In 3 BBY, the rebels of Phoenix Cell carried out a mission to the planet Ryloth, where they hijacked an Imperial carrier for the rebel fleet. They were aided by General Cham Syndulla and his Twi'lek freedom fighters, though the Twi'leks had an agenda of their own: to destroy the carrier as a symbol to rally the people of Ryloth against the Empire. Ultimately, the rebels stole the cruiser with Cham's help, and they also destroyed a light cruiser to achieve the elder Syndulla's goals.
With Phoenix Cell losing pilots and starfighters at a faster rate than it could replace them, the Phoenix Cell's Commander Jun Sato recommended stealing an Imperial Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier that was reportedly orbiting the Twi'lek homeworld of Ryloth in the Outer Rim Territories. For this mission, the Spectres enlisted the help of the Free Ryloth Movement, who were led by Cham Syndulla, the father of Hera Syndulla; the captain of the rebel ship Ghost. Hera had not spoken to her father Cham for years due to their differences about Ryloth's struggle and the rebellion.
Since the Imperial cruiser-carrier was taking part in the Imperial occupation of Ryloth, Cham agreed to help. He traveled to meet the Ghost in deep space on a Nu-class attack/transport shuttle accompanied by two fellow Twi'lek rebels Gobi Glie and Numa. Seeking to demonstrate the strength of the Ryloth rebels and to end the Imperial bombardment, Cham advocated destroying the Imperial cruiser-carrier. However, Hera wanted to steal the ship so that the rebellion could have a fighter carrier to house its starfighters. Her plan involved using a stolen TIE bomber to infiltrate and hijack the starship. Following a tense discussion, the Jedi Kanan Jarrus managed to convince Cham to abandon his plan to destroy the Imperial warship and to help them.
Cham publicly agreed to support Hera's plan but secretly indicated to his followers that they would still carry out their plan to destroy the Imperial cruiser-carrier. As the two rebel factions traveled to Ryloth, Cham and his followers ingratiated themselves with Hera's rebel crew, who admired Cham's exploits during the Clone Wars.
Upon exiting hyperspace, the two rebel groups boarded the stolen TIE bomber and approached the cruiser-carrier. Hera then arranged for two A-wing starfighters to attack their bomber. Claiming to be an Imperial ship under attack, the rebels managed to secure permission to land in one of the Imperial ship's hangar bays. Hera crash-landed the bomber safely but managed to deliver all her passengers safely. At that point, Cham and his rebels sprung into action and stunned the Spectres. They then took out a squad of stormtroopers that had been sent to the hangar. While Numa and Globie proceeded to plant detonators in the ship's munitions rack, Cham headed to sabotage the ship's hyperdrive.
After awakening and freeing themselves, the Spectres realized that they had to stop the Ryloth rebels from destroying the ship. While Sabine Wren and Garazeb Orrelios made their way to the munitions rack to stop Numa and Gobi, Hera, Kanan, Chopper, and Ezra Bridger proceeded to the command bridge to seize control of the ship. After fighting their way through several stormtroopers, the four rebels managed to force their way to the command bridge. There, Ezra used a mind trick to order the Imperial captain to order his crew to abandon ship.
Meanwhile, Sabine and Zeb were caught up in a gun battle between Numa, Gobi and several stormtroopers. After Zeb captured a mouse droid, Sabine fitted the droid with a detonator which knocked Numa and Gobi unconscious. The rebels then took the two Twi'leks into custody. Meanwhile, the other Spectres managed to corner Cham in the command bridge. Cham had managed to sabotage the ship's hyperdrive. Following a lengthy argument, Hera managed to win her father over by telling Cham how he had inspired her to become a rebel leader. After receiving news that several Imperial reinforcements were approaching the cruiser-carrier, Cham decided to work with the rebels to steal the ship from the Empire. Numa and Gobi complied with their leader's decision.
Comrades in arms
As several TIE bombers and an Imperial landing craft approached the cruiser-carrier, the rebels joined forces to prevent the Empire from recapturing the vessel. While Chopper repaired the hyperdrive, Zeb, Sabine, Numa, and Gobi used the ship's laser cannons to blast the Imperial ships. The TIE bombers fired torpedoes which damaged the ship's stabilizer; forcing Hera to take evasive action. Joining forces, Hera and her father managed to regain the ship's controls. Meanwhile, the other rebels managed to destroy the TIE bombers and the landing craft before they could damage or land on the vessel.
However, the rebels' problems were not over because an Arquitens-class command cruiser had just exited hyperspace. Before the cruiser could attack their hijacked ship, Cham along with Ezra and Sabine shoved a TIE bomber into the path of the warship. Cham then fired on the bomber, creating an explosion which engulfed the bomber and the magazine compartments of the Imperial light cruiser. With its front compartments aflame, the light cruiser descended into Ryloth's atmosphere. The destruction of the light cruiser was witnessed by many Twi'leks who were emboldened by the space battle. Having repaired the cruiser-carrier, the rebels were able to flee into hyperspace.
The theft of the Imperial cruiser-carrier greatly strengthened the rebellion's forces and provided Phoenix Cell with a safe place to land and store their starfighters. The former Imperial vessel became Phoenix Nest, the flagship of the Phoenix fleet. The rebel victory also reinvigorated the Ryloth rebels. Cham reconciled with his daughter Hera and accepted her role in the rebellion. He and his followers then parted company with the Spectres on friendly terms.
Behind the scenes
Notes and references
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Call"
- "A Time to Survive"—Star Wars Rebels Magazine 27
- Star Wars Rebels – "Homecoming"
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded states that Leia Organa was 16 years old during her mission on Lothal. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas establishes that Organa was born in 19 BBY, the mission must take place in 3 BBY. Dawn of Rebellion dates the attack on Phoenix Squadron to three years before the Battle of Yavin, or 3 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas' dating system. As this mission takes place between these two events, it must also take place in 3 BBY.
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Forgotten Droid"