Check out our episode here! Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
Flashback. Mandalore burns around them as Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul face off against each other. Though she is no longer Jedi Padawan to Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka remembers her teachings. Ahsoka remains calm, her plan set. Darth Maul raises and activates his lightsaber swiftly moving forward, the time to exchange barbs is over. The familiar hum of her own lightsabers ring in her ears as Maul lunges forward. As they lock weapons, Aksoka’s unseen allies spring the trap. Aksoka throws herself clear as the ray shield comes to life, trapping Maul.
Since leaving the Jedi Temple, Ahsoka has been on her own, but she knew the Jedi were still out there through the ebb and flow of the Force. When Order 66 was enacted, she knew she was alone. Now Ahsoka lives in solitude as Ashla on the outer rim planet of Thabeska. It’s Empire Day, the one year anniversary commemorating the establishment of order and government by Emperor Palpatine. This is not a celebration for Ahsoka. There is a call from outside Ashla’s home, some neighbor children are calling out to her. The Fardis, a local family with fingers in all sorts of businesses, took her under their wing. Today the children have come with a warning: their father is hosting a fancy guest and any new people are to come meet them. Another points out that there are a lot of ships in the shipyard for the celebratory flyby and security is a disaster. Promising to see them after she has freshened up, Ahsoka gathers her meager belongings and her blaster and heads to a conveniently placed out of the way Fardis ship avoiding the stormtrooper patrols on the way. Soon she is off planet.
The moon of Raada is out of the way by Outer Rim standards and somewhere Ahsoka can be unremarkable. The moon is green and growing, a contrast to the dust of Thabeska, and the settlement was so small it seemed to barely exist. Walking through, Ahsoka notes that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of transients and the homes look well established. Heading to the outskirts, Ahsoka finds a few abandoned houses and, as she is looking at one that seems more sound than the others, she meets Kaeden. Their initial conversation is somewhat wary but not unfriendly, which is understandable since they are strangers. Ahsoka tells her she is here to set up shop as a mechanic. Kaeden will spread the word and encourages the mechanic to take the house.
The next day as Ahsoka is meditating, a rare luxury, Kaeden returns with a thresher that needs to be fixed. She got into a fight with it and, though she may have come off worse with the wound on her leg, Kaeden insists she has the moral victory. Ahsoka fixes it in exchange for a crate of food and they talk about Raada. It’s harvest season on the quiet farming moon and the empire doesn’t have any presence there. Throughout their discussion, Ahsoka avoids talking about herself though she has a cover story ready. After finishing the repair, Ahsoka heads back to her ship to see what supplies she has of her own. It seems she’ll need them.
The next day Ahsoka heads out to explore the area, she needs to set up an emergency fall-back point. Walking through the hills, Ahsoka falls into her memories and it becomes hard to breathe. She remembers her time as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan, Master Obi-Wan, and the Clone Troopers. After Order 66 was carried out, it felt like a huge void was created in the Force. Ahsoka finds a suitable cave and starts to hide some of the scrap metal from the thresher repair. This will do for a start.
Back in the fields, Kaeden’s thresher is working as if it were brand new, and people are starting to notice. Tibbola, one of the older farmers and a mean drunk, says he’ll stop by with his own thresher to be fixed. Miara, Kaeden’s sister, is curious over the newcomer and so are Vartan, their crew lead, twins Neera and Hoban, and Malat. They encourage Kaeden to ask the newcomer to Selda’s cantina that night for dinner and she accepts. The cantina is incredibly loud and crammed full of people. With the exception of Tibbola, who she met earlier that afternoon, Ahsoka meets Kaeden’s crew and introduces herself as Ashla. They are all welcoming and friendly. Selda, the cantina’s namesake, owner, bartender and fellow Togruta, comes over and quietly checks that Ahsoka is set up okay and hasn’t encountered any problems on one of the core worlds since the Empire are notoriously unsympathetic to non-humans. Ahsoka thanks him and assures him she is fine.
