Darth Vader: The Hero of Naboo
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
Summary: The Force often works in strange ways. That was never truer when Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker, found himself on Naboo during the Trade Federation occupation. How is the Republic to react to a Sith Lord that has committed no crime and is aiding Queen Amidala? And did I mention Vader wasn't the only one brought along the ride? No, it's not Luke or Leia.
Thoughts and Flashback
Demonic or Animalistic Speak
Demonic or Animalistic Thought
Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, Apprentice to Darth Sidious, Right Hand of Emperor Palpatine and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Armies was currently stranded in a forest on an unknown planet with little recollection of how he got there.
Let it never be said that age had not taught the Sith how to remain calm in unusual circumstances, for even those that knew him would claim he was taking this exceptionally well.
As he strode through the forest, he vaguely recalled his last moments before waking up to this world. He had been on the bridge of the Executor while...who had he been speaking with? It was still a bit hazy, but by the Force or his returning memory, it was getting clearer. He knew the recently promoted Admiral Firmus Piett was there, but they were speaking with someone else. Someone...important? Or someone that knew something important..
'Hmm, yes, we were pursuing the Millennium Falcon. Fett reported its destination and we were discussing the trap for the Princess and her allies. We were making the jump to hyperspace, then...nothing? We didn't crash, or this forest would be scorched to cinders,' He mused to himself, marching through the forest with his imposing yet confident gait. He was currently just thanking the Force that he had his lightsa-
He stopped dead in his tracks as he felt something, a presence in the force; Two to be exact. Both were...familiar, but he couldn't place them. Whatever happened to him had made him feel temporarily un-synced to the force, as if his connection to it had suffered a metaphorical concussion. It made things murky, but his ability to sense through the force was steadily returning. Like how he had changed his course ever so slightly to head towards the nearest civilization he could perceive.
That too gave him a sense of Deja vu. In fact, the whole planet was giving him that feeling, like he had been here before. Unfortunately, he had been to many, many planets with forests like this, so that didn't really narrow the list down any. He was just glad it wasn't Tatooine-By the Force, how he had secretly wished for the Death Star to have been used on that planet before that distaster at Yavin. Then again, it wasn't Mustafar either. The less said about that place, the better.
If anyone could see his face, they would have seen Darth Vader blinking with a surprised look as he stared at an animal. It was a large creature, over eleven feet tall, with long legs and a very short neck. The fur was a golden shade while the head had large floppy ears and four twisting antlers. It watched the Sith Lord for just a moment before bolting into the forest, leaving a confused Vader in its wake.
"An ikopis?" He questioned out loud. While he didn't have a lot of experience with these creatures, he did know them by sight and knew that there were only two places to find it: On Naboo or one of its moons, Rori. And Vader had never been to Rori. His gloved hands gripped themselves so tightly, he worried he might actually break the machinery in the hands, "Of all the places it would be, it had to be here," He muttered in distaste, continuing his walk to what he was already guessing to be Theed…which meant the signatures he was sensing were probably two of Padme's family members or former handmaidens.
Naboo had been a place he had avoided with great zeal since he became the Dark Lord the galaxy knew him as. Coincidentally, so had Darth Sidious avoided sending his apprentice here or any of his more dubious agents. Naboo was a special place to both of them for different reasons. And even in the blackened hearts of the Siths, they both allowed themselves and each other that weakness, to keep this little planet mostly untouched by their works. There was also the solemn and siltent agreement to utterly and painfully destroy anyone that would harm the peaceful planet and anyone that forced the Sith Lords to do so themselves.
Yet, here Vader was, on the one planet he probably never intended to revisit- and if he ever did come back here, it would only be either to die or because he had somehow made peace with his past. The latter hadn't happened and unless his life support was on the fritz, the former wasn't about to happen either. With a sigh, something he had to actually had to try to accomplish these days, Darth Vader headed to the edge of a forest hill, hoping to get a good look at the city if only to get a proper guess on how far he was from there and approximate how long it would take to send a message to the nearest Star Destroyer to pick him up- and tell him what the hell happened to his Executor!
