The Darkest Lord
Chapter XXVI: Interrogation
Admiral Saul Karath stepped over the threshold of his new flagship's sick bay, a bright smile on his gruff features. The Sith officer walked softly through the room, ignoring the various greetings and salutes from his junior officers and medical teams. Crossing to the far end of the room, Saul reached a single bio-bed where one of his Cathar doctors worked with the patient that he had come to visit. As soon as the young female physician realized that the admiral stood behind her, she hastened to give a final injection to her charge before scurrying off elsewhere. When she was gone, Saul came to stand directly beside the bed where Luke Skywalker was flat on his back.
"Admiral," the Sith Initiate acknowledged with a nod as he sat up, massaging the back of his head. He could still feel a slight knot there from when Darth Revan had struck him while in Cloud City. Most of the pain had subsided though and the rest would not compromise his work. The staff aboard The Leviathan had done good work. Most of his injuries had recovered nicely and would be completely gone within a few days.
"How are you, Master Skywalker?" the older man asked as he crossed his arms over his neatly pressed uniform. He made sure that his right hand rested just below the rank insignia on his left breast, underlining it. He felt threatened by the young man's presence on his ship. It had taken him years and countless compromises to earn the rank that he had achieved. A person no older than a boy should have had no right to endanger his command.
"Several fractures, mild internal bleeding, and a concussion. Nothing your staff couldn't handle."
"Are you fit for duty?"
"Yes," Luke replied as he stood up and grabbed his black tunic from the table beside his bed. "Where is the crew of the Millennium Falcon?"
Saul noted just how eager the young Sith seemed to be to resume his duties. Despite his impressive rank, the Sith admiral held no authority over Darth Malak's prospective apprentice. If he wanted to, Luke could assume command of The Leviathan and relieve the seasoned soldier of his duties. This had always been a problem within the order. The mixture of religious and military rank blurred the lines of the chain of command and Saul had no doubt that Luke lacked the command experience to captain a ship. Hopefully he could keep the apprentice entertained until Lord Malak arrived and took charge of the situation. Relinquishing command to a child would be not only humiliating but possibly catastrophic to everyone aboard.
"They're sedated," the admiral replied to the initiate's question. "They've been restrained in the brig for several hours."
"I want to interrogate Darth Revan, Darth Traya, Bastila Shan, and Princess Leia. The others are of no consequence to me."
"Of course, milord, but there is one small problem," Saul replied as he beckoned the younger man to follow him. The two walked out of the medical facility and down the lengthy halls of the Sith heavy cruiser. "Lady Traya was not aboard the freighter when we searched it. We were hoping that you could tell us what became of her."
Luke frowned. "She was aboard when they captured me," he spoke softly. "I don't remember what happened after being taken though. It's possible that Revan sent her on a mission."
"We will need to ascertain the exact nature of such a mission."
"I am aware," the Dark Jedi snapped. "Bring me the other three. They'll tell me what I need to know."
Sith procedure regarding salvaged droids was simplistic at best. Any active units found during the course of a sweep were deactivated, sent to be processed, and analyzed. If the machine was deemed valuable, it was repaired, had its memory wiped, and put into active service. If not, it was disassembled and used for parts. The three droids from the Millennium Falcon all stood, inactive, in a large holding room. Only a few others surrounded their idle forms. Evidently, the Sith had not captured many in the previous few weeks. A single technician sat at a table near the head of the dimly lit circular room, tweaking the silver arm of a disabled protocol droid with a hydrospanner.
This technician, a middle aged Sullustan, did not notice when the dimmed photoreceptors of a rust colored assassination flashed bright red and the unit straightened its back, suddenly active without warning. The droid's head rotated on its axel, taking in the scene around it and processing the intel with which it had to work. Upon finding only a single unarmed guard before it, the droid made a decision on how to proceed. It simply walked forward towards the desk where the alien worked. About half way there, the Sullustan glanced up and saw what he believed to be a protocol droid activating.
"Who turned you on, huh?" the creature asked in its native fast paced tongue.
Then HK-47 reached the desk and looked down at the technician. With a single motion, the assassin droid reached across the desk and wrapped its metal fingers around the man's throat and applied bone crushing pressure that only a droid could match before lifting its victim into the air.
"Statement: You are an obstacle in finding the master and must be exterminated. Prepare for death, Meatbag."
With that, the HK unit gave a simple jerk of its iron grip, snapping the alien's neck. A wave of positive receptor signals passed through HK-47's positronic neural net, signaling satisfaction it. If the droid were capable of smiling, it would have done as much. It had been far too long since the master had allowed it to kill anything. Now was a chance to make up for lost time.
The assassin droid turned and stalked over towards its two companions, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Reactivating the protocol droid was as simple as flipping the switch found on the right side of its neck. Once complete, the two bulbous eye sockets lit up and the droid stood erect.
"Oh well now what is the meaning of this!" the gold plated unit sputtered upon seeing HK-47. "Where are we? What trouble have you gotten us into?"
"Statement: It would appear that we have been captured by Sith forces. The Master activated my assassination and homing protocols before being disabled. Objective: Find the master and kill as many Sith meatbags as possible."
"Well I don't see how you're going to do that," 3P0 replied timidly. "We're trapped on this ship with no way out and you don't even have a weapon."
"Mockery: -you don't even have a weapon." The statement was a perfect replica of the other droid's vocal patterns. "Condescending Statement: Protocol droid, I am one of the finest assassination units ever built. If you think that I need a weapon to kill my enemies, you had best adjust your primary analytical matrix. It seems to be failing."
"Statement: We need to reactivate this astromech droid," HK-47 said whilst gesturing towards R2-D2. "Its ability to interface with the ship's computer will provide valuable intelligence."
C-3P0 turned towards his counterpart and tapped its dome shaped head a few times. "R2-D2, wake up. This is hardly the time for a nap."
The vibrations in its matrix were enough to jolt the small utility unit awake and a red light flickered on in its dome. The droid's mechanical dome swiveled and it chirped several times.
"Now is not the time for jokes," 3PO rebuked.
"Order: R2, use the ship's primary interface junction in order to download ship wide schematics and then upload them to my data core."
The smaller droid beeped indignantly but nonetheless did as commanded. It put down its feet and rolled over to the conduit near the door. An interfacing device ejected from its cylinder shaped body and inserted itself into the computer drive. A few clicks and rotations later and the little guy beeped again.
"Query: The master has been taken where?" Another beep, bop, and a chirp. "Query: What of the other meatbags with whom the master insists on traveling?"
R2 did not answer for a moment and then beeped excitedly. "The detention deck is on this level?" C-3P0 repeated. "Oh my."
"Statement: Very well. I will rescue my master's pets before moving to the interrogation center and liberating the master. Come along, inferior droid units!"
HK-47 turned away from its two companions and opened the automatic door to the room. As it slid open, C-3P0's eyes lit up in shock. "No wait! What about the guards?"
Sure enough, two golden armored Sith troopers stood just outside of the room. HK-47 was undeterred by their presence, however. Before the two men knew how to react, the droid had moved on them. The assassin reached out and pulled a blaster pistol from a guard's belt. With pinpoint accuracy, it fired two rounds into the weak spot of their standard issue armor's neck region, killing them both instantly. Once they were dead, it tossed aside the sidearm and reached down in favor of one of their modified Sith issue blaster rifles.
"Statement: Aw. A proper weapon. My arm is complete again."
At the vicious display of violence, C-3PO looked down at R2-D2 in amazement. While it did, HK-47 wasted no time in moving down the hallway. The sound of blaster fire could soon be heard and then the victorious sound of "Statement: Terminate hostilities and your deaths will be less painful, Meatbags!"
A Sith interrogation chamber was an intimidating place. Revan had designed them as such. They were dimly lit rooms filled with cages and different devices for extracting information from a target in the most painful ways imaginable. Different tools, both modern and archaic lined the walls. The point had been to make the subject feel as though there were an endless variety of tortures and pains that could be inflicted to extinguish any faint glimmer of hope. The subject was meant to believe that nothing but divulgence of the desired information could stop the agony. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant realization when Revan found himself waking up inside of one of these gloomy abodes.
The Dark Lord groaned as he rolled over, feeling hard ground beneath him, and pushed himself to his feet. As he suspected, he had been contained inside of a force cage. It took him less than a second to rub the weariness from his eyes and take in his surroundings. All of his possessions had been taken from him and his clothes had been stripped away, leaving him in nothing but his undergarments. The electromagnetic field around him ran with a strong current that crackled and sputtered without provocation, indicating that the cage had been set to a very high frequency. Touching it would no doubt char and blacken the flesh. To his left, Leia stood straight in a similar cage while Bastila sat lotus style to his right. Both were dressed only in their underwear as well. Even the pins and clips that had held their hair in place had been taken away, leaving their long locks of brown hair to flow freely.
Revan recognized the mechanics of the cage. The emitters overhead and beneath him contained Force nullifying technology straight from the Star Forge. While his senses had not been dulled at all, he would not be able to properly channel his powers in order to disrupt the current around him. He was trapped. Though he hadn't had time to expect any of this before, when the Millennium Falcon had been attacked, the situation didn't come as any surprise to him. These were his own protocols being used against him. He was completely trapped in his own system. All he could do was wait and hope that HK-47 came through sooner rather than later.
"Are you two alright?" he asked the women.
Bastila looked up from her meditation, having not realized that he had woken up. The two locked eyes through their cages and Revan gave her a reassuring nod. "Do we have a plan?" Leia asked from his other side.
"Yes. We wait," he replied as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "And when we get the chance, we act." That, as expected, did not reassure the princess in the least but he couldn't say more. Security monitoring systems were stationed throughout the room, invisible to the naked eye. The Sith could hear every word and he couldn't risk them detecting his droid before a breakout attempt. Leia simply rolled her eyes and sighed.
The trio waited silently for several minutes, each assessing the situation and trying to think of a way out. Soon enough, the large automatic door at the front of the room slid open. Light from the outside poured in, revealing a silhouetted figure that none of them could make out by sight. Nonetheless, all three of them recognized Luke's Force signature as he walked into the room. The door slid shut behind him, closing off the hopeful outside light and allowing the three Rebels to see him more easily. Princess Leia seemed surprised to see that his injuries had been healed so quickly and that her brother now wore a fresh set of black robes, complete with a flowing black cloak. He had cleaned up very well since his fight with Revan.
"Hello," he said lightly as he stopped in front of Revan's cage.
"Hello Skywalker," the Dark Lord replied. "Don't care to face me again?"
Luke smirked and nodded at the former head of his order. "I won't make that mistake twice. You are an animal. Too dangerous to be let loose."
"You're a coward, kid. Make any excuse you like. I'm standing in this cage because you're afraid of me."
The younger man's face remained passive as he shook his head. The Sith Initiate put his hands behind his back and walked over to Bastila. She stood to face him, crossing her arms over her chest in order to preserve her modesty as best as possible. Luke's gray eyes fell to her neckline and traveled downwards. A dark smile crossed his lips as he eyed the beautiful Talravin Jedi. Her pale features were not as he imagined them. He had pictured a smooth, unblemished body, free of imperfection and markings. Instead, he found a form marred by scar tissue and injury. Bastila was well-toned and had an elegant form but it had been abused and mistreated by the wars she had fought in. In some sense, he felt disappointed. In another, it made him yearn for her even more.
"We barely got started on Bespin," he said to her in a low voice. "I look forward to continuing with you in private later." His words sent a visible shiver down her spine and the young Sith chuckled at the effect that he had on her. Then he turned away from her and walked over to Leia's cage. He did not inspect her as closely. He had never felt the same interest in her that he had felt for Bastila. Back when they had traveled together, his eyes had always been on the older of the two women. When his gaze shifted to Leia, it was with purpose.
"You treated me aboard the Falcon," he commented casually. "Why?"
"You were suffering," she replied coldly.
"But why you? Why not Bastila or the old man or someone with more experience?"
