New Blood Vignettes
By Michael Weyer
I was planning to leap right into Empire Strikes Back but was struck with the ideas of a couple of quick stories that would lead to plot points in Empire. It’s short, only three chapters but it fits into things. So all comments are welcomed.
Darth Vader stood by the hallway facing one of the large windows that looked out at Coruscant. It was raining, which was rare but did happen. Vader never liked the rain. It always reminded him of that night when he was brought to the clinic following that duel on Mustafar. The drops of rain hitting his scorched flesh, the smoke rising from it, the smell of his own body burning. It still haunted him today and the rain could only remind him of that horrible day.
“So…know any good restaurants around here?”
Vader turned his head to look at the man leaning against the wall. Angelus has a smirk upon his face, his black outfit fitting well with the dark motif of the Imperial Palace. He was absently rubbing at the collar fitted around his neck, careful not to jar it or else be given a massive shock.
Vader fixed his gaze carefully at the other man. “I did not think you ate food.”
“I don’t,” the vampire replied with his smirk fixed. “But they do attract people and that means I’ve got a buffet going. Been way too hungry lately.”
“We have supplied you with a steady source of blood,” Vader intoned.
“Yeah but the guys in this galaxy are too thin on some of the minerals,” Angelus frowned. “Kind of like low-fat food.”
“I can always arrange you to be placed in containment with some alien forms,” Vader threatened. “That will give you more food sources.”
Angelus snorted. “Sorry. I don’t know what alien blood tastes like or what it can do to me. I’m not up for finding out, either. Nah, I’ll stick to the humans.” He brushed at his clothes. “At least you could have found me some smokes.”
“Not in the presence of the Emperor,” Vader intoned.
Angelus paced before the window. “How come we’re waiting so long? Thought you were the big cheese around here.”
“The Emperor has many responsibilities and duties,” Vader stated. “He will see us when he is prepared.”
Angelus looked down the hallway toward the large doors flanked by a pair of guards in red robes and tall helmets. They stood full at attention, each carrying a long pike, the black visors of their helmets fixed forward. “So, how’s this boss of yours?”
Vader glared behind his helmet. “He is the Emperor of this galaxy and Lord of the Sith. You will show respect, creature, or I shall tear you apart myself.”
“Promises, promises,” Angelus said. The man seemed to show no fear of any of the threats Vader made and he was torn between annoyance and being impressed by his backbone. “I don’t know about this whole Sith mentality and powers. I’m more a hands-on kinda guy.”
“The Emperor shall make that decision,” Vader said. “You shall abide by it.”
Angelus shrugged, looking out the window at the wide cityscape that covered the planet’s surface. After exactly ten seconds, he turned and started off. “Screw this, I hate waiting.” He marched down the hallway toward the two waiting guards.
They raised their pikes but Angelus moved in a blur, smashing one’s visor in as he grabbed the pike and stabbed it into the chest of the other one. The man gasped in pain as he sunk to his knees. Angelus snapped the pike and spun around, jamming the broken end into the visor of the other man.
He backed up, brushing off his hands and headed to the double doors. Vader let out a sigh over his usual breathing as he marched up the hallway. He shook his head slightly at the two dead guards, catching the eye of an officer who was staring at the scene in shock. “See to them.” He then entered the room.
The throne room of the Emperor was a vast chamber with various catwalks and pieces of artwork lining the walls. At the far end, a set of stairs led to the platform where a throne faced away, gazing out at the view of the cityscape.
Angelus was looking about as he walked on, ignoring the red-robed guards on alert around him. He stopped at the bottom of the steps, arms crossed as he looked upward.
There was a long silence before the figure on the throne spoke. “My personal guards are the best the Empire has to offer,” came the graveled voice. “Their lives are not to be wasted as you have just done.”
“Then you shouldn’t have kept me waiting,” Angelus snapped. “I’m not the kind of guy who cools my heels while you do..whatever it is you do.”
“What I do….is to keep this galaxy in order.”
Angelus sniffed. “Order…that is so overrated. Give me some great chaos any day of the week.” He glanced behind him as Vader came up, the armored figure bowing deeply as the throne slowly turned around.
No matter how many times they met, Vader was still struck by Emperor Palpatine’s face. The scarring he’d suffered twenty years earlier was enhanced by age so his face resembled a skull more than a person. He was dressed in completely black robes as he stared down at the vampire with his dark yellow eyes. “Hmmm…Interesting.”
