Pliers sat on her bunk in the Resistance's new base her first night there, three days after reaching the Resistance and two days after recovering from learning she was lactose-intolerant, and wondered if any of the other Troopers had found her hidden message. As a field tech, she had come across a newly crashed ship while in the field with her squad and discovered the location of the newest Resistance base due a still-working, encrypted line sending out the information. It was an encryption she decrypted with practiced ease she had never shared with her superiors.
Instead of using this information immediately, she returned to the First Order base. Once allowed a moment of independent time to decompress, she went to the lowest level of the base, into a far corner closet almost no one knew existed. She knew others went there due to dust displacement, but she had never seen anyone there when she was. It had always been her guess that only a handful of other Troopers felt a need to get away from everything, to hide from what the First Order made them do so that they didn't need to be reconditioned. For her, it was a place to remove her helmet and feel her disgust at herself before she had to put the helmet back on and return to being an emotionless, identity-less Stormtrooper who followed all orders.
Once in her closet, Pliers had carved a coded message into the wall that hinted that anyone who wanted to be like FN-2187 and join the Resistance, to get away from the madness that was the First Order, had to find her bunk for further instructions. By this time, stories of FN-2187 had reached every corner of the First Order. He was the first Trooper to leave the First Order in such a noticeable way, and he had stayed gone. As far as they knew – and they did know because he was on the WANTED list, preferably alive, but dead would be accepted as well – he was even still out there, out of the First Order’s grasp. Even more, she was a field tech, someone who actually flew out into the galaxy to other planets, while FN-2187 was just a trooper, mostly sanitation. If he could get away from all of this, from all of the orders to kill people without mercy and on command and having to push it all away except in small closets in the corner of the base, then she could as well. That was what had led her to finding secret places to carve this information, to leave a possibility for others to follow her away from here if they wished.
Carved into the underside of the frame of her bed were instructions to find her other hiding place: a ledge she sat on that overlooked the TIE fighters and required careful climbing in all black for camouflage to even reach it, hidden from view from all directions once there. It was there that she left a triple-coded encryption with a series of numbers that was her comm frequency where the coordinates of the Resistance base were on loop. Of course, each of the three codes used were only known by the non-commander Troopers, so even if one of them came across her messages, it wouldn't be comprehensible to leadership.
Pliers just hoped other Troopers found the messages and decided to join her and FN-2187 – no, Finn – at the Resistance. After finding and moving to a new base with them, her message on the frequency had changed to include new coordinates and the fact that FN-2187 was real and had the name Finn now while she went by Pliers, and Finn had even been very badly hurt but was now healed by the Resistance rather than decommissioned like the First Order did. She hoped the information would give more Troopers the motivation to leave the First Order and become their own people.
For now, though, she needed to sleep so that she could begin her work for the Resistance in the morning, fixing whatever of their tech she could. After all, like FN – Finn had told her, the Resistance was doing more good for the galaxy than the First Order and had given her a better place to live, so it was only fair she did her part and earned that place.
Enteen was good at sneaking around the First Order’s base. Actually, he was good at sneaking in general. He had even managed to smuggle outside food into the base for Stomp, Sixes, and him. That was something he hadn’t heard any of the other Troopers bragging about, nor had he seen them eating outside food when they didn’t realize he was watching them.
It was this talent at sneaking about that had him finding the small closet in the corner of the lowest level of the base, with just enough dust to show it was rarely used but enough displacement to show that it was still used. Then he used a small light on his armor to look around the closet better and noticed that there were markings near the floor on one of the walls. He crouched down to look at them better and quickly realized they were words, written in one of the most recent codes that had made its way around the Troopers as a way to share messages without the commanders realizing it.
Though it took Enteen almost a minute to decode the message, the code new enough that his most recent mission meant it took longer to recall, he felt excitement once he knew what it said. This was a message from PL-1392, the field tech who had gone MIA only the day before. Leadership was trying to keep this news from spreading, but it had already gotten around all the troopers. Enteen personally thought she had left to join the Resistance just like FN-2187, and finding this message only proved it. He had known PL-1392; she was one of the Stormtroopers that he could tell did not agree with the First Order but followed orders, because what else could they do?
Most overlooked Enteen, except for Stomp and Sixes. No one else really recognized that he was highly observant and very good at reading body language, mostly because he hid it from leadership so they wouldn’t take him away from Stomp and Sixes. This hidden talent allowed Enteen to recognize which Troopers were true Troopers and which were just faking it, like PL-1392 had been. He usually knew before anyone who was going to be reconditioned next, because he saw them becoming sloppier, making mistakes the captains noticed. It was why finding out PL-1392 was MIA wasn’t a surprise.
FN-2187 defecting had been a surprise. Before his sudden defection, FN-2187 had been a model Stormtrooper, even if he had been part of sanitation. The next thing Enteen had known, FN-2187 had broken out a Resistance prisoner, stolen a TIE fighter with the prisoner, and had escaped the First Order with orders to capture if possible and kill otherwise, labelled a traitor. It was only the following day when Enteen learned that FN-2003, known as Slip, had been killed during the first real battle their squad had ever been sent on, due to being sanitation, that Enteen understood. FN-2187 had lost his friend, the squad member he had always looked after, right in front of him. It had knocked the fight right out of him.
Now, though, now Enteen almost wanted to follow the examples of FN-2187 and PL-1392. The problem would be convincing Stomp and Sixes, because he couldn’t leave them behind. Perhaps the information left behind by PL-1392 would convince them to leave the First Order with him.
Enteen had to at least try.
When, just a few days after Enteen had shown them the secret messages left behind by PL-1392, half a TIE fighter landing on him while he was moving cargo left him slated for decommission, Stomp and Sixes agreed they had to take the chance.
