Efficiency [Vader, Piett, and the Lady Ex: A Vignette]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by sethnakht, Mar 1, 2003.

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  1. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    6/08/03: _Italics_ are marked like so. Some formatting errors fixed.


    EFFICIENCY

    It slices through space, an icy white gash in the sea of pitch; somehow too majestic and imposing to be dwarfed by the stars. It calls all attention to itself, for there is nothing like it. It is the incarnation of cold.

    Its mass alone is staggering. The bulk of it reaches for kilometres -- the command deck alone can comfortably house five thousand. It is shaped like a wedge. A wedge with a city on top of it, more precisely. The top deck is a pile of intelligence towers and sensors, and various guns. From a distance it looks like an enormous scrapheap, stacked carelessly atop the knifelike edges of the ship's lower floors and underbelly.

    It glides forward smoothly, engines thrumming, secure in invincibility.

    The crew is similarly confident. They are all precise men, well trained for battle and used to the monotony of living on a ship, proud to be in the largest ship of the Fleet. They are proud of the Fleet in general, and eager to destroy the Rebellion.

    Of course, no one has the gall to say otherwise. Should Lord Vader hear of it (and he would; he had his ways), the man who'd spoken would be dead before he could say "efficiency".

    Lord Vader was frightful. He was also the master of the ship -- and the Fleet -- and the Emperor's Right Hand, and endowed with sorcerous powers that no one dared to cross. There were things he could do. . .

    There were also rumours -- not amongst the _Executor's_ crew, who knew better than to spread rumours about Lord Vader, but on the other ships in the Fleet -- that he wanted to be Emperor himself.

    Vader was too mysterious to assess properly. The _Excecutor's_ crew never even tried. He had a strange breathing problem, and wore a gruesome black mask and helmet over his head. There was a blinking panel on his chest -- life support, they said -- and more little blinking machines on his silver belt. The rest of him was black; black and shiny, like a droid. He wore a leather suit and a flowing cape.

    There was the way he breathed. It was slow, like he was sucking the air in with his mouth. It sounded terrible.

    Vader kept the _Executor_ efficient. Every trooper and officer aboard was too afraid of him to do their job improperly, so, naturally, the _Executor_ had the highest performance rank in the entire Fleet. Secretly, the crew had to admit an admiration for Lord Vader and his efficiency, despite the fact that he scared them immensely -- but they would never admit to such a thing once outside their private rooms. Not even the workers on the Lowest Decks -- the sweltering, grimy underbelly; the engines were there -- dared to speak of him. One simply never knew if he'd hear. Or how he'd react.

    And that was the thing about Vader -- he could be found on any level of the ship, and at any time. He was just as interested in the mechanisms running the _Executor_ as in commanding it. Often (and always without warning), he would come down to the engine rooms to talk with the mechanics. Once he'd been found _playing_ with the hyperdrive motivator. They said he'd handpicked _Excecutor's _TIE pilots -- it was a known fact that he supervised the maintenance checks on the TIEs, anyway. Sometimes he even flew into battle, which was just strange.

    Still, they had to admire him for it -- for his efficiency -- if only from a safe distance. Vader despised smalltalk as much as he despised _in_efficiency -- meaning, consequentially, that no one dared to talk to anyone else about anything, for fear that he might hear and fly into some sort of ennobled rage.

    But sometimes they talked about their orders.

    'Any news from the droids?'

    'Which ones?'

    'The probe droids. . . you know, the ones to find Skybopper.'

    'Skywalker.'

    'Oh. Well, the ones to find him.'

    'I think we're heading to Hoth.'

    'Oh.'

    There was rather little to say. Still:

    'You'd better learn to say Skywalker properly. It. . . it would be better.'

    'Oh. Right.'

    And that was all.