Meanwhile, Jenneth Pilar is looking at the lights on a star chart. He works for the Empire ensuring the pathways of supply by pointing the Imperial military at a planet and taking what they want. At the moment he needs a planet that could be used for food production, preferably with a small population no one would miss. Raada suits his needs perfectly.
Flashback. Ahsoka stands over the grave of Rex, the clone trooper she’d saved which had allowed Darth Maul to escape. The grave is fake, Rex has disappeared in the Outer Rim and so will she. As she turns to go, Ahsoka takes out her lightsabers given to her by her former Master and turns them on one last time. Extinguishing the energy, Ahsoka plants the hilts into the dirt and leaves.
Ahsoka falls into the rhythm of Raada and has been accepted by the settlement. During the day she either works on repairs or goes exploring. Today, she needs to run. Gathering her things and more pieces to hide in her fallback cave, Ahsoka heads out. All the way she has felt out of balance so at the cave she takes the time to meditate. Connecting deeply to the planet, Ahsoka feels something in the air. Her consciousness races back and she can feel the stone of the cave vibrating. Looking out the mouth of the cave, Ahsoka sees an Imperial Star Destroyer dwarfing the settlement. The Empire has arrived.
Walking slowly back through the settlement, Ahsoka heads to the cantina rather than home while watching more Imperial ships land. Once there, Selda nods welcome but there is also something else in his look so Ahsoka takes a bar stool rather than the usual table in the back. While she waits for Kaeden and the crew to arrive, Ahsoka listens to theories being tossed around until a couple of Imperial officers and stormtroopers come. The officers sit nursing a drink while the troopers stand guard. Kaeden and her crew come in and Ahsoka takes that as an opportunity to move.
As they play a game of crokin, which will allow conversion, Ahsoka asks if any are clone troopers and her friends think not. This is somewhat good news as it will help Ahsoka keep her identity secret. They also discuss the reason why the Empire has suddenly turned up on their moon and there is really only one commodity: food. Ahsoka mentions that it may be a good plan to start hiding ration packs. A third officer of high rank comes into the cantina, offers a disgusted glare at the masses and pins a notice to the door before leaving, the other officers and troopers going with him. Selda reads the notice first then Ahsoka takes a look. It’s all tactics meant to oppress the people such as shortening cantina hours, restricting food, limiting gathering numbers. Ahsoka’s mind races recalling her military background. Raada doesn’t have much of anything to fight with so hopefully the Empire will take what they want and go, but that isn’t likely.
The next morning, two stormtroopers knock on Ahsoka’s door questioning why she isn’t in the fields and threatening reassignments there. With a little mental nudge with the Force, Ahsoka is able to dissuade them of that idea. Next she plans to secure more rations and parts in her cave and find somewhere to hide her ship. It’s tense walking through the settlement and out to the hills. Typically it’s quiet as most are in the fields but today is eerie. Ahsoka is quick enough to store her treasures but it takes a while to find a suitable hiding spot for her ship. Ahsoka finds a gully that will do, though her ship may protest being sideways and she wishes she had R2-D2 to help navigate it in, but she’s on her own. Back at the settlement she sees a few of the settlers and the troopers constructing an admin building now that the Star Destroyer is no longer in the atmosphere. Heading to the space port, Ahsoka is able to bamboozle the guard there who is so new he’s practically green, and retrieve her ship. She was right, R2-D2 would have made it easier and the ship really doesn’t like being sideways.
Ahsoka is late getting back to the cantina, so Kaeden and the crew are already there with the exception of Malat who is taking her family and leaving. The rest are playing a game of crokin which doesn’t resemble any known variant and the pieces look awfully similar to the settlement layout. With a quick movement as she sits, Ahsoka upsets the pieces and warns them against such blatant planning. Just then some Imperial officers enter, dislodge the customers from the bar stools and effectively cut Selda off from his customers. This upsets Tibbola who is already very drunk and starts to throw his fists. The officers order in the troopers who forcefully put Tibbola on the floor before one pulls out a blaster and shoots him at point blank range, killing him.
