Some think Tatooine is the planet farthest from the bright center of the universe, they were wrong. There's a planet that as far as imperial record keepers are concerned doesn't even have a name. It makes Tatooine look like Imperial Center. This planet's inhabitants refer to it as Home. It's not a bad world, nice weather, good soil; it is just in the middle of nowhere. Some of the inhabitants in the far corners of Home are still wondering why the Jedi are being so late about visiting to test for new candidates. The Jedi never found them on Home very often, but the people of Home always pointed out that they had never produced a Sith. How many worlds can say that?
Marville was a normal town on Home; there were a hundred or a thousand others like it. Farmers came in to trade and get supplies. There were rare social events, and even rarer strangers. Marville hadn't seen an offworlder since the last time the annual space hauler visited to pick up last year's exports, their main source of income. Seris had lived in Marville all his life and was just like all the other boys. They dreamed of space adventures, but never thought to participate in one. Seris' life was extremely normal until a ship crash-landed deep in the forests behind his family's farm.
Boba Fett coughed as acid smoke filled the cockpit of the Slave 1. Running into the middle of the pirate fleet had been terrible. Not even with the Slave 1 and his piloting skills had he been able to escape unscathed. At least he wasn't dead; things could be a lot worse. He didn't remember much after escaping from the battle, he had destroyed a lot of their ships, but the few survivors could have handled the damaged Slave 1 if he had waited for them to try. The ship had limped to the nearest habitable planet, 354234 on the imperial charts, He had managed something approaching a landing, but he had blacked out when the Slave 1 hit the ground.
Boba Fett groaned and tried to sit up. He hurt all over from being banged around during the decent. The world spun for a minute and he had to wait for his head to clear. He knew he should get out of the cockpit, or at least out of the smoke. He tried to stand up, but his knees buckled and he collapsed back into the pilot's seat coughing. He must have been more badly injured in the crash than he had thought. The world dimmed around him even as he fought to remain conscious, Fett once more slumped over the control panel of the ship.
Seris stomped through the forest. His father sometimes made him so angry! Couldn't they ever that imagine anything might not be his fault? They blamed him for everything! At least he had the woods to escape to. His father and older siblings saw no practical purpose in them and his mother was way to busy to pay attention to a thing like that. Someday he'd prove it to them that he could do it. Someday he would make things fair, for everyone.
Seris looked up from the moist ground he had been glaring at. He smelled smoke. Seris frowned. He had better find the source. Last year there had been a forest fire. It still gave him nightmares sometimes. Seris started towards the direction the smoke was coming from. It was still spring and it was moist and damp, but he hurried anyway. He could see a wisp of dark smoke hanging above a clearing just ahead. The trees nearby looked as if something had crashed through them. Seris coughed as it burned his throat.
There was a ship at the end of a deep gouge in the grass! It must have crash-landed. For a moment Seris could just stand there with his mouth hanging open. Things like this just didn't happen on Home. Then he realized that there might have been people on the ship, at least a pilot anyway, and they could have been hurt. It was a crashed ship after all. Seris walked up to it cautiously up to the ship searching for the access hatch.
Suddenly a hatch slid open on the ship's side and a man staggered out. He was wearing strange blue green battle armor that was scarred and battered. It was covered in smoke and blood. The figure started coughing and couldn't seem to stop. He leaned against the side of the ship, nearly collapsing. Seris ran up to him.
"Are you all right? What happened?" The man wavered for a moment watching him. Seris felt chilled to the core of his being. Then the man's eyes broke away as he collapsed on the ground. "Who are you?" Seris asked dropping to his knees by the man's side.
The man's head moved slightly, "I am Boba Fett." Then he went limp, sprawled on the ground with Seris kneeling next to him gaping. After a moment Seris pulled his thoughts together. They were going to need medical supplies, a lot of medical supplies if what the man, Boba Fett, was in as bad of shape as he looked. He would have to get Fett back to the town. He didn't know if he would be able to help him on his own.
"I'm going to get you back to my town somehow. You're a mess!" Seris was right. Fett's right arm hung at a strange angle, blood was trickling from a deep gash beneath his shoulder protector. His chest was covered in burns. Another deep gash ran completely along the side of his leg. Seris thought about how he was going to get Fett back to town.
