|| IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter One –>
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the prologue 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.
Welcome to the cleaning crew, Agent. From this day forth you will have no identity, no friends, and no allegiances to anyone but us. You are a ghost, a shadow, a passerby that is forgotten as quick as you are seen. Your mission will be to protect the Empire’s interest across the galaxy, to serve the orders of the Sith and to tidy up their messes. This is your life now, Agent. Welcome to Imperial Intelligence.
The Imperial Agent is exactly all that and more. While the bounty hunter claims a paycheck, and the Sith war for power with each other, it’s you that will be behind the scenes of everything, picking up the pieces and ensuring that no matter what happens – the Empire wins. Imagine James Bond, meets Ghost in the Shell, meets Mission Impossible, meets the Bourne Identity, all tossed in a blender of intrigue and action with a finger fully pressed on frappe. That’s what you are in for. You’ve probably heard murmurs across the internet about how the Agent story is probably one of the best stories in the game, and this is not blind hyperbole. But that’s for later, and now you are a fresh faced agent, just created, completely green and arriving on Hutta. Let me give you the sit rep on the Prologue for the Imperial Agent.
Oh of all the places to get stuck on your first mission. This has got to be some kind of form of Imperial Intelligence hazing. Hutta, the stinkball, is home to a powerful hutt named Nem’ro. Nem’ro controls a ton of the resources here, and it’s up to you to secure a partnership with the hutt and the Empire by any means necessary. Your handler, named “Keeper”, which I guess is supposed to be cute because of the ragged mangy akk dogs we are that we need a keeper not a coordinator or a commander, wants you to secure a new identity from an alien in town and make a good impression with the Hutt-in-charge and get to working on setting up an alliance. The alien – Jeeg – has the identity of ‘The Red Blade’ set up for you. It’s the name of a criminal of some renown, no one knows what they look like and the Real Blade is supposed to be on the other side of the galaxy by now. The only real hiccup with this plan is that a couple of low life parasites made off with the crate of goods you were supposed to present to Nem’ro, so it’s up to you to get them back and get to Nem’ro for a meeting. The meeting can go well or decent based on your choices really. Either way you get introduced to several members of Nem’ro’s crew: Karrells the old timer, Kaliyo the muscle, and Tothrezen the… uh… dumb one that Nem’ro likes? Really Toth doesn’t do much other than he’s the current favorite, a complete jerk, and dumber than bricks so Karrells always has to pick up his messes. Keeper identifies as Karrells as the best target to get buddy buddy with and you go off using a bit of overhead info to help put Karrells back in Nem’ro’s limelight.
How you do that is pretty much taking care of problems for Nem’ro around the planet. Doing things like reclaiming ore from the renegade evocii (the locals that sold their planet to the hutts) that was stolen from Nem’ro’s mines, and breaking into the the rival hutt Fathra’s factory and blowing up a drilling shaft that’s being used to pillage Nem’ro’s gas deposits. You’ve pretty much ensured yourself a man on the inside with Karrells until a slight problem arises. Karrells’ kids? His sons that he won’t shut up about? Turns out they were just killed. By a Sith. So the chances of Karrells being sympathetic to joining the Empire pretty much will be blasted into space as soon as he gets the news. Thus Karrells turns from your best asset into your biggest liability and we all know what to do with liabilities. Actually, beyond the straight order to just kill Karrells, you can technically just tell him to lay low, get the heck out of town, and not to contact anyone in order to spare his life. Which seems counter to doing your job, but hey, he was a nice guy for a gang leader murderer thug.
The plan at this point radically shifts as you actually pin the murder of Karrells (or the attack if Karrells hid) on the rival hutt Fathra and using a Republic computer spike so it looks like the Republic and Fathra joined forces to take out Nem’ro. But Nem’ro needs proof before he goes to war. You volunteer to find said evidence for justice for poor Karrells (he was your buddy after all. Mwahaha.) and Tothrezen accepts your help. However, Kaliyo is more suspicious. She follows you to your room and confronts you about killing Karrells. Your only choice really is to let her in on the loop because as it turns out – She’s not mad! She actually wants in on the heist. So you introduce her to Keeper and he offers her a job working for Imperial Intelligence under your command. She takes the job under the condition that if Keeper ever refers to her as a loyal servant of the Empire again she’ll break his jaw. With that settled it’s off to Fathra’s!
The ultimate goal inside the palace is pretty easy. You kill lieutenants to get their security badges and then download the altered files that show that Fathra has been dealing with the Republic. Of course, a bunch of Fathra’s goons try to stop you but that really doesn’t slow you down. The actual choice to the whole thing comes in the form of whether you scorch part of the files or not. Why? Well these are all of Fathra’s records. This shows that Fathra has had dealings with the Republic now, but also that he’s been in cahoots with half of the businesses that work for Nem’ro. If Nem’ro finds out, Hutta’s gonna run red with blood which will make Nem’ro happy but destroy a lot of his merchant empire on the planet. So it’s actually a nice real difficult choice. You risk exposing this whole thing as a scheme if you damage the files, but you protect Nem’ro’s assets or you can just focus on keeping Nem’ro happy and if he slaughters his own city it’s his own dumb fault. Either way, the records are proof enough that Nem’ro’s hated rival is working with the Republic and that he needs just as much help, so he gets on the holo contacting the Empire for assistance. Mission complete. Almost.
It would seem that on your way off world that the actual, real Red Blade is here and he’s not pleased that you’ve been using his identity. How did he find out? How did he get here so quick? I dunno, but I blame Jeeg. To me though he’s just another loose end to wrap up. And by that I mean bury in the ground completely. Or I suppose technically just leaving him dead on the hangar floor. That works too.
Welcome to the home world, Agent. Here you are the secret police and the clean up crew. Which is a weird position to be in when people are terrified of you and at the same time you have to clean up their messes. Speaking of messes, no sooner than you arrive at Imperial Intelligence HQ and you bump into Keeper and Darth Jadus himself. Jadus is a creepy ol’ big sith dude who always wears a mask. Honestly, he’s probably one of the cooler Sith NPCs in the game. He’s very philosophical, not afraid to exert his power, has a unique agenda (more on that in a moment), and looks bad ass. He’s not interested in the power plays like Baras or untold hidden power like Zash. Best of all (or worst of all depending on your outlook) he seems to have taken a liking to you in particular, and tells Keeper he wants you to be the agent for the job he was apparently describing before you arrived. That job? Eliminating a terrorist cell on Dromund Kaas. A uniquely boring terrorist cell at that, as they have no formal name, no motive or connections, and their only reason for resorting to terrorism is literally “we are not satisfied with Imperial policy.” I’ve seen tweens on Tumblr with better reasons to get upset, let alone resort to terrorism.