Vartan and the twins take Tibbola’s body for burial while Miara and Kaeden stay behind, Miara vomiting in a bowl at the sight. Ahsoka warns them they need to be quiet and need to sit tight. If they go blaster blazing or exploding things, they are not going to accomplish anything but their own deaths. Kaeden tells her that word in the fields is that the Imperials are bringing their own seed, for which Raada will receive nothing of. Ahsoka tells them they need to slow production and tells Vartan and the other crew leads to arrange the particulars, but that will buy them time. Meanwhile she’ll slow down her repairs and slacken off on the quality. As curfew draws in they head home. Before she leaves the cantina, Selda gives Ahsoka a box of leftover food.
One week becomes two and Ahsoka continues to explore the hills and finds a network suitable to set up as a safe house. It wasn’t obvious at first but Vartan and the other crew leads have worked out what the crop is they are being forced to grow. It’s a plant that provides the basic nutrition rations the Imperial military survives on and growing it on Raada will leave the soil infertile. In the cantina one evening, Ahsoka tells Vartan’s crew about the caves. The crew are a little shocked by her forward thinking and secret plans. Ahsoka asks to use Kaeden and Miara to help build some little surprises for the Imperial military which will hit them hard. After Ahsoka leaves, Hoban tells Miara that she should also build some explosives with more fire power in case they need them and Ahsoka doesn’t need to know because she’s not from around there.
Meanwhile, Jenneth Pilar has been running the numbers again for the operation. He never took the hills into account in his calculations. Flashback: Ahsoka is on Thabeska and found some sort of sanctuary with the Fardis family. One day the daughters are playing where they shouldn’t be and are nearly crushed by falling crates. Ashoka used her Force powers to move the crates away. The girls didn’t seem to notice, well all except one, very young Hedala. Ahsoka later saw Hedala playing with a stone without touching it.
For the next couple of days excuses are made for Kaeden and Miara missing work in the fields while they hold up in the caves as Miara makes the corrosive bombs Ahsoka asked for, the explosives she didn’t, and set the cave up to be able to take more people if needed. Ahsoka also moves her stash into this network including her bag of scrap, the contents of which is beginning to take shape in her mind. Meanwhile, in the fields, Vartan is recruiting farmers to their rebellion and Hoban is busy with his own plans.
Ahsoka leads the steathy mission to disable the Imperial walkers using Miara’s corrosive bombs to buckle them at the knee joints. It all goes well until Miara hands Ahsoka an explosive charge and Ahsoka realizes there is a secondary plan. When her small group rendezvous at Selda’s, Ahsoka finds out that Hoban, Kaeden and some of the others have gone to blow up the admin building without considering the consequences: the barracks will empty when the alarm is sounded for the broken walkers and the troopers will receive their orders at the admin building. Ahsoka tells those congregated in Selda’s to disavow any knowledge and to head home while she, followed by Miara, heads back to the Imperial compound.
While Neera and Miara help funnel their people out and to the caves, Ahsoka goes to the front and the thickest fighting. It’s not pretty… there are explosions, blaster fire and tank fire everywhere and Ahsoka badly wishes she had her lightsabers. The fighting is over quickly with many injured and killed, including Hoban who was ripped apart at close range by a barrage of blaster fire. Ahsoka even reveals her Force powers as she lets it flow through her to push the Imperial firing line back. Once Ahsoka is sure the last of the Raada people have gotten out, she makes her way to the cave where Kaeden and the others are waiting to find out exactly who Ahsoka is. Meanwhile, Jenneth Pilar has new calculations to make and a report to send, notifying command of a Force user on Raada.
Ahsoka tells Kaeden and Miara her real name and that she couldn’t tell them because Jedi, even former Jedi, are being hunted. It's not safe for anyone. This doesn’t placate them, in fact it makes Kaeden even madder and she goes stomping off back to the settlement only to be caught by the Imperials. Kaeden realizes her mistake straight away, and the torture she endures convinces her she really made a bad decision in leaving the cave. The first Imperial torturer fixes a device to her chest and the pain it causes is unbearable. After she’s medicated and a second torturer comes in to question and threaten her, at one point she, along with the chair she is tied to, falls over at an awkward angle breaking her arm, the Imperial just keeps asking questions. Eventually they leave her alone, but with the threat of more pain to come.
