The Empire confirmed today it is closing the Death Star with immediate effect, and promised ‘full co-operation’ with the official investigation into alleged illegal practices over a number of years, culminating in the destruction of the planet Alderaan.
‘We deeply regret the huge loss of face – sorry, life – and will not rest until we find out who knew what was going on and gave the order to fire,’ said Lord Vader. ‘We now accept that the culprits were not two rogue stormtroopers who were larking about with a hackysack on their lunchbreak and knocked a cup of coffee all over the control panel triggering the accidental emission of a devastatingly powerful laser beam that just happened to be pointing towards the planet. We think their supervisor, a woman named Red Leader, might have been involved as well. Either way, it seems there were some bad apples working for the Dark Side.’
Internal investigations were hampered by the unexpected demise of anyone claiming to know who was ultimately responsible. ‘Yes, it’s unfortunate that everyone present on the command deck that day has been found dead of natural causes, clutching their necks with a look of terror and despair in their eyes,’ continued Lord Vader. ‘A faulty life support system appears to have caused an outbreak of legionnaires disease – those are classic symptoms.’
Intergalactic police are centring their enquiries around a shuttle craft seen leaving the Death Star two minutes after the peace-loving world was blown up. Identikit pictures of the driver and passenger look somewhat like ‘a tall man with a shiny black hat, and a shorter, craggy-faced older man wearing a cape’.
‘What was I doing that day?’ said Vader. ‘I can’t remember exactly – I think I may have been on holiday at the time. Or washing my hair. There’s certainly no way I could have known what some of the troops were getting up to. In fact the first I heard of it was when someone hacked the Death Star’s answer machine and I read about in the News of the Universe last Sunday.’