Keeper sends you out to go find an alien slave that was once used to transport messages between political dissidents and supposedly kept copies of said messages “encoded” in his native language. It’s encoded in the sense that Imperial nobility are too fricking racist to bother to learn any language other than Basic, I guess. Oh yea. And if you play an agent that’s not a cyborg, human or pureblood? Get used to putting up with the incredible racism from your team mates and other Imperials. They love bringing it up. Like calling you a ‘creature’ or ‘alien’. Lots of “you people” crap. You can also get to know the rest of the Imperial Intelligence team before you head out. They are:
- Watcher Two: Genetically engineered to be a ‘Watcher’. But she has a quick tongue and can even keep up with Kaliyo in the insults department.
- Lodenth: The token alien. He’s here to help understand Alien stuff. Like psychology. Or reading something other than Aurebesh.
- Fixer Twelve: A former agent turned mechanic. He claims to be the guy who keeps the whole place running, which makes me wonder what the hell the other eleven fixers do.
- Watcher Three: The new guy. I will not be shocked if he dies. He is after all, the new guy.
If you are wondering where Watcher One is at the moment, he’s gone supposedly AWOL working with Darth Angral in the Jedi Knight storyline. Anyway, you head off to find the slave in question – one Jurithus by name – who got caught up in the slave rebellions surrounding the giant statue in the jungle. You hunt down and question a rebellion leader named Rebellion Leader and inject him with a serum you picked up before you left HQ. This pretty much turns his mind into Jello so you can extract info from him. Unfortunately the info you get is that Jurithus died in the jungle (or on the opposite platform from the one you’re on it turns out. Again, Jello.) You can then put rebellion leader Rebellion Leader out of his misery and shoot him (Dark Side) or command him to turn himself in (Light Side). You go grab the datapad and since it’s “encoded” it’s off to Lodenth to translate. Keeper checks in with you and tells you to head back right away – Darth Jadus wants a word with you.
Darth Jadus finally lays out his grand design to you personally, since you are his ‘personal agent’ now it seems. He no longer wants Dromund Kaas and the Sith to be central repository for hate and fear in the Empire. He wants to ‘democratize fear’ so that every citizen of the Empire on every world – be they human, Sith or alien – can experience true fear and absolute hatred. This is something he clearly cares deeply about and it’s weird. On one hand, that’s messed up. On the other hand, he wants everyone – not just the Elite – to experience the same thing. Which is a unique perspective in the Empire where society is firmly divided between Sith and pretty much everyone else. Jadus is planning on taking a starship with a few thousand dignitaries, sith and even slaves around the Galaxy to show them his ‘vision’ for the Empire and he wants to ensure that these dissidents don’t do anything to stop this. He asks you to trust absolutely no one, since he knows that the terrorists to have contacts in the highest levels of power throughout the Empire. He finishes the meeting by asking you to kneel before him. Which you can. Or not. If you choose not to – he kills you. Not just in a cut scene. You die. You have to rez. He seems to expect you to be able to come back from being killed also. Which officially makes Jadus the first character that I know that is aware that death is temporary and may in fact be leaning on the fourth wall a bit.
After the meeting and possibly coming back from the grave, Watcher Two sends you to the cantina for your next lead. Apparently, a weapons designer by the name of Theovor Mindak has contacts with the terrorists. But Mindak works for the rogue sith lord Grathan. You need a better in. Luckily, Mindak has a spoiled party girl daughter who is upstairs at the moment. You can try to use diplomacy to cut a deal where she inherits all her daddy’s wealth and power (Light Side), flirt with her (She’ll see through it), or just beat her (or a combination!) to get the info out of her and get her access codes. You can also kill her when its over if you want to tie up loose ends (Dark Side). Using the access codes, you can find Mindak in his lab and you find out why he helps the terrorist – because he is dissatisfied with Imperial policy. Okay, actually he’s a bit more specific. It seems that Imperial Intelligence grabbed his wife one night and hauled her off to who knows where and she was never seen again. No word on WHY she was hauled off, but I can see how this would sour his outlook. It doesn’t matter if you go light or dark, sincere or snark with Mindak, you’ll have to fight him and his robots either way. Once he’s dead, you grab his files and head back to base while Watcher Two deciphers them.
Once you get back, it’s time for a meeting. Darth Jadus phones in as he’s readying his ship – The Dominator – for launch. We know the terrorist’s target: The power conduits to Kaas City. By blowing just one it would set off a chain reaction that destroy every power source across the capital. All the conduits are under strict military guard save one – the one that lies under the Dark Temple. At this point we finally get some explanation as to what the deal with the temple is. Like that apparently the temple was only opened up just under a month ago and after workers started vanishing to an ‘unknown phenomena’ (ghosts) they blocked access to it. No I don’t know how they built a conduit under it without ever being able to go inside until just recently. Especially since the access tunnel is IN the Temple. Though I suppose the terrorists could have just used that tunnel to blow a hole into accessing the conduit. Still, this is the first but far from the last time we’ll receive information about the game’s setting that is exclusive to the Agent’s storyline. Keeper wants to send in a squad of agents to suppress the terrorists, but Jadus says that the Temple is sacred and he will not allow non-Sith to just run about willy nilly in there. Jadus decides it will be you and you alone that goes into the temple. Keeper is not pleased, doubly so if you thank Jadus for the job.
The mission is actually really simple. You bust in, take down three whole bombs, and then find an injured terrorist to interrogate. You can talk or hit him all you want but what you get out of him is this: There are multiple cells across multiple worlds. Their reasons for doing this are vague but seem to center around the idea of standing up against Imperial Intelligence in particular. And if you let him talk long enough instead of straight killing him when given the opportunity, he’ll reveal he’s terrified of the ghosts taking his mind more than he is afraid of you. You can help him out by getting him out of there (Light Side) and he’ll be more ‘cooperative’ in looking for the Cells, or just ditch him in the Temple to let the ghosts have him (Dark Side).
