The GEMINI Sanctions

Last week, Star Wars: The Old Republic cranked out the latest chapter in its Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion-and it features a significant warrior faction that has been missing since the Outlander got stuffed into the carbonite block.  The Mandalorians are back, and they’re looking for trouble!

As usual with these new chapters, there will be limited spoilage below the break.  But first, as usual, some remarks that don’t count for story.

First off, because I honestly put far more importance on this than it really should have:  the next chapter’s companion alert is going to be Guss!  Yes, Smuggler fans, you’re getting another of your people back.  I’d suspected his return might be sooner than later, after the Blizz alert, so that much is right with the world.  (I am, naturally, aware that the Jedi players now need to get a companion back to bring balance to the Force-or at least to the companion count.)  It’ll be good to see what kind of trouble he’s gotten into…and how to get him out of it!

The subscriber reward this month was a speeder; amazingly, it wasn’t HK-inspired, but rather, Zakuul-inspired.  At least it has some of the Eternal Empire aesthetic to it.  Next month is going to be a poster decoration for strongholds, and it returns to the HK theme.  It occurs to me while writing this that we’re exactly two months before the grand finale of this set of rewards-and the anticipated HK-centric chapter for those who have stuck with the game for the long haul.  (I’m pretty sure that was for the long haul; there might’ve been a deadline thing instead, but I was pretty sure it was for continuous subscription.)

It’s no shock to see some folks complaining on the forums about the poster.  On the other hand, it’s getting easier and easier for me to filter them out.  I’m getting closer to the point where I’m just gonna read dev posts and stop there.  My faith in humanity takes a beating every time I go to a game’s forums anymore.

With all that out of the way, spoilage awaits those who dare continue!

Our Heroes, as of last chapter’s conclusion, been thwarted in gaining access to the GEMINI frequency’s transmission center, so no taking over the fleet en masse.  But they haven’t given up on the idea of GEMINI entirely.  SCORPIO drops a bombshell on the Outlander (which, admittedly, everyone sort of suspected from the cutscene after the Lady of Sorrows chapter):  GEMINI is based upon SCORPIO, and is the entire reason she joined the Alliance in the first place.  Intelligence indicates that the template for GEMINI-because there’s a LOT of GEMINI, one on each ship in the Eternal Fleet-is based on the planet Darvannis, and it’s so well defended by Skytroopers that it’ll take an army to get in to swipe the template.

The Alliance’s army…well, it’s still not up to it.  I know, I know, some of you have alliance influence rank 20 with all the specialists, but it’s still not enough.  Fortunately, Theron Shan has a plan-and it involves Mandalorians.  This should not be a shock-the title of the chapter is “Mandalore’s Revenge”.  If that isn’t a big hint as to what’s coming, I don’t know what is.

This is a great episode for Bounty Hunters.  As the last known Grand Champion of the Great Hunt, taken in by the previous Mandalore-wait, what was that?  Previous Mandalore?  Well, there’s been a changing of the guard in the years the Outlander’s been on ice.  The episode features the return of Shae Vizla, last seen helping beat the snot out of Revan, and Torian Cadera, former BH companion.  It also includes lots of Mandalorians who are happy to help blow things up (although some are less thrilled by the lack of glory in blowing up mechanical adversaries), including a clan leader with an awfully familiar clan name.

Mandalorians really know how to party. Ignore the flying bodies and the blaster fire....

Mandalorians really know how to party. Ignore the flying bodies and the blaster fire….

The episode give a pretty decent feel for the way Mandalorians act in both battle and out of it.  It also illustrates the potential danger they may represent after the war is over-and the Outlander may be able to do something about that…but that’s the character’s choice to make.  There are three major phases to the battle to get to the GEMINI unit, plus a chance to blow up some walkers if you wish.  The end of the line brings you face to face with GEMINI…and serious hints as to GEMINI’s origin-and the beginnings of the truth behind its link to SCORPIO.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Arcann and Vaylin are still lingering in the throne room, although a realization that Arcann has seems to indicate that he’s about to take a more active role.  That probably isn’t good news for the Alliance.  Let’s hope nobody spilled the beans about Odessen….

“Mandalore’s Revenge” takes us away from the Force-centric storyline and more to the “war” storyline.  Less philosophy, more shooting.  In other words, fits the Bounty Hunter to a “T”.  It also fits right in with the Trooper’s attitudes.  Jedi may be somewhat disturbed by the Mandalorian philosophies-okay, I said less, not “none”-while Sith may be right at home with them.  Smugglers get to see the other side, and Agents…well, information is a good thing.

The capture of the GEMINI template leads directly into the concluding chapters of the expansion.  The next one is slated for the end of June; the timing implies to me that the final chapter will not hit in July (although we are still getting the aforementioned subscriber reward then-or at least, if you’re subscribed in July you get it.  I don’t recall when we actually get the poster), but in August-which was when we were figuring KotFE was wrapping up anyway.

There’s still no indication as to what will come next after the concluding chapter.  It seems unlikely that we’re looking at the end of the Eternal Empire, and the fact that so many companions are still MIA indicates that there should be something on the horizon, so don’t expect things to be wrapped up with a tidy bow by September.

(I’m still waiting for Vaylin to finally snap and off Arcann because he annoys her.  Or she doesn’t like the color scheme of his clothes.  It’s GOTTA be coming.)

This is what an Emperor looks like when he is afflicted with slowly dawning horror. Seriously. It's hard to tell with the mask and all....

This is what an Emperor looks like when he is afflicted with slowly dawning horror. Seriously. It’s hard to tell with the mask and all….

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