You run around

I run around

We're all gonna run-run-run around

            -Run Around, Digimon: The Movie OST

            Darth Vader was not happy.

            The Dark Lord of the Sith strode through the halls of his Super Star Destroyer, Executor, with all the fury of the craftsman whose masterpiece was just destroyed.

            In a way, that's what he was.

            In his long-ago past as Anakin Skywalker, Vader had always had a predilection for machines. He'd been a special hand with droids, in particular – a bit of an irony, considering that his body was nearly fifty percent droid parts now. As a child, he'd put together droids, real, functioning droids, with the bits of scrap he could scrounge around. He'd built his mother a protocol droid to help with the house; later, in the Jedi Temple, with his advanced training and the greater resources he now had available, he'd built so many droids that the Jedi Order had to start giving them out. He hadn't made or modified a droid since that damned Kenobi had pushed him into the lava; that is, he hadn't until eight standard months ago.

            Then, for some strange reason, he had had a burst of creativity which ended with the design for a new security droid lying complete and whole in front of him. The design had been advanced beyond anything else in existence, powerful and fast and with a whole new AI system that made them – in Vader's opinion – smarter than many stormtroopers. He'd presented the designs to his Master, who put them into production at once. Vader felt a smirk curving his mouth at the memory. His new droids, the XR-25 series, had bumped the Maw Installation's latest project off the assembly line, and the eggheads weren't pleased. They complained and whined, pointing out 'flaws' in the design (which Vader proved false with no problem) until it was 'leaked' to them exactly who had designed the XR-25.

             You never saw people perform such a total change in opinion so quickly before.

            Vader smirked again, but felt his mood sour as he reviewed more recent memories. The XR had been put into use on many planets - Coruscant, Corellia, Alda and Tyr to name a few - and always performed admirably. Certain planets who had treaties with the Empire never to let stormtroopers on-planet could not protest when the Empire began landing the XR troops instead.

            Yes, the XR had performed as well as Vader intended – until now. There had been a breach – a massive breach – of security in the city of Mos Eisley, in Tatooine. Tatooine was the first Rimworld to receive a troop of the XR-25; and they had failed within a month of their arrival. The Emperor himself wasn't worried, what with the XR's obvious successes on other worlds – he tossed it off to the extreme conditions on Tatooine affecting the droids. Vader knew that it wasn't so. He had grown up on Tatooine himself, and always designed his droids as a matter of course to stand up to the weather conditions there. Most designers made their droids under the assumption of ideal conditions, and then added special weather gear as needed; he didn't. It was an ingrained habit that had proven useful. They shouldn't have broken down under Tatooine conditions, so why did they?

            He reached the Executor's bridge, slapping one black-gauntled hand against the door-pad. It slid open with a hydraulic hiss, and Vader strode inside. He could feel the crew's minds mentally close in on themselves, trying for protection, as well as see them physically recoil away from him. His anger and frustration were as palpable around him as his black cloak, and considering how dangerous he was usually, it was no wonder his crew reacted the way they did.

            "Admiral Piett, set course for planet Tatooine."

            He would see for himself what had happened to his XR-25 droids.

***

            Bail Organa was not happy.

            He looked over at his twelve-year-old daughter, Leia, who was across him at the huge state table. The Organas were eating breakfast. Leia, with bags under her eyes and her already pale skin taking on a definite pallor, hung over her pundi rice porridge with such a weary stance that Bail half-feared that she would fall asleep right then and there, doing a spectacular and splashy faceplant into her breakfast.

            Leia had been having dreams. Dreams which, while not exactly nightmares – well, not always – kept her awake half the night, and made the sleep she did manage to catch shallow and unrestful. Dreams that haunted her thoughts throughout the day, so that her tutors reported that she drifted off into trances – not mere daydreams, trances that actually required effort for her to emerge from – in the middle of her lessons. Since Leia was a child who enjoyed learning, a joy for her tutors to teach, this concerned Bail very much.

