Imperium of Vader
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars
Summary: In the Age of the Empire, the unthinkable happened: The Emperor is dead, secretly slain by his apprentice, Darth Vader. Now the reigning Lord of the Sith and Emperor of the Galaxy, Vader now tries to juggle keeping rebels underfoot and the Empire together while turning it into something to be proud of. Now he just needs to figure out what to do with the Death Star...
It was a message that echoed across the galaxy, leaving confusion and uncertainty in its wake.
"Citizens of the Galactic Empire! I am Darth Vader, Commander of the Imperial Fleet. I am broadcasting this message from Imperial Center on all frequencies to deliver grave news: Our Emperor, Sheev Palpatine, is dead. Slain by Jedi survivors, the same traitors that attempted to overthrow him in the final days of the Republic! The full story will be released in time, along with his will, once we are certain just how many took part is this final betrayal to the Emperor. Rest easy in knowing that these fools shall be hunted down like the vermin they are. Mourn and rage, citizens, mourn and rage."
"Well, that was an admittedly impressive performance," A voice behind Vader spoke the instant the feed was ended.
"Grand Moff Tarkin," Vader acknowledged without the slightest hint of surprise. "I take it you have reviewed the contents of the Emperor's True Will."
"Yes, curiously enough," Tarkin answered with a scowl. "It seems that his late Majesty elected to name you his successor with the caveat that you had to have killed him."
"That is the nature of the Sith Order," Vader acknowledged, keeping his stare on the career military man. "Something troubles you?"
"Oh, a great many things trouble me about this, but the chief would have to be that he apparently didn't designate any heir at all if you weren't his killer, allowing the whole empire to fall into chaos," he explained with a touch of bitterness.
"The Emperor was many things, Tarkin. Benevolent wasn't one of them," Vader opined in understanding. "The Emperor's ship?"
"Only the 501st have been allowed onboard the Eye of Palpatine, per your instructions," Tarkin acknowledged. "You know there will be much resistance to this. It might even spark open rebellions."
"There are always dissenters when a changing of the guard takes place," Vader commented as he seemed to loom over the aging human. "Curious. I don't sense any treachery in you. Tell me, Tarkin, what has prompted this sudden acceptance of me replacing the Emperor?" Vader questioned pointedly.
Tarkin refused to shiver, but his spine did go stiff. "I've always advocated a Rule of Fear, or a fear of power to be specific," Tarkin started with some reluctance. "Let's just say that after seeing the aftermath of your battle with the Emperor, I'm in no hurry to become your enemy. That and, well, I already tried and failed to kill you with lightning, among other things," Tarkin mused with a small smirk.
Vader nodded, and Tarkin swore he could feel the room become less oppressive and cold. "It was a valiant hunt on your part," Vader admitted with a nod of respect. "...I will freely admit that I have not kept a solid pulse on politics as of late."
"I imagine hunting down Jedi in hiding would be very distracting," Tarkin quipped as he stroked his chin. "You're asking for advice?"
"Without the issue of you trying to claim yourself as Emperor, you are the person I trust the most in the Empire right now," Vader answered in complete seriousness.
"...Pardon my frankness, but what did I do to earn that of all things?" Tarkin questioned in legitimate confusion.
"Your history. Of all the Moffs, Advisors, and everyone else, you are the only one I know that believes in the Empire as an idea," Vader elaborated solemnly. "With the Emperor, it was simply a means to an end, the method by which he claimed dominance over the entire galaxy. You, Tarkin? You see it similarly to how I do: An End onto itself. An end to the chaos and uselessness of the Republic, an end to the scum that plagued the outer systems with fear while the core worlds rested contently. An end to...the old status quo."
Tarkin stood in silent awe for a moment as he processed what Vader was saying. Collecting himself, he cleared his throat to answer. "That is...rather idealistic, which neither of us are."
"Being a pragmatist or realist is not incompatible with idealistic goals. It merely means the true goal isn't to succeed, but to get as close to as possible. To reach a "good enough" that we can settle for," Vader articulated.
