AOH :: FAIRGAME.TXT|
Star Wars: Fair Game - by Chris Briesemeister (email@example.com)
Starlines shrunk into white dots speckling the black canvas of
space as Han Solo pulled the Millennium Falcon out of hyperspace. Han
and his co-pilot Chewbacca were returning from Kashyyyk, the Wookiee
home world. Han was against the trip, wanting to pay his debt to
Jabba the Hutt, but Chewie insisted on visiting his family for Life
Day. After a second thought Han supposed that there was no safer a
place for him than a planet full of Wookiees.
"It was a shorter trip than I thought it would be," Han said,
pleased with the time they made from Kashyyyk.
"HRWAOOAN," growled the wookiee, reminded of his shortened
"Hey, I would've wanted to stay longer too, but with the
Imperials and Jabba both breathing down our necks we wouldn't have
much life left to celebrate if we stayed," argued Han.
Han thought of the Life Day ceremonies on Kashyyyk as rather
silly. He guessed though that through elder wookiee eyes the true
meaning of Life Day was seen. What a simple yet brilliant idea it was
to celebrate just life, all life, and not focus the worship through a
single entity, or one long since dead mortal as they did on Han's home
planet of Corellia.
Unfortunately, Han had another minor delay. The beautiful
though feisty Princess Leia asked him for a lift from Ord Mantell to
an unnamed planet. Evidently the Rebels were in the process of moving
their base on Ord Mantell and Leia wanted to help things along on the
other side. Leaders of the Rebel Alliance didn't see Leia's presence
as a very substantial part of the preliminary base development and
would not free up an otherwise more valuable ship for her use. They
didn't say she couldn't go, she would just have to find her own way
there. Leia knew Han would be on Kashyyyk which was practically
across the intragalactic street from Ord Mantell, its neighbor in the
Outer Rim territories.
The trip to Ord Mantell was only a one hour long hyperspace
jump from Kashyyyk. Since the trip didn't really delay him any
further than he already, regretfully was, and since she had asked
nicely, Han thought he might as well see if he and the Princess could
get along under better circumstances.
"Here we are. I wonder what kind of place they'll find to top
this," Han asked referring to the recent knowledge he had gained on
the Rebellion's habit of finding such agreeable planets to place their
Ord Mantell was in Han's viewport now. The planet was
relatively small and barely supported the life it had on it. The
limited supply of natural resources on Ord Mantell was being rapidly
depleted. Han swore he could see pillows of smoke billowing from one
of the many factories on the planet into space itself. All worlds
were dying, albeit slowly, but Han was certain that the corrupt
leaders of Ord Mantell would have him see its fate in his lifetime.
Han had given a few Imperial reports on the planet a superficial
perusal. On them he had seen the word volatile in at least five
different places. If only the Imps knew just how volatile a planet
Ord Mantell was they might pay a little more attention to it.
The planet, ever growing larger outside the cockpit, would
have made a nice place to live under different circumstances. It even
reminded Han of Corellia somewhat. Its single continent was once
rippled with green mountains giving the image seen when throwing a
stone into a murky, algae-infested, life filled swamp. Now, every
meter of solid land was transformed into either living or industrial
sectors. Every aspect of the planet's population was corrupt. Ord
Mantell was home to at least eight known organized crime rings and
nursed countless others on their way to maturity. All of which used
legitimate businesses to help finance their operations. Because there
were so many organizations the ones that didn't have a tight grip on
their resources quickly died out. New ones would just as quickly fill
in the void left behind only to follow the same fate.
It was the perfect hiding place for the Rebel Alliance, at
least temporarily. Its front was that of a new crime ring, which was
a mask easily worn by the Rebels. After all, organized crime, like
the Alliance, was anti-Imperial. All it took to convince anyone that
theirs was a bona fide crime organization were a few convoy raids and
perhaps a little smuggling activity, both of which were already on the
Rebel agenda. The high traffic of non-Imperial military vessels they
created on Ord Mantell was another matter. Y-wings were an old enough
ship design that mostly all privatized organizations, legal or not,
used them should they need to protect shipping lanes. On the other
hand, unified pirating groups found the disabling effects of a
Y-wing's ion cannon very useful in convoy raids. With its increasing
popularity among private military groups, and forged transponder
codes, a Rebel Y-wing was as nondescript as a Jawa in a junk pile.
That left X-wings and some of the Rebellion's newer starfighter models
to be dealt with. While these ships were on Ord Mantell itself they
were stowed in large bulk freighters. When the ships were called to
duty they went through the arduous task of having the freighters make
a short jump to Kashyyyk or another nearby planet and from there
unloading the fighters who made their own jumps to the theater of
battle. This time consuming process, more often than not, gave the
Imperial forces the upper-hand. Just one more reason why the
Rebellion was now moving its main base of operations.
The Empire considered the problems of Ord Mantell as
un-correctable. It was in fact on the list of potential targets for
the recently destroyed Death Star. No one would really care about the
Empire snuffing out the piece of smoldering cinder that Ord Mantell
"This is Captain Han Solo of the Millennium Falcon requesting
permission to land." It was funny really. Ord Mantell was so corrupt
that it was one of the few places Han could use his real name and
transponder codes to expedite the landing procedure. And every little
bit helped since a request for a temporary bay was passed down through
about ten people until it reached someone deep enough in a certain
organization to be trusted to make the OK. Han decided to push them a
"Saying again, this is the Millennium Falcon requesting
clearance for satellite dock."
"Falcon, this is landing control. Permission granted to land
on docking platform BB-15, on planet. Repeat. Docking platform
BB-15, on planet."
"Thank you landing control," Han said, giving Chewie a look of
surprise. The wookiee moaned a `beats me' in response.
Ord Mantell's factories demanded raw materials from other
worlds. It relied on them. Consequently, the planet always had a
high volume of shipping traffic and therefore used its one moon as a
landing facility for non-commercial ships. Passengers were then
shuttled to the planet itself. The shuttles were restricted to a
large yet specific corridor that mercantile ships could not traverse.
The irony of it was that because the crime rings used factories as
their fronts many ships were granted on-planet landing by a few
credits being exchanged by the right people and not on the merit of
the ships themselves. This made for an unusually large amount of
traffic, clogging landing bays and slowing flight plans. Han couldn't
decide whether Leia had arranged a special clearance for him or if
somebody thought it was just old Han making another drop off. Well,
the Falcon was a freighter after all, no use putting much thought into
Chewie barked in disbelief. Something wasn't right.
"Look, we've been on this planet a dozen times. Every one of
those times something is screwy. I'd be nervous if something weird
didn't happen." Chewie was almost as paranoid as that annoying
protocol droid sometimes. Han had to admit though, landing on Ord
Mantell was always an adventure.
Entering the planet's atmosphere Han and Chewie were reminded
of how much of a glorified hell hole Ord Mantell really was. The air
was saturated with noxious, charcoal-colored smoke emitted from the
factories; thick enough that a young wookiee with a vibroblade could
carve himself a model X-Wing from it. Mob bosses cut the corners of
time and money by forgoing the installation of air scrubbers. Even
walking on the planet's surface was like being on a cloud, only not as
Han saw the BB sector of the landing structure. He pulled the
repulsorlifts to full hover above and north of the platform. A small
troop transport still lingered in the spot, Han's spot.
Han impatiently rolled his eyes and reached for the comm
switch. Was he ever going to get back to Tatooine?
"Landing control, this is Solo..."
"Yes, sorry Falcon. Blue Cetacae will be underway
immediately. Had to make a last minute pre-flight adjustment,"
interrupted the voice over the comm speaker.
As if cued on that exact moment, the transport slowly puttered
into the sky.
"I hope nobody on that thing in is in a big hurry," Han said,
reminding himself of his own impatience.
Thinking pessimistically that the pilot of the transport might
decide to return to the pad to reclaim his spot, Han decided to get in
there sooner than any space-traffic controller would have advised. He
cut the Falcon's forward repulsors down to half power, pointing the
nose of the ship down to a forty-five degree angle from the planet's
surface. Almost simultaneously he tapped at the forward thrust
controls to compensate for the ship's lack of atmospheric
aerodynamics. With the burst of ignited flame from the engines the
Falcon slid underneath the transport. Han powered his aft repulsors
down to half to level the ship and cut on his retro-maneuvering jets
to stop its forward momentum. The landing skids sprang from the
underside of the ship as it eased onto the pad. Han grinned
dubiously, trying to convince himself that the two minutes he just
saved would mean something. Besides, maybe Leia was out there to be
impressed by his little piece of show-boating. As the gangway met
with the landing deck a blaster bolt thwapped the side of the ship.
The transport was supposed to stall another two minutes
according to the plan. The henchmen from the Moofa gang were not
properly set for their ambush when the Falcon landed. One young
wiseguy got caught in the open and fired into the opening hatch
thinking he could hit somebody before they saw the danger.
