Sunday, 16 January 1994

The Empire Saga Chapter Thirteen

Paul Solo sat in one of the chairs of Tarkin's shuttle craft, strapped down. Then, from one of the other compartments, Tarkin entered. He stared at Solo. A few seconds later Vader entered.

"Is this the one?" asked Tarkin.
"That is Inspector Paul Solo." Vader replied. "The computer files said he was the liaison between the authorities and Anglo-Force. Sources also say that he is a friend of Watt and Magus.
"Then let's hope my plan will work." said Tarkin. "Soon, Watt and Magus will come looking for their friend, and then they will be ours."
"There is one thing that will interest you about him." said Vader. "When we first captured him I ran a scan on him. It seems he possesses some powers, the ability to read minds."
"You mean he's a telepath?" said Tarkin.
"Not as yet." said Vader. "At this moment in time his powers are weak. But given time and the proper training he can become a very powerful force."
Tarkin began to rub his chin.
"Perhaps you can tutor him." said Tarkin. "Then, when we return to our own time we can use him for our needs."
Tarkin then went back to the other compartment.

Several hours passed. Tarkin's plans did not go the way he wanted them to. He sat on his shuttle craft expecting Watt and Magus to suddenly attack the shuttle craft and try to take Solo back by force. He used the sensors on the shuttle craft to scan the surrounding area, but there was nothing.
"Where the hell are they?" Tarkin cursed. "They should have been here by now!"
"It is now obvious that your plan has not worked." said Vader. "We have wasted our resources in pointless attacks when we could have gone along with my plan."
"Which is?"
"We attack the Anglo-Force headquarters directly." said Vader. "A full head-on attack from the ground and the air. We take no prisoners, and we get Watt and Magus."
"Very well." said Tarkin. "We go along with your plan. Begin contacting our forces on the ground, and prepare them for the attack. I only hope the element of surprise is on our side."
And so Vader set about his task. He began contacting his forces on the ground and the TIE fighters in orbit around the Earth. He then laid out his plan.

In the Anglo-Force mansion their sensors were working overtime.
"There's definitely a large force gathering a few miles from here." said White Knight. "And the satellites are picking up something also."
"What sort of things?" asked Watt.
"Five craft coming into the atmosphere from an Earth orbit." said White Knight.
"It's begun." said Watt. "Vader and Tarkin are beginning their attack. Try to find the others, especially Magus. I want this building on red alert. And try to contact the military and Scotland Yard. We will need all the help we can get."
Watt then went to leave the monitor room. Suddenly Katrina appeared in the doorway wearing her Red Sun costume.
"I'm going to help you." she said.
"No way." said Watt. "You're still not one hundred percent, and besides, who's going to keep an eye on young Peter?"

Outside in the air the TIE fighters began to get near the building. They opened fire, and laser blasts ripped into the ground around the building. The fighters then rose up into the sky, turned around, and began another run at the building. Then, the newly-installed defence system began to kick into gear. Laser turrets suddenly opened at the top of the building, and from them laser cannons could be seen. They opened fire and managed to hit two of the fighters. One of them was so badly damaged that it had to make an emergency landing. Then the sensors in the monitor room picked up another craft leaving Earth orbit. This one was different from the fighters however. It was the shuttle carrying Vader and Tarkin. As they entered the atmosphere the Storm Troopers began to near the building. Vader landed the shuttle craft not far away from the building. A few seconds after landing the hatchway opened and Vader exited, dragging Solo behind him.
"You are coming with me, to witness the death of your friends." said Vader.
Then Tarkin stood on the ramp the led into the shuttle craft. Vader turned.
"Are you not coming to witness the demise of Anglo-Force?" said Vader.
"It is best that I stay here to supervise the operations." said Tarkin.
Vader quickly swung round and approached the building.

The Storm Troopers neared the Anglo-Force mansion. The front row began to open fire on the building but were surprised to find that their laser blasts were repelled by one of Muir Industries' new inventions, an energy force field. Then the battle began in earnest. While the building's defences were put on automatic Watt, White Knight, Star Man and Fire-Master flew out of the building. The Storm Troopers were surprised. They did not expect Anglo-Force to engage in a form of hand-to-hand combat. It seemed a strange sight, warriors from the future battling warriors from their past. Although heavily outnumbered the four members of Anglo-Force seemed to be getting an edge. White Knight used his sword Excalibur to repel several laser blasts, to the surprise of many of the Storm Troopers. Star Man, with his nova blasts, and Fire-Master, with his fire bursts, easily returned the Trooper's fire. Watt, meanwhile, was puzzling the troops with his speed, but he did stop several times to throw a few of the Storm Troopers through the air as if they were rag dolls. Then Watt looked skyward as a TIE fighter approached them. Taking to the air Watt phased through the hull of the fighter, surprising the pilot. Watt then opened the hatch and tossed the pilot into the sky. The fighter began to dive towards the ground, but after a few seconds Watt managed to gain control. The fighter then flew high up into the sky.

