The man ran as fast as he could down the corridor, dodging under laser fire as he did so. Occasionally, he would shoot back at those who were pursuing him. He had to get to the control room before they did. He could not risk letting them get the plans.
He skid to a stop around a bend, nearly falling over himself. After he recovered, he swiped his card and punched in a few numbers. The keypad chirped, and the light above it turned green. The door opened, and he ran inside. The door closed just as the stormtroopers reached it. Without hesitation, the rebel trooper shot the keypad. “This better hold them off,” he said to himself. “If it doesn’t, I just made my situation worse.”
The rebel ran down the short corridor and opened another password protected door. The door closed behind him as he stepped into the control room. He removed his helmet and began his work. He downloaded the information about the whereabouts of a rebel base onto a chip, then deleted it. He now had to make it to the escape pods.
On the brightside, stormtroopers could not hit a bantha if it was ten feet away. On the downside, there are only two exits to this room, and both led to the corridor that the stormtroopers were in. This ship had poor interior design.
The rebel ran down the second corridor and prayed that no stormtroopers would be present. When the door opened, he was happy to see that the stormtroopers seemingly had moved on. Then he looked to his left.
A dark figure looked down on him, his dark mask shining under the lights from the ceiling. Darth Vader raised his hand. As he did so, the trooper began to rise from the ground, and his throat began to close up. As the rebel kicked his legs, Lord Vader stood still and watched as the trooper gasped for air.
The rebel went limp and fell to the ground. “I’ll be taking this,” Darth Vader said, using the Force to bring the chip to him.
Vader turned around to see a corridor filled with rebel troopers. He chuckled to himself as the rebels began to fire. “I have done this on numerous occasions. No army will stop.”
He pulled his lightsaber out of its holster and turned it on, using the Force to stop lasers and throw them back at the small army of rebel troopers.
He ran forward, swinging his lightsaber violently to deflect any lasers that shot at him. Once he reached the army, bodies began flying in every direction. He lifted some up, and slammed them onto the ground. In a matter of seconds, not a single one lived. He turned his lightsaber off and continued walking down the hall.
He rounded a corner to find yet another army. Pointing his lightsaber towards the ground he turned his lightsaber on and shrugged.
Rest in peace, David Prowse. May the Force be with you always.
A New Legend
**NOTE: I’m pretty sure none of this has any basis in Star Wars lore, because I really didn’t do any research and I just used the first names that came to mind, but I hope you enjoy anyway.
I could do nothing but listen.
All around me was the smell of burning flesh. Building crumbled. Lasers shot through the sky. Smoke rolled overhead.
But I did not see. I did not speak. I only listened.
And I only heard one sound.
The sound of machine-powered breathing.
That is the sound of the thing that killed my family.
Fourteen Years Later...
There is a man in my dreams. He has long hair. His eyes are blue. He tells me of a world free from turmoil. Free from pain.
He calls himself Anakin. The name sounds familiar, but I cannot place it.
Those are my good dreams. I much prefer the strange man to the other dreams, those one with the horrible sound..
The sound that destroyed my life.
But the man in my good dreams tells me there’s a way to bring them back. Power over life and death. All I have to do is let him train me.
“To do the thing I could not,” he says.
But where have I heard his name before?
It doesn’t matter. What matters is if what he says is true. If I can bring my parents back.
“What do I have to do?”
“You will know.”
That is all the dream man says.
I am eighteen today. Old enough to join the Empire, but I will not. Too old to be trained by the Jedi, for my parents died before they could get my name on their roster.
Old enough to fly a ship.
Old enough to own a gun. Old enough to do just about anything.
I will do what the dream man Anakin says.
Because he is kind to me.
My name was once Risa Starr. I was once the daughter of Admiral Jokk Starr and Keisi Starr. But I am no longer that little girl. I am Nova. And I will bring my parents back.
Even if they want nothing to do with the monster I’ve become.
Anakin is right.
I do know what to do.
There is a small trading port outside of my small town of Na-ami.
I will hide in the back of their ship. And wherever that ship takes me, that’s where my next task awaits.
The Force will guide me.
Just like it always has.
The ship is old and loud, but I know it is the right ship. The ship I need. I crawl into one of the boxes, hidden by old rifles and outdated weapons.
And of course, my cloak. The last thing I have that is truly mine. I scavenge for food. I flit between places. I belong nowhere. I own nothing.
Except this cloak.
It is my own. Once, it was my mother’s. When the Dream Man named Anakin shows me how to return them to life, I will return it to her. But for now... she is gone, and so it is mine.
I dig through the boxes. The tech is all old Republic, most of it will never be usable, but there might be rations. Food. Anything I can use.
Instead, I find a cylinder.
It’s about the length of my arm, adorned with complex ridges and grooves. It fits perfectly in my hand.
And, lined up with my thumb, is a button.
I press it, and the blade explodes into life.
I know what this is. An ancient Jedi weapon.
But this one is... different. It has no color. It is white. Blank. A work-in-progress.
I’ve heard about lightsabers. Though I’ve never seen one in person, I know they can cut through just about anything.
A good weapon. A powerful weapon.
Surely the ship’s master won’t mind if I take this one little thing.
Just one little lightsaber.
