Battle of Badasses Who Competently Carried Out Ultimate Evil Boss’ Orders:
The white wizard stealthily creeps through the halls of Cloud City. He came to this place looking for an item of power. Rumors told of a machine that could freeze people, yet keep them alive. A magnificent weapon that would be for Master Sauron. He pauses to look at a wall with a bulletin board. A notice reads: Cloud City proudly welcomes the Galactic Empire!, followed by a picture of a smiling man with a cape identified as ‘Lando Calrissian’ underneath the picture. There are various other notices and a string of pictures for Employee of the Month. There is a long string of pictures of a man named Count Dooku. A handsome man, Saruman thinks. The string ends, however, and is replaced by a long string of pictures of a man named Darth Vader. Saruman moves on.
Wearing a long white robe and matching straight hair and beard, Saruman enters a dimly lit room. He spies a raised platform in the middle of the large room with a man-sized hole in its center. Mist drifts above it and a dark specter stands beside it, wielding a red stick of light. Saruman steps up onto the platform. His white robe contrasts starkly with the black, helmeted figure. Saruman speaks to Darth Vader. His voice is low and commanding: “I have come for the freezing machine. Are you its lone guardian?” Saruman appears amused. Darth answers with even, robotic breaths.
Saruman considers his unwavering opponent. He goes to raise his staff and Darth speaks, “Don’t underestimate the power of the Dark Side.” Saruman hesitates briefly, and then responds: “Against the power of Mordor, there can be no victory.” The two men stand off. Saruman grabs his staff with a hand at either end just in time to bring it up to block Vader’s arching red lightsaber. Sparks bounce off at the intersection of light energy and magic staff. His arms shaking, Saruman pushes the staff upward with effort and uses his telekinetic power to send Vader flying backward. The black-caped Sith yells, as he flies back into the darkness. Saruman looks around, but does not see his adversary. He slowly steps down from the platform, staff raised, searching for Darth. “The force is strong with you.” Saruman spins around toward the voice, but sees no one. He continues to backup, walking slowly while his eyes rapidly search the dark environs. He turns and finds himself in a narrow, well-lit corridor. A door slides open and he steps through. He hears Vader’s breathing. There is a large, circular window at one end of the room. Darth steps from the shadows and Saruman steps toward the center of the room. Vader holds his saber in front of him with both hands and loosens a piece of machinery from the wall with The Force, sending it at Saruman. It slams into his side hard. He appears shocked. He sensed that the black figure had power, but he could feel its full extent now.
The air is electric with the two men calling on their respective powers. Saruman returns an object at Vader. Vader skillfully turns and cuts through the projectile. A pipe loosens from the wall and flies toward Saruman. Saruman redirects it to the side and it slams into the wall. Vader loosens multiple objects and sends them at Saruman. He is unable to redirect all of them. He gets hit by one and knocked back toward the circular window. Vader sends another large object at Saruman, and the White Wizard is able to duck it, but it smashes through the window. A vacuum sucks Saruman out of the room.
Saruman dangles from the edge of a suspended bridge, cuts decorating his battered face. A strong wind blows his hair, beard and robe as he struggles to climb up onto the bridge. He slowly walks toward a doorway near the end of the bridge, when Darth Vader suddenly appears, swinging his lightsaber wildly. Sparks fly, as Saruman ducks, dodges, and parries the red light, angrily wielded by the dark Sith. Saruman quickly finds himself near the end of the bridge with nowhere left to go. He crouches down and holds up his hand, as Vader brings his lightsaber overhead to bring down on the wizard.
Darth, lightsaber overhead, blinks… He sees Luke Skywalker cowering before him, his right hand severed from his body. The moment somehow seems unreal. He blinks… the white wizard is before him again.
The lightsaber crashes down against a dome of white light. Saruman grits his teeth, his eyes wide with the effort of holding the shield against Darth’s strikes. He looks about for anything that might aid him. He squints at something on the bridge. Darth is knocked sideways, slightly, by a tiny projectile. He ceases his attack and turns. Just as he turns, another tiny projectile hits him hard and bounces off. Several projectiles now start pelting Vader, while he holds up his arms in an effort to shield himself from the blows. The bridge starts to creak. Saruman smiles as he continues to loosen bolts from the bridge, sending them into Darth. The bridge teeters. The two men grab hold of a rail. The entire bridge collapses and starts to fall away in pieces.
