Han Solo - Imperial Cadet 5 is the fifth and final 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 March 13, 2019 by Marvel Comics.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES! HAN SOLO and his fellow cadets risk their lives to save one of their own. But not all of them will be coming back from this mission…and even if Han survives, will the Empire throw him in the brig or worse?
The rogue mission
At the Imperial Navy Mobile Base on Qhulosk, TIE bombers and TIE fighters prepare to depart for the bombing run on Howlan city. At the command center, the Imperial commander Yurib Nakan learns that five Imperial cadets and speeder bikes are missing. A female Imperial officer informs him that scanners show that the speeders are heading towards a path that might overlap with their bombing run. She asks if they should proceed with the bombing run or delay it until the cadets have returned.
Han Solo, Kanina Nico, Lyttan and Tamu Dree travel on 74-Z speeder bikes through the wartorn streets of Howlan, following the trace sent out by Beilert Valance's downed ship. Nico says that the ship went down to the right. Nico tells them to hurry since the Galactic Empire is going to start its bombing run soon. Solo reassures her that the Empire is not going to bomb them because he did not disable their speeders' trackers in order to et the Empire know they are here.
As they continue deeper into the city, Tamu's bike is hit by Qhuloskian fire. His brother Lyttan grabs on to him. Nico also saves Solo from being hit by falling debris by blasting it aside. Solo thanks her but she tells him to focus on the mission. They close in on Valance's coordinates but discover a roving Qhuloskian patrol. Tamu says that Valance's wrecked starship is behind the building ahead. Solo suggests walking from her while Nico suggests parking their bikes under a nearby reinforced strugcture. Lyttan is skeptical of their plan.
Before Solo proposes going two by two, Kanina leads away. After navigating through the debris and Qhuloskian soldiers, they encounter Valance, who has taken up position beside his wrecked starfighter. Valance has lost an eye and sustained a broken arm, which they bandage. Valance is surprised that the Empire sent them to rescue him but Solo explains that they came here on their own. When Valance asks why the Empire would not rescue him, Solo responds that they are just meat for the grinder and that the Empire thinks they are expendable. Valance tries to argue but reluctantly thanks Solo at Kanina's urging.
The five cadets depart on the three remaining speeder bikes. While traveling through Howlan, they are attacked by a Qhuloskian patrol, leading to a gun battle. Meanwhile, the Imperial TIE bombers have finished loading their bombs. Commander Yurib says that he will be escorting this bombing run personally and vows to wipe Howlan from the face of the planet.
Back in Howlan, Solo attempts to reason with the Qhuloskians, offering them the chance to surrender unconditionally. The Qhuloskians reject his offer and prepare to gun down the cadets. However, the Qhuloskians are killed by several Ghular slave laborers, who have taken advantage of the battle to rebel against their masters. Solo and the cadets learn that the Qhuloskians have forced the Ghulars to mine for farium, which helps make their ships strong for war.
The Ghular leader fears that the Empire will take all of the farium in the galaxy and eslave them as well. He says that his people do not want to be slaves but want their freedom. He concinces Solo and the cadets to let the Ghulars take the escape pods from a strickeen Qhuloskian ship an escape.
Solo notices that Kanina is upset and asks what is wrong. Nico explains that she is from a mining world that exports farium and that her friend Weegee is a miner. Lyttan thinks that they will be find since they will be sent back for training while the rest of the battalion is heading to the Huru system. Kanina responds that her planet is in the Huru system and fears that the Empire will also enslave her people, work them to death, and destroy whatever is left so it cannot be used against them. She fears that Weegee is in danger and that there is nothing she can do about it.
Nico kicks her speeder bike in frustration. Solo notices that the Ghulars have left one escape pod behind. He tells Kanina to hand her TIE fighter pilot helmet before blasting it. Solo tells the other cadets that their official story is that Kanina did not survive the mission. The other cadets including Valance agree, though he says that this is a tough loss for the Empire since Kanina was the second best pilot at the Imperial Naval Academy on Carida.
Kanina is unwilling to leave but Solo reassures her that she can. Lyttan and Tamu agree while Valance warns that Nico will be wanted by the Empire. Solo tells Nico that he has been planning to leave since basic training and plans to leave in the near fauture. Solo urges Nico to fake her death in order to leave the Empire. He reassures her that they will get Valance back safely and will cover for her. Solo tells her that she doesn't owe the Empire anything.
Nico is hesitant but Solo reassures her that she can use the escape pod in the Qhuloskian ship to get out of the Empire's range and that she can figure things out after that. When Kanina asks Solo how he does it, Solo admits he doesn't know but that he keeps moving forward. He senses that she believes in something but that it is not the Empire. Solo tells her that he believes in Qi'ra and that is what keeps him moving. She convinces Nico to go and save Weegee and her people. Nico agrees and hugs Solo. She wishes him all the best in finding Solo.
After Nico leaves, Solo and the other cadets make their way back to Imperial lines with the wounded Valance. Their speeder bikes are pursued by Qhuloskian ships but Instructor Yurib's TIE fighters destroy the enemy fighters. While the bombers commence their run, Yurib orders the cadets to report to the sick bay.
Back at the Imperial base, Valance has a leg amputated and an eye removed. However, he is upset that the Empire will not pay for his mechno-leg and cybernetic eye, grounding him permanently. Tamu says that Valance is an Imperial loyalist who will pay for a full medical recovery himself and believes that he has potential as a grunt. Tamu also tells Solo and Lyttan that his patchup-job on Valance led the Empire to recruit him as a medic and transfer him to a mobile hospital. He hopes to see his wife if they are still married. Lyttan tells Solo that he is still in the Imperial fighter program and hopes to remain in the leaderboard.
Instructor Yurib speaks with Solo. While he is sympathetic to Solo over the alleged loss of Nico, he reminds Solo that her death came as a result of his insubordination. Solo is confined to the brig in order to reflect over his "foolish and wasteful actions." Yurib hopes that Solo recognizes that he is part of something larger and that the Empire needs soldiers rather than heroes.
Meanwhile, Nico returns to her homeworld in the Huru system where she has an emotion reunion with her boyfriend Weegee.
- UPC 759606091454; March 13, 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.