It was the same dream he’d had the last three nights.

The door in front of him slid open, and Gatz was washed in frigid air. The room was unfamiliar to him, or rather, it had been until these recurring nightmares. Now, though, he knew that he stood on the bridge of a Star Destroyer. A platform ran down the center of the space, meant only for the command crew. To either side of it, two elongated pits were set into the floor, so that the bridge crew worked below their betters.

Like before, the bridge was dark and quiet. What little water vapor that had been in the manufactured air had become a dusting of frost along the floor and walls. Where the central walkway should have held several officers in uniform, there was only one man at the end, dressed in dark robes with his hood up. He stared out the viewport, back turned to Gatz.

That was not the most eerie part of this dream.

It was the sight below, in the pits where the bridge crew worked, that made Gatz’s stomach twist. The sentients who staffed the bridge should have been hearty, and healthy. What Gatz found instead was a collective of emaciated, dull beings, shambling along at their work stations. The pallor of their skin was pale and sickly, like a patient on their deathbed. Eyes were yellow and bloated, glossed over as if in a stupor.

Gatz could not call them people. They were dressed like people, in crisp gray uniforms. They performed their duties like people, like any good bridge officer. But they were as silent as a corpse, and their movements were jerky and unnatural. If these people were still alive, it was by the loosest definition of the word.

But as ghastly as they seemed, they were not the focus of this “dream.” That was, always, the cloaked man standing at the viewport. Gatz found himself approaching, and as the echo of his footsteps filled the room, so too did dread fill his heart. Fear was etched into his bones, and it always had been, but the idea of being anywhere near this man inspired outright terror.

Even so, Gatz kept walking. He didn’t want to, but he had no choice in this dream. His legs carried him forward even as he tried to halt their movement. It was only when he stood beside the man, at the bridge viewport, that he was allowed to stop at all.

Gatz didn’t turn to face the man, not yet. He didn’t have the courage to look him in the eyes, not now that he knew what he would see there. And so instead, he found himself gazing at the world below. It was covered in a perpetual storm: dark gray clouds hanging above almost the entirety of the globe, lightning constantly cackling within. Though through the tiniest breakage in the cloud cover, Gatz could spot hints of deep blue, and lush green.

He’d seen this world three times now, but its name still eluded him. Gatz had flown nearly every hyperlane known to man, but this planet—this permanent storm of a world—was beyond even his knowledge of the galaxy.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

That surprised Gatz, enough to make him blink: the man had not spoken to him in previous dreams. He turned to face him, dread momentarily forgotten. It returned immediately. His eyes fell on pale skin—pale enough to reveal the veins in the man’s face—and yellow eyes. Eyes that were so familiar to Gatz that the memory of them haunted him, even in his waking hours.

They were his eyes.

Gatz stared at this doppelganger of himself, wearing a half-mask over his face, and despite knowing it was him, he could see no resemblance. This was a mirror, a dark reflection, and it must have been a fraud. But it wasn’t. He had traded in his jacket for dark robes, and his handsome features for a gaunt face, but it was him all the same.

“It’s our home, you know,” the Other continued, a mechanical quality to the man’s voice, no doubt a side effect of the mask he wore.

“Home is Naboo,” Gatz protested weakly.

“Is it?”

No, it wasn’t. Not since Klein died. Not since Gatz had sold the shed he’d called a home. All that remained for him on Naboo were three cold graves covered in the winter snow. And pain.

“What is this place?”

“It is called ‘Dromund Kaas.’ It was the birthworld of the Sith—the true Sith. The race of red skinned purebloods that died out long ago.”

“Well last I checked, I was both human, and not red. So I don’t see how this is ‘home.’”

An amused hum came from The Other’s throat. Apparently, even emaciated and drunk on the Dark Side, Gatz could appreciate his own snark. That made him feel even less comfortable around this version of himself: it made it more plausible that this man could be him.

“Our family can trace its lineage to this world. All the way back to the days of the Old Republic.”

“Dad was from Naboo. And his parents were from Naboo.”

“Yes. But our father is only one side of our family tree.”

That left Gatz in stunned silence. The Other looked at him, and though the mask covered his lips, Gatz could tell by his eyes that he was smiling.

