- "The Lower City was a great place to hang out until the Vulkars started that gang war. Now you can't even walk the streets without getting shot at!"
- ―Mission Vao
This gang war was a swoop gang conflict waged throughout the Lower City of the Outer Rim world of Taris, between the Hidden Beks, led by Gadon Thek, and the Black Vulkars, led by former Bek Brejik. When Thek lost his sight in a swoop bike accident, many gang members assumed that the elder leader would step aside and appoint Brejik in his place. The war was sparked when Thek refused to do so; incensed, Brejik left the gang and took over the rival Vulkars. He began a protracted campaign of street fighting designed to whittle away at the Bek ranks, and initiated several attempts to kill Thek himself.
During the Jedi Civil War, the amnesiac former Dark Lord of the Sith, Revan, along with Republic officer and pilot Carth Onasi, became trapped on Taris after their ship, the Hammerhead-class cruiser Endar Spire, was destroyed in the space above Taris. While searching for the missing Jedi Knight Bastila Shan, who had also been aboard the vessel and whose battle meditation was considered vital to the Republic war effort, they became caught up in the conflict. After learning that Shan—who had been captured from her escape pod by the Vulkars—was being offered up as the prize to the winner of the Tarisian Season Opener, Revan and Onasi sided with the Hidden Beks, and infiltrated the Black Vulkar Base in order to reacquire a swoop bike prototype accelerator that the Vulkars had earlier stolen from the Beks; the accelerator was considered crucial by both gangs for whoever made use of it would gain an advantage in the competition. Revan himself volunteered to race on behalf of the Beks. After winning the race, Revan and Shan, who had freed herself from captivity through use of the Force, squared off against Brejik and the Black Vulkars at the track. This scuffle resulted in the death of Brejik.
In the years leading up to the Mandalorian Wars, the Hidden Beks and the Black Vulkars were two of the largest and most active swoop gangs on the Outer Rim world of Taris, roaming the planet's Lower City on swoop bikes and on foot. When Mandalore brought about the escalation of the conflict by attacking the Galactic Republic across three fronts, his Mandalorian clans laid siege to Taris, eventually succeeding in invading and occupying the planet. As a result the Beks, under the leadership of Gadon Thek, began to cooperate with other elements of the Taris Resistance, led by Constable Noana Sowrs. The Beks and Sowers' group were brought together by the Snivvian con-artist and erstwhile guerrilla fighter Marn Hierogryph. The Vulkars, on the other hand, stayed out of the resistance, only engaging in piecemeal attacks on the Mandalorian invaders. Superior numbers and tactics on the part of the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders ultimately proved to be too effective, and the resistance was largely broken up. Eventually, however, military forces of the Galactic Republic, led by the Jedi Knights Revan and Malak, drove the Neo-Crusaders from Taris, restoring Republic control and bringing about law and order. The peace they brought, however, did not last for long.
Revan and Malak had disobeyed the Jedi High Council in order to lead the war effort against the Mandalorians, and thus found themselves at odds with the Order. Disappearing to the farthest reaches of known space, the two Jedi fell to the dark side of the Force, becoming Dark Lords of the Sith, and returned with a fleet of starships and Republic deserters to invade the Republic. War had once again broken out, this time between the Republic and the Jedi against their own former champions from the Mandalorian campaign.
At some point prior to the outbreak of the gang war, Thek lost his sight in a swoop bike accident. Most of the Hidden Beks' membership assumed that he would pass on the mantle of leader of the gang to Brejik, whom Thek had mentored for some time. A veteran of the Beks' resistance against the Mandalorians, he was considered by Thek, and others, to be nearly an adopted son. When the elder swoop biker stayed in his position, stating that Brejik was not yet ready for the responsibility, the latter left the Beks and took over the rival Vulkars, who had previously been led by a sentient named Benno. Though the two bands of outlaws had always been at odds with each other, Brejik turned the Vulkars from a gang of petty hoods and swoop riders into a fanatical force that dedicated themselves to the destruction of the Beks, and Thek in particular.
Conflict in the Lower CityEdit
- "It's like they've gone insane!"
