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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.
43 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! :)
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. ;)
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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