Vader's Mask II - Eternity.

It is almost completed. The tool that will eliminate the rebels from the galaxy forever. Of course construction has been delayed by the incompetence of the workers. They insist on going as slowly as possible. It seems almost as though they are unaware of the punishments for those who displease the Empire. The Emperor has instructed me to show them, a task I am looking forward to immensely.

The other voice inside me has been silent recently. It is a part of myself that I have refused to acknowledge over the years, and yet a part that I have come to rely on heavily. I did not realize how much I had come to depend on the voice that I had tried so hard to destroy.

As my ship docks, I sigh internally. This mission seems so ridiculous. I have been sent here as a reward. This used to be the kind of mission that I liked, one that my Master sent me on for good behaviour, but I take no enjoyment in it anymore. I find myself becoming increasingly bored with the things I used to love. It is something people would find hard to believe. After all these years, Darth Vader has finally developed a conscience.

Not that this has softened my behaviour any. To the contrary, I often find myself being crueler than ever. The only thing that has changed is the fact that I come to regret it afterwards. I have tried to block these feelings, they are not something that serves a Sith Lord well. I am having about as much success as I did in squashing my feelings for my son.

That word comes to my tongue more easily now. I come to accept the fact that I am his father and he is my son. I have even come to accept the fact that he would rather kill himself than join me. I respect this. He has the strength that I did not. The inner courage to reject the evil I have become. I only wish that I could have done the same thing. is too late now. Far too late.

I stride off the ship confidently. This shall take little persuasion.

"Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence." Yes, I am sure you are. That is why every officer watching us in trembling in fear.

"You may dispense with the pleasantries Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule." I am disgusted to note that the moron does not even seem to see anything wrong with the work he and his men are doing. He seems to think that he should be in line for a commendation for what he has done.

"I assure you Lord Vader my men are working as fast as they can." Yes, and I'm a cantina dancer. Wee, look at me twirl!

"Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them." A spark of the old excitement wells up in me. After all, a conscience can only make you regret something after it has been done...perhaps there is hope for me after all.

"I tell you, this station will be operational as planned." I am sure it will be. That is why I'm here, after all.

"The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation." Aah. So this is the path I must take to get results out of this man. I feel his panic and revel in it. These are the emotions that make me stronger.

"But he asks the impossible. I need more men."

"Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives." The Commander's eyes open and his jaw drops. Even the most unintelligent of people could see he is afraid now. This is a mistake. Rule number one of being a military commander: Never let your opponents see your emotions. A good Sabacc face is what got the top people in power. Including the Emperor, who hid, straight faced from the Jedi at Qui-Gon's funeral all those years ago...

"The Emperor's coming here." I refrain from making a sarcastic comment to the effect of 'Did you think I was telling you this just so I could come back with 'Surprise! Gotcha'' The man has enough on his plate at the moment.

"That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress." As is most of the Empire at the moment. We have put a large amount of funding into this project and we want to see it working as quickly as possible.

"We shall double our efforts!" I do not doubt this. The Emperor scares me half to death, I can not imagine how a normal Imperial would deal with him. That is the main reason why he is seen by so few people. He has been known to induce heart attacks in previously healthy people.

"I hope so for your sake, Commander. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." I walk away. There are things I have to prepare for my Master's arrival, and I am sure there are things the Commander suddenly needs to do in preparation as well.


The procession as my Master boards the Death Star is even greater than my own. The stormtroopers stand in orderly lines, possibly the only thing they were really good for. The Emperor's Personal Guards, parodies of the Chancellor's Guards in their red uniforms are terrifying to behold for the first time. Pretty much useless when it comes down to it, as the Emperor does not hold all that much faith in them.

I greet him at the bottom of the ramp, eager for his report. I know that he will have something else for me to do. Perhaps this new mission will be more interesting than the one telling me to come here. I may not enjoy my work any more, but I do need something to keep me busy. Something to occupy the time I have left...

"Rise my friend." He taunts me with this title. He knows that somewhere down deep inside me I hate him for what he has done. Hate him with every breath I take, but need him more than the hatred. He is my savior, and my enemy. My Master, and my greatest mistake...I could have prevented all this. If only, if only I had my son's strength...if I had not joined him this never would have happened. I feel a need to break this silence between us, as I know that he will never be the one to do it.

"The Death Star will be completed on schedule."

"You have done well Lord Vader. And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker." I open my mouth to protest, to tell him that the point in time where this was important to me is over. But I cannot. My Master has proven once again that he knows me better than I know myself. I do wish to continue the search for my son, to persuade him to join our cause.

