Embracing Vengeance
by: Colin Conway


Disclaimer: The universe in which this story takes place was created by George Lucas. I don't own any of the characters from Star Wars and am not seeking any money from this work.


"Can you kill a Jedi?"

I rubbed the bridge of my nose and looked suspiciously at the creature in front of me. I shrugged at his question.

"I was told you could kill a Jedi," his voice sounded like pieces of gravel smashing violently together. He was a large human-like male with pale skin and piercing red eyes that appeared sunken into his face. I couldnít determine his species make-up, but then again I didnít really care.

I took a swig of Corellian ale from my mug before leaning back in my chair and crossing my arms across my chest. When I didnít answer his question, he continued.

"The Jedi Quon Sin Jon has waged a war of vengeance on my family and our business. He questions our business practices on world after world. He doesnít trust us because weíve dealt with the Hutts, the Empire and bounty hunters. We donít care who needs our weapons as long as they can pay for them. We are biased against no one."

He was an arms dealer, hated on some worlds, revered on others. Here in Mos Eisley, he was a simple tourist. We met in this run-down cantina at his request.

I took another drink and put the empty decanter down on the table. The bar band played the mutilated form of music the tourists loved. It was a sort of watered down jizz, inoffensive to the ears of the old, but torture to the young.

"I thought the Jedi were dying off."

He nodded his head slightly. "They are, thankfully. The Empire is hunting them like the religious zealots that they are. Even a beautiful world like Alderaan isnít safe from the Jedi menace. I was there last season and saw a Jedi murder two ranking officials of the Empire. Scandalous, I say."

My eyes swept over to the young waitress serving drinks to a well-known smuggler and his Wookiee co-pilot. She looked seventeen years old, which in this city meant she was prime age for anything willing to pay the price. She wiggled away from the table and behind the bar.

When my eyes returned to Widan Raschu, he was waiting patiently. I waited longer

He finally gave in and leaned forward. "So what Iím asking, is can you kill this Jedi for me?"

"For you?

His smile revealed a row of ugly, brown teeth. "Yes, for me"

I crossed my arms across my chest and looked at him expectantly. "For you?"

"Oh, no for money," he said excited, his hands waving around apologetically.

"Well, I guess that depends on the money."

He pulled out a piece of paper and a pen from one of his numerous shirt pockets. He quickly scrawled a number on the paper and slid it across the table.

I read over the number and could feel a warm feeling start in my gut. "Yeah, I can kill him for that.

"Can you do it by next month? We have a rather large deal in progress and we donít need a Jedi sticking his nose in.

"You want it quick," I growled, "then youíre going to need raise the stake."

He pulled the piece of paper back, crossed out his first offer and then wrote a new number. After he put his pen back inside his jacket, he pushed the paper across the table to me.

I picked up the scrap of paper and smiled at the new number. "Done," I said with a wink and slid out of the booth.

Iíve killed many in my life. Jedi, Sith, civilians, bounty hunters, HuttsÖ I even killed a Wookiee once with rusted shovel. I donít enjoy killing. Iím just good at it. I have the Empire to thank for that.

When I was young, I wanted the quick and easy cash. For someone with suspect morals, money is never a problem to acquire. On Basdan, I had built up a small stable of women who provided strangers with all the love their money could buy. At the height of my business, I was running fourteen women. The oldest was nineteen, the youngest fifteen. That age range gets the most bang for the buck. Everyone, human or not, wanted to taste a sixteen year old blonde.

Then one hot summer, the Empire decided to clean up the morally corrupt planet we had grown to love. They systematically entered the cities and killed every person remotely tied to the criminal element. Someone in the Empire had decided that the criminal element on our planet was suddenly a threat to his or her juggernaut.

When the squad of white armor hit the ground running, we all knew it was bad news. I saw them moving through the streets while I was away from the business. I sprinted through the streets to warn the girls, but I was too late. Several of the troopers were approaching the front door, their blasters already hot from scattered firefights. I slipped back into the shadows of an alley as the Stormtroopers carefully advanced through our area. In my neighborhood, they blasted anything that moved.

