Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: The Old Republic, Part 4

Precipice

SW7 Image 1Author: John Jackson Miller

Medium: Ebook novella

Publication Date: May 2009 on StarWars.com

Timeline Placement: 5,000 BBY

Series: Lost Tribe of the Sith

(Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha is a vast, largely insane attempt to investigate the entirety of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Click here for the Introduction.  Click here for the Archive.)

Set during the Great Hyperspace War, this is the story of the Sith warship Omen and her crew, led by the intrepid Captain Yaru Korsin. The anthology edition of this series has a map of its setting, the continent of Keshtah, at the beginning. How cute, it thinks it’s a real fantasy novel!

In preparation for the invasion of the planet Kirrek, Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow dispatched the Omen and her sister ship, the Harbinger, to mine Force-augmenting Lignan crystals on the planet Phaegon III. After retrieving the crystals, the twin ships were attacked by Jedi starfighters and collided with each other while escaping into hyperspace. We won’t see the Harbinger again for quite some time, but the Omen was knocked off course by the collision, and this is where our story picks up.

With its trajectory altered, the damaged Omen is yanked out of hyperspace by a gravity shadow and caught in the gravity well of an unknown planet. As it plummets to its doom, we are introduced to its crew: Captain Yaru Korsin and his half-brother, mineralogical officer Devore Korsin, both humans; Devore’s “woman,” Seelah, and their infant son, Jariad; gunnery officer Gloyd, a Houk; engineer Lohjoy, a Ho’Din (who dies immediately); navigator Boyle Marcom, another human; and quartermaster Ravilan, a Sith. Notice anything odd about these demographics?

In The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire, every Sith we saw was actually a member of the Sith alien species. Then suddenly in this story, ostensibly in the same setting, there’s an entire warship crewed almost exclusively by humans, with a few non-Sith aliens thrown in for flavor. The text refers to Ravilan as a “Red Sith,” presumably to make it clear that he’s actually a Sith alien and not a member of another species just calling himself a Sith. The Sith Empire was isolated in an undiscovered region of space until like a week ago; where did all these other species come from?

To confuse the setting even further, all of these human Sith carry lightsabers. None of the Sith in the preceding stories used lightsabers, not even the Sith Lord bourgeoisie. They all carried enchanted Sith swords imbued with the dark side. Did someone think magic swords were too goofy for twenty-first-century readers? Yaru Korsin also mentions that the Harbinger’s captain is a fallen Jedi. When did this guy find the time to turn to the dark side, seek out the Sith before they’d even revealed themselves to the Republic, convince them to let him join them, and then get promoted to captain of a warship? The Great Hyperspace War lasted like a day if the comics’ depiction of it is anything to go by.

Anyway, the Omen crashes on this planet, coming to perch precariously at the edge of a mountaintop overlooking the ocean. The surviving crewmembers, including several Massassi, members of the Sith warrior caste, disembark and make their way down the mountain to set up a crude base camp. Something in the planet’s atmosphere is harmful to the Massassi and they all die off after a few days, while the non-Sith Sith all squabble among themselves and are more interested in casting blame than in finding a way out of their predicament.

Yaru’s brother, Devore, is a total douchehole and ends up killing Marcom, the elderly navigator, for bringing them here. I get that the Sith are supposed to be evil, power-hungry jerks and all that, but these guys are just dicks and I don’t know why their Red Sith overlords ever let them have lightsabers. Yaru Korsin is the only one interested in trying to figure out a solution, although really all he’s worried about is getting in trouble with Naga Sadow for losing the Lignan crystals.

Yaru hikes back up to the Omen alone to try to send a distress call to the Sith fleet. He finds that the ship’s communications array was destroyed in the crash and that his brother is already in the ship, sitting in the captain’s chair and getting high. Devore tries to convince Yaru that they have to stay on the planet. They’ve already been gone two days and Naga Sadow will think they stole the crystals for themselves. If they go back now, Devore thinks Sadow will blame him for what happened, because he lost his temper with the Dark Lord when Yaru was given command of the mission instead of him.

Devore attacks Yaru and they fight for a while on the precipice. Yaru finally defeats his brother and Devore begins to cry and begs for help as he starts to come down off his high. In response, Yaru vows that he will complete his mission and protect his crew and throws Devore over the side of the mountain.

Yaru returns to his people and explains that they’re going to be there a while so they need to make the planet their own, like true Sith. What he doesn’t tell them is that, as he fought his brother on top of the mountain, he spotted a winged beast carrying a rider, meaning that there is another intelligent race on this planet. Meanwhile, Seelah, knowing that Yaru has killed Devore, begins plotting her revenge.

This story is all right, I guess. The writing is okay, nothing spectacular but completely readable. I found certain descriptions very difficult to comprehend, however, such as exactly what is happening when the crew uses the Omen’s torpedo ports to slow the ship’s descent, and the position of the crashed ship relative to the continent’s geography. The descriptive language just didn’t make much sense to me, although that may have been due to how quickly I read through the story. The prose doesn’t really lend itself to lingering analysis; it’s fast and punchy and inspires a similar reading style.

Basically Gilligan’s Island in space, but with more fratricide. 2.5/5 Death Stars.

I don’t see King’s Landing anywhere on here.

I don’t see King’s Landing anywhere on here.