I Was A Teenage Sith
by Joan the English Chick
[Read Joan's author bio]

Darth Maul barely reacted when his door flew open and his Master strode in, exclaiming, "Maul, there you are!"

"I am always here, my master," Maul pointed out, eyes never leaving his TV screen. His hands twitched expertly on the joystick.

"Maul," Sidious announced dramatically, "the time has come!"

Maul looked up alertly from his contemplation of Darth Lara Croft. "The time when I shall rise up and slay you, my master?" he asked eagerly.

"No." Maul scowled and returned to his games. "No, Maul," Sidious continued, "I refer to the time when I shall write my memoirs." He paused for effect, but got none, as Maul was concentrating on his game. "That is," Sidious corrected himself ingenuously, "when YOU shall write my memoirs."

"I shall ... what?!" Maul demanded, blinking at his master in confusion. Sidious chuckled.

"Yes, Maul. My campaign people tell me it is time to release a heartwarming book describing my tragic early years, my courageous struggle to pull myself out of oblivion into galaxywide renown, and so forth. And you shall be my ghostwriter."

"Sith do not write!" Maul announced angrily. The very thought of turning his master's early years into prose made his innards curdle.

"Indeed they do, my apprentice!" Sidious replied. "And they must write twenty chapters by the end of the week, so get to work! I have compiled some notes to assist you," he added, dropping a sheaf of loose paper to the floor, where it landed with a loud thunk. Maul's Apprentice, disturbed from her nap, leapt to her feet and glared at Sidious.

"But first, feed the cat," Sidious commanded. He reached out with the Force and turned off the TV. Maul simmered as Darth Lara Croft disappeared from his screen.

"Yes, my master," he grumbled, comforting himself with the mental picture of Sidious's body sliced into a dozen bloody, smoking pieces.


Three hours later, Maul got up from the sofa, having finished painfully reading through Sidious's entire collection of notes. His master's handwriting was terrible, and Maul had a pounding headache from deciphering the scrawls and trying to read the more salacious parts without actually allowing their content to contaminate his brain. He now knew far more about his master's promiscuous adolescence -- and about Sidious's master, Darth Terminable -- than he had ever wanted to know.

"Sith do not write," he mumbled in self-pity as he sat down in front of his computer and turned it on. His Apprentice meowed in agreement and jumped down from the top of the TV to come see what he was doing.

Maul fired up MicroSith Word and tapped his fingers impatiently on the desk while it loaded. At last he was confronted by a pure, blank white screen. The first thing he did was change the color scheme to blood-red text on a black background. Then he flexed his fingers, cracked his knuckles, and placed his hands on the keyboard.

He sat perfectly still for several minutes, while his Apprentice watched in fascination. Finally, tentatively, one finger hit one key. The letter "i" appeared on the screen. Maul hit the space bar. The "i" turned into a capital "I". Maul typed, "was", and then stopped. He thought for a long time and finally typed, "born".

With a long sigh, Maul leaned back in his chair and surveyed the screen. It was still mostly blank. "I was born," it said at the top. He stared at it for a long moment and then reached out to hit the backspace key ten times. Then he hit it once more, picked up the keyboard, ripped it from the CPU, and hurled it across the room. His Apprentice ran for cover.

Steaming, Maul looked around for his lightsaber, but couldn't find it. (Little did he know his Apprentice had been using it to keep her paws warm at night in the closet.) He was forced to content himself with stomping on an old pizza box, thus destroying an entire civilization just as it had been about to discover capitalism.

At last, Maul retrieved his keyboard from the other side of the room and plugged it back in. He sat down again, took a deep breath, thought about the earliest memory recounted in Sidious's notes, closed his eyes, and began to type.


Another hour later, Maul was beginning to feel better about this whole thing. His headache was still pounding, exacerbated by the eye strain of trying to read with that Sithly color scheme, but the writing was going well. The two and a half chapters he had finished were brilliant. He had portrayed Sidious at first as an innocent young boy, then as a naive youth discovering the joys his body could bring. Then, using subtle narrative techniques, Maul led the plucky young hero down a slow but inexorable path toward the Dark Side. He took a long, satisfied breath. Damn, he was good!

Just as Maul was beginning to think it might be time to take a break, his Apprentice leapt up onto his lap. "Go away," he muttered, staring raptly at the screen. She butted her head against his chest and attempted to Mind-Whammy him into petting her. Maul, engrossed in his tale, was oblivious.

Annoyed, his Apprentice jumped up onto the keyboard, scattering gobbledygook across the screen. "Stop it!" Maul shouted angrily, attempting to grab the cat. She hissed at him and launched herself across the room, her hind paws hitting the "alt" and "F4" keys simultaneously. As Maul watched in horror, MicroSith Word disappeared from the screen, taking his brilliant work along with it.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!" he howled as he realized he hadn't saved his work in almost an hour.


