by Larry Yoakum III
by Larry Yoakum III
“This is just so damn unfair!”
Luke lay in his bed, still upset about what his uncle told him earlier at dinner. Take the two new droids to Anchorhead and have their memories erased. Same old routine. Keep Luke here yet another year, forfeiting his dreams of being a great pilot. He so much wanted to attend the Imperial Academy, like his friend Biggs. And like his friend, he didn’t care much for the Empire itself, and planned to join the Rebellion as soon as he could. But first, he wanted to get the Imperial training from the Academy and use it against the corrupt government that ruled the galaxy.
It was at that moment that Luke felt the vertigo in his stomach. For the briefest of seconds, it seemed as if he were two separate people. It felt almost like a dream where you’re falling down a pit and try to wake yourself before you hit bottom. But the feeling passed. Luke easily turned to go to sleep. His last waking thoughts for that night were, Forget that damned R2 unit. If 3P0 wants to get Uncle Owen and hunt for him tomorrow, fine, but come daylight, I’m on the next freighter off this rock and I’m heading for the Academy.
What Luke didn’t realize was that something mystic called the Force had just acted on him. He didn’t know yet about the dormant power that lied within his soul. Or that he inherited it from his father, Anakin Skywalker, who he believe to be a navigator on a spice freighter before he died. He had no idea of the destiny that awaited him, or the one that awaited another version of himself in another reality. That Luke would go on to be a great hero and also one of the once revered Jedi. But not this Luke.
The lurching feeling he felt had caused a split in the fabric of time, space, and reality, causing the unfolding history of the galaxy to take a different course. And it was a tangent course that held ominous darkness for all the inhabitants of the Galactic Empire…
While another Luke took the 3P0 droid with him to look for the runaway R2D2, this Luke left a note for his aunt and uncle, telling them that he was leaving to apply for the Academy. The future now set in this universe, Luke went to Mos Eisley spaceport to meet with his destiny.
Luke sold his speeder and used the money to buy a ride off Tattooine. While on his journey through hyperspace, Owen and Beru Lars, his adoptive aunt and uncle, were visited by Imperial troops. They demanded to know the whereabouts of the droids. Too upset to offer any resistance, they handed over the golden protocol droid and told the troops that the other droid ran out last night into the Judland Wastes. The troopers thanked them for their cooperation and left. The stormtrooper captain entertained the notion of killing the farmers, but decided not to. Waste of resources on pathetic commoners was beneath the Emperor’s finest.
Han Solo and his Wookie copilot, Chewbacca, sat in Mos Eisley Cantina, and Han had a funny feeling. For a second, he felt as if he missed a great opportunity to make enough money to pay off the Hutt. Looking around the bar, he saw the usual assortment of outlaws, thugs, and typical space scum. Even a bounty hunter, of sorts. Greedo wasn’t exactly a bounty hunter except in his own mind. Han knew the Rodian thug wouldn’t come near him as long as he had Chewie with him. As Han found out after they became partners in crime, it is good for your personal security to have a giant wookie at your side. Chewie growled something and Han smiled. “Right, ol’ buddy. Let’s get going. Ain’t no money here.” The two smugglers got up to leave and Greedo followed, but at a comfortable distance for the cowardly Rodian.
The smuggler and his furry companion got into their ship, the Millennium Falcon, and took off for the adventures the galaxy had to offer. It was a mere two minutes after the two space smugglers had left that Greedo led his boss, Jabba the Hutt, into the hanger. Needless to say, the Hutt was outraged that he missed Solo. Jabba bellowed at his other henchmen and they bound Greedo up and they all left for Jabba’s palace. The Rodian was to be the Sarlaac’s next meal tomorrow at midday.
The following day, Luke was giddy and excited, although he didn’t let it show. He had been accepted into the Academy after a written test and a demonstration of his flying skills. The recruiter was very impressed with the young man’s flying abilities and he was very adamant about telling Skywalker that he’d one day be flying the Empires most advanced fighters if he played his cards right. The Academy opened up in two weeks. He was already given billeting and had met his roommate, another freshman named Jast Remov. The two plebes hit it off and knew they’d be the best of friends.
