A new purpose
The episode opens with a wide angle shot of the Colossus's command bridge. A bartender droid serves drinks to Ace Squadron including Torra Doza and Freya Fenris in the Aces' Lounge. Griff Halloran has drank several bottles of alcohol while Bo Keevil looks sad and bored. Hype Fazon is shocked by the despondent state of his fellow Aces and asks what is wrong.
Freya says that the First Order nearly blew them out of the sky during their last skirmish. Hype tries to cheer them up but Torra says that Freya is right because fighting the First Order is not like fighting pirates. Hype reassures them that is why they are re-adjusting and that the First Order won't be chasing them forever.
Griff disagrees and says that he was with the Galactic Empire and knows how their kind thinks. He says that the First Order will not stop until they have gotten everyone one of them into detention cells. Captain Imanuel Doza notices that the Aces are concerned about the same things he is concerned about. He compliments them for their valiant job in protecting this platform for years. However, Doza realizes that they are outmatched by a new kind of enemy but that there are ways they can prepare themselves for this conflict.
Hype asks if he wants them to run drills and reminds Captain Doza that they are race pilots. Doza responds that they have much to learn when it comes to ship to ship combat. Doza reassures them that they are lucky to have a starfighter pilot and a commander with many years of experience. Doza introduces them to their new squad commander, Jarek Yeager, and their newest member of the Ace Squadron, Kazuda Xiono. Kaz is pleased to join Ace Squadron but Hype is insulted by Kaz's presence.
Captain Doza leaves Yeager, Kaz and the Aces to get reacquainted. Kaz tries to be friendly but Hype is dismissive of Kaz's flying abilities and tells Yeager that he did not recall signing up for the Resistance. Yeager reassures Hype that he is not seeking to recruit him into the Resistance but that he is asking them to protect their home. He asks if they want a repeat of last time.
Torra accepts Yeager's offer of help and says that they should give him a chance. Kaz says he is prepared to share his experiences as a pilot with the New Republic Navy. Hype says that he will always be at the top of this class and that Kaz will be at the bottom, mocking him as "Kaz-tastrophe."
First Order cadets
Meanwhile, aboard Commander Pyre's Resurgent-class Star Destroyer, the Thunderer, Jace Rucklin, Lin Gaava, and Tamara Ryvora race through the corridors. Tam drops her helmet. Rucklin tells them to hurry up because they are running late. Tam tells Rucklin to stop complaining and move because he was the one who could not find his helmet. The trio run through a set of blast doors and enter a hangar bay where an Atmospheric Assault Lander has just arrived.
They join three other TIE fighter pilot cadets and don their helmets. Their training instructor Lieutenant Galek says that some of them lack the professionalism to wear the complete uniform. She tells Tam and her companions that they have not earned the privilege of being seen. Tam apologizes and Galek tells them that they are here to hone their skills as pilots. She reminds them that her job is to train them and that their job is to follow her commands.
Lieutenant Galek orders them to prepare their ships because they will start their first exercise shortly. Before leaving, Tam tries to speak to her commander officer. Lieutenant Galek asks Cadet DD-533 if she heard her command and orders her to move to her ship.
Back to school
In Yeager's garage, R23-X9 chats with SC-X2. The pilots' droids including Bucket and CB-23 gather in a corner while the Aces, Yeager, Kaz, and Neeku Vozo gather at a table. Neeku wants to join them but Hype shoos him away and he goes to eat his meal with the droids. Griff grumbles that they are back in flight school while Torra hopes that this isn't boring. Freya wonders why they couldn't brief somewhere nicer with Hype finishing off "like our hangar."
Yeager tells them be quiet and says he understands that they don't want to be here. He says that this is not about what we want but rather about surviving. Yeager wants to get a sense of their combat skills and activates a holoprojector of an ice moon. He tells them that there is an uninhabited ice moon nearby, the perfect place for a mock skirmish. He tells them to disable all weapons systems and to use stun only. They will have two teams: Kaz and Yeager versus everyone else. Hype is dismissive of Kaz and Yeager's combat abilities but Yeager wishes them luck.
The first exercise
While flying through the atmosphere of the ice moon, Hype asks where is this "great pilot." Torra says that Yeager told them just to be ready because they never know when the enemy is going to attack. Hype boasts that he is always ready but Griff tells Hype to make sure he watch his back. Hype tells Griff to watch his back as well.
As the Aces fly in formation, Freya tells Griff over the intercom that she did not think that Imperial pilots were so concerned for one another. Griff replies that they weren't which was why they lost the last war. Hype is about to taunt Kaz and Yeager about losing again when Yeager and Kaz swoop down on them in Yeager's racer and the Fireball.
