What follows is quite a long scene, but hopefully it has action, adventure, and enough really wild things to be a froody time. Enjoy!
From their vantage point near the top of the tower, Rey and Ben look down into the convocation chamber. Below them twelve robed figures sit around a table which curves in a semicircular arc around the room. Death Troopers flank the door as royal guards file into the room, finally making way for Supreme Leader Armitage Hux, resplendent in a gold robe similar to the one worn by Supreme Leader Snoke. Ben shifts a bit of the crystal window so that they can hear what is said below. One of the knights demands to see Supreme Leader Ren, for they have a matter of supreme urgency to discuss with him, not Ren’s rabid lapdog. Hux sweeps back his cloak and activates Kylo’s saber hidden within. He announces that Kylo Ren is dead, and any urgent matter should be taken up with him, if any of the knights deign to follow him. The knights are silent, and he demands to know of this matter. The one which spoke before amends his statement to say that he spoke rashly, and the matter can wait.
Hux demands the loyalty of the knights as their new leader. Ben raises his blaster, aiming it at Hux’s breast. Rey puts her hand on the blaster and lowers it, shaking her head. Ben shrugs. He will do this her way. She asks which one of the knights knows the answers she seeks. He points to one on the far side of the table, a tall alien with bright green skin. Rey slips away from Ben. He whispers a question about what the plan is, and she says that she’s working on it.
In the chamber below, the knights state that their goal is the safekeeping of the people of the twelve systems, a goal which the First Order has respected under Snoke and Ren. Ben notices the design on the floor of twelve planets, each worked in colored tile under the seats of the knights connected by rays of a triple sun where Hux now stands. Ben has never seen the artwork from this angle before. The knights ask if Hux will safeguard these people. Hux says that the knights are in no position to be making demands of the Supreme Leader, especially since he has a fleet of ships ready to rain death on them at a moment’s notice. The knights become stoic and say that they will accept death if it means forestalling their people’s fate. They warn Hux that if he takes action against them he will be taking action against all those who yet believe in the power of the Force. As if to punctuate this, another distant roar echoes in the distance, and again Ben turns and searches for the source of the sound.
Rey hears the roar as well, but she is too busy at the moment to be bothered. She is making her way down the face of the tower by small handholds in the rock and protrusions from the bones. One of the handholds crumbles under her foot and sends shards clattering down one of the windows. The Death Troopers are alerted and return through the doors, heading for the spiral stair with which to search the exterior of the tower. Ben decides that it’s time to make himself scarce. Rey finally reaches the level of the knights, and in a final leap manages to make it to the green-skinned knight’s location. Now only a stained-crystal window separates them. She remains low so as not to be seen by the others, and takes a metal implement out of her satchel. The green-skinned knight hears a scratching noise behind her and turns, but sees nothing at first. Then she sees a crudely drawn symbol etched on the crystal. The knight turns back to the others. The knight beside of her looks to her in question, but she shakes her head as if it was nothing.
The Death Troopers make it to the roof but find no trace of Rey or Ben. The leader tells them to be on the alert. In the chamber, negotiations between Hux and the Knights are wrapping up. The knights agree to follow the Supreme Leader, and he promises to give their planets fair protection under his new regime if they will declare their loyalty in a public ceremony on Coruscant. They clearly don’t trust his words, but having little other choice they rise to follow him.
Rey is in whispered conversation with R2 and ZE-7 in an alcove outside of the convocation chambers. She asks ZE-7 if there are any spaceworthy ships in the castle and he says that when he was first the butler here there was one ship kept in case of emergencies, but that it hasn’t been used for decades. She asks where it is, and he says that it is in a small tower off of the main hall. Ben joins the group and she orders ZE-7 to stay with the guests until they reach the great hall. The other three move to the ship. They split up and not a moment too soon. The royal guards move out of the convocation chamber followed by Hux and the knights. The green-skinned knight is last, and ZE-7 sidles up beside her. She glances at him and she sees scratched onto his dusty patina the symbol from the window.
Rey and Ben lie on their backs beneath the decrepit ship, hastily crosslinking rusted connections. Ben mutters that it would be a miracle if this ship were actually spaceworthy. Rey tells him to shut up and give her the bonding tape. R2 beeps worriedly from inside the ship as he welds bits onto other bits.
As the company of knights marches into the main hall, ZE-7 mutters something to the green-skinned knight, and she speaks up to Hux that the counterpart of ZE-7 has wandered away and if she could go gather it before they leave. Hux motions two Death Troopers to commence a search, and the alien blurts out that it’s really no trouble for her to go instead, that it will just take a moment. Hux dismisses her, but the duo of Death Troopers fall in behind her. They all follow ZE-7 toward the side hangar. The knight looks worriedly at the butler droid and he holds down a button on his carapace.
In the ship R2 suddenly straightens, ceasing his welding, and rolls down the ramp past Ben and Rey. They look at him in confusion, then Rey scrambles out after him, hissing at Ben to finish the crosslinking.
As the alien, droid, and troopers emerge from the main tower onto the thin bridge of bone connecting the main tower to the side hangar, R2 emerges from the darkness of the small tower. The knight asks the butler droid what to do now, and he says that when he gives the word, she should run. A panel slides open on R2’s carapace and he stops. The Death Troopers ask why the droid has stopped, and ZE-7 gives the word. The knight takes off across the bridge, faster than seems physically possible for such a species. The Troopers raise their weapons, but even as one fires a shot R2 shoots something out of his dome and over the knight’s head. It lands in the hand of ZE-7 and he whirls his upper body over 180 degrees to face the Troopers, activating Luke’s saber in a brilliant flash of green. Two blaster muzzles fall useless at the trooper’s feet and they stumble back in shock. Rey stares from the tower at the sight of Luke’s sparring droid deftly driving the two troopers back towards the tower. The knight stumbles on the far side of the bridge and into Rey’s arms. She is bleeding from a blaster wound to her side. Rey helps the knight around the corner and into the ship, R2 following. Rey yells at R2 to begin the startup procedure, and Ben says that they need more time. Rey nods tersely and goes back out to the bridge, where she comes up short.
