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Fanfic / Double Agent Vader

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"The one where Vader turned double agent for the Rebellion about three years after ROTS, and Leia is now his primary contact with the Rebellion."
— Summary

An Alternate Universe Star Wars fanfiction by fanfic author Fialleril that takes place in a world where Darth Vader turned against Palpatine three years into his stint as the Emperor's right-hand man and subsequently becomes The Mole for the Rebel Alliance, taking the code-name Ekkreth after a Tatooine folk-hero who liberated slaves by outsmarting a tyrant. The story is told Out of Order with the main storyline taking beginning around the time of the Original Trilogy, with him taking a young Senator Leia Organa under his wing and tutoring her in the ways of the Force; while also flashing back to different points in Vader's tenure as an agent for the Rebellion. The story also features and fleshes out the history and religion of Tatooine's slave community and explores how Anakin Skywalker/Vader's heritage defines his relationships with Leia, The Emperor and The Rebellion.

Needless to say, Character Development and Worldbuilding abound.

Can be found here.

Additional material for the series can be found in the series tag on Fialleril's Tumblr.

This Fan Fic provides examples of:

  • Alone-with-Prisoner Ploy: The scene in A New Hope where Vader interrogates Leia on the Death Star becomes an example of this trope, with Anakin using the opportunity to discuss her escape options and apologize for not having enough influence to prevent the Death Star being used.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Leia with Anakin/Ekkreth, when she learns what kind of tortures Palpatine puts him through to punish unsatisfactory performance.
  • Bad Boss: Naturally, the Emperor is this to Vader. He subjects him to Cold-Blooded Torture when his performance is unsatisfactory, and amuses himself by making him do annoying or unpleasant tasks.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Vader/Ekkreth, who really takes advantage of this as a double agent.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Han notes this after Luke cuts into a cake made to look like Palpatine... in a very specific low spot.
    Han: Damn, kid. It’s true what they say about the nice ones.
  • Blood Oath: On the day he remembers who he is, Anakin makes a blood oath that he will bring about the destruction of Palpatine, "the downfall of his Empire, and the collapse of his power, and the final defeat of all his plans". With his body sealed up in the Darth Vader life-support suit, it requires a bit of doing to get the blood to make the oath.
  • Briar Patching: How Anakin gets access to the Death Star project so he can feed information about it to the rebels. He's aware that the Emperor knows he hates the very idea of the Death Star and won't believe him if he takes an interest, so he finds a way to annoy Palpatine enough to get assigned to the Death Star as punishment. It works so well that when Grand Moff Tarkin gets wind of the possibility that there might be a critical flaw in the Death Star's exhaust system, he puts Vader in charge of combing through the plans to find it, on the assumption that this will be menial work that Anakin will hate.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Luke and Leia are growing into this, though they don't yet know the truth about their relationship.
  • Call-Back: At one of the meetings between Leia and Ekkreth, Leia gets upset at the way Palpatine treats him, as if he were an inanimate possession instead of a person, and Ekkreth agrees, "I'm a person, and my name is Ekkreth", echoing one of the first things he said in The Phantom Menace.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Vader is subjected to this by Palpatine, regularly. It gets so bad at one point that Vader can't even bear to stand.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Black is the color of freedom on Tatooine.
    • Torhu the Destroyer, one of the spirits of Alderaan's religion. Vader and his mask remind Leia of Torhu.
  • Dead Person Conversation: We see Leia's dreams of Padmé. However, Padmé never speaks. Leia does talk to her, and gets non-verbal responses that she doesn't always understand.
  • Defector from Decadence: Lorth Needa became The Mole for the Rebellion after the Empire destroyed Alderaan, because it was his wife's homeworld and she lost her whole family. When his cover's blown, Vader pretends to kill him so that he and his family can flee to a Rebellion base.
  • Dramatic Irony: That's pretty much what this AU runs on, and the author fully embraces it. In the Archive of Our Own tags, the word "irony" shows up in seven out of eighteen fics, and the tag "truly ridiculous amounts of painful irony" is used several times.
    • Leia sees Anakin as a second father figure. Anakin sees Leia as a daughter figure. Leia is totally unaware that he actually is her father, and Vader assumes that his unborn children are dead.
    • Leia has a recurring dream of Padmé, the mother she never knew in life. Once she finds out that she's Force-sensitive, she correctly guesses that she's the daughter of a Jedi, but assumes because of the dream that it was her mother. During one of the dreams she remarks to Padmé that she thinks Padmé would have liked Ekkreth if they'd ever met.
    • At one point, a Rebel agent named Fulcrum gets assistance from Leia to keep Vader away from an operation Fulcrum is running. Leia and Ekkreth are amused by the irony that, unknown to Fulcrum, it's Vader himself taking on the task of distracting Vader. Unknown to any of them, there's an additional, tragic irony in the situation: Anakin never learns that Fulcrum is his old friend and former pupil Ahsoka, nor Ahsoka that Leia's friend Ekkreth is her surrogate older brother Anakin.
