Author: Lucinda

Rated t for teen

Disclaimer: anyone you recognize does not belong to me, though I may not be able to give all the legal who's that do own them. Lt. Caldis and Admiral Meelchad are mine.

Distribution: by permission.

Notes: A product of my twisted mind, AU post BtVS s3.

Lt. Caldis shivered, remembering that meeting in room seven. The only reason that he had been present at all was that he was one of the personal assistants to Admiral Meelchad. He'd been terrified to see that the meeting had included Lord Vader, favored of Emperor Palpatine. He'd heard dozens of rumors of what Vader did for the Emperor, and considering what he'd seen… Personal assassin sounded a good deal more likely.

'I find your lack of faith disturbing.' With those simple words, Vader had gestured, somehow choking one of the more prominent and less quiet members of the Admiral's staff.

"He could have killed him easily," Caldis whispered.

"That's correct, Caldis," Admiral Meelchad snapped, pacing along the wall. Every so often, the Admiral would glance at the chip that held the minutes of the earlier session, complete with Lord Vader's act of irritation. "Had he been angry instead of merely… what was the word he used again?"

"Disturbed, sir. He said," Caldis cleared his throat, attempting to match Vader's deep tones, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

"Lord Vader knows full well that very few give any credence to the outdated notions and tenets of the Jedi!" Admiral Meelchad snapped. "How can he expect the rest of us to bow to such whims and silly notions?"

"Perhaps… sir, does…" Caldis closed his eyes and took a breath. His idea was silly enough without stammering. "Perhaps Lord Vader needs something else to occupy his time. Not the tenets of the Jedi, but… What about a different sort of faith?"

"What do you mean?" the Admiral's expression suggested that if this idea was absurd, he would have one less assistant.

"When I was young, my family lived next to some traders from the rim. Their children were named Courage, Endurance, Hope and Charity. What if we find him a woman named Faith?" Caldis suggested.

"Your suggestion is…" Admiral Meelchad paused, tapping his chin as he considered the idea. "Audacious. Risky, but audacious. Provided that we can find someone suitably interesting, with no questionable loyalties… It just may prove useful. At the very least, having a malleable female at his disposal should lighten Lord Vader's mood."

"Sir," Caldis permitted himself a tiny smile. "Shall I begin a search for a suitable female?"

"One who would not be missed," the Admiral agreed. "You are excused from your other duties in favor of this plan for the next three weeks."

Caldis began by searching the database available on the Imperial Star Destroyer Malevolence. He wanted a human or mostly human female who had reached adulthood but not yet middle age for whatever her genetic background offered. Someone reasonably healthy with few relatives inclined or capable of searching for her. After all, Lord Vader was very hard on his admirals, how much worse could he be on a simple diversion? If a woman fit those requirements, he would then look at a picture, dismissing any who were not reasonably attractive. And her name had to be or mean faith.

It took eleven days before he had a short list of options. A double handful of names and location for females of suitable age, relatively good health, and reasonably pretty. After a few moments thought, he sent an order for a group of Stormtoopers to go to the nearby planet that held one of the candidates, a homeless woman currently held in suspended animation.

"Please let this work. If it doesn't, Admiral Meelchad will kill me. If Lord Vader doesn't do it himself…"

The Stormtroopers returned, with the woman identified only as 'Faith' and a dozen other young women whose acquisition would muddle things enough that nobody should guess his interest was only in 'Faith'. He gave orders that the medics would give all the women thorough physicals and begin the revival processes.

Faith had a number of interesting marks, including a pair of tattoos and several vicious looking scars. She was of average height, a bit muscular, and her brown hair should curl provocatively around her shoulders.

She was placed in a small room, given a gauzy set of robes to wear, and left to wake up. Five Stormtroopers were left as guards, to make certain that she didn't wander away and that nobody else decided to play with her.

"Sir, why is this woman under guard?" one of the troopers asked, his white helmet leaving him identical to the others.

"She is to be a gift to Lord Vader," Caldis replied, glancing at the door. "The hope was that she would help him to be less irritable."

Everything went according to plans and decrees for the next few hours. The ship moved serenely through space, the computers functioned properly, meals were cooked and garbage disposed of in the normal manner, though the grilled nerf burgers were a bit scorched, and the naraj juice a bit too tart.

Caldis wasn't surprised that Admiral Meelchad had decided to claim the idea as his own, and tried to hide his irritation as a small procession swept through the halls towards the room where he'd stashed the woman. Admiral Meelchad and Lord Vader were in the lead, followed by two soldiers guarding Admiral Meelchad and Caldis trailed along behind. A small corner of his mind followed the nervous mutterings of Admiral Meelchad; another part considered the many ways that this could lead to pain and death.

He hadn't expected to see a Stormtrooper sail through the hall, crunching against the wall.

"I said don't touch me!" the shout was undeniably a woman's. Another crunching noise followed.

A second Stormtrooper stumbled out of the room, his armor missing a shoulder guard and his helmet crooked. Faith stood there, glaring at him. She then expanded her glare to include all of them.

"Did you not claim that she was an attractive and malleable female, Admiral Meelchad?" Lord Vader's voice seemed almost calm.

"Ahh…." On finger tugged at his collar, and the Admiral glanced at the woman.

The red gauze looked splendid against her fair skin, and her hair surrounded her shoulders quite fetchingly, Caldis decided. The strange band she had tattooed on her arm was a bit unusual, but she did look quite lovely. Also very intimidating if she could push a Stormtrooper around.

"Who are you, and where am I?" the woman demanded, eyes flickering from Admiral Meelchad to Lord Vader and back again. After a fw rounds of that, she seemed to notice Caldis, and demanded, "You in the back, where am I?"

Feeling increasingly nervous, Caldis spoke, hoping that his voice would stay level. "You are in a guest room aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer Malevolence. We entered the Corellia system earlier today."

The woman blinked, one hand reaching up to her temple, "Whoa, I must have hit my head a lot harder than I thought. Why am I here?"

"You are to accompany Lord Vader, and to do as he chooses," Admiral Meelchad declared, his thin nose lifting a bit.

"No way," her arms folded over her chest, and she glared at the Admiral. "The costumes are really good, but you can't expect me to believe that this is really a Star Destroyer and that he's really Darth Vader."

"You have no idea what danger your impertinence places you in, woman!" one of the stormtroopers snapped, raising his blaster.

Caldis couldn't even see the woman move. He blinked and she had crossed the distance, the blaster was on the floor, and her hand on the Stormtrooper's neck, his feet dangling in the air.

"I'm not the only one in danger here," she growled.

"You did express dismay at the lack of Faith, Lord Vader," Caldis managed to keep the trembling out of his voice. "It is my… our sincere hope that we have corrected that failing. This woman is Faith."

There was a sound that Caldis didn't recognize. From someone else, he would have called it a chuckle. But Lord Vader didn't chuckle, didn't even know how… did he?

"You may leave us. I believe that I have things to discuss with Faith."

Vader's voice chilled Caldis, and all he could do was bow and retreat. This plan seemed to be a success, he was just having second thoughts about it's wisdom in the first place.

"What have I done?" he whispered.

End Lack of Faith.