A few days before, Enteen had come to them full of excited energy, because apparently he had found proof that both PL-1392 and FN-2187 had reached the Resistance and were out of the First Order’s reach. Both Stomp and Sixes had to admit the very well hidden, secret messages seemed legit, but this was the First Order. It was always best to be cautious. How could they be certain the highly encrypted frequency wasn’t actually a First Order frequency trying to discover traitors in their midst after two successful defectors within a reasonably short time of one another?
Now, though, they had no choice. It was either give the encrypted frequency a chance and find out if the Resistance really was there with The Finn, who was FN-2187 with an actual name when so many never had one, or watch as the third member of Threeofem was decommissioned for good. Since they had actually named themselves Threeofem, something most Troopers never did because they didn’t form groups as close-knit as the three of them were, they knew which option they were going with.
Before Enteen could be taken from them, Stomp and Sixes worked out their plan. It wasn’t the best plan, but at the very least it involved getting Enteen out of there on a ship that could fly but would be mostly ignored by the First Order due to being both beat-up and old.
Even better than that, it worked and got them to the Resistance, where Enteen was healed enough to sit up and talk to them within only a couple of days. Less than a month later, Threeofem were working on getting him walking, and three months after their arrival, they were reporting for duty to General Organa to help the Resistance.
Pliers entered medical and found two of the three Troopers Finn had told her about. They were both still dressed in their undersuit blacks, sitting on the floor next to the entrance to one of the operating rooms, their backs against the wall, shoulders touching, looking at their hands. When they heard her approach, though, both heads shot up with wary looks on their faces before they saw her and relaxed slightly.
“I’m Pliers,” she said and saw recognition in their eyes, “the one who left the message you must have found.”
“PL-1392?” one of the troopers asked, and she nodded. “I’m Stomp, that’s Sixes. Enteen is in there.” He jerked his thumb in the direction of the operating room they were waiting outside of. “Th – Finn says they’ll make sure he’s being taken care of, that he’ll get better, not be retired.”
Pliers nodded, because that was what she had found the Resistance did. They cared about their people here, not just their usefulness. It was different from the First Order. A good different, too. Pliers liked it better here, and she knew a lot of Troopers would feel the same way if they made it here.
“Did you leave more messages for others to find?” she asked quietly but intensely. This was important. If they could get more Stormtroopers out of the First Order, it could save so many of their lives and help the Resistance in the process.
Stomp and Sixes shared a look before shaking their heads. Pliers’ shoulders sank, and she looked down at the ground rather than at the Troopers, before Sixes’ voice made her look up again. “We didn’t, but Enteen was the one who found your messages. We… didn’t trust them.” Pliers just nodded at their sheepish expressions, unsurprised because she knew she would have done the same in their place. “He did, though, so he might have left messages for others without telling us.”
“It’s the kind of thing he does,” Stomp added. “He sneaks around all the time. That’s how he found your messages. He even used to smuggle outside food into the base for us. He’s good at that kind of thing.”
“So Enteen might have left messages for others?” Pliers asked and received nods of confirmation. “I need to talk to him, then. Can you tell me when he wakes up?”
“Of course,” Sixes said, both of them nodding. Pliers smiled and left them to wait for Enteen, hoping they would keep their promise to find her.
And they did.
Twenty-three hours later, Sixes found her in the mess eating dinner and sat right next to her, glancing around anxiously. “Enteen is awake and wants to talk to you. Can you come now?” Rather than answering, Pliers shoved the last large forkful of food into her mouth and stood even as she chewed and swallowed. She put her tray on the rack with other dirty dishes and walked alongside Sixes back to medical, where she led her to a new room that was obviously where Enteen was recovering from his injuries.
“Stomp and Sixes said you wanted to see me,” a voice said as she entered the room. Laying on a bed that was slightly raised so he was reclining was a man wearing white scrubs, bandages wrapped around his right arm and leg and bruises covering half his face. This was obviously Enteen.
“Yes, they said you were the one to find my messages,” Pliers said, moving to sit down in the chair Sixes and Stomp were offering to her next to Enteen’s bed. “I need to know, did you leave any other messages for more people to find? There has to be a way we can bring more Troopers to our side and away from the First Order.” Pliers didn’t mean to sound so desperate, but after being here with the Resistance for only a week, she already knew it was a much better place than the First Order and that the First Order was totally wrong in its goals. She also knew that most Stormtroopers didn’t deserve to die without a chance to change sides. It was making her more desperate to find a way to get troopers out.
“I did,” Enteen said, smiling a little. “I actually left some for specific troopers that I know will want to leave the First Order.” Pliers was surprised by how certain he was, and she knew it showed on her face when Enteen’s smile grew. “I’m very good at reading people. I’ve known for months that you dislike what you had to do for the First Order, but you hid it away so that none of the commanders saw it and reconditioned you.” Pliers reluctantly nodded, because that was all true. “Well, a lot of others feel the same way and do the same thing. A lot of others.”
“Really?” not only Pliers but also Stomp and Sixes asked, shocked. Enteen just smiled and nodded.
“Really. I can give you a list of those I know of, in order of how close they are to reconditioning. The closer they are, the more likely they are to defect.” Enteen shrugged his good shoulder a little. “I actually left messages for those ones specifically before we left.” Enteen shared a look with Sixes and Stomp before returning his gaze to Pliers. “Some of them should be finding those messages soon.”
Pliers smiled at the idea before carefully thinking over this new information. If this was all true, then it might be possible to get those Troopers out. Actually, it might even be possible to retrieve a large number of Troopers for the Resistance, getting them away from the First Order. As long as this was handled carefully, they could have a whole network of Troopers just waiting to escape the First Order, gathering intelligence for the Resistance while they waited. All they would have to do was organize a message system and rescue missions.
