Han Solo - Imperial Cadet 3 is the third issue of the canon comic book miniseries Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet. It was written by Robbie Thompson, illustrated by Leonard Kirk, and published on January 2, 2019 by Marvel Comics.
CASINO ROYALE! HAN SOLO gets demoted for insubordination – dragging his fellow cadets down with him. They go from flying TIE fighters to flying a giant cargo ship. Han's expert flying cuts their cargo ship's flight time in half, allowing them to stop at a casino for some hard-earned R&R. But Han's fellow cadets quickly learn this little "vacation" was NOT authorized by the Empire and, thanks to Han, they're all considered AWOL!
The story opens with an incident report filed by Imperial cadet Kanina Nico regarding her fellow cadet Han Solo. She describes Solo as a failure, stating that he takes two steps down for every step up the leaderboard. She is unsure why Solo enlisted and is pessmistic about his chances of graduating the Imperial Naval Academy of Carida due to his demeanor. She surmises that he is not officer material.
For failing the first test mission, Solo has been put to work peeling a giant creeper plant to make soup for the entire academy. Lyttan Dree and Tamu Dree want to help Solo but Beilert Valance discourages them, describing Solo as a troublemaker. Nico agrees, saying they should let Solo fix his own problems. Later that night, Solo gets up early and studies the leaderboard. He does all of the chores including scrubbling the flores, restocking the inventory and washing the clothes before returning to bed.
The following morning, the Imperial officer Yurib Nakan thanks a shocked Cadet Valance for doing all of the chores. He also praises Valance for trying to make amends following the failure of the test mission and allows him to resume flying. Yurib allows the other cadets to resume mann a Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier called Imperial Cruiser 07200823, that is tasked with transporting the Imperial Starfighter Pilots and their TIE fighters.
Nico takes command while Lyttan serves as the comms officer and Tamu as the navigator. Solo is assigned to the engineering deck. Three days later, Valance and the other TIE pilots depart the cruiser-carrier to rendezvous with a Star Destroyer. Nico reluctantly issues orders for her crew to bring the cruiser-carrier back to carida. Tamu and Lyttan report that the engines have been working efficiently and taht they will be back a day earlier than scheduled.
Solo takes credit for repairing engines and shows his fellow cadets several day passes he had obtained. These passes are due to expire today. One of the Dree brothers thinks that they can't use the passes since this is the last day and they are in the middle of nowhere. However, Solo tells them that he did a scan and found a Pantolomin cruiser nearby. Solo proposes using the day passes to spend time aboard the Pantolomin crusier. He also tells them that they can borrow the civilian clothing in the shuttle's hold so that they can gamble.
Nico objets to leaving the ship but one of the Dree brothers says that they can get the droids to monitor the comms and set the freighter on a parallel course while they have fun aboard the Pantolomin cruiser. He says that they have at least 100 credits and hope they can make more money. He invites Kanina, having heard that she is an ace card player. He adds that she once beat Valance in a game of cards. Nico refuses to leave but Solo convinces her to trust him.
The casino cruiser
The Imperial cadets travel in civilian clothes aboard a shuttle to the Pantolomin cruiser. After Solo pays money to several armored Black Sun guards, the four walk inside. Lyttan is optimistic but Nico grumbles the place is crime haven. Tamu quips that she was popular back home. Solo encourages them to forget about the Imperial Navy for a day and have fun. The four gamble and fraternise with other guests.
While playing cards with Nico and several alien patrons, Solo asks her where she learn to play cards. Nico refuses to answer and asks why he joined the Imperial Navy. SOlo explains that he was in trouble and did not have other options. He tells her that his plan is to become a pilot in order to return to someone back on Corellia. Nico says that she has heard worst. When Solo asks why she enlisted, Nico gives the official answer that she wanted to bring order. Solo probes further but she refuses to answer.
When Nico smiles, Solo quips that she did not have teeth. Nico thanks Solo for doing the extra chores the other night and pinning it down on Valance in order to get rid of him. She deduces that he got them civilian clothes while he did the laundry and also borrowed a regulator to increase their freighter's speed when he restocked the inventory. Nico also deduces that he stole the day passes from some officers. WHEn she asks why, Solo tries to change the topic by asking her about cards.
Nico probes further and Solo explains that he owed them. Nico counters that he has put them into danger. She tells Solo that she saw him slipping money to the security guards. Nico also notices that Solo has been observing an Ithorian customer. She deduces that Solo came on purpose to meet the Ithorian over someone back home on Corellia. When Nico asks Solo if this friend is worth all the risk, he replies yes. Nico responds that she joined the Galactic Empire to be part of something bigger, something that she believes he will not understand.
A former friend
Solo meets with the Ithorian Pjolan at a bar. After exchanging pleasantries, Solo tells Pjolan that he came to the Pantolomin cruiser, knowing it was one of his frequent haunts. After drinking some Ithorian ale, Solo asks if he is still working for the syndicate as a hauler. Pjolan replies that he has been making a living hauling cargo for various crime syndicates including the Pyke Syndicate, the Hutt Cartel, and Black Sun.
When Solo asks if he has seen Qi'ra, Pjolan gives an evasive answer before revealing his intentions to collect a 200 credit bounty on Solo. He holds the Corellian a gunpoint. However, Nico smashes Pjolan on the head with a glass mug. Nico tells Solo that he is not good to her dead and asks if he has made plans to get them out of here. Pjolan's alien associates come to his aid and he orders them to get Solo. As Pjolan and his associates unleash blaster fire on the Imperial cadets, Nico tells Lyttan that they are getting out and asks where his brother is. The cadets discover Tamu kissing a female Theelin during a wedding ceremony.
They extricate Tamu from the wedding but are trapped by Pjolan and his associates. Hwoever, Pjolan and his gang are stunned and restrained by several armored Black Sun guards, who apprehend them for stealing from Black Sun, who own the cruiser. One of the Black Sun guards thank Solo for alerting them. He explains that the bartender heard the whole thing. In return for helping Black Sun, the guard promises Solo a free night on the Pantolomin cruiser.
Reaching an understanding
In her revised report, Nico still describes Solo as a failure for not folowing orders, she praises him for looking out for his fellow cadets and teaching them "a thing or two." She believes that Solo with proper guidance could one day become an asset to the Empire. Following the cadets' return to the Imperial Academy, Yurib requests full reports from each of the cadets.
Later, Nico asks Solo if he got what he needed. Solo replies that his friend is still alive. After the reports were filed, the cadets were reinstated to full flight status. Solo is surprised that Nico did not report his indiscretions. She replies that he is not the only one who has someone back home that they worry about. A satisfied Yurib informs the cadets that they will be leaving tomorrow to see action against real enemies of the Empire.
- UPC 759606091454; January 2, 2019; Marvel Comics
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Notes and references
- Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide establishes that Han Solo served in the Imperial Navy between six to nine years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. The events of Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet take place during Solo's time in the Imperial Navy, therefore sometime between 13 BBY and 10 BBY.