The Sith, black cape billowing, and the wizard, white robe fluttering, fall far to the bottom of the reactor room. Each directs themselves toward an exhaust vent that slides open at their will. The bridge above smashes loudly into the sliding doors as they close. The men slide down their respective exhaust shafts and slow to a stop. A door opens beneath each of them. They fall and hit a hard, stone floor, several feet from one another. The men get up slowly, adjusting their eyes to this dark room. They stand in a circular, stone room with four doors across from one another. Saruman smiles. They stand in the tower of Isengard.
Saruman: “Welcome to my home, Dark One. You have been a formidable foe. You could be a powerful ally for Sauron. You should join us. Together, we could rule Middle Earth!” Darth: “The Emperor rules the galaxy. We have no interest in your petty Middle Earth.” Saruman’s face darkens “You can not defeat me here. In this place, I am more powerful than you can imagine.” Darth, unwavering: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Saruman pauses momentarily… “I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly. But you have elected the way OF PAIN!” Abruptly, Saruman raises his staff and sends Darth into a stone wall. As he starts to slide down, Darth raises a gloved hand and uses The Force to throw Saruman back several feet onto the floor. Saruman thrusts his magic staff towards Vader again, throwing him sideways onto another part of the wall, pinning him there. Holding his staff towards Darth, he holds him pinned up to the wall, using his magic to apply crushing force against the Sith to the wall. Darth struggles to pull his arm away from the wall, his breathing accelerating, and is able to reach out and force Saruman up into the air. Saruman raises slowly, his eyes wide with fear. Darth starts to slide down the wall, as Saruman loses his grip on the power. Saruman is now pinned against the far wall, his staff being forced back onto him, holding him back on the stone. Darth approaches slowly, holding his hand out in front, his breath slowing back down. Now, less than ten feet away from the white wizard, Darth is suddenly struck with a sharp pain in his back. With a yell, he staggers and turns to see a sickly-looking pale man in disheveled, black cloth, holding a bloody knife.
Wormtongue looks pleased, initially, then nervous as the Dark Lord steps toward him. Saruman, having slid back down the wall, gathers himself and takes advantage of the diversion. He thrusts his staff hard into the torn hole of the cape and finds the wound. Darth staggers in pain, yelling. The wizard sharply gestures his staff to the side, sending Darth sliding to the center of the room. He holds his staff, powerfully, as Darth begins to spin, horizontally. Vader comes to a slight tilt, his head down to the ground, his feet spinning rapidly, as his cape trails in the air. He lifts Vader up into the air spinning, sending him hard up into the dark space of the chamber towards the roof. Darth’s yell fades as he spins out of sight.
* * * * *
After several minutes, the tension finally settles. The men have moved to a map table. There is a map of Middle Earth partially overlapped by a map of the stars on the table. Saruman: “You have done well, Grima Wormtongue.” The sickly man looks very pleased to receive the praise. “Thank you, Master. You know I would give my life for you.” Saruman: “Indeed. You will be rewarded. But first, I have a task for you. I need to find another way into that world. I know where the machine is, but..” Saruman glances toward Wormtongue and notices his mouth agape. He is grasping his neck. He is making choking sounds. In the center of the room, black boots can be seen slowly descending. Darth Vader, his cape fluttering slightly, has his fingers in a pinching gesture, as his feet settle softly to the floor. Saruman looks at the Sith Lord in disbelief, his staff lowering down. As Wormtongue let’s out a final choking sound and collapses dead to the floor, Darth says, “You are unwise to lower your defenses!” With that, he quickly raises his lightsaber. Saruman hastily runs through a nearby door, throwing it closed behind him. Vader throws his lightsaber and it spins, end-over-end toward Saruman. It destroys the door, wood splinters flying apart. Darth Vader walks towards the splintered door. His breathing is robotic and even. He holds out his hand. The deactivated lightsaber flies into it as he continues walking.
