Author's Note:


Happy Holidays everyone!  And to think you thought you were rid of me, well, here's the sequel to "Ocean's Fire."  Well, the prologue anyway.  Well, I hope you enjoy. 


                Vader slammed his fist onto the consol.  Behind him his underlings cowered in terror.  They knew what had happened to his former servants the last time his will had been thwarted.  Their first task had been to clean up what had remained.  The Dark Lord seldom felt merciful enough to simply choke them when he was in the mode for saber practice.  The worst part was he took his time about it. 

                Vader got his feet stalking out of the room. He had no desire to listen to the cowardly thoughts of those the Emperor thrust upon him.  He supposed the trappings of royalty were necessary to maintain the image of the Empire's power as it was still in his infancy, yet it was a source of great irritation. 

                The incompetents that served him had failed again to bring in those remaining Jedi.  The supposed 'accomplished' troops of the Empire could not even test their skills against the Jedi, as they were simply unable to find them, much less fight them. 

                Vader stepped from the room, unable to resist the anger coursing through him.  It was times like these when the dark taint in his soul was strongest.  It was times like these when he was strongest. 

                He thumbed on his access to the Imperial Net.  There were a few reports waiting for him, including one from his intelligence chief.  Vader slumped into the chair, feeling the anger seep away.  He tried to retain it, but it was difficult to remain in a rage when doing paperwork. 

                He scanned through the file, impatient, no trace of the Jedi traitors, but that was no surprise.  He doubted his intelligence operatives could find a Bantha if it sat on them.  Something near the end of the report caught his attention. 

                Fett, the bounty hunter who destroyed the record.  He had been sighted on Nar Shadda a few days ago.  So he survived.  Perhaps he shouldn't be so surprised; he had known the boy's father, long, long ago.  He frowned as he felt a pang of remorse.  It took only a moment to suppress it though.  The Dark side allowed for no regret. 

                A hunter such as Fett could easily find the Jedi he sought; yet he had tried it in the past, to attract the notice of the most skilled hunters he was forced to post exorbitant bounties.  One of the other reports on his screen was from the minister of the treasury warning him that a young empire had but limited funds. 

                He could not hire the help he needed, but slaves worked for free.  All that was needed was the proper leash.  The Dark Lord leaned back in his chair, a smile pulling at his mutilated face, every sentient had a weakness; he merely had to find the weakness of the hunters, especially this Fett. 


                Fett adjusted the Slave 1's course through hyperspace carefully.  It was an old ship and there was no need to take unnecessary chances.  All around him the stars streaked by.  Here at least in hyperspace he was safe. 

                Behind him he heard a soft sound and Syntas came to lean on the back of his chair.  He brought up his hand to take hers.  They did not have much time.  Soon they would arrive on Tatooine, he needed to speak with one of his informants there, and of course Syntas had business of her own.  They both maintained their own separate business lives. 

                Fett's breath caught in his throat as it always did when he imagined what would happen if they were discovered.  If any knew of Syntas…  He could see her face, not quite beautiful, but beautiful enough to him, with blood running from her hair, her eyes open, but the woman he loved no longer behind them.  He shivered slightly and Syntas' arms tightened around him. 

                "What is it?"  Her voice was soft in his ear.

                "Nothing."  He set the Slave 1 on autopilot and stood, to follow her back to the hold.  The Jedi were the ones with the visions, if only he could shake the feeling of a closing trap. 


A little short but it's just the beginning, so what do you think?