Title: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Author: Raissa Baiard Timeframe: OT, Rebels Season 2, 4 BBY Characters: Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orreilios Genre: Humor Canonicity: Canon Synopsis: Ezra, Sabine, and Zeb are on their own while Hera and Kanan are on a supply run. What could possibly go wrong? Notes: This is sort of a follow up to my story, “Date Night”. It’s an idea that’s been hopping around my plot bunny hutch for a long time, and it worked really well with the elements I received for this challenge Spoiler: Challenge elements Your TV trope is: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Your weather forecast is: Rainy Your random word is: Persiflage - def: frivolous, light hearted talk. Your required line of dialogue is: "I am completely calm!" Your picture prompt is: (Original Link: https://pixabay.com/photos/hand-gift-bouquet-congratulation-1549399/) ------------- “Why do I suddenly have a very bad feeling about this?” Hera asked as Kanan slid into the Phantom’s co-pilot seat next to her.She shouldn’t be having second thoughts about this mission. It was only a routine supply run, after all, picking up crates of medical supplies from Mon Cala for Phoenix Squadron, but the last run was supposed to have been simple, too. Hera had managed to dispatch all three of the “kids” plus Chopper on a single mission. It had been the perfect opportunity for her and Kanan to spend some much needed time alone together… until Zeb and Ezra ate the romantic dinner she’d made, Sabine decided to retouch her hair five minutes before departure, and the whole day’s worth of errands and stress made her and Kanan fall asleep on the acceleration couch while watching a holo. This time she’d decided that she and Kanan would be the ones going on the supply run. No kids. No droids. No delays. No interruptions. Once again, it sounded perfect, except... “Did you see the way they were all grinning? They’re up to something. We’re going to come back and there’ll be nothing left of the Ghost, I know it.” Kanan leaned across the seat and took her hand. “We’re only going to be gone overnight, Hera, and you left them with enough chores to keep them occupied for an entire week. What could possibly go wrong?” --------------- Ezra had hardly stopped grinning since the Phantom took off. He’d been looking forward to this moment ever since Hera had announced that she and Kanan would be both going on the next supply run. Freedom! Absolute freedom--no parental figures to tell him what to do. No one enforce the rules. No one to tell him to focus or get to work or be serious, Ezra. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Hera and Kanan, that they weren’t like family to him, his surrogate parents, in a way. But sometimes the only thing better than having surrogate parents was getting a break from them. He, Sabine and Zeb had decided this would be the perfect opportunity to host a little gathering for Phoenix Squadron, just a friendly get-together to build morale, strengthen inter-squadron bonds of friendship...oh who was he kidding--it was going be a party and it was going to be epic. Really loud music, dancing all night, snacks… Totally epic in every way. Only Hera had left them with a kilometer long list of things to do, and that was going to put a severe crimp in their party preparations. He pulled out Hera’s datapad as the three of them sat around the dejarik table.”Ok, so let’s see what we’ve got here: clean the fuel filters, scrub the carbon scoring off the hull, recalibrate the sensor arrays, buy vrelt traps from Grug’s hardware store and set them around the ship at maked locations, restock pantry staples from central supply depot, clean the ‘fresher….” The list went on and on and on. “Aw man, we’re going to be stuck doing these forever!” Sabine whisked the datapad away from him. “Relax, we’ll divide up the list and have everything done in plenty of time to get ready for the party.” She tapped her fingers against the datapad, re-organizing the items on the to-do-list. “So--I’ll clean the fuel filter and the ‘fresher. Zeb, you do the recalibrations and get the supplies, and Ezra, you can scrub the hull and buy the vrelt traps.” “What?! Why am I always stuck scrubbing the hull?” And why did Sabine always put herself in charge. It was so not fair. Zeb was like old enough to be their dad or something, and Ezra was a Jedi--well, a padawan at least--but somehow Sabine always got to be the one to decide who did what. “It’s raining anyway!” he complained. The only thing worse than scrubbing the hull would be doing it in the rain. The ship would be slippery and his hands would get all cold and pruney. “I’m gonna get soaked!” Sabine was unmoved. “So put on a poncho and quit whining. We’ve got to get these all done if we want to have the party.” “Easy for you to say; your jobs are both inside.” “‘S not gonna be much of a party anyway,” Zeb grumbled. (When didn’t Zeb grumble?). “Not when all we can serve without Hera noticing we’ve been in the supplies is tap water and some stale fungus crackers. We don’t actually have the credits to buy anything.”