"No shit." Replied Garen Muln, one of Obi-Wan Kenobi's best friends, and as everyone in the Jedi Temple knew, the most reliable source for the latest Jedi gossip.
The older padawan, all of eighteen years of age, and the first to achieve Senior status, leaned over the commissary table and drew his three friends in to listen.
"It wasn't about wealth or anything like that. Xanatos just figured it all out, and when he did, the council banished him."
Obi-Wan looked at the padawan carefully. He and Garen had been friends since he was three years old and in the creche, and that was fourteen years ago. However, what the older Jedi apprentice was telling him just didn't feel right, and it wasn't the story that his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn had told him.
Xanatos had been Qui-Gon's second apprentice, and after a mission to Telos had gone bad, and Xanatos' own father had been killed, the young man had denounced the Jedi Order and left the Temple, blaming Qui-Gon for his father's death.
It was the story that Obi-Wan had believed for years, and so he thought of several questions to ask to test this new theory.
"Okay." The younger man whispered across the table. "What you're saying is that the council has been altering our…desires." Obi-Wan waved his hand for lack of a better word. "But how?"
"That's where Xanatos succeeded and we've failed!" Garen responded dramatically, catching a few curious glances from passing knights, who were surprised to hear the name of the rebellious Jedi supposedly gone to the Dark Side.
Garen lowered his voice in response and looked to Obi-Wan, Reeft, and Bant. "Somehow, they're suppressing our natural hormones. You know, the ones that control libido. Our sex drive."
"Garen!" Bant Eerin, a Mon Calamarian, the youngest of the group replied, her salmon-colored skin turning a slightly deeper shade.
"Where did you get this information?" Obi-Wan asked suspiciously. He had wandered into the restricted Temple archives once out of curiosity, but any records regarding reproduction or the act of sexual intercourse were prohibited to padawans. And then Master Nu discovered him there and drug him out by his ear, taking him straight to his Master.
"During my last mission I accessed a terminal that was hooked up to the Galactic Holonet. Not the same one we have here in the Temple. This was completely different. There were even pictures." Garen stated with raised brows.
"Of what?" Reeft asked naively, and Obi-Wan glared at him as if the stocky Dresslian had no sense at all.
"Naked beings." Garen shot back.
"So?" Bant mocked. "I see pictures of naked beings in my anatomy texts all the time."
"Not in the positions these were in." The informative padawan pointed out, staring at a confused Reeft and choosing to answer his friend's next question before he even had a chance to ask it.
"Sex Reeft. They were having sex! And it looked like they were having a good time." He added. "This one holovid I was watching, the female was moaning and screaming."
"That doesn't sound like a good time to me." Bant replied, blushing furiously.
"It wasn't like that." Garen explained. "She was thrashing around on the bed and this guy with this huge penis was on top her really going at it."
All three of the other padawans gaped at Garen in stunned silence.
"They were procreating." Bant suggested. She had studied the science of reproduction in some of her classes, although she had never actually witnessed it before.
"I don't think so."
"How can you know for sure?" Obi-Wan argued.
"Because." Garen, who rarely embarrassed himself, blushed freely. "Another guy joined in. They were both sticking their…things in her at the same time! And she didn't seem to mind at all! She had her legs all up in the air and she was grunting and screaming words like – fuck me, fuck me!"
"Fuck me?" Reeft repeated. "What does that mean?"
The other padawans looked to the Senior one for an answer.
"I looked it up. It means performing the act of sexual procreation for pleasure."
"Pleasure?" Obi-Wan repeated, shocked as those seated with him and the trio quickly returned their attention to their meals. The word had caught the ear of a few Masters seated nearby and the conversation ended abruptly. The pursuit of pleasure, passion, and sex were all paths to the Dark Side.
Since the creche, the Jedi were taught to control their emotions, inhibiting any such desires. And only once had Obi-Wan had the nerve to question his Master about it. These restrictions were outlined in the Jedi Code, a copy of which hung over every padawan's bed. But it was only once he had asked, because after sitting through one of Qui-Gon's two-hour lectures on the dangers of losing control of one's emotions and releasing one's inhibitions, Obi-Wan decided it was better to keep his questions to himself. Now, however, it seemed as if he had another source of information.
Padawan Muln had turned eighteen several months ago and immediately began going on missions with his Master. All that Obi-Wan and his other friends knew about was life inside the Temple walls. Occasionally they would be allowed a pass, which they used to visit one of Coruscant's many museums or art galleries.
The quartet of padawans finished their meals without another word and left the dining hall discreetly, but once they were outside of earshot of their superiors, they once more huddled together a ways down the hall.
"You'll see, Kenobi." Garen said. "You're next to be Senior. Once you start going out, you'll see that there's more out there than you ever imagined. You have no idea."
"I know exactly what's out there." The padawan argued, his other friends nodding their heads in agreement. They had all passed their galactic geography and sociology classes.
Garen laughed cynically. "No. You don't. The Council and our Masters have been sheltering us, brainwashing us. Manipulating our minds."
"Garen. That's blasphemy!" Bant responded. "It's the Council and the Masters' duty to protect us!"
"I'm not talking about protection!" Garen argued, but after noticing the baffled expressions on his friends' faces, he gave up his debate. "Fine." He declared. "When's our next pass?"
Reeft flipped on his datapad. "Next ten."
"All right. The next time you all are allowed to leave the Temple, we'll say we're going to the theater, but in fact I'm taking you all some place else. It's about time you see what you've been missing." Garen smiled smugly as a club came to mind. The last pilot who had delivered he and his Master back to the Temple had told him about it, and as he remembered the pilot's description of the place, Garen's smile turned wicked. Were his friends in for a surprise.
However, Bant was one who did not seem pleased with the idea.
"I'm not going."
"Aw, come on Bant!" It was Obi-Wan who argued with her, and although he had no idea what they were getting themselves into, he trusted his friend Garen, and besides, they had always stuck together.
"No, Obi-Wan." She replied adamantly. "Sorry Garen. I'll see you all later."