Another borrowed thing, stolen thing, to call my own.
My life is built on stolen objects.
I wonder what will happen if the universe wants to take it back.
I think I will just fall.
All the way down.
When the ship lands, I cut a hole in the wall. I can’t wait for the captain to open the slot, because he will see me for sure. Of course, now he’ll know he’s missing a lightsaber.
With any luck, he won’t know which one.
A white blade is rather distinct.
By the time I hear the shouts of panic from the crew, I am far away.
They will not find me.
So I find a tree, climb, and wait for sleep.
The Dream Man will give me my instructions.
And I will follow them.
I do not work for the Empire. I do not stand with the Resistance.
I follow Anakin.
And he will lead me to safety.
Finally, sleep finds me.
I let myself fall deep into its hands.
The forest on Yavin 4 is lush with life, all sorts of life.
I have recieved my orders.
I will find the travelling Gungan.
And I will kill him.
A life for a life.
I have killed many beings. They have all deserved it. I do not know what this Gungan has done, but if Anakin hates him, it is good enough for me.
I understand Hate.
Like I hate the sound that haunts my dreams.
I wonder if Anakin can help me find the source of that sound. I wonder if he can help me destroy the human machine that killed my parents in the first place.
I wonder if he can help me get rid of my dreams.
First, I must find the travelling Gungan.
Then, I will move onward. I sense my journey will have many challenges ahead. Anakin will not make this easy.
Good. I do not want easy.
I want a challenge.
And I am prepared to fight for it.
The travelling Gungan is not hard to find.
He almost blows up the flower shop.
“Ahh!” the creature screeches. “Meesa sorry!”
″ ‘meesa’ don’t care if you’re sorry,” snarls the shop owner in a mocking voice. “Meesa wants you out of my shop. Out of my village! You’ve knocked over the last of my flower pots, Laj Bins.”
“Meesa sorry. Meesa—”
“Shoo, Gungan! Out!”
The dejected Gungan flails his arms around, almost knocking over yet another flowerpot.
An easy target...
But I’m sure this bumbling idiot is hiding something. Otherwise Anakin would never have asked me to kill him. Maybe he won’t be easy after all. Maybe all his clumsy destruction is really carefully calculated...
I stare into his knobby yellow eyes. They don’t look evil... but...
“You’re Laj Bins?” I ask as the Gungan passes me. “The travelling Gungan?”
“That is meesa,” says the Gungan proudly. “Laj Bins, the great warrior of the Gungans. At your humble service.” His voice is loud, confident, but I detect a note of wariness in his words.
I glance around. Too many people. I’ll have to lure him away. Easy enough. The blithering bantha-brained scumbag should fall for just about anything.
“Come with me,” I say. “I have a... business opportunity for you.”
“Business! Ooh, meesa likes the sound of dat!”
I let the cloak fall lower over my face to hide my grin. Too easy.
That is, until I see the troopers.
I’ve walked into the wrong alleyway.
“Ah!” yells Laj. “This noesa good! This very bad.”
“You’re not supposed to be here,” says the lead stormtrooper, with a yellow scrap of fabric over his shoulder. “Leave at once.”
“Uh...” I say, momentarily stunned into silence. “Can I just...” I sigh as I pull out my lightsaber. “Nevermind. I’m surrounded by the weakest minds in the galaxy. Stormtroopers and Gungans.”
Only the head stormtrooper has the decency to look offended.
“Hey!” he shouts, brandishing his gun. “Watch i—”
Before he can finish, my new lightsaber is out and blazing. While the handle fits perfectly in my hand, the blade is awkward— it’ll take some getting used to. But that’s fine.
It works well enough.
I don’t stop until four severed trooper heads and one halved Gungan are on the floor.
Easy. Now I need to get out of here. Killing a Gungan... none will miss him. But four troopers... that’s a crime. I need to get off this filthy planet.
First, I’ll sleep. Back to the forest, to the cover of trees. Anakin will tell me what I need to do.
It’s a perfectly fine dream. Everywhere I look, rolling green hills and gleaming white domes. It’s a famous planet— Naboo. But it hasn’t looked like this in years, not since Queen Amidala died.
This is the way Anakin remembers it. Beautiful. Glorious.
The way my parents were before—
“All this time, I haven’t learned your name,” the man says with a kind smile.
“Alright, Nova. Is the travelling Gungan dead?”
“Yes. What is my next task?”
“Your next task will be the most difficult.”
“I am ready.”
“Indeed you are. My masters once made a mistake... they underestimated me. I will not do the same to you. I will not fail you.”
“You— you were a Jedi?”
“I am a Jedi. I just... broke some rules, is all. We all break rules sometimes.”
“You must commandeer a ship for me.”
“Not just any ship. An Imperial Star Destroyer.”
“Wh- How will I do this?”
“How is up to you. Just remember the name: Avenging Star.”
Avenging Star. Isn’t that what I am? A Starr, trying to find vengeance?
The Dream Man smiles again.
“Don’t call me sir. I have no need to order you around. I’m not your general. We are friends.”
Friends? Could that be true? Could this mysterious man be my friend? A man I know only in dreams?
Yet I already trust him. That’s why I’m doing this, after all. Because I trust him.
