Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DarthIshtar
, Jun 21, 2015.
Interesting perspective! I look forward to seeing what comes of this.
Me, too! I love political intrigues. When they showed the BBC series "Secret state" on German TV recently I was thrilled. Even though it was done in the German language, sigh.
I hope your Leia can manage what she is about to unleash when digging deeper...
And some nice intrigue and intrepid reporting! Ils, be careful you don't dig too deep. You might disappear down that hole. Permanently.
Author's Note: My deepest apologies for my absence. The deadline for me to hand in my final manuscript was September 28 and it took me until September 27 at 8 p.m. to finish. Now I'm in the middle of writing a Halloween novella and I promised myself that I would update this before the week started again.
Thanks, Jcgoble3. I have fun with Ils Chimre.
The question is, when the Empire figures out that someone's digging, will they preempt the story or let it come out and respond to it?
That is one of the threats.
Esio Turot was not fond of precedent-setters. In three decades on the bench, he had presided over hundreds of trials, ranging from youths who were found in possession of glitterstim to a man who had bombed a school where 76% of the students were alien. His youngest perpetrator had been a nine-year-old accused of murder and his oldest a four hundred thirty-seven-year-old embezzler.
Many judges yearned for the unusual or exciting cases, which would challenge established procedure and draw attention to the wisdom of their rulings. Some of these aspired to the Imperial Supreme Court. Others simply found the ordinary squabbles of Imperial citizens to be boring.
It was Judge Turot's willingness to dispense ordinary justice that exasperated some and amused others. He was the sort of man who was willing to sentence a traitor to death, but would give the same man a citation if he flew his vehicle past the set speed limit in other circumstances.
In short, he was the perfect man to approach about the legal quandary of the senior Senator from Alderaan.
Ils did not mention her conversation at the Chandrilan Embassy, but she did .provide several copies of the curious holo that brought her to Turot's chambers. On his orders, his clerk submitted a request for information to the prison's warden.
He did not expect Sorcer Debas himself to respond. The man was the bloodthirsty overseer of all things to do with the Imperial prison system and having him respond to a prisoner status query was rather like having Raith Sienar attend to repairs when your TIE fighter stalled.
"You must be mistaken, Your Honor," Sorcer Debas said blithely once strained pleasantries had been exchanged and he had taken the proffered chair. "Senator Bail Organa is not a prisoner of the Empire."
"Then he is free to return home?" Turot responded. "I am sure your guest will be glad to hear of it. He has my planet to rule."
"And a rebellion to finance from what I have heard," Debas deadpanned, "but I recall your aversion to hearsay."
"I have a stronger aversion to unlawful detainment."
Debas' response was a genial chuckle. "Your Honor," he said as patiently as a parent explaining basic arithmetic to their youngling, "let us not exaggerate the situation. Imperial Center is certainly not the home of Senator Organa, but it is his workplace. He has spent so much time here that I doubt he still speaks his native language."
Turot tapped a series of keys and the last known holo of Organa appeared between the two men. He waited for Debas to blink, but the man simply looked as though he were weary of the conversation afready.
"Senator Organa spends so much time here that he owns a residence here," Turot pointed out. "There is no need to provide him with penitentiary accommodations or an armed escort."
Debas glanced quickly around the image for an identifying network logo or some kind of watermark, but for all he knew, Turot himself had taken the holo.
"Pestage will want to know your source," he said at last.
For a matter of such little importance, the Grand Vizier should not be involved. The threat itself confirmed what Chimre had proposed and Turot had suspected as well. It made the urgency of this business all the more evident.
"My source is immaterial," Turot stated. "Why would we need Pestage's input?"
"Because His Imperial Majesty should be made aware..."
"With all due respect, Debas, I have no doubt that His Imperial Majesty is aware of this," Turot interrupted. "His most trusted lieutenant has a notorious grudge against Organa and Lord Vader's handiwork is evident here. I am not asking for a pardon. I am demanding due process by the rights I hold as an officer of the Imperial Judiciary."
It was a bold move, but one that he was within his rights to make. There was nothing Debas could say within the current set of laws to refute that.
"Then you would like him released?"
That question opened too many possible avenues of negotiation. He had neither been asked nor authorized to haggle for the freedom of Alderaan’s favorite son. He was here in the interest of justice, but if he did not approach this exclusively from that angle, there would be no quarter given to the freedom of the courts.
