Authors: Brian Daley
THE HAN SOLO ADVENTURES
Han Solo drove his swoop into the weather station’s giant emission cylinder. The pursuing craft hung back a moment, then followed.
“Stay gripped!” he called to the woman behind him, jockeying the swoop to face his enemies. They scattered, then dropped onto his tail again, ready to trap him at the cylinder’s far end.
Han speeded up once more. The end of the emission cylinder was swinging, first revealing and then concealing meter-and-a-half-wide openings in the gridwork. The opening Han had selected expanded before him as he drove toward it. There was a terrible moment of doubt … then the gridwork passed him like a shadow, and they were in the open.
He took a quick look behind. Pieces of wreckage were raining slowly toward the ground; one of his pursuers had tried to emulate him and failed …
A Del Rey
Published by The Random House Publishing Group
HAN SOLO AT STARS’ END copyright © 1979 by The Star
HAN SOLO’S REVENGE copyright © 1979 by Lucasfilm Ltd.
HAN SOLO AND THE LOST LEGACY copyright © 1980 by Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Del Rey Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Del Rey is a registered trademark and the Del Rey colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
A book for Linda Kuehl
and, with particular gratitude,
for John A. Kearney
HAN Solo nearly had the control-stem leads hooked up, a sweaty job that had him stuck under the low-slung airspeeder for almost an hour, when there was a kick at his foot. “What’s holding things up?”
The leads, now gathered together in precise order, sprang free of his fingers, going every which way. With a scalding Corellian malediction, Han shoved against the machine’s undercarriage, and his repulsor-lift mechanic’s creeper slid out from under the airspeeder.
Han leaped up instantly to confront Grigmin, his temporary employer, the color on his face changing from the red of frustration to a darker and more dangerous hue. Han was lean, of medium height, and appeared younger than his actual age. His eyes were guarded, intense.
Grigmin, tall, broad shouldered, handsomely blond, and some years younger than Han, either didn’t notice his pit-crewman’s anger or chose not to acknowledge it. “Well? What about it? That airspeeder’s an important part of my show.”
Han attempted not to lose his scant temper. Working as pit-crewman to Grigmin’s one-man airshow on a circuit of fifth-rate worlds had been the only job he and his partner, Chewbacca, had been able to get when they found they needed work, but Grigmin’s unrelenting arrogance made the task of keeping his outmoded aircraft running nearly unbearable.
“Grigmin,” Han said, “I’ve warned you before. You put
too much strain on your hardware. You could stay well within performance tolerances and still complete every maneuver in your routines. But instead you showboat, with junk heaps that were obsolete when the Clone Wars were news.”
Grigmin’s grin grew even wider. “Save the excuses, Solo. Will my airspeeder be ready for my afternoon show, or have you and your Wookiee sidekick decided you don’t like working for me?”
Masterpiece of understatement!
Han thought to himself, but mumbled, “She’ll be in the air again if Fadoop gets here with the replacement parts.”
Now Grigmin frowned. “You should have gone for them yourself. I never trust these useless locals; it’s a rule I have.”
“If you want me to use a starship for a crummy surface-to-surface skip, you’ll have to pay the expenses—up front.” Han would sooner trust a local like the amiable, gregarious Fadoop than a shifty deadbeat like Grigmin.
Grigmin ignored the invitation to part with some cash. “I want my airspeeder ready,” he concluded and left to prepare for the next part of his performance, an exhibition of maneuvers with a one-man jetpack.
Maneuvers any academy greenie could do
, Han thought.
These backwater worlds are the only place anyone would pay to see a feeble act like Grigmin’s
Still, if it hadn’t been for Grigmin’s needing a pitcrew, Han Solo and the Wookiee, Chewbacca, freelance smugglers, would have been on the Hurt Vector. He adjusted his sweatband, toed the mechanic’s creeper over to him, settled onto it, and pulled himself back under the airspeeder.
