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"The Hunter's Creed"

A bead of salty sweat ran a path along the furrow of BoShek's brow.

Story by Enigmatic Ponderer • 4,349 words • Updated Jan 26, 2008
Setting: 16 years after Return of the Jedi.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

A bead of salty sweat ran a path along the furrow of BoShek's brow. The
stakes were touching high tonight in the Canopus cantina, on the Balaris moon,
and he had a pretty decent hand. Decent enough to claim the quickly
accumulating pile of credits in the center of the table.

Unfortunately, he could not obtain a seat with his back to the duracrete wall
and had to sit exposed from all sides. He also had to suffice with sitting
between a Gran pirate, whose eye stalk wandered too close for his comfort, and
a scruffy-looking Gand dealer, whom BoShek suspected of having rigged the deck
with markers only he could see in the IR range. Bo knew a Gand who had tried
that trick before and wound up missing a leg by a disgruntled Trandoshan.

The Gand dealt another seven chips and one for himself, BoShek traded in a
jack and a nine, took two from the dealer, and eyed his new claim with wet
hands. Two aces! He had the infamous dead man's hand.

He knew his excitement would be picked be noticed by the other players, and
so had to forcibly calm himself into a game face. Then a frantic Bith
suddenly folded his hand -a good one- and excused himself. Another alien,
BoShek did not know the species name of, started to jitter uncontrollably.

Regardless of the distraction, BoShek laid his hand on the table, leaned back
in subtle victory, and his index finger involuntarily twitched ever-so-
slightly on the cold steel trigger - just in case.

He never had a chance to fire it.

From the back of the cantina, a man in Mandalore armor arose, took three
great strides, and blew a hole in the back of the smuggler's head. Without
word, he unsheathed a vibroblade and sliced off BoShek's left hand for proof
of the kill. The coroner could examine the genetic sample.

When Fett walked out, the bartender wiped up the cerebral mass of tissue off
the bloody tabletop. The whole 68,000 credit job took Fett all of five

The world was a mellow gray though Boba Fett's dimmed visor. The gray was
not just a hue either, but a side of morality exclusive to bounty hunters.

In his Mandalorean helmet, the Hunter slept in a perfect bliss, oblivious to
the world around him. Soon though, the ship would exit hyperspace 8000 klicks
from Corvis Minor, and it would part its way through the abnormally-dense
geomagnetic radiation belt. The request of ship identification ping would
come from the traffic control tower. The Slave I would awaken microseconds
before his helmet-mounted broadband antenna would intercept the transmission.
It would first begin scanning the immediate space for hostilities,
automatically raise its shields, and then would respond with a false ship
registry. A mild klaxon would awaken its human master to switch on the
artifical gravity and direct the landing procedure manually.

Boba Fett, however, still dreamed the dreams of the just for a few more
minutes until that time came....

"Ah, The Mighty Fett, I trust you made a comfortable journey here," Imperial
dignitary (the title itself was an oxymoronic statement) Darias Jedak preened.

"Do you have a specific bounty?"

"Well, to be blunt I do need a hit done. The infidel Davin Felth. The
contract will be exclusive, the price will be pleasing, and his file will be
beamed to your ship immediately."

Fett nodded.

"Um, well yes, I suppose that is all."

"Have it payable to my guild account," Fett stared at the fubsy official.
"And get the local police off my ship when I depart, or they'll be a few ships
short in their force."

"Of course," he bureaucrat bore his teeth.

The bounty hunter stalked out his cramped office. Man, Imperial dignitary
Darias Jedak thought, for what I'm doing for being the in-between man, you'd
think he could have some courtesy.

The Slave I lacked the pesky bystanders, that gawked at it before, when Fett
arrived back at Landing Pad 2. The whole planet had only eight public-use
landing platforms. The night sky was a spectacular theater for the luminous
aurora polaris common to Corvis Minor. But Fett did not take notice.