    • Leia reveals to Luke that she's Force-sensitive, so she can teach him what Ekkreth has taught her, and having that in common, as well as the fact that they've both been left alone after the Empire killed their families, leads them to form a close bond and adopt each other as Family of Choice, unaware that they're family by birth as well.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Pooja thinks to herself that Palpatine has never forgiven Padmé for rejecting the kind of power he has always coveted when it was offered up to her while he only got to where he is through meticulous scheming, clearly unable to fathom the idea that anyone could bring themselves to do such a thing.
  • Evil is Petty: Pooja speculates that Padmé has been just one step short of Unpersoned in the senate because Palpatine can not stand that she had the kind of power he coveted handed to her on a silver platter and rejected it while he had to scheme his way to authority.
  • Exact Words: Since Sidious can detect when Vader lies to him, the latter gets creative with the former's dependence on the ability. When the Death Star is destroyed, Vader presents himself to Sidious. When asked to explain himself, he mentions the Rebel spy Ekkreth, who he had previously failed to capture, and presents Kenobi's lightsaber as proof of the death of the last remnant of the Jedi Order, never outright linking the two facts save for the apparently obvious implication. The gleeful Emperor asks for no further details, immediately assuming Kenobi was Ekkreth and that his hold on Vader has only increased with his former Master's death. Vader doesn't give himself away, nor correct Palpatine.
  • External Retcon: The section of the story set during A New Hope has elements of this, since everything that happens on-screen still happens the same (apart from a few minor details) but the new scenes inserted in between change the context and significance.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Vader is working to bring down Palpatine, but he is still more than willing to kill if he has to. He deliberately sets up some Inquisitors to fail, then executes them for it.
    • Kadee shows signs of this sometimes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: A very different variation on the theme of Anakin-turning-back-from-the-Dark-Side AUs — he doesn't turn back because of Luke or Leia; he doesn't even know about Luke until almost two decades later, and meets Leia long after turning from the Sith.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: As part of his Briar Patching gambit, Vader arranges for the Emperor to learn that there is a highly-placed Rebel mole code-named "Ekkreth", and then to be assigned to find and destroy that mole.
  • I Was Never Here: The rebel pilots throw a raucous dance party on the anniversary of the Empire's founding (their version includes the ceremonial destruction of an effigy of the Emperor). At one point in the party, Leia encounters General Dodonna, who tells her solemnly that he is not there and has no idea the party is even taking place.
  • "Just So" Story: Some of the Ekkreth legends recounted in the series are "just-so" stories. One tells how Depur (the character in the stories who represents every slaveowner) punished his slaves by taking the moon out of the sky and locking it away; Ekkreth stole it back, but had to smuggle it out in three pieces, and that's why Tatooine has three moons instead of just one. Another recapitulates the increasingly elaborate methods used by Depur to keep his slaves in line, and how with Ekkreth's help the slaves found ways to escape each one.
  • Machine Monotone: Kadee the medic drone speaks in an emotionless monotone, because her builders never thought to give her anything else. Anakin offers to give her a better vocoder, but she decides to stick with the monotone as long as she's staying under cover as an ordinary droid.
  • Mama Bear: Kadee has shades of this sometimes regarding Anakin.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Ekkreth, Vader's codename — literally "Skywalker" in his native slave language, Amatakka. Likewise, it fits his role in subverting Palpatine by operating beneath suspicion.
    • Vader's real name, Anakin, is also Amatakka, with the literal meaning "the one who brings the rains" and a metaphorical meaning suggesting that his destiny is to free the enslaved.
    • Luke is actually "Lukka," and means "free" in Amatakka.
    • Leia means "The Mighty One" in Amatakka, and is the name for the Krayt Dragon in Tatooine mythology. Leia's name also has an appropriate meaning in the language of Alderaan, "beloved", which keeps Vader from drawing any conclusions from the fact that it means something in Amatakka.
  • Meaningful Rename: In the Tatooine slave tradition, slaves who have gained their freedom discard the names given to them by their former owners; if, like Anakin, they have a name given to them by a family member, they may choose to keep that one, but otherwise they choose a new name for themselves. When Anakin frees the droid designated XF-53 from the Empire's control, he encourages her to follow the tradition, and she names herself KD-7 ("Kadee" for short), in reference to the Amatakka word kol-depuan, which means "unfettered" and Ar-Amu's sacred seven.
  • The Medic: Kadee is a medic droid. She takes her responsibility to her patient seriously, and holds a personal grudge against Palpatine for the times, before Anakin unfettered her, that Palpatine forced her to give Anakin suboptimal care as part of his strategies to keep Anakin in his place.
  • The Mentor: Vader teaches Leia how to use the Force.
  • The Mole:
