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Saga - OT Vader's Fire (Luke, Vader; AU, Drama/action, sequel to 'Vader's Shadow')

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Togruta, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Starith

    Starith Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 5, 2020
    Continuing on...

    Luke took a step back, awestruck as the armored figures approached. He turned to Artoo, who was still hooked to the power cord. "You said no lifeforms! No energy readings!"

    Artoo sputtered, saying something about low-power scopes not being one-hundred percent reliable. He shook his dome in a panic.

    "What is it? What's happening?" Aiolin said, trying to get up to look, unable to see the figures from behind the wall.

    "Just... stay here," Luke said. He turned back to doorway and stared at the tall, black-armored figures who walked in unison. Their T-shaped visors, as well as their axe-headed staffs, were glowing green. Their joined steps patted bluntly against the floor.

    Luke stepped out into the dark hall, blocking the entry to the power hub. He unhooked his lightsaber and turned it on. Without a thought, Luke raced straight towards them and swung his lightsaber. He was blocked. Acid-green strokes appeared before him and Luke lurched to dodge them, feeling the heat miss him by a hair. He blindly swung again to ward them off. The middle of his blade cut through a plated arm. Robotic wires lit from the inside as it fell.

    "Droids," he said under his breath.

    The five figures focused on him, still marching in a line, their steps slow but their bladed weapons sweeping in flickers. One nearly grazed his neck. Luke stumbled back, circled one of the droids before it could lift its staff again, and drove his saber into its midsection. It fell, cut in half, and its visor dimmed out. But another droid stepped in its place and swung at him.

    A yellow laser zoomed past, brushing Luke's shoulder. He winced from the burn and turned around. Aiolin was leaning on the side of the hub's entrance, her wrist extended and aimed in his direction.

    Luke's jaw fell. "Are you serious—"

    She shot again and again, cutting him off. But the lasers coursed past Luke, who jumped out of the way preemptively. He saw the blasts hit an armored droid, one that he hadn't noticed had been right behind him. More lasers streamed past and the droid-guards swooped their axe-spears to block them. The black forms and green blades came closer, mixed with Aiolin's yellow laserfire, and Luke lashed out with his own blue saber, trying to hit them.

    He felt himself being shoved, stings sunk into his arm and chest, and he struggled to stay on his feet. He fell to the ground. Sparks were flying, burning motion and plasma filled the air, all of it too much for him to comprehend. The droids might've walked slowly on foot, but that sure didn't apply to their up-close combat capabilities.

    A few glowing embers hissed, metal clanked, lasers whirled, and then the noise died down as if suddenly bottled up. Luke saw he was surrounded by the fallen forms of the droid-guards.

    He looked at the power hub, where Aiolin was on her knees, leaning against the doorway, exhausted. Eyes wide, Luke dashed over to her.

    "You..." He gulped. "You didn't have to do that."

    Aiolin huffed and kept her head down. Artoo eased away from the shadows of the small room. He made a nervous couple of bleeps.

    "Wait, what?" said Luke, disconcerted. He looked back down the hallway, and was alarmed to see more black figures slowly marching towards them, armed with the same green-lit weapons.

    Luke stared from the droid soldiers to Aiolin, then to Artoo.

    Suddenly Aiolin made a jitter. She brought out the hilt of the electrostaff from her belt, ready to power it on.

    "Stop!" Luke exclaimed, pushing her hand down. "Forget them! Let's just get out of here!"

    Grim-faced, Aiolin said nothing as Luke hoisted her up. He began walking with her, holding her arm around his neck. He looked back at Artoo. "Come on!"

    The droid whistled and followed Luke as he led the way out. Artoo, seeming to have charged up a fair amount in the few minutes he'd had in the power hub, wheeled in front of him, whistling heatedly.

    The droid-guards, slow-moving as ever, didn't change. They merely trailed behind them at a strolling pace.

    The corridor ahead was empty. Blue panels illuminated from the ceiling, but it grew more dim the further in.

    Luke nearly stumbled as Aiolin dragged her feet. He looked behind them every few seconds to see how close the new line of droid-guards were. They were still following them, and they still weren't gaining speed at all. It was far too easy to take this as a sign of safety or advantage, Luke thought. He didn't trust it. He kept up a hurried pace, as hurried as he could manage while still keeping hold of Aiolin.

    As the glow panels faded and the hall turned darker, Artoo voluntarily beamed a light to show the way. They turned one corner after another, seeing no exits, just more bare, shadowy passages. They finally reached an archway leading into a bright, expansive area with multiple equipment attached to the walls. A wiry stairway led down as the only route.

