<– Chapter Two || IMPERIAL AGENT ||
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the third chapter of the Imperial Agent storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
Chapter Three starts right away after the events of Chapter Two with you returning to Imperial Intelligence to be debriefed from your deep cover mission in the SIS. However, instead of being debriefed by Keeper, you meet with her predecessor the current Minister of Intelligence. He states that he is completely aware that you stole files from the archives and that you broke your mental programming. He also assures you that no, he has no plans to tell anyone what you’ve done. In fact he confesses that he only went through with using the Castellan Restraint because the only other option was killing you to insure you didn’t attack another member of the Dark Council. However, if you serve as the Hand of Jadus this conversation is a bit different. The Castellan Restraint was invoked by the Dark Council to have ‘insurance’ on the Jadus’ actions and you tell the Minister that what he has done is essentially treason and that his days are numbered. The Minister is not phased by your threats. He’s far more concerned with Hunter and whoever his true employers are.
It seems they found Ardun Kothe’s shuttle abandoned in deep space with all traces of the Shadow Arsenal erased and no record of a SIS agent code named ‘Hunter’ ever existing. However, judging by the fact that Hunter was able to easily infiltrate the SIS as well as having access to your code phrase it is clear that his employer has access to both Imperial and Republic resources – a concern unto itself. Working the Hunter lead, the Watchers were able to find someone matching Hunter’s description heading to the Isen IV Mining Colony. This actually raised flags because the very next day, Isen IV contacted the Empire directly to discuss terms of surrender. The Minister isn’t sure if the two are directly linked but it is worth investigating.
You arrive on Isen IV to find the place as a complete wreck. Reprogrammed droids have begun killing any and all citizens and everyone is under the assumption that the Empire did it. You trace the disruption back to a computer being remotely controlled by some strange unknown technological device and sure enough the person controlling it remotely and calling you right now is Hunter. He warns that you need to stop interfering with him or he will make your whole operation VERY public. He also drops hints that if you want to start a war, you need to grease the wheels which is why he arranged it to look like the Empire slaughtered an entire Republic colony of non-military civilians right after they surrendered. Watcher Three agrees that if anyone finds out about this that it will cause a major incident and that the situation must be silenced. You have the choice here to either refuse and save the people unconditionally or save them and use it as blackmail to keep them silent. You also have the option of just killing everyone outright or sabotaging the oxygen generators and leaving them all to die.
When you return to Dromund Kaas, the Republic announces that the Empire has broken the Treaty of Coruscant and the war has begun anew. The Minister of Intelligence however is more concerned with the strange technology you found. He notes that there have been ‘incidents’ in the past where something similar was found just before a pirate ship was miraculously destroyed right before it annihilated an Imperial outpost. He dug deeper and found over sixty cases of similar ‘lucky’ incidents dating back centuries to a time before the Sith Empire revealed itself to the greater galaxy. They even found a recording from one such ‘lucky’ incident where Hunter is speaking to an unknown person. While the former Keeper acknowledges that the start of a war is not time to chase conspiracies, it can’t be helped: Someone is manipulating this war and that someone may have been manipulating for a lot longer than just these few recent events. The Watchers have drawn up a list of targets to investigate, with Belsavis being your first stop.
That is unless you are the Hand of Jadus, in that case you have one additional stop – Darth Jadus. Your master was notably absent for most of Chapter Two and sadly won’t be around much here either. He’s leaving the field of battle to the other Sith Lords to prepare for the future – namely that he has discovered the Emperor’s true goals and as he puts it “either way will be victorious”. He instills you with all his authority. Anything you do, you do in his name and with his power. But he also cannot protect you while gone either. He warns you not to make needless enemies with this newfound authority but if the conspiracy is worth your time, destroy it in Jadus’ name.
Your goal on Belsavis is to find a structure that the Conspirators had built when they first helped finance the Republic’s conversion of the old Rakata facility into a Republic prison. The structure, known only as “Megasecurity Ward 23” was sealed after its construction and has supposedly never been opened since. You will need to break into it. However, it will be impossible to do alone. Your mission is to infiltrate the prison under the guise of being an inmate and create a gang with the express purpose of breaking into the Ward and finding what the conspirators hid in there. You retrieve mission details, explosives, tools and prisoner dossiers from the Imperial base and then go around planting the explosives to blow the doors to the cells from a central location. You make them a demand: You freed them and now they will help you. You direct them to a safe house to meet in person. Before you head off however you are greeted by a voice identifying itself as “The Scorpio Sanction” who notes that your choice in criminals is subpar and that your slicer is only the third best on Belsavis. The Sanction also notes that it killed the other two slicers which confuses me because that means my slicer WOULD be the best then, right? Maybe this Scorpio thing can’t count.
You meet at the safe house/cave to talk with your group of criminals: a space Texan whose brother tried to break into Ward 23 a few years back and died, the first/third best slicer on Belsavis, a bug man with a knack for technology and a big guy named Ohta. If you want to exert your dominance over this pack you can just kill Ohta the first time he opens his mouth to complain. Then you order them to make a list of what you need to break in. The first goal is the medical facility to pick up what you need. While in there The Scorpio Sanction activates again and decides to fill the room with gas that increases aggression and while you are immune to chemicals that alter the mind, your companion and newfound gang are not. You have to break the vents and defeat your friends to snap them out of it and then they get to shopping. They find almost everything but are missing a couple things. This includes stuff like a carbonite trap, a power battery and an anti-radiation serum. You go grab all that while the rest of the team moves into the next zone of the prison where they find a guard to beat up on.
The next big task is dealing with the Scorpio Sanction. Whatever it is it’s quickly proving to be a pain in the rear and that could prove deadly when you’re down in the ward. The slicer on the team has deduced that the Sanction is based out of Megasecurity Ward 23 and has access to all of the prison’s security systems. The gang’s suggestion is to take control of a bunch of warden droids so you can trigger alarms all over the prison to distract the program. You upload the virus to the droids and then head into the maintenance plant to shut down the auto-repair functions that would remove your virus. The Scorpio Sanction chimes in again and says it released nano-machines that will drill through your companions body and I will just tell you right now – This. Does. Not. Happen. At all. It’s a complete lie or it was something that BioWare changed after the dialogue was already scripting and in the game. Once that’s done you head back to the rendezvous to grab your gear only to have your team try and turn on you wanting some kind of assurance they’ll get rich from this. You can pay them some upfront cash, assure them with promising words or just threaten them into obedience. I mean, these are criminals after all.
Finally with the plan all set in place, it’s time for the big heist. I mean mission. I mean heist. You find the entrance to Megasecurity Ward 23 way back in the deep prison in the center of a volcano lava lake. Makes you wonder if our secret conspirators were Sith cause they sure took a page from ‘Evil Lairs Quarterly’ on this one. If you think I’m joking, the elevator down is a death trap that will shut down and leave you locked inside if it detects any life signs. So pretty much just droids and corpses can go down into the Ward. Luckily, you grabbed a carbonite trap earlier that your ‘friends’ in the loosest sense have rigged up to automatically unfreeze you on a timer so you can get past the check. Beyond that is a bunch of killer droids guarding a massive door of completely unknown metallic composition (My guess is week old Olive Garden breadsticks) that requires you to erode to metal using that radioactive battery and then blowing up said battery after the radiation turns the wall into hours old Olive Garden breadsticks. Oh, and take that anti-radiation scrubber serum before you die. That’d be a good idea too.
The final security lock (Yea, apparently there’s only three if you don’t count the easy to kill droids) is a series of force fields operated by the Scorpio Sanction. The slicer is ready to trigger every alarm on the planet, but the other prisoners – namely the Space Texan – wants to use this opportunity to “re-negotiate” the deal. Yea, of course. The guy who wanted money upfront is now trying to screw me for more money. Not shocked. Essentially he (and Ohta if you didn’t kill him before) want to be paid out NOW and enough to make sure they can leave Belsavis. You have two choices here: You can pay them out yourself and they take their leave, or say you won’t bow to blackmail which coincidentally the bug man who has done nothing much in the plot so far decides he agrees that blackmail is wrong and kills the troublemakers for you, and the slicer will then chew you out for risking her life with a gun against the temple. Meh. So long as the security goes down. Which it does when the slicer throws the switch and the Scorpio Sanction screams in pain causing the force fields to momentarily glitch out.
