Title: Who Killed Moff Tarkin?
Chapter: 1. Intimate Negotiations
Summary: When the mutilated body of a man thought long dead turns up to haunt a dangerous diplomatic mission, Luke Skywalker must proved the Alliance delegation is innocent whilst dealing with the constant presence of the one man he does not want to know. Post ESB, Luke/Vader with a splash of murder mystery.
Keywords: Mystery, murder, Tarkin, Luke, Vader
Timeline: Post ESB
Archive: Slytherin Serpent, Short Multi-chapter
AN: Just a little fun after watching too much CSI, please review. I do not own anything characters, universes, lightsabres etc...but would be most willing to remedy the situation.
The Alliance Delegation
Luke Skywalker - Jedi Knight in training, idealist and general laughing stock of the Rebel community
Han Solo – a smuggler with no survival instincts and even less tact, but still an ideal match for any wayward Princess
Leia Organa – a wayward Princess with a sharp tongue and even sharper looks
Chewbacca – a brilliant investigator, ceaseless optimist, the brains of the entire delegation who just so happens to be a ten foot tall wookiee with a steel crossbow.
Wedge Antilles – Rogue pilot, hotshot, not-very-effective leader of the Rogue squad
Wes Janson – Rogue pilot and self styled joker with a poor taste in humour
Derek "Hobbie" Klivian – Rogue pilot with a pathological aversion to truth and responsibility
C3PO – loveable droid, frequently abandoned
R2D2 – loveable droid, infinitely useful but also frequently abandoned
Greenin – Nice, amiable but distant diplomat on the verge of a mental breakdown
Four very old diplomats – who look like they might keel over if they laugh too hard
And an array of very dull extras who never get any lines.
The Imperial Delegation
Darth Vader – fearsome Sith Lord, executor of the Emperor's will and worried father of a wayward teenager.
General Veers – aggressive, voracious, conniving Army officer
Admiral Piett – anxious, pale, characterless Naval Officer
Five stormtroopers – Vader's fist and the Empire's finest fighting men (who occasionally babysit for their boss when needed).
Four diplomats – whom no one has ever seen outside the negotiating room.
The Corpse of Moff Tarkin – clearly defied the saying "you only die once" by dying twice and ruining a perfectly nice swimming pool in the process.
An overweight security chief who might have spent his last life as a nerf
A female forensics officer who just happens to be blonde
A mysterious blonde
Several other very attractive females
A bar tender who doesn't gossip
A doctor who never learnt any communication skills
A quaint painting
A lot of yellow crystals
Enough preservative to pickle an army
The planet of Andaman – in an existential sense
25th DAY OF THE FIFTH MONTH - 2000 HOURS – THE DIPLOMATIC COMPLEX, ANDAMAN
"Forensics Team Field Notes Recording – 25thFifth– 2000 hours.
The body was found in the shared swimming pool of the Diplomatic complex at 1951 hours by a member of the Alliance Diplomatic Delegation. Witness states that the condition of the body and its surroundings has not changed since discovery.
The body is currently floating face down in the middle of the rectangular swimming pool. A large quantity of blood presumably from the victim has diffused throughout the entire pool pointing to a time of death of between 30-40 minutes ago. No visible injuries on the back of the body. No murder weapon or potential weapon has been found. An extensive search of the premises is still being conducted.
Victim is dressed in Imperial Military uniform but no rank markings are visible in its current position. No Imperial representative from the Imperial Diplomatic Delegation has yet arrived to identify the victim."
SAME DAY -1930 HOURS– THE DIPLOMATIC COMPLEX, ANDAMAN
The diplomatic complex on the Andaman Skyhook was not so much a complex as a prison. Even with thick layers of rare shrubbery Luke still could not ignore the ever present security cameras, droids and human guards. Andaman was watching.
The Empire wanted this fiercely independent system and that was enough to convince Mon Mothma that Andaman was important to the Alliance. A small thing like staying under stringent guard was not going to put off a full blown diplomatic mission, but the guards were not for protection as Luke soon discovered. They had a much more insidious purpose.
Diplomacy on Andaman meant more than just negotiations around a polished teal table, it meant more than just signing pieces of flimsplast, diplomacy meant intimacy and the Andamans believed in order to achieve a diplomatic solution one had to first become intimatewith one's contemporaries on the other side of the table.
It was no surprise (or in Luke's case a very big surprise) to find a lavish skyhook towering hundreds of kilometres above the swirling purple planet built for the specific purpose of forcing the Alliance and Imperials to become intimate. There was every conceivable luxury onboard despite the small size and if one did not find something to one's liking a team was on hand to handle even the most whimsies demands. However there was one simple catch: the forty delegates were trapped here in this surreal floating cage until they came to a settlement, preferably one that would not make the Andaman government wish to blow up the skyhook and everyone on it.
