Authors: dtdang2 and ROTSfan
Summary: After her death, Padme is cloned by her family and has a chance encounter with Vader after she has grown up.
Disclaimers: All Characters belong to George Lucas, and no money was made with this story.
Chapter 1: Padme’s Funeral
The silver blue sky was tinged with pink, yellow and orange. It was dawn in Theed, the capital city of Naboo. The streets and canals were lined with thousands of mourners holding flickering flames of light in remembrance of their beloved Queen. The city was silent, except for an occasional sob that could be heard from the onlookers. The air was heavy with grief.
She was dressed in a turquoise blue gown that shimmered like the ocean waves. Her hair cascaded in ringlets around her face, and white flowers were strewn in her hair, which made her look like she was floating in water. Her hands were folded on her swollen stomach, clasping the japor snippet. Her beauty had not faded, even in death. She rested inside an open casket, so that her beauty was not hidden. Her coffin is carried in a carriage by six regal white beasts, and hundreds of thousands of mourners line the streets of Theed watching her float pass them. The Queen of Naboo and her handmaiden, and several dignitaries followed behind Padme’s carriage. Her parents, Ruwee and Jobal Naberrie, her sister, Sola, brother in law, Darred, and two neices followed the funeral procession on foot.
It seemed as if all the citizens of Naboo came to Theed to bid their final farewell to their beloved former Queen and Senator. As her carriage passed through the streets, a shower of petals and flowers rained on her carriage from the crowds. The streets were littered with flowers, with colors ranging from white to yellow to crimson.
Her carriage finally arrived to the Grand Palace Cathedral, where all the other former Queens were laid to rest. The Cathedral was grandiose, with vaulted stone ceilings and stained glass windows. A special tomb was set aside for Padme inside the Chapel. Six palace guards, dressed in blue uniforms adorned with gold ribbons carried Padme’s coffin to her final resting place inside the tomb. They were followed by her former handmaidens, dressed head to toe in deep purple, the Naboo color of mourning. Her family stood outside her tomb, silently weeping.
The guards gently laid her coffin on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Her family slowly filed in, each carrying a white lotus, the flower for which Padme was named after. They tenderly placed the flowers on her coffin, six in all, in a random pattern. They each said a silent prayer bid their final farewell before leaving the room. The guards closed the stone door, and everyone bowed in silence. The door was engraved with the words: Padme Amidala Naberrie, beloved Queen and Senator.
The mourners heard the chiming of the Cathedral bells, rung 27 times, one chime for a year in her life.
With the first chime, Jobal Naberrie saw her daughter as a baby, cooing softly for her Mother… 2nd chime, she saw Padme as a dark haired toddler taking her first steps…8th chime, Padme had entered the Naboo Youth Legislative League…11th chime, she was an apprentice legislature…14th chime, Jobal saw Padme in heavy makeup, with regal dresses, ruling Naboo with youthful idealism…19th chime, she sees her daughter mature into a thoughtful young woman, her whole future ahead of her…24th chime, she remembers her daughter’s visit to Naboo, bringing home a handsome suitor, and with the 27th chime, her daughter is gone.
With heavy hearts and broken spirits, the people of Naboo left their former Queen to her eternal sleep.
Chapter 2: Vader Visits Padme’s Grave
He was dressed in a black cloak and helmet, looking like the grim reaper himself. It was twilight in Theed, and the streets were empty. Vader stood outside of Padme’s tomb, staring at the heavy stone doors. With a wave of his hand, he used the Dark Forces to open the doors. He walked in, his footsteps echoing in the small tomb that she rested in. There she was…his beautiful fallen Angel that he gave his soul to save, only to have killed her in the end with his own anger. I did this to her… he thought to himself, and felt a heavy sinking in his heart.
He was filled with gut-wrenching grief, and sobbed inside his mask. “Padme…” he whispered. “Padme, you were my life…” He gently reached out his hand and caressed her hair, then her face, and slowly outlined the curves of her lips with his gloved mechanical finger, imprinting a mental picture of her features into his mind. “Padme, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to…”
His beloved wife did not answer him.
He saw the bulge of her stomach, and lamented the loss of his child. He had wanted a little girl, and hoped that she would have brown hair and eyes like her mother. He would have cherished his little cherub. His mind filled with anger again, especially toward Obi-Wan. It’s all his fault! Vader thought. He turned her against me.
He was still brewing with hate when he finally noticed the japor snippet in Padme’s hands. She was holding on in death to what she held dear in life. He thought of the day that he had given her that snippet. He had spent hours working on it, making it as beautiful as he could to befit an angel as beautiful as Padme. She told him that she didn’t need it to remember him by, but took it as a gesture of friendship much to his delight.
Vader untangled the japor snippet from her hands and took it into his. He held it to his heart, and grasped it tightly, wishing that she would just wake up and come away with him. He was going to put the snippet back into her hands, but couldn’t bear to let it part from him. This was the only object that he could still hold on to that belonged to her. He gently wrapped it in a leather bag, and placed it inside his cloak. “You don’t need this to remember me,” he told her, between his sobs.
He turned around to leave her tomb. Loving her was too painful. The emptiness he was feeling inside was unbearable. Any trace that was left of Anakin Skywalker stayed behind in his wife’s tomb, buried next to her side, never to see the light of day again. It hurt him too much to remember her love, and he closed off his heart with the darkness that was ever present around him. He embraced the Dark Side, which was like a drug to numb the pain he felt in his soul.
Chapter 3: Padme’s Diary
Ruwee and Jobal Naberrie received their daughter’s personal belongings from her apartment on Coruscant in brown boxes. Their eldest daughter, Sola was there to help them sort through Padme’s things. Jobal wept as she held each of Padme’s dresses, hugging them. There were many boxes filled with her clothes, but the last box that they opened had them intrigued. They found a locked metal box intricately engraved with flowers. There was an inscription that read, “For my Angel, with all my love” on the bottom of the box. The Naberries were very curious, but they were unable to open the box.
Ruwee said, “It’s private, maybe we shouldn’t open it…”
His wife replied, “I have to know…she was pregnant and she didn’t tell us. There has to be a reason.”
Sola agreed with her mother.
The Naberries went to a locksmith to help them with the box.
They all waited in anticipation, and after many hours, the locksmith was finally able to open the box. He told them, “This has got to be the toughest lock that I’ve picked. Whoever designed it was a genius!”
The Naberries decided to open the box in the privacy of their home. When they finally reached home, they were all very pensive of what they would find inside. Jobal gingerly lifted the lid. Inside, she saw a matching metal hairbrush that was also intricately carved, a small leather-bound book, and there was a holo in the box. She activated the holo and saw Padme in her wedding dress, tenderly being kissed by Anakin on the Naboo Lake retreat.
“Why didn’t she tell us about this?” Jobal asked. They were all stunned that Padme did not tell them about the wedding.
Sola answered her, “She must have her reasons, Mother. I’m sure she wanted to, but duty probably prevented her from saying anything. Jedi knights aren’t supposed to marry, anyway.”
Deep down, everyone was hurt that Padme didn’t confide in them, but they understood her need for secrecy.
Jobal then took out the leather bound journal, and said, “I want to know how this all started.”
The family cried as they read through her memoirs. They realized how torn Padme was for not telling them about her marriage to Anakin. She wrote of her love for him, and her worry for his safety during the Clone Wars. They felt her excitement about her pregnancy, and learned of her plans to return to Naboo to have her baby, and to finally tell her family everything.
Jobal sobbed as she read the final entry in Padme’s diary aloud to Ruwee and Sola:
“I wish I can tell Mother and Father about my joy! They’ll be so excited to know that there is another grandchild on the way for them. And Sola, she’ll be an Aunt. Ryoo and Pooja will have a little cousin to play with! I wish I could tell them about Anakin and our marriage, but I cannot risk him losing his position as a Jedi Knight. The Republic needs him to win this war. I don’t know how long I can hide my pregnancy. I suppose I’ll travel to Naboo and have the baby there with my family. They need to know sooner or later. I can trust them to help me.”
They were happy that Padme found true love with Anakin, but were saddened that they would never have a chance to embrace their son-in-law. They all believed that he died during the Jedi purge. They bemoaned the loss of their daughter, their son-in-law, and their grandchild.
Jobal cried out, “She didn’t deserve to die! I want my baby back! She hasn’t even started living her life yet. I didn’t get a chance to accept Anakin as my son. She loved him so much, she was still holding on to that pendant that he gave her ten years ago! Why did she have to die?”
Ruwee and Sola both wrapped their arms around Jobal to comfort her, and the family wept again for their loss.
Chapter 4: Jobal’s Dream
The sun rising and the sun setting across the azure Naboo sky no longer brought any joy to Jobal. Simple pleasures such as observing a flower bloom or watching a bird in flight only reminded Jobal of Padme. A month had passed since her funeral, and the Naberries were still grieving for her. They could not accept the fact that she was gone from them forever. Jobal, in particular, had the most difficult time dealing with her daughter’s death. Her heart ached every time she thought of Padme, and sorrow overwhelmed her when she thought of Padme’s premature departure from the world.
Ever since Padme’s death, Jobal was having variations of the same dream each night. She felt like she was watching the dream through a wall of water, and the details were a bit muddled to her. However, each night that she had the dream, the details became clearer. At first, she only saw a brown haired little girl trapped inside a white building. Jobal eventually recognized that it was her daughter, Padme. Padme was saying something to her, but she couldn’t hear her. The only thing that Jobal could hear were the sounds of raindrops pelting on the roof, and the loud roar of thunder. However, as Jobal continued to have the same dream, she was finally able to hear Padme speak. Jobal heard her calling out, “Momma, where are you? I’m here! Please find me!” Everytime Padme called out to her Mother, Jobal saw visions of a planet drowned with torrential rains. There was nothing but water, and several white City-Pods on the surface of the water. She had never seen that planet before, but believed that Padme’s spirit was somehow trapped there.
Jobal eventually told Ruwee and Sola about her dream.
Sola remembered Padme telling her stories about a planet on the Outer Rim called Kamino.
Sola told her parents, “Padme told me once that the storm troopers were cloned on a planet called Kamino. She said that it rained there every day, and the planet was a large ocean.”
Ruwee said, “You know, before I taught at the University, I was a builder. A long time ago, before I met your Mother, I was sent on a secret mission to Kamino. I was part of a team of builders who helped the Kaminoans design and build their stilt-mounted cities. I was friends with a young Kaminoan named Lama Su, who is now the Prime minister of Kamino. I believe he still watches over the clone factories.”
Jobal felt the rays of hope color her life again. She said, “It’s a sign from Padme. She wants to come back. She has unfinished business. She called to me in my dreams. We have to clone her and bring her back!”
Sola said, “Mother! That is unnatural. We can’t do that! How could you suggest that Padme would want to have herself cloned?”
Jobal scolded her, saying, “How can you say that about your sister? Don’t you miss her? Wouldn’t you give anything to have her back?”
“Yes,” Sola replied, “I would do anything to have her back but this just isn’t right! It wouldn’t be Padme, it would just be someone who looked like her.”
“I don’t care. I just want my daughter back. And, you’re wrong, Sola. It would be Padme.” Jobal said adamantly.
Sola told her, “Mother, I love her, but I think your grief has clouded your judgement.”
“Sola, if you love me, if you loved your sister, you would agree with me. I need to have her back. Please. Sola, I can’t do this without your blessings.”
Sola looked at the pain that was in her Mother’s eyes. Jobal had been weeping every day for a month. Her Mother was losing weight, and her sorrow was immeasurable. She thought of her sister, Padme. She had spent her whole life serving others. She didn’t even get a chance to enjoy motherhood. She felt that Padme missed out so much in life. It was only fair that she could have another chance. Sola reluctantly said, “I guess you’re right, Mother. It would be nice to have Padme back again.”
Jobal turned to Ruwee and said, “What are you waiting for? Please contact Lama Su. My daughter is calling for us to bring her back.”
Ruwee didn’t argue with his wife. He knew what he was about to do was probably not the right thing, but the emptiness in his heart from his daughter’s death left such a fierce aching that he wanted to stop the pain by having Padme in their lives again.
The decision was made. They were going to clone Padme. Ruwee contacted Lama Su for a favor.
Chapter 5: The Clone Factory
Ruwee, Jobal, and Sola undertook the long journey to Kamino and the Clone Factory.
Lama Su had sent Ruwee the coordinates, and as the Naberries traveled to the distant planet, each person was immersed in their own thought about the implications of what they were about to do.