Torra reminds the other pilots to cover for each other. As the training exercise continues, Yeager tells Kaz to go high and swing out. Kaz flies behind Griff's racer Black Ace and stuns his engines, causing him to dive into the clouds. Freya locks her racer Red Ace's stun cannons onto him. Yeager tells Kaz to draw her out while he takes her down.
As Freya chases Kaz's ship, Yeager swoops down on her racer and stuns it. As Kaz cheers, Torra grumbles that they are taking them out fast and proposes that they form up to. Bo agrees but Hype says don't just drown me. The Aces plunge deeper into the ice moon's atmosphere and fly over several ice pillars.
Torra is about to take out Kaz but Hype suddenly dives in front of her, forcing Torra to pull her ship out. Torra complains that it was her shot but Hype taunts her that there are no rules in war. Yeager tells Kaz that he has gotten them on his tail. Kaz agrees to lead the way and takes them closer to the surface, passing a large creature with a long tail. Before Hype can take out Kaz, Yeager swoops down on him and reminds him to keep his eyes open always. Hype slams his fist in rage.
Back at the Colossus, Hype and Torra argue. Torra points out that Hype broke the formation. Yeager says that Hype was being a good racer which makes him a bad combat pilot. While racers only think about themselves, good fighter pilots survive by working as a team. Hype takes offense and says that he thought that Yeager wanted to make him a better pilot. Hype doesn't want to be chained to these "sea slugs" and storms out, brushing past Griff and R4-G77. R4 drops Griff's helmet before following his master. Griff scowls at Hype's selfishness.
Later, Hype and R4-G77 visit Aunt Z's Tavern where he compliments his droid for showing those "moof brains." Hype asks Aunt Z for the spiciest drink that she has got. However, Aunt Z serves him water because they are running low on supplies. She warns that she may start charging for water soon.
Just then, Kaz visits and compliments him for sticking to water. He says that hydration is good and tells Hype that he did what any cadet or rookie would. Kaz appeals to Hype's shared desire to protect the Colossus. Hype blames him for causing Tam to leave and says that he doesn't blame her now that he has gotten to know him better. Hype says that his antennae are twitching, which means he is upset and tells Kaz to leave. Kaz leaves and greets Torra on the way.
Hype goes to play on an arcade machine. He tells Torra to leave him alone. Torra says that Hype choosing to leave or stay will not change her opinion about him. Torra reassures Hype she is not mad at him but that she is scared of the First Order's pilots, who are coming after everybody on this platform. Hype agrees and likens the First Order to the Empire during his childhood.
Torra says that Hype had a chance to run but he chose to come back. She says that they are stronger together and that she is stronger when Hype is on his wings. When Hype concludes that she still wants him despite him not being a team player, Torra teases him that she would be the best pilot on the platform should he choose to leave.
A live fire exercise
Back at the Resurgent Star Destroyer, three black and red X-wing drones lead several TIE/fo space superiority fighters on a chase in a training exercise. On the bridge of the Star Destroyer, Lieutenant Galek informs the cadets that this is a live fire exercise and that there will be no stun guns. Whoever destroys the most drones will become squad leader. She orders them to begin.
Tam reassures herself that she has gotten this. Tam shoots down the first drone and Galek awards the first point to her, addressing her as Cadet DT-533. She challenges the other pilots to impress her. Over the intercom, Rucklin vows to get a shot. However, Tam beats him to it and cheers.
Commander Pyre remarks that their new recruits are showing great promise. Galek clarifies that it is DT-533 who is doing well in particular. Pyre recalls that she was the volunteer who brought the comlink that led them to the Colossus. He is pleased with Tam's usefulness.
Tam leads the chase for the X-wing drone and taunts Rucklin that she is going for the clean sweep. Rucklin responds that she can try and tries to manuever his starfighter but collides with another and loses control. With Rucklin in danger, Tam breaks formation and flies to his aid. Before Rucklin can crash into the Star Destroyer's hangar, Tam manages to slow down his descent by using her solar collector to guide him upward. The two fly past the command bridge.
After regaining control, Rucklin remarks that she lost her sweet but Tam tells him that she didn't lose him. She remarks that it is almost a fair trade. Pyre remarks that Lieutenant Galek's most promising pupil is quite the hero. Galek is visibly displeased and orders the pilots to return to the hangar because the exercise is complete.
The second flying exercise
Back on the Colossus, Yeager tells the Aces that they are going to try it again and tells them to split into three pairs: one wing mate and one lead. He tells them to focus on working together as a team because the last pair standing wins. Just then, Hype laughs and asks who is teaming up with him. He rides on top a plane ladder being drawn by R4-G77. Hype boasts that he is back.
