Imperium of Vader

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars

"Are we actually considering this?!"

That was the indignant sentiment shared by everyone in the room, even those that were considering it.

The voice of said complaint was Garm Bel Iblis, a human senator from Corellia as he looked around at the faces of many senators. They were all meeting in a private room on the planet of Alderaan. But they were careful to not say anything too treasonous, lest spies and ears give someone ammunition to move against all of them.

"For a decade, we have resisted the creeping claws of tyranny, reaching for the last breaths of liberty. And at last, we receive a breath of fresh air, and now we are prepared to stand by and even help them refasten the noose?" the man asked dramatically.

"No one is saying that, Garm," Bail stated forcefully. "Up until now, yes, we have been...frustrated with the lack of impact our diplomacy has had."

Which was code for "we have been plotting a rebellion against a power-mad emperor for years."

"But Emperor Palpatine is dead," Bail stated pointedly, letting that fact sink in once more for everyone. Over a week and it was still hard to believe. "He is dead. Which leaves the galaxy in a delicate situation-"

"Which is why it is time to act!" Garm stated firmly.

"Here, here!" Wimmey Lenz spoke out in a deep voice. "Friends, now is the time to press for change, true change, a restoration of the Republic. Not a remodeling of our current roles as puppets."

"A delicate situation we are not prepared to handle if it implodes on us!" Bail continued forcefully, redrawing attention. "The reality is that the Empire has an enormous war machine, headed by many Moffs and they by the Grand Moffs. With the Emperor dead, we have a power vacuum. A power vacuum they will be eager to fill. Too eager."

"A civil war," Mon Mothra said solemnly, hands steeped as she gazed at the floor as if in a distant memory. "Not one for liberty, but for the right to be the new tyrant. It would be worse than the Clone Wars. Fought by the people, not by clones and droids, with every world a possible battlefield for dozens of factions."

"And yet, without their master, the hounds have not torn themselves apart," Vasp Vaspar noted tiredly, rubbing his eyes to fight away exhaustion.

"Why, exactly, are we listening to this Darth Vader?" Trnnra Pamlo asked with a scowl. "By what right does he even hope to claim the throne? Why would we, senators of our planets, ever acknowledge him as such? Why should any planet?"

"Both questions answer one another," Bail stated with an empty smirk. "Many Moffs fear Vader more than they want power. Even without the rumors and tales of his powers, the soldiers across the military respect him. Where he goes, victory for the Empire surely follows and he is often in the thick of combat. Worse yet, Grand Moff Tarkin himself seems to be on his side, which only adds to his powerbase. I've already heard news that various Moffs have died under mysterious circumstances."

"So you wish to capitulate to him because he can make the military submit?" Garm accused harshly.

"I'm currently grateful that the Empire isn't eating itself and the common citizen alive, regardless of who is keeping it tamed," Bail corrected with a glare. "More importantly, I'm trying to decide."

"On what, Bail?" Mon Mothra asked curiously.

"In short, how reasonable Darth Vader is," Bail answered with a sigh. "We have been prepared to take the long route of protesting and fighting without bloodshed, in hopes that order and sanity could be returned eventually, even if not in our lifetime. But that plan has been smashed and bloodied with every imperial decree. Yet, Vader's proposal does grant many powers back to the Imperial Senate. That is more than we ever hoped for in recent times."

"It is appeasement, and nothing more," Garm said resentfully.

"Don't tell me you're complaining because it removes the special privileges of Core Worlds," Ivor Drake stated distastefully.

"That has NOTHING to do with this," Garm denied vehemently.

"Good. Because as much as the notion of Tarkin remaining in power sours the mood, I believe we should be willing to meet Vader at the table and see if there isn't a middle ground between Tyranny and Liberty," Ivor stated with a smirk on her face.

"Has there ever been?" Vasp asked pessimistically.

"No, but tyrants normally don't give up any power," Ivor retorted casually. "And do recall, that proposal came with a few mandatory matters to decide, ones I rather like."

"Like an enforceable distinction between Imperial Laws and Local Planetary laws," Bail remarked in bemusement. "What is that man playing at?"

"If we go down this route, we may not recover for generations," Garm remarked sternly.

