Monday, February 27, 2012

99 Problems, but a Sith ain't one.

A List of things from the EU that bug me but not enough to warrant their own post

            Okay, so far you’ve seen me go on tirades that have been as long as five single spaced pages in Word.  This time I’m going to try something a little bit different, instead of railing against a particular author or book or even book series, I’m going to talk about some things that bug me that are on the smaller end of the scale.
            Now, most of these are going to end up being fairly inconsequential, but in the end it won’t matter because it’s my list.   They aren’t throw away bits, though.  Some of these issues are going to be ones that actually have had long standing consequences in the world of the EU.  There may even be some complaints that have no bearing whatsoever on things, but again, my list, my rant.

#1. The Hapes Consortium

            I imagine that at this point, if you’re reading this, you’ve read some of my previous entries, you might know where this is going.  As I said before, the first book that I ever read in the Star Wars EU was The Courtship of Princess Leia, which actually did a few things very well.  I want to say this right up front, I don’t hate everything.

            Stop laughing.

            Seriously, Dave Wolverton’s work in this novel helped establish a few things that are really very important to the EU at large.  The one that really sticks out in my mind is the fact that although the Jedi and Sith represent the most common traditions of the Force, they aren’t the only ones.
This book really gave us the first experience with alternative Force tradition, it’s a little unfortunate that it turns out that to have been the Witches of Dathomir.  They ride rancors…  sigh.  That’s not the point!
            The point is this, in the course of the book, we are introduced to a government that is so important to the galaxy that we’ve literally never heard it mentioned.  Fine, whatever, it’s an early EU book, we’ll let it slide.  Except they talk about this being an outrageously rich kingdom that somehow existed beyond the Empire.

            So, let me ask you this.  If you were the Emperor and this kingdom existed within your reach and it had lots of money just ripe to be taxed, would you leave it alone, or would you move in with your literally thousands of battleships and support craft?  Because apparently the Emperor decided to leave it alone.  We never really know why he did that, by the way.

            It just doesn’t make sense why the Consortium exists and that really bothers me.  It wasn’t part of the Republic, either.  For the record, this is the same Republic that was so vehement about not letting systems secede from it but no, they were fine with the Hapes Consortium being around?

#2 . The Hapan Battle Dragon

            That last entry was nitpicking, but this next one really does bother me.  So, the Hapes Consortium, since it exists outside of the Empire and is responsible for its own defense, it has its own fleet.  Makes sense, right?  Alright, that works, they have their own capital ships and fighters

            One of their primary ships is the Nova-class cruiser, a fairly conservative looking craft, it looks like a space combat ship ought to.  However, that craft is not the primary ship of the fleet.  No, the backbone of the Hapan fleet is the Battle Dragon!  Sounds rad, right?  Okay, here’s where the problem starts.

            Instead of being a conventional ship with gun emplacements, the Hapes use a design with two disks and a spindle connecting them.  The spindle is lined with turbolasers, which you might think sounds like a good idea, you can fire in all directions and maybe protect the guns easier, right?  Well… it also has its functional drawbacks.  While a gun emplacement like is on a Star Destroyer would be able to rotate them and pitch them up and down.
This pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking

            Beyond that limitation, there’s another issue.  The point of the cannons being on the spindle is so that they can rotate weapons into position.  Now, later on they explain this as a problem with Hapan turbolaser technology.  They recharge much more slowly that Imperial guns, so this is their method of overcoming that limitation.

            Note that I said that happened later on.  That was something that cropped up in the RPG.  No, originally the entire idea was simply to raise the rate of fire.  Mr. Wolverton includes no further explanation, the spindle just rotates and fires because it’s faster!  I guess.

There! Shoot it in the thin bit!
            The tactical problem with all of this is that the spindle is, as you can see, isn’t a small thing, it’s humongous.  Here’s all it takes to overcome a Hapan Battle Dragon, attack the spindle.  What does it take, one good shot with a laser cannon or missile and suddenly, their terribly over-engineered piece of trash is stuck.  One good blast and thing shouldn’t be able to rotate anymore.  Suddenly it’s a Hapan Battle Gecko, and that’s not scary.  The worst it can probably do is try to sell me car insurance.

