Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chapter One: Mystery Sith

Darth Vader walked through the halls of the Exactor, on his way to his personal quarters. The men who passed him in the hallways gave him a wide berth and a respectful glance... just enough of a glance to not incur his wrath, and not enough to make him notice them and direct his anger at them.

Vader had gotten reports of yet another Rebellion attack upon an Imperial installation. They had come close to finding out the existence of the hidden Death Star, still under construction. The Death Star had about another 10 years of work needed before it would be fully operational. It was crucial it continued to remain safely secret, that it’s construction site remain unknown. Every time it had to be moved, every time it had to be transported to a new construction site, valuable time and money was wasted.

Vader was not happy that it’s existence had almost been found out. He was very disturbed by it.

Add the fact that the “Mystery Sith” had been at it again...

Also known as the “Black Knight”.

Also known as the “Dark Avenger”.

The Holonet had ironically not been able to find a good name for this person with Force abilities, a red lightsaber, and a tendency to come to the rescue of anyone who was being treated harshly by the Imperial authorities. This person seemed to avoid actually killing anyone, but in some skirmishes, this person had killed some troopers, albeit in semi-obvious self defense.

One Holonet reporter had tried to call this person the “Dark Sentinel”, but his name for this person was mysteriously squashed. Actually, most of the Holonet stories about the Mystery Sith had been squashed, but a few had still escaped.

This Mystery Sith had remained a mystery for several reasons. First, this person always wore a different costume, and always concealed his or her face, and never spoke. The one common thing about the costume was it was usually black. Second, this person somehow always knew how to evade capture... even when the stormtroopers purposefully tried to set a trap for this person. Third, this person seemed unpredictable. This person never seemed to appear twice on the same planet. This person never sat still.

Vader knew, the moment he saw the first Holonet feed, that the Mystery Sith was in fact Sentinel. Unfortunately, the Emperor had also recognized that the Mystery Sith must be Darth Sentinel.

Vader had already been under standing orders to find and destroy Sentinel. The moment the Emperor had recovered from his injuries on Sentinel’s homeworld, the order had gone out.

The Emperor had occasionally reconsidered the order. He still wanted Sentinel found, but he thought that Sentinel could successfully be convinced to become his apprentice. He had made it clear to Vader that he did not intend for Sentinel to replace Vader... had never intended for that. That he merely wanted to fully test Sentinel. That he never intended for Sentinel to kill Vader or Vader to kill Sentinel.

Vader opted to pretend he believed every word the out of the Emperor’s mouth. It was safer that way.

But with the whole “Mystery Sith” thing, the order had once again been upgraded to destroying Sentinel.

Lord Vader took great pains to keep his Master up to date on the search, especially once the Mystery Sith had appeared about 3 years ago... 2 years after Sentinel had escaped. But Vader did his best to ensure the search results were only given to him, so he could then tell the Emperor what he pleased about the search.

Vader silently cursed Sentinel for deciding to no longer remain in hiding. He understood that she must be growing impatient for the Emperor’s rule to end and Vader’s joint rule of the Galaxy, with Sentinel, to begin. But her undermining the authority of the Empire was not helping. He knew she was having one of her bouts of moral conscience, not enjoying seeing personal liberties of the civilian populace being trampled. But she had to be made to understood -- if he could make contact with her -- that these were necessary steps in the continuing effort to bring peace to the Galaxy.

Now if I can just find her and pound that message into her thick skull! Vader thought.

While Vader was dealing with the search for Sentinel, and with stomping out the Rebellion, he had periodically also been investigating Sentinel’s brother’s death. Or trying to. Either her brother Tarnis Yod had really committed suicide 5 years ago, or the coverup of his death was nearly perfect. No-one would admit to foul play, or to knowing that any foul play had occurred... even when he impressed upon them the... importance... of their cooperation.

Vader had to give up the search for more information regarding Sentinel’s brother. It was proving fruitless, and was likely to attract unwanted attention.

He stalked through the hallways, turning corners sharply, clenching his fists, and basically making his men very nervous. Or rather, making them more nervous than he normally made them.

He was walking through the area of the ship devoted to the stormtroopers quarters. A trooper left his shared room, just in front of Vader, and hurried off on some duty. The door hadn’t quite auto-closed behind him, and Vader stopped in front of the open door, hearing something familiar. Music. And a trooper humming along to the music as he polished his white boots. The trooper did not look up, so intent was he on both the music and the polishing.

If you need a lover, I’d do anything you ask me to...

The trooper was suddenly startled by his music player emitting several sparks and catching fire! He dropped his boot in order to extinguish the flames, and looked over to the doorway. The door was auto-closing, and he couldn’t see anyone in the doorway. But he could just barely hear the sound of Vader’s breathing as the Dark Lord strode away.

That song. He had to be listening to that song, Vader thought.

