It was highly surreal seeing over a dozen copies of his own face staring back at him in mute wonder. They were here to meet The One, The Father. The white coated scientist at his side seemed caught between terror and pride.
Lord Vader had only been told a few days ago by the Emperor that his tissue had been used, unknowingly, in a cloning experiment. After a raging temper tantrum where he had outright accused Palpatine of trying to replace him, the Emperor had grumpily ordered the results of the experimentation displayed to the irate Sith Lord.
Thus, the current hodgepodge of a family reunion.
"Well, My Lord," the scientist started. "The Emperor's orders were to try to get a Force Sensitive clone, but we had some problems with that part from the start. The results were a bit… shall we say, unorthodox and unusual. Let me show you. "
"Number One!" he called, and the first copy of the former Jedi sauntered forward, grinning a vacant, million-credit smile.
The scientist leaned close to Vader. "Completely physically identical, but as stupid as an inbred Babbit. We hired him out as an underwear model." Number one shifted into multiple poses, flexing his smile and muscles in a somewhat obscene, and rather obnoxious, manner.
"Number Two!" A short, balding man with terrible acne, glasses and overly large front teeth crept to the place before the two men. "Mathematical genius, but we were a bit disappointed in the, um, physical representation." The man opened his mouth to speak, but was quickly ushered away.
"We realized at this point that the midi-chlorian levels were responsible for causing all the fluctuations in the results but further experimentation proved a little, well, strange. Let me show you." The scientist had seemed to become more enamored of his subject and was becoming almost excited about his demonstration. Another scientist came up and whispered something into the head scientist's ear.
"Ah, apparently Three, Four, Five and Six have something prepared to show us!" he said, eagerly.
Four identical faces came forward. They were physically identical to the original man, but something in their eyes made Vader wary. The first one opened his mouth.
"Doom," the second one repeated.
"Doom". The third followed suite.
"Doom, da doom, doom da doom". The fourth sang it deep and low. It reminded Vader of drums for some reason.
"Moving on!" the scientist shouted to be heard over the now four-part chorus. A couple of extra scientists came forward and shuffled the still "Doom"-ing clones out of the room.
The scientist waived the next two specimens forward. The faces were that of Anakin Skywalker, but there the similarities ended. They were both hunched over with a sloppy, subservient air.
"Ah, Numbers Seven and Eight. They were a particular request from the Emperor! He wanted a clone with your Force abilities but a devotion to him unmatched in nature! To our credit, we did manage to get one request out of two, isn't that right, Seven and Eight?"
"Yes, Master!" they lisped in ardent love. The hero-worship coating HIS face made Vader more than a little sick… Not that each succeeding clone hadn't made him want to run screaming to his shuttle and start bombing runs on the whole building, and possibly the whole planet, just to make sure that all evidence was contained. He thought he could still hear faint "Doom"s coming from the adjoining room…
"Number Nine turned out rather well, I think," the scientist said proudly. "He's the closest we got to managing to get an actual Force user. At least, HE thinks he can use the Force, he's not particularly convincing."
The man coming up to them was wearing a bright blue turban, no shirt and a jumpsuit orange vest and was carrying a large crystal ball in his hands like it was his firstborn child. He opened his mouth hopefully but the scientist cut him off with a condescending motion of the hand.
"That's quite alright, Number Nine," he said. "We don't need a demonstration of your awesome precognition." The clone's face fell faster than the scientific location's stock once Vader was through with them. A quick glance at the clone's retreating back detected what looked like a pack of tarot cards in his back pocket. Vader would have raised an eyebrow if he still had one.
"I'm almost afraid to show you Number Ten," the scientist said softly. "We are fairly sure that something went wrong with his brain chemistry. We've had him on severe anti-depressants since discovering his problems but he escaped the facility for about a week and when we found him, he looked like this."
This clone was tall, with his brown hair shaved into a spiked Mohawk, wearing heavy eye liner, and pierced in both eyebrows, both lips, and up and down both sides of his nose. Vader rather imagined that the man's ears would have been pierced too, if they hadn't been encased in glossy black metal. What truly disturbed Vader was the look in the man's eyes. There was intelligence in them.
Intelligence and anger.
This was a man who hated without reason, who lashed out at any in his path simply for being in his path. There appeared to be a little Force talent, but not much more than the average person and not near enough for Sith training. Vader felt a small shudder run down his spine as though someone had danced on his grave. For all the scientist's blathering about "a genetic malfunction causing deviant behavior", the Sith knew that this clone was the one closest to his personality and abilities. He made a mental note to make very sure that this clone died by morning.
"After the results that we received with Ten, we started getting desperate. To our embarrassment, we started experimenting with some of the more outlandish genetic cocktails and came up with Eleven and Twelve."
After the parade of unfortunate individuals that had been shoved before him, Vader couldn't really say that he had any expectations of what the last members of the demonstration would be like. He certainly didn't expect Eleven to have generously sized breasts. And stiletto heels. And long, brown hair twisted up into a severe braid. She, (at least he thought the person before him was a she but since she/he was supposed to be a clone Vader didn't really want to think on that too hard) was wearing a black leather jumpsuit that clung to curves that Vader KNEW that he didn't have and in one hand she was holding a chain that was attached to something still in the other room that the clones had been coming out of. He twisted around to stare in disbelief at the scientist, who had the decency to look sheepish.
"We really don't have a good explanation for her," he said. "She's actually a near perfect genetic match, but still, something happened and we don't know what that might be. At least we know that you make a surprisingly attractive woman!" The scientist seemed to actually realize what he said and quickly signaled the woman to pull the thing attached to the chain into the room.
The chain was attached to a collar that was in turn fastened around the neck of the twelfth clone. This man was naked except for a loincloth. Vader bristled in fury. It was one thing to have experimented on HIS flesh and blood, but to have collared his, well, offspring for lack of a better way to put it, like some kind of animal was beyond the pale! He turned to the scientists and raised his hand to strike.
"Woof!" The final clone barked at him.
Vader turned back to look at the clone. It barked again. Then sat down on the floor and casually lifted a leg to try to scratch at his own ear.
The last coherent thought to go through Vader's mind was "I didn't know I was that flexible".
He barely knew how he got to his shuttle and started strafing runs on the facility, systematically destroying every outbuilding. Finally, content in the knowledge that the danger was over, he leaned back in his chair and stared calmly at the stars in the viewpane. Until, in the reflection of the glass, he saw a Mohawked head slowly rise from the cover of the table in the rec-room behind him and then duck back down.
"Doom, doom, doom, doom da doom, doom da doom."
Anakin Skywalker jerked upright in his bed, his flesh hand reaching out to cover his face. At his side Padme stirred and sleepily murmured at him.
"Anakin, are you alright?"
Anakin tried to catch the details of his horrifying nightmare but they slipped through his fingers like sand. It had felt a bit like his precognitive dreams, but not quite. He tried to slow his racing heartbeat and said softly, "I don't care if they are delicacies, we are never having chocolate covered Corellian mushrooms again."
Author's note: I really don't know where this came from, but I was too afraid of it to try stuffing it back in the box! Let me know what you think!