Boba Fett found no hidden bombs or microtrackers on his ship, like some have
tried during his meetings before. His security screens ran a clear green
affirmative at his control console. Jedak's file on Davin Felth was waiting
for him on the secondary screen, but Fett browsed a partial list of some of
the more sought after defected Imperial agents turned Rebel to find info on
Felth from another source. That way he could check if he was misinformed in
any way from Jedak's report. His eyes ran through the nomenclature,
recognizing several from past Hunts and Death Mark reports on the news grids
and his guild's HoloNet message boards:

<....Derec, Aenon ------ 7,000
Dryam, Crith ------------ 8,500
Etyr, Jek-raak ----------- 9,600
Faustus, Cadmon ----- 3,000
Felth, Davin ----------- 75,000*
Ffaeg, Reiku ----------- 15,100
Frost, Meghan --------- 6,500
Graqwe, Istus --------- 50,000

Hexeais, Bajjyui ------ 45,300
Hunter, Morgan ------ 20,000
Hrye, Aemin ------------ 7,000
Ieap, V'uunicks ------- 28,000
Iillor, Uwlla ------------ 12,510
Iggqty, Quda --------- 16,300

Jade, Mara ------------- 80,000
Jix, La ------------------- 34,500
Jynyn, Opar ----------- 27,000
Katarn, Kyle ---------- 60,000
Kareds, Pyxtrell ------ 45,000
Luhcus, Georg ------ 250,000
Lytii, Trun'dunsk ---- 29,600

Madine, Crix --------- 120,000
Mereel, Jaster ---------- 5,000
Myrrat, Qiq' Tus ----- 17,800
Noplex, Hejka'an ----- 37,400
Opus, Eewyr'nn ------ 16,000
Pahyn, Xiaer ---------- 55,300
Quin, Sixtus.....>

Fett scowled that his own name from the exilement from Concord Dawn, had not
been erased from Vader's databanks after all the jobs he had done for the Sith
Lord. Everyday of his existence he had to face his crime for his exilers gave
him a new name: Boba Fett; which translated roughly in Basic, "One who shuns
his ancestors and betroths the Fire." In his culture, the Fire symbolized the
all-consumingness of love; a weakness despised by the Elder Concordians. He
scowled and pushed it aside for the moment.

Katarn's name was on the list too. Fett never forgot the humiliation he
experienced at Katarn's hands on Coruscant. He knew Crith Dyram better by his
handle "Redshift". Dyram and Hunter Morgan, who was known as "Lazarias" a
rogue Imperial Royal Guard, were infamous for their exploits in Oralis' Fury;
a guns-for-hire, religious, mercenary clan. Reiku Ffaeg was known as Mahijn
in the criminal underworld, or more commonly "Bloodwulf". Ffeag and Aenon
"Cold Smoke" Derec were also from the enigmatic pack of mercs. The rest were
common thieves, assassins, spies, cutthroats, or Rebel officers (which in
Fett's mind were pretty much all the same).

An asterisk highlighted his target's name: Davin Felth.

The Felth profile downloaded into Slave I's statis file until Fett allowed to
the transfer to continue with his authorization codes. He selected the icon
next to the name and the screen flickered a twelve page biography. It pleased
Fett to know his employer had taken the time to research the target, so Fett
would not have to waste time.

He saw from the report that Felth, under various aliases, had worked aboard
the battleships Warstryke, Praetorian, Valhalla, Stheno, Desert Rose, Utmost
Pride, Ragnarok, and at the Zebulun Polaris cantina on Terra Prime in the last
few cycles. Man, he's certainly been on the move.

It was odd however. Fett remembered that up until recently Felth had a
relatively low price on his head. He also remembered that the bounty's
condition was to be dead or alive. Now, it was just dead. This Felth
character must have really done something of an atrocity to raise the price by
70,000 credits in only a few standard weeks time.

Well, Fett thought, looking out the viewport. For someone so annoying, Jedak
at least had respect for his superiors. Ahead and slightly to port, the
EF76-B Neb-B frigate Galactica, Corvis Minor's sole defense vessel, cleared
the space ahead of the Slave I of any merchant or smuggler traffic. Fett now
had a clear hyperspace jump trajectory to the Smuggler's Moon, Nar Shaddaa.