One of the Troopers booted in the door to my business and the squad swarmed inside. I heard female screams and the sound of blasters. Two of the girls were dragged outside. Jíex was a seventeen year old brunette with a body that kings have spilt blood over. Kast was an eighteen-year-old veteran of the trade, but whose face still held the innocence I thought I could steal long ago.

Five Troopers broke away from their squad and pulled the two girls into the alley across from me. They took turns taking off their armor and taking their turn with the girls. Kast never made a sound, but Jíex screamed until one of the Troopers booted her in the face. They continued with her even though she was unconscious. When they were done with the girls, they faced each other for a second. When they broke their huddle, four of them beat Kast to death by kicking her and hitting her with their rifle butts. The fifth trooper woke up Jíex. When she opened her mouth to scream, he shoved the barrel of his blaster into her mouth and pulled the trigger. Light flashed in the darkened alley.

I stood there silently. I never lifted a finger to save my girls. I knew that to challenge the Troopers here would be certain death. I stood silently in the shadows and watched the five re-form with their group and line up as a squad. Moments later a dark figure moved into the area. The figure wore a black cloak and a hood covered his head. His movements were so fluid he appeared to be floating. He was a Sith Lord and stopped in front of the five Troopers. His back was to me when a cold laugh emanated from him. The Troopers didnít move while the Sith Lord continued to laugh.

Hatred burned in me and I wanted so badly to kill the five along with the Sith. The evil in dark clothes turned around quickly and looked into the dark shadows where I stood. He squinted in my direction. I met his searching eyes. When he gave up he turned away and continued his laugh.

I stayed in the shadows until the next day. The Troopers had left the city and the remaining inhabitants moved slowly from their businesses and homes. I ignored the alley and entered my business. My girls were everywhere, blaster burns covering their beautiful bodies. I grabbed all of the money I had hidden along with my single holdout blaster and left the city. I hopped a ride on a transport ship to Kriselist and never looked back.

After arriving in Kriselist, I began the process of rebuilding my life. I didnít know where my skills would lead me. I knew I could easily bring together a new stable of young and talented girls, but after the Stormtrooper attack my heart was no longer in it. I found my current profession in a moment of serendipity.

In Jaaza, one of the many cities on Kriselist, I found myself hunkered over a large decanter of ale in one of a multitude of bars where beings try to lose themselves. The images from the attack on my stable plagued my mind as I downed one ale after another. Then they walked in. Two white armored bastards on a hunt. They checked faces as they moved quickly from table to table.

One of the troopers approached me and demanded I look up at him. I ignored his commands and kept my head down. He grabbed my face with his hand and wrenched my head up. I didnít raise my hand in defense because I knew it would be certain death.

"Wipe that look off your face, scum." The trooper let go of my face to use both hands on his blaster rifle. He butt-stroked me across the temple and sent me sprawling across the sticky floor of the bar. I could feel blood running down my face as I tried to pick myself up from the floor.

The troopers moved onto several more tables. They eventually found their prey at a back table. A very, large man with long, brown hair stood up quickly. He violently shoved a long knife under the chin of the trooper in front of him. The blade slipped cleanly between the helmet and breast plate. A scream escaped from the white armor before it fell lifeless to the floor.

The second trooper recovered quickly and turned his blaster to the attacker who was already in mid-jump towards him. The weapon kicked in the trooperís hands, its energy blast exploding the large manís chest. When he fell to the ground, the knife skittered across the floor and landed in front of me.

The sole trooper stood over his dead quarry and yelled through his helmet, "You bastard!" The trooper fired his blaster several times into the motionless body.

I picked up the knife and launched myself at the remaining trooper. Following the attackerís lead, I plunged the knife under the helmet and into the base of the trooperís neck. A shriek emanated from the armor and the blaster fired one final time. When I pulled the knife out of the trooper, his body collapsed noisily to the floor.

I turned around and met eyes with the bar keeper, the bloody knife still in my hand. He muttered a few unintelligible words to the thickheaded boy in the corner. The boy walked over and dragged the first trooper into a back room. When he came back for the second trooper, my gaze turned to the barkeep.

