Vader's Cat returns after more than a year in limbo. Thank my migraine and inability to concentrate.
This is Number 11.
In order they are:
Cracking the Armor
Another Disturbing Crack
Completely Cracked...and the Cat Came Back
Cracking the Death Star
Cracking Imperial Center, or: Cat Goes to Coruscant
Pruneface Cracks, or: Cat vs. Palpatine
Cracking the Dark Lord
Crack to Nature
Cracking His Confidence
A Fleet Full of Crack(pots)
Carbonite Cracks, or: Cat vs. Fett
Farmboy Cracks, or: Cat vs. Skywalker
Vader had tried to levitate the cat down with the Force, but it was terrified and kept digging its claws further into the pipes whenever it felt itself start to float. He couldn't quite figure out why the cat was so upset. After all, it had spent its entire life climbing up his back—which should have been a far more terrifying proposition than being floated out of its current predicament.
He was tempted to leave it there. After all, he had been trying to rid himself of the annoying creature for years. Unfortunately, Palpatine's allergy made the little animal too valuable a weapon to be discarded. Once he had come to that conclusion, Vader considered simply yanking the cat down with the Force. He was certain that he could have it on the ground before it could figure out what was happening. Then he remembered that he had recently been bowled through his cabin door and knocked into the wall outside with the frightened cat attached to his facemask.
He wasn't going to get another opportunity to capture Luke. After his failure to kill Obi-Wan on the Death Star, he was lucky to be getting any chance at all. Only the boy's foolish attachment to his friends had provided this one, and the cat could not be allowed to ruin things by jumping down on them at an inopportune moment. So, Vader was still trying to coax it out of the hose rigging when Luke walked into the carbon freezing chamber.
He gave the uncooperative feline a nasty look which did not phase the cat in the slightest. He told himself the cat simply couldn't see his expression, but he had a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't have cared anyway. Grumpily, he turned to face his would-be opponent and sneered.
"The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet!"
"Yeah, well, you don't look like much of a Sith, either," quipped Luke, who had by now heard all about Obi-Wan's encounter with the Dark Lord's kitten aboard the Death Star.
"A cat, as you will soon discover, is not the adorable mewing ball of fluff it appears to be," Vader told him seriously.
"Right…" Luke's tone was dubious. He lowered his lightsaber and peered up at the cat. "What are you doing to the poor thing anyway?"
"What am I…?" repeated Vader in disbelief.
Luke ignored the Dark Lord's irritation and kept his attention the cat. He spoke to it in soothing tones for several minutes but received only hissing, spitting replies. Vader shook his head and looked on smugly. If the young fool was so determined to get the cat down, Vader had no compunction about allowing him to do so. At least this time he wouldn't have to spend hours buffing claw marks out of his armor.
After a while, the cat's violent hissing petered off. Luke assumed that it was starting to trust him, but Vader knew that the animal was merely biding its time. Finally, Obi-Wan's apprentice hooked his weapon back onto his belt and Force-leapt up beside the cat. Hanging onto the hoses with one hand, he worked his other arm around the beast, dislodged the claws, and was promptly attacked as he tried to draw the cat close against his chest.
"Heyyyyyy!" he cried as he lost his grip and clattered noisily back to the platform where Vader was waiting. "Hey, hey, cut it out!"
The cat let out a loud, wailing cry of its own and continued slicing up the newcomer with its claws. Completely unprepared for the viciousness of the mauling, Luke floundered and staggered about. He still seemed convinced that the cat should be viewed as a victim rather than the aggressor in the situation and was desperately trying to convince it that he could be trusted.
"I'm on your side here!" he told it. "I helped you!"
Eventually, the cat either grew tired of the boy's whining or decided that clawing supple human flesh was unsatisfying in comparison to the cold and unforgiving metal of Vader's body armor. It sprang away, and Vader steeled himself for a similar assault. However, instead of jumping on him, the cat—which was still somewhat disoriented from its recent ordeal—leapt away and bolted into the clouds of steam that had begun to billow through the room.
"You're welcome!" Luke yelled after it in disgust.
Vader smirked, "You were expecting, perhaps, gratitude?"