Felth may have had loyal informers, but Fett never came across any informer
that wouldn't betray his employer for the right price. Glee'lik Corik Jadd's
was 7,000 credits. Quite arrogant a cost indeed. (That bit of information
costs more than a case of Mandalorean ale, but Fett took the chance that the
info could be totally erroneous or even a plant). Inside the gothic Meltdown
Cafe, the fulginious atmosphere must have been drugged by all the spacers and
smugglers; cause most of the crowd didn't seem the recognize his presence.

Fett had gone fifteen meters underground into the secret gangster hideout
that doubled as a smuggler's den beneath the Meltdown Cafe. He strode down a
graffiti-tagged hall lined with overhead fans (where, the passerby was
unaware, look-outs constantly had their crosshairs on your head in case you
didn't know the password). Even though he was not initiated into any of the
clans, Fett knew the passwords to get through the quaduple-duraplast door.
Like he needed them.

In the sanctity of his protective body armor, Fett's Mandalore helmet ran in
the IR range, at 900 nanometers to be exact, alerting him to a fake mosaic in
the back that hid a sentry gun. It also automatically targeted the
individuals that posed an immediate threat, like those with firearms showing.
Which was quite illogical Fett thought, because it was usually the guns that
you can not see that get you. Thirty crimson crosshairs centered on the
foreheads of thirty individuals bearing blasters. A few were previous
employer's of Fett, but he knew that would not hinder them from snapping off a
round into his back.

When Jadd accepted the bribe, the fool debated the price for a short time
until Fett purposefully allowed him a more than generous take. The informat
sang. As the fool turned to savor his newfound credit roll, Fett slammed the
butt of his blaster carbine through the Twi'lek's skull. The braintails
writhed for a few seconds and finally subsided.

Fett's private terminal recorded the 7,000 credit transfer back into his
account a minute after the withdrawal for Glee'lik. He only killed Jadd
because judging by how easy it was to get him to turn once, a triple-cross was
very likely, and Jadd would have tipped off Felth, and collect quite a

Too bad Felth trusted Jadd, because Jadd was close enough to him to clue in
Fett that Felth was in the Gromas system. Now, while Jadd only thought he
gave trivial tips for the Hunt, Fett was able to weed out the important
details that enabled him to deduce the location of his prey. Really. Where
else in the galaxy would Felth hide from scanners with such concentrated
amounts, from what Jadd hinted at, of Phrik radiation?

Chunging a drench, Fett let his mind wander into idleness and thought how
pleased he was with his career. In his dreams of ethereal madness he found
solace that he was no longer a Journeyman Protector on Concord Dawn. Back
there, he could only watch as those he put away where back on the streets
before he knew it.

Once his partner had been assaulted by a man, a Rodian, Fett had supposedly
put behind bars for 10 to 20. When Fett called the Territ county parole board
they said the Rodian was in jail. Turns out, the state parole board showed he
was out on a procedure called "pre-trial" that let him stay at a halfway house
and go out during the day, without supervision, to rape and kill. The
district attorney slipped him by the Protectors by releasing him from another
county, even though he was born, lived, and killed in Territ. The job gave
himself, known as Mereel then, little respite and less patience. Eventually,
some of that foolishness stopped when Mereel "talked" with some of the county
officals. But here, now, Fett had the law on his side; he would decide
whether or not his acquisition would get life, or would die. Ah, his favorite
idiosyncrasy: intransigence for the sake of intransigence.

Indubitably, Fett took great pride in pulling the trigger himself. Not that
he was a servant of the Empire. Not at all. Boba Fett Hunted, killed, and
exploited the galaxy in his own name and in his own authority. He considered
himself morality personified in flesh.

When the Slave I exited the celestial infinitude of hyperspace and reverted
into realspace above the Gromas system with a quantum echo, the first thing
Fett saw was a giant first-magnitude star blinding the ship's sensors. After
a moment, Fett recalculated them and was surprised to detect Davin's ship at
the perigee of an orbit around the fourth planet. The ship was somewhat
disguised in the node of the rings horizontally-encircling the crimson planet.
Normally, the Hunted would run as far away as they could from Fett before he
overtook them.

