Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars
Luke moaned. His body was so weak. He hadn't slept or eaten in days. His master hadn't let him.
Leia stood some distance away, feeling lost and helpless as she watched the scene unfold. Somehow she had been brought back into Luke's dream. She felt the bile rising in her throat at the scene in front of her. From what she understood, her brother's dreams were past memories. Unbeknownst to her, her brother stood off in a dark corner and watched as the same scene of memories unfolded to him.
"What is your name?" Sidious asked him coldly. Luke watched warily as his master placed a ration bar in front of him.
"L-Luke Skywalker," he whispered, his eyes never leaving the food. He moaned softly when his master crushed the ration bar under his heel.
"Sad, isn't?" the apprentice sneered and walked through the image. Leia jumped at the sound of his voice, realizing too late that she had forgotten that she was never alone in her dreams.
"No," he told him. Luke rubbed at his eyes, wishing he could cry but knowing the consequences if he did.
"Master- please. What Am I doing wrong?" He asked hoarsely. His throat was raw. Sidious looked down on him silently before he turned abruptly away. The door to the dark meditation chamber opened. It was the first time Luke had seen daylight in over a year.
"What do you want? Stay back!" Leia warned him. She reached down for her lightsaber on her belt only to realize that it was missing.
Her brother laughed at her.
"What do I want? Well, I think you know the answer to that question... What do you want, sister? You keep appearing in Skywalker's dreams," he gestured to the scene around them.
"If you cannot learn this lesson, than you don't deserve the legacy of the Sith! Clearly, you're a waste of my time," Sidious told him contemptibly. Luke looked at the opened door longingly. After he had pledged his allegiance to the Emperor, his master had locked him inside the dark, windowless chamber and intensified his training. Luke had become much more powerful, but at a steep price of mental manipulation, starvation and isolation.
Leia's brow furrowed at her brother's question and for the first time, she didn't understand why she was there. She had thought it was the will of the Force that was showing her the past, but perhaps she was subconsciously bringing herself to the visions.
Leia was so caught up in her own thoughts, that she failed to notice her brother and his slow advance.
After a moment, he turned away from the door. Sidious smiled wickedly.
"Will you leave?" he asked softly. Luke shook his head.
"I can't – I won't – no," he told his master finally.
"Why?" Sidious asked, though he already knew the answer. Luke fell to his knees before him.
"Because I need more power. I need you, Master. I am nothing without you," he told him, unable to look Sidious in the eyes. Still smiling, his master laid a hand on his hand.
Too late, Leia realized that she hadn't been paying attention. The apprentice grabbed the back of her neck and held her in place as he swung his leg behind her knees. The impact caused Leia to lose her footing and if not for her brother's hold on her neck, she would have fallen.
"And that therein lies your lesson," Luke looked up in surprise. Sidious's eyes gleamed from beneath his hood.
"You are nothing. Without me, you are nothing."
"I am nothing," Luke repeated.
"Good," Sidous told him, satisfied.
"Luke, please don't do this!" Leia begged, unashamed. She hoped that her heartfelt plea would break through to him, but her words seem to have the opposite effect.
"Don't. Call. Me. That." he told her pointedly, shaking her for good measure. He jerked his arm down, forcing Leia unto her knees.
"Now my apprentice, what is your name?" he asked all but gleeful as his lesson drove home. The boy was broken.
Luke did look him in the eyes then.
"Then what shall we call you, my son?" came a very familiar, baritone voice. Both Luke and Leia jumped at the sudden interruption. They turned and watched in surprise as Darth Vader emerged from the shadows.
"Master, I have no name."
The apprentice cursed and released his hold on Leia, who fell unceremoniously onto the floor.
"You're both fools!" the apprentice cursed before vanishing. Leia stared after him, confused and terrified. A secret part of her wished that he had stayed. She had never been comfortable standing in Vader's presence alone and even though it was a dream and she wasn't even looking at her father, she could sense that he had not left.
"You need to learn your power, princess. Learn to shield yourself." Vader told her after a moment of silence.
Leia turned and looked up at him warily. He offered her his hand.
"Leia, wake up!" a familiar voice shouted. Jerking slightly, Leia opened her eyes. The familiarity of the cockpit was a comfort, reminding her that she was indeed still on the Falcon and out of the clutches of her insane brother and dark father.
Rubbing her eyes, she turned in her seat. Han sat next to her in the pilot seat.
"What is it?" she asked blearily. Han kept his eyes forward, unwilling to risk a glance at her.
After the incident with the goggles she had sent flying at him, there had been a rift between them.
"What is it?" Leia asked again, somewhat impatient. Han wanted to tell her that she had been muttering in her sleep. He wanted to say that she had another nightmare. He wanted to comment on the fact that she had made the toolbox, her comlink and several storage cylinders in the cockpit levitate in her troubled sleep. He told her none of that.
"Tatooine. We've arrived," the smuggler gestured to the viewing screen.
Leia stared at the giant ball of blue and gold before her. A trickle of awareness teased at her mind and she tried to get a better sense of the strange sensation.
"Where do we land?" Han asked her when it became apparent that she wasn't going to speak.
"That's what I'm trying to figure out." Leia murmured. Closing her eyes, Leia stretched out into the Force. The planet was full of life, hidden and primitive and rough and wild – but still full of life. Leia's mind briefly touched each life form, hoping to find the elusive trickle that flickered in and out of her awareness... and then there was a shock.
It felt as if she had just stuck her finger in an archive socket. Her mind was numb from the power and intelligence she felt on the other side of the connection she had just made. Someone down on the surface was strong with the Force and was silently reaching out to her.
