STAR WARS: THE DARK TIMES

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

EPISODE I – POWER OF THE DARKSIDE

The Republic is dead and an Empire rises out of its ashes. Now that Palpatine has taken over as Emperor, he has created a new galactic order that is quickly taking shape with the help of the left over armies from the Clone Wars. Darth Vader, the newly appointed Sith Lord, now takes his place at Palpatine's side and aids in the forging this new Empire. Obi Wan Kenobi has successfully eluded the Imperial forces and taken Padmae's child, Luke, to the isolated world of Tatooine. Padmae's second child, Leia, is now the adopted daughter of the Senator of Alderaan, Bail Organa, and together with his wife they arrange to forge her documents to help cover her true identity.

With the remaining Jedi scattered across the galaxy and lingering Clone War robots left to destroy on various worlds that are trying to hold on to their territories, Palpatine continues to clean up after the success of his takeover of the galaxy. The Emperor soon commands Darth Vader to meet with him on his newly constructed Star Destroyer as it orbits around the Death Star still under construction, as he finally gives him the task that will complete his training as a Sith…

The coldness of space acts like a backdrop to Clone Troop Destroyer as it flies past and makes its way towards a group of other ships hanging in the distance. The vessel carries the scars of the recent war, full of patched metal where it had been struck; with blast marks all around it's structure. The ship is huge in scale, big enough to carry the Clone Army as it makes it's way back home from a recent mission. As it approaches the area where the other ships are waiting, a smaller vessel comes out from its left hand side. The built in hanger drops its force field to let the craft fly out and snaps back on as it leaves the bay. It is a small shuttlecraft, with wings that unfold to span down like a bird gliding lazily in the breeze. The shuttle is big enough to carry a crew of five and also has the old Republic markings still painted on its hull. The ship continues on past the old war ship and now comes closer still to the fleet of ships. Now as the vessels come closer into view, they now see the massive Death Star just behind them a few miles away. Looking more like a hollowed out moon, the metal giant is just a shell still being completed as the fleet hangs around it.

"Shuttle Kifious to Destroyer Fleet….Shuttle Kifious to Destroyer Fleet…." The male voice announces over the radio.

"This is Destroyer Fleet command…what is your cargo and destination…over." The other drone sounding male voice responds.

Inside the small shuttle, two officers in dark grey uniforms helm the ship together as they look ahead to the fleet.

"We're on our way to rendezvous with the Imperial Star Destroyer Renegade One, we have a passenger with full clearance to meet with the Emperor." The first pilot says.

"Transmit your code clearance please." The snooty sounding officer replies back to him over the radio again.

The second pilot taps the controls and sends out the signal needed. As the two men wait to hear back from them, they chat about the ships they view as they fly past.

"Look at them. My god they're enormous!" The first pilot utters.

"Imperial Class Star Destroyers…just in time to replace these old Republic scrap heaps." The second male pilot snickers. "I hear they have more powerful laser cannons and combative shielding generators."

"But they've made them so quickly." The first officer replies gawking at them. "Its like they knew there was going to be an Imperial military created or something."

The second officer sighs and tries to keep on course. "Best not to think of it…trust me on this, just do your job and don't question anything."

Suddenly the sound of the Destroyer Fleet Command radio comes on again.

"Shuttle Kifious, permission granted to proceed to Star Destroyer Renegade One. Long live the Empire."

Both men look at one another and respond back in unison as they focus back on flying the craft.

"Long live the Empire."

The shuttle soon increases it's speed towards the main ship in the distance, the Imperial Star Destroyer is sitting in the middle of others that are still being completed. The construction droids are hard at work all around and fly past the shuttle at times as they work from one ship to the next. Behind the Renegade One ship sits the moon like frame of the Death Star, a ghostly frame that foretells the things to come. The shuttle flies underneath the massive ship and enters upwards under its belly. A large hanger bay awaits underneath, one that can support a number of small sized ships and even has grappler arms to take hold of any ship that is slightly bigger as well. The Kifious comes into the landing bay and folds its wings back up, the landing struts now unfold and touch down on the sleek platform below.

The walkway opens up underneath the shuttle and steam from the opening vents flush out as they sigh from pressure and steam the area. A few Imperial Guards now appear near the craft and line up on either side. As too do the newly create Imperial Storm Troopers, the left overs of the Clone Wars as they now wear they're new body armor for this change of government. One officer in gray appears out of an elevator shaft and heads over to the front of the shuttle. Looking at his officers lined up on either side, they all await the passenger to disembark from the ship.

A pair of black boots now starts to appear as the person walks down the ramp, a flowing dark cape nearly drags behind them as the rest of the person now begins to come into view as they reach the end of the ramp. Breathing in and out in a respirator sound, the all black Sith Lord, Darth Vader walks towards the nervous looking male officer.

