Part 4: The MandalorianPart 4: The Mandalorian
Greetings from the far-flung future dystopia of the year 2020. Sadly, I have to inform you that flying cars have not been invented yet. Anyway, last time on KotOR we reached the Lower City of Taris and made our way to Javyar's Cantina, where we met some new friends. Speaking of friends, let's have a chat with... whatever this guy is.
Okay, you're not here to offend we. What do you want, then?
I want to ask you some questions.
Questions? What kind of questions.
What planet are you from?
You couldn't say it, and don't have the ears for it. Two voices create the name, and four ears hear the true sound. But your kind would call our home Sorjus, a small world far off the Perlemian trade route.
What kind of creature are you?
In your one voiced-tongue you would call our kind Paaerduag.
Can you tell me about your home world?
Talking about our home only makes this quarantine more difficult to bear. Forgive us, human, but we do not wish to be reminded of it.
Hm, fair enough.
What do you know about Taris?
Nothing. We were only stopping here to get supplies when the Sith attacked. They imposed a quarantine on all ships that had landed on Taris. Now we are stuck here on a world that hates non-humans... not a good place to be.
I'll be going now.
Good. Leave us alone. We just want quarantine to end so we can go back home.
That's another completely optional conversation that serves no other purpose than providing some extra lore for worldbuilding nerds like me.
The large open room is the bounty office, and that must be Zax.
Are you looking for work? There are many bounties available here; legal and otherwise. But they all pay quite well. Or are you here for information? Everyone knows I'm one of Davik's best agents... I'm the Hutt with all the answers.
Might as well. More credits would come in handy.
I can't see anything wrong with getting rid of people like that - as long as we don't end up on the list of their victims.
But not all the bounties are dangerous. Davik got some special contracts. One's for a girl named Dia - she attacked Holdan, one of Davik's men. Another's for a man named Largo who owes Davik money.
Okay, I don't know about Davik's special contracts. Justice is one thing, but doing a crime lord's dirty work is something else.
And then there's Matrik. He used to work for Davik, then he betrayed the Exchange and now Davik wants him dead. I'll put all this information in your datapad.
Davik's bounties sound more like contract killings.
Davik works for the Exchange. They don't play games. If you don't pay your debts or you betray them or you attack them they get even. People bring Davik's bounty on themselves. Anyway, if you don't like them you don't have to take them. Collect the other bounties - government contracts. Those people are ruthless killers. They need to be stopped.
Okay then. While he did say all the information is in our datapad, we can learn a lot more about the bounties from Zax if we ask him.
Tell me about the assassin Selven.
Selven's a government bounty; she's a very dangerous woman. When she started she was just another killer working for Davik. Then she began freelancing to the highest bidder. One day she killed six citizens in the street... and their bodyguards, too. They were all Ulgos, a powerful merchant family with many enemies. Selven was hired to kill off the whole family. She was very good at her job. Each day, more Ulgos died. Poisoned at home, shot down in the street; guards and droids couldn't protect them. After a month there were no Ulgos left on Taris. Not one.
Ulgos, huh? Any relation to our dearly departed friend Trask?
It was never proven. But after the Ulgos were all dead, the Organa family demanded the government put out a contract on Selven. They said nobody was safe as long as Selven was still free.
Organa? Any relation to the Organa family on Alderaan?
But Taris politics aren't your concern. You're just a bounty hunter. You kill Selven, you get the credits. That's the only important thing, right?
Tell me about Bendak Starkiller.
Bendak's a government contract, but he's a legend on Taris. He started out as duelist in the Upper Cantina. He never lost, but he only fought death matches. He killed hundreds in his day. Then death matches got banned. Duel rings switched to non-lethal combat. But Bendak wasn't ready to retire. He kept dueling on the illegal, underground circuit. He kept killing people. Finally the government had no choice but to put a bounty out on him. But Bendak's a big folk hero, so not too many try to collect. Those who do all wind up dead, anyway.
Tell me about this girl Dia.
Dia's one of Davik's private bounties. She used be a waitress in the cantina here until she had a fight with Holdan. She cut him with her vibroblade, almost killed him. That was a mistake. Holdan works for Davik, he's not one to let her get away with that. When he was recovering in the medical bay, he put out a bounty on Dia. She's been hiding ever since.
I get the feeling there's more to this story.
Maybe. Doesn't really matter to me. I get the bounty from Davik's men, I don't ask questions. You can talk to Holdan if you want to know more - he's inside the cantina.
Tell me about this merchant Largo.
