Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author’s Cut, Part 8: Tales of the Clone Wars

John VanFleet’s Shea Hublin poster

Welcome to the eighth of 12 articles revealing — for the first time ever — material cut from Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare before its April 2012 publication. Each section will be preceded by brief comments discussing why the material wound up on the cutting-room floor.

THE PROPAGANDA WAR

Jason Fry: Propaganda was a subject I wanted to address in Warfare, to ensure the focus wasn’t entirely on the battlefield and soldiers, but included other ways of fighting war. It was a good impulse, but that material was also a logical place to look for cuts. I liked this piece, but there wasn’t room for it and in the end it felt like an easy cut.

Erich Schoeneweiss: We found we could address the propaganda idea with a few illustrations, such as Jason Palmer’s great Stormtrooper poster and John VanFleet’s Shea Hublin posters.

The Clone Wars were dominated by the voices of the political leaders of the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Count Dooku.

In the run-up to war, the Separatists regarded Palpatine as a lightweight, adept at maintaining power but incapable of formulating a coherent response to the Republic’s many secessionist movements. But Palpatine proved an ideal leader during wartime, calm amid the horrors of war and steadfast in his determination to withstand the Separatist threat. His obvious sorrow at the ongoing conflict and his reluctance to adopt emergency powers led many in the Republic to view him as indispensable, and to rely on him for reports of the war. When Palpatine firmly countered Separatist allegations of Republic misdeeds or chatter that the war had been engineered by the Jedi, the vast majority of Republic citizens believed him.

Palpatine wasn’t the only Republic voice heard behind Separatist lines, however. One of the most capable communicators was a charismatic scholar-turned-major from Commenor named Ahalas Svindren. Svindren’s rumbling basso voice had an impressive heft, and he was a formidable debater and legal expert. His HoloNet broadcasts were tightbeamed through Separatist jamming to occupied worlds, mixing grim accounts of atrocities committed by the Confederacy’s mechanical armies with point-by-point rebuttals of Dooku’s arguments in favor of secession.

The Confederates had their own orators. Dooku himself was a powerful speaker, known as “Gentle Hand” on many worlds for his simple, effective appeals to people’s spiritual wants and desire for freedom. Beginning with the famous Raxus Address, Dooku’s orations proved inescapable during the Clone Wars, beamed into the Republic from the powerful transmitters of Banking Clan frigates and across the HoloNet via the Separatists’ Shadowfeed.

The Separatists also tried to unsettle the Republic’s citizens and soldiers. The whiskey-voiced Twi’lek known as Ryloth Resa lured in clone troopers with better musical selections than those carried on the Grand Army’s own broadcasts, substituting edgy leap-jump remixes for the turgid jatz played by Republic bettie-bots. But late at night, Resa would stop the music and beg clones not to throw away their lives. Sometimes sobbing with emotion, she would warn that battlefield medics were under orders to harvest the organs of badly wounded clones without using anesthetics, or ask the clones why they didn’t deserve to return home to wives and girlfriends like the ones awaiting non-clone comrades. Resa went silent after the Republic took Murkhana (the origin point of much Separatist propaganda), but was never apprehended. Her true identity and ultimate fate remain mysteries.

Another reviled Separatist propagandist was the Byblos geneticist Ull Haber, who’d relocated to Serenno soon after the Battle of Geonosis. Haber’s specialty was clever propaganda for consumption by Republic citizens. He warned that the Kaminoans had suppressed the genes that would allow clones to integrate with mainstream society, and that the Republic had covered up numerous incidents in which clones were maddened by bloodlust and massacred the citizens they were born to protect. Haber also warned that the Jedi generals had promised the clones settlement on selected Republic “liberty worlds” after the war, which would be ruled as the clones saw fit.

Clone trooper gunship on Geonosis

SHOCKBALL STAR, SEPARATIST HERO

Jason Fry: I’ve always been a huge sports fan, and have looked for ways to tell sports stories in the galaxy far, far away. With a tight word count, though, Warfare wasn’t the place to unveil such an experiment. I like the opposing fans’ derisive chant, though — that’s a tactic beloved by English football fans, of course. In the US we just chant obscenities while the poor announcers try to pretend it isn’t happening.

