anghraine: close-up of luke in dagobah (luke)
[personal profile] anghraine
Three and a half years later, this is happening! *waves flag*

title: The Jedi and the Sith Lord (1/?)
verse: Lucy Skywalker: my f!Luke AU, following from The Adventures of Lucy Skywalker and The Imperial Menace.
summary: Lucy emerges from carbon-freeze as the captive of Darth Vader.

For those who don't want to go through 50k of largely retelling canon, there's a detailed summary here and a comparatively short summary under the cut. But it's close enough to canon up to this point that you can probably go straight into the fic.

There are various minor divergences throughout. For instance, Obi-Wan doesn't bring a pretty, sheltered young girl into the cantina, but simply tells Han that his second passenger is a woman. Han assumes Obi-Wan is escaping some scandal and the unseen woman is his lover, and he's disgusted upon seeing teenage Lucy, which offends her and begins their relationship on an even worse footing than Han and Luke in canon. She's passed off as a second prisoner rather than a stormtrooper in the Death Star, since she's too small for the armour. But it all stays pretty close to canon apart from two major instances, based on the fact that both the Rebellion and the Empire are incredibly male-dominated, particularly with regard to their military forces. This is not retconned, but taken as a perfectly accurate depiction of OT-era policies, with these results:

1. Lucy's initial attempt to join up with the Rebel pilots is refused. She has no intention of settling for work as an operator or w/e, so when Han offers her a job on the Falcon, she accepts, and they leave together. The Adventures of Lucy Skywalker ends there; in The Imperial Menace, Han caves and they fly back, rescuing Wedge. Lucy destroys the Death Star from the Falcon, Han vouches for her and remarks that she's a Skywalker who was travelling with a Kenobi, the Rebellion makes a special exception, and she's accepted into the newly-formed Rogue Squadron—but not as commander. She's Wedge's lieutenant.

As a later consequence, Wedge being commander rather than Lucy results in him being the one attacked by the wampa, with Lucy and then Han searching for him and ultimately fighting and killing the wampa. Wedge loses his feet and recommends Lucy take his place as commander, but she chooses to pursue her Jedi training in Dagobah.

2. The Empire's institutionalized misogyny, contrasting with the prequels' Republic, comes straight from Palpatine. It doesn't affect Vader much, though he finds it idiotic as a Jedi and Padmé Amidala's husband, until he discovers the identity of the man who blew up the Death Star: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed young woman with his name, from his home planet, born the day his wife died. He's perfectly aware that Palpatine will be much less willing to invest (or sanction investing) significant effort in a girl or tolerate resistance from one, and he knows her resistance is inevitable.

He decides to delay any extended test of her abilities until he has her safely shut up in Bast Castle, beyond the reach of either Palpatine or the Rebellion. Consequently, he cuts the fight short (at "most impressive") and tells her that he's captured Leia and the others, and their treatment depends on Lucy's compliance. She agrees to be frozen, extracts a promise that her friends will be unharmed, gives up her lightsaber, and goes into carbon-freeze. The Imperial Menace ends there.

CHAPTER ONE

If Darth Vader did not avoid the sight of his daughter in carbonite, he certainly did not seek it out. Solo’s features had been carved into a rictus of shock and pain. Lucy, however, did not look surprised, but resigned, her upturned face hardened into lines of hopeless dread. After his first inspection in Cloud City, he felt no need or desire to examine her unchanging features any more closely. His glance, concealed by the mask, flicked past her for most of the journey to Vjun.

Now he considered the frozen slab that was his only child. Regrettable, he thought—but there had been no other way. The girl couldn’t be expected to see reason, not yet; she couldn’t be permitted to remain with her Rebel friends; she certainly couldn’t be left to the tender mercies of the Emperor. It’d been all Vader could do to convince him that a daughter might be of any use at all. At the slightest inconvenience, Palpatine would end her life and her great potential.

No, there had only been one alternative. She must be kept here, within his own stronghold on Vjun, safe from the rest of the galaxy, and under his control.

He would have liked to test her, but his first priority had to be capturing her, and that accomplished, transporting her to Bast Castle, out of sight of the Emperor. She had already proven herself strong in the Force; the rest could be taught. And carbon-freeze made everything easy.

