For at least a hundred years, the Queen of Ktath'atn bred a hive of Abersyn symbiotes at the Screaming Citadel on the remote dark forest world of Ktath'atn. These were lifeforms considered so dangerous that even the Galactic Empire would not consider weaponizing them. She used the parasitic symbiotes to maintain a hive mind over the inhabitants of a nearby village, enslaving them.
While the Queen's hive-mind welcomed a wide variety of species including humans, Ezaraa, Twi'leks, Toydarians, Bith, and Rodians, she did not welcome Wookiees because the symbiotes did not like to be implanted in certain species. The Queen was assisted by at least three disciples including Bombinax, Varroa, and Vespinax. The Queen and the disciples also fed on the life energies of their subjects.
Over the years, the Queen of Ktath'atn became known for her knowledge of the dark arts and interest in unusual organic lifeforms. Each year, the Queen would hold a special reception to receive unusual organic lifeforms including alien "oddities" and Force-sensitive beings. These beings would be infected with Abersyn symbiotes and turned into zombies, becoming part of the Queen's "menagerie."
The "farm boy" and the rogue archaeologist
Following the Twilight of the Ordu Aspectu, the rogue archaeologist Dr. Aphra obtained the Rur crystal, which contained an artificial intelligence known as Eternal Rur, who claimed to be a Jedi. Seeking to unlock the Rur crystal, Dr. Aphra decided to seek help from the Queen of Ktath'atn; intending to present the rebel fighter and aspirant Jedi as a gift to the enigmatic Queen.
Dr Aphra tracked Skywalker down to the Outer Rim world of Horox III, where the Rebel Alliance maintained a temporary outpost. Dr Aphra managed to convince Skywalker to accompany her to Ktath'atn by claiming that the Queen could help them to unlock the Rur crystal, claiming that Eternal Rur was an ancient Jedi Master who could teach him the ways of the Jedi. Dr Aphra and Skywalker traveled to the remote world with the Wookiee Krrsantan and the droids Triple Zero and Beetee aboard the Ark Angel II.
While Dr Aphra and Skywalker were permitted to the Queen's reception, Black Krrsantan was not invited since the Queen was "allergic" to Wookiees. During the reception ceremony, Skywalker managed to gain the Queen's favor and attention when he used the Force to shove an Ezaraa that accosted Dr Aphra. Impressed with his Force powers, the Queen invited Skywalker and Dr Aphra to a breakfast the following day.
The Queen's trap and unlikely allies
During the breakfast, the Queen of Ktath'atn attempted to infect Dr Aphra and Luke Skywalker with Aberyn symbiotes concealed under golden lids. However, Skywalker and Dr Aphra realized the trap. As a precaution, Dr Aphra planted a detonator under the Queen's dining table, allowing them to flee inside the castle. The Queen sent her "menagerie", beings and animals that had been infected with symbiotes, after the fugitives.
Meanwhile, Skywalker's rebel comrades Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, and the R5 unit Essfour arrived at Ktath'atn village with Dr Aphra's estranged friend Sana Starros, who had alerted them to Dr Aphra's alleged kidnapping of Skywalker. Commandeering the Ark Angel II with the acquiescence of Triple Zero and Beetee, Solo managed to land in the citadel's grounds and killed and scattered most of the Queen's "menagerie."
Despite the tensions between Starros and Dr Aphra, Skywalker convinced the rebels and Aphra's team to work together in order to escape the Queen's guards and acolytes. They fled deeper into the Screaming Citadel where they discovered a laboratory filled with tanks containing Abersyn symbiotes. Despite their attempts to secure the exits, the Queen and her forces forced their way into the corridors around the laboratory. Skywalker was captured and Solo was hypnotized by the Queen, turning him into a mindless slave.
Dr Aphra helps Starros, Princess Leia, Triple Zero, Beetee, and Essfour to seal the laboratory. In the laboratory, Triple Zero convinced Essfour to retrieve an Abersyn symbiote by turning off its pain receptors. After blasting their way out of the laboratory, Leia, Starros and the droids stumbled upon one of the Queen's lieutenants, Bombinax, attempt to kill an unconscious Black Krrsantan. After rescuing the Wookiee, Triple Zero implanted Black Krrsantan with an Abersyn symbiote in order to use him as a weapon against Bombinax.
The rejuvenated Black Krrsantan fought against Bombinax, penetrating his armor and throwing him to his death over the cliff. Triple Zero then convinced Black Krrsantan to leave the women and droids alone, instead convincing him to attack the Queen's guards in the palace. Meanwhile, Dr Aphra convinced the Queen to honor her agreement to activate the Rur crystal in exchange for the captive Skywalker, whom the Queen intended to feast on.
Following the death of Bombinax, the Queen infected Han Solo with an Abersyn symbiote, intending him to fill Bombinax's place as her newest disciple. She then tasked Solo with leading her guards in eliminating the Wookiee Black Krssantan and droids, and capturing the women in order to infect them.
Having reactivated the Rur crystal, the Queen allowed Dr Aphra to leave on a starship but secretly ordered Varroa to sabotage her ship. Dr Aphra however decided not to leave after Eternal Rur confronted her about her guilt in abandoning her friends.