- ―Mission Vao, about the Black Vulkars
Brejik quickly galvanized the Vulkars through force of will and intimidation, threatening standing members of the gang who did not agree with his policies, and relegating them to second-tier status within the gang. With his power base established, Brejik then led his followers on a rampage against the Beks. Soon, conflict spread throughout the Lower City, with nonaligned civilians frequently getting caught in the crossfire between the two gangs. The Vulkars pursued their leader's vendetta with such zeal and vehemence that even the Exchange, an interstellar crime syndicate that rivaled such organizations as the Hutt-controlled cartels, took notice; Vulkar thugs even attempted to strong-arm Exchange operatives on occasion. The Mandalorian mercenary Canderous Ordo, who had been hired by Exchange boss Davik Kang, was often called upon to put impetuous Vulkars back into line. A number of Vulkar members also went after salvage from a number of downed Republic escape pods, launched from the Hammerhead-class cruiser Endar Spire, that had impacted within Taris's Undercity; this was despite the fact that everyone knew that Kang would have wanted first crack at the pods. This action resulted in the Vulkars' capture of the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan, who had escaped the doomed warship not long before it was destroyed by Sith forces under Darth Malak.
- "The only hope you have of rescuing Bastila is to somehow win the big season opener of the swoop race."
- ―Gadon Thek
The war continued apace as the Sith conquered Taris and instituted a planet-wide quarantine and orbital blockade in the wake of the Endar Spire's destruction. The amnesiac former Dark Lord of the Sith, Revan, who had had his memory modified by the Council of the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine, was aboard the vessel as part of the overall plan set by the Jedi Order to find and destroy the Star Forge, the source of matériel for the Sith war effort. He, along with Republic officer Carth Onasi, had managed to escape the stricken warship in a pod that crashed in the Upper City. Revan, however, had been knocked unconscious in the impact. Upon waking from a three-day coma he, along with Onasi, explored the city, looking for information about other escape pods from the Endar Spire, one of which contained Shan. Now trapped on Taris by the Sith, it was hoped that, by tracking Shan down, the three of them would be able to find a way off-world and back to the Republic. Onasi had done some scouting of his own while Revan had been comatose; because of this, the two had a solid grasp of the situation, including the fact that a number of other pods had landed in the Undercity. This was confirmed by a number of other Tarisian natives, including Kebla Yurt, owner of the Equipment Emporium, and a doctor named Zelka Forn. The Bek–Vulkar conflict had grown so widespread by then that it was common for Upper City residents to complain about it, with some expressing an ultimately futile hope that Malak's Sith forces would restore order in the Lower City. Meanwhile the Vulkars, not satisfied with merely slaughtering the Beks and butting heads with the Exchange, began attacking patrols of Sith troopers in the Lower and Undercity sections of Taris.
Because of this, the Sith preferred to stay in the Upper City, where they were firmly in control of the local population. When Revan and Onasi, disguised as Sith troopers, entered the Lower City during their search for Shan, they encountered gang violence nearly everywhere they went. At Javyar's Cantina, they learned of the origins of the conflict from Twi'lek street urchin Mission Vao, who, along with her Wookiee companion Zaalbar, were friends of the Beks. It was she who pointed them in the direction of the Hidden Bek Base. The lookout there informed them of the Beks' state of alertness; however, she let them pass after Revan pledged his support to the Beks in the ongoing war. Upon meeting with Thek, who was watched over by the fiercely protective and ever-suspicious Zaerdra, the two learned of Shan's whereabouts and status—she had been taken prisoner by the Black Vulkars. The gang intended to put her up as a prize in the Tarisian Season Opener, the biggest swoop race of the season. The event was of particular concern due to the fact that the gang which sponsored the winner would gain many recruits from the smaller groups from throughout the planet-wide city.
Sensing that Revan could be of use in his ongoing struggle with the Vulkars, Thek offered Revan and Onasi a deal: trading a set of Sith trooper armor that they had acquired, Thek would give the two Republic fugitives the means to enter the Undercity. From there, they could infiltrate the Black Vulkar Base to reclaim a prototype accelerator that had been stolen by Vulkar agents. Once the accelerator had been returned, Thek promised to sponsor Revan to race in the event, so that he could win Shan's freedom from the Vulkars. In order to successfully infiltrate the Vulkars' headquarters, however, Thek recommended the services of Vao. Zaerdra, however, objected to this, stating in effect that, at fourteen years old, the young Twi'lek was hardly the kind of guide the pair needed; furthermore, she was already suspicious of Revan's motives, having told Thek that they could be spies working for the Sith. Thek disagreed, however, citing that fact that Vao possessed an intimate knowledge of the Undercity and the sewer network below. Revan agreed to the deal, and set off in search of the Twi'lek and her companion.
Raid on the Vulkar BaseEdit
- "Looks like we have visitors – lackeys conned by Gadon Thek into trying to steal Brejik's swoop engine accelerator, I bet."
"Brejik stole that engine from Gadon! It was never yours to begin with!"
"Well, I didn't go to all the trouble of acquiring this prototype just so you could steal it back for that old fool!"
