Part 46: Ebon Hawk: 50 Ways to Kill Your Jedi, Part II
"Observation: Well, master, I was not at Malachor V during your near-genocidal reaction to the Mandalorian threat, but I feel that I may have been constructed as a result of that."
"Care to explain?"
"Observation: I believe that Revan determined that mass slaughter on such a scale may no longer be needed to achieve his aims."
Well I'm never one to pass up the obvious joke.
Well, that turned out to be way creepier than I was going for. It looks like Jeff Goldblum from The Fly or something.
"Answer: Oh, please, master - even as a metaphor, that idea is repugnant. You are a gland-driven meatbag, while I am of superior droid construction."
"Clarification: I meant that I was built as a result of the need for a selective killing machine rather than a crude mass-slaughter war droid."
"Were you created on Malachor V?"
"Answer: No, master. I was constructed shortly after the beginning of the Jedi Civil War."
"What targets were you assigned?"
"Answer: Well, master, unless you were operating on my central control cluster, I would be somewhat hesitant to discuss my targets. But I suppose it could do no harm. During the Jedi Civil War, I was responsible for certain strategic targets. For some reason, Revan did not feel that the Republic presented much of a military threat."
That's interesting. The entire Jedi Civil War was basically Revan versus the Republic, yet she didn't consider the Republic a threat?
"Why did Revan consider the Republic not a threat?"
"Observation: It was not something discussed with much of the others, but I think Revan recognized that a single Jedi, both in the past and in the present, could turn the tide of a conflict. So my targets were frequently Jedi, or someone close to a Jedi that could result in their corruption or collapse. Revan often assigned me to kill leaders or supporters of certain Jedi so as to erode their will."
"Why was that important?"
"Observation: It is a curious thing to assassinate and wound someone's personality, to assassinate them psychologically, and it took me some time to reconcile the acts."
"So you're saying Revan intended to break the Jedi?"
"Observation: Master, that was the lesson of Malachor. Any Jedi involved in the systematic slaughter on such a scale cannot help but doubt and question themselves."
"Revan ordered us to kill Mandalorians at Malachor, not Jedi."
So here we come to the crux of the retcon job that Obsidian on the Revan character. In KOTOR 1, the war was waged flat out against the Mandalorians. Revan won, Mandalorians lost, period. Here, they discuss the notion that the war itself didn't even matter; that it was just ground zero in Revan's grand war of beliefs.
There's a moment in the first game, on the planet Kashyyyk, when a computer gives the player what amounted to an ethics quiz. One of the questions concerned a dogmatically peaceful planet about to be attacked by an invading force. You, as the leader of the planet, have been given warning about the impeding strike; what do you do?
The 'correct' answer was to do nothing. The casualties and the destruction would have galvanized public support for a war, which would have allowed you the authority to retaliate and end the threat. It's a Winston Churchill moment, but it's also paralleled here in the reveal that Revan deliberately killed thousands of his own troops simply to sway hearts and minds to his cause.
If you read in between the lines here, it says a lot about the relationship between the Exile and Revan.
"You killed Jedi?"
"Answer: Yes, master. It wasn't always easy, and I had to adapt quickly to rapidly changing battle conditions. And they would often sever my limbs and my head from my torso, which was an inconvenience."
"It sounds like you killed a lot of them."
"Answer: Oh, yes, master. I hope none of them were friends of yours. But really, they had it coming. I do not know when the Jedi ceased to be adherents to their code, but many did not tread cautiously, and many were quite arrogant when facing a droid, as if we were somehow beneath them. It gave certain kills an added pleasure when being underestimated."
"You took pleasure in it?"
Well it's certainly true. Nobody seems to take the droids seriously except for Bao-Dur.
"How many did you kill?"
"Statement: I do not have the exact counts, master, since it is difficult to determine who was a Jedi and who was not - it seemed to be largely a matter of perspective. I did kill many soldiers who used techniques in combat that could make them be considered Jedi, although they called themselves Sith."
