Title: The Great Grill Off!
Archive: Yes, please. If you want to put this on a web page please let me know.
Teaser: Luke and Vader enter a barbeque contest!
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to George Lucas and Fox. This is just for fun.
Author's Note: The Empire and Rebels have signed a peace treaty in this story.
"Ladies, Gentlemen and Aliens, Imperials and Rebels, welcome to the first Celebrity Edition of the Galaxy's Great Grill-Off!" Bib Fortuna said from his position on the stage next to Jabba the Hutt. The vile gangster blinked lazily at the cheering crowd that packed the stands of Coruscant's arena. People from across the galaxy were there to cheer on their favorite contestant. "Today's contestants will be grilling cenhick legs, that popular and tasty bird from Alderaan. On the first grill we have Emperor Palpatine himself!"
Palpatine smiled and waved at the crowds, the cowl of his black robe partly hiding his decaying face. The Imperials in the crowd cheered madly, many waving tiny Imperial flags.
"On the second grill we have the Rebel team of General Solo and Chewbacca!"
Han smiled and waved good-naturedly at the excited Rebels in the stands. The Wookie roared loudly, the sound drowned out by the people in the stands.
"And on the last grill we have a joint Empire and Rebel team," Bib Fortuna spoke into the microphone. "Lord Vader and Luke Skywalker!"
Both groups in the arena cheered with excitement. Lord Vader stood before the grill, his arms crossed over his chest. Next to him, Luke waved both arms in the air at the mass in the stadium. A goofy grin was pasted to his face and his blue eyes were filled with exhilaration. He glanced over at Vader and frowned slightly. "Why aren't you waving? They love us!"
"Sith Lords do not wave, Son. Neither do Jedi." Vader replied seriously as his black breath mask studied the younger man. "We are here to cook cenhick legs whether we want to or not. This whole idea is ridiculous…"
"But Palpatine is waving…" Luke said slightly confused.
"And he's getting senile on his old age." Vader stated. "Otherwise he'd never have agreed to this."
"But peace between our two groups is good!" Luke gazed up at his father. "This is just a way to celebrate."
"A parade would have been sufficient." Vader tilted his head so he could stare at his new enemy: the dreaded barbeque grill. "Luke, you will grill the meat."
"Hey!" Luke protested loudly, an expression of panic on his face. "We're supposed to be a team! You got to help! I don't know how to cook!"
"Well, neither do I!" Vader admitted, his arms still crossed over his chest. "I'm a Sith Lord, Son. I don't cook!"
"But I thought you knew how…" Luke's voice trailed off. He turned to check what the other competitors were doing. Surely they couldn't be doing any better. Could they? His eyes landed on his best friends over on the next grill. Han was busy pouring what appeared to be black rocks inside the grill and the young Jedi grew even more confused.
"Hand me that package of cenhick legs, Chewie." Han said as he turned to his Wookie co-pilot.
Chewbacca roared and waved an empty Styrofoam tray in the air.
Han's face grew angry. "What do you mean you ATE IT? We were supposed to COOK IT!"
Chewie roared again.
"I don't care how hungry you were! Now go get another package!"
Luke's face turned slightly green and he clung to his throat with one hand. Stepping a bit farther from his grill, he peered down the way at Palpatine. The Emperor already had his six cenhick legs on his grill and he chuckled evilly. Holding both hands out before him, he blasted the grill with bluish-white bolts of Sith Lightning.
"He's cooking with Force Lightning!" Luke wildly exclaimed as he pointed towards the Emperor, his eyes open wide in shock.
"Do not pay him any heed, Son." Vader instructed as he pointed at the package of meat that sat next to the grill on a tiny table. "Open the package and place the legs on the grill."
Luke went over to the table and easily tore the clear plastic off the package of meat. Reaching for a leg, his fingers wrapped around the still cold meat and his face twisted up in disgust. "It's SLIMEY!"
"It is raw meat, Luke." Vader breathed. "Now put it on the grill…"
Luke jerked his hand away, holding it far away from his body as if it were contaminated. "I'm not going to touch it! You touch it!"
Darth Vader sighed loudly. "Son, you are making this more complicated than it has to be. You know I can't get my electronics wet…"
"That's just an excuse!" Luke cried as he stared at his father. "I didn't know Sith were so … so … diabolical! You're trying to get me to do all the dirty work!"
