Gift of the Jedi
Posts: 4291
  • Posted On: Dec 25 2009 7:47am
The Coalition - indeed, the galaxy - had not known a peaceful holiday for some time. Drawing to an end a year of infamous chaos and bloodshed likely to be remembered for generations, no None-Denominational-Holiday-Time could hope to restore weary souls or shattered spirits. The great leaders were off leading armies, plotting power plays, gathering allies, fighting back the blights of war, disease and famine, altogether too busy for merry-making. For the common folk of the galaxy to whom politics is as unmoving as the weather, however, the yearly cycle of celebration was one of the few promised and guaranteed respites.

It was so even in the growing fleets of the Anti-Reaver Compact, whose warships and refugee ships oft mingled and merged as they picked up the pieces on ravaged worlds. One such story of hope and comfort comes now, as a reminder of this most precious phenomenon.


One-point-eighty-seven credits. That was all. And point-sixty of it was in scrip. Scrip added to one promise at a time from requisition officers, relief-coordinators, and refugee leaders. Three times Rubella counted it. One-point-eighty-seven credits. And tomorrow was None-Denominational-Holday-Day.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on her dirty little bedroll and croak. So Rubella did.

This bedroll lay in the bowl of a converted cargo hold. In times of prosperity, when the ship had hauled goods and not people, the vessel had been known as the Icheron - now it was only the Refugee Carrier No. 28, and the admirality was seriously considering shortening this to the No. 28 to free up room on their cluttered ship roster.

The tiny corner of the bulky freighter that was home to the dirty bedroll belonged to one Mr. Odo Baloo, a former business clerk on Mon Calamari who now worked only to keep the refugee population on his migratory ship alive. For this endless work he had only the warm affections and arms of his mate Mrs. Baloo, whom you have been introduced to as Rubella. Which is all very good - supposedly.

Having wept her eyes dry and her amphibious skin damp, Rubella the Mon Calamari tried to think about what she could get for Odo. Life on a refugee ship escaping a horde of monstrous, otherworldly zealots was more expensive than predicted, as always. One-point-eight-seven credits was not enough to buy a worthy gift for her Odo.

In their narrow corner of the cargo compartment there was a window to space. Looking into it, a perceptive refugee might catch sight of their own reflection. Turning this way now, Rubella caught sight of herself and her slightly frayed gossamer scarf.

There were two treasures in the Baloo house. Had the Queen of Naboo lived across from them, Rubella would have strutted with her grandmother's scarf to induce livid envy. Had Admiral Ackbar held court nearby, Odo would have appeared brandishing his thick mane of barbels handsome enough to win the respect of the wisest and most esteemed of his peers.

Looking now at her old scarf, Rubella managed to pass one more tear that soaked into the dirty bulkhead. Then so resolved, she wrapped herself tightly in a dirty shawl and pushed through the crowded refugee quarters towards the makeshift market.

Money had lost its worth amongst the displaced, but a few still survied as traders of goods and needs. A clip-beaked Quarren woman stood under a half-pitched tent and watched Rubella approach.

"What do you do?" Rubella asked.

"I buy and sell clothes," the Quarren replied. "Take off that shawl, girl, and let me see what you've got."

Rubella then revealed the pride of her family, shining in the clawed hands of the Quarren merchant.

"Twenty credits," she finally announced.

"Quickly, then."

The next two hours passed in a blur. Up and down the ship she searched, ransacking the ship as nearly as any Reaver ambush looking for the perfect gift.

At last she found it. A coral chain, whose source was now extinct with the death of her homeworld, seemingly perfectly crafted to wind through her husband's barbel beard. It cost her every cent of her hard-won money, but it was the perfect gift - she could scarcely wonder how he had made do without it until now.

Upon returning to their meager shelter, however, a wave of practical concern asserted itself. She began to work with what few clothes remained to her, wrapping herself tightly in coats in order to hide her missing ornamentation. "If he sees what I've done before he sees the gift he'd kill me," she murmured. "But what was I to do with one-point-eight-seven-credits?"

At seven, Ship-Time, Rubella began to expect Odo. Their small electric heater was brought out, and a worn pot was produced to cook a cheap ration dinner. He was never late without word, and as she waited Rubella feared his reaction. "Please, Force help me," she whispered. "Let him not see me as foolish."

When he arrived at last, squeezing through the packed refugee camp into their little corner, his lean figure was wrapped heat to toe in tight, ragged coats so that only his eyes and fingers poked out of the grubby fabric. His expression upon noting her scarf missing was not shock, or anger, or confusion. It was blankness.

"Don't look at me like that," bemoaned Rubella. "It's None-Denominational-Holiday Day, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't find for you a gift. I can buy it back some day - things will get better, you will see. Just say 'Merry NDHT day' to me, and be happy. You don't know how beautiful this gift is."

"You sold your scarf."

"I had to," said Rubella, tears welling up. "You don't think me foolish, do you? Please, don't say you think less of me for it."

"Your scarf is gone?"

"You needn't look for it. It's sold and gone. Gone for love of you, and to wish you a happy holiday. Its worth was in credits, but there is no price to my love for you. Come, let us have dinner."

At that moment Obo embraced his wife and the two were briefly lost in love alone. At this moment we might look away and ask who better brings hope, love, and joy to others - a powerful hero or a commoner. Philosophers and romantics would give the wrong answer, and even a mighty Jedi could not deliver this sort of kindness. Let us continue.

As the two parted again, Obo said "You misunderstand me. Nothing you could buy, sell, or do would make me love you any less than I do. If you take a look at my gift to you, however, you might see why I was so taken aback a moment ago."

With this, he drew from within the folds of his coat a sewing repair kit, complete with fresh gossamer strands. Upon realizing what this meant, Rubella burst into fresh tears and pressed against her beloved once more.

Holding the kit in her hands, she said "I will make back the money again some day, I'll get the scarf back, you'll see."

It was then that she leapt up as a spooked nerf. "Oh, of course! Obo, you have yet to see my gift to you!" With that she pulled out the coral chain, presenting it to her husband. "Isn't it wonderful, Obo? Please, pull down your coat and braid your barbels with it, I want to see how it looks."

Instead of obeying, however, Obo simply smiled and lay down on their grubby bedroll. "Rubella, I think these gifts are far too good for us now. Let's put them away for a time until we're ready." With that, he pulled back his coat collar to reveal a bare chin. "I sold my barbels in order to afford the gossamer. Now I should think we should have dinner. Merry NDHT day."


The Jedi, as you know, were wise beings - wonderfully wise beings - who fought to preserve justice and bring hope. They protected the weak and defenceless. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, intended to stimulate kindness, joy, and hope. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish aliens in a freighter who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Jedi.