Darth Maul goes Wireless
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His Master's enraged scream jerked the Sith apprentice out of his computer enhanced trance and he spun in his chair, nearly falling to the ground as he did so. As Maul worked to regain his balance, his apprentice hissed her displeasure and leapt to the floor, her claws leaving thin parallel tracks on the tattooed flesh of the Dark Lord's thigh just below the ragged hem of his faded gray boxers as a sign of her wrath.
Blocking out the fiery pain for the moment and ignoring with difficulty the tone from his computer that indicated that he had mail, Maul stood and faced Darth Sidious.
"Do you know how long I have been trying to call you?" the Sith Master snarled, pushing past his slovenly looking apprentice to yank the computer's plug from the wall socket.
"Noooo!" Maul howled as he realized that hadn't bookmarked the last Web page he had visited - "1001 ways to turn a Jedi to the Dark Side." Damn, and he hadn't even read half the list. His lips curling in a snarl, the Sith apprentice let his hate feed his power as he prepared to attack his Master for daring to mess with his Web surfing.
A sharp slap on the side of his head between his horns made Maul blink and eye the older man warily. "We don't have time for your pathetic attempts to strike me down right now. I am due in the Senate in an hour and hearing busy signals for hours on end has given me a royal headache." As Sidious spoke, he brushed at the blue velvet of his Senate robes, trying to remove the white cat hair that had clung to them the moment he stepped into his apprentice's apartment.
"What is your bidding, my Master?" Maul snarled, taking hidden delight in the fact that each time brushed a bit of hair off, even more gravitated to his robes.
"I had planned on offering you a chance to destroy an entire world but as you have displeased me, I have another task for you. To avoid a recurrence of this unfortunate incident I want you to go out and purchase a cellular phone. You will keep it charged and on your person at all times, do you understand?"
Visions of the few extra credits he had whirling down into the black hole of another bill filled Maul's brain - now how was he going to afford to buy Jedi Deathrace 8000 when it came out?! Lashing out with all his fury, he sent a bolt of lurid purple energy lashing out at his Master.
Sidious laughed and deflected the attack with a negligent wave of his hand, sending the bolt crashing into the pile of dirty laundry that was moldering near the bedroom door. As the filthy clothes burst into flames, the Sith Lord cackled madly and swept from the room, calling, "And you had best buy some new robes while you're out," before closing the door in a flurry of his now decidedly furry cloak.
Denied his revenge once again, Maul leaned against the wall and slowly banged his head against it, ignoring the fact that his horns were gouging huge divots in the plaster with each thud. "One day, my apprentice," he growled to the cat who looked thoroughly unimpressed with his rage. "One day I will smite him down and then he will know every bit of agony he has put me through and more!"
His apprentice yawned then sneezed as the acrid smoke from the smoldering laundry wafted past her. In response, Maul went into the kitchen, filled a pitcher with water and dumped it on his singed clothes.
He was staring disconsolately at the sodden mess when he heard a frantic banging on the door. "Hey neighbor, everything okay in there?" Great, this was all he needed right now the twit apprentice next door playing good neighbor.
"I'm fine, go away!" Grabbing his black jeans and pulling them on along with a black t-shirt covered with small red images of Gungans engaged in various acts of sexual perversion.
"You sure?" came Obi-Wan's concerned question. "It sounded like someone was slamming something into the wall!"
"I'm fine!" Maul grated, banging open his apartment door and glaring up at the annoying padawan. "And I'm on my way out on an errand for my Master so if you would kindly move your ass . . ." Deftly blocking his apprentice's escape and ignoring her indignant howl as the door was shut in her face, Maul pushed past the nosey Jedi and stalked down the hall.
"Where are you going?" Now the idiot was following him! What had he done to deserve this?
"To the mall."
"Cool! I need to go pick up some things for Master Qui-Gon, mind if I come along?"
A wave of power rushed through the dark apprentice as he contemplated tearing his neighbor limb from limb and leaving his carcass on the doorstep of the Jedi Temple - that would show them the power of the Dark Side! Then he reconsidered - he couldn't strike down his Master until he was more powerful, it was possible that an afternoon in Obi-Wan's company would hone his hatred to the point that he could finally smash Sidious into oblivion.
"Come if you want, but touch the radio and you're roadkill."
"No problem," the Jedi chirped, his long braid bouncing on his shoulder as he hurried to catch up with his neighbor's long strides.
"Welcome to Pan-Galactic Cellular One, how may I help you?" The droid's electronically augmented voice somehow managed to convey politeness and extreme boredom at the same time.
"I need a phone," Maul stated, placing his hands on the glass-topped counter and staring the robot down.
"It is my pleasure to serve you, sir. We have many choices available, will your phone be used for business or personal reasons?"
"What does that matter?" When the droid remained silent, Maul drummed his fingers on the glass plate, peevishly happy to see the fingerprints he left behind on the spotless surface. "Business."
"Hey neighbor, you're getting a phone too?" Not noticing the grooves his fingernails dug in the glass beneath them, Maul turned to see the twit padawan entering the small store carrying a multitude of bags.
Bath and Body Shop, Wilson's Leather, Victoria's Secret?! This was too much information for the Sith and he fought a tide of nausea as he tried not to think of what the Jedi had purchased and for what purpose.
Meanwhile, in the background, the droid was rattling off a lightning-fast list of the different types of phones they offered and all their accessories, its pace too fast Maul to catch anything but every third word.
"Do you have one that's black?" the Sith asked, cutting through the endless recitation and ignoring Obi-Wan's question as redundant. Would he be in this hellhole of a shop for any other reason?
