Darth Maul Does Jury Duty (But Doesn't Do Obi-Wan)
by The Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM
(idea simultaneously suggested by Kathy Dittrich, email@example.com)
[Read Melissa's author bio]
Disclaimer: George owns them. I just like to tinker with them when he's not looking.
Maul stood in his state-of-the-art kitchen, stirring a pot of cream of jawa soup and counting down to the latest twist in his destiny. "Five, four, three, two, one, zero... um... negative one, negati-"
"Maul!" Sidious called from the doorway into the apartment.
Maul grumbled. The Dark Force gave him limited clairvoyance, which he'd been trying to use to anticipate his master's visits. He thought he'd had it this time, but he was still off by a couple of seconds. "In the kitchen!" Maul called, using the Force to propel some of the tantalizing smells in his master's direction.
"Maul, I have wonderful news!" Sidious stopped and sniffed. "Oooh, what IS that I smell?"
"My latest experiment. Care to taste?" Maul grabbed a conveniently placed bowl and began to ladle out soup without waiting for an answer.
"Oh, I just ate, I couldn't..." Sidious looked at the bowl placed before him, inhaled the tantalizing fragrance, and sat down at the kitchen table. "Well, perhaps just a sample."
Maul carefully hid his pleasure. His plan to do in his master by inducing coronary blockage was proceeding at a steady, if slow, pace. The fat content of a jawa was surprisingly high, given its arid environment. "You mentioned good news, my master?"
Sidious nodded, swallowed his soup, and gleefully announced, "Qui-Gon Jinn has been arrested!"
"Arrested?" Maul dropped into the other kitchen chair in surprise. "His Holiness Qui-High-and-Mighty-Too-Good-For-The-Council-Gon-Jinn? What for?"
A wicked grin crawled across Sidious's face. "For using the Jedi Mind Trick once too often, my apprentice. You know how he is -- he scams his way into nightclubs without paying the cover charge, gets people to lend him their transports, convinces shopkeepers that his pocketful of small change is sufficient to cover his purchases, that sort of thing. The complaints have been stacking up, but no one has been willing to go up against the Jedi. Until now, that is." Sidious paused for another slurp. "Mmm, that's good. Anyway, Jinn finally pushed his luck too far. He was down at the Kaadu racetrack and tried to convince the bookie that he had bet on the winner, when he hadn't. You'd think that if he's so strong with the Force, he'd foresee the future a bit more accurately! Anyway, not only was the bookie a Toydarian, and thus immune to mind tricks, but also he had a security camera that recorded the entire event. They caught him red-handed, and the bookie wants to press charges!" The Sith lord laughed so hard that little blue zaps of light flew out of his nose and died hissing in the soup.
Maul let his most evil smile wrap itself around his face. "Yes! The Jedi will be publicly discredited and demoralized! Not to mention the pleasure of seeing that hippie freak Qui-Gon behind bars..." Suddenly, he thought of something and grimaced. "Master, don't you have a... a thing with Jinn?"
Sidious waved his hand dismissively. "He keeps trying to tempt me over to the Light Side! Yes, he's good in bed, but I can get that sort of action any time I want. Besides, after a few years in jail, he might come back knowing a few more... techniques."
Maul did not want to think about that. "Once he is convicted, will we then reveal ourselves, master?" he asked hopefully, changing the subject.
Sidious shook his head. "This is just the start, my apprentice. Besides, it is not yet a sure thing that Jinn will be convicted." He pointed at Maul with the soup spoon. "That is where you come in."
"Tell me." Maul enjoyed these all-too-rare moments when master and apprentice truly worked together for the same goal -- as long as it didn't involve too much menial work on his part.
"I have arranged for you to be summoned for jury duty on this trial." Sidious reached into his pocket and produced an official letter from the Court System of Coruscant, addressed to Maul. "You must make the final cut and then ensure that the jury votes to convict."
Maul took the letter and flipped it open. Damn, there were a lot of rules -- all of them just waiting to be broken! "I will not fail you, my master," purred Maul. This was going to be fun.
Maul waited in the hot, crowded room, surrounded by irritated juror candidates. Gleefully, Maul tapped into the simmering pool of emotion and fed it back into his companions' minds, making sure that those chosen to judge Qui-Gon's fate would be in a miserable and unforgiving frame of mind. He even managed to start a mini-riot amongst the lucky few who scored seats on the bench by convincing each of them that the others were humming Ewok party tunes.
Maul then wandered through the room, checking out the potential jurors individually. A pathetic lot, for the most part, but the most pathetic and weak-minded candidates were the ones he wanted to have on the jury with him. Summoning his powers, he scanned the minds of his fellow candidates, seeking out those who showed the greatest signs of intelligence.
A businesswoman scanning the day's stock market results caught his eye. Casually, Maul sidled up to her. "When they question you," he whispered, hitting her with a deft Mind Whammy, "be sure to mention how traumatized you were when the Jedi took your little brother away for training in the temple."
