DARTH BUNGEERANG: Throw another log on the fire. It’s decidedly chilly in here.
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: Certainly, Your Munificence. And may I say, the quality of the dinner-party has improved a thousandfold since the days of YKW.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Who?
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: His Darthtastic self. The last boss.
MOFF HOFF: I think I’m in the wrong spoof.
MOFF KARLOFF: My boy, I’m offering you a career of Shatnerian proportions.
MOFF HOFF: I think we’re both in the wrong spoof. Let’s move one spoof over.
MOFF MIFFED: Slight misunderstanding. Evening Bungeerang. News just in. Darth Sinister’s at the front door, and he’ll be looking to warm that seat. Or, knowing his backside, chill it.
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: Oh my stars and garters.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: The Emperor’s coming here? But, but. I heard he’d turned to the Light Side™ and everything. Even went to a party. Swapped stories. Told jokes. Had a sing-a-long with Young Vanderkarr. Traitor.
MOFF MIFFED: Apparently, that was all merely a cunning ploy to use Young Vanderkarr as a cheap escape pod.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Crap. Oh, ah, hello boss. Didn’t see you there. Just breaking in the old throne for you.
DARTH SINISTER: Ye-es. You have done well, Darth…er…
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Bungeerang.
DARTH SINISTER: Darth Bun…
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Yes. Bungeerang. We’ve been running low on suitable Darth names. All the top ones are taken. Darth Satanicus. I put in for it. Darth Creosote. There was a fight over that one. Darth Polyunsaturated. Not forgetting Darth Binraker. He keeps himself busy. Darth Dracula. No one takes him seriously. That’s why he’s so effective. Only works night-shifts, though.
DARTH SINISTER: What of my Former Apprentice™, Darth Biozarre?
MOFF MIFFED: Darth Biozarre is racing to take command of the new STEALTH STAR, Milord.
DARTH SINISTER: Better for all concerned that I’m in charge of this spare DEATH STAR. The STEALTH STAR would serve me well, but I’m not a fan of the mileage. Instruct the Commander to set sail for deep space. I foresee a rendezvous with Young Vanderkarr.
MOFF MIFFED: As you wish.
DARTH SINISTER: My spare DEATH STAR. Life has come down to this. Look at it. Not even one Light Year on the clock. The main attack ray computer runs on Windows 3.1. And two of the loading bays are coal-fired for so-called aesthetic effect. Shameless. If Darth Fiscal hadn’t embezzled the slush-fund…
MOFF MIFFED: Star Destroyer Vapid Response announcing arrival of a Jedi prisoner, Your Darthness.
DARTH SINISTER: Rapid Response?
MOFF MIFFED: Er, we had to make some cutbacks. Even our Evil Empire feels the economic pinch. The prisoner was transferred from Star Destroyer Detergent.
DARTH SINISTER: Deterrent.
MOFF MIFFED: As I said.
DARTH SINISTER: Have Young Vanderkarr brought before me.
MOFF MIFFED: With some pleasure. We’re rationing that.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: So. We meet again, Your Evilness. This time, I’ve come armed with an entire novel.
DARTH SINISTER: A brave, if misguided, notion. Young fool. Only at the last, do you finally understand.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: That’s pretty much how novels work. You reach the end when you’re at the last bit.
DARTH SINISTER: It was folly to suppose I’d truly turn back to the Light Side™.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: You participated in communal writing, and the world didn’t end. Thought you might like to see my novel. You know. Get a bit of diversity going. Here.
DARTH SINISTER: This misguided attempt at banter…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Bantha?
DARTH SINISTER: …has placed you in my clutches. Your manuscript is lost. Soon you will see sense, and turn from the Light Side™. Now prepare to taste the true Dark Side of Publishing™…edit at will, Commander.
DEATH STAR COMMANDER: With pleasure…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: That chapter is defenceless! It has no weapons! I’ve already cut the travelogue material to the bone. We need that flooded car sequence. You’re gravely mistaken…
DARTH SINISTER: Oh, no, Young Vanderkarr. It is you who are mistaken. About a great many things.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: It is…you are. That sounds as though it’s in need of editing. But I’m unsure…
DARTH SINISTER: Voice your concerns. Air your fear. Waver and vacillate.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: I…can’t. Er, how’s that for wavering?
DARTH SINISTER: My former Young Apprentice™ Darth Biozarre betrayed me and stole my even-more-secret secret weapon. Darth Woodward took the original DEATH STAR back to
. I hear she’s working wonders with local government. And her fast food concession. Which brings us to you, Young Vanderkarr. Canada
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Why not turn to the Light Side™?
DARTH SINISTER: You must know by now that it is too late for me. Participating in a Soviet-Era writing commune taught me that. Even I, a Sith Lord, answer to a Higher Power…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: WTF?! But…who the Eff could that be?
DARTH SINISTER: My personal carer, Darth Phibes. Whenever I feel like unleashing an unpublished plot to an audience, or discussing my work ahead of the game, he steps in with the pills, the nurse, and the screens.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: But you shared your BLOGVEL chapter with me in advance…
DARTH SINISTER: He was distracted by a boxed set of wildlife documentaries. Shark Experiments of the Third Reich. Narrated by the other Attenborough.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Then we haven’t much time. You must flee. Run away. Hide where Phibes could never find you…
DARTH SINISTER: Only those armed with the powers of the Dark Side of Publishing™ could ever hope to even contemplate defeating Darth Phibes.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Is that a secret ploy to make me turn all Darth?
