Disclaimer: I don't own them, George does. I didn't hurt them, that much ;-) so don't sue it's just not worth it.
This is set in the middle of TPM under the premise that Anakin doesn't win the Pod race but Watto makes a different deal. Feedback always welcome
Qui-Gon rode the eopie silently with Watto hovering at his side as they traveled towards the ship. He struggled to suppress his feelings of despair. He had been so sure of himself and of the boy. Anakin, what would become of him now? The poor boy had lost the race to Sebulba, only a few yards before the finish line. The look on Shmi's face had been agony, not to mention heart-broken young Padmé. She had been right to question his judgement, now he would have to explain to the Queen how she would not get to Coruscant after all. All seemed to be lost.
As they neared the ship, Qui-Gon noticed a much larger vessel approaching.
Watto saw the look of concern wash over the Jedi's face. "It's just a friend of mine, here to collect my winnings." He assured him.
Obi-Wan stood with Panaka watching Qui-Gon dismount wearily. Panaka wore an expression of displeasure, letting Qui-Gon know that everyone knew he had failed the Queen.
The large vessel landed beside the royal starship and strolling down the gangplank was a tall slender woman with jet black hair blowing about in the wind. She waltzed up to Watto and had a few quiet words with him, all the while eyeing up the Jedi. A moment later Watto hovered into the Nubian ship and Panaka followed him. The woman walked over to the Jedi.
"Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Kala Marron, an associate of Watto's."
"I am Qui-Gon Jinn and this is my apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. We are pleased to make your acquaintance." The Jedi each shook her hand.
"I understand the wager you lost will cause quite a problem for you."
"Why yes, it is most important that our friends aboard the ship reach Coruscant immediately."
"I believe I may have an alternative for you." Kala smiled sweetly, but before she could explain any further, both Jedi turned at the approach of a vehicle. Qui-Gon ignited his lightsabre as the black figure leapt off his Sith speeder. They began to duel, their sabres clashing with sparks.
Kala sighed loudly. "I don't have time for this!" She pressed a button on a wristband she wore and a troop of burly armed men marched out of her ship.
"What's going on?!" Demanded Obi-Wan.
"Nothing." Kala smiled back at him then with one tap on her wrist Obi-Wan was doubling over in pain. "It's really remarkable how effectively the right frequency can stimulate the pain receptors of those with high midichlorian counts." Kala told the padawan as she held his chin up to her.
Both Qui-Gon and Darth Maul felt the pain before they could respond to what was happening behind them. Qui-Gon dropped to his knees, as did Maul, but as Qui-Gon let go of his lightsabre, it scorched the side of Maul's thigh.
"Sedate them!" Kala ordered, "And tell Watto to send the Naboo on their way."
Obi-Wan tried to stop the man approaching but could not push back the pain enough to concentrate. The man grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and inserted a syringe into his vein, sending the padawan into the blackness of sleep, before he could even turn his eyes towards his master.
Obi-Wan regained consciousness in mid air as he was thrown onto a hard metal floor. The sedative still clouded his mind as he pulled himself up, only to be knocked over as Qui-Gon was flung against him. He saw the Qui-Gon's dark attacker struggling to stand by bracing himself against the wall then spotted the bloody laceration on his thigh and a small pool of blood he had left on the floor. Once all three were standing they each tried to reach out with the Force but found that the room had a Force shield preventing them from knowing what lay outside their cell.
As soon as Kala stepped into the room Maul used the Force to apply a slight pressure to her throat, causing her to cough and choke for breath.
The guards immediately noticed this and called out to the hallway, "Activate the chips!" At once, the three Force-users felt a jolt originating in the back of their necks then all swayed and fell to their knees as a wave of nausea swept over them, then suddenly they felt nothing.
"Force inhibitors!" Qui-Gon managed to gasp.
"I suppose I should explain." Kala began. "You see, I pointed out toWatto that a J-Type 327 Nubian wouldn't be half as valuable on the market as a pair of Jedi. How fortunate for me that a third should turn up as well." She walked over to where Maul was breathing heavily as he tried to compensate for the loss of the Force. "Hmm, this one seems to be damaged."
One of the guards approached Maul with a medi kit but as he was reaching out to examine the wound Maul bent down and bit into his hand. The guard yelped in pain and a flurry of armed men stormed into the room and attacked Maul with the buts of their rifles. Then to restrain him, manacles were brought in and he was chained to the wall.
"Better restrain these two as well." Kala added, and the Jedi were caught by the wrists and manacled loosely.
As a restrained Maul was tended to, Kala moved to stand before Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
"What do you mean to do with us!?" Demanded Obi-Wan.
