No Food Allowed

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to George Lucas.

Note: I suddenly recalled Palpatine likes to attend the opera and realized Han & Luke would have no idea what it was; hence funny reactions.

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"Han!" Luke Skywalker called as he hurried over to his smuggler friend. They were currently living in Darth Vader's castle on Coruscant. "We've been invited to the opera!"

"The opera?" Han asked as he lifted his head from an old tattered book he had been reading called How to Make Your Own Poisons. He still dreamed of the perfect opportunity to kill Palpatine but so far the chance had not presented itself. That and Vader had strictly outlawed poisoned food of any kind. "What's that?"

"I think it's some kind of movie…" Luke guessed, shrugging his black-clad shoulders. "Anyway, it sounds exciting! Isn't Palpatine nice, inviting us?"

"Palpatine!" Han shouted, paying attention now. "I can finally murder him!"

The young Jedi smiled. "But you've been trying for years…"

"Yeah, and I could never get close to the old mummy before either! But this time it'll be different!" Han promised. "When's the date?"

"Today." Luke informed him. "We'll be leaving in less than a half hour. Palpatine said he has these special box seats at the opera house…"

"Box seats?" Han grumbled unhappily. "The guy is the richest man in the galaxy and he sits on cardboard boxes? I thought he could at least afford regular movie theatre seats. Maybe I better bring a cushion."

"I'm going to get some snacks!" Luke dashed off to do just that.

Han checked his pockets and saw he had a few credits, enough for the concession stand unless they raised prices. He then quickly gathered anything that might be useful in the upcoming assassination attempt. Unfortunately he couldn't afford real bombs and such, so he was rather limited. All of his money went to repairing the Falcon and he refused to ask Leia's father for money. Once Han gathered what he deemed worthy, he hid the stuff inside his clothes. This left numerous suspicious looking bulges all over him.

Han didn't care.

Darth Vader took Luke, Leia and Han to the opera house in his airspeeder. Chewie had chosen to stay home as he had growled at Han that he disliked opera: it hurt his ears. Han, of course, had no idea what opera was. How in the world Chewie knew he didn't know.

Truthfully, he didn't care what it was. Palpatine was going to be there and that was the important bit.

At the opera house Luke pointed at the sign that said NO FOOD OR DRINKS ALLOWED. The Jedi had a guilty face as he had hid a few small snacks inside his clothes.

"Aw, ignore it, Luke." Han informed him as he followed the tall Sith Lord in through the ornate doors. He noticed the red carpet under his boots and how fancy the place looked. There were fancy swirly shapes on the walls and ceiling, bits that stood outward. The smuggler had no idea what it was but it screamed money. Without a doubt, this was the fanciest movie theatre he ever visited.

Once inside, the smuggler looked about. There were lots of people in expensive clothes milling about and he felt shabby in his usual white shirt and black vest. Maybe, just maybe he should have put on a clean shirt? Han considered it for a second and then dismissed the thought. He was going to kill Palpatine so why ruin a clean shirt with blood?

Then he realized what he was not seeing.

"Hey! Where's the concession stand?" Han demanded angrily at Lord Vader's back. "Why don't I smell any popcorn? Are we really early or what?"

"This is the opera, General Solo, not a movie theatre. They do not sell food or drinks here." Darth Vader explained as he led then past the mills of people and into a separate hallway.

"What, no popcorn!" Han exclaimed, shocked. "That old mummy is getting cheap! This place looks expensive but if they can't afford popcorn…"

"Han! Shut up!" Leia hissed at him, her face red on the cheeks. The Princess was dressed in a lovely white gown and had her hair piled on her head. "You're embarrassing me!"

"What?" Has asked as he stared at her confused. "It's just the truth!"

He watched as Lord Vader handed the tickets to some over-dressed guy in a weird outfit. The man smiled at Luke and Leia but gave him a funny look. "Yeah, you look weird too!"

A shocked expression appeared on his face and Han strolled past, over-conscious of the big bulges in his clothing. They emerged in an area with movie theatre seats and Han sighed in relief. No cardboard boxes! The smuggler saw they were on a small balcony overlooking a stage far below. His dark eyes flashed over the seats and he instantly spotted the old geezer in the bathrobe: Palpatine!

Han's heart skipped a beat and he quickly dashed past the others to acquire a seat next to the old mummy. He reached it first and he sighed in relief. Once the lights went out and the movie was on, he'd pull out his stuff and would see if he could get rid of the old coot once and for all.

