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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    Is it really terrorism though? The goal of terrorism is to spread, well, terror, which you then use to get what you want. The Rebellion, while much like the French Resistance, is a guerrilla army as they target near exclusively military units and targets. Hell they rarely even go after Imperial political figures unless they are expressly involved in something military related.

    Though ya, it largely is Rebel propaganda, cuz Thrawn is clearly the good guy.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    An interesting thread.

    With respect to Wookies in X-wing, the first important question is: Can they fit in the cockpit? It doesn't look like they were designed with Wookie pilots in mind.

    As towards the use of torpedoes in X-wing, it's because that's the way they're used in the X-wing game. I especially used them against tie bombers because if you can hit a bomber with it, it's a one-hit kill, and that is important. By contrast, it can take several hits with turbolasers to down a bomber, during which time it will start taking evasive action while its friends press on to blow up the freighter/corvette/cargo container you're supposed to be defending.

    This isn't helped at all by the fact that the quad-laser placement is incredibly awkward, especially at point blank range.

    That's especially important in X-wing alliance, the successor game, where there's a splash effect from a torpedo and you can take out a whole formation of bombers at once.

    "Save them for use against capital ships?" Pfah. Torpedoes in X-wing are effective against shuttles and transports, effective against corvettes if you fire all of them as a salvo, and absolutely no good at all against anything frigate-size or larger. Even the entire squadron volleying at once won't do much.

    Besides which -- remember that the first priority of the Alliance has to be preserving their own ships. If they lose five corvettes in exchange for a star destroyer, the Rebels still lose. It's a lot easier for the Empire to crank out another ISD from the Kuat Drive Yards than it is for the Rebels to beg/borrow/steal another capital ship from somewhere.

    During the pre-Endor phase of the war, the Rebellion is waging a Guerre De Commerce. Which means, find some minimally defended freighters and cargo containers, jump in, brush aside the three or four TIEs protecting them, do as much damage as you can in five minutes, then bug out by the time Imperial reinforcements arrive. If you find yourself fighting a capital ship, you've already lost. Even if you blow up the response ship, the losses you'll take in return are not supportable.

    Now, in the New Republic era resources aren't quite so tight, but the New Republic is never at a point where they can just throw away ships or people the way the Empire does with stormtroopers and TIE fighters. Thus ship preservation is always going to have a higher priority than killing the other guy, even at a favorable exchange rate.

    I know that if I was an X-wing commander and someone had failed to defend a mission-critical craft from an attack, their torpedo racks had better darn well be empty. Otherwise they're going out of fighters to fly a monitor on a capital ship bridge, since they failed to do their utmost to accomplish the mission.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    It's like crossing a Phoenix missile with an Exocet missile - to get something that's both a good fighter-killer and a good ship-killer.
    Minor real world point: The Phoenix is designed to kill backfire bombers at long range before they can fire their 250km+ supersonic KSR-5 missiles at a carrier. Thus the missile is very fast and very long range, but not maneuverable. It's no good at all against a fighter. AMRAAMs work better. That's why we don't have Phoenixes any more.

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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    An interesting thread.

    With respect to Wookies in X-wing, the first important question is: Can they fit in the cockpit? It doesn't look like they were designed with Wookie pilots in mind.
    Wookiee. Two Es.

    Also, probably not. Runt could barely fit, because he was, well, a runt. And he clocked in at two meters. Chewie is 2.28m, so it seems safe to assume that the average Wookiee wouldn't be able to fit.
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    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    On the next chapters!

    Chapter 3, Kirtan Loor

    So, Kirtan Loor. We get introduced to him here, though he appears in the X-Wing comics. Kirtan has a beef with our main character for reasons unspecified. He gets described as looking like Grand Moff Tarkin, because that is definitely not ominous. Maybe he could playact as Tarkin in some show.

    So, Loor is on a Carrack cruiser where he is walking down a corridor that is too low for him, and he works as an Intelligence officer. The Imperial military doesn't like that Loor's boss runs the Empire now. This is understandable because most Intelligence officers tend to be rather stupid or bad at running military stuff. But, I think comes from watching shows featuring people from the NSA or CIA. If Imperial Intelligence picked up any pointers or tips from the Brits or the Russians, then the Rebels are screwed.

    Why is Loor on the ship? To interrogate some guy named Gil Bastra. Gil used to be Corran's Boss, and is not Gil Chesterton (SP?) from the Frasier tv show. Why does Loor want him?

    Loor reveals how skilled he happens to be and about a few different drugs apparently. We get to learn about a disease called Blastonecrosis, who sounds bizarre. It makes you fatigued and not hungry, which is strange because Loor acts like it is something fatal. Maybe there is something missing here?

    So Gil made new identities for his compatriots and finding out what those identities are is what Loor wants. Loor is after Corran Horn, Iella Wessiri, and Iella's husband. Annoyingly, Loor motivations are not established, or at least not yet, so he comes across as being rather petty.

    Gil and Corran had a falling out, one witnessed by Loor. Sounds suspicious to me.

    Okay, so Loor worked with Gil, Corran, and Iella. This is enough to make Loor chase them down. Yeah, not buying it. It's simply too idiotic a motive to give an Intelligence officer. Personally, I think that one of the three made off with some valuable Imperial information that got used in a Rebel attack, and since that information had been in Loor's possession before it went missing, it caused Loor embrassement. Which is better than Loor is one bastard of a coworker.

    Gil made sure that Loor would follow him around, shelling out new leads to order to get pursued. It smacks of ego (or author fiat) as opposed to anything else. Given points, it is almost impossible for Gil to know when Loor was ready to give up. So Gil is just BSing. (There is no actual way for Gil to keep track of Loor's investigation well enough to get info made, so either Loor is fatally incompetent or Gil is lying big time)

    Loor goes for interrogation. Saw it coming.

    Chapter 4, Corran makes friends, awwww

    We bounce to Corran engaging some down time by working on his x-wing. At a rather dangerous height apparently. (The distance to the ground from were he ought to be shouldn't put him more than a story above. It gets treated as being more than 2 stories, and having that means Corran is going to get injured.) Naturally, Corran drops a tool, and goes plummeting off his own fighter. Ah, that would have been sweet mercy...

    Corran worries about cracking his skull, yeah, and makes a save to grab the x-wing, only after Whistler grabs Corran's butt to help him. Corran states that Whistler ought to have caught the tool, then realizes that he didn't hear it the ground. After he checks on the modification first.

    The description adds in the dangerous height problem. (If you saw the movies, you would be able to automatically note that Luke is that much shorter than his x-wing, so Corran should be peering over the wing. He should be able to see this person just be looking in that person's direction)

    We meet someone from the squadron, who hands up the tool, then needs to climb up a cart, as opposed to a ladder. I am going to put this down to the writer being a dork, and not probably noticing things from the movies. It's the only explanation for the stupid about the x-wing's size. Which is not taller than if you measured from the ground to the top of a truck (or it's proper designation if you aren't American). So, what the Hell? Also, this person climbs up the cart before leaning against the craft, which could have been done on the ground. Apparently, novel x-wings are twice or three times as big as movie ones.

    The person is Lujayne Forge, one of the most wonderful characters in the story. She is the heart of the team, and is from Kessel. Because she is from Kessel, Luj decides that when Corran flew against her and beat her, it involved her background. That is quite a stand to take.

    Luj then criticizes Corran for being aloof and distant from the rest, and acting arrogant. Luj doesn't like getting looked down on for being from Kessel, a prison planet, where people got sent, and Corran could have sent them there. I like Luj, how she really takes it to our arrogant main character.

    Luj explains her family history where her father went to teach the inmates career skills so they don't have to be criminals, which sounds nice. The program was run by the Old Republic. If I had been drinking water, I think I would have spilled some. The Old Republic? Doing something nice for others? or to help others? This sounds more like the Jedi encouraging it to me, personally. Given what have learned about the Old Republic....

    Corran thinks it is nice. (I don't know if Corran could have mentioned the possibility that some criminals might be learning new skills to help them commit crimes.) Corran clarifies that he flew better because he had to show that he was better than her. Yes, Corran is a nice fellow. Luj also naturally doesn't call him out on this, claiming to understand it. I don't know if I would have.

    Luj pushes for anything more, and Corran has to admit that he wants to see where she rates compared to him and Jace. Luj is good, according to Corran, which comes across a little as him letting her down easy. Corran is already rating the other pilots with himself and Jace at the top. (This doesn't come across that well for the character to be this much of an arrogant sod)

    Corran fails to recall Gavin's name calling him Gimbel. It sounds in the writing that it was intended to be a writer joke, "That Gimbel kid." Luj corrects him, Corran brushes it off as if it is beneath him.

    We learn that Jace might be an arrogant sort but he is still trying to get to know the others while Corran is being a loner. Military squadrons are not good places to be a lone wolf. Corran tries to justify it with claims of it being risky and dangerous. It's bad reasoning, because he is with the Rebels here. They aren't going to turn him over to the Empire, and so far, why would anyone who finds out who Corran is would turn him over? Corran is not that famous.

