Sith Academy: Darth Maul's Apprentice Has An Appointment
By the Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM
[Read Melissa's author bio]
Maul sat cross-legged on the floor of his living room, trying to clear his mind and concentrate on the Force. He would need every ounce of power available to him in order to get through the trial he was about to face. His opponent was skilled with the Force and would indeed be a challenge.
Reaching out with his senses, Maul searched for his hidden target. Ah, yes, there she was -- under the bed. He made a mental grab for the cat and tried to drag her out with the Force. The cat yowled piteously and dug her claws into the carpet, but Maul concentrated his efforts and successfully levitated his unhappy apprentice out of her hiding place.
The cat waved her paws wildly. Maul fought hard to resist the command to put his apprentice down and go open a can of cat food. Yummy, stinky cat food, so good, so tasty… "No! You will not command me! I am your master!"
Floating midair into the living room, the cat turned slitted eyes toward Maul and mentally let him know in no uncertain terms exactly how much he sucked. "Yes, my apprentice, let your rage flow through you! In time, you will make an excellent Sith! But at the moment, you are overdue for your booster shots."
So saying, Maul waved his hand. The door to the cat carrier swung open. The cat jammed all four paws against the outside rim of the cat carrier, and a fierce battle of wills ensued. Was it really worth all this effort to put such a sweet kitty into such an awful box when they could both stay home and play with the catnip Jedi doll… Maul shook his head. "Oh no you don't! You're going to the vet, and that's final!"
With a final mental effort, Maul shoved the cat into her carrier and locked the door behind her. Piteous meowing arose, but the battle had been won.
"Do not complain so loudly, my apprentice. At least you are not the one who has to acquire the stool sample."
"Please fill out this form. The veterinarian will be with you shortly."
Maul took a seat, placed the cat carrier on the floor, and looked at the form he'd been given. Under "Name of Animal" he wrote "My Apprentice."
While he was waiting, three more clients entered the waiting room. Oh, great. It was that wuss Obi-Wan, his long-haired hippie freak master, and the little green guy.
"And who do we have here today?" asked the perky secretary.
Obi-Wan lifted up the cover of the cardboard box he was carrying. "This is my hamster, Mr. Fluffy. He just hasn't been the same since Mrs. Fluffy passed away. He's been off his feed."
"And you, sir?"
Qui-Gon placed his small carrier on the counter. "I have recently adopted this spiny hedgehog. I am concerned for its well-being. It spends most of its time curled up in a ball, shivering."
"Poor thing! And what about you, sir?"
Yoda was holding the leash of a dog well over twice his size. "Neutered my doberman must be," said Yoda. "Whack his fuzzy pompoms off, yes. Smells of dog whiz, my apartment does."
"Each of you please fill out a form. The veterinarian will be with you shortly."
The Jedi turned and noticed Maul sitting in the waiting room. Maul glowered at Obi-Wan. His apprentice glowered at Mr. Fluffy. Uneasy, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon took seats in the opposite corner of the waiting room.
Yoda's doberman decided to sniff at the door of Maul's cat carrier, dragging a protesting Yoda along with him. Maul's apprentice uttered a low growl of warning. The dog ignored her and continued to sniff the cage.
"Sit! Sit, I tell you!" Yoda tugged ineffectively on the huge dog's leash. "Away come you from that cat!"
Maul looked the dog straight in the eyes and said, "Do you know what they're going to do to you?" He sent the beast a mental image of exactly what awaited him in the examination room.
"Yelp!" The dog turned and ran for the door as fast as it could, dragging Master Yoda with him.
"Aaaaaaahh!!" cried the little green Jedi. "Stop! At rest must you be! Still you must hold! Bad, bad dog!" His voice trailed away as the dog raced out of the office, Yoda clinging desperately to the leash.
Obi-Wan watched as Yoda's feet disappeared out the door. "Shouldn't we help him, Master Jinn?"
Qui-Gon shook his head. "The Force is strong with Master Yoda. He will be all right. Besides, if we helped him, we would have to get up. That would mean disturbing Mr. Fluffy and my hedgehog. Such an act I cannot in good conscience commit."
The hedgehog snuggled in his lap contentedly.
"And what are we here for today, Mr. Maul?" asked the veterinarian, Dr. Rishab.
"I do not require anything. My apprentice requires shots."
The cat meowed and bonked her head against the veterinarian's hand. "Nonsense," said Dr. Rishab. "This cat is in exemplary health! She couldn't possibly benefit from shots."
Maul waved his hand. "It is for her own good! Shots are required!"
Dr. Rishab nodded. "Yes, of course shots are required." She turned toward the medicine case.
Another yowl stopped the veterinarian in her tracks. "But not for this cat!" exclaimed Dr. Rishab.