While Luke and Jast were trading stories about flying stunts, Leia Organa was led to the main control room aboard the Death Star, the Empires latest weapon of terror and subjugation. Governor Tarkin, the Grand Moff of Oversector Outer, had coerced her into saying the Rebel base was located on Dantooine, and then he forced her to watch as her home planet was destroyed. Later, when scout ships reported that Dantooine was deserted, Tarkin ordered Leia to be executed immediately. She was put to death via blaster shot to the head within the hour.
As Leai’s corpse was turning cold, Han Solo, on the other side of the galaxy on the world of Calla’Tnaxa, felt a cold shock go through him. Just shrugging it off as some strand of flu on this planet, he continued to play his luck at the card table, and he just kept winning.
While Han Solo was whipping the rich snobs at sabaac, the droids R2D2 and C3P0 were being melted down and remade into cooking units for the stormtrooper captain’s quarters. Darth Vader meditated upon the Dark Side of the Force aboard his quarters on the Death Star, as did his master, Emperor Palpatine, back in the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. Jabba the Hutt placed an even larger bounty on Han Solo. For unknown reasons, a large meteorite hit the forest moon of Endor, knocking it out of orbit and causing it to crash into the planet it orbited. Before their deaths, the Ewoks believed the vengeance of the gods was occurring due to their lack of proper worship and sacrifice. Greedo slowly digested in the belly of the Sarlaac. Obi Wan Kenobi felt a disturbance in the Force and he go the feeling that dark times were ahead and the boy, Luke, was in danger of being a great cause of it. Kenobi had sworn to the boy’s mother that he would watch over him. The girl was dead, and now the boy was on the path to the Dark Side. The old Jedi contemplated what he should do. And time in the galaxy marched on…
In a timeless reality, beyond the boundaries of time and space, the Force watched this new timeline of the galaxy. The galaxy itself wasn’t important. There were literally innumerable galaxies in the universe. Innumerable alternate realities in each galaxy, where one little decision, or a large one, changed the course of events. But the beings of the universe didn’t grasp any of it. The Force didn’t care, well part of it didn’t anyway. The Force was of two minds on the universe. This particular galaxy called it the Light Side and the Dark Side. In other galaxies it was called by other names. Fylta and Monm. Tetra and Grammaton. God and Satan. Different names, same entity (if you could call it an entity like the ones in the physical universe. Some in this galaxy were highly attuned to the Force’s presence. At this moment, two of the most powerful of the Dark Side were tapping in, meditating. These two slaughtered hundreds of their fellows who followed the light. Many conflicts in that galaxy. The Freedon Nadd Uprising, the Sith Wars, the Clone Wars, and now a “Galactic Civil War”. That is why the Force chose to cause another split in the timeline. It knew the young Skywalker had a great destiny within the Light Side. It wanted to see how the turnout would be if he chose the Dark Side.
And the Force looked on…
Luke awoke for his first day of classes. He was more excited now than he could remember ever being. His first class of the day was Basic Galactic History under Professor Dal Qea, a Bith male. Luke had to take one year of basic classes before he could specialize in flying. All new cadets had to take a little of everything in their first year: mathematics, physics, history, piloting, and survival training.
Before class started, a military officer, who was assigned to each class, had the students line up for a daily inspection. Although students, they were also future officers in the Imperial Navy. Every officer found something wrong with each student, even if they were looking sharp. No student was good enough on their first day, as was the tradition of the militaries throughout history on thousands of galaxies.
Luke’s first class went by rather quick. This room had no windows, and a slightly claustrophobic feel to it. Luke didn’t mind it. He always heard people say that the first time in a space fighter is a similar feeling, even with a lot of previous flight experience. Just knowing that the cold vacuum of space lay beyond your cockpit window. Luke couldn’t wait to feel it for himself.
The rest of his day went similarly fast. His next class was Hyperspace Calculations and Navicomputer Programming. This was followed by Astrophysics, then his pre-flying class, where they studied flight formations used by the Empire’s TIE pilots, and the systems of a Star Destroyer and other of the Empire’s large capital ships.
