A Round Robin by:
Selinthia Avenchesca [Imperial
Valerie Vancollie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[Dark Jedi's Palpatine, Vader, and Luke sections]
Emperor Vader strode down
the corridor, his son at his side, speaking to the servant who hurried
along after both Royals.
"The delegation will be arriving
in the Imperial Hall in short hours. Make sure the Hall is readied for
The man nodded in agreement
and ran off quickly, already planning, even as Vader turned to Luke and
"Senator Organa has been
raised to her Father's post," there was no emotion in his voice, but a
sense of expectation hung in the air.
"Really?" Luke said in mock
surprise. "No one saw that coming," he muttered.
"Indeed," Vader replied,
"The Alderaanian councilors have been plotting for some time to raise her.
They believe she shall be more pliable than Bail."
"She's too idealistic," Luke
"That is true. But idealism
has caused much trouble indeed, many times. It was the rise and fall of
"Yes, well, at least the
smugglers free reign along the space ways will be aborted," Luke said,
pointing out a positive note to things.
"Han Solo has been chosen
as their representative for this gathering," Vader spoke sourly. "A former
Imperial Lieutenant. He was discharged for freeing a Wookie slave."
"Bloody traitor," Luke mumbled
as they reached the doors leading into the Throne Room.
Luke Skywalker looked up
sharply as he felt a disturbance in the Force. He immediately identified
it as anotherís Force presence, but he also knew that it was neither his
father's nor the Emperor's.
There were only two people
it could be, as there were only two Jedi that his father hadn't taken care
of yet. And since it was a human presence it had to be Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Just the thought of the man
sent a blinding rage through Luke. His father had often told him of the
Jedi's failed attempt to keep him hidden from his father and to raise him
as a Jedi. Not only that, but it was also Kenobi who was responsible for
his father's injuries.
Luke turned around, took
his lightsaber from his belt, and started walking east through the forest.
Before he had felt Obi-Wan's presence he had been heading for his TIE fighter
hidden in a clearing further into the forest. He had just finished a mission
for the Emperor, but he knew his master wouldn't mind if he was late because
he had killed Kenobi.
Then he focused his attention
at the matter at hand as he felt Obi-Wan sense him. He quickly moved forward
and soon he reached another clearing. To the left of the clearing a river
ran down some rocks and to the right there was a patch of warsperries bushes.
And right in front of him,
standing at the opposite end of the clearing, stood an older man dressed
in the robes of a Jedi, a lightsaber at his belt.
"Obi-Wan," Luke stated as
he stepped into the clearing, activating his emerald-green lightsaber.
"Luke," Obi-Wan replied instantly
recognizing the sixteen year old boy.
The Gathering in the Imperial
Hall was full to bursting. Vader surveyed them with a sense of both satisfaction
and disgruntlement. They were here, which was something, but the meetings
would be long and tiresome, of that there was no doubt. Luke was mingling
with the as yet unseated crowd, greeting guests that he found interesting
or amusing enough to mingle with.
There was Princess-Senator
Organa, looking aristocratic and self-righteous, as usual. Her eyes opened
wide in both irritation and indignation as Luke approached her with a mocking
smile, greeting her as though she were his best friend.
There, of course, was the
Representative from the planet Gerw with his attendance, sneering as his
peers, thinking himself above them. So long as he did not think himself
above Imperial influence, Vader did not care how much the man sneered,
Personally, however, aristocrats
A woman smiled as she saw
him, laughed and approached with a smile, perhaps hoping to acquire some
points with the--widowed--Emperor.
Vader grimaced inwardly and
awaited her approach. Ever since his wife had met her end, various noble
women across the Galaxy had tried for the eligible, and handsome, Imperial
Emperor. Vultures, one and all.
As Luke approached him Obi-Wan
reluctantly took his own lightsaber from his belt and activated it. He
didn't want to fight Luke, it wasn't Luke's fault that he was dark. It
was his fault.
Luke represented two failures
to Obi-Wan, his failure to train Anakin properly and his failure to keep
an innocent baby whose only fault were his genes safe from the evil ambitions
of the greedy Emperor. If he had been able to keep Luke safe then the boy
would have been able to grow up happily and free. Now instead he had grown
up in darkness, grown up as a slave to both Palpatine and the dark side.
Standing but a few feet in
front of Kenobi Luke raised his lightsaber, making ready to attack. Obi-Wan
reluctantly raised lightsaber, he had no idea what he was about to do but
he knew that he wouldn't be able to bring himself to strike down Luke,
no matter how dark the boy was.
At that moment Luke lunged
forward and caught Obi-Wan off guard. Obi-Wan quickly backed off and set
up a defensive position. They fought for a little, Luke delivering blow
after blow while Obi-Wan retreated not even trying to return Luke's attack.
"What's wrong?" Luke asked
after a short while, disgusted by Obi-Wan's refusal to fight him.
"I won't fight you," Obi-Wan
replied. "I'm not going to kill my friend's son."
"Father isn't your friend
old man," Luke said as his eyes blazed with anger. "Friends don't push
each other into lava pits."
Obi-Wan flinched at the accusation
and backed away as Luke once again lunged forward.
"Lord Vader isn't your father,"
he replied as he concentrated on blocking the boy's blows. "Anakin Skywalker
was, but he is dead. Your father is dead."
"No," Luke replied. "Anakin
is dead, but my father isn't."
With this Luke quickly changed
tactics and nearly managed to take off Obi-Wan's arm, almost. Obi-Wan quickly
changed back as he realized that he was going to have to do something or
be killed. But suddenly the image of last time he had been in the same
position rose to his mind.
He had been fighting Luke's
true father, Anakin. He had just turned to the dark side and he was trying
to get his student back. But Anakin had refused to listen him and he had
been forced to strike his student down or be killed himself. So he had
struk Anakin down, but when he had done so Anakin had slipped and fallen
into a pit full of cooling lava.
Now there were no pits of
lava, but Obi-Wan wanted to make sure that he didn't hurt Luke any more
then was necessary. But just as he was deciding on what to do Luke managed
to get past his guard and cut his lightsaber hand off at the wrist. He
called out in pain as he looked at his served arm.
Luke looked at him, a slow,
cold smile spreading across his face. He then brought his lightsaber up
under Obi-Wan throat.
"It is time for you to join
the other Jedi in death," he stated coldly but with a sense of pride. "But
first, where is Yoda?"
Obi-Wan just looked at the
boy he could have saved and trained. As he saw the pride and triumph in
the boy's eyes he closed his own eyes in sorrow. This was all his fault,
he had failed and Luke had paid the price. Anakin had fallen to the dark
side too, true, but Anakin had had a choice in that decision, Luke hadn't.
You are what you are raised to be.
"Where is Yoda?" Luke asked
again, an edge to his voice.
"I wouldn't betray Yoda,"
Obi-Wan replied opening his eyes. "And I'm sorry I failed both you and
At this Luke's anger boiled
over the top and he instantly brought his lightsaber down on the man he
hated more then any other in the galaxy.
As soon as the elevator door
opened Luke Skywalker stepped out of the elevator and into the throne room.
He then approached and ascended the stairs to find both his father and
his master waiting for him.
As soon as his son stopped
at the top of the stairs Vader saw the second lightsaber hanging from his
belt. As he looked at it he recognized it to be the lightsaber of his former
master and friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi. So his son had met with and defeated
the Jedi, good.
Sitting in his throne Emperor
Palpatine also noticed the second lightsaber at his apprentice's belt.
"Kenobi's?" he asked looking
expectantly at the boy standing before him.
"Yes, my master," Luke replied
as he unhooked the lightsaber from his belt and stepped forward to hand
it to his master.
"Good," Palpatine praised
as he looked at the lightsaber in his hands.
This meant that there was
only one Jedi left, namely Jedi Master Yoda. But Palpatine wasn't concerned
with the creature, he was an old Master and one who didn't even use a lightsaber.
Besides he had the most powerful person in the galaxy standing right in
front of him, ready to obey his every wish.
>From the moment Vader had
brought his new-born son before him, Palpatine had known the boy was strong,
stronger then even he was. Most people would have had the boy killed on
the spot once they learned about his potential, but Palpatine was not most
people. He had known that given the right training and upbringing Luke
wouldn't even think of trying to over throw him.
And so it had been done,
he had trained Luke with an iron fist, not allowing the boy even a chance
to think of double cross. And it had worked. Luke followed his every command
without ever complaining and he was in direct competition with his father
when it came to running the Imperial fleet.
