Darth Maul: He's Come Undone
This is a follow-up to "Darth Maul Goes Skiing"
Darth Maul shifted his position on the couch to get a better view of his Playstation, but the vicious, stabbing pain in his back continued unabated. My Apprentice watched him closely from her position on the pillowback, all the while growling her contentment.
"This is all your fault," moaned Maul. "You must think you're close to rising up and slaying me, but the game's not over yet."
My Apprentice flicked her tail and changed from a growl to a purr, her satisfaction complete in Maul's discomfort. Her triumph stemmed from Maul's return from the planet Hoth, when he entered the apartment in fine spirits. Maul's horror as he looked at the cat shit covering the kitchen floor temporarily suspended his command of the Force, and My Apprentice had come barreling in, shot between his legs, and sent him flying. The most he could summon up was the ability to not land in any of My Apprentice's tootsie rolls, and it cost him dearly. He landed on his back and pulled any number of muscles required for hunching over and playing his favorite video games.
He'd been laying flat on his back for the better part of a week, and he'd had to stop taking his prescription muscle relaxants because they invariably spawned filthy, hallucinatory images of his Master Sidious and that Jedi prick Qui-Gon Jinn. He'd taken to downing Hamster Death Gulps and Def-Con One cocktails in an effort to stem the pain. Obi-Wan Kenobi had hobbled by on a daily basis, still wearing his knee brace, to feed My Apprentice and offer comfort to his favorite neighbor Maul. But Maul's pain had only fueled his hatred to unplumbed depths, and scared poor Kenobi out of his wits.
Just then, the door flew open and Darth Sidious entered.
"Don't worry, my pathetic young Sith," said the ancient one. " I didn't expect you to get up."
"As if you ever ring the bell when I'm ambulatory," replied Maul, dreading the possibility of having to move to do his Master's bidding. The idea of rising up and slaying Sidious popped into Maul's mind, but given the state of his physical condition, the idea was ludicrous.
Sidious stared pointedly at Maul, disappointed that he had managed to dress himself in spite of his obvious agony.
"I marvel at the Sith ability to endure pain," remarked Sidious. " How did you manage to squeeze into those tight black jeans, my boy?"
"With great discomfort my Master, but I had to open the door for the pizza delivery boy wearing something."
"Yes, well, this apartment is in the worst state of fetid decay ever," declared Sidious. " We must get you up off your fine, tight ass, so I've decided to take you to physical therapy. Your appointment is in 45 minutes."
A look of absolute horror and fear crossed Maul's tattooed face. His master just would not let up on this constant cruelty. Oh well, he thought, that was the way of the Sith.
Sidious called to My Apprentice. "You have done well, my little one, but we must give Maul a chance to fight back, mustn't we?" he cooed, while scratching her under the chin. She purred momentarily, before striking a disabling blow with claws fully unsheathed to Sidious's chin.
"Ah, her rage is quite well-honed, while you lay there growing soft, Maul," he commented while delicately wiping the blood off his chin with a dainty hanky he pulled from his robes. "Now move your butt and let's go."
Maul rolled back and forth to get momentum to launch himself off the couch, all the while reviling his Master, whose admiring glances were causing Maul's stomach to foment. He fought back the urge to vomit, because that would have brought on excruciating back spasms, further pleasing Sidious's sadistic nature.
Maul had an immediate sense of foreboding when they pulled up in front of the Jedi sanctioned clinic named "Force Rehab." "We specialize in injuries sustained from the Dark Force. (We also perform foot reflexology)" said the prominent banner.
"Unfortunately, this is the only clinic that accepts your inadequate Academy insurance," Sidious sniggered.
He then spent the next 5 minutes jerking the car back and forth into a parallel parking spot, savagely slamming the brakes each time, and sending Maul's back into a paroxysm of spasms with each convulsive maneuver.
Inside the waiting room, Maul tried to find a comfortable sitting position, while Sidious, in a rare display of mercy, kindly filled out Maul's insurance forms.
