- "Being a Missionary is right for me, Shado, just as being Jedi is right for you. Besides, I feel I owe something to the Mission for taking us in after our parents died."
- ―Astraal Vao, to her brother, Shado
Astraal Vao was a Rutian Twi'lek female who was born before 126 ABY. When she was a young child, she and her twin brother, Shado, were traveling in their parents' starship when it crashed onto the surface of the planet Vendaxa. Both of her parents were killed, and Vao and her brother were discovered and taken in by the humanitarian Imperial Mission. The Jedi Master Wolf Sazen found them years later and realized that they were both Force-sensitive; Shado joined the Jedi Order, but Astraal Vao felt that her destiny lay with the Mission. She became an Imperial Missionary and dedicated her life to helping others.
When the Empire that the Mission served was seized by the One Sith, Emperor Roan Fel and his daughter, the Princess Marasiah, went into hiding. The young Fel began to infiltrate Imperial systems to ascertain who in the Empire was still loyal to her father, and Vao grew close to the Princess during this time. She defied the new Empire by protecting Fel from Imperial agents who sought to capture her. In 137 ABY, the two were chased from the Imperial Mission temple on Socorro by the Sith Hand Darth Talon and secured passage offworld on the Mynock, a ship belonging to the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker. Vao arranged to rendezvous with her brother on Vendaxa, but Talon followed them and attacked. Shado and Sazen joined forces with Fel and the Mynock's crew to subdue her, but sabotage she had committed on the ship left them temporarily grounded.
Vao attempted to procure aid from Konrad Rus, the Imperial Mission's leader, but reinforcements came from another source, as the Fel-loyal Imperial Knights Antares Draco and Ganner Krieg arrived just before a legion of Sith. The ensuing battle saw the Princess mortally wounded, and Vao tended to her friend aboard the Mynock. When they were able to evacuate the planet, rising tensions between Skywalker, the Imperial Knights, and the Jedi nearly led to a brawl. Vao calmed the situation down and convinced Draco to allow Skywalker to heal the Princess. They arrived at Emperor Fel's fortress world of Bastion soon after, and Vao tried to persuade her brother to remain with the Empire-in-exile. Shado declined, however, and departed the planet.
Taking her own path
- "My parents' ship crashed here… when I was very small. Only my… twin brother and I survived. There were no creatures here then. He and I thought it would be safe to meet here if we were ever in danger…"
- ―Astraal Vao on Vendaxa
Astraal Vao was a Rutian Twi'lek female born before 126 ABY, and was the twin sister of Shado Vao. Both Vao children were born with high sensitivity to the Force. When they were very young, the twins were traveling in their parents' starship, which crashed onto the surface of the planet Vendaxa. Both of their parents died in the crash, but Vao and her brother survived and were soon after discovered by members of the Imperial Mission. The Mission was an organization that spread the influence of the Galactic Empire by offering help and support to citizens in need throughout the galaxy, and its members adopted the orphaned Vaos and raised them within a Mission. Sister and brother lived there for many years until they were discovered by the Jedi Master Wolf Sazen prior to 126 ABY. Sazen recognized their Force potential and brought them to the Jedi Academy on Ossus for training. Shado opted to join the Jedi Order, but Astraal Vao felt devoted to the Mission after having been rescued and raised by its members. She became an Imperial Missionary herself and lived according to its humanitarian ideology. Although the two siblings chose different paths, they developed a holocomm signal that they could use to contact each other if one of them was ever in danger. In such a case, they would meet at the crash site of their parents' ship on Vendaxa.
During her years of service, Vao worked with other Missionaries such as Ethan Adare, and she became a trusted confidant of Moff Konrad Rus, the Mission's leader. In 130 ABY, the leadership of the Empire was usurped by the Sith Lord Darth Krayt, and Rus was forced to find new ways to justify the Mission's existence under the new regime. He outwardly supported Krayt, content to curry favor if it meant keeping the Mission alive. Agents of the Dark Lord began to hunt deposed Emperor Roan Fel and his daughter, the Princess Marasiah Fel, and for seven years, the young Fel secretly visited Imperial systems to learn which officers were still loyal to her father. During this time, Vao grew close to the Princess and became her trusted friend. She often traveled with Fel in an effort to protect her from pursuing Imperial agents. Despite her best efforts, Vao's defiance of the Empire did not go unnoticed.