Yeah, we know quite a few people who sound like that.
"Answer: Master, when conventional weapons will not work, then one must resort to other means of assassination. When Jedi... or Sith... or whatever they call themselves, cannot be defeated with weapons, then use doubt."
"How would that work?"
"Evaluation: It sounds as if this Sith Lord is somehow able to keep fighting, no doubt by drawing on his connection to the Force to keep him alive even after suffering grievous harm. It may be whatever pain he experienced in the past was so great, that the technique he used to recover from it... and sustain himself... also gives him an incredibly high pain threshold."
As weird as it, talking to HK-47 actually reveals/spoils how to defeat almost every major 'boss' in the game. Here he gives a lot of insight into Darth Sion, for example.
"I know many Jedi and Sith have exhibited strange behavior in near-death situations. This may be another example of this."
"But to get back up after being that wounded?"
"Observation: It does seem unlikely, master, but I have observed that you - allies included - seem to be able to recover from the most grievous of injuries, and quickly as well."
Oh great, now we're getting sass from a rusty robot.
"If his strength comes from his connection to the Force, then you must undermine that connection, master."
"How would I do that?"
HK has dropped into his full-on Revan mouthpiece mode. This is almost the conversation between the Exile and Revan that never was. Based this conversation alone I think HK-47 should have had a higher Wisdom stat.
"Make him doubt himself, his beliefs, or his intentions. Such things disrupt connections to the Force - and death soon follows."
"How am I supposed to find that out?"
"Answer: Oh, master, I have no idea. That does present something of a problem. If you should encounter the target in the future, I would bait him into talking and see what you can draw from him that you can use against him."
Yes, to 'protect myself'. *cough*
"But if you are determined to do it yourself, then there are many techniques I would suggest."
Let's ignore for the moment that Jesus has two blasters in his hands.
"What weapons would you suggest?"
"Answer: Select grenades, sonic screamers, cluster rockets, and plasma charges. Mines are also effective, since many Jedi will run to meet you in hand to hand combat. Silly Jedi."
"Addendum: Gas attacks are effective if you can take the Jedi by surprise - inhalation is less effective than ones that work on skin contact, as some Jedi seem able to hold their breath for long periods of time."
"Cautionary: Still, don't rely on it, since Jedi can fight off the effects, it just distracts them, leaving them open to another avenue of attack."
"Any defenses you would suggest?"
"Recitation: Do not forget to activate any energy shields you possess. Lightsabers, while powerful, have trouble penetrating most military issue energy shields - provided they are energy shields and not those crude Mandalorian melee shields."
"What about countering Force powers?"
"Answer: Countering their other powers is more difficult."
"Confession: I do not fully understand their other abilities, but I do know that many of them require that the Jedi know that you are there, and can see you. Thus, sniping and using cover are always advantageous."
"What do you mean?"
"Answer: Kill their allies, or place them in jeopardy. Many Jedi will leave themselves exposed in order to protect another. That is why there is many less Jedi than there were a decade ago."
"Cautionary: Oh, no, master. In fact, that is the worst thing you can do."
"Extrapolation: There are many theorists who claim Jedi can see the future, and I do not know if that is true, but it seems impulsive acts are more common to succeed than planned incidents."
"Jedi, like sand-kivers, seem to sense trouble a few seconds before it happens. They are tricky little pests."
"Were you the only one killing Jedi?"
So I went and looked up sand-kiver, since I'd never heard of it, and to my surprise there was absolutely nothing on Google. Not even a 3 page Wookieepedia entry.
What is this world coming to??
"Strangely enough, Revan believed that meatbags that did not use or believe in the Force were especially important, since in many respects, they were more difficult for Jedi to detect. Revan had many of them trained to "hide their minds," as it were. Again, once these techniques were learned, the percentage of living Jedi began to decrease accordingly."