"What? What did you say?" Seris leaned down, what had he said?
"Don't take me there."
"Why not? Like I said, you're a mess! You're on Home; we don't even have bacta here! No one is going to be able to take care of you in the woods!"
"They'll find me."
"Ohhhhh, I don't think they'll be able to find you on Home, but ok." Seris still hadn't forgotten the look the Fett had given him; the man was dangerous, it was probably best just to agree with him. "I've got to get medical supplies, I'll be back."
"In ship supply locker." Seris turned back to the ship. The smoke had lessened now. Seris climbed up the ramp, still in awe of the fact that he was actually touching a starship. It didn't take him long to find the supply locker and the med-kit. He took it back out to Fett.
"Do you have any other injuries, besides the obvious?" unfortunately he was unconscious again. Seris grumbled to himself as he bandaged the man up. When he finally finished he glanced around the clearing and began jogging back to the town. He didn't like leaving him lying there, but he needed more supplies and this was the only way to do it. On the way Seris scrubbed the blood off his arms in a stream.
"Mom! Mom! Can I camp out in the woods tonight?" Seris yelled as he banged through the front door of their farmhouse.
"Seris! It's dark out! You can't go back out any more tonight!"
"Butâ¦but I found this really cool thing in the woods and if I don't keep an eye on it an animal might wreck it! It's only for tonight, please?"
"Well, I suppose if you're back for chores tomorrow and you father doesn't mind it's alright."
"Thanks Mom!" Seris pounded up the stairs, grabbing two coarse camping blankets and some food. He raced back down, calling out to his father his intentions and banging back out the door.
"Children!" his mother muttered as she watched him jog back into the woods out of the lights of the farm.
The man was where Seris had left him. He began building a fire, by the time he had it going well Fett stirred slightly and groaned. Seris held up his head, "I have water, but you'll need to take off you're helmet." Fett lifted his good arm, and pushed his helmet up to his nose. "You might as well take it off, no one will know you here. I don't think we would even recognize a Jedi here." Fett shook his head.
Seris held the water to Fett's lips. He swallowed some before leaning back. He refused to eat anything.
"What do you do, out there, in the galaxy?"
"I am a bounty hunter." Seris eyes grew even larger, but Fett wouldn't say anything else. Finally, when Seris looked up Fett his breathing was even. He was asleep. Seris covered him with one of the camping blankets, wrapping himself in the other. It was a long time before he fell asleep.
The next morning he woke up just as it was beginning to grow light. The hunter didn't move. Seris sat up, "Fett? Are you alright?" Fett didn't stir. Seris cursed under his breath and crawled over. This was not something that he could take care of. "You and your secrecy. I'm going to have to get you back to town. I should get my parents, but I don't want to leave you alone. Sithspawn!"
Wait, Seris remembered his sister Mikka had given him the comlink she had built in order to test it! He flipped it open, "Mikka! Mikka!" It took a moment but she responded.
"Seris! I wanted you to test this, but not this early in the morning, nerf herder! What do you what?"
"Mikka, I found a crashed ship here in the woods!" he kept talking over her squawk of surprise, "I found the pilot too, he wanted me to keep it secret so I couldn't tell you last night, but he's gotten worse. I need Mom's help, he's in really bad shape, and I think he might die." Seris hated the fact that his voice shook at the last part. There was silence on Mikka's end. Seris could imagine her shocked expression. "Hurry Mikka. I'm really worried about him."
"I'll get Mom, maybe Dad can bring us out in the landspeeder." The comlink clicked off. Seris spent the next hour nervously varying between trying to wake up Fett and cursing him with every phrase he had ever heard in the local cantina. At the end of the hour he heard the coughing roar of their ancient land speeder.
"I am really glad to see you! Can you help him?" His mother glared at him as she clambered out of the speeder.
