Link to the Past

Firmus' Darkside

The cave was dark and dank. Piett slowly made his way deeper in, shivering slightly.

You must choose.

He whipped around, seeking the source of the voice. There was no one.

Of course there's no one, you dolt. Besides you, Yoda and Luke are the only ones capable of speech, and they're waiting outside for you, he thought angrily to himself.

He pushed through a thick patch of vines to come into a large cavern.

You must choose.

There was that voice again. A shiver ran down his spine, this one not born of cold. He nearly jumped right out of his boots at the familiar snap-hissof a lightsaber igniting. His eyes widened as a green lightsaber lit the gloom, wielded by...

"Father?" he choked.

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn stood tall, his blue eyes hard, scanning the darkness. Suddenly a blade as red as Vader's, followed by a second, burst into existence. A red and black Zabrak descended upon the Jedi. The two began battling fiercely. With a jolt, Piett suddenly realized who this was. Vader had told him of Qui-Gon and the Sith responsible for the maverick's death. This was Darth Maul.

As they battled, however, Darth Maul began to change, his dual lightsabers becoming only one blade. He grew taller, his robes changing, and a sound that sent a bolt of shock and horror through Piett with it's familiarity filled the cavern. Darth Maul had shifted into Darth Vader. The two continued to fight, Qui-Gon using his agility to outmaneuver the stronger Dark Lord rather than meeting him head-on.

You must choose.

The voice was clearer now than before. In fact, there were actually two voices. They were male voices, one a bass, the other a tenor.

"Choose? Choose what?" he asked aloud.

Two figures materialized before him, and Piett quickly recognized the late Count Tyln Dooku, but the other took him a moment. He stared until he realized he was looking at an aged Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"You must choose your allegiance in the Force," Dooku said.

"What?"

Obi-Wan nodded to the fighting forms of Qui-Gon and Vader.

"Your father and your brother, the Light and the Dark. Each followed a different path. Each made a different choice."

Piett watched the fighters for a few moments.

"You are your father's legacy, and you may also be seen as your brother's as well. They both have laid out a path before you. Even if you do notchoose one now, there will come a time when you will have no choice but to choose one or the other," Obi-Wan continued.

"I have to choose between the Lightside and the Darkside?"

The two spirits nodded.

"That's an easy one. The Darkside made me feel sick and empty. I don't want to be like that for the rest of my life."

"That's how Vader felt after surrendering to the Darkside when your mother died."

Piett jumped at Qui-Gon's sudden entry into the rather strange conversation. He looked to see his father's spirit had joined them, and the image of Vader was gone.

"The Darkside is as seductive as it is vile."

Dooku voice was laced with regret, and the Admiral felt a wave of pity for the fallen Jedi. The Count had probably spent the last two decades lamenting his crimes and all that had come about from his hand in not only creating the Empire but bringing about Vader's fall to the Darkside. As if aware of this, the old man gave Firmus a sad smile.

"Do not pity the dead, boy. Pity those who live without regret, for the weight of their chains in the afterlife will be greater than those whoacknowledge their regrets."

Suddenly, chains appeared upon the fallen Jedi, and Piett took a startled step back, his eyes wide.

"See the chains of my choices and my crimes. My burden was lessened by my regrets in life, but still they are heavy, numerous, and long. Suchchains will bind the soul of Darth Vader when he passes, and they will surpass my own. Beware, young one, that you are careful with yourchoices and aware of your regrets that judgement may not be so harsh upon you."

The Count faded away, leaving him with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.

"Remember, son of my Master, even with good intentions, the Darkside of the Force will twist and warp you into a being of hatred."

Obi-Wan faded away as well, and Piett faced his father.

"I thought the cave would show me my own Darkside."

Qui-Gon smiled gently at his son.

"This is your Darkside, Firmus. You fear the price of the Darkside yet still you are truly undecided about what to choose. You are revolted by the Dark yet your love for Vader pulls you close to it everyday. You see some of the real him, despite his use of the Darkside. This is affecting your decision. Your Darkside is you indecision and your fear of being pushed one way or the other before you can choose for yourself."

The Admiral swallowed and nodded in understanding. He felt like he was balancing on a knife edge between the Light and Dark.

"You have come far, Firmus, but your journey is not yet over. Be mindful of everything around you. Do not let the future distract you from the present, or your choice may be made for you."

Qui-Gon began to fade as had Dooku and Obi-Wan.

"Father, wait!"

"Not matter what you choose, or what is chosen for you, I will watch over you, my son," Qui-Gon said as he faded completely.

Firmus stared at the place where his father had disappeared then slowly turned and left the cave. Yoda and Luke were waiting for him, or rather, Yoda was waiting and Luke was asleep. The ancient Master gazed up at his older student and smiled, nodding in approval.

Piett had passed the test of the cave in discovering and facing his Darkside. He knew he had to make a choice soon. Would he choose the path of his father or of his brother? Would he choose at all or would his path be chosen for him, be it by Vader, the Emperor, Yoda, or even Luke? He had no idea. As Yoda had said to them once before, the future was clouded. Only time would tell, and Piett just hoped that when the time came he would make the right decision.

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