- ―Kandon Ark and Mission Vao
Setting out to find Vao, the pair made their way to the Undercity. Upon reaching the dark and dank surface of Taris, the pair worked their way through a village of Outcasts, helping when they could before running into the Twi'lek once again outside the village gate. Desperately searching for help in rescuing Zaalbar, who had been captured by a band of Gamorrean slavers, she offered to get them inside the Vulkars' base. After freeing the Wookiee from the slavers, the Twi'lek pointed the pair toward a secret rear entrance to the base, the access codes for which she had picked from a drunken Vulkar's pocket. Making their way further into the sewers, the party managed to kill a huge rancor that had been placed on guard, along with a pair of Nikto guards. With the way clear, the party ventured into the base.
After clearing out the main level of the base, which was crawling with Vulkar gang members and guard droids, the infiltration team penetrated the swoop bike garage, where the accelerator was being stored. Eventually they encountered Kandon Ark, one of Brejik's chief lieutenants, who attempted to recruit Revan into the Vulkar gang, noticing that he was not sporting the colors of the Hidden Beks. When Revan refused, a fierce firefight broke out, killing Ark, his female aide, and a trio of Vulkar guards. With the accelerator in hand, the party fought their way back through the base and out the front door, making haste to return to the Hidden Beks and Thek.
The Season OpenerEdit
- "Kill this woman! Kill the swoop rider! Kill them all!"
Thek, keeping his end of the bargain struck between the Beks and Revan's companions, agreed to sponsor him to ride for the Beks in the Season Opener. Because the accelerator still had to be installed on the bike that he would ride, Revan was not able to practice, having never ridden a swoop before. There was, however, a hitch: the engine upgrade wasn't stable. Thek confessed to this unabashedly, admitting that if the prototype blew and killed Revan, it would still be possible for another of his riders to triumph. The next day, with the accelerator installed oup n his swoop, Revan competed in and won the race, posting times that bested those who had been at the sport for over twenty years. Brejik, enraged, accused the Beks of cheating, and refused to award the prize. Shan, however, had other plans; after using the Force to free herself from the neural disruptor that had held her "captive," she killed her guard, picked up his weapon, and confronted the Vulkar leader. Brejik ordered his gang to kill Revan, Shan, and the other Beks. In the resulting melee that followed, the Vulkars, including Redros and Brejik himself, were killed.
- "The search for Bastila is taking too long. Destroy the entire planet."
- ―Darth Malak
The turmoil that brought about the war's resolution imparted some measure of fame to Revan, at least within the planet's fringe element. His winning of the race, and performance in the firefight that followed, caught the attention of Ordo, whom Revan had encountered on at least two prior occasions. The Mandalorian offered Revan, Onasi, and the newly freed Shan a deal: in exchange for breaking into the local Sith military base to obtain clearance codes to pass the Sith fleet, he would get the party inside the estate of Davik Kang. From there they would be able to abscond with Kang's ship, the Dynamic-class freighter Ebon Hawk, and break the blockade. After acquiring the launch codes, Ordo took the party to meet Kang, ostensibly to recruit Revan into the Exchange. Once their meeting with Kang was over, the party immediately set about infiltrating the mansion's hangar.
As this was happening, however, Darth Malak grew frustrated with the increasingly unsuccessful hunt for Shan. To prevent her escape, the Sith Lord ordered Admiral Saul Karath to prepare the fleet for an orbital bombardment of Taris. The deluge of turbolaser blasts that was unleashed and the resulting firestorm devastated the planet, wiping out nearly the entire population and leaving few structures standing. Revan and his companions, who had been crucial to the war's resolution, only barely managed to escape the world. Overcoming Kang and the bounty hunter Calo Nord just as the Sith bombardment began, they boarded the vessel, picked up the rest of Revan's companions, and burned their way through a patrol of Sith fighters before jumping to hyperspace and safety. This had ended the 20 year long war.
As one of the larger and more respected of Taris's many swoop gangs, the Hidden Beks under Gadon Thek tended to keep a lookout for the less able denizens of the Lower City. Formed at some point prior to the Mandalorian Wars, by 3,964 BBY the Beks had become as respectable as any band of outlaws could be on the ecumenopolis. During the Mandalorian Wars, the gang carried out a guerrilla-style resistance movement against the invading Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders alongside other elements of resistance fighters. Despite their eventual defeat by forces under Cassus Fett, key Beks survived the war, enabling a re-emergence of the gang.
