The small corvette was no match and it was taken on board the Devastator, swallowed whole into the main hanger. I had to know what was going on so I ran down to see what was happening. This was a restricted area and it was guarded, with no place to sneak by and no hope at all of just waltzing by the guards I decided to try some of the Force powers I had be learning. I took a deep breath and allowed the Force to move through me. It was easy to push the guards, just a little, and they let me by without a problem. I snuck around and climbed to the upper catwalk and watched everything from the high gantry. Not good to get too close. I was so fascinated by everything that was going on I didn’t hear Jorae climbing up beside me, I was a bit surprised that found me.
“What are you doing here? It is off limits.” He hissed.
“How in the name of Sarlacc did you know I was here?”
“I went by your quarters, your protocol droid said something about you muttering ‘gotta see this.’ It didn’t take me long to figure it out.”
“Well, now you found me, what is going on?”
“Lord Vader thinks the stolen Death star plans are onboard the ship, it’s a consulate ship.” he said. “If Vader is wrong there will be hell to pay.”
I smiled at Jorae, “Lord Vader is never wrong. Now shut up and watch.” I'd ask about what plans he was talking about later.
We heard the sound of laser fire and then there was an awful silence. I started to scramble down the gantry way but Jorae grabbed my arm. “No, bad enough that you snuck in here, now stay put!”
“You think they killed everyone onboard?” I asked him.
Jorae shrugged. “I don’t know but I can tell you I am glad I am not on board that ship. Hey look!” he pointed to the hatch that was blasted open. A group of Storm troopers escorting a young woman dressed in white. She couldn’t have been more than a year or two younger than I was, she was scared, I could feel that but she didn’t show it. They took her off to the detention block. I watched as Lord Vader came out of the corvette shortly after but instead of leaving right away he stopped and looked up at exactly the spot we were hiding. We both ducked down as flat as we could go.
“Buggery sand rats and blast!!!!” I hissed. He might not have seen us but he sure as sarlacc knew I was there, right where I was not supposed to be.
We got out of the docking bay just as the Tantive IV was being released back into space. A few moments later an explosion rippled off the portside.
“They destroyed it.” I whispered running to look out of the nearest porthole. All that was left of the Corvette was twinkling bits of wreckage. They had taken only one prisoner which meant everyone onboard that ship had been killed. Jorae tugged on my sleeve. “We need to get away from here before we get caught.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was too late for that.
As we walked back to my Quarters it suddenly occurred to me that Jorae seemed to know an awful lot for a Lieutenant. “How did you know about these stolen plans? You seem to know all the good news.”
Jorae grinned at me. “Before I began my Imperial career I was a slicer. I know how to find information.”
“Yeah, I can hack into computers and disseminate information. I am a communications officer then I got assigned to you, extra duty. They thought that we might get along, I guess, or maybe the idea was that I keep you out of trouble.”
“I see.” I said sarcastically. “Well, slicer, let’s go and find out what is happening now.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re going to show me how to get into the ship’s mainframe. I don't have clearance to even look in the database.”
Jorae stopped and stared at me. “Not on your life.”
I smiled at him sweetly and it crossed my mind that I could maybe even force him to do what I wanted by using the Force, but I didn’t want to do that. Jorae was the only person aside from Lord Vader who spoke to me on this ship, besides I was betting had I tried any sort mind push again Lord Vader would feel it and I was pretty sure I was already in big poodoo for sneaking about in places I was not supposed to be. So I did the next best thing, I whined.
“Oh please…it doesn’t have to be anything huge but I bet your clearance is way better than mine.”
He made a face. I whined at him some more and he finally gave in.
“Great! I need a lesson in how to use the ship’s system anyway. It is a whole other world in comparison to where I come from.”
Jorae made a face.
I got my droid to fetch us coffee and we got down to work. Jorae wasn’t kidding about knowing his way around the computer system. He showed me how to use the consol and how to bypass some of the blocks in place.
“You should ask Lord Vader if you can get a better clearance level.”
“Oh yes, I will just march into his office and request that right away.” I made a face at him. “Can’t you fiddle around with it or something?”
He thought about it. “Uhmmmm no.”
I made a face but I didn't push the issue. “So where are we headed?” I asked him. He brought up the navigational charts and the plotted course for the ship and pointed it out.
“Wonder why we are headed there, there are no planets near by.” I asked.
“That’s where the Death Star is located.”
“What the heck is a Death Star?” I asked.
“Only the most powerful weapon in the Empire.” He said smugly.
“And the plans for it were stolen?” I asked.
“Bet someone’s head rolled for that.”
Jorae nodded. “Well the Emperor doesn’t send Vader after just anyone. Half the crew just about had heart attacks when the news hit that he was coming onboard. I would not want to be in her shoes.” He said.
“Sheesh, where have you been? That was Princess Leia, the daughter of Bail Organa. She’s an ambassador to the Imperial Senate. Vader suspects her of being part of the rebel alliance, her file is red-flagged.”
