Dragon's LibraryA Mother's Decision
by Valerie Vancollie

Note: Leia is NOT Luke's sister in this story, she is really Bail Organa's daughter. This story was also written before The Phantom Menace came out, when there were only rumors as to who Luke's mother would be and what her name would be. This story was published in the Dark Side Imperial fanzine "Imperium". (February 1999)

***

Padme silently followed the storm trooper through the halls of the Imperial Palace. She held a sleeping Luke in her arms. She had arrived on Coruscant just over an hour ago and, as expected, she had found an escort to take her to the Palace.

She'd been expecting an escort as she'd sent a message ahead to her husband saying that she was coming. She wondered how he would react when he learned that Luke was his son. Just then Luke awoke, but remained silent as he started playing with her necklace. She looked down at her nine month old baby and smiled.

He would grow up knowing both of his parents instead of neither of them as it would have been if Obi-Wan had had his way. But she had refused to let Obi-Wan take her son away from her and place him with a couple she hardly knew on one of the most backwater planets there was. Especially considering the fact that her husband had grown up there and had hated it. She had sneaked out with Luke, sent a message to her husband, and left on the first flight off planet.

Then she and the storm trooper rounded a corner and Padme saw her husband, Anakin Skywalker a.k.a. Darth Vader, standing at the end of the hall. Vader made a gesture with his hand, dismissing the storm trooper. When the storm trooper was out of hearing range Padme slowly approached her husband.

"Anakin?" she asked.

"Darth," he corrected her while eyeing the baby in her arms.

There was something about the boy's blue eyes, but he couldn't tell what.

"Your son, Luke," Padme stated, seeing her husband look at the infant in her arms.

"What?!" Vader exclaimed astonished.

Luke, surprised and frightened by the sudden loud voice, began to cry, but stopped as soon as his mother softly started rocking him back and forth.

"Shh, Luke, it's all right," she said soothingly. "It's all right, he's your father, it's all right."

Vader just looked at his wife and Luke, incredulous. His son! Immediately he invaded the boy's mind with the Force and found that what his wife had said was true. He was also amazed at the amount of Force potential Luke held, if trained properly the boy could be very powerful. When Vader looked back down at his new found son he saw that the baby was playing with his mother's necklace, a necklace he recognized as the one he had given her on their wedding day.

He stepped closer to his wife and reached out to take Luke from her arms. Padme handed over Luke and immediately noticed how gently her husband handled him. As she watched him look down at his son and lightly touch Luke's forehead with his gloved fingers she knew that she had been right and Obi-Wan had been wrong.

Obi-Wan had said that Anakin was dead and that Vader wouldn't accept Luke as his son, but what she had just seen proved to her that even though her husband went by the name of Darth Vader that Anakin Skywalker still lived underneath.

"How old is he?" Vader asked looking back to his wife.

"Nine months," Padme replied. "I learned that I was pregnant right after you left. Obi-Wan and Yoda forbade me from telling you about it. I stayed with them until they said that I wouldn't be able to raise Luke. They said that they were going to take him from me and give him to Owen and Beru Lars to raise him on Tatooine, which is when I left them and came here."

"Good," Vader replied silently cursing Obi-Wan and Yoda, but refraining from showing his anger so as not to frighten Luke or make his wife regret her decision.

If she had agreed to Kenobi's plan Luke would probably have been trained as a Jedi and have been blinded to the true power of the universe, namely the dark side. He was distracted from his thoughts as Luke reached out and took hold of one of his fingers. He looked down at his son and saw that Luke was looking up at him without showing any fear, it was almost as if he knew that Vader was his father.

Padme smiled at her son's apparent lack of fear of his father while she wondered what was going to happen next. Vader picked up on her thoughts and knew that he would have to bring young Luke before the Emperor. He gently pulled his finger free from Luke's grasp and signaled for the storm trooper to approach.

"He will take you to my castle," he explained to his wife.

Padme hesitated for a moment then nodded her head in agreement before she leaned over and kissed Luke on the forehead. Luke laughed at her and tried to get her necklace.

"No," she said softly. "Not now, later when your father brings you back."

At this she looked up at Vader and he nodded yes. The storm trooper then came up and stood next to Padme.

"Show her to my castle and leave her there," Vader ordered.

"As you wish my Lord," the storm trooper replied before leading Padme away. Padme looked back once and then turned a corner trusting Vader to take care of their son.

When Padme was gone Vader once again looked down at Luke and found that his young son was smiling up at him. He shook his head and turned around, heading for his master's throne room. As he walked through the halls of the Palace he received many curious stares, but no one dared question the Dark Lord. As he approached the elevator to the Emperor's throne room one of the red robed Royal Guards, seeing Luke, opened the elevator door.

Vader stepped into the elevator and wondered what his master's reaction to Luke would be. Then the elevator door opened and he stepped out into the throne room. He walked forward, ascended the stairs and stopped at the top, waiting, since the throne was turned away from him so that the Emperor was overlooking the wealthy part of Imperial City.

As Vader waited he shifted Luke in his arms and found that his son had gone to sleep, then he looked up as throne slowly turned around.

"Master," Vader said bowing his head slightly.

The Emperor eyed the baby in Vader's arms for a moment before he asked:

"A Jedi baby?"

"No, my master," Vader replied nervously. "He is my son."

"Your son!" the Emperor exclaimed angrily. "I didn't know you had a son!"

The Emperor's sudden outburst awoke baby Luke and he immediately began to cry. Vader looked down at his son and used the Force to calm the infant. Then he looked back up at his master:

"Neither did I until Padme told me just minutes ago," Vader explained. "She said Kenobi and Yoda wanted to take him from her and hide him on Tatooine."

"To be trained later on and pitted against us," the Emperor finished. "Why did Lady Skywalker bring him here?"

"She wanted to raise him and Kenobi wouldn't allow it."

The Emperor nodded before asking:

"What is young Skywalker's first name and how old is he now?

"Luke," Vader responded as Luke once again grabbed hold of his finger. "And he's nine months old my master."

"Nine months," Palpatine repeated as he probed Luke with the Force. "He has potential.....he could be useful when he's older and properly trained. However the training can't start until he's older," Palpatine said looking at Vader. "Where is Lady Skywalker now?"

"I had her taken to my castle," Vader replied pulling his finger free from Luke's grasp.

"Very well," Palpatine replied. "She may stay with you and raise young Skywalker. He can begin his real training when he's six."

"As you wish, my master," Vader said just as Luke laughed out loud and tried to reach the blinking lights on his breathing regulator.

Palpatine looked at the baby boy for a moment before he turned his throne around, dismissing Vader.

***

The storm trooper took Padme to a huge castle at the edge of the main part of Imperial City. On one side the castle overlooked the sea and on the other side it had an excellent view of the Imperial Palace and the city.

The storm trooper led Padme inside and left her there. She started to look around when she suddenly heard a voice behind her:

"Lady Skywalker?"

Padme turned around and found a man servant standing there.

"Yes," she replied.

"If you'll follow me I'll show you the castle and your rooms," the man said before leading the way. "By the way, my name is Marcus and if you ever need anything just call me."

"Okay," Padme replied, not used to having someone waiting on her. "Who else works here?"

"No one else, my Lady," Marcus replied turning around. "I'm the only one, inside that is, there are gardeners for the garden."

"You're the only one?" Padme asked confused.

"Yes," Marcus replied. "I am a human replica droid."

"Oh," Padme exclaimed, astonished.

Marcus, however, seemed used to her reaction for he merely continued to lead her around.

***

An hour later,

Padme stood still as she looked around her enormous bedroom. There was a massive queen sized bed, two big closets, a dresser, a table with several chairs, and a chest. She also had a big window that looked out over the sea. She had immediately noticed that there was nothing for Luke, but that was only normal considering the fact that her husband had only just learned of the existence of his son.

Padme then walked over to the first closet and opened it, not knowing what to expect. Inside she found dresses, several which were similar to what she now wore and several party gowns. She also found some long pants and a few blouses. She was just examining one of the party gowns when she heard the rhythmic sound of a mechanical breathing apparatus behind her.

She turned around and found her husband standing in the doorway, holding Luke in his arms. Vader looked at her for a moment before he entered the room.

"Do you have everything you need?" he asked gesturing around the room with his free hand.

"Yes," Padme replied. "Except what I'll need for Luke of course."

Vader just nodded at this and handed Luke back to his wife. Padme smiled as Luke laughed up at her and tried to grab her long, brown, hair.

"No you don't," she said quietly as she pulled her hair back.

And although she hadn't admitted it to herself earlier, she had been afraid that she wouldn't see her son again, so now she held him just a little tighter then usual.

"Marcus can get anything you need for Luke, and when he's older he can have the bedroom at the end of the hall," Vader stated as he looked at his wife.

Padme just nodded her head in agreement, as long as she could raise her son and be with her husband it didn't matter how the arrangements were.

***

Three years later, (Luke 3 years old)

Luke smiled as he ran down the hall to his father's chambers, holding his teddy bear in his right hand. His father had said that he would take him to see the Emperor today and, although he didn't remember it, he had been to see the Emperor twice before. The first time had been when he was a baby and the second time had been when he had been 18 months old, but both of those times he had been so small that he didn't remember them.

He knew that the Emperor was his father's master and the most powerful man in the galaxy, which was why he was both happy and scared to meet him, again. He also knew that the Emperor had talked to his mother during some of the parties she had attended.

He slowed down as he neared his father's chambers. Once at the door he knocked and went in.

"Father?" he asked as he entered the steam filled room.

"Come here Luke," Vader replied from his chair on the other side of the room.

Luke walked over to his father and crawled into his lap. Then he looked up into his father's scared and unmasked face. He knew what the Jedi had done to his father and he hated them for it, but he had grown used to seeing his father both with and without his breathing mask on.

"Luke, before I take you to the Emperor there are a few things you must know. First he will be your master, so you are to do everything he tells you, okay?" Vader asked looking down into his son's eyes.

When Luke nodded he continued:

"Second, you know I've been teaching you about the Force?"

"Yes," Luke replied remembering the things his father had taught him, like how to lift small objects without touching them and how to tell if someone was lying or not.

"Well the Emperor will teach you more later, if you are a good boy and do as he says."

