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Gungan to the left

Dark Memory (G)

By : John Takis

Archived on: Monday, July 7, 2003

At his son's request, Han Solo reluctantly recounts painful memories of his first and only face-to-face encounter with Darth Vader.

[begin recording]

We rolling, Artoo? Okay, let's get this over with...

This is for you, Jacen. Although you won't be watching it for another few years. Or maybe decades. Heck, why don't we wait until I'm good and buried, huh?


I'm sorry, kid, I just don't like the idea of you listening to this. I mean, he was your grandfather and all ... and I guess he turned out okay in the end. Still, I wasn't going to do it ... I know I promised to tell you anything you asked. Well that's a promise I intended to break. I only met him once, and there wasn't anything Anakin Skywalker about him - it was Vader, through and through.

Your Uncle Luke persuaded me. Somethin' about being honest to history, an' it helping you see the Dark Side for what it is. I dunno ... sounds like your mother. You sure won't have any trouble getting her story. You'll find it all over the holonet. She thinks she "owes" it to the survivors of Alderaan to have the candid truth out there. Some nutty idea, airing your private laundry for the common good. Damn unselfish.

I guess that's why I love her.

So anyway ... Cloud City. Y'know, on Bespin - Lando's old outfit. That was after Hoth. We were on the run from the Empire, and we came to him for help. Some help. "A little refreshment," he says. Then the doors to the dining room open and guess who's come to dinner?

I gotta admit, I was good that day. I mean, really spectacular. It wasn't just nerves. I've won quick-draw tournaments in eleven systems, and shot down a Ossan torpedo-bat before it got within two meters of my head, but this was something else. You can't imagine how fast your old man was on the draw stepping into that room and coming face-to-face with Vader. Two shots, right into the chest plate, before you could blink.

Well Vader was faster. I guess that won't surprise you; you've grown up with Jedi around. Back then, I didn't believe any of that "Force" mumbo jumbo. Heck - I'm still not sure I believe it sometimes! I sure don't understand it any better now than I did then. All I know is, I never saw anything like Vader just knocking those bolts aside. I might as well have been throwing rocks. Futile as it was, though, I probably could have kept firing and kept him busy long enough for Chewie to get Leia to safety. Except my blaster wasn't in my hand anymore ... it was flying across the table, right into that black-gloved fist.

"We would be honored if you would join us," he says in that creepy voice. Then Boba Fett is there beside him, gun ready to fry anything that moves. As if Vader needed the protecting.

"I've just made a deal that'll keep the Empire out of here for good," Lando'd told me earlier, and suddenly the nature of that deal is crystal clear. Now he's looking at me. "I had no choice, they arrived right before you did," he says. He has the gall to say "I'm sorry."

Yeah, well I was sorry too. Sorry I ever trusted him.


Okay, I knew this was a bad idea. Lando's always been a friend to you kids, and I don't want that to change. You have to understand, things were tough back then. He and I hadn't parted on the best of terms, and when we showed up he had a lot of responsibilities. Years later, after it was all over, Leia pointed out that she might have done the same thing if it were her and Alderaan. I don't believe that, though. I don't think your mother is capable of betraying anyone. She knows that too - at least, she oughtta. It's just she's so blasted empathetic, always trying to see the good in people. Like she saw it in me, I guess.

Anyway, I've forgiven Lando. The guy risked his life to save me from Jabba the Hutt, and he risked it again destroying Death Star II. Your pop knows how to hold a grudge, believe me ... but I can't harden my heart to a guy who's looking for redemption and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Sure, there are times when I jerk awake in the middle of the night and I can still taste the carbonite and I see Lando's face, guilty as Sith, and in those moments before I really wake up I hate him. But I forgave him. And so should you.


So where was I? Right, Cloud City. Darth Vader and Boba Fett - my two least-favorite people in the galaxy, together in one room. And I'm helpless. Not just me, but the two people I care about more than anything in the universe - Chewie and your mom. And I'm staring across the room at my runaway blaster, and I'm thinking "Fine, so the Force is real." So now I'm suddenly angry at it. Like, why didn't it warn us? What good is the Force if it's on Darth Vader's side? I'm sure you'll be a great Jedi philosopher by the time you watch this, so maybe you can answer that. But sometimes I still wonder.