As he put Kenobi's lightsaber
on the armrest of the throne Palpatine once again studied Luke. And, as
he had often done since the day he had decided to keep Luke alive, Palpatine
smiled to himself knowing that he had made the right decision.
"My leige, it is good to
see you well," the woman cooed at Vader.
"And why would I not be,
Lady Fer," the Emperor inquired archly.
"Why, Majesty, I have heard
of the recent assassination attempt. Awful, my Lord. Simply awful! It seems
that the Rebels have not been completely destroyed."
"Indeed. Sometimes it is
not necessary to look for a defeated Rebel faction in such incidents. There
are more than they who would see me dead. Contenders for the throne, for
The woman's eyes opened in
shock--supposedly. No one could live at Court and not know the mechnications
of power and nobility. It was very possible, considering that she had brought
the subject up, that she had sent the now deceased assassin, herself.
"Horrors, Majesty," the woman
"Yes, horrors. I am sure
you would never have thought such a thing possible."
The woman spoke as though
she did not know she was being mocked, when she very well did know. "No,
Emperor. It is an awful thing!"
"Yes. If you will excuse
me, my Lady," Vader said, tiring of the pathetic game, as he always did,
usually sooner than later.
"Yes, Majesty," the woman
said in that same annoying simpering tone, batting her eyelashes in a pitiful
attempt to be enticing.
Walking away, Vader tugged
at the black silk of his fine coat, ice blue eyes flickering in annoyance.
Luke was speaking still with the Princess, smiling mischievously at her
anger. The match was becoming a contest of snarls upon her part, jabs upon
his. Luke seemed to enjoy these gatherings far more than Vader did, mainly
because Luke had been raised to the Court and it's machinations. Outwardly,
though, Vader's face showed nothing of his feelings, a blank mask as much
as though he carried steel over his face.
There was something odd about
that though. . .almost familiar. Though why that should be, Vader could
not tell. For a single moment, he felt a stifling covering over his face,
confining him, suffocating him. He had to resist the urge to claw at his
head. And then it was gone. But Vader was not one to ignore these type
of incidents. Perhaps it was prophecy. . . .
Three days later Luke Skywalker
was once again in the Emperor's throne room. Only this time he was there
to continue his training, for although he had beat Obi-Wan he still hadn't
completely finished his dark side training. Right now he was practising
against his father with his lightsaber, his favourite part of the training.
Palpatine watched as they
fought. He could see improvement every time they practised and knew that
it wouldn't be long before Luke would be beating his father. Even now it
came close at times, but Vader always managed to get the upper hand in
the end, but it was beginning to get more and more difficult.
Palpatine silently wondered
what Vader's reaction would be the day Luke did win. He couldn't be sure,
but whatever it was it would be most interesting to watch.
Luke kept his eyes on his
father, letting the Force, the dark side, guide his hand as they fought.
He had just gotten the upper hand in the battle when, suddenly, he wasn't
in the throne room anymore. He was in a room full of people all dressed
up, but, try as he might, he couldn't see the faces of the people, they
were all blurry and unfocused.
Vader, not knowing anything
was wrong, brought his lightsaber up and swung down towards Luke. At the
last possible moment he realized that Luke wasn't going to respond and
he quickly double pressed the button on his lightsaber. His ruby-red blade
disappeared seconds before it would have hit Luke in the neck.
"Luke?" Vader asked, angry.
But Luke didn't hear him.
As Luke looked around he could see the details of one person clearly. It
was a tall man, with blonde hair and he was dressed in a fine, silk suit.
Slowly the man turned around, and Luke kept his gaze on the man as he turned,
unable to look away.
Palpatine had known there
was something wrong with his apprentice even before Vader had, as Vader
had been busy concentrating on Luke's movements and not his Force aura
itself. But he had been. And suddenly Luke's Force aura had changed, he
couldn't be sure how, but it had.
"Skywalker?" Palpatine said
as he approached Luke, but he got no response.
Vader looked up as his master
approached and then he looked back at his son. Luke stood frozen in place,
his eyes clouded and unfocused, it was almost as if he were looking at
something he couldn't see.
"Luke?" he repeated.
Slowly but surely the man
in the crowd turned. Luke quickly looked around at the other people in
the room, but none of them came into focus. Then he turned his gaze back
to the one man who did come into focus. He saw the face of the man for
a second before everything disappeared, but a second was all he needed.
"Luke?" Vader repeated starting
to get irritated.
Suddenly Luke's head snapped
up, he dropped his lightsaber to the floor and he took a step backwards,
all in the space of a second.
"What?!" he asked startled
"What happened?" Vader demanded
as the Emperor came up and stood before his son.
"I...I'm not sure," Luke
replied shaking his head again. "One moment I'm fighting you and the next
moment I'm in a room full of people."
"A room full of people?"
"Yes," Luke replied looking
at his master and nodding his head. "I seemed to be among a delegation
of sorts, but everybody in the room was blurry."
"Nobody was clear enough
for you to recognize?" Palpatine demanded, still trying to figure out what
"Well..." Luke began and
looked at his father.
"There was one man, who first
had his back to me, that I could see clearly," Luke explained.
Listening to the conversation
Vader stood silently, lost in thought. He had no idea what had happened
to his son, but he hadn't liked the look Luke had given him when his master
had asked if hadn't recognized even one person.
"He had his back to you at
first?" Vader asked.
"Yes," Luke replied looking
at his father and the back to his master. "While I stood there he slowly
turned around and faced me, I got a look at his face just before everything
went black and I returned here."
"And who was this man?" Palpatine
"He...well....I think," Luke
"Well?" Palpatine demanded
with an edge to his voice, he didn't like the fact that he was unable recognize
what had just happened to his young apprentice.
"He looked similar to me,
but he was older and had blonder hair."
Vader froze at this, him!
Luke had seen him, without a mask and armour! Palpatine, too, instantly
knew what Luke was thinking without actually voicing it. He quickly turned
around and headed back to his throne, Luke and Vader followed him.
"You will tell if this happens
again," Palpatine ordered once he was seated in his throne.
"As you wish my master,"
Luke replied bowing his head.
Princess Leia Organa's face
was so red it could have competed with a beet for pigment. Prince Luke
Vader was on the verge of laughing aloud in hilarity and contempt.
She was so easy to bait,
he thought derisively.
"Do you have a purpose in
speaking to me?" Leia inquired icily.
"Why, a conversation between
friends, of course," Luke replied.
Leia knew well that to insult
Luke would be extremely dangerous, through both personal and political
means. However, her temper did not want to be held.
"I do believe that I have
had more than enough of your overbearing attempts at humour and subtlety.
If you have nothing relevant to say, I suggest that you leave my side.
Now," the Princess snapped, summoning every inch of royal haughtiness within
Luke's eyes narrowed in a
tenuous mixture of disdain, annoyance, and amusement, and he opened his
mouth to speak. Just then, however, he caught a glimpse of his father,
walking by, dignity and power in his step, as ever. But though his face
revealed no emotion, there was cast a shadow over it, and for a moment,
Luke almost thought that he could see a mask. Black, metal.
What?! wondered the Imperial
A moment more, and the room
seemed to sway. And then his father was surrounded by a gaggle of Nobels,
merchants, Senators, and various other dignity's. The strangeness was gone.
But Luke was concerned. This must mean something.
"Your highness seems to have
become distracted," Princess Leia's voice was very near a sneer at the
moment, distracting Luke. Turning away from his father, Luke once more
turned his eyes upon the Princess.
So predictable, he mused.
Insisting that I leave, and yet reaching for my attention when I ignore
her. So transparent. Always needing to be the centre of attention.
Indeed, that was how she
had always been, as long as Luke could remember. Though Leia lived upon
Alderaan, she often visited Coruscant with her father, the--now retired--
Senator Bail Organa. Luke had encountered her many times while growing
up, and in this, the year in which both would reach their twenty fifth
birthdays, she had not once changed. Still had her nose in air. Luke chuckled
"Why Princess, I was simply
taking a moment to admire the astonishing angle of your nostrils. Positively
admirable!" he exclaimed, awaiting her reaction with glee, forgetting for
the moment about the vision shrouding his Father.
It wasn't often that Lord
Darth Vader removed his mask and the last time he had looked in a mirror
had been so long ago that he couldn't even remember when it had been. But
now he found himself in front of a mirror, ready to remove his mask. His
son's vision had made him start to wonder, could it be that Luke had seen
No, he had hired all the
best doctors in the galaxy and they had all told him the same thing, there
was no way he'd ever live without his breathing mask or armour, ever. But
then where had Luke's vision come from? Someone as well trained in the
Force as his sixteen year old son wouldn't just see a vision like that
when it meant nothing, but the big question was WHAT did it mean?
