The Mandalorian Armor
|Author||K. W. Jeter|
|Series||The Bounty Hunter Wars
|1 July 1998|
|Preceded by||Shadows of the Empire|
|Followed by||Slave Ship|
This book is set during the events of Return of the Jedi. It begins with Dengar searching through the wreckage of Jabba's sail barge for anything or anyone of value. As Dengar is ready to give up, assuming that the Jawas had beat him to the wreckage, he notices two things: first, that the Sarlacc appears to be dead; and second, that there is a survivor. The survivor is Boba Fett, who had blown his way out of the Sarlacc pit. Boba's distinctive armor had suffered damage from his time in the pit and he was nearly dead. While Dengar moved Fett to a cave for shelter, the book flashes back to between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes; back to a period where Boba Fett is a freelance bounty hunter at odds with the Bounty Hunters Guild.
Kuat of Kuat, the hereditary CEO of the Empire's chief subcontractor for military items is interested in the events that occurred at Jabba's palace and on his sail barge. Kuat of Kuat reviews holoprojections uploaded from the palace and regardless of the evidence, is not convinced Boba Fett is dead without additional confirmation.
In the first of many flashbacks to the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Bossk and Zuckuss have been assigned by the Bounty Hunters Guild a contract for an accountant wanted by the Hutts. Although both are experienced bounty hunters, Bossk acts like the leader. Zuckuss warned Bossk that just because his father leads the Bounty Hunters Guild did not make him leader of the mission.
They blasted their way into the accountant's hiding place, where to find the room empty. They had been beat to the bounty by Boba Fett. Bossk and Zuckuss, in pursuit of Boba Fett, warn him that he has no authority to work this bounty; that they had been assigned the bounty by the Bounty Hunters Guild. Boba Fett quips that he answers to a higher authority, himself, and blasts off into hyperspace.
Fett enters his hold and talks to his "cargo" sitting in one of the cells. The accountant offers to pay Fett more than the bounty if he would let him go. Fett apologizes that it does not work that way, that he is the highest paid bounty hunter in the galaxy because he delivers. The accountant said that he had heard of other bounty hunters accepting offers. Fett said that the mismanagement and incompetence of the guild causes that and he will have no part of it.
Deep in space, the Slave I approaches the lair of the Assembler, Kud'ar Mub'at. The arachnid go between who serves as the criminal world's escrow service. It is to the Assembler that Fett is to deliver his captive and collect his bounty.
The Assembler's web-like home is a set of extruded neural fibers along which semi-independent multi-legged nodes run performing various tasks for the Assembler. The Assembler is careful not to give too much autonomy to its neural nodes; as it was once one of those nodes who reached enough independence to rise up and eat its predecessor. Fett describes his distaste for this sort of cannibalism within certain species.
The Assembler reveals that it has received a new contract, a private one, for Fett to work. Private contracts are required by clients who wish their ends to be kept secret and mean more money for Fett. He accepts the contract to join the Bounty Hunters Guild and break it up from within.
Back in the present, Dengar captures a woman who had followed him and Fett into their hiding place. The woman, Neelah, insisted that she must see Fett but, she doesn't know why. She explained that she was a dancer in Jabba's palace but has no memories before arriving in the palace. She says that when Boba Fett looked at her in the palace, she knew that she had some connection to him and needed to meet him. Dengar notices signs of an aristocratic upbringing in Neelah and symptoms of a memory wipe. He agrees to her request, attributing his soft spot for Neelah to the fact that he'd recently met a woman he cares for. He warns Neelah that she has to be careful around Fett and that he will not leave her alone with him. He warns that Fett is ruthless and cannot be trusted and that he hardly trusts him to keep up his end of their new partnership.
Flashing back to "Then", Boba Fett is at a feast welcoming him to the Bounty Hunters Guild. The guild elders finally welcomed Fett into their organization. Bossk does not trust Fett and calls his father a fool for doing so. The father and son exchange death threats which is common among Trandoshans; as is feasting on the remains of your enemies, and killing and eating your siblings shortly after birth. Bossk asked why Fett would join now. Fett explained that times are changing and that that pressures in the galaxy—including Black Sun—have forced him to change his stance on the guild. Bossk is grudgingly calmed down by the rest of the guild and he agrees to treat Fett like a brother.
The Emperor meets with Darth Vader and Prince Xizor to discuss the new plan Xizor has put in place. It was Xizor who contacted the Assembler with the private contract for Fett to join the guild. Xizor reveals that his plan will eliminate the dead weight in the guild and leave only the best bounty hunters; then the Empire will be able to contract with those remaining bounty hunters to execute plans that need independence and cunning. He explains that the Empire, by design, has suppressed independence in their troopers and officers but that they need independence to fight the rebellion where free thinking is their strongest asset. Vader is not convinced and thinks Xizor has ulterior motives.
- Boba Fett
- Darth Vader
- Kuat of Kuat
- Kud'ar Mub'at
- Nil Posondum
- Ob Fortuna
- Oph Nar Dinnid
- Vol Hamame