Felth did not.

His agile and refitted I-7 HowlRunner suddenly recognized that it had company
and arrogantly emptied its concussion missile rack at Slave I. Twelve CM-5s
screamed in on the heat signature of the Slave I as Fett clenched his teeth
and swore under his breath at his underestimation of his enemy. Though age
had taken its toll on the edges of his performance, he was still the best
there is at what he did. At least for now.

His mind raced with plans of action and the various counterplans his prey
would take. He decided to take some of the blows to his shields to save time.
The illegally modified, military-grade shields could handle a few CMs. He
feed power to the Kuat Engineering Systems F-31 drive engines, the ion reactor
core thrummed a couple of octaves higher, boosting his sublight speed to 350
MGLTs and thundered after his prey. His claim.

Sure he could have snapped off a few rounds with any of the weapon systems,
concealed or other, but the distance between the two vessels was too far to
get a lock. The sallied barrage still delayed Fett a few moments while
Felth's ship, now identified as Gandar's Pass, rocketed down to the barren red
planet below. Fett preferred to hunt his prey on foot anyway. Anything that
took away from the personal side of combat was almost disgraceful to some in
his guild.

The Firespray-class ship pursued Gandar's Pass towards the horizon and landed
in an engulfing cloud of red dust. Felth's ship was thirty meters away by an
abandoned mining facility. The gray series of buildings, that housed rusted
ore extractors, purifiers, and brown metal robo-haulers for mining, were the
only shelter on this world that saved Felth from a quick death; Fett would
have gladly have blasted Davin with the Slave I's arsenal and got a holo
recording of the whole deal, but he walked down the boarding ramp with a shrug
of his shoulders.

Fett stared out at the distance for a moment, his olive-drab cape flowing in
the wind and signed. He needed an vacation from the monotonous cop and robber
game. He had seen all the tricks and had conquered criminality over and over.
The galaxy had not changed much by his presence in it, and it wouldn't change
much after he left it. That was....unfortunate.

So Boba Fett left his ship with shields raised. The sun was still high in
the magenta afternoon sky and the land was a scorching 107.4-degrees according
to Fett's pyrometer. He hoped the Hunt would prove less dull than his last,
where a Weequay had opted to have a shoot-out with Fett in the middle of a Ord
Patron intersection. Fett smoked him before the smuggler-turned-pirate could
raise his blaster and collected the meager bounty.

The man in the Mandalorian combat armor unslung his EE-3 rifle and checked
its power gauge. Full. And so he set off after his quarrel at a slow pace
over the desert ground, sweating inside his thick armor. There was no need to

A reddish haze stretched out over the horizon until the distant, nameless
mountain slopes rose up to meet it. His sensors calculated that 21.3% of his
unaided view was obsured by the miniature dust storms. A cold equation that
made him content that he was prepared with IR goggles. One had to be
adaptable, eurytopic as it were, to be in this field.

He entered the decaying building as his macrobinoculars automatically
switched to infared, so scarce was the light. Fett chuckled softly to himself
as Davin's paniced foot steps left a faint heat signature for the bounty
hunter to follow. A time passed and he cam upon enigmatic circular spots were
dust was disturbed on the duracrete floor. He recognized them from somewhere
far away in his memory banks. Before he could ponder it any longer though, a
vermilion blaster bolt whizzed by his shoulder and grazed his left pauldron.

He turned simultaneously and fired eight rounds into a Arakyd Viper probe
droid, that had descended behind him, which exploded from his well-placed
hits. That is where he remembered the markings on the ground; the pattern was
formed by the air emitted by by the probot's manuveuring jets. Felth was
prepared, Fett would give him that.

