- "Even cowards have goals, Tooth. How big or small a coward you are sort of depends on what you're willing to risk to accomplish your goals. One of my goals is to be free. To go where I want to go, to do what I want to do."
"What about duty, sir? Do you recognize duty?"
"I suppose I do. I could have tried to wriggle out of this assignment, and I didn't. Part of freedom—a civilian's freedom, anyway—means being able to evaluate and choose the duties you acknowledge rather than just believing what someone tells you your duty is."
- ―Joram Kithe and Tooth
Joram Kithe was a resourceful, if cowardly, accountant for the Galactic Republic who received a temporary commission as a lieutenant in Republic Intelligence in order to study the performance of clone troopers on Pengalan IV. When that mission turned into a disaster, Kithe was put into the unusual position of leading the isolated survivors off the planet, destroying a missile factory on the way. Over the course of the mission, Kithe moved beyond his admitted cowardice and selfishness, bonding with the clones under his command and sharing in their danger.
Kithe chose to continue as an intelligence agent after the mission, finding new purpose in fighting the Clone Wars. His success inspired the Republic to create a pilot program putting bureaucrats, with their analysis skills, into the field as intelligence agents. In a mission to Tarhassan, Kithe found the results of that program extremely lacking. He was barely able to keep the mission from being destroyed by overly officious bureaucrat-agents but managed to use his budding skills to complete it successfully.
Childhood and early careerEdit
- "Why so many places? Isn't one good enough?"
"I guess not. If a place isn't somehow yours, it's just not going to be good enough."
- ―Digger and Joram Kithe
Joram Kithe was a Human male with black hair and fair skin. Orphaned by an airspeeder accident at age three, Kithe spent most of his formative years bouncing from relative to relative, never long enough in the care of any one to develop a sense of home. When he was old enough, Kithe convinced his Aunt Tagdel, who was rich and quite fond of him, to finance various educational endeavors. Kithe spent time in the Airspeeders for Bodyguards and Security Specialists course on the galactic capital planet of Coruscant, the Success Through Charismatic Influence course on the planet Commenor, the Xenoecoengineering Financial Principles course on the planet Muunilinst, and the Subaquatic Manufacturing Economies course on the planet Mon Calamari before Tagdel insisted that he find work. Having a position in the Galactic Republic's Ministry of Finance, Tagdel found her nephew a job in the Department of Cost Accounting. Though Kithe characterized himself as lazy and cowardly, he possessed the skills for the job and seemed content with it.
- "Did you ever think that maybe you were chosen for this assignment because you were lazy?"
- ―Tooth, to Joram Kithe
As the Clone Wars erupted, Kithe was assigned to observe the new clone troopers in action on the planet Pengalan IV and to make a report on their efficiency. Unknown to him, the particular group of troopers with which he was embedded were Advanced Recon Commandos, whose elite performance Kithe was supposed to think was shared by all regular troopers.
However, the assault was a trap. The factory that was supposed to be producing diamond boron missiles was a heavily defended decoy, and the Republic assault force was cut to pieces. Kithe's gunship was shot down. Due to his temporary commission as a Republic Intelligence lieutenant, he was put in command by the troopers who survived, despite having no actual military skill or experience. Kithe gave the troopers nicknames and attempted to encourage their development of independence and freedom from procedure. He delegated most of the command tasks to Tooth, a trooper who had won the drawing of straws for command before Kithe had awakened and revealed his commission. Kithe intervened only to prevent the troopers from adhering to procedure when he felt that it would be detrimental to the mission.
Finally, Kithe and the troopers made their way to Tur Lorkin, the nearest village. Due to his accountant training, Kithe realized that something was wrong about the town—it had no visible economy. When attempting to steal a ship and escape, he and Tooth realized that the village was, in fact, the site of the diamond boron missile factory and that the other factory had not been a trap but a cover-up. Upon realizing this, the troopers became determined to carry out their original mission. Despite his overdeveloped self-preservation instincts pushing him to take one of the ships available at Tur Lorkin's spaceport and escape, Kithe's sense of duty led him to go in with his men and destroy the factory.