Jobal was excited about the whole idea of having Padme cloned. She didn’t want to think about the consequences or future problems that may arise. She just wanted Padme back, to fill the void in her heart. Although scared of the consequences, Ruwee’s heart ached whenever he thought of Padme’s death. He wanted his wife to be happy, and the thought of holding Padme in his arms again justified the process that they would have to go through to have her. Sola was a bit more apprehensive than her parents. She felt that there were going to be consequences to her action. She thought of scenarios where Padme would find out the truth. She vowed that she would never let anyone know the truth except her parents and husband. She would not even tell Ryoo and Pooja. They were too young to understand. Sola sighed as she thought of all the lies and deception that they would have to tell by undergoing the cloning process. But they had come so far, and she wasn’t going to let second thoughts affect the overall decision that the family had made.
When they arrived at Kamino, they saw a grey planet with swirling clouds. As they approached the surface, all they could see was a vast sea of turbulent ocean water. Thunder and lightening flashed in the sky. They saw several white city-pods in the water, and landed on the pod numbered 118254 as Lama Su had instructed.
As the gate of the city was opened for their arrival, they were personally met by the Prime minister, Lama Su.
“Hello my old friend…It has been a very long while since we have seen each other. Welcome to Kamino.” Lama Su greeted them.
“Thank you, Lama Su. It has been so long. Forty years, perhaps? Let me introduce you to my wife Jobal, and my daughter, Sola.”
“Very pleased to meet you,” Lama Su said.
Jobal and Sola bowed their heads and both said, “Pleased to meet you too.”
“I am sorry for your loss.” Lama Su told them.
“Thank you, Lama Su. It has been so tragic. We cannot bear the pain. Padme was so young, so full of life…” Ruwee told him. “It has been very difficult for our family, which is why we come here for your help.”
Lama Su told him, “You have helped us so much by rebuilding our city to withstand the harsh environment here. It still stands after all these years. I will forever be grateful for that. Anything that we can do for you, please ask.”
Ruwee decided to be direct, and said, “Lama Su, please help us clone Padme. We have strands of her hair from an old brush that you can use.”
“Is this something that you have thought about carefully?” Lama Su asked.
“Yes.” Ruwee answered.
“Then consider it done.” Lama Su told them.
Lama Su took the intricately carved hair brush that had been in Padme’s locked box. There were still strands of her curly brown hair in the brush. “This will work nicely. We will extract her DNA from the hair bulb” he told them, and led Ruwee, Jobal, and Sola into the cloning laboratory.
In the cloning facility, the Naberries saw hundreds of clones being manufactured. They surmised that these were the Empire’s Storm Troopers. The clones were in different groups; some were learning computer skills, others marching in formation. Sola had reservations when she saw all the embryos being grown in jars, but one look at her parent’s hopeful faces was all it took for her to steel her resolve to clone Padme. They had already traveled so far, and was so close to having Padme back again. She didn’t want to disappoint her parents, especially her Mother.
The scientists at the clone factory extracted DNA from Padme’s hair sample, and at Ruwee’s request, cloned her DNA into only one embryo. The Naberries wanted an unaltered clone of Padme. They knew that the clone troopers’ DNA were altered to change their personality, but for Padme, they wanted pure genetic replication. They also didn’t want to have Padme undergo rapid growth acceleration like the storm troopers. They wanted her to enjoy her childhood, and they wanted her to grow up like any normal little girl. It was already decided by Sola and her husband that they were going to implant the embryo in her womb to be Padme’s surrogate mother.
It took several days for Sola to undergo hormone therapy to ready herself for the implantation. As Sola laid on the procedure table to have the embryo implanted into her uterus, she had many thoughts run through her mind. It was too late to turn back now. Now that the deed was done, and Padme was already cloned, Sola refocused her thoughts from the ethical question of whether they should have done this or not, and focused instead on having a healthy pregnancy. She felt an overwhelming sense of protection for her baby. She wanted to shelter her, to let her have a normal childhood, and not be a civil servant to Naboo. Sola knew that no one could replace her sister, but she hoped that the cloned embryo would fill the aching void in their hearts and bring them as much joy and happiness as Padme had.
Chapter 6: The rebirth of Amidala Padme Naberrie
Chapter 6 (continued) - 9
Jobal was in the delivery room with Sola while Darred and Ruwee waited outside with Ryoo and Pooja. Sola had an easy delivery, and a beautiful baby girl was born. As the baby was placed in her arms, Sola felt complete devotion to the little girl. She kissed the little baby on the forehead, and said, “Welcome to the world again, little one.” Sola looked up at Jobal, and saw tears of joy streaming down her Mother’s face. She handed the baby to Jobal, who was overjoyed as she held the bundle that contained her daughter. She beamed as she rocked the little baby in her arms.
Jobal said, “Do you remember what today is Sola? It is Padme’s birthday today. She would have been 28. This is my Padme. This is my daughter. I can feel it. She came before her due date because she wanted to be born on her original birthdate! As a matter of fact, I remember having her early in the morning too!”
Sola looked at Jobal, and couldn’t explain the coincidence of the baby’s birth.
Just then, Darred and Ruwee came into the room with the girls.
“Congratulations, darling!” Ruwee told his daughter. He came over to kiss the baby who was sleeping soundly in Jobal’s arms.
Darred came over to kiss his wife. “How are you doing, love?” he asked.
“I’m just fine.” She told him and squeezed his hands.
“What shall we name her?” Sola asked her parents.
Jobal said, “Let’s name her after the Queen. Amidala. Amidala Padme Naberrie.”
Ryoo, who was nine years old, and her seven-year old sister Pooja, were excited with the addition to their family.
“Yay! Now we have another sister to play with! Are we naming her after Aunt Padme?” they asked.
“Yes,” Jobal said. “Your Aunt Padme would have wanted this.”
After the healers were sure that baby and mother were well, Sola took baby Ami home to give her a second chance at life.
Chapter 7: The Birthday Party
“Look, she even blows out the candles like Padme used to.” Jobal said to Sola.
They watched as the brown haired little girl blew out five candles on her cake, one at a time, from left to right.
“Yes, Mother. She seems to follow every step that Padme used to take.” Sola sighed. Sola didn’t think of the little girl as her sister, but as her beloved daughter, and was a little bit concerned that she was so similar to Padme. She was afraid that her daughter would have tragedy befall her if she followed in Padme’s same footsteps. Every fiber of her being wanted to protect the little girl from the same fate as Padme, and she did everything she could think of to steer her in a different direction.
Jobal, on the other hand, was very pleased that the little girl not only looked like Padme, she acted like Padme as well. She knew that her daughter had come back to her. Ami Padme Naberrie was the top student at her school. She was articulate and intelligent beyond her years, and her loving and compassionate nature was clear to everyone around her. Jobal was very happy that her daughter could relive the childhood that she had lost. Of course, there were some differences too, since it was Sola who raised the child, and growing up with two older sisters sometimes took some of the attention away from her. She was more playful and had quite an active imagination. She was also very creative and artistic, and was a little bit more demure than Padme had been. Nonetheless, Jobal loved her just the same.
“Let’s open presents, okay Padme?” Jobal asked the little girl.
“Okay, Grandma!” The little girl replied. She knew that her name was Ami, which was what everyone called her at school. However, at home, her parents, grandparents, and sisters called her by her middle name, Padme.
The first present she opened was a coloring book given to her by Sola. She clasped her hand in delight, eager to start coloring. “Thanks, Momma!” She told Sola. “It’s just what I wanted!”
“Here, open Grandpa’s present next,” Jobal told her as she handed her a box.
Padme pulled out a little doll with blonde hair. He was wearing a tan robe. She hugged the little doll.
“I’m going to name him Luke!” she said. “Thanks, Grandpa!”
“Now open my present, Padme.” Jobal told her.
She opened another box, and there was a little baby girl with brown hair in pigtails, wearing a white dress. She grabbed the doll, and hugged it along with her first doll.
“This is his sister! I’m going to name her Leia!” She squealed with happiness.
After all the presents were opened, Ami played with her two new favorite dolls, Luke and Leia. She was teaching them how to color.
Sola and Jobal were in the kitchen when Ruwee came up to them. He chuckled, and asked, “Wherever did she get those names from?”
“You mean her dolls?” Sola asked.
“Yes, her dolls.” He said, still laughing. “It seems like Padme has a name for all her dolls and stuffed animals.”
“She probably heard it at school somewhere.” Sola told him. “As a matter of fact, I like those names.”
“Speaking of school, what did you tell her when she asked you to join the Youth Legislative League that her school was promoting?” Jobal asked.
“Well Mother, I told her ‘no,’ of course. I don’t want her following the same political path again. She really likes drawing and coloring. I’m going to enroll her in an art program for the summer. I think that would be fun for her.”
Jobal and Ruwee nodded in agreement with Sola. They didn’t want Padme to sacrifice her life and personal happiness by serving Naboo like she did before. This was one issue in which Sola, Jobal, and Ruwee saw eye to eye. They wanted her to have a happy childhood, grow up, find love, get married, and have a family.
Chapter 8: The Fortune Teller
Ryoo and Pooja heard that there was a traveling carnival visiting Naboo for one week. They knew that this famous carnival traveled around the galaxy, gathering strange and exciting animals and performers to entertain their audience. Since Padme always wanted to see the world, they thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to take her for her fourteenth birthday. The three sisters had a wonderful time eating the different foods of the galaxy, playing games, and watching the acrobats and jugglers perform.
“How hard is it to juggle 15 balls when you have six arms?” Pooja asked sarcastically.
The three girls laughed at Pooja’s comment.
Padme said, “I sure would like to see what his home planet is like, though. I’d love to see the rest of the galaxy.”
Ryoo said, “Oh Padme, you and your silly dreams of traveling the galaxy. Why would you ever want to leave the beauty that is Naboo?”
“I didn’t say I wanted to live in another place. I just said I wanted to see it!” Padme said, exasperated that her sister didn’t share her views. “Don’t you want to see what’s out there?”
“Not really,” Ryoo told her. “I’m perfectly happy here. Besides, that’s what this carnival is for. Seeing the galaxy from the comfort of your own home planet!”
“Look!” Pooja said, changing the subject. “Let’s get some bantha burgers!”
“You want to eat again?” Padme asked. “Didn’t we just eat shaak-a-bobs about ten minutes ago?”
“Well, it just looks so good!” Pooja told her.
The three girls walked around the carnival for the next several hours enjoying the sights and sounds around them. As the day was winding down, they rested on a bench outside a red and white striped tent. They were surprised when a short green woman came out of the tent and said, “Come in, and tell your fortune, I will.” The girls all said “Okay,” in unison. Padme smiled at the old woman. She sensed familiarity and trusted the old woman right away.
The inside the tent looked like a meditation room. The girls could smell burning incense, and there was a simple, short wooden table with a crystal ball on top of it in the middle of the room. Red and purple velvet pillows with gold trim were scattered on the floor. The girls all sat down in front of the table. The fortune teller looked like a gypsy, with a snubby green nose and gold coins embroidered into her head scarf. Her ears were long and pointy, and moved when she spoke. Her hands were knotted, and she had three fingers on each hand, each with long purple fingernails.
She looked at the three girls, and said, “Today, who’s fortune will I read?”
Ryoo chimed, “It’s Padme’s birthday today. Why don’t you read her fortune?”
The old lady looked at the beautiful girl and said, “Ask a question, you must, and tell you about your future, I will.”
“Well, why don’t you tell her who she’s going to fall in love with? A dreamy-eyed artist, perhaps?” Pooja said with a smirk on her face. She knew that Padme had a crush on her art teacher, Palo, and couldn’t help but tease her about it.
“Stop it, Pooja,” Padme said, blushing. She looked at the old green woman who looked very kind, and Padme felt brave, so she said, “Yes, I am a little curious. Why don’t you tell me who my soul mate is?”
“Ah yes…” said the old woman.
She waved her green hands over the crystal ball, and the ball suddenly turned cloudy. However, the cloud never cleared and all that the old woman saw was blackness, and for a flash, the old woman saw a black armored evil-looking mask. The old woman closed her eyes in fear, but when she opened them the image was already gone.
She did not want to tell Padme what she saw, instead she said, “That far into the future, I cannot see. Curious about your past life, are you? Tell you about it, I can.”
Padme smiled, and said, “Sure, why don’t you tell me? Was I a beautiful princess who married a knight in shining armor? And don’t tell me…we lived happily ever after in a castle in the clouds….”
The old woman said, “Your hands, you must give me. Then your past, I will see.” Padme gave the little green lady her hands and closed her eyes, trying to stifle a giggle that was forming at her throat.