Erich Schoeneweiss: This short piece is a brilliant example of why I love working with Jason so much. This is full of ripped-from-our-own-headlines elements but is cleverly woven into the tapestry of a Star Wars story. And the chant is worth the read alone. Glad you get to read this now.

In 23 BBY, Kob Mondray was captain of the Kuat Artisans, one of the Core’s finest shockball squads, and a mainstay of HoloNet gossip. A year later, he was leading Separatist troops in the Outer Rim.

Mondray was born on the agricultural world of Ochotl, outside the Pangarees, and first came to the attention of shockball scouts from Eriadu after he led Ochotl Ag’s corporate team to the Airam Sector Championships in 31 BBY. From there, he steadily ascended the shockball ranks, receiving a hefty bonus for signing with the Eriadu Patriots and leading their elevation into the ranks of the Galactic League. Beloved across the Outer Rim, Mondray stunned his fans in 27 BBY by signing a lucrative megadeal with up-and-coming Kuat. He announced his decision in a live HoloNet broadcast, just minutes after Kuat revealed it had signed Mondray’s friend and rival Gettle Tebron away from the Shad Furies.

The combination of the two humans made Kuat a shockball powerhouse, with the Artisans blitzing their way to the Galactic League Finals in 26 BBY before falling to their ancient rivals, the Commenor Diamonds, in overtime of an epic Game 5. The next year, Mondray and Tebron were unstoppable, and Kuat had its title.

Mondray’s heroics brought him an immense fortune and lavish homes atop a Kuati skyhook and on an exclusive Spira beach, but he never felt at ease in the Core – and he was troubled by what had happened on Ochotl.

Ochotl Ag had become a member of the Corporate Alliance in an effort to better compete with the agricultural firms of the Pangarees, but those firms were controlled by Eriaduan interests with deep connections in the courts. Ochotl Ag’s entire chak-root crop was lost amid an investigation into a possible Corris-weevil infestation; though nothing was found, the planet was placed on a three-year probationary list, effectively destroying the market for its products. When the Corporate Alliance sought to bring Ochotl’s case to arbitration, pirates out of Nocto destroyed the planet’s orbital depots, with the Outland Region Security Forces – another tool of Eriadu’s interests — responding halfheartedly.

When Airam sector seceded from the Republic along with its neighbors on the Rimma Trade Route, reporters badgered Mondray about his allegiances. Rather than retreating into the celebrity athlete’s usual clichés, he offered a stinging indictment of the Republic, and refused to back down despite the loss of endorsements, fines from the Artisans and censure from the Galactic League. He said farewell to shockball in a rancorous press conference on Denon and took ship for Murkhana. Mondray saw combat at Hypori and Shumavar, but proved most valuable as a speaker for the Confederate cause, appearing at events such as the Conclave of Chanosant.

Mondray survived the war and served a brief term in prison, but was pardoned by Emperor Palpatine as part of Outer Rim reconciliation efforts. He never returned to shockball, and Gettle Tebron never spoke to him again. And decades later, opposing fans still mocked the Kuat Artisans with terrace chants of “Go home Seppies!”

Clone pilot on Geonosis

A SOLDIER’S STORY: I WAS A GUNSHIP PILOT

Jason Fry: I liked this slice of Grand Army life, but it felt a bit too similar to the first-person account “Clone Trooper Falls in a Hole…” That one made the book; with space at a premium, this one didn’t.

Erich Schoeneweiss: Jason is correct, we got the first-person account he wanted in “Clone Trooper Falls in a Hole…” As good as this is, we only had room for one of these stories in the chapter.

CT-1155. Skifter, if you prefer.

We’d simmed something like Geonosis before, in the tank on Big Stormy. That’s what we called Kamino. I’m talking glove on the stick, not holo-sims. The tank would let us try most anything: I’d flown over iceworlds, deserts, forests, swamps, anything they could generate using reconfigured floor plates and weather generators. In the tank you couldn’t fly at altitude, so it was all ground-level stuff. But I’d holo-simmed re-entry a thousand times. I’m not exaggerating — I was pilot track right out of the vat. They started testing your eyes and reflexes before you could sit up.

