Link to the Past

Arrival on the Executor

Piett watched his nephew's face fill with shock, horror, disbelief, and denial.

"No. No. It's not true. It's impossible!"

"Search your feelings, Luke, you know it to be true."

Luke's face fell into an expression was of devastation.

"Noooo!" he cried.

The admiral couldn't help but feel sorry for the young man. Luke had told him while on Dagobah that more than anything he had always wanted to know his father, especially after learning that he had been a Jedi. Now the image he had imagined of his father, a heroic Jedi, had just been shattered by the harsh truth that his father was in fact the one Luke had thought to be his murderer, the man he watched kill his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who tortured his friends, and a Sith Lord.

The young man dropped his lightsaber and fell to his knees in tears. Piett deactivated his own lightsaber, knelt beside Luke, and hesitantly put a hand on his back, unsure of how his nephew would react.

"Luke?"

"Ben, why didn't you tell me?" he pleaded to his dead mentor through the tears.

The Imperial bit his lip and hesitantly drew the Jedi into a hug. Luke accepted it, falling willingly into his embrace, and crying on his shoulder, his need for comfort outweighing his anger and feelings of betrayal.

Vader watched his brother and son. It was clear that during their time training Luke had come to trust, and quite possibly love, Piett enough for those feelings, or at least his trust, to overcome his negative feelings and allow the older man to comfort and hold him. It seemed that Piett had also inherited Qui-Gon's ability to very quickly earn someone's trust and, on occasions, love.

Once Luke finally got a hold of his raging emotions, he moved back and pushed Piett's arms away, now scowling at his uncle, the hurt and betrayal shining in his eyes. Piett looked away, his heart clenching at the sight of those anguished eyes, eyes that he had come to know to sparkle with mischief, shine with happiness, glow with love, burn with determination, and flame with righteous anger. Eyes that now held betrayal, sadness, hurt, and denial.

"If you come quietly your friends will go free," Vader rumbled.

Luke nodded numbly. Vader picked up the young man's lightsaber, instantly recognizing it as his old one, clipped it to his belt, took out some binders, clasped them on Luke's wrists, and pulled him to his feet.

Piett took his nephew's arm and led him through the palace, following Vader to his waiting shuttle. Once aboard the Executor, Vader turned to his brother.

"He will be your responsibility, Admiral."

He nodded.

"Yes, my Lord," he said, answering as the admiral since they were in the hangar with a few men not too far away.

He led the Jedi to his quarters.

"It's not much, but it's better than the wet ground of Dagobah," he said after closing the door.

Luke said nothing. He didn't even look at him. Piett sighed softly.

"Luke, I'm sorry you had to find out like this. I know that you've always wanted to know your father, especially after learning he was once a hero. I'm sorry that image has been destroyed. I understand."

He finally looked at him, glaring at him.

"Understand? No one would understand how I feel."

"No? Did you forget that Anakin and Vader being one and the same makes Vader my brother?"

Luke winced inwardly. He admittedly had forgotten that in the shock and turbulence of emotions.

"I'll admit this to you; you reacted better than I did," Piett said.

"I did?"

His uncle nodded.

"I fainted."

He smiled slightly, and Piett chuckled then grew serious again.

"Luke, even though it make seem like it right now, it's not the end of the world. You'll get used to it in time, trust me."

The young man nodded and sighed softly.

"Thanks."

The admiral smiled.

"You're welcome. Now, I'll take the binders off, but you cannot, under any circumstance unless it is life or death, leave my quarters. Understand?"

"Yeah."

Piett looked him in the eyes, knowing it was impossible to lie while looking someone right in the eyes.

"Understand?"

"Yes."

He unlocked the binders.

"All right. You may practice with the Force, but not on or with anything breakable."

Luke nodded, knowing his uncle wouldn't be very happy if he broke something.

"If someone comes use the surveillance to see who it is. If they seem like they might be a threat to you of some kind don't open the door, so in other words; use common sense."

He smiled and nodded again.

"Also when checking visitors, use the Force, it should give you some kind of hint about them and/or their intentions."

"Got it."

Piett nodded.

"Good. Now I've got to get the bridge. I'll see you later. Lock the door behind me."

"Okay. Bye."

Piett left, and Luke locked the door as he had been told. He then sat on the floor and began to meditate. He reached out to the ship. He found a few people with some Force strength but not much. He found and recognized his uncle's signature. Luke soon found another presence, one that was much like his own and a little similar to Piett's, but this one was stronger and much darker. He then realized it was Vader.

Intrigued, he cautiously probed deeper with his father and uncle. They stood out against the framework of the Force, like himself, only more so than he did, practically glowing with its power. Vader was cloaked in darkness, and the darkness also reached for Piett. However, his uncle didn't seem to be bothered by it, and Luke wondered if he even noticed it.

On the bridge, Piett suddenly felt the familiar chill and emptiness that crept across his bond with Vader. He could now truly sense the Darkside. He let it simply flow through him rather than using or fighting it. It was an everyday part of his life, it had been for the past few years. Though he was by no means used to it, he recognized it and let it go through him.

While the Darkside itself no longer really bothered him, he was still bothered by the injuries and killings Vader caused with it. Though he knew that his brother would never willingly harm him, he still wished the Sith didn't find it necessary to kill his own men.

Now that he knew what the chill and emptiness meant, he often would quickly act almost like Vader's conscience, speaking mentally to him, finding out what was happening, why he was angry, why he was trying to killing someone, and then, if he did not agree with the person's death, would attempt to calm his brother and get him to see the rational side. Most of the time it worked, and the death rates aboard the Executor had gone down, much the shock of everyone else. However, there were times when Piett's calming attempts would fail or he would agree with Vader on the unfortunate person's death and not make any attempts to calm his elder sibling.

/Vader?/

/What?/ came the snappy reply.

/Who are you trying to kill now?/

/Lieutenant Hunter, and I'm not trying to kill him, I merely giving him a warning./

/Dare I ask for what?/

/He has been late for his shifts for the past week and a half./

/So you're choking him?/

/I'm only giving him a warning./ Vader insisted.

/A verbal warning would do just as good./

/That's now how I like to do things./

Piett just barely managed to keep from rolling his eyes.

/And you wonder why the men are afraid of you./ he sent sarcastically.

Vader sighed mentally, and Piett felt the chill and emptiness leave as Vader released the unfortunate Lieutenant, stopping his use of the Darkside.

/You better be right about a verbal warning working just as well./

/Have a little faith in me, won't you. Just trust me./

Another mental sighed.

/All right./

Piett then withdrew, ending the conversation.

Vader knew his brother had inherited many things from Qui-Gon, and they were really showing through now that he was further in his training. Piett had his father's stubbornness, which had always been there and shown, his kindness, a rare thing in the Imperial Navy, his humility, which was even rarer, his wisdom, his strength in the Force, and his strength of heart. Like his father before him, the admiral was protective of his loved ones, had no qualms about fighting to keep them safe, was fiercely loyal, was cautious about who he trusted, was courageous, and, in rare moments, a little reckless. Though he would never admit it out loud, the Sith loved his brother and would do almost anything to keep him safe.


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