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Assault at Selonia

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Assault at Selonia

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Author: Roger MacBride Allen
Publisher: Bantam Spectra, 1995
Series: Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy: Book 2

1. Ambush at Corellia
2. Assault at Selonia
3. Showdown at Centerpoint

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Galactic Empire
Space Opera
Avg Member Rating:
(22 reads / 7 ratings)


Imprisoned on the planet Corellia, Han Solo finds himself at the mercy of his evil cousin, Thracken Sal-Solo. Thracken plans to restore the Imperial system and seize total power -- no matter what the cost. Han has one chance to stop him. But to do so he must turn his back on his human cousin and join forces with a female alien. Dracmus was arrested as a ringleader in a plot against the corrupt Human League. Now she and Han will attempt a daring escape to Selonia in time to warn Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Lando of Thracken's plan. But can Han trust the alien to keep her word?

Meanwhile, other questions threaten the New Republic -- and the lives of millions. Who is behind the deadly Starbuster plot? Why is someone attempting to take possession of Corellia's powerful planetary repulsors? And what is the secret behind the mysterious Centerpoint Station, and ancient, artificial world of unknown origin that has suddenly -- and inexplicably -- come alive?



Family Ties

Hands tied behind his back, Han Solo stumbled as the guards shoved him into the gloomy audience chamber. He realized a moment too late that the floor of the central area was a half meter below the level of the entrance. Moving too fast to stop, he fell over the edge. His shoulder slammed down onto the hard stone floor.

Han rolled over onto his side, then levered himself up into a sitting position. The guards who had shoved him into the chamber stepped back out and slammed the portal shut behind them. Han was alone in the echoing gloom.

He looked around, wondering what was next. At least he was out of that cell. That was something. Not much, maybe, but something. And of course, whatever came next was not likely to be an improvement. In his experience, it was reasonably safe to be filed away in a cell. It was when you were pulled out that the trouble began.

Han got himself up onto his feet and looked around. The walls and floors of the place were made of some sort of utilitarian dark gray stresscrete, and there was a dank scent to the air that suggested the windowless chamber was underground. The room was about twenty meters wide and thirty long, with the central floor set a half meter below a two-meter-wide platform that ran around the chamber's perimeter. There were four heavy steel doors, one on each side of the chamber, each of them opening out onto the perimeter platform. Anyone who stood on the platform would be looking down at whoever was in the central area.

The door he had entered was at his back, and he was facing a not quite thronelike chair made of dark wood on the opposite side of the perimeter platform. The chair was large and grand enough that whoever got into it would probably be taller sitting than standing. Han would have an eye-level view of the occupant's knees. That chair told him a good deal about why he was here, and who was going to see him.

Han continued his survey of the chamber. Aside from the throne chair, the place was undecorated, and poorly lit. Nor was it that well made. There were cracks in the floor, and whatever sort of stresscrete they had used in the walls was crumbly-looking. A rush job.

Han had been in a lot of impressive places, and a lot of places that tried to be impressive. This place definitely fit into the second category. The Human League had clearly wanted a chamber that would overawe its prisoners as the Hidden Leader sat in judgment--or watched them die for the fun of it--but clearly the League hadn't had the time or resources for a first-class job. All very interesting, but it wasn't the sort of information that might help keep him alive.

Han turned his attention back to the chair. That was obviously where the Big Man would sit when he got here--and Han had a very good idea of who the Big Man was going to be.

There was really only one man it could be. His cousin, Thrackan Sal-Solo. Good old murderous, scheming, vindictive, paranoid Thrackan. That was the who, but what was the why? At a minimum, Thrackan wanted to get a look at Han. There was good news and bad news in that. Obviously, they had been keeping him alive for this meeting. But would they have any reason to keep him alive afterward? Did Thrackan have any further use for him?

After all, Han had blown up half a squadron of Pocket Patrol Boats. That was offense enough to get a fellow executed most places, and this place was no better than most.

Nor would his relationship to Thrackan do him any good. Once Thrackan had indulged his curiosity, he would be quite capable of killing Han on the spot.

No, Han knew he wasn't going to live through this because of family feeling. He would have to make himself seem valuable to Thrackan if he wanted to survive. But he had no intention of being the slightest help to Thrackan's Human League.

So how to seem to be valuable without actually doing these thugs any good?

