Saga Masquerade [ROTJ AU] [Vader, Luke, Leia] (Updated 2/24)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Harpalyce, Jul 1, 2010.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. volk-eu Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2011
    I must say, this is exceptional fic. The more I read, the more I like it.

    Reformed Anakin with big shadow of Vader in him fitting in with the Alliance, the way he interacts with others - on the one hand pride and contempt for Rebels, on the other - desire to atone for his deeds, to change something, and all for Luke, this makes him to be very real, I would dare say, Grey Anakin. You see genuine emotions within, and sympathize him.

    Ahsoka, understandable bitter but very cruel, shaped with her experience and driven by desire to revenge is a very different and interesting character in her own right(and not as stray Padawan who don't have any real role in Clone Wars other than being said Padawan).

    Touches of humor, with L/M and poisoned trifles and Imperial defecting from fear of Vader, and a lot of others just in perfect places.

    I can go on very long about all that is interesting for me here, so I just shut up and review last two chapters.

    Confrontation with Thrawn: You've shown the reckless side of Anakin that likes to brag and often overestimates himself, something that Vader also possessed, but to the lesser extent. Thrawn being defeated by the only thing he could not predict or analyse seems very fitting. And his quiet acceptance of defeat is always awesome.

    The Force-induced vision shows that he hides within - tremendous amount of regret and sorrow what he can't even begin to express in words. You have managed to capture this with song matching perfectly the mood.

    In the other words, thank you for writing all of this.
  2. LordRaptor82 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2011
    You could not have written this any better as this is how I picture in my mind that it would be for him. Very well written excellent even.. However knowing of Ahsoka's Bitterness there must be a confrontation between them as I do not believe she would just let order 66 go without any attempt at retribution.
  3. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Thank you both very much! :'3 It always brightens my day to receive such compliments! You guys are truly wonderful!!

    Let me try to get this next chapter out of the way so I can write the Christmas Interlude (because I have too many good ideas to not use them)...

    ===
    Walk It Off
    ---

    "Sir! Sir - please - "

    He was already up by the time he realized what had happened. The medics were cowering, including the droid, pressed up against the opposite wall. The oxygen mask had been tossed onto the floor from where he had clawed it off, and he was still gasping as he let himself lean back against the wall, clawing at the doorframe.

    "Sir -" One of the medics stared at him, wide-eyed. "Please, Commander, you need to rest - you had an aneurysm - or - or something - it nearly was a stroke, sir -"

    "I'm fine!" He gasped, reaching up to wipe at his nose. At least there was no longer any blood actively flowing now. "I - am - fine." Gulping, he closed his eyes to try and get the room to stop spinning. "For the record... never put a mask over my face. Never. Or the next time I wake up, I may end up gutting one of you."

    The two human medics visibly paled, but the droid persisted. "Commander Vader. Unidentified stress-related injuries are most easily treated with rest for proper recuperation. To avoid further implications -"

    "I. Am. FINE."

    Even the droid was silenced by this outburst.

    It took him a few long moments to steady himself as he gasped like a man who had just come up for air from a long dive. His hand went to his neck, and he fiddled with the buttons at the top of his collar. He wasn't sure if he should button them for modesty, or unbutton a few more so that he could get more air. He still hadn't decided by the time he turned and stumbled out the door and down the long hallway.

    Fifteen minutes later, Leia stood in the same doorway, making the medics cower. "You did what?"

    "He just walked out of the door, Princess, I'm sorry -" One of the medics winced. "Um... security said he was heading to rec room three."

    Leia sighed, reaching up to pinch her nose as if warding off a headache before gently patting her hair to make sure it was still in its complicated braid. "All right." Her tone was snappish, as if she was suddenly considering that she was the one who had to fix everything, but fortunately it softened. "And his medical state?"

    "Stable. ...ish," one of them admitted hesitantly. Leia's eyebrow raised. "Well, no... no serious or obvious lasting injury. Neurological patterns were disrupted and recovered, and he should have been resting for continued observation... but he'll likely be all right. If he rests."

    "And so he went off to rec room three." Leia sighed. "Wonderful."

    "Well, um - it's just down the hall -"

    "I know where it is, thank you."

