Padawans vs Massiffs
"Okay, everyone," Kan whispered slowly. "Don't move. Just stay where you are…"
Jahn Pal picked up a good-sized rock and hurled it at the growling, wolf-like head. The stone hit it with stunning accuracy, bouncing off its nose with a clunk and landing on its foot. The creature's face wrinkled in a pained, angry snarl.
"Happy doggy," Jahn Pal said. "Me sit still."
"GOOD job, Jahn Pal," Na'thin hissed.
The massive animal sprang for Aedan's unprotected neck.
The creature lay on the ground, cloven in two. Aedan whirled his lightsaber menacingly. "Come out and fight,GOODS!"
Suddenly, several shadows materialized out of the gloom. The whole pack had been lying in wait, eager for fresh meat.
"Massiffs," Aedan commented, as if they were in a science class, and not surrounded by ferocious beasts ready to tear them into little pieces. "WICKED native species of Geonosis, GOOD if you anger one of their packs. They travel in groups, preying upon any stray GOODS. They're like wild Nek battle dogs, except massiffs are WICKEDER. I've been waiting for years to get my hands on one of these."
"Great," Jordin muttered.
The pack circled, baring their razor-like teeth wickedly. "This is going to be WICKED!" Kien said.
An especially nasty-looking massiff smacked its lips at Kan. Its evil, beady eyes glared balefully at him. Seeing his face reflected in its pupil, Kan imagined that he looked like easy, and tasty, prey.
"If you say so, Kien," Kan said.
The pack lunged forward.
"WICKED!" Aedan screamed, plunging headlong into the fray. The Wicked Club followed, echoing his battle cry and unsheathing their lightsabers as they leaped to cover him.
The massiff grinned at Kan as it circled him. Suddenly Kan withdrew his lightsaber and activated it, lighting up the dark canyon with its intense green light.
Kan sliced his weapon downward.
With a yelp of agony, his opponent crumpled to the ground, lifeless.
The Force surged, warning him of a coming attack from behind. Kan whirled around just in time to cut an attacking massiff into smithereens. He ducked and swerved, taking out two more.
A gold and black figure tinged with a violet light flew over his head. Jordin landed neatly behind him and executed a quick undercut, killing another of their attackers. She spun around with a delicate grace that was all her own, slicing a massiff expertly in half. Without pausing she rolled sideways, dodging another and severing his head with a quick blow. Kan watched her back, reinforcing her moves and taking out any massiffs in his way. They were of one mind now, and each of them knew what the other would be doing next.
Aedan hardly needed anyone's help. As well as the Wicked club's leader, he was also a master in the Jedi arts, even though he was only eight years old. He double-front-flipped over the pack, twirling his lightsaber in an ever-moving arc, causing mass panic and destruction among his enemies. Landing behind one, he did a downward swing and whirled on his heel, taking out four more. Terry and Na'thin were ever at his side, doing all in their power to help. Kien and Minir had the torturing task of protecting the childish cousins from becoming the main course of the massiff's next meal. Even though he had faith in the the abilities of his group, Kan soon realized they were hopelessly outnumbered.
Suddenly, something pricked Kan's memory. What was it? You do not lack ability, you lack control. You lack maturity. Gain these, and you will become a Jedi. Who said that?
Ruru Xelan. His Master. He had been trying to lift Kan's spirits, to help him understand. Kan hadn't understood then. But now…
Kan looked around him, at the faces of his friends ––– yes, they were his friends, even though they were crazy. They were all brave, fearless…but untested, unsure of what the outcome would be. Inexperienced. We lack maturity. What would a Master do in this situation?
As if in answer to his thought, Kan spotted a large stone, jutting out over a ledge above him. You lack experience…
If he could get the stone to roll down, it would crush everyone below. But if they all got on to the ledge and distracted the massiffs while they pushed the rock down on them…
"Jordin," Kan said. "The ledge. Get on it."
"Try to keep the massiffs distracted."
Understanding dawned upon her face. Without another word, she ascended swiftly onto the ledge, using cracks and bumps on the sheer face of the rock to assist her.
Kan quickly turned his attention elsewhere. They didn't have much time. "WICKED MEN!" he shouted. "Get on the ledge! We can WICKEDLY push a WICKED rock on the GOODS!"
"WICKED plan, Kan," Aedan said, clambering up onto the rock. "You're beginning to sound just like a WICKED. Come, my WICKEDS."
The WICKED club quickly complied. Minir and Na'thin grabbed each cousin by the arm, and Kien, Terry and Kan surrounded them protectively, covering their retreat. Na'thin and Minir swiftly scaled the precipice, dragging Jahn Pal and Sai'wer with them. Kan signaled at Terry and Kien to leave. "Go!"
