Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Romances - Part 3

My Computer Game Romances, Part 3: I should tell you - I got baggage too.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Carth Onasi

Some minor SPOILERS

I met Captain Carth Onasi when we both jumped in the last escape pod as the Sith blew the Endar Spire to pieces over Taris. He was a Republic war hero and star pilot, and I was just a new recruit, but as the only two soldiers who survived the attack, we had to work together to save the captured Jedi Bastila before the Sith got their hands on her. We did manage to save her, but then it got complicated. Before I knew it, I was a Jedi padawan, and we were flying with Bastila around the galaxy to stop Darth Malak from conquering the Republic.

It didn't take long for me to figure out that Carth had some serious baggage. Here's the story: Carth had a wife and son whom he adored on Telos, until Darth Malak ordered an attack on Telos that left the entire planet decimated and his wife and son dead (though it turned out that his son wasn't dead--he had just gone and joined the Sith!). The worst part? The man who carried out Malak's order was Carth's mentor and trusted friend, Saul Karath. So understandably, Carth had trust issues. B
ut o
ur many journeys on our quest to save the galaxy brought us close together, and he was finally starting to trust me. Then, everything blew up. Turns out I had baggage of my own to make his seem like nothing--and to destroy any trust I had earned from him.

It took some time, but as we both worked through our own issues, we came to see how much we cared for each other, and how much we needed each other. He couldn't fight Darth Malak with me in our final confrontation. But he could give me the resolve to triumph and a reason to live on afterwards.

The Carth romance isn't hard to get, though once again, I missed it on my first playthrough (does my failure with computer game guys say something about my real life?). You have to talk to him (though I think this game does give you reminders to talk to your NPCs; they clearly spent a lot of time writing and recording their dialogue, so it would be a shame if you missed it all), but the main trick is you can't finish the quests on all three planets of Tatooine, Kashyyyk, and Manaan before visiting Korriban--there's something you need to do there before you find three Star Maps. My mistake the first time through was saving Korriban for last.

Of all my computer game romances, Carth was probably my favorite. Maybe I'm just a sucker for good guys with baggage (paging Dr. Shephard...), and I'm destined for misery. But there was something about this romance that worked. Carth and the player character were together from the very start (well, not the very start, but the tutorial hardly counts), when they alone were left to pick up the mess on a hostile planet. They had the whole game to get to know each other, and KotOR certainly has a lot of long PC-NPC conversations. And Carth and the PC both had personal problems that they could help each other through. After the Leviathan bombshell, Carth was shocked and shaken by what seemed to be a new betrayal, but it was nothing compared to my character's own devastation. By the end, he accepted that fact, and he accepted her for who she was.

This was the only player character who never had "that night" in her romance. That is, there are never conversations before and after the characters sleep in which it is made entirely clear what happened in between. There's not even an awkward kiss. The romance is resolved sometime near the end of the game in a conversation. Carth recognizes that the PC helped him save his son and avenge his wife's death, but most importantly, she helped him find a purpose beyond his revenge. And he offers to do the same for her, with the words "I think I could love you, if you give me the chance." Simple, yes
, but something in that simplicity rings true.

Read about my two romances in NWN2 in my next post.

pc with bf on Manaan

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