"Will he show me how to make a lightsaber?" Luke asked as he carefully took his father's lightsaber from his belt and looked at it for the hundredth time.

"When you're old enough you'll be able to make one by yourself," Vader replied as he watched his son examine the weapon.

He could tell by Luke's interest in the lightsaber that he would be good with one later on. He briefly thought of Obi-Wan and Yoda, wondering where they were as he had been unable to find them. Maybe Luke would end up killing one or both of them, and maybe he would do it.

Then he reached out and touched a button on the control panel beside him, instantly his helmet and breathing mask slid down onto his head. He then picked up his son and set him down on the floor as he got up.

"Are we going now?" Luke asked as he handed his father his lightsaber back.

"Yes," Vader replied putting his lightsaber at his belt. "But you can't take your bear," he added taking the stuffed animal from his son.

"Okay," Luke replied as they left Vader's chambers and walked down the hall.

Padme met them at the bottom of the stairs and smiled at her son's happy face.

"You be a good boy and do as your father tells you, okay?" she asked as she leaned over and kissed him.

"Yes mommy," Luke replied.

"Okay," Padme said as she took the bear from her husband. "When will you be back?"

"That depends on the Emperor," Vader replied as he steered Luke towards the door.

"Okay, I'll be outside," Padme said just as Vader and Luke left.

She stood there for a moment, thinking about how Luke was growing, and then she smiled knowing she had made the right decision.

***

Luke took hold of his father's right hand as they entered the great hall. He had been here several times before with his mother, but never with his father. He immediately noticed all the stares he was receiving and was about to ask why when his father spoke:

"Later," was all he said, but Luke knew he was to keep quiet.

He just looked around as his father lead him to the elevator that lead to the Emperor's throne room. Once they neared the elevator one of the Royal Guards opened the door and Luke followed his father into it.

When the door closed Luke looked up at his father, wondering if he was allowed to speak now. Vader looked down at his son and smiled, the boy knew when to follow orders, but when you presented him with a problem and let him lose on it he would take charge of the situation.

"Those people looked at you because you were with me and because they are surprised to see me with a child."

"Why?"

"Because they are all afraid of me. You see Luke the Emperor is the most powerful man in the galaxy because he has the Force and because he can use the dark side better then anyone else. People are afraid of me because I'm also very powerful and because I also use the dark side, you'll be powerful someday when you're older and can use the dark side, and then they'll be afraid of you," Vader said as he watched Luke's eyes sparkle with this.

Then the elevator door opened and he and Luke stepped out. He could feel Luke start to become afraid as he looked around the dark room.

"Come on," Vader said placing a hand on his son's shoulder. "The Emperor doesn't like to be kept waiting."

At this Luke took his right hand and headed towards the stairs. They ascended the stairs and stopped at the top before the gaze of the galactic Emperor. Palpatine smiled when he saw Luke and motioned for him to come closer.

Luke hesitated for a second, but then he let go of his father's hand and walked up to the Emperor's throne. Palpatine looked at Luke for a moment, while simultaneously probing him with the Force. He found that Vader had started teaching Luke about the Force, but only a little.

"How old are you now, young Skywalker?" he asked already knowing the answer, but wanting Luke to tell him anyway.

"Three years," Luke said proudly. "Almost four."

"Yes," Palpatine said sarcastically. "You're becoming a big boy aren't you?"

Luke caught the change in Palpatine's voice and hesitated, looking back at his father for help, because he didn't know if he meant to reply or not. Vader, however, indicated that he was to face Palpatine.

"A smart boy too," Palpatine added when Luke turned back to him but remained silent.

Then, suddenly, he changed his approach:

"What has your father told you about the Jedi?" he asked.

"That they are bad and weak," Luke replied relieved that the Emperor had changed the topic.

"Good," Palpatine said as he smiled at Luke.

He could sense the boy's fear and awe of him, which pleased him. Vader watched silently as Palpatine questioned Luke. He knew that his master had felt that he had taught Luke a few Force related skills and wondered whether he would have Luke do them.

Instead Palpatine decided to see how fast Luke was at detecting the Force, so he used the Force to wrap the boy in a dark side blanket. After a few moments Luke blinked and then looked up at him for an explanation. Palpatine laughed out loud and momentarily caressed Luke's cheek with the back of his hand.

"That was the dark side," he explained as he let his dark side blanket dissolve. "You will learn that the dark side is very powerful, very powerful."

Luke just nodded as he wondered about what he had just felt. Palpatine then turned his attention to his waiting servant.

"Lord Vader, I've just received reports about Rebel activity near Nazland. The Rebels must not, under any circumstances, learn of my store rooms there. Therefore you will take the Imperial fleet and eliminate the Rebels in the area."

"Yes my master," Vader replied. "When do you wish for me to leave?"

Palpatine briefly looked back to Luke standing next to the throne then ordered:

"Tomorrow morning."

"As you wish," Vader stated as he bowed, he then signaled for Luke to follow him and together they left the throne room.

***

Three years later, (Luke 6 years old)

"When will father come home?" Luke asked as his mother tucked him in.

"He'll be home later tonight," Padme replied as she sat down on the bed. "So when you wake up tomorrow he'll be here."

"Promise?" Luke asked looking up at his mother.

"I promise," Padme replied smiling down at her son, knowing very well that he was stalling for time, hoping that Vader would arrive before he fell asleep. "And it's not going to work you sneaky little boy."

At this Luke just smiled sheepishly at her and yawned before he could stop himself.

"Do you have teddy?" Padme asked looking for the worn out bear.

"Here," Luke said as he pulled the bear out from under the covers.

"Good, now sleep," Padme said trying to look stern, but failing to do so.

Luke laughed, kissed her on the cheek and turned around in his bed. Padme got up and quickly left the room. She waited outside his door for a few minutes before going downstairs to watch the holo news.

***

Two hours later,

Padme had just turned off the holoplayer when she heard approaching footsteps. She turned around and smiled as her husband entered the room.

"Darth," she said. "Luke's been waiting for you to return."

"He's in bed?" Vader asked looking at his wife.

"Yes," Padme replied nodding her head. "Why?"

"I've got a Corsuca gem for him," Vader stated holding up the stone.

"Yellow?" Padme asked gently taking the gem.

"It will produce a green blade," Vader explained. "The Emperor wants to start Luke's training tomorrow afternoon."

"Okay," Padme replied as she handed the gem back to her husband. "But he won't make the lightsaber right away, will he?"

"No, he'll probably be twelve before he's ready to make one," Vader reassured his wife. "But I managed to get the gem now, he'll be able to keep it until he needs it."

"Fine," Padme replied and covered her mouth as she yawned. "I'm going to bed, good night."

Vader just nodded and watched as Padme left the room. He then looked at the gem in his hand and smiled, it was finally time to start Luke's real training. He then turned around and headed towards his son's bedroom.

Vader stood in the doorway for a moment, looking at the sleeping form of his son, before he entered the room. And found that Luke, even though untrained, already had a powerful presence in the Force.

He walked over to his son's bed and placed the Corsuca gem on the night stand where Luke was sure to see it when he woke up. He then looked back to his son and noticed the worn out bear held tightly in his boy's hands. The stuffed animal would have to go, and soon.

***

The next day,

When Luke woke up the first thing that he thought of was the fact that his father was home. He sat up in his bed and was about to get out of it when he saw the gem lying on his night stand. His eyes opened wide and he dropped his bear as he reached out and picked up the gem.

Instantly knowing what the gem was for he jumped out of his bed and ran to his father's chambers. He was so excited that he forgot to knock and just went right in.

"Father?" he asked looking around.

"Back here," Vader replied from his chair.

He could feel Luke's excitement and smiled behind his mask. He was also pleased to see that Luke didn't have his bear with him. Luke walked over to his father and crawled onto his lap.

"Can I make my own lightsaber now?" he asked hopefully.

"No," Vader replied. "But the Emperor will start your training today. He will teach you how to use the dark side and once you know enough about the Force you will be able to make your own lightsaber, not before, okay?"

Luke nodded his reply and looked back to the gem in his hand.

"Will it be a yellow blade?"

"No," Vader responded. "It will be a green blade."

"Green," Luke repeated. "When do we go to the Emperor?"

"At one o'clock."

***

Five years later, (Luke 11 years old)

Luke maneuvered his TIE Advance so that he came out on the tail of the X-wing, and then, using the Force to guide his hands, he aimed and fired. The laser fire hit the X-wing and it disappeared into a ball of flame.

"Two down, one to go," Luke said to himself.

Just then an alarm went off telling him that the remaining X-wing had a proton torpedo lock on him. He quickly threw the TIE into a spiral dive and then abruptly cut to the left making the X-wing fly straight past him. He then looped back and came up behind the X-wing, which immediately rolled right to lose him.

But Luke had been expecting this and he adjusted his speed to follow the X-wing. As soon as the X-wing came out of the roll Luke lined him up on his targeting screen and fired. The X-wing exploded and then his screen went blank.

"All too easy," Luke said as he took off his helmet, opened the hatch, and jumped out of the simulator.

"Well done," Commander Scott said as he walked over to Luke. "You're ready to move up to the next level."

Luke could clearly detect the awe in the Commander's voice, for he was passing each level and moving forward in a record amount of time.

"I'll see you here again tomorrow afternoon," Commander Scott continued.

"No," Luke replied remembering his lessons with the Emperor. "It'll have to be in two days, I can't do it tomorrow."

"Okay," Commander Scott replied wondering once again who the boy was.

He knew the boy was important, for it had been Lord Vader himself who had instructed him to leave his squadron and come here to teach, but otherwise he didn't know anything save that the boy's last name was Skywalker.

"I'll see you the day after tomorrow."

Luke just nodded and headed back home. As soon as he entered the castle he headed straight to his room and got out his almost completed lightsaber. He had started working on it three days ago and now he was almost done. He sat down on his bed and concentrated on putting the last few parts together.

***

Two hours later,

Luke checked everything one last time and then, finding nothing wrong, he got up. He took a deep breath and pushed the button, immediately a three foot emerald-green blade of pure energy appeared with a familiar snap-hiss. He examined the blade for a moment before he deactivated it.