Sidious entered Maul's apartment midafternoon the next day to find his apprentice maniacally destroying the sofa. Maul had still not found where his Apprentice had hidden his lightsaber, so he had taken a butter knife from the kitchen and sharpened it on his horns. He was using it to split open the sofa cushions, stabbing them repeatedly and chanting, "Die! Die! Die!"

"Excellent, my young apprentice. I see your latest task is honing your rage nicely," Sidious observed smarmily. Maul looked up, and the face of the man he had spent all day writing about made the fury surge anew in his blood. He leapt forward, brandishing his knife.

Sidious brushed him aside easily, barely even using the Force, and moved toward the computer. "Well, let's see how you're doing, Maul." He sat down and began to read. "Hmm!"

Maul stood still, trembling with rage, watching while his Master examined his work.

"Oh, Maul, this won't do," Sidious observed. "There's a dangling participle here."

"What?" the young Sith demanded.

"Look, right here." Sidious pointed. "And here, you end a sentence with a preposition! This entire section will need to be rewritten."

"Sith do not rewrite!" Maul yelled, but Sidious was unmoved.

"Indeed they do, my young apprentice, and after you have done that, we'll show it to my editor." He paged down a few screenfuls. "Ah! Excellent! I like what you've done with my first sexual encounter, Maul."

"You ... like it?" Maul repeated in disbelief. "But that scene..."

"Was supposed to send me into uncontrollable spasms of horror, during which you could rise up and slay me and take my place? Yes, I noticed that," Sidious agreed cheerfully, standing up. "You have much to learn, my young apprentice. Now, get back to work! You haven't finished the part where I beat Jabba the Hutt at poker and won half of Tatooine from him." He turned and strode out the door.

Growling furiously, Maul hefted his butter knife and threw it after his master. It slipped through the door just as it slammed shut behind Sidious. Faintly in the hallway Maul could hear a grating voice whine, "Master Qui-Gon! Something tore my new robe!"

Maul turned back to his computer. His Apprentice hopped up on the chair and glared at him. Maul suddenly forgot every exploit his Master had ever experienced, and could think only of tuna. He turned and went into the kitchen.


Three days later, Maul was finally finished. He had saved three copies of the book on different hard drives, plus two on floppy disks; emailed one copy to himself just in case; and printed out three hard-copies. He hovered anxiously over the printer as it spat out the last page.

"Ah!" he exclaimed in triumph, seizing the sheet of paper. "At last I am finished! My rage is complete! I shall seek out my master and strike him..." He trailed off as he turned around to see Sidious standing behind him.

"I think not, my young apprentice. You are not yet ready," Sidious said, taking the thick pile of paper from Maul's hands. "Now, let me just run this by my editor before we go to press."

"Sith do not edit!" Maul shouted. Sidious blinked at him.

"Of course, Sith do not edit," Sidious repeated with a glazed look, and then shook himself and blinked. "Well done, Maul! You very nearly Whammied me!" he said jovially. "Better luck next time!" And he strode out.

Maul heaved a huge sigh of relief and collapsed onto the remains of his sofa, reaching eagerly for Darth Lara Croft.

In just a few minutes Sidious was back.

"Excellent work, my young apprentice, just a few small comments," he announced, using the Force to levitate Maul off the sofa and onto the computer chair. "Chapters two, four, five, six, eight, and eleven through fourteen need to be completely rewritten. Oh yes, and chapter nine needs to be twice as long. You have an hour."



A few weeks later, it was an uncommonly excited Darth Maul that rushed to the nearest Barnes & Yoda, money clutched in his fist. He shoved past dozens of nerdy book-shoppers and made his way to the "new releases" section. And there it was on the shelf... his masterpiece! He seized the first copy he saw and gazed at its cover, first with delight, then with growing dismay.

Underneath the picture of the evilly smirking Sidious was the title: "I Vote for Order." And under that the words: "An Autobiography by S. Palpatine."

"Like it, Maul?" Sidious cackled, coming up behind him. Maul spun and regarded his Master with rage.

"It does not have my name on it!" he stormed. Sidious chuckled.

"Indeed, no. If it did, it wouldn't be an autobiography, would it?" Maul steamed helplessly.

"Good, good," Sidious added. "Your rage has never been stronger. This lesson has been a great success." He turned and strode off, taking the book with him. Maul stared longingly at his master's back, aching to fill it with his butter knife (which he had retrieved from the hallway, his lightsaber still unaccounted for) but knowing that he was not yet ready.

"Come, Maul," Sidious's voice floated commandingly back to him. "We have a book-signing to attend."



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