"It's just raw cenhick legs, Luke. Touching them won't kill you."
"But they feel so ICKY!" The young Jedi protested, a glum expression on his face.
Down at the first grill, Palpatine had stopped his Sith Lightning and now moved closer to expect the results. Gripping a pair of tongs, he prodded at the black charred mess on his grill. The cenhick legs disintegrated into black dust and fell through the crisscross of the grill. "AAAHHHHHH! My legs!"
Han glanced over at Palpatine and smirked. Chewie had brought him a new package of cenhick legs and the smuggler had them soaking in a nice marinade on the table next to him. Turning back to his grill, Han pulled out a match to start it up.
Palpatine glanced around in a panic, his shifty eyes falling on Solo's marinated legs. Pointing one gnawed hand at the bowl of legs, they floated over to the Emperor. Palpatine laughed evilly and set about placing the wet, dripping legs onto his grill. "I will win for sure!"
Face scrunched up, Luke held a cenhick leg between thumb and forefinger, touching it as little as possible. With evident relief he dropped the last leg onto the grill. "There! Are you satisfied now?"
"You will never be a chef, Luke." Vader said from his spot next to the grill. "I feel as if we are forgetting something…"
Luke glanced around searching for something to wipe his bloody, slimy and totally disgusting hand on. The young Jedi had totally forgotten about the crowd watching in the stands as he was totally caught up in the unique experience of grilling with his father. Then his blue eyes spotted the long black cloak…perhaps if he were quick enough…
"Luke, where did you go?" Vader asked as he turned his helmet one way and then the other. "You better not have snuck off!"
Luke appeared from behind the Sith Lord, his hand clean more or less. "I'm right here!"
"Good," Vader shook a black-gloved fist at his son. "Do not think of sneaking off and leaving me with this mess!"
"So," Luke said as he stepped up to the grill and leaned forward to peer at the meat. "What do we do now? Will they be done soon? They still look all icky."
"I think we are missing an important step." Vader pondered, one black-gloved hand on the chin of his mask. "Luke, did you light the grill up?"
"Huh?" Luke gawked blankly at his father. "What do you mean?"
"Is there a fire in the grill to cook the meat?" Vader asked.
"Does it need one?"
"How else is it supposed to cook?" Vader waved a fist at Luke again. "You would have us standing here all day before a cold grill and looking like fools! How in the galaxy did you survive all these years!"
"Well, I usually eat the Rebel-issued granola bars…" Luke admitted.
Vader groaned loudly.
"It's not my fault! I thought it ran on batteries or something!" Luke protested wildly. "How was I to know it needed fire? You didn't tell me!"
"Well, we will need to start a fire in the grill." Vader said as he forced himself to calm down. It was obvious the boy had no experience with cooking at all.
"I saw Han put some black rocks into his grill…" Luke said as he thought back to what had confused him at the time. Glancing over towards the smuggler, he saw smoke drifting upward from his friend's grill. "They must be special fire rocks! Look, his grill is smoking!"
Vader turned around and spotted an area nearby that had several large sacks and barrels. It was clear to the Sith Lord that was where the supplies for the contest were kept. "Luke, go over there and bring us some of those fire rocks."
"All right." Luke hurried off and stopped before the pile of supplies. The bags were marked CHARCOAL, the tin cans were marked LIGHTER FLIUD and the barrel was marked DANGER: HIGHLY FLAMMABLE!. The evil Sith that he was, Palpatine had snuck a barrel of gun powder into the supply area in hopes of eliminating the other contestants; preferably the drat Rebels. Luke glanced from one container to another unsure which was better. Shrugging, he pried open the barrel and grabbed a handful of gunpowder. Reaching the grill, he smiled up at Vader. "I got it!"
Darth Vader lifted the metal crisscross part of the grill with the Force. "Put it in the bottom, Son."
Luke dropped the gunpowder into the grill and Vader placed the metal grillwork with the meat back in place.
Meanwhile Han had turned to put his marinated cenhick legs onto his hot grill only to discover they were gone! The smuggler glared at Palpatine. It was obvious the nicely browning legs on Palpatine's grill were his! "You stole my legs!"
"You can prove nothing, General Solo!" Palpatine gloated.
"I'll get you, you cunning old thief!" Solo raced forward and gripped Palpatine by his dark robe, shaking him.
"Unhand me, you ruffian!" Palpatine cried, unworried. Solo was, after all, unarmed.
