In the game, Carth experiences a miraculous turn-around in a short amount of time after the Leviathanconcerning his feelings for Revan. This is my attempt to explain and understand how he came to love her again.
The shouting was over, but not the scowling. Everyone seemed to have a special sour look for him. Even the astromech droid had run over his foot, and the agitated blat that followed was clearly not an apology. So I'm the bad guy now? he thought with astonished incredulity. He didn't like being the bad guy, especially when he damn well didn't deserve it. He had forgotten what it was like… to be liked. His command and rank forced others to spend time with him, follow orders, be polite, share meals, laugh at his pitiful jokes when he dared attempt one. But he could tell they didn't actually like him. He had made it that way; kept everyone at arm's length. But this crew, if he could call them that, didn't follow orders, and they got close to him, close enough to get under his skin. And he liked it. But now… Something else she took away from me… Tired of sulking in the cockpit, watching the swirling blue of hyperspace wash over the ship, he got up and stalked into the corridor.
Mission and Zaalbar were playing Pazaak, as always, taking up the entire main hold table with the game. They both looked up at him, their previous smiles dissolving into accusatory glares. Big Z turned away first; clearly he was beneath the wookiee's contempt. But Mission continued to stare him down, her eyes narrowing, her jaw clenching. He stiffened instantly: how could she just ignore it all? Just forget everything that woman did, just shrug it off and accept it? What, a few nice gestures here and there, that's all it takes? And all is forgiven? He had already tried to reason with the girl, and knew it was a lost cause to try to start it up again. Her mind was set, and he only hoped it didn't cost her in the end. He'd look out for her, as best he could, given the circumstances… You know, with a homicidal monster in the cargo bay. Her eyes continued to drill through him; her anger chilled his bones. He hung his head and stuffed his fists deeper into his pockets as he made for the closest door out of there. Why am I the only one who sees the problem here? I wasn't the one who turned traitor, who killed innocents, burned worlds, like Telos…
Canderous looked up from the workbench as he entered. His usual scathing expression was gone: he was happy. Yes, genuinely pleased. In contrast to the others, he offered a smile: an eerie half-grin where his lips moved only partially due to a long-faded scar. He knew what the Mandalorian's smirk meant—and it bothered him. No, it bothered him that it bothered him. Why should I care? He can have her, they were meant for each other… But at that thought, instinctively, despite himself, he shot back a look of silent warning: a predatory, possessive… and confused expression, which caused his caustic scowl to lose all its menace and intensity. Ordo's howling laughter chased him down the hall.
He saw the food tray first, on the floor in front of the sealed door. That door hadn't opened since she locked herself in. It was quiet now, but the rumble and thump of storage cylinders being thrown around and the inhuman shrieking still floated in his memory. That was a couple days ago, at least. The food had gone cold, and now gone bad. Mission must have left it there, or Juhani, maybe… well, anyone could have, really. Except me.
"Observation: This is the fifth time in four hours you have approached this room, meatbag. Statement: I suggest you remove your annoying presence before I determine you are a threat to the Master."
"Don't you have anything better to do than stand here, HK?" he returned sharply.
"Answer: Negative. My primary function is to protect and serve Master. As I have not been instructed, regrettably, to kill anything, I will remain here. Query: Is not your primary function to pilot this ship? Observation: You seem derelict in that duty; perhaps some percussive maintenance is in order." HK raised the sniper rifle to rest threateningly in both hands. The eyes flickered before steadying into a solid glowing red, trained at the pilot.
He shook his head and ignored the droid as he reached up and pounded on the door. "Hey! A couple hours before we reach Yavin-4. We need parts for repairs, and since you're the only one that crazy Rodian will talk to, I guess you're gonna have to come outta there… Revan," he added with bitterness as he turned to leave.