It would not, however, endear him to her, and he had no doubt but that she would already be highly resistant to turning to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan had undoubtedly filled her head with nonsense and lies. A blind man could have seen his hand in Lucy’s determination to avenge her father’s death by killing—her father.

Vader had not believed that his opinion of his old master could fall any further, but even he never expected such treachery.

Patricide.

It no longer mattered. Obi-Wan had failed, and soon his failure would be complete.

“Release her,” he ordered.

LX-3 stepped forward. A super battle droid he’d long ago disarmed and reprogrammed for heavy lifting (among other things), she knew better than to ask why he didn’t push the buttons himself. Or who he’d captured, at that. Or his reason for bringing her here, or anything. She heard; she obeyed.

If his officers had half her sense and competence, he’d have stamped out the Rebellion by now.

Ellex examined the carbonite, clicking thoughtfully to herself. Then, the defrost sequence determined, she pressed her wide metal fingers against the correct buttons.

The carbonite warmed to a dull red. A good sign.

He assumed.

Holes began to break in the carbonite, shards of light piercing through. The rays brightened and broadened, carbonite disappearing everywhere it touched. Lucy’s lips moved soundlessly—her fingers curled—and the rest of the carbonite melted apart.

Barely conscious, she tumbled forward. If not for Ellex’s quick reflexes, she would have hit the floor. As it was, she hit Ellex instead, the metal armoured body only small improvement. Lucy gave a low moan.

Her eyes slowly opened, then closed again, her body shuddering in Ellex’s arms.

“Carbon-sickness?” Vader asked the med-droid on hand. He’d expected some ill effects, but not this.

“Highly probable,” said T6-X. It bustled forward, reached out sensors to Lucy’s limp arm. She flinched back. “Elevated temperature. That suggests a more severe reaction than usual. Immunological hyperactivity, I suggest. It should pass with rest and—”

Lucy struggled upright, pushing weakly against Ellex’s grip. Her breath came quick and harsh, with a faint whistle as she gasped for air.

“Sedate her,” Vader ordered.

T6-X hesitated no more than Ellex. It extracted a syringe from one of the pouches about its torso and jabbed the needle into Lucy’s neck. In another moment, she collapsed.

To Vader’s relief—not that he’d felt any real fear—her breathing evened out.

All of his schemes, all of his careful maneuvering, had been geared towards this moment. And now?

“Put her in Room H12 while she recovers,” he said. “Tisix, keep her under observation. Constant observation. Ellex—”

Unruffled as ever, she replied, “Yes, my lord?”

Vader paused. Even unconscious, Lucy grimaced in pain. Everything from her hair to her face to her hands was covered in a thin wet film, sweat and melted carbon mingling together. Her Rebel uniform, its cheap material torn and stained, stuck to her.

“Have her cleaned up,” he said at last. “And make her comfortable.”



Lucy woke in darkness, with a thundering headache. She lay still, trying to place herself, to collect her scattered thoughts. But she couldn’t … she didn’t … something heavy and sluggish seemed spread throughout her mind, keeping her from catching any scraps of memory.

“Are you certain?” a fretful voice said, and she nearly jumped. “If she malfunctions, we’ll be in the scrapyard for sure!”

A droid?

“Perfect certainty is not possible when it comes to organic processes,” said another voice, lower and sterner. “I am confident in my assessment, yes. The fever broke hours ago. I told you, it is a normal immunological phenomenon with high midi—oh! She is operating.”

Lucy opened her eyes. She’d expected dimness, from the lack of light on her lids. But it was absolutely dark.

“Wh—where’s the light?” she managed to say. Her throat felt dry and rough.

“The light?” repeated the first droid.

The second said, “What do you detect?”

Lucy sat up, fumbling for purchase on the—bed? Yes, she felt pillows against her back, heavy blankets beneath her. The shift from prone to upright tugged at her dress. Dress? Hadn’t she been … hadn’t she …

She must be in the Rebellion’s med-bay. It was the only explanation, though the bed felt different. Soft and springy. Lucy spread her fingers, reaching out, but the bed continued beyond the reach of her arms. Even Leia’s quarters wouldn’t …

“This isn’t the base.” Panic clenched in her chest, her breaths coming in short gasps. “Where am I? What’s going on? I can’t see! I can’t—”

“Please calm yourself,” said the droid. “Your sight should return within the next forty hours. It is merely a byproduct of your immunological hypersensitivity. You have an extremely high midichlorian count, and even moderate levels are correlated with—”

“A what?” Lucy twisted towards the voice. Unclenching her fingers from the blankets, she swung her legs in the same direction. Her ankles hit the edge of the bed. Cautiously, she pushed herself towards it.

