Darth Maul Goes Camping
A Sith Academy Story
By Sharon Bond
Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, the Gungans etc. are all owned by Lucasfilm, blah, blah, blah.
Darth Maul drove hard with his index finger and thumb, desperately trying to get to the secret passageway that would lead him down to the next level in the latest "Jedi Road-Kill III" game that he was playing. Damn! Fragged again. Oh well, it was soon time for his Master to arrive. Maul had learned to time his Master's appearances to just when he was starting to have fun.
On time as always, a knock came on the apartment door. Maul opened it to find Lord Sidious standing outside. But he wasn't in his usual Sith robes, nor was he clad in his Senatorial suit and tie. Instead, Maul beheld a new Sidious, decked from head to toe in clothing from L.L.Bean and Eddie Bauer. In one hand he held what looked to be a fishing rod. The other held a tackle box. On his back was the latest high-tech backpack from REI. Arranged around him were various accoutrements of the outdoor life--tents, stove, sleeping bag, and chillingly, another backpack.
"Maul!" grinned Sidious, "Time for your next lesson. We are going to experience the Great Outdoors. We're going camping!"
Maul shuddered. "Is that not something for those earth-crunchy, granola eating Jedi, my Master?"
"No, my young apprentice. A Sith must also be in touch with the land, particularly the more evil parts of it. There is no better way to be in touch with flying, biting insects than to go camping. They will help hone your hatred."
"Where did you get all this gear?"
A slow smile spread over Sidious's lips. "At the local Coruscant General Surplus store. A young clerk there was particularly helpful. The fitting of the waders was most pleasing. Perhaps I should return to have them readjusted properly."
"They already look like they fit well, my Master."
"No! They don't--they're much, much too loose. Anyway, we leave now. We need to get to the campground before the best spots are taken."
Maul's Apprentice stretched and came into the room. Maul briefly thought of taking her along, until he got a mind-image of a young cat stalking all kinds of nasty creatures and bringing them back into camp. The image of a dead squirrel tucked inside his sleeping bag was enough to erase any thoughts of forcing her to go with them.
Maul and Sidious stood at the counter at the campground, talking to a pimply-faced teenager as he listed the sites that were still open.
"Only 37g, 40b, and rows 42 through 48 are still open. That's all I have--it's a busy weekend."
Maul felt the hate rise inside of him. "But rows 42 through 48 are at least a half mile from the showers. And 37g and 40b are stuck in the middle of all these other campers. We desire privacy."
"There's nothing else left."
Maul waved his hand and said "You will move the people out of 36a into 37g. They want to be closer to the showers."
The stupid teenager said "OK, we'll move the people out of 36a into 37g. They want to be closer to the showers anyway."
"Most excellent, my young apprentice." purred Sidious. He turned to the clerk "So, what time do you get off work?"
The teenager replied in a nasal tone "My parents wouldn't like me dating Sith Lords, sorry. By the way, here's a list of the camp rules. No fires outside of fire rings, disposal of waste-water only at designated locations, and no noise after quiet hours at midnight. Two nights camping will be 75 Republic credits, cash only, no credit cards."
Sidious looked at Maul. Doesn't he ever carry money? thought Maul. He acts like the damn Queen of England sometimes.
Maul stopped dead in his tracks. Oh no! Damn that clerk to hell! Their spot was empty, having been vacated by the last set of campers. But all around him were other tents. And the occupants of those tents sent chills down his spine. Immediately to the left was that twit Obi-Wan and his idiotic master, Qui-Gon. They were arguing over which way to face their tent. To his right, and occupying almost the whole rest of the area, were Gungans. They had chosen this particular location due to its proximity to the lake. Their stupid chatter was filling the area.
Obi-Wan glanced over and grinned when he spotted Maul. "Oh Hi neighbor! Looks like we're neighbors again, eh?"
Maul growled "Just stay in your area, and we'll stay in ours."
"Oh, okay. Did you bring stuff for s'mores? We always have extra. Stop by and we'll have fun tonight--we like to sing camp songs as we roast our marshmallows."
Maul shuddered internally. There was no way he was going to be forced to sing a round of "Kumbaya" with that twit.