    Her hands clenched into fists as she stomped down the hallway. The recreation rooms were thankfully fairly large on the Mon Calamari cruiser. Perhaps more importantly, the magnetic-fiber-laced transparisteel had been set to be transparent instead of opaque, and she could see the red glow of his lightsaber before she actually saw him through the windows.

    Leia did not know terms like Djem So or Form V, but if someone had mentioned it to her, she would have agreed that the title Way of the Krayt Dragon did indeed make sense. Only one lightsaber was in his hands, the blue light bouncing off of his face as he drew into another fighting stance. Later she would try to puzzle out why it was Luke's lightsaber he chose to use instead of his own, but at that moment, she was too entranced by what was before her. Every move was slow and deliberate. It was obviously some sort of kata, a learned series of movements that all flowed into one another. Perhaps there was meant to be a partner to block each stroke, but there was nothing but air to greet his blade: he still stopped as if it was properly blocked before shifting to counter-attack. Each movement was done so slowly it was more like an elaborate dance than anything useful in battl
  4. Valiowk Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    Ack, sorry for missing this wonderful series of updates earlier! Kobayashi Maru was - like it was to Leia - chilling and electric yet stunning at the same time. The idea that Anakin was so powerful in the Force that he could destroy a battleship just like that is indeed quite scary, and one can only be thankful that Vader never did this to the Alliance in the past!

    Shadow Puppets was simply heartbreaking. I very much wished that Anakin could not control whether or not he wanted to wake up (which turned out to be the case after all) - the notion that it was up to him to choose whether to wake up and that it would affect the future of the Rebellion was really tear-inducing. The summary

    was especially heartbreaking, because who knows, it might just have come true in another universe where Anakin did not turn and was brave enough to speak out about the Jedi Code...:_|

    Love the way Leia is slowly beginning to understand aspects of the Force in Walk It Off. We know she'll never become a Jedi, but it seems fitting that she learn a bit about this mystery that played such a large role in Anakin Skywalker's life.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! [face_dancing]
  5. NamelessAlien Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 1999
    star 3
    Ohh this story is sooo good. For a while I kept chuckling -- in the parts where Vader was so gloriously rude -- that Darth Daughter came over to see what's wrong. :p And now you've thrown us back to the heartbreak-land. What a wonderful emotional roller-coaster.

    I was a bit thrown off by the Luke chapter (Yes, a long while back - sorry I didn't write this earlier). On the one hand, Vader wanting to get Luke back drives the whole story, so I should have expected to get a peep on him once in a while. Still, I was left wondering. Is Luke supposed to be in the same state as Vader was before he was detoxed? If so, however could he function that way? I sort of assumed that the drug was supposed to make him constantly angry (yes, a perfect explanation for the state of a Sith, for Lucas evidently overlooked that nobody could be angry all the time so his way wouldn't have worked)? So why is Luke like totally stoned? He'd be no use to Ol' Palps like that.

    Oh, and Mara... Does this correspond with the EU characterisation of Mara? Your version seems more interesting in that she's much, much less Marysueish than what I've read before (only read fanfics, no EU books), so if she's like that, I just might consider not hating her. Otherwise, I'm a pathological Mara-hater.

    -Red
  6. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    I promise the 'holiday chapter' is indeed still coming - I've just had some recent health issues that have prevented me from writing as I'd like to. It's always fun when you're getting needles stuck in your spine. (Fun. Painful. Same difference, right?)

    To indulge myself in 'talking shop', though... NamelessAlien, to answer your questions: I'm running with the idea that the serum is more of a mind control serum than anything else. With a relatively low dose, the Emperor was able to keep Vader easily-suggestible enough that he kept Vader nicely under his thumb. Luke is much more actively fighting it, so there are stretches where the Emperor can strongarm Luke into doing something, but most of the time Luke is kept drugged to the point of being useless. I likely need to more explicitly infodump all of this in the fanfic, but I do really hate just doing that and disrupting the flow of the story.

    As for Mara Jade... I'll be completely honest. I don't like her. I haven't read many of the books with her - to be honest I got unilaterally disgusted with every author seemingly tossing their pet OC at Luke. (Also because this was me in the 6th grade with a great big crush on Luke, but I digress.) So Mara Jade will likely be a bit out of character at times but if anyone has suggestions on how to improve her characterization, I would be happy to hear them. :)

    To continue a shameless author's notes post...