"Welcome to the First Imperial Star Destroyer Lord Vader." The man quivers in his voice. "The Emperor awaits you on the command deck."

The masked Sith Lord nods at the man and continues to walk past him.

"Impressive, most impressive this new Star Destroyer. I look forward to seeing the rest of it soon. " Vader's voice booms out. "But for now, I shall make my way to the Emperor immediately."

"Sir." The officer says as he tries to catch up to the quick paced Sith. "My orders were to escort you personally. This is entirely new design and easy to get lost in if you do not know…"

"Spare me the pleasantries commander…" Vader quickly interrupts. "I have studied the schematics for this vessel already and can find my way to the command deck without supervision."

"But Sir!" The man shouts.

Darth Vader stops dead in his tracks and looks over at the man. The mask gives little expression of emotion, but if one looked hard enough one could almost see the anger building in those dark soulless eyes that cover his real ones. Vader did not care for the man's tone and soon raises his hand in a slight crushing manner. The Force soon begins closing the throat of the officer, who even now tries to struggle for breath as he feels its power on him.

"Return to your other duties, Commander. Your services are no longer required…I shall find the bridge on my own. Is that understood?"

"YES…" The man gasps as he holds his throat. "Forgive my ignorance my lord…"

As Vader walks away, he releases his control of the Force and lets the man drop to his knees as he finally receives air in his lungs again.

"Apology accepted." Vader states coldly.

Entering the elevator, the Dark Lord spins around and faces the doors as they close. The ship commander gets up off the floor and straightens his uniform. Giving a slight feel around his neck, the man clears his throat and looks over at the Storm Troopers gazing at him.

"Back to your duties!" He shouts at them.

The troopers scurry across the bay and do as they are told. The Commander walks out of the area and heads down the large corridor of the ship.

••••••••••••••••••••••

The Command Deck of the Imperial Cruiser is full of officers dressed in the dark grey uniforms. Built into the floor of the room is the operational computer center that operates the whole of the ship. Men in lighter colored uniforms sit at each station and operate the various equipment. Standing near the largest of main windows wrapped around the entire room is Palpatine, newly created Emperor of the galaxy. He is adorned in his traditional black Sith cloak and talking with a gaunt looking individual. A skinny man full of metals on his uniform and looking sinister as the Emperor himself. The window makes like a backdrop behind the two, the slow movement of the ship makes the stars swirl in the distance; the full view of the Death Star being constructed also takes up most of the view, as the two men talk quietly and point at the various areas of the massive space station being created before them. The bridge elevator doors open at the other end of the room and Vader now appears as he steps on to the deck. Walking towards the Emperor, Darth Vader almost looks like an evil specter as he almost glides across the room. The constant breathing in and out of his mask gives everyone a chill as the stop to watch this Sith Lord go past.

"Ah…Lord Vader." Palpatine says without even turning to see him. "Welcome back from you mission…I trust you have succeeded in obtaining the information I seek?"

Vader stops behind him and nods.

"I have."

"Good." The Emperor says with a crooked smile on his face.

"The Jedi Temple's database has been uploaded to your personal quarter's computer on Coruscant, and the alert beacon has finally been deactivated from warning the remaining Jedi."

"Excellent."

"Obi Wan Kenobi tried very hard to encrypt the system, but I was able to break his codes." Vader continues. "It appears the Clone Wars left many systems still under the control of the Droid Armies, the remaining groups were given instructions not to release those worlds until they were given the proper codes for surrender." Vader paces back and forth as he continues to talk. " Those codes will work on some of the droids, but many of them will not accept it, each Droid Army had a deactivation code and they change every solar day. Those are the droids that will put up the most struggle against us…but they shouldn't be a problem."

"As I predicted." Palpatine giggles turning to face him. "They will be no match for our Imperial army…nor our new vessels."

Vader stops pacing and rests his hands on his belt as he looks down at his Sith Master.

"I was surprised to find this information in the database. It seems the remaining Jedi were still sending their reports long after Kenobi and Master Yoda had fled Coruscant."

"Information that is useful to us Lord Vader." Palpatine states. "Now we can search out those remaining droids and end all opposition once and for all."

Vader looks beyond Palpatine and notices the thin grey haired man also looking at him and the Emperor.

"I shall take my leave of you both now to begin your task. Lord Vader…Emperor…" The gaunt looking man now speaks.

"Yes, thank you General Tarkin. Continue with your overseeing of the Death Star's construction. I shall call you again for any progress reports."

The man clicks his heels and bows to Palpatine. Looking up at Darth Vader, he gives a simple nod and walks away from the both.

"General Tarkin, I've never seen him during the Clone Wars." Vader says to the Emperor. "What was he assigned to during those times?"

Palpatine takes a few steps over to the massive window behind him and looks out into the stars.

"Oh…he was part of my war council, an intelligence officer that helped to locate Nute Gunray and his allies. Rest assured my friend, he is well suited for the job at hand."

