We have already seen their efforts result in multiple Uprisings against the Alliance by forces from both Empire and Republic, and of course their word is enough to make all three factions rush to Iokath as soon as the radiation subsides.
Whomever this traitor is is apparently female, and is wearing as part of their currently only-known getup the skirt of a Scion. However, for reasons I shall explain momentarily, I think this last fact is a clear attempt at misdirection.
Anyway, I just thought I'd offer my speculation on who this character is and who it most certainly can't be. For this post, I will be basing my suspicions off of the apparent gender of the individual.
Problems with Reintroduction
The main problem with the Scions being the betrayer-apparent is that they've literally only just been re-introduced to the main story; having them turn around a month or so after saying "we're finally going to help you!" would be far too soon to be convincing as a result. A rogue faction within the Scions is unlikely since as we've seen them thus far, they are not the sort of faction to have "split opinions"; if a Scion states their views and ideals, it is likely that the rest of them share a very similar outlook.
This problem also exists for a lot of potential traitorous characters; BioWare have written themselves into a situation where anyone other than someone close to the Alliance Commander being the betrayer would need an awful lot of explanation to do to convince people. This is also due to the fact that for some players, they could be meeting a re-introduced character for the first time; whilst veterans would be more familiar with the characters, it would thus be harder to convince them if the "betrayer" demonstrated characteristics counter to what they had previously demonstrated.
A prime example of this would be a returning Companion. Veterans would be very familiar with these characters and would be interested in seeing how their story developed, whilst new players would quickly pick up the fact that they were potentially a former Companion to their class. However, it just so happens that all of the female Companions who have returned or are yet-to-return are all Romance options.
Or irretrievably gone if they're SCORPIO. RiP some person's dreams of romancing a buxom robot in Star Wars.
Whilst BioWare are finally introducing the concept of a romanced Companion denouncing their betrothed based on their actions since Fallen Empire, there has always been the option to resume the romance, with only the Player's active choices stating whether or not the romance can continue. To take a returning romance Companion and make them irretrievable no matter what is something BioWare have never shown themselves brave enough to do in the Star Wars universe so far, and for very good reason.
Even without considering the motives for a returning Companion to betray their potential loved one, all female returning Companions are automatically ruled out.
Even if we turn the tables and say that the betrayer isn't female, this still leaves us with only four non-romanceable options; Khem Val, Lord Scourge, Tharan Cedrax, and Zenith, none of which exactly have a lot of diplomatic pull with the three factions.
That's not to say that they couldn't make such a situation be effective with another returning NPC. It would feel incredibly clunky and be far too quick or convoluted for a lot of people's liking, but it could work if done properly.
Since this problem affects reintroducing an old character or concept, does it also exist for introducing a new character? Yes and no. Yes, because it's still a very short amount of time to convince players that this new player is important to the scene, and no because it's an open board and anything could be constructed without worrying about prior personality conflicts.
Currently-Known Potential Suspects
There have been various pre-established (and non-returning Companion) female individuals introduced or re-introduced in the story since Fallen Empire which both veterans and new players would be aware of.
All of these characters do have links with the Alliance somehow, which I think is crucial for determining who the betrayer may be; such a story development needs appropriate "shock value" to sell the deception to the Players which may well 'carry' the deception itself without much convincing of why they decide to betray everyone.
Additionally, the betrayer has had access to Alliance files, supply routes, and routes to personnel space stations which have all been plot points for some of the various Uprisings. It would be very difficult to convince anyone that an outsider has been able to do this, at least not without inside help, and if we're talking inside help then it's literally anyone's guess as to who the betrayer really is.
Anyway. These characters are:
- Darth Acina
- Hylo Visz
- Lana Beniko
- Leontyne Saresh
- Sana-Rae, the Voss Mystic
- Satele Shan
- Shae Vizla
Assuming that the betrayer is one of these individuals, I'll be going through each in order and assessing the chances of them having such a major role (this list is going to be very short for certain individuals).
