Luke Skywalker learns about his father's true identity early on, to a time when he's still just a boy filled with hopes and dreams and hero-worship and he decides to search for his father. On his way he meets the young Sith-in-training Starkiller, Darth Vader's student. The two boys are as different as day and night but they have one thing in common: They wish for nothing more then for Darth Vader to recognize them. Despite starting out with an inevitable rivalry, they quickly become friends, brothers in everything but blood.
This is a story about friendship between the most unlikely of boys, a story about a family that struggles to hold together under the pressure of duty, betrayal and the lingering threat of war. It's a story about growing up and finding love and laughter in the darkest of places.
We'll be meeting Sith Lords and Jedi Masters, criminals, smugglers and slaves, we'll be looking at the dark and the light side of the Force. And there will be war, a war that threatens to rip apart the galaxy as well as the fledgling family.
It all started out with the journey of a little boy searching for his father and yet a little divergence can have great consequences that will roll over the galactic star map like a Tidal Wave.
Warning: M rated for some explict descriptions of violence as well as some Juno/Starkiller related relationship stuff. Not a major theme but we want to be rather safe than sorry.
17 BBY, Scarl System
Darth Vader strode over the catwalk on the construction side, monitoring the progress of the Empire's most recent secret project. As nobody else was supposed to know about the design of the Super Star Destroyer, the entire construction was sorely managed by droids. Most of them were simple work machines, only a few were even capable of limited intelligence and even fewer had the means to send a transmission out of the system. The construction wasn't far enough ahead that the ship needed to be protected as long as nobody knew it existed and so there was next to no security anywhere as well. It was the perfect place for Vader to hide his little side project.
The Sith Lord had stopped for a moment to watch the activity on the platform below. Then he motioned for the droid following him and together they continued on their way.
"Master, may I ask where we are heading?", the droid asked curiously when they began to pass less and less droids.
"You will see soon enough, PROXY", he said simply.
At last Vader reached one of the few rooms already furnished on board the giant starship. One day it would be an interrogation room, as shown by the one-way-window he was now standing in front of, looking into the room without being seen in turn. Right now, it was used as a classroom. Said class only consisted out of one four year old boy, listening to the ramblings of a protocol droid. It seemed today's lesson was about astronomy. The boy sat at a table with a screen built in that showed a cluster of stars. The boy moved his finger above the screen, pulling the labels of the star's and system's names over to the corresponding light dots on the map.
With the Empire so young, so many Jedi to hunt down and Separatist bases to recover, Vader as the Emperor's right hand had his work cut out for him. Through he thought often of the little boy waiting for him, he was not too concerned with actually training him yet. After all he himself hadn't started training with the Force until he was nine and he'd only ever started using the dark side eighteen months ago. The basic education could be done by droids just as well. It was time that the child started with physical exercises, which is what he had built PROXY for. If he started to use the Force through, it had to be under Vader's personal guidance. He would be the only human contact the boy would know. It would bind him to him, making up for his long absences between each visit.
"That", Vader said, nodding to the child on the other side of the glass, "is going to be your student, PROXY. You will train him, you will protect him and eventually, when I confirm he has reached a certain strength, you will kill him."
"Yes, Master. I will be happy to oblige", the droid answered unconcerned. He was modeled to look and act like a holodroid but he was really a highly modified assassin droid. Vader had spent a significant amount of his free time to collect as many fighting modules as possible for him. The droid was a match for any Jedi Knight and he would only continue to advance as Vader collected more training modules for him. Mainly, by studying the style of the Jedi he killed.
In the room beyond, the protocol droid was chastising the child as it connected a label with the wrong star. The boy tried again but it was still wrong. Growing agitated, the child stood and seemed to shout something angry at the droid when it continued to lecture him. Oh yes, the isolation was definitely grating on him. Though he couldn't hear a thing, Vader could clearly feel the child's anger. The Sith's nostrils flared when he felt the dark side shiver in response to the youngling's agitation. The boy had now put his hands on the screen in the table, ignoring his work to shout angrily at his teacher. The droid of course was unaffected, causing the anger to rise in the boy even more.
"Master, may I ask what his designation number is?" PROXY wanted to know.
That's right, Vader hadn't yet thought about a name for the boy. He briefly remembered from the background check he'd done after the initial discovery, that the boy's given name was Galen Marek. Of course, it wouldn't do for the child to have a name that would remind him of his past. No, he would need a new one. Yet there was little sense in giving him a fake name if he would change it anyway once he was deserving of the Sith title. A code name then, something that he could refer to him by that wouldn't make it obvious he was talking about a person and not, let's say, a ship or a weapon. He supposed a designation number would do but he knew from working with the clone soldiers that they all craved a name, even if it was just a nickname. If Vader gave him a code name, it may lay a foundation of trust between them.
