A/N: An extra 1000 words with that chapter, would you like? Anyway, I have exams coming up and this will most likely be the last update in a while, but once you read the chapter you'll know that I can't just abandon the story at this point.
—A Case of Mistaken Identity:
Ever since that fateful day on Lah'mu, Jyn has known she'd always have nightmares. They're a part of her life. But never has Jyn slept a night with an actual dream—not an old memory relaced with terror and all the words she's trying to forget.
Well, not a dream she can actively remember. That's the way good dreams are, she supposes?
Never has she slept in a bed so soft. (Well, she might've already, but she probably never got to sleep in it given the state of her subconscious.)
Never has she slept in a bed that… moves?
Jyn's eyes flicker open slowly, to a close-up view of beige cotton fabric, to the steady sound of a heartbeat, to the scratchy rhythm of another human being's breathing pattern. Cassian's arm is slung loosely over Jyn's shoulder, as if it's deliberate.
And that's when she realizes that this isn't a nightmare-less night, but a night that someone was there in her moments. She had nightmares in the five days her father pulled a blanket over her, but they never woke her up in the middle of the night.
At least, not a uncomfortable awakening. It looks weird to see Cassian asleep, since it's been established passed the three days on Hoth that he always wakes early. Sleep makes him look younger, as if he isn't already. He's the 27-year-old Rebel Major, and that makes him sound older than he really is.
Asleep, heart beating under Jyn's ear, he's just Cassian Andor—five years older than her and just that.
She isn't exactly sure how they got to this position. Earlier that night, they all ate dinner—a delicious roasted queg courtesy of Baze Malbus—then watched a holovid over a game of two-point pusoi, a strange but easily fun card game.
Chirrut and Baze retreated to their rooms. Bodhi went to sleep in his room. Jyn and Cassian went to their own beds respectively, six inches apart. Somehow, she's lying there with her legs swung on her own cot but her head barely over Cassian's heart.
She tilts her head slightly up towards the wide-open window—or really, just a transparasteel wall since the transparency extends all the way to the floor. They're high up; the room Bodhi had checked them in to being way up on the twelfth level, 14 floors above the ship.
The view is wide and dark if not for little pinpricks of light from other rooms, apartments of the workers and overnight casinos. Cloud City is practically still asleep. In other words, Jyn is early—enough that even Cassian Andor is still asleep.
"Good morning, Jyn Erso," K-2SO's voice echoes around the white walls of the suite.
Jyn stiffens and just pretends to stretch, mumbling nonsense before rolling over to her actual cot and snuggling her arms under her body. It's a wonder how she even got to Cassian's in the first place, considering that there's a distinct six-inch distance between them.
"Your heart rate is significantly increased from previous readings," the droid continues as Jyn picks up faint scents of half-done caf. "It's obvious you're awake."
She groans and sits up instead. Cassian's fluffy blue coat is rolled up and bundled into a misshapen excuse for a pillow. (Cassian took everything Chirrut and Baze left from pillows to blankets.)
Jyn takes the coat and puts it on, the inner fur lining hiking over her midthigh. It would tickle her if she weren't wearing leggings. She smoothes the coat over her body as she stands up.
"Why are you making caf?" Jyn takes a seat on the barstool by the counter. The sleeves extend over her hands, and she presses them on her cheek as she blinks the drowsiness from her eyes.
K-2SO is pouring a cup of the beverage in a porcelain set. "Protocol, apparently. I have a method coded in my system dedicated to Cassian's caf preferences."
Jyn feels like laughing at that, but she's in a suite filled with rebels. The lot of them are all designed to sleep light, ready to run at a sign of danger. "How old was he when you were reprogrammed?"
"Fourteen," the droid says as he sets the cup on the counter.
Ah. That explains it. As a teenage soldier in Saw's army, Jyn used to make a point of placing the detonators in certain formations because she could. "Is the Cassian now any different from that fourteen-year-old boy you know?"
Jyn takes the cup of caf and a sip from it. It's fragrant, stronger than Jyn likes but better than standard watered-down Alliance coffee.
