Chapter 1: A Journal Found
"Tarkin's ghost, what a mess," Doj Nadee stated when he first saw the contents of the small storeroom. It had looked like a storeroom to him. It would take much convincing to make him believe that this had been at one time an office of the late Emperor Palpatine. The crew was in its last stages of cleanup, taking away everything from artifacts to documents that once belonged to Palpatine. Doj was so glad his maintenance division was not in charge of what was left of the secret cloning facility above them. From what he had heard, that place had already been destroyed by the great, almighty Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker. The rumors had already spread that Skywalker had had another Dark Jedi to battle with and Luke had defeated him, thus causing the destruction. Some of his fellow workers heard that the death of that Dark Jedi actually created the mammoth hole in the top side of the facility. But Doj tended to take rumors that involved Jedi and their Force with a grain of sodium.
The New Republic's Bothan Councilor Fey'lya demanded that all artifacts and documents found in the Emperor's secret stash be confiscated and taken back to Coruscant to be analyzed. Doj was sure there was an argument between Fey'lya and the Noghri, the alien group that had already began the task of purging the planet's evidence of the Emperor. At least most of the Noghri were above helping with the cleanup of the Emperor's destroyed throne room. Here in a rather innocent looking storeroom, a place that looked ten times cleaner than a few hours before, containers filled with various items and piles of old data cards lined the far corner of the now vacant room.
His supervisor came into the empty room to speak with Doj. Pointing to the containers, he demanded, "Take those into the speeder. It's almost time to get out of this place."
"Agreed." answered Doj. "Excuse me for asking, sir, but do you think any of this will be valuable?"
"Hard to say. We've already collected some priceless artwork stashed in some of the royal suites. Techs have begun dismantling the Spaarti cylinders. It's hard to say what's on those data cards. Of course, that is not our job, is it? Let's just get it out of here. Let the techies handle that." He left the room leaving Doj to handle the containers.
Doj then started to carry the containers one by one to the speeder. From there, the last of the collected items will be taken back to the Royal Fantasy. Then it would be back to home on Coruscant. Doj couldn't wait. Four months of staying in a transport cruiser's bunker. He wanted to get home, get out his Corellian whiskey, and just sleep.
He finally came back for the last container, breathing a silent sigh of relief. He bent his knees to pick it up and then heard the small pinging of something falling to the permacrete floor. He cursed as he set the container down again. Looking behind him he found a datacard sitting alone on the cold floor. He bent over to pick it up but stopped once he read what was written in perfect small script.
The name registered, of course. Who in this galaxy had never heard of the name Skywalker. The question that puzzled Doj was why would a datacard stashed in the Emperor's private collection have a label with the Skywalker name? The datacard looked to be an old version of the DatEx discs. Those hadn't been in use for over fifty years. If his history was correct, that would put this disc to be from around the Clone Wars. He didn't know the Jedi Master well, but he Doj knew that Luke was not that old. Perhaps it was a relative? Maybe Palpatine knew of Skywalker's coming. If it had anything to do with the Force, Doj would know nothing about it. The answer could be anything. The answer could be valuable.
And the datacard was right in his hand.
Intrigue was getting the better of him. He was supposed to report anything he found no matter how small. Yet, there were thousands upon thousands of datacards and artifacts for the New Republic techs to sort through. Would they miss one? If there was valuable information on this disc, Doj knew a few characters in the underground of Coruscant who would pay a handsome price for it. He had befriended the greatest slicer in the galaxy, Ghent. Doj knew he once worked for Talon Karde. He thought about giving it directly to the Jedi Master himself. He did not yet know what was on it. Doj would have to wait until there was a work order in the high level of the Council's tower to even set foot there. The utility man could not wait that long. Doj deposited the card in his vest pocket and hoisted the last container into the speeder. He then joined his fellow coworkers back to the transport ship.
Back inside the Royal Fantasy, Doj proceeded to sign his work order complete, minus the extra disc, and then went back to his bunker for the day long trip into hyperspace back to Coruscant. The quarters in the Royal Fantasy were less than efficient. Basically, it was a metal square box with a cot and the smallest of refreshers. Doj was glad he spent most of the four months outside of it and inside Mount Tantiss doing the cleanup. He had previously dreaded the several hours directly back to Coruscant. Thanks to the Jedi, the hyperspace routes no longer required a pit stop at Obroa-skai. It was a rumor that a former assistant to the Emperor himself had led the Republic to this location and the Jedi had designed a more direct route to Wayland.
