When Boba Fett stepped from Slave I, it was into a blinding, torrential rain that pounded mercilessly against his armor, leaking into wounds recently healed. Still, he worked half by logic, half by memory as he worked away from the blinding gray void that was the outside, towards the vague white light before him which proved to be a door.
It slid open, revealing a stark, white hallway illuminated by white light. To many it would seem like an asylum. But to him, it was a memory of what was once home.
A creature emerged from the hallways, with eyes like stars: silvery, surrounded by black. Its head was smallish, with slit-like nostrils and an almost lipless mouth. Its skin was a pale silver-white, and appeared to wear a head ornament of some sort that dangled to one side. Its neck was long and slender, wrapped with a pale blue strip of cloth. Its clothing was the same sort of pale blue and white color scheme that seemed to occur all around this place. Long, graceful legs were apparent beneath the skirt, and elongated arms ended in two-fingered, one-thumbed hands. It spoke, its voice feminine.
"Pardon me, sir," she said politely, "but I do not believe you had an appointment here. May I ask, what is your business?"
Boba Fett began to speak but, for once, was rendered speechless. His eyes began to burn as the words caught in his throat. Tears were beyond him, but if he was still capable of such emotions, he would have let them come.
She smiled at him politely, expectantly.
"Taun We?" he asked finally, getting control of his own voice again.
"Yes…," she said, her smile faltering slightly.
"Don't you recognize me?" he demanded incredulously.
She seemed puzzled, head drawing back curiously. "I am afraid I do not. Should I?"
"It's me!" he said, trying not to raise his voice. "I'm Boba! Boba Fett, remember?"
She tilted her head and part of her neck, unsure. "Boba?"
Desperate, and knowing that she could call the city guards any moment, he yanked off his helmet, revealing his scarred, but yet recognizable face.
"I am Boba Fett," he said, his face expressionless. "Jango Fett's son. You remember him… don't you?"
"Yes, of course!" she said, smiling slightly. "But I could hardly be expected to recognize you beneath that armor. My, how you've grown since I last saw you! It would seem you were no defect: you are the very image of your father."
"I should hope so," he said sharply. "The skill of the Kaminoan cloners is unrivaled… and that is why I have come here."
"Oh?" she tilted her head again. "Understand, our fees still stand, regardless of old connections."
"I assure you," he said in his usual, emotionless tone, "I have more than enough in the way of credits to cover your fees."
She nodded. "Then I will make an appointment for you to see Lama Su. What sort of order will this be?"
Boba Fett always knew there had to be a reason why his father had liked the Kaminoans. And now he understood: they were business people. No matter what, their work came before all else, and nothing stood in the way of it. They were like the Hutts in that, but they were neither fat nor foolish. The Kaminoans would not put a bounty on your head. They would kill you themselves. And they trusted no one save themselves.
He did not know what he had expected when he returned to Kamino. Perhaps he had expected to feel… some connection, some old love, some feeling of comfort. But instead there was nothing. Seeing Taun We had done nothing but strike weakness in him, and returning to the world where he was born had done nothing.
Created, he decided, was a better word. He had often mused since his earliest days what it would have been like to be a real child, to have two parents: a mother and a father, not a caretaker and a predecessor. In his teen years, he had often found himself embittered by the fact that he was a clone. He knew it had been a logical move on the part of his father, but at the same time, it had irritated him. Even now he wondered why he had been created in the first place. But then, he reminded himself, what was the point of living? Better, he decided, not to question a good thing. And yet he had heard the stories told, and would have much preferred if the one about him being a renegade soldier were true.
"Nothing that can compare with that of the Jedi Syfo-Dias," he said coolly. "I need just one clone… a very special clone, for which I am willing to pay as much as you ask."
"I see," she said with a nod. "What sort of clone?"
"One of myself," he said, expression grim. "No tampering, no meddling, no growth stims. A pure genetic replica."
"I will see that Lama Su hears your request," she said with a small smile. "The Fetts have always been good with our business in the past. I don't see why he would decline."
"You will find I have ways of persuading people," he said simply.
She paused for a moment. "Well, your apartment was never cleaned out," she said calmly. "If you have no objections, it would be easiest for us if you would reside there until you may speak with Lama Su. Unless of course you would prefer something else?"
"It will be fine," he said shortly. "I remember the way."
