Jacen is meditating in the cockpit of the stolen Starhopper. Tobin enters, his arms folded, casually dressed in a jacket, wandering into the room. Despite the cramped quarters of the ship, he has been exercising in the cabin outside.
Jacen’s eyes flicker towards him, acknowledging his presence. Jacen has a hard expression, almost as if he’s tolerating Tobin’s presence.
Jacen: Something you want to talk about?
Tobin: I figured you had a lot on your mind, you meditated much more than when I last seen you really taking the training to heart, your aura is much more composed in your aura.
Jacen: You weren’t clear on a few things regarding meditation. (He snorts dismissively) It helps. Stops me from reacting too fast.
Tobin: (Nodding) Indeed, organising one’s self is useful, you will be surprised how much you can sense within a single ship, the little buzzing of energy, like being inside a living beast in harmony with itself.
Tobin uncorks a bottle of Corellian Whiskey, pouring a drink to himself.
Tobin: I sense that you have questions. I understand, I might not have been as honest as I could have been. What do you want to know? And don’t worry, Jacen, I brought this.
Jacen blinks away his surprise.
Jacen: Funny, I figured you would be asking me that. There’s nothing I don’t know about you, your training session with Mara for instance, she filled in the blanks. But… there is one thing I don’t understand. Why do you have that black orb?
Tobin smiles slightly at the ripple of surprise he felt through the Force; it was always good to feel that he still had that unpredictable edge, though his smile dropped slightly as he turns around to face Jacen.
Tobin: The Black Orb I had earned on a mission long ago; a Quaren Inquisitor offered to train me, I didn’t accept and he stood between me and his shuttle. Turns out the teacher still had much to learn as I killed him and obtained his holocron and staff. (strokes chin) And for a long time I kept it as a curious little fetish; I like trophies you see; the Jewel of Yavin, the Black Orb, this lightsaber I hold… Each of these items have history. (pause) Funnily enough I’m still the only member of Predator Squad to have killed inquisitors, though they both underestimated me, these fellows haven’t.
Jacen’s eyes narrow.
Jacen: Don’t sidestep around the question, Tobin. I’m not stupid, I know what it does.
Tobin: Aye it’s a communicator. I’ve only once used it for that purpose though. When the staff was lost to Darth Vader, they… (pause, strokes chin) weren’t exactly happy that I had concealed that item from them.
Jacen: And you’ve kept this communicator cuz?
Tobin: Oh, and again when the communicators were removed from Gand and Galish, my only task was to eliminate Imperial spies; it seemed in my best interest. As for the communicator, I kept it because it would come in handy some day. Two years it has been in my possession, fairly certain even the inquisitors didn’t believe I had obtained it. (pause) But I’ve told you everything that I know. To be honest, they don’t trust me too much. I’ve never had much respect for figures of authority and while I believe in our superiority as Force users, our methods… (pause) Differ.
Jacen nods, musing to himself.
Jacen: Best be careful, you’ve used it once, no doubt they’ll figure out something’s wrong.
Tobin: They already know. For task masters they were surprisingly lenient on me. Now you have asked me a question… What is it you have been doing? I thought Vader had you back there. I’m certainly glad to see that wasn’t the case!
Jacen: Training. Getting ready for the real fight, one I suspect you’re already aware of.
Tobin: The real fight? Aye, long as Vader lives, none of our plans can ever come to fruition.
Jacen: Ahhhh. So, you’re a bit clueless in that department. Big surprise, you weren’t told the real enemy.
Tobin: (Chuckles) Well you got me there, I do love a good surprise. (rolls his head as he massages his eyes) Though, if he isn’t who is it then? Go on, lay it on me.
Jacen considers it.
Jacen: In time, you’ll know when Ghost gets here. Suffice to say, the Inquisition isn’t our only concern.
Tobin: (Raises eyebrow) Jacen, I am fine to entertain your sense of mystery, but we don’t even know if they will be returning. We’ve already lost a lot, Elaiza and recently Reine. One by one, the people I know are lost, like tears in the rain.