Anyway, the doors shut behind us and Chewie lets out a howl. I know how he feels. I'm looking around, expecting stormtroopers to march in any second and escort us to the torture chambers. Imagine my surprise when Vader and Fett sit down and Lando escorts us to our seats. And for the first time, I notice the table is fully loaded. Are they serious?

"Eat, Captain Solo," urges Vader. "You'll be needing your strength."

"I'm not hungry," I say. I've been tortured before. It's not pretty, and you're gonna be hurtin' either way, so you might as well not have to worry about throwing up all over yourself. Chewie and Leia aren't looking real hungry either. Lando is still standing, and Vader and Fett aren't about to take off their helmets for us.

Lando pours wine. Or maybe it's punch. Chewie wrinkles his nose over it, but I don't go near it. Probably has some kind of sensitivity-heightening nerve stimulant, so that pain feels ten times worse. No thank you.

Leia picks up her glass. She's making a great show of it, totally composed, like this was some kinda state dinner.

"Please, drink," Vader says, as casually as Darth Vader says anything. I don't think he could wish his mother a happy birthday without it coming across as an implied death threat. He goes on and says: "The facilities will not be ready for several minutes yet."

Okay, so torture is confirmed. I'm about to tell Leia not to drink the wine, but it's like Vader reads my mind. Maybe he did. "You needn't worry, Captain Solo," he says. "Yourself and the Wookiee will be the only ones in danger of physical pain."

The wine glass is halfway to Leia's mouth when she alters trajectory, so to speak. Red fluid splatters all over Vader's faceplate. He just sits there for a moment, breathing like he does. Then Lando is at his side, wiping Vader down and muttering apologies. Vader grabs his wrist and forces him aside - no one dabs a Dark Lord of the Sith, I guess - and wipes himself off.

Meanwhile, Fett wipes up a drop of the stuff from the table and pulls out some kind of chemical analyzer. "It's clean," he says.

Vader's not interested. He's looking at Leia. Part of me is cheering her on, but a bigger part of me is absolutely terrified for her. I can feel Chewie go all tense next to me - two-plus meters of muscle, fur, claws and teeth. He'll die before anyone lays a finger on Leia. Which doesn't make me feel much better.

"Your devotion to your cause is admirable," Vader says. "You remind me of a woman I once knew ... though your ideals are as misguided as hers were." Knowing what we know now, I wonder if he was talking about her mother. I think maybe he was.

"I require another kind of suffering from you," he goes on. He pulls out a black box and gives it to Lando. Lando brings it down to us, and I can see it's some kind of portable holoprojector.

"What is this?" she asks.

"Planetary broadcasts," Vader says. "From Alderaan, taken the day it was destroyed."

Okay, so he wants her all weepy for some reason. But I know Leia, and I know she took the time to hunt down every surviving transmission from that day. "She's already seen 'em."

But she's gone and turned real pale. "Not these, Han," she says. "The moment the Death Star entered orbit, it jammed all frequencies and intercepted all transmissions."

Vader nods. "Considering the number of planetary news agencies, there are more than sixty thousand hours of cumulative feed in your hands. There's a coded message to you from your father, the late Senator Organa ... if you can find it."

The look on Leia's face ... it's like Alderaan all over again. I've got all the Force-sensitivity of an asteroid, and even I can feel the pain coming off her. Chewie roars, and I feel like joining him. Nothing gets me madder than people trying to hurt your mother. (As you can imagine, with your mother's lifestyle, I get mad a lot. But this was the worst ... so personal in such an awful way, I was ready to spit blaster bolts.) I was out of my chair in a second.

Bad move. Boba Fett fired one into my left shoulder. Not even a stun blast, but it hurt like twelve hells. I fell back into my chair. "I enjoyed that, Solo," he says. "Give me a reason to do it again."

