Star Wars for Fanfic 100Characters:
Admiral Piett with a cameo by VaderPrompt:
Piett figures out the secret of his success. The Rules
Maybe he just liked the thrill.
When he'd first inherited command of the Executor
he'd been too terrified to experience any thrill. If his stomach had allowed him to finish one meal that mission he didn't remember it. All his concentration had gone into meeting Vader's demands and ensuring his own survival. In those first few days as an admiral he'd learned more about leadership than in the whole rest of his career. He erased the word "impossible" from his vocabulary and pushed his crew harder than ever before, all in the hopes that he wouldn't end up gasping his last on some cold deck.
By the time they arrived at Bespin, though, he'd begun to see that there were ways to negotiate Vader. It was almost like hand feeding a rancor. At first he wasn't sure if he would live through the experience but then he finally realized it took skill, not luck, to avoid hitting Vader's hot button. That's when the first bit of thrill crept in, and he found he actually enjoyed the challenge.
After Skywalker's escape at Bespin, the Executor
was recalled to Coruscant, and he was reassigned to the Accuser
. To his surprise, he felt disappointment instead of relief. Shortly thereafter, he'd had dinner with some old friends from the Academy and told them stories about life on board Executor
. They shook their heads in sympathy and toasted to his safe transfer off the ship.
He kept his trademark straight face and said, "I'd do it again."
He contained his amusement while he sat back and watched their faces as they tried to figure out whether or not he was bluffing. But it was the truth. The days spent on the Accuser
monitoring shipping lanes for Rebel activity were long and tedious after having served on the flagship of the Imperial fleet. When word came that Vader himself had ordered his return to the helm of Executor
he'd never felt more honored. It took a little while to readjust to the level of tension that surrounded Vader, but his comfort returned once he saw that all the old rules still applied.
Never, ever argue with him. Don't get agitated, especially if he is. Do the job right the first time. Maintain your confidence, and don't wilt when he pours on the pressure and he'll respect you for it. Never say it can't be done; he won't believe it and he'll go out of his way to prove you wrong. Think of him in his underwear and then the armor isn't so intimidating. Talk fighters with him to get him in a good mood. Always give him the straight answer. Expect as much from your subordinates as he expects from you and everything will be fine.
And the days when he paces the bridge, staring out the viewscreens, stay with him. It means something's bothering him and he needs the company.
Today was one of those days. Even though he should have been doing any of ten other more important tasks, he followed his own advice and remained on the bridge, keeping half an eye on the restless black figure. Maybe it was because he'd had a glimpse of what lay beneath the armor that he cared about such things. Or because he knew by now that Vader would never throttle him and his fear had been replaced by understanding, at least as much as it was possible to understand the mind that dwelt inside the black helmet.
And even though he liked to think that his reappointment to the command of Executor
was due solely to his hard work and flawless record, he knew there'd been another reason Vader had brought him back. It was an intangible thing, something like trust, or as close to it as Vader ever gave. To know he'd earned that was the biggest thrill of all.