|Chapter 5 - Turning to the Dark Side
Kendra wakes up in the confines of a destroyer prison cell. She isn’t sure what Vader expects to get from her. Maybe he thinks that she is part of the rebels.
“Great.” She thinks, not knowing what to do.
The detainment cell is deliberately oppressive. The bed isn’t long enough to lie down in and the cell has barely enough room to stand in for her. A full grown human male would be quite uncomfortable. Even she finds the room a bit claustrophobic. She chuckles a bit thinking how a Wookie would feel in these cells.
Dinner consists of a soupy muck, bread and water. She eats it and it is as revolting as it looks, but she needs to keep her strength up. It isn’t until she finishes it that she thinks about poisons or toxins that could have been slipped in to the food.
Time seems to drag forever in here. Then, as if reading her thoughts of boredom, two troopers open her cell and demand that she come with them. They didn’t bother to restrain her. Either they don’t know who and what she is or she is in such deep bantha that it doesn’t matter. She isn’t sure which proposition she find more appealing. They eventually lead her to a large dark room.
“Wait here.” One of the troopers says as the other shove her through the door. They don’t enter with her. Instead they shut and lock the door.
Unrestrained and unimpeded she looks around the dark room. It looks as if it has been lit accidentally rather than on purpose for she can see no lights installed anywhere. Rather the light is trace, pouring out of small led indicators and lighted panel switches. In the middle of the room sits a large holo pad from which one could transmit their image to someone else with a holo projector. She thinks about sending a call for help, but to whom. In the corner is the room’s most prominent feature. It appears to be a large segmented ball of some sort, perhaps a storage container.
Then there is a hiss and the container opens up ever so slightly, maybe about fifty centimeters. She’s startled, but also curious. She begins to approach the sphere when a voice comes from within, “that is close enough.” She recognizes it at once as the voice of Darth Vader.
A little more than scared she swallows hard and puts on her best bravado to answer the dark lord. “What do you want with me?”
“To complete your training.” The disembodied voice retorts.
“Humph, doubtful.” She replies slowly backing away.
“You have already started down the path. I only offer you focus.” He responds.
“I will never turn to the dark side.” She says although she isn’t sure of the words.
“I can feel your hatred burn within you. Would you extinguish it? What would you replace it with? You yourself said that you are no longer Jedi. A Jedi wouldn’t have killed the adept. So if you are not a Jedi then what are you? A spice trader? He answers his own question.
Surprised she tries to peer in to the chamber. “Oh, yes I know where you come from and what you did there. Pathetic! A warrior such as yourself trading recipes with the emperor. Well at least your husband had the backbone to stand up for what he believed in.”
“You foul Bastard!” She says rushing to the edge of the chamber, her fear forgotten. Suddenly a sharp push to her chest and she is at the other end of the small room.
“There is the anger I have been looking for. Not the self righteous nonsense that your husband possessed, but beautiful burning anger.” He says.
Suddenly there is a light in the chamber and she can see the visage of Darth Vader behind a large chair, but through her confusion the image looks differently. Focusing her vision she sees now that the mask and suit are hanging behind the chair. It is then that she realizes that he has taken off the suit.
“That’s right. Come for me. I am weakened and unarmed. Strike me down and complete your path to the dark side.” He tells her. He knows it is a dangerous gamble. She could very well kill him just by wrenching the chamber asunder. The air is already dangerously thin for him. She is a valuable prize however. He hasn’t felt such hatred since Padme... Quickly he banishes the memory.
Rising slowly she comes over to the chamber, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. Inside she sees a figure seated on a short backed seat. It is tall for a humanoid, but completely enfolded in a large thick black robe.
“How truly sad and pathetic you are.” She sneers. “You’re not even a shadow to the emperor for at least he managed to destroy Jedi. You, you’re just a puppet.”
“All that the emperor has done, he has done through me.” He says feeling his anger rise. “Perhaps I was wrong about you. Perhaps you are no smarter than your husband merely more arrogant. That’s what got him killed. His arrogance and his belief in the power of the light side of the force. It was that belief that also killed your child.” Using the force the dark lord slowly chokes her.
Sputtering, scared and enraged Kendra musters all her anger, “Screw you. You machine!!” She spits back using the dark side to force his hold from her throat.
Seeing her eyes glow for the briefest of moments Darth Vader chuckles to himself. “Good. Enough for today.” And with that the light goes out and the chamber seals itself. Shortly the guards enter the room and quickly drag her near unconscious body back to her cell.
This continues for weeks, the two of them constantly going back and forth arguing over subtle points of ethics and morality in the jedi code. Confusion sprouts up in her mind. Were the Jedi evil as Darth Vader had originally thought? Certainly not, but she also can see how their inaction lead to the destruction of countless others including their own order. Is it guilt from her inaction that causes this doubt? She isn’t sure, but she does know that while Vader is certainly evil he does propose a compelling argument. She even begins to question the depth of his corruption in the dark side. Surely he isn’t as vile as the emperor, for as far as she knew the emperor had never been anything but a Sith Lord. Vader, at least, was once a Jedi Knight and thus was painfully aware of how far he had fallen. Or does that make what he is now worse. Palpatine is what he is, but Vader had known the light and chose to abandon it in favor of the dark.
Still the question burns of what he wants from her. Maybe there is some in between for her to dwell. Not a Jedi, but not a Sith as well.
A turning point came on afternoon in Vader’s quarters during a debate on the use of power to enforce peace within the galaxy.
“The empire has brought peace to the galaxy.” Vader says emphatically
“No it has brought obedience. That’s not the same thing. Peace, true peace only comes from communication and the expression of free thoughts between individuals. Anything less and you have chaos.” She said.