Then he left his room and walked to his father's chambers, where he knocked and went in. Vader turned around as he entered the room.

"You've finished your lightsaber?" he asked as he saw the lightsaber hilt in his son's right hand.

"Yes father," Luke replied as he handed his newly constructed lightsaber to his father.

Vader took the lightsaber and examined it for a moment before igniting the blade, which he then examined.

"Good," he praised after a few minutes. "Very good. The Emperor will be pleased."

He then deactivated the blade and handed the lightsaber back to his son.

"Tomorrow afternoon we can start your lightsaber training."

"Okay," Luke replied before he left the room.

Vader smiled behind his mask as his son left, Luke wasn't even finished with his training and already he was more powerful then he had expected him to be.

Padme looked up as her son entered the room and immediately noticed the weapon hanging from his belt.

"You've finished your lightsaber," she said as she smiled at him.

"Yes," Luke replied nodding.

His eyes fell on the news article his mother was reading, it was about the completion of the Empire's first Super Star Destroyer, the Executor. He smiled as he thought about the amount of firepower the Executor was capable of. Padme caught his smile and misinterpreted it.

"It is a enormous ship, isn't it?" she asked.

"Yes," Luke replied knowing better then to mention what he had actually been thinking of.

He knew that his mother didn't like all the destruction that was happening, but he agreed with it. If the Rebels opposed his master and the Empire then they had to be eliminated.

"How was your flight stimulator practice today?" Padme inquired.

"Fine," Luke replied sitting down opposite of his mother. "I moved up another level."

"Good," Padme replied pleased that Luke was becoming just as good a pilot as his father.

***

The next day,

Palpatine sat back in his throne as he waited for Vader and young Skywalker. The fact that Vader was coming along probably meant that his young apprentice had finished his lightsaber. If this was so then he would have father and son fight each other, for although young Skywalker had never used a lightsaber before he had learned to use the dark side, which meant that he would be able to sense Vader's blows and have enough time to block them. And the more they practiced the better and faster he would get.

Vader and Luke arrived, coming to stand before their mutual master.

"You've finished your lightsaber."

It was more of a statement then a question, but Luke knew he was meant to reply:

"Yes my master."

"Good," Palpatine replied pleased.

Luke was proving to be both a fast and able student. The only thing Palpatine wanted was to increase the boy's anger and hate.

"Lord Vader."

Vader knew what was expected of him and so he immediately ignited his ruby-red lightsaber and stood in the classical position. Luke then ignited his emerald-green lightsaber and stood opposite his father. Vader smiled behind his mask as he decided on how to attack. His son was a lot like him and he had no doubt that the boy would be good with his lightsaber once he learned how to use it.

He then lunged forward with a set of swift blows. Luke's lightsaber flashed up and blocked the blows, but he was forced to retreat several steps. Vader then stepped back, pleased with Luke's speed.

"Good," he stated. "But hold your lightsaber more firmly."

Luke nodded and did as his father said, but he kept his eyes on Vader, ready for another attack. Palpatine noticed Luke's alertness and smiled, the boy knew that he wouldn't permit any slack, the weak died while the strong thrived. The Emperor then watched Vader and Luke fight. Luke was strong, and once Luke was trained he would be worth all the time and effort it had taken to train him.

***

Three years later, (Luke 14 years old)

Luke was sitting in his room, studying one of the reports his father had given him, when he suddenly felt it. A sudden scream through the Force followed by pain and silence as his mother's presence flickered and then vanished from the Force.

"Mother! Nooooo!" Luke exclaimed as he felt tears sting his eyes.

***

In the Imperial Palace Lord Darth Vader, who was also looking over some reports, felt the same disturbance in the Force. He sat frozen for a few moments, shocked, but the he got up and headed for the communications center, pain and anger tearing through him.

Padme was dead! He was determined to find out how his wife had died and to punish those responsible. As he made his way towards the communications center he reached out and touched his son's mind. He was immediately engulfed in Luke's grief and.....anger. It was there, boiling beneath the surface, just waiting for a reason to flood through Luke's entire being.

Vader then broke contact as he stormed into the communications center.

"What happened to the Shuttle Tyderium?"

"It...it was attacked and....and destroyed by Rebels," an officer replied wondering how Vader knew something was wrong.

But then the Emperor had also known, because he had just ordered that the holo tapes taken from a surviving TIE be sent to him.

"Are there any holo's of what happened?" Vader demanded.

"Yes my lord."

"Give them to me," Vader ordered holding out his hand.

"I'm sorry my lord, but I..." the officer began and stopped, his hand reaching up to try to try to free his throat from the invisible hand that seemed to be squeezing it.

But it was no use, and he died seconds later. Vader then turned to the second in command and demanded:

"Give me the holo tapes, now!"

"My lord, the Emperor has the tapes," the officer quickly replied.

Vader glared at him for a moment before he stormed out of the room.

***

Palpatine waited as he felt Lord Vader approach. Secretly he was pleased with Lady Skywalker's sudden death, for he knew that this was exactly what he needed in order to increase his young apprentice's anger and hate. He had known that her love and affection had kept young Skywalker from going too far into the dark side, but now, now his anger and hate would soar, and he'd want revenge against the Rebels.

Then the elevator door opened and Vader stepped into the room.

"You want to see the tapes," Palpatine stated.

"Yes my master," Vader replied.

"Very well," Palpatine said as he pushed a button on the throne arm.

Suddenly the air to the left of Palpatine's throne shimmered and then Vader saw the black backdrop of space littered with hundreds of stars. Suddenly there were several flashes as a squadron of X-wings arrived out of hyperspace in front of the TIE.

The screen changed as the TIE dropped into a defensive position. Then the view shifted swiftly as the TIE rolled, spiraled, fired.... But finally the view leveled out as the TIE leveled out, just in time for Vader to see the shuttle his wife was on. Suddenly an X-wing appeared out of nowhere, aimed, and fired with proton torpedoes.

The shuttle's already weak shields gave out and the shuttle disappeared in a cloud of flame. Vader's anger shot up at this, but lowered slightly as the TIE hit and destroyed the X-wing that had destroyed his late wife's shuttle. At this the other X-wings retreated and jumped into hyperspace. Seconds later the holo disappeared.

***

In his room Luke leaned against the wall where it met the window. He just stood there, staring into space shocked, sad, and angry. But his anger was little and, although he wanted to let his anger grow, let it grow and consume the pain he feeling, it wouldn't come. He didn't have anybody to be angry at.

He was still leaning there when Vader entered his room and walked up to stand behind him. Luke half turned his head, but he didn't turn around. He could clearly feel his father's anger and pain, but his anger was so great that Luke knew his father knew what had happened.

"How?" he asked after a moment of silence.

"A squadron of Rebel X-wings attacked and destroyed her shuttle," Vader replied.

"Rebels," Luke hissed as his anger grew.

The Rebels had killed his mother! They would pay for this! He'd destroy them all with his bare hands if he had to. And, as expected, his anger consumed his pain, and not only that, he felt more powerful, it was as if a new door had been opened and power was flooding out of it. Vader stood silently behind his son as he felt Luke's anger grow.

"The Emperor has tapes of what happened," Vader informed his son before he turned around and left the room.

Luke just remained where he was for a moment, examining his new powers, but then he too turned around and left the room. He, however, was heading for his master's throne room.

***

Two years later, (Luke 16 years old)

Four months ago Luke had completely finished his training but, as he was far too young, he couldn't take his place at father's side and as the Emperor's servant. He did, however, have security codes that gave him access to everything he'd be able to access as a Lord. With those security codes and his Force abilities he had become a Hand to his master, doing anything the Empire needed done secretly.

Which was why Luke was now on Kalak. His master had ordered him to go and retrieve some stolen top-secret plans from an Imperial-turned-pirate who had been discharged from service for releasing a Wookiee slave. His name was Han Solo and he was known as an exceptionally good pilot and marksman.

His master had told him that the plans the pirate had stolen were the blue prints of an upcoming project code-named the "Death Star." Since Solo had no connections with the Rebellion Luke guessed that he was planning on selling the plans to the highest bidder and then use the money to re-pay some bad depths he had.

Luke was disgusted by Solo's life, being a petty criminal always on the run from someone he had cheated and always winning by what he called last minute luck. But not this time, no, this time Solo had bitten off more then he could chew, namely he had stolen from the Empire. Solo had stolen from his master and Palpatine had sent him after the pirate.

As usual he was not to leave any obvious signs that the Empire had been involved. There would be rumors, especially considering the fact that there were already rumors about Solo's possession of top-secret Imperial information, but they would only be rumors without hard proof. The rumors would cause a sense of fear among the people, fear of the Empire and fear of what might happen if they too stepped out of line. Which was exactly what the Emperor wanted, a galaxy full of fear.

Luke was then distracted from his thoughts as an alien shoved into him from behind.

"Watch it!" Luke exclaimed as he turned around in his seat.

The alien looked at him for a moment and then mumbled something unintelligible before walking away, swaying on his feet, clearly drunk. Luke sighed as he turned back to his drink. He had tracked Solo this far and was now waiting in the smelliest, most dangerous and most alien cantina in town, knowing that this was exactly the kind of place Solo would show up in, even if only to brag about the speed of his ship, the Millennium Falcon. And although Luke had to admit that it was a really fast ship he had no desire to own it, for not only was it an ugly ship but it also looked like the whole thing was ready to fall apart at the slightest touch of a finger.

But Luke knew all too well that appearances could be deceiving, just like nobody in the cantina would have been able to guess that he was the son of Lord Darth Vader in line to be third in command of the Empire in just a few short years. At this thought he looked down at the clothes he was wearing, instead of the black he normally wore he now wore dark green pants, a white shirt, a brown long-sleeved jacket, and his usual black knee boots.

His lightsaber was safely hidden from view in a hidden pocket on the inside of his jacket and he also wore a blaster strapped to his leg, like almost everyone else in the cantina. And although he was an expert shot with a blaster, even without the Force, he rarely used one. He preferred to use his lightsaber, it was much more handy, you could do more with it, and you could look your opponent, or victim, right in the eye.

