Author's Note: The old eu and the new common combined. The timeline for this is off because Aphra and Jix were supposed to be Vader's agent at the same time, but some things need to be changed in order for them to fit together
Takes place in between the chapters of contracting actions. Can absolutely be read alone
It was just a regular day for Aphra, or about as average a day can get when someone was a secret agent of Darth Vader, when she heard the man himself slip on his own words.
Triple-Zero had managed to get himself into minor trouble— that troubled being taking a blaster shot to the arm. It wasn't anything Aphra couldn't fix, and in the end it didn't ruin the mission by any means. The droid himself simply appeared to be quite fussy over the whole thing for someone who couldn't even feel the injury.
"Mistress, I do insist you you have an unobstructed view while working on me." The silver plated droid said to her. "It is quite delicate work."
Eventually Aphra did comply, but only to stop his complaining. She pulled the hair that had been occasionally getting into her face into a low ponytail at the back of her head and continued on her work.
The protocol droid did have such delicate work in him. Poisons and drugs were hidden neatly away behind the metal plating of his arm— or what had once been the plating of his arm— because the whole thing was scored and charred as of now, the blaster hit had broken a few vials of what Aphra assumed was poison, and fried several wires on top of the general damage it did. Right now Triple-Zero couldn't move anything below the elbow.
Of course it wasn't something that was un-fixable. Not to Aphra anyways.
About halfway through making it so at the very least the droid would be able to move the arm, Aphra heard the telltale sound of Vader's approach. That mechanical breathing and heavy footsteps was hard to miss.
Aphra looked up from the work she was doing to see what he wanted— if he even wanted anything at all.
He could be passing by this compartment of her ship to do whatever it was Darth Vader did while they traveled in hyperspace.
Vader must have wanted something from her, because he did stop in the room she was working in.
"Jix—" Vader began to say, light in tone for him— then for some unknown reason stopped for a moment. Then said with more harshness than what was necessary. "Doctor Aphra."
"Boss?" Aphra questioned at the mention of her name along with some unformed sentence.
Darth Vader stood there motionless in silence— save for his breathing— staring at her for what was far longer than comfortable.
"Why is your hair up?" He finally asked.
"Cause it was in the way?"
That was a strange question.
Vader had never been bothered by her lack of uniform before. In fact she was pretty sure people with long hair in the Empire were supposed to have their hair up. Not that she exactly cared for imperial protocol.
"Repair Triple-Zero's arm. He will be needed for later." Vader said, moving on from whatever he had been about to say previously.
But she was already doing that— as he could clearly see.
"Sure thing boss."
Weird. Aphra thought, then thought nothing more about it. There were plenty of other strange mysterious things Vader did to think about instead.
It was not until more moments like this that Aphra saw it as something significant.
Darth Vader looked scuffed.
That was about as bad as Aphra ever seen him look as a whole, despite all the trouble she's seen him get in.
Although she figured taking a tumble one hundred feet into a rocky ravine tended to do that to people. Lesser people would be dead. Then again lesser people didn't tend to wear over thirty pounds of armor and a padded leather bodysuit.
"You good there boss? Looking kinda rough over there." Aphra asked him, less of genuine concern and more of curiosity.
It would not be the first time Aphra had ever taken a look at an injury of his— although this time she assumed it would be much less awkward, and would have a few less revelations she wished she could un-know.
"I am fine." He replied.
"Sure, guess all those hits you took were just surface deep then."
"Do not play that game with me Jixton. If you want—" Vader stopped his sentence midway. "... If you want to get to know me better perhaps you should do your job at an efficient rate."
"Course boss." She replied— and very much did not miss how the tone of his sentence changed completely from something more akin to teasing to something more stern as soon as he realized who he was really talking to.
She was almost jealous of whoever this Jixton was if he could get that tone from Vader after provoking him about his armor. Almost— Aphra has had her fair share of interesting times— for lack of a better word— with Vader for more than one lifetime.
What was Vader going to originally say? She wondered. Who exactly was Jixton?
Of course Aphra was not going to point out he had called her by the wrong name. She valued her life, even if at times she was a bit too loud mouthed and careless near him. She was pretty sure pointing out his mistake of words would get her hurt somehow— or at the very least test his very limited patience he was already running thin on with her.
Whoever it was had probably just been another imperial, she figured.
On occasion people just got confused— she supposed that it could happen to Vader too— even if it was weird to think of someone like him doing that. It however would not be the first time she's seen something real about him— Something that was more than that black armor and red saber.
Sometimes, Aphra when a little bit too far with her words.
Most of the time she knew she was testing his patience— how many borderline insulting informalities he would allow, and how her status as his personal secret agent with a bit of a rebellious task gave her a lot more wiggle room for getting away with unprecedented behavior in his presence than most people were afforded.
Making passes as a Jedi— having a collection of illegal information and rebel propaganda, calling him Boss instead of any actual title he held and pretending she did not know what his titles were— apparently those were all things she was allowed to get away with without consequence.
Apparently making comments about Darth Vader himself was not allowed, as she very quickly found out.
It was not anything too bad, at least in Aphra's opinion it wasn't that bad.
"Attend to me." Vader had said storming through the entrance to her ship without so much as a greeting— not that he ever bothered to give her a greeting more than simply stating her title and name.
She had absolutely no idea what he wanted from her this time. But certainly he looked angry, even if she couldn't see what he looked like.
"Attend you?" Aphra questioned his particular choice of words. "I didn't think you hired me for that kind of work boss."
In a fraction of a second Aphra felt her throat close in on her, and her feet lift from the floor. As it turned out, floating was a lot less fun then she imagined it would be.
Vader had not even bothered to turn around to kill her.
Oh kriff no. Aphra thought. The plan wasn't for her to die this way. She was supposed to be thrown out an airlock, as she so often said she did not want— not this— there was no clever way out of the mysterious grip of the force that was quite literally slowly choking the life out of her moment by moment.
"Jixton you have—" Vader began to say and turned to face her. Then she was dropped to the ground in an instant—- her legs crumpling under her as she came into contact with the floor— and he lowered his hand that had been raised in a clenched first. "... been getting on my nerves recently. See to it that you… keep your mouth in check."
That name again. Aphra thought gasping at the air— feeling lucky to even be alive.
"Right boss— better— better than being thrown out an airlock, I guess." She said, her throat felt hoarse and sore— sounded like it too.
Apparently this Jixton had it worse than she did.
Darth Vader never force choked her for all he threatened her. As soon as he realized she was not Jixton he had dropped her. Not that someone could exactly un-force choke someone, but it made her feel something not quite definable that the force choke was not intended for her.
That mistake of names on his part had been a bit interesting before, now it was dangerous.
First time was a mistake, the second time was a coincidence— a third time?
Aphra would have to watch herself, somehow. She had no idea what was triggering this mistaken identity situation to begin with.
Apparently that Jixton has gotten quite the mixed reaction from Vader as opposed to usual vague anger she always had directed at her. She was deeply interested in this Jixton now in a mix of self preservation and genuine curiosity.
"I have new information for you." Vader said. "Important information pertaining to your main objective."
Author's Note: When Aphra was first introduced I immediately saw her as a new jixton, but like, written better