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Vader and the Death Star - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Vader and the Death Star
I do apologize to people who read my journal for HP; honestly... when HBP comes out, I'm sure I'm going to have a huge flood of HP stuff. For now, still Star Warsing it.

In The Penitent (a post-RotJ round robin I did a couple of years ago), Anakin, returned to life as a clone, is put on trial for Vader's crimes. The prosecutor questions an officer from the Death Star (he had left to report on events before the battle), and he testifies that Vader did nothing to obstruct the destruction of Alderaan, and the prosecutor shows security holos of him doing nothing to stop it, and so on. The (Alderaanian) defense attorney--who had deliberately brought the guy in--sweeps up and asks the witness if he had a blaster, and when he allows that he did, she starts demanding to know why he didn't just start firing. After all, he was armed. That gave him power. And so on. She then points out that Anakin's also being legally excoriated for killing Ozzel and Needa over military mistakes, and demands to know whether he's supposed to be killing people over military disagreements or not, and which he's to be held responsible for, as it's good to know this sort of thing ahead of time. (Anakin's crimes, for the sake of drama, have been all kind of agglomerated into one general "crimes against the galaxy" charge--"Anakin Skywalker," she said, "known also as Darth Vader, you are charged with crimes against the galaxy. These crimes include crimes of commission and crimes of depraved indifference, committed against both the Rebellion you fought and the Empire you served. This trial will serve as your trial for all crimes listed. The decision will be final.")

In the context of the trial, that little bit of drama makes sense to me. The point, of course, is that all Vader could have done about it at the time was more or less kill Tarkin and everyone in sight who didn't agree to defy Tarkin's order--in other words, to have a massacre, and would the galaxy find that more acceptable than silence? And is he more culpable, legally speaking, than Third Spear Carrier On the Right (the witness), who also did exactly nothing? (There's evidence that he objected, but Anakin is doing his best to avoid looking good and driving his lawyer completely crazy in the process, but that's neither here nor there.)

Obviously, it wouldn't have been right for him to do another massacre, but what could he have reasonably done, had he decided to come back then for Leia instead of later for Luke? Had he mutinied, would he be able to hold the military presence on board? The officers don't much like him, but he seems to work reasonably well with the stormtroopers (and if they're still clones, they should obey... unless, of course, Palps has a specific what-if-Anakin-decides-to-drop-in plan, and they turned on him). Could he have used the Force to cause a massive malfunction? What would the consequences of that have been?

I dunno. I thought it would be fun to play with the notion of what he actually could have done, despite the sarcastic legal defense that I came up with a few years ago.
44 comments or Leave a comment
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 4th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
This has little to do with the main topic of your post, but while it is of course entirely your business what you write, may I opine that you really don't need to keep apologizing for posting about Star Wars?
duncatra From: duncatra Date: June 4th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed. Some of us are here despite the HP stuff... (Nothing against HP, I'm simply not obsessed with it.)

Although I really have no opinion on the Death Star thing. Totally not an issue in this quarter.
malabud From: malabud Date: June 4th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hear, hear!
From: a_p_ Date: June 5th, 2005 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Amen! :)
nebularific From: nebularific Date: June 5th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally fourth this. You managed to single-journaledly [as opposed to single-handedly] me turn me into a SW fan gurl. Bad things happen when I surf live journal...

I don't really care about your HP stuff (though I might start to when HBP comes out), but I love your Star Wars stuff.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: June 6th, 2005 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Me too three four five six seven...ish! I saw the original trilogy for the very first time in my entire life last night/this morning. Reading your SW posts the past few weeks absolutely affected the way I experienced the movies (in a good way), and having loved your HP fic, I look forward to reading your SW fic as soon as I have some free time to do so. Don't apologise... just keep on talking about what you want to talk about.

Thank you.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 4th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, most Sithly and sneaky technique Anakin could have tried would have been to Force-choke Tarkin into a seizure/heart attack, and 'Take Command' of the Death Star as the next in line, and quickly countermanded the order to destroy Alderaan. Whether this would have ultimately been successful depends upon how many of the upper officers would stay loyal to him, and how many Vader would also have had to remove the hard way.

Tarkin: You may fire when... *ACK* *Thud*
Vader: The commander seems to have had heart failure. Must have been the excitement.
Admiral whoever: Um, sure.
Vader: Set your course for Byss, we have a little cleaning up to do.


I have a problem with the very idea of cloning someone to punish them. The clone would be quite innocent of ANY crimes, no matter how accurately they transferred Anakin's memories. (Where did the memory template come from, anyway?) Or is this like one of the Emperor's tricks where you make a clone and then move your spirit into it, so it IS you on some fundamental level?