Now that Doj had a project, he was gleefully anticipating seeing what was on the disc named Skywalker.
He had eaten in the mess hall with his other coworkers. As always, he kept to himself. He hardly ever talked to anyone else besides his superiors. Occasionally, he would pick up a conversation with a stranger while he worked. That was how he and Ghent had met. Back just a half standard year ago, he was on the maintenance crew for the Councilors' quarters. He would run into all kinds of Senators and Councilors but they paid him no mind. How he would love to have that work order again so he could have the chance to had the datacard to Luke Skywalker himself. One day back then, he found a young man in a back corner of a room sitting at a console working the computer. Day after day he would find the same young man, sitting at the same computer, wearing the same clothes. Doj decided to strike up a conversation with the man and found that he was easy to talk to. He too was alone in the galaxy. Ghent had taught him what was to him simple Imperial algorisms to slice into their systems.
Once Doj had eaten a rather dull meal and signed off of duty, he went back to his cubicle and set his datapad on the cot beside him. He made sure his door was sealed, but he was sure no one would bother him for the trip. He reached in his vest pocket and removed the datacard he had found. Wiping around the contact points, he inserted it into his datapad. Sure enough, it was encrypted. Fortunately, it was an earlier version of one that Ghent had taught him. He flicked a few keys here and there and entered a few commands to override the encrypt. He was sure it would have taken Ghent a few minutes to slice through. For Doj, it took a half hour.
And there it was. On the screen before him were a small list of dates. He stared at the dates for a while pondering how old they were. He had to search the memory banks of his history lessons, but found those were not enough. He switched the datapad to the HoloNet without losing what was on the datacard. He brought up the Clone Wars and paid attention to the dates. If the dates on the datapad were correct, these entries were written days before the end of the Clone War. Which, coincidentally, was also the beginning of Emperor Palpatine's reign.
These entries were written before he became Emperor!
Doj shut down the HoloNet and quickly tapped the first of the four separate entries on the datacard. It could literally be anything. Future plans, detailed schematics of the Death Star or some other super weapon. He tapped and waited with anticipation as the words came up. He saw before him paragraphs of pure text. This was a journal! Palpatine's personal journal. Doj felt as if he had found a secret amnestis mine. He placed the datapad at the end of the cot and shifted his scrawny body into a position on his stomach. How he wished for a table or console to see the screen properly. There were such consoles next to the mess hall, but he couldn't risk anyone glancing at what he was reading. He had to make do with what he had at the moment.
He started to read
BEGIN SIDIOUS ENTRY: 0603 - 21:00
I have just been returned to Coruscant by Anakin and Master Kenobi. The "kidnapping" scheme was a success. Lord Tyrannus played his part well. But, alas, his loss was inevitable. Count Dooku was a fine leader and an excellent figurehead for the Separatists. He was no Sith. When Anakin held the two blades across his neck, and I gave the order for his death, I could feel his fear of death. Sith are not afraid of death.
Grievous is another matter. He will soon join Dooku in Oblivion once the Jedi Council decide which Master will be in charge of hunting him down. I so hope it will be Master Kenobi. That would compliment my plans perfectly. It will separate him from his former Padawan long enough for a permanent separation.
As for Anakin Skywalker… he gave in to his anger reluctantly, but did so nevertheless. It will be a difficult task for him to unlearn what he has absorbed in the last thirteen years. Difficult, but not impossible. Anakin is more powerful than I have foreseen. He will become an excellent Sith apprentice. Dooku was a seasoned Jedi Master disillusioned with the direction of the Jedi. Maul was an excellent swordsman and fighter. Neither could match Anakin's raw power in the Force. It has been reported that his midi-chlorian count is twice that of even Master Yoda's. The fact about Anakin that had disturbed me most often is that he has no father. Curious. Is it by coincidence that the death of my own Master Plagueis happened not long after a time when Anakin would have been born? Difficult to say. Difficult to prove. Midi-chlorians do not have fingerprints.