Sidious had already started setting up their tents. He had already erected his tent in, of course, the choicest spot. Maul was forced to find another suitable spot for his. He chose an area that looked fairly comfortable, with some small greenery that he could cut down to provide padding. He took out his lightsaber, lit one half, and started to mow down the plants. They vaporized instantly at a single touch.
Obi-Wan came running over. "Hey Maul! You do know how to recognize poison ivy, don't you? That looks like you just mowed down a whole field of it. It's that green stuff with three leaves that are shiny on top. You don't want to get that stuff on you, you know."
Maul stood there in shock. Not only had he just mowed down a choice field of the vile substance, when it vaporized it went everywhere! He had not brought his Sith robes to provide protection. Now his skin and horns were covered in the stuff.
Obi-Wan said "Well, at least you won't start itching until tomorrow. Have fun tonight! We're going to the barn dance, me and Qui-Gon. I can't wait to try the Hokey-Pokey."
Maul's hate began to surface. Sidious looked malevolently at him "Now, my young apprentice, your encounters with the evil that lurks in the Great Outdoors have begun."
Maul swore silent oaths at his Master, his tent, and the directions provided by the tent manufacturing company. The directions said that he was supposed to have three long poles, each one created by snapping eight sections together. He only had two poles and a futile search of the tent-carrying bag had not turned up the other. At least he could get those two through the sleeves that would lift the tent roof. He had been successful with the first pole but this second one was not cooperating. His rage grew as he wrestled to get one end in without disturbing the other pole. He cursed his Master, who was snoring peacefully in the next tent over. Snoring quite loudly, as a matter of fact. He then noticed more snoring. Those Gungans! They were all snoring. A cacophony of snoring arose around him.
Screw it, he thought. I'll sleep under the stars, with only my clothes to protect me. A true Sith must be able to adapt to all environmental conditions. Just as he threw down the tent in disgust, Obi-Wan stuck his head out of his tent and called "Could be worse!"
Maul sneered "And how could this be worse, stupid Jedi apprentice?"
"Could be raining!"
Just then, Maul looked up as lightning flashed and thunder rumbled. The thunderstorm moved rapidly into the area. Maul crawled under the collapsed tent, cursing.
Maul sat in the boat under the hot sky. They'd been out on this lake since early that morning, trying to catch a fish. Sidious looked deliriously happy, fiddling with his lines, casting each one back out in turn. Maul was miserable. The poison ivy from their campsite had begun to itch. Each time Maul gave in to the urge to scratch, he felt blissful relief, only to have the itching return again with vigor. And every time he scratched, Sidious grinned. Who knew that that an infection could do its own mind whammy? The urge to scratch was incredibly powerful--he could feel the Dark Side rise from those disgusting pustules.
They had gotten up at the crack of dawn, since Maul could not sleep with the sunlight streaming through the walls of his tent. He had finally erected the damn thing in the middle of the night's thunderstorms. Because Sidious had forgotten to bring any food with them, they had no breakfast and went hungry. The only prospect for food was to catch it themselves. Maul had taken his lightsaber into the woods, thinking that he would catch a deer or a bear, or something big, but all he was able to slay were small squirrels and some lizards. Both had pretty much vaporized when he hit them with the saber, so they weren't going to be very good meals. After his poison ivy experience, Maul didn't trust any plants.
Maul looked up. At last, his master had a catch on one line! Sidious carefully manipulated the rod, bringing his prey up to the boat.
"Maul, the net!" he cried.
Maul grabbed the net and leapt forward. Sidious reeled in his catch. It was a tiny sunfish, about 5 inches long. It wasn't going to be much dinner for either of them. Disgustedly, Maul grabbed it, only to find out the truth about sunnies. The fish reacted, sticking its many dorsal spines into Maul's hand. Maul howled with pain. "Yes, feel your rage! Strike it down! Give in to the hate!" growled Sidious. Maul just flung the fish overboard and sat back down.
Sidious whistled some happy tunes. He waved at other boaters who recognized him as "Mr. Palpatine, the fine Senator from Naboo." Maul was miserable. As the hours drove on, his hate towards his master grew. Sidious felt the hate and was pleased.
Finally, just as they were about to give up and make the journey to the nearest McDonald's for dinner, one of the lines bent all the way to the water. At last, something large! Sidious carefully maneuvered the line, and brought the large bass to the surface. But in his excitement, Maul was a little bit too enthusiastic when getting up to get the net. He stepped too far to the side of the boat, tipping both he and his master into the water. The fish slipped off the hook to return to the safety of the lake. Sidious glared at Maul.
