Preamble: THE DARTH SIDE continues.
THE DARTH SIDE
by Cheeseburger Brown
PART II, Chapter 5 - Haste Makes Waste
Bloody interrogation. Imperial audience. More leg woes.
Did you ever have one of those days?
It can be challenging to maintain your dignity as a dark tyrannical overlord when the circuitry in your left leg constantly misfires, threatening to send you off on a mad pirouette without notice. It requires a serious effort of will to maintain my poise, the tendrils of my connection to the Force reaching deep into space to feel out my distant quarry and at the same time wrapped around the mechanisms of my own body to keep them working.
I am stretched too thin.
The traiterous dog Krelcon was captured early this morning and brought around to the Imperial palace after breakfast. I had poached eggs with ham, buttered crumpets and a glass of wetfruit juice.
During my interview with Krelcon he admitted to me that he had been involved in smuggling the stolen data tapes of the Death Star's technical readout to the Rebel Alliance. In order to produce similarly fruitful results I used the Force to crush all of the small bones in his hands. Krelcon became most chatty then, and we discussed likely locations of the hidden rebel base.
Things went badly after that point, however. I confess that Krelcon took me off guard when he mentioned the prophecy. Eyes burning in a mask of pulp and blood he screamed, "The son of the suns is nigh, knight-bastard! He is on your very threshold!"
I had meant to backhand him but my passions were aroused and my concentration faltered, and so instead I released control of my errant left leg and instantly found myself doing a frenzied, lop-sided jig that turned me in place.
Krelcon found the strength to laugh. Thus, with one powerful thrust of the Force I burst his skull.
Which was probably premature. But que sera, sera.
The upshot is that the subject of Krelcon dominated my audience with His Excellency the Galatic Emperor, deflecting from the knot of emotion I feel inside whenever I consider the matter of the rogue Han Solo being spotted at Ord Mantell, possibly in the company of my son.
My son! I wince to even think the word, for truly he is not my son but the son of a name I no longer acknowledge. A different man, a weaker man, an insubstantial shadow of the king I have become.
"You will return the fleet to the outer rim tomorrow," enunciated Emperor Palpatine crisply, leaning into his cane and watching me from beneath the hem of his black mantle. "You will soon have the clues you need to close in on our quarry."
"You believe the new probe droids will be effective, then, my master?"
"I am not concerned with droids," he replied. "Rather, I have foreseen these events. The strings of the Force grow taut, and soon we shall play a tune upon them, Lord Vader. It will be a dirge for the rebellion that will initiate the second age of this New Order."
Man, that guy loves the sound of his own voice! Luckily no one can see me roll my eyes behind this mask.
Emperor Palpatine lowered himself into his throne and lay his claw-like hands upon the wings ceremoniously. "Tell me," he commanded evenly. "Does something else trouble you, my servant?"
"No, my master."
His yellow eyes pierced me for a long moment. "Very well," he concluded. "You have your instructions. Report to me when the hidden base is found."
"Yes, my master."
He turned his throne to meditate on the endlessly roiling cityscape of Coruscant, the principal sun melting into the horizon in a haze of violet and gold. I took my leave, my left leg skittering randomly every few steps in my fluster.
The Crimson Guard pretended not to notice.