Except for the heavy mechanized breathing reverberating throughout the chamber, the assembled officers of the Imperial fleet were silent. They stood at attention, attempting to remain calm and collected to avoid betraying their nervousness to the Dark Lord of the Sith. Currently, said Lord of the Sith was staring out the view window at the field of stars, his back facing the crew, ignoring them completely .

Darth Vader shifted slightly. "I feel a great disturbance in the Farce," he said.

The assembled officers shifted nervously. "The Farce, my lord?" a brave officer ventured.

Vader tweaked knob on his chest plate. "The Force. Seems I need to adjust my vocabulator again." He fiddled with a dial on his chest plate once again. "Is this better?" he asked in a high pitched voice that sounded like he'd been sucking on helium.

One of the officers snickered. The laughter was cut short with a with snap-hiss of his light saber. Vader had one less officer and a few precious moments to make sure his voice settings were accurate.

"Better?" Vader asked.

There was vigorous nodding as the remaining officers chorused, "Yes, my lord," at once, conspicuously not looking at the body crumpled on the floor.

"Set course for Coruscant." Vader commanded.

"Coruscant, my lord?" Since his commanding officer had just been cut down, the battlefield promotion system dictated he, as the highest ranking officer surviving, should address the Sith Lord. "But the Hoth invasion is scheduled to start immine..."

"Did I stutter?" Vader interrupted.

"At once, Lord Vader." The officers bowed as he swept out of the command center.

There were a couple of things that always sucked about jumping dimensions. First, he never knew where he'd end up. Second, he always felt like an idiot trying to figure out how to use the technology wherever he ended up. Third, his total lack of awareness about where he was usually bit him in the ass sooner rather than later.

He decided to take care of his immediate problems first. He didn't know where the other half of the Kyuubi was right now, and that scared him. But there was nothing he could do about that. There was a problem he could take care of, and that was trying to figure out how to use the toilet in this place. It had lots of blinking lights and buttons, but nothing that looked even remotely like a receptacle for bodily waste.

He whimpered as he pushed buttons randomly, hoping he could beat the oncoming flood.

A hole opened up on the seat, and he whimpered as he relieved himself. Just in the nick of time. While he was taking care of his business, he took a moment to take stock of his surroundings. Futuristic looking apartment? Check. Completely non-descript? Check.

Well, that was helpful and informative. Pfff.

Business finished, Naruto poked around the apartment a bit more, trying to figure out where and when he was. He made a couple of clones to help poke around, but kept the number low due to the space constraints in the apartment where he ended up.

"Cool! Holograms!"

Naruto turned to where one of the clones had managed to activate some sort of console. Hopefully, that would provide the sort of information he needed to get up to speed quickly.

In his chambers, Darth Vader knelt as he attempted to communicate with his Master on Coruscant. Unfortunately, Imperial Telecom's network seemed to be down, as the only thing he could get on his holodeck was some garbled snarling and the occasional flash of light. Frustrated, and feeling even more powerful in his anger, Vader commed the technical help desk.

A droid answered the line. It immediately launched into her spiel "Thank you for calling the Imperial Telecom's technical hot-line. Your call is important to us. Please listen carefully as this menu has changed. For Galactic basic press or say 'One.' Para español oprima o diga 'Dos.' For all other languages press or say 'Three.'

Needless to say, Vader, Sith Lord and commander of the Imperial Galactic Navy, was not happy. He exhaled a breath through his ventilator, wishing he could smash the hologram in front of him. Unfortunately, the hologram picked up the sounds of his respiration.

"I'm sorry. There seems to be static on your line and I did not understand you. For Galactic basic press or say "One." Para español oprima o diga "Dos." For all other languages press or say "Three."

Frustration reaching it's peak, Vader reached out with the Force and squeezed. Unfortunately for Lord Vader, the droid in the hologram failed to notice that it was supposed to be choking, and continued on it with it's pre-programmed routine.