"Yes, my Master."

"Patience my friend. In time he will seek you out. And when he does you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the Dark Side of the Force." I am surprised. He is wrong, he must be. My son will never come to me. With what he thought was his dying breath he swore that to me. Through all my agony, hope and broken dreams, he swore it to me. I do not bother arguing, even to myself. I do not believe that the boy...the man will ever come.

"As you wish." He gloats.

"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen." His cackling fills the docking bay. I ignore it, it is a horrifying sound. One I never want another young Jedi to have to experience...


"What is thy bidding, my Master?" He has summoned me to the bridge of the Death Star in the middle of my sleeping cycle, rudely waking me. I know that he will have what he perceives as a good reason for it, but that doesn't stop me from being angry. I hate being woken up early, especially when I haven't been getting any sleep in the past few months. I have been having nightmares, shapeless dreams where my son is right in front of me, but he is snatched away just as I reach him. He fades into his mother, before everything explodes around me and they are both gone from my sight...

"Send the fleet to the far side of Endor. There it will stay...until called for." What does he wish to accomplish by this?

"What of the reports of the rebel fleet massing near Sullust? The reports are coming more and more frequently, with greater detail. The descriptions match that of the rebel fleet exactly, and my senses tell me that this is not another false alarm by over-eager governors trying to make an impression.

"It is of no concern. Soon the rebellion will be crushed and young Skywalker will be one of us. Your work here is finished my friend. Go out to the command ship and await my orders." I close my eyes briefly. I had hoped that with some rest he would forget the idea of converting my son. It seems as though I was wrong. Perhaps this idea is dearer to him than I originally thought. Still, I bow to him.

"Yes, my Master."

I have a very bad feeling about this.


I stride over to the communication area. My son is on that ship. Perhaps the Emperor's vision is more accurate than I thought. Still, there are other people with them. Leia, and the Smuggler...

**Stay away from her, you sex-crazed fiend!** I am startled to hear the voice again, but welcome it. Perhaps this will provide the balance I need to return to my previous behaviour. I hope so - I dislike this regret eating away at me, constantly. Now if I could only work out why that part of me is so concerned with one of the highest placed people in the rebellion...

"Where is that shuttle going?" It is always nice to know what your son is planing when he is in a ship full of rebels, illegal weaponry and trying to star incognito. I have a feeling this is where everything is going to start coming to a head.

"Shuttle Tyderian, what is your cargo and destination?" I almost shake my head. This is something you ask before you decide to clear them for access to potential the most useful weapon the Empire has ever had.

"Parts and technical crew for the forest moon." I would recognize that voice anywhere. It is Solo, **the sex-crazed fiend**... the smuggler-turned Rebel who is **brainwashing** Leia. Maybe this is something to think about. Giving voice clips of known rebels to people who have the power to clear them entry to our greatest achievement...

"Do they have a code clearance?" I am starting to get a little suspicious. Where on earth would they get a code that would allow them to enter a zone as restricted as this one?

"It is an older code, sir, but it checks out. I was about to clear them." An older code...that would be a little easier to get, but not by all that much. Older does not always mean old...I reach my senses out to my son, trying to get a reading on what he is planning there, but I get nothing. I can feel him, his fear and apprehension through the bond we share, but he is guarding his thoughts too well at the moment for me to read them.

"Should I hold them?" I don't would be a good thing to find out what they are doing. Let them win long enough that when the attack comes they will not suspect it. Still, I could stop them here and now, prevent them from getting wherever it is they need to go...

"No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself." As my Master has instructed me. Always as my Master has instructed me.

"As you wish my Lord. Carry on." I ignore him. I watch the ships a while before moving away. This is something that requires all of my attention.


The door to the elevator opens and I walk out. The Emperor is sitting in a makeshift throne he has had assembled for him on the bridge of the Death Star. I have done the unthinkable, and disobeyed a direct order. He will be angry for this, I know, but I need to talk to someone, anyone, and he is the only person who I can talk to without betraying the Empire.

My son's appearance has shaken me. It is as if I am split. Half of me wants the Emperor to turn my son to our side, but the other half...the other half wanted him to remain free. Free with some chance of happiness, and perhaps one day a normal life. I do not understand these feelings, I know I should want him to join me at all costs, and some of me does...but sometimes I shudder at the thought of turning Luke into a clone of myself.