"What about one that's blue?" the Padawan asked brightly, stepping up to the counter to stand next to Maul. "Master Qui-Gon's going off-planet without me," he whispered, leaning closer to his neighbor in an attempt to keep the information confidential. "And he wanted a way to keep in touch that the Council couldn't monitor." The last was said with a grin and a wink.
"The Sith-Tac 2000 is our most popular model," the droid intoned, setting a pair of compact cell phones on the counter, one in front of each of the men. "It's perfect for business or recreational calls and can easily be adjusted to provide total privacy over the comm channel."
Maul examined the palm-sized device critically, flipping it open and trying to make sense of the multitude of buttons before him. Next to him, Obi-Wan "oohed" and "ahhed" over his light blue model.
"Fine, I'll take it." Wanting only to get out of the store and away from the annoying Jedi who was now gushing over the fact that the color of the phone matched his Master's eyes, Maul scrabbled in his pockets for some credits, preparing to whammy the droid into accepting whatever amount he had as payment.
"But sir, you need to pick your calling plan now!" With that, the clerk unfolded a map-sized brochure covered in the tiniest writing Maul had ever seen. "First, we have the 'Basic' plan which provides access but no free minutes, then there's the 'Standard' plan, that gives you 15 free minutes per month. Our most popular plan is the 'Pan-Galactic Sub-divided Hour Special'" Receiving equally blank stares from both customers, the droid smirked (an impressive feat considering that its face was immobile) and launched into a detailed description of the intricacies of the plan.
" . . . and five hours of free calls on off-peak hours every third day of the Anovian diurnal cycle except if you are placing the call from the mountains of Regulus or any other area out of our base operations range."
The past two hours had been spent listening to the droid explain the intricacies of one calling plan after another, each more complex than the last. Finally, in an attempt to retain what little of his sanity remained, Maul slammed his hand on the countertop, shattering the glass and causing Obi-Wan to peek his head out of the fetal ball he had curled into sometime during the explanation of what 'off-peak' hours were on Correlia.
"Enough!" he howled, wanting to whip out his lightsaber and simply demolish the place but having sense enough to wait until he had gotten his phone. "Just give me the basic plan, no gimmicks, no frills, just the basic plan." Pointing in the Jedi's direction, Maul continued, "And he will take the Universe plan - with the extra roaming features for just 100 credits extra per month."
Obi-Wan opened his mouth to object but a curt wave of the Sith lord's hand silenced him, his look changing to one of total agreement. "And one of those cute little belt pouches too please, do you have one in leather?"
"Of course, now you two gentlemen just need to fill out these forms . . ." The droid plunked a stack of paper in front of each of the apprentices.
Would this torture never end? What was so complicated about getting a damn phone that they had to know his mother's maiden name and birthplace? Thinking about it, Maul realized he didn't even know either of those bits of information and so wrote down the first names that came into his head: Shmi Skywalker and Tatooine.
Name, address, occupation, gender, sexual orientation?! What the hell did any of this have to do with anything? Growling softly, Maul continued to write, answering the questions randomly while pausing from time to time to influence his neighbor's placement of various checkmarks.
Finally he filled in the last box "Approximate duration of the majority of your calls" with "how the fuck should I know?" and slid the form back to the droid, massaging his aching right hand as he did so. Next to him Obi-Wan was humming some stupid pop song and bopping back and forth to the tune as he worked on his last few questions.
Yellow eyes narrowing, Maul exerted just enough of the Force to shift the Jedi's pencil from the box marked 'private calling' to the one labeled 'public airwaves' and smirked.
The next evening, Maul was sprawled out on his couch, arms crossed behind his head, feet propped up on a pile of old pizza boxes, his apprentice curled up on his stomach and purring as he stroked her back. For once, his television was off and no music blasted from the CD player. Instead, the radio was turned to the public call airwaves and a blank tape revolved in the recorder, preserving the phone call that was being broadcast for future use.
"Oh Master, I miss you so much . . . Do you know what I'm wearing?"
"Be a good little Padawan, Obi-Wan and tell me . . ."
The shrill ringing of the new cell phone sent Maul's apprentice scurrying into the bedroom to escape the high-pitched noise and he grabbed for the offending unit, flipping it open and bellowing, "What?"
"Do you know what is being broadcast in the Senate chambers this very moment, my young apprentice?" Darth Sidious's cackling laughter caused the phone to whine with feedback and Maul snatched it away from his ear before he was deafened.
"Something interesting I hope, my Master," he replied non-commitally, hoping that his hastily done patch job had worked.
Sidious laughed again then there was a rustling of robes as he shifted his phone. " . . .and that green silk G-string you bought me on Nova 12 . . ."
"Are the other Senators enjoying the call?" Maul asked, sitting up and resting his elbows on his knees, baring his teeth in a gloating smile.
"Does the fact that half the Senate just ran out of here shouting for their aircars I believe they did. Congratulations Maul, you have not only embarrassed the Jedi but you've brought the galactic government to a halt for the day. I am pleased."
The loud thumping of feet could be heard outside and Maul rose from his couch to peer out the peephole in his door. The hall was jammed with the pride of the Republic's government, all gathered outside the Jedi twit's apartment, trying to get in and at the head of the pack was the familiar form of Darth Sidious.
"I see that you are a little busy right now, Master, I will let you go." Trying not to shudder in revulsion, Maul closed his phone and tossed it onto one of the piles of junk that covered his coffee table. He could hear the loud pounding on his neighbor's door and wondered just how long the thin plywood would hold out against the pressure of upwards of 100 horny politicians.
"Master, there's something going on outside . . ." A splintering noise was followed by a shriek. "Master save me!"
"You know," Maul commented to his apprentice who had stuck her head out past the bedroom door and was listening intently to the screams and crashes from next door, "these cell phones can come in pretty handy don't you think?"
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