Some hate it.
Some love it. Some, like Boba Fett, can hardly remember a time without it.
Supposedly, free water is rare in the galaxy, but you would never know it on his planet. It comes down in sheets, day and night, covering this world, which is all seas except for a few cities on platforms.
The world is called Kamino. The city where Boba and his father live is called Tipoca City.
Lived, rather. For this is the story of how they left, and why, and what happened after that…
You may have heard of Boba Fett’s father. He was a bounty hunter. The fiercest, fastest, and most fearless bounty hunter in the galaxy.
Boba Fett was the kid standing in his shadow or by his side. Or usually, both.
When he was lucky, that is. When his dad took him along. Which was almost always, Boba as ten, nearly but not quite old enough to be on his own.
Boba liked going with his father. Seeing new worlds, experiencing the cold thrill of hyperspace, and even getting to try his hand at the controls of his father’s small but deadly starship, Slave 1, from time to time.
A bounty hunter is an outlaw, a tracker – and sometimes a killer for hire. He doesn’t care who his targets are, or who they’re running from, or why. He works for the highest bidder, which means the richest and the most ruthless beings in the galaxy. No questions asked.
Being a bounty hunter’s son means keeping your mouth shut and your eyes open.
No problem. Boba Fett was proud of his father and proud of what he did.
“I’m a bounty hunter’s son,” he would say to himself proudly. The reason he said it to himself, and to no one else, was that he had no one else to say it to.
He had no friends.
How can you have friends when you live and travel in secret, sneaking on and off planets, avoiding police and security and the dreaded nosy Jedi Knights?
A bounty hunter must always be ready to go anywhere and face any danger. That was from Jango Fett’s code, the rule by which he lived.
Boba Fett had his own, smaller, more personal code: A bounty hunter’s kid must always be ready to go with him.
At age ten, Boba had seen more of the galaxy than most grown-ups. What he hadn’t seen was the inside of a schoolroom (for he’d never been to school). What he hadn’t seen was a mother’s smile (for he had no mother). What he hadn’t heard was the laughter of a friend (for he had no friends).
Just because he hadn’t been to school didn’t mean Boba was stupid or ignorant.
There were always books. Books to take on trips; books to read at home on Kamino. He could get all the books he wanted (“Two at a time, only, please!”) from the little library at the foot of his street in Tipoca City.
The library was just a slot in a doorway, but when Boba rang the bell the librarian passed out new books and took back the ones that w ere due, the ones Boba had read (or given up on, or decided were boring).
The librarian, Whrr, was almost like a friend. A friend Boba had never actually seen.
Boba had no idea what Whrr looked like – or even if he was a person. He was just a voice through a slot in the library door. In fact, Boba figured Whrr could be a droid since he could hear him whirring and clicking when he was getting books or hologames.
Whrr didn’t like hologames. “Use your imagination!” he would say. “Find the pictures there! Find the music there!”
Boba agreed. He liked books because the pictures they made in his mind were better than the ones in the hologames.
Boba knew about friends from books.
Lots of books are about friends. Friends having adventures, making discoveries, or just hanging out.
Sometimes Boba pretended to have friends. (Pretending is a form of wishing.)
But his father’s voice was always in his head: “Boba, stay unattached.
Remember: No friends, no enemies. Only allies and adversaries.”
That saying was from Jango Fett’s code. Boba’s father had lots of sayings, and they were all from his code.
Jango Fett had one friend, though. She was a bounty hunter herself. Her name was Zam Wesell.
Zam could be beautiful but bad. She liked to be bad. She sometimes read books about famous outlaws and bloody battles.
It was Zam who first mentioned that Boba should read, even though she herself didn’t read much. “Want adventure? Read books,” Zam said. “Then when you get tired of the excitement, you can close the book. Better than real life.”
Boba’s father didn’t read much. “Books? A waste of time, “ he said. “Read maps, Boba. Instructions. Warnings. Important stuff.”
Boba read all that – but he liked books better. Especially books about droids and starships, stuff he knew he could use someday.
Sometimes Boba thought Zam had told him to read books just because his dad thought it was a waste of time. Zam liked to tease Jango.
Zam was a changeling, a Clawdite. She changed the form of her body back and forth, depending on the situation.
Mothers didn’t do that, Boba was pretty sure. He had read about mothers in books, even though he had never met one.
A mother seemed like a nice thing to have.
Once, when he was little, Boba asked his father who his mother was.
“You never had one,” said his father. “You are a clone. That means you are my son. Period. No one else, no woman was involved.”
Boba nodded. That meant he was exactly like his father, Jango Fett. That meant he was special.
Still, sometimes, in secret, he wished he had a mother.
Boba and his father lived on Kamino because Jango Fett had a job to do there. He was training a special army of super-soldiers for a man named Count Tyranus.
Boba liked to watch the soldiers, lined up in long ranks, marching in the rain. They never got tired and they never complained and they all looked exactly alike — exactly like his father, only younger. Exactly like Boba himself, only older.
“They are also clones,” Jango Fett told him once when he was little.
It was what Boba had expected to hear. But it still hurt. “Just like me?”
“Not like you,” said Jango Fett. “They are just soldiers. They grow up twice as fast and only live half as long. You are the only true clone. You are my real son.”
“I see,” said Boba. He felt better. Still, he didn’t go watch the clones march anymore. And he didn’t feel quite as special as before.
Tyranus was an old man with a long, lean face and eyes like a hawk.
Boba had never seen him in person — only on holograms when he gave instructions to Jango Fett, or asked about the progress of the clone army.
Jango called him “Count” and was always polite. But that didn’t mean he liked him, Boba knew.
Always be polite to a client. That was part of Jango’s code.
One night Boba heard his father and the Count talking about a new job on a faraway planet.
The Count told Jango Fett that the job would be very dangerous.
That didn’t stop Boba’s father, of course. Later on, Boba wondered if maybe the Count had played up the danger to make sure Jango took the job.
You never knew, with grown-ups.
Jango agreed to do the job. He told the Count he would have to meet up with Zam Wesell and take her along with him.
Boba grinned when he heard that. If they were both going, that meant he might get to go, too.
No such luck.
The next morning, Jango Fett strapped on his battle armor and told Boba that he and Zam were going on a trip.
“Me too?” Boba asked hopefully.
Jango shook his head. “Sorry, son. You’re going to have to stay home alone.”
“A bounty hunter never complains,” said Jango, in that special voice he reserved for his code. “And neither does his son.”
“No buts, son. This is a special job for the Count. Zam and I have to travel fast and light.”
“I’m fast,” Boba said. “And I’m light!”
Jango Fett laughed. “A little too light,” he said, patting Boba on the head. “But big enough to stay here on your own. It will only be a few days.”
The next morning Boba woke up alone in the apartment. Home alone — but not entirely alone. His father had left him a bowl with five sea-mice in it. And a note: We’ll be back when these are gone.
Sea-mice can live in either air or water. They are incredibly cute, with big brown eyes and little paws that turn to flippers when you put them into the water.
They are also incredibly good to eat…if you are a sea eel.
Jango’s pet sea eel lived in a tank in the bedroom.