Han immediately closed the hatch back up and ran for the
cockpit. Chewie was already there and Han wondered why they weren't
already bolting for open space. Chewie snarled angrily and scowled
into the sky. Han followed his gaze and saw that the poky troop ship
was now hovering just above the Falcon's sensor array, making a
reversal of Han's previous landing procedure impossible. The rear
hatch of the transport was fully open like a gawking mouth with thick
cables dangling from it like a giant sea serpent's baleen skimming for
"Are they trying to round us up like baby Banthas," Han asked
with disdain. He saw that he had guessed the wrong tactic as troopers
began sliding down the cables, five at a time in four waves. Han
altered his field of vision to the platform to see the twenty men join
about ten others struggling to set up reinforced plasteel riot
"Great, just great," growled Han. He lowered the mini
turbo-laser from the belly of the Falcon and spit out a volley of
blasts. The laser fire landed true in the bodies of ten men. Han
took a moment to let the relief he felt sink in but was quickly broken
out of his trance by a series of laser blasts hitting the cockpit
canopy. By the time Han triggered for another pass most of the men
were behind the barricades. He only cut down five more. The fifteen
men left were now taking pot shots at the Falcon from the safety of
their temporary bunkers. The hull of the Falcon could handle a single
blaster rifle, but fifteen men firing amplified Blastech assault
cannons while the ship was sitting like a lame Mynock was not a good
Coming into focus through the smoky atmosphere like angels of
salvation, two Skipray Blastboats shredded the temporary
fortifications, leaving no one on the surface of the deck alive to
clean up their mess. The pilot of the troop transport, seeing he was
out matched, kicked his thrusters on to full power and soared for
A voice came over Han's comm speaker. "Solo, glad I was
around to protect my interests," boomed the deep voice. It was Orkin
Natal, a lieutenant to one of the more permanent mob bosses on the
planet. After delivering a load of spice to the man, Han mentioned in
passing that he'd be around again to drop off some more goodies.
Little did Han know that engulfed in the mountain of spice he brought
were cases of thermal detonators. As it turns out, Orkin's boss was
inspired by the scenario and wanting to eliminate some of his
competitors put his idea to good use. His boss immediately assigned
Orkin the task of setting up a dummy spice warehouse that was to be
obviously an appendage of the Fudos ring. In the warehouse were set
the few loads of spice they could spare surrounding a detonator or
two. Equipped with thermal sensors, when a would be thief happened
across the spice he would become one less thing for the Fudos to
concern themselves with as the detonators blew him, literally, into
particles. A gory addendum Han had heard about that story was that
the vaporized remains of the victims were simply swept up along with
the scattered spice and thrown back together. The result was
seemingly bigger piles of spice that attracted more thieves, thus
creating a very vicious circle. Orkin must have thought Han had known
about the thermal detonators, and was subtlely yet intentionally
giving the gang the idea of how to use them. Orkin must have thought
Han was bringing back some more goodies and couldn't wait to see what
the clever smuggler had waiting for him this time.
"Ahh...thanks Orkin, but I'm not here on business, just
"Visiting? This smokehouse, Han come on!" The voice over the
comm disbelieved but let Han's excuse go. Han was an honorable enough
guy if you treated him right. "OK, well just you remember to bring a
little extra spice the next time you stop by." The phrase had just
the right mix of kidding and seriousness.
"Sure thing Orkin, next time I'm here." Which would be a long
time, Han didn't say.
* * *
Moments after the melee on the planet, a flicker of
pseudo-motion sparked in the vastness of space. Through it emerged
Slave I the personal ship of the highly esteemed bounty hunter, Boba
Fett. Fett was known to be one of the most dangerous men in the
galaxy. He did his job with remorseless, icy efficiency, like an
Imperial Stormtrooper. Unlike a Stormtrooper, Fett had enough
intelligence and initiative to not follow orders blindly. He had a
free will. Chances are that if you were in his presence and weren't
already dead, you were one of the safest people in the galaxy. Boba
Fett had an aura about him, a calm, coolness that frightened the weak
and demanded the respect of the strong, including the Dark Lord of the
Boba knew Han would be on Kashyyyk this time of that planet's
year. Why he cared about the whims of that muscle bound throw rug of
a friend of his Fett would never understand. He tracked their
hyperspace entry vector to here, Ord Mantell. Han was obviously
getting back into the smuggling business. Fett wanted to stop him
from earning enough money to pay off Jabba, and thus denying Boba of
his own reward. Slave I was already too close to the landing
structure of the moon for the crews' comfort.
"Unidentified ship, this is landing control. Please transmit
your ID codes and state the intent of this visit," crackled Fett's
"This is Slave I, request emergency landing. Experiencing
sub-light engine malfunction. Please reply." Fett didn't have time
to hover around this pebble moon waiting for a landing bay.
"Slave I, permission granted to land in bay twenty-five on the
In less than a minute Fett had powered down his ship and was
seeking out a transport shuttle. He walked up the ramp of one as a
steward stopped him. "I'm sorry sir but this shuttle is full. You'll
have to wait for the next one."
"I don't have time to wait," Fett said as he aimed his
repeating assault rifle at the steward's forehead.
"I understand sir. I'll make arrangements." The now sweaty
steward made a deep gulp, then walked into the shuttle and returned
ushering out a disgruntled Sullustan.
"A space has been made available for you sir," he said proudly
to the imposing figure.
Boba Fett took a seat in the shuttle next to a very
uncomfortable looking spice trader.
* * *
Dahlaas Nouban was graciously given the opportunity to be a
part of the rise of a growing crime organization. Gracious, in the
eyes of the ones making it, but Dahlaas saw the offer as a frantic
plea from a fanatic slowly slipping from his already supine
perspective of the galaxy and its affairs. "You'll only have to get
your hands dirty for a little while, `till we get a good solid base
formed," he was told, then he could go back to doing what he could do
best, hunting. Of course it wouldn't be for money anymore, not even
gruesomely for sport, at least not his own sport. Dahlaas Nouban
sensed his future as nothing more than a hired thug, immensely over
qualified, dancing to a tune played by someone else's will. He mildly
regretted taking up the job. For months now he was getting his hands
dirtier and dirtier. Instead of forming a strong base, Dahlaas was
struggling to keep this organization from sinking further into its
hole. Though he was good at the job--surviving--the weight of the
entire organization was sagging his shoulders, numbing his reflexes,
and dulling his senses. This was not the job for a hunter. A hunter
had to have acute senses, but more importantly a hunter needed to be
more attuned to his senses than his senses were to their environment.
He had to trust their counsel and in that, just once, he had failed.
That was why he was here, one part of his body didn't listen to the
Another organization that started to draw attention to itself
about the same time as his was already twice their size. They must
have had a stronghold offworld and moved the shop, thought his boss,
but Dahlaas had another idea and like his boss had asked him to, he
was taking care of it.
An orderly charged in with the news Dahlaas was waiting to
hear. "Solo has landed on the planet sir."
"Good, who is he with? Where there any events when he
"He's only got that wookiee he's always with," the orderly
paused deciding how the next part of the report would be taken, "there
was a little skirmish when he landed, but he got out of it."
"A skirmish you say. And just who was involved in this
skirmish?" Dahlaas's interest was piqued.
"It's hard to tell sir, either the Moofa gang or the Fudos,
they were both there."
"Well, it seems like Solo is pretty popular, winning the Star
of Alderaan will do that to a guy," Dahlaas commentated with evil
cynicism. "Give me that communiquM-^B from Jabba the Hutt, I'll be
making a few skirmishes myself." Dahlaas's eyes dreamily stared into
infinity. He was going hunting again.
"Yes sir, right away sir."
* * *
The access ramp on the Millennium Falcon lowered to the deck.
Han slowly walked down the ramp with his Blastech DL-44 blaster
unholstered and set on full power. Chewbacca followed wielding his
bowcaster which only had one setting. Wookiees rarely had the
temperament to just stun somebody. The smoke from the firefight was
already absorbed into that of the rest of the atmosphere. After
circling the Falcon all Han's limited visibility could discern were
the corpses of thirty men. Han gave Chewie a look wanting the wookiee
confirm his assumption that they were safe for now. Chewbacca replied
with a moan of uncertainty.
"Safe enough for now I guess. Come on lets go find Leia."
Han raised and locked the ramp of the Falcon to protect it from the
many scavengers that made a living off careless pilots. He found the
turbolift that would take them down to the base of the planet and
waited for Chewie to back in until he hit the activator button. After
a quick descent the door hissed open again revealing the backside of a
young grease jock wiping off a hydrospanner amidst a slew of broken
ship parts and the tools to make them functional.
"Hey," Han yelled, blaster still in hand, annoyed that this
grease monkey was oblivious to the events that had just transpired not
more than five minutes ago.
The figure turned around to reveal the grease smeared face of
someone in their early to mid twenties in standard years. The man,
human Han noted, was wearing baggy blue coveralls that concealed the
build of the figure donning them. This person also wore a long-billed
cap that had tell tale stains of its owner standing under too many
leaky coolant hoses. Long hair was balled up inside the cap Han could
tell from seeing the bulge on the top and back of the head. Han took
another look at the face, not the face of the usual landing pad
mechanic's protM-^BgM-^B. The type of people who would fuel up your
ship and top off coolant levels without you even asking, only to then
have the audacity to demand a payment. It was not the face of a man,
not even of a boy. It was the face of a girl, it was...
"Leia," exclaimed Han.
"I've seen you go out with a blast but I didn't think you'd
come in with one." The young former senator of Alderaan smiled.
"Nice. Too busy with that power coupling to help us out," Han
asked, steering Leia's eyes to the mangled coils before her feet.
"You think I'd blow my cover for you," Leia said, not meaning
it, "besides, a hot- shot fly-boy like you should be able to take care
"You know sweetheart, you should really treat your chauffeur a
little better or you might find yourself sharing a compartment with a
load of dewback feed. I here space flight makes them real jumpy."
Chewbacca let out a deep series of chuckles to verify Han's remark as
well as his tone.
Leia let him have this one. "OK. I just have to go back to
base to pick up a few things."
"Lets hurry!" Han's patience was worn far too thin already.
* * *
If the ignoramus of a shuttle pilot had a little more faith in
his flying Boba Fett would have been able to see the aftermath of a
battle on landing platform BB-15 through the shuttle's viewport. The
smoky atmosphere only granted him the vision of the unmistakable
outline of the top of a YT-1300 Corellian light freighter. The
thermal sensors in Fett's helmet failed to distinguish the cooling
bodies of the gang members from the steel deck of the landing
"Blast!" The word seeped out not only from underneath Fett's
helmet but underneath his breath.