"You old coot!" Solo swore and forced the Emperor's rotten face down onto the hot grill with the stolen meat.
"AAHGHHHHH!" Palpatine cried and quickly jerked upward, crisscross marks and cenhick grease on his cheek. He gripped a glass bottle of catsup off his table and broke it over the smuggler's head.
Jabba cheered happily, his rolls of fat shaking with joy. He turned to Bib Fortuna. "I told you this would be highly entertaining!"
"Yes, Master." Bib Fortuna replied, his red eyes lit with pleasure. "Much better than those old podraces!"
Luke gawked open-mouthed at the battle between Palpatine and Han.
"Luke! Pay attention to what you are doing!" Vader reprimanded. "You can see your friend later."
"No! We are in a contest here! I mean to win this one. Therefore it's better for us if they fight and fail." Vader picked a little box off the table and stepped towards the grill.
"Can I light it?" Luke pleaded.
"It may be dangerous, Son, and I don't want to see you injured…"
"I'll be really careful!" Luke quickly promised, his eyes hopeful. "Pleeaaassee?"
"Oh, all right!" Vader handed the matchbook to Luke and the younger man eagerly took it. After much struggling and twelve bent, broken matches on the floor, Luke finally got one lit. Moving in extra slow motion with his eyes locked to the tiny flame, he dropped it into the grill.
A tower of flame erupted from Luke and Vader's grill and climbed almost all the way up to the ceiling of the arena. Young Skywalker was thrown off his feet and went sailing backward. Darth Vader, having been further away from the grill, fared much better. His black cape furled straight outward from the hot wind but he stayed on his feet as he braced himself.
Han and Palpatine stopped their fight to watch the explosion.
The crowd in the arena cheered the unexpected lightshow.
Darth Vader hurried over to the prone figure of his son. "LUKE! Are you all right?"
Luke picked himself up off the floor, his face and hands as black as Vader's clothing. He glanced down at himself and frowned. "Yeah, I'm OK. I think I need a bath though…"
"What did you put in that grill?" Vader asked.
"The stuff from that barrel." Luke pointed at the round barrel next to the other supplies. "We wanted fire and that barrel said the stuff inside was flammable…"
Vader stalked up to the barrel and peered inside. Closing the lid tightly, he shook an angry fist at Luke. "You fool! You could have killed us! That's gunpowder!"
"Gunpowder?" Luke blinked dumbly at the Sith Lord. "Is that what makes blasters blast people?"
Vader hung onto his helmet and groaned. What had he ever done to deserve this? The boy was a menace!
Ignoring his father's antics, Luke wondered over to the big deep crater in the floor of the arena. "Where's our grill?"
"You blew it up, Son!" Vader informed him.
"I did? Can we go home now?" Luke looked hopefully up at his father. The last thing he wanted was to have to start all over again and touch more of that awful raw meat! Ugh!
The Sith Lord used the Force and pulled Palpatine's barbeque grill over in front of them, stationing it on the other side of the gaping hole. "We will use this one."
Luke sighed with relief when he saw it was already lit with cooking meat on it.
A loud buzzer sounded signaling the time was up.
Boba Fett strolled out into the arena, the judge of the cooking contest. He had been the only soul brave enough to judge the entries, as most feared Palpatine would fry them if the Sith Master lost, that Solo would blast them and Lord Vader would Force-choke them. He saw Palpatine had no grill at all, Solo's was hot but held no meat and although there was a crater in the floor near Vader, the Sith Lord had meat on his grill. Fett quickly declared Luke and Vader the winners.
Both the Imperials and Rebels cheered madly.
"Wow! We really won!" Luke cried happily. "I can't believe it! Just wait until I tell Leia!"
"Don't get a swelled head, Luke." Vader warned.
"I must be a better cook then I thought I was!" Luke said, still shocked at winning.
Flashbulbs went off and the photo of the winners would appear in the next issue of the Coruscant Times, Luke still as black as Vader's armor thanks to the dust and grime from the explosion.
Bib Fortuna climbed down from the stage and approached the pair of winners, a big box in his hands. "Congratulations! And here is your prize, a complete barbeque grill set!"
Grinning, Luke happily accepted the grill. "Great! Now I can grill on Executor!"
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
No Jedi or Sith were harmed in the making of this episode.
I will try to get a new chapter of Penpals posted later today!