    Luke dubiously regarded Aiolin, who's head was leaning on his shoulder as if she was incapable of holding it up. He tightened his hold on her and began to guide her down. Artoo followed, having to keep adjusting his tread-legs as he slogged down the stairs. Aiolin made some groans. She bent her knees, trying to set her boots on the steps to align with Luke's movements.

    Then she stopped, rooted herself. She was trying to stand.

    "Don't," Luke told her, even as he struggled to move both her and himself, gripping the railing for support. "You hardly had any time to recharge and you've only expended more energy. You've done enough."

    Her voice was a thin whisper. "I... I haven't..."

    Luke shot her a confused, exasperated look. "Could've fooled me."

    She pushed at him with her elbow, tried to part from him, and Luke awkwardly let her go. Immediately her knees caved and she went limp. Luke caught her right before she tumbled down the stairway. Frowning, he propped her up once again, resisting the temptation to snap at her.

    "Why not..." Aiolin whispered dully. "Why not use... the Force..."

    Luke blinked. "For what?"

    "Fighting... lugging me... around..." An ice-blue eye peered out between her blond hair. "You are... Vader's son after all. The Force is st-strong... with you..."

    Luke frowned. "Not really."

    "Simple-minded..." Her face loosened. "You don't know what you... what I... I just want to find Morit. I have to... find the security board... find where... he's being held..."

    Luke faltered for words. "We... may not be able to. We can't just go back down to the lower levels, with all the droids and guards after us."

    She said nothing. There was no reaction from her, save for the softest flicker in her eyelids. Luke's chest and stomach tied into knots.

    "We'll find him," he found himself saying. "Artoo can find a computer port, download a map of the place. We can locate him." He felt a hardness in his throat, barely believing his own words. But he couldn't bring himself to dismiss Aiolin's already-dampened hope. "Let's just keep moving. Come on, try to lift your feet, take it one step at a time..."

    They continued climbing down, Luke timing their steps together. She tried to straighten her gait, and soon they were making mild progress. At last they reached the bottom floor.

    Artoo scooted down the surface easily, and Luke and Aiolin walked through the dim quarters below, panels and machines blinking tiny lights. The nearest entrance was a doorless, tunneled entry. Luke guided Aiolin and Artoo into it.

    It was a dark, silent walk. When the tunnelway ended, they stepped into a vast area, duracrete-walled with maintenance stations, fuel hook-ups, and supply crates. A great wide platform stretched to enormous hatch doors big enough to allow a whole fleet of starships.

    Luke's heart lifted. "We're in the hangar."

    He crossed over to the mid-lane, hurrying his pace as he continued sustaining Aiolin. He looked over all the many ships, ships he realized must be something of a collection of Vader's. Some were even in rows like trophies on display. There were the typical monochrome Imperial vessels, TIE fighters, shuttles, assault crafts, a few landspeeders, but there were also models Luke didn't recognize. One in particular stood out, an incredibly smooth, shapely vessel that could've been melted from pure silver, elegant and nothing like all the weaponized ships. Odd choice for him, Luke reflected with a raised eyebrow.

    He looked towards the docking platforms, almost nonplussed. This was it, he thought. They could fly out of here... Artoo could likely slice into the gravity-locks, bypass the security measures...

    But Luke looked sideways at Aiolin, who still seemed completely depleted. His teeth dug into his bottom lip. Artoo rushed forward, trilling excitedly, his droid gibberish voicing pretty much everything Luke had been thinking.

    "I know, but..." Luke sighed after a long pause. "We have to go back."

    Artoo made some muddled, exasperated groans.

    "I know, but we have to try, Artoo. Look, just see if you can link up to the security board, find any prisoner files from one of these computers. Maybe he's close by."

    "Hurry," Aiolin replied, and Luke nearly started at the sound of her voice. "You know there are likely... security scanners... watching us..."

    Luke eyed her, then eyed Artoo. He gave the droid an anxious nod, and the little astromech wheeled over to a console port, muttering. His retracted arm twisted into the socket.

    It was only a few seconds before something buzzed behind them: doors opened, followed by clapping footsteps. Luke jerked his head to look back at the side of the tunnelway, which was now shut with a plate of steel.

    There were two figures, not droids, not red-robed Imperial guards, but stormtroopers. They didn't have the typical white armor, instead theirs was a shining jet-black. They wasted no time and aimed their blaster rifles at them.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: =D= Exciting and well-written, as you write Luke with what I think is his skill level with the saber at this point. It would be so easy to automatically write him as being uber!skilled LOL [face_love]
    AzureAngel2 and Starith like this.
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Phew caught up and had a rough ride along side with Luke, and the damsel in distress that he picked up in the way.