Meeting the eyes of each of the Troopers sitting in front of her, Pliers asked, “Are you willing to help me get those Troopers out and help the Resistance destroy the First Order?” All three sat up straighter, even the injured Enteen, and nodded once sharply.
“Yes, ma’am!” they said in unison. Pliers smiled.
“Well, then, let’s get started.”
During the first month of Enteen’s recovery, before the medical droids and doctors would allow him to even attempt walking due to his numerous broken bones and torn muscles that required time to heal, the four Troopers met in his room of medical daily. They used this time to both plan out how they were going to rescue other Troopers and to get to know one another.
Pliers learned that Threeofem had been cargo Troopers. They were among the Troopers that rode in and even piloted ships filled with cargo for the First Order, learning where the bases and suppliers were. It was during transport of cargo from inside a cargo ship to a storage room in the current main First Order base that Enteen had half a TIE fighter fall on him due to someone else’s bad repair job.
While it upset Pliers that Enteen was close to paying the price for someone else’s mistake, she knew it was the best thing that could have happened for the Resistance and the Troopers in the First Order looking to defect. Stomp and Sixes were able to give the Resistance information on the suppliers of the First Order while Enteen, who was both communications on those cargo ships and very good at sneaking around, was an excellent partner to plan the rescue of Troopers.
One of the first things they had decided was not to tell Finn just yet. While they knew they would need him when it came time to do rescue missions, they wanted him to have a network of Troopers ready to go when they went to him. He was the Stormtrooper who escaped the First Order first and gave all the Troopers who disliked the First Order hope that they could escape. Any and all Troopers that escaped the First Order owed it all to Finn, and they wanted to show him their appreciation by doing whatever they could to provide him with as many defecting Stormtroopers as they could.
Another major decision was to create more encrypted frequency channels for the Stormtrooper rebellion they were creating. Pliers found a holopad and brought it to Enteen, who created multiple channels for each base. Some were simply loops that provided bits of coded information such as where the nearest Resistance base was and information on Finn, their commander; there was also the request to spread the message to those who would be willing to join their rebellion so that it would spread to other bases. Some of the channels were actual communication channels as long as those using it were on a secure comm that the First Order couldn’t listen in to. A small handful of frequencies were information dumps so that Troopers could provide Pliers and Threeofem with information. This information included numbers, supplies, bases, and more; Sixes and Stomp were organizing the information on a secure server so that it was all ready when they told Commander Finn. They did make a point to tell bits and pieces of the information to General Organa, though, so that the Resistance could use it immediately, but only if it was information that they could legitimately come by without revealing their network.
Over this month and even the next two, their network grew and grew as Troopers spread the word that Commander Finn was real, had really been the FN-2187 that escaped and joined the Resistance, and was treated like a person who deserved to be healed rather than decommissioned when injured. However, everyone involved in this rebellion was very cautious, never telling anyone anything without first confirming they wouldn’t go to First Order command with the information. This was also the reason they still created and used new codes constantly, changing up their encryptions on the frequencies as quickly as they could create better ones to hide the channels of communication.
It was a slow, cautious, but very effective system that was working. Their numbers of confirmed rebel Stormtroopers were growing daily and were quickly nearing a tenth of the First Order’s Stormtroopers in less than three months of work. The information provided painted a harsh but honest picture of the First Order, and it would be very useful in taking the First Order down once their Troopers and the Resistance were in place.
With all of this, the First Order would fall.
KM-6321 checked on his eighteen sleeping cadets, who he called CKs, and even Littlones, because that was what they were, before entering his small room. Collapsing on his bed and removing his helmet to place it on his bed before rubbing his hands through his hair, he groaned.
KM-6321 was a pilot pulled from rotation to teach the CKs how to fly speeders and basic ships, because all Stormtroopers were required to know how to do that along with shooting, and his time was almost up. He had just been informed by his captain that the CKs, despite being so very young, were going to be entering Phase Two of their training. Phase Two was when punishments didn’t just include isolation but beatings, sometimes beatings that included scars as reminders. These children didn’t deserve that, didn’t deserve what he had gone through at their age.
He had hoped to stay with the First Order for longer than this to provide Finn the Defector and the Resistance more information than just about the ships the First Order used and how it trained their cadets, but he couldn’t allow the CKs to remain here much longer. If he wanted these cadets to have a chance of escaping the future that was awaiting them, he had to pull them out now. It was his only chance as he was being put back on pilot rotation in two days and would likely not see these cadets again until they were full-fledged Stormtroopers, if he even saw them again.
With this in mind, KM-6321 found his hidden, secure comm unit in its hiding place inside his mattress and tuned into one of the communication frequencies of the rebellion. Taking a deep breath to prepare himself, KM-6321 spoke.
“This is KM-6321 requesting direct communication with rebel leadership,” he said. “I have reason for immediate evacuation with an acceptable plan already in place. I require coordinates to pilot to.” After that, he impatiently waited. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long before a voice replied to him.
“KM-6321, this is Stomp with the Resistance. Report your situation.”
“I am a pilot pulled off rotation to teach cadets to pilot, sir, and I have just been informed that these 18 cadets are about to enter Phase Two of their training,” KM-6321 reported efficiently. “I am unwilling to allow them to enter Phase Two and request permission to bring them to the Resistance. I already have transport prepared.”
“Permission granted, KM-6321,” Stomp replied immediately. “Coordinates will be sent in five minutes. Remain on the line.”
As KM-6321 waited for the coordinates he would be flying to the next day, he couldn’t stop a sigh of relief from escaping him. The CKs were special to him after four months of training them, and he was grateful to not need to be separated from them. They were his kids in every way that mattered, now, and he would protect them with his life.
