As the Twilek and I were climbing the stairs (no lift in this place, the mechanism would get clogged with the dust and sand), I started prying him for the information.
Han: Who is the job for? Contact: Some old geezer. Han: What does he need me for? Contact: (eyes me sideways) I don't know. Han: What kind of job is it? Contact: You'll have to ask him. Han: How will this help me find information on my father? Contact: It's part of the job. Han: The job you don't know anything about. Contact: That's right. Han: (reaching my room) Well, where is this geezer? Contact: (sly smile, open palm "give me money" sign) I can't recall. Han: (opening the door to reveal Chewie with his loaded bowcaster level with the contact's face) Chewie, jog his memory.
You know, you really have to hand it to Chewie. Here I show up with a Twilek when he's expecting Fett, and he doesn't even bat an eye. Down came his long wookie arm on top of the contact's head. There was an unfortunate crunching sound, followed by the thudding sound of a fallen body.
Well, that was just great.
Chewie apologized in his wookie way, "I'm sorry, Han, I didn't meant to jog him so hard, I guess his head got closer to my hand than I meant..." etc etc. Chewie doesn't know his own strength.
We pulled the body into the room. I looked through his pockets and found some loose change, but no identification, and no clues as to who the 'old geezer' looking for me could be. The trail had now gone cold, or at least, was cooling rapidly.
Chewie and I hightailed it out of there. I don't know what I'm going to do next. I thought this was going to be a quick run to get information on my dad, and it's spiraling out of control. I haven't even found the job yet, and I've already lost two contacts and had a run-in with Fett.
Without any more clues, I'll probably have to go back to the rebel base. Hopefully they haven't moved on already, I don't want to burn that bridge just yet. Whatever it was that I was going to find out about my father will have to remain a mystery.
I'd never seen Fett without his armor on. It was a strange experience. This is a guy we all tend to think about as invincible, but a lot of that is because of his gear. Here he was, gearless, and talking to me as if we were old chums.
The one slight advantage I had was that, while he certainly knew who I was, he didn't know that I knew who he was.
I gave the danger signal to Chewie. He complained of a stomachache and left. He would go up to our room, arm himself, and lay in wait until I got there. If I could manage to get Fett to go with me, as he was right now without his gear, and with Chewie laying a trap for him, we *MIGHT* stand a chance.
The trick would be to get him to follow me up to my room. The standard ploys wouldn't work ("I'm hiding all these credits in my room, wanna see?" "I kidnapped this princess and she's tied up in my room, wanna see?" etc). If I used any of those, he'd know he'd tipped his hand and probably kill me on the spot (and, if the rumors are accurate, in an extremely painful, slow way).
While I was trying to think of a real plan, I kept ordering drinks. Maybe, I thought, if he was drunk enough to stop thinking straight, and if he thought I was drunk enough to be fairly incapacitated, he might follow me up, planning to kill me there in private. Maybe.
In the meantime, we kept talking. The really sad part is, I actually enjoyed the conversation with him. It was probably the first truly intelligent discussion I'd had in...I don't know how long. He doesn't have much of a sense of humor, but he is serious about his business, and he's no fool. Man, I am about sick of fools. If the rebels could get Fett on their side, they'd actually have a chance of winning this thing.
Anyway, a good plan never came to mind, and my contact finally showed up. I figured it was now or never with Fett. If I could eliminate him as a threat, I'd have a lot more breathing space in this galaxy. So, I went with what I had:
I invited him up to my room, to continue our conversation in private.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking. You know, I hear that all the time, because I'm single, I'm thin and I'm neat. And I get along well with women. People assume it about me. Not that there's anything wrong with it... of course not! I mean that's fine if that's who you are. People's personal preferences are nobody's business but their own.
Anyway, apparently Fett wasn't drunk enough, or didn't swing that way, or he was on to me. Whatever it was, he excused himself and left. The last thing he said to me was "See you around." When he said it, his eyes looked like he was seeing a corpse. My corpse.
I got the distinct impression that he was going to go gear up and either come back and kill me or wait outside and kill me. Either way, I didn't want to hang around there anymore.
I introduced myself to my contact and we headed up to my room.
So I made it to Tatooine, and I'm waiting in the local bar for my new contact to arrive, and I'm bored out of my mind. No one here is the least bit interesting, and Chewie and I have been together so long, I've heard all his stories about a dozen times.
Well, this guy comes over. I don't know, he seemed kinda familiar, but not really. I couldn't place his face. The bar was a little crowded, so he asked if he could sit at our table (having a wookie around tends to keep regular joes from crowding your space). Any other day, I probably would have told him to scram, but like I said, I was bored.
So he sits down and we start chatting, and we end up on the topic of speeders. Now, I'm a bit of a speed junky from when I used to race swoops, and until recently I had a tricked out little number I could take out for a cruise every now and again. I whipped out a little holo-image of it and start bragging about modifications, so he had to pull out a holo-image of his baby and brag about its upgrades.
