Disclaimer: I do not own.
It was a beautiful day on Dxun. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the poisonous spiders were out looking for legs to crawl up. Even the constant thunder of the metal noisemakers had lessened to a mere quiet echo. In short, everything was perfect.
Well, at least that's what Grawr had thought when he'd begun his second hunt for the day's meat. Meat was in short supply right now, what with his mate having given birth to cubs recently. So extra hunts had to be arranged to keeps the little ones fed.
Grawr growled a sigh. He'd been on one (unsuccessful) hunt already today and he was dearly wishing he could just lie in the sun and rest instead of hunting more bomas for the cubs. Not that the big Maalras didn't love his cubs, but he did wish they weren't so demanding all the time.
Padding along Dxuns overgrown paths, Grawr caught an unusual smell. He stiffened, recognising it. Two-Legs! Two two-legs in fact, and...burnt zakkeg? He paused, trying to make sense of it. The two-legs were still alive, he could tell that from their smell. What was unusual was the particular type of two-leg smell. They didn't smell like the metal-covered two-legs that had been a feature of the jungle since before Grawr was born.
There was something...different...it smelled more like ...hair and hide? Had they been attacked and then bested the zakkeg with fire? He considered the thought. It was possible, if very difficult, he supposed. There had been a lot more metal-two-legs around recently. Perhaps these two-legs had been with a large pack of them. Yes, that made sense. A pack of metal two-legs would certainly be able to take down a zakkeg. Only, he didn't smell the acrid after-smell he usually got around the metal-two legs. Surely these hair-and-hide two-legs couldn't have bested the zakkeg on their own?
A thought struck Grawr as he puzzled things over. Two-legs didn't always eat what they killed. Sometimes they just left it where it was once their hunt was over. If he was lucky he might be able to bring home a decent pile of zakkeg meat for his mate and cubs. Zakkeg meat would really impress his mate!
As he was considering the unusual smells and their strange implications Grawr became aware of something else. The two legs were making quiet noise. Also he became aware of the smell of zakkeg dung. As he padded through the jungle vines towards the two-legs, it became increasingly obvious to him that the two-leggers were covered with the foul substance. He shuffled a little closer, careful to keep himself out of sight of the two-legs while gaining sight of them.
Seeing the two-legs came as a bit of shock. The overpowering zakkeg smell had hid it, but now he was closer he could see that one of the two-legs was a small female! Besides being covered with the smelly dung she was also covered with the dead hair-and-hide he had smelled earlier. There was no way to see her face. She and a big male two-legs were up to their waists in dung in a mud-pit built by the metal-two-legs. Grawr whuffed quietly in sympathy. He'd got stuck in one during the last cold-time and knew just how unpleasnat they were.
When Grawr caught another sniff of the female, it confused him even more. Impossibly, the female seemed to be the dominant pack-member. Grawr shook his head in bemusement and decided that since the two-legs were stuck in the mud-pit, and busy making angry-noise at each other, he was in no danger, Grawr moved towards the enticing smell of the burnt zakkeg meat. He decided to eat his fill before bringing the rest back to his mate and cubs.
Wolfing down the delicious meat that the two-legs had kindly donated, Grawr listened to their noise with half an ear. The big male two-legs seemed panicked and angry with his pack leader, but she smelled calm and a little amused
"We're stuck!" This was the big male, who was trying to reach for an over-hanging branch with the funny-shaped forepaws two-legs possessed. He failed, and slid back down the pit-wall with a sigh, making a disgusted noise as he squelched back into the waist-high dung.
"No we aren't, we're just...temporarily entrenched...that's all." The female's answer smacked of someone who always saw the positive side of things.
"It doesn't matter how you phrase it, we're still up to our necks in foul-smelling probably-poisonous muck! It shorted out our lightsabers! It's drying fast, it's getting harder to move, I still can't feel the force properly on this forsaken rock! And it's getting dark!" Grawr detected extreme panic in the male's voice. He seemed especially upset at the failure of his 'force'.
