...It's an update! And believe me, I'm just as surprised as you all are to see this.
Oh, and now FFnet is apparently no longer ignoring the /blah/ formating. Why can't the site make up it's mind already? Sheesh...this is such a pain...
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars
Claimer: All the plotline and OCs are belong to me
Blasters, being very clumsy and inelegant weapons, had two things going for them. The first was that you didn't need to be a Jedi to operate one...to be honest, the minimum requirement wasn't even any sort of intelligent consciousness, it was to have opposable thumbs and (hopefully) basic depth perception of some kind.
The second and way more obscure thing was that if you listened hard enough, they actually made music.
A bored or tired soldier on the front lines of war often found that an eerie melody was created when blasters exchanged fire. Different blaster makes gave out different pitches, and as long as you weren't standing around like an idiot in the open, it was something that, ironically enough, took your mind off war.
Even Anakin could agree with that...though his varieties of music tended towards engines working at peak performance...but to each his own.
Which is why it was Vader who was the one that picked up the sound of blaster bolts ricocheting around outside their cell's door first. The Sith Lord mulled over the disturbance, before deciding to keep this information to himself. That was why Anakin was badly startled when the door to their cell spontaneously vaporized.
As soon as the first shock wore off, Anakin growled at hearing the amusement Vader was making no effort whatsoever to conceal. Before he could do anything further, however, a voice from beyond the smoking doorframe interrupted him.
"Okay, come on out here, whoever you are," came the loud, unmistakably obnoxious voice of one Han Solo.
/What in the Force is HE doing here?/
/Perhaps he's here to blast us?/ Vader offered.
For some reason the Sith Lord sounded oddly delighted by that idea.
In fact, if Anakin had to pick a single word to describe Vader's current mood, it would have to be something close to 'giddy'. It was confusing and made no sense. Surely, Anakin reasoned, he would have remembered their receiving a head injury?
/Don't be stupid, / Vader chided him, still sounding inappropriately pleased with the universe /Someone altered the suit filters to not screen out certain mood-altering gases. I suppose Luke wasn't as tractable as the old bastard was hoping him to be./
/Ah/ Anakin murmured /Well then, Master joy-happy Sith, get up and walk outside before I try to blast you myself./
Vader mentally 'harrumphed', but clumsily rose and began making his way out of the cell. It seemed to take far too much concentration for him to do so - Anakin felt a wave of vindictive satisfaction at the thought. If Vader wanted to be in control of their body so badly, then it was just his own fault he had to go through such things, now wasn't it?
Standing in the corridor waiting for them was Solo, Luke standing right behind the smuggler.
"So, who'm I talking to?" Solo asked conversationally, "Because I promised Leia I would only blast you if you were Vader and not Anakin."
Vader cocked their head quizzically in response, still muddled from whichever of Palpatine's concoctions that had been pumped into their cell. Anakin took the opportunity to reach out and prod his son before Vader said something stupid or provoking.
/Father? ...Did something happen since we contacted you?/
/I think so/ Anakin replied /My 'other self' here seems to have been drugged. Please try to keep your brother-in-law from killing us before I can explain everything./
"He's been drugged?" Luke exclaimed aloud.
"Who's been drugged?" Solo blinked.
"Vader's been drugged. Father's still inside, though, so you still probably shouldn't blast him anyway," Luke pointed out.
"And I can still deflect blaster bolts, you know," Vader decided to point out, "I bet I could ricochet one to hit you right between your eyes..."
He sounded extremely light-headed...in a minute, he'd probably start giggling, too. Anakin sighed and began pulling at the Force to try and flush the drugs out of their system. Vader's little high was soon diminished to a vague feeling of good-will towards the universe, which Anakin could already feel the Sith starting to become angry at himself with for feeling.
The change in mood must have been noticeable, because Solo immediately commented, "Can I blast him now that he's sobered up?"
"Give me an excuse, smuggler..." Vader growled, starting to raise a hand.
"Would it be possible for this to wait until after we get out of here?" Luke asked, attempting to be the voice of reason.
"...I guess," Solo reluctantly agreed, holstering his blaster.
"How did you intend for us to escape?" Vader asked, sounding vaguely curious about the subject.
Anakin, meanwhile, was tentatively extending his senses outwards. Down at the entrance to the detention block, he could sense his daughter and Solo's Wookie partner keeping watch. ...What was his daughter doing here? Wasn't she still pregnant?
As for the rest of the Destroyer...it seemed off. The minds he was encountering were sluggish and unresponsive. Anakin found himself accidentally absorbing memories that should have been behind even the most basic set of mental shielding - he shook them off, but it was HARD to avoid doing it. The sickening network that Palpatine had spun around the fleet was harder to find than it had been before - it was hazier, the strands not as well defined...and it was spread out farther than it had been before.
Anakin could also sense some more ships inside the bounds of the network, not part of the original fleet of Star Destroyers. The minds inside those ships also felt strange under his light touch, though not as badly off as the crewmen in the Star Destroyers...
What was going on?
All this information reached him in the time it took Solo to say, "I don't really know why, but everyone here's acting mighty strange in the head. No one seems to even notice or care that we're not part of the crew -"
As both Luke AND Solo turned their gazes his way, Anakin realized that there was another strange thing going on; Solo shouldn't have been able to pick up on that message - it had been aimed solely for Luke alone.
/You're very loud all of a sudden.../ Vader pointed out, sounding rather surprised himself /What did you notice, Jedi?/
/You'll find out in a moment, be patient/ Anakin replied, being careful about aiming his words this time.
Apparently, whatever Palpatine had done was effecting mind-to-mind communication in the area.
"...What was that? I'm pretty sure I just heard a voice..." Solo was blinking.
/Can you both hear me?/ Anakin sent out cautiously.
"I DID just hear a voice!" Solo exclaimed.
/Idiot/ Vader sighed /And our flesh and blood is related to him now?/
/Perhaps if you would let me speak verbally.../ Anakin pointed out.
Much to his surprise, the Sith withdrew himself ever-so-slightly in response. Anakin was able to reach up and speak aloud - and he was never going to take having a voice for granted ever again!
"That was me. Do either of you know where Palpatine is right now?" Anakin asked.
"Father! Are you...?"
"It's only temporary, do not get used to it," Vader interjected with a dark tone.
"Only until I find a means to drive you out of my head for good," Anakin shot back as he elbowed his way back into control.
"...That is extremely creepy," Solo pointed out, "And to answer your question, we don't know where the Emperor is right now exactly. We're betting that he's on the flagship -"
Anakin reached out momentarily. Yes, the central void-like area of the network was centered in the biggest Destroyer in the fleet -
"- But seeing how it's a Super Star Destroyer, we decided against attacking it just yet," Solo finished.
"Father, what's going on?" Luke asked.
"You can sense what is happening here, can't you?"
Luke nodded - his unease was undisguised - and Anakin continued, "This is all Palpatine's work. We need to put an end to Palpatine before his reach extends any further."
"How can we do that, though?"
Anakin didn't know what to say - and Vader summarily threw him aside and retook control in that moment of hesitation. Anakin shifted in agitation, but decided against initiating another fight for control just yet.
There were more important things worry about at the moment anyway.