Night had fallen, bathing the forest moon of Endor in the unfettered light of a billion stars. The beauty was lost on Darth Vader, who ignored the view as he swept through the upper corridors of the Imperial Outpost.
A metal door slid upwards as he approached. A commander whose face and name he had either forgotten or never bothered to remember stepped out to meet him. He was accompanied by the obligatory entourage of gleaming white troopers, blasters raised at a young man dressed in black. Luke Skywalker.
‘This is the rebel that surrendered to us,’ reported the commander. ‘Although he denies it, I believe there are more of them and I request permission to conduct a further search of the area.’
Luke met Darth Vader’s gaze, unflinching.
‘He was armed only with this.’ The commander handed Darth Vader a silver cylinder. Ugly to look at. Powerful to possess.
‘Good work, Commander. Leave us, conduct your search and bring his companions to me.’
‘Yes, my Lord.’ The commander left the way he had come, the stormtroopers following dutifully behind.
‘The emperor has been expecting you,’ Darth Vader said, leading the way back up the corridor. Luke Skywalker followed, compliant.
‘I know, Father.’
Vader looked at him, pleased by this easy assertion. ‘So, you have accepted the truth.’
‘I have accepted the truth that you were once a Jedi named Anakin Skywalker, my father…’
Vader stopped. ‘That name no longer has any meaning for me,’ he said, emphasising each word with the dormant lightsaber.
Luke raised his chin. ‘Then it will mean nothing to you when I say that I’ve read Love In The Time Of The Clones?‘ he asked.
Vader fell as silent as his respirator would allow. ‘I do not know why you think that would be of any interest to me,’ he said at last.
‘Master Yoda told me everything. How, even as he fought in the clone wars, my father wrote and published an epic romance in four parts under the pseudonym Annie Landrunner. It spent four hundred weeks at the top of the intergalactic best seller list. Truly the force was strong with him.’
Vader said nothing.
‘But stranger still,’ continued Luke, turning away to rest his manacled hands on the corridor’s railings, watching his father’s dark reflection in the glass, ‘is the fact that Annie Landrunner continues to publish almost annually to this day. Madame Rodian. The Ithorian Patient. Seducing the Senator. All bestsellers. All with rave reviews.’
Darth Vader looked up and down the corridor, confirming what he already sensed. That they were, for the moment, alone. ‘What is your point?’ he asked.
Luke swirled, pale blue eye meeting shining black viewing sensor. ‘Teach me,’ he hissed, his calm veneer falling away to reveal an intensity, a desperation. ‘Teach me the ways of your process. I am ready.’
Vader was caught off guard. ‘You… are not here to surrender?’
Luke took a step closer to Darth Vader, clutching his father’s gloved mechanical wrist. ‘I need to get out of this Jedi thing. Literally all of them but Master Yoda were murdered. And that was only because he hid in a swamp for thirty years. Seriously, Father, I can’t do that. I was there for two weeks and I wanted to feed myself to a swamp slug.’
Vader didn’t move, processing this new information. Searching his son’s words for falsehoods or trickery.
‘My friends will be all right, but I’m in over my head. I’ve searched my feelings and the truth couldn’t be clearer. I don’t want to fight a war. I want to be a writer, like my father before me. I want a nice, quiet life on some up and coming inner galaxy planet with good coffee and free wifi. I just don’t know how to start.’
The Emperor had warned Darth Vader that his son would try to save him, to appeal to his better nature. And how right he had been, for what better side to him was there than the side that had penned Ten Nights On Tatooine? If this was Yoda’s last move, then it was a well conceived one, for Vader felt the lure, the siren song all writers hear when someone asks them to talk about writing. It was darker than the dark side, more powerful than the Emperor, and Vader was powerless before it.
‘Perhaps you should follow me to my office,’ he said, removing himself from Luke’s impressive grip.
‘Then you’ll do it? You’ll teach me?’
‘Your destiny lies with me, my son. Just not in the way I had imagined.’ With a wave of his hand, Luke’s manacles clattered to the floor. ‘Come,’ he said, indicating the way. ‘We have some time before the Emperor expects me, and there is much to say. For you do not yet understand the power of proper punctuation. Come.’
Luke nearly swooned with relief. ‘Yes, Father. Thank you.’
Abandoning their respective loyalties, they strode forward side by side. Father and son, Sith and Jedi.
This blog post could also have been titled ‘Content Generator Drives 29 Year Old Back To Writing Fanfiction For First Time Since That Very Enthusiastic Harry Potter Phase In The Early 00’s.’
Too wordy, though.