Now you can finally see what the big secret kept in the depths of Belsavis is – people in jars! Actually they’re in kolto tanks but able to communicate through holocall terminals on each tube. They speak to you and reveal that they are former members of a galaxy wide conspiracy dating back over 800 years to the end of the Great Hyperspace War. In the wake of the Jedi and Sith nearly destroying everything in their conflict, some of the most influential members of technology industries, commerce, politics and even spies and criminals got together and asked how the hell they – the most powerful people in the galaxy – could have let this happen? Their resolve was to begin gently manipulating the Galaxy through their influence to ensure that nothing like the Great Hyperspace War happens again. From then on forth, for generations, this group of the Galaxy’s elite has been its secret masters: THE ILLUMINA- I mean, Star Cabal. They maintain secrecy by letting the Jedi and Sith believe that their orders wield the supreme power locked in with force power and hereditary might instead of technology, money and information. But unfortunately, over the generations the Cabal has become corrupt and greedy with their power. So in the spirit of stopping the malformed descendant of a noble organization, these tubed ‘trophies’ of former members decide to help you by showing you how to reprogram and add restrictions to the heart of the Scorpio Sanctions – a hyper-intelligent self-improving AI droid – that holds the key to the Cabal’s database. That is how you recruit your last companion: Scorpio.
With Scorpio in tow, you head back to the rendezvous to find the Slicer and Bug Man where you can either keep your bargain and pay them out for their loyal services and get them off world, tell them that their freedom IS their payment or keep the whole thing under wraps by just killing them right there. You would think that’d be it, right? Just head back to the ship and see what this database that Scorpio has contains? Oh no. We have one more visitor: Pashon Cortess, heir of House Cortess! I know what you’re thinking: Who? Well, House Cortess and its leader Baron Peyar Cortess helped/hindered things for you back on Alderaan. This is the Baron’s kid apparently. He wants revenge for his house’s fall from glory (Ha!) and a unknown “friend” of his told him that you were to blame and where you were going to be. Oh really? Was this friend maybe named Rogue? Or Mage? Or perhaps… HUNTER? Well you give the spoiled brat a worthy spanking and can choose to deal with him by having him imprisoned for assaulting you, send him back to House Thul to have them deal with the wayward vassal house, or just outright kill him. There. Now we can leave.
The Watchers have been working their own angle on this whole thing with Keeper. They apparently dug up a more recent holocall between Hunter and an unknown party but all they can find is the record that the call happened but not what it was about. Keeper wants you to find an actual recording of said holocall by infiltrating the Rings of Tytun – a cyberized planet-size data nexus with rings of scrapped ships that serve as extra storage that archives every single bit and byte of HoloNet data that has ever been transmitted since the nexus went online. Holy. Flipping. Yoda. Are you serious? That thing EXISTS? And we are just now learning about it? Screw the Cabal-inati, THIS is the real interesting thing that shows up in this chapter. I have SO many questions. Who controls it? Who maintains it? Can anyone access it? Can ANYBODY access it normally? Why won’t the game give me any more answers?!
Sigh, so we go there and piece together the conversation using a bunch of terminals and fighting droids. The conversation is actually a bit interesting because it drops some revelations like Nok Drayan being part of the Star Cabal and calling in for what would be his ‘last meeting’ thus indicating the call had to happen right at the end of the Smuggler’s Chapter One story, and another part of the call mentions The Old Man from the Tatooine terrorist cell who apparently had some Star Cabal links before we dealt with him. You take the rest of the pieces back to Dromund Kaas where the Watchers assemble the whole thing to watch. Apparently it’s a conference call featuring Hunter, an unknown person simply called The Prince, Yem Leksende the CEO of the Czerka Corporation, another strange figure just called The Creeper, and Kolovish the Twilek matriarch from Tython that was part of the Jedi Knight story. The call references a lot of other events that occur in the other storylines such as the power plays of Darth Baras (Sith Warrior) or Darth Angral (Jedi Knight) and the awakening of the Children of the Emperor (Jedi Consular) but they also note that for each problem that arises on the Imperial Side, a Republic countermeasure has been prepared (the Jedi Knight and Consular respectively.)
However, while watching the Holocall there are frequent glitches of what appears to be a bald man that kind of reminds me of Watcher X but without the cybernetic implants or the filth. One by one everyone else in the call blinks out, then the actual people in the room blink out, until in the end its just the bald man and Keeper. The Bald Man then tries to choke Keeper. Snap back to reality where everyone is just watching the holocall and Keeper suddenly screams followed by her and every one of the Watchers collapsing. Well… that sucks. Seems that the recording was laced with an overlay to fry the minds of anyone with an augmented brain like the Watcher, coincidentally the only people who code decode the damn thing. So now Imperial Intelligence is without their Keeper or their Watchers. It’s going to be a rough go. Not to mention Hunter calls in as soon as you get back to the ship to rub it all in your face and flirt a bit. You can actually respond that he obviously honestly cares about you to which he admits that he enjoys saying sweet nothings to you and promises that once the Empire is destroyed, Intelligence broken and if you are still alive – your freedom shall be his gift to you. Yeah. He says that. I’ll be right back. I need a hot shower and some steel wool to feel clean again.
With the intelligence part of Imperial Intelligence pretty much rendered comatose for the foreseeable future, the only remaining Watcher that wasn’t present at the ‘brain hacking’ – Watcher Three – passes along Keeper’s files on your next lead. She apparently arranged a meeting for you on the planet Voss with a tea shop owner named Bas-Ton. When pressed as to why, Watcher Three has no idea and mentions clearly Keeper saw something in this data that eludes him but Keeper never operated on a hunch. Okay, Call me curious. You arrive on Voss to find that Bas-Ton is actually an Imperial in deep cover who underwent intensive cosmetic surgery to appear as a Voss. He replaced the real Bas-Ton and has been living out his days with Bas-Ton’s wife and children while extracting information on the Voss for the Empire. Keeper had him dig up some intel on a human who showed up five years ago and went from completely untrusted outsider to lavishly honored voss-friend in mere weeks. Something that the Empire and Republic have found impossible to even inch towards. This man, named Albathius to the rest of the Galaxy and “The Shining Man” to the Voss, knew everything about Voss society and culture, not just what to do but also how to do it and how to use it all to move up the ranks. He died and was buried with honors not long after unfortunately. Bas-Ton recommends starting with the tomb and that he’ll arrange a dead drop with a disguise for you.
You investigate the tomb of the “shining man” only to find that the sarcophagus is empty other than some dust and a scroll. There’s no real way for a body to decay into dust in such a short of time, so you grab the scroll and take some sample and hoof it back to Bas-Ton. Bas-Ton invites you to sit down for dinner with his “family” and you get to know some of them, namely the son and daughter who have taken an interest in an outsider like yourself. After dinner, Bas-Ton says he sent the samples of the dust to be analyzed but he can translate the scroll which talks about The Shining Man as “A Man of Prophecy who was made whole in the Wellspring of Healer”. The Wellspring is located in the Shrine of Healing where mystics heal the spiritually wounded but Bas-Ton warns you to heed the mystics’ instructions. Once you arrive the mystics offer you a chance to go through a ritual to revisit your past to help cleanse yourself. You can skip the whole thing with a dark side choice to just knock out or kill the mystic and move on. Either way you’ll end up in the ‘Vitalicron’ (No, I have no idea what it is or what it does. I just assume its like a Force Fitness App) chamber where you can snatch The Shining Man’s vitalicron and using the genetic code from the ashes (which according to the lab analysis I guess actually was The Shining Man) you unlock the glowing box and see a scene that talks about The Shining Man emerging from the forbidden Nightmare Lands with a scroll of prophecy from the “Chamber of Ash” that was one thought lost. By a complete coincidence, if one were to say forge a scroll of prophecy you would need materials from said Nightmare Lands. Hmm. Food for thought.
When you get back to the Tea House – and yes, in case you haven’t noticed EVERY portion of this mission ends with you going back to the Tea House in Voss-Ka, and YES. IT IS ANNOYING. – There you find that Bas-Ton has been taken hostage by a bounty hunter who is waiting for you in the Gormak’s territory. You do some more hoop jumping with finding corpse that have more messages and shorting out security stations, but ultimately you get to meet this bounty hunter and something is up. First of all, the cave you’re meeting in isn’t stocked with Mandolorians like you’d expect, but Hutt Cartel Security. Oh. That’s not good. That’s not good at- Oh Hi Faathra. Yup. Another face from the past, or technically face of someone associated with something you did in the past as you never met the young Cortess heir nor Faathra in person. But someone is sure making sure that these people know what you did to them. You take on Faathra and his goons but Bas-Ton is fatally wounded in the process. You can spare or kill the Hutt, but Bas-Ton is pretty much done for and has to be left to die in a cave because while he looks Voss, he sure as heck don’t bleed like one. He tells you to ask his Voss family to help you get into the capital and find a map to the Chamber of Ashes in the sacred carvings stored there before he passes.