Stealthily and with some Force powers, Ahsoka is able to locate Kaeden in the administration building and extract her through the window. Slowly they make their way back to the caves. Ahsoka instructs Kaeden to lay low and keep hidden with the others. She says she needs to leave Raada for everyone’s safety, but she will be back.
Bail Organa is buried in bureaucracy and secrets. As well as being the senator for Alderaan, Bail is a key member for the resistance. Making sure his daughter is distracted by the fish tank he had installed in his office, Bail looks over an encoded dossier. On a little moon in the outer rim, Jedi activity has been confirmed. Could there be a survivor? He needs to contact Captain Antilles and discuss this with his wife. Meanwhile, Sixth Brother is bored. All the Fardi children look the same and being stuck on Thabeska, a dry backwater planet, is tedious. When a report comes in of Jedi activity, he quickly makes a bid, the Jedi make better prey.
There aren’t a lot of options for places Ahsoka can flee to, so she ends up back on Thabeska. The Fardis family take her back in and let her live in their house and she’s even able to work as a mechanic for them too. She only explains a little of why she has returned to Chenna, Hedala’s older sister, because she can’t give her the whole truth. Ahsoka also needs to speak to Hedala and warn the young Fardis of the danger she is in being Force sensitive, but finding a quiet moment in such a busy household is difficult. It takes five days before Ahsoka has the opportunity. Hedala sensed a shadow that left just before Ahsoka’s return, but she made sure to hide from the shadow and she didn’t tell her family about it as she didn’t think they would believe her. This assures Ahsoka somewhat, the girl knows to keep what she is hidden from the darkness.
Soon Ahsoka is making deliveries in addition to her mechanic jobs. She knew the Fardis dealt in smuggling, but what she didn’t expect was to see the gratitude in the faces of those she made deliveries to. Eventually Ahsoka moves on to off-world deliveries and finds that she can help in her own way and “coincidentally” run into people who need help. Her good work does not go unnoticed.
Sixth Brother is unimpressed by Jenneth Pilar and is quick to dismiss the bureaucrat; he has a bigger quarry. Clearly the Jedi fled Raada so Sixth Brother needs to find and torture the insurgents instead. It should be a neat little trap for the Jedi. On Coruscant, Bail Organa is reading a report of several lucky coincidences. He sends one of his pilots, Chardri Tage, and his long-time copilot Tamsin to look for this ring-leader of good deeds and contact him once the objective has been secured. Back on Thabeska, stormtroopers are paying the Fardis a visit. The routine search goes without incident but it seems the Fardis less than legal resistance activities Ahsoka was an ignorant pawn in is drawing unwanted attention. Ahsoka has to leave. Before going to grab her belongings, including the bag of scrap that has grown since she came back to Thabeska, Ahsoka warns Fardis that Hedala is special and no one realizes just how special she is, and she’s sorry she can’t do more to help.
Ahsoka flies to a relatively close planet to take inventory and plan her next steps, but when she lands, another ship lands next to her. The single pilot in unidentifiable black armor informs Pilot Ashla she has come to the attention of Black Sun. Meanwhile on Raada, Sixth Brother is apprised of Kaeden’s appearance and injury which should mark her out. Calling up a map of the moon, the inquisitor starts to look for a place a large group of insurgents could hide. Kaeden and the others are still hiding in the caves, bored and worried, but still alive. Miara has lost faith that Ahsoka will come back despite her promise but Kaeden still has hope. As they are talking, Kolvin, who was on sentry duty, comes in reporting a lone figure approaching. It’s decided to blow up some of the side entrances using Miara’s charges to lock the cave down.
