Emperor Palpatine’s twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire’s Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!
In the final moments of the Battle of Endor, Green Squadron escorts Gold Leader during the attack on the Death Star II’s main reactor. Green Four (Shara Bey) intercepts a Lambda-class shuttle escaping from the Death Star, nearly shooting down Luke Skywalker before confirming his identity.
With the battle station destroyed, Bey and the other surviving pilots return to the Rebel fleet, and are then shuttled to Endor where the rebellion is celebrating its victory with the native Ewoks. Bey seeks out and finds her husband, Kes Dameron, and they spend the night together in a hut before Dameron is called out to another mission to destroy an Imperial holdout on the far side of the moon.
Bey volunteers as the mission’s pilot, and as Dameron and the Pathfinders unit start their attack, he mentions that he was thinking they should find a nice planet and build a house.
On board the Star Destroyer Torment, Lieutenant Gulin informs Captain Lerr Duvat that the “Messenger” has arrived. The captain orders the bridge cleared, and the Messenger – a red-robed figure with a faceless black helmet – enters, verifying Duvat’s identity with a blood test. A hologram of the face of Emperor Palpatine appears in the Messenger’s helmet, telling Duvat he and a handful of select Imperial officers have been given the honor of destroying the Rebel Alliance by commencing Operation: Cinder. Duvat informs his lieutenant that he has received a message from the Emperor himself. When Gulin responds that the Emperor is dead, Duvat warns him that repeating Rebel propaganda is treason, and orders him to set a new course.
On the planet Sterdic IV, Shara Bey and her A-Wing squadron clear the skies over Cawa City of TIE fighters to allow the Y-wings of Feral Group to release magnetic cluster bombs over an AT-AT, destroying it. After the mission, Bey talks to the squadron’s acting commander L’ulo about her family – she has spoken to her father and her son Poe, but her husband Kes is on a secret mission and out of contact. L’ulo offers to try and have her assigned to light duties for the next few days.
Bey arrives at the Alliance Fleet at Muster Point: Vergance, with her light duties involving serving as a pilot for Princess Leia Organa. In the docking bay, she sees Leia in conversation with Mon Mothma. Leia is reluctant to be leaving the fleet at such a critical stage, but Mothma tells her that her skill and reputation are necessary for the upcoming mission. On board their shuttle, a GX1 short hauler, Leia tells Bey that they will have no escort so as not to draw attention to their mission, and that the navi-computer has been pre-programmed for security reasons. In hyperspace, Bey prepares a drink for Leia, and finds her writing a condolence letter to the family of a Rodian nurse, Able Nereno, who was killed aboard the medical frigate Redemption during the Battle of Endor. Leia mentions that Crix Madine uses a protocol droid to write his letters, but she prefers the personal touch.
Bey and Leia arrive at their destination: Theed, the capital city of Naboo. Bey is surprised that the city is so intact, particularly as Palpatine was from there. Leia responds that the Emperor thrived on Naboo’s fear – that he could destroy his home planet and its people in an instant, as he had with Alderaan. They are greeted by Governor Donta Gesset, who welcomes them on behalf of Queen Soruna. Leia meets with Soruna at the Theed Royal Palace, and requests her aid in establishing a new system of government and restoring the senate. As Soruna agrees to help, a guard enters and reports that something is jamming Naboo’s orbital sensors and communications. A sudden electrical storm begins.
Above the planet, Captain Duvat has begun his phase of Operation: Cinder. The Torment is jamming Naboo’s sensors and signals, and has deployed a climate disruption array to generate hurricanes on the surface. Duvat informs Gulin of their mission: “By order of the Emperor, Naboo is to be scoured.”
Kes Dameron and Sakas are conducting reconnaissance on an Imperial Security Bureau black site on the Wretch of Tayron. As Han Solo gives the go ahead, they fire a rocket into the base, breaching the south-east wall. Dameron is nearly shot by a scout trooper, but is saved just in time by Chewbacca. The Pathfinders strike team regroups before entering the base, and Solo tells Chewbacca to locate C-3PO to break the Imperial encryption. C-3PO protests that he is not programmed for combat operations.
On Naboo, Captain Korro reports to Queen Soruna that the planet is under some kind of attack from orbit, and that the Gungans have confirmed typhoon-strength storms all over the planet. Shara Bey suggests to Leia Organa that it must be an Imperial remnant, using an orbital array to alter the weather. Leia says they need ships and pilots to attack the array and the Star Destroyer, but Korro says Naboo has no starfighters or combat-trained pilots after the Empire demilitarized Naboo years ago. Soruna responds that this is not entirely true – the starfighter bay wing of the Theed Royal Palace was sealed off by Queen Neeyutnee after the invasion of Naboo, however the N-1 starfighters it contained were still there. She uses her royal authority to override the seal. As Leia enters the bay, she feels a cold chill, and has a vision of Darth Maul. Bey finds three operational fighters, but is not sure she can tackle the Imperial taskforce alone – Leia and Soruna also volunteer to pilot ships in the attack.
