|Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka|
Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka is the third and final book in The Lando Calrissian Adventures.
- ISBN 0-345-31164-7; November 12, 1983, Del Rey, 181-page paperback
For a year Lando Calrissian and Vuffi Raa, his five-armed robot astrogator, had roamed space in the Millennium Falcon, seeking or creating opportunities to turn an easy, but not too dishonest, credit.
But now their partnership seemed doomed—for Lando's uncharacteristic impulse to help a race of persecuted aliens had suddenly made him and Vuffi vulnerable to several sets of their own enemies…not least of whom was the evil Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund!
It had been nearly a year since Lando Calrissian and his droid companion, Vuffi Raa, ended their adventures in the Oseon system. It was then that they encountered Lehesu, a strange, vacuum-breathing creature, flying through deep space. In a short time, the intelligent manta-like creature and Vuffi Raa were able to establish a form of communication. The adventurers discovered that the Oswaft lived in a nebula called the ThonBoka, (Starcave in common), with others of his kind, and that he, too, was on an adventure, having grown bored with the confines of his home. A month after parting ways, the pair received word that the ThonBoka was besieged by the Centrality Navy. It seems Lehesu did not return directly to the Starcave, but explored more of the Centrality, making the Centrans nervous. In response, the navy trailed the giant Oswaft back to his home, and set up a blockade at the entrance. At timed intervals, the Centrality cruisers would unleash energies at the mouth of the "cave", poisoning the interstellar plankton, pseudoanimals, and quasi-plants that entered there, and made up the main diet of the inhabitants. The Oswaft were slowly being starved. When Lando and Vuffi Raa heard this news, they hastened to the aid of their friend.
Lando Calrissian became apprehensive when he saw the size of the blockading fleet. Realizing that the Millennium Falcon was no match for that many warships, the pair utilized a scheme that Calrissian designed for tight situations. Posing as an interstellar salesman, Lando talked his way onboard the Respectable, the picket ship that halted them. Using his talent as a con-artiste, Calrissian worked his way through the fleet, getting closer and closer to the entrance of the ThonBoka. While on their way to the fifth ship, the Courteous, the pair devised another plan. Straying from their trajectory and slowly moving toward the Starcave, the Falcon was cautioned to return to its original course. Calrissian ignored the communication and powered up the aft deflector shields, just as the the last warning was being transmitted. When the Couteous opened fire, Lando punched the hyperdrive engines while Vuffi Raa released a canister of exploding gases and metallic particles, creating the illusion that the Millennium Falcon had been destroyed.
As these events were unfolding, the last Sorcerer of Tund, Rokur Gepta, was making an alliance with Klyn Shanga and his squadron of fighter pilots. The Renatasians no longer had the means for interstellar travel, as they had lost their dreadnaught engine in the Battle of Oseon. Their starfighters were brought onboard the decommisioned cruiser, Wennis, and the ship set course for the ThonBoka. Gepta also contracted the services of the Ottdefa Osuno Whett to study the Oswaft, and determine what they were and if they had any weaknesses. This information would be critical if any type of conflict ensued.
The Millennium Falcon emerged from hyperspace inside the Starcave where Lehesu was waiting, nervously. The three were enjoying each others company, informing one another of their current situation, when two large Oswaft sent by the Elders summoned them to the Cave of Elders. After introductions were made, a plan was to be formulated to deal with the blockading fleet. Concurrently, a delegation of Oswaft, led by Bhoggihalysahonues, was sent to the mouth of the nebula to try and negotiate a settlement without conflict. Unfortunately, the Centrality cruiser, Courteous, was destroyed along with many Oswaft. As the fighting ensued, word came from Rokur Gepta, aboard the Wennis, to cease fire until he arrived. He was to be there for the destruction of the Oswaft and Lando Calrissian.
The vacuum-breathers had the ability to project matter from their bodies, creating a false image of themselves in the process. They also could "hop", making short hyperspace jumps at will. Lando devised a stratagem that incorporated these talents. The Oswaft were to engage the enemy by flying between the cruisers, leave an image of themselves, and "hop" to another location. The Navy warships, thinking the enemy was near, would then fire on the artificial skin. The beams of their turbolasers would pass through the false image, striking the allied craft. This plan was put into effect when the Wennis arrived, bearing the symbol of the Central Administrator. Zero Squadron, led by Klyn Shanga, was simultaneously launched from the hangar of Gepta's cruiser. The starfighters were linked to ship's pinnace to provide their hyperdrive capabilities. The motley array of fighters were to engage the Millennium Falcon inside the Starcave, while the Navy cruisers were occupied with the Oswaft at the mouth of the nebula.
As the battle raged on, many Navy ships were destroyed while the Millennium Falcon, with Vuffi Raa at the controls and Calrissian manning one of the quad-guns, was able to inflict damage to Zero Squadron. When the Falcon and the Renatasian pilots had fought their way to the entrance to the ThonBoka, Rokur Gepta called a cease-fire to demonstrate the power of his new weapon. Many Oswaft were terminated, including the chief Elder and his second. Gepta had done this in an attempt to draw out Lando Calrissian and his droid, and challenge them to a hand-to-hand duel to the death. Seeing no other option, Lando agreed to the contest. The terms of the fight were simple; each challenger was permitted a single weapon, and the match was to take place in space! The three met "outside", as Lando and Vuffi Raa circled their opponent, the droid detached his five appendages and used them as a distraction for the gambler to employ his stingbeam.
When all eyes were occupied by the duel, the Zero Squadron pinnace started moving toward the conflict. Klyn Shanga hailed the ship, to find Osuno Whett at the controls. The Ottdefa stated he wanted to destroy the droid along with Calrissian, and perhaps Rokur Gepta as well. Remembering Whett's voice from so many years ago, and seeing Vuffi Raa with his detached arms, Shanga realized that he really was a robot, and finally understood that Whett was the Butcher of Renatasia, and not the droid. Shanga ordered his men to fire on the pinnace, and they were able to force it into the Wennis, destroying both spacecraft. As Rokur Gepta was distracted by the explosion, Lando Calrissian fired on him, and his form dematerialized inside his spacesuit. When Calrissian searched the suit, he found a small organism. He took the being and crushed it in his hand.
Directly after the death of Rokur Gepta, hundreds of thousands of mechanical life-forms appeared forcing an end to the hostilities. It appeared their leader was the "father" of Vuffi Raa, and that many years ago, the little droid was sent out to record the experiences of other sentients. He was now being recalled to provide the information he collected. Lando Calrissian and Vuffi Raa were saddened by the parting, but Lando felt the need to settle down and become responsible, giving up his wandering ways. A hold full of valuable gemstones, provided by the Oswaft, would help get him started!
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This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka.