Duplication of Effort
by Darth J. Landry

How fine it is to see so many strapping young men in one place! When my former apprentice was carelessly cut in two by his lover a few weeks ago, I wondered if I had made an error in selecting him as your prototype. But now, as I look at all your handsome faces, I see only a dream come true.

I wish that I could brief each of you personally in my own home. However, since we are already behind schedule, this assembly will have to suffice.

Before I begin, why don't we go around the room and each of you introduce yourselves? Then we can - no, no, stop that, I was only joking. A little parliamentary humor to get the meeting going.

Yes, you up front with the horns? Did you have a question? Please stand. What is your name, you tasty young thing? Ah - I almost forgot. Yes. Under your seats, each of you will find a small envelope. Inside the envelope is a card with a name on it, written in exquisite script by my dear friend Dartha Stewart. That name is your nickname. Those of you whose nicknames begin with a vowel - what's that? No, the name Dartha Stewart is not your nickname. Your nickname is the one written on that card.

So, what was your question? Yes, the Kaminoans' use of yellow-accented armor to identify commanders was poorly conceived. I have reason to believe that they are color-blind. As I speak, Dartha is providing new uniforms which you will find much more comfortable, and far more flattering to your complexion and physique.

You in the back with the tattooed head? You'll have to speak up; I haven't had my ear hairs trimmed in some time. What was your question? I - of course I want you to open your envelopes now! My, you are exceedingly obedient, aren't you? I will have to have a little chat with Taun We before she starts the next batch.

Oh dear. How is it that half of you have blank cards? Are you sure? Let me see- ah, that's the wrong side. Please turn your card over to read your name. No, not all of you, just those of you with blank cards. Go ahead - whee! There's your name. What fun! Upon Lord Bane's grave, I'd better get a discount on my next order.

Speaking of trimming ear hairs, most of you will lead delightful lives as soldiers of the Republic. You'll get to see exotic lands, meet interesting people, and destroy them all. How I miss those carefree days of my youth! Others, those of you whose nicknames begin with vowels, will not be traveling, but will remain in plush surroundings on Coruscant as my personal assistants, performing a variety of pleasurable tasks, such as grooming and making art films.

Pardon? Why what? What? No, "Y" is not a vowel. Did they really? Well, that's not the case in the Naboo dialect. I'm giving the orders now, and I order you to forget they ever told you that.

Also under your seat - yes, of course you may look - please find a tote bag with a folder and a T-shirt inside. Demographic research and prior experience have revealed that a "Sith Lords Kick Ass" shirt boosts morale. The folder contains some relevant excerpts from the Sith Handbook, which I have specially edited for your needs. Let's go over a few key rules:

1. Sith trainees do not attempt to rise up and slay their master, no matter how much hate flows through their lean, delicious bodies.

2. Sith trainees do not attempt to arrange to have their master slain, but they do let their master know if they know of a really good bounty hunter, just in case their master has been looking for one.

3. Sith do not keep pets. Even black fur is visible on Sithly robes, and I'm not going through that again.

4. Sith do not consort with Jedi of any rank or gender, unless they want to end up pissing through a stump. I'm only going to tell you once.

5. Sith vote early, vote often, and vote Republican.

6. There can be only two Sith lords - a master and an apprentice - but the ideal number of Sith trainees is about 200,000.

7. Semantics are Sithly.

Please review the rest of the rules at your leisure.

Those of you whose names begin with vowels other than "Y," you are dismissed. Please retire to your quarters and have a nice scented bath and shave and put on the little red Spandex trunks that Dartha designed for you. Yes, that's exactly the kind of shave I mean. Use the stencil on your bathroom mirror as a guide.

Now, all you soldiers, listen carefully... I have two identities. As you see me now, I am Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. I am the beloved leader of the Senate of the Republic, always promoting peace and unity through trust and cooperation. When I'm off the clock, I lounge in black robes similar to the ones depicted on your tote bags, I wheel and deal in evil, I divide the galaxy politically for my own nefarious purposes, and I go by the name "Darth Sidious." You might say I'm two great men in one, but Palpatine is only a facade, and Sidious is my true self.

Therefore, you may receive conflicting orders from me in my different guises. This should not be confusing. Remember that you are soldiers of the Republic, but in name only. When I am Sidious, carry out my orders but pretend that you are serving the Republic. When I'm Palpatine, pretend to accept my orders, but don't really carry them out, even if I'm wearing black robes, because I sometimes have to wear black to senatorial sessions.

What do you mean, you don't understand? All right, let me make it easier for you. When I'm wearing my hood, I'm Sidious, your real boss. When my hood is off, I'm Palpatine, your fake boss. Got that? Hood - Sidious. No hood - Palpatine. Is that so hard?

Except that sometimes I have to wear a hood even as Palpatine, like when we're at an outdoor wingding and it's raining. Tell you what, if that ever comes up, I'll wink. If I wink while I'm Palpatine, assume I'm speaking as Sidious. What do you mean what if it's dark? Why would I wink in the dark? You're making this much too complicated.

You with the yellow teeth? What's on your mind? Yes... the rumors are true. On rare occasions, I may dress up and attend a casual festive event at a social club or at some Jedi's home. Please ignore any orders I may give during such an evening, even when I am winking, as I tend to wink a lot when I am partying. This is not complicated at all. If you see a bong the size of an astromech droid, that's your signal that I'm partying.

You're right - I'm not wearing my hood at the moment. It's very warm in here and we're alone. When it's just us and my new partner Count Dooku, you may again assume that I am speaking as Sidious, no matter what I am wearing. Well, if you don't think you should follow the orders that I just gave, what difference does it make whether my hood is on or off? Don't you have any common sense at all? Okay, look, I'm winking now. Are you happy?

Force, we're out of time! It was wonderful meeting all of you. Please report to the armory before you return to your quarters. Keep in mind what I said about finding a good bounty hunter. May the Force be with you! Goodnight!

I hope the Kaminoans have a good refund/exchange policy.