The Darker Side | Chapter 1 | Humble Beginnings
ENTRY NUMBER ONE
The Personal Chronicles of his Excellency Lord Palpatine, Emperor of the Galaxy.
Begun, ABY 3.
Before me rests the vastness of Imperial Center (Coruscant), the seat of Imperial might and naturally, the capital planet of the Galactic Empire and my home for the past several decades. My penthouse suite rests atop one of the city planet’s tallest skyscrapers at the Imperial Palace. The night sky before me blinks and twinkles with the running lights and engine flares of countless transports and starships that neatly fly in organized travel lanes between countless skyscrapers.
I am somewhat overwhelmed and perplexed as I write my first journal entry. I am far too busy a man to be concerned with documenting my memoirs, but alas, my perspective on my state of affairs has changed as of late. Over the past few days, I’ve come to realize that my thoughts on a particular matter are as many as the countless skyscrapers before me. Earlier, I stared at the blinking lights of a tow droid guiding a large transport to its docking platform. Oh, how I’ve always loved a desk with a view. Actually, I have enjoyed a desk with a view throughout my entire political career. I digress…
Yes, I am a politician, and an extremely clever one at that. I have no qualms admitting this truth to you. Some would say that I am scheming, powerful, and evil to the core. They would be right, but evil? No, this accusation is not true. I pray that none of this dissuades you from reading my musings and memoirs for there is so much that I wish to tell you…so much you need to know. But I fear I am getting ahead of myself. There are so many questions to be answered first, before I tell you my story. Who am I? Why am I writing this? What do I want this to say about my legacy of promoting peace in my day? Let me begin again.
Have patience, my friend. I will first answer these questions by stating why I have undertaken the task of writing my memoirs for you to read, enjoy, and ponder over.
This morning, heavy rain fell on Imperial Center. The overcast weather blotted out the warm sun and made the start of my day unpleasant. I am unsure as to whether or not my displeasure with the weather affected my morning meditations, for they were unusually…uncomfortable. You see, when I meditate, the Force’s dark energies penetrate my mind and body. They flow through me with grace and power. This is how I foresee my destiny and the destiny of the galaxy. My meditations have been (since the death of my master, Darth Plagueis) the guiding hand behind my masterminded plans for securing the galaxy—at first from the traitorous Jedi, and now from the Rebel Alliance. Yet, this morning, my meditations left me feeling perplexed.
Breakfast however, restored my good humor. I enjoyed a relaxed meal with my Inner Circle. You, dear citizen, will know them as the Imperial Ruling Council. They are a collective membership of the highest level of Imperial bureaucrats for the Empire. They include my Grand Vizier Mas Amedda (who was formerly the Vice Chancellor of the Republic), Sate Pestage, Janus Greejatus, Ars Dangor, Kren Blista-Vanee, and Verge. Knowing their names is not important.
Although I am the galaxy’s sovereign dictator, I do not necessarily manage the day-to-day operations of the galaxy because, well, I get it. The Galactic Empire is huge, a huge responsibility, and hugely necessary. Thus, I rely on the ministers (or councilors, if you will) of the Inner Circle to manage the day-to-day operational decisions of the galaxy. I maintain complete control over them and make sure that their work is convoluted with a dog-eat-dog hierarchy. This forces them to aggressively strive at winning my favor and not at undermining my rule.
The rumors about them are of course true. These elite councilors have all been chosen by me. I have empowered them to the greatest extent possible within their respective disciplines. Sycophants though they may be, they provide me endless delight as they regale me with tales of tomfoolery in their respective Offices. (Do not confuse this with a tolerance for failure. Everyone knows that I have no tolerance for failure. The only person in the galaxy with a smaller threshold for failure is my Apprentice, Darth Vader.) I am also greatly amused by the continual backstabbing and posturing they do to get my attention.
I admit, it took a while to get used to having these suck-ups around. But the idea struck me: they can see my greatness. They can see the power I wield and the power I will wield, and they can see their place at my side. Who am I to argue with that? None of them have the temerity to overthrow me, so I see no reason to stamp out their petty antics.