“So you would have the republic back? If I’m not correct many died while the republic had hold of the galaxy. There were wars, which the emperor ended, that cost millions of lives.” Vader retorted. “War that was orchestrated by greed and envy. The republic was unable to stop them.”
“So now we have enforced obedience with the storm troopers hunting all the Jedi.”
“She is becoming more agitated.” He thinks, “Her feelings are slowly coming to a boil.”
“The Jedi were dangerous. They turned on the emperor and tried to assassinate him.” He replies.
“Hmmph. I find that hard to believe.” She says.
“I was there. I saw Master Windu threaten the emperor’s life. He was helpless and unarmed as Master Windu went for the killing stroke.” Vader replies.
“You Lie!” She spits back at him
“Search your feelings. You know I am not lying.”
It is true. She reaches with the force and finds that he is telling the truth at least about this. Why would the Jedi try to kill Palpatine. Were the Jedi making a play for power? If so then Palpatine would do what any other politician would do. He would declare marshal law to bring order and peace back to the galaxy, but why declare yourself emperor.
“Why declare himself emperor.” She voices her question aloud to him.
Moments passed as Vader contemplated the answer.
“He is a man like any other and while he is doing what he believes is best for all he may have lost his way. The path of the light side leads to inaction, the path of the dark must lead to total consumption.” The dark lord smiles though Kendra cannot see it. “The best of intentions as it were.”
Exasperated she vents on Vader, ”What does any of this have to do with me?” “Why am I here?” “What do you want?!”
There is silence and then the whir of machinery as the hyperbaric chamber that is Vader’s support system parts fully. She can hear the mechanical clicking and whining of servos as the dark lord’s limbs move. He is wrapped fully in a black robe that drops completely to the floor and covers his hands completely as well. His face is buried deeply within his hood and even then there is a thin veil wrapped around the bottom half of his head, the most that she can even get a glimpse of the bridge of his nose. The bottom half is covered by a breathing mask.
He approaches her and she naturally takes a step or two back. Even out of the armor he is an imposing figure. He stands there a moment as Kendra swallows hard, her mouth having gone dry. He begins to speak, his voice barely a whisper.
“I want you to complete your training.” He says.
The shock of his real voice stings her ears. “You must be mad!!” She says backing away from him.
“The emperor cannot be allowed to continue. Even now he builds a weapon so great that millions will perish once it is functional. Through the dark side you can become powerful enough to help me defeat him and end his reign of terror.”
“Why would I follow a child murderer?” She asks.
“I have made mistakes, yes, but that is not one of them.” He lies to her stepping closer.
“Were you there? Did you see me strike down innocents? Did you see the security tapes? No, you did not because it is a lie. A lie made by cloned troops to cover their atrocity and then fostered by the renegade Jedi.”
“Then why not proclaim your innocence?” She asks.
“Who would I tell it to? The emperor? The rebels? Who would have believed me after Obi Wan’s rendition of the truth. He croaks.
“Why not overthrow him yourself.”
“Hmmph, I am strong with the force, but not as strong as the emperor. My. . . condition has weakened me. Were I whole I would be able to defeat him, but now.” He trails off hoping that he had placed just enough regret in his voice to move her one step closer to the dark side. For a moment he pauses and wonders if this is what Palpatine had done to turn him.
“The two of us together would be powerful enough to overthrow him. Together we could rule…”
“We would fall into the same trap as your emperor.” She says with disgust as she rubs her temples. These conversations are draining and she now has a headache.
“Very well. I shall arrange to have you released within a day’s time.” Vader says as he turns to head back to his chamber.
“So you’re just going to let me go.” She says disbelieving.
“First, know one knows what transpired in the speeder bay. Secondly, I interrogate prisoners all the time. Lastly, no one will question my release of you. There’s no point in killing you, your death would benefit no one, as has your life.” The last part strikes a cord in Kendra.
“Released!!” She says surprised. “That’s it, just released. Why? Aren’t you supposed to be terminating all the Jedi.?”
“You’re not a Jedi, remember.” He calmly responds. The act of crossing the room without the suit has tired him. “You’ll be able to carry on with your pathetic life in any way you see fit.”
She stands there frozen and stunned. Seizing the opportunity he says, “Commitment is required in any endeavor for success. You’ve never been able to fully commit to anything because of your fear. Your fear allowed you to abandon your Jedi training and thus allowed for the death of your husband and child. Your fear of what you don’t know has also stymied your progress down the dark path. This is the path of strength. The path where fear can be put to rest and only clarity remains.”
“Your path is wrong, it’s evil.” She replies weakly.
“Is it? The Sith have restored order to the galaxy. If the Jedi were so strong how come they didn’t see the end coming. Or better yet, how come they weren’t able to stop it.?” He asks, gently peering from underneath his hood.
She stands there pondering this for a moment. She begins to pace. While crossing the room back to his chamber he continues, “The Jedi, perhaps, were interested in serving the people and help bringing peace to the system, but they have become blinded by their arrogance. In the end they were only interested in preserving their hold the republic. They had lost sight of the peoples wants.”
“Your wrong! They tried to save the republic.” She responds.
“They tried to save a terminally ill outdated expression of government and as a result it cost them their order because in the end they were no longer the solution as they once were thousands of years ago.” He pauses here to meet her gaze with his own. “They had become part of the problem. Arrogant and blind to what was happening around them.”
“And you way is better?” She asks meeting his cold yellow gaze
“It is for now. The pendulum may swing in the other direction eventually, but this is what is needed now. Search your feelings. It’s what you need now as well.” He says as he stiffly sits back down.
She is about to say something when Vader seals the chamber and dims the lights. Her audience with the dark lord is over. Two troopers come inside and escort her back to her cell.