Tobin seems to become lost in thought as he fixates his gaze at the sky, taking a draft of the whiskey.
Jacen: Until there’s confirmation they’re dead, my lips are sealed. This sort of information can’t be repeated twice, let me put it this way…
Jacen pauses, his eyes glance around the room – it’s edges, walls, corners, you can tell he’s looking for something or someone.
Jacen: These walls have ears, I don’t think you’ll find a safe room anywhere.
Tobin: (Nod’s drily as he takes another sip) That’s nothing new fa me buddy, but I get your point. Hopefully they will be back, pretty much everyone I used to preform heists with is gone now, just Gandi left now. (Pause) Though, I hope she hasn’t gone easy on you; I had to do all those stunts with a stump! Ahahahaha!
Jacen: There’ll be others. (Nods to himself) Her methods were unique, she was actually a lot more lenient with me than with you. (Snickers) Then again, boarding Vader’s flagship was anything but lenient.
Tobin: Wait, what? You- (Pauses to compose himself) Must have been quite a tale.
Jacen: (Smiles wickedly) How can you tell I’m telling the truth?
Tobin: (Grins) I can try prying it out of your mind, though I guess you’d much prefer to tell it.
Jacen: Perhaps you can. Maybe you can’t. Point is, what Mara put me through is kittens compared to you going through my head.
Tobin: Alright, give me the low down then. Or are you gonna be the kina fella who would rather let anticipation build?
Jacen: (Raises eyebrow) That depends, are you going to abuse my name again?
Tobin: Oh please, you know me. (Pauses) That’s not helping.
Jacen: (Sighs) Get serious. You betrayed my trust, if the circumstances were different I wouldn’t be working with you again. You owe me one, making me a target of the Hutt’s isn’t funny.
Tobin turns his head up and scratches at the scaly ridges of his head.
Tobin: Oh, so that’s what it were about at that table… (Pause) You did use a false name, didn’t you? Well in any case there were three reasons for that. You think you can figure out what those were? Hmm?
Though his manner sounds a touch playful, Tobin’s expression and mannerism indicates that he is taking this quite seriously, with a hint of genuine curiosity.
Jacen: (Snapping) That’s not the point! You deliberately withheld that information.
Tobin: Deliberately withheld that information? No, that information was all there, you put your name on the ship, it’s not my fault that you never asked where this ship came from. I told you stories of my exploits and the power the Force had to offer, BUT you never took me seriously. (The Force seems to ripple as he hammered his fist in his palm) Always you dismissed my teaching as the mad ravings of an outlaw, the force as some hokey cokey religion in which children are sacrificed to maintain vitality, instead you repelled me. You didn’t want to learn, you just wanted me to teach you some cool tricks so you could get yourself killed on some foolish endeavour without understanding the consequences of your actions. Reason one was just that, how did you feel when you found out you were the owner of one of the most wanted ships in the galaxy, hmm? Did it terrify you to know that a Hutt would stop at nothing to crush you? (Pause) Answer me honestly, and I will teach you the most valuable lesson of all.
Jacen: No, I saw you as a friend, a mentor. Someone who could help me get revenge for my parents. I always listened, even when you spouted your stories. (His eyes darken) You don’t understand what it’s like to be in my position, those Hutt’s sold my parents down the line. If you want the truth, here it is: You made me feel like a victim, you did something that no blade can touch. I trusted everything in you, and you didn’t treat me in kind, always the damn dismissals, always thinking your better just because you lost people time and time again. Your problem Tobin, is that you think everything should start and end with you. That whatever happens to you is something the entire Galaxy should know.
Tobin pauses, there is a certain disturbance in his Force aura before he sighs.