While they are privy to many details concerning the governance of the Empire along with all of the Moffs, generals, and admirals, they are not privy to military intelligence or my ultimate plans. I make these closely guarded secrets known only to those I trust—and that list is small because I am no fool. This Empire is founded in treachery and cannot be run through trust. The first and most important rule is that no one is your friend. Not even me. Every single member of the Imperial Ruling Council owes his position to me alone. It was I who allowed them to gain status and power. But I digress…
Toward the end of breakfast, a Royal Guardsman informed me that an urgent message required my attention. The holographic message was clear: my spies aboard the Super Star Destroyer Executor (one of our largest and prized Imperial warships) discovered a secret journal belonging to none other than Darth Vader, my Apprentice. While I generally do not care about the personal diaries of my subordinates—which is pretty much everyone in the galaxy except for the loathsome Rebels—I admit to feeling insulted by Lord Vader’s petulance. It has left me sour and unamused.
His diary betrays him. It is evident to me now that with each passing day Lord Vader loses respect for me. That hurts. Without me he would not be the fearsome enforcer he is today. I sense his ambitions are growing—even if he dutifully fulfills my commands. I also sense his mind is clouded with distraction and that his thoughts are not clear on the matters of absolute galactic rule. I will meditate on this after dinner.
What infuriates me about his diary is the unmasking of his true feelings. He actually has the gall to write that I love the sound of my own voice and that I pontificate too much. The nerve of him! Surely he must understand that in order to rule successfully one must be a master orator who seizes the stage when the opportunity presents itself. It’s taken years of patient manipulation and practice to achieve what I have done in the name of galactic peace. This is no time to let resentment interfere with our important work.
Fine, I admit it, I do love the sound of my voice, but only because the sweeping statements I make are of critical importance to the continued solvency of the Galactic Order I have built. Vader must remember that his place is at my side and not in scheming plans of his own design. But I sense something else is troubling him. I will call him later and probe his thoughts with my mind while we speak.
I fear I must stop writing for I am becoming vexed, and I am likely to destroy this in frustration. I will continue tomorrow.
ENTRY NUMBER TWO
It’s raining again. Coruscant becomes so dismal when it rains. The weather-engineering technicians claim that a week of rain restores the planet’s ecosystem and cleans the dusty skyscrapers, but it gets old quickly. Yet I can’t complain—at least I don’t live on the rain-forsaken world of Kamino! How depressing!
My meditations this morning once again produced an uneasy feeling. I am disturbed once more, and the reason eludes me. I am not a fan of the Force when it decides to play with me.
Anyway, I wish to continue introducing myself and tell you who your grand Emperor is and what he stands for.
My name is Sheev Palpatine. (I hate Sheev and have refused to use it since I was seventeen, but I’ll get to that soon.) I am the first Emperor of the Galactic Empire. Long before that title came to pass (by my own design, I might add), please know that I am the first-born son of the aristocrat and patriarch Cosinga Palpatine. My younger siblings and I grew up in our ancestral family home, Convergence, located on Naboo in the beautiful Lake Country. Through our aristocratic life, I became interested in politics, but I was always a bit different from my siblings. In fact, so different was I from my father, much to his chagrin, that he had me tested to make sure that our DNA was in fact, a biological match. I was too young to remember this, but I learned of it later. How insulting!
My, my, how long ago that seems. Naboo has always been close to my heart throughout my political career, most of which I actually served on Coruscant for the tedious political proceedings. I should visit Naboo soon…it has been a very long time since I have been home.
As I matured and became cognizant of the minimalist political role my family played in the governance of Naboo, I yearned for my family to take a more active role in the political sphere. I wanted us to increase our wealth and power, and I desired to see Naboo transition into a notable world of the modern day galaxy.
Unfortunately, I was alone in this. My father arrogantly believed that he had acquired all the power there was to be gained. How short-sighted of him! But I knew the truth of his heart. Twice we attended coronations in the capitol city of Theed, and twice I saw my father’s face twist with envy at the realized power he could not attain. This weakness in my family embarrassed me. I could not, and still do not, understand why he wouldn’t want to attain unlimited power. During my teenage years, I grew to resent him bitterly—with more hatred than the usual teenage angst I feel (in hindsight) young people have. He treated me poorly and I wanted nothing more than to kill him, but I hesitated and hid my desire until the right time. As an act of teenage rebellion (not without occasional violence), I stopped using my given name of Sheev and chose to be referred to as Palpatine. Although this displeased my father greatly, I enjoyed it immensely.