So believe or not this is where it gets tricky. See, only a Voss may view the sacred carvings. The only way to get you in would be for Bas-Ton’s family to make you a Voss and the only way to do THAT is to marry one of Bas-Ton’s kids. So yea. You get hitched right there and then. Congratulations? Okay, you don’t HAVE to marry one of the kids. You can always threaten, injure and force them to fetch the carving for you. I mean, torture is momentary but marriage is forever right? So which is REALLY the Dark Side choice? Okay, yea. It’s the torture. Anyway, the carving will detail how to reach the Chamber of Ashes and when you find it, you’ll find something you probably weren’t expecting – a starship. Uh huh. Around the ship you find a gormak named Xanar who is waiting for the Shining Man to return because he watched the Shining Man and he too wants to “shed his skin and become Voss”. Well, that’s wonderful. And impossible. But mostly wonderful. But bad news, Xanar. Shining Man is dead. Oh, and Xanar doesn’t like that one bit. He attacks you and then activates the ship’s self destruct when he loses. The only positive things out of this is ripping a copy of the Shining Man’s data archive out of Xanar’s hands and a recording of The Shining Man begins to play that reveals exactly what the deal was with coming to Voss anyway. Apparently, The Shining Man was an agent of the Star Cabal who was scouting a location for the Cabal to send initiates to learn how to resist the Force. The Nightmare Lands was apparently one such possibility but it proved to be too much. The Shining Man also asks to “Send Hunter his love” once again hinting that same sex couples were in the game before the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion.
Pretty much as soon as you leave the exploding Chamber of Ashes, you get a call. The Three – the leaders of all of Voss – would like to speak to you. So first thing is first – I prepare my defense: “Hey, I never even MET these %*&holes before, okay?” Excellent. Now let’s go politics. Inside the grand ol’ chamber of the Three, you are told that you have been brought here to meet just as the Shining Man was because the prophecy that applied to Shining Man also applies to you. They explain that when the Shining Man came, he offered a deal to the Voss: Remain neutral from both the Empire and the Republic for 3,000 days and in exchange the Gormak will be defeated, no outsiders will ever step foot on Voss again, and the Empire and Republic will cease to be. Since the Three viewed it as a very small risk for a potentially great reward they agreed to the Shining Man’s and thus the Star Cabal’s terms. They then dismiss you and you can go on your merry way. Of course you can also turn it back around and say that since the prophecy said they would help the Shining Man, that you should be able to ask something of them as well. This gives you the choice of either asking them to aid Bas-Ton’s family (obvious light side), for the Voss to join the Empire or just to give you guns, lots of guns (That’s the dark side in case you’re curious).
When you get back to your ship, there’s a call from Watcher Three informing you to return to Dromund Kaas and head back to headquarters. These orders come from the only higher source than the Minister of Intelligence – The Sith themselves.
This is a fairly short interlude that mostly sets up the last world’s storyline. A Sith Lord named Lord Razer (giggle) has come to announce that Intelligence has failed to pull its weight in this war and thus will be dissolved. The Operations Division (The Ciphers) will be distributed to more “deserving” Sith Lords who can better utilize their talents. If that heartbreak wasn’t enough, Razer has Kaliyo arrested for being an anarchist and she’s dragged away screaming about how she’ll kill you and everyone else. Finally, Lord Razer personally delivers your reassignment. You will serve under Razer directly on his conquest of the frontlines of Corellia. Interestingly, he mentions that you were given this post at the request of the Minister of Intelligence. He then sends you back to your ship until you meet again on the battlefield. To kick you while your down, there’s a message waiting when you get back on the ship. Hunter has called to let you know that the dissolution of Intelligence was the Star Cabal’s way of getting back at you for poking around on Voss. Okay, this is starting to get ridiculously personal. Even with all that, your remaining crew asserts that they’re with you till the end of all of this, so it’s off to Corellia.
Ah Corellia. The last world on our little circuit where the Empire is making their big push into the Core Worlds. Lord Razer directs to meet with his top brass in the war room, where if you aren’t playing a human be prepared to have some racist… species-ist… hate speech uttered in hushed tones as you walk in. You’ll be assigned for the rank of Lieutenant for being ex-intelligence or Major if you are the Hand of Jadus. Razer calls the meeting where he declares his first mission for you is to pinpoint precision targets for his bombers on the ground so that they can lay siege to the outer defenses of the Republic’s precious and highly fortified Aegis Base. Once the defense have been destroyed, you are to take a portable warhead and detonate it inside the base. You SHOULD have enough time to get out. As you leave, you are contacted by an unknown female voice who refers to you by your old intelligence codename – Cipher Nine – who wants you to transfer troop data from the Republic computers to her to help identify patterns of the ‘Invisible Enemy’. The data is a bit of a shocker: Massive reinforcements coming from General Garza’s special forces (That’s the Havoc Squad assault on the Stronghold from the Trooper storyline) and a contingent of alien races bringing a myriad of troops (I can only assume that’s the Jedi Consular’s army) but the Empire is completely in the dark about all of this. The female voice tells you that you are free to warn Razer about this, and that you should finish up dropping off that warhead.
After blowing up the Aegis Base, you report back where you can warn Lord Razer about the reinforcements where the news is met with general uninterest. After all, who can stand against a Sith? Right? Anyone? Oh bother. Everyone begins to back up and leave the war room to move to another forward location and you get a chance to contact that female voice. Turns out it’s Keeper. She’s used the reports of her being ‘brain dead’ as a cover to work on setting up a final strike at the Star Cabal. We know that the Cabal has been manipulating military intel, but to know how much the numbers are being changed Keeper will need the raw data of the current standing forces and units lost on Corellia from Moff Zamar who is just finishing his report. If that report is entered into the system, the Cabal will change everything and we will never know how much they are altering. So you need to get his skyhopper to land prematurely by setting up false signals of attacks around Labor Valley so they think they have no choice but to land. Keeper gives you a code phrase to give Zamar if you want but warns that it will either make him comply completely or make him incredibly suspicious of you. When you reach the landed ship at the top of a building, you can skip the code phrase entirely and just shoot your way into the ship or actually use the handy code phrase which will cause the guards to escort you in where Zamar states that he “owes him this much.” They never actually say who ‘he’ is but considering all the possibilities of people who can’t be dead at this juncture in the story, I’m gonna go with the Minister of Intelligence. He gives you the report and then you get another choice to either ditch him there as the Republic closes in on his position for some Dark Side points, just flat out kill him for even more Dark Side points, or score a couple of Light Side points by escorting him out of the building and past the Republic assault team. Once you are done with however you choose to handle things, you send the intel back to Keeper who tells you that every advantage that the Empire thinks they have is an outright lie. Between Darth Baras, Darth Vowrown and Darth Thanaton all blowing troops on personal power plays (That would be the events of the Sith Warrior and the Sith Inquisitor storylines on Corellia) combine with the Republic’s reinforcements, the Republic and Empire are poised to completely wipe each other out. Unfortunately, in the wake of such a huge reveal, Lord Razer calls all his troops to the new forward base to push back against the Jedi. Argh! Stupid Razer and his stupid war. I hope someone just kills him.
So you arrive at the forward base to see a Jedi just kill Lord Razer. Huh. However that leaves all his subordinates now officially without a boss and they’ll just wander back to be assigned to a different Sith. You can always make a Light Side choice to tell them to go AWOL and form a guerrilla fighting force instead. Probably a good idea considering the completely boned odds we have just learned about, but how the heck is THAT a Light Side choice? “Yea, disobey your orders, go completely AWOL, kill people with no oversight! +10 Good!” Keeper has a better plan for you than either a guerrilla group or reporting back however. There’s apparently a deluxe airship floating around Corellia decked out with a massive party while observing the war. You get docking codes from some mercs, use them to sneak aboard when they are refueling their snacks (Pizza rolls don’t refill themselves!) and then once on board your goal is to get captured and leak fake intel about Imperial reinforcements coming to cause the Cabal to scramble to change things and giving you a window. There’s just one snag with all of that. Hunter is here. Well, okay he’s on holo. Apparently, this whole shindig is his ‘Apocalypse Party’ to occupy Corellia’s movers and shakers to keep them distracted with their own decadence so they won’t try and “do something” about their world burning down.
He finally lays out the Star Cabal’s big scheme (because it’s that point in the Bond films, kiddies.) Get the Republic and Empire, the Jedi and the Sith to wipe each other out completely, so for the first time in 1,400 years the ‘normal people’ can rule the galaxy for themselves. Naturally, the ‘normal people’ will be ruling from under the guiding hand of the Star Cabal, but is that really that much of a change? And right on queue from your Bond Movie Script for Dummies, the droids gas you with sleeping gas (or activate a neutralizer field if you had the forethought to bring Scorpio along for this) and take you downstairs to torture you for information. Why do they want information if they rule the roost already? Well, I can only assume it’s because there had to be some dumb reason to convince you to just stroll on up to the party like a boss so they better find out what. That’s when you get the chance to drop that fake intel that Keeper gave you which you can immediately follow with a quick break out by beating them up and running or just wait till they’re tired of hurting you and they’ll just drop you in a bush saying something about not being able to kill an Imperial officer without arousing suspicion. “No, I’m just going to leave them there to die, go someplace else, and just assume my evil plan went as planned.” /sigh. Whenever you escape or wake up I guess, you call into Keeper to get updates.
