“Karlattzo (The Duel)”
Quag Dion was nervous. He had been attacked by three assassins ...
- Story by Daniel Luc Sullivan
- Estimated reading time: 14 minutes (2,999 words)
Quag Dion was nervous. He had been attacked by three assassins since the day he had killed Zoto Kuhn's brother. He knew now that it had been a terrible mistake; but there had seemed to be no other alternative at the time. It was too late now, though; Dion knew that the end was near. The blaster he had at his side would be of little use if the one called Fett came to kill him. Kuhn had hired Fett before; Dion knew that he was likely to hire him again. Dion had heard of Fett many times; but he had never looked upon him. It was said that he wore a menacing suit of armor; green armor, armor which had once been used in the Clone Wars. Armor much like that being worn by that man in the far corner of the Cantina...
Dion was jolted by a sudden sensation of absolute fear; he began to shake from head to talon with a feeling of mortal dread. The armor-clad figure was bearing a sawed-off blaster rifle...
And he was coming towards Quag.
The horrified Xezax fumbled for his blaster with one hand, clutching to the edge of the bar with the other. A silence had seemed to come over the Cantina; even the noisy bartender had stopped blabbering in order to watch the interaction between the cowardly criminal and the fearsome bounty hunter.
Fett closed the distance between himself and the petrified Dion and, staring down at him through the macrobinocular viewplate of his helmet, asked in a calm voice,
"May I buy you a drink?"
For a moment, Dion was bewildered. It was only after a long pause that the Xezax managed to say, in a squeaky voice,
"S-s-sure...whatever you say..."
Fett stepped up to bar and whispered something to the bartender, who in turn went off into the back room in a grave manner, as if to complete some sinful task.
The hunter turned back to Dion and sat down next to him as if they weren't on completely opposite sides of the law.
"I've heard good things about you, Dion. Heard you were good with a blaster. You've ever worked as a bounty hunter before?"
"I...I...I've been in s-s-several d-d-different lines of work b-b-before..." Dion stuttered.
"I've been looking for a partner..." Fett mused. "Would you be interested in..."
At that moment the bartender arrived with drinks.
"Here," said Fett, handing Dion a Corellian Ale. "Drink this."
Dion drank deeply.
"Now then, about this partnership..."
Dion felt a sense of dizziness came over him. He felt as if he was swimming in circles. An instant later he was overwhelmed by a feeling of pain. He stumbled off the barstool and onto the floor. The Xezax writhed in agony. His greenish heart beat as if it was going to burst...
A few seconds later, it did.
Fett stood up and walked out of the Cantina, flipping a few credits to the bartender as he did.
"Watch out for the veins when you're cleaning up. Xezaxian blood is poisonous."
Geeharr Hutzz stumbled down one of Kayrottz's many alleys, drunk. Once again, he had had a bad night. He had lost his touch for Sabacc ever since he had begun taking urozz, a strong form of spice. By now he had gambled away nearly all his credits, and he didn't even have enough wealth to buy another bottle of Luranian Brandy. He knew that one of his father's assassins could be waiting for him behind any one of the large canisters cluttered about the dimly lit side street, but he didn't care. He didn't care about anything anymore, except for how he was going to scrape up enough credits to buy himself another drink... A vibroblade slashed through the air and buried itself in Geeharr's side.
A massive figure stepped out of the alley and into the city streets.
Geeharr Huttz didn't even need to worry about his money now...
Boba Fett stood in a corner of the casino, waiting. After several minutes he was approached by a Cagain.
"Eteu doit tu."
The Cagain led the bounty hunter up a flight of stairs and into an ornately furnished office room. A Devaronian was reclining on a sofa in the center of the apartment.
"You wished to speak with me, Yootz?" Fett asked.
"Yes," the Devaronian replied in his native language, a dialect which Fett could speak moderately well, "I have a job for you, bounty hunter-that is, if you are willing to accept it..."
"Tell me what it is you want me to do, Yootz." Fett commanded, growing impatient. He disliked Devaronians, and he especially disliked Yootz Wache. "Now."
The Devaronian frowned.
"Do not make me angry, bounty hunter. I could have you killed at any moment. My bodyguard, Rasshkuul," Yootz motioned to a muscular humanoid standing behind his master's sofa, "Is one of the finest..."