My academic instructors told my parents that I was too ambitious for my own good, and that I possessed a superior intellect that became easily bored. Even though my parents sent me to some of the most prestigious and exclusive academies in the galaxy, I never stayed in one place for long. A growing list of offenses—generally minor—were enough to expel me. Naturally, my family’s status as aristocracy kept me from enduring imprisonment. I suppose I should be grateful to my father, who on several occasions bailed me out and kept my civil records clean. But what father wouldn’t want to do that for his children if he had the means? He was only doing his duty, and I need to remember that. What my father failed to realized is the message he inadvertently taught me: money and power can solve anything.
It was in my youth that I became interested—or obsessed, my father believed—with anything related to the Sith. In case you aren’t aware (which I suspect you are not since it was forbidden by the narrow-minded Jedi) the Sith Order is an elite sect of Force users who embrace a wider, passioned-fueled perspective of the Force. The core of Sith teaching rests on the potency of conflict that challenges both individuals and civilizations to grow and evolve. Without this driving belief, we would stagnate and die, as the Jedi have.
You must understand: the Jedi had managed to create and enforce (throughout the galaxy) an absolute ban on anything and everything related to the Sith. I had dismissed this notion as a silly and unnecessary impediment to my acquisition of true knowledge. And so, I sought to explore the forbidden legends for myself and make up my own mind, as I did with everything, from practicalities to philosophy to ethics. It had become clear to me that among my peers throughout my formative years that I had grown into a natural born leader who was better and faster at everything. Therefore, I decided that the normal rules and theories of society that kept the populous in line did not apply to me. My research into the Sith proved my assumptions right. You see, the Sith believe morality is an obstacle one must overcome in order to recognize and seize opportunities for advancement and self-empowerment. This is the way it has been and it is how it always will be.
I secretly used my family’s ridiculous wealth on the black market and discreetly collected as many inscrutable runes and ancient texts as possible. Each tome presented amazing secrets—pieces to a larger puzzle—that I immediately understood offered me the key to realizing my true ambition: the acquisition of absolute power. All I needed was the right opportunity.
My studies at Theed University and the Legislative Youth Program proved to be simultaneously interesting and boring. Most of the political coursework was mandated by Naboo’s public service curricula. Thankfully, my aristocratic family name provided me with key contacts from other noble families and with government officials. I manipulated convinced these friends that I would make an excellent politician for Naboo. I also continued my secret studies of the Sith. As I collected more Sith artifacts, I yearned to unlock their power. I remember thinking, if only I could meet a Sith Lord someday—think of all the good we could do for the galaxy! Thus was my mind’s preoccupation as I matured into adulthood.
At the same time, (I was about seventeen years old here) my father and many of the conservative houses lobbied to keep Naboo off the galactic maps in order to avoid corporate entanglements. I thought this was silly so I secretly released compromising information that stunted and undermined the conservative party. Naboo needed to be a part of the galactic ecosystem. Why couldn’t my father see that?
That’s when I popped on to the radar of one of the galaxy’s most powerful and influential financiers and political lobbyists: a Muun Magister named Hego Damask. Damask entranced my young mind with his sharp intelligence, keen perspective, and no-nonsense pragmatism. He tracked me down through an apparent misappropriation of funds and traveled to Naboo to find me. I was in the Youth Program’s headquarters when he arrived. I was suspicious at first of his intent, but I agreed to give him a tour of the campus. We talked, and I’m glad we did. He offered to make me a spy for his bank, Damask Holdings, and I accepted. He promised to assist me in my efforts to overthrow my father and the conservative party. I agreed, on the condition that I would report solely to him. As an added bonus, Hego was also curious in the ways of the Sith, a conversation we could have maintained well into the night. Little did I know…
And now, I sense that I must attend to some business before retiring for the evening. This journaling has become entertaining and enjoyable for me as it allows me to reflect upon the important moments from my life. I will continue tomorrow.
FOR THE GREATER GOOD
I decided to start naming my journal entries since numbered entries will become too boring, at least for me. (And, as you will see, there can be only Two. (You’ll laugh at this later, I promise!))
Sometimes the incompetence of those around me frustrates me to no end. I can see why Vader reaches out and chokes the incompetent from his presence. Perhaps I should do that more often. Still, there’s nothing like a little light show. Now, where did I leave off last night…?
