The package was getting heavy. He had been walking for nearly two ...
- Story by S. Hall
- Estimated reading time: 16 minutes (3,307 words)
The package was getting heavy. He had been walking for nearly two hours, and the rain was running down behind the plates of his armor. Several times, he had thought about turning around and getting off the blasted planet, but he was Boba Fett and he had given his word.
It had been a year and two months since he received the five million-credit bounty for the capture and delivery of Kardue'sai'Malloc, the Butcher of Montellian Serat. A lot can happen in a year, Fett mused. He had not planned to wait this long before bringing Malloc's music to Vinsoth. The old Devaronian had not mentioned that Simont Reh lived in an area that did not allow the landing of ships; nor did he elaborate to the fact that the old Chevin was crippled to the point of being practically immobile. Boba Fett was glad his own leg had finally healed. There had been difficulties with the grafting of the cloned unit. As he walked, he remembered what the medic had said to him, "I am sorry, but your DNA structure has changed according to your charts. I don't know how to explain it." Boba Fett felt the familiar rage build as his mind screamed Sarlaac, but he gritted his teeth and spat, "Try." The young human doctor was visibly shaken. Understandably so, his patient was Boba Fett, the most feared bounty hunter in the universe. It was said that he never lost his intended prey, and that he never felt remorse or guilt when he killed. The doctor shuddered and said, "T-The genetic make-up of your body no longer matches the unit we have grown for you. I have never seen anything like it." The excitement of this realization seemed to momentarily override his fear of the bounty hunter. Makk Tarkin had taken over as head medic when his old friend and mentor, Jaqila Shyn had passed away six months ago. Until now, Makk had no idea that the famous hunter had been a patient of Shyn's. Fett must have sworn him to secrecy. Boba Fett was not happy about this turn of events, but he realized there was not much he could do about it. It would take too long to grow another leg, and Fett did not know if he could stand the pain much longer. It had steadily been getting worse. That, on top of the Cancer treatments he had to undergo for four straight months to cure him completely from the disease was almost more than he could bear. Besides, he would have a hard time finding another medic to clone a unit for him considering cloning was legal on only two planets that he knew of, and there were only three doctors who performed the actual surgery.
He passed farm after farm full of piquiets, yelfa stalks, and grental beans, but he had not passed even one living soul. Not that he cared, he preferred to be alone. The rain had slowed to drizzle, and the dirt road he followed was muddy and slick. He looked for a place to rest. He noticed a large rock and headed over to it, primitive planet, he thought. Fett found himself wondering about Simont Reh. Why would she pay good money for a box of music chips? Why would anyone pay that much? Mollac had tried to bargain his way out of Boba Fett's clutches by offering him the chips. He said they were worth five million credits. I did not believe him, Fett thought. Indeed, they had not brought the five million credits Mollac had insisted they were worth, but close; three million, two hundred thousand credits. The thought had never crossed his mind to keep the music chips. He had never been one to trifle with foolish pastimes, but over the course of the past year, he had grown quite fond of the music. Music to tame the wild beast, Fett thought, a thin humorless smile touching his lips. Boba Fett pulled out his C corder with which he was able to keep track of how many credits he had at any given time. With the credits he would receive for the delivery of the music chips, along with what he still had left from the past year, he could afford to do something he had been thinking about for the last few years. However, time is of the essence. He thought. He caught a blur of movement behind him to the left. He jumped up, spun around, and had his blaster rifle at ready in less than one second. He could see nothing. He would stand, whoever it was could come to him. Boba Fett waited, and he didn't have to wait long. Slowly peeking from behind a Fula tree was a young Chevin. A child, he noted. His aim never wavered, and he did not lower his weapon. "Come out from behind the tree, slowly" his voice was harsh, and he could tell the youngster was frightened. "You will shoot me", the child said in basic. "No, I will only shoot you if you don't show yourself within two seconds", said Fett. The little Chevin shuffled out from behind the tree, "Are you here to kill someone?" Boba Fett did not answer. He was already hefting the music chips over his shoulder. "My father says you are a bounty hunter, and bounty hunters kill people", said the child. "I'm not afraid of you..." Boba Fett turned around and fixed the child with a baleful stare through his visor. The kid mistook the look as anger and took a small step backwards. "I'm not scared of you", he yelled then ran away as fast as his short legs would take him. Boba Fett shook his head, "children" he muttered as he again headed toward the town where he would find Simont Reh.