ZE-7 still holds the bridge, his metal feet planted on the center of the span and holding his arms in fencing readiness. On the balcony of the main tower stands Hux, surrounded by his royal guards, Death Troopers, and the other eleven knights. The Death Troopers have raised their blasters to fire on the droid, but seeing Rey Hux belays the order. ‘The girl who murdered Snoke’ he sneers. Rey takes out her lightsaber and makes as if to ignite it. Hux ignites Kylo’s saber in response. He orders the droid to move aside, as he will destroy this scavenger who dares steal a knight from his order. ZE-7 responds that it is not permitted in his programming for any person under his care to come to harm. Hux responds that he will simply cut his way through the droid first. The Death Troopers look uncertain, one even asks ‘Sir?’ with weapon raised to the exposed droid. Hux waves them back, taking off his golden robe. He clearly relishes a chance to use his skills. He announces that he will prove himself before the knights so that there will be no question of who is their master, Force or not.
Hux whirls in an explosion of energy at the fencing droid. The droid responds with machine precision, matching each thrust with a parry. However, the droid is inexorably forced back, finally stopping at the far side of the bridge where he holds the line. Hux swings expertly, slicing the lightsaber out of the droid’s hand. The lightsaber falls, but as it does ZE-7 catches it with his other hand. He is off balance, and Hux presses in. They switch places on the bridge, with Hux between Rey and ZE-7. Hux executes a lightning fast flurry of attacks, slicing off the droid’s other hand. The lightsaber flies across the span and rattles onto the balcony on the other side. He kicks ZE-7 in a final act of fury and the droid falls from the bridge to the forest far below. He is now exposed to Rey, however, and in an instant she has her hand around his sword hand, forcing it to his throat. Through sheer strength Hux begins to push her arm back, the barbs of the unstable saber inching back from his throat, and she slams the end of her saber into his side.
Hux smiles slowly. The significance of the saber placement is not lost on him, and he taunts Rey, saying that he always had his doubts whether she really did kill Snoke or whether it was actually Kylo Ren. But perhaps, he says, he was wrong. He goads her, telling her to do it and gain the title of Supreme Leader as she could have claimed before. Rey closes her eyes, muttering ‘please’ as she inches her thumb to the activation on the broken saber. With her forehead beading with sweat she finally pushes the activation.
Nothing happens. Her head droops in failure. Hux laughs, vindicated. He forces his arm free of her and slashes cruelly at her exposed body, scarring her face. She falls to the ground, beaten. Hux walks back across the bridge, picking up the green saber and placing it on his belt. He motions his troops forward to take Rey and her compatriots.
At that moment the quiet of the forest is broken by the hum of the ship’s systems as they roar to life. This is followed almost immediately by a more distant yet much louder roar, and the tower shakes and trembles. The troops look around in alarm as a giant beast emerges over the hills in the distance, its great wings beating the air like a hurricane. Rey stumbles and tries to get up, but falters. Ben rushes to her aid, picking her up and moving to carry her to the ship. For a moment, however, Hux sees the face of Ben shadowed in the dark opening of the tower. He squints, unsure of what he has just beheld. Ben pulls out his blaster, aiming it at Hux’s chest. Then he looks down at Rey, remembering her refusal to let him kill, lowering his blaster as Hux spins on his heel. The gravity of the situation becomes very real. The wind has picked up so much that the tower is shaking itself apart. The small tower begins to pull away from the castle, and the bridge breaks asunder.
In the rickety ship, warning lights flash along every console and sparks fly. Ben drops Rey beside the green knight and leaps to the controls with R2. The ship tilts and Rey asks if it’s due to bad repulsors, but Ben shouts that they haven’t taken off yet, the tower is falling. Rey sees that it is true through the front viewscreen as the horizon of the forest falls away to reveal the sky. The ship starts to slide back into the hangar, the sky becoming a hole as the hangar walls blot it out. Ben works the controls but they are unresponsive. The ship’s power dies. With his metal arm he slams the controls in frustration and they come back to life, and the ship’s engines ignite against the back wall of the hangar. They are propelled out of the falling tower like a bullet from a gun. Rey and the green knight are pinned against the back wall of the cabin as the ship rockets into the sky. The tower falls in pieces into the lake below.
Everything is shaking. Controls, seats, bulkheads. Rivets dance and pop from their sockets, the noise is immense. But the noise of the beast rises above it all as it gains in pursuit of the ship. Ben says that he now knows why they didn’t allow ships to fly above this forest, and Rey grimaces. Ben sees something ahead of them, and points it out to Rey, saying that Hux and his escort are ahead of them and making for the fleet. Rey says that they should get clear of the fleet as fast as possible, and Ben says that if they break away from Hux’s shadow they will be sitting ducks for the fleet’s turbolasers. Rey counters that they’re just going to make a bigger meal for the beast which is still gaining on them. As if to settle the argument, a barrage of green death strikes down around them, burning holes in the beast’s wings. It breaks off pursuit and glides back into the forest to lick its wounds.
They break free of the atmosphere. Hux’s ship moves on a beeline for one of the destroyers with Ben piloting close behind. The destroyers hang in space before them, and Ben wonders why they haven’t launched any TIE squadrons yet.