The commander of the ISB base orders the stormtroopers to hold off the Rebels long enough for him to initiate a data purge, but surrenders when his troops are defeated. C-3PO begins to slice the ISB computer system, and is alarmed to discover that an Imperial program called Operation: Cinder is in progress, running across multiple targets specified by the Emperor – including Naboo.
Captain Korro strongly objects to Queen Soruna’s participation in the mission and suggests one of her handmaidens take her place, but she refuses and orders him to continue the evacuation of Theed city. As Bey and her two royal co-pilots take off, Governor Gesset advises that the advisory council estimates one to two hours before the planet becomes inhospitable. In Naboo’s orbit, the three pilots see the satellite array causing the storms, and the Star Destroyer Torment. Bey takes on the Torment’s TIE fighter squadron, while Leia and Soruna destroy the satellites. Bey tells Leia that she has a husband and son, and that she doesn’t want them to receive one of Leia’s condolence letters. As another TIE squadron launches from the Star Destroyer, Bey realizes the overwhelming odds against them. As she states it has been an honor flying with them, the Alliance cruiser Restoration drops out of hyperspace, with Lando Calrissian in the Mellcrawler II and a squadron of starfighters, relieving the Naboo fighters.
Back at Rebel Fleet Command, Leia asks Bey why she didn’t want her writing a letter to her family, and she replies that she didn’t want to add to Leia’s burdens of command. Bey is reunited with Dameron and they embrace.
The Alliance Fleet is gathered at Muster Point Stalwart, and Admiral Gial Ackbar briefs the pilots on the planets targeted by Operation: Cinder. General Crix Madine tells them that while they wish the end was at hand, there appears to be no respite from hostilities from the Imperial remnants.
In the hangar bay, Shara Bey talks to her commander, L’ulo. L’ulo remarks that Bey’s husband, Kes Dameron, has submitted his paperwork to be mustered out, and that he has taken the liberty of submitting her papers as well. Bey says he should not have done that, but he says she has done more than her fair share for the Rebellion, and it is time for her to settle down with her family.
Bey is approached by R2-D2, who leads her to Luke Skywalker. Skywalker asks her to accompany him as his co-pilot on a trip to Vetine, to retrieve something he needs to get. He introduces himself and asks if they have met before – Bey responds that she was the pilot who nearly shot down his shuttle during the Battle of Endor, and he remarks on the coincidence that the pilot Artoo fetched happened to be her.
In hyperspace, Bey asks why she is wearing an Imperial Security Bureau uniform, and Luke tells her she will be impersonating an ISB officer, Commander Alecia Beck, to infiltrate an Imperial base on Vetine to retrieve something the Emperor stole long ago. Using security clearances obtained from the raid at the Wretch of Tayron, Bey and Skywalker are cleared to land on Vetine and are greeted by base commandant Hurron. Bey introduces Luke as her bodyguard, and announces that she is conducting a surprise inspection of the base’s laboratories. Hurron escorts them to the inner lab, which he assures them was accessible to only himself and the Emperor. He confesses that he never saw the need for such high security until now, and reveals that he has known of their deception since their arrival – Commander Beck is missing her left eye.
Hurron asks Luke what is so special about the contents of the lab – two small trees. Luke answers that they are all that remains of the tree which grew at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and that the Force is with them. Hurron responds that the Force is meaningless, and Luke says he couldn’t be more wrong. He uses the Force to push Hurron and his stormtroopers away, then catches his lightsaber ejected by Artoo. As Bey shuts down the field holding the trees, she catches them and the two of them escape.
In the hangar bay, Hurron orders his troopers to stop shooting and blow the intruders up. The troopers throw several thermal detonators, which Luke hurls back using the force, killing the commandant and the troopers. Skywalker and Bey board the shuttle and take off into hyperspace.
Luke says that Artoo overheard Bey’s conversation with L’ulo about mustering out, and she says she is trying to decide if that’s what she wants. Luke replies that if the cost of their struggle is the lives they fought to preotect, then what are they fighting for? He says that he didn’t know there would be two trees on Vetine – one is spoken for, but he suggests a good home could be found for the other one…
In the jungles of Yavin IV, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron plant the second tree in the ground. Dameron takes her hand and says “Let’s go home, Shara Bey.”