Vader entered his quarters, his thoughts tormented by a fear he didn’t want to deal with. With the continued defiance of Sentinel, and her silence, i.e., her lack of trying to contact him, he had decided that perhaps she no longer had any feelings for him. Perhaps she had fully gone over to the good side of the Force, and in so doing, had rejected him, forever. He didn’t know how to handle that fear. He knew he shouldn’t automatically assume the worst. But to him, it was the only explanation that made sense.

Admittedly, he wasn’t sure how she could safely arrange to contact him. But still... she should have tried some way of contacting him by now.

She had betrayed him. But instead of trying to kill him, or trying to become his Master, she had done something worse: she had stopped loving him. She simply must have, after all this time.

Vader shook his head, trying to shake off these thoughts of self pity. They did him no good. He was a Dark Lord of the Sith, and the Dark Side was his very jealous mistress. He did not need Sentinel... not her love, nor her help in ruling the Galaxy. He was invincible, and needed no-one.

His anger replaced his loneliness, making the dark cloud of emotion surrounding him darker still.

Vader opened his hyperbaric chamber and entered it. He sat down roughly, flicked a finger in the direction of a control on his chamber’s 360 degree ‘desk’, and the chamber closed. He removed his helmet, and breathed a sigh of relief to be free of it.

He toggled through his communications, looking at further reports of what was going on within the Empire. Then he went through his personal communications, which were few.

Darth Vader stared at the screen of his console. He wasn’t sure if he was reading the display correctly.

It seemed that Commander Javel, of Pitoma Base, had invited him to another dinner/dance. They even had a new band coming to play.

He had been invited, once before, to a similar event by Commander Javel, 5 years earlier, when he and Darth Sentinel had been staying at Pitoma, waiting for Sentinel to recover from injuries sustained on one of their missions.

Why would Commander Javel choose to invite him now, of all times, back to his base?

And also, why was Commander Javel still just a lowly commander? It had been 5 years! Who had the Commander perhaps upset? Who was keeping the Commander from being promoted?

Perhaps that was why Vader was being invited to this event. Perhaps Javel needed his assistance in acquiring a promotion. Vader sat back in his chair, musing over things. He supposed he did owe the man, after all. Javel had helped him out in the past, and had kept quiet about it. Without Javel’s assistance, Vader would probably not have been able to rescue Sentinel when the evil spirit of Darth Hedra had taken over her body.

And Vader was in need of a pleasant distraction. The Emperor did not seem to understand the concept of Vacation. Neither had the Jedi. Perhaps this would give Vader some peace, some time to relax and not think about Sentinel, the Emperor, and the war in general. Pitoma Base was a huge reminder of Sentinel, but still, it would be a change of pace.

Vader accepted Javel’s invitation, and made his plans to travel to Pitoma Base.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Several weeks later, Vader’s shuttle took him in to land at Pitoma. Once there, the shuttle crew transported his effects to his guest lodging, and Vader strode directly to Commander Javel’s office.

Javel’s office door slid open at Vader’s approach. Javel stood up and bowed slightly as Vader walked in.

“Lord Vader, I am glad that you were able to come visit us.” Javel said.

Vader noted new wrinkles on the man’s face. The past 5 years appeared to have been rough for Javel.

“Commander Javel, I find it hard to believe that you asked me here simply to attend a party.” Vader said, intending to get directly to the point.

“Lord Vader”, Javel said, a little nervously, “I confess I have an ulterior motive.”

“And that would be?” Vader asked.

“A... mutual friend asked me to invite you.” Javel said, carefully.

Vader stared at Javel, disliking the air of mystery Javel was trying to maintain.

“And this friend is?” Vader asked, impatiently.

“Sasha Yod, m’Lord.” Javel said.

Vader remained silent, inscrutable behind his mask. But his thoughts were racing, and in spite of his attempt at control, his heart was beating faster, and his breathing quickened just a bit.

“You know, Commander Javel, that Sasha Yod is a wanted criminal,” Vader rumbled gently.

Javel pursed his lips. “I know, m’Lord. But I wasn’t sure what your opinion on... the matter was.” He paused, took a breath. “Shall I have her arrested, m’Lord?”

Vader stared at the wall behind Javel. He sent his senses out, scanning the base, and found the spark that was Sentinel. She was already here, and she wasn’t hiding herself from him.

“No, Commander Javel. Leave her to me. I will deal with her myself.” Vader answered.

“As you wish, m’Lord.” Javel said.

Vader whirled and left Javel’s office.

Goto Chapter Two


Blogger Kenya Starflight said...

Whoo hoo! Go Sentinel/Sasha!!!

Intriguing start indeed!

Poor oblivious trooper...

Can't wait for more! I enjoyed the first one, and I would LOVE to see how the second one goes. :)

8/06/2006 5:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home