[Back to Scene 6]

[Scene: An open area. Nute Gunray is seated behind a covered table. Amidala, blindfolded, is sitting to his left. On the table is a bottle of wine and two goblets. The Sith Lord approaches the table]

Nute Gunray: So it is down to you, and it is down to me.
[As the Sith Lord continues to close, Gunray holds a knife to Amidala's neck.]

Nute Gunray: If you wish her dead, by all means, keep moving forward.

Sith Lord: Let me explain--

Nute Gunray: There's nothing to explain. You're trying to kidnap what I have rightfully stolen. This is all perfectly legal.

Sith Lord: Perhaps an arrangement can be reached?

Nute Gunray: There will be no arrangement, and you're killing her.

Sith Lord: Well if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.

Nute Gunray: I'm afraid so. I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains.

Sith Lord: You're that smart?

Nute Gunray: Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?

Sith Lord: Yes.

Nute Gunray: Nerf herders.

Sith Lord: Really. [pause] In that case, I challenge you to a battle of wits.

Nute Gunray: For the queen? [The Sith Lord nods.] To the death? [The Sith Lord nods again] I accept.

Sith Lord: Good. Then pour the wine.

[The Sith Lord pulls out a small vial from his belt and uncorks it]

Sith Lord: Inhale this, but do not touch.

Nute Gunray: I smell nothing.

Sith Lord: What you do not smell is called Iocane* powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons in the galaxy.

Nute Gunray: Hmmmm.

[The Sith Lord turns away from Nute Gunray with the goblets, and pours the poison in. He replaces the goblets on the table, one in front of each.]

Sith Lord: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right...and who is dead.

Nute Gunray: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Sith Lord: You've made your decision then?

Nute Gunray: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Kessel, as everyone knows, and Kessel is entirely peopled with people addicted to Spice,* and drug addicts are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

Sith Lord: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Nute Gunray: WAIT TILL I GET GOING! Where was I?

Sith Lord: Kessel.

Nute Gunray: Yes, Kessel. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

[The Sith Lord looks as nervous as one can look wearing a complete helmet and facemask.]

Sith Lord: You're just stalling now.

Nute Gunray: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? You've beaten my Jedi Master, which means the Force is strong with you, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on the Force to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Knight with a lightsaber, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Sith Lord: You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.


Sith Lord: Then make your choice.

Nute Gunray: I will, and I choose-- What in the world can that be?
[Nute Gunray points at something behind the Sith Lord. The Sith Lord turns and looks.]

Sith Lord: What? Where? I don't see anything.

Nute Gunray: Well, I- I could have sworn I saw something. No matter. [Nute Gunray smirks]

Sith Lord: What's so funny?

Nute Gunray: I'll tell you in a minute. First, let's drink. Me from my glass, and you from yours. [The two pick up goblets and drink.]

Sith Lord: You guessed wrong.

Nute Gunray: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never play a holochess match against an angry Wookie, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Trade Federation Viceroy when DEATH! is on the line!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha--
[Nute Gunray stops suddenly, and falls dead to the right]

Amidala: Who are you?

Sith Lord: I am no one to be trifled with. That is all you ever need know.

Amidala: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Sith Lord: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

[Go to Scene 8]

[Go to the Index]

[A rather impressive table setting for a picnic with a kidnapper.]

*Editor's note: Iocane is a controlled substance banned by the Galactic Ministry of Health and Species Welfare. "Iocane powder: Class I controlled substance. It is an odorless, tasteless white powder that dissolves in water, has a ninety-nine percent mortality rate, and is extracted from the leaves of the Iocane plant. Lethal-Dose (LD)-50 is 3.55mg. In smaller quantities, it promotes aggressive and/or suicidal behavior. Its appearance in most human systems is accompanied by a corresponding decrease in brain function. The long-form (trivial) name for Iocane is 17B-hydroxy-androst-4-ene-3-one; its chemical formula is C19-H27-O2.

-from the GMHSW Catalog of Controlled Substances.

* Editor's Note: It has never been conclusively proven that the Kessel Spice Girls are, in fact, addicted to the substance from which they take their name. This is because it has so far proven impossible to show that they come from Kessel. Every proof that has been attempted has simply has degenerated to the following equation where Oksg=Origin of the Kessel Spice Girls,, Bf= Bantha Transform, J=total Jawa population at time Tj, and Nh=Nerf Herder constant. (The solution is represented as a numerical value of 1=Kessel and 0=somewhere else.

Oksg=Bf x [(J x Nh^1/2) / logNh-J]

This clearly resolves into a large negative number which makes it exceedingly difficult to demonstrate the original hypothesis.

[Vader looked as nervous as one can while wearing a mask.]