Han: (showing off holo-image) Hey man, is this impressive or what? Guy: You're gonna hafta do one hell of a lot more than that to impress me! Han: Hey, I've never seen you around man. I'm surprised we never ran into each other. Guy: Man, I can't keep track of all you punks runnin' 'round here backwards. Han: Hey, you say you're supposed to be the fastest thing in 'Eisley man, but that can't be your speeder. It must be your mama's speeder! I'm sort of embarrassed to be this close to you. Guy: Yeah, well I'm not surprised, you with your dust speeder! Han: Dust speeder? What's a dust speeder? Guy: A dust speeder runs through the dust plains, picking up bantha poodoo to use as fertilizer. Han: Haha! That's pretty good. Say, I like the color of your speeder there. What's that supposed to be? Sort of a cross between sarlacc-intestine-yellow and Hutt-slime-green ain't it? Guy: Well, you call that a finish, but it's pretty ugly. I bet you got to sneak up on the station just to get a little fuel in your tank! Han: Well, at least I don't have to pull over just to let a funeral go by, man! Guy: Oh ho, funny!
It was the way he said "Oh ho, funny!" completely without humor. I suddenly recognized the voice, and realized why his face seemed so familiar.
When I was at the Imperial Academy, I met some of the old clone troopers. This guy at my table looked kind of like them, only younger. And though I hadn't heard the voice without microphone distortion before, I could recognize it now.
I was having drinks and a chat with Boba Fett, the bounty hunter out to kill me. And there was no chance that he didn't know who I was.
So, I meet my contact on Polis Massa and guess what? He doesn't ACTUALLY have the information on who is looking for me or what the job is. He has information on another contact who knows the guy.
This amateur-hour crap really pisses me off. This information couldn't have been sent to me through other channels? I had to come all the way out to fracking Polis Massa?! AND he expected me to pay him for this tip! Tell you what, buddy, I'll let you keep your left arm because I'm in a generous mood. Consider that payment in full.
OH, and guess where the new contact is! Can you guess? I bet you can! TATOOINE! I kid you not.
Why? Why THAT planet? Of all the BILLIONS of planets, why that one? The odds have exceeded all bounds of rationality.
If this whole run-around turns out to be someone yanking my chain...I wouldn't want to be the last contact on the list, you know what I'm saying?
I got an anonymous tip that someone was looking for me; someone who 1) has a job for me to do AND 2) has information on my father. A sort-of kill-two-bounty-hunters-with-one-shot deal.
I just got to get away from these rebels first. They're not a bad lot, but Luke has started following me around like a lost puppy, or an annoying little brother. I understand that, his entire remaining family was wiped out by the Imps, so it's not like he has anyone else left to turn to. Well, there's her worshipfulness, but he turns to jelly whenever she comes around.
Why *does* she keep coming around? Is it just to make Luke uncomfortable? Is it just to annoy me? It's probably just to get away from all the stuffy bureaucrats. I'd avoid 'em, too. Anyway. It's clear that Luke is still crushing on her. I make eyes at her when Luke is watching, just to rile him, but it's all in jest. I'd never move in on a friend's girl, and it's so obvious that those two will end up together. A farmboy and a princess? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. It's like a story out of a bad holo-flick. It just goes to show you, truth is stranger than fiction.
Anyway, Luke's been sleeping on the Falcon, even though the Rebs gave him quarters with the other pilots. Normally, that's fine, because he brings his droids, and R2 and I can spend the night gaming. But, if I'm going to go off and do a (potentially dangerous) job, I'd rather he not come with me.
So, I'll have to wait until he goes on a mission, and just not be here when he gets back. Then, meet my contact on Polis Massa (talk about your out-of-the-way locations!), do the job, collect the information, and come back. I may even be back before Luke!
OK, you know I have a secret about Vader. And, I want to tell you what it is, but I don't know quite how to word it, so I'll just say it. Here goes:
Darth Vader. Is. My father.
Sigh. There, I said it. I feel like this is a support group. Hello, my name is Han Solo, and Darth Vader is my father.
You know, I haven't actually said that to anyone before. I mean, Vader is an evil, psychopathic, murdering bastard. It's not something to brag about. I haven't even told my friends. Like, how could I expect Luke or Leia relate to this? I haven't even told Chewie.
It's not like I have proof, either. There were rumors. Whispers among my relatives. No one wanted to tell me the truth, I had to figure it out on my own.
It's part of the reason I went to the Imperial Academy. I guess I was hoping to work my way up the chain of command and eventually confront him in person. I don't know what I would have said. That plan didn't pan out anyway, so it doesn't matter now.
Vader. He killed Porkins. I sent Jek's mom a message, after his death. If she found out that I was the son of her son's murderer... I couldn't take that.
I'll tell you another secret: when no one is around, I practice quick-drawing my blaster. On the off-chance that I ever run into Vader, that's the first thing I'm going to do. No talking. No thinking. See Vader => Shoot Blaster. Ask questions later. I know it's stupid, I'll never ever see V-man in the 'flesh', but it makes me feel better.
It doesn't matter how much I practice, though. It won't bring Jek back.
Sorry for the lack of updates. Things have been REALLY busy around here lately. I just want to let you know, I ain't dead yet.
