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[The Dark Times]
Events that occur between 19 and 2 years before the Battle of Yavin.

[Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka]

Paperback Novel
This story is collected in:

The Lando Calrissian Adventures

Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka
L. Neil Smith
Del Rey
Story published as:
Paperback Novel (1983, 1998)

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Having survived Rokur Gepta's revenge (at least for the moment), winning a fortune on Oseon, and learning how to fly the Millennium Falcon (with Vuffi's help), Lando's life is good, until he comes upon a starving living spaceship called Lehesu. After being told about the Oswaft's plight, he tries to help out the besieged space-living Oswaft race in the cloud called the ThonBoka. In return for the Falcon's garbage (food for the Oswaft), the Oswaft will make various gems and valuables out of what materials they can not digest and give it to Lando. But there are a few obstacles between Lando and those riches.
For one thing, Rokur Gepta and Klyn Shanga have teamed up, both vowing either to kill Lando and Vuffi or die trying. For two, a massive fleet stands between the Oswaft and the Millennium Falcon. Unable to fight, run from, or run around the fleet, Lando falls back on what he knows best, the con job. He presents himself as a trader and ingratiates himself to the soldiers. Then, he sets up his own apparent death as he escapes the fleet and races into the ThonBoka. He meets with and feeds the Oswaft, but war is imminent. Negotiations between the Oswaft and the fleet have ended in bloodshed and the entire fleet heading into the ThonBoka. And Gepta and Shanga, refusing to believe Lando is dead, are right on their tail. And with them is Vuffi Raa's former owner, a spy who claimed to be an archaeologist, Osuno Whett. Lando sets up a desperate plan: the Oswaft will jump between the ships, expel their waste, and jump out again while the fleet fires at the waste, hitting themselves instead. Gepta arrives and expels electromagnetic torpedos onto a few of the Oswaft, announcing that he will empty tons of them upon the ThonBoka unless Calrissian fights him in a duel to the death (he personally plans to wipe out the nebula regardless of the outcome).
At that point, Whett loses patience and tries to kill all three of them, giving Lando the opportunity he needed to kill Gepta - but not before Gepta apparently kills Vuffi. Realising Whett is the true Butcher of Renatasia, Shanga sets out after him. Suddenly, a huge starship arrives in the area, announcing itself to be Vuffi Raa's father. Vuffi is repaired, and explanations made. Vuffi is a larval starship, sent out to explore the universe and learn about it, then report back to his people. Vuffi leaves with his father, and Lando sets out for parts unknown, the Millennium Falcon stuffed to bursting with gems and jewels.

This story occurs approximately 5 to 4 years before the Battle of Yavin.

Related Stories (in chronological order):

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