Slowly but surly Vader began
to take off his helmet. Once the helmet was off he placed it on a table
next to the mirror in the air regulated room and then he took a deep breath
before he started to remove the mask itself. Once he had the mask was off
he held it up in front of him, blocking the mirror, before he lowered it
to the table and looked up into the mirror.
A scarred and extremely pale
face looked back at him. Since he hadn't looked in the mirror for so long
it was only now that he noticed the Luke had inherited his eyes, sure he
had noticed the colour similarity before, but there was something other
then that....something, but he couldn't place exactly what.
Then, suddenly, everything
in his vision but the mirror went black. Startled he looked around, but
no matter where he looked the mirror stayed right in front of him. He looked
at the mirror, wondering if this was the same thing that had happened to
And as he watched the mirror
seemed to stretched out, it was almost as if the mirror had turned into
the entrance of a short tunnel. Then, slowly but surely, his image in the
stretched out mirror changed. It happened so slowly at first that Vader
didn't notice that anything was wrong until the dark smudges under his
eyes started to fade before disappearing completely.
Astonished Vader watched
as his image started to grow hair and attain a normal skin colour. By the
time the image stopped changing he saw an older version of what he had
looked like before his accident, just the way Luke had described. Then,
as soon as he came to this conclusion, the image disappeared in the blink
of an eye and he was once again standing in his room, his own reflection
in the mirror.
The Imperial Hall was called
to order in short order, indeed. Emperor Vader was most irritated, plagued
as he was by the annoying intricacies of Court life. There were many times
in which he wished that he was simply a pilot again, sailing through the
blackness, grazing the stars. But the responsibility, and the glory, and
hardships, all three, were his now, and there was that.
But nothing was so simple
as "that was that" sounded. The representatives from factions, organizations,
and nobility the Galaxy over were crowding the hall were here to present
their cases, their offerings for favour, and to discuss the new order of
the Galaxy. Vader had been Emperor for some seven years, since the death
of Palpatine in the last Rebel uprising, but it had been a long while before
the Empire was reasonably calmed down, and longer still until things were
reorganized. Over the last year and a half, meetings with various factions,
which Vader invited to discuss their concerns, in a show of good faith.
The Empire was still the ultimate power over them all, but there was no
need to repeat Palpatine's mistakes. Vader's philosophy was to give the
people an inch, and then reach out and grasp hold of them--hard--so they
never had the chance to reach for mile.
Taking his throne, the Emperor
nodded to the man standing at the bottom of the dais, who banged the gaffel
on the marble floor, and called the gathering to order. Luke, standing
at Vader's right hand, smiled mockingly at Princess Leia. Vader inwardly
sighed. Luke's game with the Princess-Senator was becoming irritating.
"His Majesty, the Keeper
of the Peace, the High Imperial Seat, the Face and Hand of the Imperial
Empire, Emperor Vader, calls this gathering of the representatives of the
multi-cultured factions of the Galactic Empire, to order. By the Emperor's
grace, you may sit."
"By the grace of the Emperor,"
came the murmured response from the crowd as they took their seats, a smoothing
of clothing and shifting of perches echoing throughout the room until silence
Vader's vision, though, blurred
for a single moment, as he saw not the gathered crowds, but a darkened
room, in which an old man in robes who looked much like Palpatine had at
the time of his death, a slight young man with his back to Vader, and a
dark clad giant dwelt. They were shadows amidst shadows, and seemed there
only for an instant, but the instant was enough for Vader's eyes to meet
the eye sockets of the dark giant, and in that moment, he was sure that
the dark armoured man saw him, as well. And then it was gone, and he was
left with the crowd before him staring at him, and Luke shaking him, trying
to stir him from the stupor that had apparently lasted far longer than
Palpatine waited in his throne
room as he felt Luke and Vader approach. Last night he had felt the same
disturbance in the Force as he had felt when Luke had had his vision, only
this time it had been stronger and shorter. As soon as he had tried to
reach out and touch it had disappeared.
Then the elevator door opened
and Luke and Vader stepped into the room. They walked up the stairs and
stood before him, waiting.
"Young Skywalker, since Viceroy
Bail Organa has not done his best to keep his people under control and
suppress the tales of the Old Republic and the Jedi you will go to Alderaan
and bring his daughter back to Coruscant. Make it look like a normal kidnapping,
without any signs of the Empire's involvement," Palpatine ordered.
"As you wish my master,"
Luke replied bowing slightly.
He had seen Princess Leia
Organa on holos when he had last gone to Alderaan, she had seemed like
a normal Princess, namely a pampered, snobby, and stuck up brat. He also
knew that she was only slightly younger then him, maybe a by a couple of
months, but in character she seemed like she ruled the galaxy. He'd have
fun with this mission.
Vader caught the slight smile
on his son's face and shook his head. He was about to say something when,
suddenly, he thought he saw the man from the mirror again. Only this time
he felt like the image saw him too. But, to his surprise, he saw the man,
him, sitting on a throne and an older version of Luke stood to his right.
"Lord Vader!" Palpatine demanded
as he felt the disturbance again.
Vader was startled out of
his vision by his master's voice.
"Lord Vader, what did you
see?" Palpatine demanded as Luke looked at his father.
"The same as Luke saw yesterday,
only Luke was in it as well, an older version of him anyway," Vader replied
not wanting to say anything about the fact that he had been sitting on
what looked like the Imperial throne.
Palpatine regarded him for
a moment as he thought. The fact that Vader and Skywalker were seeing the
same thing meant that there was something going on, but what? Quietly he
went over all the information in his mind.
Emperor Vader swayed in the
his perch, meeting his son's concern filled eyes. Luke subtly reaches with
a hand and steadies his father in his seat.
"Are you are all?" Luke inquired
in a low voice.
Vader took a deep breath,
counted to ten in his mind, and nodded, cautiously.
"Yes, I do believe I am.
However, this is a problem. It has a recurring bout of strange visions
of a sort. Have you noticed anything?"
Luke hesitated for a moment,
and then nodded. "I think so. It was a few hours ago. You were walking
by, and there seemed to be a dark metal mask completely covering your face.
The room swayed, and then it was back to normal. I sort of forgot about
it. I was distracted."
"You were taunting the Princess."
"Like, I said," Luke grinned,
"I was distracted," a moment more, however, and the mirth slipped from
his face. "What do you think it is, Father?"
"I do not know. However,
there is an entire gathering here to tend to," Vader noted, 'And I've no
time to wonder about visions. The Force will have to wait."
"Ha! That's what I've been
saying for years," Luke said, just as quietly as he had been, but more
pointedly. Luke, though well trained and talented in the Force, had many
interests outside of Sith and Dark Jedi traditions, holding various ideas
for the skills he wished to perfect. Though it was certain that he would
be Emperor when Vader died, he was not so sure he wanted to be Dark Lord
of the Sith. His interests stretched in other directions.
"Indeed you have," Vader
A moment more, and the Hall
was being reassured that all was well, everything was fine, the Emperor
was quiet in good health. A number of them, not surprisingly, looked disappointed.
There were always those who looked to profit from the death of a ruler,
especially one so high as the Emperor.
Vader, though, kept the thought
of the visions close to him. This did indeed bear investigation. And soon.
Sitting in the cockpit of
a small but fast cargo ship Luke Skywalker thought. He was on his way to
Alderaan to kidnap the Princess, but even though he liked the mission his
mind was elsewhere.
In the last few days both
he and his father had been getting these weird visions and he was worried
about them. Neither he nor his father had any control over them, so he
was worried that he might get one of those visions when he needed to concentrate
on other matters.
Like if he got one of the
visions while he was on Alderaan there was the chance of him being discovered
and failing in his mission, which would mean that he'd be punished by the
Emperor. And if his father got a vision at the wrong time then he might
be embarrassed in front of the command crew of his ship.
Luke was then pulled out
of his thoughts as the hyperspace timer beeped. Luke sat up, reached for
the hyperspace levers, and pulled them back when the timer reached zero.
His ship immediately jumped out of hyperspace and he then approached the
blue-green planet of Alderaan.
"Kowalski's Pride, we have
you on our screens now, what is your purpose and destination?" a voice
over the com asked.
"I'm here to visit some family
of mine at Aldera," Luke lied.
"Very well, do you want any
"No," Luke replied rolling
Alderaan was known as the
heart of the galaxy, but Luke thought that it was one of the more pathetic
planets. Weapons of any kind were forbidden to the population and no visitor
was allowed to carry one either. They believed in peace and freedom, thus
the problem with eliminating the foolish Jedi ideals.
