Darth Maul vs. the Airport
aka "Darth Takes a Holiday"
by the Plaid Adder
[Read The Plaid Adder's author bio]
Plaidder has written a novel called Women on Fire and has another version of this story that incorporates a few characters from that novel, as well as other Master/Apprentice pairs from contemporary pop culture. If you'd like to read that version, follow this link to her home page. And if you like that story, she's written a follow-up story, also on her home page.
"I have good news, my apprentice," said Darth Sidious.
Darth Maul's stomach clenched. He had tried to get it to stop doing that, but his gut knew that this meant that Sidious was about to offer him new opportunities to hone his rage and hatred, and much as Maul himself enjoyed honing his rage and hatred, it was rough on his gastrointestinal tract. He was already inventing new drink recipes that relied heavily on Pepto-Bismol as their main ingredient. His favorite so far was the Hamster Death Gulp, first concocted in celebration of one of his earlier victorious encounters with the Padawan next door.
"I await it eagerly, my master," said Darth Maul.
"Our paper proposals have been accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Masters and Apprentices Conference," Sidious said. "We will travel together. I have booked tickets for both of us.
"Are we not using the Sith Infiltrator, my master?"
Maul had been waiting to get behind the controls of that baby since the day he matriculated. He suspected that Sidious knew this.
"The Infiltrator will take us only as far as the near side of Terra," Sidious said. "After that we must fly Northwest Airlines. The conference was offering a special rate. It saves us money on rocket fuel, and it will provide you with an opportunity to hone your rage and hatred."
"My rage and hatred are already well honed, my master," said Maul.
"You are too presumptuous, my apprentice," said Sidious. "You think your rage and hatred are complete. You think you are ready to become a Sith. You think so only because you have never seen an airport."
The check-in line snaked back and forth like the road up the Very Steep Mountains of Zenitha. After eight or so hairpin turns, the red ropes that guided these serpentine convolutions ended at a final pair of posts. The crowd of travelers and bags, however, could not be contained even in this warren. Stragglers were lined up all the way down the hall to a point several hundred yards distant from the end of those red ropes. It was at this point that Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and Darth Sidious's three massive suitcases full of robes were standing.
"The line is moving very slowly, my master," Maul observed.
"Look over at the counter, my apprentice," said Sidious. "What do you see?"
"I see that of eight separate desks only two are open, my master."
Sidious smiled. "The Dark Side is strong within their management team."
Maul added, "I see also that our plane is scheduled to begin boarding in fifteen minutes, my master."
"Go and expedite this process, my apprentice. Take the luggage."
Maul dragged the bags down the hall and up to one of the two desks in operation.
"I will check in now," said Maul.
"Sir, the line starts that way."
The woman behind the desk looked at him. There was something about the vapidity of the face that frightened even the Sith.
"You will check me in now," he said, waving his hand.
"The end of the line is that way," she repeated.
"But I was here before them," said Maul, waving his hand again.
"No you were not. Please join the end of the line or I will have to call security."
Obviously the Sith Mind Trick was not working on her. Perhaps her brain was too small. That was often the way with the lower creatures.
"End of the line, sir."
Maul dragged the bags back down the hall.
"My hatred is growing complete," said Maul, as Sidious greeted him.
"It is far from complete, my apprentice. You will see."
"Our plane begins boarding in five minutes, my master."
The line had barely moved at all, except for when the two women in front of him finally figured out that they didn't need to stand in this line because they weren't checking luggage. Now they were long gone, but Maul and Sidious were as mired as ever. Maul sprinted back up to the front of the line.
"You will open another desk," said Maul.
"I've told you once, the end of the line is that way."
Remember your training, thought Maul.
Maul looked at the row of empty desks. He looked at the line of travelers. He realized that there was only one way.
With a stunning mid-air somersault, Maul vaulted over the desks, landed behind one of the counters, and switched on the computer.
"I WILL HELP THE NEXT PERSON," he shouted.
Travelers began lining up. A large mouse wearing a conical wizard's hat handed him an oblong scrap of stiff paper. Maul realized he had no idea what to do with either the scrap of paper or the computer.
"I'm checking one bag through to Orlando," squeaked the mouse.
Maul tossed the bag behind him onto the conveyer belt, where it landed with a crunching sound. "You are seated in row 11, seat C. Go." The mouse hesitated, as if he expected something more. "GO!"
The mouse went.
"You!" shouted Maul, as he threw the next set of bags onto the belt and dropped the ticket in the trash. "Row 12, seat C!"
"But I want a window seat," said the man.
"You will sit on the aisle and like it! Go!"
The next customer didn't hand him anything. "I'm traveling on an electronic ticket."