"There is approximately 12 minutes to sunrise," K-2SO says, "The major would need his caf when he wakes, which is also in 12 minutes."
She takes another sip of the warm beverage and just shrugs. "Make another one."
The droid sighs as Jyn sets the porcelain cup down on the counter. "This is good caf."
"This is Cassian's caf," Kay corrects. "But also good caf, yes."
Bodhi walks out of his bedroom and stretches, his eyes squinting over a small trance of a seven-hour sleep. "I can smell the caf, Kay-Tu," he mumbles in a barely understood line.
Then his eyes widen a significant size when he sees Jyn sitting on the counter drinking caf that isn't hers. "Hey, Jyn. You're up early."
She jerks her head towards the gigantic window. "Twelve minutes to sunrise isn't that early. Why are you awake?"
"I like to watch the sun rise here. It calms me." The Bespin sunrise is just about to catch up to them, the light outside hinting at a far-off gray.
Jyn hold the cup to warm her fingers, since they left the cooling unit overnight.
"Well, you had a rough night," Bodhi shrugs, "I don't know. You might've been half-asleep, but you were having some sort of nightmare. We wouldn't have noticed, but then you screamed and woke us all up."
"You had another episode after that—no screaming, just really bad crying, but it ended pretty quick. Cassian probably smothered you with a pillow or something."
Cassian held her last night through one of her nightmares. For some reason, her memory decided not to register any recall of what is usually a lucid dream.
"Remind me not to kill him when he wakes up, will you?" Jyn asks Bodhi.
His face is strangely stony, a serious she only remembers from Jedha and everything later. "I make no promises."
It sounds lighthearted enough. Jyn laughs.
"But when he wakes up, don't kill him," Bodhi says. "You're both needed at the front desk for confirmation on some tour thing today."
She adjusts the sleeves of Cassian's coat to free her hands so she can properly hold her caf. "Why don't you do it yourself?"
"I never do that myself," he replies.
K-2 pulls out another cup from the other side of the counter for Bodhi. "Your preference: left in the decanter for approximately an hour."
Bodhi takes his seat on the second barstool as he drinks. Jyn does the same. "Well, I like my caf this way," she holds her cup up, "But with a bit more milk."
The droid returns the decanter to the kitchen, which is only across the dining table. When he comes back, he acknowledges Jyn with only a few words: "I won't need your preference when you're in Demesel."
Jyn takes another sip of her (read: Cassian's) caf and thinks that K-2SO's right. She won't need much in Demesel. It's where she gets to disappear.
Katya Safin and Jeron Andor steadily approach the desk. Their body language is awkward, deliberately placed arms and stiff gaits. They appear unnatural compared to last evening.
3-KT runs through his preset greetings designed for guests and his internal database.
"We're here to—"
He decides to be generic. "A lovely morning, Mister Andor."
Miss Safin breaks out into a smile: a sign of a customer pleased. Her companion clears his throat. "Good morning. We're here about the Cloud Ca—"
"Oh yes! The Cloud Car Tours," 3-KT interjects yet again. "Such a wonderful choice. Highly recommended in deed."
Katya Safin is still smiling. 3-KT locks into the system data port conveniently set just under his right extremity. The Cloud City system, endearingly named CC, enlivens in conversation.
"It appears there is already a schedule tour for your group, though the reservations seem to be insufficient for your numbers."
Katya intrudes, "That's what we're here for, Kaytee."
He ignores the whistles from the central computer. System gossip is insignificant in the face of protocol and customer satisfaction. "Oh, of course, Miss Safin. I will amend the reservations and subsequently charge it to the registered credit account."
Safin hums in approval. "The funds in the chip are enough."
It's phrased to be a statement but 3-KT confirms it either way. "They appear to be." He promptly disconnects from the system. CC can wait seconds if she wants to converse. "Have a nice day, and do enjoy your stay at Zenreina's Cirrus."
As soon as they exit from the lobby, 3-KT reassumes his connection to the main computer. The chip is in the name of Lianna Hallik.
