Second Chance - SWEMPIRENJ

Gar's Journal - Entry Three

Iza Tuh. The first time we met during medical school, we had an instant bond, an immediate chemistry. Surely it had something to do with us both being Duros, but it was more than that. We shared a passion for learning, a drive to be the best, and a desire to make the galaxy a better place through medicine. For the years during schooling, we became like brothers. We studied together, took classes together, went to social events together, and we even dated twin sisters at one point. (He insisted he had the prettier one even though they were identical.) The class work and exams were difficult and stressful, but Iza and I stuck together and managed to excel among our classmates.

When he falsely implicated me in the cheating scandal mere weeks before graduation, I was devastated. I felt like everything was a lie, that his drive to be the best had slowly transformed into a jealousy of my better grades and the relationships I had formed with several of the faculty. When I was expelled from school, I hated him. He took away what I’d been working for my whole life – to become a respected doctor who was able to help people while continuing to explore and unlock the wonders of medical science.

It didn’t take long to discover that despite my lack of a formal medical license, I would have no trouble finding work. When dealing with people who are operating outside the law, they couldn’t care less about a piece of paper saying I’m allowed to practice medicine. They just care how quickly I can pull that metal slug out of their leg, get them sewn up, and get them back on the job. I met and helped some real lowlifes, but I also was able to help some truly good people who had been dealt a raw deal in life and needed a break.

After seeing many of the less fortunate people out there, and having a fair share of success as an outlaw doctor, I slowly came to realize how lucky I was. I was able to go places, see things, and meet amazing people that I never would have had the chance to had I graduated from med school and settled in to the mundane life of a normal doctor. I decided to forgive Iza, to let go of the bitterness, and to focus more on the future than the past. When a particular job on Coruscant led to joining the crew of the Second Chance, my life became more exciting than ever. Iza had become an afterthought, an unimportant footnote of a past I had put behind me.

Then I got that call from the Wookiee pleading with me to help save Iza’s life. The memories came flooding back. The pain, the betrayal, the bitterness. I even lashed out at my crewmates, saying I could have had a much more luxurious life if it hadn’t been for Iza. (Which is true, but I would never trade that life for this one now.) Why would the person who betrayed me expect me to help him? Who was this Wookiee? Was Iza’s life really at stake? I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to pretend the call never happened and leave that part of my life behind, but something in the Wookiee’s eyes, in her voice, wouldn’t allow me to let it go. I convinced the crew this was something I had to do, and we headed to Kashyyyk.

With Iza encased in carbonite to slow down the progress of the disease he was infected with, the Wookiee told me the story. Iza framed me to save me from the Empire, she said. He had overheard some administrators talking about how the Imperials would come to the school and snatch up the top students and force them to work for the Empire. Having heard of some of the awful things the Empire had done, Iza decided to save me the only way he thought he could – by getting me expelled with the fabricated cheating allegations. He sacrificed himself to the Empire to save me, and now his work for the Empire – creating biological weapons – had put his life at risk.

I let the Wookiee’s words sink in. I thought about it long and hard, and I decided it was the only explanation that made sense. After all we had been through and shared, there was no logical explanation for his betrayal. This explanation made sense. It had to be true. I knew it was true. With conviction that I absolutely had to save Iza now, I convinced my crew that we had to do this job and find the cure for Iza and the horrible disease he created for the Empire.

And we did. We traveled to Ithor, we slayed zombies, we fought off Imperials, and we saved Iza Tuh. With his research notes and the rare ingredients, I concocted the cure, revived him from carbonite, and administered the drug. When his vital signs still showed signs that the disease was spreading, I cut him open and performed surgery. I almost lost him, but managed to stop the internal bleeding and he pulled through.

When he regained consciousness, Iza thanked me and told me that he knew I would come for him. He told me the same story the Wookiee told me – that he had gotten me expelled to save me from the Empire, that he had been snatched up by the Imperials and forced to work on horrific projects like this one that turned living beings into zombies. Iza looked me in the eye and told me he did it to save me. I felt like I had been reunited with a long lost brother. I was happy to know that he didn’t truly betray me, and humbled by his sacrifice to save me from the Empire. He stayed on Kashyyyk to recover and help spread the cure to any remaining infected beings roaming the forest, and I departed to find the next adventure with my crew.

A few days later, the Imperial Holonet news item appeared. We were being blamed for creating the disease that spread throughout Kashyyyk, and our previous ruse of faking our own deaths was exposed. Not only that, but the Wookiees who we had befriended were murdered by Imperials who were supposedly eradicating the planet of the disease. And, to take things from bad to worse, the article itself was written by Iza Tuh. It had been a lie. It was all a lie. He had told me the first betrayal wasn’t what it seemed, and I believed it. But this time there was no mistaking it. He spelled it out in plain basic for the whole galaxy to see. He had exposed us, and accused us of crimes we didn’t commit.

So I sit here in my quarters on the Second Chance, typing this all out, trying to make sense of it, hoping that some how, some way, by writing it all down, it will be therapeutic. It’s not working. There is only one thing on my mind now: Revenge. This time, it wasn’t just me that Iza betrayed, it was my entire crew. He massacred the innocent Wookiees. He’s put anybody and everybody we’ve ever had contact with in danger. No, this time I will not find a way to forgive and forget and move on with my life.

Before I joined this crew, I had never shot a gun. Since everyone else had one, and we seemed to get into a fair amount of situations where blaster fire erupted, I got myself one. I’d never gotten very good at it, focusing more on patching people up than blowing holes in people. I think it’s time that I learn to use this thing. I’m going to ask Utut and Gastro for some tips on aiming. Tiro ought to be able to take his hydrospanner to my gun and make it a little more deadly. I never thought I’d see the day when I was looking forward to learning how to kill rather than heal, but here I am.

We just finished a job helping our former crewmate K’ladarien capture, torture, and assassinate an Imperial Governor who had killed his friend. When he left our crew, it was because he had a lead on tracking down the Imperial. At the time, I thought it must have been a very dark place for him to be, with that deep desire for revenge. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so consumed with hate, so obsessed with vengeance. Now I understand.

Iza Tuh. The last time we meet, I will look him in the eyes and put a blaster bolt right between them. I will not rest until he is dead, even if that means taking on the entire Empire.

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