Keeper has one final move to make on the chessboard now that the Star Cabal is distracting with altering their master plan: eliminate the Star Cabal. But first, she needs you off the radar. You get some explosives and rig them around a building that has an escape tunnel hidden beneath it so you can fake your death. Right when you finish, an SIS operative who was a former member of one of the Eagle’s terrorist cells (apparently after the Eagle’s demise, the SIS went on a recruiting spree for former terrorists. Not shocking how you managed to get in during Chapter Two.) This operative is named Nyella Hawkins and if that scratches a memory or two it’s probably because she is the sister of Mia Hawkins, the terrorist cell member who helped you on Tatooine back in Chapter One. You fight her off and the SIS demands your surrender via holocall where you just taunt them, blow the building, and escape in the tunnels below. However, there is an alternate version of the events here that only take place if you spared Ardun Kothe and his team in Chapter Two. Ardun shows up and you can convince him of what Hunter is doing. Ardun will offer to help you take down the Star Cabal. So yea, there’s an option if you really liked those SIS guys who used your brain against you earlier. Once you leave the tunnels, Keeper contacts you with coordinates to the Starship Tenebrous to meet.
You arrive on the Tenebrous to find both Keeper and Kaliyo who was extracted en route to prison and has been doing jobs and getting payback from behind the scenes for the remnants of Intelligence. Keeper is less than well herself, trying to recover from the damage done to her mind by the Star Cabal. However, reunions are cut short by the Minister of Intelligence who needs to speak to you in private. He tells you that they have pinpointed a small space station in the Null Zone (which is apparently a thing that exists because I had to look it up on Wookiepedia but I’m not going to explain it here because it REALLY isn’t important to anything. Simply put it’s just a big area of empty space.) The Minister wants you to get on board, eliminate everyone, and retrieve any records they have that deal with their members, projects or dealings. This way the Empire can hunt down every last one of them. Then of course the Sith will want to keep that knowledge in ‘good hands’. That thought apparently takes the former Keeper down memory lane about how we started off in Intelligence thinking it was a distraction, then a means to enact change as he rose in the ranks, but slowly all of his ideals and dreams where replaced with goals and objectives. He states that for those in your line of work, you can only change so much. He then dismisses you and says that you have a ship waiting and a timetable before the Cabal escapes.
You arrive at the Star Chamber, the home base of the Star Cabal. The entrance is decorated with flags of every society, planet and great house you can encounter in the game. You sneak in and infiltrate through the air vents to reach the inner sanctum. There you can spy on the Cabal proper and identify the members. While they’re talking you can pick up on the mention of the death of Tol Braga from the end of the Jedi Knight Chapter Three story. You can wait and try to identify them all but Hunter will catch you and bring you down to fight, you can also choose to interrupt as a Light Side and talk to them but this pretty much has the same effect of a few fighting you and the rest running away, or you can shoot at them as a Dark Side choice which instantly kills one of the people you normally would fight which makes the combat a bit easier. If you’ve been Light Side and walk in announcing yourself, Hunter will sound overjoyed that you are alive before he makes a break for it, otherwise he’ll just express annoyance at your intervention. Once you deal with the members of the Star Cabal that didn’t run away (which is two provided you didn’t shoot one in the cutscene which in that case it would be… one) Hunter shouts out that you don’t just ‘get’ all the secrets of the galaxy. You then have to chase him through a series of insane puzzles that makes me wonder if The Shroud designed them. Finally, you reach Hunter in the chamber of the Black Codex, a datacron holding the collected knowledge of over a millennia of secrets that the Star Cabal hoarded and within it the power to reshape information and knowledge at will. But to get the Black Codex you must defeat its guardian – Hunter – who is willing to die to protect the Star Cabal and its mission. You have a fierce battle until Hunter collapses, on his death bed he reveals his final secret: He is a she. Trained by the best spies and assassins, including the Old Man on Tatooine, “Hunter” used the hard light holographic disguise technology that the Old Man offered The Eagle to pose as another person. It was easier she says than trying to remember her real name and homeworld that were “erased” by the Cabal when she was just a child. That’s why she liked you so much. You of all people could understand her plight. To have no real name, no true self, and forced to wear mask after mask until there’s was nothing left of you inside at all – just the job. If you played a male agent, she’ll admit that she’s even fallen in love for you. So I guess just take back all that stuff I said earlier about Hunter and same sex romance options. Boo on you Bioware. But hey that was actually great foreshadowing for this reveal, so kudos Bioware. Male agents can also kiss her just before she kills herself having failed her goal. Of course, if you chose the Dark Side option earlier in the conversation you just blew her brains out before she reveals ANY OF THIS, YOU MONSTER.
At this point is where the endgame for the storyline begins and it’s a doozy. A total of five different endings are open to you and while some of those are just variations on each other, they are different. So let me boil down what happens bit by bit. After Hunter’s death, either a pair of Sith will arrive and ask you to turn over the Codex to them. There are two different versions of this depending on whether Jadus is alive or not. However, if you didn’t kill Ardun Kothe and his team in Chapter Two and DID choose to ally with them on Corellia, Ardun will show up instead and ask for the Codex so it can be kept safe from those who would abuse it. At this point you have three choices: Take the Codex, Give the party that shows up the Codex, or Destroy the Codex.
Let’s start with that last one since it’s the easiest. You tell Kothe or the Sith that NO ONE should have the power of the Black Codex and destroy it, you go back to the Tenebrous and get yelled at by Keeper for letting a prime opportunity slip through your fingers. That’s endings #1 and #2 (Sith or SIS).
The middle option is to give the party that shows up the Codex. For the Sith this will either mean it gets turned over to Jadus or to some unknown party, a promise from the Sith that the traitorous Minister of Intelligence will be punished, and you are given a promotion in the new Sith Intelligence founded by Darth Zhorrid (or Darth Jadus if he’s alive). You get a chance to go back and give the Minister a piece of your mind and chew him out by either telling him that you were just looking out for number one and Sith have all the power, or that you want to help create an Intelligence where such blatant racism against Aliens isn’t so damn prevalent, or I think there’s a few other options. Or if you give the Codex to Ardun Kothe, you are invited to help make the Galaxy a better place by becoming a double agent for the SIS inside the Empire. All of your own free will this time – no mind control. Choosing to become a double agent is especially notable because it triggers an extra scene at the end of the Shadow of Revan expansion where you report in the Ardun Kothe after dealing with Revan. So that’s endings #3 and #4.
The final ending is taking the Codex for yourself. You give the Sith or Ardun a fake and take the real one back to the Minister of Intelligence. He tells you that he’s proud of you and that now you have the power to become a true force of power in the Galaxy. From the shadows, you will right wrongs for the Empire with no oversight from the Military or the Sith. True freedom to act by your own discretion or with your own conscious. Your first step is firing up the Black Codex and erasing all trace of yourself from existing. You are now a ghost and it’s time to get to work. That’s ending #5.
Some people say there’s a sixth ending as well, but try as I like I can’t really find one. I think they probably count the Jadus is alive/Jadus is dead versions of the ‘Give the Sith the Codex’ ending as seperate because there is some different dialogue between the two and I think a few different choices for your dialogue. Like being able to cite the ‘equality of fear’ doctrine that Jadus put forth as part of your reasoning for supporting Jadus.
All the endings end the same though. Sending out the intercom call on your ship and calling the entire crew to meet. One by one, they break from their usual tasks on the ship to join you. It’s a messy galaxy out there, people. Time to call in the cleaning crew.
A lot of people say that the Imperial Agent is the best story the game has to offer, and it is not hard to see why they think even if you don’t agree. It’s bold, it’s daring, and it does things that none of the other storylines dare to do. From the sheer mind#%@$ery of the second chapter, to the ruthless moral choices of who lives and who dies where there isn’t a clear cut line. It’s the ultimate gray morality play where there are no right or wrong answers. If you like playing a character more than a role, you’ll have a fun stress-inducing time here. I spend a lot of time on my first playthough standing up and walking around the room before deciding which button to push. I’ve played it three times and I would be happy to play more. But let’s talk about it in a more individualized aspect.
