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New Fic: Breaking Protocol

Breaking Protocol

Fandom: Star Wars
Rated: PG
Category: Gen
Time Frame: Current Marvel Star Wars Comics – in between ANH and ESB.
Spoilers: Current Marvel Star Wars Comics. Not necessary to read them, however.
Word Count: 596.
Summary: In a recent-ish issue of the Star Wars comicbook by Marvel, C-3PO is captured by the Empire. He is then scheduled for destruction after he is found to know little of importance. This struck me as odd, as a droid can be repurposed rather easily. This is my take on why.

-----

He’d almost just done the usual.

Followed protocol.

Wiped the memory and reprogrammed it.

That’s how it worked. Sure, the Empire didn’t exactly need another droid, but why waste resources? And why buck the system? Why put himself at risk? As a general rule, drawing attention to yourself wasn’t super smart in the Imperial ranks. Best to just keep his head down and do his time.

But something stayed his hand. He wasn’t sure what.

At least, not until the main reason for avoiding attention walked in.

It took the tech a full minute to respond to him.

After all, the Emperor’s right hand cyborg wasn’t usually seen in the office of droid reclamation.

“My Lord, how can help you?” the tech stammered.

Vader inclined his head toward the tech’s project.

“This droid. What are you doing with it?”

The tech swallowed nervously. “Just about to wipe it, sir. Recent acquisition. No intel to speak of.”

Vader focused on the droid and was silent for a long moment. Then he turned to the tech suddenly, his cape swirling behind him, and issued a new order.

“No,” he said. “Destroy it.”

The tech nodded shakily. “Yes, my Lord.”

Vader turned away then, striding purposefully to the exit. But he paused in the doorway and spoke over his shoulder.

“All of it. I want no part of it remaining. No recycling. Do I make myself clear?”

The tech nodded again, then spoke with a quaver in his voice.

“Yes. Of course, Lord Vader. It will be done. Right away, sir.”

Vader nodded ever so slightly and then was gone. The tech sighed in relief. If he was puzzled by Vader’s orders, he didn’t show it. He knew better.

So he changed tack. He prepared to destroy his prisoner.

Only it didn’t work out that way. The droid was rescued.

Yes, a droid was rescued.

The tech still couldn’t quite wrap his brain around that one, despite having been there and seen it himself. Especially since the darn thing didn’t even know anything of real value.

But he didn’t have to understand. He was just grateful not to have been punished for his part in things. Vader had been known to kill men for less.

So, as he turned in that night, the tech simply marveled at his luck and left it at that.

Meanwhile, across the ship, in much more lavish accommodations, Darth Vader did the same.

Only in his case, he wasn’t blessing the Force, but cursing it.

The droid escaped.

No, not the droid.

That droid.

The one with the mismatched leg and the tiny engraving on the inside of its left ankle. The engraving that looked like a scratch. The engraving that wouldn’t be noticed by anyone – except the engraver.

That had been the whole point. A secret just between the two of them, back in the day.

The droid had obviously been wiped at some point. It had no idea.

But Vader was another story.

Try as he might to forget, he knew that blasted droid. And it wouldn’t have surprised him if, even with all the oil baths in the universe, it still carried sand in its gears. Tatooine was like that. It clung to you.

So as he’d studied it on that table, not entirely sure why he was even there in the first place, he’d issued the only order he could.

To hell with protocol. To hell with reusing resources.

There was only one thing to do with anything from Tatooine.

Except a funny thing happened.

Unlike Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO survived.



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