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In the Arms of the Enemy

Chapter Text

Hera woke up numb, not sure if it was from being stunned or the cold air of the room she was in. It must’ve been a transport. She could feel the vehicle as it moved throughout the roads, most likely to the Imperial complex in the city.

She opened an eye to almost complete darkness and the voices of the stormtroopers outside the door. Their voices were muffled and now matter how hard she tried, she could hear what they said clearly.

Hera lifted herself up to her hands and knees and crawled over to a corner of the compartment. She sat against the wall. Her head dropped to her knees, as she tried to recoup her thoughts and what the hell happened in the past couple of days.

She was on Yavin 4. She was promoted to a general. Mon Mothma gave her a squadron of X-Wings to lead to come to Lothal. She was supposed to protect Lothal, and help save the nearly doomed planet. But the TIE fighters came and sent their fighters to the ground like a meteor shower. She failed.

But Chopper and Mart got out alive. They would live to fight another day.

The door to her compartment slid open. She looked up to see the figure of Governor Pryce and two stormtroopers who escorted her for protection. If she wouldn’t have been shot on sight, Hera would have knocked the governor out then and there. Pryce didn’t say anything. She lifted a hand and gestured for the stormtroopers to enter.

“Before we take you to your cell, I’ll give you a chance to answer here and now.”

You can try.

“All I have is a few questions. If you answer us quickly and truthfully, your punishment will be lessened greatly.”

Hera didn’t respond.

“Where is the remainder of your rebel cell and where is the location of the greater rebellion?”

The air around was bitter and cold, and that only increased with the mood of the two women. The governor lip curled with distaste and annoyance.

“I’ll ask once more: Where is the remainder of the rebel cell? Where is the location of the greater rebellion?” Pryce’s hand balled into a fist by her side.

“Why would I ever tell you?”

Before Hera could process what had happened, Pryce’s hand moved to her blaster and stunned her once again. The last thing Hera saw was the barrel of the blaster in her face.

Hera didn’t know how long she had been in her cell. She was awful at keeping track of time, and she could have easily been in that cell for a couple hours or a couple days.

The last time she had been captured by Imperials, she had a way out. It had been in her childhood home. She knew it like the back of her hand, and there was somewhere to run once she got out. Hera didn’t have that here.

There was no way out of this place that wouldn’t leave her or others with a blaster shot to the head. Hera somehow always had hope, except now. Hope wouldn’t do anything now.

She walked to the bunk and collapsed onto it. She rolled onto her back and looked up at the dim lights embedded in the ceiling.

Hera thought of her crew. Chopper. Zeb. Sabine. Ezra. Kanan… She was dehydrated and weary, but the tears still came. They got out. They’re going to be okay. The Rebellion will come for them. But she couldn’t even convince herself of that.

She rolled onto her side, drew her knees to her chest, and let exhaustion rock her to dreamless sleep.

The stormtroopers came for her. They didn’t wait to grab her and drag her out of her cell and down the hallway. At that moment Hera wished that they were dragging her to an execution rather than what awaited her.

They finally led her into a small room off the hallway, guarded by two stormtroopers. They opened the door for the prisoner, and she was shoved into a chair in the center of the room. Another figure entered the room.

Hera almost wanted to laugh from relief, but she was too exhausted to try. She was greeted yet again by the face of Arihnda Pryce. At least it wasn’t him.

“Captain Syndulla-"

“I was promoted.”

The governor raised an eyebrow. “That doesn’t seem to matter when there are no plans for you to return to the Rebellion.”

The stormtroopers that escorted Hera in exited and stood outside the door as it slid shut. Hera tried to move her wrists, but found they were bound to the chair.

Pryce walked closer. A round, black droid hovered to the side of her head, with multiple appendages of arms and needles. Its one black eye stared unchangingly at her.

“I will give you another chance to answer me, Syndulla. Where is the remainder of your crew and where is the location of the greater Rebellion?”