Darth is walking slowly through the dim room. “You can not hide forever, wizard.” His blood red light glowing in the dark, as he searches. He enters another dim room. As he gets toward the center of it, a shiny stone sphere rolls slowly from the shadows toward his feet. He stops, looking down at the ball. He looks up and scans the room, seeing no one. He slowly bends down to examine the ball. As his hand touches the Palantir Stone he jerks and an image suddenly flashes in his mind of an eye. An eye of fire. He is unable to remove his hand as the voice of Sauron whispers into his mind. Grunting, Darth falls to his knees, jerking harder now, as Saruman slowly steps from the shadows.. a wicked grin touching his lips. Darth starts to yell out, “NO!.. PADME!!… NOOOO!!!” Saruman: “Ah, the girl. Yes. Sauron sees all, fool! You should have joined us when you had the chance! Now you will DIE!” Darth is convulsing wildly now.
A shooting red light suddenly illuminates the shadows, as a laser blast blows the Palantir Stone to dust. Released by Sauron, Darth falls to all fours, fatigued and tormented by the voices and images. Saruman looks toward the open door where the blast came through and sees a familiar foe. Boba Fett walks in, seemingly glaring at the wizard through a shiny new helmet.
“YOU!!” Saruman seethes. Boba Fett is sporting brand new armor. No evidence of the battle with the Witch King is evident. Fett just nods, coolly. Saruman angrily pulls back his hand, a ball of fire forming in his palm. He unleashes the fireball at Fett. The bounty hunter dodges it, and it flies through the doorway. Fett raises a forearm and fires at the wizard. Saruman retreats back toward the opposite doorway, throwing another fireball. It explodes beside Boba Fett against the wall, missing its mark. Saruman runs, disappearing through the door. Fett stops beside Darth Vader. He has come to his feet now and is shaking his head, as if to shake away a memory. Fett speaks: “I want the wizard.” Darth, now collected, sounds cold with hate, “You may have him when I am finished with him.” Fett: “He’s no good to me dead.” Darth, beginning to walk toward the door where Saruman retreated: “He will not be permanently damaged.”
Vader has his lightsaber out. He swings it into a shelf, destroying it. He destroys a nearby stone podium. He throws over a table. He is tearing the tower apart, looking for Saruman. Stone and wood are blown to pieces by the red light, wielded by the angry, dark Sith. Fett follows at a distance behind him. Fett stops and addresses Vader, “Wait! I hear something!” Saruman’s voice is heard chanting loudly in the distance. Outside on the roof, we see Saruman. His arms are held out wide, staff in one hand. His white robe is blowing in the wind. His voice is powerful, carrying far into the electric air. A distant view from below shows a swirling of clouds above the tower, lightning jumping back and forth between the dark clouds. A silhouette far in the distance can be seen of a large flying beast carrying what appears to be a giant slug. The cloud swirl grows larger.
Back in the tower, Darth and Fett have reached the central chamber and are still looking for Saruman. His voice seems to be everywhere. A small rock falls from the darkness above and hits Fett’s helmet. Looking up, several small rocks start coming down. The roof starts to rumble. Fett yells to Darth “Take cover!”
On the roof, things are seen falling from out of the swirl of clouds. The destroyed bridge pieces from Cloud City start raining down. Forming a shield around himself, Saruman continues his malevolent chant and increases his intensity. Metal crashes hard down on the tower. More parts from the reactor room fall from the sky. Parts bounce off of his shield. Many hit the tower. His eyes grow very wide. His chant grows more determined. A large, cylindrically-shaped item emerges from the storm above. The entire platform with the carbon-freezing unit drops from the sky. It hits the tower roof hard next to Saruman and the roof floor crumbles beneath him. Man and machine fall.