"One of their superiors," he replies. "Honestly, you operating systems. All because you can't move freely."
3-KT listens further either way. We've nothing of a Lianna Hallik on any of our systems.
"Are you insinuating that the credit chip is stolen?"
Lianna Hallik once showed up on the holonet, an old issue. She was on Jedha.
This takes the droid by nothing short of surprise. "Lianna Hallik is dead! Oh, this can't be good at all, CC. They have an Imperial enforcer droid with them. Not good at all."
Interesting isn't always good.
"I did not forget 'interesting,'" he argues. "Of course this is an interesting turn of events, CC. Inform the guard when you can, and the Baron Administrator too if he wants to hear about it."
The Empire is interfering with Cloud City.
Cassian and Jyn walk through the clean hallways of the resort back to their suite, where Bodhi and Chirrut are waiting for them. Baze and K-2SO have already left to the casinos earlier that morning. K-2 isn't actually allowed to play, so they're running a little casino scam via intelligently placed commlinks.
The whole itinerary was discussed before Cassian could wake up, which is ridiculous. He's a light sleeper, and he always wakes up early.
Then again, he might have been more tired than usual because of Jyn's sleeping habits.
Bodhi has never actually told anyone that Jyn had nightmares; then again it doesn't look like Jyn ever slept on Hoth to begin with.
Cassian was the first to wake up that night, over a painfully loud yell just over his ear. He sat bolt upright and pulled his blaster out from under his head. Next to him, Jyn was still, but tears were running down her face.
Chirrut was next to appear from the bedrooms. He knelt next to Jyn and gently stroked her head, which seemed to calm her down a bit. After that, they all gathered around the counter for a little chat—Jyn soundly asleep for a while and K-2SO forced to serve them kindly diluted Corellian gin.
When they went back to bed, and what was assumedly two hours later, Jyn had another fit. Crying, broken whispering of Papa over and over again. She doesn't have regular dreams, only painful memories of the worst time of her life.
Cassian pulled her onto his cot and let the girl cry into his shirt. Her small frame intermittently reminded Cassian that there are other people in this war: selfless people who don't want to be selfless anymore, broken people who don't want to stay broken anymore.
Jyn is walking in front of him now, purposely speeding her stride whenever he makes an attempt to be on equal footing. He clears his throat, "About last night—"
"I don't remember." She slows her pace for a moment to let Cassian catch up her side.
He exhales in relief. "Good. Not that you don't remember, because a faulty memory is not usually—"
"Oh, I know what happened. Bodhi told me," she looks up at him, "I just don't remember my dream. Which isn't usually the case."
Bodhi told me.
Bodhi Rook has been suspicious of Cassian since their flight from Hoth, and confronted him about it last night.
He coughs the thickness from his throat. "Did Bodhi tell you anything else?"
"There was a lot of talk before you woke up," she says. "A full twelve minu—" The statement ends up a stillbirth that dies in her throat.
She casts a sidelong glance when a man in a blue suit begins running behind them. It might be for any other reason, a staffer trapped in morning rush or simply a customer who wants to move fast.
Either way, Jyn doesn't seem to be taking that chance. She makes a sharp exhale, grabs Cassian by the arm and runs. Cassian pulls away from her grasp to stare at her and the man who appears to be her pursuer.
And it appears her suspicious nature isn't wrong. The blue-clad man, now most likely a guard in Cloud City, yells at them, "Stop!"
"Kriff," he exhales. Cassian turns around to follow Jyn down the hallway. They turn a corner as Cassian skids the angle. Then Jyn isn't in front of him anymore. Her hand grasps his and pulls her to a doorframe barely the right dimensions to fit them both.
Jyn whips out a blaster pistol—
"I took it from under your pillow," she mutters for his benefit. (Thankfully, Cassian set the blaster back on stun after Jyn's nightmarish episodes.)
—and fires two shots at the precise moment the guard officer is in their eyesight. He collapses on the ground with two charred holes in the back of his uniform. (Okay. Not on stun.)
