Life Lessons at the Sith Academy, Part XX
by Siubhan
panel titles by the Plaid Adder and Joan the English Chick
Inspiration by the Plaid Adder, Joan the English Chick, and the Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM, and R'Hul
[Read Siubhan's author bio]

"Good morning, and welcome to the first annual conference on Women in the Republic. I'm Mary Sue Stewart, CEO of MacroStiff, and I'm extremely pleased to be hosting this gathering."

Applause rippled through the overwhelmingly female audience.

Mary Sue, resplendent in her black Scully suit, continued, "As you all know, the Republic is excellent at paying lip service to legal equality for all genders and species, but socially, women still lag far behind men in nearly all professions. It may seem odd to hear that coming from my mouth, as I'm generally acknowledged to be one of the most powerful women in business, but as you know, I got this job the old fashioned way: I inherited it. What you probably don't know is that before marrying Bill, I was a stripper. I had spent years trying to eke out a living through traditional means, but as a woman, my opportunities were extremely limited, despite the fact that I had a famous, powerful mother. So I decided to buck the system and go for the money. I'm not ashamed of what I did, but I'd like to use my newfound position of power to help create a Republic where women don't need to compromise their ideals like I did. To that end, not only am I having this conference, but I'm also creating a scholarship fund for the girls of Coruscant, so that even if their filthy-rich mothers turn into tightwads and decide that they'd rather see their daughters strip than help fund their graduate studies, the girls of Coruscant will have somewhere to turn for money that doesn't involve bikinis and Hutts."

The audience burst into enthusiastic applause. Helga Solo leaned over to her daughter Gretel and said, "Hear that, honey?"

"Yeah yeah," Gretel said, not tearing her attention away from the mini erector set in her lap. She dug into the pockets of her overalls and fished out a few more pieces.

"What are you building this time?"

Gretel held up the mostly completed model and said, "I call it an AT-ST."

"That's like the AT-AT you built last week, isn't it?"

"Yeah, only this only has two legs instead of four. It's way faster."

"That's good, isn't it?"

"Well yeah, but it's pretty unstable. I mean, a band of Ewoks could take this out!"

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. When we get home, I'll pull out my Lincoln Logs and show you."

Mary Sue held up a copy of the program and said, "If you've already had a chance to look at the schedule, you'll see that we have quite a wide variety of panels to choose from. But before we break for panels, I wanted to bring everyone together for this opening session so we can all say a few words. I'd like to start by introducing the women of the Jedi Council: Adi Gallia, Depa Bilaba, and Yaddle."

The three women stood up and made their way to the front, sitting (or in Yaddle's case, standing on her chair) in front of microphones. "Thank you, Ms. Stewart, for inviting us here," Depa said. "The Jedi have long been acknowledged to be a bastion of male privilege. The vast majority of Jedi are male. We three are the only women on the council, but Adi Gallia and I were only added quite recently. For a long time, Yaddle was the token woman on the council."

"Very difficult, it was, to get on the council," Yaddle noted. "Very much an old boys network they had. Very entrenched were they in their system. Grave danger they feared if estrogen were to be let into their midst. Strange magical properties, they seem to think it has. Full of bantha poodoo, they are."

"Ostensibly, they have embraced equality between the genders," Adi said. "However, the high ratio of male to female padawans shows that the Jedi are still far from enlightened. Males are actively recruited, while females have to fight to be enrolled. Many Jedi try to hide behind the midichlorian defense, saying that males tend to have higher midichlorian counts than females, but random sampling of the population has proven this incorrect too. The male Jedi simply look for Force-sensitivity where they expect to find it. It is no coincidence that most female Jedi are recruited by female Jedi."

"For instance," Depa interjected, "when a Force-sensitive child is found, often the first words out of a male Jedi's mouth are 'Who is the father?' Never mind that the mother is standing right there in front of him and most likely is an undiscovered Force-sensitive herself. They simply can't see it, focused as they are on their precious little male Jedi-to-be."

"Think you the mothers would bitch-slap them on the spot," Yaddle added. "Do them some good, it would."

Mary Sue walked back to the lectern and asked, "One hidden benefit that the public sees to being a female Jedi is the relative lack of sexual harassment, due to the fact that so many Jedi men are gay, especially on the council. Is this true, or a public misperception?"

"For starters," Depa said, "rumors of the queerness of Jedi men have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, the percentage on the council is fairly high compared to society in general, but the Jedi population as a whole shows no greater amounts of same-sex monosexual attraction than the general population."