    I am glad you did not sacrifice Artoo on the altar of Vader´s ego. But it was a close cut.

    Oh and cool new user name! How come?!?
  4. Starith

    Starith Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 5, 2020
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha : Thanks. You sure seem to appreciate the "power levels" I write for this fic... I do try to make Luke's abilities believable while still taking in the fact that he's a naturally-talented Skywalker, so I hope I keep it consistent.

    @AzureAngel2 : Thanks. I just wanted a new username, especially since, while I think Togrutas are a cool SW species, Ahsoka is one of my least favorite SW characters, so having the name 'Togruta' felt kind of weird.

    That said, here's the next part of this fic. Enjoy!

    "This is getting old," Luke hissed, fidgeting to turn on his lightsaber and nearly dropping Aiolin as he did so. The blue blade flashed out of its handle.

    The stormtroopers paused, caught off-guard at the sight of the lightsaber, but they proceeded to shoot. Luke swerved himself and Aiolin behind a column. The red blasterfire grazed the border. They shot again and again. Luke heard them coming closer. Not waiting for them to approach them directly, Luke turned to face them and waved the saber, but didn't manage to bat any of the blasts. A couple shots hit his and Aiolin's legs.

    Wrenching, Luke eyed a monitor on a stand. He slashed at it with the tip of his saber, inadvertently slicing a thick piece of connected tubing. A large pile of equipment fell in the space between them and the stormtroopers, along with a support beam that crashed down. The clutter ran all along the platform and white-hot cinders scattered like rain. Artoo's whistles mixed with all the flaring noise.

    "We can't—" Luke exclaimed, looking at Aiolin. "We can't stay here! The exits are cut off, we've got to—"

    One of the black stormtroopers lunged through the fallen debris, kicking it aside. He came a few feet in front of them, ready to shoot.

    Aiolin picked up her head. She parted from Luke and in a split-second flames had expelled from her palm. The trooper drew back. The flames quickly spread from the fallen machinery and rose like a wall; but unprecedently one trooper simply jogged through it, unfazed. The other trooper appeared behind him.

    "Shooting fire... at a lavatrooper," came the smug reply from one of them, who repositioned his gun to point at Aiolin. "Genius."

    Aiolin grunted and Luke scowled. He held out his lightsaber. "Yeah? Why don't you try walking through one of these?"

    The lavatroopers came closer; Aiolin rose her hand again. Green lasers darted out of her wrist.

    Luke turned to shout at her, but his voice was lost as the troopers were hit, both hollering and falling on each other, and they landed in the flames. With that, Aiolin dropped like a ragdoll to the ground.

    Luke paled. He stooped to the ground and grabbed her. He lifted her up. Her eyes were closed.

    "No, come on—" he panted, shaking her a little. "Aiolin—"

    Artoo let out loud blurbs and bleeps from the lower bay. To Luke's astounded relief, he saw he was beckoning Luke from a distance, by the nearest ship, a TIE fighter, which now had its upper hatch door wide open and its rail ladder extended. Luke looked from the fiery equipment spreading across the platform, seeing no sign of the lavatroopers. He took Aiolin's slack body in his arms and shuffled towards Artoo and the ship.

    Eyeing the wide-ranging hangar doors, he looked around aimlessly, then saw a large switch installed on the wall that could only be what opened them. He motioned his head to Artoo. "Get the hangar doors open!" The droid hurried over to the controls.

    Luke came to the mid-size, grey pod of the TIE. He began to climb, struggling as he held on to Aiolin, barely managing to pull her up by the arm.

    Light cast over them, spilling into the shadowy hangar like a huge curtain had been lifted. The gigantic doors were retracting. Mustafar's greyish-red glow came into view from the outside.

    Luke saw Artoo returning. The little droid rocketed up. He caught Aiolin from behind as Luke continued to bring her up, until finally they reached the top hatch of the sphere-shaped starfighter.

    "Help me get her in," Luke said, and Artoo immediately floated over the gap of the hatch, letting Luke move her over him so he could carry her down. Then, the cyborg girl draped over his dome, Artoo glided down the opening and into the ship.

    Luke took one last look at the scene behind him. To his surprise, one of the lavatroopers was crawling slowly out of the flames, injured, his armor punctured, but he slowly began rising to his feet. He brought something close to his masked face: a comlink. Luke quickly turned back and crept inside the TIE.

    He landed in a small, grey-white space. There were square devices, giant filters, and mechanisms crammed into it. He saw Artoo making his way to the curved wall, setting Aiolin against it.

    Luke spotted the entry to the cockpit.

