Content: AU. Luke and Vader are OOC, probably :-).

Disclaimer: I don't own SW

Chapter 1

As Darth Vader thundered down the gray corridors of the Emperor's palace on Imperial Center, he was vaguely aware of the members of the 501st behind him. They had started at a half trot and were now at a full jog to keep up with his ground eating strides.

Ahead and above him, at the forefront of his awareness, enveloping his Force sense, was the usually nova like presence of his son.

But the nova was diminished now. The brightness was collapsing, and flickering, and dying. Vader sensed Luke growing weaker by the moment.

There was very little time.

He rounded the last corner to the elevator leading to the Emperor's throne room. As usual, 6 red cloaked guards stood, with force pikes at the ready. Commander Flaust stood at the side, dressed in the nondescript gray of Imperial officers. He stepped forward hastily to bar Vader.

"My Lord, the Emperor has ordered that he not be disturbed!" he said firmly.

Vader forced himself to grab the last shredded remains of self control. A fight with the well trained Royal Guards would only delay him. He had no time for delay.

"Commander," he said, using every iota of force power he could find to convince the Commander, "I have sensed that the Emperor is in grave danger. I must aid him immediately."

(Not that the Emperor was "in danger" anymore. But those present didn't need to know that yet.)

Flaust paused. He had been well trained by the Emperor himself and was not prone to Force suggestion.

"You are certain, my Lord?"

"I am certain, Commander. I must be allowed to pass."

Uncertainty played across the Commander's face. To disobey the Emperor was to invite a death sentence. But Vader was the Emperor's second in command, and his Force link to his Master was acknowledged, if not understood.

Vader waited a few more agonizing seconds and then stated, "I will take full responsibility for my intrusion, Commander."

"Very well, my Lord. Your men must wait here. Guards, come with us."

Vader nodded grudgingly.

"Captain," he instructed his second in command, "Communicate with me when my medic arrives."

"As you wish, my Lord,"

The elevator to the throne room was large and lavish. The 8 men moved on board with room to spare, and Vader slammed the door shut with the Force as quickly as possible. As it rose, he absently noted again the use of rare Alderaanian fire crystal to accent the walls. It was typical of Palpatine to flaunt his power and wealth by buying up most of Alderaan's remaining fire crystal to decorate his elevator.

The elevator doors parted and Vader stepped forward rapidly, scanning the room in a few seconds. The throne room was spacious and dimly lit. The throne stood on a raised dais. At the foot of the throne, the huddled heap of Emperor Palpatine was sprawled in unmoving silence. Three meters closer to the elevator, another form lay on the ground, moaning softly.


Vader stepped forward quickly, barely sparing a glance for the dismembered remains of his former master.

Yes, Palpatine was dead.

But his son still lived.