- "The Bank will devour your mind no matter what!"
- ―Local on Mon Calamari
The Knowledge Bank. also known as Pakoukou, was a sentient native to Mon Calamari that was aware of all events that happened on the ocean world. Consisting of a cluster of mollusks, the Knowledge Bank used telepathy to gain information on events all across the planet as well as from the minds of those who visited it. It would then relay that information to those who could communicate with it, either telepathically or with the special ritual language other denizens of Mon Calamari used.
The Bank was sacred to the native Mon Calamari and Quarren, and its existence was kept a closely guarded secret. A group of smugglers and bounty hunters accessed it in 1 BBY in their search for the treasure known as the Yavin Vassilika, and the Jedi Cilghal used it in 11 ABY to find the missing Admiral Gial Ackbar.
Biology and appearanceEdit
- "In appearance, the Knowledge Bank doesn't look all that impressive…"
- ―Leia Organa Solo
The Knowledge Bank was composed of a colony of sentient bivalve mollusks who inhabited the oceans of the planet Mon Calamari. The Bank had existed for millennia, though whether it was the same individuals or whether they had reproduced is unknown. The Knowledge Bank was highly intelligent, though because the intelligence was so different from other sentient beings, some observers gained the impression that it was not intelligent at all, but rather a passive recorder and transmitter.
The shells of Knowledge Bank mollusks were about a meter wide and glowed faintly. The mollusks opened with a groaning noise. Their interiors were soft and fleshy and had the appearance of a large, pulsing brain. They shone with a strong golden light reminiscent of sunlight. Once open, the mollusks emitted a slow pulsing sound through the water.
The Bank used telepathy to store information in its database and communicate it to those who sought their knowledge. A network of non-sentient fish scattered throughout the oceans of Mon Calamari collected information and relayed it to the Bank. The Bank mollusks themselves had incredible data storage abilities, allowing them to record the details of every event that had taken place in the waters of Mon Calamari. However, the Bank only held information on events within the Mon Calamari ocean, as well as any information in the thoughts of those who had come near it. Furthermore, the information could become distorted over time. Leia Organa Solo theorized that the Bank's abilities were due to the Force, though she was unable to detect any Force usage from the organisms.
Role on Mon CalamariEdit
Only a handful of Mon Calamari's inhabitants knew of the existence of the Knowledge Bank, most of them leaders and diplomats. They were also taught how to communicate with the organism. Even fewer, mostly high-ranking leaders and priests of Mon Calamari, knew that the Bank was a communal intelligence. Leia Organa Solo believed herself to be the only Human to know of the Bank's existence, although at least two others, Lando Calrissian and her own husband Han Solo, had visited it too. However, there were others who knew of it as well. In the year 1 BBY, a local on Mon Calamari was known to rant to customers of his boats that the Bank was dangerous. Despite that, it was still a very well-kept secret, and many natives of Mon Calamari would have given their lives to prevent the Empire from learning of it.
The Mon Calamari and Quarren considered the Knowledge Bank the most precious resource of their world, and a priceless record of history. They treated it as a sacred object, and therefore refrained from performing any studies on it. To be allowed to visit it was an honor granted to few.
- "We have questions. We require access to the knowledge stored here in the great collection of memories. We must know if you have the answers we seek."
- ―Cilghal, to the Knowledge Bank
Those who wished to communicate with the Knowledge Bank first needed to be in open water. Telepathic thoughts from the Bank could be heard as far away as the surface, at least twelve meters away.
The inhabitants of Mon Calamari communicated with the Knowledge Bank in a highly ritualized way. They would first address the Bank, asking it to give them the knowledge they were looking for. One of the shells would then open, revealing its swirling brain-like interior, and would emit a stream of yellow light. If the Bank chose to accept the question, several other shells would open and begin processing the information. A long communion with the Bank would then begin, during which visitors had to use a special, slow, rhythmic language. There were also several ritualistic motions and sounds made in this part of the rite. The Bank would finally telepathically transmit images and sounds directly into the mind of the questioner to answer their query.
It was also possible to communicate with the Bank telepathically through the Force, without the use of the Mon Calamari rituals. That grew more difficult when more remote or specific memories were needed to be retrieved. Some individuals were even known to access the knowledge of the Bank without the use of ritual or the Force. If the shells were open and broadcasting telepathically, they could sift through the millions of voices to find the one of the person whose information they sought.
Use of the Bank by weak-minded individuals could be highly dangerous. Beings caught unaware could find their minds overwhelmed by the rush of thoughts. Some believed the Bank to be a dangerous organism that devoured minds and souls.
In 1 BBY, Illyan Webble came to Mon Calamari while on the run from a group of Hutts. When his skiff sank near the Knowledge Bank, Webble was eaten by Mon Calamari's native sea life, but his thoughts were stored within the Bank. A group consisting of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Calrissian, Greedo, and Jozzel Moffet later came to Mon Calamari in search of Webble, who knew the location of the treasured Yavin Vassilika. The local who rented them their skiff warned them of the Bank, insisting that it would devour their minds and take their souls. Ignoring them, they went in search of it anyway and eventually heard distant voices coming from the water below. Han, Lando, and Jozzel dove into the water, where they soon found Webble's sunken skiff and partially eaten body. They continued to follow the voices to their source, arriving at the Knowledge Bank. The trio listened to the millions of voices surrounding them, attempting to pick out Webble's voice. Jozzel eventually did, but was almost overwhelmed by the voices and had to be carried back to the surface.
Over a decade later, in 11 ABY, Cilghal and Organa Solo swam to the Bank in their search for Admiral Gial Ackbar, who had gone into seclusion after destroying the Cathedral of Winds on Vortex. Cilghal communicated with the organisms using the proper Mon Calamari rituals and soon learned where to find him. Leia would later reminisce about the event in her diary, though she believed herself to be the only Human who knew of the Bank's existence. Cilghal later seemed regretful that she had shown it to Leia.
Behind the scenesEdit
Though most sources indicate that even the existence of the Knowledge Bank is a secret, some sources portray it as open information. The Official Star Wars Fact File, for instance, states that Mon Calamari is famous for it. In addition, Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika has inhabitants of Mon Calamari freely speaking of it.
Furthermore, as indicated above by the different ways of accessing the Bank, Underworld gives a different picture of this process. The mollusks are already open and telepathically broadcasting any thoughts they have received. Nothing needs to be done to get them to open or communicate, and no special ritual or Force ability is needed to listen to them.
- Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows (Mentioned only)
- Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika
- "Sand Blasted"—Star Wars Tales 4 (First identified as Pakoukou)
- Dark Apprentice (First appearance)
- The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Episode I
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 88 (MON2, Mon Calamari)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 132 (YAV3-4, The Yavin Vassilika)
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- Fly Casual
- Strongholds of Resistance
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Official Star Wars Fact File
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Dark Apprentice
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika
- ↑ Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Episode I
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Sand Blasted"—Star Wars Tales 4
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Strongholds of Resistance