The question becomes, how do I teach him to use that power out of his own freewill but which is also to my advantage. A true challenge. Though Dooku used the powers I had taught him rather well, he would never have been fully turned. Even during his final battle I could sense his yearning to disappear and free himself of all power. Darth Maul I had trained since early youth, yet he still held a bestial attitude. There is, of course, a time of over-aggressiveness. Skywalker is at an age where the information that has been taught is starting to settle and contains a great deal of stubbornness. Worse yet, Anakin is loyal. He treats loyalty as an obsession. Loyalty to his friends and especially to his wife.
Ah, Anakin Skywalker will be a challenge. No matter. I will find a way. The time will come when Anakin will be mine.
END SIDIOUS ENTRY: 0603 - 21:10
Doj finished reading the entry with more questions than when he started. The only name he recognized was Skywalker, though he did not know an Anakin Skywalker. He chalked him up as being a relative to Luke, as he had first suspected. The other names were more than foreign to him. He made a note to look them up on the Holonet when he was done reading the rest.
As for the references to what he thought had to do with the Force, he knew nothing of them; he never bought all the mystical explanations he had heard from the Jedi he had eavesdropped on. Though, to be fair, Doj had never been in a situation where he could witness anything the Jedi could do. He remembered his father once called the Force an ancient myth passed down from generations. Despite his misgivings about the Force, Doj did know what Palpatine was trying to do with Anakin. He had heard Luke Skywalker speak countless times about the Dark and Light sides of the Force. Doj had always dismissed this idea. To him, a person was not absolutely dark or absolutely light. He saw people in general, Jedi included, as mixes of grey, neither totally one side nor the other. Yet, here was Palpatine seducing a young man into totally committing himself to the Dark side. How does one even do that?
Doj shrugged the question off for now and tapped the next entry and began to read again.
BEGIN SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 22:17
As I suspected, the Jedi Council did, in fact, send Master Kenobi to hunt for Grievous. I knew they would even despite my request that Anakin receive the task. It may be that my request actually made them decide on Kenobi. I can sense the start of their mistrust for me. I can feel their frustration that they do not yet know the identity of the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Will not they be surprised? That mistrust will be essential to my plans. Within days the Jedi will be obliterated and my new Empire will begin. For now, my attention must concentrate on Anakin.
I believe that I have found a way to fulfill my needs where Anakin is concerned. He has expressed to me in confidence, in so many words, his desire to cheat death. Not so much as to cheat, but to prevent. He does not fear the death of himself, but fears it in the people he cares about. I remember distinctly when Anakin first came from Tatooine and the Jedi tested him. Even then I could sense the young boy's fear of losing his mother. That fear should have disqualified him from becoming a Jedi. For reasons unbeknownst to me, the Council either overlooked or ignored that fear. All the Jedi are so emphatic about Anakin being "the chosen one". Prophecies are so abstract that many are very hard to interpret. Yet, the Council has chosen to believe their own interpretation so closely, that it has blinded them. Of course, the Jedi have been blind for over a thousand years. Why should they start thinking differently now?
Tonight, at the Mon Calamari opera, I will summon Anakin to my box and I will tell him the tale of Darth Plagueis and of his ability to create life and prevent death - all death but his own, as I vividly recall. It will be a glorious sight to see Anakin's reaction. There is still much confusion inside his mind. Yet, there is one constant thought: Amidala. It has been long thought by the Sith - and by Jedi for that matter - that love is a form of insanity. Hence, the Jedi and the Sith banish of all life attachments. Compassion, love, friendship are not Sith traits. Ironically, it may very well be that these same qualities in Anakin will be the instigators needed for his transfer of power.
I will plant the idea in his head that I have the key to immortality. That is what he wants for himself and Amidala. He will do anything to unlock that power. And when the Jedi distrust me fully and act upon that distrust, it will be up to Anakin alone to choose between immortality for Amidala or allowing her to suffer through her pregnancy. I have foreseen his choice.
END SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 22:25
Doj finished the entry but continued to stare at the screen. He couldn't stop thinking how much of a manipulator the man was. Doj did not know Anakin Skywalker, but through reading Palpatine's words, Doj felt sorry for the young man. How could this Anakin be deceived? How could Anakin's love be a trigger for Palpatine's seduction of him? Doj, however, would be the first to admit that he didn't know much about love.
