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Literature / Orientation

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"Orientation" is a Short Story set in the Star Wars expanded universe written by John Jackson Miller. It appeared in Star Wars Insider 157 and was released on April 21, 2015. It ties into the novel Lords of the Sith and features art from Brian Rood.

While en route to Ryloth to deal with the Free Ryloth Movement, Emperor Palaptine and Darth Vader take a detour to meet with several chiefs of the Imperial Navy aboard the training vessel Defiance under the command of legendary naval trainer Commandant Pell Baylo. Darth Vader soon senses something amiss aboard the vessel and discovers a plot against the lives of himself and the Emperor.


This short story contains the following tropes:

  • Berserk Button: Baylo unknowingly triggers one of Darth Vader's when he states that he would rather have his students dead than let them become mindless droids in service to Palpatine. Vader, who is a cyborg himself and fears being just that, immediately crushes Baylo's windpipe with the Force in a flash of anger.
  • Blatant Lies: Palpatine tells a shocked Cadet Rae Sloane, who had just walked into his office and saw the body of Baylo, that the Commandant had finally succumbed to his injuries and old age despite him having been just fine several minutes ago.
  • Downer Ending: Baylo is killed after his plot to kill the Emperor, Darth Vader, and four of the Empire's top admirals fails, and one of the last vestiges of the Republic is wiped away by the Emperor's reformation of the academy system.
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  • Face Death with Dignity: After his plot is exposed and foiled by Darth Vader, Baylo calmly accepts that he likely does not have long to live and gives the Emperor a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Palpatine is not pleased when Vader executes Baylo without his say-so, having intended to keep him alive to inflict this trope upon him as Palpatine dismantled everything that Baylo loved, including the Defiance.
  • Interquel: Orientation takes place during the events of Lords of the Sith.
  • Living Legend: Commandant Baylo is well-known and loved by many naval officers in the Empire since he trained many of them.
  • Meaningful Name: The Defiance is a good name for a vessel captained by someone who refuses to conform to Palpatine's New Order.
  • Meaningful Rename: Of course, the appropriateness of the Defiance's name is not lost on Palpatine, who orders it to be renamed the Obedience after Baylo's death. It was meant to be one final jab at Baylo as well as a not-so-subtle reminder to Vader to remember his place.
  • New Meat: Rae Sloane makes an appearance as an Imperial Navy cadet.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Emperor immediately reprimands Darth Vader for killing Baylo, for he did not order it. In fact, he says he wanted to keep Baylo alive and force him to watch the Navy become something he hated and have the Defiance be melted down into cafeteria trays. Above all, he wanted to use Baylo, a man who was willing to kill his own students for a cause, for his own ambitions. But that plan had gone down the drain because Vader killed him. Vader tries to explain that his way was more efficient, but Palpatine says his reason for doing so did not matter and that he should not have killed Baylo because he wasn't ordered to do so.
  • Old Soldier: Baylo served the Republic for nearly fifty years, and claims to be even older than Palpatine.
  • The Remnant: Baylo still remains loyal to the Galactic Republic, rather than the government that succeeded it.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Baylo attempts to assassinate Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and four navy chiefs by flying the Defiance into a star.
  • Villain Protagonist: Darth Vader is the viewpoint character for the entire story.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Baylo is willing to kill himself and everyone aboard the Defiance, including his students, if it means the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader.


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