A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
Four thousand years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Republic verges on collapse. Again. It must have been, sheesh, a whole 40 years since the last time this happened? Anyway, Darth Malak, the clichéd apprentice of the Dark Lord Revan, has unleashed yet another invincible Sith armada upon a typically unprepared galaxy.
Crushing all resistance, Malak's war of conquest has left the Jedi Order running around like headless chickens as countless Knights fall in battle, and many more swear allegiance to the much cooler Sith Master.
In the skies above the Outer Rim world of Taris, a Jedi battle fleet is about to be destroyed by the forces of Darth Malak, so that one particular Republic soldier can crash on the planet in a convenient plot contrivance...
Chapter 1: Farewell Endar Spire, We Hardly Knew Ye
A cabin on board the Endar Spire. RGN is lying on a narrow bed in his underclothes, fast asleep, completely oblivious to the enormous battle raging outside the ship. The room shakes violently as something crashes into the side of the ship, and he half-wakes.
RGN: Guys! Keep the noise down, will you? Sheesh... (He rolls over and pulls a pillow over his head.) Stupid Life Day parties...
Suddenly the door bursts open and TRASK runs in. He grabs RGN by the shoulders and starts shaking him.
TRASK: Wake up! The Endar Spire is under attack, we've got to get to the bridge and protect Bastila!
RGN: Huh? Wha... (He finally wakes up.) Who the hell are you?
TRASK: Your bunkmate. I'm sure there's a good reason why we haven't met before despite sleeping in the same room for several months, but I can't be bothered to think of one.
RGN: And your name is...?
TRASK: Trask, but most people call me Dead Meat.
RGN: Riiiight... I'm Randomly Generated Name, RGN for short.
TRASK: I know. I've heard a lot about you - they say you're the best advertising executive Czerka Corporation ever had. (He looks puzzled for a moment.) I'm not entirely sure how that relates to our mission, but...
(Another almighty crash is heard.)
RGN: I take it we're being attacked by the Sith?
TRASK: Right. Hurry up, we've got to get to the bridge and protect Bastila!
RGN: Yeah, you said that. What exactly is so special about Bastila, anyway?
TRASK: She has this really cool ability called Battle Mediation.
RGN: I se- hang on, Battle Mediation?
TRASK: Yep. It was going to be Battle Meditation, but we decided that sounded like something from a Pokémon episode.
RGN (sighing): Perhaps we should just get going.
TRASK: OK, you'd better equip your gear. Do you need any help?
RGN takes a step backwards, looking at him strangely.
RGN: I, er... know how to put my clothes on, thanks.
TRASK (a little disappointed): Oh. Okay.
Outside in the corridor, RGN's communicator beeps.
CARTH: This is Carth Onasi, repeat Carth Onasi. The Sith are threatening to overrun our position! We can't hold out long against their firepower! All hands to the bridge! Carth Onasi out.
TRASK: That was Carth Onasi.
RGN (rolls eyes): You don't say.
He runs towards the connecting door and tries to open it. It's locked.
TRASK: The room must be in lockdown. Good thing I can use my security skills to slice the lock! (He does so, and the door opens.)
RGN: Isn't that a bit short-sighted? What about the people who aren't lucky enough to have lock-picking skills?
TRASK (sternly): They do not deserve to live.
They run off down the corridor. A faint, forlorn voice can be heard behind one of the other doors.
VOICE: Hello? Could somebody let me out of here, please? ... Anyone?
Running through the corridors, the two soldiers turn a corner and come across a group of Republic solders facing a gang of Sith.
SITH SOLDIER: Die, Republic dogs!
REPUBLIC SOLDIER: Eat hot light, Sith snakes!
A fierce battle follows, during which about 1 in 10 shots fired actually hits something. Eventually all the Republic soldiers are killed.
TRASK: Uh-oh. Our turn, I suppose...
They fire a few shots and easily dispose of the remaining Sith.
RGN: Huh. That was easy.
The sounds of a lightsaber duel can be heard through the next door -- then they suddenly stop. The door opens to reveal a male Dark Jedi and a female Light Jedi, locked in a passionate embrace. TRASK andRGNlook at each other, then back at the Jedi.
The two Jedi look round and hastily break apart. Somewhat embarrassed, they resume their duel.
