And now the chapter we've all been waiting for. Dun, dun, dun!
Now if you haven't read the modified versions of the previous chapters, I recommend you do so first before reading this one.
Chapter 5: The Dark Truth & Lies
Dagobah, deep within the dark caves
Ben couldn't believe what he'd just heard. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't.
He came all the way out to the Outer Rim for a test. Then a mysterious darksider named Vlad comes along, chokes his cousin unconscious, and then tells the young Jedi that his grandfather is the infamous Darth Vader, the dark lord of the Sith. It didn't make sense. It just didn't.
Still shocked, Ben lifted his face, (which had just been facing the ground), back up, looking to see a smug smile on Vlad's face. He's was clearly enjoying this, which only infuriated Ben so much more than he already was with him.
"No! YOU'RE LYING!" Ben screamed. "My grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, was one of the greatest Jedi in the old Jedi Order. A man who was extremely dedicated and loyal to the ideals of truth and justice that the Republic and Jedi stood for. He fought for all this till the end when Darth Vader himself murdered him in cold blood during the beginning of the Jedi Purge nearly fifty years ago."
Vlad only laughed at this before asking, "And who told you that huh? Your mother, a politician who's mainly considered a warmonger, or your grubby uncle who married one of his sworn enemy's most loyal allies and had children with her? Do you really think they'd want to tell you this? How do think they would expect you, a boy with an anger problem, to take the news that he's the grandson of one of the greatest symbols of evil? Especially when such news could destroy their reputations."
As much as Ben hated to admit it, but it did kind of make sense. Though that didn't mean it was true.
"Prove it," Ben said sternly. Hoping that this would cause Vlad to show his bluff.
However, Vlad didn't show any signs that said otherwise.
"Very well," Vlad said. Reaching into his cloak, he pulled out a holoprojector and gently placed it on the ground; using the force to do so, as well turn it on.
The device began to project a hologram showing what appeared to be a group of Jedi in the midst of a fight between, what Ben recognized from research, as clone troopers used in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars.
"These are security recordings from when the 501st clone legion stormed, what was then, the Jedi Temple on Coruscant," Vlad explained. "When Palpatine turned the place into his palace he had all recordings of the event put together into a very exclusive documentary you could say, that he kept in his personal chambers. After the Empire's fall, I managed to recover it. As you watch you will see the death of so many Jedi including those slain by-"
"Master Skywalker?!" gasped a Jedi from the holorecording. "What is going on here?"
At that moment Ben saw a hooded man dressed in dark brown Jedi robes walk into view and sliced his blue-bladed lightsaber right through the chest of the Jedi who'd just spoken out to him.
"Anakin Skywalker! What are you doing? We're you're brothers and sisters?" said another Jedi in the recordings.
Like the previous Jedi, Skywalker used his lightsaber to slice her in the chest.
If that wasn't enough, another recording appeared of Anakin walking into some sort of chamber with chairs formed around in a circle with children hiding behind them. Upon entering, the kids stood up from their hiding places, with one of them asking the Jedi, "Master Skywalker there are too many of them what are we going to do?"
In response, Anakin ignited his lightsaber and started slaughtering all the children in the room like animals.
Then finally, a hologram of standing before Anakin Skywalker kneeling before Emperor Palpatine himself while the latter spoke to the former. "You have done well my new apprentice. Now Lord Vader go and bring peace to the Empire."
"As you wish my master," Lord Vader willing said.
The recordings then stopped. Leaving Ben utterly speechless. Despite hearing the truth, Ben still couldn't help but attempt to deny what he'd just witnessed.
"This can't be. My grandfather can't possibly be the very man who destroyed everything my family's worked so hard to restore. How is this possible? H...how do I know this isn't a fake recording?" Ben asked accusingly.
Once again Vlad wasn't hit. "Very well, I was hoping to give this to you as a present instead of as proof but sadly this is my last chance to help you see what you already know." He then activated a comlink hidden by his cloak. "Lieutenant Phasma please instruct my guard to bring the package into the cave at once."
"Yes Supreme Leader," Phasma responded back from her end. Silence then filled the cave until the sound of walking came into earshot of both force wielders.
Even before the sound of footsteps, Ben had already begun sensing a dark presence entering the cave. A presence dark, twisted, and sickening, but also familiar, as well as comfortable in a way Ben couldn't explain.
