[b]The Price of Failure[/b] - What happened to Vader after the destruction of the first Death Star?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by Imperial_Ladyhawk, Oct 24, 2002.

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  1. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Ciao, I am a long-time lurker on the fan fiction message bords, and have at last decided to give something back to the community :)

    This is a story which I originally wrote in 1998 and which has subsequently undergone a lot or rewriting.

    Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

    ---------------------------------------------

    THE PRICE OF FAILURE

    The Emperor's yellow gaze bored into Vader's eyes and held him fast. "Do you know the price of failure, Lord Vader?? his master asked as he raised his arms to point at him. Vader's world erupted in pain.

    * * *

    Darth Vader clawed his way back to consciousness out of his dark nightmare. Anything was better than facing his hidden fears helplessly in a dream, even drifting through space in a short range TIE Fighter waiting to be rescued.

    The Dark Lord of the Sith grimaced at the word, but it was true. Even his modified TIE lacked the capacity for lightspeed, and his short-range communication system had failed reach anyone yet. All he could do was fly towards the nearest shipping line and wait.

    To preserve energy he had shut down everything but the engines, including the minimal life-support system. Since he carried his own breath-mask he was in no need of the extra air supply which would have run out long since, anyway. It was ironic that the mask which he hated so passionately had once again saved his life.

    Ever since his battle with Obi-Wan, which had ended with his fall into a lava pit, he had been dependant on the full body armour and breath mask, as his burnt body was no longer able to keep him alive on its own. The healing process, enhanced by his Jedi skills, had not been able to repair the damage to his lungs, and the sight of his ravaged face was unlikely to strike such fear into the souls of every being in the galaxy as his black masked and garbed figure did now.

    Vader realized that he was wasting time wallowing in pointless self-pity. He knew that he was only fooling himself. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere might not be so bad when compared to what awaited him on Coruscant.

    There was really only one person in the universe who could kindle fear in Vader's black heart: his master, Emperor Palpatine. The Sith Lord did not want to imagine what forms his master's displeasure at the disaster of Yavin would take, but in his dreams his imagination ran wild. He knew that he would be the Emperor's scapegoat, since all others who could have been held responsible had been on board the Death Star when it exploded. Damn Tarkin, for dying so conveniently!

    Darth Vader knew what he himself was capable of doing to couriers of bad news. To imagine what he would do if that courier was himself responsible for the disaster... He would be lucky if the Emperor let him live at all. Vader's only chance was something he had learned from Obi-Wan's brief flicker of thought, just before the old man raised his lightsabre and awaited his ex-pupil's killing stroke. Kenobi had quickly suppressed the thought but Vader, skilled in the ways of the dark side, had heard the unspoken word.

    Luke.

    For Kenobi to come out of hiding, this Luke would have to be someone very important and Vader could place a pretty good guess on what he might be.

    The Dark Lord's suspicions were confirmed when that last X-Wing pilot displayed such a great sensitivity to the Force. It enabled him to evade Vader's lasers and hit the two-meter shaft, setting off a chain reaction deep inside the core of the Death Star - and thus blowing it up.

    Vader had often wondered whether any children of the extinct Jedi had survived, but he had never been as certain as now that indeed it was so.

    Now that he knew what to look for, Vader felt the disturbance which the boy created in the Force. There was something strangely familiar about the resonance of Force energy which he identified as Luke's... He was extraordinarily strong in the Force, that much Vader could feel clearly, and he could still be turned to the dark side. With t
  2. obaona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    Interesting. :)

    More, please?
  3. Niralle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2001
    star 3
    Nicely done. Great sense of flow--sounds like Vader to me. I love the intro-idea of Luke into Vader's thoughts.

    Paste up some more. I'm curious. :)
  4. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Hmm, I seem to have posted this story twice by accident. How do I take off the superfluous post?