Leia didn't speak. Luke didn't care. He shrugged and turned his focus back to Revan. "You know how this works," he state, his tone turning to a more formal business-like one. The Dark Lord simply nodded an affirmative. The former farm boy smiled. "Always stoic and unblinking in the face of danger."
"Do you have a question for me?" Revan inquired, feigning boredom.
"Where's Darth Traya?" Luke countered.
A single eyebrow rose over Revan's right eye, betraying his passive face. His master had been aboard the ship. It had been his assumption that she would have been captured along with everyone else. Internally, a feeling of triumph came over him. If the old woman had managed to evade capture, then she probably had set her own rescue plan into motion. It was only a matter of time before either she or HK-47 put a stop to this process. And so, he remained silent.
Luke gave a look of impatience before walking back over to Leia. "Where are the Rebels hiding?"
Unlike Revan, Leia honestly didn't have an answer to her interrogator's question. The Millennium Falcon crew had been on the run since Vjun and had lost contact with their people. The only news that they had heard about the Alliance had come from the holonet, which couldn't be considered a reliable source of intelligence given how strictly regulated it was by the Empire. Moreover, the princess did not have the same sort of experience standing up to questioning as Revan. She had held off against the Imperials on the Death Star because of the number of lives at risk but this felt different. There were no answers to give. There were no wild bantha chases to send him on. Her face did not remain blank. It betrayed her fear. Luke smiled.
"Go on. Tell me," he urged her gently.
"Luke, stop this," the Alderaanian pleaded. "We saved you. You can still walk away. Help us fight Malak. Help the Rebellion like you've always wanted."
"Yavin and Hoth have both fallen. Where would the Rebels go next?" he demanded, ignoring her plea.
"I don't know. Hoth was our last stronghold! I don't know where they'd go next!"
"You were one of their leaders. Tell me the truth," he ordered her as he raised a hand towards her. Leia felt the invisible grip of a hand tighten around her throat and squeeze. This caused her to gag and her eyes went wide as she realized what was happening.
"Luke, stop!" Bastila shouted from her cage, though this did nothing.
"Luke-," the princess sputtered as she gasped for air that would not come. "Brother!"
The Sith Initiate slackened his grip ever so slightly, letting his prisoner consume just enough oxygen to speak. He hadn't understood what she had said but it interested him. "What was that?" he asked.
"You don't know what you're doing, kid," Revan told him as he moved as close to the force field of his cage as possible. "You don't want to hurt her."
"She's your sister," Bastila cried out. "Your twin sister!"
Luke looked from Bastila to Revan and then to Leia. All three had stone cold serious looks on their faces. This caused a smile to break out across his and then he erupted into laugher. It was a wicked sound, which reverberated in the air and bounced off the rough walls of the room. The sound caused both of the women to blanch and Revan to stare at the young man with utter disbelief.
"It's true," he informed the Sith.
"Sister," Luke repeated as he regained control of himself. "I expected you to lie your way out of this but that one never crossed my mind. You'll have to come up with something better than that. Now one of you, answer my question!"
"We don't know," Bastila insisted. "We've lost contact."
"What about you, Dark Lord," he countered as he turned to Revan. "Where's your master?"
"Defeat me in combat and I'll tell you," was the only response.
"I've already defeated you," Luke scoffed.
This was met with a returning scoff. "Hardly," the former Jedi General returned. "Whoever commands this ship got lucky catching us. No one defeated me. No one can."
"Where's Darth Traya?"
"Dead?" Revan said in return, though his tone sounded more like the statement was a question.
"Tell me!" Luke shouted at his elder.
This only caused Revan to chuckle in response. "Go ahead, kid. Torture me. It won't do a damn bit of difference."
In response to the challenge, the sandy-haired young man walked over to the control console that activated the force cages. He keyed in a quick series of commands, which caused the barrier around Revan to crackle and spark. Suddenly, a jolt of electricity surged from the top of the containment field and struck the former Lord of the Sith. Pain seared through his body, burning across him unrelentingly. He gritted his teeth, forcing himself not to cry out. A soft grunt was the only sound that he made. When the bolts subsided, his muscles relaxed and he brought his head down, looking right back at Luke.
