Fourteen year-old Ezra Bridger lives alone on the Outer Rim planet of Lothal. He fends for himself by picking up odd jobs and hustling the unsuspecting Stormtrooper. But when Arena Day arrives - an underground tournament where mighty beasts battle to the finish and all the swindlers, gamblers and no-gooders come from all corners of the planet to make a profit - Ezra is whisked into an unlikely partnership with the fearsome bounty hunter Bossk and enmeshed in a high-stakes chase against an endless fleet of troopers. Ezra isn't willing to trust anyone, but he soon learns that surviving doesn't always mean just fending for himself.
The orphaned Ezra Bridger ekes out a living as a pick pocket and con artist on the planet Lothal. Ezra's mentor is the Xexto Ferpil Wallaway, a skilled pickpocket and pawn shop owner. Posing as a tour guide for the upcoming Arena Day gladiatorial event, Ezra cons a Chagrian Imperial tourist and his Twi'lek entourage into buying tickets. Ferpil passes Ezra's proceeds to a mysterious crime lord known as the Commissioner but promises the boy that he will receive his share after Arena Day. Shortly later, Ezra encounters his childhood friend Moreena Krai and her family, who are emigrating to Alderaan after losing their farm to Imperial mining operations.
Meanwhile, the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk of the Bounty Hunters' Guild arrives above Lothal in his YV-666 light freighter Hound's Tooth, seeking to collect a bounty on the Dug gambler and fugitive Gronson Takkaro. Via hologram, Bossk informs the Imperial Security Bureau officer Lieutenant "Herdringer" of his visit to Lothal. Unknown to Bossk, the corrupt ISB officer Jenkes is impersonating Herdinger. "Herdringer" reluctantly allows Bossk to proceed with his bounty on the condition that he avoids the use of firepower. Not trusting "Herdringer," Bossk privately decides to ignore his orders and bring his mortar gun.
Striking a partnershipEdit
At Lothal's Capital City spaceport, Ezra encounters Bossk and deduces that he is a bounty hunter due to his heavily-armed starship. Ezra agrees to guide Bossk to Ake's Tavern in return for receiving a thousand credits; with five hundred being paid upfront. Unknown to Ezra and Bossk, they are being observed by Lieutenant Jenkes, who dispatches the stormtrooper Squad Five to trail Bossk. He briefs them that Bossk's operation is legal but only if he captures the target without the use of firepower. In private, Jenkes uses his comlink to hire an underworld contact to kill Bossk. He adds that Bossk is traveling with a "kid."
Ezra and Bossk travel to Ake's Tavern in a speeder bus. Without giving the details of his mission, Bossk instructs Ezra to enter the tavern and as if someone is waiting for Mister Bossk. Ezra is hesitant to enter an adult establishment until Bossk pays him another thousand credits. Inside the bar, Ezra encounters a Duros bounty hunter named Angrigo and two Niktos known as the Kratchell twins. Instead of following Bossk's instructions, Ezra tries to sell them tickets. Angrigo, who is Jenkes' underworld contact, recognizes Ezra as the kid traveling with Bossk.
Before the assassins can kill Ezra, Bossk bursts into the tavern with his mortar gun and kills the gangsters. Takkaro also tries to fight with his vibroblade but is overpowered and disarmed by Bossk. Bossk is surprised that a former casino manager is able to hire professional assassins. Before Bossk can question Takkaro further, stormtroopers arrive and order Bossk to surrender on the grounds that his bounty was not sanctioned by the Imperial authorities. Following a brief skirmish with the stormtroopers and scout troopers, Bossk and Ezra escape Ake's Tavern on a stolen speeder bike but are forced to abandon Takkaro. Bossk convinces Ezra to stay with him by offering financial incentives.
Renegotiating the dealEdit
With Bossk in tow, Ezra drives his speeder bike through a traffic tunnel, narrowly avoiding the incoming traffic. Two scout troopers give chase. One of them collides with a wall while Bossk dispatches the second scout trooper's bike with his mortar rifle. After exiting the tunnel, Ezra takes Bossk to a secluded alley where he demands that Bossk pay him the promised thousand credits. Bossk refuses on the grounds that Ezra disobeyed his orders to tell the cantina patrons that Bossk was coming. However, Ezra counters that Bossk set him up as a decoy. Bossk responds that Lieutenant "Herdringer" set up. A wounded Bossk convinces Ezra to continue working for him by promising to pay him all the money in the strongbox aboard the Hound's Tooth.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Jenkes is briefed by stormtrooper TK-5331 about the skirmish at Ake's Tavern including the dead assassins and the Dug criminal. After learning that Bossk and his associate fled, Jenkes orders that the two be exterminated for crimes against the Empire.
Bossk later awakes to find himself in Ezra's hideout at the abandoned LothalNet comm tower E-272. Using supplies taken from the stolen speeder bike, Ezra has applied a thick bandage to Bossk's shoulder. Ezra is also salvaging a comlink from a stolen stormtrooper helmet he had salvaged at Ake's Tavern. Ezra reveals that he saved Bossk so that he could gain the money in his strongbox. Bossk is determined to clear his name and not to leave Lothal until he gets paid for tracking down the three assassins at Ake's Tavern and compensated for the loss of Shifty. In order to find out how the assassins ended up on Lothal, Bossk also intends to travel to the Capital City spaceport to visit a posting agency to access the Imperial Enforcement DataCore. To avoid detection, the two travel on an old jump bike to the spaceport.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Jenkes is informed by an RA-7 protocol droid about civilians gathering at Monad Outpost and the arrival of a freighter from Nyriaan carrying the Houk and Feeorin fighters Borbig Drob and Warjak. Before leaving to meet the fighters, Jenkes orders RA-7 to inform him if anybody accesses his data on the Imperial Enforcement DataCore.
