Authors note: This is just a small "warmer", it seemed like a good place to break. The next chapter is pretty much written, coming shortly. Let me know what you think.

As the shuttle was pulled into the SSD's protective bubble, Luke glanced occasionally at the slumped form in the co-pilots seat. His father. Since the battle, he could feel him through the force much more clearly. Feel the man that had been buried for so long. Vader, Anakin Luke mentally corrected himself, was barely conscious, sliding in and out of awareness. Luke empathized, his reserves almost gone too.

Luke reached out through the force to the man next to him. Rest father, go into trance. You're wounded.

The black clad figure did not respond physically, but Luke could feel his reply. I must stay awake long enough to make sure you're safe.

Luke thought about the fact that they were about to land on an Imperial ship, and decided that Anakin was right. Without him, Luke might very well be shot on sight. Or they might at least try. Luke knew that he could make it a painful undertaking for them if they did. The thought startled him. He was reveling in conflict. The echo of the battle with the Emperor was still ringing in his head, the power he had felt when he attacked Vader. He knew it was wrong, a Jedi did not fight unless he had to. But he knew in that case there was no choice. The connection (with the dark side he forced himself to add) had been so much more than he thought possible. No wonder Anakin had fallen under Palpatines spell. Luke had felt as if he could have taken on the whole galaxy himself.

His train of thought was interrupted as he was signaled to engage the landing gear on the shuttle.

The Executor loomed titanic in the canopy, the landing bay open and inviting on the vessels hipline.

Sensors showed that the battle was still raging on, even with the Death Stars destruction. Luke sent a momentary sense of ok to his sister, somewhere on the planet below. He knew he might never see her again.

Luke again looked at his father. To outward appearances, he was unconscious, the only sound was his labored ventilator pushing air into his lungs, but Luke could still sense him, biding his strength, hovering on the edge of a healing trance.

As soon as the shuttle crossed the mag-locks, his instruments told him that the ship had jumped, leaving the battle completely. The hanger tow beam now guided the ship toward a clear portion of the deck, where a team of medics and a full platoon of Stormtroopers waited patiently. Luke shut down the shuttles engines, and sat back in the chair. As the beam lowered the shuttle he knew that his path was set.