"You should have told me about him Seris! No matter what he said! Now look where all his secrecy has gotten him." She stalked over to where Fett lay on the ground. "Terrible, terrible, terrible." She twitched the blanket aside to look at his wounds, and hissed in sympathy. "I've never seen anything like this, but then I've never seen a crashed starship either. Give me the other blanket and have your father help me lift him into the speeder." Together they lifted the unconscious bounty hunter into the speeder. Seris' mother tucked the blankets around Fett and everyone climbed back in. All the way back she kept a worried eye on him.
Seris' father carried Fett inside while the farm hands surrounded them slack jawed. Later there would be avid debates about exactly what was under that helmet. They put Fett in a guest bed. Seris' mother wrapped clean bandages around him. "Seris, I'll take care of your friend, go help your father with the chores. You'll probably have to help explain all this to the hired help too," she said with a wiry smile.
"Will he be alright?" Seris asked, afraid that he would have caused the hunter's death. Seris had never really seen anyone die. When he was very small they had buried Old man Fith, but all he had seen was the fire, and Fith had never even left his house as long as Seris could remember.
"I hope so. I think so. Don't worry, go help you father, I'll take care of our guest."
Fett never did remember much of what happened during that time. He was delirious part of it and darkness often closed in on his thoughts. He remembered a woman leaning over him occasionally who seemed to know something about medical care, and had a vague idea of the passage of time. The boy, Seris, was often sitting in the corner watching Fett. He didn't present a threat though. If they were going to do anything to him it would have already been done, but even so Fett hated being so helpless. Fett also knew that he was in their debt, the boy and the woman, he would have to repay them. This was another thing he hated. Whenever he was conscious enough to think straight he cursed the pirates. He knew he was fortunate though. If he had to be helpless, Home was a good place to be. The people were so unaware and naive; it amazed Fett at times; he never would have thought a place like this existed in the galaxy. There was nothing to fear from them.
Seris watched Fett sleeping. It had been several days, almost a week actually. The farmhands had almost accepted their mysterious guest. They still liked to try and find excuses to get a look at the man or his strange armor. They had all sorts of rumors among them about who he was. They didn't of course believe for a moment the story Seris had told them about the spacer who was hauling cargo and skidded his ship on the atmosphere crashing in the forest. They thought they knew better, he must be a fleeing leader, a warrior, or something else dangerous and important. It was a perfectly reasonable assumption. Even asleep Fett seemed dangerous, even deadly. The hunter certainly didn't fit in with the somewhat rustic air of the farmhouse, and he didn't look anything like a spacer.
His mother had assured him that the hunter would recover. His fever had broken after less than a day. They hadn't even needed Dr. Josik, though the townspeople had suggested it, probably hoping Dr. Josik could bring them information about his patient. Fett's wounds had started to heal, though he had a broken arm, and it would be a while before he could walk easily with his leg. Seris wondered what would happen when Fett recovered enough to leave. He hadn't told anyone about Fett's profession yet. It would probably send the whole town if not the whole planet into a panic. Sometimes he imagined that he had left with Fett, maybe finding somewhere in the galaxy were things were fair, and a lot less boring.
Seris leaned back in the chair watching the dust drift down from the ceiling through the light. When he looked back at the hunter he saw that Fett was awake. "How are you feeling? Better?" Fett nodded watching Seris. "I haven't let anyone know anything about you, especially not your job. You know how people would react to that!"
"The same as they do on other worlds." Fett's voice was rough, but it didn't frighten Seris, he had gotten used to Fett's abrupt and short answers.
"I suppose so. Do you think they'll find you here?"
"Not yet, they need to rebuild their fleet."
"The farmhands think all sorts of silly things about you. They can't decide whether you're a general or a prince." Seris thought he almost saw Fett's expression change for a moment. Seris couldn't see beneath the helmet, but sometimes by the way the Fett moved it was almost like seeing his face.
"How did I get here?"
"Well, you had a fever. I couldn't wake you up. I told my mother. She came and got you in the landspeeder. She's been taking care of you." He could see Fett considering this.
"It appears I am in debt to you and her." Seris' stared at him blankly, and just stared at the hunter.
"Wh-what do you mean?"
"What I said." Seris just gaped at him for another moment before realizing what he was doing. Then he leaned back and regarded Fett, thinking.
