-prologue-

"Halt!"

Frantically, the grey, lanky-limbed alien shouted as it unceremoniously waddled out from under the protection of the oversized, pearlescent-white, oval doorway... just as quickly as it's aquatically evolved body could manage.

His inbred, over-privileged disdain for being adorned with wet clothing, even if only temporarily, seemed momentarily overridden by his urgency to put an end to the unfolding felony he'd discovered was being committed on his wondrously orderly, watery world.

As it rushed out into the ongoing maelstrom, the beings normally icy-calm tenor, erupted now into a high, nasally shriek that was so accented by the creature's growing state of panic, that on the common vowels, it came out in a nearly inaudible whistle.

"Haa-lt, I say! You-uu do not have proper authorizaaaa-tion for this! I must insiii-st, that you cease what you are doing! III-mmee-diately!"

The other lone figure standing out on the rain splattered platform, however, continued on with his illicit actions, apparently undeterred by the virtuousness of the Kaminoan's verbal protestations. So, the pampered Prime Minister reluctantly made his lumbering way more fully out onto the uncomfortably damp, and dangerously slick, landing pad... to finally confront this uncultured thug, face to face.

But, as he approached the base villain, intent on correcting between the two of them, once for all, this lowly creatures moronic assumptions of equality to the obviously more superior race engineered by the Kaminoan Clonemasters... like him, Lama Su; the smaller being turned his helmeted head dismissively away.

Infuriated, the scion of Kaminoan society instinctually reached out his thin, sinewy arm.. to redirect this insolent servants attention back towards the prompt execution of it's rightful masters concerns.

Just before placing his long, multi-fingered appendages firmly upon the errant subordinates shoulder, however... his metallic minion unexpected addressed him, issuing forth electronically-enhanced words that were dolled out in that usual, low, steady conversational tone of his.

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." The grey and crimson armor-clad thief advised. The supposition was delivered in that inhumanly flat, hollow voice that somehow always struck Lama Su as being both innocently non-threatening... and, at the same time... bone-chillingly menacing.

In response, the Kaminaon authoritarian instantly froze, save for the insistent flapping of his emerald embroidered, turquoise hued robes, and prudently drew no closer.

Smoothly, the humanoid turned it's scarred and dented helmet around to aim the crux of it's disturbing T-shaped optics, directly into the Prime Minister's genetically engineered, flawlessly sapphire blue eyes.

"Not, if I was you... and, I wanted to stay alive, that is."

Those impossibly azure orbs perched high upon his towering bulk, grew so wide now with alarm, that the rest of his small head seemed to be completely non-existent. Only those ludicrously enlarged, duel pools of dark sapphire were still visible atop the violently swaying stalk of his spindly neck, as he emitted a squeaking thrum of self-righteous indignation, in response to the crude criminals clumsily implied threats.

Unconcerned, the metal-suited humanoid returned to completing his felonious task... by attempting once more, to force his flimsi-plast tarp covered loot, up onto the lowered cargo ramp of his much battle scarred, sinisterly modified, pirate ship.

"You simply do not understand..." the erudital scientist attempting to explain... in a thankfully more tolerable voice; to his intellectually impaired, unruly minion.

"We must retain stewardship of these samples!" he painfully confided. "It is essential to our continued ability to produce the necessary quantity of cloned units, we are obligated to fulfill to retain our contract with the Jedi!"

The irrational human had stopped it's progress, and was now holding the stolen goods in place, instead of continuing on in it's formerly eager rush. Perhaps, Lama Su thought, his arguments were actually being taken seriously... and there was a chance of resolving the matter here and now.

That would really be the best outcome. Even better, would be to do it as quickly as possible. So, he hopefully pressed on.

"Our planets entire economy rests on our continued ability to met our prearranged delivery deadline. The research you are attempting to abscond with, is vital to ensuring our product continues to meet up to the GAR's rigorous quality standards, without risking very costly penalties for delayed shipments."

"So, clearly you can see why that genetic material must remain here!" the Kaminoan reasoned in patient summation.

But clearly, the Prime Minister had misread the bounty hunters intent.

With a grunt of effort, the cargo trolley's over-firing repulsors had finally eclipsed the cargo bays event horizon. Just a few meters further now, and his prize would be safely stowed away for it's long journey.

Seeing the stolen load steadily disappearing into the maw of the swindlers vessel, and that his undeniable logic was being wasted on this lout... Lama Su summoning all of the indignity his genetic superiority could muster, and cried out in final judgement.

"This, is an act of theft! It will place you in direct violation of the terms of your contract with us! You will be legally voiding any claims to proceeds earned, either stipulated or implied!"

Finally, the human had become concerned enough about just how serious the Prime Minister was... and of what consequences Lama Su was prepared to levy against him; that he was forced to abandon his aloof attitude, and come out of his ship to address the ceaseless stream of accusations being levied against him.

