The Dark Lord was driven to his knees. He raised his blade to block yet another onslaught, and Luke slashed Vader's right hand off at the wrist. The hand, along with bits of metal, wires, and hydraulic servos, clattered uselessly away while it and Vader's lightsaber tumbled over the edge of the railing into the glowing ominous abyss below, vanishing without a trace.
Suddenly, the Emperor was there, looking on, chuckling with uncontrollable, malign ecstasy. "Good! Your hate has made you powerful! Now, fulfill your destiny. Take your father's place at my side!"
Luke stared at the smoking stump that his father's hand once occupied, wires and metal dangling from it like dark serpents. Then, Luke stared at his own black-gloved artificial hand, and suddenly realized to his horror just how perilously close he had come to suffering his father's fate.
More machine than man.
More death than life.
Trembling, he stood above Vader, the point of his glowing green blade set at the Sith Lord's throat. He wanted to destroy this thing, this Evil, this beast that had once been his father.
This thing that he had become...
No. He would risk his humanity no longer. He stood erect, and made the desision that would determine the fate of a galaxy.
"Never." He hurled his lightsaber away. "I'll never turn to the Dark Side."
Palpatine's gloaming, victorious sneer melted away and was replaced with disbelief.
"You have failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
The Emperor's glee had transformed into a boiling rage. "So be it, Jedi. If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!"
Near the damaged railing, a weakened Vader looked up and his visual enhancers met with a blinding blue flash.
"I'm taking him now!"
"No, Anakin! No! NO!"
Palpatine raised his spidery arms toward Luke: blinding blue bolts of energy surged forth from his fingertips, shot through the space between them, and tore through the boy's body like a thousand vibro-daggers.
Vader crawled, like a wounded animal, to his Master's side.
Luke grew weaker beneath the continued barrage of the Emperor's lightning. Tormented, weakened and drained of his very life energy, his closed his eyes and began to pray for death.
The Emperor smiled a hideous, rotting grin at the weakened young Jedi, as Vader struggled to his feet beside his master.
"Young fool. Only now at the end, do you understand."
Palpatine loosed another barrage of lightning. Again and again, it crackled like poisonous vipers from the depths of Hell. He stood there like a looming predator, hands cocked like the claws of a bird of prey.
Vader stared at his master, wraith-like beneath his black hood. Eyes glowing.
"Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil!"
"I don't know you anymore."
"I killed them. I killed them all."
The Emperor stood above Luke, more creature than man.
"Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side!"
Vader watched as Palpatine sent out another serpent of dark-side energy. Luke was forced to the floor.
"They're dead, every single one of them."
"You have paid the price for your lack of vision."
More bolts were sent down on the Jedi, this time more intense. Luke writhed on the floor in unbearable pain, reaching weakly up toward the creature that had once been his father.
But Anakin had not forgotten the pain Darth Tyrannus had once inflicted upon him with such powers, and could not bear to see his son in such agony.
"You cannot save her. You gave her up in your quest for ultimate power. For all that you gain, there is a cost that must be paid."
"Not at that cost...I didn't want her to die..."
"The price is insignificant compaired to the reward!!"
"You were once Anakin Skywalker, my father."
"Father, please!" Luke screamed.
The bolts continued to rip through him and into the supply barrels all around him. The entire chamber filled with a hideous crackling.
"And not just the men, but the women and the children too."
Again Vader stood, watching Luke. He looked at his master, the Emperor, then back to Luke on the floor.
"I have failed you, Anakin."
A slave boy hands a wooden pendant to a young girl. She runs her fingers across it, then puts it around her neck.
"I have failed you."
The Angel of Death enters a room full of Jedi younglings huddled in a corner.
The Angel of Death looks back at them with darkness-swallowed eyes and ignites it's flaming sword.
"They're like animals! And I slaughtered them like animals!"
A tortured woman dies. Her son draws her to his breast. Silence. The boy lifts his head, listening, then he sits on the floor of a hut, cradling his dead mother in his arms.
A son looks up, his soft blue eyes glazed over with primal fury.
A child runs through a Tusken camp, playing with a masstif. The child runs through the line of huts, turns a corner, and stops suddenly, staring at the bodies of his slain parents. Between them, a figure stands outside the hut door. His face is a grim mask.
