- "...When Lord Vader came to our aid in the courtyard, I realized that serving him could earn an officer the only two things that matter... fear and respect.'"
- ―Laurita Tohm
Laurita Tohm was a male Human Imperial Cadet who graduated from the Raithal Academy on Coruscant and was promptly promoted to Lieutenant of the Galactic Empire. In 19 BBY, Tohm became involved in the Gentis coup, but unlike his classmates, he sided with Darth Vader and the wounded Emperor Palpatine, helping to save the latter by taking him to the Jedi prison known as The Prism. Having been promoted to the rank of Commander, he subsequently wrote a report on the incident. Impressed by his actions during the coup, the Emperor promoted him again to the rank of Admiral. Once Vader learned that Palpatine considered Tohm to be a worthy successor, however, he murdered the young Admiral, not willing to face him as a rival in the future.
- "My parents warned me to run . . . I was never very fast."
- ―Laurita Tohm
As a boy, Laurita Tohm lived with his extended family in a mining facility. His parents were tibanna gas miners, enlisting Tohm with small tasks. One day, during the Clone Wars, representatives of the Confederacy of Independent Systems came to the family's home and decided to destroy the facility. Tohm was lugging a tool kit when he discovered his parents tied to the gas mining equipment, explosives places around them. His mother told him to run, but in his shock, Tohm had barely turned away when the explosives went off. He lost his left arm all the way to the shoulder, as well as his left eye, and was scarred all along the side of his face and body. Both of his parents, his four brothers, his two aunts and three uncles, and nine cousins died in the attack as well, leaving Tohm orphaned and alone.
- "Tell me, did your... condition inspire you to work harder than the other students, or did it encourage them to underestimate you?"
"Perhaps a little of both, sir."
"Excellent. Continue to use it to your advantage, Lieutenant."
- ―Gentis and Laurita Tohm
Some time later, Tohm joined the Raithal Academy, never allowing his disabilities to slow him down. In 19 BBY, a few months after the rise of the Galactic Empire, Tohm graduated from the Academy at the top of his class. Though he was teased by his fellow cadets, such as his friends Shens and Caul Gentis, his constant studying was what propelled him to the role of valedictorian. The cadets came to the planet of Coruscant, part of six different academies from around the galaxy who came to the capital in order to be part of the first graduating class of Imperial officers. Their training—like that of the Empire's clones and other military personnel—had been accelerated from the usual years to only a few months. Many important Imperial figures were in attendance, including Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. General Gentis, hero of the Clone Wars and Tohm's personal hero, presided over the brief ceremonies, and awarded Tohm the rank of lieutenant for his excellence at the Academy. He took Tohm by the shoulder after promoting him and briefly asked him about how his deformities impacted his excellence, then told him to keep up his superior work.
Tohm then attended a celebration gala at Shens and Caul's behest, though he was nervous about his appearance and claimed to want to do an analysis of the First Battle of Geonosis. Caul assured him that the young women in attendance wouldn't mind his looks, either focusing on his uniform or feeling sympathy for his condition. Tohm reluctantly agreed, thinking that at least he could meet superior officers during the event, but Headmaster Gentis surprised the trio, telling Tohm that his new assignment had already arrived. Tohm was to become a part of a secret project being undertaken by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's fleet, and Tarkin would be arriving within a week to collect all of his new recruits. Gentis then ordered Caul and Shens to make sure Tohm stayed out of harm's way—their first order as officers, and one that Tohm would not fully grasp until later.
With drinks in hand, Caul and Shens brought Tohm to a nearby security center and revealed a platform full of prototype TIE/LN starfighters. Tohm balked at the idea of flying one, but Caul pointed out that Tohm, like the rest of them, always dreamed of being a pilot, and that he knew Tohm could fly the fighter. Tohm relented, believing that he could use the experience professionally, but once inside, the engines would not start. He looked to his friends, who could not meet his gaze, and they told him that this was done to keep him out of trouble for the night. Tohm demanded answers and that they let him free, but Shens had sliced the locking mechanism, and they told him that he'd be free in a few hours, and that everything would be over by then.
The Gentis coupEdit
- "You should have asked me yesterday."
- ―Laurita Tohm, as he killed his friend Shens.
Tohm initially assumed that they were playing a prank on him, not suspecting any other motives, yet determined to escape from the fighter nonetheless. He quickly and expertly engaged the ejection seat on the fighter, which launched him high above the cityscape—just in time to witness the true intentions of Gentis and his classmates.
