|Rank||Brigadier General/President of Confederation Senate|
|First appearance||Wing Commander I|
|Last appearance||Wing Commander: Prophecy|
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. James was given the Anglicized version of his father's Gaelic name; James. His parents were Pilgrims.
His parents were thought to be lost on Mimas in 2613 after a Mimist attack and he was legally adopted by Mikal and Anhel Taggart. Little is known about James life growing up as that information was destroyed by a later attack in 2624 but as a kid he loved medieval romance tales about King Arthur and Roland.
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. He used to fly with Shotglass before the Kilrathi War.
He later attended the University of Cairo and 4 years later he was involved with Danielle Kura but she died of medical complications by the TBM33 virus shortly before his graduation. He earned a degree in Physical Science, graduating 23rd out of 1055. He was admitted into the Space Force OCS that same year and graduated with honors. Subsequently attended Flight School and Counterintelligence School.
His first assignment was on the Patrol Carrier Horus in 2629. Upon the beginning of the Pilgrim War, he was promoted to captain and transferred to Intelligence Services; during which he was attached to CIS and his record was classified. He was given his own ship Ebenezer, and went undercover as civilian Pilgrim sympathizer and merchant spying for the Confederation. During his mission he had to attend prayer meetings and con/crit sessions (although he enjoyed the transcendence dances). He apparently visited his parents in 2632, and may have killed his own father, after he killed his mother (though this memory was manipulated by Kilrathi, and unreliable).
He returned to flight duty in 2635, with rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Iason and capture by the KilrathiEdit
After the war, he requested transfer to Exploratory Services, and was promoted to Commander simultaneously upon assignment to the CS Iason in 2637. He, Farrah Izmuti and other two pilots served to the shuttles, ferrying the ship's scientists to their assignments.
He was on free-time, practicing in the flight sim, practicing reverse thrust turning maneuvers or Shelton slides when the ship encountered the alien ships. At first Taggart thought that the alarm was part of the sim before realizing it was a real one and ran to his battle-station, the flight deck, soon joined by the other 3 pilots. Every 15 minutes they got an info-byte from the captain about what was happening.
After about an hour, he and Izmuti were ordered out with the modified Ferrets. Taggart was sent out to scan the area with medium-and long-range flash beaming the info back to the Iason, starting off with the ships themselves, and then turning the scan outwards. Taggart was trying to determine anything that resembled an alien ship from the unusual scans reading completely different patterns. When he started pulling the scanners in for another round of medium-range scans, Aria was suddenly shot from the aliens and she was ordered to pilot her damaged ship back in the Iason, while Taggart continued his job. An hour had passed when he detected a weird pulse from the alien ships, as they commenced their attack on the Iason. Taggart considered making a pass on the aliens, but hoped that they would retreat, and he'd be able to catch the gate's fingerprint. However the Iason was destroyed, and a piece of the debris hit his ship draining its shields and damaging the repair array.
Taggart attempted to self-destruct, but all systems were down. He was tractored into a ship and the Kilrathi took him out moments before asphynxiating. He was tended with a green fog which made him feel good before passing out. He woke up in a filtered room, while some Kilrathi were fighting over him, as a "trophy", dropping and getting him like a doll. He found himself on the floor, blood around him, and while he tried to crawl away, a Kilrathi feel on him. When he woke up, his arm was broken and ribs cracked.
He then remained in a small dark room with a machine that probably filtered the air. He was sick and in bad pain. His "owner" came with a smaller alien, wearing helmets, and that was when he first observed the Kilrathi. The smaller one attempted to fix his bone. Later, his "owner" scatched his name into his neck with his claw. While his arm was healing he was fed once a day with meat and leafy vegetables. He also picked some of their language which he found unpronouncable, and managed to understand their insignia just to keep his mind occupied. After what he thought was weeks, he and themachine were removed from the room.
He found himself in a different ship, in an enormous room filled with rows of glass cells with barred openings and dim light. The Kilrathi tried endurance tests on him, such as temperature, and in many of them he ended up passing out, waking up with an abrasion. The the war had started and human prisoners were coming by the thousands. He could talk with a few people who spoke Standard and got updates. Once they had a surplus, they weren't careful with them, killing everyone once the cells were restocked with a new colony, and they didn't bother with him any more.