Luke smiled to himself as
he thought about the uproar Leia's disappearance would cause, no one living
on Alderaan would even think it possible that someone would even think
of kidnapping their precious Princess. It would be a real wake up call
to them, until now they had gone about their lives pretending that the
Empire didn't exist, ignoring it and continuing their lives as they had
done during the Old Republic. But now it was time for them to submit to
the Empire, and if they didn't Luke was sure his master would find an appropriate
way to punish them.
He then landed his ship at
the spaceport and went to the back of his ship. Although he was not yet
a Lord he had appeared several times with his father on board the Executor
and other places, so his face had become known to many. So just before
he let down the ramp he used the Force create a fake image around him,
this way anyone looking at him would see a well-off thirty year old man.
The Force image also disguised his clothes and his lightsaber.
As he walked down the ramp
to the weapons check he reached out with the Force and took control of
the man sitting behind the control panel, because he couldn't use the Force
to affect the machine itself. He walked through the machine and although
it beeped he was allowed to pass.
Quickly he headed for the
palace, forgetting the strange visions he and his father had been receiving
as he concentrated on his mission.
The Emperor's blade made
a sharp crackling sound as it met with extreme force against the blade
opposite him. Vader and Luke had a standing appointment to engage in these
practice sessions once every week, making room for them in all but the
most unworkable situations. They kept them in shape when they were not
engaging in actual battles, something that Vader had never stopped doing,
even after he took up the duties of the Throne, and Luke had grown up with
war in his own right. It was graven in their bones, the both of them. But
that did not make these battles any less *fun.* Luke laughed as he skipped
back, his slighter built allowing him to move at a quicker pace, thus avoiding
his father's blade effectively. Luke's gold blade hummed as it skipped
back from the crimson one before him, darted forward again, under, reaching
for Vader's throat, and was batted backwards in a rush of strength and
speed from the other man. Before more than an eyeblink could pass, Luke
found his blade parried, and his back on the floor. His Father had tripped
him to the ground. Vader grinned down at him.
"Well, it seems that I have
"I'd say so, but then you
have greater experience. Being older," Luke smiled innocently up at the
older man, who gave an incredulous snort, and heaved him up by his right
"You should get to your own
feet, young one," Vader said. Luke gave a scowl. He'd always hated that
particular form of address.
"Okay, okay, we're even,"
"Even? I seem to recall you
being on the floor," Vader retorted.
"Oh, whatever! Besides, we
both know you can't play the piano, and I can. So, I guess I am better
at you in something," Luke said lightheartedly.
Vader rolled his eyes in
mock exasperation and said, "We both know you're better at other things
as well. Such as making the faces of dignitaries turn bright red."
"I know," Luke lamented,
"I'm sure you are dissatisfied with your own talents in that area. After
all, you can only make them shake in their boots!"
Vader, getting into the banter,
was about to reply, when suddenly, a strange tingling swept over him, bringing
him deeper into the visions than ever.
* * *
The ebony armoured man swung
about, cape flaring about him, demanding to know what was going on, the
small, twisted, Palpatine-like man appeared in the corner of the scene,
laughing, the younger, dark clad version of Luke was in a ship, flying
through space, and then Vader saw once more the man in armour. Their eyes
met. He was sure of it. Speaking was like running in jelly, but he managed
it, the feeling stretched, surreal.
And then the vision disappeared,
and he was once more in the training room, empty save for himself, and
Luke, when he fell over on his face.
Vader was once again standing
before the throne and his master when suddenly his entire vision went black.
For a moment there was nothing but blackness until suddenly the ruby-red
glow of a lightsaber just like his appeared and was shortly followed by
the appearance of a gold lightsaber.
"Lord Vader!" the Emperor
demanded snapping Vader out of the vision. "What did you see?"
"At first nothing, but then
I saw two lightsaber blades one ruby-red the other gold," Vader replied
a little angry that his master had snapped him out of the vision, there
was more to it then just the lightsabers, he was sure of it.
"Gold?" Palpatine questioned
knowing that the ruby-red one probably belonged to the older version of
Anakin Skywalker, but a gold one?
"Yes my master," Vader replied
just as mystified. "Maybe....."
"Lord Vader!" the Emperor
demanded again as he felt the disturbance, but this time Vader didn't respond.
He was back in the dark room
with himself and at the edge of the vision he could make out the vague
shape of Luke. Once again his eyes locked with those of the man and for
the first time Vader could actually sense the confusion radiating from
aaaaaarrrrrrrrreeeeeeee yyyyyyyyyoooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu?" the man asked
just before the vision disappeared and Vader found himself facing an angry
"Well?" Palpatine demanded.
"I saw him, me, again, and
Luke stood to the edge of my vision, just so I could tell he was there.
Then I felt the man's confusion before he asked me who I was," Vader replied,
feeling just as confused as the man from his vision.
Palpatine just nodded as
he tried to sort this new information.
Luke looked in both direction
before he knelt down and used the Force to jump to the top of the wall
around the palace that was home to Viceroy Bail Organa and his family.
At the top of the wall Luke looked around and saw that there were no guards
in the garden.
"They definitely need a lesson,"
Luke said to himself as he jumped off the wall and into the gardens.
He quickly made his way to
the palace itself and was just approaching an open window when he sensed
someone approaching. Quickly he got behind a tree and waited for the guard
to pass. As he did so Luke took at look at the weapons he had, a blaster
that was set on stun and a vibroblade at his belt.
Luke snorted silently as
he thought of the force pikes the Royal Guards of his master had, that
and they were all fully trained in several hand-to-hand combat techniques.
This was going to be an easy mission, even without the Force it would have
been easy, the hardest part would be keeping the Princess quiet.
"We need to deal with this.
Now," Vader's voice was decisive, his famous "Now means now" voice. Luke
did not even try to object. He'd grown up with that voice, and knew what
Vader pulled himself into
a cross legged position on the floor, and Luke followed suit.
"Look into my eyes," Vader
spoke briskly, "We'll try the traditional methods first. Mind probes."
Luke nodded and concentrated
on the blue of his father's eyes, mirroring his own perfectly.
"Okay," his voice was already
falling into the serenity that came over him when submerged in the flows
of the Force.
Crystal corridors stretched
out before them both, sparkling, twisting, glittering, drowning them in
*Concentrate upon the visions,
upon all possibilities,* Vader's words were not spoken aloud this time,
or even heard in the mind, but rather, felt in the soul.
Luke acknowledged the other
without words. All possibilities. . . .
* * *
There was a younger version
of himself, walking across a brightly lit docking bay. He recognized the
place. The spaceport in the capital city of Alderaan. His younger self
was dressed in the somber, monotonous black that Luke remembered Palpatine
always wearing, when the old Emperor was alive. The lightsabre at his hip
was designed differently, as well. The young man moved with a grimness
and purpose that was off-cast by the slight grin on his face. He looked
like a Dark Jedi. Luke, watching, grimaced. This was what he did not want
to be. Caught up in the "dark destiny" tripe that he had always found so
annoying. Luke preferred to be his own person, rather than a living metaphors.
The young Luke, around 8 or 9 years younger than the watching Luke was,
let out a low chuckle, walking on. Luke's eyes followed the younger self
for sometime, tracking his progress through the city. But it seemed blurry,
and the next thing he knew, the strange Luke was in what the watching Luke
recognized as the gardens of the Royal Palace.
And then Luke was running
into a mental wall, and the younger man spun about, and let out a horrified
scream, as though in agony. And he passed out onto the grounds. Luke saw
some Alderaanians running up to him, and noticed a faint shimmer about
him, as though something were fading away. Perhaps to do with the Force?
He didn't know. And then he was crashing into another wall, and agony was
* * *
Vader's head was tossed back
in incredible pain, and screams emerged from his lips. Luke heard those
screams echoing his own. They had no answers, only more questions.
Luke awoke with a start as
one of the Alderaani guards touched his arm. He quickly rolled about only
to come face-to-face with the end of a blaster mussel. The guard holding
the blaster gasped as he saw Luke's face and Luke instantly realized that
his Force generated image was gone.
He quickly reached out and
took control of the minds of all three guards around him, it was difficult,
but he had to keep them from calling anyone else. For if they did he'd
be in real trouble, both with the Viceroy and with his master. He winced
as he thought of what his master would do if he failed.
"What?" one of the guards
exclaimed as Luke's influence over him was lost.
Then the guard's eyes once
again fell on Luke.
"Skywalker," he said recognizing
the boy. "What are you doing here?"