Doj was approaching his third decade of life, yet he had not much to show for it. He had kept to himself for much of his life and being an only child with just his father raising him didn't help. His mother he never knew as she died giving birth to him. He always sensed his that father resented him for that. Doj had gone through his life up to that point not caring for anyone else but himself. He could not imagine how anyone could be so devoted to another person that they would try to find ways of physically preventing their death. Doj was a practical man; he could not believe that could ever happen. Still, from what Palpatine said of Anakin's beloved Amidala, he did seem utterly devoted to her. It made Doj question. Whom was he devoted to?
Nobody. There were many instances when he could have not said that. There were girls and women that he could see himself being involved with if he only had summoned the courage to merely speak with them. There was a woman he knew currently from afar with whom he wished he could spend more time with. She was a bar maid in the tapcafe across from his apartment on Coruscant. She was beautiful with her dark hair surrounding her round face. She had to wear her bar maid's uniform, when she worked, which included a hat with the name of the tapcafe proudly displayed on it. Her required work apparel forced her to wear her hair bundled up underneath the hat. Every time he entered the tapcafe she would automatically fetch him his Corellian whiskey, and he would imagine what she would look like if she took off that hat and let her hair down. She would be breathtaking. He would always keep it at imagining because he never had the nerve to talk with her further. He would just sit alone, sipping the whiskey and watching the shockball games. He would always shy away, and now he wondered if he could ever be devoted to her as much as Anakin was to his Amidala -
- Which made him remember that he had a way of finding out more about Anakin right in front of him. Doj switched to the HoloNet and in the researchscreen he entered in Anakin Skywalker.
And received a pleasant surprise.
Anakin Skywalker was brought from Tatooine at a late age to become a Jedi Knight and eventually became one of the greatest that ever lived. Many accomplishments were listed throughout his Jedi career. He was the hero of Naboo Trade Federation debacle at age ten.He became the youngest to achieve Jedi Knighthood before becoming a General in the Clone Wars. Doj found one reference to one of the names Palpatine mentioned: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin had been his student, or Padawan. Later he fought alongside Anakin in the Clone Wars. It was said that Anakin was the "hero with no fear". One of the feats Anakin performed caught Doj's eye. It said he defeated a Count Dooku, who was the leader of the Separatists and at the same time rescued the Chancellor Palpatine from a kidnapping attempt. Doj remembered what Palpatine wrote in the first entry. The "kidnapping" scheme was a success. Was this a setup for Anakin?
Doj pondered this as he paged down to see what happened to Anakin. All it stated was that Anakin Skywalker was reported missing during an assault on the Jedi Council during the war.
Missing, Doj repeated in his mind. How could a hero such as Anakin end up missing? Maybe there was something else in Palpatine's entries. He switched off the HoloNet and back to the journal. He tapped the third entry.
BEGIN SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 23:54
Much has happened. Much to report. Everything has gone as planned. It is finally the end of my war. More to the point, I have my new Sith apprentice.
I shall explain.
Anakin came to me last night during the opera as I requested. I informed him that my sources reveal that Grievous was now known to be found on Utapau. It was information that I could have disclosed to him in the morning, but I required a need for him to be at my side. It was there that I told him the tale of Darth Plagueis. His demeanor was calm, yet I could feel the excitement stir within him. Soon. So very soon. He even asked me who could teach him these abilities. I kept my answer obscure, for now. I let the question stew within him for the night.
It was not until this early afternoon that Anakin finally saw through my facade.
He came to my office euphoric about the news that Master Kenobi had eliminated Grievous. That death was inevitable. He, or rather it, was a hybrid of alien and machine. Organic material combined with mechanics. Dooku had taught it the ways of lightsaber dueling in all forms. A thing cannot learn the ways of the Force. But it is of no matter.
It was then that I realized it was time for the war to end. The Separatists and the Droid armies had now lost their respective leaders. All that was needed now was my new apprentice and then Order 66. I attempted to persuade Anakin with the idea that the way of the Sith would allow him to be what he had always wanted: powerful. Yet, after he learned of my true identity, his loyalty was to the Council. His lightsaber was drawn and I was unarmed. My weapon was still lying dormant inside my Nubian sculpture. But I did not fear, for I knew that the inevitable must come to pass. I could feel his hate flowing through him. But he left my office in haste to alert the Masters of the identity of Darth Sidious.
I was ready.
