((The RP XP with MJ #34)) SPECIAL EDITION
The thousands of workers at Rendili Hyperworks had no idea the hand they played in fate as they watched their labors rumble to life. Moorings shook and fuel vents shuddered as the enormous ion engine flutes of the Hammerhead-class cruiser illuminated her berth like four caged suns.
And so launched the Endar Spire, the ship of lies.
The conspiracy hidden within the corroded and overgrown shipwreck on the surface of Taris begins with questions about her sinking more than 300 years ago. We know that Jedi Knight Bastila Shan was given command of the Endar Spire’s last mission. We know that Revan was aboard, disguised as a common Republic soldier. We know of Revan’s importance to the Jedi Council at the time—the former supreme leader of the Sith, brain-wiped and under the care of Bastila. We know that Bastila’s gift of Battle Meditation made her extremely valuable to the Jedi Order and a prime target of Darth Malak.
So why would the Council allow Bastila and Revan to head out alone aboard the Endar Spire to Taris, a world occupied by the Sith and protected by a blockade overseen by Malak himself, especially considering Revan’s defenseless condition at the time?
I recently paid a visit to the broken spine of the Endar Spire at the behest of the Galactic Republic, on cryptic orders from a Captain Childress whose detachment of soldiers had not reported back from the wreck. I was curious to see for myself how well the ship’s grave held up, swallowed by the local fauna, a breeding ground for rakghouls, pirates and armed settlers. I had to ask why the Republic would even bother sending a team to an old shipwreck?
Exactly. There’s too much going on with the Taris Reconstruction Project to waste manpower on a centuries-old downed cruiser. Or, that’s what I thought until I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and realized the Republic wasn’t doing enough to secure the Endar Spire, considering my suspicions.
So, fully armed and geared up with my trusty sidekick, a smuggler I call “Mr. Funny” because of his penchant for naming inanimate objects (and if I hear one more time about his beloved “Torchy” I’m gonna blast him myself), I set out for the crash site. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was immediately stunned as we crested a ridge of upper city wreckage and saw her, the Endar Spire, surprisingly intact and still maintaining the familiar profile of a Hammerhead-class cruiser.
I suppose the first mystery of the Endar Spire is its surprisingly good condition. Not only had the ship apparently survived total vaporization in orbit—contrary to popular belief until this time—it also survived Malak’s savage bombardment of the planet’s surface. The Endar Spire was reported lost days before the Sith glassed Taris, yet here she lay, relatively pristine despite the attack and three centuries of natural and man-made abuse.
The pirates camped near the wreck weren’t much trouble, and we made our way inside in no time, aiding a small band of research scientists protected by the faltering remnants of a Republic military detachment. Astonished is too weak a word to describe my surprise at finding some of the ship’s functions still operable. After making a mental note to have future upgrades to my own ship done at Rendili Hyperworks, we concluded our short escort mission and returned the research team’s materials to the Republic base camp nearby.
And that’s when I realized a full-blown conspiracy was in the works, a web of secrets and lies between the Jedi Council and the Republic military dated centuries ago and maintained to this day.
According to the officer I spoke to back at base camp, the Republic was only interested in the surveillance footage captured by the Endar Spire during her last moments of life, surveillance of Sith warships that were in service 300 years ago! I knew that had to be a mistake. There had to be something more, and this was just a line the military was giving to civilians stupid enough to serve as volunteers.
That’s when I took note of a quarantined field hospital filled with groaning soldiers and workers diminished to pathetic shadows of their former selves, the wraiths of Taris, the rakghoul victims. Did the Endar Spire’s secret mission to Taris have something to do with the rakghoul curse? After all, the slavering beasts had been around since well before the sinking of the Endar Spire, a curse born out of the twisted mind of Karness Muur thousands of years earlier, a curse that seemingly would never die.
The ancient Sith mastermind of the rakghoul plague “left the oven on,” so to speak. It was only a matter of time before someone tapped the ghastly abominations haunting the lowest levels of Taris and released them on an unsuspecting galaxy to spread like an unstoppable virus. I believe the Endar Spire’s last mission was to lure the Sith attack, to sacrifice the city planet in an effort to prevent Malak’s Sith from using the rakghouls to their fullest potential.
Which begs the question: had the Endar Spire not taunted Malak into the bombardment of Taris, would the rakghoul plague have raged out of control centuries earlier?
And why send such an important Jedi Knight to a Sith-controlled world along with the Jedi Council’s most enigmatic prisoner? Taris has always been just out of reach of the Republic. The resources and manpower required to launch an assault on the distant world would attract too much attention; in particular the attention of Malak who was seemingly ignorant of the deadly viral weapon in the deepest gutters of Taris.
The solution? Use Bastila to lure Malak’s wrath. She was the only carrot the Jedi Council could dangle in front of the Sith; the Endar Spire the only cruiser capable of getting her as far as Taris. As for Revan, I personally believe he was an expendable asset, unless Bastila was totally unaware the role the Council wanted her to play in the destruction of the rakghoul curse. Revan was given an alias and listed as a soldier aboard the Endar Spire. Is it possible Bastila was completely ignorant of his presence? Is it possible the Jedi Council knew Revan would regain his strengths and somehow rescue Bastila from the very attack they were planning?
That seems far fetched, and unfortunately, many of these questions remain a mystery. All we know of the facts are that Bastila abandoned ship during the Endar Spire ambush leaving Revan to die. Considering her responsibility to him we have to wonder why. We also need to consider the miracle of the Endar Spire’s survival and the Republic Military Machine’s interest in a 300-year-old corroded hulk.
Is it possible the Endar Spire’s final resting place holds more than old surveillance images? Could the clue to the Endar Spire’s last mission still be locked within her aging memory banks? Or does she hold something more? Does she hold the clue to Karness Muur’s curse and the secret to preventing a rakghoul pandemic like the one that recently made its way across the Outer Rim to Tatooine? Who is brave enough to find out?
((I hope you enjoyed this little “side step.” I present this article to you as an example of TGI (Total Game Immersion). At the very heart of RP is the desire to breathe life into the story first written by the game developer. In this case, I bridged the gap between BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars The Old Republic by stepping into the mind of one of my more curious characters. I hope you enjoyed it. Now… What’s your story?))
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