"Your ship really needs to be repaired quickly, huh? This
shuttle is going rather slow." The spice trader next to Fett had
heard the whispers floating around the shuttle and tried to make up a
little conversation with the ominous figure, mainly to ease his own
"Not as quickly as that smuggler will fall into my clutches,"
replied Boba Fett, strangling an invisible neck with his fist.
The spice trader stole a glance down at his over-sized brief
case, wondering how this man could have known about its contents. The
spicer gave Fett another look, seeing the armored warrior fervently
grip his blaster rifle, and then he fainted.
As the beady-eyed man fell asleep Fett stood up and made his
way to the cabin door. Another, rather braver looking steward stood
in his way.
"How long until we land," asked Fett, mildly amused by the
steward's attempt to look forceful.
"We are waiting for some traffic to clear, should be no more
than ten minutes." The steward gave an over estimate, instinctively
giving himself a buffer, not wanting to be the cause or the vent for
this man's rage.
"Why don't you go make sure," said Boba Fett as his patience
descended far faster than the shuttle he was riding.
"Yes sir," said the steward. Turning to the cabin door, he
punched in a code and it hissed open. Upon entering the cockpit he
slammed his hand on the CLOSE switch and punched in the reciprocal
code to re-lock the door.
After hearing the high register of beeps that had to be the
locking code, Boba Fett assumed he would not see this man again until
the shuttle landed, if even then. He powered his blaster rifle down
to a setting that could hardly stun a baby Ugunaut, then aimed the
barrel of the rifle toward the locking mechanism. A wavy-blue field
of energy exited the barrel of the rifle and entered the panel for the
locking mechanism. The effect rung the right chord for the lock and
the door slid open. None of the crew were expecting him to appear in
The captain of the shuttle turned around casually. "Is that
man go-," he said choking on the last word as his mind drew a picture
of the green armored man surrounded by a dark luminance.
"When do we land," demanded a twangy baritone voice.
"Soon sir, you see with this traffic..." A globule of sweat
rolled from the pilot's forehead down to his chin as it made a leap
for the floor.
The sound of Fett's rifle humming back up to full power was
the preamble to his final request. "Get out of that seat, we're
* * *
That shuttle pilot sure has some gall, mused Dahlaas Nouban as
he saw one passenger transport swoop over another only to let gravity
race it down to the landing platform until the very last minute before
the repulors kicked in enough power to suppress a certain crash.
Dahlaas redirected his gaze back to the unmistakable eight-foot
outline of a wookiee. Solo was pretty hard to pick out of a crowd by
himself, especially in this atmosphere, but as long as he kept that
wookiee with him he was an easy target. Dahlaas would follow them
long enough until he could guess where they were headed and then
spring his trap. That person in the coveralls was no mechanic,
probably a Rebel sympathizer, and he was definitely leading Solo to a
place that Dahlaas would find essential to his ultimate goal of base
The streets of Ord Mantell were busy all twenty-six hours of
its axial rotation. Dahlaas's build, though strong, was not
particularly noticeable especially when covered by the black cloak of
a mortician, one of the more highly demanded trades on Ord Mantell.
He felt unusually at home in the garment. Dahlaas took a heartbeat of
a moment to notice the individual expressions of the crowd he was
gracefully weaving through. Faces expressed familiarity with
connotations of uneasiness. The type of expression a citizen of an
outlier world might give to a stormtroooper, Dahlaas thought; their
presence rung an alarm for trouble ensuing yet was by no means
uncommon. Accessorizing the outfit was a sawed off Force Pike used by
Imperial Royal Guards, that could stun or kill an enemy when prodded
with the flexible carbonite staff. With the staff cut in half and
Dahlaas's palm covering the glowing amber tip, the Force Pike looked
like nothing more than an old man's cane.
Solo and his companions turned a corner and crossed to the
opposite side of the intersecting street. Dahlaas, not so abruptly,
followed suit. The element of surprise would counteract Solo's quick
draw, but the wookiee made the situation a little hairier. A stun
blast to Solo in the back from a distance great enough to allow time
for Dahlaas to change his blaster setting to KILL before Chewbacca
could react was the basic idea. Not an elegant way to hunt, but
pragmatism sometimes excluded elegance from the plan. But what of
Solo's second companion? Was he armed, and if so was he any good with
a blaster? Would he even bat an eye upon Solo's abduction? It was a
new element to the puzzle that needed to be solved quickly.
As Dahlaas was weighing the risks of this new variable the
equation became easier by a subtraction of two.
* * *
As they were walking down the streets of Ord Mantell's main
city of Isengard Han's attention was divided between his conversation
with Leia and scanning for a nice cantina to pick up on a sabacc game.
"Why couldn't Luke just hop in a Y-wing and take you to this
place," Han asked not really thinking he would turn over an overlooked
"Luke is already at the base and between helping General
Rieekan and going over his Jedi exercises he has no time to play space
taxi," replied Leia.
So the kid was still hanging on to the few tricks the old
wizard had taught him, thought Han. He blew up the Death Star without
a targeting computer, so what. The kid was a good shot, why didn't he
just give himself credit when it was due. Han guessed that Luke was
still too young and too inexperienced to give himself and his
abilities the credit they deserved. He was not the only person in the
galaxy to explain away his actions by blaming some unfathomable force.
Han himself often gave the credit to luck after winning a sabacc game
rather than accounting for his ability to read the faces, or what
passed for faces, on many of the sentient life forms he had sat across
a table from. Whether the Force or just dumb luck, Han thought it
must be some perverse form of modesty that people experienced.
Regardless, the kid must be pretty serious about it, enough to throw
away the chance to spend some time with the Princess. Han had read
the boyish thoughts Luke had for her on his face. But, Luke was
there, Han was here.
"Can't blame a guy for staying out of the way of a lot of
fireworks I guess," Han said as he glazed the sarcasm over with a
"Well, after I heard Luke was unavailable, and that no garbage
scows were visiting that sector of space, I thought I'd try you," Leia
replied with equal sarcasm.
The group had just walked by a promising looking cantina when
Han realized just what one of the things Leia wanted to pick up was.
He had no interest in spending anymore time with C3P0 than necessary.
"Hey, why don't you two go on and meet me back here. I'm
going to see if I can get in a game for awhile," Han said pointing a
thumb to a set of wooden double doors surrounded by a decaying
Chewbacca rumbled off an argument.
"Don't worry, almost all of it is still in the ship. I just
brought some credits for walking around," said Han referring to the
reward the Alliance had given to them, stashed away in the hidden
compartments of the Falcon. "Besides I want you to tell me what that
base looks like," he added softly as he leaned in toward Chewbacca.
"All right, we'll be back here in an hour," said Leia seeing
the look of content on Chewie's face.
* * *
Boba Fett's thermal sensors and jet pack working in tandem
made for the ultimate in stealth tracking on this planet. He hovered
high enough not to be seen through the smoke while having a bird's
eye, infra-red view of everything going on below him. Fett followed
the thermal outline of a wookiee, one of the few he had seen on this
planet, accompanying two humans. It was obvious that one of the
humans was leading the other and the wookiee somewhere, meaning the
two humans were not originally together. That left a human and a
wookiee who were in comfortable proximity from each other, neither of
which knew where they were headed. Those two would be Han Solo and
Boba Fett saw the group stop in front of a building that he
could see the top of with his bare eyes. They paused for a moment and
the wookiee and a human left the other behind. The lone human ducked
into the building and his two companions walked in single file, human
first then wookiee. That most likely meant that the human was the one
who was originally leading the group. That left Solo behind in what
Fett would bet was some sort of cantina or gambling hall. He switched
off his thermal sensors and slowly descended to the roof top of the
building. He would have to find a way down without Solo noticing.
Fett retrieved a grappling hook from his utility belt, hooked it to a
ventilation box on the roof, and began rappelling down the backside of
* * *
The advantage that Dahlaas had was that he was an unknown
among the movers and shakers of the galaxy. His name left the planet
far less often than he actually did. This advantage allowed him to
stroll right behind the booth Solo had roosted on after paying the
entry fee to the man guarding the inner door without so much as a look
from the smuggler.
The cantina was primarily a gambling arena and only seconded
as a drinking hall. A myriad of sabacc tables, all full, ran deep
into the large base floor of the establishment. The limited lighting
managed to keep all of the players in its shadows, revealing only
thick patches of smoke, individually not different from the outside
atmosphere, but the difference was in that, their individuality. The
owner of this place seemed to care enough about his business and
clientele to install a suitable ventilation system. The patches of
smoke were only noticeable around the tables and the bar, and then
only when the majority of the patrons indulged in a cigarra or pipe
filled with some mystical herb. Fans mounted on the ceiling
dissipated the smoke into the otherwise clean but dark air of the
Dahlaas took a stool at the bar placing Solo between himself
and the door. Not a tactically supreme spot, but it would have to do.
He didn't know exactly the right time to spring his trap but his
instincts told Dahlaas to wait. Have at least one drink in the
meantime, he convinced himself.
Dahlaas tapped the bartender on the shoulder to get the
bustling man's attention. "Yeah, what'll it be buddy?"
"I'll have a Corellian spiced ale." No other drink would pass
the time as well Dahlaas joked to himself.
The bartender drew the drink from the tap into a frosty mug.
He then took a rag from underneath the bar and gave the area in front
of Dahlaas a superficial wipe down before setting the drink on the
bar. "You know you're the second person in the last five minutes to
order this," said the bartender curiously.
