An Urgent Matter
Rating: PG
MaceVindaloo and Diana

I ran the stop signal — I ran right through it, even though traffic control had given me plenty of warning. But I was driving fast and I saw the Dug behind me was right on my tail, and he was not stopping either. Even if I had managed to halt my speeder, the guy behind me would have been up my tail hard ... and then I would have been before the Council for the fifth time this week for "vehicular abnormalities." None of these incidents are ever my fault, but I'd sooner not have to waste my time explaining to the masters, yet again. Master Obi-wan, in particular, would be extremely cross!

I knew that the cross traffic might be a problem, so I dared to used the Force to keep their engines from responding for a fraction of a second while me and the Dug sped through the second-level aerial intersection. Alas, I saw a traffic control officer's vehicle in pursuit. But before I could even curse my luck (I'm not supposed to used the Force to avoid traffic fines), the traffic agent pulled over the Dug and let me go. What luck!

But I knew that I wasn't out of trouble; I knew the agent would likely call in back-up to handle me ... so I pulled over a few blocks from the Temple and parked the vehicle. I figured that getting off the trafficway was a wise move. Besides, I knew I needed to walk and calm my blood down. Otherwise, Obi-wan would have immediately detected my crime through my feelings, and I'd have to endure yet another lecture for something that was really quite trivial.

I went straight to the Padawan dormitory and into my room. I got change of clothing and ran for the refresher. Fortunately, there were no masters about and no one questioned my hurry; come to think of it, in the years I'd spent at the Temple, I did have a tendency to be in a rush most of the time. Obi-wan said it was due to poor planning; I hate when he's right!

Feeling hungry afterwards, I decided to walk to Dex's Diner for a quick second-breakfast; fortunately, Master Obi-wan never admonishes me for needing more food than the other padawans. Master Windu has told me stories of Obi-wan burning through Qui-Gon's food budgets because of his constant hunger as a teenager. I'm lucky to have such an understanding master; he even has a running tab set up at Dex's for me to use any time I need it.

After my snack, I felt much better and I figured I'd better pick up the speeder and take it back to the Temple speederport before anyone reported it missing. I did have permission to take it out, but some of the mechanics are sticklers about them being returned; besides, it might raise suspicion that I had returned to the Temple, but the speeder hadn't!

My heart dropped as I turned the corner to see the Temple-registered speeder being hooked magnetically to a security transport for towing. I dared again to use the Force to stop them — if I had been with a Wookiee, I might have just had the big creature grab the bumper, but one must use what one has, and I have the Force.

"That's Jedi property," I yelled out with what I hoped was an authoritative tone of voice, "stop!"

"Ah, it's Skywalker," smiled the big Barabel. These bi- and quadri-pedal creatures appear slow and stupid, but don't let that fool you. They're smart and quick, and fortunately, they have a great sense of humor; this is both good and bad, for they can find humor even in your bad situation. This one was called Jarrylabra'chuan, and he and I had encountered each other before. Thus he knew me and my situation; and I knew I had a good chance to come out of this one clean if I could entertain him.

"So, Skywalker," the Barabel's hissing accent emphasized the syllables, but I knew he wasn't being sinister about it. "Why did you run from the pursuing constabulary? You knew you ran that stop sign, were you hiding?"

My mind whirred, knowing that he knew the truth. "It was an urgent matter, officer," I started, "I ... I had to use the refresher!"

"So why not go directly to the Temple?" 'Chuan replied, rather laconically, with a hint of a smirk on his broad mouth.

"Um ... you'll note my change of clothing ... and I've been 'freshed ... I didn't ... well, I was ashamed of showing up at the Temple mechanical bay in a speeder filled with ... well, with "wastes" ..."

I didn't know Barabels had eyebrows until them, but 'Chuan's shot up in surprise. I swear even the mechano-droids with him were trying not to laugh. I worried I'd gone too far this time, but to my immense relief, the Barabel's huge guffaw burst out and his laughter boomed around the semi-enclosed plaza. "Good one! Excellent! Completely new! You never cease to surprise and amuse me, Skywalker! Okay, get in the vehicle, you'll have to pay a fine because you're already hooked up and logged in as an offender downtown ... so tell me more on the way!"

En route, he had me speak into the recording microphone to explain my situation: what it felt like, the cramping, contemplating how to get up so nothing leaked, the decison-making process between going to my room or to the refresher first, knowing "the process" was in progress ... 'Chuan told me it was for "official records," but I knew he'd make Master Obi-wan listen to it, just so he could see my master's incredulous look ... and maybe the constable would get a mug of lomin out of it ... If I was unlucky, they'd meet at Dex's, so the Besaliski owner could get a chortle out of my misfortune, too.

"Don't whine about it," giggled the Barabel traffic officer as he collected the 0.25 credit fine down at the processing office, "you have to pay your fine in humiliation to offset the real price for what you've done, young Skywalker!" As I collected my receipt so I could claim the speeder from the impoundment yard, I realized he was right — it could have been far worse. Master Obi-wan will simply ground me and put a hold on the tab at Dex's for a week. The Council would have been much grumpier and I would have had to polish boots again and lost the right to accompany Obi-wan on missions; or worse, an extra turn in the barrel ...

As I drove the speeder back to the Temple, I actually felt pretty good ... until I realized why I had been speeding in the first place! I was trying to get to my work-duty assignment on time, and now I was really late for my shift at the Library. Old Jocasta Nu could be pretty bitchy about being late for work-duty. Looks like I'll have to use this excuse again; at least it has already been thought through and it was fully developed and I have back-up!

I ran to the Chief Archivist's office, the picture of contrition, "Master Nu! I'm so sorry, I had an urgent matter that required immediate attention ..."


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