He's nothing special, just another of Davik's private bounties. He borrowed money from Davik for his business. But things went bad and he wasn't able to pay Davik back. So he ran. Davik doesn't like it when people who owe him money run. He put out a contract on Largo to send a message to the other merchants who owe him money.
Tell me about Matrik.
Davik is very interested in this bounty. Matrik used to work for Davik. He wasn't important, but he was there a long time. He saw lots of things that it was wise to keep quiet about. Then one day he betrayed Davik. He went to the Taris authorities and testified at trials against the Exchange. Lots of people were arrested and Davik's operations shut down for a while. It cost Davik thousands and thousands of credits to get business back on track, and he lost lots of good people. Of course he's not about to let Matrik get away with that.
But didn't the government protect Matrik after the trials?
They hid Matrik for a while, but when the Sith took over they shut the witness protection program down. It's expensive, and the Sith didn't care if Matrik died.
Whew! That does it for the information dump. Again, not crucial information, but still nice to know.
Before we leave, let's see what's going on in this corner.
Who are you?
Name's Bib Surool, manager for the Starlight Entertainers: the top performing troupe in this sector of the galaxy. I was here scouting new talent when the Sith attacked, and now I can't leave. You'd think the Sith would let me go so I could get back to my troupe, but I guess they just don't appreciate the arts. So, since I'm stuck here, I figured I might as well continue with my auditions. I'm supposed to be auditioning Lyn, but I think I'm wasting my time. Lyn's got all the moves, but I need to know if she can pull them off while sharing a stage with her partner.
Where's her partner?
She doesn't have one. That's the problem. Aren't you listening to me? Dancers don't perform solo, so I need to see if she can work with someone else before I get her up on stage.
Dancing? Sure, Zila is a mighty dancer. She can totally help out.
On the other hand, I'm not going to hire her unless I can see her in action with a partner. Maybe she's desperate enough to give you a chance. You'd have to ask her, I guess.
Only one way to find out.
Why don't you have a partner?
My last partner left me. She was always trying to upstage me, even though it was obvious I had ten times her talent. When I finally told her that, she stormed off. I guess the truth hurts. My partner before that was even worse. If I wasn't tripping over his staggering feet I was ducking under his flailing arms. I ditched him after less than a week.
Well, she's certainly got the attitude down. She's going to go far, and we'll help her do exactly that.
I admit I'm getting desperate: I'd hate to blow this audition. But I don't know if I'm ready to just pair up with a random passer-by. How do I know you're any good?
Famous last words. Obviously, you'll need a bit of Persuade skill for this because Lyn's not going to let just anyone come in and screw up her audition.
Mr. Surool, I've got a partner now. I'd really like to audition for you again.
Okay, Lyn, you've got one more chance. I'll give you a minute to get your partner set up, then let's see what you've got.
But don't get in too close if you can't handle it. I don't need some clumsy oaf tripping me up. Try not to screw this up for me, okay?
No clumsy oafs, got it. Let's get this show on the road.
We should keep it simple to start with, so we'll just dance beside Lyn for now.
Not too exciting, but at least no one's fallen on her face yet.
Look, I know you're trying to be careful about screwing up, but you've got to give me a little more than that. Bib's seen thousands of dancers: we need to do something that will impress him. The next dance is a little different, so watch me for the steps then jump in.
The basic dance moves are the same, just with an added awkward fist pump.
Let's get a little bit closer this time. I think we can handle that just fine.
I don't think dancing was much of a consideration when this game's animations were designed.
Okay, one dance to go. Bib looks happy. As long as we don't screw up I think we've got it! Follow me and please, just keep it simple.
The same two moves from before, but now we add what I can only describe as waving your hand around like you're doing a Jedi mind trick.
If you really want to be an asshole, you can fuck up Lyn's audition at the last second. Obviously, we're not doing that, and just dancing beside Lyn probably won't cut it this time so we're gonna have to go for something flashy to finish things off.
More poorly animated dancing ensues.
Well, what did you think? Do I get the job? Do you want me to dance some more? I can do another one for you if you want.
Relax, Lyn. You made it. You've got the job. Welcome to the Starlight Entertainers.
I made it? I really made it? This is incredible. I... I don't believe it!
And all she needed was just a little bit of help from her friend, or at least some random person. She must be extremely grateful after this.
Oh. Well, that's okay, I suppose.
I don't think we'll have time for that anytime soon, but we'll keep the offer in mind.
Now that we've dazzled everyone in this cantina with our amazing dance moves, we should head on over to the Hidden Bek base and see if Gadon Thek can help us in any way.
The Bek base is right opposite the cantina.