When you get back to headquarters, the entire place is in chaos. It would appear that while you were out stopping the terrorists, they had a secondary target in mind – The Dominator. That’s right. They blew up Darth Jadus’ flagship just as it was leaving Dromund Kaas, killing all three thousand-ish people on board including Darth Jadus himself. This is followed by a proclamation by the terrorist leader – The Eagle – to the entire Empire. He explains that they have proven that the Sith are not all powerful by killing Jadus. That they will continue to strike. That the Empire is bad and needs fixed. That Imperial Intelligence can just grab you if you even think anything bad about the Empire and make you vanish. Really, it’s mostly generic freedom fighter rabble rousing but we know who was behind it. Time to go ge- wha? Oh there’s one more mission? Ah yes. The exciting conclusion of chasing down a starship before it leaves and planting a mouse droid on it before the military blows things up. You run in and click a crate, then watch a cutscene before leaving. That’s it. Whoo hoo. Despite the ‘we must beat the military there’, they never do show up. Kind of a let down after the awesome reveal of the Eagle and the destruction of the Dominator. I guess they had a quest quota to fill for the XPs? Meh, we get the new title of “Cipher Nine” out of it, and our own ship. Also, don’t be a goof like me. Just because Keeper says that they’re trying to leave the starport. THEY ARE NOT AT THE STARPORT. They are at a docking area just across from the Cantina in Kaas City. I quick traveled all the way to the actual starport only to be left very confused.
The start of the Imperial Agent is a full blown taste of what you’ll be getting in Chapter One. There’s intrigue, deception, manipulation and eliminating lots of enemies of the Empire. In a lot of ways it feels very straight and by the book, but on the other hand it offers you a real chance to get into the headspace of the secret police of the Empire. They aren’t exaggerating when they say that Imperial Intelligence can show up out of nowhere and make you vanish. You are fully authorized to kill whoever you want and rest assured that the Watchers will make sure that no one else finds out if need be. The only place you have to be cautious is outside of Imperial jurisdiction as shown on Hutta with Karrels. It’s kind of scary to think about what you can do as an Agent if you look at it from the outside.
It’s also quite interesting coming back and playing this story a second (and third I’m sure you noticed with the screenshots) time. While everything seems straight laced and by the books missions, there’s actually a metric ton of foreshadowing given in the prologue about the events that will transpire in the next chapter. Not to get too spoilery, but the Prologue gives you all the clues you need to piece together the mystery in Chapter One. But it also sets up red herrings, misdirection, and a sense of you don’t know who is on the level. Simply put, there’s a lot more going on in this chapter than you will realize on your first play through it. Which is awesome. You can come back later on a new character after you finished an agent and go, “Oh. OOOOOOH. I GET IT!”
We also get our first companion, Kaliyo. Who coincidentally at the time of this writing has just been re-introduced in the Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline. Kaliyo is anti-authority to the point of being an “anarchist”. Anarchist like punk bands in the 80’s and high school kids who draw that ‘A’ symbol on their folders use the word, not like the actual political manifesto way. She’s also a love interest of the male Agent. I have only had a few chances to flirt with her, but honestly Kaliyo comes off a LOT like Jack from Mass Effect 2 without all the emotional baggage and breakthrough that can come from that romance. So I’m not sure I can say I personally am the biggest fan.
Overall, I think the Agent has a good start. I can see how it can be deceptively simple and straightforward to a first time player. I remember thinking it didn’t get good until the end of Chapter One. But now re-playing it, I can see all the awesome connections and set ups that were actually going completely under the radar on this one.
|| IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter One –>
|| SMUGGLER || Chapter One —>
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the prologue of the Smuggler storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
Are your morals too loosey goosey for the Jedi Order? Do you prefer to be your own boss instead of enlisting in the Republic Military? Is the Space England accent of the Empire too hoity toity for you? Well my friend, you may have a future in smuggling. Ah yes, the Smuggler. That class that sort of doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of this two faction system we call The Old Republic. You don’t really have any invested interest in the Republic winning beyond the Empire is probably gonna check your cargo hold more often and give you more discerning looks at the docks. I mean heck, the bounty hunter has more ties into this whole war due to the fact that the Mandalorians are semi-permanently hired en masse by the Empire, but you? The smuggler has no real official ties to the Republic when the story starts. Heck, you are pretty much on an imaginary third side where you don’t like the Republic, but are scared of the Empire more so, and thus enemy of my enemy… is still my enemy?
So what do you get for a story when you have nothing at stake in this cold war? Well… a lot of fun actually. Let’s take a look at the Smuggler Prologue.
Knights are born heroes, Consulars are the top of their class, Troopers are members of the most elite troop in the military, and you, dear smuggler, your story begins with you getting your ship stolen and getting duped by two timing weasel. If that doesn’t set the tone for you, nothing will. Yes, the story of the smuggler is one of the underdog fighting for his cut in the world in seems. On a routine potentially less than legal delivery of some weapons to a local crime boss/”importer” working for an even bigger crime lord, a dirty backstabber going by the name Skavak steals the weapons and your ship and heads off. Now unless you can get those blasters back, you and the crime boss named Vidu are gonna to be having an unpleasant visit from your mutual employer: Rogun the Butcher. I’m sure he got that name because he LOVES to make roast beef sandwiches.
So the job quickly turns from deliver blasters to get blasters back or get dead, and the only way to find out that is to figure out where Skavak was taking them. He mentions in his last holo transmission that he was apparently working for the separatists so that’s a great place to start. And the easiest way to do that is to get the data from the Mannett Point computers, but how? Well it just so happens that Vidu has an old buddy that knows how to smuggle goods through the back tunnels of Mannett Point, so it’s time to pay him a visit and drop off some supplies for the intel. You show up and find out the supplies are for him and his… uh… lady friends? The implications are kinda scuzzy in my opinion. But it also does something for the tone of the story. This isn’t a trooper. This isn’t a jedi. You are not necessarily on the right side of the law. You are essentially a criminal, granted a criminal that may have a noble cause, but a criminal nonetheless. And as such you get to see the seedy underbelly of everything. Including books on bird watching!
