Get in. Acquire Target. Get out.
Prologue - Part One
Night was falling on the forested planet of Kashyyyk. The twin blades of an Imperial Military chopter sliced through the dark silence. woomf. woomf. woomf. Twenty-six nineteen-year-olds sat shoulder to shoulder, their backs pressed firmly against the vibrating metal walls of the large shuttle. Calloused fingers gripped shiny new weapons. Wide eyes stared into the nothingness. Twenty-six hearts pounded to the rhythmical beat of the whirring blades. woomf. woomf. woomf.
"You know what they say?"
"Never send twenty-six Corellians on a job that shouldn't be done by one."
"Nobody says that, Watts."
"Zero Squad, fallout."
Stiff leather boots hit the decks. Starched, fresh uniforms creased and stretched. Twenty-six soldiers stood in two lines of thirteen. Han Solo checked the charge on his weapon, brushed his hand against his hip to feel the hilt of his vibroblade resting there. He shuffled forward as his comrades exited the low-flying craft two-by-two. The wind whipped a few stray hairs against his forehead and his ears. Two fingers pointed at him and then out to the nothingness beyond. He held his carbine weapon across his chest, stepped forward and jumped.
He heard his partner land next to him. "Ooomph."
"Yeah, just overshot it." Clicks and hums echoed simultaneously in the night as the pair checked their weapons and location. "Where's our payload?"
A faint green light permeated the utter darkness. Han looked down to the small device on his wrist. "Straight ahead, two clicks."
They walked ahead as they had been trained to do: on the tips of their toes, crouched down low, eyes alert and fingers on triggers. "You think they could've dropped us off any further away?"
In the distance, Han could hear the chopter's blade. woomf. woomf. woomf. "Probably."
The two reached a large hut and took cover against the outer wall: pressing their backs against the building, performing last minute checks on their weaponry, adjusting their night vision sensors and mentally reviewing their orders. Get in. Acquire target. Get out.
Han raised his hand. A closed fist, a pointed finger, a deliberate nod of the head.
Watts nodded back and just before Han turned away, Watts whispered, "Hey?"
"Did you see Legs before we left?"
Han shook his head.
Watts waited a moment and then whispered, "K'rata." It was Corellian for 'next time' or 'later', more than a goodbye, a promise, an indication of meeting again.
"K'rata," Han replied.
The pair looked down at their wrist devices, simultaneously depressing a small button on each. Two faint beeps emitted in return. The two boys then headed their separate ways.
The night air was cool against Han's face and the breeze rustled gently through the heavily foliaged trees surrounding the small village. There were few lights. Han slinked in and out of the shadows, his black uniform making him appear wraith like. He reached the back door, rested his back to the wall again and clicked once on his wrist unit. Two clicks immediately answered him back.
Han pushed himself away from the wall and turned to face the unassuming door. He reared back onto his left leg, just as he had been trained and envisioned his right foot making contact, pushing forward and splintering the ancient wood. He reared back, held his breath, raised his leg, and then - he stopped. He took a step forward, held out his hand and checked the handle. It was open.
The door squeaked as it swung away from him. Han glided in. There was a bowl of fruit on a large table and a climbing vine in a clay pot on the windowsill above the sink. Marks of wear along the table indicated that at least four Wookiees ate their meals here. Their payload was only supposed to be three. Could be a routine visitor. Could be trouble. Han made a mental note and moved on.
"Clear!" Watts' low voice echoed down the wooden hallway, bouncing off the bare walls, the mud-caked ceiling and the floor.
Get in. Acquire target. Get out.
Han glided across the house as he had been trained. Crouching against furniture and walls for cover. Yelling out in a whisper of 'clear' as he surveyed each room. His muscles trembled with adrenaline, his blood pounded in his ears. He and Watts echoed each other as the mission wore on. "Clear!" "Clear!" "Clear!"
There were no other sounds. The Wookiees, if they were home, were as silent as the soldiers. Until-
"I got one!" Watts' voice came barreling down the hallway, no longer a whisper. "Here!"
Han turned toward the voice but then stopped. He cocked his head to the side, listening.
Get in. Acquire target. Get out.
Turning away from the direction of Watts' cry, Han doubled back into a small room that he had yet to clear. He pressed his back against the wall and reached his hand out to open the door. Down the hallway he heard the sound of furniture scraping against flooring, of objects being toppled over. He heard Watts' taser ignite and his friend's voice say, "Stand down by order of the Emperor!"
