Sith Academy: Getting Physical
By the Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM
[Read Melissa's author bio]
"Aha, Jedi Council! Now I have you on the run!"
Maul's thumbs moved quickly across the PlayStation control buttons as he neared the exciting climax of his new Jedi Roadkill II game, which he had been playing nonstop since the moment he'd gotten home from the game store. He'd slowly worked his way through the game's multiple levels -- Assault the Apprentices, Paddle the Padawans, Kill the Knights, and Maim the Masters -- and had at last reached the final level, Crush the Council. It was the trickiest level, requiring focused concentration and...
"MAUL!!" The unexpected shout in his ear made him practically jump out of his seat. There stood Lord Sidious, a scowl darkening his face. "I have been calling you for some time!"
Maul desperately tried to answer his master and shoot down the Jedi masters escaping across the vidscreen at the same time. "I am sorry, my master, I did not hear you come in..."
"I can see that." Sidious waved his hand at the PlayStation screen. With an electronic squeal, the game froze up. Then, everything reset to zero -- his point total, his extra lives, his carefully-acquired inventory of Jedi-spindling equipment, all of it. Worst of all, the pile of Jedi corpses began producing little Jedi ghosts, who proceeded to dance happily across the screen.
Maul felt a black rage rising within him. "Nooooooo!!!"
"Yesssss!" cackled Sidious. "Feel your anger! Use your hate! Strike out at me!"
Maul turned to leap at his master, only to find his legs cramping. He tried to use the Dark Force, but found that his Force-waving hand had seized up in the PlayStation position. Only his thumbs still seemed to be moving.
"Pathetic!" Sidious looked down at his apprentice, who was curling up on the floor. "Just how long have you been sitting on that sofa?"
"Umm..." Just how long ago had he gotten that game? Maul had a bad feeling that he might have lost track of more time than he realized. "I'm not sure. But I have been practicing my Jedi-killing techniques!"
Sidious snorted derisively. "And if you're ever called upon to kill a Jedi with your thumbs, my apprentice, then you will do well. But it usually takes more than that!" The headmaster waved his hand, and a tube of Ben-Gay came flying across the room. "Get yourself unknotted, then go down to the gym. I think it's high time that you had P.E. class."
"Yes, my master" Maul moaned.
At least the smell of the Ben-Gay covered up the smell of his gym clothes, Maul thought to himself as he arrived in the workout room. Sidious was already there, waiting for him.
"I don't think we'll have the usual workout today, my apprentice," said Sidious. "We're going to go through a number of Jedi-style exercises instead. It is important to understand how they are trained." The headmaster walked over with a pilot's helmet and jammed it onto Maul's head, ripping the padding against his horns. He flipped the blast shield down. "I'm going to activate a target droid," he said. "Prepare to defend yourself."
"But with the blast shield down, I can't see anything!"
"Use the Force! Anticipate its moves!"
Maul lit his lightsaber and waited, using the Force to find the location of the target droid. There it was! Before it could get a shot off, Maul let out a roar of anger, ripped the helmet from his head, and threw it at the droid. The helmet smacked into the droid, which ricocheted off of the wall, hit the floor, and bounced up to where Maul was waiting for it with a gleam in his eyes. "Incoming!" Maul whacked the little round droid with his lightsaber, sending two halves spinning neatly into opposite corners of the room.
"You were supposed to defend yourself, not destroy it," his master reprimanded.
"You mean that the Jedi actually stand there and let that thing shoot at them? I would think that a true Sith would go directly to the source of trouble and eliminate it ruthlessly."
"True," Sidious shrugged. "Unfortunately, with the cost of my senate re-election campaign running so high, our droid budget is a little short right now. That was the only target droid we had left. I suppose we'll have to go on to the next exercise."
"Yes, that's it. Let your resentment make you powerful."
Maul was balanced precariously on his hands, using the force to not only hold himself upside-down, but also to heft Lord Sidious, who was perched on the soles of Maul's boots. Maul didn't resent the exercise itself so much as he resented the fact that Sidious had clearly been spending a lot of time at Dagobah Donuts. Sidious might have a lot of control over the Force, but he was more in need of a good physical workout regimen than Maul. However, that was the way of the Sith. When Maul had his own apprentice, he could sit on his ass and let the other one do all the work. Someday...
"Concentrate, my apprentice. Let the Dark Force flow through you. Now I want you to begin levitating other objects in the room."
Maul reached out with the Force and lifted the split remains of the target droid into the air.
"Hello there!" a chirpy voice rang out.
"Aaargh!" Maul collapsed to the ground, dropping both the droid and the headmaster. He turned furiously and saw that pesky padawan Obi-Wan standing at the door.
"Gee, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, but I'm selling Jedi Scout Cookies as a fund-raiser and I was wondering if you would like to buy any?"
"What flavors do you have?" asked Sidious, trying out his best ingratiating smile.