Well. The battle. We won, obviously. 'We' being the rebels, which I guess I'm a part of now, too. Like an idiot, I went back and provided some covering fire. The hotshot kid took out the Death Moon thing, and saved the day.
You know who didn't make it, though? Porkins. Fracking Vader dusted him. Vader...how I hate him! Sigh. If only I had decided to go back sooner, he might still be alive. Frack.
Also, Biggs was wasted. But, I owed him money, so that eases the sting.
The rebels, though...they're so retarded. You know what we did after the battle? Go on, take a guess.
If you said "Packed up and got the frack off the planet before the Imps came with reinforcements"... then you're obviously not rebel material. No, we had a party. Luke and I got medals for being heroes or something, and then they broke out the sparkling wine and...well, it gets fuzzy after that. We did scatter the next day, but, jeez, we were lucky. We've been reorganizing and regathering since then.
Some things still nag at me. Like, why didn't they send some cruisers against us as well? Even after the space station was destroyed, the rebel fighters had been decimated. Would have been easy pickings.
And why did the Imps move around the planet to get a clear shot at the moon with the rebel base? Why not just blow up Yavin? Boom, instant line of sight. If I were a cynic, I'd suspect a setup. Like, they wanted us to take the space station out, to give us a false sense of security.
Oh, and you know who happened to be off-station when it blew, and has been spotted around the galaxy? Vader. Fracking Vader...
The rebels. What a motley crew of misfits and rejects. I can't believe I got myself tangled up in this.
That big ball of death (or as I like to call it, the "Death Moon") has been detected on the long range sensors. It will be here soon, and when it arrives everyone still here will die. It is inevitable.
Today is not a good day to die, so when the Imps get here I plan to be somewhere else.
What are these people thinking? Why don't they give up? Just quit? In this life, you can't win. Oh, they can try, but in the end they're just going to lose, bigtime, because the universe is run by the Emperor. He's everywhere, on Coruscant, out on Tatooine, and every place in between. He dissolved the Senate, and he blew up Alderaan, and he's coming here to kill every last rebel.
That kid, the farmboy...he's so full of potential and naiveté. He's crushing on the ice princess, hardcore. For all I know, that could be his very first love. And when the Empire gets here they're going to disintegrate him.
Gah! How soft have I gotten?
OH! You know who I saw? Biggs! Talk about your small universe! I used to do food runs for his dad back on Tatooine (hey, even I do legitimate runs sometimes, when they pay enough). And I ran across him here, half a galaxy away from the dustball. That really makes you wonder, doesn't it? I mean, what are the odds? Of all the planets in all the galaxies in all the universe, we both ended up on this one. It...it boggles the mind! Who else am I going to run into? It's like, there are quadrillions of people out there, and I keep running into the same dozen or so.
I almost ran over and talked to him, but then Chewie reminded me that I owe him money. Well, I did just get paid, but that doesn't mean I've suddenly become loose with my change. So, nice seeing you, Biggs (especially since you didn't see me).
Anyway, there is one good thing about coming here. Well, two actually. I got paid, first of all. Not as much as I imagined, but a lot. It was definitely worth my while, even having to put up with Her Worship the long trip here. I can pay my debt off and then some. I got the feeling they didn't care very much. Why be stingy when everyone is going to be dead soon? Boy is my timing great or what? They hardly negotiated. :-D
The second thing was after I loaded my take on the falcon. I was off to look for Chewie when I smelled something...familiar. Something that reminded me of my (short) time at the academy. My roommate had gotten a care package...
I smelled brownies.
I LOVE brownies.
Sitting off on his own was a stout fellow with a box full of the lovely brown sugary treats. Of COURSE I struck up a conversation.
His name is Jek. It turns out, his mom sent them to him. She's been sending him care packages every month [note to self: Smuggling runs for the rebels could be profitable. If I were staying. Which I'm not]. Cookies, fudge, and this time, brownies. He didn't look too happy about it, though. See, he's been trying to lose weight. His squadron leader has been threatening to take him off the Reds if he keeps gaining weight. But, worse than that is what his fellow pilots have started calling him: Porkins. Ouch.
Now, I've never been teased for the way I look (I mean, seriously, LOOK AT ME), but I did grow up poor and was teased about that. Man, I hate bullies. I'd say 'kids can be so cruel' but it doesn't change when they grow up. PEOPLE can be so cruel.
Poor Jek. So many people are teasing him now that some of the new recruits don't even know his name. They actually think it's Porkins. Can you believe that? Dumbasses.
We had a great talk, about the impending doom, what it's like to be teased, and of course, brownies. He finished the one he was eating and handed the rest of the box to me. A whole box of brownies.
I love him.
Anyway, he resolved to turn his life around. He's determined to get in shape, and it seems to me that he has the willpower to do it. He's going to write to his mom and ask her to stop sending treats (out of sight, out of mind).
About that time, Chewie came back, so Jek and I said our goodbyes.
"So long, Ham," he teased. "See ya around, Porkins," I teased back. Ham and Porkins. What a team we would be.