    LH
  5. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    Oh, very nice beginning! Will this be an AU, or fit within the timeline?
  6. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    Very cool!
    Very good beginning. It's funny, but I never thought about what happened to Vader at the end of ANH...it's weird to think of him as being afraid of anyone, but it's logical it would be Palpatine. It's great how you added in the 'Luke' part.
    Keep on going!
  7. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    ... and I forgot to ask -- does Vader think Luke is Obi-Wan's son? :D
  8. Darthina_Christine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2002
    star 4
    OoO kool story you have coming along! Please continue!
  9. Darth_Silenous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2002
    star 4
    Excellent beginning, Ladyhawk. I'm looking forward to seeing this develop. . .definitely the right time to have more Vader on the boards. :) I liked the way you explained how Vader knew Luke's name; the way he found himself infuriatingly lucky for having a breath mask; and your development of his fear of Palpatine. Great stuff!
  10. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Thank you all for your kind replies :)

    This is not an AU, i.e. it's supposed to fit right in with the established SW timeline. I had always wondered how Vader graduated from being Tarkin's "lapdog" to the Emperor's undisputed second-in-command by ESB. How did he even survive the Emperor's displeasure at the destruction of the Death Star?

    The only clue I found was a brief reference to the incident by Mara Jade in Tim Zahn's 'Heir to the Empire' series. I won't quote it here so as not to spoil the ending for anyone who might have forgotten what it was ;)

    And now without further ado: Here's what you've all been waiting for - the second part!

    ---------------------------------------------

    The proximity alarm sounded and Vader awoke from his dreamless trance. His instruments told him that an Imperial Star Destroyer had just come out of hyperspace a few clicks from his current location. He could see it out of his viewport, glistening in the starlight at a distance. His intercom pinged and a crisp military voice could be heard saying, "Lord Vader, this is the Emperor's Will. The Emperor sent us to bring you back to Coruscant immediately. Shall we send a shuttle to rendezvous with your fighter?"

    Vader flicked a switch and replied, "Emperor's Will, this is Lord Vader. I have enough power to fly to your hangar by myself."

    He turned the intercom off before any more questions could be asked, although he doubted that the Commander of the Star Destroyer - Emperor's Will, now that was ironic! - would want to engage him in questioning at this time. Imperial officers usually did what was required of them: no more, no less.

    He flew straight towards the hangar until he felt the TIE shudder as the Star Destroyer's tractor beam locked onto it and guided his fighter into the spacious docking bay.

    The Sith Lord had not considered the possibility that the Emperor already knew about the destruction of his battle station at Yavin IV. However, a master of the Dark Side such as Palpatine would undoubtedly have felt the disturbance in the Force that the explosion of the Death Star had created, especially if he had been watching, what should have been the final victory over the Rebellion, through the Force.

    The Dark Lord now found himself in an even worse situation than before. Bad enough that he would have had to report the catastrophe to the Emperor himself, but he had been relatively certain that he would have been able to appease Palpatine with his new-found information on a possible convert. Vader had gambled on raising and deflecting his master?s wrath quickly, but now the Emperor had had ample time to build up his rage. Vader knew, with a terrible feeling of trepidation, that his failure was complete.

    His TIE Fighter alighted on the polished deck of the hangar bay and Vader descended the ramp that had been raised to his cockpit. The commander of the Emperor's Will awaited him at the bottom of the ramp, together with an escort of ten stormtroopers.

    As soon as Vader stepped onto the deck the commander marched briskly towards him and saluted. Despite his preoccupation with his own thoughts, the Dark Lord easily picked up on the nervousness emanating from the Star Destroyer?s commander, though the officer outwardly made a good show of hiding his feelings.

    "Lord Vader, I am Commander Thelmark. Quarters have been prepared for you but if you prefer, I will accompany you to the bridge. We are preparing to jump to lightspeed at any moment. The Emperor..."

    Vader interrupted him with a gesture. "I will spend the journey to Coruscant in my quarters and I do not wish to be disturbed. Do I make myself clear, Commander?"

    The officer did not seem the least bit intimidated. "Quite clear, my lord." He signalled to two of the stormtroopers. "Accompany Lord Vader to his quarters."