    It's Ooryl, who as a Gand, speaks in Third Person. Apparently, it's how all Gand speak except the special ones. I don't know where this weird portrayal comes from, since it didn't appeared in the movies anywhere, and I don't recall seeing it in any books/comics/games before this point. So, Gand can't speak of themselves unless do stuff to earn the right to have names. They also cannot say "I" in reference to themselves. This doesn't apply to Zuckass, and reads as bizarre in general. How do you know which Gand is speaking of what Gand if they don't use identifiers?

    The whole point of saying "I" is to let the other know that you are speaking or referring to yourself only. What part of saying "I like cats" could refer to somebody else that is not talking? It's just stupid here.

    I think that Stackie was trying to make Gands interesting but went for the dumbest way to do it. There is a reason for the Royal We, and given how language works, there is no reason to make this the trait of the Gand. Can another Gand to refer to another using "I" in some way? As usual, Stackie screws up since he is not that good at creating species identifiers. We might be encountering some other silly concepts of his in later books.

    Corran is still trying to fix his x-wing. Luj helps him and demands that he join the gang in payment. He states that he should have already, and promises a later favor.

    End of Chapter Commentary: So we learn about Lujayne and Gands, and Corran. What we learn is that Stackie is bad at coming up with alien traits. Lujayne's background actually makes sense with a prison system quite well. It is also possibly more of a description we are getting for Kessel than what appeared previously. Lujayne also comes across as the most friendly of the bunch and somebody you would want to know in real life.

    Regarding Gands...I think while Stackie gets points for making them interesting, how he went about it is dumb. What kind of culture would develop that kind of reference to themselves? And why use it that why? Do all Gand do it? Are there exceptions?

    This being Star Wars, the chances that all Gands end up getting the weird self-referencing is really high. After all, all Hutts are gangsters except for the small exceptions. All Corellians don't care for odds, and people from Tatioone are farm boy types. A lot of planet of hats going on.

    Corran has demonstrated that he has trust issues and commitment issues. HE can't really commit to others and he doesn't trust them. That will have to change. He also has big ego too and must be the best pilot. We don't get any lines about how competitive Corran is, which would push him to be the best, and that would make sense. Corran also doesn't care for Jace, but that may be because they are more similar than Corran wants to admit.

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    I will be covering Chapter 5 tomorrow or so, because it is a bit of a long one with a lot to describe and cover. We are meeting everybody, Wedge is explaining quite a bunch, and there is quite a bit that needs to be included.

    May the discussions begin!
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    An interesting thread.
    As towards the use of torpedoes in X-wing, it's because that's the way they're used in the X-wing game. I especially used them against tie bombers because if you can hit a bomber with it, it's a one-hit kill, and that is important. By contrast, it can take several hits with turbolasers to down a bomber, during which time it will start taking evasive action while its friends press on to blow up the freighter/corvette/cargo container you're supposed to be defending.

    This isn't helped at all by the fact that the quad-laser placement is incredibly awkward, especially at point blank range.
    I don't want to reopen this argument again, but point was not that torpedoes were unrealistic just that they seemed to go against the aesthetic spirit of the movies and make things far too easy for the Rebels/New Republic - it cheapens the 'ace' nature of the Rogues and makes the Empire look ridiculously incompetent for not fitting torpedoes to their TIE craft.

    (It is a fair point about the games creating the problem in the first place I suppose so maybe it is unfair to blame Stackpole too much for that.)

    Anyway on the next chapters!

    I agree I rather like Luj. I think we had seen Kessel before in the Jedi Academy Trilogy published a couple of years before, though I do think this is the first time we've met a 'native' of Kessel.

    One thing I do find interesting is that our current main villain is a relatively junior intelligence agent. Not so much because such a man can't be dangerous, I'm sure he can, but because immediately it feels more this feel like a Lower Deck story. In retrospect it feels like a precursor to Rogue One, where the heroes are far the most part beneath the notice of the Emperor or Darth Vader and instead are facing a 'middle weight' villain.

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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    We learn about the scenario; it is a repeat of the mission from X-Wing, with the solution established for solving it, listed here as being the only way to make it work. This particular scenario is called Requiem due to difficulty by pilots. Apparently it is a low pay version of the Kobayashi Maru scenario from Star Trek. You know, the one that is poorly designed to test how much of a bastard the cadet is?
    In real life the Redemption mission was designed to test how much of a bastard the game designers could be, because the only way through it was memorising the positions the waves would appear from and finely judging your laser and shield regen so you knew when to dump all your power into engines and when you could charge it again to have enough juice to actually kill things (and the vague hope that these wingmen weren't dropped on their heads at birth, unless you cloned a bunch of Top Ace wingmen).

    The result of the test was that it was determined that the game designers could be a steaming huge bastard. Especially putting that as mission 4 of the game proper.

    They nerfed it for the collector's edition, with fewer waves of bombers IIRC.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Let's Read: X-Wing Complete Series, All Books!

    So, we are back to the fun. Chapter 5 and 6 to follow.

    Chapter 5, Meet your Mates

    Corran Horn has received a message being told to report for Rogue Squadron's first briefing. Was there ever any doubt that he would get in? Nope.

    The book has a moment, about trying to make Corran not a Mary Sue, but it falls flat. It's essentially that Corran want make an unwarranted assumption that he will get in. Which is kinda of pointless a detail to make, bringing up his making unwarranted assumptions previously. It never actually pays off, and it happens to be rather silly aside to make. What exact reason found this paragraph of silly necessary?

    We learn next that Corran is naturally a do-er. The writer is trying to make Corran not a Mary Sue character. Thanks to the previous paragraph, this section comes across more terribly than if Corran's raw arrogance was displayed instead. Having Corran always believing he would get because he also set new records would have be more of a better option. It makes his slow de-arrogance more natural and rewarding. This just confuses matters. He is both arrogant and not, both believing he would get in and not. What exactly is the problem here?

    Rhysati is thrilled to get in. Given that she wasn't as good as Corran, it would make sense for her to be relieved. Corran makes a rather empty comment involving Wedge; I would have preferred a comment about him not having any doubts; he also tries to come across as modest, which is slightly wrecked by how much his arrogance being played up.

    We learn that Corran has the highest score of the Redemption scenario. Why? Why not say that it was one of the top, as opposed to the top? More Mary Sue-ing being put into place. Corran immediately tags Jace as the next in line in score.

    Oh, it was Gavin. Not bad. Jace got scorched in TIE with a missile at range. That's a bit...I don't know, but it really isn't coming across as sympathy inducing as intended.

    Corran considers Jace and that Jace has a massive ego, as big as an Imperial Star Destroyer. I call this a case of the Pot calling the Kettle black. Corran's ego has been shown to be just as big.

    We meet Erisi Dlarit. This won't cause us mass suffering later. No sir. She apparently falls into the middle of the group. Shrug, I don't think she happens to be much of anything. Lujayne was last. Of an elite squadron. Seriously, book, last of an elite unit is way better than any average unit; not the badness the book tries to make it as. (As Wedge says later, any regular unit would love to have a reject from Rogue Squadron. So why is being last treated as terrible? I think the author forgot what being an elite unit means)

    Wedge arrives. Holographic briefing displays apparently are similar to mushrooms. I wonder if it is a subtle sign that maybe some mushrooms were involved in the writing of the story?

    We see Tycho and a droid, that is not C-3P0, thank goodness. I still don't understand why Anakin programmed his droid to be so easily frightened of everything. Was this a change from when Threepio had his memory wiped? We get a description of the droid's head. I am not sure that it really needed this much description. I am also not sure what it supposed to look like.

    Wedge greets everybody. We learn quickly that Corran knows about Wedge, because Corran's dad, Hal, was tasked into investigating Wedge's parents who died saving Gus Treta Station. Why? Why is this connection needed? Wouldn't a better connection by that Corran had simply heard his father discuss the matter? This feels like overdoing trying to connect the newbies to the established characters.

    Wedge covers squadron history, but an error comes up here. There is no indication that Red Squadron from New Hope was ever intended to be Rogue Squadron later, and the Rogue Group Luke made in Episode 5 was something that Luke had set up. It didn't get explained, but why would Red become Rogue? It sounds too glory hounding and it completely makes new sense here. I thought that something Red appeared in Episode 6? Wouldn't this mean that the unit changed it's name for no reason?

    Since the writer cannot simply let it go, he decides that Rogue had been made originally, and that Red was just used a few times. Hoth gets claimed which is true, was Rogue Group, and Gall, which is in Shadows of the Empire with Xizor and Black Sun counts, but it was Red at Endor. Apparently the Rebellion can't make up it's mind about names.

    Wedge is rebuilding the squadron and giving it training. If I recall from the comics, very few died. Maybe 2 or 3 at most? The Writer tries to hint at sacrifices, but not enough pilots perished for it to count really.

    Wedge gets ordered to reform the squadron? Seriously? Wedge wasn't chomping on the bit? Wasn't pushing for it himself? It had to come from the Provisional Council, the dysfunctional Rebel leadership? Wedge states previously at wanting pilots getting proper training and what have you. Why wasn't Wedge more involved in making it a reality then? Don't modern militaries allow good pilots to form squadrons to fight? I know the Red Baron got to put together his own group after some prompting.

    Anyway, so the Rogues are supposed to do impossible jobs. This is mainly the writer being stupid, because nothing actually occurs to really justify this. I don't recall there being any impossible jobs that any other squadron could have performed. I get trying to make the unit elite, but I think it just goes overblown here.