After all, a man who can walk through dreams is a powerful ally. A powerful friend.
“What do I do with the ship once I’ve got it?”
“Confidence,” says Anakin, still smiling. “I like that. You will fly it to the Empire’s fortress. A space station called the Death Star.”
“How will I find it?”
Another laugh. “You’ll find it. It’s hard to miss.”
As the dream fades and I blink into consciousness, I hear the whirring of engines.
I stand up, quick as lightning, and let the darkness and the wide trunk of the tree hide me.
“A white saber? Those are rare.”
“Makes it easier to find her.”
They’re talking about me.
“Don’t worry, sir. Everyone is on high alert. And she’s no Jedi— we recieved word that the saber was stolen. But she is powerful just the same.”
“She could be watching us this very moment.”
“Enough of that, Seven. There’s obviously nothing in the woods.” Rather than feeling elated, I shiver. If they don’t notice me, how can I notice anything else? What else lurks in these woods, waiting for unsuspecting prey?
I don’t like this planet. It is lush, but it is not beautiful. The life on this planet is ugly and cruel. Harsh and angry.
I will feel better when I am far away from this. Even if that means I’m on a star destroyer.
First, I need a ship. A real ship. Hitchhiking can only get me so far. I’ll need a craft of my own.
But I have no money. And I won’t sell the saber. There must be something else I can sell...
Royalty of Yavin 4 weave clothing from hair. Elaborate wigs. They’d pay a good price for my hair. Long, the color of coal. Thick. I could get a good price for this. But is it enough?
I could always find someone to drop me off. They’d have to be suicidal at least, all out stupid at worst.
But a ride is a ride.
I’ll just have to hope I’ll have enough.
Hope is a funny thing. It can do strange things to people. Like I hope I can get my parents back. And I’d do anything to find them.
They have booths everywhere to sell hair. There’s one every three feet in this place.
I walk into the first one I see and I brush past the line into a seat.
“I’d like to sell my hair,” I say.
The barber gives me a strange look.
Right. My hair is hidden by my hood. Not to mention the fact that it’s twisted into a bun.
It takes me a moment to undo it, but once I do, the barber’s eyes widen.
Apparently hair means more here than I thought.
He’s powering on his blade when a loud voice says “Stop.”
All heads, even mine, turn towards the door.
That man... his clothing... he’s royalty. And judging by the fact that everyone is bowing, he’s the prince.
I lower my head.
The prince stalks towards me, his legs brisk and choppy. Stiff. Formal.
“Do not cut this woman’s hair.”
I scrunch my eyes in disbelief.
“Your majesty, all due respect...” The barber stammers.
“Your hair is too precious to be removed,” says the Prince, turning to me. “Your beauty is incomparable.”
Oh dear. This is not good. Not good at all.
“Sir,” I say. “I’m afraid I cannot—”
To my surprise, the prince flushes.
“You misunderstand me. I merely wish to... help. To... reward you.”
“What makes you think you must cut your hair?”
I stare at the prince in shock.
“Uh... I need a ship.”
“Here on Yavin, hair is everything. Hair is status.”
“Uh... yes. I know.”
“With tresses as lush as these, you could have a high status.”
“Um... thank you, your majesty.”
“So I will give you a ship.”
Some of the other customers gasp, whether in envy or awe, I cannot tell.
I just smile. “Thank you.”
The Force is guiding me, just like it always has.
I follow the prince out of the shop and through the streets. Crowds part for us— no, for him.
I’m invisible. I’m invisible to everyone except the prince.
I’m okay with that. I like being invisible.
But at the same time, I like having a ship.
I think that, even if I get a ship, I will cut my hair. It gets in the way.
And I don’t want to attract any more attention to myself.
I’ll shave it. All the way down. Except for one small braid. Like a Padawan. For I am Anakin’s padawan now. I must start acting like one.
But first, I need this ship.
“Thank you again, your majesty,” I stammer.
“It is nothing,” says the prince with a dismissive wave. “With hair like that, I’d be proud to help.”
“I... thank you.”
The prince is tall. His hair is almost as long and dark as mine, but his skin is several shades darker than mine. There is a kindness in his soft brown eyes that is hard to find in royalty. Most of the time, royalty looks at you like you’re vermin. Stiff. Disdainful. But not this prince.
He will either make a very good king, or a terrible one.
But that is not my business. This planet is... stifling. Being in this palace, surrounded by ostentatious displays, is even worse than being in the cruel streets.
I will be glad to fly my ship out of here.
“Lazien, not again.”
“Relax, sister. Look at her hair. She may act like a commoner but here, she is royalty.”
“Laz, you know how mother feels about—”
“Nevermind. She needs a ship. We have plenty.”
“A ship? Laz, you’re out of your mind! You have no idea who this girl is!”
“Kiera, relax. I won’t give her anything special. Just one of the B-wings.”
“A ship? Laz, think about this.”
“I have thought about it,” Prince Lazien snaps. “I’m doing it, and mother can’t stop me. Soon, I’ll be king.”
“Brother, be careful.” Lazien counters his sister’s concern with a dazzling grin.
“I’m always careful, Kiki.”
The princess rolls her eyes at his nickname.