"Careful, Lord Vader, your Jedi is showing," Tarkin quipped despite himself, looking towards the ceiling in thought for a moment. "The public loved Palpatine. Worshipped him in some places. True, many feared him, but the galaxy is vast enough for him to have been both loved and feared."
"Fear is not an area I need aid with," Vader opined.
"Believe me, I am well aware. But if you're to fill the gap enough that this entire Empire doesn't crumble around you, you need to give people a reason to trust you. Something true…something grand," Tarkin admitted, keeping his eyes intently on the Sith Lord. "And only two things come to mind."
"...You want me to tell the galaxy that?" Vader deduced coldly.
"I'd like you to consider it. The other being, how should I say this? Capitalize on the fear of the Jedi and your crusade against them," Tarkin remarked before gaining a suspicious look. "501st...I always suspected that was you."
"While true, it will also sway away those that still cling to the idea of the Republic and the Jedi as its so-called protectors," Vader remarked with distaste, ignoring Tarkin's other comment.
Tarkin sighed heavily. "I'll be blunt, those that still care for or sympathize with the Jedi are far more a minority compared to those suffering from this idealism regarding restoring the Republic," he stated harshly as he rubbed his brow, before catching Vader inclining his head upward in the most minute of degrees. "You have a thought, Lord Vader?"
"Why was the Emperor met with thunderous applause when he declared the Republic was now an Empire?" the Sith Lord redirected.
"Because before him, the Senate had become a useless, bloated..." Tarkin stopped with a very, very displeased look. "Tell me you're not seriously considering it?"
"I'm considering my version of it," Vader answered vaguely even as disdain reached his voice. "Tell me, Tarkin? Do you truly care, as a military man, to control AND manage every aspect of every habited planet in the galaxy? Or, even just a sector?"
Tarkin considered the question for a moment. Control? Most definitely. Manage? Tarkin ran smooth military operations because it was in his nature to be talented at that. Beyond that? "While not my forte, after the republic's failures, I saw little other recourse."
Vader pulled a folder from behind his back and handed it to the Grand Moff, leaving Tarkin to wonder if the Dark Lord had been keeping it in a belt or just using the Force to levitate it there. "What is this?" he asked curiously.
"Before I was as I am, I frequently debated with someone how we would change the Senate, if we could. This is a more refined version of the results from one discussion," Vader answered vaguely as Tarkin opened the file. "In truth, it's not too dissimilar to the system of Moffs, in concept at least."
Tarkin skimmed through it, raising an eyebrow. "Just enough to take the winds out of their sail, and just enough for the rest to hang themselves…"
Timeskip: Three Days Later
Bail Organa prided himself on being clever, thoughtful, and quick on his feet in the world of politics while still being an uncorrupt politician and leader. Those skills were in indefinite need to be a senator in the age of the Galactic Empire, lest the Emperor find an excuse to imprison or make one disappear. All that aside, he was truly at a lost for what he was about to walk into.
As he was escorted by an imperial officer, instead of entering a throne room, he found himself in an ordinary meeting room. But the long table was empty, save for one figure.
Darth Vader. Commander of the Imperial Fleet, Enforcer of the Empire and the nightmare of all that opposed the Emperor.
But the Emperor was dead. Something Bail was still trying to understand. There had been no chatter, no sign of anything coming to this. No one knew anything, not even what to do. All they knew was that Darth Vader proclaimed the Emperor dead, assassinated.
"My Lord," Bail greeted cautiously, raising an eyebrow. "Or is it Emperor now?"
"Take a seat, Senator Organa," Vader instructed. Despite his personal feeling against the cyborg, the Viceroy of Alderaan knew to obey and sat across from the Sith Lord. For a moment, the room was quiet, save for Vader's breathing. After a brief contest of wills, Vader decided to make a point and raised his hand.
Bail, to his credit, didn't release his bowels when he jumped away from the chair next to him as it imploded into itself, curling into a twisted and broken ball of metal. Regaining his breath quickly, the senator gave a brief glare to Vader, who stared back patiently. "Is that what this is? An execution? An intimidation tactic?"
