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She and Han served under Lady Proxima in her White Worms organization for years until Han presented the both of them with the chance to leave Corellia. During their escape, Qi'ra wound up being captured by the White Worms, while Han was forced to flee Corellia on his own by joining the Galactic Empire.
Sometime later, Qi'ra was rescued from Lady Proxima's service by Dryden Vos, leader of the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate. Under Vos' tutelage, Qi'ra became a skilled soldier and eventually became Vos' personal lieutenant. In 10 BBY, she would reunite with Han Solo after he had defected from the Empire and joined the Crimson Dawn alongside the Wookiee, Chewbacca. Having gotten mixed up with working alongside a man named Tobias Beckett, Qi'ra was forced to watch over Han's group under Vos' orders and aided them in stealing a large amount of coaxium from the Pyke Syndicate on Kessel.
Following a brief skirmish, Qi'ra and the rest of the group were attacked by the Galactic Empire while traveling through the Kessel Run, during which, Han managed to assume control of the Millennium Falcon and use it to complete the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. Having escaped the Empire, Qi'ra and the others traveled to Savareen, where the group was encounter by a swoop group known as the Cloud-Riders, who claimed that they needed the coaxium to start their own rebellion against the criminal syndicates. This resulted in a series of betrayals and ambushes that ended with Han and Qi'ra fighting one another aboard Dryden Vos' personal yacht, aboard which, Qi'ra managed to murder her superior.
With Dryden dead, Qi'ra claimed that she would join Han in his smuggling career, but upon leaving the yacht, Qi'ra would contact the true leader of the Crimson Dawn, Maul, whom she informed of the current situation. Maul informed Qi'ra to travel to Dathomir, where he wished to speak about their new partnership.