Author's Note: Okay people, this is something I've been thinking of for a few weeks, and I finally decided to take the pen to the paper (well, pencil, 'cause I wrote the whole thing out on a notebook first, because I was watching the scene on my portable DVD player on my bed where there isn't a computer). Han's thoughts as he met Leia on the Death Star and rescued her with Luke.


"No Reward Is Worth This"

"Looks like you've managed to cut off our only escape route."

Unfamiliar, contemptuous, and commanding.

Hell, I've never met (slept with) a woman like that. Of course, it's somethin' I'd expect of a woman brave enough – or stupid enough – to get on Vader's bad side.

But still. We're rescuing her – I'm puttin' my neck on the line for someone I don't or ever will care about – and no 'thank you'? Or a 'thanks, now let me massage you in a very tiny bikini'?

Damn.

I turn my head, meeting defiant, brown eyes and – what the hell is up with her hair?

"Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, Your Highness." I retort without missing a beat.

She's spared from an answer by blaster fire hitting the wall very close to us. Chewie and I lunge one way while this kid and his princess rumble in the other direction.

The kid calls 3PO while I decide to get a better look at the Princess.

Well, at a better glance, I guess she's more of a girl than a woman. Definitely young. Probably around the kid's – Luke's – age. Or slightly older. She's got real dark brown hair – probably long, I can't really tell with that crazy-ass hairdo- and perfectly matching eyes. Huge eyes, now slightly squinted as showers of blaster fire rain down on us. She's extremely pale with rosy cheeks and red, really shiny lips.

Then she's covered from foot to chin in a white blanket.

But hell, she's gorgeous. Not the most beautiful thing I've ever met, but damn close.

And I'm not usually one for personalities, but hers is one I could live without.

Or definitely can't live with.

Hell, I'd commit suicide if it came to living with her.

The reward better be big.

I start to return fire, the weak stormtrooper blaster (what the hell is with these things?) fitting perfectly into the crevice to my left. A few fall, while Luke shouts something into is comm at his droid.

Useless. Just shoot, dammit.

Well, he is trying to find a way out (which should have been figured out beforehand, but oh well). I guess that's sorta useful.

"There isn't any other way out." He informs us at a shout, stuffing the comm away and picking up his blaster.

So much for that.

/If there's no way out we're all dead./ Chewie yells over to me. Not comforting, but Wookiee's got a point.

"I can't hold 'em off forever! Now what?" I shout back at Luke.

"This is some rescue!" Aha, I was wondering when Her Esteemedness would offer her input. "When you came in here, didn't you have a plan for getting out?"

Damn her! Now this is my fault?

"He's that brains, sweetheart!" I yell, concentrating on the stormtroopers twenty yards ahead of me and advancing.

"Well, I didn't – " Luke starts to protest, but is cut off by the princess stealing his blaster and blowing a large hole in the vent on my right.

What, was she aiming for me and missed?

"What the hell are you DOING?"

"Somebody has to save our skins!"

I stare, dumbfounded. We rescued her (actually, it was really me, the kid just went and picked her up). If it weren't for that, her skin would be floatin' out in space in aa few hours' time

The crazy princess stands, shoots a few bolts, then leans near me over the vent.

Damn, she is gorgeo –

Cut the crap, Solo, this is a rescue mission, not a bar.

"Into the garbage chute, flyboy!"

Okay, not so pretty anymore.

Damn, I was right next to her; somehow she found a need to scream in my ear.

She throws Luke's blaster back at him, and slides feet-first into the chute.

Chewie approaches, slowly and cautiously sticking a foot in.

"Get in there!" I shout at him, all the while returning fire.

/Don't hurry me, I'm smelling something f–/

"Get in there, you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!" Damn, it was a gigantic trashcan. What'd he expect it to smell like? The princess' hair (don't blame me, she was that close)?

/Han -/

I silence him with a kick to the butt, causing him to fall into the chute, snarling Wookiee curses at me.

"Get in there, and don't worry about it!" I assure him over my shoulder. Then I steal a glance at Luke, the kid farmer, shooting back at Imperial Stormtroopers.

"Wonderful girl!" I remark sarcastically. He throws me a look. "Either I'm going to kill her," I continue. "Or I'm beginning to like her!" Luke looks at me again, and I take special amusement to the fact that he seems worried and slightly jealous. "Get in there!"

The kid's a lot more obedient than Chewie, 'cause he immediately pushes off the wall and dives into the garbage chute. I instantly follow, diving headfirst into the sizable hole that was created.


