Safety Is a Jedi's First Responsibility
by J.A. Nessossin
The boyz belong to George Lucas, and no copyright infringement is intended; anyway, you can't get blood out of a turnip.
Obi-Wan slouched down in the classroom seat, hiding his coffee mug from the instructor. "Bloody safety video! Didn't we see this shit last year?"
His buddy snuck a sip from the cup. "It's a Republic regulation now. They have to show the whole series to every trainee every year." He rolled his eyes. "Wake me up when it's over, will ya?"
They turned on the video. "Today we're going to learn to handle our lightsabers SAFELY! " Obi-Wan groaned. As always, the narrator of the video spoke as if he were addressing a slightly deaf, moderately retarded child whose first language was Huttese. "Remember, NEVER engage in HORSEPLAY with your LIGHTsaber! Otherwise, you could SERIOUSLY HURT yourself OR one of your FRIENDS!" The background video simply showed a room of trainees going through kata number five.
"NEVER get your saber WET!" The accompanying video showed a padawan entering the shower room. He removed only his outer robe, started for the shower, then stopped and grasped his saber, furrowing his brow with an exaggerated look of concentration. After several seconds, he produced a proud and relieved smile, removed his belt and hung it from a hook, and headed into the shower stall, boots and all. Obi-Wan endeavored to imitate the noise his neighbor's cat made when she choked up a hairball.
A stick thumped down on the back of his head. "Ow!" Damn, the little runt snuck up on me!
"Enjoying the video you are not?" Master Yoda asked accusingly.
"Are you kidding?" Obi-Wan whispered back. "This is the worst pile of crap I've ever watched!"
"In previous years, liking the safety videos you were," Yoda pouted. "Said how valuable they were you did."
"That was because I was stoned to the eyeballs," Obi-Wan said pointedly. He waved an arm at his classmates, most of whom were snoring gently. "Nobody appreciates them sober! This isn't just boring, it talks down to us. It's a pure waste of an hour we could spend in training."
"Hmm." Yoda cocked his head, listening to the snores. "Right you may be, young Jedi. Modern students needing more exciting media are. Behind the times perhaps I am. Make us a new safety video you will, apprentice."
"In tune with the needs of young apprentices you will be. Some of your pals you will get to help you, a better video you will make us, yes?"
"With all due respect, Master Yoda," Obi-Wan hissed, "where the hell would I find anyone to waste his time on this nonsense?"
Yoda fished out his wallet, beaming. "Knowing young people I still am, yes? Buying your friends some beer you will be." He peeled off a few ten-credit notes. "Then helping you they will be happy to, yes? Your grade for Communications 330 we will base on it."
Oh great, Obi-Wan thought bitterly. How many friends does he think I have with so little shame that they'll throw away their self-respect for a few lousy beers?
"Okay, boys and girls!" Master Windu said enthusiastically. "I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that we have a brand-new, up-to-date, thoroughly modern and scientific safety video to help you learn proper lightsaber handling skills!" The assembled apprentices and junior padawans groaned, some of them exercising their carefully honed ability to fall instantly asleep.
Undaunted, Master Windu flicked off the lights with a Force-palm and nodded to Obi-Wan, sitting at the back of the room, to start the tape. On the screen at the front, a rather unsteady home video appeared of Obi-Wan himself standing on a sunny lawn, in an instructor's pose beside a young apprentice, a black-haired, blue-eyed girl in regulation beige tunic and trousers. "Today you'll get your first lightsaber! Isn't that EXCITING? But a lightsaber can be DANGEROUS if you aren't CAREFUL! Let's learn to keep ourselves SAFE!"
Obi-Wan drew his deactivated lightsaber and pivoted sideways, holding it elegantly in front of his stomach, as an unseen narrator added: "Yes, a lightsaber is very dangerous! There are LOTS of ways to hurt yourself...or someone else!" (While Obi-Wan had managed the overly-earnest, well-enunciated tone required for such tapes [he'd snuck half a Perkium to help him get it right], this other guy had a soft, deep, subtly amused voice that definitely did not set the proper mood. Windu glanced back at Obi-Wan for a moment with an absent frown, then his attention was drawn again to the screen.)
"To begin with," the narrator purred, "be sure you know which is the active end BEFORE igniting your new saber."