To fulfil the Andaman philosophy of intimate diplomacy the two factions were allocated the same penthouse where, in the spirit of Andaman originality, all the domed rooms were interconnected and privacy was one luxury no one could obtain. It hadn't taken long for the Imperial delegation to cordon off their preferred sector and small but threatening notices stared appearing on doors providing entry into Imperial territory. This suited Luke and the Alliance well for no one wanted a violent spark to set all the buried tension alight, particularly not in this dangerous section of space where only Andaman ruled.
So far there had only been two encounters between the Alliance and the Empire here, both of which had involved the exchange of cool silence and dirty looks. The Imperials preferred to keep indoors which worked for Luke because there was definitely one Imperial he did not want to see.
Lord Vader was here, on Andaman, making good use of his infamous diplomatic skills. Luke wa practically shaking with fear at their last encounter across the negotiation table much to the annoyance of seasoned diplomats. Wedge had to escort him out on the excuse of sickness and the Andaman physicians duly prescribed him pain killers for phantom pain.
Thankfully in the cool air of the evening when the day's negotiations become vague unpleasant memories Luke could find privacy and solace in the small garden behind the communal swimming pool. No one ventured here despite the pleasing scent and soothing splashing sounds of the numerous fountains. Everyone had something better to do like playing sabacc, reviewing notes or...frying droids with a lightsabre. The Andamans in their boundless generosity had provided a fully equip sparring arena for the famed Sith Lord so that he could enjoy all the earthly pleasures. In fact they were just one small step short of actually providing some live non-sentient beings for full enjoyment. The darkly humorous side of his personality wanted to find Vader and watch but Luke knew that he could not withstand another encounter with the Sith Lord
Right now, right here was not the place for such terrible thoughts. He had already spent the last twenty minutes locked in angst and quiet time was precious when sharing a penthouse with thirty nine other people. For a few moments Luke simply stood there inhaling the heady scent of sweet flowers and watching the fountains sparkle. Money could indeed buy you peace of mind even if only for a few moments. However within minutes he sensed a familiar presence through the force and he knew that his solitude this evening was over.
The figure picking her way across the untamed path was Leia. The only other people who were remotely concerned about Luke Skywalker were getting drunk at the high class cantina on level 12. She was a beautiful as ever in her senatorial gown but the stressful negotiations had drawn dark circles under her eyes. Andaman wanted too much but the Empire was willing to match any price, it was only the inherent distrust of the Core Worlds that sent Andaman calling for the Alliance.
"Are you okay?" asked Leia as she brushed stray hairs from her face, "I heard you turned down Han's offer to sample some fine liquor."
"I'd rather be here with these plants," said Luke smiling calmly, "drinking does nothing for me."
They simply looked at each other letting the sights and sounds of the garden carry away the calming silence.
"It's nice here, like on Alderaan," said Leia pensively, "we used to have a water garden just like this with too many fountains to count...but enough about me...areyou alright? I know Vader is here and it's...hard for you..."
"I'll be fine, Leia," said Luke abruptly and they reverted to staring in silence again.
Suddenly a piercing, agonised scream ripped through the air and echoed with terrifying resonance throughout the glass domed garden.
"It came from the pool!"
They ran without even considering what their actions would entail.
SAME DAY -2005 HOURS– PENTHOUSE SECTION, THE DIPLOMATIC COMPLEX, ANDAMAN
"Commander Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa were second to witness the scene," said the bulky security chief who seemed in his element under the flashing red lights of the emergency services' vehicles.
"I suppose they didn't touch anything," responded the tall blond crime investigations officer in her clipped Andaman accent.
"Nope," said the officer shaking his large neck like a nerf with too many flies. "No one's touched anything, like I've already told you."
The blonde investigations office spoke into her recording device again to confirm the fact.
"And no Imperials have turned up to identify him yet," grumbled the bull-neck security chief, "none of them still in this section, all down at level 12..."
"Where is Lord Vader?" demanded the blonde as a junior member of her team squeezed past them to take more holos of the dead body floating like a grotesque ornament in the middle of the pink pool.
The security chief shrugged, "I'm just the guard in uniform, I'm not privy to these things." Checking with the real guards was left unsaid.
All the flashing lights and questions were just for show and Luke knew from his seat at the back of an ambulance, he was meant to hear their whole exchange.
"Very well," she replied said through gritted teeth, "I shall have to wait here until your men manage to locate him, or someone who can identify the body."
"You won't get much identification with his face still soaking in the pool," muttered the security chief gruffly as the junior detectives clicked away furiously on their cameras leaving no stone unphotographed
"He will be removed now," snapped the blonde and two droids in pristine white covering rolled to the edge of the pool and hauled the body out by their hooks. In one swift motion the dripping corpse was transferred to the waiting black body bag and rolled away.
Even as the stretcher rolled towards them, Luke had a feeling that he should look away but morbid curiosity made him want to see the face, to see who had been so brutally murdered.
Leia rose from her seat to get a better look and before Luke could see beyond the sparse grey hairs barely covering the scalp, Leia screamed.
Her terror ripped through the force like a lightning bolt but her next words were far more terrifying.
"It's Moff Tarkin!"
AN: Right next chapter: a ghastly realisation that is nothing compared to the father/son talk Luke has been dreading. Please review.