"Don't call me that, Carth." The voice was small, but defiant. He hadn't expected her to answer, actually, and he stumbled a little. Hearing her say his name, it made his heart skip, made his blood burn slightly under the skin of his neck, made his legs wobble and weaken. She sounded so lost, so innocent… so, the same. But she wasn't. Nothing was the same now, and it never could be again. Maybe that was what he was mad at the most: he didn't want to know, he preferred the lie. He spun back towards the door, anger twisting his haggard face.
"Why not! That's your name, isn't it? Revan, Darth Revan to be precise," he growled viciously.
"That's who I was…" the voice whispered back.
"That's who you are… just ask your damn assassin droid out here!" Carth stole a glance towards the machine: it seemed to stand even taller with pride at the mention of its favored protocol. "Just because you conveniently forgot your reign of terror…" he spat. The door slid open, and there she was… sorta. She wasn't what he remembered, what he expected. He almost thought Lord Revan, in full mask and battle robes would appear, not this frail, gaunt, haunted creature. Her outer robe was gone, the simple under tunic was shredded and hung from her in tatters. Her exposed skin was covered in bruises and clawed scratches; dried blood caked under her nails. Her hair was a majestic frizzle, and some patches were clearly missing. "What the hell have you done!" he blurted. Even at his darkest, he never thought of doing what she had done to herself. Sure, he briefly considered ending it all, but never this. Never. Unable to look at her any longer, Carth scanned quickly behind her, taking in the cargo bay. Not a single storage bin remained upright: some had been melted to slag, most just dented and tossed into the far corner. Scorch marks snaked along the bulkheads and deck plating. Near the center of the room he saw a small pile of ash, no doubt the remains of her Jedi robe, a charred lightsaber hilt poking oddly from the mound. He thought she had locked herself in here to hide, to avoid them all, avoid dealing with it. Carth realized it was to protect them. He wondered if she had held back: it certainly didn't look like it, but hell, she was Revan: she probably could have blown up the whole damned ship with a thought if she wanted. But she didn't. She took it out, on herself.
At his words, she looked up, and traced his gaze past her shoulder, into the room. "I'll clean it up," she said softly, misunderstanding his outburst.
"To yourself! What have you done?" he sputtered, still avoiding her.
"Ah, well, sorry I stole your chance to personally punish me. Does this meet with your standards of discipline?" She stretched her arms outward to either side, her ripped and bloodied tunic hanging by threads.
"Dammit, woman! That's not what I meant. There was no need… there are rules…" he rambled. "You will be tried by the Republic for your crimes," he said at last, falling back into the comfortable domain of what he knew as right, just and infallible.
"Like you tried Saul?" She did try to say it evenly, but it shot out with a sarcastic hiss. Carth became rigid, his chin jutting forth as he ground his teeth. She dares call me a hypocrite?
"You will be turned over to the proper Republic authorities at the earliest convenience. However, you are essential to this mission and I intend to see it through. We need to get that last Star map and rescue Bastila. But know this: I'll be watching you, Revan." Again, the name was forced from him, angry and through gritted teeth, as if it hurt to say the word. It does.
"I'm not that… person… anymore." Her words returned his attention to her face. Her mouth was set in a hard thin line, the upper lip split and scabbed over. Her eyes were sunken, dark and hollow, both empty and tired, but clouded with annoyance, anger, shame, and grief. "That's not what I am now. That's not what I choose to be."
"Choose? Choose!" Carth exploded, his initial shock wiped away in an instant. "You didn't choose any of this! What choice did you have after the Jedi cleaned you out, removed the stained past you created? What you wanted was taken away, replaced with what they wanted instead, so how can you claim any of this as your own? You didn't change your mind, you lost it… twice! The first time was when you came back, a traitor, conqueror, a savage butcher…" He was actually trembling, quivering with rage.
"Statement: Do continue, meatbag. I believe this line of descriptives will remind my Master of the glorious path once followed. Remembrance: Ah, the sweet symphony of weapons discharging, meatbags screaming in abject terror and pain, bones breaking, sinew snapping…"
"Enough!" she yelled. Her face had paled even whiter, and she looked as if she would lose the battle of fighting back against the bile rising in her throat. After a deep breath, she slowly opened her eyes and focused on Carth, locking him in her stare. "What do you want me to say, Carth? What do you want from me? No matter how it came to be, no matter how I got here, here is where I am and what I am. I can't go back, and I don't want to go back."