"So, now you have an electronic boarding pass. GO!"
The next person up at the counter looked familiar. Buzz cut, rat tail, brown robes, adoring looks over at the tall bearded man next to him...ah yes. The Padawan brat from next door.
"One bag to check through to Orlando," said the boy.
"Row 11, seat C!" Maul hurled the black satchel onto the belt so hard it almost ripped.
"But you just gave 11C to that mouse there," said the boy."
"You must fight him to the death for it. New airline policy. GO!"
Timidly, the boy went trotting off toward the gate. The bearded man advanced, with trepidation.
"I'm changing in Detroit. Will my luggage..."
Maul had already hurled the bags through the wall behind the conveyer belt, which now had a large suitcase-sized hole in it. "Your luggage will join you in the afterlife! Seat 34 D! Go!"
As the bearded man walked off, looking forlornly over his shoulder at his suitcase, Maul heard a man further back in the line address his companion.
"Gee, Batman, are you sure he's a real ticket agent? He's not wearing a uniform, and he looks kinda suspicious."
"Don't judge people by outward appearances, Robin. Besides, his line is moving much faster than the other two."
It certainly was. Sidious had already advanced to one of the other desks and was checking in his luggage.
"I'm afraid Coach class is almost full," said the agent. "We can upgrade one of you to first class. Would that be acceptable?"
Sidious looked over at Maul, who was too engrossed in his new responsibilities to have noticed this exchange.
"Seat 29Q! Yes, there is a Q! It is a wide plane! GO!"
"That would be lovely," said Sidious.
"Your companion will be in 11B," she replied. "Sorry it's a middle seat, but it's a full flight. There you go, Mr. Sidious. Thank you for flying Northwest."
"Maul," Sidious called.
"Row 231 is on the tailfin! Yes, on it! Why else do they give you seatbelts and oxygen masks? GO!"
"Come, my apprentice."
Maul flipped down the POSITION CLOSED SIGN and vaulted over the counter to follow his master. A tidal wave of vituperative and profane abuse crested after him from the passengers who had joined his line.
"Well done, my apprentice," said Sidious.
"It was easy, my master," said Maul. "The Dark Side is strong in this place."
"What is this, my master?" said Maul, dismayed.
"It is the line to pass through the security checkpoint," said Sidious. With a smile, he added, "You surely did not think that would be the only line you would stand in, my young apprentice?"
Maul said nothing, taking his position in the line. It was now not so much a line as an angry mob.
"I can't let you through here without your boarding pass," shouted a uniformed man by the metal detector. "You need to go back to the gate and get them."
Maul began elbowing his way through the mob, Sidious following in his wake.
The arch made a loud beeping noise. A woman in a uniform held out a tray.
"Empty your pockets and try it again, sir."
Maul dumped out his car keys, his cigarette lighter, and his "Sithlords Kick Ass" refrigerator magnet, and returned to the arch.
It beeped again.
"Step aside, please."
By The Little Inferno. Click to see larger image.
Maul considered the mind trick, but this woman looked if possible less intelligent than the gate agent. He held out his arms as directed while she passed a wand over him. Absorbed by his rage and hatred, Maul did not at first notice that the woman was passing the thing over his groin, and that it was making some strange noises.
"Sir?" The uniformed woman looked at him inquisitively.
Grumbling, Maul hitched up his robes, pulled the lightstaff out of his shorts and dropped it in the bucket.
"Please pass through the archway again, sir."
Ah well. He looked up to the gate. In the distance, a voice said, "We are now boarding our first class passengers for flight 1066 to Orlando..."
Maul didn't see Sidious trotting past him. He was too busy watching the Padawan punk slice the mouse in half with his lightsaber.
"Are you going to the conference too?" asked the little Padawan punk.
Maul's rage and hatred were honing themselves to quite an edge. Not only had his master slunk off to first class and left him in coach class, but he had left him stranded next to the Padawan punk.
"What are you presenting on?" persisted the Padawan.
"My Hatred Is Complete: How To Know When You're Ready to Rise Up And Slay Your Master."
"Oh," said the Padawan, and began looking out the window.
Sidious pressed the button, luxuriating in his reclining chair and broad armrests. "Another Hamster Death Gulp, sir?" asked the attendant.
"Please," said Sidious.
"We are experiencing some turbulence," said a voice over the intercom. "Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fashioned."
Maul removed his plastic cup from his lap. His Diet Pepsi was soaking through his robes, giving him an unpleasant incontinent feeling. The Padawan was looking a little green about the gills.
The flight attendant paused at Maul's row. "Yes?"
"I must have a Hamster Death Gulp," he said.
"We don't serve that," she answered.