Kithe found himself deeply touched by the deaths of several of the troopers, including Tooth, who had sacrificed himself by taking out one of the ships at Tur Lorkin as a decoy. Even after the troopers told Kithe that they were Advanced Recon Commandos, feeling that he was now one of them, he decided to maintain the high rating he had given the clone troopers, reasoning that there was a purpose behind the deception, and without knowing what that purpose was, it was too risky to expose it.
- "So my experience and initiative, which have saved you hours and limited danger to this unit, don't mean anything to you?"
"No, they don't. You're not our intellectual equal. Your experience is obviously irrelevant and your initiative is nothing but rebellion. Now, you can obey or go home in disgrace. What's it going to be?"
- ―Joram Kithe and Cherek Tuhm
His financial skills having proved crucial to unraveling the true nature of the planet, as well as having demonstrated unexpected skill in this new profession, Kithe continued with Republic Intelligence. He was assigned Mapper, one of the clone troopers who was recuperating from a leg injury that kept him from rejoining his fellows, as a bodyguard and partner. Kithe's success even inspired the recruitment of bureaucrats from other branches of the Republic into Intelligence.
Much to his chagrin, Kithe was forced to work with one of these bureaucratic teams on the planet Tarhassan. Rank amateurs, his three fellow agents were bound by bureaucracy and procedure that Kithe found painfully inane and counterproductive. Assigned to rescue a captured Republic Intelligence agent, Edbit Teeks, Kithe, along with Mapper, found himself having to subtly finesse his inexperienced mission commander, Cherek Tuhm, and the other two agents in order to get the mission accomplished without having anyone on the team killed.
Cast in the unexpected position of veteran agent, Kithe demonstrated significant talent, outwitting Tuhm in order to save a prisoner from an unnecessary execution, finding information on Teeks that the group never thought to look for, and saving their plan for infiltrating the prison from failure. Through it all, Kithe maintained his pledge to Tuhm to follow all his orders, something he was forced to do after he saved the group hours of work and effort by swiftly capturing a target—but going outside the bounds of the tightly planned mission agenda in doing so.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Are you really a coward?"
"I think so, yes. Lazy, too. I try to avoid work, pain, and danger whenever possible. I'm willing to risk some loss of face by walking away from a fight instead of getting my guts stomped out to impress people. I prefer to be operated on while under anesthesia."
- ―Tooth and Joram Kithe
Due to his transient childhood, Joram Kithe never developed strong ties to any one place. That led to an inability to settle on one career and constant exploration of different educational and career paths. In addition, Kithe considered himself lazy and cowardly and was largely undisturbed by that. However, he may have been more principled than he thought. Kithe could have turned down his mission to Pengalan but did not. Despite his protestations of selfishness, he did have a sense of duty, which Pengalan touched.
Kithe did not have to continue in Republic Intelligence, either, but chose to do so. He seemed to enjoy the sense of purpose, and even duty, that came with the job, though he could backslide into selfish thinking occasionally. However, he was generally quite committed and professional, a great improvement from his performance early on Pengalan.
Skills and abilitiesEdit
Kithe had a large skill set from his many educational ventures that contributed to his skills as an operative. In addition to advanced economic skills and data analysis abilities, he was also a reasonably skilled pilot. He was able to persuade and even lie to others well and gained proficiency in the use of weapons and spy technology and tactics as his career went on.
Behind the scenesEdit
Joram Kithe was created by Aaron Allston for the Star Wars Insider 65 short story The Clone Wars: The Pengalan Tradeoff, published in 2003. Allston later included the character in the Star Wars Insider 73 short story League of Spies, published in 2004.
- "The Clone Wars: The Pengalan Tradeoff"—Star Wars Insider 65 (First appearance)
- "League of Spies"—Star Wars Insider 73