The Padawan

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The Padawan

Post by Kytross »

200 odd years before the battle of Yavin.

200 particularly odd years, for one particular padawan…

The Sluissi ‘sat’ at the cockpit controls and brought the lever down that turned the stars into streaks of light then the sky was pure white light, signaling that he had entered hyperspace. He leaned back in the chair he wasn't exactly sitting in, and sighed, his whole body relaxing.

Sluissi were reptilian aliens that were humanoid from the waist up and snakes from the waist down. There were other differences, but that was the big one. So the Sluissi didn't have legs, his lower half was coiled around the base of the chair. It was a lot like sitting, but clearly chairs weren't designed with his species in mind.

“I should have stolen a Sluissi ship,” he muttered as he lay back in the chair. Somehow he managed to look relaxed and uncomfortable at the same time.

After a moment or two of laying there he sighed again. “At least I got away from that Jedi.”

The sound of a snap-hiss filled the cockpit. The Sluissi sat upright, all attempts at relaxation gone. His tail unfurled from the bottom of the chair and he spun around. A young humanoid stood there, with legs and everything. The humanoid couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 standard years old. And he was holding a lightsaber, its hum filling the cockpit.

“A padawan. He had a padawan,” the Sluissi said, shaking his head.

“I don't know what you've done with my Master,” the Padawan said, lowering his lightsaber to point at the Sluissi's neck, “but you are under arrest.”

The Sluissi raised his hands in the universal sign of surrender. “It was a sonic trap. The Jedi is stunned, I'm not a killer.”

“You're just a killer,” the Padawan said. “Surrender.”

The Sluissi raised an eyebrow. “What do you think I have my hands up for? Exercise?”

“Funny,” the Padawan said. He pulled a set of handcuffs out of a pouch on his belt. “Put your hands together in front of you.” The Sluissi complied. The Padawan took a deep breath and held it. He tossed the handcuffs at the Sluissi, and clearly concentrating, managed to reach out with the force and telekinetically cuff the Sluissi. While he was doing that the white of hyperspace shifted to lines and then back to stars. They were no longer moving faster than light.

The Sluissi nodded. “Well done. But it hardly matters. You never should have boarded this ship.”

The Padawan laughed. “Big talk from a thief.”

The Sluissi laughed, a deeper more menacing laugh. “By boarding this ship, everyone you know is now dead.”

The Padawan looked concerned, then shook his head and grimaced. “You're lying.”

The Sluissi grinned. “No, but it is hardly as grim as you suspect. Didn't you and your Master wonder why a starship engineer would become a thief?”

“For the money. You've stolen two million credits.”

The Sluissi nodded smugly. “About that. Tell, me, what do you know about compound interest?”

The Padawan glared at him for a long moment. “I have no idea what you're talking about.”

“I wouldn't expect the Jedi Academy to cover anything as mundane as banking.” The Sluissi wrapped his tail around the base of the chair and leaned back, in a close approximation of being relaxed. “Interest is what a bank pays you to keep their money with them. A percentage of your deposit. It is rarely more than a few percentage points. Compound interest is when they take that interest payment, add it to your deposit and give you interest based on the new combined amount. Are you following me?”

“Let's turn this ship around and head back to civilization,” the Padawan said.

“That would be a bad idea. I've disabled the relativity shields. You'd do better to radio for help. We're still in the same star system we started in.”

The Padawan blinked. “What's a relatively shield?”

A huge smile came over the reptilian face of the Sluissi. It was disconcerting. “Didn't they teach you anything at the academy?”

“They taught me how to kill you with my mind!” the Padawan shot back.

The Sluissi ignored the bravado. “When you approach the speed of light time slows down. Hyperdrives avoid that with relativity shields. Our little jaunt through hyperspace didn't take us very far, but if my calculations are correct, we. Are two hundred years in the future.”

The Padawan lowered his lightsaber. “What?”

The Sluissi cackled in glee. “So not only are my crimes one hundred and eighty years past the statute of limitations, I deposited my two million credits in the bank of Kashyyyk in a certified deposit of five percent, compounded monthly. The Wookiees are quite long lived. To get the special five percent rate I had to agree to a two hundred year term.”

“Sithspit,” the Padawan swore.

“Watch your language,” the Sluissi reprimanded. “if my calculations are correct, I am now worth seventeen trillion credits.”

The Padawan retracted his lightsaber blade, filling the room with momentary silence. He lunged to the control console and started calling for help on the hypercomm.

The Sluissi was right.

But, as they were about to find out, the Sluissi was horribly wrong.

The future is a nebulous thing. It's hard to see, even for a jedi.

Near the end of the two hundred odd years they leapt through time, the galactic Republic erupted into war for the first time in living memory. As history would record, the Clone Wars ended with the attempted assassination attempt of the Republic's supreme chancellor Palpatine.

The Jedi Order was outlawed, hunted down and killed. A galactic Empire was declared, and those who dissented were punished. The Wookiees of Kashyyyk were one of the early dissenters. Their planet was conquered, their assets seized and their population enslaved.

Of course, the Sluissi and the Padawan didn't know that.

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky
Posts: 674
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:42 pm

Re: The Padawan

Post by Kytross »

The soldiers weren't Imperial Stormtroopers. They weren't even Imperial Navy troops. Sure, they were technically Imperial, who wasn't these days, but they were part of the star system's defense fleet, left over from the days of the Republic. Their patrol ships were old when the Empire was formed, and were likely to be decommissioned soon. But the craft they were approaching was far older, but appeared to be in much better shape.