"Hide their minds? How?"
"Answer: Generally, this was done by broadcasting strong emotions while thinking about something else. It was a curious technique, but it seemed to be effective in blinding Jedi. Whether guilt, lust, fear - they act as mental interference, making finding the true intentions of the broadcasting meatbag difficult."
"I don't understand how that would work."
"Answer: Obviously, a Force Sensitive broadcasting such emotions puts themselves at risk of not using the Force "properly," since to use it seems to require an inner calm that most meatbags do not possess. As much as the Jedi could not use such a technique, the Sith Lords cannot use it for much the same reasons - such passions as guilt, lust, and fear are rarely strengths to the Sith code."
To the tune of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover".
Bought the last part I needed from some vendor on the street,
With a few repairs the rusty robot was complete,
And then he turned around and called me a bag of meat,
He was my newest droid ally.
He said his memories had been wiped down to the core,
Of his former master Revan, he confessed knew no more,
And all the diodes down his left side were feeling a little sore,
But he remembered fifty ways to kill a Jedi...
... fifty ways to kill a Jedi.
"Snipe'em in the back, Jack,
In the Makashi stance, Lance,
Mine the place to hell, Elle,
Bury them in debris.
They seem psychic, Rick,
So don't overplan, Stan,
If you wait too long, Shaun,
They'll sense immediately.
Strike down their allies, Sly,
Shoot the Padawan, Ron,
They'll rush to defend, Ben,
I will guarantee.
Just poison the air, Blair,
Toss a grenade, Nate,
But much preferably, Lee,
Please leave them to me."
The droid learned of the HK-50s hounding at our feet,
He got pissed and swore up and down that they were all dead meat,
He vowed he'd find their factory, and with a bag of Permacrete
Blow the whole thing to the sky.
I told him of a Scottish Sith Lord whom I could not hurt,
It seemed no matter how many Force powers I'd exert,
But the droid said Sith and Jedi were just two sleeves of one shirt,
And there were fifty ways to kill a Jedi...
... fifty ways to kill a Jedi.
"He'll heal himself, Ralph,
Use doubt to stop that, Matt,
Assassinate him, Jim,
He's the Lord of Pain, Shane,
But break down his will, Bill,
Just talk him to death, Jeff,
The Force will set him free."
Apologies to Paul Simon. And Kangaxx.
"Answer: The odds of me being forced to use such techniques against you has decreased, master. There are some more methods I could describe, if you wish."
"All right, go on."
"Statement: Overwhelming odds is also a good tactic, master. There are few Jedi that can long hold their ground against a hundred attackers all firing at once... or being turned on by their own troops. But the most effective weapon against Jedi seems to be the erosion of the spirit."
"What do you mean?"
"Answer: Revan claimed that psychological warfare against Jedi was important because much of their power comes from their state of mind, their connection to this religion called the "Force." Revan said that many Jedi have the capability to form connections to life around them, although few of them realized the extent to which this is possible."
This is quite important plotwise. There's been a lot of mention about Force bonds in this game; it's even one of the standard questions you can ask the Jedi Masters at the end of each planet. However, its relevance has been tangential to the story up to this point.
"I believe Revan termed it that "one would need to be a human being to develop such connections." It is something that the Jedi code could not teach. One simply knew it instinctively, or not."
"What are you talking about?"
In many ways, the game is centered around this revelation. The Exile is different, but we never really knew how different until now. The key is that he's able to form these Force connections - the ones that existed between a Master and Padawan - except on a large scale. With many, many people. And Revan knew it and exploited it.
"Observation: I think Revan pitied you, master. It was very insulting, if I may say so."
"It sounds like a Force bond."
"Clarification: Whatever it is called, master, it seems to be quite a vulnerability. Revan even admitted as such. When a Jedi, or any soldier, suffers doubt, it weakens them. With the Jedi, however, it is more pronounced, since they are extreme examples. That is why Revan felt that Malachor V was so important. It was intended to be a conversion tool."