Vader took a seat on the other side of Palpatine. Luke sat next to Vader and Leia next to her brother.

The smuggler tried to relax as he heard the others trying to make small talk. He carefully patted his hidden objects to make sure they were all there and safe. The last thing he wanted was for them to drop down his pants and to get lost on the floor somewhere. But they seemed safe enough and he grinned.

Yes, today was going to be a grand day indeed!

His eyes moved forward over the balcony's edge and his heart skipped a beat. "Hey! Where's the movie screen?"

"This is the opera, General Solo." Palpatine explained as he turned to regard the conman sitting next to him. "It is a live performance, not a holovideo."

"Oh." Han's face reddened as he felt incredibly stupid. "I knew that!"

"Sure you did, Han." Luke agreed with a smile.

Leia only groaned and held onto her head.

So it's some kind of stage play, errr? Hmmmm…

A bit later the lights dimmed and some woman came out onto the stage. She was dressed very fancy and had some weird hat on her head. Han rolled his eyes at the crazy outfit, holding in his snickers. Then her mouth opened and he was forced to clamp both hands over his ears, as some horrid high-pitch racket came out! "What the Force is that?"

"Ssshhhh!" Palpatine hissed at him. "The performance has started!"

Han waited a few moments, hoping the woman would get her voice and singing under control. At the moment she sounded like an out-of-tune klaxon during a red alert! He lifted one hand off of one ear cautiously, testing, but to his dismay she still sounded like someone shrieking in misery.

The noise was so awful he couldn't think straight!

"Hurry up and DIE already!" Han shouted at the singing woman on the stage.

She however acted as if she didn't hear him at all and kept the loud racket coming.

Han determined that she couldn't hear him, not with that horrible noise! The bellows in her lungs drowned everything else out!

Leia was red-faced at Han's shouted words and sunk low in her seat, trying to hide. Her brother, Luke, was gaping open-mouthed at the woman singing on the stage, totally confused.

"What is that?" Luke asked in a soft whisper as he bent towards his father.

"That is the opera we came to see…" Darth Vader explained in the softest hush his mask could make. "They are singing a story…"

"Oh." Luke replied.

A few moments passed as Luke listened intently. Then it occurred to him it was in a foreign language and he had no idea what was being said. He turned to his father again. "What did she say?"

Vader groaned but started to translate.

Only to have Luke ask again a few minutes later.

Han glared at the singer on the stage. She was ruining his assassination attempt with the awful sounds! How could he think? How could he grab the right weapon at the right moment? Something needed to be done and quickly, as at the moment he hated the opera singer far more than the Emperor. Was she not the one trying to drive him deaf?

He reached under his shirt and pulled out a very soft tomato, one just on the cusp of being spoiled. He glanced about but no one was looking at him. An evil grin spread across his face then and he quickly tossed it as hard as he could towards Miss Big Mouth. He watched it sail through the air and it seemed it would reach her but to his dismay it did not. Instead it burst open on some poor sap down in the audience. Quickly Han put on an innocent face as an uproar started below. He watched as the now soiled man got up and left, no doubt heading to the bathroom.

Han snuck a few more almost spoiled tomatoes out of his shirt and innocently dropped then on the floor. Then with his boot he slid then towards Palpatine. With any luck the old geezer would slip on them when he stood up later and fall over the railing.

He heard a loud snap then and turned, seeing Luke cracking open peanut shells and eating peanuts. He had given up on asking Vader about the story as it had turned out to be long-winded and incredibly boring.

And Vader had his helmeted head leaning backward, resting against the seat's back. Han would have sworn he was sleeping!

The lucky devil probably can shut off external sounds with that mask! Now I know why he wears it! I bet that old geezer drags him here often…

And then the singing went up several octaves, growing louder and harsher than before. Han thought it couldn't get worst but it just had.

"I TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP ALREADY!" Han bellowed at the singer, angry at the deafening racket. "LEARN TO SING!"

Leia covered her face in her hands, embarrassed beyond belief.

Luke pulled a comic book out of his shirt and sat hunched over it, a mini flashlight in one hand and aimed at his book. A can of open cola sat next to him, a red and white straw poking out of the can. It seemed as if he could enjoy himself no matter where he was.

The Sith Lord started to snore, his rumbling barely heard over the opera.

Only Palpatine sat there with rapt attention, staring forward at the performance.

The smuggler turned his attention to the Emperor. It was his fault! He was the one that had invited them to listen to some amateur singer that sounded worst than a Hutt! Han quickly patted himself down, hoping he had at least one weapon left. He needed to end this and end this quick before he went deaf!