Ah yes, my father and Hego. You can imagine, dear citizen, that when my father discovered my treachery, he was not pleased. He tried to reason with me but we had become too estranged. I refused to back down and accept the weaker position that kept Naboo isolated from the rest of the galaxy. It was time for my planet to grow up.
Desperate to maintain the status quo, my father reached out and threatened Hego. I became so enraged at my father that I didn’t know what to do. I only knew that I no longer wished to be his son. I sought out Hego for advice.
Now that I think about it, what ultimately drew me to Hego was our shared interest in the knowledge of the Sith. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was Hego who encouraged my fear and hatred for my family and suggested that I do whatever must be done to emancipate myself from Cosinga’s control. And so I did.
In response to my impending emancipation, my father, with my family in tow, tried to relocate me to a different planet to finish out the Legislative Youth Program. Well, I simply lost it. I don’t know how I did it, but I drew from the power of the Dark Side and slaughtered my entire family and their guards. It felt so good to be free, finally. Hego worked to cover it up and arranged for a special meeting between us. That, dear citizen, is when Hego Damask revealed himself to be a Dark Lord of the Sith named Darth Plagueis. I still remember the awe that accompanied the realization that there, in front of me, stood a living and breathing Sith Lord.
He invited me to begin the process of becoming a Sith Lord and I eagerly accepted. In fact, I surprised myself with my quick response. On that day, I became known as Darth Sidious. I had become the Sith Apprentice to the Sith Master. My induction and training were exceedingly difficult. Plagueis knew that I would have to purge Sheev Palpatine from my being—except that of the perfect politician I would masquerade as to advance the cause of the Sith.
To do this, he would have to break me as an individual and then rebuild me into the image of a Sith Lord. He channeled my anger, hate, and lust for power and wiped out the nobleman my deceased family had struggled to raise. My training consisted of growing my knowledge of the Force, combat skills, and the honing of my natural eloquence and political acumen.
During my training, I learned of the Sith Rule of Two (get it now?). Darth Bane established this years before, and I was initially appalled by it as my Master had been. The Rule of Two, as Darth Bane promulgated, simply states that with regard to the total number of Sith Lords, two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it. Thus, there would only be a Master and an Apprentice, and when the Apprentice grew powerful enough in the knowledge of the Dark Side, he would slay the Master in order to pick up the mantle of Sith Master. But Plagueis intended not to die by my hand. Rather, he attempted to seduce me with thoughts of a grander plan for the Sith. Plagueis believed we could be free of the Rule of Two.
In breaking this cycle, Plagueis implored me to keep no secrets from him, and he promised to do the same. This would, he believed, eliminate feelings of jealousy or mistrust between us because he did not see the mature Sith Master in competition with, but in collaboration with his Apprentice. Though he would remain the Sith Master, I would be the public master who would carry out the Sith’s agenda in the political arena. He would remain the “power behind the throne,” guiding our actions to their glorious destiny.
And for a time, this is exactly how it worked out. For years I lived a double life, masquerading as an untarnished politician that served as Naboo’s ambassador in the Galactic Senate. My, my, that seems so long ago.
During the blockade of Naboo by the Trade Federation, I was elected as Supreme Chancellor, and then a few years later, given emergency powers to prevent civil war. From there, after a failed attempt on my life, I initiated the first Galactic Empire. But I’ll get back to that…I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Plagueis continued to teach me and we worked well together. Yet, as time passed, I discovered that he was hiding much knowledge from me. I resented him for this. I decided the Rule of Two was the core of the Sith and could not be broken, no matter how well-intentioned a Master could be. My heart filled with hatred at Plagueis’ treachery and I looked for an opportunity to fulfill the Rule of Two—but only when I was sure I had learned everything I could from my Master. The immense power of the Dark Side allowed me to maintain a triple masquerade; Palpatine the Senator, Sidious the dutiful Apprentice, and Sidious the aspiring master-of-all. I remained careful and kept my mind open to—yet guarded from—my master. All the while he thought I would support him in his desire to eliminate the Rule of Two and rule the galaxy from behind-the-scenes. How mistaken he was, for I had a grander plan: I would be the one to break the Rule of Two and rule the galaxy. I would not be anyone’s puppet, and no Sith Apprentice would ever take my life.