At that instant Luke saw Solo enter the cantina and he was followed by a tall hair-covered Wookiee. Luke noticed that the other people in the cantina gave Solo a respectable amount of room and he instantly knew that it was because of the rumors circulating about Solo's achievements. Today it was awe and tomorrow it would be fear as news of his sudden, mysterious, death circulated.

Luke smiled to himself as he downed the rest of his drink and moved to leave the cantina.

***

Two hours later,

When Solo and Chewbacca left the cantina they were completely unaware of the shadow that detached itself from the wall and silently followed them. Luke smiled as he sensed that Chewbacca was slightly drunk, which would mean that his reactions would be slower then usual. Not that it mattered, Luke would have easily been able to take care of Solo and Chewbacca even if they weren't under the influence of alcohol, but the alcohol made it that much easier.

He followed them back to the Millennium Falcon and watched as they boarded the ship. Soon after they disappeared inside the ramp closed. Luke waited in the docking bay for ten minutes before he silently approached the Falcon. When he reached the Falcon's hatch he used the code he had seen Solo use earlier and he then quietly boarded the ship.

Using the Force he put a sleep net on both Solo and Chewbacca before he started looking for the Death Star plans. He quickly found the information he needed and then he put the datachip into a compartment at his belt. Then he headed for Chewbacca's chamber. Once there he reached for the pocket with his lightsaber, hesitated, then reached for his blaster. It was after all only a Wookiee he thought to himself as he pulled his blaster free and fired once at the sleeping form.

As soon as Chewbacca died Luke felt Solo tug at the sleeping net, some instinct inside of him telling him that something was wrong. Luke smiled to himself as he re-holstered the blaster, took out his lightsaber and headed for the smugglers room. As he neared the door to Solo's quarters he released the pirate from his influence and he could feel Solo awaken instantly.

He then stepped into Solo's room, activating his lightsaber as he did so. As soon as he entered the room Han immediately dove for his blaster, his speed and agility might have surprised anyone else, but not Luke. Even as the smuggler dove for his blaster Luke used the Force to call it towards him, slicing the weapon in half with his lightsaber. Both halves of the blaster fell to the floor as Solo blinked in astonishment, sure that he was seeing things. Picking up on his thoughts Luke said:

"No, you're not dreaming."

At this Han looked up at Luke for the first time since he had entered the room. He was both surprised and scared by what he saw, surprised at the lightsaber and at the youth's apparent age, and scared by the look in the boy's ice blue eyes.

"Who are you and what do you want?" Han asked stalling for time, hoping that Chewie would wake up and take care of saberboy.

"Let's just say I'm here on behalf of the Emperor," Luke replied as a cold, humorless smile slid across his face.

Han shivered as he watched that smile. Suddenly he knew that the kid was not only speaking the truth, but that he was extremely dangerous as well; he'd have to watch his step.

"If you're looking for the plans they're not here, I hid them."

"Really?" Luke replied, the smile vanishing.

"Yes," Han responded nervously. "I could get them for you though," he added quickly eyeing the lightsaber.

He had heard of its lethal capability if handled correctly, and the two blaster parts lying at the youth's feet clearly showed that he could handle the lightsaber.

'Come on Chewie,' he thought. 'Hurry up.'

"That won't be necessary," Luke replied as he took the datachip from its compartment at his belt, holding it up for Solo to see. "And don't expect any help from the Wookiee either, he's already dead."

"What?!" Han exclaimed astonished. "No, I don't believe you."

"Believe whatever you like," Luke replied as he took a step forward. "But you stole from the Empire and now you're going to pay the price."

Han quickly looked around, desperate for anyway to escape, but saw none.

"Wait, wait," he said as Luke approached. "How much is the Empire paying you for this? I'll pay you double not to do it."

"No," Luke replied coldly, he wouldn't betray his master, besides he had no need for money, his father was one of the richest men in the galaxy.

"Come on," Han continued as he backed away. "There must be something I could get you, anything, just name it."

Instead of replying Luke lunged forward with his lightsaber and severed Solo's left hand at the wrist.

"Ahhhhhhhhh!" Han cried out as he lost his hand.

He then quickly put it under his right armpit, trying unsuccessfully to stop the pain.

"No," Luke stated coldly as he watched Han. "You crossed the Empire and therefore you will die."

At this Han looked up and saw the cold, determined look in the boy's eyes. There was a moment of silence with the soft hum of the lightsaber as the only sound in the room. During the silence Han could smell the terrible odor of his own charred flesh.

Then, suddenly, Luke's lightsaber flashed forward again, only this time it claimed Solo's life. Luke then stepped back and looked at the body of the smuggler for a moment before he turned around and left the ship, his mission complete.

***

Two days later,

As Luke, now dressed in his normal black clothes, approached the elevator to his master's throne room he saw the regular crowd of politicians waiting before it, each hoping to get an audience with the galactic ruler. He wondered why they even bothered as the Emperor rarely had time to listen to them, but despite this fact they still waited outside the throne room, hoping.

As he neared the crowd he could see that one of his master's aides was talking to them:

"You can't see his highness now," the aide was saying. "He is busy with important matters and no one is allowed in now. No one but you, Sir," he added hastily as he saw Luke approaching him.

The politicians quickly turned around to see who was suddenly allowed to go ahead of them and see the galactic ruler they had been waiting for days to see. When they saw that it was Luke they wondered, not for the first time, who the boy was and how he had gained the Emperor's and Lord Vader's favor.

Luke just nodded to the aide, completely ignoring the politicians, before he stepped into the elevator. As the elevator ascended he could sense that there were several other people in the throne room besides his master and the Royal Guards. Then the elevator door opened and Luke stepped out.

As he approached the throne he recognized two of the four people as the two scientists who had designed the Death Star and the two other as the leaders of the Death Star project.

"....and we were going to duplicate the blue prints the next day, but then they were stolen," one of the two scientists was explaining.

And from the way he was toying with his hands Luke could clearly tell that he feared for his life. This brought a smile to his face as he stopped slightly to the right of the scientists, who were so nervous that they hadn't even noticed him yet.

The Emperor however had felt Luke's approach since before he had even entered the elevator and now he looked at his young servant expectantly. Luke immediately stepped forward as he took the datachip from its compartment at his belt, and handed it to his master. Palpatine smiled as Luke handed him the datachip.

"Good," he said before he turned his attention back to the four people standing before him. "You are to duplicate the blue prints immediately," he ordered. "And if anything goes wrong this time you won't live to regret it."

At this he made an ever so slight gesture with his hand towards Luke who was now standing at his left. The scientists quickly nodded before the highest ranking project leader stepped forward and took the datachip from the Emperor.

"There will be no more failures, your highness," he said before he bowed and left the room with the others.

There was a moment of silence before Palpatine turned his attention back to Luke.

"You've taken care of Solo and the Wookiee?" he demanded.

"Yes my master," Luke replied obediently.

"Good," Palpatine replied as he studied his young servant. "I trust it went efficiently and without incident?"

"Yes my master."

"Very good," Palpatine replied most pleased.

Although he had known that having a second Force sensitive servant would be useful he had gotten more then he had expected. Luke had been a fast student and he had proven to be an expert pilot and a master when handling a lightsaber. He had definitely been worth the time and effort it had taken to train him.

***

Two years later, (Luke 18 years old)

Luke was walking through the halls of the Imperial Palace when he rounded a corner and collided with the newly appointed Senator of Alderaan, Princes Leia Organa.

"Watch it!" Leia exclaimed as her datapads fell to the floor.

As she glared at him Luke could clearly sense that she expected him to pick up her datapads.

"Why don't you watch where you're going?" Luke snapped having no intention of helping the stuck up Princess.

Leia was about to reply when her father appeared next to at her side.

"Sorry," he apologized to Luke. "She wasn't paying attention."

Leia was about to protest when her father motioned for her to keep quiet. Luke glanced at the Viceroy, then at his daughter, before he walked on past them.

"Why did you do that?" Leia asked looking after Luke as her father reached down and picked up the fallen datapads. "He ran into me."

"That might very well be," Bail replied handing the datapads back to his daughter. "But he has close connections with Lord Vader and Emperor Palpatine, so you don't want him mad at you. Besides I don't like him, I'm not sure why, but there's something about him. I think he could well be quite lethal."

"Why?" Leia asked as she started walking.

"Well first of all there's his age, he can't be older then twenty," Bail began. "And he's been with the Empire for a while. I've tried to get an ID and background on him, but very little is known for sure. We know that his name is Luke Skywalker, but that's all we're sure about. Some people say he's been with the Empire for four years, some say six years and some say two years."

"Six years," Leia repeated. "If that's true and if he is twenty that would mean he was fourteen when he joined the Empire."

Bail nodded his head.

"Which is why I believe him to be dangerous, for if he didn't have something special about him, then why would Palpatine and Vader bother with him for so long?"

"Yes," Leia agreed. "And that weapon he had....a lightsaber. He had a lightsaber, just like Vader."

"Right," Bail replied. "I'll see what our Intelligence can gather about him."

***

Luke smiled to himself as he approached the elevator to his master's throne room. He had been aware of the Viceroy's previous, futile, attempts to learn more about him, but he knew that he wouldn't learn anything important. No, only three people knew the truth about his heritage and those three people were him, his father and his master.

But as he stepped into the elevator he realized that he was wrong, there were two other people who knew the truth, namely Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. His anger rose at the thought of what the two Jedi had planned to do with him. The day he had learned from his father that they would have trained him as a Jedi was the day he had sworn to himself that he would either kill them or live to know of their deaths.

Then the elevator stopped and he stepped out of it and into his master's throne room. He walked forward, up the stairs and knelt before the throne as it was turned away from him. Looking out of the window and onto the buildings that were the capitol of his Empire Emperor Palpatine felt Luke's presence. After a few moments he turned the throne around to face his young servant.

"What is thy bidding my master?" Luke asked.

"You will go to Mos Eisley, Tatooine, and there you will meet with a pirate who claims to have valuable information about the Alliance."

Luke tensed slightly as he heard his orders, this wasn't the kind of thing for him, any idiot with a ship could go and retrieve the information. But Luke knew better then to complain, there was no telling what his master would do if he did. And although Luke remained silent Palpatine sensed his resentment about the mission.

"Is there something wrong with that young Skywalker?" Palpatine demanded putting a special emphasis on the word 'young.'

