A/N: This is my first attempt at using characters from the Expanded Universe, so if I get anything wrong feel free to correct me. Sure the EU may have been thrown out the window by the upcoming movies, but I'm sure dedicated fans will find ways to fit the good parts of the EU into the new canon.
Four years had passed since the Massacre of Yavin, the start of the empire's decline. The destruction of the first Death Star had been only the first of many losses of the empire to the rebels, even though the menace responsible for it had never been seen again. Time and time again the empire had tried to crush the rebels underfoot, only for them to worm away and rise again. Eventually the rebels had succeeded in killing both Darth Vader and the emperor, effectively decapitating the empire's leadership.
Although the empire was coming apart at the seams much of its military remained intact. A fleet of three super star destroyers and fifty standard star destroyers were assembling near the now defunct border, which had dissolved when the other empire had collapsed three years ago. Such a force would have been overkill against a typical planet, but overkill would be necessary to wipe out the adopted homeworld of the Saiyans.
Hundreds of probe droids had been scattered across the galaxy over the years, each programmed to seek out Vegeta's unique energy signature. They were also programmed to keep a safe distance from it once located, to avoid tipping the empire's hand. Now a trio of probe droids had finally detected Vegeta's energy and they were closing in on it, reporting the correct planet to the fleet.
On the largest super star destroyer the blue skinned grand admiral in command of the fleet saw the droids' reports on a monitor, confirming the location of the empire's greatest enemy. So he opened a communications channel to the fleet. "Grand Admiral Thrawn to all hands: prepare for lightspeed jump."
As the fleet moved into position each ship received a set of coordinates from the flagship, which they would use to navigate travel through hyperspace. The destination at those coordinates was a yellow star system deep in foreign space, one that appeared to have little if any space traffic. All of the ships plotted the same course to that star system, which as a precaution included an exit point on the edge of the star's gravitational influence.
In synchronized engine bursts the entire fleet made the jump to hyperspace, all of them blinking out of reality in just a few seconds. While in blue void of hyperspace the fleet ignored the physical obstacles of normal space, such as the stellar hazards that blocked most physical travel across the old border. With no trouble at all the fleet crossed the border into foreign territory, flying in a straight line through hyperspace towards a planet the local lifeforms called Earth.
During the voyage Grand Admiral Thrawn went to his personal chambers, which resembled a secondary bridge more than anything else. There he was in his command chair examining sensor telemetries from the probe droids, which were shown to him as holograms. One droid had a visual from the planet's low atmosphere, showing a large island in the middle of an ocean.
"Magnify," Thrawn ordered.
On voice command the holographic perspective shifted, zooming in for a closer view of the target. It showed a plateau on the island, which Vegeta was standing on near the edge. Unlike the records of him Vegeta's hair was yellow and the black parts of his outfit were now blue, but other than that he looked the same as he did four years ago. Also in the hologram was a strange green bug-like creature facing Vegeta, something that did not match any species known to the Empire.
Moving lips in the hologram showed that there was a conversation taking place, but the probe droid was too far away to pick up audio. "Activate lip-synch emulation," Thrawn ordered, and in response the computer simulated a voice to match the visual.
"Are you ready now, to witness a power not seen for thousands of years?"
Bits of static started to appear in the hologram, signaling some kind of interference. The static intensified when a yellow aura appeared around Vegeta, and that aura intensified with every second. Hologram resolution began to worsen as the aura grew larger, which was clearly affecting the probe droid's sensors. Within the aura one could just barely see Vegeta now, whose muscles were growing larger and making his body bulkier.
A bright flash of light from Vegeta filled the hologram, followed by static covering everything, and then it all vanished. Back in his chamber Thrawn surmised that the hologram had automatically shut down. "Overloaded," he complained, figuring that's what destroyed the probe droid.
With the push of a button Thrawn switched to the transmission feed from the next probe droid, which was maintaining position in the planet's upper atmosphere. The droid's systems reported various power fluctuations within its circuits, all involving excess energy from an outside source. Automatic safeguards kept the droid at a safe distance from the outside power source, preventing it from overloading like the first droid.
A beeping noise altered him to someone at the door, prompting him to shut down the hologram before answering. "Enter."
A door opened and an imperial officer entered Thrawn's chambers, one whose loyalty to the fleet was invaluable during these times. His hair was white with age and had a well groomed mustache, and he wore his black uniform with pride. "Permission to speak freely," Captain Pellaeon requested.
"Granted," Thrawn said.
"Are you out of your mind?!" Pellaeon yelled. "The last thing the Empire needs now is to awaken the sleeping Rancor! It will be the end of us all if we incur the wrath of Vegeta!"
Thrawn did not answer right away, instead letting silence go on while he got up from his chair. He faced Pellaeon and took in a deep breath, then let it out before giving his response. "Tell me, have you read last year's intelligence report on the Saiyan race?"
"A nearly extinct species from a barren corner of the galaxy," Pellaeon quoted.
"Exactly," Thrawn acknowledged. "They were nearly wiped out for a reason. Their planet was a breeding ground of fierce warriors that specialized in conquering worlds, Vegeta being the prime example of their power. If they are allowed to repopulate we might face an army of Vegetas one day, each with the power to obliterate entire planets. That is an outcome that the Empire cannot allow, and we have the means to stop it now."