Vader was watching the battle from afar, just as Tarkin was doing from his shuttle craft. Tarkin could tell that Vader had not joined the battle. He then contacted him.
"Why have you not joined the battle?" he boomed. "Why haven't any of our troops managed to get into the mansion?"
"If you look at your sensors you will see that a small party has just entered the building." said Vader.
"It is not good enough." said Tarkin. "I want you to get into that place yourself and kill both of them yourself."
"And what about Solo?" asked Vader.
"Forget him. You have greater concerns. Just find Watt and Magus and destroy them."
Vader got to his feet and tossed Solo away as if he were a piece of rubbish. He then strode towards the mansion. From the TIE fighter Watt saw Vader leave his position of safety. After seeing this Watt soon landed the TIE fighter and began to follow Vader.

As Vader entered the building he spied Magus in the entrance hall repelling the attacks of several Storm Troopers. Vader paused briefly. He knew that his light sabre was useless against the wizard, but perhaps with Magus distracted he could get him another way. The power of the dark side of the Force reached out, smiting Magus. Slowly he fell to his knees, then he slumped forwards, seemingly lifeless. Vader prodded his body with the toe of his boot. There was no reaction. He moved further into the mansion. From above the astral form of Magus watched.
"How easy to strike down an empty body, Vader." he mused. "And how foolish not to ensure the death of the same."

Outside the battle continued. The armour of the Storm Troopers seemed no match for White Knight and Excalibur, to the amazement of those who wore it. It also seemed that the armour was no match for extreme temperatures as Star Man and Fire-Master found out. While the battle continued Watt entered the mansion in search of Vader. After a few minutes he found Magus' body lying on the floor. He rushed over to the body and kneeled down next to it.
"Magus! Magus! Are you alright?"
Watt then heard a voice above him.
"I'm quite fine my boy."
Watt looked up and saw Magus' astral image floating near the ceiling.
"What the hell happened to you?" said Watt.
"Don't worry." said Magus. "I have merely left my body. You now see me in my astral form."
"Well stop messing about." said Watt. "We've got to go after Vader now!"
"Unfortunately I cannot." said Magus. "It will be a number of minutes before I can re-enter my body. You must go ahead. I will catch up with you as soon as I can."
Watt got to his feet and continued on his way down the corridor.

Outside Solo had managed to break free from his bonding, and he had joined the battle against the Storm Troopers. His newfound telekinetic abilities were of great help to White Knight, Star Man and Fire-Master. Now, the Storm Troopers were dropping like flies. Leaving the others to take care of the few remaining troopers White Knight rode off on his steed Galador towards the nearby shuttle craft. When he arrived he dismounted and walked up to the open hatchway. He peered inside. At first he could see no one, but then he heard a noise and looked in further. In one corner of the shuttle stood Grand Moff Tarkin, blaster in his hand.
"I am armed." he said.
"You are heavily outnumbered." said White Knight. "Your men are close to defeat. It would be wise for you to surrender now."
White Knight entered the shuttle craft. Tarkin held the blaster further away from his body.
"If you come any closer I will fire."
White Knight took Excalibur out of it's sheath, held it in the air, and cut off the end of the blaster, rendering it useless.
"I ask you again to surrender." he said.
Tarkin looked at White Knight and then dropped what remained of the blaster onto the floor.

Inside the building Vader continued to stalk through the corridors. He soon came upon an open door. Peering inside Vader saw the cot in the centre of the room and he heard the noise of young Peter Watt. Vader approached the cot and looked inside at the young child. Extending his arms Vader picked up young Peter and looked at him. He sensed something different about the child. Then he heard a sound behind him and turned around. Red Sun was now standing in the doorway.
"Put down my son!" she said, her hand extended in front of her.
Vader just looked at her. Red Sun then began to fire one of her blasts at Vader, yet because she was still weak the blast had no effect on him. She then began to run towards Vader, but Vader just raised his hand and knocked her away. She now lay unconscious on the ground. A few seconds later Watt entered the nursery. He saw Vader holding his son.
"Put him down, Vader, now!" shouted Watt.
Watt then saw Red Sun lying on the ground. He rushed over to her and picked her up.
"This is your son, isn't it?" said Vader. "If you value his life you will surrender yourself to me, now."
Watt stared at Vader. To him there seemed no choice. He knew that he had to surrender, otherwise Vader would kill his son. Then, just before Watt was about to surrender Magus entered the room. He now stood in front of Vader. The two of them stared at each other.
"You don't want to do this, Vader." said Magus. "I know that you have disagreed with Tarkin's plans all along. You don't want to be here in this time. You want to return home, and you know that I am the only one who can help send you back."
Vader just continued to stare at Magus.
"Put the child down and I will contact those of my order." Magus continued. "Together we can find a way of sending you back. We have done this for others before, and we can do it for you and your men. All you have to do is put the child down."
Magus sensed a slight change in Vader. Slowly Vader walked over to Watt and handed his son to him. He then walked over to Magus.
"The battle is over." he said. "Return me to my time."