The first chapter was all about realizing exactly what Intelligence’s role in things are. You make deals with enemies, you let thousands die to save millions, and you pick up the messes of the Sith. There’s a real exploration of the fact that you are both the most terrifying thing in the Empire with the ability to silence and make vanish at will but in actuality are forced to cow tow to the Sith in almost every way imaginable as shown by the tiring ordeals imposed by the not entirely stable Darth Zhorrid who comes across more Queen of Hearts than Emperor Palpatine. The twist of Darth Jadus being the mastermind behind his own assassination really did a good job of setting the tone of ‘don’t trust anyone’. A theme that gets firmly cemented the further the story goes on. You get backstabbed by Imperial Intelligence, you learn that everyone and everything is having its strings pulled by the Space Illuminati, and the Sith are only interested in their own petty agendas. In the end, your crew is about the only people who don’t betray you at any point and even that seems to be on borrowed time with the likes of Kaliyo and Scorpio.
Speaking of the Space Illuminati, oh boy was that a base breaker in this chapter. Apparently people either love the Star Cabal being behind everything or they hate it. But honestly, I didn’t get that they WERE behind everything. They just nudged things. They didn’t create the Jedi Knight, but just set things up that they would be a counter to and be on a collision course with the Sith Emperor. The idea was to keep both size at dead even without letting them know that, so when the time came they would blow each other up with none left standing. The big threats seem to be countered through the individual storylines but how much of that was the Star Cabal ‘playing the player’ and how much of that was laying breadcrumbs and letting the natural hatred of the Jedi and Sith or the Republic and Empire opposing each other do the rest. That’s the way it felt to me at least. I did like how much of the other stories got tied in here though. It made the Imperial Agent feel like the center story that all the other stories overlapped just a little bit with. It’s not new. I mean, Risha from the Smuggler story was childhood friends with Vette from the Sith Warrior story, and Doc from the Jedi Knight seems to know Kaliyo somehow. But the Imperial Agent overlaps with most of the storylines instead of one or two.
Not only does it crossover with those storylines but explains some of the mysterious background details of the setting as well. Why are the Voss neutral? The Cabal arranged a deal. How did the Empire end up losing Corellia? In fighting between Sith and faulty numbers about how many loses there actually were. What the heck is ‘Sith Intelligence’ that comes out of nowhere at the end of Shadow of Revan? It was founded by Darth Zhorrid or Darth Jadus in the wake of the Star Cabal dissolving Imperial Intelligence. There’s just a lot to be gained by playing through the Imperial Agent if you enjoy the story of SWTOR. Even more so it contains a very possible hint of whats to come: Darth Jadus is still out there. While he can be stopped, he is never killed only imprisoned. He knows what the Emperor’s true plans and whether you join him or not, we know he flees the known galaxy to amass power and return to enact his plans to take over.
…Are we sure that Valkorian was Vitiate? Hmm. But hey, that just a theory – a SWTOR Theory. Thanks for reading!
<– Chapter Two || IMPERIAL AGENT ||
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first chapter of the Imperial Agent storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
The hunt is on the find ‘The Eagle’ and all his little terrorist buddies across the Galaxy. But before that can start, you’ve been called to a special meeting, with a special little insane someone. That someone would be Darth Jadus’ daughter – Darth Zhorrid. She has taken her late father’s seat on the Dark Council and she’s not about to give it up to anyone. Of course, she also delights in being an utter disappointment to her daddy. Where Jadus was cool, calculated, and seethed with a undercurrent of hate, Zhorrid is just plain batty. She sics her guards on you as soon as you walk in the door, then giggles when you kill them for instance. She comes off as completely insane right at the go and worse yet, you HAVE to work for her. She demands it. Of course, even that isn’t simple because while she is fine with you running around and going pew pew with terrorists, she wants you to also find the REAL killers of her father. Which in her head are decidedly not the terrorist but some vast conspiracy within the Dark Council. She wants that dealt with. Not for revenge on her father though. Oh no. But because she REAAALLY likes having his seat on the Dark Council and doesn’t want anyone to try and oust her. With that demand given, she shoos you on your way where Watcher Two drops your next assignment – destroy the terrorist cells on Balmorra and Nar Shadaa.
And since this is the last time I will be talking about a ‘Chapter One’ story… what the heck is the point of giving you both of these at the same time? They do the same thing with Alderaan and Tatooine. Watcher Two even mentions to handle the order you do them in “your discretion” BUT there’s a clear leveling curve to the game. The enemies on Nar Shadaa are several levels higher than Balmorra. You are meant to do them in order, but then they hand you both quests and say “Do them in any order” but you CAN’T. I dunno. That irritated me all the way back in Beta and I just wanted that off my chest.
The war torn planet of Balmorra is just ripe for trouble. It’s not exactly a shock that the first terrorist cell would turn up here. Actually what’s more surprising is that it’s just a singular terrorist cell. The Eagle could probably have the entire resistance and the Republic “defectors” in his back pocket. Instead, it’s just one dude named Gray Star and his team. Aside from the fact that Gray Star sounds like a character on some weird SatAM space western cartoon, this should be cake, right?
Well your first job is to get in touch with your local contact in Imperial Intelligence who hangs out in the office of a warehouse. He points you to HIS inside man who has already infiltrated the Resistance – one Sanju Pyne. You go and get the official introduction with the Resistance’s number two: Chemish Or (Her last name drove me nuts, because the quest instructions always say ‘Return to Chemish Or’ and EVERY SINGLE TIME I immediately asked in my head ‘Or what?’ before it finally dawned on me at the end of my third playthrough that it was her name). She wants you to do a quick job to run over to the Droid Factory and snag a crate of power cores. Depending on your conversation options, Chemish can be quite upfront with you about what they’re for – turning them into explosives to blow up Sobrik, the Imperial town on Balmorra.
Honestly, this is probably one of the more annoying missions here simply because it uses one of those big square rooms with a pit that you have to fight around clockwise to reach the destination (it pops up a few places in the game, and I always hate it) but you eventually find the power cores and get contacted by Sanju. Sanju warns you that a lot of innocent imperials will die if you hand back those power cores but he suggests a way that there is no possible means to detect foul play but render them harmless. Stick them in a giant magnet. Okay, not really but that is pretty much the idea. You run the crate through the machine and it fries all the cores. This is your Light Side option and the results work out in your favor. Kind of? Sure, Chemish is still super suspicious but there’s nothing she can pin directly on you. Even her own people attest that the cores are old and could have failed at any time. The dark side option of course is just bringing Chemish the cores. She pretty much trusts you that point.
How you chose to resolve the last mission determines how the next one begins. Either you are in the doghouse with Chemish and get one last chance to prove yourself, or she has a vital mission for her new cohort. The job is pretty much just ‘Go into a cave and download some data before wiping it’ but the complication comes in the form of the entire place being gassed with toxins that either drove the terrorists insane or just killed them. So you get to fight your way through to get the data. Again though, Sanju calls in with some brilliant advice. You should send him a copy of all the data so he can make sure that the Imperial spies on the list can all get extra protection or removed from the planet. Which you know, won’t be suspicious at all. I’m starting to think that Sanju is trying to get me killed. But it turns out I’m wrong. See, if you give them the data you are immediately make Chemish’s ‘suspect list’ but you are given a dark side option to instead throw Sanju under the bus and blame him for it all to keep your cover. Which may seem cruel, but if you don’t give Sanju the data, he’ll try and duplicate the list on his own and start sending off protection anyway and he will be killed by the Terrorist Cell (or you) when you return to their secret base.
So at this point, you are either on the Cell’s bad side or their star quarterback (or um… a midfielder I guess for anyone outside of the states?) regardless there will be one final super-special-awesome mission that only you have the skills to complete. So of course the game disregards your choices, right? Well, not exactly but we’ll get to that in a moment. The mission is to break out an unknown terrorist cell member from the Republic base holed up in the Balmorran Arms Factory. To do this you need to find said agent, deliver a package as well as coordinates to a safe house. Now when you arrive, provided he is still alive Sanju will contact you to reveal that this ‘agent’ is actually Gray Star himself, and Sanju has a plan to divert Gray Star to a different safe house where he can be apprehended by the Empire with Sanju replacing him and sending out dummy orders that essentially turn the cell into an unwilling arm of the Empire. This is probably Sanju’s best plan yet, but it can only come about if you make all the right choices leading up to this point (Light Side at the ‘Get the List’ mission, don’t take the dark side to sacrifice Sanju) otherwise you’re only real option is to just kill Gray Star and make a split back to Sobrik for debriefing. When you get back to the ship, Watcher Two contacts you to update you that they have intercepted terrorist information that refer to a mysterious new weapon called “Eradicators”.
