Got It Where It Counts
"What's the matter kid? You don't like sabacc?"
"Actually don't like card games much at all."
"Then why you here?"
"Because I don't have much to lose."
That was true, Han supposed. The kid was new to Tatooine, he could tell that much. He wore that ridiculous black uniform and jumper, showing that even stormtroopers had more sense by choosing to wear white. He was barely putting forward any credits. And most importantly, his heart wasn't in the game at all. Beating him would be as easy as kicking a jawa to the ground and saying "you tripped."
"Anyway, you going to bet?"
The kid put his credits forward. Han frowned. As apt as the analogy was, he wasn't the type of person that kicked jawas. If they kicked him first, sure. If they wanted to fire, he'd fire first. But if the game was a duel, the kid hadn't even drawn his weapon.
"Your move," the kid said. He leant back in his chair.
Han sighed. He leant back in his chair as well.
"What?" the kid asked. "It's your move."
"No. It's not."
Deep in one of the corners of his mind, Han could hear Jabba laughing. In another corner, he could feel his conscience stirring. Whatever the kid bet, it wouldn't make much of a difference in regards to Jabba. While given the way the kid just sat there, he had the feeling that even these few credits would be a loss he couldn't afford.
"Why you here kid?" the smuggler asked.
The kid looked up. "What?"
"Why you here?" Han asked again, leaning back against his chair and putting his boots up on the table. "Look around you."
The kid did so. An ithorian slooped over a table. A twi'lek was accosted by a duros. A devaronian brawled with an aqualish.
"Drinking, brawling, sex," Han said. "All good ways for a man to forget. But I don't think I've ever seen someone who used a card game to drown his sorrows."
"Maybe it's because card games are my main source of sorrow," the kid said. "You know, when you don't know what you'll win."
Han raised an eyebrow – this was interesting. And kind of insulting too, when he reflected on his baby. Or the Millennium Falcon if he wanted to use its proper name. He hadn't expected Lando to use his pride and joy like that, but he certainly wasn't complaining.
"Anyway, I should go," the kid said, getting up. "The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy may not look like much, but she's got it where she counts. She's still home. Even without her real captain."
"Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy?"
The kid stopped moving. Han just sat there. He fought the urge to reach for his blaster.
"You after my ship?"
"Your ship?" the kid asked. "You, have a ship?"
The hand found the blaster.
"Yeah, I got a ship," the smuggler said. "The fastest ship in the galaxy. And she ain't a hunk of junk."
"Well, that's nice, but I wasn't talking about your ship."
Han sat there. The cantina seemed to fall silent. Maybe it was the roaring in his ears. But it was a roar that was drowned out in turn by laughter.
"What?" the kid asked.
He snorted. Beat the Falcon. Ridiculous. Dash had been trying for years and had never succeeded.
"Come on," the kid asked. "I'll play."
"Oh, alright," Han said, leaning forward. "Zero-point five past lightspeed. Made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs."
"Parsecs measure distance, not time," the kid retorted.
"Went through the Maw," Han answered, just as he'd answered every other wise guy who had an inflated opinion of their ship. "Can you match that?"
"My ship navigated the Kirkegaard Belt."
"My ship's evaded Imperial patrols left, right and centre."
Han slammed his hands on the table. The bets were on.
"Kid, I know you think you're a bigshot," the smuggler sneered. "But my ship's taken me from one side of this galaxy to the next. The Rafa system, the Oseon belt, the Starcave of ThonBoka."
The kid slammed his hands on the table as well. "My ship outran a supernova. My ship is so advanced it can go into warp space from a planet's surface. My ship used to belong to the emperor himself."
"Me and Chewie," Han said, getting to his feet. "All that's needed to fly the Falcon."
"My ship's got a crew of thousands," the kid said, getting to his feet at home. "More of a family than you'll ever have."
"Your ship needs more men to run it."
"Your ship gets so lonely that you don't have anyone to deflate your ego."
"My ship navigated the Rishi Maze."
"My ship survived a blind warp jump and still came out hull gleaming."
The bar seemed like it had fallen silent. Looking around, Han saw it had fallen silent. The twi'lek was out of sight of the duros, the devaronian and aqualish had stopped brawling, and even the ithonian was trying to stay awake and not succumb to the alcohol within him.
That was when Han began to laugh. So did the kid. And, disappointed that the argument hadn't broken into a fistfight, all the patrons returned to their business.
Part of Han wanted to get back to the sabacc game, now that the kid's spirits were lifted. Part of him wanted to continue the argument. But he got the chance to do neither as he saw Chewie approaching.
"Anyway, I gotta go," the kid said, as if put off by the approaching wookiee. "The Hyperion isn't going to captain itself, even if its real one is gone."
"Yeah…" Han said, not sure what the kid meant. He stuck out a hand. "Good luck kid."
The kid…no, captain, shook it. "Thanks. But the name's Matt."
He walked off. Back to his ship. Obviously not as good as the Millennium Falcon, but if love was all that was needed to sail the sea of stars that was the galaxy, then Han supposed he'd do alright.
Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy…may not look like much…huh, I could use that.
To who, Han wasn't sure.
Or at least he wasn't until Chewie growled about the Alderaan system and the pair who wanted transport to it.
Got the idea this while playing Heart of the Swarm, specifically the mission With Friends Like These... It didn't take me long to start repeatedly clicking on the Hyperion to get Horner's gag quotes. It only took slightly longer to start smirking at all the Star Wars references. Anyway, gave me the idea for this as a result.