Yes, apparently the secret to getting into the tunnels below Mannett Point are disguised as a treatise on bird watching that you get the code to decipher. Ugh. Reading. About birds. Such is the trials and tribulations of the lowly Smuggler. No damn Jedi have a mission to go read about birds for hours. But you get down into the lower area and slice into the computers, with the possibility of some fun antics with the separatists. Which highlights yet another difference in the Smuggler story compared to some of the others: It’s funny. Like really funny. Not just a general chuckle here and there. But the smuggler can easily be played for full on yuks if you want. Hell, his first line when you start the game can be an instant dismissal of how you immediately hate being on Ord Mantell. If the Jedi Knight is an epic hero tale, the trooper is a war story, then the Smuggler is a wacky buddy comedy at its heart. Or it can be at least. But it’s so unique in that regard why wouldn’t you play it that way?
Following retrieving the files, your friends back at the base start working on cracking it while they send you on a mission to make a bit of cash to hopefully distract Rogun. A suicidal wacky side quest to go meet an insane old man and get his “Boom Juice” and bring it back. The quest is honestly just filler, but continues the comedy vibes of the smuggler’s tale. The old man you meet with is particularly humorous with his strange remarks of confirming that you are definitely not a gundark and other weird quips. His wife immediately offers you dinner as soon as you run into her as well. They’re like a homelier and more insane version of Miracle Max and his wife from the Princess Bride almost. Though Billy Crystal is missed here.
After the boom juice death run (or if you are like me, you just quick traveled with the stuff as soon as you got it) the files have been cracked open and you’ve got a lead on Skavak. Seems like he’s got a meeting with the Separatists inside their secret volcano base. Secret… volcano… base? The heck? Do they also have sharks with laser beams? Or at least ill tempered mutant bass? Anyway, it’s off to stop Skavak, get the blasters and save the ship! Except this time you’re not going alone. Vidu is sending you with Corso. Oh Corso. How I hate you. I honestly believe Corso is one of those love/hate companions. I don’t know many who have experienced long periods of time with the boy and not developed a sense of fondness or utter loathing for him. When playing my smuggler it seems that “SHUT UP CORSO” has become a reoccurring catch phrase for the entire class story. I don’t know if it’s his country bumpkin attitude, old fashioned ways, or simply his insistence on being overly chivalrous that makes me want to punch him. Like he wants to be a white knight for everyone, unless it involves his own revenge fantasies. THEN it’s okay.
So you get through the uh… *cough* SecretVolcanoBase… only to find that Skavak ain’t there. Naw. He tricked them just like he tricked you. Stole a robot too. An old beat up useless robot that no one would ever want or find a use for. Well, if that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. The separatists start a fight because if you’ve played through Ord Mantell before you know they ain’t that bright. Corso wants to kill them because his family was killed by separatists. Fine, whatever shuts you up. But not before it’s revealed that Vidu’s girlfriend was actually working with Skavak the entire time! Vidu’s girlfriend that you had the option to flirt with. A lot. Heh… heh… ehhh… Okay, I said already that we’re dealing with the scum of society right?
So it’s a rush back to the base to confront her and find out where Skavak’s gone. Turns out she’s killed Vidu and Skavak is mid-dumping her as you walk in. Bad day? She spills that Skavak is on Coruscant, and then you get the option to kill her. I don’t believe much in second chances when it opens you to getting shot in the back so I killed her. Oh yea. Course that gets Corso’s boxers in a bunch about how you shouldn’t treat girls that way, it ain’t right. God damnit, Corso. Not ten minutes ago you shot a defenseless man who never did a thing to you in cold blood. DON’T GO SOFT ON ME CORSO. And then on your way out, Rogun the Butcher has sent bounty hunters after you. So clearly, the boom juice didn’t go far to getting him off his back proving once and for all that it was just a pointless fetch quest so you’d go and get all your travel points on the map. The bounty hunters die with NO complaints from Corso and we’re off to the Big City!
Ah Corsucant, city of dreams. And buildings. Lots of buildings. It’s kind of easy to see why Skavak would run to Coruscant. The various levels of the city are swamped with the worst scum outside of the Empire and there are lots of places to hide. Pretty much right off the boat we are treated to a reminder of exactly where in the social strata the smuggler falls, as you have to hack the customs machine to recognize a false ID so you can get in while Corso distracts a security droid. I suppose since you technically had your own ship, you didn’t have to deal with official channels THAT much before (or considering how quickly you trick the system into thinking you are an admiral, maybe way too much.) Of course now that you are in, the question of how to find Skavak is the real task. Corso suggests finding a gambler/info broker named Darmas Palloran.
Darmas is quite happy to help put you on the right track with his various contacts, and because he was friends with Viidu and doesn’t want to take advantage of a man down on his luck with no ship, he does so for free. He points you first to a slicer for the Migrant Merchant’s Guild (worse gang name ever) named Kixi. Turns out Kixi is being held there against her will to do the Guild’s bidding and is happy to not only undo the scrubbing clean she did of Skavak’s record, but also dirty it up even more (my favorite is noting that Skavak is an undercover agent for the Republic. Ouch!) So after all that you are given a choice to either free Kixi likes she wants, keep her locked up because you might need her still, or just kill her. I don’t know about you, but killing someone who is essentially enslaved who happily helped you is probably one of the scummier things you can do in a prologue. And I’m including the Empire here. I can maybe see the whole keep her locked up because you might need her, but what exactly is her incentive to help you the next time? Oh yes, you totally will get free *snrk* this *chuckle* time… for *HA!* realsies. I generally just let Kixi go free. That gives her incentive to help me in the future cause I helped her, and is not a totally monstrous thing to do.
After completely ruining Skavak’s record, your next tip from Darmas leads you into Black Sun territory to find a holo-recording of Skavak’s meeting with the gang. It appears that our good buddy Skavak is having issues with the law now as well, as a Sullustan cop – whose name I couldn’t be bothered to remember but I remember is had alliterative M’s so I shall call him Meow Mix for now – is hot on his trail and Skavak wants Black Sun to deal with him. So it’s off to the spaceport to save Meow Mix, who reveals that Skavak stole a precious gem that the Sullustans worship. Meow Mix mistakes you for a good hearted, noble, and helpful citizen and deputizes you with the deal that you will track down Skavak together.
