Jedi Zombie: A Halloween Story

Time: 18 BBY

Characters: Vader, Roan Shryne

Rating: T

Setting: Somewhere in hyperspace

Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable.

Summary: What Vader proposes, the Force discloses. A sequel to "Lord Vader Needs Feet."

"Come here, Jedi. Don't make me sorry that I brought you along to tinker with." The lobotomy has only helped, I see. You haven't spoken in the weeks since your feet were replaced by fiber/metallic simulacra. Your breath regulator may be a flatter, quieter model than my own, but it still stutters. After a lengthy beat, you stumble to stand in front of my chair as I rise. Uhhhn, now I'm stiff, better lock my knees while I regain my balance, there ... hmmm. Let me circumnavigate you. The new alloy is shiny, ostentatious, but the boots will cover it all. Yes. "Run in place."

You pump the knees you were born with, the clanking shins and flexing ankles shifting balance nicely. "Jedi, halt. More lubrication on all moving parts, Trooper."

"Yes, milord." The only other being in my private chamber this late in the ship's night is a single stormtrooper. They are too unintelligent to be afraid of me, now aren't you, Anonymous Trooper? My wrath flames officers mostly, flag rank ones in particular. Anyone under the rating of warrant officer feels reasonably secure in my presence. For some reason, troopers feel akin to me and fear me less than they do their own direct superiors. Maybe our armor has something to do with it.

"Resume." Your elbows flap at your sides, your wheezing breaths intensify to the utmost capability of the new unit and its old intake tubes. I'd better not risk a shortout. "Halt." I straighten to my full height, creaking a little myself. Wait. That was only the synthleather rubbing, right? Can't lubricate that. Any reaction from you, Trooper? No? There had better not be.

Inspecting your Jedi body once more, beginning with your head that has been shorn of its ridiculously long hair, I see near the corner of each eye, beneath the reddish cylindrical scabs of your recent lobotomy, a seeping clear fluid that runs like tears down your pallid almost-middle-aged face. "They scrambled your brain with two long probes, Jedi. Put them straight into your frontal lobe through the thin skullbone between your eyes and your nose and swiveled them about. Do you remember that?"

No words escape your lips. Your breathing is back to normal, but the seeping liquid pumped out by your earlier exertion continues. The thing that I brought to show you I can feel heavy at my waist, touching the scars there that have proven to be hypersensitive. I draw it out. "It's lost its crystal somewhere on Kashyyyk's forest floor, but I'm certain you recognize it. Open your eyes wider, Jedi. Yes, like that." You have a dull gaze now. No more Jedi fierceness of purpose. "It's yours."

The lymph is drying on your cheeks. Is that fresh fluid overrunning the crystalline tracks? I'm closer to this phenomenon, now, almost nose to faceplate, and there's something ... something in you ... in your eyes ... you are defiant? Oh, kriff, it is righteous defiance, streaking to me in little feeder streams, I am a magnet attracting filings of raw justice, filings that will clog my Force-perception if I allow them to accumulate. I stand close to the trooper quicker than thought, the better to relay orders to him, of course. Never you mind, Shr--- Jedi.

"Milord?"

"I am finished with this subject, Trooper." The trooper clasps your right arm. Your breathing never wavers.

"Usual disposal, sir?"

You deserve better, Shryne of the Jedi Order. "No. Hit him in the face." The punch snaps your head back, but you do not rock on your feet. Blood from your broken nose joins the clear fluid staining your cheeks and jaw, smearing into a steady drip onto your plain inpatient smock. A few drops spatter your new ankles. "The Emperor has an addition to his private menagerie. The anakkona has a more prodigious appetite than expected. It will be ravenous again by the time we reach Coruscant." I raise my voice to you as you stand stockstill two meters away from me, still in the trooper's guard. "When you thaw, Shryne, the anakkona will smell fresh blood and take you quickly. I don't think the Force will help you this time." Still too close to him. Two small steps backwards, swirl the cape around me, watch out for your unwanted justice. Or would this be called revenge? No, not from a Jedi. "Remove the feet before freezing him, Trooper."

"The implants also, sir?"

"Leave them in." What is this one's designation again? "ARC5231, they are expensive, yes, and I commend you for your thriftiness, but they are one-use only. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." The trooper leaves with his charge.

My back hurts less when I clasp my hands behind it. I'll walk out this kink in front of my meditation pod. I hope the implants don't give the anakkona indigestion.

THE END

a/n This story is dedicated to my friend Dorothy, a voracious reader and lover of things macabre. Dorothy, how I wish you could have enjoyed Halloween once more. Rest in peace, my dear.