The Hutt Gambit

The Hutt Gambit

Infobox SW Books
name = The Hutt Gambit
title_orig =
translator =

author = Ann C. Crispin
cover_artist = Drew Struzan
editor =
country = USA
language = English
era = Prequel
series = The Han Solo Trilogy
galactic_year = 5 BBY
canon = C
subject = Star Wars
genre = Science Fiction
publisher = Bantam Spectra
release_date = 11 August 1997
media_type = Paperback
pages = 368
size_weight = 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.0 inches
6.2 ounces
isbn = ISBN 0-553-57416-7
preceded_by = The Paradise Snare
followed_by = Rebel Dawn

"The Hutt Gambit" is the second volume in The Han Solo Trilogy, by Ann C. Crispin. It was first published in 1997.


Nar Shaddaa

One of the central conflicts of the story was the Battle of Nar Shaddaa, which was fought between the Galactic Empire and an alliance of smugglers and mercenaries.In the wake of an attack on Rampa II by one of the groups that would go on to form the Rebel Alliance, Emperor Palpatine instructed each sector moff to end the smuggling of contraband materiel. In response, the previously ineffectual Moff who governed Hutt Space, Sarn Shild, proclaimed that he would restore law and order to Hutt Space. This announcement was met with dismay by the Hutts, with the leaders of clan Desilijic, Jabba and Jiliac, instantly planning to bribe Shild into sparing the Hutt homeworld, Nal Hutta. Towards this end, the Hutts paid smuggler (and erstwhile Imperial officer) Han Solo to travel to Imperial Center and bestow gifts upon Shild. However, Shild informed Solo that, while he would spare Nal Hutta if the Hutts became law-abiding, he intended to execute order Base Delta Zero upon Nal Hutta's moon, Nar Shaddaa, the home of millions of smugglers and their families. Shild also intended to blockade Nal Hutta and Nar Hekka until the Hutts capitulated and agreed to military occupation and the presence of customs inspectors.

Shild then instructed Admiral Greelanx, the commander of his sectorial fleet, to mobilise his fleet and progress to Nar Shaddaa. However, on the following day, Greelanx received an anonymous message from Exocomm instructing him to lose the battle, albeit in a realistic and loss-minimising fashion.

As Shild's sectorial fleet assembled near Teth, Solo returned to Hutt Space. The Hutts then instructed him to again attempt to bribe the Imperials, this time targeting Greelanx. Solo infiltrated Greelanx's flagship, the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser "Imperial Destiny", at Teth, giving him a platinum ring set with a Bothan glitterstone. In exchange for the ring and a number of valuable gemstones (to be delivered after the battle, regardless of the outcome), Greelanx sold his battle plan to the Hutts.

The Hutts then decided to sacrifice Nar Shaddaa to the Imperials while hiding behind the planetary shielding of Nal Hutta, hiring a small mercenary fleet to protect the planet. In the meanwhile, Solo, along with fellow former Imperial Mako Spince, recruited the denizens of Nar Shaddaa into a loose fighting unit. Their forces were bolstered when the Hutt mercenaries, led by Captain Renthal, agreed to fight alongside the smugglers. As the smugglers began repairing and upgrading their ships in preparation for the defense of Nar Shaddaa, Spince and Solo devised a battle plan.

The textbook Imperial strategy prepared by Greelanx saw the Imperial fleet emerge from hyperspace on the far side of the moon, within range of Nar Shaddaa's sensors. The skirmishers, sixteen Guardian-class light cruisers, would then surround Nar Shadda in a shell formation, while the capital ships, deployed in a wedge formation, and line ships deployed further away from the planet. The Imperial fleet would then converge upon Nar Shaddaa, with the picket ships leading the way, and execute order Base Delta Zero upon the moon, deploying Lambda-class shuttles and troops to the surface to exterminate any who survived the orbital bombardment.

The outnumbered and outgunned smugglers' battle plan saw the bulk of their forces hide behind the debris orbiting Nar Shaddaa in order to ambush the Imperial skirmish ships in two waves, several scout ships would engage the Imperial pickets before retreating, drawing the Imperials in a series of ambushes by the First Strike Element (consisting of most of the smaller ships) and the Second Strike Element (consisting of most of the larger, more heavily armed ships). As the capital ships approached Nar Shaddaa, a fleet of illusory ships generated by the stage magician Xaverri would appear to attack them from behind, forcing the capital ships to pivot around in order to bring their forward firing weaponry to bear. As the capital ships turned, the mercenaries were to flank them and fire upon their vulnerable rear engines, hopefully destroying or immobilising enough ships to force a retreat.

The battle took place as the smugglers prepared for a formation drill. The smugglers' plan unfolded largely as scheduled, although three ships in the First Strike Element deployed too early, with two of them destroyed as a result. The illusion was deployed when the capital ships were 500 kilometres from the Nar Shaddaa debris field, and succeeded in drawing their fire. The flanking attack took a severe toll on the Imperial fleet, and Greelanx took the opportunity to sound the retreat, complying with his orders (Captain Fel only partially complied with his command, leaving the site of battle at one-quarter speed to allow the surviving TIE Fighters to board his vessel). The smugglers were victorious, although more than a quarter of their fleet had been destroyed.

As a result of the defeat, the Empire refrained from any further incursions into Hutt Space, possibly because the Hutts voluntarily opted to double their tax contributions. Shild committed suicide after being summoned before the Emperor for his failure, and Greelanx was summarily executed by Darth Vader for treason shortly after Solo had returned to his ship with the remainder of his payment. Han listened in on Vaders killing of Greelanx from an adjoining room. Rebel Alliance commander Bria Tharen later speculated that the entire battle had been orchestrated by the Emperor in order to depose the corrupt yet popular Shild.

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