Padme felt a strange sensation when the old lady was holding her hands. She could feel a rush of energy coming from the old woman into her. She felt the hair on her skin stand up. Her mind suddenly became blank, and she was no longer aware of her surroundings. Then Padme saw images. The images were of a young Queen, of a little boy, of a handsome young warrior. The images were all jumbled together into a confusing collection of thoughts. Padme was startled at what she saw, and pulled her hands away from the grip of the old woman.
“What is the matter, child? Tell me you must.” The old woman asked her.
“I…I don’t know. I just saw so many images. It was all so confusing.” She told the old lady.
Curious, Pooja asked the old woman, “What did you see about Padme’s past?”
The old lady told them, “A Queen she was, in her past life, beloved by her people. A knight she married, dressed in black armor, he was…”
The old woman stopped mid-sentence. She did not want to tell Padme that the vision she saw of the Queen ended in tragedy, and that her castle was actually swirled in yellow acid clouds.
“Now go, you must…other fortunes to read, I have!” She did not want to look further into the beautiful girl’s past, or her future.
Padme and her sisters left the fortune teller’s tent.
“That was strange,” Padme said. “She thought that I was a Queen.”
Ryoo said, “Oh Padme, that crazy lady was just having fun with you. She just wanted our credits! You don’t seriously believe what she said, do you?”
“No…no, I guess not,” Padme told her sister. She didn’t want to tell her sisters about the strange images she saw when the old woman held her hands either, thinking that they would make fun of her if she did.
“Wasn’t our Aunt a Queen?” Padme asked.
“Yes,” Ryoo told her. We were very young when she died. I remember that I adored her, but other than that, I don’t remember much else.”
“How come no one ever talks about her? And how come there’s no holos of her around?” Padme asked her sisters. She couldn’t get the image of the painted face of the Queen out of her mind.
“I don’t know,” Ryoo said. “I guess it’s too sad to remember.”
“What did she look like?” Padme further inquired.
Ryoo told her, “I have a faded memory of her. She wasn’t around that much. She was pretty. I think you kind of look like her.”
“Isn’t it strange they named me after her?” Padme asked.
“Not really.” Ryoo told her. “I was named after Great-grandmother Naberrie.”
“And I was named after Great-grandmother Jansen.” Pooja said.
“I guess Mother and Father have no imagination whatsoever when it comes naming their children!” Padme said.
“I know,” Pooja said, laughing. “You’d think one of us would have a name that didn’t belong to someone else.”
Chapter 9: Dreams and Nightmares
As she readied for bed, Padme was thinking about her meeting with the fortune teller earlier that day. She couldn’t explain the strange sensation she felt when the old woman held her hand, and she couldn’t explain the images that she saw either. It was as if the old woman opened an untapped area of her mind. Padme was still trying to recall the images she saw when she fell asleep.
She was dressed in a long scarlet velvet robe and her face was powdered white. There were two symmetrical beauty marks on her face, and a red mark on her lower lip. She was walking down a long aisle, and royal guards dressed in blue uniforms lined up around her. She knelt in front of the Prime Minister, who bestowed a heavy crown upon her head. As she turned around, she heard the cheer of her people.
Suddenly the cheers turned to cries, cries for help, and cries of despair. Naboo was in trouble, and she was not there to help her people. She was somewhere else far away, with two men whom she didn’t recognize. All she saw was sand; miles and miles of sand.
Then she saw a precocious little boy who was trying to help her. She didn’t know what his name was. He was piloting a strange craft in a race, and it was important that he won. He was doing all of this because he wanted to help her. She wondered why he was risking his life for her.
When Padme awoke the next morning, the dream was still fresh in her mind. She could remember every single detail clearly, which was unusual for her because she normally only had an impression of what her dreams were about, and not the full specifics.
She heard her mother calling to her, “Padme, are you up yet? It’s time to go to your art school.”
“I’m still in bed, mom.” Padme called out.
Sola went to her bedroom, sat on her bed, and said, “What are you still doing in bed?”
“Oh, I just had a really strange dream.” She told Sola.
“What was it about, honey?” Sola asked her.
“I dreamt about Aunt Padme, when she was Queen, except I was her.”
Sola’s face turned white, and her heart skipped a beat. She tried to hide her fear, but her hands and voice started to shake. “Tell me more,” she said.
“Are you alright, Mother?” Padme asked.
Sola nodded, and said, “Go on…”
“Well, I was at my coronation, I mean her coronation, and then all of a sudden I was stuck on this desert planet, and there was a little boy who was trying to help me. I don’t know who is, but all he wanted to do was help me.”
“Padme, it was only a dream.” Sola told her.
“Mother, can you tell me more about Aunt Padme?” She inquired.
Sola was dreading the day that her daughter would ask this question.
“There’s not much to say. She was away from home since she was 10 or 12, serving in various government jobs. When she was 14, your age, she was elected Queen of Naboo. After her term as Queen, she served as a senator on Coruscant, where she died. I only saw her a few times in between. We didn’t know much about her.” At least she wasn’t lying about her sister.
“I don’t know her at all, and yet I just feel connected to her somehow.” Padme told her Mother.
“Well, I’m sure she’s watching over you right now, Padme” her Mother told her.
Ever since the run-in with the fortune teller, Padme always had strange, vivid dreams where she was in one adventure after the next. Some of the dreams were very pleasant and sweet, others would have her waking up in a sweat. They always seemed so real to her, and she often thought that she had two lives.
Her favorite dreams were of the little boy with sandy blonde hair. She knew that he was very intelligent, and he adored her. She felt very protective of this little boy. Padme never knew his name; every time she asked him what his name was, the little boy would tell her, “My name has no meaning.” Padme never understood what he meant by that, but his answer was always the same. In her dreams, Padme and the little boy were always having some sort of adventure. He always wanted to save and protect her, and Padme was very fond of him.
As Padme became engrossed in school, however, her dreams of the little boy soon began to decrease in frequency. The last dream she had of him, she remembered that he had given her a little pendant that he had made for her. “Something to remember me by,” he told her.
Her dreams were also mixed with nightmares. Padme would see assassination attempts on her life, and she would see people killed or hurt who were close to her.
Padme always woke up crying, because the nightmares were so real.
Padme had on several occasions recounted some of her dreams and nightmares to her Mother, telling her about the little boy and the adventures that they would find themselves in. Sola told her that he must be her Guardian Angel, looking out after her. Whenever Padme had the nightmares, Sola was always there to hold her and comfort her so she could go back to sleep, but she never told Padme the real meaning of the dreams. Sola was very deeply troubled, because she felt that Padme’s emotional health was in jeopardy by keeping the truth from her.
Through the years, her dreams of the little boy eventually came back, and increased in frequency. The little boy became older, taller, and more handsome each time she dreamt of him. As she became older, her feelings for the little boy turned from protective to romantic. Sometimes Padme would just look at his handsome face and melt. He was very charming, and always put her on a pedestal. She dreamt of him almost every night and soon he became as real to her as any person who passed her by on the street.
Padme channeled all the dreams she had into her art. She was a student at the Naboo Art Academy, where she studied to become a classical artist. She was one of the most gifted students in the school, and she often painted scenes that she saw from her dreams, from the royal coronation of the young queen to frolics in the fields of Naboo with her handsome knight. She knew that it was silly, but she always yearned for his touch, and painting him made him more real and more tangible to her. By the time she graduated from the Art Academy at 18 years old, her paintings were being sold throughout Naboo and the nearby systems.
Every time Sola saw a painting that had Anakin Skywalker’s face in it, she became very nervous. She had a name for the face, but never told Padme what it was. Sola kept referring to him as her Guardian Angel, because she believed that he was still watching over her. She didn’t know what else to tell Padme. She and Jobal often discussed whether to tell Padme the truth or not. Jobal wanted to, but Sola was too afraid that Padme would never speak to them again. They both knew that eventually they would have to tell her the truth, they just weren’t sure when.
Chapter 10: Bast Castle
It felt good to have his mask off. There weren’t many places where he could do that. Here, in the sanctuary of his home, he was afforded this luxury. He had converted most of the rooms in the castle into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. With the flip of a switch, he was able to pump enough oxygen into each room and pressurize it so that he was able to breath without the mask. He looked at the mask with pride and hate. Proud that it instilled fear in his troops, and fear in his enemies as they gazed upon the dark menacing orbs of his mask. Proud that it commanded respect and power. Hate because it symbolized betrayal and loss. It was his former Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi who put him in the prison of his dark suit. He could not survive outside Bast castle without it. He could never feel the sun shine on his face, or feel the wind blow in his hair.
The Emperor had awarded Vader this castle on Vjun. Vader liked the solitude that this desolate planet gave him. He liked looking outside his window at the twirling yellow clouds that brought on the acid rain. Nothing could live for long on the planet surface. The acid rain that fell upon the planet eventually killed any type of vegetation that tried to emerge from the ground. The acid even seeped through the earth, and not much could live below the surface either. The rivers and streams bubbled and hissed with acid. His fortress stood tall and proud against the foreboding landscape that appeared as evil as its tenant. Vader had all the necessary amenities to sustain himself at the fortress for 6 months, although he never had enough time to stay there that long. He had food stored inside the castle walls, and in order to have a fresh water supply, his castle was equipped with an acid neutralization plant. He had a central command station inside his castle, where his orders could be carried out by his officers, and an impressive fleet of star destroyers and Imperial shuttles. Vader felt safe in his castle, because he had rigged the castle with numerous traps and had equipped it with a strong defense system in case it ever came under attack.
Here, in Bast castle, Vader was able to rest and recuperate from his many battles. He came here to meditate, and to call on the powers of the Dark side to strengthen him and to heal him. He was badly scarred from his battle with Obi Wan, but he had been working on his physical healing at the castle. The hyperbaric oxygen worked to regenerate his skin cells, healing most of his scars. He only had a few burn scars left, mainly on his legs. With the new cybernetic technology, his limbs looked like flesh; there were also neurosensors on his his fingertips so that he could feel and experience sensations such as touch, texture, pressure, temperature, and vibrations. The only thing that he couldn’t improve much on were his lungs. It had been too badly damaged from the sulfuric smoke inhalation on Mustafar. He would require a stem cell regeneration of a new lung and a complete lung transplant. It would take him three to four months to recuperate, which was time that he could not have. He had a rebellion to crush. Maybe when the Galaxy was in order, the Emperor would grant him the leave of absence. Until then, he would have to wear his suit and mask. Mustafar…that name only brought anger to his blue eyes and made it flash yellow. Mustafar where he was betrayed and left for dead by his old master. He smiled at the thought that he was able to kill Obi Wan in revenge for cutting off his limbs. “I would be so much more powerful if it weren’t for you,” Vader thought.
Whenever he thought of Mustafar, his thoughts always drifted to his wife. That was the last place he had seen her alive. Even after 23 years, the pain of her death still tore at his heart. He had killed her. But he could have sworn that she was alive. He could feel her Force signature as if it were his own.
Bast castle was the only place where he allowed himself to think about his wife, the woman whom he would have given anything to have back again. He tried to block her memory from his mind, but whenever he rested at Bast castle, in the comfort of his bed without his mask, he would always dream about her. She would haunt his nights at the castle. He still slept only on the left side of the bed, which had always been his side, and never encroached on her side. He didn’t know why he did it, perhaps he was secretly wishing that he would wake up one morning to find her next to him again. All the power and wealth that he had acquired in the past two decades didn’t bring him happiness. It brought him satisfaction, but never happiness. The only brief moments where he felt a sliver of happiness was the five seconds after he had awoken from a dream where he was Anakin Skywalker again, and his wife was there to love him with her warm embraces and gentle kisses. He was always her valiant knight and protector in his dreams, and not her murderer. After the few seconds of waking up, harsh reality would set in, and he would cloak himself in Darkness to numb the pain.
He had built a shrine for her in a secret chamber of his castle. It was a simple room. There was a wooden table, and a box on the table that he kept locked with the Force. Only he could open it. Inside the box was the Japoor pendant that belonged to Padme. Once a year, he would go into that room and open the box. Her happy memories seemed to have etched themselves within the carvings of the japor pendant. Everytime he held it, a flood of memories would come back to him. He could almost feel her touch, caressing him, filling him with a longing that only served to magnify his loneliness. Once a year, on their wedding anniversary, Vader would allow himself to think and daydream about her.
