- "Violence ever begets violence, outworlder. As my holy-book says: 'For every sin there is an equal and positive retribution.'"
The Verpine priest known only as "Pera" was a clergyman of the Sacred Way religion who lived on Aduba-3. Working from the House of a Higher Power in Tun Aduban, Pera set about trying to convert the local spacers to the Sacred Way, to little avail. Although he was able to sway several individuals to his cause, Pera was largely left to his own devices by the populace of Tun Aduban. His maintenance of Spacer's Hill, an informal burial ground for spacers who happened to be killed in Tun Aduban, earned him respect within the township. When confronted, however, Pera proved to be a skilled combatant, wielding a spade as a makeshift weapon.
In 0 ABY, Pera's way of life was jeopardized. A cyborg spacer had been killed, and although the Verpine felt that the deceased still possessed a soul, his outlook was not shared by the other spacers of Tun Aduban, who were insulted at the prospect of a cyborg being interred within their sacred ground. Pera was attacked by a mob of angry spacers, but was rescued by newcomers Han Solo and Chewbacca. The pair agreed to take the cyborg up the hill themselves for a reward, and were able to do so, but not before fighting off more incensed spacers, with the aid of Pera. Eventually, the cyborg was successfully laid to rest at Spacer's Hill.
Bringer of the Sacred Way
The Verpine known only as "Pera" lived on the planet Aduba-3 and served as a priest of the Sacred Way religion. The Sacred Way had originally brought about the settlement of the planet, establishing it as an agricultural colony. Pera operated from the House of a Higher Power, one of the few untainted structures located within the mostly dilapidated port of Tun Aduban. He was largely left alone by the local spacers, as his presence did not cut into profits made from underworld dealings, and he did not attempt to foist his beliefs upon others. In the event that he was confronted, the Verpine had armed himself with a farmer's spade, which he wielded against any who threatened him.
In his work as a missionary, Pera sought out converts, hoping to instill his philosophies into a people who did not want them. Although they numbered only a few, he had his converts nonetheless, and valued them in spite of their rarity. The Verpine cemented his place amongst the more hard-bitten spacers in Tun Aduban society with his maintenance of Spacer's Hill—an informal cemetery located just outside of Tun Aduban proper. The spacers, being superstitious by nature, were enamored of the idea of being given a proper burial by the Verpine priest, no matter how depraved or shady the life they had lived. The burial of spacers took up much of Pera's time while he lived in Tun Aduban. He roamed the township and collected the corpses of those killed in brawls or gunfights, before personally transporting them up to Spacer's Hill. To that end, he procured a bantha, with which he towed a travois that carried the deceased.
- "Half human…half mechanical droid. Yet, the man half of him had a soul… or so my faith believes."
Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Pera heard that a cyborg spacer had been killed. The next day, he collected the body and prepared to take it up to Spacer's Hill, but he was accosted near one of the cantinas by an angry mob of spacers. They were prejudiced against cyborgs, and felt that the deceased did not deserve a place in their hallowed ground. When one of the mob attempted to lay hands on Pera, he sprang into action, taking his spade to the attackers. Eventually, he was overcome and disarmed, until two newcomers—the Human, Han Solo, and the Wookiee, Chewbacca—entered the fray. Solo and Chewbacca fended off the attackers, and the Human made sure that Pera was not injured. The Verpine urged Solo not to harm the spacers, as he felt that they did not mean any harm.
When Solo inquired after the dead cyborg, Pera explained the spacer prejudices, as well as his own belief that the spacer should be interred at Spacer's Hill as he had indeed once flown as a pilot. The Verpine requested that Solo take the body up to the hill, but the smuggler was reluctant until Pera offered him a sack of coins that had been taken off the dead cyborg's person. Convinced to take the job, Solo mounted Pera's bantha and took his leave of the Verpine priest, but Pera continued to observe Solo and Chewbacca's progress as they headed toward the hill. When the pair came under attack from spacers who threw stones at them and pulled Solo from his mount, Pera emerged once more, spade in hand, and helped defend Solo and the Wookiee. A firefight broke out, and the spacers were eventually driven off, although Solo and Chewbacca had killed several of them.
Although the assailants had been scared off and the cyborg's right to be buried at Spacer's Hill had effectively been won, Pera noted that a stray shot had killed his bantha. The Verpine was querulous as to just how they would be able to carry the cyborg's body, but Chewbacca proved strong enough to carry the travois on his back, and Pera led both him and Solo up the hill. The cyborg was buried while, as part of the ceremony, the Verpine held his spade aloft and chirped an eerie chant while burning a substance in a chain censer. When the burial was complete, Pera directed the thirsty Solo towards Locru's Central Saloon, assuring him that since he had bested the spacers in a fair fight, he would be respected in the township. Two years later, Pera was interviewed by Voren Na'al, a historian working for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, who sought to discover just what had transpired when Solo had come to town. After Na'al made a sizable donation to the Sacred Way, the Verpine confirmed that Solo and Chewbacca had indeed visited Tun Aduban.
Personality and traits
- "Begone, defilers of the Sacred Way!"
Pera lived by the edicts of the Sacred Way and believed in the philosophy of "for every sin there is an equal and positive retribution," as per his religion's Holy-Book. The Verpine likened his task to an equally impossible endeavor—collecting all the pebbles from a beach. Although Pera accepted that he would not be able to convert many, he valued his rare initiates, feeling that they had genuine merit. Pera played upon the sense of desperation rampant throughout Tun Aduban and was occasionally able to find a platform for his teachings, gathering several converts. He gained the respect of the spacers and star-hoppers in Tun Aduban by maintaining Spacer's Hill. When addressed as "Pera," the Verpine responded with "Fi," the High Galactic for child. Although he would defend himself in combat, Pera did not wish any permanent harm to befall his attackers and was of the opinion that violence only ever spawned more violence. He believed that cyborgs, despite being part droid, still had a soul within their Human part.
Behind the scenes
The character of "Pera" made his first, and to date only appearance, in Star Wars 7: New Planets, New Perils (1978), one of the first pieces of Expanded Universe fiction published. Similarly, Pera was, along with Crimson Jack and Jolli from the same issue, one of the first Expanded Universe characters created. His species was later retroactively identified as Verpine in the article "The Starhoppers of Aduba-3" (2001), published in Star Wars Gamer 4. The identification was made in spite of the fact that Verpines have been established as hermaphroditic in Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races (1989), while "Pera" is identified as a male in New Planets, New Perils.
- Star Wars (1977) 7 (First appearance)