"If he is accused of a crime, I would like to be presented with the evidence," the judge responded carefully. "No court has been convened on this matter and no indictment has been handed down, so the burden of proof is not with the prosecution, but with the law enforcement of the Empire. Once they have presented their evidence, I will know enough to issue an arrest warrant or dismiss the charges on insufficient grounds.”
Debas' impassive expression twisted slightly with disgust at Turot's arcane love of justice. “You can be persuaded to recuse yourself due to a conflict of interest,” he dismissed.
“And then you can be persuaded to explain why you are so afraid of the judgment of an Alderaanian judge,” came the mild reply.
A long moment passed before Debas dignified that with a response. "The Emperor will never allow the case to be dismissed."
"In that case, the Emperor may gather the evidence himself," Turot suggested.
“It is not my responsibility to appease the courts,” Debas argued. “When you have a sentence to uphold, I will be happy to make the arrangements.”
Turot did not smile at the levity. “Barring the filing of formal charges, a representative of the Alderaanian Consulate will be at the prison in question twenty-four hours from now. I will be relaying that to other authorities. You may take that as a warning or an exhortation.”
Princess Leia had given strict instructions on when and how she was to be awakened; essentially, she wanted to know if her father rolled over in his sleep. The Palace Guard, however, was under orders from the Council of Thanes. That august body had decided that the future Queen of their world was no good to them half-dead.
She had not slept deeply since the beginning of the crisis, fostering a near-sleepless state so that she would not waste valuable time dredging up her faculties. Within a minute of Winter laying a gentle hand on her shoulder, she had cinched a dressing gown around herself and made the journey to her father’s office.
She had expected the head of Palace Security or possibly Bel Iblis, back for more debates. Instead, she found Adelain Rieeman, the somber-faced Special Counsel to the High Court.
“My apologies for waking you, Your Highness,” she said with a formal curtsy.
“No apologies are necessary,” Leia responded breathlessly. “What news from Imperial Center?”
Adelain did not look surprised by the question, but she seemed mildly relieved that she was not the bearer of unexpected tidings.
“Formal charges have been brought against your father,” she said.
Leia folded her arms across her chest, her face impassive. “Have they detailed the charges?”
“I can forward the documents, but they were sufficient to merit an arrest,” she responded.
“But they admit to having them,” Leia said.
Leia had the impression that, had it not been bad form to sit in the presence of standing royalty, the woman would have found her way to a chair.
“I am not surprised,” Leia amended. “The Emperor is no friend of Alderaan.”
Adelain nodded, looking less thunderstruck by that reminder. “We have several counselors who can be made available to him. We can request that bail be set for him and there is the possible of extradition…”
“Lord Vader would not allow it,” Leia interrupted. “‘Flight risk’ is too mild a term.”
“Then we will hope for house arrest,” Adelain considered. “We cannot hope for him to be returned to the Consulate, because that would imply that the state stands behind his actions.”
That was a danger. As a daughter, she believed in the rightness of her father’s actions, but as the High Princess of Alderaan, she could only stand in support of the law. When the sympathies of an individual became the position of a people, oppression was a very possible by-product.
“I understand,” Leia assured her. “I am grateful that the Empire is being forced to provide him with a trial.”
It was an unusual philosophy, but one that they could all live with.
So an Alderaanian judge and a holoshill lead to the Empire being forced to file actual charges. Let's see how that goes.
The interaction between Turot and Debas is excellent, as is Leia's POV. Looking forward to more.
Excellent post! You capture Leia's inner thoughts and outer composure and decisiveness on the correct way to conduct affairs very well, since it cannot be easy for her to juggle the personal and the political. Not at all. Like the judicial maneuvering in the first scene.
Man, Esio Turot is stuck between a rock and hard place, here. Still, an actual trial is progress.
I didn't realize I hadn't commented on this chapter.
Since I have an inkling of where this is going I can't say too much, but you are certainly good at the slow burn tension.
I know you've got at least a partial chapter written but I'll not bug you too much while you've got your novel edits.
As a matter of principle, the High Princess of Alderaan was schooled in a great many things. Her father had encouraged her interest in the arts; as a surviving member of the Republic Senate, he looked forward to seeing his heir cultivate an appreciation for the less-controversial things of the Galaxy.
