Part 49: Telos: Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing
Atris uses a lot of Dark Side powers, but she tends to rely on Force Drain way too much. As a result she's not as tough as a lot of the Jedi opponents in the game.
Still, a gun-using player would be in a bit of trouble here without the Targeting feat that lets you bypass her lightsaber defenses. Without it, we'd pretty much kill ourselves on all the blaster bolts getting deflected back to us.
'Atris' is of course an anagram for 'Trias', a character from Planescape: Torment who fulfilled a largely similar role in the story.
The two of them even appear at the same point in the plot.
My advice to you is this: when you're playing Obsidian's upcoming Alien RPG and you come across a character named 'Taris' or 'Stria' or 'Istar', start running in the other direction.
"All this collected knowledge, all these teachings of combat and the Force - they are mine to command. All this collected knowledge, all these teachings of combat and the Force - they are mine to command."
Yes, she's a psychotic bitch now.
"She has not existed for some time, I think. There was always something else within me - it just took time for its voice to be heard."
"What happened to you?"
"The old woman you traveled with, finally made me... listen to myself, to the galaxy. She said that you would come here, and that you would face me in battle."
"There is no reason for us to fight."
"She said you were the last obstacle to my enlightenment. If I wished to truly face the Sith, to see their heart, then that meant facing you, this last time."
"Where did she go?"
"I do not know - yet. I suspect she went in search of you. But just as when she first came here, her path is difficult to see. She has set many things in motion, it is she that ordered the extermination of all Jedi, so long ago. She will answer for her crimes, in time. She is Sith... just as you are, just as all who followed Revan were."
"And when I defeat you and the forces you have brought to Telos, I shall take the battle to the heart of the Sith, and wipe them out - forever."
Oh we probably won't like where this is leading.
Wouldn't that make her a coward too?
All throughout the game it's been hinted by G0-T0, HK-47, and Kreia among others that someone, somewhere was leaking information of the Exile's return and his whereabouts all over the galaxy. Now we find all along it was Atris - she was just using the Exile as bait to draw out the Sith.
There's a conversation node here that I'm not even sure you can access - I'm looking at the game's script and it should be there, but I can't seem to get it to show up in game. I'm not even sure if it's cut content since I vague seem to remember seeing it before. Anyways, it's pretty important, so here it is:
"What is this place?"
"All the knowledge of the Sith, gathered from across the galaxy. Brought here by my servants, so that I might uncover their secrets - and use them to track them down. But now they have been drawn from the shadows of the Outer Rim - and the only final matter to attend to is finishing you."
"And when the Sith are defeated, what then?"
"When the Sith are destroyed, then I shall rebuild the Jedi Order again. They shall have none of the weaknesses of before, they shall be strong, willing to take battle to any who oppose them and weaken the Republic. They shall not train those who are easily corrupted - no more students that will bring war and hate to the galaxy."
"Atris... you will make the Jedi the Sith."
"The Sith are the Jedi, the Jedi are the Sith. What matters is that they be preserved, all the lore, all the teachings, brought to a new generation. I am the last of the Jedi... and I will show them this truth, bring it to the galaxy."
"You are not the last of the Jedi - the Jedi Council still lives."
"You lie. The Jedi Council is dead, the Order cast down."
"I do not lie. You know it."
"They live? But... Then there were survivors, as I thought... as I hunted them. And they are cowards, afraid to battle the Sith. They do not have your strength... our strength. Together, we can stop them, put an end to such weakness."
"Weakness - like when you fled Katarr? And Dantooine?"
"I did not flee. I did what was necessary to fight the Sith - and preserve the last of the Jedi."
"And you left the Jedi to die on Katarr."
"Yes... I sensed what would happen on Katarr. It was I who leaked knowledge of its presence in the hopes of drawing the Sith out. I will not deceive you... I knew what could happen there, but it had to be done to make the Sith reveal themselves. But I did not know the extent of their power - and what that meant for the Jedi. I will not underestimate them again."