A microsecond later, two more probots', weapons extended, and an Arakyd BT-16
perimeter droid's black frames stabbed down from the clouds and through a
skylight, but one shot from Fett's nasty disruptor eliminated them. Felth's
servant golem's were but mere annoyances to fuel Fett's inextinguishable

Fett holstered the heavy blaster and trekked once more down the winding path.
After several minutes however, the bounty hunter became uneasy. Davin's
tracks would eventually lead into a dead-end according to what Fett saw of the
facility from the air. Davin must have decided not to pursue the other course
which he allow him to go on a circular path around the mining drill.

The dead-end passage instead lead Fett deeper into the underground earth of
Gromas IV. Fett had to be careful since the estate, if it could be called
that, was purposefully lighted in such a way that a person's shadow would be
cast, and thus seen from around each corner. That gave the person on the
other side of the corner the element of surprise.

When the corridor wound around again in yet another circle, Fett saw the
thermal imprint of dim red lights hung from a wire lining the mine shaft. He
was very far from the surface now, and was about to start to entertain the
idea that Davin doubled back on his own foot imprints and somewhat escaped
past Fett, when he heard the all too familiar sound of a pressure plate in the
floor lower under the weight of his foot.

Fett could curse himself for not seeing the trap coming. It had more than a
few blotches of heat imprint around it. But Felth did not have time to set
the trap up. He must have used this place for a hideout before. It was not
in his file, curse Jedak.

Fett was bending down to anchor a dead weight over the panel to simulate his
own body weight to get off, but Davin appeared around the corner and shot a
trio of shots with a light blaster at Fett, knocking him off the plate.

His armor absorbed most of the hits, but instantaneously as his foot left the
sensitive trigger, forcefields suddenly surged to life at each exit area.
Felth was gone. And Fett was trapped.

A few moments later a voice came over an intercom system in the tunnels. "I
am no mercenary Fett. And I surely ain't no bounty hunter. So, I'm not going
to kill you. I have honor. The Great Boba Fett will not die from a shot in
the back, nor in a spectacular explosion in your handsome vessel. No, he he,
you will merely die of starvation. Please, understand that I'm a cold-blooded
murderer like yourself," he said coldly.

Fett said nothing.

"Very well. I just want you to know that. So when I see you in the
afterlife, don't hold any grudges."

Fett had to smile in spite of himself, the bantam kid had nerve; which could
be easily confused with stupidity.

But, he didn't sulk long. Boba quickly unhooked a cluster of concussion
grenades from his bandolier and flung them at the energy walls encapturing
him. His jet pack ignited and he sailed up to the high roof of the room as
they blew. Wafts of smoke rose up to the ceiling and through it Fett could
see he had succeeded in overloading the shields. He had figured they would
only be the industrial-grade ones used to keep poisonous gases from spreading
through the mines if some deposits were hit, or for keeping the whole tunnel
chain from collapsing if one portion caved in, and they coulding hold Class 5
explosives like the grenades he used.

Thus, the Hunter resumed his prowl. He knew now the mines could go
kilometers down and Davin had no reason to keep going down that way because,
as far as he knew, Fett was as good as dead. Besides he could have the whole
place armed to blow. No, the kid would make his way to the surface and fly
out to one of the Outer Rim worlds for safety until the Death Mark's price
could have time to lower again after the one who posted it lost interest, and
then it would be safe enough to come out of hiding.

Fett had gone not but a hundred yards when, from behind a bend, Davin foot
kicked him in the full face, sending him sprawling back onto the dusty ground.
But, Fett's infared sensors and enhanced auditory circuits allowed him to see
the hit coming. He took the blow and in the process kneed Davin with the
poisonous rocket darts in his knee pad. Davin doubled over for a second from
the counterattack to the chest, then straighted up, with some effort.

"You forgot I've been in the Empire's service bounty hunter. I've built up
an immunity to your toxins."

"I never forget." Fett fired his wrist-mounted fibercord lanyard around
Felth. With his prey held fast, Fett raised his wrist gauntlet blaster to
blow him away, but hesitated.

"You're under arrest for conspiracy, murder of an Imperial officer, aiding
traitors to the New Order, etc, etc," his voice trailed off. "Before I kill
you, ten twenty-three, I'd like to tell you only one other man has eluded me
so when I had the chance of killing him. You, like him, possess... intriguing
skills for a good Hunt," Fett said matter-of-factly.