Things were, of course, less simple than that and he had not stood in Leia's way when she insisted on gaining a greater understanding of the judicial system. It was only natural, the Queen and the Viceroy reasoned, that the future ruler of Alderaan be able to understand justice before she was expected to dispense it.
Leia knew most about the Taiald laws, born out of religious dedication and founded on principles of atonement and mercy. She knew that there was no death penalty on Alderaan because a life lost was a life wasted. She knew that only once in the last century had a person been sentenced to life imprisonment and that woman had died two weeks before the founding of the Empire. She also appreciated that the Empire, by and large, had kept its totalitarian nose out of Alderaan's business since the disarming of the planet fifteen years ago.
That state of affairs was no longer an option. With charges formally brought against her father, there could be no question of Alderaan's justice system taking control of the process. The Empire had made the arrest and while they had the burden of proof, they had the privilege of obtaining whatever evidence they could think to request.
“I want there to be cooperation,” Leia instructed the counsel. “You have the charges and you know what sort of evidence they will be seeking.”
“Yes, Your Highness,” the counselor agreed. “It is unwise to disclose everything.”
“Would you rather that the Empire punish us for obstruction of justice?” she challenged. “Or hindering a government investigation?”
The woman looked inexplicably pained by that question, as if Leia were throwing a tantrum instead of sustaining the law. “No, Your Highness,” she responded calmly, “but there is a difference between cooperation and submission.”
Her first instinct was to bristle at the comment, but the woman had not meant it as a slight. She was simply trying to do damage control.
“I would advise that we answer the charges as the Imperial Judiciary's representatives demand,” the counselor expounded. “I do not intend to offer them the details of the refugee populations' actions. I do not want them combing through the court's tax records or asking for personnel files.”
“You think you can refuse that?” Leia rejoined. “Lord Vader will know if we are lying to him.”
“He is not in command of the prosecution,” her advisor reminded her. “I would not put it past him to stand guard while his stormtroopers acquired the materials covered by any sub poena, but it will not be his place.”
That was something of an unexpected relief. Leia had been expecting him to corner her for information since the charges were filed and honestly, she had been afraid of just such an interview since the day of her father's capture.
“Then we will only have to answer to these charges,” she summarized. “Do you know what sort of records will be demanded?”
“Financial transactions, communications, port records...”
“Port records?” Leia asked, brow furrowed. “They hope to blame him for every ship that lands here?”
“As Viceroy and regent, he had the power to forbid any landing visa that he desired,” the counselor reminded her. “They have probable cause to believe that he consorted with the people responsible for terrorist attacks and they will want to find evidence that he did not prevent them from coming to Alderaan.”
“So if a man wanted for tax evasion came to Antibes for a holiday, my father should have turned his ship away,” she deadpanned. “With that basis, he could be convicted for a multitude of petty crimes.”
The woman's mouth thinned. “Or others could be linked to the crimes for which your father is being prosecuted,” she responded.
Such as Bel Iblis or Mon Mothma or any number of other Republic sympathizers. This could simply be a stepping stone to other prosecutions or her father could be used as a deterrent. He could be the martyr whose sacrifice extinguished the fires of rebellion for the next decade. Or it could be the spark that set off an immolation.
Both thoughts turned her stomach and she had to close her eyes for a long moment, refocusing her thoughts on something beyond the repercussions of her father's execution. She was caught between faith that the goddess of justice who was the patroness of Alderaan would intervene and fear that justice would be murdered along with her father.
She took another moment to steady her breathing, and then opened her eyes. The counselor was watching her with an approving expression that suggested she recognized the depth of Leia's feelings on the matter.
“Is there a chance that they will prosecute me?” she asked.
Her advisor grimaced at the thought of another member of the royal house being trapped in an Imperial prison. “There is a chance that they will brand you as an accomplice,” she confirmed. “It is the sort of thinking that led Vader to blame the high court of Alderaan for the misdeeds of refugees.”
And that had led to Vader threatening to unseat the monarchy and install an Imperial representative who would have less compassion for the starving traitors in their midst. The disarmament had been the compromise that kept her mother on the throne and Alderaan under Alderaanian rule.
