-odd years". However, in the privacy of the Star Crèche, his more forceful personality revealed itself, and he wore more of his emotions on his sleeve; for example, expressing honest anger at Rian, Pel and Nadina, Miles noted his face became "dryer, edgier, angrier". The haut women in turn lost their deferential attitudes and engaged in direct debate with him, showing their equal-but-separate relationship with the Emperor.