TRASK: It's a dark Jedi! This fight is too much for us -- we better stay back. All we'd do is get in the way.
RGN: Hang on -- he's far too busy fighting to notice what we're doing. Couldn't we just shoot --
TRASK: No! Just let them fight, OK?
The duel continues. Finally the female Jedi manages to knock her opponent to the ground - but as she stands back, victorious, a wall panel behind her explodes in a shower of sparks. She falls to the ground, dead.
TRASK: That was one of the Jedi accompanying Bastila. Damn, we could have used her help!
RGN (through gritted teeth): Yes, we probably could have.
TRASK: Come on, let's get to the bridge.
They run up to the bridge door, which slides open. Inside is a group of about ten Sith soldiers, armed to the teeth. TRASK and RGN back away slightly.
TRASK: Er... wrong door?
SITH SOLDIER (grinning nastily) Not so fast, Republic scum --
Every single console in the room explodes simultaneously, killing all the Sith. The soldiers look at each other and shrug.
TRASK: Looks like Bastila's gone already. Ah well, better get to the escape pods.
They walk through into the next room. A slight sound can be heard from behind a side door. TRASKsuddenly stops in the middle of the room.
TRASK: Would this be a good time to show you a picture of my wife and kids?
RGN: What? Trask --
TRASK reaches into a pocket and pulls out his wallet. He opens it to reveal a family photograph, showing TRASK along with a beautiful woman and three adorable children.
TRASK: Cute, aren't they?
RGN (helplessly): Er, yes...
TRASK: God, I miss them so much. I just hope we get through this alive, then I can go back and see them again. You know, I was planning to leave the army after this last tour of duty...
He sighs theatrically and looks over at the door. Nothing happens.
TRASK (louder): I said --
The door bursts open. Through a cloud of smoke steps DARTH BANDON, a Dark Jedi.
TRASK: Oh no, another Dark Jedi! (He pulls out a sword with a flourish.) I'll hold him off. You get to the escape pods!
RGN: What, are you mad? You won't last five seconds! (Pulls out his own sword.) The two of us might have a chance --
TRASK: Can't you see I'm trying to heroically sacrifice myself, dammit? GET OUT! (He charges at BANDON, sword raised.) FOR THE REPUBLIC!!!
There is a very large explosion. The door to the next room conveniently seals itself behind TRASK as he rushes through.
RGN (shaking his head sadly) What an idiot. (He turns and heads for the starboard section.)
RGN's communicator beeps again as he runs through the ship, shooting Sith right and left.
CARTH: Hi there, it's me again. I'm trapped behind a roomful of Sith here, by the escape pods. I'm not entirely sure why they haven't tried to break in yet, but you're going to have to get rid of them somehow.
RGN: How can I do that?
CARTH: Well, luckily, it just so happens that our power conduits have been engineered so that they can be blown up from any computer terminal on the ship.
RGN: What? Why?
CARTH: I'm not entirely sure. I suppose, when you think about it, under normal circumstances that might be considered a rather poor design decision...
RGN (under his breath): You know, I'm beginning to think the Sith may have a point about the Republic. (Aloud) Fine, fine, I'll blow up the power conduit...
He walks over to a computer terminal and switches it on. Words appear on the screen:
Welcome, unauthorised user! Would you like a hacking tutorial?
RGN mutters something under his breath and presses a few buttons. The power conduit in the next room explodes, somehow managing to instantly kill all the Sith inside. RGN walks through the door to the escape pods, where he is met by CARTH, a rather good-looking Republic pilot. For some reason he is dressed not in a standard uniform, but in jeans and a bright orange jacket.
CARTH: You made it just in time! There's only one active escape pod left. Come on, we can hide out on the planet below!
RGN: Carth, right?
CARTH: Yep. Bastila's escape pod's already gone, so there's no reason for us to stick around here and get shot by the Sith. Now come on - there'll be time for questions later!
RGN: Wait... How do I know I can trust you?
CARTH: Of course you can trust me! Though I should warn you that I have some unresolved personal issues which may cause tension between us.
RGN: Oh... well, that's okay. You can tell me about them later.
CARTH (eyes lighting up): Really? Oh boy!
