Saga Like Vader Before Me (RoJ AU - Luke, Vader, Palpy) Updated with Entry 11 [Unavoidable]: 4/22/13

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Blue Ice Cream, Feb 16, 2013.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Title: Like Vader Before Me (previously titled: Your Skills Are Complete)

    Author: epithree

    Genre: Alternate Universe

    Characters: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, The Emperor

    Timeline: RoJ

    Summary: What if Luke didn't know the 'big' secret? This story explores the outcome of RoJ's epic duel with a twist. Luke has no knowledge that he is related to Darth Vader and Leia.

    Author's Notes: This is an extreme AU and here is a brief mention of important details-

    ANH~ Ben Kenobi stuck with Owen's story when telling Luke about his past. He also told Luke that Darth Vader was once his apprentice and a Jedi Knight. However, Ben did not reveal the true name of his apprentice, so Luke has no knowledge of the name Anakin Skywalker.

    ESB~ Darth Vader did not reveal the big secret to Luke at Bespin.

    RoJ~ Yoda and Obi-Wan did not tell Luke about his relationship with Leia.

    Disclaimer: Star Wars is not mine. Just playing with the sand.


    -o-o-o-o-o-


    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...


    -Preface-

    Lone Jedi

    The Endor System

    Luke Skywalker, the newest and lone Jedi Knight, sat quietly upon the hard durasteel surface of his holding cell. He was aboard Darth Vader's personal shuttle en route to the Emperor's ultimate weapon.

    With his legs crossed, Luke had entered into a meditative state. The calming technique had been one of Master Yoda's teachings.

    A pair of stormtroopers stood outside the tiny prison, guarding the door as Darth Vader had commanded.

    Luke had recently found comfort in meditating. The young Jedi hadn't opened his eyes since the imperial shuttle had launched from the sanctuary moon. His thoughts still dwelled on his experiences upon Endor. Specifically, he focused on his conversation with Darth Vader.

    The intense talk had taken place within the attached bunker of an Endor landing pad. Luke had been taken there by the group of imperials who he had surrendered to. And it was there that Luke had boarded Darth Vader's shuttle for his trip to the Emperor.

    During the exchange, Luke attempted to lure Vader away from the hold of the dark side, but the dark lord would not be swayed. He explained that he must obey his master, and that Luke was unaware of the dark side's true power.

    Why Luke felt empathy for the dark lord was a bit of a mystery to the boy. Though he was aware of the many atrocities committed by the Sith, he still felt a strange connection to Darth Vader. Perhaps the stories that Obi-Wan Kenobi had told the boy triggered Luke's ability to detect good in the dark lord. Ben had shared much about Darth Vader's past with Luke, and the fact that the dark lord was once a revered Jedi Knight fascinated the boy.

    How could a Jedi abandon the light? Luke still felt good in his masked rival, and believed that the Emperor hadn't driven it from him fully.

    Was it possible that Darth Vader could be redeemed? Luke was hoping for that to be the case, and triumph over the Emperor would depend on it.

    The force was telling young Luke that his strategy would have to be bold. He decided that an appeal to the good left in Darth Vader would be his best tactic.

    And so it would be. Luke would endeavor to turn the dark lord back to the light. Once again, Master Yoda came to Luke's mind. The boy would either succeed or not, for trying was never an option.
    Last edited by epithree, Apr 22, 2013
  2. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 1-

    Your Skills Are Complete

    Although it was only a quick, realspace trip from Endor to the space station, the flight seemed to decelerate for young Luke.

    Yoda's teachings were paying off. Through Luke's meditative techniques, time actually felt as if it were stretching out before the boy. This gave him an ample period in which to focus upon his thoughts and feelings before the predicted confrontation.

    It was true. Ever since he had faced Darth Vader upon Bespin, Luke felt a distinct connection with the dark lord. Now, sitting there calmly in his cell, Luke delved into his thoughts, which were still dwelling on the exchange between himself and Vader.

    The talk they had within the Endor bunker played out in Luke's head again and again. It was the first time Luke had been face to face with the dark lord since their epic duel on Bespin. And the year between meetings had made all the difference.

    Luke was in control during the latter encounter, for the boy had become a Jedi Knight. He was calm and composed, and Darth Vader recognized his mastery over his own fear.

    The boy had become a Jedi Knight.

    Luke couldn't help but feel a surge of pride as he thought about it. Something Vader had said was resonating throughout the boy's mind. He recalled the line.

    "I see you've constructed a new lightsaber."

    Yes, Luke's greatest source of pride and honor was his newly constructed lightsaber. The boy was pleased that Vader had taken notice. Up to that point, Luke still had doubts about himself, and what he could accomplish. Again, that conversation had changed everything. Never before had Luke been so confident that he was truly a Jedi.

    Luke's thoughts shifted to Tatooine, as he clearly remembered creating the impressive hilt. It was just before his pilgrimage to Jabba's palace, where his new abilities would be tested for the first time.

    All of Luke's friends had left to rescue Han from the clutches of the vile gangster. Yes, his friends who meant so much to him. Leia, Chewie and Lando, and the droids had all infiltrated the palace already. Luke would be the last to arrive, and when he did, Jabba would get a taste of his powers.

    Luke had desperately needed that time alone, to find himself and hone his skills. He had spent much of the time learning the meditating techniques he was using now. The fact that he had done all this at Ben's Tatooine hut was most special to Luke.

    Ah yes, Ben's hut.

    It had been a sanctuary for the young boy. The home of his mentor, the hut represented many things to Luke. It was a place where the force flowed freely. Luke had never before tapped into the mystical energy field so easily. His solitude at Ben's hut had allowed him to grow stronger with the force.

    Of course, it was also the place where Luke had completed the difficult task of constructing his new lightsaber. Luke welcomed the snap-hiss of ignition when he first turned on the device. Expecting the hilt to explode, Luke took pride in the soothing hum of the saber. It had worked. Knighthood was upon him.

    Luke recalled placing the lightsaber hilt within the compartment upon Artoo's dome. Without opening his eyes, Luke smiled as the musing flooded his psyche.

    Suddenly, Luke's deliberation shifted back to Darth Vader and Endor. He thought hard about Vader's next line.

    "Your skills are complete."

    Was it true? According to Ben and Yoda, Luke would not be a full-fledged Jedi Knight until he faced Darth Vader once more. And in a way the boy had done just that. The confrontation at the Endor landing pad had been trying enough. However, Luke knew that the conflict to come would be far more intricate.

    Not only would he face Darth Vader again, but he would also be brought before the dark lord's emperor. If that was what it took to become a true Jedi Knight, then Luke would accept it as his destiny. Still, hearing Vader speak those words had caused the boy to brim with confidence. He felt more like a Jedi than ever before.

    Luke Skywalker was indeed powerful, as the Emperor had foreseen. He would heed Yoda's warning, and not underestimate the abilities of both dark lords. Luke would not allow overconfidence to become his weakness.


    -o-o-o-o-o-


    Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, was seated regally in his private meditation chamber, anticipating the confrontation that was to come. He knew that the two incompetent guards would be enough, for Luke had no intention of escaping. The boy would see this through, and his compassion for the dark lord would be his undoing.
    Last edited by epithree, Mar 9, 2013
  3. mavjade It's so Fluffy Fanfic & New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 5
    Great start!
    I'm always a sucker for the Saga AU story!

    The boy would see this through, and his compassion for the dark lord would be his undoing.
    Loved this line!

    I look forward to reading more!
  4. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Hi there mavjade. :) Thanks so much for the kind words.

    Oh, I can certainly relate, because I'm a sucker for Saga AUs as well.

    The next installment should be up soon.
  5. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    Impressive. I'm really liking this. AUs are always fun..and like mavjade I appreciate a good one for the original saga. I'll be keeping this on my watch list.
  6. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 2-

    Hear Me

    The journey towards the Emperor's ultimate space station continued. Luke Skywalker allowed the force to wrap around him. He reached out, searching for Darth Vader's countenance. What Luke sensed was a pair of weak-minded stormtroopers just outside his holding cell.

    Widening his exploration to encompass the entire imperial shuttle, Luke discovered force signatures from fifteen other individuals. He performed the impressive feat with relative ease. His force powers were blossoming, and it amazed the boy.

    Never had Luke detected the presence of other beings so easily. He dismissed the pilots, engineers, and technicians from the nub of his mind, focusing in upon Darth Vader.

    Honing in on the dark lord telepathically proved to be far more difficult than it had been in the past. Luke remembered his telepathic prowess upon the gas giant known as Bespin. As the Millennium Falcon sped him away from the dangers of Cloud City, Luke had communicated with Vader.

    Yes, Darth Vader, aboard his star destroyer, continued to tempt Luke with the dark side as the Falcon made its escape. The skillful telepathy between the two men was impressive. Even more shocking to Luke was the fact that he could contact *another* person through the force.

    Leia.

    Hanging helplessly, with all of Cloud City above him, Luke had just known what to do. He had called out to the princess.

    "Leia... hear me."

    Even now, Luke did not comprehend how the force had told him to call for her. He had let go of his conscious self, and acted upon instinct. Nevertheless, that miracle proved to Luke that his relationship with Leia was quite special.

    Once more setting his mind on the present, Luke reached out with the force again. Why couldn't he commune with the dark lord? Luke recognized Vader's unmistakable force signature aboard the vessel, but was unable to transmit thoughts and feelings to the Sith.

    Luke quickly realized that the dark lord was using the force to mentally shield himself from any intrusion. However, the boy didn't know why. Darth Vader was cutting off their mental bond. Luring Vader back to the light would have to wait until they were off the ship.

    Now that his mental connection with Vader was severed, Luke recalled how easily their link had flowed in the past. Once again, Bespin came to mind. Then, Luke's thoughts turned to more recent experiences.

    The approach to Endor.

    Han had told Luke not to get jittery. Even so, the feeling that day had been undeniable. Luke had sensed Darth Vader aboard the nearby command ship. At that moment, Luke knew he had endangered the mission. However, something peculiar transpired next. The dark lord had granted them access to the sanctuary moon.

    Never before had Luke sensed Darth Vader so easily. Truly the force had been flowing between them. Baffled by Vader's unexpected move, Luke could only stare ahead blankly. He knew that Vader had sensed him as well. While Han bragged about being right, Luke just continued to look through the stolen shuttle's viewport.

    Why had Darth Vader let them go? Even now, Luke wasn't sure of the answer. Nonetheless, one thing was certain. Luke had detected a trace of goodness within the dark lord on that fateful day.

    As Luke went on with his meditation, he thought about Vader's decision some more. Perhaps the dark lord had known that Luke would seek him out once upon Endor. Whatever the reason, clearance had been approved for shuttle Tydirium.

    The amazing fluidity of their mental link didn't end there. Luke could still feel Vader's presence from the moment he set foot on Endor until his stay at the Ewok village. Ultimately, Luke sensed that Vader had come to the forest moon.

    Luke eventually decided to leave the village. And that meant he would have to leave his friends as well. He would have to leave... Leia.

    Now Luke's reflections shifted to another important discussion. He thought about his talk with Leia amongst the towering trees of Endor. It was the last time he had seen the girl, for he had left that night. There in the Ewok village, Luke explained the bizarre connection he shared with Darth Vader.

    Leia deserved an explanation. Luke certainly didn't want it to seem like he'd abandoned the princess. He told her of his plan to turn Vader back to the light. She didn't understand.

    She couldn't.