Terry and Kien nodded before taking off. Now Kan was left alone with the massiffs. The pack snarled angrily, cautiously circling him. They had learned to regard the Apprentices with fearful respect. They had expected fast-food. Instead they had come up against small but terrifying warriors with beams of light that blinded their night-seeing eyes and killed their brethren. No wonder they were furious. Obviously, they were going to avenge themselves by taking out Kan.
Suddenly, a hailstorm of sharp pebbles rained down upon both Kan and his attackers. As Kan threw his arms over his head in self-defense against the merciless attack, he heard Jordin's voice float over him. "Kan,where are you? You need to get up here fast. We're running out of ammunition."
"WICKED!" Kan heard Aedan scream.
"Coming!" Kan shouted. He sidestepped the open jaws of a massiff and grinned at the rest wickedly. "Hey, bantha-brains, puppy dogs, come and get me!" Kan taunted, doing a wild dance to avoid the furious pack. One of the creatures leaped for him, but Kan ducked, sending the massiff crashing into the canyon wall. The pack snarled.
"Kan, WICKEDLY come!" Aedan called. "GOODS are very hungry!"
"I know, I know, but watch this!" Kan stuck his tongue out at them. They stopped growling, confused. Then Kan did an old Jedi trick. he waved his hand, calling upon the Force. "Stay where you are, GOOD dogs," he said, backing away. The massiffs stared, stupefied. "GOOD dogs…"
He felt himself being grasped firmly under his arms and yanked upward. He flew up over the ledge and landed with an oof. Below him, the Force mind trick broke. Fury unleashed, the pack surged forward, breaking away at the wall like waves upon a cliff side, howling angrily for the loss of their prey.
"WICKED job, Kan," Terry said. "Now what?"
"We can't stay up here, obviously," Jordin said. "They'll keep us here forever. We'll starve. I wouldn't like to starve. I wonder if –––"
"We won't starve," Kan said. "And we won't die. We're going to push this rock down on them. it will be an ultimate victory."
Jordin stared at the stone incredulously. "It looks big."
"Then we'd better get started," Kan said.
"WICKED," the club agreed.
* * * * * *
Half and hour later, the stone was still in place, and the massiffs were still loyally guarding the ledge, confident that they had captured their prey at last.
Kan kicked the rock in disgust. "it's no use," he said. "We aren't strong enough, and there isn't anything to use as a lever on this stinkin' rocky world."
"Of course, as usual, you are trying to do it the hard way," Jordin remarked drily. "Boys refuse to do anything the easy way. They always have to do it the hard way to show off."
"Easy way GOOD way," Na'thin muttered.
"This is the only way," Kan said.
She stamped her foot impatiently. "Boys are so dull," she snapped. "Especially you clod brains. What do we have that ordinary kids don't?"
"WICKEDNESS?" Terry asked.
"Food?" Kien suggested hopefully.
"We're cute?" Sai'wer said.
But Kan knew what she meant. he turned to Aedan. "We're Jedi. We have the Force. If we can use the Force on the rock –––"
"None of us are strong enough," Minir pointed out.
"Maybe not on our own," Jordin told him. "But put together…"
"…we can WICKEDLY do it!" Aedan finished.
All of their gazes turned toward the rock, determination alight in their faces. They looked at each other and nodded.
It came like a faint stirring at first, like a breeze gliding over the rocks. But then, as it strengthened, the Force grew more powerful. It became faster, stronger, till it was like a gale, fierce and swift, whistling in the narrow crevices in the canyon and beating itself upon the stone, renting its strength upon it.
The rock, the undefeated rock, didn't budge. It had resisted physical power, it would resist the power of the Force, too.
I can't do it.
You can. I know who you are. I know what you can do. You can do it, Kan.
I can't do it alone. I need your help, Master.
You must do it without your Master. You must be ready to face what you must face alone. But their are friends surrounding you, to help you in your quest. You must work together. We must work together. Something evil is out there. I can feel it. If we do not work together, it will carry us away, like leaves in the wind.
You can do it.
I believe in you.
Kan felt the ground shake. He heard a roaring in his ears. The faces swirled around him ––– Aedan, screaming his battle cry. Jahn Pal and Sai'wer, sobbing in terror. Minir, Kien, Na'thin and Terry, dancing around him. Jordin, shaking him…
"Kan, wake up, wake up, come on, wake up."
Kan opened his eyes, staring up into the hazy sky. "Massiffs evil," he said.
Jordin laughed. "Of course they are, or were, I mean. But maybe they still are, even though they're dead. Or maybe they weren't evil at all. Just hungry –––"
"WICKED!" Terry and Aedan shouted together.
"Cease GOOD prattle," Na'thin said. "We go to rescue."
Aedan smirked. "And who do we WICKEDLY rescue?"