"I'm not stealing anything, Lama Su." the figure stated flatly.

"She...,", he defiantly corrected; referring to the item he was busily securing and clamping down to the cargo holds deck with tilted nod of his armored head; "was never part of the deal I agreed to. That makes her, my 'property'."

"So I say, she is coming with me." he concluded, before turning his back again to the stunned Kaminoan... and calmly returning to his illegality, and, to his infuriating silence.

In the resulting absence, Su's outraged reply competed with the revolving echoes of the rainy planets constantly roaring thunderstorms, coupled with the intense hum coming from the close proximity of the awaiting spaceships activated atmospheric drives. But even they could not fully drown out the offended aristocrat's litany of screamed protestations.

"But...but... you can't just... just..." he stuttered in admonishment. His frustration laden ravings, increasingly began mimicking that of an undisciplined childs' whining. "This is blatant piracy! That is the intellectual property of the citizens of Kamino!"

"So?" The Mandalorian's intractable attitude was the main thing the Kaminoan hated most about him. And he knew it. "What are you going to do about it...? Report me to the Republic? Well, go right ahead then. I'll wait..."

And then, the insufferable cretin actually stood there, atop his vessels still extended loading ramp, and began to whimsically whistle! All the while, exaggeratedly pointing at his wrist... as if, to remind the Prime Minister that he was wasting this insignificant bounty hunters valuable time.

Stunned, Lama Su could only stand mutely in rain, quaking with impotent outrage.

Just before the situation threatened to cause the Kaminoan to retreat from the confrontation in pride-stinging defeat... from around the edge of the open cargo bay, a small human child's dark, curly brown-haired head, poked out to see what was going on. Above the young males intimately recognizable set of bright, brown eyes, Lama noted the pair of thick, equally shaded eyebrows... that were currently furrowed in these units', all-to-familiar, expression of intense curiosity.

The larger of the two humans turned to face the smaller version of itself. With a jerk of his helmet, he silently sent the lesser unit scurrying back into the secluded interior of the ship... before following it inside, speaking rapidly to each other in that savage-sounding language of theirs; and, continuing to unload the genetically matched pair's ill-gotten bounty.

Of course, Lama Su recognized the child as being the un-modified clone that the Mandalorian donor had bargained so vehemently to have included into the price of his contract.

The only other clone produced from the donors originally taken sample...

Unit: FC-A2.

That was the cloned unit's official designation. The sentimental humans, however, had taken to commonly referred to it by it's much less efficient term. Some barbarian title, comprised of the mashing together of two syllables from their grunted, guttural, native tongue.

'Boba'... that was it.

Seeing the interaction, reminded Lama Su of the impractical emotional connection he had noticed between the two. Perhaps, he mused, the wastefully-created A2 unit might not serve to be so impractical, after all.

Frustrated beyond reason by the brutes mute reluctance to submit to the unquestioned authority granted the Prime Minister by virtue of his pre-determined position at the pinnacle of Kaminoan society, the affronted administrator decided to try resorting to playing by this sub-species own, barbaric rules.

Suddenly shedding all whimsical intonation in his voice, the Prime Minister dared to lean his elongated neck into the doorway of the forbidding cargo hold.

"If you reduce us to using violence to protect ourselves, Mandalorian... we will." He warned. "You are not the only scum-for-hire on our payroll, willing to anything for a few lousy credits. If you do not replace what is ours, you will force us to educate you to that fact, bounty hunter!"

After securing the last tie-down, the pirate walked back down the cargo ramp, and hit the remote button on his left glove. The jaw-like opening in the faded bronze plated beasts hull, began quickly hissing closed. Lama Su only just narrowly escaped decapitation by snaking his head out of the way at the last moment.

"Careful, Lama Su..." the iron-man taunted. "Getting your head lopped off, sure seems like a terrible way for someone to die."

Once it had sealed completely shut, and a confirmation signal from his ships computer had been acknowledged, the armored man turned his back on the Prime Minister, and began walking away.

Between thunderclaps, Su heard him conclude, with finality. "Don't forget. You still owe me money. I'll expect the remainder of my payment ready and waiting for me, when I return."

The Kaminoans normally pale, grey skin tone, suddenly flushed into a furious shade of violet.

"Perhaps, if you do return to Kamino to claim your supposed payment... we shall be waiting for you, instead, with the means to revoke ALL methods of compensation paid to you." he retorted ominously.

"And of course, ALL Kaminoan property will be subject to re-evaluation... under the scrutiny of our most exacting Technicians." The sea-born alien hissed, viperously.

"And, you know what will happen to any recovered units deemed to be 'defective'... don't you?"

This time, his words got a definite reaction. Although certainly not, judging by the sudden freezing of his constantly swaying body... the one he was expecting.

The minuscule Mandalorian walked right up to the towering alien, and rested the palm of his right hand on the pommel of his lethal, modified blaster.