"Well its good to see somebody else agrees with my tastes,"
replied the bounty hunter.
"Taking a break from the other side of mortality," asked the
bartender. Dahlaas didn't catch on at first. The smile on the
bartender's face, signaling a joke, reminded Dahlaas of his disguise.
"You can never really get away from that sort of thing you
know. Things always have away of turning up dead." With that the
bartender moved away from the morose figure to tend to another
customer. With their line of work morticians really could use a sense
of humor, thought the barkeep.
Dahlaas had just finished gulping down the last drop of the
fine ale when a skirmish between the inner and outer sets of double
doors told him it was time to spring his trap.
* * *
Nobody had seen Boba Fett descend the backside of the cantina.
With his jet pack off no one had heard him either. He walked through
a side alley to the front of the building and into a set of double
doors made of solid Bafforr wood. Fett wondered if the designers of
the building had known that the last evidence of their building's
extravagant exterior was from a sentient life form. Ithorians and
other species of fauna that had the ability to communicate with the
trees believed that any structure that incorporated the fallen trees'
corpses was a dwelling for ill spirits and bad luck. Fett wondered
what kind of person won their games at this establishment. He pushed
through the set of double doors to find a heavy set man sitting upon a
stool with a credit pouch strapped around his waist. Boba proceeded
to walk past him when a stiff arm froze him in his tracks.
"Hey pal, its ten credits up front to get in here," said the
man in a reminding tone of voice.
"Ten credits to have a drink," questioned Boba Fett fondling
his blaster rifle with his unexposed hand.
"Yeah, the boss has got to make sure he makes money somehow.
Now ten credits mac, or beat it."
"I don't have ten, all I have is this," Fett said as he swung
his repeating blaster rifle into the man's view, resting it at his
"That must be worth at least ten," said the man as he
nervously reached around his back for the blaster shoved in his belt.
Boba saw the threatening move and sent a blast through the
man's credit pouch and into his obese gut. Credit chips escaped from
the battered pouch and mingled with the mutilated bloody remains of
the man as they clanked on the floor.
"Keep the change," said Boba Fett as he brought his blaster
setting back down to stun.
* * *
After Chewbacca's tall frame was no longer distinguishable
from the crowd Han turned toward the set of double doors. Han was no
carpenter but he could tell from the rarity of the doors' wood that
this building was designed for greater things. Handsome though it
was, Han sensed that the wood might have looked even better in its
original, living state. Maybe it was just a bad choice of the stain
some designer chose. Han shrugged the thought off and proceeded
through the doors to find an obese man sitting on a bar stool,
fumbling through a coin purse strapped around his waist.
"How much," Han asked, knowing that the amount of money the
man had was not from patrons leaving tips.
"Ten credits," replied the man, dismissing a palm from
fondling the money to collect some more.
Han dug into his pockets, dumped some coins into the man's
hand, and entered the second set of double doors made from a different
type of wood.
Han was relieved that this establishment conformed with any
other cantina he had visited. The tables were dimly lit and the
patches of smoke added to the visible barrier, concealing most of the
gambling going on here and all of the other illegal negotiations. Han
made a quick stroll through the room to find all the tables occupied,
then proceeded to the relatively brighter bar. Han was lucky enough
to catch the bartender's attention as he took a seat near the door and
decided to get an inside scoop on the sabacc situation here.
"What's a guy gotta do to get in a sabacc game around here,"
asked Han politely.
The bartender grabbed a piece of parchment posted on a wall
and said, "put your name on the list and wait."
Han studied the list for a few moments. Twenty-three names
ahead of where he would put his, none of which he recognized. It
would take far more than an hour before he could get in a game. "I
guess I'll just have a drink. You got any Corellian ale?"
"Sure we do, loaded with as much spice as some ships from that
system I hear," joked the man as he poured the drink. He put it down
in front of the bar and swept up the credit chips Han had already laid
Han took a sip of the ale. "Not on a good day anyway," Han
said as the teasing after taste danced on his tongue.
As Han was sipping at his drink he scanned the other patrons
at the bar. Mostly human he noted, nobody he recognized. He caught
one man staring at him as he sat in front of a deep amber mug of what
Han guessed was also Corellian ale. The man must have been a regular
here and was studying him to see what his presence had to offer. Han
turned his attention back to his drink, knowing this planet was
probably a prime hangout for bounty hunters and hoping at the same
time it was not.
As he swallowed down another sip the unequivocal sound of a
blaster shot rang in Han's ears. Han set his mug down and mumbled,
"I've got a bad feeling about this," as he squared his shoulders with
the doorway and unbuttoned the release clip on his holster. What
seemed like hours after he heard the blaster shot the set of double
doors swung wildly open to reveal a green and gray armored figure
whose menacing gaze Han could see through its Mandalorian helmet; the
figure encased in the armor was none other than Boba Fett.
Boba Fett made a quick glance of the room he had just entered,
finding his target with satisfying quickness. Boba raised his rifle
to his shoulders and took one moment more than he could have to take
aim, seeing his target aware, but undefended.
As the bounty hunter raised his weapon Han knew fleeing was
not an option. Han's right hand made a reflexive sweep across his leg
and came back into view wielding his DL-44 blaster. In what looked
like a continuous motion Han squeezed the trigger, without appearing
to take aim. The laser bolt lit up the room for a split second as it
raced to its intended target. The blast scored square in the stock of
the bounty hunter's rifle. The negative flow of energy surged through
the casing and found a home in the rifle's power cells. Unable to
contain the raw energy, the power cells exploded, launching Boba Fett
out of the doorway and back into a wall of the foyer. As the bounty
hunter unconsciously hit the floor he splashed into a pool of his
latest victim's blood.
Han, thinking the trouble was over, holstered his blaster and
started a brisk walk toward the doorway. A firm grip on his shoulder
and the barrel of a blaster prodding his kidney halted his first step.
"Stop right there," ordered a sinister voice over his shoulder. "Boba
Fett's not the only bounty hunter in this bar." Han slowly raised his
hands above his head as he turned around to see the face of the man
that had been eyeing him up earlier. The man's thin lips opened up to
allow his voice to issue another command but were interrupted by the
excited voice of the bartender. "Put those blasters away and go play
with them some place else," shouted the bartender.
Dahlaas turned around to see that the blundering comedian of a
bartender had managed to brandish a two-shot stun gun used for
subduing large animals. The invariable setting could possibly kill a
human, if not certainly and permanently maim one. The communiquM-^B
he received from Jabba was to inform all bounty hunters that an open
bounty was declared on Solo, meaning that Fett and others were not
going to let up if he got away. He was not going to let a barkeep
restrain him from getting his fortune.
As the bounty hunter's attention was drawn away from him, Han
took the opportunity to lower both of his hands and grasp the barrel
of his enemy's blaster rifle. By the time Dahlaas had swung his head
back toward his captive Solo already freed up his grip and swung the
weapon into the misty shadows of the gambling area. As Dahlaas
watched the weapon fly away from him with calamity Solo landed a fist
in his jaw that sent him sprawling back into the crowd. Solo was on
his way out the door by the time Dahlaas planted his feet firmly on
the ground again.
"Stop Solo! With the price on your head you won't get off
this planet alive if you get away from me"
Solo was in the inner doorway as the words made him pause.
The tone of the voice made the phrase sound more like an offer than a
threat. As Han turned around a nylon cable was ejected from another
of the dark man's weapons. The cable snugly wrapped around him before
he could re-think his last action. Solo was certain he was a captive,
the gamble was whether he would be seeing the Bloated One on friendly
terms or not.
The last thing Han remembered was his captor saying, "I should
make this as convincing as possible, plus I owe you," and then seeing
an amber tipped black staff rushing toward his forehead. He woke up,
pretty convinced, in what was obviously a prison cell. Surprisingly
similar to many cells he had been in before, Han was insipidly
impressed with the set up. Most crime organizations didn't have more
than a room with a locked door for a holding facility. Han stood up
from the musty smelling, uncomfortable cot, the kind that nothing
other than time would make more inviting. Time that Han Solo did not
want to spend.
Han searched the room. Three permacrete walls, each etched
and chipped at by a long line of the room's previous occupants. He
noticed that one defacing of the north wall was not meant as a feeble
attempt at escape but rather a legacy left behind by someone's captor.
A legacy and a warning. The text read: DAHLAAS NOUBAN WILL PAY FOR
The clang of metal striking metal alerted Han that someone had
entered the outer corridor. He turned around with as much nonchalance
as he could muster to see the pale face of the man who imprisoned him.
The figure was no longer donning the all black outfit he had before.
The flowing black cape was still there but the matching tunic and
trousers were replaced. In there stead were tight-fitting gray slacks
that accentuated the man's tight calves and thighs and an off white
tunic that draped off his bulging, burly chest. The shiny cape
matched the man's hair which was short and greasy enough to give the
appearance of it being painted on.
"I hope you're comfortable," said Dahlaas Nouban grinning.
His sparkling white teeth seemed to glow on their own.
"Who are you," asked Han, dismissing the clichM-^B.
"You don't know do you? Some little unknown bounty hunter
catches the famous pirate and Rebel hero, Han Solo," regaled Dahlaas.
"Everyone gets lucky sometimes." Han was already becoming
annoyed with this man.
"We could make a little game of this. I might let you go if
you could only guess my name. Might that is, if I didn't need you,"
"You don't need me, if you need some cash you could rent out
these rooms to weary travelers," joked Han.
"Oh, I want more from you than money Solo," announced the
bounty hunter, "its whether I finally turn you in to Jabba the Hutt
when this is all over or not that you should concern yourself."
Dahlaas was inspired by himself. "Perhaps that will be our game, if
you can tell me my name then maybe you shall never have to worry about
seeing Jabba again."