"I told you to remain on the command ship." And I told myself once upon a time that I would rather die than join you, but I did it anyway. Just because I say one thing does not mean that I will not to the opposite at some point in time. You should know that better than anyone, Master.

"A small rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor."

"Yes, I know."

**Oh really? Then why didn't you stop them, you great oaf? Perhaps because you have the IQ of the basic swamp rat? Oh no, wait a minute, I take that back. I wouldn't want to insult the swamp rat.**

"My son is with them." I use this as a lead in to the real reason I came. Now if only he would take the hint...

"Are you sure?" He is questioning me? On the one subject that has managed to keep me sane these past few years? He should know me better than that by now. If I am this certain of something, I am inevitably right. That is the blessing, and the curse of having a midi-chlorian count as high as mine. I am rarely surprised at events that startle others, but sometimes the things I see are more than I can take...

"I have felt him, my Master."

"Strange that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader?" Of course they are not clear! This is my son, we are talking about. MY SON!!!

"They are clear, my Master." But of course I would never willingly let you see how much this hurts me. I can never let anyone see the things I feel. It is too dangerous. If a person sees a weakness they will exploit it, and hidden behind this mask I have a lot of weaknesses...

"Then you must go to the Sanctuary Moon and wait for him."

"He will come to me?"

"I have foreseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will come to you, and then you will bring him before me."

"As you wish." I am willing to comply with anything now. The Emperor's words have given me the first spark of hope I have felt in a long time. Compassion...compassion is only one step away from love isn't it? Could it be that this feeling stems from affection? Could it be that my son feels the same way about me that I do him.

I do as my Master says. It seems that things may turn out as I want them to after all.


My ship touches down effortlessly on the landing pad. I take pleasure in small victories, and anything to do with flying has always been a joy to me. This is why I choose to take on the space battles myself. Not only am I the best pilot the Empire has, but I enjoy every moment I am in the air. It is the only freedom I have now. Perhaps the only freedom I have ever had. I have been a slave to someone every day of my life.

I walk straight threw the command centre on the Sanctuary Moon top where I sense my son is waiting. My master was right: my son did come looking for me. Wonders never cease. What would be next, Stormtroopers actually doing their job properly. No, that would be too much of a long-shot. Perhaps I will have to settle for the Death Star actually being finished before the rebels find someway to destroy it as I have no doubt they will. We have waited too long here, with too little defense.

Sure enough, half way to my destination I find a group of officers with my son in tow. I am disappointed - there are far too few of them to keep him in custody had he really decide to fight. I know he is capable of so much more than this, so why does he just stand there, letting them pull him alongside them?

"This is a rebel that surrendered to us. Although he denies it I believe there may be more of them and I request permission to make a further search of the area. He was armed only with this." The man hands me a lightsabre. I am pleasantly surprised. He must have constructed it himself, there was certainly no one else around to help him.

I barely heard his captor's request. I am too disconcerted by the way my son is looking at me. There is no anger, no pity. He is simply staring at me. I wonder if this is a new tactic to put me off my guard. If it is, I must commend him, it is certainly working. I had no idea that simply staring at a person could make them feel so uncomfortable. It is a tactic I will have to try someday.

"Good work, Commander. Leave us. Conduct your search and bring his companions to me." Well, that certainly got a reaction out of him. This will be the perfect opportunity. I will be able to do away with solo and his walking dust mop while at the same time finding away to protect my son and the rebel he loves so much. I will have to find a reason for this sometime or other...

"Yes, my Lord."

"The Emperor has been expecting you." As have I. For a long time now, Luke, for such a long time.

"I know Father." Father! He called me father! I have never known a joy like this before. I try to hide it, but worry that I am not very successful. This is the moment I have waited for, the one where he tells me that he will join me, and we will control the galaxy together, Father and Son...

"So, you have accepted the truth."

"I have accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father." I freeze. He did not say what I thought he just said. He could not possibly be finding a way to accept this, and still not joining me...

Even as my mind runs over this possibility, my heart reacts instantaneously in horror as it has for countless years now.

"That name no longer has any meaning for me."

**Oh yeah? Then why does it bug you so much to hear it, masked man? I am still here you know, and one day you will not be able to fight me any longer.**

I consider arguing, but what is the point? There is no way you can fight yourself and win. Anakin, Vader...they are both parts of me. One, the person I have always been, the other created in the beginning so I would not feel so guilty about what I was doing, the people I was hurting. They are both me now. Over time the lines have become so blurred that I am not sure where one begins, and the other ends. Am I doing this as Anakin, or as Vader? The thing that scares me the most is the fact that I am not sure there is a difference any more.

