Preamble: The march of THE DARTH SIDE continues, taking us to the endgame of A NEW HOPE while Vader starts to unclench enough to share some of his dark secrets....
THE DARTH SIDE
by Cheeseburger Brown
PART I, Chapter 8 - Destiny's Designs
The Palamush of Teraitut are an order of elite mathematicians whose common goal is to reduce the essential mechanisms of the universe into a finite set of algorithms, which may be applied to a body of statistical data in order to see through time.
Like the Jedi, they do not reproduce. They neuter themselves and seek new citizens from abroad, testing candidates with a series of esoteric questions that are reported to be "trivial" and "unilluminating" in the standard circles of Imperial academia.
In the days of the Old Republic the study of Palamush math was made illegal by edict of the Jedi Council. While on the one hand the Jedi denied that mathematics and the Force were related fields, they declared that Palamush experimentation had spiralled out of control after Teraitut detonated a star at the centre of a neighbouring uninhabited system simply by expressing the event with Palamusian Mechanics in a small portable computer.
Teraitut's official stance was that their mathematics had come to so closely resemble the mechanisms of the universe itself that its equations tended to actualize in real spacetime. The Jedi Council accused the government of Sithism, and drove the movement underground.
Emperor Palpatine has chosen not to overturn that particular edict. It stands as a lone vestige of the Old Republic in Imperial Law.
Never the less, I have been fascinated with the Palamush since I first learned of them from Moff Nur. For a low man he always demonstrated remarkable insight when it came to matters of curiosity into the ways of the universe. Nur argued that the key to breaking the loop of cyclical history was for the galaxy itself to become a more sophisticated entity. To supersede the weather of the wheel, we must become it.
He once showed me his prized possession: a forbidden Palamush Computer, the contraband of contraband. "You understand I put my life in your hands even showing you this," he said. "But I know you have a mind that yearns, my friend."
"This secret is safe with me."
He turned it on, and told me to place my left hand on the flat receptacle. He then tapped a few keys and turned a small knob. The computer made a brief buzzing noise, followed by the ding of a bell. I waited patiently while Nur's eyes flickered over the readout. A moment passed, and then another. He continued reading.
"So?" I prompted.
"Interesting..." he whispered.
"What?" I said. "Can I move my hand now?"
"Oh? Yes, yes of course." He leaned back and furrowed his brow. "Do you know what I see when I put my own hand in there?" I shook my head. He continued, "The simulation is summed up in a single paragraph detailing the greatest consequence of my passage through this galaxy, which is apparently a re-orienting of the neutrino river that flows through the spoke in this arm of the galactic disc by a matter of a few parsecs." He chuckled. "In a universe without me, one star fails to coalesce in the Outer Rim, a billion years from now. I'm a fairly consequential man, statistically speaking."
He cleared his throat and licked his lips. "According to this simulation, without you, dear Vader, this galaxy will be plunged into a hundred thousand years of barbarism and chaos, followed by a slow rebuilding of history."
"So the prophecy is true..."
"And, for some reason I cannot fathom, you also seem to be responsible for a fair amount of activity in an altogether remote galaxy, millions of years from now. Your destiny is indeed far flung. I've never seen anything like it."
He came over and looked over his shoulder, but the readout was gibberish to me. "What else does it say?"
"This diagram represents a number of intersecting loops of biography -- it looks like you're going to kill your teacher."
"Sidious?" I exclaimed, incredulous.
"Did he cut off your legs?"
"No. That was...someone else."
"Well, you're going to kill whoever it was who cut off your legs. It looks like you've both saved one another lives numerous times, prior to that. Who is this man? You've never mentioned another teacher. Was he a Sith?"
I did not answer right away, and Nur sensed my reluctance. He pushed the gadget back into its alcove and walked back out to his lounge. "Let's have another drink," he suggested brightly.
"Obi-wan Kenobi," I said, following him and sitting down on the sofa.
"The Jedi Knight?" he seemed impressed. "I knew you knew the Jedi ways, but I had not realized you had actually been a member of their order." Something seemed to occur to him. "Do you mind if I ask, was His Excellency ever a member of the order?"
"He was not. But I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as Kenobi. I fought in the Clone Wars alongside him -- before he betrayed me, and betrayed the Republic."
Nur smiled to himself and drained his drink. "All these years we've been friends, Vader, and only now do I learn the name beneath your title." He reached out as if to shake my hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Ana --"
"That name no longer has any meaning for me!" I interrupted with sudden vitriol.
"I didn't mean to offend you," Nur said quickly, withdrawing his hand. "Please forgive me, my friend."
That was four years ago.
This afternoon I cut down Obi-wan Kenobi where he stood. We found each other in the corridors of this Death Star, and I met him with a lit blade. The duel was not long, for he was weak. Though he possessed an amazing strength in his wiry frame, he was slow and tired quickly. It was odd to see him that way -- thin, white-bearded, aged.
It was strangely unsatisfying to cut my old master in half. His body disappeared, which was also fairly weird. Most disquieting of all was the shining joy his spirit radiated just before the death stroke.
The Corellian freighter Millennium Falcon escaped, but not before we had attached triple redundant tracking systems. When I returned to the Death Star bridge Tarkin was happily watching a display describing the fleeing ship's trajectory. "The moment they exit hyperspace, we'll have them," he crooned.
I find myself in a reflective mood. I have retired to my quarters to speak these thoughts into my recorder in my hyperbaric chamber. Nur's computer knew that Obi-wan came here to die today -- did Obi-wan know? I think he did. I think I have played to his game, and I am uneasy.
Will my old master's spirit come to haunt me like the spirit of Qui-gon Jinn? I wish I could foresee the future as Darth Sidious does.
One day I will. I will be the most powerful Sith ever.