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwwemafOO61qa5u48o1_1280.png
    That's the lovely commission someone's doing for me of Vader from this story. Her tumblr name is Blinkingkills and she does EXCELLENT artwork - and very reasonably priced commissions. Since she does great work and needs the money, I figure I might as well give her a friendly plug ^0^

    (also I'm pretty excited about the commission... can ya tell?!)

    Ok - now back to your regularly scheduled story :)
  7. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Caught up!

    I love how Anakin took care of the battle, and then the image of what he lost was so poetic and delicate. Him having to practice his katas afterward was also perfect. Gorgeous, gorgeous updates, with each word carrying great weight. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up!
  8. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    AND NOW, MASQUERADE: THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.
    aka, I'm now going to be silly for a bit.

    ===
    Christmas Interlude
    ---

    "Sure, it may not look like much..." Mara Jade leaned back in her chair. "But I'm not finished yet." As she leaned back, she kicked up her feet, and put them squarely on top of Luke's head. He did not seem too concerned about being used for a footrest. Even if it meant her shoes on his head, it was at least some company.

    Her knitting needles clacked as she continued to work. "I chose the itchiest wool. That's the whole beauty of this plan. And these banthas? The incredibly twee and ugly ones?" She pointed at what she had already done. "They're going to be wearing stupid holiday hats."

    For a moment the captor and captive looked at each other. They were coming to the mutual conclusion that perhaps Mara Jade was not as good at the whole being evil thing as she would have liked to be.

    "And anyway, speaking of hats..." She set her knitting aside, grinning widely and pulling out an utterly ridiculous piece of headgear. It had glowy bits. And also jingle bells. She immediately plopped it on Luke's head, after moving her feet to his shoulder. "There. Now you're not just a lump of farmboy, you're a festive lump of farmboy."

    Luke blinked solemnly, and didn't outright object.

    It was, after all, a pretty snazzy hat.

    --

    "Okay. Ready... steady... and... pull!"

    The three Rebel soldiers all snatched out cards from the hand of the one in the middle. "Plus one!" The first said, gasping in relief. "Three, here!" The next said, looking similarly relieved. "Come on, Pazka... what did you get?"

    The last one mumbled.

    "...what?"

    "I said I drew minus three."

    The other two looked at him and winced in sympathy, but as he opened his mouth to argue, the first held up his hands. "We promised, Pazka! We'd draw cards, whoever got the lowest has to do it."

    "But - but Liam - come on! He'll kill me!"

    "No he won't," the other soothed, putting an arm around Pazka's shoulders. "He'll just, like, blow you off, most likely. You'll just get yelled at and we can mark him off on our list. One-hundred-percent participation, we get double pay, remember? And you can buy... oh, what's her name... the cathar down in Engineering you're sweet on - you can spend that on a gift for her for Life Day!"

    "Yeah, 'cos we all know Pazka totally has jungle fever... mmmrowr!"

    "TES! Come on, you don't need to do that."

    Pazka, however, was sweating bullets. "No, you guys, he's going to kill me. He'll strangle me. Promise. He's - he's a Sith! My grandma did so many excavations on Korriban, and she told me all about them..."

    "We know, we know," Tes groaned, rolling his eyes. "Look, just go do it."

    "But -"

    "You drew the lowest card, Pazka! We're only being fair -"

    By now the other two were pushing him over to one door along the long corridor of residential rooms. There were names pasted on each door, but they blended in nicely with the scuffed yet shining white, just like the rest of the shabby charm the Rebellion ship had. Pazka continued spluttering in protests as his friends dragged him along, the heels of his boots leaving double skid marks on the floor.

    "But but but -!"

    "Too late!" The louder one of them roared, slamming his palm against the doorbell and running away, leaving Pazka behind while the other two of them hid off to the side.

    Pazka froze in terror as there were shuffling sounds from behind the other door. It only took a moment for the doors to sweep open. His hair was a little ruffled, obviously flattened from sleeping on one side, and there were darker circles around his eyes suggesting that sleeping had been a concession to his body at the very last minute instead of anything enjoyable... but it was most definitely Commander Vader.

    "WHAT."

    From the way Pazka was trembling, it may have been a good thing he had worn brown-colored pants that day. The man barely managed to squeeze out a few words. "Um, um... we're... we're collecting donations for, uh... th-the Widows an
  9. NamelessAlien Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 1999
    star 3
    Hehe! And just like Darth Dad to be totally angry and bite the poor boy's head off while making a charitable donation.