“I had nothing to do with these alleged crimes,” she said.
“Are you certain of that?” the woman asked. “You have been your father's courier for six years.”
“Not in the timeframe that they are describing,” Leia responded with confidence. “I have difficulty believing that my father is guilty of these charges, but I know that he has not used me as his emissary recently enough for that to be an issue.”
“And your travel records will reflect that?”
“My school records will reflect that as well,” Leia responded. “Father wanted me to complete my studies before he allowed me to consider my place in the galaxy.”
The woman nearly smiled at that. “Thank the stars you were sometimes allowed to be a child.”
Finally, an update!
This is an excellent discussion on the intricacies of the legal system. They need to cooperate enough to keep the Empire off their backs, but not so much that they lose everything. That is a very fine line to walk, and Leia here treats that with the amount of gravity it deserves. Excellently done.
I forgot to put an explanatory author's note. This was written off the coast of Africa on the way from Morocco to the Canary Islands because I promised myself I'd write 1000 words on this story while on my vacation. Then I got home and forgot for a month to post it because I'm awful at remembering to do such things. But I will literally have my schedule back to more normal on Monday, when my publisher sends my book to press and I stop having to meet deadlines. I know, first-world problems. But I'm so tired of the edits, the sub-edits, the copy-edits, the font approval, the format feedback... I'm so ready to just sit back for two months and write a lot of random stuff, some of it fanfic.
Congratulations on getting a book published!
Congats, DarthIshtar! Not only are you a talented author, but you are also travelling the world and have a book publication coming up. About editing, two of my old study pals are into that field of work and it does not pay overly much. Neither in Germany nor in England. Both are constantly under pressure.
Back to the story: I wonder what will happen if young Leia will be upset with the justice system of the Empire.
Excellent update! Yes, that is a fine line to tread: cooperate enough but don't overdo the information delivery. That is a very RL-ish style situation too. Persons who are ruling with compassion and helping refugees etc. get a lot of flack from oppressive types or fear-mongers about the very real threat of terrorists
Excellent update and look into the intricacies of how Bail can be nailed. I think Vader is gonna turn every stone over, then turn the ground underneath those stones over. Leia's on a monofilament tightrope right now.
And I've said it before, but it bears repeating many times over. Congratulations on getting published.
Author's note: I know. I know. I need to update more regularly. In that spirit, you're getting three posts this week. You can thank Kateydidnt, because it's her birthday tomorrow.
There were laws and resolutions to protect citizens of the Empire from unlawful detention and abuse by authority figures. Hygienic conditions were stringently adhered to and they were given due process. They also had the right to refuse questioning if their attorney was not present.
With the Force on hand, questioning was not always necessary.
Lord Vader was quite familiar with the "softening-up" period that was common practice in the Imperial penitentiary system. When a prisoner was to be questioned, he could earn food and rest by cooperating with the authorities. The questioning would seem repetitive, as corrections officers asked the same set of questions at every session. The prisoner would rarely, if ever, answer the questions honestly. Vader was not waiting for the answers, however. He had no reason to trust any of them, but knew that sleep deprivation could impair cognitive function. As time went on, memory retention deteriorated and confusion set in.
It was at that point that the corrections officers would suggest they let things be for a while. The attorney would bluster about his client's well-being and the futility of asking questions while expecting a different answer. He or she would try not to beg, but the prisoner, half-dead with exhaustion, would be silently pleading for mercy. The corrections officer, helpless to find a reason to continue the questioning, would suggest they meet again in a few days' time. There would be no lavish meals or special accommodations that night. The prisoner would be fed, but when he or she fell asleep,t he Empire would have mercy and let it be uninterrupted.
And that would be when Lord Vader's interrogation began. He would let the enemy of the state get one good night's sleep so that guards would be lowered. Even if the prisoner were paranoid of what would be coming next, he or she would be powerless to resist sleep when it was allowed again.
It was not the first time that he had browsed through Bail Organa's mind. The good Senator had the Force sensitivity of transparisteel, but his dreams had been full of guiltless sentimentality. He remembered gardening with his wife and sharing a political triumph with a delegate from Raltiir. On Vader's last foray into the man's mind, he had found him dreaming nonsensically of the Emperor giving a dance recital with broken shoes. Vader had delved into his dreams more than once, but tonight he knew that he could burrow deeper.