I should point out, since he will be mentioned shortly, that during my apprenticeship to Plagueis, I was given an infant Zabrak from Dathomir. I agreed to take him on with a host of support from nanny droids. It amused Plagueis to allow me to raise and brutally train him in the ways of the Dark Side to become a Sith Assassin. I bestowed upon him the name Darth Maul when he completed his training and successfully passed his trials. My command of the Dark Side had grown strong enough to keep a cloud of obfuscation upon both of them, not dissimilar to the one Plagueis cast on me. However, there can be only two Sith…when Maul was ready to become a Sith Lord, either he or Plagueis had to die.
No matter. It was I who restored the Sith to glory and destroyed the Jedi Order. It was I who slowly deceived, no, manipulated, no, managed the political system of the Galactic Republic and engineered the various crises that granted me emergency powers and eventually complete rule over the galaxy through fear and tyranny for the purpose of the greater good: to ensure safety and security throughout the galaxy. Plagueis only deceived himself with his grand thoughts of whatever nonsense he had become obsessed with. He should not have kept things from me. He was not a man of integrity, not like I am.
I sincerely hope that I have not provided too much backstory to cloud your mind. It is better for you, I feel, to understand the nature of my genius and power in order to appreciate the strategy and decisions I employed to bring you, citizen of the galaxy, lasting peace.
I AM NOT AMUSED
It is raining yet again today, and I am not happy with the weather technicians. I summoned one and asked about the dreary weather. Since his answer displeased me, he will not be going home to supper.
My meditations are increasingly disturbed by an elusiveness I cannot identify. This morning I foresaw a young man standing before me in black clothing. I was seated on my meditation throne in my Imperial suite aboard the (under construction) Death Star II. It was simply magnificent. Vader was with us, and I was tormenting the boy. He wasn’t dressed like a Jedi, but I could sense he had knowledge of the Force. I cannot avoid the feeling that this young man is somehow connected to Lord Vader, but I am uncertain as to how or why. I am certain, however, that he is not Galen Marek—also known as Starkiller—or one of those cloned abominations.
Marek was the son of two Jedi who abandoned the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. After Vader hunted down and executed his father, Vader sensed the Force surging through the boy and he adopted Marek. Then he began to train him in the ways of the Sith Order, defying the Rule of Two. Like me with Darth Maul, Vader attempted to raise his own Sith Apprentice in secret. My spies discovered Vader’s treachery and I found myself strangely pleased. Imitation, after all, is the highest form of flattery.
As it turned out, Starkiller was an excellent Jedi assassin. But once I learned that Vader intended to eliminate me with Starkiller at his side and seize control of the galaxy for himself, I was not amused. He had forgotten his place as my Apprentice and betrayed me. I rendezvoused with Vader on board the unfinished Executor to see this Starkiller boy (now about twenty years old) for myself.
When I stepped on to the bridge, the coldness of the unfinished metal structure struck me. An empty starship is strange without her crew. The sound of Darth Vader’s artificial breathing apparatus greeted me. Years ago, when I scrambled with the medical droids to design Vader’s mask, I decided that it should both be functional and impressive. Although I designed it to intimidate others, I felt soothed by the sound of its rhythmic breathing.
The Force raged through Starkiller, but he was no match for the true power of the Dark Side. He had promise, but there could only be two. Vader caught the boy off-guard and pierced him with his lightsaber. The boy collapsed and I chastised Vader, insisting that he strike down his faux-Apprentice and demonstrate his loyalty to me, which he did. I got a good laugh as he tossed Starkiller around the bridge then defenestrated him into space. I left without a word. Since that time, my spies have paid closer attention to Vader’s every move.
That’s how I became aware of Vader’s secret journal—The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster—of which I have been reading with great interest. He is cunning and smart—he has not written down any of his plans thus far in his journal. No matter, my spies will inform me of any errant actions.
In his work to cleanse the galaxy of the accursed Jedi blight, he has mastered tactical strategy. It should be of no surprise to me that he had been thinking about ruling the galaxy without me: he planned to replace me.
A moment about Darth Vader. Lord Vader is the most powerful Jedi I have ever worked with. Vader is the crown jewel of the Sith and my greatest accomplishment next to the acquisition of galactic power. Or was it the extermination of the murderous Jedi…it’s difficult to decide which is my most exceptional achievement. With regard to strategy and tactics, I am the strategist, Vader is my tactician and enforcer.