The offer was too double-sided for Han. Did this man mean
that if Han guessed his name then he wouldn't turn him in? But then
how could he collect his money, and what more than that was Han worth
to this man? Did this man enjoy his anonymity so much that he would
feel threatened if Han could figure his name out and consequently do
something rash? The word "maybe" decided Han not to make a game of
this at all.
"Come on now Dahlaas, I don't see what interest you could have
with me besides Jabba's bounty," said Han very evenly.
The sound of his name coming from Solo's voice so coolly took
Dahlaas aback. He said it as if they had known each other for years.
The surprise showed through the otherwise dull features of his face.
How could this man be so careless with his reckless actions? How
could he be so smug knowing that the rest of his life would be spent
in Jabba's living trophy case if his life continued at all? Dahlaas
snapped out of his rage stoked trance, stopping his hand from taking
his blaster out of its holster. He then took a few moments more to
regain his composure before speaking again.
"As long as we're being so friendly, Han, allow me to be blunt
as well," started Dahlaas. "You see, I know that you were well
rewarded for assisting the rebels with their little Death Star
assault. I also know that you couldn't have possibly spent all of it
yet," Dahlaas let out a laugh, "if you had you wouldn't be here now."
"OK, so you want the money? Fine, you got it," said Han with
"No, no, Han. As I said earlier I need you for more than
money." Dahlaas took an instant to examine the emotion on Han's face
and found no remorse from what he just said. "You don't seem to be
too concerned with the thought of losing all your hard earned money to
someone other than Jabba, as if you might have more, or at least have
friends that could provide you with more." Dahlaas raised an eyebrow
after his last statement.
"My associates and I are looking for some financial backing,
as well as some equipment. Equipment that I'm sure your friends could
provide," continued Dahlaas.
"All I did was a minor favor, what makes you think the
Alliance would do anything for me?" Han now saw what the man was
after. A small time crime organization wanted the Alliance to set
them up with a strong foundation complete with an arsenal that
probably included ships, and they wanted Han to be the mason.
"Assisting in blowing up the Empire's ultimate token of
technology and rescuing one of the premier leaders of the Alliance is
hardly a minor favor. Don't sell yourself short, I certainly am not."
Dahlaas let out maniacal uproar of laughter.
Han saw in the man's eyes that he was giddy with what he
thought was a perfectly planned operation coming to a successful end.
"Look, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," argued Solo.
"Of course you were Han, that's why you became a hero,"
Dahlaas let out a whole-hearted laugh fueled by his own sarcasm.
Han could see that talking was not going to be his means of
escape, not from this man anyway.
"Well Solo, we leave to pick up your money on the bottom of
the hour, I trust you have it with you."
"Never leave home without it," replied Han.
"Good, I'll see you then. Do make yourself comfortable," with
that Dahlaas turned and headed for the outer door.
Han sat down on the cot as he heard the clang of metal on
metal again. As he began to brainstorm ideas on how to get out of the
cell. He noticed himself already getting used to the uncomfortable
* * *
It did not take long for Boba Fett to recreate the scenes that
occurred after he blacked out. Actually, one man filled in most of
the gaps in Fett's memory after Boba hit him with the stun gun he
liberated from the bartender. He even was conscious enough to provide
the name of the man who took Solo, Dahlaas Nouban.
In order to be a successful bounty hunter one had to know how
to track down a person with little or no information on him. Boba
Fett was a very good bounty hunter. A few inquiries, and a few more
interrogations of a handful of people, one of which he actually had
dealt with before, led Fett to the main service gate of a warehouse
lying in one of the less appealing sectors of the planet. The
building was nothing more than a large rectangle from the outside. No
more style put into it than what one would find in a protocol droid's
personality circuits. Two huge smoke stacks pierced through the smog
and beyond the limits of visibility, further drowning the air with
Boba Fett approached the loading dock of the warehouse to find
three over-heated men loading an air truck full of equally shaped
crates. The man perched on a heavy duty turbo-repulsor lift loader
noticed the green figure first.
"Can I help you with something," asked the dock worker with as
much politeness as his twelve hour day of exigent labor would allow.
"I'm looking for your boss," replied Boba Fett with surprising
respect. These men posed no threat to the bounty hunter. They
probably played no cognizant part of the real operations that their
bosses ran. Men who worked this hard usually didn't, and despite the
reputation that he had earned, Boba Fett was not totally ruthless.
As if the lift loader operator could see the respectful gaze
of the masked man, he permitted himself to give an otherwise off
limits answer. "His office is inside and around the corner, but he
usually is down on the lower levels." The wiry man thought of asking
the armored man to state his business, as was his job, but let it go.
To ask him what he was doing here would show a lack of respect, and
for some reason other than his ominous outfit, the lift operator
thought he deserved some.
"Thank you," said Boba Fett as he leaped up the meter and a
half height to the loading dock landing squarely on the top of the
platform. He proceeded into the vast bowels of the building seeing
nothing more than towering racks being loaded and unloaded by repulsor
lift loaders buzzing around the floor. A shout from behind informed
Fett that the office was to his right. Boba turned accordingly and
came across a single room office set in from the huge inner wall. A
secure door and large transparisteel window that made up the office's
front wall was the only barrier between the office and the stifling,
greasy warehouse floor. Fett saw through the window that no one was
in the office. He then turned his attention to the lock. An ancient
latch bolt was all that the security measure consisted of. Boba Fett
raised his rifle to the latch of the door and melted a break in the
bolt. Boba threw his right shoulder into the door and it swung open.
Upon entering the room, Fett immediately headed for the computer
terminal, hoping to find the layout of the sub-levels of the building.
Information that would lead him to the real office and perhaps the
location of Han Solo.
The minute change in the air flow around the room alerted Fett
that someone had entered. His rifle was leaning against the terminal,
in perfect view of whoever was behind him. Boba primed his wrist
rockets for action as he saw the reflection of the shape in the
monitor of the terminal. The image on the monitor showed up as a
shadow like a miniature representation of the man behind him. The
absence of color in the reflection allowed Fett to distinguish only
that the person behind him was humanoid.
"Well, Mr. Fett, to what do I owe the honor of your company,"
inquired the slow sinister voice.
Boba Fett turned around to see an unarmed man whose dark
garments conveyed the definition in his limbs. Fett saw that the man
had an aura of evil illuminating from him. His white teeth seemed to
glow power from it. Fett had been around a large number of beings
that would be considered evil by the general population of the galaxy,
it was his trade after all. From his experiences he knew that what
this man had was pure concentrated evil that he could see was already
taking its toll on his body. His pale skin and wiry frame were strong
indicators of a man who was not in touch with any type of compassion
or mercy. Even Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, a user of the
Dark Side of the Force had sense enough not to kill everything in his
site. Boba Fett was living proof of it. A man who thrived on pure
evil doings slowly shrunk away from the land of the living, like a
drying fruit sitting for days under a hot sun. Unlike Vader, this man
did not have the innate abilities to control his power, and more
importantly he did not know how to use the Force. "What do you want,"
Fett asked lacking anything more substantial to say.
"I suppose I should ask you the very same thing," replied the
wiry dark figure. "After all you are in my office."
Boba Fett replayed the events from the cantina in his head,
searching for visions that were not immediately apparent. The husky
bartender, the smoke-filled sabacc tables, the mostly human crowd, the
semi-circle of patrons who surrounded Solo and starred at him while he
stood staunchly in the doorway, the thin faced man who watched it all
directly behind Solo. The dark man. Yes, this was him, not dressed
exactly as before but Fett remembered the cold, pale face. The man
his inquiries told him was Dahlaas Nouban.
"I want to see Han Solo," ordered Fett quite frankly.
Dahlaas let out ice breaking laughter, "So you can reclaim him
for yourself and take away my bounty." Dahlaas realized his bad
choice of words the instant "reclaim" vibrated through the air. The
look on his face showed that he was aware of entering murky waters.
There was a fine line in the honor code among bounty hunters that
Dahlaas may have clumsily tripped over. To take somebody else's prey
was acceptable if they got away, but to openly admit that what was
once somebody else's is now yours was uncouth. The word "reclaim"
also gave the innuendo that perhaps Solo's escape was not entirely
done on his own, also very uncouth. Fett didn't react to the faux
"Solo's worth a lot of money," answered Fett, "like a prize
jewel. If I can't at least have him for myself I'd like to see him in
his display case."
The request seemed like a reasonable one, thought Dahlaas.
One hunter showing the other his trophy room was certainly not out of
the ordinary, no matter what the prey.
"You may see him," said Dahlaas, "with an escort of course,"
"Of course," returned Boba.
* * *
In the five minutes after Dahlaas had left him, Han had
thoroughly searched the cell for a means of escape. He checked the
walls around him for the possibility of their being broken through, as
well as the ceiling and the floor which most would be escape artists
often forgot. Unfortunately, none of these gave any signs of giving;
the floor was solid, natural rock, and prying through the ceiling
would only land Han in the middle of the main floor of this--base?
The familiar clang of metal against metal alerted Han that
someone was entering the corridor. It was hardly ten minutes since
Dahlaas had left him, did the man become impatient already. Han
thought that that was the only possibility, the three pairs of legs he
saw opposite him proved him wrong.
Assuming that only Dahlaas was coming to take him early, Han
made no move from the cot and showed no concern. None of the three
men who entered prompted Solo in any way, nor did he even raise his
head to fully view them. When Han finally decided to get this
standoff over with, the surprise from what he saw caused him to spring
up from the cot as if it had just been set ablaze. After that he
realized that there was nothing he could say or do besides stare at
the figure on the other side of the bars. The figure did nothing but
stare right back.