Since the deceased Queen was the most frequent visitor in his dreams, Lord Vader followed a thread of memory to a meeting of the Queen's Council. He bored himself listening to a recitation of the export statistics for the year prior to her death, but took notice of those in attendance. The thanes from each province were there, of course, but the Queen of Alderaan had been well-known for seeking the counsel of those who received her protection and he recognized a Caamaasi refugee who had been there since the founding of the Empire. The woman had even been questioned three years into the Emperor's rule when several Caamaasi agents were responsible for the destruction of a Star Destroyer. The act of terrorism had led to the disarmament of Alderaan, when the Queen refused to allow a purge of the refugee colonies for the actions of a few people who might have been related to the perpetrators.
Spurred on by the memory of that incident, he let the Force probe into Bail Organa's memories of that woman. The intrusion yielded little--the woman had once been issued a citation for speeding in Antibes and done nothing more publicly scandalous than that--but it led him to others with less savory ties. The colony had always been a hotbed of dissent, fanned into little more than smoldering resentment under Breha Organa's rule. But it also had a tendency to turn a blind eye to...
There. He had found a memory of Organa hosting Fang Zar two years before Vader had nearly beheaded him on Alderaan. The two were discussing a new amendment to the Republic constitution that would bring the local militia under the direct control of the Grand Army of the Republic with the woman in question. Organa, who had opposed the Army in the first place, had been hard-pressed to find a reason to keep the Caamaasi soldiers in the Alderaanian Guard out of the war. The Councillor had reasoned that they had fled the ravages of one war and had no desire to entrench themselves in another...
From Fang Zar, he was able to batter his way through resistance to a meeting with Fang Zar and Mon Mothma in the last days of the Republic, where they were discussing the possibility of enlisting Jedi aid to negotiate with the Supreme Chancellor. A familiar voice said that she knew of a Jedi, loyal to the Republic...
He withdrew from that memory before Bail could catch sight of Padme's face, but the voice still lingered as though a white-hot brand had been jabbed into the mind of the former Anakin Skywalker. He was forced to let the Force ebb away from him for some time until the urge to flee subsided. The pain did not, but Vader was used to torment and an old colleague of agony. He pressed on.
Organa was still an ally of the reportedly rebellious Mon Mothma. There was no need to allow himself to be haunted by the ghosts of the Republic. The next memory he found was decidedly more recent. Organa's reflection in a window was greying at the temples and more lined than it had been when he plotted treason with the Loyalist Committee. Mon Mothma was there by mention only, but when he turned to his conversation companion, Vader found Senator Bel Iblis enjoying an Alderaanian green wine in the man's private office. The man had just commented on the ongoing construction of a skyhook at Kashyyyk when a knock sounded at the door and a teenage girl wearing a lacy nightgown and simple braids poked her head in.
A persistent beeping suddenly dragged him out of the man's mind. It was the neural relay alert that said Organa had awoken. Vader impatiently silenced it and watched until the man dropped off into an uneasy sleep. Once his mind quieted enough for Vader to enter, he forced his way back in. He bypassed the dreams and did not seek for a smooth entrance into the man's subconscious. Instead, he drilled straight down, prospecting as directly as he could. He found a conversation over breakfast with the High Princess of Alderaan, but the moment he followed that memory to another such conversation, the neural relay alert sounded again.
The man was fiercely protective of his daughter as all parents should be. Vader had witnessed this first-hand on Alderaan on occasion, but the force of the man's aversion was stunning. Blind to the Force he might be, but his mind had been trained to go on alert at more-than-casual interest in his daughter. That went beyond the normal caution towards a threat to family.
He would give the man one day before he returned, but when he did, he would discover what the harm was in mentioning a supposedly-innocent child.
Welcome back to this. So, Vader is on the case, now. And mind-probing. How long before he realizes/figures out anything concerning Leia?
Okay, that was very interesting. They have all the laws about unlawful questioning that we do, yet no law against a Sith Lord reading your mind in your sleep and using that information against you.
So Vader is on to something with Leia, but will he find out that he has a living daughter? I look forward to finding out.
