Tay Vanis

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"He was…a very great trouble to the Empire, many times."

Tay Vanis was an Alliance Intelligence agent who operated during the Galactic Civil War under the codename Tiree. Based aboard the modified freighter Home under General Lens Reekeene in the early stages of the war, Vanis sparred with the Imperial Security Bureau agent Mar Barezz, who repeatedly attempted to capture the elusive "Tiree." Though he had already participated in the maximum number of missions before mandatory retirement, Vanis continued to serve the Alliance, albeit "off the record." He was instrumental in the recruitment of many future members of the Alliance around the time of the Battle of Yavin.

Despite his service record, Vanis would later go absent without leave pursuing family matters, prompting the Alliance to launch no less than two search and rescue missions. Vanis was contacted by his sister, Tyerle, from Questal, whose husband had been brutalized by Moff Bandor. Investigating the incident, Vanis was captured by Bandor and subjected to the power of the hurlothrumbic generator. He was later rescued by a team of Rebels, but would once again go missing in 3 ABY. In his native Iskalon system, the Empire was preparing some unknown superweapon, and Vanis intended to discover its purpose. Sowing seeds of rebellion on the worlds of Gamandar, Iskalon and his homeworld Telfrey, Vanis' actions soon led the Iskalonian system to suffer swift reprisals from Darth Vader.

His family died in the Telfrey Holocaust, but Vanis was given little time to mourn, as he was soon given a set of datatapes by Bothan spies, containing information relevant to the unknown superweapon. Although he sent his ally Yom Argo to the Alliance requesting aid, possession of the tapes brought Vanis firmly within the sights of Lord Vader, who captured and brutally tortured Vanis. Prior to his capture and torture, however, he had transferred the tapes to the care of his droid, LE-914, in the hopes that members of the Alliance would come to retrieve them. Sure enough, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa came to the rescue, but it was too late. Vanis, now a vegetable of a man, had been kept alive by Vader as punishment, and LE-914, understanding her master's plight, self-destructed, killing Vanis in the process.


Battles with BarezzEdit

"Consider our rendezvous scratched, Deo. Don't know how the Imperials got here before us!"
―Tay Vanis[src]

During the Imperial Period, Vanis served the Alliance to Restore the Republic under the codename of "Tiree,"[4] with his faithful droid, R2-D0. He served aboard the modified freighter Home, under General Lens Reekeene,[3] and worked as an operative for Alliance Intelligence.[5] With a multitude of successful espionage missions carried out against the Galactic Empire, his actions were considered so damaging that the Imperial Security Bureau dispatched one of their agents, Mar Barezz, to stop him.[3] The cat-and-mouse nature of Barezz's hunt for "Tiree" became legendary throughout the intelligence community.[6] Vanis was nearly outmaneuvered by Barezz on his twentieth mission, however. Sent to rendezvous with a group of people hoping to join the Alliance, Vanis' T-65 X-wing starfighter was set upon by the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Aggressor.[3]


Tay Vanis, in his X-wing, evades the fire of the Aggressor.

The Aggressor gunned down the shuttle carrying the six Rebel hopefuls, leaving Vanis with little choice but to escape. He was almost downed by the Aggressor, but was able to make the jump to hyperspace in time and reach Home. Once there, Vanis reported to General Lens Reekeene and her advisors, Mikka Reekeene, Lieutenant Am Serro and Santhou Lazith'chika. During the debriefing, General Reekeene suspected that one of the recruits may have been a planted Imperial agent, and that her operation might have been compromised. However, Serro pointed out that the Imperials likely had more important information to divulge than the location of a recruitment rendezvous, if they truly could. Hoping to make up for the loss, Vanis put forward four candidates for recruitment: Raleigh Dawn, Raal Yorta, bounty hunter Sammie Staable and Smileredon-Verdont.[3]

Reekeene approved of the candidates, but pointed out that Vanis had now completed twenty missions, the limit before mandatory retirement. To Vanis' relief, she decided to leave his new mission "off the record." His candidates were all on Ord Mantell, making arranging a rendezvous easier. He contacted Staable directly, as the bounty hunter was acting as a representative for Yorta and Smileredon-Verdont. In the case of Dawn, he contacted Skivvers, a Ho'Din slicer who was economic with namedropping, and arranged a meeting. Dawn met with Vanis, who provided her with instructions to procure a ship and a datapad containing coordinates for the rendezvous point.[3]


A wounded Vanis is discovered by Sammie Staable.