    100 pilots? For 12 slots? or 10 slots? Given the quality of who they end up with, clearly the Alliance has no idea had to train anyone. Either the Alliance is filled with idiots or the Rebels have considerably less standards than anyone. Oh, wait, that's right. They take anybody even if they can't fly.

    A quick point: Biggs was not a part of Rogue Squadron, and neither was Porkins. They were both Red Squadron. The author can't get it right. Stop doing this! (This will keep happening, Rogue Squadron getting treated as being Red Squadron)

    More dumb posturing. The unit is supposedly a legend.

    Wedge bull sh*** about skill. Only a couple Rogues actually died, and the others were from Red Squadron. Also, two pilots have death marks. Who could they possibly be?

    Wedge explains that he picked the pilots for other skills beyond flying. Wow, how, somewhat dismal. Since I don't recall how much those skills actually get used...(Something like only in Book 2 and 4. Otherwise, they are using their flying skills, despite what Wedge will claim in Book 5)

    A quick reference to Lando. And how Lando had commando pilots. Because apparently Rhysati simply can't be a standard pilot who was impressive enough to get a transfer for testing. She must be a commando.

    Clearly, it is important to have these skills. Although, given events, I really don't see it mattering. (This is something that needs discussion: Why is Wedge getting pilots with Commando skills, who may not end up using any of it?)

    So, Tycho will do training, and Emtrey is our droid.

    Wedge lays out the facts, most of the pilots will die. Sure, Wedge, forget about the plot shields. Tough Assignments? Compared to what? This is increasingly sounding like the BS that must have been made up for pilots flying against the dwindling Japanese Air Force, the one that lost nearly all of their good pilots early on, and couldn't produce skilled pilots enough to count. How best can the unit be if the Empire is getting treated as the Japs there?

    Training will happen. No reason to explain anything about A-Wings or B-Wings. Could have just mentioned about sticking with Unit's tradition of X-Wing fighters.

    Corran decides to avoid following Jace, who goes up to thank Wedge. Why exactly is this bad? Couldn't Corran mention about how he considers it an honor to serve with Wedge? Arrogant sod.

    Death Marks. Weee

    Nawara is a lawyer, training to defend his clients in the Empire. Don't think he was given any real chances to perform to his best considering the Empire's anti-alien biases.

    Who could have the Death Mark? The Wolfman? The female rodian, Andoorni Hui? (Probably not, considering how little actual characterization she gets) Nah, Rodians are hunters?? meaning something. I don't know what it meant here. I thought Rodians were just Rodians. Does Stackpole seem to have a clue what he is talking about?

    Rogue Squadron is celebrated. Despite being only a few years old at most.

    Corran didn't meet many aliens apparently. He can't tell Rodians apart (Which is probably applicable to nearly all aliens except for wookiees I think) or speak their language (because the Rodians we see are always speaking Huttese?).

    Wolfman has a death mark, most of his kind go scouting, and the Empire has a problem.

    Corran is the other one with a death mark.

    Chapter Commentary:

    So, where to start? The first bit is about how much lumping Stackpole does, making the x-wing team in New hope all rogues and then making them use the red designator at endor. All because a mention of Rogue squadron in Zahn's books or Episode 5. I really don't care for it. Nor do I care for how much the squadron gets talked up when there is such few incidents occurring to justify any of it. Nor do I care for the whole other skills bit. It should have been used more, and that is aggravating. It's a major reason why the Wraith Arc is better, we see the pilots working as commandos there.

    Corran is firmly established as a bloody Mary Sue here. We don't the bipolar bit about Corran's attitude, and his connection to Wedge was too much. Why does it have to be so heavy handed? Corran knows all sorts of things that are supposed to matter. Like about how Wedge took to smuggling for the Rebels because if Hal Horn knows it, why didn't the Empire? It just demands an answer as to how Wedge is alive?

    The main one here is about how good the pilots are supposed to be and get tough jobs, but the story is already going to be affected by the Light side ending rule from Lucas, so they aren't going to really lose are they? How challenging can things be when the Empire gets treated as being so terrible anyway? Shouldn't they be earning their victories? Why...I am forgetting that Lucas decided to have the Empire lose to teddy bear guys wielding rocks and sticks because Freedom and all. So, the best troops the Empire has loses out to basically primitives. Are we then supposed to consider the Rebels that skilled after all? Morons.

    The Empire gets treated rather badly here, and I think it completely calls into question how capable is the Alliance?

    Why was Wedge pushed into making the squadron? Couldn't he have been a little more excited with it? Shouldn't it have been Wedge pushing the council, not the other way around? It makes Wedge look silly. Why did he even agree? Is Corran the only person who wants to be here?

    Ah, the Death Marks. It got mentioned in the movies, so it naturally must appear. But it is of little value. Some of the junk that shows up here that never pays off later. Which is something I don't care for. A huge amount of material is placed here, of which little pays off. Commando skills? Rarely appears. Tough Assignments where people will likely die? Well, we will see how that actually turns out. Rogues being the best? Not a big point, but given the treatment of the Empire, does not matter because the Empire must lose anyway.

    So all in all, not that great. The combat stuff is good though.

    Chapter 6, A wasted opportunity

    So, Corran's Death Mark? It was a joke. It was also rather stupid. It has the appearance of a nice cliff hanger, but gets dropped way too fast. It could have been an interesting point, like it was all framed up, but it doesn't get that. It also makes Loor a moron.

    So basically, Loor wants rebel smuggling to stop, which should have been the Empire's task anyway. Why exactly should that be a CorSec concern when there were criminals to catch? Shouldn't Loor have known that? Also, why was Loor going to trump up charges? Couldn't he have just disappeared them?

    The next bit reads like someone wanted to be interesting and sneaky but failed. While the whole making Loor think there was falling out, why make it about some fake people that Loor could have easily found out was going on? Especially since it would be out of character.

    Gil died. Off-screen.

    Nawara is a skilled lawyer. Which is something nice, for when it matters later. (Expect more of this. What does pay off, takes usually another chapter or book to)

    A bit about Emtrey looking into the secret identities Gil made. (something that pays off later in another book)

    Apparently, Corran Snoring is soothing to his Gand friend. Also, another mention of Jace's big ego must occur. So we get the idea that Corran doesn't have an ego. Seriously, man.

    A nice discussion about what brings the pilots to the Rebellion. I think that Corran's was more about his needing to show up.

    The base is on Folor. Used to be a mining complex. Why hasn't it been noticed by anyway? So, lot of shipping traffic easily hides Rebel base?

    The Rebellion is a legitimate power; despite that, the New Republic really isn't that good at making anything work well. As we see in later books, like the Hand of Thrawn ones.

    Mentions of points, most no longer valid. The amount of time that had passed, was not as long since Lucas cut that down. Since this book was before the prequels, the assumption is that quite some time had passed. I am not sure how exactly the time the empire had been in existence was established before Zahn's books, and what exactly that time was supposed to be.

    I can understand Jace getting in because he is a good pilot, but was Erisi really the best pilot from her side of the Bacta Cartel? Or the one simply chosen?

    More discussion, but the Squadron's most likely target: Coruscant, the center of the empire.

    Chapter Commentary:

    I am disappointed at the speed at which Corran's death mark was resolved. It should have been something Loor simply did, and that Corran had no idea about. That would have made their conflict more personal, then how impersonal it comes across as. Yes, Corran didn't like Loor and Loor didn't like Corran, but there should have been opposing actions. It reads instead like a disagreement among coworkers turned violent. It makes Loor incredibly petty and very stupid. It exists mainly to set up some stuff, and let Corran know that Gil is dead.

    The discussions that occupy the rest of the chapter are interesting, but don't feel like they do anything. There could have been improvements maybe? I don't know.

    Anyways, Discussion time.

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    Twi'leks are by far my favourite Star Wars race so I was happy to see Nawara and that he isn't a stereotypical Bib Fortuna mobster rip off. It is nice to see expectations subverted like that.

    In fact while I have some of the same issues you have russdm (Corran's arrogance and the general incompetence of the Empire) one aspect I do like is how varied the Rogues are in background. It makes sense that the fledgling New Republic has not quite yet standardised it's military and a talented flier might have walked in from any way of life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RossN View Post
    In fact while I have some of the same issues you have russdm (Corran's arrogance and the general incompetence of the Empire) one aspect I do like is how varied the Rogues are in background. It makes sense that the fledgling New Republic has not quite yet standardised it's military and a talented flier might have walked in from any way of life.
    I think more of the variance in background would have been nice. Most characters in Star Wars books tend to be loosely characterized and having few if any traits. Most are one sentence parts. In Zahn's books, it works because the focus is on the plot. I am not sure how much the plot is focused on in the X-Wing novels, but the Wraith Arc ones actually try to make everyone do something. It's not so much here.

    I personally find Corran's arc too similar to what Han underwent, but instead of going for a scoundrel type, the author tries to make Corran less Han like. I don't think it pays off real well since Corran gets written more like he has mood swings or a personality disorder. Should stick with establishing him then start changing him to where he needs to go.

    The Empire:

    For a system that was supposed to control everything, it comes across as terrible. Key plot breaks like a legion of the Emperor's best troops losing out to teddy bears, or TIEs being lousy in the movies has come to define the Empire. So it is filled with incompetence, where none of it's soldiers are any good. That really doesn't fit since the Imperial would have come up some kind of standards for its soldiers. Since the story requirements have wrecked the Empire's skills, how exactly should we compare the Alliance?