Cassian immediately takes the gun from her hand. "What was that?"
"A warning shot," she answers. Her eyes switch to the officer for a split second. She quickly corrects herself, "Two."
He shoves the blaster into the waist of his trousers. "Warning shots don't usually hit a body dead-on, Jyn."
Jyn doesn't reply.
Cassian approaches the fallen man and kneels over him, rolling him over so he's face up. Cassian faces the wall behind him, no charred circles or signs of a shooting. The blaster bolts sailed into his upper thoracic cavity, but no further.
He quickly unbuttons the uniform. The position of the bullet's entry point on the mark's back and the obvious blistering on his other side means that the bolts hit vital organs. If he isn't already dead, he's close to it.
Cassian opens his mouth to speak, but it isn't his voice he hears. "Saddul? Saddul, have you got them yet?"
Cassian lacks details: their guy's speech and vernacular, any accents. He takes the blaster at his side and shoots the commlink on Saddul's belt.
He stands steadily as he replaces the blaster. "Doesn't matter anymore. More of them will be coming for us," he turns his head to face Jyn, "especially since you shot him."
"I don't regret it," she announces. "You shot the commlink; of course they're coming. The question is who do we get first?"
Bodhi and Chirrut are closer, only a few hallways past, but the risk of more people catching them is greater. They can take a turbolift up before the entire staff can be alerted, and make their way down to 26 for the ship together.
"We get Baze and Kay-Tu first, grab Bodhi and Chirrut on the way down," he looks back at her. "Why are they after us to begin with?"
Jyn wets her lips as her eyes meet his. Her face makes the same expression as Galen when they're in deep thought. Her eyes widen as she looks ominously into Cassian's eyes. "The chip. I never changed the name."
Cassian berates himself on how he missed that paramount in seriousness. He releases a long and breathy exhale. "We need to go. They'll be here in at least two minutes, maybe spend less than that studying the body you decided to leave. This time, no shooting anybody. Try to blend in."
"Then let's get running." Her smile is despicable and annoying, and Cassian runs down the hall with her.
Jyn hasn't had the right amount of time to commit the floor plan of Zenreina's Cirrus to memory. Thankfully, Cassian's seems to know where he's going.
He also appears to know that the safest turbolift is generally not the closest one. She's supposed to be running in the front, but in the end it's Cassian leading her through the winding hallways she forgot to wander.
"Do you actually know where we're going?" Jyn whistles as Cassian Andor of the Rebel Alliance takes them through another right turn—successfully dragging them into a complex knot of circles.
His pace borders brisk walking, as they pass a group of people going in and out of their hotel rooms. Jyn is needlessly reminded of Jedha, the city that is no more. The only difference is that now, people are specifically targeting them.
"Believe it or not, but I had some missions here," Cassian replies to her. They pass over to the wider main hallway. Thank the Force that the walls are all white. Any kind of detail, an artwork, and Jyn might have slowed down to study it.
She and Cassian weave in and out of narrow corridors and hallways bustling with the freshly awake. They turn another right into a wider hallway, familiar in a sense that she was on it twenty feet or so ago. Jyn hears the ominous sound of an oncoming storm as Cassian dashes back and pulls her to the side of the wall.
They're too far to escape to a corner, a corridor, literally anything. He holds her against the niche of a doorway—red light means empty—as the sound of footsteps edge closer. Jyn opens her mouth to take a deep, much needed breath, when Cassian leans down and kisses her.
And it's not like she hasn't been kissed before. Jyn can name at least three of boys from Saw's army that she's kissed.
She tries to remember their names, their faces, how they ended up dying. Words fly in and out of her head, but the only thing that registers in her mind is one startled Oh.
Really, Jyn is just testing how far she can distract herself before this whole situation actually sinks in on her.
She wiggles her toes under her and fidgets with her fingers as they crawl onto his shoulders. She tries to count her heartbeats, maybe even his. One, two, three…
It is of Jyn Erso's greatest regrets to admit—
Four, five, six…
Seven, eight, nine…
Cassian pulls away. The blood in her head is in a rush, a mix of adrenaline and pure anxiety—the best mix for any stressful situation. Jyn's eyes open from darkness to the harsh white of that reality.
