Rescuing the defector
On the planet Ozri II, an Imperial patrol led by the Imperial officer Thassilio Smeuse captures a Rebel Alliance extraction team, whose U-wing has seemingly experienced engine failure and landed in the swamps. A stormtrooper commander dismisses the prisoners as a "sorry looking bunch" whom he does not believe know the location of the rebel base. One of the rebels speaks to Thassilio, saying that "the red rancor eschews chasing prey herds across the grassy plain."
Thassilio finishes "but eats the yellow slitherwolves when they are gorged and sleepy." This turns out to be a shibboleth for the rebel extraction team, who reveal blasters and take out the rest of the Imperials. Captain Magna Tolvan, the leader of the extraction team, tells Thassilio to consider himself extracted. Extraction Team Misericorde escape on their U-wing with the defector, eluding several TIE fighters and escaping into hyperspace. Tolvan and her team transport Thassilio to Echo Base on the planet Hoth where he shakes hands with a senior rebel officer.
After returning to Echo Base, Captain Tolvan inquires into the status of the planetary shield. The technician reports that the cold weather is interfering with the generators. He adds that the evacuation drills need some tuning too and reveals that the rebels are vulnerable.
Shortly later, Captain Tolvan is met by a rebel officer, who presents a message from Dr Aphra. Dr Aphra apologizes for leaving her and her companions. Believing that she cannot change herself, she has decided to shield those she loves from her own defects. Aphra says she is a lost cause and believes the best that she can do is bring the folks that she loves together. Aphra believes that Captain Tolvan, her father Korin Aphra and Vulaada Klam are safer without her.
On frozen Hoth, Vulaada uses her qaberworm Gurtyl to herd a pack of tauntauns into Echo Base. Though Captain Tolvan had ordered the creature destroyed, she was overruled by Princess Leia Organa. Tolvan summons Vulaada and Korin into the briefing room to discuss Dr Aphra's message.
Dr Aphra's message
In her message, Dr Aphra admits that she longed for discipline as an adult. She admits that chaos is not much better, describing herself as a "one-woman trail of destruction." Dr Korin wonders whether his daughter, whom he presumed to be dead, survived. In her message, Dr. Aphra says that being knowledgeable, smart and sneaky did help her escape trouble but that most of the time those attributes got her in trouble in the first place.
Korin tells Captain Tovlan that he is thinking about writing a new history of the Rebel Alliance. He adds that the four guiding principles are near-quotations of Jedi apocrypha but the Captain is not interested. In the message, Dr Aphra talks about forgetting ideals, morals, and the blasted wisdom of "ancient fanatics." She adds that what it boils down to is what haunts you and what joy and what regrets fall like stars behind your eyes.
As Korin, Tolvan and Vulaada watch her hologram message, Dr Aphra says that the true measure of life is whether or not you can live with yourself despite how people judge you. She adds when you are all alone with your choices. Dr Aphra tells Korin, Tolvan and Vulaade that she is glad that they are together and pleads with them not to feel sad for her. She believes that they are better off without her. As Vulaada sheds a tear for Dr Aphra, Aphra says she can understand their rage, regret, greed or grief but that love is letting go.
While reflecting on Dr Aphra's message, Tolvan asks the others if they think that she made a difference and they think if she did any good. Vulaada asks if she means ever wile Dr Korin opines that his daughter did not make a difference to the galaxy. Korin remarks that rebellions become tyrannies and beget new rebellions. He cynically talks about the cycle of good becoming evil and evil becoming good.
Tolvan clarifies that Dr Aphra was meaning the people that she met. She says that they are all here together. Just then, the rebel pilot Luke Skywalker enters the conversation, recognizing them as Dr Aphra's friends. He tells them that he met Dr Aphra a couple of times. Tolvan recognizes Skywalker as the farmboy the Rebel Alliance promoted to Commander for destroying the Death Star.
Skywalker tells them they have finished debriefing the spy Thassilio, who has revealed that someone has sabotaged the Empire's computers, sabotaging the Empire's search for the rebel base. He says that Thassilio reveals that the culprit was a human woman with archaeotech expertise who was traveling with two droids. Skywalker reports that it set the Imperial search efforts back by two weeks, giving them enough time to set up Echo Base's deflector shields and to prepare their evacuation plans. Skywalker says that this confirms his view that she was on the side of good.
After Skywalker leaves, Tolvan muses about telling him that Dr Aphra also saved the Emperor's life. Kolvin advises against it, saying that there is nothing more cruel to a dreamer than reality. Vulaada says that is cold out here but admits that is pretty with so many worlds out there. Korin wonders if Aphra is settling on a new world to stay out of trouble. Vulaada quips that Aphra is settling down to make some. Tolvan disagrees, opining that Aphra is somewhere in between.
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