And now, he realized that he had a son. The Emperor had told him that Luke was his son, and when he searched his feelings, he knew that was true. He couldn’t explain the circumstances of Luke’s birth. He had hired a bounty hunter to check the records at Polis Massa, where his wife died, but nothing could be found. All Obi-Wan’s fault, he surmised. He turned his wife against him, and now is turning his son against him. No matter, he would find Luke, and show him the powers of the darkside, and have his son join him.
His stops at Bast Castle were becoming increasingly infrequent. He had more important things to do than relive the past. He had a Rebellion to crush, a son to find, and a new death star to rebuild.
Chapter 11: The Painting
Lord Vader maneuvered his ship expertly to land on the Imperial Building on Coruscant. He had to meet with several builders and weapons specialist to discuss completion of the construction of the second Death Star. His eyes flashed yellow at the thought of the destruction of the first Death Star by the Rebel Forces. At least the second one will be larger and even more powerful than the last, he thought to himself, and headed towards the meeting hall.
He was thinking about the second Death Star when something on the wall stopped him dead in his tracks. There, on one of the hallway walls, was a painting of brown-haired maiden dressed in a white flowing gown. He had not seen that beautiful face for over 20 years. Next to this fair lady was a knight in black armor on a speeder. They were on a field with cascading waterfalls in the background. The knight’s helmet was lifted, and Vader saw that he was tall and handsome, with piercing blue eyes and blond hair. She was holding out her arms to him, and he noticed that she wore a crudely carved trinket on her neck. There was a smile of pure delight on both their faces. Vader was startled, and his heart skipped a beat. How was that possible? Who would have known about them? And how did the japoor pendant end up on the painting?
Lord Vader summoned the building administrator for questioning.
“I am curious, where did you get this painting from?" Vader asked the administrator.
“My Lord, it was purchased from Naboo. One of our designers visited there, and brought back this painting for us,” he replied.
“Who painted this?” Vader questioned.
“She’s very well known in the art community, my Lord. Her name is Ami Naberrie. I believe she lives out in the Lake Country on Naboo.”
“Do you have any other art pieces from her here?” Vader asked.
The administrator answered, “Yes my Lord. There’s one more painting in the library.”
“Thank you, that will be all.” Vader told the administrator.
The administrator left, and was puzzled at the dark Lord’s interest in Naboo art, but knew better than to dare question Darth Vader.
Vader had to attend his meeting for the new Death Star, but he found it impossible to focus on what any of the builders and weapons specialists were saying. His mind raced with questions. He felt his pulse quickening just thinking about the painting. He had to find out how the artist knew about him and Padme.
After his meeting, Vader went to the library to see the artwork of Ami Naberrie.
The second painting was of the maiden again. She was wearing a sweeping yellow dress, her hair cascading in curls down her back. She was standing on a balcony that overlooked a magnificent azure lake. She was looking up towards the sky with a wistful, longing look on her face. Around her neck was the japoor pendant again, and her right hand was tenderly caressing the pendant.
Vader could feel an ache in his heart as he remembered how his wife would have waited for him to come home much like the lady in the painting.
He vowed to find this Ami Naberrie to question her about her art.
He heard a shriek of laughter coming from her alabaster throat. He could hear the thunderous waterfalls in the background; he could smell the green grass beneath him and the scent of the first spring wildflowers. Best of all, he could feel her touch on his skin. He was young and handsome again, the sunlight highlighting his golden hair as he lay in her lap amidst a grassy field speckled with yellow and orange flowers. She was laughing at something he said, her eyes sparkling with the love that she had for him. She was feeding him a sweet berry that they had picked earlier in the day, and he felt complete serenity and complete devotion to her. “Open up, Ani, here’s another berry for you” she told him as she placed the juicy fruit in his mouth with her slender fingers. He grabbed her hands, and tenderly kissed each of her fingers to thank them for feeding him so well. She ran her finger through his hair, and was about to say something when he heard a load ringing sound.
His comlink was buzzing. “My Lord, we’ve arrived in Naboo. We await your orders,” he heard his commander telling him.
Angrily, he said, “Prepare my shuttle. I will land on Naboo alone. Wait for me here.”
Half awake, he was still trying to recall and remember the vivid dream that he just had. He actually felt something, joy perhaps, maybe it was happiness, for a brief moment when he had the dream, but the details soon faded from his memory like sand through his fingers.
He circled around the Lake Country in his shuttle, taking in the beauty of the Naboo landscape. He felt a hint of nostalgia, as he remembered all the precious memories that he had of Naboo. His intelligence officers had located the artist precisely to the lakeside retreat that belonged to the Naberrie family. He felt his heart beat faster when he landed his shuttle on a field next to the Lakeside retreat. As he entered the building, a wave of emotion hit him so hard that he found it difficult to breath, even with his respirator. He hadn’t been here since they were married so long ago. He came to the front door, and noticed that it was open. He stepped in. The retreat was as beautiful as ever, but showed signs of the passage of time. He found his way to the balcony, and was greeted by the breathtaking view of the lake. As he stepped out on the balcony, a flood of memories flowed through his mind. He remembered his past life, his love for Padme, and the happiness she had brought him. He had suppressed any memory of her for so long now, that remembering her again brought that dull ache back into his heart. He allowed himself one moment to think of her again before he bottled her away in the deep recesses of his mind. He was on a mission to find Ami Naberrie.
Chapter 12: The Encounter
Vader was brought out of his daydream when he caught a movement out of the corner of his eyes on the sand below. In the distance, he saw a woman with curly brown hair, holding a basket to collect seashells. Then it hit him. He felt her. He felt her force signature, and he felt her presence.
It can’t be, he thought. My mind is playing tricks on me.
He looked again, and saw that the figure was moving up the path to where he stood. She hadn’t noticed him because he stood in the shadows behind a large tree.
As she approached, his heart skipped a beat as he saw her face.
How is it possible? She hasn’t aged a day since I last saw her…
He thought that being on Naboo and reminiscing was causing him to hallucinate. He thought his past was coming back to haunt him. He called out her name, “Padme…”
To his surprise, she looked up, was startled, and dropped her basket of seashells.
When she first saw the black figure on her balcony, she was taken aback. She had never seen anything that looked like this before. His black uniform and black mask looked terrifying. Who is this creature? She wondered.
He noticed that she had a frightened expression on her face, and noticed that there was no hint of recognition in her eyes. He told her, “Don’t worry, I will not hurt you.”
For some strange reason, she believed him. She managed to ask him, “May I help you?”
“I am Darth Vader.” He told her. He didn’t know what else to say. He had come here expecting to meet a Naboo artist, and the shock of seeing this beautiful replica of his wife had him shaking under his suit, his heart pounding, and sweat beading on his forehead. He tried to remain calm, but it was hard for him to contain his curiosity and excitement.
She bowed before him and said, “My Lord, forgive me, I didn’t know.” She heard of Lord Vader, second in command of the Empire. All those stories of him made her blood curl. She didn’t care too much for him, or for Emperor Palpatine for that matter. They were just a pair of tyrannical dictators to her. On Naboo, secluded in the Lakeside retreat, it was easy for her to forget the plight of the galaxy. However, with Lord Vader standing before her, she was terrified.
He could sense her fear. She didn’t know he was the former Anakin Skywalker, and he would never hurt her again.
He asked her, “Please tell me who you are.”
“I am Ami Naberrie,” She told him. She was surprised that he called her Padme, but was too nervous to ask him how he knew.
He wanted to spend more time with her, to question her about her artwork, and ask her about her family, but he didn’t know of an appropriate way to ask her directly. He figured that the only way he would get to know her better was if she came to work for him, and he could have her to himself. He told her, “I have come to request your services for the Empire.”
She answered him, “My Lord, I don’t know how I could be of service to you.” She did not want to serve him or his Empire.
He asked her, “Are you not an artist?”
She answered, “yes, I am.”
He told her, “I am impressed by your work. I want to commission you to work on my castle in Vjun.”
She was stunned, and a bit flattered that Lord Vader personally came out to ask her to work for him. But the thought of working for him gave her chills down her spine. However, she heard enough stories to know that he didn’t take no for an answer, and tactfully tried to think of ways to avoid being commissioned by him.
She told him, “you are welcome to any of the paintings that I have right now. I could produce more of them, and they can be shipped to your castle.”
He told her, “I want something grander than a canvas painting. I want a wall mural for Bast castle.”
She told him, “My Lord, I am inspired by the beauty of Naboo. If I was not here, I don’t think I would be able to create work that was befitting for the Empire.”
“Then you will repaint previous works until you feel inspired to do something new,” he told her.
“But my Lord, my family is here on Naboo and I’ve never left this planet. I would miss them terribly.” She couldn’t think of any other excuses.
He told her, “I will grant you visitation with your family every standard month. I will provide the shuttle for you.”
Padme didn’t know what else to say. She could only nod and accept his offer. She hoped that her family would be able to help her convince him not to take her.
He told her, “You have one day to gather your belongings before we leave.” He had so many questions for her, but figured that he could wait to ask them once she was settled in on Vjun.
The next day, Padme had most of her belongings packed in three trunks. When he arrived, Vader saw that her family was with her. He saw the familiar but aged faces of Sola, Ruwee and Jobal. He did not recognize the two young women who were with them, but concluded that it must be Padme’s nieces, Ryoo and Pooja.
He was surprised when he heard Ami calling Sola “Mother.” So she's Padme's niece, Vader thought to himself.
Jobal was unconsoleably crying. She was afraid that if Padme left her and Sola’s watchful eyes, something bad would happen to her. And now going to work for the Dark Sith Lord, that was too much for her to bear. She had cried and pleaded, even begged him not to take her granddaughter, but her requests fell on deaf ears. After all the pleadings from the entire Naberrie clan, she couldn’t take it anymore. She flailed her frail arms at his armor, yelling, “You can’t take her from me! Do you hear me? You can’t take her from me!”
He could see flashes of images going through Jobal’s mind as she was crying with sorrow. He saw Padme’s funeral procession through Jobal’s eyes, he saw the grief of burying her daughter, and then he saw the joy when Ami was born. Then he felt guilt coming from Jobal. He used the dark forces and probed deeper into Jobal’s mind, and he saw flashes of a rainy planet with pod-like cities. And that was all he needed to see. He knew. They had cloned her. All of his questions were answered with that one image.
Vader was too stunned to say anything else to Jobal. Hundreds of thoughts and emotions filled him when he realized the truth. How dare they clone his precious wife? He wanted to lash out and punish all of them for desecrating her memory. No one could replace her. However, when he looked over at Ami Naberrie, and felt his Padme’s force signature, any anger he had at them for cloning her was replaced with gratitude. She was here wasn’t she? Having a clone of her was definitely better than not having her at all. He didn’t know how she would react to him, or how he even felt about this cloned version of his angel. He would have to take her away and find out more about her.
Jobal was still beating on his armor, yelling incomprehensibly. If it were any other person who dared touch him, let alone hit him, he would have crushed them with one blow. However, he didn’t think the clone of his wife would ever forgive him if he killed Jobal. Instead, he pushed her away from him, but in the process, caused her to fall to the ground.
Padme was very angry that he pushed her grandmother. She glared at him, and he could feel the hate and disgust she had for him. She ran to help Jobal up, and put on a brave face so that her family would not worry so much. She told Jobal, “Grandmother, everything will be all right. I can take care of myself. And I’ll be home to visit before you even know that I was gone.”
Jobal said between sobs, “Brave child, promise that you’ll come back to me.” Jobal feared that Padme’s fate in this lifetime would be the same as the last. Her heart broke again at the thought of possibly losing Padme a second time.
“I promise,” She told her grandmother. “I’ll come back.”
Padme bid a tearful farewell to her family.
“Come, the shuttle is waiting for us.” He told her.
Vader and Padme headed towards the shuttle. She was still livid and was glaring daggers at him. He could feel the anger seething from her as she followed behind him. He couldn’t stand to have her angry at him, so decided to restore the peace by apologizing to her. He turned around, and said, “I am sorry for hurting your grandmother, Ami.” Even though he heard her family refer to her as Padme, he decided to call her Ami for now, since that was the name that she had given him.
She was still fuming, and said “She’s an old woman! You didn’t have to be so rough with her!”
“I didn’t realize how hard I pushed her. If you remember correctly, she was the one who was attacking me.”
She said, “Oh, like she could do anything to hurt you!”
Vader became impatient with this Padme look-alike, and said, “I apologized. Do not test my patience.”
Padme knew better than to push her luck with the Sith Lord, but was too upset to care. She was starting to miss her family already. He was taking her against her will. She glared at him, and decided to give him the silent treatment.