"You are responsible for the murder of an entire planet."
"As are we both. You, who brought the screams of Malachor to the galaxy... do not preach to me. You lead by example. You always have. You knew what was necessary at Malachor V, and the stakes in this war are higher than you know - it is a war of extermination, of total annihilation."
"What were the Jedi doing on Katarr?"
"They hoped to gather, to use their combined knowledge of the Force to see, to listen to the currents of the galaxy. They hoped to find out what was happening to the Jedi, why they were dying. And they discovered it. It revolved around you, as it always has. It is you who've tried to end us."
"Yes, from the destruction of Katarr, a vision emerged - it is the last act the Jedi were able to perform before the planet was destroyed. So that is why I arranged for you to return to the Republic, so that I might draw the Sith out and end them."
"But that makes no sense. Why me?"
"Is it not obvious? You are one of the Sith, fallen at Revan's side. The path to them lies through you."
"That makes no sense - I am not allied with these Sith."
"The pronouncement on Katarr was clear - and you are the key. And look, you have come to battle me, Sith vs. Jedi, as was intended. It was a vision. It showed you, standing upon the many battlegrounds of the Mandalorian Wars. The Dxun jungles, the destroyed cities of Onderon... Whatever this threat we faced, it came from you - these Sith were something born of you."
"If it showed the future, then that is only one such possibility."
"Yes, it was one such possibility. The others were only darkness, a galaxy devoid of the Force... but always there was an echo. The Jedi on Katarr did not realize the significance of this - they had not stood in judgment of you, so long ago. They had not heard the same echo I did when you stood before us... and when we cast you into exile."
"That vision on Katarr - was it the future or the past?"
"It may have been both - the past, the future, both linked. The only aspect of the vision that was certain was you. It is why they wanted to exile you, so there, beyond the Outer Rim, you would come at last to hear that echo... and understand what happened. It was why you deserved death, and why I wished you executed."
"But what is the echo?"
"It is the sound of life in agony - it is a wound in the Force that has yet to close. War... destruction... these events leave wounds in the galaxy, in all life. The death of one can send echoes through hundreds... even thousands, across many planets. If not checked, then it spreads, until nothing is left. Something that you had done in the past has caused this new threat, this death of all Jedi - and you were responsible for it. It was only proper that you be brought back to face your crime. You had killed countless Jedi once - the deaths of more Jedi were not beyond you."
"I had nothing to do with the deaths of the Jedi following the Mandalorian Wars."
"If you were responsible for the threat, then you would answer for it. If not, then you would draw the Sith from hiding so that they might be defeated. Either way, you deserved your fate."
It's pretty vital because it reveals the Atris was responsible for what happened on Katarr - she arranged the meeting of the Jedi, then spread the word to the Sith, hoping that they would attack the planet and reveal themselves. Then she realized the extent of the threat, got spooked, and failed to show up on Katarr herself.
Meanwhile, Nihilus heard about Katarr thanks to Atris, dropped by, and wiped out the planet.
What's especially galling was after that particular disaster, Atris was dumb enough to try the same thing again - this time using the Exile as bait instead. She was willing to sacrifice everyone except herself.
Curiously, Atris wasn't suppose to be using a red lightsaber - it should have been your lightsaber, the one you described to Atton at the beginning of the game. In our case, it would have been silver instead. I don't know why they took that out; having her kick your ass with your own weapon would have been pretty nifty.
She just stabbed Jesus in the crotch!
That just ain't right.
Atris was also suppose to be wearing black robes at one point, but it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for her to have black robes just conveniently lying around. Especially since she's still in semi-denial about being a Sith and all.
"I will not kill a helpless opponent, Atris."
"I did not expect mercy from you... here, at the end. After all that has happened between us."
Welcome to one of the most uneven dialogue sequences for this game. Everything is just confusing as fuck if the player doesn't pay close attention. Atris may be beaten, but it still doesn't stop her from talking in cryptic circles like a typical Jedi.