Four Jedi came to my office with the intention of arresting me. Mace Windu and Kit Fisto were the only two that I knew. The names of the other two Jedi there escape me. With quicker motion than they, I exterminated three of them with almost no effort. It was exhilarating to finally duel against an opponent after so many years. I was afraid that I would be rather rusty. This was not the case. Only Master Windu was left and I must admit that he was a challenge. His Vaapad, form seven, style was most aggressive. I could not project Dark energy at him with his saber in hand. It almost defeated me. I had almost given up. Windu would have killed me with no remorse. He knew any trial held against me would be useless. I could see murder in his eyes.
Then the sweetest presence came into the room: Anakin. Mace was clever to not include the young man in the group chosen to arrest me. He may even have known of my deception of the boy. But when Anakin entered the room, it was too late for the Jedi. He had defeated Windu's purpose for excluding him in taking me down. I feigned dying as my own Dark energy reflected back at me, something that would disfigure me forever. It was excruciatingly painful. I pleaded to Anakin to save me, for I alone held the secret of immortality for Amidala. Anakin tried to persuade Windu to not strike me down, citing that it was not the Jedi way. How ironic that it was Anakin's loyalty to the Order that saved me. Mace Windu attempted to make a final cut but Anakin swung his own blade to sever the Master's wrist. I immediately unleashed my full power on Windu and the Master was enveloped in Dark energy, falling out the window into the endless void of Coruscant night.
Then... finally... Anakin weighed the Jedi treason against his love Amidala. He chose to fulfill his destiny and become Sith. At last, he made the commitment I had worked for. He would now serve as my apprentice in the Sith Order. He could no longer be Anakin Skywalker, of course. That was the name of a Jedi Knight. He needed a new name which will fit his new-found power. I then proclaimed him…Lord Darth Vader
Doj jerked up after reading the last words, which almost knocked the datapad onto the floor.
Darth Vader. That was a name he was all too familiar with. The true identity of Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker. Missing indeed… Doj wondered how many in the galaxy knew this. He had mixed feelings about the fact that he was one of them. How could Anakin accept such a life of terror? He was a hero. Was the Dark Side of the Force that strong? Or was Anakin that weak to succumb to it? It made Doj think about how Anakin was related to Luke. What had Luke gone through once he knew; if he actually knew at all? Doj had a suddenly had a frightening thought. Since this was not public knowledge, he might be the only one alive who knew. According to records, both Vader and the Emperor had perished on the unfinished Death Star over Endor nine years ago. That much was public knowledge. Had Luke known then? Was Luke involved in the destruction? It was all speculation.
Bewildered by this amazing revelation, Doj went back to the journal.
The first task I gave Lord Vader was to eliminate those who acted treasonably against the Republic. All Jedi had been purged from the Jedi Temple with surprising ease and celerity. Vader was boundless rage mixed with raw power in the Force. A weapon to be reckoned with, certainly. Lord Vader may even possess more rage and power than even I. Then I ordered him to Mustafar to eliminate the remaining leaders of the Separatist party. I sensed even through his hologram, Lord Vader's joy at the thought of murdering Viceroy Nute Gunray. That had been a few hours ago.
In that time, I gave to the clone leaders across the galaxy the final strike against the antiquated Republic. Order 66. I had this order injected into the clones' consciousness at an early stage, to be carried out only by my word alone. In those few moments directly afterwards, I could feel the life force of the many Jedi across the galaxy fade. It was then time for my greatest performance. And for the introduction to my new title.
Emperor Palpatine of the New Galactic Empire.
It was greeted with thunderous applause. No longer will the Republic squabble and make empty decisions that progress nowhere. It will be I alone delineating policy. I will appoint a Senate made up of humans only, whom I can control. Alien minds are tainted.
Wait... I feel a strong presence approaching. Could it be? No. Surely, the clones took care of him on Kashyyyk?
Apparently not. I will soon have a guest: Master Yoda. It will be a pleasure to give him the benefits of an emperor's hospitality.
END SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 23:65
Doj did not bother thinking of anything, but immediately tapping to the last entry.
BEGIN SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 24:15
I sit here now alone. The war is over. The Republic is finished and all but a few Jedi are wiped out. I am the new Emperor. I have forced the remaining Jedi into hiding. Not one of them will dare oppose me now. Yet, with all of my accomplishments in the last several hours, I am wrought with concern for my new apprentice.