    Happy New Year to all!
  10. Valiowk Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    Oh, indeed. Tee hee. :D

    Hm, I'm curious - what card game is that with a minus three card? :p And it's funny to see the Rebel soldiers being so afraid of approaching Commander Vader when it was almost certain Vader would soften inside once the words "Widows and Orphans Fund" were mentioned. :p

    Hope you get better soon, and Happy New Year! :)
  11. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Oh, I love Vader being so vicious while still giving a lovely charitable donation. I also like our festive lump of farmboy! This was a really fun section to read... I grinned!
  12. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Pazaak has a minus three card! 8D It's why I am always INCREDIBLY BAD AT IT whenever I try to play it in KOTOR... lol!

    Let's see if I can get through this chapter on to the fun and games to come. :>

    ---
    Evasive Maneuvers
    ---

    "I still have a bad feeling about this," Vader muttered underneath his breath.

    "Bwee-bwoo!"

    His eyes narrowed as he glared at Artoo. "I volunteered as pilot for this mission because of my apprehension. The inverse is not true."

    "Bwoop," Artoo declared airily.

    Leia had to stifle a laugh behind her hand as she stood half-in, half-out of the cockpit. She wasn't sure why the little astromech droid hated Vader so much, but the feeling seemed to be somewhat mutual. More than once, Threepio had remarked at his shock finding out Artoo knew such language. But once Vader declared he was volunteering to pilot what should have been a routine diplomatic mission to Circarpous IV, it seemed the ship had suddenly become quite full. Leia herself had been hesitating about whether or not to come, but Vader needed supervision. And Ahsoka had promptly invited herself along as well. And when the need for an astromech droid became apparent, Artoo would not take no for an answer.

    Suddenly what had become a quick diplomatic jaunt had become quite complicated. Truthfully, Leia also had a nagging sense of dread. But she refused to acknowledge it when Vader was being so depressingly glum. Instead she had spent most of the hyperspace jump chatting with Mon Mothma and the representative from Circarpous IV, Krisee Strand. He was a charming enough young man, but Ahsoka seemed intent on keeping an eye on him, and something told Leia that Ahsoka was right to do so.

    Strand leaned out of his seat and waved at her brightly. "Princess Organa! Join us for another game of Pazaak? By the time we're done, we should be docked." Ahsoka critically examined his smile as she shuffled the deck. Mon Mothma had apparently excused herself after the latest round, and was settled into the plush accommodation of the converted cargo ship.

    "No, thank you, Representative Strand."

    "All right. I suppose it's just a showdown between me and you, Miss Tano." He teased gently, turning back.

    Ahsoka's smile was brilliant in return as she started dealing out the cards. "Just count yourself lucky we're only playing for bottlecaps," she said with a wink as they settled into another game.

    Leia let herself pick up the smile, leaning against the doorframe. The small cargo ship was smaller than the Falcon, to the point where they were rather cramped. She was glad that the hyperspace jump was relatively short, so that they didn't have to figure out sleeping arrangements. All things considered, this was set up to be an almost leisurely trip. Leia would just have a pleasant stay on Circarpous IV. Perhaps she would be called on to flutter her eyes at Strand a few times to cut the Alliance was a better deal (though, even now, she couldn't help but be preoccupied with how much more comfortable she would be if this was the Falcon and it was Han at the pilot's chair for her to speak to). Probably the closest thing she would get to a vacation, given how the Rebel Alliance operated. The people of Circarpous IV were supposedly quite sympathetic to the cause, so maybe she could - just for a few hours - relax with her feet up and a drink in her hand...

    The entire ship shuddered with a long WHUWHUWHUMP.

    Leia was nearly tossed off her feet, and she clawed for the doorframe. The pazaak cards slid off the desk, Representative Strand gave a shrill yelp, and Mon Mothma actually uttered a small oath as her datapad flew out of her hands and her work was disturbed. The blurry lines of hyperspace faded out in the cockpit window to be replaced with static stars and the lazy drifting of Imperial ships circling a planet with menacing purpose. No, not Circarpous IV - their journey wasn't due to end so soon. Leia's hard sank a little when she recognized it. Mimban.