Han turned and entered the room. His eyes scanned the four walls in front of him. A bed, a window, a side table askew. A small toy on the window ledge. A rug curled up on one end. Someone had moved through there in a hurry.
"Holy hells. Solo?!"
Han's wrist mechanism tingled and clicked and the walls of the hut shook.
"What the?! Ooomph!"
Han stepped further into the room, glancing behind the opened door. He held his blaster at the ready. Taking his foot, using the shiny tip of his boot, he pushed the curled up rug back even further. The outline was faint. Almost impossible to detect. But underneath the woven material, he saw a trap door.
"Stand down, godsdamnit!" Han heard his partner's taser whine from overheating and then all of the commotion was drowned out by the sound of an outraged roar.
Han bent down; the sound of his heart pounding drowning out almost everything. With his blaster pointed at the floor, he lifted the small hatch and shone his muzzle-mounted light down the dark opening. A low, warning growl wafted up from down below and Han could see the flash of at least two sets of eyes, with a flicker that might've been a third. He heard a growl coming from behind him and the floor creaked as someone approached. Han's gaze lifted, landing first on the window ledge across the room from him and the toy that sat there. Han held still. It was one of those instances that stretch across a lifetime. Frozen. Silent. Defining.
Get in. Acquire target. Get out.
Han dropped the lid down on the trap door and stood slowly, just as he had been trained, turning around with his blaster pointed away and his other empty hand held out with his fingers spread apart. There was a gigantic Wookiee towering in the doorway, his chest heaving from exertion and panic. His dark eyes wild. The Wookiee glanced at the hole in the floor and then up to Han and stayed there, steady. Alert. Menacing.
"He's loose!" Watts yelled from down the hallway. "Solo, watch out. He's loose."
"I see him," Han replied steadily.
Watts hobbled up the hallway toward them. "He flipping knocked me out." Watts stopped several paces behind the Wookiee, he was holding his shoulder and favoring his right leg. "The sonofabitch broke my arm. Shoot 'im already."
"That didn't exactly work out for you, did it?" Han replied calmly, his eyes never leaving the Wookiees.
"Don't get smart. Just shoot him!"
The Wookiee turned toward Watts and made as if to lunge at him. Han called out, "Whoa, no, no. Look here. Don't worry about him. Look at me. Worry about me."
The beast turned back toward Han, looked down toward the trap door and then heaved in a giant breath and roared one, long, blood-curdling howl.
"Shoot him! What the frap are you waiting for? For Emperor's sake!"
"Shut up, Sar. You're spooking him."
"Me? I'm spooking him? Have you lost it, Slick? The thing like to rip my arm out of its socket!"
"After you told 'im all about the Emperor and everything? Imagine that." Han watched the large animal. "No," he said, bringing his hand around to aim his weapon at the Wookiee. "We're gonna have to figure something out here. And it's not gonna end with me shooting this Wookiee."
The Wookiee roared again and lunged toward Han but did not touch him.
"Shoot!" Watts yelled.
Han did not flinch even as the breath of the Wookiee blew his hair out of his face.
"What the hell? What are you doing?" Watts hissed, hobbling forward for a better view.
Han did not drop his gaze as he and the Wookiee stood eye-to-eye. "I'm negotiating," he replied.
"Negotiating what?! Shoot it!"
"No," Han said calmly. "We're gonna leave here. Me, you and this Wookiee and nobody's gonna get hurt."
"It's a little late for that."
"We came here for three of 'em, but all we found was this one. We're leaving here with him...or her. Just the one. Alone. Nobody else. Ain't that right?"
The Wookiee stared at Han with his dark, fathomless eyes. Han saw them flicker toward the hiding place and then back at him.
"That's right. Just you, and me and my partner there. Got me?"
"He doesn't even understand you," Watts whined. "Shavit, this hurts. C'mon, do something we're running out of daylight, here."
"It's night, Sar," Han replied calmly. "And he understands me perfectly. Don't you, big guy?"
A/N Part 2: This story will be a post-ROTJ AU story. I will delve into a little of Han's background here in the prologue, but I don't intend on telling Han's whole backstory. With that being said, the prologue will be 4 parts, so there is more to come. Also, his backstory will be AU as well. So only the three REAL movies will be canon.