A Negative Hate
Sarti Reot, Diana, and Yarsem Rade

My grandfather, Gyulae, was the administrator of the Count's estates. The estates were in the northwestern part of Holstnic. After the Clone Wars, the borders of many sectors were redrawn. Much of those lands are now wastelands, sterile and destroyed. My grandparents had to relocate to the Budastrii system. They had eight children and my mother was the second youngest. There are stories written about how they were hidden in secret rooms throughout the building they lived in. Sometimes children would be taken away, no one knew why. People now say it was like when the Jedi would take away children for training. But I know it was completely different thing. Children taken to be Jedi were not used for experiments or entertainment ...

Times were hard during all those battles, no matter where you were -- was it only so few years ago? There was a galaxy-wide depression and food was expensive and scarce. Inflation was out of control. A small loaf of foodboard was a billion Pengö (a Pengö is worth about a thousandth of a Republic Datari). The credits were not even worth the flimsi they were printed on, something that happened when using metal and stone coins became too expensive. You can imagine that under these conditions it was a simple matter for the Empire to take over the impoverished galaxy.

According to the records I've found, many families suffered much, and not just financially. I found the official deportation documents for my other grandfather, Ferenké, who was sent to Despayre for helping aliens get off-planet before Imperial troops arrived. He never came back, and there are no records of him since. The rest of his planet was decimated during the siege of Budastrii, and many millions were either killed by planetary bombing or by starvation.

Many planets were occupied by Imperial troops. My family now lives in Veszém, a smaller city in Holstnic, where I learned soldiers had been housed with local families, for lack of a barracks. My parents had to accommodate a whole platoon of foot soldiers, who slept on the beds while my brothers and sisters huddled on the floor. I believe for many families, accommodating soldiers was a very unlucky and dangerous experience, especially if they were stormtrooper units. According to the official billets, the foot soldiers who stayed in my parents' house were just newly drafted. Unlike the better trained soldiers, these young men were cramped together in a poor family's home and fed whatever my grandmother could scrounge. They were not crack troops and probably missed their own families. There were no behavioral incidents reported by these men against my family. I'm grateful that the Empire's men are not all murderers.

I guess my family was lucky, for it was a brutal occupation -- people were deported and deprived of their freedom; homes and lands were taken away, and humans and aliens were taken into official slavery. I also know that many were executed, right on the streets, or buried alive under the town squares. There is documentary evidence that you could hear the screaming underground for days after.

It was during that time that they started hunting Jedi. That's when my days became numbered and I was no longer a source of pride or hope. Rather, I became a liability to my family.

There were maybe a hundred of us still on Coruscant when the bounty for dead Jedi was announced. We had nowhere to go, and had been hiding in the Jedi Archives, but we were found. I saw my Master die. A black-masked machine, formed like a humanoid, swept in and took her and others by surprise. It was as if he knew all their moves, nothing could fool him. Right before my eyes, he cut them all down, Masters and Padawans alike. He did it alone, all by himself. I heard my Master scream, even after she was dead. I was paralyzed with fear, I couldn't even get into first defense position.

He didn't look at me, yet I felt the eyes behind that mask stare right through me. I realized then, it wasn't a machine; it was a man. For a sickening moment, my heard stopped pounding and I saw my fate on the floor with my Master, and to my shame, I wasn't ready for it. But then his eyes swept past me and he turned away. I could feel him willfully ignoring me. It was a strange feeling, almost familiar ...

But I ran the other way, in fear. The Grand Master used to tell me, fear leads to hate. I let it lead me to the underground vaults. I didn't know what else to do. I squatted under the vault for a long time, shivering in fear, crying silently with uncertainty. I could hear buildings collapsing, windows shattering, the scream of a million voices ... yet miraculously, I'm still here. I don't know how long I've been here. I don't know for how much longer I can stay. I am still afraid. I am pushing away the fear and the hate, even though they are palpable and thick in me.