Vader gave a sigh and released the force a few seconds later. "Option one. Don't make me repeat myself."

The droid nodded vigorously. "Yes of course, valued customer! Thank you for your interest in our service. If this is a true technical emergency, please hang up and dial the number on the upper left-hand corner of your Imperial Star Destroyer technical manual. Otherwise, please stay on the line and all calls will be answered in the order in which they were received. Remember, your call is very important to us, so please stay on the line."

The only sound was Vader's respirator. "Are you asking me to wait?"

The technician on the other side of the line sweat dropped. "Right. Um. let's get started then!. For technical assistance for shuttle bay doors, press or say 'Two.' For technical assistance for the Super Turbo Laser™, press or say 'Three.' For Sith Lord forgiveness programs, press or say 'Four.' For Super Star Destroyer telecommunications technical assistance, press or say "Five." For all other assistance needs, press or say "Six."

The gentle woosh of Vader's breathing filled the air. Vader reached forward and pressed the five that appeared in the hologram. [5]

"I think you said, "Two." Is this correct?"


"I think you said, "No." Is this correct?"


"O.K., let's try that again. For shuttle bay doors, press or say "Two." For technical assistance for the Death Star Super Turbo Laser™, press or say "Three."


"— for forgiveness — "

"Five!" [5] [5]. Vader frantically pushed the five button as he tried to override the menu options.

"— For Super Star Destroyer telecommunications technical assistance, press or say "Five." For all other assistance needs, press or say "Six.""

"Five." [5]. Vader pushed the button again.

I think you said, "Five." Is this correct?"

"Yes. Correct. Yes."

"All right, let me see if I can help you. Please say the category of communications problems for which you require technical help. For example, if your communications platform isn't operating at maximum capacity, say "Problem." If the color of the holograms isn't a deep, vibrant high definition color, say "color.""

"Uh." Vader's breath quickened as his temper rose once again.

"I'm sorry. I didn't understand your answer. Please repeat your answer slowly and clearly."

"The menu didn't even begin to make sense."

"I think you said, "Vengeance." Is this correct?"

"No." Vader paused. "Wait. Yes."

The droid looked puzzled. "I'm sorry to inform you, Vengeance is for the Emperor and Lord Vader. Please repeat your answer slowly and clearly."

Vader's anger peaked. The dark side of the force swirled around him as he stood, towering above the hologram. "I am Lord Vader."

The droid blinked. "Very good, sir. Please select your menu option."

"Prob. Lem." Vader spoke as clearly as he could through his ventilator, enunciating each syllable as carefully as possible.

"I think you said, "Problem." Is this correct?"

"Yes. Correct."

"Thank you. Let me connect you to that department." The droid remained on screen, but a saxophone version of ancient elevator music began to pipe through the speakers.

"Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us. Your wait time is approximately seven minutes."

Vader's rage peaked as the music continued.

"We're sorry you are still on hold. We appreciate your patience and look forward to being of service."

Vader stood and pulled his lightsaber from his belt. With a snap-hiss, the red blade sprang to life and he approached the console. Before he could obliterate it, though, the voice came back.

"Thank you for holding. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please state the problem for which you would like help. For example, if you would like help healing someone who is sick, you could say, "Illness." If you would like help in making a woman who barely knows that you exist become interested in you romantically, you could say, "Wingman."

Vader roared. "No. More. MENUS!"

The droid in the holo screen didn't flinch. "I'm sorry. I didn't understand your answer. Please state the problem for which you would like help."

"I want help without having to go through six levels of options," stated Vader.

"I think you said you would like help with sexual dysfunction. Is this correct?"

"I... wait! No! Padme, I'm sorry!"

"I think you said, 'No.' Is this correct?"


"O.K, please restate your problem. Speak slowly and clearly — "

"I'm sick of these menus."

"I think you said you would like help curing a sickness. Is this correct?"

"No," said Vader, "these menus are driving me crazy."