"Are they gone?" He whispers.
A whole squad, maybe six or seven, of the Cloud City security march past them, paying no attention to them. "Yes," Jyn exhales.
Cassian nods and pulls her away from the door. No time to deck him for now. He begins running in the opposite direction, probably back to where they started and then down the other way.
Just goes to show that she has almost nothing to this facility.
It's a straight hallway from there, but they're running and it's obvious. He takes a circle around the nearest corner on the left; Jyn deviates to the right. At some point, she trips a white-plated protocol droid. (On accident, of course.)
They run, like Jedha all over again. Eventually they meet at the turbolift. The lift is opaque, unlike the transparasteel lift from Eadu. Jyn stiffens at the thought.
Cassian jams the button with so much force, she thinks he might shoot it if the lift takes too long to get to them.
She closes her eyes. She can't think, can't see, can't hear. Everything decides to overwhelm her at this precise moment, and Cassian Andor is being very unhelpful.
"Get in!" He says against the vacuum of the opening lift.
Scratch that, she can hear just fine.
"A lovely d—" A droid tries to greet them, but then becomes aware. (Jyn hates it when that happens. K-2SO is a painful testament.) "My oh my, it's you both. Security will be alerted immediately."
Before it can connect to the central computer system and maybe even shut down the lift and trap them in there, Cassian flicks the switch at the back of its metal head and deactivates it.
Jyn huffs because she can't breathe. The cold in her nerves have melted into a fire that she wants to fan. They twitch and plead for action, and Jyn gladly answers.
As soon as the door of the lift closes, she grabs the lapels of Cassian's jacket and pushes him against the walls of the lift with more force than her nerve had wanted her to express. He's taller than her, and then again most everyone is.
She stands high on the tips of her toes and captures his lips with her own, dry and chapped as they may be. Deep down inside, Jyn hates herself already—but she doesn't care. She may be playing with her own fire at this point, but she also wants to see Cloud City burn.
The turbolift announces their arrival on the sixth level via a piercing ding!. Trying not to convey any kind of reluctance, Jyn pushes herself away from Cassian, but not before hissing in his ear, "If you ever do anything like that again, I'll shoot you too."
Baze is already standing in front of the lift. "Oh, good." He steps in and the lift closes before anyone else can get in. "There was an announcement about Imperial interference."
"That would be us," Jyn says a bit more breathy than intended. She makes a once-over of their personal turbolift crowd. "Where's Kay-Tuesso?"
Cassian leans on the side of the elevator, purposely avoiding Jyn's eyes. She's thankful for that. "Droids aren't allowed in the casinos."
"We made at least a thousand before the commlink went static and the announcement was made," Baze adds. Well, of course they're running a casino scam. Baze and Chirrut probably sat around Jedha as con men sans the Whills they should be guarding.
The lift makes its steady descent. Jyn eventually rationalizes that she should just avoid turbolifts whenever possible.
"Kay-Tu will catch up to us later," she says. "Now we just get Bodhi and Chirrut, hoping that security doesn't have them already."
Cassian shifts his weight from his left leg to his right. "Sounds like a plan."
The six levels pass by at an agonizing pace as Baze studying the disabled droid in the corner. "This is also you."
"Also us, yeah," Cassian replies. "Baze, Jyn, you go get to the suite. I'll head down to the platform and start the ship up."
"That's a long ride," Jyn comments.
His lips tug into a smile as they arrive at their floor. "We all have to endure it sometime. Now go before they arrest us."
Jyn and Baze step out of the turbolift. The man watches her curiously. "Why are we going to be arrested?"
She feels like laughing. "Because I never changed the name of my account. They think the chip is stolen." Imperial interference. "And since they saw Kay-Tu, they think we're here with the Empire."
"Then let's get going before we are arrested. These people have no love for the Empire."
