Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DeathTalker 2: Chapter 5

Previous Chapter, Table of Contents "Thanks for locking the controls." Anakin, his arms crossed, stood in the cockpit and watched the stars flash by. Obi-Wan had just come in behind him. "Don't you think that's a little dangerous?" "Not as much as the alternative." They stood in silence for a while. "Anakin, why didn't you want to become a Jedi?" Anakin was silent for a while. "The night after Qui-Gon died, I had dreams. Terrible dreams. At first it was just the fear of them that kept me away. I had hoped that, in time, they would leave me and I could still become a Jedi." "Yes; I was convinced that you'd change your mind by lunchtime the first day." Anakin smiled. "But they didn't stop." "One of the worst involved mom dying. So, using the influence I had as 'planetary liberator,' I had her brought to Naboo." Anakin faced Obi-Wan. "The dreams stopped." "How is she?" Anakin rolled his eyes. "Annoying as hell. I don't even want to think about trying to tell that I got my head blown off. I mean I can you exactly what she'll say…" "Another dream?" "No, long experience. First she'll say she told me so, and that I should have become a doctor like she told me, instead of going into the…" "You were saying something about dreams?" "Oh…er…right. Well as time wore on, I had other dreams." "Some were good, some were bad, mostly they were just about the future – you know, mundane things like one time I dreamed of talking to a Gungan, and being really bored." "I could have told you that." "Yeah, well, he was a member of the Mud Splash water polo team. I thought he would be really cool, but he was worse than Jar-Jar." "Oh my…" "Yeah, you'd think that some of them would be interesting, but…" "How does all this have to do with not wanting to become a Jedi?" "Oh that, well, some of these dreams were weird – like having several endings to a story. Some were more vivid – more like memories than dreams. I later realized that some of them could be changed, and some could not." "In one dream, my favorite pet died when he got caught in a fishing net while we were playing catch. So…the next day, I wouldn't come outside. I holed up in my room the whole day and kept Burp with me." "Burp?" "He was my dog, you know the pet." "You had a dog called 'Burp?'" Anakin glared at Obi-Wan. "Look, do you want to hear this or not?!" "Alright, alright." "At any rate, the next day he got loose and was electrocuted by a loose power relay." Obi-Wan was frowning. "That's a really weird name…" "The point is, some things from these dreams could be changed and some could not!" Calming himself a bit, Anakin continued. "I had another dream. A terrible dream. This one was about the future with me as a Jedi. In that dream, many, many people died." "What exactly happened?" "That part was unclear." Anakin shrugged. "Of course, as present circumstances show, I'm not a whole lot better off." "But everyone else is." "There is that…" Padme chose that moment to walk into the cockpit. "Where are we going again?" "Yavin." "Are we there yet?" Anakin's jaw clenched. "Some days I can see Palpatine's point of view…" Palpatine was considered a "success story" for modern Naboonian mental health. Here was someone who started out as what others might call "a bad egg," who was turned around at an early stage in life and went on to be a valuable and productive member of society. He was the sort of person that therapists use to bore each other to tears over: why they matter, blah, blah, blah. In reality, Palpatine was a mental health nightmare. True, he was a functioning member of society, but it was in a manner that was conniving, manipulative and utterly lacking in empathy. But as a child, Palpatine had been small, cute, and disturbingly ruthless. He was constantly getting in trouble, sometimes seriously, and was a great source of stress for his caretakers. He was raised by his uncle, his biological parents having died in a speeder crash that he had absolutely nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with. This uncle, a certain Ty Emmer, was a very busy man. In fact, the more he came to know Palpatine, the busier he got. Palpatine grasped social interactions, laws, and whatnot. He just didn't see why he personally needed to follow them. At a very young age, he demonstrated that there were only two things in the universe: what Palpatine wanted and the rest. Unlike most other people, he did not give a damn about pleasing others, except as a means of manipulation. Furthermore the suffering of others meant nothing to him, though it did have a disturbing ability to make him smile. In addition to having a strange culture that involved amphibians, Naboolian society also had a very strong social infrastructure. This basically means that Palpatine was identified at a young age as being "a challenge" and he was assigned several qualified mental health professionals™ to help him. Palpatine's first councilor quit after two weeks, complaining that she had never, in her life, encountered someone so close to pure evil. His second one lasted a couple of months, managing to annoy the young lad so much that Palpatine actually embedded a staple in his forehead (for some strange reason, staplers persisted on Naboo). His third and final councilor was someone experienced with dealing with "socially challenged" individuals (read: hardened criminals) and had something of a "tough guy" attitude. After an adjustment period (Palpatine left their first meeting with a black eye), it was made totally clear to the boy that no, he couldn't expect to behave the way he had and get away with it. The future leader of the Galactic Republic resigned himself to the concept of rules and that they applied to him. Palpatine learned to be pragmatic early on – after all his therapist was bigger than him. And he had been tried in unarmed combat. And he had also carefully removed the stapler from his desk. Thus at the tender age of 7, the young Palpatine found himself sitting one day by a beautiful stream, watching the clouds and pulling the wings off flies. He was becoming increasingly frustrated with life. He was going to have to do something quite soon. He was contemplating methods and fire kept coming back as a good one. Just then a group of laughing children ran by. Palaptine noticed someone watching them. "Little bastards." Palpatine looked at the man. Unlike most other adults he had dealt with, this person was partially transparent. The man sighed and turned away, then noticed Palpatine staring at him. "Up yours, you punk." "You sure talk strange mister." The man cocked an eyebrow. "You can see me?" "Of course." Just then, the group of children ran back past them. Idly, Palpatine tripped a little girl who fell flat on her face. He laughed as she got up, and ran away from him. "You don't like other kids?" "Not really, they're too loud." "You seem…angry." "And you're see-through." "Jerk." "Twit." "Asshole." "Weirdo." The man, who seemed more substantial now, paused and considered. "Mean, strong in the force and angry…have you ever considered a career as a Sith Lord?" "Why would anyone want to sift boards?" "I said Sith Lord you moron." "Yeah well you're a…" Palpatine noticed someone coming up behind him. He had a squat, determined bearing that he had grown to hate. "Oh shit." "Palpatine! I heard about what you did to that poor little girl!" "Sorry, I gotta go!" Palpatine turned and ran, the approaching figure pursued for a bit then stopped, took out a weapon and fired at the little boy. Palpatine dropped to the ground, stunned. The individual that Palpatine had been talking with, who was growing more insubstantial with each passing moment, watched this take place. "Now that's someone I can work with…" Previous Chapter, Table of Contents

2 comments:

Tanis said...

:) Yet another day at work made brighter by your story - Thank you.

Whatever said...

(Whatever): Why thank you :-)
(R2): Beep!
(W): Shaddup creep, that person was obviously talking to me.
(R2): Bwaap.
(W): Was too.
(R2): Bwaap.
(W): Was too.
(R2): Bwaap.