Star Wars: Darkness Rising: The Threat Within – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Han leaned against the door frame and watched as the Lady Luck glided toward the landing deck.  He straightened up as he noticed several jagged pieces of metal sticking out from under the ship.   “What have you gotten yourself into Lando?” Han muttered.  

Lando saw Han watching the ship come down.  “I didn’t expect him to meet me at the landing pad,” Lando said.  The ship dipped a little then leveled out.  “Number two repulsor is shot,” he said. 

Nien nodded and sighed.  When the ship touched down, he motioned Lando toward the back saying something to him. 

Lando smiled.  “Yeah, you get the easy job, I have to explain this to Han and Leia.” 

Han winced as the landing ramp descended with an audible screech of protesting metal.   He watched Lando come down the ramp.  ‘He’s looking old,’ Han thought then laughed.  Lando was only a few years older than he was. 

“Lando, what happened?” Han asked when Lando got close to him. 

Lando looked back and shook his head.  “It’s a long story, Han.”  He turned Han and looked at him.  “Look at you, a suit and everything.  Respectable living suits you.”  He took him in a hug.  “It’s been too long,” he said. 

Han hugged him then stepped back looking his friend over.  “I run a shipping company, legal shipping at that.  What, it’s been six years since I last saw you?”

“Seven,” Lando corrected.  “Got bored with the casino business.  What have you been up to?” 

Han smiled.  “Not much.  Though I am a grandfather now.” 

Lando grinned.  “Seriously?  Ben or Janna?” 

Han smiled. “Janna.  She got married three years ago.” 

“So, did she give up the Jedi?” Lando asked. 

Han rubbed the back of his neck. “Not really.  She said that she lost the attraction to it and wanted to do something else.  Luke said he wasn’t going to force anyone to stay in the Jedi that didn’t wish to.  He thinks that may have been some of the problem with the Jedi before the Empire.” 

Lando nodded.  “Where’s Leia?” he asked. 

“She should be just finishing with the Senate,” Han told him.  “We can probably catch her in her office.”  Han looked back at the ship.  “It’s about what happened to your ship, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but I would rather not talk about it in public.” 

“That’s fine.”  Han put two fingers in his mouth and whistled.  One of the nearby droids turned its head toward him.  Han pointed at the Lady Luck.  “J3, get a crew together and have it fixed.”  The droid whistled.  Several other whistles echoed around the landing pad and more droids joined it heading toward the Lady Luck.

“Han, you don’t need to do that,” Lando said. 

Han rolled his eyes.  “Do you see any other ships here on the landing pad?  Every ship I own is out doing runs.  They are just sitting around sucking energy; they might as well do something useful.” 

Lando nodded.  “Thanks, I owe you one.” 

Han shook his head.  “Man, we don’t need to keep score.   We’ve been through too much after Endor to even think about keeping track.” 

“I suppose you are right.”  Lando looked around for a moment as they waited for a lift. “Hey, where is the Falcon?”

“Chewy has it.  He had to take his nephew to Kashyyyk for a family reunion.  I think he is due back in about a week or so.” 

They walked down the large corridor, passing well-dressed beings from across the galaxy.   Several said greeted them in passing as they walked.  Lando didn’t cover his shock at seeing a large Hutt on a hover sled who greeted Han by name as they passed.  

“Krorke Zanuu,” Han explained as they approached a pair of senatorial guards stationed at a door.  “Ambassador from Nal Hutta.  They aren’t part of the new Republic but I think they are trying to improve their relationship with us.  The Republic came down hard on the slave trafficking going on around Hutt space, broke up several rings and cost the Hutts several billion credits in losses in ships, personnel, and product.  Also, we have two complete fleets on constant maneuvers near their claimed territory which is making some of their businesses difficult.” 

Lando whistled.  “Really? The Empire didn’t even lay the smack down on the Hutts like that.” 

Han laughed.  “The Empire had deals with the Hutts, so not surprising.” 

They stopped at the door in front of the two guards.  “General Solo, General Calrissian,” one of them said, his voice slightly muffled through his helmet.  “Chancellor Organa-Solo just arrived a few minutes ago.  Let me announce you.”

Lando shook his head and started to say something before Han stopped him.  “You might be retired but they are just following protocol.  I gave up trying to get them to quit calling me that a few years ago.” 

The guard tapped the side of his helmet and said something that couldn’t be heard by Han and Lando.  He stepped aside and keyed the door open.  “Have a good afternoon, Sirs.” 

They entered the outer office area which was empty save for a small blue protocol droid.   “Good afternoon, Han,” it said in a pleasant female voice then it looked to Lando.  “General Calirissian, it is good to meet you as well.  I am D4P3, Chancellor Organa-Solo’s personal assistant.  If you need anything please just ask.”  It pressed a button on the desk and a door opened on the wall behind the desk where it sat.  “She is expecting you.”