“Midichlorian count,” the droid repeated. “Four to six thousand per milliliter would be high for a human, and either produce, result from, or exist symbiotically with aggressive immunological activity. Your count is at least twice as high. While I have not been able to identify your species, as a humanoid you—”

Lucy burst out laughing, shrill and painful. “My species! How could you know anything about my mitochlorian levels, or whatever it is? You don’t even know who I am!”

“Tisix, has someone made a mistake?” the other droid cried. “The Maker couldn’t have, could he?”

“Of course he could. His base code is organic, which inevitably sacrifices accuracy to efficiency,” said Tisix. “Error is in their nature. But it is very unusual for the Maker, and thus far all the data he supplied has been accurate and consistent.” It made a faint whirring sound. “Very well, ma’am. According to my records, your full identification code is Skywalker, Lucy Amidala. Is that correct?”

She pressed her fingers flat on either side of her, willing away the tremors.

“Yes, I’m Lucy Skywalker, but I still don’t see …”

Tisix went on, “You have been operational for the exact duration of the Empire. Your colouration is light, with dark yellow hair and blue irises. You stand at one hundred and fifty-seven standard centimeters, when upright, and—”

“That’s enough!”

The droid subsided. The chattering protocol droid, thankfully, fell silent as well, leaving Lucy to draw deep, uneven breaths in the quiet. She’d been afraid. Terribly afraid. It lingered with her, sharpening confusion to dread, now, here. Whatever now and here were. How long had she been … what even was this place …?

“Why am I here?” she said at last.

“Oh!” said the protocol droid. “Pardon me, miss, I should have explained it all first. You’re a guest of the Maker, a very important guest. And I am his assistant F-2VA, human-cyborg relations.”

Lucy’s headache had been starting to clear. This almost brought it back again. “I’m a … guest. Are there others?”

“Oh, no,” said F-2VA. “We’ve never had one before. It’s very exciting! I hope you’ll enjoy your time here, Miss Skywalker. The Maker was absolutely firm that you should be made comfortable.”

Han and Leia, Lucy thought. She’d seen … she’d thought …

“And who is the Maker?” she asked.

In a tone of great confusion, F-2VA said, “You don’t know? Why—Lord Vader, of course.”

Lucy’s breath strangled in her throat. She couldn’t scream, couldn’t gasp. Couldn’t do anything but struggle for air.

Vader. Darth Vader. He’d … oh gods, he’d practiced the carbon-freeze on Han, sent him to Jabba the Hutt. To Tatooine. She could only hope Jabba didn’t release him. She knew what service to the Hutts meant. Not Han, it couldn’t happen. Not to Han. And Leia. Vader said he’d captured Leia, Leia and Chewie and the droids. Leia would be punished if Lucy—she’d—Leia!

Vader’s droids said something she didn’t hear. But it reminded her to breathe. Yoda would tell her to hold to serenity and the Force, but she couldn’t reach it, felt only a roiling, icy chaos blinding her as much as the actual blindness. Lucy clenched her fingers. She couldn’t see, but she could hear, touch, ground herself in sensation. The blanket scrunched in her hand, the fluffy weight of it as unsuited to the circumstances as could be imagined.

Lucy said, “This isn’t a cell.”

“A cell! I should think not!” F-2VA cried. “I told you, you’re his guest. Oh dear, I hope your auditory sensors have not malfunctioned as well as your optical ones. I can’t think what Lord Vader will say.”

“My audi—my hearing is fine,” said Lucy. To herself, she muttered, “What is he playing at?”

“He doesn’t play games,” F-2VA said sadly. “It’s a pity. They’re so much more unpredictable with organics. But I’m sure you’ll be able to amuse yourself somehow!”

Lucy’s patience evaporated.

“I’m a prisoner,” she said. “Your maker blinded me.”

“No, no,” said F-2VA. “That’s the carbon-sickness. Isn’t it, Tisix?”