"Oh, I have shortbread, mint, peanut butter..." Obi-Wan placed the cardboard box that he was carrying down on the floor and began pulling out cookie packages.
Maul waved his hand at the door to the workout room and slammed it shut. The headmaster and his pupil both picked themselves up and advanced menacingly on the bewildered padawan. "We'll take all of them," Sidious hissed.
By Ash [no valid email address]. Click to see larger image.
Maul was balancing on his hands again, with Sidious perched on his heels. A constellation of open cookie packages was slowly circling in the air. As each one went by, the headmaster would take a sample. "Oh, yes, these mint cookies are quite good..."
"Mmph rmfh nngh hrrmn," protested Obi-Wan, who had been tied up and gagged and left in the corner. Maul let his feelings of anger toward the Jedi flow through him and levitated Obi-Wan as well. As the padawan squirmed, Maul flipped him upside-down and let him dangle mid-air.
"Very good, my apprentice," Sidious said around a mouthful of cookie. "Your hate has made you strong. As soon as I'm done with my snack, we'll move on to the next exercise. Could you send the pecan sandies over my way?"
Maul jogged through the thick forest of the arboretum, using the Force to sustain himself and avoid tripping over the tree roots. Although Sidious had said that the traditional Jedi practice was to carry one's master on one's back during this exercise, the Sith Academy headmaster was feeling too full to participate. Therefore Maul was hefting the tied-up Obi-Wan on his back to simulate the appropriate dead weight. Privately, Maul wondered why Jedi didn't end up joining the dark side more often.
Maul had almost completed his run around the arboretum when he spotted Sidious sitting near a thick cluster of trees, finishing off the last box of peanut butter cookies. Maul jogged up to him and dropped his protesting passenger to the ground. "Don't you ever just give up and hold still?"
"Mrph mmn ngr," said Obi-Wan. Maul shrugged and sat by his master, who said nothing.
The cluster of trees drew Maul's attention. "Master, I sense something odd about those trees."
Sidious nodded. "They are strong with the Light Side of the Force. You must go inside."
"Go inside?" Maul was apprehensive. "What is in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
Maul picked up his lightsaber. Sidious said, "You won't need that. But it's probably a good idea to bring it just in case."
"I think I'll bring a hostage as well." Maul reached over and picked up the whimpering padawan. Thus armed, he headed into the thicket.
As he pushed his way inside, Maul could sense the overwhelming oppression of the Light Side of the Force. The light filtering through the trees made pretty rainbows. Birds twittered happily. Flowers bloomed. It was enough to turn his stomach, but he pressed on.
A figure appeared ahead. Why, it was a Jedi Master, just like in his video game! Maul immediately lit his lightsaber and held it to Obi-Wan's throat. "Don't move, or the apprentice gets it."
The Jedi waved his hand, and Maul felt himself being pushed aside. Obi-Wan's bindings undid themselves, and the little brat ran to the Jedi's side. "Oh, thank you, Master Qui-Gon!"
Maul growled and leapt at the Jedi Master. A fierce but brief battle ensued, which ended when Maul sliced the Jedi neatly in half. However, when the pieces fell to the ground, Maul saw that the body bore his own face instead.
What could it mean? Was there some part of him that could still be turned to the Light Side? Did some sort of fate await him at the hands of the Jedi? Or was this just Darth Sidious playing games with his mind again?
Belatedly remembering his hostage, Maul discovered that Obi-Wan had made a clean getaway. He looked back and found that the body had disappeared too. Annoyed, Maul turned and marched out of the thicket.
"What the hell was that all about?" he demanded of Sidious.
"It's the flowers," said Sidious. "Their pollen is hallucinogenic. Sometimes it gives you insightful visions. Other times it just gives you a wild head trip. I wanted to see if the stuff would work on you. I'm thinking of having it bottled and sold via health-food stores as a vitamin supplement. With the money I'd make, I could finance my re-election campaign and the Sith Academy at the same time."
"You used me as a guinea pig?" Maul was outraged.
"Yes! And you're angry about it! Very good! Feel the hatred! Strike me down!"
With a cry of rage, Maul lifted his lightsaber and swung it at his master. Laughing, Sidious stepped aside easily. "I'm not as weak as you think I am, my apprentice!" The Sith Lord ran along the path out of the arboretum, daring his apprentice to follow.
"We'll see about that!" Maul chased after his master. He'd show that rat bastard politician a thing or two!
As the two Sith left the arboretum, there was a rustle amongst the bushes. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon peered out, making sure the way was clear.
"Are you all right, my padawan?"
"Are you sure you're not traumatized, hurt, or otherwise in need of being held gently and comforted by me?"
"Well, I did get a paper cut on one of those cookie boxes."
"I'd better conduct a full physical examination, just in case."
"Whatever you want, my master!"
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