"Their cargo was something prized, a certain Senator, I suspect."
―Grand Admiral Thrawn to Admiral Konstantine[5]

"Secret Cargo" is the eighteenth episode of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels' third season. It is the fifty-fifth episode of the series overall. It aired on March 4, 2017, on Disney XD.[1]

Official description[]

The Ghost crew must escort Senator Mon Mothma, now wanted by the Empire, to a meeting that can change the galaxy.[6]

Plot summary[]

The Imperial probe droid[]

The episode opens with the Spectres' starship Ghost hiding near two wrecked former Separatist warships: a Recusant-class destroyer and a Munificent-class star frigate. Inside the Ghost's cockpit, Ezra Bridger, Garazeb Orrelios and Hera Syndulla are listening to a propaganda HoloNet broadcast played by the astromech droid Chopper. The Imperial newscaster, Alton Kastle, says that in 010, he'll bring exciting news happening in their galactic sector. Zeb switches off the HoloNet broadcast, stating he's not sure how much more of it he can take. Ezra remarks that he'd say whoever they're supposed to meet is late, but they don't know when they're supposed to arrive, or even who they are. Chopper beeps, and Hera says she knows as much as Ezra does, but that Senator Bail Organa trusts them, and that he trusts the Spectres to get them fuel.

Ezra grumbles about secrecy, and remarks that's why Kanan Jarrus volunteered for a supply run elsewhere. Chopper then plays a broadcast from Kastle announcing that Senator Mon Mothma has shocked the Imperial Senate with her "treasonous" remarks against Emperor Palpatine. The rebels watch Senator Mothma give a speech condemning the Emperor for ordering the brutal attacks on the people of Ghorman. She denounces the Ghorman Massacre as proof that the self-appointed Emperor is nothing more than a lying executioner who has imposed tyranny on the galaxy under the pretense of security. Ezra and Zeb marvel at what Mothma said, with the latter adding that she has guts and that he's surprised she's still alive.

Suddenly, there is a proximity alert and the Spectres see a tactical infiltration pod approaching them. The pod has an E-XD-series infiltrator droid, a model which Zeb and Chopper had encountered earlier on Chopper Base. Chopper displays a hologram of the outside object to his fellow rebels. Hera is alarmed to see an Imperial probe droid out there, while Ezra remarks that the droid speaks an Imperial code. Zeb adds that this is bad, and tells them to blast it. Hera disagrees because she doesn't want to attract attention, and powers down the Ghost. She orders Ezra into the ship's nose gun. Chopper is also switched off, despite his protests.

Hera tells her crew to stay silent as the infiltration pod passes over them. Zeb doesn't think the droid saw them, but Hera is not convinced. Inside the pod, the droid mumbles in an Imperial code and flies its craft towards the Ghost. Hera realizes the pod is scanning for lifeforms, and Zeb sarcastically states that that's "great", noting that they can't fire with the power off. Ezra waits for the pod to approach their ship. At Hera's signal, Ezra fires the Ghost's frontal turbolasers at the pod but misses. The Ghost pursues the pod, but Ezra is unable to get a clean shot in the debris field. As the chase continues, a large freighter with a Y-wing escort emerges from hyperspace. Ezra manages to destroy the pod just as Phoenix Leader Hera receives a transmission from Gold Squadron.

Meeting Gold Squadron[]

Gold Leader Jon Vander asks the Ghost if they caught them at a bad time. Hera reports that they had a close call with an Imperial probe, and that there is a high chance they were detected and that the droid summoned reinforcements. Gold Leader tells them to begin refueling immediately so that they can leave before the Galactic Empire arrives. The Ghost docks with the large freighter, which turns out to be Mon Mothma's ship Chandrila Mistress. Hera, Ezra, and Zeb meet Mothma's senatorial attaché Erskin Semaj and Captain Vander. Hera introduces Ezra, Zeb and Chopper.

When Ezra asks what they are transporting, Erskin tells them they won't be able to board the Chandrila Mistress due to security conditions. Hera tells them they are welcome aboard the Ghost. They then proceed to refuel the freighter's Y-wing escorts. A female pilot known as Gold Two meets Ezra and tells him that she has heard a lot about Phoenix Squadron's exploits, including blowing up the comm tower on Lothal and Tarkin's Star Destroyer. Zeb sets the record straight: they only blew up Tarkin's Star Destroyer.

