Lieutenant Dedra Meero interrogates Bix Caleen, telling her that she doesn’t like wasting time. She disagrees with her Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) colleagues’ investigation practices, likening it to trawling for fish. Meero instead proposes telling Bix the facts of the case while she fills in the rest. If she fails to cooperate, Meero threatens to hand Caleen to Dr. Gorst, who has a more ruthless method of questioning.
Meero tells Caleen that they tracked Salman Paak to a radio hidden in his repair yard. Meero said that they had hope to secure Paak’s cooperation but that he proved unusually resistant, leading to a longer interrogation session. Meero opines that Paak’s resistance was futile. Based on the information from Paak’s interrogation, they learnt that he attended a separatist meeting two years ago in Jondora where he met a woman who recruited him as a liaison for Ferrix when he returned. Meero explains that Paak was sent the fractal radio unit that she used yesterday afternoon.
Meero remarks that the mysterious woman was interested in using Ferrix to acquire stolen Imperial technology and equipment. Paak was paid to keep the radio alive. She informs Bix that she was the only one to use and that the buyer met Paak once before being turned over to her. Meero asks Bix if she is motivated by money since she is business owner with no recorded history of trouble-making. Meero gives Bix a second chance to cooperate.
Bix asks Meero if she is ISB, describing her as the “worst of the worst.” Meero says that she wants to know everything that Bix knows about the buyer as well as Cassian Jeron Andor and their relationship. Bix says that Andor doesn’t have a relationship with the buyer. Meero also seeks information on every piece of stolen Imperial equipment that Bix passed along including origins, customers, and destination. When Bix claims that she doesn’t know who the buyer is, Meero counters that Paak told her that she had at least six meetings with the buyer.
Meero says that Bix also sits on the radio for hours, prompting Bix to admit that she contacts the customer. Meero tells Bix that the customer and Andor have blown up buildings and killed security guards. Meero recalls that Bix was injured while trying to warn them and that her co-worker Timm Karlo was killed trying to free her from the Preox-Morlana security forces. Andor and the buyer escaped together, leading Meero to surmise that this was a “mess of relationships.” Bix refuses to answer whether she had anymore contact with Andor. When Meero taunts Bix about boring her, Bix counters that she won’t believe her. With Bix uncooperative, she allows Dr Gorst and his men to interrogate her.
Navigating prison life
At the Narkina 5 Imperial Prison Complex, Andor and the prisoners work on assembling various pieces of machinery. Andor and his colleagues discuss the arrival of a new prisoner, the long shifts, and food. One of the prisoners Ulaf has an injured hand and needs some help. Andor volunteers to swap shifts with Ulaf. When Kino Loy inspects their table, he compliments Andor for swapping shifts with Ulaf and asks if it was his idea. Andor credits Taga with coming with the idea. Jemboc praises Andor for his wise move and says that Ulaf will be going home.
Later, Andor goes on break and heads to the refresher. There, he attempts to cut a pipe. However, the intercom announces that a new man has arrived on the floor. Andor joins the other prisoners in holding their hands as the guards force a new prisoner into their factory floor, stinging him with stun batons when he refuses to cooperate. As he is lowered down a lift, Andor and Birnok discuss their escape plan. Andor proposes attacking the guards and stealing their weapon while the lift is on Unit Five-Two-D’s floor. Loy welcomes the new prisoner, briefing him about the inner workings of their factory floor.
Meanwhile, Andor and his fellow prisoners continue working on a machine. Jemboc tells them that they are up a rack and have an hour left. Ulaf is determined to press on for the sake of the team. Later, Andor and his fellow prisoners queue up. The queue is taking unexpectedly long, causing some grumbling among the prisoners. Loy tries to calm them down. Birnok begins signalling by hand to a prisoner in Level Two. Loy quietens the men just as the lights go out briefly. He explains that the prison guards cut the power after someone did not load in properly. The alarms begin blaring and Birnok tells them that something is wrong on Level Two. Loy dismisses the prisoners for trying to communicate just as the intercom orders all prisoners to proceed to their stations.