Explosions rocked the cityscape for kilometers around, eliminating seventy-two Imperial targets within minutes. The officer's club, various stormtrooper garrisons, the Comm Towers, and a supply depot were all destroyed. Tohm landed on Imperial Plaza, which had become ground zero in the battle that erupted, as "terrorist" forces swarmed through the city streets, fighting with the Empire's clone forces. The stormtroopers were losing the battle, and Tohm was saved by a stormtrooper who pulled him behind cover. The trooper demanded some sort of chain of command until Tohm pointed out the appearance of Darth Vader himself. Vader was leading stormtrooper reinforcements, cutting down their attackers on all sides with his lightsaber. As the terrorist forces fled, Vader threw a large piece of broken stone atop several enemy soldiers, crushing them beneath its weight. Tohm requisitioned a blaster from a trooper, then rushed into the battle, still not realizing the source of the attacks. One enemy, his body crushed, grabbed Tohm's ankle as he passed and asked for help. Tohm bent and removed the man's mask, revealing him to be his friend Shens. Shens told him that Gentis was orchestrating the attacks in an attempt to assassinate Palpatine, and asked Tohm to join them out of loyalty. He told Tohm that the coup was because Gentis knew that Palpatine would carelessly waste their lives in his warmongering, but Tohm demanded to know why he wasn't recruited. Shens told him that it was because he always stood out too much, but begged him to stand with them now and kill Lord Vader. Tohm thought for a brief moment, then told Shens he should have been asked earlier, before shooting his friend in the head.
Vader approached, and Tohm bowed to him, telling the Sith Lord that his loyalty was not to Gentis, but rather to Vader and the Emperor. Vader simply told Tohm to follow him. As the pair made their way from the plaza, another explosion tore through the nearby buildings, unleashing a powerful necrotic virus known as Aorth-6. Dozens of Imperials, including Royal Guardsmen, were killed by the aerosolized virus, which liquified them from the inside out. Tohm donned a breathing device that he had taken from the TIE fighter when he ejected and followed Vader inside. Though one of Palpatine's guardsmen claimed that the Emperor was dead, Tohm and Vader found him still alive, bleeding from the mouth and nose. Palpatine was using the dark side of the Force to keep the virus at bay, but was losing the battle even with his formidable powers. Moff Trachta appeared, and Vader accused Trachta of being in league with the conspiracy, but the Moff vehemently denied it. Trachta told Vader that they needed to get the Emperor into hiding; fear of his power was the only thing keeping the Empire together. Once Palpatine agreed, the trio escorted the Emperor to a secret hangar below the Imperial Palace, where they loaded him aboard a stealth transport.
The Ghost PrisonEdit
- "Think on this, though—If we claim to serve the Empire, and Gentis declares the same, which of us is the traitor?"
"The one who tries to kill the Emperor."
"Only if he fails, Lieutenant..."
- ―Trachta and Laurita Tohm
Once safe, Trachta revealed that Gentis had pretended to want to meet the Emperor in order to present his most prized students, but instead unleashed the virus. He urged them to move the Emperor immediately, fearing Gentis's troops and discovery by his slicers, and cautioned against underestimating Gentis. Tohm then interjected, saying that Gentis had done all this because he was tired of losing his students. Trachta pointed out that Gentis must not have trusted Tohm, but that he didn't either, and he pointed his blaster at the back of Tohm's head. Before he could pull the trigger, Vader grabbed Trachta's wrist, knocking the weapon from his grasp. As he crushed Trachta's cybernetic arm beneath his own mechanical grip, he made it clear that he was in control. Trachta suggested that they hide the Emperor on Kessel or in The Maw, but Tohm pointed out that any Imperial system might be compromised, due to Gentis's influence.
Vader then remembered of a place he had once heard of, but he needed more information, and took Tohm to the ruined Jedi Temple in order to get it. While they were gone, Gentis's engineers sent a command to every droid within five kilometers to kill any Imperial officer they saw. Dormant Jedi training droids activated within the temple and attacked Tohm and Vader with their lightsabers. Tohm held his own in the battle, taking out several of the droids with his blaster, but it was Vader's mastery of the Force which allowed them overcome their attackers.