There was a heated debate among the officers as to whether they should take the two distressed individuals onto their ship or just tow the broken ship. No one wanted to try to take a Jedi prisoner, so the majority seemed to favor towing the ship. But with the ancient ship's relativity shields disabled there was a chance they might send it flying into the future. Most of the officers seemed to like that idea, as that would get rid of the problem entirely. After all, the best problems are somebody else's problems.

Cooler heads prevailed and a hypercomm was sent off to the Imperial Navy at the sector capital; outlining the problem and asking for directions. They were told to wait. Two hours later Darth Vader himself responded on holocom. He ordered them not to tow the ship but to take the Jedi prisoner and hold him there until he arrived to interrogate the Jedi. Darth Vader was the second most powerful man in the Empire, the Emperor's right hand man. Even as a hologram half the galaxy away he had a foreboding presence. No one in the star system had ever spoken to him before. He would be obeyed.

It took a few hours, but the Captain of the ship worked out a plan.

They micro-jumped through hyperspace to the ancient ship. They identified themselves through regular radio communication and instructed the two occupants to be prepared to join them aboard the military vessel. Two suited soldiers brought the tube across from the military ship's airlock to the ancient ship's airlock, secured it and returned to the military ship. The two occupants from the ancient ship came across and were met by the Captain and twelve armed soldiers, though all of them had their rifles pointed toward the deck of the ship, not at anyone.

When they came aboard the Captain recognized one of them as a Sluissi, the one with the binders on his hands, and the other one looked younger than his youngest child. The young one wore the lightsaber. The kid was a Jedi?

The Captain was taken aback for a moment, but he got his head together, coughed to cover up the confusion and then he spoke. "Welcome aboard Master Jedi."

The young one shook his head. "I'm not a Master. I was an apprentice. A Padawan. My Master was still on the planet while I chased him onto his ship." The Padawan indicated the Sluissi.

"I must protest," the Sluissi said, holding his hands up in front of him. "Whatever crimes I may be accused of happened two hundred years ago. We are well past the statute of limitations."

The Captain held up his hand, cutting off the Sluissi's protests. "That's for the courts to decide. We did a historical search and a series of unsolved burglaries did happen about two hundred years ago and a Jedi did come here to solve the crime, so your story checks out. However, that is outside of my jurisdiction, so we're going to deliver you as a prisoner to the magistrate and let them figure this out. We would appreciate your cooperation."

The Sluissi's whole body sagged, but he nodded. Two soldiers escorted him away. Then the Captain turned to the Padawan.

"Unfortunately, Jedi, I am going to have to ask you to surrender as well."

The Padawan looked at him askance. "But I'm a Jedi," he said, as if that would explain everything.

The Captain put on his best apologetic look, the one he used to use when he was a junior officer and had to explain when things went wrong. "And that's the problem. A lot has happened in the two centuries you've been gone. The Jedi order has been outlawed."

"What?" the Padawan asked, his hand moving to rest on his lightsaber.

"Peace Jedi, peace. Clearly you had nothing to do with what happened, but you need to know." The Captain and the soldiers watched the Jedi intently. No one wanted to face a Jedi with a lightsaber, child or not.

The Padawan moved his hand away from his lightsaber. "You are right Captain. A Jedi does not act rashly. Tell me what's happened since I left. How did the Jedi order get outlawed?"

The Captain nodded, forcing a smile. "Well said. Twenty-five years ago, or so, the Republic had a civil war." He paused, waiting to see the Jedi's reaction. The Padawan nodded, motioning for him to continue. "Fed up with taxes, slow courts and many other concerns a Movement began, mostly in the outer rim. A conflict arose on the planet Geonosis-"

"Where?" the Padawan asked.

"It's near Tattooine, in the outer rim. I'd never heard of it either."

"I've never heard of Tattooine either," the Padawan added.

The Captain looked confused. "It's the headquarters for Jabba the Hutt. Off the Corellian Run."

The Padawan smiled. "I've heard of the Corellian Run. And the Hutts. Jabba is a new name for me though."

"Anyway," the Captain continued, "The Separatists had a droid army and the Republic had a clone army. We ended up calling it the Clone Wars because the Republic won. The Jedi had been generals during the war and I guess they decided they wanted to hold onto power because they attempted to assassinate the Supreme Chancellor of the the Republic."

The Padawan shook his head. "That doesn't sound like the Jedi Order I know."

The Captain nodded. "To be fair, it wasn't the same Jedi Order. It was almost two hundred years later after the Jedi allowed a war to start for the first time in how many millennia?"

The Padawan sighed. "I guess you have a point. So the Senate outlawed the Jedi?"

"That's right. And elected the chancellor as Emperor. We're an Empire now."

"What?" the Padawan asked, clearly surprised. "How does that work?"

The Captain shrugged. "Truthfully? It's about the same as it was twenty years ago. We still have the Senate. The courts are as slow as ever. Taxes have gone up to pay for the Imperial Navy." The soldiers around him all nodded. "So I have to ask you to hand over your lightsaber. If you promise to cooperate then we won't cuff you, we'll take you at your word. We'll hand you off to the Empire, and they'll probably set up a court date for you and you can plead your case with them." That was a half truth. Darth Vader was coming for the Jedi, and the Captain wouldn't trade places with him for all the spice on Kessel.

The Padawan didn't seem to catch the lie. He nodded and detached the lightsaber from his belt. He tossed it gently to the Captain. "I know how the courts can be. They weren't fast in my time, I imagine they're even worse now. But I'm Jedi, and the Jedi respect the law. I'm sure I'll be exonerated." A pause. "Eventually."

"Of course you will," the captain said. Visibly relieved, he handed the lightsaber to the soldier next to him. The soldier clipped it to his belt. "We should be back at the space dock in under an hour. Would you like a cabin, or would you like to join us on the bridge?"

The Padawan smiled. "I'll join you on the bridge."
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky
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