    How could Luke share a mental bond with such a monster? Why would he want to save the man that had put them through so much? As he thought about her valid questions, Luke's mind reeled from an onslaught of images.

    Alderaan. Han frozen in carbonite. A mechanical hand.

    Luke pushed away the musings as quickly as they had come. It was a skill he had learned at Dagobah.

    Yoda had also taught the boy how to let go of counterproductive thoughts, but this time Luke stored them in the recesses of his own psyche. The Jedi master had warned Luke about this practice. Thoughts and feelings such as these could be made to fuel the boy's hatred.

    Despite his plan to turn Vader back, Luke would not forget the atrocities that the dark lord had committed. If and when these emotions surfaced again, Luke would control them.

    Luke Skywalker would remember the evil. He had to, for Leia.
    Last edited by epithree, Feb 22, 2013
  7. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    I absolutely love this entry..its so intriguing and continue the previous flow of the other entries. I like the inner reflection you've got going on with Luke..it really helps understand his thoughts on the way to the Death Star...because of course films can't show that
  8. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    @EmeraldJediFire:

    Thank you for the kind replies. :)

    You're right about AUs. They can certainly be a bunch of fun.

    I really wanted to explore the thoughts of Luke, Vader, and Palpy during this time period. Hence, the story ends up being quite introspective.
  9. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 3-

    What Is Thy Bidding?

    High above the sanctuary moon of Endor, Darth Vader’s private shuttle reached its predetermined destination. The sleek imperial craft entered the appropriate hangar bay, which appeared as a gaping maw upon the completed section of the Emperor’s definitive battle station.

    Although he was preoccupied with intense meditation, Luke Skywalker realized that they had arrived at the bay once the whining of the realspace engines had stopped. He now recognized the soothing, familiar whir of the repulsors, as they had kicked on just seconds ago.

    Luke knew that he was nearing his destiny, and he did not have to break his concentration to comprehend the ramifications of that fact. His meditative journey would continue for as long as possible. Luke wouldn’t stop using Yoda’s calming techniques until the imperials pulled him away from his bleak holding cell. He had made the wise decision just before takeoff from the forest moon.

    As the boy stretched out with the force, thoughts of Darth Vader resurfaced. Why were the dark lord’s mental shields still up? Luke allowed the musings to linger. There was something else behind all this. It wasn’t simple telepathic blocking. Darth Vader’s technique was a bit more advanced, as if he was protecting himself from any probing of the mind.

    There in his holding cell, Luke Skywalker could easily detect Vader’s presence on the vessel. He followed the force through his mind’s eye, and it brought him a vision of Darth Vader sitting in his personal meditation chamber. Luke was seeing the present. He surmised that the dark lord was meditating also, and the mental shielding held.

    Suddenly, Luke could feel the slightest tinge of fear emanating from the dark lord’s consciousness. Never had the boy’s perceptions been so sharp. It was the fear of extraction. That’s why Vader was blocking Luke’s probing attempts with such strength. Perhaps the dark lord was keeping something from the boy.

    Luke thought about the possibilities. What could Darth Vader be hiding?

    Important imperial intelligence? Traitorous rebels acting as double agents? The secrets of this very battle station?

    Regardless of the answer, Luke was amazed that he had once again sensed fear in his nemesis. The first instance was back on Bespin, while Darth Vader urged the boy to join him in hopes of overthrowing the Emperor.

    Yes, Luke had perceived much fear in the dark lord that day. It had been fear of his master, the Emperor. And although this fear was quite strong, Darth Vader had always controlled it.

    He didn’t want to admit it, but Luke was actually learning from the dark lord. Both meetings with Vader had provided insight that pertained to controlling one’s own fears.

    Yoda had taught the boy much, but studying Vader’s composure first hand was invaluable. Through the force, Luke could detect both mental and physical decisions as Vader controlled his fear. It gave the boy options. He was learning how to comport himself when anxiety and uncertainty struck.

    Luke Skywalker exhaled as he discerned that the shuttle had finally touched durasteel, but his meditative attentiveness was never broken.

    Whatever Darth Vader was hiding from the boy, it wouldn’t be productive to keep guessing. Luke pushed the curiosity away and turned his thoughts to the confrontation that awaited him.



    -o-o-o-o-o-



    Alone amongst his private meditation chamber, Darth Vader knew that his shuttle had landed. He would allow himself a few more moments to meditate before telling the crew to disembark.

    Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, thought about the true nature of his relationship with Luke Skywalker. He had done so for the entire trip. This is why his mental shields were up. The dark lord was aware of Luke’s constant attempts to contact him telepathically.

    A possible probe of the mind from Luke had to be defended against. Darth Vader would not drop the shielding while his psyche’s focus remained upon this particular subject.

    His relationship with Luke. The truth be told, Darth Vader had wanted to tell the boy since before their encounter at Bespin. However, one powerful entity had been stopping the dark lord from doing so.

    The Emperor.

    Darth Vader remembered the tension of the heated conversation as if it had transpired today.

    It wasn’t long after the dark lord had left Hoth. Darth Vader had been told to establish contact with Emperor Palpatine. By the dark lord’s command, his star destroyer had been moved out of the asteroid field so that he could make a clear transmission.

    As a display of reverence, Darth Vader had knelt before the giant holo of his emperor. Next, he spoke the words that he wished he never had. Those horrendous words. The words he had uttered so many times before. And so many times since.

    “What is thy bidding, my master?”

    Darth Vader couldn’t help but think back to the day, two and a half decades ago, that he pledged himself to the teachings of that wretched man. The day that he first called him master.

    Refocusing upon their epic conversation, Darth Vader recalled how the holo of Palpatine had glowered at him. The Emperor informed Vader of a great disturbance in the force. He explained to the dark lord that they had a new enemy.

    Both men had known the truth about Luke Skywalker. And each dark lord knew the treachery that the other was planning. Luke would replace one of the Sith.

    Of course, the Emperor would not allow Vader to use the secret of Luke’s heritage to his advantage. It was during that very conversation that Palpatine had forbid Darth Vader from telling Luke the true nature of their relationship. And Vader would not go against a direct order from his emperor. If he did, Palpatine would know.

    And so, at Bespin, Darth Vader had still attempted to turn Luke, beckoning the boy to join him. However, he dared not use the secret as bait, for yes, Palpatine would surely know.

    The Sith used fear as an ally, even among themselves. Revealing the information to Luke would bring about severe punishment and unspeakable torture.

    Shaking away the thought, Darth Vader brought his attention back to the present. Soon, the confrontation would unfold. The dark lord would have to be ready.
    Last edited by epithree, Mar 3, 2013
  10. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    buh buh buhhhh...the tension whoo...keep going..I like the constant build up. seems to increase with every post.
  11. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Yeah, the tension builds up steadily until we reach the throne room. :) Then, the real tension is revealed. :D Thanks for the response.

    The next entry is almost ready.
  12. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 4-

    Impressive

    Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, stood regally next to his personal shuttle’s boarding ramp. He was baffled by his present state of mind.

    The majority of the ship’s crew had disembarked and left the hangar bay. Only a pair of stormtroopers remained aboard the craft. They had been ordered to escort Luke Skywalker to the turbolifts when Lord Vader gave the signal.

    Yes, Darth Vader would meet the boy at the appropriate turbolift, but not until he was mentally ready. The dark lord did not want to be in the presence of Luke Skywalker before it was absolutely necessary.

    It was true. The Sith was puzzled by a recent onslaught of memories he didn’t want. There was something about the boy that evoked these recollections.

    Lord Vader had learned to squelch unwanted thoughts long ago. Normally, his mind pushed them away, allowing only memories of his career as Darth Vader to surface. However, he now had surprisingly accurate access to memories from before that era.

    This was irregular. The dark lord had no desire to remember the time when he was known as Anakin, but he could no longer keep the thoughts at bay. And the closer he was to Luke, the more it happened.

    Darth Vader decided to drop his mental shielding. Now that he wasn’t focused upon his relationship with the boy, Luke would not be able to extract the secret.

    The dark lord reached out with the force and sensed Luke clearly. The boy was still meditating in his holding cell, totally calm and composed.

    Impressive.

    Darth Vader severed the connection before Luke could feel him through their mental bond. It had happened again. The dark lord’s psyche was flooded with thoughts of his days before the suit. He was struggling to fight it off, for he did not want to fall into this self-inflicted trap.

    Perhaps Vader needed some distance between himself and the boy. His black cape billowing, the dark lord began to walk away from his shuttle towards the edge of the hangar bay, which led out to space.

    It wasn’t often that Darth Vader abandoned his duties to allow himself a break. However, he desperately needed some time for more reflection. Perhaps he could even clear his head. The dark lord had recently made a habit of wandering off by himself, and it was a welcomed change. He was tired of constantly being flanked by stormtroopers.

    As he made his way to the end of the hangar bay, Darth Vader stared at his reflection upon the polished imperial floor. The dark visage was just an unwanted reminder; he was a mechanical monstrosity. Yes, an evil monster created by Palpatine.

    The Sith Lord dismissed his line of thought when he reached the hangar’s edge. A sharp contrast existed between his dark armor and the luminous white glow of the hangar bay’s border lights. Once there, Darth Vader clasped his gloved hands together behind his back, and looked ahead through the huge rectangular aperture. Employing a calming technique of his own, he gazed out at the cosmos.

    This calmness only lasted a moment, for Darth Vader was soon blasted by thoughts of the past once more. The backdrop of distant stars against the black canvas of space was strangely reminiscent of a previous stargazing session. One that took place during the dark lord’s youth. Yes, one that took place when he was just a boy... when he was someone else... when he was known as...

    Anakin.

    It had been a clear Tatooine evening. Both sunsets had been glorious. An extremely gifted child gazed up at the night sky. This boy was Anakin Skywalker. Awestruck, he attempted to count the distant stars against the dark expanse of space above. There were far too many to successfully keep track.

    The boy’s mind reeled on about the wonders of space travel as he sat upon a sandy wall not too far from his home. A Jedi master, who the boy had recently befriended, was tending to the small wounds across Anakin’s arm. They talked while the Jedi continued to clean the minor scratches.

    Do all the stars have a system of planets around them? The Jedi master elucidated to the child that most of them did. The next inquiry came quickly. Has anyone been to them all? This time the Jedi explained that it wasn’t likely.

    Anakin Skywalker, so young and innocent, continued to stare at the wondrous stars above him. Then, he declared to his new Jedi friend that he would be the first to see them all. Yes, when Anakin became a famous star pilot, he would visit every world in the known galaxy. And he’d be the first to do it.

    The kind Jedi master smiled at the boy with much warmth. He playfully messed Anakin’s hair, and placed a gentle hand upon his shoulder. The boy sprang off the wall and wrapped his arms around the Jedi’s outer tunic. Anakin felt a warm sense of security penetrate his very soul. An embrace of that magnitude was something the boy hadn’t experienced before.

    A powerful connection existed between Anakin and this man. This man who made the boy feel safe. This man who made the boy feel wanted. He believed in the child without question. And one day, this man would free the boy from slavery.

    The unwanted memory of the Jedi master’s name surged through Darth Vader’s consciousness without mercy.

    Qui-Gon Jinn.

    A warm sensation provided the human component of Darth Vader with momentary comfort. Blast these infernal thoughts! The dark lord’s attention snapped back to the here and now. He was still looking out at space from the hangar bay.

    The warmth quickly subsided as the mechanical part of Vader gained the upper hand once again. He welcomed the dark side and it enshrouded his very being. How dare he draw strength from memories of Qui-Gon? How dare he reflect fondly of a wretched Jedi? All Jedi were evil.