Hera didn’t answer. Her heart began to pound in her chest as the black droid started to edge closer, beeping and whispering. Pryce’s ice-cold gaze did not waver.

“I sense that you won’t answer without some aide.”

“I will not betray the Rebellion.”

“Perhaps I can change your mind.”

The droid slowly edged towards her until all she felt was the pure pain surging through her veins. She curled in on herself, trying to break her arms free from where they were attached to the chair even if it was no help. The burning throughout her increased slowly and slowly until she felt her vision go black, and she fell into what seemed to be an empty, sinking pit.

Hera was abandoned, surrounded by swirling darkness. She tried to reach out to grab something, but she was falling. Just like the X-Wings she had led into battle. A million voices were ringing in her ears, until one was clearer than anything else.

“That’s enough for now.”

Hera’s eyes were closed, but she felt herself slowly come back to reality. The pain receded, leaving a dull ache throughout her being. Kanan once said that he had ways to reduce the pain he felt through the Force. And for once in her life, Hera wished she had that ability.

She opened her eyes, and through ragged breaths said, with every ounce of venom she could muster, “I am not a traitor. I don’t care how much you torture me, or what thoughts you can put through my mind. I will not betray them.”


A scream left her lips as she felt herself fall again, but she didn’t know if it was her own or one of the million voices inside her head.

Hera couldn’t move. She was dragged back into her cell. They set her down on the ground, where she collapsed against the bottom wall of the bunk. She tried to move her arms, but they sent shooting electricity through her nerves when she dared to try.

“You are quite persistent. The reports weren’t wrong.”

How tempted she was to tell Pryce to kriff off. “I may not be able to break you myself. But there is someone who can.”

Hera knew who. And that was the person she definitely didn’t want to see.

Chapter Text

Chopper rolled behind Kanan. He noticed that the man’s posture wasn’t straight, and he walked in slow strides.

“Tell me what happened,” Kanan said to him.

Hera sacrificed herself for us. In the years Chopper had known her that was not an unsurprising move. She crashed in the city, and proceeded to attempt escape. She was injured.

Kanan sucked in a breath at this. His hand moved to the back of his neck. With no hesitation, he asked, “How badly was she injured? Give me a general idea.”

Hera stood up to the assassin twice.

Kanan turned around to face Chopper.

She was unconscious for around 3.5 minutes. She woke up in the X-Wing, and got out. She did not walk normally, and held her arm as if it was damaged.

Kanan took a deep breath, and continued walking. They reached a pile of crates. Kanan reached out to feel the edge, his fingertips brushing the wooden top, and once he found it, sat down. He reached up to take off his mask, and placed it beside him. His face dropped to his hands.

Chopper rolled up next to him.

We can get her back.

“We can,” Kanan said in a voice that was beyond broken. Chopper knew from the medical reports that his tear glands were destroyed, but the process of crying was still there. He had never seen Kanan in such a state before.

Chopper didn’t know if Kanan wanted to be alone or wanted company. He stood put, waiting for him to say something. But he didn’t tell the droid anything.

Chopper thought of what Hera had last told him. She had told him to run. The fearless Hera Syndulla looked at him in a way that took him off guard – she was scared. He told her he wasn’t going to leave. But he still left anyway.

He thought of the little girl she had once been who had spent an unknown amount of days putting him back together. She saw an old droid only a couple of battles away from being scrapped, and saw potential. She was the only one who had given a damn about him. And she still might as well have been the only one in the galaxy who did.

She had seen the potential in everyone. The day that Kanan entered the Ghost for the first time, Chopper zapped him until he dropped onto the floor of the cargo hold. Hera ended up scolding him. Chopper, ten years later, still didn’t know what he had done wrong. A shady man just entered their ship, and he did what any decent droid would’ve done. And for after some time, he wasn’t sure why she hired Kanan. She just saw someone that no one else did.

It was the same way with Zeb and Sabine. Their lives were incinerated the Empire; she inspired them to fight back.