"Nice speech, but it doesn't erase or excuse all you've done, reverse the crimes, revive the dead. Too bad they didn't catch you sooner and fix you, before my…" He didn't know how it happened, or when: just suddenly, there it was: his own blaster, in his own hand, pointed directly at her forehead.
"Go ahead, Carth. Do it. My life for hers. It is all I have to offer you, the best I can do. Saul's blood wasn't enough, I understand, he was just following orders. You need to take out the ones truly responsible. Malak is next, and your vengeance is complete."
"Stop this," he growled, his arm shaking. He was unable to move, no matter how hard he strained: his hand remained locked in position, the blaster almost resting against her skin. He felt cold metal press against his temple, the pressure increasing until his head began to tilt despite his best efforts to resist.
"Statement: I assure you, organic, my reflexes and response time far exceed your own. While it would please me to no end to watch your meatbag components splatter across every surface, I understand I would be the one to clean up the mess you would make, and I prefer to avoid janitorial duties at this time. Suggestion: Lower your weapon, now."
"HK, stand down," she answered with way too much calm than Carth would have liked. "The Commander is only doing his duty." His heart sank when she referred to him as his rank. He felt an extra shove before the barrel was removed.
"Observation: Today appears to be your lucky day, meatbag… for the moment."
"Isn't that right, Commander? You said Revan and Malak deserved a blaster to the head. Be careful what you wish for…"
"Just, stop… you know I don't want this…" he hissed between clenched teeth.
"Really? You know how that Jedi mind trick works; you know the strong-minded cannot be persuaded into doing anything against their will, so this must be all you. Pull the trigger, end this."
"Looking for the easy way out, huh?" he snarled. Instantly his hand dropped, his arm nearly swinging into the wall behind him from the force he had been exerting to pull it away from her. He almost dropped the blaster, but managed to slip it quickly into its holster, relief spreading through him that the weapon was out of his hand.
"Huh?" He looked back to her, confused.
"You said two hours before we land at the Yavin-4 orbital."
"Yeah, about that much," he answered, still dazed by the abrupt change in topic.
"Then I better get ready." With that she pushed him away and stormed up the hall. Juhani was there, her lightsaber in hand. She carefully clipped it back to her belt and received Revan with a protective arm around her shoulder. All the while, the Cathar's angry gaze never left him. He was now so used to seeing narrowed eyes glowering at him, he didn't even notice. But he certainly heard the threatening, guttural growl before she turned and ushered Revan towards the women's quarters. The next thing he knew, a metallic elbow had crushed into his chest, pinning him to the wall.
"Warning: My audio receptors appear to be developing a fault. Due to this mysterious malfunction, next time I may be unable to hear the Master's orders concerning your release. That would be most unfortunate." HK stared at him. "Statement: I do so hate janitorial duty." The droid resumed its clanking march after its master.
Carth pulled his jacket straight as he took a deep breath. Deciding it was better to go in the opposite direction to avoid following them, he turned, only to see Canderous thumbing a setting on his repeater, then shouldering the weapon before returning to the work room, that twisted semi-smirk pasted on his face the entire time. Carth dropped his head, bumping his chin to his chest as he plotted the quickest route to the men's bunks, regardless of who would be in the way—as long as it wasn't the Mandalorian.
"She turned on friends and allies, she slaughtered whole worlds, she powered the Sith, caused good men to turn…" he muttered under his breath as he whisked into the bunkroom. "But they all want to kill me?" He jerked open his footlocker and unbuckled his holsters, settling them deep into the unit and covering them before slamming the lid and activating the lock.
"Good plan, son."
Carth jumped at the voice. "Dammit, Jolee, don't sneak up on me like that!"