"I think you said you would like help dealing with a mental illness. Is this correct?"


"I'm having difficulty understanding the problem for which you are seeking help. Please state your problem slowly and clearly."

Vader's lightsaber ignited again, and in a futile rage he swung at the hologram repeatedly until his adrenaline wore off. After a few minutes, he addressed the hologram again. "My problem is..." Behind his mask he blinked. "I ... forgot why I called."

"I think you said you no longer recall your problem. Is this correct?" Asked the droid.

"I guess." The Sith Lord shrugged. "I don't know. Yes."

"Excellent. We are pleased to have been of service. How else can we provide you with a wonderful day?"

Vader killed the connection with a sigh.


Huh. At least he had a name for his current location, but that didn't tell him much beyond he was far, far from home. The more he learned about the place the less he liked it. Some sort of galactic empire? Rebel insurgency? Some sort of pisswater substitute for coffee called kaf?

Yeah, no thanks. He just wanted to get home. Well, maybe figure out some way to beat the Kyuubi again, but mostly just get home. He tried to summon a toad. There was a brief burst of smoke, but no summon materialized.

Naruto shook his head. Of course he'd be getting no help in this situation. That would have made things too easy. Naruto left one clone on the console to continue doing research while he summoned a couple of others to start planning on how to defeat the Kyuubi. His best bet was some sort of seal. Given that he had a template to work off of on his belly, he started trying to transcribe as much of the seal as he could on a piece of paper to see if there was some way to adapt it to do what he needed.

This was going to be a long project. Naruto made another clone, and sent it out into the city to see if there was anything remotely resembling ramen available on this world. Maybe he'd get lucky.

Darth Vader strolled confidently through the palace, though he slowed his walk before reaching the door to the Emperor's chambers so that the pair of Royal Guards could open the door. He resumed his pace once the doors were open wide enough to admit him, stopping only to drop to a knee before the Emperor's throne.

"Lord Vader."


"What brings you here to Coruscant unannounced?"

"I felt a great disturbance in the Farce, Master."

"You need to adjust your vocabulator again, my apprentice. When was the last time you performed maintenance on your systems?"

"Apologies, Master. It has been over two weeks."

As Vader fiddled with the controls on his chest panel, he used the opportunity to gaze briefly up at his Master. He seemed… different. Though the air of menace surrounding him was even more potent than usual, his robes fit differently - as if portions had swallowed him up, and others were too tight.

"You seem… different. Master. Your voice is much deeper." Vader said.

"The Force works in mysterious ways, my apprentice."

Vader noticed taloned toes peeking out from the bottom of his Master's robe. "What hairy toes you have, Master."

"Why are you looking at my feet?" The emperor snapped.

"What big eyes you have, Master." And they were big. Big, round, and golden, and lit with a malevolent amber glow. That, at least, appeared the same as always.

"The better to see you with, my apprentice."

"What a… vulpine facial structure you have, Master."

Furry hands reached out and pushed the hood back slightly. "Do you like it? I got some work done. I was tired of having huge bags under my eyes."

Vader stared. Where he expected his master a fox stood. Literally. The fox had dark crimson fur, and standing on its hind legs, it was as tall as a human. It smirked malevolently as nine bushy tails worked free of their confinement beneath the robe, and started waving through the air.

Vader pulled his saber free of his belt and charged at the creature with a snap-hiss. Before he even made it two steps he was blasted back to the ground by Sith lighting.

"Sit." The fox chuckled. "Good boy."

Vader wheezed as he climbed to a knee, he glance briefly at his saber, but before he could even think about it it went flying through the air into the palm of the beast on the throne above him. There was a snap-hiss as the fox turned the blade on and waved it briefly through the air.

"Cute," the fox said, before turning off the blade and throwing it back at Vader's feet. "But that won't work."

"Where…" Vader wheezed, "is my Master?"

