Bastard of the Old Republic • Page 2

Part 1: A nice man takes a journey to the Dark Side.

Crash-landing on Taris, I was quickly teamed up with Carth Onasi, a Republic pilot and all-round do-gooding mummy's boy. I remembered him well, the whiny-faced snorefest - being mean to him was going to prove no problem at all. He was very insistent that we get to work finding Bastila, while I persisted that finding a way off the Sith-controlled planet was much more important.

Taris, an enormously populated planet, presented its primary troubles as the Sith occupation, who were preventing ships from leaving or arriving, making life hard for tradespeople, and those who wished to buy from them. As well, of course, as making things much tougher for the rogues and villains who wanted to continue their illegal activities. But Taris' real problems went far deeper. Literally. Divided into a three-tiered class system, the Upper levels were primarily for Humans, with aliens working in menial jobs, caretaking in apartments and so on, a few with almost-decent roles working in shops. The Lower levels, beneath the surface city, were a network of crime-infested tunnels, cheap, dangerous accommodation, and seedy bars. Then below this, an almost rural underground world of the underclass, the extreme poor living with rampant disease, regularly attacked by monstrous creatures. Just the sorts of people for Simon Evil to prey upon.

Of course, RPGs are always going to have you do things most would consider wrong. Finding a dead body on the ground, who thinks twice before rifling through their pockets to see if they had anything useful? Or an open cupboard in a public area, that no one complains when you open it? That's free stuff, right? But here the opportunities for wrongdoing made these acts feel perfectly mundane.

She really should have killed me where I stood, for the sake of the galaxy.

The first terrible thing I did hurt these poorest people the most. On the surface was a doctor's office. He was a kindly man, assisted by a rather unpleasant and slimy individual, and offered me free treatment. Talking to him like complete dirt, I made it clear that he'd better treat me for free, and then began poking around his office. Any locked door was an open invitation to Simon Evil, and I immediately busted it open, to the doctor's horror. He was secretly treating the very poorest citizens, for free, against the wishes of the crimelord Davik and the Sith occupiers. The conversation options presented me with wonderful choices, where I could help him in his endeavours, support this altruism and heap praise upon him. I told him that if he didn't give me all the money and health packs he had, I'd report him to the authorities. He handed it all over in a panic. But this wasn't the terrible thing I did.

It hurt to do it. Seriously, I physically winced. People who run illegal clinics in terrifying dictatorships around the world are some of Earth's greatest and bravest heroes. Blackmailing this wonderful man was a horrifying choice to make. But worse was my reaction upon learning that there was a serum that cured the disease that was killing the poor in their thousands. With a sample of this serum, currently controlled by the Sith, he would be able to synthesise enough to give it away and eradicate the disease completely. I had to find that serum, and I had to make sure it never got to that doctor.

Fortunately his dreadful assistant offered support with this. He worked for crime boss Davik, and told me if I got the serum to a Hutt in the Lower levels, I could get a huge number of Credits for it, and he'd take a decent finder's fee. Perfect. I could ensure the continued gruesome deaths of the city's most impoverished people, and put the cure in the hands of a man who would charge ridiculous prices to make sure only the rich would benefit.

Oh Carth, with your wide-eyed innocence and simplistic belief that we shouldn't kill the poor for coins.

So after breaking into a few apartments and stealing the paltry property of their terrified occupants who feebly begged for their lives, I stumbled upon a Twi'lek who was auditioning for a prodigious dancing job. She was without a partner, and in desperate need. Simon Evil to the rescue! Sure, I'd help her audition. First round I danced just ever so slightly too close to her, upstaging her, which didn't please her greatly. Second round of the three I decided I would help improve her routine by running in idiotic circles around her. I think the audition was pretty much blown by that point, so round three's deliberate pratfall was possibly overkill. She went back to her miserable life stuck on Taris. I went on to find out about bounty hunting.

Moments like that were light relief in the horror-fest I was conducting. That it had an option for running in mad circles was just fantastic. What was not fantastic, in any way, was the bounty on the head of Dia. The Hutt responsible for coordinating the hits gave me a few different people I could take out. Carth said he could see a moral justification for taking out violent criminals who were hurting others, but made it very clear that Dia was not someone I was allowed to go after. Dia it was then.

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John Walker

John Walker



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