As annoyed as I was with it, it was my work that kept me from going insane. It kept me busy and occupied where otherwise I would have gone mad from sheer boredom. Time can pass very slowly on a ship and with Lord Vader gone I was left very much to my own devices.
On a daily basis, there were over a hundred memos and letters to answer and deal with, many of them from lesser offices, much of it mindless inter-office news, memos and updates, many invitations to gallery openings, city functions, Imperial dinners and dances and so on, and some fairly important letters that needed Lord Vader’s direct attention. I had discovered early on that he had mainly ignored all of this stuff, and never answered any of his correspondence unless it was from the Emperor himself. I had been uncertain at first how to deal with this and after some soul searching had ended up asking him if he wanted me to take care of it, as it was, after all, my job. His response had been terse and unpleasant, bureaucracy was something he loathed, but after a few days of some serious adjustments we found a happy medium.
I read through all the correspondence unless it was marked as coming from the Office of the Emperor, with the Emperor’s personal seal, in which case I set it aside, unopened, in a separate data pad that was encrypted and would hand it to Lord Vader personally.
I organized his calendar, meetings and attendance at certain functions that could not be avoided. I answered the mail that was considered lesser and unimportant and RSVP’d the invitations as soon as they came in. Most of the time his social calendar was mostly left alone, but every now and then there were Palace functions he was obligated ,as the second highest official in the Empire, to attend. So far we had not had to deal with anything of this nature yet.
At first, this had been a nightmare, the previous personal assistants had not lasted long enough to come up with any sort of organization at all, so everything was chaos. Now, I had it all running smoothly. Lord Vader had actually seemed impressed with the last update I had handed him. Everything was organized and neat, easy to get to without wading through a ton of nonsense. His private correspondence was kept private and separate, his social calendar, easy to read and best of all it was hand delivered to him on a daily basis when he was around, when he wasn’t about I encrypted the lot and sent it to him via direct, secure communications link and when that was not possible, it waited until his return.
I had my protocol droid file everything in the main databank, categorized, alphabetized and so on. I think it was actually happy for once. I was still having a hard time getting it to stop calling me ‘mistress.’ I suppose it is a programmed response and no amount of pleading or asking or swearing at the droid will change it.
I had time to spend searching through the archives that Lord Vader had mentioned. That was a labyrinth of information and I had no idea where to even begin looking. I had begun my search by looking for anything Sith related but of course as it is the way of such things I got diverted and ended up reading the Battle of Ruusan and a Sith Lord named Darth Bane. I was so swept away by the history I was reading I did not notice the door chimes until Jorae over rode the lock and tapped me on the shoulder. He gave me the fright of my life and it was a good thing I had been sitting reading or else my fight reflex would have knocked him on his ass.
He looked very serious, his face was a white as desert blasted bones and his fingers shook. I put the data-pad down.
“Jorae, what is it?”
“They blew it up.” He said.
I shook my head, “Who blew what up?”
He sat down in the chair across from me. “The Death Star. It has been destroyed. Almost everyone on board is dead.” He said, “We just got word through secure channels.”
It was my turn to turn pale. “Lord Vader?” I could not believe he was on the space station when it blew up, I was certain I would have felt something, anything, but I didn’t know if my weirding ways were strong enough to sense his life force from so far away.
Jorae shook his head. “He and a couple of others managed to make it to an outpost near the Yavin system, we are on our way now to pick them up.”
I let out the breath I had been holding.
“Wow there’s going to be hell to pay for this.” I said, “Who was in charge of the space station?”
“Well, Governor Tarkin was, but he didn’t survive. “Jorae said. “I guess the next person who would be responsible would be Lord Vader, he was supposed to get the stolen plans back.”
“Not good.” I whispered.
Jorae nodded in agreement. “I have only ever heard of the Emperor’s temper, but I can tell you, I am sure glad I am not in Vader’s boots. The Emperor is going to be really pissed about this, the Death Star was his baby. It was almost twenty years in the making, all that time and money gone to waste. Someone’s head is going to roll for certain.”
I tried to remember to breathe and sat back in my chair. “What is our ETA to the outpost?”
“About six hours.” He said. “I thought you should have some warning, considering…”
I looked at him. “Considering what?”
“Considering that when Vader comes back he’s not going to be very happy and if he has to go to Coruscant to meet with the Emperor, you will probably have to go with him, it is part of your job, right?”
I took a deep steadying breath and nodded.
Jorae got up. “I have to get back to work.” He said.
“Okay, thanks for the warning.”
He grinned. “No problem, I have to tell you though, I am sure glad I am not in your shoes.” And he ducked through the doorway as fast as he could.
I stood at the view port and looked out at the stars. Suddenly this universe did not seem so peaceful and settled anymore. I did not think that Lord Vader would take his anger directly out on my, especially if I kept out of the way but I was worried about having to return to the Imperial Palace. Why did there have to be so many complications?