As he approached the small town of Shilkof, he finally saw groups of Chevins. He was glad Mollak had given him the address of Reh. Chevins were noted as much for their stubbornness as for their elongated faces and short, trunk-like legs. He had found that it was not easy to get information from these creatures. Had he asked one of them to tell him where he could find the Reh woman, he would most likely not get an answer. On almost every other planet where he had acquired a bounty, it was fairly easy to get someone to talk. All he had to do was ask. It never ceased to amaze him how most beings would offer to tell all just because he was Boba Fett. These creatures are different, he thought, worthy of respect. He remembered Opintal San, a middle-aged male of the species. San had been a business partner to a well-known human businessman named Blake Dunn. He had become too greedy, and had decided to kidnap Dunn's four-year-old daughter for a ransom. Instead of giving in to his long time partner and former friend, he had promptly hired Boba Fett to bring him in, alive or dead, and to rescue his daughter. Blake had to pay Fett a lot more to hunt him, than if he had just paid Opintal San what he was asking. Boba Fett found San on the planet Rinsenj. It was a good hunt, and Fett enjoyed it immensely. His first stop was obviously at the Chevin's home. His mate did not want Fett to enter her spacious hut, but he forced his way in, and started to look for something that would give him a clue as to where Opintal San would have taken the girl. After a half-hour of searching thoroughly, he found a photo hidden within the glued together pages of the book of Guoth, a book of religion among these beings. The picture was of San and a female Whiphid. It's a start, thought Fett. What caught Boba Fett's attention was a particular tree in the background. He recognized it as a ziph tree, a tree that only grows on one planet; Rinsenj. Fett knew it was a long shot, but he had a gut feeling, and if there was one thing Boba Fett trusted, it was his own intuition. Finding the Chevin was not the hard part; Rinsenj was a very small planet. All he had to do was find the woman, and fortunately, Whiphids are easy to pick out in a crowd. With a little luck and a lot of not so gentle persuasion, Fett was able to find out where the woman lived, and it was here that he found Opintal San.
Boba Fett watched the dwelling for several days. He knew the basic schedule of the inhabitants. He knew San would leave very shortly, and he knew when he would return. Tonight was the night, but before he could act against the Chevin, he had to find the girl. Boba Fett leaned against a cool stone wall behind the hut, but close to a small window. The obvious place would be downstairs...in a basement perhaps, Fett thought. The hunter strode over to the window and peered through the grimy, stained glass. It was the first time he had been this close to the Whiphid's home. When he didn't see anyone, he pulled a sound sponge from his belt. He activated it and placed it on the window ledge. Using a roll of tape, he quickly lined a pane of glass with it, and hit it with his fist. Next, he peeled the tape away, bringing the glass with it. He stealthily made his way to the side of the hut where he waited for San to leave. When San had been gone for a good fifteen standard minutes, he walked back to the window. The woman was in the room. Fett aimed his left wrist at her and fired two dartlets through the window. His aim was true, and she went down almost instantly. They were soporific. She would be out for at least three hours. He ripped the rest of the window out and climbed inside. He found a locked door that he presumed led to the basement, and blew the lock away using a small detonator. He walked down the stairs cautiously. The Chevin did not seem to think much of security systems, but Boba Fett didn't want to be caught off guard. He found the child easily enough. She was in a small dark room at the end of the hall. When she saw Fett, she cowered in the corner and started to whimper. He did not have much experience with children, and he found he didn't know what to say to her. "Be quiet", said Fett. She stared at him, her eyes wide with fear, but she stopped crying. Fett walked over and picked her up. "Do not be afraid, I won't hurt you." He carried her outside to his transport, a speeder bike. He strapped her on the seat in front of him, and took off toward Slave I. As soon as he had her safely in one of the holding cells, he headed back to the dwelling. Opintal San would return very soon.
Opintal San used his ident card to unlock the door to the hut he had used as a hideout for the past month. Thank goodness for Lady Dyilla, he thought, she has been most helpful. When he opened the door, he immediately saw Dyilla on the floor and started toward her. "Close the door, and turn toward me slowly with your hands in plain view" said a low rough voice. San turned and saw the bounty hunter standing in the corner with a blaster pointed at him. "Boba Fett. I should have realized he would hire you. Guess I've been expecting it, really. I won't ask how you found me, but I do have one request" stated San. Boba Fett nodded once,"You may ask your question." Opintal San replied, "My people are a proud race. I ask that you do not kill me without giving me a chance to die honorably. If I am to die, I want to fight, hand to hand. Unarmed combat." Boba Fett appeared to be thinking it over, although inwardly he was pleased. "Agreed." He programmed his weapon so that it would not respond to anyone but himself, then turned to focus his full attention on the Chevin. Fett honestly thought the fight would be over in a matter of seconds, but when the Chevin moved in, he saw that he could be wrong. He made it a point never to make the first move; it gave him a chance to gauge his opponent. Boba Fett studied San. The fellow was a full head taller than Fett, and a lot more muscular compared to Fett's wiry, yet strong frame. Considering the being had short legs, and appeared to be cumbersome, the Chevin was quick! Fett sidestepped him and spun around to administer a fatal blow to the back of his neck, but the Chevin again surprised him by ducking and then using his head, literally, to deliver a stunning blow to Fett's shoulder. On the top of every Chevin's head, close to the forehead is a small, hard rounded plate in their skull that is harder and more durable than steel. Even his Mandalorian armor could not keep the blow from causing an excruciating pain in his arm. Holding his arm close to his body, Fett took two steps backward spun around and executed a high kick to the Chevin's face that knocked the being back a few paces. San braced himself against the corner of the room, bent over forward and charged Fett with another head blow. At the last possible moment, Fett swung to the left and kicked hard at San's stomach with his spiked boot. San was down. Fett figured his own arm was out of the socket; maybe even broken, but he advanced. He lifted his foot, and with a shout of pure rage, he brought his boot down hard against the Chevin's neck. He felt the satisfying crack as San's spinal cord was crushed under the extreme pressure. With grim determination, Fett took the Chevins hair in his gloved hand, jerked San's head back, and withdrew his vibro blade.
