Imperial Saboteur, Part 1

Ever since Jedi Under Siege introduced the concept of loyalist vs. saboteur (the faction switch on Iokath was treated as more of a one-off before that), I've been curious to see the saboteur story options for myself - problem was, all my most advanced characters in terms of story were pretty loyal to their faction and I couldn't see any of them going down that path.

So I've slowly been chipping away at progressing more suitable saboteur characters through the story as a sort of side project... and the other week I finally reached the crucial point on my Imperial agent Corfette, the Sniper who became a double agent for the Republic during her class story - is there a more natural fit for the role of Imperial double agent?

What follows are my impressions of this path up to the end of Onderon, so consider this your spoiler warning for that content.

First off, I gotta say that it felt a bit odd to return to the Empire as a saboteur after openly siding with the Republic on Iokath. Paradoxically it actually felt better to return to being an Imperial loyalist after betraying them on Iokath on my bounty hunter, whose loyalties were always a bit questionable and for whom Iokath had been a somewhat impulsive decision based on a dislike for Acina's scheming and being in a relationship with Theron at the time.

On my agent however, who had previously been assisting the Republic undercover, Iokath was almost a sort of "coming out", and to then go back into the Imperial closet so to speak felt weird and like my old faction would obviously be suspicious of me now.

Incidentally, on Nathema I was confronted by the former Watcher Two, who did not look kindly upon my involvement with the Republic, despite of everything I'd done for her on Rishi.

Anyway, so the start of Ossus felt a bit awkward, but it seemed easy enough to slide back into the old agent patterns, what with Darth Malora expressing distaste for my character and the option to commiserate with Major Anri about the moods of Sith superiors.

I'd previously been told that Ossus wasn't that different for a saboteur vs. a loyalist and I would say that's broadly true. The bonus mission at the start is to sabotage the Imperial fighters instead of giving them a boost, and when it comes to the Jedi farming data, you tell Major Anri that it's not really your focus while secretly passing it on to the Republic. The main events stay the same however.

Interestingly, the wrap-up at the end sounds very pessimistic compared to the optimism a loyalist gets presented with, with the implied justification being that your small acts of sabotage made the whole mission way too costly. However, it doesn't really feel different, because the base still gets shot up by a Republic attack either way and the damage doesn't look any different as far as I could tell, even if it gets talked about in very different ways.

During Hearts and Minds, I told Theron about my saboteur status and he actually commented: "So it's true what Shara said on Nathema", which made me squee except that I thought it was it a bit odd that Theron would be on a first-name basis with my former Imperial colleague whom he saw exactly once.

I was also happy to choose the saboteur option for the speech at the end of the mission, which was pretty hilarious in that you're not saying anything that's obviously meant to be detrimental towards morale, you just come across as being absolutely abysmal at giving speeches. After the repeated air punching while yelling "Empire!" over and over again, you're basically quietly escorted away, and Doctor Oggurobb sends you a message in the mail later to suggest having you checked for Geonosian brain worms. (Nice reference!)

Onslaught starts with your character being involved in this little space battle, and I was pleased to see that as a saboteur, you don't end up killing the Republic fighter you're engaged with but let them get away.

The mission on Onderon initially goes exactly the same as on a loyalist, what with ingratiating yourself with King Petryph and enlisting the aid of the Untamed. But then! When you're at the point where you'd usually use the cannons in Iziz to shoot down the Republic fleet, you can pretend that they're not working. (Your character gets a very over-the-top smirk on their face as they do this - you won't survive long as a saboteur if you make faces like that every time you successfully perform some sort of sabotage! I just thought it was funny.)

Savik frets but doesn't panic quite as much as I would have expected and tells you to at least get to the throne room to help King Petryph. And here I got the opportunity to just shoot him and leave Senator Nebet be, which is exactly what I did! To be honest this is an option I've kind of wanted to have even on my loyalists sometimes, simply because it seemed like it could be useful to capture a Republic leadership figure that isn't a complete idiot.

Then I got back to base and Malgus absolutely lost it with Savik for failing, going instantly into remote Force choke mode, at which point you get the option to suggest whether you think she should be allowed to live or die. I really liked this choice as you could argue that either one can make sense for a saboteur: You can position yourself as a voice for moderation and potentially earn Savik's favour for the future, or you can simply let her be offed and be happy that there's one less Sith in the galaxy. I chose the former option here.

I gotta say the saboteur options on Imperial Onderon felt extremely satisfying and I was quite surprised that they actually allow you to blow the whole mission this time. You'd think that might make the Empire suspicious... but I guess from the point of view of the NPCs you aren't "the player character who never fails at anything" but simply another person who's fallible to some degree... plus you were just following Savik's plan, right?

I'm looking forward to what more there is to see. Continued in part 2!

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