Palpatine decided to give it one last try. He fell onto his back, extinguishing his sabre.
“Don’t kill me, young Skywalker. You can have anything you want.”
“Can you give me back my father, my aunt and uncle, a normal life, justice and peace?” retorted Luke, lowering his guard but still prepared for treachery. Treachery is as natural to the Sith as sand is to a Jawa, he thought.
“Anything given is not worth the price, Skywalker. We are Sith, my boy! We take. Spare me and I will step aside and become you’re trusted aide. I’ll show you how to take what you want,” Palpatine pleaded, unable to fully supress the snarl from his tone.
“Why should I join you? You might need me but I don’t need you as anything but a corpse.” Even as he said it, guilt and a moment of doubt shadowed on Luke’s face.
This was the moment Palpatine had been waiting for. He had regained some of his strength during the exchange and with a manic glee hurled every bit of Force Energy he had through his fingers. A huge chain of purple and black lightning crashed into Luke, hurling him half way across the throne room.
“Young fool, only now at the end do you understand!” Palpatine gloated as he pumped more and more energy into the collapsed body of Skywalker.
Luke felt nothing but white-hot agony as his life began to be sucked out of him.
Aboard the Rebel Flagship there was a sudden buzz from the sensors station. The Imperial Communication ship had been destroyed and every sensor on Home One was trained on the skeletal structure of the Death Star.
“Admiral!” cried the senior sensor officer, “The Death Star’s planetary shielding is down. Solo did it!”
“All Offensive Fighter Squadrons break off and commence primary attack on the main reactor as per Scenario A. All defensive screening squads break off and join the attack,” ordered Ackbar, knowing that he was ordering the slow death of his fleet’s capital ships.
“Red Leader heading in.”
“Green Leader on our run.”
“Blue Leader acknowledged.”
Hundreds of fighters still capable to fighting broke off their attacks or defensive duties and dived into the superstructure of the Death Star leaving harassing TIES of all types free to batter the shields of the remaining Rebel capital ships. In the lead, high speed Rebel A-Wings launched missiles widening openings and destroying what little operational point defence weaponry the Death Star still had functional. Just behind the A-Wing squads came the Millennium Falcon and its accompanying X-Wings, led by Wedge Antillies who was commanding Rogue Squadron in the absence of Luke Skywalker.
After the main attacking squadrons came the mixed B and Y-Wing Bombers of the fleet, lagging behind, acting as a distraction for the much faster TIE Starfighters and Interceptors of the Imperial Fleet. Dozens of fighters shredded each other in dogfights restricted to lasers only; the Rebel fighters having depleted their meagre supply of torpedoes and missiles. Little super nova’s erupted in the black of space, each nova signifying the end of a life.
In the cockpit of the Falcon, Lando gripped the controls so hard his knuckles ached. With the amount of debris and fire falling from pursuing TIEs, he had no chance to even blink. The surrounding motley contingent of A-Wings, X-Wings, Y-Wings and even a few ancient Head-hunters tried to manoeuvre what little they could. After what seemed like a lifetime they were through the gauntlet into the reactor core. Few Rebel fighters had survived.
“Wedge, use your last torpedo to take out the power regulator, I’ll take the reactor. The rest of you get out of here, clear us a road out, take out as many of those damn TIEs as you can!” ordered Lando.
A course of replies came through while Lando concentrated on his approach. If he got it wrong the dissipated energy from the reactor would tear the Falcon apart.
It let loose with both quad turrets. The guns thudded as they let loose their crimson streams of light and energy. At the same time Wedge fired his Proton Torpedo at the regulator.
Within microseconds both targets were destroyed. The explosion was shattering; fire hurled out in every direction. The remaining Rebel fighters scrambled to get out, while slow to react TIEs where vaporised.
Back in the throne room, the deck lurched and shuddered. Palpatine, surprised, ceased his slow murder of Skywalker.
What the kriff? he wondered. It would be the last thing he ever wondered. With the attacks stopped, Luke once again immersed himself in the Force. Fuelled by pain, rage and the Force he leaped forward, called Vader’s lightsaber to his hand and swiftly decapitated Palpatine in one swift movement. The body took one step back and then fell over a safety railing. Luke was so exhausted that the irony failed to make an impression.Evacuation alarms started blaring, bringing him to his senses. The reactor must have been destroyed. In his mind’s eye he recalled the briefing aboard Home One, and he wondered how many of his friends were left alive. Once again the Living Force - or was it merely his own desires? - began to whisper instructions in his ear; telling him what the best course of action was. All sense of idle speculation faded as Luke clipped Vader’s lightsaber to his belt and called his own saber to his right hand. He had to get to a hangar bay before the Death Star exploded. Luckily for Luke, there was a senior officer’s hangar not too far away. Or so the voice of Ben Kenobi told him.