I decide it’s best to stay silent, and I follow Prince Lazien to the hanger.
“Off you go,” the prince says. “May you look upon us favorably.” I offer up a smile I don’t mean.
I’m glad to get off this planet. Glad to get away from the prince. Anakin is waiting. I will find him.
As I power up the craft (I’ve been using flight simulators since before I could talk, and I’ve just about mastered any standard craft’s controls) I glance towards a wall of wanted posters and wince.
There, in the center, is a picture of me. With my hood up, of course, and holding a lightsaber, but it’s definitely me. I got lucky that the prince didn’t notice.
But the Empire will be watching for me. I must be on my guard.
Of course, I also have to hijack a freaking star destroyer, so I can’t exactly stay under the radar.
Whatever. Next stop, the Avenging Star.
And after that, the Death Star.
So many Stars.
I only hope I can find the only two stars I’ve ever cared about: Admiral Starr and Keisi Starr. My parents.
Once I bring them back, everything will be okay.
I click the ship into autopilot and grab a razor from the back. I should definitely shave my hair now. Too recognizable. And I need to hide.
It only takes a few minutes. A few minutes to shave off years of growth. It takes eons to create something, but only seconds to destroy it.
That is the way of the universe.
I can feel the Force whispering in my head. I can hear it. Hear the voices of force-users past. I listen closely.
I can find the Avenging Star. All I have to do is listen.
With my newly shaved hair and my padawan braid, I close my eyes. I feel the energy seep into my limbs.
And then I open my eyes and grab the controls.
I know where to go.
I can feel the energy in my limbs. In my mind. The Force isn’t just guiding me. It is me.
This is what being a Jedi feels like. The world in your hands.
But I am no Jedi.
But I will be. Once I find Anakin. Once I complete his tasks.
Then, I will be powerful. I will save my family.
It’s my last hope for justice.
The Avenging Star looms in my vision just as I’m starting to drift off to sleep.
A night of no rest. No sleep. I wonder if Anakin will miss me.
I wonder, do I miss him?
He is my friend, so it’s okay to miss him.
Now, the next task is getting onboard. I’ve got cloaking on, but that can only hide so much. Imperial technology is rapidly advancing. Soon, they may even be able to see through shields. Thank goodness they can’t yet.
Plan. I need a plan.
Over there, looks like a fuel tank. Running low. They’ll need to change it soon. Which means an opening. I’ll wait and I’ll get in that way.
First, I need to hide.
Under the ship. It’s a well-known blind spot. The only blind spot. the only weakness in an indestructable machine.
An indestructable machine that I’m about to steal. How? The thing is swarming with Imperial officials. I managed to kill the four storm troopers, but that was just luck. I barely knew what I was doing. This is a whole ship full of highly trained officials.
Luck won’t help me here.
Think, Nova. Think.
I know how I’m getting in, but even that is hard. There will be stormtroopers everywhere. Officers, too.
Weak minds. I’m starting to think that all the Imperials have weak minds.
All except for two: Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.
Aside from them, the Empire is built on pathetic beings.
Weak minds... could I use the Force? On all of them at once? That’s a lot of power, and I still don’t know how to control it. I only have one shot.
Any better ideas?
No. No better ideas. I have to try.
This is what Anakin would want. For me to prove myself. I need to prove that I am worthy of his training.
I need to prove that I can bring my parents back.
First, I need to practice.
On what? This is just a B-wing. There’s not much space. It’s a very fancy royal B-wing, but it’s still a B-wing.
Move the whole ship. I don’t know where that voice comes from. Maybe it’s Anakin, urging me forward. Maybe it’s my parents, whispering in my ear. Guiding me. Ghosts. But they won’t be ghosts for long. Soon, they’ll be here with me.
And I won’t let them die again.
I close my eyes, feeling the energy flow through me. I let my anger power me. My hate. I hear that cursed sound. hh-burr... ohh-burr...
I imagine my parents here with me. They are here. I’m not moving the ship, they are, carrying me in their safe, open arms.
I can feel the creaks and groans of straining metal. It becomes a lullaby, bursting from my parents’ mouths. I will see them again. I will do this. I will prove myself.
And when my parents are back, I will kill the machine man. I will rip his mechanical heart out.
Anger burns. It burns long, slow, and bright.
The perfect fuel.
If I were to be taken into the Jedi, I would be taught to feel nothing. To be nothing.
But I am not a Jedi. I will feel. I will be real.
And being real means being angry. And I am angry.
I open my eyes.
Perfect placement. Right next to the fuel dock. If I move quickly, I’ll barely be in space. Dying in space, even with the lack of air and the freezing cold, takes a few minutes. If I move fast, I’ll be fine.
For now, I watch. I watch, and I wait.
And I hear the hiss as a suited soldier emerges into view.
Before he sees me, before he sees my ship, before he can sound the alarm.
“I’m not here,” I say quickly, the Force dragging me forward. “You don’t see me.”
“Nobody here,” the soldier repeats. “Coast clear.”
I grin. Stupid weak minded fools.
I’ll kill them all if I have to.
That’s what Anakin wants, right? He hates the Empire as much as I do. They deserve to burn. To freeze and rot in space. Float aimlessly for all time.