Adi continued, "And those that are straight or bi harass women just as vigorously as the average man. Council member Eeth Koth, for example, has an exaggerated sense of his own desirability and seems to develop short term memory problems every time you remind him that you've rejected him several dozen times before. I mean, how many times do you have to kick a man in the 'nads before he gets the point? And we won't even talk about Yarael Poof and the things he does with that long neck of his when he wants your attention!" All three women shuddered.

Helga's eyes grew wide and she covered little Gretel's ears.

"Plus, demeaning to women their fondness for drag is!" Yaddle exclaimed.

Mary Sue was momentarily taken aback, but asked, "Surely you don't mean that?"

"Trivializes our experience as women, it does. Mock they the very thing they fear in us. Diminish us, they do, to what we wear. Understand us, they do not. Plus, overuse of high heels bad for the feet is."

"Well, I can't argue with that," Mary Sue agreed.

Adi leaned forward and said, "The public may be glad to know that we've instituted sensitivity training for the male Jedi in order to try to retrain them, thus making the Jedi a more gender-equitable organization. We've arranged a little demonstration." She waved her arm, and Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Eeth Koth walked in. "Good afternoon gentlemen."

"Good afternoon," Obi-Wan grinned. "Hey sis!"

"Hi, bro!" Mary Sue grinned back.

"Ladies," Eeth Koth leered.


"YEOW!!!!" Eeth leapt several feet into the air, grabbing reflexively at his ass.

Adi grinned. "You see, since they're so set in their ways, traditional sensitivity training isn't enough, so with MacroStiff's help, we've implanted electrodes into all the male Jedi. They deliver a powerful electrical shock whenever they say or do anything that a female Jedi deems to be insensitive to women."

Mace Windu snarled, "You crazy bitches! YEOW!!!!" He grabbed at his head and fell to his knees.

"Wait," Qui-Gon said. "Eeth's was in his ass."

Depa smiled and steepled her fingers. "We put them where you ,wouldn't like them. So some of you have them in the ass, and others in the head."

"I suppose it's too much to ask that mine be in my ass?"

"Sorry, Qui-Gon."

"Damn." Qui-Gon tried to smile placatingly and said, "Well, I'm sure you're only doing what's best for the Jedi. You're all so strong in the Force, how could you be wrong? Who were your fathers? YEOW!!!!!" Qui-Gon fell to his knees beside Mace, gripping his head.

"Never ask you that question again!" Yaddle seethed, sending another jolt his way for good measure.

"YEOW! Hold me, Mace!"

"I'm here for you, man!"

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and said, "I'll just get these men out of here for you. Good work ladies!"

"Thank you Adi, Depa, and Yaddle. If you're interested in purchasing your own electrodes, speak to the staffers at the MacroStiff booth in the hallway. You can see these women again at four o'clock in the panel ' Do You Need One To Wield One?: Phallocentrism and the Jedi Academy,' which will be right after 'Hair: Is It Holding Us Back?' by a joint Alderaanean/Naboo delegation."

"What's wrong with elaborate hair?" fumed the young, plainly dressed teenager sitting next to Gretel.

"It's stupid," Gretel replied. "It's all floofy and it hurts and it just gets in the way of climbing on the monkey bars."

"But ceremonially, it's quite impressive, don't you think?"

Gretel shrugged. "I guess. What's your name?"

"I'm Padmé. How about you?"


"It's nice to see another young person here."

"Yeah, my mom thinks it's important and stuff. But we can't stay for any of the panels today because I have karate lessons. But I'm gonna be back for the one on pod racing tomorrow."

"'Running the Risk: Testosterone Overload in the Pod Race Sub-Society'? You want to be a pod racer?"

"Naw, but I maybe wanna be a pod racer mechanic. Are you gonna be there?"

"No, I'm going to ' This Job Blows: The Perils of Political Service'. I think it's about political aides, but I still might like it."

"You wanna be a politician?"

"Something like that."


"Well, I really wanted to help my people. I didn't realize I'd be up to my hairpiece in advisors and bureaucrats and pessimistic security chiefs. I don't care how good he looks in leather--I am so sick of hearing him whine 'That plan's no good, your highness,' or 'I don't think that's going to work, your highness,' or 'Don't go to the conference. You'll just blow your secret identity...'" Padmé suddenly clammed up. "Oops, sorry. Got a little carried away there. Anyhow, you know, the usual reasons."

"But don't you have to do that drag stuff every year?"

"I'm not a senator."

"Oh. Okay. Hey, do you think I could get one of those 'lectrodes for my baby brother?"