"You imbecile! Now we have no dinner. I'm soaking wet and we have to get this boat upright somehow."
Maul's rage shot through the roof. As a response, he grabbed the boat with the Force. It shot up 30 feet, then spun around and slammed back down onto the lake, right-side up.
Both Maul and Sidious used the Force to climb back into the boat. The fishing rods were gone, as was the tackle box. The only thing left to do was to return the boat to the rental docks. Sidious was so mad that he used the Force as an outboard motor to avoid having to paddle the quarter mile back.
"Now, my young apprentice, there will be punishment for your misdeeds. You must find us a proper dinner, and you will go to the barn dance tonight."
Maul sat on the log, trying not to give in to his thoughts to strike down Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon with his lightsaber. When they had returned to the campsite, Qui-Gon had heard about their food situation and offered to let them share their dinner. It had been that awful backpacking food that must be rehydrated--Chicken A'la King and chocolate cake. But it tasted like swill. And there hadn't even been enough of it to make a decent meal, since the Jedi had only brought one package of each. So now he was both hungry and stuck with an awful taste in his mouth.
The current horror was that Obi-Wan suggested that they tell ghost stories around the campfire. First, he trotted out that old legend about the man with a hook for a hand, and now Qui-Gon was regaling them with the equally stupid story about a baby-sitter who gets a phone call that the deranged killer is calling from a phone RIGHT IN THE SAME HOUSE! Maul was bored.
"Okay, now it's Mr. Maul's turn. Tell us a really scary one, please?" begged Obi-Wan.
Maul looked at Obi-Wan. "Once, there was a Jedi apprentice who wanted to get married. So he asked the woman he loved to marry him. After they got married, they moved into a log cabin in the woods. One day, the Jedi left to go get some food but he didn't return. His wife was worried, so she went out looking for him. She had given him a white scarf to wear as her wedding present to him. All she found was the scarf, covered in his blood. So she took it back with her to their cabin and locked herself in the attic, with her rocking chair. She still waited for him to come home and claim his scarf, and she stayed up there so long that she died. So if you go to the cabin (it's that one at the top of the ridge over there) you can still hear a rocking sound coming from the attic, because it's her ghost still waiting for him to return. If you go up in the attic, you'll still see her, rocking away, waiting for his return. Go there! Now!" He applied the mind whammy to Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan turned white as a sheet and began to cry. "Oh master Qui-Gon, I'm so scared! She's going to come get me! And she'll kill me so that she can have a husband! I'm not going over there! I want my mommy!" He buried his head in Qui-Gon's lap.
Qui-Gon looked at Maul and said "You didn't have to scare him so much. He's still in training, you know."
Maul just grinned and said "He asked me to tell him a really scary story, so I obliged." Sidious was most pleased as well.
Maul was rejoicing in his victory, when he heard a strange buzzing sound. Not being able to pinpoint its exact location, he tried to ignore it. Then, pain! Right on the back of his neck! He slapped at the small creature and looked at his hand--blood! His blood! Just then, he heard another of the evil creatures approach. This time, he watched as the thing launched an attack on his arm. He leapt out of his chair and lit both sides of his lightsaber. Damnit, but those creatures were too small for his saber to be effective against them.
"Looks like the skeeters are out now," said Qui-Gon. "They usually start to come out at dusk."
Maul stood there, trying to figure out just how to attack these awful things, when he heard a "Zzzzt!" The dead carcass of one of them fell to the ground from his saber. He saw another fly towards his saber. They must be attracted to the light, he reasoned. He watched it approach, then "Zzzzt!" It gave Maul an idea. He asked Sidious and Qui-Gon if either of them had brought some string. Qui-Gon offered a ball of twine. Maul threw one end over the limb of the tree that overshadowed the campsite. He tied the lightsaber up so that it hung slightly above their heads.
Maul, Sidious, and Qui-Gon then spent the rest of the evening in peace and quiet while all manner of flying insects sacrificed their bodies to the lightsaber. Obi-Wan had crawled into his tent, muttering something about not letting "that witch" find him. After awhile, Maul fell asleep in his tent to the sounds of Sidious and Qui-Gon swapping "Stupid Apprentice" stories.
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