Sadly, she did not see us kill a bunch of Vulkars as soon as we made it down here.
I guess we'll give this a shot.
Between the Sith conquest and the Vulkar gang war Gadon has more enemies than he used to. We're being careful about who we let in now.
This game's script constantly misuses apostrophes. I'll generally fix them when transcribing the text, because it irritates me to no end.
Well, we do need all the help we can get. And you don't look like you're with the Vulkars or the Sith. Besides, it's not like you can do anything to harm Gadon in the heart of his own base. Not with Zaerdra watching his back. Go in and speak to Gadon if you want. Just remember to be on your best behavior... the Hidden Beks are watching you.
The interior of the Bek base doesn't have a whole lot to it. Most doors are locked, the ones that aren't don't lead to anything interesting, and the only one you can really talk to is Gadon. So, let's make our way to him and introduce ourselves.
This must be Zaerdra.
You're too trusting, Gadon. Brejik and his Vulkars want you dead. Anyone we don't know is a potential threat, and it's my job to make sure you're safe!
Do you want us to start attacking strangers on sight, Zaerdra - like the Vulkars do? I will never let it come to that! Now step aside and let them pass.
As you wish. You can speak to Gadon if you want, but I've got my eye on you! You try anything and you'll be vaporized before you can say "Vulkar spy"!
I don't know, I can say "Vulkar spy" quite fast. I'm sure we won't have any problems, we'll be on our best behavior.
The problems with the Sith haven't helped things. Zaerdra seems to forget that I know how to look after myself! Now, how can I help you?
We should go straight to business. Gadon and the Beks seem decent enough, but we don't want to waste their time too much.
They might be spies, Gadon! They might be working for the Sith!
Calm down, Zaerdra. If the Sith thought we knew anything useful they'd have a battalion of troops kicking down our door. No, I think this offworlder has her own agenda.
Pictured: Convincing arguments we're not with the Sith.
The Vulkars stripped those pods clean within hours after they landed. It's too bad we didn't get there first, considering what my spies reported the Vulkars found. A female Republic officer named Bastila survived the crash. We Beks don't believe in intergalactic slavery, but the Vulkars aren't so picky. They took her prisoner.
This just keeps getting better, doesn't it? Sounds like Bastila is alive at least, so that's something.
Normally the Vulkars would take a captured slave and sell them for a nice profit to Davik or an off-world slaver. But a Republic officer is no ordinary catch.
Hey, that'd mean we wouldn't have to do anything. It does make sense, though. Bastila's a powerful Jedi, what chance would a bunch of idiot thugs have against her? How did they manage to take her prisoner in the first place? Maybe she got knocked out in the crash like we did.
We still haven't seen any swoop bikes down here.
By putting up such a valuable prize Brejik hopes to win the loyalty of some of the smaller gangs. Their numbers will allow him to finally destroy me and my followers.
So how do you propose we go about rescuing Bastila, then? We can't fight all the gangs.
The only hope you have of rescuing Bastila is to somehow win the big season opener of the swoop race.
I was afraid he'd say that.
Before we enter any races, hear us out here, Gadon. If Bastila is going to be the winning prize for the swoop race, presumably she'd be present at the race venue. If that's the case, why can't we just go to wherever the race is held, blast our way through any Vulkars dumb enough to get in our way, free Bastila, and get the hell out? The real reason is of course that BioWare really wants us to try out their racing minigame, but it would've been nice to have an alternate option for those who suck at racing or just don't like the minigame.
What are you proposing?
The swoop race is for the Lower City gangs only. I could sponsor you as a rider for the Hidden Beks this year. If you win the race, you'll win your friend's freedom. But first you have to do something for me. My mechanics have developed an accelerator for a swoop engine. A bike with the accelerator installed can beat any other swoop out there! But the Vulkars stole the prototype from us. They plan to use it to guarantee a victory in this year's swoop race. I need you to break into their base and steal it back.
The cheating bastards stole the engine tech we were supposed to cheat with!
We can walk right up to the doors and even kill the guards, but that won't help us get inside because the doors are sealed.
Oh, that's convenient.
Mission's explored every step of every back alley in the Lower City. Plus she knows the Undercity sewers better than anyone. If anyone can get inside the Vulkar base, it's her.
I wish we'd known this fifteen minutes ago.
She and her Wookiee friend Zaalbar are always looking to stir up a little excitement. They like to go exploring in the Undercity, despite the dangers. Your best bet is to look for her in the Undercity. But you'll need some way past the Sith guard post at the elevator.
I've got some Sith uniforms to disguise myself.