    Luminous power from Vader’s humanity suddenly pulsated outward again. What was happening? It had to be Luke. The dark side relented once more, ever so slightly, allowing Vader to continue his line of thought.

    Those miserable Jedi. Darth Vader had become responsible for the fate of the entire Jedi order. He had obeyed his new master, Darth Sidious, and the Jedi order was left burning in his mind like some wicked dream. No. It couldn’t be. His actions at the Jedi temple. What would Qui-Gon think?

    At that moment, as he thought about Qui-Gon again, Darth Vader wanted to fall to his knees and scream out at the force. However, he did not. The dark lord’s eyes didn’t even water up behind his mask, for his body was no longer capable of such functionality. He felt unstable. This was all happening because of Luke. The young Jedi would meet his destiny!

    Darth Vader was no stranger to wicked dreams. Qui-Gon Jinn often came to him while he slept, but these conscious thoughts of the man were an oddity.

    Enough of this nonsense! The dark lord composed himself, and took one last look out at the cosmos. Spinning around on the heel of his boot, he headed back towards the shuttle. Luke would indeed meet his destiny.
    Last edited by epithree, Mar 3, 2013
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  13. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 5-

    How Can This Be?

    Luke Skywalker, the one and only Jedi Knight, continued to sit cross-legged with calm composure. There, upon the frigid floor of his holding cell, he meditated skillfully. His eyes had not opened since before takeoff, and his personal meditative journey had already taught him much. The boy had not only learned a great deal about himself, but had gained a large amount of insight regarding Darth Vader as well.

    Remaining in his private meditation chamber long after the shuttle had landed, the dark lord had been meditating also. Once the craft was parked in the enormous hangar bay, Luke detected no change from Vader’s mental shielding. The Sith blocked all attempts at probing, just as he’d done for the entire flight. However, Luke was hopeful. The dark lord would have to leave his chamber eventually.

    Then, sure enough, it happened. Luke sensed the presence of his nemesis abscond from the private chamber. Next, he felt the strong presence of the dark lord exit the shuttle. And for the slightest moment, he thought Darth Vader was trying to contact him, but the sensation left as quickly as it had come.

    Had Vader stretched out with the force to sense Luke?

    The boy was unsure, but it was clear that the connection had quickly been severed. Now, Luke detected the dark presence outside the shuttle, standing just next to the boarding ramp. And although he made no attempt to commune with Luke, the dark lord did drop his powerful mental shielding.

    At first, Luke was unable to extract any hidden information. As long as Darth Vader kept his focus away from the big secrets, Luke would have no access to them. Nevertheless, Vader could not clear his mind completely. Traces of the past still lingered. And these exposed thoughts were bombarding Luke’s consciousness, manifesting themselves as visions both vivid and vague.

    Hoping that Master Yoda would be proud of his meditative prowess, Luke pondered the most recent vision caused by Darth Vader. Immediately, he knew that he was seeing the past.

    Then, Luke utilized his mind’s eye with the utmost of precision, and placed his conscious self within the bizarre vision. It was a feat made possible only through the force.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Luke Skywalker found himself standing upon a landing pad made of durasteel. He watched turbulent fires shoot upward from the summit of a distant mountain. Quickly looking around, Luke noticed hot magma spewing outward from nearby canyon walls. “Where am I?” he questioned aloud. This was a hellish, lava-rich world, the likes of which he had never seen before.

    Next, the Jedi Knight’s olfactory senses were hit with the smell of burning metal. Lava churned next to the landing pad, as an eerie orange-red river. Lighter pieces of the lava floated upward through the air. These magma particles were caught by the heated air currents, swaying to and fro, around Luke.

    Instinctually, the boy knew what to do. Using the force as a shield, Luke prevented the larger bits from striking his skin. He could feel the relentless heat rising, and all along the mighty lava flow, orange chunks ruled the air.

    Studying the uncomfortable surroundings as he proceeded, Luke made his way along an attached durasteel pathway. There was something strangely familiar about this metallic complex.

    Once he reached the end of the path, Luke took notice of the mining facility’s damage. The whole area had been wrecked beyond belief. There was no sign of worker droids among the twisted development. The impressive complex was in ruins.

    Luke attempted to navigate around the warped metal beyond the pathway, but it was to no avail. With the force as his guide, he dropped to the soft riverbed and continued to walk parallel to the fiery magma flow.

    A steady stream of lava moved slowly next to Luke, who hoped it wouldn’t become more volatile as he entered the nearby canyon. Somehow, he knew where he was supposed to go.

    The active ooze could be seen in all directions. As the boy made his way through the valley, the soft riverbed seemed to be the only area not covered by magma.

    Again, this magma was spurting out of the canyon walls, and blasting upwards through the fissures upon the high cliffs.

    Suddenly, the activity slowed. The irregular calm made things all the more eerie for the Jedi Knight. Not knowing what the force was asking of him, Luke spoke again. “What am I supposed to do?”

    Luke’s inquiry was met by a peculiar silence. He could no longer hear the ever-present sound of the planet churning.

    That’s when he saw something. Across the mighty river of lava, light was hitting a small metallic object at just the right angle. It glinted upon the opposite shore, catching Luke’s attention. He had to get a closer look.

    As he walked to the edge of the river, Luke realized that his view did not improve. Somehow, he would have to get across the lava.

    Now that Luke stood right next to this slowly progressing lava, the heat became almost unbearable.

    Once again, the boy acted upon instinct. He attempted to wipe away the sweat upon his forehead with his black sleeve, but nothing was there. Yes, even though he wasn’t aware of their existence, his midichlorians were suppressing his sweat glands. As Luke absorbed the heat, the force converted it into raw energy. Perhaps he could use that fact to his advantage.

    Luke Skywalker continued to follow the lava flow along the valley floor. As the space between the valley wall and the lava thinned, he stopped and crouched, grabbing some of the soot. He rubbed it between his fingers as he looked across the river. The Jedi Knight located the spot that he needed to get to. He would have to get there quickly, for soon it would be submerged by the lava.

    Yes, there it was, upon the high bank of the riverbed... the metallic object that was calling to Luke. The boy was drawn to it.

    Soon the object would be covered by hot magma, for the lava flow had risen up to almost the top of the river’s high bank.

    Rather than use telekinesis to levitate the alluring object, Luke decided to force jump across the river.

    It was true. Luke had become rather skilled at levitation. A recent predicament upon Endor had required the boy to lift Threepio and a wooden chair with precise control. Nonetheless, he had never levitated an object much longer than several seconds. It would take a bit longer than that to clear the river, and any loss of concentration might result in losing the object to the lava.

    The force jump was the better option. Luke could use the extra energy he was being afforded to propel himself a great distance. Yet what if he fell short? The Jedi Knight was ready to take the chance. He just had to obtain that shiny metal object. Besides, this was just a vision... wasn’t it?

    And though the force might certainly make him experience the anguish that comes with bathing in hot magma, Luke knew that such an outcome would ultimately just break his meditation. If he failed, he would simply endure the pain and find himself back in the holding cell, no longer meditating.

    Luke backed up as far as possible. Before starting his run, he thought back to the days when he wasn’t as proficient with the force.

    This scenario reminded him of Leia, for he had needed to cross a huge gap in order to rescue her. Yes, it had been more than three years ago, aboard the Emperor’s first infamous battle station. Holding the princess tightly, Luke had relied upon the trusty grappling hook from his utility belt to get them across the gaping chasm.

    Well those days were long gone. Luke was now a Jedi Knight. Today he would rely upon the force alone.

    With the force enhancing Luke’s agility and strength, he sprinted towards the mighty lava flow. Leaping from the very edge, Luke cleared the superheated river with relative ease. He rolled into his landing, and completed the feat by squatting in the soot.

    Luke Skywalker stood up as a strong sense of pride washed over him.

    Before making his ascent to the metal object, he noticed something else on this side of the river. Luke saw a piece of machinery at the river’s edge. It was lodged into the soot-strewn base of the valley, half submerged by the oozing lava.

    The Jedi Knight remained where he first stood, transfixed by the large object. Something was very wrong. He sensed the dark side. Upon the hottest world Luke could think of, he experienced a chill that made him shake with fear. This sensation had swept through the boy before, back at the cave upon Dagobah.

    His curiosity peaking, Luke carefully walked over to the strange slag of metal. The relentless heat from the river blasted the boy again, but miraculously he still did not sweat. Upon closer inspection, Luke concluded that the object was a presently mangled platform that was once used to ride the lava with repulsorlift technology.

    At first, he examined the platform long and hard, unable to avert his gaze. Then, when he eventually remembered what he sought after, Luke shifted his view upwards along the bank to the shiny metal object. It would soon be overrun with lava.

    Luke had to have it, but before he climbed the riverbank to the object, he would face the darkness he sensed by stepping onto the wrecked piece of machinery.

    As soon as he set foot upon the warped platform, he was bombarded by emotions that came to him through the force.

    Guilt, shame, anger... regret, pain, despair... fear and remorse.

    Holding his head and squeezing his eyes shut, Luke couldn’t bear what he sensed. These feelings were intense, and the force told him that they had originated in the past. They were the emotions of other beings, specifically the past occupants of this very platform.

    It was all too much. Luke jumped off the platform, landing upon the canyon base hard. Sprawled out in the dark soot, he exhaled, never wanting to experience those feelings again.

    Luke got up slowly. And although soot wasn’t noticeable on his black attire, he dusted himself off anyway.

    Before continuing his quest, a query came to Luke’s mind. What does this planet have to do with Darth Vader anyway? One thing was certain. Whatever had transpired upon that platform, Luke sensed that it had been just one stage of an epic battle. He didn’t understand how he knew, but through the force, he just did.

    The time had come. Soon the gleaming metal object would be singed beyond recognition. It was now or never.

    As Luke made his way up the steep grade, the darkness did not dissipate. Perhaps more dark events transpired upon this very riverbank.

    Ominous clouds hung above as Luke reached the object. The violent atmosphere raged. With the item now at Luke’s black booted feet, he noticed that it was cylindrical. This could mean only one thing... it was the weapon of a Jedi.

    Luke snatched up the object for closer inspection. As he cradled the weapon in his mechanical hand, the ever-present darkness swept through him with an unexpected ferocity. The boy was dumbfounded.

    No. It can’t be. This is impossible.

    The intricately designed cylinder was indeed a lightsaber. Not just any lightsaber. It was Luke’s lightsaber. His first one, which had been given to him by Ben Kenobi. The saber he’d lost upon Bespin at the hands of Darth Vader.

    “How can this be?” Luke muttered aloud. “It’s not possible.” Then he remembered that his countenance was within a vision, exploring the past. And so, at some point in time, his saber could be found on the shore of this molten river. But why? And who had left it there? Just what did happen on this hellish planet?

    Luke ignited the weapon, and at that very moment, all sound returned to the planet at once. It was overwhelming. One noise in particular tormented young Luke’s soul; the sound of bubbling lava from the river behind him. He knew that something was there, at the river’s edge, just next to the distorted platform. A dark entity. Suddenly, the mysterious presence shrieked loudly.

    “I hate you!”

    Turning around to see what danger awaited him, Luke positioned his bright blue blade defensively. What he saw chilled the boy to the core. He immediately deactivated his saber.

    Gazing upon the river’s edge from his high vantage point upon the bank, Luke saw a human male writhing in agony. Ensconced in flames brought about by the lava, this man wore garments that reminded Luke of Obi-Wan’s attire.

