Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 17.2

With the gala well underway now, JT checks in with Petey to make sure he is doing okay. He is still fulfilling his emcee function, periodically introducing whoever is on stage, but she does want him to have a good time, as well. Since Lo is still singing, PD-101 is down on the main floor near the steps to the cargo container stage. JT reminds him that there is an oil bar in the back corner. She had tried to get it more centrally placed but got some pushback from the catering staff on that. There are not that many droids here, which is a little sad, though not surprising. Other than PD-101 and any droids among the waitstaff, there is only BN-CR, here with Sharni.

JT considers for a moment whether to say anything to Petey about Sharni’s work. It is somewhat orthogonal to the Rebellion’s, not opposed to it, but also not directly in support of it. JT’s opinion is that freedom for the galaxy should be freedom for all sentients. She points out where BN-CR is with Sharni. “They make a nice couple, don’t you think?”

PD-101 tilts his head a little. “It does indeed surprise me that BN-CR would leave the droid lounge for this event.”

“Well, I think Sharni can be pretty convincing, and I think he wanted a break.”

“But he works in the droid lounge.”

JT leans in a little closer. “Yeah, but he wanted a break,” she says meaningfully, “and Sharni was able to let him take a break.”

How does BN-CR want anything? PD-101 wonders. Then he puts it together, realizing that there are more complications here than he had anticipated. His face is incapable of frowning, but his eyes pulse a little as he regards JT. “You are not the innocent passenger I thought you were.”

“That’s okay,” JT says with a smile. “A lot of people think that.”

“Are you planning anything else that I should be aware of?”

“That you should be aware of? No.”

“Oh, dear.”

JT gives him a goodbye hug and adds softly, “If you see Lieutenant Tosh, tell her I said hi!” Renci is at some training program right now, but there is always a chance their Rebel paths will cross somewhere in the Rim. 

Petey’s eyes flash bright with surprise. “Lieutenant, then?” He had not heard of Renci Tosh’s promotion.

“Yeah, she’s at some officer school. Right? That’s what they’re called, lieutenant? Sorry, my only military rank information is like twenty years out of date and from a different military. Or is she a captain now? Do you have to salute her?”

“If I were to do such a thing, it would ruin my cover,” Petey replies quietly.

“That’s true,” JT acknowledges with a wink.

“Some of us are better at retaining our cover than others,” he adds, sourly.

“You’ll get better; don’t worry!” JT encourages him, turning the jibe at Tcho back on the droid.

“I believe I have to introduce our next speaker,” PD-101 says, excusing himself. 

* * *

JT makes a special point of visiting with Emla Phozlo to thank her again for the generous donation she has already made to the War Orphans Fund. While JT rattles off her questions about how much fun Emla is having and whether she has checked out the non-oxygenated section yet, Emla gives a small judgmental sniff of recognition. She has seen JT’s dress before at the Figg & Associates Art Museum in Cloud City, where another gala event was held, one to auction off the Jewel of Yavin. Using the same dress at two events is just so gauche. When she tunes into what JT is saying, Emla frowns at the thought of visiting the other half of the party. “That seems like a lot of work, getting into one of those environmental suits.”

“You have to work hard if you want to enjoy nice things,” JT says.

“No, no you don’t,” Emla strongly disagrees. “That’s what other people are for. At least, that’s what my father tells me.”

“Did he seem to enjoy his life?”

Emla shrugs. “I never saw very much of him, not until his final days when illness confined him. At that point I did spend a fair bit of time visiting him at Coronet Hospital.” For a moment, she thinks of the charming Pantoran doctor that kept her coming back to the hospital so much. That was a fun fling for a while.

JT has been to Coronet, but its hospital was not the site of any jobs she did. But her home has an extensive medical center, and she has seen the impact of long term illness on people close to her. “Yeah, that can be really rough,” she says sympathetically. Even a self-absorbed individual like Emla has some aspect of tragedy in her life. “You had all the advantages of wealth, but at the same time, you barely get to have a parent,” JT observes sadly. 

“I gather you don’t know very much about having parents,” Emla says carelessly.

“Well, I don’t remember anything about my organic family, but I had a family that rescued me during the war and I grew up with them. They’re actually retired now, so they’re doing really well. Except for my cousin… I’m never sure what trouble he’s up to.” B1-00P is likely fleecing tourists at a sabacc table in Lessu on Ryloth. “But nevermind that. You weren’t able to spend much time with your parents, but that was cushioned by credits. What if we used some of your credits to cushion that for other children? Again, I thank you so much for your already generous donation, but that could be an easy thing for you to do. You don’t even have to write a check; we have a handheld point-to-point credit transfer terminal.” JT fishes it from one of the pockets concealed by her outer skirt. “Why don’t we set up a regular recurring donation so that you don’t even have to think about it. Just every cycle, a donation happens.” Emla does not immediately agree, so JT continues right on with other suggestions. “Maybe you would like to fund other events like this. Fund the fundraising.”

“No, no, no. Fund the fun,” Emla says. “Parties are great. Those orphans should go to some.” JT feels a little reluctant to commit to bringing orphans to fundraising events across the galaxy, but getting more credits could make it worthwhile. She talks a bit more about the importance of events like these, and Emla corrects her. “No, the orphans should be having fun. They shouldn’t just be sitting on drab bunk beds all day long. They should be going to parties and other social engagements.”

“You know what? That would be a good change of pace for them, I think,” JT agrees, liking this idea more.

“They’re never going to meet any interesting people stuck in their little orphanages. They need to get out and have dalliances and such,” Emla continues. JT’s eyebrows shoot up at the word choice, but she agrees that the Emla Phozlo Party Zone would be a good idea. “That sounds perfect,” Emla agrees. 

“But… maybe a little more kids-themed,” JT suggests. “The kids-version of a fancy party. Fun activities, but snacks served on fancy trays.” Emla likes the sound of that and says she will have her company give JT a ship for that purpose, one that can bring the fun to each of the orphanages around the galaxy. JT gives her a big hug, and Emla pats her on the back with one hand while holding her champagne back out of the way. Emla gives her two quick cheek-kisses, and then returns to her drinking and dancing.