Number 10 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
A Fleet Full of Crack(pots)
Vader had discovered that the cat was prone to nightmares. At least, he assumed that the problem was nightmares. The animal could be soundly asleep one moment and then spring wide awake the next. As it woke, it would vault down from wherever it happened to be sleeping (and Vader could only offer a fervent prayer that it wasn't in his lap) and then bolt at incredible speed into the next room, where it would promptly find a space far too small for it and wedge itself there until Vader was forced to get down on his knees and try to scoop it out. This rarely worked, and on the few occasions when it did, Vader would have to spend the next week buffing scratches out of his armor in the most unlikely places imaginable.
He was thoroughly fed up with this state of affairs until he discovered how very much worse things could be. He had finally tracked the Rebel scum to their newly operational secret base on the ice-planet of Hoth. The Imperial Navy was en route there now, and he was looking forward with particular relish to destroying this installation. In retrospect, he realized that his anticipation had most likely blinded him to the growing danger of living with a sleep deprived, neurotic cat.
He had just entered his quarters and was making his way toward the hyperbaric chamber when the cat came shooting out from behind it, launched itself at Vader with claws outstretched, and crashed into him, clinging wildly to his facemask. Blinded and stunned by the sheer velocity and unexpectedness of the attack, the Dark Lord staggered backward. The door behind him hissed open and he stumbled into the corridor, pinwheeling both arms to keep his balance.
"CAT!!" he roared.
"Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeow!" he heard in response.
He landed with a thud against the far wall and reached up to pry the cat loose. It remained as rigid as a statue in his hands, back arched, paws straight out in front of it, tail and fur all sticking straight up. They stared at one another for a long moment, and then Vader came to the horrible realization that they were not alone. Sighing, he cradled the cat against his shoulder, which was no simple feat while its claws were bared and all four legs were sticking straight out. Grumbling, he pet it until it relaxed against him and then turned to the goggle-eyed and gaping General Veers.
"What is it, General?" he demanded testily.
"My Lord, the…fleet has moved out of light speed. Com-Scan has detected an energy field protecting an area around the sixth planet of the Hoth system. The field is strong enough to deflect any bombardment," Veers said, looking nervously from him to the cat. Fortunately for him, he managed not to snicker.
The cat hissed.
"The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of light-speed too close to the system!" Vader snapped.
"He felt surprise was wiser..."
"He is clumsy and stupid!" Vader interrupted, all too aware of the painful irony that the criticism was coming from a Sith Lord who had just been accosted and slammed into a wall by a fat orange cat. "General, prepare your troops for a surface attack."
"Yes, Lord Vader," Veers replied, then whirled smartly on his heel and strode down the hall just slightly faster than he really needed to.
"Marvelous," Vader muttered, turning toward the cat. "Would you prefer Darth Purr, Darth Fur, or Darth Meow?"