Our next stop is Shadowtown in Nar Shadaa, an Imperial prison for dissidents that need to just be tossed someplace to rot away the years. Our contact here is in the high security cells and goes by the name ‘Watcher X’. X was imprisoned when he went mad and starting becoming more and more paranoid and making strange connections claiming conspiracies everywhere. But he’s still trustworthy as a former Watcher he has the sensation of physical pain when he disobeys are an order from a superior (part of the Watcher genetic programming and training) and if that doesn’t do it, he also has a bomb lodged in his head. So you know, incentive to not mess around. That doesn’t mean it’s not risky because Watcher X is a genius and been playing the game a lot longer than you have, as demonstrated by his ability to walk you through the steps of sizing him, the room, and the situation up when you first meet. Watcher X gives you the run down of the situation: the terrorists are manufacturing and testing a new genetic modification called ‘Cyclone’ that enhances the users speed and agility allowing anyone off the street to become a natural assassin. Downside is that the stuff is lethal, it will burn you up from the inside not long after injecting it. You need to shut down the manufacture and distribution of this stuff to cripple a potent tool of the terrorists.
Watcher X however will need a sample of the drug in order to track down its maker. This can be done by getting a sample of the stuff or having it in the bloodstream by getting it injected. He points you to a genetic modification black market dealer that would probably have connections and then offers to make it more convincing as a buyer by injecting you with a toxin that will temporarily mimic genetic damage (No, I don’t know how that’s possible. It’s science. I don’t have to explain it.) You can take the shot and it will give you a better ‘in’ with the buyer if you plan to go the peaceful route, yet sadly the dealers (a brother and sister pair) tell you that they just sold their last vial of cyclone to some evocii (The natives from Hutta). If really play up the fake the weak and broken act though, you’ll get some extra dialogue from Kaliyo. You then can track down the evocii dead in an alleyway and extract a blood sample. Of course, if you want to go the dark side route with this you’ll quickly find out that those sibling dealers were lying as after you blast their kneecaps and say some nice threatening words, they’ll take you for a slaver and hand over anything you want to leave them alone – including a vial of cyclone.
The next bit of the mission has Watcher X sending you to Duros to find a Bio-scanner in an old lab. This will lead you to discover the… /sigh ‘genetic markings’ identify that the company who produced it is called Synchet. Synchet however went out of business five years ago. Luckily there’s a former Synchet executive holed up still here on Nar Shadaa in a palatial casino suite that no one but his droids (and his one non-droid assistant) can gain access to. What you need again is an ‘in’, something to make this guy – Jordel Tlan – NEED you. Watcher X’s suggestion? Poison him. Use the chemicals in the lab with the bio-scanner and whip something up, then give it to a drink delivery droid and enjoy. Or I suppose if you didn’t want to be needlessly cruel (although not earning Dark Side points), you could just convince Netula, the assistant, to let you speak to Tlan by telling her to tell him it’s about Cyclone. There’s that I suppose. But really it’s much more fun to watch the fat jerk squirm a bit while you interrogate him and dangle the antidote like a juicy bait. Either way will net you the intel you want: VerveGen, the subsidiary of Synchet that dealt with genetic mods, was sold off in the liquidation years ago to an anonymous buyer who paid in cash. Well if that ain’t a big yellow “TERRISTS IZ HUR” sign, I dunno what is. Tlan points you to the VerveGen offices in upper Nar Shadaa where Watcher X has you hack into the HoloNet around the area because he’s blockaded from doing so.
You head back to Shadowtown to meet with X who has discovered a rather large deal is about to go down for a batch of Cyclone. Undoubtedly, the terrorist cell leaders will be in attendance and thus security will be higher than ever and all employees dismissed early for the day. The only ones permitted to enter or exit will be the mindless droids. Which thankfully Watcher X wants to turn you into. Okay not really, but he does want to stick implants into that will fool any sensors as well as project a hard light holoprojection giving you the appearance of a droid. He offers to give you anesthesia to knock you out for the surgery but you can refuse to let yourself be unconscious around Watcher X and get the implants put it while fully awake and not numbed up at all. You make it into the VerveGen offices no problem and can sit in on the meeting with the local terror cell leaders on HoloCall with The Eagle, and you are given ample chances to ‘spring the trap’ and announce your presence or just keep waiting until they all start wondering why the heck there’s a droid standing behind them. If you wait, you’ll get the option of letting the non-terrorists corporate flunkies go for some Light Side points. Then you fight! Afterwards, you find the sole survivor – a cyborg – shivering on the ground and you get the moral choice of either letting Watcher X hack his brain or convincing him to confess in exchange for his safety. Either way, you get your final target now that the leaders are dead: a massive communications hub used to schedule meets and drop offs with other terrorist cell members.
The adventure on Nar Shadaa ends with you destroying the massive array which sends a ripple effect across the HoloNet and glitches out systems planet-wide… including the Shadowtown prison complex. Yeah, you get a call from Watcher X right after who explains that yes, he has escaped. Yes, this was his plan since the moment you stepped into his cell. But the whole thing was mutually beneficially. He asks you to lie to Intelligence about his escape and in exchange will give you a ton of intel on everything from Watcher Two and her mental conditioning to Kaliyo’s full background and all known aliases. A tempting offer really without much time to decide since his call is nearly interrupted by Watcher Two’s. If you choose to confess that Watcher X escaped, you are tasked with hunting him down at the spaceport and eliminating him. Otherwise, well, good job agent. Head back to your ship. Job is done. Oh and Kaliyo thinks you’re a coward.
Did I say we were done with Nar Shadaa? I’m sorry. I meant Darth Zhorrid is here to be a pain in the patoot and send us right back there. Oh yes, how could we have forgotten our new dark lord Darth Zhorrid? She is most cross with us for failing to find Jadus’ REAL assassins. Not those silly terrorists, but the Dark Council members who are planning to usurp Zhorrid as well! Of course! But the Darth has a job for you to redeem yourself with. Go back to Nar Shadaa, find this guy named Vyord Yanol who used to be an advisor of Darth Jadus, and drag him back to Zhorrid so she can extract all of her daddy’s secrets from the “force-blind” (which I can’t help but feel is some manner of slur in this context, like mudblood or muggle) in exchange for a pat on the head. Or you can kill him and get slapped in the face. Also, fun fact about this interlude: If you do the mission normally, you find that Zhorrid’s office is covered in corpses from people she’s been torturing to make ‘music’ (Why do the good Darth’s all die and we get stuck with fruitcakes?) but if you make mention of blaming Keeper in the dialogue with Zhorrid at the start of the mission, you’ll arrive at the end to Keeper being tortured by Zhorrid instead. After that, Watcher Two contacts you with another clue about the Eradicator weapons: the terrorists want to “burn the galaxy” with them and they require targeting codes. My guess is either a satellite or an internet mob.
Tatooine is home to a terrorist cell called the ‘Ghost Cell’ due to their expertise in stealth and infiltration. Watcher Two directs you to a recent defector from the cell who left as a ‘matter of conscience’ who will only meet you in person. You then get in touch with them from holocall terminal. Not entirely sure that this person knows what “in person” means. She asks you to destroy the Imperial but easily hackable holocam droids all over the city and then trade them to a junk dealer who will give you a mouse droid for them. In your confusion about the trade, the mouse droid rushes off and you chase it to your meet location. Where the defector gasses the room and then points a gun at your head. Ah, isn’t a government job grand? Once its clear who you are and that neither party was followed, she apologizes and introduces herself as Mia Hawkins. Mia is a former resistance fighter against the Empire turned member of the Ghost Cell who left the cell when they started kidnapping civilians to use as ‘target practice’. She explains that the cell is insanely difficult to track because not only are they stealthy masters-of-disguise, they have hard-light holoprojectors that allow them to look like anyone. Crazy? Not really when you pulled the exact same stunt to pass off as a droid not one planet ago. The Cell is instructed by an individual simply called ‘The Old Man’ who carries out his teaching in ‘The Village’ (Not associated with M. Knight Shammylammy). Unfortunately, despite fleeing from there, Mia has no idea how to reach the Village. But she does know that there is a supplier that hangs out in the local cantina called ‘Dragon Eyes’. She suggests tagging suspicious people with trackers and then follow anyone that heads off when you announce you are looking for Dragon Eyes. Sure enough, Mia lets you know that she’s got the beat on a rodian who rushed off right after, but also that you have Ghost Cell assassins tailing you. Mia says she’ll go after the rodian, and directs you to a windfarm to deal with the assassins and… uh… hide the bodies afterward. Well, at least there’s an honest understanding between the two of you.