Vader gave up trying to be nice. He just walked faster, and let her trail behind. He realized that it would take time for her to forgive him for taking her away to Vjun.
When they reached the shuttle, he had her sit next to him, in the co-pilot chair. When he looked at her frightened face, his pride, anger, and stubbornness left, and he wanted to befriend her again.
He said to her, “Have you ever flown a shuttle before?”
She told him, “Of course not. How would an artist know how to fly an Imperial Shuttle?”
He decided to ignore the sarcasm in her comment and proceeded to explain to her all the functions of the buttons and switches that were in front of them.
Padme figured this would be useful knowledge to have, so she listened to his explanations, but still refused to say anything more to him. She did wonder why he was being so nice to her.
Padme was angry at him for pushing her grandmother, angry that he forced her to work for him, and she was most angry that she could not do anything to stop him from taking over her life. He could feel her anger, and when they reached his command ship, the Destroyer, he had a droid show her to her room, and he left to take care of his business.
By the end of the day, they had reached Vjun. Padme sat alone in her room the whole time. What a fine mess I’m in right now, she thought. Her anger towards him was still there, but it was not in her nature to remain angry at anyone or anything for too long. Her rage lessened with each passing hour.
At least my family is safe, she thought. And I’m not in any grave danger. And, I did want to travel the galaxy, didn’t I? Not exactly how envisioned my travels, but it is an opportunity. I’ll just finish my work quickly, then I’ll be home in no time. He can’t keep me forever, can he? She became nervous at the thought of never seeing her family again, and tried to suppress that thought from her mind.
Chapter 13: Arrival on Vjun
When they arrived at Vjun, Vader’s men had prepared an Imperial Shuttle for them to fly to the planet surface. When they were in the shuttle again, Vader asked Padme, “Would you like to fly the shuttle? Do you remember what I taught you this morning?”
She wanted to stay mad at him, but she thought that it would be fun, just this once, to fly an aircraft. “I do remember,” She said curtly.
“Good.” He told her. “I’ll take off, then you take over the controls. Ready?”
Vader maneuvered the aircraft out of the hanger bay, and Padme saw a million stars in front of her. She couldn’t help but smile at the beauty she saw. Vader saw her face light up out of the corner of his eyes and thought that her beauty outshone any of the stars that he had crossed.
“Okay, Ami,” he said. “Go ahead and guide it down to the planet.”
With a little bit of trepidation, she took over the controls, and the feeling was exhilarating to her.
Padme had never left Naboo before, and was a little bit excited about seeing another planet. Vader told her that he had a castle on Vjun. From her studies, she knew that no one lived on that planet. Something about the acid rain. From afar, Padme could see yellow twirls of clouds that looked like a lemon meringue pie. However, when they reached the planet surface, Padme became disappointed. There was not one hint of green or blue on the planet. The sky was a sickly yellow, and what she thought looked like a lake was bubbling with acid. The landscape was barren, except for the massive stone fortress jutting out into the sky.
He let her fly the craft to Bast castle, and said, “Do you think you can land it?”
Padme had a determined look on her face. She said, “Yes.” Her landing was a little bit bumpy, but she managed to land the Imperial shuttle exactly on its parking spot.
“Quite impressive for an artist.” Vader told her.
“Thank you.” She said. She reminded herself that she was still mad at him. She kept a cool demeanor on the outside, but inside, she was excited and proud of her first flight. If Vader wasn’t there, she would be beaming right now.
Vader took her into Bast Castle, and showed her the main hallways and rooms. The castle was very cold and sterile to her, and she immediately missed the warmth of the Lakeside retreat on Naboo. She occasionally saw protocol droids roaming around the castle, but did not see any form of life. Vader warned her not to go exploring because the castle could be a very dangerous place. She nodded in compliance.
He finally took her to a room high inside the tower with a grandiose view of the barren landscape. “This will be your room. I hope it meets to your satisfaction.”
“It’s fine,” Padme told him.
He left her to unpack. “I will send someone to accompany you to the dining hall later today.” He told her.
“I’m not hungry.” She told him, and kept herself busy by unpacking her belongings. She was lying. She was starving, but she wanted to avoid him.
He silently turned around and left the room, leaving her alone with her thoughts.
Later that evening, a droid came to her room and brought some food. The droid said, “Lord Vader asked that I bring you this in case you changed your mind and wanted something to eat.”
Padme was going to send the droid and food away, but decided she was too hungry to be stubborn. At least she didn’t have to see him tonight. She told the droid, “Thank you, if you would just leave it on my desk.”
The droid replied, “Yes milady. Please call if I can be of further assistance,” and promptly left the room.
Padme ate her dinner in silence. The food isn’t so bad, she thought. Maybe it's because I'm starving.
After dinner, she was a little tired, and decided to retire early to bed. Nothing else to do, she thought. It didn’t take long before she drifted off to sleep, still unsure what her stay at Bast castle would be like.
Vader was still unsure of everything that was happening. So, the Naberries had cloned Padme and named her Ami. He wondered if she knew the truth. Probably not, he surmised. He knew that Ami was not his Padme; just a genetically similar person, but he couldn’t fight the feelings he had for her. She not only looked like his wife, she had her mannerism, strong will, and had her aura as well. No, he kept reminding himself. My wife was a politician who loved me, not an artist who despises me. But he still felt a connection to her somehow.
That night, Vader had another dream about Padme.
He was out of his suit again, but this time he was in a gray room, and she was sitting on a couch. She looked so sad and forlorn, that he asked her, “My love, what is wrong?”
She ran to him, and between sobs, said, “I’ve been taken away from everything that I know and love. I don’t know if I’ll ever see my family or Naboo ever again.”
He stroked her hair, and tried to console her as best as he could. He told her, “I promise, Angel, everything will be all right. Don’t worry.”
“Angel?” She asked. “I thought you were my Angel.”
She gave him a weak smile, and told him, “Well, I’m glad to see you again. It’s been a while hasn’t it?”
“Yes”, he told her. “Too long.” He looked into her brown eyes, and wiped the tears from her eyes with his fingers. He still had her head in his hands, and couldn’t fight the urge to lean down and kiss her. The kiss was sweet, but caught her by surprise. After a few moments, she broke away, and suddenly she disappeared from right under his hands.
Vader was left alone in the empty room, and when he looked down, he no longer saw flesh on his hands, but instead saw his gloved mechanical fingers, and he heard the sound of his respirator reverbrate loudly in the room.
The Dark Lord Vader woke up and held his head in his hands, his heart was pounding, and there was no way he could fall back asleep. He got up and went into his secret chamber. He opened the box that contained the japoor snippet and took it out, running his fingers through it. Instead of putting the pendant back in the box, he decided to take it to bed with him. He placed the snippet on the pillow next to him, and tried to recapture his dream again.
Back in her room, Padme awoke from her sleep with a start. This dream had to be the most vivid one she had of her guardian angel. She smiled, comforted that he appeared once more when she needed him. She was surprised that he kissed her this time. He had never tried that before. Padme touched her lips, where he had kissed it, and fell back to a dreamless sleep.
Chapter: 14 Padme’s assignment
Vader arrived at Padme’s room the next morning. “Good morning, Ami. Did you sleep well?”
“Yes.” She told him.
She was going to be curt if he asked her anything personal, but she figured the sooner she finished her work, the sooner she could leave, so decided to speak with him professionally.
“I’m eager to start work for you, My Lord. Where would you like me to work?” She asked him.
“I’d like you to start by painting a mural for my room.” He answered her.
“What would you like me to paint?” She asked him.
“Whatever you want.” He told her. He didn’t really care. He just wanted to be around her. “Follow me.” He commanded her.
She silently followed behind him as he took her from her room and led her through the maze that was Bast castle to an isolated corridor with giant metal doors. He punched in a code, and the door opened. Padme sneaked a peek at the numbers that he used, and thought that it was such a coincidence that it was the same number as the month and date of her birth. It can’t be, she thought. He doesn’t even know when I was born.
He lead her down the corridor, and at the end of it, there were two large metal doors. With the wave of one hand, Vader opened the door on the right.
Inside, Padme saw a large room with a couch and small table. There were two doors in the back of the room, one was the fresher, and the other Padme assumed was his bedroom. The walls in his room were completely bare, and there were no windows in the room.
He told her, “I’d like you to paint a mural for this wall,” pointing to the wall that faced the couch. “One of the droids will bring all the equipment and painting supplies that you will need shortly. I will return at the end of the day to check on your progress. Remember, don’t go wandering in the castle. It is not safe.”
Padme didn’t say anything. Vader could see that she was still apprehensive about him and the whole situation that she was in. He remembered her voicing her concerns to Anakin about her fears of never returning to Naboo again. He wanted to reassure her, and said, “I will not keep you here forever, Ami. After you finish with the projects I assign you, you are free to return to Naboo. If you wish to return for future work, you’ll be welcomed back. You will be very well compensated for your time.”
Padme couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She breathed a sigh of relief, and said to him, “Thank you, my Lord.”
Vader told her, “Ami, I just want you to be happy while you are here.”
Padme just looked at the ground, and didn’t say anything. She was thinking, how can I be happy when I’m here and away from my family?
Just then, a droid entered the room with Padme’s art supplies, and Vader left to attend to the construction of the Death Star.
Padme sat on Vader’s couch for a moment to collect her thoughts. Vader almost sounded sincere when he told her that he wanted her to be happy. She couldn’t believe that she was working this closely to the tyrant known as Darth Vader, and he was doing everything he could to try to make her stay less daunting. She shook her head; she was relieved that he would let her go after she finished her mural for him.
She decided to paint the Naboo Lake for his wall. She was so homesick, that painting this could remind her of home. She still had a mental image of the Lake from her balcony, and decided she was going to paint the view of the Lake from the vantage point of her balcony. Padme got up, and decided to work on the mural right away. The sooner I finish, the sooner I get to go home, she reminded herself. She figured that it would take her about two standard months to complete the mural, maybe even less if she worked extra hours on the project.
She had to prep the walls for her painting, and so proceeded to put the primer coat on first. She worked tirelessly without stopping for a break. She was finishing up with the last coat of primer when she realized how tired and hungry she was. She got up to wash up in the fresher.
When she came out, Vader had returned and was just stepping into his room. He was carrying a box in his hands.
He said, “Hello, Ami.”
Padme was silent. She just looked straight at him. She was still a little angry at him for taking her to Bast Castle, even though he was trying really hard to compensate her. Vader looked into her angry brown eyes, and smiled under his mask. He remembered that it was her unfaltering spirit that made him fall in love with her in the first place.
He told her, “I’ve brought you dinner. I hope it is to your liking.”
Padme said, “If you don’t mind, I’m very tired right now. I’d like to dine in my quarters.”
Vader was disappointed that he couldn’t spend more time with her, but said, “As you wish, milady.”
He escorted her back to her room, and handed her the box that he was carrying. He said, “Enjoy your dinner,” and turned to leave.
“Thank you,” Padme said. She was angry, but she still remembered her manners.
He turned around, and said, “You’re welcome.”
She managed to give him a weak smile, and said, “Good night,” before she closed the door.
Vader stood for a moment outside her door. He was happy that she was a little bit nicer to him. He knew that it would take time for her to forgive him for taking her away and for hurting Jobal.
Inside her room, Padme opened her box. She was surprised that it looked like a Nubian home cooked meal. It was a meal that her Grandmother cooked whenever she had guests over. Padme smiled, and ate her dinner, thinking about the mysterious Darth Vader and how he seemed to read her mind sometimes.
Chapter 15: The Japor Pendant
The next week was routine for Padme. She would wake up early, and a droid was present to escort her to Vader’s room. She usually didn’t see Vader in the morning, but every evening, he would bring her a different delicious meal. She always requested to dine alone in her room, and he always escorted her back, sometimes trying to linger at her door, hoping that she would say something more to him. She thought that his behavior was odd. She wasn’t being particularly nice to him, and yet he was always trying to please her and make her happy.
Padme had just finished sketching the Naboo landscape when she started to fill in the background with blue paint. She worked feverishly, and didn’t notice when one of the droids came in bringing extra paint supplies.
“Milady,” the droid said.
Startled, Padme turned around and knocked over a can of paint that was precariously perched on her ladder.
“Oh no!” Padme exclaimed. “I’ve got to clean this up before Lord Vader comes back!”
She ran into the fresher to get some paper towels to wipe up the paint, but it was not enough. Desperate to clean her mess, she went into Vader’s room hoping to find a larger towel she could use to wipe up the paint. She ran to the closet, saw some towels, and in her rush, pulled out all the towels out onto the floor. Great! She thought. I’m going to have clean this mess later too.