After the newly-named Dad, who had been designated KM-6321 before, left Threeofem’s room, Pliers turned to the three Troopers. Dad had just been debriefed of all information he had, confirming what had been received over the encrypted channels and elaborating on all the information for minute details he hadn’t thought to put into his data dumps. Now the four of them had a decision to make.
In the past six months, much had been accomplished in their network of defector Stormtroopers, just as much had occurred at the Resistance base. Rey Skywalker, the newest Jedi under Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, had returned with her Master a month before, adding to both the morale and the effectiveness of the Resistance. This had also cheered up Finn, who had only a week ago begun to go by Finn Dameron-Skywalker, for both the newest Jedi and one of the top pilots of the Resistance Poe Dameron, the people Finn was closest to. Since Rey’s return, the three of them had successfully taken out half a dozen bases Threeofem and Pliers had informed them of.
As for the Stormtrooper rebellion, at least a third of the First Order’s Stormtroopers were now on board with the rebellion and just biding their time until they were either ordered to escaped, pulled out by the Resistance, or of use in taking down the First Order from right where they were. To the First Order, it just appeared that reconditioning was at an all-time low, because the Stormtroopers that would have acted out now had a very important reason not to and were laying low for the time being.
The information collected from the rebellion was immense, and Pliers knew the Resistance would welcome it all. At this point, just the numbers of waiting Stormtroopers and the information alone would be enough for the Resistance to deal a deadly blow to the First Order, very little preparation necessary. If given a few more months and extensive planning, the Resistance could utterly destroy the First Order and likely limit the loss of Stormtrooper lives.
At this point, it might actually be best to tell Commander Finn of the situation. The final part to decide was how to do so.
“It’s time, isn’t it?” Stomp asked, and Pliers nodded in unison with Enteen. “How are we doing this?”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” Enteen admitted, pulling out his holopad and finding a specific document on their encrypted server. “What we need is some physical proof of what we’ve been doing, more than just data on a server that could be faked.” He held out the pad for them to read, so Pliers took it and held it so Sixes and Stomp could read over her shoulders.
The document open was about an entire squad of fifteen Troopers and their captain that were all part of the rebellion and able to leave at any time, conveniently placed in the middle of the largest source of suppliers the First Order had. Their information would be very valuable for the Resistance, and an entire squad defecting all at once with matching intelligence to their server would be very convincing proof of everything they had been doing.
“It’s a good idea,” she said, looking up at Enteen again. “Should we wait a week or two to allow Dad and the CKs to settle in first?”
“That’s a good idea,” Sixes said, reaching down for the pad that she allowed her to take. “Another one is to give Cap, as it seems her chosen name is, the Resistance channels as a way to show she has information. If nothing else, it will be the best warning the Resistance has gotten of rebellion Troopers arriving so far.” All of them laughed at the honest comment.
“Send her the message,” Pliers told Enteen, who nodded. “Two weeks from now, we’ll tell Commander Finn and Resistance leadership everything.”
Standing in a conference room with Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker, Jedi Rey Skywalker, Pilot Commander Poe Dameron, Master Luke Skywalker, and General Leia Organa standing across from her and Threeofem should not have made Pliers this nervous, but it did.
Cap Finn, captain of the squad that had arrived only hours earlier, had just finished telling these high ranking members of the Resistance all she could about the First Order’s suppliers and left, and now it was their turn to tell them information. Pliers herself had requested the meeting and had been granted it. Now it was time to try to find the words to explain what the four of them had done.
Slowly, with help from Threeofem, especially Enteen, Pliers explained the hidden messages she had left and the encrypted frequency channels of information in Stormtrooper code. She explained how the messages spread and more channels had been created and heavily encrypted as more and more Stormtroopers discovered them and wanted to join what they had eventually called the Stormtrooper Rebellion. One point she specifically made was how it was Finn’s escape with Poe Dameron that sparked this, because it gave Stormtroopers that didn’t want to be part of the First Order hope that they could actually leave it and not be killed.
The first time Pliers referred to Finn as “Commander Finn,” he had sputtered and tried to tell her not to call him that, but she informed him that if anyone deserved to be Commander of the Rebel Stormtroopers, it was him, the one who started it all. In fact, he was the only one the entire Rebellion agreed could lead him, though Pliers and Threeofem were accepted as his captains and stand-ins when required. Everyone else in the room was fighting not to laugh, including General Organa and Master Skywalker, who were hiding smiles.
General Organa had sighed and shaken her head when she learned how the Rebel Stormtroopers had been finding their bases and even their encrypted channels. Pliers heard her muttering that at least that mystery had been solved, and perhaps they could return to the bases they had left due to believing them compromised and spread out more, since it appeared they were about to grow in number yet again.
Pliers finished by offering a holopad connected to their encrypted server with all of their intelligence to both Commander Finn and General Organa each before telling Commander Finn, “The Rebel Stormtroopers are yours to command, Commander Finn, but we do request that we are allowed to help destroy the First Order and that it be done with as few casualties as possible so that the other Rebel Stormtroopers are given a chance to experience the freedom we have here with the Resistance.”
At that, Pliers and Threeofem stood at attention and awaited further orders from a shell-shocked Commander Finn, who just stood there staring at them in disbelief with the holopad gripped tightly in his hands.
“Well, Finn, I believe we’ve just found your next mission,” General Organa said, with a hint of amusement Pliers just barely picked up on in her voice and lips twitching as if resisting a smile. “Work with our strategists on this intelligence and figure out how to rescue your Troopers, use them effectively, and destroy the First Order. Once you have a plan, bring it to Luke and me, and we’ll make it happen.” General Organa paused for a moment, saw Poe Dameron about to speak, and said before he could, “Yes, Dameron, I’m aware you and Rey are going to be helping. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make when I’m certain this is going to be what will win us this war.” Poe Dameron nodded while Jedi Rey smiled and placed a comforting hand on Commander Finn’s shoulder, breaking him out of his shock.
