9-26-07: Okay, since I've gotten several requests for ANH-period Vader-Cat fics, I'm ammending my notes. Since the whole idea is comedic, I'm just going to say that this reality assumes that Executor was commissioned earlier and Vader was already using it as his flagship.

This is a direct sequel to Cracking The Armor...or Possibly Just Cracking, a little humor piece I wrote after my friend Sarah (aka Polgarawolf) found a stray and we were discussing how a kitty would do wonders for Vader. Ridiculous? Yes. But it's fun. Enjoy.


Another Disturbing Crack

Vader quickly discovered that the kitten had a remarkable propensity for taking up space. For such a small being, it could occupy a frightening portion of a counter, control panel or table. It had no regard whatsoever for anything that might have belonged where it wanted to be, and held the Imperial goings on that it was interrupting in such disdain that the Dark Lord, once again, was forced to admire its attitude.

This was never more apparent than when the cat followed Vader onto the Emperor's newly constructed Death Star. Fortunately, it did have the sense not to climb onto his shoulder. Governor Tarkin stared at it long and hard when he first noticed its presence behind the Sith Lord, but since Vader said or did nothing to acknowledge it, and the crew of his flagship had learned to do the same, Tarkin apparently assumed that he was seeing things.

At least, that was, until they walked into the conference room where Admiral Motti and Commander Tagge were engaged in a round of bickering about the Rebel Alliance. Neither man actually noticed the cat at first, since the entire room quickly became focused on Tarkin's news.

"The Rebellion will continue to gain a support in the Imperial Senate as long as…" Tagge trailed off, startled by Vader and Tarkin's sudden entrance.

"The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away," Tarkin related.

"That's impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?" demanded Tagge as the Grand Moff took his seat at the head of the table. Vader loomed silently at his side, doing nothing to indicate that he saw the cat clawing its way up the side of Tarkin's chair.

"The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear--" Tarkin broke off with a cough as the cat pounced into his lap and then sprang onto the table. His eyes bulged, and he turned to Vader, who still stolidly ignored the cat's presence.

The rest of the room began to murmur in surprise, but since Vader took no notice of the feline intruder, none were quite sure what the appropriate reaction should be. They looked nervously from Tarkin to the fearsome Dark Lord and back again, waiting for some cue. Finally, as the kitten stretched itself out on the table, managing to occupy at least three times the space that it logically should have, Tarkin began again.

"Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station!"

"And--and what of the Rebellion?" asked Tagge, his gaze flicking nervously between Tarkin and the cat. "If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of this station, it is possible…"

The cat rolled to its feet again, meandering toward him, and he broke off fearfully, still wondering what his reaction should be. He gulped, staring, as the cat wound its way around the sealed silver and black cup beside him, then gradually halted and stood up on its hind legs. It wrapped its front paws around the cup, intent on discovering what was inside despite the cover.

"It is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness and exploit it!" Tagge finished.

"Any attack made by the Rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they've obtained," insisted Motti, though his bitter confidence was shaken as the kitten swiveled its furry head to give him an annoyed glare. "This--this--station is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it!"

Vader reached down calmly to disentangle the cat from the cup it was attacking before it actually managed to spill anything. It protested momentarily, then settled contentedly in the crook of his arm, its tiny paws draped comfortably over his gloved wrist.

"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force," he warned.

"Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader," scoffed Motti, "Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebel's hidden fortress. Now you've taken to playing with kittens--!"

The statement was cut off as the slimy looking admiral began to feel the effects of Vader's Force-choke. He reached for his collar and the cat hissed menacingly. Still looking at Motti, Vader absently stroked the kitten's head with two fingers.

"My cat finds your lack of faith disturbing."