An Imp officer walks in, uniform so neatly pressed it makes my eyes hurt. He whispers something to Vader, who gets up. "We are ready to proceed," he says. "A pity you lost your appetite." Then the stormtroopers are behind me, dragging me up out of my chair, makin' it feel like fireworks are going off in my shoulder joint. They shove me towards the exit, and I manage to look at Leia.

"I won't tell them anything," I tell her.

"I know," she says.

Then they took me to this room and strapped me into a chair. I was facing this grid-looking thing...

[pause; sound of clearing throat]

This, ah ... metal thing, with lots of little ... Aw stang, Artoo, shut it off.

[freeze transmission]
[resume transmission]

Hey, kid. Sorry about that. I hope you got enough, 'cause I decided I ain't goin' any further. I'm sorry, I just won't. No kid oughtta have to hear that kind of stuff from his dad. It's not important, anyway. I hope to the Force you never know what it's like being in a situation like I was in - the Force knows I'm not gonna be the one to share it with you.

I guess you're probably wondering about those Alderaan tapes of Vader's. It'd be nice to tell you that even though Vader only let her have them for an hour, she found the message from Bail Organa. Well I'm sorry again, because she didn't. And as far as we know, no copies of those recordings have survived. Anything outside of Vader's private collection would've been destroyed for sure, since they contradict official Imp propaganda about Alderaan. We even offered a big reward, but all we got were offensive forgeries and more tears.

So that's it. Maybe you'll find something valuable in this record - search me if I know what. It was unpleasant as a nest of gundarks to relive, and the first thing I'm gonna do now is mix up a nice Corellian whiskey to help me forget.


I love you, kid, you know that. You and your sister and your brother. May the, ah ... may the Force be with you.

[sigh] I never know how to end these things. I'm done, Artoo. Bye, Jacen.

[end transmission]

Original cover by John Takis. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.

Fan Fiction Rating

Current Rating is 9.06 in 147 total ratings.

Reader Comments

Add a comment about this Fan Fiction

Author: Tycalibur  (signed)
Date posted: 7/7/2003 10:48:51 PM
Tycalibur's Comments:

I really enjoyed this work. One always wonders what went on behind that door once it shut in ESB. You've captured the essence of the tenseness of the moment quite well, and continued with it. The additional Alderaanian tapes were a nice touch.


Author: rangerkom
Date posted: 7/8/2003 12:31:50 AM
rangerkom's Comments:

with the event with han's shoulder, I could imagine that Han tried not to show it in the next scenes in ESB.

Author: jedishellyskywalker
Date posted: 7/8/2003 4:25:09 AM
jedishellyskywalker's Comments:

Wow! That was really good! The way it was written, I could actually hear Han Solo's voice in my head telling the story for Jacen. Well done!

Author: Jack
Date posted: 7/8/2003 6:18:29 AM
Jack's Comments:

REALLY great story! I never could have imagened it like that! I always thought Vader took them right to the torture chamber. Great imagination! I will look for more works by you because you are obviously a very talented writer!

Author: Quiller  (signed)
Date posted: 7/8/2003 8:33:06 AM
Quiller's Comments:

You really captured Han's voice. Great job.

Author: impmeat
Date posted: 7/8/2003 10:55:56 AM
impmeat's Comments:

Great story, well written. I like the fact that you put the hidden message in there but Leia didn't find it. More realistic that way. Well done, keep on writing.

Author: pitter patter
Date posted: 7/8/2003 11:33:56 AM
pitter patter's Comments:

This is one really strong fic. You're really good at charecterizing Han like that, it really creeped me out hearing him talk about Vader like that. So realistic, with the little conversations with Artoo and everything.

Author: Briggsy
Date posted: 7/8/2003 11:38:41 AM
Briggsy's Comments:

I thought this was an excellent piece. I especially liked when Han refused to share what being tortured was like and wished Jacen would never know the pain. It gives hints to a future situation that involved Jacen. Very good piece.

Author: BobaFett688  (signed)
Date posted: 7/8/2003 11:39:28 AM
BobaFett688's Comments:


I applaud you. This was good, and very creative how you decided to tell it. Excellent work.