He recalled when Ezra informed him that Hera blew up an entire ship full of Imperial ISB members because they hijacked him. He spent the rest of the day processing it. He still didn’t know how someone could care about him that much.

There’s got to be something we could do.

“There is.” Kanan took his mask from its spot next to him. “There’s something I can do.”

What do you mean?

“I can’t explain right now, Chop. I just need you to trust me.”

That didn’t convince Chopper enough.

The camp was quiet for the rest of the day. Any conversation quickly ended, and the two people scurried on their way.

Chopper found Sabine by herself, tinkering with a radio.

“Do you think there’s any way for us to contact the Rebellion without it being intercepted by the Empire?”

Chopper considered it. The Imperial presence is only increasing after the X-Wing attack.

Sabine finally turned to face him. “Would the Rebellion come for Lothal?”

She already convinced them to give her command of the X-Wings. They weren’t expecting her to fail.

Sabine set down her tool, and took the radio in both hands. “So, I take that as a no?”

Chopper beeped.

“Then we’re going to have find a way out of here, Chop. Any ideas?”

Chopper didn’t answer, because he didn’t have one to give. Sabine set the radio down and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

“That’s the response I get from everyone I ask.” Sabine gave a sigh. “I hoped the X-Wing attack would’ve succeeded.”

After a moment, she gave a chuckle. “It’s funny. We can one-up the Empire in one place, and they can shove us back down to the ground. “We could’ve freed Lothal. We underestimated the Empire’s attack power.”

Chopper gave a beep of agreement.

“Sabine! Chopper!”

Ryder Azadi stood a distance away. He gestured for them to follow him to where the rest of the group stood, ready to discuss their next actions.

Ezra stood apart, a hand to his chin, deeply in thought. His eyes were focused on a lothcat, licking its fur in peace near a speeder. But those eyes had a hard look that would scare most.

One the group congregated together, Ryder Azadi took his spot among them.

“The Rebellion likely isn’t coming,” Sabine said as she started the discussion. “I was speaking to Chopper just before. We are only a couple of rebels. Hera already had to convince them to send that squadron of X-Wings. They don’t have the resources.”

“Then we’re going to have to sneak out,” Kanan responded.

“And find a way to rescue Hera,” Zeb added.

“You will find a way to escape.” Ezra turned to the group. “I’m not leaving Lothal.”

Chapter Text

“Ezra,” Sabine started. “We are stuck, with a slim chance of getting off this planet alive.” Kanan’s arms folded, one hand moving to his chin in thought.

“I left Lothal once. I’m not leaving it again.” Ezra placed two hands firmly on the table. “I can wait. We fight from the inside, until the Resistance recovers.”

“That could take a while, kid. They have other battles to fight, and dozens of other planets that need the same help Lothal does,” Zeb replied. Ryder Azadi looked to Jai Kell, who stood next to him.

“I’ve already had to wait this long. I can wait a little longer.”

Ezra sensed Kanan as his master walked up behind him. He had been sitting on a ledge overlooking the plains on Lothal. The blades of grass danced as if it was a festival, while the shadows of clouds graced over and blocked the light from hitting the ground.

Kanan sat down next to him, placing his hands on his lap, but not before taking his mask on and setting it beside him.

“You disappeared for a while. I wanted to make sure you were alright.”

Ezra looked back to the plains, now seeing the mountains in the distance.

“No one is upset with you for wanting to stay here on Lothal.” Kanan paused for a moment, thinking of the right words. “I suppose they were just surprised.”

“What do you think is going to happen to Lothal, Kanan?”

“I’m not sure. We didn’t expect the squadron to fail as it did. We were over-optimistic.”

“And the Empire can continue creating the Defender. The Rebellion isn’t prepared for that kind of ship. They could wipe us all out before we could even reach the point they’re at.”

Kanan sighed. “Exactly.”

Ezra turned to Kanan. “You mentioned that we had some connection to Lothal.”

