Testing the Waters
Final Disclaimer: Don't own BtVS or Star Wars or anything else that might creep into this storyA/n:
Yes, I do realize I haven’t written anything on this for a long time. What can I say? Musey doesn’t seem to want to pay attention to this one right now.Testing the Waters
"My Lord, if I may?" The lead bodyguard asked gesturing at the squabbling twins. At Vader's nod he intervened. "Keep this up and you won’t get any treats later and I was planning on giving you guy’s three each because of how well you were behaving. Oh well, more for me." Instantly the two stopped fighting and sulking; suddenly turning into the perfect little angel's.
"We're sorry!" Buffy said.
"We'll be good!" Luke said in almost perfect harmony with Buffy.
This little display almost scared them more than Vader's warning, but it made it very, very clear exactly how much of a problem it might be to keep the twins out of trouble. Vader finally started to realize that he might just be in over his head.
“My lord?” An officer had approached during the scolding and as a parent himself was hard pressed not to smile at the tongue lashing that Buffy had given Vader. “I’m afraid I must interrupt. The Emperor wishes to speak with you. Is there anything or anyone else that we need to collect while we are in the system? I may be able to complete the arrangements for you while you speak with the Emperor, should you choose to allow me.” The officer offered deferentially.
“My lord, Marcus here also has children, twin boys, and if nothing else has a fair idea of what not
to give them as well as the basics that they will need.” The lead bodyguard jumped in before anything else could be said.
“…. Very well. But! You will oversee what is all arranged on board and ensure that no one has left any … unpleasant surprises. I must speak with my master and I must inform him that I have found the children.” Vader told them and then said more softly. “If my master orders their destruction I may not see someone on board with no family for me to be ordered after leaving with them and this ship likely still has repairs to complete and may be unable to follow. After all I have no true experience with children how would I know that they may climb into a ship in the launch bay.” With this he swung around and headed for the communication center leaving a shocked squadron and two mystified children behind him.
“That ship still prepped?” one of the squad troopers asked the pilot.
“Yes, but it wont get you far. If you’re damn lucky then it might get you to the next system but you’d be better to set it to auto including a jump and jettison all
of the life pods in a slingshot around the planet on the far side from the sensors and make sure that they scatter wide with all of you in one but signs of you in all of them. But if you do it you better make sure they land where tracks either wont form or wont stay and have something rigged to blow the door on landing so it’ll look like you were actually inside and left the pods on the off chance that they get tracked.” The pilot told him and earned a shocked stare from the entirety of the rest of them. “What? I have a vivid imagination and a bad habit of figuring out the worst case scenario and ways of dealing with it along with every way it can go to hell and back. It can be both annoying and damn useful. For instance because my head automatically plans out the worst case it also starts running through every and any way I can get not only my own hide out but the hides I’m supposed to be keeping intact too. Trust me you have absolutely no idea what kind of stuff can not only be thrown your way but the most insane ways of not only avoiding but getting out of it. Besides who did you guys think was gonna fly you out?” he added with a grin. They all just looked at each other without having any idea what to think except possibly “I’m glad he’s on our side…”
In the communication center…
Vader dismissed the com-tech and knelt on the special holo pad, bowing his head; when it triggered he acknowledged his master’s arrival. “Master.”
“Vader, there was a problem enroute?” Palpatine inquired, not mentioning the disturbance in the force just yet, deciding that it felt to closely linked to his star pupil.
“Yes, there was a problem with the hyper drive.” Vader answered and then hesitated. He didn’t want to tell his master about the children but he knew that if he didn’t then there was a good chance that he would have signed their death warrants as well as his own. Unfortunately he’d paused for to long, long enough that no one could mistake the fact that he had more to say.
“Is there something else?” Palpatine asked giving Vader a chance to bring the disturbance to his attention and possibly what caused it.
“Yes, when we arrived in the system I felt a disturbance in the force and investigated it. It was caused by two children… my children.” Vader admitted reluctantly, silently praying that his master would not order their deaths.
“……….. I had believed that they perished with Padm’e. Twins?” Palpatine asked in complete surprise after a long moment of shocked silence.
“Yes.” Vader said daring to hope that his master would allow them to live. “They are young but they can be taught, and …. they are my children.” The last was said almost pleadingly.
“Bring them to me. We will see what occurs from there. For now learn from those with children who serve under your command. I will decide if they are to be trained after
I have seen them.” Palpatine ordered. “And Vader, don’t disappoint me.” Without even waiting for a reply the link was cut from the Emperor’s end.
Still kneeling on the floor Vader bowed his head once more and replied quietly both to the empty holo room and through the force. “Thank you, master.” Then he rose and went to find his children, yet still glad he’d told the stormtroopers who’d accompanied them to try and take them to safety if they could should he be ordered to kill them.