Vader then led Tohm into the High Council Chamber and called up a holorecording of a High Jedi Council meeting that Anakin Skywalker had attended. As he watched, Tohm was baffled to find the Jedi—whom he'd never even seen before—"arguing like children". Skywalker demanded to know what happened to the myriad prisoners he had captured over the course of the war, but the Council told him that he was chasing rumors and nothing more. Skywalker persisted, saying that he would get the truth from then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, but Obi-Wan Kenobi calmed him, though Skywalker still left angry. The Jedi Masters further discussed the topic after Skywalker left, revealing that the secret prison was a tightly-kept secret, even from the Chancellor and the GAR. The Jedi believed that the Republic Security Force couldn't contain the Force-users, cyborgs, shape shifters and others that they had captured, and that once the war was over, they would then receive fair and open trials. Kenobi was displeased, but obeyed the Council's wishes, still asking that he be allowed to visit the prison himself. Master of the Order Mace Windu revealed the prison's location and urged Kenobi not to take Anakin. When Kenobi agreed, Vader flew into a rage, destroying the Council chambers and shouting that the Emperor had been right, that they had been plotting against the two of them from the beginning. He then urged Tohm to remember that the Jedi believed in too many ambiguities, when there was only the Empire, and everyone else.
With their new information, the Imperials left for the Diab system, where the Prism was hidden. Over the course of the three day journey, Tohm attempted to connect with the Force, and even tried to pull his blaster toward himself, but Trachta walked in on his attempt and told him it would be unwise to discover any Force-sensitivity at that point. Tohm tried to make excuses for what Trachta had seen, but the older soldier was uninterested. The two then recounted the tales of their mutual disfigurations to one another; Trachta had been tracking a Dark Jedi Padawan who had fallen in league with Count Dooku during the Clone Wars, but when he cornered the Padawan, he threw a thermal detonator at Trachta and his clones, incinerating the man's arms, eyes, and ruining his respiratory system. Trachta then commended Tohm on several qualities that it seemed Vader valued greatly, such as Tohm's ability to mask his emotions, yet asked him if two men—such as Gentis and Vader—both claim to serve the Empire, which of them was a traitor? Tohm replied that whomever tried to kill the Emperor, but Trachta retorted that a traitor is only thus if he fails.
Though electrical storms at Diab caused their sensors to malfunction, Tohm was able to find the Prism, and they landed quickly. The Imperials were greeted by a bewildered Jedi Master and a force of security droids, but Vader cut down the Jedi before she knew what was happening, and all three quickly dealt with the droids. They brought Palpatine to the prison's medical center, where they were able to staunch the disintegration of his body. Tohm then accessed the prison's databank, learning that there were two-hundred and eight prisoners held there, with over half for them arrested by Anakin Skywalker. Tohm didn't think it could be true, but Vader told Tohm that Skywalker was an impressive Jedi. Tohm asked what happened to Skywalker, and Vader said that he had killed him, then telling Tohm to wipe the system clean. Trachta, however, wanted to find a particular prisoner, and had Tohm help him locate the individual. It turned out that the Padawan who had so terribly disfigured Trachta was imprisoned there, and the cyborg decided to spend several hours beating and torturing him to death, and had Tohm seal them in together.
Later, Tohm approached Lord Vader with an idea. Knowing that they couldn't trust any Imperials they might contact, Tohm believed that he could raise an army a different way—if Vader would allow him to release all the prisoners.
Ghost Prison RiotEdit
Vader amended Tohm's idea, and rather than simply releasing the prisoners, he forced 207 of them to fight one another, as well as Tohm and himself, for the right to serve the Empire.
The fighting that erupted was brutal, with bodies accumulating quickly. Tohm was attacked by a Separatist, General Ur'Loach. The general had wrapped his long tongue around Tohm's neck and was attempting to draw him into his large maw, a move that he was known for—beheading his enemies with his own teeth. As Ur'Loach knocked the blaster from Tohm's hand and prepared to kill him, another Separatists, Shonn Volta, pulled Tohm's blaster toward herself and shot Ur'Loach through the mouth, killing him and saving Tohm's life. Tohm thanked her, but she told him that it was a self-serving act, and that if they worked together, they'd both live and he could pardon her sentence.