When you reach the wind farm and clear out the former inhabitants (Tusken Raiders, nothing lost) and set up some traps to blow up the assassins. After which, Mia shows up! She even starts to flirt with you some. How nice of her. And not suspicious at all that you said you were going to tail a rodian but are instead here and suddenly have become very attracted to me and oh gee is that your knife impaling my gut? Yea, if you don’t call her out on being a fake she stabs and poisons you. It’s actually one last assassin using that holographic disguise mentioned earlier. So you really don’t have an excuse to fall for this one. I mean, your not the Sith Inquisitor. HA. Meanwhile, the REAL Mia has tracked down Dragon Eyes who turns out is actually a goon for the Exchange named Milosh Varta. You head up to his home to find he’s not there, just his wife is home. And some of you right now are realizing the dire consequences that sentence poses especially in the wake of the ‘hiding the bodies’ comment and you would not be wrong. Indeed there are a variety of ways you can deal with Varta’s wife: you can force her to leave, you can force her to stay and then threaten and/or harm her to gain leverage or you can just kill her as a message to Milosh that you are not messing around. When Milosh finally comes home, the pay out of your previous action comes full circle with the addition of a few more things like blackmail or bribing Milosh into helping. In the end the result is pretty much always being that Milosh tells you that he has no idea where The Village is and that he leaves the supplies in crates in the desert to be picked up. When you return to Mia, you find that she has fled offworld knowing that no matter how things went down, you’d be forced to eliminate her as well. Aww. And we were having a nice/vaguely threatening relationship depending on which characters I was playing. She sent all her intel files to Keeper though. That’s nice.
So you hide in a box in the middle of the desert only to be whisked away to the far corner of the map. You fight through the Village to finally find the Old Man… and Mia. Apparently they used the holographic disguise to pose as some Imperials and arrested her. Apparently, Mia was part of the Old Man’s Big Plan (which would be a good name for this episode) in which he singled out Mia as the most likely to defect and ultimately lure an Imperial Agent out to the middle of nowhere to get killed and replaced by a Ghost Cell holo-disguised doppelganger. Which I would criticize as a plan where a lot of things could go wrong, but at the same time it actually worked out for him and I came. So uh… who’s the real fool? Anyway, you fight the Old Man and his team and then get a light/dark choice that ultimately doesn’t matter because if you don’t kill him, he’ll just kill himself. Then you can deal with Mia by either: letting her go, asking her to surrender, or just kill her. And that’s another cell wrapped up. Back on the ship, Watcher Two has another update. Intelligence had a failed raid on the Eagle’s base of operations. They found the place trashed and the Eagle already gone. However they have gained new intelligence on the ‘Eradicators’. They are techno-organic weapons with organic batteries fitted inside a weaponized technological shell and that means the terrorists can grow more wherever they have land to grow crops. That’s bad. Yea, we’ll go with ‘bad’ for that news.
Last we have Alderaan, home of the never ending dumb politics. Here we are supposed to make contact with a man named Vector Hyllus who has been absorbed into the hive mind of the local insectoids, the Killiks. He will hopefully provide direction to a financier of the noble houses that has been funneling money to the Eagle’s terrorist network. Vector is our first new companion since we met Kaliyo way back on Hutta, and he’s also the female agent love interest. He’s apparently also quite popular with the ladies? I know of several people I’ve met online over the years that profess to adore the bugboy but honestly I always found him a bit off putting. He’s kind and curteous as would be expected of a diplomat but everything is coated in this veneer of ‘not right’ that comes from his Killik joining. Be it the black eyes, the tendency to refer to the first person as ‘We’ instead of ‘I’, or just the weird offhand comments about the songs and colors of the universe… Vector always strikes me as a guy who is one secret away from being a stereotypical serial killer. As opposed to Kaliyo who is possibly an actual serial killer. Anyway, Vector informs you that based on the documents he was given, the financier deals with a large number of Alderaan’s noble houses including House Cortess who is a vassal of the Imperial aligned House Thul. He mentions that would be a good place to start your trail and then gives some tips on how to approach them (like show strength, be courteous, and DO NOT MENTION YOU ARE FROM IMPERIAL INTELLIGENCE.)
House Cortess follows in the same vein as pretty much every other house on Alderaan: They like to make you work for it. Favors, go here, go there. For instance, before Cortess even lets you in the door, you have to go and find their droids that disappeared. Not even their men. DROIDS. Then you get to meet the Baron and Baroness who have nothing more than a name to give you: Denri Ayl. The one person that seems to fit the profile given to you by Vector. But Denri has been missing for months, and no one knows where he went. The Baron assures you he will do his best to find it, but it’s probably not best to rely on the guy who lost droids five minutes from his front door, so we should probably check in with Vector again. Luckily, the Killiks come through using their weird hive mind thing. They ‘remember’ a member of House Alde who had dealing with Denri Ayl and that the House had extensive records kept their. This leads you to break into the massive estate of House Alde and find Ayl’s journal in their databanks. There you have some insight into what Ayl has been doing: he brokered a deal with the Mindak family on Dromund Kaas (See: The Prologue), helped set up a construction effort in the Broken Valley on Balmorra, and also meetings with individuals only referred to as “C” and “EE” that warn him away from dealing with House Thul (who has Imperial ties) just before the Jadus assassination. Hmm. Presenting these and more to Vector allows you to confirm that yes, it appears Denri Ayl bankrolled the terrorist attack on the Eradicator.
Taking the info you’ve gathered to the Baron will also net you an additional clue as he assembles your intel with his vaguely never defined gathered intel (my guess is that it’s actually nothing and he’s just reading the documents you have with local knowledge in mind), and he tells you that it appears that Denri’s last dealings were sending him to House Rist – likely for protection – and that since they are a house of assassins and thugs that you should avoid them and just wait for Denri to finish his dealings there. Should only be a month or two. Which is kind of a no go. Then the Baron’s wife – Chay – chats with you after her husband leaves. She confides inn you that she believes you can turn the tide and show the other noble houses not to fear Rist. Also she tries to seduce you. For some reason. I mean you can take her up on it. It doesn’t really change anything from I can tell. Just happens.
The trip to Rist is a pain in the rear – dealing with Rist always is in these missions. Who the heck builds their home in a single long winding corridor? I get the whole Rist = Hiss sound alike and poison assassins thing but you don’t have to make your home into a giant snake too. Anyway, you finally find Denri Ayl there and he taunts you saying that he knew you were coming and that you have his files before sending Rist goons at you while he runs away. You kill a bunch of faceless mooks and then fight Denri proper to be given the choice to: Dark Side – Kill him OR Light Side – Offer to help and then have him die anyway. These Light Side options don’t ever seem to work out in this storyline, do they? Well maybe his computer will have some info. Oh lookie he had a phone call just before we got there. With Baroness Chay Cortess. She cheated on my cheating with her! Or something. Well perhaps we should just have a chat about that in person and see what she has to say about- oh. We’re not allowed in anymore? Siccing the attack droids on us? Do they shoot bees? Or is that Vector? Speaking of Bugboy, he’s got a plan to get us into House Cortess – break the generators using “fingerlings” (small killiks who nest on the fingers of big killiks. Which is disgusting. And creepy.)
Once the generators are blown, it’s back one last time to House Cortess to “visit” that is to say team up with the Killiks to completely rip apart their defenses until you get inside. There you find the Baron and his wife arguing about what she has done. The Baroness defends her actions as doing what was necessary to protect House Cortess’ interests which confuses me a bit. Which part was protecting their interests? Joining forces with a faction of Anti-Imperial Terrorists? Sending a representative of the Empire to their deaths and then threatening them directly when they returned alive? Seducing you? What part of any of this actually would have helped House Cortess in the long run? You are a vassal of House Thul who is aligned with the Empire. Your estate is literally adjacent to Thul’s territory. There is no way this ends well for you. The Baron seems very much aware of the utter stupidity his wife has committed and has her killed right in front of you to prove his loyalty. However regardless of if view this as unnecessary, sufficient, or not enough it doesn’t matter. The Killiks want their share for helping out in this plot too and they’ve decided that they want House Cortess’ lands and estate for the expansion of their nest. That means the er… ‘removal’ of the former residents by some means. This is where it falls down to you to make the choice. You can choose to defend House Cortess right after they put you through hell and tried to have you killed, thus having to fight several waves of Killiks and making Vector betray the nest out of loyalty to the Empire or you can give the killiks what they want and kill the remaining members of House Cortess who would rather die than have ‘bugs’ live on their land (It was established on the annoying droid mission way way waay at the start that Cortess dislikes the Killiks to the point of being borderline racist about it.) Once the decision is made and the battle won, it’s time to send off the Baroness’ files back to the Watchers to comb over and to get off this planet. Keeper contacts you to let you and Vector know that he has contacted the Diplomatic Service to have Vector permenantly reassigned to your command.
OH! And fun side note, after the Vector recruitment cutscene you can run back inside House Cortess. If you gave the place to the Killik’s they’ve already begun converting the place into a hive. Just a little easter egg that I missed the first few times.