The gang itself was composed primarily of humans, Twi'leks, and Rodians, with Ithorians and Aqualish also included; both males and females made up the Beks' membership and rider base. Individuals included Thek himself, his bodyguard Zaerdra, and riders Anglu and Phirk. While they were not official members of the Hidden Beks, Mission Vao and Zaalbar were often seen within their enclave in the Lower City, and were known to be on friendly terms with the leadership. Mission's brother, Griff, was also a member prior to his departure from Taris. Unlike their rivals, the Vulkars, the Hidden Beks did not believe in or practice slavery, thus all members of the gang were there of their own free will.
The Hidden Beks were assisted at the close of the gang war by three representatives of the Galactic Republic: Carth Onasi, a member of the Republic Navy, Bastila Shan, a Padawan of the Jedi Order, and Revan, the former Jedi–turned–Dark Lord of the Sith who had been kidnapped and whose memories had been largely erased by the Jedi. Although their arrival at Taris had been completely coincidental—their vessel, the Endar Spire, had been destroyed in orbit of the planet—it was their assistance that allowed the Beks to emerge victorious from the conflict. Onasi and Revan, upon crashing on the planet, made it their mission to rescue Shan, whose abilities were considered key to the Republic war effort, and their efforts to find the Jedi were conducive to cooperation with the Beks instead of the Vulkars.
Like the Hidden Beks, the Black Vulkars were among the more prominent gangs of swoopers that lurked amongst the lower levels of Taris. As led by Benno prior to the Mandalorian Wars, the Vulkars were not aggressive, as their leader did not seek to expose his gang to undue attention. Marn Hierogryph used this to his advantage when convincing a trio of Vulkar thugs to abandon their attempt to collect the bounty on the Republic fugitive Zayne Carrick. Some years later, the Vulkar leadership was overthrown when Brejik abandoned the Beks in order to wage his personal vendetta against his former mentor, Thek. With the change in leaders came a change in policy, with the Vulkars becoming much more violent and unruly to the point that they began to openly defy the established criminal order on Taris.
While Brejik himself was human, the Vulkar membership, by the time of the Jedi Civil War, also consisted of Nikto, such as the talented swooper Redros, and Rodians, including Doba, another racer. Twi'leks, such as Kandon Ark and his consort, were also a part of the gang, as well as members of other species like the Zabrak Frazznik and Wargo, a Drovian. Many of the older-generation of Vulkars, those who had been in the gang before Brejik's takeover, were relegated to second-tier status and often given degrading jobs. Those who disagreed with the new leader's policy of blood-feuding with the Beks were often threatened with severe punishments; those who attempted to escape the gang were often executed as "traitors." Unlike the Beks, the Vulkars practiced slavery, either by employing slaves within their base or selling debtors into forced bondage; one such victim of this was Ada. Their attempt to sell the Jedi Bastila Shan, whom they believed to be a Republic officer, into slavery, ultimately led to the gang's demise.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Bek–Vulkar gang war takes place alongside Revan's and Carth Onasi's search for Bastila Shan in the second set of levels and quests in the computer and video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. A number of in-game conversations, cutscenes, and encounters with assorted denizens of Taris's Upper City and the slums in the Lower City serve to illustrate the scale of the conflict. The player, as Revan, becomes the key role in the war's resolution.
If the player chooses to take the dark side path throughout the game, the option to be recruited by the Black Vulkars, given by Kandon Ark during Revan's attempt to steal the prototype accelerator from their base, is taken. The player will then be tasked with killing Gadon Thek and clearing out the Hidden Bek base before riding in the Season Opener for the Vulkars. Despite this, however, Brejik will still refuse to release Bastila; this precipitates an alternate version of the skirmish that follows, with the result that neither side wins the war.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- ↑ Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Knights of the Old Republic 22: Knights of Suffering, Part 1
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Knights of the Old Republic 23: Knights of Suffering, Part 2
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Knights of the Old Republic 24: Knights of Suffering, Part 3
- ↑ Knights of the Old Republic 25: Vector, Part 1
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Knights of the Old Republic 3: Commencement, Part 3
- ↑ Optional dialogue between the player and Mission Vao, which takes place at Javyar's Cantina, reveals the history of the Bek–Vulkar gang war and its contemporary conduct. In these conversations, Mission describes Vulkar gang members as "scum," and that "it's like they've gone insane!"
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 In the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the player is only allowed to have two additional companions. For this particular mission, however, Mission is required to be a part of the party, therefore for the sake of convenience it is assumed by this article that all four party members, Revan, Carth, Mission and Zaalbar, participate.
- ↑ From conversation with the Hidden Bek lookout, who describes Thek as a "hero of the common folk."
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Knights of the Old Republic: Prima's Official Strategy Guide