Darth Acina and Leontyne Saresh
I am including both of these two in the same paragraph since Acina will (unfortunately...) be killed in 5.2's brief story if you side with the Republic, whilst Saresh can be imprisoned or killed at the end of Chapter II of KotET. Neither can thus be a dominant force in the story even if they do survive, although Saresh has demonstrated the perfect "stab-in-the-back" mindset necessary for a betrayer.
It is possible, however, that rogue factions in the Empire and Republic and moles inside of the Alliance may be acting in their names, so whilst they themselves are ineligible to be the betrayer, they may yet be indirectly responsible for it. Whilst we have no known proxies for Acina outside of (MINISTER) Lorman, who may be killed, we do know about Saresh's puppet Supreme Chancellor, Madon.
Not that I'm imagining Madon to be our man since, as I just wrote, he's male and the betrayer is apparently female, but Madon is very overdue for an actual appearance at this point.
(You're all welcome to tick "Madon gets an unnecessary mention" box off on your mental Galactic Antics Bingo Cards, by the way).
Hylo was introduced to us as one of the four Alliance Specialists; she was one of the greatest Smugglers in the galaxy (something which the 'Voidhound' can protest), and of the four is the most likely to hold her own if things go south and independent operation is necessary.
Hylo is seemingly the individual BioWare are trying to make people think is up to something; she gives Theron a black eye when asked to give an alibi, and if the Commander chooses to keep surveillance on their people, she sends them a rather rude message. If surveillance is not kept on the Alliance, she informs the Commander that supplies are running drastically low and an alternative method must be found for keeping afloat. She also recommends the Commander keep Iokath for as long as possible in the same message.
So, we know that Hylo isn't keen to report her whereabouts, which does make sense for a Smuggler. We also know that she's desperate to receive a new energy source, and is seemingly using Iokath to distract the Commander's attention. These are all interesting things to note, but are also perhaps too convenient a thread to hang from.
Additionally, she shouldn't really have that many connections to the Empire and Republic. As a smuggler who has pilfered from them countless times, it is so very unlikely that they would pay heed to her. But what if there was somebody who she was close to who could fake his own identity? Con them into believing something different?
I am of course referring to her old flame, Gault Rennow. Gault is now one of the only two returned Companions in the story who cannot be kicked out from the Alliance or refused entry to it, alongside T7. As a result, he's in prime position for "shock betrayer", since he's close to the Commander (closer if the Commander is a Hunter), and thus has access to a good amount of information.
As a counterpoint, Gault has been shown to be afraid of death, so much so that he's cheated it numerous times. Betraying the Alliance and impugning the honour of both the Empire and the Republic is likely to earn him unlimited bounties and death-threats, which even he will find difficult to evade, even if Hylo was helping him.
However, even with all this going for this being the actual course of events, I really don't think it can be Hylo (and Gault).
Previous tropes for "betrayers" have nearly always had one or more suspicious individuals whom everyone initially thinks is the traitor, only for them to be revealed as innocent, and oh no it's somebody else altogether! I think this is most likely Hylo's position; she's just trying to be prudent and "herself" in a dangerous and prickly situation which is raising suspicions needlessly.
Who knows, though? I may be wrong and BioWare could be subverting the trope. I hope not, though.
Okay, people who think Lana is the traitor please arrange a booking to your local Carbonite Freezing Chamber. There is no way that Lana can betray something which is her own baby, as it were.
Not only is she a possible romance (remember what I was saying about player choices cancelling romances in SWtOR, not BioWare deciding it's "game over"), but she (and Theron, since if she's under suspicion so too will he be) is the Commander's most loyal aide, and to betray the Alliance to a faction which has potentially disowned her due to her "defecting" is monumentally stupid.
I don't think I need to say anything more.
Sana-Rae is the only individual on this list who isn't pre-established, when I said I would only be talking about such characters, but the concept of her character - a Voss mystic - is certainly a pre-established phenomenon, hence why I titled her thus in the list.