Maul looked around and was surprised to see familiar faces. There was the contortionist he had seen at the Grey Side of the Force last week. A very interesting performance, that one. Sidious had been quite mesmerized. And there was Sebulba the Dug. Another pod racing mishap Maul guessed. And across the way sat the pimply faced kid that had fitted his skis.
"What are you doing here?" Maul couldn't resist asking. His yellow eyes bore into the boy's with fierce intensity.
The teen stared back with equal hostility, still strong with the Dark Force despite his obvious ankle injury.
"The inferior equipment that was left for me to use after I fitted you caused me to break my ankle," said the boy with obvious rancor. "But I'm glad to see you here for whatever reason," he said gleefully.
Maul looked at the boy with increasing admiration as the teen proceeded to ignore Maul and put on his headphones, listening to Insane Clown Posse.
Yes, this time I will remember you, my future disciple, thought Maul.
Seated next to him was the Twi'lek aerobics instructor, who judging from the way one blue tentacle was supporting her arm, had woo-wood a little too earnestly at one of her step classes. And right next to her was the little humanoid Kenny, completely encased in a full body cast, so all that could be seen of him was his little face, much like when he had on his bulky ski jacket. Apparently, he hadn't been killed when he skied into that tree.
And there, in the corner, sat the bearded Knight Qui-Gon Jinn. That could only mean that his idiotic little Padawan was here too, groaned Maul. Seeing all the patients in their misery though, sparked some energy into Maul and he felt a tiny bit better.
In complete contrast to his character, Sidious mercifully Mind Whammied the receptionist to allow his apprentice to go ahead of the others.
"The young man in the Sith Lords Kick Ass T-shirt with horns on his head is next," Sidious casually said to the woman, waving his hand.
"Mr. Maul, you are next," she announced, and Maul struggled up and followed a waiting therapist into the inner room.
"Tell me," asked Sidious, as he watched Maul's enticing, retreating backside, "do the patients get undressed for their treatment?"
"Well, only to their underwear," replied the receptionist, looking at Sidious with extreme distaste.
"I believe I will accompany my apprentice. I think he will need my moral support," declared Sidious, envisioning Maul stripped down to his boxers and tensing his well developed muscles, even if in pain.
From behind him, Sidious heard a voice.
"Don't bother, Palpatine, I've already tried that and they won't let you go back there," said Qui-Gon wistfully, while casually filing his fingernails.
"I'm sorry sir, but the patients must be able to concentrate on their injuries, and as well meaning as you may be," the woman said falsely, "any distractions may make them lose their focus."
"Hmmm, all right then," Sidious said, peeking into the treatment room. He saw the gleaming, high tech equipment with weights, cables and pulleys, and pistons pumping in and out, and his lurid imagination went to town. "I have another question. Do all those machines require that the patient be strapped in?"
"Oh yes. The patient must be belted in so that only the injured muscle groups are isolated."
"And are these devices available to the general public?" asked Sidious, his interest growing by leaps and bounds as he envisioned numerous bondage scenarios.
"Well, they usually have to be special ordered, but I know a Toydarian junk dealer on Tatooine that could get you any one of these machines. His name is Watto, but he would charge you a very high price."
"Interesting," mused Sidious. "Give me his number."
Inside the treatment room Maul looked with bewilderment at the torturous-looking devices. Incomprehensibly, the place also had a circus atmosphere as several patients rolled around on giant red balls. This place was supposed to cure him?
"Please step inside the evaluation room, undress to your shorts, and lay face down on the table," said the therapist.
When Maul had assumed the position, he heard the door open and was horrified to see Master Yoda walk in and then launch himself onto Maul's back. He walked up and down Maul's spine, his ears moving back and forth as he tuned into the Force, and made his evaluation.
"Out of alignment with the Force is your spine. The bone crusher in I will send."
Maul clenched his teeth and asked, "Is this another one of your part-time gigs? I thought you worked at Wal-Mart."
"Pay at Wal-Mart bad as being on Jedi Council is. So consultant here I am." With that, Yoda jumped down, called for the therapist to make an "adjustment" on Maul's back, and hurried to the next treatment room.