Elsewhere, Ezra and Bossk infiltrate the Capital City spaceport with Bossk disguised as a blind Trandoshan named Mundokk of Wasskah. After passing through several stormtrooper sentries, the two make their way to the posting agency, which is manned by a Sakiyan posting agent. After paying the agent, Bossk checks the Imperial DataCore and discovers that Lieutenant Jenkes is impersonating the deceased Lieutenant Herdringer. Bossk also learns that Jenkes managed a gladiator arena on Nyriaan before joining the Empire and that Shifty Takkaro worked as Jenkes' book-keeper. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Jenkes learns that Bossk has accessed his Imperial files and dispatches Squad Three to hunt down and kill the bounty hunter.
Knowing that Jenkes is monitoring the Imperial Enforcement Datacore and has sent stormtroopers to arrest him, Bossk creates a distraction by blasting the posting agency's utilities and the approaching stormtroopers. After losing the stormtroopers and a pair of surveillance remotes in an alley, Bossk and Ezra infiltrate the posting agency. Bossk is determined to investigate the upcoming gladiator fight at the arena near Monad Outpost. Inside, Bossk is accosted by two Nimbanel and Ranat bounty hunters, who want to collect the Imperial bounty that Jenkes has placed on his head. After knocking out the two bounty hunters, Bossk and Ezra escape the stormtroopers with the former stealing the Nimbanel's helmet. Bossk and Ezra suspect that Jenkes must be the same person as the Commissioner. Ezra realizes that his friend Ferpil is in trouble and the two decide to steal a landspeeder.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Jenkes and his RA-7 protocol droid review hologram recordings of the "boy" seen with Bossk. Jenkes realizes that Ezra also works for the Xexto Ferpil Wallaway, who had been selling the tickets for the gladiatorial event. To maintain the secrecy of his criminal dealings, Jenkes disintegrates the RA-7 protocol droid with a blaster. He then departs on an armored landspeeder with two stormtroopers.
Showdown at Monad OutpostEdit
Ezra and Bossk travel to Wallaway's Pawn Shop but find that Lieutenant Jenkes has already killed Ferpil. While Ezra is distraught at the loss of his friend and mentor, Bossk convinces him to focus on stopping Jenkes. Ezra thinks that Bossk spooked Jenkes by looking up his records at the posting agency and is planning to run away and steal money from the gladiatorial arena at Monad Outpost. At the gladiatorial arena, the spectators including the visiting Chagrian place bets on the two competing fighters Borbig Drob and Warjak; the latter of whom the "Commissioner" has bribed to win. Meanwhile, Jenkes arrives with the stormtroopers. While his true intention is to steal the ticket and gambling proceeds, Jenkes tells the troopers that their plan is to storm the arena's box office and arrest the ringleaders.
While Ezra and Bossk park their landspeeder, Jenkes enters the box office and kills an Ishi Tib book-keeper. He then orders the stormtroopers to confiscate their haul and cart it back to their speeder. Jenkes secretly plans to kill the troopers. Bossk and Ezra intercept the stormtroopers carting away Credits in carts. Bossk dispatches the troopers with his mortar gun. During a brief verbal confrontation, Jenkes admits killing Herdringer and being the Commissioner. Before Bossk can apprehend him, Jenkes flees down a corridor which leads to the gladiatorial arena.
Bossk and Ezra give chase but Jenkes shoots the Trandoshan in the right thigh and steals his mortar rifle. In the presence of the crowd, Jenkes claims that Bossk is a wanted criminal. However, Ezra activates his stolen comlink which enables Bossk to demand a trial by combat to clear his name. Bossk challenges and quickly defeats Borbig and Warjak in combat. Having gotten the spectators' attention, Bossk exposes Jenkes as the Commissioner and the murderer of Lieutenant Herdringer, the pawnbroker Ferpil, and the Ish-Tibe book keeper. He also exposes Jenkes for trying to steal the spectators' credits. Jenkes tries to escape but Ezra disables his repulsorlift platform with an energy slingshot. Shortly later, Imperial forces storm the arena, having been alerted by Ezra's comlink which has been set on long-range mode.
The following morning, Ezra listens to a HoloNet News broadcast exonerating Bossk and crediting him with outing an illegal gambling match at Monad Outpost. Honoring their agreement to the letter, Bossk gives Ezra the contents of his strongbox. However, Ezra is dismayed to learn that it only contains 75 credits. Being in a generous mood, Bossk pays Ezra an additional 15 credits for working together. Before leaving Lothal, Bossk takes the corpse of the late Lieutenant Jenkes in a plastoid box.
While heading home to the abandoned tower, Ezra witnesses a dogfight between a TIE fighter and a diamond-shaped freighter. The freighter turns the tables on the TIE fighter and shoots it down, causing the fighter to crash on Lothal's plains. Ezra approaches the fighter, offering to help the pilot Valen Rudor. Despite Rudor rejecting his offer, Ezra opens the damaged canopy and steals the pilot's helmet. Enraged, Rudor unleashes the TIE fighter's laser cannons on Ezra, who avoids the blasts. In retaliation, Ezra fires his energy slingshot at Rudor, knocking him out. As Ezra makes his way home, he reflects on the diamond-shaped freighter that he encountered.
An Imperial propaganda recording from the Star Wars radio drama was adapted into this book along with the script for the Star Wars Rebels prequel short "Property of Ezra Bridger." The events of this story would later be referenced in Rebel Journal by Ezra Bridger.
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