    "What's going on? What's happened?" Leia demanded, hanging on to the doorframe to pe
  13. Valiowk Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    Oh, they're in trouble! [face_worried] Let's hope that Vader's good flying luck continues, though!

    It was wonderful to see Vader and Ahsoka working together again. And Artoo's bad language is just too funny. :D
  14. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    I'm sorry for leaving this cliffhanger for so long! The siren song of SW:TOR has been calling to me...

    ...fortunately my little Sith Inquisitor now is apprenticed to a master, and his first order was to go relax, which means no more being tempted to roleplay him, because he is currently celebrating by wandering around his spaceship in only a ratty old shirt and his boxers while watching trashy romance holos. "NOOO DON'T DO IT CYNDI, HE'S WRONG FOR YOOUU~~~"

    (ahem)

    Let's get this going again :D My apologies for the bad pun that is the title, but I can't resist!

    ===
    Right to Bear Arms
    ---

    "Tweoo-fwooo? ...Tweoooo-fwooo-oo?"

    Leia heard Artoo long before the world stopped being in double vision. It pitched and swayed, but eventually came into focus. As she undid the clasps on the safety harness, her legs hadn't seemed to had decided to cooperate yet - she fell out of the chair, bracing her hands on the ground before slowly drawing herself up to stand. A warning klaxon was still chirping weakly. The ship was in pieces. The soft mist of fire suppressant had surely been falling on her face for several minutes, but it took her a long moment to notice; she wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand and winced as they stung.

    "Tweoo-hwooo!" Artoo rocked from side to side in front of her worriedly.

    "I'm all right, I'm all right," she murmured, swaying a little. The ship had been cleverly designed to, as some elaborate safety feature, break apart in case of such a catastrophic landing. Obviously running into the earth and trees had only made the matter worse. But as she limped out of the twisted wreckage, she was glad that she had gotten away with only a sprained ankle. Mon Mothma had apparently already dragged Representative Strand out: the man was knocked out cold, and Mon Mothma was sporting a new gash on her cheek.

    She flinched a little as a hand went to her shoulder. "It's good to see you out, Princess Organa." Ahsoka gave her a lopsided smile. "I was about to see if I needed to help you out, but Artoo's beaten me to it."

    "Any injuries?" Leia pinched at her nose. "I'm sure we all have concussions, but..."

    "A few cuts and bruises. A bruised montral hurts, but I've been through worse," Ahsoka said cheerfully. "Strand's likely been through a bit worse. He was panicking and was half out of his harness when we landed." The togruta didn't seem overly concerned. After all, Strand was under suspicion from the moment they started to go down.

    The shuttle was scrap, to be sure. With a little distance, Leia could appreciate how rough the landing had been. Trees had been hewn down in their path. Most of the luggage was stuck up in the branches.

    "I suppose that it's a good thing I was never really fond of that dress," Mon Mothma said, looking up at where one case had been cracked open to decorate the jungle foliage. Leia gave a dry chuckle at this. "There's plenty of medical supplies, at least, even if Strand is going to need the majority of them. And we're relatively close to some sort of mining outpost..."

    She nodded, only half-listening, still dizzied. "And Vader?"

    "Still trying to get himself free." Ahsoka pointed down at the cockpit that had fragmented away.

    Leia idly kicked one of the pieces of the wreckage, massaging her temples to try and clear her head. "...Where is...?"

    "The other wing? About two clicks that way," Ahsoka said tiredly. "I told you it was a bad landing." At least she seemed to be in relatively good humor about it. Leia likely wouldn't be so cheerful when she could stop being quite so addled.

    There was still a bit of smoke coming out from the end of the cockpit where it had split from the rest of the vessel on the way down. Leia limped her way over to see as Ahsoka and Mon Mothma tended to Strand. It was likely only a few minutes before the smoke would become flame, and the flame would spread, and Leia took it upon herself to go yell at Vader until he got to safety. The front of the cockpit had been crumpled, half wrapped around a tree. As soon as she looked in the open and shattered side, Lei
  15. NamelessAlien Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 1999
    star 3
    You know, the more I read the story, the more I like this characterisation of Vader. This is, essentially, what he would also been like while in his suit and mask. Well, that, plus the effect of the drugs. And, it does work too!