The naivetM-^B of one of Boba Fett's escorts finally thawed
the frozen scene into life.
"Well, here he is." The phrase momentarily hung in the air
like the smog that engulfed the planet. Solo decided to ride the wave
"Yes, here I am. Hello bounty hunter." Han was not going to
complement the man by using his real name.
"Smuggler," replied Boba Fett whose rationale was along the
"So, I see you've found a partner," said Han, testing his
"No Solo. I still work alone," corrected Fett. "I just
wanted to see that you were in one piece and let you know that the
game is still afoot."
Han noticed that Boba Fett's two escorts had their full
attention, and their weapons focused on the bounty hunter, and not
himself. "What do you mean by that," asked Han.
"I mean that when you escape from here I'll be right behind
The strange mixture of encouragement and threat in the
statement sent a shiver up Han's spine.
"And I'll be right in front of you," returned Han, "just like
I always am." Solo punctuated his statement with half a smile.
The fiery rage did not escape from the bounty hunter's armor.
He simply commanded his escorts that it was time to go, and began
walking toward the door.
Boba Fett accepted the aim of his escorts' blasters as a
preventive measure to insure that he did not harm their boss's
captive. The fact they were out of the corridor and he was still in
their sites was unacceptable. Dahlaas had insisted that Boba take the
power cells out of his rifle and he complied to the futile gesture,
both he and Dahlaas knew that Boba would have to be stripped naked to
totally disarm him. The three men reached a huge lift platform used
to transfer large materials from the upper to lower levels. The floor
was set on their level and left an opening in the ceiling large enough
to launch a small starfighter through. Boba's two escorts would soon
learn that they had picked the wrong place to stage their ambush.
"Hold on a second sir," requested one of the guards.
Fett turned around to see both men still aiming their blasters
"What is the problem?" Fett crossed his hands in front of the
buckle of his utility belt.
"Well sir," paused the escort who took it upon himself to do
the talking, "you see, you are the problem. The boss told us to let
you have your fun with the prisoner and then eliminate you. You
really should have taken more advantage of your opportunity." The
guard laughed childishly.
"I'll have to use that advice in the future."
The other man joined the first in laughter until Fett threw
the powder that he emptied into his hands at the faces of the two men.
Glitterstim lost its intoxicating effects after too much exposure to
light and became nothing more than finely ground dirt, but after being
treated with water from Calamari it reacted violently when it came
into contact with most forms of skin. Each granule of the spice was
lured into the pores of the skin by an ionic gradient where a reaction
expanded it to twenty times its former size. The effect expanded each
pore of the exposed skin by the same amount, painfully ripping the
epidermis of the victim off, leaving holes large in diameter but
shallow in depth. After a minute of shearing pain the victim usually
died from excessive loss of blood.
As the two men were desperately grabbing their faces trying
fruitlessly to repress them from ripping apart, Boba Fett ignited his
jet pack and launched himself up to the ground level of the warehouse
through the hole left by the lift. He landed just inside the loading
Dahlaas must have planned for the worst. Upon hearing the
nerve-wracking screams of their comrades, men on both levels rushed
toward the lift area. Fett noticed the men running toward him from
the inside of the building. The hole in the floor met nothing but a
wall on one side, and left a few meter wide walkway on the other.
Boba scanned his surroundings to find a load-lifter near the walkway.
Men raced toward him from the opposite side of the gap. The crew must
have gone on break before completing its last task; the forks of the
machine still held a huge bundle of machinery parts, many times
greater in volume and weight than the lifter itself. Boba ran for the
machine and slid into the driving compartment like a hand sliding into
a glove. Boba found that the access card was still in its slot as he
half expected, half hoped to. He hit the RUN button and the outdated
carbon fuel burning engine coughed out its emissions, then found
itself a comfortable idling frequency. The machine was wheel based
but used repulsors to succor the heavy stresses of the loads it
carried. Boba's feet, working in coordination with each other, got
the machine into gear and rolling toward the walkway. As he was
racing toward the walkway and his attackers, his right hand reached
for the lift controls to send the load up twenty feet into the air.
Laser blasts hit the pile of machine parts, knocking loose some of the
restraints which bound the pieces together as one unit. When Fett's
path narrowed into nothing more than the walkway he simultaneously hit
the controls to tilt the loading forks down and slammed on the brakes.
His attackers were on the opposite end of the walkway when the loose
pieces poured onto the floor in front of them. A few who could not
stop their momentum in time were trapped under the pile of debris.
The others could not get over or through the metallic mess Boba had
just dumped before them. After releasing the load, Boba Fett ran for
the nearby loading dock and re-ignited his jet pack. He flew straight
for the landing platforms where he would acquire his own shuttle to
get himself back to Slave I.
* * *
Chewbacca and Princess Leia, along with C3P0 completely
searched the cantina without turning up any sign of Han. The last
task of the now disgruntled bartender was to clean up the corpse of
the bouncer before he was replaced by a new man. The tall, wiry,
brown-hared man had just begun his shift and knew nothing of the man
that this beautiful woman described to him. Leia had replaced her
mechanics coveralls with a firm fitting white blouse and matching
trousers accompanied by a long flowing white cape that concealed her
sensuous form when it was fully wrapped around her.
"So you haven't seen this man," demanded Leia.
"No lady. I told you, I just got here. The other bartender
that was here might have seen him," offered the man, trying to look as
helpful as he could.
"So where is the other bartender?" Why couldn't this man give
straight information without being prompted?
"Oh, Zorin left for the day to whatever he calls home," the
man gave Leia a smile that only annoyed her more.
Leia turned to Chewbacca and said, "Threepio and I will go
look for him by the ship, you stay here in case he comes back."
Chewbacca let out a series of guttural sounds that gave the
impression to Leia that he was protesting. C3P0 gave the exact
"Madam, if I may, Chewbacca says that he wants to go to the
ship in case Captain Solo has gambled it away," Chewie amended his
request that C3P0 translated as, "he also thinks it will be safer if
you stay here."
Leia turned her head to the bartender who was still listening
in on their conversation. "Actually I'd be better off out there,
besides I know this planet better than you," Leia said in her best
tone of wookiee diplomacy.
"Hummphhroorh," said the wookiee after careful consideration.
"He agrees and says that if you are not back in one hour he
will come to the ship himself--I think that is a gesture of chivalry
on his part. Wookiees are very protective of their company and to let
one go off in an environment such as this is a sign of..."
"Thank you Threepio, you can come with me," said Leia cutting
him off before he wasted more of their time.
As Leia approached the door the bartender got her attention
one last time. "If you don't ever find this guy I'm free later this
evening," offered the barkeep.
For a moment and no longer Leia conceded to herself that Han
Solo would be a much better catch than this oaf. She continued out
The bartender's fantasies about the woman in white ceased as
he caught the stony gaze of the wookiee she left behind.
* * *
"Come on Solo, we're going now." Dahlaas was wielding a
Bi-Polar Blaster carbine. Han was familiar with the weapon's
capabilities. The SoruSuub manufactured weapon was dual barreled and
could be set to fire each barrel individually. Its other, more potent
setting, fired the two barrels simultaneously. The two blasts emitted
from the weapon each had opposite polarities. When the blasts reached
its intended target they recombined to form quite a nasty explosion
quite similar to the effect of rubbing two wires of opposite polarity
together. The effect was even more magnificent when the target wore
metallic armor, or was metallic itself. Han also knew that the
carbine did not have a STUN setting.
Dahlaas opened the "cage door," as Han had begun to call it,
to allow one of his lackeys to tie Han's hands together. When
finished, Dahlaas dismissed the man.
"OK Solo, I assume it is to your ship that we will be going
first, to pick up the money."
"That's right, I put a lot of money into that ship," said Han
telling himself an inside joke to mitigate his mood.
"Off we go then," said Dahlaas as if he were rushing along a
child. He moved from the doorway to allow Han to exit, "and remember
its not me who you're leading, its this Carbine, and it gets really
mad if it gets teased."
"I'll remember that," said Han. What a freak, is what he
* * *
Chewbacca decided to have a drink to ease the nervous looks he
had been getting from his fellow customers. Actually, Chewie was not
a customer at all, but a loiterer, and that was what made the other
patrons uncomfortable. The glass of Gnarr juice that Chewie ordered
was more soothing to the bar's other patrons than it was to the
wookiee. The sweet taste of the juice hung on his tongue like the
thought of Han losing the Falcon in some bet hung on his mind.
A brown cloaked figure walked into the cantina. A hood hid
the man's head and face but could not hide his somewhat portly shape.
The man noticed Chewbacca and made a note to speak with the wookiee as
soon as he completed his other business. The man continued through
the bar until he found something that everyone else in the place had
failed to properly identify. The droid that stood against the wall
looked like a close cousin to the lamp that it was next to. The lack
of a lamp shade on the head exhibited its cylindrical shape that
curved in to a conical point at the very top. The wire frame of the
droid was as tall as Chewbacca and astonishingly more sturdy. The
figure in the brown cloak placed a data card in the droid's
two-pronged caliper hand and dropped a sack at its feet. The man
whispered, "now you don't have to bring this one in alive IG-88." The
droid remained motionless as its risk calculation processors deduced
that, "don't have to bring in this one in alive," equaled, "do not
bring in alive," for the sake of efficiency.
The brown cloaked figure turned around and headed for one of
the sabacc tables to chat with another acquaintance. His conversation
lasted a whole five minutes before he realized that his need to talk
to Chewbacca became more urgent.
The man sat up and headed for the stool next to Chewie. The
wookiee was looking toward the door and did not acknowledge the man's
presence. The man removed his hood to uncover a hairless head. The
man's round face showed a deep smile, he thought a wookiee's sense of
smell would have told Chewbacca who he was sitting next to by now.