"Then I want a cup of Pepto-Bismol with a shot of tequila."
"Certainly, sir. That'll be 50 republic credits."
The bearded man in the Jedi robes suddenly hurtled precipitously up the aisle. The "OCCUPIED" light went on.
"Gee, I hope my master is all right," said the Padawan.
Maul took advantage of his concern to abstract his wallet while the girl on the other side answered him.
"Here you go," said Maul, handing her a two hundred credit note. "Keep the change."
The woman tucked the bill into her pocket and thought about this for a moment.
"So how do you make a Hamster Death Gulp?" she asked.
"First, you need a pint of Pepto-Bismol..." Maul began.
After two Hamster Death Gulps, Darth Maul didn't even mind the bumpy landing. He rushed gratefully off the plane and spotted Sidious standing by a water fountain. Sidious began walking briskly. "Our connecting flight is at gate D6."
Maul glanced up at the monitors.
"It is also delayed more than an hour, my master," he said.
"The aircraft has not arrived from Minneapolis," said the gate agent.
"When will it arrive?" asked Maul.
"We have no way of knowing."
"But the board says it will leave at 6:45?"
"That's just an estimate, sir."
"Based on what?" Maul demanded.
"Based on our desire to stave off mob violence for as long as possible, sir."
And indeed, the other gate agent was already changing the sign to read "7:00."
"You must put me on another plane," said Maul. "There is another flight to the same destination leaving from gate D2. Put me on that one."
"That flight's already sold out. Just wait in the gate area till your aircraft gets in and you can board."
"I cannot wait in the gate area," said Maul. "I have already eaten two chili dogs and read this week's People. My GameBoy's batteries are dead. If you do not put me on that other flight, my rage and hatred will become complete, and I will have to rise up and slay my master before he can deliver his paper at the conference."
"I don't know what to tell you," said the gate agent.
"Hey!" shouted someone in line behind him. "Are you going to stay up there yakking all day, or what?"
"Yeah!" shouted someone else. "Get your ass out of line, pal, before I miss my connection!"
Maul turned around and bellowed out a fearsome howl of rage. "SILENCE!!!"
"No, you silence!" yelled back yet a third person. "Get the @#$! out of the line, you spiky-headed freak!"
Maul was about to respond, but something told him not to. The angry faces of the crowd lined up behind him at the gate struck terror into his heart. They had suffered through the same flight, many of them; others had been stranded here by flights canceled or connections delayed; still others had been overnighting at the airport since storms grounded their planes the previous day.
By the flames of hell, Maul thought to himself. Their rage and hatred is as strong as mine.
Maul lifted his lightstaff into the air, as the red spikes shot out both ends.
"YES, MY FELLOW-TRAVELERS! YES!" he bellowed, slicing about with his staff. "LET YOUR RAGE AND HATRED FLOW THROUGH YOU! JOIN ME ON THE DARK SIDE!!!!!"
When Maul rushed off to the other departure gate, the mob streamed after him. They followed him past the smoking, bisected body of the gate attendant down the jetway to the plane.
"OFF! OFF!" Maul sliced his staff above the heads of startled passengers. "EVERYONE OUT! THIS PLANE HAS BEEN COMMANDEERED BY THE DARK SIDE!"
The passengers began fleeing. The plane emptied.
Maul stood in the doorway, brandishing his staff. "COME, MY APPRENTICES! GIVE IN TO THE DARK SIDE!"
The crowd stampeded eagerly past him into the interior of the plane. Darth was pleased to see it filling up with new recruits. Until he realized there was no place left for him to sit.
"You!" he shouted, collaring the Padawan brat and dragging him back to the jetway. "You do not have a seat on this flight!"
"But I want to be on the Dark Side!" the Padawan whined.
"Your rage is weak and your hatred insufficient," shouted Maul. "Begone!"
Maul tossed the Padawan into the jetway and closed the plane door on him.
Maul sat down in first class next to Sidious, who had taken the window seat.
"The plane has not yet taken flight, my master," he said after a short time.
"Go and expedite our departure, my apprentice."
Maul strode up to the cockpit. "Make the plane fly."
The trembling pilot murmured, "But we're 25th in line for takeoff."
"FLY!" roared Maul.
"Ladies and gentlemen," whimpered the pilot as he picked up the intercom, "please take your seats and make sure your tray tables are locked and in the upright position..."
As the plane began taxing off the runway, Maul noticed that the Padawan's master was seated in the row behind him. And that the Padawan himself was out on the tarmac, in the rain.
"It is a curious thing, my master," said Maul.
"Yes?" Sidious murmured.
"No matter how often I hear that sound, I never tire of it."
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