While the prisoners are resting in their cells, Andor asks the new prisoner if he ever thinks about escaping. Loy responds that he will not answer that. He warns Andor against attempting to escape and ignores his question about the number of guards on the floor. He tells Andor that the best way to survive is not to think of escaping. Loy tells Andor that he has 217 shifts left and refuses to share his knowledge about the prison’s secrets. Andor says that the guards don’t care about them and likens their predicament to being worse than droids. Loy goes to sleep while Andor continues his questioning. The new prisoner watches in silence. Andor cries out in frustration that nobody is listening.
Back at Narkina 5, the prisoners discuss news that 100 men spread across two shifts on Level 2 were electrocuted to death. Kino Loy asks where they heard the news. The prisoners turn to a dark-skinned prisoner who says that Zinska heard they were making trouble. Over the intercom, the prison authorities order the prisoners to put their hands over their heads. Ulaf asked what happened on Level 2. When the new prisoner claims that Zinska freed them, Loy assaults him. Andor tells Loy that they need to be careful and to make the guards think that they know less about the prison than they actually know. Loy asserts control over the other prisoners and dismisses the deaths on Level 2 as a rumor. He tells them to work as normal until they know what is going on.
Later, Andor and his fellow prisoners including Ulaf work on assembling a piece of machinery. Ulaf is visible exhausted and struggles to keep up with his colleagues.
Back on Ferrix, Dr Gorst tells Bix that the restraints are not to be feared and that it is safer for her to be tethered. While preparing his tools, Gorst tells Bix about an Outer Rim moon called Dizon Fray, which was home to a sentient species who were exterminated for opposing a local Imperial airfield. Dr Gorst emphasizes that the massacre of the Dizonites was broadcast as proof of mission. He says that the aliens make a choral, agonized sound when they die; which he describes as something unique. He recalls that three communications officers who were monitoring the broadcast were emotionally traumatized by the recordings.
Dr Gorst explains that the Imperials have modified the recordings, taking an interest in the recordings of children which he describes as having a particular effect. Dr Gorst places an electronic headset on Bix’s head. He tells her that he can make the sonic torture end when she is willing to cooperate. Meeko warns Bix to be willing to cooperate since repeat listenings can cause the most damage. Dr Gorst forces Bix to wear the headset. Bix attempts to remain strong but soon finds herself screaming in torment.
Following a session with the torture headset, Meero asks Bix when was the last time she spoke with Andor. Meero touches her face. Later, Meero tells Captain Vanis Tigo to keep Bix alive since she is the only one who can identify the enigmatic “Axis”. They agree to hang Salman Paak as a reminder to the locals of Imperial authority. An exhausted and battered Bix rests in her cell.
At the Imperial Senate, Senator Mon Mothma voices opposition to the Emperor’s new public safety legislation. An opponent shouts long live to the Galactic Empire. Mothma describes the Public Order Resentencing Directive as governmental overreach and part of a march to authoritarianism. Supporters and opponents of the bill exchange insults. Mothma reminds her fellow senators of their duty to the people and the need to preserve the independence of the Senate. As the heckling continues, Mothma appeals to the senators to come with open minds rather than treating the Senate as a temple. Later, Mothma’s driver Kloris informs her that her cousin has arrived from Chandrila and is at the Chandrilan Embassy.
Back at the Chandrilan Embassy, Mothma and her daughter Leida Mothma meet with Mothma’s cousin Vel Sartha, who has brought Leida a new golden dress from Tassio Moon. After briefly speaking with Leida about her fashion tastes, Mothma asks Vel where she has been. Vel tells Mothma that she has been travelling for the past six months and hints at her work for the Rebellion. Mothma asks Vel if she will be returning home to Chandrila since their relatives are worried about her whereabouts.
Mothma asks Vel about her work with Luthen Rael but she is evasive. She tells Mothma that things are happening. While it is risky, she is devoted to the rebel cause. Mothma wants to ask more questions but Vel reminds her of their vow. Leida shows her new golden dress to Mothma and Vel.