    Vader was not fooled. He would return to Coruscant in disgrace. His 'escort' of stormtroopers would be stationed at his door, not to keep out visitors, but to keep him locked in for the durati
  11. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    Getting excellent! More, please!

    (One small quibble. Yes, I do remember Mara's quote in the Thrawn Trilogy. But it's no longer canon, since it's been contradicted by the end of AOTC. I'll grant you you couldn't know in 1998 :D ... but technically, the story no longer "fits into the timeline".)

    [running away after having lobbed her timeline A-R grenade [face_laugh] ]
  12. Darth_Silenous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2002
    star 4
    Really excellent indeed. I like the image of Vader in disgrace. ;)

    I think I remember that quote (somehow I always thought it meant the symbolic hand, not the actual) but that contradicts the storyline, so I'm not going to complain. Do continue with this - I'm hooked!

    :D
  13. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    Ooohh..Agree with Darth Silenous. Liked the thought of Vader being in disgrace...it adds a whole new dimension to think of Vader being subjugated to anyone else's will--even in ESB and ROTJ, when Vader kept saying he would obey the Emperor, he still found ways to rebel--keep up the good work!
  14. Niralle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2001
    star 3
    Once again, nicely written. Vader's a very hard character to re-create; you've done a good job of it.

    You need to put more up more frequently, however. Anticipation is nice and all, but this waiting thing is putting me out of the mood.

    Consider it a compliment, or the simple fact I'm impatient naturally. Or, both. :)
  15. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Niralle: Patience, my young apprentice ;) Soon, all will be revealed...

    For this next bit I would ask the opinion of my readers. Do you think that it should be taken out, as it merely distracts from the story, or do you think it should be left in, as it shows the thoughts of a typical Imperial officer? After all, apart from the Emperor himself, no one knew what had happened in the Yavin system at this time...

    ---------------------------------------------

    On the bridge of his Star Destroyer, Commander Thelmark stood gazing out of the front viewport at the kaleidoscope of colours which signified their passage through hyperspace.

    When he received his orders - to travel to the co-ordinates supplied by the Emperor's secret agent - he did not ask questions. In his experience too much curiosity could be bad for one's health, especially regarding orders issued by the Emperor himself. Shortly before arriving in the Yavin System he had received his next orders: to find Lord Vader and return with him immediately to Coruscant.

    Vader's reputation was well known and Thelmark was relieved to have the bridge to himself. The Dark Lord made him more nervous than he cared to show outwardly. Thelmark neither knew nor wanted to know how Darth Vader came to be adrift in a short-range fighter so far out of the core systems. Thelmark believed in efficiency, and by following orders without questioning every strange occurrence, he fulfilled his missions with Imperial precision.

    Deep in thought, the Star Destroyer's commander surveyed his bridge. The crewers worked their hyperspace-routine and apart from the usual hum of activity from the crew-pit all was quiet. Thelmark took a deep breath of the stale, filtered air, and permitted himself a tiny smile. Sometimes ignorance, as they say, was bliss.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Okay, as that bit was a bit short, here's some more from Vader's PoV:

    ---------------------------------------------

    Coruscant shimmered like a precious jewel against the velvety backdrop of space. Vader had never really appreciated the beauty of a planet as seen from a ship in orbit, but now that an unknown fate awaited him in the Imperial Palace, he realized what an ecstatic feeling it was to be alive.

    Not long now, he thought, before I will know the extent of my master's displeasure. Strangely enough even his fear seemed to have deserted him, leaving him spent and empty of any emotion except for the numbing dread that was filling his soul.

    Vader felt the guards approaching. A moment later the voice of Commander Thelmark sounded over the doorcom. "Lord Vader, your shuttle is ready. An escort of five stormtroopers will accompany you to the Imperial Palace."

    Turning his back on the viewport, Vader strode to the door, which opened with a faint click. Outside, Commander Thelmark and the escort saluted the Dark Lord, turned briskly, and then began marching towards the shuttle bay.


