Party Hearty! (Darth Maul Hosts a Birthday Party)
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"I have a new assignment for you my young apprentice."
Looking up from his breakfast of cold pizza and flat soda, Darth Maul grinned, baring his teeth in pleasure. "I await your command, my Master. What deed shall I perform today for you?"
"Today," Lord Sidious replied, his whole being exuding self-satisfaction, "you shall take on your greatest challenge yet. You shall be hosting . . . a children's birthday party."
The Sith apprentice's red and yellow eyes widened in shock and horror. "M-master, are you sure I am ready for such a task?" He had heard tales of such events and they were enough to make even the most callused warrior cringe.
"Embrace your fear, let it strengthen you," Darth Sidious murmured approvingly. "The way to the dark side has many paths and this is but one of them. You are ready for this challenge, Apprentice. Now come, put on this Bongo the Clown costume and we shall be off."
Wrinkling his nose in distaste at the bright orange and green outfit, Maul snarled viciously and threw it on. Thankfully, the curly pink wig would not fit over his horns so he was allowed to forgo it - though he did have to paint over his tattoos so that he ended up looking like the Naboo queen on a bad day.
A bowling alley. He was going to be forced to submit to this charade at a bowling alley. Fury surged within the Sith apprentice and his hand twitched over the hilt of his lightsaber as he waited in the line to get his shoes.
"Let your hate feed your power, feel the dark side grow within you," Darth Sidious urged from the safety of the bar where five viewscreens blared a variety of sporting events.
"Yes, Master," Maul growled, but his teacher's attention had wandered to the screening of the podraces on Tatooine.
"Shoe size?" the bored looking worker behind the counter asked, barely looking up from her True Romance holovid.
"Thirteen, and black," the apprentice spat back.
In response, the woman thunked a pair of ratty tan, red, and blue shoes on the scarred countertop. "That will be 3 credits please."
Feeling revolted by the condition of the footwear - even his clothes were in better shape than that - the Sith slammed his hand down alongside the offensive shoes. "I said black!" he snarled, pulling out his lightsaber and frying them into oblivion.
"Hey, you have to pay for those!" A negligent wave of the Sith apprentice's hand and the woman looked perplexed. "Oh, that's right you don't need shoes, go ahead sir, your group is on lanes 101 and 102."
Growling a curse and clipping his lightsaber back onto his belt, Darth Maul turned and stalked toward the far end of the bowling alley. As he walked away, a perky voice sounded from behind him. "Look, a clown! I love clowns, can we get the lanes next to him please?"
Chaos reigned in the area behind the two lanes the party was assigned to. The birthday child - distinguishable from the others only by the fact that he was wearing a red shirt stating "I'm the birthday boy" - immediately raced up and yanked on Darth Maul's costume, threatening to pull if off. "I wanna bowl now!" he shrieked, his tones more piercing then even a pneumodrill.
Seeing that the entertainment had arrived, the child's parents ran off to join Darth Sidious in the bar and soon the three were engaged in heavy betting on the races.
"We wanna bowl. We wanna bowl!" Now all ten children were clustered around him, bouncing around in a torrent of frenzied motion.
"Quiet!" the Sith apprentice shrieked, drawing upon all his dark powers to make himself heard over the tumult. Herding the children into small groups, he got them situated near the ball returns then sank down on the hard plastic seat, breathing heavily.
"Hey Bongo . . ." A small voice whined as a sticky hand tugged at his costume once again. "You gotta bowl first."
"I do not bowl," Maul snarled, leaning over and staring into the birthday child's eyes.
The boy was unaffected by this display of Sithly might. "You gotta or I'm gonna tell my Mom!"
His muscles shaking with tension, the dark lord stood and walked up to the lane, calling a bowling ball to his hand as he did so.
"Aw, that's so cute, he's playing with the kids," someone chirped from off to the left.
Turning enough to see who was there, hatred flowing from his every pore, Darth Maul glared at Obi-Wan Kenobi's peppy expression and contemplated what his black-marbled bowling ball would look like running with the Jedi apprentice's blood. The vision calmed him somewhat and he turned back to the pins before him, imagining the faces of the Jedi Council on them. Given this inspiration, it wasn't surprising that all that was left of the pins after his ball stuck them was a pile of sawdust.