Darmas’ next lead has you headed into Justicar territory to meet up with some punk teens with bad attitudes that apparently have zero education beyond what they learned wandering around the pipes of Coruscant (they call cameras ‘Droid Eyes’ and have no clue what the actual name for them are). Mostly it seems a throwaway mission to pad it out because all you do is rescue the brother of the sibling duo from the justicar jail (the jay-jay if you will) because only he knows where Skavak went and also happen to find Meow Mix there, who you can leave in there or let him out. All you that you gather is that Skavak made a run for the Works, the industrial machinery area below Justicar territory and I refuse to believe that the sister DIDN’T know that because the elevator that goes there is 25 feet away from their hideout. Or maybe they don’t know what an elevator is either. People tube or something. Damn kids and they’re lingo.
You finally find Skavak deep in the works meeting with some of his imperial buddies where he trades the gem for some “gruesome trophy” that is being delivered to his (read: YOUR) ship. Meow Mix then makes the scene and confronts the Imps, demanding the return of the gem and then gets himself shot. I should have left his funny face back in the jail. He might still be alive then. So you blast the Imps, watch Meow Mix die, find out the gem is a fake, and high tail it back to the hangers to get your ship back from the sleazy ship salesman who is holding it for Skavak.
On your ship, you find a bunch of weird cargo. An old robot, a weird alien mutt, a carbonite frozen person, a head in a jar, and a pretty lady. Wait. Lady? Ah yes. Risha. Risha is your new boss apparently. She offers you a simple deal, help her deliver all this stuff and she’ll lead you to the fabled treasure of Nok Drayan, a gangster who accumulated more wealth than some outer rim planets and then hid it before his death. Her former partner in this endeavor – Skavak – was (surprise surprise) unreliable, so now she’s offering you the same deal which naturally angers Skavak and pushes the plot into Chapter One.
The smuggler story is just plain good fun. It has a light hearted feel with plenty of jokes, but it doesn’t do any of it at the expense of the story. I loved the story here. It was one of those plots that seems really simple until you look at it in hindsight because then you start noticing things like what Skavak is actually trying to do. The old robot? The grisly trophy? All things Risha needs to trade with. It all seems random and petty, but as you go forward it all builds and builds and that continues all through chapter one as you’ll see.
The only thing I didn’t like – and this is strictly personal – is Corso. Oh the force, does Corso grate me. The joke when we play at home is whenever Corso says anything, it’s pretty much immediately followed with “Shut up, Corso(tm).” We had to trademark it because it’s a fricking slogan for the class thus far. I don’t know if it’s just the country bumpkin act or the blatant hypocrisy of “We can kill people in cold blood as long as they are tangentially related to our problems but don’t you dare be mean to girl.” I’m not saying that women should be hit, and by no means is that any kind of default response. I’m not donning a fedora on this. But killing someone who just joined up with the separatists for something other separatists did YEARS ago is fine, but don’t you dare harm a woman who we just caught backstabbing us, selling us out, killed our boss, and is working with the guy who royally screwed us and lying about it is somehow crossing a line that shan’t be crossed? Bite me, Corso.
So that’s my take on the prologue for the Smuggler storyline. Hope you enjoyed, and I’ll be back soon-ish with more Class Storyline reviews. I want to say Trooper Chapter 3 should be done next.
|| SMUGGLER || Chapter One —>
“There was someone following me.”
“I’ll put him on my ‘To Kill’ list.”
“You are so fantastically simple sometimes.”
– Mako & The Bounty Hunter
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the prologue of the Bounty Hunter storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
|| BOUNTY HUNTER || Chapter One –>
The Bounty Hunter is my favorite class story in the game you guys. For reals. It may not have the complexity, betrayals, surprise twists or earth shattering revelations that the Imperial Agent story has (My number two favorite story thus far). But it does have a fun action packed romp of revenge, rising to stardom, and walking the lines between neutrality and servitude as well as lawfulness and savagery. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re only on the prologue for now.
But just to let you know, I am writing this about my second bounty hunter. Yes, I did it twice. One if a strictly neutral hunter that always completes the job he is hired for. He can’t be bought off or bribed. He follows the bounty hunter code of take them alive unless ordered to kill. No depravity bothers him, but he doesn’t indulge in unnecessary violence. At level 50 my first bounty hunter end up completely neutral. My second hunter however is a bit greedier. He isn’t a psychopath, but he doesn’t put a ton of value on life if there’s money to be made. He does take bribes and pay offs, unless doing so puts him at a disadvantage to what he wants. He holds very few allegiances, and honestly views people as means to an end.
So with these very different personalities, I’ll hopefully give you a good idea of what paths of the bounty hunter story can take and share with you my thoughts.
The tale begins with the Hunter arriving on Hutta and meeting with his team: Jory the muscle, Braden the veteran hunter, and Mako the computer prodigy. You’ve essentially been brought on as the shining star of this team to get them in to and hopefully win the Great Hunt, a massive bounty hunter competition made up of Mandalorians and Crime Lord sponsored bounty hunters. Since you’re not a Mandalorian, it’s time to schmooze a Hutt. Most of your time on Hutta is spent doing jobs for Nem’ro, the Hutt that runs the town you start in. But first you have to make a name for yourself.
Sadly, while you were out taking down a bounty that feels oh so good to make fun of, your team sans Mako got themselves a slight case of dead. Turns out that a rival has appeared. The Blue to your Red, or the Red to your Blue, if you will. His name is Tarro Blood and oh geeze does this guy have a problem with voice so doesn’t match the face. He’s got this deep guttural voice that’d you expect from a grizzled bastard like Michael Ironside, but he has the face of a tattooed Justin Bieber. Seriously, he has that hair cut. His side kick, Snidely Whiplash (no that’s not his name but that’s so who he reminds me of) has a voice that matches his ugly mug, but Tarro Bieber still freaks me out. Anyway, Tarro Blood had his lackies kill your lackies so you didn’t have a support structure in hopes of kicking you out of the Hunt.
With only you and Mako left, it’s time to work double time to get into the Hunt for a shot at revenge. So you start your slog of doing tasks for Nem’ro which mostly involve cutting off someone’s head and then placing it on the floor somewhere. First is a local that wants the Hutts off the planet revolutionary leader type, and the second is an accountant that went to work for Nem’ro’s rival. Both times you are given the option of not killing them if you want and returning with something else instead. Though personally I was never able to bring myself to do that. Namely because the entire reason you’re doing this is to kiss up to the slug to get into the Hunt for riches, glory and now revenge. Why would risk that? You don’t want to kill? You’re a bounty hunter! Sure, it’s not assumed that you have to kill them, but dangit if that’s what your employer wants you should be ready to deliver.