Fett watched him for a moment longer then closed his eyes. The silence stretched out and would have been uncomfortable for an average human, but Fett wasn't an average human, and it looked like Seris was beginning to learn.
Seris decided after some time that Fett must really be asleep, or at least wasn't interested in conversation. He cautiously got up from the stool and walked quietly out of the room. When he glanced back over his shoulder, Fett hadn't moved. This would surprise his mother; she hadn't expected Fett to regain consciousness for days yet.
Seris opened up the HoloNet account on the family computer. He seldom used it, but he really needed it now. It was one of the few on the planet Home. Most people considered them to be some sort of new fangled invention that they wanted no part of, but Seris' sister Mikka had always been interested in technology and had saved for months to purchase one from the spacer that visited annually. Seris wanted to know more about Fett. He couldn't be just any bounty hunter, and Seris needed to know. What if he was dangerous? Seris didn't think Fett was to them, he did owe them, but he certainly made Seris feel as if he could do anything he wanted, even when he was just lying there.
It took several minutes for him to access the postings. He had something to ask for a change, after all someone out there had to know who Boba Fett was. He posted, Who is Boba Fett? It took only minutes to get responses, they were mostly things like, "Where are you from?! Everyone knows who he is!" or "Do you have a death wish? Shut down this posting before he sees it!" He managed to find one that was more helpful. "Fett is the most famous and infamous bounty hunter in the galaxy. He's the best there is. He always succeeds. I wouldn't go anywhere near him if I were you. He's dangerous." Another was more specific, "Fett came to my world once. I saw him in the streets. Some people tried to run, anyone with something on their conscience thought he was coming for them. I even saw one boy fall to his knees in the street confessing everything he could think of. Fett just kept walking through. I've heard he always gets his merchandise." Seris read a few more before shutting down his posting. He was shocked, something that seemed to becoming a common feeling around Fett. This would require thinking about.
Next time Fett woke someone was standing over him. He tensed and sat up. Then he saw who it was, Seris' mother. She smiled as he winced. "You should be more careful. I wouldn't want you wrecking all the hard work I put into you." Fett leaned back and folded his arms over his chest. "That's better. Let me see your arm." She sat down on the chair next to his bed. She reached over and took his arm in the stiff material it was wrapped in.
"It looks better than I thought it would. You'll have to leave it in a sling. We don't have any bacta on Home." She smiled ruefully. "I've been talking with Seris. He tells me you think you us some sort of honor debt." Fett nodded.
"You saved my life."
"I did, what should I require from you?"
"It is your choice." She stared at him. Fett knew she was thinking as she checked the bandages on his leg as well. "Your very lucky to survive that crash, or very skilled. What did you do to anger those pirates so much? We've heard about them, even here." Fett didn't answer and she shrugged, "You can keep it to yourself, but no one on home will want to know anymore than you want to tell, except to fuel their gossip." She laughed. "Yes, I expect that Dr. Josik will be here sometime today. He claims that an injured stranger ought to have the best medical care, namely his. Actually he just wants to brag to everyone about all the information about you he will get. You might want to have a story ready. Dr. Josik won't accept silence.' She smiled again, and reached behind her to hand him supper.
Fett ate silently. He hoped he would be able to leave soon. Fett glanced towards the door, no one was in sight. He moved to the side of the bed and stood, leaning heavily on a small table. It wasn't easy but he staggered over to the chair near the wall. His armor and weapons lay in a pile next to it. He was forced to wait a moment until his breathing slowed before he could pick them up and begin working.
Fett was still there when the doctor arrived. Fett first heard him when he entered the house. He started up, but instantly regretted it, and sat back down. He would just wait for the man here. Dr. Josik bustled in followed by Seris' mother who looked somewhat exasperated.
"What is going on here? This man is in no condition to be out of bed!' Dr. Josik wasn't a small man, but his voice was shrill, and his white hair stood almost on end as he berated everyone within his reach. "Karim, you could very well be the death of him allowing behavior such as this!' Fett looked up, incredulous that he would have to submit to something like this. He glanced at Karim, Seris' mother but she shrugged. "What do you have to say for yourself, behaving this way?' Fett came to the conclusion that if he didn't participate, the inhabitants of Home would never leave him alone.
