The Falconer

5 BBY — — In her stateroom aboard the Little Piggy, Arya contemplates the dangerous task at hand: getting special loaded onto the known as The Falconer, all while under the watchful eye of the . With the weight of responsibility on her shoulders, Arya knows that protecting Leia and ensuring the safe transport of both cargos is paramount.

The Falconer, a battle-scarred older model , is docked below on the lower deck, connected to the upper level by a set of interconnected vertical warehouses. Meanwhile, the party's YT-2400, the Little Piggy, is stationed on the upper deck. The plan is to load the below, allowing Leia to manage the operation under cover, and once she is clear and safe, the team will depart aboard the YT-2400. Porkins, their trusty pilot, will remain behind with the engines warmed and a flight plan ready to depart as soon as they're on board.

With determination, Arya grabs her gear and heads down to the docking bay to meet up with Leia. As they arrive, they are greeted by the sight of The Falconer, an imposing and battle-worn . The bay is bustling with activity as crew members, including Nora and , are preparing to load the ship, with one person from each loading team present. Their objective: to protect the “off manifest” .

Nora, Arya, and break into three loading teams, each paired with a regular loader. Leia is prepared to manage the operation from within the ship. The trio proceeds to load the ship in a three-team rotation: one team outside loading, one team on the ramp transferring , and one team inside positioning and securing the cargo.

As the loading progresses, imperial customs officials and Stormtroopers begin to conduct inspections on ships two slots down. Arya, ever vigilant, watches them closely. However, when she tries to signal discreetly, the customs agent takes notice of her, and her heart races. The situation grows tense, and Arya knows that trouble is coming.

During her rotation inside the ship, Arya seizes the opportunity to communicate with Leia. She informs her of the impending danger and stresses the need for a quick exit. Leia acknowledges the situation and prepares to leave, but they must act swiftly.

“Hello, Falconer crew! Manifest!” barks the Imperial customs officer, flanked by Stormtroopers. Mitch, one of The Falconer's crew, and Nora greet the officer, their responses somewhat evasive. Baab, the cargo master, stands with , who has just returned from the cargo bay. In compliance, Mitch retrieves a data pad for the Imperial.

As the official inspects the manifest, Arya quickly acts to divert attention. She returns with an empty lift, awaiting Mitch's arrival to hand over the data pad. Simultaneously, she continues loading cargo into the ship and positions the loader to block the view inside the . Leia must leave immediately, and Arya is determined to make it happen.

With the customs officer and Stormtroopers preoccupied, Arya hurries to the lower hatch of the ship, opens it, and smuggles Leia out. Silently, they descend onto the docking bay floor below The Falconer, seeking cover behind the landing gear. Keeping their movements concealed, they wait for the right moment.

As the Stormtroopers and customs officer divert their attention, Arya and Leia seize the opportunity to make a dash for the landing gear of an adjacent ship, sliding into its shadow for cover. Arya keeps a watchful eye on The Falconer as the customs agent and Stormtroopers focus on inspecting crates.

Their next move is calculated. Arya and Leia stealthily navigate the cargo area, edging closer to their escape route. However, an unexpected challenge arises when they enter a small cargo room. An interior door opens, revealing an ID9 , its menacing red eye locking onto them.

Quickly, Arya deploys her cloak to obscure the 's line of sight to Leia. She channels her emotions and calls upon the Dark Side of the Force to immobilize the droid. The droid struggles within her cloak, but Arya's anger and determination to protect Leia empower her. She smashes the droid against the wall with a surge of Force energy, incapacitating it. Her blaster pistol at the ready, Arya takes no chances and fires at the droid, reducing it to a smoking heap.

With the droid dealt with, Arya calls for the turbo lift. She steps into the lift and ascends to the next level. However, upon arriving, she realizes that Leia is nowhere to be seen. Instead, she hears the idle chatter of bored Stormtroopers nearby. Determining that Leia is not in this area, Arya swiftly returns to the lift, her mission to find Leia far from over.

The next stop takes her to the upper deck, but still, Leia is nowhere in sight. Instead, Arya is greeted by the presence of Stormtroopers nearby. She quickly hides behind a stack of cargo, realizing that her escape route is obstructed by the Imperial soldiers.

The exit to the outside world lies at the far end of the warehouse, but the Stormtroopers have effectively trapped Arya in her current position. Arya takes a moment to assess her options and considers the Stormtroopers' strangely calm demeanor. This absence of alarm suggests that Leia is not with them.

A plan begins to form in Arya's mind. She knows that it's time for a clean and quiet exit. Centering herself and drawing upon the Force, she subtly manipulates a nearby glow rod, creating a noise at a distance. The Stormtroopers immediately shift their attention from guarding the doorway to investigating the disturbance, their white armor clanking as they move.

Arya seizes her opportunity. As the Stormtroopers move away from their post, she steps out of her hiding spot and briskly makes her way to the exit. With her cloak over her arm and confidence regained, Arya walks with determination toward the Little Piggy, her mission to protect Leia still at the forefront of her mind.

Reaching the ship, Arya strides aboard with unwavering resolve and closes the ramp. Inside, she learns that Leia managed to escape safely. With Porkins at the helm, the YT-2400 is cleared for departure by Control. Their destination: Darknell, where they will smuggle a small package of communications components.

As Arya sits in her quarters, accompanied by , she reflects on the harrowing events that unfolded. The brush with the Dark Side of the Force leaves her shuddering, and she can't help but wonder how close she came to crossing a line she may never return from.

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