But we must face facts, dear citizen. Your brave Lord Vader wasn’t always the fearsome Dark Lord of the Sith you have come to know him as. He was once a whiny brat named Anakin Skywalker. I fear his lack of clarity will cause him to become needy and obsessed with this mysterious boy or man in my vision. I believe Vader’s occasional lack of clarity stems from the fact that Lord Vader is one of the few Sith Lords who did not undergo an intense period of training and identity purging.
Usually, to become a Sith Lord, one must purge him or herself of their former identity and embrace—unapologetically and completely—their new Dark nature in the Sith. All Sith training is designed to craft the initiate into a powerful weapon for the Dark Side of the Force. While each Sith Master employed Apprentice-specific methods, the core training remained pure. Sith possess much higher standards than Jedi, and as such, we experience a more rigorous process designed to weed out the weak. Unfortunately, this weeding out often resulted in death, but this was not for loss. This served to ensure that only the strong could earn the mantle of Sith Lord.
As you know, my training under my former master Darth Plagueis was partially grueling, and I made sure to train Darth Maul with the same vehement dedication. Quite simply, the more an Apprentice is challenged, the more he or she learns to draw upon their rage and use the Force as a weapon and tool to achieve their personal goals. In addition, Masters carefully ensured that their Sith Apprentice understood his/her role and place: to serve the Master.
Unlike others, Anakin pledged his service to me after realizing the gravity of his actions against the Jedi Order. You see, when the Jedi Master Mace Windu planned to murder me in cold blood, Anakin defended me (and allowed me to defend myself against Master Windu) inadvertently liberating himself from the Jedi Order. Anakin made this choice in his quest to serve me and save his wife (who, in a vision he had, would die in childbirth—I know, right? Scandal! A married Jedi, and an expectant father, too!). He embraced his suffering, hatred, and his desire to save her by turning to the Dark Side when I invited him to join me. I promised him that together we would discover the knowledge Darth Plagueis kept from me—the ability to keep people from dying by manipulating the very midi-chlorians in their cells.
To be brief, he was not properly purged of his past life or love through vigorous Sith training. This is something I have had to monitor carefully through the years and have always kept in check. Thankfully, Vader’s emotions are easily sensed and manipulated. I have learned how to keep the beast within under my control.
This evening, after dinner out, I attended a wonderful performance at the Galaxies Opera House in the Uscru District with my Inner Circle and a few of the regional governors from the Core Worlds. The owner, Romeo Treblanc, takes such good care of me and always has my private box ready for my use. Tonight’s theatrical spectacular was an acclaimed revision of an acrobatic performance from the opera Squid Lake by a troupe of Mon Calamari. It was delightful, and I could not help but reflect upon the first time I saw this water opera, back in the days just after I was named Supreme Chancellor. This was when I brought young Anakin one step closer to the Dark Side, when I told him about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Alas, I fear I am getting ahead of myself again. I promise that I will circle back at some point and describe the significance of this event in greater detail.
Just before the opera began, Lord Vader messaged me. The Imperial Death Squadron, a task force of the Imperial Navy under the command of Lord Vader, sub-commanded by Admiral Ozzel, received notification from a new Geonosian hunter-scanner probe droids we dispatched to hunt down the Rebellion. One of them had located a large power generator that proved interesting to Vader, and he ordered his fleet to the Hoth system. If you are not familiar with that system, it’s because Hoth is located in a rarely traveled portion of the Outer Rim Territories in the insignificant Anoat sector. As the sixth planet, its distant orbit creates a miserable world of ice and snow. It’s not the sort of planet one chooses for a vacation…so I doubt you’ve been there.
These new probe droids proved a sound military investment. They have uncovered small rebel cells here and there, and let’s not forget about the numerous illegal trade operations they have uncovered. The illegal operations drive up your tax dollars, so it is imperative that the Imperial Military efficiently and decisively stamped them out.
I, along with Lord Vader, hope to capture the man who destroyed the Death Star with a rather fortunate shot from his X-Wing fighter. Surprisingly, Vader became obsessed with finding the pilot who had fired the decisive proton torpedo and insisted upon using Death Squadron in his search. I was more concerned with any political fallout that would undermine the galactic security I toiled to achieve. You see, after the battle and the dissolution of the Imperial Senate, thousands of star systems openly joined the Rebel Alliance in the months following the Death Star’s destruction. Out of necessity for galactic peace, the Empire had to begin occupying systems that we had otherwise ignored. This has not been an easy pacification process. Once again, the galaxy finds itself on the brink of civil war and I will stop at nothing this time to restore peace throughout the galaxy.