"That wouldn't be very nice."


Helga leaned over and whispered, "Be quiet, honey. You're missing that nice female droid."

"Sorry, mom," she whispered back.

The droid continued, "...and while I agree that initially it was a sound idea to not use female voices for droids as a way of addressing the long history of female servility, I do believe that the time for that prohibition has ended. By only hearing male voices, albeit prissy ones, come from protocol droids, we simply reinforce the invisibility of women in our society today."

"Thank you TC-14," Mary Sue said as the droid stepped away from the podium. "TC will be doing a full-length panel entitled ' Curse My Metal Body: Patriarchal Bias in Robot Design' tomorrow morning, right before my panel on 'Getting Laid/Getting Paid: Reevaluating the Golddigger Role.' After that panel, the female lawyers on my staff will be doing a presentation that I'm personally very interested in seeing, entitled, 'Bitch Vs. Asshole: The Case For Female Litigators'."

A lawyerly woman in a stern navy blue suit came up to the podium and whispered something in Mary Sue's ear.

Mary Sue picked up the program and scanned down, then suddenly turned alarmingly red as she read, "' She's On Top: A Sexual Harassment Primer for Male Lawyers with Female Bosses'? Who the hell put that in the program?"

The lawyerly woman whispered in Mary Sue's ear again.

"Well you can just tell Bob the paralegal that I'll be speaking to him first thing Monday morning!" Little purple sparks danced behind Mary Sue's eyes, but she quickly turned her professional demeanor back on and continued, "And now, I'd like to introduce another guest. She's a bounty hunter named Aurra Sing, and to the best of anyone's knowledge, she's the only female bounty hunter in operation today." Mary Sue stepped back, and Aurra stepped up to the podium.

"Oooooh!" Gretel's eyes went wide with admiration. "She looks tough!"

Helga, happy that her daughter finally seemed to be taking interest in the conference, leaned over and whispered, "She's a bounty hunter, dear. She hunts down fugitives for money."

"She hunts people? Cool!"

"It's a very dangerous profession, sweetie, but a very lucrative one. You might be very good at it, you know."


"Yes, really. You get to chase people and build traps. I still think you'd be better off as an engineer, but bounty hunter might not be a bad second choice."

"I like her outfit!"

Helga looked up at the orange-paint clad woman, then back to her daughter and said, "No honey. It's really not right to dress that way. It's exploiting your body. No one takes you seriously if you only wear body paint and a teeny little vest."

Gretel looked to Padmé, who said, "Your mother's right. People judge you by your clothes, especially if you're a woman. That's why politicians and royalty wear such elaborate outfits."

"Poodoo." Gretel stood up on her seat and waved her hand wildly in the air.

"Yes?" Aurra said. "You have a question?"

"Um, I think you're really cool and all that, and I think I want to be a bounty hunter too, but why do you dress like that?"

Aurra shrugged and said, "You know, I never really thought about it. It's a very comfortable outfit."

"You don't feel 'spolited?"

"No, I don't."

Suddenly, a drunken fanboy staggered in from Happy Hour and asked, "Hey, where are the chicks? The poster said there'd be chicks here." He looked from Aurra, to Mary Sue, to Depa and Adi, and went, "Whoa! Jackpot! Come and get me, ladies!"

The Jedi women stood up menacingly, but Aurra sauntered in front of them, striking a cocky pose. "You want a piece of me? You think you can handle me?"

"Handle you…" The fanboy's brain tried to process that mental image and promptly went into overload, drool spilling over his lip and pooling at his feet.

Aurra grinned triumphantly and turned back to the audience. "See? I'm not exploiting myself. I'm using my natural assets to their fullest advantage." She aimed her large rifle at the fanboy.

"Wait," Mary Sue said, holding her hand out to block the shot.

"No violence at the conference?" Aurra asked.

"What? No, there's no rules about that," Mary Sue replied. "In fact, I'm expecting the dueling Twi'lek panels to get ugly--you know, 'Haunted by the Bedroom, Unwanted in the Boardroom' versus 'Tentacled, Not Tentative: Taking Pride in a Traditionally Undervalued Profession'. No, I just want a chance to try out this new baby." Mary Sue reached into her pocket and pulled out a sleek, stylish blaster.

"Ooh!" Padmé gushed, leaning forward to get a closer look. "A couple of those might look really nice in my throne."

Gretel looked at Padmé incredulously. "You want to put blasters in your toilet?"

"Um...not exactly."

