Before I began writing my reactions to this source, I wanted to include a brief synopsis of this adventures’ events from Wookieepedia, but Wookieepedia has nothing on Peril in the Ionosphere, so I guess it’s up to me to write something for posterity (if any intrepid wookieepedian wants to cut and paste my summation with a little more detail, here’s your chance to add to the online encyclopedia).
The adventure begins after the events of The Invasion of Theed Adventure Game, and the heroes are approached by a Nabooian official to help colonize one of Naboo’s moons. The heroes agree and board a shuttle to the moon piloted by an Ithorian named Captain Worlhp. Once on board the heroes meet Professor Celaar, an admired Nabooian botanist, Kharl Vanned, a young Nabooian graduate from the Theed school of Technology and Engineering, and Sakme Kelene, herself a recent grad of the Theed school of Technology and Engineering. The crew begin to ascend into the atmosphere when things go terribly wrong. The ship lurches as if it’s been hit by something, and begins to leak kyvalon-4 gas, which, hilariously, makes Ithorians temporarily homicidal maniacs when exposed (I seriously laughed out loud at this point. How funny is this?). The heroes have to subdue Captain Worlkp, all the while trying to avoid potentially life threatening situations, like repairing the life support system, repairing the navigation system, repairing the kyvalon-4 gas leak, dealing with blaster shots that miss and breech the hull, and then landing the shuttle. If the heroes survive Captain Worlhp offers his sincerest apologizes, and the young engineers offer to repair the heroes’ ship anytime they want – IF the heroes survive.
What makes Peril in the Ionosphere an incredibly neat source is that it weaves together two disparate sources: The Invasion of Theed Adventure Game, an RPG, and The Gungan Frontier, a video game. As it says at the start of this adventure:
“The adventure begins as the heroes are boarding the doomed shuttle. If you are using this adventure as part of an ongoing campaign begun with the adventures in the Star Wars: Invasion of Theed Adventure Game, create a scene in which a Naboo official approaches the heroes with an offer to join the Naboo/Gungan effort to establish a colony on Naboo’s water rich moon.” (Star Wars Gamer 1, pg. 75)
Here is yet another example of the relationality, interconnectedness, and interdependence found within the Star Wars mythos. In this particular case the history of Star Wars connects, fluidly, between two different mediums and their respective creators to make a larger cohesive narrative (for a brilliant look at this concept in practice take a look at Abel Pena and Rich Handley’s article at starwars.com titled The Droids Re-Animated, Part 1) . Honestly, here is a broad sketch of a thesis that’s been knocking about my brain for a while: Intertextuality and the Star Wars Expanded Universe: An investigation into how the theories of Barthes, Krestiva, Saussure, and Bakhtin can be applied to the larger mythology of Star Wars as it appears over many literary and non-literary mediums. But what I’m really trying to do is formulate the bigger answer to the “so what?” question. What I mean is this: so I demonstrate that the Star Wars Expanded Universe is a giant example of intertextuality at work – so what? What does this mean for literature as a whole – if anything? What does this mean for fantasy literature – if anything? What does this mean for contemporary American literature – if anything? I have yet to come up with an answer to these questions. I don’t think it’s enough to demonstrate that the Star Wars Expanded Universe is intertextual, as neat as an investigation like that may be. The idea has to go further, but I’m not sure where. Any literary theorists out there get what I’m driving at? Your thoughts on this would be welcome, even if you think the idea is bust, I can at least put it to rest.
Anyway, back to Peril in the Ionosphere: this adventure is intended for the characters from The Invasion of Theed Adventure Game, namely; the Jedi Padawan Rann I-Kanu, the solider Garak, the scoundrel Arani Korden, and the Wookiee scout Rorworr (the four main characters from the Smugglers of Naboo adventure). It could also be played with Sia-Lan Wezz, also a Padawan, Deel Surool the scoundrel, Toba the Gungan scout, and Dane, one of Amidala’s handmaidens in training. When it comes to one of the characters being able to subdue Captain Worlhp, I’d put my money on Rorworr being able to do it, or maybe Rann or Sia-Lan forcing pushing him and keeping him in a corner of the shuttle.
On that note, I want to highlight an awesome blog post featured on theforce.net where the blogger Mark Elwood did some meticulous work and managed to sort out which Jedi survived Order 66. In relation to this source, it seems Sia-Lan did survive the initial massacre, but was later eliminated by Vader. I look forward to Star Wars: Purge, where this battle is depicted.
I suppose after all the action the heroes decide their time is best spent elsewhere, leaving only poor Obi-Wan or Queen Amidala to colonize the moon . At least one of my objections to The Gungan Frontier was addressed, and in fact the Gungan and Naboo delegation did send up qualified people to colonize the water rich satellite.
For my next post I’m going to look at another source which ties these two events together, Save the Mantaris! Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.