Lacking in Style
by Rachael Sabotini
[Read Rachel's author bio]

Darth Maul walked out of a bar...well, okay, it was a liquor store, but classier.

"Die, desecrator of weddings!" From the left came the screeching whine of a Jabba's-Witness-turned-Wedzie-death-cult assassin and the tell-tale clitter-clatter of high heels.

Using the Force to hold the boxes while he activated his lightsaber, Maul twisted in a full circle, slicing the pink chiffon clad cultist in two. He had no idea why the cult had chosen to wear bridesmaids' dresses as part of their ritual; perhaps the group's willingness to die in tacky formal wear was supposed to intimidate him. Watching the axe-wielding, sweetheart-necklined side fall to the left, and the petticoat-draped feet fall to the right, he turned off his lightsaber, tucked the handle back in his pants, and sighed heavily.

Having your own death-cult sucked big time.

He grabbed the boxes from where they hovered next to the curb. The problem was, the suicidal Wedzies had no style. If they'd just do something interesting--attack him with boiling oil or something--that would be one thing. But as it was, it was always the same. Just chop, chop, chop, hack, hack, hack. Screech, scream, die. Bleah. They were taking all the fun out of slicing people to bits.

From across the street at Spartacus Leathers & Gifts, Obi-Wan ran up to him. "Maul! Are you okay? That guy attacked you from out of nowhere!"

Maul shrugged and handed Obi-Wan the boxes. "They've been a little anxious since the wedding." He went back into the bar and picked up a full case of Pete's Wicked Ale, adding it to Obi-Wan's pile.

Obi-Wan's knees nearly gave out. "Oh, man, I heard about that," he said, his voice muffled from all the boxes. "The Wedzies. Claim you're the Anti-Jabba?"

Maul grunted, turned around, and headed back to the apartment. As he expected, the twit trotted along behind him like a puppy dog.

Maul hated puppies. The image made him want to retch--though the idea of Obi-Wan in a collar and leash did have its appeal.

His mind was happily contemplating that thought when he heard Obi-Wan stop behind him. He wheeled around and crouched down, eyes snapping up and down the roadway, searching for the next set of assassins...only to catch Obi-Wan beaming at him. "I got an idea!"

Maul cursed his luck. They must have upped the twit's medication again.

"Why don't I stay with you until this all blows over?" Obi-Wan said perkily. "You were so good to me when Ben-Wa was trying to kill me, staying with me day and night like would be the least I could do."

The least he could do. Maul snorted. "What day is today?"


Maul considered the issue and eyed the pile of boxes Obi-Wan carried. It wasn't as if he didn't have supplies...


The door snicked open, almost soundlessly, as the heretics of Incinerata worked to let in the pink-clad assassins. The rebels believed that by destroying the Great Horned God, they might one day free their city-state from the inevitable incinerator. No Horned God, no Eternal Fire--their civilization might yet survive.

The assassins nodded their thanks as they passed. The heretics disappeared back under the furniture, working their way carefully through the apartment lest My Apprentice spring forth and pounce on them. The furry paws of death were almost as destructive as the Great Horned God.

But the heretics need not have feared, for the Jinn-Wa catnip provided by the Wedzies had left My Apprentice tripping on the floor of Maul's bedroom, her only coherent thought as she rolled back and forth on the carpet: "Rugs are so cool."

Dust bunnies attacked them in the living room, but the group persevered. The leader's nose was mangled when the Sith Handbook fell on him, bruising him with its pages, but others in the group pulled it off before it could devour him. Carefully, the group threaded their way into the hallway and past the mountains of laundry, only to have one of their members sucked under by a pair of jeans and a grotesque "Sith Lords Kick Ass" T-shirt; the rest were lucky to escape with their lives.

But it was worth it. The moment they reached the bedroom the leader flicked on the lights, catching sight of the red-and-black figure in bed. "Die, Anti-Jabba! We have come to destroy you!"

Maul rolled over and snuggled up to Obi-Wan, the sudden appearance of light and noise slowly registering in his brain. He opened one eye, saw a flash of pink, and immediately decided he was having some sort of flashback.

"Rise up, oh corrupter of priests! Prepare to meet thy doom!"

Oh, fuck. Was Sidious here? Maul groaned and rolled over. He was in for another purple-lightning flambé for having Obi-Wan here. He poked the twit. "Wake up, " he muttered. "You gotta go back to your own place."

"Defiler of the sacred slug! We have come to destroy you!"

Maul winced. Cynthia's choice in music left something to be desired. That screeching would have to go.

Obi-Wan rolled onto his back, his eyes still closed. "'kay." There was a long pause. "Coffee first?"

Coffee. Maul opened his eyes. Yes, that would be--

Thirteen people in pink-chiffon bridesmaids' dresses ringed his bed. The guy with the beard--who looked vaguely like Qui-Gon Jinn in "Glinda the Good Witch" drag, only hairier--was the one who was screeching.

"And how will you know this demon?" he screamed. "By his red and black coloration. By his sharp teeth and long vengeful claws!"

"Ow." One of the cultists squeaked and started hopping up and down on one foot. "Master," the boy whined, sounding a bit like Ben-Wa on a bad day, "something bit me."

Everyone looked down at the floor.

A tiny hamster, sporting a red and black tattoo and bathed in an eerie yet familiar red glow, was gnawing on the ankle of the cultist.

As one, the group looked at Maul.

They looked back at the hamster.

They looked back at Maul.

Someone gasped. "They could be twins." They looked back at the hamster.

"Red," said one.

"Black," said another.

"Really sharp teeth," said the guy whose foot had been gnawed.

"And long vengeful claws!" shouted the rest of the chorus.

The bearded drag queen screeched, "Get 'im!"

As one, thirteen people screamed out "Death to the fluffy one," pulling out assorted blasters, pitchforks, and frying pans. Darth Mister Fluffy took one look at them and leapt for the hallway and the balcony door. A quick application of the force slid it open, and Mister Fluffy was up over the railing and throwing himself off the ledge.

He hung in mid-air for an instant, then plunged 42 stories to the street level of Coruscant. Since he'd already been dead for several months, it really didn't bother him that much. My Apprentice often dropped him that far on an off day, and he always landed on his feet.

Unfortunately, in their haste to slay the demon, the cultists didn't realize that there was no building below. The jostled each other to be first, pushing and shoving one another to reach the balcony ledge. Each of them leapt off in turn, a tsunami of pink-chiffon lemmings, each of them screaming a vibrant "NoooOOOOOooooo" as he realized what he had done before hitting the pavement with a resounding splat.

The noise finally enticed Maul out of bed, and watching each Wedzie throw himself off the edge, he mentally rated them for style and form--and the number of alarm systems that went off when they hit the ground floor.

"Maul!" Obi-Wan said, stumbling out to the sight of the carnage far below. "Man, now that answers the question: If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?" He turned to look at his neighbor. "What was that?"

Maul looked down at the pale pink pile of humanity oozing along the street level below him, the sound of a hundred speeder alarms ringing in his ears. He grinned evilly. "I'd call it a Hamster Death Cult."

Obi-Wan's guttural "NoooOOOOOooooo" added a little bit of spice to his already excellent day.



A lot of people deserve apologies for this: That strange Becca person for Cynthia and the wedding's aftermath, Intrepid Housemate Melissa for the unfortunate incident with the Incinerata, and of course, Plaid Adder, the founder of the Hamster Death Gulp.

I am really, really sorry about all this.

Lum helped on the comedic timing, and Sandy and elynross pulled beta duty. Thank you kindly for your work.

And as always, thanks to Siubhan for letting me play.

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