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James Taggart

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James Taggart
"Paladin"
Rank Brigadier General/President of Confederation Senate
Gender Male
Race Pilgrim
Born 2609
Birthplace Ares, Venus
Affiliation Terran Confederation
Appearances
First appearance Wing Commander I
Last appearance Wing Commander: Prophecy

James Taggart (callsigns: Paladin, Scotsman[1], or Mother Hen) was a half-Pilgrim, and experienced pilot during the Kilrathi War.

Personal BiographyEdit

Paladin was born on Ares, a space station in orbit around Venus. His parents were Terraforming engineers Shamus and Delli Bethlyn natives of Wick, Scotland.[2][3][4] James was given the Anglicized version of his father's Gaelic name; James.

The Confederation Handbook says that he was born on Mimas Colony in 2605;[5] other records suggest 2609.

As a kid he loved medieval romance tales about King Arthur and Roland.[2]

James apparently visited his blood parents after that on Ares, Venus where they had moved (under the nose of the Confederation apparently).

He was a kid when the Confederation discovered the Empire of Kilrah and when he took his commission. Enchanted by the medieval legends he considered himself a knight-errant who would write his own history.[2][6] He used to fly with Shotglass before the Kilrathi War on the Tiger's Claw.[7]

Kilrathi WarEdit

He also served on board the TCS Tiger Claw during Custer's Carnival.[8]. While he was serving on a cruiser, some years before 2654, he had an encounter with Bakhtosh nar Kiranka.[9] At some other time, he encountered Salthis over Accord when he discovered that they always make specific movements.[10] One time, while flying with Dragon of Yellowjacket sqadron escorting a tanker, they encountered Khajja nar Ja'targk, who destroyed the tanker.[11] He also had an encounter with Bhurak nar Caxki; he had him in his sights but another Salthi destroyed his ion drive and computer systems. Paladin had to eject and won the Golden Sun, but his wingman never returned.[12] Paladin also had witnessed the attack of Epsilon Prima system by new Dralthis. Because of the Confed Tactical underestimation of their range, 5 Confed pilots were killed.[13]

According to the Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide, Taggart was still assigned to the Claw during this era, while LaFong was training his second year at the Academy under Halcyon.


Vega CampaignEdit

Paladin

Paladin during the Vega Campaign.

On the TCS Tiger's Claw Major Taggart usually plays the part of the sage old man considering retirement. He is known to have flown missions with aces such as Christopher Blair, Jason Armstrong, and others. He flew with Carl T. LaFong in the McAuliffe System.[14][15]

During the Operation: Thor's Hammer, he flew a Raptor with LaFong in the Psi Wing, tasked to strike against a Supply Depot in the Bifrost system. There, they engaged a Ralari-class and also had the first glimpse of KIS Sivar.[16] Later, flying as Theta Wing, they engaged a Lumbari-class and finally the Depot.[17][18]

Enigma CampaignEdit

Wc2paladin

Paladin in Wing Commander II.

Taggart retired from active duty. However, rather than leave military life for good, he transferred to Special Operations. He was Chief Field Officer of Intelligence and Special Operations in the Enigma Sector working as a spy and under cover operative for the Confed. During the intervening years he participated in a number of actions, including the Ghorah Khar incident, in which the Kilrathi colonists on the planet successfully rebelled against the Empire of Kilrah.[19] While there, Ralgha nar Hhallas saved his life.[20]

During the entire course of his service in this field, he operated out of a Free Trader-class transport the TCS Bonnie Heather. He was investigating the situation on Ghorah Khar and figuring out why Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka had destroyed the manufacturing site 10 years ago when the Kilrathi retreated. His agents on the planet informed him that the Empire was about to retake the system. He was en route to TCS Concordia in Ghorah Khar system with that information to Tolwyn. A wing of Jalkehis attacked him but he was rescued by Hobbes and Maverick, and escorted to the Concordia. There he was reunited with his old friend Maverick while enjoying a glass of Sukhar May'ya and offered him a position on the Bonnie Heather. In his meeting with Tolwyn about the situation on Ghorah Khar, Paladin tried to persuade him that Maverick is not the enemy.[19]

After Maverick and Hobbes returned from Olympus Station,[21] Paladin wanted to talk with Maverick in the barracks. Maverick was bitter that Hobbes too all the credit for saving the station, and Paladin renewed his offer to Maverick to join him; giving a cryptic hint that there are many ways to fight the war. Paladin also expressed his worries that the Kilrathi called off their attack and pulled back from Ghorah Khar so easily.[22][23]

Paladin was once more in Bonnie Heather, and was under attack from Grikaths when discovered during a patrol by Maverick and Stingray, and then safely taken back to the Concordia.[24] After that, Paladin played a game of poker with his friends Hobbes, Maverick and Downtown, while narrating one of his stories about pursuing a Dorkir-class while having no thrusters, just using momentum to skirt a black hole's event horizon (a story Ralgha already heard countless times). He also tried to cheer up Maverick who was concerned about his problemous relationship with Angel.[20] Soon later he had to leave, and Maverick with Stingray escorted the Bonnie Heather through a wing of Drakhris out of system.[25]

Edit

After the attack on K'tithrak Mang, Colonel Christopher Blair joined Paladin to participate in a number of special operations.[26]

Paladin continued to rise in prominence with the special services, eventually heading up a number of black projects designed to win the War against the Kilrathi swiftly and decisively. At the end of Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, he personally commanded the operation that led to the destruction of Kilrah and the end of the war, thanks to the use of the new Temblor Bomb. Taggart had recruited Angel to help him do vital re-con work for the project and he was aware of her death on Kilrah long before Blair. Paladin insisted that he withheld the truth from Blair to "protect him from himself".