This presence continued to grow stronger and stronger just as the guard, (as Vlad had referred to the one he sent for), kept getting closer to them till Ben could see a person clad in crimson red armour and robes walk into the heart of the cave. In his or her arms, the guard carried a cubed, steel crate from which the presence Ben felt originated from.
The guard continued to walk till standing between Vlad and Ben while facing the young Jedi. Then leaned down and placed the crate on ground, before exiting the cave without a word.
"Go ahead and open it," Vlad offered once the guard was out of view, and the sound of his/her footsteps faded away.
Knowing that the answers he sought were inside this crate, Ben knelt down onto his knees and pressed the single button that he saw on top of the crate.
The top of the split open and the other sides of the crate fell to the ground; revealing the scorched, disfigured helmet of Darth Vader himself. This Ben could not deny. Everything he felt coming from the helmet through the force verified that it was what it appeared to be.
Looking over at Vlad, Ben saw a massive grin form on the man's face.
"Touch the helmet and you'll have the evidence to prove what I say is right about your lineage," was all Vlad would say.
Doing as instructed, Ben carefully placed the fingertips of his right hand on the scorched helmet.
What he felt upon touching the helmet was something so unbelievable that he couldn't explain it.
The dark side, stronger than Ben had ever felt it before in his life, surged through him. Not like a plague as he'd felt it in the past, but as energy, as power, as life. And in the center of it, the young Jedi could feel, visualize, the shadowy presence of Darth Vader with his helmet on. He could even hear the Dark Lord's infamous, loud breathing in the rhythmic pattern that was described in stories about him.
Ben was completely stunned by the sight before him. Though this shock felt more like excitement than a terrifying feeling expected under these circumstances. The weirdest thing was that Ben didn't know why he felt this way. That is, until the image of Vader removed his mask, revealing the face that was known to belong to Anakin Skywalker. The one he'd seen in countless holograms that his uncle had recovered over the years. The very same one he'd just seen in the recordings shown to him by Vlad moments ago. Ben understood now. He understood that Vlad had been right all along. Which only surprised him even more than he already was.
"B…by the light of Lothal's moons," Ben Solo gasped. When this happened the image of his grandfather vanished, and instead, he saw the darksider known as Vlad smirking while coming over towards Ben and putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Now you see the truth," he said to the young Jedi.
"I…I…" Ben stammered. "I have to inform my family about this. They need to know the truth."
"Oh they know," Vlad smirked. "They've all known for a long time. Even your cousin Jazz here, and your other, younger cousin Daniel know this."
Shocked, Ben shoved Vlad's hand off his shoulder and backed away from him. "No that can't be true."
Walking over to Ben, Vlad gently put his hand back on Solo's shoulder. "Oh but it is," he replied back. "It's harsh. But it's as true as your relation to Darth Vader."
"It's just not possible," Ben said in further denial. "Why wouldn't they have told me this? Why keep me in the dark?"
"Fear!" Vlad answered. "They fear that by just knowing of your heritage you will begin to question their views, even more than you already do now, and turn against them. You see Ben, your family fears your power. They know your potentials. Know that once you begin to question everything you'll realize the full truth like your grandfather did years ago with the old Jedi Order."
"And that would be?" Ben asked.
"That the Jedi are not the mighty masters of the force that they claim to be. They don't understand how the dark side is capable of bringing true peace and order to the galaxy. Two things that all the Republics, (past and present), have failed to provide to a torn up galaxy. When you realize all this, your family will turn against you in order to keep the delusion that their ways are keeping everyone safe when in fact are only making things worse. This exact thing happened to your grandfather so many years ago when he began to question the Jedi's plans. Trust me, it will happen sooner or later."
After taking in everything Vlad had just said, Ben asked. "What do you suppose I do?"
"Embrace the dark side. Become the powerful dark warrior you were meant to be, and join my new order. Together we shall finally bring about true peace and order to the galaxy."
"You mean become a Sith Lord," Ben snapped. He knew where this was going. This man was just trying to manipulate him to become his apprentice so that the corrupt, power-hungry darksider's of old could regain galactic dominance. And he wasn't going to give in so easily. Not without a fight.
Though once again, Vlad showed no signs of being struck by Ben's verbal blows. Instead of speaking in the same, calm tone he used throughout their entire conversation. "The Sith are gone. Like the Jedi, they've failed too many times at this dance. It is time to let the past die. Create a new order of force wielders truly dedicated to peace who have a real understanding/mastery of the force. I have done this, but I still require more recruits who are strong in the force like you."
"Recruits who are powerful enough to destroy the Jedi for you?" Ben countered.
