Kinda Sorta Phallic, Aren't They?
If you're reading this because the story says it has a new, twelfth chapter... that chapter is actually over here. When I rewrote the first seven chapters and added an eighth, it improved them greatly but simultaneously opened up some inconsistencies that I needed to address. Which I did. With the new Chapter 10.
Heeeey guys! I got nominated for CoAs again. I was checking to see if I had the latest version (because I do tinker) uploaded and I found a few chapters that never made it onto the site. So I decided to rectify that oversight. Enjoy.
"Is it me or are we staring at a bunch of penis-shaped starships?"
Gasps came from all around them and Hiskari sighed, shaking her head ruefully. "I can dress you up but I can't take you anywhere, Cordelia Chase." Tilting her head to the side, Hiskari studied the Rendili Dreadnaughts carefully before humming softly. "Well, I've never seen any in the flesh… but I suppose they do resemble the ones we saw in Intermediate Comparative Biology." Sighing, she glared up at Cordelia with those fathomless red eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. "And thank you. Now I'm never going to be able to look at one of these ships the same way again."
Cordelia grinned impishly, wrapping her fingers around one of Hiskari's headtresses and slowly rubbing from root to tip. "No problem, sweetie." Looking around the landing platform, she sighed as she took in the nearly endless sea of dignitaries, military higher ups, and other people she didn't give a rat's ass about. Boring. Rather than bend down, she tapped the figure in front of her with her boot. "Psst. When do we get to leave?"
"When the chancellor is done speaking, depart we shall. Your impatience, understand I do not. Remain to supervise the engineering teams, your companion must." Turning to one side, Yoda whacked his cane against the plastoid plate that protected Cordelia's left shin. "Work to improve your behavior, we must. Befitting of a Jedi, your public conduct is not." Reaching up, he rubbed the back of his head. "Kick me again and scrub bedpans till my age you reach, you shall."
Well excuuuse her. It wasn't her fault she was bored. If she'd been given a choice, she wouldn't have even shown up for the arrival of whatever this was. But since Yoda treated her like a particularly useful droid and ordered her around to wherever he wanted her, she was stuck standing out here twiddling her thumbs and trying not to choke on the smell coming off one of the alien senators a few feet away.
Looking to her right, Cordelia spotted Chancellor Palpatine, resplendent in a pair of black and red robes as his spoke lowly with Emokin and his secret wife. Maybe… maybe the old geezer had been on to something. The Jedi certainly didn't value her the way they should. Maybe she would be better off serving the Republic directly. And, well, she was getting pretty damn good at using the Jedi mind trick. If he ever tried anything, she could always cloud his mind so he thought she kept up her end of the deal.
Another of the bizarre, penis-shaped ships touched down… number seven out of Lord only knew how many. Sighing, Cordelia pulled away from Hiskari and turned, glaring at the crowd until they made a path for her. Slicing through the mass of assembled sentients, she made her way over to a comparatively small clump of white armored figures were milling. "Ugh. Still can't believe I agreed to them making nerd-mes."
"We can't believe you agreed to it either. We feel all dirty… like we're part Willow or something." A clone with the markings of a captain on her pristine white armor turned to face one of her lieutenants, ducking down so her sister could see the top of her head. "Quick! Check to make sure I don't have red roots growing in or something."
Cordelia rolled her eyes and slapped the offending clone engineer upside the head. "Funny. Keep it up and I'll tell them to start tweaking the genes on the rest of the order and you really can be part-Willow. I wonder if they can find a babble gene to turn on, too. Although they can keep the boyfriend-smooching skank gene turned off, thank you very much."
That just earned her a hundred and forty-four simultaneous snickers as the entire company of clone engineers found amusement in her past trauma. "Are you still hung up on that? It was what, five years and another universe ago? I'd say get a girlfriend, but that's clearly not helping." The clone captain tapped a finger against her chin for a moment as she thought before giving up and shrugging. "Get a boyfriend too? Or another girlfriend?"
"Maybe the Kaminoans can splice in a gene to make the next batch of you ACTUALLY funny…"
Wandering down the halls of the Republic Executive Building, Cordelia paused as she came to the doors that led to the chancellor's suite. Did she really want to do this? No, not really. Did she need to do this? Yeah, probably. Unless, of course, she wanted to spend the rest of her natural life playing nurse when she wasn't busy being a lawn gnome's personal servant.
The doors hissed open as she took the last step needed to bring her within sensor range and Cordelia kept her head held high as she passed between them. A quartet of red-clad guards were waiting just inside but stepped aside to let her pass. The next obstacle was an ugly green man sitting behind a desk, but if he had a problem with Cordelia breezing past him and heading deeper into the chancellor's offices, he didn't verbalize it.