Taggert's prominence after that battle gave him enough political clout to where he was elected president of the Confederation's Senate by the events of Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom. Despite his numerous complaints about the political backbiting involved in the job, he proved to be an able leader, guiding the Confederation through a crisis with the Union of Border Worlds, and the attack of the Nephilim. It is likely that part of his success as a politician is due to the close ties that he still maintains with his old friends in the intelligence service.

RetirementEdit

During the Nephilim wars he retired to The Residence, Dumfuirlin, Scotland, on Earth where he continued to write to his friends.

PresidentEdit

By 2701, he had become President of the Terran Confederation.

CharacterEdit

Paladinbw

An effective wingleader, especialy appreciated for his wingman skills. He has a reputation for protectiveness when flying wing. Pranksters often scrape the name "Paladin" from his cockpit and replace it with "Mother Hen".[2]

Paladin and knight

Paladin with Knight

Paladinwould be found in the Claw Rec Room drinking, with many empty glasses of drink next to him. His name was recorded among the top scores of the TrainSim.[27]

Behind the scenesEdit

James Taggart is one of the most important characters appearing in all five games of the main continuity, as a senior pilot (Wing Commander), a special operative (Wing Commander II), a general (Wing Commander III), a Senator (Wing Commander IV, and in Wing Commander: Prophecy). He also has significant appearances in many of the Wing Commander novels by Mercedes Lackey, Ellen Guon and William Forstchen.

Commission issuesEdit

There is a strange discrepency with the history of Taggart in the films and original games. In the films a prequel of sorts to the original WC1, Taggart is an undercover intelligance agent, and Tolwyn's right hand man. He does most of his espionage from the Diligent. According to the WC Handbook he may have started his undercover missions in Vega as a "Free Trader" on the Diligent around 2654.056.

In Claw Marks which was published on 2654.110 overlapping the middle of Pilgrim Stars, Taggart is listed as having been a long time pilot member of the Tiger's Claw. In Pilgrim's Truth Taggart comes to the claw on .079 via his Errant-Class merchantman, and is on board until .88 when he lands on/seemingly defects/captured by the Olympus (whom he remains with until around .163).

The Wing Commander movie novel does suggest that he was a crew member on the Tiger's Claw in the past as early as Custer's Carnival, but in the Film (Pilgrim's Stars) the current captains Sansky and Gerald to not appear to know him. They don't trust him. Although whoever was involved with Claw Marks considers him a long time and respected member of the claw's flight roster. This maybe a connection to Halcyon and Shotglass who have known him for years. In the film Jeanette Deveraux does not seem to know him or trust him, yet according to LaFong they had served together along with Khumalo and Casey under Halcyon before (at least mid 2653 or so). It may at least be she only understands him to be a civilian is simple stuck on protocol, and following the rules forcing him to have to prove he is still commissioned.

AncestryEdit

In the games Taggart appears and is mentioned to be Scottish. Taggart is a surname of Scottish origins (a reduction of MacTaggart or McTaggart). In the Wing Commander film however he speaks with a French accent and says a couple of French phrases (merde and au revoir mes amis) suggesting a French upbringing, owing to actor Tchéky Karyo's French background.

The movie novelization and followup Pilgrim Truth mentions his Scottish connection on his parents heritage (although also descended from Pilgrims who returned to earth). As a rule the Telep novels are closer to the original continuity than the movie, or the Handbook, and uses dates and references from the games more directly.

As Taggart is a undercover spy of sorts, it can be assumed that he is capable of portraying different roles.

Inexplicably Taggart even wears an eye patch in Super Wing Commander, an appearance trait he does not share in any other source. If this due to an injury, or simply a fashion statement/disguise is not known.

DeathEdit

If Paladin dies in WC1, this is his funeral speech:

"We now bid farewell to our comrade, Major James Taggart. His tactical knowledge has saved many lives and often thwarted the enemy. We will all miss his skill and friendship as we continue the fight that he started years ago."
Peter Halcyon
"Goodbye, Paladin. I'll never forget the help you've given me."
Maverick

AgeEdit

  • Claw Marks suggests that he was born on 2609. It is also suggested that Paladin lies about his age. This may partially have to due with his unclear past, and mixed records. Also to be able to keep himself on the flight roster..
  • The Confederation Handbook gives him an earlier birthdate, 2605.

PortrayalEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. WC 1&2 guide, pg 54, 56
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Claw Marks (Wing Commander I box package), Pilot Profiles
  3. Wing Commander Movie, Novel, pg
  4. WCM Novel, pg
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named taggart
  6. WC Movie Novel, pg
  7. Wing Commander I, McAuliffe series (Mission 3)
  8. WCM Novel, pg
  9. Wing Commander I, Dakota series (Mission 3)
  10. Wing Commander I, Enyo series (Mission 1)
  11. Wing Commander I, Venice series (Mission 1)
  12. The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel Carl T. LaFong
  13. Wing Commander I, Jotunheim series (Mission 2)
  14. Wing Commander I, McAuliffe series
  15. Star*Soldier, 26
  16. Wing Commander I, Bifrost series (Mission 1)
  17. Wing Commander I, Bifrost series (Mission 2)
  18. Star*Soldier, 26
  19. 19.0 19.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission 2)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 2)
  21. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission 4)
  22. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Novaya Kiev series (Mission 1)
  23. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Novaya Kiev series (Mission L1)
  24. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 1)
  25. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 3)
  26. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Pembroke series (Mission 1)
  27. Wing Commander I

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