Maul clenched his fist. "It is your duty as a medical professional to give my cat an injection!"
The cat swatted her paw.
"But she's much too cute to..." The doctor's brow was starting to perspire from the stress of being hit with dueling Mind Whammies.
"Enough!" Maul grabbed his apprentice by the scruff of her neck. "I know your weaknesses, my apprentice," he said as the cat went limp. Waves of loathing poured from her, but as long as he had her by the scruff, she was helpless.
Maul turned to the veterinarian. "It is time. Begin the procedure." He held up a baggie, dangling it distastefully from one corner. "Here is the required stool sample."
The cat had been injected, weighed, and examined. Her ears had been flushed, her teeth had been cleaned, her midichlorians had been counted, her stool had been analyzed, and her temperature had been taken in a very uncomfortable place. She sat at the far end of the examination table, not moving a muscle, staring intently at a blank spot on the wall.
"Well, I think that's everything that needs to be done today," said Dr. Rishab, who was finally starting to lose her glassy-eyed look. "I'll just go get you a bottle of drops to treat the ear mites."
The moment the examination room door opened, the cat launched herself toward the opening with Sith-like speed and pinpoint accuracy. In a flash she was gone.
"Yes, my apprentice!" Maul cackled. "Wreak your vengeance! Use your hatred! Strike out at them!"
The next few moments were pure chaos. Bottles were shattered. Paperwork flew in all directions. Animals from all parts of the galaxy cowered in their cages. The perky secretary was huddled under the desk, whimpering. Dr. Rishab's white coat was in tatters. Maul stood in the midst of it all, egging his apprentice on toward greater violence.
"Noooooooooooo!!" cried a familiar voice.
Maul's apprentice was crouched under a bench in the waiting room, holding Mr. Fluffy in her teeth as a hostage. Mr. Fluffy, in the time-honored tradition of hamsters, had gone into shock and was hanging limply.
"Oh please oh please oh please give me my hamster back!" Obi-Wan was pleading.
Qui-Gon shook his head. "You cannot win that way, my padawan. Not with a cat." The Jedi master waved his hand, and a sample package of kitty treats came flying out of the back office. "Here, kitty, kitty, I have some num-nummy goodies for you!"
Qui-Gon poured the cat treats on the floor in a pile. The cat eyed them and took one step forward.
"That's it. Just drop the hamster and you can have all these for yourself." The Jedi master sniffed the package. "Mmm, Ewok flavor!"
That did it. The cat dropped Mr. Fluffy and began snarfing cat treats.
Obi-Wan cradled the poor shellshocked hamster to his chest. "Are you okay, my fluffy-mumpkins?"
Maul was outraged! "My apprentice, how could you? You had the enemy's ally in your teeth! You are a Sith! Why give in to the Jedi?"
The cat looked at him through slitted eyes, and Maul got a very distinct message. YOU took me to the vet. HE gave me cat treats. I like HIM better. She brushed up against Qui-Gon's leg, then looked back over her shoulder to see if Maul was jealous yet.
Maul decided to play hardball. "Fine. Be that way. Go with over to the Light Side if you like. I'm going home." He grabbed the cat carrier and stalked out of the remains of the veterinarian's office, using the Force to make his black robes billow menacingly.
Maul's apprentice pushed her striped forehead under Qui-Gon's hand, and was rewarded with a scritch. Perhaps the Light Side of the Force had its advantages after all.
"Oh, my poor fluffy-wuffy hammy," Obi-Wan cooed to his rodent, who was starting to come out of his mini-coma. "My poor little hamkins. Obi-Wan will make it all better. My poor fluffy-floofy hammy-wammy…"
The cat watched the padawan devolve into incoherent blubbering. She lasted about two minutes before she couldn't take it any more. Tail held high, she trotted out of the veterinarian's office.
Maul sat on his Sith Speeder, arms crossed, watching the Coruscant traffic going by, pretending not to notice her. With a butt-wiggle, his apprentice jumped onto his lap and proceeded to clean her ears as if nothing had happened.
"I figured you wouldn't last more than five minutes with them," Maul said at last. The cat kneaded his robes into a circle and curled up. "Very well, my apprentice. You have chosen wisely."
Sidious entered Maul's apartment without warning, as usual. "I tried to reach you this afternoon, my apprentice," he said, frowning. "You were not here."
"I had to take my apprentice to the veterinarian, my master. She did not want to go. It was an unpleasant but necessary experience."
"I understand," said Sidious. "It can be extremely difficult to make an apprentice do something that is good for him when he doesn't want to." A malicious grin cracked his face. "For example, Maul, when is the last time you went to the dentist?"
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