And although the guard seemed
calm and controlled Luke could feel the man's fear of him. He had been
seen in the company of Lord Vader, the most feared man in the galaxy, so
the guard knew he was dangerous. The guard's fear finally showed on his
face when he saw the blank expressions on the faces of the other two guards.
His eyes opened wide and
his hand went for his com. He picked it off of his belt, brought it to
his mouth, and dropped it as Luke's emerald-green lightsaber sliced through
him, killing him instantly. Luke looked down at the two pieces of the guard's
body before he turned around to face the other two guards.
He was about to use the Force
to make them forget what had just happened when he had an idea. His master
had said that he wasn't to leave any signs of the fact that the Empire
had been involved, so what better way to do that then make it seem as if
some bounty hunter or pirate had done it? Smiling to himself he approached
the other two guards and killed them both by slicing them in half.
The marks the lightsaber
left behind wouldn't be recognized for what they actually were as nobody
had any knowledge about lightsabers. Anyone examining the bodies would
say that it was some new kind of weapon, which would make it look like
a bounty hunter had done the kidnapping as they were constantly inventing
new weapons to help them collect their prey.
Luke then used the Force
to hid the bodies so that no other guard would stumble across them before
he left the palace. He then stood where he was for a moment, wondering
what had happened to him, he had just stepped out of his hiding place when
he had felt a pain so great that he had screamed out loud before passing
out. He had no idea as to where the pain had come from, but he figured
it had something to do with the visions he and his father had been receiving.
He then cast his thoughts
aside as he remembered his mission, the Emperor would already be displeased
with what had happened, the last thing he needed to happen now was for
him to be discovered again. Quickly he scanned the area with the Force
before he walked back to the window and climbed in.
As he looked around the room
he found that he was in a study. He then used the Force to make sure there
was no one in the hall before he opened the door and headed for the Princess's
chamber, putting up another Force generated image as he went.
Silently Luke opened the
door to the Princess's chambers and stepped in. He looked around and saw
that he was in the bedroom itself. He also noticed the door at the other
end of the room and the light that showed through the space between the
door and the doorframe.
Silently he went up to the
door and waited next to it, sensing that the Princess was in the room by
herself. A few moments later the door opened and Princess Leia walked out
into her bedroom without noticing Luke.
Luke was pleased to see that
she hadn't changed into her nightdress yet, it would have been a bother
to drag her around in it. He stepped forward and reached out placing one
hand over her mouth and pinning her arms to her body with the other. He
felt her surprise as he took her from behind and smiled as she tried to
break free from his grip, it was pathetic the way she struggled, it was
all uncoordinated and Luke instantly knew that she had never been taught
"If you don't stop struggling
I'll break your neck," Luke lied whispering softly, but threateningly,
into her left ear.
Instantly she stopped struggling
and remained frozen in place.
"Good," he said as he laughed
softly just before he took control of her mind.
He then stepped back and
headed towards the door leading to the hall. He stood still for a moment,
sweeping the hall with the Force before he turned back to the Princess
"You will silently follow
"I will silently follow you,"
Leia repeated, a blank expression on her face.
Luke smiled as he left the
room and headed back to the study, Leia following him silently. They only
ran into one person on their way out and since Luke had sensed the servant
coming he had taken control of his mind before he had even seen him and
the Princess. They then made their way to the study, through the gardens
and over the wall.
Using the Force Luke made
Leia look like a non-descriptive woman whom nobody would notice or remember.
They then made their way back to the spaceport and onto Luke's ship. Once
on board Luke made Leia go into a cage he had on board and once she was
in the cage with the door safely locked he released her from his influence.
"What...?" Leia asked confused.
She looked around, wondering
how she had gotten here and then her eyes fell on Luke. Her mouth opened
and closed several times as her eyes widened in surprise and terror. But
then she seemed to regain control of herself and spoke:
"Skywalker, what is going
on?" she demanded using all the Royal haughtiness she had within her. "Let
me out of here this instant!"
Luke just raised an eyebrow
and smiled, amused. Seeing this caused the Princess's face turned a bright
red and, for a moment, Luke had another vision. It was barley a second
long, just long enough for him to see it before it disappeared. For an
instant he saw the older version of himself standing across from an older
version of Leia whose face was just as red if not redder then the face
of the Leia in front of him. Then he was back on board his ship.
"You'll be sorry when my
father is through with you!"
"We'll see, we'll see," Luke
replied heading for the cockpit. "Although I doubt your father would be
fool enough to stand up to the Emperor."
He then entered the cockpit
and left Alderaan, heading back for Coruscant. Leia kept up a constant
racket and when they were in hyperspace Luke got up and stormed into the
chamber with the cage, no longer amused.
"If you don't shut that Royal
hole of yours I'll shut it for you!" Luke warned nearing the cage.
Leia immediately closed her
mouth and backed away from the bars as Luke approached. Satisfied Luke
went back to the cockpit and fell asleep in the pilot's chair.
Princess Leia slipped along
the corridors, silently following the white velvet clad form of Prince
Luke. He seemed distracted, and Leia, who harbored no illusions about the
quality of her skills in comparison to him, did not think that she otherwise
may have followed him unnoticed. But it was strange. Ever since the Emperor
have frozen in the Hall, the delegation had been abuzz with rumours as
to what may have happened. Both Vader and Luke seemed distracted, though
the Emperor did not reveal any emotion in regards the situation, as usual.
Luke, though, seemed concerned, and Leia, though she was not fond of the
Imperials, grudgingly admitted that they were human, and that the Imperial
Price had every right to be concerned about his father. Still. . .the Rebellion
had been defeated years ago. Leia had to admit that ever since the death
of the old Emperor, Palpatine, things had been steadily improving throughout
the Galaxy. Vader seemed to care about what happened, if not so much about
the beings he ruffled, and hurt during his reforms. There really was no
need for a Rebellion anymore. But Leia had grown up on tales of the Republic,
and it's end. She remembered vividly one of the only times she had actually
had a serious conversation with the Imperial Prince. She had lost her tongue
in a moment, and put on a speel about how the Republic was so much *better*
than the Empire. Luke had eyed her flatly as said that he may not have
been there, but that there were two sides to every story, that the Republic
was no glorious dream, but a government, like any other. Leia had exploded
that, if he had not been there, how was he to know. Luke had asked her
how did she know it was, and then, without waiting for her answer, said,
"History teaches us this.
The Republic was rotting from the inside out. If it wasn't, it would never
have been so easily replaced."
The argument went on for
some minutes after that, but that statement remained in Leia's mind long
after the rest had faded. Grudgingly, she admitted, to herself only of
course, that there was something to it. Blind faith and historical worship
really had no place now that history, as it were, had moved on.
Leia, caught in her thoughts,
looked up just as she realized that Luke had turned around, and was eyeing
"Lost your way, Princess?"
he asked her, the accustomed look of mischief she was used to gone, replaced
with grim anger.
As soon as Luke descended
the ramp of his ship on Coruscant three guards stepped out of the docking
bay and moved towards him.
"Bring the Princess to the
detention area," Luke ordered.
"I'm sorry Sir," one of the
guards replied. "But we have orders from the Emperor to bring her before
"Very well," Luke replied
and picked up his pace as he headed for his master's throne room.
As he entered the elevator
he wondered why his master wanted to see the Princess. He then got out
of the elevator and ascended the stairs to stop before his father and his
"What happened?" Palpatine
demanded looking at the youth standing before him. "Rumour has it that
three guards were killed during young Organa's kidnapping."
"Yes my master," Luke replied
"Well?" Palpatine demanded
impatiently, his yellow eyes drilling into Luke.
Vader, standing silently
to his master's right, wondered if the dead guards had anything to do with
the overwhelming sense of pain he had picked up from his son while he was
on Alderaan. But no matter how hard he studied Luke he couldn't see any
"I was just approaching a
window through which I could enter the palace when I suddenly felt an overwhelming
sense of pain for no reason. I must have passed out, for the next thing
I knew there were three guards around me and I was lying on the grass,"
Luke explained, avoiding his master's gaze.
There was a moment of tense
silence during which Palpatine considered this. But then he decided to
let it pass as the guards bodies had started up a set of rumours that suggested
Alderaan's Princess had been kidnapped by a bounty hunter looking for money.
"And you have no idea as
to where this pain came from?" Palpatine said looking at Luke.
"Not for certain my master,"
Luke carefully replied. "I'm guessing it has something to do with the visions,
but I'm not sure. I also had another vision while I was on Alderaan."
"What of?" Palpatine demanded.
"I had just locked the Princess
in her cell and she was yelling at me, her face bright red, when, just
for a second, I saw an older version of myself dressed in white standing
across from an older version of Organa who also had a red face. And then
I was back on my ship."