    BTW, have you read that story, ages and AGES ago, I think it was written by FernWithy and got a lot of reviews but I don't remember the title, but there was this scene of a post-Vader Anakin holding back a storm?
  16. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    I love seeing all the characters shine in this little adventure they've gotten themselves into. I especially like Leia choosing to chop her hair off instead of something else, Mon's mommy moment, and Vader's showdown. A very enjoyable chapter to read, and looking forward to more.
  17. Valiowk Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    I too loved everything Luna mentioned above. [face_love] I wonder if having to disguise themselves will cause each of the characters to be more aware of their behaviour and whether it might lead to some changes in the way they approach each other?

    Also, where did Artoo learn that language? :eek: :p
  18. Sethathoryunet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2004
    star 1
    Great to see such a quality fanfic! I hope you can write more soon. [:D]
  19. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Thank you all so much for your very kind reviews! :> It really does mean a lot to know that the characterization here seems 'right', and I am so glad everyone's enjoying it!!

    I promise an update is coming soon; I'm trying to rush ahead with my ME/SW crossover since ME3 is coming out very soon.

    But here's a silly comic I drew last night that you might enjoy: http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/047/b/e/luke_is_completely_fine_with_this_by_flyingoverthegrass-d4pww5w.jpg
  20. Queengodess Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2000
    star 4
    Want more story. Need more story.

    I mean, I know I'm totally absent from the net and all, but... give me more story! Dammit! (And I would use more exclamation marks, but there are things I cannot do. Ever. I could murder a puppy if that would make you write another installment of this fic, though. Or abstain from murdering one. Whatever. Truthfully, I would prefer the latter. I'm almost a vegetarian. I like puppies.)

    More story?!

    Gimmie, and I'll give you a proper review of it.

    Story?!
  21. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Hahaha, I shall try my best! /salute

    Sorry this chapter is a little abrupt. I'm leaning more towards splitting scenes up instead of one great big ridiculous chapter.

    ---
    Erythrocytic Cycles
    ---

    Talking was an easy way to pass the time as they trudged through the jungle to the settlement. Leia had forgotten how pleasant it was to talk to Mon Mothma. She was full of stories about the beginning of the Rebellion - of her father, especially. Her true father. Leia refused to think of Vader as anything more than a donor of genetic material. But she did notice Vader's apparently growing impatience with the conversation as he forged ahead, putting extra distance between them, as soon as Mon Mothma started discussing a certain senator from Naboo.

    "Senator Amidala? I had to memorize one of her speeches, I think."

    "I know. I saw the vid once. You did a wonderful job, memorizing all of it at six."

    "The hardest part was that ridiculous dress."

    "It was fairly ridiculous. Naboo fashion is very dramatic in a way that makes me glad Chandrila's customs aren't quite as -"

    Vader put his hand up, silencing them both. "We're here." The small crest of the hill stood over a walled-in outpost. The prefab plastisteel buildings were only half-covered in vines, and ragged miners wandered the streets, most of them drunk and surly. A typical Imperial strip-mining outpost. It kicked up uncomfortable memories of the last time Leia had been on Mimban. At least this bunch didn't have strict uniforms, so they blended in a little more comfortably. When they were all standing side by side, Leia glanced over to Vader. He was panting, and reached up to wipe some sweat from his forehead. Leia's eyes narrowed slightly. "You're looking... pale."

    "I'll be fine," he said gruffly.

    "I wasn't asking about that, and you know it," Leia snapped.

    Mon Mothma piped up, even as she was in the middle of ruffling her hair to try and look slightly more boyish. "You are looking worse for the wear. Moreso than just after a night in the rain."

    Vader didn't say anything for a few long moments, shifting his weight as if trying to physically dodge the question. "I spent over twenty years in a suit with its own airscrubber unit thanks to a compromised immune system. I'm sure you can figure out why I may have let the usual booster panel lapse."

    Leia groaned. "And reticulocytic fever is endemic on Mimban, just like many other colonized jungle worlds." She reached up to pinch her nose as if warding off a headache.

    "Like I said. I'll be fine."

    "Reticulocytic fever is lethal if left untreated -"

    "In approximately fifteen percent of cases. I still have decent odds."

    Leia half-slid down the small hill to the settlement's broken walls where they could easily walk through a gap. "And unless you're given treatment, complications are going to - at the very least - momentarily sideline you -"

    "I'll be fine."

