Nominator comments: A good KotOR era short story by JM76. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 05:35, November 24, 2010 (UTC)
I step through puddles of… something. It’s almost gelatinous. I have no idea what it is. Smells like home, back on the farm, when my father used to cook over an open fire. It’s a strong smell, and my head starts to spin. Using the wall to guide me, I step from the entrance all the way to the door to the maintenance closet on the left side of the room. If they won’t turn the lights on, I will.
My feet wobble under me, hardly keeping my standing. Something’s come over me. I feel weak, and my head is hazy and aches painfully. I shake my head, but I don’t feel any better.
“Olan! If you’re in here, this is not funny!”
No response. What is going on? Feeling my way to the door, I open the maintenance closet and step inside, carefully avoiding the crates against the wall as I do so. My hands race around the room, groping in the darkness and trying to stand-in for my lack of sight. It’s a pitiful attempt, but I eventually find the generator. Flipping it on, the glowpanels in the room turn on, momentarily blinding me in a burst of radiance.
I'll be honest, this vote is primarily to push the nom through. Though, I did enjoy the excerpt, it has captured my interest, so I may give the story a read. Trak NarRamble on 05:53, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
After all the complaints have been addressed and/or resolved, I may vote. :) -Solus Talk to the Hand 20:53, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
From the phantasmic desk of Atarumaster88
A BtS would be very nice.
"The story takes place after to " clarify
"all alone with father," Capitalize or make a common noun
"space faring" is one word
"no face, – at least," drop the comma or the dash
That's all. Very small objections, as I've already looked at the story before. Good read, if a bit cold-hearted. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 05:35, November 24, 2010 (UTC)
SPOILZERSLOLSPOILBBQLOL. Hm. I must say this story didn't take me to where I was thinking it was. I also have to say that I didn't "get" it, but I know it must have had a point or else it would be supported and praised by the people it has been. I blame my dyslexia. :p So, in an effort to understand this story, I pose the following questions. I am not going to criticize a story that I don't understand by my own fault, so I'm going to make an effort to get it before I pass judgement either way.
Okay, I'm just gonna get to the main point. I thought by several elements in the story that the Jedi that was killing them all was the villain - and that he - or should I say, in my mind, she - was the Exile. The hints being: "The opponent Jaeln described sounds like he gets stronger with every battle. If that’s the case, then isn’t he incredibly powerful now that he’s killed the entire crew?" I thought we were going for a view of what things Jedi did would have appeared to normal people who happened to be on the wrong side at the wrong place at the wrong time. I thought we were going for a morally ambiguous story that was more meant for us to think more outside the box. After all, I'm sure the Exile has killed thousands of faceless goons on ships and never giving them a second thought. I thought the description Jaeln gave Nohri about halfway into the story to be genius in it's observation - the Sith wouldn't join the Sith army if they didn't think ‘’they were doing the right thing.’’ I know some Sith (Force-users) were in it for the evulz, but I know some joined because they had talents they could use to defend themselves, their family, and their home. You know, from things like a Jedi coming through and destroying everyone in the base near your town because you were wearing a faceless silver helmet and gave EXPs. The base your son or daughter might have been working at? From the side of the Sith looking at what the Jedi had done, not understanding them, this is how they would see them: "A Jedi is a warrior who becomes enslaved to a power known as the Force. He is weakened through his need to kill, and he eventually loses himself entirely; he becomes a husk of his former self, unable to recognize friend or foe, family or enemy. He is aggression and bloodlust personified.” Brilliant. What would you think if you were on the wrong end of a bright blue laser sword held by an emotionless sorcerer? I thought at the end would be the reveal that it was the Exile that killed everyone, that killed Nohri, that killed Jaeln, that killed everyone in order to use the ship for...something. Something minor. I dunno, I assumed you would have thought of something that would have tied into something we knew to enforce 1) the fact that the Jedi meant well 2) the Jedi thought nothing of the act, and, possibly, 3) the use of the ship was something fairly minor. It would have driven the point home. I like semi-morally ambiguous stories, stories that make you think. After all, neither the Sith or the Jedi are perfect. They're both extremists on the opposite sides of a graph. They shouldn't be stereotyped onto being just evil or just perfect. People are more complex than that. Even Hitler thought he was doing the right thing.