"No, Senator, this is me setting the ground rules," Vader answered as he rose, moving to stand before the man. "I am not Palpatine, Organa. I am not Tarkin, or anyone else. I do not require a law, an army, a political scheme, or even a weapon to kill you. And unlike all of them, I have no problem with getting my hands dirty," he stated before pulling out a folder and pushing it into the man's chest. "So I hope you understand that this proposal is genuine."
Bail blinked as he grabbed the offered paperwork while the Sith Lord moved back to the table. "That is your way of reassuring someone?" he questioned in a legitimately curious tone.
"Less reassuring and more assurance that my preferred methods of dealing with my enemies is more direct than you are accustom to," Vader explained patiently.
Confused and uncertain still, Bail opened the document curiously and began to look it over. "This...can't be-"
"A formal relinquishment of many old emergency powers granted to the then-Chancellor. With a stipulation," Vader elaborated.
"Proposals to reforms the entire legislative body of the Imperial Senate...," Bail read off before closing the folder with a deep sigh, placing it on the table. He put both hands on the surface, staring directly at the Sith Lord, who stared back as if he found Bail to be completely unimportant. "Why?"
"Which part?" Vader questioned with a slight head tilt.
"You're going to be the Emperor; you wouldn't offer this if that wasn't your plan. His Majesty had absolute power, why would you give that up?" he asked intently. "Because most will see this-"
"As a political trap, I know," Vader acknowledged. "An important aspect of leadership is delegating. I'm delegating the parts I have no interest in dictating to the people I imagine have the most interest in doing so."
"But, I take it, you'll refuse any and all demilitarization?" Bail guessed knowingly.
"Why do coreworlders have such an aversion to having standing military forces?" Vader questioned, raising his hand. This time, without an action of the Force to follow it up. "That was rhetorical. We have just barely gotten rid of the Separatist holdouts and we're still formally bringing the Outer Rim into the fold. Like it or not, the Galaxy needs military force to keep peace."
"You do remember Ghorman?" Bail asked rhetorically. "What rank is Wilhuff Tarkin now?"
Bail flinched when Vader raised a finger to point at him sharply. "Careful, Senator," he warned as the room grew tense. "I am here, Senator. I am actually meeting you at the table with an offer. Can you actually imagine my predecessor ever doing anything similar?" he reasoned.
Bail held his gaze for a moment, trying not to be intimidated, and painfully aware that Vader wasn't trying to intimidate him…yet. With a sigh, he stood up straighter. "Why the restructuring of the senate?" he asked in resignation.
"The Republic failed," Vader stated bluntly. "If you want the senate to be trusted to have any true power again, you will have to accept that fact, Organa. Or you can keep hoping to revive a broken system to fail again."
Bail raised a brow as he looked down at the folder contemplatively. "So...each Over-Sector has their own Sub-Senates, or Sector Senates, to govern the systems. In turn each Over-Sector may appoint a representative and senator to bring matters before the Imperial Senate. Do I understand this right?" Bail summarized.
"Imperial Senators are voted upon by their respective sector senates and each senate can change their Imperial Representative at any time," Vader added on. "If the exact layout of Over-Sectors is a point of contention, they can be debated amongst your colleges. The goal is simply to keep the Imperial Senate lean and efficient."
"Many systems won't like this," Bail pointed out. "The Republic granted many privileges to its founding planets."
"And you wonder how we ended up here?" Vader pointed out, looking at Bail oddly. "Do remember that for all your preaching of democracy, you ARE a hereditary monarch."
"A constitutional one," Bail retorted with a slight glare.
"Is that so different than what I'm offering?" Vader questioned, honestly wondering if he saw a difference. "Senator, you may not realize it, but I have three factors in my favor."
"I assume fear is one of them," Bail guessed evenly.
"We're the Galactic Empire, that's a given," Vader admitted without hesitation. "No, one of them is that," he stated, pointing to the chair he had broken.
