Jyn Erso meets Leia Organa mostly by accident. Saw's still wary about the Rebel Alliance for ideological reasons, and he's never been happy that they're so tied in with Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. Neither of them prevented the Empire from rising, so why's he to think they're going to be the ones to stop it now? So mostly when Jyn liaises with the Alliance, it's explicitly not with any of the ones who have public lives. Saw doesn't trust them not to stab her in the back. And, yeah, Jyn knows, if the Empire finds out that Galen Erso's daughter is alive, there's gonna be problems, so she goes along with it, even if she thinks that maybe Saw could stand to unbend a little.
So when Jyn goes to the meet-up that's supposed to be with Andor alone and sees someone standing next to him, her first thought certainly isn't 'princes???', it's 'oh great, Andor's decided to show someone else my face'. She gets along decently with Andor; they both know what they want, and neither of them have clean hands. But Jyn likes to control who knows who she is and she always gives Andor the same respect. This is just plain rudeness.
Andor cuts her off before she can say anything, and introduces, "Leia Organa, this is Saw Gerrera's daughter, Jyn."
"Pleased to meet you, Jyn Gerrera," says Leia Organa. She looks clean, like she just stepped out of some kind of promotional holovid. This isn't, to say the least, the sort of Rebellion personnel Jyn hangs around with. Mostly she hangs out with the traitors and the smugglers and the assassins.
"Yeah, likewise," Jyn says, because she can do polite, she wasn't raised on a farm for more than just her first few formative years; she has manners. She glances at Andor. "You playing bodyguard?"
Andor's eyes cut to the sky in exasperation, and Leia Organa laughs sweetly. "No, just pilot. We've been trying to set up a meeting with Saw Gerrera, so I have a message for you to give to him, if you're willing."
"I can give it to him, but I can't guarantee any answer," Jyn says. "Or any answer you'd like." Jyn's not the only one of Saw's folks who will work with the Rebel Alliance without holding their noses too hard, but Saw's got his own principles about things.
Leia Organa reaches up and pulls a data chip out of her hair. It's disguised as a pin and Jyn is reluctantly impressed. There's a certain kind of subterfuge there, a certain kind of experience. If Leia Organa is going in and out of Coruscant a lot, she's probably got just as good smuggling tricks as Jyn does. Leia Organa's just have to be pretty; she's not going to shove things in some of the places that Jyn has. She's a princess and a senator, after all, not Rim trash like Jyn is.
But maybe that just means she has to do what Jyn does, but make it look good. Jyn can make it effortless; she can't make it art.
Jyn takes the chip from Leia Organa, their hands brushing briefly, and then that's it, Leia Organa returns to Andor's ship, and Jyn and Andor settle down for what actually brought Jyn here, and not some kind of -- some kind of something else.
Jyn meets a lot of gorgeous women in her choice of career and it's not like she has a type, but when a woman has engine oil over her clothes, or dust in her hair, or torn calluses on her hands, it's like Jyn's heart recognizes someone who can keep up and starts getting attached. So Jyn doesn't expect to get attached to Leia Organa, and she doesn't. The first meeting went without comment, and so did the second, and so did the third.
But then one day Jyn is up late in the compound after the negotiations with Leia Organa and her retinue. Jyn's at home, so she's not much on edge, and then she sees Leia Organa with her hands deep inside one of her protocol droids. The droid is wailing to the heavens and being bleeped at rudely by an ancient R2 unit, and Leia Organa is hushing them both, telling them they're going to wake everybody up.
Jyn doesn't make too much noise entering the kitchen from the hall, but Leia Organa looks up all the same. Jyn makes herself some caf and brings a cup of it over to Leia Organa, if only to be hospitable. Jyn gestures to the droid with her chin. "Need anything?"
"Look what you've done, R2, you've woke up Ms. Gerrera!" the protocol droid laments to its companion, which blurts at him.
Leia Organa, for her part, shakes her head. "Thanks for the offer, but I think I've got it. Just some sand getting where it shouldn't."