"Which is why we're not making a decision yet," Bail retorted. "We are seeing how Vader's claim to the throne plays out, and how much more power we can convince him to return to the Senate and the people."

"A sentiment that I understand," Timi Rotramel, the Mon Calamari senator spoke up in a solemn yet angry voice. "But my people have had our king imprisoned and our people forced to scatter into hyperspace to escape the tyranny of the Empire. Some of us cannot afford to give up with so few wrongs against us corrected. Wrongs committed at the very hands of Tarkin and Vader."

Everyone stayed silent for a moment to remember the invasion of the Mon Calamari home world. The Empire had done horrible things, but some worse than others.

"There's only one way to truly test this," Mon Mothra stated with a heavy voice. "Darth Vader, the supposed Emperor-to-be, has sent us a proposal. For a moment, let us pretend that we believe this offer is genuine. What sort of counter demands would we have to alter or add to this plan?" she suggested before turning to Timi. "My friend, I promise you that the freedom of your king and people are chief among our concerns. But I ask that you join us in this venture, as we attempt to discover just who and what we truly face."

The Mon Calamari kept her stare for a moment before nodding slowly and retaking his seat.

"The plan does return a great deal of power to the Senate, in theory," Bail admitted delicately. "The power to decide legality of trade practices, legality of questionable substances, and even the degree of civilian weaponry allowed within each sector.'

"But no power over the military," Garm pointed out pessimistically.

"It does allow for police forces," Ivor Drake remarked. "Which, defined loosely enough, would allow us to form them as militia."

"Regardless of whom Vader is or what he believes in, I doubt he would ever allow a police force to have the kind of firepower needed to be a threat," Nower Jebel said thoughtfully. "Or allow us enough funds to make our own in secret."

"Senators," Mothra spoke up with a resigned look. "The Imperial Armies are not going to vanish, we all know this. Yes, we can plan ways to counter them if it proves futile to attempt this route, but for the sake of the argument? What would we require in this deal to show it is a true step back to liberty and freedom?"

The question hung in the air. A decade of fear and hiding their true intents had made them too accustomed to thinking in that way, thinking of a way to exploit the Empire for their future attempt to restore the Republic through rebellion. It was hard to come to terms with the idea of having a more peaceful success.

"The big problem is obvious," Bail stated, nodding towards Garm. "No matter how much legislative power we have, Vader can just overrule it and, more importantly, we have no true judicial power. We could never bring any other Moffs on charges, even if we ignored Tarkin's atrocities."

"Then that is what we must say to Vader about his proposal," Mon Mothra stated firmly.


"Lord Vader, thank you for- what the hell is going on here?"

Tarkin had been thinking those seven words plenty of times since recent events had occured. He had not, until now, felt the inability to keep them contained.

In fairness, he wasn't sure how to process seeing Darth Vader reclined in his chair behind the desk, with said desk surrounded by empty bottles, and the Dark Lord currently holding a half-full one as he slurped the blue liquids with a straw.

A straw that appeared to be built into his mask.

"Tarkin, this is not what it appears to be," Vader stated firmly.

"It looks like you're drowning yourself in some form of alcohol," Tarkin remarked as he approached the desk, picking up a bottle and sniffing it. His nose wrinkled at the scent. "Is this Blue Tonic?" he asked before going very still and very alarmed. "Please tell me you did not make a Reactor Core."

The idea of Force powers like Vader's under the influence of anything hallucinogenic was terrifying on every conceivable level. He contemplated if retreating from the room was a viable route.

"No, Tarkin, you do not have to concern yourself with the idea of me hallucinating," Vader stated flatly, yet sounding disturbingly relaxed. "It is merely blended in with my medical treatment."

"Medical treatment?" Tarkin repeated in confusion.

"Now that Palpatine is gone, I can finally upgrade this suit properly and repair some of the damage to my body," Vader explained, raising his bottle. "This is, essentially, the drinkable version of bacta; Bactade. The name is almost as horrible as the taste."

"That raises more questions than it answers," Tarkin stated with a scowl. "Like why you sound like you're..."