"Oh geez, calm down would you! It could be worse." The female-leader seemed to losing patience with her pack-brother. Grawr sympathised with her. He had no patience with the more panicky members of his pack either.
"Oh yeah? How exactly could it get worse?"
"Well...Master Vrook could be stuck beside us, smelling of dung and perpetually lecturing us on the perils of the Dark Side." At this pronouncement from the female-leader, her male companion seemed to shudder with undisguised disgust and made an effort to pull himself together.
"Eurrgh. OK. That would be worse. Thank you for that horrible mental image. But we're still stuck. And both our communicators are smashed. We can't call for help!" Grawr smelled panic edging back into the male's words.
"That was your fault."
"My fault? I wasn't the one who said 'Ooohh a Zakkeg! Let's poke it in the butt with a stick!'"
"That's because you have no sense of fun." The female smelled defensive now, a little like Grawr's pack-brothers used to, when they were explaining why it had seemed like a good idea to eat all the meat before returning to the pack-den after their hunts.
"I really hate you right now."
"Careful young padawan, hate is of the Dark Side! It's eeeevvill! Evil I tell you!"
"Revan, now is not the time to be doing bad impressions of the Jedi Council. Now is the time for getting out of this force-forsaken hole!" Grawr could hear extreme exasperation in the male's voice by now. By the smell of it, this was an old, oft-repeated argument that the male wanted to end. While he was wondering about this, Grawr caught a new smell that distracted him from the zakkeg meat. Metal-two-legs! And close by as well! He ran for cover, but stayed as close to the two-legs as he could behind the trees so that he could see what happened to the dung-caked two-legs. He didn't want them making off with his zakkeg meat after all.
"Why not? It's fun!" The female didn't seem to share her pack-mate's desire to end the argument. Grawr stopped listening to the two-legs for a while when something else caught his attention. The smell of the metal-two-legs was wrong somehow. The two-legs and its metal skin didn't smell as if they belonged together. The metal-two-legs traded their skins with each other occasionally, Grawr knew. But still, this particular metal-two-legs didn't smell right. Grawr turned his attention back to the dun covered two-legs. They hadn't seemed to notice that a metal-two-legs was nearby and seemed to be absorbed in a new argument. But then again, he thought, the metal-two-legs didn't appear to have noticed them either.
" Y'know it's really not fair the way they made exceptions for you, but not anybody else." The male was once again complaining.
"That's 'cos I'm a genius. That allows me a little leeway."
"If you were half the genius you claim to be you'd have come up with a plan to save us by now."
"I already have, but you're being mean. So I'm not sharing the plan with you." The female-leader sounded like someone being perversely childish for the hell of it. Grawr actually found himself sympathising with the big male. He turned his head towards the metal-two-legs. It didn't seem to be heading towards Grawr and his foul-smelling two-leg entertainment, so Grawr decided it would be safe to come out from cover and continue eating the zakkeg meat. He buried his face enthusiastically in the fresh meat, while beside him in the pit the two-legs continued their noise-making.
"Why do I even bother...All right, what's the plan puhleez?"
"We call for help. Elegant in it's simplicity, don't you think?"
"Can I remind you again of the smashed communicators!" Grawr thought that if he smelled any more exasperation from the male, his nose would probably explode.
"I meant call for help using our voices. There's a guy over there. Maybe he'll hear us if we shout loud enough."
"That guy is a Mandalorian! And he's miles away. Even if he does hear us, he'll probably just shoot us in the head!" Grawr put a paw over his nose protectively. To his relief and surprise it failed to explode. He wondered why the female hadn't called out the metal-two-legs if she had already known it was there. Perhaps they belonged to rival packs?
"Why are you so negative about Mandalorians?" The sound of mischief in the female-leaders voice was unmistakeable. Given her earlier behaviour and the overpowering smell of annoyance from her male pack-mate, Grawr was glad the female wasn't a part of his pack. She'd probably drive him mad.