At the end of the day, Luke and Jast sat in their dorm room and traded stories of their day. Jast told of his beautiful female instructor, Prof. Paxa M’Togga, who was a human from somewhere in the core systems. However, Jast’s favorite class so far was piloting class. Luke said it was his favorite also.
The two went about studying separately then, with memories of the End of Duty Day Formation, where the entire academy went to the parade grounds and received a speech from the head instructor and Admiral Waley, the liaison to the governor. Luke and Jast went to sleep after the intercom announced lights out at 2100 hours. Luke fell asleep almost instantly.
Lord Darth Vader walked throughout his stronghold on planet Vjun. His citadel, Bast Castle, was one of the strongest ever made for a Sith Lord. Pride filled Vader’s spirit. He was bearer of a powerful title. Darth Bane, the first to hold the title of Darth, began the tradition millinia ago. Only a supreme master of the Dark Side could bestow it. And Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a Darth Sidious, fit that description. The Emperor studied everything in Jedi history, Light and Dark Side both. The teachings of the ancient Sith Lords was among the most useful. The values of dark anger and hatred, yet control over it to wield great powers. Vader would learn everything he could from his Master. Then, when the time was right, he would destroy him and take his place. Patience was the key, and Vader hadn’t had much patience in his life, ever. Even when he was that weakling, Anakin, so many years ago. His former life of Anakin Skywalker seemed a million years ago sometimes...
Vader suddenly felt something in the force. As if a piece of him was happy, but that can’t be. Vader long ago pushed his positive feelings from his soul. The feeling was gone as quickly as it came. “Strange,” the Dark Lord muttered to himself.
In fact, the feeling was so strange to him, that for two years, he kept it lurking in the back of his mind, knowing for whatever reason, it was important enough to not forget.
The Imperial Sith Lord turned on his heel and stalked towards the hanger bay of the castle. A few hours in his custom TIE fighter would make him feel better.
The techs who worked in Vader’s hanger bay knew to have his fighter ready at all times, since you never knew when the Dark Lord would get the whim to take a hop. Today, Lt. Dannatai, the supervisor of the hanger, found out how displeased Vader was to be kept waiting. Dannatai lost five workers to Vader’s mysterious Force by way of choking. The remaining three had to scramble to get the custom fighter ready post haste.
Two years passed at the Imperial Academy. It was a special day today. It was Admiral Waley’s 60th birthday. The Emperor couldn’t show up for his congratulations speech to Waley, so Lord Vader came in his place.
All of the troops lined up all over the parade grounds. Luke, now awaiting his third year, stood closer to the front of the grounds. Off in the distance, all could see Vader’s shuttle landing at the docking bays. Several tense minutes passed. The head of the formation, Lt. Commander Dean, called the troops to attention as he saw Vader’s personal speeder coming in. Dean kneeled, as was custom in the presence of Lord Vader. Vader stopped in front of Dean and began listening to the Commander’s speech.
“Lord Vader, I welcome you to the Imperial Academy in the name of Emperor Palpatine. It is an honor to receive...” He was cut off with a wave from Vader’s black gloved hand. “My Lord, is there a problem?” Vader looked down at him, and then looked into the troops. The Commander shut his mouth then. He couldn’t see Vader’s face, but he could feel the scowl underneath when the Commander spoke out of turn. Vader marched into the formation of troops, the newest recruits of the Imperial Navy.
Luke never felt so nervous in his life. He had seen holopictures of Vader, but never expected his presence to feel so, overwhelming. It seemed as if Vader was coming right for him, but Luke suppressed an urge to laugh nervously. It’s only my nerves, he thought. Vader wouldn’t know me from some Rebel rookie.
Vader made his way through the crowd, which stood rigidly at attention, never wavering. Good discipline. Luke felt a cold drop of sweat down his temple when Lord Darth Vader, the right hand man to the Emperor, stopped before him and appeared to stare not at Luke, but through him.
