A Piece of the Puzzle - May 2003 

by Janice Mergenhagen and Allen Falkowski

(OOC - The events chronicled here took place at MW/Port Lansing 2003, and are based upon role-play that transpired there).

Vader stood with his back to the door, even as he heard it open and sensed his visitor shifting uncomfortably behind him. He waited a few seconds longer, and then turned to face the hired informer.

"I understand you have something you believe I might find interesting."

"Yes, my Lord," came the nervous reply.


"I was in the Hell's Gate Cantina on Friday night, just checking out the patrons - listening, as I was ordered to do..."

"Go on."

"So, I decided to sit at the bar for a bit to hear the conversations. There were many, but of no interest, so I wandered into the other rooms for a while, but eventually returned to the bar and sat next to a Corellian."

"Your point being..." Vader rumbled.

"At first, we spoke of inconsequential matters, but then the conversation got interesting when I asked her why she'd come to Port Lansing. " 'I'm here to find someone - actually, two someones. Knew 'em when they were babies, and I've come to see how they've grown up.' "

"So I said, 'Maybe I know them. I'm familiar with most of the Station's residents.' "

" 'Oh, they don't live here,' " she replied, " 'just visiting for this weekend's activities, but maybe you can help. I'm looking for Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa. Any idea where they might be?' "

I think I must've gaped at her stupidly, but she'd had a bit to drink, so I don't think she really noticed.

"Don't know off hand, but I'm sure I can locate them and maybe arrange a meeting."

" 'I'd be obliged.' "

"We talked a bit more, than I excused myself, and came right to you." Having finished his recitation, the informer fell silent, awaiting payment or further instructions. As the silence stretched, he became more and more anxious.

"Knew them when they were babies?" Vader hissed quietly, almost to himself. "You can contact this ...?"

"Jordan Nile. Of course, My Lord, through a drop box for messages."

"Good. Inform her that a meeting has been arranged for Sunday evening."

The snitch knew it wouldn't be easy; the Corellian would certainly not be as lackadaisical as she'd been the other night. But there she was in the corner booth, able to see the whole bar - and definitely on edge.

"Thanks for coming on such short notice," he began, hoping he could sound convincing. "I have good news. I've arranged for you to meet with both of them. In an hour. In the station Solarium. I thought you'd want to be in a public place. Less problems that way. You're expected."

The Corellian looked a bit skeptical, but mumbled, "Thanks," and passed over a small amount of credits, not a tenth of his usual fee. As she got up, he planted the tiny tracking device and called to the bartender for a drink, relieved that she didn't seem to suspect anything.

That evening, in a busy corridor not far from the Solarium, Jordan suddenly found herself surrounded by four Stormtroopers, relieved of her blaster, placed in stun cuffs and led to the Imperial section of the station. There she was placed in a small room and the cuffs removed. She was sitting impatiently in a chair when the door opened and Vader strode in.

"Captain Nile, allow me to introduce myself..."

"Who doesn't know who you are, Vader," she interrupted.

"Good. Now we can get down to business."

"I don't have any business with you."

"I'll determine that." He stood facing her at a distance. "It's been quite some time since you've been to Port Lansing. Why have you chosen to return now?"

She hesitated a bit and then said, "Well, I had some time on my hands, being semi-retired, you see, so I thought I'd stop by some of my favorite haunts."

"A little reminiscence before you die?"

"Ain't planning on dying just yet, but it just seemed like a good time to visit."

"Captain, you must know that I am not in the habit of detaining someone unless they have something I want." Vader moved menacingly toward her. " Again, I ask, why are you here? And let's dispense with the games."

"Fine with me. I'm looking for two people."

"And these two people would be. . . "

" A couple of kids I knew some years back. I wanted to see how they've grown up."

"When would you have known Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa as children?

"How - the bar toady, of course! I've got to learn to hold my drink better." Jordan stretched out in her chair, wondering if it was worth a lot of pain or even death to keep this secret. Who could it hurt now if it came out?

"I am not a patient man, Captain."

"Anakin wasn't either."


"Oh, I'm sure you don't remember, but my ship, The Aries, was the first big freighter you flew. Obi-Wan thought I was crazy to let you, but I knew I could trust you at the controls." Jordan chuckled silently, as Vader seemingly...stopped. Hard to tell what he might be thinking in that armor, but even his breathing had almost ceased.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only seconds, Vader decided that pursuing this particular memory was pointless. Finally, he rumbled, "That...incident no longer has any meaning to me."

"So what does?"

"My children."

"What about them?"

"You said you hadn't seen my children since they were babies. That would mean that you took them. . .?"

"Yup, I'm the one," she said proudly. "Flew Padme and the little girl to Alderaan and took Obi-Wan and the little boy to Tatooine. They didn't want to use an 'official transport' in case you got wind of what was happening."

"You took my children from me!" She could sense Vader's rage building.

"And I'd do it again. You didn't even know they existed, and both Padme and Obi-Wan wanted it that way. I'd never have done that to Anakin, but then, HE wasn't around." She felt her throat constrict and gasped for breath as she was pulled upright from the chair.

"I should kill you for what you have done," Vader rumbled, his mask glaring intently at Jordan, his hand raised and curled.

"Vader would, but could Anakin? I know he's in there somewhere. The Emperor would have had Padme and the children killed or worse. Is that what you would have wanted, Anakin?"

"That name no longer has any meaning for me."

"Then why does it matter what happened so long ago, or if I find them and talk to them?" She gasped as she suddenly fell back into her chair, the pressure instantly gone. When there was no answer, she pressed on. "We have no deep connection. Hell, I doubt they even remember me, they were so young. There aren't a lot of 'retired' smugglers around; we're not a long-lived profession. I was just following up on a loose end, to see how it turned out."

Vader turned away, his mind whirling with repressed thoughts and emotions. Jordan was still gasping, but he didn't seem to notice. Finally, he faced her again.

"You have done me a great service," his voice intoned, low and suggestive. "Filled in a piece of a puzzle that has long eluded me, so I repay you in kind. You will leave Port Lansing as soon as you are released. You will abandon your search. But, should you come across my son and daughter, either here or in your travels, you will give them a message from me. 'I am looking for them, and will soon find them.' "

Sometime later, amid the noise at the bar, Jordan Nile had a sudden compulsion to leave Port Lansing, even though she had a nagging feeling that she hadn't accomplished what she'd come there to do.

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