The Lando Calrissian Adventures: Star Wars Legends

About the Book

A gambler, rogue, and adventurer, Lando is always on the frontier, scanning his sensors for easy credits and looking for action in galaxies near and far.

Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu
Lando Calrissian was born with a well-developed taste for the good life. So when he hears that ancient alien treasure is buried on the planets of the Rafa System, he hops aboard the Millennium Falcon and brushes up his rusty astrogation. He never stops to think that someone might be conning him, the connoisseur of cons.

Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon
A solar system with little more than luxury hotels catering to the underemployed filthy rich, the Oseon is every gambler’s dream come true. And so it is for Lando Calrissian, until he breaks the gambler’s cardinal rule: never beat an enforcer at a high-stakes game of chance.

Soon Lando and his feckless five-armed robot companion are being stalked by two enemies—one they know but cannot see and one they see but do not recognize . . . until it’s too late.

Lando Calrissian and the StarCave of ThonBoka
For a year, Lando Calrissian and his robot companion have roamed space in the Millennium Falcon, seeking or creating opportunities to turn an easy, but not too dishonest, credit.

But now their partnership seems doomed—for Lando’s uncharacteristic impulse to help a race of persecuted aliens has suddenly made them vulnerable to several sets of their own enemies . . . not least of whom is the evil Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund!
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The Lando Calrissian Adventures: Star Wars Legends

1

Gold-braided flight cap carefully adjusted to a rakish angle, a freshly suave and debonair Captain Lando Calrissian bounded down the boarding ramp of the ultralightspeed freighter Millennium Falcon—and cracked his forehead painfully on the hatchcoaming.

“Ouch! By the Eternal!” Staggered, he glanced discreetly around, making sure no one had seen him, and sighed. Now what the deuce was it Ground Control had wanted him to look at?

They’d put it rather ungenteelly . . .

“What’s that garbage on your thrust-intermix cowling, Em Falcon, over?”

Well, it had been something they could say without insulting references to the amateurish way he’d skidded, setting her down on the Teguta Lusat tarmac. Atmospheric entry hadn’t been anything to brag about, either. Gambler he may have been, scoundrel perhaps, and what he preferred thinking of as “con artiste.”

But ship-handler he was definitely not.

He frowned, reminded of that rental pilot droid he’d wasted a substantial deposit on, back in the Oseon. Let ’em try to collect the rest of that bill!

Stepping—gingerly this time—around the hydraulic ramp lifter, he backed away from under the smallish cargo vessel (which invariably reminded him of a bloated horseshoe magnet), shading his eyes with one hand.

Intermix cowling . . . intermix cowling . . . now where in the name of Chaos would you find—

“Yeek!”

The noise had come from Lando, not the hideous leathery excrescence that had attached itself to his ship. It merely flapped and fluttered grotesquely, glaring down at him with malevolent yellow eyes as it scrabbled feebly at the hull, unaccustomed to the gravity of Rafa IV.

Two hideous leathery excrescences!

Four!

Lando pelted back up the ramp, slamming the Emergency Close lever and continuing to the cockpit. The right-hand seat was temporarily missing, in its place bolted the glittering and useless Class Five pilot droid, its monitor lights blinking idiotically.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” the robot smirked, despite the daylight pouring through the vision screens from outside, “and welcome aboard the pleasure yacht Arleen, now in interstellar transit from Antipose IX to—”

The young gambler snarled with frustration, slapped the pilot’s off switch, and threw himself into the left acceleration couch, just as one of the disgusting alien parasites began suckering its way across the windscreen, fang corrosives clouding the transparency.

“Ground Control? I say, Ground Control! What the devil are these things?”

A long, empty pause. Then Lando remembered: “Oh, yes . . . over!”

“They’re mynocks, you simpering groundlubber! You’re supposed to shake them off in orbit! Now you’ve violated planetary quarantine, and you’ll have to take care of it yourself: nobody’s gonna dirty his—”

With a growl of his own, Lando punched the squelch button. If they weren’t going to help him, he could do without their advice. Mynocks . . . ah, yes: tough, omnivorous creatures, capable of withstanding the rigors of hard vacuum and Absolute temperatures. They were the rats of space, attaching themselves to unwary ships, usually in some asteroid belt.

The Oseon System was nothing but asteroids!

Hitching a ride from sun to sun, planet to planet, mynocks typically—

Good grief! He jumped up, banging his head again, this time on the overhead throttle board—stupid place to put it!—and made quick, if clumsy progress aft to the engine area. He’d just remembered something else he’d read or heard about mynocks: subjected to planet-sized gravity, they collapsed, dying rapidly . . .