Ahsoka is not interested in Black Sun or their offer of double the fee she received from Fardis. She is especially not interested in the supposed debt for lost earnings she has accrued with them. Ahsoka runs back on to her ship as the Black Sun agent fires their blaster at her. Taking off, the agent is quick to follow in their sleeker, more predatory ship. They dog-fight in the atmosphere until a third ship joins the fray. This one is big and has cannons too which are aimed at the Black Sun agent. The agent doesn’t stand a chance, but before Ahsoka can jump to lightspeed, she is caught in a tractor beam.
On Raada, Miara has closed up some of the entrances to the cave just as the figure reaches the hill. The figure shouts for Kaeden to come out. Frightened but determined, Kaeden will go while the others in the cave will go to look out holes and blast them. Miara insists on going with her sister but Neera knocks Miara out, she knows the pain of losing a sibling. Kaeden exits the cave but no shot finds its mark, the figure uses its Force powers to drag out Kolvin and choke him all the while using its double-ended red lightsaber to send the bolts back killing the person who fired. It’s a bloodbath.
While her ship is being pulled into the cargo hold of the bigger ship, Ahsoka selects a pair of bastons and waits for the hatch to open. Two figures are waiting for her but she doesn't let them finish their sentence before knocking them out cold. Sneaking through the ship, she heads to the bridge only to find an old friend, R2-D2! The droid bleeps happily and fills Ahsoka in as to what is going on, at first not able to share which senator he works for now but eventually revealing it’s Bail Organa. Ahsoka promises that if Artoo will release her ship, she’ll come in to meet Bail but it has to be on her terms, Artoo agrees. Bail tries not to laugh at Chardri’s report. Neither pilot saw the Jedi, R2-D2 had been disabled and the security footage scrubbed… well, all but one small shot from the engine room where a pair of montrals with familiar markings can be clearly seen. Ahsoka Tano lives. Bail realizes R2-D2 knows Ahsoka from her time as Skywalker’s Padawan. The little metal devil helped her! He understands Ahsoka’s caution and feels sure they will meet soon. Ahsoka is waiting for him when he returns to his office.
With the help of Artoo opening a hatch, Ahsoka was able to board Bail’s ship in secret. Bail wants to recruit Ahsoka to the Rebellion, he knows what she is capable of and wants her to help the fight against the Emperor. Ahsoka feels the credit is ill deserved given what happened on Raada. Ahsoka will join, not to command others, but to find the thing hunting down the children displaying Force sensitivity. This aligns perfectly for Bail as he has received reports of a strong Imperial agent on Raada. In the pictures, one is of a grey creature whose face is obscured and the other is Kaeden. Ahsoka knows it’s time she returns to Raada, but not before she rests, eats something, and completes one final task.
Ahsoka dreams of being on the frozen planet of Ilum looking for the Crystal she would put into her first lightsaber. When she wakes, Ahsoka whispers her thanks to Master Yoda before spilling out the collection of scrap and constructing two new hilts. They are inelegant but functional, now she just needs to find her new crystals.
Declining Bail’s offer of a new ship which is far too shiny and conspicuous, Ahsoka agrees to having assistance in her upcoming mission and R2-D2’s help repairing her ship. Soon Ahsoka is off to Ilum. When she exits hyperspace there are two Star Destroyers and a massive mining ship in orbit and the planet's surface has been destroyed. Sneaking away so the Star Destroyers don’t detect her, Ahsoka finds a quiet place to meditate. As she falls deeper into meditation, she sees the glimmer of her crystals light-years away… on Raada.
Landing on Raada in the dark and on the opposite side of the moon, Ahsoka heads back to the settlement on foot. On the way, Ahsoka comes across a lone figure sitting by a fire. It’s Miara. Tears spilling, Miara tells Ahsoka about waking up surrounded by her dead friends and neighbors, Kaeden being captured and the grey figure. Ahsoka enters another mediation to center herself for the fight to come and locate her crystals. As the sun breaks the horizon, Ahsoka Tano feels whole again.