Once he reached the edge, Vader grabbed onto a branch as he peered over the forest and plains to the capital city of Naboo, Theed. Where his wife laid buri-
"...Are they reenacting the Trade Federation's occupation?" Darth Vader asked himself in mild curiosity as he turned to his left. In the distance, he saw what appeared to be an assortment of old B1 Battle Droids and AATs marching out of the forest. He fought so many of them in the clone wars that he still recognized them from a distance. While the prospect of such a thing didn't really surprise him, it was the fact that he had never heard of such a thing that set off some alarm bells. The bells got louder as the marching line got longer and longer. There was no possible way they had that many droids or actors to perform this kind of show, let alone without him knowing about it.
Adrenaline pumped through his veins, his heart pounded in his suit and his loud breathing became labored as his mind tried to process the impossible idea forming in his head. With a shudder, he regained control of his emotions as he forced himself to reach out to the city. There was fear there and plenty of that. And somewhere in the long march of droids, Darth Vader could sense a nervous and fearful being that was also loaded with greed and triumph: He took this to be Viceroy Nute Gunray.
Beyond that were two Jedi signatures, which he scolded himself for not realizing sooner, that were somewhere in or beyond the city. They were, in fact, the two familiar ones he picked up earlier. One was very much like Obi-Wan, but off: Probably because this was a much younger Obi-Wan than what he was used to. The other was Qui Gon Jinn. That presence, however brief he had known it, was unmistakable. After all, who forgets the person that freed them from slavery?
But even those two took a back seat to the presence he had actually been looking for, the one he had long since wished to feel again, but had resigned himself that he would never have that privilege, "...Padme." He whispered numbly.
He forced himself to take several deep breaths, to keep from heading straight through the city and destroying everything in his path between him and her. If he was back in time...if this was the start of the Trade Federation Occupation, then she didn't even know Anakin Skywalker just yet, so all he'd do is terrify her. Unless time was altered, she was not in danger right now and Nute Gunray needed her alive, unless he completely misremembered how Obi-Wan explained to him the parts of the event that he, Anakin, wasn't involved in at the time.
Still, that left him with few options…at least, few obvious ones. But let it never be said that Vader wasn't good at planning on the spot- Sidious had trained him very well in that, as well as many other arts. Speaking of the Sith, Vader noted the less oppressive, almost unnoticeable feeling of currently-Senator Palpatine. In fact, if he didn't know the presence so well himself, Vader would guess that he wouldn't even notice it all-much like how none of the Jedi noticed it before it was too late.
Nodding to himself, the Dark Lord made his way down the forest. Hopefully, he could get into the city without anyone noticing and before anyone managed to escape.
The Dark Lord of the Sith was both insanely irritated and extremely grateful for the incompetence of the federation droids. While they were immune to mind manipulations, they were not immune to the simplest of tricks: Such as being distracted by a thrown rock, which was how he got in the city itself or something falling over- that method being how he was getting into the palace. Everything else was a mix of sticking to the shadows, using back alleys and muting his respirator: Despite common belief, his life support could be silent. It worked less efficiently, but not enough to be an immediate concern. He just preferred not to for the psychological effect it had on his enemies and underlings- plus, it made stealth even more effective when he turned it off temporarily rather than muting it completely.
Still, the fact that not one droid had spotted him on his entire walk to the palace felt massively disappointing. He was nearly seven feet tall, dressed in all black, wore a skull-like mask, and was a literal durasteel cyborg! Something like that shouldn't be able to sneak past armed forces successfully!