Vader looks back and watches the General get into the elevator. As the doors close, the General gives a smug looking smile at the Dark Lord.

"I remember meeting your council…but I don't ever recall meeting him."

Palpatine keeps his face away from the masked man; in his eyes you could see that he was beginning to sense something was wrong with his apprentice.

"It is of none of your concern anyway. Besides, the Clone Wars are over my friend…and I have a new task for you to perform."

Vader turns his head back and places his hands on his belt as he awaits his instructions.

"What would you have me do, my master?"

Palpatine turns to face him and gives a look of disapproval.

"Kneel before me."

"I beg your pardon?" Vader asks.

"I said kneel before your Emperor…show a sign of respect." He growls at him.

Vader hesitates at first but then does as he's told.

"You must do this every time you speak with me Lord Vader. I am your Emperor and you will do as I command. You will do so without question and you shall always obey with complete loyalty to this Empire. Is that understood?" The old man snarls.

Vader bows his head.

"As you wish…my master. Forgive me."

Palpatine smiles as the ex-Jedi does as he instructs. Calming his tone again, Palpatine places his arms inside his cloaked sleeves and stands over Vader with pride.

"I give you a new mission my old friend. One that must be done at all costs and without hesitation."

Vader continues to listen as he keeps his head down.

"The information you obtained from the Jedi Temple is needed to help end any resistance that might return and cripple my….our…Empire. So this is what I instruct for you…"

Paplatine places his hands at his side and looks upward with his demonic looking pale eyes.

"Take this ship and use our armies to destroy the Droids still clinging on to the worlds they have taken. Let whatever remains of the Clone Wars be swept aside and place any traitor under arrest."

"Yes my master." Vader replies.

"Oh and one more thing Lord Vader. This is priority above the rest and one that must take precedence." Palpatine grins. "Hunt down the remaining Jedi scattered across the galaxy….and kill them all."

Vader almost seems to pause as he keeps his head lowered.

"They must be destroyed my friend." Palpatine says to him with a soft tone. "If you don't kill them…they will sure to come to kill you and me. They will send this new Empire…this perfect order…into chaos again. I trust only you Darth Vader to see that this gets done…for you alone are the one strongest in the Force. They will be no match against you…my young apprentice. Now go….and put them out of their misery!"

Vader raises his head and nods.

"As you wish."

The Sith Lord rises from his knelt position and walks back towards the elevator. His slow walk makes the Emperor sense that something is wrong with him and begins to probe his thoughts.

"Lord Vader!" He commands.

"Yes, my master." The masked man says as he comes to a halt.

"You seemed troubled my friend…what is it?"

"Nothing master…." He replies in a somber attitude.

Palpatine closes his eyes and uses the darkside to scan Vader's thoughts.

"You…miss Padame….don't you."

"Yes" Vader breathes out.

"Your thoughts dwell on her." The Emperor again speaks softly to him. "You blame yourself for her death, that you could not control your anger and now regret your actions. Yes, I feel the bitterness within you. You wish you had gone to her funeral….don't you?"

Vader turns around to face his dark Master.

"I wanted to see her as she was one last time. Just to be by her side…as they laid her to rest."

Palpatine steps over to the tall menacing Sith Lord and holds his arm with a touch of comfort.

"She was burned my young apprentice. Her ashes are now scattered throughout the planet of Naboo. All that remains is a monument of her in the palace gardens…let it go Vader…she is no longer part of your life any longer. Keep focused on your duties, it will help you to clear your thoughts on such painful memories."

Vader looks at the twisted faced old man and then looks at the man's hand touching his arm like a concerned father figure. Vader breathes calmly as he moves away from the Emperor's grip and continues to walk towards the elevator.

"I must see it my master…I must see Padame's face one last time before I begin this new task. I owe her that much."

Watching him with concern, Palaptine's face grows emotionless as he stands in the center of the room.

"Of course my good friend. Of course. Begin the assignment at your earliest convenience."

"I shall." Vader says as he steps into the elevator and turns around as the doors close behind him.

The Commander that greeted Vader at his shuttle now steps onto the bridge and walks over to the pale looking Emperor.

"Your shuttle is ready my lord. We're ready to disembark as soon as possible."

"Excellent Commander Altavis." The old man utters as he continues to stare at the elevator Darth Vader was in. "Commander…I have a new task for you as well. And I wish for you to keep this between you and I…"

Altavis nods at his request. "Very good sir, I shall be discreet as I can. What would you have me do, my lord?"

Turning to look at him straight in the eyes, Palpatine grits his teeth as he gives his instructions.

"You are to stay by Lord Vader's side. Wherever he goes, what ever he does, report it back to me immediately. I want you to keep an eye on him for me….is that clear…Commander?"

The man nods without hesitation and gulps as he watches the fury in the man's eyes take hold of his very soul.

"Clear, my Emperor."