"I might've killed one of them too," Jyn makes a face. She remembers the blaster in her hand, the quick motion of blue just before she pulled the trigger twice. She should avoid doorways too.
Baze laughs for her. "It's Jedha all over again, is it not?"
They walk the hallways fearlessly. This level has already been cleared, no doubt. They found the body and just doubled the threat. Jyn smiles bitterly, "I have no plans of having the Death Star destroy Cloud City, Baze."
"There is no more Death Star."
Jyn's bitter smile becomes something a bit more rueful.
There's more incessant pounding on the door. The hotel staff usually has master key codes, but Bodhi and Chirrut made sure to blockade the suite well. They aren't sure who messed up: Baze and K-2 or Jyn and Cassian.
He's sitting on the sought after chaise longue, reading the Feature articles from news docs galaxy-wide. Chirrut isn't praying, just meditating.
Until Chirrut stops. His milky blue eyes pass over Bodhi, "Have you packed the bags?"
Bodhi sets the datapad on the low table. "Most of them. Why?"
"Open the door."
Of course Chirrut won't answer that sort of question. The man just knows. Bodhi shouldn't be asking questions like 'Why?'
The monk stands and heads for his bedroom, most likely to get their baggage. He, on the other hand, takes Cassian's lock picks and starts to play with the wires in the panel at the side. Bodhi discovered he could override and disable the door mechanism a long time ago, but it never served its purpose until now.
With a whoosh, the door pulls up and Jyn and Baze are standing there. She rushes into the suite immediately and picks up her belonging from the pile at the center of the living room. Baze just casually enters. Once they're inside, Bodhi sparks the wires and the door closes again.
"What happened?" He asks.
Jyn's eyes narrow at Baze, who takes the mantle of answering the question. "Jyn just killed a man."
"Not the first time," she takes Cassian's coat from the pile of many and tosses Bodhi his own jacket. "Vacation's over, Bodhi. We need to go. Apparently, bringing Kay-Tu along was a bad idea too."
Chirrut pops out of his room holding all three bags—his and Baze's, Bodhi's and Cassian's. Jyn ties her hair up at the back of her head. She's getting ready to fight.
"Where's Cassian?" Bodhi approaches the exposed wiring from the silver panel, in case Cassian might still be out there, but Jyn shakes her head.
"He went down to the platform to start up the ship," she says. "He's going to be waiting for us."
Bodhi steps towards the wires anyway, disconnecting this and that, coiling a wire around a lock pick and so on, "Then let's go."
They'll be banned from Cloud City for sure. The door opens for what will most likely be the last time in the hands of Bodhi Rook, and there's Cassian poised to knock. Baze chuckles, "We aren't taking that long ride ahead, I see."
"Close the door," Jyn commands.
Bad idea. He's been playing with the system for too long, it might go on lockdown.
The wires spark, and Bodhi—a man who loves his life dearly— lets go of the metal picks immediately.
While carefully avoiding that little danger zone, Bodhi studies what's left of the system. Cassian finishes the assessment for him. "You broke it."
"So we have no way out, the door won't close and we're currently wanted by the Cloud City police force," Jyn sums up, "If they catch us and the Empire gets hold of, well, me or Cassian, we're done for and maybe so is the rebellion."
Because Jyn has been in the Imperial center, and she's stayed at Echo Base. And because, well, Cassian is an Intelligence Officer.
"Don't let go of hope just yet, Jyn Erso," Chirrut advises.
She collapses on the couch. "This weekend was bound to be a disaster."
"It's interesting," Bodhi shrugs.
Her green eyes look at him pointedly, "It's my fault we're in this mess. It was my credit chip, and it was me who shot the guard."
"I blackmailed you into the situation, Jyn," he tries to excuse. ("Really unhelpful," Cassian comments behind him.)
Baze takes a seat on the adjacent couch as Bodhi takes a seat on the armrest. "If we're done for, as Jyn has put it, then I would like you all to know that I am not proud of last year, and everything I have done for the Rebellion. I want revenge on the Empire, yes, but not as much as I want to return to Jedha."
