Star Wars IV.V pt iv
Vader emerged from his trance feeling his master’s cold mind caressing him. Through red lenses his scorched corneas reflected the crimson orb of giant Yavin and the collapsing yellow nimbus of the Death Star nebula in syzygy with a small moon; an eye within an eye. His Master was feeling through his senses and looking through his thoughts. His flesh spasmed as his suit dosed him with the cocktail of powerful drugs that replaced the natural chemistry of his ruined body. The burning started deep in his chest, rushing down to his leg, and then his capillaries, and he could feel the painful flush across his body as the Sith alchemy worked it’s way into his veins.
Inside his helmet, inside his skull, he felt Palpatine’s seeking thoughts discovering him. Then he saw the Rebels in the temple and felt their triumphant hope, and the scene became so vivid that he recognized the ones on the dias from the Death Star security holos. He realized he was looking upon his son, but before his own feelings could betray him the Emperor’s blind rage filled his awareness and the scene vanished, replaced by the sudden appearance of the Executor before him.
He was brought aboard without incident or ceremony, though in a maudlin display of fawning presumptous familiarity Admiral Ozzel grasped at the Sith Lord’s arm upon greeting him in the shuttle. Vader had just come through the airlock and steaming frost was forming over his armor.
‘Forgive me, my Lord.’ Ozzel gasped, cradling his hand, which had left several layers of skin cells frozen to the cyborg. ‘We had feared the worst.’
‘It is that sort of lack of faith which led to this disaster.’ The menace in Vader’s voice straightened Ozzel’s spine. For a long moment Vader sat steaming, his exhaltions filling the shuttle cabin with dread, his inhalations sucking the oxygen from the air.
‘As soon as we are aboard, make for the fourth moon and assault the base there. Deploy squadrons to preven escape.’
‘M’lord, the Emperor commanded we bring you immediately to Coruscant.’
‘The Emperor presumed I would be incapacitated. I am not. We have the opportunity to crush the Rebellion, Admiral, and we will take it.’
‘Of course, M’lord, but you may not realize that the Executor is not actually battle ready. We were conducting tests of the hyperdrive when the Emperor commanded us here. We were ideally located, is all. The fleet is on their way…’
‘We will immediately attack the rebel base, Admiral Ozzel.’ Vader’s voice rose to a terrifying tone, ‘and we will not fail!’
The Star Dreadnoughts had been Vader’s idea. He did not understand why Sidious and Tarkin were so keen on the Death Star project; he wanted to rule the Galaxy, not obliterate it. Alderaan had been a beautiful world; it had reminded him of Naboo. Still, he stood and watched Tarkin destroy it. But now Tarkin and his planet murdering machine were dead, and Vader remained, smiling grimly beneath his masque as he strode towards the bridge of his ship. The halls were empty save for the skeleton crew that had been running the hyperdrive trials. Next to the Death Star, the ship was small, but it was a dozen times the size of the Destroyer class. In fact, it could hold a Destroyer in it’s hangar bay, which was the point. The problem with the Death Star was that it was overkill magnified on an absurd scale; the Dreadnought was overkill on an appropriate scale. There was no planetary defence it could not overcome, no fleet it could not overpower. The Empire spent the annual output of several star systems economies constructing and supplying it, but Vader would make good use of it.
By the time he reached the bridge, Executor was bearing down on the fourth moon of Yavin. The tactical officer reported that there were a number of craft lifting off from the surface. “Open fire.’ Vader commanded, not breaking stride, ‘All weapons.’
The weapons officer began squealing that there weren’t enough crew to man the guns and then abruptly stopped when his trachea was crushed shut by Vader’s mind. Then Vader stood still in the middle of the deck. The reason Imperial ships were not massively automated was because it then became too easy to sabotage entire systems; a single R2 unit could hack a destroyer’s shields or weapons in battle. This meant that enormous crews were required to carry out orders, except for when a Master of the Sith was aboard. Vader’s awareness flowed throughout the entire ship; thousands of cannons and torpedo launchers twitched awake. His body stood eerily still while his respirator gasped and his mind grasped for targets. The officers on the deck gaped, not wanting to disturb him but unwilling to act without his order. After a moment, Vader found his targets and the Executor released its fire.
It was obvious to Vader why the rebels had chosen this moon for their base of operations. Yavin was an enormous gas giant with a great many moons and asteroids orbiting it; the mass shadow it projected prevented a hyperspace jump anywhere near the moon. Yavin also had a powerful magnetic field and so much scattered mass that sensors were easily baffled. Vader understood Doodonna’s tactics and took great satisfaction in turning them around on the rebels; the Force was not obscured by debris, and the mass shadow that kept the Empire from jumping in would keep the Rebels from simply jumping out.
The bridge was lit by the flaring of the great guns; flashes erupted above the moon and Vader felt terror and death across the vacuum. It gratified him but his vengance was not nearly sated; he could not sense his true quarry. He obliterated the temples in the jungle with a swat of thought; he annihlated the jungle just to be sure. No bombardment had ever been so complete; the surface of Yavin IV had gone from green to black, the thin blue envelope of atmosphere filled with smoke and ashes. Vader now concentrated fire on the fleeing specks. The torpedo tubes and missle launchers were empty, but the thousands of plasma cannons bristling across the Executor’s hull filled the space above Yavin with blazing death
*I have the story plotted out all the way to the opening frames of Star Wars V, but I don’t have the time to write it. Unless somebody pays me to… 😉