There's one thing that has always left me sort-of unsettled when it comes to the Voss. They are potentially one of the most subversive species in the entirety of The Old Republic, and it's because of one thing; no matter which faction you are, you will undoubtedly have seen in your questing across Voss that the Republic and Empire are desperate to pay as much lip-service to the Voss as possible, with the aim of getting the most impressive and diplomatic results possible.
So, if you have a particularly vindictive Voss, and a Voss mystic no less, who decides that the Alliance must die and the faction who 'kills' it gets the result they were hoping for, you just know that both factions will be jumping at that opportunity, no questions asked.
Bonus points for pissing off said Voss by potentially recruiting a Gormak soldier and his troop before any Voss commandos.
However, "vindictive" does not describe Sana-Rae as she is presented to us. She's much more interested in watching how the Sith and the Jedi work together in harmony under one banner, and inciting open warfare is very much counter to this. Whilst the Empire and Republic are essentially working "in harmony" in the Uprisings against the Alliance, they aren't doing so as one group.
Furthermore, if a Voss convinced the factions to destroy the Alliance as quickly as possible, neither faction would be willing to join up with the Alliance; there's something else underlying everything whereby the betrayer's plans wouldn't be upset by such an allegiance, so personal gain for the other factions is not likely unless subsuming the Alliance counts as destroying it.
Finally, we honestly don't know what the present standing of Voss diplomacy is like nowadays. We just left it at another evolved quagmire and came back to a planet seemingly inhabited solely by Voss with no apparent sign of the Republic or Empire anywhere. Did the ambassadorial program just end since nothing was going to come of it for a number of years? Has the oft-predicted alliance between Voss and Gormak changed anything, or is it only temporary now that the Eternal Empire is no longer invading?
Basically, whilst her species doubtless has a lot of potential in this regard, I just can't see Sana-Rae being at all an effective betrayer.
Plus, the individual is nowhere near as tall as a Voss is anyway, and seemingly has a fuller form. I feel rather dirty for noticing that...
Based on what I was saying about outsiders being realistically unable to procure much of the vital data, Satele is - similarly to Acina and Saresh - pretty much immediately ruled out from suspicion. She does have an inside source who is very close to the Commander in the form of Theron, but unless Theron's been a total idiot and blabbed about Alliance secrets to his mother across insecure Holocommunication channels then this ultimately should mean nothing.
Whilst we don't know exactly why the Force called her and the spirit of Darth Marr away from Odessen outside of their no longer having a purpose to help the Outlander, and thanks to Marr we know that the Force has a plan, but it is unlikely that the Force has a vindictive plan for the galaxy.
Plus, we've already seen a Shan go to the Dark Side and Theron may have just lost his father, so to have Satele follow suit so soon would be just ridiculous.
Similarly to Acina, Saresh, and Satele, I'm just including Shae because she has a connection to the Alliance. Realistically, she can't be the betrayer since Mandalorians - of course - value honour and back-stabbing is the very opposite of honour.
Additionally, Shae recently became a Sub-Reward Companion, so she's basically immune to any hostile story developments now.
An Inside Source
One thing has been clear with all of these characters; each has a very good reason for why they couldn't be the betrayer (heck, all but two of them are just being paid lip-service to above and nothing more!).
So the only other option which remains, as pointed out above, is the "inside-source" alternative. Somebody who may or may not be consciously leaking harmful information to an individual with hostile intentions. This would require them to have gained the trust of their inside source if they weren't planted as a mole; the only individual known to us who is "too trusting" is the plucky Astromech T7-O1.
No, I'm not seriously painting T7 as a conscious betrayer. There just isn't anyone else who I would deem "too trusting" who hasn't already been potentially killed off yet. Mind you, I haven't stopped distrusting T7's reasons for mostly-disappearing from the main story yet, either...
Whomever the main instigator of this grand plot is clearly has a lot of pull; they've been able to convince the Republic and the Empire to attack the Alliance and then later to rush to Iokath. That they knew that Iokath was ready to be explored certainly implies that they either were told first-hand or heard it from a secondary source.