Before she could answer, Boba Fett turned and began the walk to the apartment complex nearby. He remembered every step. Down this hall, the right turn, into this elevator…
And as he walked toward what had served as his house, he passed it.
He was forced to stop and stare dully at the huge cloning facility of Kamino. Before him, through a glass window was a seemingly endless room. Above his head, in jars of pale blue liquid were fetuses, curled and seemingly inhuman as they hovered, suspended as they grew. The racks of these seemed to stretch on for miles as he walked, staring.
In the next room sat rows upon rows of young children, all with the same features. Their skin was golden-brown, their eyes brown, their hair jet black and cut short. They all wore the same clothes, and bore the same headsets as they worked away at their computers, learning goodness knew what. Boba Fett had learned from holovids and the like. These… copies learned from programs.
And the last room was perhaps the one that brought him closest to fear. It was not so much afraid he felt as unnerved as he gazed below him… and saw himself.
Table upon table was filled with red-clad soldiers, each bearing the same face as he did. Each one went about his business, eating or talking without noticing him above. They all looked alike, and, though he could not hear them, he knew they sounded alike… and the same as him. They were a clone army, he thought. They were Imperial Stormtroopers.
"So Lord Vader kept them coming," he muttered, staring at the ghastly scene below.
As he watched one table, a clone gave him an odd look. He then shook one of his companions' shoulder violently, pointing upward. A small crowd of them looked up, staring agape at the scarred, battle-worn version of themselves who stood above them, battered, careworn Mandalorian armor a splash of color against a bleak white background.
Boba Fett turned, walking down the hall without paying them any heed. They were all inferior.
Finally he reached the apartment. He punched in the combination as he remembered it, and entered.
The first thing he knew was darkness. His gloved hand searched the wall for a light switch. Finally it found purchase, and he was faced with a memory.
Everything was as he had left it, that night that he and his father had fled Kamino together, escaping the damnably persistent Jedi who called himself Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the rush to gather what was important to them, much had been scattered carelessly. Clothes lay here, discarded for their rare use, various toys there, possessions of his when he had been young. The mess, all the lavishly expensive things remained, it had all endured the years here.
Suddenly something cracked beneath his foot as he walked in. He paused and looked down.
It was a small figure, a war droid of the Trade Federation. It was not damaged, merely snapped from its black, circular base. He bent and picked it up, staring at it with dim recognition. The markings on it indicated a more advanced model. Consequently, he recalled, it had always been the one that his Mandalorian toy had faced off against in an epic battle.
He tossed it aside carelessly. That had been years ago. He was no longer a boy.
And yet he had to admit to himself that he was tired. Perhaps, he thought, it was because he was still healing. Or perhaps it was the mental stress. Whatever the case, he decided, he needed sleep.
He stepped into the room nearest the living room, in a door to the left. The lights had come on in there as well, making it almost more visible than he would have liked.
This, he remembered, had been his father's room. It was fairly untouched by the chaos that had ensued after the Jedi's departure. The drawers were slightly open, the closet door ajar, the blankets rumpled and unmade. But beyond that, there was very little evidence of anything being wrong. It was as if the room had been a part of his father, for nothing ever deterred him. He might be irritated by a change in plans, a hindrance to his ideas, but never stopped. He had done everything with a calm, almost ruthless efficiency.
He dug into one of the drawers, pulling out a set of sleep clothes. Without fearing intruders, he shed his soaked armor and clothes and put on the soft, warm shirt and pants. His limbs, he noted, felt heavier than normal, and his eyes dry. Yes, he decided, sleep was exactly what he needed… tomorrow he would see Lama Su about the clone issue. For the next time he came so close to death, he wanted the satisfaction of knowing that some part of him would live on.
And there it is! But let's see how our bounty hunter fares on four hours of sleep with a screaming baby. Next chapter: Boba gets his clone, which turns out to be more than he bargained for.
Chryseis Fett: Why thank you! Like I said, much as I love Dengar and Manaroo, I was forced to omit them. But I'm glad you liked it nonetheless. Hope you enjoy chapter two as much.
Infamous One: Well I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter, because it won't be a 'ficlet' for long. Your comments are very much appreciated, however
Anargil: Boba Fett NOT escape from the Sarlacc? He doesn't die! In fact, I've got a book on the subject that I'll lend you sometime… so call me! Lol. But yes, there will be MUCH more to this story. After all, can you honestly picture Boba Fett raising a child with tender love and care? I think not. Thanks for taking the time to review