They climb into one of the escape pods. Unfortunately, the ship explodes just as the pod is released, sending it spinning uncontrollably towards the planet.
RGN: Uh-oh. Well, Carth, it was nice knowing you...
The pod crashes into the planet's surface at tremendous speed.
Chapter 2: On the Town
A grotty apartment in Taris. RGN lies on a bunk, writhing in his sleep. He is dreaming... BASTILA SHAN, a beautiful woman in her early 20s, is fighting a lightsaber duel with a dark, masked figure. Suddenly the image fades and RGN wakes.
RGN: Oh, God, my head...
CARTH: Hello? Anyone in there?
RGN (forcing his eyes open): Sheesh... just how much did I have to drink last night? That must have been one hell of a party!
CARTH: There was no party. Our escape pod crashed on Taris, remember?
RGN: Oh... yeah. Was that when I hit my head?
CARTH: Er, actually... no. You hit your head on the door when I dragged you out of the pod. (He coughs loudly.) Anyway, I'm glad you're awake -- it sounded like you were having quite a nightmare.
RGN: You can say that again. First I dreamed that I was naked in the middle of the street and everyone was laughing at me, and then I had an exam and I'd forgotten to do any revision for it... (Looks around.) Where exactly are we, anyway?
CARTH: We're in an abandoned apartment on the planet of Taris. (He showsRGN a brochure entitled 'Making the Most of Your Enforced Stay in Sith-Occupied Taris: A Visitor's Guide'.) The Sith won't let anyone leave the planet, and you've been unconscious for a few days, so I thought I might as well get in a bit of sightseeing.
RGN: So what's Taris like?
CARTH: Well, the Upper City is full of rich snobs who hate aliens, the Lower City is a crime-ridden slum, and the Undercity is crawling with hideous monsters... your average futuristic sci-fi dystopia, basically.
RGN: So how do we get off the planet?
CARTH: Well, I think we should look for Bastila first.
RGN: Talking of Bastila, why didn't she use her (cough) Battle Mediation to help us on the Endar Spire?
CARTH: From what I understand of her ability, it requires great concentration and focus to maintain her Battle Mediation. Not to mention time, patience, large amounts of alcohol and a willingness to compromise on the part of everyone involved. I guess she just didn't get a chance...
RGN: I suppose not. Fine, let's go look for her.
CARTH: We'd better be careful, though. I've heard some grim stories about the Dark Jedi interrogation techniques. They say the Force can do terrible things to a mind - it can wipe away your memories, destroy your very identity, and make you think that Big Brother is good TV.
RGN: Shit. We'd better find Bastila fast...
Outside the apartment, a Sith patrol approaches some harmless-looking aliens.
SITH CAPTAIN: Right, you alien scum, up against the wall! This is a raid! Where are they, then?
ALIEN (subtitled): I don't know what you're talking about, Sith. I'm an old man, my legs are grey, my eyes are old and bent --
SITH CAPTAIN: Don't act all innocent with me! We know you're running an illegal prostitution racket out of these apartments, and we want in! Now, for the last time: where are the hookers?
CARTH and RGN choose this moment to step out of the apartment.
SITH CAPTAIN: Humans, hiding out with aliens? They must be the prostitutes!
SITH TROOPER: Er, Captain... male prostitutes?
SITH CAPTAIN: Look, it's better than nothing! (To CARTH) So, how much will it be for the three of us?
CARTH (incensed): Look, you Sith moron, we're not prostitutes! We're Republic sold-- oops...
The Sith troopers look at one another, then raise their blaster rifles.
RGN: Nice move, Carth. We've been out of the apartment for, like, ten seconds?
CARTH: Sorry. (To Sith soldiers) Oh look, the prostitutes are over there! (Points.)
As the Sith look round eagerly, CARTH and RGN shoot them in the back.
ALIEN (subtitled): Thanks. That was close...
RGN: No problem. Did someone mention hookers?
CARTH: RGN! This is not the time or place!
RGN: Just kidding...
A street in Taris Upper City, patrolled by Sith troopers.
RGN: So where shall we head to first?
CARTH: There's a medical facility over there... I suppose they might know something about the other escape pods which crashed. Besides, we ought to stock up on medpacs and performance-enhancing drugs.
