Doctor Aphra’s worst nightmare has come true when she and Darth Vader share a room for the first time since she betrayed him on Hoth.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: Doctor Aphra # 12 by Alyssa Wong, Minkyu Jung, Victor Olazaba, Joe Caramagna and Rachelle Rosenberg, on sale now.
During his relatively short time in the Star Wars universe, Doctor Aphra has crossed paths with some of the best gamers in the galaxy. He has come face to face with countless criminal syndicates and even helped Luke and the Rebellion handle some dangerous alien symbiotes. Their most impressive relationship comes from the darkest side of the galaxy. Doctor Aphra has obtained the rare achievement of betraying Darth Vader on two separate occasions, but this has left her fearful for her life.
Recently, Aphra has been performing impromptu for Domina Tagge and Tagge Company. After discovering Domina’s cousin dead aboard a cruise ship, Aphra and Sana Starros were directed towards Jekara. Tagge tasked them with obtaining as much information as possible about Crimson Dawn and any other rival organizations that attended the Han Solo auction. Aphra was originally excited to go to the biggest event in the galaxy, but her demeanor changed when she saw who was in attendance.
Since Aphra had created an extraordinarily long list of enemies on the seedier side of the galaxy, she felt it was best if she was in disguise. The Black Suns or the Hutts didn’t make Aphra nervous. The sight of Sly Moore, one of Emperor Palpatine’s generals, brought out Aphra’s anxiety. This would be drastically worse when Vader himself paced the auction floor. The sight of Vader sent Aphra into a total panic attack. In an effort to get away from the area and not draw attention to herself, Aphra’s nerves proved too strong. She was sent flying to the ground and the hit of a transmitter drew Vader’s attention to her. However, there is still hope for Aphra, as Vader has yet to figure out who she is.
It may seem that Vader wouldn’t care about the likes of an archaeologist, but Aphra has accomplished the rare feat of betraying Vader multiple times. She was initially hired by Darth Vader in Star Wars: Darth Vader # 3 by Kieron Gillen, Salvadore Larroca, Edgar Delgado and Joe Caramagna. Vader commissioned Aphra to build an entire army of droids for him. She became part of his inner circle and the couple traveled across the galaxy together. Unfortunately, holes began to form in their association and Aphra worried for her life.
This led her to approach Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Darth Vader # 25 by Gillen, Larroca, Delgado and Max Fiumara. He tried to rat out Vader by informing Palpatine of his various adventures around the galaxy. This exploded in his face. Palpatine was impressed by Vader’s initiative and returned Aphra to his power. Vader led Aphra to an airlock where he begged for her life. He had promised that if he killed her it would be with his lightsaber to save her pain. Her disobedience caused Vader to attempt to kill her in the way she feared the most: suffocation in space. Fortunately, Black Krrsantan saved her before she could die.
Aphra would find herself again under Vader’s command after revealing an assassination attempt to the Emperor in Dr. Aphra # 35 by Simon Spurrier, Andrea Broccardo, Marc Deering, Scott Hanna and Caramagna. This association would turn out to be much shorter, as Vader had absolutely no trust in Doctor Aphra. Aphra felt she could win Vader’s favor by discovering the rebels’ secret base and was able to locate Hoth for the Empire. Aphra never took Vader to the base, instead directing him to a different area of the planet. Here he betrayed Vader once more and erased the records of the probe droids on the planet. He then escaped and stayed out of Vader’s sights until the Crimson Dawn auction for Han Solo.
Darth Vader won’t hesitate to kill Aphra if the opportunity presents itself. During his last association, he was waiting for any excuse to kill her. The only thing preventing him in the first place was the good opinion the Emperor had of Aphra for preventing her assassination. Vader has learned quite a bit about Aphra and can use his knowledge to cause endless suffering. Aphra knows this too, which explains why Vader’s sight sent her into a terrible panic attack. Now he has to find a way to escape the auction and avoid Vader if he can recover from his panic-driven fall.
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