The difference between holo-simming and flying in the tank? The holo-sims flew a little more smoothly, a little more predictably. Reality was messier, more random. And the real thing, on Geonosis, felt more random still. The place looked like a cross between Big Mesa and Badlands, but the geographic features were bigger and there was more atmospheric pressure. I noticed it immediately, when we broke from our Acclamator: The stick was heavier, the larty a little more sluggish. But it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

I didn’t know I’d be behind the stick of a larty until we were en route from Big Stormy. I didn’t mind — I’d flown everything the customer had told the Kaminoans about, from fighters to dropships. Even driven an AT-TE a few times, just in case. Hated those things — I felt a lot better knowing there was another dimension to work with if I needed it.

And you know what? It felt different knowing there were bugs shooting back at us. We saw them right off, those crustacean-looking fighters. Ronto, my co-pilot, took a few out on our approach through the Im’g’twe Hills. We’d done live-fire drills, of course, but if someone dies in a live-fire drill, it means the other guy made a mistake. In the real thing, it means he did his job.

I could see lartys that hadn’t made it, burning down below. But we touched down OK, just a little damage to the back quarter from a bug fighter that got off a lucky shot. I felt my stomach jumping while I was sitting there on the ground, like every missile and torpedo and turbolaser in the system was aimed at me. I got the all clear, counted one-one-thousand two-one-thousand, then headed skyward to get more troops. I ran troops between assembly points all day, seeking targets both ways — run-and-guns, we called them. I don’t know how many platoons we unloaded, how many bugs we took down, how many missiles we fired, any of it. They still have the telemetry somewhere, I suppose, but for me it all blended together within the first hour: sensor profiles, target acquisitions, drop-zone coordinates, flight paths, refuel, reload, repeat.

When it was all done, I could barely get my armor off. My back and legs and butt were killing me from wearing a body bucket all day, and my hands were crabbed from clutching the stick. I hit the rack and was out instantly, like I’d been hit with a stun blast. You know sometimes you wake up and for a moment you can’t remember where you are? That happened the next morning. It wasn’t till I felt the thrum of the Acclamator’s drive that it came back to me. And I realized it was just the beginning.

Kligson

WAR PORTRAIT: KLIGSON

Jason Fry: Every author has an article, poem, book or some effort that resists any and all opportunities to be published. I wrote this piece in 2006, as a companion to an article about Marvel’s Star Wars tales in Star Wars Insider #91. The article took three Marvel characters — Wermis, Kligson and Bey — and integrated them better with the Expanded Universe. There wasn’t room for the article in the magazine, so I recast it as an online feature. That plan fell through, so I reworked the profiles for Warfare. Then I needed cuts to the Warfare manuscript, so I axed Bey. A little later, I cut Wermis. And then I threw up my hands and dropped Kligson. So I resurrected the three profiles for the Author’s Cut…and then my pals Abel G. Peña and Rich Handley addressed Wermis’s history quite nicely in another project. Given all that, I’m sure an asteroid will hit the Earth before this actually shows up on StarWars.com. If anyone actually gets to read this, it’s a fun piece with no obvious defect except being star-crossed. Enjoy…finally.

 

Erich Schoeneweiss: Jason, we’ve reached our character limit for this blog post. This last one is going to have to be cut… (laughing).

An imposing man with the T-square cheekbones of a holo idol, Kligson was born on Sucharme, a once-thriving farm world in the Outer Rim’s Grohl sector. The Trade Federation had long been a commercial presence on Sucharme, but in the years before the Battle of Naboo it had acquired controlling shares in the planet’s agricorps, then sundered the ancient relationships between those firms and the rest of their supply chain. The Sucharmese soon found their world reduced to a supplier of raw materials for shipment to other Federation worlds. When resentment curdled into open hostility, the Federation launched an invasion disguised as a “measured intervention to ensure collection of outstanding debt.”