The next task is to go and kill Nem’ro’s supposedly treacherous Beastmaster. I say supposedly because not only does this turn out to be a trap as the Beastmaster was warned by Nem’ro himself that you’d be coming but then you are made to fight the beast pit for the Hutt’s amusement, but also because while the other two targets had very good explanations for why Nem’ro wanted them dead, the Beastmaster is simply called a traitor and nothing else. No more details are given. Which should be your first tip that this job was not like the others. But with the Beastmaster dispatched it’s time to confront Nem’ro and demand your earned entry token. But shocked upon shocked, Nem’ro the upstanding worm that he is, has given it to someone else.
All the while, Tarro Blood keeps sending goons after you as well. A Rodian shows up to blast you which leads to one of my favorite gags as you start counting down as she keeps running her mouth. Finally when you get to zero, you blast her. More or less the exact way you get introduced to Calo Nord in the original Knights of the Old Republic. Tarro also makes it a bad habit of tipping off enemies, cutting off resources, and generally being an annoying pest. But you better get used to it, because he does it through ALL of Chapter One too.
So now it’s time to go get that entry token. Some Trandoshan has it and you’ve got to get it back. So how do you do that? Well, the best bet is probably laying a trap. So you find the biggest bounty on Hutta that you haven’t already pocketed: a scientist/medic/something smart lady in the employ of Nem’ro’s biggest rival: Fathra. So you have to bust into a Hutt palace, and hold the nice lady hostage until the rival bounty hunter shows. Which he – predictably – does. Once you claim the token off his body, it’s time to decide what to do with the scientist. Technically, there IS a bounty on her. There’s also the matter of her being a willing hostage in an “aggressive negotiation” with a fellow hunter. So it really comes down to you what happens. I collected her bounty. Money is money. Honor doesn’t buy us a ticket off Hutta. And I have GOT to get me to Dromund Kaas.
Alright. I got my golden ticket. I got me a girl. I got myself to Dromund Kaas. What else could go wro- WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE ARE TOO MANY ENTRIES? Oh for Cad Bane’s sake, are you serious? You overbooked the biggest tournament in the galaxy? That’s a load. But yes, it’s true. Turns out that there are way too many bounty hunters showing up for the few spots in the brackets left, so it’s time to thin the herd out a bit. So the Huntmaster has the idea of pitting hunter against hunter in a race to successfully complete three bounties on the Imperial home world. That means not only finding and capturing your bounty, but you have to deal with the Empire’s anti-Alien, anti-Non-Imperial, and generally just Anti attitude.
You also meet Crysta Markon who is your contact for this little party. Now I’ve made jokes about Space England and Space Scotland and all sorts of other jokes about the myriad of accents that the Imperials use. But behold, dear readers, Crysta Markon is apparently from the ever elusive Space Texas. Oh yea. An honest to goodness Southern gal in a galaxy far far away. It just raises so many questions. Where is she from? Where did she get that accent? Why doesn’t anyone else have it? Maybe the Empire blew up Space Texas and she is the last surviving member of her kind. Her parents worked for Space NASA, and shot her out of a rocket to Dromund Kaas were given her lack of alien traits she would be raised as an equal, but when she got to be in her teens she learned she was not like the other kids with their fancy Dromund Kaas accents. No, she said things like “Y’all” and punctuated sentences with colorful strange terms like “Shoot, son. I ain’t nevah seen nobody do that before.” Outcasted by her weird vocal inflections, she turns to the Mandalorians who offer her a home working with up and comers so that they may find acceptance somewhere, even if it’s not with their home or with the Imperials.
Or it just could be that the division of Bioware that made SWTOR is from Austin. That too.
So your first bounty is to track down a Republic noble that somehow got sold as a slave on Dromund Kaas and is now stuck in the middle of a slave riot. His family would like him returned, preferably alive but hey slave riot, so a corpse to send back will also pay some too. Wow. Uh. Okay. That seems kinda chaotic. But that’s not all! Once you find the camp, he’s not there! It turns out that he once had a fling with an Imperial noble, who has found out that he is a slave on the planet and arranged for an escape. The two lovers are now posing as brother and sister (which seriously creeps Mako out) and hanging out in Kaas City at the Cantina. Well, time to go break up that date. You’re given a few choices with this one too. You can capture the bounty, kill the crazy pseudo-incestuous noble and capture the bounty, or kill the bounty and the crazy pseudo-incestuous noble will pay you the difference between the live and dead payments. Really there is no reason to harm either of the nobles, other than sheer squick factor. There’s also a small bit where Tarro Blood (AGAIN?) sends a squad of Imperial troops to stop you. They didn’t live long. But the best part is when Tarro calls and the other troops demand a cut of their leader’s pay off to kill you. How many times does a thousand credits split DEAD ways? Oh yea. You guys! That’s how many. HA!
The second bounty is a bit more straight forward if not a bit more depressing. A big to-do officer in the Imperial Navy has a daughter who is a Sith. They are all very proud. She has a master. Aw, that’s awesome. Her master is insane Sith Lord who rebelled against the Dark Council. Isn’t that cu- WAIT! If people find out that might make us look bad. We must hire a bounty hunter to KILL her! Yea. That’s the next bounty. Kill the dude’s daughter before anyone can find out they’re related and potentially cost him his job and his life for siring a kid who got picked by an evil dude. Evil-er dude. Okay, wait. Where on the moral spectrum IS a rebelling Sith Lord? How does a Sith Lord rebel? Do they do charity work? We know they like ergonomic chairs.
Despite the bounty being to kill the target, you can actually elect to spare her. This will actually lead to a scene where the guy who hired you expresses the deep regrets he was having about essentially sending an assassin after his daughter. That family is more important to him than his career. It’s really touching. And I’ve only seen the scene by looking over someone else’s shoulder. Yup, I always have killed the daughter. Why? Why would I do something so heartless and cruel? Because that’s what I was being paid to do. If you get hired to install a TV in the bedroom, do you install it in the living room instead because you feel watching TV in bed is unhealthy and that you are sure that the people paying you will agree after it’s all said and done and pay you anyway? Do the job you get paid to do. If he had any doubts, he shouldn’t have put out the contract I say.