'Hate the programmers, not the droids,' Vader thought to himself smolderingly as he walked up to one of the palace's side entrances. The droids were investigating a statue that had suddenly tipped over and broke. He hid behind a pillar for a moment before strolling up to the door. Once inside, he took a moment to pause and collect himself, '...If I'm not careful, I may join up with the Separatists just to improve these damn droids. I was so busy fighting them that I never realize how much an insult they are to all that appreciate creating fine working machinery!' He thought to himself, trying to reign in his annoyance. He hated incompetence like a plague, but at least with Stormtroopers there was potential improvement. With droids, it was primarily on the programmers how well their creations functioned and these droids were cheap beyond belief.
Sure, C3P0 wasn't perfect, but he was made from desert scraps and at least he was competent! And he swore that some force spirit lurked inside R2D2! That astrodroid was too good at too many things it wasn't meant to do! And Vader, as Anakin, had only customized him for a sixth of those!
Pulling himself out of his mental tech-ranting-zone, the Jedi Slayer hummed as he restored his ominous breathing. He was in the palace now, so he didn't mind being noticed as much now. His former, or future, Jedi master and Qui Gon were in the city, probably sneaking about to get in the palace and rescue the queen- if that didn't sound like it wasn't out of a fairy tale, then Vader was an albino zeltron. Nute Gunray was definitely in here with Padme, probably escorting her and her aides with a squad of battle droids, "Perhaps it is best for me to make a...strong first impression," He mused.
For some reason, despite the mechanical limbs and life support suit, he suddenly felt half his age...
Padme Naberrie, secretly Queen Amidala of Naboo, walked dutifully with the rest of the handmaidens and her personal guards, just behind her body double, Sabe. Along with them were the captain of Theed Palace security, Quarsh Panaka, and the governor of Naboo, Sio Bibble. Around them were about a dozen battle droids, escorting them to wherever Nute Gunray decided to hold them until she was ready to cooperate.
Why they were being lead to the main entrance and exit of the palace, she wasn't sure, unless Gunray was just trying to flaunt the fact that he captured her to the citizens.
Regardless, as they made their way down the hall, Padme couldn't help being suspicious when the droids all suddenly came to a stop, "Halt!" The lead one ordered with one hand raised, looking around oddly.
"What is it?" Another of the battledroids asked in the droid equivalent of confusion. Padme caught Panaka's look, asking if they should try and overwhelm the mechanical soldiers. She shook her head, not wanting to take a risk like that just yet.
"Audial disturbance detected. Source location unknown," The lead droid answered, its head moving back and forth in an attempt to locate the noise.
"My sensors detect it as well," Another droid confirmed, followed by the rest.
"What are they talk about?" Panaka muttered to himself, the captives eyeing thier guards oddly.
Every organic member of the group suddenly froze as a cold chill ran up their spines, the distant but sharp sound of artificial breathing hitting their ears like the voice of death itself, the soul chilling atmosphere that traveled with it doing nothing to ease their worries as the noise steadily grew louder and louder.
Even the true Queen Amidala found herself trembling for an instant, the air suddenly carrying an extra weight to it.
"Intruder sighted!" A droid declared behind them, prompting the entire group, human and droid alike, to do an about face. There, not thirty feet down the hallway, was a large, humanoid monolith. There was little other way to describe the nearly seven foot tall figure, wearing a skull-like mask and cap. He starred at all of them through the lifeless black lenses of his mask, his breathing the only thing breaking the silence of the room.
"Halt! State your identity!" One of the two battle droids closest to the newcomer ordered, aiming their blasters at him as the rest of their comrades fanned out around the prisoners as to not hit them by mistake. In response, the stranger ignited his crimson lightsaber and began his advance on them.
'A Jedi? Is he one of the ambassadors?' Padme thought in shock, not recalling any tales of Jedi looking so...intimidating.
"Jedi! Blast him!" The leader droid ordered.
The first droid fell to its own blaster bolt being sent back at him.
As did the second.
And the third.
The three after that were crushed against a wall with a wave of his hand.
Four more were sliced to pieces by the lightsaber being thrown at them before almost instantly returning to the hand of its owner.
The last two lost their head pieces with a flick of a black glove.
It was over in less than ten seconds.