I land on my butt on a pile of slightly wet scrap metal, and a contemptuous noise leave my mouth. Chewie shouts something at me, but I'm not really interested so I ignore it. I struggle my way off of the pile, throwing a glare over in Princess' direction. She herself is attempting to get free of the metal surrounding her, appearing frustrated.

"The garbage chute was a really wonderful idea." I comment snidely, taking note that not even Chewie can knock down the thick door. I stand, and take a breathe. Damn. Chewie was right about the stench. "What an incredible smell you've discovered!"

She scowls at me, still struggling down her personal scrap pile, but wisely doesn't say anything. So I turn my attention to the door.

"Let's get out of here." I say, annoyed, aiming my blaster. "Get away from there." I order Chewie, who immediately steps aside. I barely register Luke protesting before I let off a shot.

It bounces off of the doorway, dangerously close to Chewie's head, and we all cover our head with our arms and duck (I actually pick up a rod of metal, putting it over my head).

Not one of my finer moments.

The blaster bolt soon hits a piece of meal and dissipates.

"Will you forget it? I've already tried it!" Luke yells at me. "It's magnetically sealed!"

Well, how was I suppose to know? No one bothered to say 'hey, Han, that blaster bolt will bounce off the walls and kill us so don't try'.

Luke sorta did that, but I was already shooting so it didn't matter.

"Put that thing away! You're gonna get us all killed!" The Princess screams at me.

Damn, she's the one who brought us down here in the first place, the little bitch –

"Absolutely, Your Worship," I start, in my most sarcastic voice possible. "Look, I had everything under control till you led us down here! Ya know, it's not gonna take 'em long to figure out what happened to us!"

"It could be worse." she snarls.

Rooarr.

That wasn't Chewie.

"It's worse." I proclaim.

"There's something alive in here." Luke says.

No way, my luck can't get any worse. First a mouthy Princess, then a stinky, watery, moldy garbage can and now –

"That's your imagination." I hiss. It'd better be.

Damn, that reward had better be huge.

"Something just moved past my leg!" he exclaimed, bending and peering down to the water at his right.

/I told you/ Chewie yells warningly. Luke's suddenly pointing to a spot three feet away from me.

"Look! Did you see that?"

I glance downwards, and see nothing but a ripple of water.

"What?" I yell, frustrated. There's nothing there!

- said I smelled something down here, but no -

Will he just shut up already?

The water is still, and we study it for a few tense moments. There's a splash from somewhere, and Luke takes a tentative step backwards, then lets out a cry and is pulled under the water.

DAMMIT.

"Kid!" I shout, jumping over to where he was standing and smacking away some pieces of floating rubble and clawing at the water. The girl screams for Luke, and I take her route and call the kid's name instead. Maybe I shouldn't use nicknames right now. Chewie adds to the ruckus by yelling Wookiee proverbs in the background.

Suddenly, Her Highness (back to the nicknames) screams, and the kid surfaces right in front of me, where I've been digging.

What the hell? How'd he get there? And what is that?

Something murky green, thick, and slimy is wrapped around his torso and neck, and he's clawing at it ferociously, his teeth gritted and his hair sopping wet in his eyes.

"Luke! Luke, grab hold of this!" she yells.

Can't she see his hands are slightly occupied? I grab him under the arm, pulling him up. Bits of water sting at my eyes, the thing taking Luke captive is roaring, and Chewie as well.

"Blast it!" The kid manages to choke out. "My gun's jammed!"

"Where!" I yell.

"ANYWHERE!" he cries, and I let go of him and shoot the thing somewhere near his leg. I pull Luke to his feet – the thing is still wrapped around his neck – and shoot a few more bolts, but the kid is dragged back into the water anyway.

"Luke – Luke!" I yell, resuming my 'claw at the water' action, desperately searching for an arm or leg or head.

Then all is quiet. Deathly, eerily quiet. I take a few steps back, my gun in my hand and ready.

The Princess has been stayin' uncharacteristically quiet throughout this whole thing.

Then I hear clanking, and it resounds throughout the dirty, rusty compactor.

Compactor.

Oh, damn, that reward had better be bigger than big. Monster, enormous.

Then there's a splashing again, and a gasp for breathe, and Luke surfaces, looking agitated but pretty much fine besides that.

"Help him!" yells Higher-Than-Thou-ness, as I bend to take Luke under the arm to pull him up.

What the hell does it look like I'm doing! Pushing him down?

"What happened?" she demands of the poor kid.

"I don't know." he gasps as I tug him to his feet. "It just – let go of me and disappeared." he answers, finally standing, letting out a few coughs.

Then loud creaking, and more clanking.

Dammit. Forgot about the compactor part.

"I got a bad feeling about this." I say, voicing probably everyone's thoughts.