“Ah. I had forgotten how surprising that revelation was. But it’s true: our mother was born here, in the heart of the Old Sith Empire.”

“Mom was a waitress!”

“When we knew her, yes. But we weren’t born until her thirty-fifth year. A lot happened before us.”

“You’re telling me that she was a Sith Lord?”

“Yes. And she could trace her ancestry back to the original Sith, to the true Sith.”

Gatz rubbed at his eyes. This was a fever dream. Induced by the lack of sleep he was trying to catch up on, nothing more. He was dirt. Street scum from Naboo, so low that even the system had forgotten that he and his family existed. He was not some Sith heir. The woman who had birthed him had been a lower class citizen of Naboo, and the only power she had held was that of a parent.

And yet… this didn’t feel like a dream. It was too vivid. And it had occurred too consistently.

“‘Strong in the Force, but lacking skill and finesse.’ Do you remember those words?”

He sure did.

“Yeah, my instructors told me it constantly, during my first go in the Order.”

“Where do you think that strength came from?”

The Force could be strong in anyone, long bloodline or not. Gatz knew that. And yet, there were lineages that were simply more powerful than others. It occurred all throughout history. Hell, Valery had probably started a lineage of powerful Force users that would last a millenia. It wasn’t the most unbelievable notion in the world.

Gatz hated that he was starting to believe in this dream.

“Wait a minute.” Gatz stopped, his mind stuck on something, “you said… you said you had forgotten how surprising this was.”

“Yes. I learned it many years ago. To me, it simply… is.”

“You’ve lived this already. This exact moment.”

“Yes, I have.”

Gatz turned back to the window, a heavy breath escaping him. He felt sick to his stomach, wanted to heave, but there was nothing in his body to throw up.

“You can’t be me. That’s just… that’s not possible.”

“Through the Force, all things are possible. You think you’re having another nightmare. So did I. But I am no dream. I am what’s to come.”

The feeling in his chest was cold—colder than the room around him, even. Gatz should not have believed this confirmation, but he did. It felt like the truth, and for a man of so many lies, that was a rare feeling, and not one easily forgotten. This was him. This was what he would become.

And yet…

“The future isn’t set in stone.”

“No, it’s always in motion.”

“Then you’re only a possibility.”

“Yes. But a likely one.”

A likely one. But only a likely one. That meant that things could still change. He didn’t have to be this corrupted man, with a gaunt face and yellow eyes. He didn’t have to be the kind of man who stood on the bridge of a Star Destroyer, hung over a Sith world, surrounded by corpses that carried on through some sick and twisted perversion of the Force—a perversion that must have come from him.

“I can see it in your eyes, you know: the denial. You refute me because you do not wish to be me. But I only know this because I was you. I only know this because I’ve been on your side of this vision, sick to my stomach at what is to become of me. But dread will change nothing. We walk the same path. I’m simply further ahead than you.”

“Only if I allow this possibility to become reality.”

“You will. I know it, just as I know what you’re going to do when you wake.”

“Probably slap some water on my face, for one.”

“And then you’ll panic over who to go to. You’ll think of all the people you know who experience visions of the future. First, you’ll think of Vera. But you won’t go to a child. Then, you’ll think of Briana—as you always do. And you’ll stomp through the halls of the Temple, fear plaguing you with every step. You’ll practically beat down the door to her quarters, with no care as to how that looks in the middle of the night, more frantic than ever for her to soothe you—as she always does.”

“Or, maybe now that you’ve told me all this, I’ll go to Valery instead. Throw your whole future out of whack.”

“You won’t. You haven’t gone to her about your struggles with your training. You won’t go to her about this.”

Gatz hated that future him was right.

He was about to say more, offer further refute, when his surroundings began to change. The deck below his feet seemed to blow away as if by wind, metal scattered like ashes, leaving nothing but the void of space around him. With it went the rest of the ship, and whatever the creatures were that served the Other.

Even Dromund Kaas faded, turned to cosmic dust in but a moment, until all that remained was Gatz and him.

The Other removed his mask, revealing cracked gray lips twisted in a cruel smile.

“Tell Briana I said ‘hello.’”

And Gatz snapped up in his bed, covered in a sheen of sweat, with his heart pounding faster than it ever had before.