This mystery pilot, allied with the Rebel Alliance, will pay for the grand act of terrorism s/he committed. (After all, a rather large sum of taxpayer money was lost that day.) I can guarantee you, dear citizen, that we have been relentless in pursuing the terrorists, so rest assured, you will see justice and peace once again. Know that my heart burns with rage for the countless and innocent lives that were lost that day, including the Empire’s greatest and most brilliant military strategist, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
Tarkin and I go way back. Early in my senatorial career, I helped him secure a place in the Republic’s Judicial Academy. He was already an accomplished military man and I sensed he had great acumen for politics because he embodied charismatic discipline and a pragmatism that rivaled my own. Had he been a Force-sensitive being, he would have made an excellent Apprentice. But since he did not crave ultimate power, but instead military victory and justice, I nurtured his career through political and military achievements.
I feel that I must circle back through events of the past in order to help you better understand where I am going and what has been done to secure your safety. I will ponder this.
My evening meditations proved interesting once again. The Force is trying to tell me something, so I remain open to its potent knowledge. I sense a new connection between that young man and Hoth. I cannot help but wonder if he is the pilot we seek. It will not be long before I understand this mystery and the purpose of this illusive man whom the Force insists on showing me.
One thing is delightfully clear to me. In these visions, I have foreseen the end of the Rebellion. I am inspired to set into motion a chain of events that will lure the Rebels out of hiding in one, fantastic assault. But I will have the upper hand, dear citizen, and the Galactic Empire will be victorious against these terrorists who threaten the safety and security of our benevolent society.
VICTORY AND LOSS
Finally! The sun shines brightly over Imperial Center this morning. Thank the Force, I could not deal with another day of rain. I’m sure the weather technicians got the memo when their commander didn’t return…alive. As the clouds in the sky parted above the Seat of Power, the morning sun shone through my windows and my mind accepted the clarity of the Force that came with the sun. I sat on the veranda and meditated in the warm sun and breathed in the clean air. (You wouldn’t believe the amount of purification technology Imperial Center requires to keep the city-planet’s air clean and toxin-free. Smog can be a real problem.)
The Force pulsated around me as I probed it with my mind. I am now vexed because there is a great disturbance in the Force. I struggled with it for some time until I sensed the presence of the rebel pilot on Hoth. The Force is strong with him. I now believe the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star is a new enemy. I also—surprise, surprise—have no doubt this boy is the offspring of a younger Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) I saw his face and identity clearly, and I now understand how he is connected to us.
Strange though, I thought that Lord Vader had killed Padme (his wife at the time) on Mustafar, but apparently she survived long enough to give birth to a son. (Since I attended her funeral on Naboo and saw her cremated on the funeral pyre, I can confirm that she died.) I had assumed that the child had died with her. Clearly I was deceived. Obi Wan Kenobi must have rescued her after leaving Vader for dead near a river of lava. I had barely arrived in time to rescue him. His anger and the Dark Side had kept him alive long enough for me to find him. (I’ll come back to this, I promise.)
This all makes sense to me now…Obi Wan was part of the Rebel Alliance before it even started, when the Galactic Empire was first created. I knew those Jedi would turn on the Republic. I was right all along.
And now, I am terribly upset because I sense how strong the Force is with this boy. If he is allowed to become a Jedi…no, the son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi. I am frustrated and unsure as to how I should proceed with this revelation.
In other news, the attack on Hoth went fairly well. Admiral Piett, one of my special agents, reported that Hoth hosted a secret and substantial rebel base. When I asked where Admiral Ozzel was, Piett told me that Vader had killed him for miscalculating their arrival time at Hoth and then field-promoted Piett to Admiral. Something about a surprise gone wrong, and a rather powerful energy shield that required the expense of AT-AT walkers and a massive ground assault instead of the usual orbital bombardment tactics that Imperial Star Destroyers are infamous for carrying out.