She worked feverishly to mop up the spilled paint on the floor, and hoped that Vader wouldn’t get mad at her for staining his floors. After she cleaned the paint as best as she could, she went back into his room to clean the mess she made on the floor. She picked up all the towels, and neatly placed it back into the closet.
When she was done, she let out a sight of relief and looked around his bed chamber. The room was as stark and bare as the sitting room outside. He had a simple bed with gray sheets, but she noticed a little leather pouch on one of the pillows. She went to take a closer look at it, and picked it up. When the pouch was in her hands, she saw a flash of her Guardian Angel as a little boy again, telling her “something to remember me by.” She felt her heart flutter, and her curiosity took the better of her.
She opened the small pouch to see what was inside that made her see the little boy. Padme gasped as she dropped the content of the pouch. She stooped down to pick it up, and cradled the pendant that was inside the pouch. She couldn’t believe what she saw. It was the same japor pendant that was in her dreams and in her paintings. She had never seen it anywhere else before. She wondered how and why Darth Vader would possess such an object.
Just then, the door opened, and Vader walked in. He saw all the towels on the floor, and saw her holding the trinket in her hands. She had found her necklace. He asked her, “What are you doing?”
Padme was scared. He had caught her going through his personal belongings. She hoped that he wouldn’t kill her for that. She said, “My Lord, I was cleaning some spilled paint on the floor when I saw this pouch. Forgive me for opening it.”
He walked over to her, and took the japor pendant from her hands. Her heart was pounding as she looked at the floor. She couldn’t face him, and closed her eyes, bracing for a strike from him or something worse.
To her surprise, he took the pendant and clasped it around her neck. He said, “I was going to give it to you when you left. I made it for you. I want you to have it.”
Padme was dumbfounded. She told him, “My Lord, I don’t know what to say. Thank you. It’s beautiful, but how did you know…”
He said, “I saw it in your paintings.”
Padme was relieved that he wasn’t going to hurt her for going through his things. She was even more surprised that he had given her the pendant. She looked at him with her big brown eyes, and for the first time Vader noticed that there was no longer any anger in them.
He said, “You have some paint on your face. Let me help you.” He took a towel and placed his left hand behind her head to stabilize it, and tenderly wiped some paint off her cheek with his right hand. She was surprised that his mechanical hands could be so gentle. She heard stories that he could break a person’s neck with his fingers. Padme noticed that his hands lingered on her face a little longer than she was comfortable with.
“Thank you, my Lord.” Padme told him. She hurried back to her room to mull over the day’s events.
Padme was very confused. She couldn’t explain why Vader was being so nice to her. He already had a parting gift for her, so she felt reassured that he was going to let her go home once she finished her commission. She thought about his thoughtfulness and his gentleness with her. It was hard for her to believe that he was the second most feared man and second most hated in the galaxy. She thought about her rude behavior towards him, and felt ashamed that she wasn’t nicer to him. She held the japor snippet in her hands, and noticed the intricate detailed carvings. Did he say he made it himself? She wondered.
Padme wanted to thank him and apologize for her behavior. Not only did she go through his things without permission, he didn’t even say anything about it. He even gave her a gift. She knew that she couldn’t go to bed without seeing him, and decided to go find him. The droid that normally accompanied her to his room was not there, but Padme was pretty sure she remembered where his quarters were and decided to go there by herself.
Padme stood in front of the metal doors, her heart pounding. She was thinking about what she was going to say to him. Just thank him and apologize for being rude, she told herself. Just then, the double doors opened, and Padme walked in. The doors closed behind her before she realized that she was in the wrong room. She turned to leave, but couldn’t get the door open. She tried pressing some of the buttons on the wall, hoping that it would open the door. Instead, she heard a loud siren and then saw a red light flashing in the room. She heard a monotone voice say, “Advanced training sequence activated.”
Padme looked around in horror as she saw a large menacing droid with two phasers, one in each hand coming towards her. She grabbed a gun from the rack on the wall and shot at it, but then two more droids came out from behind closed doors. Just then, lasers started shooting throughout the room. She tipped over a table that was in the training room, and hid behind it. She tried to shoot at the advancing droids from behind her table and managed to hit one of them. However, two more came out and started shooting at her. As Padme lifted her arm to shoot at the droids again, she felt a searing pain run through the right arm. She was hit by one of the lasers. She cried out in pain, but tried to keep her composure as she saw her attackers advancing. She grabbed her gun with her other hand, and started shooting again, trying to nurse her wounded arm. More droids came out, and more lasers were aimed at her.
Just when she thought she was going to perish, the door opened, and saw a flash of red slicing through the droid that was closest to her. The other droids refocused their fire and were shooting at Vader. He blocked the fire with his light saber, but more training droids shot him in the shoulder and he dropped to his knees and lost his lightsaber. Padme shot at the droid that had taken aim at his chest. Just then, Lord Vader stood up, waved his hands across the room, and all Padme saw was flying metal. He used the Dark Forces to destroy all the droids that were in the room.
He ran to her, and said, “Are you alright?”
The pain in Padme’s arm was excrutiating. She looked at Vader, and tried to say “Thank you,” but the room started to spin, and everything turned black. Padme slumped onto the floor from where she was sitting behind the table.
Vader’s heart was racing. His Angel was lying on the floor, unconscious. He thought to himself, that he can’t lose her again, especially not to some senseless training droid. He carefully lifted her limp body up in his arms and carried her to the medical droids.
Chapter 16: Don’t you have a galaxy to run?
Padme finally woke up two hours later. She was in a lot of pain, and her arm felt like it was on fire. The medical droids had given her a pain killer to deaden it a bit. She was in her room again, comfortably situated in her bed. She blinked, trying to remember what happened, then it all came back to her. She heard a constant, mechanical breathing nearby, and turned to look at the man who was in the chair next to her. He was holding her hand in his. She turned to him, and gave him a warm smile. She whispered to him, “Don’t you have a galaxy to run?”
He told her, “You could have died.” He was still holding her hand with his mechanical fingers.
“I’m sorry, Lord Vader, I was trying to find you, but I got lost. It won’t happen again. I won’t leave my room without an escort from now on,” Padme said.
“Good,” He told her. He released her hand, and stood up, ready to leave.
Padme was still shook up from the incident, and didn’t want to be by herself just yet. She asked, “Do you have to go now?”
“Would you like me to stay?” he asked.
She answered, “Yes, please.”
He looked at his frail Angel laying in bed with her hair flared around her head on the pillow. How could he refuse her request?
“If that is what you wish,” he told her, and sat back down in his chair again.
“My Lord, thank you for saving my life,” she said.
“You had me very worried,” he told her.
“How did you know where I was?” she asked.
“I felt you calling out to me for help,” he said.
She told him, “I’m glad you came.”
She glanced at him one more time, and noticed that he had a tear on his shirt, and there was dried blood on his shoulder.
“You’re hurt,” she said.
“Its just a minor surface wound. I’ve had worse things happen to me,” he told her.
“Like what?” she inquired.
“Let’s not go into that right now. Right now, I just want to make sure that you’re comfortable.”
“I am, thank you.” She was getting tired now. The effects of the painkillers were starting to take effect on her. Her eyelids were getting heavy. She asked him, “Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?”
She thought she heard “Yes, Angel,” but was soon fast asleep.
When Padme awoke the next morning, her room was filled with flowers. How thoughtful, she thought. She knew it was Lord Vader who did this for her. How in the world did he get flowers to Bast Castle? She thought about how ironic it was that this Lord Vader was the most feared man in the galaxy, and yet he had a side to him that was so nurturing and sweet. “There’s some good in him,” she mumbled to herself.
Her arm was still throbbing, but was not as painful as it was before. It was set in a sling. She slowly got out of bed. She went to smell the flowers, which were so fragrant that they reminded her of Naboo in the spring. A wave of homesickness washed over her. I wonder how everyone at home are doing, she thought.
She waited in her room for several hours, and soon became restless. Because her arm was hurt, she couldn’t work on her mural for Vader’s room.
Just then, there was a ring at her door. She hoped that it was Vader. When her door open, she was disappointed to see that it was just a droid. It came to bring her breakfast. It was all her favorite foods, down to the drink and dessert. She ate her meal in silence. Although it was delicious, she thought it would have been more savory had she been able to enjoy her meal with some company. She was starting to become lonely without anyone to talk to.
Later that night, Padme was drifting into sleep when she heard her door open. Lord Vader came in, and stood over her bed. She sat up, and asked him, “Would you like to sit down?” and motioned to the chair next to her bed.
He sat down beside her, and said, “I wanted to make sure that you were alright.”
She told him, “I’m doing well. Thanks to you.” She gave him a shy, appreciative smile, and absent-mindedly fingered the japor pendant that he gave her. She looked over at him, and suddenly felt overwhelming compassion for the man who saved her life, even though she knew that he was an evil person. She slowly reached out to his shoulder and caressed his wound, where he also was shot. She told him, “Lord Vader, you were hurt because of me. I’m sorry.”
Vader barely heard what she was saying to him. He was just focused on her hand, caressing his shoulder. With each movement of her hand, he felt his heart pounding, and the knots in his stomach made him inwardly shudder. He felt a tightness in his chest, and his breathing became more labored. Only she could make him shake like a shy school boy with her touch. He thought that he may faint if she kept the gentle caresses on his wounds. He took her delicate hands in his, and held it with both of his hands.
She continued on, trying to explain to him why she left her room unescorted. “I was trying to find you. I wanted to tell you that I’m…I’m sorry if I wasn’t nicer to you, because all you’ve done was shower me with kindness. And I wanted to thank you for making me this necklace. I sometimes see an image of it in my dreams, and I paint it, but you seem to have captured its essence.”
Vader just sat in his chair, holding her hand, watching her youthful beauty, and fell deeper in love with her. He was thankful that she didn’t try to pull her hand back from his hold.
Padme was confused. She didn’t know what to think. Her heart was racing from his touch. She didn’t exactly know what that funny feeling in her stomach was that felt like butterflies fluttering about.
When it was time for him to leave, he pulled the blankets over her shoulder. He gently caressed her hair and face, and then quietly left the room.
Chapter 17: The Gift
Padme spent the next several weeks recovering from her injuries. Because she wasn’t working, she was able to spend some time with Vader, and felt more at ease and comfortable around him.
Even though Vader thoroughly enjoyed his time with Padme, he was still away from Bast castle frequently, trying to capture the leaders of the Rebel Alliance. He also really wanted to find Luke, and try to convince him to join him in the Dark Side. He had told Padme during one of their conversations that he was traveling to the ice-planet Hoth to find some rebels. She had asked him to show them some mercy, and he merely nodded, not promising her anything before he left.
She had become attached to him since he was the only companion she had in Bast Castle. She started to miss him on the days that he wasn’t there. She was very happy when he returned from his missions, eager to have some company. She found him intriguing, and it seemed that underneath all his evilness, there was a gentle, human side to him that was afraid to show itself to anyone else but her. She was getting used to his looks by now; his black mask and mechanical breathing didn’t scare her like it did when she first met him.
On this particular return trip from Hoth, he had a gift for her. He headed straight to her the minute he landed on Vjun, eager to gain her approval with whatever small token he could find for her. He had sent two of his men on a recon mission to find the Hoth Crystal Plant, a delicate plant that was the symbiotic relationship of protozoa and ice crystals, forming delicate chains of a crystal lattice that fanned out like an ice coral. This rare plant could only be found on Hoth, and he had it in a glass container to maintain the temperature at freezing so that the plant could be taken off the planet.
Padme only heard of this beautiful plant, and never imagined that she would ever see or even own it.
“Thank you, my Lord. It is beautiful,” she told him when he presented the plant to her.
“It is beautiful and delicate and complex, like you,” he told her.
Padme blushed at the compliment. “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that, my Lord.”
“Why not, Ami?”
“Because it makes me uncomfortable,” she told him.
“How has your recovery been, Ami?” he asked, not wanting to make her feel uneasy.
“Oh, I’m doing better. I’ll be able to start work in a few days.”
Padme paused, then said “Lord Vader?”
“Yes?” he answered.
“Can you call me Padme? That’s what all my friends call me.”
“Then I am your friend?” he asked.
She blushed, and looked at the floor before turning her gaze towards him again. “I would like to think of you as my friend. But if you preferred to call me Ami, that’s fine too,” she told him.
“No, Padme is a beautiful name. If that is the name that you prefer, then that is what I shall call you from now on.”
