Preamble: THE DARTH SIDE, Darth catches a whiff of something in the clouds....
(Previously: PART I - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10; PART II - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7.)
THE DARTH SIDE
by Cheeseburger Brown
PART II, Chapter 8 - That's So Wizard!
The probe droids have detected an illegal settlement.
There is a bit of bounce in my step today, notwithstanding the fact that all the diodes down the left side of my leg seem finally to be functioning smoothly. I ate a full breakfast in my hyperbaric chamber while listening to really loud music (Qui'hut Xillermott's Sonata No.26) and then popped out to tour the bridge.
Admiral Ozzel rushed up to me, that officious little face of his trembling to contain a vulgar jubilation. "Lord Vader, we've found something!"
I followed Ozzel into the pit to survey the screen myself. In the Ison Corridor, by a bright star called Anoat, there circled a smaller star called Bespin circled in turn by a fat and many mooned gas giant. According to the probe droid a ring of habitable air lay nestled in the layers of the giant, and this ring was littered with scattered unchartered settlements.
"Pirates, drifters, dunces," I declared shortly. "Who cares where they cling? I sense nothing here."
"My Lord," interjected Captain Piett quietly, appearing at my elbow. "Consider this." He pointed out a larger settlement whose energy signs suggested industrial levels of activity. "The rebels could be re-building their fleet, after their losses at Yavin," he said.
Admiral Ozzol nodded primly. "Quite right, Captain."
I put my hands on my belt and surveyed the unblinking stars outside the array of viewsports. I reached out with the Force, and there it was: a node of connection, ever so faint, ever so distant. I nodded to myself and turned back to the officers.
"We shall move on Bespin," I declared.
The bridge crew rushed to their consoles to do my bidding. The stars outside drew out into lines and were swallowed by the swirling etherspace of travel. Inside my mask, nobody could see me smiling.
I clutched my hands behind my back and meditated.