The female pilot sharply tells them to think again before they pull another stunt like that, because the Empire has tightened security across the Outer Rim. She blames the Spectres for making things harder for them. Zeb retorts that they like to do things the hard way. Captain Vander breaks up the argument and chides the Spectres for drawing the Empire's attention by destroying the probe. When the Captain tells them that this assignment is sensitive, Ezra responds that they should have given them more information rather than being so sensitive about their assignment.

Chopper then utters an insult in Binary at the female pilot, who takes offense. Hera backs her crew and tells the other rebels that her crew did the best they could, but that they did not get sufficient information. Erskin Semaj takes a more conciliatory stance, remarking that the probe was probably looking for them because they are carrying cargo desperately needed by the rebellion and wanted by the Empire.

First attack wave[]

The rebels then hear a proximity alert as an Arquitens-class command cruiser and a Gozanti-class cruiser exit hyperspace and dispatch TIE fighters. Gold Three alerts Captain Vander, who orders the fighters to intercept the TIEs. The TIEs began strafing the Chandrila Mistress, and the female pilot is thrown into the wall of the Ghost's cargo bay and knocked unconscious. Vander falls off the ship's central ladder. Hera tells Zeb to bring the wounded pilot to the med bay.

When Ezra asks about her Y-wing, Vander asks if they have anyone who can fly. Ezra volunteers, with Hera's support. Hera tells him to remember what she taught him. Ezra enters the Y-wing's cockpit, puts on Gold Two's helmet and flies the ship. Back on the Ghost, Zeb says they have to detach from the transport in order to survive. Hera tells Chopper to detach from the Chandrila Mistress, but the droid finds that the hatch is jammed. Hera and Chopper rush to detach the hatch.

Meanwhile, Captain Vander orders his pilots to form a defensive perimeter around the Chandrila Mistress. Hera and Chopper reach the docking hatch just as they receive word from Erskin Semaj that the transport's shields have been lost. Hera tells him to get everyone onboard the Ghost, while attempting to pull the lever so the two ships can detach. She is knocked against the opposite wall by a jolt from Imperial fire just before Mon Mothma, Semaj, and some other crewmembers board the Ghost. Hera is astonished to see the Senator.

Outside, the Imperials continue blasting the Chandrila Mistress and the Ghost. Hera tells the Senator to help her droid Chopper while she gets them out of here. Working together, Mon Mothma and Chopper manage to detach the Ghost from Mothma's ship. Once the Ghost breaks free, Vander orders his pilots to finish the light cruiser, and disables its shields with his Y-wing's ion cannon. Gold Three then bombs the cruiser, and the rebel ships flee into hyperspace.

Meeting Mon Mothma[]

Hera introduces her crew to Senator Mon Mothma, who is familiar with Ezra Bridger and thanks Captain Orrelios. While flying his Y-wing, Ezra praises Senator Mothma for her speech on the HoloNet. Erskin Semaj advises Senator Mothma to abandon her mission and return to a safe hiding place on Chandrila. Mothma disagrees, and says she won't hide because her presence at the meeting is not optional. When Hera asks about the meeting, Mothma explains that they are in the process of building an alliance of rebel cells across the galaxy. She wants to challenge the Empire in order to bring hope to other rebels and tell them they are not alone.

When Erskin warns that the Empire will be trying to intercept any ship that tries to leave the system, Hera says she knows a way to get them out of the sector to their meeting. Mothma tells Erskin to give Hera the coordinates to the planet Dantooine.

Grand Admiral Thrawn[]

In Lothal's Capital City, Admiral Kassius Konstantine briefs Governor Arihnda Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn that the rebels defended their transport vigorously, but that they thwarted their attempt to refuel. Admiral Konstantine reveals that a scan showed a small crew and that the transport was empty. Thrawn remarks that the cargo was something prized, suspecting that it was a certain senator. Governor Pryce states that Senator Mothma's capture is a priority, and asks where Mothma is heading to if she escapes aboard the Ghost.

