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img_2536bThe mechanized blast door swished shut behind the Emperor’s new apprentice causing his long black cape to billow.

“So, how do you like your new accommodations, Lord Vader?” Sidious asked with a genuine concern leveled beneath his growl.

Looking around the room, Vader found himself a bit dismayed by Dooku’s old “The Dukes of Hazzard” posters, a VCR sitting on a milk crate with what appeared to be tattered VHS tape hanging from its mouth as though it were a droid that just choked and threw up. And not far from the crate, in the corner near the liquor cabinet stood a strange collection of self-help volumes stacked in a pyramid.

Sidious continued, “I know that you will find it to be comfortable.  And all that was Count Dooku’s is now yours.” Vader didn’t answer. He just stood there holding his gym bag.

Reaching up and resting his grizzled hand upon Vader’s shoulder, the Emperor offered, “I sense that you are troubled, my young apprentice.”

“It’s nothing.  As you wish, my master,” Vader returned convincingly as he suppressed the feeling that he’d made a poor decision in turning to the Dark Side.

“Come, then, let us visit together regarding your new Sith lordship,” the Emperor pronounced as he ambled to Dooku’s liquor trove. “Dooku may have been a bit troubled,” he continued, “but his choice in liquor was always superior to even that of Tarkin’s, who you may remember meeting upon our arrival.” Opening the doors to the cabinet, he looked over the collection. Vader sat down and began to unpack his belongings—a light-saber, a stick of Old Spice (because wearing black leather gets very warm), some clean underwear, a breathing apparatus filter cleaning kit, and an unopened  bottle of Lagavulin 16 that his wife Padmé had given to him not long after their wedding. He’d never gotten around to opening it, and now after her death, to look at it caused him great pain.

“We need a whisky worthy of celebrating your newfound strength,” the Emperor mumbled softly as he searched. “How about something from your home planet of Tatooine?” He turned and with the gesture of one hand, a bottle rose and glided toward a nearby table while with his other hand, the Emperor motioned for and cleared the table covered in what appeared to be love letters Dooku had been scratching to the former Jedi Council member, Stass Allie. Vader sat staring at the Lagavulin in his hands.

As the Tatooinian whisky came to rest on the table, the Emperor took notice and asked, “What is this you have brought?” The bottled whisked from Vader’s possession and into the Emperor’s hands. “Ah, a fine choice, Lord Vader!” And before Vader could speak, the cork was off and the whisky was flowing into rock glasses, with Sidious’ glass receiving a three-finger portion and Vader’s being only two.

“To Darth Vader!” the Emperor called, gulped, and poured another.

“My master, Padmé gave this bottle to me and I’d…”

“To Padmé!” the Emperor interrupted, gulped, and then poured another. Vader’s rage began to seethe, so much so that the lenses of his helmet became a bit foggy as he fought back the urge to reach for his light-saber.

“My master, please take time to savor this gift with me…”

“To gifts!” Sidious said with a tongue that was clearly getting heavier and struggling to enunciate. He gulped and then reached to pour again. By now, Vader’s frenzy had met its limitation and all of the objects in the room began to shake. The room itself quaked as bottles and glasses began shattering and spilling their contents. Video tape began to spew from the VCR while books and papers tore apart and swooped upward into a whirlwind. And finally and most dreadfully, the Lagavulin bottle exploded in the Emperor’s hand in a torrent of dark glass and misted whisky traveling to all reaches of the room.

The room fell silent. Vader stood huffing, arms still raised from the exertion of such incredible wrath.

“I am sensing a tremor in the Force, Vader,” the Emperor said slurring his words and staring at the Sith Lord. “Are you sure nothing is bothering you?”

“No…my master,” he said gritting his teeth and clinching his fist.

“Well then, I’m off to the control deck. Tarkin asked if I was up for a game of Euchre with him and Senator Palpatine. He’s going to laugh so hard when he learns that I AM Palpatine!” Sidious got up and unsteadily made his way to the door. “You should think about straightening this place up,” he snarled as the door hissed open.  “This is no way for a Sith Lord to live.”

The door closed and silence prevailed for a moment. Eventually, Vader sat back down on the couch, took off his helmet, and put his head in his hands. From the corner of his eye, he noticed that in all the room, amidst all of the debris, his glass of Scotch was unscathed. He grabbed it and lifted it to what was left of his nose.

There was an immediate scent of smoke with the first draw, a smell that hearkened back to the evening campfire smells of his home planet. He inhaled and held again, trying to discover variations. This time the smoke dissipated and the refreshing scent of sherry tickled lightly. He toasted to Padmé and sipped. He discovered that there was more of a distinct teasing from the sherry to the nose than to the palate, but nevertheless, the sherry and the peat smoke seemed well balanced, offering a smooth delivery that gave the sense of roasted nuts and dried fruit. He sipped and swallowed again. The finish was long and enjoyable, leaving hints of spice being carried along by a saltwater breeze. Images were kindled from his days near the seashores of Naboo, but he was already strangely beginning to forget why he’d even visited Naboo, Padmé’s home planet.

He finished his drink comforted – no lingering or unpleasant aftertaste.  All that remained was the thought of the Emperor having wasted a good bottle of Scotch. He could feel the anger beginning to flow within again, and as is true with all Sith Lords, this gradually becomes an enjoyable experience that makes one stronger but at the expense of cleansing one of his former days. In Vader’s case, memories of Padmé faded as the desire for vengeance increased.

Now, for those of us who know how the story ends, allow for this small portion of the Sith record to shed some light upon Vader’s ultimate end. Sure, he did discover a remnant of good within him, that is, he did find a hidden love for his son, but in all honesty, Luke was kind of whiny and as his father, Vader knew he could use a little bit of the Emperor’s “dark side” lightning to help coax him toward the maturity of manhood. It would, however, take a little something more to push Vader over the edge and into a full betrayal of his master, especially a betrayal that would be moved to lift the master up and cast him screaming into a generator shaft.

And so now you know: Never waste a Sith Lord’s whisky. Second, no matter the circumstances behind its acquisition, run for your life if it was a bottle of Lagavulin 16. The Force is strong with this one.