This is a review submitted by Claire1976.
Thanks so much, Claire, for writing this for us!
CORPHELION INTERLUDE - a review by claire1976
The years 1999 to 2002 were not a good time for Han and Leia fans. The dawn of the New Jedi Order saw our fav couple ousted while Luke and Mara became SW premier couple. Luke and his saintly wife got more kisses and implied sex in a couple of books than Han and Leia had all through the entire Bantam era. Then to top it all off someone had the wonderful idea that Han should abandon his wife and family whilst grieving for Chewie, so they decided to "estrange" Han and Leia, and the fan base went pretty psychotic. It was this that started a relentless fan campaign at theforce.net to give Han and Leia better treatment in the EU. There were long threads on the message boards, and Lucasfilm were bombarded with angry letters. Finally in the summer of 2002, Lucasfilm got the message and announced a Han and Leia-centric book to be written by Troy Denning, which would of course turn out to be Tatooine Ghost, and a Valentine's Comic featuring the couple for release the following year. But there was one other little surprise coming in 2003, and like the comic, this one was also revealed on Valentine's day, but via Del Rey's website - a short story by Troy Denning, released about a month before Tatooine Ghost - a starter, if you will, to TG's main course, Corphelion Interlude is nothing short of delicious.
It's the start of Han and Leia's honeymoon. They arrive at a resort that is built into an asteroid, where Han hopes they will have a good view of a phenomenon called the Corphelion Comets, which seemingly attracts tourists in their hundreds from all over the galaxy. Han is impressed with the "romantic" view, but certainly not impressed by the hundreds of others who are standing in the way. Han is, however, rather taken by the way Leia is dressed.
At Han's side stood Leia, dressed comfortably but fashionably in a sleeveless doublet and a pair of slinky zoosha pants that Han found especially alluring.
What the hell are zoosha pants? I am thinking they must be either very tight, or very revealing, hence why Han likes them so much!
A turbo lift opens and a load more noisy tourists pile out. Han is not happy.
"Sorry about this," Han said to Leia. A stop to watch the Corphelion Comets had seemed a romantic way to start their honeymoon - least until they had discovered that it was the height of the season and every resort on the asteroid was badly overbooked. "I guess the private dome isn't so private, either."
"I don't care, as long as we're together." Leia took Han's hand and started down a broad set of dark, hardwood stairs. "There's a pair of empty chaises out there in the middle. Once we settle in and order a drink we won't even notice the noise."
"Sure, a Pink Nebula sounds good.". Jostling for elbow space was hardly the romantic way Han had hoped to start their marriage, but things were bound to improve. Around Leia, they usually did.
Aww, I like that, and notice that Leia isn't bothered in the slightest as long as she's with her man.
They begin to descend the stairs and there's a sudden flash overhead, and outside the dome a huge comet appears and splits in two. What is interesting here is the obvious symbolism. Denning refers on more than one occasion to the two bits of the broken comet as "twins". It's clearly a foreshadowing of another set of twins who will make Han and Leia very proud parents a year later. Anyway, one of the twin comets starts to get very close to the viewing dome, creating a wave of panic amongst the onlookers. Leia turns round and suggests they go back to the Falcon, but Han catches her arm to pull her back.
"Relax." As he had hoped, the stars on the comet's lower left were vanishing by the dozens; those on the upper right were disappearing only in twos and threes. "Everything's under control."
"You've said that before," Leia objected. "You're sure we don't need to go back to the Falcon?"
"I'm sure." Han slipped a hand down to the small of her back. "And this time I mean it. Everything's under control, Sweetheart."
Leia glanced from Han to the approaching comet, then back to Han again. Her expression grew more trusting, and she smiled slyly.
"Okay, Flyboy." She took his arm. "My life is in your hands."
They descend the remaining stairs arm in arm as the comet continues to grow even bigger. It doubles in size and creates a mass panic as the crowds start to quickly disperse and everyone makes a mad dash for the evacuation stations. This gives Leia the perfect opportunity to pull Han into a quiet corner.
As jabbering humans and growling aliens continued to shove up the stairs in a near-stampede, she laced her fingers together behind his neck and stared deep into his eyes.
Han's heart began to beat faster.
"How did you arrange this?" Leia asked.
"Arrange what?" Han was genuinely confused.
Leia gently pulled his head close to her mouth. "The comet." She flicked her tongue along the lobe of his ear, then continued in a sultry voice. "Come on, Flyboy, you can tell me. Did Wedge help you?"
"Wedge? You think Wedge is out there moving comets around?"