Meanwhile, Solo and his guards managed to capture Princess Leia. Before Solo could infect her, Starros managed to stop them. Starros was aided by the droids Triple Zero and Beetee, whom she had convinced to help her save her friends in returning for killing Dr Aphra. Beetee also helped Black Krssantan by incinerating several guards that were attacking him.
Fall of the Queen
Meanwhile, Skywalker managed to break free of his restraints and tried to attack the Queen with lightsaber. Though Skywalker was no match for the Queen's sorcery, he was aided by Dr Aphra who blew a hole in the citadel's window. However, Skywalker was infected by an Abersyn symbiote. Due to his Force powers, he outranked the Queen in the hive's natural order and proclaimed himself King of the hive.
The Queen refused to submit to "King" Skywalker and the two engaged in a psychic duel. To help Skywalker, Dr Aphra passed him the Rur crystal. With the Queen distracted, Varroa and Vespinax attempted to take control of the lower members of the hive. The Queen's preoccupation enabled Solo to regain control of his mind. Connected to the hive, he attempted to command the Queen's guards to stop fighting. However, Varroa and Vespinax managed to resume control of the guards. Solo however dispatched Black Krssantan against the guards.
Meanwhile, Skywalker and the Queen took psychic control of two Abersyn symbiotes. Eternal Rur spoke to Skywalker on the spirit plane and offered to help him to use the alien parasite as a weapon. He tempted Skywalker with the potential of combining his Force powers with the Abersyn symbiote mind hive. However, Skywalker rejected Eternal Rur's offer of help because the artificial intelligence was not a Jedi and let go of his symbiote, allowing the Queen to kill his parasite.
Though the Queen was initially jubilant, she was horrified to discover that Skywalker had separated himself from the parasite. Having regained control of his body, Skywalker struck down the Queen with his lightsaber, ending her control over the hive and weakening Varroa and Vespinax. This allowed Princess Leia to shoot Varroa and Black Krssantan to kill Vespinax.
With the deaths of the Queen of Ktath'atn and her disciples, the Queen's guards pledged allegiance to "King" Han Solo. While Solo was tempted with the idea of ruling a psychic kingdom of his own, Starros pointed out the responsibilities that his position would ensue. Solo saw reason and decided to disband the hive mind, freeing the Queen's subjects and guards. Excited, Solo remarked that he wanted to do the Kessel Run in eleven parsecs, prompting Leia to order Triple Zero to tranquilize him and remove the parasite from him.
Knowing the danger of the Abersyn symbiotes, Dr Aphra ordered Beetee to burn the laboratory and Screaming Citadel. She also advocated contacting the Galactic Empire since the symbiotes were a threat they took seriously. Following the conflict, Dr Aphra and Sana Starros reconciled. However, Skywalker was angry that Dr Aphra had taken advantage of him and betrayed him to the Queen. He warned the rogue archaeologist to stay away from him and his friends.
Dr Aphra, Black Krssantan, Triple Zero, and Beetee then departed on the Ark Angel. When Dr Aphra criticized Skywalker for his perceived "self-righteousness", Triple Zero instead pointed out her shortcomings as a character. This upset Aphra, who withdrew from the cockpit. Meanwhile, Skywalker, Solo, Leia, and Starros departed aboard the Millennium Falcon. While Skywalker was upset that Dr Aphra's droids had lobotomized Essfour, Leia reassured them that they have saved the day again and freed people.
Despite the death of the Queen, her Abersyn symbiote managed to infect an orange-haired human woman. She told her male companion that they had to leave because their future was elsewhere.
Behind the scenes
The Mission to Ktath'atn first appeared in the 2017 Marvel Star Wars five-issue comic crossover event Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel, which ran between May 10 and June 28, 2017. The comic issues were written by Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron. The events of the comic were illustrated by Marco Checchetto, Salvador Larroca, and Andrea Broccardo while Andres Mossa, Edgar Delgado, and Antonio Fabela served as color artists. The comics were lettered by Joe Caramagna and Clayton Cowles. The comic issues were published in the trade paper back Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel (TPB) on October 24, 2017.
- The Screaming Citadel 1 (First appearance)
- Star Wars (2015) 31
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 7
- Star Wars (2015) 32
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 8
- Star Wars (2015) 33 (Indirectly mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 9 (Mentioned only)
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 10 (Indirectly mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 11 (Indirectly mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 12 (Indirectly mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Star Wars (2015) 45 (Indirect mention only)
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 38 (Indirect mention only)
- "Epilogue"—Empire Ascendant 1 (Indirect mention only)
- Skywalker: A Family at War
- "Tobias Beckett and Other Characters From the Underworld" – Star Wars Encyclopedia (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars (2015) 29
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 4
- Star Wars (2015) 25
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 9
- Star Wars (2015) 33
- The events of issues 1 to 8 of the Star Wars: Doctor Aphra comic-book series take place after the Battle of Yavin, which marks the beginning of 0 ABY, according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. Additionally, issue 8 is part of the Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel crossover arc, which is placed chronologically before the mutiny on Mon Cala. Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy dates the mutiny on Mon Cala to nineteen years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, which Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, the events of Doctor Aphra 7, including the mission to Ktath'atn, must be set in 0 ABY.
- The Screaming Citadel 1
- Star Wars (2015) 31
- Star Wars (2015) 32
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 7
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 8
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 5
- Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel (TPB)