Topic: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines.
Has anyone seen this yet?
Ten standard years after the Yuuzhan Vong War
Slave I in pursuit of prisoner Habuk
Boba Fett's private record
"What ever they're paying you, Fett, I'll double it!"
says the voice on the commlink. They say that a lot. They just don't understand the nature of a contract. This time it's an Atzari glitterstim dealer called Habuk, who's overstepped the mark of the Trader's Commission to the tune of four hundred thousand credits.
"A contract's a contract," I tell him. Slave I is close enough on his tail to give me a visual on him. I swear he's flying an old C95 Headhunter. No hyperdrive, or he'd jumped for it by now. And no wonder he's surprised. An old Firespray like Slave I shouldn't be able to catch him on sublight drive alone. I've fitted a few more, uh, extras recently. The only completely original part of Slave I now is the seat I'm in.
"My laser cannon's armed."
says Habuk, breathless.
"Good for you. The galaxy's a dangerous place." The Headhunter executes a deep turn to port with it's aft maneuvering jets and Slave's laser locks onto the Headhunter's drive signature, matching it's turns and loops with no need for guidance from me. His engine flares in a ball of white light. The fighter begins an uncontrolled roll and I have to gun it to get a tractor beam locked on and haul Habuk in.
Grab arms make a satisfying ka-chunk against the Headhunter's airframe as I secure the fighter against the casing above Slave I's torpedo launcher. Habuk is making the noises of panic and pleading that I hardly notice these days. Some prisoners are defiant, but most give into fear. He makes me offers all the way back to Atzari, promising anything to survive.
"I can pay you millions!"
The contract is to deliver him alive. It's very specific.
"And my stockholdings in Kuat Drive Yards!"
I think it's the silent routine that gets to them in the end.
"Fett, I have a beautiful daughter."
He shouldn't have said that. Now I'm angry. I don't often get angry.
"Never use your kids, scumbag, Never."
Landing on Atzari's a little tricky when you're holding a crippled fighter on your upper works. I set Slave I down on the landing strip, lowering it gently on the thrusters, feeling the aft section vibrating under the load. And I have an audience.
The coalition wants to show they can hire the best to hunt down anyone who crosses them. I oblige. A bit of theater, public relations. Like Mandalorian armor, it makes the point without a shot needing to be fired. I walk along Slave I's casing to clambor up onto the Headhunter's fusilage and crack open it's canopy seal with a laser housed in my wrist gauntlet. So I hit Habuk harder than I need to, and haul him out of the cockpit to rapel down ten meters to ground of the landing with him. It hurts deep in my stomach. I don't let anyone see that.
Then I deposit the man on the landing strip in front of the men he owes four hundred thousand credits. It makes the point. I like making points. Presentation is half the battle.
"Want to keep the starfighter, too?"
asked the customer.
"Not my taste."
The spaceport utility loader comes to remove it from Slave I. I hold out my palm.
"I want the rest of my fee."
He hands me the outstanding two hundred and fifty thousand credits on a verified chip.
"Why do you still do this, Fett?"
"Because people still ask me."
It's a good question. I ponder it while I sit back in the cockpit, catch up on the financial headlines on the holonet news as Slave I heads for Kamino on autopilot. My doctor is meeting me there. He doesn't like the long journey, but I don't pay him to be happy.
Now I find I'm thinking of a daughter. Ailyn. Who I haven't seen in fifty years, wondering if she's still alive. You see, I'm ill. Think I'm dying. If I am, there're things I've got to do. One of them is to find out what happened to Ailyn. Another is to decide who's going to be Mandalore when I'm gone. And the third, of course, is to cheat death. I've had a lot of practice at that.