The coordinates led to an abandoned Clan Alya Bothan relay station above Bothawui, which would receive transmissions from R2-D0 leading the recruits to Mesa 291 on the planet surface. When they did arrive, however, they had a modest Imperial force in tow, led by Barezz.[7] Vanis attempted to lead the Imperials away from his new recruits in his X-wing, and led several agents away from Mesa 291. On his return to the hangar, however, an AT-AT shot him down,[8] and without the aid of R2-D0,[7] he was forced to crash land.[8] Unfortunately for the Rebels, he crash landed into the shuttle that was supposed to take his recruits back to the Home. In addition to that, he was gravely wounded, and was forced to wait until the recruits reached him. The group made it out of Mesa 291 in a pair of spare BTL Y-wing starfighters, and since Yorta had been able to eliminate the Imperials with a thermal detonator, they made their escape with a minimum of fuss.[7][9]

Detainment on QuestalEdit

"When he didn't come back, I panicked and did the only thing I could think of. I called on my brother Tiree."

Vanis was present on Yavin 4 during the successful attack run on the Death Star. There, he met the Heroes of Yavin, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo. He would later speak very highly of the trio to those he met.[1]

Following the Battle of Yavin, Vanis traveled to the Imperial world of Questal without authorization from Alliance High Command. He had received a communication from his sister, Tyerle, whose husband Rogan had attempted to start up a Rebel cell on Questal. Rogan had been discovered and brought before the infamous Moff Bandor, who threw him in the Game Chambers, an elaborate labyrinth where victims were hunted by other captives, as well as Bandor himself. After being tortured into a state of insanity by Bandor, Rogan was thrown out onto the streets of Questal's capital, Gralleenya, before being recovered by Tyerle.[10]

Conferring with his sister, Vanis deduced that there was something in Bandor's palace that had the ability to turn sane men into simple lunatics. He therefore put it upon himself to investigate the machinations of Bandor. He made contact with Questal's Rebel cell and started asking questions around Gralleenya about Bandor's palace. After questioning Tan Shilley of the cantina Shilley's, Vanis made his way to the mansion of Turf Boss Mosh Pelkan. However, when he reached the mansion, Ref Mawber, a spy for Bandor and an acquaintance of Mar Barezz, discovered his presence. Mawber alerted the Imperial palace, and when Vanis finally decided to break in, he was met with a squad of troopers and thrown into prison.[10]

Task Force on Alliance Security2

Vanis (center) with fellow Intelligence operatives Deeve, Bakki Sourthol, Anson Blazer, and Tura Raftican, as well as a local street merchant.

Vanis was subsequently thrown into the Bandor's Game Chambers and was relentlessly hunted by the Moff. While being hunted, he discovered what Bandor used on Rogan: a hurlothrumbic generator, which induced fear into the minds of those affected by it. The device had turned Rogan into a babbling mess, and though he tried to stop it, Vanis too fell prey to its power. Left unconscious and starving in the generator chamber, he was eventually rescued by a band of Rebels, who were able to deactivate it and defeat Bandor. Without the oppression of the sadistic Moff, and with the planet's natural resources nearly depleted, the Empire chose to abandon Questal altogether. Vanis, free from the generator's power, recovered completely.[10] After the Questal incident, Vanis operated in the Arkanis and Tharin sectors, collecting substantial amounts of intelligence on the Empire.[5]

