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This fits into "The Truth" between chapters 29 and 30

Title: Spicer
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.

Captain Piett hadn’t met a young man like Luke Skywalker since he’d been a mere boy on Axxila, studying hard to be accepted into the Imperial Academy. A drinker and a drug addict, the boy that Piett remembered had swiftly ruined himself, pushing away any help that was offered.

What virtues this one had, Piett had no idea.

Of course, he might just be biased right now – he was, after all, staring at a gaping hole in the heating ducts on his beloved ship – but he didn’t think so.

It took a lot of effort, but he managed to school the look of fury from his face and replace it with a sternly expressionless one. He wasn’t sure how well he succeeded, but it was the effort that counted.

Why, he wondered to himself, is this child here aboard my ship?

A glance at Vader reminded him once more. Right. Force user, he thought grimly. Why in the galaxy the Emperor wanted this particular boy…Piett had no idea, and had the odd feeling he wasn’t meant to. So he rigidly suppressed his irritation enough to lead the little spicer to the detention level, feeling a brief flash of satisfaction at that. It died a quick death, though, because just before the secure hatch closed, Piett glimpsed the mulish expression fade from that youthful face, replaced with an expression of abject misery and confusion.

He got the feeling that not even Luke knew why he was here.

The next time Piett saw the boy he was dressed in a strange outfit that Piett dimly remembered from Republic days – a uniform of black and brown with an odd sort of wrap around the torso. He was standing beside Lord Vader with a sullen expression that periodically flickered with anxiety and indecision, augmented by the jerky movements and an unknowing wrinkling of the Lord Vader’s cloak. Piett had to pinch his lips together to make them stop twitching as the pair stopped beside him, Vader’s hand reaching down to pry the boy’s fingers off.

“My lord,” Piett greeted, nodding his head respectfully. “Luke,” he added, giving the boy a tight smile.

“Hi, Cap,” Luke replied, smiling back. Piett quelled the urge to grin broadly, feeling like a teenager again. He glanced up at Lord Vader, seeing him staring down at the boy with what looked like a glare under his mask. Luke seemed to feel the look, because he shrank a little and uneasiness crept into his eyes, and Piett observed as his hand automatically reached out to grasp the black cloak again as Vader nodded in reply to Piett’s greeting and started to move off. An Ensign coughed, and Piett shot him a sharp look, seeing the young man struggling to hide an amused smile.

For several moments, Piett observed that the boy seemed to be genuinely trying to behave. He struggled a little bit, and Piett could see him longing to say something, but the only time he did was when someone greeted him with words.

Then it all went downhill.

With alarm, Piett saw the boy step away from Vader’s side and examine a small button on one of the empty consoles. His alarm grew when Luke lifted a hand, and he stepped forward quickly.

“My lord – ” he started, but it was too late, and Piett saw the finger push the button down.

Instantly, an alarm echoed through the bridge, and various tiny holes in the wall appeared, their lids sliding away from them. A moment later, decontam foam was spilling from the holes, and emergency masks were falling from the ceiling.

Instinctively, Piett grabbed one and yanked the strap over his head, feeling the effects of the decontam foam immediately. The rest of the crew followed suit…except – Piett stilled in alarm – Luke.

The boy was looking around him in shock, one hand flailing out to his side as his balance went off kilter from the effects. In two quick strides, Piett yanked another mask from its string and arrived at the boy’s side, quickly shoving the mask into place on his face. A moment later, an Ensign turned off the klaxon and a ringing silence fell.


Piett had to close his eyes against an involuntary laugh, one hand still grasping the boy’s shoulder, the other pressing the mask over Luke’s mouth, feeling the vibrations of the word. A moment later, a loud noise filled the silence…a sort of gurgling grumble…and Piett really did grin this time behind his mask.

Luke’s stomach had growled.

His face flushed immediately behind the mask, and he tilted his head back to give Piett an embarrassed shrug, and then a black-gloved hand fastened around his upper arm and yanked him backwards.

“What,” Vader asked slowly, his voice an ominous rumble, “part of ‘Do everything I say’ don’t you understand?”

“I did everything you said!” Luke said indignantly, and then added, after a heartbeat, “I just did a little extra, as well.”

As they spoke, Piett saw out of the corner of his eye as the maintenance crew swiftly cleaned up the decontam foam and spraying air-cleaner around the bridge. Within moments, the air was clean. He turned back to see Luke wrinkling the cloak again.

“You,” Vader snarled, pointing a finger at the teenager, “are reckless. Come.” The black-armored man turned abruptly, striding away. Luke gave Piett a desolate look, and pulled off his mask to follow.

“Thanks, Cap,” he said quietly, and hurried away. “Hey, wait,” he called. “Ah – sir! Waaaii-aaaiiiit!”

Lord Vader ignored him, his dark cloak billowing out behind him in a swirl of dark cloud, perfectly pressed and spotless.

Except, Piett noticed, one edge, which was badly crumpled, as if a young hand had wrinkled it between the fingers for too long.

Piett had to turn away in his struggle to contain his smile.

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