The child looks up at a glowing blade.
His last sensation is fear.
"I HATE THEM!!!!"
Palpatine had forgotten what had first enabled him to convert Anakin Skywalker-his desperate need to keep those he cared for from dying. He had never expected that Vader would refuse to watch his son die.
And act to prevent it.
"Now, young Skywalker, you will die."
Now the outpouring of bolts from the Emperor's fingers increased in intensity, the sound screaming through the room. Luke's body writhed in agony.
The Emperor hissed maliciously.
The voice of a Jedi Master, long dead...
A female voice...
"Help him...! Help him...!"
"He's too dangerous to be left alive!"
Powerful bolts blast a Jedi master. He attempts to deflect them with his one good hand, but the force is too great. As blue lightning engulfs his body, he is flung out of a shattered window and falls twenty stories to his death.
"Power! Unlimited power!"
A devil rises, his face transformed into a horrible mask of evil.
"You're breaking my heart."
"You were the Chosen One!"
"My Lord, the reconstruction is complete...he lives."
"Stop! Stop now! Come back!"
"You are WEAK!"
Two, dark eyes, reethed in flame, filled with rage, fear and pain.
Clothing ignites. A fallen messiah bursts into flames and begins screaming.
A mask descends above a horrified, badly-scarred face, sealing tightly.
"Now we become...ONE..."
The helmet is fitted and the demon begins breathing.
A beautiful young woman on a table in an alien medical chamber. She is giving birth...she is screaming...
She calls out in pain...
She is dying...
The demon screams, breaks his bonds to a metal table, and steps forward, waving his hands, causing objects to fly around the room. The demon's painful screams echo throughout the chamber.
"You need me!"
He had been unable to save his mother, he had let Mace Windu die under Palpatine's powers, he had murdered hundreds of Jedi, he had killed his master and best friend, he had lost his beloved wife and one true love.
"You are MINE! FOREVER!"
But now, this day, he could save his son.
"You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you..."
"You will never escape me."
"I love you!"
A beautiful hand clutches a japor snippet...
An ancient cave drawing...A black, wolf-like warrior...his hand taken...a white sword grows in place...the sword conquers a looming shadow...cutting it down...the warrior shifts, changes, transforms...
A black death's head...
The death's head melts away...
The face of a young warrior...
His blazing blue eyes intense.
A gravestone, surrounded by desert.
"I promise. I will not fail again."
"What does your heart tell you....?"
Dark eyes. Reethed in flame.
Blue eyes. Hidden so long. Pierce the darkness.
They meet as fiercely as glowing blades.
Light subsumes darkness.
"You will not stand in my way. I will save my son."
Anakin grabbed the Emperor from behind, fighting for control of the robed figure. The Emperor struggled in his embrace, his bolt-shooting hands now lifted high, away from Luke. Now the white lightning arcs back to strike at Anakin. He stumbled with his load as the sparks rained off his helmet and flew down over his black cape.
"You will not take my son from me."
"Returned to us, he has....."
Ignoring pain, ignoring his shame and weakness, ignoring the bone-crushing noise in his head, he focused solely and sightlessly on his will.
His will to defeat the evil embodied in the Emperor.
Palpatine struggled in the grip of Vader's unfeeling embrace, his hands still spewing bolts of malignant energy out in all directions. In his wild flailing, the lightning ripped through the air all around the two force-users, tearing through Vader's body. The Dark Lord struggled, electric currents crackling through his helmet, over his cape, and into his body, illuminating his skeleton.
He held his master high over his head and walked to the edge of the abyss at the central core of the throne room. With one final burst of strength, Anakin hurled the Emperor's body into the bottomless shaft.
The Emperor's body spun helplessly into the void, arcing as it fell into the abyss. Finally, when the body was far down the shaft, it exploded, creating a rush of Dark Side energy through the throne room. Vader's cape was whipped by the wind and he staggered, and collapsed toward the bottomless abyss. Luke crawled to his father's side and pulled him away from the edge of the abyss to safety.
The two Jedi lay on the floor, entwined in each other, too weak to move, too moved to speak.
But both knew, deep in their hearts.
They both knew.
The Light had won.