Back on your ship, there’s an emergency call from Watcher Two: They’ve tracked down The Eagle to a swamp on Hutta. You take off and head into the base, fighting your way to the rear where you find The Eagle letting his people know that they need to scour the swamps for something. As soon as they leave, he reveals that he knows you are there and the mission was a pointless errand to spare them from you. The Eagle then waxes on and on about the growing revolution and how the rebellion won’t stop regardless of what ever you do to him. Typically freedom fighter rhetoric. However there are a few bits of info that he will drop that is useful to know. Namely that the Eradicators that have already been launched will not be stopped by killing him. They are designed to just start randomly blasting things if they don’t get orders after so long. Also that The Eagle has an accomplice, a mysterious partner that has aided him from within the Empire and provided him with the technology for the Eradicators. The Eagle only holds half the codes for the Eradicators, and the unknown partner holds the other half. The battle with The Eagle is short and ends explosively as the terrorists seems to prefer taking himself out with a thermal detonator than be taken captive. In the wake of the explosion, Watcher Three arrives with a team of soldiers to confirm the Eagle’s claims. The Eradicators will begun randomly blowing stuff up unless you find the mysterious partner and their half of the code.
Back on Dromund Kaas, Keeper has called a meeting with you and Watcher Two. An operation to start dismantling Eradicators is underway based on the unlaunched one you found on Hutta, but the projections aren’t looking good. It would take up to weeks to find and dismantle them, and there is no way of knowing how long it will be before they activate. The only sure way to deal with this threat is to find the codes. Luckily, Watcher Two has been analyzing the transmissions from The Eagle’s base and found a number being sent to the uninhabited Artus System, so that’s where your search will begin. Before you leave however, Darth Zhorrid would like a word. You can also have a brief aside and romantic entanglement with Watcher Two before you leave. You find Zhorrid battered and bruised from going to make a scene at the Dark Council demanding respect and power and the Council in turn decided to kick her Sith butt. She demands her revenge on the terrorists since they are the ones who put her in this un-respected position before her tutelage under her father & master was complete. Naturally, you will be the one to do this for her because you are her most trusted agent or the agent who owes her for failing so many times.
When arriving in the Artus System, you find and land on an Imperial Dreadnaught drifting in the depths of space. You rendexvous with Watcher Two who gives you an ear piece so she can talk to you through the ship. Then you begin exploring the place. There’s a bunch of crazed people who will wildly attack you if you get close all over the ship and some brief journal entries that just go to explain exactly how this all ended up being like this: The ships residents began as 100 or so survivors of a year long trip that became a disaster before they were saved and subsequently abducted by one they only refer to as The Master. The Master subjects the survivors to psychological torture – depriving them of resources, randomly trapping them in darkness for unknown periods of time, and various other stress inducing acts – driving some to insanity, some into gibbering messes of fear, and others into a pure rage. You eventually find the helm of the ship and find out who the Eagle’s ally, the Imperial Traitor and The Master is:
That’s right. Darth Jadus. The Sith whose assassination launched the entire drive to find The Eagle. He apparently faked his death to fall outside of the eyes of both the Empire and the Dark Council, he manipulated and supported the terrorist cells into uniting under the Eagle to manufacture the Eradicators and disperse them across the Empire, and then he drop all his responsibilities onto his inept daughter to ensure that the Dark Council had their hands full dealing with her spoiled tantrums and whiny demands. Why did he do all this? To use the Eradicators to annihilate the rest of the Dark Council’s power bases and strongholds, to spread fear of an unknown threat in the sky, and then to return from his self-exile to claim the Empire as his own and begin his ‘Epoch of Fear’. All he needs now to complete his master plan is you and your half of the codes.
Watcher Two begins crunching the numbers in your ear and laying out the odds of survival in the various possibilities to counter Jadus’ plan. Watcher Two recommends that you activate the Eradicators just long enough to gain Jadus’ trust and allow you to sabotage the ship so it can’t escape, then trap Jadus in a ray prison until the military arrives. Of course if you don’t want to risk the few tens or hundreds of thousands of lives that might get wiped out while you handle things in Watcher Two’s plan, there’s the much riskier plan of shutting down the Eradicators completely which will leave you to directly deal with Jadus’ wrath and even if you manage to get away from him, it’s a suicide run to go set the ship to explode and then get off before it does – worse yet, if gives Jadus a chance to escape. Of course, there’s the third option. One that I don’t think you can actually do in any of the other storylines: You can join Jadus. Yea. Sign on with the villain. We are talking about a man who wants to disable the Imperial’s obsession with a hierarchy of lineage and power and establish equality for all under a regime of eternal fear and terror. Especially if you’re an alien in Imperial Intelligence I can’t say that would sound horrible. I mean, your treated like scum despite being the secret police. Watcher Two will protest, but if you agree with the “bad guy” you can by all means join him. If you do, you won’t have to scramble across the ship, you can rat out Watcher Two in the hanger, and Darth Jadus names you his “Hand” (Formally, The Hand of Jadus) and sends you to Dromund Kaas while his Eradicators rain down destruction to clear up his chair – in other words he wants you to kill Darth Zhorrid.
The first chapter pretty much ends right after the mission. Either Jadus is arrested, Jadus escapes or you serve Jadus. The eradicators either did no destruction, minimally acceptable destruction, or ALL the destruction. Now, of course, what becomes of you from some of these choices… well, well see when we get our next big mission in Chapter Two.
The Imperial Agent story has been compared to James Bond in a favorable sense, and this is the chapter where quite honestly it probably shows that the best. You are traveling around the galaxy in pursuit of an evil organization bent on destroying your government, and you have to infiltrate, sneak, lie and kill your way to success. Each planet brings a little bit of something different to the formula, from working under cover to infiltrate the cell on Balmorra to dealing with a dangerous rogue agent on Nar Shadaa to having to work with the enemy on Tatooine. Honestly, of any of the worlds it’s Alderaan that is probably the weakest. I mean no one’s motivation is explored or even makes a lot of sense. The secret intel you get from the financier does very little to give insight to the plans even once you know the truth of the ending.
Speaking of the ending, I will say that I am NEVER going to get tired of that twist. Even more so than the first time I saw it, which had my jaw on the floor, the second and third times I had the fun of actually getting to see exactly how much of that twist is set up in advance. Oh and it is. The first time I saw it did seem to come out of left field, but damn there is PLENTY of hinting in the Prologue about what Jadus is planning to do. All his talk of the democratization of fear and showing people his new vision of the galaxy. Yeah, that’s this. That is exactly what the Terrorists are doing. They are democratizing fear. How did Jadus survive? Well, he knew the attack was coming. He was the one commanding the terrorists. That’s also why he would do seemingly stupid things like demand that one lone agent be sent to stop them in the Dark Temple instead of squad. He wanted you specifically – his chosen – to see his machinations. Jadus was evil, but a genius as well. Heck, I was honestly expecting that The Eagle didn’t even really exist outside of holo-broadcasts. Then the fact that you can actually join him?! Oh man, how different would that be if the Jedi Knight could chose to join Darth Angral at the end of Chapter One? Or have the Trooper realize that Tavus was right and go rogue? That’s pretty much what this story is offering you.
Now is the first chapter flawless? Naw. There’s little bumps and problems here or there. The interlude mission here is pretty pointless, then again it’s a job for Zhorrid so isn’t that just par for the course. The characterization can seem weird on some of the NPCs, especially the one-world-only characters. Darth Zhorrid pretty much only exists to be annoying and make you hate working with the Sith that rule over you, and then she just vanishes from the story completely without closure unless you chose the join Jadus and kill her. Supposedly she comes back to play in one of the six endings of Chapter Three as the founder of Sith Intelligence, but she has no affect on the rest of the story. The Intelligence team however is given a lot of time to shine and get to know them, I had no issue recalling Watcher Three when he came back at the end of the Eagle’s base, Watcher Two is a great character as well as Keeper. The only new companion you get here is Vector, and as I said before I have never been a fan of the bug man. Though to be fair, I think that was part of his design. He seems to be very ‘alien’ in a Lovecraftian sense in terms of what he says, how he speaks and of course those pure black eyes. More power to you if you like the guy, but honestly I think he fits in more with the ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ crew than on my ship.
I will say that just like the prologue before it, this chapter does a wonderful job of setting up things of whats to come. From plot elements that will become more relevant further down the line, to just setting the tone of mistrust and deception that oozes from every chapter of this story. This isn’t the Jedi where good and evil are oh so easy to differentiate and this isn’t the Sith where power plays are these massive spectacles on par with the Red Wedding. This is the world of espionage – and you have no allies here. Till next time.