When he found the troopers and pilot still with the children near the hanger where they had docked the smaller vessel he decided that this
was the platoon that would serve as his children’s guards; they knew when to listen and to judge carefully what was said, several of them had already admitted that they had experience with children aside from the three drafted bodyguards. Now he could only hope that his master would be willing to accept them as he had first indicated when he’d offered one Anakin Skywalker a place at his side even if his beloved Padm’e was no longer with them. As he approached he noted that about half the platoon put themselves between him and the children, if he’d arrived to kill them then he’d need to first kill the stormtroopers that stood in his way and the time that it would take to kill them would be more than enough for the others to get the children into a ship in the launch bay and take off before anyone could stop them; and why would they? The others would see members of their own hurrying to get into a ship and take off. Yes, it might be inferred that they were traitors because they would be running from him
but that wouldn’t likely be the first thing that would pop into the mind of their comrades.
Vader raised a hand and nodded in approval. “My master wishes to see them and we have been ordered into his presence. Commander you and your platoon are no longer attached to the Shee-Li Nam
you are now only answerable to me. You and your men will guard Buffy and Luke. You and your platoon will also assist and participate in any other duties that may arise from that situation. You.” Vader pointed at the original lead bodyguard “What is your name?”
“Tal, sir.” He answered promptly.
“You and the other two parents may tell the others what would be safe from a parent’s point of view and what would be appropriate until I have learned more. However that does not override any security concerns that may arise. For those of you who were in the same landspeeder as I and the children you may share with your fellow teammates what you have learned regarding myself and the children but it goes no farther. My master is aware of the information but not that you know it. I don’t intend to inform him that you are fully aware of the situation and its more extensive ramifications. Pilot, you have two options walk away and return to normal service, you will receive a bonus for your involvement in this, or
remain and be permanently reassigned to this platoon, me, and the children. The second option may be fatal and have no gain if my master decides that the children are too much of a threat. If you remain and my master does decide that I will ask, ask mind not order, that you and the platoon take them and run.” Vader told them bluntly. “Make your choice.”
“I’ll stay. This is going to be fun.” The pilot, Tabolt, said with a crooked grin.
“Very well. Children, try to behave and obey your bodyguards. Tal, I need to speak with as many parents that are under my command as possible. My master ordered me to learn from them. He is still deciding if Luke and Buffy will be trained…. Where are they?” Vader asked suddenly noticing that they hadn’t heard a word from them nor had they noticed them moving about.
This simple question started the entire platoon on a mini yet large scale manhunt of the local area of the ship including the nearby hanger, which it turned out that they had both wandered into. Luckily both had been spotted and corralled by workers used to kids and highly concerned by the fact that the twins had managed to get into such a dangerous area, most especially for such little tykes. There was a small crowd of about 10 workers that were surrounding the now not so adventurous but quite scared twins. What with all of the loud noises and sparks and big holes in the floor and lots of different ships the twins little adventure had turned into something a bit more scary and when they’d looked for their bodyguards they couldn’t tell who was one of theirs and who wasn’t and everything was just to much. They were on the verge of tears by the time Vader made it through the crowd of workers and stormtroopers.
When the two-some saw Vader they made a mad dash for him and grabbed his legs and started crying and babbling “We’re sorry! We’s wont go away again! We’s promish! They looked the same! Which ones are ours? could’nt find ours. could’nt see them.” and all throughout both continued crying.
Vader looked at Tal helplessly until he managed to unravel some of what they were babbling. “You couldn’t tell which ones you needed to stay with? You couldn’t tell your bodyguards apart from the others? I asked you two not to wander off.” He told them helplessly. “We can make it so that you can tell who your bodyguards are just by looking at them. We can put something special on their armor for now until we get the special armor made. Come with me we will go back to the ones that belong to you, alright?” Buffy and Luke sniffled and nodded their eyes red as they looked up into their father’s masked face as he took them back through the still gathering crowd to the platoon of new bodyguards. As Vader looked at the platoon he realized from this minor emergency that experience with children did not equate mastery and the complex enigma that was a child might never be understood. He also realized that he would have to gauge his reactions to what happened with the children and their protectors carefully, for was he not present when they disappeared the first two times? Then to they had three seasoned parents with them as well and neither he nor they had gotten even a hint from the force or the children that they were about to disappear on them. True they didn’t disappear far but it was far enough to have gotten them possibly killed.
As they finally rejoined the group the children looked at the pilot and giggled. He was making funny faces at them trying to cheer them up and make them feel safe again. “We need to find something to mark your armor before anything else the children couldn’t identify you from the others and got scared.” Vader told the platoon while looking down at the children.
“Mack, I’ve got some markers of different colors in my berth. Can I run and get them?” One of the platoon asked the unit leader.
“Sure, but hurry it up Vipe. We’ll have to figure something out for now from what we’ve got that the kids can see from wherever they are and can bolt for.” Platoon leader Mack told him. “And Bolt since you’ve decided to stick around you’ll need something too.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know.” Tabolt ‘Bolt’ waved away the remark as Vipe left to get the markers. “So do we want to go down and get what we need for the kiddies before we head out or are we going with making make-shift kiddie proof stuff out of military junk in the stores?”