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Much the same as Luke Skywalker in a previous issue, Han Solo has been asked to invite planetary leaders to a Galactic Congress. After delivering an invite to the people of Zhotta 3, Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot make their way to a low-life cantina on a backwater world to relax. Solo's card-playing abilities eventually sees him taking the money from every gambler in the house. However, one gambler decides to make one final bet, for more interesting stakes. He decides to wager a crystal which he found in the Seoul 5 system as well as a holo-map to the system, against Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon. Solo is skeptical of the man's story, as the popular tale is that Seoul 5 was destroyed in a cosmic war eons ago, and the only Seoularian presence is in old abandoned outposts. The man becomes angry at Solo's disbelief and tells him his story. He was an advance scout for the Galactic Empire Exploratory Division when a meteor hit his ship just as he was entering hyperspace. Upon finding the system, he landed on the fifth planet where he discovered the crystal that he now possesses. He returned to the Empire, but due to the escalating conflict of the war, he was unable to earn enough money for a return trip. As a final piece of proof that his story is true, he uses the crystal to telekinetically throw Chewbacca across the toom. Intrigued by the man's story, Solo agrees to the bet. The man lays down a "full system", content that he has won Solo's ship, since the odds against beating his hand are "astronomical". However, Solo still has the winning hand. The man, infuriated over his loss, draws his blaster, yelling that Solo is a cheat. Upon hearing the man's claims, and still sore about losing their money to Solo, the rest of the cantina pulls their weapons, intending to gun Solo down. Chewbacca and Solo are only barely able to escape, and without their winnings. However, Solo has snatched the holo-map and the crystal, and he decides to investigate the man's story.
The Millennium Falcon arrives in the Seoul 5 system, where they spot Seoul 5, just as the spy had told them. However, as they go to land on the world, Chewbacca picks up humanoid life-signals coming from the planet. Solo is puzzled by the presence of another group, but they land anyway, on the outskirts of an ancient city. Solo decides to investigate on his own, claiming that he needs Chewbacca back at the ship in case they need to make a quick getaway. Although the Wookiee is skeptical about splitting up, he agrees to remain with the Falcon. Meanwhile, the humanoid lifeforms detected by the two Rebels happen to be an Imperial landing force. Despite Palpatine's death, their large ship has come to Seoul 5 by the order of one of the Emperor's Imperial Governors in pursuit of further wealth and power. The leader, of the Imperials, Captain Drezzel, has detected the arrival of the Millennium Falcon, and he summons his Force Adept, Adjutant Ssssk! to track down the intruders. The Imperials make their way into the main city, where they find Solo investigating an ancient statue of the Mother Goddess, Onrai, the apparent mistress of the planet Notron, cradle of all Humans in the galaxy. Solo is skeptical of the claim of Notron, as at least a half-dozen other planets make the same claim. Just as he is pondering the statue, he is struck by a telekinetic attack by Ssssk!, causing him to collapse. After a brief shootout ensues, Solo presses a button on the statue, transporting him through a trap door and into the crystal room that the old man had described. However, the Imperials had already set up shop in the room. As Solo comes closer to the crystals, they begin to whine loudly, attracted to the crystal that Solo already possesses. Before he can investigate further, a group of stormtroopers appears, and Solo is forced to duck out of sight.
Inside a small room that Solo goes to hide in, he finds two tied-up xenoarchaeologists, Dr. Xathan and his assistant Fem Nu-Ar. The two, quickly explain that they were the ones who led the Imperials to the planet on an information gathering expedition. Upon discovering the crystals, they had learned that the devices were used by the Seoularians to power everything in their city. Unfortunately, upon making this discovery, they were mind probed by Ssssk!, who immediately informed Drezzel. The Imperials quickly took the archaeologists prisoner, planning to use the crystals for weapons development. Fem Nu-Ar pleads with Solo to help them escape and steal the crystals from the Imperials to keep them from manipulating the crystals in such a way. Solo agrees to help them, and after untying the two archaeologists, he uses his hiding place to stun the stormtroopers in the area. As the trio attempt to gather up the crystals, the other crystals begin to hum once again. Intrigued by the odd reaction of the crystals, Dr. Xathan demands to see what Solo has with him. Upon showing the archaeologists the crystal that he had brought with him, the two are shocked, claiming that it is the Key crystal, the main crystal which powers all the others. Before they can decide what to do with it, the Imperials, led by Drezzel, flood the crystal room and open fire. Pinned down, Solo tells the two archaeologists to run back to the entrance he came in, and he begins to lay down covering fire. Before Solo can escape with the two archaeologists, Ssssk! arrives to take care of the Rebel leader. Luckily, the crystal has the power to boost mental energy, and Solo is able to ward off the Adjutant's attacks, turning his own tricks against him. Ssssk! collapses from the mental blow, and Solo is free to make his escape. However, before he can make his getaway, he inadvertently slams the key crystal into a slot on a Seoularian pedestal. The action floods the chamber with light, blinding the Imperials and giving Solo the time to escape.
However, the action had had unintended consequences. Locked in alongside the other crystals, the crystal room's power begins to build to the breaking point. Knowing that the area is soon to explode, Solo and the archaeologists make their way out of the trap door that Solo had come in and sprint back to the Millennium Falcon. As the city begins to be filled with a large whine, the Falcon takes off, pursued by TIE fighters. Before the fighters can open fire on Solo's ship, the Seoularian city is destroyed in a massive explosion, which destroys the TIE fighters as well. As the Millennium Falcon makes its getaway, Solo claims that he hasn't seen such an explosion since "we blew away the Death Star". The archaeologists are saddened by the monumental loss of archaeological knowledge, but they thank Solo for the rescue, glad that at least the crystals won't be able to be used by the Imperials. As a final thanks to Solo, Fem Nu-Ar plants a kiss on her savior, causing Solo to exclaim that it was about time he got a pleasant surprise out his trip.
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Mis en ligne le 22 février 2012 à 15:46 par Fungio.
Dernière modification le 21 septembre 2019 à 13:26.
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