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20,000 Parsecs Across The Galaxy
[FIC] The Rules (Piett, Vader, G) 
2nd-Nov-2006 10:32 pm
Title: The Rules
Fandom: Star Wars for Fanfic 100
Characters: Admiral Piett with a cameo by Vader
Prompt: Work
Word Count: 646
Rating: G
Summary: 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.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Nov-2006 06:53 am (UTC)
You should see him in my story "Come With Me." I may write a Piett centered fic yet.

And thanks for including me in your big Halloween bash! :)
3rd-Nov-2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Interesting, love the look at Piett as using skill and ability rather than political maneuvering.

I wonder why though Piett so often comes out well in fanfic, when Mon Mothma who seems to share many of the same traits often comes out poorly? Maybe we still have some nasty issues with women in charge.
3rd-Nov-2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
I do think there's a gender issue here, but for me it's not about women in charge.

Canon Piett is a male archetype : calm and under control, precise about discipline and procedure, emotionally non-expressive. We like him because he maintains that control even under extreme pressure. But we also like him because we know that persona is often a mask for men, and we're curious about the emotions we know lie beneath the surface. Same for Vader.

So Mothma is calm and nonreactive also, but her depiction leaves me without any feel for who she is. I wouldn't have a clue if I had to write her. The women I know who are that steady and even still have more of a bite to them so that you can see some individual personality. Mothma comes of as angelically serene to me, and I just can't identify with that.
I expect women to be more expressive than she is, even the leaders.
5th-Nov-2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
Marvelous! Love the way Piett has, over time, analyzed Vader's reactions and learned to cope (manipulate, one could say :) with them. He's a smart man, and I do hope you write a longer Piett fic sometime. Especially if it's an AU... involving Luke and Vader.... :>
6th-Nov-2006 12:13 am (UTC)
(manipulate, one could say :)

Oh yes, Piett has definitely mastered the technique of managing up as well as down.

Especially if it's an AU... involving Luke and Vader....

I'm going to sit down and see if I can't plot something out that would use a string of prompts in a longer, multi chaptered New Republic fic. I'm finding that's where my heart is and that these single prompt tidbits are just unsatisfying to me.
9th-Nov-2006 03:21 am (UTC)
I love how you get into these people's heads! :D I liked Piett in Come With Me, and I REALLY like him here.
15th-Nov-2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
That's what I aim for - method writing. I think that's why I like longer fics. I can get in one mindset and stay there. These ficlets take almost as long because I have to cleanse the mental palate and start over.
12th-Nov-2006 11:37 am (UTC)
Loved it :D
15th-Nov-2006 06:33 pm (UTC)

Hope your Nanna is OK.
15th-Nov-2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
I do like these little types of tales with the lesser characters. Piett seems to be growing inpopularity of late and I liked this side of him!
15th-Nov-2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like them, because that seems to be what all these prompts suggest to me : little flash fics. After I finish my jedi_mistletoe story, I think I'm going to start a longer L-V fic that uses a bunch of prompts.
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