They enter the medical facility. ZELKA FORN, a healer, comes up to greet them.
ZELKA: Welcome to Taris, off-worlders! What can I do for you today?
CARTH: Hi there. (Casually) Would you happen to have heard anything about those Republic escape pods that crashed on Taris?
ZELKA (looking around nervously): Um... escape pods? I don't know anything about any escape pods. No escape pods here, that's for sure! Er... what's the Republic?
CARTH: Right, well... anyway, my friend here could use some free healing. He hit his head on...
RGN: A low-flying speeder.
CARTH: ...a low-flying speeder, and I'm afraid he may have been brain-damaged or something.
ZELKA: Well, you've come to the right place. I can instantly cure any ailment, from minor cuts and bruises to AIDS and massive internal injuries. (He injects RGN with a medpac, and his wounds instantly disappear.)
RGN: Wow, that was quick. Can you really cure anything?
ZELKA: Yes... well, except for the rakghoul disease.
CARTH: Rakghoul disease?
ZELKA: It affects people who've been bitten by rakghouls. It somehow alters your DNA structure, turning you into a hideous, slimy monster. Given that this is, in fact, biologically impossible, it's hardly surprising that we're having difficulty finding a cure for it.
RGN: But isn't there any sort of antidote?
ZELKA: Well, the Sith have some sort of rakghoul serum, but they keep all of it for their patrols in the Undercity. (Sighs) If only some courageous yet foolhardy person would go down to the Undercity -- where, incidentally, there happens to be a number of crashed Republic escape pods -- and bring me back some of the serum, I could make enough for everyone...
RGN: OK, we'll find the serum for you.
ZELKA: No, don't do that! I don't want any serum! I'm certainly not encouraging you to attack Sith patrols and take the serum off them, no sirree!
CARTH: But you just said --
RGN: Never mind. Come on, Carth. (They leave the facility.)
ZELKA (yelling after them): You'll need Sith uniforms to get into the Lower City!
A street in Taris Upper City. CARTH stares into the distace as they walk along, a vacant look on his face.
RGN: So, where to next, Carth?
CARTH: (mutters something inaudible)
CARTH (hisses): You're supposed to remark that I look distant.
RGN: Oh. Do you look distant?
CARTH (a little annoyed): Yes! I've been looking distant for five minutes and you haven't even noticed!
RGN: Sorry... (Dutifully) So why are you looking distant, Carth?
CARTH: Because I don't trust you.
RGN: Er... any particular reason why?
CARTH: Well, it's a bit strange that you were the only other person to escape the Endar Spire, isn't it? Given that the Jedi had you transferred to the ship at the last minute? And just what were you before you joined the Republic army, anyway?
RGN: An advertising executive.
CARTH (confused): Oh... Anyway, I still don't trust you!
RGN: Carth, would this be anything to do with those 'personal issues' you mentioned earlier?
CARTH: Well, now that you mention it, yes. Yes it would.
RGN (resignedly): Do you want to talk about it?
CARTH: No. Well, actually... yes. (Clears his throat) It all started when --
RGN: OK, I get the feeling this is going to take a long time. Perhaps we should sit down somewhere?
A table in the Upper City cantina, some considerable time later...
CARTH: ...and then I said to my mother --
RGN (holding up a hand): Carth, all this is... fascinating, but could we perhaps get on to the reasons why you don't trust anyone?
CARTH: I was coming to that. Well, I guess it's mainly because of Revan and Malak betraying the Republic...
RGN: So the Jedi went to the Dark Side. What's that got to do with me?
CARTH: But they weren't the only ones! There were others... trusted men who turned on us, as well, and joined their cause. The dark side has nothing to do with why they joined with the Sith. They deserve no mercy! THEY MUST ALL DIE! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE!!! (He slams his fists down on the table. RGN backs away in alarm.)
RGN: OK... Carth? You know, I think perhaps you should get some professional help.
CARTH: I already did, but my therapist told me to shut up and get over myself. (Calming down a little) Anyway, there's more... but I don't want to talk about it right now.
RGN (visibly relieved): Really? Ah well, maybe later. I think I need a drink.
He makes his escape as quickly as possible. Ten minutes later he returns, grinning widely.
CARTH: Where have you been?