    The Rebellion:

    Our Good guys, who are a rag-tag bunch of misfits. But unlike where George Washington made sure to get Baron Von Steuben to train America's revolutionary army to fight the British because they would need it, the Rebels in Star Wars get to rely on FREEDOM! as why they win. Spirit. I remember an Empire that thought only Spirit would do. Said Empire? The Empire of the Rising Sun or Imperial Japan. Which lost the War. Clearly Lucas decided not to remember how things turned out, and let the writers run with it.

    This makes Zahn's treatment of events better. Only a part of the Empire was fighting the Rebels. If the Empire had committed all its resources with such a lousy performance then how exactly did the Empire actually control anything? How good any force or military is based mainly on the enemy it fights. With the Imperial treatment, how skilled did the Rebels have to be?

    It turns the entire Rebellion into a bunch of idiots. No wonder they won because their enemies were lousy. It might also explain though how the Rebels lost so much against Thrawn, their were lead by morons. Or maybe Admiral Ackbar functioned as the powering agent with the Rebellion as a keystone army. Without Ackbar they lose all the time. Maybe that is a point?

    I think really, that it makes the efforts of the Rebels dubious. I know things have to reach the point where the Zahn's book occur, but couldn't it have been more of a fight or a real campaign? Where the Rebels have clearly won their victories? That seems to be asking too much.

    The New Republic Starfighter Corp:

    This is the pilots who fly the starfighters for the Rebels. Considering the Rebels' recruitment process, you would expect them to lose a lot. But nope, they have shields, so this just naturally lowers the entire efficiency standard across the board. Shields don't equal skill, and given how much it can cripple matters, it is a wonder that the Rebels didn't go for slightly higher standard than just warm bodies. Some pilots seem to have no real training or would, if the rebels just accept anyone who can fly. Why not train them first? That's how the X-Wing Game treated it.

    Even every country that had an Air Force put it's pilots through training. And removed those who didn't fit the bill. Not everybody got to be a pilot, but the Rebels don't seem to worry about quality when they are fighting quantity. Shouldn't every Rebel pilot be better trained?

    Given everything, I find my appreciation of the Empire's pilots increasing. They don't get shields, have craft that go down to quick, and rarely get to survive mistakes. So it's natural most that do survive simply become better. They get TIE Interceptors and Defenders. Get to take out more terrible Rebel pilots. There also seems to be focus on training people. The Rebellion seems to rely solely on spirit, not talent.

    Even though the American Revolutionary Army had a lot of Spirit, Washington made sure it got trained to back up that Spirit, and later that Army got the resources it needed as well. Why not take a page from that? Because it would mean making the Empire better?

    Well, considering the story, the lack of real quality on both sides is going to be a problem.

    Edit:

    So the totals kills that I can recall having happened to Rogue so far is something like 3 or 4 tops. We had Dak from Episode 5, plus that snowspeeder, then there were two aliens, and then the Mon Cal lady that the Quarren was close too. Nobody died at Gall in the book.

    Red squadron lost everyone but Luke and Wedge. I could see these being counted, but they happened before the Rogues existed, and so really shouldn't count as Rogues. Why that is being done is weird.

    I think Wedge is being made to lump in the Red Squaddies, otherwise the unit doesn't look impressive enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post

    For a system that was supposed to control everything, it comes across as terrible. Key plot breaks like a legion of the Emperor's best troops losing out to teddy bears, or TIEs being lousy in the movies has come to define the Empire. So it is filled with incompetence, where none of it's soldiers are any good.
    They did pretty well in Empire Strikes Back when they took Hoth.

    The Empire IS competent. If they appear incompetent onscreen it's becuase they're usually shown going up against protaganists with magic plot shields. When they're fighting NPCs (the crew of the Tantive IV in Episode IV, the Rebel troops on Hoth) they do very well indeed.

    "Losing to Teddy bears" is explainable within parameters of plot by pointing to the Empire's tragic flaw: Arrogance. And the second flaw is like unto it: An inflexibility of mind which means they cannot see outside their own assumptions.

    When the Empire fights the kind of fights their strategists intend -- set-piece battles against foes armed with energy weapons, or capital ship combat in space -- the Empire always wins. Always. That's why they're so arrogant. Because when they fight the kind of battles they're prepared for, they can't lose.

    When the Empire is defeated or made to look foolish, it's because someone is waging assymetric warfare against them. Rather than attacking the shield generator with an AT-AT force, to swarm the storm troopers from all directions with a veritable ant horde of teddy bears. Or using snub fighters to attack the Death Star instead of the fleet of capital ships the DS' defenses were designed for.

    And, let it be pointed out, in both battles the winning side paid an extremely high price in terms of casualties to win.

    The only way to defeat the Empire is to find some flaw in their assumptions and then exploit it -- and even then, it's still going to be a close-run thing because their assumptions are pretty good and they're adaptable enough to adjust to the enemy's tricks once they've seen them. So the Rebellion's victories are one-shots; they're not the sort of thing you can pull off repeatedly to the point of conventional victory.

    So the Empire is a credible enemy and a dangerous one; it only looks incompetent because most of the stories are focused on the heroic last-ditch efforts that actually paid off.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2017-02-16 at 06:40 PM.
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    I always point out that the Ewoks outnumbered the Stormtroopers like 4 or 5 to 1. Plus they where used to fighting things way bigger than they were, thus why they could take out the AT-STs. I completely agree that this could have been shown better on screen
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    Brian P.'s analysis seems pretty much spot-on to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    I always point out that the Ewoks outnumbered the Stormtroopers like 4 or 5 to 1. Plus they where used to fighting things way bigger than they were, thus why they could take out the AT-STs. I completely agree that this could have been shown better on screen
    I dunno about your numbers claim. There was "an entire legion" of the best Stormtroopers, which is a bit vague, but I've got it in my head that a legion is at least a thousand. (In ancient Rome it was apparently 3000-6000, I don't know about other legions, and I can't find any specifics on how many a legion is in the Stormtrooper corps.) And the Rebels were shown recruiting approximately a small village worth of Ewoks. What I'm saying is the screen evidence leans more towards the Stormtroopers outnumbering the Ewoks, not the other way 'round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malimar View Post
    Brian P.'s analysis seems pretty much spot-on to me.



    I dunno about your numbers claim. There was "an entire legion" of the best Stormtroopers, which is a bit vague, but I've got it in my head that a legion is at least a thousand. (In ancient Rome it was apparently 3000-6000, I don't know about other legions, and I can't find any specifics on how many a legion is in the Stormtrooper corps.) And the Rebels were shown recruiting approximately a small village worth of Ewoks. What I'm saying is the screen evidence leans more towards the Stormtroopers outnumbering the Ewoks, not the other way 'round.
    Straight on screen the numbers make no sense, i cant recall where i got that number from but i believe it may be from the novelization of the movie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malimar View Post
    Brian P.'s analysis seems pretty much spot-on to me.



    I dunno about your numbers claim. There was "an entire legion" of the best Stormtroopers, which is a bit vague, but I've got it in my head that a legion is at least a thousand. (In ancient Rome it was apparently 3000-6000, I don't know about other legions, and I can't find any specifics on how many a legion is in the Stormtrooper corps.) And the Rebels were shown recruiting approximately a small village worth of Ewoks. What I'm saying is the screen evidence leans more towards the Stormtroopers outnumbering the Ewoks, not the other way 'round.
    My guess is that this would equate in modern terms to a regiment , a self-contained unit with all the useful combined arms and a supply chain. Certainly the stormtroopers have an AT-ats,AT-STs, and speeder bikes, so that would imply an armored battalion, a scout battalion, and 1-2 infantry battalions plus combat support and combat service support.

    If there are more troops, they don't appear to have been in a position to participate in the shield bunker fight. Deployed as a blocking force elsewhere?

    I also note that we don't see that AT-AT which delivered Luke Skywalker to the landing pad in the battle. I doubt it would be destroyed off-panel, so I speculate it was either deployed elsewhere against another potential threat, or perhaps it's down with a mechanical failure.

    Now, I grant that a legion is traditionally larger than a regiment, but it fulfilled the same role of a self-contained unit which can be deployed rapidly to hotspots. It might be super-regiment or even a brigade. But I suspect the TOE of a Stormtrooper legion more closely resembles a modern regiment than it would the ancient legion. I don't see any auxiliary troops, for example, which the Romans never went anywhere without.

    ETA: What I don't understand is why they didn't form a hedgehog defense based on the bunker when the Ewoks attacked, as opposed to playing hide and go seek with them in the woods. Or, another option, fall back from the bunker and saturate the area around the bunker with napalm or the equivalent from artillery or airpower -- they DO have an aerial component, surely?

    'Nother issue: Why is the bunker facing a solid metal wall, without observation ports or what not suitable for poking crew-served weapons through?

    EATA: Never mind, answered my own question. Because if that door was defended properly -- cleared space, overlapping fields of fire, minefield, barbed wire, backed by a firebase with guns of 10-15cm -- then the rebels wouldn't have even tried. The entire point of this exercise is to sucker them in, so this door is deliberately left as undefended as possible. In other words, a trap set by a force-sensitive politician, not a defense created by a military officer.