The room is filled with red Sith holocrons. These are what she had her Handmaidens run all over the galaxy collecting. They're kinda like evil magic 8-balls.
"What's Kreia's real name?"
"Answer hazy, try again."
"It is my attempt to hold on to the past... to try and protect the future."
Saving the Jedi or saving the Jedi teachings? That's the choice she felt she had to make.
"In some part of me... I knew I had made choices, compromises, but always for the sake of the Republic, of the galaxy. To do what you had done... at times, did not seem so wrong."
"To fight such a threat... sometimes, one's choices seem narrower than they are, until it seems there is no solid foundation on which to stand. I feel that I understand what drove you to battle. to fight the Mandalorians. It was something you could not turn away from."
It's interesting that this confrontation extends the themes from the earlier meeting with the Jedi Council. As a Dark Side, you'd obviously just go ahead and kill Atris, just like the rest of the council. As a Light Sider, this sequence isn't about the fighting. All you're trying to do is convince her that she's wrong, to help change her mind.
She was the most aggressive about ordering the player's exile way back when, and throughout the game she's been so completely unrepentant. When she finally admits she can see why the Exile left for the war, it's a nice little moment.
"Can you tell me where the Sith are striking from?"
Shut up, Sith holocrons. No one asked you guys.
"These Sith are spawned of you, spawned by the Mandalorian Wars... all those deaths, all those Jedi. Their power is to feed on life, until nothing is left except a hollow galaxy, echoing with the screams of the Jedi lost to us."
"Is that where Kreia has gone?"
"Yes. I had thought she was awaiting me at that place, but I see now that she lied. It was not meant for me... but for you."
"What I started?"
"Yes, you are an echo in the Force, a hollow space where it has been wounded. It takes a great act of destruction to create such emptiness, but it can be done. It creates places where the Force is difficult to hear, and difficult to find one's way. And you carry it with you, always."
"What does this have to do with Kreia?"
"It will deafen all touched by the Force, until no life is left. You were strong enough to withstand it once - but few have your strength in such matters, especially if they are unprepared."
So she's threatening to kill the Exile... through their Force Bond.
Now the troubling question is, why would Kreia betray the Exile like that? To what end? What the fuck is going on? I'm so confused.
"But if Kreia is Sith, why would she do such a thing?"
"She seeks the death of all Jedi, all Sith... and the death of the Force. It is madness, it is impossible - but she believes you are the key. There are places in the galaxy dead to the Force, where nothing lives - where the echoes travel forever and do not reach their destination. And these places may be created, even from the simplest of events, the slightest of motions."
"Who is Kreia?"
Yes, the million dollar question.
"How is that possible?"
"Because she has gone to Malachor. She is waiting for you there. But you will not survive Telos. Nothing will."
That sounds like... Darth Nihilus is coming to Telos. Wah oh.
Ah yes, that's the Kreia we know.
She managed to pull another fake-out; on Dantooine, she had everyone convinced that she was a Sith in disguise all along, but really that's not true. Kreia is neither a Sith or a Jedi. Kreia is just Kreia.
Kreia: great teacher or greatest teacher?
Atris gets cut off by the holocrons speaking to her. She collected these holocrons and tried to control them, but they ended up controlling her.
Atris reminds me a little of Denethor from Lord of the Rings. They both tried to learn from some rather dangerous sources - the holocrons and the Palantir - and they both ended up finding out more than they should have, costing them their sanity.
They say that villains who start out with good intentions are the best ones, and it's probably true in this case.
"It is because I care for you. And I suspect that you alone hold that place in her heart, where nothing else lives. And that is why you are the only one who can stop the destruction to come."
I honestly just feel sorry for her at this point, so we're going to let her live.
Though I suppose killing her is what deserves, there's a certain poetic justice in leaving her alive. She sat in judgment on the Jedi council and sentenced him to exile; now he returns and does the exact same thing to her.