  16. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    Keep it in. I like the bit about Thelmark. In ESB, the parts where the Captain Needa and Admiral Ozzel report their failures to Vader and have to face the consequences are some of my [face_devil] favorite parts.

    Keep up the good work!
  17. jedifighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 3
    Do keep it up! I [face_love] Vader so much! I'm his biggest fan!
  18. Darth_Silenous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2002
    star 4
    You need that section, because it shows exactly what the officers are thinking.

    I really loved your Vader part, though - of course he'd be thinking in terms of life and death. That's quite interesting introspection you've got going there...

    :D
  19. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    All excellent -- keep it in! It gives us perspective and it's not long-winded. More, please!
  20. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Can I just say that I *love* the new look of the Sith Council Forums... [face_devil]

    ---------------------------------------------

    The Tyderian-class shuttle dropped out of the clouds covering the brightly lit Imperial City. It was night, but the Empire's capital shone as though it were broad daylight. The most prominent building was the Imperial Palace, which they were now flying towards, and Vader could already see the gigantic statue of the Emperor in the plaza in front of the palace. The icy hand of fear clutched at his heart again, and if his breathing had not been mechanically modulated, he would have caught his breath in a moment of pure terror.

    Suddenly he realized that it was the Emperor's Force-touch upon his mind that was enhancing his fear. The realization did not make the feeling any less real and Vader understood again how far superior his master was in the ways of the Dark Side, as he had penetrated Vader's defences so easily.

    They touched down upon the landing pad and the Dark Lord, closely followed by his escort, strode towards the entrance of the palace. Two red-robed Imperial Royal Guards stood watch at the gate. One of the silent figures led the way to the lift which brought him to the Emperor's throne room.

    Darth Vader entered the softly illuminated hall. To the left and right of the lift doors stood two of the Emperor's Guards at attention. Vader's breathing was the only sound in the whole room. A wide stairway led up to the podium upon which stood the Emperor's immense black throne, and flanking it were two more red Guards. The throne's back was turned towards Vader, with its front facing the great window, through which one could see a stunning panorama of the Imperial City spread out before it.

    As soon as he reached the top, the Dark Lord sunk down on one knee and bent his head, no longer able to control his Force-enhanced terror. A lesser being would by now be reduced to a quivering wreck through the mental pressure of the Emperor's Force-touch, but Vader, himself a dark Jedi, knew how to surrender to his fear and open himself through it to the Dark Side.

    The waves of the Emperor's dark Force power washed over him and despite everything Vader smiled behind his mask. This was power! It was for this dark splendour that he had turned his back on the Jedi, weaklings that they were. He hoped that the Emperor would not kill him, so that he might feel again the resonance of Dark Side energy surrounding him, waiting to be used. What use was a pitiful Death Star when compared to the glory of the Force?

    * * *

    Emperor Palpatine felt Vader's approach to Coruscant through the ripples of terror in the Force. He himself had planted that Force-suggestion into Vader's heart as a subtle reminder of his abilities.

    Palpatine's rage burned hotly inside him, strengthening his hold on the Force. How could such a wretched band of rebels possibly destroy what had been his most powerful symbol of Imperial might? After seizing the political power, that battle station should have served as his means of making the military his own as well. The explosion of Alderaan had been most satisfactory and with the destruction of Yavin IV he would, in one stroke, have eliminated his most powerful opponents. But because of the incompetence of his servants it had been the Death Star which had died a fiery death, together with all the troops on board. The Dark Side energies, fed by his anger, pulsated around him.

    But was the destruction of the Death Star really Vader's fault? No. Whatever else he had done, the Dark Lord had not been in command of the battle station, and he had opposed the idea of building it from the beginning.

    Emperor Palpatine reached a decision. The Sith Lord's punishment would remain the same, but the reason for it would change. Vader was too valuable to kill on a whim, but he needed to learn the consequences of failure.