Yes, it had been one of his more memorable hunts. He took a moment to finger one of the hairpieces that circled his right shoulder. Most beings think my braided pieces are all Wook scalps, Fett grinned behind his visor.
He stopped walking. Boba Fett at last stood in front of the home of Simont Reh. The bounty hunter shifted the pouch of music chips to his other shoulder, and followed the stone walkway up to the front entrance of Simont Reh's opulent home. Before he could activate the vid screen and announce his presence, the huge doors quietly swung open. He stood where he was for a moment. When no one invited him inside, he shrugged and strolled into the large foyer. Immediately he heard a mechanical voice say, "Madame Reh has been expecting you Gentle Fett. Please follow." He finally noticed the small protocol droid at the end of the foyer. The droid swiveled and rolled away. Boba Fett followed, keeping his hand on his blaster. They made their way along a series of hallways, and up a winding staircase. Finally, he saw her. The first thing he noticed was her clothing. She wore a tunic of the brightest green he had ever seen. Sewn to the dress was at least two thousand electronic color changing sequins that changed color every two seconds. On her head was a headdress that stood four feet from her head. She sat on a repulsor chair that was royal blue with red, yellow, and orange spots. Boba Fett almost smiled. He normally did not care what beings wore. He just chalked it up to differences between cultures, but he was familiar enough with the customs on Vinsoth to know that even the royalty on this planet would never wear anything so ostentatious. "AAAAaahhh! You must stop at once." The woman screamed. Boba Fett casually stopped at the doorway. "You must remove your boots and your weapons, sentient. I do not allow any type of footwear or weaponry in this room...oh my..." she trailed off. Boba Fett stayed where he was; "I have upheld my end of this agreement. I have the music chips in this bag. All I require is my payment and I will be on my way." "Yes, yes, the music," she paused, "I have been waiting many years for that boorish Devaronian to strike a deal with me, the stubborn fool! My precious music.... Bring it to me at once, let me see the chips." Fett pulled out the sleek wooden case, which housed the valuable chips. He stepped into the immense room and started walking toward Simont Reh. He watched her face and noticed her grimace as she glanced at his boots several times. Obviously, the woman was a little eccentric, maybe even crazy. When he was approximately halfway across the room, she held up her hand in a gesture that could only mean Halt, and asked, very politely this time, "Can you please remove your boots kind sir? This room is where I pray. I conduct all religious and important activities here. The fact that you will not comply is an assault to my religion, and to my personal beliefs." This time Fett did smile, "Dear Lady, even if I did believe in the sanctification of common living quarters, I would never yield obeisance to it. Now, I believe the time has come for us to complete our transaction. Please transfer the credits to my account or I will leave, and I will take the music chips with me." Simont Reh was indignant "Well, that's not how to conduct business with a lady. You will receive your payment after I have inspected the chips. Furthermore, there will be a ten thousand-credit deduction for every damaged chip. Bring them to me." Boba Fett opened his sack and placed the box back inside. "This was not the agreement. You receive the chips in the exact condition that they were in when I received them, damaged or not." He turned about and started for the door. "I expect it should be easy enough find another buyer." Using the heads-up tactical display in his helmet, he watched her reaction as he walked away. She glanced wildly at her droid, then back at Fett. With a resigned shake of her head, she finally said, "All right bounty hunter, let's complete the transaction. Evee Sevendee, please bring my tablet to me." Boba Fett stopped, but he did not turn around. "Tell me", he asked curiously, " Why are ships not allowed to land in this area?" Simont Reh smiled proudly as she keyed in Fett's payment and said, "Why, that's my own law. I convinced ... well, my wealth convinced the simpletons in this town to ban all air transport, because overhead traffic gives me headaches. "I see", murmured Fett. He checked his C corder to make sure the correct amount had been transferred. He lay the sack holding the chips on the ground, and walked out. When he stepped into the front yard, he activated the com-link to his ship. Within moments, Slave IV appeared. Boba Fett could hear the woman's shouts as he boarded. Switching on his loudest, most powerful thrusters, he brought the ship level to the upper story. There the ship hovered for a short time, and then it was gone.
Updated July 28, 2015