Excellent insights into Vader's mindset even through the reactions to what he unearthes. Ah, that Padme's name/face/memory still can pierce his heart and strike a nerve. Hmmm that Bail is even in relative unconsciousness and you would think past voluntary control of such things, very protective of Leia. Hope it holds.
The Jedi power of Alter Mind was not one that had often appealed to Anakin Skywalker. He had seen it as a very Obi-Wan approach to situations that could be better resolved with power and presence. Jedi of all ranks tended to use it on occasion, but he had known more than a few Padawans to use it for juvenile purposes or to clean up after said juvenile purposes. During the Clone Wars, it had been useful when evading inconvenient guards or persuading unusually stupid diplomats to see his way.
The true power of Alter Mind was a corruption of what Obi-Wan would have intended, but everything that Darth Vader stood for fell naturally into that category. On the occasion that he used it, he sometimes felt a savage pleasure in being so persuasive because his traitorous Master would have admired the outcome while abhorring the means.
Neither Anakin Skywalker nor Darth Vader turned to Alter Mind on a regular basis, but tonight it was the most effective weapon that he could use against Bail Organa. From his visits to Alderaan and his abbreviated forays into the memories of Organa’s family life, he had a good idea of the young Princess. She wore her innocence like the crown that she would someday inherit and her virtue like a robe of office. She styled herself in the image of her mother, who had been so beloved as to approach the status of a religious icon, and in the politics of her father, who was infamous for his soft heart.
The child Leia Organa had been mischievous and impatient, once assaulting Governor Tarkin with watter globes and often trading places in an almost Naboo fashion with a trusted decoy named Winter. She had attended a few Imperial meetings with the air of someone who harbored a secret desire to kick Lord Vader in the bionic shins. As she had grown, the mischief had subsided, but the impatience had evolved into a righteous anger and that was a trait that Vader could use most easily. After all, his own corruption had begun when a furious young man had taken arms against those who had murdered his mother and he knew that the balance between righteous anger and insidious power-hunger was a precarious one.
One simply had to weight the scales properly.
The bleak durasteel of the wall was familiar. Bail had seen it every day when he awoke in his cell on what used to be Coruscant. The cold was not. He could not actually feel the chill in this dream, but his body recognized it enough to tremble reflexively and hunch in on itself.
Across the cell, his posture was imitated by a young woman. She curled onto her side, thin hands tugging at the sleeves of her white dress as if covering her hands would quadruple the thickness of her gown. She had not been here long enough to be softened up because she still looked as though she had some hope of fighting back.
A loud clanging of boots heralded the approach of visitors. Bail’s daughter and Breha’s heir sat up and immediately, if not effortlessly, effected the air of someone who was inconvenienced by a spaceport delay; she appeared to recognize that she was powerless here, but that time would come to an end. She bowed her head--possibly to muster strength, possibly to call on a higher power for help—and planted her hands on either side of her hips as if preparing to stand her ground.
Three sets of footsteps had approached, but there had been no mistaking the tramp of the Dark Lord of the Sith. Leia lifted her chin just enough to meet his gaze steadily and her hands slid from the durasteel bench to fold primly in her lap. The narrowing of her eyes that followed had been learned from her mother as an expression of contempt.
“Darth Vader,” she intoned in utter disgust, “only you could be so bold.”
Not only him. A pair of armed guards took up post behind the Dark Lord as if Vader were threatened by this slip of a woman.
“The Imperial Senate will not sit still for this,” she stated. “When they hear that you’ve attacked a diplomatic…”
“Traitor.” The word was said almost dispassionately. “You weren’t on any mercy mission, Your Highness.”
Vader had already misjudged her. Leia rarely went so far as to do anything more scandalous than roll bandages and hand out food.
“I’m on a diplomatic mission,” she shot back, hands clenching in her lap, “and I am a member of the Imperial Senate…”
“You are part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor,” Vader asserted, his words skimming the knife’s edge of fury now.
She drew back as though he had raised a hand to her and squared her shoulders. Had she been standing, she might have taken guard stance, but she refused to shrink before his accusations.
“Audacious words for a man without proof,” she bluffed.
“Proof such as dealings with Rebel spies?” he suggested. “Concrete ties to violent insurgents?”
The recitation echoed with familiarity; these were the things that Vader had accused him of over the years, before he could bring enough evidence against him to make an arrest.
“I need nothing so drastic,” Vader informed the High Princess of Alderaan.
