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TCE VS. THE UNIVERSE

ISSUE 7

Emperor Kako vs. Darth Vader

Written by Christopher Ikpoh

Illustration by Josh McMahon

          Wind blew the knee-high grass with short gusts. There was not a tree nor structure for as far as the eyes could see with the exception of a TIE fighter in the distance. The two adversaries glared at one another with fixed gazes under the massive moons, which violently illuminated the sky with malice. The small, rolling hills reflected light off the greenish blades which seemingly formed a sea around them. Every living creature had disappeared for miles. It was morbidly quiet. The meeting of the two cosmic enemies was a monumental match, and anything or anyone foolish enough to get too close was marking their own grave.

            The atmosphere was thick with tension. No better warriors existed in all the universe, and both knew the only suitable outcome of their fight was death. The reality was inescapable – one of them would have their flame extinguished, and each combatant fully accepted their fate awaiting them upon the completion of battle. Which would it be, though? Both possessed incredibly advanced technology, and both were gifted with extraordinary abilities. The two warriors controlled the largest empires in all of the cosmos, and neither was known for weakness. Both men were the perfect vessels for combat and universal domination.

            Silence remained as they strategically mulled the infinite combinations of maneuvers and actions the other could employ. Their senses were heightened. Every minute sound was registered. Every scent and sight was cataloged mentally. Combined with the extensive knowledge they had of their enemy, the warriors knew one another as well as they knew themselves. Thus, there was nothing to do but engage.

            A repetitive, cybernetic breathing noise continued to permeate in the night sky. “Emperor Kako,” the Sith lord’s voice sounded.

            “Emperor Vader,” Kako replied.

            The two stared straight ahead with unshakable focus. “The skills which you possess, while formidable, are no match for the power of the dark side,” Darth Vader declared.

            Kako allowed a confident silence to live in the air between them before responding. “Your reliance on the entity you call the force is your weakness, for true power comes from within those destined to rule.”

            “Your arrogance betrays you, emperor. It clouds your assessment of who you are and who stands before you,” the Sith lord replied.

            Kako countered, “I see a man who believes, to his own mortal detriment, himself to be a god.”

            “I have slain gods,” Darth Vader retorted, “and as warriors we are who we kill.”

            Quickly, Kako stated, “You speak of your battles on Mortis against the deities of your force entity.”

            Darth Vader paused. He was shocked to hear his adversary speak of such intimate details from his past. “Impressive,” The Sith lord said. “You know more than I anticipated. Perhaps you stand before me a worthy opponent… or simply one well-informed at the foot of his grave.”

            A light saber ignited the moonlight surrounding the Sith master in a beaming red hue. He was supremely confident, as the outdated technology used to comprise his previous suit had long been replaced with unfathomable cybernetics infused with a new, mysterious energy. Darth Vader was now enabled to connect with the infinite amount of midichlorians flowing inside of him from which he was born. This meant he employed the unparalleled speed, strength, agility, endurance, and durability promised to him by the force. The Sith lord was far beyond the point of any force wielder before him.

            With his newly found vitality and powers, he’d overthrown his master, Darth Sidious. After becoming the new emperor of the Galactic Empire, he bolstered his reign to astounding heights, single-handedly hunting his natural enemy, the jedi, to the brink of extinction while exponentially expanding the reach of his dominion. Ultimately, though, this brought him to the doorstep of an opposing empire ruled by the entity before him.

            During Darth Vader’s ascension, Emperor Kako was concurrently aggrandizing his own cosmic realm. Star system after star system fell to their knees in defeat and worship of him. He was crowned the Father of Death. This further increased his already boundless resources and militia, growing the prosperity and control of Kako’s native Tromokratesian race. It was not long before he ruled over more of the universe than any leader to exist, with the exception of Darth Vader whose empire was equal. Naturally, this meant the two realms must clash.

            However, more than power and conquest lied at the center of the two empires’ campaigns. A rare substance had long been discovered by both which, if collected, would ensure the owner’s victory. It was psytanium: a powerful, organic substance with psionic properties, which had become the most sought-after substance in the multiverse. It was the energy source fueling Darth Vader’s new suit and technological enhancements, organically amplifying his unrivaled connection to the force. For Kako, it proved invaluable in aiding his space militia’s conquests across the cosmos as it powered his most prized weapons. Thus, it was not by coincidence psytanium was also in abundance on the very planet which they stood. The foreign world had become the epicenter of both ruler’s strategic imperatives, and after endless years and countless battles resulting in innumerable deaths and unparalleled destruction, the decision for the two warrior emperors to meet there in combat to decide who would possess the trove of psytanium and secure the final outcome of the universal war was at hand.

            “You died the second you took the first step out of your TIE fighter. Every mechanized breath you take is on borrowed time and only because I allow it. But no more,” Kako declared.

The sound of metal being infused with energy crept into their ears as the Father of Death readied his sword. Normally, the light saber held no equal amongst all weaponry in existence. However, the blade wielded by Kako was infused with psytanium, making the already extremely durable Tromokratesian metal comparable to that of Vader’s light saber. Physically, Kako was just as remarkable as the improved Sith master. Furthermore, with Kako being invulnerable to attacks born from, or similar to, telepathy or telekinesis, Darth Vader could not use the force directly on Kako nor the psytanium sword psionically linked to him.

            No, this battle could not be won with brute force, physical advantages or special powers. It could only be won by pure skill and grit, and both Darth Vader and Kako knew it; a fitting finale between two supreme warrior emperors…

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