Later, Perrin Fertha asks Vel if she is returning to Chandrila today. Vel claims that she is heading back for The Pilgrimage. When Perrin asks if Vel will find a husband, Vel says it is not on her list of priorities. Perrin quips about Vel being past the ideal age of marriage. He then mentions that there is a large Chandrilan diaspora on Coruscant and suggests Tay Kolma, whom he describes as Mothma’s former school boyfriend.
In private, Mothma advises Vel to pretend to be a spoiled rich girl in order to hide her rebel activities. Vel says that she will try and reminds Mothma that they have chosen a side and are fighting against darkness. The two cousins hug each other. Shortly later, the driver arrives and ushers Vel to the airspeeder while carrying her luggage backs. Mothma stands silently in the hallway of her home.
At the ISB Central Office, Meero delivers her report to Major Partagaz about Bix Caleen’s interrogation. She admits that Caleen yielded no information about the identity of the mysterious buyer “Axis.” Meero states that Axis runs a large operation that is not dependent on any one network or supplier. Caleen provided them with a list of every piece of gear that came through Ferrix and she believes that they have a match to a targeting unit recovered from a safe house operated by a rebel cell associated with Maya Pei.
When Supervisor Lonni Jung remarks that Andor is involved, Meero emphasized that is what she wanted to highlight. Partagaz describes Andor as a local thief and murderer. Meero tells the other ISB officers that Andor returned to Ferrix three nights after the events on Aldhani with money in his pocket. When Captain Lagret asks if the money was derived from the theft of the Imperial N-S9 Starpath Unit, Jung recalls that they left it behind.
Partagaz is skeptical of Meero’s theory that the Aldhani heist is connected to the Ambush on Ferrix. Attendant Heert recalls that Andor has shaved his beard, which matches reports that the rebels on Aldhani were clean-shaven. Two Imperial Army troopers from the Aldhani garrison recalled that the unshaven Andor matched their reference picture. Partagaz agrees to allow Meero to investigate the Aldhani connection further. When Partagaz asks why Meero did not interrogate Andor’s mother Maarva Andor, Meero says that they could use her as bait should Andor return. She confirms that Imperial authorities are monitoring Maarva.
Elsewhere on Coruscant, Eedy Karn notices that her son Syril Karn always goes to work early and returns home later. When Eedy talks about her son’s neatly groomed appearance, Syril reminds his mother that he told her not to leave dinner out for him last night. Eedy is concerned about her son’s abrupt message and admits that she has been searching his room. When Syril objects to his mom going through his personal belongings, Eedy reminds him that she got him a job and cooks two meals a day.
Eedy thinks that her son is being ungrateful and accuses Syril of neglecting her while working on Preox-Morlana for several years. Syril informs his mother that he has been promoted and adds that his work hours will be increased. Eedy remarks that Uncle Harlo will be pleased. While Eedy is jubilant about her son’s success, Syril resents his mother and remains silent.
In her cell on Ferrix, Bix waits in silence despondently.
Meanwhile, Syril makes an unscheduled visit to the ISB Central Office on Coruscant where he congratulates Meero for her role in securing his promotion. Meero tries to minimize her role, saying that she only gave him a clean bill of health. Viewing Meero as a means of restoring his fortunes, Syril attempts to curry favor with Meero. Believing that Syril is stalking her, she warns him that further unsolicited visits could land him in trouble. Meero does not think a lot about their earlier meeting, regarding it as a routine interrogation. Syril tells Meero that he admires her for the work that she is doing. Attempting to walk away from Syril, he grabs Meero’s arm to stop her and continue the conversation. Meero is visibly uncomfortable and warns him that she can make his life difficult if he doesn’t leave her alone.
Elsewhere, Tay Kolma and Mothma discuss the matter of donations for her secret rebel charity. Kolma says that the authorities are noticing suspicious transactions such as a 400,000 credits donation that mysteriously disappears off the ledger. To provide a plausible explanation, Kolma suggests masking it as a deposit. Kolma asks Mothma if she is in trouble. Kolma reassures her that she is not in trouble unless they scan the accounts but warns that time is limited. Mothma asks for a loan. Kolma advises Mothma to seek a Chandrilan banker named Davo Sculdun with treasury relationships and a business book that is huge.