“Affirmative,” said Tisix. “It is common for organics subjected to carbon-freeze to afterwards experience a short period of optical malfunction as the cornea and nerves adjust. This period marks the final stage of total recovery. It is clear from your continued mydriasis that—”

“And she’ll be good as new afterwards, won’t she?”

“In the same condition as before, if that is what you mean,” Tisix said disapprovingly.

“There! You see, Miss Skywalker?”

Lucy couldn’t help herself.

“Lucy,” she said.

There was a moment of silence, then a clink of metal, F-2VA shifting from one position to another.

“Yes, miss, I know your full identification—”

“I mean, call me Lucy,” said Lucy. “Nobody calls me Miss Skywalker. It sounds like someone else.”

“Well … if you wish, Miss Lucy,” the droid replied. She clinked a few more times. “The Maker addresses me as Tuvié.”

Lucy had never wondered how Vader spoke to his droids. To know was at once surreal and terrifying.

She forced a smile, unsure if it would mean anything to a droid. “Tuvié. Uh, am I far from the floor?”

“A few inches,” Tuvié said.

She’d never wondered what his droids were like, either. But if she had, the likes of F-2VA certainly wouldn’t have sprung to mind.

Tuvié went on, “Don’t worry, I can help you—oh!”

Lucy had already jumped off the bed. She didn’t misjudge the distance, but she did misjudge the strength in her legs. Wobbling, she would have fallen, but for the the hands that caught her at her arm and waist. Human hands, she thought at first. At least, they didn’t pinch, didn’t seem metal at all, flexed with her body like skin and muscle would. But they didn’t feel quite the same. Some sort of functioning synthetic replica like Wedge’s new foot, she decided, not organic.

Thank the gods. If Vader figured out how to fuse severed hands to his droids, she had no trouble imagining where he would find them.

“Ugh, I’m worse than a starved womprat,” she said. “What’s wrong with me?—I know, I know, carbon-sickness.” Lucy managed to straighten up and take a step independent of the droid. “Thanks, Tuvié. How long has it been, anyway?”

“Only three days,” Tuvié assured her.

“Three days!” All thoughts of droids and severed hands fled her mind. “Anything could have happened by now. Leia—where’s Leia?”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” said Tuvié. “You’re the only guest here, Miss Lucy. I told you that.”

“They’d be prisoners,” Lucy said wildly. “Captives! Not like me—well, like me, but—Princess Leia of Alderaan, and a Wookiee, and two droids.”

“Droids?” repeated Tuvié, with rather more interest. “I’d like to see them! We meet so few new people. But I’m sorry, Miss Lucy, I haven’t heard anything about anyone else. I’m not very important, though—just an interpreter and an assistant about the castle. Lord Vader doesn’t go around installing his secure data in just anyone, you know. Only LX-3. You’d be better off asking her.” Her voice gained a decidedly petulant note. “Actually, no, you wouldn’t, because Ellex never tells anyone about anything. She’s terrible company if you ask me.”

Lucy nearly snapped that she didn’t care what kind of conversationalists Vader’s droids were. But she’d spent enough time around Threepio to know it’d be unfair and useless.

She’d find out what had happened to Leia and the others in the last three days. And she’d get them out. Somehow.

They’d always managed the impossible, hadn’t they?

Not at Cloud City. That was the other side of her mind, the side snarling you ask the impossible! and I’m never getting out of here. Leia and Han talked about how optimistic and cheerful she was. But she hadn’t been, before them. It wasn’t her at all, really.

Lucy inhaled, careful to keep the breath steady and easy this time.

“I need to move around,” she said. “How big is this room?”

Tuvié gave dimensions that Lucy didn’t bother interpreting beyond large, and kept a hand on Lucy’s elbow as she made her way around the bedchamber. Lucy herself held her hands out to avoid bumping into anything, though Tuvié warned her of any obstacles in her way. No, that’s the wardrobe—you’ll want to turn right here, no, not that far, that’s the bedpost—

Stumbling about the room, she forced the rest away from her. Just for a moment. She counted steps. One, two, three, four past the foot of the bed. One, two, three. One, two.

“Who is Ellex?” she asked. “An officer? Another droid?”

“A super battle droid,” said Tuvié impressively. “She used to have a blaster rifle for her left hand!”

“Wow,” Lucy said.

“That was years ago, of course.”

One, two, three, four, five.
That brought her to a window overlooking, well, something. Lucy reached out, felt bars, flinched back.