    Soon, the clothing was burnt beyond recognition, and the man was charred. However, the being’s face remained unharmed. Luke stumbled backwards as he realized what he was looking at.

    His own face.

    He dropped the lightsaber and crawled rearward up the bank, never averting his gaze from the burning man. The screams of anguish eventually stopped, making the relentless bubbling of the lava all the more noticeable.

    The smoking man clawed at the soot, trying to pull himself up the bank as he moaned. An image of his own face began to haunt young Luke and the heat persisted.

    Luke could bear no more. He wanted this to stop. The newest Jedi Knight squeezed his eyes shut once more, shaking his head fiercely. When he opened his eyes, the entity was gone.

    Taking one last look at the metal wreckage around him, Luke exhaled and attempted to end the vision. Not only was he reaching out with the force, but he was also reaching out for the force. And only a Jedi could comprehend the all-encompassing traits of the force in that way.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Luke’s trip to the red-hot world was over now. His meditation continued. Understandably shaken, he hoped that Darth Vader wouldn’t detect the momentary loss of composure. The Jedi pushed the symbolic vision to the recesses of his psyche and got back to focusing on the moment at hand.

    Darth Vader could no longer be sensed standing next to the boarding ramp. Luke reached out with the force. Sometime before the boy came out of his force-induced vision, Vader had moved to the far end of the hangar.

    And now the dark lord was returning. As Darth Vader approached his imperial shuttle, Luke prepared for the end of his long meditative journey. His fate was upon him.

    Again, Luke would practice Yoda’s contemplative techniques for as long as possible. However, there was not much time left. Darth Vader reached the boarding ramp and stopped once again. Luke sensed much anger emanating from the dark lord. That anger was aimed squarely towards the boy.

    Soon, Luke would face Darth Vader once more. And together, they would confront the Emperor.
    Last edited by epithree, Mar 9, 2013
    Admiral Volshe likes this.
  14. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Sorry for the lack of an update today. I'm switching to weekly installments. Well, to be more specific, I'm shooting for at least a week between posts.

    The next entry should be up this weekend. :) Thanks for reading.
  15. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    No problem..I'll just wait patiently. Your inclusion of Episode III was interesting.
  16. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Thanks for the support, Emerald. :) It's truly appreciated.
  17. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 6-

    Destiny

    Luke Skywalker reached out with the force. And though he was still meditating, he sensed Darth Vader’s anger. Something had triggered rage within the dark lord, and it was aimed precisely at Luke.

    The boy was amazed by some of his newfound abilities. He was able to detect the distress of Vader, even while practicing meditation. How this feat was accomplished Luke just didn’t know. Perhaps, with more time, he would understand all the subtleties of the force.

    ‘Why won’t he board the ship?’ Luke questioned to himself. He sensed Darth Vader just next to the boarding ramp, still standing outside the shuttle. Alone in his cell, young Luke began to feel thin wisps of frustration wrap around his psyche.

    The boy centered himself, quashing his dissatisfaction instantly. Yoda’s teachings were paying off. Luke had never expected his meditation to last for this long. Naturally, the young one wanted his chance to speak with Vader before confronting the Emperor.

    Knowing his destiny was upon him, it was only normal for Luke to want off of that ship. His anticipation was peaking, making it hard to stay composed. However, Yoda had taught him well enough to know that every second of his meditation was an asset.

    Exhaling, Luke wondered why Darth Vader was staying away. He also contemplated his most recent force-induced vision. Although he had initially pushed the thoughts into the recesses of his mind, they were slowly trickling back.

    It was true that before Yoda’s guidance, the boy could not keep these types of thoughts at bay. He had thirsted for answers since his childhood on Tatooine. And even though Yoda had built up the boy’s resistance to temptation, the circumstances were different now.

    At Bespin, Luke rejected the dark lord firmly. However, high above Endor, Luke had developed a stronger telepathic bond with Vader. And ever since, the boy found that he could not decline an opportunity to probe the mind of his nemesis. So Luke welcomed back the thoughts of his vision.

    A red-hot world. The discovery of his first lightsaber. An image of his own face.

    What did it all mean?

    Before Luke could devise an answer, there was an abrupt shift in the force. His ability to sense Vader’s anger was diminishing. Luke’s immediate guess was that Darth Vader had once again raised his mental shields. Upon further analysis, Luke realized that it was more than just a mind block.

    The dark lord had left the hangar bay.

    ‘No,’ Luke thought. ‘This isn’t right.’ The boy was genuinely surprised. ‘Why hasn’t he come for me?’



    -o-o-o-o-o-



    Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, entered a cavernous bay which housed several turbolifts. He walked slowly, contemplating his own decisions. He was still baffled by his present state of mind.

    The crew from Vader’s imperial shuttle had long left this area, each man heading for his respective post aboard the Emperor’s new space station.

    Stopping to gaze out the nearby transparisteel viewport, Darth Vader’s contemplation continued. Should he have left Luke Skywalker aboard the shuttle with only a pair of stormtroopers as security? ‘Yes,’ Vader thought, answering his own question. The boy was powerful, but he had already accepted his own fate. Luke would not try to escape.

    Even from this distance, the dark lord could sense frustration emanating from the boy. Luke wished to speak with Lord Vader. However, Vader had no intention of allowing that to happen. His feelings towards the boy were complex.

    Darth Vader refused to be in the boy’s presence. ‘Not now,’ he pondered. ‘Not until I’m mentally prepared.’ That’s why the troopers had been ordered to escort Luke to the turbolifts when Vader gave the signal.

    The dark lord was no longer puzzled by the onslaught of memories he didn’t want. It was the boy. The closer his vicinity to Vader, the more these recollections became evoked. ‘Damn these wretched thoughts!’ Vader’s anger was swelling. He needed to attain control.

    Darth Vader’s fury was being fueled by one particular memory. ‘Damn you Jinn!’ Vader’s psyche reeled. ‘And curse the boy for making me think of you!’ The dark lord gripped the durasteel banister near the viewport, and squeezed. He would not allow himself to face the Emperor with this much rage.

    Luke wasn’t consciously bombarding Vader with unwanted images. His presence simply triggered reflections of the past within Darth Vader. Regardless, the Sith lord still aimed the anger squarely at the boy. This troubled the dark lord. He was experiencing confusion like he never had before.

    The dark lord was starting to think like a young Anakin. He wanted to reveal the secret of his relationship with the boy. How could he be mad at Luke and yearn to speak the truth all at once? Perhaps he wanted revenge. The revelation would most certainly make Luke suffer, just like the tormented Sith lord.

    Loosening his grasp of the handrail, Darth Vader calmed himself. Perhaps it was all a self-inflicted trap. It was entirely possible that Vader actually longed to remember his childhood. The realization was abrupt. However, it led to another truth.

    Darth Vader wasn’t seeking revenge. He wanted the boy to know of their relationship for another reason. It was so the boy would have a fighting chance against Palpatine. If they joined forces, the Emperor could be overthrown. This was the closest Darth Vader could get to a genuine act of warmth and compassion.

    The dark lord wanted to protect the boy in his own deranged way. Luke was his to claim, and Vader would not allow his master to steal the boy away.

    Suddenly, Darth Vader felt the dark side tug at his consciousness. The Emperor was accentuating his presence, just like tightening a leash. This terrible reminder snapped Vader back into reality. Palpatine owned him, and Vader’s recent line of thought was foolish. It would take a miracle to outwit Sidious.

    Darth Vader often wondered if his master was omnipotent. The Emperor would most surely know if Vader went against his word. Telling Luke was no longer an option, for the dark lord had waited too long. It wouldn’t surprise Vader if Palpatine had been reading his every thought. And Luke’s for that matter.

    The Emperor had ordered Vader to bring Luke to the throne room immediately upon arrival. So Darth Vader assumed that Palpatine’s force-tug was a serious warning. Vader’s delay would probably cost him, but he had desperately needed that time alone in the hangar bay. Now, his unwavering loyalty would surely crush any chance of forming an alliance with Luke.

    Seeping into Darth Vader’s countenance, the dark side had gripped his soul once again. Vader had regained his composure. His goal was clear. He would deliver Luke Skywalker to the Emperor.

    Luke would be made to face Darth Sidious, and conflict would most surely arise. When the moment arrived, whom would Darth Vader defend? Of course, through manipulation, it was likely that Palpatine would pit Luke and Vader against each other as combatants. Was it possible that the light side could influence Darth Vader again?

    The time had come. Darth Vader gave the signal by pressing a key upon his wristplate. The stormtroopers would arrive with Luke shortly.



    -o-o-o-o-o-



    A pair of stormtroopers entered the turbolift bay with Luke Skywalker. The boy, cuffed with binders, instantly noticed Darth Vader waiting on the far side of the expansive bay.

    Before devoting his attention to the dark lord, Luke had to clear his mind of a most recent perception. This distraction, which hit the boy like a force vision, had occurred just a moment ago.

    The troopers were leading Luke through the corridor between bays when the young Jedi had sensed something. It was a familiar force signature; one that he didn’t fully understand.

    His eyes fluttered as he reached out with the force. A vision came to him through his mind’s eye. It was an image he had seen before, both when sleeping and meditating.

    The vision was of a woman’s face, blurry and ethereal. However, Luke still sensed her beauty. She was draped with long, flowing red hair. This girl had to be nearby.

    She was the red head from his past dreams and visions. Due to Yoda’s teachings, Luke always surmised that he was seeing someone of great importance from his future. Now, aboard the Emperor’s newest battle station, he sensed her presence.

    It had happened once before, during the conflict upon Jabba’s sail barge. Luke could’ve sworn that she was present for that fiasco as well.

    The boy pushed the strong image into the recesses of his mind. As the troopers led him across the turbolift bay, he refocused upon Darth Vader.

    Soon, Luke and the dark lord would be reunited, and together they would journey to the Emperor’s throne room. This pleased Luke, for he was beginning to believe that Vader had gone there alone. At least he would be with Vader for the turbolift ride.

    As soon as they reached Darth Vader, the stormtroopers scurried away, abandoning Luke to his fate. The dark lord looked particularly menacing, but Luke was unaffected. The newest Jedi knight remained calm and composed.

    Both men stared at one another, but neither spoke. The seconds went by slowly. Rather than speak, they each probed the mind of the other. Luke was using his time deceleration technique, so the staring contest seemed to last much longer than a few mere seconds.

    Neither Luke nor Vader extracted any information. Their mental shielding was phenomenal. Then, the turbolift door opened with a distinct whoosh. Luke couldn’t believe it was there already. Were they actually going to remain silent for the entire journey to the Emperor?

    They entered the turbolift.

    The door slid shut and the lift shot upwards.

    Destiny had arrived.



    -o-o-o-o-o-



    Next: The throne room.
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  18. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 7-

    Welcome, Young Skywalker

    En route to the Emperor’s throne room, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader demonstrated stellar patience. Both men remained quiet, staring ahead at the closed durasteel door of the ascending turbolift.

    The tension was surely palpable, and it seemed as if neither Vader nor Luke was going to break the uncomfortable silence. Prior to boarding the lift, both of them had stared at one another long and hard. And at some point during that excruciating process, the pair had surmised that it was in their best interest not to speak.

    Disappointed, Luke arrived at the realization that he would have to abandon his original strategy. As much as he wanted to coax Vader towards the light, Luke knew that the door would slide open at any moment. Besides, it had become a contest of pure mental strength. If either man spoke, it would certainly be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

    Both men had ceased any attempt to extract information from one another. They had mastered their mental shielding techniques. Even though Luke had stopped consciously probing the dark lord’s psyche, he could still feel Vader’s fortified block like a huge wall of fire scorching the nub of his mind.