DARTH SINISTER: Well…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: I suppose I could turn a little darker. That’s the effect of the hair-dye. Which we’ll now gloss over. Didn’t hear that from me. Yeah. I could waver, morally, for an afternoon. Team up with Darth Biozarre. Bring Darth Woodward back from her restructuring of local and national government. Announce a Darthtastic conference, at which I am crowned Darth Vanderkarr…are Darths crowned?
DARTH SINISTER: Generally, we are Darthed.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Then, when Darth Phibes steps in to offer congratulations, we strike. Though, in a room packed with Darths, there’s liable to be a bit of double-crossing. After all, I did attack Darth Biozarre.
DARTH SINISTER: She’s more machine now, than man. Or woman. I forget which…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Well, it was a Wednesday. Or wasn’t a Wednesday. So she was back to being her, er, usual self.
DARTH SINISTER: Mm.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Er.
DARTH SINISTER: Well then.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Quite.
MOFF MIFFED: I told him to stop phoning me. It wasn’t the heavy breathing, more the timing. Three in the morning.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Yes. He’d call me up and all I’d get was hiss-rasp, hiss-rasp. I thought he just wanted company. Turned out he’d fallen asleep.
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: Incoming message from Darth Biozarre.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Could you take it along? The boss is in a bit of a mood. I don’t think he likes me.
MOFF MIFFED: He’s a Darth. They don’t like anyone. You should be thrilled. Hey, you’re a Darth.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: I quite like Cheryl from Accounts.
MOFF MIFFED: Which one’s she?
DARTH BUNGEERANG: The blonde in the Moff uniform. She’s not entitled to wear it, but no one in Accounts seems to mind. They’re holding a Welcome Back Darth Sinister party in twenty minutes. We’re invited. He isn’t. There’d be killings. He hates accountants.
MOFF MIFFED: I’ll take this along then. Ah, no. He’ll want me to hang around while he fries some Ewoks. Crap.
DARTH BUNGEERANG: Send a droid.
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: Oh my!
DARTH SINISTER: What is it?
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: A message from Darth Biozarre, Your Worshipfulness.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Why don’t you take a holiday, and let her run the Dark Side™ of things?
DARTH SINISTER: Let’s see what she has to say.
DARTH BIOZARRE: Darth Sinister. Years ago you roamed the galaxies as an idealistic young Jedi. (Is there any other kind?) Gradually, you turned to the Dark Side™. Then you betrayed everything you sat for. Nice. Which brings me to Young Vanderkarr. I see a time in the future when she will betray you, as I betrayed you. Darth Vanderkarr must not be allowed to learn editing.
DARTH SINISTER: She’s quite chipper for a hologram with a mismatched mechanical arm.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Pale lemon wouldn’t be my choice. What’s she worried about? I can leave editing to other people, and need never learn the dark satanic arts.
DARTH SINISTER: It’s a devious move on her part. If you refuse to learn editing, relying on others, for a sense of communal spirit, then you would be unlikely to turn to the Dark Side of Publishing™.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Whew.
DARTH SINISTER: Leaving Darth Biozarre More Powerful than you could Possibly Imagine™, when she kills you and becomes even darker herself.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Excepting the pale lemon mechanical arm.
DARTH SINISTER: Killing her own child…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: We never did get to that swab, for DNA.
DARTH SINISTER: …may just grant her the depth of darkness required to defeat my own personal carer. He holds a Doctorate in Darthness™. Wrote his thesis on Chlamydiachlorians. The primitive life-forms which grant a Jedi powers.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Ew.
DARTH SINISTER: With Darth Phibes out of action, I could discuss plots with Darth Biozarre in advance.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Then, with the two of you plotting so freely, that would mean the end of publishing as we know it.
DARTH SINISTER: As you know it, my Young Apprentice™.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: So if I refuse to turn to the Dark Side™, Darth Biozarre will kill me, grow stronger, defeat Darth Phibes, then pretty much inherit the universe. And if I turn to the Dark Side™…
DARTH SINISTER: Our combined might will defeat Darth Phibes in any case.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: What if Phibes wins…
DARTH SINISTER: Perhaps he should.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Don’t talk like that. You can share plots with other writers ahead of the game. Dish out samples. Participate in BLOG NOVEL sessions. Shoot the breeze, not the messenger.
DARTH SINISTER: I just don’t know. Darth Biozarre believes that Dr Phibes must die. You saw the T-shirt in her hologram.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: DR PHIBES MUST DIE! Yes, I think she was trying to send you a message in that T-shirt. Maybe it’s an anagram…BREASTS HID MUD PIE!
DARTH SINISTER: There’s no A.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: He’s Anton. That starts with A. Have to hand it to Darth Biozarre. She’s a sneaky cove when it comes to anagrams. But…what does the message mean?
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: Pardon me, Your Worshipfulness. I am effluent in over six million forms of communication…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Of all the belaboured puns…
DROID ESS-H-ONE-TEE: I believe the statement should be…MUD PIE HID BREASTS. A reference to a certain muddy planet which, when viewed from the DEATH STAR in a particular orbit, conceals twin moons…
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Darth Biozarre is giving away the top secret location of her STEALTH STAR. But why?
DARTH SINISTER: To lure Darth Phibes into a trap. Or to pass the time until Biozarre’s Morbidly Obese Twitter account loads in.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Just turn to the Light Side™. That would solve 80% of everything.
DARTH SINISTER: I left my shades in my other cloak. It’s too light for me. I see grave danger ahead.
YOUNG VANDERKARR: Overcome these obstacles. It doesn’t have to be about you and the blank page.
DARTH SINISTER: Oh but it does, my Young Apprentice™…
NEXT BLOG: COLLEAGUES.