Ahsoka and Miara make it to the settlement without issue. While Ahsoka infiltrates the Imperial compound and rescues Kaeden, Miara finds Selda and Vartan and helps direct the people out of the settlement. Then Ahsoka walks openly toward the Imperial compound. It isn’t long before shouts of “Jedi!” can be heard. The grey creature speaks from the shadows, mocking and ridiculing the Jedi. This does not affect Ahsoka, who is using the Force to sense his presence. When he jumps from a rooftop, Ahsoka is ready. Their fight is fast and furious. The creature has brute strength reinforced by body armor, wears a helmet with the face shield up and wields his double-edged lightsaber. Though Ahsoka doesn’t yet have her lightsabers, the Force flows strong and she can read the grey one's feelings. Stormtroopers line the walls of the street watching the spectacle. Ahsoka can tell the creature’s intention is to overpower her, but she has other ideas. As the creature spins his blade in an impressive if needlessly showy circle, Ahsoka uses the Force and reaches out for her crystal. The hilt of his lightsaber cracks at Ahsoka’s touch and the light and dark song of the crystal's struggle for balance reaches Ahsoka’s ears. The red lightsaber overloads and bursts leaving the creature a burned mess on the ground. Kneeling, Ahsoka sifts through the wreckage and finds her crystals. Entering a meditative state while the stormtroopers rally, Ahsoka completes her lightsabers. When she turns them on, they shine the brightest white.
As the Imperial’s only target, Ahsoka is able to draw their attention and make her way into the compound and to Kaeden. Ahsoka frees those held in the prison block directing them to Selda’s. When Ahsoka opens Kaeden’s cell, Kaeden notes Ahsoka looks more focused and powerful. Kaeden tells Ahsoka she could kiss her which comes as a shock to Ahsoka (but not to us!). Helping support Kaeden, the two head to Selda’s.
The cantina is a hive of people. When Miara spots Kaeden she throws herself at her sister. But what's next? Ahsoka has arranged for some old friends to help with an evacuation. Outside, people are organized into groups and start heading to the outskirts of the settlement. In the background, the Imperial compound is burning. In the air, A-wings Bail sent start flying in. A few Imperial fighters manage to get into the air which some of the A-wings break off to deal with, and the sight entrances Miara. As evacuation transport ships appear in low orbit, one A-wing takes too much damage and the pilot is able to eject, but another wasn’t so lucky. The Raada evacuees start to board the ship, but Ahsoka stays on the ground to deal with the Imperial tanks, making short order of the threat using only her lightsabers. Unfortunately Vartan is hit by one of the tank blasts. Alive but badly injured, Ahsoka carries him on board and they take off.
Ahsoka breaks into Bail’s office again. The evacuation of Raada was a success. There were only fifteen casualties. Vartan survived and was given a pair of Selda’s prosthetics. Ahsoka tells Bail about the grey creature, how she is sure he wasn’t the only one and how he shows some Force sensitivity though it was unrefined. The Raada refugees are also requesting not to be resettled, rather they want to join the rebellion and help in any way they can. Bail then asks to see Ahsoka’s new lightsabers. He’s never seen white ones before. Ahsoka tells him they were red from the corruption by the dark side of the Force, and she freed them. They also feel familiar. Ahsoka thinks they were looted from the Jedi Temple.
Talk turns to how Ahsoka can help the rebellion. She doesn’t want to be a general or a Padawan anymore, but something in the middle. Ahsoka wants to help open channels of communication, her dealings with the people on Raada and the incident with Chardri show how much it’s needed. Ahsoka wants to take care of recruits and find missions, listen to the needs of the people and help them succeed. Bail says that, essentially, she wants to run the intelligence network which is perfect as there isn’t anyone doing that at the moment. Her code name will be Fulcrum.
Meanwhile, on the smoking fields of Raada, the Grand Inquisitor glares at the ground. The Jedi had done more than anyone expected. He found the body of one of his own kind, and in his pursuit, he won’t be so reckless. He knows the value of channeling hate more usefully and the value of a plan. As he holds the hilt of his lightsaber, he instructs an underling to set course back to base and inform Lord Vader that he has found evidence of another survivor.