"Sound like I've been using death sticks?" Vader supplied helpfully, getting an uncertain nod. "Tarkin, I am in just a pleasant enough mood to explain this to you, even though I am almost certain this concoction is clouding my judgement. Do you know why literally no injury has ever been able to stop me? Why I can just push through the pain?"

"I always assumed you just suppressed it with your abilities," Tarkin answered warily.

"A viable answer, but no," Vader answered, taking another sip of his medical drink. "Pain doesn't stop me because I am in constant utter agony within this suit."

Tarkin stared for a moment, not sure how to respond to that. "And you've been in that suit, like this, for past a decade now?"

"Outside of trips to my own bacta tanks. So, yes, finally commencing a treatment for my conditions, along with the mild dulling of the pain? There is something euphoric in it, I will admit," Vader explained, watching as Tarkin eyed the bottles. "Before you say anything, I am not developing an addiction. This was the amount I was perscribed to take by this hour today. It is also why, besides you, I have no meetings today; so that I might have a chance to test how much this affects my state of being."

"Well, your speech and motor functions don't appear compromised, even if your disposition is a bit...strange, Lord Vader," Tarkin stated carefully with a quirked eyebrow. "Just for the record, and so I can plan ahead for how much of this I might have to help you cover up, how long is this treatment?"

"The Bactade-heavy phase? A week at most. The entire treatment? I am unsure. My immediate goal is to be able to remove my mask and speak during the Emperor's funeral with little issue," Vader explained shortly.

Tarkin looked surprised before nodding in understanding. "Yes, that would be a rather nice touch to the event. Still, why are we meeting then?" Tarkin inquired.

"Because I assume that any meeting you request this suddenly is too important to put off," Vader answered honestly. With that, he leaned forward to stand up, his straw retracting into his mask, rolling his shoulders- and suddenly, Tarkin felt like he was standing in front of the Vader he usually dealt with. "And just what is the point of this meeting exactly, Grand Moff?" Vader asked sharply.

Tarkin nodded as he cleared his throat, feeling like he was in familiar territory again. "The Moffs are becoming anxious."

"I thought that you had the situation under control?" Vader asked with a scowl beneath his helmet.

"Of Moffs and Grand Moffs going rogue and starting their own micro-empires? Yes, but that is not the issue any more. I am not the only Grand Moff. Everyone is growing uncertain over why they should follow you as the next Emperor. This is no longer a matter of keeping them loyal to the Empire, but giving them a reason to believe you should be the one to lead them. Your own reputation and me at your side only buys you so much recognition among them," Tarkin elaborated strongly. "Each Grand Moff especially. They are inevitably going to ask themselves the same question: Why Darth Vader instead of me?"

"I see. I suppose I was too idealistic to hope I could simply wait until one did something foolish, like trying to assassinate me, to make an example out of," Vader said, looking off to the distance in thought. "Tarkin, are there any planets that are actively and openly rebelling yet?"

"Regrettably not, but you would be the first to know," Tarkin remarked knowingly. "Purging some of the Moffs might be an option, but to clean them all out would be a step too far. There is a thing as too much fear, if it prevents subordinates from preforming."

The Grand Moff and Dark Lord stood there for an instant, contemplating this issue.

"There way that should solve our issues and increase those of our enemies," Vader stated with some hesitation. "I was intending to keep this plan in reserve, just in case it might be needed later, but the present must have precedence over the future."

"Which implies we are unlikely to be able to use this strategy a second time," Tarkin deduced with a frown. "Just what are you plotting, Lord Vader?"

"The assassination of the Emperor will be something discussed and researched generations after us, Grand Moff," Vader stated meaningfully. "I already gave the galaxy the answer to who did it, the Jedi. The why can be interpreted however one chooses to view the Emperor. But there is a question that I know all will come to wonder: How?"

"How?" Tarkin repeated, his brow furrowed as he began to make the connections. "You think framing a Grand Moff will solve this issue?"

"In the manner I desire to present it, yes: a Moff or Grand Moff aided the Jedi in getting to the Emperor, a Grand Moff that intended to assassinate the Emperor. For the Republic," Vader explained patiently.