The astromech whistles low and Jyn gets the impression of cascading failures that the protocol droid doesn't appreciate, and Jyn gets it, she's had her share of droid repairs that got to be emergencies only because the droid didn't have sensors to notice the damage until it was too late. They work with a lot of scrapped together droids out here. Probably the ones straight from the factories have better sensors. Not that she'd ever know for sure. Leia Organa might; Jyn assumes rich folks get new droids. This protocol droid and astromech are dated, though, so any factory parts could have been long replaced by now with substandard material. Being rich doesn't mean you don't get ripped off during repairs.
And Jyn's been there, been there a lot, so even though Leia Organa doesn't ask for it, Jyn goes and gets some of the good droid oil from the secret stash. She hands it over to Leia Organa along with an extra cleaning cloth. "Offer's open if you end up needing a hand," Jyn says. "My room's down the corridor, third right, then a left. If you knock twice, the door will let you through."
Jyn's being forward, but she doesn't know how to not be forward, and Leia Organa doesn't look offended or anything, so it's not a problem that Jyn's not the most delicate at inviting women back to her bed. Leia Organa thanks her, and Jyn leaves, and it's not a surprise, not really, that Leia Organa doesn't take her up on her offer. Leia Organa's here to negotiate for the Rebel Alliance, and Jyn's one of the people who are being negotiated with. It'd be a conflict of interest, probably, or maybe just a plain old conflict. Leia Organa's probably got somebody back home, after all. Jyn would have, if she looked like Leia Organa. Leia Organa and her skilled, delicate hands, that got up to the elbow inside a droid, while being coordinated enough to drink caf with her non-dominant arm, while doing millions of credits worth of repairs to an expensive droid that was vital to the on-going negotiations...
Fuck. Jyn's gone for her, isn't she. This is going to be annoying. Jyn's always terrible at hiding crushes, and she not exactly going to learn before negotiations are over. If nothing else, she's got a lot more important shit to do.
It's not like anyone snaps their fingers and things are smoothed over between Saw and the Rebel Alliance, but Jyn's doing more joint missions with them now, so the hot tempers are at least finally slowly cooling. Jyn's younger than the Alliance, and as far as she's concerned, they need all hands on deck for this. Andor's a lot like her, and he's been Alliance since he was a kid, just like Jyn's been with Saw's partisans, so maybe it's the job of the younger generation to collectively tell the older folks to get the fuck over it and put on a flight suit and get out there and fight together instead of fighting each other. You can have all the ideological fights you want later, she figures. Well, she guesses she does see the appeal of getting the pissing competitions over with early and get everyone on the same flight manifest. If they do manage to defeat the Empire, they don't want the new government to crumble apart through pointless infighting within one standard year.
Then again, the Empire's had a lot of pointless infighting and it's still around. It's not like there aren't a bunch of senators who moonlight as the high command of the Rebel Alliance. They're not very unified. But maybe that all just helps the Emperor, with the Senate fighting each other, leaving the Empire time and opportunity to construct a motherfucking Death Star behind everyone's back.
Papa's sent a messenger to Saw, and it's really Papa, they confirmed the voice print, and it's not some kind of pieced-together-trick, the best techs say. It's really a message from Papa.
Because Papa's built a giant super weapon, because he had to, because if he didn't, someone else would, but if Papa did it, that means that he can sabotage it, but it means that he has to get the plans out to the Rebellion somehow. And no one knows where Jyn is, everyone knows her as Saw's daughter, except now, five people heard Papa's message, then fifteen more, then the gossip spread, and now Jyn's suddenly Galen Erso's daughter, and Saw is about five seconds from abandoning her for her own safety. It's not like he's never tried before, but he's probably about to succeed this time. He's got that look of sheer determination, it always means he's going to try to save her against her own wishes.
So Jyn picks a ship at random and heads to her meet-up with Andor, knowing that when she comes back home, it might not be there for her to find. Saw's too over-protective sometimes. Jyn can take care of herself, she's Saw's best fighter, and she's Galen Erso's daughter, so she's also got a target on her back that means she's heavily armed and not apologizing for it to anyone.
