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Coincides with Chapter 12 of The Truth

Title: A Disruptive Child
Author: Spirit White (brightwhitespirit@yahoo.com)
Rating: PG
Characters: Luke, Vader

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by George Lucas, Lucasfilms Ltd. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.


“My Lord,” a stormtrooper spoke through his tinny-sounding vocoder. “He’s up there.”

Vader turned to look, concentrating on making his helmet’s lenses zoom in on the building that the stormtrooper indicated. It was two-stories high and domed. Crouched at the top, illuminated slightly by the city lights, was the thin, cloaked figure that he’d come to Tatooine to watch.

His hood was down, exposing the boy’s hair, which was, Vader noted with consternation, a bright shade of blue. Vader turned his body slightly, focusing more on the figure, noting the good balance on the domed roof. Noting, also, the faint speck of light near the figure’s mouth.

When a hand reached from the folds of the cloak and up to the mouth, Vader realized what the light was. It moved with the hand and, faintly, Vader could see a thin stream of smoke expel from the boy’s mouth. Vader seethed.

Spice, he thought angrily. My son is using spice.

“My lord,” the trooper spoke again, catching Vader’s attention. Angrily, Vader turned his head, preparing to light into the trooper. “We think he uses Jedi powers,” the trooper continued, and Vader stilled.

“Already?” he demanded, turning again to stare at the figure on the roof.

“Yes, my lord,” the trooper repeated. “He does things that no ordinary child can do.”

“Like what?” Vader rumbled, his mind racing.

“He’s made things...float,” the trooper said, almost reluctantly. “Made things fly.”

“Indeed,” Vader said slowly, focusing on the child - his child - on the roof. “Indeed.” Wanting to take a closer look, Vader used the Force to enhance his own vision, and saw for the first time his son’s features. Thin, but with a remaining roundness that suggested that, when fully developed and with an adequate diet, his jaw would be strong and his cheeks boyish. As it was, he looked unhealthy and pale - like a spice addict. Vader felt another surge of anger. Of all the vices...

“Here is the information we’ve been able to collect,” the trooper said, offering a datapad to Vader, who accepted and began to study it. It started out with Luke's name, followed by his guardians' names. They were dead, Vader remembered. He’d ordered his troopers to kill them. Luke Skywalker, Owen and Beru Lars. Age: (sixteen?). It continued with his height, his approximate weight, hair color, and eye color. Below that was a list detailing his education. Vader scanned rapidly. The results weren’t good. Luke Lars, as he was called, was described as a disruptive child from the very beginning. On his first day of school, he’d screamed at the teacher and hit another child and, when punished, he had promptly burst into tears and run away. Teachers expressed concern that Luke’s upbringing wasn’t up to par. An small investigation was begun, yielding no results except a very furious guardian.

As the years progressed and Luke’s behavior deteriorated, his school teachers tried any and all methods of helping him, punishing him, and trying to get him to open up. Instead of confessing what bothered him, Luke would scream and yell and cry. He didn’t make a solid friend until he was almost eleven years old, when he befriended Laze Loneozner. The pair of them started drinking alcohol by the time they were twelve and skipping school in earnest just a few weeks later. His already dismal marks declined even further. The pair of them were later joined by two more children, whose names were not listed. At the age of fourteen, a teacher caught Luke and Loneozner smoking spice. The punishment was swift and fierce, but instead of causing Luke to abandon the drug, he merely shrank even further away from authority. By the time he was fifteen, he spent most of his time either drunk or high, and by the time his guardians were killed, the school hadn’t seen or heard from Luke in almost two weeks.

Despite that, as Vader scanned the listed marks he realized that on every test of mathematics and engineering, Luke had scored at least a ninety. On tests of history and politics, his failures were spectacular. Obviously, Vader mused, his son was not as unintelligent as he liked people to think. The subjects he didn’t need to study, he aced easily. His dismal grades stemmed mostly from not attending school at all.

Teacher notes spoke of an unhappy, frightened child, and an angry, disruptive teen. Had the Lars couple been harmful? Considering, Vader glanced up at the figure on the roof, watching as the boy let the spice stick fall. His stomped on it, grinding his boot heel into the butt of the stick, then stood there, seeming to stare out over the Wastes, arms folded as if deliberating. No, Vader thought. Something else happened when he was a child. He wasn’t harmed physically. Emotionally, perhaps. Maybe even psychologically.

Something bad happened, though, he mused. Something bad enough to make a five-year-old child lash out defensively at everything around him. Something horrible enough to have repercussions reaching years into the future.

“We’ve discovered what he’s been doing lately, my Lord,” the same trooper said tentatively. “He’s joined a band of street kids. We’ve discovered their hideout, and are ready to move when you give the order.”

“What does he go by?” Vader demanded.

“Pardon, my Lord?” the trooper asked, startled.

“His name,” Vader said. “What do the other children call him?” There was a barely imperceptible pause in the trooper’s words, and a faint sense of surprise trickled through the Force from the trooper’s direction.

“Oz,” the trooper said. “The children call him Oz.”

Oz.

“We questioned his neighbors and close friends,” the trooper went on. “Specifically, one Laze Loneozner. Nothing resulted from the interrogation, but we later discovered that Skywalker uses an ID with Loneozner’s name. We are unsure at this time if it was given willingly, or if he stole it.”

“It does not matter,” Vader said. “Leave this Loneozner alone. He has had no contact with the boy for months.”

“Yes, my Lord,” the trooper said smartly, then took a step back. His breath hissing through his respirator, Vader looked up at the youngster once more, just in time to see him turn and stride off the roof nonchalantly. He simply walked off, as if treading down a step. A trickle through the Force alerted Vader to its use, and he smiled behind his mask.

“Surround the children's hideout,” he ordered, turning abruptly. “But do not harm them. Alert Family Services. I want the boy unharmed.”

“Yes, Lord Vader,” the squad chorused, and immediately moved away to converse. Vader turned to glance once more at the now empty roof.

Soon, he thought to himself. Soon, I will have you, Oz. Or should I say, my son... Luke Skywalker.


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