Davin shrugged, "I enjoyed it much. It reminds me of the thrill I had in my
Imperial days. I used to be a stormtrooper as you know and I followed that
corrupt government that you still slave to."

Fett uncharacteristically let the prisoner talk while he radioed Slave I for
pickup, and adjusted his gun a little.

"When I fragged Captain Terrik to save Solo, the very man you now commit your
life to killing, I had to make the choice of--" Davin acted quickly as he saw
Fett's head turned away slightly. He had cut his bonds with a hidden
vibroblade while he talked and now had a gun drawn on Fett.

The bounty hunter hardly responded. Davin did not know Fett had a 360-degree
view through his helmet, but Fett knew Davin might try something. And he
wanted him to.

In a azure flash, Fett shot. Felth shot. Both hit.

The two men fell back soundlessly. Both men's armor barely heldup to the
other's blast, but Davin managed to pierce the fuel line to Fett's
flamethrower on his right arm causing him to fail backwards. Nevertheless,
Fett was the first to stagger up and quickly injected Davin with a muscle
contractor; something he couldn't have an immunity to. The bounty seized up
in a farce rigor mortis which allowed Fett to drag him aboard the Slave I.
Taking no chances, Fett put him in a molecularly-enforced detention cell with
gravitric retraints normally reserved for a Wookiee or Trandoshan or some
other abnormally strong sentient.

Fett looked over his reticent captive with a passing look, as if wondering
whether he should just take Davin's head as proof of the'd save fuel
costs by not weighing down his ship for the hyperspace journey. But that
would violate clause five of the Bounty Hunter's Creed and moveover this time
he felt more than the void of emotion he usually had for his acquisitions.
After nearly ten minutes of deliberation, Fett reluctantly walked down to the
cockpit. He came back a few minutes later with a muscle relaxer for Felth.

Boba Fett injected him again, noticing the myriad needle marks that dotted
Davin's forearms, undid his own patented magnetic binders, and when the boy
returned to what passed for nominal mobility, Fett said, "Your Death Mark was
suddenly lowered back down to 5,000. You're not worth the cost to take to
back to Jedak. Leave my ship."

Fett could not recognize the somewhat fierce and enraged, somewhat serene
look in Davin's brown eyes. "What?!" Felth smirked. "C'mon, bounty hunter
you're a terrible liar. You would've fragged me, but you switched your gun to
the stun setting. From what I did, my price would take a little longer to go
down. But, you wouldn't know that because you can't get access to my files,
and that's why you must have faked that-"

"Alright, punk you've made your point. Nonetheless, you can leave. Now,"
Fett pushed with a brash tone of threat and raised his gun for empathsis.

"Okay, okay Hunter. I'm gone," the kid dashed outside.

"One more thing," Fett added. "What'd you do to deserve that 70,000 credit
hike on your bounty?"

"You actually want to know?"

"Amuse me." You have something not many have: boldness with a sense of honor
to back it. That is one of the few things that I admire, but even I have a
dwindling patience, Fett thought.

"Well," Davin's mischievous grin widened. "I mooned Moff Kerioth in his
summer home on Drunkenwell, in front of all his high official buddies, just
after robbing him of 18,000 credits in a few sabacc rounds. Geez, man, you
should've seen his face..."

The kid left Fett alone with his thoughts, like why he did what he did just
now? Just let a perfectly good bounty go.

If word got out that--- No, Fett was in control. He always was. He tried to
rationalize his reasons for letting Davin go, but all he could come up with
was the 'passing of the crown'. As the boy got older he would make an
excellent Jaster Mereel. Fett would one day be too old to enforce order in
the galaxy as Supreme Protector of Justice, and much to his objection,
subconciously he got strange thoughts of finding a successor, one that was
worthy to pass on the Mandalore armor to. Perhaps under Fett's instruction
and tuteledge, even though he was human, Davin Felth would someday next become
the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy. The next Boba Fett.

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