    ETA: Any Republic Commando players here? Geonosians armed with sticks are far more dangerous than droids with energy weapons. They're fast, they can swarm from multiple aspects on their home turf, and their staffs blow right through energy shields -- designed for use against blasters -- as if they weren't there. Not all that different from Ewoks on Endor, really.

    Respectfully,

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    ETA: Any Republic Commando players here? Geonosians armed with sticks are far more dangerous than droids with energy weapons. They're fast, they can swarm from multiple aspects on their home turf, and their staffs blow right through energy shields -- designed for use against blasters -- as if they weren't there. Not all that different from Ewoks on Endor, really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    ETA: Any Republic Commando players here? Geonosians armed with sticks are far more dangerous than droids with energy weapons. They're fast, they can swarm from multiple aspects on their home turf, and their staffs blow right through energy shields -- designed for use against blasters -- as if they weren't there. Not all that different from Ewoks on Endor, really.

    Respectfully,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Stupid Drones, plus those crazy laser beam..things they had where devastating.
    I remember finding them annoying and was glad to encounter other enemies. Mainly because they were so many of them appearing. I enjoy getting to other places.

    I also recall using the god-mode code and stay finding a lot of enemies still difficult. But it was nice because the Republic would have lost quite a few times otherwise.

    It wasn't Geos that troubled me as much as it were Droidekas and those Grevious guard droids. And Tarfful the wookiee leader, because if he died on the levels you had to escort him, you got a non-standard game over. Also, the dwarf spider droids. The Trandos were easy.

    It was the Scav droids on the Republic ship level that hated the most, because they quickly latched on and you had to punch them off. And they were everywhere, popping out to trouble you.
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    So, we are back! I have been watching Star Wars Rebels, which I love, and am reading my other library checked out books so I can read Ahsoka. Which I am excited about, since it is one of the books I plan on buying for kindle. The only new star wars books that I don't have plans to ever buy are the Aftermath ones. I refuse to purchase that garbage.

    Back to the good story though. We left off with the lame "death mark" section. What do we come back to here? We will see won't we?

    Rogue Squadron, Chapter 7, Wedge Takes a Stroll...

    We start this chapter with Wedge walking around his x-wing giving it an inspection. It mostly to give a sense of the space, the big hanger, and Wedge checking out the ship. If you got a little tear in the eye, be brave. It's a nice scene, that could have been in the movies.

    Well, not really. In truth it adds a bit much in talking about Wedge wanting his pilots not consider themselves above paying attention to their ships because they are elite pilots, but that seems strange, because I would have thought that most elite pilots would take the time to be sure their craft is in the best condition. They are trusting their lives to the craft and the mechanics who work on them. So, why would any of Wedge's pilots not check their ships?

    It is a mystery. :ghost:

    We get a nice glimpse of Wedge's kills, and how it feels about it. He isn't that excited about having to kill and probably one of the few heroes who cares. Most don't seem to have any issues about glorifying in their kills.

    We meet our first Verpine, which is a type of bug. A sentient bug that is apparently good with mechanical objects and has been named Zraii. What happened to the twi'lek mechanic from the comics, Koyi Komad? I don't know, she reappears later in the wraith books.

    We learn about verpine number systems and that Wedge has math skills. It happens to be a nice moment. Still, the rest of the squadron is still waiting, so think of it as Wedge employing one of the perks of command: Being able to determine what the unit does and when.

    X-Wings have shields, TIEs mostly don't. A quick treatise about space combat follows.

    Something about Verpine being good tech support. Is it intended to be a bit of joke of some kind? Reading the words "Tech Support" made me immediately think Indian, but is that more influenced by the guy playing Vedek Yarka of the episode of DS9 that I am watching? Or just the constant experience of having Indian Tech Support mentioned? It wouldn't have been a thing when the book was first written. Interestingly enough, Vraii sends slightly like something that could be an Indian name, maybe. or Maybe not. Who knows.

    Verpine are also known for tweaking ships, sometimes in ways that are not good pilots of non-verpine. That is an understandable concern.

    We meet Wedge's R5 unit, which seems to be cowardly. It got named Mynock, for it's screaming. Some droids are as stoic or fine with combat as R2 is.

    Wedge notes his skills at leaving the hanger bay will be the subject of base discussions. It's very egocentric of him. But if he screws up that will spread around at least, so maybe it is not all just ego.

    Apparently Porkins died due to having too much gravity on, so he didn't know he was in trouble. He also died at yavin not at endor. (For some reason, Wedge refers to the first death star as the Emperor's toy; which should be called Tarkin's toy more correctly)

    Tycho is flying the trainer ship. Also, some location on Folor is named Pig Trough. Folor is a moon belonging to Commenor, I believe. Used as a base by the rebels, and suitable for a march towards Imperial Center or Coruscant. The Pig trough is used by Y-Wings, which are sometimes called wallowing pigs. Y-Wings are useful because they all for disabling ships and fighting off capital ships. X-Wings are only good at killing things.

    Corran makes a comment, and wedge slaps him verbally. Nice one, wedge.

    We move into why Y-wings are still being used: Not enough replacement B-wings. Personally, I think Y-wings are fine, and even pirate groups have them. They were a standard enemy in the TIE fighter video game, even with non-rebel groups. Of course, we have yet to get any books from the Imperial perspective of peacekeeping through pirate hunting. It ends up being a little sad that we don't really have much.

    The squadron gets to do targeting practice through bombing runs. It is foreshadowing something later naturally, but it involves Wedge coming down really hard on Corran here. He decides that Corran needs some ego knocked out of him.

    It shall be glorious and rather bloody....

    Chapter 8, Corran's Arrogant Arse

    Corran is off in a hurry, trying to show off again. Whistler is sending communications out, to Wedge and Tycho. Why? Let us see...

    Corran, being Corran, does supremely well, as usual. He nails the task, so much that it is begging for mercy. There is quite a long section of maneuvers, which are completed with spectact-ular precision. (I don't know how to spell the word here)

    Corran achieves a very high score: 3250 out of 5000. Not bad.

    Naturally, it all goes to pot. Everyone starts out with using his score as a base and then getting points added on. Based on the difference between Corran's score and the pilot's score, we can find how good each pilot really is.

    Pilot scores:

    Corran) 3250

    Lujayne: +50 for 3300

    Rodian Gal: +500 for 3750

    Peshk: +1000 -50 for 4200

    Ooryl: +800 for 4050

    We aren't told the rest but that it was higher by around 1000 points. How could that happen? Corran's ego is severely bruised.

    Corran requests answers from Whistler who mentions transmitting data, and orders Whistler to not give any more info away without permission. The matter must be made right. So Corran goes to confront Wedge over it. Because Corran's ego is big like Jace's despite Corran always saying he isn't like Jace. (Expect this silly thread to keep going through the book)

    Best line in the book: Knock yourself out, Mr. Horn

    Corran has an ego moment and complains that everyone cheated. A real tear-jerker...wait, it's Corran. He whines about it not being fair and that it stops making him look like the best pilot. His ego is at full power.

    Wedge slaps him down hard, threatening to ice him. He points out that the squadron is a team, and that it relies on the pilots. He also nicely points out that it won't matter how good Corran is if everyone else dies. It's a nice pimpslap that Corran has been needing. Wedge challenges Corran to examine the reasons why he is there.

    Corran realizes something critical here. He needs to get a handle on his ego or it will cost him. The first sign he could start losing his Mary-sue ness. Time will tell.

    Tycho comments how Wedge was more of a hard-arse with recruits because Corran is still functional. It's a funny moment, because we never see any of that anywhere really.

    Commentary: I decided not to copy in long stretches of the description of the flying because you should be reading it yourselves. I also found that it really is hard to talk about without just outright posting it in, it is so good. It feels more like watching the movies again, as opposed as to just reading. Something that some star wars writers are good at, and I would say that the Aftermath book lack that requirement. It never feels like the movies like Zahn's books did, or this one. Quality writing over Twitter writing, but else would sell in this Reality TV / Twitter vibrant generation? (I have read the first one and the second, and I am shocked that Disney let the books get written. For Shame)

    A key element is that the story drags a bit with the plotting, but it still works. It gets better after a while though. And we will see how that goes.

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    Welcome back!

    The reason I can think of for not checking their ships is simple arrogance. It's easy to think , perhaps, when you have hundreds of kills to your name that you're untouchable. But you are. Pilots who forget that don't live long.

    Arrogance in a fighter pilot. Who knew?

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    "Opportunities to do good are everywhere but the darkness is where the light needs to be".

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  19. - Top - End - #49
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    [Chapter 9, Umm I don't know (Haven't read in a while)

    Corran takes offense at something Tycho says, which is apparently insulting. Corran is a loner, according to book, but also according to book, he doesn't really act like a loner would. A loner would less time with squad-mates, and have more private downtime. I really think that Corran is more of an Alpha Wolf type, a leader-of-the-pack hunter, who takes over to hunt. Tycho offers Advice.

    So Corran was a cop in Corellia, and would have seen the Rebels as being wrong. It's bit of a disappointment in characterizing him as being a by the book sort.

    Han used to be an Imperial pilot; Tycho used to be an Imperial pilot. Also, we learn that Tycho has some security guards. I passed over the bit about how Corran defines friends, mainly because it really doesn't add anything that much.