I have to say I was sorely disappointed in that sense. I know, I don't think like normal people and I was expecting something else, but w/e. I didn't get why Jaeln was the bad guy and why suddenly the bad guy behind the bad guy suddenly showed up to kill him for........feeling? I thought passion was one of the main things behind the dark side and that Jaeln should have used it to fight back instead of becoming a human pincushion. W/e. So, it turns out the Jedi meant well and wanted to save at least one of the crew members. Okay. Why? Why did he care about one solider on one little ship? Of what importance was that ship? Why was he there? It was mentioned that they didn't send out a distress signal. What was the Jedi doing there? Was he specifically after one of the Sith? Was that it? Did he sneak aboard the ship trying to capture him and ended up in this madhouse of death? How did he plan to let Nohri escape? Did he have a ship? Why didn't Phantom Rising pick up the ship on its scanners? Why wasn't there a confrontation? He apparently was a Gray Jedi. So why was he here? Why wasn't he meditating or making rocks float somewhere while he was trying to figure out whether to Dark or Light side was the right one? Why is he on Phantom Rising? Why is he fighting Jaeln? WHAT'S GOING ON?
Erm. So, anyway, on to my next set of questions. Okay, Jaeln is suddenly the bad guy because.........random dude #31 who apparently was important and an evil Sith said so (I don’t remember his name. He was given so little buildup, came out of nowhere, was so stereotypical, and was in the story for such a short time I just know him as Snidely Whiplash).
"Kill the girl."
"Because you're killing the entire crew of this ship!"
"Because it's a test to see how many of our own team we can kill! Surely we shall make a comeback after the death of Malak if we wipe ourselves out! It's brilliant! Much better than sending you out to Dantooine to bomb the place! MUAHAHAHA! Now kill the protagonist."
"But she's harmless and can't shoot or-"
"She's the main character of the story. The readers care about her. Killing her will add shock value!"
"That's great, now lemme kill you!"
"Shock value! Moral Event Horizon! Puppy Kicking! It's what I do!" *stabbystabstab* "MUAHAHA, I'm so stereotypically evil." *twirls mustache*
I mean...I just don't get it. Here we had set up a great scenario for deeper characters but instead we get stock EVUL SITH and RIGHTEOUS JEDI cutouts. We get Nohri, she's interesting, but she dies and we no longer care. Killing the protagonist works if it's 1) at or near the end of the story and given right or after before a sensible motive why. 2) Early in the story for shock value right before we switch to the REAL main character 3) Halfway through the story, also for shock value and also before we switch to protagonist #2. We get none of these. She's killed about 4/5ths of the way in before we get an exposition dump and a solution to a mystery I frankly wasn't trying to solve and then we switch to Jaeln who was actually quite likable before he killed Nohri because....................she gave EXPs, I dunno. But even then he could be likable if we really saw he cared, but in order to do that he would have had to be subtly changing throughout the story to like her more before he tragically killed her because...oh, I dunno, let’s give him a tragic reason: he hated the Jedi/loved the Sith cause so much he would sacrifice what he loved for them in order to restore peace to the universe by getting rid of the cancerous Jedi - she would have died for a cause, she would have been a sacrifice to a greater “good,” to get rid of what he would have seen as the problem. A twisted cause, but that makes it all the more tragic and Jaeln’s story all the more meaningful. But no, right after he kills her we are told he liked her despite being given no prior reason to think so and right before he’s killed so we don’t care even more than before. Then a bunch of names are thrown at us more plot dump apparently this had something to do with Alderaan though the story hasn’t been there what’s going on story ends whatever I don’t care.
*Sigh* I must be missing something. I know I must be missing something. You’re a good writer, JM, that’s why I know I’m missing something and that there had to be something I didn’t get. Explain it to me, please, I want to get this story, because, as I understand it now, I really dislike it, and that can’t be right. -Solus Talk to the Hand 17:03, November 25, 2010 (UTC)
Long post is long, but I will do my best to alleviate your bewilderment. To begin, thank you for reading it, and your confusion pleases me to an extent. Here be spoilers...