Author: Kyp Karrde
Date posted: 7/8/2003 12:17:36 PM
Kyp Karrde's Comments:

Marvelous writing! For ONCE,someone's finally got our favorite rogue ABSOLUTELY ON TARGET! The language, sentence structure, thought patterns...perfect. And yes, it was a good touch, all those Alderaanian transmissions. I got a chill down my spine as I read that, imagining...
When a story like this is so good, I usually wait for a bad ending or plot twist. after all, you can't have everything, right? But this was flawless. Not only am I hoping for more of your work, I'm expecting it!

Author: Roni
Date posted: 7/8/2003 1:26:53 PM
Roni's Comments:

WOW!!!!!! That was amazing.Great job.I could actual visualize the entire sequences as well as actually hearing Hans voice inside my head as he was making that recording.I've always wondered what went on behind those doors and I think this really captured the moment.Again,great job.I'm impressed.

Author: TheEwokThatDied
Date posted: 7/8/2003 2:40:49 PM
TheEwokThatDied's Comments:

Hi, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed that, very good. I can picture Harrison Fords 'sneer' in my mind as he says ' one dabs a Dark Lord of the Sith I guess".....great line.....

Yub Yub

Author: Jedi Dajuan
Date posted: 7/8/2003 3:14:25 PM
Jedi Dajuan's Comments:

WOW! Very powerful.

Author: SoloGirl
Date posted: 7/8/2003 5:41:56 PM
SoloGirl's Comments:

" I don't think he could wish his mother a happy birthday without it coming across as an implied death threat. "

LOL that made me laugh, in the midst of this serious fic, but I loved it!! ::giggles::

Anyway, it was a great did such a good job capturing Han, and I like the idea that Jacen would ask him about his encounter w/ Darth would be interesting to get a read on Vader from Han's perspective.

Author: dougdigitalpro
Date posted: 7/8/2003 9:58:09 PM
dougdigitalpro's Comments:

This is the first time I've read any fan fic on the and this was hands down excellent! I think this is one of the great mysteries in the SW series and you have probably captured it about as good as anyone, including George Lucas could have. It completely had me mesmerized and totally captured the essence of the characters. Keep up the great work! You have a future in writing my friend!

Author: dashrendar 2003
Date posted: 7/9/2003 6:52:05 AM
dashrendar 2003's Comments:

When I read that I realized why I am a STAR WARS fan it was great and I am liking the references to Bail Organa and also ALDERAN.

Author: Magnus
Date posted: 7/9/2003 1:31:02 PM
Magnus's Comments:

This was indeed a greate sttory and it was really nice that you reflected Hans thoughts and memories about Vader and Lando.

I would really love it if you did one where Luke makes a tapefor hs son Ben Skywalker, telling him about how he felt about facing vader for the first time and learning the truth about his father.

Author: Jedi-2B  (signed)
Date posted: 7/11/2003 8:38:43 AM
Jedi-2B's Comments:

Great characterization of Han, and his hesitancy to talk about that episode, even to his son. I laughed out loud when Lando started dabbing the wine off Vader!

Author: Zane-Marit
Date posted: 7/11/2003 3:26:49 PM
Zane-Marit's Comments:

Man am I glad I found this site...I like the Galactic Senate and all but the fan fics thereare lacking...I've only read a few of these short stories, but all of them have been OUTSTANDING. This one was a great one. The Alderaan tapes. Behind closed doors. Fett and the chem analyzer was a touch of genious... Great story.

Author: RPM
Date posted: 7/11/2003 11:00:47 PM
RPM's Comments:

One thing I like is the narration of the characters. I have often thought it folly of even seasoned professional authors with published Star Wars novels to attempt to get *inside* the minds of characters like Han Solo and Darth Vader. Keeping the distance through third person narration works wonders. I actually believed Vader especially would say and do some of these things. Good job!

(side note to Steve Perry: I could never hear Vader using the phrase "blown to bits.")