Obi-Wan fired it up, backwards, holding it behind his side so the blade appeared to emerge from his back. "AARGH!" he screamed in agony and fell face down as the saber sputtered out.
"Never engage in horseplay with your lightsaber!" Obi-Wan was standing on the same lawn, doing a fancy left-handed spin of the saber before bungling it off to the right.
"AARGH!" He held up his right arm dramatically, hand bent down inside the sleeve of his robe, the cuff of which was liberally soaked with ketchup. He clutched his forearm, eyes rolling in horror, as the camera wobbled and the screen went dark again.
"Always be sure you know what is in front of your lightsaber before you ignite it."
Obi-Wan and the little apprentice stood side by side, facing the shaky camera. Obi-Wan held his saber pointed sideways and ignited it, so that the tip appeared on the girl's other side. This time it was her turn to yell "AARGH!" and stagger forward, falling face down to reveal the streak of ketchup across her back as Obi-Wan mimed suicidal guilt.
Obi-Wan appeared sitting on his own sofa, tools strewn around. "Always be certain that the batteries are removed from your lightsaber before you clean or repair it!"
"Never allow the active end of a lightsaber to point in your direction if you must drag it towards you, or pull it through some obstacle!"
"Never, ever use your lightsaber as a sexual device!"
"Remember, a lightsaber is an electronic device containing a very strong power source." The new scene was dimly lit: the hot tub room at the Jedi Temple, where a young Wookiee was drowsily soaking. The instructor's quiet voice had dropped to a bare whisper. "Never immerse your lightsaber in water or any other conductive liquid!"
A hand appeared at the edge of the doorway and gently lobbed a saber into the hot tub. A sheet of blue lightning gouted towards the ceiling. "ROWROWWRR!" wailed the hapless padawan, limbs thrashing, all of his fur standing straight up.
"For the same reason, you should never, never touch the activation terminals with your tongue!" The little black-haired apprentice was standing next to a tall padawan whose head was cut off by the top of the frame. She was looking dubiously at her lightsaber.
A voice that sounded much like Obi-Wan's could be heard hissing "Come on, Amelia, you agreed to this!"
The apprentice set her jaw firmly. "Okay, Mister Obi-Wan, if it'll serve the cause of Justice....EEEEYYYYAAAAHHHHH!"
Obi-Wan stood in the grassy park again, still instructing a now singed and disgruntled-looking apprentice. "One more thing to remember!" he chirped. "Just because you have a lightsaber of your very own now, that doesn't mean that you're ready to take on a Sith!" A short, muscular figure swathed from head to toe in black appeared stage left, tapping an odd-looking saber menacingly in his palm.
As the on-screen Obi-Wan shoved the girl protectively behind him and prepared grimly to fight, Obi-Wan continued by voice-over in his most exaggerated talking-to-retarded-children tone: "Yes, Sith Lords are very dangerous! If you try to fight one with your new lightsaber, you could be seriously injured..."
There was a blazing exchange of inhumanly fast slashes and parries.
"Or even killed!"
The dark-robed man kicked Obi-Wan in the face, disarmed him, knocked him brutally to the ground, and appeared to plunge his saber through the padawan's throat as the screen went momentarily black.
"Or you could even be seduced to the Dark Side!"
Obi-Wan, wearing a black robe and hood, now lounged comfortably with his erstwhile opponent, arms around each other's shoulders, expensive import beers in their free hands. They turned to face each other, the tattooed "Sith" planting a hard kiss on Obi-Wan's obviously all too willing mouth, and the screen went dark one last time. A disclaimer appeared in flaming red letters:
THE VIEWER SHOULD BE AWARE THAT VERY FEW PADAWANS WERE ACTUALLY HARMED DURING THE FILMING OF THIS TRAINING VIDEO.
Obi-Wan leaned over and grinned at Mace Windu. "Whaddaya think, Master?"
"I am...speechless!" Windu spluttered. "I am...Words fail me!"
Shouts of approval erupted from the assembled students. "The apprentices seem to think it's an improvement!" Obi-Wan yelled as his compatriots swarmed between them, lifting him up on their shoulders and carrying him towards the door, cheering. Yes, he thought, Maul is right. We ARE hot shit!
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