He was held for two years and he was presumed dead in the Confederation. Eventually he was taken again, strapped a filter device to his back and a mask and taken to a launch bay where he was boarded into a fighter/shuttle. Taggart guessed that they were going to return him to his "owner". After 3 jumps, they landed next to a big cruiser while it was trying to laser a fast little cargo-scout. Meanwhile Taggart worked at the the straps and got clear, and broke the pilot's skull with the filter device. He then managed to aim the ship towards what he supposed was the bridge (actually perhaps an external shield generator as he unexpectedly slammed directly into the hull). The shuttle was destroyed and found himself in space, but soon was collected by the cargo-scout.
It was a small band of out-of-luck pilots who had bought a cast-off ship, fixed with grapples and tractors and scavenged debris for valuable scrap, especially Klrathi artifacts for which the Confed had put a bounty. After giving him a meal, the pilots dropped him off at Tartarus Port as they didn't want contact with the authorities. Taggart contacted the Confederation from a public communications booth located in the Commercial Customs section of the station. He was examined and found with vitamin deficiencies and some minor parasitic infections. He was debriefed and awarded accrued pay and 3 month's R&R leave before returning to duty.
He also served on board the TCS Tiger Claw during Custer's Carnival.. While he was serving on a cruiser, some years before 2654, he had an encounter with Bakhtosh nar Kiranka. At some other time, he encountered Salthis over Accord when he discovered that they always make specific movements. One time, while flying with Dragon of Yellowjacket sqadron escorting a tanker, they encountered Khajja nar Ja'targk, who destroyed the tanker. 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. 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.
He became a Commodore of Terran Confederation Naval Intelligence under Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn. Working undercover as a civilian, Tolwyn gave him an ancient heirloom, a ring kept by his family for 16 generations, which Taggart should show to claim authority in urgent situations. For eight months he posed as the pilot of the Errant-class merchantman Diligent. Because of his Pilgrim heritage Taggart had a great knowledge of spatial phenomena and navigation, including ancient relics such as maps.  While piloting the Diligent to the Vega sector, he was tasked by Tolwyn with several objectives, such as discovering the various hardware that the Kilrathi may have managed to stash around Vega, and notifying the proper agencies, and ferreting out those humans who may be engaged with the Kilrathi, either spies or black market outlets to the Empire of Kilrah. Finally, he had to keep his eyes open about any Pilgrim subversion. Taggart in turn warned Tolwyn that his own officers might have become Pilgrim sympathizers; Taggart did not rule out that the Pilgrim remnants would take advantage of the Kilrathi crisis, even allying with the Kilrathi against the Confed.
Because Blair had orders to carry the message of the recent destruction of the Pegasus Station to the Claw, Taggart decided to jump the Scylla anomaly directly to the Vega Sector. Minutes before the jump, the NAVCOM went offline, and Taggart left the cockpit to make repairs. He managed to get it back on-line while Blair's Pilgrim talents awoke and he instinctively punched calculations to the helm. The Diligent successfully made the jump and met with the Claw in the Enyo system.
Blair delivered to Captain Jason Sansky a message from Tolwyn with the orders to proceed to the Charybdis and gather intelligence on the Kilrathi fleet. However Commander Paul Gerald was skeptical on the circumstances the orders arrived and asked a proof that the message was authentic and not a trick to divert the Claw away from its position. Taggart showed Tolwyn's heirloom to Sansky, who immediately recognised it, and proceeded to comply to Tolwyn's orders. However as Charybdis was too far away, Taggart mentioned a class-2 pulsar in the sector which not even the NavCom knew. Gerald mentioned that only Pilgrims jumped pulsars years ago and Sansky admitted that there was no other choice.
On their way to the pulsar, Taggart was visited by Blair inquiring about the Pilgrims and Taggart mentioned about their traits which led to the Pilgrim War where Blair's parents were killed. As the Claw approached the pulsar, Taggart brought Blair to the bridge, and instructed Sansky how to navigate the ship, overriding the computer's warnings, as it was not calibrated. Gerald as always is skeptical and asks the Captain to reconsider, but Sansky held his belief in Taggart. Taggart successfully made the jump and arrived to the Ulysses Corridor.