The man in the black suit hasn't returned. No one seems to be left alive here but me. I can smell the rotting bodies. I can feel death all around me; the only living creature in the Force is me. But why me?

A strange emotion swept over me as he turned away from me. It felt like he was saving me. He had seen me, but he had let me go, not even challenging or harming me. He didn't even address me or my lightsabre. Like a prince, saving a valued peasant. Who was he? Why did he wear that black suit? And why does it feel like I knew him, once?

I started looking for holos and flimsi records in the Archives. There was no one here to stop me. I wanted to know what happened to my family. That's what you've been reading so far.

But I also wanted to know: who is the man who hid his real self in black?

It seems my family is not safe. All those years I've been away from them, they have suffered. And now Emperor Palpatine has declared all Jedi as enemies, and so I know my family must suffer again, this time on my behalf. They had spawned a Jedi, even though it seems I am the only one among the many children and cousins. I read that enforced sterilization is a simple thing, even simpler than death, and I fear my brothers and sisters have to suffer the procedure. All because of me.

I couldn't find any information in the Archives about a black-cloaked cyborg who fought like a Jedi. It's as if he appeared fully formed by the will of Emperor Palpatine. There is so little information on the Sith. Perhaps the Chief Archivist might have helped me, but I know she is dead. She flickered out of the Force many, many hours ago. In the future, they might refer to this as the Jedi purge ...

So I meditated -- I was so afraid to leave the ruined building anyway -- and a name came to me, and I realized the name Darth Vader was indeed familiar. He's a Sith; the title "Darth" is a Sith one. But the way he fights -- he fights like a Jedi. But there were so few Jedi who would use the techniques he used, so aggressive, so open in stance. We are normally taught that this is a risky thing to do, as it opens your body to fatal attack, even as you prepare to attack. So few Jedi who preferred this stance survived long. It was that risky, a method only the very advanced Jedi would use. Masters like Windu, Yoda, Dooku, Mundi, Skywalker, and some say Kenobi.

I just couldn't quite place him. I knew my feelings, but I was afraid to trust them.

The feeling was love. Like the feelings that welled up when I read my family histories in the Archives. A feeling of caring, and being cared for.

I had seen my family once, as all Jedi must. We could go home during the time we are Younglings, before we become Padawans. It was a chance for them to see us, to see what we had become. It was a chance for us to say goodbye, and for us as Younglings to immerse ourselves into the rules and training of the Order. It was required to confront your family before passing into the Padawan state. We got to know where we came from, rich or poor, large or small. I know I have sisters and brothers. I know they are proud of me and worry about me; I worry about them. I worry more now; I didn't know they had suffered so much in the wars.

I remember my mother was beautiful. She made lovely cakes to sell to others for special events like birthdays and celebrations, even when they could not pay her. I recall my father, he was strong and tall. He was diagnosed for a serious illness shortly after I saw him. He died quickly. I miss him so much.

The love I felt from Darth Vader was not so different from the love I feel from my family. It is a kind of negative hatred, where he shows he loves me by the absence of hate. My parents displayed this to me slightly; they did not take me away from the Jedi, showing their love by not keeping me with them. It's a little like that. But my family is not evil. They do not kill or despise out of judgement or prejudice. Despite the horrors and reversals in their lives, they are good people.

Yet, who is to say that evil is not done for love? For the love of power? For money?

For this Jedi Padawan? Who is he?

Whatever reason Darth Vader had to spare me, I have gained more than my life. I have had the opportunity to read my ancestors' histories, something I never had the chance to do ever before. It seems almost to be our genetic lot to suffer, but also our destiny to survive. My family will survive, somehow. We are stronger for it, we seem to have evolved to absorb pain and tragedy, and to come out better. It's like we are chosen to be better.

More than my life, I know now that I will survive everything. For I have seen there can be a sort of good in evil; I am able to let go my hate. I am unique in the universe, for I have the love -- or rather, the negative hate -- of Darth Vader.

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