In the end, only thirty-three prisoners survived in fighting condition, and Vader ordered Trachta to tell the survivors what it meant to serve the Empire. Trachta informed them all that their crimes were now forgotten, but their reasons for committing them were not—they would now serve an institution not beholden to the "selfish" senators of the Republic, nor the Jedi Order. The prisoners knelt before Trachta and the others, yet Volta remained standing. Vader commanded her to kneel as well, but she instead asked why the prisoners were needed. Vader took his lightsaber from his belt, but Tohm stepped in front of the Dark Lord, telling Volta that they had been betrayed, and that with her service she may become an Imperial or even go free. Volta accepted, and knelt before the pair. Trachta then told the survivors that their training would begin that night.
As they left, Tohm encountered a survivor, N'won Raines. Raines was a cyborg, his body in shambles, yet he reached out for Lieutenant Tohm, begging for help. Tohm brought this to Vader's attention, hoping to help the wounded cyborg, but Vader felt no such pity. He ordered Tohm to execute Raines. Tohm placed his blaster against Raines's head, with the cyborg feebly attempting to put out his hand to stop him, but Vader ordered Tohm to save his ammunition and handed the lieutenant a metal pipe instead. Tohm apologized to Raines, and as Raines once more vainly tried to reach out, Tohm beat the cyborg to death.
Immediately afterward, Tohm ran into a medical bay where Trachta was being seen to by a medical droid, and became ill. As Tohm vomited, disgusted by the act he had committed, Trachta recognized that the young man had clearly done something horrible for Vader. Trachta then urged Tohm to consider following him instead of Vader, claiming that the Sith Lord only knew how to make followers, whereas Trachta could train Tohm to be a leader.
Tohm later asked Volta, the Force-sensitive sniper, to meet him again, standing on a platform outside the prison. There she expertly shot the heads off of five 2-1B surgical droids while talking with Tohm, who was reading her prison files for the mission records he was compiling. Volta angrily informed him that the prison's records were not complete, and told him of the terrible things the Republic and the Jedi had done to her and her loved ones. Tohm then told her that he had wanted to be a pilot too, like Volta's father, but that he no longer could. He then suddenly realized that Volta's experience with hyperspace study may allow them to save Tarkin from the trap Gentis had lain.
- "Gentis rallied thousands of cadets and officers to his cause. For a brief moment, he controlled all of Coruscant's military and political might. He even had the moral conviction that what he was doing was right. But in the end, none of that mattered... Because he did not have the Emperor."
- ―Laurita Tohm's report on the Gentis Coup.
Tohm and Volta used her hyperspace expertise to find Tarkin while he changed hyperspace lanes at the nexus of several trade routes. Successfully finding and hailing his vessel, the Imperials and freed prisoners secreted themselves within Tarkin's shuttle. As they landed, Volta told Tohm to stay close to her.
Gentis amassed his cadets to greet Tarkin's shuttle, planning on finally cementing his hold on the Empire. Tarkin disembarked along with his stormtroopers, but was immediately surrounded by the cadets. Gentis confronted Tarkin, wanting him taken alive for interrogation, and told him his reasons for the coup. Tarkin was unapologetic, not caring about the hundreds of innocent cadets who had died under his command. When Gentis told Tarkin that his own sons had been killed by the policies of the Emperor, he was told by Vader that he would see them again soon.
Gentis looked up in horror as Vader emerged from the shuttle alongside Tohm, Trachta, Volta and rest of the deadly ex-prisoners. Though Gentis's forces outnumbered the attackers by eight to one, there was no accounting for the disparate skills Vader's group brought to the fight. Vader himself unleashed a violent Force wave while the prisoners slaughtered the cadets. Tohm's former friend, Caul, ordered Koh, a demolitions expert, to hit their attackers with grenades, but Volta shot Koh before he could throw the armed explosives, which detonated in the midst of the cadets.
Caul retreated among the scattered and wounded cadets until he heard Tohm call out to him. Thinking that Tohm was still on their side, he was happy to see him, but Tohm shot him in the stomach, killing him. Gentis saw his son fall and ran to his side, horrified that he'd lost his final child. As he cradled Caul's body in his arms, unable to believe that he was dead, Tohm backed away, disconcerted with what he'd done. Gentis begged for Caul not to die, then promised to keep his son safe. Suddenly, he was wracked with Force lightning, attacked by the Emperor himself. As he screamed and clutched his son to his chest, his body was ravaged by Palpatine's dark side power, and he was left a charred husk. Tohm looked down on his former hero's face, which now looked eerily like his own.