    "Stay here," he said to Artoo, jamming his fist on the access to enter.

    The cockpit was bigger than the small storage room, and darker, even with the octagon-shaped windscreen filtering in faint light. Several red gleams radiated from many gadgets. He planted himself into the pilot's seat, his hands automatically gripped the control sticks, and he looked over the other devices. He found the power lever and turned it on.

    The heavy ion engines powered up with a roaring hum and he felt the ship elevating. The TIE sped across the platform briefly for takeoff, lifted rockily, then, facing the open doors, Luke accelerated.

    The ship zoomed out. The steely colors of the hangar swept past and became a wash, and then bled into the open air of Mustafar.

    A sense of triumph started to well in Luke. He couldn't see the castle, but he could feel the distance growing...

    He had done it. He had escaped. They had escaped.

    But Morit... Luke sighed. He knew he'd done what he could to save Aiolin's brother. It would've been suicide, near impossible to locate and free Morit without getting captured themselves... Still, Luke felt the triumph deflate a little.

    Indicators blinked on the flight controls. The ship continued to fly irregularly across the red-streaked sky, pitching up and down. Rivers of lava streamed below like burning red scars. Luke checked over the gears to try to steady the ship. He wasn't familiar with the layout, and found that the slightest motion at the sticks had a strong directional impact. He remembered his time piloting a TIE Defender; like that model, these controls demanded more precision than he was used to. Gradually he nudged at the controls, drifted the ship up in a less-than-steady lift, and drove higher into the air.

    Things smeared past at high-speed. The way ahead was becoming less clear. The air was clogged with black, whether it was smoke or clouds or fog, Luke didn't know, but now having no view to the path ahead, he panicked. He tried to de-power the engines, to counterpoise the ship. He turned a switch of what looked like a stabilizer shift and pressed the speed lever to slow down. Something clicked. The ion engines howled louder.

    "What?" he said, crinkling his lips. Somehow he had increased the speed.

    Readouts beeped, detecting unknown interference, but it was still too fogged for him to see outside. Luke tried again to adjust the speed, but found the lever was locked in place, set to full-speed mode. Aghast and jaw dropping, he tried to pull it, but it didn't budge.

    "Blast!" He tried toggling the settings of the HUD display, to find something to visualize the atmosphere. All he saw was digital static on the radar and graphs of the terrain, which told him he was at such a high altitude that they didn't matter.

    Then without warning Luke found himself wrenching the ship, unthinking, and as a result he dodged the summit of a large mountain that had peeked out of the smoked fog. Luke let out a breath of relief. Then instantly he pulled to the left in another sharp motion, leaning along with the ship as he did so. He anchored his leg down to keep from falling out of his seat — he really ought to have strapped himself in — and he heard Artoo whoop and ring frantically in the back like a strangled mynock.

    Teeth bared, Luke hurriedly went through more of the different settings. He looked around for a hyperdrive and to his dismay he found none — of course, normal TIEs didn't have lightspeed capabilities, he remembered — not that he was sure how to set any coordinates anyway...

    The outside was growing more dark. Thunder surfaced in his ears. Luke's whole body tightened and his hands grew clammy as he gripped the pilot sticks, trying to keep his hands still as he blindly flew. The image of the ship crashing abruptly sparked in his head... him at the helm, failing to control a simple TIE fighter, the ship twirling down into the red-hot lava... Dread seized his hands, raced in his bloodstream like a nauseating river.

    No, keep it together. You're a pilot, you can do this.

    There was a loud flash of light. A cacophonous screech. Luke jumped and squeezed his eyes shut, opened them. More flashes came, biting forks that stabbed the sky and felt very, very close. Lightning, he saw. Blood-red lightning among plumes of black and violet. He had flown right into a storm.

    He fiddled with more of the controls, anxious, muttering things he didn't even understand as he yanked the sticks, aiming to do a somersault to reverse. Before he could, another stroke of lightning appeared and the windscreen turned from red to pink to white in the blink of an eye. Then darkness again.

    He had to stay calm, Luke told himself through the tumultuous sounds and spasms of light. He had to — use the Force, reach out — Stretch out with your feelings—

    Clash. Another streak of lightning. And another. There was an ocean of lava below and he found no space to make any rotations or dives. He could only weave the ship right and left, try to dodge to the best of his ability. Meanwhile the thunder and lightning continued to pierce the sky and the ship rumbled. Luke's breathing lessened, his vision blurred...