"Organa didn't notice anything?"
"No my master, she was too
busy telling me how sorry I'd be when her father found me." Vader smiled
behind his mask as he heard this, it was exactly as he had imagined the
Princess would react. Then the elevator door opened and the three guards
stepped into the room with Princess Leia at the centre of the triangle
The Emperor sat in his throne
as various parties came forward to present their cases. Members of the
delegation, Imperial nobles not part of such, merchants, and commons. All
were welcome during the weekly audience. The next supplicant, however,
was one that displeased Vader, though he did not let it show to the man
"Your Highness," the smuggler
Han Solo bowed, managing to make even that gesture of deference seem cocky.
"Speak your business," Vader's
deep voice rang calmly through the throne room.
"Majesty, we're all loyal
servants, you know this," the leader of the smuggler's party in the delegation,
expert pilot and Imperial traitor lied bald faced, "But we all have our
places in the scheme of things as well. I know you mean to crack down on
the smuggling business, and me just being here puts that business in jeopardy,
so out in the open. You seem to be forgetting, though, that it *is* a business
with as much part as a weapons smith's works, a farmer's produce, or a
"Pretty words, Solo," Vader
replied flatly. "Smuggling is illegal. It has, however, existed for as
long as there has been trade. And so if I cannot abolish it, I will control
it's flow. And should you disappear, Solo, your people will simply raise
another representative. That is the way the Galaxy is, for smuggler or
commoner, or Emperor. All things change."
Solo looked annoyed and dismayed
at once, no doubt looking to protest, when a scream of fear and outrage
rang from the corridors. A serving woman rushed in, and a crowd poured
close to the doors, trying to overhear what may be said. The guards, flustered,
looked to the Emperor. The serving woman was too upset to request permission
"Majesty," she blurted, "Majesty,
the Prince! He has gone mad!"
"What?!" Vader roared, standing
to his feet in a deadly swift motion. The crowd went deathly silent, and
the servant whimpered in terror, but continued.
"The Princess Leia was arguing
with him, and he started screaming who are they? though there was no one
there but her, and no they whoever they are. And she was angry, but curious,
and asked what was wrong. And he screamed at her, and--she just flew threw
the air, smashed against a wall, Majesty! And the Prince, he fell to his
knees, I tell you! His knees. The Prince should kneel to no one save for
you, Majesty, but he was on his knees in pain, screaming at the air! You
must help him, Majesty! I know you will. He is your son. You can help him!"
the woman was hysterical now, screaming. Vader gestured to the guards.
"Take her to her chambers
and make sure she has all the comforts she needs. Make sure she calms down,"
he ordered. The guards nodded, gently urging the woman out of the Hall.
Vader drew a deep breath, and hurried out of the chamber by the back exit.
He had no doubt that this was to do with the visions. Or perhaps he did.
Perhaps he simply refused to believe his son mad. Perhaps. . .perhaps they
* * *
The guards brought Leia up
the stairs and stopped before the throne, where Luke had stood until he
had moved to the Emperor's left. Palpatine looked at the Princess for a
moment before he turned to the guards.
"Leave us," he demanded.
The guards bowed and immediately
left the room. Leia looked up at the Emperor and Lord Vader in fear, wondering
what was going to happen next. Vader eyed the Princess, pleased to see
that she at least knew that she was under him and the Emperor, even if
she didn't realize she was under Luke too.
"Princess Organa," Palpatine
stated after a few moments. "I have had you brought here as your father
has not done his best to suppress the tales of the old Republic and the
Jedi on Alderaan."
"What are going to do with
me?" Leia asked as he eyes drifted to Luke.
"That depends on your father,"
Palpatine replied. "Until then you will remain here.....as a guest."
"You mean as a prisoner,"
Leia spat before she could stop herself.
Palpatine glared a her and
Leia involuntarily swallowed, mentally kicking herself.
"You may consider it whatever
you wish to, but unless you show some respect to those above you, you will
find your stay here to be most unpleasant," Palpatine stated icily.
Leia nodded her head as she
made a mental note of being respectful even when she didn't feel like it.
She then looked at Vader and Luke, mentally laughing at how silent they
were in the presence of the Emperor, not nearly as intimidating as when
they were the highest ranking people in the room.
"Skywalker, take the Princess
to her room," Palpatine ordered.
"As you wish my master,"
Luke said as he stepped forward and motioned for Leia to turn around and
descend the stairs.
Leia, knowing that there
was no use in resisting, descended the stairs and entered the elevator
with Luke following closely behind her.
Luke did not know where he
was. He felt the cool marble of the Palace halls under his cheek, smooth
and soothing, but the sensation was detached. He saw that darkened room
once more, those three people, and one more. A girl dressed in white. Her
face was hidden, but he recognized the clothing. The uniform of an Alderaanian
Senator. The manner in which her hair was bound, the haughty angle of her
chin, the profile of her nose, the slim built and diminutive stature, all
were familiar. Leia. It was the Princess who had been added to his visions.
But who were they all? How were they in his head? How was Leia in two places?
How was Palpatine there? He was sure it was Palpatine. He was sure. The
ebony armoured warrior. He seemed familiar, but completely unfamiliar at
once. There was nothing there that he knew, and everything that he knew!
Luke sobbed as the visions bombarded his mind, scouring at his brain, rushing
through his veins! Stop! Oh please, stop! He screamed. Who are you!?
There was a face in front
of him, contorting in the horror he himself was feeling, the face of the
slim young man of the visions. The face of himself. years younger, completely
different, and yet, the same. Luke Vader. The brow before him crinkled
in confusion, and the thought echoed.
No, Luke Skywalker.
I'm Luke Vader, Imperial
Prince. Who are you?
My father is the Emperor
The Emperor?! But what of
He is dead. He has been dead
for years. Rebels.
Rebels! the younger Luke
spat venomously, even as he screamed.
They were both screaming,
he knew. But he couldn't stop. It hurt for them both. Agony, oh agony!
But they could see each other, they could speak.
A hand slap into him, a slim
white hand, and a slim white hand was reaching for the other Luke. They
both screamed warnings to each other at the same time. Flows of Force essence
stopped Princess Leia from moving in both realities, stopped her from.
. . whatever she would do. Something. They couldn't think.
Who are you?
I'm Luke. Luke Skywalker.
Third of the Empire. Well, I will be, soon.
How old are you, finding
his royal command even in this desperate situation, his command and right
to rule over even this other self.
A boy, the Prince noted.
Barely more than a boy.
How old are you, the other
Luke asked, barely hearing the Prince's derisive statement.
How long has he been Emperor?
the other Luke asked.
Seven years. How much longer
until Palpatine dies?
Forever. He will never die,
it seems like it.
He will ruin the Empire.
Only Father can rule it, the Prince sighed. I do not look forward to the
day when I must take his place, though I know that I can do so when it
is necessary. But Father is meant to rule. He was born to do it.
He wasn't injured, the other
Injured? Father has been
in many battles.
No. Crippled. Put in a dark
suit, a living statue he is. Never to escape.
The dark warrior! The black
mask! the Prince exclaimed in sudden comprehension.
Yes, so he is know, amongst
I saw him. . . .Father saw
him. The mask was smothering him.
Luke the younger screamed
again, and Luke the older screamed with him.
Vader had arrived on both
sides, pulling both minds apart, trying to save their lives, make them
live, preserve their energy, and tear their souls.
Vader gripped his son's shoulder
as he tried to sort through the Force jumble that seemed to have connected
itself to the boy's mind. When he had first touched it, it had seemed like
there was a hole universe there, and Luke's Force presence was almost twice
as strong as normal. He carefully tried to find where his son's presence
ended and where whatever it was began.
He had been with his master
in throne room when he had felt a tremendous pain coming from Luke. He
had immediately gone looking for his son and found him lying on the floor
of the hall, the Princess frozen next to him, trapped in some Force flows.
Luke had been screaming in pain and his eyes were glazed, just the way
they had during the first vision Luke had had in throne room.
Then he found what he thought
was the end of his son's mind and slowly, carefully he began to push, to
separate Luke's mind from what he now realized was another's mind, someone
whose mind was astonishingly similar to his son's mind. The older Luke!
he realized with a start, it had to be.
Suddenly he saw another vision,
it was of the uninjured him and he was doing exactly the same as he was
doing, bending over the older Luke who was also screaming. Then the other
man looked up, and their eyes met.
Vader ordered, knowing that he had to get his son's mind detached from
the other Luke's.