“Rey,” Master Skywalker said, drawing her attention to him, “I expect you to pick up your training with me every day, because you still have much to learn and obviously a time limit.” Master Skywalker nodded to the holopad in Commander Finn’s hands. “I’ll see you in the morning, okay?”
“Yes, Master,” she said with a nod, determination on her face.
“Pliers, Threeofem,” General Organa snapped, and Pliers shifted so she stood at attention facing the General, Threeofem doing the same around her. “Do not withhold vital information such as this ever again, am I understood?” Pliers would have been more scared if she couldn’t see an amused look in the General’s eyes that showed she understood why they had done this the way they had. She just didn’t want them doing it again now that the Resistance leadership was aware of the situation and willing to work with them.
“Yes, ma’am!” they all chorused, saluting before returning to standing at attention.
General Organa nodded once, sharply, before turning back to Commander Finn. “They’re yours to deal with now, Finn. Make this happen, but you have time to make it a very solid plan. Rey, Dameron, you’re officially grounded until this plan happens. Poe, teach the newest pilots so you don’t go stir-crazy. Rey, you already have your orders. Finn, I expect to debrief with you and these four tomorrow about this intelligence they’ve gathered and whatever beginnings of a plan you’ve come up with using our strategists. Until the plan is complete, debrief me on the situation every day at oh-seventeen-hundred, understood?”
Commander Finn stood slightly more at attention and said, “Yes, General.”
With a final nod, General Organa left the room, Master Skywalker following her with an amused smile on his face. This left Pliers, Stomp, Sixes, and Enteen alone in the conference room with Commander Finn, Jedi Rey, and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron, the latter two now standing with their arms around Commander Finn, who still appeared shocked by the whole situation.
Pliers couldn’t really blame him, because a lot had just been thrown at him in a very short amount of time. She knew he would absorb the information and then be ready to go, just as Stormtroopers were trained to do. It wouldn’t take long for him to recover.
Sixes, Stomp, and Enteen each placed a hand on her, one on each shoulder and one between her shoulder blades, as a way to reassure her, since they were currently left at ease as Commander Finn gathered himself. It reminded her that she wasn’t alone, she had her own little family she had found with these three fellow Stormtroopers she had worked so long and hard with to save others like them.
Together they would succeed at their rebellion.
It took Commander Finn a while to gather himself, but once he had, he gathered all of the Stormtroopers (not the CKs, though, because they were too young and not actually Stormtroopers yet) in the conference room to talk with them. He used them to build a better idea of the situation, something Enteen approved of. Enteen knew it was stupid to go into a situation without as much information as possible. Pliers had been right when she said Commander Finn was the best for the job of being Commander of the Rebel Stormtroopers, even if Commander Finn didn’t agree with them.
Once Commander Finn, Jedi Rey, and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron had a better grasp of the situation, the three of them took Enteen, Pliers, and Cap Finn to the strategists, Commander Finn ordering the rest of the Troopers to return to training and watching over the encrypted channels for new information and communications. He had then ordered the three of them to offer their input during the planning session, without waiting for permission to speak.
Most of that planning session was spent going over the information collected over the past six and a half months and putting it into the holotables the Resistance had so that they could show the numbers and bases on maps. This allowed them all to really see what they were dealing with and begin to plan how to win the war.
Their planning took weeks. Most of Enteen’s time was spent in the command center with the top Resistance strategists along with Pliers, Cap Finn, and Commander Finn, with General Organa, Master Skywalker, Jedi Rey, and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron joining the sessions when they could.
While not much was immediately being done with the information they had provided, Enteen could admit that a very good plan was being put together during this time. One part of the plan was having him inform the Rebel Stormtroopers that Commander Finn was now officially in charge and requested any and all information be placed onto one of the data dump channels, because intelligence from the First Order was vital for their planning sessions. The Troopers had immediately begun providing anything and everything they could, leaving the other Troopers with the Resistance not part of the planning sessions to organize the information and prioritize it for the planning group.
The current plan was elaborate and would take time to prepare, because it involved quite a bit of infiltration of Resistance members into specific parts of the galaxy near First Order suppliers and bases, but it would cost them the least number of lives from both the Resistance and the Stormtrooper Rebellion. Fortunately, ever since the New Republic’s Senate had been destroyed by the Starkiller, the Resistance had grown enormously in number with bases all over the galaxy, a large number of pilots, an even larger number of those willing to fight on the ground, and supplies and funding from all over. With the Rebel Stormtroopers doubling their numbers, they truly had a fighting chance at destroying the First Order as long as they timed everything correctly.
Even Master Skywalker had said during one of the sessions when Commander Finn, Jedi Rey, and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron were absent, “Rey is nearing the point where she can beat me. I expect she’ll be able to before the preparations for this plan are even halfway done. If we work together and take a group of good fighters to the Sith and work with Rebel Troopers already at the base, we could win this war while the rest of this plan is occurring. This war could really be over in less than a year as long as we’re willing to adapt to the fighting ahead.”
Around the Resistance base, and at all the Resistance bases, everyone knew something big was going on. Training had been stepped up for everyone, and all of the best pilots were recalled to the main base where Pilot Commander Poe Dameron could work with them to make them better. Leaders at all the bases had been informed that a plan to win the war was in the works, and those leaders were passing on orders to their people as soon as General Organa gave them the orders.
Everything was coming together around Enteen, and he was proud to be part of it.
Dad, once known as KM-6321, was going to his bunk after checking that all the Littlones were asleep in their rooms, when he heard the argument.