    As for Darth Vader, his aversion to probing Luke’s thoughts wasn’t enough to keep the onslaught of unwanted memories at bay. Images of the past flooded the dark lord’s mind, especially due to the fact that he was in such close vicinity to the boy. And miraculously, Vader was siphoning these thoughts into the recesses of his psyche, for there was one person he couldn’t bear to remember. Not here. Not now.

    Luke was unaware of the pressure his adversary was experiencing. Darth Vader seemed as calm and composed as ever. Nevertheless, even the dark lord knew that he couldn’t keep the memories out of his mind’s eye forever. Soon, he would crack. It was the mere presence of the boy. The timing was most inconvenient. Vader couldn’t afford to be fighting off unwanted thoughts while facing his Emperor.

    The turbolift began to slow, and would soon come to a halt. Both men began to call upon their reserve mental strength through the force. They knew what awaited them. Of course, Luke Skywalker learned of the Emperor’s capabilities through harsh warnings from Yoda. However, only Darth Vader was truly aware of the destructive powers that Palpatine wielded, for he had witnessed them first hand.

    The turbolift stopped, and the gentle whirring of its internal mechanism was no more. This made the reverberation of Vader’s breathing all the more noticeable. Luke remembered a time when the wretched noise filled him with pure fear.

    Back upon Dagobah, before Luke and Vader’s first encounter at Bespin, the boy had been made to enter a cave drenched with dark side aura.

    Yes… the cave.

    Luke considered such a memory to be invaluable. It was within this cave that the boy had stepped into a force-induced vision for the first time. The experience was similar to Luke’s recent vision of the lava world, with one important exception. The boy came to understand the symbolism offered to him amongst the cave.

    The lesson Luke was taught resonated with him now more than ever. Standing there, about to exit the turbolift, Luke was well aware of his possible future. Seeing his own face in Vader’s helmet had changed the boy, and he would use that occurrence to his advantage. Pushing the image to the forefront of his mentality, it would stay with him throughout the upcoming ordeal.

    Luke Skywalker vowed to himself that he would not become a Sith.

    It was Vader’s breathing that had sparked the memory. Another familiar noise snapped Luke out of his thought process. The turbolift doors whooshed open. They had arrived.

    The center of Luke’s consciousness was still focused upon his time deceleration technique. This allowed for much contemplation and reasoning. However, the doors were now open, and the sight of the throne room came rushing at the boy.

    Eerily dim, the cavernous bay was ruled by the dark side. Quickly saturated by the aura, Luke found it difficult to learn any details about the enormous room. He couldn’t distinguish one area from the next. The dark side was emanating equally from all sections. Even Darth Vader’s force signature was masked by the overwhelming sense of darkness.

    The last Jedi was a bit stunned. Luke knew that the Emperor was powerful, but he most surely didn’t expect this. If such a powerful darkness could dwarf Vader’s aura, then perhaps there was hope for the dark lord after all.

    Reaching out with the force, Luke calmed himself and concentrated. He worked through the darkness, soaking up the structure of the room. Now he detected a pair of force signatures just outside the turbolift. Luke knew instantly that the Emperor’s royal guards were flanking the doorway.

    The mental bond between Luke and Vader influenced both men and assisted with their decisions. Without even a glance at one another, the formidable pair entered the throne room simultaneously, each knowing that the other was ready.

    Behind Luke Skywalker, the doors slid shut and the turbolift whirred away. The finality of that moment sent a chill through the newest Jedi’s countenance. It was the first sign of genuine fear that Darth Vader could detect from the youth.

    Luke had been calm and composed from the second he surrendered to the imperials. This confounded Darth Vader. As bleak as his situation was, Luke’s serene demeanor persisted throughout the entire journey. The dark lord had been truly amazed by the boy’s maturation, but he knew the display of fortitude could not last.

    And so, upon their arrival at the throne room, Darth Vader was not surprised to sense fear emanating from the boy. This slight loss of composure reassured the dark lord that Luke could be turned. If certain facial muscles still functioned properly, then a wry smile might have formed behind his plasteel mask.

    Luke Skywalker quashed his fright as quickly as it had come. Regaining his equanimity, he focused upon his surroundings. Sure enough, the crimson-clad guards were there, exactly where Luke had detected them. After his quick glances to the left and right, the boy stared at the pathway ahead.

    As Vader and Luke moved forward, the throne room became expansive. Upper platforms were built at both sides. And peeking over the pathway’s handrail, Luke noticed a gargantuan reactor shaft, leading towards the center of Palpatine’s spherical space station.

    Walking slowly, both Luke and Vader would soon reach a quick scramble upwards. Beyond those stairs, the Emperor awaited.

    Luke caught his first glimpse of the wretched man and sensed tremendous power. The dark side surrounded Palpatine, who was waiting patiently upon his durasteel throne.

    Each footfall brought the pair closer to their destiny. There was an ominous synchronization between the sound of Vader’s breathing and the noise resonating from their boots against the polished floor.

    The time had come.

    Together, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader ascended the staircase.

    Luke immediately took notice of the enormous transparisteel viewport behind the throne. He internally cringed as he imagined Palpatine gazing upon Endor from the vantage point of his ornate chair. The thought nearly made Luke nauseous. This evil man, whom the entire galaxy feared, was pulling the strings that would determine the fate of the Rebellion.

    While Luke mustered up his strength for the inevitable confrontation, Darth Vader was desperately fighting off more unwanted recollections of the past. Luke’s selfless bravery triggered images within Vader’s mind. Images he had recently pushed into the recesses of his psyche. He swore that he wouldn’t remember one so brave, but the memories were creeping back out. ‘No,’ he thought to himself. Not here. Not now.

    Suddenly, Darth Vader felt a force-tug upon his invisible leash. And this time he welcomed it, for it brought his attention back to the here and now. Luckily for Vader, the Emperor always implemented this tactic upon the arrival of his apprentice. It notified Vader that his master was ready for reverence.

    Due to all the mental chaos Vader was experiencing, he had actually forgotten to bow. Thankfully, the tug had reminded him, and the near violation went unnoticed by Palpatine, who was completely focused upon Luke anyway.

    Darth Vader bowed respectfully.

    Luke Skywalker did not. He just continued to analyze the horrid figure before him, with an unreadable emotionless expression upon his face.

    The Emperor was first to break the eerie silence, which had been long and painful for both Luke and Vader.

    “Welcome, young Skywalker.” The name was spoken with the utmost of deranged glee. “I have been expecting you.” The Emperor added the comment icily. His grotesque form shook excitedly with anticipation for the upcoming exchange. Of course Palpatine would never allow his sheer joy to be seen or detected, especially by his most loyal apprentice, who was now standing compliantly before the dais that housed the Emperor’s throne.

    Luke reached inward, drawing upon the force for strength. As he and Vader stood before Palpatine’s throne, they each wondered about the intentions of the other.

    The reverberation of Darth Vader’s breathing hadn’t struck Luke with fear since Bespin. And now, there was something strangely soothing about the sound. Luke focused upon that noise, allowing it to steady his consciousness. The fascinated Jedi was surprised that this calming technique actually worked.

    Synchronizing his own breathing with that of Vader’s, Luke experienced each exhalation like a beacon of hope within his mind. The rhythmic pattern reminded the boy that Darth Vader was still human. They were alike, for Vader was once a Jedi. The force was telling young Luke that light still existed somewhere within the dark lord. Perhaps Vader could still be saved.

    So Luke Skywalker was hopeful, and this added to his already impressive strength. It allowed him to remain composed and seemingly impassive. He continued to stare at the hooded menace seated before him, and hid his contempt well.

    An unresponsive Luke forced the Emperor to speak again, this time motioning towards the boy with a gnarled hand. “You no longer need those.” The power of the dark side resonated strongly from Palpatine. He had utilized the force effortlessly, unclasping Luke’s binders. They fell to the polished floor with a distinct clang.

    As Luke glanced at his wrists, Darth Vader began to struggle with his mentality. The sound of the binders hitting the floor had triggered more unwanted memories. Luke immediately felt the timbre and rhythm of Vader’s breathing change, but the dark lord readjusted quickly. Devoting all of his attention to Luke, the Emperor did not initially detect the memory washing over Darth Vader.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Coruscant. Emperor’s palace. Throne room.

    Darth Vader had just been released from solitary confinement, one of the Emperor’s punishments during the early years.

    A tempest of lightning raged outside. Darth Sidious watched each bolt closely through the circular transparisteel viewport behind his palace throne. This type of storm was rare upon Coruscant, and the dark lord relished the thunderous chaos.

    With a crooked grin across his disfigured face, Sidious slowly turned his durasteel chair around to face his darkly clad apprentice. “You no longer need those.” Sidious used the force with little effort, unclasping Darth Vader’s binders. They fell to the polished floor with a distinct clang.

    Darth Vader kneeled immediately.

    The eyes of Darth Sidious became thin slits as he relaxed there, his arms stretched out upon each arm of the throne. He allowed the rhythmic breathing of his apprentice to reverberate throughout his own psyche. The former supreme chancellor found the sinister sound to be soothing in a dark way. It reminded him that this mechanical monstrosity known as Darth Vader was his to mold and command. Everything about Vader was brought into existence by Darth Sidious himself. The dark caped menace was his personal creation. He allowed a demented smile at the thought.

    There, kneeling upon the polished palace floor, Darth Vader could feel his master’s satisfaction. However, he didn’t know that it was his own fall from grace that was causing the mirth. It had only been a standard year since the name Darth Vader was bestowed upon this apprentice. He was still in the early stages of apprenticeship and the Emperor’s machinations were very hard to decipher, even through the use of the force.

    Darth Sidious would revel in this a moment longer, thinking back to the time when he oversaw his medical droids putting this apprentice back together piece by piece. The sounds of anguish emanating from upon that operation table had filled Sidious with intense pleasure, both dark and pure. He now savored the memory as if it were finely aged ale.

    Adjusting his hood ever so slightly, Darth Sidious now looked upon his apprentice. He positioned the front of the hood so that his eyes would be concealed from Vader’s gaze once the apprentice was allowed to stand.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Darth Vader’s attention snapped back to the here and now. Luke had finished analyzing his wrists, and looked at Vader with much concern. The Emperor had turned his attention towards his apprentice.

    ‘No,’ Vader thought. The memory had been bizarre. Somehow, Darth Vader experienced the recollection as if he were in Palpatine’s mind. Every nasty thought and evil inclination had been revealed to Vader clearly. And now, the Emperor was aware of Vader’s inner turmoil.

    Detecting no threat from a weaponless Luke, the Emperor opted to challenge Vader’s line of thought even further. Through the force, Palpatine stirred up thoughts of that day once again, inducing more recollections.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Darth Sidious spoke the planet’s name with certainty. “Dagobah.”

    “Yes, my master.” The deep timbre of the voice resonated throughout the throne room. Thunder roared amongst the clouds of Coruscant as the rare lightning storms began their peak activity. Darth Vader risked no movement as he continued to revere his dark master. He had spoken the words while staring at the floor. He had learned well during the last year that he should not incur the Emperor’s wrath. And yet, the apprentice still had his own thoughts about Dagobah. Darth Sidious sensed this immediately.