When Jyn presents the message to the Rebel Alliance, she's a known-quantity, someone they've worked with for years, but also suddenly a stranger, suddenly Galen Erso's daughter. But Jyn doesn't see how it's any different from being Bail Organa's daughter. Bail Organa works for the Empire. So does Galen Erso. And if Bail Organa can be allowed a double life, then Galen Erso, who can't be allowed a double life because of his circumstances, can damn well have secrets and give them to his daughter.
So the Rebel Alliance high council watches Galen Erso's message and they go over the Death Star plans, and meanwhile, Jyn gets several shadows who don't let her out of their sight. She's been an ally of theirs for years, but that's wiped away now, and she's angry.
And, naturally, as she's working through her feelings with strategic uses of projectile weapons, there's a polite rustle of fabric next to her, and then Leia Organa, with her own blaster out, working through a set of targets and maybe even her own issues. And she doesn't say anything, and so Jyn doesn't say anything, and then neither of them say anything for half an hour, but Jyn feels better, somehow, at the end of it. To have someone there, to have someone stand by her, and be with her when Jyn wanted to be alone but also didn't want to be alone, when she wanted to be left alone but didn't want to be abandoned.
When Jyn leaves the range, Leia is still inside, working through whatever she's working through, and Jyn finds herself inside Andor's ship, picking through some scrap for lack of anything better to do. And part of her mind is working through the problem, and part of her mind is thinking of ways to tinker something together to give Andor a laugh the next time he's in hyperspace, but part of her mind is still on Leia Organa and her steady arms and her steely eyes and her set mouth and her determined sharpshooting.
"Sometimes it's like you admire and like someone so much, you just ache to give them an orgasm. Not even wanting reciprocity or anything, but just wanting that person to have good things and good experiences, you know?"
"No," replies K-2SO, "I do not know. But by all means, continue to tell me all about it."
Jyn makes several rude gestures but then proceeds to do so. That's what K-2SO gets for encouraging her.
Saw had told her that he thought the Rebel Alliance would fracture over this, and he is proven correct. About half of them -- the cowards, says Saw's voice in Jyn's memory -- run away at the very idea of the Death Star. A weapon of that magnitude scares them and instead of using that fear, they run off into the dark in hopes that the Empire wouldn't turn it on them if they didn't make a peep. Jyn wonders contemptuously if any of them had ever been scared before, or if this is a new sensation for them. She's been scared a lot in her life. She's lost her mother and she's lost her father and she's stared down Hutts and the worst the galaxy can throw at her. And she gets scared, sure, but everyone does. She's sure Leia Organa is scared every time she walks into a room with Darth Vader, but Leia Organa still stands up there in the Imperial Senate and represents her planet and then comes back to the Rebel Alliance and works to take down that Empire and that Imperial Senate.
Unfortunately, when the cowards fled, they took their ships with them. Jyn goes home to talk about recruitment with Saw and then comes back to the Yavin 4 base just in time to hear Bail Organa say, "we need the Force on our side."
The Rebel Alliance high command is smaller than it was and Jyn gets noticed hanging by the door sooner than she usually would have. But instead of it getting her thrown out like before, Mon Mothma looks at her and asks if Saw Gerrera's partisans would be willing to assist in a joint mission. Andor's ship. Jyn's connections. And Leia Organa, for reasons no one will tell her, but Jyn assumes is to get them through anything that needs a soft touch. Andor and Jyn are fire power. Leia Organa is a diplomat.
They're tasked with finding the last Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bail Organa knows he's on Tatooine, but not any more details than that. Bail Organa thinks Kenobi's been there since the Clone Wars, and, hey, if the Viceroy of Alderaan thinks that a Jedi doesn't move around, Jyn's not going to say anything about it. It's not like she doesn't understand limiting information in case the wrong people get it; she's one of three people who know most of Saw Gerrera's hide-outs, and no one but Saw knows all of them. She gets it.
