Galactic War: Book 1: Jedi Fight

Taming the Wild Beast

Terry lifted up a hand to shade his eyes against the harsh orange glare. He sighed, licking his parched lips with his dry tongue. An icy cold drink of juma juice sounded WICKED right now. Sadly, Terry was miles away from a local cantina. Geonosis didn't look like it had cantinas, or even juma juice. It didn't look WICKED at all. The awesome, towering pinnacles of rock that the Geonosians called home looked GOOD.

Terry turned around and beckoned for the others to catch up. Na'thin and Kien grinned cheerfully and stepped energetically up to him, while Minir grumpily herded the sleepy Jahn Pal and Sai'wer to stand beside them. Kan and Jordin strode purposely toward him. Terry looked over their shoulders and smirked.

Aedan was trudging along in the rear, roughly pulling on his liquid cable. Attached to the other end of the cable, the massiff dug its claws into the soil and stubbornly refused to move.

Terry shook his head. Nothing but GOOD could come out of this.

Aedan came up, panting hard. "He's ––– pretty ––– WICKED," he gasped. "I think it's –––time ––– to break him ––– in."

Terry saluted. "Righto, King WICKED," he said. "Then you can resume your task as the WICKED leader."

"Uh, guys," Kan began. "Shouldn't we be –––"

"Which method should I use?" Aedan asked Terry. "Fight-to-the-croaker, WICKED Competition, or who's GOOD-or-not?"

"Why don't you WICKEDLY try the WICKED primitive method," Terry suggested. "It is the most consistent in taming wild beasts. In other words, it is the WICKEDEST method out there, in my WICKED opinion."

"And I value your WICKED opinion," Aedan said. "We're going to do it the GOOD old-fashioned way WICKEDLY." He began to undo the liquid cable from around the massiff's neck.

"What are you doing?!" Kan shouted, lunging for the cable. "It'll kill us!"

Terry reached out and grabbed Kan by his tunic. Kan twisted around and ferociously fought to free himself, but Terry was too slippery and elusive for him. The rest of the Wicked club seemed to be on Kan's side, for they all backed away from the massiff, eyes wide with terror.

"Kill it, WICKED King," they begged. "Make it croak!"

Aedan was deaf to their pleas. Silently, he loosened the noose which bound his captive.

"NO! GOOD!" Minir shrieked, but his voice was drowned out by Aedan's war cry.

"W-W-I-I-C-C-K-K-E-E-D-D!!"

The massiff barreled into Aedan's stomach, sending him flying head over heels onto the enraged animal. His arms and legs quickly coiled around the massiff in a wrestler's grip, holding on for his life. The beast bucked savagely, but Aedan's grip didn't loosen.

"R-R-R-R-R-R-O-O-O-O-O-O-A-A-A-A-A-A-R-R-R-R-R-R!!!"

Suddenly, to everyone's horror, Aedan relaxed his hold. He swung his arm up over the massiff's head, clamping his fingers around its large, hairy ear. Pulling it back, Aedan opened his mouth and bit the ear viciously.

The massiff stopped in its tracks, a look of shock on its face. Suddenly it lurched over and fell flat on its back, howling in pain.

Everyone stared, scandalized, first at the agonized massiff, then at Aedan, who sat up, smiling triumphantly. He reached out a hand carefully, gently stroking it on the head. "WICKED boy, WICKED boy," he said soothingly. "You mine now."

The poor animal stood up shakily, all the fight knocked out of him. It gazed with new respect and obvious affection at its conquerer. A dark stain of blood gushed from a gash in its ear, contributed by Aedan's sharp teeth.

"Come, unbloody and unwounded WICKED," Aedan commanded.

To everyone's surprise, the massiff swiftly obeyed, frisking about its master's feet and wagging its short, stubby tail as if it had never been a ferocious wild beast ready to tear them into little tiny pieces.

Aedan nodded with satisfaction. "Accurately WICKED as ever, Terry," he said. "Primitives had some pretty WICKED ideas back then."

"Wicked" emitted a short, happy bark.

Kan was still staring at the massiff, dumbfounded. "What happened?" he muttered.

"Aedan is an expert––– a WICKED expert–––– in animal training," Terry said. "He has done a lot of tediously WICKED research on wild beast taming practices. Our ancestors had an old method in taming large predators. They WICKEDLY mounted the GOOD beast, then bit its ear through. In WICKEDLY doing so, they showed the beast who was, in manner of speaking, the big, WICKED leader of the pack. Once they know that you are the leader, they are perfectly WICKED."

Kan gulped. Aedan was beginning to gain his respect. He had showed an incredible amount of daring and courage in taming the massiff. Kan figured that if he could train a dangerous beast, then he must be capable of more than Kan guessed.

"By the way," Terry said. "We are WICKEDLY back on the UNWICKEDS trail. If you WICKEDLY look ahead, you can see them."

It was true. As Kan squinted against the harsh glare toward the horizon, he could clearly discern a small moving cloud of dust, indicating where the Jedi went. Except for the puff of dust, the Jedi had concealed their trail well. He couldn't even see a footprint made by one of their heavy boots.

Aedan looked at the retreating cloud and spat disdainfully. "GOODS! They not know the power of the WICKEDS! We catch up!"

"Can you WICKEDLY tell where they're GOODLY heading?" Na'thin asked

Terry lifted shaded his eyes with his palm and gazed ahead. "There is a large, WICKED-looking needle-thingy sticking out of the ground," he reported. "They are GOODLY heading toward it."

"Hah hah! A WICKEDLY clear sign!" Aedan shouted. "To the WICKED needle-thingy! WICKED!"

He plunged ahead, waving his arms wildly. Wicked quickly leaped after him. Grinning, Terry and the Wicked Club ran behind, laughing and joking, eager for the mission to begin.

It is just beginning, Kan realized with a pang. The massiff attack had only been an obstacle ––– fighting wild beasts wasn't part of their quest. Getting to the Separatist base, finding where they kept their prisoners, and possibly finding a way to get to Obi-Wan out of there; that was what they wished to accomplish. But it was only an if ––– if they got there in time, if they got inside the base, and if Obi-Wan was still alive, they just might have a chance.

Their chance seemed slim. As he gazed at his companions, Kan knew that even though they thought that Wicked people couldn't die, it was a sad disillusion. One of them might get lost, or captured…or one of them must lose their life. It might be the last time they would all be together.

But they had to keep going.

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