"Cool! Did you see that!" the party-goers exclaimed, all falling over each other to be the next to bowl. After much pushing, the birthday child won out and triumphantly took his place at the line before flinging his ball down the land.
Not bad, he might be easily swayed to the dark side . . . Maul mused, watching the glee with which the young boy attacked the pins. In the next lane, Obi-Wan hefted his sky blue ball and prepared to make his approach. The sappy grin on the Jedi's face was enough to make the Sith want to puke. Timing his action with the moment Obi-Wan released his bowling ball, Darth Maul waved his hand, sending the globe crashing into the gutter.
"Awww . . ."
"Be one with the ball, Padawan," Qui-Gon commented from his seat at the scoring table. "Let the Force flow from you through it to the pins and you will surely break 200."
"I wanna open my presents!"
Bowling finished, the somewhat harried looking Sith lord herded his charges into a private room for food, games and presents. Chasing after the children had left him feeling more drained then any exercise his Master had imposed on him and it was with relief he closed the doors, trapping the kids inside. It was only after the door slid shut he realized that meant he too was now stuck in here.
Between the almost constant bickering of the party guests as to who's turn it was to bowl and the seemingly random problems that caused the Jedi's ball return to malfunction every so often, Maul had almost enjoyed the past hour - almost.
"Yeah, sure, open em," he shrugged, popping open a beer he'd appropriated from the bar when no one was looking. The Sith had barely managed one tiny sip when a remote control flyer slammed into his can, spilling the precious liquid all over the rug.
When the children ignored his pained shriek, "Bongo" stalked over to them, adopting his most intimidating pose. "Who did that?"
Ten pairs of innocent looking eyes turned upwards, all denying their part in the misadventure. Spitting out a curse vicious enough to curl the wallpaper, Darth Maul slammed back to his seat to watch the birthday boy open the rest of his presents.
Jedi Knight play robe, Jedi Knight action belt, Jedi bubble bath (Qui-Gon Grape scent), even the "Be a Jedi" role playing game, it was enough to make a real man sick. In an attempt to shield himself from more of the nausea inducing items, Darth Maul used the Force to tighten the ribbons around the last gifts into unbreakable knots.
It didn't even take the child half a minute to get them open.
Thinking the guests would be occupied with the toys for a bit, the Sith relaxed in his seat, breathing heavily.
"We want cake. We want cake!" The raucous chanting made his head feel as if someone were twisting off his horns one at a time and, with a swift swipe of his arm, Maul shifted all the party-goers into chairs and slammed them up to the table.
"That was cool!"
"Can we do it again?"
"Is this what the dark side can do?"
Does nothing scare these brats?! Using his lightning quick reflexes, the Sith lord doled out cake and ice cream after the prerequisite singing of "Happy Birthday." Of course half the children didn't want the piece they were given and a furious round of bargaining ensued which somehow ended with all the portions of cake in their original positions.
Feeling something cold on his foot, Darth Maul looked down to see a large glob of Coruscant Chocolate Ripple ice cream on the toe of his boot. A violent kick sent the melting dessert flying across the room to hit the wall with a splat.
"Oooo, you made a mess . . ." Several of the children sing-songed, giggling at the sight of the dark lord hopping around on one foot trying to clean off his boot.
Master, help me . . . The thought was met with a wave of laughter as the Sith lord took pleasure in his apprentice's discomfort.
There is no help, there is only do my young Apprentice. Bend them to your will.
Finally party ended, all ten children were wound up beyond belief between the sugar and the games they had played - "Pin the Lightsaber on the Jedi" (with the target moved to a more appropriate location by the host), "Blind Sith's Bluff", and "Red Lightsaber, Green Lightsaber."
Their parents were met with shrieks and crying as they arrived and quite a few adults were bruised as the kids showed off the fighting techniques that their friend "Bongo" showed them. Finally, the room was silent and Darth Maul slowly made his way out to the bar in search of his Master.
"I see you survived, I am pleased," Senator Palpatine murmured, motioning for the other man to sit next to him and offering him a beer.
"Some of those children would make fine apprentices for me when the time comes."
"Indeed they would. You must remember, there are things stronger even than the dark side and you have just witnessed one of them. Keep that in mind on your next assignment."
"You shall be getting a job at Discovery Zone." The Sith apprentice's scream of terror echoed through the bowling alley, followed closely by Darth Sidious' laughter.
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