He would have ignored the raised voices coming from the command center, because there were always raised voices coming from there at odd times of the day, if one of the voices wasn’t Commander Finn. Hearing his Commander yelling made Dad immediately make his way toward the command center to find out what was going on and if his Commander needed him. It was only as he drew closer that Dad realized Commander Finn was arguing with Jedi Rey and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron.
“You need to be with the Troopers, Finn!” Jedi Rey said as Dad snuck into the command center and watched from the shadows. “I’ll have Resistance fighters, Rebel Stormtroopers, and Master Skywalker with me when I go to fight Kylo Ren and Snoke! I. Will. Be. Just. Fine.”
“She’s right, Finn, buddy,” Pilot Commander Poe Dameron agreed with a nod. “I’m going to be leading the pilots attacking the main First Order base, even though I want to be with you and Rey. We all have our jobs to do during this mission. Mine is leading my squad, Rey’s is fighting the Sith, and yours is leading the Resistance fighters and the Rebel Stormtroopers in that base to take out the other Troopers. Everyone makes sacrifices in war, and this is ours – being apart during the attack when we’d rather be watching each other’s backs.”
“And why can’t I be leading the Troopers going with Rey?” Commander Finn demanded.
“Because your Troopers need to see you,” Dad said, revealing his presence as he stepped closer and the arguing trio spun to face him. This was just like dealing with the Littlones, breaking up a fight with an obvious answer. “Right now only those of us on this base have seen you without having to shoot at you to maintain cover inside the First Order. To most, you’re a legend, at most a voice they’ve heard over the channels. Our control at the main base will be the most important, because we have the fewest number of Troopers there compared to how many the First Order will have. You’ll need to be seen to boost morale so that our Troopers fight as hard as they can. Without you, we might not win there, and that’s where we need to win the most.”
Commander Finn gulped before his face hardened, and he nodded at Dad. Turning to Jedi Rey and Pilot Commander Poe Dameron, he sighed and said, “Okay, I’ll be with the Troopers. I’m sorry for fighting with you.”
“It’s okay, buddy,” Pilot Commander Poe Dameron said as he hugged Commander Finn while Jedi Rey lightly punched his shoulder before joining the hug, saying, “We get it, but you need to think like a Commander right now, okay?” Commander Finn nodded into their shoulders before pulling away to face Dad again.
“Thank you,” he said to Dad. “I needed to hear that.”
“Yes, sir,” Dad agreed with a smile and a nod. “Anytime, sir.” Commander Finn sighed as his partners laughed.
Dad left the command center after that with a smile on his face.
Pliers was the Trooper from the central Resistance base chosen to accompany Commander Finn to the central First Order base to lead the Troopers there. The other Troopers were spread out among the other targets to help lead the Troopers at the other bases in their rebellion. She would never have chosen this for herself, knowing the honor of it, but the other Troopers had chosen her for the position to acknowledge her part in making all of this happen.
“Commander Finn was the spark, but you were the wind that kept that spark going and allowed the flame to grow,” the newly-discovered poet Jace from Cap Finn’s squad had explained to her when they all informed her of their choice, and how could Pliers argue after that?
So she was with Commander Finn as they snuck into the base, weapons at the ready but wearing Trooper armor to fit in. Commander Finn had a golden shoulder pauldron hidden behind his large gun until it was time to put it on. The gold was to mark his rank as Rebellion Commander, different from the First Order’s orange and red but close enough that the rank would be understood at a glance. All of the Troopers in the base had already been informed of the color. Pliers herself was hiding a green pauldron, a new color to represent Rebellion Captain, one that all of the Troopers from the Resistance base now wore, to show that the other Rebel Troopers were to follow their orders. This information had also been passed to all Rebel Troopers.
Together, they walked through the base toward the meeting place where many of their Troopers were ordered to be waiting for them. The rest would join once the fighting began.
It didn’t take long for them to reach the meeting place and find their Troopers, who all seemed awed to be in their presence. Pliers had to remind herself that she and Commander Finn had been the first Stormtroopers to escape the First Order, the ones to give them all hope. Of course they were in awe as they closed and locked the door before removing their helmets, putting their pauldrons on their shoulders. They also pulled out the red paint they had brought with them and used three fingers to smear it across their helmets, skipping over the eyepieces; this made them match the Troopers before them and was the symbol of the Rebel Troopers.
“Commander Finn, TH-9898 reporting that all main base Rebel Troopers are in position and ready to fight, sir,” one Trooper announced as she saluted Commander Finn and all the other Troopers stood at attention in perfect formation, weapons held at the ready.
“Thank you,” Commander Finn said. “At ease.” All the Troopers relaxed but remained in their spots before them. “We’ll soon hear sirens as the Resistance squadrons enter the First Order’s radar range. That’s our signal to begin the attack. This room was specifically chosen due to its position in the middle of the base. I want you to split yourselves into squads of five and prepare to go in different directions and fight the First Order Troopers. If any surrender their weapons, claim them and bring them with you until you meet with another squad. Only when you have a squad of at least five can you send two Troopers with your prisoners back to this room to guard them. I want two squads to remain here as guards of any prisoners.
“Try not to travel in groups of less than five unless you lose someone. If a larger group sees a smaller group, make them even. Our goal here is to have good enough numbers to survive counterattack from the First Order while losing as few of our own as possible, okay? We want you to survive to have a chance at freedom away from the First Order.” Commander Finn was smiling reassuringly at the Troopers by the end of his orders, his tone softening to friendly at the end to relax the Troopers. In fact, some of the Troopers were smiling just like Commander Finn, and Pliers knew they would be fighting with everything they had to get the chance at freedom Commander Finn was talking about.