Tobin: Well that’s true. Perhaps I lost track of when I was just the son of a mechanic, looking for righteous revenge on my fathers killer. I’ve lost so much of myself since then. (Sighs) I’ve… even lost my empathy. For that.. I’m truly sorry. (Tobin hunches forward, massaging his eyes, tears?) The lesson? While I have never been a slave, I used to have a comfortable life until I was plunged into poverty. What I do understand is this; I got exactly what I wanted. Cold revenge served on a well chilled plate, I did whatever I could to achieve that; pulled odd jobs on a merc team, joined the Alliance when business turned sour and eventually robbed a Hutt to draw my target in. Yet…. I’m haunted, Jacen. The Empire, the inquisition, the Hutts, bounty hunting guilds, even Black Sun. In order to get what I wanted, every one of those fellows is hunting me. (Pause) Every night, I dream of that last encounter that will end me. My paranoia has gotten so bad that I sleep with my blaster every night in case someone I know one day tries to turn me over for a fat paycheck. That was the consequence of carrying out my revenge to the extent that the only way I keep going is to continue to steal, to kill, to grow. Living a peaceful life? That’s…. Beyond me now. All these little goals I set myself is all that keeps me going these days. It’s the only way I can cope. (Pause) So, I ask you, is revenge worth that price? Lets say you do kill Dei or Kaltho, you will be hunted by every Hutt and every goon to the ends of the galaxy with every resource at their disposal, would you be willing to give up your life for that?
Jacen considers this for a moment.
Jacen: It depends on the method I get my revenge, I’ve debated watching them choke on their own fat voice. But I haven’t decided the endgame, it may end with a dead Hutt or it may end up with a Hutt who’s in disgrace living on the slums like the rest of Nar Shaddaa. But I know one thing is certain, I need closure, the past is strangling me binding me to matters that will distract me from our enemies. For the record, I’m not basing these crimes on data, I saw exactly what happened after I was stunned, and I will never forgive, never forget.
Tobin: Even if that means pitching a tent in hell to get what you want?
Jacen: If that’s the price, I’ll bear it. There are always possibilities, the future always shifts, not everything you say will happen will. But let me ask you this. If you were in my shoes, and a Hutt killed your father, not Dillinger, would you take the shot back then?
Tobin: (Sighs before smiling wearily) Well, I did rob a Hutt, killing one wouldn’t have been much more difficult.
Jacen: Would you do it? Ignoring your current self, what you are now. I’m talking about the Tobin who wanted his own justice. Would he kill that Hutt regardless?
Tobin pauses to contemplate.
Tobin: Yeah, I would have. I wanted revenge because the just authority refused to deal with it. Killing a crime lord? Without a doubt.
Jacen: Don’t you see? There’s no difference between him and me. The questions that stand are who really did it, why and how should that person pay?
Tobin: That’s just it really. You gotta take revenge, just make sure unlike me that the person you take revenge on actually deserves it; don’t waste your life like I did. Though I guess putting it one way, love it or hate it after this we are gonna be bunk buddies love it or loath it, the entire galaxy after us! (Pause) I mean, if you got your heart dead set on attaining justice and willing to go to hell for it, might as well go with a guide, no?
Jacen: I’ll do my research, for now let Dei have her victory. We’re in this together, friend or not, we need one another so let’s make that clear. (He pauses, contemplating) But before you leave, a little advice: You may think Dei is your ally, but truth of the matter is she’s like every other Hutt. They play with their food a little, study it, may even lick it just to tease it, but at the end of the day we’re all the same, to be used and devoured at their leisure. Make no mistake, she’ll find your weakness, then she’ll stab you and laugh as you squirm. Remember these words, they may come in handy when she decides that your too much trouble.
Tobin: I’ll keep that on my mind. To be fair there’s plenty I could say about the member’s of this team; especially Oz. I am curious of how you got the information in the first place though; I’m not sure if I would trust Jade either; she might be the most mysterious of all. (Long pause) Oh yeah, the third reason: if you had made off with my ship then at least it would have been easy to track you down. Though you didn’t and you certainly long passed that test, after all, no drinks are truly free, that you certainly taught me. (Pause) Jade’s the only one I’ve never been able to touch; I mean if she’s siding against the inquisitor’s and Vader it really begs the question of who exactly, is backing her.
Jacen: All in good time. Wait for Ghost, then I shall reveal all I know to you and her.