Note to self: I must remember to tell Vader not to kill Moff JerJerrod and some of the other military leaders. They are critical to our success. I told Piett to have Vader contact me. They are moving the Executor out of an asteroid field so that we may have a clear signal. (Not really sure what they’re doing in an asteroid field. Everyone knows the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are…well, it’s just suicide.)
Ah, be right back. Vader is calling me now. Perfect timing.
Perplexing chat with Vader. Although he admitted to sensing a disturbance in the Force, he held back. When I told him that his son, Luke Skywalker, was alive and that he had more-than-certain potential to be our greatest threat, Vader shrugged it off. But my perceptions through the Force indicate otherwise. My instincts (and my gentle mind probe) told me that his feelings on the matter were not clear. They were scattered and confused. Unfortunately, Vader has become adept at masking his true feelings from me, and I believe he was attempting to deceive me.
I held him accountable when I pointedly suggested that he search his feelings for truth. Vader reminded me that Obi-Wan could no longer help the boy. What the hell did that have to do with anything? Vader himself told me that he had killed Obi Wan on the…
Now it makes much more sense to me. When Obi Wan met Vader on the Death Star, it was because the Death Star had captured a particular Corellian freighter that blasted its way out of Mos Eisley and dropped out of hyperspace near where Alderaan used to exist. Luke must have been with Obi Wan and the mercenary pilot on the Death Star when they rescued the traitorous Princess Leia Organa.
The plot thickens!
Now, hiding in the asteroid field, that same freighter eludes the Imperial Might that hunts them down…which means Organa is with them, and possibly Luke. It is a good thing then, that Vader has relentlessly pursued the rebels up to this point. He will need to be more vigilant in his pursuit of all the escaped rebels, but now I fear his son will only be an unwelcome distraction.
However, that being said, Vader offered an interesting course of action. When I stated that Luke must not become a Jedi, Vader simply suggested, “If he could be turned, he will become a powerful ally.” Lord Vader unknowingly confirmed the importance of Luke within my Grand Plan, a plan that now includes the son of Skywalker at my side.
I’m not sure if Vader fully understands the implications of his statements. With the Sith’s Rule of Two, he must know that his idea seals his fate, for the son of Skywalker would replace his father at my side. Surely Vader would not have the arrogance to imagine a galaxy ruled by father and son.
Intrigued—and having recalled my visions of the boy, his father, and myself on the new Death Star—I agreed to let this course of action unfold. But just to clarify Lord Vader’s thoughts, more for himself than me, I asked him if it were truly possible to turn his son to the Dark Side. Vader responded simply, “He will join us or die, Master.” I sensed the conviction in his thoughts and closed the holocomm channel.
I have decided to begin clouding Vader’s Force connection to me—essentially clouding his mind to mine. I’m sure he won’t notice it right away, but the minute he found out that he has a son I sensed the lack of clarity in his feelings. This set me at unease with Vader, especially given the mess of Starkiller and his feeble attempt to overthrow me once. I suspect Vader has a hunch about my other plans for the Sith. And cloning. I have greater plans in the works and I will not have them spoiled by his petulance.
Also, let’s remember the first Death Star. What a magnificent instrument of pacification. But somehow the secret got out. I’m not suggesting Vader leaked it—and I truly believe he did not—but if anyone discovered the true status of the Empire’s military might today, they could sabotage my plans to crush the Rebellion once and for all. I will not share all of my secrets and designs with you, for I fear that Rebel spies may discover this journal and learn my immediate plans.
I feel as though we are at a point in my journal when I need to take a step back and document the actions of the past several decades so that you, dear citizen, may understand more clearly the work that has been done to bring you to the secure and comfortable life you now enjoy. So, to understand this better, we need to step back about thirty-six years into the past, to the time when I first met Lord Vader. This will help you understand our relationship and connection better. Back then, I was a Senator for Naboo. He was a nine-year-old slave on Tatooine using his given name of Anakin Skywalker.
I desire to strike a balance between simply re-telling the events that happened and re-living the event as they happened. Therefore, I will do my best write everything in the present or immediate past tense, re-living each key moment for you as it happened in my memory. I feel it will be more engaging for you this way as opposed to me writing about things that happened in the past. I sense you will appreciate this because it will grant you a greater insight to my plans, and you know that I am right. Please also know that I acknowledge hindsight is 20/20. I will do my best not to let my success interfere with an objective representation of the past.
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