"How?" Pellaeon demanded. "We don't have the firepower to kill him."
"I think the Death Star proved that brute force is not the answer," Thrawn reasoned. "Think. What weakness did Darth Vader confirm?"
"He has to breathe," Pellaeon answered.
"We can't kill him, but we can suffocate him," Thrawn elaborated. "From orbit this fleet will bombard his planet with our entire arsenal. In seconds the planet's infrastructure will be destroyed, stranding him. In minutes the planet's environment will become a barren wasteland, starving him. And in hours the planet's atmosphere will be blown away, suffocating him. No amount of raw power will save him if he doesn't have oxygen."
"Yes, I see," Pellaeon conceded.
Thrawn eyed a computer screen that had an alert light blinking on it, so he tapped it and the hologram reactivated. "See, that world's already given birth to another threat to the Empire."
The hologram displayed a large island from a sky high vantage point, but zoomed in for a closer view. On that island there was a green dome growing larger every second, seemingly formed of pure energy. A shadow of a humanoid being could be spotted from time to time within sphere, gradually changing shape inside. And according to the probe droid's sensors the energy readings were increasing exponentially, surpassing the energy levels detected from Vegeta.
Static filled the hologram before it shut down, which got Thrawn to scowl. "And there goes another droid."
Pellaeon checked a computer screen for some info. "That droid was in the upper atmosphere, and it still overloaded."
"All the more reason to snuff out the Saiyan menace once and for all," Thrawn declared.
The discussion over, Thrawn left his chambers and was shortly followed by Pellaeon. They went to the bridge of the super star destroyer, resuming command of the ship. Through the front windows they could still see the blue void of hyperspace, giving its eerie glow to the bridge interior. Thrawn sat down in the command chair and observed the crew at work, monitoring the ship's systems and preparing it for the mission at hand.
After ten more minutes the fleet reached the end of its lightspeed journey, popping back into normal space at the edge of a yellow star system. From there they would travel into the system at subluminal velocity, which would avoid the mistake made at the Battle of Hoth. Light from the distant star was the main source for navigation as the fleet flew into the system, heading for the third planet with the remains of a destroyed moon.
From his chair Thrawn observed the solar system through the front window, spotting a blue gas giant planet pass by on the left. "Put the last droid's telemetry on the main screen."
The view in the window changed to comply with the order, showing the view of the third planet from high orbit. The visual zoomed in on the lonely island in the ocean, as well as the two known threats on it. Vegeta was standing near the shore, seemingly tired after some physical exertion. Facing him from further inland was the strange bug-like creature, which had transformed into a sleeker, darker, more perfect form.
Vegeta rose into the air above the island, and then threw his arms apart. He started screaming and a burst of golden power erupted from his body, spawning an intense golden aura around him. Then Vegeta's entire body began to grow larger, as if sheer power was stretching out his flesh. All around Vegeta the clouds started moving away from him in every direction, displaced by the effects of his power on the environment.
Static started filling the transmission feed. "Here goes another one," Thrawn muttered. The visual lasted long enough to show Vegeta put his hands together, when the growing power made the probe explode. "Someone get the long range sensors online."
"Booting up now," Pellaeon reported from a control console.
Once again the view in the window changed, showing the blue world on the left side of its star relative to the fleet. Half of its dayside was visible from this angle, and the island of interest was near the equator and at noontime. The light from Vegeta's aura could be seen from space, all but inviting the fleet to attack.
"Magnify," Thrawn ordered.
The visual zoomed in until Vegeta came into view, observing him from his front side. The visual also captured the bug-like creature from behind, who was standing with his arms braced for something. Vegata's hands were together with both palms aimed at the creature on the ground, and yellow light filled the space in between his fingers. Occasional yellow lightning spawned from there and hit the ground, as if energy was trying to escape Vegeta's grasp.
"Sir," one officer said. "We're getting power fluctuations all over the ship. Nothing serious yet, but it's getting worse as we approach that planet."
"Compensate as needed," Thrawn ordered. He studied the view provided by the ship's long range sensors, wondering why the two immense powers were opposing each other. But then a troubling thought struck him. "What angle is this sensor telemetry using?"
"Direct line of sight," another officer answered.
Thrawn eyed the visual some more, going from Vegeta to the bug and back again. And then Thrawn's eyes went wide. "Evasive Action!" Thrawn ordered, even as the computer simulated Vegeta's voice.
A colossal yellow beam fired from Vegeta's hands, easily as wide as the island was large. It hit the bug dead-on, which seemed to stop the beam from burning into the ground. From there the beam went up instead, seemingly sparing the planet from utter annihilation. The beam pierced the atmosphere and kept on going into space, searing through the empty void towards the stars. But not before paying a visit to this system's newcomers.
Thrawn's curse was drowned out in many officers' panicking screams as yellow light filled the bridge, coming from the yellow beam on a direct course for the fleet. In seemingly physics breaking speed the beam closed in, now wide enough to threaten every last star destroyer. Only the largest super star destroyer had enough time to get out of the way, thanks to the early warning of the Grand Admiral's insight.