"It is the name of your true self, you've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully." He turns and walks away from me. "That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now."

I turn his lightsabre on, the only distraction from his words I can find. I see him turn slightly, in apprehension. So...the boy isn't as confident as he pretends to be. Perhaps he can still be turned. There may still be a chance for me...for us yet.

"I see you have constructed a new lightsabre. Your skills are complete. Indeed you are powerful as the Emperor has foreseen." I start to say more, but he surprises me, saying the one thing I never thought he would.

"Come with me." These words...they break down the barriers I have placed up to him. I wish, so intensely it almost chokes me that I could say yes, but I can't. I don't know how. Instead I tell him why I can't go with him, and hope that he can understand as Kenobi never could.

"Obi-Wan once thought as you thought as you do. You don't know the power of the Dark Side. I must obey my Master." It does not seem to affect him.

"I will not turn, and you'll be forced to kill me."

"If that is your destiny." It almost destroys me to say this, to think it. I do not want to see him die, but if my Master wills it I must. I was a slave once, and I am a slave still. I do not know how to act of my own free will. This is why I can not defy my Master. Why, even at the expense of my heart, and my soul, I must do as he says.

"Search your feelings Father. You can't so this. I feel the conflict within you, let go of your hate." I can't, I can't...why can't he see? Why must I keep denying my son what he wants, what we both want? Why can't I just break free of this prison, just let go?

"It is too late for me son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your Master now."

"Then my Father is truly dead." He follows the Stromtrooper into the turbo-lift, leaving me alone in the corridor. I have felt a lot of pain in my life. The death of my mother, the death of my wife, the first rejection from my son...but none of them compare to this. This pain is all-consuming, and even with my breathing mask on I have to struggle for breath. I walk over to the railing and lean on it, unable to stand myself. Is this what I am reduced to? Is this the sum of my life? There must be more. There HAS to be. There has to be.


We have been reunited, my son and I. I have been granted permission to personally escort him to his new future. When he has turned, when he has truly joined us, then he will understand why this was necessary. He will thank me for this. It is for his own good.

**The mantra of every parent who knows they are about to do something in the worst interest of their child. This doesn't need to be done. There is still time. It is never too late. Not if it's something you want this much.**

"Welcome, young Skywalker. I have been expecting you. You'll no longer need those." As my Master speaks the binders restraining Luke fall to the floor. It had been an upsetting precaution, but a necessary one.

"Guards. Leave us." I do not know why he employs them if he dismisses them at the first sign of danger.

"I am looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call me Master." The same thing he said to me, those exact same words. Luke will give in, he will have to. No one can stand against what my Master will do to him if he does not.

"You are gravely mistaken. You won't convert me as you did my Father." He is so sure of this. I see now, for the first time something I have never noticed before. A quality in my son that I have always lacked. Faith. In my family, in my friends...but most of all in myself. Perhaps he can stand against us both. If he can believe in himself long enough, there is still a hope for him.

**If you believe in yourself there is still a hope for us too.**

"Oh no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you that are mistaken. About a great many things."

"His lightsabre." I hand it to my Master. Maybe he will see too, how powerful my son is. Maybe now he will think twice about what he is trying to do.

"Ah yes. A Jedi's weapon. Much like your father's. By now you must know that your father can never be turned from the Dark Side. So will it be with you."

"You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead, and you with me." I jump, visibly. No. It's not possible. There is no way that he could have come here with the sole intention to die. He can't do this to himself. He can't do this to me. I was wrong. I can't watch him die, I...but it is no use. I can't do anything other than stand silently by and watch my Master destroy us all. Master laughs.

"Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack on your rebel fleet. Yes. I assure you we are quite safe from your friends here." With every word his voice hardens, but none of that seems to affect Luke.

"Your overconfidence is your weakness."

"You faith in your friends is yours." I look down at my son, trying to gauge his feelings and I realize something. My Master is wrong. Luke's faith isn't his weakness. It's his greatest strength. And I see the difference between us now. Faith is not only a quality I lack, but the defining personality trait of my son.

"It is pointless to resist my son." I tell him this, knowing that I am lying. It is not pointless to resist, but if he does the punishment will be painful. I learnt that the hard way.

"Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there, on the Sanctuary Moon are walking into a trap. As is your rebel fleet. It was I who allowed the alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops await them. Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shields will be quite operational when your friends arrive." I feel my heart sink and I notice that Luke has been listening to the speech with mounting horror. He may have faith in the rebellion, but my son is not stupid.