"I'm acting on my own, and her skills are adequate. I do not need any help from you.' Dr. Josik sputtered for a moment as if trying to find his footing with Fett. Finally he decided.
"Well, I will have to prove that to myself!' He moved over to where Fett was sitting standing as if he was in charge. Fett resigned himself to being poked and prodded for some time. He knew he could easily have scared the man into leaving with a look, but here that would not hold him off for long. What seemed like hours later when Fett was thoroughly exhausted and didn't think he could stand anymore Karim intervened.
"All right Josik, I think the man has had enough of your âcare,' we should get him back to bed don't you think?' He harrumphed and then nodded. Boba Fett relaxed for the first time in hours and staggered to his feet. Karim supported him and he limped over to the bed hoping that if he seemed to fall asleep the irritating man would leave. He leaned back and closed his eyes.
"Wait Karim, I still have questions for him! Don't let him fall asleep yet!' Karim gripped him firmly by the elbow and steered him from the room. Fett could still hear them even in the next room. "The man is just a spacer with a downed ship, pirates attacked him near Home and he was forced to make a crash landing. He needs to sleep now. Your questioning won't help anyone.' Josik tried to argue, but Karim was firm. His protests were just fading as Fett drifted to sleep.
When Seris looked in on Fett the next morning he was already in the chair working on repairing his more delicate equipment. He looked up when Seris came in, but then continued working. Seris watched him for a moment. Fett was very good at it. It didn't take him long to repair the damaged circuitry.
"Fett?" he didn't get a response so he tried again. "I posted a question on the HoloNet this week." Fett still didn't look up. "I asked who you were." This time the bounty hunter stopped what he was doing and looked at Seris. "They said you were the best bounty hunter who has ever lived." Fett nodded and went back to work. "It's true, isn't it?"
"Yes." Seris still wasn't sure what to make of everything. At least the hunter seemed to be recovering quickly. Then Seris' life would go back to normal. The only problem was that he wasn't sure he wanted that.
Fett was almost ready to leave Home. He wore almost all of his armor now. The only things he didn't wear were the heavier weapons. He had spent most of his time working on the Slave 1. It was almost completely repaired. Everything else required parts that he didn't have on hand and would fix when he returned to the rest of the galaxy. He still had his arm in a sling though, which made targeting difficult. He spent time working with his weapons. He wanted to be sure he would be completely back to his normal level. One time Seris came to watch.
"May I try?" Fett shrugged and handed him the blaster. He almost smiled as Seris nearly dropped it. "This is heavy!"
"Hold it up like this, aim carefully. Try to hit that tree." Fett still owed Seris, and he would be polite. He saw Seris eye the tiny black hole already burned there. Seris took a deep breath and lifted the blaster squinting at the tree. His first shot went wild, completely missing the tree. Fett moved the blaster slightly, and pushed his hands closer up. Seris tried again, this time nearly hitting it. Fett had to admit, the boy was good. With training he could very well provide competition even for Fett himself. Fett pushed it from his mind, and picked up his other blaster to continue what he was working on.
He was just about return to the town when the first ship streaked overhead. He broke into a run. Seris took off after him. It was only a moment for him before he reached the house. He strapped on his weapons. Seris tried to give him back his blaster, but Fett shook his head.
"Hold on to it, you may need it." He headed back for the door. By now more ships filled the sky. A few were taking runs of the town. Fett leapt behind a building as lasers struck the street around him. He saw other people diving for their homes. He launched a rocket from the equipment on his back. The ship spiraled down crashing into the trees spewing smoke. The pirates already on the ground were reaching the edges of the town.
Fett removed his arm from the sling. There wasn't time to worry about that today. He leveled his blaster and opened fired on the approaching line. The first few fell, but the others kept coming. Fett dove behind a low wall to avoid the return fire. He shot back over the wall. There were still too many of them for him to take alone. He fired off another rocket. The explosion rocked the town. A few bricks fell down off the wall. They were close now.
Fett leaped over the wall firing. A few shots almost razed his helmet, but he dodged out of the way. He activated the flamethrower, burning everything nearby. A mercenary's shot nicked his leg causing him to stumble. Fett rolled to one side wincing, at least it wasn't deep.