So they plan the mission, knowing it could take a while, knowing they're going to have to stay under the radar as much as possible, but knowing that Leia will be missed if she's away for too long, so there's a deadline hovering over all of them. Leia Organa can be gone on missions of mercy or be stuck on a diplomatic voyage that's hitting delays, but she can't just disappear. And Leia Organa has to disappear for this. There's nothing on Tatooine for someone like her.
Jyn's first impressions of Tatooine aren't good. There's too much sand and too many suns, but Leia seems to know where they're going. "Must be the Force," says Andor skeptically to Jyn, when Leia can't hear them, but Jyn isn't in the mood to talk about it. If Leia can feel the Force, then it's just one more thing about her that makes Jyn want to hold her in her arms and duck her head against her neck and breathe her in and tell her that she's loved. And there isn't any time for that now, so Jyn pushes it all away, and if it means that she doesn't think too hard about Leia Organa having the Force, then, well, she doesn't think too hard about Leia Organa having the Force and that's the end of it all.
It takes three days before Leia finds the hermit's house. They go on foot for the last few kilometers to avoid any unnecessary attention, and when they walk into the house, there's a younger boy with the old Jedi.
He stares at Leia Organa. Leia Organa stares at him. Jyn studies the sand-covered floor and tries not to look, but then the two of them are hugging and Kenobi, it must be Kenobi, is introducing them gently.
Jyn doesn't have to be Force-sensitive to see how deeply Leia is holding onto the Force. Things are jittering around the room and Jyn shivers at the display of power. She's only heard stories about the Force from her parents and from Saw; she doesn't know for sure what the Jedi can do, but if Leia Organa hugging her brother can cause things to move, well, that's a power to be reckoned with.
Andor's standing at the back, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed. His eyes meet Jyn's, and Jyn shrugs helplessly at him. They're here for Obi-Wan Kenobi. If they bring back Leia's long-lost brother, well, there's room in the ship for him, if nothing else.
They end up bringing back more than Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle join them as well. Andor grumbles and Jyn isn't happy either, but neither of them were going to leave civilians behind to deal with the Empire unless they had to.
Jyn wouldn't say that being with the Rebel Alliance is necessarily any safer right now than being on Tatooine, but Bail Organa greets the Lars family on Yavin 4 like old friends, and the next day, Jyn is told they're being brought to Alderaan to live with the Organas under their Imperial-level security. She isn't sure how to feel about that, so she ignores it as best she can. She doesn't know how the Lars family is precisely related to Luke Skywalker, but she knows what it's like to lose your parents, and both of Skywalker's parental figures are leaving him at once. Gotta be hard. But Skywalker's older, and it's not like he can't go visit them on Alderaan, and anyway, he's a good pilot and the Alliance needs pilots right now. He's eager to join up, at least.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has settled into the Alliance like he founded it, and who knows, maybe he did. He was off on Tatooine helping raise Luke Skywalker, but Skywalker and Leia Organa have about the same level of Force expertise to Jyn's untrained eye. It's not any of her business, but it's base gossip, so it's everyone's business. When Jyn goes home, she tells Saw all about it, and maybe there's something he remembers from the Clone Wars or the old days, because the next time she goes to the Rebel Alliance, he comes with her.
Saw greets Kenobi warily, and Jyn is working on ship repairs with Andor and Bodhi Rook when she hears that Saw has gone off with Kenobi to Alderaan. There's unfinished business at play here, clearly, especially because Kenobi hasn't left Yavin 4 since he arrived from Tatooine until now. But security isn't Jyn's problem, and if Kenobi wants to blow something up ahead of the planned assault on the Death Star, that's on the list of things that aren't Jyn's problem. She's working on organizing fighters for the assault.
Leia has been in and out with a whole host of carefully-spoken people and the plans keep taking different twists and turns. Jyn likes the ones where they plant someone inside the Death Star to trigger the weakness from the inside. Jyn knows there's a long list of volunteers to do it; she's on the list herself. But it's risky, everyone knows, and too many things can go wrong. They need an assault. They need covering fire. They need as many chances as possible. What they don't need is people making mistakes in hopes of staying under the radar. They need to blow up the radar.
