For readers that enjoy reading the first and last chapters of a story in order to evaluate if it's worth the effort: Know that my epilogues are akin to "extra-credit scenes" and without reading the novella, the epilogues will not make much sense, as they set up sequels.
Another comment about First and Last chapter reading: That will work very well in fanfiction stories that wander without purpose. This is not that kind of story. It is a methodical narrative with a definite three act format. I try to avoid wasted narratives and hence I strive to eliminate fluff chapters.
The moon, Nar Shaddaa, was a hotbed of criminal activity and black market deals. It was not accidental that its nickname was "the Smuggler's Moon." Almost everyone that lived there was familiar with secret deals and security payoffs to the all-powerful criminal syndicates.
Donal was no different. He was a Trandoshan that made his living as a mechanic at a meager shop within Hutta Town. The ruling Hutt had allowed him to own a shop here; a benevolent favor not many had received.
Donal was crouched on top of an SS-64 assault craft, its port dorsal wing stabilizer compartment open. Wearing goggles, he worked tirelessly at a stubborn bolt with a wrench. Suddenly, a burst of steam and oil erupted in his face, sending his guttural screams through the musty air.
"Ahh!" he screamed. "No, droid!"
A trembling repair droid emerged timidly from underneath the assault craft. It was holding a compressor chip in its metal claw.
Donal leapt off the top of the ship and removed his goggles. He crouched down and stared with animalistic fury at the repair droid. His reptilian face was already turning red from the burn.
"This," Donal growled and took the chip, "goes there!" He pointed to the other side of the ship where an open compartment on the forward hull was. "Do that again, and I will make you a permanent part of this ship!"
A dug laughed to himself as he walked on his forelimbs, pushing a cart with an Ax-108 cannon toward the ship.
"Donal," a man's voice called out from behind the counter in the front of the shop.
Donal stood up eagerly and attempted to wipe the hot oil from his face with another oilier rag. He looked to the front counter to see who it was. The man was a clean shaven, medium build man and probably in his sixties. Donal recognized him and smiled to himself at his good fortune.
"Oh, yes," Donal called out and approached him. "You were the one that wanted that sublight drive."
"Did you get it?" the man asked.
Donal strode over to the man with a confident swagger. "You know, instead of fixing whatever you are working on, could I interest you in a dual engine assault craft? Just got one from a couple of months ago. It's called the Vigilance, and it's a beauty." He gestured to the ship behind him.
The man looked behind Donal. "I recognize that ship. The First Order was looking for that awhile back. Not that it matters anymore."
Donal laughed to himself. "Yeah, found a tracker on it when it came in. A good bit of work getting that out before the First Order arrived. Threw the thing on a freighter to Dantooine." He laughed again. "That'll be the most interesting thing to ever happen on Dantooine. So you interested?"
"No," the man replied flatly, "how much for the sublight drive?"
Donal looked disappointed. "One hundred thousand."
Without a moment of thought, the man replied, "sixty."
"What!" Donal feigned offense, knowing the ritual of bartering. "No one is looking for those sublight drives anymore. They are incredibly rare. Griodyne hasn't made that model in over sixty years. And it took a good amount of work to find one. I can only go as low as ninety."
"Sixty." The response was firm and unemotional.
Donal was now really offended. "Listen Bub." Donal leaned onto the table and looked the man straight in the eyes. "I know who you are. Or did you think, I wouldn't find out . . . Boba? And I know for a fact that you can afford ninety!"
Boba Fett laughed now. "You know who I am. So you ought to know that you won't get one credit more than sixty thousand." He slammed sixty thousand credits on the table. "You paid fifty for that drive. I think you can be happy turning a ten thousand profit. Or you can try to sell it to all those customers that are pouring in to buy a sixty-year-old drive."
Donal rubbed his chin and thought. He tried a new tactic. "You know, as I was asking around for that drive, I turned a few heads. Some people are interested in what you would be doing with such an antique. The Keeper was very curious." He paused to let the idea affect Boba. "You see, there is only one Corellian freighter that would be worth putting that drive into. And I know you aren't running with the Ghost crew anymore. So that freighter you're working on is worth more than what you got from the Resistance, I'm told. I'm sure you wouldn't want the Keeper to be on your tail."
Boba replied without a second thought. "Thanks for the warning, but let me offer you some advice, friend. Now that the First Order is gone, I have heard that the new Senate is interested in dealing with the criminal syndicates here on the Smuggler's Moon. I've heard that they have payrolled some business owners in Hutta Town to snitch on the Hutt clan: hotel managers, grocers, dealers . . . shopkeepers." Boba stared down Donal. "Be careful who you deal with. It would be very hard on those shopkeepers if the Hutt clan found out they were spying for the Senate." Boba pushed the credits toward Donal. "It was very fortunate that I chose you to do business with, don't you think? Almost as if I planned it."
Donal understood the threat and deflated. "Fortunate for you," he replied. "Sixty, it is."
He swiped the credits off the counter. "Don't be surprised if the Keeper puts a bounty on you for that ship."
"That's nothing I haven't dealt with before," Boba countered. He thought of something. "I've changed my mind about the credits, Donal." He tossed one more credit on the counter. "Have your droid load that drive onto my speeder out back."
Thanks for reading. The Boba Fett spin-off novella is now posted. Please check out Dark Bounty. And your reviews are appreciated!