RGN: Oh, I was just chatting with this Sith woman called Sarna --
CARTH: Sith? Oh my God, you are one of them after all! Traitor! (He reaches for his blaster pistol.)
RGN: Sheesh, will you listen to me for a moment? I'm not a Sith. I was just trying to get some information out of her.
CARTH: Oh. Sorry. (Puts down the blaster) Did you get anything useful?
RGN: Well, the good news is that I have a date for tonight...
Another apartment block in the Upper City. CARTH and RGN are arguing as they walk through the corridor.
CARTH: I can't believe you got us invited to a Sith party! Do you have any idea how dangerous this is?
RGN: Don't worry. I have a plan.
LARGO walks up to them.
LARGO: Oh, woe is me! For there is a bounty on my head and I cannot afford to pay it off. How I wish that some random, astoundingly generous stranger would come along and give me, say, 200 credits...
RGN: OK. Here you go.
LARGO: Yippee! (Runs off happily.)
CARTH: RGN, did you just give a complete stranger two hundred credits?
RGN: I'm going for Light Side Mastery. Besides, if we need any credits we can always break into someone's apartment and steal their money.
CARTH: Isn't that a bit of a... Dark Side thing to do?
RGN: (Shrugs) The KotOR writers don't appear to think so.
They approach the apartment where the party is taking place. Off-duty Sith are drinking and dancing around inside.
SARNA: There you are! Come on in and try some of this Tarisian ale -- it's fantastic!
It is half an hour later. All the Sith are lying unconscious on the floor.
CARTH: I'm not sure that putting Rohypnol in their drinks was entirely ethical...
RGN: Look, do you want to get off the planet or not?
CARTH: I suppose you have a point. So what have we got?
RGN: (Searches backpacks) Hmm... Tic-Tacs, a few porno magazines... oh, and one Sith uniform.
CARTH: Great. So which of us gets to single-handedly take on the entire Lower City?
RGN: I wouldn't worry. Don't you remember how easy it was to outwit those other Sith?
A SITH GUARD stands outside the elevator to the Lower City. RGN and CARTH approach the elevator. RGN is dressed in the Sith uniform, CARTH in his normal clothes.
SITH GUARD: Hey! You in the orange jacket, where do you think you're going?
RGN: It's okay, he's with me.
SITH GUARD: Oh, that's all right then. (He stands aside to let them pass.)
Inside the elevator,RGN removes his helmet.
RGN (shaking his head in disbelief): How did they ever manage to take over the planet?
Chapter 3: Gangs of Lower Taris
RGN and CARTH emerge from the elevator into the Lower City. Opposite them, members of the Hidden Beks swoop-gang face off against a group from a rival gang, the Black Vulkars.
BLACK VULKAR: Ha! You Beks are so DEAD!
HIDDEN BEK: Oh yeah? Well, we'll see about that! (They fight.)
CARTH: Sheesh, that was the lamest comeback ever.
The Beks are easily killed by the Vulkars. They turn round to see CARTH and RGN trying to look inconspicuous.
CARTH: Don't mind us, guys. Just passing through...
BLACK VULKAR (looking at RGN): Hey, you... you're Sith! (Grins nastily.) We don't like Sith, do we, boys?
RGN (frantically): No, wait, it's all a misunderstanding! (Takes off helmet.) We're not Sith, we're with the Republic!
BLACK VULKAR: Would that be the same Republic that initiated 'Operation Smash The Swoop Gangs' when they controlled the planet?
CARTH: (laughs nervously) Ignore my friend, he was just kidding. We're with... er... the Exchange.
VULKAR #2: The same Exchange that hired bounty hunters to kill our leader?
VULKAR #3: The same Al-Qaeda that blew up the World Trade Centre?
CARTH: Oh, I give up. (To Vulkars) Bring it on!
Five minutes later, all six Black Vulkars lie dead on the floor.
RGN (dusting himself off): Well, that went better than I expected.
CARTH: Yeah, what is it with all these goons who can't hit a target right in front of them?
CARTH and RGN (now in his normal clothes) approach the door to the Lower City cantina. There is a sign on it: 'Welcome to Javyar's Cantina. No unlicensed brawling! All bounty enquiries to Zax the Hutt. Remember, Thursday night is karaoke night!'
