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SWTOR - Star Wars the Old Republic- Cyborg republic trooper face closeup - White background

“Jaevna Shilo” the Republic trooper

(Profile #1 - Early, part one) (Star Wars: The Old Republic)


Context

The Old Republic is one of the Bioware Star Wars computer RPGs, this one with a not-so-successful MMO format. It is part of the Extended Universe, which is no longer considered canon since 2014.

Its strength is to offer eight distinctive story tracks (one per character class). Here is a version of the Republic Trooper track, covering the first 15-ish levels before class specialization kicks in.

As such there are S P O I L E R S for Ord Mantell and Coruscant.

Since this is a RPG, Jaevna is but one possible version of the Republic Trooper, who is extensively customisable. As often when we present “sample” video game Player Characters, the profile includes additional sections about the game universe. See our video games writeups FAQ for more.


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Background

  • Real Name: Mavye “Tia” Dheban.
  • Other Aliases: Lieutenant Jaevna Shilo.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Two elder sisters, nine nephews and nieces, mother (deceased), Kreelo Dheban aka Kreelo Shilo (father), Jaevna Shilo (half-sister, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Republic Special Forces.
  • Base Of Operations: Originally Coronet City.
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

Tia Dheban used to be a quasi-professional shoul player. This is the Correlian  equivalent of rugby. Meaning it has fewer rules and more interest in rousing violence than Earth rugby.

As can be expected she is strong, tall and broad-shouldered. Tia has a superior pain threshold, reflexes, physical aggression, athleticism and endurance.

As she reaches Ord Mantell, she has but two months of basic military training. But these were serious ones. War is looming and Tia was highly invested in practising and learning everything. Still, a full academy cursus is four years, so her skills are crude.

But as it turns out she has all the assets to be an excellent soldier. She’s aggressive, cool-headed, disciplined, lucky, accurate and courageous. She’s also interested in technology, but her skills stop at basic maintenance and repair.


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Gear

As a front-line infantry fighter, “Jaevna” normally works with full body armour and a full-sized blaster  rifle. She has proved accurate and steady under fire.

Given the deliquescent conditions on Ord Mantell, she had to procure her own equipment. At this stage :

  1. A blaster assault carbine. This is an old model, more intended to signal officer status than to be a full-bore combat weapon.
  2. Republic Trooper body armour with mismatched parts. It is many decades out of date.
  3. Entire crates of mini-grenades. These aren’t weapons of mass destruction, but Special Forces type like using them for assaults.
    (Mini-grenades are a proposed rationalisation for the “special blaster shots” in SW:TOR. These make little in-setting sense).

The Old Republic Era

Like many Bioware Star Wars role-playing games, SW:TOR takes place thousands of years before the 1970s/1980s film trilogy. This would later become known as the Old Republic  era.

This specific game is set 10 years after the Treaty of Coruscant. This means that the Battle of Yavin (in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (that’s the 1977 one)) is 3,643 years in the future.

The Star Wars aesthetics are easily recognizable, though. In this galaxy far away and a long time ago, history and technological progress are at best sluggish. Han Solo wouldn’t be disoriented were he thrown back in time to the Corellia where Mavye Dheban grew up.

The Great Galactic War

Said Treaty of Coruscant  marked the end of the Great Galactic War . This war followed the return of the Sith Empire who had been previously defeated and expelled from the Republic under the leadership of the Jedi Order.

SWTOR - Star Wars the Old Republic- Corruscant skyline

A skyline on Coruscant.

The Sith spent centuries rebuilding their strength on the galaxy’s outer rim, then attacked. They were generally successful in their drive toward the Core Worlds of the galaxy. The invaders conquered many systems and retook important Sith planets.

The Treaty of Coruscant had the beleaguered Republic settle for peace. It followed a daring attack against Republic representatives on Coruscant , forcing them to ratify the Treaty under force of arms. The planet was also sacked.

The Cold War, part 1

The Treaty consolidated Sith conquests. Still, the Republic remained in control of most of the galaxy, including the bulk of the Core. It also weakened the Jedi Order, whose popularity on Republic worlds took a bad hit.

