Piett looked at his commander as the door to the cell closed. Lord Vader was still, and Admiral Piett guessed that he was unconscious.
No matter. It wouldn’t take long for Lord Vader to get them out once he woke up. Piett looked over as his Lord made an odd noise, almost a moan.
Lord Vader sat up slowly and leaned back against the wall of the cell. “Admiral, what is the situation?”
“I do not believe our captors are rebels, milord,” Piett started. “They seem to think that you can be used to lure… someone… here. I’m not entirely certain who it is. I don’t know why I’m still alive, but the guards were killed, as was the pilot.”
Lord Vader was silent, save for the sound of his breathing. He stood up slowly and began to examine the cell they were in. He growled low in his throat; the sound was picked up and amplified by his mask. “A cell meant to trap a Jedi,” he explained, when he saw Piett looking at him.
Piett frowned. “Why does it hold you, milord? You are not a Jedi.”
Vader sat back down. “Sit down, Admiral. We are going to be here a while.”
Piett blinked but obeyed. “Yes, milord.” He trusted Lord Vader, and he knew Lord Vader valued him as a second in command. He didn’t know why he’d asked about the cell, but he didn’t expect an answer.
Vader looked up. “Jedi are nearly extinct, as you know. We have been chasing the last known Jedi for nearly two years.”
“Yes milord. Skywalker.”
“Yes, Luke Skywalker,” Vader broke off for a moment. “But Jedi and Sith are similar in some respects,” he continued. “Those things that trap Jedi can sometimes trap a Sith.”
Piett frowned. “This is one of those things?”
Vader sighed. “Yes. I recognize the design- it’s one of the Emperor’s. He made them so they’d be able to hold all Jedi, Sith, or other Force users.”
“The Emperor?” Piett asked, alarmed.
“This is not his doing, Admiral,” Vader assured him. “It is his design, but I can see where it was put into place hurriedly, and without all the safeguards. The Emperor would never do this work so sloppily, nor allow others to do so.”
Piett relaxed minutely. “Then who would know how to do this?”
Vader tilted his head. “I have many enemies in the Imperial Court, Admiral. Many of them might be able to find the way to build this. Most of them would have the means. But you said that I am here as a lure.”
“That is what they said, milord.”
Vader didn’t move for a long time. Piett sighed and began to wonder who would have the power to hold the heir to the throne as bait. And he wondered who would want to take that bait. Finally, Vader spoke. “Get some sleep, Admiral. I learned long ago that sometimes all you can do is make sure you are rested and fed. When you’re a captive and at the mercy of others, you never know when you’ll get the next chance.”
Piett blinked. Lord Vader had been held captive before?
Vader eyed the Admiral. Firmus Piett was a good man, loyal to Vader. If he must have a companion to witness this captivity, Piett was the best choice. He knew the Admiral was curious about Vader, but he’d never ask- or at least he’d stop asking if Vader told him to stop.
Piett stirred and woke up. His normally immaculate uniform was creased and wrinkled. He glanced at Vader before stretching stiff muscles.
“Our captors brought breakfast. Your portion is by the door.” Vader told him.
“Thank you, milord,” Piett said. He made no move to get up.
“It’s bland, but you will want to eat, Admiral. This is no time to be stubborn,” Vader said. He caught a stray worry from the Admiral’s mind. “The food is not drugged.”
Piett nodded. Vader could feel that the man was still somewhat uneasy whenever Vader answered the man’s thoughts. Vader would have thought that after seven months of working closely with Vader, he’d be used to it.
Vader looked to the side. At least their captors had known enough to provide food that he could eat through his mask, though doubtless the Admiral would find it bland.
Piett ate rapidly. Either hunger was getting the best of him, or he just wanted to get it over with. “Milord, do you have any plans yet?”
“What is the point, Admiral? This is a secure cell,” Vader said. He frowned behind his mask. The Admiral was right. They did need to escape, that was true. But they were being watched, Vader was sure of it.
He sighed, knowing that it wouldn’t be heard through his mask. Admiral, we cannot talk. We are being watched. He nodded approvingly as Piett forced himself not to react. If you simply think what you want to tell me, I will hear it, Vader continued.
Piett sighed. “Understood, milord. We will have to wait for a better time.” I don’t…
Relax, Admiral. This cell is not as secure as our captors believe. I will have us out of here in two days, but it will take that long to break through the Force-proofing. Vader sighed. “We will. I suspect that the best time will be after they relax, perhaps in five days or so.”
Piett nodded. We will be gone by then. They’ll start worrying about an escape two days after we’re gone. He thought. Am I doing this right, milord? “Understood, milord.” Piett frowned. “You spoke yesterday about Force users. We might have some time. Would you tell me about the differences between Jedi and Sith?”
You’re doing fine. You have a knack for it, it’s one of the reasons I wanted you on the Executor. But I think it’s time we stopped talking like this, I can see it’s a strain for you. “It would take me weeks to explain them all, Admiral,” Vader said wryly. “But it is something we can do. How much do you know about Jedi?”
Piett sighed. “I saw a Jedi once. Actually, two of them, and I worked closely with them for nearly a month. This was perhaps a year before the Order betrayed the Republic.”
Vader nodded once. He knew this. “Which Jedi?” he asked, though he knew the answer to that as well.
“Skywalker and Kenobi,” Piett said. He paused. Vader could feel him making connections. “Milord! The rebel who destroyed the Death Star- is he…?”
“Anakin Skywalker’s son, yes,” Vader said.
Vader smiled behind his mask. “Indeed.”
Piett sighed. “Is that why you want him so much?” At Vader’s sharp movement, he elaborated. “You could have killed him on Bespin. But you didn’t. Your bounty for him is alive only. You knew Anakin Skywalker.”
Vader frowned beneath his mask. But the fact that Luke was Anakin’s son was the reason Vader wanted him alive.
Piett took his silence for assent.
Vader shook his head when Piett opened his mouth to ask. “No more questions, Admiral. It’s not something you should know.”
Piett sighed and leaned back against the wall. Lord Vader was standing with his hands braced against the wall near the door, doing… something.
Piett knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’d never understand Lord Vader’s Sith abilities. He’d also seen too many of them to doubt them.
“They have made a good trap for a Force user,” Lord Vader said. “I don’t doubt that it would have held Master Yoda at the height of his powers.”
“Master Yoda was the leader of the Jedi, wasn’t he?”
“His title was Grand Master,” Lord Vader said. “He was very strong. Not as strong as I am, but strong.”
“I thought only Anakin Skywalker was a stronger Jedi then Master Yoda.”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi nearly matched Yoda,” Lord Vader said. “At least, that was my belief.”
Piett frowned. If only Anakin Skywalker had been a more powerful Jedi then Yoda, and Lord Vader was more powerful then Yoda… “But then, milord, if you are stronger then Yoda…”
"One of my predecessors, though he was a fairly weak Sith, killed a powerful Jedi Master, and nearly defeated Kenobi.”
Piett blinked but quieted. He looked to the side. If Lord Vader was warning him off that idea, then it likely had a grain of truth to it. It would certainly explain why he wanted Luke Skywalker alive.
Piett sighed. He wouldn’t ask again, and he’d do his best to forget his suspicions.
“As I suspected,” Lord Vader said. “This cell would withstand any Jedi. But it cannot withstand a Sith Lord.”
Piett stood up as the door opened. It had taken two days, just as Lord Vader had predicted.
Piett smiled. Lord Vader looked at him. “Do not tell anyone what you have learned here, Admiral.”
“Of course not, Milord,” Piett said. And he wouldn’t. The things he’d learned were Vader’s secrets, not his.