"The old guy? I killed him. Then I ate him." The fox buffed a wicked set of nails against his robe. "I must admit, he was a surprisingly tough bag of bones. Not the best meal I've ever had, but I needed the knowledge, and that was the fastest way to get it."

Vader stood shakily.

"Are you angry?" The fox asked.

"No." It was true. Vader didn't even need to search his feelings for that one. He felt a profound sense of… relief… now that Darth Sidious was gone.

"Oh fooey. I was hoping to have an excuse to continue to inflict pain." The fox sat down and lounged on the throne, throwing one leg over the armrest and leaning back. "Tell me more about this… disturbance in the Farce."

"Force." Vader corrected.

The fox waved a paw. "Tomayto, tomahto, as they say." The fox rubbed his chin. "When did this… disturbance happen?"

"I felt… shift in the balance of the Force while I was busy chasing rebels that had escaped to the planet Hoth. I broke away to return here as soon as I could."

"And this Force is…?"

"It is the energy that surrounds us, and binds us together. It protects us, and we use it to destroy our enemies." Vader said.

The fox snorted. "It's not all that useful, then. Unlike duct tape. It sure didn't protect Palpatine."

Vader thought that over. He could feel the truth of the statement. "So, what happens now?"

The fox paused. "Yes, that is the question, isn't it? I didn't come here to be some sort of galactic overlord, though that is certainly within my power. I came here looking for someone. You help me find him, and I'll let you live. Once you complete your task, you're free to do whatever you'd like. Pretty simple, isn't it?"

"Are you now claiming to be my Master?" Vader asked.

"No. You're my bitch. You do what I say, or I destroy you. It's a much better arrangement for all involved," said the fox.

Vader thought for a moment. He did not doubt the creature's ability to destroy him. Vader could feel the power radiating from this being, and it was frankly terrifying.

"If I am to be your… bitch," Vader said, stumbling over the words, "how should I address you?"

"You can call me Kyuubi."

"Kyuubi, then." Vader said. "What of the rebels?"

The fox waved a paw. "You can continue to command the geezer's armies to pursue them, if you wish. Or grant them reprieve. I care not a lick. Though, if I get bored, I might turn my attention to them."

Vader nodded. He was being given a free hand for the first time since he became a Sith. He could feel the anticipation rising up.

"I shall continue my activities, then."

"Good, good." The Kyuubi said, in a voice very similar to Vader's old master. "Your primary job is to find someone for me." The fox grinned, and it's grin promised pain. "I'm looking for this person." A blonde haired youth sprung into being next to the throne. Beyond the blonde hair and blue eyes, his most notable feature was a shit-eating grin.

He looked stupid, Vader thought.

"His name is Naruto Uzumaki. He is somewhere here on this planet, but I cannot find him myself because his presence is masked due to a link we share. That which gives me my power also protects him from me, so I need an agent to act on my behalf. Find him. Bring him to me," the Kyuubi commanded.

"Yes, Kyuubi." Vader said.

"Palpatine had a young woman named Jade helping him. She seems to have a power similar to yours. Use her, if it will help you." The Kyuubi made a strange hand sign, and suddenly Mara Jade appeared before them, kneeling on the ground though she was gagged with her hands bound behind her back. That was probably a good thing, as she was yelling furiously through her gag.

"Go. Come back when you have success."

Vader bowed, and then walked away from the throne. He was almost to the door of the room when he suddenly bumped into cloak clad figure of the Kyuubi. Vader had no idea how the fox had covered the distance so quickly. Fear was an emotion Vader was very familiar with, but this was a different kind of fear. Vader could feel in the force that the Kyuubi was a menace to everything that lived.

"Oh, and Vader? Just so you know, you have even less protection from me than Palpatine. Don't forget."

Vader was a tall man, but he felt dwarfed by the sheer presence the Kyuubi gave off. "Oh, and you forgot something." The Kyuubi thrust Mara Jade in Vader's direction. "Do try to take care of your things. I don't want to be picking up after you."