    “You wish to say more, my apprentice?” The Emperor examined Darth Vader’s posture closely, staring at the top of his dark polished helmet. His form was truly static.

    The kneeling apprentice thought about how to respond properly. Knowing that Sidious was reading his thoughts anyway, Darth Vader could only muster up a simple answer. “No, Lord Sidious.”

    The Emperor’s gnarled hands clenched the arms of his throne. A thin, eerie smile formed upon his spoiled face. “Rise, my friend.” This was not a request, and the apprentice knew it. Darth Vader treated the order to rise just like any other command by Sidious. If he did not comply, he would most surely taste a dose of force lightning, a fact that he had learned earlier that year.

    Darth Vader stood up, the rhythm of his mechanical breathing changing ever so slightly. His dark cape billowed around his boots regally, coming to a stop at his ankles. The throne room had an uncanny draft to it, most likely produced by the nearby turbolifts. It accounted for many intimidating permutations of Darth Vader’s sleek cape.

    “I understand, Lord Vader, you do not want to question my judgment.” Emperor Palpatine said this with warmth, intentionally soothing his apprentice. “However, in this instance, I implore you to share your thoughts, for these Jedi must be brought to justice.”

    Darth Vader’s thoughts instantly went to the past. Quick flashes of memories hit him hard, especially recollections of himself as a young padawan looking up to the warm, friendly man whom he now called master. Palpatine was always able to soothe Darth Vader with his pacifying words. Even after he had blasted Mace Windu out the window of his office with force lightning.

    And then there was the storm. Darth Vader’s thoughts continued soaring to the past. The rapid flashes of memories turned into a solid recollection. It was the last rainstorm he could recall upon Coruscant. The fierce lightning taunted the dark lord as he remembered his trip from Mustafar to this core world. It was Darth Vader’s home while Anakin Skywalker still existed. However, he no longer thought of the beauty that this jewel of the core worlds offered him as a Jedi. Instead, he was focused upon rain. Terrible and horrifying, yet glorious rain. The water pelted against what was left of him as he was transferred from Palpatine’s shuttle to the medical bay. It was the last time he felt the sensation of natural splendor against his skin. Next came reflections of the operating table and then the suit of armor that would prevent him from ever touching rain again.

    Darth Sidious knew where his apprentice’s thoughts were dwelling. ‘Good,’ the dark lord thought to himself. ‘Just the way I planned it.’

    A devious smile was etched across the Emperor’s face. His apprentice took notice, which snapped Vader out of his recollection of the past. However, Lord Vader could not read his master’s mind. Palpatine’s mental shielding was far too powerful to break.

    The Sith apprentice struggled to think of an adequate response, and soon realized that he was taking far too long. Another moment longer and Palpatine would surely unleash his fury. So Darth Vader chose what he considered to be a safe reply, before he would share the truth. “As you wish, my master.” The booming voice was followed by more heavy breathing. Darth Vader would speak his mind about the hiding Jedi.

    -o-o-o-o-o-

    Luke Skywalker was amazed. The Emperor and Darth Vader had waged mental war against each other. Their mental shielding continued to impress, so Luke couldn’t extract much information by probing. He knew that Palpatine was forcing Vader to revisit painful memories. It was most likely a tactic that the Emperor hoped would force the dark lord into submission. However, Luke also realized that Vader’s disdain towards his master had multiplied. This fact could be used to Luke’s advantage.

    The assault upon Darth Vader’s mentality ended rather quickly. Luke had been freed of the binders just a moment ago. And once again, Palpatine’s attention was aimed squarely at the boy. Darth Vader glanced at Luke before they both turned to face the Emperor once more.

    Emperor Palpatine looked beyond Luke and Vader at his crimson-clad guards. With authority, he spoke. “Guards, leave us.”
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  19. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 8-
    So Shall It Be

    Palpatine’s crimson-clad minions obeyed his authoritative command immediately. The guardians with the red plasteel helms had left the cavernous throne room, and Luke Skywalker was unable to sense their means of disappearance.

    The lack of sensation was alarming to Luke. Keeping track of force signatures through the fog of the dark side reminded the boy of his zero visibility approach towards Dagobah. He had clearly sensed the guards upon entrance, but the signatures fizzled out as they disappeared behind the turbolift shaft.

    Even Darth Vader, slave of the Emperor for two and a half decades, was unaware of how the hands of Palpatine exited the huge room. The dark lord imagined that there was a secret passage beyond the turbolift, but he didn’t know for certain. Truth be told, the signatures simply vanished when Vader reached out with the force. He suspected that the Emperor cloaked their whereabouts by utilizing the dark side.

    Presently impenetrable, the thickness of this invisible fog kept both Vader and Luke in the dark. Darth Vader was used to his curiosity being squelched by the Emperor, so he turned his attention back to Palpatine quicker than Luke.

    A moment later, the boy refocused upon the ghastly Sith lord. He was a bit embarrassed when he realized that his excessive interest had gotten the better of him. Regarding his inquisitive nature as sloppy behavior, Luke returned to the business at hand by centering himself through the force. His calm demeanor intrigued the Emperor.

    Probing for information once again, Luke Skywalker couldn’t extract much from either adversary. As he searched Vader’s mind, he sensed nothing but compliance for his master. This baffled Luke. Just moments ago, while Palpatine was forcing his apprentice to revisit disturbing memories, Luke had felt certain animosity within Vader’s psyche. However, the disdain was now gone. It was replaced by unwavering reverence. Luke’s advantage had vanished.

    Palpatine was nearly unreadable. Luke could only detect an unbalanced delight. Yes, the Emperor would certainly take pleasure from the forthcoming confrontation. Still surprised by the Emperor’s decision to free him of his binders, Luke wondered about Palpatine’s intentions. The mental shielding was far too strong. Only actions would enlighten the boy at this point.

    Luke Skywalker glowered at Palpatine’s reptilian eyes. The Emperor gleefully drank in Luke’s resentment and feasted upon the sullen gaze. The two men were locked onto each other, seemingly unaware of Darth Vader’s presence. However, their senses couldn’t ignore the dark lord’s mechanical breathing as the one and only sound within the enormous bay.

    This was it.

    The fate of three men would soon be decided.

    Perched upon his throne, Emperor Palpatine continued to stare at the last of the Jedi Knights and spoke once more. “I’m looking forward to completing your training… in time you shall call me master.” The words dripped of malice. Palpatine’s evil grin bore into Luke deeply, but the boy kept his steady composure.

    Luke had expected to hear those words from the Emperor. And for the first time since the bunker upon Endor, Luke had a reason to speak. “You’re mistaken.” Defiance was clear in the Jedi’s voice. “You won’t convert me as you did Vader.”

    With that sentence, it was plain for the Emperor to see that Luke had learned much from his mentors. The boy was quite aware that Vader was once a revered Jedi. Of course, this fact didn’t trouble Palpatine. He would use it to his advantage. However, there was something that did concern the Emperor.

    Unbeknownst to Luke and Vader, Palpatine was bothered by the fact that the boy was brimming with confidence. The Emperor would easily find a remedy for that. A master at deception, Palpatine revealed nothing. He pretended to be merely annoyed rather than genuinely concerned.

    Darth Vader couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride due to Luke’s bravery. The dark lord hid his emotion well. If Luke were to detect Vader’s satisfaction, then the secret of his heritage might potentially be revealed. And if the Emperor knew about this swell of pride, punishment would most surely be the result.

    Again, Luke Skywalker’s boldness triggered unwanted recollections within Darth Vader. He couldn’t bear to remember one so brave… so bold… so passionate, but the memories were skulking back out of his psyche. ‘No,’ he pleaded with himself. Not here. Not now.

    Luckily, the Emperor chose this moment to stand up from his throne. It was the distraction Vader needed in order to push the thoughts into the recesses of his mind. The dark lord watched in wonderment as his master slowly walked over to Luke. He was unsure of what Palpatine would do in response to Luke’s irksome comment. Perhaps he would blast him with force lightning right here and now.

    Standing next to young Luke, the hooded Emperor peered deep into his eyes and soul. Seemingly unaffected, the boy didn’t even flinch. Now Darth Vader braced himself, expecting to witness a horrible light show, but it never came. Instead, Palpatine addressed Luke Skywalker once more.

    “Oh, no, my young Jedi,” the Emperor gladly explained. His sinister tone rivaled Vader’s breathing as the dominant sound. “You shall find that it is you who are mistaken… about a great many things.” Palpatine finished the response with his grotesque teeth flashing.

    Luke remained calm throughout the entire statement. He had controlled his fear, even when the Emperor paused mid-sentence and practically spat out the conclusion. The technique had been one of Master Yoda’s teachings.

    Lord Vader was astounded. Obi-Wan had taught the boy well. The dark lord proceeded to probe Luke’s mind for any trace of fear, but the mental shielding was still too powerful. The young boy’s cognitive skills continued to impress. However, Darth Vader did sense something. There was a tiny shred of hope burning within Luke. Yes… a hope that depended upon Vader himself.

    ‘So… the boy still has delusions of turning me.’ Darth Vader thought about this. Thus far, the dark lord’s predictions had come true. Luke never attempted to escape, and he was facing the confrontation like a true Jedi. ‘Now his compassion for me shall be his undoing.’

    Then, something occurred to Darth Vader. He thought back to the conversation with Luke at the Endor bunker. During the exchange, Luke attempted to lure Vader away from the hold of the dark side, but the dark lord would not be swayed. ‘Only one other person has shown such a blind faith for Anakin.’ The dark lord cringed, and cursed himself for actually thinking of his former name.

    Darth Vader was slipping. He was a Sith Lord. These thoughts were improper, yet they persisted. ‘Luke doesn’t even know the true nature of our relationship. What makes him believe that I can be turned? Every other sentient being in the galaxy knows I’m a monster.’ The dark lord concluded that Luke just couldn’t grasp the power of the dark side.

    ‘Enough of this drivel! I must obey my master.’ With that, Darth Vader centered himself and approached his dark Emperor. Preparing to speak, his gloved hand grabbed a cylindrical object from his belt. Palpatine immediately took notice as his apprentice advanced, and Vader finally broke his own silence.

    “His lightsaber.” The mighty voice resonated throughout the extensive throne room. Extending his hand, Darth Vader surrendered Luke’s saber to the Emperor.

    With his attention now focused upon his apprentice, Palpatine took the elegant weapon. While looking over the impressive hilt, he wondered how Luke was able to construct such a magnificent piece of equipment. A touch of jealousy began to eat at Darth Vader when the Emperor quickly turned his attention back to the young Jedi Knight.

    Watching Palpatine’s knobby fingers caress his most valuable possession, Luke became noticeably uneasy. The Emperor relished this event, for it proved that the boy could be broken. Still, Luke regained his composure rather quickly while Palpatine spoke.

    “Ah, yes, a Jedi’s weapon… much like Vader’s.” The Emperor grinned gleefully as he thought about his own red-bladed sabers, which were tucked away neatly up his dark sleeves. Neither Luke nor Vader knew about the concealed devices.

    Palpatine continued to preach. “By now you must know Vader can never be turned from the dark side.” A deranged smile formed across the Emperor’s disfigured face, tugging at the wrinkles around each corner of his vile mouth. “So shall it be with you.”
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  20. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry 9-



    Weakness



    Luke Skywalker’s deceleration technique continued to afford the young Jedi with ample time for analysis. However, he rarely arrived at any distinct conclusions about Palpatine’s intentions and strategy. The boy had never faced an opponent like the Emperor, nor a being so utterly enshrouded by the dark side of the force.