/Damn compactor./ Chewie growls.

Then the room starts getting smaller. The two walls that don't have a door on them or are opposite of a door start caving in.

"The walls are moving!" Luke shouts. Oh yeah, that helps, stating the obvious.

"Don't just stand there, try and brace it with something!"

That is actually the most useful thing I've heard all night, and it surprisingly came from the Princess.

Chewie attempts to push one of the walls – all the while growling and complaining and cursing - and Luke clambers off somewhere else.

"Help me!" she demands of me, so I climb over and pick up one end of a pole she's strugglin' to hold up. Somewhere along the line, I end up with the whole thing while she just stands there.

But I don't complain – not the time – and brace it against either moving wall.

Aha, she's helping me with it again. I guess it's only because I'm about a foot taller than her. Nothing sexier than a –

Dammit, Solo! Save those for later!

Oh, we're all screwed. There isn't going be a later.

Luke's shoutin' something, but it doesn't seem to be directed at anyone, so I guess no one answers it.

The walls move slowly (this thing probably doubles as a torture device), and we all (fruitlessly) attempt to restrain it.

Yup. Three humans and a Wookiee are goin' to stop two ten-tonned (just a guess) walls from crushing us as flat as…

Well, flat.

Alright, it's obvious that the pole isn't working.

And will the kid shut up already?

Well, we may live a few seconds longer if we're all not impaled by this rubble.

"Get on top!" I yell, grabbing the petite princess and starting to push her upwards.

"I can't!" she complained, nonetheless reaching to pull herself up.

I look around desperately for any means of escape as the princess attempts to situate herself. I realize that Luke's been yelling this whole time into his comm at 3PO, who at our most desperate time decides not to pick up.

Useless. Utterly useless.

"One thing's for sure, we're all gonna be a lot thinner." I remark, my hand on the small of the girl's back.

The walls are barely ten feet apart, and both of us start falling through the middle.

"Get on top of it!" I shout at her, once again dragging her up.

"I'm trying!" she shoots back at me over her shoulder.

Damn, they're barely five feet apart now…

I make my way over to Chewie, attempting to help him with a thick piece of rubble.

The walls are so close that little princess over here is touching the other side with her toes, and Luke appears trapped, stuck in scraps of metal.

We're all gonna die.

Die, die, dead died dead.

We're all bracing against them with out hands and feet now…

Clank.

Then it stops.

Oh, damn, damn, we're not dead.

Crap. Oh, crap.

That was the most tense five minutes of my life.

The room is filled with screaming and shouts of joy, the walls just three feet from each other. I approach the princess, and we actually embrace.

That's exactly how relieved I am.

I can hear Luke clearly now.

"3PO, we're alright! We're alright! You did great!" he let out a whoop of laughter as I broke apart from the princess. "Hey! Open the pressure maintenance hatch on unit number – where are we? Three two six three eight two seven!"


I stand, both Luke and I finally free of that stuffy stormtrooper armor. I ruffle my hair, starting down the hall.

"If we can just avoid any more female advice," I toss a blaster over to Luke. "We oughtta be able to get outta here." I direct at the girl, as she fixes her hair.

"Well let's get moving." Luke says, clearly hoping for us to not argue anymore as an alarm from the trash compactor starts ringin'.

/We're going to die/

"Where're you goin'?" I shout at him, frowning as Chewie races down the hall and stops at the end.

Cowardly Wookiee.

"Ah…" I say, point my trusty DL-44 at the alarm.

"No, wait! They'll hear!" shouts the girl from behind me, but I shoot anyway. I turn to see her rolling her eyes. Ha, take that, I ain't takin' any orders from you

"Come 'ere, you big coward." I say, waving my hand and taking a few steps toward him. "Chewie, c'mere." I order, as he desperately shakes his head, clutching his bowcaster.

Funny how pathetic that looks.

"Listen…" She (yes, with a capital) starts. I spare a look at her. She's lookin' at me all regal-like.

Funny how she can look up at me yet still appear to be looking down. If you get my meaning.

"I don't know who you are or where you came from… but from now on, you do as I tell you, OK?"

What?

Did that just happen?

Is that even possible?

Well, yeah.

Likely?

Definitely not.

I glance back at junior, who's ruffling his hair nervously, looking for answers. I get none, so I look back at the princess, who's already walkin' away.

"Look, Your Worshipfulness," I start, walking after her, pointing a finger at her.

She doesn't even turn her head.

"Let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person." I point at myself. "Me."

"Hm. It's a wonder you're still alive." she returns.

No. What the…?

No.

"Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?"

NO.

That's it.

I honestly don't care anymore. I've come to a conclusion.

"No reward is worth this."