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Palpatine sends Darth Vader back to Tatooine to negotiate with Jabba the Hutt. It's this visit to Vader's homeworld that sets everything in motion, when he is reminded of who he really is.
  • Papa Wolf: Vader is very fond of Leia and when she tells him she's willing to die for the cause, he responds that he would kill everyone on the Death Star first.
  • Public Secret Message: One of the ways Anakin relieves his feelings is by anonymously sending an elaborate flower arrangement to the annual gala celebrating the founding of the Empire, using the Naboo traditional flower language (which Anakin learned from Padmé, and which is one of many Naboo traditions Palpatine never bothered to learn) to say exactly what he thinks of Palpatine. The senator from Naboo also knows the flower language, and gets a certain amount of surreptitious pleasure from decoding the message each year — and finds, one year, that it also includes a message to her, warning her of Palpatine's plans to dissolve the Senate and crack down on suspected rebel sympathizers.
  • Recurring Dreams: Leia has recurring dreams of Padmé.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Fialleril's Amavikka culture has spawned many hundreds of fanfics on Archive of Our Own that use it to explore Anakin Skywalker's relationship with his heritage as a former slave, and occasionally also combine it with a rebellion of the Clone Troopers. Some fics even create their own Ekkreth stories and use them as an allegory for events in the Galaxy Far Far Away proper.
  • Rule of Seven: Seven is a significant number in Tatooine religion.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: One of the many tricks the Ekkreth of legend uses, and the focus of the story that reawakens Vader to his past and sets him on his path.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Biggs survived the attack on the Death Star.
    • Lorth Needa doesn't die but fakes his death with Vader's help as he's about to be exposed as a spy.
    • This will also be the fate of Firmus Piett and Anakin himself.
  • Spiteful Spit: A captured rebel spits at Tarkin before being executed.
  • Spot the Thread: Leia deduces that Luke is Ekkreth's son, and therefore who Ekkreth is, through the accumulated evidence.
  • Stealth Insult: Every year, the Empire Day party attended by Palpatine is decorated with flowers that have mocking and hostile messages in the Naboo flower language, that Palpatine doesn't know — but Vader and Pooja Naberrie do, much to the latter's surprise when she sees the flowers the first time. Even more deliciously, Palpatine is from Naboo, and the fact that he doesn't even understand his native culture is just one more example of the truly ridiculous amounts of irony in this verse.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Anakin realizes that all of the dramatic irony is due to the Force.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Anakin chooses "Ekkreth" as his codename in honor of the Tatooine trickster hero, but also because the name means "Sky-Walker" in Amatakka. (The Skywalker family is named after the trickster hero.) It suits his sense of humor to tell his allies, and any enemies that catch wind of Ekkreth's activities, exactly who he is in a language none of them (until Luke comes along) will understand.
  • Trans Nature: Bentu Rockstrider, a minor character from Tatooine, is a transgender woman. The Tatooine slave culture, with its heavy emphasis on self-determination, is highly accepting of trans people and even recognizes four genders: the two 'standard' and two non-binary genders that roughly correspond to 'genderfluid' and 'agender'. The mythological Ekkreth is traditionally third-gender (referred to in the narrative using 'they' pronouns) which befits their nature as a shapeshifter.
  • The Trickster: Vader draws on the Tatooine myths of Ekkreth, a shapechanging trickster who frees slaves and humbles slaveowners, during his bout as a spy.
  • Underground Railroad:
    • The Tatooine freedom trail, a secret network that helps escaped slaves. Shmi Skywalker was a member, and Beru Whitesun. Anakin gives it what assistance he can, such as slipping it a scanner to detect slave implants, of a design that can be replicated with materials slaves on Tatooine are likely to be able to get their hands on.
    • Anakin's work undermining the Empire leads to him reprogramming several droids to give them self-determination, partly so he can have helpers and partly because his heritage gives him sympathy with anybody who is trapped in a life of forced obedience, and this snowballs into him and the droids setting up a droid freedom trail on the Tatooine model, for droids whose cover is at risk or who use their self-determination to determine that dangerous undercover work is not really their thing, thanks all the same.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: In the legends, Ekkreth is a shapeshifter, who takes the forms of harmless-looking slaves, or ignorant outworlders, or other people of various kinds (and can also be animals — a common ending to a story is for Ekkreth to turn into a bird and fly away laughing). Part of the message of the legends is that anyone you meet could be Ekkreth, and so could you.
  • You Are What You Hate: The Emperor publicly persecutes Jedi and other Force sensitives, calling the Force an abomination that deprives people of free will, while secretly being one himself. In this case, there's an extra reason: He doesn't want any Force-sensitives to challenge him.
  • Wham Line: For Vader. As he visits Tatooine, an old woman asks his name. Vader answers with his new title. The woman spits into the ground and tells him:
    I didn't ask what your Depur calls you, boy. I asked your name.