"Go quickly," he ordered.

My eyes washed over the other patrons, none of whom returned my gaze. They busied themselves with their food and drink.

The barkeep slapped the counter and barked, "Go!"

I turned the knife upside down in my hand to hide the blade behind my forearm. I then sprinted from the bar and into the maze of back alleys Jaaza is famous for. I hid amongst the alleys for several weeks before I fled the planet.

I started my hunt for the Jedi, Quon Sin Jon, by dropping money into the palms of the right people. The Empire may have the most sophisticated technology ever developed, but the information transferred through the whisper stream of the despicable and morally reprehensible was trustworthier and often times received faster. I only had to sit back and wait to pick up a line on the soon to be dead Jedi.

After the bar incident in Jaaza, I killed the occasional trooper whenever I could get the opportunity. Their suits are built for maximum protection against blasters, but a knife can slide through the area between the helmet and shoulder armor. Itís a sweet feeling to plunge the knife deep into the base of the neck and drive up. I took helmets from the first few troopers I killed, but I soon quit collecting them because they started to pile up. Besides, they were just an ugly reminder of how many more are out there.

Soon I realized I had a touch for killing. I murdered often, but always quick and quiet. A quick death is cheap and easy to find anywhere in the galaxy. Blasters have seen to that. But death resulting from stealth and technique are a rare, expensive commodity. With the Empire and its sympathizers everywhere, the discriminating person searches out my talents. Fools hire out the cheap mechanized bounty hunters who kill violently and ugly. Others pay exorbitant fees for hunters with the Fett name, although this has slowed in recent days since so many second-rate hunters claimed to be from the Fett clan just to steal clients. Most of them either failed their missions rather badly while others were terminated by one of the true remaining Fetts. Regardless, my business remained steady in the uncertain times of the Empire.

My weapon of choice has been the knife I used on my first kill. A craftsman I once met in a bazaar told me the knife was made of Mandalorian Iron. He told me that the metal was so solid not even a light saber could cut through it. Iíve never tested that claim, although Iíve heard the rumor in several other parts of the galaxy.

Word came from one of the inner rim worlds, Drizza, that Quon Sin Jon was spotted there. Jon was hunting for a member of the Sith and asking questions about how he related to the business activities of the Widan Raschu. Tracking him was easier than I thought. Jedi are usually more careful in their movements, so something must have driven him to carelessness.

Jedi are religious freaks. They have a misguided belief in a Force that combines us as one. As I child I was spooked by all the mumbo jumbo these clerics throw about. I even thought that the Force might actually exist, but that faded once I saw the reality of Mos Eisley and Basdan. When you see the way sentient beings treat others, itís hard to believe in a benevolent Force keeping us together. And that religious mumbo jumbo is also behind the Empire and its quest. I know they can do some crazy parlor tricks with the Force, but it hasnít had an effect on me.

The Jedi, and the Sith as well, claim that the Force binds us all together. They are supposed to be able to sense the presence of others with the Force. Iím not sure if that myth is true, but the first time I killed a Jedi he never felt me coming.

It was a basic payday, nothing elaborate. One man handed me money and pointed out another man he wanted killed. I walked up behind the man, and sunk my dagger deep into his back. After my victim crumpled to the ground, my employer approached gleefully and told me I had just killed a Jedi and survived. At that moment, I still believed slightly in the parlor tricks of the Jedi and felt a wave a nausea pass fleetingly through me. It passed when I sunk the blade into my employer.

Word soon passed that I had the skills to kill a Jedi. Word also passed to never lie to me.

I continually move from world to world, plying my trade, hiding my profits. In the state of the galaxy, you donít invest your money in real estate or anything substantial. The Empire can take it all away. Others can steal it away.

My ship is an Ugly. Itís a hybrid of parts from a dozen other ships. Iíve only done minor work to the ship. I bought it pretty much the way it looks. But hidden in that junk like exterior is an engine that has let me escape several Tie Fighters and the various pirate ships that clog the less traveled space routes.

