Qui-Gon : Share the Wealth
A special meeting was called at the Watto's Banquet Hall on the ground floor of the building. Every Survivor was invited, as well as the few fans that voted.
The day of the gathering, Qui-Gon was busy behind the scenes. He was working to ensure every aspect was perfect.
The room was simply laid-out, with three large dining tables. Two were parallel and the other connected them at the bottom. Each table had places set for every person, with the name elegantly written in calligraphy across the front. There were standard dinner settings, and a rich assorted buffet lining one wall.
Qui-Gon paced, mulling over his paperwork in a small back room, as the first few guests arrived.
Noel, Siri, Leia, and Aayla observed the setting with awe and wonder obvious in their eyes. They took in the elegant set-up and took their seats, which were all near-by each other.
Next, Anakin and Padme entered, both holding mixed drinks, and each others hand. Dorme was a few steps behind. They broke their grip as Anakin made his way to the buffet, diving into the steaming ban marie brimming with large grey shrimp. Padme and Dorme found their seats and proceeded to observe Anakin's backside as he gathered food.
Count Dooku, Grievous, and Senator Palpatine followed. Dooku took his seat, bowing graciously to those around him. He drew his maroon cape around his shoulders and sat, smiling with a look of contentment on his face. Grievous sat beside him, switching his named envelope on the table to the far side of Dooku with that of Typho, who was beside the Count. Palpatine went straight for the end of the buffet and the multiple packets of fresh Oreos.
Typho, Jon, and Han entered, talking of effective combat techniques. The three sat across from each other, still continuing their heated discussion.
In his particular idiom, JarJar sauntered in and started in on the sautéed frogs-legs.
Yoda entered briskly, with a melancholy Mace Windu in tow. The younger master whined on as they took their seats.
With an opened bag of Cheetos and a beer in hand, Obi-Wan came in, belching a jaunty tune. He squinted at the writing on the envelopes, one after another.
Master Yoda waved, "Obi-Wan, over here you are." He breathed a sigh. "Next to me. A reverent joy this is. Stuck between a doofus and a girly-man."
The next two to enter were announced rather loudly by the bellowing drunken Jawa, JawaJuice. "The Juice and the Fluke's have entered the building!" Fluke kept a hand under the inebriated Jawa, as the small one staggered about spilling his glass of liquor down the front of his robe. The seating did not allow Fluke near JJ, but Siri was kind enough to trade seats, and Fluke ensured that the diminutive one was sitting with a fresh glass of Jek Porkins whiskey before taking his own chair.
The group chatted for a few minutes before their host made his appearance. Those with food took their seats. He slipped in from the service entrance and took his place at the front of the tables.
"Hey, guys," Qui-Gon said.
The chatting continued, no-one paying mind to the green ghost at the front of the room.
Again, no response.
The Jawa piped up. "HEY! LISTEN TO QUI!" He swayed in his chair. Fluke held one hand out to steady him, and his other over his own throbbing ears.
"Uh, thanks, man." The ghost smiled at JJ.
Obi-Wan continued munching on his Cheetos loudly, chewing with his mouth open, much like a cow.
The group turned to stare at the loutish master. Palpatine held one hand aloft and made a crushing motion. The bag flattened, exploding, covering Obi-Wan in a fine orange dust.
Once the Jedi wiped the chaffy powder from his eyes, hacking, he licked at his hand. His red irritated eyes went wide. "Whoa..." He was suddenly preoccupied with licking himself clean, and silence again reigned.
Qui-Gon looked away from his former Padawan and sighed. "Guys, you've probably, like, put it together why I've brought you all here."
"Those bribes your promised us?" Han asked with a good-natured smile.
There were a few scattered chuckles and Qui-Gon smiled widely. "You'd be right." He waved a hand to the tables. "In front of all of you is, like, an envelope. Open it."
Everyone did so. Obi-Wan caught on after a tick and tore into his orange letter.
Jaws dropped. Eyes blinked.
"That's right. Those are cheques. Every cent of my winnings. 60,000 standard to each Survivor. 10,000 to the fans that voted." He shot a wink to Noel. "And additional money to the finalists."
JJ opened his envelope with fervour. "Wait. Wait wait wait. Wait. Hold on. Step back. Go previous. This is a cheque. Made out to me. For 60k." He hiccupped loudly. "I wasn't a Survivor. I was sipping Mai-Tai's while Fluke was barfing his guts out and sunbathing whilst you lot were sand-surfing."
