Star Wars IV.5: Flight of the Rebels

Chapter 1: Cast Into the Abyss

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, the Son of the Suns, had just brought his fighter under control when the Death Star exploded. The collision with his wingman had shorted out his deflectors and disrupted his control systems, sending his ship spinning full throttle away from the battle. He reflexively let his surprise turn to a rage which fueled his focus; he gave himself over to the Force which guided his limbs and flowed through the circuits of the machine that surrounded him. He rebooted the primaries and the shields reformed around his craft as its spin evaporated. It was then that the Force drove his mechanical thumb to open the throttle and pulled his gloved prosthetic hand to guide the ship away from the Death Star. Even though he was already a full light second from the surface he barely survived the initial blast.

A significant fraction of the initial explosive force had been reflected back into the core by the armored surface of the battle station before it was annihilated, resulting in a second pulse even larger than the first, driving the nimbus of superheated vaporised debris into space at incredible speed. Vader was carried along the expanding shockwave, unable to think in a state of trance as the Force guided him along the thin path of his destiny. The initial flash had released hard radiation that had pierced his shields, hull, and armor to find what remained of his pale tender flesh which burned mildly but excruciatingly; simultaneously his mind had served as the conduit for the sudden extinguishing of over a million lives. Yet he guided his ship as it tumbled through the superheated gases that once had been the greatest war machine in the galaxy.

A portion of armor plating that had not fully been disintigrated in the blast tore through his ship. The starboard wing was gone, the engines went completely dead and the hull that contained him was breached. Vader tumbled through the chaotic debris storm helplessly. Through the cacophony he heard a voice that he had not heard since he was a child, and it said to him, ‘Your destiny is not yet fulfilled, Anakin.’

It was then that the wrecked TIE emerged into cold hard space from the expanding cloud. His ship erratically spun about it’s new axis, the vibration of the superstructure ringing in the confined atmosphere of Vader’s helmet. The breach had opened the cabin to vaccum. All of the instruments were dead. The only light came from the mechanisms of Vader’s suit. Every now and then the Death Star nebula, eclipsing Yavin almost completely, would fill the cockpit with light. In those moments he could glimpse the fuzzy green dot that was Yavin IV among the dozens of moons orbiting the gas giant.   

He had seen this worldlet in another life during the Clone Wars. He had fought a Sith there while the vast orange globe of Yavin filled the sky. He supposed that the Rebels were using the ancient Sith temples as sanctuary and the thought filled him with rage which he tried to suppress the memories and thoughts that were straining to flood his mind. Vader’s body spasmed inside of his suit. He felt like he was suffocating and struggled against the mechanical rhythym of the respirator that kept him alive. Hearing the voice of Qui Gon Jinn speaking that name awakened something that had been struggling within him since he first sensed the presence of Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Death Star. He had thought that his unexpected revenge upon Kenobi would have been satisfying but it was only unsettling. He had not had time to consult with the Emperor about the manner of Kenobi’s death, but…

He spasmed again as his instincts stopped him from thinking about his Master and instead filled his mind with another. It was more terrible to bear the thought of her than he had imagine possible, but he would not allow himself to call out to Sidious now. He screamed her name into the prison of his suit, broadcasting it into the empty silence of his wrecked fighter which tore itself away from him as his helpless frustration exploded in a burst of Force energy. Then the rage that fueled him was spent leaving only ashes of anguish and despair in his mind as he floated through the void.

My destiny, he thought bitterly, has been twisted by another’s hand. He called out to Qui Gon with his mind, asking how, Qui Gon? How can this not be my destiny? Why should I not die here? Without his bidding, he vividly remembered the last time he had been happy. It was when she had told him she was pregnant. He filled with revulsion, horrified by the idea that the same man who heard those words then was remembering them now. His mind turned to the last moment of the battle, when he had vividly felt the Force wrapping itself around that pilot. It had been with him strongly, in a way he had only felt other Masters possess. Who was he?

Was he Kenobi’s Padwan? It only makes sense. Yesterday I kill Kenobi so today his Padwan kills me. But he didn’t kill me. It was that freighter. It was chance. It was the Force. It was destiny. He must have been the boy that accompanied Kenobi. Same ship. Who is this boy? Kenobi came on the freighter from Tatooine and so did the boy, who then came here to Yavin. There is a force sensitive pilot who is then protected by the same freighter. It must be his Padwan. And they were on Tatooine all this time.

He is my son. Kenobi stole my son.

Beneath his mask Darth Vader’s eyes widened in surprise. Possibilities he had never seen suddenly became obvious before him. Something like hope kindled within his mutilated soul. Eventually the Emperor’s spies would confirm what the Force had revealed to him, but for now, Darth Vader knew that there was another Skywalker. He hid this hope deep inside his hatred and reached out with his mind to Darth Sidious.

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