    Palpatine reigned through fear, and if that fear ever lost its hold over the minds of his subordinates, the Empire would collapse and all he had wor
  21. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    Love the psychological reading of these two! Very deft, very nice!
  22. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    Great post...ooh...tension is building up...I can't wait to see what evil plans Palpatine has for Vader. [face_devil]
  23. jedifighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 3
    I think I know. Palpy was suppose to cut off Vader's right hand after the Death Star. So I'm guessing that he's going to cut off Vader's right hand.


    P.S: This is the SITH council, and I'm a JEDI, so please don't kill me....
  24. Imperial_Ladyhawk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002

    Vader raised his head as the black throne began to turn. He no longer saw his master as an old man ravaged by dark side energies. To him, Palpatine was the embodiment of the Dark Side itself.

    And then his nightmare came true. The Emperor rose, his black-robed figure at that moment appearing more threatening than anything Vader had ever seen before. Palpatine raised his arms, his fingers pointing at the Dark Lord, and a burst of blue-white lightning hit Vader full-blast in the chest.

    His whole being erupted in agony.

    There was nothing he could do, no way he could stop the attack. Reeling backwards, gasping for breath, Vader clutched at his chest. Suddenly the lightning bolts stopped. His whole body tingled with electricity and his breath came in wheezing gasps.

    "Well, Lord Vader, do you have anything to say?" The Emperor regarded him out of narrowed eyes.

    Vader endeavoured to kneel again but his mechanical breathing must have been damaged, for he had difficulty drawing breath. "My Master..." His knees gave way and he fell forward onto the floor, bringing his hands up just in time to catch himself. His breathing stabilized somewhat and he tried again.

    "My Master, please, I have important infor..." He doubled up, panting, and clutched at his chest. Through the pain he could feel wires in his chest melting, adding the hot pain of melting metal to the agony of the Emperor's Force-attack. He stifled a moan and reached out a shaking hand. His breathing was again irregular but still he gasped, "Master..." Labouring for breath he collapsed groaning on the floor, smoke rising from his body armour and mask. Electric impulses still chased along his arms and legs and his breathing sounded choked.

    "You allowed my Death Star to be destroyed. You allowed the Rebellion to gain an important victory. Do you know what the price of failure is, Lord Vader?" With these words, the Emperor sent another lightning attack against the Sith Lord. In desperation, Vader held up his right hand in an attempt to deflect the blasts as though they were blaster bolts, but the blue-white lightning entered his hand instead. It crackled up his arm, frying circuitry and burning the flesh beneath the black leather sleeve.

    With an anguished cry Vader dropped his guard and his last flicker of resistance melted away to be replaced by utter agony. The attack ended as abruptly as it had begun. The Dark Lord lay at his master's feet, electricity still crackling over the black body armour. He could not breathe properly and a burning pain was spreading along his right arm. With difficulty, he pushed himself up onto both knees and raised his head to look straight at his master, awaiting the killing stroke.

    "Give me one good reason why I should spare you more pain,? the Emperor said.

    Luke.

    The name came with great difficulty through the haze of pain in Vader's mind. He realized that he had not had the strength to speak out loud, but the Emperor heard him through the Force. Then, for the first time, the Sith Lord opened himself totally to his master, revealing everything he knew and suspected about the boy.

    Through this willing act of submission he made himself completely vulnerable to the Emperor's every whim. If he so chose, Palpatine could have destroyed Vader's very soul, since he had lifted all his defences to enable his master to see into his heart.

    Palpatine cackled, then laughed out loud and his laughter reverberated around the chamber. Vader was his! His creature to the very core of his being, so much so that he threw himself totally on his master's mercy mind, body, and soul.

    Vader's pain could be felt as dark ripples in the Force surrounding them, and suddenly the Emperor felt lenient towards his servant. He signalled his guards to help Vader to his feet and support him. As the Dark Lord had still not re-erected his defences around his mind, Palpatine felt the pain in his servant's body, especially in his burnt right arm.

    "Never mind, my friend. My doctors can make you a new arm and a better h
  25. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    Ooh...very nice ending. :) Good luck with the archives.
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