The Rebel Alliance, or what's left of it, is all-in on this, and finally, all of Saw's people are on board, too. Jyn supposes that seeing half the Alliance turn and flee gave the reluctant Partisans the kick they needed. They can feel superior while, at the same time, giving the Empire a mortal injury. It means Jyn's not going back and forth much now, so she's there the week before the planned attack date when Leia Organa returns, this time with financiers and merchants from the sympathetic shipyards.
"Jyn Erso?" one of them asks her, and it's still hard to answer to that when she's spent most of her life as a Gerrera. She's had three parents, two of them Ersos, but she can only speak to one of them anymore. And that matters, and Leia, of all people, should understand. Because if there's one thing the entire base knows now, it's that Leia was also adopted.
Leia doesn't look at Jyn like this recognition is a problem, so Jyn just nods. "Yeah? Call me Jyn."
"It's so nice to meet you," the merchant says. "I've worked with your father several times and I've always been impressed by his genius."
"Thanks," Jyn says, and when nothing more comes, walks away. She would love to see Galen Erso again, would love to work with him, would love to be impressed by his genius. But right now, her father keeps her safe by staying away from her and playing Good Imperial, and Jyn isn't going to endanger that by going to him, even if the entire Empire knows what planet he's on. He's famous for his engineering and his loyalty, and he needs neither of them to be called into question, especially now, especially one week from destroying his finest work.
Later, Leia comes to the bunkroom that Jyn shares, and tells her what Saw Gerrera and Obi-Wan Kenobi have been doing on Alderaan, and Jyn tells her about how Luke Skywalker has been winning flying competitions with all of the Rebel Alliance's aces, and after Jyn's mostly forgotten about the morning, Jyn jokes, "you know, we could all be dead next week."
Leia laughs. "Don't want to have regrets?"
"Something like that," Jyn says easily.
"I'm flattered, really," and the terrible thing is, Jyn can tell that she's telling the truth, "but--"
"Yeah, I get it," Jyn says, just as easily. "Figured I'd offer."
Jyn's not the most gifted pilot in the Rebel Alliance. She can manage herself fine when she has to, but there's no point in wasting a ship on her. They have too few ships and too many pilots, so, instead, Jyn's on the infiltration team. They're going to maximize chaos inside the Death Star to match the maximum chaos going around outside the Death Star. Get in, create havoc, then get the hell out and get away before it blows.
Inside the Death Star, inside her father's creation, Jyn feels somehow welcomed. She never wanted to be here, she never wanted to believe something like this could exist, but she can also see her father's hand in it. Right now, she's closer to her father than she's been since the day they got the message, since the day her father was taken from her. Jyn feels like she's home, like she knows her way around without the schematics. It helps her blend in.
Her team splits up -- if they're captured, it's best if not all of them are captured -- and Jyn works her way through the fighter bays. She hears that Darth Vader himself will be going out in a fighter and she can hardly believe the opportunity. It's almost worth breaking too soon and getting a message to the fleet with Vader's call sign. Almost.
But there's a bigger target here, and it's not Vader. It's the Death Star itself. If they can take Vader down as well, yeah, no one would be mourning him, but there's a mission objective.
Jyn fiddles with one of the out-of-the-way stations. It will take twenty minutes for the first TIE to get the wrong signal and go careening into the blast doors instead of out through them. Every little thing adds to battle chaos. Every little thing brings them closer to victory. Every little thing matters.
She makes it back to the ship with five minutes to spare before the deadline to be left behind. They wait ten precious minutes more, until Bodhi comes skiddering down the hallway, and then they're go go go, and they're evading the fight with the best of them, and then they're clear and then--
--and then it's up to others. They've done their job. Now it's everyone else's turn.
The victory party lasts three days. Jyn's not much for personal contact, but even she is hugging everyone she can get her hands on. On the second day, Mon Mothma had told her that they were going to try to get her father out and Jyn had burst out crying.