"...I don't follow. You mean the Force?" Bail speculated with a scowl.
"While powerful, not what I meant. The Emperor was beloved by many, but he was rarely seen in public after the Imperial Reformation. When the Empire has true enemies that need to be faced, it will not be mere armies and starships they face: It will be Darth Vader."
Bail bit his lip as he conceded that point. Despite the implications, many people loved the idea of a warrior as their leader. And if Vader truly fought in the trenches, it would endear him to many, no matter how much of a true tyrant he might or might not be. "And the second thing?"
"I'm the Emperor's legal heir," Vader stated flatly, letting that one sink in. Bail hid it well, but Vader sensed the surprise. No doubt the Alderaanean thought this was a power grab, not a legal succession. "I'll be announcing the third at the Emperor's funeral in a month. In that time, take that file and discuss it with your...colleagues," Vader advised pointedly. "But no one else."
Bail nodded slowly. "Thank you, My Lord," he said neutrally as he took the file. "I don't suppose I can expect justice for any of the atrocities the Empire committed?" he questioned bravely.
"None under Palpatine. Under me? Let time answer, Senator. Regardless of what you decide, just let it be known I offered the olive branch," Vader answered ominously.
Bail said nothing as he made a brief bow and turned to leave the room. He paused at the door, looking back at the durasteel figure. "Is that really how the Emperor died?" he questioned warrily.
Vader regarded him calmly and answered in a tone that almost sounded casual. "As I said, the Emperor was killed by Jedi."
Bail nodded slowly before finally departing from the room. He kept his pace steady, resisting the urge to walk faster, lest he appear scared of Vader in front of the soldiers and officers.
Or in front of a Grand Moff.
Marching towards him was Wilhuff Tarkin himself, the man behind the massacre of Ghorman, among others. The military man paid no mind to the politician, staring coldly ahead. For the moment, the senator was at least content that that man wasn't in line to become Emperor. He honestly couldn't image Vader being worse than Tarkin.
Meanwhile, the Grand Moff of the Outer Over-Sector stepped into the meeting room and was both surprised and almost amused to see that every chair in the room was destroyed, save two. "I suppose I should be grateful you saved me one," he remarked idly as he eyed the Dark Lord who was...well, there was no other word than brooding. "I assume by the senator's lack of death that things went well?"
"I hate politicians," Vader stated flatly. "He will take it to his fellow senators, especially those that sympathize with resistance cells. They will either try to use my "leniency" to undermine the empire, allowing us to pluck them from the woodwork, or they shall take the offer."
"And while they're rebuilding their house of cards, we'll be dealing with the Moffs," Tarkin remarked knowingly. "I'm going to estimate that at least six go rogue."
"Hopefully the incompetent ones," Vader remarked before he stiffened as he actually registered what was said. "Wait, you're saying none have gone rogue yet?"
"I made a rather threatening speech about needing to look united in this time of mourning," Tarkin answered with the smallest of smirks before his expression morphed into a scowl. "...Why did you kill him? Now, I mean?"
Vader paused and Tarkin swore the room shuddered. "Live long enough and I'll tell you one day, Grand Moff Tarkin."
Tarkin wisely let the matter drop. "As you desire, Emperor Vader."
End of Chapter
Ello my fellow Star Nerds! You all voted for it overwhelming, so here it is: From the author of Hero of Naboo, I give you the Imperium of Vader!
Hope you all enjoyed this first chapter. Sorry we skipped the battle between Vader and Sidious, buuut that would have been a small story onto itself. Don't worry, you'll get glimpses of that in flashbacks. While a bit more humorous, there will be plenty of serious moment in and around the funny of this story while keeping things mostly in character.
So, yes, Vader is going to be the new Emperor, even if some try to refute that claim, and Tarkin is backing him for a few different reasons. And despite both men's shared distaste for the Senate, Republic or Imperial, Vader is granting back some powers to the Senate that Palpatine stripped away while keeping all the military power, and making sure the Senate doesn't turn into the same mess it was before.