The woman nodded. "My little brother..." A sad, faraway gaze came over her eyes. One down, thought Maul.
Next, the droid programmer in the corner: "You really should be honest with them about that conviction for hacking into the Jedi central server. You do remember that, don't you?"
The musician: "Don't forget to tell them how much time you spend at the Kaadu races, and how very irritated you get with people who aren't good sports about losing."
The university professor: "When they ask you a question, what they really mean is that they want to hear your best imitation of Queen Amidala singing 'I Shot the Sheriff'."
The CEO: "They're not people! They're droids! All of them! And they're watching you!"
By the time he was called for questioning himself, most of the intelligent people in the room were weeping, growling, or mumbling incoherently to themselves. I am hot shit, Maul congratulated himself as he surveyed his handiwork. To top it all off, he Mind Whammied the lawyers and court officials into agreeing that, as a student (privately tutored) from an unusual background (adopted by a senator) and ethnic heritage (raised by Tauntauns) with no visible means of support or obvious career plans, he was a supremely qualified candidate for the jury.
At last, the jury was called into the judge's chambers for their instructions. Maul was generally pleased with the final cut. They included a gum-chewing store clerk with her nose buried in the latest tabloid paper ("Chancellor Valorum's Banana Scandal!"), an elderly Gungan with a tendency to drool, a wide-eyed woman whose entire experience of the world came from soap operas, and a wormlike creature that communicated entirely through scent. Furthermore, thanks to the lawyers for both parties, the jurors were those people who had no previous exposure to or attitudes about either the Jedi or gambling -- in other words, uninformed, unquestioning minds that Maul could easily sway to his way of thinking.
When the jury filed into the courtroom, Maul spotted Obi-Wan sitting morosely in the public area with a familiar "I-won't-cry-really-I-won't" expression on his face. The twit padawan saw that Maul was a jury member, and a hopeful light shone from his face. He waved to his neighbor. Maul ignored him and took his seat.
Obi-Wan made begging motions with his hands. Maul flicked lint off of his cloak.
Obi-Wan pulled out a pencil and put it in his mouth, sucking on it thoughtfully and casting significant glances in Maul's direction. Maul shuddered, closed his eyes, and thought very very hard about ice planets and refrigerator-based civilizations. He would not be distracted from this victory.
Finally, the trial got underway. The judge was a no-nonsense Mon-Calamari. Qui-Gon Jinn sat in the defendant's seat, doing his usual stoic-as-a-brick routine. Blotto, the Toydarian bookie, sat in the plaintiff's seat, fluttering his wings restlessly. Obi-Wan blubbered in the front row behind his beloved master. In the middle sat kindly Senator Palpatine, putting in an appearance as a concerned civil servant. In the back row sat Yoda, Yaddle, Mace Windu, and Ki-Adi-Mundi. Their expressions were concerned, and Maul was pleased to have so many high-ranking witnesses for Qui-Gon's humiliation.
The judge called the court to order and indicated that the plaintiff's lawyer should make her opening statement. The lawyer, a Wookiee, yelped and growled at the jury; a copper-toned protocol droid provided translation. "Gentlebeings of the jury, we all have great respect for the important role that the Jedi play in our society. But it is precisely because of this that the Jedi must be held to the strictest standards of the law! During the course of this trial, we will present compelling and irrefutable evidence that will prove beyond any doubt that this man, Qui-Gon Jinn, attempted to defraud my client with an unfair and illegal use of his special powers. Thank you." The Wookiee sat down. Blotto nodded and sneered at Qui-Gon.
From that point on, Maul more or less ignored the proceedings, instead enjoying Qui-Gon's increasing discomfort as each piece of evidence was brought forth. A pile of gambling receipts showed that Qui-Gon had been on quite a losing streak recently. On the day in question, he'd bet everything on a Kaadu called "Tarpals' Toy," which had limped in a length behind the rest of the racers. A videotape from the racetrack booth clearly showed Qui-Gon waving his hands at Blotto, first telling the Toydarian that he'd actually bet on the winner, "Otoh Boomer," and then trying to convince him that his small pile of Republic Credits would do fine to cover his debt. Qui-Gon's lawyer tried to explain it all as a big misunderstanding, and that Qui-Gon had simply misread his gambling ticket, which was written in Huttese. Wonderful! Maul thought with glee. Even his own lawyer is humiliating him!
After several hours had gone by, Maul was beginning to tire of the endless arguments and counter-arguments. He would have liked to Mind Whammy the judge into declaring the trial over, but with so many Jedi in the room he was sure he couldn't get away with it. Instead he passed the time by imagining Qui-Gon in striped prison clothes, making a license plate for his Sith speeder.
Finally, the closing arguments were made, and the jury retired to deliberate. Once in the jury room, Maul set to work. His Mind Whammy muscles were getting sore, and a headache was beginning to pound at the base of his skull, but he wasn't about to let this opportunity go by. "You will elect me as the jury foreman!" He waved his hand authoritatively. The jurors murmured their assent.