Thrawn replies that Captain Syndulla will be creative in eluding the Empire, and predicts that she will take the unlikeliest path to exit the sector: the Archeon pass, which is popular with smugglers. Konstantine and Pryce are surprised that Hera is risky and daring enough to travel through the dangerous Archeon Nebula. Thrawn then announces that he will be dispatching his prototype TIE Defender fighter and best pilot Vult Skerris to hunt down the rogue Senator, since capital ships cannot pass through the nebula safely.

When Governor Pryce requests the honor of silencing Mothma, Thrawn tells Pryce to take Konstantine to the far side of the nebula and wait there. Thrawn plans to use the TIE Defender to flush the rebels out of the nebula into the open so that Pryce and Konstantine can capture Mon Mothma alive. He believes that she is key to locating the true rebel fleet. Pryce and Konstantine depart for the mission.

Dogfight in the Archeon pass[]

Aboard the Ghost, Mon Mothma tells Hera she envies pilots like her, who are able to escape their troubles by fleeing into space. Hera responds that she can't imagine Mothma running away from her problems. Mothma explains that she spent her entire life in the Senate trying to do good and fighting for the people, and that she opposed the Emperor's efforts to crush freedom bit by bit. Mothma realized that fighting for change in the Senate was a losing battle.

Hera says that the stakes on the front lines are higher, where the rebels risk being outgunned instead of outvoted. Hera and Mon Mothma agree to risk taking up arms against the Emperor to free the galaxy. As the rebels approach the Archeon Nebula, Captain Vander warns Ezra that stars are forming in there and that if they get too close, they will burn up. Ezra reassures Jon that Hera will get them through this one because she is the best pilot around.

Shortly later, a cruiser and a hyperdrive-equipped TIE Defender exit hyperspace. Vander asks when TIE fighters were equipped with hyperdrives. The TIE pilot announces himself as Commander Vult Skerris of the Imperial Navy and warns them that they are harboring a traitor to the Empire. He orders them to surrender immediately. Gold Leader orders Gold Three and Gold Four to give Skerris their response. Ezra tries to warn the Y-wing pilots that they are in danger and to break off. The pilots ignore Ezra's warning, and Skerris swiftly wipes out the two Y-wings with his turbolaser cannons.

Hera tells the three remaining Y-wing pilots to follow them into the Archeon Nebula in an effort to lose Skerris. She tells Ezra and the pilots to disable their proton torpedoes because they have been known to ignite the gas clouds inside nebulae like this. Zeb, who is manning the Ghost's rear cannon, is unable to damage the TIE Defender, which is protected by a deflector shield. Now accompanied by a pair of TIE Interceptors, the TIE Defender continues to pursue the Ghost. Gold Five, seeing that the Ghost is about to get shot down, sacrifices herself to save the senator by flying into Skerris' path and taking the shot herself.

Ezra realizes that it is only him and Gold Leader left. Unable to outrun the TIE Defender and its TIE Interceptor escorts, Hera tells the Y-wing pilots to divert their remaining power to the deflector screens, and she takes the Ghost in close to one of the forming stars. The nebula starts to cook the starships. One of the TIE Interceptors is destroyed by the intense heat of the protostar, while Zeb manages to shoot the second TIE Interceptor as it tries to break off. Skerris continues the pursuit, and Jon tells Ezra to back off because their fighters can't handle the star's heat any longer.

As the rebels travel closer to the star, the Ghost's hull takes damage from the intense heat. Mothma worriedly notes that the ship is burning up. Skerris is forced to withdraw his TIE Defender as his ship's deflector shields began to take a hit from the star's heat. With the Ghost losing power, Ezra tells Hera that he and Jon Vander will hold off the Defender while the Ghost escapes the nebula with Mon Mothma.

Outnumbered and outgunned[]

The Ghost exits the Archeon pass, only to be intercepted by two Imperial Star Destroyers that have emerged from hyperspace. Zeb tells Hera they have two new problems, and Hera tells Chopper to get her the emergency power. On the bridge of Governor Pryce's Star Destroyer, Admiral Konstantine tells her that the Ghost has sustained damage to its core systems and that Commander Skerris has dealt with their Y-wing escorts in the Archeon Nebula. Pryce hails the Ghost and demands that Mon Mothma surrender or be destroyed. Knowing that Pryce can't be trusted, Mothma comes up with a plan to stall the Governor while Hera and Chopper repair the ship's systems.

