A DANGEROUS EXPERIMENT.
A SHOCKING MARRIAGE.
AND THE REAPPEARANCE OF AN OLD ENEMY.
Leia as Queen of the Empire? Yeah, I’m sure this will go really well.
We’re nearing the end of our retrospective, and let me show you how much I care.
It’s like this series is sucking out my poor, EU-loving soul. But for you, dear leaders, I’m marching on with Book 5.
In my “research” on this series, I came across a comment by the author, Paul Davids, saying that this series could take place over several years, as a way to prevent continuity errors and the need for retcons. However, Ken the Jedi Prince remains 12-years-old throughout the series. (They make a point to mention this every time he’s introduced.) Does that mean he’s a Human Replica Droid?!? Because that would be a way more awesome “surprise” than what we’re given in Book 6. (Spoilers: he’s Palpatine’s grandson.)
Speaking of HRDs, we can thank this book for their introduction and, subsequently, Guri from Shadows of the Empire. Yaaaaaaay. Right of the bat, the DRAPAC is ready to test out Project Decoy. Our heroes meet a lifelike decoy of Princess Leia, who can shoot lasers out of her eyes. Awesome! But oh no, the laser misfires and shoots one of the Chadra-fan scientists right in the heart. (Thankfully, they have two.) Baji, the Ho’Din healer who has suddenly reappeared in the Rebellion after two books, declares that the scientist needs a heart transplant immediately. Noooooo, you don’t say? It’s a good thing they have Baji around for hard medical diagnoses! So Han, Leia, and the droids fly the Millennium Falcon to Chad to get a new heart for the plot device…I mean Fandar, the scientist. (It’s a good thing there isn’t a waiting list for heart transplants!)
They get to Chad, which is covered with huge storm systems. It’s their own fault, Han explains, for producing Lactils. Chad may now be the milk producing capital of the galaxy, but they didn’t stop to consider that Lactils exhale huge quantities of methane gas. And this, dear readers is our ENVIRONMENTAL SUBPLOT OF THE BOOK!
They arrive on Chad in one piece, despite flying through crazy storms, and Leia credits the Force. Way to go, Leia! It’s about time you start to show some faith. Then, in the hospital, Han and Artoo are trapped by a rock slide! Leia calls for a Boulder-Dozer to remove the rocks. Instead of using the Force to lift the rocks off Han and Artoo, like a Jedi Knight, she relies on machinery that disintegrates rocks with lasers and hopes that she doesn’t disintegrate Han and Artoo at the same time. The same woman who just credited the Force with their safe landing.
Meanwhile, Luke stays at DRAPAC to deal with the “Triclops” problem. Apparently he sleepwalks and dreams up all these crazy weapons, which is why the Empire bothered keeping him alive. and the Rebel leadership is worried he’s a spy. (Again, I must wonder where the trusting Luke Skywalker has disappeared to.)
The Millennium Falcon departs Chad and heads to Hologram Fun World! (Yes! I’ve always wanted to go there!) (Also, responsible thing to do when you’re part of governmental leadership.) And then Han gives Leia the worst proposal ever and says that they should elope. (But at least he’s not kidnapping her this time, right?) Also? The ring is absolutely horrible. I can’t believe Leia actually said yes.
Back on Cloud City, Zorba the Hutt is angry that the casinos and hotels don’t seem to be doing very well. He’s told that it’s because Hologram Fun World is taking all of the business. What does Zorba decide to do about the program? Attack Hologram Fun World, of course! RIGHT WHEN OUR HEROES ARE THERE. OH NOES.
Back on Hologram Fun World, this exchange happens:
“It’s too bad Ken’s not with us,” [Leia] said. “I’m sure he would have a great time.”
“Luke would love Hologram Fun World, too,” Han replied. “He’s always wanted to go hover-skiing down the side of an exploding volcano.”
Considering what happened to his father, I find it very hard to believe that Luke’s always wanted to do that. *see facepalm photo above*
Then we find out why Hologram Fun World is doing so well–besides the 1,138 THX Ultrasound Speakers. Lando is in charge! Hooray Lando! I hope you don’t gamble away this park.
(Random aside: after five books, I have to ask – what the hell is zoochberry juice??? According to Wookieepedia, it’s an alcoholic drink. No wonder people are drinking it all the time.)
So Han and Leia plan their wedding, but learn that they can’t get married if they don’t have their birth certificates. Hey, that didn’t stop Ross and Rachel on Friends! Anyway, Zorba arrives at Hologram Fun World and wreaks havoc. Then he learns that Leia’s still alive and flips out. He wants her dead! And he manages to capture her when she plays volunteer during a magic act, by switching out one of his bounty hunters for the actual magician. You know, because all aliens look alike or something.
(By the way, Leia’s incognito names for her and Han are hilarious: Zelda Gizler and Zack Kluggerhorn. It’s too bad that Han and Leia are famous and recognizable all throughout the galaxy. Also? It’s hilarious that Leia has stage fright, you know, being a freaking princess and all.)
Zorba captures Leia and says he’s going to kill her by dropping her into the Pit of Carkoon. How fitting! He also has a surprise for her: the block of carbonite containing Trioculus! Gasp, he’s not dead after all! Who didn’t see that one coming?
Han and Lando rush off to save Leia, figuring out where Zorba is taking her. Thankfully, Luke, Ken, and Human Replica Droid Leia are also on Hologram Fun World! Apparently Mon Mothma received a plot device–I mean, an emergency intelligence report that both the Millennium Falcon and the Zorba Express were heading toward Hologram Fun World. So they’re all off to save Leia.
Unbeknownst to both parties, the Moffship is also orbiting Tatooine, having a Mofference. (Still can’t make this shit up!) They capture the Zorba Express and Trioculus is freed from the carbonite. But now our heroes have to save Leia from both Zorba and the grand moffs! I wonder if they can do it. When the restored Trioculus realizes that Zorba has Leia captive, he’s thrilled and immediately plans a wedding. Leia says no way (“I scorn everything about you!”), but Trioculus doesn’t care. He’s going to have his Queen of the Empire, dammit! He throws Zorba into the Pit of Carkoon to please her.
Our heroes infiltrate the Zorba Express, and come up with a plan to switch the Human Replica Droid Leia with the real Leia. Somehow it works, and during the wedding, HRD Leia shoots Trioculus in his black, demented heart. Grand Moff Hissa is distraught. The Rebels escape, and the sarlacc burps up Zorba the Hutt. A-HAW-HAW-HAWWWWW……!