Saw says it was part of his deal. He raised Jyn, but he couldn't save Jyn's mother and he couldn't help Jyn's father. But there's time now. And it is time now. If the Empire was ever going to publicly execute its most famous and renowned scientist, it will be after as public a failure as the destruction of the Death Star. The Alliance's propaganda units have spread the story far and wide already, and it's already gaining steam. Jyn knows that, a year from now, she'll hear the story in some spaceport and it will have grown so far that she won't recognize any of the pieces. But that's the strength of what they've done. They've already become legends. They've already made the Empire bleed.
Now it's time to take the bleeding and make it fatal.
Leia stands up in the Imperial Senate and calls for an investigation, demanding answers from the Imperial Navy into the resources they put into a weapon so large and deadly that it could never have been used. Leia stands there and dares the Emperor to claim the weapon as his own. Tarkin and Krennic went down with the Death Star. Darth Vader hasn't been seen in months. Leia Organa demands answers and she does not get them.
Instead, the Imperial Senate is disbanded. Instead, Leia Organa goes home to Alderaan and forms a senate in exile. Instead, Leia Organa works.
And Jyn watches from the outskirts, admiring and aching in equal measures. But there's no time for what-if's, because Andor has formed a team and Bodhi has named it Rogue One, and they are going to rescue Jyn's father. Leia is becoming the most famous Alderaanian in the galaxy, her star is blazing and attracting all of the dangers of the universe, but that's someone else's security issue. Because Jyn is going to save her father if it's the last thing she does. And it might be, but she already survived a week she didn't think she would have survived; she already has an impossible victory under her belt and she's eager for more.
She does her best not to get distracted, but Leia Organa is everywhere. She can't help it if her mind wanders sometimes; she always gets herself back on track when she needs to be. But in her down time, what's the harm? What's the harm in thinking about Leia? What's the harm in imagination? It's keeping her sane, if nothing else.
And probably it's the most harmless thing she's doing these days. Her hours are filled with plans and schematics, with hyperspace routes, and with all of the potential countermeasures they're going to encounter in their effort to retrieve Galen Erso. They're taking into consideration that he may not want to leave, that he may think he has more to do. But the Rebel Alliance needs him now and they need him working for them directly instead of through deadly sabotage. And even aside from the obvious benefits, the propaganda advantages can't be discounted. The defection of the Empire's prize weapons-builder would be fuel on the fire that is the devastating impact the Rebel Alliance is now having on the Imperial Navy's collective morale.
Jyn's worried, of course she's worried, but she's confident in her skills and she's confident in her team. She's not confident that her father will recognize her after all this time, but that's not something that can be helped right now. Jyn isn't famous, her face isn't everywhere like Leia's is. Galen Erso hasn't seen his daughter since she was still in braids. Jyn's different now, she's grown up, she's changed. She'll know her papa when she sees him, because Galen Erso, unlike Jyn, actually is famous. Everyone's heard of him. Half the galaxy is scared of what he can do. But he's made himself famous to protect himself, he's made himself famous to protect what he does, and he does what he does to bring down the Empire. She knows this. The Rebel Alliance knows this. And if Jyn has her way, the entire galaxy will soon know it.
Soon. But not until she's gotten her father safely back to base. Not until she's hugged her father and introduced him to her new home. Not until then. Not yet.
The mission itself goes nowhere near to plan. Her father refuses to evacuate without his team but Rogue One has no way of ascertaining any of their loyalties, and anyway, there physically isn't room for them in the ship; they didn't plan for this at all. There's too much noise, too much chaos, and the guards are closing in. There isn't time for any of this, none of it at all.
Jyn grabs her father.
Bodhi grabs Jyn.
Andor starts shooting.
And Jyn loses track after that. She knows someone gets her to safety. She knows someone picks her up and drags her away. She knows she yells for her father. She knows he yells back to her.
When she wakes up in medical on the Hoth base, there are bandages all over her arms and burn marks on her torso. Saw Gerrera is staring down at her disappointedly. And-- and three beds away is her father, is Galen Erso, hooked up to monitors, but breathing, but alive.
Alive, and safe.