"Ah my dear boy, do you not understand? I am a slave trader, and you three are the tradees. I assure you that at this stage, the young queen will have reached Coruscant and your gamble will be forgiven. In return for this favour I have granted you, all I ask is your cooperation. It will take us at least three days to reach our destination."
"What is our destination?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Darvin four." Croaked Maul.
Kala turned to him with a raised eyebrow. "What manner of Jedi are you to know that?"
"I am not a Jedi!" He spat.
"Then what are you?"
"Oh, a Sith." She turned to Qui-Gon. "What's a Sith?"
Qui-Gon watched Maul for the first time with a sense of dread. "He uses the dark side of the Force."
"Ah, an evil Jedi. What is your name then, Sith?"
"Darth Maul, or Lord Maul to you."
Kala threw back her head in hysterical laughter, then brushing the guard who was treating Maul's injury out of the way; she kneeled down beside him and drew a knife to his throat. "Your confidence may suit you well as a Sith, but now you are nothing more than a weak and feeble man, completely at my mercy." She withdrew from his face and whirled around to the door. "Sleep well boys." Then she was gone.
Maul gritted his teeth and gave his chains one hard pull. He sighed, the harpy had been right. He was weak and feeble without the Force, as though a part of him was gone. The wound in his thigh ached considerably as well as the bruises the guards had given him and he lacked the ability to control that pain. He gave a fleeting glance to the Jedi. The pair of them were looking quite disheveled and downtrodden. The boy with the rat-tail stuck to his head was staring intently at Maul. The master, Qui-Gon, stood slowly and paced the cell, examining every corner of the cell; the hinges on the door, the lock, the small window the guards would use to look in on them, the surveillance camera in the corner and the twin round lights in the ceiling. Maul was silently impressed with his attention to every detail Maul himself would have checked.
"What do you know of Darvin four?" Qui-Gon asked the Sith Lord as he wandered the cell.
Maul considered what he should tell them, and regarded the tall Jedi. "It's a black market trading post, specializing in slave auctions."
"Do know the layout of the site? Could you find a way out of there?"
"It has been a long time since I was there, but I do recall the strictness of the security around the slaves. Unless these blasted chips can be removed I doubt there will be any chance of escape."
Qui-Gon bent down and examined the back of Obi-Wan's neck, feeling a small lump with his finger. "I doubt they can be removed without causing serious brain damage or worse."
"Master surely, the queen will have alerted the Council!?" Obi-Wan piped in.
"Do not be so foolish. The Toydarian will no doubt have told the queen that this arrangement was agreed upon by your master, and even if she does tell your precious council, without the Force you're as good as dead to them." Maul snarled at him.
"I'm afraid I must agree, Obi-Wan. The council will not be able to find us, they certainly won't have any knowledge of this illegal trading post." Qui-Gon turned to Maul. "What about your... people?"
"My master may have been alerted by my absence in the Force but he has matters of greater import to deal with at present." Maul would not look at the Jedi, not wanting to see the pity in their eyes for him.
"Such as?" Inquired Obi-Wan.
"The destruction of the Jedi, of course."
The two Jedi rolled their eyes in unison.
That night Maul slept uneasily. Though he had often been put through physical ordeals such as trying to sleep while in restraints, he had always had the Force to guide him and ease his pain. He was awakened after a while as the guard slammed a metal dish of food on the floor beside him. The Jedi began to eat the food hungrily, but as Maul caught the sickening odour, he resumed his troubled sleep.
It was some time later when a guard returned to collect their dishes. He picked up Maul's dish, still full of the sloppy broth, and stared at the Sith Lord for a while, then called out to Kala.
She marched into the room and spotted the uneaten food immediately.
"The broth does not please your palate, my Lord?" She said in a mocking tone of voice.
"I cannot eat it." He replied gruffly.
"We'll just have to make you then." The guards grabbed him and held him tightly as Kala moved a spoonful towards his mouth, which was forced open.
Maul struggled and yelled in protest as a spoonful of the broth was pushed down his throat. The process was repeated several times with Kala massaging his throat to swallow the food until the bowl was half-empty. The guards let go of him and he began to quiver and pant. He looked up at Kala with hatred in his eyes.
"I cannot eat that filth."
Qui-Gon stood and protested. "Wait, don't give him any more." The guard backhanded him and he fell in a heap on the floor but tried again. "He's Zabrak, he can't eat vegetables!"
Kala rose from the floor and regarded the Jedi. "Hmm, I think you may be right. My mistake." She turned back to Maul who was straining against his bonds, his eyes rolling in their sockets. Kala told the guards to release him and he dropped to the floor and curled into a fetal position.