Luke hesitated slightly but then, knowing he couldn't lie to his master, he replied:

"Couldn't someone else do this?"

"No," Palpatine stated flatly his yellow eyes drilling into the kneeling form of the boy in front of him. "This source has proven to be very valuable in the past, besides what he has pertains to the Death Star project. And as you know the project is only half complete and I don't want the Rebellion finding out the location of the construction site. So you will go to Tatooine, find out what the pirate knows, and then you are to return immediately."

"As you wish my master," Luke replied all too well aware that he had displeased his master.

Palpatine regarded Luke for another moment before turning his throne around, dismissing Luke.

***

Two hours later,

Wearing his smugglers disguise and sitting in the pilot's seat of a small but fast cargo ship Luke punched in the coordinates for the desert planet of Tatooine. It was the planet where his father had been born and raised, and although he had never been there himself, he knew exactly what to expect, namely nothing. Tatooine was known as the armpit of the galaxy as it was the planet of the infamous Mos Eisley cantina and the throne of one of the biggest crime lords in the galaxy, Jabba the Hutt.

Luke was just moving his ship, the Iron Fist, into position to jump into hyperspace when he felt a familiar disturbance in the Force just before the Executor jumped out of hyperspace several kilometers to his left.

'Father,' Luke sent.

'Luke,' came the reply as he adjusted the angle of his ship.

Luke then leaned forward and pulled the hyperspace levers, instantly the Iron Fist leapt forward into hyperspace.

***

Standing on the command bridge of the Executor Lord Darth Vader looked out of the viewport towards the direction of his son's Force presence. He watched with disappointment as his son's ship jumped into hyperspace. He had been hoping to challenge Luke to a lightsaber duel, it had been a while since he had last tested his son and he knew that although the boy was fully trained he was still growing stronger and stronger in the dark side.

***

Three days later,

Luke strode into the infamous cantina of Mos Eisley about fifteen minutes before his agreed meeting time with the pirate. He looked around and then went to sit down at an empty table from where he had a clear view of the entrance. After a few minutes a barley dressed female Twi'lek came up to his table.

"What do you want?" she asked in heavily accented Basic while giving him a once over.

"Corillian Ale," Luke replied.

"Very well," the Twi'lek said as she left to get his order.

As Luke looked around he realized why they called this the armpit of the galaxy, it was overrun with aliens. There were aliens from every corner of the galaxy. He took a credit from his pocket as the Twi'lek returned with his drink. He flipped the credit at her as she set the drink on the table in front of him. She caught the credit but, instead of leaving, she reached out and placed a hand on his lower arm.

"Do you want some company?" she asked as she sat down next to him.

Luke turned his attention from the entrance to the alien girl sitting next to him.

"No," he replied disgusted before he turned his attention back to the cantina entrance.

"Are you sure?" the Twi'lek pressed as she put a hand on his upper arm and traced a muscle with her finger nail.

Irritated Luke shook her hand from his arm.

"Yes," he replied coldly, his eyes flashing with anger.

The Twi'lek pulled her arm back in surprise and looked at him, not used to being turned down. She then opened her mouth to try again, but Luke cut her off.

"I'm quite sure that I don't want to sit with any alien," he stated putting a heavy emphasis on the word 'alien.'

Angrily the Twi'lek got to her feet and walked away to find someone else.

"My, my. I wonder what the Emperor would say if he knew you were seeing non-human females while on duty?"

Luke immediately turned his head to face the new speaker, his eyes narrowing in anger. The pirate noticed his anger and smiled as he took a seat opposite of Luke.

"What do you expect? Somebody your age doesn't just walk into a cantina like this without attracting some girl's attention. I'm surprised the Emperor has someone your age working for him," he said still smiling.

"Let's just say he has his reasons and leave it at that," Luke replied warningly.

At the tone of Luke's voice the pirate's smile faded and he studied Luke closely. As soon as he noticed the dangerous gleam in his eyes he realized that, although young, Luke was trained and definitely not to be messed with.

"Okay," he replied nodding his head.

"Good," Luke replied. "What information do you have?"

"Where's the money?" the pirate asked.

In reply Luke just raised his right eyebrow and the pirate knew that he wasn't going to be able to pull a fast one.

"Okay," he replied reluctantly. "The Rebels have learned that the Empire is working on a top-secret project code-named the Death Star. Ever since they first heard of it they have been trying to gain more information about it. At the moment they know that it has great destructive capability and that it will be huge, they're guessing about the size of a small moon," at this the pirate studied Luke's face closely, looking for any sign of dismay or any other emotion that would tell him something about the accuracy of the information he had just stated.

But Luke's face betrayed none of his inner emotions, it could have been carved out of stone for all the pirate could tell.

"Do you have any proof that the Rebels actually think this?" Luke demanded.

'Damn he's good,' the pirate thought to himself referring to that fact that Luke had said 'think' instead of 'know.' This way he could only guess if the information he had was true or not.

"Yes," he replied out loud as he reached into a compartment at his belt. "I managed to record a conversation between two Rebels."

"How?" Luke asked as he watched the pirate put a datachip into the player that was installed into the middle of the table.

Now it was the pirate's turn to give Luke a look.

"Well?" Luke demanded ignoring the expression on the pirate's face.

"That's my secret," the pirate replied.

Luke hesitated but then let it slid, he had probably recorded the information by chance. Then he focused his attention to the audio-only recording the pirate had.

"...hear?" the voice of a female Rebel said.

"No, what?" an accented male voice replied.

"It seems the rumors about the Empire building a new weapon are true," the female said as her voice got louder.

Luke silently reached out and turned the volume down, not wanting anyone else to hear.

"Really?" the male voice asked. "What do we know about it?"

"It's code-named the Death Star and it seems to have huge destructive capability," the female informed her companion.

"Great," the male stated. "Just what we need, another Imperial weapon of destruction. First the Executor and now this Death Star, what next?"

"Hopefully nothing," the female replied. "It's said that the Death Star is huge, about the size of a small moon."

"What?!" the male's voice exclaimed astonished. "The size of a moon?!"

"Yeah," the female replied. "We just heard it from....."

"Kowalski, Judikste," a new voice interrupted. "Come and help me here."

"Coming," the female voice replied before there was the sound of chairs being pushed back and footsteps.

There was a second of silence before the recording stopped.

"Two thousand for the information and another two thousand for the recording," the pirate stated.

Luke just smiled at him as he turned his right hand over so that the pirate could see the small recording device he held.

"You get two thousand, no more," he replied.

"Why you!" the pirate exclaimed as he reached for the recording device.

Luke instantly pulled his hand away and took the datachip out of the recording device before putting it into a compartment at his belt. The pirate glared at him from across the table while Luke ignored him and took a small pouch of credits from his pocket. Without even bothering to count the credits Luke tossed the pouch to the pirate.

"Two thousand," he stated as he watched the pirate's startled expression.

"How'd you know I'd settle for this?" the pirate asked suspiciously.

"How'd you get the recording?" Luke countered as he rose to his feet.

He then used the Force to crush the original datachip which was still in the table player. This way he had the only copy and although the pirate would have his suspicions it would look like the datachip had been destroyed by accident. Luke then quickly made his way to the entrance of the cantina and left before the pirate even tried to get his datachip out of the player.

Luke was just heading back towards the spaceport when he felt a disturbance in the Force. His hand automatically went for where his lightsaber normally was, but he froze when he realized what had created the disturbance, another Force user! Kenobi, it had to be. Neither his father nor the Emperor were on Tatooine, besides he's recognize it if it was one of them, and the it couldn't be Yoda for it was a human presence.

A blinding rage swept through Luke as he thought of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Finally, after all those years, he would pay. Luke immediately turned around and headed for the landspeeder rentals. From what he could tell the Force presence was coming from the south, from the Dune Sea area.

He stopped as he realized that this side trip would cost him at least two days, and his master had specifically ordered him to return as soon as he had finished his mission. He hesitated for a moment before he decided that Kenobi's possible death was worth the Emperor's possible anger. Besides he was certain that if he faced the Jedi in a lightsaber duel he would win.

***

The next day,

Sitting in his home Obi-Wan Kenobi felt Luke approach. He sighed heavily as he leaned back in his seat. He had felt the boy's presence from the moment Luke had sensed him, but he had been unable to leave the planet as the closest spaceport was Mos Eisley and that was were Luke was.

There had been nothing for him to do but wait, wait and think. Think about his two greatest failures ever, namely his failure to train Anakin properly and his failure to keep Luke, an innocent baby, safe from the evil ambitions of his father and the Emperor.

He shook his head at he thought, Yoda had often told him that it hadn't been his fault, that it had been Padme who had taken Luke away. But still the guilt wouldn't go away, all Padme had wanted was to raise her son and to have him know his father, the way normal people did.

Reluctantly he got up and headed outside just as Luke's rented landspeeder pulled to a stop not far from his home. As soon as Luke got out of the speeder Obi-Wan saw from his clothes that the boy hadn't come looking for him, but that he had simply been on Tatooine for some other reason. For he was wearing the clothes of a space pirate and he also had a blaster strapped to his right leg.

But it wasn't the blaster that worried Obi-Wan, no, it was the metal cylinder-like object the boy held loosely in his right hand, namely his lightsaber. They stood there for a moment, eyeing each other. As he studied Luke, Obi-Wan noticed how the boy physically resembled his father. He also noticed the boy's growing anger and hate.

"Obi-Wan," Luke stated flatly after the silence.

"Luke," Obi-Wan replied just as Luke activated his lightsaber.

The emerald-green color of the lightsaber brought a memory flashing back to Obi-Wan. On the day, years ago, when it had been time for Anakin Skywalker to choose the color lightsaber he wanted he had debated between emerald-green and light-blue. Eventually he had picked the light-blue, because it was Padme's favorite color, but it had been a hard choice.

Obi-Wan snapped out of his thoughts as Luke approached him. Reluctantly he reached down and took his own lightsaber from his belt and activated it. He did not, however, raise it, but just held it loosely in his hands.

"Is this where you'd have raised me?" Luke asked angrily as he stopped a few feet away from the Jedi.

"Yes," Obi-Wan replied truthfully.