    On the higher decks, the deck
  2. Enigma_X Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2002
    star 2
    I dug it. Very nice depiction of the awe and fear the Executor's crew seemed to have of Vader, and I liked the touch with Vader being known to be against racism and sexism. I think it makes a lot of sense- he's the only Imperial we ever see dealing with aliens, and he was clearly proud of Padme's accomplishments. Both are also generally deeply entrenched and learned early on, and we see none of either in Anakin. The description of the ship itself was nice; I particularly liked "icy white gash". Very evocative.
  3. JediBlue Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2002
    star 1
    WOW...Nicely done!!! I like your description of the executor and Vader. :)

    ~Blue~
  4. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Good post! I like the sense of hush-hush curiosity. It infects the reader as much as it does the crew of the Executor.
  5. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Wow, I really like this. :) It's beautifully written and very evocative. I could picture the uncommissioned officers muttering fearfully amongst themselves and Vader showing up unannounced on various decks at all hours of the day and night. I also like the fact that you portray Vader's character in what we don't see of him. Your representation of him as an egalitarian reformer in pursuit of meritocracy is quite fitting based on his past.

    Very good job! :)
  6. FalaDaemon Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Great Work! I'm loving it!
  7. Devi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2002
    star 4
    Well done! I like your portrayal of Vader. :)
  8. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    I really appreciate the thought everyone put into their reviews.

    Enigma: Wow! I loved your review.

    Both are also generally deeply entrenched and learned early on, and we see none of either in Anakin.

    I agree (obviously ;) ). I think this is the beauty of the prequels -- they prove that Anakin is an idealist and really did once mean well. The picnic scene in AOTC really hits this home. Anakin wants an Empire partially because he doesn't know any better, but partially because he wants "wise" people like Padmé (a female) and Palpatine (whom he feels is qualified) in charge. If that isn't a push for an unsexist meritocracy, I don't know what is. :)

    JediBlue: Cool. Thanks for the review!

    Delight: I wrote this while listening to the music from Empire. I was very struck by the amount of pure image power in the score -- the music is, to an extent, more powerful than any words -- and the overawing sense of Imperial might. The "hush-hush" atmosphere is one of my favorite things about the Executor. I've always felt the Imperial ships to be based off of Japanese ships in WWII, and tried to convey a similar feeling; it's good to know I pulled it off.

    Dark Lady Mara: Wow! :D

    I also like the fact that you portray Vader's character in what we don't see of him.

    Vader is so layered that it was fun for me to try and penetate him. He wears so many masks . . . there's the obvious outer one, of course, but then subtler masks inside of him . . . he really presents a fascinating character study.

    FalaDaemon: Thanks! (This is the end, btw -- it was just a little one-shot.)

    Devi: Thank you. :cool:

    Once again, thanks to all of you for the time you took to read and reply to this. Really made my day.
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    *raises brows*

    Very interesting. Very well done.
  10. TorontoJediMaster Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 4
    Well done.

    You described "Executor" the way she was described in the novelization of ESB. In the novelization it's written that everyone in the Fleet, but particularly aboard "Executor" felt a sense of supreme confidence, but also fear. It's described that the fear was of hearing the heavy footfalls and the sounds of a respirator approaching.

    I also liked how nobody has any regard for Ozzel's abilities. I sense that Ozzel was one of the admirals promoted due to their connections and political loyalties. While officers like Piett and Veers were promoted by their own abilities.
  11. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    More replies!

    GrandAdmiralJello: Thank you. :)

    TorontoJediMaster: I didn't like Ozzel in the film, so I really tried to play him down. Glad that worked.

    You described "Executor" the way she was described in the novelization of ESB.

    Wow - now I have to go read that. Thanks for the heads up!
  12. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    Wow! That was awesome.
  13. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    Spike2002: Wow! Thank you. :)
  14. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    I'm going to allow myself one . . .

    Wingardium Leviosa
  15. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
  16. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    Hmm -- never quite thought about that. This isn't something that can be literally continued as a story (The inspiration came from a piece of music, and it's pretty much gone.). But I *am* writing a similar vignette for the Death Star; if, by the grace of some muse, I can finish it, I'll put it up.

    :)
  17. Shezan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 3
    Very nicely done! I like your idea that Vader had never killed before -- it makes perfect sense that until the urgency to find Luke superseded everything, he had not been that rughless. I also like the attention Vader gives to engines and TIE training, it's all very in character. Good job!
  18. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    (Is currently [face_shocked] . You write an amazing Vader and Piett, Shezan.)