"For the Rep-" Tarkin stopped, blinking as he grew contemplative. "That could work. The Senators come to suspect some Moffs are sympathetic to their goals; the Moffs are no longer certain who they can trust to support the Empire no matter who is in charge. And you profit for outting a high ranking traitor while instilling fear into any that might oppose you. But how would you convincingly frame one?"

"The best person to frame is always one truly guilty of a similar crime," Vader answered mysteriously. "For the past two years, we believed there was an assassination attempt against the Emperor in the making."

"What? Why wasn't I ever aware of this?" Tarkin asked in disbelief.

"Partially because you were a suspect," Vader answered honestly.

Tarkin looked surprised. "When did I ever give anyone the notion of disloyalty?"

"Never, but the deed that was done cast suspicion on all Moffs: someone commissioned a small army of specialized clone troopers," Vader explained.

Tarkin frown at that. "We've kept Kamino under firm watch. Only someone high in the empire could have the resources and knowledge to commission and smuggle any sizable force from that planet," Tarkin realized thoughtfully.

"They still will not be ready for combat for close to a decade. And the cloners themselves were unaware of the true identity of the one who made the order," Vader continued. "And of all the Grand Moffs, you were technically the one most likely to accomplish that without leaving a trail."

Tarkin almost felt like snorting. His own skills and resources made him the most likely suspect of a plot against the Emperor. It made sense, he knew that logically. "So we find the one responsible for that order, we have a scapegoat to make an example of to the Moffs."

"And depending on who it is, bringing them to "justice" may appease the senators enough to accept my proposal," Vader finished. "I only need one thing from you at the moment, Tarkin. We need someone, an outsider, to "discover" this information."

"Someone we can trust," Tarkin summarized, cupping his chin. "There is one person that I trust more than anyone Vader, but like you, I'm not sure I want to expose her for this plan."

"How important is this one's current placement?" Vader countered, somewhere between inquiring and challenging.

"That depends, how important do you regard the Installation?" Tarkin retorted bluntly. Tarkin took it as a minor victory that Vader actually grew silent at that information.

The Maw Installation, the birth place of nearly all imperial superweapons, where the Death Star Prototype had been built; A place so secret that the only people aware of it were those that remained in the Maw. Only the Emperor, Vader, and Tarkin were the exceptions to that rule.

"So, it is who you placed in command of guarding it," Vader realized, absorbing that. "Her?"

Tarkin didn't respond to any implication the Dark Lord might be making with that commentary.

"It seems neither of us truly ever agreed with the all the policies of the new order," Vader remarked knowingly.

Tarkin wisely didn't even try to deny that claim. "In any case, she is the only one I can reasonably suggest for this myself. Loyalty aside, her skills would make her discovering this knowledge fairly believable."

Vader nodded in understanding. "I may have an alternate solution; One that will benefit her when a trustworthy replacement for her can be located."

"I'm listening?" Tarkin agreed curiously.

"There is one Grand Moff that, despite their position, is still very desperate to prove their worth to the empire," Vader informed. "However, you may have issues with this one."

"What is his name?" Tarkin inquired, already forming a list of who Vader might be referring to.

"They are more of an It than a he."

End of Chapter

Before anyone asks, yes, Bactade is the actual name, I'm not making that up. As for why Vader would let Tarkin know about the treatment, he was self aware enough to look like he had an issue with one vice or another, and knew he couldn't hide it from everyone without vanishing for a while- which he can't afford to do right now. Thus, he let Tarkin be aware so they can work around Vader's treatment.

Still, yes, sorry this took so long. I actually scrapped a different start to this story, which attirubted to the delay. Anyway, we got some lovely plotting from all sides. the would-be heads of the Rebellion are very mixed about Vader's olive branch, while Vader and Tarkin have to deal with the Moffs and Grand Moffs trying to make a power grab now that the empire isn't about to fracture into pieces.

We'll be getting a timeskip in the not too distant future, probably next chapter or the one than the fun will really begin. And while my attention is normally more on Hero of Naboo, I have a lot of fun with this one all the same.

PS Do NOT get use to Vader's medicine-induced good moods, it won't last.

PPS Happy Halloween! And regardless of who you support, happy election day!

p a treon . com (slash) akumakami64