"Queen Amidala," He called out, almost in greeting, his voice obviously put through some kind of modifier. Strangely, even when he spoke, the breathing never stopped.
Sabe, following her role to the letter, marched past the other handmaidens with captain Panaka and governor Bibble at her side, the rest of the security detail scrambling to grab the droid blasters while eyeing this stranger cautiously. He in turned, placed his deactivated lightsaber back on his belt, as a gesture to show his lack of hostility-to them, at least.
He looked down at the supposed Queen, but Sabe got the distinct impression he wasn't looking at her at first. Almost like his eyes were searching for the real Queen.
"It seems I was fortunate enough to arrive in time," he stated politely. Seeing both the false queen and the captain prepared to speak up in question, he raised his hand to silence them for a moment, "But I suggest discussing this somewhere more out of the way, Your Highness," He opined before stepping to the side and gesturing to a parallel hallway farther back.
They both nodded in agreement, the now freed group hurrying down to the passageway. The dark figure waited for them to move by while looking towards the exit. If he noticed a certain handmaiden eyeing him, he didn't give any indication. Once they had all moved by him, he used the force to place the droids littering the area behind two pillars before following after them, his cape billowing in his wake.
"We have a brief time before they realize you've escaped," He explained pointedly upon seeing them, the captain, decoy, and governor standing directly before him.
"You have our thanks for your aid, but if I may ask, who you are?" Sio Bibble asked with a raised eyebrow.
"My name is Darth Vader, Governor. For now, all you need to know is that I am here to assist both the Queen and Naboo in this crisis," Vader assured evenly.
The two males shared a look with the queen, pretending not to notice one of the handmaidens giving her hand a brief, comforting squeeze, "Again, you have our thanks, Darth Vader." The Queen opined, letting the others know they would trust him for now, "Do you have a plan?"
"That relies a bit upon you and your captain, Your Highness," Vader said, his gaze landing upon Panaka, "Captain, are there any secret passages your company might be able to take, to or near the hanger?"
"I do not intend to abandon my people, Darth," The Queen retorted swiftly.
"Abandoning them would be to remain here, instead of seeking aid," Vader countered without missing a beat, "Captain, the passages?" he repeated, seeing the man about to scold him for his disrespect.
"None close by, unfortunately," Panaka confirmed with a scowl. Disrespect or not, he agreed with the stranger, "And even if they don't know of them, the droids are probably guarding and patrolling the areas they're in."
"Then we must settle for the alternative of drawing the bulk of the enemies from your route," Vader summarized with all the wisdom of a veteran general, "Captain, lead the Queen to the hanger. I shall cause a distraction that will make this task much easier on your end. Avoid combating the droids on the way there."
"Distract them? How?" Sio Bibble asked skeptically.
"Leave that to me," Vader answered ominously, making the captain resist the urge to swallow nervously. He almost felt sorry for the droids.
"Would it not be best for someone of your skill to stay with the Queen?" One of the handmaidens asked, one of the real ones.
Darth Vader regarded her calmly, only making her squirm under his gaze for half a second before raising a hand to point in the general direction of the palace exit, "Two Jedi ambassadors have currently infiltrated Theed and are searching for the Queen, to aid in her escape and they are nearby. They will undoubtedly link up with you before or at the hanger," he explained smoothly, lowering his hand, "I will regroup with you when I have finished with the droids."
Panaka scowled, not loving the idea of following this...man's lead on his word alone, but they had no reason to doubt him beyond his intimidating appearance and they didn't have many other options. He shared a look, with the real and false queen, giving her a nod, as well as to Sio Bibble.
"Very well, Darth Vader," The queen announced, "We shall follow your lead on this matter..."
"...Master, did you sense that?" Obi-wan asked cautiously and quietly as they, plus Jar Jar, snuck along the walls near the side of the palace, searching for a chance to either get into the palace and/or rescue the queen.