. “I thought you said you’d win enough in the Zhellday sabacc games to take care of it.” Sabine crossed her arms over her chest and fixed Zeb with a look that made him squirm in his seat. “Yeah...might have overestimated that just a bit. Who knew that Mattin kid could play cards?” Ezra pulled the datapad back towards him and looked at the tasks in his group. “Wait, look! Hera left us plenty of credits to buy the vrelt traps. What if we use them to buy our refreshments instead?” “Then how are we going to catch the vrelts, genius?” Zeb expressed his disapproval by thwacking Ezra lightly on the back of the head. Lightly for a Lasat, anyway...which was to say, ouch. “Hey, I’m a Jedi remember?” Ezra retorted, rubbing the back of his head. “I have these mad animal empathy skills. I’ll just charm those vrelts right out of their holes and off the Ghost, you know, like that guy in the old story. If I can get fyrnocks to listen to me, vrelts should be easy.” Sabine and Zeb exchanged a long disbelieving glance; finally Zeb shrugged. “Eh, might as well let him try. What’s the worst that could happen?” -------------- Ezra was seated on the floor of the common area, eyes closed, holding a bouquet of large, showy orange and yellow flowers out in front of him. Vrelts were attracted to the smell of musk-roses (he’d read that on the holonet, so it had to be true), so he focused on the scent as he reached out towards the tiny sparks of consciousness that were the vrelts hiding in the Ghost’s ventilation and ductwork. He just started to sense the first stirrings of interest when clomping footsteps and a whiff of something pungent announced that Zeb had come into the room. The vrelt fled from this interloper, and Ezra opened his eyes with a scowl. Zeb, arms loaded with the items that Hera had ordered from Phoenix Squadron’s supply depot, was watching him with one brow ridge raised. “Flowers? This some kind of weird Jedi decorating ritual? Are you makin’ a pretty centerpiece for the swah-ray tonight?” He dropped his load of boxes, cans and canisters on the dejarik table and grinned broadly. “Or are you practicin’ to hit on Sabine again? ‘Cause your technique needs work.” “They’re for the vrelts!” “You’re givin’ flowers to rodents now? Kid, we really got to get you a girlfriend…” “Not like that!” Ezra would have liked to have chucked the bouquet at Zeb’s head except that he needed it “Vrelts like the scent of musk-roses. I was using them to help me draw them out and I just about had them when some big purple ape came crashing through!” “Hmph,” Zeb snorted dubiously. “Well, I’ll leave you and your little friends alone then.” Ezra sighed as Zeb tromped off and settled himself in position again--legs crossed, back straight, flowers held out in front of him--and let his annoyance with Zeb drain away so that he wouldn’t frighten the vrelts away. He’d just gotten himself centered again when Sabine popped her head in. “There you are. It stopped raining, so you might want to get out there and start on the carbon scoring.” “I was just starting to get somewhere with the vrelt problem!” At this rate, the little critters were going to retreat so far back into the Ghost’s inner workings he’d never convince them to come out. Sabine shrugged. “Up to you, but it’s supposed to rain again this afternoon.” Ezra bit back another sigh. He hated to give up now, but he really hated the thought of tackling the scoring in the kind of nasty, cold, clinging drizzle that had been coming down all morning. He laid the bunch of musk-roses on the dejarik table next to Zeb’s packages. Maybe if he took a break and took care of his other chore, the vrelts would be more amenable when he came back. As it turned out, they were not. The vrelts had come out of hiding. There were at least a dozen of them, maybe more, and they’d swarmed onto the dejarik table and chewed holes in several of the packages. They were unmoved by Ezra’s frantic shooing and disinclined to leave, even as his commands grew more insistent..They liked the musky scent of the roses and the food was abundant and tasty. Anyway, hadn’t he wanted them to come out? Ezra gave a cry of frustration and lunged at the nearest vrelt. It squealed in alarm, darted out of his grip, and ran under the counter where it chittered a streak of vrelt-ish invective at him, beady eyes glittering in indignation. Ezra scowled at it. How was he supposed to get rid of these aggravating little pests this if they wouldn’t listen to him? They weren’t going to cooperate, and they were too fast to catch-- it wasn’t like he was a Loth-cat or something Cats. There were a lot of stray tookas living in the alleys of Garel City, and they could