"The emotional weight of war changed Jedi morale, power, and eventually, their allegiance. Conclusion: I believe the Mandalorian Wars were to beat the Mandalorians and also to allow Revan to build the foundation of his army."
"But I am surprised you have not already arrived at this conclusion."
Was this really what happened after Malachor V?
Did Jesus waltz halfway around the galaxy searching for existentialist answers from other Jedi Masters, only to find them from a rusty old droid?
Little known fact: this was also a popular pick-up line at Sith cantinas.
"I can't allow you to remain on this ship if you've killed Jedi."
More droid sass
"Observation: It seems to me that you have killed many more Jedi than I could ever hope to achieve. This was formerly something that generated respect, now I wonder from your tone if those deaths you caused were merely an accident. How disappointing."
"How can you respect death on such a scale?"
"Retort: Master, the hypocrisy of you meatbags never fails to cause a surge in my behavior core. Not only have you no doubt ended the lives of many recently, but in light of the event at Malachor V, you must recognize that death is necessary."
"I've never grown comfortable with killing - and never enjoyed it."
I think another thing I really enjoyed was that in KOTOR 1, since Revan built HK in the first place, there was more of a clear cut Master/Servant dynamic. HK-47 was more of a fawning character towards the end, idolizing his creator. It was completely hilarious, but still.
Here, he's just coming along with the Exile for the ride, so the relationship between these two is completely different. HK is more honest, and isn't afraid of giving the Exile shit about his self-denial and hypocrisy. It puts a fresh spin on what was essentially a one-note character.
"How can you justify the deaths of so many?"
"Answer: Oh, quite easily, master. If you had not slaughtered the Mandalorians at Malachor V, they would have destroyed you and everything you tried to protect."
"Statement: It is a fact that the targeted extermination of certain individuals will bring war to a close quickly and efficiently. Leaders unite - and when the leaders are removed, the unity they inspire erodes as well."
"It is not solely because of your skill in battle, but the fact that you could inspire others, convincing them to fight to the death in situations where other military leaders would be forced to retreat."
Oh this should be good.
Well. Malak tried to get the Exile killed?
We knew all along that Malak was a useless git, so this just confirms it.
To me, out of the entire wall of HK-47 dialogue we've been sitting through, this is the most subtle and the most jarring part. It's also a little esoteric, but bear with me.
"Observation: Master, this is purely speculation, but there is a certain strength in parading defeated leaders before their people."
The point here is that the Exile is a puppet. Everywhere he goes, he's being used in the machinations of someone else.
We already know the Kreia has been manipulating events from the start, and directing the Exile onto a course of her choosing. We know how the Jedi Masters used him as an example to others. Now we find out that Revan had manipulated him as fully as anyone else. She used him at Malachor, and then she orchestrated the Exile's return to the Jedi Council.
We know what Revan learned from Kreia: the idea that a single small event at the right moment can ripple out and cause larger events to unfold. If Revan was correct - that the Jedi Civil War was a war of belief - then the seminal moment was in fact the Exile's confrontation with the council.
Before the Exile returned, the council was united in their condemnation of everyone who ran off to join the Mandalorian Wars. What the Exile's appearance did was sow the seeds of doubt. From here, opinions began to differ, and some of the council began to realize the hypocrisy of their own teachings. The Order began to fragment, and Revan basically won. The Exile was ground zero for the eventual destruction of the Jedi.
So with that in mind, I propose this theory: Revan and the Exile never got along.
On a gut level, you'd think they would have, but I think this is purely because after playing KOTOR 1 and 2 you were in each of their shoes respectively. You saw each of their viewpoints, and it would make sense to you that everything was all rainbows and ponies between them.
But consider this:
- Revan 'cleaned house' at Malachor V; he sent the troops that he didn't like to either die there, or be shocked into converting to his cause. Guess who ended up there? The Exile.