“And you do not have it,” Leia said. “I am a patriot and a Senator, like my father before me, and I would never allow…”
“Like your father, you are a vigilante who believes that letting others shed blood absolves you of guilt,” Vader rumbled. “There are stains on your hands that no amount of your alleged patriotism can erase.”
This was all wrong. It was not that she would not allow herself to take sides against the Empire. Bail would never allow her to go so far in her desire for justice. Her place was on a judgment seat, not in a council of war.
“You are a compatriot of known Rebel leaders and you know who the others are.”
If he had been anything but an observer, he would have demanded that Vader stop this nonsensical grandstanding. There was nothing to be accomplished by bullying an innocent child…
But this Leia was not a child and she was not the daughter he had been privileged to know. Leia was raised to be calm in the face of unjust accusations and her defiance suggested to all those present—including her father—that she felt the truth in Vader’s words. He had not raised a Rebel, but this was a Leia who was unfamiliar to him.
“So you expect me to save my skin by condemning others?” Leia scoffed. “Were I to even possess such knowledge, I would never stoop so low as to cooperate with the Emperor’s slave.”
The turn of phrase interrupted Vader’s plan of attack and Bail nearly smiled at his daughter’s unwitting cunning. She had never been told of Anakin Skywalker or his beginnings on Tatooine, but she could not have said a more hateful thing to her captor. It was a brave and dangerous thing to say, even in her ignorance of who Vader had once been.
“We will see,” Vader hissed softly. “I have no doubt that you could bring about the downfall of hundreds of your co-conspirators, but rather than an avalanche of confession, I will be satisfied to set one pebble tumbling out of place.”
The interrogation unit entered the cell with a thrumming whine, as if a ringing in the ears had been overlaid with a racing heartbeat. Leia’s lips, pressed together into a grim line of defiance parted slightly. She had not shrunk before Vader, but unconsciously leaned towards the shelter of the wall.
“We can dispense with the banter,” Vader commented. “We need only discuss the location of your primary Rebel base.”
Victory was Vader’s tonight. Nothing had yet come of his interference, but he had at least led Bail Organa to a version of his daughter that did not drag him out of sleep. Bail was caught so off-guard by a daughter who had grown up to be as rebellious as her father that his mind did not recognize her as his own.
With that knowledge gleaned from this experience, he sent a spike of dark force into the man’s mind. The noxious influence dragged him out of that barren cell and the neural relay alert beeped satisfyingly.
It was not an act of compassion to wake the man at this point. Had Vader wanted to show mercy to the man, he would have left him in that cell to witness the collapse of a mind and a will. He would have let Bail Organa’s ears ring with the screams of a terrified young woman. He could have even triggered the neural pathways that would leave the smell of burning flesh in the man’s nostrils once he clawed his way out of the nightmare.
Instead, Vader showed Organa a cruel mercy and left him for now to contemplate what in blazes could happen to his daughter.
Indeed, only Vader could be so bold to trespass on a mind like that. Love the callback to ANH with the initial dialogue between Leia and Vader in Bail's dreams here.
You are sooo good at this. The cell...vision? forced vision? with the ANH dialogue homage worked perfectly.
(And I am wondering what basis Vader used to age Leia. Did he use Bail's own imaginings of what she might look like as an adult?)
The use of "slave" there was interesting. Is this Vader supplying the dialogue or did Bail's mind supply Leia's accusation...fascinating.
I love this story! Thank you thank you thank you for my birthday chapters!
Stunning stuff - with the on-point dialogue and characterizations! I do love this strong defiant Leia and then the aftermath of interrogation wow, glad Bail didn't witness that even in a dream like sequence. The Emperor's slave - that is one true and well-aimed arrow.
I wanted to post before midnight last night, so had to skip an author's note. Here's the funny bit of last night. In order to get the right details of the interrogation scene, I had to watch and rewatch and re-rewatch about 30 seconds of A New Hope. I'd think I was done and then needed to hear the noise of the boots on the deck or then needed to play the interrogation droid's entrance or watch where Princess Leia had her hands when Vader entered. It was rather like the time that I watched the destruction of Alderaan six times so I could write one scene for a fanfic.
Ah, Vader, you son of a gun. Great use of the ANH dialog, there.