The Kyuubi vanished. A glance back showed that the fox was lounging on the throne. It gave Vader a jaunty wave.

Vader pushed Jade before him. She continued to curse in her bindings, but didn't resist. Vader waited until they were out of the palace before cutting her bindings off with his light saber. She glared at him for doing so. She removed her gag herself, then proceeded to rub her wrists to restore circulation.

"Do you have access to your weapons?" Vader asked.


"Good. Get them, then catch up." Vader began to walk away.

"Are you just going to let that… that… thing just get away with this?" She hissed.

Vader paused. "Yes." Then he walked away.

Jade glared at the Sith Lord's back.

Darth Vader let the Force flow through him, guiding him to his destination. With a practiced ease, he powered down the engines and parked in the hanger. He followed the will of the Force as it led him to a public market on the lower levels of the city, far from the sunlight. Jade sat sullenly in the passenger seat, but at least she was fully armed.

Things were less clean here, the people less well fed and more downtrodden. Everyone knew who he was, of course, and shied away from him. Jade, like a good assasin, simply faded into the background, using his presence to hide hers.

Vader was a little surprised when he found his target. He wasn't expecting it to be this easy. The young man was wearing a bright orange jump suit, much like a rebel pilot might, standing in a public area haggling with a vendor over fruit. The vendor paled and backed away slowly as it became apparent that the Sith Lord was approaching his stand.

Vader simply stood behind his target and breathed loudly, waiting for the man to realize the danger he was in. However, young man simply ignored him, choosing instead to continue feeling the various pieces of fruit on the stand and asking the increasingly pale vendor questions.

Not used to being ignored, Vader stepped forward slightly. He was surprised when the young man addressed him without turning around. "Man, you sound pretty congested. Have you seen a doctor about that yet? That can't be healthy."

"Naruto Uzumaki. You will come with me," Vader commanded.

The young man turned around, finally looking at the Sith Lord. He eyeballed him up and down before saying, "Look, I'm flattered and all, but you are soooo not my type. Even if I were into guys—which I'm not, thank you very much—I had enough with dark and broody back in Konoha, thanks. But, you are really making that cape work for you. That's hard to do."

Annoyed, Vader reached for the Force to choke him as an expression of his anger. As soon as he did so, however, his target was simply gone.

This was twice that Vader had been surprised. Vader didn't like surprises. He had felt nothing from through the Force from his target prior to his disappearance, just as he had felt nothing from the Kyuubi. His target's presence in the Force continued to shine brightly, though. He turned to stalk in the direction his prey had gone, only to realize it was in the same direction as Mara.

The crowd parted before Vader as he marched in the direction of Naruto. The blond had managed to change his appearance in the few seconds it took for Vader to close the distance, something Vader noted idly as he marched towards the blond. The Sith's lightsaber flew to his hand, igniting with a hiss and bathing the market area with a blood-red glow.

The crowd around Naruto was flung away with a motion of Vader's hand, leaving him isolated.

"Look… I told you, I'm really not all that interes… yeow!" Vader's target barely managed to dodge a swipe that would have taken off his legs below the knees. The fact that he was able to dodge at all made Vader angry. His anger gave him power, and he advanced with a flurry of blade thrusts, all of which the blond avoided by the narrowest of margins and through an impressive display of flexibility and acrobatics.

"Can we talk about this?"

"There is no talk." Vader swiped at him again, just missing. His frustration continued to rise, making him even faster. "You will come with me. You only have to be alive."

The blond leapt away, creating distance between the two of them. He threw something towards him. Vader swiped at it with his lightsaber, only to have a second weapon impact his hand at the wrist and lodge there, forcing him to drop his weapon. It never touched the ground, however. Vader used the force to send it careening at this target, who yelped and dove for cover behind a parked speeder.