"You were the saboteur," Chirrut adds. "I have no qualms about last year, because we're all here now as friends."
Jyn snorts. "Might as well," she laughs. Her eyes scan them all and a spell of silence falls upon them, as if this isn't anymore a joke the Guardians of the Whills have set up. "The Empire is building a second Death Star."
When Cassian's eyes widen, the nature of his mission becomes more than apparent to Bodhi. "I'm next!" He interrupts quickly. "Sometimes I miss being with the Empire. Good food and a safe bed and… stuff like that."
"I'm not joking, Bodhi," she narrows her eyes at him. There is a need in her eyes, a hunger and demand fiercer than Bodhi has ever seen. Galen was a gentle man. His daughter was pure fire, like Saw Gerrera.
Bodhi makes the conscious decision to shut out every word she's saying. He's watching the late morning sun from the viewport, and the shadows the clouds make as they block ot the light. "I don't think anyone's chas—"
"Cassian, your blaster," Bodhi interrupts. The other man looks at him in surprise. "Your blaster," he presses again.
The press of a weapon is outlined into Bodhi's hand as he aims for the view port and pulls the trigger.
Nothing comes out.
"Ah, safety," Cassian warns. His notice is overdue, as Bodhi's cargo ship—and he knows it's his ship the same way he knows it's K-2 in the cockpit—is sailing for the clear window. They all see it, since they all noticed when Bodhi aimed a gun to the wall.
It's luck, pure unadulterated luck. The droid disappeared on Baze just as the ship disappeared on Cassian, but here they both are just in time to save their lives. The firing mechanism of the spacecraft peeks out from under the hull.
"Down!" Jyn yells as she dives to the side. She's lucky. The couch flips over without a balance, and Bodi comes with it. Baze presses to the far wall, and in the last second pulls Chirrut back with him. The cannons of the ship are locked onto the window, and it shatters within three seconds.
"I am never looking at the hotel charges ever again," Bodhi mutters to himself as he watches the boarding ramp roll open. His laugh is almost giddy as he leaps the gap between that ship and the ground.
Cassian leaves the cockpit to K-2 so he can send a message to Echo Base. He got what he was here for, and it certainly isn't what he was expecting.
The Empire is building a second Death Star.
The research phase is practically over. They don't need ten years for Galen Erso and his team of engineers to research the destructive power of kyber crystals any longer. It would take no more than a few years to set a new planet killer into operation.
Knowledge of the new weapon is critical, an important step forward for the Alliance. If only Bodhi Rook weren't in the way.
"You're going to tell them, aren't you?" He stands with his arms folded over his chest. "About the second Death Star?"
Cassian pauses in his tracks. "That's the mission, Bodhi. And I didn't force the information out of Jyn."
"You're still going to tell High Command."
He scoffs, "This is important information the Alliance needs to know." Of course not. The puzzle pieces are incomplete. They need plans, locations of schematics. Jyn is the first lead in a while.
"But you know, you know, what Draven would ask you to do once you have the information you need." Bodhi's should know with it. He used to run with Rebel Intelligence before General Merrick enlisted him into the Blue Squadron. Cassian knows that some part of Bodhi was relieved to be in another Rebel division.
"This is a war, Bodhi," Cassian excuses. Of course he knows what Draven will ask him to do next. He's been bracing for the repercussions since Scarif. If you have what you need, make sure Erso doesn't make it to Demesel. We can't have her traipsing around in Imperial Territory with whatever information she has.
The younger man shakes his head. "The question is, Cassian, can you bring it to yourself to do it?" Bodhi steps away from the comm units. "Go make your message, or not. We're going to land on Demesel either way."
Maybe there's another course. Jyn's made up her mind about leaving for Demesel, and that's the only thing Draven doesn't want.
Cassian hovers over the long-range comm for a while before shaking his head and climbing down to the cabin.
This is it. Above everything, Jyn is all but right. Her presence put them all at risk—not of death, but capture and that's just as bad. Finally, finally, she gets to go in hiding and cry her way through her nightmares and the rest of the war.