probably use a good meal. His talent always had worked best with felines. ----- Ezra returned to the Ghost trailed by half-a-dozen rather scroungy-looking tookas of various colors. It had started to rain again, the same unpleasant drizzle as earlier, and it hadn’t been hard to convince they tookas to follow him someplace warm and dry where they could get a good meal. Between their hunger and discomfort with their soggy fur and his natural persuasive skills, they’d been more than willing to come. “There you go, guys. Dinner is served--the all-you-can-eat vrelt buffet!” And then all heck broke loose. The vrelts caught the tookas’ scent. They stopped chewing on the packages of food that were still sitting on the dejarik table, squealed in alarm and scattered in every direction. The tookas caught the vrelts’ scent, saw them run and gave enthusiastic chase, knocking over the boxes and canisters. Tikit grain and noodles poured onto the floor; the frantically scrambling creatures skidded in the spilled foodstuffs, scattering trails of it around the common room. Vrelts fled toward the hall, the cockpit, and the galley with tookas hot on their tails. As Ezra stared in dismay at the mess strewn in their ’ wake, something bumped against his leg. “Mrow!” A tooka smiled up at Ezra and dropped the limp body of a dead vrelt at his feet, a gesture of thanks for bringing him and all his friends to this marvelous new home where game was plentiful, perches for napping were everywhere. and there were no slobbering, mangy canids to harass them. They were never going to leave! “No, no, no…!” This was not how this was supposed to go. The tookas were supposed to get rid of the vrelts, not move in! Hera was not going to be happy if she came back to find that the Ghost had been taken over by six scruffy tookas. Ezra thought she liked tookas in the abstract, but probably not in large quantities and definitely not her ship. He gently explained this situation to the tooka. It purred in the feline equivalent of laughter. Ezra was such a kidder. Why had he brought them there if he didn’t want them to stay--and by the way, was he going to eat that vrelt? What was wrong with all these animals? Ezra nudged the tooka with the toe of his boot before it could tuck into its meal; it pointedly ignored him. Why wouldn’t they listen? Why did they all have to be so stubborn? There had to be a way to get rid of these ornery creatures--something they didn’t like… What didn’t tookas like? Rain...loud noises… canids… Ezra grinned. He had an idea. ---- The canid was rather harder to get aboard the Ghost than the tookas had been. It was a mangy looking specimen of its species, with more than a few scars and an expression that looked suspiciously like Zeb’s before he had his caf in the morning. It wasn’t inclined to trust this young Human and his promises of treats to be found inside the ship, but finally Ezra found the right level of persuasion to get it to come with him. “Okay, boy,” he said as the door to the common area swished open. “Here you go.” There were tookas lounging everywhere in the room--on the acceleration couch, the dejarik table, the comm console--and when the canid saw them, it lunged at the nearest one in a frenzy of snarls and growls.The tooka yowled and bolted down the corridor, the canid snapping at its heels. “No!” Ezra yelled after it. “We discussed this! You’re supposed to chase them off the ship! Not into the ship!” And definitely not into Sabine’s cabin… There was a startled yell, the clang thump of several metallic things hitting the floor, yowling, barking and swearing in Mando’a. The door opened and the tooka, now covered in magenta paint shot out, the canid close behind it , leaving orange paw prints on the floor as it ran. “EZRA!” Sabine emerged a moment later, splattered in paint, blasters drawn and eyes flashing. At the same time, Zeb burst from the cabin he and Ezra shared, holding a struggling, spitting tooka by the scruff of its neck in his right hand. He held a lumpy object pinched between his left thumb and forefinger, distastefully as if it was a dead vrelt—probably because it was in fact a dead vrelt. “Right, kid, you wanna tell me what these were doing in my bunk?!” He dropped the tooka, which skittered behind Ezra for protection. Ezra gave a nervous chuckle. It didn’t take any sort of Jedi intuition to realize this wasn’t going to end well for him. He took a step backwards, edging toward the door to the common area. Zeb and Sabine advanced as he retreated through it. His foot slipped on spilled tikit grain; he landed on his posterior and the frightened tooka that had been crouched behind promptly climbed up his shoulders to perch on his head, yowling. Behind him, the magenta-painted tooka was crouched atop a cabinet hissing down at the furious canid that was jumping up and snapping at it. They’d left trails of paint and technicolor paw prints