“We’ve got an—”
“I’m not an intruder,” I say slowly, staring into the black and white mask. “I’m supposed to be here.”
“99542, is there an issue?”
“No, no issue. Everything fine here.”
I brush past the stormtrooper with a grin. My grin fades when I hear approaching footsteps. Lots of footsteps.
Let’s see how well my mind tricks work on a whole damn army.
"I'm not here," I whisper. I can almost see the energy waves coming from my body. "I'm not here."
The power of those before me will shield me. My mom. My dad. Anakin. All of them flow through me, currents of electricity through a thick wire.
I am powerful. No. I am power. I am energy. I am strength. I can do anything.
And I will do anything it takes. Anything it takes to get my mom and dad back.
I can feel my eyes glow white with power.
I am not here.
I was never here.
I am a ghost.
Just like my family.
And I walk unseen through the ranks of the army.
Weak minds. All of them.
All I need to do is find the cockpit. Barricade myself in and kill everyone inside. If I can do that, everyone out here won't matter.
The Avenging Star is soon to be mine.
Now is the time to unsheath my sword. All of the mind tricks have worn me down. It's time to use my other skills.
My killing skills.
I'm not exactly a bounty hunter. I don't make a living out of it. I only did a few jobs. Never for the Empire, but not for the Rebellion, either. Just ordinary people with extraordinary grudges.
And sometimes, those grudges were real. They deserved to die.
It's not wrong if they deserve it, right? It's not like I'm a contract killer. I just did what needed to be done.
Like I'm doing now. These people work for the Empire. They work with the machine who killed my family. They deserve to die. I hate them. I hate them.
I wonder, am I just trying to convince myself?
No matter. Right now, all that matters is finding Anakin. Bringing my family back. Whatever I have to do, whoever I have to kill, I'll do it. It'll be worth it. Even if I never see them again, I'll know they're out there. Safe. Alive.
I've already proven I can live without them. If they want to leave me after what I've done, fine. But at least they'll be alive.
I burst into the cockpit with my sword blazing. Strike first. Strike fast. Don't give them a chance to attack.
One head rolls. An arm. A torso. I can hear the screams, feel the blood on my face.
And then I'm face-to-face with a gun.
"Stop, in the name of the Republic."
I almost laugh. Everyone knows there is no Republic anymore. The Republic is gone. All that's left is the Empire. No democracy. Just absolute power.
But it's hard to laugh with a gun in your face.
I see his finger on the trigger in perfect clarity, my last vision before I fall into darkness. No. I can't die now. I need my parents back. I have to listen to Anakin. Once I do that, I'll be fine. I'll be ready to go. Just. A. Little. Longer.
I open my eyes.
The officer's face is contorted in pain and confusion. He can't move. And a few inches in front of me is a bullet.
I power on my lightsaber. Still, nothing moves.
I slice his hand off and watch it fall to the floor in slow motion. I watch as the officer emits a soundless scream. No sound. Slow movement. I've hit pause on the world.
I've never heard of this being possible. Can I stop time?
No use prolonging this poor man's pain.
Off with his head.
As it rolls to the floor, the world speeds up. Normal speed again. Several alarms blare. Quick, Nova, shut the door.
I press a button. Door shut. Press another button; the ship is on lockdown. No one is getting in.
And if they do, I'll kill them.
Fiddle with more of the controls. Good. Autopilot. There's a whole button labeled "Death Star." I'm on course.
I barely realize how tired I am until I slump to the floor.
I can't wait to tell Anakin how I succeeded.
"You stopped time?"
"More like, uh, slowed it. Yeah."
"That's... incredible, Nova. You have great power. Maybe even greater than mine. Bringing your parents back will be easy."
"You... you think so?"
"Nova, you are legendary. You took out a starship. Within days, you'll be known all over the galaxy. You're the most powerful force user this galaxy has seen in a long time."
"I- Th-thank you, Anakin."
"It's no problem, Nova. I believe in you. May the Force be with you."
"May the Force be with you, too."
"You can wake up, Nova. You're close. Be ready. the Death STar is no joke, even mid-construction."
Anakin grins. "I'll see you soon, Nova."
"I... uh, yes. I'll see you soon, too."
It's almost time. Time for my final task. My final test.
I will pass. I will win Anakin's favor. I will bring them back.
I will be a legend. A hero. Like my father, who fought in the clone wars. A hero. A soldier. A legend.
I like the sound of that.
When the Death Star comes into view, it makes me wonder exactly what was in those rations I ate. this couldn't possibly be real. Even half-built, it's massive. I couldn't possibly search the whole thing for Anakin.
The Force will guide me.
I'm not sure if it's Anakin's voice in my head, or my own.
"Death STar to Avenging Star, your access code, please?"
Access codes. Bantha fodder. I totally forgot about those.
"Avenging Star to Death Star, this is Captain Nova. One of the lowers lost the access codes. Five hundred credits if you cover this up, just this once."
"Captain... Nova? Name doesn't ring a bell."
"I promise, sir, it's just this once. We're terribly sorry. A thousand credits."
I at least have that much from my last job. Wasn't enough to buy a ship, but apprently, I didn't need to use it. Now, I found a better use. Bribery.
"Alright, go ahead. Just this once. But it's being marked on your file just the same."