Luke's eyes narrowed with anger and hate at this, on his way over here he had driven through kilometers and kilometers of wasteland, and this man, if he had had his way, would have raised him here! As his anger grew he concentrated it, exactly the way he had been taught to. Dismayed Obi-Wan stood by, helpless as Luke's anger grew and flourished.

"How's your mother?" Obi-Wan couldn't help but ask.

For a second he saw an emotion flash across the boy's face, but it was so fast he couldn't catch what it was.

"Mother," Luke replied angrily. "Is dead."

"What?!" Obi-Wan exclaimed astonished.

"Four years ago," Luke stated. "She was killed by the Rebels."

Obi-Wan closed his eyes in sorrow as he heard this, he had always liked Padme, she had been kind and gentle, and now to learn that she had been dead for four years...

His eyes flashed open and he raised his lightsaber as he felt Luke's attack coming. But Luke had had a slight advantage and even though Obi-Wan blocked his blow he managed to force the Jedi back. He then delivered a few fast blows to test Obi-Wan's reactions before he stepped back.

Obi-Wan was both amazed and surprised with Luke's speed and skill, all his blows had been fast and well placed. Anyone of them, had they gotten through, would have disabled or killed him. As soon as Luke stepped back he also realized that Luke was only testing him, just the way he had taught Anakin to do.

He knew that if he didn't do something and fast Luke was going to kill him. But he also knew that whatever he did he wouldn't be able to bring himself to kill Luke, no matter how dark he was. For he knew that if he did kill Luke he would never get over the guilt, for it was his fault that Luke was as dark as he was, for he had failed with Anakin Skywalker. You are what you are raised to be.

At that moment Luke attacked again, only this time his attack was much more aggressive as Luke unleashed his anger and hate upon the man he hated above all others in the galaxy, the man who had tried to ruin him.

Obi-Wan quickly found that there was no need for a plan, Luke's attack was too well coordinated and he had too much skill for Obi-Wan to do anything other then defend himself and to occasionally try, unsuccessfully, to gain the upper hand in the battle.

Luke quickly forced Obi-Wan back and as the battle continued his anger mounted. Not only had this man tried to take him from both of his parents and place him on some no-good backwater planet, but he was also the one responsible for his father's injuries.

Finally Luke saw the opportunity he had been waiting for, Obi-Wan made a small mistake, but it was all Luke needed to rip Obi-Wan's lightsaber from his hands and send it flying over the edge of the canyon next to Obi-Wan's home. Obi-Wan stepped back in surprise as he rubbed his right wrist, that was a trick he had invented and taught Anakin.

A cold, humorless smile appeared on Luke's face as he stepped forward and brought his lightsaber under Obi-Wan's chin.

"Now you pay for what you've done and tried to do," he stated with evil pleasure.

Knowing that he was going to die Obi-Wan decided that he couldn't make the situation any worse by speaking that truth.

"I'm sorry," he said looking straight into Luke's ice blue eyes. "I'm sorry I failed both you and your father."

In the few seconds between when he spoke those words and Luke's reaction to them Obi-Wan suddenly recognized the look in the boy's eyes. It was the same look Anakin had given him at the beginning of the fight that had ended with his friend's accident.

Luke then, enraged at the Jedi's words, pulled back his lightsaber and brought it down on Obi-Wan. Instantly the Jedi disappeared into the Force as he died, his brown, smoking robes fell to the desert sand.

Luke lowered his lightsaber as he looked at the rags with satisfaction.

***

Sitting in his chambers in his castle Darth Vader felt a slight disturbance in the Force. He instantly grabbed for it, but it was so faint that it slipped straight through his grip. He just sat where he was for a moment, wondering about what had caused the disturbance, but after a few seconds he just shrugged and got up. If it was important it would come back to him later, and if not... well he'd just never feel it again.

***

Luke quickly made his way down the sandy slope to the bottom of the canyon. Once at the bottom he started looking around for Obi-Wan's lightsaber. Not only would it complete his victory if he actually got his hands on his opponents lightsaber, but he also knew his master collected the lightsabers of the defeated Jedi.

As he scanned the canyon floor he saw the glint of sunlight off metal to his right. He quickly headed to the spot and found the lightsaber lying next to a rock. He picked it up and made his way back up the sandy slope. Once at the top he stopped to examine the lightsaber, it had the usual knobs and buttons, but unlike the other Jedi lightsabers he had seen from his master's collection this one didn't have any personal touch to it.

He had noticed that each of the other Jedi lightsaber had had some kind of personal decoration to it. Whether it was a thin piece of a special metal from their home planet or some kind of stone worked into the hilt but, for whatever reason, this one didn't seem to have any.

He just shrugged his shoulders and put the lightsaber with his own in the extra pocket of his jacket. It was then that he noticed that the first of the twin suns had already set and that in just a few more minutes the second one would sink below the horizon as well. He quickly decided to stay in Obi-Wan's home for the night, not knowing the area well enough to travel in the dark.

He went to the speeder, got out the extra food he had brought and then he entered the dead Jedi's home. He had a quick meal and was about to go to sleep when his eyes feel on a small trunk in the corner of the room. For some strange reason he felt drawn to the trunk.

Trusting the Force Luke went over to the trunk and opened it.

After a few seconds of digging around he found another lightsaber only this lightsaber looked suspiciously like the one he had. Upon closer examination Luke realized that the craftsmanship was an exact match to that of his father's lightsaber, and he knew that this was the lightsaber his father had lost the day Obi-Wan had pushed him into the lava. So, Kenobi had saved the weapon while letting his father burn!

***

Three days later,

The moment Luke came down the ramp of the Iron Fist a messenger stepped forward.

"The Emperor demands your presence right away," the messenger stated.

Luke just nodded his head as he walked past the messenger and into the Imperial Palace. He had been expecting that order since his master had ordered him to return immediately and instead he had returned two days late. But he wasn't in the least worried as he walked towards his master's throne room. It wasn't that he liked the Emperor's punishments, no he had received his master's Force lightening twice and that was enough for a lifetime. But rather it was that he knew what he had done would please his master.

As he stepped into the elevator he could feel that his father was also in the throne room. When the elevator doors opened Luke stepped out into the throne room and ascended the stairs.

Standing at his normal place to the Emperor's right Vader watched as his son approached. He felt the same way he had when he had last arrived in orbit around Coruscant, disappointed. Only this time he was disappointed in his son, Luke had obviously failed to complete a simple mission on time, which was unacceptable.

He stood still as he watched his son reach the top of the stairs and kneel before the throne as it was turned away from him. As soon as Luke was kneeling Palpatine turned the throne around to face the boy.

"You disobeyed my orders," he stated icily.

"Yes my master," Luke replied. "But I hope I have not failed you."

There was a short silence before Palpatine spoke:

"Well?" he ordered.

"While I was on Tatooine I felt Obi-Wan's presence," Luke explained as he reached into the jacket he still wore and pulled out Obi-Wan's lightsaber.

"What?!" the Emperor demanded as he took the lightsaber from his servant.

"He'd been hiding in a house at the edge of the Dune Sea," Luke replied.

Vader looked from his son to the lightsaber held in his master's hand then back to his kneeling son. So that had been what he had felt four days ago; Obi-Wan's death.

"He is dead?" the Emperor asked needlessly as he put the lightsaber on the throne arm.

"Yes my master. I also found this lightsaber in his home," Luke explained as he pulled his father's former weapon from his pocket.

"Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber," Palpatine stated as he took the weapon from Luke's hand.

Vader watched in astonishment as his master regarded the lightsaber, he had been sure that his old lightsaber had fallen into the lava when he had. Apparently he had been wrong, Kenobi had found and kept it. Probably to give it to Luke someday if Padme hadn't brought his son to him.

"Rise young Skywalker, rise," Palpatine ordered as he placed the second lightsaber next to the first, quite pleased with the sudden turn of events. "What did the pirate know?"

"Not a lot," Luke replied. "Only that the Alliance knows of the Death Star's existence, its relative size and that it has great destructive capability, but they don't know how much."

Palpatine nodded at this and watched as Luke took a datachip from a compartment at his belt.

"This is a copy of the conversation he had recorded," Luke explained handing the datachip to his master.

"Good," Palpatine replied. "Now go, and you too Lord Vader."

Luke and Vader both gave a small bow before they turned around and left the room together.

***

One year later, (Luke 19 years old)

Sitting in her normal place in the Senate chamber Senator-Princess Leia Organa looked around nervously. The Alliance Intelligence had been unable to find out any more information about Luke Skywalker, it was as if nobody knew who he was, when he had arrived, or why he was so important.

But that wasn't the only reason Leia was so nervous, no it had become known that the Emperor would make an appearance at the end of the Senate meeting. This was something which almost never happened, not to mention the fact that he was supposedly going to make a change in the power structure.

"What could the Emperor be up to?" Leia whispered to her father.

"I don't know Leia," Bail Organa replied. "I honestly don't know."

Her father sounded tried, not that it surprised her, she was tried too. Over the last year the Alliance had been searching for information about both Luke Skywalker and the Death Star. Both searches had proven to be fruitless. Not only that but the Empire seemed to be constantly growing stronger.

And now this, another important and powerful figure in the Empire was the last thing the Alliance needed.

***

Half an hour later,

The last Senator had just finished his announcements when the doors opened and six red robed Royal Guards walked into the chamber. A hush fell over the Senate chamber as Emperor Palpatine walked into the room followed closely by Lord Darth Vader. Palpatine made his way to the center of the stage and stopped.

As Leia watched the Emperor she wondered, not for the first time, how a man who looked so old and frail could be so powerful and evil. She was so busy studying the Emperor that at first she didn't notice the third figure that had entered the chamber behind the Emperor and his second.

She squinted to get a look at the person's face and gasped when she recognized it, it was Skywalker. But that wasn't the only reason she gasped, it was more the clothes he was wearing, he was wearing the clothes of an Imperial Lord! Her surprise turned to horror as she realized what was about to happen.

"Oh no!" Bail complained softly as he too noticed Luke. "Not another Lord, one Vader is enough."

Leia was about to reply when the Emperor spoke:

"I have come here today to appoint another man to the status of Imperial Lord."