To begin, my duel with Master Yoda was insignificant. With all his power, he still could not defeat me. He will no longer be able to show his little green face in public, why even if he were, with my new legislation he would be forced to submit to a leash, the disgusting creature!
My apprentice did not fare nearly so well in his duel. A duel between Kenobi and Skywalker would be no less than epic. Despite their age difference, they are equal in skill. Alas, it was Kenobi who came to victory. He left Lord Vader a crumbling hulk of burning flesh. Legs and one arm severed. His lungs collapsed. I foresaw that Vader was in danger, but I arrived too late. Medics managed to create a revolutionary environ suit which permitted him to breathe. He is now but a shell of the former man. As far as I can tell, his new condition has not diminished his power in the Force. It may have actually strengthened his Dark Side leanings. His appearance now is one of terror. I cannot think of a better disguise. Neither I nor Anakin have retained our original features after the wars' end. An appropriate change for the changing times.
Sadly, during his rage on Mustafar, his beloved Amidala was weakened by Anakin's own Force grip. She later died on an operating table. Or so the public record says. Senator Padmé Amidala was officially buried with her unborn baby inside of her.
I know differently.
I could feel the newest additions to the Force as soon as they were born. They are now too small and weak for me to attempt to locate them. I suspect Obi Wan and Yoda will take them far away to hide from me and their father. They will not be raised Jedi, much like their father was not. They will not pose a threat. Yet, will the offspring of Anakin be as powerful as he? What might it take to seduce them to the Dark Side? Anakin's passion for Amidala proved to be the key for his transformation. What will be the passion of...Luke...and Leia? Only time will tell.
END SIDIOUS ENTRY 0603 - 24:30
Doj closed down the datapad with eyes still transfixed to the screen. Luke Skywalker... son of Anakin Skywalker, and Leia Organa Solo... his daughter. What a family.
Doj remembered thinking before he started reading the journal that he might find the highest bidder to whatever information contained on the disc. Information such as this would be priceless. He had no way of knowing if the Skywalkers knew of this information. He shivered at the thought of them reading a headline on the HoloNet: DARTH VADER: FATHER TO BOTH LUKE AND LEIA SKYWALKER. Doj could not bring himself to do that - for any price.
Doj knew what he had to do.
Chapter two: A Lesson Learned
Coruscant–Four days later
Doj was quickly finding out how hard it was to track down a Jedi Master just to talk to him. His position in the Maintenance division held him to wherever a work order took him. The Mount Tantiss expedition was a special assignment he was selected for primarily for seniority. Back on Coruscant, it was back to basic maintenance droid repair and cleanup where droids couldn't reach. He couldn't simply waltz up to the offices of the New Republic's High Council. They were off limits to civilians. He had to wait for a work order to take him there with his full credentials.
Doj waited after he got back from Wayland, and finally, four days later, a work order for a malfunctioning maintenance droid on the High Council office level came in. Doj took the work order, showed the guard his badge, and proceeded on up to the highest levels of the New Republic's offices. Instead of heading to the droid bay first, he headed straight for the office of one Luke Skywalker. He didn't even know if the Jedi Master would be there. He had to take that chance. What he had to do, it must be done this way.
He approached the office marked with Luke's title, attempting to look inconspicuous. It wasn't like he was a stranger here. He peered inside and saw an empty office. Sithspawn, Doj cursed to himself. He thought of entering in case that Luke would return. He was kidding himself. In all the years he had worked on this level, there were very few times he had actually seen the Jedi Master. He was about to turn to head to the droid bay when he heard a voice from behind him.
"May I help you?"
Doj turned to face the source of the voice.
Leia Organa Solo. She was the epitome of beauty. He had never been this close to the famous Rebel leader. Several thoughts came flooding to his mind, but one in particular came to the forefront.
This is Padmé Amidala's daughter.
Doj fumbled for words. "Uh...I was hoping to see Master Skywalker."
Leia answered with a stern voice, "He is not here. Why did you need to see him for?"
"I... I need to give him something."
Leia scowled slightly. "You're Doj Nadee."
"Yes. How did you know?"
She casually pointed to his name tag and stated, "Unless you're wearing someone else's uniform, I'd guess that's your name."