"Ah, much improvement are you making Obi-Wan. Pleased I am," Maul overheard Yoda saying, just as he saw a shadow on the floor where he was looking down.
The bone crusher? Maul felt a prickle of fear contemplating this treatment until a petite, blond woman wearing a tight peach T-shirt and white shorts came in and looked Maul over.
Well now, she is rather pretty and too little to do any damage, thought Maul.
"Hello, I'm Marcie, and I'm going to try and fix this little problem you're having," she said sweetly. Let me take a look at you. Hmmm, well, it is a little hard to see your spine with all those tattoos, but let me feel around a little."
"Yeoowww!" screamed Maul. How was it possible this little slip of a girl could cause such pain?
"Ah, here we are. The longitudinal, posterior ligament of your fifth lumbar vertebra is quite inflamed. I'll get you adjusted and then you can start on the back strengthening machine outside," Marcie said cheerfully. "Now sit up, bend over, and cross your arms. I'm going to reach around you and I want you to push against me until I tell you to stop."
"Very well," said Maul, beginning to see some possible enjoyment in this as he stared at Marcie's perky breasts.
Marcie climbed on the table after Maul had managed to sit up and grasped him in a distorted bear hug. He barely began pushing against her when she jerked him back with a fierce tug and let go. Maul howled in agony and was about to slam her against the wall when he realized his pain had in fact diminished.
A telepathic link must have been established between master and apprentice, because at that moment out in the waiting room, Sidious was avidly studying a manual on physical therapy illustrating that very position. He dabbed the sweat from his brow as further study revealed what appeared to be grappling, wrestling and gripping clutches in various degrees of contortion. I must learn these body holds, he thought vividly.
Inside the large treatment area, Marcie directed Maul to the back strengthening machine. While she was strapping him into the infernal contrivance, he looked across at a curtained cubicle and heard moaning and sighing. Through a narrow opening he saw a body lying supine and a long, thin, braid trailing down off the table. He used the Force to carefully nudge the curtain rings along the track several inches so he could see inside.
There was Obi-Wan in just about his full glory, with a hunk of a therapist slowly rubbing a cylindrical wand in circles around his knee, which was glistening with some type of cream.
"Umm, this ultrasound feels so good Howard. Couldn't you go up a little higher?"
"I'm afraid it would burn out your light saber Mr. Obi-Wan," Howard commented dryly. Besides, we're done here now. Let's get you over to the mobilizer."
Marcie was giving Maul final instructions on how to use the machine, ignoring the feral glare he was giving her. He was strapped in and hunched over in a most humiliating posture.
"Now straighten your back for each repetition," Marcie instructed. "I'll come back and check on you in a little while."
As Maul started the reps, the cubicle curtain slid open and he saw Obi-Wan slip his arm around his therapist's shoulder. Howard helped Obi-Wan limp over to the next machine. Abhorrence and envy immediately welled up because so far, Maul had been required to hobble around under his own steam. The baby twit was using his famous puppy-dog look to garner sympathy, and it was working very well.
Howard lay Obi-Wan down on a table and suspended the Jedi's knee in a sling connected to pulleys and weights. He set the controls so that Obi-Wan's knee was flexed at regular intervals.
"I'll be back soon," said Howard.
"Make it quick," said Obi-Wan coyly, batting his eyelashes. As he settled into the rhythm of the machine he looked up and saw the cold stare of Darth Maul.
"Maul! Hi! Good to see you here. You won't believe how this place will make you as good as new. The things they do to you just really make you feel good all over," gushed the Padawan.
Not from what I can see so far. This place would do a Sith Interrogator proud, thought Maul.
"Has no one inflicted any pain on you thus far?" inquired Maul as he continued to struggle with the reps.
"Goodness, no. Why would anyone want to hurt me?" Obi-Wan asked innocently.
"Mercy me, I would have no idea," replied Maul sarcastically.
The Sith Lord's back began to hurt again as he continued the repetitions. Marcie had started the machine at the lowest setting and wanted him to increase the weights by ten-fold by the end of the session. And this Padawan punk had his machine doing the work for him! His hatred began to fester and actually enervated the muscles in his back. He raised the weights one notch.
