Lando Calrission couldn’t have looked more pleased. Former scoundrel, businessman, unforeseen Rebellion General and Hero, and, most recently, creator of the Bespin Crawl.
He has just organized the Travel Experience of the Decade™. “Relive the adventures of the galaxy’s most recognized and beloved couple.”
His modus operandi: Own It, Sell It.
And was he selling it. Travel packages ranging from budget to high-end. Commemorative memorabilia. VIP holo ops. Tie-in holo games. Damn I’m good.
What do you give the couple who has everything for their 25th anniversary / retirement party?
She’s a princess. He’s a smuggler-turned-hero-and-legit-business-man. They’re still crazy madly in love with each other. What could anyone give them?
Nothing. No. Thing.
But… a sentimental journey? Now, there’s an idea. Paid for by other sentients vicariously experiencing it with them? Even better.
Earlier that year...
Han and Leia were cuddled up on the couch, adult beverages in hand, watching their favorite house remodel reality holoshow.
The first time Leia had put the show on, ages ago, Han had teased her mercilessly.
But as peace spread, the need to constantly repair and upgrade the Falcon diminished. Tweaking racing ships provided Han a new outlet for his skilled tinkering, but its appeal soon waned as the circuit kept him away from his princess for weeks at a time.
Han remembered how on one of those circuits, years ago, he had been chatting with one of the pit-crew. Turns out Davin, too, had grown up in the streets of Corellia, eventually acquiring enough skills as a mechanic to escape poverty. Davin wanted to settle down on Coruscant (“Why??” Han wondered.) but what he could afford was terribly run down after years of the former Empire’s oppression.
Without telling anyone, Han bought a place, fixed it up during off-season, and sold it to Davin at a reasonable price, with a tiny bit of profit. When Leia found out she burst with pride at her husband, truly a nice man, just like he said all those years ago.
Han was now bitten by the rehab bug, and switched careers again, finding projects wherever his princess was stationed.
(Leia once surprise-visited him at a job site, only to catch him swearing up a storm while beating a pipe with a wrench. “I thought you found this relaxing,” she teased.)
On a commercial break, Han got up to refresh their drinks. Walking to the kitchen, he stopped dead in his tracks when he heard a familiar voice…
…Join us in recreating the adventures of our Rebellion heroes Han and Leia Organa Solo as we celebate their 25th wedding anniversary and the semi-retirement of Ambassador Organa Solo…
Han slowly turns around to see a familiar, attractive black man rocking a cape like no one else can, standing in front of a holo screen displaying an all-too-familiar landscape.
…Experience the inaugural “Bespin Crawl”, named for their infamous journey at sub-light from Hoth to Cloud City…
…We begin where it all began, at the now-infamous Chalmun’s cantina on Mos Eisley…
…No longer a wretched hive of scum and villainy…
…From there we travel to the jungle moon Yavin 4. Visit the Jedi Academy at the rebuilt Massassi Temple, where you will receive a light saber lesson from none other than Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. At midnight, we will toast the fallen pilots who gave their lives to destroy the first Death Star…
By this point, Han has stalked back to the couch, mouth half-open, staring incredulously at his wife.
…On to the ice-planet Hoth, where you will enjoy complimentary drinks and dancing at the Ice Bar. The more adventurous among you can ride a real-live Tauntaun…
Han plops on the couch, alternating between staring at Leia, and staring at Lando’s holo-mercial.
…At Ord Mantell, test your shooting skills against the most notorious bounty hunters, in a simulation of course…
He drops his head into in his hands with a heavy sigh.
…We end our tour at Bespin, where you will enjoy the finest amenities Cloud City has to offer…
Han rubs his temples, and moans, eyes still closed.
…Optional side-excursions include a simulation ride on the Falcon through an asteroid field, swinging on vines on Kashykkk, or hanging upside-down over the Sarlacc pit…
“Y’know about this?” Han asks, eyes still closed, as purchasing details scroll on the screen.
Leia sighed. “His people contacted my office a few months ago with a rough idea. I approved it. Clearly he ran with it - - the way only Lando can, “ she added, smirking.
“What were y’thinking?”
Leia thought a moment on how to best phrase it. “The next generation is coming of age. Our crushing defeats and hard-won victories are just stories to them. We thought this would be a subtle reminder of what we went through to gain the peace they take for granted.”
She smiled. “Plus, we get a really nice vacation on Lando’s credit.”
Han laughed and pulled her close, kissing her temple. “Lando’s not good at subtle, Sweetheart.”
Day One of the Bespin Crawl: Tatooine
The celebrated couple enters the cantina. Han has one arm around his princess’s shoulders, his free hand hovering over his blaster. He warily looks around.
Everyone seems better dressed, and less armed, than he remembers from back in the day. He spots Luke at the bar and saunters over as Lando signals Leia to the stage.
“Kid, there’d better be whisky in that blue milk.” Luke chuckles. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
“You know a Jedi Knight can’t drink while on duty, Han. Dangerous weapons and what-not.”
“Suit yourself, Kid. Luckily my 'On Duty' involves drinking.” Without even asking, a tumbler of Whyren’s Reserve appears in front of Han. “I don’t know where Lando gets this stuff, but I’m glad he’s sharing.”
Just inside the entrance, two droids watch. “Oh, Artoo, isn’t it wonderful we are finally allowed in here? I never thought I’d see the day where droids are respected and…” Beep-beep! boop! (**Quiet – Mistress Leia is about to speak.**) “Yes, yes, I’m paying attention, no need to be rude, Artoo.”
Lando and the princess take the stage. “Gentlebeings of Mos Eisley, and welcomed guests from throughout the galaxy, I present to you the Hutt-slayer herself, Leia Organa Solo.” The crowd goes wild with cheers and applause. Before Leia can even begin her speech, beings rush the stage to shake her hand and take holo-selfies.
Han grins. This is a far cry from those stuffy government parties he’s had to attend in the past. Luke turns to him and cheekily asks, “So, was the reward worth it?” Han laughs and throws back the whisky. “Yeah, Kid, more than I could’ve ever imagined.” This was looking to be a great anniversary party.