"Leave now, while you can. Save Telos - save the galaxy."
We leave her to confront her demons. Literally.
Here's a video of that whole confusing sequence. Ignore the fact that Jedi Jesus crushed her in 2 rounds flat during the brief combat part. Oh and turn your sound down unless you want Sith gibberish blasting out of your speakers.
We picked the cruelest ending in the video for the bonus scene at the end with the KOTOR 3 reference.
There's a bit more alternate content, but it's all over the map. For example, there was an alternate scene where Atris sends the 5 'evil' Handmaidens to fight the Exile. He finishes his confrontation with Atris as normal and then our Handmaiden walks in, sees the bodies of sisters, and attacks the Exile, and you would have been forced to kill her. I assume that's if you had low influence with her.
"Kreia... she said the council had ended you. And all along, she was one of those who had sought to kill us."
"Kreia has told many lies, and the architecture is difficult to see."
"I wanted to punish her... hurt her, see her answer for what she had done to the Jedi, for leading you to the council..."
All this time traveling with the Exile and the one thing he couldn't teach her was how to get a sense of humour.
"Are you sure you're all right?"
"Of course. Forgive my display."
Oh thank god, I don't have to keep referring to her as 'our' Handmaiden any more.
That's as close as a romance plot is going to get in this game with her. Seriously.
Obsidian just doesn't do romances; see Neverwinter Nights 2 for what happens when they try to write a Bioware-style romance plot. Oh my god that was bad.
HK-47 has a short quip here on the approach to Citadel Station.
"Statement: Master, I think I have detected signals emanating from this planet that indicate the presence of other assassin droids such as myself."
Whatever HK-47 wants to do about it, it'll have to wait. We have bigger fish to fry.
That's a big zombified Sith warship and...
... that's a giant Sith armada headed for Citadel Station.
That must be Darth Nihilus's crew that Atris talked about. Not good.
Meeting up with tons of old friends here - here's Lieutenant Grenn, the dude who threw us in jail the first time we were in Telos.
Meanwhile, the Sith have boarded Citadel Station.
You know what would have been easier than a ground assault? Shoot the fucking satellite out of orbit.
And there's Zherron, the commander from the settlement on Dantooine. It's one big galactic get together.
Now even Queen Talia's sent some troops to help.
If you're wondering, if you sided with General Vaklu during the siege of Onderon he would have sent some troops to help as well.
Oh look, it's our dear friends the Ithorians.
"After you left the Station the first time, the situation of Telos became greatly improved. Eventually, the Telosian Council acceded to our complaints, and Czerka was ordered to cease their operations. From what I understand, they have relocated to other rebuilding planets in the Outer Rim. This is regrettable, and I hope that their influence does not spread far. Things looked so promising, and now it looks like our efforts may all be for naught."
If they couldn't do jack against the Czerka Corporation, what chance do they have against the Sith?
There's a type of rodent around where I live called the Vancouver Island Marmot. They're one of the rarest mammals in the world; I think at one point there were less than 40 of them left in the wild. Their habitat got wiped out thanks to people cutting down all the trees and paving over them to build ski resorts. They became a cause de la célébrité from environmental groups who ended up raising millions of dollars to help establish a breeding program. Problem is, they're just not very good at... staying alive. They had trouble evading predators, as most of the released marmots were promptly eaten by coyotes and cougars, and evolution really fucked them over by giving them a 2 year breeding cycle. Point is, after the millions of dollars poured into saving a glorified squirrel with little results, at what point do you just say fuck it and let it go extinct?
Telos is that glorified squirrel.
We look out the window and the satellite station is already coming under pretty intense attack from the Sith fighters outside.
One last word with our buddy Mandalore before we get going.
"I thought I saw you disembark with Bao-Dur, is he here?"
"Now that you mention it, where did he run off to? HK-47, also."