"Understood, sir. Thank you, sir."
Money and lies make a good pair. With enough credits, people will believe whatever you say, real or fiction. If you really want to sell a story, you gotta buy it.
Hood up, lightsaber hidden. Steal a blaster from Officer #1.
And a bit of hope. That's all I need. Next stop: Anakin.
The halls are shockingly empty. Every time I pass someone, all I have to do is whisper: "I'm not here."
And all is well.
The Empire attracts weak minds, bees to honey, flies to rotting food. The Rebellion has their share of weak minds, but at least they're weak minds that can think for themselves. They're free weak minds. The minds here are perfect for soldiers. Blind, obedient. Almost as if they were manufactured. Artifical soldiers.
Like clones, but up until 66, even the clones had minds. Personalities. My dad told me all about them. About how they had nicknames, how they tattooed their helments. They had individuality. Here, there is no individuality, other than the number of badges on your suit.
I can taste it. I'm close. Close to Anakin. Close to freedom. Close to family.
This room. It's the one. I can feel it, like a finger pressed into my skull, nails digging into soft flesh. In here.
I'm nervous, excited, scared, angry. I've come all this way. Killed many. Done much.
Now, it's all coming to fruition.
I will get my family back.
I open the door.
No. this can't be right.
"Hello, Nova," the machine says in a hissing voice. An eveil voice. A... metal voice. "Nice to finally meet you."
"No," I say. I try to leave, to escape, to run, but the door shuts with a malevolent hiss. "No. It can't be."
"Belive it," the Machine Man says. "You have great power, Nova. And you can bring your family back. All you have to do is... join me."
"No," I say. "You killed them."
"I freed you. Without that, you would never have listened to me. I needed you. You have immesuarble power. I could have... before I became this. Before I became this machine, I could have had your power. You... you can..."
"Do what you couldn't," I say. "I remember. I remember your words. But.. you're..."
"Evil? No, Nova. The Jedi are evil. They made me into this... this abomination. They took everything from me. With your help, we can bring their world to the ground. We can both get what we want. But I need your help. I need your help. I can't bring her back. this suit dampens my powers. But with you... I can bring her back. I can bring your parents back. I know you can. We can bring balance to the universe. All you have to do is take my hand."
In that moment, I don't see a machine. I don't see a black-gloved hand built with wires and gears. I see flesh and blood. Skin and bone. I see Anakin. I see my savior.
He can bring them back. I can bring them back. All I have to do is...
Take my hand.
Balance. Peace. Family. Safety. I can have it all. I can stop living in fear.
I take his hand.
Beneath the expressionless mask, I can almost see his grin.
"Welcome to the Empire, Nova."
"And you'll help me bring them back?"
"I wouldn't lie to you, Nova. When you're ready, yes. You can bring them back. We will do great things. We will be... unstoppable. A new legend. We'll rewrite the universe."
"Exactly. Now, come, Nova. We have work to do."
He turns, his black metal body shining and glinting like a sky full of stars.
Admiral Starr. Keisi Starr. The Avenging Star. The Death Star. Risa Starr, the old me. New me: Nova.
We are all stars.
And it's time to take our galaxy back.
Darth Vader looked at his new surroundings. One minute he was revealing his paternity to Luke, and now he found himself in a seemingly endless corridor made up of white walls, a white floor and a white ceiling. The Sith Lord sensed he was not alone, and he turned around and observed another Darth Vader that looked exactly like him!
"What is the meaning of this?" Darth Vader said in a menacing, demanding tone.
"I was training Starkiller, then wound up here!" The second Darth Vader shot back in a equally menacing tone.
A pixelated version of Darth Vader then appeared before the other two Vaders. He told them that he was discussing plans with General Mohc about The Dark Trooper Project before finding himself in their current location.
A Darth Vader that looked like a toy figure walked in, and he told the other Vaders about his adventures in a world controlled by a gamer, where Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man, Mr. Incredible, and other Disney owned characters hung out.
Just then a familiar Gungan appeared before the various Darth Vaders. He squealed with delight, then addressed them.
"Mesa so excited to meet yousa all! Hiya movie Vader and video game Vaders! Dis is great! Mesa happy I met dat scientist whosa made dis happen!"
The four Darth Vaders looked at each other, then nodded. They activated their crimson lightsabers, then walked towards the Gungan. They might not have a way back to their respective worlds, but their host annoyed them too much for them to care. The Gungan didn't have long to think about why a Vader-Verse was a bad idea....
Fury of the Accountant
A long time ago in a galaxy far,
FURY OF THE ACCOUNTANT
has struck back.
A newly built DEATH STAR
spells the imminent demise of the rebel alliance.
But in the quiet corners of the Empire, a villainous plot to
undermine the Emperor’s new super weapon has been discovered…
Two hundred miles above the largest moon of Endor, a grotesque shape rotated in the dark of space. It was not fully spherical as a good fifteen percent of the outer hull was still under construction and hundreds of internal levels had yet to be formed.
Aboard an imperial shuttle gliding toward the unfinished monstrosity, Chief Accountant-General Fiss Cal seethed through the shielded portal. Work on the second Death Star was supposed to have finished weeks ago, yet the space station was still months from completion. Before the day was out, someone would feel Cal’s ire.