And did his lawyer get him off the hook? Now I'm curious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 4th, 2005 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or is this like one of the Emperor's tricks where you make a clone and then move your spirit into it, so it IS you on some fundamental level?

Oh, it's him. He was a ghost; the clone was empty. The ghost jumped into the clone. He could have gotten off on a technicality, but he was forced to come forward and declare himself as himself to testify in another Imperial trial.

And did his lawyer get him off the hook? Now I'm curious.

Oh, no. There's irritating, niggling little point that he's guilty as sin of most of it to deal with. ;)
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 4th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, what'd they do with him? 10,000 years of community service? :-D

Kill him again? (As if he learned so much from the experience the first time, snicker!)

Or did he pull a typical Anakin and get away?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 4th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I could be mean and force you through the whole silly thing... ;)

But I won't. Much is obsoleted if I can't get Padmé back to life anyway. So what happens is that he's stripped of all rank and all holdings, bound to serve at the direction of the Jedi (though not as a Jedi, since he can't hold a title) and the will of the Republic, to repair any damage he's done in any place he's requested. And to make sure everyone remembers what he's done, his face is re-scarred, albeit in a stylistic way--this and this are artists' representations--and is forbidden to ever cover the scars for any reason. And he's never allowed to own anything again.
shezan From: shezan Date: June 4th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, surely you can get Padmé back to life? It's not as if George didn't leave loopholes the breadth of the Kessel Run.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool - he looks like he went and visited the ancient Egyptians for inspiration. Makes sense if this is courtesy of the Naboo culture, given their fondness for stylized facial makeup.

And... vows of poverty are common for those in holy orders. Er... who feeds him? Is he a mendicant monk? And since he squished most of the Jedi, does he now help to train new ones? He might end up being one of the most balanced Masters-without-portfolio the Jedi ever have.

And you could certainly revive Padme - through the clone technique and maybe Qui-Gon helping from the other side of things? That might be fun. That's kind of what I did for Darth Maul, who I thought got a rather raw deal. Of course, *he* didn't get much choice as to what sort of body he ended up with...
malabud From: malabud Date: June 4th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you must read "The Penitent"! It's very long, but it's the Anakin redemption and trial story. I see that fernwithy has given the ending away, but it has lots of cool bits in it leading up to that ending. I especially like Anakin's reconciliation with Leia. They're quite alike, after all, even if Leia would vehemently deny it.

I also like your possible AU. (I actually had a fit of the giggles when I read your comment.) Maybe you could write it when you're done with your Ghost!Anakin story. *g*
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh-heh, let me finish my Ghost!Anakin tale with Cmdr. Jir before looking at *anything* that might spawn more AU plot bunnies. Mercifil Sith, the SW bunnies have got to be the most rabid I've ever encountered. :-D

Oh yes, Leia is Way more like daddy than she'd ever want to admit, at least when she's young - that automatic aura of command, that self-confidence... When she's older, at least in the canonical EU books, she finally has to admit that she owes a lot to Anakin. At least she gets to the point where she doesn't freak out when the Noghri call her 'Lady Vader'.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Eek, no "canonical EU" in my LJ, please! ;D

(Honestly, I think of the EU as something to separate from "canon," specifically--there's canon (the movies) and there's EU material, which is out there, but obviously not binding on canon, and therefore not on fanfic.)
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Some of the EU books are good enough that I put them up there in the 'EU Canon' bin and use the patterns they laid down in my own fanfic if I'm writing in that time period. I adore Timothy Zahn's books beginning with Heir to the Empire and ending with Vision of the Future. He does Luke, Leia, Han and company 'right', and the new characters he adds have that SW feel to them. And his Imperials are honorable, and I'm a sucker for that (hence my Captain Pellaeon fanfics).

I'm not too keen on the books with the Vong - I'm not into scenes of torture and really icky violence. But I made myself read the last few issues because Grand Admiral Pellaeon first had his butt saved by Luke and kinfolk, and then Pellaeon came in with the Imperial fleet and saved the New Republic, after first telling the Moffs where they could put their Imperial pride. Too good! :-D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I disliked the Zahn books immensely, because I thought they slaughtered the characters.

But I don't think of "canon" as something I like, in particular, but something which is binding on Lucas as he creates the movies... in other words, only the pre-existing movies. I think EU elements can be used at will if they amuse one (I did write a whole fic involving Siri, from Jedi Apprentice), just that, unlike canon, it's not at all binding on anyone. Canon is just what you're stuck with, whether you like it or not.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I see - your description of canon makes sense to me. And definitely, as fanfic writers we can pick and chose which of the EU bits to use and which to ignore. That's half the fun. :-D

I did feel bad about Adm. Thrawn - he got a really stupid death for someone who had a code of honor in his own way. And the Empire was definitely better off with him than with the Emperor. Alas.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. See, I hated Thrawn, too. It was a race between Thrawn and Mara as to who I could could hate more page by page. It was mostly that, "Oh, if I'd been at Endor instead of that stupid Chosen One Vader, we'd have won..." So I'd have been happy if he'd tripped on a banana peel and fallen into a reactor core.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
*Chuckle* Now *that* would have been an ignominious ending indeed! :-D
10littlebullets From: 10littlebullets Date: June 6th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
(Here from... er... some SW comm. Think it was jedi_daily.)