A small whipcord lashed out and snatched away Rasshkuul's blaster pistol, sending it reeling backwards into Fett's waiting left hand. Fett gripped the blaster, hesitated for a millisecond in order to take aim, and then fired twice, blasting off Rasshkuul's belt and sending it flying across the room.
Fett tossed the astonished bodyguard's weapon alongside his belt on the floor.
"The finest what, Yootz?"
"You are to kill an assassin..."
Fett shook his head.
"I dislike most assassins; but they are only earning their pay by killing organisms which they have been hired to eliminate. There is only a very thin line separating an assassin from a bounty hunter," Fett continued, "and a good hunter will not kill another individual in his own line of work."
"I am willing to offer a very large sum for the death of this assassin," Yootz coaxed, "say, quarter of a million?''
"It's a bargain. Name this assassin."
"Perhaps you've heard of him. He is called Tylason Kayo."
Fett was surprised.
"Yes. You see, a rival in the smuggling business has placed a large price on my head. I am afraid Tylason Kayo is coming to...collect. He has just flown off of Kayrottz and is coming to Gurtinn. You may be able to ambush him as he enters the system. But how you kill him is, of course, your own business..."
"Very well, Yootz. If that is all you wish to say to me, I shall now take my leave of this accursed casino. I will bring you your assassin." The bounty hunter started for the door.
"Mind you, Fett, this isn't going to be as easy as slipping a vial of poison into a Corellian Ale."
"That I realize. Rassha kra suut."
The Devaronian grinned.
"Rassha kra suut!"
Fett stopped upon reaching the office door and turned back to face his most recent employer.
"By the way, Yootz, there is a Rodian below in your card rooms who has beaten your Sabacc dealer 14 times. If you fully intend on paying me 300,000 credits, you might want to...deal with him...before he wins any more money."
The last sounds Fett heard as he departed from the establishment were the despairing cries of the Rodian as he was "dealt with" by Yootz Wache and his thugs...
The Slave 1 hovered directly above the planet Gurtinn's surface, it's owner waiting patiently for the arrival of the assassin. Boba Fett had made all the necessary preparations; shields were fired up, weapon systems were on line, scanners were set to pick up any starships entering the system. In case of an emergency, the trajectory for the return to hyperspace had even been precalculated. The only thing that remained was for Tylason Kayo to reach Gurtinn space.
Within an hour, Kayo's starfighter had left hyperspace and entered the system. Inside the Slave 1, the scanners began to light up and the alarm system began to blare. Boba Fett sprung into action. The bounty hunter immediately armed the laser cannons, and attempted to lock on to Kayo's ship. But the assassin had been prepared for such an assault, and he easily managed to avoid Fett's twin blasters. Arming his proton torpedoes, Kayo swung around and sent two of the deadly projectiles spiraling into Slave 1's hull. Fett ship was sent rocketing out of control...
It was quite some time before Fett managed to get his ship's systems back on line, and Kayo had long returned to hyperspace by then.
The hunter sat in the cockpit of his ship, furious.
"So help me, assassin," he vowed, "you will die!"
2 years passed.
Fett stared at the Saaytan, studying his ugly countenance and fingering his EE-3 blaster rifle.
"Where is he?"
The Saaytan shrugged.
"Ru baya tee siigo ee checca du nas..."
Fett cursed beneath his breath and handed the Saaytan six credits.
"Dii Kayo assassiano tay grayak segusa ju Tatooine."
Fett smiled beneath his helmet.
Tylason Kayo's swoop bike sped over the sands of Tatooine. He had done what he had come for; now he could return to Jabba's palace and collect his reward. He smiled as he realized that he was steadily becoming a rich man. He already had enough money to by his own space yacht. Why, in a few years...
Blaster bolts ripped through the air. Kayo's swoop was sent swinging out of commission. The assassin managed to jump clear of the careening vehicle only seconds before it collided with the desert floor and exploded into a million pieces.
Kayo instinctively reached for his blaster...
The voice was cold. Unforgiving.
Tylason Kayo realized that he had lost his blaster in the crash...
"Who are you?" the assassin inquired, not daring to turn around and face his assailant.
"A friend, a foe; an ally, an enemy. You'll never know. Tomorrow you'll wake up in Hell. It will never matter to you, assassin."
