Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chapter Nineteen

“What?” Vader asked.

“Sentinel isn’t here anymore.” She repeated. “But you may still call me that, if you like.”

Vader sat back a little from her. “And who... are you?”

“I don’t think you need to know that right now.” She smiled up at him, her grin almost fiendish.

Vader was silent for a moment. “Where is Sentinel?”

“You know, it’s really ironic. The Emperor told you and Sentinel to not make this complex, not get too close to each other. Did you listen to him? Of course not. And now you get to experience love lost, all... over... again. Isn’t that ironic?”

Vader clenched his fists.

“First, as a child, you lose your home. What were you thinking, following an idiotic Jedi such as Qui-Gon Jinn? Did you think you’d found a long-lost father figure? Was it worth it, following him on his mission, only to lose him so soon after finding him? Right after you’d left your mother and your home? And only a few years later, after arriving too, too late to save your mother, you get to watch her die in your arms.”

How does she know this? Vader thought. I never told her this...

“I’ve been following you, watching you for a long time. I watched you kill Padme. You know, you did more damage to her when you broke her heart than when you strangled her.” The woman who was not Sentinel chuckled.

Vader rose, looming over her, holding himself back with difficulty.

“Oh, you want to hurt me... so badly... but then you’d be hurting the body of your lover. You can’t hurt me without hurting her. And it’s driving you crazy.”

He stood there, fuming.

“You know, I might let you touch this body, one last time. I just might. I could overlook your appearance just for that moment when, in our intimacy, you realize there’s nothing left of her in here.” She actually giggled.

“Who are you!?!” He roared.

“Someone you should speak to with more respect.” She said soberly. Her voice seemed to echo in the medcenter, reverberating. And he felt it then, this cold emanating from her.

He was suddenly freezing. His hands and feet were ice cold. It took him a moment to remember his mechanical hands and feet couldn’t sense temperature. But still, the sensation stayed with him.

And the fear.

She was projecting intense fear into him. It cut into him like a knife.

The Emperor had taught him how to project fear into his enemies. It had become his favorite tool of late, really his favorite toy. To stand over his men, and see them trembling ever so slightly... yes. This was power.

And the Emperor had also taught him how to block projected fear.

But he couldn’t block this... not this. It was like trying to block a tidal wave. It washed over him, through him, leaving him feeling weak and defenseless.

He backed away, turned around, and walked out of the medcenter, her laughter chasing him out of the room.

He didn’t know who else to turn to. He went to his quarters and started up a communication link with the Emperor. He knelt on the dais as soon as the communication link was established.

The Emperor’s holographic form appeared before him, and he bowed low.

“Lord Vader. What progress do you have to report?” There was an amused quality to the Emperor’s voice.

“My Master, the Jedi are destroyed. They tried to lay a trap for us, claiming that they had an informant who told them I was coming. In spite of this, Sentinel and I were able to destroy them. But... but there is something terribly wrong with Lord Sentinel.”

Vader raised his face to look at his Master, and was stunned to see him smiling.

“There is nothing wrong with Lord Sentinel, my apprentice. Her transformation is merely complete”, the Emperor said.

“Master?”

“Sentinel was substandard material for a Sith Lord. But I instantly recognized in her a more valuable asset. Her powers, combined with her psychic vulnerabilities, made her a perfect vessel for a former... associate... of mine. A friend who has long been deceased”, the Emperor said.

“I... don’t understand”, Vader said.

“I needed you to help bring out her full Sith abilities, her full allegiance to the Dark Side. I needed a possible confrontation, where she would go too far into the Dark Side to be able to maintain full control over herself. And I needed her to lose that control when she was near the obelisk my friend’s body was entombed inside", the Emperor explained.

“This was all staged... to get her ready to ...”

“To house my friend, so to speak. Yes. You did very well, Lord Vader. I was honestly concerned that you might not survive her... transformation process.”

Vader was silent for a moment.

“What is it, my apprentice?” the Emperor finally asked.

“What about... Lord Sentinel?” Vader asked.

“She was useless to us as a Sith. Yes, she showed some promise, some definite power, but she wouldn’t have ever been able to overcome her own self-imposed limitations. I sensed immediately that her moral convictions would be her own downfall. She would never be able to move past those convictions.”

Vader let his gaze fall, his forehead lowered.

“You grew very attached to her, didn’t you? I warned you, Lord Vader.”

Vader tried to collect himself. “Yes, my Master. But why didn’t you tell me? Why keep me in the dark?”

“I told you all I needed you to know in order to complete the true mission. Anything more, and it might not have gone as perfectly. You will have to accept that I cannot always divulge every detail of my plans to you.” The Emperor sounded a little impatient.

“Yes, my Master.”

“Now. Bring her to me, Lord Vader. Bring her to Coruscant.”

“Yes, my Master.”

“And Lord Vader, be careful not to upset her. She is very dangerous.”

“What... what is her name, my Master?”

“She wouldn’t tell you?” the Emperor chuckled. “Her name, Lord Vader, is Darth Hedra.”

The Emperor’s holographic, smiling image disappeared and the link ended with an audible beep.

Lord Vader remained staring at the hologram’s former location for a long time.



Goto Chapter Twenty

2 Comments:

Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

At the risk of exposing my pathetic ignorance in the Star Wars "mythos," is Hedra an existing backstory character?

8/19/2006 5:50 PM  
Blogger Sith Snoopy said...

I made Hedra up. As far as I know, this is the first "Darth Hedra" to ever be referenced.

[Unless someone else I don't know about made up their own Darth Hedra for their own fanfic...]

8/19/2006 8:54 PM  

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