He found one final lump in his clothes and brought it forth.

He hefted it in his hand, feeling its solid weight. An evil grin spread across his face. His grip on the weapon tightened and his muscles were ready.

He then tapped Palpatine innocently on his shoulder. "Excuse me, Emperor?"

"Yes?" Palpatine replied as he tore his reddish eyes off of the performer. "What is…."

The rest of Palpatine's words were drowned out as Han quickly shoved a long cucumber into his mouth. The Emperor's eyes widened in shock and he tried to shove the smuggler away, forgetting for the moment he had the Force.

Seeing he had the advantage for the moment, Han tried to jam it deeper, shoving on it with all of his might. He gloated as he thought he might actually win, the evil Emperor choking to death on a green vegetable. Then a giant hand seemed to grab him about his chest, lifting him up into the air. He lost his grip on the cucumber as this happened. He twisted about wild-eyed to see who it was, expecting to see a red-cloaked Imperial Guard there … but there was no one, no one at all! He was then deposited back into his seat, much to his confusion. "What…?"

Palpatine spat the vegetable out and turned to regard the dark-haired conman. "Thank you for sharing your food, General Solo, but I am not hungry at the moment. And surely you realize it's uncouth to sneak food into the opera?"

Han's mind whirled fast, realizing the idiot hadn't realized it was a murder attempt. Had it really been that lame? His face heated from embarrassment and he slunk lower in his seat. "Sorry…"

"Don't do it again…" Palpatine warned as the cucumber vanished within his robes.

Darth Vader was still snoring inside his helmet, Luke was on his third comic book and Leia had moved to a seat farther away from the embarrassing weirdoes.

Then Han's mood brightened as he recalled the tomatoes on the floor. They might get Palpatine yet… And so he glumly sat through several hours of torture, hands clumped over his ears and envying Vader his mask. Finally he sensed the show was winding up and his straightened in his seat. But to his dismay the old man did not trip or slide on the hated vegetables at all. They just squished uselessly under his boots and stained the bottom hem of his Jedi-like robe. The Emperor poked Darth Vader to wake him, as the Sith Lord was now blocking the row. Leia had already moved to the exit of the private booth and waited there, Luke heading towards her.

Vader easily stepped over the pile of discarded peanut shells, none of the rough fragments sticking to his smooth clothing.

But the Emperor wasn't so lucky. His robe was warm and fuzzy, the shell fragments easily gluing themselves to the hem of his robe.

Han looked at how the bottom of the Emperor's robe looked and snickered. Stuff apparently liked to snag on it. Then he noted how the bottom rear of the robe was dragging on the actual floor. An evil grin spread across the smuggler's face as a thought occurred to him.

One chance left…

Han quickly moved closer to Palpatine, who was still making his way out from between the balcony railing and the row of seats. He inched up right behind him and then stepped on the trailing rear edge of the robe. He wasn't sure what would happen, but he imagined the old geezer falling over…

Instead there was a loud rip, the sound soft after the racket of the too-loud singing. Palpatine's ancient Jedi-like robe was several decades old and had been around since the days of the Old Republic. It was infused with evil, but the fibers were just as rotten at the Sith Master's body. The cloth split at the seams, dropping off of his shoulders and within seconds pooled at his feet. Before Palpatine realized what had happened, he took another step forward and tripped over the wad tangled about his feet. He fell forward, crashing to the floor.

"Aaaahhh, my robe, my robe!" The Emperor cried as he lay there almost naked.

"By gosh!" Luke cried as he hurried over to gawk. "I have the exact same style of Death Star underwear!"

And it was true. Emperor Palpatine was wearing Death Star underwear with tie fighters on them.

Darth Vader sighed but knew he had to deal with the mess. He started towards the Emperor to do just that.

Han took one look at the Emperor's bony body, the decayed skin and was truly horrified. The old geezer was practically a bag of bones covered by a thin layer of skin, the bones easily showing. He would now have nightmares for months…

"Sorry…" Han sheepishly said, meaning it for once, sorry for tearing the robe off of that horrible body and seeing that. If he could un-see it he would. What had he been thinking, stepping on an elderly man's robe like that? Sure, it was the evil Emperor but he was what, a thousand years old? Han looked at the visible bones and nodded. "Must be a few thousand at least…"

And now he had a new worry … that he might look like that someday if he lived long enough. Uggh.

Oh well. He'd have to try killing him again on another day.

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