Vader used his free hand to pull what looked like a shaped iron spike from his wrist. It had damaged the servos contained therein, making it impossible for him to do much with his hand. His lightsaber came spinning back to him through the air. Vader snagged it with his left hand, and strode forward, lashing out once again at the cover the blond had used. The speeder parted in a shower of sparks. Rather than run, the blond had the temerity to run directly towards Vader's saber, and pluck it out of the air with a well-timed grab.

"Heh." The blond smirked as he waved the sword back and forth before him, getting a feel for the weight and balance. "Not bad."

Vader saw red, and not only because of the digital interface he used to see the world. He wrenched the saber from the blond's hand with the force as he charged forward, intent on causing grievous bodily harm.

In his anger, Vader's downward swipe would have bisected the blond had it connected. Fortunately—or not, depending on your point of view—the slash was blocked by a bright blue blade the blond had produced from nowhere.

"I forgot to mention - I've got one of these too."

Though he towered over the blond, with only one functional hand, Vader couldn't bring the same amount of force to bear on the blades that would break through the blond's guard. The two blades crackled and popped where they intersected, drowning out the sounds from the market.

"Obiwan has taught you well."

"Obiwan?" Naruto asked.

"Err… forget it."

"No, I'm really curious now. You can't just say forget it and expect me to forget it." Naruto said. "That's like, reverse psychology and shit. That is so not cool."

"I'm attempting to kill you, and you are worried about a remark I made?" Vader said, his vocabulator hissing.

"You didn't see me doing that, did you?" Naruto shook his head. "Seriously."

Vader roared and charged, swiping his sword through the space Naruto occupied. Naruto sprung up and away, flipping over the laser sword and the Sith holding it to land on the opposite side of the square.

"Impressive." Vader said.

"That's nothing." Naruto hopped back and held up a hand. "Look what else I can do!" Naruto knelt down and quickly untied his shoes. "Watch - A Gungan made a teepee," Naruto pulled the shoelace up and cross one under the other, "and it collapsed!" He pull first knot down. "So he started another," he made the first loop for bow, "and he took this string and went around it," he wrapped the wrapped the other lace around loop, "and went inside," he pushed the lace under new loop, "and there he had it! Two Tents!" Naruto pulled the loops tight and tied his shoes.

"Most impressive."

The market square was completely silent except for the hum of the lightsabers.

Naruto rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed.

Vader coughed. Though, with his vocabulator, it sounded more like the chuffing of a tuan tuan.

With a shrug, the two launched themselves back into battle, the sounds of battle reverberating throughout the area. Back and forth across the square the battle raged. Fruit was split, stalls were rent asunder, and large objects were thrown bodily at the blond ninja, who skillfully evaded it all with a laugh. That's why Naruto missed the sound of the blaster bolt that caught him from behind in the shoulder. His eyes widened in surprise and pain, and the distraction was enough for Vader to overpower his guard and sever the blond's sword arm.

Rather than scream, the blond vanished in a puff of smoke. The blond's light saber fell to the permacrete with clatter, only to vanish a moment later.

Vader looked around, but could no longer sense Naruto's presence in the immediate area. He could feel his quarry off in the distance. It would be too far to walk, though. Turning off his lightsaber, he attached it to his belt once and turned to Mara as she made her way down from the window where she had taken the shot at the target.

"Do you sense him?" Vader asked.

Mara closed her eyes and concentrated for a moment before nodding. "Yes." She frowned. "How did he get so far away?"

"The force is mysterious. I want him found, and I want him alive." Vader said.

"I don't take orders from you," Mara said sullenly.

Vader merely stared at her, his rebreather hissing mechanically.

"Okay, fine." Mara sulked. "I do take orders from you."

Vader nodded sharply, and stalked back to the hanger. Mara sighed, and started heading off in the direction she felt her prey's presence in the force.

Back in the apartment, Naruto sat up with a jerk as his memories returned to the original body. Naruto pushed back from the terminal and stood up.