The third and final bounty at first seems like the most cut and dry of the three. Imperial Intelligence sent a squad into the Dark Temple to investigate the strange going ons in there. But the team went insane from the Temple’s power. But since the Sith are kind of touchy about not wanting anyone but Sith in the Temple, Intelligence needs to clean up the mess. Enter the bounty hunter, tasked with collecting the ID cards of the troops sent in to the Temple so no one knows that they were sent by Intelligence. Straight forward, yea?
Well, the first kink in the plan turns out to be when you find the squad commander and are given the choice of making sure no one comes back alive, or snapping him out of his psychotic babbling. Then, to make things even worse, the guy who hired you tries to kill you when you get back. Oh yea. You’re not a Sith either, so technically you weren’t supposed to be in that Temple. Time to eliminate loose ends. And by that I mean beating the crap out of the Intelligence officer until he pays you. Damn spies and their cloak and dagger crap. They should have kept the whole thing in-house. I hear that Cipher-9 is pretty good. (That’s the Imperial Agent storyline, FYI.)
With the three bounties done, it’s time to hit up the Melee. Yea, everyone who actually finished their three bounties now gets tossed in an arena to viciously battle until only one remains. Why didn’t we just do this from the start? I mean, it would have been a hell of a lot more entertaining to have a royal rumble of like twenty-five bounty hunters going at in an arena, each chosen to represent a murderous thug of a crime lord. That’d be pretty cool, right? Instead there’s like six of you. And it’s pretty clear who is gonna come out on top. The only weird thing is that it says clearly “No assistants” at the beginning, but sure enough Mako is there healing you for the whole thing. A long-standing bug? Flavor versus mechanics error? No clue.
So now that you’ve taken care of the scrubs, the Huntsmaster (a big ole wookie) welcomes you to the great hunt, where Tarro Blood makes yet another huge stink about how this a contest of prestige and honor and I am somehow sullying it. Tarro, I’m curious. How? How am I sullying the contest? Is it because I’m a Chiss? No, you say the same thing about a human. Is it because I’m not a Mandalorian? There are plenty of those in the contest. All I can think is I am not worthy of this honor because I’m not you. That’s it. Your entire argument is less based in facts that your average internet troll. Hell, you’re bordering on 24 hour news channel editorial territory. If this was tumblr, I think they’d already have photoshopped a trilby on your head, called it a fedora and burned you in effigy. Actually, I’m gonna do that now. But no, now I have deal with your crap for at LEAST 15 more levels. But oh, chapter one will be fun. Because I know – I KNOW – that as long as I keep winning, I’m gonna get a shot at your head, Blood. Oh yes. TARRO BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.
Now all that’s left is to get off world and on with the Great Hunt. That’ll be fun right? Get a new ship, get a new droid, get some freedom. Oh, but it’s not that simple. See in every other class except smuggler you’re given a ship and the smuggler is reclaiming a ship that is already theirs. You? You get to steal someone else’s ship. It’s apparently a new hunter in the big hunt hazing ritual. Find a ship, steal the ship and get the hell off the Imperial homeworld. Of course, Tarro Blood messes with that too by tipping off the authorities and the owner of the ship. Seriously? That’s like trying to prank order pizzas to someone’s door to annoy them. Is this what the great Tarro Blood amounts too? Petty pranks? Oh geeze. I am gonna enjoy killing that man.
I already gushed about the storyline at the top, so I won’t repeat my adoration here. I hope you can maybe see why I like this story so much. From the get go you have a villain that is absolutely loathsome to the point where it is enjoyable to hate him. Like Joffrey in a Song of Ice and Fire you find yourself craving a gruesome death for him. There is nothing to like or respect about Tarro. He is an absolute weasel. And the story is richer for it. In a game where the stories are all over the map in terms of sympathetic villains, themes of redeeming the fallen and giving second chances, it is nice to have one guy you can just hate without a single doubt.
Otherwise the story is fairly straight forward. You want into the Great Hunt. You try to get into the Great Hunt. You get into the Great Hunt. But that’s not bad. Simple is not bad. You are given plenty to overcome on the road to getting your butt a spot in the Hunt, Tarro is throwing wrenches at you but never to the point where it is annoying. It’s only like one in three missions where he actually tries to mess with you, so it doesn’t become too petty or annoying. The other obstacles have to deal with either being set up, betrayed, or drawing on your moral sensibilities of what is right or wrong. And sometimes – SOMETIMES – everything just goes as planned. But overall things seem to be spaced out so nothing is too repetitive.
In the end, the prologue of the bounty hunter’s tale is a solid start without the feeling of staggering to the start. Something I can’t say for every prologue. You get a real sense of being outside the system since you are the only Imperial class that does not tie in to the government at all. You have your own goals that are outside of the Imperial scope, you go about them without aid from the Empire for the most part, and while yes they are your main source of income on Dromund Kaas (surprise surprise) it never feels like you are doing anything for them. You are being hired by them as a means to further your own agenda. And maybe that’s why the Bounty Hunter story stands out so much for me. It IS about your own agenda. There is no superior force commanding you to fulfill their wishes. You are in the Great Hunt because you want to be, you are doing these jobs because you want to take them, and you ultimately answer to no one but yourself. Heck, that even makes the moral choices seem a bit more interesting as you never have to worry about your master or boss condemning your actions. Oh sure, you can mess up the contract and upset the person you hired you. But that’s temporary. That’s one job. That’s hardly a blemish on your entire record that will stick with you for years to come. But the bounty hunter is his or her own master. That’s kind of an awesome feeling of agency you don’t get that often. Even in the Smuggler storyline you are furthering someone else’s agenda. No spoilers on whose yet though.
Now we have to see if that awesome feeling continues as we proceed on to the Great Hunt proper and have to deal with Tarro Manchild’s shenanigans.
|| BOUNTY HUNTER || Chapter One –>
|| JEDI KNIGHT || Chapter One –>
So here we are again. Another class in my sights. This time I’ve decided to do it a bit differently, and I’ll probably try to keep these reviews more so in this format than the previous one with the Sith Inquisitor. Namely it will be more of a general overview of the story, with much less detail on the individual worlds that they take place on. There will still be some spoiler-ish material, so please be warned, but I won’t go into the individual world story lines and instead focus on the general story of each act and my opinions of it. So let’s see if this works a bit better for people.