In that moment the boy seemed to loose his temper completely. Vader suspected that his own presence in the dark side was affecting the child, turning it more violent. It pleased him as it meant that not only was the Force strong in him but the child was already subconsciously attuned to him.
The boy shouted some more, he slapped the screen with his small hands and the Force shivered again. Vader raised an eyebrow under his helmet when a long crack appeared on the screen, splitting the galaxy in half and making the image flutter until the stars blinked out of existence.
"Starkiller", Vader said with dark amusement, watching as the child's anger vanished and turned into excitement upon seeing how he'd damaged the screen without even punching it all that hard. "That will be his code name. Starkiller."
10 BBY, Tatooine
Luke Skywalker moved the antenna of the small receiver unit and listened intently. For a few minutes there was nothing but static but at last he thought he could hear music and many voices that were very distant.
The boy flinched and hurriedly grabbed the unit. He wanted to stuff it back into the drawer but before he could do so, his aunt had already opened the door. Hurriedly he held it behind his back instead and smiled up at Beru.
"Yes, Aunt Beru?", he asked as innocently as he could.
"I told you twenty minutes ago that you were to clean the..." In that moment Beru seemed to notice his nervous shifting. "Luke, what's wrong?"
"Nothing", he said immediately.
"Luke...", the woman repeated and gave him the look.
Luke sighed. Hesitantly he revealed the small unit he had hidden behind his back and put it on top of his bedside table.
"What is that?", Beru asked curiously and leaned forward to see the oddly shaped device.
"It's the old receiver unit from that old mecha droid uncle Owen got last year. Remember, it was the only mecha the Jawas had but it was way too expensive. We stripped it down and sold some of its non-essential parts in town." Amongst those parts Luke had helped to remove was a ranged transmitter that was used to relay messages over distances. As the mecha would only be working on the farm there was no need for it to communicate with anything farther away then a few miles.
"But Luke, we could've fetched a good price for that transmitter, why did you keep it?" She looked at him hurt and disappointed and it made Luke cringe, he knew they weren't the richest people.
"I know but... I had been working on that unit and the transmitter was just what it needed. Look what it can do!"
With no small amount of pride, Luke adjusted the unit. Now that he no longer had to fear that the noise would alert his relatives, he pinpointed the right frequency. Now one could clearly hear the noise of hundreds – no thousands! - of people cheering and clapping. The imperial anthem played in the background and the voice of a reporter described the colorful celebration going on in the background.
The Lars Farm could not afford its own access to the holonet but there were a few people in Anchorhead who could. With the transmitter and some careful tweaking, Luke had been able to pick up and intensify those signals. He still only got one channel; Imperial One that broadcasted news galaxy wide.
"That's nice, Luke, but you can listen to it later. I need a helping hand in the kitchen."
"But Aunt!", Luke whined. "Can't I listen a little longer? The man said that the Emperor is going to hold a speech in a few minutes."
Beru scowled. "Why would you want to listen to a speech of that man anyway? The Empire does not concern us."
Luke looked down, he knew that his relatives didn't like the Empire. He should've known better then to ask.
"Luke?" Beru sighed. She sat down on Luke's bed and pulled the boy towards her. "Luke, what's wrong."
"It's just... It's my birthday today", he muttered. "It... it kinda feels nice to know that people all around the world are celebrating it, you know? That maybe... Maybe my father is out there celebrating my birthday as well. I mean, it's hard to miss Empire Day, right? If he ever thinks of me, he's sure to do it today."
Beru became very still. When that weird man, Kenobi, had first brought Luke to them, he had told them that his mother died in childbirth and that his father was unable to take care of him. What with the war and everything, Luke had to be protected so nobody must know he was here. But years had passed and Anakin Skywalker never came to pick Luke up. They heard terrible rumors that all the Jedi were being hunted down and they figured that was the reason they had to hide little Luke. One day Owen cornered Kenobi and asked where Skywalker was. The boy was beginning to ask about his father. The Lars would even be willing to hide the man. Obviously nobody had discovered Kenobi living on Tatooine so why couldn't Anakin move in with them? It was then that Kenobi admitted that Anakin stood on the other side, that his true identity was that of Darth Vader and that Luke must never, ever fall into the hands of his father. They had argued the issue. Beru has been appalled that Anakin didn't even know he had a son. She had been this close to seeking contact to the man. But then Kenobi had shown them news footage (something they very rarely got on this planet) of exactly what Vader's role in the Empire was and they had quickly changed their minds. They had learned to love Luke and they knew that such a monster was indeed not fit to take care of a child.
Luke knew that his mother was dead and because he could not know about the Jedi, they had told him his father was a pilot on a spice freighter. They had not told him the truth after finding out and were avoiding the issue whenever they could.
"Luke, I... I'm sure your father thinks of you every day", Beru tried awkwardly.
The boy looked away. "But then why does he never visit? Or even just send a message...?"