Galen Erso had sent Bodhi Rook to the Rebel Alliance with plans to destroy the Death Star. Galen Erso had not known he had succeeded until the Death Star had blown up. Jyn remembers her father as a bad liar, as someone she could always get to crack with just a grin. She remembers her father as never being able to keep a secret, even if it was who broke mama's wristwatch, even long enough for Jyn to fix the wristwatch. But somewhere in the time when Jyn grew up and joined the Partisans and then the Rebel Alliance, her father has learned to keep a stern look on his face and not crack.
Jyn sees this from the side of sick bay as the Rebel Alliance high command -- now slightly larger than it was Before; everyone likes to claim a victory -- talk to her father. There's negotiations going on, with Galen Erso flat on his back on a medical cot and in a position of absolute weakness. But he doesn't let it show, and when Jyn can get up and around, she finds Saw and yells at him.
Two days later, a handful of Saw's old Partisans bring back a stolen shipment of bacta, and Saw takes to standing next to Galen in sickbay. And Jyn feels better, she really does. There's time left for her to get to know her father again. There's time. And she's not going to let the Rebel Alliance fuck this up. She finally has her father back, and she has Saw Gerrera, and she has a spark in her heart that's called hope and she never had it before, never anything like this.
Leia arrives sometime after Jyn's been debriefed on the mission, after she's had time to track down the rest of Rogue One, after she's discovered what's happened to her father's scientists. Bodhi had vouched for two of them, but those two had chosen to stay and continue their work and Galen's vision. "It had been when you were clawing a guard to pieces," Andor tells her and pats her on the back. There's no news on the holonet about the lab. Failure is private in the Empire until the moment when it is very messily public. But Jyn doesn't think it's likely they'll ever hear about them again. The ones who can convince the Empire of their loyalty will be moved somewhere else, somewhere far more classified. And the ones who can't... well, Rogue One's mission had one objective and it succeeded. Jyn would have liked to have saved more, but those lives weren't worth her father's.
Jyn's tears when the Death Star went down had been of joy. The Jedi master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, had cried for the lives, but Jyn's emotions weren't that layered. She was sorry for lives lost, but... but it wasn't a priority. Maybe it's different when you can feel it in the Force, when it's not just an academic question, when instead it's something real and painful.
"I felt it," Leia corroborates when Jyn asks her. "I felt the Death Star die. Everyone was screaming, it was like living inside the exact moment of a hyperspace jump, and then it was gone. The shock of it leaving," Leia adds, "was worse than the rest of it."
"Like sometimes you don't notice you're aching until someone starts to treat it," Jyn says and Leia nods.
"Exactly like that."
Jyn's ostensibly seconded to Rebel Intelligence and she's away on a mission with Andor when they find another Jedi. Even Jyn's heard of Master Yoda; her mother used to tell her stories. It seems the reports of the death of the Jedi Order were very premature; the Alliance now has two full Jedi, along with Skywalker and Leia, who are both learning the Force. Jyn doesn't have much to do with Skywalker, but Wedge Antilles has adopted him as one of his own, and that's enough of an endorsement for Jyn.
Jyn isn't on base to do more than catch up briefly on gossip and the back issues of the unofficial base newsletter before she's off again. There's rumors that the Empire is trying to build another Death Star. "They never needed me," Jyn's father says wearily. "I did my best to convince them that they did, but they didn't. They could have done it without me, and now, you see, they are."
There's several methods of attack when the project is still new. Leia's dispatched to work the political angles and Jyn goes with her. They don't know yet where the weaknesses will be in the supply chain or the labor pools or the financing, and the Alliance is working on plans to disrupt any and all of those as needed. But the political angle can be worked even when knowing very little. It's dangerous, yes, but it's no more dangerous than what Jyn has spent her life doing.
Palpatine had finally allowed new elections last year, so the Senate is convening on Coruscant again. It's Jyn's first time in the capital and she doesn't think she likes it. There are too many people. Jyn's used to passing by unnoticed, but as Senator Organa's personal aide, that isn't possible. Leia's real aides are the best that Alderaan has to offer, but they treat Jyn with the politeness and respect they would for one of their own. Jyn even starts making friends. She's forgotten she can do that with people she's not fighting alongside. It's nice. She likes it. She spends a couple nights with Ruthie Joki, Leia's primary adviser on agricultural exports, and it's fun, but it's not what Jyn really wants and it's not fair to Ruthie for Jyn to close her eyes and think of someone else. They part friends, at least. Jyn's not well-practiced at that part, but she likes that she can let her guard down.