Kanan nodded, continuing, “Whatever happens, we’ll be back.”

A lothcat came into Ezra’s view as he sat outside his tent that night, staring at the stars that dotted the sky. It purred and rubbed up against his leg. His hand moved to scratch the back of the cat’s head.

“Hey there.”

The lothcat licked his hand contentedly, and Ezra felt his nerves calming down, until the cat jerked its head towards the plains. Its eyes were fixated on nothing.

The lothcat hesitantly stood up and began to walk away. Ezra stood up and watched as the cat’s figure slinked into the grass of the plains.

Ezra followed the lothcat through the sea of grass. The world was dark, and he strained his eyes trying to see the path the animal took.

He kept walking farther from camp, which seemed to be completely empty. But he kept gazing to see where the lothcat would go next.

The cat slipped around one of the giant rocks that dotted Lothal’s plains, and Ezra followed it.

There was a lothwolf sitting there. He sat proud and tall, his cold breath visible in the cold night air. Ezra yelled and stumbled back. He sucked in a breath.

“Why do you have to do that?” Ezra stood up straight. He reached out, extending a hand towards the wolf. He edged closer, trying to reach the wolf. The lothwolf was still as a statue.

Ezra was close enough to touch the wolf. His hand moved closer and closer… until he fell into the dark.

He sat straight up in bed, drenched in a cold sweat. He was back in his tent at camp in the dead of night. His head was clouded and in a surreal kind of pain.

This was the fifth time he had had that dream. And he still didn’t know what the lothwolves wanted with him.

Chapter Text

Sabine searched the camp for any writing implement, but couldn’t find anything but an old tent pole. She immediately grabbed it and took it to where Zeb, Ryder Azadi, and Jai Kell stood conversing strategy.

“The Imperial complex is heavily guarded, and will be even more so now after the assault.”

“Is there a way to sneak in?” Azadi asked.

“Unfortunately,” Zeb replied, “every time we’ve tried that it didn’t end well.”

“But we’ve managed before,” Sabine added. “It’s not impossible.” She adjusted the pole in her hand as they all turned to look at her. “I mean, we either make a dramatic entrance or sneak in. Both could end up horribly. What do you think would be less likely to get us all killed?

“We’ve always made drastic decisions. And I would do it to get Hera back. If we plan and communicate, it’ll help our chances.”

Sabine turned to Ryder Azadi, to see what he had to say. But he didn’t reply right away. “I say you keep talking, Sabine.”

Sabine nodded. “Alright.” She took the tent pole and outlined the basic floor plan of the Imperial complex in the dust.

“It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Imperial complex, but at the top of every hour the stormtrooper switch posts. I’m not sure there’d be enough time to get in between the shift of the guards, but I think it would be best to knock two troopers out, get their armor, and get someone to change.”

“And it’d be best to get someone less recognizable.” Zeb added on.

“Yeah,” she agreed. She motioned to Jai. “I figured you might be best. You were able to sit in Old Jho’s without anyone suspecting. I figured that out of everyone, well…”

“I’ll do it.”

“Ezra could help distract the guards, or do a Jedi mind trick. Zeb help knock out the guards…”

“And I’ll get Hera,” came Kanan’s voice from behind. “I’ll sneak in, and I’ll get her out.”

“You’re the best chance we have,” Azadi admitted.

“And when we get Hera?”

“We sneak and get a shuttle, or some other ship. Then, we blast off.”

Sabine took a step forward, “I can try to get in contact with Rex and Kallus on the Ghost. The Empire is jamming transmitions, but perhaps if they’re close enough, I could get word to them.”

Kanan nodded. “It could be our best bet.”

Sabine tinkered with the radio for a good four hours. Most of camp had gone to bed, with a few beginning their night shift. All the radio gave back was static noise.

She tried one last thing before setting the radio down on the dust. She rubbed her eyes with her hands, and the world rocked a little bit.

And that’s when the static stopped. Her hands dropped and she stared at the radio.

Someone’s voice came through. Someone she recognized. The Ghost was on the other side.

Chapter Text

Zeb thought of an hour ago.

“I can’t believe the radio got through,” Zeb told Sabine.

“I know. We only had a few minutes of communication, but at least we could get word to them. And we’re going to have to live on that.”

Zeb turned his head to the fields of grass rolling by as they rode in the Imperial transport they had stolen. In all his years of his age, having to sneak around the Empire always seemed to set his nerves on edge. They had a plan. But plans never went well.

Well, the first part of the plan certainly had. Whatever guards posted at the outermost part of the facility were caught completely off guard (if times weren’t so dire, someone likely would’ve been tempted to make a joke), and Jai quickly changed into their uniform.

The next set of stormtroopers weren’t as easy, but did question Jai as to what he was doing. Ezra swooped in and mind tricked them easily.

“Kanan, you sure you’re okay to get Hera?”

“I know where she is. Can you get the transport?”

“We’re on it!” Sabine replied.

The group split from Kanan and began to sprint through the Imperial complex.

“This way!” Sabine called, and they made a left.

Sure enough, there was an abundance of Imperial ships in the yard. Sabine stunned two stormtroopers instantly, and Zeb zapped another with his bowrifle.

They began to board a shuttle, and Zeb’s comlink buzzed.

He answered it. “Kanan, is everything alright?”

“It was going fine. Until now. Rukh is back.”

Chapter Text

Rukh had disappeared. Kanan’s heart was pounding in his chest, as his hands closed tighter around his lightsaber. But he couldn’t sense Rukh anywhere near him.

He clicked off his saber and kept running. He tried to sense Hera in the Force, but he was terrified. Utterly terrified. But she was there. She had to be there.

Kanan ran down the hallways of cells, until he stopped at one. He couldn’t sense anything, but something about this one… something about this one felt right.

He ignited his lightsaber and swung it against the control panel. The door unlocked.

“Hera?” he called out. Someone was in the cell and that someone almost leapt into his arms. He wrapped his arms around that person. Hera.

They didn’t say anything for a moment, but without letting go of his embrace, helped her stand up. “Can you walk?”

“I can,” she said. “I can.”

“Let’s get you home,” he told her. He kissed her on the forehead, and they were off. She was limping, but with Kanan’s help, they were able to get by.

“I saw Rukh again. The crew is waiting in the shipyard. If we can get by unnoticed, we can leave.”

“Watch out!” Hera yelled. She grabbed the blaster from his side, and he ignited his lightsaber, blocking the stormtrooper’s blasters as she shot them.

“Come on!”

They went into the shipyard, and Hera guided him to the ship, where the rest of the crew waited. He couldn’t see anything, but he could hear the blasterfire as even more stormtroopers rushed onto the scene.

“Jai! I see Rukh,” Ezra called. “Come on!”

“Kanan, where are they going?” Hera asked him. She grabbed the front of his shirt, and he held onto her waist, feeling her sway a bit. “Where?”

Kanan felt the ship pick up on the ground. Was Sabine flying?

“They’re staying on Lothal.”


Kanan kneeled and Hera followed. “It was Ezra’s decision. He has decided to wait on Lothal until the Rebellion comes again.”

“And who knows when that could be?” Hera asked.

“I don’t know. I trust him, and I trust in the Force.”

The ship did a swift turn, swerving right and left as they left Lothal, and Kanan felt Hera take his hand as they ran to the front of the shuttle.

“Where do we start from here?” Hera asked.

“I’m not sure. But the Ghost did get our message after all.”

Kanan felt Hera tighten her grip on his hand. “It’s the Ghost.”

His head turned to face her, even if he couldn’t see her. They got her home. They’d make it back to Lothal somehow. And they could start on the Ghost.

“How can we convince the Rebellion?” Zeb asked.

“I’m not sure. I guess we have to wait and see. We have to trust Ezra. And for now, that’s all we can do.”