"What else?" he asked.
This frustrated the younger man, who went back to his computer and typed in another command. The electricity came again, with a higher voltage setting, and stormed down upon him. The result was the same. Braced for the pain, he knew how to handle it. He prepared his mind and shut down the feeling in his body, blocking out the sensation. It barely affected him. His will was too great. He would not give this child the satisfaction of having broken the Lord of the Sith. It had the intended effect. Once again, the Sith apprentice turned up the voltage and increased the pain settings. Nonetheless, Revan persevered. He did not submit.
"Stop! Luke, this is wrong and you know it!" Leia screamed at her brother.
"Enough! This is senseless!" Bastila added.
The voltage stopped and Revan fell down to one knee. He stayed silent but looked up defiantly. It took a moment to regain his composure. When he did, he stood and did a trunk twist to pop the bones in his back into place. Then he twisted his neck, cracking the kinks out of that as well.
"Tell me!" Luke screamed across the room.
His frustration had mounted to a critical point. He had been over confident upon walking into the room. His power within the Force and intimidating presence had won him everything he had needed since becoming Malak's servant. Now, for the first time, it wasn't working. He needed a new idea. Obviously, simple pain wouldn't pry the information that he needed from his enemy.
"Are you alright?" Bastila asked Revan.
"Never better," he returned evenly. "What do you want to do tonight?" The question seemed odd and caused all three of the others in the room to give him an inquisitive look. The Lord of Revenge crossed his arms and shrugged to Bastila. "Once we get out of here and get back to the ship? What should we do tonight? I'm thinking pazaak." A smile broke out over Bastila's lips and she looked down at the ground. Even Leia chuckled softly at the joke. Luke would need to be more innovative if he wanted to get anything out of the Sith Lord.
"Fine," the younger man sneered.
He adjusted the console settings once more and then tapped the activation key. Revan braced himself for another surging round of electricity but none came. Instead, he heard the two units on either side of him power up. His head spun towards Bastila just in time to watch a highly concentrated bolt of electricity surge down upon her. Her body tensed and spasmed as she let out an unholy screech of agony. From the other side, Revan could hear Leia's cries as well but his attention was entirely on Bastila. He watched her writhe, powerless to stop it, and for the first time, he felt helpless. In frustration, he smacked his hand against the magnetic field of his cage, which sizzled violently and burned away the top layer of flesh from his knuckles. He hardly noticed.
The torture stopped and Luke smirked at the Sith Lord. "Answer my questions. Where are the Rebels and where is Darth Traya?"
Bastila was about to speak; to voice her defiance when suddenly an explosion went off outside of the room. The sound was dulled by the heavy metal doors and walls between them and it but it had been distinct enough to get their attention. All four of them turned their focus towards the door and were surprised when the azure shape of a lightsaber blade pierced through the center, heating the area around it. The metal soon melted away and broke the locking mechanism, forcing the door to slide open.
Luke reacted quickly by flipping his own weapon into his hand from his belt and igniting it. His cerulean blade sprang forth and he backed away, towards the three force cages. As the door slid open, the crew of the Millennium Falcon charged in, led by HK-47. The droid took aim and fired three shots at its master's captor.
"Statement: Die Sith Meatbag! Die like all of the other squishy organics I've killed today!"
Luke deflected the shots on his blade and then dove behind Leia's cage for cover. He tapped the small communication's badge on his chest. "Skywalker to Admiral Karath. Send security down to the interrogation room now. Prisoners have escaped!"
He didn't wait for any acknowledgment. Instead, he killed the line and sized up his opposition. Obi-Wan probably constituted the biggest threat, as he was the only active Jedi. The old man held his lightsaber in a defensive form and held back, providing cover for the two weaker droids. Chewbacca, Han, Lando, and Carth had spread out and taken cover behind various pieces of equipment and machinery so that they could take potshots at him when he became vulnerable. HK-47 stood in the very middle of the room, ready to charge without any concern for damage.