Author: sidious618
Date posted: 7/13/2003 4:27:50 PM
sidious618's Comments:

I hate vigenettes yet this story was unlike one I have ever read before. It was EXCELLENT. Pure brilliance.
Nice job!

Author: Nade_Naberrie  (signed)
Date posted: 7/14/2003 8:09:19 AM
Nade_Naberrie's Comments:

I must say that this is the best missing scene I've ever read. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you captured Han's voice perfectly. Excellent job on the coverart as well. ;)

Keep writing, and may the Force be with you.

Author: Sky Zalom
Date posted: 7/21/2003 5:40:00 PM
Sky Zalom's Comments:

Wow! Nice storie!
The good: It really did sound like han talking - his tone came to mind as I read. Also, the idea of what happened inbetween is really orginal and good too.
The only thing that I didn't like was the pauses - froma first person point of veiw, I know its extremely hard for you to say it any other way, but it seemed as if it really broke up the story.
Good luck on your next storie!

Author: Destiny  (signed)
Date posted: 7/23/2003 12:08:51 PM
Destiny's Comments:

This was wonderful, John. As *many* have already mentioned, you captured Han flawlessly. And I liked how there was a little bit of humor sprinkled throughout, just so things wouldn't get *too* depressing! This was my favorite part:

We were on the run from the Empire, and we came to him for help. Some help. "A little refreshment," he says. Then the doors to the dining room open and guess who's come to dinner?

I laughed at this, and it helped to relieve the tension a bit.

Keep writing! :p

Author: Falls_the_Shadow
Date posted: 7/27/2003 6:06:21 PM
Falls_the_Shadow's Comments:

You have nailed down the voice and speech patterns of Solo perfectly. I liked the bit where he cuts off the video recording. Honest, but awkward. Another good bit was Solo speaking about Lando, and realizing the effects of the tale might have on the children's feelings towards Uncle Lando, but then again, these are the kids that call Vader "Grandpa."

Author: Mcily Nochi  (signed)
Date posted: 7/28/2003 6:09:32 PM
Mcily Nochi's Comments:


Author: DanielleSkywalker
Date posted: 7/29/2003 2:31:34 PM
DanielleSkywalker's Comments:

This story was awesome. I loved what you did with it, the way you had Han speak and stuff.
You should've had him tell Jacen the truth, though...and if you think about it (if you've been reading The New Jedi Order), it would kind of make Jacen think a little...since Jacen was tortured in Traitor in the Embrace, and even before that book, if he doesn't REALLY know that Han was tortured by his grandfather, he'll be surprised that his father was tortured too...get what I mean? Anyway, it was a great story!

Author: Brightbear
Date posted: 7/31/2003 11:35:27 PM
Brightbear's Comments:

I liked the realism of this story. Han was done well and it really sounded as if years had passed. Han had thought about what he was going to say beforehand but still managed to be slightly nervous and chicken out from telling parts of the story. Good reflections on Lando and Leia also.

Author: ColePierce
Date posted: 8/8/2003 11:55:37 AM
ColePierce's Comments:

I have to admit, I'm usually skeptical of authors using pre-fab'd characters. I typically find them uncreative, and am left craving an original storyline. I forced myself to read it, just to see how bad it could get. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it! It started out strong, and only got better as it went.

You did a wonderful job of retelling just enough of the movie to keep it entertaining, but not redundantly repeating the screenplay. The thoughts and mannerisms of all the characters seemed right on par. I thought it particularly clever to have Han paranoid about drinking the wine. And the way he found room to boast about his quickdraw to his son was 100% true to character for Han Solo. Great work.

Author: dark armored one
Date posted: 8/8/2003 9:48:38 PM
dark armored one's Comments:

Very nicely written. I liked the possible tie-in with Padme. It was a very convincing story, that I will adopt as what actually happened when those doors closed in the movie. Thanks for writing it.

Author: VCGriffin
Date posted: 8/12/2003 12:37:52 PM
VCGriffin's Comments:

Thats only the second han story i`ve read that hapns after ROTJ and i hae to say even though the other was a proper novlisation this one was way better. Thanks for giveing me something fn to do in my otherwise boring life.