Inside the Archeon Nebula, Ezra and Jon lead Skerris' TIE Defender on a pursuit. With the TIE Defender closing in on them, Ezra tells Vander to swoop behind the Defender and be ready to hit him with the ion cannon. Mothma stalls Pryce with a list of demands to the Emperor while Chopper and Hera prepare the Ghost's hyperdrive. Pryce rejects Mothma's demands, as Konstantine activates the Star Destroyer's tractor beam projector in order to board the Ghost. Hera tells Chopper to divert power to the ship's engines.

Meanwhile, Ezra tells Gold Leader to get ready for him flying his Y-wing through his sights with the TIE Defender hot on his tail. Ezra's plan is to get Jon to disable the TIE Defender with his ion cannon. Vander is worried that he might hit Ezra, but Ezra tells him that Skerris can't, so Vander won't either. Ezra's plan works, and the TIE Defender hurtles into the nebula. Vander warns Ezra that the TIE Defender will recover from that blast and that they have to get out and find the Ghost.

Elsewhere, the Ghost is being drawn into Pryce's Star Destroyer's hangar bay. Unable to escape, Hera is about to shut down the ship's systems when Ezra and Gold Leader exit the Archeon Nebula. Hera tells Ezra about the bad news just as an Imperial officer informs Konstantine about the rebel fighters. Konstantine orders his gunners to shoot down the rebel stragglers because they are "too little, too late."

Hera asks Gold Leader if he and Ezra can break them free. Vander tells them to charge their ion cannons and proton torpedoes. Hera tells Ezra and Jon not to shoot at the Star Destroyers, but instead fire at the Archeon Nebula. Ezra reminds Vander of what Hera said about proton torpedoes igniting the nebula's gases. Hera tells Chopper to be ready to jump into hyperspace. The rebel Y-wings fire on the Archeon Nebula and the gas ignites, causing extensive damage to Pryce's Star Destroyers. With the tractor beam disabled, the rebels flee into hyperspace.

Mon Mothma's address[]

"This is Senator Mon Mothma. I have been called a traitor for speaking out against a corrupt Galactic Senate. A Senate manipulated by the sinister tactics of the Emperor. For too long I have watched the heavy hand of the Empire strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer! Despite Imperial threats, despite the Emperor himself, I have no fear as I take new action. For I am not alone. Beginning today we stand together as allies. I hereby resign from the Senate to fight for you, not from the distant hall of politics but from the front lines. We will not rest until we bring an end to the Empire, until we restore our Republic! Are you with me?"
―Mon Mothma to the various rebel cells[5]

The Ghost and its remaining Y-wings reach the planet Dantooine. Aboard the Ghost, Gold Leader praises Phoenix Leader Hera for her valor and creativity. The female pilot compliments Ezra and invites him to fly with her squadron any day. Erskin Semaj tells Mon Mothma they are ready to transmit. Mon Mothma then gives a speech on the HoloNet. She tells her viewers that she has resigned from a corrupt Senate that has stifled the galaxy's liberties and freedoms in the name of safety.

Mothma's hologram broadcast is witnessed by many people across the galaxy, including: Senator Bail Organa and General Jan Dodonna at an unknown rebel base; Ryder Azadi, Marida Sumar, and Old Jho at Old Jho's Pit Stop on Lothal; and Commander Jun Sato, Rex, and AP-5 at Chopper Base on Atollon. Mothma tells her audience to have no fear, and that she resigned from the Senate to fight for the rebellion on the front lines. She vows not to rest until they have brought an end to the Empire and restored the Republic. After the speech, the rebels and Mon Mothma initially see no response, but then a lone CR90 corvette jumps into the system, followed by many more ships of all kinds: Phoenix Nest, Home One, Hammerhead corvettes, GR-75 transports and Nebulon-B frigates. As her companions marvel at their new fleet, Mon Mothma announces that this is their rebellion.



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