Polar Beings

By Paul Neu

Scifi / Adventure

Prologue

Emperor Palpatine entered his personal chamber aboard Darth Vader's newest flagship, The Apparition. The room, complete with a meditation chamber, remote view-port and personal com station, had been included to fill the Sith Lord's personal needs. Scanning the room, he turned to his personal assistants and nodded. With a bow, they exited, leaving him alone save for two Royal Guards flanking the door.

Approaching the com station, the summoning switch activated as if on its own. An image of Admiral Saxton flickered on.

"Yes my Lord," he said with a respectful bow.

"Instruct Lord Vader he is needed in my chamber," he commanded.

"Right away my Lord," Saxton said with another bow before flickering out.

The Emperor retreated to a throne of elegant design by the view-port. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply. Slithering tentacles of dark energy stretched forth, exploring the chamber and the rooms beyond, until he had probed every corner of the massive ship. Satisfied there was no danger of sabotage during their journey, he let his thoughts drift elsewhere.

He could sense the disturbance a moment before it occurred. Opening his eyes, he grimaced, not from pain, but from annoyance. Someone or something, not for the first time, was intruding his conscience mind; or to be more precise, they were taking control of his basic functions. He twitched as he struggled to shrug off the parasitic being, but to no avail; he was unable to free himself from this intruder's influence.

Lord Sidious sat helplessly as his head forcibly turned, his eyes scanning the room of their own free will. He had become a spectator in his own body. Were it not for his strong connection with the Force, which enabled him to project his mind elsewhere, he felt he would go mad.

It took a being strong in the Force to possess the body of another, much stronger than he had previously believed possible. As far as he had been able to determine from his studies, no Sith Lord or Jedi had ever achieved such a feat. There were instances of limited control of course, the so-called 'Jedi Mind Trick' being one example. But to take over the body of another, to inject oneself into their very being, impossible; or so he would have previously believed.

Using techniques he had long ago mastered, he shielded his thoughts from this other, determined to give as little information as possible. This, at least, was something his intruder had never mastered. While its thoughts remained sporadic bursts of confusion, 'Happening again… the men in red are watching me… must wake up', its emotions were as easy to read as a children storybook. Fear and confusion flooded his conscious mind with almost overwhelming power. However, he took no consolation in the fact that the intruder's confusion seemed to increase with each incident.

'It does not know how it is doing this, or how to make it stop,' he observed. 'This could become a most dangerous situation indeed.'

As with the previous incidents, this intrusion seemed to last longer than the time before, and the unwanted influence of the other seemed to be growing stronger. If these attacks persisted much longer, he was afraid the results could be catastrophic; though just what that could entail, he could not fathom.

The door opened and Darth Vader entered the room. Sidious could feel the terror of the intruder increasing upon sight of his apprentice.

'What is that… man or machine... strange breathing... sees me!'

Darth Vader paused as he entered, clearly sensing the disturbance. An instant later, the snap hiss of his lightsaber was accompanied by the extension of his crimson blade. Vader moved towards his master, though his confusion at what was transpiring was evident in his slow, deliberate steps.

"Master…"

"Do not come any closer!" Vader could hear his master's command in his mind though no word had been uttered. "There is nothing you can do to help."

Vader paused, obeying the command. The royal guards had begun moving to assist the Sith, their weapons at the ready. Vader turned to them and lifted his hand in a command to stop. "I have this under control," he instructed. "Get back to your post and make sure no one else enters the chamber."

Sidious could feel himself thrashing and convulsing as the other struggled to break the connection. A guttural scream began deep in his throat, and grew in intensity to a raging roar that filled the chamber with deafening agony.

The convulsions stopped an instant later, the scream having purged itself of sound. Stillness filled the room as neither Sith, guard or machine dared to move. If not for the sound of Vader's breathing, Sidious would have believed time itself had stopped.

"Ahhhh!" This yell was not released by the intruder, but rather by Sidious himself. A moment later, the Sith was violently thrown as if by an invisible hand. Landing in the middle of the chamber, he struggled to lift himself as his apprentice ran to his aid. For the moment, the intruder was gone.

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