Angelus tried to kill the tiny twinge of nervousness at how he was being studied. “Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“No remorse…no guilt…no touch of light within you…” The Emperor smiled at Vader. “You were right, Lord Vader. The Dark Side is great within this man.”
Angelus rolled his eyes. “If you’re going to give me that big speech on this ‘Force’ shit, I’m just going to leave. I’m only going around with Doc Doom here because I got no other transport.” He rubbed the collar. “That and his lovely choice of fashion.”
The Emperor tapped his wrinkled fingers against an armchair. “Lord Vader told me that you are not human…and not of any alien race we know of. You do, however, have some strength and…other abilities that can be most beneficial to me.”
Angel brushed at his coat. “I’m really not the kind of guy who answers to anyone here, old man. I follow the beat of my own drum…or person’s skull, whichever it may be.”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow. “You…do not fear me?”
Angel actually threw back his head and laughed. “Oh, please! The Master didn’t intimidate me, how the hell can some wannabe in a robe do it?”
Palpatine slowly nodded and then extended a wrinkled hand. A blast of lightning ripped out and struck Angelus dead in the chest. The vampire howled in pain as he was sent stumbling back. The Emperor yanked with his hand and Angelus was pulled forward toward him, smashing face first into the hard tile. The vampire hissed, his clothes smoking as the Emperor sat back.
“You have fire, Angelus,” the old man crackled. “But you must learn respect. You must learn fear. Only by learning that can you become one with the Dark Side.”
Angelus brought himself up, his vampire features forming as he glared at Palpatine. “I already know this ‘dark side’ pal.” He lunged forward as fast as he could, a blur that would allow him to snap the old man’s neck in an instant.
There was a blur before him and suddenly, the Emperor was behind him, the red blade of a lightsaber stabbing forward. Angelus yelled as he felt the blade pierce his side and go through. He hissed as he was pushed to his knees, the saber pulled out and then held by his neck.
Vader simply watched, feeling a bit of satisfaction at seeing this insufferable being finally taught some respect. Palpatine gazed down at the vampire with an evil glare. “You will learn to fear me, Angelus. You will learn the ways of the Dark Side. You will learn that there is no pain where strength lies.”
Angelus spat at him, murder in his eye but Palpatine simply smiled. “Tell me, Lord Vader,” he called out. “What is your opinon on this man?”
“He is no man, my master,” Vader intoned as he stepped forward. “He is a simple murderous creature. He has the dark side within him but no patience, no tact, no restraint. He will simply kill for no reason to satisfy his own bloodlust.” He waved a glove at the prone Angelus. “He does not care for the Sith ways. He only cares for death.”
“Yes…” Palpatine nodded. “Yes, he does….And yet…and yet, there is potential. Potential to become something far more. Something that can be a great aid to us.”
He backed up, the lightsaber switching off as he gazed down at Angelus. “Your choice is clear, creature,” he gravely announced. “You may die here and now, at my hand. Or…You may allow me to begin your teaching in the Sith ways. Teachings that can allow you to reach power far greater than you can imagine.”
Angelus thought quickly. The concept of bowing and scraping to this geezer was distasteful to say the least. However, he realized his options at the moment were low to say the least. This way, maybe, he’d have a chance to get out of this mess somehow.
Plus, he had to admit that the idea of getting his hands on the sort of power was really tempting. Power like that would be just the thing to show off when he finally met up with a certain Slayer. “Fine,” he said, letting his features return to normal. “I’m in.”
Palpatine smiled. “Good….goooood…” He backed up, his lips curled back in a twisted grin. “Your training shall begin tomorrow. You shall enter a new life and become a new person. Henceforth, you shall be known as…” He paused and Angelus rolled his eyes. And they call me a drama queen.
” On second thought, maybe I like him.
Angelus managed a smile as he slowly nodded up at the Emperor.
The Emperor turned to Vader. “Lord Vader…find him quarters and prepare him for the trials.” He turned to sit back on his throne. It slowly turned away as he faced the cityscape once more.
Angelus brushed at his scorched clothing as he headed toward Vader. “So, Darth,” he said, punching the other man in the shoulder. “Who do I have to kill to get some new threads around here?”
Vader glared under his mask. He did his best to stifle his feelings in such close proximity to his master. But he could not escape the thought that letting this…Scourge into the higher reaches of the Empire was going to become a very, very bad mistake.
All comments welcomed. Hope to have more soon.