through the noodles and grain littering the floor and all over the dejarik table and acceleration couch. “EZRA!” Zeb and Sabine shouted simultaneously. “This is not my fault!” Ezra protested as he disengaged the tooka from his head--difficult, because it believed (probably correctly) that he was the only thing standing between him and the wrath of the giant purple monster and the angry female. “Well, not all of it. Zeb’s the one who left all the supplies sitting out!” “Me?!” Zeb leaned over to jab a claw-tipped finger into the center of Ezra’s chest. The tooka, who had been trying his best to climb back onto Ezra’s head, decided it would be better to put more actual distance between himself and the monster and ran off for parts unknown. Zeb growled and poked Ezra sharply on the sternum. “You’re the animal charmer. If you don’t get all these karking crittersout of here right now, I’m gonna bash them and you!” “Okay, okay!” Ezra scooted backwards a little so that Zeb’s claw wasn’t poking him quite as much. He held up his hands placatingly. “Just calm down; everyone calm down.”. “Oh, I am completely calm,” Sabine informed him, despite the dangerous gleam in her eyes that said that statement was patently untrue. “And I’m completely calmly telling you to get your shebs down to Grug’s and buy the vrelt traps like you should have in the first place. And when you get back, you’re going to get all the animals off the ship or I will let Zeb bash you and I will shoot what’s left. Got it?” “But if I buy the vrelt traps, how are we going to buy snacks for the party?” “Party?There’s not going to be a party.” Sabine snorted, waving a hand that was still holding a WESTAR blaster at the mess of paint, food, angry animals and vrelt droppings. “We’re going to be cleaning this mess up for the rest of the night, and if we’re really lucky we’ll be done by the time Kanan and Hera get back and they’ll never have to know about this fiasco.” Ezra sighed. He hated to admit it but she had a point. As horrible as the prospect of tackling the wreckage of the common room was, it paled in comparison with the thought of what Kanan and Hera would do to him if they found out how he’d botched every attempt at using animal empathy, and not only failed to rid the Ghost of its vrelt problem, but managed to fill it with an assortment of mangy, irate creatures. Next time the parentals went off by themselves, he was going to do his chores like a good little padawan and read quietly in his cabin where the only irate creature he had to worry about was his bunkmate. Lasat were kind of catlike, weren’t they? Ezra wondered idly if animal empathy would work on Zeb.. ——- Hera was amazed to find that not only was the Ghost in one piece when she and Kanan returned from their supply run, it was clean. And not just clean, spotless and smelling of the fresh conifer-needle scent of disinfectant. There was even a lovely bouquet of musk-roses in the center of the dejarik table. The kids looked a little tired, but she could hardly hold staying up late to have a little fun against them, not when they’d gone above and beyond with their chores. Really, this supply run had gone better than she could have imagined. She and Kanan had obtained the medical supplies for Commander Sato and loaded them into the Phantom in plenty of time to have dinner at a charming little sulyet restaurant in the Quarren district, followed by a starlit walk along the beach. They’d chatted about nothing and everything, engaging in the sort of persiflage they usually had so little time for. It had been a beautiful night, and coming home to find that for once her crew had acted like the mature, responsible beings she knew they were capable of being made everything perfect. Hera smiled to herself; she supposed Kanan had been right all along. Suddenly, a blur of purple and green stripes shot past her. Kanan strode into the common room after it. “Ezra! Why was there a tooka in my bunk?” “You know ...that's a really good question,” Ezra answered with a sheepish little chuckle. “And it deserves a really good answer.” He stood up from the couch, edged out from behind the dejarik table.and continued to sidle towards the gangway “Which I will be happy to give you, as soon as I get back from…doing...something. Bye!” And he bolted for the exit as quickly as the fleeing tooka had. Hera sighed. “What could possibly go wrong, hmm?” she asked Kanan.as she headed to the galley. She had a feeling she was going to need a large mug of tarine tea to steady her nerves as she listened to her crew’s guilty confessions, because when it came to Ezra, Zeb and Sabine, the answer to that question was too often “everything”. ---------- Notes: Grug’s hardware store is “GRUG’AG’PYG’NAQ’S SUPER VALUE HARDWARE”, which was featured in @Findswoman ‘s terrific Insert Tab A into Slot B: A Story about Kanan’s Lightsaber, which I highly recommend if you need a laugh.