#3. The Corporate Sector

            Now, you might look at me and say, Parallax, this is clearly the same complaint you had about the Consortium.  And to you I say, so what?  The basis is more or less the same, giant, enormously rich faction that is apparently under no authority at all from the Empire or later on the Republic.
            Now, I had been under the impression that after the Prequels were released that they would retcon this, but I checked Wookieepedia.  Nope.  If I hadn’t checked, I would have thought it was the remnants of the CIS.  So, no, instead, the old Republic just decides that the biggest businesses are allowed to buy up a whole arm of the galaxy and the Empire lets them self regulate.  According to the Wookieepedia, the Corporate Sector gets to the point that it is made up of 30,000 systems.

            Wha…. What?

#4. One Planet Resources

            Now, in the real world, there are some resources that only exist in certain areas.  For instance, if you’ve ever heard of a material called Damascus steel, it’s a good example.  In the far flung past, this was a type of steel was found pretty much in the middle east, hence its name.  The best weapons of Islamic territories during the Crusades were made of Damascus steel.
As time has passed, the method for crafting Damascus steel was lost.  Everyone thought it was a process that worked by folding the metal and then etching layers back off of it with acid.  Many modern smiths make it by forge welding steel cable and leaving it a bit unpolished so you can see all of the layers.
Well, it turns out that the real Damascus weapons may have had nothing to do with the process, it may have been the material.  Recent mining and metallurgy studies have found that the iron for the process may have been the source, and it was found mostly in a region of Afghanistan.  All that said, it was a material that mostly existed only in the highest quality weapons and luxury items.  That would probably explain why the process got lost.
Now, in Star Wars, we have at least two materials that are found in only one place.  The first one is spice.  In a previous post, I mention this.  It comes from Kessel.  And it’s made by spiders. From space.  >:( Frustrated face ):<
The other one is bacta, made on Thyferra.  Bacta is the miracle treatment for all injuries and diseases.  It seriously cures anything.
Now, if either of these items existed as luxury items or the rarest, most expensive treatments in the galaxy, that would be one thing.  Bacta is perhaps the most common treatment for anything in the universe.  Even the Rebellion had access to bacta.  And spice is the most commonly abused drug we ever hear referenced.
            Let’s just focus on bacta.  How the heck does one planet supply all of the medical supplies for all of the galaxy!  This  is a quote from Wookieepdia

“The Galactic Empire's territory at its peak consisted of some one and a half million member and conquered worlds, as well as sixty-nine million colonies, protectorates and puppet states spread throughout the entire galaxy, stretching from the borders of the Deep Core to at least Wild Space.”

            One planet produced all of the bacta in the galaxy and supplied almost seventy-million worlds.

#5. Palpatine

            I have not read Darth Plagueus.  I probably won’t, so I want you to know that this is one of those things that I’m actually going to depend on the films for.  Now, the Emperor pops up in four of six movies and in all of that, we don’t ever get a real motivation.  Some of you might say that his goal was power, but that’s a goal, not a motivation.

            Seriously, the Emperor in the original trilogy was a guy who was in power and we didn’t have to think about why.  He was there and lots of things sucked.  So, let’s get rid of him, right?  But when we look at the prequels, he’s the puppet-master, he’s orchestrating the fall of the Republic, the start of the civil war and the weakening of the Senate and the strengthening his own position.

            I can’t argue with his methods, but at the end of the day, we’re left with a guy who wanted all of the responsibility of leading the galaxy and all of the power that came with it.  But why is this what he wanted?  Does he have a goal that can only be met by taking over the galaxy?  Does he need to be in control in order to get revenge or to destroy his enemies?  Nope, not really.

            Palpatine is more or less only in power because he’s evil.  Don’t ask why, he’s just evil!  And wants all of the power!  Not to kill people, not get rich, no, Palpatine seized power so he could be a jerk to aliens and deal with limitless amounts of stress.


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