Vanis nearly ran afoul of the Imperial authorities again in the Lorn system, where he was relentlessly pursued by Moff Murquan. Thanks to Intel's Sandwind Team on Tatooine, Vanis was quickly redirected to a safe house on Vuzsa, allowing him to evade capture. Vanis would later send a report to Intel commending the members of Sandwind Team, who were now in jeopardy due to the rampaging of the so-called "Jundland Banshee," a Tusken Raider with a deep hatred of Humans. Vanis recommended that aid be sent to prevent the destruction of a vital Alliance installment.[5]

Tandell intelligenceEdit

Shortly after the subjugation of Firro by the Empire, Vanis traveled there masquerading as an aide of the new Imperial governor, Cuvir. From Firro, he reported back to the Alliance on the Imperial Navy's movements in the Tandell system. One night, during his investigations, he was discovered by Cuvir, who attempted to arrest him. Left with no alternative but to shoot his assailant, Vanis was caught red-handed by 2-1B, Cuvir's personal physician droid. As 2-1B attempted to revive Cuvir in vain, Vanis asked if he could trust the droid to keep the unintended murder a secret. 2-1B believed that Vanis truly had meant Cuvir no harm and decided to join the Alliance, serving at his new friend's side on several missions. 2-1B would later go into service as chief of surgery at the Alliance's Hoth facility, Echo Base.[11]



Vanis and Yom Argo, circa 3 ABY.

"He was bereaved…it made him happy to have a new family to gather around him…"

In 3 ABY, following the Battle of Hoth, Vanis acquired LE-914, who would become his closest companion. LE-914 accompanied Vanis on dozens of missions against the Empire, while the agent constantly modified the droid. Vanis installed blaster-resistant armor plating, large, hidden compartments, and the ability for LE-194 to self-destruct, using a proton bomb he had nested in the unit.[12]

Later that year, Vanis traveled to the Imperial-held Iskalon system on a mission with fellow agent Yom Argo. Both natives of the system, they had heard from their families that the Imperials had heightened their presence. There were also rumors of some sort of superweapon under construction in the area. The pair began sowing seeds of rebellion in the system, hoping that its inhabitants would join the Alliance.[1] When Lord Darth Vader, who was in charge of the Imperial presence in the system, realized what was going on, he reacted by subjugating the world of Gamandar, imprisoning the inhabitants, cutting away the native foliage, and erecting a new fortress to serve as an Imperial center of operations.[13] The natives of Telfrey, however, rebelled outright, and so their punishment from Vader was far worse. The Empire burned the planet's surface to a husk, along with anyone on it.[1]

Vanis' family was among those lost in the Telfrey Holocaust. Distraught, he was comforted by Mone and Mone's wife Kendle, natives of Iskalon. He spent much time on the water world Iskalon following the devastating attack, exploring the grottoes and the vast ocean that held them, while residing in the city of Pavillion. Recording all his intelligence of the Imperial activities in the system into LE-914, Vanis and Argo set off on a mission to the newly built Imperial fortress on Gamandar.[1]

The Bothan connectionEdit

"I know Yom will bring you as quickly as he can, but I hope you hurry. Darth Vader is close behind me, and I'm almost out of time…"
―Tay Vanis[src]

Shortly afterwards, Vanis and Argo were smuggled tapes by Bothan spies pertaining to a new Imperial superweapon. Picking up the tapes in the Bothawui system, Vanis, who understood that the tapes were of great importance, decided to flee from the inevitable Imperial pursuit, while Argo would return to the Rebel fleet for aid. With Vader hot on his heels, Vanis left a lead behind in a suite on Kabray Station hoping that Rebel agents would find it.[14] Admiral Griggor Tower, commander of the Gamandar garrison, attempted to launch a search, but Vanis had long departed the Iskalonian system.[1]

Vanis was far more concerned by the threat of Vader, and so he headed for Dennaskar under the pretense of being a trader. Crashing in the forest of the world, he left behind another message for Rebel eyes only and fled into the woods, awaiting rescue. He left the data tapes with LE-914, with explicit orders to have them destroyed within two days if he was not heard from. Soon enough, however, Vader tracked Vanis down and captured him, holding him in a nearby castle that served as the Imperial center of command on the planet.[2]


"Do you think Darth Vader left him alive…as a kindness?"