Oh good, so I'm not the only one who wanted to give Mara a good stabbydeath all through the Thrawn arc? Zahn's eaily one of the best EU writers out there--and really, that's not saying much--but I have the suspicious feeling that if Mara had appeared in a fanfiction instead of a published book she would've turned up on several Sue-sporking sites. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if she did anyway.
10littlebullets From: 10littlebullets Date: June 6th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
*facepalm* jedi_news, even.
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: June 4th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Though that's not really what happened in the story, that is a bit of a plot bunny right there. What if somebody decided that Hitler hadn't suffered enough for his crimes against humanity, and tried to bring him back so everyone could have a go at it? I don't think it'd stand up in a court of law for a moment, but that wouldn't stop the mobs.

*shrug* just a thought
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Orson Scott Card has a story on the theory, "A Thousand Deaths," based on the ability to keep bringing a person back to kill him as many times as the executioner wants.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd heard of that story. Just the thought gives me the utter creeps. You don't mess with Karma, that's what the universe does, in it's own long-term way. Trying to take the place of that gives even *worse* karma. The Force, if you wish, is a most patient teacher - it has Forever after all.
murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: June 5th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not fun to think about - the poor clone.
malabud From: malabud Date: June 4th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
If Vader truly turned back to the good side, I am sure he would have gone to great lengths to stop the destruction of Alderaan. Having mellowed with age, he would know that going in with his lightsaber swinging would not be the best idea. If he has a chance to think about it for a few moments, he would quickly decide that a simple mechanical malfunction would serve his purposes nicely.

I don't doubt that Anakin knew the Death Star plans inside and out. He's an engineer, after all. He may despise the "technological terror," but his natural curiosity would compel him to know how the thing worked. Having that knowledge, a simple Force nudge in the right area could easily lead to a complete system meltdown. The Death Star would be evacuated before it blows up; no loss of a planet; no loss of imperial lives; no muss and no fuss. Strangling Tarkin might be the fun cathartic tempting thing to do, but destroying the Death Star itself would be more important. (Tarkin would obstinately remain on his precious battle station, declaring to the last that there is no danger. At least, one can only hope.)

You know what would be a cool AU? Vader figures out just what Leia is to him at some point while on the first Death Star. The possible changes vary depending on when he discovers the truth. If he figures it out before he questions her, the Death Star may not have even gone to Alderaan at all, and thus Luke and company never get tractored on board. Maybe he has a sudden epiphany about Leia's parentage just before Tarkin gives the order to destroy Alderaan. In that case, Luke would quite possibly meet up with his father and sister aboard the Death Star after all.

I always got the feeling that Leia is not as strong in the Force as Luke, so the Emperor would not be as interested in her. Also, Leia does not have the neon sign of the Skywalker last name identifying her to all and sundry. So, if Anakin figured out that Leia is his daughter, they could keep it a secret if necessary. There are all sorts of possibilities in this!

*bats eyelashes at Fernwithy* You know you want to write it, don't you? /Sidious voice
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: June 4th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Be careful what you wish for. A Single Thread is a canon AU (no, that is not an oxymoron in this case), where Vader and Leia know exactly what they are to each other, and yet, ANH happens exactly as it does in canon.

I do second the idea that there should be an Anakin-redemption-for-Leia story, but that's only because I'm a sucker for most Anakin fic.
volandum From: volandum Date: June 4th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Revising for examsreading I am now... curses.
malabud From: malabud Date: June 4th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, interesting! I shall have to read it. It looks like the story has them finding out about each other way before their encounters on the Tantive IV and the Death Star, however. What I'm thinking of is that Vader discovers the truth during ANH. In that case, the events of ANH would be quite different. It would throw Vader off balance at the very least.
volandum From: volandum Date: June 4th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Question: Is that story still being worked upon? If no, should I assume that it is abandoned?
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: June 5th, 2005 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
It's being updated, albeit slowly. The author is in law school and has other WiPs, so you get used to the wait.
volandum From: volandum Date: June 5th, 2005 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, thank you.
shezan From: shezan Date: June 4th, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
He could have done more. He had power, he was the Emperor's man, and he scared the poodoo out of all the officers. A bit of a Force-choke on Tarkin, a "The Emperor will be displeased", and he could have stopped it.
neotoma From: neotoma Date: June 5th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I just watched the movie again today -- a friend has the old, unaltered videotapes -- and Vader didn't scare the poodoo out of all the officers.