"You've seen the evidence!" Maul pointed toward the incriminating gambling receipts and videotape. "Qui-Gon Jinn is guilty!"
"Yah, whatever," said the store clerk absently as she returned to her reading matter ("Gamorrean Beauty Secrets!").
"Guilty as sin!" agreed the soap opera fan. "Just like Dmitri on The Brave and the Gorgeous two months ago. He strangled Tiffany, though he actually thought it was her twin sister Agatha..."
The elderly Gungan's head was nodding, which Maul took as a sign of agreement, though it could possibly have been palsy.
The wormlike creature gave off a pleasant scent of acceptance.
In short order, the jury marched back into the courtroom. "Gentlebeings of the jury, have you reached a verdict?" asked the judge.
"We have, your honor." Maul stood, and for a few brief seconds allowed himself to enjoy the fear, tension, and dread that filled the room. "We find the defendant..." he paused, smiled, and spoke in his deepest and most dread-inducing voice, "guilty."
"Nooooooooooooooooo!" cried Obi-Wan.
The courtroom erupted. Qui-Gon Jinn stared in disbelief at his lawyer. The Wookiee lawyer howled in victory, and Blotto flew almost up to the ceiling. Obi-Wan collapsed on the floor, wailing. Palpatine could barely contain his smile. It was the most amazing Dark Force head rush Maul had felt in a long time.
The judge banged her gavel. "Order! Order in the court!" Eventually the room quieted, though Obi-Wan's sniffling could still be heard. "I will now pass sentence. Qui-Gon Jinn, on the charges of attempted fraud and aggravated mental assault, I hereby sentence you to..."
The Mon Calamari judge paused and stared into space. Her eyestalks furrowed, and her lip gave the slightest tremble. Maul felt a powerful disturbance in the Force, and realized that the judge was being Mind Whammied! But by whom? Obi-Wan was still sobbing quietly and didn't seem to notice anything. Qui-Gon looked just as puzzled as Maul was. It didn't have the cool, inky feeling of the Dark Side, so it wasn't Sidious. Maul looked at the back of the room, where the four Jedi Masters peered intently at the judge.
The Jedi Council members were fixing the trial!
Too late, Maul reached out with his Sith powers and tried to block the Mind Whammy. Sidious too was concentrating, but it was too late.
"... to one hundred hours community service and six months probation," finished the judge, her head listing ever so slightly to one side.
Maul rose from his chair, fists clenched in fury. How dare the Jedi fix the trial! How dare they deny the Sith their victory! He was poised to leap out and reveal the fraud when four pairs of Jedi eyes focused on him. In a frozen moment, Maul heard four commanding voices give the same message.
Sit down and shut up.
Blinking in puzzlement, Maul found himself sitting down and shutting up.
"This court is dismissed!" declared the judge.
By the time Maul shook off the effect of the collective Jedi Mind Whammy, people had begun to file out of the courtroom. Blotto and his Wookiee lawyer seemed dissatisfied with the light sentence and were huddling in the corner. Qui-Gon was arguing heatedly with Mace Windu, while Obi-Wan clung to his robes and expressed relief that his master would not serve jail time. A frowning Palpatine made a quick exit through the side door.
Maul closed his eyes and leaned his face into his hands. His horns were starting to ache. All that effort, and the hippie freak only got probation and community service! The way the Jedi had manipulated the trial -- it was positively Sith-like!
He looked up. The tear-streaked padawan was standing uneasily in front of him. "I just want you to know that I... I understand that you did what you had to do. *sniff* You did your duty as a citizen, and I won't hold it against you." Obi-Wan held out his hand.
Maul snarled and stalked out of the courtroom, black robes billowing in his wake.
"Gosh, he's terribly upset by what he just had to do," Obi-Wan said to himself, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his robe. "I'll have to be extra-nice to him later."
Sidious showed up at Maul's apartment that evening. "The media buried the story in the back pages," he hissed, tossing the evening paper onto the sofa next to where Maul was sitting.
Maul didn't bother to read it. "I don't suppose the reporters happened to notice the blatant use of Jedi Mind Tricks during the proceedings, did they?"
"Of course not. You and I are the only ones who could possibly remember the whole thing. However, all is not yet lost."
Maul looked up at his master, intrigued. "What do you mean?"
Sidious leaned against the back of Maul's sofa and smiled. "Qui-Gon Jinn is on probation. For the next six months he has to behave himself, or else it's back to court for him." He leaned closer to Maul. "Just think of the possibilities!"
Maul was, and at last the frustrated pounding in his horns began to ease. "Of course! All we have to do is tempt him into misusing his powers once -- just once --"
"-- in front of a conveniently placed camera --" Sidious interjected.
"-- and it'll be jail time for the Jedi!" Maul concluded triumphantly.
"Six months. Surely we two can come up with something in that time, eh, my apprentice?"
"I look forward to it, my master." Maul replied, sharing his master's wicked grin.
(To be continued??)
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