    "There's a clinic, I'm sure -"

    "I WILL BE FINE." Vader bit out his answer through clenched teeth. "Reticulocytic fever is a reportable disease because of the high infection rate. Then there will come questions as to why I haven't gotten any booster shots since they're subsidized throughout the galaxy. And in case you've forgotten, Princess, the purpose of being in disguise is to not have people asking questions."

    Mon Mothma sighed deeply, coming up behind both of them, patting them both on the shoulder. "As much as I find this entertaining," she said cheerfully, "let's continue this argument when all of us are safely on a Rebellion vessel, and focus for the moment on getting out of here, shall we?" She gently pushed them along into the squalid and muddy streets. Leia shook her head, gritting her teeth in irritation as her hair hit her cheeks. Vader shrugged his coat over to one side to cover his arm in its sling. Fortunately they only attracted the occasional suspicious glare.

    "The clinic's this way -"

    "For the last kriffing time, we are not going to the clinic."

    "Isn't irritability one of the symptoms of reticulocytic fever?"

    "Not sure ho
  22. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Bit of payback against Leia?o_O
  23. NamelessAlien Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 1999
    star 3
    Oh boy, does Leia deserve this! LOLz.

    This alcoholic stuff requires chewing? Ew, ew, EWWW. What people are willing to do for a pleasant morning of hangover.
  24. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    I imagine that what they're drinking is all the worst of all liquors. Like jello shots mixed with mud mixed with cheap tequila. There may even be some sort of local lizard pickled in the bottle. BUT HEY AT LEAST IT'S CHEAP!

    Trying to keep the ball rolling here. :)

    ---
    Cytokine Cascade
    ---

    "You realize that I can't actually allow you to murder him, dear," Mon Mothma muttered in a slightly tipsy and maternal way.

    "Murder him? No." Leia's hands pawed at her glass. "I might be entertaining fantasies of strangling him, just a little. But no. I'm going to take all his armor, all of it, and dye it the most obnoxious color I can possibly find. Bright pink."

    "I'd recommend a nice mauve, myself. It's just dignified enough that he might be forced to keep it on."

    "And when he's knocked out recovering from reticulocytic fever, I'm going to braid all of his hair. All of it. Thousands of little twee obnoxious bows." Leia gritted her teeth before taking another sip of her drink. "Seven hells! How does he drink this? How does anyone drink this?! ...and more importantly, how long does a sabacc game take?"

    They both turned to glare at the table in the corner. Vader seemed, if anything, to be enjoying himself. He had sprawled out lazily in one of the chairs, looking all the world like some smuggler captain. He had even been given a cigarra to enjoy while the others smoked, though he was merely chewing on it like a prop instead of lighting it. He was, however, on his third drink. A dirty joke was told and the group laughed - Leia could tell its content merely from their jeering grins. That moment of laughter flowed smoothly into Vader slamming his cards down on the table and scooping the pile of credit chits and datasticks that made up the pot. Vader kept smiling. Everyone else's smiles fell off their faces. Two looked like they were expecting to lose. Mirax, however, immediately stood up, going red in the face. "You... you're a goddamn cheat!"

    Vader smoothly pocketed the datastick with security codes to his newly-won starship and gave the other man a thoroughly irritating smile. "Did I? Thought it was just your luck running out."

    Mirax huffed. "You're a dirty cheat! I know it! I dunno how, but you - you're a cheat! I should'a won! I should'a won!" His voice rose to a furious howl as they all stood up and the cantina patrons turned in their seats to watch. Vader didn't step back even as Mirax advanced, bristling. There was only one explanation for the man's anger - the cheater had just been cheated. And now everyone was looking forward to the ensuing fight.

    "You did agree to leave it to chance," Vader said, grinning, but he was abruptly cut off as Mirax punched him. He staggered back before reaching up to note the small bit of blood on his now-split lip. The entire room abruptly quieted - obviously the calm before the storm - and as Vader reached up with his good hand to wipe at his lip, admiring the blood. "That..." His voice was low and dangerous, losing a bit of the Tatooineian drawl. "...was a very bad idea." He reached back slowly before grabbing a glass bottle of cheap wine off of a table and smashing it in one smooth movement, brandishing the jagged broken bottle.