"Sneak? Sneak? Do I look like I'm sneaking? I've been here all day. I'm just sitting here, minding my own business," Jolee returned, mockingly indignant. He was perched on his bunk, folded into a meditation pose. He faced straight ahead, his eyes closed; only his voice acknowledged Carth's presence in the room.
"You, minding your own business? That'll be the day!"
"Hmmph. I was better off with the tachs and the trees."
"No argument from me on that one. I'll be glad to swing by Kashyyyk and drop you out… I mean off," he said with a sly grin.
"Bah, don't know why I bother with you people."
"Why do you, Jolee… bother with us?" he asked, becoming serious. "You knew, about her, what she is; so are you here to watch her, keep her in line?"
"Phhht. Do I look like a babysitter? I'm here to see what happens, swirling destiny and all. Great show so far. You brood well." Jolee winked at him; Carth shot him a withering scowl. "See, that's what I mean, right there! I think you outdid the whole Jedi Council with that one, son. Good job!"
"I'm glad you find this so amusing. You know, I don't need this…" he grumbled as he started for the door.
"I understand T3 was recalibrating his targeting sensor array. I bet he'd get both feet next time," Jolee said nonchalantly, his eyes still closed. Carth stopped and looked down at his dented and scuffed boot: tread marks were still visible and probably always would be. Carth sighed and threw himself onto his bunk.
"I suppose sitting here and being insulted is better than being threatened. I'll take the lesser of the two evils, though I don't deserve either."
"Oh, you don't, eh?" Jolee asked, one eye prying open slightly.
"Now what's that supposed to mean? I seem to be the only voice of reason on this ship! We have a Sith Lord, no, THE Sith Lord, on board, and no one seems to be concerned!"
"Former Sith Lord…" Jolee corrected.
"She's still Darth Revan! She didn't give up that title, she didn't renounce it; she isn't redeemed if she doesn't choose…"
"What makes you think this isn't her choice?"
"The Jedi Council wiped her mind! Put in their perfect padawan formula: of course she will be good…now." She has no choice.
"Her memories are gone, Carth, not her personality, not her drive, her intentions, her ability to make a decision."
"She decided to be the Dark Lord of the Sith. Just because her memory is selective at the moment…"
"Revan's not the only one here with a selective memory," Jolee returned; his eyes opened slowly, wearily, realizing this was gonna take a while.
"Well, I'm glad someone else sees that! Mission's out there cheering her on, Zaalbar's re-devoting himself, Juhani is building a shrine…"
"I was talking about YOU, son," Jolee grumped.
"Me? I'm the one recalling her whole dark side episode: the others are ignoring…"
"And you're ignoring what she was before that, and what she is now. She fell, Carth; the Jedi picked her up. I don't agree with their method, but it gave her a second chance."
"A second chance? Why the hell does she get a second chance?"
"She isn't the only one who got help outta this… Look around this ship, son. Everyone here got a new life because of her, maybe even a better one."
"My wife didn't get a second chance…" his voice trailed, the anger melting into sadness. "And I wouldn't have needed that second chance if she were still alive."
"Listen Carth, I know what you're feeling, I lost my wife too. Twice, actually, and her death didn't hurt half as bad as when I lost her to the darkness."
"My wife didn't fall… I didn't lose her to the dark side," Carth returned with anger and confusion, his patience quickly fading.
"No, but you could lose her that way," Jolee answered, nodding his head towards the door. "Ya know, Carth, you aren't helping things here. You saw what she did to herself—I could feel it through the Force; that's a special kind of hate right there. You'd think it would be impossible to hurt her worse than what she had already done… but you managed it, didn't you?"
"What the hell did you expect me to do? Give her a hug? She's Revan… Darth Revan!" Carth spat back defensively.
"I think you need to hear about this certain palace. It was a really nice one, only one of its kind, special…"
"You're not going to treat me to one of your tired old stories now, are you?" Jolee considered Carth with a hard stare. "I mean, I don't deserve that kind of punishment, do I?" Carth groused.
