“I’m home.” — Kerra Holt
“Deluge” Part 1
In answer to a distress call, Kerra returns to her Sith-controlled homeworld for a daring rescue . . . but her arrival on the planet coincides with an ambush from a Hutt mastermind! The clash with his invasion and a number of other unexpected surprises place Kerra’s small-scale rescue into a hot spot. She has to troubleshoot fast — and, as always, alone!
By Star Wars Celebration V in 2010, I had already finished the Knight Errant novel and decided on the general direction for the next storyline. As with Aflame, “Deluge” went through two substantially different drafts — but the common element was that Kerra Holt, becoming frustrated at having to handle so many of her rescues alone, would find an ally from the Republic in Captain Jenn Devaad.
Now, Kerra had an ally in the novel in Brigadier Jarrow Rusher, but as he had worked for the Sith, he presented a different dynamic than I was looking for. In Devaad, the notion was to present a kindred spirit, some years older than Kerra and with a few more years experience fighting the Sith. Devaad’s not a counterpoint, as Rusher was, but another, later point on the same path — or perhaps a parallel path, for Kerra to see. Kerra’s always adjusting her hopes and ambitions based on the situations she finds; meeting Devaad causes her to rethink things again.
We had learned a little about Aquilaris in this day and age from its appearance in Aflame and some references to it in the novel. I had initially been reluctant to bring her there so soon — there was a lot of real estate between where she stopped in the novel and there — but thinking on it, it made sense that Kerra would attempt to go there whenever the opportunity arose. It also made sense that the planet would have had time to change hands a few times since Odion conquered it in Chagras’s name. And going back home would allow Kerra to start with a burst of energy — and her and her energy level were a big part of what we wanted to deal with.
While Kerra has had to grow up quickly, I’ve always tried to have the stories recognize that she’s just eighteen — younger than Zayne was for most of KOTOR. She’s tightly wound, and irritable when frustrated. And here, we get to see her excited — and then stymied, and then even more excited. It’s a roller coaster, but then, it should be.
Zodoh, meanwhile, sprang from a curious entry in, of all places, the Star Wars Atlas, which depicted Hutt Space in these times as being under Sith control. It’s a huge swath of space well away from the Grumani Sector, and I wondered about it. When Jason Fry told me that no backstory had yet been developed for why it was colored as Sith space, I volunteered to take a stab at it. What Zodoh says may not necessarily be the exact state of all of Hutt Space — do you really want to trust the word of a Hutt? — but it’s an interesting arrangement that he describes.
The existence of Deluge had been tipped in the novel, when Kerra encounters a Daimanite soldier seemingly on spice on Gazzari. We’ll get more into the scope of its use later, but I wanted to show more of the symptoms of the misery in Sith space, and it worked into the Aquilaris story very well.
The character and ship designs were by Ivan Rodriguez, artist on the first issue. Jenn is the heroic, almost glamorous figure who looks perfect next to a starfighter; Zodoh looks like no Hutt we’ve ever seen. Among the Aquilarians, there are some interesting choices that made a lot of sense in context of the story. Old Man Padgett literally has “old man” in his name, but he doesn’t look ancient, while Joad is only a few years older than Kerra and looks very worn and ragged. That’s life for the seacroppers. You’re an old man at 45 because no one else lives that long — and the Deluge burns out the young.
We also got to see some more Sith Lords, including, from the novel, Arkadia, who looks much like the Viking queen I had in mind. There’s another figure from the novel in that shot — we’ll put the name to the face in a later issue.
The ships really are the icing on the cake here, and I love the ships, from the Intruders to the snub-fighters of Devil Squadron (also named in a later issue). The idea, again, was to show something exotic and out of place in this region.
“I’m not just home, Joad. I’m back!” — Kerra Holt
Deluge, Aflame, and Influx have all had six-letter titles, as does “Knight” and “Errant.” We kept to that dynamic with the next arc as well.
As with Aflame #1, this issue had two different covers, the blue cover by Paul Renaud being printed in smaller numbers. Curiously, it had a $2.99 price on the trade dress, though I have no idea how it would ring up. The UPC codes are not exactly the same.
Night Flight Comics owner Mimi Cruz, the retailer featured on the back page of this comic book, was one of the retailers on the first panel I ever moderated in the comics business, back at San Diego in 1994. Visit one of the shops in Salt Lake City!
With Aquilaris, we see the sort of Daimanite holo-statues described in the novel. They’re more protected against defacement (heh!) but not bombs!
The Bactranate and its disposition is discussed in the novel.
Wenever actually said that Aquilaris was Kerra’s birthplace. It’s been called her homeworld, but just as many times it’s been referred to as the place Vannar found her.
We can assume that Kerra picked up her new tunic either on the Diligence, or an adventure in between.
Yes, Kerra uses the same “wait for the next flight” joke that she did with Odion in Aflame #5. She doesn’t have a lot of time to work on new material!
Joad is the surname of the protagonist in The Grapes of Wrath, a partial inspiration for the lives of the seacroppers. I liked the sound of it as a first name.
Hey, there’s a full-page ad for the novel in this issue. Cool!\
The Stormdriver idea came from the notion of weaponizing vaporators, and it has a lot to do with its shape. I admit that I accidentally typed “Stormbringer,” the sword of Elric of Melnibone, about thirty-seven times while writing this series!
There’s a bit of a Saving Private Ryan moment there with Kerra hopelessly shooting at the Stormdriver. Folks who remember the movie will know the scene.
Eagle-eyed readers will spot the quadractyls, avian creatures introduced in the novel.
It isn’t true that the figures that Zodoh calls are all of the same house; some are alien, obviously. But it is the case that Zodoh brings with him a lot of technology, including the ability to conference-call with a lot of Daiman’s neighbors at once.
“Your immensity.” Nuff said!