On the run
- "I'm going back! The Sith needs killing!"
"No, Princess! Please! She gave her life so you could escape! Returning would only dishonor her sacrifice!"
- ―Marasiah Fel and Astraal Vao, speaking of Darth Talon and Elke Vetter on Socorro
In 137 ABY, Vao was stationed on the planet Socorro as its local Missionary, operating out of the world's Imperial Mission temple. Fel came to Socorro in that year along with her bodyguard, the Imperial Knight Elke Vetter, and sought refuge in the temple. When Darth Krayt became aware of this, he dispatched his Sith Hand Darth Talon, who set the temple ablaze. Vetter dueled Talon as Vao and Fel fled, but the Sith's plan was to allow them to escape so that they might lead her to Emperor Fel, whose Empire-in-exile had been performing guerrilla warfare on Krayt's fleets for seven years. As Vao and Fel rushed away from the temple on foot, the Princess felt Vetter's death in the Force. Fel prepared to turn about and exact revenge on her bodyguard's killer, but Vao was able to dissuade her by suggesting that they honor Vetter's sacrifice and escape. As they made their way through deserted city streets, Vao contacted her brother on a public holocomm using their prearranged signal. She soon after grew tired and convinced her friend to stop for a moment's rest, but their respite concluded in mere seconds when they spotted Talon shadowing them.
The two eventually came across the Mynock, a starship belonging to the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker that was parked in the planet's Killee Wasteland. Skywalker and his mechanic, Deliah Blue, were standing on the ship's open loading ramp, and Fel attempted to use the Force to convince the captain to give them passage offworld. Skywalker was a former Jedi and was resistant to her efforts, but he ushered the two onboard when he spotted Talon approaching on a speeder bike. The ship's crew initiated emergency takeoff procedures and blasted off; Skywalker soon showed Vao and Fel to Blue's quarters, where they made themselves comfortable and asked to be taken to Vendaxa. Fel told Skywalker that he would be reimbursed when they arrived, but the captain had other ideas: he recognized Fel's face from an Imperial wanted poster and plotted with his crew to collect the bounties on both her and her father.
The Mynock made its way to Vendaxa, and Vao directed Skywalker and Jariah Syn, the ship's co-pilot, to land near her parents' crash site. The thick jungle dictated that they put down some distance away, and, as the group of five advanced toward the rendezvous point, they were attacked by a native acklay. The Mynock's crew held it off with their blasters as it chased them, but, when they reached the crash site, the beast grasped Vao with one of its limbs. Shado and Wolf Sazen arrived at that moment; Vao's brother pried her from the acklay's grasp before helping Sazen down the creature with their lightsabers. As the siblings Vao embraced, Fel informed the Mynock's crew that she had discerned their intentions and would not be paying them. Shado and Sazen's nearby transport exploded just then, and its saboteur, Darth Talon, sprang into the clearing. Accompanied by a horde of vanx creatures that she was controlling through the Force, Talon attacked the gathered party. With lightsabers and blasters, everyone save Vao fought the attackers off, and the Sith was subdued when Skywalker used the Force to throw pieces of the wrecked ship at her. He then led the group back to the Mynock.
- "Master Krieg, the Princess is dying! I can tell how deeply you feel for her, but you must master those feelings if you want to help her! Everything else has failed! I don't care who he is or what his life has been like, if he says he can help her—at least let him try!"