    Corran has to figure out now why Tycho has guards assigned to him. Because his Cop background makes him unable to simply let it pass or go.

    We meet Erisi for the first time. Think of her as a dark version of Paris Hilton, with less bubbly and more sinister. Just cause.

    Everyone wants to apologize for learning and using Corran's run data. Because that is a thing. Is this normal for Fighter Jocks? To be concerned over who gets the credit? Wouldn't they have just accepted it was orders from Wedge and not commit to worrying about it? Does the Rebellion encourage officers to question their superior's orders if it troubles someone? They learned to use data to make a run, why does it matter that Corran got abused? Is it a secret test of character for the squadron that Wedge is putting them through?

    So Wedge played some deal on them, and the crew got upset. Oh well.

    Erisi is Xucphra, while Bror is Zaltin. Basically the Bacta Cartel is the Montagues and Capulets, with no Romeo/Juliet happening. Also, the Bacta Cartels are unsure which side they should join. Being the sole provider of Bacta means that they can make nice money.

    Hey, it's Gavin! Biggs's cousin, who happens to be likable.

    Bror wants to write a letter of protest. Are these actual Rebels here, or is this a joke? Protesting? In learning how to fight the Empire? If they had turned it in, I can only see General Salm laughing his head off over this.

    Nawara points out that the effort is rather pointless. Which is right.

    Not sure how protesting matters here actually means that the others will have his back. It seems to be happening a little way to fast.

    Apparently the group decided to place bets as to what would happen. Because that is totally cool. Anyway, Chapter ends

    Chapter 10, Loor is back

    Loor appears here, being summoned to Coruscant or Imperial Center. Loor got Gil killed. Which Loor feels he will get in trouble for. Did the Empire take up a policy of not freely killing people at some point?

    Apparently the Empire would shoot down ships to kill Intelligence agents. Why not just send out a recall order to arrive for a briefing then kill the agent there? Why the bother?

    Ah, the pilot had to ferry Vader around. After Yavin. Why would Vader get blamed, when it would be clearly the fault of Tarkin for not sending out sufficient TIEs to overwhelm the Rebels? Vader chose to go despite Tarkin acting like the Starfighters were a pointless concern. And Vader would get blamed for attempting to stop the attack?

    A quick bit about the shield. Also that Imperial Center is huge. A bit about Loor being worried about Failure. Of course no description of his failure and what assignment he was supposed to have.

    We meet Ysanne Isard, Iceheart, from the Comics. She has summoned Loor for ?? The story doesn't say yet. Nor has it been explained what failure that Loor had. Was it the escape of Corran and the others? That sounds awfully petty for the Empire.

    Commentary: Not much action in this chapter, but it contains plot points or what appear to be them. So we get to find out more next time.
    ]

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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    [Chapter 9, Umm I don't know (Haven't read in a while)

    Corran takes offense at something Tycho says, which is apparently insulting. Corran is a loner, according to book, but also according to book, he doesn't really act like a loner would. A loner would less time with squad-mates, and have more private downtime. I really think that Corran is more of an Alpha Wolf type, a leader-of-the-pack hunter, who takes over to hunt. Tycho offers Advice.
    Corran's not really a loner by nature. This is made clear when they talk about him loosening up and he points out that when he was undercover any small slip could have gotten him killed, so he learned to be very guarded around others. But he's always, in general, had friends and is very devoted to them, including to Whistler.

    I passed over the bit about how Corran defines friends, mainly because it really doesn't add anything that much.
    But it does; it's a stronger explanation for why Wedge felt the need to teach him a lesson here. Corran is a bit standoffish due to his past and is trying to have it be known and seen that he's better than everyone else as a pilot. But in an elite squadron, everyone needs to feel that they can rely on everyone else when they need to. Tycho points out that the others aren't sure when Corran is going to support them or go off on his own to prove something, or dismiss them because they aren't as good, and so that that is something that Corran needs to work on.

    Corran has to figure out now why Tycho has guards assigned to him. Because his Cop background makes him unable to simply let it pass or go.
    It's more a personality trait of Corran's that plays out throughout the entire series.

    Everyone wants to apologize for learning and using Corran's run data. Because that is a thing. Is this normal for Fighter Jocks? To be concerned over who gets the credit?
    Pilots record their kills on the sides of their fighters and being an ace is important to them. YES, they care about who gets the credit [grin].

    Wouldn't they have just accepted it was orders from Wedge and not commit to worrying about it? Does the Rebellion encourage officers to question their superior's orders if it troubles someone? They learned to use data to make a run, why does it matter that Corran got abused? Is it a secret test of character for the squadron that Wedge is putting them through?
    The idea, brought up both by Corran and by the squadron, is that Wedge did this to hurt and humiliate Corran, especially with the orders to simply report their scores -- that they did better than he did -- and say nothing else. If Wedge had left Corran in the exercise and/or allowed the squadron to say what they did, then it would have been simply following orders and them using data to make a run, but with the extra orders it was clearly designed to make Corran THINK that they did better than him when, as was noted, he was trying to set such a high bar that no one could possibly better it. So they -- and Corran, originally -- thought it was a dirty trick simply to take Corran down a peg. While the latter is probably the case, the former isn't, as Wedge explains to Corran and Corran explains to them.

    Erisi is Xucphra, while Bror is Zaltin. Basically the Bacta Cartel is the Montagues and Capulets, with no Romeo/Juliet happening. Also, the Bacta Cartels are unsure which side they should join. Being the sole provider of Bacta means that they can make nice money.
    They're less unsure about who to join as opposed to more sure that staying neutral will work out better financially for them, being able to sell to both sides and using their competition to drive up prices. But too overt support of either side potentially risks the other side invading, because having the other side have sole access to bacta is absolutely unacceptable.

    Bror wants to write a letter of protest. Are these actual Rebels here, or is this a joke? Protesting? In learning how to fight the Empire? If they had turned it in, I can only see General Salm laughing his head off over this.
    This is not the Rogue Squadron of the Rebellion, but instead the Rogue Squadron of the Alliance. These are people less interested in rebellion and more interested in justice and peace.

    Not sure how protesting matters here actually means that the others will have his back. It seems to be happening a little way to fast.
    It means that the entire squadron -- even the arrogant Bror Jace -- are willing to go to the wall for him -- and, by extension, the others -- if they feel that they are being treated poorly or unfairly. The outrage that leads to the suggestion is more important than the proposed action itself. They WILL stand up for him, which allows him to trust them more.

    Loor appears here, being summoned to Coruscant or Imperial Center. Loor got Gil killed. Which Loor feels he will get in trouble for. Did the Empire take up a policy of not freely killing people at some point?
    He didn't get the information from Gil that he was trying to get, so he failed, and did so in a way that no one else can try to get it either. Vader killed Needa for simply losing a ship that, well, everyone else lost, too. In the Empire, failure usually meant death.

    Apparently the Empire would shoot down ships to kill Intelligence agents. Why not just send out a recall order to arrive for a briefing then kill the agent there? Why the bother?
    I think it was less standard practice and more an example that if the easiest and more convenient way to eliminate a failed agent was to blow up the ship they were on, they'd do that. They can't do that anymore ... because the shuttles are too valuable to lose.

    Ah, the pilot had to ferry Vader around. After Yavin. Why would Vader get blamed, when it would be clearly the fault of Tarkin for not sending out sufficient TIEs to overwhelm the Rebels? Vader chose to go despite Tarkin acting like the Starfighters were a pointless concern. And Vader would get blamed for attempting to stop the attack?
    Vader was reporting to the Emperor. The Emperor is definitely someone who would be looking for someone to blame so that he can mete out visible punishment. Also, Vader HAD Luke in his sights and failed to destroy him. Again, failure is treated harshly in the Empire.
    BSG PBF record on BGG: 10 - 15.

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  21. - Top - End - #51
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    [Expect a new reading update, and I will be trying to increase the frequency of new chapters going up. Should be more up. Just have been busy with other concerns, but will be back on this.]
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  22. - Top - End - #52
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    [Sorry for lateness. Back to scheduling, and will be posting way more frequently on this]

    Chapter 11

    We start this chapter with a meeting between Wedge, Salm, and Ackbar. They are discussing unit discipline. Salm is unhappy because the Rogues trounced his pilots in a simulated attack. It wounded Salm's pride. Salm agreed to the exercise, but he is having a hissy fit and is not impressed. Wedge counters.

    So, the Rogues dumped some modified code in that affected the Y-Wings. The kind of stunt that Hotshot pilots would perform. The code displayed the Unit Crest, and it has become the squadron's official patch. Wedge doesn't know who was involved, but Wedge does know that Whistler was involved. Couldn't Wedge ask the R2 to know who was involved?

    Wedge took away fun time for the stunt. Why not give a commendation instead? That is quite a fancy bit of coding. Should have paid more attention to the potential of playing with the software that used for this. Oh, well.

    Salm complains that the squadron is getting more recreation time, and is being encouraged to socialize with each other. To be honest, building relationships between the troops is important in war, so not getting Salm's complaints. Also, apparently Wedge thinks the squadron will be given difficult missions. Maybe if the Empire hadn't been portrayed the way it had, I would have believed this more. It's like a joke or something.

    Time to taken out to describe a floating anti-gravity water sphere with fish, because Ackbar. Who studies it. I think more instances of this device will occur.