The ghost smiled, shaking his head. "You were a Survivor. You were there with us every step of the way. You were with us when we took the book with the Auryn cover from the bookst... Wait, huh... Brownie flashback. Sorry, man. No, like, what I'm trying to say is that, like, you got a bum wrap from that Survivor Fascist Dictator. You deserve the credits just as much as anyone else."
There was a sniffle, and JJ proceed to drain his glass, breaking into overly emotional sobs when he finished.
Fluke patted the weeping Jawa's back. "Little too much excitement and Smirhoth, I think."
The ghost nodded. A large proud smile broke over his features. "There's more, man."
A group of finely dressed hotel staff members came out of the service entrance, delivering wrapped packages to each attendee. Qui-Gon followed behind, redistributing the boxes to those who shifted seats.
"Before you is a..." The spectre began, but was interrupted by the sounds of ripping paper.
Palpatine had opened his gift first and with astounding speed. From the narrow box, he removed a sleek lightsabre, its hilt playing the light in the room off the walls.
"Yeah, well," Qui-Gon scratched at his neck, sheepishly. "It's a lightsabre, man. But, like, better than that is that it's a far out ink pen too."
The black robed senator clicked a button on the sabre's side and a ball-point pen head popped from the tip.
"I was thinking that with you being in the Senate, and Padme had those issues with the assassins, it would be good for protection and, like stuff. All they had was red, though."
The senator smiled wickedly. "Good," he said, his voice filled with darkness. "My favourite colour." His speech returned to that of aged innocence.
"You might need some training..."
Palpatine was out of his seat, sabre extended, waving it through the air like a master.
JJ snored lightly.
"Huh," was Qui-Gon's only reply. "Right, well, open 'em up, guys!"
Master Yoda tore into his large gift, revealing a rather nice holo-vid unit and a small gold key taped to the side of the box.
Qui-Gon stood behind his once master and said, "They're installing the lock on the, like, door to your room now, man. Just, uh, keep Bob away. I don't know if it's Bantha proof."
The ghost then looked on Typho. The guardian held his new blaster pistol fast. "Nice, ain't it? It's a new '06 model. And like, try the scope. It's especially fitted to someone with, like, your uh, mono-occular capacity."
Han looked disappointed. "A mirror? You gave me a mirror? I could have used a new blaster."
Qui-Gon shook his head, gathering up the small shining mirror with a bit of the Force. It was platinum and lavishly carved, engraved with Han's initials. He clicked a tiny button on the side. "You're missing the best part." He held the object out, revealing a small compartment. Inside were a set of keys, with two black dice attached. "There is a small place for smuggling. Or hiding those extra Sabacc cards, man."
Qui-Gon passed up Mace, who had already begun penning into his new personalised diary.
Padme smiled up at Qui-Gon as he walked by. "Like, wow. Day passes at Bail's Day Spa are so totally exclusive. Should I, like, ask how you got these? That place is always booked, even for me! And not, just, like, me, but Dorme too? Wow!"
"My secret," the ghost said with a wink.
Anakin was busy adding the 'bling' attachments for his robo-claw, as well as the Commtech add-on chip. Soon, he would be able to not only receive phone calls on his hand, but he'd be able to play the first three levels of Tetris for free.
Siri and Aayla were showing each other what they had received. Siri had an Orb of Thessula and a set of Ithorian Tarot cards, while Aayla had an impressive Espresso maker, with an assortment of fine coffees. Noel had opened her Karaoke machine and was checking out the track listings on the included audio-disc.
Leia was trying on her Fork Utility belt, equipped with multiple shiny forks. There was a glowing gold one in her hand.
"That," Qui-Gon said, "That is just a mere glimpse of the power of the Fork, Leia. Your first step into a larger world."
The certificate for one year of Crunchy Raw Unboned Real Dead Frog (R) from Whizzo Chocolate Company Inc. sat beside an empty box of the snacks. JarJar had already started in on the second.
Grievous had placed his lightsabres in the fine rack he had received. There was a shiny new one at the top rung. He had more than a lightsabre, necessitating the use of a rack.
