MARCH / APRIL 2013: BY HOPE WHITE
Two years after the battle of Yavin…
Skywalker. The Rebel who had destroyed the Death Star and single-handedly singed Vader’s pride was a Skywalker. How many Skywalkers could there possibly be in the universe? How many force sensitive Skywalkers?
The day Darth Vader received the intelligence, he simply walked off the bridge of his Star Destroyer and went to his chamber.
He didn’t come out for three planetary days.
The thought was like a snake latching onto his mind, sinking its teeth in, unwilling to let go. Like poison, it spread through all his thoughts. When his mind lapsed, he realized he was daydreaming of her giving birth on some ship with her last dying breath.
Those thoughts were what had led him back to Coruscant.
To his wife’s apartment.
After learning of her death, he swore to never return.
And now he was walking the passageway to her apartment again. He deactivated the code, the door sliding open.
Like a beautiful dream fused with a hideous nightmare, nothing had changed. The same bluish gray walls and steely carpet; the floor-to-ceiling windows let in bright sunlight, soaking the sleek, beige furniture and the few expensive decorations.
As he wandered through it, he could almost feel her warm hands touch his face.
He flashed open his eyes. He hadn’t heard her voice so clearly in years.
He circled the couch, taking in everything yet forcing himself to remain detached. He stepped back, his foot hitting something underneath the couch. He pushed the furniture away where underneath a small hologram device lay on the floor. He stooped down and picked it up, running his fingers over the slender electronic. He placed it on a hologram player in the corner of the room, a blue, hazy image projecting above it.
She was alive again, immortalized in a holographic image, beautiful with her long, curly brown hair resting on her shoulders, her black silk gown revealing her pregnant stomach.
“Anakin, I don’t know whether or not this message will get to you beyond the Outer Rim. So far communications between Coruscant and your battalions have been intermittent as the war seems to do nothing but escalate. As always this message is encoded and cannot be opened by anyone but you.
“I’m pregnant, Ani.” She smiled tenderly, her hand caressing her stomach. “I know what this means—I doubt the Queen will continue to let me serve if she learns of this, and the Jedi order could throw you out. But I don’t want you to worry. Every moment I think of you. I’m afraid for you.”
She reached out her slender hand for him. “Whatever happens, our baby is my greatest strength and joy. I will always love you.”
He couldn’t hold it in anymore; he grabbed the hologram in his palm and smashed it against the wall. For a moment his eyes blurred while his body took over. His mind was a supernova of anger and jealousy, love and pain; emotions and memories woke from the dead, rising out of graves, walking through his mind again. All he could see was a blood red motion blur—
Until he finally dropped his lightsaber on the ground, everything around him destroyed.
Come away with me, Anakin. Help me raise our child. Leave everything else behind while we still can.
He groaned within himself, her voice haunting him from that fatal day on Mustafar, when she begged him to leave with her.
But don’t you see, Padme? We don’t have to run away anymore. I have brought peace to the Republic. I am more powerful than the Chancellor. I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy. Make things the way we want them to be.
Vader strode out of the stifling room onto the balcony. Outside he could see a steady stream of flying vehicles crisscrossing the eternally-lit city.
He would find Luke before the emperor did. He would put all of his will, all his time into it. The emperor wouldn’t know his true intention. Vader’s officers wouldn’t question him seeking out the Rebel responsible for the Death Star’s destruction.
Every force-sensitive person must die.
The emperor had decreed that just days after Vader had survived Mustafar. He had agreed wholeheartedly, personally hunting down every remaining hindrance to the Empire.
But Vader wouldn’t kill Luke.
Instead he’d open his eyes to the Force and his true heritage. He’d lure him to the Dark Side just as the emperor had ensnared him. If he had to force Skywalker to his knees, eventually he’d break. He’d see the truth.
Together… rule the galaxy.
There had never been a together with his master. Vader was the slave to do his bidding, so entangled in the emperor’s strings that if he tried to pull himself out alone, he would sever his own head.
Luke wasn’t just another chance for Vader to get free. He was his answer.
To make things the way he wanted them to be. ♥