The Wicked Club grinned at him. "GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD Obi-Wan!"
Kan leaped up. "The mission!" he cried. "I forgot! We have to hurry!" he came to a standstill at the edge. He stared down at the ground that had once been littered with the bodies of both dead and living monsters.
It was now filled up by the colossal stone they had moved. And the massiffs were gone!
"They croak," Terry said, gazing down at the dreary landscape. "All die. Many screams. Many moans and groans. Very bloody. All GOODLY croak," he ended sadly.
Sai'wer blinked. "Jahn Pal croak?" he asked, his tone desperate.
"No, silly GOOD," Aedan said. "Jahn Pal here. He's GOODLY holding your hand."
"His foot," Jahn Pal corrected, clutching his cousin's hand tighter.
"No," Sai'wer said. "You lie. I know you wrong. Jahn Pal croak. I saw. He scream big."
Aedan bristled. "Liars GOOD!"
"Jahn Pal didn't even go near the edge of the shelf," Jordin remarked. "And he didn't croak ––– die––– whatever you call it. Stop calling death 'croaking'. It's vulgar. But then, boys are vulgar. Why, once I –––"
"Quiet!" Minir said. "We shall WICKEDLY proceed to carry out our assignment before our adversaries make use of our procrastination."
Everyone stared at him in silence.
"In other words," Aedan translated. "We WICKEDLY GO!"
He gestured toward Kien and Minir. "Take the two idiots and make sure they WICKEDLY get down without croaking on you."
"Stop saying 'Croaking'!" Jordin yelled.
Aedan didn't turn. He looked sidelong at Terry, his eyes gleaming mischievously. "Oh, Terry," he said loudly, "escort the walkie-talkie GOOD down. We don't want her tongue to croak GOODLY on us, do we? It would deprive us of all GOODLY noises, and we don't want that to happen, do we, Terry?"
"WICKED," Terry said, taking Jordin firmly by the arm and leading her away.
She pushed him away. "I can escort myself, space-brat!"
He shrugged, crossing his eyes at her. "I don't like touching GOODS, anyway."
Jordin opened her mouth to speak, but then decided not to. With a huff, she Force-leaped off the ledge to join the rest down below.
Kan, Terry and Aedan leaped swiftly down to the ground, Aedan and Terry somersaulting to the rocky floor and taking their place at the front of the group.
Suddenly, Aedan broke away, dashing headlong into a crack in the smooth canyon wall. Before anyone could move or speak, he had disappeared into the crevice. Except for the sound of rocks scuffling behind the rock, Aedan had effectively vanished into the air.
"Aedan?" Kan shouted, knocking on the wall. "What are you doing?"
There was a still silence, but Kan thought he heard a thin, muffled "wicked".
"He's being WICKED," Terry said, in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
No one offered any further explanation, for at that moment, as suddenly as he had disappeared, Aedan reappeared, lugging something that was dark, long, spiny, and obviously heavy, for he was panting with the effort of moving it. He deposited his booty at the feet of the group, who stared with mixed horror and astonishment.
A miniature massiff snarled and gnashed its teeth viciously at them. But while Terry, Na'thin and Kien leaned closer to observe the creature, fascinated at its sharp fangs and long, jagged claws, Kan, Jordin, Minir and the cousins backed away, terrified. "Aedan, dispose of that thing now," Kan whispered. "Do something, anything ––– just get rid of it.
Aedan's face turned black. "No."
"Aedan, that baby massiff can be nothing but a nuisance," Jordin said. "Don't you want to rescue your brother?"
Aedan folded his arms stubbornly. "WICKED help. He WICKED. I save him from GOOD parents. He obey WICKED king. He sniff out and rip up GOODS."
"He won't," Minir said. "They all GOOD. Kill it. Croak it. It'll be the GOOD of you. Make it croak."
For once, Kan had to agree with the hardhearted boy. The massiff was a ferocious wild beast. One bite from its jaws could break Aedan's neck.
"He WICKED, I WICKED, I spare him, I king, I keep," Aedan said. "I keep him on a chain. I train him. If he WICKED, I take him back home, because if he WICKED, he learn. I have WICKED room, I keep many WICKED animals there. They friends. But if he GOOD…" Aedan bared his teeth in a grimace. "…I eat him."
Jordin stared at the boy in speechless horror.
"He WICKED," Terry told them. "He tame everything. He WICKEDEFY every animal in the galaxy."
Kan was still doubtful. Like the WICKED club, the massiff was unpredictable. And they were running out of time. He couldn't stand here arguing there all day.
He turned away, defeated. "Fine. He stays."
"WICKED!" the others screamed.
"But don't blame me if he bites off your arm," Kan warned.
Aedan grinned. "Don't worry, I'm W-W-I-I-C-C-K-K-E-E-D-D!!"