Senatorial Fairy Tales
By the Intrepid Condo-Owning MelissaTM
[Read Melissa's author bio]

"Maul!" Palpatine flung open his apprentice's front door and strode in, prepared to assign Maul to yet another devastatingly rage-honing mission.

"Shut the door! Shut the door!" Maul, a panicked look on his face, rushed past his master to slam the door closed, but it was too late. A blurred figure rushed with Force-enhanced speed through the entrance.

"Just fifteen minutes, that's all," Jon-Tra said desperately, holding a contentedly gurgling Chewbecky out in front of him. "If I take her to the grocery store with me she chews on everything, and it makes a huge mess, plus I end up having to buy everything she damages and that starts to get expensive, and it takes forever, but if you'll watch her then I can go alone and I can get it all done quickly, and I'll even pick you up some Pete's Wicked Ale, really I will..."

Maul snarled. "What part of 'No way in hell' did you not understand the first eleven times... yeeowwch!!"

Palpatine removed his stiletto heel from Maul's sock-clad foot and smiled winningly at Jon-Tra. "What my ward meant to say, my young friend, is that of course he would be happy to watch your precious daughter for a few minutes."

"Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou," Jon-Tra gushed, depositing Chewbecky on the sofa. "I just fed and changed her, so she'll be fine, just tell her a story or something. Be good, baby, Daddy will be back soon!" With a whoosh and a blur, Jon-Tra was gone.

Maul glared at his master. "I thought we'd already done babysitting as a source of rage-honing," he muttered icily.

Palpatine shrugged. "Never mess with the classics."

Maul sat on the sofa next to Chewbecky, who promptly crawled into his lap. She started to chew on his Sith Lords Kick Ass shirt, but spat it out after one bite and hurriedly licked her fur to get the taste out of her mouth.

"Go on, tell her a story," Palpatine urged.

"I don't know any kids' stories."

"Nonsense! I told you all sorts of stories as a child."

"I think I've repressed them all."

Palpatine sighed. "I'll dig up my copy of 'Darth Spock's Sithly Baby and Child Care' later. For now, since election day is on the horizon, how about a nice educational story on the value of participation in the electoral process for this young citizen?" He beamed at Chewbecky.

Maul rolled his eyes. "You never come off the campaign trail, do you? She won't be able to vote for years yet!"

"It's never too early to recruit loyal constituents, my apprentice. You have to catch them while they're still young and idealistic. Now pay attention, Chewbecky! This story is very educational."

Goldivoter and the Three Candidates

Once upon a time, there was a concerned citizen named Goldivoter. One day, she did her civic duty by going down to the campaign indoctrination office to look at the stated positions and voting records of the three candidates running for the Senate.

Goldivoter first looked at the candidates' positions on social issues. "Oh, the first candidate is too conservative!" she said after seeing the first candidate's proposal to flog all welfare recipients. "Oh, the second candidate is too liberal!" she cried upon reading the second candidate's position statement advocating the legalization of marriage for droids. "But the third candidate strikes just the right balance between supporting individual rights and maintaining order in our society!"

Goldivoter next perused the candidates' positions on campaign finance reform. "Oh, the first candidate is..."

Now I know why I don't remember any of his stories, Maul thought to himself. I never managed to stay awake through to the end. He stifled a yawn. His campaign stop audiences usually look like they're interested in what he's saying, though. Either he's got a hell of a group mind whammy, or I'm just immune to his natural charisma, if that's what you'd call it.

Chewbecky ignored Palpatine entirely and began chewing on a corner of the Sith Handbook, which flapped its pages desperately in a wild bid to escape.

Palpatine, enjoying the sound of his own voice, continued.

Then, Goldivoter compared the economic plans of the Senate candidates. "The first candidate is beholden to too many special interests and will propose pork-barrel legislation. The second candidate has no viable plan for dealing with Social Security. But the third candidate has very sound and logical plans for stimulating our economy via strategic alliances with certain trade federations while putting some teeth into the enforcement of the laws of this republic to maintain the order we require..."

Slowly, quietly, Maul's head dropped to his chest, and he began to doze.

My Apprentice hauled herself up onto Maul's lap and investigated the strange creature sitting there, sniffing delicately. Chewbecky returned the gaze, then hacked up a hairball on Maul's knee and looked proud of herself.

Oh, yeah? Watch this! My Apprentice, not to be outdone, crouched down to get the alignment of her body just right, coughed five times, and deposited a hairball nearly the size of Cuddles the hamster on Maul's upper thigh. Chewbecky looked impressed.

In the meantime, Palpatine had become somewhat sidetracked.

...Not like that simpering Bail Antilles. He's such a tree-hugger! All worried about the plans to drill for power crystals in the Hoth wildlife preserve, as if the Tauntauns would really care about a refinery popping up on their landscape. Anyway, it would give them something else to look at besides the snow. And don't get me started on Bail Organa! He's so worked up about regulations on the percentage of contaminants allowed in the drinking water, you'd think spontaneous genetic mutation was a bad thing...

"Gaaaahhh!" Maul jerked awake when his cat's prize-winning hairball slid off his thigh and into his hand. Reflexively he flung the nasty thing across the room, where it embedded itself in the wall.

Nice, My Apprentice said smugly. I never considered installing them as wall art before.

"Rarfl!" Chewbecky declared her approval.

Unnoticed, Palpatine at last brought his story around to something approximating a conclusion.

"The first candidate is a wimpy bureaucrat who won't get anything done in the Senate. The second candidate is a tax-and-spend liberal. But the third candidate is smart, and kindly too! He'll provide the order and stability our society needs!" And so Goldivoter, having explored all of her options, voted for the only correct candidate.

The End

"Wait a minute." Maul looked up at his Master. "If you're trying to recruit the brat as a voter, does that mean that seventeen-some-odd years from now, when she's of age, there will still be elections? Won't we have revealed ourselves and taken over by then?"

"Does that mean that seventeen years from now, you still won't have gotten around to rising up and striking me down?" Palpatine retorted.

"I'm not stupid enough to tell you my plans for that happy event."

"And I'm not stupid enough to let you in on my plans for galactic domination. Which reminds me, I have an appointment with an engineering team to develop prototypes for large-scale weapons. Very large-scale..." Palpatine's eyes took on a dreamy look as absently patted Chewbecky on the head and then exited the apartment.

Maul looked at Chewbecky and shrugged. "All things considered, brat, I suppose watching you is moderately less rage-honing than whatever it was he was going to make me do in the first place."

The apartment door slammed open again. "Maul, I almost forgot!" Palpatine cackled. "Tomorrow, 8 am sharp, be at the Coruscant Civic Center. And wear your rubber boots. You're on the Bantha clean-up team for the Rodian Brothers Bibble and Bandomeer Circus."

"NoooooOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!!!" The cry echoed through the hallways of the building as a smiling Palpatine made his way out.



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