The Sith generally seemed ascendant. It was clear they’d just refresh their strength and attack anew. By contrast, the Republic was crumbling and decaying. Its institutions were losing their power, authority and credibility.

Many, from individuals to planetary governments, were now looking out for number one. And in that light the powerful Empire seemed to be where History was going.

The decade after the Treaty of Coruscant was named the Cold War . It was a time of trouble and tension. Jedi terrorists struck at Republic appeasers. Agents of the Dark Lords of the Sith conducted covert operations on Republic planets. The forces of the Republic were hard-pressed to keep the peace as their legitimacy and professionalism fell apart.

The Cold War, part 2

The Great Galactic War meant billions of refugees. The Republic lacked the means and resolve to help most of these people. Thus they became easy preys for shady actors with their own agenda – often one of hostility toward the Republic.

Imperial spies and agents were also pushing conflict from all sides. Such covert operations occasionally got exposed, but what was the Republic going to *do* about it ?

One of the flashpoints of the Cold War was the planet Ord Mantell , which is where our example protagonist comes in.


History – pre-game

(This History section is original. It is only one of the possible, imaginary takes on the Republic Trooper Player Character.)

Mavye Dheban is from Corellia, one of the Core Worlds . It is a primarily Human planet, known for its shipbuilding industry and ruggedly independent culture.

SWTOR - Star Wars the Old Republic- Cyborg republic trooper on Ord Mantell

Mavye is by far the youngest of three sisters. The other two raised her after their parents died in a landspeeder accident. Both her sisters having a large family, Mavye found herself the aunt of a gaggle of kids. Many of those were but a few years younger than she was. This is what led to her nickname, as he returned the favour by helping her sisters raise their smaller kids.

Tall, strong and a natural athlete, Tia distinguished herself as a player a shoul. This was a celebrated (and not exactly gentle) ball game. Lacking direction, she had begun playing since people kept remarking that she was built like a shoul champ.

Being good at shoul was her break, as Tia’s schoold grades were at best haphazard. While far from dumb, she was never suited to classrooms.

Performance enhancer

One of the shoul coaches at her high school was corrupt, and in cahoot with a local mob. She also bet on fixed matches. One such scheme went catastrophically wrong. The coach ended up owing a small fortune to loan sharks.

To solve this she abused the trust of her charges. She dosed her shoul team with “oxblood”, a highly addictive physical enhancer. The star players of the team, including Tia, thought that they were taking a sort-of-but-not-really-legal painkiller.

By the time they realised it was dope, they were addicted. And their coach was their only reliable provider.

“Oxblood” came with a feeling of invincibility as addiction grew. Therefore, most of the players felt they could handle the situation on their own. Dheban wanted to tell someone, but since nobody agreed she felt intimidated and went along.

Everything flies apart

One of the players was careless, and the school realized what was going on. They attempted to solve the situation in secret, without involving the police. However, when they were confronted by campus security, the addicted players reacted with oxblood-fueled aggression – and brawn.

The brawl degenerated badly. During the fracas Tia defenestrated an officer with a textbook shoul running dropkick. Hearing the actual police coming, convinced that she was now a murderer, and as she and the other oxblood users were losing control, Dheban panicked and ran.

† Naughty † Juggernaut † was giving a free concert nearby. This was a Corellian band hugely popular with young women of Tia’s specific Human ethnicity. That was a perfect occasion to disappear among a crowd. Dheban also vaguely hoped that a concert might be a good place to find an oxblood pusher.

As a further precaution, she threw away her identification and phone.

Death in the chill-out zone

Tia wandered to the chill-out zone, vaguely guessing there might be pushers there.

Instead, she ran right into a lass looking *exactly* like her. She resembled her more than her own sisters did. Gobsmacked, the two started talking. After flailing around some, they realised that they were half-sisters. Tia’s supposedly dead father was still alive under a new identity, and had been leading a double life as one Mr. Shilo.

SWTOR - Star Wars the Old Republic- Cyborg republic trooper pointing blaster pistol

”Tia” Dhepan and Jaevna Shilo were almost exactly the same age. Meaning that this had been going on for at least 19 years – and probably more.