Groping half-heartedly for the control leads, Han wondered just what it was that made his luck so erratic. He had had strokes of good fortune that rivaled anything he had ever heard of, but at other times.…
He barked his knuckles, swore a mighty oath, and mulled over the fact that only a short time ago he and his Wookiee partner had held the galaxy by the tail. They had defied a slavery ring in the Corporate Sector, held the Authority’s
dreaded Security Police at bay with a Territorial Manager as hostage, and come out of the deal ten thousand credits richer.
But since then there had been needed repairs for their starship, the
, and monumental celebrations on a dozen worlds as they put the Corporate Sector behind them. Then there had been ill-fated smuggling ventures: a ruinous try at clotheslegging in the Cron Drift; a failed Military Script-exchange plot in the Lesser Plooriod Cluster; and more, each adventure bringing a little closer that day when they would find themselves among the needy.
So they had ended up here in the Tion Hegemony, so far out among the lesser star systems of the vast Empire that the Imperials didn’t even bother to exert direct control over it. In the Tion tended to congregate the petty grifters, unsuccessful con-artists, and unprosperous crooks of the galaxy. They ran
-root, picked up R’alla mineral water for the smuggling run to Rampa, swiped, ambushed, connived, and attempted in a thousand ways to fuel careers temporarily at a standstill.
Han considered all this as he carefully gathered the leads, once again separating them delicately. At least with Grigmin, Han and Chewbacca were paid, once in a while.
But that didn’t make it any easier to take Grigmin’s highhandedness. What particularly irritated Han was that Grigmin considered himself the hottest stunt pilot in space. Han had entertained the idea of taking a swing at the younger man, but Grigmin was a former heavyweight unarmed combat champion.…
His musings were interrupted by another kick that jolted his boot. The control leads sprang from his hands again. Furious, he pushed off against the airspeeder’s undercarriage, jumped off the mechanic’s creeper, and, combat champion or no, launched himself at his tormentor …
… and was caught up instantly against a wide shaggy chest in a frightfully strong but restrained hug and held a half-meter or so off the ground.
“Chewie! Let go, you big … all right; I’m sorry.”
Thick arms muscled like loops of steel released him. The Wookiee Chewbacca glared down from his towering height, growling a denunciation of Han’s manners, his reddish-brown brows lowered, his fangs showing. He shook a long, hairy finger at his partner for emphasis and tried straightening the Authority Security Police admiral’s hat perched rakishly on his head, his lush mane escaping from beneath it.
The admiral’s hat was just about the only thing the two still had from their adventures in the Corporate Sector. Chewbacca had taken a fancy to its bright braid, snowy-white material, glossy black brim, and ornate insignia during an exchange of hostages just before their hasty departure from that region of space. In his people’s tradition of counting coup on their enemies, the Wookiee had demanded the hat as part of the ransom. Han, pressed by events, had indulged him.
Now the pilot threw up his hands. “Enough! I
I was sorry. I thought you were that vapor-brain Grigmin again. Now what?”
Han’s giant copilot informed him that Fadoop had arrived. Fadoop stood nearby on her feet and knuckles, an unusually fat and outgoing native of the planet Saheelindeel. A short, bandy-legged, and densely green-furred primate, she was a local wheeler-dealer who flew an aircraft of sorts, an informal assemblage of parts and components from various scrapped fliers, a craft which she called
Pulling off his sweatband, Han walked toward Fadoop. “You scrounged the parts? Good gal!”
Fadoop, scratching behind one ear with a big toe, removed a malodorous black cigar from her mouth and blew a smoke ring. “Anything for Solo-my-friend. Are we not soulsealed buddies, you, me, and the Big One here, this Wookiee? But, ahh, there is a matter—”
Fadoop looked away somewhat embarrassed. Working the quid of
-root that swelled her cheek, she spat a stream of red liquid into the dust. “I trust Solo-my-friend, but not Grigmin-the-blowhard. I hate to bring up money.”