* * * * *
It takes several minutes for the dust to settle. The clouds have calmed and moved on. The center of the chamber is full of rubble. A third of the tower wall at this height is completely destroyed, the stone from the wall piled far down at the base of the tower. The platform with the freezing machine in its center is firmly implanted in the stone floor at the edge of the broken wall. The thin air whistles as it blows through the exposed chamber. Saruman is lying in a circular spot of bare floor in the middle of a pile of rocks by an intact wall inside the chamber. He is fatigued from holding the shield for so long, but was able to escape any serious bodily harm; the circular rock pile around him, apparently repelled by his shield. He pushes some of the loose rock out of his way, and steps over the rubble. He spies a much larger pile of rubble near the center of the room. A limp, black-gloved hand is visible in the rubble, the rest of the man is buried. Saruman smiles. He looks over to the toppled wall and sees the machine he called for. His smile widens. He walks over to the machine and lays a hand on it. He wipes some dust off of it. He chuckles softly, appearing very proud of himself. He turns back and looks toward the limp hand in the rocks. He raises his hands in a victorious gesture. “YOU SEE?! I AM SARUMAN!! THE ALL POWERFUL!!!”.. He hears a “Thwip!” sound and feels something wrap around his legs. He feels himself being inverted, as he flips over and is yanked upward. The jerking motion causes him to drop his staff. His legs bound, he slowly turns from his dangling line and sees Boba Fett jet-pack-hovering outside of the broken wall. After grappling the wizard, Fett pulls the line up over a protruding steel bar in the broken stone, using it as a pulley. Saruman’s hair and robe fall up from his inversion, and spittle flies from his lip as he screams, “RELEASE ME!! YOU WILL BURN IN THE PIT OF MOUNT DOOM IF YOU DO NOT RELEASE ME NOW!!!” Boba Fett skillfully swings the line over the top of the carbon-freezing chamber and releases the line from his arm. Saruman plunges, head first, straight into the cylinder while Fett yells “NOW!” The limp arm in the rubble lifts up and makes a flicking gesture. The machine whirs to life and starts shooting steam into the air. A brief scream is heard from within as Saruman becomes encased in carbonate.
* * * * *
Hours later, Darth has emerged fully from the rubble. He is battered and limping. Fett tends to his wounds and the two rest. The next day, Vader is assisting Fett in loading the Saruman carbon block into his ship, which is hovering at the opening in the crumbled wall. As he uses the Force to lift the heavy block, he hears another person pushing through a splintered wood door of the chamber. King Theoden of Rohan steps in. Fett raises a forearm, but Thedoen speaks quickly, “I am no foe! Any enemy of Saruman is no foe of mine!” Fett slowly lowers his arm as Theoden approaches slowly, his hands held up in peace. He sees the horizontal block of Saruman levitating in front of him and spits on it. “May he find the anguish he deserves.” Darth completes the loading of the wizard into the ship and turns to face Theoden. As Boba Fett flies off with the prize, Theoden talks to Darth, “This world needs you, Darth. There is good in you, yet. You can redeem yourself. A grave danger has befallen Middle Earth and I believe that you may be the only one who can stop it. There is a place you must go…” Vader listens intently as Theoden makes his case… “I hope for all of our sakes, you consider my words”, Theoden concludes. Theoden starts to walk away and looks down to the ground, noticing something. He turns to Vader and says, “Do you have any need for that?”, gesturing towards the floor. Darth answers, “No.” Theoden reaches down and pulls the corpse of Wormtongue up by the hair, as dust and loose rubble falls from the body. He throws it over his shoulder and says, “This will make a fine decoration in Rohan!”
** Several weeks later, in the imperial cloning factory…
A new Stormtrooper steps out of the copy machine and looks around, cold and naked from its ‘birth’. It sees a strange-looking brown block in front of it. It is low to the floor and horizontal. It looks like an old man with hair and beard falling upward with a ruffled cloth robe rolled up to his chin. His underwear is exposed and his mouth is open as if in a scream. His arms are above his head as if guarding from something. There is a sign next to the statue: “The first duty of every Newborn: Rub your buttocks on the face of this statue.” And so it came to be that every new Stormtrooper would rub its butt on Saruman’s carbon-frozen face.
**Vader gets some help from a vengeful Boba Fett and carbon freezes Saruman** (Star Wars 6, LotR 4)