No, she wouldn’t think about it yet. Not before it happened. Whatever it might be.

Lucy said, “She must be … um, vintage.”

“They say she fought in the Clone Wars!” Tuvié exclaimed. “But she’s in first-rate condition. The Maker keeps her upgrades current and her materials repaired. Well, all of us, of course—I’ve operated for fourteen standard years, myself—but mostly it’s just repairs to keep doing what we’ve always done. Ellex, though, she’s always demanding changes to her basic functions. And naturally he thinks some of them up on his own, too. He’s almost as good as a machine himself!”

“I can believe it,” said Lucy grimly. She concentrated on working feeling back into her legs.

Beyond the door, something clattered—something heavy and metal, with thudding steps.

Lucy froze where she stood, unable to move, hardly to think. Even a moment’s distraction from this horror seemed to be too much to ask.

Tuvié halted, her hand warm against Lucy’s cold skin. She tried to think about that. How did the wiring work? How did she keep from overheating? How …

The door slid open, the sound barely audible. It unsettled her, the quietness, until she realized. Not just the door. No loud, mechanized breaths, no burning hiss of a lightsaber, no nightmarish voice.

Then there was a voice, a low voice, but hardly frightening at all. A woman, or something akin.

“Is she fully operational yet?—oh, I see. Good.”

“Not fully, Ellex,” said Tuvié. “Tisix can explain.”

Tisix, whose presence Lucy had genuinely forgotten, gave a few clicks. “Quite so. Organic tissue and nerves are not so resilient as—”

“It’s good enough,” Ellex snapped. “Lord Vader ordered her brought to him immediately once she started functioning again. Are you planning on rejecting the order?”

“The Maker’s? Oh, no!” Tuvié said. “But I was tasked with her care, and—”

“He’ll see her now,” said Ellex flatly.

Perhaps if Lucy could see, it wouldn’t seem so unreal. A week ago, the idea of two unknown droids squabbling over the logistics of taking her before Darth Vader would have been impossibly bizarre. It was still impossibly bizarre. Remote and muddled, as if she weren’t here at all, a mind animating some distant receptacle. By the way they talked, she might as well be.

Lucy gave a short laugh. “But I won’t see him!”

She heard another set of clinks and clangs, culminating in a shriek of grating metal. “Are you offering resistance?”

The damned thing—person—droid sounded very nearly hopeful. But Tuvié shrieked in truth.

“What are you doing? It isn’t her fault she can’t see!”

“Can’t see?” said Ellex. Her voice hardened further. “T6-X, explain.”

“I was attempting to do so,” Tisix informed her. “She remains in convalescence from the final stages of carbon-sickness, which has been protracted through the effects of leukocytes containing extremely high midichlorian counts. The remaining symptoms chiefly affect peripheral nerves and should soon diminish and disappear.”

“I told you,” Tuvié said.

“Very well,” replied Ellex. Before Lucy could get her hopes up, she continued, “You two bring her along, then. Here, I’ll restrain her.”

“Don’t you dare think of putting those filthy things on her!” Tuvié said indignantly. “She’s a guest! The Maker said so! He said to make her comfortable! Do you know how much time I’ve spent cleaning her?”

“I don’t know and I don’t want to know,” said Ellex. “Fine. Bring her your way. It’s your parts on the line, not mine.”

She thunked towards the door. Lucy hesitated, distant fear creeping near again. Desperately, she tried to think of anything else, anything she might do. But nothing came to mind, and Tuvié—the closest thing she had to an ally—was prodding her forward.

“I’ll explain everything to Lord Vader,” Tuvié said. “Don’t worry, Miss Lucy, everything will be fine. You’ll see.”

“As I have repeatedly explained,” snapped Tisix, “she cannot see anything.”

Lucy might have been leaving the burnt homestead again. It hadn’t been the right choice, or the wrong one. It’d just been the only one. Sometimes, it wasn’t about deciding between good and evil. It was about freely walking down the only path you had, or getting dragged down it.

She could still feel her family’s scorched bones scalding her hands. Sand and suns and stones and bones, all burning. Sweat and tears trickling down her face. She’d been dragged that day. And in Cloud City, too.

Gathering her courage, Lucy lifted her chin.

“Lead the way,” she said.
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anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (Default)
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