As the Falcon neared its destination, the presence grew stronger.
"There," Leia pointed to the screen. Han flew the ship into the planet's atmosphere under her vague direction. As the ship descended, Han recognized the terrain.
"The Jundland Wastes? I can't land the Falcon there!" he exclaimed. Leia sighed, knowing that he was right.
"That's where we need to go," she told him plainly. Chewie let out a sudden roar alerting Han and Leia to his presence as he entered the cockpit.
"I'm not landing there, either," Han retorted. Leia frowned and looked at Chewie questionably.
"Chewbacca says that the Dune Sea would be the most preferable place to land, as the landscape is most ideal and within a half a day's walk to the Jundle Wastes," See Threepio announced as he followed the Wookie into the cockpit. There was a series of short whistles that followed meaning that Artoo had followed them in as well.
"I don't know what you're talking about. No one asked for your opinion, anyways," Threepio turned to the other droid in what looked like would be another argument between the two.
"Why don't we land in the Dune Sea?" Leia asked Han as she studied the planetary system on the nava computer. It was the most ideal spot. She couldn't understand Han's hesitancy.
Chewie growled. Han grimaced.
"Jabba's Palace borders this desert," Han told her miserably and then Leia understood his reluctance.
"It's alright, we can land in one of the settlements instead," Leia told him, through gritted teeth. In truth, she was impatient to find the Jedi Master that Yoda had told her about. She needed answers and training and advice. She didn't want to dawdle anymore than necessary. By allowing Han to land the ship in one of the space ports, it would be an even longer journey to travel to the Jundle Wastes.
Still, she wanted to try and amend the awkwardness between them after her aggressive outburst the fortnight back.
"Chewbacca says that we would draw even more attention in the cities, should we land the ship there. Quite frankly, I highly doubt that Jabba the Hutt has that many spies in every city, but he's being very insistent," Threepio exclaimed. Artoo whistled. Chewie grumbled. Han sighed.
"He's right, I'm a dead man no matter what... Alright sweetheart, it's time for you to meet this Jedi Master," Han told her, resigned. The Millennium Falcon landed near the Great Pit of Carkoon.
The Force was truly with the him. There was no other explanation. By some miracle, the apprentice had located the key codes in Kaine's main computer base. Furthermore, he could sense that the rebels were in the system. His intuition told him that soon they would land on the surface.
"... once they are in the sector, only send out one of the Star Destroyers. We don't want to scare them away. They're will be a detachment team sent to the surface. See to it that they find their way into the fortress," the apprentice commanded Captain Marl Semtin via comlink.
"Yes, sir... My maintenance crew has already been transferred to the Reaper. She's expected to experiences a total systems crash in approximately twenty minutes," Semtin reported. He was somewhat uncomfortable by his orders and the most recent turn of event, but he was doing his best to hide his emotions.
"Excellent. Oh, and captain, I want a squad of stormtroopers sent down to the Grand Moff's fortress with orders to shoot on sight," the apprentice told him casually. Semtin hesitated briefly. By giving such orders, the captain was effectively putting the emperor's representative and his commanding officer, in danger.
Finally, the man nodded and for once the apprentice did not reprimand him for his slow response.
"I will sir," he vowed.
Then the transmission was cut.
The rebels would arrive within the hour. The Force was carving out a path to his destiny. Still, the apprentice longed to contact his master and inform him of the situation. The Emperor's approval and his ability to use his body as conduct to the dark side was an addiction. The apprentice starved for both. However, without the information chip any attempt at contact would be humiliating and risking his master's wrath. He had never contacted his master before completing an assignment. Still, it had never taken him so long to finish a task before!
Growling under his breath, the apprentice activated a distress call from the fortress's mass computer hub. The rebels would detect the signal...
He knew what he had to do.
The Grand Moff's dungeon's were on the lowest level of the fortress and they were disgusting. There was no light and the stone walls were cold and covered in grime. The floor was damp and the air was stale. The apprentice opened one of the barred gates and made his way into one of the cells. He detested the the concept of being locked up, but it was a necessary ruse for the rebellion. Once they found him, they would all be taken in by his guise.
The apprentice moved to wait in a meditative pose on the stone floor. He quickly fell asleep and dreamed of his past and of his sister.
"Ma'am, we're entering the Seswenna System," a lieutenant informed Mon Mothma. The red headed woman and her Mon Calamari companion stood on the bridge of the Bulwark II and watched as they neared their destination.
They were surprised by the lack of Imperial ships in the sector.
"Nothing is appearing on the scopes. This could be a trap," Madine told them from the control center, his focus was on the scanners in front of him.
"Stay alert and watch for enemy fighters," Admiral Ackbar commanded. Mon Mothma shifted uneasily beside him.
"According to Commander Cracken, Grand Moff Kaine's fortress is in the Northern Temperate Region," she spoke quietly. Ackbar nodded.
"Where is the commander?" Ackbar asked just as blast of red light flooded the bridge and an alarm sounded.
"Warning. A Victory Class Star Destroyer has been detected," the ship's computer announced.
The crew began to shout in various panic and confusion.
"Deploy Rogue Squadron!" Madine ordered.
"Should we turn back?" Ackbar asked Mon Mothma. The ex senator took a deep breath and slowly released it.
"Ma'am, we've detected a distress call from the surface!" an officer interrupted. Mon Mothma and Ackbar looked at each other in bewilderment. The officer went on.
"It's coming from some sort of... base? It's located in the Northern Temperate Region," He reported.
"Have Commander Cracken report to the bridge immediately!" Admiral Achbar ordered.