So, the Jedi Knight – a classic hero archetype if there ever was one. I personally played a very, VERY light side Jedi Knight because they really appeal to that idea of the self-sacrificing heroic lawful good paladin. I only racked up a total of 150 dark side points and most of that comes from skirting the Jedi Code with Miss Kira, but we’ll get to that later. For now let us set our sights on the prologue of the Jedi Knight’s tale.
The first twenty levels are a very slow build up. A mysterious fallen Jedi has been rabble rousing the local flesh reavers into a frenzy and its up to you to stop him. The story on Tython doesn’t really play too much into the overall story much at all really. All it does is establish you as someone who knows how to get the job done to the Jedi Council so they can send you off to your first relevant mission. But it’s not a bad little self contained story. The mystery is somewhat interesting and the interactions give you a lot of chances to be a goody goodie or a mister bend-the-rules-Jedi. Including a chance to flirt with some of the locals. There’s some nice minor twists in the plot that keep it somewhat interesting for the extent of the ten levels you’ll be going through it.
During your time on Tython, you’ll meet fascinating characters like your master, Master Whats-his-face. No seriously, this guy has next to no personality other than his fabulous voice acting. He’s gruff, he believes that the Force has a plan for all of us, and you’re first padawan in some time. Other than those details, you don’t get much from him. Hell, I got a better impression from Kira’s former master, Kiwiks, than I ever did from my own master. Yet despite only training under him for a short time before you are made a knight and sent off to Coruscant, you’re supposed to develop this deep Father/Child like relationship with him that plays out. I guess this is a lot like Obi-Wan in the original films. Luke trusted the crazy old man in the desert a wee bit too quickly in my opinion. Even if he hesistated on the idea of coming with Old Man Kenobi to Alderaan, he bought the whole “I knew your dad.” thing without a second thought, and do we really need to remember the first in a series of overdramatic NOOOOOOOO’s we get in the series comes from Luke seeing Obi-Wan get smacked by Vader after only knowing the guy for what seems like maybe a day or two. Crap, Luke didn’t even get that worked up about his Uncle and Aunt dying and they freaking RAISED him. Anyway, in short, Master Whats-His-Face is Obi-Wan.
The other couple of characters you meet include your first introduction to Kira Carsen – your soon to be padawan and potential love interest for the guys (Fetish here! Get your Teacher-Student fetish here! Only 15 levels in! Get it while it’s hot!), Master Satele Shan, daughter of Gary and Mary Stu, and the best companion in the entire storyline: T7! Which I am sad to admit I didn’t get to use nearly as much as I wanted because I was a Guardian advanced spec. Seems to be my lot in these games, I never pick the right abilities to use the cute companions. Didn’t need Blizz for my Powertech either. But T7 is hands down one of the most delightful and entertaining companions in the game. Perhaps it’s the simplistic nature of his DroidSpeak? “T7+Jedi=Best Friends Forever” is a pretty darn adorable way of communicating. Plus T7 is always so eager to help, optimistic and cheerful. I honestly felt a bit bad when T7 would give me a -1 Affection eye roll. I mean, if Kira or Doc does it – screw it, have a gift – but for T7 I felt like I let the little guy down.
Anyway, after busting the bad Jedi, getting your saber, and becoming “Your Name Knight of the Republic” – a title that has no punctuation, so it seems like your last name is Knight, which is even funnier with a legacy name since that becomes your middle name (Vrykarion Vrykerion Knight… of the Republic) – you are finally sent on your way to Coruscant. Coruscant is more or less the actual prelude to act one of the story, but it comes off as completely unnecessary. You spend 6-10 levels wandering around the city attempting to track down a Sith lord that has stolen the files on several secret military weapons around the galaxy. There’s a bit of twist at the end when they reveal who the Sith lord actually was, and even more so that he’s the son of a bigger and more important sith lord. This essentially gives the Daddy Sith Lord a reason to hate you for the whole of act one and to send his goons after you.
That however is where the problem for me lies. He doesn’t NEED a personal reason to come after me. I am a Jedi Knight that is on a mission to stop him and his plans to build a doomsday device. The whole “you killed my son” plotline does nothing but bog it all down. Instead of fighting off his servants to save the worlds from military experiments turned against their former masters, you get a bunch of nitwits picking fights with you over their bosses personal baggage. Was being a threat to his plan not enough of a reason to want me removed from the picture?
As for characters, the Jedi gets the most companions the quickest out of any character I believe. Getting T7 on your starting world, and then Kira Carsen part of the way through Coruscant. While it seems weird to be having your own padawan before you hit level 20, it’s fun to have Kira around. She has a nice rebellious Jedi thing that works well with both Light Side and Dark Side Jedi. The Light Side has a pupil that you can teach, and the Dark Side has what essentially amounts to an enabler. Kira also has probably one of the biggest interactions with the actual class storyline I’ve ever seen during Act One, but I think we’ll save that for when we actually discuss that storyline. However, because of that heavy narrative interaction it makes sense that you would get to know her early. Heck, you actually first meet on Tython when she’s sassing off with her then-master Kiwiks. On that note, is it normal for Jedi Knights and Masters to just pass around padawans like interns? Kira essentially gets handed off to you and suddenly she’s YOUR padawan. What happened to training with Master Kiwiks? Do I need to fill out some paper work?
T7 on the other hand is just an adorable yes-droid/cheerleader. I love him. That’s all I have to say about that.
In the end, the prologue for the Jedi Knight is decent at best. I have often compared to be the inverse of the Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter starts amazingly and kind of dwindles in the second and third acts, where as the Jedi Knight starts simple and can be borderline boring but ramps up the epic storyline the further you get. Because of this, I supposed it’s a bit hard to judge the prologue on it’s own. There’s a lot of people I’ve seen get turned off on the class story because of this first bit, and it’s sad. All I can really say is – Yes, the storyline is a bit dull at the start. It’s the Fellowship of the Rings, lot’s of walking and talking and only a few colorful dashes of actions. But believe me, you’ll hit Two Towers/Return of the King territory soon enough and you will not regret playing this story at all by the end. But that’s a tale for next time when we delve into Act One. See you then!
And as always, I appreciate any feedback on these posts as I figure out a good formula for them.
|| JEDI KNIGHT || Chapter One –>