- ―Astraal Vao, attempting to allow Cade Skywalker to heal Marasiah Fel
When Blue discovered that Talon had sabotaged the ship and damaged several systems, Vao offered to fix the comm unit. After enacting repairs, she attempted to contact Rus, whom she believed could potentially send them aid. Shado entered the room and was surprised to find that she trusted an Imperial Moff, but he trusted his sister's judgment and praised her for the humanitarian work she had done throughout her life. Vao was soon after able to reach Rus and tell him of their situation. He promised to inform Roan Fel and told Vao to remain on Vendaxa until either he or the Emperor contacted her—Vao was unaware, however, that Rus was in the company of Darth Krayt at that moment. Rus served the Sith Lord to ensure the survival of the Mission and, in an effort to draw out Roan Fel, used some of his channels to contact the deposed Emperor and inform him of the danger that his daughter faced.
As the motley crew worked on fixing the Mynock, Shado informed his sister of Skywalker's former identity as a Jedi, and Vao passed the knowledge onto the Princess, which prompted Fel and Skywalker to hold a conversation about their respective legacies. As everyone stood outside the ship, two Imperial TIE Predators arrived but were shot out of the sky. Vao assumed it to be Emperor Fel and made to rush toward the crashing starfighters, but she was held back by a cautious Skywalker. The fighters in fact belonged to the Imperial Knights Antares Draco and Ganner Krieg, who had acted on the intelligence that Rus had passed to their Emperor and had come to Vendaxa to rescue the Princess. Talon then emerged from the jungle with a legion of Sith reinforcements at her side, and the battle began anew. Vao insisted on helping Fel fight but was dragged inside the Mynock by Syn. The two of them manned the cockpit controls as Blue started the engines.
The Princess was gravely injured in the battle and was brought inside the ship by Draco and Sazen. Draco rushed back out to finish the battle, and Vao stood by her friend as she lay on a table and Sazen attempted to heal her. When Skywalker, Shado, Draco, and Krieg were able to get aboard, the ship took off, and Shado and Krieg added their healing efforts to Sazen's. Their attempts were fruitless, however, and when Skywalker offered his assistance, a frantic Draco responded by punching him in the face. The bounty hunter drew his blaster in response, and Draco, Krieg, and Shado all ignited their lightsabers. Vao stepped between them and appealed to the Imperial Knights, suggesting that since nothing else was working, they should at least let Skywalker try to heal Fel. Skywalker was able to cure the Princess's wound and bring her back from the edge of death with his healing abilities, and the Mynock made its way to the Empire-in-exile's fortress world of Bastion. The Emperor invited everyone to stay as guests, and, although Vao tried to persuade her brother to stay, the Jedi were distrustful of the Empire after its part in a massacre of the Jedi Order seven years prior. Shado and Sazen departed the planet with Skywalker in the middle of the night. Vao made contact with Rus again, and reported both the princess's healing at Skywalker's hands and the fact that Roan Fel had retaken Bastion. Rus passed the vital intelligence on to Krayt.
Later in the year, Blue used Vao's name as an alias when she posed as an Imperial Missionary in an attempt to steal a trivalve assembly from the Imperial Mission on Tatooine. Ethan Adare saw through her ruse but nevertheless helped her acquire the assembly.
Personality and traits
- "You are what the Mission claims to be, Astraal."
- ―Shado Vao
Astraal Vao felt indebted to the Imperial Mission after it adopted and raised her and her brother, and she turned down an offer to be trained as a Jedi so that she could become a Missionary and live by its humanitarian ideals. The Mission was dedicated to aiding needy people throughout the galaxy, and Vao epitomized the kind of person whom the Mission tried to attract. She was intelligent, gentle, and very faithful to the Mission, where she believed her destiny lay. After years of devoted service, she grew close to Konrad Rus and was able to confide in him. To Vao, Rus embodied everything to which she had dedicated her life. She remained naive to the fact that he himself confided in Darth Krayt, however.
Vao was a trusted friend, an advisor, and a mentor of Marasiah Fel, who was herself an enemy of the Empire that the Mission served. Vao spent years protecting Fel from Imperial hunters and was forced to perform a balancing act as she served the Empire but hid her friend from its agents. Vao lived her life in the service of others and felt bound by those duties; she believed that her own personal desires meant nothing in the face of duty. When Elke Vetter sacrificed herself so that Fel could escape from Socorro, Vao appealed to Fel's own sense of duty and was able to convince her not to turn around and confront Vetter's killer. Although she had no formal training in the ways of the Force, Vao wanted to fight at Fel's side against an army of Sith on Vendaxa.
