Why the patrol shot at Han

| Friday, September 21, 2012
You might have noticed an utterly nonsensical tweet the other day.
Note to self: Star Wars corrupt government official totally justified could have saved Luke. Pew pew.
It makes more sense, and by more I mean less, if you know that I wanted to ensure I remembered that idea for a class.  On corruption.  Sadly, because it is taught in Wisconsin rather than Illinois, it is not a "how to" course.

During the class one of the concepts we're looking at is what I'll call "positive corruption", carrying out illegal abuses of power as a public official, but for good causes.  Going full-on Godwin mode, the class has been using a guard at a concentration camp who lets Jews sneak out.  He's breaking the law, he's going against orders, and he's undermining the system he is hired to uphold.  Yet we'd probably say that it is a good thing that he does.

 My friend suggested to me this other incident of "positive corruption", in Star Wars.  You might recall that Han was trying to get to Cloud City and was fired on.  Why?  Maybe the seemingly overly-aggressive patrol was actually trying to help him, to discourage him.  Cloud City was under Imperial occupation.  Communication would be monitored, so the patrol couldn't just tell him.  But shooting at him might not be noticed and could get the job done.  It was the unauthorized use of his power, and yet, might have saved a lot of grief.  If they hadn't landed and been captured, then Luke wouldn't have needed to run off.

In the end it might have worked out, since it was the father connection that saved the day.  However that save was possibly only needed because Luke made it so.  If he just thought Vader was a huge bully, Luke wouldn't have let himself get captured and the Rebel attack screwed up.  Keep in mind that while the Emperor claimed that it was a trap, I've not seen any evidence of that; it may have just been a lie to corrupt Luke.  The presence of the fleet of Star Destroyers proves little: we'd expect a large fleet to protect the Emperor.  The positioning, hidden, may have only been possible thanks to Luke getting captured and giving early warning.  Though while we're on that subject, if Vader had ordered the shuttle boarded and searched rather than dealing with them himself (never do that, archvillains), then the entire operation could have been stopped right then.  On the other hand, even if Luke didn't know yet about the link, Vader did, so he might still have wanted to meet Luke to try to convert him, leaving open the possibility of the majority of the plot, with a few minutes extra for the "That's impossible!  NOOOOOO!" falls down well with Leia filling in for Lassie* scene.

* No I'm not saying what you think I'm saying.  Unless you're thinking of the other...  My point is that she had the job of informing everyone that Luke fell in the well, not that she's a bitch.


Anonymous said...

Quite a while since I've seen the movies but I think that Vader planned to corrupt Luke himself, depose the Emperor, and start the dynasty with Luke as the enforcer/heir. Which is another bad move by the villein, your son is not loyal and will betray you to the first heroine to flash a smile (or her chest) at him.

The 'trap' part is fairly well sealed by the weapon systems of Death Star II (tm) being fully on-line. At that level of construction it shouldn't be structurally possible unless it was specifically engineered to be fire-ready half-built.

Klepsacovic said...

That was indeed Vader's plan. He got in a bit of trouble after the Emperor heard about it.

I don't think the weapons working is proof that it was a trap. It's just good sense. If I'd just had one of those blown up I'd want to have the next one in a better position to defend itself. Getting the big pew pew working early in is one way to do that. Note that we don't actually know the readiness of the weapon. It was redesigned to have lower-power anti-ship blasts, so it may not have been ready for any planet-busting.

"Trap" and "ready for the unexpected" look similar in terms of readiness. What we'd need to see is intelligence to indicate knowledge of a particular impending attack, not merely a general expectation that the Rebels would attack. The placement of the Emperor could make it a trap, but they'd have attacked even if he weren't there.

Anonymous said...

It was certainly a trap, for the following reasons:

1.Luke wouldn't have told Vader/the empy about the plan to blow up death star II.
2.The empy was on DS2 as bait; the alliance wouldn't have risked their entire fleet unless a headshot to the empire were possible, and the empy would be in Dick Cheney's undisclosed location in any other scenario.
3.An entire division of storm troopers wouldn't have been on Endor's moon without prior knowledge of the attack.
4.The fleet protecting the empy/DS2 wouldn't have been hidden on the far side of the planet.

It really all hinges on Luke, and his ability to protect the alliance's plan. The shock and anger he feels when the empy reveals the trap is proof he wasn't aware of giving them info, and his full Jedi status should mean he had theental strength to avoid giving up the plan unwittingly.

As for the patrol shooting at Han, his relationship to Lando was rocky, perhaps shoot on sight orders were in place?

Anonymous said...

I'm applying way too much engineering to this but...

Constructing the station to have fully-functional weapons (at least against capital ships, we don't know if it could kill a planet despite the Emperor's brag) when the superstructure is about half complete would require lots of useless systems that would need to be removed before construction could be finalized. This would still leave a window of vulnerability while these system where brought offline, removed, the proper systems connected, and finally brought online. You aren't going to build that kind of a system without bad points.

And yes, I'm ignoring how odd it would be to build the structure in that 'moon filling' model rather than as a complete infrastructure and then adding system logically. Of course, I also don't recall any service docks, materiel staging points, or the like.

It also makes more sense that the Emperor did in fact plan the entire thing. As I recall he also wanted to change the power structure, only his idea was replace Vader with the next disposable minion.

Klepsacovic said...

1) Of course he didn't tell him, but it's pretty obvious that the Rebels would try to blow it up eventually.
2) A new Death Star, not vulnerable like the first was, was in a way an automatic loss. Even without the Emperor it would be worth throwing everything at it.
3) I find it hard to believe that the generator wouldn't have been heavily defended at all times. Note how vulnerable the Death Star was with the shield down; I find it unimaginable that they'd leave the generator lightly-defended.
4) They had advance notice thanks to Luke. He did freak out about thinking he'd blown the operation by being there.

@rimecat: Based on the incomplete state, I'm guessing it was missing a lot of "world invasion" features such as barracks and docks for Star Destroyers and other capital ships. If anything that makes things easier. It means that they only need power capacity for the weapon and the skeleton crew rather than for everything.

Though I am tempted by your "next minion" concept, since the Emperor was wary of Vader, especially after he tried to recruit Luke. Getting Luke to kill his father would be a way to ensure that the person he got was well-corrupted.

Anonymous said...

I'll leave it alone after this, it's a game I've played too often in the past.

By incomplete I'm talking about power generation and distribution, targeting systems, stabilization, command and control, and defenses. They would need to build dummies for those capabilities that would be nothing but waste. You aren't going to do that unless you have a very specific reason to spend the resources. A chance to gain a new hit Jedi and smash the rebellion in one blow sounds good.

To he honest I would say it was more about getting Luke. As you pointed out in your response to Anonymous if the propaganda was correct the new Death Star was almost an automatic win. Why bother crushing the rebels a few years early at such expense?

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