Maybe the smoke messed up his olfactory senses.
"So, you gonna buy old Orkin one of whatever it is you're
drinking," asked the man to get Chewie's attention.
Chewie turned around, surprised to see Orkin Natal. The
wookiee roared off a hearty hello and thanked the man again for his
"Well as it turns out I think I'm gonna help you again,"
started Orkin. "You see the word in this place is that old Han was
captured by some bounty hunter."
Chewie jumped from his seat ready to run for the door but his
lack of information stopped him from going any further.
"The name of this guy is Dahlaas Nouban, and from what I
understand this guy is really screwed up. If the contract asks for
dead or alive and you make him mad, he'll kill ya in a real slow,
painful way, just for kicks." That was not the background Chewie was
looking for. Chewie rattled off a series of groans, demanding Orkin
for information on where this man could be found.
"If I know this Dahlaas guy right, and I think I do, he's
probably got old Han at your ship right about now. He's a greedy
bastard, he'll get Jabba's money and fly off with an extra bonus."
Chewie asked for a lift back to the landing area but Orkin
disappointedly told him that he had walked to the cantina. He was
trying to get back into shape. Chewie thanked Orkin for the
information and ran out of the doorway toward the landing complex.
* * *
Princess Leia finally reached the landing platform on which
the Millennium Falcon was parked. The streets of Isengard were
especially busy in the early evening and C3PO was not very good at
walking quickly through crowds. As the turbolift door hissed open
Leia saw that the Falcon's access ramp was down. She cursed Han's
name for not waiting where he had said he would. Leia charged for the
ship across the now clear landing area, not being able to contain the
urge to scold the man for his irresponsibility. The corpses of the
former hit men had already been remorselessly shoveled away without
question. Blood stains were cleaned up by the same porous material
mechanics used to clean up grease and coolant spills.
C3P0 waddled after her yelling, "Princess Leia, please, wait
Leia rushed into the cockpit, frustration rushing into her
with the deep breath she took. Han was not there. If he was working
on the ship there could be any number of crawl spaces and access
hatches he could be hiding in. Leia walked into the main lounge of
the ship when she heard C3P0 yell for help.
Leia ran along the corridor to where she heard the droid cry
and found C3P0's shiny golden head set against the silver polished
metal of the ship's deck. As she got closer, Leia saw that the droid
clumsily fell into a hidden compartment in the deck.
"Oh, Princess Leia, thank goodness. I completely forgot about
these compartments. Regardless, I wouldn't have thought them to be
Yes, why would they be open? Was Han doing a little side job
while he was here? Leia really hoped that she would be able to
terminate Han's already dwindling doubts about joining the Alliance
full-time on this trip. If he was doing a smuggling run along the way
it might prove more difficult. Leia peered into the open compartment.
What she saw, rather what she didn't see, sent a revelation rushing
into her head. There was only one case of the credit chips the
Alliance had given Han as a reward left down there.
"That fool," exclaimed Leia. "How in the galaxy could he have
spent all that money already!"
Leia was fuming. She knew Han was in debt, but up until now
she thought the reasons were not entirely his fault. At least not
considering his profession. She seriously considered abandoning the
trip. The thought that the Alliance would not send her until the base
was adequately set up stopped the thought short. Instead of
convincing Han to stay with the Alliance, she would take pleasure in
bedeviling him while they were trapped in hyperspace.
* * *
Aboard Dahlaas's space yacht the Wild Game, were Han Solo and
the lofty bounty hunter, Dahlaas Nouban. The physical transfer of
Han's credits was a slow and waning process despite the fact that
Dahlaas's ship was on the landing pad adjacent to the Falcon. Han of
course bore the burden carrying each case from the Falcon to the Wild
Game. Dahlaas was actually taking pleasure in watching the man sweat,
and of course pragmatism stated that he not lower his weapon to help
out. It was too bad, Dahlaas thought, that this was all he could do
to physically punish Han Solo. The first cold- blooded blow Dahlaas
would land would give Solo an immediate hint that death was to
follow--the pessimist he was--and he would thus refuse to help any
further. Not that Han had really done anything to deserve such abuse,
but it would be fun to use his advantage of power to the fullest over
a man who otherwise deserved superior respect. Still though, despite
his being at gun point, Han Solo had a demeanor to him that portrayed
a man who thought he was still in complete control of his destiny.
That attitude--cockiness, is all Dahlaas thought it was--had to be
stripped away somehow. If not physically, then perhaps verbally.
"Don't worry Han, when this is all over with you can go back
to whatever's left of your life," Dahlaas lied. "I'm sure the
Alliance would love to have you back after helping rob them blind.
And Jabba will still have his bounty hunters searching the galaxy for
you. I know one in particular that has taken a special interest in
you, I wonder why that is?"
Han was actually glad to be doing a little strenuous work. He
needed something to get his blood churning after being penned up in
the cell. Doing the work under gun point though wouldn't let out his
aggression toward this man physically, but he was more than willing
and able to take him on in this verbal combat.
"I see I'm not the only one he has special interest in," said
Han, redirecting the verbal blow and pointing with his eyes to the
blaster carbine. "That ought to do the trick against someone wearing
Dahlaas could see that this line of conversation was not going
to get the effect he was looking for. Maybe a more direct assault on
his ego would razz him more.
"Speaking of old friends, I'm sure the entire underworld will
have a good laugh when I tell them about how Han Solo did the grunt of
the work in erasing his fame and fortune."
This guy was trying to get under Han's skin with personal
insults now. OK. He sunk to that level; Han would sink to that level
too, only do a better job at it. "You know Dahlaas, that reminds me
of an old saying on Corellia," started Han. "What great men do,
lesser ones babble about."
That was enough. Dahlaas was not up to dealing with this man
on this level. He would have him finish his labor, take him to the
Rebel base, and then maybe he could break his knee caps. "Come on,"
snapped Dahlaas raising his blaster carbine a little higher. "Let's
go get that last case."
"What ever you say," replied Han.
* * *
Immediately after the door to the landing decks hissed open,
Chewbacca ran through the now chilly air for the ramp of the
Millennium Falcon, mildly relieved that it was still there. Chewbacca
aimed his bowcaster up the ramp when he reached its base. With as
much stealth as his shape allowed, he climbed the ramp, finding
He saw nothing, but smelled trouble.
Chewbacca saw from the outside of the ship that no one was in
the cockpit and therefore went to investigate the ship's lounge.
Seeing Leia released a bit more of the tension from his body. He
growled a warm hello.
Leia turned around seeing the large wookiee brandishing his
bowcaster. "Chewbacca! Did you find Han?" Her gaze and tone were as
chilly as the planet's atmosphere. Whatever was bothering the
Princess this was not the time for her to dwell on it. Han's life was
at stake. Seeing the protocol droid sitting at the holoboard game
table Chewie rattled off as brief an explanation as he could without
losing the severity of what was happening.
The droid took a few pounding wookiee heartbeats to realize
his cue. "What Chewbacca is trying to say Madam, is that Captain Solo
appears to be in some sort of trouble."
"You bet he is--"
"That's a pretty sure bet," interrupted a quiet voice from the
entryway. Leia looked over to see a pale, wiry man jabbing a
double-barreled blaster in Han's back.
Chewbacca did all he could to not make any threatening moves
but his temper forced a ferocious snarl out of him.
"Tell the wookiee to put his weapon down," said Dahlaas
"Do as he says Chewie," relayed Han.
Chewie reluctantly obeyed and laid his weapon down on the
floor between himself and the bounty hunter.
The shapely form in the opposite corner of the room caught
Dahlaas's eye again. "Well, what have we here? The lovely Princess
of Alderaan I see. My Han, your company sure has improved lately,"
said Dahlaas sardonically.
"His company is a lot better that you imagine," warned Leia.
"And I don't think you want to run into any other of Han's new
friends." Leia immediately tried to support Han after realizing that
her assumptions she made about him were wrong.
"Oh, you have me all wrong, I want to meet them all," chided
Dahlaas. "I hope to become very close to them. Get in the corner
with the others!" His last sentence was a frightening change from his
first calm statements. Dahlaas almost forgot that this beautiful lady
was a distraction, and therefore a threat.
"Its too bad really that you didn't show up sooner. Old Han
here could have used a hand," continued Dahlaas, now in a calm and
quiet voice again. "Looks like all three of you can carry the one
case that's left."
"Hell-loo," crooned a voice from outside the ship. "Anybody
in there?" Dahlaas made the same mistake twice, turning his attention
and weapon to the new threat. A pair of scavengers were outside
looking for whatever they could loot from or pry off the ship. Most
scavengers seconded as traders when they happened to come across an
occupied ship, hoping to, and usually successfully, trading up from
whatever they managed to steal from the ship next door.
"Go away," spat Dahlaas. "We don't want anything!"
"You sure," asked one of the scavengers, continuing up the
ramp. "We have some pretty good stuff, looks like you could use it
"Don't be a fool," said the other. "The way your ship looks
I'm sure you could use a new--"
The man's phrase was halted by the double energy bolts that
blasted out of Dahlaas's carbine. One bolt landed square in the man's
chest while the other hit just below his naval. For nanoseconds after
the blasts burned through his skin searching for each other, the
scavenger convulsed wildly. When the charges connected his entire
torso blasted apart. The other scav ran from the ramp for his life.
