The Search for Oricon
Medium: Short story
Publication Date: October 1, 2013 on SWTOR.com
Timeline Placement: c. 3,639 BBY
“The Search for Oricon” is a story told in the format of a log entry by Jonas Balkar, a Republic SIS recruiter. I almost didn’t bother including it in this project because its format is so atypical of these TOR shorts it’s debatable if it should even be considered a short story, but it has the faintest suggestion of a plot so I threw it in for inclusivity’s sake.
In the aftermath of the events of TOR‘s eight class stories, SIS is hunting for the Dread Masters, a cadre of six Sith Lords so skilled at Battle Meditation that they are able to destroy entire Republic fleets by infecting the crew’s minds with irresistible terror or something. With the Sith Emperor dead, the Dread Masters have gone rogue and formed their own splinter faction, the Dread Host. Balkar describes his experience with a young man he recruited to help track them down.
The unnamed recruit passes all of SIS’s psychological evaluations and field tests and is deemed a perfect candidate to go undercover in the Dread Host and discover the location of Oricon, the lunar headquarters of the Dread Masters. Balkar is uneasy about giving his own recommendation because of how young the recruit is, but he does his duty and moves on to his next assignment.
Months later, the recruit returns aboard a stolen Dread Host ship, his mission a success, except that he has gone insane in the process of it. SIS calls in Balkar, hoping a familiar face will convince him to be more forthcoming, but by the time Balkar arrives the recruit has hacked apart all of his handlers and guards. The only time the kid speaks is to ask if Balkar is proud of him. He chases Balkar around the hangar while Balkar shoots him to death. Balkar checks the ship’s navicomputer and obtains the coordinates for Oricon, though he pities whoever the Republic decides to send there. To see that story be sure to download Star Wars: The Old Republic and its first digital expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, today!
This is one of the more decent TOR online short stories that we’ve read so far, but there still isn’t that much to talk about. The scene in the hangar, when Balkar arrives to find the kid just standing there smiling despite being riddled with blaster holes and surrounded by dismembered corpses is mildly creepy and does a good job of setting a specific tone for the Dread Masters story in the MMO that I’m sure it doesn’t live up to. Most of these shorts have been told in third-person, but Jonas Balkar’s first-person narration through his log entry was a good choice for this pseudo-horror story, as it allows us to share secondhand in Balkar’s low-key empathy for his recruit without the author having to waste his or her word count trying to drum up empathy from scratch.
For real though these are just way too short to have any strong feelings about. 2.5/5 Death Stars. Email me on this webzone if you know who the author is.