Vader stood in front of this trainee and felt the same strange feeling he had two years ago. Something familiar about his face. And he could sense the Force in him. Dormant, but with almost unlimited potential. Perhaps the descendant of a Jedi I missed during the Jedi Purge, Vader thought. He knew there was the possibility that he and the Emperor missed some Jedi. Vader decided to ask. If he felt the young man was lying, he would take him in for a more, Forceful interrogation. “What is your name?” He asked with his deep rumbling voice.
“My Lord, I am Cadet Luke Skywalker.”
Underneath his mask, Vader’s eyes bulged. Skywalker? Skywalker! Could it be? Could that witch he married had been pregnant by him? Vader thought of having this Skywalker’s DNA tested, but decided he didn’t need to. Yes, he could sense it in the Force. This was his son. Darth Vader had a son, and a new student. Possibly one of the most powerful dark Jedi in the history of the galaxy, and Vader could make the young one completely loyal to him.
Vader walked away abruptly and stood before Commander Dean again. “Have Cadet Skywalker come to my quarters at sundown tonight,” and then he stalked away.
Luke felt a chill go through his entire being, body and soul both. “Skywalker!” Dean yelled. “Come here!”
With true military voice, crisp and professional, Luke responded, “Aye, sir!”
Vader stood at his main window, looking out over the city. He was 300 stories in the air in his private quarters. Sun was almost completely down. Skywalker would be here soon. Just as the sun descended completely under the horizon, Vader’s door chimed.
Skywalker marched in and stood at attention. "Lord Vader, Cadet Skywalker reports as ordered."
Vader stood face to face with his long-lost son. A sense of paternal pride overcame him. "Luke," Vader said. "I am your father."
Luke stared at Vader's black skull mask. Why was he saying this. It couldn't possibly be true. His father died before he was born. But, there was something about Vader's voice, his words. A realization came over Luke. Vader spoke the truth. Luke managed to speak. The words were a lump in his throat. "I know, now, father."
Vader was pleased. "My son. You will be taken from this academy. I will train you as my apprentice. You will be the weilder of untold power. The next in line in the long tradition of the Sith."
A feeling of darkness fell on Luke, and he enjoyed it. His soul became a shadow. He would follow Father to the ends of the universe and learn all he could. "I would be honored to learn your ways, father."
Vader leaned in close to Luke's face. "And one day, we will rule this galaxy as father and son."
The years passed by. Luke was trained in secret on Vjun. One day he was ready to become a Sith. Vader flew to Imperial City and met with his master, the Emperor. The Emperor had no idea what was coming, for together, Luke and Vader shielded their traitorous intentions over the years. The old master was slain, and Vader declared himself the new Emperor of the Galactic Empire. Luke would be his second, and the young Sith apprentice took a new name. Just as Palpatine was Sidous, and Anakin Skywalker was Vader, Luke Skywalker needed a new identity. Darth Sai. His new name.
Emperor Vader was alone in his chambers on Imperial City when Darth Sai entered. "Yes, my son, what is it?" Sai said nothing. He merely ignited his saber and attacked his father. Vader was a very old man now, but the Sith ways were still strong within him. He lifted his hand and Sai stopped in his tracks. "Foolish, my son. Very foolish. What were you thinking? I am beyond using a lightsaber now, Luke."
"Don't call me that idiot name! I am Darth Sai!"
"No, Luke, now you have no name." Sai was still frozen, unable to move. Vader slowly choked the life from him. He took his time. Ten minutes later, Darth Sai fell to the floor, dead. Vader waved his finger ever so slightly and the dead body of his traitorous son burst into flames, and within a matter of seconds, it was gone.
Vader felt saddness, but pushed it from his mind. He had no time for that. Time was short and he needed to find a new apprentice.
Interesting, the Force thought. So different from the other reality. And all it took was one small decision for a farm boy to run away from home and join the navy. The Force decided to look upon another galaxy to see how things were going. And the Force looked on upon the galaxy the inhabitants called the Milky Way, and the Force saw a world with a large population of ape-like beasts. The Force noticed that one of them stood up straight. In time he rallied the others to make tools and civilization was soon to arise in many small tribal groupings. The leader apeman left his companions and wandered for days until he found a beautiful garden. Interesting, the Force thought to itself. Lets see what happens when this apeman recieves a woman. And a name. He shall be called Adam.