The other Aces grumble and Bo asks if he has come back to apologize. Hype is not ready to apologize yet but says he has come back to help them out. Kaz and Torra are glad to see him. Yeager reminds them to get started and assigns Kaz to be Hype's lead. Both Kaz and Hype protest but Yeager ignores their complaints and asks if there is going to be a problem. Hype warns Kaz about what he can do.
Back on the icy moon, the Aces and Kaz fly in formation while Yeager watches them from a higher altitude. He reminds the pilots that they might be what stands between the Colossus and total destruction. He tells them that they have to learn how to get this right. Bucket mutters in Binary.
As the fighters spread out, Kaz tells Hype to follow his lead. Hype grumbles but obliges. As the two fly through ice pillars, Kaz tries to make conversation but Hype tells him to speak only when necessary. Kaz points out they are being ambushed by Torra and Griff and narrowly escape. Torra fires on a pillar, causing debris to drop to the ground and disturb a large creature.
During the pursuit, Hype asks what happened to their friendship. Torra teases him by telling him there are no friends in war. Just then, they are ambushed by a giant flying ray, which chases after them. Torra asks what is that thing. Freya warns Hype that the creature is on his tail. Hype panics and tries in vain to shake off the giant ray.
Kaz says he has got him and switches to laser mode. Kaz blasts the giant flying ray from behind while the other Aces converge. However, Kaz's blasts can't penetrate its tough hide. Griff asks what is that thing made of. Yeager tells everyone to spread out in an attempt to disorientate it.
Hype manages to break free but the giant flying ray traps Yeager, Bucket, and their racer in its claws. Kaz flies after his mentor. Freya asks Kaz what he is supposed to do but Kaz responds that this was not what he was trained for. Torra tries to blast the creature and asks how they can make the giant flying ray let Yeager go. Griff says they can't because they lack the firepower.
As the flying ray scrapes past an ice pinnacle, Hype has an idea. He says that he needs his wingmate. Kaz asks him what is the plan. Hype explains that their target is not going to be the creature but the ice pillars ahead of them. Kaz sees Hype's plan. When Keevil asks him to explain, Torra says that their plan is to topple the ice pillars on top of the flying ray.
Freya and the other Aces agree. Before the flying ray can devour Yeager's racer, Hype tells them to target the ice pillar ahead of them in a simultaneous strike. The ice pillar crashes on top of the giant flying ray, causing it to let Yeager's racer go. Yeager and the other Aces fly to safety and they all cheer at their teamwork. Yeager is pleased and says that this was not what he had in mind for teamwork but that it got the job done. The Aces head home triumphantly.
Survival of the fittest
Back at the Star Destroyer hangar bay, Tam greets Rucklin as he climbs out of his TIE fighter. Rucklin says that he never thought that he would be so happy to see her. Tam tells him not to mock the girl who saved his life. Rucklin says that he has to admit that he wouldn't have done the same. Lieutenant Galek says she shouldn't have.
She tells Tam that her stunt cost her the position of flight leader. Tam is shocked and says that she downed the most drones and helped a fellow pilot. Galek responds that she risked the entire mission by breaking off the attack. She tells Tam that her job was to destroy the enemy and not to rescue lesser pilots who shouldn't have survived on their own merit. She says that Tam embarrassed her in front of Commander Pyre.
Rucklin tries to speak up for Tam but Galek shushes him and says that the First Order is built on the "survival of the fittest." If one pilot can't do their duty and they die serving the First Order, then so be it. The Order becomes stronger by culling the weak. She reminds Tam that it is her job to follow orders. Tam says that she understands her orders before donning her helmet. Rucklin also dons his helmet and walks away.
A new friendship
Back at the Colossus, the Aces, Kaz, Yeager, Neeku, and several bar patrons including Al and Gorrak Wiles celebrate Hype's role in saving Yeager at Aunt Z's Tavern. Hype tries to be humble and says that he only saved Yeager. He says that the creature was no joke and that its teeth was all nasty. He gives credit to his wingmates Torra and Kaz, telling them that they were right that they made a mighty good team together. When he jokes that he could have taken on that creature himself, Torra playfully smacks his knee. Hype says he was kidding.
He welcomes Kazuda Xiono as his newest wingmate and member of the Aces. Hype invites Kaz for a drink and tells him that he is no longer a catastrophe. The two hug with Neeku saying that he makes him so happy. Kazuda hugs Hype in a tight embrace but Hype reminds him to notice his annoyed antennae.
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Notes and references
- The Star Wars Book dates the Battle of Batuu, which is featured in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, to 34 years after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places in 0 BBY. Therefore Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge must take place in 34 ABY. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars Resistance – "Station to Station" before Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. As Star Wars Resistance – "Station to Station" takes place after this episode, it must also take place in 34 ABY.