Vao was similarly close to her brother, Shado. The two were orphaned and raised together in the Imperial Mission, and they arranged to meet on Vendaxa if ever one of them was in danger. When Shado's path diverged from hers and he began to train as a Jedi, Vao thought that she would be emotionally torn apart. She quickly realized that the Jedi Order was where he belonged, however. Shado admired her for her passion and her philanthropy, and immediately came to Vendaxa in 137 ABY, when he discovered that she was in trouble. When Shado and Cade Skywalker stood on the brink of fighting Antares Draco and Ganner Krieg aboard the Mynock, Vao was able to diffuse the situation and convince the Imperial Knights to allow Skywalker to heal the injured Princess.
Although she was highly Force-sensitive, Vao had no formal training. She could speak Basic, the Twi'lek's native Ryl tongue, High Galactic, and Huttese. She could additionally understand Binary.
Behind the scenes
- "Yeah, and the little homage to Mission Vao… :)"
- ―Jan Duursema
Astraal Vao was created by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema for the comic series Star Wars: Legacy. An identifying illustration of her by Duursema was first published in New Force Rising, an article in the eighty-seventh issue of Star Wars Insider magazine (2006), which served as a preview to Legacy prior to its launch. More information about the character was revealed in additional pre-release material for the series, including the preview comic issue Star Wars: Legacy 0. Vao went on to play a major role in Legacy's first story arc, Broken, which was published throughout 2006 and the first month of 2007. Despite having been billed as one of the series's principle characters in its pre-release material, Vao did not make any subsequent appearances in Legacy throughout its fifty-issue run. She was referenced several times by other characters in dialog, however, and her name was used as an alias in Legacy's Tatooine story arc.
Mission and Griff Vao, two Rutian Twi'lek siblings sharing Astraal and Shado's surname, had previously appeared in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Although it was not the intention of Ostrander and Duursema that the two pairs of Vao siblings be related, they included an homage to Mission in the fourth issue of Broken by having Konrad Rus address Vao as "Missionary Vao."
In Broken's final issue, Vao speaks to Ganner Krieg and refers to him as "Master Draco." Although her dialog specifically refers to Draco's romantic feelings for the Princess, Duursema has asserted that she is speaking to Krieg. The 2007 hardcover release of Broken reflected this by changing the dialog to "Master Krieg."
- Legacy (2006) 2 (First appearance)
- Legacy (2006) 3
- Legacy (2006) 5
- Legacy (2006) 6
- Legacy (2006) 7
- Legacy (2006) 11 (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 26 (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 38 (Name used as alias)
- Legacy (2006) 40 (Mentioned only)
- "New Force Rising" – Star Wars Insider 87 (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: Legacy 0
- "Legacies of Future Orders" – Star Wars Insider 88
- Star Wars: Panel to Panel Volume 2: Expanding the Universe (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Legacy 0½
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide
- "Authors of the Expanded Universe: The Legend of Dark Horse" – Star Wars Insider 154 (Picture only)
Notes and references
- "New Force Rising" – Star Wars Insider 87
- Star Wars: Legacy 0
- Legacy (2006) 5
- Legacy (2006) 43
- "Legacies of Future Orders" – Star Wars Insider 88
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 295 ("Vao, Shado")
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 295 ("Vao, Astraal")
- Legacy (2006) 3
- Legacy (2006) 40
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide (under Astraal Vao, p. 180)
- Legacy (2006) 1
- Star Wars: Legacy 0½
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide (under Konrad Rus, p. 179)
- Legacy (2006) 2
- Legacy (2006) 6
- Legacy (2006) 7
- Legacy (2006) 11
- Legacy (2006) 26
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Legacy (2006) 12 letters section
- Star Wars: Legacy Volume 1: Broken