Kan is Summoned
He was running around in the arena, terrified at the thing chasing him. He didn't know what it was, and he couldn't turn his head to look. All he knew was that he was scared.
"Kan!" Someone was shouting at him from behind.
" I know," he said with a painful effort.
He heard someone chuckle. "You know what?"
"Cover me. Something is after me."
He heard a snort. "You're dreaming again."
He woke up as he was falling off his sleep couch. He landed with an oof and stared up at the ceiling blankly.
He heard a tinkle of laughter, pealing like high little bells. "Thank goodness you're awake, Kan. It's so dull watching someone sleep. Have you ever watched someone sleep? I suppose not. You always sleep so late. What is it like to sleep late? I'm curious to know whether your dreams are longer, or–––"
"Jordin," Kan said wearily. "Please cease your prattle and tell me to whom do I owe this intrusion?"
"Why, me, of course," the girl said. "After all, I'm the only one in here. But of course, I forgot that you are a boy, which must effect the amount of intelligence that enters your brain. Does that mean that you don't get headaches? I'm curious to know what it's like –––"
Kan suddenly leaped to his feet, startling her into silence. "Oh no!" he exclaimed, picking up his boots and bolting for the door. "My Master told me to meet him outside the Council chambers one hour after sunrise. The council has requested a meeting with us. We might go on a mission. I can't be late –––"
"I have not finished anything I have begun to say," Jordin said tartly. "That isn't very polite of you, you know. It's like taking away half of my lunch before I can finish it. I wonder if that is a trait that runs in boys –––"
"I don't know and I don't care," Kan interrupted impatiently. "All I know is that I'm getting angry."
"As I was saying," Jordin said. "Master Xelan told me to wake you up precisely at dawn. So you have an hour. If you had let me finish in the first place, I would have told you. Now, where was I…"
"Sorry, Jordin," Kan said. "I don't have time for that now. I have to get ready."
"You have an hour!"
"Time can go by fast."
"Well, fine , then." Her mouth turned down into a pout. "Don't bother asking me to inform you that the Council has also summoned me and my Master to the same meeting."
"Really?" Kan asked.
"I said I wouldn't tell you."
Kan sighed and glanced into the mirror that hung on the wall in his room. A solid, powerfully built boy with sleepy eyes and tousled dark hair scowled back at him through the reflection. He frowned and tried to smooth his unkempt hair down. It stuck straight up. He groaned and rolled over to his desk to grab a comb.
A slight young girl stared at him curiously through her innocent-looking, piercing blue eyes. A shock of shoulder-length white-blond hair with fiery streaks framed her delicately defined face.
Jordin was a year younger than Kan, but they had been in the same classes when they were younglings. She was a very competent student with incredible lightsaber skills. In his opinion, her only weakness was her love of talking. She talked day and night about everything under, over and beyond Coruscant's hot sun. Kan strongly believed that she talked in her sleep, too.
"I wonder what it is like to be bald?" she said suddenly. Jordin was like that. She said whatever came into her head, even the most random, bizarre thoughts. It was part of what made her such a bright character. "I believe I shall try it someday, although there's always the possibility of hating it after you've been bald for a few days. But then, it could be pleasant. I don't think I'd ever feel hot–––"
"You'd look uglier than you do now," Kan said, instantly regretting his words.
"That's not very polite, either," Jordin said. "Rudeness must be a trait in boys. Have you seen Master Rei Saffron? He is so rude and bad-tempered. Once I was unlucky enough to be in the same turbolift as him. I was very civil. I said, 'Good morning' as nice as you please, and do you know what he said? 'Humph!' Now how do you like that? I wonder if–––"
"Is Zett summoned for the meeting?" Kan broke in.
She looked puzzled for a moment. "Meeting? Oh, oh yes, the Council meeting, Um…I don't know. Why don't we go check with him? He's bound to be up by now. Unless, of course, he's like you."
Before Kan could retort, Jordin had already flounced out the door.
Kan did not immediately follow. Unlike the fast-paced Jordin, he preferred to take things slowly, one at a time. He needed to finish getting dressed before searching for his best friend, Zett, who was an apprentice like Kan and Jordin. He carefully strapped on his utility belt, checking to make sure there were no new dents in the dark polished leather. He needed to look his best if he was to go before the twelve greatest Jedi in the Temple.
He looked at the mirror again. The grumpy, frazzled youth that had been in the mirror before had been replaced by a clean, neat student. Satisfied, he strode out into the corridor.
The Jedi Temple still had the hushed, meditative atmosphere of last night. The glowlamps were powered down, making it hard for him to see. He peered into the half-lit hallway, trying to glimpse the energetic figure of Jordin. He saw no movement.
Kan began to quicken his steps, trying to catch up to her. He glanced toward a large window overlooking the buildings of Coruscant, the center of the Republic. The sun began to stretch its long arms to touch the tops of the shining metal skyscrapers, staining their silvery hue a bloody red.
He came to a halt at a door identical to his own. It was slightly ajar, so he eased it open with his fingertips.
Kan frowned. Zett wasn't in his quarters. This was a strange hour to be up and about. Zett was, as Jordin had said, a late sleeper. There was no sign of her, either. Puzzled, he cracked the door open wider.
Suddenly a rush of escaping laughter sounded by his ear, making him jump. "Well, I didn't expect you to use your head," Jordin remarked serenely. "And I was right, after all. Your head must be very thick. Have you ever seen Zett in his quarters for more than five minutes straight? No wonder his room is so clean. He literally lives in the hangar bay. I don't see what makes sitting all day in a dusty corner watching ships getting repaired or refueled fun. But then, boys are very strange. They are also reputed to be dull. No offense, but that's probably why boys–––"
Kan groaned and covered his ears. "Can you get to the point? You're making my head spin."
"Trust me, Kan, I know how you feel." A lanky, dark-haired youth emerged behind the chattering girl. "She's been babbling nonstop since she caught me in the service bay a few minutes ago. What are you doing up so early?"
"Actually, we were trying to find out what you were doing this morning," Kan replied.
"We're both up because we have a Council meeting to go to in less than an hour."
Zett frowned. "Funny, me and my Master are up for the same thing. Something must be cooking."
"Yes," Jordin agreed. "Everyone in the Senate is screaming for war against the Separatists. I can't imagine the whole Temple going berserk just because I quit. Why should you want to kill someone? I can understand killing for self-defense, but this is ridiculous. I haven't killed anyone yet, but I know it will be a very unpleasant job. Sure, I've cut droids into scrap because they were trying to blow me or somebody else up, so I couldn't just stand there and let myself be killed, now could I? It was very interesting, seeing them fly apart into a shower of sparks and flaming metal; it was pretty, like fireworks. But it really changes the picture if you add burning flesh and blood. Not to mention screaming. Screaming is very loud, you know. I once screamed and–––"
Suddenly, all three of their comlinks signaled, much to the boys' relief. Kan flipped on the transmission. A deep, powerful voice boomed out over the static of the comlink.
"Padawan, where are you?" His Master, Ruru Xelan asked. "I need you up in the main tower immediately."
"Yes, Master." Kan switched off his comlink and clipped it back to his belt. The other apprentices had already received the same message from their own mentors and were waiting for him impatiently.
"Hurry up, Kan," Jordin said. "They said to hurry, not stand there and mess around."
Kan sighed and trudged behind her.