One swift zot later, the unconscious fanboy was dragged off by security. "Works like a charm," Mary Sue beamed.

"Impressive, but I prefer my rifle," Aurra said, gripping its stock firmly in her long white fingers. "It makes me look more bad-ass."

"That it does. And like you said, never underestimate the power of your appearance," Mary Sue said. "You can see Aurra again later tonight in her panel 'My Body, My Captive: Lust in the Bounty Hunting Business,' followed by 'Put A Sock In It, Flyboy: Sexual Harassment in the Cockpit.' Finally tonight, we'd like to remind people of animal rights with a very special guest. She's only going to be speaking to us now--she doesn't have a scheduled panel because she doesn't want to spend much time on Coruscant. It's too warm for her. May I introduce..." Mary Sue looked down at her notes. "Well, I can't really pronounce her name, but she's a Tauntaun, and interpreting for her is the alien she raised for a couple of years: Maul."

An extremely grumpy-looking Maul trudged out in front of a large Tauntaun. "Go ahead," he muttered.

"Honk! Squeak! Snork!"

"Many years ago on the beautiful ice planet of Hoth, I was blessed with the gift of a special child," Maul translated. "We found him lying naked on a pile of snow, and I immediately took him to my breast."


Maul rolled his eyes and pointed at a teat. "This breast, to be exact."

"Snort! Hwonk! Ppppplllllllllthhhh."

"Then, nine seasons later, that special child was cruelly taken away from me without my consent. His beautiful fur was removed, and eventually he grew up to be an ungrateful brat who got a weird tattoo and never wrote to his mother." Maul put his hands on his hips and barked, "Well, is it my fault that Hoth doesn't have a post office?"


"Yeah, I tried visiting you when I was there a little while ago, but you'd moved."


"What? Oh, gimme a break! I was only two when they took me away. How the hell was I supposed to remember your migratory patterns?"

The Tauntaun butted Maul in the shoulder, then continued, "Kwonk! Squeak! Moo!"

"Not only did the Republic take my child away, but they have steadfastly refused to open up diplomatic relations with our planet. We believe that this is because Tauntaun society is matriarchal, and thus feared by your government. Oh, sure Ma, that's gotta be it. Did you ever think that maybe no one wants diplomatic relations with Hoth is because all you've got to offer in exports is snow and rocks?"


"Well if you're so pissed off at the Republic, then why don't you just offer Hoth to the first rebel alliance that comes along?"




"I am standing up straight! Get off my back, Ma!"

Gretel flashed her mother a sweet look. "Mom? Can we give Hansel to that nice Tauntaun?"

"Gretel! Why would you say such a thing?"

"Well, she seems so lonely, and our apartment is kinda crowded, and since I'm the oldest..."

"Honestly, Gretel, you'd sell your brother to a Hutt, wouldn't you?"

"Sell? You mean people would pay money for him?"

Mary Sue escorted the bickering pair out the door, then walked back to the podium and said, "Thank you everyone for attending the opening talk of this historic conference. I'll see you all later at the buffet."

As the applause died down, Helga took Gretel by the hand and said, "Come on, young lady. Let's go to your karate lessons."

"Sure thing, mom. Bye Padmé!"

"Bye Gretel!"

As Gretel walked down the hallway and past the bar, her notebook fell out of her backpack. Kindly Senator Palpatine, who was enjoying Happy Hour, breezed out to retrieve the notebook and give it back to the little girl. Looking about, he was dismayed to find no waiting camera crews, so since there was no one around to document his good deed, he headed back to the bar and started thumbing curiously through the notebook. Hmm. Intriguing designs. Very intriguing. And they were designed by a little girl, who I'm sure hasn't registered copyright on them. Practical, and economical! Palpatine chuckled to himself. Well, I'll just have to be sure to begin production on these wonderful machines once I've taken over the Republic. With these, I'll be invincible!

Meanwhile, Helga emerged from the ladies room and started looking around for Gretel. "I told her to wait here," she muttered.

After a couple of minutes, she found her daughter next to the MacroStiff booth, deep in conversation with Aurra Sing. "...well, maybe I could do the opposite and wear a costume where no one could tell if I was a man or a woman or what species I was at all, cause I'm not gonna get assets like yours if I grow up to look like my mom."

"Most humans don't get assets like mine, sweetie," Aurra replied.

"And it could have a jet pack, and it would be really protective too. It could even be strong enough to survive a Sarlaac Pit."

"Nothing's that strong, little girl."

"No, I bet you can do it. I mean, you wouldn't be able to escape right away. It might take a little while..."



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