Doctor Aphra 37 is the thirty-seventh issue of the canon comic book series Star Wars: Doctor Aphra. It was written by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard, and published on October 2, 2019 by Marvel Comics. The issue features the story "A Rogue's End Part I," in which Doctor Aphra serves as an archaeologist for the Empire following the events of the previous arc.
A ROGUE'S END PART 1: A BRAND NEW ARC STARTS HERE! After all she's been through, professional disaster-zone DOCTOR APHRA is right back where she started: working for DARTH VADER. What villainous use has the dark lord found for her, to make him spare the life of his most annoying foe…? And how long does she have to try to slither out of harm's way before he decides to finish what he started years ago…?
Dr Aphra has a nightmare about being thrown out by Darth Vader of the airlock into space. Dr Aphra awakes in her bunkroom with Vulaada Klam, who chats about Aphra's recent nightmares with Lord Vader. Vulaada thinks that Dr Aphra needs to get more sleep but Aphra is unwilling. The pair's shift aboard the Super Star Destroyer Executor is due to start in 20 minutes.
Dr Aphra and several archaeologists have been conscripted into the Galactic Empire's Project Swarm. General Maximilian Veers warns them that Lord Vader is displeased with their progress and that their supervisor Major Yaltza did not survive Vader's latest assignment. When Dr Aphra makes fun reports that of Veers' last name, the General has her tasered as punishment. Veers informs a fellow officer that Project Swarm has dispatched 700,000 Viper probe droids.
General Veers says that the Rebel Alliance is building a new base and that they have legions of analysts searching the data. Professor Rupo Ud believes that the rebels have set up their newest base in ancient sites, citing their past record of using abandoned temples and lost cities. Dr Aphra disagrees, saying that the rebels are not "dumb enough" to squat in another ancient site.
General Veers warns Dr Aphra that she received this position as reward for her service to the Empire but that her usefulness depends entirely on identifying hidden traces of civilization. He adds that being useful is the only way to survive aboard the Executor. Dr Ud warns her not to get the entire team into trouble for insubordination.
However, Dr Aphra spots Darth Vader and talks to him, trying to get reassigned from the Executor. However, the Sith Lord hurls her against the wall. Vulaada tells Dr Aphra that she needs to stop kicking the "droch hive." Aphra replies that he is just looking for a reason. Dr Ud orders Vulaada to get back to work before chastising Dr Aphra for her attitude, questionable qualifications, and sloppy work. He warns her that currying the Emperor's favor will not protect her from Lord Vader and advises her to fall in line.
Dr Aphra thinks that she can curry Vader's favor by finding a rebel base. Dr Ud tells her that he has beaten her to it by identifying a possible site in the Kartovian Formation on Ash Moon 1. Addressing the archaeologists and General Veers, Dr Ud believes that there is rebel activity at the site, citing the shooting down of a Viper probe droid and the considerable energy use there.
Dr Aphra challenges Dr Ud's theory that there is a rebel presence on Ash Moon 1, claiming that the activities have been caused by pilgrims coming to shoot blasters and pray. General Veers tasers Dr Aphra again. Seeking an opportunity to escape Lord Vader, Dr Aphra convinces Dr Ud and General Veers to let her come along.
The Kartovian Formation
Four hours later, Imperial forces land at the cave and round up the pilgrims. General Veers orders his troops to use them as target practice in retaliation for the destruction of the Viper prove droid. Dr Ud is excited by the Kartovian archaeological excavation, believing that it will be the epitome of his career. Vulaada thinks that Dr Ud is a "nerf botherer" while Dr Aphra despises him for his principles.
Taking Vulaada somewhere private, Dr Aphra asks her how grateful she is about bringing her along. Vulaada is upset that Dr Aphra got her separated from her pet qaberworm Gurtyl and conscripted into the Imperial Military. Vulaada asks Dr Aphra what she wants. Before she can answer, Dr Ud marvels about finding a fully-intact proto-isopter narthex. While he is distracted, Dr Aphra motions for Vulaada to touch a booby trap which crushes the Professor to death. Vulaada is lost and falls down a pit.
When General Veers asks what is going on, Dr Aphra informs him that Professor Ud was killed by a structural trigger and convinces them to place her in charge of the archaeology team. The Imperial are accosted by her masked figure, who claims that he has friends in high places and that he knows Jedi mind tricks. Veers knocks him to the ground with a king hit. Imperial stormtroopers identify the men's rations and ammunition as rebel issue material. General Veers orders his troops to prepare an interrogation cell. Dr Aphra convinces Veers to pull the troops out, leaving Vulaada behind.
Back aboard the Executor, Dr Aphra informs Lord Vader that they have a prisoner who says that he knows Jedi mind tricks. Dr Aphra believes that the prisoner is Luke Skywalker but says that she did not see his face. Striding past her, Lord Vader orders her to attend the interrogation.
Force choking the prisoner, Lord Vader demands to know where is the rebel base. The prisoner responds that the "shadow is a product of the light, hence cannot quench." Dr Aphra recognizes the phrase as a Jedi apothegm. Lord Vader orders the General to bring him an interrogation specialist before shaking the prisoner's helmet off, revealing him as Aphra's father Dr. Korin Aphra.
- UPC 759606086290; October 2, 2019; Marvel Comics
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Notes and references
- Doctor Aphra 37 takes place shortly before Doctor Aphra 39, at which point Echo Base has been constructed on Hoth, and prior to Empire Ascendant 1, which in turn takes place before the Battle of Hoth. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that Echo Base was constructed in 3 ABY and places the Battle of Hoth in the same year, meaning that the events of Doctor Aphra 37 are set in 3 ABY.