            Leia had told him that she dreamed of a great desert, lit by twin suns. And of a fair-haired boy with the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Leia didn't know what she was dreaming, but Bail did. He'd often caught himself wondering exactly how much Leia remembered of her twin brother. Sometimes Leia would say or do something that seemed to suggest that she knew she was missing a presence beside her. But this was not merely a child missing her twin – it was something of the Force. The Force was reaching out to Leia.

            Bail gave a sigh, and reached a decision. Somehow, Leia was meant to go to Tatooine. Alderaan did have that water-exchange treaty in negotiation with the desert planet. It was a bit unconventional, but it did give him an excuse to meet with the titular head of Tatooine, the Imperial Governor, there – and to take his daughter along for the state trip.

***

            Obi-wan Kenobi was not happy.

            He looked into his empty food storage unit and gave a sigh. He needed to head into Anchorhead and pick up some more supplies. He started up his ancient landspeeder, tossing a box of machine parts into the back to barter with. As he traveled across the desert, he gave another passing thought to the possibility of just not getting supplies and letting himself starve to death. He had been vaguely suicidal (and, concerning Owen, vaguely homicidal as well) since Luke's death, due to depression, guilt and anger. All in all, he was not the perfect picture of a Jedi fully in tune with the Lightside.

            But he needed to stay alive, and in the Light. Luke was dead, but Leia still lived. Obi-wan wished he did, but he didn't fully believe that Leia could defeat the darkness creeping over the galaxy. Yoda said she could, but Yoda hadn't been there at the birth of the twins. Leia didn't have…the brightness, the fire, of her brother. But then again, what did he know? She might have had it, and he hadn't seen it because he was Force-blinded for a second by the commotion of Luke's birth – the boy had been firstborn. Or she could have developed it while she grew up. Obi-wan wasn't exactly a stellar judge of what the Force meant for people.

Anyway, he owed it to Leia, to Yoda and to the galaxy to stay alive, to help with the Skywalker girl's (no matter who had adopted her, she would always be a Skywalker to Obi-wan) training when the time came.

When he got to Anchorhead, he found that the general store was currently in the midst of inventory and couldn't sell him anything.

'A Jedi is calm, at peace…a Jedi does not curse…oh screw it.' The old man indulged himself in a long diatribe involving swearwords and oaths in about fifteen different dialects which left the teenaged clerk gaping at him in awe.

Still grumbling to himself, Obi-wan hopped again in his landspeeder. He had at least been able to get enough fuel to top off his landspeeder's tank. He needed it…now he had to go all the way to Mos Eisley to pick up supplies.

***

Author's Note:

Okay, some people might have been slightly put off by my 'holding hostage' this chapter until I got enough reviews. (by the way, the people who reviewed, I love you to bits, and this chapter is dedicated to you) But hey, you've got to look at it from my view: I work hard on this chapter, and I know thousands of people are reading it (and this makes me happy, it really does) but not even twenty bother to click the little button on the bottom of the the page and leave a little note. Please, you guys, these reviews are the only impetus I have to keep writing. Look, the quality and frequency of chapters is directly proportional to the amount of reviews I get, this has been scientifically proven. I'm sure those of you who are also ff.net writers can testify to the rush getting a good review gets you. Or even not a good review, but a long one. This proves that people like or at least pay attention to what you're doing. If they're not, then what's the point?

Okay, done with my rant/plea/beg. I hope I didn't come across as too pathetic. ^_^

This is the first chapter not focusing on Luke, huh? Well, this is the last chapter I've worked on. That means there is no next chapter in my mind or in production. Thing is, I am not sure what to write next. This has four options, you see: Leia can meet her twin; Obi-wan can meet the boy he thought he'd lost; or Vader can start hunting for the one who broke his droids. Or all three can happen, but which to write first?


I rely on you, my dear readers, to decide. Come on, give your input. What do you think would be the most interesting?

Ja ne! ^_^

03-16-01

Oh, BTW, if anyone cares, something major to my college app is going down. Could you spare me a thought in your evening prayers or whatnot? (wow, has there been enough soliciting in this AN or what?)