    ‘By now you must know Vader can *never* be turned from the dark side.’ Luke replayed the Emperor’s claim in his mind. ‘Never.’ Would this prove to be true? ‘Darth Vader can never be turned.’ Was the dark lord a lost cause? Again, young Luke reached out with the force.

    All traces of good within his adversary had vanished. ‘No, this can’t be.’ Luke was certain that he had detected stirrings of the light side from Darth Vader, especially before their arrival at the throne room. Regardless, Vader was now a complete slave once more. His decision to turn over Luke’s saber made things abundantly clear. The dark lord wanted nothing more than to appease his dark master. Luke could sense layers of gratification building up between the two Sith. The situation had certainly become bleak.

    Even more disturbing to Luke was Palpatine’s conclusive sentence. ‘So shall it be with you.’ It played over again and again within Luke’s psyche. Adding to the discomfort was the deranged smile that Luke had witnessed across the Emperor’s face. The confidence showcased by this despicable man oozed forth like a mighty lava flow, reminding Luke of his bizarre vision of the red-hot world.

    Thin wisps of doubt started to envelop young Skywalker, and Palpatine knew it. Luke sensed pure glee from the wretched man as his mind reeled. Though the forefront of Luke’s mentality was still occupied by his Dagobah vision, the newfound doubt was damaging the validity of his own vow. Darth Vader’s helmet exploded in Luke’s head repeatedly, each time revealing the boy’s face. Would this come to be?

    ‘No!’ Luke thought, drawing upon reserve strength. As he called on the force, a new determination washed over him. The return of his fortitude came with renewed confidence. ‘I shall not become a Sith!’ This solemn vow resonated with the boy even stronger this time.

    Luke Skywalker placed his sullen gaze upon the Emperor once more, with added ferocity. Palpatine was still sporting a gleeful smirk as Luke began to formulate his next sentence in his mind.

    While seemingly frail and ancient, Palpatine possessed unimaginable powers. Thanks to Yoda, Luke knew this with the utmost of certainty, and would never underestimate the Emperor.

    Yoda had shared much with Luke, and Palpatine was unaware of how much knowledge the boy actually held.

    Luke struggled to believe that an epic duel had taken place between this shriveled man and Master Yoda. They had engaged one another just before Yoda’s exile.

    When the time was right, Luke would implement a special technique made possible through the force. Yoda had taught the boy how to access the memories and knowledge of his mentors. This would allow Luke to draw upon Yoda’s very own combat experience for insight and guidance. However, the diminutive green Jedi master warned young Luke not to use the tactic without extreme caution. It would require time deceleration and the process of force-induced visions while engaging the enemy.

    Now refocused upon the Emperor, Luke was ready to speak again. He thought about Palpatine’s line one last time. ‘So shall it be with you.’

    Luke responded defiantly. “You’re wrong.” He spoke the words with confidence, and kept his sullen gaze aimed at the Emperor. “Soon this space station is going to be destroyed.” If Darth Vader couldn’t be turned, then Luke would accept his destiny as the Rebel fleet put an end to this menacing battle station.

    The Emperor allowed himself a long, loud cackle. Luke was truly bothered by the ominous laughter, but never let it show. He raised an eyebrow instead, ever so slightly, to indicate a derisive amusement. Then, he awaited Palpatine’s inevitable reply.

    With much venom in his sinister voice, the Emperor obliged. “Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your Rebel fleet.” Palpatine spat out the last word.

    Again, Luke hid his emotion well. He was genuinely surprised that the Emperor knew about the Rebel plan.

    Palpatine continued to lecture with his acid tongue. “Yes… I assure you we are quite safe from your friends here.” The Emperor’s accentuation made it crystal clear how he felt about Luke’s comrades.

    Now Emperor Palpatine sensed a tinge of anger rising off the boy, and it was precisely the response he had anticipated. Luke thought about his friends in the Rebel fleet. What would become of Wedge? And Lando?

    Luke pulled himself together and subdued a helpless feeling of panic. Palpatine seemed to be holding all of the cards. The last of the Jedi would have to be bold with his next statement. He centered himself through the force, and all traces of fear vanished. Darth Vader sensed that the boy was repressing some of his terror, rather than letting it go.

    Looking straight into the coldness of Palpatine’s reptilian eyes, Luke Skywalker responded. “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” The declaration was spoken plainly, with no trace of bravado. The Emperor found this to be irksome, and a fierce frown told Luke that he might be too bold for his own good.

    Darth Vader looked over at Luke long and hard. He was shocked by the selfless bravery. The boy had actually spoken those words to Vader’s master. Once again, a hint of jealousy touched the dark lord, for he secretly wished that he could speak out against the Emperor. And then, the memories came rushing back. ‘Not again.’ One as brave as Luke had triggered the unwanted recollections once more. ‘No! I refuse to think of… her.’ The dark lord’s breathing became labored.

    Emperor Palpatine and Luke Skywalker were too busy waging a war of words to notice Vader’s sudden loss of composure.

    It was the Emperor’s turn to sermonize. “Your faith in your friends is yours.” The sentence was spat out with contempt.

    Darth Vader felt the brunt of the statement more than Luke, for the dark lord had learned long ago not to trust those closest to him. ‘The Emperor is right. That *is* the boy’s weakness. His friends shall abandon him, just as mine deserted me.’ The planet Mustafar came to mind. ‘Obi-Wan turned against me.’ Pain swallowed Vader’s being as his next thought came into existence. ‘She… turned against me.’

    The dark lord shook his head and centered himself through the force in order to steady his breathing. He would remain silent no longer. Turning towards the boy, he spoke the truth. “It is pointless to resist, Luke.”
    Last edited by epithree, Apr 8, 2013
  21. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry Ten-
    Take Your Weapon

    Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi Knights, turned to look at Darth Vader. He was quite surprised that Vader had joined the eerie conversation. Immediately, Luke began to replay the words of the dark lord within his head. ‘It is pointless to resist, *Luke*.’ The timbre of Vader’s voice was stamped with absolution, and it drained Luke of much hope.

    Still, Darth Vader had specifically addressed Luke, with no permission from his mighty Emperor. And the way Vader had accentuated the name ‘Luke’ made it all the more awkward. The boy thought hard about this. ‘Why would Lord Vader reach out to me? Why would he give me advice?’

    The name was spoken in a soothing fashion, and the deep resonance of Vader’s stylized articulation had a calming affect upon Luke. The boy was utterly baffled. How could such a brief statement demolish hope and invoke calmness all at once? This throne room encounter had certainly become strange.

    Luke thought back to his exchange with Darth Vader at the Endor bunker. The dark lord had spoken a line with similar despair in his voice. ‘It is too late for me, Luke.’ At the time, it was the only instance in which Luke had detected a tinge of sadness from the dark lord.

    Until now.

    Yes, Luke Skywalker had once again felt that raw emotion spilling from the dark lord’s countenance. The boy decided that this would be an ideal time to probe the nub of Darth Vader’s mind. As he reached out with the force, Luke still felt the block of impressive mental shielding. However, Luke *did* feel some information leaking through.

    Something had changed in recent minutes. A substantial shift had occurred within the dark lord’s psyche. He was thinking about… the past. A man. A woman. These people had abandoned him.

    Empathy surged outward from Luke, for he could feel the emotion as if it belonged to him. The boy hadn’t felt such despair since his vision of the lava world. He wanted the agony to stop now. Luke cleared his head as best he could, and centering himself through the force, turned his attention back to the Emperor.

    Darth Vader ignored every bit of Luke’s sympathy, which had flowed from the boy’s consciousness like a steady river.

    Now Luke focused upon his disdain for Palpatine once again. The Emperor was suspiciously eyeing his apprentice from behind his drooping hood. Apparently, Palpatine had become aware of Vader’s strange behavior. He tugged the invisible leash connecting his hand to Vader’s neck. Then, feeling the pull of the force-tug, Darth Vader allowed the dark side to consume him again, satiating his Emperor.

    Pleased by Vader’s compliance, the Emperor now stared at young Luke with intense scorn. Then, the gleeful smirk returned to his spoiled face as he prepared to speak. Luke remained stoic and expected Palpatine’s next statement to be disturbing. The boy was right.

    “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.” The Emperor could feel what was left of Luke’s hope slowly being crushed. He relished the sensation by opening his grotesque mouth. Palpatine looked like he was about to drink finely aged ale. Truly he savored every moment of Luke’s desolation.

    Suppressing a burning hatred for the wretched man before him, Luke thought about his last mentor, Jedi Master Yoda. The wise Dagobah inhabitant had told the boy much about Palpatine. One particular fact was striking a chord with Luke. He remembered that the Emperor was a strategic genius. Yoda had told the boy that Palpatine was responsible for the Clone Wars, orchestrating the three-year conflict from behind the scenes. Could he be at it again? Shocked, Luke could feel the stinging truth of the Emperor’s statement.

    The boy knew where this was going.

    Sure enough, Palpatine walked over to the circular mosaic of transparisteel viewports behind his empty throne. He pointed at the gleaming blue-green orb that was Endor. The forest world dominated the view from the cavernous throne room. Luke somehow knew what the Emperor was going to explain, so he looked off to the distant backdrop of stars. Gazing at Endor itself would be too painful.

    Palpatine could feel Luke’s hatred as he proceeded to elucidate. “Your friends up there on the Sanctuary Moon are walking into a trap.”

    Luke’s mind reeled. He thought about the droids. Then Han and Chewie. Then… Leia.

    Yes, Leia.

    If only he could talk to her again. She didn’t understand why he felt such empathy for Darth Vader.

    Luke was so consumed by his own thoughts that he barely heard Palpatine’s next line.

    “As is your Rebel fleet!” The Emperor turned from Endor back to Luke. His glorious delight, accentuated by a creepy grin, was enough to make the boy nauseous. Palpatine would savor every last drop of his despicable concoction.

    Now Luke mused about Wedge and Lando.

    The Emperor continued to explicate the situation. “It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator.” Palpatine spoke each word like a true artist. He could not restrain his satisfaction.

    ‘No,’ Luke thought. ‘This can’t be.’ The words played in his mind, but he knew the horrible truth. All of the knowledge that Yoda had bestowed upon him rang true. Now he wished that he’d never learned about the Emperor’s deceitful ways, for if he didn’t *believe* Palpatine, then at least he would be more hopeful.

    Luke’s despondency just fueled Palpatine’s glee. The speech continued.

    “It is quite safe from your pitiful little band.” The last three words were spat out with condescension.

    This was misery, and Luke’s hope was nearly extinguished. The last of the Jedi was broken. There was no way to help, or even warn his friends. Unless… unless he could somehow contact Leia. He had done so at Bespin, but the circumstances were quite different. If he wanted to make the attempt, then it would have to wait. Right now, the Emperor was finishing his oration.

    “An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.” Palpatine’s conclusive statement charged the intensity of Luke’s burning hatred. All was proceeding as the Emperor had foreseen.

    Luke was struggling mentally, but he would not give in to the Emperor. He had to regain control, so he turned to the wisdom of Obi-Wan. ‘Use the force,’ Luke reminded himself. That’s all he needed to remember.

    Suddenly, the teachings of Yoda came to mind. He had taught Luke to always leave strength in reserve, and now the boy would utilize it.

    Luke mustered up some energy by restating his vow. ‘I shall not become a Sith!’ The light side of the force had wrapped itself around the boy, telling him what to do next.

    Allowing the force to guide him, Luke was surprised by his next move. He looked straight at Darth Vader, reaching out to the dark lord with his last glimmer of hope.