Even then the left-hand side of the super star destroyer was caught within the yellow beam, and immediately began to deteriorate. Layer by layer the decks of the ship peeled away, and the torn away pieces dissolved in the pure energy. Screeching metal echoed through the rest of the ship as a third of it was blown away, exposing every deck to the vacuum of space. When all of the exposed metal was gone the super star destroyer was adrift in space, completely vulnerable on one side.
The rest of the fleet was not so fortunate.
Raised shields failed instantly when the beam hit the ships, nowhere near powerful enough to withstand the attack. Command towers that supported their bridges snapped in the torrential energy, and disintegrated seconds later. Entire star destroyers tore apart and the pieces were swept away, gone in mere moments. The two super star destroyers caught in the beam lasted longer, if only because they had more mass to be consumed. In the few moments it took the beam to pass it obliterated all but the rearmost sections of the super star destroyers, leaving crew quarters and damaged engines adrift.
Alarm sirens blared in the remaining super star destroyer's bridge, nearly deafening in response to hull breaches on nearly every deck. "Someone Shut That Off!" Thrawn ordered, and immediately one officer silenced the alarm. "Thank You! Now, Damage Report!"
"Everything!" one officer reported, reading a monitor with flashing red text on it. "All systems are damaged!"
Pellaeon was working on his control console, hands on the buttons working to prevent a total system crash while also accessing the damage. "Forward sensors are blind, rear sensors still online. And… oh my…"
"What is it?" Thrawn demanded.
"The rear sensors have a lock on the attack that hit us," Pellaeon answered. "It's achieved superluminal velocity."
"Are any Empire controlled worlds at risk?" Thrawn asked.
A moment passed as a trajectory was calculated, and then Pellaeon's eyes went wide. "You're not going to fucking believe this."
Ten days later… Many light years away…
All was peaceful on a primitive world, especially after its role in galactic affairs. The lush forests that covered all of the landscape were in full bloom this time of year, save for the few spots where the Empire once had military bases. Now only the local lifeforms remained on this world, both Empire and Rebel forces having returned it to their care. Neither faction had any reason to claim this forest moon anymore, or the blue gas giant planet it orbited.
For all intents and purposes, only the local Ewoks remained on Endor.
Midafternoon on the side away from the planet, a bright light in the sky started to outshine the system's sun. The little furry locals looked up and saw their final flash of light before the yellow beam came straight down on them, now dispersed to over a hundred miles wide after its long journey through the cosmos. The beam struck the ground and burned into the forest moon interior, drilling a shaft all the way through to the other side.
Early morning on the side facing the planet, and the ground beneath the locals' feet started to rumble. In a heartbeat the ground shattered as the yellow beam erupted from below, shooting straight up through the atmosphere and back out into space. All eyes were on the beam as it kept on going up into the sky, heading for the one part that had the most danger. For the yellow beam was now on a collision course with the gas giant planet.
On impact the beam sent large ripples through the planet's thick hydrogen and helium atmosphere, disrupting the weather bands on the surface that had endured for millennia. Increasing density of the interior gradually slowed the beam as it penetrated the planet, but did not stop it from piercing the inner layer of metallic hydrogen. After a few moments the beam reached the gas giant's very center, obliterating its rocky core before the beam stopped and its energy started building up inside the planet.
After a few moments the end of the beam caught up with the front, passing through the forest moon and leaving an empty shaft through its core. When the end of the beam passed into the gas giant planet the atmosphere rushed into the void, truly capturing all that power within its interior. And that power started swelling back up in every direction, superheating the gases and expanding the planet's already enormous volume.
In the forest moon's sky the planet grew larger with every second, as well as turned a bright red and orange color. Energized gases transcended into the highest state of matter, lighting up the moon's sky like a second sun. Jets of burning plasma erupted from the energized planet's surface, escaping into space in every direction. In minutes the ignited planet had swelled to five times its original volume, radiating enough heat to set the near side of the forest moon ablaze. As their world burned the locals looked up at the hellish planet above, the last thing they would ever see.
At that moment, the planet Endor exploded.
Like a supernova in small scale, energized plasma shot out in every direction. A plasma wave front slammed into the burning moon, incinerating everything on the surface. And thanks to the brand new shaft through the moon the plasma flowed into the core, cooking the moon from the inside out. In seconds the moon shattered under the strain of stellar heat from within and without, and once the plasma wave front had passed only a scorched asteroid field remained.
Planet and Moon, Endor was Eradicated.
Meanwhile… Many light years away…
Flying across the sky of the only world he could possibly call home, Vegeta was en route to a newly revived fighting tournament. But while he flew he sensed something off, but not in the immediate area. It felt like a million lives were cut short all at once, so many and so sudden that it could be sensed from very far away. Vegeta didn't slow down at all, but simply glanced in that direction of the sky.
"So that's where it went."
A/N: Because fuck Ewoks, that's why.
Also, I wanted to see a gas giant planet explode. And I've always wondered what might happen if Vegeta's Final Flash hit something out in space.