He hadn't felt this rotten in a very long time. The morning light that slanted lazily through the curtains stabbed mercilessly at his aching eyes and clawed at his nerve endings so that his head throbbed. His mouth felt like it was filled with several layers of caten that had been saturated with stinksyrup. And worst of all, there was an unnaturally cheerful person insisting that he should be fully alert at this time of morning. He might have been able to forgive that if it had been Obi-Wan. After all, there were so many things that could be easily attributed to the follies of youth and Obi-Wan was at least patient with his Master's relative old age. Besides, Obi-Wan would never be so heartless as to expect him to be conscious before daybreak. Obi-Wan would awaken at 0400 and then meditate or study until a more decent hour. His current partner on this mission had no such sense of decency. After all, she was a politician and they tended to have questionable morals under the best of circumstances. Any Jedi would have been able to tell her that this unholy, Sithspawned hour was not the best of circumstances for anyone. She did not seem to mind, since she was not only fully alert, but singing a jaunty little tune. This seemed to be the confirming factor in his hypothesis that she was fully insane, but also served to reinforce the fact that he would not be able to leave her unattended. After all, he was supposed to be her protector and confidant on this negotiating mission and it would be unfair of him to let her do the work while he lazed about in his comfortable bed. Stumbling to his feet, he stumped towards the door with all the grace of a crippled rancor and threw open the old-fashionedly hinged door. "What in the name of the Sith is so blasted important at this time of morning?" Senator Noela Ovorp looked up with her usual bright-eyed expression of anticipation. "Qui-Gon," she greeted, "I thought you'd never get up." It was evident that she'd had time to give this some thought while making her self perfectly presentable and applying rather unnecessary makeup. Even her dress was ironed. The woman was either unnatural or certifiably insane. "It is four o'clock in the morning," he grumbled, shuffling towards the nearest source of stimulating substances. "Of course I was never going to get up this early." "But certainly, you want to get a headstart on the day," she suggested, taking a long sip of whatever was in her mug. "And you remember that I asked us to..." "I know," he interrupted, glaring at the contents of the cupboard. "No caf?" "It's bad for your health," Noela reasoned, "so I just finished off the last of it." At that very moment, he became suddenly and credibly aware of the possibility that she was not his oldest friend but a manifestation of the Force, trying to see just how far he could be pushed before turning to the Dark Side. At the moment, it seemed as though he wouldn't need much more effort on anyone's part. He might even go voluntarily if the Dark Side had a cup of caf and reasonable alarm chronos. "All right," he said with feigned patience that she didn't seem to mind at all. "I would like to address whatever concern you have." "I appreciate it," Noela said earnestly, smiling. "It's something rather important to the mission." "Yes?" he said, his interest suddenly piqued--if it were urgent, sleep could certainly wait. "What is it that is troubling you?" She looked immensely relieved. "I've been noticing something as of late and it concerned me," she confessed. He could think of nothing that would merit that, but was certainly willing to hear her out. Right before he went back to bed. "What is it?" he pressed gently. "Qui-Gon..." She hesitated as if expecting him to lash out, then squared her shoulders and looked him in his bloodshot eyes. "You seem tired," she explained. "Is there anything I can do to help?"