She hated herself for telling them about the Death Star, when it was most likely for them to get caught and interrogated right there. She's been hating herself an awful lot today. It keeps her out of the hatch.
The whole day reminds her of the mess her memory labels Jedha. They end with a man dead, a city (or a suite) destroyed and Jyn Erso revealing something she never wants anyone to know. In separate cases, her real name and the Death Star 2.0.
And both times, the people she's with all start to treat her a different way.
Her holoprojector is warm in her palm. Jyn stares at it, but that's all she does. She's committed every single one of her father's transmissions—and it's a copious amount—to her memory. He can talk in her head as many times as he wants.
Jyn stows the projector in her pocket the moment Cassian jumps down the ladder into the main cargo hold. "I put your coat in your bag," she tells him. She won't have any use of it in Demesel. (The only reason she took it was to annoy him, but she doesn't see any good point in that either.)
"Most people turn away from public actions of the intimate sort," he says unusually fast, but Jyn catches it. At first she's confused, then it sinks. It's an explanation.
Jyn presses her lips into a fine line. "The kiss. Yeah. Don't think about it." She folds her fingers together into a wall between her and Cassian. "About the Death Star though, I didn't expect you to believe me."
"I believe you," he confirms. Cassian takes the seat next to her. "Are you sure about going to Demesel? You know the most about this new Death Star, you need to tell High Command yourself."
"Everything that happened today was my fault, Cassian," she tells him. "I can't keep blaming the Alliance or the Empire for everything that's happened, but I can't just start working with them either. Too much has happened."
He shakes his head. "There's no more righting of wrongs, Jyn. All we can really do is just stop the horrors. You said so yourself, there's a second Death Star. Help us destroy it."
"What's the risk?" Jyn asks him. "Cassian, I didn't tell you about the new Death Star on Hoth because the Rebels finally have hope. It took my father, and the weakness he snuck into the plans to bring that. This Death Star, my father had no hand in it."
She wets her lips to end her sentence. "Keep your hope, Cassian. That space station will be done before a decade passes, and we don't have the information or the time to track down the plans."
The landing gear dropping below them makes the entire ship shiver below them. They're on Demesel and Jyn's choices have already narrowed. "So you really are just going to run."
Jyn shakes her head. "Bad things happen to the people around me. But I never said I wasn't going to help. Some of my friends in the Coruscant underworld tracked an old copy of the plans all the way to Geonosis. I hope that gets you started, Cassian."
She stands up. "I can't make my father proud. Not anymore. That's up to you now." Jyn slings her bag tighter around her shoulder as she climbs up the ladder to the boarding ramp.
Never has Jyn been so sure. Never has Jyn been so steady.
The hatch in her head closes off as the boarding ramp rolls down to let in the Demesel air.
Chirrut is painfully silent as he gives Jyn a hug. He nods softly when she pulls away, "May the Force be with you, Jyn Erso."
Baze gently ruffles her hair as Bodhi yet again attacks her into his embrace. She gladly returns both with a less enthusiastic, but still just as heartfelt, hug. For some reason however, Bodhi's attention is set behind Jyn.
When they finally let her go, she turns around to see Cassian and Kay-Tu. The view makes her smile, because for once in her life she gets to say goodbye.
She tries to hug K-2, and the droid backs away awkwardly. In the end, they agree on a handshake. "I hope you don't die, Jyn." It's the best kind of compliment she can get. She smiles.
Jyn turns to the only other person she hasn't said goodbye to. Cassian steps closer and Jyn stands up on the tip of her toes to plant a kiss on his stubbled cheek.
"I still believe it can be destroyed, Cassian. If you believe me, I believe in you."
It can be destroyed, Galen Erso says, Someone must destroy it.
The grassland atmosphere of Demesel is only steps away.
"This is where I get off. May the Force be with you,—"
She takes the distance closer, and she turns around so that she's standing close to them and she can see them all around her. Jyn pauses to remember the de facto squadron name Bodhi told her about back on Hoth.