There was a soft murmur of astonishment among the Senators at those words. And by now some of the other Senators had also noticed Luke and they were studying him carefully. Luke was well aware of the stares he was receiving, but chose to ignore them. He didn't care for the Senators, but he knew a public promotion to his position was the fastest way to ensure that he was recognized and obeyed, so he patiently waited for the ceremony to end.

At this point Palpatine turned to Luke and signaled for him to come closer. Luke walked up to the Emperor and knelt before him, his cape spilling around him in a black puddle.

"I now proclaim Luke Skywalker, son of Darth Vader, an Imperial Lord and third in command of the Empire," Palpatine stated using the Force to project his words throughout the chamber.

There was a stunned silence as the Emperor revealed Luke's heritage. Leia gasped as she looked at her father.

"So that's why we didn't find anything," she whispered.

"Yes," Bail replied. "It also explains why everyone had different opinions about how long he's been with the Empire. He was probably raised by Vader."

Leia shivered at the thought, Vader had raised a child? After the shock faded all the Senators started whispering to each other as they looked at Luke who was now standing to the Emperor's left.

As soon as he exited the Senate chamber Emperor Palpatine headed back towards his throne room, Luke and Vader on either side of him.

"Lord Skywalker you will now join your father on board the Executor and help destroy the Rebellion," Palpatine ordered while he got into the elevator.

"As you wish my master," Luke replied giving a short bow just before the elevator door closed.

After that father and son walked back to their castle. On the way Vader studied his silent son.

***

Six months later,

Luke was standing next to his father on the bridge of the Executor when he suddenly felt a disturbance in the Force. Luke froze as he instantly recognized it as a stronger version of what he had felt when he had killed Obi-Wan Kenobi a little over eighteen months ago.

Luke turned to look at his father and Vader nodded to him.

"Yoda is dead," Vader stated triumphantly. "The Jedi are gone."

A slow smile spread across Luke's face as he thought about this. The job his father had started over nineteen years ago was done, the Jedi were extinct, they had won. Now there was no one left to stop them, sure the Rebels thought that they could, but they were wrong. The Rebellion was just a thorn in the Empire's side, and like a thorn it could be removed with a little effort.

"Now it's the Rebellion's turn," Vader continued, looking at his son.

Luke just nodded as he thought of the progress they had already made in destroying the Rebellion, they had discovered and destroyed two big Rebel bases and his master had recently ordered the construction of another Super Star Destroyer. This one would be his. The only problem would be coming up with a good name for it, but then he still had five and a half months to think about it.

***

Six months later, (Luke 20 years old)

Standing on the bridge of his newly constructed flagship Lord Luke Skywalker stood lost in thought. Four years ago he had tracked down and killed Han Solo in order to retrieve the stolen Death Star plans, and now, four years later, he was doing it again. Only this time it had been Senator Organa who had stolen the plans, but once again he had been sent to retrieve them and although he wasn't using the same ship to catch Organa his present ship had the same name as the one he'd tracked down Solo in, namely Iron Fist.

Once he had the plans he was to interrogate the Princess in order to learn the location of the last hidden Rebel base. He smiled to himself as he thought of how fast the Alliance was shrinking. In just the last year they had found and destroyed several of their main bases, not to mention the successful captures of Rebel leaders Admiral Ackbar, General Madine and General Dodonna. And pretty soon he'd be able to add Princess Organa to that list, for although her involvement with the Alliance had been unknown until recently Luke was sure that she must be a key figure.

Luke's smile grew as he thought about Organa's interrogation. Since the day he had bumped into her in the halls of the Imperial Palace nearly a year ago he had disliked her, and she him. They had met several times since then, but it had always been in a crowded room so she had been forced to hide her dislike for him.

Thinking about this Luke wondered how she would react now that she no longer needed to conceal her true loyalties. It would definitely be an interesting show.

"My Lord," the Admiral of the Iron Fist said as he stopped behind Luke.

Luke slowly turned to face the Admiral, but he remained silent.

"My Lord we have just entered the Tatooine system and radar shows the Rebel corvette is nearing the only inhabitable planet."

"Fire our turbolasers at the ship," Luke ordered. "But don't destroy it, I want former Senator Organa taken alive."

"As you wish my Lord," the Admiral replied as he hurried to carry out Luke's orders.

For a moment Luke remembered how nervous all the officers had been when he had first become a Lord and taken control of whatever ship he was on unless when his father had been present. But they had quickly learned that despite his age he was to be obeyed or else they'd pay the price with their life.

He was then distracted from his thoughts as his eyes fell on the bright planet of Tatooine. Tatooine, the planet where Kenobi had hidden for so many years before he had found and killed the Jedi. Kenobi....could there be a connection here? Now that he thought about it it did seem like too big of a coincidence for Princess Organa to be heading for the same planet where one of the last Jedi had hidden for years. Especially considering the fact that Alderaan had always been known, for as long as anyone could remember, to support the Jedi and the light side.

***

On board the Rebel corvette Leia was in her quarters when she was suddenly knocked off her feet as the entire ship shuddered. She immediately got to her feet and made her way to the control center of the corvette.

"What's going on?" she demanded as the ship once again shook.

"We're under direct fire from the Iron Fist's turbolasers," the captain explained.

"Can we get away?" Leia asked knowing that if they were captured things would go from really bad to critical for the Alliance.

For if they didn't get the Death Star plans they wouldn't know how to defend themselves against it.

"We could try to..." the captain began but was interrupted by sirens as the ship was once again hit by laser fire from the Iron Fist.

"We could what?" Leia asked.

"Nothing," the captain replied as Leia noticed the fear appear in his eyes. "Those alarms go off only when there is engine damage. We're basically sitting ducks right now."

Leia closed her eyes at this, trying to remain calm. Then the ship shuddered again, only this time it wasn't from laser fire, but from a tractor beam as it caught hold of and pulled in the corvette.

***

As soon as the tractor beam locked onto Organa's ship Luke turned around, with a swirl of his cape, and headed for the docking bay.

As he entered the docking bay the storm troopers standing beside the hole in the corvette's hull snapped to attention. Ignoring them Luke stepped forward and entered the corvette. He couldn't hear any blaster fire which meant that the storm troopers had already secured the ship.

He quickly headed in the direction of Organa's Force presence, staying alert for any rogue Rebels. Then he rounded a corner and stopped as he saw four storm troopers brining Organa towards him.

"Lord Skywalker," she hissed angrily. "The Imperial Senate will not stand for this! When they heat you've attacked a diplomatic miss...."

"Don't act so surprised Your Highness," Luke interrupted just as the Commander appeared next to him. "The Imperial Senate no longer exists."

Leia's surprise showed clearly on her face. Luke gave her a cold smile as he continued:

"It was disbanded shortly after you took off with the Death Star plans which you intended to deliver to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine," he stopped for a moment, watching with pleasure as the color drained from her face at the mention of Obi-Wan's name. "What you also don't know is that I took care of Kenobi over two years ago."

At this Luke could feel the surprise radiating from everyone and not just Organa. When Leia didn't reply Luke turned his attention to her guards.

"Take her away," he ordered before turning to the Commander waiting next to him. "Have your men found the Death Star plans?"

"Yes my Lord," the Commander replied handing a datachip to Luke.

"Good, search the ship and make sure there are no more Rebels hidden on board and then lock it up," Luke ordered.

"As you wish my Lord."

***

Sitting in her cell Leia wondered about what she had just learned. Normally she wouldn't believe Skywalker, but considering the fact that he knew about Obi-Wan's presence on Tatooine meant that something had happened. It could still be that Obi-Wan had gotten away and that Skywalker didn't want to admit his failure but, if that was so, then why hadn't Kenobi contacted her father? Besides in the year since he had become a Lord, Skywalker hadn't really failed at anything.

Then the door opened and Luke stepped into the room. He was closely followed by a storm trooper and an interrogation droid.

"And now Your Highness we shall discuss the location of your hidden Rebel base," Luke stated as the droid moved closer to Leia. Leia's eyes opened wide as she looked at the droid.

"Never!" she said defiantly, but her fear was crystal clear to Luke through the Force.

He smiled and said:

"Very well, we'll force the information from you."

He then stepped back and watched silently as the interrogation droid started its job, it would be quite a show, one he looked forward to.

***

Several hours later,

"What is thy bidding my master?" Luke asked as he knelt in the middle of the projecting circle.

"Have you captured Organa?" the enlarged image of Palpatine demanded.

"Yes," Luke replied. "Several hours ago."

"Have you gotten the location of the Rebel base from her?"

"No my master," Luke replied thinking of the Princess's refusal to give in. "I had all the methods available used on her and still she didn't break."

Palpatine thought of this for a moment and Luke shifted uncomfortable beneath his master's gaze.

"Very well," Palpatine finally said. "Take her to the Death Star and we'll see if she'll break under a different form of pressure."

"Master?" Luke asked.

"The Death Star's destructive capability must be proven for it to be an effective weapon, and whatever planet the Rebels are based on will be too small and insignificant for an effective demonstration. Alderaan will be a much better demonstration," Palpatine explained and watched as a smile spread across Luke's face.

The boy would enjoy watching Alderaan's destruction, much more so then Vader would. For although Vader was dark he had once been light and that still affected him sometimes. Luke, however, was dark all the way through as he had been raised in it. His soul was far darker then that of his father.

"As you wish my master," Luke replied.

Palpatine regarded him for another second before he cut the connection. Luke immediately rose and headed for the bridge to inform the Admiral of their destination.

***

The next day,

Luke was standing on the bridge of the Iron Fist when it jumped out of hyperspace several kilometers before the Death Star. He looked at the completed structure with awe, for although he had seen it several times before, it had always been during its construction. This was the first time he saw it completed.

"Get my shuttle ready and have Organa put on board," he ordered turning to the Admiral.

"As you wish my Lord," the Admiral replied as he left.

Luke then turned back to the viewport and reached out to touch his father's mind.

'Luke?' Vader send when Luke touched his father's mind.

'Yes,' Luke replied.

'Bring the Princess and then we can head for Alderaan,' Vader stated speaking quietly into his son's mind.

'Coming,' Luke replied before he turned around and headed for the docking bay. As he boarded his shuttle two officers who were leaving stepped aside and let him enter.