    Shezan:


    Very nicely done! I like your idea that Vader had never killed before -- it makes perfect sense that until the urgency to find Luke superseded everything, he had not been that rughless.

    Well, he's certainly killed (Jedi and Rebels, definitely) before -- but I'm of the firm belief Vader would never, ever touch his men unless he was nearing insanity. (Which, by ESB, I'm pretty sure he was.) Aside from the fact that I absolutely *adore* Vader and think him full of honorable, noble principles (I love to think he hated the Death Star, and was deeply disturbed by Alderaan's destruction, and etc. etc. etc.), there was just that awful look on Piett's face as he watched Ozzel die . . . as if he'd just stepped into hell. Besides, had Vader been prone to killing his officers, Ozzel wouldn't have been nearly so cocky in the first place. Well, I don't *think* he would have been. . .

    I also like the attention Vader gives to engines and TIE training, it's all very in character. Good job!

    Thanks! I nearly fainted when I saw your fabulous reply -- I really respect your Vader and Piett (and somewhere deep down inside, I also respect your Thrawn, although admittedly I know nothing about the EU and often skip past any unfamiliar name until I can find the juicy Vader bits. *looks sheepish*).

    And thanks for your review on my HP story! (Sadly, although my true love is SW, I don't think I'll ever find a way to truly contribute to it. I just gobble up other people's SW brilliance and slink back home to write about Snape.)
  19. DarthCuppa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2002
    star 1
  20. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    Thank you! I had no idea. *blushes*

    This has been cleaned up and reformatted.
  21. LadyZ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2000
    star 4
    This time I disagree with TJM- this description of the ship is far-far better than anything in ESB novellization (sorry, I'm biased, I'm very mad at that book ;) ) :D Yes, the description of the ship and the crew is awesome- if there were "perfect characterization on a ship", this fic would be a candidate definitely. :D


    Very interesting the way you change the perspective of the story- first the ship, then the crew, then Piett- in the beginning I wanted to say it's a mistake, because this way the story itself is begging for more, a vignette cannot "tolerate" so many change in point of views..., but I must say, I was mistaken. :) With the word "efficiency" you pull the story together again...

    And that is the moment the reader realizes that it was not about a ship, the crew, or a well-written missing moment ( :) it was really a good one, though) but to show us the real player, the real perspective here, Lord Vader. Who tries to moralize a murder with the need of efficiency... while he secretly admits that somehow the reason behind the efficiency might have changed.

    I remember JediGaladriel's The Penitent: during the trial of Anakin Skywalker the defense is trying to explain the very same thing. I never was really convinced. I remember commenting that one can say that for a Sith Lord it would be more out of character if he doesn't kill someone... Gala did not correct me... she was quite patient really. Now, sethnakht succeeded where Gala and "Piett's diary" could not (because of my poor imagination), at last, after 4 years I understand the lawyer's point :D :D :D
  22. sethnakht Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 1
    Zita, I'm absolutely honoured . . . no words, really, to thank you for such a lovely review. I'm glad Vader made sense. The whole story was written after seeing a picture of the Executor and wondering how, exactly, Vader kept every level of such a monolith in line. Naturally, I had to explore every level . . . crazy, but I am glad it pulled together at the end.

    I didn't like the ESB novelisation very much, either. In fact, of all the novelisations, the only one I can somewhat stand is the one for ANH.
  23. Ana_Labris Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 4
    Amazing story, perfect..
    I loved the little glimpses into the lives of the crew of the Lady Ex, beautiful. And As said, the focus moving from space to the Lady Ex, to the crew and their thoughts of Vader, to Piett and to Vader himself. It really ties in with the image of Anakin we get in the prequels.
    And about choking Ozzel - I just got an idea - what if Vader can't promote without losing time, and instead of going through papers and other bs just kills the guy. Not like anyone will ask how he got killed ;)

    I'll read your Snape stories as soon as I can :D
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