I am so very thrilled that you all are reading and enjoying this little tale! I hope it continues to satisfy you. :)
I stood in Tarkin's conference room, listlessly supporting myself by holding on to the back of a chair. I had not felt this weak since the days just following my transformation into a cyborg.
All those years of defenses had been obliterated by the trauma I had just experienced, and I could not find the pieces to build the walls back up. They had been blasted into sand...
I straightened, coming slightly back to myself when a high-ranking officer named Cass strode into the room and stood at attention.
"Yes?" Tarkin asked casually, not rising from his seat at the opposite end of the large, oval table. Officer Cass lifted his chin.
"Our scout ships have reached Dantooine. They found the remains of a Rebel base, but they estimate that it has been deserted for some time. They are now conducting an extensive search of the surrounding systems."
Stunned silence followed this report, and the officer turned and left. Tarkin started to his feet.
"She lied!" he exclaimed. "She lied to us!"
I wanted to sigh, but my regulator would not allow it.
"I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion," I reminded him flatly, too preoccupied to be more than dismissively irked at him. However, Tarkin took this report much more to heart, and his eyes flashed with vengeful light.
"Terminate her. Immediately!"
Something inside me spasmed, and then did not relax. Instead, it tightened, and began sending jerking pains up and down my chest. All the muscles in my shoulders tensed as I realized that, today at least, I could not bear another execution. If I was once more forced to hear that raging screaming rattle through my head, followed by that gasp of silence, whatever was keeping me standing right now would come out from under me.
However, I could think of nothing to dissuade him.
Then, by the mercy of the Force, aid came to me.
The inboard comm system beeped, and the dreadful look was shaken from Tarkin's face as he turned to push the button to answer.
"We have captured a freighter entering the remains of the Alderaan system," the matter-of-fact voice replied. "Its markings match those of a ship that blasted its way out of Mos Eisley."
My mind leaped to a conclusion---a far-fetched one, yes, but I was not going to waste an opportunity.
"They must be trying to return the stolen plans to the princess," I suggested, moving closer to Tarkin. "She may yet be of some use to us."
Tarkin lifted his eyes to me and shook his head minutely.
"No. She is just a liability. And an annoyance," he took a deep breath and sat down, punching keys on his computer. "I am scheduling her for termination...right now. There." He glanced at me again. "Go see that it is conducted properly, will you? And then investigate this freighter yourself."
The spasm clenched. He was telling me to do it. He wanted me to be the executioner.
Boiling rage swelled through all my veins, turning my vision red. I wanted to kill him. I could kill him. The power was in my grasp; it would take half a second, no longer. He would lie dead on the floor, and there was no one with the gall enough to challenge me.
Then my vision cleared. I straightened.
"As you wish." I spun around and swept out the door.
And as soon as it hissed shut behind me, I turned and began walking in the exact opposite direction of the detention block.
I should have done as he ordered. Instead of ignoring his request and heading to the hangar bay, I should have marched directly to the princess' cell, flung open the door and stopped her heart where she stood.
But I didn't.
END OF MOMENT
This is the first of a series entitled "Redeeming Moments," in which I will flesh out certain, crucial moments in Vader's original-trilogy life that carve away at his evil resolve and finally drive him to the turning point. So stay tuned for more like this!