After reproducing.

In a locker, he found a vacuum-tight worksuit, also scrounged up a steamhose and couplings. Shucking into the greasy plastic outfit—a pang of regret: he was ruining his mauve velvoid semiformals!—he ratcheted the steamline to a reactor let-off, cranked open the topside airlock, and, trailing hose, clambered out onto the hull.

A mynock waited greedily for him, alerted by the unavoidable rumble of the hatch cover, its spore sacs shiny and distended. It was ugly, perhaps a meter across, winged like a bat, tailed (if that was the proper word for it) like a stingray, poison-toothed like a—

“Yeek!” The mynock, this time.

It floundered toward him, dragging itself along by a ventral sucker-disk. The only thing uglier than mynocks, Lando thought, were the larvae they spawned on planet surfaces. He leaped as it flicked a clawed wingtip at him, his awkwardness aboard ship bred more of unfamiliarity in a new environment than any native lack of agility. He twisted the hose nozzle, spraying the monster with superheated vapor from the Falcon’s thermal-exchange system.

It screamed and writhed, flesh melting away to expose the cartilage it used instead of bones. This, too, reduced quickly, washed down the curved surface of the ship, leaving nothing but gelatinous slime steaming on the spaceport asphalt.

A noise behind him.

Side vision impaired by the suit, Lando whirled just in time to ram the nozzle into a second mynock’s gaping maw. It swelled and burst. Fastidiously, he played steam over himself to remove the dissolving organic detritus, then stalked grimly forward, finally destroying seven of the sickening things in all.

“Good going, Ace!” Teguta Lusat Ground Control sneered through his helmet receiver as he wiggled back through the upper airlock hatchway. “Didn’t you get an instruction booklet when you sent your box-tops in for that pile of junk you’re flying? Over.”

Pile of junk?

The only pile of junk in the neighborhood, thought Lando, sweating in his bulky armor as he cranked the hatch back down and stowed the steamlines, was that brainless rent-a-bot up forward. Hmmm. That gave him an idea.

“Hello, Ground Control,” he warbled pleasantly from the cockpit only seconds after worming back out of the plastic vac-suit. “I’ll have you know that this stout little vessel’s often made the run to your overrated mudball in record-breaking time.”

Once upon a time. At least that’s what her former owner claimed, trying to bid up the battered freighter’s pot value in a sabacc game he was losing badly. Lando’s rented droid had failed miserably to coax anything near the advertised velocities out of the ship.

Probably some trick to it.

“By the way,” Lando continued, “I seem to have the knack of handling this baby now. Would anyone care to purchase a practically new pilot droid? Over?”

“We’ve heard that one before, Millennium Eff. That rental outfit in the Oseon may not maintain offices here, but they’ve got treaty rights. You’ll have to send it back fast-freight. Expensive. Over and out.”

* * * 

It wasn’t quite as bad as he’d expected.

Lando shipped the droid back slow-freight, balancing the extra rental time against the transportation costs. Evening had begun to fall before he’d taken care of that, plus all of the complicated official paperwork attendant upon grounding an interstellar spacecraft anywhere the word “civilized” is considered complimentary.

Tonight, he’d relax.

He needed it, after traveling with that confounded robot. Get a feel for the territory—by which he meant identifying potential marks, locating those social gatherings that others foolishly regarded as games of chance.

Tomorrow, he’d take care of business.

The Rafa System was famous for three things: its “life-crystals”; the peculiar orchards from which they were harvested; and what might have been called “ruins” if the colossal monuments left by the Sharu hadn’t remained in such excellent repair.

The crystals were nothing special—as long as you regarded quadrupling human life expectancy “nothing special.” Varying from pinhead to fist-sized, their mere presence near the body was said to enhance intelligence (or stave off senility) and to have some odd effect on dreaming.

They could be cultivated only on the eleven planets, assorted moons, and any other rocks that offered sufficient atmosphere and warmth, of the Rafa System.

The life-orchards themselves were nearly as famous—after the manner of guillotines, disintegration chambers, nerve racks, and electric chairs. It was not the sort of agriculture amenable to automation—the crystals were harvestable only under the most debilitating and menial of conditions. However, the operation was attractive financially because it came with its own built-in sources of cheap labor, two, to be exact: the subhuman natives of the Rafa, plus the criminal and political refuse of a million other systems.

The Rafa was, among its other distinctive features, a penal colony where a life sentence meant certain death.

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About the Author

L. Neil Smith
L. Neil Smith was the two-time winner of the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian Fiction for his novels Pallas and The Probability Broach. More by L. Neil Smith
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