Count Dooku tried on his spiffing new top hat and cape. "Very fine, my former Padawan. Sophisticated and in my colour too. Black." He laughed aloud.
Jon looked sceptically at his box-set of the Complete Max Headroom series. "Cool." He smiled politely and went back to reading the back of the box.
The squeaking wheel of the Survivor Cooling Droid made Fluke smile. He patted the top, looking up at Qui-Gon. "You kept it!"
"But of course, man. So, what do you think of your new toy?" The ghost beamed.
Fluke took the hand-held IM-Pod. "Very cool."
"You can, like, wire that bad boy into your, like, blaster helmet, and you won't have to listen to Sprock sing about any more Hobbits." Qui-Gon grimaced. "Unless you like that song."
Fluke shook his head quickly.
"JJ can open his later." The spectre patted the small sleeping Jawa on the back. "It's, like, the merchandising rights to me and Dook's reunion tour. Make him a mint, man."
Fluke looked at the spectral master. "You gave away everything you won? How'd you buy the gifts?"
"Part of my brownie money. It's only bread, man." Qui-Gon smiled.
Obi-Wan looked around at the others, still sucking the orange out of his robe. He put a hand on the wrapping on his gift. A look of confusion was written on his features. "Uh, why's the hotel givin' me presents?"
"From Qui-Gon, they are." Yoda said, his ears drooping.
Obi-Wan tore in. He opened the box and his jaw dropped. His eyes slipped closed.
Master Yoda leaned over, trying to peak in the box. "What get you, did he?" The small one gasped.
Obi-Wan laid a hand on the worn fabric nestled in the box. "His poncho."
The chatter of the others died down as Obi-Wan held the garment up.
"But that's..." Fluke was a loss for words.
In his hands was the single item that represented Obi-Wan's fallen master than anything that he'd ever known. It had been cleaned and the fire damage and holes had been mended. He looked up.
And saw the shimmering green form of Qui-Gon Jinn.
"Qui-Gon..." he said, his voice breaking.
The ethereal master met his gaze.
Suddenly the room filled with cheesy sitcom reconciliation music, but the united Master and Apprentice did not hear it.
Han, however, did. "When did this turn into a 'very special episode'?"
"Han-Dogg, with Qui, it's always som'in' sappy," Anakin said, working on a text to Padme's Commtech.
Qui-Gon sniffled, translucent tears of ether slipped down his cheeks, pooling at his smile. "You can see me! That is so seriously, like, far out, man!"
Obi-Wan's tone had changed. His accent sounded more sophisticated and civilised. "My Master, for many years I did not see you and I was but lost. Now I can truly become a Jedi master."
The ghost held out his arms, calling for an embrace.
Obi-Wan ran for him, his arms out as well.
The music became even sappier.
Palpatine rubbed at his stomach. "Indigestion from the high-levels of saccharine-sweet fluff. And this scene is just disturbing."
Obi-Wan met Qui-Gon's arms.
And phased right through him, losing his balance and ramming into a large marble support pillar.
Obi-Wan Kenobi regained consciousness slowly. He faded in and out, mumbling about bad bologna and how Cheez-Nips were not a suitable substitute for Cheetos.
He opened his eyes. "Duh?" His head was resting on something soft.
Mace Windu smiled down at the man.
Obi-Wan gagged a bit and sat up. "Whatta sight to wake up to. What am I at?" His accent was thick and lacking the grace that he had found before.
"Remember you do not?" Yoda said, leaning back to avoid the smell of Kenobi's breath.
"Uh..." The younger man scratched at his head. "Duh, nope! Huh. Git 'er done!" He propped himself up on his elbow, his fingers grazing against a bit of fabric. Looking on it, he suddenly looked as if he recalled something. "That's that there floatin' poncho that JJ can make fly! Hoo-wee! That was a hoot!"
The spectre hung his head.
Count Dooku scooped up the garment, flashing a glare to the Jedi on the floor. He handed it over to Qui-Gon. "It is not the right time, Padawan. Soon."
The ghost shrugged the poncho on. "I'll just get him fishing stuff."
The giving had ended hours before and Qui-Gon sat in a lone chair, deep in thought. His attention was broken by the yawn of JawaJuice.
The Jawa waved sleepily. He slipped out of his chair and wandered over to the ghost.
"That poncho thing didn't work. But at least it's clean."