Alice J. Capen
Qui-Gon explores a dark theater.
It was Qui-Gon's second mission to Caluss Five. An underground band of rebels who had threatened to usurp the Caluss Five democratically elected government suddenly recended their threat when it was reported that Jedi had arrived to quell the rebellion.
Qui-Gon, at first, was doubtful of the Council's decision to send a Master with a fourteen year old padawan to force a terrorist rebellion into submission. Obi-Wan demonstrated with each training session that he was on the path toward superior swordsmanship, and he had, time and again, proven to possess good judgment and a staunch and dependable heart. Yoda was right when he urged Qui-Gon accept him as a padawan. As usual, Yoda knew. But Qui-Gon was concerned about the limited experience Obi-Wan had with actual battle, but he kept his concern to himself and did not let his padawan know of his worry.
On Caluss Five, during when the group of terrorists were being routed out, Obi-Wan again demonstrated his skill and good judgment. Those who challenged him, thinking that he was an easy target because of his age, learned differently. Some of them learned at the expense of their lives. After the encounter, the more cowardly members of the rebellion surrendered themselves to the Jedi or authorities. Others disappeared into hiding. Those that went into hiding were eventually found by the Jedi. The nature of the terrorists' arsenal that had been found proved the abject cowardly essence of that rebellion. It was a collection of weaponry and bombs and materials for bomb-making for the purpose of creating deadly havoc and destroying the lives of many innocent people for the sake of advancing a putrid ideal borne of criminal minds bent on controlling a society by fear, lies and death. Criminal minds know that their version of an ideal government would never be accepted by the people by democratic vote, so they ooze up from below the surface of a despotic mindset cesspool to commit terrorism.
The surviving terrorists were imprisoned and were now awaiting trial. The services of the Jedi were no longer needed, and they were honored with a dinner at the stately First House of Caluss Five.
Bail Antilles, Galactic Senator and Prince of Alderaan, was visiting Caluss Five at the time the Jedi were there, and during the dinner, invited them to stay at the Palace on Alderaan for a couple of days before returning to Coruscant. The senator would request that favor from the Council.
The favor was granted, and the Jedi became guests of Prince Antilles for an allotted two days time.
Normally the prince would have guards with him when he left the palace, but as his guests were Jedi, there was no need for the usual retinue. Prince Antilles enjoyed the relative freedom his guests gave him, albeit the constraints of being a prince wandering about in public was still upon him. With as much privacy as possible, he took his guests on a sightseeing excursion to places of beauty and art, both natural and man made, of which Alderaan is known.
When evening began to approach the capital city, the prince brought his guests back to the palace to dine.
The next thing on Antilles' agenda that evening was to take the Jedi to see a traveling circus troupe at the Grand Theatre. The circus troupe was highly acclaimed throughout the galaxy for its lavish shows that contained both modern and old fashioned entertainment.
The Grand Theatre was built during an ancient era that stressed epicurean romanticism in the architecture of its buildings.
Heavy marble columns that stood along all four sides of the building, held up the second level that had more marble columns that held up a third level. One might think of it as an elegant, multi-tiered square wedding cake topped with a dome that was held up by its own circle of columns.
The decor of the lobby was extravagant. The high ceiling had carved patterns of flora. The base of the chandeliers had carved ivy patterns and were covered with gold leaf. Classic statuary of near-naked women were carved into the pilasters. The center of the lobby featured a marble fountain with buxom marble women in various positions of repose within the pool and falling water.
Marble steps took the guests up to another level where they would enter the main house of the theater, and more steps to enter hallways that branched off to either side for access to the boxes.
Bail Antilles led his Jedi companions to his favorite box that was reserved for him. In the box's antechamber was a table with champagne, espresso and liqueur truffles. Antilles, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan seated themselves in the plush chairs of the box and waited comfortably for the start of the show. The interior of the house itself was of deep red velvet accented with black marble and gold carvings. A live orchestra played ambient music for the listening pleasure of the audience while they waited for the show to start.
Guests in the boxes scrutinized the audience below them, and perused the other boxes with their opera glasses. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan pretended not to notice when they knew opera glasses were aimed at them; they continued conversing with their host.
After a while, the lights of the chandeliers dimmed, and the music of the orchestra yielded to the music of a large calliope. Rather than a silly tune that might make the listener think of slapstick comedy, the calliope musician played a melody that oddly, yet beautifully combined sensuousness with humor, and the heavy curtains rose.
The stage scenery was artfully created with strange images of vivid carnival colors that were enhanced by, and looked as if they were about to melt into, a background of deepest black that could make a person think they could float into it for eternity.
The first act was acrobatics. Human and non-human performers with fanciful skin-tight outfits that glowed like prismatic fire. Their performance was striking as their bodies executed choreographed acts of surprising and beautiful contortions, tumbles and dances that looked like an ever-changing kaleidoscope pattern.
Next was a husband and wife team of magicians whose magic tricks impressed even the Jedi, although it all was a matter of illusion and no telekinetic or supernatural manipulation was involved. It was especially fun when volunteers from the audience were included.
After the magicians came a dancing harlequin. His hat had five long and wavy colorful points that curved out from the front and pointed toward the back, each with ribbon streamers attached to the tip. His multicolored suit hugged his slim, lithe body like a second skin and his shoes had long points at the toes that curved up, with tinkling bells at the tips. His painted face was compellingly beautiful.
He tumbled and danced to the tune of the calliope, then reached one of his arms behind himself and pulled out a silver flute and played. The calliope musician subdued her own playing and played a subtle accompaniment to a haunting melody. He played his flute as if it were magic, and Qui-Gon closed his eyes to experience that magic.