First, the Jedi-in-question was never intended to be the Jedi Exile, and I hadn't realized the similarities; however, I can see where the confusion arises. I am big on portraying the Jedi and the Sith as what they are to normal people: that is, superhuman and, quite frankly, something frightening. I appeal to Vader's line in ANH about the power of the Force. The Jedi are no different to the ordinary, unsophisticated individual than the Sith. At least, on the surface. I like to take KoTOR's classic hero-villain portrayal of the Jedi-Sith and mix it with TSL's more gray vs. gray morality. If I got you thinking that the Jedi was a bloodthirsty monster, then that's good. If I got you to thinking that the Jedi was a frightening thing to those relatively weak Sith soldiers, also fine. However, for most of the story, backstory and infodump is brought about through an unreliable narrator (and what are Sith if not unreliable?), Jaeln. Knowing that he is the murderer, I would think, puts the story in a completely different light. All that stuff he tells Nohli about the murderer may be true... speaking about himself (of course, I cannot delve too far into that at the risk of running into spoilers for future storiehz ).
The Jedi wanted to save as much of the crew as he could, but he arrived far too late. If I recall, the Jedi sensed the pain and suffering Jaeln was inflicting on the crew (presumably in those meditations you discussed), and he arrived, trying to save them from Jaeln. The Jedi proved too late, and Nohli was the only survivor left. Out of a sense of duty, justice, or guilt, the Jedi felt inclined to save the last member of the crew from wanton destruction. Didn't work out so well. Admittedly, the deatils of his arrival, capabilities, and goals are mentioned in passing after everyone's dead, and I should prolly elaborate on the Jedi's presence. To specify a few things about that: there was no one alive to monitor ship's coming and going into the ship's hangars, no confrontation occurred beforehand because it's a pretty large ship, and the Jedi concealed Nohli from Jaeln in a hope of getting her out of there.
The last bit I'll discuss quickly. Jaeln killed all the people on the ship because Snidey told him to. We're given no other blatant reason. I'm a big fan of peppering hints and foreshadowing here or there, but Jaeln was always the villain. He fooled Nohli into thinking that, perhaps, he was on her side. Sadly, the protagonist must die for the story to work. There simply isn't any other way to achieve the tone I'm going for (I like 'macabre') without it. I have to admit, you read more into the ship itself than I did; it had its reasons for existing (I like to foreshadow story plot points in my ship names, for example), but it was ultimately just setting. Finally, I will work on the ending if it just seems trite or like a bad exposition, but it's hard to remedy some complaints without spoiling future events. Phantom Rising was never intended to be read by its lonesome, and I'll admit my stories tend to be very weak in the 'this-makes-sense-as-a-standalone' department.
All that said, I don't want my readers to walk away confused. If you don't get something, or if I failed to explain something to your liking, feel free to ask/comment. — JM76DroidIRC 06:08, November 29, 2010 (UTC)
I'm actually replying! STOP THE PRESSES!
Anyhoo, I think I know where you're coming from in that this is not a standalone, but I read it and thought of it as one. As this is the case, then this must have been a kind of character interest story going on to show the depravity of the bad guy, which now does not come out of nowhere as he is mentioned elsewhere. Okay. That fixes so many problems I had with the story. :D Okay, so, my main questions then. First, why did Snidely want to kill those on his own side? Second, why this ship? Third, why did he kill Jaeln for having emotions (something Sith pride themselves for feeling)? D, why didn't Jaeln fight back? 5, how does this tie in with the main overall arc of the story - were they following his serial killings and this was supposed to be one in a long line of them, giving us the scale of his depravity? VI....er...um....Return of the Jedi. ^-^; -Solus Talk to the Hand 02:51, December 20, 2010 (UTC)
(Butchering wiki-formatting...) Well, basically, the lives of underlings don't matter to Snidey. He's very much a "Rule of the Strong"-type of Sith. Basically, it was a training exercise for Jaeln. I chose the ship because it's old and spooky and fit the atmosphere well . Per above, Snidey sees emotions, particularly those such as regret and mercy, as unbecoming of a Sith. Jaeln didn't fight back because he has an inferiority-complex, and it ties in ultimately as character development (or un-development, perhaps) for the villains of the next story. Yayz. — JM76DroidIRC 03:01, December 20, 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I accept everything except the inferiority complex. I don't remember that being hinted at in the story...if it was in there more, then I would support this. I hatez teh plot holes. ;P -Solus Talk to the Hand 03:13, December 20, 2010 (UTC)
Well, fine. Suffice to say, he's a very obedient Sith; he follows his orders to the death. And here I was thinking you'd buy the inferiority complex bit... — JM76DroidIRC 03:38, December 20, 2010 (UTC)