    Salm points out that rewarding Rogue for breaking rules is bad for morale, agreed. But then he has to bring it down to Tycho, and possible security breaches. Not exactly defendable a position here. Tycho was not involved though.

    Wedge acts suitably chastened though.

    Ackbar is making the unit operational. Wedge mentions more training needed. Apparently advanced training takes 6 months or 4 months rushed. What is advanced training?

    And here we get more silly. Rogue has gone into action with less training, Wedge claims loses. But, if I recall from the X-Wing comics, by the end run, there was only like 5 or 6 total deaths, maybe less. Actually, I think it was 3 or 4 at most. What losses is Wedge talking about? Did the Unit suffer way more between the Comics and the Books? Is Wedge just lumping in other squadrons? Where is this information coming from?

    Oh, and Wedge hasn't tested his pilots on their ability to plot hyperspace jumps. Not sure what is the actual issue. Setting up and following a course somewhere? The pilots are supposed to be able to do this.

    Biggs was a natural at Astronavigation, and apparently so is Gavin. This is treated as a warning sign of some kind.

    The Y-Wings are going operational in week in two weeks. Rogue pilots are closer to be ready to fight then Salm's group, apparently the Rebellion really needs them. Is the political needs of the Rebellion more important than successful operations?

    The Rogues are going to Talasea in the Morobe system. It is a move towards the core, and Coruscant. Which is essential for taking Coruscant. There is debate within the provisional council on how to fight the Empire. I am guessing that the Rebellion took it's governing methods from the French or somebody that decides things solely by committee. Having someone to say how things should proceed in war, is one of the benefits of having a president. Needing to take a vote to conduct a war is a major sign of weakness for the Rebellion in it's leadership, and protections could have been put in to prevent abuse. The Rebels are idiots, crippling their government for fears of "The Emperor did it that way".

    Taking Coruscant makes the Rebellion legitmate, it also pushes the Warlords who breaking up the Empire. Ackbar humorously thinks it will take generations to defeat the Empire. I think it took about 19 years after Yavin, so it is not that far off. Plus after Coruscant falls, the Empire slowly loses more and more. But then the Empire was never capable anyway, based on how Lucas portrayed it.

    Ysanne Isard is in charge, apparently by removing other contenders. Like nearly all of the Emperor's top level followers, her ability to actually lead is lacking. The Emperor cared more for loyalty and how much he could manipulate his followers than how actually competent they were, and how effective in governing. It's like Lucas is trying to completely duplicate some earth based political system that is not the Roman Empire, which was something I thought he claimed to have based the Republic, it's fall, and the Empire on. Maybe the Holy Roman Empire would count more here? Whatever, Lucas decided the Empire had to be too screwed up to work.

    The Rebels are probing the Core, trying to provoke responses. They need to crack the Empire's Fortress Europe, and don't really have the Italians to push around.

    A treatise about Hyperspace routes follows to explain the nature and how the probing would work. Along with objects can disrupt that travel. This allows for routes that the Rebels could attack to gain supplies and equipment. Is a nice strategy, supply yourself at the enemies' expense, but I do wonder how well it works considering the Rebellion is steadily becoming a government.

    The Rebellion is using Rogue Squadron as a symbol. So they get the job. First mention of Borsk Fey'yla in the novel, he will make an appearance. Wedge calls Borsk a security risk, Salm brings up the Bothan acquirement of information about Death Star 2, forgetting that it was a trap. Wedge counters with Tycho risking his life to blow up said death star.

    Ackbar intercedes; it's the same argument-conversation that the two have been having. They apologize to each other.

    The rest of the chapter is about getting material prepped for the trip, then details about Talasea. So the colony was occupied by farmers who allowed a jedi there, which caused Vader to blow up the colony. Because having the farmers resist the Empire and get crushed is less interesting a background than having the settlers wiped out by Vader. It happens to be a bit extreme in connection. Why have it involved with Vader, when other reasons for why there are no one on Talasea could have been used. Oh, well. Writer Silliness.

    [Commentary on Chapter]

    So this is mainly a "What we are doing" chapter. It explains events that are going to happen. It falls into the category of Tell more than show. I think that most of what got covered here, might be done differently by Zahn. Don't know what exactly it tells us, and how much each piece is necessary. It feels honestly that the chapter is supposed to be longer, but it had to be cut down.

    It's mostly filler anyway. The bit about the squadron interactions could have been cut, and more about the Rebellion's plans to go after Coruscant, because that is actually essential to the plot. Knowing about how much recreation time Rogue gets, or having the verbal sparring between Wedge and Salm doesn't advance the plot as much.

    Chapter 12

    We are back with Kirtan Loor, is now working directly for Isard. I am not sure exactly when this chapter is starting compared to when we last saw Loor or how much time if any is supposed to pass. Maybe some? It's not clear.

    Isard has a big room. Which is luxury on Coruscant, which is heavily occupied. We learn about Isard, that Loor finds her attractive before realizing she is super dangerous. Isard has different colored eyes, which explain the nickname Iceheart, though considering the type of person that Isard is, that could be another reason.

    Isard spends time discussing Loor's abilities and generally chewing him out. Loor failed to recognize some key details, like about a bad batch of bacta, and that Gil had gotten treated with it. She tries to explain how he should have been able to find out, but it is a stretch. Apparently Loor suffers from relying too heavily on his memory. Which is strange considering that is supposed to mean that Loor didn't employ sufficient analysis. The details seemed confused here about Loor's problem actually is. Is the Author trying to make Loor like Sherlock Holmes?

    So Isard brings up the fact that the Empire apparently is bad at training the intelligence officers and soldiers. Wouldn't training be the most important part of the Empire and with precise efforts so trouble doesn't happen? Why would the Empire poorly train it's...oh right, Lucas.

    Loor originally thought the faked event between Corran and Gil was stupid, yet he chose to believe it anyway. No explanation as to why he did. Loor could have learned more if he read Gil's evaluations. Reading what your superiors think of you is always helpful.

    Isard goes into a rant about the Emperor being blinded by his obsession with the Jedi, which was what exactly? I think that Stackpoole pulled this entire bit out of nowhere. Or I am missing something that occurred to justify this. She feels that the Emperor lost out anyway.

    The Empire is falling apart, somehow, although the speed is higher than the fall of the Roman Empire. Are the space ottomans attacking?

    Isard wants to blow up the Rebellion, completely forgetting the plot shields or the whole Lightside ending thing. Her methods for dealing with the Rebellion are not exactly the most thought out. It is ironic that her flaw is the same as Loor's.

    Loor is being assigned to track down Rogue Squadron so that it can be destroyed. Isard is focusing on the squadron and not coming up with other real tactics.

    First mention of a spy in Rogue Squadron. I wonder who it could be. Maybe you should discuss that.

    Isard released information to make hunting Rogue Squadron more personal for Loor. It's not a great method to employ. Loor is eager to hunt.

    [Chapter Commentary]

    So we meet our primary villain here, Isard. Her presence will affect the next books. It will drive the events and what occurs. Sadly, Isard is more along the line of a cartoon villain. She isn't really that impressive, but then her opposition is just about as not smart she is.

    We get to see what happens with Loor, who will be another major player in the story. Loor is an intelligence officer, so we will have more scenes of Loor analyzing events, details, and particulars. There will be of course other scenes of Analysis happening later.

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    AuOM (Ackbar uses Ocean Metaphor): 0 [Soon, I think; keeping watch for it]
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Since Rogue Squadron's combat pedigree includes both Death Star attacks, Hoth, Bakura and more, yes, they have an impressive body count. As for the comic series, they started at half strength after the last blood letting, slowly built up while losing more and achieved full strength once, right before losing two more dead and three wounded/missing. I think they finished the run with five dead.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    [Sorry for lateness. Back to scheduling, and will be posting way more frequently on this]

    Chapter 11

    We start this chapter with a meeting between Wedge, Salm, and Ackbar. They are discussing unit discipline. Salm is unhappy because the Rogues trounced his pilots in a simulated attack. It wounded Salm's pride. Salm agreed to the exercise, but he is having a hissy fit and is not impressed. Wedge counters.
    It's Wedge's impression that he's just upset that Rogue Squadron trounced his pilots, but remember that at this point Salm is aware -- as Wedge is not -- that he has to take those squadrons operational in a remarkably short period of time. That's certainly going to play into his attitude, especially since all of those actions made the job of getting his own pilots ready that much harder. Add in that the modified code part showed that people close to Tycho had access to sensitive parts of the system that they shouldn't have and Salm thinks that Tycho is at least a sleeper agent and he's not going to be at all in a good mood.

    So, the Rogues dumped some modified code in that affected the Y-Wings. The kind of stunt that Hotshot pilots would perform. The code displayed the Unit Crest, and it has become the squadron's official patch. Wedge doesn't know who was involved, but Wedge does know that Whistler was involved. Couldn't Wedge ask the R2 to know who was involved?
    He might have, but Whistler wouldn't tell him, and Wedge can't really do anything about that since Corran owns Whistler, kinda like how Luke owns R2.

    Wedge took away fun time for the stunt. Why not give a commendation instead?
    As I said the last time, the Republic is not the Rebellion, and while that sort of thing would be forgiven in the Rebellion -- although not encouraged, because it does reflect a lack of discipline -- there are reasons not to openly forgive it here. This attitude -- and the attitude of Salm specifically -- comes up later.

