Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Passage of Three Months

Jedi training, it had to be said, was some of the most rigorous and intensive instruction in the known universe. Some Mandaloreans would balk at the dedication it required. Even Clone Troopers had been known to falter keeping up with the dedication and pace demanded of padawans during just the first stages of their lessons.

For an increasingly pregnant woman with a long history of well-practiced hedonism, this was Hell.

Every day, it was the same. Up at dawn. Not around dawn, not near dawn. AT dawn, the holocron would turn on, hover to wherever Trillinae was and begin blaring an awakening song drawn from its vast archive she could only assume was labeled "Music to Annoy Corellians" somewhere in its evil little memory banks.

In any case, that harsh rising would be followed by a set of stretches and limbering exercises that lasted thirty minutes. Nothing too strenuous, at least not before breakfast. Toob was stretched to his culinary limits creating the menu the holocron demanded but somehow, every meal, the droid succeeded. It probably helped that while there were stringent nutritional requirements, there were no rules about what the food had to taste like.

Trill already wanted to throw up every morning. The food was not helping.

Then there was the run.

The run.

A Jedi run was not like a normal job or hike. It accomplished exactly the same nothing; you started in one place, made a big circuit around whatever you happened to be near and ended up exactly where you were when you began. The difference was that a normal runner avoided obstacles. A Jedi made them part of the exercise.

The first month, this was a serious problem and the hovering metal taskmaster just had to cope with Trill using mundane ways of getting around fallen logs, wide cravasses and rushing streams.

Eventuially though, the holocron's instructions began to take hold. It was not always possible but sometimes she was able to make that jump or move that log, all with the power of her mind and her immense irritation at having to do so. "This," she would tell the metal slavedriver, "is the Pissed Off side of the Force."

After the run each day would be time for private meditation. The holocron would power down after giving her a topic to contemplate and she would wander off to do anything other than sit and think. Play solitaire Sabacc, work on the pod, scream at trees. Nap. Nap was a big one.

She liked naps.

After private reflection time came sparring, her second favorite part of the day. The way she saw it, this was when she got to use her lightsaber and try to punish the holocron for being a self-righteous nerf-head. Sadly, the holographic device was equipped with a shield and a low-powered saber of its own, making even scoring a blow basically impossible.

Though she would never admit it, she loved sparring time so much because it was the only time each day she was guaranteed to see Darrus again. The holocron would create his image for her to spar with, essentially taking the place of his hands and fighting with her as he used to do.

It was fun and it was also great exercise. Fighting Darrus was never easy but the holocron also added the element of frustration to the mix. Its saber was fixed with a special crystal, one that changed its energy frequency to something incapacitating rather than lethal. In non-tech speak, every strike hurt like a bitch.



"OW, you fragging metal bantha-humping excuse for a toaster-bot!!!"

Practice, inevitably, led to a resting period or, as Toob called it, mandatory first aid. As thw eeeks wore on, these faded in severity until by the end of three months of training, he usually only had to administer a slight topical analgesic to the worst of the surface burns. She was getting better, avoiding most of the blows. She was even getting in a hit or two.

"I swear, Toob. If it wasn't all I had left of him, I'd take a hammer to that thing when it was sleeping."

"I know, mistress. Please, you need to watch your blood pressure. You do not want to risk injury to the child."

"Bah. This tummy-grub could survive armageddon. It's me I'm worried about."

This conversation would almost always be followed by a period of retching. Morning sickness. Afternoon sickness. Inconvenient-moment-while-leaning-too-close-to-sad-medical-droid sickness.

After the sparring and recovery time, which never felt long enough, more cerebral instruction would fill the rest of whatever was left of the day. History, philosophy, the Jedi Code. A whole lot of things Trill could care less about but had to learn or the lessons would just repeat until she got the holocron's questions right.

By the time each night rolled around and the holocron settled into its base to recharge and rest, she was more than eager to do the same. It was getting harder. Her skills were growing but her body was starting to betray her. Already she was front heavy and felt ponderous. It was such a paradox; she was in the best shape of her life and yet completely encumbered by this beloved little leech inside.

Soon, very soon, the lessons would have to stop. She just could not not keep up this pace.

And if the holocron, if the little surrogate Darrus could not understand that, she'd have to convince it...

...with a rock.