IO9 has an exclusive excerpt from the third and final novel from the Aftermath trilogy written by Chuck Wendig. The events in the novels take place between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and are the first canon material that explains what happened in the galaxy far, far away after the battle of Endor.
Here’s a part of the excerpt via IO9:
“Lobot, we’re home.” Lando lifts a dubious eyebrow as he looks around, exasperated. “Guess the Empire didn’t keep up with housekeeping.”
This is the Casino level. Game machines line the smooth blue alactite floors far as the eye can see. Sabacc tables, too. And pazaak. And jubilee wheels. Along the far wall are banks of holoprojectors meant to show the latest swoop race down on the track-tubes piped through Bespin’s toxic Red Zone atmosphere. Once, this was a shining pillar of gambling excess: classy and bright with light coming in through windows looking out over the sun-kissed clouds. Now it’s wrecked. Trash drifts and tumbles. Machines have been turned over, their credits cut from inside like food from a beast’s belly. The windows are covered over with metal. The holoprojectors are dark. Lobot steps up alongside Lando. The computer forming a half-moon around the back of the man’s bald head blinks and pulses, and at Lando’s wrist is a communication from his friend and cohort:
I’ll look into rehiring staff immediately.
“Do that,” Lando says. Then he thrusts up a finger. “Ah. But make sure we’re hiring some refugees, will you?” The galaxy’s like a cup that’s been knocked over, and now everything’s spilling out. Whole worlds have been displaced by the war. Lando can’t let Cloud City turn from being a city of luxury to being a tent city of expats and evacuees, but he can damn sure give those people jobs. That’s his favorite kind of arrangement: the kind where everybody gets something for their trouble. They win. He wins. The ideal for how everything should work.
Cloud City was always that, for Calrissian. It was a respite—a refuge from the Empire while at the same time not existing to spite the Empire, either. He thought, Hey, everybody can be happy, baby. The Empire didn’t have to care. The rebels didn’t need to care. Cloud City could hang in the air above Bespin, separate from all the chaos, from all the strife. Come here, taste a little luxury. Meanwhile, he could mine the Tibanna gas, sell it to whatever starship manufacturer wanted it (the stuff was perfect for making hyperdrives, because with Tibanna, a little went a long way). Meanwhile, Lando could sit back, have a drink, roll some dice, find a lady or three.
Yeah. It didn’t work out that way.
He knows now: In a war like this one, you don’t get to be in the middle. You can’t play both sides. He’d lived his whole life shooting right down the middle, never taking up a cause except the one meant to support his own empty pockets. Those days are over and so is his love of sweet neutrality. When Vader came here, everything changed. He lost Han, for a time. He lost Lobot and Cloud City. He lost nearly everything.
But he gained a little perspective.
And he picked a damn side. Because sometimes, you want to win, you gotta bet big. You gotta put your stack of chits in one place.
It paid off. The Empire is gone. And now he’s a hero of the Rebellion (and oh, you can be sure he used that to con more than his fair share of free drinks, not to mention the attention of beautiful admirers). But all he wants is his city back. After Endor, he thought he would just be able to sweep in here like a handsome king retaking his throne in the sky—but then that son-of-a-slug Governor Adelhard formed the Iron Blockade. He kept the people here trapped not only by a well-organized Imperial remnant, but also by a grand lie: that Palpatine was not dead. And Lando knows that old shriveled cenobite is dead—because he’s the one who took out the Death Star’s reactor core. And because Luke said the monster was dead. Can you believe it? Palpatine and Vader. Both gone. Two scourges, scoured from the galaxy.
Suddenly he had a second war to fight. Here he thought the Empire was done for and Cloud City was once again his. What an eager fool. Nothing’s ever that simple, is it? It took months and months. He had to stage an uprising. Had to interface with Lobot on the inside. Had to cash in favors with a handful of scoundrels—like Kars Tal-Korla, that pirate. All because the New Republic wouldn’t commit a military action to retaking the city. He respects it, he understands it, and Leia put it best when she said, “The Rebellion was easy, Lando. Governing’s harder.” The chancellor was just trying to hold on to whatever advantage she had—and then with the Liberation Day attack on Chandrila . . .
Well. All that is over and done. No need to dwell.
Cloud City is his once again. Lando starved out Adelhard. Most of the Imperials surrendered. It’s over. Thank the lucky stars….
For the full excerpt from the novel make sure to visit IO9.
Aftermath: Empire’s End will be released on February 21.
And here’s a bit of a clarification from LFL’s Story Group member Leland Chee:
— Leland Chee (@HolocronKeeper) January 31, 2017
Star Wars: Uprising was a mobile game that got cancelled a few months ago.