He didn't scare Tarkin in the *least*, and Tarkin was in charge. Even Leia knows it, because she taunts Vader about Tarkin 'holding his leash'.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, he doesn't scare the poodoo out of anyone in completed or initial versions of the movies. They make fun of him. Even while he's choking Admiral Motti, the others are disdainful, and Tarkin gives him an order like he's a trained Rottweiler: "Vader! Release him!"
(Deleted comment)
From: psalm_27 Date: June 5th, 2005 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Watching and reading Revenge of the Sith has changed my perception of Darth Vader in the original trilogy. Honestly, I don't think he could have done anything to stop the destruction of Alderaan. The post-sith Anakin falls short of what he was supposed to be. ANH clearly shows him without the respect he should have had had he remained whole as opposed to half man/half mechanical.

What I have imagined in that scene is an extremely conflicted Anakin. He knows that destroying Alderaan is wrong and pointless. Thanks to the Father's Heart series, I imagine him with great emotion for Leia, but to quote Leia, "Tarkin has his leash". He's so far gone at this point that he can't and won't do anything.

Some of the ideas discussed, Force-ing a heart attack on Tarkin or using the Force to cause a mechanical problem on the Death Star might have worked, but I don't think it would have occurred to him to even try.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it would have occurred to him to even try.

Yeah, I think one of Anakin's problems is that, while he's good with mechanics, he's lousy with strategy and not too hot on tactics. It might have occurred to him much later that he could have done any number of things, but at that particular point in time, he was focused on, "Tarkin should stop doing this" and other tactics wouldn't have crossed his mind.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 5th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand, if you were playing with the idea that he figured out Leia was his daughter at some opportune moment, I could imagine her jumping from the hopeless prospect of wanting Tarkin to stop, to wishing heartily (and eavesdroppably?) that the whole thing would break.

Timing would be kind of tight, though.
From: psalm_27 Date: June 5th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
he was focused on, "Tarkin should stop doing this" and other tactics wouldn't have crossed his mind

Yes, this is the "black and white" philosphy that Obi Wan says the Sith live by. Perhaps Anakin's failure with strategy and tactics stem from the Sith side of him.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
My own thought is that Vader has been trying to come up with ways to keep Tarkin from destroying Alderaan up to this point but they aren't based on direct confrontation. Get the plans and either make a big enough deal about that to get Tarkin onto other things or to get it to look like Leia's spewing out information now that she can't hope for the plans to be used against the Empire. He doesn't have a plan based on directly confronting Tarkin.

If he'd anticipated Tarkin blowing up the planet anyway or if he'd been willing to more directly go against Tarkin, he might have had a plan in place.

I can see Vader saying, "The emperor would not be pleased," and stopping the destruction. But, without some groundwork, this could lead to a direct confrontation between him and Tarkin where he has to remove Tarkin and then deal with the fallout on a ship where the officers would probably be against him.

If Vader had implied to Tarkin that the emperor was keeping closer tabs on this situation than Tarkin knew and that Vader knew some things Tarkin didn't - not even a question of the emperor having Vader work against Tarkin in any way, simply that the emperor has plans involving the Death Star and possible manipulation of one planet known to give a lot of support to the rebellion that he's not telling everyone about. Vader wouldn't even have to imply that he knew the whole picture, just that he had a good idea that the emperor would or wouldn't want certain things done.

In that context, if Tarkin gave the order and if Vader calmly said, "Tarkin, this does not serve the emperor's needs," then I can see Alderaan being saved without Vader having to attack everyone in sight.

Otherwise, I think he'd have to attack everyone in sight and fight his way off the Death Star with Leia (who probably wouldn't be cooperative) in tow.

Of course, if Leia gave Vader a reason to think 1) Padme was still alive and 2) on Alderaan, Tarkin would meet some quick, gruesome, painful death so fast, it would make what was left of his head spin.

persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 6th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm trying to imagine Leia's reaction if Vader suddenly (as far as she could tell) flipped out and bit Tarkin's head off.


darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: June 6th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
[i]The officers don't much like him, but he seems to work reasonably well with the stormtroopers (and if they're still clones, they should obey... unless, of course, Palps has a specific what-if-Anakin-decides-to-drop-in plan, and they turned on him).[/i]

Hmmmm...I wouldn't put it past Palpatine to have installed in the stormtroopers another "Order 66" code to deal with Vader in the event he was betrayed. Vader would likely be aware of this.
44 comments or Leave a comment