The man looked at him for
a moment before he nodded and turned back to his Luke. Vader did the same
and pushed, suddenly he felt the two Luke's mind separate as the other
man also pushed from his end.
Vader stepped back and Luke
stopped screaming as he looked around in surprise, breathing hard as he
did so. He looked at the Princess, still frozen in the Force flows, before
he looked up to find his father standing next to him, looking down at him,
confusion and concern radiating from him.
Luke stood, wobble legged,
accepting his father's hand in aid.
"This has gone too far,"
he whispered. "What could be causing this?"
Vader was about to reply
when a messenger ran up to them both.
"Your Majesty, Prince," he
nodded to them both, "There is news."
"Speak," Vader said.
"A violet star has exploded
very recently, and very near to your Majesty. The vibrations it sent out
are apparently disturbing, however briefly, the fabric of reality itself.
You would be well to be on guard of any unusual happening, Emperor," man
reported, neutral concern lighting his voice. Genuine concern, Vader noted
with an unreal feeling. Luke was sagging again, looking about wildly as
though to see what was around him, yet not seeing. Well, at least he had
his answer. The reverberations from the star could disturb reality. But
how to stop it. Briefly in the time of a star could mean years to a carbon
"Thank you," Vader nodded,
"It is well that I know this. You are dismissed."
The man nodded, relieved,
almost as though now that Vader knew it, the man believed all would be
well. Vader sighed. If only it were that simple.
Standing in the elevator
to the Emperor's throne room Vader stood next to his son, lost in thought.
Luke hadn't spoken about what had just happened, but Vader could guess,
and he also knew that it was time to clear out this whole mess, what would
have happened if Luke had been somewhere else when it had happened, or
what if he had had something like what Luke had just while on the command
bridge of the Executor?
Suddenly Luke swayed on his
feet and collapsed to the floor. He just sat there for a moment before
he blinked and slowly shook his head, disoriented. Vader looked down in
surprise before he reached down and helped Luke to his feet just as the
elevator door opened. He kept a hand on his son's back for support as they
got out of the elevator and ascended the stairs.
Palpatine looked at his young
apprentice for a moment, noticing the paleness of his skin, the slightly
dazed look on his face and the way he seemed unsteady on his feet, swaying
ever so slightly. He then turned his attention to his servant when he noticed
that Vader had not come to stand next to him the way he usually did. It
was then that he noticed that Vader had his one hand behind Luke's back.
"What happened?" Palpatine
demanded looking back to Luke.
Luke looked at him for a
moment, then he shook his head trying to clear it.
"Well?" Palpatine demanded
more forcefully this time.
"I.....I was bringing the
Princess to her cell when..." Luke began as he tried to remember what exactly
had happened and in what order, but it all seemed to jumble up. "When suddenly
I felt like I ran into a wall."
"A wall?" Palpatine asked
"Yes," Luke replied nodding
his head and instantly regretting it as it made him dizzy. "Then my vision
went black before I felt this incredible pain from nowhere. I then saw
several visions each so short that I could only make out that there was
a delegation of sorts in a room that looked like the Imperial hall."
"A delegation," Palpatine
repeated. "Like the one in your first vision?"
"Yes," Luke replied. "Then
I suddenly saw the older version of myself, and he too was lying on the
floor, screaming in pain. Suddenly he seemed to see me and then he asked
me if I was Luke Vader."
Vader looked at his son at
this, Luke Vader? He had wanted to give his son his new last name at birth,
but Palpatine had insisted on Luke having the name Skywalker, why he didn't
"He also said that he was
twenty-four and...." Luke hesitated wondering how his master would react
to that fact that Vader was the Emperor in his vision.
"And what?" Palpatine ordered,
picking up on Luke's unwillingness to tell him.
"He said he was the Imperial
Prince," Luke quickly said.
"Imperial Prince?" Palpatine
repeated, his voice not showing any emotion.
"Yes," Luke continued reluctantly.
"He said his father was Emperor Vader."
Vader looked up sharply at
this, he was the Emperor in wherever? He then quickly turned to his master,
wondering how he would react, would he get mad and punish Luke? There was
the possibility, which was probably why Luke was so reluctant to speak.
"Did he tell you anything
else?" Palpatine just continued as if this last bit of information didn't
bother him, while it greatly disturbed him.
"He said the you had been
killed by the Rebellion seven years ago," Luke continued nervously, the
fact that his master showed no emotion was not a good sign. "He also said
that he had been having visions as well, at one point he saw what seemed
to be a mask on his father's face. And Leia was my vision as well."
"Yes, she reached out and
slapped the other Luke on the face just as Leia reached out to do the same
with me here," Luke said.
There were a few minutes
of silence during which Palpatine thought, the fact that the older Luke
had been having visions as well meant that this other Luke existed and
wasn't just a figment of the Force, unless young Skywalker had imagined
the whole incident which was highly unlikely considering his training.
"It seems that the visions
you have been having are glimpses of another reality," Palpatine stated.
Vader looked up in confusion
at this, glimpses of another reality? Just then, for no apart reason, Luke
sagged against his arm, unconscious.
"We're too close to them,
" Luke said, giving a hollow laugh as he stared at the wall of the chamber.
Luke and Vader had retired to a private room to discuss recent events.
Luke looked extremely tired, weary and despairing.
"We're too close to them,
and they're too close to us. We need to push the realities apart, strengthen
the wall between us," the Prince continued, "But how? We'll all be destroyed,"
he chuckled, and Vader frowned in concern. Luke was taking this very badly.
Not that he himself was pleased, but they both needed to keep a level head
in the situation. It was difficult, yes, and no doubt doubly more so for
Luke, who's mind had *fused* with his counterpart. To be torn apart. .
. . Vader remembered the masked warrior, who's built had seemed so like
his own, who's deep voice carried the same tones, who's concern for the
other Luke mirrored Vader's concern for his son. He sighed.
"The masked warrior is myself,
in that reality, no doubt," he spoke aloud.
Luke blinked and then said,
"Yes. Yes, that is what he said. The other Luke. The other Vader was very
badly injured, apparently, and was incased in that suit and mask. Palpatine
is still alive there, ruling. And the other Luke's name. It was Luke Skywalker."
Vader stared. Skywalker?
"Does that mean something
to you?" Luke pounced upon Vader's incredulous look.
"Yes," he said. He wondered
if he should tell Luke about this. It was quite a few years ago, but he
also sensed that the time had come for Luke to know. The right time.
"Yes," he repeated, voice
firm. "My name was not always Darth Vader. Once, I was a Knight of the
Order, and my name was Anakin Skywalker. Times changed though, and they
declared me a renegade for following my beliefs . . . ." And as he continued
to speak, Luke's expression went from amazed, to outraged . . . .
Vader quickly grabbed his
son and gently lowered him to the floor, but by that time Luke was already
"What?" he asked looking
"The after effects of your
mind fusion with the other reality," Palpatine stated as he got up.
Vader looked at his master
in confusion, he seemed to know what was happening here. Palpatine regarded
Luke for a moment before he looked at Vader.
"Somehow our two realities
are moving closer together," Palpatine explained. "They're merging and
if we can't stop it we'll be merged together with our doubles from the
other reality and then anything could happen."
Vader froze as he looked
at his son, so that was what had happened to Luke, for some reason it had
effected him first, him and the other Luke in the other reality.
"How?" Luke asked, his voice
"Nothing has happened here
that could have triggered such a disturbance, so it must have been triggered
from their side," Palpatine said as he went and stood before the view port
Vader looked back at his
son as Luke shook his head and placed an arm on the floor to steady himself.
After a few seconds some of the colour returned to his face and he slowly
got to his feet. Luke briefly wondered if the other Luke was taking this
as badly as he was and somehow he knew the answer was no. At this he once
again shook his head, wondering if he had completely separated from his
Luke sighed and leaned back,
eyeing his father, who was watching him with an unusually expectant look.
"How come no one recognizes
you?" he asked then.
Vader nodded and said, "I
had thought you would ask that. The Republic's remnants were thoroughly
swept away, but some memories were bound to linger. The Jedi, of course,
have been destroyed, so they are not here to recognize me. I have appeared
upon holos and such in the past, but those were destroyed, and the masses
tend to quickly forget such things. A successful Jedi Knight, a skilled
pilot, a Republican warrior. All of these things can be quickly forgotten.
However, some do recognize me. Bail Organa, for one, had met me upon several
occasions before the Empire rose. Those people, however, have the sense
to keep it to themselves, for the most part."
"I suppose they would," Luke
murmured and then asked, "What are we going to do?"
"We need to put some distance
between our realities. Which, unfortunately, will mean that we must draw
them closer together, so that we may work with our counterparts."