    Salm complains that the squadron is getting more recreation time, and is being encouraged to socialize with each other. To be honest, building relationships between the troops is important in war, so not getting Salm's complaints.
    I interpreted Salm's complaint as less that they are getting more recreation time specifically, but more that the "punishment" doesn't really seem like one, and almost seems like a reward.

    Also, apparently Wedge thinks the squadron will be given difficult missions. Maybe if the Empire hadn't been portrayed the way it had, I would have believed this more. It's like a joke or something.
    Um, I don't get this at all. The Empire is still large and still has a lot of forces and are deeply entrenched on a number of worlds, particularly Coruscant. The "difficult missions" are going to be ones that go against all of those forces, and so will be quite risky, with the forces likely outnumbered and with complicated objectives. The Death Stars, for example, were indeed difficult missions, and while they may not rise to that level they are going to face similar forces: overwhelming, and often against the elite forces.

    Ackbar is making the unit operational. Wedge mentions more training needed. Apparently advanced training takes 6 months or 4 months rushed. What is advanced training?
    Likely squadron tactics, especially in training them to work together, like with the hyperspace training.

    Oh, and Wedge hasn't tested his pilots on their ability to plot hyperspace jumps. Not sure what is the actual issue. Setting up and following a course somewhere? The pilots are supposed to be able to do this.
    Why? Snubfighter pilots don't have to be good at being able to plot courses. For example, Imperial defectors who were TIE pilots wouldn't have ever had to do it. Also, doing it on your own isn't the same as doing in a squadron and thus having to come out of hyperspace in formation and without plowing into each other.

    Biggs was a natural at Astronavigation, and apparently so is Gavin. This is treated as a warning sign of some kind.
    My interpretation was that Wedge was hoping to use that to allow more time for his pilots to be trained before they had to go operational ... but since Gavin was a natural, that wouldn't work.

    The Y-Wings are going operational in week in two weeks. Rogue pilots are closer to be ready to fight then Salm's group, apparently the Rebellion really needs them. Is the political needs of the Rebellion more important than successful operations?
    Without the extra fighters, their operations would fail just because they don't have enough ships to pull off the missions. It's the choice of going into the operations with undertrained pilots or not having the pilots at all.

    There is debate within the provisional council on how to fight the Empire. I am guessing that the Rebellion took it's governing methods from the French or somebody that decides things solely by committee. Having someone to say how things should proceed in war, is one of the benefits of having a president. Needing to take a vote to conduct a war is a major sign of weakness for the Rebellion in it's leadership, and protections could have been put in to prevent abuse. The Rebels are idiots, crippling their government for fears of "The Emperor did it that way".
    Well, it'd be through a Cabinet, which is how most democracies do it. Even in the U.S., the Joint Chiefs plus relevant government agencies -- State, Defense, etc -- get a good say in how these things proceed. Especially considering that there are political considerations here as well, which sets up the main debates between Ackbar and Fey'la -- and others -- where they have to balance the military concerns with the political ones. It seems to make sense to me, especially since Mon Mothma is not, in fact, a military genius.

    Ysanne Isard is in charge, apparently by removing other contenders. Like nearly all of the Emperor's top level followers, her ability to actually lead is lacking.
    I'm not really sure this follows, either from here or from what happens later. She has a specific agenda here, which is destroying the Rebellion, and she's relatively effective at it. The Republic is just generally better, as at least Ackbar is more competent militarily than almost anyone else and Mon Mothma and Princess Leia are more skilled politically.

    The Emperor cared more for loyalty and how much he could manipulate his followers than how actually competent they were, and how effective in governing.
    Which is the main idea and fear of the tyrant: the Emperor more feared opposition from those below him, and so deliberately tried to make it so that they either wouldn't or couldn't oppose him. This follows from Sith philosophies as well.

    The Rebels are probing the Core, trying to provoke responses. They need to crack the Empire's Fortress Europe, and don't really have the Italians to push around.
    As a point of history, the Italian campaign was probably less effective than it was originally intended to be.

    The Rebellion is using Rogue Squadron as a symbol. So they get the job. First mention of Borsk Fey'yla in the novel, he will make an appearance. Wedge calls Borsk a security risk, Salm brings up the Bothan acquirement of information about Death Star 2, forgetting that it was a trap. Wedge counters with Tycho risking his life to blow up said death star.
    Wedge's comment is about Borsk's political reasoning essentially allowing for and necessitating sensitive information getting out. Salm's reply is essentially pointing out that there is no reason to think that Borsk is actively working against them, either consciously or unconsciously. Wedge fires back that the same reason applies to Tycho, which ignores the potential brainwashing. And Ackbar tells them to drop it because it's the same argument over and over again: Tycho could be an active traitor who was released as a direct spy, or an inactive one who was brainwashed, and citing those past events can't settle those points.

    Why have it involved with Vader, when other reasons for why there are no one on Talasea could have been used. Oh, well. Writer Silliness.
    I don't see why it counts as silliness. It gives it a little more directly relevant backstory that ties into and reminds us that the Emperor put a lot of effort into completely eliminating and even purging the information about the Jedi from various sources.

    It's mostly filler anyway. The bit about the squadron interactions could have been cut, and more about the Rebellion's plans to go after Coruscant, because that is actually essential to the plot. Knowing about how much recreation time Rogue gets, or having the verbal sparring between Wedge and Salm doesn't advance the plot as much.
    Not everything has to directly further the plot, and I think that while the interactions weren't necessary, they added a context around the discussion to make it more than a simple info dump which creates threads that are picked up later.

    Isard spends time discussing Loor's abilities and generally chewing him out. Loor failed to recognize some key details, like about a bad batch of bacta, and that Gil had gotten treated with it. She tries to explain how he should have been able to find out, but it is a stretch. Apparently Loor suffers from relying too heavily on his memory. Which is strange considering that is supposed to mean that Loor didn't employ sufficient analysis. The details seemed confused here about Loor's problem actually is. Is the Author trying to make Loor like Sherlock Holmes?
    The disease Gil had was one that, as Isard pointed out, was commonly associated with people who had come into contact with that bacta shipment and thus the allergy. Loor didn't think about that or make the connection -- or, it seems, even ask the MD about it -- and so just assumed that the standard procedure would work, which ended up killing Gil. If he'd thought about it, he might have wondered whether Gil had any other protections against being forced to give up that information and thus might have made the connection, and thus Gil might not have died and thus been eventually forced to give up the information. Loor always relies, as she says (either here or later) on his memory and thus pure data retention rather than on analysis, which is lazy and leads to stupid failures and his being out-thought.

    So Isard brings up the fact that the Empire apparently is bad at training the intelligence officers and soldiers. Wouldn't training be the most important part of the Empire and with precise efforts so trouble doesn't happen? Why would the Empire poorly train it's...oh right, Lucas.
    The Emperor wanted obedient servants who wouldn't betray him, and so they were taught to obey and follow procedure instead of thinking for themselves and taking independent action. That's poor training for an intelligence officer, and also for higher rank soldiers. And the Imperial High Command was not, in and of itself, known for creative thinking (see Ozzel, for example).

    Loor originally thought the faked event between Corran and Gil was stupid, yet he chose to believe it anyway. No explanation as to why he did.
    Likely because he thought THEY were stupid, and so believed that they could act that way, never thinking that they were playing him. Loor is startlingly arrogant, as Isard points out to him.

    Isard goes into a rant about the Emperor being blinded by his obsession with the Jedi, which was what exactly? I think that Stackpoole pulled this entire bit out of nowhere. Or I am missing something that occurred to justify this.
    At this point in the canon, it is implied that the Emperor and Vader meticulously hunted down and killed all of the Jedi, which took up an enormous amount of resources. Isard does not consider the Jedi or the Force sufficiently important to justify that, as she herself pretty much explains here.

    The Empire is falling apart, somehow, although the speed is higher than the fall of the Roman Empire. Are the space ottomans attacking?
    The Empire was held together, mostly, by the Emperor and his willpower and overall power, including that of the Imperial Fleet. With that gone and with the Sector Governor's having full power over their own sectors, it breaking apart with previously subjugated sectors bailing as soon as they don't have to fear a massive Imperial Fleet heading out to wipe them out and ambitious and greedy Governor's not wanting to have to submit to an authority they considered lesser than them isn't unreasonable and is a worse internal pressure than the Roman Empire had.

    Isard wants to blow up the Rebellion, completely forgetting the plot shields or the whole Lightside ending thing.
    So your complaint is that she isn't genre-savvy?

    Her methods for dealing with the Rebellion are not exactly the most thought out. It is ironic that her flaw is the same as Loor's.

    Loor is being assigned to track down Rogue Squadron so that it can be destroyed. Isard is focusing on the squadron and not coming up with other real tactics.
    She has other tactics and things on the go. They just haven't been revealed yet.
    Last edited by Daimbert; 2017-07-18 at 12:42 PM.
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    Good points Daimbart.
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    [Will post another read through soon]
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    [Update coming soon]
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    Going to have to say that this is currently in hiatus. Been busy with schoolwork, haven't gotten back to reading more in a while. Hope to get free time again soon. Sorry about that. I will see what I can do.
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