Even if you go to the Undercity elevator before talking to Gadon and confirm that the uniforms do not help you get past the guard, this dialogue doesn't change at all to reflect that.
Luckily my gang ambushed one of the Sith patrols headed down to the Undercity. They never made it, and their security papers fell into my hands. Since we're working together now I suppose I could give them to you in exchange for your uniforms. With the security papers you won't need a disguise anyway.
Okay - I'll trade the uniforms for the papers.
Good choice. Thanks for the uniforms. You won't need them with these security papers anyway. Now, is there anything else I can do for you?
Well, I suppose we could ask Gadon here a few questions while we're here.
You said you were having problems with the Sith?
A foreign army invades Taris, declares martial law and locks down all travel to and from the planet? You damn well bet I have a problem with that! If the Sith ever moved in down here all the swoop gangs would unite against them. We'd use hit and run guerrilla tactics to pick them off... their casualties would be enormous!
Don't fool yourself. The Sith would never commit to that kind of operation. They'd... they'd probably do something much more grand and deadly.
But so far the Sith have stayed out of the Lower City and our strength is wasted on this stupid gang war! I tried to explain this to Brejik, but he and his Vulkars won't listen.
Is there any way off this planet?
Not while the Sith quarantine is in place. Even the fastest smugglers' ships can't break the blockade of the fleet surrounding the planet without the proper launch codes. Any ship leaving the Taris atmosphere without the proper codes would be instantly disintegrated by blaster cannons fired by the Sith fleet's automated targeting systems.
That does sound like something we'd like to avoid. It definitely complicates things, because even if we find a ship to get us off this planet, we'd need some way past the auto-targeting systems.
But with my occular implants I can still see well enough to lead this gang, and I knew Brejik wasn't ready to take over yet. Unfortunately, Brejik didn't agree with me. In a rage he left to join our arch rivals, the Black Vulkars. A lot of the younger gang members followed him, and soon he and his followers had taken control of the Vulkar gang.
But why start a gang war?
Brejik is a proud man. My decision was a public humiliation for him. Maybe if I had stepped down this gang war could have been avoided.
Seems doubtful. Brejik sounds like the kind of guy who was going to start this gang war of his no matter whose colors he was flying.
Zaerdra is inclined to agree.
I'll be going now.
Feel free to come back anytime. We're not like those Vulkar savages - strangers are welcome in the Bek base.
As I said before we had our chat with Gadon, there's nothing of interest at the Bek base so we should move on.
But first off, let's take another quick glance at our journal.
Naturally, we have to deal with more Vulkars as we make our way down the Lower City corridor. Based on the restored content mod, there were supposed to be Bek gang members walking around and helping us fight the Vulkars, but they were cut for reasons unknown. Presumably, the Xbox had performance issues with all the guys running around and blasting each other, so the Beks got cut. That kind of sucks, because their help would've been very welcome.
What's going on here?
The Vulkars seem to think they shouldn't have to pay Davik his protection money or whatever this racket is about, so Davik's sent one of his goons to collect. He seems hopelessly outmatched, though.
That is a very large gun.
It's been five years since the end of the Mandalorian Wars, which saw the Mandalorians at the height of their power as they brought the Republic to its knees until the Jedi Revan and Malak turned the tide of the war. Since the end of the war, the surviving Mandalorians have been scattered around the galaxy, with many of their warriors now working as mercenaries for various crime syndicates and mob bosses as we see here.
As you might expect, most common thugs aren't too enamored by the idea of throwing down with a Mandalorian warrior such as Canderous here.
I think that typo was fixed on the PC release.
Davik's agent walks off, and Canderous turns his attention to us.
Thankfully, he isn't looking for a fight.
Sounds like Brejik isn't satisfied just running things in the Lower City.
Canderous is voiced by the late John Cygan. You may remember him as the voice of Solidus Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2, but more importantly he voiced Dash Rendar in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.
Canderous doesn't have time (or interest) for chatting with random idiots. I should point out he was the one who decided to talk to us in the first place, though.
Naturally, there are more Vulkars for us to fight. This right here is a Vulkar Enforcer, a stronger version of the basic Vulkar enemies who hits harder and takes more punishment. I threw a sonic grenade at him here.
Before we proceed, we still have a couple of apartment buildings to check in the Lower City. There's one near each end of the Lower City, and we'll start by exploring this one because it's the closest to us. I'm cutting the update here because the full thing was going to go over the character limit and this was the best cutoff point I could think of (about halfway through, which is okay but all the action is in the back half), so expect the next installment very shortly.