"Hmmph," Jolee grumbled with a deep breath. "No, I won't give you the story: I'm going to spell it out in plain Basic because you're thicker than a wroshyr tree and we don't have time for you to figure things out on your own." Carth remained silent, his face a mixture of relief and offense. "You're not much of a people person…I can tell, I'm perceptive that way. So, let me put it to you in a way you can relate to. Tell me, Carth, you like this ship, don't ya?"
"Yeah," he blurted, caught off guard by the odd and out of place question. "The Hawk's a good little ship, glad to be piloting her, especially for this mission."
"Uh huh… but you know Davik was running slaves and spice in it for The Exchange, don't you?"
"Yeah, so? What of it?" Carth was trying desperately to understand. If this was Jolee's idea of "plain Basic," he was doubly happy the story was canceled.
"Well, you and Revan and the rest of that crazy team out there kicked them out, took over and now you are racing to save the galaxy in the same ship. So, how do you feel about piloting a slave-and-spice-smuggling vessel?"
"What? This isn't a slaver… we aren't doing that!"
"Are you trying to deny its past? Everyone knows what this ship is, a spice smuggling slave runner—they take one look at the Hawk and they know. The fact that you are doing good deeds with this ship now does not erase the fact that it had once done shady business for The Exchange."
"The ship didn't do that Jolee, the people onboard were responsible."
"So you should not be taken into custody for smuggling because you are flying the ship now and all that happened before you took over?"
"Exactly," Carth answered.
"Exactly!" Jolee repeated with enthusiasm as he looked to Carth expectantly. Blank befuddlement greeted him. Jolee paused to sigh, then continued. "What if the Exchange thugs show up and try to take the ship back?"
"Let 'em try; this is our ship now, we'll send them packing."
"All of us, the whole team, right?"
"Well, yeah," Carth answered with an of course shrug.
"That means you too, son. Get with the team." Jolee set his jaw and closed his eyes—and waited. But I am part of the team, we agree on everything, except…
"Revan's the ship…" Carth breathed softly, realization creeping through him at last.
"Hmmph, maybe you aren't that dumb after all," Jolee conceded. Carth ignored the barb as he stood and paced the room with great agitation.
"I can't just forget or forgive what happened," he muttered. How can I? Those crimes still happened, no matter who is responsible. How do they expect me to get past that?
"And you shouldn't, Carth. What she did was terrible, inexcusable. Dark side's a bad place to be, makes you do horrible things. That isn't what we… what SHE is expecting of you. She needs help, Carth… help to keep the bad from coming back and taking over. That's a test she can't pass by herself; no one could. She's gonna need our support, our friendship and our trust—all of us." Trust. I did trust her… I do… I want to…
Carth nodded silently as he stared at the far bulkhead. "I promised to protect her," he said quietly. "But, now…" How do you protect Darth Revan? From herself?
"Nothing's changed about her, Carth: she's the same woman you made that promise to. She hasn't been Darth Revan since Malak fired on her ship… and that was long before you entered the picture," Jolee answered as if reading Carth's thoughts. "She never lied to you, she never betrayed your confidence in her," Jolee added.
"I know that… now. I get it…" Carth answered, his back still turned. "It's just, I don't…" His voice was hesitant, uncertain. I don't know what I can do.
"Go ahead, son. Take that chance she offered. For yourself, and for her."
"I want to, Jolee, and I guess I always did. But, I'm a soldier, I trained how to fight, not…" Not how to redeem the fallen. I couldn't save myself, how can I fight for her?
"Not every battle is fought with a blaster in your hand, Carth. You'll find a way, son," Jolee continued. I told her I'd find a way; there's so much more at stake than I realized… I can't do this, not alone. "I know you're a fighter, she is too: together you can win this fight. If you have a reason to win, you will."
"A reason," Carth said as he turned to face Jolee. Now that I can do. "I will find a way," he announced with determination. He moved to the door, then paused and smiled.
"And I'll give her a reason."
Because she's given me one.