For this installment of the geekfights, we'll be looking at the performance of a typical Bene Gesserett versus that of a typical Jedi in a couple different arenas, not just who could beat up whom, as is so often the case.
We'll say that the Bene Gesserit in question is someone comparable to Jessica at some point after she became a Reverend Mother. The Jedi is one of those jobbers who got ganked by a bunch of troopers in the montage in the Revenge of the Sith.
Actually, scratch that, because if the pattern for Star Wars holds true, I'm sure they are dozens of expanded universe stories about Ki-Amundi and Aayla Secura where they accomplish ridiculous feats of derring-do. So, someone with skills and experience comparable to Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of the first prequel, a Jedi who has completed his training, but does not have an abundance of field experience.
Jedi abilities are pretty well known at this point, but I'd like to quantify them here. I discussed this in an earlier post, so I'm just going to summarize it her: Mind Trick, Telekenisis/Force Push, Force-boosted athletics and acrobatics. Jedi Reflexes are, if I recall correctly, supplemented by short term precognition, so we'll give them that too. No lightsabers for the straight up one-on-one fights, but we'll take a closer look at their skill sets, which didn't figure much into the Dalek fights. Jedi are jacks-of-all trades and have training in a wide variety of areas.
Bene Gesserit abilities: Voice (sub-conscious or overt control through spoken language) , Prana-Bindu control (perfect control over every muscle in the body), Internal Body chemistry control (mostly used to confer an immunity to poison, but also can stop the aging process and enter suspended animation or will oneself to die), Other Memory (access to the memories and personality of all female ancestors) and tremendously refined observational skills.
So the first challenge is that of diplomacy. We'll say trying to get the trust of an unknown monarch in an unfamiliar kingdom. This deprives each side of an significant advantage. The Jedi lose their reputation and the Bene Gesserit lose their network of spies, infiltrators and proxies. Still, I think the Bene Gesserit have the edge. They're more ruthless in the application of their skills. Not that Jedi can't be ruthless, but that's the default setting for the Bene Gesserit. It backfires on them occasionally (notably, Paul was rather displeased with the machinations of the order by the end of the first book), but it tends to work as intended. They can get the measure of their target with their observations of minutia and be pushing his buttons when the Jedi are still explaining what a Jedi is.
In a straight up, one-on-one fight with each of the participants knowing the capabilities of the other, I would give it to the Jedi if weapons (read: lightsabers) are allowed, and the Bene Gesserit if the fight is unarmed. In the case of an ambush, I would give the edge to the Jedi, as they're less likely to be surprised, due to the nature of their abilities.
In small groups, the Jedi improve in direct proportion to their number in a way that the Bene Gesserit do not. That's because, due to the Other Memory, any Bene Gesserit has pretty much the same skill set as any other, and they don't add anything to an effort beyond more bodies, whereas with the Jedi, each individual has the chance to bring a unique skill to their group.
The entirety of the one order versus the entirety of another, it's the same story it was with the Daleks. Not enough Jedi. Or, if you prefer, too many Bene Gesserit. If I recall correctly, the Lampadas Horde contained eight million sisters.That's one thing I liked about the Dune series. It had an understanding of just how big a space-faring civilization would be. A criticism a friend leveled against Revenge of the Sith is that the galaxy doesn't seem very big if Palpatine can depart from Coruscant when Anakin is mortally wounded and arrive in the Outer Rim before he would die.
The Jedi aren't looking too good in the exchange. Are there any areas where they would come out ahead? The technology of the setting seems vastly superior, particularly in the arena of artificial intelligence. I think the canonical story is that droids in Star Wars aren't truly self-aware, but rather their apparent consciousness is just some kind of Chinese Room illusion. I think that's more an artifact of storytelling than anything else; a way of not having to deal with the ramifications of having millions of sentient beings as slaves.It doesn't make a huge difference either way. C-3PO could certainly pass the Turning Test, for instance.
Though that makes me think that the combat droids would be a more interesting opponent for the Bene Gesserit than the Jedi. Their artificial nature renders them immune to Voice (which I figure would be useful once against even a Jedi before they learn to defend against it. It worked against Thufir, and I figure a Mentat has a level of mental discipline comparable to a Jedi), and good luck killing a robot with your bare hands.
So while Bene Gesserit > Jedi, I also must conclude Roger-Roger Robot > Bene Gesserit.
|Roger, Roger, ladies!|