Before anything more could be said, the sirens began to ring, and Commander Finn snapped out an order to get into squads and get moving. Three Troopers joined her and Commander Finn to form a squad, and then they were off, moving throughout the base and attacking any Troopers without red smeared on their helmets. They were soon joined by other Rebel Troopers from other parts of the base, who Commander Finn gave orders to before sending them on their way. Their squad had a specific goal in mind. Commander Finn led their squad toward the command center, assisted by random Rebel Troopers taking out the enemy so they had a clear path to their goal.
Pliers ducked under blaster fire at one point and returned fire from her spot on her knee, taking out a Trooper about to shoot at Commander Finn. Another Trooper from their squad fired over her head and took out another enemy Trooper blocking their way, and soon Commander Finn and the other two Troopers of their squad joined in firing at the enemy Troopers. Working together, it didn’t take long to take out the small group of seven enemy Troopers and move on, closer and closer to the command center all the time.
“Rey is fighting Kylo Ren,” Commander Finn said softly, and Pliers nodded in acknowledgement. That meant that group had almost reached Snoke, the main goal of their team. Hopefully soon the Sith of the First Order would be taken care of.
It was only a few minutes after that announcement that they arrived at the command center and found four other squads waiting for them. They all stood at attention when they saw Commander Finn had arrived, and he gestured for them to be at ease before using Stormtrooper hand signals to command them to surround the door. He then ordered one squad that had blaster shields with them to enter the room first and lead the way with the other squads following, the goal to disarm the enemy Troopers if at all possible but kill if necessary. Once certain his orders were understood, Commander Finn gave the signal to Go!
Pliers remained behind with Commander Finn to enter almost last, and by then the takeover of the command center was essentially over, leaving her to follow Commander Finn over to General Hux and Captain Phasma. General Hux was unconscious and still had three Troopers aiming blasters at him, showing he had attempted to fight and had been taken down. Captain Phasma, however, was standing apart from everyone else, weapon in the hands of another, just watching without moving. Pliers actually thought she hadn’t put up a fight.
“FN-2187,” Captain Phasma said, the hint of a question in her voice just noticeable through her helmet, her eye pieces staring right at Commander Finn.
Commander Finn checked that the room was secure and there were Troopers guarding the entrance both inside and out before turning back to Captain Phasma and removing his helmet, saying, “It’s Finn now.” He glanced at all the Rebel Troopers around him and added, “Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker.”
Captain Phasma nodded very slowly, gaze not moving from Commander Finn, before she shocked Pliers by actually raising her hands to remove her own helmet for the first time Pliers had ever seen. Below the helmet was a blonde woman with hazel-blue eyes, still staring at Commander Finn. She lowered her hands and dropped the helmet, which hit the ground with a crash that echoed throughout the silent command center, everyone shocked to see the Captain without her helmet.
“Finn, then,” Captain Phasma acknowledged. “I always said you had so much potential, and I see you have reached that potential, even if it is not with the First Order.” For the first time since Commander Finn had turned to her, Captain Phasma looked away to examine the room, eyes landing on Pliers. “PL-1392, I assume?”
Pliers nodded and removed her own helmet, saying, “I go by Pliers, now.” Captain Phasma nodded to acknowledge that name as well, and it reminded Pliers that this was the woman who was the only Captain to actually make an effort to learn all their designations. If anyone in leadership had given them identities and acknowledged them, it was Captain Phasma, even if she was an enforcer of the First Order and never gave them actual names while having one herself, a privilege only given to Captains.
“After Starkiller, I began thinking,” Captain Phasma said, returning her gaze to Commander Finn’s. “I began evaluating what the First Order was doing and searched for other information from sources not the First Order.” Here she paused for a moment, fingers clenching, before she admitted, “I came across the Rebellion.” Pliers’ eyes widened in shock, and she instinctively tightened her hand on her blaster, a motion followed by all other Rebel Troopers in the room before Commander Finn raised an open hand to halt them, his eyes not wavering from Captain Phasma.
“I came across the Rebellion,” Captain Phasma repeated, “and I did nothing about it. Instead, I paid attention to the channels and learned everything I could from them. The information made me realize that perhaps you had a good reason for defecting, Finn, and I reviewed all our records of you and then went further back to our past records in general.” Captain Phasma’s expression became pained as she spoke, and Pliers relaxed her grip on her blaster as she began to realize what was happening.
“You always held so much promise, FN-2187, and now you have become more than I ever expected you to become, Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker,” Captain Phasma said. “The Resistance is in the right for wanting to destroy the First Order, I see that now, after questioning because of you, and it is because of this that I began planning ways to help your Rebellion.” Captain Phasma’s expression was sad but her voice determined and hopeful. “If you look at the computer behind you, you will find a program that will send all records from the First Order, all the way from the beginning, to your encrypted server once you enter its information into it. The terminal next to that one will send out an order recalling all Stormtroopers currently on missions to their bases so you can arrest them all. The third server is the order for all TIE fighters to cease fighting immediately. Essentially, the last two are orders for the First Order to surrender, apparently given by General Hux.” Captain Phasma gestured with her head at the unconscious General without looking away from Commander Finn.
“I know it will not make up for everything I’ve done over the years, but I hope it’s a start,” Captain Phasma finished, eyes still on Commander Finn.
“Pliers, check the terminals,” Commander Finn ordered, and Pliers did as she was told. After over a year of working with Enteen, she had learned everything she could about holos, and as far as she could tell, Captain Phasma was not lying. The last two terminals really were stand down orders, and the first terminal would send all First Order files to a server of their choice, though Pliers would recommend sending it to a brand new, protected, isolated server rather than one they actively used, just to be safe.
“It all looks legit, Commander,” she reported, glancing over her shoulder to see him nod.