Author: KypKarrde
Date posted: 9/22/2003 12:32:39 AM
KypKarrde's Comments:

Noticing that this superior, stellar fanfic was rated only 8.8 (when, ahem, lesser - shall we say?-) er, writings - I shall be generous - are given shameless 10's made me indignantly protest with this full hearted endorsement for this excellent piece.
It only gets better on reading it second time around.
Excellent, perfect work!

Author: danno
Date posted: 10/13/2003 1:35:44 PM
danno's Comments:

Good story. You nailed Solo's character pretty good, but you have much to learn about Vader and Fett. They don't use so many words when they speak. And I don't believe that Fett would gloat over shooting Solo. Otherwise, I liked the story. And the Aleraan tapes were, I agree, a nice touch.

Good job.

Author: Jack
Date posted: 3/13/2004 6:43:35 PM
Jack's Comments:


Author: Jack
Date posted: 3/13/2004 6:43:36 PM
Jack's Comments:


Author: angel_gidget
Date posted: 3/20/2004 8:36:45 AM
angel_gidget's Comments:

I really liked it. I'd have to think about it, but I guess it would be within Han's personality to feel that he really couldn't tell Jacen what he suffered. But I can picture himself debating for a white whether to really try to describe it or not. Anyway, his comments were interesting and seemed pretty well in-character.

Author: Mute
Date posted: 9/24/2004 7:13:27 PM
Mute's Comments:

Very great story. Very well written. It hooks you until the end. It wasn't too long, nor was it too short. It was very good.

Author: chloe2102
Date posted: 7/5/2006 1:24:22 AM
chloe2102's Comments:


Author: Ari
Date posted: 9/20/2006 4:27:19 PM
Ari's Comments:

Brilliant stuff! My favorite piece on this site for sure, I've got a couple of pieces similar to this based on a few other characters but not Han.

Absolutely FANTASTIC!

Author: jedigirl
Date posted: 10/31/2007 12:07:16 AM
jedigirl's Comments:

I really liked it. I normally don't read stuff after Ep.III , but when I do it's usually something really good... like this. Great Job. May the...ah...may the force be with you. ;)

Author: Star Wars Nut
Date posted: 1/26/2008 3:34:41 PM
Star Wars Nut's Comments:

Wow that was great! I could picture the part were Boba shot han's shoulder. It totally sounded like him!

Author: JediNat
Date posted: 7/14/2008 11:05:55 AM
JediNat's Comments:

I love this story! You nailed all characters perfectly and I love the tapes from Alderaan. It was a nice but sad touch to the story. Keep writing!


Author: MaggieS
Date posted: 11/18/2009 10:42:15 PM
MaggieS's Comments:

"no one dabs a Dark Lord of the Sith, I guess" - to fabulous!

Author: Ki-Aaron-Mundi  (signed)
Date posted: 6/20/2010 8:56:20 PM
Ki-Aaron-Mundi's Comments:

Wow, really great stuff. And it takes on whole new meaning now that we know Jacen's fate.

It was completely Han's voice, and everyone seemed in-character. Great job having Lando dab at Vader's face--I'm a big Lando fan, but you made me absolutely hate him right then, essentially because it felt so in-character.

This "dinner with Vader" after the doors close has long been speculated about, and you've absolutely done it justice. Bravo.

Author: Sarah Knight
Date posted: 4/11/2012 12:42:07 PM
Sarah Knight's Comments:

Brilliant! I like the narration, it sounds like Han. The personal comments and reflections really make the story. Great stuff.

Author: Sarah Knight
Date posted: 4/11/2012 12:42:23 PM
Sarah Knight's Comments:

Brilliant! I like the narration, it sounds like Han. The personal comments and reflections really make the story. Great stuff.

Author: Sarah Knight
Date posted: 4/11/2012 12:42:46 PM
Sarah Knight's Comments:

Brilliant! I like the narration, it sounds like Han. The personal comments and reflections really make the story. Great stuff.

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Archived: Monday, July 7, 2003

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