As Tia was trying to cope with the worst day in her life — and her oxblood craving — things got even worse.

There had been rumours of Imperial activity on Corellia. But that day marked the first terrorist strike in Coronet City , in the chill-out zone of the † Naughty † Juggernaut † concert.

Identity theft

When the blast came, Jaevna Shilo reflexively body-checked Tia Dheban out of the way. She was practically vaporized but narrowly saved Dheban’s life. Though the prognosis was terrible, Tia made it through sheer robustness. But she was partially disfigured, and lost her left arm and leg.

She was also misfiled. When the blast came, Dheban was holding Shilo’s identification. Her half-sister was showing her her date of birth as they discussed their father. The ID had partially fused with Tia’s hand due to the heat.

Shilo’s remains were unidentifiable, as Corellian laws forbid genetic typing.

Dheban was thus tagged as Shilo. Terrified of being exposed as the fugitive Mavye Dheban, she played along and feigned partial amnesia. Between the disfigurement, shock and the two girls’ striking resemblance, Tia took over Jaevna’s identity.

Being Jaevna Shilo, part 1

Whereas Tia Dheban had an unremarkable life, Jaevna Shilo was a notable overachiever. An excellent student as well as a promising pianist and dancer, Shilo had enrolled on an early military academy track. It educated and trained teenagers who intended to join a military officer academy when of age.

After enlisting with the Republic Trooper Academy in Coronet City, Jaevna Shilo continued to excel. Though most would have expected her to become a pilot — Corellian pilots are reputed for their skills and daring — she trained for infantry.

She wanted to emulate her girlhood hero, Jace Malcom . Malcom was a legendary officer of the Special Forces of the Republic. He was the former commander of Infantry Unit 326, better known as Havoc Squad .

Shilo had graduated a week before her death. She ranked first of her class in no less than three specialities – Forward Assault, Search & Destroy, and Advanced Recon. This astonishing feat led to accomplishing her life’s dream. She was tapped to join Havoc Squad to replace losses.

Being Jaevna Shilo, part 2

Though “Jaevna”’s wounds were severe, there was nothing that modern medicine couldn’t repair using cybernetic implants. Particularly for such a promising soldier.

Both missing limbs, an eye and part of her skull were replaced. The rest of the damage fixed. ”Jaevna” kept some facial scarring- so people wouldn’t spot the subtle differences between her and the real Jaevna.

The real Jaevna Shilo had been living at the academy since she was 15, not seeing her family much. With the Cold War context, most of her class had already been shipped out to their post-graduation detail. This left few people around who actually knew her.

And with the fierce Corellian individualism, little existed in the way of official records to identify her, such as dental or digital records.

You’re in the Army now

“Jaevna” asked to go through infantry basic a second time, so as to learn to handle her cybernetic limbs. This was seen as a sign of humility and perfectionism from the great future Corellian heroine. In actuality, that was to cover up that she knew nothing about soldiering.

Ord Mantell landscape and skybox in Star Wars the Old Republic

Welcome to Ord Mantell… Click for a larger version.

After two months of basic, Tia had but a fraction of Jaevna’s skills. But that was enough to fake it. Plus, she could make excuses about partial amnesia and having to relearn some basic physical skills.

As the Cold War tension mounted, “Jaevna Shilo” was shipped to Ord Mantell to join Havoc Squad. The assumption was that she’d continue to swiftly retrain herself. She was made a Sergeant before she saw any real combat.

(During the game there’s a random remark about the Republic Trooper having fought in an unspecified Outer Rim battle. This doesn’t align with the opening sequence where what’s commented on is the Trooper’s rankings at the Academy. Given the youth of this version of the Republic Trooper and the fact I happened on this remark after the background was written, I ignored it.)

Continued in part #2

discusses Republic Special Forces, the early in-game events, the stats, the characterisation, etc.. See you there. Or “Catch ya on the flip side”, if you want to be all 1980s about it.


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By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG. Female Republic Trooper voiced by Jennifer Hale.

Writeup completed on the 13th of February, 2016.

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