“Rebels? You mean the Rebellion is a big thing."
“Don’t you get any news where you come from?”
I gave him a look. “I come from Tatooine. I have heard talk among some of the star pilots but it was mostly just gossip."
“Oh well, that explains it.”
“Where are you from then?” I asked.
“Coruscant.” He said. “I grew up in Coco town.”
“Oh.” I nodded as if I knew what that meant and made a face that said I had no clues.
“It’s short for Collective Commerce, lots of businesses there. My parents run a computer repair shop there.” he laughed. “Have you even been to Coruscant?”
I nodded. “Yeah for a short time, but I stuck to the palace, then I was transferred here.”
“The Imperial Palace?” he whistled. “You must be important.”
“Not that I know of, just got hired to do a job and that meant staying at the palace for a while.” I said.
“Must be something special about you, I never heard of Lord Vader taking anyone ever along with him. What is the palace like?” he asked.
“Big.” I said. “and opulent.” I shrugged. "I can't describe it."
“I have always wanted to go there.” He said a little wistfully.
I did my best smuggler voice. “Stick with me kid and maybe you’ll get your wish.”
He grinned. He had a great grin. Jorae was a couple of year older than me and very cute in a boyish sort of way. He had sandy coloured hair and warm, brown eyes. He was average height and slender in build. He had the most devilish grin I had ever seen.
He gave me one of those grins now and nodded. “I get the feeling that with you, anything is possible.”
It was my turn to smile. I was happy to be with someone almost my own age, who did not care that I was not dressed in the right sort of fashion and who didn’t speak Lord Vader’s name in a hushed and terrified whisper. He did however turn visibly white when a message came through saying I was to report to Lord Vader immediately.
I winked at him and said “Paperwork” and left it at that. He walked me part way and then I was on my own. This was not going to be good but I didn't want Jorae to know I was scared.
Lord Vader was in his personal training room, which a fancy name for the huge empty space he usually practiced in. Neither I nor the sound of the door closing distracted him and I arrived in time to watch him destroy two specially designed training droids. He was incredibly fast and I stood in awe at the grace and ease with which he fought. It was like watching some sort of strange mix between dance and martial art. I had never seen a light saber before, he had not spoken of them as a weapon when he had begun my training. It was the most exquisite thing I had ever seen. He stopped once the droids were in pieces, and just stared at them for a moment, then he switched the light saber off, clipped it to his belt and turned his attention on me.
He made a hand motion, I obeyed and came forward to stand a whole lot closer to him. He towered over me, his hands on his hips. I waited.
“You will not practice your force powers on members of this crew again.” He said.
“If you wish more access to restricted areas, you ask.” He said.
“You will remain on this ship when I go to the Death Star space station.”
“But why?” I blurted out.
He seemed to be counting top ten. “Because, I wish it, because you will obey me when I tell you to do something. Is that understood?”
Then I said the two words one should never say to a Dark Lord of the Sith who has just given you a clear and direct order.
“Yes, but…” and that is as far as I got.
I cannot really describe what it is like when someone has a force grip choke hold on you, but it is like being strangled from the inside out. A terrible, terrible sensation and Lord Vader made sure I knew what was happening to me by doing it slowly. I knew that Force powers could be fought with force powers and in my small way I tried to fight back. It seemed I wasn’t quite ready to die just yet and I used my anger and fear to push back at the force grip. Sort of like a sand-mouse trying to stop a Krayt Dragon, completely useless.
I stumbled backwards when he released me but instead of finding relief I found his hand at my throat. I guess in this case, if force powers were not going to scare me then his physical strength would have to do. I do not doubt for a moment that if he had wanted to he could have killed me with the Force and I know I was not strong enough to stop him in the least but it was not what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to terrify me and this way worked better. I could struggle against him with my own fledgling force powers but I had no chance against him physically. He pinned me up against the wall, his hand large enough to pretty much crush my throat in one go.
“You will obey me when I give an order.” He said.
I nodded as best I could with his hand around my neck.
“You will remain on board this ship until I return.”
I nodded some more, even though it hurt.
“You will not practice your force powers on members of this crew.” He said.
I nodded, again gritting my teeth against the pain.
"This is the last time I shall repeat myself to you."
I nodded a fourth time and he let me go. I slid, not so gracefully, to the floor and touched my throat, everything still there, but breathing hurt.
He yanked me to my feet and made me face him. “If you disobey me in these matters, I will eliminate you.” He said and then he left the room.
I sank back down to the floor and stayed there, swallowing to make sure I still could and I was shaking because I couldn’t stop. If he had wanted me scared it had worked. I was scared out of my wits. It took me forever to find the ability to stand up again and walk back to my quarters. When I arrived, there was a message on my data system informing me that my security clearance had been upgraded. It was a significant upgrade. A new ID card would be delivered as soon as possible.
I went into the bathroom to wash my face and saw the beautiful set of bruises that were beginning to blossom at my throat. They would serve as a reminder, the first of many, to never piss the Dark Lord off, ever.