    All it took was Vader's first flinch forward and the entire cantina broke into chaos. Drinks went sailing across the room to smash on walls. Someone stuck their cigarra in their bottle of liquor to create a makeshift molotov cocktail. Mon Mothma grabbed Leia's shoulder, both of them diving down to dodge a yelping slave sliding down the counter. Just one spark was enough to set off the wild fight. Somehow they managed to dive near to Vader as he dodged back, gripping his makeshift weapon tightly. "Run!"

    "What?" Leia shouted over the chaos.

    "RUN!" He roared, actually looking back at them this time to glare. Fortunately he was able to pull away from the fighting long enough to dash for the back exit. The cantina had been a powderkeg waiting for a spark - and they happened to be that spark. But the flames didn't follow them
  25. Harpalyce Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    ---
    Beatrix Kiddo
    ---

    There was exactly one reason Captain-Supervisor Vivax had insisted that the new outpost be located near some of the ancient ruins that dotted Mimban. The old temple certainly did make for an impressive headquarters. It towered over the makeshift town below, and there were plenty of rooms for dungeons and barracks. But Vivax had one very good reason: he wanted the top room, because it had the best acoustics.

    His daughter Calixte had her clavicord set up in the corner, and was busy tapping out a tune. It was simple and somewhat meandering, but she played well, biting at her tongue in concentration as she read the notes projected on the holoscreen. Vivax was busy staring at his own holoscreen, a broad smile crossing his lips as more reports rolled in.

    "...Daddy, did you like it? Daddy?"

    Vivax jerked his head up. Truthfully, he hadn't been listening. He had been staring at the geotracking data from the speeders that had been given to Vader as a peace offering. They were already winding into the forest. Between the booby-traps threaded all throughout the speeders and the reward he had already offered, the group of rebels was mincemeat. If they weren't caught in the explosion of the timed bombs, all the miners with free time were out combing the jungle. Vivax had offered a reward worth a year's pay if one of them dragged back proof of death of Captain Lars Quell. Better they not know that it was actually Vader they were hunting. Might cause panic.

    "Beautiful, dear." He gave his daughter a vague, gushing smile.

    She smiled brightly at him. "Do you think Mother will like it?"

    "I'm sure she will, Calix." She puffed her chest out in pride. "Why don't you try it again, to make sure you've really got it down?" Truthfully, Vivax had to pay attention elsewhere. Better to keep his darling daughter occupied.

    He did not realize - nobody realized - that Vader was currently clawing his way up the side of the wall, gritting his teeth ashe pulled himself up, mentally cursing the fact that he was down one arm. Vader finally flopped up over the top of the spire with a huff before dusting himself off lightly and pulling himself up to his full and dignified height. The corridors of the ancient temple were quiet and it was easy to slip through the shadows. In fact, he was barely noticed until he entered Vivax's office.

    The man gave a startled gasp, flinching, but Vader put his one good hand up. "I know your hand is on the panic button, Vivax, but do you really believe that your stormtroopers can get here before I kill you both?"

    "Daddy?" The girl whimpered, and Vivax bristled. "Calix, stay there -"

    "Relax." Vader took one predatory step forward. Vivax had never remembered seeing vids of the man's gait being so rolling and graceful. Wasn't he supposed to lumber around in armor? Or was this some new creature, stripped of its confinement, that seemed to almost melt into the shadows? His hand hovered above the panic button. "I'm here to talk to you, Vivax... as one father to another."

    Now that was enough to get his attention.

    Calixte gave a small whine of fear, and very slowly, Vivax leaned forward. He locked eyes with Vader - he would have never guessed such a tyrant would have such pale blue eyes - and took a deep calming breath. "F... fine. Tell me why you're here."

    Vader gestured widely, palm up. "You have something I need. The codes for the anti-air guns that I'm sure you've powered up by now, just in case we try to slip away. You remember our deal, don't you?" Another step forward. Vivax gulped solidly, feeling the sweat start to bead on his brow. "A fairly simple extension of that plan. You let us go... I let you live." The room was starting to swell with energy that even Vivax could feel, perhaps as nothing more than the hair standing on the back of his neck. He didn't notice how the fingers of Vader's upturned palm began to gently twitch, as if beckoning something to him. "I need those codes, Captain-Supervisor. You know what our deal is."

    "I'm not prepared to -"

    He never got to finish his s
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