Bad Boys, JEDI Style

A long time ago, in
a galaxy far, far away...

It is a time of peace in the
galaxy. In fact, things are so
peaceful that the Jedi have little to
do these days, aside from handling
occasional Senate matters and training
new younglings in the ways of the Force.

This newfound peace is largely due to the tre-
mendous popularity of the reality holo-broadcast,
JEDI, which over the past decade has elevated the
Jedi to a nearly god-like status. Criminals quake in fear
of the legendary warriors, while parents flock to the Jedi
Temple, begging that their children be taken as younglings.

The Jedi themselves find the logistics of the reality show rather
annoying, but they tolerate the cameras for the sake of good pub-
lic relations. However, during this heinously boring time of peace, the
producers of JEDI have resorted to staging much of the action in order
to give their avid viewers the entertaining drama they have grown to love...

Chapter 1

"We made it," Captain Typho said, pulling off his helmet. "I guess I was wrong. There was no danger at all."

Padmé nodded, trying not to laugh. The trusty one-eyed captain was having way too much fun with this assignment; he had clearly missed his calling in life. He should have been an actor.

"Cut!" the director yelled. "That was perfect," he said. "Great job! Now, you guys on the ship, I need you to walk halfway down the ramp, and then fall down, like you've been hit by an explosion." Padmé giggled as Cordé and the rest of her crew followed his instructions; then he yelled "Cut!" again, and it was her turn.

When the make-up artist was finished with Cordé, Padmé ran to her, doing her best to look grief-stricken. "Milady," Cordé gasped. "I'm so sorry... I've failed you, Senator."

"No," Padmé said, kneeling beside her. Damn. Everyone else is coming up with these great lines and all I can think to say is 'No'? She wished her dialogue could have been scripted ahead of time; but part of the reason viewers loved JEDI so much was because they knew it was all ad-libbed by real people. Still, she was beginning to regret her decision to volunteer for this episode.

Luckily Captain Typho was there to save her. "Milady, you're still in danger here," he said urgently, as Artoo rolled toward them, determined to be in this scene. Padmé nodded, getting to her feet and looking down at Cordé, wondering what the heck to say next.

"I shouldn't have come back," she managed to blurt out. That wasn't so bad; I think I'm getting the hang of this!

"This vote is very important," Captain Typho ad-libbed. "You did your duty; Cordé did hers. Now come."

I should say something, Padmé realized. I shouldn't just stand here! But I can't think of anything! Help!

Once again Captain Typho came to her rescue. "Senator Amidala, please," he said, leading her away. Great, Padmé thought ruefully. That was impressive; I just stood there like an idiot.

But the director seemed pleased. "Cut!" he yelled again. "That's a wrap. Thank you folks, you did a terrific job. Once we add in the special effects that's going to look great. Thanks again!"

Padmé smiled gratefully, letting out a sigh of relief. I survived that scene; hopefully I'll do better in the next one.

Thankfully the directors of JEDI were fun to work with; they weren't too picky about acting, and as long as you didn't completely bomb, they generally made do with whatever footage they were able to capture. Most of it was real-life footage of Jedi Knights on the job; but occasionally they would stage a more dramatic scene such as today's attack on the landing platform.

"Good job, Milady," Captain Typho said cheerfully, as they walked toward the Senate hall.

"Thanks," Padmé said. "I was so nervous, I didn't know what to say!"

"Oh, just be yourself," Captain Typho told her, grinning. "Don't worry, you'll do fine."

"One last order of business we have today," Yoda informed the Jedi Council, after all the other matters had been discussed. "Two volunteers we need, for this week's episode of JEDI."

Qui-Gon Jinn looked around the Council chamber at the apprehensive faces of his colleagues, immensely pleased with himself. He had been written off the show ten years ago in a brilliantly staged battle against the fictitious villain Darth Maul; they had all drawn straws for the part, and he had been the lucky winner. Never again would he have to put up with cameras in his face for days on end while trying to do his job.

Just then, two cloaked figures strode quickly into the Council chamber, somewhat breathless. "Sorry we're late," Obi-Wan apologized, as his padawan bowed his head politely. "You called for us?"

"Yes," Master Windu said, his displeasure obvious. "We had an assignment for you, but in your absence we found a replacement," he informed Obi-Wan, with a stern look.

"I'm sorry, Master Windu," Obi-Wan began. "We - "

"Master Windu, I can explain," Anakin interrupted. "You see - "

"Enough!" Yoda said, holding a hand up. "Save your explanations. A new assignment, we have found for you." The other members of the Jedi Council breathed a sigh of relief; Obi-Wan and Anakin looked at each other nervously. "This week's episode of JEDI, you will film," Yoda informed them.

They knew better than to argue, but they were clearly unhappy with this new assignment. "Yes, Master Yoda," Obi-Wan said humbly. "We will report to the show's producers right away." Bowing respectfully, they left the Council chamber.

"Not again," Anakin lamented, after they were out of earshot.

"It will be all right, Anakin," Obi-Wan said. "Just try to forget that the cameras are there." But he could strongly sense Anakin's feeling of impending doom.

As a youngling, Anakin had been a natural in front of the cameras, playing the part of a slave boy on Tatooine who would become a Jedi padawan. The episode had been immensely popular, and had in fact spawned a mad rush of new younglings clamoring to join the Order over the past decade.

But the last time he and Obi-Wan had been on JEDI, Anakin had been fifteen years old, at that awkward age where boys didn't know how to act in real life, much less in front of a camera; it had been all Obi-Wan could do to salvage the situation, responding to Anakin's stuttering, inane comments in a way that would not make them both look like complete idiots.

"All right, Master," Anakin agreed reluctantly. "But I have a bad feeling about this."

So do I, Obi-Wan thought, though he dared not admit it out loud. Hanging their heads dejectedly, the pair resigned themselves to their new assignment and headed downstairs to meet with the director.