- "Um, I'm not sure that I'm suited to accompany the exploration team. I'm a scientist and not very useful in dangerous situations."
- ―Varel DeVay to Kaiya Adrimetrum
Varel DeVay was a Human female xenobiologist from the Core. Growing up in a pampered environment, DeVay enjoyed the finest education, and worked for several research companies throughout the galaxy. Offered a new job on the planet Kal'Shebbol, sector capital of the Kathol sector, she was forced into working on biological weapons for the Imperial warlord Moff Kentor Sarne. Rescued from her service to him when the New Republic liberated the planet in 8 ABY, DeVay signed on as a member of the crew of the CR90 corvette FarStar, which had been charged with tracking down the rogue Moff after he fled from Kal'Shebbol during the battle. DeVay was assigned to duties in the ship's hydroponics bay, and was later a member of the landing party to the planet Binaros. The party inadvertently brought back the spores of a feeder plant from the surface, and as it grew, the plant began to cause malfunctions within the ship's systems. DeVay was attacked by the plant's mobile feeders, and was instrumental in developing a countermeasure that neutralized the threat.
Varel DeVay grew up on a small planet in the Core, and led a privileged life. She attended the best universities, and received an excellent education which opened up several career choices for her. DeVay was fascinated by the myriad alien species in the galaxy, and this interest led her to choose the field of xenobiology as her intended career. Graduating from her studies in 3 ABY, DeVay worked for several research corporations, switching jobs often to climb the corporate ladder and gain a measure of financial security. In the space of five years, she had worked in four jobs on three separate worlds.
In 8 ABY, DeVay was offered a position with a small corporation on the planet Kal'Shebbol, the sector capital of the Kathol sector in the Outer Rim Territories, at twice her current salary. Inside a month, DeVay had left her existing position and reported for work. Upon arrival, she found that the company did not exist. Moff Kentor Sarne, the Imperial warlord who ruled the planet, had plotted to lure scientists to his domain by creating false companies that promised employment to workers; once on Kal'Shebbol, they were subject to the planet's strict immigration controls imposed by Sarne and were forbidden to leave. DeVay had fallen for Sarne's ruse, and was essentially drafted into Sarne's forces where she was forced to work on biological weapons against her will.
Service with the FarStar
DeVay was freed from her forced servitude when the New Republic liberated the planet in 8 ABY. She managed to contact her family, and her father begged her to return home to them. DeVay was too proud, though, and could not admit that her father was right about her situation, so she refused. Having learned of the New Republic CR90 corvette FarStar's mission, she signed on as a member of the crew; the New Republic military could not staff the vessel due to manpower shortages, so they recruited from the population of Kal'Shebbol. The ship was going deep into the Kathol sector to track down Moff Sarne, who had fled the planet with his forces when the New Republic had attacked. DeVay was assigned to oversee the hydroponics bay of the ship and was placed in charge of the vessel's three J9 worker drones. DeVay hated droids and constantly reviewed their work, making sure it was up to her own exacting standards. She constantly put in requests to the command crew for more biological beings to assist her.
Several weeks after launching from Kal'Shebbol, the FarStar crossed the Marcol Void, an expanse of space absent of any planetary systems. After a long journey, the ship came across the planet Binaros. Initial sensor scans and analysis from the laboratory staff convinced Captain Kaiya Adrimetrum that the planet offered a good source of fresh foodstuffs and water. She ordered a reconnaissance party to the surface to take a closer look and ordered DeVay to accompany them. DeVay protested at her inclusion in the team, claiming that she would be of little use in any dangerous situations they may encounter. Adrimetrum countered this by telling her that she could identify potential food on the ground rather than waste time and resources shuttling samples back to the ship only to discover they were useless. She also advised DeVay to check out a blaster from the armory just in case.
