Disclaimer: Star Wars isn't mine, I'm making no profits, just having fun with it.

Food for Hutts

The diner was crowded. Various beings ate amid a greasy haze, some groups chattering in a variety of languages, while others remained silent. In one of the smaller booths at the back, a pair of Jedi sat awaiting their meals. The younger one of the pair, perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old by his appearance, was fidgeting, occasionally tugging on his Padawan braid. The older, bearded man sat without moving, seeming much more composed than his counterpart.

Finally, he spoke. "Anakin, stop wriggling. You look like you sat on a thorn-bush."

"I just want to get out of here, Master. This mission's bad enough without waiting for bad food in some spaceport. Why couldn't we eat on the ship, anyway?"

Obi-Wan sighed. He'd been doing that a lot lately, he noticed. It had something to do with dealing with a headstrong, impatient apprentice. "We needed to get out of the ship to meet the people who will advise us on our course of action in this matter."

"But we met them. Why are we still here?" Anakin asked. "This isn't very-"

"-Exciting. Yes, I know. Not all of our missions are death-defying charges with lightsabers ignited, my Padawan. You should know that by now."

Anakin looked about to reply, but was forestalled by a droid bringing their meals. It set the bowls down and wheeled away swiftly.

The young Jedi prodded his soup dubiously with the spoon. "Either they forgot to cook it, or it's been centuries since it was cooked," he reported. "I think it's still moving."

"Just eat it, Anakin. Don't play with it."

"Not even if it plays back? Master, I swear it's trying to crawl up my spoon."

"You're exaggerating, Anakin. It tastes fine, and it isn't moving. See?" Obi-Wan took a spoonful of his own soup in demonstration, but he was forced to conceal his expression when swallowing it. It might not have been moving, but it didn't taste very good, either.

"This is the sort of thing a Hutt would eat," Anakin muttered disgustedly.

"It's local cuisine. We must respect the cultures we encounter, Padawan."

"Respect, maybe, but must we eat them too?" he asked somewhat plaintively.

"Now that you mention it, I think we can go." Obi-Wan Kenobi rose smoothly from his seat, heading over to the counter to pay for their meal. He had indeed had quite enough of the soup, and didn't see any reason to consume any more of it, even for the sake of keeping up appearances. The appearance of the food- and taste, and smell, and...ugh, texture, had all made themselves into higher priorities. His Padawan followed with an air of relief.

Several hours later, they stood before the gate of a large building that served as headquarters for a local factory consortium. It was clean, if rather bleak-looking. Certainly, it was cleaner than the river the factory's waste was alleged to go into, bringing sickness and other problems to a number of small villages downriver.

"How long are they going to keep us waiting? It's been hours, and they still haven't let us in. I don't know why they think they're good enough to disrespect Jedi this way," Anakin grumbled.

"In order for it to be unwarranted disrespect, the Jedi in question must first be worthy of respect," Obi-Wan responded, mild rebuke in his tone.

Anakin flushed slightly and looked down. "Sorry, Master. I just want this to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible."

A servant coughed discreetly, opening the gate at last. "Masters Jedi, you are to be seen now. Please follow me."

They followed the man inside, and were led to a small waiting room. "Master Untar Goven will be with you in just a moment; I believe he is dealing with an employee at present."

They sat, watching the servant bustle away. "Great, more waiting. Why are we the ones who have to mediate this anyway?"

"The head of the consortium is the cousin of this sector's Senator, and the brother-in-law of the local Governor. He's too influential to be dealt with by the villages without our helping them. We need to resolve this," said Obi-Wan patiently.

"Master, dealing with these corporation types is like asking a Hutt for food. At best, they'll ignore us. At worst, they'll try to kill us. Why don't we beat them to the punch? Not to kill, obviously. But they'll listen to our lightsabers more than our words."

"Anakin...We are here for diplomacy, not threats. We will negotiate with them, and we will not resort to violence unless we must; and I say when we must, not you, my young Padawan." The rebuke was not nearly so mild this time.

"Yes, my Master," Anakin said grudgingly.

The meeting...did not go well. Untar Goven, a corpulent Human with a florid complexion, had listened with barely-concealed disdain, dismissing their claims as mere fear-mongering propagated by people simply wanting to discredit the company. Anakin had at least had the sense to let his Master do the talking, but Goven had still chosen to take the Jedi's words as threats. He'd had them escorted out of the building without further ceremony.

Now, they were in one of the affected villages, and Obi-Wan had gathered a taskforce of local police officers, all of whom would be led by the two Jedi in arresting the head of the consortium. They would set out shortly.

"Like asking a Hutt for food, I said. Wasn't I right?"

Obi-Wan rubbed at his beard. "Please don't say 'I told you so'," he said wearily. "And that smirk is not becoming of a Jedi Padawan."

"I won't, then." Anakin watched his Master's expression transform into a fixed, false smile as a local woman brought him some food to sustain him as he prepared to risk combat to bring them justice; more of the bizarre soup they'd sampled in the diner. He waited for the woman to depart, and then decided to get in one last dig at his Master, who was gingerly stirring the contents of the bowl with his spoon.

"And that's the reason I never ask a Hutt for food."

I hope you like it. Reviews are always welcome.