Who's to say that they didn't use their apparently impressive influence to win the support of a member of the Alliance, only to then use it against them? The problem with this is that it must surely be widely-spread knowledge that these individuals are gaining access to these files and selling them on, so if the potential mole has been enticed, they apparently haven't learned not to be so lenient with vital information.
Furthermore - no matter whether or not there's a mole - the fact that Alliance communications haven't yet picked up anything suspicious coming from Odessen (that we know of, anyway) heavily implies that this damning evidence isn't being transmitted from this planet. Which then raises the question of where the hell they're getting it from in the first place and why it hasn't been tracked, since computer slicing can be picked up upon incredibly quickly in the Star Wars universe.
It is worth noting that Shroud of Memory kind of deals with this briefly, since HK-55 is captured by the Shroud, whose double reveals that Alliance data is being pilfered from various droids (this was also destined to happen to HK himself). However, if this is what is happening, then aren't Alliance droids being tracked? Shouldn't someone see a droid go down mysteriously and alert his or her superior?
I'm assuming that HK reported this data-pilfering to the powers-that-be to the Alliance personnel, so if they still let droids out without caring if they disappear mysteriously then everyone in the Alliance deserves to be shot.
Yes, even that little Rakling Lokin brings with him. If we're allowed to debate whether or not it's a cruelty to send little Grophets to the disintegrators we should also be entitled to say the same about this bloody Rakling.
Come to think of it, actually, this tracking should also have happened with HK-55, and he's a bodyguard-turned-assassin who can handle himself; a little probe droid won't be able to do much escaping from secret compounds!
So even this has its difficulties when it comes to a convincing argument. Logically, it shouldn't be possible for all these things to be happening unless the Alliance is just really shoddy when it comes to internal security. If it's really as shoddy as it seems, then it honestly doesn't deserve to call itself a proper galactic power.
Ultimately, though, a brand-new never-seen-before outside source getting their information from a mole or an unwitting ally is probably going to be the easiest solution to create and swallow. As previously mentioned, this would effectively negate previous personality conflicts and can more seamlessly lead into a new character being introduced than otherwise.
Long story short, there is nothing yet revealed to us which can be used to pin down the betrayal on a specific individual. Which is, I think, a good thing, since a mystery revealed too soon with hints which are too obvious is an awful mystery and also why I wasn't a huge fan of the Forged Alliances arc's second part hinting at Revan's return two months before it happened.
Something similar happened with the GEMINI Droids being revealed to the Player in Chapter VII before the "mysterious" GEMINI Signal was identified in Chapter XIII. Ugh.
Something else which does help the mystery is the fact that we don't yet know this individual's true purpose. They're clearly trying to destroy the Alliance (and will probably succeed in 6.0 given Valkorion's prophetic "remember me when your Alliance burns to ash" statement), but beyond this we just don't know.
The fact that they've been seemingly helping the Republic and Empire implies that they don't want to work against them, or at least not yet. They do continue to work against the Commander when the allegiance is made, which does suggest that they don't care what happens in the build-up to their plans coming to fruition.
Maybe this individual is the embodiment of clamouring for separate faction stories, here to destroy this evil third faction and send everyone retreating back to their different factions.
Regardless, I'm relatively interested in learning more.
I do find it interesting that The Old Republic is using this as a story-hook given that recent BioWare game Mass Effect Andromeda is also using something very similar. In this game, a mysterious benefactor is responsible for the Andromeda Initiative's funding and the reason for leaving the Milky Way is very different to the given reason; this benefactor is heavily-suspected to be a familiar 'force' to veterans of the Mass Effect franchise.
Both games using similar hooks is a rather large coincidence, but in the case of SWtOR this is very much a direction steered into by the primary story, whilst in Andromeda this is merely the plot of a side story (yet may become main-story DLC or sequel material).
Still interesting to note, though.