They meet in the corner of a backwater bar on the edges of one of Ryloth's smaller cities. It's far enough away from the Imperial presence on planet, but close enough to a spaceport for an easy getaway if needed. The day is late enough that the planet's sun is beginning to set, but early enough that the evening bar crowd is only beginning to creep in. The second of Ryloth's three moons has just begun to rise when Ahsoka's contact arrives, teal skin just barely visible under the dark cloak and hood.
Her contact is one of Cham's freedom fighters, a Twi'lek woman named Numa. Hera had been reluctant to reach out to her Father's group, but Ahsoka managed to convinced her of the need to have allies in as many places as possible. She'd provided Numa as a possible contact and Ahsoka had done her research. The Twi’lek would’ve been a child during the Clone Wars, younger than Ahsoka, but still just as likely to have seen multiple skirmishes. She'd obviously become politically minded if she'd joined Cham and Ahsoka was hopeful that the woman would be willing to offer assistance to her, if not to the Rebellion itself.
The Rebellion doesn't know she was here, all she told them was that she had a meeting with a potential ally. Rex knows, he'd insisted. "Someone has to have your back if things go to pot," he'd said. She'd convinced him to stay behind in the end, but it still made him feel better to know he was just a jump away if something went wrong. Surprisingly, It made her feel better too. It was nice to have someone willing to watch her back again. She'd gotten used to running missions alone, but that didn't mean she liked it. Jedi weren't meant to be alone, and though she might not be a Jedi anymore, old habits die hard.
Ahsoka slides up to the bar besides Numa and orders two drinks, pushing one towards the other woman. "By the light of Lothal's moons," she says, and waits for the code phrase to register, before jerking her head back to her corner booth. Numa's eyes widen, but she nods her head and follows.
Ahsoka is used to the reaction. She's not exactly inconspicuous. Tall and well armed, not to mention being a Togruta with pretty distinctive facial marks. Not what most beings think of when they think of who might be contacting them from the Rebellion.
They slide into the corner booth and Ahsoka takes a sip of her drink, a watered down but passable cinder that was just sweet enough to hide the alcohol content, and smirks. "Not what you were expecting?"
"No," Numa admits honestly. Her cheeks flush and she looks away. Ahsoka chuckles. It's cute to see the fighter so flustered. "Don't worry, most people don't expect someone like me. My holo was chosen to not give much away as to my species."
Numa clears her throat and takes a fortifying sip from her own drink, letting the cool liquid soothe over flustered nerves before meeting Ahsoka's eyes again. All business.
"So, Fulcrum, what exactly were you looking for here? I'm not looking to join your Rebellion. We have problems enough here on Ryloth, and I won't abandon my place here."
Ahsoka nods. "I figured. I'm not here to ask you to leave. I respect that kind of loyalty."
Numa smiles and seems to relax. Ahsoka continues, "What I want is your help. As Fulcrum, I'm one of the Rebellion’s eyes and ears in the galaxy. All I'm looking for is information. Anything you hear about the Empire, and rumors you think worth looking into. I can look deeper into them, and pass them along if they pan out. I figure we can help each other out."
Numa took another drink and slowly nodded. "I think…I could do this. As long as it doesn’t conflict with my duties here, I will help you." She paused, head tilting as she studied the agent across from her. "You have the face of a friend," she finally decides. She sticks her hand out across the table and Ahsoka reaches out to meet it. Her grip was cold from the condensation on the glass, but steady.
"I'm glad we could reach an agreement."
Numa grinned, bright in the shadows of her hood, and doesn't let go of Ahsoka's hand. "Yes. I'm glad too. It will be my pleasure." Numa's eyes flicker down and up again, that smile taking on a new edge.
Ahsoka blinked in surprise, but lets her arm relax until their linked hands were resting on the table. This was unexpected, but not unwelcome. Alliances had begun in far stranger circumstances.
"Do you have a place to go?" Numa asked, rubbing her thumb over Ahsoka's knuckles, feeling slowly over each dip and scar.
"My ship, down at the docks."
Numa downed the rest of her drink in one long swig and stood, licking the sweetness from her lips and pulling Ahsoka to the end of her seat.
"Lead the way."
It takes them longer to get to the docks than it should. Numa keeps pulling Ahsoka into the shadows to press against her side and kiss along her jaw, down her neck.
The first time Ahsoka had jumped, thinking there had been a guard patrol she'd missed. She'd twisted around eyes darting out to the dimly lit street, but Numa's calloused hands drew her gaze back to center. To her.
"If we are to work together, you must learn to trust me more." She smirked and ran a hand up Ahsoka's back to the edge of her lek. "I know my way around these parts."
Ahsoka's inhale dissolved into small bubbles of laughter at the double innuendo. "I'm pretty sure I remember you asking me to lead," she said, adding onto the joke.
"I did, didn't I?" Numa's teeth glint in the darkness. "Maybe you should move faster then."
Their hands find each other again, colors mixing in the night, and they race through the shipyard, laughing and breathless and feeling freer than they have in months.
Numa is gone when Ahsoka wakes but her blanket has been tucked closer around her shoulders. There's a message waiting for her, a steady blinking notification on her comm system. She doesn't bother finding her shirt to walk across the room and open it. Numa's face pops up, small and grainy in the dim light of the morning.
"Whenever you need me, I'll be there. Just call." She pauses for a moment, as if debating, and then adds, "Stay safe Fulcrum. Stay free."
Ahsoka smiles, a small gentle thing in the encroaching dawn. It was dangerous to make too many promises in times such as these, but she would do her best to keep to this one, and the quieter ones whispered in the night between breaths and sighs. She would remain free, and she would continue to fight for as long as she was able. Now with one more ally, one more friend behind her.