5 BBY — Alderaan — The sun hangs high in the sky as the Little Piggy gracefully touches down on the landing pad of the Sanctuary Coast spaceport on Alderaan. Norra, Arya, and the rest of the team disembark from the ship, their senses immediately awash with the serene beauty of the planet known for its commitment to peace and diplomacy.
The following day, they are escorted to a formal event where they are introduced to Senator Bail Organa. Standing beside him is a young woman named Leia. The moment Arya's eyes meet Leia's, a strange sense of familiarity washes over her. It's as if they have crossed paths before, in some distant memory. Leia's eyes flicker with recognition, but she keeps her thoughts to herself for the time being.
Norra steps forward, making a compelling plea for support. She emphasizes the necessity of their rebel cell operating from a distance, ensuring their activities remain concealed from Alderaan. She explains the crucial role they play in running mercy missions to various planets, distributing vital medical supplies. Bail Organa acknowledges that the Empire is aware of his activities but lacks concrete evidence. Uncertainty clouds his features as he weighs the risks of further involvement, knowing that his people may be endangered. However, after careful consideration, they reach an agreement that allows Organa to play a larger role in supporting the rebel cause.
Senator Organa reveals the mission at hand: the shipment of “cargo” to Darknell. The purpose is to upgrade surveillance sensors to monitor Imperial activity on the planet. The team will transport the equipment covertly, hidden among other cargo. In addition, they will meet with the local rebel cell, engage in training and knowledge exchange, and assist in loading the cargo onto waiting ships.
Arya's curiosity piques, and she expresses a desire to learn about the attire of the local cell, seeking to prepare herself for the forthcoming meetings. The next day, Leia meets Arya, and together they embark on a day of exploration and shopping in the bustling market of Alderaan. Amidst the vibrant colors and diverse fabrics, Arya seizes the opportunity to educate Leia on the tactical aspects of clothing, armor, and self-defense. Starting with the clothing choices of the day, Arya teaches Leia how to wear attire in a defensible manner. They try on different outfits, and each conversation becomes a moment of education, shedding light on what Arya takes for granted as an Echani armorer.
As negotiations between Norra and Senator Bail Organa progress, a sense of trust builds. Norra detects the subtext of Organa's commitment to protecting his family and Alderaan covertly. It solidifies the bidirectional relationship between their cause and the interests of the peaceful planet. During their discussions, Norra gains further insight into the side trip to Darknell, unraveling the veil of mystery surrounding the planet.
Their contact on Darknell remains enigmatic, and their knowledge of the team is limited. The rendezvous point is set at the “Continuum Void” bar in Sekrea, the capital city. To communicate securely, they must use a passphrase combo. Darknell lies on the way to Sullust, providing them with an opportunity to gather additional intelligence while “passing through.”
Meanwhile, Bail Organa involves Leia in activities related to cargo loading on Alderaan, her involvement shrouded in quasi-covert operations. The team, including Norra and Arya, is tasked with providing undercover protection, ensuring the operation remains discreet and Alderaan's involvement is not implicated.
On their final night in Alderaan, Arya finds herself in an unexpected situation within her quarters. A blue and white astromech droid rolls in, emitting a series of beeps and boops directed at Arya. Suddenly, she is surrounded by droids, with a little bipedal droid emerging from under her bed. Is this an infestation of droids? Confusion quickly dissipates when a third droid appears—a gold protocol droid. Apologies and banter ensue between the protocol droid, C-3PO, and the astromech, R2-D2. It becomes evident that R2-D2 wants to present Arya with the BD-14U droid, lovingly referred to as “BD.”
Leia enters the room, her expression marked by concern. She reveals that she has been searching for R2-D2, who, along with C-3PO, were gifts to her father from a friend in the Senate. Intrigued and puzzled, Arya asks why R2-D2 wanted to give her BD. Leia “speaks” with R2-D2, deciphering his intentions. She explains that BD is a seeker droid, equipped with an array of sensors and a remote commlink boasting long-range capabilities. Though Arya may not speak droid, BD understands galactic basic.
Leia takes a moment to demonstrate her knowledge of droids and droid maintenance, showcasing the intricacies of maintaining these remarkable machines. Arya is impressed by Leia's proficiency and passion for droids, recognizing the depth of her connection to a world beyond Alderaan's borders.
Leia expresses her belief that R2-D2 has come up with a remarkable gift for Arya. “It is nice to meet and talk to someone outside of Alderaan,” Leia remarks, a touch of wistfulness in her voice. “I don't get the chance to meet different people often. If you ever need anything, know that you can get in touch with me.” With those words, Leia presents Arya with an encrypted communicator, sealing their newfound alliance and creating a direct line of communication that transcends distance and circumstance.
As Arya reflects on the encounters and revelations of their time on Alderaan, a newfound sense of purpose begins to blossom within her. The meetings with Leia, the negotiations with Senator Bail Organa, and the unexpected arrival of the droids have all served to open her eyes to the vastness of the galaxy and the potential it holds. A longing to explore new horizons, forge alliances, and stand against the oppressive Empire stirs within her.