I’ve changed the Thrawn shipyard scene yet again, this time bringing in the financiers of the galaxy and reintroducing the Master Codebreaker from TLJ, so it’s worth rereading. I’ve also seeded some talk of a Knight of Ren being knowledgeable about ancient Jedi lore, to give Rey a more specific goal in solving her existential crisis. Below, the story continues:
Xindo, still in white attire and wearing his distinctive red Plom bloom, paces restlessly in his quarters. The old woman lounges on a couch. Xindo asks how she can accept this child harvesting, and she answers that he needs to grow up and accept that this is how the galaxy has always been. She chides him, saying that if they don’t profit from the First Order then someone else would. He looks away angrily. She tells him firmly that their little game has ended and that his mother has won. They both bet heavily on opposite sides, but though hers was the greater risk the dice came up on her side in the end. He should now focus on getting serious about his own life and giving her some grandchildren, asking where that pretty girl went that he was involved with. She adds that he tends to lose everything she gives him, just like that very nice ship on Canto Bight. He says his ship was stolen, and regardless the game hasn’t ended, not while he still has chips to play. She looks at him quizzically, asking if he might be planning to foolishly contact the Resistance. She reminds him that this would be exceptionally foolish because it would put in jeopardy their family’s fortune and safety. He makes to leave, and she asks where. He says that he is going to get some air. He leaves. The mother takes a small furry creature out of her purse and tells it to keep an eye on her wayward son. It purrs and slinks after him at an unobtrusive distance.
The turbolift doors open onto the bar and lounge area of the station, and Xindo sees the businesspeople mingling and laughing with the First Order brass. He waits for the doors to close, sighing in disgust. He punches the number for the maintenance level. The doors open onto a more grimy hallway. He exits, the small creature slithering its way after him silently. He walks the halls, the hulking mass of a docked destroyer visible through the windows on his left. Technicians of various species, covered in oil and grime, hurry to and fro with equipment out of an adjoining maintenance tube. They give him troubled looks, and he moves past them. He sees the primary docking tube entrance and makes towards it, only to be blocked by hazard signs and a flimsy barrier strung across the hall. He steps past this as well, finally coming to the door to the tube. It is locked and bears a bright yellow and red quarantine sign. Xindo glances around, then slips a slicer key into the lock. It hisses open and he enters. From across the hall, the small creature chitters to itself as if seeking direction, then scampers back the way it came.
Rey sits in the hold of the Falcon, attempting once again to piece together the broken hilts of the lightsaber. R2 rolls up, beeping helpfully. Rey shoos him away, telling him that she doesn’t need his help. He beeps again, and Rey smiles. ‘No, I don’t need another one’ she says, telling him that she’ll soon find answers to her problems and be able to reforge the sword of legend.
In the cockpit, Ben and Chewie sit alone. Ben asks Chewie why he wanted to come on this mission. Chewie growls and Ben says that he doesn’t buy the story of old Rebel friends on the planet. Chewie looks uncomfortable, and growls two syllables. ‘Life debt?!’ Ben says incredulously, reminding Chewie that he did in fact shoot him. Chewie growls an apology, and Ben says that the debt was paid long ago by his father, and many times over. Chewie growls dissension, to which Ben has no response. A warning light blinks on the control board and Chewie roars for Rey to come to the cockpit.
The Falcon exits hyperspace above the forested planet of Gramelon. Rey studies the scopes and notes that there doesn’t seem to be any First Order presence yet. Ben seems relieved. Rey asks where on the planet the Knights of Ren will be gathered, and Ben says that it’s a castle in the sacred forest where no spacefaring vessel may enter. Rey looks worried, asking if there’s any way they could bypass this, when a voice crackles on the radio alerting them to their position over the planet. The voice asks them to divert to the city coordinates before the ship is vaporized by their defensive weapons. Ben says that they should probably do what the voice suggests. Rey sighs, diverting the Falcon and landing in a busy, colorful city a continent away from the forest and castle.