Han heard something moving on the other side of the doors behind the not-quite-throne. He had run out of time for thinking.

Han backed away a step or two from the door. If Thrackan the adult was anything like the Thrackan of Han's childhood, he was going to have to be careful, very careful, in the way he played this. Thrackan, as he recalled, had been quite young when he had started making a show of pulling the wings off insects and beating up smaller children. He had found out very early just how loudly a reputation for cruelty could speak. Here's what I do to someone I'm not even mad at. What do you think will happen if I get mad at you? There were those in the Galaxy for whom cruelty, threats, and intimidation were art forms. Not Thrackan. He used them as blunt instruments, weapons. Which was not to say that he did not enjoy his work.

The doors swung fully open and a double line of seedy-looking men in officers' uniforms came in. One column turned and marched around the corner of the platform to the left of the throne, the other to the right. The two columns lined up on the perimeter platform to either side of the big chair, turned, and faced forward, eyes straight ahead, staring at each other across the center of the room, right over Han's head.

Judging by the insignia, which seemed to follow the old Imperial pattern, these were some very senior officers indeed. But today's field marshals had, no doubt, been yesterday's malcontents. Fancy uniforms and a forest of shoulder pips did not make the wearer a seasoned officer worthy of respect. These fellows were no more the equals of the Imperial officers of the past than a child with a toy lightsaber would be a match for Luke Skywalker.

By the looks of their paunches, none of them had done any real training in years. Their bleary eyes, flushed faces, and unshaved jaws--and the smell of strong drink that wafted in with them--told Han that at least some of these very grand officers had been doing some fairly serious celebrating the night before. That was a bit premature. How could even the most drunken of fools think that the Human League had won already?

Plainly, this crowd was not made up of Galaxy-class minds. They were here as window dressing, and nothing more. Han paid them no more mind. He turned his attention back to the open door behind the big chair. There was a moment's delay, either because the Great Man was running late, or because someone thought it made for a more dramatic entrance. But then, Thrackan Sal-Solo, onetime Hidden Leader of the Human League, and now the self-declared Diktat of the Corellian Sector--came into the room. He walked with the brisk, steady confidence of a man who knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going, a man absolutely certain he could do the job at hand. Thrackan Sal-Solo stepped around the right-hand side of the big chair, came forward to the edge of the platform and paused there a moment. He stared long and hard at his long-lost cousin, and Han stared back.

Han felt as if he were staring into a strange, distorting mirror. Thrackan wore Han's face, or else Han wore his. Not that one could not be told from the other. Thrackan's hair was darker, a black-brown shot through with gray. He was a few kilos heavier, and he had a neatly trimmed beard. Thrackan was perhaps two or three centimeters taller than Han. There was a harshness, a ruthlessness, not just in Thrackan's expression, but in the set of his face, as if that look of anger and suspicion was the one his face fell into most naturally.

But even those differences did little more than emphasize how much they were alike. Han felt as if that imaginary mirror were showing him the man he might have been. He did not like the idea. Not one little bit. This first meeting was a lot more disconcerting than he had expected it to be.

It was not just Han who saw the resemblance. The uniformed types that lined the two sides of the room were obviously supposed to keep eyes ahead, but not one of them could resist the temptation to stare first at Han, and then at Thrackan. Small murmurs of astonishment filled the room.

Indeed, it seemed as if Thrackan were the only one who did not find it all off-putting. He looked down at Han with a calm and steady gaze.

Han decided he had better do his best to take it all in stride as well. Or at least pretend. "Hello, Thrackan," he said. "I sort of figured I'd be seeing you."

"And hello to you, Han," his cousin replied, in a voice that was startlingly similar to Han's. "Some things never change, do they?"

"I'm not exactly sure I know what you mean."

"Back in the old days, Han," Thrackan said. "Back in the old days. You were always the one who liked to play games. And I was always the one who had to come in and clean up after you."

"That's not exactly the way I remember it," Han said. Thrackan had never cleaned up after himself, let alone anyone else. But he had always been good at making it seem like he had. Most bullies were good at playing the victim. Thrackan had never had the slightest problem blaming others for his foul-ups, or taking all the credit for someone else's effort and success. "But you're right," Han went on. "Some things never change."

Copyright © 1995 by Roger MacBride Allen


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