- "...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, a male Human, was an Imperial Cadet who graduated on Coruscant in 19 BBY. As the valedictorian of the Raithal Academy, he was promptly promoted to Lieutenant. 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.
- "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, 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 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 withing 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 fighters. 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 coup
- "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 Prison
- "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.
Personality and traits
- "You mask your emotions well, Lieutenant. And you are clearly a survivor. Both traits that Darth Vader seems to value greatly."
- ―Moff Trachta
Tohm was the top of his class in his Imperial academy and had decent combat skills, and secretly docked hours in starfighter simulation. Tohm was very studious, and tried his best to impress his superiors. Shy and easily persuaded by his friends, Tohm often justified his actions by claiming to himself that they would benefit him in a professional manner. Tohm was well aware that his appearance was not aesthetically pleasing, and was discouraged from mingling with woman at an Imperial gala.
When the Gentis coup began, Tohm was devastated by the traitorous actions of his friends and his hero, and immediately sided with Vader and the Emperor, making service to Vader his new goal in life. He did not hesitate in combat, and was able to ably fight against trained Imperial officers, Jedi training droids, and security droids alike. He also attempted to touch the Force at one point, and was embarrassed when his attempts were discovered by Trachta.