"The pulse coming from a dark presence in the Force that randomly appeared about an hour ago? Yes, Padawan, I felt that very clearly," Qui Gon answered bluntly, clearly concerned even if he had a dry look on his face.
"What is it? I've never felt a presence like this," Obi-wan asked, confused and perhaps even worried as they creeped through the majestic halls, watching out from any droids that they'd like to avoid for now.
"I'm not sure," Qui Gon partially lied, not wanting to voice his suspicion just yet, "But whatever it is, I know two things."
"Oh? And what's that, Master?" Obi-wan asked, just a bit cheekily.
"This person doesn't seem to be very fond of the Trade Federation being here," Qui Gon answered, sensing a lot of negative emotion, but none of it aimed at the Naboo themselves.
"Well, that's some good news," Obi-wan decided, "And the other thing...?"
"Whoever it is, they know we're here," Qui Gon answered solemnly, Obi-wan biting his lip as that fact sunk in. The Jedi Master blinked as he heard an explosion in the distance. He looked over the edge to see the droids below all running to the front of the palace, "And I think he just gave us an opening," he noted before turning to the Gungan, "Jar Jar, last chance to turn back?"
"Eh, Mesa rather be takin me chances with yousa," The clumsy creature answered with a nervous smile. While Obi-wan resisted the urge to roll his eyes, Qui Gon just gave the Gungan a reassuring nod before they leapt over the edge, Jar Jar with some minor difficulty, and ran up to the palace side entrance. Qui Gun scrunch his brow as they passed a fallen statue, crumbled on the ground, finding the random collateral odd before pushing it out of his mind. "Somebody been makin bombad messen," Jar Jar commented as he ran around the fractured sculpture.
"WOW!" Jar Jar yelled before going into a dead sprint after the Jedi.
"Looks like they're still making a mess, Jar Jar." Obi-wan commented, about to head inside, "...Master?" He called, seeing his teacher pause on the steps.
"That was the court yard," Qui Gon pointed idly.
"Should we be heading there as well?" Obi-wan asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No, the queen is still here and decided away from there. Try not to focus on our mystery player, Padawan, or you'll lose sight of what's important," Qui Gon instructed offhandedly, knowing the dark signature had to knawing and drawing at his student's attention, like a dark shadow in a bright room, "Either the droids are taking the queen off world or she has escaped. Either way, they're heading for the hanger and so are we," Qui Gon instructed, heading back down the stairs and to an alley.
"So wesa not goen in de palace now?" Jar Jar asked in exasperation, running after the Jedi.
"Master, are you sure this is the right way?" Obi-wan asked in concern as they crossed a river, keeping their heads below the bridge's stone side.
"I know heading into the palace would have led us away from our objective, but I can't say I know Theed very well as a city," Qui Gon opined with a small grin.
"And all the nearby droids will probably be running to the courtyard right about now." Obi-wan deduced.
"So, wesa gos aroun de Machineeks?" Jar Jar guessed, getting nods from the force wielders.
"I'd rather not get spotted before we find the queen," Qui Gon summarized as they ran past a large building, hugging the walls as they went to avoid being spotted, "One thing I do know is that the royal spaceport is supposed to be beside a large plasma refinery." He pointed to, jabbing his thumb back at the building they just went by.
"...Master, while I know you said not to focus on it...is it just me or is that presence coming this way?" Obi-wan asked, his eyes a bit wide.
Qui Gon's brow scrunched together for a moment in concentration before nodding, "Yes, it is. Stay on guard, Padawan."
'Isn't someone maken the Machineeks go boom-boom a good thing?' Jar Jar thought to himself in confusion as they reached the spaceport.
After a few moments of sneaking about the mostly empty building, the group of three rounded a corner and came face to face with exactly who they were looking for.
Or, face to blasters, to be exact, since the security guards pointed their weapons at the sudden arrival of the newcomers, "Your Highness," Qui Gon greeted, holding up his palm in a mixture of peace and surrender, "I am Qui Gon Jinn. We're ambassadors for the Supreme Chancellor."