Luke quickly reached towards the command console with his arm and used the Force to throw one of the three primary levers. The cage that he hid behind suddenly deactivated and nothing separated him from his sister. He quickly stood up straight and grabbed her from behind, putting his blade to her neck.
"Stand down or I'll cut her head off!" he warned.
"Stop! Stop!" Carth called out as he stood up straight, ignoring his cover and holding up his twin blaster pistols over his head. "Don't."
"What are you doing?" Han hissed angrily at his friend from his secure location.
Carth didn't answer. He just met Luke's eyes and nodded, dropping his weapons to the ground. "Now the others!" Luke ordered.
"Luke," Obi-Wan said softly as he lowered his saber and took a step forward. "Stop. Leia is your twin sister."
The Sith Initiate chuckled again and tightened his grip on the princess. "I don't have family, Ben," he spat at the old man. "My family was murdered by Stormtroopers when I was with you. They died, screaming, because of your war!"
Obi-Wan closed down his weapon and let his hands from to his sides. "You were separated at birth in order to keep you safe. We knew that the Emperor would hunt you down if he ever knew of your existence. We did what we thought was best!"
"Oh really? Why would the Emperor hunt us? Why would he know us from any other child in the galaxy?"
"Darth Vader," Leia croaked from beneath his grip. "He's our father."
Luke stopped. He looked down at Leia and then back to Obi-Wan. "No!" he shouted. "You said it yourself. Darth Vader murdered my father! Don't lie to me!"
"Just let Leia go and we can talk about this," Carth interjected.
While the three Jedi spoke, Lando looked to Han. The two smugglers met each other's gaze and then the dark skinned one gestured towards the cage control console, which was currently unguarded. Han nodded and his friend moved into a crouched standing position. He slowly started to hobble towards it, hoping that Luke wouldn't notice.
"There's nothing to discuss," Luke jeered at Carth.
"Luke, look into my mind!" Leia cried out. "See what I've seen. You'll learn the truth!"
The Dark Jedi considered it for a moment. He could sense that all of her mental barriers had fallen and that she was sincere in letting her in but did he have the time. If he removed himself from the battlefield, he would be vulnerable to any of their attacks. The idea of being captured again didn't appeal. But what if she was telling the truth? Could there be more to his past than he knew? He needed to know.
He looked down at Leia and reached out towards her mind with his own. Brief flashes and images of her life floated by, though he ignored most of them. Finally, he came to a scene on Bespin, where Master Yoda sat in a bio-bed, telling her something.
"Your father, Darth Vader is," the old Jedi had said.
"And Luke is my-," the princess had been too weak to finish the sentence.
"Your brother," Obi-Wan finished. "Search your feelings. You'll know this to be true."
Luke gasped as he pulled out of the young woman's head. He couldn't be sure that Obi-Wan and Yoda were telling the truth but he did know that Leia sincerely believed what they had told her. She believed that they were related. He let out a feral howl and, using his free hand, grabbed Leia by the face. He closed his fingers over her features and reached back into her still open and vulnerable mind. Sparks of Force energy danced around his gloved palm and Leia felt something inside of her mind snap. Pain, white hot and searing, exploded in her head. A blood curdling scream rang out in the room and everyone did a double take, uncertain of what had happened.
Then Bastila collapsed in her cage. Whatever had happened to Leia had deeply affected her as well. She had fallen to one knee and grabbed the sides of her head, crying out in pain. The fact that his bond mate's mind had been so forcefully harmed sent a ripple in the Force through to Revan and he suddenly understood what had happened. Using the Force, he reached out and extended his mental shielding over Bastila's fragile mind; a feat which could only be accomplished due to their link. The young Jedi Knight felt her ally's protection extend across her and the sense of pain that she felt from Leia numbed somewhat. This didn't help her padawan in the least, however. Leia continued to scream as she felt the inside of her mind being ripped apart from the inside out.
"What's happening?" Carth screamed, immobilized by fear of what Luke would do if he approached.
"The Force bond in her mind!" Revan cried out, most of his focus still on protecting Bastila. "The one between Leia and Bastila! He severed it!"