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Monday, February 15, 2010

KOTOR Countdown #3: Just-Asked Questions, Part Four

Continuing a sequence of short pieces on the Knights of the Old Republic comics series, which ends Wednesday with #50, I continue to answer reader questions about the entire series. Getting close to the end now...

Beccatoria asks: What was Camper's business with the Crucible? I presume he was just doing some run for Adascorp who needed slaves for something or other and he saw the chance to bolt, but I could be wrong; was there every intended to be more to it?

Beccatoria is a poster on TheForce.net who this past weekend has posted issue-by-issue thoughts from her read-through of the entire KOTOR series, interspersed with readings of my own production notes pages. I rarely read reviews when comics come out, but the post has been interesting reading (and it's jogged my own memory about a few things).

Camper fled Adascorp before Jarael was born, so his encounter with the Crucible would have come later, when he was a free-lance fix-it man and inventor-for-hire. We can see how the inventor of the Camper Special might come in handy to a group that likewise wants to remain out of sight. Chantique tells us in #46 that Jarael stowed away with Camper on what was presumably his last encounter with the Crucible; on this one score, we can take her at her word.

As untold stories go, this moment would have been fun to depict, but there really wasn't a place for it.

Jediphile asks: You initially had the Jedi Order outlaw all of Revan's followers, which I felt was very consistent with the original game's plot. But as late as #42, the Council is supporting Revan's crusade. You explained the reasons for why you did this on Dark Horse's Star Wars boards, but seeing as how the series ends eight issues later without touching much on this, doesn't that leave the era with a plot hole?

The answer is in #49, and Captain Telettoh's speech, which puts everything in a different light. Approaching the era, there were a number of matters that needed to be reconciled, based on not just what we saw in the games, but what was in the New Essential Chronology, which said that "after the Cathar incident, the Jedi joined with the Republic fleet in head-to-head confrontations against Mandalore's armies, but the ineffectual Jedi Council called for caution, hobbling the war effort."

The first issue, when Cathar happened, was dealt with in #42 — since Juhani's age made it impossible for the Cathar massacre to have happened in the "present," we came up with a way for it to have happened in the past and been a motivating factor for the Jedi.

The second matter was more nuanced. After what happened with Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma, it was difficult to see the Republic agreeing to allow any Jedi unauthorized access to its military might without the approval of the Council, no matter how bad things had gotten with the Mandalorians. They wouldn't know good Jedi from potentially bad. But just as clearly, the crusaders weren't getting to these battles in a Volkswagen bus, trailing behind the Navy. Something must have happened to change the landscape — and that something is described in Telettoh's speech, which is a more realistic description of events after Cathar than Malak and Ferroh gave.

So all accounts work, and the Republic Navy no longer needs to worry about giving the keys to a bad guy. (Er... until they do!)

Jinger asks: In the video game, Juhani says that Jedi rarely tread on Taris. Was the Jedi Tower constructed after she left Taris?

Ah, Juhani again. Vector suggests that the Covenant Jedi's small presence on Taris goes back at least for the duration of Xamar's search for the Muur Talisman. But the Holofeed in #0 also suggests that Jedi participation in policing is really only ramping up in 3964 — perhaps as the seers kick their students out of the Tower on assignments to get rid of them. This is seen as a rare and pleasing thing by the locals: Sowrs tells us that "if the number of Knights on Taris were to double overnight, it wouldn't trouble me in the least." Having Jedi around was surely one more reason they were excited about joining the Republic.

So regardless of when Juhani was there, the comics tell us it wasn't a Jedi large presence, but a growing one, which the locals were beginning to depend on. Just not all locals — it's hard to see how five Padawans were going to get to all parts of the planet. Taris is a huge place, saturated with corruption — if you're living on the other side of the planet from Highport, the Jedi are not going to be a part of everyone's lives yet.

Andrew asks: What information did Eejee Vamm get that prompted his murder?

Not giving away the name of the individuals in question, the blood sample Suprin was analyzing partially matched what Adascorp had in their own secret records for a certain historical figure. Vamm didn't know what it meant, but he knew it meant something — and would be of interest to his master. Eejee's fate was only way to keep that incredible secret a secret.

Nayayen asks: Is Swiftsure's different look in "Turnabout" simply Alan's different style or is it actually different from the others? 

It's a little of both. The Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide says that Swiftsure was the proof-of-concept model on which the other ships were based — but then it was refitted (including with the full new Vanjervalis package). And, presumably, it had to be refitted again after #32.

Taral-DLOS asks:  Between the issues, the Handbook, and the Campaign Guide, five of the six Inexpugnable-class tactical command ships have been named: Swiftsure, Courageous, Indefatigable, Reliance, and Tremendous. What is the sixth?

If it isn't named in the comics or reference work, it doesn't have a name yet.


Anonymous asks: Where does the name Demagol come from? Is it derived from the word "demagogue?"

That's a similar-sounding word, but I think I chose Demagol because it just sounded evil — as a contraction of "demon" and the real-life star system Algol, which always had a creepy sound to me.

But what really creeped me out is that I later learned that the star Algol is sometimes known as the "demon star!" I'd love to look clever and pretend that I knew that in advance, but maybe it's spookier to imagine the muses were whispering devilish things that day!

Last question round tomorrow. Not long now!

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