"Because we're leading a war effort against them maybe!" The male was now keeping his voice low, so as not to attract the attention of what Grawr imagined he saw as a rival for his pack leader's attention. But he smelled like he wanted to roar at the female. The pack-leader herself was beginning to smell . . . dangerous. Grawr decided that now would be a good time to gather meat to take home to his mate and cubs and the leave as fast as he could. Still, he was curious to see what would happen to the dung covered two-legs, so he dragged as much meat as he could behind the covering of the trees and lay in wait to see what would happen.
"It's either that or stay stuck here. Anyway he'll want to capture us. We are brilliant military leaders after all. As soon as he pulls us out we get Jedi on his ass!" The female smelled of enthusiasm and adrenaline now. Like a member of the pack readying themselves for a hunt, Grawr thought.
"Oh all right! But if you tell Malak about this I'll kill you." Convinced by his pack-leader the male seemed to be doing the same.
"Lips are sealed...General"
"Don't you call me that! It makes you sound like that creepy Iridonian tech I've got working for me."
"Okay, okay, let's just start yelling shall we?" the big male agreed. Under his breath, he muttered, "Sheesh, touchy!"
"I heard that! I. . . oh never mind. Let's just yell."
Grawr watched as the two dung-covered two-legs attracted the attention of the metal-two-legs and then immediately overpowered him and stole his metal fire-maker, leaving him stuck up a tree. He sniffed the metal-two-legs again after the dung-covered ones had departed, unable to shake the feeling that there was something not quite right about this particular metal-two-legs. Something that didn't quite match up . . .
Unable to figure it out, he shrugged his four shoulders and decided to forget about it and get the prized zakkeg meat back to his mate and cubs before the sun went down. He couldn't wait to see how pleased they would be with the rare feast of zakkeg meat.
The 'Mandalorian' left upside down in the tree cursed all Jedi to the depths of hell and plotted his revenge.
Several days later aboard the Republic battleship Courageous:
"Hey Seth! I heard you and Revan got into some trouble on the reconnaissance mission. Washed off all the Zakkeg dung yet? Hahahaha!" The bald Jedi disappeared up the ship's corridor, still laughing uncontrollably. The target of his ridicule directed a death-glare at their commanding officer.
"Rev! What did you tell Baldy for? He'll never let us hear the end of it! I'm going to kill you for this!"
"I didn't tell him," Revan replied with a weary sigh.
"Huh? Then who?"
"The 'Mandalorian' on the surface was actually one of our guys undercover. Didn't recognise him under all the armour. He got a little, um, 'upset' about us kicking his ass and leaving him in that tree."
Seth Deraan, the Jedi Knight who would one day be known as the Exile, groaned. "Let me guess. He blabbed the Zakkeg incident to anyone within a hundred parsecs of him?"
"More like a thousand parsecs. It's all over the fleet."
"Our reputations will never recover, will they?"
"Not unless we become Sith and kill anyone who ever mentions it," Revan suggested.
"That's a little extreme, though."
"It's either that or hear the story at every party we go to for the rest of our lives. I'm kinda considering it."
"We could just tell everyone that Malak's nickname used to be 'squigglypants'. That'll make him shut up at least."
"True, true. I'm still thinking about the Sith option to shut everybody else up, though."
"And you accuse me of being a little too Dark Side?"
"Oh, shut up."
And thus the truth is known. Revan did not become a Sith Lord in a complex double-bluff gambit designed to actually save the Republic rather than conquer it. No, she turned to the Dark Side because at the victory party after Malachor V, Malak drank a few too many Tarisian Ales and recounted 'The Zakkeg Dung Incident' to anyone who would listen.
Thus, Revan rained destruction across known space until captured by the Jedi and Malak had his jaw chopped off for his trouble, teaching him a valuable lesson about the evils of gossip. Seth Deraan, one day to be known as the Exile, took an easier solution by wandering around the edges of known space for 10 years so that by the time he returned to republic space, no one connected him to the incident except an ex-sith pilot named Atton Rand, who Seth bribed into silence by supplying him with copious amounts of Juma juice.