- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Feb 2007
From the book
Han Solo, former Imperial officer, sat despondently at a sticky table in a dingy bar on Devaron, sipping an inferior Alderaanian ale and wishing he were alone. Not that he minded the other denizens of the bar—horned Devish males and furry Devish females, plus a smattering of nonhumans from other worlds. Han was used to aliens; he'd grown up with them aboard Trader's Luck, a large trading ship that wandered the spacelanes of the galaxy. By the time he was ten, Han had been able to speak and understand half a dozen nonhuman languages.
No, it wasn't the aliens around him. It was the alien beside him. Han took a swig of his ale, grimaced at the sour taste, then glanced sidelong at the cause of all his troubles. The huge, hairy being gazed back at him with concerned blue eyes. Han sighed heavily. If only he'd go home! But the Wookiee—Chew-something—utterly refused to go home to Kashyyyk, despite Han's repeated urging. The alien claimed he owed something called a "life debt" to former Imperial Lieutenant Han Solo.
Life debt . . . great. Just what I need, Han thought bitterly. A big furry nursemaid trailing after me, giving me advice, fussing over me if I drink too much, telling me he's gonna take care of me. Great. Just great.
Han scowled into his ale, and the pale, watery brew reflected his countenance back at him, distorting his features until he appeared nearly as alien as the Wookiee. What was his name? Chew-something. The Wookiee had told him, but Han wasn't good at pronouncing Wookiee, even though he understood it perfectly.
Besides, he didn't want to learn this particular Wookiee's name. If he learned his name, he'd likely never get rid of his hairy shadow.
Han rubbed a hand over his face blearily, feeling several days' stubble. Ever since he'd been kicked out of the service, he kept forgetting to shave. When he'd been a cadet, then a junior lieutenant, then a full lieutenant, he'd been meticulous with his grooming, the way an officer and a gentleman should be . . . but now . . . what difference did it make?
Han raised his glass in a slightly unsteady hand and gulped the sour ale. He put the empty tankard down, and glanced around the bar for the server. Need another drink. One more, and I'll feel much better. Just one more . . .
The Wookiee moaned quietly. Han's scowl deepened. "Keep your opinions to yourself, hairball," he snarled. "I'll know when I've had enough. Th' las' thing I need is a Wookiee playin' nursemaid for me."
The Wookiee—Chewbacca, that was it—growled softly, his blue eyes shadowed with concern. Han's lip curled. "I'm perfectly capable of lookin' after myself, and don't you forget it. Just 'cause I saved your furry butt from being vaporized doesn't mean you owe me a thing. I tol' you before—I owed a Wookiee, long ago. Owed her my life, coupla times over. So I saved you, 'cause I owed her."
Chewbacca made a sound halfway between a moan and a snarl. Han shook his head. "No, that means you don't owe me a thing, don't you get it? I owed her, but I couldn't repay her. So I helped you out, which makes us even . . . square. So will you please take those credits I gave you, and go back to Kashyyyk? You ain't doin' me any favors staying here, hairball. I need you like I need a blaster burn on my butt."
Affronted, Chewbacca drew himself up to his full Wookiee height. He growled low in his throat.
"Yeah, I know I tossed away my career and my livin' that day on Coruscant when I stopped Commander Nyklas from shootin' you. I hate...