He glanced around. They were still firing. This would be difficult. Even Fett was surprised when a new wave of blaster fire came one of the buildings nearby. The mercenaries began yelling as several of them went down. Fett sat up, and began firing over the pile of rubble. Fett eyed the mercenaries, if only he could pick out the pirates leader, without the fear of his retribution they would probably turn and flee after Fett convinced them with his blaster.
There, that was him. Fett could see the man's bright red uniform as he stood on ground which he believed to be out of range. Fett aimed carefully, it would be easy to use a blaster, but a rocket would take out his lieutenants and provide a bigger effect for his followers to see. Not even the money he had paid them would keep them here after their leader was blown up in a seemingly safe location. The group on the hill looked up as they heard something falling towards them, they didn't even have time to move before the rocket hit.
Soon all return fire had stopped. Fett scrambled up and glanced over to see who had been helping him with cover fire. Seris stepped out from behind a post. They looked at each other and Fett nodded. He could see the other mercenaries fleeing in the distance. Enough of them were dead that they figured it wasn't worth the money they were being paid to continue. Some of them must have had communicators because the ships overhead were veering off as well. Fett wondered what story they had told the others to explain their defeat. Whatever it was, it could only help his reputation.
"Are you alright? I saw you fall." Seris' eyes were big, and he looked worried. Fett almost laughed at the expression on the boy's face, a few minutes after he had been trading shots with professional mercenaries. Now all he was worried about was a scratch.
"I'm fine. Those were good shots." Seris looked down and smiled. He looked pleased. "We need make sure your family is safe. I still owe your mother, and I will repay my debts." Fett turned and started off down the street, not even limping. Seris followed him. The rest of the town's people peeked out of the windows, their expressions registering varying levels of disbelief. Fett wasn't sure if this was at him or at Seris' actions. The mercenaries' bodies were draped everywhere on the street. Fett scanned the area, but there didn't seem to be any left alive. He was glad it was over fairly quickly, not that he thought mercenaries and pirates would have been too much of a problem. Not any harder than an Imperial garrison anyway.
Everything was all right at Seris' home. The family was in the kitchen. Seris' father had an ancient blaster rifle, and his brothers and sisters were around the table, looking slightly frightened. Upon a closer look at the weapon Fett was fairly certain it was a collector's item or antique in the rest of the galaxy. They all looked up when Fett arrived with Seris. Karim didn't let them say anything. First she checked over her son, and then she went for Fett. He had sat down in one of the chairs; now that it was time for him to leave they would have to decide how they wanted him to repay his debt.
Karim insisted on bandaging the blaster burn, but Fett interrupted her, "Karim, I still owe you a debt. It must be repaid." She looked him straight in the eye, not something easily accomplished, and answered, "Fett, you have repaid me by getting all of these mercenaries and pirates off of Home. That is all the payment I need." Fett nodded. "And you Seris?"
Seris sat quietly for a moment. "I would like to leave Home. I think I have a new career I would like to try." He looked up at Fett again. Fett considered. He did owe the boy, and it would be nice to have someone to take over when he retired. No one could be a hunter forever, not even the best, and Fett didn't intend to let anyone end his career by killing him. The boy showed promise, not that Fett would take care of him though. Once the debt was repaid, the boy would be on his own, although Fett had grown used to him now. He hoped the boy would succeed.
After careful deliberation Fett nodded. He stood and walked from the room, leaving Seris to deal with his clamoring family. Only Karim was quiet. The way she looked, Fett wondered if she had known this would happen all along.
Fett scanned carefully through the readout on the screen of the Slave 1. It appeared that a young man named Sarev had taken another of the high priced bounties. Many sentients were waiting for Fett to do something about this upstart, but let them wait. Fett had watched Sarev's career from it's beginning, which now seemed like a long time ago. Fett leaned back in his pilot's seat thinking of a young boy on a planet called Home. He also remembered his thoughts about retirement, he had a replacement now, maybe it was finally time, time to give justice a new champion. Fett turned the idea over in his mind as the stars streaked by in hyperspace.
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