    Come on, Skywalker, you can do this! You flew through a comet storm, you flew through the trench run at the Death Star, you can do this! You can—

    The loudest shriek blasted through his ears, making him cringe. In a series of semi-seconds he registered a sharp, hot sensation, intense, forcefully striking the ship, and he was slung over, feeling a loss of momentum, of feeling. Metal was creaking, breaking, the ion engines no longer wailing. Everything spun. His throat stung with the smell of burning durasteel...

    It was a sensation of zigzagging and hurling — and then a sudden, quaking pound as Luke was tossed up in his chair. He hit his head then plopped back in his seat, bashing his chin on the edge of the control board. He cupped it as he raised himself, his jaw feeling numb and brittle. A trace of blood seeped between his teeth. He rasped out a moaning breath.

    Dead silence. Everything was still. He turned around. The back room was filled with a poisonous-smelling smoke.

    "No—" He shot out from the cockpit and into the back room, his heart rattling.

    Artoo was on his side, bleeping helplessly. Aiolin was sprawled along the wall.

    "You... you two okay?" Luke rushed out, his voice jittery. Artoo made a groggy bleep in response. Luke checked on Aiolin; she was dusted with smoke but thankfully didn't look injured from the crash. He went to Artoo, seeing no damage on him aside from some chipping of his shell's paint. Luke set him upright.

    He then went to the back area near the giant filters. There were singed, warped pieces of melted steel, completely fried devices turned black and brown. Luke coughed and waved away the smoke coming from the farthest reaches past the cargo space, where it was split open. The lightning had struck the engine compartment.

    His adrenaline was numbed by fresh fear. Of futility. They had crashed... not in lava, but he had crashed, had flown them into the storm... and now he had stranded them...

    Luke glanced around. "I... I..." he muttered, almost too dejected to speak. "I should... see where we are."

    He climbed up the half-melted inner ladder. He had to push hard at the top hatch, it was partly smelted shut. It made a crisp snap as he pried it open.

    Luke slid onto the top of the TIE. He stood on it. The burnt hole in of the back of the TIE was all too obvious, scorch marks across the surface, its shattered bulk all steeped in and black as if a giant fist had punched it. Flinching, Luke looked around his surroundings.

    As expected, it was a bleak view, ashen ground spread for miles, and a sweltering heat that made the mountains swirl in the distance. Glowing rivers of lava flowed behind. The storm was raging on in the dark skies above, the red lightning unrelenting.

    But something caught Luke's eye: not too far off it looked like... a spire... or a wall... some kind of remains of a building. A warehouse perhaps. It was near a large mountainous region. It wasn't much, but it was something among nothing. The least he could do was find shelter, perhaps he could even scavenge some supplies...

    He called down to Artoo, "I'm going out there. Sit tight, I'll be right back."

    He leapt off the TIE and landed in the graveled dirt. Luke groaned at the pain in his injured leg, and he scanned the remains a couple yards away. He made his way towards the area, darting over the black grime and patches of rock.

    The storm was dying out the closer he got to the ruins. He coughed and blinked hard, his eyes and throat irritated, his thin clothes dampening with sweat. He jumped when a spew of lava shot from the ground in front of him. He backed away as the brilliant fluid pooled along the black stone. Luke nervously looked back at the TIE.

    Luke stopped. All of a sudden a strange, unnerving feeling came over him. He swallowed, hesitant where he stood a moment... but he went on. He had to ignore it. Whatever his misgivings, he had to go on. He had to do something.

    Now he could make out frames of the building's construction. Ridges and flat shapes jutted from the ground like slanted, over-sized tiles. The earth flattened around it to mix with a smooth, coal-like surface. Luke observed the wreckage, and having seen it up close now he realized much of the remains were half-covered in hardened magma. Whatever was once here had been buried deep long ago.

    He stepped over the uneven ground. Shadows bore down on him from the mountains looming nearby. Luke approached one of the jutted plates, studied it, and realized it was, or had once been, embedded with repulsorlift technology. He touched the rim of it, the surface corroded as if it had rotted away.

    He took back his hand suddenly as if he'd touched a burning stove; Luke didn't know why, but he felt strange touching it. He felt strange among these ruins. The unnerved feeling was now more than a feeling, it was a sensation. Like a cold hand had just slid through his chest.

    Fighting the shiver that threatened to still his body, Luke walked on. He came to the side of one of the large, rusted walls. Treading over some jagged stone, he nearly tumbled just as he reached the edge. He peered around the corner, hoping to find something worthwhile on the other side.

    There, sitting among the rubble, half-veiled in the dark, was Vader.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= Riveting as Aiolin zaps the troopers and then gets injured; their escape [face_relieved] followed by the crash :eek: and that zinger of a last line!!
    Starith likes this.