    His breathing ominous, Darth Vader did not return Luke’s glare. However, the dark lord actually sent the boy a telepathic message.

    Luke was stunned. Darth Vader had not communicated with him in this way since the escape from Bespin. ‘Take your weapon.’ The suggestion was clear in Luke’s mind, and it was accompanied by a mental image. Luke saw a vision of his newly constructed lightsaber.

    The boy had nearly forgotten about his weapon. It was still possessed by the Emperor, so Luke didn’t believe that reclaiming the device was an option.

    Was Darth Vader suggesting that he pull the weapon from Palpatine’s grasp?

    ‘No,’ Luke decided. ‘That couldn’t be it.’

    Perhaps it was all a ploy cooked up by Palpatine. There was no way that Luke could trust the dark lord. Besides, the boy’s telekinetic powers might not be strong enough.

    Luke risked a glance at his weapon, and Vader took notice. The Emperor was holding it tightly with his gnarled hand. Then, Darth Vader also looked at the saber, and Luke noticed.

    Both Luke and Vader were sure to make their glimpses brief. Palpatine was oblivious, for he continued to pontificate.

    “Oh… I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.” Using a tone that mocked young Luke, the Emperor spoke the words slowly.

    Luke and Vader both glued their eyes to Palpatine as a long, uncomfortable silence began.
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  22. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    -Entry Eleven-

    Unavoidable

    During the unpleasant silence, all three men attempted to mentally probe each other. Once again, Darth Vader’s mechanized breathing became the dominant sound resonating throughout the sizeable throne room. No one spoke for a standard minute, and each man utilized the awkward hush as a chance to gain precious information.

    Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi Knights, kept his inquisitive eyes glued upon Palpatine. He noticed that the Emperor’s mocking grin had vanished, for the wretched man was also deep in thought. Now was the time to amplify his telepathic skills. Luke hoped to communicate with Darth Vader while the Emperor was distracted.

    Darth Vader, Palpatine’s Sith apprentice, continued to stare blankly at the visage of his master. He realized that the Emperor was concerned about Luke’s impressive resolve. The hideous man wanted to break through the boy’s mental shielding to read his thoughts. Now was the time for Vader to reach out and communicate with Luke. He hoped that Palpatine would keep his attention focused upon the boy.

    Emperor Palpatine, Dark Lord of the Sith, aimed a morose gaze straight at young Luke from behind his hood. The Emperor’s reptilian eyes bore into the boy’s soul, and the dark side penetrated Luke’s mental block ever so slightly. It was enough to reveal that Luke planned to communicate with Vader. Now was the time to tighten Vader’s leash and remind the apprentice of his place as a mere servant. Though he was unaware of the details, Palpatine knew that Vader had sent Luke a message.

    Before he could formulate a telepathic sentence, Luke felt the dark side seeping into his countenance like a thick, contaminated fog. It was slowly extinguishing the great wall of fire that was blocking the nub of Luke’s mind. ‘No,’ Luke thought. To his disappointment, he had to abandon the plan to contact Vader. Instead, he allowed the light side of the force to wrap around him. This enabled the boy to reignite the flames that would protect his thoughts.

    Just as he was about to resend his suggestion to Luke, Darth Vader felt his invisible leash tighten and the weight of the dark side began to push at him from above. The dark lord struggled to keep balance and avoid falling to his knees. Darth Vader’s servitude had been reestablished. ‘No,’ Vader thought. He realized that Palpatine had known about his communication with Luke. Hopefully, the Emperor hadn’t picked up on the details. Darth Vader had told Luke to take his weapon. If Palpatine knew, then the suggestion would be met with harsh punishment.

    Satisfaction welled up inside the Emperor. He had tamed both Luke and Vader with little effort. However, for the first time during the confrontation, Palpatine focused his attention upon Lord Vader rather than Luke. After dousing Vader with another dose of dark side aura, the Emperor had regained and fortified his confidence. Darth Vader would remain loyal.

    This unwavering loyalty was sensed clearly by Luke. ‘I knew it,’ he mused to himself. The boy surmised that Vader’s suggestion to take the weapon was nothing more than a trap. ‘I can’t trust him.’

    Needless to say, Luke was rather confused. Presently consumed by the dark side, Darth Vader showed no signs of goodness. However, Luke had been periodically detecting light from the dark lord. Every so often, the dark side would relent ever so slightly.

    What was causing these undulating swings of allegiance?

    Luke knew that the Emperor’s confidence had been renewed and strengthened. Palpatine couldn’t detect any trace of light emanating from Darth Vader, but Luke gathered that it still existed. The Emperor hadn’t driven it from him fully. Somewhere within the depths of the dark lord’s soul, that light waited for freedom.

    If Luke continued to practice this belief, then there was still a glimmer of hope.

    While Luke centered himself through the force, Darth Vader was engulfed by pure misery. The dark side weighed upon him like some immense gravitational force. What he wanted more than anything was to fall to his knees, but the dark lord couldn’t. He wouldn’t. Not in front of the boy.

    Still focused upon Vader, Palpatine sensed that memories of the past were flooding his apprentice once again. This was due to the wrath of the dark side, coupled with the dark lord’s close proximity to young Luke. The Emperor decided to help the thoughts along. He reached out and spoke to Vader telepathically, the words crafted by perfect evil.

    ‘Your confrontation at Mustafar.’

    That’s all he had to say. The sentence echoed throughout Darth Vader’s psyche, damaging him with each reverberation.

    Palpatine knew that his apprentice’s mind was now dwelling upon recollections of the lava world. The fires that altered Darth Vader’s fate reignited within his head, and the horrible flames burned through his consciousness without mercy. The Emperor drank the feelings into himself, enraptured by the torment of his apprentice.

    Now Palpatine was smiling again. His thoughts were focused upon the fact that his apprentice was now a mechanical puppet.

    Luke did not sense the Emperor’s evil message, but he could feel the anguish of Darth Vader. And a quick mind probe gave the boy visions of the red-hot world once again. If only he could enter that unique vision again, and gain more knowledge, but now was not the time. Luke felt an abrupt shift in the force as Palpatine began to change his position.

    The Emperor walked over to the next section of the throne room’s mammoth back wall. It presented a sharp contrast to the previous section, which was comprised of windows that formed a huge circle. The new section, however, displayed an angular motif.

    Each transparisteel viewport stretched far across the wall, spaced out evenly from the floor to the ceiling. The ends were rounded off, which gave the windows an oval appearance. Palpatine stared into space through the viewport at eye level.

    Then, the silence ended.

    “Come boy,” the Emperor called out to Luke. “See for yourself.”

    Darth Vader glanced at Palpatine. Some of the weight had been lifted now that the Emperor was focused upon Luke again. Horrible images of Mustafar still burdened the dark lord, but he made his way over to the viewport regardless. There, he stood next to Palpatine, hoping to shake the unwanted recollections.

    Though he was never certain of the dark lord’s intentions, Luke had entered the throne room together with Darth Vader. They had shared a common goal. And that goal was to face the Emperor.

    Now Luke Skywalker felt as if the tables had turned. He was alone. Darth Vader had chosen to stand firm at Palpatine’s side, symbolizing his dark allegiance.

    The young Jedi still wanted to contact Leia telepathically. ‘Damn,’ Luke thought. He realized that he probably should’ve made the attempt while Palpatine was strolling over to the viewport. The wretched Sith had certainly taken long enough to get there. Now, the boy had no choice but to join them near the window.

    As soon as Luke arrived at the viewing station, the Emperor started another homily.

    “It is from here that you shall witness the final destruction of the Alliance,” Palpatine explained as he watched the Rebel fleet engage Imperial forces. “And the end of your insignificant Rebellion.” The Emperor could hardly contain his glee, for he knew that each explosion he witnessed represented a victory for the Empire.

    Quite satiated, and knowing that Luke was in turmoil, Palpatine left the viewing area. He walked back to his durasteel throne and sat.

    Luke just gazed into space, attempting to process the battle he was witnessing. The mighty star destroyers appeared unharmed from this distance, and a Rebel craft seemed to explode every few seconds.

    With his back to his adversaries, Luke still sensed that the Emperor had returned to his throne. He also detected that his Jedi weapon had been released from Palpatine’s clutches. Yes, the Emperor had placed the impressive lightsaber hilt upon the arm of his throne.

    Luke exhaled. He shifted his view away from the battle and gazed at the blue-green orb that was the forest moon of Endor. Now was his chance.

    ‘Leia… hear me.’

    At Bespin, Luke had known that Leia received the telepathic message. He felt it through the force, as if she had responded. Not this time. There was no way for Luke to know if his message had traversed the distance between himself and the moon. Regardless, he *had* to warn her.

    Before he could follow up his message with a warning, Luke sensed that Darth Vader was reading his thoughts. The boy would not endanger the princess by revealing her ability to the dark lord. He had to stop thinking about Leia. Now.

    Unbeknownst to Luke, Darth Vader had sensed the initial message. ‘Leia… hear me.’ The dark lord was baffled, for he knew the spirited princess well.

    Darth Vader had tortured her. He had destroyed her home planet. And he had frozen her soul mate in carbonite. However, as far as the dark lord knew, the girl wasn’t force-sensitive.

    ‘Why would Luke attempt to contact the princess?’ Lord Vader would have to contemplate this development further.

    Luke turned his attention back to the space battle. He was beyond frustrated. The Rebel fleet was losing. Leia was not safe. And he was now up against the team of Palpatine and Vader. His hatred burned.

    No longer able to resist, Luke turned around to look at his saber upon the throne’s arm. He was rattled by unexpected confusion. The boy thought about Obi-Wan and Yoda to steady himself.

    After flashing a deranged smile, the Emperor spoke. “You want this, don’t you?” He tapped Luke’s lightsaber gently to illustrate what he had referred to. “The hate is swelling in you now.” Palpatine was delighted.

    Luke Skywalker had never felt such pressure. He didn’t know what would happen if he took his lightsaber. Nevertheless, he wanted to feel that hilt against his lonely hands.

    “Take your Jedi weapon.” The Emperor implored Luke. “Use it.” Each word was spoken quickly, with much emphasis. “I am unarmed.” Palpatine continued to bait the young boy. “Strike me with it. Give in to your anger.”

    Luke kept his eyes upon the tempting hilt.

    “With each moment, you make yourself more my servant.” The truth of Palpatine’s words hit Luke hard, but he would deny them anyway.

    Averting his gaze from the saber, Luke chose to stare into the Emperor’s gleaming eyes as he responded. “No!”

    Palpatine spoke slower now. “It is unavoidable.” He was relentless. “It is your destiny.”

    Luke knew that taking his weapon wasn’t the answer, but he wanted it nonetheless. He desperately needed the guidance of the force. The boy was at a loss for words, and he was clueless about what to do next.

    The Emperor’s conclusive statement diminished Luke’s glimmer of hope even further. Palpatine had established supreme control of the situation.

    “You, like Vader, are now mine!”
    Last edited by epithree, Apr 22, 2013
    Zer0 and Admiral Volshe like this.
  23. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Awesome stuff =D= RoJ is my favorite part of the OT... the pinnacle. :cool: You capture the characters and emotions superbly. =D=
  24. Blue Ice Cream Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2006
    star 5
    Thanks for the applause. :) I appreciate your kind words.

    ESB is my favorite episode, but RoJ's throne room confrontation is my favorite scene. Like you stated, the pinnacle. It's charged with so much emotion.
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