I'm sorry Luke. I didn't mean for you to go through this kind of pain. I never wanted you to lose everyone that was important to you. I knew that agony once and I swore, never again. But I'm a failure, aren't I? I couldn't stop my friends from being massacred, and I can't stop yours, either. I am so sorry Luke.


"Come, boy. See for yourself. From here you will witness the final destruction of the alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion." They both look down at Luke's lightsabre, resting my the Emperor's side. "You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give into your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant." No, I want to cry. He is not your servant. He is free. He will never be a slave to you.


"It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine." But I'm not yours. I never have been. I am simply a slave that will obey any Master. That does not have to be you. You are simply the only person with the power to fulfill that position right now. I will break free from you. I will be no one's slave. Not even my son's.


"As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station! Fire at will, Commander." Luke is frantic. He looks desperately around for a way to stop him, but there is none. There is never a way to beat him, you idiot, can't you see that? Do you think I would have been a slave to him all these years if there was a way to escape?

I know it is irrational, getting angry at Luke for something he has no control over. But getting angry at him, my son, is so much easier than getting angry at the man responsible for everything that is happening here today. And probably a lot safer too. At least this way I am at no risk of losing a limb.


"Your fleet is lost, and your friends on the Endor Moon will not survive. There is no escape, my young apprentice. The alliance will die. As will your friends. Good. I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete." He turns away and I can tell he is going to refuse again. The insolent whelp. How dare he do this to me. After all I have gone through for him, how dare he!

I ignite my sabre and meet him half way. This is not a battle he will win. I will be victorious. I will defect the two people who are pulling at the different sides of me. I do not want to destroy Luke, but if he will not understand and join me, he will be destroyed. I will be no one's slave any longer. I will be free.


The fight this time is far more intense than the one we had on Cloud City. My son has grown in skill, and it takes all of my years of training to hold him off. It is my rage and my hate that give me strength now. They are the only things I have left to hold on to, the only things that have any familiarity. I can not keep living with the tumultuous emotions that have been consuming my since I found out about Luke. I can not take this pain any longer.

He knocks me down the staircase and I hear the Emperor laughing. I cam thinking of the man less and less as my Master, and more as an enemy that needs to be wiped out. But as long as I feel the anger that is giving me strength, there are the ties to the man that taught me how to use these emotions properly. Without him I would be nothing. This many years of loyalty are not something you can throw away for a boy that is trying to kill you.

"Use your aggressive feelings boy. Let the hate flow through you." Yes, of course. But are you talking to Luke or myself. Even after all these years you still consider me a boy. I see it in your eyes, Emperor mine. As I can hide nothing from you, you can hide nothing from me.

Luke switches his lightsabre off. I am becoming frustrated. How many times will the boy do this before he finally realizes that he is going to have to fight me, whether he likes it or not. This is not a choice, it is destiny.

"Obi-Wan has taught you well." I do not know if I can beat him, but I can certainly say that I am going to give it my best shot.

"I will not fight you, Father." I walk up to him.

"You are unwise to lower your defenses!" I lunge at him, all reason gone. This is not about Father, and this is not about Son. This is about winning and losing. I do not care who I destroy at this point, all I can see is another lightsabre battle, even before Luke was born. His Master won that one, and here I am trapped in this suit for the rest of my life because he shoved me into a pool of lava and left me there. But still, buried right down at my core, is the reluctance to hurt my son.

"Your thoughts betray you, Father. I feel the good in you. The conflict."

"There is no conflict." My shields are stronger than that. There is no way Luke could see through them that easily. Not after I have spent so many years constructing them. They are strong enough to hold out even the Emperor at times. He can not see past them.

"You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before, and I don't believe you'll destroy my now." That is not true! I will do whatever I have to to erase the memories of my past forever. If that includes destroying the last person in the galaxy I am close to, that is a price I am willing to pay.

"You underestimate the powers of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny!" I tire quickly of this game and throw my lightsabre as hard as I can at the beam that supports the platform he is standing on. We are all creatures of destiny. If it is his to die this way, then that is not my choice to make. The fates will decide for me. The platform tumbles, and so does he.

"Good. Good." My Master's voice echoes in the background as I start the search for my son. Corpse or not.


I do not have to look far, Luke is not yet adept at hiding. His thoughts, his feelings scream out to me, although he manages to keep his physical location a mystery. This is no bother to me. If he will not some out himself and fight me like a man, then I will simply have to goad him out.