When I landed on Drizza, I contacted some of the local information brokers. Money exchanged hands to get his location narrowed down to the back alleys of Methen, a once great industrial city now struggling under the yoke of the Empire. As such, the alleys had become a haven for black marketers who peddle everything from guns to spice.

When I located him he was standing in an open courtyard that fed multiple streets and alleys, like the spokes of a wheel. No one else was in the stone covered courtyard. A strong breeze swirled dirt around the booted feet of Quon Sin Jon. His sand colored clothes were tattered and his long, dirty hair whipped about in the wind. Sin Jon stood perfectly still in the middle of the courtyard.

I stopped before exiting the alley I was in and stood in the shadows, watching the Jedi.

An evil, low voice emanated from a nearby alley. "Youíve come a long way just for your death."

My heart jumped in fear when I thought the voice was directed at me. I gathered my senses when I realized the voice had not emanated from the Jedi. Sin Jon spun slowly around and into a crouch to face the faceless voice. An inactivated light saber was in his right hand.

"Come out, Sith!" Sin Jon called, his voice filled with anger.

"I feel the hatred in you, Jedi. It feels good doesnít it?"

"It will when I kill you."

"Tell me, Jedi, before I remove your head from your body, why do you hunt me?"

"You murdered my sister."

"Iíve killed lots of women Jedi, be more specific." The evil voice brimmed with pride.

"On Basdan, fourteen years ago. You led a false raid where several men masked as troopers raped and killed her."

"And you hunt me because of that?"

"I hunted the troopers and have removed them from this existence. You are the only one remaining."

"Iím not the only one remaining."

The Jedi shook his head. "I know Widan Raschu was behind the attack for nothing more than to take over a portion of the city which he believed valuable. I donít know how he secured your services, but I believe if the Empire knew about his and your deception, Vader himself would execute you both. So you either die now or by the hands of your Lord."

The evil voice boomed from a dark alley, "Then so be it!" The Sith jumped out of the shadows and charged his light saber in mid-flight.

Sin Jon activated his saber moments before the Sith landed in front of him. The clashing of the energy blades sent sparks flying in all directions.

The warriors battled back and forth throughout the courtyard, neither looking to retreat. Minutes that seemed like hours passed as the Jedi and Sith dueled for the prize of life.

Finally, the Jedi feinted under a Sith attack and plunged his saber into the chest of his enemy. The Sith clutched frantically at his chest and let out a blood chilling scream before he crumbled to the stones of the courtyard.

The Jedi turned off his saber and bent over, his hands on his knees. He gulped for air as I approached him.

He glanced sideways to me, but looked away when I smiled politely.

"I watched your fight with the Sith. It was amazing."

The Jedi never looked up, but worked on getting his breath under control.

"What was your sisterís name?"

"Jíex."

I felt my heart tighten again and remembered the beautiful seventeen-year-old brunette. She had the greenest eyes Iíd ever seen and the most delightful laugh ever to grace my ears. Of all the girls, she was the one I felt the most for, both before and after her death.

The Jedi stood up straight and was completely under control. He clipped his light saber to his belt and straightened out his tunic.

He looked at me with the eyes of someone who discovered his revenge was less than what he had hoped to find. He nodded at me and turned to leave.

I plunged my knife into the back of his neck and dropped him instantly to the ground. I took the lightsaber from his belt and collected the Sithís as well. The sabers fetch a fair price tag on the market, especially a Jediís.

I tucked the Sithís saber into my jacket and activated the Jediís. I cut the heads off of both warriors. After seeing the warriors fight, I saw the Force in a new perspective. There was no need to take a chance letting either of them come back for me.

The next time I met with Widan was in a small marketplace on Respat. I named the meeting location and made sure plenty of my people were scattered throughout the bazaar. And by my people, I mean hired mercenaries who wouldnít get paid if I didnít leave the meeting alive.

Widan was seated at a small wooden table in an outdoor cafť. He drank a warm alcoholic beverage from a crystal blue glass, its steam fogging the upper portions of the crystal.

Widan smiled broadly as I approached, his brown teeth prominently on display. "My dear boy, I must say word of your accomplishments has preceded you."