Of course, it's Coruscant, she shouldn't be letting down her guard at all. She's undercover as an Alderaani and meanwhile Jyn doesn't have a planet she can really call home. Home is wherever Saw is based these days, home is with her father on Hoth, home is where the Rebel Alliance is. Jyn doesn't know what she's going to do if they succeed and the Empire falls. Her entire life has been fighting; she doesn't know who or what she is in peacetime.
She thinks she might be able to see the shape of it here, though. Here, she isn't Saw Gerrera's daughter or Galen Erso's daughter. Here, she's just another one of the many scurrying workers who make up the Imperial Senate. She's a cog in a machine, but she's always been a cog in a machine. It's nice to think that there could be a place for her when this is all over, a place where she doesn't fire a blaster more often than she washes her clothes.
But they're not in that future yet and there's still more to do, so Jyn moves everything that isn't urgent to the back of her mind. It will be important later; it's not important now. Right now they're complaining about the Imperial Navy overstepping its charter and Jyn herself is making waves amongst the senatorial aides about the missing scientists who worked with Galen Erso.
It takes five months but they find the proof that a second Death Star is being planned. It takes another year for political pressure to delay the project, and that's only after some strategic interference in the supply chains, a few riots in the shipyard, and the defection or assassination of every engineer working on the new plans; the Rebel Alliance hadn't been sleeping while Jyn was busy on Coruscant. There's still a war to fight and they're keeping their eyes where it matters.
They've been assuming that Darth Vader died with the first Death Star. When Jyn accompanies Leia to the Hoth base for meetings, they're met by Luke Skywalker, who is wearing a lightsaber at his belt and holding his pilot's helmet under his arm. Skywalker greets Leia with a hug and Jyn with a nod. "Come on," he says to them. "You're just in time. Master Yoda felt Darth Vader through the Force. He's coming and he has a fleet with him."
There's been no whisper of it in any of the Intelligence sources and nothing comes up on the scanners. If it weren't for the Force, they wouldn't have been warned until it was too late. They evacuate as quickly as they can, scattering to their other bases, and a brave few stand behind to blow up everything after they leave. Jyn stays with them and they only just manage to escape before the Imperial fleet arrives. They've left some traps behind and hopefully the sabotaged information will keep the Imperials too busy spinning in circles to find them again too quickly.
The next primary base is, thankfully, not an ice planet, and Jyn sits between Saw Gerrera and Leia Organa as the high command argues about taking the fight to the Empire once more. They can't win this with a frontal assault; there's too few of them and the Imperial fleet is too big. They defeated the Death Star, but that was a targeted attack, and it still required huge losses.
But if they can take it off at the head, if they can rid the Empire of both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine...
Luke Skywalker steps forward and volunteers. Jyn would laugh at him, because training or no training, he can't be much of a match for the Sith. But then Leia stands up as well and takes out her own lightsaber. Jyn hadn't known Leia had one. And damn it all if this isn't just like the first time she looked at Leia and saw Leia.
"I'll back you up," she tells them, but she's not the only one and they don't need her. They have Master Kenobi and Master Yoda and the best spies of Rebel Intelligence to help plan.
So Jyn stays back, watching, waiting, hoping. She keeps herself busy, she spends time with both of her fathers, and she waits.
And then the news comes over the galactic holonet. Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker, flanking Master Kenobi. All three stand tall, identical in their robes.
Master Kenobi says, "The Jedi have returned to make things right." And next to him, Leia smiles. Jyn feels like Leia is smiling right at her.
And this could mean peacetime, maybe, so it definitely means that it's time for Jyn to stop crushing on straight girls.
She sighs. Yeah. Defeating the Empire was easier than that.