- The Exile wasn't recruited to the war by Revan. We saw in the Korriban cave that it was initially Malak who convinced him.
- After the war, Revan used the Exile as a tool again. This time as an agent of dissent, intended to break the Jedi Council. That wouldn't be something you would do to a friend or trusted ally.
- Everyone talks about the loyalty that Revan inspired in his followers, but the one Jedi who consciously stopped following Revan following the Mandalorian War? The Exile.
It's not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it's interesting.
"Considering the council's judgment, I see they did not receive your return well. Perhaps whatever anger they held for Revan they held against you."
"So Malak stayed with Revan until the end?"
"And that I am glad I was never in service to Malak."
"Observation: Revan was a human capable of subtle, intelligent cruelties. He had a strategic mind, and he accepted losses and sacrifices."
One of my favorite moments in the previous game was finding out the origins of the word 'meatbag'. Turns out the HK-47 called Malak that once, and it pissed Malak off so much that Revan ordered HK to keep doing it.
"This new Sith threat fights differently than the ones I was familiar with - these seem to favor stealth and assassination to achieve their ends."
"Any idea where they might be striking from?"
"Answer: No, master. The Sith had many hidden bases and strongholds before and during the Jedi Civil War, and I doubt the Republic found them all."
"Consolation: But I would not worry, Master, I imagine it will not be long before their murderous hands try to seize you by the throat."
It's hard to put these sorts of jokes into text form, but HK-47 suddenly breaks into Twi'lek speech right there.
"Query: Master, excuse me, but how is it you know so many languages?"
"I picked up a sonic imprint sensor on Peragus - it doubles as a translator."
We picked up this sonic sensor back in Peragus and used it to help beat the first HK-50 unit. Remember?
Of course you don't, it was three and a half months ago.
Well, it was originally suppose to be a plot thread that ran all the way to the end of the game.
"Answer: Because it seems to know all the languages I do, and I am feeling degrees of familiarity and inferiority both at once."
"Here you go."
"Observation: This is indeed familiar."
"Observation: Master, I do believe this device serves multiple functions - including tracking your position for any HK units in the vicinity."
"Then we should destroy it."
"Objection: Master, they do not know we have discovered it. Which means the advantage is ours."
"I'm not for standing around here, waiting for them to hit us again."
"Answer: Master, the nature of the signal from the sonic imprint sensor is such that we must wait until it is signaled."
You know that leads into, right?
Shortly after that dialogue, we'd receive some unexpected guests on board the Ebon Hawk:
It's another HK-50 attack!
They come in groups of 3, like usual.
"Unnecessary Observation: You are eliminating many of us, Jedi. But such actions only delay the inevitable."
"Annoying Recitation: Let us proceed to facilitate communications."
"Recitation: And bring about the termination of hostilities."
After a brief fight, HK-47 suddenly steps in.
Remember I mentioned that HK-47 couldn't harm the HK-50s because of his self-preservation program, but the same held true vice versa?
"Diagnostic: For some reason, I cannot fire."
"Obvious Statement: This was not anticipated. I am attempting to access my weapon systems, and I cannot."
"Alarmed Embarrassment: If this gets back to the other units, we will be decommissioned."
We capture one of the HK-50 units, and HK-47 goes to town on him.
"Command: You will talk."
"Defiant Statement: There is nothing you can do to me. Do your worst."
"Agonized Exclamation: Ah, my photoreceptors! My photoreceptors!"
"Statement: I shall up the charge to your circuits next time. Now answer the question."
"Posturing Statement: I will never talk."
"Statement: Then I will have to settle for your screams."
"That is one sick droid."
"Statement: My prisoner has revealed something of interest. Allow me to share it with you."
"Statement: The facility that is creating these cruder, unsophisticated versions of me is located on Telos. I propose we go there and turn it into a smoldering crater."
Of course, none of this is any fun without the actual voice acting.