I sat down across from him, and put the bag I carried bag down next to me. "Good news travels fast I guess."

"It does, indeed. Although, Iím not sure if the legend has grown in its travels, but they say you beheaded the Jedi."

"Take a look for yourself." I pushed my bag under the table to Widan. He bent down and unzipped it. When he sat back up, the smile was back on his face.

"Very impressive. May I have it?"

"Itís yours. Do you have my money?"

Widan waived his hand and a large behemoth walked over. He had two large wooden cases with him, one in each hand. He sat both on the table in front of me. I opened each to verify my payment was there. Satisfied, I closed the cases and put them both on the ground next to my chair.

As the behemoth walked away, my eyes followed him. I picked out a couple of my mercenaries to trail the monster out of the marketplace.

I turned back to Widan who was spying a glance at the Jediís head near his feet.

"An interesting thing happened on Drizza, Widan?"

"What was that?" he asked absently, his eyes still taking in my gift to him.

"I learned some information about a raid on Basdan."

Widan looked slowly up and met my eyes. His red eyes flared with curiosity.

"One of the girls killed in this raid by the Empire was actually the sister of the Jedi. The Jedi implied that the raid wasnít really a mission conducted by the Empire. Rather he said it was meant to look that way. Hired guns in costumes, I guess."

Widan licked his thick lips and clicked his tongue against his teeth.

"Have you ever heard about this raid?"

Widan shook his head and looked around the marketplace.

"Thatís odd. There were over three thousand beings killed in the raid. And since you bought most of the land up after the raid I thought you would be familiar with it."

Widan spread his thick arms out wide and grinned even broader. "Oh, yes, that raid. I do remember something about it."

I nodded in understanding. "I would hope so. Since the Sith named you as responsible for it."

Widan stopped glancing around and focused on me. "What?"

"Yeah, the Sith said the raid was for you. A land grab, maybe? Funny, I thought the Sith were a loyal bunch to the Empire; evil, but loyal. It seems that you had found a way to corrupt one of them."

Suddenly, Widan gained his composure as the employer in our relationship. "I donít see why any of this is important to you. Our contract is complete so Iíll be going."

As Widan stood to leave, I pulled out the Jediís blade and sat it on the table. "Sit down, Widan."

Widanís smiled faded and he sat slowly down, realizing the look in my eye wasnít to be taken lightly.

"The raid is a concern of mine. I was working in the city when your false Troopers stormed in and slaughtered thousands of innocents."

He shook his head slowly. "They were no more innocent than you or I. The city was a cesspool and its inhabitants were the waste floating on the surface."

Widan sat rigid when I slid my hand on top of the light saber.

My lips went suddenly dry and my tongue felt oddly thick. "You killed fourteen of the prettiest young girls I ever knew. They were special, especially on that world."

His eyes widened when he made the connection. "The whorehouse. You were there?"

I licked my lips hopping to get moisture to them.

Widan bared his ugly teeth in a grotesque smile. "Thatís right, I forgot. Donít tell me that the great Jedi hunter was once a pimp for a bunch of human whores."

My lips felt like they were cracking and I had trouble swallowing. "They werenít whores," I croaked.

Widan laughed, the sound of rock smashing again. "This," he said while pointing between the two of us, "is all because of worthless little whores? In a period of war and unrest, a time of great potential for men of our quality, you spend your time worrying over the sex toys of the masses?"

I grabbed the light saber in my hand as I came over the table at Widan. My face was so close to his I could see the beads of sweat forming on his head and smell his odor. I held onto his throat and pushed the saber into his chest. He grabbed my throat in defense and squeezed in desperation.

"They werenít worthless," I whispered as I activated the Jediís blade. Widanís torso exploded from the force of the light saber thrusting through his chest.

The crowd in the outdoor cafť jumped back from us and several screams were heard.

I pushed off Widan and he fell backward to the floor. I turned off the light saber and clipped it onto my belt. I picked up both cases of money and put one on the table for the mercenaries. They were coming out of the crowd to collect their pay and remove Widanís body.

I took a quick look around and melted into the crowd. Unlike the Jedi, I found vengeance to be very satisfying.