The Alderaan Factor

"So this guy points a big blue finger at me," Han Solo explained to a bemused Princess Leia Organa, "and he says, 'How do I know you're not gonna take these credits and blow them all on gambling?"

Leia smiled, knowing what was coming next. "And you said..."

"And I said, 'Oh, I got gambling money!'"

Leia laughed. "I'm sure he loved that."

"Absolutely. He loved it so much he tried to shove me out an airlock. This is after Chewie had told me that Telorians have a highly developed sense of humor."

"I believe their appreciation is more of the slapstick variety."

"Tell me about it. After that we had to- Hey, what's this?" Han lifted a small pendant from the dresser.

Leia stood up and grabbed the pendant, a small shard of stone suspended from a simple steel chain. "Be careful with that!"

Han backed off. "Sorry, it doesn't look like your other jewelry. It's just a rock."

"It's not just a rock!" Leia shouted.

"Okay! Okay!" Han stepped back and sat on the edge of the bed. "So what is it?"

Leia cooled down. "I'm sorry. It's... it's hard to explain. It's from Alderaan."


Leia walked over to a chair and sat down. The pendant dangled from her hand and she stared at the stone. "After Bespin, I kept myself busy. Very busy. You wouldn't believe where I went to keep my mind occupied, from Mandalore to Barsoom, dealing with all manner of Zeltrons and Lahsbees and Huhks."

"Oh, my," Han said.

"Exactly. After all that, I figured a diplomatic mission to the Yinchor system would be a breeze. Luke knew better, but I wasn't in the mood to listen. All I had to do was show the locals that the Rebellion is better than the Empire and convince the Yinchori Elder Council to lend their support to the Rebellion."

"Let me guess, things got complicated," Han ventured.

"They always do," Leia agreed. "It started with another Imperial governor with delusions of adequacy. This one's name was Wessel. He was holding the Elder Council hostage. I don't blame my Yinchori escorts for betraying me to the Empire; they did what they had to do to save their leaders. But they quickly learned that the Empire wasn't going to honor any deal. Two TIE Fighters were sent to shoot down our shuttle. I manned the guns and took out the TIEs, but they managed to do enough damage to bring down the shuttle. We crash-landed into the desert, but I was the only survivor. The next thing I realized I was being helped from the burning shuttle... by a Stormtrooper."

"Stormtroopers. I hate those guys."

"I thought I did too. This one had been piloting one of the TIE fighters and had also escaped his crash. He was supposed to kill me, but he helped me get clear of the wreckage instead."


Leia frowned. "He recognized me. He was from Alderaan. He had been a servant in one of my father's palaces, but I didn't remember him."

"Waitasec!" Han exclaimed. "A Stormtrooper from Alderaan?"

"A Stormtrooper from Alderaan," Leia repeated quietly. "I was just as shocked. He blamed my father for what happened to Alderaan. It was the price for standing against the Empire. The Empire had taken this trooper in, given him a home and a purpose. He couldn't accept that the Empire was evil."

"Some things can be hard to see when you get too close," Han said.

"But I was the same way. I took the Rebellion for granted. It was second nature to me that I should fight the Empire and dream of a better future. I couldn't believe that someone from Alderaan, just like me, could see it any other way. He took a pendant, this pendant, from around his neck and showed it to me. I'll never forget what he told me. 'This is all that's left of your dream,' he said. 'All that's left of Alderaan.'" Leia paused and spun the stone on its chain. "He said he bought it from a trader. It was just a souvenir. And he was going to turn me over to Wessel. He was just following orders."

Han snorted.

Leia looked up at Han. "Breaking the rules doesn't come easy to everyone. Nothing I said mattered. He brought me to Wessel who promptly ordered the Elder Council shot. I would have been next had Luke not come to a timely rescue. Confronted by Wessel's brutality, the Trooper finally saw the Empire for what it was. He helped me escape to the Falcon. As we lifted away, he was shot. From the ramp, I tried to hold on to him, but he was too heavy. I couldn't hold on. He died."

Leia held up the pendant. "This is all I have left of him. I don't even know his name."

Han walked over to Leia and put his hand on her cheek. "You can't save everyone, Leia."

"It's not easy to be reminded of that."

"Well," Han said with a crooked smile, "you saved me, and that's gotta count for something."

Leia looked up. She put her hand on Han's and finally grinned back, "It had better!"


• Stormtrooper

Type: Veteran Stormtrooper

Height: 1.8 meters

Species: Alderaanian

Sex: Male

Blaster 5D
Brawling Parry 4D
Dodge 5D
Survival 4D Brawling 4D
Stamina 4D
Starfigher Piloting 4D
Starship Gunnery 4D

Move: 10

Equipment: Stormtrooper armor (+2D physical, +1D energy, -1D DEX), Blaster Pistol (4D), Alderaan Pendant.

Description: He is a Stormtrooper, a faceless servant of the Empire.

A Quote: "And if the Rebellion fails? Am I supposed to give up everything I have now... for a dream that might never come true?"


The Alderaan Factor was written by Randy Stradley with art by Bob McLeod and Tom Palmer.