“Thank you, my Lord,” she told him.
“Now that we are friends, Padme, please don’t call me ‘my Lord’ anymore. Vader. Just call me Vader.”
“Yes…Vader.” She repeated with a shy smile.
“How has your stay at the castle been, Padme?” Vader asked her.
“Oh, it’s fine. But sometimes I wish I could just get out of this room!” she said.
“What’s wrong with this room?” he asked her.
“Oh nothing, it’s a perfectly fine room. I just miss nature, seeing the fields and water on Naboo. It’s kind of gray and sterile in here.”
“Well then, come with me. I have something that I’d like to show you.” He told her.
He lead her to a different floor of the castle that she had never been to before. There was a giant metal door that opened at the wave of Vader’s hands.
Inside was a large empty room with metal walls. There were some control panels on one side of the wall.
Vader said, “I think you will enjoy this. Now, close your eyes until I tell you to open them.” Padme heard him punch several commands into the control panel.
Suddenly, she heard birds chirping, and the sound of water in the distant. The air was fragrant, and smelled like spring flowers. She heard the muffled sound of some Shaaks in the distant.
“You may open your eyes now,” he commanded.
The view before Padme left her speechless. It seemed like she was on Naboo again. There were waterfalls behind her, and a field of flowers on her feet. In the distant, she saw wild Shaak roaming the fields.
She squealed with delight, “Oh, this is so wonderful! Thank you, Vader, for bringing me here!” She took several steps into the field, and impulsively turned around and gave Vader a hug for his kindness.
He was taken aback by her actions. He was glad that he was able to make her happy. He knew what a drab place Bast Castle must be for her. He didn’t know how to respond to her hug, but having her arms around his neck felt so heavenly to him. He tentatively placed both his mechanical arms around her waist to return her hug, and holding her like that gave him an emotion that he hadn’t felt in 24 years; it was a mix of joy and happiness.
He was afraid of this new feeling, and abruptly released her from the hug. He said, “You’re welcome. You can come here anytime you like. I can teach you how to program this holo-room so you won’t feel so trapped in your room.”
“Yes, that would be lovely.” She said. She was surprised at her own action of hugging him, and she was more surprised that he responded to her hug.
He turned to leave, and said, “You may stay here as long as you wish. I will have a droid waiting outside to escort you back to your room when you are done.”
She said, “You’re leaving already? It’s so beautiful here. I don’t want to spend time here alone. I’ll be too homesick. I’d rather share this moment with you.”
He turned around, and said “If that is what you wish.”
She grabbed his gloved hands and pulled him towards the direction of the lake where there was an enormous waterfall above. She started running faster, still holding his hand, laughing as she dragged Darth Vader one step behind her. She didn’t know that under his helmet, he had a wide grin on his face. When they reached the edge of he lake, Padme sat down, and put her feet into the water. She felt the cold water, and it felt refreshing to her. She told him,
“This is amazing technology that you have here.”
He told her, “I have the best scientists in the galaxy working for me.”
She wondered how many of them were here against their will, but shook that thought away when he sat down beside her.
“So, what do you do in this room?” She asked him.
“I come here to meditate. Sometimes I come here to practice lightsaber drills.”
“Did that take long to learn?”
He hesitated, thinking of all the training that Obi-Wan had imparted upon him. His heart filled with hatred at the thought of his old master. He curtly replied, “Yes.”
Padme could feel his change in mood, and so decided to change the subject. She said, “It didn’t take very long for me to learn how to paint. But it did take me some time to master it. Naboo just inspires me. There’s so much beauty, that I have to capture it somehow.”
Vader asked her, “So you always wanted to be an artist? You didn’t consider doing anything else?”
“Don’t laugh, but I wanted to go into politics. My Mother was just so opposed to it that instead of joining the Naboo Youth Legislative League, I enrolled in the Art Institute. I haven’t regretted my decision, but sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be a politician.”
Vader told her, “You would have made a wonderful politician.”
He decided to change the subject, and asked her, “So tell me, Padme, who is this man that I keep seeing repeated in your artwork?”
“Oh him? I don’t know his name. I call him my Guardian Angel. I haven’t talked about him to anyone for years. I started dreaming about him when I was 14 years old. Sometimes I would dream about him every night, sometimes it would be months before I would see him again.”
Vader asked her, “What about now?”
“Well, lately I’ve been dreaming about him very frequently. I feel connected to him, even though I don’t know who he is.”
Vader’s mind was racing at this point. This woman has Padme’s soul, he thought to himself. He didn’t believe in reincarnation before, but now he couldn’t help but wonder if the Force sent her soul back into her new body. She even retained some of her memories of her past life, even though it came to her in dreams. He asked her, “Do you love him?”
“I never thought of that before. I don’t know if I can love someone who is not real, but I suppose if I met him, I would love him.”
“What about you, have you ever been in love before?” She figured one personal question deserved another.
Vader paused for a moment, taken aback at her question, and replied, “The Sith don’t love.”
“How did you become a Sith? She asked him.
“I was chosen by my Master to become one.”
Just then, Vader was paged through the intercom, and the pair had to leave their make-believe Naboo room.
Chapter 18: Vader Unmasked
As Padme’s arm felt better, she resumed work on her mural for Vader. Her routine was pretty much the same. She would paint all day, and Vader would bring her dinner and visit her in the evenings. However, now, she would eat in his company instead of by herself in her room. He loved to hear her talk about herself or her family, and would drink up every word that she said.
Padme also tried to get Vader to open up to her, and although he was sometimes guarded or evasive about his answers, she did find out quite a bit about him. From the tidbits of information that she gathered from him, she figured that underneath the masked half-man, half machine was a lonely and tortured soul who was fighting a lot of demons from his past. He had a thirst for power, and relished in his conquests. She concluded that underneath all the exterior evil, there was some good in him, and she tried to explore and understand that side of him. She also developed feelings for him, although it was confusing for her because logic told her that she shouldn’t care for a man as dark as Vader, yet his actions sometimes tugged at her heartstrings. She also realized that he cared deeply for her, because he never forgot anything that she said, and sometimes seemed to know her better than herself.
One night, during one of their dinner conversations, Vader said, “There’s something missing from your painting.”
“What is it, Vader?” Padme asked, concerned that he didn’t like what she was doing. “Don’t you like it?”
“I want you to paint yourself in this painting,” Vader told her. “Then, it would be perfect.”
Padme smiled at him, relieved that he didn’t hate her artwork. “If that is what you wish, my Lord,” she said in a deep voice, trying to mock the way that he spoke.
That was when she heard him laugh. A deep, uncanny sound that was strange,
yet beautiful to hear.
“I’ve never heard you laugh before, Vader. I didn’t think it was possible,” she said, smiling.
“I haven’t laughed in many years, Padme. You make me want to laugh. You make me…happy,” he told her, matter-of-factly.
“But you’re so powerful and wealthy. I would imagine a man in your position would be very happy.”
“There are things that I have done that prevents me from being happy. Being near you makes me momentarily forget.”
“Does serving the Emperor make you happy?” She pressed on. She wanted to know the reasons for his allegiance to the Emperor.
“I don’t know if ‘happy’ is the right word for my service to the Emperor. I do it for duty. I do it because I believe that it’s right. I’ve seen the incompetence and inefficiency of the Old Republic. The Emperor has brought peace to his Empire. That is why I serve him.”
“I’m sorry for saying this, and I hope you do forgive me if I cross the line but…” she paused, afraid to say anything more.
“Go on, Padme, I want to hear what you’re thinking,” he prompted her.
“…the Emperor rules with an iron fist. People are afraid of him. They are afraid of you. There is peace because the alternative is death. There is peace, but no freedom,” she continued.
“There is always a price for peace, Padme. War, greed, corruption, and suffering, that was the price of peace during the Old Republic. Freedom is but a small price to pay for peace in the New Empire. Besides, its not that people are enslaved by the Emperor. They are free to do as they choose. It’s just that some choices have consequences.”
“But why must there be so much violence and destruction? People live in fear of you and the Emperor. That is why you are unhappy. Is that any way to live?”
“It is better to be feared than loved, Padme. That is the nature of power.”
“Would you rather that I feared than love you, then, Vader?” Padme asked.
Vader was taken aback. He wasn’t prepared for her question. “Do you fear me, Padme?” he asked.
“No.” She replied. “And please, don’t answer my question with a question. What do you prefer from me, fear or love?”
“I see you as my equal, Padme. I do not want to be in a position of power over you. I do not want to rule you. I prefer fear from my men, from my enemies, from people that don’t know me. But from you, I prefer love.”
“I cannot love someone who hides his face and his past from me.” She said. “I want to see you. I want to know you and understand you.”
“I’m afraid that is not possible, Padme. I don’t deserve to be seen by your eyes. You will see right through me, and you will not like what you see. If you knew my past, you would judge me.”
“Vader, please let me know. I may judge you, but let that be my choice. You are not giving me a chance, and you are not giving yourself a chance.”
“Padme, I want to, but I am not ready for your judgement right now. Please give me more time.”
“Very well, Vader, I will grant you that.” Padme cared for him. Although she did not agree with his views, she admired him for his convictions; he was doing what he thought was his duty. As for his past, she didn’t know what he did that he was so ashamed of. She didn’t want to be too judgmental of him, but she was afraid of knowing what he was capable of.
She knew that he wanted love from her, but she wasn’t sure if she could give it to him. She valued his friendship and companionship, but still her head prevented her heart from giving in.
One evening, Vader seemed distracted during one of his visits.
“Vader, you seem so far away, is everything all right?” She asked him.
“I’m afraid I must leave you again. I’ve located the rebels to the city of Bespin. I must go there to find them. Have you ever seen Bespin, Padme?”
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t. I never left Naboo, until I came to Vjun.”
“It’s a beautiful place, Padme. It’s a city in the clouds. It feels like you’re walking in the heavens, if such a place exists. You would love the vivid sunsets and the sunrises there. I shall bring you there one day under less urgent circumstances.”
“How long will you be gone for, Vader?” She asked.
“Until I find the rebel leaders that I am looking for. It could take several weeks.” He thought of his son Luke. He wanted to reunite his family again. He was determined to make Luke see the power of the Darkside and join him.
“When do you leave?”
She reached out to where he was sitting and took one of his gloved hands in both of hers. Looking directly into the orbits of his mask, she said, “I’m going to miss you.”
“And I you,” he told her. He saw the sincerity in her eyes, and wished that he could hold her close to him and kiss her.
She suddenly had a thought. Still holding his hand in hers, she said “Vader, I need to ask you for something. I hope that you will grant it to me.”
“What is it Padme? You know that I will give you anything that you wish for.”
“I’d be too lonely here without you. While you’re gone, will you let me visit my family on Naboo?”
Vader felt abandoned by her request. He was afraid that her feelings for him would change once she was on Naboo, far away from him, but he tried to be understanding. “How long do you wish to go for?”
“Perhaps one standard month? I do miss my family. And this way, you can do what you need without my getting in your way.”
One standard month seemed like an eternity for him to be away from her, but he granted her the request. “If that it what you desire, Padme.” When he left her room, she felt how hurt he was at her request.
That night, Padme couldn’t sleep because he misunderstood her request as wanting to leave him. She thought that he was hurt by it, and didn’t want both of them to leave on a bad note. She didn’t know what to say to him to make him feel better, but she knew that she needed to see him before they both left Vjun in the morning. She had made so much progress with getting to know him better, and she knew that he would just retreat in his shell if things remained as they were.
She called the escort droid, who took her to Vader’s room. As she stood in front of his door, it slid open as if it recognized her presence, and she walked in.
The room, without any windows, was pitch black, and Padme couldn’t even see her hands in front of her face. She heard a constant hissing sound coming from the ceiling, and figured that Vader had turned his room into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at night so that he could rest without his mask on.
She timidly called out his name, worried that she would wake him. “Vader…”
She heard him answer her, “Are you all right, Padme?”
Now that her apprehension of waking him was gone, she said, “Vader, I didn’t want to leave here with you thinking that I was going to abandon my work. I know I haven’t finished my work here, but I’ll get to it soon as I come back.”
“Was that all, Padme? You came here because you were worried about your mural?”
She sighed. He knew her so well. “Well, if you must know, I was more worried about you,” she said.
“What were you worried about?” He asked.
“You just seemed so sad and disappointed at my request to return to Naboo,” she told him. “I just wanted to make sure that you would be all right with my leaving.”
She heard some rustling, and was surprised to feel his mechanical hands holding hers. His leather gloves were off, and even though his hands were not really flesh, they felt warm to her. He slowly raised her hands to his lips, and she felt him softly kissing the top of both of her hands. She felt shivers run down her spine with his kiss.
“Don’t worry, Padme. I just have a lot on my mind.” He told her. “Everything will be alright when we come back. Your family will be very happy to see you.”
He was holding both of her hands to his heart, which was beating rapidly. He wasn’t wearing his suit or even a shirt, and she could feel his muscular chest under her hands. His skin felt soft and smooth. Without his mask and leather suit on, he seemed vulnerable to her, and any defenses that she had against him were gone also. This monster had a heart, and his heart was beating wildly for her.
With one hand still on his chest, she freed her other hand from his hold, and slid it up his chest, caressing his skin as she worked her way up to feel the nape of his neck. She softly traced her fingers on the back of his neck for several moments before she languidly ran her hand through his wavy long hair. She noticed how still and quiet the room was, the only sound was the oxygen being pumped into the room. She wasn’t used to not hearing his mechanical breathing; instead his breathing came in short, shallow breaths. Vader closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of her skin against his. He had not had any human touch for so long, and savored each stroke of her hand on his skin.
By now, she had freed both of her hands from his hold, and was caressing his face. She ran her fingers through his brows, then down to his chiseled cheekbones. She slowly explored his face without any resistance from him, feeling his strong jaw and playing with the cleft that was on his chin before she traced the outline of his full lips with her fingertips. Vader kissed the pads of her fingertips as they passed by his lips. She was mentally building a picture of his face through her hands, and sensed that there was a familiarity about him that she couldn’t quite place.
When she was done exploring his face, Padme wrapped both of her arms around his neck, and buried her face in his chest. He had wrapped his arms around her waist, tightly holding her to him. It was still hard for her to picture what he looked like, but she didn’t care. He could have had three eyes, and it would have been all right with her. They stood like that in the dark for a long time, with her listening to the sound of his heartbeat, and every beat breaking down the wall of defense that she held up for him. She couldn’t believe that she was falling for Darth Vader.
Just as she was about to break away from their embrace, she felt Vader’s mechanical hands run through her hair, gingerly playing with her curls. When he reached her waist, she felt his fingers caressing the small of her back, gently massaging it. She could feel his breath on her, as he kissed the top of her head. She raised her face up, as if to look at him, but could not see anything in the dark. She felt his hands cupping her face for a long moment, then, she felt a warm sensation spread throughout her body when he gently kissed her for the first time. His lips were soft, and he kissed her with so much tenderness and restrained passion, that she felt her knees go weak. His lips lingered on hers for a long time, and Padme just closed her eyes, enjoying the closeness that they were now able to share.
He took her hand, and led her to the sofa that was in his living room area. He sat down, and gently pulled her down beside him. She sat in his lap, her head resting on his broad shoulder, her left arm wrapping around his waist, her right hand caressing his muscular chest and arms. He held her closely to him, and she felt butterflies in her stomach every time his hands caressed her arms and back.
He broke their silent embrace, and said, “Padme, I love you. I’ve always loved you.”
Her heart raced as she heard those unexpected words, but her reason told her that that could not be. Trying to deny her feelings, she told him, “I don’t know how to respond to that…you’re…you’re Darth Vader, and I’m just an artist from Naboo.”
“Yes, an artist that I have come to respect, admire, and love. I treasure our time together, and when I am away from you, my only thought is to return to be by your side. What are your feelings for me, Padme?”
“I don’t know, Vader. I care deeply for you. I just don’t know how this would work out. I have to be honest with you. I’m confused. You’re a feared man, yet you are so kind to me. I like the person that you are when you are near me, but you have a different side when you are away.”
He told her, “you would not be here if you didn’t want to be, Padme.”
“I know.” She said.
He kissed her again, this time more passionately, his lips burning on hers, and she returned his kiss.
“Will you ever let me see you?” She inquired.
“Perhaps in time…” he told her.
“Do you know what love is?” she asked him.
“Yes,” he told her.
“But I thought the Sith don’t love,” she replied.
“I wasn’t always a Sith,” he answered her.
She had to know. “Did you ever love before?” she asked him.
“Yes,” he told her again.
“What happened to your love?” she inquired.
Vader wanted to say, She’s sitting in my arms right now, but instead said, “She died.”
Padme didn’t want to push further. She said, “Thank you for telling me, Vader. I know how difficult this must be for you.”
She snuggled closer to him, and he gently massaged her neck and back as he kissed her again and again. All he cared about was that she was in his arms willingly. He knew that she had feelings for him, and that was all he needed to know. They both wished that this moment would last forever, but they knew that when morning came, he would have to return to his suit, and she would have to leave Bast Castle to go back to Naboo. Now, more than ever, Vader wanted to find Luke, and reunite his lost family once more.
Chapter 19: The Truth Hurts
As Vader’s shuttle sped away from Vjun and Padme, the warmth in his heart was slowly replaced with a darker, sinister presence as he tried to block the memory of Padme so that he could concentrate at his task at hand. The Emperor would be very displeased if he failed to capture the Rebel leaders again. He was devising a plan to capture them when his thoughts came back to Luke. The Emperor had told him that Luke was his son, and he felt it in every fiber of his being. He had to tell Luke, and convince Luke to join him in the Darkside. He wanted to teach his son all that he knew, and one day, they would overthrow the Emperor, and his family would rule over the Galaxy. He smiled at that thought, and headed out towards Bespin.
On Bespin, Vader was able to capture Han Solo, his companion, the Wookiee, and Princess Leia Organa. He was very pleased with the capture, and knew that Luke would seek out his friends to try to free them. It was just a matter of time before Luke would show up.
When Luke came, Vader didn’t quite have the reunion he had anticipated. In the heat of battling his son, Vader accidentally cut off Luke’s right hand. He cursed himself for doing so, unsure if Luke could ever forgive him for his action. When he finally told Luke the truth that he was his father, Luke had chosen to fall to his death than join him in the Dark Side. Vader was not surprised that Luke survived the fall, but he realized that it would take a lot of convincing for Luke to join him.
Dejected that he had lost the rebels and his son again, Vader returned to Vjun to regroup and rethink his strategy. At least he had Han Solo frozen in carbonite, and not all was lost.
The Imperial Shuttle, piloted by a droid and carrying Padme, landed in the field of the lakeside retreat. Padme stepped out and took in a deep breath of the fresh Naboo air. Her home planet seemed more beautiful than ever, but the beauty of the lake was marred because she actually wished Vader was there with her. She missed him, but tried to shake the thought away as she quickly unpacked before heading towards her parent’s home.
She was greeted by her overjoyed parents and sisters, who were relieved to see that she was safe.
“Oh Padme! We’re so glad you’re back! How long can you stay for?” Sola asked her.
“A whole standard month!” She replied with a smile.
“Do you really have to return to that monster?” Sola asked.
“He’s not so bad,” Padme said. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
”Yes, that’s what’s important,” Darred chimed in. “We are so happy to see you! Come her and give your Dad a hug!
“We’ve got to tell Grandma and Grandpa! They’ll be so happy to see you, Padme!” Pooja said.
“I can’t wait to see them either,” Padme told her sister.
“Let’s go surprise them!” Ryoo said.
“That’s a wonderful idea!” Padme said.
The Naberrie clan had a wonderful reunion knowing that Padme was safe and was treated well on Vjun. They still didn’t like Darth Vader too much, even though Padme tried to tell them that he had a gentler, kinder side. She didn’t tell her family about her relationship with him just yet, because she figured they would probably need more time to adjust to that fact, and wouldn’t take it very well. She thought she would wait to the end of her visit to tell them about her feelings for Vader.
Two weeks had passed since Padme’s arrival. She tried to spend every day with her family, but yet a part of her wished she were back on Vjun to be with Vader. One day, when she was spending time with Jobal, the japor pendant slipped out of her dress, and Jobal asked, “Where did you get that?”
“Lord Vader gave it to me,” Padme told her. Maybe now was a good time to tell her grandmother more about their relationship.
Jobal felt the foreboding. Her daughter had died wearing that pendant. She couldn’t explain, it but she had to tell Padme the truth. It had been eating away at her ever since she left. Sola was just going to have to understand that she couldn’t keep this secret from Padme any longer.
“What is it, Grandmother?” Padme asked when she noticed Jobal’s mood change.
”Padme, do you remember you Aunt whom you were named after?”
“All I know is that she was a Queen and senator, and she died when she was very young,” Padme told her.
“Yes,” Jobal told her. “She was my beloved daughter. She spent her whole life serving others. She was the Queen of Naboo. She saved our planet during the Naboo War.”
“Yes, Grandmother, but what does all this have to do with me?”
“She had that same pendant, Padme. She was wearing it when she died. It is cursed. Oh, please, take it off.”
Padme fingered her pendant and held it protectively from her grandmother.
“Why do I always see it in my dreams, and why didn’t you tell me when you saw it in one of my paintings?” Padme asked her.
“I think its time you knew the truth, Padme.” Jobal said.
“The truth about what?” Padme asked. She was getting a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Jobal took Padme back to Sola’s home. One look at both of their faces and Sola knew what was going on.
“Mother, can I speak with you privately please?” Sola pulled Jobal into the kitchen and asked her, “What is going on here? What have you told her?”
“Nothing yet! But she deserves to know the truth. You can’t hide the secret from her any longer. Have you seen what she has around her neck? Take a look, Sola. We should have told her years ago. I just hope its not too late now.”
Just then, Padme came in and said, “What’s going on in here with you two?”
When Sola saw the pendant on Padme’s neck, she burst into tears.
“You two better have an explanation for all this whispering and odd behavior,” Padme said. She was afraid they had figured that she had feelings for Vader, even though she was hiding it from them.
Resigned, Sola took Padme, with Jobal trailing behind, into her bedroom, and proceeded to take out a silver box well hidden in her closet.
Sola pulled out a holo, and what she saw startled Padme. There in the holo, was a picture of her Guardian Angel kissing a woman in a white wedding gown that looked exactly like her. Padme didn’t know what to think. How could her Mother have possessed this holo? That meant that her Guardian Angel was a real person, and who was this woman who was a spitting image of her?
Padme barely heard what her grandmother had to tell her next.
“Queen Padme, my youngest daughter, died a tragic death. She was so young, so full of life. I couldn’t bear to be without her after she died. So I...we took a sample of her DNA, and we…we…we cloned her.” She said, in between tears.
The reality of the situation sank in for Padme. She understood what her grandmother was saying.
Tears filled Padme’s betrayed brown eyes.
“How could you? You…you’re my mother, and Mother…you’re actually my sister? No! This can’t be true! Please, Grandmother, please tell me it’s not true!”
“I’m sorry Padme. I’m so sorry. Can you please forgive us? We should have told you earlier, but we didn’t know the right time.”
Padme blurted out, “I was just a replacement for your daughter! My whole life has been a lie! And all those dreams and nightmares that I had, they were actually memories of my former life, weren’t they? You knew, you both knew and you didn’t tell me!” The tears were stinging her eyes, and streaming down her cheeks. “How could you do this to me? How could you let me go through life feeling so confused and lost?”
“Padme, I’m sorry. We cloned you, but we did it out of love.” Sola said, trying to console her.
“No,” Padme said. “This isn’t love! It’s selfish, and it’s wrong! Now tell me, who was that man in the holo?”
“We don’t know much about him. We know that his name was Anakin Skywalker. He was a Jedi Knight. He and Padme were secretly married. We didn’t even know about their marriage until after she died. He died the same time as she did, During the Jedi Purge when the Empire came to being.”
“So that’s why he haunts my dreams every night. He is trying to find me.” Padme said.
Padme turned and ran out of the room. She had to think. She was given a hard blow. She realized that all those dreams she had were memories of her past life revealing themselves to her. She felt like she no longer had an identity. Who was she? Padme, former Queen of Naboo and wife of Anakin Skywalker? Or Ami, the artist, a replacement clone for a dead daughter? The thought was too painful to bear.
She wanted to run to Vader, to tell him everything that happened to her. He would hold her and tell her everything would be all right.
She ran away from Sola’s house. She couldn’t believe how her family had betrayed her. She couldn’t look at them any more, and she had to get away. Having nowhere else to go, she went into the Imperial shuttle that was waiting for her. With tears, she asked the droid to fly her back to Vjun and her castle in the acid washed land.
When the Naberries realized that Padme was gone, they all hung their head in shame. Because of their lies, they had lost their little girl to a Sith Lord. All their hopes for Padme to have a normal family life were erased.