“Use the stand down orders,” he ordered, and she obeyed immediately, typing away quickly at each of the terminals and watching the screens as the orders went through and acknowledgements appeared on the screens. “Commander Dameron reports the TIE fighters are retreating to base. Fighter squadrons are following,” Commander Finn reported. “General Organa is asking what we did, because this is happening at all sites of fighting. All are returning to base.”
“Stormtroopers out on missions are reporting acknowledgement for return to bases, sir,” Pliers said, watching the number of acknowledgements grow on each screen.
“General Organa,” Commander Finn said, and Pliers turned enough to see he was using his comm. “Captain Phasma arranged for the surrender of TIE fighters and Stormtroopers. She has also arranged for all First Order files to be transferred to a server of our choice.” Commander Finn paused, and when he spoke again, his voice was softer, more like how he was at the Resistance base when he was just Finn and not Commander Finn. “She realized the First Order was wrong and switched sides to help us, Commander. I really believe she’s telling the truth.”
Pliers watched Captain Phasma as Commander Finn said that and saw her relax just slightly, proof that she had been worried she wouldn’t be believed. Pliers wasn’t as good at reading people as Enteen, but she had learned enough from him to recognize that Captain Phasma’s relief wasn’t that of someone trying to pull a betrayal of them but of someone who had been trying to help and was relieved that her help had been accepted. Commander Finn was right – Captain Phasma really was on their side.
“Acknowledged, General,” Commander Finn said before putting his comm away. “Captain Phasma, General Organa would like you to return to base with us and speak with her.” Captain Phasma nodded in agreement and actually began removing her armor. “Pliers, are you up for watching her and seeing your plan to the end?” Commander Finn asked with a smile, and Pliers returned it as she nodded. “Rey just said she and Master Skywalker defeated Kylo Ren and Snoke. Poe is in the hanger leading the arrests of those Troopers. General Organa reports that the other bases are going the same way.” Commander Finn paused while looking around the room at the Rebels, and then he smiled, a brilliant smile that made everyone else in the room smile as well, even Captain Phasma.
The celebrations after the First Order was destroyed lasted weeks. All around the galaxy, people celebrated. The fact that a whole bunch of Stormtroopers defected to the Resistance and helped them destroy the First Order from the inside spread across the galaxy like wildfire, bringing about toasts for the Rebel Stormtroopers. When word got out that it was Captain Phasma herself that made the victory much easier, it wasn’t as easily accepted by anyone except the Stormtroopers themselves, who were so happy to have their Captain on their side that they invited her to celebrate with them.
In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed, legends were made and passed down.
Stories of Pilot Commander Poe Dameron, the best pilot of the Resistance and the one who began the downfall of the First Order. He found the map to Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and found future Jedi Master Rey Skywalker and Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker, bringing the trio together forevermore. There were many stories about him, from his time before that adventure to destroying the Starkiller, from becoming a bigger legend than his parents to his leading the pilots during the final battle of the war against the First Order. Legend Poe Dameron was remembered for years and years to come.
Stories of Jedi Master Rey Skywalker, who started out as a scavenger on Jakku and became the Jedi face of the Resistance, learning from Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself. The defeater of both Kylo Ren and Snoke during the final battle of the war. She was an amazing pilot who flew the Millennium Falcon after Han Solo died and saved Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker’s life multiple times. She became a female role model for females across the galaxy, and even after the war was over, she travelled and helped begin another Jedi Order, one better than any before it. Legend Rey Skywalker was remembered for years and years to come.
Stories of Finn Dameron-Skywalker, the Stormtrooper that caused the Stormtrooper Rebellion. There was too much to say about him and how he escaped the First Order and survived, going on to fight Kylo Ren with a lightsaber and live through a life-threatening injury gained in that battle. He went on to lead the Rebel Stormtroopers in their destruction of the First Order and was the reason Captain Phasma defected from the First Order, the reason she was never arrested. He was the face of the Stormtroopers, accepting in new Stormtroopers from the First Order when the Resistance used the files from the First Order to break their conditioning and allowing them to make the choice to remain Stormtroopers or try a new, free life. Commander Finn Dameron-Skywalker would only lead volunteers as Stormtroopers, now allowed to be raised with their families before joining the police force of the galaxy aligned with the new Jedi Order as everything settled down. Legend Finn Dameron-Skywalker was remembered for years and years to come.
But those three were obvious legends. Less obvious were amongst the Resistance members and Rebel Stormtroopers. Captain Phasma was remembered for being the Captain to care about her Troopers and defect exactly when she was most needed to. Various pilots such as Jessika Pava and Temmim “Snap” Wexley were remembered for their amazing leadership and flying during the war, as well as for being part of Poe Dameron’s squadron. General Leia Organa, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and hero Han Solo all had their legends expanded after this war. Many others were also made into legends from the Resistance.
Then there were the most important Stormtroopers after Finn Dameron-Skywalker himself. Pliers, who Commander Finn named and who was the first Stormtrooper to defect after Commander Finn, the one who made the Rebellion possible by actually starting it. Enteen, Stomp, and Sixes Threeofem were remembered alongside Pliers for helping her and forming the core leadership of the Rebellion before Commander Finn took over and assisting him once he had. Dad was also remembered as the voice of reason Commander Finn acknowledged more than once, on top of rescuing cadets both before the final battle and during it, because he wouldn’t allow himself to be assigned elsewhere during the final battle of the war. Even Cap Finn and her squad were legends for leading the Rebel Stormtroopers in the final battle.
Many more were legends after the war, but they all had one thing in common: becoming legends was never their goal.
In the end, so many of their stories began just trying to escape the First Order and do the right thing by ending it. The Stormtrooper Rebellion was just Stormtroopers doing the right thing after being shown that they actually could.
All it took was one Stormtrooper, and so many more followed.
One was all it took.