"Is the Princess on board," Luke demanded as he looked at the officers.

"Yes my Lord," one of them replied. "We just put her in the holding cell."

"Good," Luke stated as he went to his seat.

The shuttle quickly lifted off and headed for the Death Star. When it landed in the main docking bay on board the Death Star, Luke got off and had two storm troopers take Leia away before he headed for the command center to find his father.

When Luke entered the command center he saw his father standing before the enormous viewport. He headed for his father's side and was almost there when his father turned around, nodded to him, before looking at the Admiral.

"Set course for Alderaan," he ordered.

"Immediately my Lord," the Admiral replied as his eyes flickered briefly to Luke before he turned around.

"So the Princess refuses to talk," Vader stated.

"Yes," Luke replied. "We used everything we had but she's obviously very stubborn."

Vader nodded at this and was silent for a moment.

"She'll break when we reach Alderaan though."

Luke nodded his agreement at this as he thought about Alderaan's destruction. It would definitely strike fear into the hearts of any leaders who resisted the Empire, for it would prove that the Emperor wasn't afraid of using his newest weapon.

***

Six hours later,

Sitting in her cell Leia wondered what would happen next, she had not broken under the interrogation she had been put through, but she knew that they would try something else to break her. She tried not to think of what they might do to her, but the waiting was starting to wear on her.

Then the door opened and two storm troopers entered.

"To your feet," one of them ordered as he got out a set of binders.

Leia quickly got to her feet knowing that there was no point in resisting. The storm trooper who had spoken then stepped forward and binded her hands together. They then led her out of her cell and as they were walking through the hall to the center of the detention area she saw Lord Skywalker waiting for her.

Luke looked at her for a moment then nodded to the turbolift, indicating that she had to get in. Still seeing no point in resisting Leia got in and Luke followed her. As the turbolift descended Leia studied Luke closely, she could clearly see that he was still young, some cultures would still consider him a boy instead of a man. But then those cultures would say she was a girl instead of a woman. But still, he held a higher position then she.

She also noticed that while his face was still that of a young man his eyes were not. They were cold, hard, uncaring and seemed to be inhuman, almost like they had once been human but that they had then been changed somehow. But then the eyes were the windows to the soul, and Leia knew that Luke's eyes were a perfect representation of his soul.

Then the turbolift stopped and they stepped out. Luke then took Leia to a special room with an extra large viewport, bigger then even the one on the command center. From here you had a clear view of whatever planet was going to be destroyed and of its destruction. At the moment the blue-green planet of Alderaan could be seen through the viewport.

Leia froze as she entered the room, but Luke placed a hand on her shoulder and pushed her forward to where his father was standing. As soon as Luke entered with Leia, Vader turned around to face them. Leia, knowing that now was her chance, looked at Vader with a calm and controlled gaze, she was after all the Princess of Alderaan.

"Lord Vader," she said boldly. "I should have expected to find you here holding your son's leash. I'm sure you've trained him to obey your every whim."

Luke tightened his grip on Leia's arm as a warning but she just ignored it and looked Vader straight in the mask.

"You'd better show some respect as Luke will be deciding the method of your execution," Vader replied looking down at the Princess.

"Talking about executions," Leia continued as if she hadn't heard him. "What happened to his mother? Was her usefulness over after she had provided you with a son?"

Luke, enraged at Leia's accusation, ruthlessly tightened his grip on Leia's arm and continued to tighten it even after Leia started to scream. Leia quickly brought her binded hands up and tried to get Luke's hand off her shoulder, but his hand seemed to be made of durasteel and nothing she did loosened his grip. After a few minutes Luke pushed Leia to her knees and released her shoulder.

"Mother," he hissed angrily. "Was on board the shuttle Tyderium."

Leia instantly recognized the name, it had been a shuttle they had destroyed knowing that there were newly designed weapon blueprints on board, but passengers? This would be the perfect place for another remark, but she remained silent as she tenderly rubbed her aching shoulder.

Angrily Vader looked down at Leia and felt any doubts he had had about destroying Alderaan disappear. The Princess had gone too far and deserved to be punished.

"What is the location of the last Rebel base?" Vader demanded as Luke hauled Leia to her feet.

When Leia remained silently Vader half turned around and indicated Alderaan.

"The Death Star has the capability to reduce an entire planet to rubble," he threatened.

Leia's eyes grew wide in astonishment and then horror as she looked at Alderaan. No, they wouldn't! They wouldn't dare destroy Alderaan, would they?

"Your father returned to Alderaan after the Senate was disbanded," Luke softly informed the Princess.

Leia silently shook her head as she wondered what to do, if she betrayed the location of the Alliance it would surely be destroyed, but if she didn't they'd destroy Alderaan. Alderaan, her homeworld, the place where her family, friends, and millions of innocent people lived.

"Well?" Vader demanded after a few minutes. "The Alliance or Alderaan, the choice is yours."

"Mantooine," Leia finally replied, lying. "They're on Mantooine."

Vader, picking up on the lie, turned to the Captain standing silently next to a com unit.

"Captain, tell the Admiral to charge up the superlaser."

"No!" Leia exclaimed and tried to step forward, but Luke held her back. "I told you!"

"You lied," Vader stated flatly stepping towards her. "Lie again and Alderaan will be destroyed right before your eyes. Where is the Alliance?"

Leia took a step back at Vader's approach and came up against Luke and, for a moment, she somehow felt safe. Luke caught the emotion and blinked in confusion before he leaned over and softly spoke into Leia's left ear.

"Your father, your family, your friends and your people or the Alliance," he taunted softly, but Leia could clearly hear his amusement at her predicament.

She immediately stepped away from him and looked at her planet, her home, her peaceful, defenseless home.

"Yavin 4," she whispered as she looked down. "They're on Yavin 4."

"There," Vader said smiling behind his mask. "That wasn't so hard."

Looking at his son Vader saw his own smile mirrored there. Then he turned to the Captain and silently nodded. Leia, still looking down in sorrow, missed the sign but looked up in horror as she heard the Captain speaking into the com:

"You may fire when ready," the Captain ordered.

"NO!" Leia exclaimed stepping forward and grabbing Vader's arm with her binded hands. "I told you! I told you! You said you wouldn't do it!"

Luke quickly stepped forward and, placing a hand on either of her arms, he pulled Leia away from his father.

"I lied," Vader said brushing a gloved hand over his arm where Leia had gripped him. "Besides Yavin 4 is far to remote a planet to make an effective demonstration, Alderaan on the other hand......"

"No!" Leia said a she struggled in Luke's grip.

Luke tightened his grip and made sure she had a good view of Alderaan. He then held her until the green beam of pure energy shot out from somewhere above the viewport and headed for Alderaan.

"NO!" Leia called out as the beam touched Alderaan for less then a second before the planet exploded.

As soon as Alderaan exploded Luke felt an enormous disturbance in the Force as millions of voices cried out in terror before they vanished from the Force forever. Luke savored the screams and felt his power increase as the lightest planet in the galaxy was destroyed. Vader too felt the disturbance and he too felt his power increase.

Leia looked at the rubble that was all that was left of her once beautiful planet for a moment before she sagged in Luke's grip, sobbing silently.

"We shall delay your execution just long enough so that you can watch the destruction of Yavin 4," Luke stated with a cruel smile on his face. "After all it wouldn't be fair if you missed seeing it, especially considering the fact that you helped us."

Leia closed her eyes at this and didn't resist as Luke lead her back to her cell.

***

The next day,

"Princess," Vader stated as Luke once again brought Leia into the observation room. "As you can see we have entered the Yavin system and are approaching the forth moon by staying behind the planet Yavin. This way your companions wouldn't detect us until it is entirely too late."

Leia just closed her eyes and let her head sink to her chest, clearly defeated. Vader smiled as he noticed the red rings around her eyes and the paleness of her skin. She looked so different from the fiery Princess that had entered the room only yesterday. He knew Luke was enjoying every moment of it as he had always disliked the Princess.

"My Lords," the Captain said as he took a step forward. "We are just about to come around the planet and into range of the moon with the Rebel base."

"Good," Vader stated as Luke pushed Leia towards the viewport. "You may fire when ready."

***

"Mon Mothma!" General Rieekan exclaimed as he stormed into the office of the Alliance's leader.

"What is it General?" Mon Mothma asked, a slight edge to her voice.

"The Death Star," General Rieekan replied ignoring the glare he was receiving from the person Mon Mothma had been talking with. "It has just appeared in sky above us."

"What?!" Mon Mothma exclaimed as she got to her feet. "Why didn't we know of this earlier?"

"They approached us from behind Yavin."

"Is there anything we can do?"

"Probably not," General Rieekan replied shaking his head. "Not if the rumors about Alderaan are true."

***

"No," Leia said as she struggled weakly in Luke's grip. "No."

Vader and Luke just ignored her as they watched the green beam of energy streak across space to briefly touch the moon before it exploded, taking with it the remains of the Alliance. Luke immediately noticed that the disturbance in the Force wasn't as strong as it had been with Alderaan, but it was still there for him and his father to savor.

Upon seeing Yavin 4's destruction Leia just collapsed in Luke's arms and fell to the ground as he released her. Luke looked at the remains of the moon before he looked down at the Princess at his feet. Smiling he unhooked his lightsaber from his belt and ignited it in one smooth motion. Vader watched his son's actions and waited.

Leia, hearing the sound of the lightsaber being activated, lifted her head only to find the emerald-green blade of pure energy just inches from her face. For a second she saw the energy beam that had destroyed Alderaan and noticed that it had looked exactly like Luke's lightsaber. Leia then looked up at the young Lord and their eyes met.

"You lose," Luke stated icily as he raised his lightsaber and brought it down on the helpless Princess before him.

Vader silently watched as his son killed the Princess and, for just a second, he thought of his late wife. He then dismissed the thought knowing that it was part of the past and that he didn't have enough time to waste it on wondering what could have been. He had the future to think of, his future, Luke's future, and the future of the Empire, all of which promised to be spectacular and worth thinking of.

And yet he couldn't help but think about how differently everything could have been if Padme hadn't made that fateful decision she had made a little under twenty years earlier.

End

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