"The Jedi are a stubborn order who only follow methods developed centuries ago; barely adapting them to current developments. It for this reason why they aren't fit to serve as guardians of peace. You know this Ben. I see it in your eyes. I understand you're afraid that I'm just using you, but I truly want to help you, as well everyone else in the galaxy. Though in order to do this, true change needs to be made. Something that comprises the useful tools of the Republics, (old and new), and the Empire into what will bring about true order. What do you say, Ben?" Vlad asked as he offered his free hand out to Ben. "Will you allow me to complete your training? Show you the dark side in ways that you're uncle never will? Become a true knight of the force?"
As much as it pained Ben to admit it, Vlad's argument made a lot of sense. Besides the ideas of the dark side and a government that actually worked sounded very tempting to him. Still, he couldn't just decide like this.
Looking down at the hand Vlad had offered him, Ben reached over and pushed it away from him. "Forgive me Vlad, but I need time to consider this."
Vlad, (for like the millionth time), showed no signs of hurt by Ben's refusal. Mainly because he knew that the boy was interested in what he offered, and just needed time to think it all over before joining him.
"Oh, course young Solo. Take your time. When you are ready, follow the dark side to the unknown regions. I promise you that it'll guide you to me and the First Order."
"Yes Vl…um I mean Supreme Leader," Ben responded; feeling it best to address the man by his title at this point. "I will do so when I believe I'm ready."
"Excellent! Now before I leave, I want you to keep your grandfather's helmet. It rightfully belongs to you anyway," Vlad said while giving a gesture of offering with his free hand directed at the scorched helmet on the ground.
Surprised, but also honoured, Ben responded back by saying. "Thank you Supreme Leader."
"Did everything go as planned Supreme Leader?" Phasma asked from her seat in the shuttle that now travelled through lightspeed.
"Yes Lieutenant Phasma," Vlad replied, satisfied with how things went right according to plan. "Exactly as I knew things would go."
"Then may I suggest that we set course for Naboo and wait for Skywalker's arrival. It is imperative that we get the son of Luke Skywalker immediately," Phasma recommended. A bit of anxiousness in her voice.
"No," Vlad said calmly. "We must be patient. First, we will return to our headquarters in the Unknown Regions. When I receive word that Daniel is on the move, I'll send my agent to bring him to us so that we may have a chat with him without any interruptions."
Clearly not convinced, Phasma interjected. "Supreme Leader with all due respect, your agent is nothing more than a common mercenary. Given what's at stake with Skywalker's son I don't believe he's the best choice."
"Oh don't worry Lieutenant," Vlad said assuredly. "He will perform just as we request. Soon Skywalker and Solo will belong to the dark side, and the First Order shall reign supreme!
"So you're saying that this guy is a darksider? But not a Sith?" Jazz asked.
Not too long after Vlad left, Jazz regained consciousness. Long enough, however, for Ben to stash Vader's helmet in the cargo compartment of his x-wing without his cousin knowing about it. At the moment the two of them were getting their fighters ready for takeoff. While Jazz got caught up to speed on what had happened after getting knocked out.
"Yeah," Ben responded. "He claimed that we're the descendants of Darth Vader."
This completely shocked Jazz to the point where she couldn't even respond. Instead, she just opened her eyes more than they already were. She eventually responded in a tone that sounded like she'd been stabbed in the back. "Vader? Darth Vader our grandfather? No that's impossible. Our grandfather was Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, and servant of peace and justice. There's no way someone as good as him would become such a dark, twisted, murderer that Vader was. Besides my father told us how Obi-Wan Kenobi conferred our grandfather's death at the hands of Darth Vader right after the formation of the Galactic Empire. You know this. Sounds to me like this Vlad guy was clearly lying to you."
Oh if only she knew, Ben thought. Or perhaps Vlad was right about his relatives knowing the truth and choosing to keep it from him out of fear of his power. If that were so than could his uncle be holding him back? Was his family keeping him from fulfilling his true destiny? Ben could not believe it, but then again, he hadn't believed that Darth Vader was his grandfather until a couple of hours ago. Whatever the case, he'd have to look into the matter personally without anyone's help.
"Yeah… lying," Ben said out loud before speaking again, this time to himself. "We'll see."
Well, I really hope you all think that this was the perfect way for Vlad, (aka Supreme Leader Snoke), to open Ben Solo up to the dark side.
Oh, I wonder what will happen next. Perhaps we should go see what Danny and Sam are thinking. Perhaps we shall meet a new/old friend.