The Dark Lord of the Sith brutally tortured Vanis, effectively making a vegetable of the man when he was through. Vader considered leaving him alive to be far more effective punishment than granting the man the release of death. Eventually, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and C-3PO, who had been tracking Vanis for several weeks, found him in his cell, a shell of a man. Before they could rescue him, however, LE-914 entered the room, relinquishing the data tapes to the Rebels.[2]


Tay Vanis, effectively destroyed by Darth Vader.

Although she had been ordered to destroy them, LE-914 overrode the command, vehemently believing that someone would come to collect them. She then explained to the would-be rescuers that Vanis could not live in his current state, and that the only thing left for him was death. She cradled her master momentarily before self destructing, killing Vanis in the process. Before leaving, the Rebels destroyed the castle as a monument to LE-914 and, as Vader had referred to him, "The Great Tay Vanis."[2]

The data tapes contained vital information pertaining to the Empire's new Death Star II superweapon. Though Luke Skywalker and Koth Melan had already retrieved a set of the plans from the Imperial freighter Suprosa, the Alliance sought confirmation and received it in the tapes that cost Vanis his life. With that data, the Alliance would destroy the superweapon battlestation at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY.[15]

Personality and traitsEdit

Joining the Alliance on a matter of principle, Vanis earned the ire of his sister when he decided to abandon his family for the Rebel cause.[10] His elusiveness made him a figure of infamy amongst the Imperial Intelligence and Imperial Security Bureau community,[6] and would earn him the enmity of several influential figures.[13][3] By the end of his career, Vanis had even earned both the ire and respect of Lord Darth Vader.[2] Though the Empire managed to capture him on several occasions, Vanis had, by the time of his death, cost them a substantial amount of time and resources.[13][10]


Vanis is cradled by his droid, LE-914.

Despite the fact that he turned his back on his family at an early age,[10] Vanis came to their aid on several occasions, though he would inadvertently cost them their lives. His attempts to start rebellious movements in the Iskalonian system forced the Empire to respond with several acts of genocide,[13] resulting in Iskalon itself shutting off all diplomacy with other worlds.[16]

Vanis also developed attachments to droids, particularly R2-D0 and LE-914. Both of his droids would come to understand his mode of operation, and LE-914 would even come to fully respect her master.[2][7] Vanis also liberated 2-1B from Imperial servitude, simply because the droid found he could trust the Rebel agent.[11]

Behind the scenesEdit

The character of Tay Vanis was created by Mary Jo Duffy and was the central focus of an arc in Marvel Comics' Star Wars series. First mentioned in Star Wars 74: The Iskalon Effect, the protagonists of the series gradually found out more and more about Vanis until Star Wars 80: Ellie, where Vanis was revealed to be alive but mentally destroyed. To conclude the arc, Vanis was killed by his droid.

In 1987, over three years after the publication of Ellie, West End Games published the first edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, and in doing so introduced a character with the codename of "Tiree." The character would be alluded to in several other sourcebooks and would feature as a character for the protagonists to hunt down in The Game Chambers of Questal. While they were both Alliance agents with a sense of duty to their families, there was no connection between the two characters, though some, like Pablo Hidalgo, speculated that they might be retroactively consolidated.[17]

In 2000, Rich Handley and Joseph Bongiorno made the connection canon in the article The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life: The Marvel Series in Star Wars Gamer 1 by briefly mentioning that Vanis' codename was "Tiree." Vanis would later become a supporting character in Hidalgo's Rookies: Rendezvous, the sequel to which was an adaptation of the original scenario from Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game where "Tiree" had made his debut. Another character called Tiree appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope as a Y-wing pilot during the Death Star attack run, but is unrelated to Vanis. In the article Who's Who in Echo Base, an entry on 2-1B incorrectly identifies the droid's rescuer as the Tiree from A New Hope, instead of Vanis.[18]



Notes and referencesEdit

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