The butt of a sawed-off BlasTech EE-3 blaster rifle came down hard on Tylason Kayo's head.
Several years later...
Boba Fett had become famous throughout the galaxy; his Mandalorian combat armor had become legendary, as well as the cold, emotionless tone of his monotonous voice. Criminals, smugglers, and pirates galaxy-wide cringed at the sight of the Slave 1 streaking through the heavens; and many an enemy of the Galactic Empire had come to dread the sight of the barrel of that all too well-known EE-3 blaster which hung at the infamous bounty hunter's side. Few criminals had ever attempted to eliminate the experienced killer; those who had had suffered the consequences. Fett had gained legendary status for several reasons: for the acquisition of Bar-Kooda; for the extermination of Feldrall Okor; for the delivery of Nivek 'Yppiks; for the death of IG-88; and for his escape from the Pit of Carkoon. But, of all these spectacular and unbelievable deeds, the one which had made Fett the most infamous, and the most feared, was the delivery of Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt.
Fett had left Tylason Kayo to die in the middle of the Dune Sea long ago. The assassin had not been heard of since then...
Boba Fett raised his arm, activated his rocket dart launcher, and fired.
The dart shot through the air and smashed into the hotel window, shattering the glass.
From his position atop a nearby building, Fett hurled a concussion grenade inside the hotel room, straight through the broken window.
Padriax Kaylamm was dead.
Boba Fett's employer was happy.
So was Boba Fett.
At the sound of the door, Boba Fett was jolted into awareness.
"Do not move, bounty hunter."
Fett could see the barrel of a blaster pistol through the darkness. The barrel was pointed at him.
"Who are you?" Fett asked of the dark stranger.
"A friend, a foe; an ally, an enemy. What does it matter to you, bounty hunter?"
"What do you want?"
"Meet me tomorrow, in the forest outside the city. I challenge you to a karlattzo, Boba Fett. You are familiar with the term?"
Fett nodded, slowly.
"A duel in which both opponents are free to wander around a large area in an attempt to kill one another. Both duelists are armed with twin vibroblades, if I am not mistaken."
"Correct. Tomorrow, then. Twelve-hundred hours."
The figure retreated into the gloom.
Fett heard the door shut.
Boba Fett fell into deep thought.
"A friend, a foe; an ally, an enemy..."
Boba Fett landed his speeder bike and dismounted.
At the edge of the forest, Fett could see his mysterious challenger. The man's skin seemed completely white. An albino...
The humanoid approached Fett. In his arm was a durithian case.
The stranger set the case upon the ground, and opened it.
Inside were four vibroblades.
The albino handed Fett two of these.
"As I am the challenger, you are allowed a head start. I will give you two minutes to enter the woods and go where you will. Then I shall follow. Go."
Fett gripped his vibroblades, unstrapped his jet pack, and entered the forest...
The challenger began climbing the tree, knowing that when he reached the top he would have a full view of the surrounding countryside. His thick, muscular arms gripped the branches as his feet supported him. The albino had been wandering for hours in search of Fett; the bounty hunter had proven suprisingly clever. But he would soon have him; it would be only a matter of time before he could exact vengeance upon the man who had once left him to die in the hellish wastelands of Tatooine. "Tomorrow you'll wake up in Hell..." he had said. Funny. He couldn't have come closer to being right...
The challenger reached the top of the tree.
Seconds later he lay on the ground below, dying, a viroblade in his side.
Several minutes later he was approached by the figure of Fett, still clutching his second viroblade.
"I remember you now, assassin. How did you know it was I who left you to die all those ages ago?"
Tylason Kayo managed to speak, despite the blood gurgling in his throat.
"The...the Saaytan who gave you the...information...I got it from him..."
There was a long pause before either hunter spoke again.
"You never should have attempted to destroy my ship."
Tylason Kayo attempted to shrug his aching shoulders.
"There was nothing else I could have done."
The bounty hunter leaned forward.
"K...kill me qui...qui...quickl...y..."
Boba Fett drove the second viroblade into the assassin's heart.
The bounty hunter recalled the Devaronian words for "Farewell, and happy hunting."
"Rassha kra suut..."
As he died, Tylason Kayo seemed to smile.
Updated July 28, 2015