"You can not hide forever, Luke." His voice comes to me, strong and sure.

"I will not fight you." Why won't he realize that he doesn't have a choice? When will he accept the fact that this is the way it has to be?

"Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong, especially for...sister. So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will." It is a delicious piece of information Luke has given to me. At last I understand why I cared so deeply for that Alderaanian brat. But it is of no consequence to me now. I will use her as I did before - as bait for my son and nothing else. She is useless. And it works. He charges at me.


I have never seen Luke fight so ferociously. At last, he has discovered the power that has sustained me for all these years, finally he will turn and...what am I doing? I am fighting the son that I love with every breath in my body. Over his sister, the girl I cared for only slightly less. I should not be doing this. I cannot. I start to move away, but my hesitation has already cost me. I fall down, exhausted, as my right hand is cut off. Again.

"Good. Your hate has made you powerful. Fulfill your destiny and take your father's place at my side."

This seems to have some effect on Luke. He turns off his lightsabre and throws it away.

"Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed Your Highness. I am a Jedi like my father before me." I cheer inside, although I do not have the strength to give any indication on the outside. Not that he'd see it through this wretched mask, anyway.

"So be it. Jedi."


"If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed." Before I know what is going on, he strikes. Luke holds the lightning off for a few moments, but succumbs to it quickly. I am not surprised. Everyone does. I did...Padmé did.

I get up and move to my Master's side. I will stand here, and I will watch. That is my job, and my purpose. I have no choice. This is where I belong.

"Young fool. Only now, at the end, do you understand." I have seen this tactic before. He will pause, to taunt the victim before he continues. I have seen this a thousand times before, and the result was always the same. I'll say goodbye to you now, Luke. I am sorry that I couldn't have tried harder. Sometimes there are things you just can't fight.

"Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision."

"Father please!" It is this, the plea not from a dying man looking for a last chance of salvation, but a cry from a son to a trusted father than breaks the last barrier down. I have no ties here, no loyalties. For the first time in my life, I make a conscious decision, of my own free will, and step out from the darkness and into the light.

"Now, young will die." He pauses before he shocks Luke again, but it does not matter. I have made my decision. My son, my dear beautiful son will live, and this madman will die. The electricity shorts out my breathing mask as I throw him down the pit, but it is of no consequence. I am content in my decision. I feel my Luke pick me up and cradle me in his arms. This...this is where I want to die. Everything goes black around me.


When I wake up I find that Luke has carries me all the way to the landing bay. He drops me, exhausted, and starts to drag me the rest of the way. I am touched, honored, by his concern but it is himself that he needs to save now.

"Luke. Help me take this mask off." His eyes widen in panic. He knows what this means as well as I do. But this is how it has to be. I want to die as I finally am again, Anakin. Not as Vader, Palpatine's slave.

"But you'll die."

"Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes." He takes my mask off gently, and I can see him. He is beautiful. I can see his eyes, my eyes, filled with tears. I can smell the gunpowder in the air, hear the battles going on around me. And I can feel...I can feel the air on my face, Luke's tears as the drip from his perfect eyes. Finally. After all these decades, I am finally free. Of slavery and oppression. Of anger and hate.

"Now go, my son. Leave me." I do not want to risk your life any more than I already have. I want you to live. I want you to...

"No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you." I almost laugh. I would, if I had the strength. Doesn't he see? Can't he tell what he has done?

"You already have, Luke. You were were right about me. Tell your sister you were right..." And pray that she forgives me...I feel one last tear on my face as the darkness that's been hovering closes over me. I hear Luke call to me as my eyes close, and I try to some back, try to answer...


The next thing I know I am on the Sanctuary Moon, watching a celebration. I never considered the consequences of my actions beyond saving my son. Never considered what would happen on his death. I did not just free Luke, I freed the whole galaxy. It does not make up for all the things I have done, but I suppose it's a start.

I see Luke and I smile. I am wearing Jedi robes, garments I have not worn in what seems like forever. I am glad he gets to see me like this, that this is the image of his father he will carry with him. I am glad for so many things, and so proud of the boy. He will be happy now. This is one premonition I will be glad to see come true. I close me eyes, smiling.


I open my eyes again and I see a whole world around me. A familiar one, long gone, with statues and a beautiful palace with a waterfall. I get up and run, not sure where to, until I arrive...I ascend the staircase, past my Mother, past Qui-Gon and master Obi-Wan...straight into the arms of my beautiful wife.

And everything is peaceful again as my soul drifts into eternity.