Even though he was much shorter than his opponent... the taller combatant seemed to shrink under the weight of the stare coming from the being behind that disturbingly ominous, T-shaped visor.

Despite the overwhelming height differential, the mercenary still managed to look down at his prey, as he promised;

"Just try it, aihwa bait..." he replied, acidly referring to him by the derisive misnomer most of his uneducated ilk of off-worlders had taken to rebelliously calling their temporarily appointed overlords.

"And, I guarantee you..." each word punctuated by a hard, sharp jab from one of the iron-fisted human's fingers... directly into the Prime Ministers lower abdomen; the physiological equivalent of punching a human in the solar plexus. By striking him just so, it unspokenly proved beyond any doubt, the intimacy and extent of the sadistic Mandalorian's knowledge of Kaminoan anatomy.

"I'll see to it that every one of you gi'haal-riding, shabuir on this drowned rock, dies... long before even one of those cloned units in there comes close to being overdue for the Jedi's little surprise party."

The already out-sized orbs atop Lama Su's tiny head, somehow managed to widen even further.

So, he knew.

The twinned mirrors of the calculating creatures dark irises reflecting outwardly every ounce of his inner state of terror. As valuable as the contract to create, outfit, and train this army of super-soldiers was... it all being completed on time, and in absolute secrecy... was what their real patron, the Sith Lord, Tyrannus... was expecting in exchange for the exorbitant fee he had promised them.

But, if even he knew of Tyrannus' true motives... was this ignorant creature really foolish enough to contemplate crossing a Sith Lord?

Was he? The possibility that this lunatic would risk bringing the wrath of such a powerful being down on his world, caused Lama Su more concern than even the current matter at hand.

"You would be wise to keep your assumptions about the true purpose of the Republic's new clone army to yourself, bounty hunter!"

"You don't have to worry about me saying anything." The Mandalorian reassured him. "Unlike allowing you to create her..." he differentiated, by tilting his helmet back towards the being in the portable gestation tank in his cargo hold."Keeping my mouth shut about goes on out here, was a part of my contract."

Raising to his fully height, the offended amphibian assuming as threatening a tone as he could possibly utter in such a state of near shock this latest revelation had put him in.

"Fine then. But, as for your claim to ownership of that particular unit... how we chose to use the DNA sample you sold to us, is our concern. Surely you must know, that we simply cannot allow you to leave here in possession of it. Doing so would jeopardize our production capabilities, not mention risking damage to our commercial reputation!"

"That's just too bad. For you.", came the bounty hunters stoic, stonewalling reply.

With nothing to more to add, the Mandalorian ended the useless exchange, and strode casually up towards the bow of his vessel. He smoothly climbed the access ladder to the hatchway above, it's automated security opening the entrance for him, automatically.

Then, without even so much as a parting glace, he'd disappeared into the cockpit of the armored hull.

Soon, the Kaminoan stood impotently alone on the exterior platform... buffeted by the arid exhaust fumes violently exiting from under the rapidly accelerating ships' bottom-mounted engine nacelles.

In it's wake, Prime Minister Lama Su could only stare in stunned, rain-splattering, silence... helplessly; as the rogue bounty hunters ship rose, higher and higher... carelessly sweeping over the storm-grey oceans' chaotically wavy surface.

His mournful, pleading wail pitifully pursued the escaping craft upward, unheeded.

Once so proud in stature, now withered like a dying tree on some far, desert world... Lama Su watched Jango Fett's ship... with the demoralizing tag of 'Slave-1'... as it speed away from the elegant cities' high towers, unmolested and unimpeded.

With a small, yet brilliantly burning flash from its powerful engines... the oddly shaped ship leveled off, then quickly streaked across the cloud-studded sky... until finally, vanishing into the storm-darkened skies above.

Taking with it, the only insurance his people had in case the quality of the Jedi's new clone army should falter. Without the stolen unit, everything now depended the viability of cloning units harvested from second-generation DNA samples.

Lama Su, was one of the select few... along with only Chief Geneticist Kina Ha; who had already seen the data on the early test results. They were not encouraging.

Without the swift recovery of that specific Fett-clone unit... Designation# FC-A1; the Kaminoan Clonemasters would lose the very key to their attaining unrivaled, galactic dominance of the industrial cloning industry.

"Our property WILL be returned, regardless of the cost!", Lama Su promised, even as he limply retreated back to the comforts indoors.

Once inside, however, he knew he would be faced with unenviable task of answering the many uncomfortably questioning kinsman, that he even now see awaited to confront him. "Even, if I am forced to pay for the extra expense of seeing that it is done so, personally!"

With a last look back at the now, vacant platform, made another vow... only this one, he actually meant to keep...

"One day, soon... Jango Fett... your true balance will come due. And I assure you, that on that day... the repayment of this debt, will cost you..."

"Everything!"

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. GHOSTS of FETT

. -by: voodoogator-

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