Panaka glanced down at their belts and lightsabers, to Qui Gon's interest, before nodding, "They're Jedi, just like he said," Panaka said, nodding to his men to lower their blasters.
"Well, it seems that negotiations failed," Sio Bibble noted, just a bit cynically.
"The negotiations never took place," Qui Gon informed, making them all just a bit more uneasy at the implications, "Your Highness, I take it you're intending to go to Coruscant to get the senate's support in this matter?" Qui Gon guessed.
"That is correct, Ambassador," The decoy queen acknowledged with a regal nod.
"Then I would suggest we move now. I can feel someone coming," Qui Gon suggested, 'Is this person's signature getting stronger as well as closer? Or is he just cloaking it?' He wondered in confusion.
"What about your associate?" The captain inquired, "Or does he have another way off world?"
That made Obi-wan look at her in confusion while Qui Gon rose an eyebrow, "Our associate?" The Jedi master asked.
"We assumed as much, between him freeing us and the lightsaber." Sio Bibble answered, looking just a bit suspicious now.
Qui Gon was about to retort when they heard blaster fire and droids shouting, accompanied by the hum of a lightsaber being swung and thrown. The sound was coming from the staircase just down the hall, "I believe that will be him now," The false queen commented, not noticing how the Jedi went wide eyed, but the real queen did.
The blasters suddenly stopped as several now-scrapped battle droids came tumbling down the stairs in various pieces. The silence was ominously broken by that constant and tale-tell breathing.
Obi-wan clutched his lightsaber at his belt as sweat began to form on his brow, the dark weight almost palpable to him through the Force. Qui Gon tried to send some comfort to his student while staying focused on the staircase.
Like a shadow onto the Force, Darth Vader descended from the stairs with a crimson blade of light at his side, watching the droids for any survivors. Seeing none, he deactivated the blade and turned to the group.
"Wow. Hesa berry scary," Jar Jar noted with a shiver, sstanding behind his new friends.
"Your Highness, Captain," The Sith greeted in his synthesized voice, ignoring the two stunned Jedi.
"Darth Vader," The Queen greeted in turn, the Jedi stiffening at what was obviously, to a Jedi, a Sith name.
"Your distraction worked," Panaka admitted offhandedly.
"Two of their tanks being crushed together will do that," Vader retorted bluntly, getting several looks of surprise for his effort, "But they are beginning to search the city rather than just the courtyard. In search of me or the queen, I'm not sure. In either case, we should be on our way if we wish to make our leave at all," He advised before turning to the stunned Jedi, "Unless you have a better suggestion, Ambassadors?"
After a rather tense moment, Qui Gon regained his even stare before shaking his head, "That is our recommendation as well," He answered, his voice oddly curious and concerned.
The black clothed cyborg nodded, "Captain, lead the way," Vader said with a nod as the group started moving with the Jedi and Gungan trailing behind for a moment.
"Master...did a Sith just come down the stairs to help rescue the queen?" Obi-wan asked numbly.
"...Apparently so, Obi-wan," Qui Gon answered, bewildered as well.
End of Chapter
And there we go, my first SW chapter. This is taking on a much more light hearted tone at times than I thought it would, but Vader is kind of enjoying himself. Don't worry, he has a plan, or the basis of a plan, for what he's going to do. And like most of Anakin's plans, its reckless but brilliant.
Also, I apologize if the sudden drop in with Vader on Naboo seemed random, but I do have a plan for that, so Vader's hazy memory about what happened will come into play later on.
Yes, I kept Jar Jar. Since I don't mind him either way, I don't have any reason to take him out, so I'll keep him in here at least until the end of the Naboo thing. After that, its up in the air.
Lastly, his fic will be dealing with Vader in the past, along with others, and not only the changes he makes, but the galaxy trying to make sense of the fact that him being a Sith, he not only does nothing exactly illegal, but he also is aiding Naboo dring this crisis.