One of the leaders of the Sucharmese resistance was Major Kligson of the Grohl Sector Defense Force. Kligson was no stranger to battle: He’d wiped out pirate nests that had preyed on shipping in Grohl’s rimward reaches and intervened to end the civil war on nearby Ostega. But this was different: The sight of battle droids picking their way across the fields of his homeworld disgusted Kligson. He helped evict the Federation from the planet, then renounced his commission and became part of the Grohl Liberation Front, which pursued a campaign of sabotage against Federation interests all across the sector.

Jango Fett convinced Kligson to become a member of the Cuy’val Dar, training ARC troopers and clone commandos on Kamino. Eager to destroy more Separatist droids, he left Kamino to become a rare non-clone officer in the Grand Army, fighting ably on war-torn worlds such as Sluis Van and Praesitlyn.

With the Clone Wars over, Kligson’s clone troopers became stormtroopers; he himself was made a captain in the Imperial Army. And Kligson was an enthusiastic supporter of the New Order: The Republic had allowed Neimoidian machines to humiliate and invade his homeworld, but the Empire had routed the droid armies and defeated their makers.

But in the fledgling Empire, everyone’s loyalties were under suspicion. Kligson was sent to Sucharme for what was ostensibly a hero’s welcome. Once there, he and his stormtroopers received new orders: They were the vanguard of an invasion force, ordered to eliminate the planet’s leaders in preparation for martial law and the nationalization of resources. When a shocked Kligson countermanded the order as some kind of mistake, his stormtroopers gunned him down. Not one of the men he’d trained and fought beside even hesitated.

Kligson survived only because of the suspicions of those he’d been told to murder. Even as blaster bolts cut through him, Grohl Liberation Front agents were springing an ambush of their own. What was left of Kligson wound up in a bacta tank, then was mated to a cybernetic body – one, ironically, made out of Super Battle Droid parts. The man who had battled machines for so long had become one.

The Grohl Liberation Front hoped Kligson would continue its fight against the Empire. Kligson certainly had no shortage of materiel – the sector was littered with inert droids and CIS warships left helpless when their crews were deactivated. At first Kligson seemed willing, using the Ostega Orbital Yards to build a demented-looking but formidable space station out of warship parts, which was derisively dubbed Kligson’s Moon. But he soon became erratic, demanding that his fellow GLF leaders stay away from his station and send protocol droids instead. A few months later, Kligson’s Moon fired up its engines and jumped into hyperspace. The hero of Grohl Sector was gone.

Droid World

Gone, but not forgotten. Over the decades, Kligson’s Moon — sometimes called Droid World — became a tall tale passed around by spacers in cantinas and droid researchers in their labs. But the stories were true. Those who won their way to Kligson’s Moon discovered its hermetic owner lived by ironclad rules: No organics were allowed to approach, and he had no interest in the pointless struggle between Empire and rebellion. The few organics who succeeded in conversing with Kligson at any length did so by bringing him a new challenge in droid design. (The best-known such supplicant was the droid researcher Simonelle the Ingoian, who may have created a partial human replica droid for Kligson’s use.)

Shortly after the Alliance’s defeat at Hoth, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2-D2 traveled to Kligson’s Moon in hopes of obtaining a full schematic of a wrecked Imperial warbot. While Luke waited in orbit, Artoo and Threepio found themselves caught in a civil war between Kligson’s droids and those seduced by Z-X3, a failed war droid created for the Empire by Tagge Industries.

Kligson defeated Z-X3, but the incident left him even more determined to avoid “the taint of war” that organics had now spread to mechanicals. As Luke, Artoo and Threepio looked on, Kligson’s Moon fired up its engines and jumped to hyperspace. The occasional rumor of the Moon made the rounds among spacers during the Yuuzhan Vong War, but where it and its lonely master now reside, even the cantina tales don’t say.

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare is the definitive guide to the ultimate intergalactic battlefield. Packed with original full-color artwork, it includes facts, figures, and fascinating backstories of major clashes and combatants in the vast Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare is part of the Expanded Universe era of Star Wars storytelling.

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