Guided by tractor beams, the shuttle settled in the large landing bay. With a secured briefcase in hand, Cal impatiently rushed down the gangplank before it had fully opened. He leapt the last eighteen inches to the hard metal floor, startling a mouse droid which scurried away with a litany of high-pitched beeps.
A uniformed man stepped toward Cal.
‘Welcome, Chief Accoun-’ he managed before Cal cut him off.
‘Listen, Corporal,’ he said hurriedly, ‘there is a thief here somewhere and I will find them. I intend to use the full power of my authority to punish this vile scum as a lesson to all who would rob from the Empire. Now, take me to the Purser’s Office.’
The corporal blanched under Cal’s tirade. Without another word, he turned and led the Accountant-General from the landing deck and into the depths of the largest vessel ever built. Along the way they passed a formation of stormtroopers hurrying by to some unknown task, an off-duty Imperial Guard rooting in the folds of his red cloak for change for a vending machine, droids of every conceivable size and shape and construction workers grumbling about the cowboys who had been in before them. Finally delivering his charge to his requested destination, the corporal left to hunt down a stiff drink
Cal entered the room. A humanoid droid greeted him.
‘Good afternoon, sir. My name is I8BO, financial-and-filing clerical unit. I am fluent in thousands of book-keeping methods and can quote the duodecimal system to pi decimal places.’
‘But you’re programmable,’ Cal sneered, ‘which means you can be corrupted without even knowing it. Get me the biological purser.’
‘Certainly, sir,’ I8BO answered. If it had been offended by Cal’s comment, it hid it well. But then, metal faces were renowned for their lack of expression.
I8BO tottered to a doorway, paused as it opened with a hiss of air, then disappeared through the portal. Several moments later a thin Toydarian flew into the room, his blue wings flapping incessantly. Cal had never seen a Toydarian off-world of Tatooine, but respected the species’ business acumen and keen shrewdness with credits.
‘Ahh, you are the top-dog accountant, eh?’ the Toydarian asked.
‘Chief Accountant-General,’ Cal said. ‘And you are?’
‘Bleeto. I am the Purser of this bold undertaking. Every purchase order, every invoice, every chargeable service passes through me first. There is not a monetary transaction that takes place onboard that I do not know about. I take my orders directly from Lord Vader.’
Cal smiled, cruelly. The temperature in the room dropped.
‘And I answer only to The Emperor himself,’ he said.
Bleeto’s wings beat faster, the only sign that he had been affected by Cal’s words.
‘Vader? Emperor? We are on the same side, you and I, eh?’
‘Then perhaps you can tell me,’ Cal said through pursed lips, ‘why thousands of galactic credits are bleeding from this pitiful excuse for a space station?’
Eyes widening in shock, Bleeto replied, ‘Missing credits? Nothing is amiss in our ledgers. I look after everything judiciously, eh?’
Cal leaned forward, resting his hands on the counter between them. His eyes narrowed and his voice dropped, his words icy and loaded with menace.
‘Perhaps you know where these missing funds are because you balance the books.’
‘Accuse me of thievery, would you?’ Bleeto’s voice rose. He blinked several times, scratched his drooping snout, then continued in normal tones. ‘I would lodge a complaint but instead suggest we work together, eh? Together we find the culprit. And perhaps the reward?’
‘Yes,’ Cal smiled again, though no more warmly. ‘We will find this culprit. And when I have finished with them, my punishment will be so severe they will wish we had sent them to the spice mines of Kessel instead.’
Placing the case he’d been carrying on the counter, Cal opened it and retrieved a datacard.
‘This contains the money trail. A log of the many, many hours I have spent following credits pass from Empire accounts to shell corporations to false companies to Mandalorian banks. The thief is careful to cover their back, utilising every known form of transaction and always using a different route to siphon a great wealth, but every trail always leads from here to a company called Cisa.’
‘Cisa? I have not heard of this company. Did you investigate them?’
‘Of course,’ Cal snapped. ‘Their records are sealed, hidden behind reams of Imperial red tape.’
‘Imperial? Then it is a governmental body?’
‘Most Imperial offices are known by a three-letter abbreviation,’ Cal said, ‘so it is equally possible that this is a private account disguised as an official department or, far worse, a fake entity set up by a rebel sympathiser. If these missing credits are funding those rebel scum, I could deal a victorious blow by cutting off the source.’
‘End the war with no more blood spilled? That is a fine motive, because corpses do not spend credits. And how can I help achieve this goal, eh?’
‘Every transaction I have discovered,’ Cal replied, tapping the datacard, ‘begins from this station. The access code changes each time, but-’
‘As Purser, I have the log of requests for changes to the access codes. If we find out who has changed their access codes-’
‘I find the thief,’ Cal finished.
Bleeto drifted over to a bank of computers and flicked a switch. Above the counter, a hologram of the Death Star appeared. As the Toydarian worked furiously at the computer panel, the image split apart, zoomed in, rotated, shot to another section of the space station. To one side, an employee record appeared, instantly replaced by another. The records changed so quickly, Cal only saw a blur of faces. On the other side of the ghostly image of the Death Star, records of government departments were displayed.
