There are spoilers for Chapter One of the trooper class storyline beneath the cut here. You have been warned.
The prologue made the trooper’s Chapter One story arc obvious enough. Havoc Squad, the unit you served with on Ord Mantell, defected to the Empire, leaving your trooper and Aric Jorgan the sole members of said squad in their wake. The trooper player character (in my case, Vordane) was promoted to the leader of Havoc Squad, with Jorgan serving as it’s first official member. Your task, laid out for you over the course of the first chapter, is to find, put a stop to the plans of, and either apprehend or kill your former unit mates. Every step brings you closer to Tavus, the former leader of Havoc Squad, and every little thing you do winds up irritating the Imperials more and more. You do, at least, pick up a few new members for Havoc Squad along the way. My personal favorite is probably M1-4X, if only because he’s my tanking robot buddy, a wonderful compliment to my combat medic spec.
And, at what seemed like long last, I did it. I pushed Vordane to 31 and got to the end of Chapter One of the storyline. And, well, I needed to flail.
The thing about the villains we have to face is that they aren’t two-dimensional. They’re living, breathing people with actual motivation. In the trooper’s case, early on in the game, we learned about the battle of Ando Prime, and we know how the then-Havoc Squad felt about the whole thing. The Galactic Senate abandoned Havoc Squad against an overwhelming amount of Imperials, and we know Havoc felt betrayed. So when Tavus and the rest of Havoc Squad threw in their lot with the Imperials some time after, it really made sense. After all, the very people you were supposed to protect and serve, the people who said they were the righteous ones abandoned them. What else were they to do when they felt the Republic wasn’t much better than the Empire?
Naturally, however, the betrayal was a harsh one, and Vordane’s first mission, it seemed, was to go after Havoc Squad. Wraith managed to elude her, two former members of Havoc Squad surrendered peacefully (it was nice to see Fuse sticking to his morals; I honestly thought it was a trick at first before I realized he was sincere, and Vordane wound up saving his life as opposed to the plans he had been working on. Vordane will never leave a man behind ever), and the rest, unfortunately, had to be gunned down. This culminated in a Moment of Awesome for me on Alderaan when Vordane was finally able to go after Gearbox, the first person she had ever spoken to on Ord Mantell. Not only was I able to take down his elite death machine robot, but, utilizing a lot of healing probes and Forex taking most of the beating, I was able to take down Gearbox himself (also elite) immediately after. I wanted to cheer and shout from the rooftops, but, sadly, people were sleeping and that wasn’t an option.
There were a few moral choices afterwards that left me questioning myself, several that I agonized over for hours until I realized that, sometimes, Vordane couldn’t save everybody even though she wanted to. She’s always been a bit idealistic, I guess, but orders are orders, and she wasn’t about to upset anybody from House Organa after General Garza told her to keep them happy. Thus, Markus Thul, the man who had helped her to find Gearbox, had to remain a prisoner of House Organa. His wife and daughter were furious with me, though Markus seemed to accept his fate. I left that conversation feeling a bit broken and disheartened. It wasn’t the outcome Vordane and I both wanted. She wanted to let them all go free, but she was already in trouble with her superior as it was. However, the fact that Markus had to remain in that cell, left to whatever fate the Organas had in mind for him, killed me, and I could hear his daughter’s harsh words long after I left Alderaan.
At that point, I was informed to head to Coruscant. I should have slept at that point, but I couldn’t. I had to continue. I knew the end of the first chapter was near, and it’s like when you’re reading a good book. You know something amazing is coming, but you can’t put it down because, if you do, you’ll forever be thinking about that wonderful thing that’s coming and you won’t be able to focus on anything else. I had thought that, perhaps, the storyline with Havoc Squad’s betrayal would stretch out across multiple chapters, but it seemed as though Bioware determined one was enough. That was a bit disappointing to me, but I was also curious to see what the rest of the trooper arc would be. So, after reporting briefly to General Garza, Vordane was rewarded for her persistent efforts with the one thing she had been searching for the entire time: the location of Harron Tavus.
Determined to stop him, Vordane and M1-FX snuck aboard the Imperial ship, systematically going through it room by room and disabling their hyperdrive, only to finally be confronted by Wraith shortly after. Vordane had no choice; Wraith had to die, and she soon met her end on the engine room floor. The Imperials kept coming, but every time, Vordane and Forex would push them back, killing many of them to clear a path to Tavus on the bridge. Until that point, Vordane had hoped that she could convince Tavus to come quietly. Tavus, it seemed, had other ideas. He was determined to have an epic confrontation with his former squad mate, and Vordane had no choice but to oblige.
The battle raged all across the bridge until, finally, Vordane and Forex managed to cripple Tavus enough and he began to see reason. Though Vordane tried her best to convince him to become a prisoner of the Republic, to surrender, Tavus refused. The way he saw it, he was as good as dead anyway, and would rather die in battle than be executed by the Senate. He wanted an honorable death. A warrior’s death. Vordane couldn’t deny him that, and so she killed him, shooting him at last with a blast from her cannon.
And I, to my surprise, felt myself start to tear up. I didn’t want this to happen. I’ll be honest. I did not want to kill Tavus. He was misguided, yes, but I understood where he was coming from. I tried so hard to convince him in the end to just turn himself in, but, no, he wouldn’t let me talk him into it. Apparently, he can be talked into it with certain dialogue choices (my guild leader, also a trooper, managed to convince him to surrender), but, in my personal story arc, Tavus was killed, and after coming off another quest where I wasn’t able to save a man who had helped me, it kind of broke me.
This is why I love this game, though. Every choice you make shapes your character’s story. Other people might not choose the same exact option as you. They might choose something completely different, and that’s okay. It sparks debates and controversy, and people will spend hours asking others “well, why did you do it this way? Wouldn’t it make more sense to do things this other way?” I love that we have the freedom to shape our own stories in the Star Wars universe. It’s perfect and I can’t imagine things any other way in here.
Now… onwards to chapter two.