A skirmish occurred over the planet Mykapo between Phoenix Cell, the Galactic Empire, and Iron Squadron in 2 BBY. After learning that the Empire was about to launch a crackdown on dissidents on Mykapo, the Phoenix Cell and the Spectres organized an evacuation effort. They encountered an Imperial advance patrol but the patrol was wiped out by a local rebel cell called Iron Squadron.
While the rebels evacuated the rebel sympathizers on Mykapo, Hera Syndulla, Ezra Bridger, and Sabine Wren tried to convince Mart Mattin and his rebels to leave with them. Iron Squadron was reluctant to leave until they found themselves under attack by an Arquitens-class command cruiser led by Admiral Kassius Konstantine. With the help of the Spectres and Commander Jun Sato, Iron Squadron managed to escape into hyperspace and join the rebellion.
During the Age of the Empire, a rebel cell emerged on the planet Mykapo led by the brother of the Phoenix Cell's commander Jun Sato. This rebel cell was called the Iron Squadron and also included his Sato's nephew Mart Mattin, the Theelin Gooti Terez, the human Jonner Jin, and the astromech droid R3-A3. The rebel cell operated from a YT-2400 light freighter called Sato's Hammer. After Mattin's father was killed, the Iron Squadron lost contact with Commander Sato and continued the fight against the Galactic Empire on Mykapo.
In 2 BBY, the rebellion received intelligence that the Empire was planning to impose martial law on Mykapo. After receiving advance warning of an Imperial crackdown, Phoenix Squadron and the Spectres undertook an effort to evacuate rebel sympathizers. Meanwhile, the Empire dispatched an advance patrol to Mykapo. This patrol consisted of a Gozanti-class cruiser and four TIE fighters. The Imperial patrol encountered and engaged in a dogfight with Sato's Hammer.
Phoenix Squadron arrived above Mykapo to find Sato's Hammer under attack from Imperial fighters. Phoenix Leader Hera Syndulla sends the Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvette P2 escorted by the A-wings down to Mykapo to evacuate the rebel sympathizers while she sends Phoenix Two and Phoenix Three to escort Sato's Hammer. Before the rebels can assist Iron Squadron, the local rebels destroy the Gozanti cruiser by dropping cargo containers containing explosives.
Having eliminated the Imperial patrol, Hera and her Spectres establish contact with Iron Squadron. Kanan Jarrus and Garazeb Orrelios assist with the evacuation in their ship Phantom II. The Ghost docks with Sato's Hammer and Hera attempts to convince the Iron Squadron, who have suffered some damage to their hyperdrive, to leave the system with them. However, captain Mart and his followers refused to leave Mykapo and believe that they can take on the Empire by themselves. Unable to reason with Mart, the Spectres return to the Ghost.
By that stage, Rex has succeeded in completing the evacuation of rebel sympathizers on Mykato. Hera intends to depart with her crew and to leave the Iron Squadron behind. However, Ezra Bridger, with the help of Sabine Wren and Chopper, convince Hera to let them have another go at reasoning with Iron Squadron. Hera agrees but warns them that they must be ready to leave when Imperial reinforcements arrive.
Sabine, Chopper and R3 join managed to repair Sato's Hammer's hyperdrive. However, they are unable to fully repair the ship as long as Mart is diverting power to the laser cannons and the shields. After some discussion, Ezra and Sabine managed to convince Gooti and Jonner that Iron Squadron is unable to take on the Empire alone. Before they can reason with Mart, Admiral Kassius Konstantine arrives with an Arquitens-class command cruiser and two Gozanti cruisers to deal with Iron Squadron. Konstantine had been sent by Grand Admiral Thrawn, who wanted to test the Admiral's caliber.
Faced with the might of the Empire, Mart agreed to evacuate his crew. The two rebel cells went aboard the Phantom II. However, Mart changed his mind and decided to stay behind. Once the other rebels have entered the Phantom II, he disengaged the airlock and decided to confront Konstantine's forces alone. Sato's Hammer was overwhelmed by the Imperial firepower and TIE fighters and its engines were badly damaged, rendering the ship unable to travel. At Mart's urging, Ezra and the other rebels fled into hyperspace.
Believing that Iron Squadron's rebel allies would return, Admiral Konstantine ordered a TIE bomber to plant a magno-mine and detonator on Sato's Hammer. He also allowed Mart to send a distress transmission to his rebel comrades in order to trap the rebels. The Spectres and Iron Squadron picked up Mart's distress call aboard the Ghost. With the approval of Commander Sato and Mart's crew, Hera agreed to lead a rescue mission to Mykapo. Ezra realized that Konstantine was trying to trap them but decided they can outsmart the Empire.
The Ghost returns to Mykapo and Mart tells Hera that the Imperials have attached a mine to his ship. Hera then devises a plan which involves releasing Chopper and R3 through the cargo bay to defuse the mine. The two droids are dispatched through the cargo hold of the Ghost. They manage to deactivate the mine and detonator. Under Hera's orders, they plant it on one of Sato's Hammer's cargo containers. The two droids then reunite with Mart. Meanwhile, the Ghost distracts Konstantine's forces by leading his TIEs on a wild pursuit. This succeeds in tricking Konstantine into thinking they have abandoned their rescue mission.
After a few runs, the Ghost returns to rescue Mart. Their plan is to extract him, Chopper, and R3 from the derelict Sato's Hammer. However, Commander Sato arrives with the Liberator and several A-wings. Sato's forces scatter the TIE fighters and attack Konstantine's cruiser. Konstantine panics and summons Thrawn for reinforcements. Carrying Sato's Hammer, Hera flies the Ghost towards the Imperial light cruiser. Under Konstantine's orders, his subordinate activates the nano-mine. However, Mart releases the rigged cargo over the front of Konstantine's cruiser. The resulting explosion damages the ship and sets it ablaze.
Thrawn arrives in his Imperial Star Destroyer and exchanges fire with the fleeing rebel ships. After a brief exchange with Commander Sato, he allows the rebels to escape into hyperspace. Thrawn then confronts Admiral Konstantine about the recent debacle on Mykapo. The Admiral attempts to hide his failure by claiming that he had driven rebel forces from Mykapo. However, the Grand Admiral points out that he failed to stop rebel sympathizers from fleeing the planet.
The Phoenix rebels and Iron Squadron return to Chopper Base on the planet Atollon. There, Commander Sato embraced his lost nephew Mart Mattin and thanked Hera and her crew for rescuing him. Mart and his Iron Squadron comrades then embraced and decided to join the rebellion.
Notes and references
- Star Wars Rebels – "Imperial Supercommandos"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Iron Squadron"
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Wynkahthu Job"
- Dawn of Rebellion dates the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow seventeen years after the end of the Clone Wars, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY; therefore, the events of Steps Into Shadow must take place in 2 BBY. According to Star Wars: On the Front Lines, Mon Mothma's denunciation of the Galactic Empire and the Declaration of the Rebel Alliance take place 2 years before the Battle of Yavin or 2 BBY. As "Iron Squadron" is set between Steps Into Shadow and "Secret Cargo," the events of the episode must also take place in 2 BBY.