Mothma points out that Sculdun is a wealthy criminal. Kolma says that they have little choice due to the tough new tax laws. Mothma is concerned that Sculdun will notice that 400,000 credits is missing. Kolma reassures her that he does not concern himself with what his customers do. Kolma tells Mothma that Sculdun wants to meet him. Mothma is reluctant to meet the criminal. Kolma offers to keep looking.
Staging an accident
Later at her office, Attendant Heert informs Meero that Imperial authorities have apprehended a rebel pilot who was using a stolen Imperial masking unit. The prisoner is being detained aboard a Star Destroyer above Steergard. Meero tells Heert to dispatch Dr. Gorst to interrogate the prisoner. Heert says that he has already sent Gorst on his way. Meero says that she will conduct the interrogation remotely and thanks Heert for his initiative.
At the ISB Central Office, Meero and Heert brief Major Partagaz about the captured rebel pilot with the stolen Imperial masking unit. Also present in the room is Lagret with two of his attendants. The prisoner claimed that he did not contact anyone during his escape attempt. Heert adds that the masking unit was a device stolen from the Imperial naval yard in Lozash the previous year. Supervisor Jung and his attendant enter the room. Partagaz informs them about the capture of the rebel pilot, who is part of Anto Kreegyr’s group. Partagaz believes that Kreegyr is unaware of the pilot’s capture and that the prisoner is telling them that Kreegyr is planning to raid the power station at Spellhaus.
When Jung learns that the pilot was heading to Kafrene, he warns that Kreegyr’s group will soon realize that he is missing. Lagret proposes destroying the ship and making his disappearance look like an accident. Jung disagrees. Meero proposes “fouling” the ship, killing the pilot, and planting his dead body aboard the ship. Jung says that the rebels would have to find it and would probably tow it into Kafrene. Meero suggests staging the accident quickly and allowing the ship to drift into traffic. Partagaz agrees to Meero’s plan and tells her to make it top priority. He warns her to leave no trace before scheduling a meeting with Military Intelligence to discuss the planned raid on Spellhaus.
At the Narkina 5 factory facility, Andor pushes a trolley carrying pieces of machinery that he and his felow prisoners have been working on. As Ulaf begins tiring, the intercom informs the inmates that the low yield tables are in position. Loy orders Table Two to take the shift by six racks and three. He orders to Table One to get in the box. During a drill, Ulaf almost collapses from exhaustion and is held up by his fellow inmates. The prisoners are subject to a debilitating audio sting.
As the prisoners return to their bunks, one of the inmates informs Loy that Ulaf needs a doctor. Andor and the others help carry the weakened Ulaf. During the journey, Ulaf collapses. Loy calls Zinska to call for a medic before telling another prisoner to get going. Loy tries to reassure Ulaf that it is only a few more shifts before he can go home. Later, a medic named Rhasiv, who is a fellow prisoner, attends to the exhausted Ulaf and applies an oxygen mask. Loy vouches for Ulaf, telling Rhasiv that he only has 40 shifts left and is as tough as a screw.
After examining Ulaf, Rhasiv realizes that Ulaf has suffered a massive stroke. Lacking the resources to treat him, Rhasiv calls the guard for a bag and a trolley. Rhasiv instructs Loy and Andor to hold Ulaf’s shoulders and legs while he administers drugs that will euthanize Ulaf. Rhasiv is evasive about the events at Level Two and tells Loy to keep his men in line. Ulaf passes away. When Loy asks about the events on Level Two again, Rhasiv reminds the guard to bring a bag and trolley. After the guard leaves, Rhasiv tells Loy that a man who was just released on Level Four ended up back on Level Two the following day. When word got out, they killed them all.
Andor and Loy realize that nobody will be leaving the prison before a guard orders them to leave the corridor. As they exit, Loy tells Andor that there are no more than twelve guards on each level.