When Kilrathi presence was discovered, Taggart disagreed with Sansky to attack the Thrakhra-class ConCom, warning that it would only make the Claw vulnerable to an attack. Sansky insisted that doing so will slow the Kilrathi and ordered Jeanette Deveraux to lead a strike force, accompanied by Taggart. He flew a CF-131 Broadsword as 7 of the Baker Wing. Deveraux ordered them to concentrate against a target but Taggart warned her it was a Dorkir-class supply ship left by the Kilrathi task force that would soon attack the Claw. He had to reveal his true identity and position.
Indeed, the Baker Wing changed course and found that the Claw was under attack. After the fighters cleared the Dralthis for the bombers, Taggart and Knight approached. Taggart suggested to wait until they lowered their shield to launch a torpedo, but Knight was shot down. When the battleship was ready to fire again and finish the Claw, Taggart launched 4 torpedoes which totally destroyed the Sivar-class, and the remaining Ralari-class destroyer next to it.
While the Claw was hidden, it was approached by the ConCom and Taggart suggested to use it to their advantage. He participated in a boarding operation led by Paul Gerald (who insisted he had no confidence in a mission led by a rogue and a half-breed). The Diligent docked the ship with grapples and the marines boarded the ConCom to steal fuel cells; Blair, following Taggart's guidance, recovered the NavCom stolen from the Pegasus Station.
The drones were heavily damaged and could not be programmed to send a message to Tolwyn in the Sol Sector with the intelligence gathered, so Taggart suggested that Blair should be the carrier. To give him courage, he revealed his heritage as a Pilgrim.
During the mission Taggart gave orders to successfully defeat a Fralthi-class Cruiser that attacked the Claw. However Deveraux was hit while protecting the Claw from a Skipper Missile and her Rapier was stranded. Taggart boarded the Dilligent to look for her, a difficult task as she had turned off the homing signal. He found her by pure change and brought her to the hangar of the Claw.
When Ivar Chu McDaniel returned to the galaxy to take Pilgrims to their new homeworld, he offered Taggart the chance to return with him to world. Taggart found the offer tempting and deep down he had the draw to explore the universe, but his loyalty was with the Confederation and he chose to remain behind.
During the Operation: Thor's Hammer, he flew a Raptor with Blair 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. Later, flying as Theta Wing, they engaged a Lumbari-class and finally the Depot.
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. While there, Ralgha nar Hhallas saved his life.
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.
After Maverick and Hobbes returned from Olympus Station, 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.
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. 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. Soon later he had to leave, and Maverick with Stingray escorted the Bonnie Heather through a wing of Drakhris out of system.
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.
During the Nephilim wars he retired to The Residence, Dumfuirlin, Scotland, on Earth where he continued to write to his friends.
Taggart is considered to be honest and dependable as an officer, and an extremely competent pilot.
In his personal life he was somewhat insular and never amassed many close friends, but is well respected by his wingmen and fellow officers.
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".
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.
In the games Taggart appears and is mentioned to be Scottish. 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.
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
- 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.
- In Wing Commander movie, Paladin was portrayed by Tchéky Karyo. James Taggart is Pilgrim, like the young Christopher Blair, and his presence foreshadowed the strong influence that he and Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn would have on young Blair's future career.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Claw Marks (Wing Commander I box package), Pilot Profiles
- ↑ Wing Commander Movie, Novel, pg
- ↑ WCM Novel, pg
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ WC Movie Novel, pg
- ↑ Wing Commander I, McAuliffe series (Mission 3)
- ↑ Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, Correspondence: Taggart to Tolwyn
- ↑ WCM Novel, pg
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Dakota series (Mission 3)
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Enyo series (Mission 1)
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Venice series (Mission 1)
- ↑ The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel Carl T. LaFong
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Jotunheim series (Mission 2)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, Correspondence: Taggart to Tolwyn
- ↑ Wing Commander film
- ↑ Wing Commander I, McAuliffe series
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Bifrost series (Mission 1)
- ↑ Wing Commander I, Bifrost series (Mission 2)
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission 2)
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 2)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission 4)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Novaya Kiev series (Mission 1)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Novaya Kiev series (Mission L1)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 1)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Tesla series (Mission 3)
- ↑ Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Pembroke series (Mission 1)
- ↑ Wing Commander I