It was know or never. Dahlaas made sure that he was at least
an arm's length away from his captives before he turned away from
them; a human arm's length. It all happened so fast. Chewbacca
grabbed the back of Dahlaas's neck with one hand and his utility belt
with the other. He then swooped the man off his feet banging his head
against the entryway in the process. Dahlaas dropped his carbine,
flailing wildly like a baby who was denied by a parent from getting at
the object of his fancy. Chewie roared a wookiee battle cry loudly,
shaking the man he held in the air. He then tossed the man out onto
the entry ramp. Dahlaas bounced off the ramp like stone skipping
across a pond and skidded to a stop on the landing deck. Han slapped
the CLOSE switch on the ramp and sprinted for the cockpit while
yelling, "Chewie let's get outta here!"
The engines of Han Solo's ship ignited as Dahlaas began doing
a quick diagnostic check on himself. A check cut too quickly for him
to realize the cracked rib he had before painfully becoming aware of
it while lifting himself off the deck. He ignored the pain; he had no
time for it. Dahlaas had to get to his ship and chase after the
Millennium Falcon before it entered hyperspace. The Wild Game was
luckily already prepped for flight. As his ship's repulsors lifted it
off the landing deck Dahlaas keyed his communicator to transmit his
pre-set launching clearance codes. One ship blasting off from the
planet without a word wouldn't rouse the subdued police forces, but if
both he and Solo left the planet without clearance he would probably
run the risk of patrol ships snooping into his business.
Dahlaas was relieved that the Millennium Falcon was on his
scanners as soon as he exited Ord Mantell's atmosphere. He vectored
in an intercept course and began charging up his ship's ion cannon.
Dahlaas did not want to chance blowing the ship out of space with
regular laser cannons. Not only did he need Solo, but killing the
Rebel Alliance's premier leader would not bode well for him or his
The Falcon was in range of the Wild Game's ion cannons a
minute after its scanners picked it up. Another minute, perhaps more,
and Han Solo and company would be safely in hyperspace, depending on
where they chose to go. The general rule of thumb was that the
further away the planetary system was, the longer it would take a
ship's navicomputer to calculate the hyperspace jump. Han, being well
aware of this, began making his calculations for Kashyyyk when the
blasts started rocking the ship.
"Those are ion cannons he's firing at us," said Han as he
checked the shield integrity display. "Chewie transfer all power to
the aft shields."
"Well I guess he wants you alive," said Leia bluntly. "How
much more can this bucket take before he cripples the electronics?"
"She's already walking on crutches as it is," conceded Han.
"Don't worry, I think we'll be out of here before our shields fall."
Another salvo of blasts hit the ship, sending C3P0 who was
still standing until now, sprawling onto the pilot's control panel.
"Oh my, were doomed, we must surrender!" Han shoved the droid the
floor. "Sit him down, strap him in, and shut him up," growled Han.
C3P0 got himself strapped into the navigator's chair, while Leia
reached for the switch behind his neck that would turn him off.
A series of four blasts hit the ship again.
"Shields went down by fifteen percent," reported Han. "Time
to out fly this guy."
The quick, cheery beeps from the navicomputer announced that
the calculations had been made saving Han the trouble of going into
evasive maneuvers. "Hold on," said Han. "Here we go."
Each star elongated across space as if a wheeled vehicle
rolled over a puddle of white paint tracing a line in its wake across
a black surface. Those starlines then formed the cloud-like tunnel of
hyperspace. Everyone in the cockpit exhaled a breath of relief.
Everyone but Han.
"Well would one of you mind telling me what all that trouble
was about," asked Princess Leia.
"We're not out of it yet sweetheart. Even rookie bounty
hunters like him usually have pretty sophisticated tracking equipment
installed in their ships," replied Han. "As soon as we got out near
Kahsyyyk this will start all over again. I just hope our shields will
hold long enough for the computer to calculate a more complicated
Chewbacca growled away Han's hopes of that event, reminding
him that the shields were down to fifty percent and couldn't be
charged up while in hyperspace.
Leia sat silently in thought for a moment. There was a
process that the Alliance was using to make the transition for their
fighters from Ord Mantell to the battle plane quicker. She just
wasn't sure if it could be applied to the Falcon. "How long will we
have until he comes back into normal space after we do?"
"About two and a half minutes, thirty seconds for his tracking
computer to figure out where we went and two minutes for his
navicomputer to calculate the jump," said Han. "We'll probably have
another fifteen seconds or so counting the speed advantage we have, it
doesn't make that much of a difference on short trips though."
"We might be able to get back into hyperspace before he even
gets into normal space," Leia said hopefully.
Han and Chewie exchanged skeptical looks with each other.
"And just how are we going to do that, out think a navicomputer."
"The Alliance was working on a plan to get our fighters into
hyperspace as soon as they left the freighters that took them out of
Ord Mantell. Kashyyyk was the planet they were testing near. From
what I understand, a navicomputer needs to see the surrounding stars
and other spatial entities to give itself a starting point to make the
calculations. Your navicomputer certainly has been to Kashyyyk enough
to know what the surrounding space looks like, we just have to
convince it that it is already there and it can start making the
calculations for the jump before we even get there."
"Then we just jump out and jump back in," summed up Han. "But
just how are supposed to convince a navicomputer that it is where it
isn't, they have pretty strict programming and I don't exactly speak
its language." Han was inspired after his last expression. Leia must
have had the same idea, probably from the moment she mentioned this
cockamamie plan. Han looked over his right shoulder as Leia turned
her head in the same direction. For a quiet moment that they both
reveled in, they stared at the deactivated droid as the rationale that
they might actually get out of a tough situation with ease and grace
descended over them.
"OK turn Goldenrod on and plug him in," said Han. "And tell
him to get to the point, I don't want him babbling with my computer
about electronic gossip."
Han suddenly realized that he had forgotten that he had no
idea where they were going. "Hey exactly where is this little base of
Leia paused for a moment, somewhat embarrassed. "Hoth," she
said. "The base is on Hoth."
"Hoth," exclaimed Han. "You guys can sure pick the spots."
A few moments ago Han thought the hour long trip was going to
feel like days as he ran through the possible scenarios in his head.
Now, it felt like each of those days were reduced to just heartbeats,
very anxious heartbeats.
* * *
Boba Fett knew that it was only a matter of time until he
would see the Millennium Falcon enter space again. Time that he would
spare. He was waiting patiently in his ship as it was orbiting the
landing moon of Ord Mantell when he saw the Falcon being hounded by
another ship. He didn't have to guess who that ship belonged to,
especially when he saw the blue ion beams that most bounty hunters
bought or stole for their ships railing on the Falcon. No high class
bounty hunter could do without one. The weapon was one of the best
inventions Fett had ever seen. The ability to render a ship totally
immobile while not really hurting the passengers or the structure of
the ship itself revolutionized pirating and bounty hunting.
The readout on Fett's scanners told him that the Falcon's
shields were down to fifty percent. He knew all to well how good of a
pilot Solo was. He also knew that if Solo had anything in mind other
than running, those ion cannons would have been silenced long ago.
Fett keyed his tracking computer to begin focusing on the Falcon but
with the quickness that the ship entered hyperspace he again didn't
have to guess where Solo had jumped to.
Fett fired up his engines and headed for open space as his
navicomputer made the calculations for the jump to Kashyyyk. The
second before normal space became a blur the space yacht that was
chasing Solo flicked into hyperspace as well. So, Dahlaas was
continuing the chase. Fett had roughly an hour to decide how to deal
with this new enemy and capture Solo at the same time. He only needed
a fraction of the time. Solo would be around to chase another day.
To Boba Fett revenge was best served hot and steamy and he wanted to
deal with Dahlaas while the plate was still warm.
* * *
After much coaxing C3P0 finally got the navicomputer to begin
calculating the jump from Kashyyyk to Hoth. Han wouldn't be surprised
if the droid had trouble talking a service droid into cleaning up a
spill. Nevertheless, the computer began the task, taking care not to
forget where the destination of its present trip was. The
calculations were slowed by its reluctance and care not to forget what
it was already doing, but it told C3P0 that it should have the course
plotted by the time they got to Kashyyyk.
The reentry alarm went off and everyone in the cockpit was
waiting anxiously to get out of hyperspace. Han pulled the levers on
the control panel that in turn pulled them into normal space. The
starlines shrunk into white dots. The huge green globe of the planet
Kashyyyk loomed outside the port side of the cockpit.
"So far, so good," commented Han as he checked the control
panel to confirm once again that the coordinates were set. "Here we
go, this better work," he said aiming the comment at Leia.
"It'll work," she said. "Trust me, it'll work." That comment
seemed all to familiar to her, though she never heard herself say it
Han pulled on the levers and the Millennium Falcon rushed back
into hyperspace before anyone ever realized that it had been there.
A few minutes later two flickers, one right behind the other,
flashed in the space surrounding the planet Kashyyyk. Dahlaas began
running his ship's sensors on full sweep as his eyes did a visual
search. Solo couldn't have gotten into hyperspace already, though he
might have been able to land on the planet. He saw nothing, but would
wait until the sensors gave him a more complete story. He simply let
his ship float innocently along. Instead of thinking of giving
himself a defensive posture he thought of ways to capitalize on Solo's
capture, and finally relieve himself of the stress the financial
burden of the organization laid on him. Licking his chops before the
taste of victory even entered his mouth. It would be his last
Like a wild bird of prey Slave I swooped over its intended
victim. Boba Fett squeezed the trigger for his laser cannons. A long
and sustained series of blasts scored on the Wild Game's unshielded
hull. Each of the red laser bolts stung the hull of the space yacht,
the last of which hit a fuel tank, or some other super-compressed
volatile fluid, erupting the Wild Game and its pilot into an expanding
ball of flame. Solo would be found some other time, for now Boba Fett
had satisfied his hunger.
Copyright (C) 1995, Chris Briesemeister. All rights reserved. And
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