"A Zabrak, eh?" Kala turned towards the door and left them.
"I don't understand, Master. Why can't he eat it?"
"I'm a carnivore. My system cannot digest vegetation." Maul gasped. He could feel the adverse effect it was having on his body, especially in this weakened state. He wrapped his arms around his midriff as the trembling began. He swallowed back a mouthful of bile.
"You must expel the food from your system." Qui-Gon told him as he bent over his prone form. The old master realised how young this Zabrak must be. No older than Obi-Wan, he was helpless and ill and winning Qui-Gon's sympathy by the second.
Maul began to wretch and cough. Then the vile food came forth. He crawled weakly towards the furthest corner from the disgusting mess and pulled his knees up to his chest trying to control his shivers. How loathsome to be so sick and disgusting in front of these enemies who would no doubt prey on his weaknesses.
Qui-Gon ripped a strip of material from the hem of his robe and dipped it into the jug of water the guards had left behind. He moved closer to Maul and reached out to wipe the sweaty brow of the Sith Lord.
Maul batted the outstretched hand away quickly, and stared the Jedi down.
"You must allow me to help you. If you wish to escape, you will have to regain your health. Please trust me; we are all as equals now. You are without the Dark side and Obi-Wan and I are without the Light side. We must help each other if we are to get anywhere."
Maul leaned his head to one side and allowed the Jedi to wipe his face, then drank some of the water. He slid down to the ground and lay for a while frowning at the infuriating situation this was proving to be. Th trembling returned and he struggled to relax himself.
Qui-Gon sat down beside him and pulled the ailing Sith Lord across him. Qui-Gon recalled a time when Obi-Wan had caught a fever while on a mission to Alderaan. Qui-Gon had spent an entire night holding the boy in his arms as he soothed him to sleep. Now he tried the same on Maul. He wrapped his arms around him to calm the convulsing, then began to stroke the man's head.
Maul' s trembling began to subside but when the Jedi touched his head, Maul felt a very different reaction. "What are you doing?!" Maul insisted, trying to free himself from the Jedi's arms.
"Don't struggle, you'll only make yourself ill again." Qui-Gon told him as he continued to massage the horned head.
Maul gasped and felt a heat rising in his groin. "You must stop that!" He pulled away from a puzzled Qui-Gon. Maul leaned against the wall, taking deep breaths. This just got worse all the time.
Obi-Wan noticed the expression of frustration on the Zabrak's face. "Master, maybe you should just leave him alone."
Qui-Gon followed Obi-Wan's eyes which were looking at the Sith lord's attempt to conceal his bulging crotch. He opened his mouth to speak some words of regret but none came to mind.
Maul sensed the awkwardness of the situation. "You should not touch that area of my head. It is a most sensitive part of my body." He croaked through his raw throat, thinking how foolish he must look to these humanoids to have such a ridiculous weakness. He sat against the wall with his eyes closed, drifting slowly off to sleep.
Someone was kicking him lightly in the gut. Maul opened his eyes sleepily and was disturbed to find Kala's grinning features staring back at him. He was hauled upward by the guards and locked into his manacle.
"I did a little research. Apparently Zabrak are carnivores and they like their meat extra raw." She lifted up a bowl to his face. It was filled with morsels of red meat, dripping with blood.
Although the information about Zabrak eating habits was true, in his years at Palpatine's side, Maul had been trained to eat only cooked meats, not the bloodied mess she produced for him.
She picked a piece between her thumb and her finger and held it before Maul's mouth.
He clamped it shut.
"Oh come on, I had this prepared especially." She regarded him for a minute. "Alright then, if you don't want to eat, that can be arranged."
"He will eat it." Qui-Gon announced from behind her.
Both Kala and Maul looked over at him in surprise.
"Because I'll be damned if I have to share a cell with the stench of his vomit."
"So the famed Jedi patience begins to wear thin!" Kala laughed. She tried the meat again and this time Maul opened his mouth and took it grudgingly. She fed him every piece of meat in the bowl and then made him gulp down the cold blood as well.
Just as he thought the humiliating ordeal was over she held her bloodied fingers out to him and made him lick the blood from them.
"What an absolute beast you are. It's a shame I can't keep you and humiliate you forever but I just received a very generous offer from a scientist on Hoth who is most interested in a live Zabrak specimen. You'll make quite a fine lab rat for him." She swept out of their cell with a chilling cackle.
Qui-Gon rose and began to pace the room again.
Obi-Wan was quite unnerved by his master's lack of calm. The padawan had never seen his master nervous or agitated and unable to remain still.
"We must think of a way to escape." The older Jedi announced.
TBC . . . .