The last entry ended with our heroes escaping Jabba's Palace into the unforgiving Tatooine daytime. Solo was alive but not doing so well...
Previous entries can be found here .
...previously on Tatooine
The screams galvanised them.
Left them watching with horror while he howled with sudden, pure, unadulterated terror and his body fought a foe only he could see.
Solo had been asleep maybe fifteen minutes, and now he was screaming like he had all the demons from every hell imaginable after him.
No, Calrissian corrected himself grimly. Just one demon. Vader.
Solo was retching now. Still not fully conscious yet his body was forcing him to vomit. Attempting to purge itself of the carbonite invader. Chewbacca had hastily removed the makeshift shade cloth so he could help Leia make sure the Corellian’s throat was clear, then hurriedly cleared away the debris around Solo’s head.
Watching them from his position at the helm, Calrissian felt little besides overwhelming guilt. There was some relief in there; for the fact that they had all not just survived Jabba’s, but escaped with Solo alive. But watching Solo now; seeing the agony he was going through, seeing the agony his friends were going through, Calrissian couldn’t help wishing he was somewhere else. Knowing he was the cause was not something he was finding easy to live with, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what he could have done to change the outcome. The fortune for all of them had been cast the minute Solo had set course for Bespin.
From the moment Han and his princess had walked into Calrissian’s comfortable niche in the galaxy, Lando had wished them gone. Wished they had never come to his city. Wished he had never had the misfortune of being in the right place at the wrong time.
Solo was vomiting again, and Calrissian watched helplessly, wishing desperately that the skiff could go faster, but Mos Eisley was still hours away. The distinctive smell of carbonite drifted back to him and Lando had to stop himself from grimacing with distaste. The princess was obviously affected by the smell too, because she backed off suddenly, hand over her mouth, and looked like she was about to vomit as well.
Calrissian wondered if he’d been correct in his assessment of her being pregnant and couldn’t help studying her body for telltale signs. From what he’d been able to see of her figure before she’d put the shirt on, he didn’t think there was any thickening of her waistline. But that didn’t mean anything. If the princess was pregnant, she was still in the early stages.
Lando sighed. No doubt about it: as soon as Solo realised exactly what his ‘old friend’ had put them all through, and particularly the danger he had put the princess in, Calrissian felt sure that Solo would kill him.
Solo had settled again, and now Chewbacca, Skywalker and the princess were arguing. Skywalker wanted to break their journey until nightfall, and apparently knew of somewhere relatively close where they could. The princess was outraged at the suggestion, seeing the Falcon as Solo’s only immediate source of help, and accused Luke of using Solo as an opportunistic excuse for taking them to something called ‘Kenobi’s house’. Chewbacca, on the other hand, seemed swayed by the Jedi’s argument. Calrissian could certainly see sense in the suggestion. There was a good reason why Jabba’s people only flew out to the palace at night; the Tatooine suns were relentless and temperatures in the deep desert could get as high as sixty degrees Centigrade. Deadly if one was out in it for more than short bursts at a time. And if this ‘Kenobi’s house’ had shelter and water as Skywalker was insisting, then going there seemed eminently practical.
The argument was interrupted by Solo showing signs of distress once more. Murmuring and shifting unhappily. The princess attempted to soothe him; caressed his face, murmured assurances into his ear, but none of it seemed to help.
"Leia," Calrissian heard Solo sob. "Leia…"
"I’m here, Han," she reassured him softly. "I’m safe."
Solo moaned again and this time she whispered directly into his ear. Solo’s fists clenched and unclenched spasmodically, then suddenly he shrieked, "Leia!" and kicked out violently, his booted feet connecting with the side of the skiff. "No!" he screamed. "No!"
[Han!] the Wookiee barked, trying to shake him awake and forcing Leia, who was trying to hold the Corellian, to let him go.
Solo vomited again, and the princess retreated once more, resorted to searching through her bag of medicines for anything that might help while Chewbacca and Skywalker cleaned up the mess. Calrissian had given her the drugs he and Chewbacca had managed to scrounge from the Mos Espa medic, and he could only hope that she would find something that might make a difference.
He watched her pull what he recognised as an infuser out of the bag and his estimation of her rose dramatically as she confidently moved forward and attached it to the Corellian’s arm, with the Wookiee holding Solo firm. Calrissian didn’t think there would be many princesses in the galaxy who could manage emergency medicine as well as this one.
She and Skywalker were discussing Solo’s temperature now, and Lando got the distinct impression that the ‘discussion’ was going to regress into an argument very quickly. Chewbacca must have thought so too, because he barked irritably at both of them.
Nevertheless, Leia managed to snipe at Skywalker, "You’ve never seen his handiwork before, have you Luke? His personal handiwork."
Calrissian wasn’t sure, but he suspected she was referring to Vader. And he would have disagreed with her. In his opinion, losing a hand in a lightsabre duel with the Sith Lord was very personal. (Not to mention finding out the son-of-a-bitch was your father.)
Skywalker, though, looked almost apologetic as he responded, "What do you want me to say?"
"Nothing," Leia snapped. "I want you to say nothing."
Solo moaned as his body evacuated more carbonite from his system and Calrissian had to look away. Pretended he had found something that worried him about the helm system and bent to investigate it while Solo’s friends figured out what they were going to do.
Skywalker must have finally convinced the princess to divert to his suggested stopover, because he approached Calrissian a moment later and instructed him on their course change. Lando was only too happy to comply and, not even half an hour later, pulled the skiff up along side an unremarkable dwelling on the mountainous edge of the great Dune Sea.