Down the short passage way she went, emerging into the red-heavy, oversized circular office that the chancellor used for his meetings with assorted figures. Cordelia tilted her head to the side, studying the figures arrayed in the chairs on the opposite side of the desk from Palpatine. She recognized Bail Antilles of Alderaan… the Internal Activities Committee, maybe? Oooh, was someone in trouble? She loved juicy gossip.
The assembled senators and the chancellor stared at her and Cordelia stared right back, not wanting to be the one to crack first. Finally, Palpatine cleared his throat. "Padawan Chase. I wasn't aware the Jedi were taking an interest in the goings on of the Internal Activities Committee. Was I misinformed?"
"Nope. Although hey, points to me for guessing the committee even though I really don't care about politics." Cordelia jerked her head toward the door. "All of you, scram. The chancellor and I have an appointment."
Palpatine reached forward and activated the small holoprojector on his desk, murmuring something in a foreign language to the glowing blue representation of his receptionist. The alien shook his head and Palpatine shut the projector off, sitting back in his seat. "Are you certain of that, Padawan? Dar Wac is quite certain that the only commitment I had for this afternoon was this meeting."
Sighing, Cordelia skirted around the oversized desk and bent down so her lips were next to his ear. "You wanted to discuss a job offer when the war broke out? I was otherwise employed? Well, I'm back on the market if you're interested."
"I see. Well." Clearing his throat, the chancellor gave the assembled senators a forced smile and gestured to the doors. "If you would excuse me, it would appear that an extremely urgent matter has come up. If you speak with Dar on the way out, though, he will give you priority towards rescheduling so we can continue to discuss your concerns?"
One by one, the senators rose from their chairs and exited the office, giving her a variety of looks as they went. Some were downright hostile for the interruption, while Bail looked merely curious. Then again, Cordelia would have been curious in his position too. Her name was becoming increasingly well known by the galaxy at large as an increasing portion of the Grand Army's support staff began to wear her face, and now she had the chancellor's ear. Quite a puzzle for an outsider.
As soon as the doors closed behind the last senator, Palpatine was up and out of his seat with a speed that belied his age. A wave of his hands had a set of shades closing over the massive transparisteel windows, blocking them from outside view and significantly diminishing the light in the room. The Force prickled uncomfortably against her senses and Cordelia went for her lightsaber. She wasn't the only one, it turned out, as an ornate blue and white vase tipped off its pedestal and fell to the floor. From the shards emerged a silver and gold lightsaber, tumbling end over end until Palpatine plucked it out of the air and ignited it, the blood red blade glowing ominously in the room. "Defend yourself."
"…oh snap." Suddenly, all sorts of little pieces clicked into place inside Cordelia's head. He wasn't a pervert. He was just evil and wanted her to be a minion. Given the red lightsaber… probably THE evil. And he was in charge of both sides of the war. Damn. That was crafty. Bringing her violet blade up, she deflected his first stabbing strike as she twisted to the left. He took two more quick strikes at her that she deflected just as skillfully before she took the offensive, blade singing as she began to test his defenses with a series of small, quick jabs. "So… you're the Big Bad around here. Huh. Did not see that coming, honestly. So, where do we go from here? Because seriously, I'm no evil mastermind, but even I know that you're supposed to ask me to join you or die before we get to the me dying part."
Palpatine snarled, his irises burning a sickly yellow color as he continued to pound away at her defenses. "No. If you cannot survive such a simple test, you are not worthy of such an offer." Cordelia flipped backward as he went for her legs, and was then forced to abort her handspring and hold a handstand with her legs spread uncomfortably far apart as his red blade hummed past. Finishing the cartwheel she'd started, Cordelia straightened up and coiled her legs, ready to lunge and take the offensive, only to find the chancellor tucking his extinguished lightsaber into his voluminous robes. "Excellent. Excellent indeed. Yes, I will train you."
"That's it? Wow. I went through cheerleading tryouts more difficult than that. But hey, if it means you'll stop trying to hack me into pieces, I'm there." Clipping her own lightsaber to her belt, Cordelia arched one brow imperiously. "And you're assuming I want your training, now that I know who you are. What makes you think I won't just run off and tell the Jedi?"
"I am the most powerful man in the galaxy… controlling two armies, Dark Jedi and Jedi alike, and the fates of trillions of sentient beings. I believe you stated it quite well. 'Join me or die', I believe it was?"