"Time to pack it up, boys," he said. His other clones nodded and vanished, returning their memories to him. Given how quickly tall, dark, and hissy found him in the market, it would only be a matter of time before they found him here. He was curious as to how they did it, though. It would be worth learning that technique.

Since he had everything he needed on his person, Naruto wasted no time leaving the apartment. The time spent reading up on this place had been helpful, as he quickly made his way to the turbolifts in order to head to the nearest spaceport. Catching the first public transport he could, Naruto impatiently waited for shuttle doors to open so he could get off this planet.

He hopped out of the shuttle doors and turned to make his way to the spaceport, but his thoughts were interrupted by the barrel of a blaster being shoved into the back of his head. The weapon was being held by a lithesome and shapely redhead wearing a tight fitting body suit and utility holsters. The blaster was held with a steady hand, indicating familiarity and willingness to use it.

"Slowly walk straight ahead," the redhead ordered. "No sudden moves."

Naruto raised his hands above his head, the universal sign for "I'm as harmless as a kitten."

"Can I at least learn the name of my captor?" Naruto asked.

"No, you may not." The blaster pushed against his head. "Drop your arms behind your back."

Naruto did as ordered. There was a brief clicking sound, and he felt something constrict around his wrists, binding them together.

"Walk." The command was matched by a push to the back with point of a blaster.

Naruto obeyed. He was marched through the busy public area of the spaceport to the more secluded private area. The whole time, he looked around in wonder. The level of technology was simply amazing, and even though he was under armed guard Naruto tried to catalogue and observe as much as possible during his walk through the area. Soon, the number of guards increased, as did the troopers in gleaming white armor and black rifles. Eventually, even the private terminal gave way to the fully military portion. Naruto was marched through a lock to a non-descript grey passenger shuttle with a dozen seats arranged in rows of three, and told to sit on one of the chairs facing the cockpit. Four white armored guards filed in, and stood guard around Naruto as the redhead moved to the front of the shuttle and took the controls.

The transition from the ground to the air was seamless, and the acceleration gentle enough that the troopers didn't bother grabbing ahold of anything to prevent them from falling.

Coruscant from the air seemed to be a never ending city - nothing of the natural world remained. Everything had been smothered by a dense layer of urbanization, and in places the many layers had been stacked on top of each other, creating canyons the plunged vertically for kilometers.

A monumental building, resembling a ziggurat with five impossibly tall spires, dominated the skyline in the direction the shuttle was heading. It was impossible to get a sense of scale when compared to the buildings around it, but it could easily house tens of thousands of individuals.

"We going there?" Naruto asked.

"Shut up," the mechanical voice of one of his armored guards said.

The shuttle descended towards the palace and landed on a pad. One of the soldiers poked Naruto in the back with his blaster to get him to stand. Naruto walked down the ramp, where the man in black armor and cape was waiting for him.

Naruto tsked and shook his head. "I already told you - you're not my type. The redhead, on the other hand… hacha!"

Vader reached out with the force and choked the blond. Naruto went cross-eyed for a moment before frowning, but that was the only indication he was affected at all. Clearly not getting the reaction he hoped for, Vader let the force go.

"The Emperor awaits." Vader turned on his heel and stalked down the hall towards the throne chamber.

The walk through the Imperial Palace was long and uncomfortable. Naruto's escort was disciplined - they remained sufficiently distant from him that he couldn't creep close, and kept their weapons trained on him at all times. They also refused to let him engage them in conversation, simply refusing to answer questions. The redhead that caught him followed up behind the white clad soldier, watching the whole group.

A pair of red-clad guards opened the doors to the throne room as they approached. The throne was backlit by the setting sun, making it impossible to see the figure seated upon it.

The doors behind closed with an ominous thud.

Slowly, a figure rose from the throne and walked down the steps with a measured pace. Nine tails slowly worked their way out of the back of the figure's robe, swaying in an unseen breeze.

"Hello, Naruto." The Kyuubi said. "We've got lots to talk about."