The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom
Author: Alexander Freed
Medium: Short story
Publication Date: October 2012 in Star Wars Insider #137
Timeline Placement: 3,641 BBY
The Galactic War has begun!
If you want to see that, though, you’ll have to play eight campaigns and four expansions before Disney and EA terminate their licensing agreement and the last living remnant of the Expanded Universe is swept from human memory.
“The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom” is a pretty decent short story about Colonel Jace Malcom, the Republic soldier who looks exactly like a Jango Fett clonetrooper. We first met him forty years ago (in both Star Wars time and our time, seemingly) in Return and last saw him when he was fighting Darth Malgus and got his face blowed up. This time around he’s in an advising position to Sergeant Shanra Immel and her squad as they attempt to drive the Sith Empire off of the planet Kalandis Seven by destroying one of their spaceports.
As they are preparing to bomb the port with the fatalistic knowledge that the Empire will just have another one built by tomorrow, a planetary command ship descends from orbit on a refueling run. Malcom orders his team to continue their mission while he attempts to capture the ship so they can use its navicomputer to find every Imperial base on the planet.
Malcom sneaks aboard the ship just before it lifts off again. He takes out the guards and makes his way to the bridge, where he finds a masked Sith Lord in charge of the vessel. Malcom bum-rushes her and gets a face full of Force lightning but manages to shoot the Sith to death with his rifle. The rest of the bridge crew flies into a panic and Malcom thinks he’s won the day only to realize that the ship’s self-destruct sequence has been activated.
As the ship careens out of control Malcom falls through the window but is saved by a Republic starfighter sent by Sergeant Immel. Immel tells him that the spaceport has been destroyed and jokes that she’ll buy him some shitty liquor to celebrate his failure, but Malcom tells her that he’s been recalled to Coruscant and none of them will ever see him again.
A Jedi Knight arrives on the planet to pick up Malcom, explaining that the Supreme Chancellor has a more important assignment for him back in the Core Worlds. “The troops down there won’t last long, now,” Malcom tells him. “They don’t have the training to hold the place. They’ll be overrun within the month. Casualties’ll be heavy.”
He looks over the list of his former squadmates one last time then deletes them from his contacts and begins preparing himself for his next mission.
I don’t think I mentioned it for The Lost Suns, but Alexander Freed’s writing was the best part of that comic as well as Blood of the Empire. He manages to inject odd bits of characterization and captivating worldbuilding and narrative hooks into stories that otherwise weren’t that worth telling. “The Last Battle” is likewise pretty good despite how brief and perfunctory it is. None of the secondary characters are memorable in and of themselves but they provide some interesting characterization for Malcom, who until this point we’ve only seen as an unnamed and mostly mute participant in some animated trailers and also maybe as a quest-giver in a videogame. I can’t say I’m at all interested in ever seeing him again, but the quick moment of conflict between emotion and duty at the very end justifies this story’s existence, which is more than most of these TOR shorts have. 3.5/5 Death Stars.
(Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha is a foolish attempt to examine the entirety of the now decanonized Star Wars Expanded Universe and quantify its assorted artistic merits. Read the introduction. Check out the archives.)