They enter the cantina. Some Vulkars are annoying CALO NORD, a somewhat vertically-challenged bounty hunter.
VULKAR #1: Hey, it's Calo Nord, the great bounty hunter! (CALO glares at him.) Can I have your autograph?
CALO (growls): Go away.
VULKAR #2: Ooh, Shortarse here thinks he's too important for us.
CALO: I'm warning you...
VULKAR #3: We're not scared of you, Calo!
CARTH (under his breath): From what we've seen of the Vulkars so far, I'd give them about three seconds.
CALO: One... Two... Three.
When the Vulkars fail to leave, CALO grabs a pair of blaster pistols and shoots each of them in quick succession, before strolling casually out of the cantina. No one bats an eyelid; clearly this sort of thing happens on a regular basis.
RGN: Why do I get the feeling we'll be seeing him again?
A short way away, a young Twi'lek girl, MISSION VAO, is being harassed by a couple of sleazy-looking Rodians.
SLEAZY RODIAN #1: Hee, hee... Little girl is very well-developed for her age.
MISSION: Hello, sickos? I'm fourteen!
SLEAZY RODIAN #2: So? That no problem for fanfic writers.
MISSION: Zaalbar, could you deal with these perverts for me?
ZAALBAR, a huge Wookiee, turns round and growls menacingly at the Rodians.
SLEAZY RODIAN #1: Er... actually... me just remember me left oven on... (They make a dash for the exit.)
CARTH: Hey, a Twi'lek who speaks Basic!
MISSION: Hi there, I'm Mission Vao and this is my best friend Zaalbar. Say, are you two new down here? I don't recognise you, and I know pretty much everyone in the Lower City.
RGN: What, everyone on the entire planet?
MISSION: Yep. I know all about Davik, Calo Nord, the Lower City gangs... if you want exposition, I'm the person to talk to!
CARTH: Er... you wouldn't happen to know anything about the Republic escape pods which crashed here, would you?
MISSION: You could talk to Gadon Thek about that. He's the leader of the Hidden Beks.
RGN: A gang leader? And he just lets anyone wander in and talk to him, does he?
MISSION: Oh, yeah! He's a nice guy, and he only occasionally has people kneecapped. (Suddenly suspicious) Why do you want to know about escape pods, anyway?
CARTH: Keep this to yourself, but we're actually Republic fugitives searching for a way off the planet.
MISSION: Wow! Hey, maybe I could join your party? I could be the plucky comic relief.
RGN: Well... we'll see.
MISSION: Coolness! Anyway, I'll be exploring the sewers in the Undercity if you need me. Come on, Big Z! (They leave the cantina.)
RGN: (Shrugs) Guess we'd better go talk to our friendly local crime lord...
CARTH and RGN are walking through the Lower City towards the Bek base. CARTH is looking moody again.
RGN: Something the matter, Carth?
CARTH (mutters): Grrr. Don't trust you.
RGN: Oh, God, not this again... Why don't you trust me?
CARTH (sulkily): Why do you even care?
RGN: Because frankly, Carth, your intermittent paranoia is really starting to piss me off.
CARTH: Oh, all right then! It's because of Saul.
CARTH: Saul Karath. (RGN looks blank.) You know, Malak's right-hand man? The commander of the entire Sith fleet? Don't tell me you haven't heard of him!
RGN (thoughtfully): Hmm, that is a bit strange. I hadn't heard of Bastila either till a few days ago...
CARTH: Anyway, Saul Karath was my commanding officer during the Mandalorian Wars. He was my mentor, taught me everything I know, yadda yadda...
RGN: But he went over to the Sith?
CARTH: Yes - he even gave them the codes to bypass our scanners. Sometimes I wonder if I could have stopped him...
CARTH: Well, he approached me beforehand and started talking about how the Republic was on the losing side, and how I should start thinking of my survival... But how was I to know he was trying to recruit me into the Sith? (He hesitates) Although perhaps I should have guessed when he yelled "The Republic is doomed, DOOMED!" and ran off laughing maniacally...
RGN: (Sighs) Yes, I think perhaps you should.
CARTH: So, anyway, that's why I don't trust anyone. Satisfied?
