Resh Hour | Scene 4.4

Beyond the trapped door, Renci and Renn find what looks to be an engineering room. There are chairs and desks but also a break area in the corner with some couches and cabinets, even a sink. There are still research notes lying around. As Renci goes through the logs, she comments on how awful it all sounds. She reads off some of the techniques tried: “Changing the size of the room, flooding it, making it super bright, setting it in darkness. All things to make one question reality. Giving the same food for days, then changing just one flavor…”

“And then not bringin’ any food at’all fer days…” Renn says.

She looks up at him and notes that he still seems very shaken. “All these things… did they do these to you?”

“Aye…” Renci continues look at him, and he realizes she expects him to continue. Where to begin, he wonders. “Did JT tell ya anything about Dathomir?” The members of Desert Rose Solutions have a tendency to overshare, so Renci might already have part of the story.

Renci says that JT did not tell her much, just that they were going there to do something specific, something related to Renn, like… getting him, was it? “Why were you on Dathomir?” she asks back.

“That’s a very complicated story…” He pauses again, trying to choose an approach. Renci does not seem to know about his sister Zikka and probably does not know anything about Force stuff. Renn decides to simplify his explanations and leave out those sorts of details. “I first tried ta desert from the Army years ago. It didna work as well that time.”

“But you got through it, Amulet, and you were able to do some great things,” Renci says, trying to be encouraging by referring to Renn’s Rebel record. As far as she knows, he is just on some sort of extended medical leave right now.

Renn looks uncomfortable. “Don’ call me that.”

“Why not? Amulet was a hero.”

Renn shakes his head. “Both sides of a war have propaganda. If ya heard that, it was what yer side wanted ya ta believe, and that has nothin’ ta do with me. What makes Amulet a hero?”

Renci starts rattling off a list: all the intel he got to help them take the Vigilant, the information that led to the successful raid on Camp Gesaril, the resulting freedom for a variety of Rebels who were among the prisoners on that asteroid, all the other people that can now be helped because of the medical research that was recovered….

“Collectin’ that Gesaril information was all under duress,” Renn says.

Renci is not buying it. “No one was holding a gun to your head,” she shoots back.

“That is exactly what they were doin’!” Renn tells Renci that he made a deal with the Rebels years ago: he provided them information in exchange for help finding his sister. He thought maybe she was a Rebel, and they could locate her for him. However, when it became clear that she was not with them, and he wanted to end the deal, they would not let him. They threatened to turn him in to his superiors.

That makes no sense to Renci. After all, the Rebellion helps people with all sorts of good causes. She knows they even recently set up a task force to help some of JT’s friends investigate Dark Force users. Renci suggests that maybe Renn misinterpreted something. “They wouldn’t turn you in for real. It was just a bluff.” She offers to look into what happened, if Renn can tell her the officer, and then maybe she can straighten it out and he can join back up again.

“I’m not interested in workin’ fer them. It was no misinterpretation. Vault specifically threatened ta turn me in ta the ISB. And it was no bluff. Vault gave me a name ta check, of another officer who was reported by an ‘anonymous tip.’ I was in interrogations, in prisons, fer m’ work. I was easily able ta look him up and see what had become of him.”

Renci has met Vault. She knows how driven it is, and the lengths to which it is willing to go. She grants that Renn very well could have been treated as he described if Vault was his handler but points out that the Empire is trying to enslave the entire Verpine species. She reiterates the value of what Renn did for the Rebellion. “Even if it’s not entirely true, the story of Amulet, we need that. So… thank you for your service. You’ve done your part, and you deserve your rest. Some people have a choice to fight in this war, and some don’t. It’s for those who personally feel like they don’t have a choice, to fight for those who do.”

Renn digests that for a moment, and then asks, “Why are ya doin’ this?”

“The Empire ruined everything I ever knew. My family, my entire life, the city I grew up in. All gone,” she says matter-of-factly. “I can’t let that happen to anyone else. It’s going to, but I have to do whatever I can to stop them. I don’t know what’s going to happen after this war… but for me, it’s personal. I have no choice. But you still have a family. You should spend as much time with them as you can. You should give your mom a call when we get back.”

Renci grows more reflective. “It’s like with JT. She’s not a soldier, so I don’t try to recruit her. Just like I’m not a criminal, so I don’t take part in her organization. JT’s got a family; she’s got to take care of them. They already fought their war, so it’s up to me to fight this one… however I can.”

Renn acknowledges that he does think the Rebellion is necessary, and that he knows only too well the horrible things the Empire does. “But I’m done fightin’; I’m tired of war. When we talked about this job, it was about exploration.”

“You’re not a soldier anymore. I understand. I don’t need to tell anyone who it is that I’m working with. We can stick with you being a driver and a doorman.”

And with that, they turn their attention to dealing with all the bruises and scrapes they have accumulated along the way.