"Oh," Doj answered embarrassed.
"What do you need to give my brother?"
Brother. Doj had a sudden thought. Why not? She deserved to know as much as Luke. He reached into his pocket to reveal the datacard. He explained, "I found this in one of the storerooms in Mount Tantiss. I was on Maintenance duty there a few days ago."
"There were many items collected at Mount Tantiss. What makes this one datacard so special?"
To answer, Doj simply handed the datacard to her which she took in her gentle hands. She looked at the label.
"Skywalker?" she repeated in whisper. "What is this?"
"Palpatine's journal. At least, part of one. It describes a specific event. I'm sorry if I wasn't supposed to read it. I was too intrigued. It's dated a few days before the end of the Clone Wars. There is some information on it that I think you and Luke should know."
He could see her face fill with worry. "What kind of information?"
He took a deep breath and just let it out. "Darth Vader...was...your father."
Her reaction was definitely the opposite from what he was expecting. Instead of sheer horror, she instead brightened and smiled sweetly. She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"I know you feel nervous in telling me this. You don't have to be." She edged closer to him to say, "Luke and I have known that for quite some time."
The relief he felt was overwhelming. It still felt good that he was able to get that off his chest.
She went on smiling and told him, "We'll be sure to read it together. Thank you."
Doj nodded to accept the thanks and he started to leave to go back to work. He did not get very far when she called to him.
"Mr. Nadee. You intended to sell this information, weren't you?" It didn't sound like an accusation. More like a clarification.
Doj could have lied but he figured why should he bother? She was, after all, a Jedi. He admitted, "At first, I had thought of it. After I read it, I thought differently."
"What changed your mind?"
Doj did not know where the answer came from, but it was eerily automatic. "My mother died in childbirth, too."
"Mother?" Leia gasped. "Our mother is mentioned on this, too?" She now looked at the datacard as if it was an ancient artifact.
"Yes. Her full name is mentioned," Doj answered. He paused before he said, "Anakin loved her. He loved her so much that he would do anything to save her." He saw, even from a short distance, that her eyes started to water. He decided then to stop. He gestured to the datacard and said, "You'll find out."
She then said back to him, "What you did here, Mr. Nadee...was the right thing to do. We need more people like you around." She straightened herself and wiped her eyes before asking him, "Are you good with droid repair?"
"Oh, yes. Four years running."
"And you kept the same position for that long?"
"Yeah, but it's still good work."
"We have an opening on this level for our Droid Quality Control manager. I think I will speak to your supervisor about a recommendation. Loyalty like yours should be rewarded. What do you say?"
"I'd be honored, Princess- ... er… Council – ...uh..." Doj was even more embarrassed as he realized what her title actually was.
She smiled again and saved him from more embarrassment. "Just Leia will do. Again, thank you."
The Corellian whiskey was set down in front of him by Kareen, the bar maid in the tapcafe who had served him countless times for the past four years. On any other night after work, she would set his drink down, smile sweetly, and turn to walk away. Each time previously he had allowed her to walk away with silence.
This night would be different. Today had been too good of a day to let her pass by. He took a swig of the whiskey and took a deep breath before calling her back.
She did so and leaned on the small, high table. There was no turning back for Doj now.
She asked in her sweet voice, "Need something to eat, sweetie?"
"No. Actually, I wanted to know if you liked shockball?"
She chuckled, "Are you kidding? Working here, it's hard not to be a fan. Plus, my brother used to play for the Imperial Senators long ago, before he got injured. Um...why do you ask?"
"Well, I thought that since I will be in a new position where I can get tickets very easily, I'd like to know if I could take you sometime."
Kareen's smile widened as she said, "After all these years of serving you, I thought you would never ask." She paused and then answered, "I would love to."
Doj could do nothing to prevent his heart from beating faster. He did manage the second part of his request. "There is one condition."
"I wouldn't want you to go to the game with that hat on."
"Oh, no," she replied. "It'll stay at home."
"It may be forward of me, but... could I request a preview?"
Without any words, she proceeded to straighten up and reach at the top of her hat to remove it. A full head of dark curls poured down onto her shoulders like an aquafountain.
Doj was more transfixed by her features than he had been by the old words of the past that Palpatine had written. There was only one thought he had at that moment.
I could very well become devoted to this beautiful creature.