Number 7 in the Vader's Cat series. (Formerly called Vader and Cat but we decided we liked Vader's Cat better.)
In order they are:
Cracking the Armor
Another Disturbing Crack
Completely Cracked...and the Cat Came Back
Cracking the Death Star
Cracking Imperial Center, or: Cat Goes to Coruscant
Pruneface Cracks, or: Cat vs. Palpatine
Cracking the Dark Lord
Crack to Nature
Cracking His Confidence
A Fleet Full of Crack(pots)
Carbonite Cracks, or: Cat vs. Fett
Cracking the Dark Lord
As the cat grew older, Vader found that he became accustomed to its presence. What he could not get used to however was the rate at which the little animal grew. It seemed impossible to him that the tiny kitten which had once fit so comfortably in the palm of his hand could have become a large, fat adult feline capable of intimidating full grown Imperial officers. Further impossible was the fact that, no matter how fat it grew, it was always able to maintain its balance on Vader's shoulder.
If that wasn't enough to mystify the Dark Lord, there was the volume at which the cat snored. Once he had thought the racket of his breather was distracting. Now, he often thought with nostalgia of the days when the only annoying noise in his quarters came from him. The snoring was particularly irritating if there were others in the room.
It was next to impossible for him to maintain the proper air of terrifying power while every Imperial Officer present was well aware that the gigantic, rumbling ball of fur nearby belonged to him. The cat, of course, had no concern whatsoever for Vader's reputation. He was becoming rather tired of having to Force choke various aides and junior officers simply because the fools didn't have the good sense not to snicker. Usually, they tried to apologize, of course, but the damage was already done. The Emperor didn't usually care how many men that Vader choked, but lately he had begun to remark that the Force choking was getting out of hand.
As he made his way back to his quarters this afternoon, Vader had suddenly hit upon the notion of hiring an animal behaviorist. He was still mulling over this possibility as he reached his door. For some reason, the cat had chosen not to accompany him to the bridge this morning, and as he entered his quarters, he entertained a faint hope that it had either slept enough while he was gone or was so deeply asleep that it was beyond snoring.
"Meow!" came the cheerful greeting as he swished into the cabin. He wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or not. The cat began its usual process of threading figure eights around Vader's feet, which Vader staunchly ignored and clomped over to his chair. As soon as he sat down, the cat sprang into his lap and began to purr. Yet another annoying feline noise.
"I am not going to pet you," Vader insisted.
The cat purred louder.
Sighing, Vader picked up a datapad from his desk and began to scroll through a report. The purring continued for a while, then gradually dropped off. Startled, Vader glanced up from his reading and then peered down at the furry lump in his lap. On cue, it began to snore.
"Insufferable," he muttered and went back to his reading.
He soon found that he had read the same line three times in a row and still had no idea what it said. With an impatient growl, he slapped the datapad down again and gave the cat a poke with his index finger. It came awake with a start and glared up at him, tail twitching in annoyance.
The cat purred. Loudly. And its tail was still twitching.
Vader stared at it in disbelief. "What? Are you afraid to hiss at me?"
The cat hissed.
"I should have known better."
Shifting with an air of offended dignity, the cat let its eyes slide closed. A few minutes later, it was snoring again. Vader decided that it was far beyond the help of an animal behaviorist and began considering replacements for his current staff and command crew.