“Call me Lando,” Lando said as he followed Han toward the door.

“As you wish, Lando,” it said, its voice taking on a slightly sultry tone.  

Lando could have sworn that one of its eyes winked off as if it were winking at him but when he looked fully it was turned back it the desk reading information on a holodisplay before it.  He shook his head and continued into the office. 

Leia have Han a hug and quick kiss.  “Lando,” she said with a smile.  “It’s been a while.”

Lando took Leia’s hand and kissed it.  “It has indeed, Princess.”  

She laughed and gave him a hug.  “It’s Leia or Chancellor if you are having to be formal.”  She motioned toward a sitting area and sat down on the couch with Han.  “What brings you to this wretched hive of scum and villainy?” she asked. 

Lando sighed.  “I got jumped by the Empire,” he said. 

Leia felt his anxiety and could tell this was pretty serious.  She held up a hand to stop him from talking. “PDP5, please do a security sweep of the office,” she said. 

“Affirmative,” came a deep voice from the corner.   A massive droid stepped out of a recess in the wall and walked around the room.   There were no visible weapons on it but Lando was certain that it was armed to the teeth. 

“I expected you to have C3PO working for you,” Lando said. 

Leia shook her head.  “No.  C3PO is with Luke helping him out.”

“I still like having GoldenRod around more than Blue,” Han said pointing at the door they had came through. 

Leia swatted Han.  “You just got unnerved because D4 understands how to flirt.” 

Han made a face at her and shook his head. 

There was a whine as a small unit hovered off of PDP5’s back and up to the vent.  It opened the vent and pulled out a small piece of metal.  It floated over to PDP5 and dropped it into its outstretched hand before returning to its back.   “Transmitter, Chancellor.  It looks Bothan made but I detect no residue on it.  Should I destroy it and enact masking?”

“Bothan?” Lando asked.  

Leia sighed.  “Bothan made. It might be Senator Virsk.  He is still upset that the Senate keeps voting to keep me as Chancellor.”  She looked at PDP5.  “Go ahead.  It will let him know that we know.”  PDP5 pinched the unit between its fingers until it shattered.  There was a slight hissing noise coming from the droid before It then returned to its alcove.   

“So do you really need a combat droid?” Lando asked. 

Leia sighed.  “I want to say no, but yeah.  It has a multifunction capability.   It is also a translator and protocol droid as well as a functional combat and protection droid.  Jana helped program it.  At times, it’s been a life saver.”  She looked at Lando, realizing that he was stalling a little.  “You were attacked?”

Lando nods.  “Yeah.  Get comfortable, I am going to have to give you some background.”   

Leia sighed as she stirred her drink.   “This sounds bad, Lando.   However I can’t do anything.” 

Lando didn’t cover his surprise.  “Why not?”

Leia set her drink down and stood.  “Because if I bring this to the Senate or even the Intelligence Bureau, they will dig in to this.  They might even look into the possibility that this is something being set up by the Imperials.  However, one, “she said holding up a finger, “it is going to take them time, the Senate longer than IB.  Two, they will also look into you.  You already admitted breaking Republic Law by not turning over the Imperial cache when you found it.  What else have you been up to that hasn’t been above board?  Who else might get in trouble over this?” 

Lando scowled.  “Well then we do nothing until something happens?” he asked. 

She shook her head. “I never said that, Lando.   I said I can’t help you.   What you need to do is to go to Yavin 4 and talk to Luke or Ben.”  She gave him a smile.  “The new Jedi Council is based on Yavin 4.   Luke is avoiding having them be the peacekeepers of the Galaxy like they were before Palpatine took over.   However, they are not beyond looking into things and giving the Republic good information.   If it wasn’t for the Jedi, we would not be getting ahead of the problems that the Hutts were causing.” 

“Did Ben become a Jedi?” Lando asked, curious.  He knew that Ben had been studying under Luke since he was around six or seven.  

Leia nodded.  “Actually, he was made Master about four years ago when his first Padawan became Jedi.  I think he decided to stay on and teach more Padawans.”

Lando sighed and settled back in his chair.  “Do you think they will help?” 

Han shook his head.  “Probably not directly.  But Luke will probably get one or two of the Jedi to start looking into things.” 

Lando sighed.   “Might be for the best.”  He looked at them both.  “Seeing the Imperials with a new type of fighter that is FTL as well as a raider with interdiction fields… It makes me nervous.” 

Han walked over to one of the terminals and typed something in.   “Ok, the Lady Luck will be fully repaired by tomorrow afternoon.  Why don’t you grab Nien and we can all go out for dinner.” 

Shawn Bennett

When I was 7, I saw Star Wars: A New Hope in theaters a week after it opened. My parents were nice enough to take me and I have been a fan of Star Wars and almost all science fiction in general. I am an amateur writer who has been published for contributing flavor text to a RP game. I also have a copyright on a novel I hope to be able to publish sometime soon.