Leia gently nibbled his earlobe. It felt warm, and well....wonderful.
Wow, I absolutely love this. Where else in the EU will you find Leia sticking her tongue in Han's ear and sucking his earlobe? Actually, that whole thing is very erotic don't you think? Especially for a SW novel. There's certainly some sexual connotations here.
Leia then suggests that Lando must have had a hand in it, as he has an asteroid tug, but Han assures her Lando is far too busy to be involved. Leia then continues her tantalising method of persuasion.
"You won't tell me?" Leia slipped her hands under the hem of his tunic and playfully ran her fingers up his back. "You're sure?"
Leia dug her fingertips into the flesh behind his shoulders.
"Pretty sure," Han said. "I think."
I love how Leia is taking the lead with this, and she's clearly enjoying every minute of it.
Han suddenly grows concerned about the comet's position, it's getting far too close for comfort and he has an awful feeling that it may actually end up colliding with the viewing dome. He grows nervous.
"No, I've changed my mind, Han." Leia lowered her hands and, one arm still wrapped around his waist, turned to look at the sky. "I don't want to know how you arranged this."
"But - "
"Sssh." Leia touched a finger to his lips. "I just want to look. It makes me wish we could forget everything back on Coruscant and stay here forever."
"You don't say?" The approaching comet was as large as a Bantha now. Han glanced towards the empty stairs, trying to estimate how long he could keep his real secret - that he may have miscalculated the comet's trajectory - before they would have to make a mad scramble for the evacuation shelters."I just might be able to arrange that."
Leia leaned her head against his shoulder. "If only you could."
What a different Leia that is to the one we saw recently in Shield of Lies, where she couldn't possibly even think about enjoying herself because of her responsibilities. The Leia here clearly wants all those responsibilities to go away, and it's kind of sad, because she clearly wishes she was just a nobody who doesn't have all those things going on. But at least at this moment she wants to make the most of her honeymoon with Han. And who can blame her?
The comet grows brighter, and it's light illuminates the viewing dome. Han has another moment of panic as he thinks the comet is going to hit, and pulls Leia into a corner, where he then breathes a sigh of relief as the comet angles away again. Whether Han actually planned all this, I don't know, I think we're left wondering about that. However, he does have something rather nice up his sleeve for the finale of this short but sweet tale.
"You're going to be really impressed with what I've arranged next."
Leia cocked her brow. "Pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?"
Han nodded. "I have a reason."
The asteroid entered the comet's tail, and billions of tiny dust grains exploded against the resort's particle shield. Space above erupted into a glittering veil of micro-flashes.
"Okay, I'm impressed." Leia said. "Really impressed."
"That was nothing," Han said. "This is what I was talking about."
He drew Leia close and lowered his lips to hers. She pressed herself tight against him and returned the kiss passionately, and that was how they remained until a loud cheer from atop the stairs interrupted them.
Han opened an eye and, finding an audience of two dozen comet watchers leering down at them, broke off the kiss. "Leia?"
"Maybe we should go back to the Falcon after all."
Leia took his hand and started for the stairs. "Han, I thought you'd never ask."
Aww. You know I kind of wonder exactly why Leia is so keen to return to the Falcon throughout this. Is she really nervous about the approaching comet, or is she just desperate for some hot sexy time with her gorgeous scoundrel? Well, I know which option I would go for! Stuff the comet where the sun don't shine, if you had just married Han Solo that's the last thing you'd want to see on your honeymoon. Right, girls?
Whilst only five pages long, and I've probably quoted nearly all of it, this is such a sweet little story. I absolutely love Leia's teasing, she's clearly very comfortable with Han and it's just so refreshing to see this fun, playful side of her character that we all know is in there but is so terribly underused in most of the EU. Plus of course the ear licking/sucking is just priceless. As a taster for Tatooine Ghost, it's clear from this that Han and Leia are safe in the hands of Troy Denning, who isn't afraid to portray them as very much in love and as having a sex life. This is the Han and Leia we all waited so long to see.
I'm sure that most of you are familiar with this little gem, it is featured in the Tatooine Ghost paperback, but I'm thinking maybe those of you who only have TG in hardcover may have missed it. If anyone has missed it then it's very easy to find online. Google it and you'll find a transcript without too much trouble.
So, I'm now left wondering what the remainder of Han and Leia's honeymoon consisted of. Did they find accommodation elsewhere perhaps? Or did they just stay holed up in their little love nest on the Falcon?
Hmm. When the Falcon is a rockin', don't come a knockin'.