"When I'm done with the mobilizer, they'll put me in a whirlpool bath," said the stupidly smiling Obi-Wan. "I hope you'll be done in time so you can join me."
Not in public, thought Maul. His anger continued to grow so he pushed the weight up another notch.
"And then a nice heating pad in a dark room so I can focus my healing energy."
Maul was sweating but fierce determination and unholy rage made him push the notch to the next setting. Marcie said she'd check him after 10 minutes and move him to the second setting. He was already at five-fold.
"I'm also learning the feel-good techniques so if you want, I could come over to your place and show you. We could commiserate on our injuries."
"I think not Jedi scum." Maul turned the setting to seven-fold and grunted. "And how is it that you are almost good as new after you sustained a rather serious injury?" asked Maul.
"Oh, it's a matter of becoming one with the Force," Obi-Wan said happily. "My midichlorians are actually knitting my torn ligament together as we speak."
The little tweak of a spasm in his back didn't deter Maul from pushing the notch up to nine fold as he seethed with jealousy at the Jedi's power of healing.
"Oh, and when my knee is better I'm going to work here part-time so I'll probably be your therapist at one of your sessions."
The thought of Obi-Wan ministering to him in and of itself wasn't an entirely bad thing, but in public? Never! Maul pushed the setting to ten-fold and felt a pain the like of which even his Master Sidious would be hard-pressed to inflict.
"Yeeuuargghhh!" he screamed, summoning up the blackest facet of the Force he could muster. He popped his restraints and catapulted out of the hateful machine. As he somersaulted over Obi-Wan and the mobilizer his back realigned itself to the Dark Side of the Force.
"ENOUGH! THIS PLACE IS A MEDIEVAL TORTURE CHAMBER!"
Maul drew his light saber and deftly sliced the pulley cable holding up Obi-Wan's knee. In his state of Jedi bliss, Obi-Wan wasn't prepared for this surprise attack, and his knee collapsed in a leaden heap.
"Ooowwww!" he screamed, which immediately brought his Master Qui-Gon running to see what had happened to his little Padawan learner.
Maul continued his torrent of fury and stabbed all the giant, red balls, sending their users tumbling across the floor. He severed all the weight pulleys and the patients using those machines were pulled into unnatural angles, making Maul smile at their distress. He stepped up the voltage on the ultrasound units and the wands jabbed at the patients, delivering very uncomfortable jolts of electricity.
Maul felt quite a bit better as he surveyed his handiwork. In fact, his back didn't hurt at all. I should write a book: The Sith Lord's Path to Wellness, because I AM HOT SHIT, he thought.
Master Yoda entered after all the commotion and examined Obi-Wan's knee with some trepidation.
"Hmmm, severe setback you have. Continue your Jedi training you must. Time to heal by using the Force you have not. Under the knife you must go," concluded Master Yoda.
"Noooooooooooooo," cried Obi-Wan. "I'm scared!"
"Don't worry Obi-Wan," soothed Qui-Gon. "My good friend Senator Palpatine is sure to know an excellent orthopedic surgeon, and I'll be right there holding your hand in the recovery room."
Darth Maul slipped away, retrieved his clothing from the evaluation room and got dressed. On his way out, he made a quick stop in the adjacent room and rifled through Obi-Wan's robes, scoring the little Padawan's wallet and American Express card yet again. He met his Master in the waiting room.
"All done then?" asked Sidious, while casually slipping the physical therapy manual under his robes.
"Yes, my Master."
"Yes, well, you do look rather fit," said Sidious, admiring Maul's ramrod straight posture, "but I'm afraid I won't be able to spend any time with you this evening because I have a rather important interplanetary phone call to make."
"Then I shall bid you goodnight, and as always, I shall await your next assignment with glee, Master Sidious," lied Maul.
Maul's newly adjusted back shivered with pleasure. A quick stop around the corner at Game Force after his Master dropped him off, with Obi-Wan's credit card, and he'd be ready for a nice quiet evening at home in front of his beloved PlayStation.
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