Prologue


It was one standard month after the Battle of Endor.

The newly named Alliance of Free Planets basked in the afterglow of its triumph against the tyrannical Empire. Two-hundred worlds had already sworn allegiance to the newly named galactic assembly and hundreds more had expressed an interest in sending their delegates to meet with Alliance command in the coming weeks. The forest moon had hastily become the fledgling government's interim capital, with foreign dignitaries and world leaders arriving daily. Grey prefab buildings mushroomed seemingly overnight wherever the forest offered a few meters of space and even where it didn't. Flattened fronds and shrubbery perished beneath the heavy landing gear of space transports.

By this time, the Alliance had captured all surviving scattered Imperial personnel and shipped them off-planet for upcoming war trials. The ground crews were completing a thorough search and excavation of the Empires former bunkers - those that were standing, those that were partially damaged and even those that were nothing more than carbon-scored ruins. The best Alliance slicers were eagerly sifting through damaged console units and shattered datafiles for every bit of decryptable information. A great deal of information about the Empire's machinations across the galaxy remained to be retrieved.

It was during such a search of the heavily battered South bunker that the mighty Wookiee Chewbacca, (hero of the Battle of Yavin and native of Kashyyyk), became a hero yet again. When the forward ceiling began to cave in, the Wookiee took the brunt of the beams across his back. Just as he had attempted to do so many years ago in the first Death Stars trash compactor, he used his massive strength to prevent the walls from collapsing and saved the lives of three men. He was still bracing broken beams and supports across his shoulders when an adjoining wall caved in and buried him.

Fortunately, although the Wookiees injuries were critical, they were not life threatening.

The famous Corellian starpilot, Han Solo, wasn't on duty when the accident occurred, but by the time his companion had been dug out and transported to the moons new med-center, he'd been alerted and was as anxious as a mother nuna, pacing the tiny trauma center lengthwise in only three steps.

"Always the big hero", he sighed. The Wookiee was lying on the prep table with an array of intravenous lines running squid-like into his limbs. They vanished beneath the thick shaggy fur. "Couldn't you just have run for once?"

Chewbacca whuffed softly, trying to lift his neck and see what the Em-Dee droid and medic was doing, but the Corellian nudged his shoulder down all too easily. The painkillers and sedatives were beginning to kick in.

"No, don't look down at your legs." Han was trying not to look himself. The Em-Dee was in the process of shaving the long reddish-brown fur and whoever was present when the naturally hirsute patient woke up bare legged from the knees down was in for it. The pilot was actually shocked, seeing for the first time in all these years, just how muscular the Wookiees calves were. His species was big boned too, (which Han would have rather learned from holos or xeniobiology texts than up close). "They're saying you'll be fine, that the breaks were clean. You're just gonna be in and out of the tank for a few days and then on bed rest for a week or two."

Chewie arghed low in his throat, complaining that his knees were cold and felt strange.

Han didn't have the heart to tell him. He lied. He claimed it was the anesthetic and refrained from telling him that his legs were newly naked. Then the Wookiee made him promise to store his beloved bowcaster somewhere safe before dropping off into obliviane-land.

"Finally," the white clad medic sighed. "Em-Dee, after we transfer him to the bacta tank, make a note in your archives: It's double the rate of zenethine to knock out a grown Wookiee even with weight differential factored in. And make sure you log that in the central medical archives when were done here."

"I could have told you that," the Corellian returned. "Why didn't you just ask?"

The medic nodded. "Pardon me, General."

Worry flickered across the man's weathered features. "He will be okay, right?"

"As good as new in a few weeks. Wookiee physiology, from what I've studied of it, is capable of self-regeneration that surpasses humans two fold."

Han continued to regard the slumbering pile of fur fondly. "I could have told you that part too."

"General, I assure you we'll take good care of him."

"You're gonna do great, you big fuzzy oaf. Did you hear what he said?" Han patted his friend on the head affectionately.

"General Solo?"

"What?"

"You're needed in the command center."

It was neither the voice of the medic nor the Em-Dee droid. "I'm busy," he barked. "Can't you see that?"

"I'm sorry Sir, but we have an extremely urgent message from somewhere in the Corporate Sector."