"Work with them?" Luke asked,
panic rising. "No, we'll merge with them. I know we will. We're too close!"
"It is the only way, Luke.
It is our only hope."
"Where is Senator Organa?"
"The Princess has been confined
to her guest chambers until further notice," Vader said.
"Good. If we must do this,
I'd rather she not stand around slapping me, this time," Luke laughed again.
He felt like laughing forever. What was wrong with him? His physical weariness
had disappeared, but his mental weariness was overwhelming. He felt like
his mind was ready to explode. Was he going mad? What was happening? And
now this. . . they must deliberately seek out the other reality. Deliberately
seek it out, and enter it. Leave their own reality, and enter one where
they had no power. . . .He let out a sob, mingled with a despairing chuckle,
falling from the chair he sat in, to his knees on the floor.
"Father," he whispered, "We're
nothing to eternity. Nothing to it all. We could be consumed, and it would
make no difference in the long run."
"To give up is to surrender
any victory you may have!" Vader flared, "Get a hold of yourself, Luke.
Luke stood, but the despair
After several minutes of
silence Palpatine slowly turned around to face Vader and Luke.
"Skywalker, when you particularly
merged with your double, did it just happen or did you do something to
make it happen?" Palpatine demanded.
Luke thought for a moment
before he replied:
"I was just walking down
the hall when it happened, as far as I know I did nothing to cause it."
Palpatine nodded and went
to sit back down in his throne, thinking. Since the disturbance had been
caused by the other reality there was nothing he could think of to do,
if it had happened from this end then he would have had some more control
over the situation, but now, now he had absolutely no control over the
situation, he hadn't even had any visions.
He hated the fact that things
were out of his control, he wasn't used to it and he had no idea as to
how it would end. For the first time in years he was in real danger and
he didn't have the power to stop it. Before he could have crushed the threat
or weeded it out, but now, now.....
"We must find a way to communicate
clearly with the other reality," Palpatine stated after a short, tense
Luke lifted his head at this
and for the first time in a long time he felt genuine fear grip his heart.
Vader caught the fear and looked at his son in surprise.
"How?" Luke asked, his voice
betraying his fear.
Palpatine regarded him for
a moment and instantly decided that he wouldn't even try to make mental
contact with anyone from the other reality, for he had trained Luke and
he knew the boy wasn't scared easily, and yet here he was terror in his
voice. When Palpatine didn't respond Vader hesitated but then decided to
"Master," he began. "When
I was separating Luke from the other Luke I briefly made contact with my
"What?!" Palpatine demanded
looking at Vader. "Why didn't you say anything before?"
"I forgot about it," Vader
replied. "But unlike what happened to Luke I saw a vision and when I spoke
it was like running through jelly, my words were all slurred and distorted.
Perhaps we can make contact without getting close enough to merge."
Palpatine looked at his servant,
wondering. Perhaps, but it was risky, what was close enough to merge and
how close did you have to get to make any contact? Those were all questions
that needed to be answered before they could attempt to make contact and
he had no idea as to where to get the answers.
"In order to contact this
reality, we must first ascertain the path to it," Vader said.
"The path?" Luke asked.
Vader nodded and answered,
"All realities are possible. However, to all realities, some possibilities
remain more probable that others. In order to make a relatively safe contact
with this one, we must determine the differences, and locate the paths
to join with them."
"Join with them?" Luke questioned
"Not merge. Meet," Vader
"How are we going to do this?"
"First, we must catalogue
the differences. I was injured in the other reality. Though I've been through
many potentially deadly situations, one of the most likely for the injuries
sustained would have been my battle with Obi-Wan. I wonder what would have
happened had I not killed him then? Perhaps the other Vader is the answer
to that question. Now, the differences between names. Palpatine once suggested
that I give you my old name, but I refused to consider it. You are my present,
not my past. Perhaps he won the argument in that other reality, however.
The other reality is also younger. I wonder if that Palpatine will die
there at the same time that he died here? There is a still a year left
to them. The other Luke, you said, is a Dark Jedi. At that young age, he
must have been very interested in the entire process. Much more so that
you are, to have obtained the skills so young."
"You're not disappointed,
are you?" Luke asked suddenly as Vader paused for breath.
"I know you wanted me to
become a Dark Lord, eventually. Are you disappointed that I won't be? I
won't, you know. I wasn't sure, but these visions have decided me. I will
learn the Force methods as best and skilfully as I can, but I will not
follow the rules of any order. I am sorry if that upsets you, Father, but
I have made up my mind."
Silence reigned in the room
for a long moment, until finally Vader spoke.
"I would be lying, if I told
you I was not disappointed. But I am also not surprised. I have been almost
certain of what you would decide for some time now. I also understand.
The Orders are dead. I am the last of the Jedi, the last of the Sith, the
last Dark Knight and Lord. When I die, both orders will truly perish. Perhaps
it will soon be time to finally and forever let go of the past that I cannot,
because I was a part of it. You are the future, my son. And it is your
decision, as you well know."
Luke nodded thoughtfully.
"Thank you, Father. That means a lot to me, that you understand. Now, how
are we going to use these differences to connect the realities?"
Vader said, "Back to business,
then. I suggest that we create ropes or ties of a sort with the Force,
both of us, reach out through the weakness in the walls of space, and connect
to the differences, pull with them. Perhaps it will bring us close enough.
Perhaps it will even work."
Luke eyed him warily and
muttered, "Perhaps indeed."
There was a short silence
in the room as Palpatine thought. After a while Luke, who was physically
starting to feel better, lifted his head.
"Master," Luke began. "What
is keeping our two realities apart?"
Palpatine looked intently
at his young apprentice for a moment.
"A wall of sorts," Palpatine
"A wall?" Luke asked curiously.
"Yes," Palpatine replied
absently. "Tell me, when you passed out on Alderaan, did it feel like you
ran into a wall that wasn't there?"
Luke looked at the Emperor
in confusion for a moment before he closed his eyes, using the Force to
enhance his memory. He remembered jumping off the wall and stealing through
the gardens, he then remembered hiding from the guard before he slowly
approached the window. Then he ran into something hard and fell to ground,
after turning and screaming as he did so, and the next thing he remembered
was waking to find the guards next to him.
"Yes," Luke replied slowly
nodding his head as he opened his eyes. "I think I did."
"That confirms it then, there
is a wall between our realities that for some reason unknown to us had
been weakened by the other end," Palpatine stated glad that he could finally
answer one question.
"But master," Luke continued.
"I didn't do anything to make the wall appear."
"Perhaps the older Luke did,"
Vader suggested. "Perhaps they were messing around, trying to figure out
what the visions they got meant, and in doing so they might have pushed
against the wall and therefore pushed it against you."
Luke looked at his father
at this and Palpatine nodded his head.
"That would be a reasonable
explanation," Palpatine agreed.
"Would this wall have a door
or window through which we might communicate freely with the other reality
without being fused with their minds?" Luke suddenly asked.
Vader and Palpatine both
looked over at Luke.
"Perhaps," Palpatine replied.
Luke closed his eyes, pulling
upon his connection with the Force, taking in all he could hold. His heart
was pounding, his blood was rushing, his brain was throbbing. Now. . .
reach! Touch. His link with his father was swirling with intensity, and
he grabbed onto that as well, weaving in the various mental directions
into one thick rope-braid. Picture it, now . . .reach it. Now, go forward.
. . A wall. It's a wall. Picture the wall, now don't go forward yourself,
but touch it with the braid. Sudden impact! Smashing, pain even with this,
but not nearly as much pain as before. Right . . . now, reach, push intensity,
push through the wall. Picture it not as burning, fiery glass with the
strength of the strongest steel, but as jelly. Stiffen the rope, make the
rope of minds steel. His mind, his father's mind, reaching out, probing
the wall, not, like a lance . . . Push through! Jelly parting before a
lance. Now . . .push further . . .and suddenly, they weren't pushing anymore.
Suddenly, the lance was pulling them along, through the wall. Luke tried
to scream, but met jelly before his open mouth, he was suffocating, he
was dying! He had no breath, he had nothing! No! No! No! And then they
were falling. Falling, and the world was falling around them. Into darkness,
into light, into grey shadows.
There were surprised exclamations
all around them, and the Prince, looking up, started to laugh with the
intensity of the truly mad. They had not gone halfway. They had parted
the realities themselves, which closed solid behind them. They had completely
immerged, whole and themselves, and in the flesh, not just the mind, in
the other reality. The living Palpatine, and the strange Luke and Vader
were staring down at the Prince and his Father, in absolute shock.
To the next part