A young AdmiralEdit
In the aftermath of the battle, all those who had been loyal to Gentis were rounded up and executed without trial. Tohm himself oversaw the executions, allowing the bodies to pile atop one another as a warning to all who had betrayed the Empire. The Emperor rewarded Tohm for his service by being promoted to Admiral, and given a command in the Outer Rim Territories. Trachta was rewarded as well, promoted to Grand Moff as well as the new Headmaster of the Imperial Academies.
Unknown to the surviving ex-prisoners who had helped to save the Empire, as they were celebrating their victory and impending reward, the Imperials that they had fought beside were at that moment trying to determine their fates. Trachta believed that they owed the prisoners a debt of gratitude, and that they should honor their promises to them. Vader thought that they should all be executed, to prevent them from becoming enemies in the future. Tohm created a third option, and the prisoners were told they would be set free but they had to exile themselves to the Corporate Sector. Before they left, they were met by Tohm, Trachta and Vader, and the details of their release were once more gone over. Nax Cirvan agreed to all of the parts of the deal, and Trachta wished him luck.
As the ship ascended over the Coruscant cityscape, it detonated, killing Cirvan and all those aboard. Tohm and Vader had betrayed the agreement, as well as Trachta, who was horrified by the dishonorable massacre. He railed against Tohm and Vader for their duplicity, but both men were unapologetic. Tohm lied to the cyborg, telling him without emotion that the old ship must have malfunctioned. Trachta, disgusted, left Tohm to Vader's care, no longer willing to try to take the young man under his own wing.
In addition to his promotion to Admiral, Tohm managed to secure a pardon for Volta, sparing her the fate of the rest of the prisoners. She was given the rank of captain, and Tohm asked her to serve under his command while they met in his new apartment. Tenderly touching the burned side of his face, Volta told him that she would be honored. Like the prisoners, Tohm was also unaware that powerful men were discussing his fate. The Emperor told Vader that he admired much about the young admiral, and that should Vader ever die, Palpatine believed that Tohm would be an able successor.
- "...I have only one lesson for you."
"I would be grateful! Your advice, your mentorship, it means more to me than I can say."
"Never suffer rivals."
"Wha—? No! Please! Noooo!"
- ―Darth Vader and Laurita Tohm, as the latter is murdered.
Tohm then received an invitation from Vader, and met the Sith Lord upon a balcony high above the city. Vader asked if Volta had accepted her new position, and Tohm excitedly told his new mentor that the two of them would be leaving the following day. Vader then told Tohm that he had only one more lesson for the young man, and Tohm again grew excited, telling Vader how much working with him had meant. Vader then hefted Tohm by his uniform and told him that one should never accept the existence of rivals. Tohm pleaded with Vader, but the Dark Lord was unmoved, and threw Tohm from the balcony, sending him plummeting miles down into the depths of Coruscant.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "You mask your emotions well, Lieutenant. And you are clearly a survivor. Both traits that Darth Vader seems to value greatly."
- ―Moff Trachta
Laurita Tohm's most prominent traits were his ambition and his drive to succeed. His desire for success was great enough to overcome the devastating accident he suffered during the Clone Wars, which left him blind in one eye, disfigured, and with only one remaining arm. His initial dreams of being a pilot destroyed by his disfigurement, he endeavored to instead become the most successful naval officer that he could be, and succeeded in graduating as valedictorian from the Raithal Academy. When it came to voicing his opinion, he did not shy away even from the presence of Darth Vader or Trachta.
Due to his deformities, Tohm was insecure about his appearance, especially around members of the opposite sex. When it came to social activities, he was easily convinced by his friends, while he took personal charge in academic or military situations. When talking to Shonn Volta on manners of her military record or their plans to save Coruscant, he was bold, but became embarrassed when confronted with her tragic history and especially her hints at attraction to him.
Tohm was incredibly loyal to the Empire. Even when faced by the betrayal of his best friends and his personal hero, Headmaster Gentis, Tohm's loyalty did not waver. Instead, he created a new hero for himself in the personage of Vader. During their time together, Tohm attempted to show both his abilities and loyalty to Vader in any way he could, even committing acts—such as murder—that he found horrific. His admiration for the Dark Lord manifested itself in his wish for Force-sensitivity, and would ultimately be his undoing. Trusting Vader implicitly, he had not learned the lesson that Gentis's betrayal could have taught him, and instead was murdered by his hero.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Dark Times 23: Fire Carrier, Part 1 (Appears in hologram)
- Star Wars: Dark Times 28: A Spark Remains, Part 1 (Appears in hologram)