"I... I'm sorry, my boy. I... I don't think he's out there anymore", Beru whispered. "He would've taken you in for sure if he were. The galaxy is a dangerous place. I think it is time for you to accept that he is no longer amongst the living. But I'm sure wherever he is, he still thinks about you."
Luke's eyes widened and he stepped away from his aunt and the hug she offered. "You mean... he's dead? That can't be!"
"He can't be dead! One day he'll come and he'll take me away from here, you'll see!"
Beru called after him again but Luke had already run out of the room. Anger and sadness filled him as he ran outside. Shortly after he collapsed under the blazing suns of Tatooine and began to sob.
His father couldn't be dead! He refused to believe it. The thought felt... wrong. He couldn't explain it but somehow he knew that his father was alive.
Determined Luke stood up again. He wanted to go back inside and tell his Aunt just what he thought. However when he came to the kitchen, something urged him to stop. The door was open a gap and he could peak inside where Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen sat at the kitchen table together.
"He talked about his father again today", Beru said and Luke leaned a bit closer to not miss a single word. "I didn't know what to tell him, Owen, I felt so helpless!"
"It's better if he doesn't know anything, we should just forbid him to talk of it again", Owen growled. "Nothing good comes out of it!"
"But he's his father! It's only natural for the boy to be curious. Maybe we should tell him. Not now, of course", she said when Owen started to protest. "But when he's old enough. The boy already dreams of leaving Tatooine. We won't be able to hold him here forever. And what if he gets himself into danger because he doesn't know?"
"His father was a Jedi. He was killed by the Empire and thus he must never mention his name because the Empire would hunt him down. What's so difficult about that? He doesn't have to know the truth."
Luke's breath caught, his father was a Jedi!? Or was he? His uncle's words were so confusing.
"If we tell him that he was a Jedi, he will be only more determined to know more about him. If we just told him the truth about Vader-"
"I will not hear that name in my house!", Owen called out. "It's nothing but trouble!"
"What do you think the Emperor's second in command would do if he knew we've been hiding his son from his for the past nine years?"
"He would be mad but that doesn't mean... You're his brother after all!"
"Not by blood!"
"And I'm not saying he has to find out. I'm just saying Luke has the right to know."
Owen sighed. "Let's... just see how he turns out, alright? Maybe we'll be lucky and he'll take over the farm then it will never be an issue."
Silently Luke closed the door and went back to his room. His head was spinning. Did his relatives really mean what he thought they meant? His father... His father was not only alive but he didn't even know that Luke was on Tatooine? And Vader... Did they talk about Darth Vader? Even here in the Outer Rim, people had heard about the black armored nightmare of a warrior. The image of a menacing, towering black figure appeared in Luke's mind, so unlike the picture of the daring pilot he had always imagined. That couldn't be right... could it? Unlike before when Beru had said that his father was dead, Luke did not feel such... wrongness at the thought.
Luke didn't know what to think. On one side he was happy that his father had not abandoned him. How could he if he didn't even know where Luke was? His relatives – who were not even related to him by blood, whatever that meant – had hidden him. They... they had lied to him. On the other hand, the thought of having Darth Vader as a father was... quite terrifying. Luke couldn't imagine that man wanting to give him a hug. But, he tried to tell himself, it wasn't like he knew all that much about Vader – about his father. He was working in the military. Pretty high up, from the sound of it. What he remembered of his sneak peaks into the holonet, reporters talking about him always seemed to be quite nervous. People were afraid of him. But he was making the Empire win many battles. Luke, like every boy who didn't know his parents, had always wished that his father would be a hero and he supposed it wasn't entirely impossible that for some people in the Empire, his father was a hero. So that was good, right? ...it didn't feel right.
Deep down in his hear, Luke knew that what his father was doing was very, very wrong.
Hello my dear readers and welcome to my new fanfiction. To everyone who's read Free from Force, welcome back!
I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my usual updating schedule (the coming year is gonna be BUSY!) but after that VERY rough awakening of the Force, I felt like I had to sit down and write down something real fast.
Just to get it out of the way: I won't change the punctuation/direct speech. It's not wrong, it's just not English. Just deal with it.
Like FFF, the fanfic is only very loosely planned but this time, it's not about galactic wars and awesome battles. (Actually, it is about galactic wars and awesome battles but only later on.) It's about two little boys trying to find a family. I had to tweak some data for this to work.
The Empire was founded in 19 BBY (before battle of Yavin), which is when Luke was born. Starkiller is two years older than him and was found by Vader at the age of four. They're gonna be twelve and ten respectively when the story starts, however Starkiller naturally acts a lot more mature.
I also made the Lars a bit poorer then they probably are.
Lastly, Vader was depicted as somewhat of a sidekick to the Emperor in New Hope and didn't get any real power till Empire Strikes Back. In my fanfic he's the inofficial second in command from the start, through he does have to fight off lots of competition who don't realize Siths are supernatural.
I think that's all for now, I hope the prologue caught your interest. Don't forget to review, please!