RGN: Yes, I see. Well, Carth, you needn't worry - if I ever choose to join the Sith, I'll be sure to explain it to you in terms you can understand.
CARTH: Thank you.
CARTH and RGN approach the Hidden Beks' base. A young woman stands on guard.
BEK GUARD: Yeah, what do you want?
RGN: We've come to see Gadon Thek.
BEK GUARD: Well, you can't. Sod off.
RGN: Pleeease? We'll be good!
BEK GUARD: Well, I suppose you don't look like Vulkars... (Indulgently) Oh, all right then, go on in.
CARTH: Can we take our weapons?
BEK GUARD: I suppose so. But you have to promise not to assassinate Gadon.
RGN: Don't worry, we won't.
They enter the base. Many Hidden Beks are milling around the place. GADON sits at a desk, guarded by ZAERDRA, a Twi'lek woman who looks at the pair with deep suspicion.
ZAERDRA: Hold it, you two! Not a step closer. (She pulls out a blaster.) Do you want me to strip-search them, Gadon?
RGN: Mmm, yes pl-- ow! (CARTH surreptitiously kicks him.)
GADON (sighing): I think it would be better not to, Zaerdra. Not after that incident with the Jehovah's Witnesses a few weeks ago...
ZAERDRA: But they could be Sith spies! Or Vulkar assassins! Or... or... vampires! (Everyone stares at her.)
ZAERDRA (defiantly): Well, they could.
RGN: Carth, I think you may have found your soul mate.
GADON: (To RGN and CARTH) Please, don't mind Zaerdra. She's a bit mistrustful of people since what happened with Brejik.
GADON: My former right-hand man. He left to form the Vulkars due to, er... 'creative differences.' Anyway, how can I help you?
RGN: We're looking for information on Republic escape pods that crashed in the Undercity.
GADON: Ah, don't tell me. You're Republic soldiers who survived the battle and you desperately need to find a female officer called Bastila before she gets captured by the Sith.
CARTH and RGN look at each other in surprise.
RGN: How did you know that?
GADON: You'd be, ooh, the sixth lot to come in with that story today. A popular woman, this Bastila...
CARTH: Oh... (Helplessly) But we really are Republic soldiers!
GADON (soothingly): Of course you are, of course you are. Anyway, I'm afraid you're too late -- the Vulkars already took her prisoner.
CARTH: Damn! Isn't there any way we can rescue her?
GADON: Well, Brejik's offering her up as a prize in the annual Taris swoop-racing championship. Now, the good news is that we've developed an experimental prototype swoop engine which could help us win the race...
RGN: And the bad news?
GADON: It was stolen by the Vulkars a few days ago.
RGN: Ah. Perhaps we could get it back for you?
GADON: Well, you'd have to find a way into the Vulkar base...
RGN: Couldn't we just bash the door down with our swords? It seems to work everywhere else.
GADON: Ah, but this is a special high-security unbashable door. Mind you, I believe there is a secret back way in... (Their faces light up) ...through the sewers... (their faces fall again) ...which are infested with rakghouls. Oh, and Gamorreans.
CARTH: Oh, wonderful. Are you sure there's no other way in?
GADON: Nope. (Cheerily) But don't worry, I'm sure you'll make it. Here, have these Sith papers so that they'll let you down into the Undercity.
RGN and CARTH leave the base, looking rather pale.
ZAERDRA: Don't you think you should have told them about the keycard you found, Gadon?
GADON: Nah, let them fight their way through the sewers -- it'll be character-building. Ha, ha! 'Character-building', geddit?
The pair approach the elveator to the Undercity.
SITH GUARD: Halt! No one's allowed in the Undercity except us Sith.
RGN (flourishing papers): Ta-DA!
SITH GUARD: Hang on a minute... if you're Sith, where are your uniforms?
CARTH (under his breath): Ooh, we've got a bright one here.
RGN: It's... er... Casual Friday. Didn't anyone tell you?
SITH GUARD: Casual Friday? No, no one told me. Can I wear my Batman costume?
RGN: Um... yes, I suppose so.
SITH GUARD: Great! Back in a few minutes. (They stare after him as he runs off.)
CARTH: Isn't today Saturday?
RGN: Not all that bright, obviously. (Rolls eyes) Just how did they manage to take over the planet, again?