Shuttled down to the surface of Binaros aboard Brophar Tofarain's ship, the Muvon, DeVay was ordered by the mission leader, First Officer Gorak Khzam, to begin collecting and analyzing vegetation and plants for edible food. DeVay set up a portable science station in the landing party's main camp area, and left other members of the party to collect samples. They brought their findings back to DeVay, and she analyzed them with her equipment to determine their suitability. During the expedition, the Defel scout Kl'aal accidentally picked up the spores of the native feeder plant, and unknowingly took them back to the FarStar when the landing party returned to the ship. The spores detached themselves from Kl'aal and settled in the isolated areas of the corvette. Although most of the spores died off, some managed to settle, finding the ship both warm and rich in the metallic nutrients they needed. Taking root in the forward lower hold, the spores began their life-cycle, spawning into the mother plant. In turn, the mother plant produced its feeders to go forth and gather the required nutrients, food and water it needed.
The actions of the feeders started to cause puzzling malfunctions throughout the ship, and they also siphoned seventy-five liters of water from the hydroponics lab's tank that fed the irrigation system. DeVay noticed the theft, and reported it to the command staff. To her dismay, Khzam did not take the theft seriously, but DeVay knew that she needed all the water available to keep the hydroponics bay operating at maximum efficiency. In the hold, the mother plant had entered a stage of its life-cycle where it required nitrogen from the blood of living animals, and it directed its feeders to obtain the required element. Shortly after reporting the theft, DeVay was attacked by the feeders in the hydroponics bay. She managed to contact the command staff and inform them that she was under attack. Cornered by the creatures, she managed to keep them at bay with a vibrospade until Khzam—who had ordered all available personnel to respond to the distress call—arrived. The crew members managed to drive the feeders off, and followed them back to where the mother plant had taken root. DeVay observed the mother plant, and realized that she could concoct a gaseous poison that would kill the plant. The poison took several hours to create, but it was successful in neutralizing the threat that the plant presented.
DeVay continued to serve on the FarStar during its voyage through the Kathol sector, where her knowledge of xenobiology proved useful to the mission on several occasions. She attempted to improve the corvette's methods for food preservation, and worked hard analyzing plant samples. During one experiment, DeVay fell prey to the hallucinations that were a common side-effect of traveling though the Kathol Rift—a volatile are of dense gas clouds and lightstorms—and believed that the sample she was working on had sprouted tentacles and was attacking her, crushing the breath out of her. After a moment, the hallucination faded, and DeVay found herself unharmed in the lab with the plant sample motionless on the sensor equipment. After several months, the FarStar tracked Sarne to the Kathol system, and succeeded in ending the threat he posed to the region.
Personality and traits
Varel DeVay stood 1.8 meters tall, and both her eyes and hair were brown. Ambitious and driven, DeVay was intent on climbing the corporate ladder and achieving financial security, an obsession that led her to change jobs frequently; it also led her to temporarily lose her freedom. Although proud and stubborn, DeVay was considered meek by some who knew her, and she readily admitted that she had no desire to be involved in potentially dangerous situations. However, when the need arose and her safety was threatened by feeder plants on the FarStar, DeVay was able to rise above her fear and fight back to save her life.
A xenobiologist, DeVay had extensive knowledge of alien species and languages, and was able to determine the value of natural resources. She had expertise surviving in forests, and could ride animals. She could operate sensor equipment, program and repair computers, and dispense first aid. A perfectionist, she insisted that the work of the droids assigned to the hydroponics bay alongside her matched up to her demanding standards. DeVay hated droids and disliked having to work alongside them on the FarStar. She constantly requested more biological assistance in her department, but none was available. To assist her in her work, she generally carried datapads containing relevant information on plants and animals, a comlink, a glowrod, a recording rod, a hand microscope and a hand vibro-hoe.
Behind the scenes
Varel DeVay was created for the West End Games RPG adventure Plant Food, written by Chris Doyle, which was featured in the The Kathol Outback, which was a supplement for The DarkStryder Campaign. She appeared as one of the main characters in the adventure, but did not appear again in any of the subsequent adventures. A brief mention of the character was made in the crew notes in The Kathol Rift, the second supplement for The DarkStryder Campaign, where it was noted that the Gamemaster and the players had the freedom to develop the character as they saw fit.