Cal glared through the transparent images at Bleeto.
‘I already know where the stolen money ends up,’ he said. ‘Do not waste time on searching for clues there.’
‘But a second pair of eyes may help, eh?’
As he flew back to the counter, one of the three rapidly changing images stopped and a quiet beep signalled success. Above a written description which was too blurry to read, the targeted Imperial department was revealed in three glowing letters: C, S and A.
‘Cisa,’ Cal confirmed.
A second beep took their attention to the personnel records. The files had stopped, showing the person who had requested multiple changes to their access code.
‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ Bleeto said and quickly made his escape back through the portal he’d come from.
Behind Cal, the door to the corridor whooshed open. The hairs on his nape stood up at the sound that followed: a grating, machinery driven inhale-exhale of air. Turning from the dark mask of the holographic display, Cal’s eye fell upon the real thing.
‘I find your lack of faith disturbing,’ Darth Vader said over his menacing breathing.
Cal gulped, sweat beading on his upper lip. He had found the identity of the person sluicing credits from the Death Star’s construction and, at the same time, the thief had found him.
‘Why?’ Cal squeaked, his normal composure gone in the face of the Sith Lord. ‘You have no sympathy for the rebel scum, and you certainly don’t need the money.’
Vader stepped forward, silent but for the shudder-inducing inhale-exhale. He raised one gloved hand.
Cal felt his throat tighten but was not sure if it was from fear or the Force.
‘Two years ago, I revealed my true paternity,’ Vader said in his deep, resonating voice.
Cal nodded dumbly. There was nobody in the Empire who had not heard the rumour that Vader was the father of the Luke Skywalker, the hero of the Battle of Yavin. But what would that have to do with the missing credits?
‘Do not underestimate the power,’ Vader explained, ‘of the Child Support Agency.’
Becoming Darth Vader.
Anakin could barely open his eyes. For the past, however long it had been, he felt nothing but pain. The only sounds he could hear were mechanical. Drilling. Electrical. Then searing pain as some droid tended to his burns.
The gravelly sound of his master, Darth Sidious, spoke throughout. Mostly to himself. Claiming Anakin would continue his apprenticeship under a new name, 'Darth Vader'. He explained what had happened on Mustafar. How he was proud of him for fighting his former master, Obi-wan Kenobi. How it was right to fight the jedi--as it was his own former master, whom he once would have called brother, kept getting in the way of his growing power. Of him and Padme.
The droids pulled away and with it their high-pitched whirring and noises. It stung the skin around his eyes, but Anakin was finally able to manage opening his eyes. He was in a darkened room, on a medical table, sure enough surrounded by medical droids. From above a face shaped helmet began to descend.
Anakin tried to speak up to refuse the helmet, but only a groan escaped. It came down upon his face. His eyes adjusted to the eye holes, peering out with his new eyes. The rest of the helmet came down latching over the forehead and clasping in the back. Immediately breathing became easier. Other than the respitory aid, the suit he now doned was to say the least, uncomfortable.
Once the helmet latched, the medical table that he had been lying on began to rise. Anakin could feel Sidious in the room, watching, but it was only now that he was able to see him. The lenses that the helmet provided seemed to have infrared and ultraviolet capabilities according to different screens. His eyes moved rapidly, trying to adjust. He squeezed his eyes shut, despite the pain it caused him.
"Lord Vader, can you hear me?"
Anakin took a few calming breaths before opening his eyes, saying, "Yes Master."
"Where is Padme?" A few moments passed. "Is she safe? Is she all right?" His voice cracked. Her face flashed before his eyes to the moment right before his battle on Mustafar. He could feel her soft hands cradling his face. Concern written all over. This was Obi-wan's fault. He should have just left with her when he had the chance. He should have known Obi-wan's neverending loyalty in the 'force' would ultimately get in the way of Padme and him. He had known about them. And yet, never tried to help. His 'brother'. He needed to find Padme immediately--save her from the lies Obi-wan no doubt has poisoned her with.
Hesitantely, he replied, "it seems in your anger, that you killed her."
Anakin ground his teeth. "I, I couldnt have." Disbelief. Shock. Anger. No. "She was alive." His voice was soft, deadly. "I felt it."
The last shred of anything good, taken. He promised her. He promised he wouldn't let anything happen to her. Just like his mother. Now his beloved. He..promised.
Anger swelled from deep within. The room shook, metal ripped off the walls, medical tools shattering to the floor. A strangled wail escaped his lips. He clenched his mechanical fists and ripped off the bindings that kept him placed on the table. He took a giant step, newly mechanical limbs forgotten, he didn't even feel it, or any of the other pain, as his heartstrings literally tore from his chest.
He would have fallen to his knees, if his new armor allowed it. His lip wobbled. He pulled himself together, closing his eyes, and looked deep into the force, reaching out into the depths of space. He could feel trillions of life force, emotions rushing from each one, happy, sad, angry, regretful.
But it was the lack of Hope that he felt that shattered him. That was when he knew with certainty that what Darth Sidious said was true.
He gasped, clenched his teeth and fists, and yelled into the cosmos: "NO!"
He could feel, rather than see Darth Sidious' grotesque smile, but that did not matter. Nothing mattered anymore.