The catwalk was groaning under her crouch. The Death Star took up more of her peripheral, looming closer still.
Kill me, you bastard, she thought, because there's nothing I can do to stop you.
She could still only hear the static from her comm, and she took it off, her fingers slipping from the blood running down her temple. Its shell was shattered, but she could still feel Bodhi's fingers securing it in her ear, the brush of his worn gloves and she gulped the air, along with the dust and the smoke, to stench the dry sobs that were raking across her body.
For some naive feeling, a tingle at the front of her chest, she could still feel Chirrut, and perhaps the breeze in her fringe was his staff, swirling through the air, hitting its every mark, guiding him across the sand; the distant fighter jets and cannons were Baze's low grunts and wordless command for her to stand.
One of her legs was useless, so she raised the other and pushed herself up. She could barely make out the control panel, but she had to move. The aim of the Alliance fleet might have killed her; the back of her neck, torn flesh and sweaty hair, was blistering in the heat of the flames licking at the end of the platform.
A silhouette appeared in her warped vision, and her mind told her, for a split second - mind-games, her rationale would tell her later - that it was Cassian. Then the breath she spared for that faith - that Cassian wasn't lying a few deadly floors down, that he had followed her up - was punched away, a shock in her gut. She reached for her blaster, but it had fallen off the catwalk when the bomb had hit, and she could only feel the data disk at her belt.
The man in a white cape. The man who she thought took her parents away - who now has taken everything from her. He was alone, and he was holding a pistol and it was aimed at Jyn's chest.
"Who are you?"
They stared at each other, long enough for the bafflement of the man to be diluted by recognition, and he fired. Her feet dragged so when she managed to dodge, but her shoulder was in the way of the shoot. Her side hit the metal frame of the control station and she had time to latch on before the force of shock would topple her off the tower. The man's triumphant grin almost wished it had.
"Who are you?"
Releasing her jaw, letting herself feel the pain, she said, "You know who I am," she pushed away from the edge, and hunched forward, inch by inch, towards the panel. "I'm Jyn Erso. Daughter of Galen and Lyra."
The man in white said, "The child."
Keep him distracted, one pull of the lever, and he could do whatever he wanted with her, as revenge for what she achieved, not as a deterrence, a thwart in her plans. "You've lost," she told him. The last word clung to her, scraping her lips as she tore it out and aimed it at the man.
Jyn remembered how Cassian had looked: the raw pain in knowing K-2 might be lost to him, the angle of his jaw as he complied with his friend's order to climb, the wind carding through his hair, her name at his lips, his at hers, his broken body crumbling, the force of it that she drew on -
"Oh, I have, have I?" The man scoffed, but he didn't lower the blaster - the blaster that might as well killed Cassian -
"My father's revenge," the very thing that stood between Rogue One and its survival - "He built a flaw in the Death Star. He put a fuse in the middle of your machine and I've just told the entire galaxy how to light it."
(If Jyn haven't remove her comm, she will hear Bodhi's voice, shouting that he, Chirrut and Baze are hurt, but alive, so are a few of the Rogue One team. They are being evacuated out and somebody is going to locate Cassian. Jyn, where are you? Jyn, can you hear me? Is the data with you? Jyn, get off the transmission tower. We're coming. Jyn, Jyn, Jyn!)
The man turned to glance at the giant communication dish. "The shield is up." he snarled and she was a little girl again, who hid in the tall grass, "Your signal will never reach the rebel base."
"Your shield is-"
"I've lost nothing but time." But her father hadn't. Whatever I do, I do it to protect you. Say you understand - those words took everything from Galen, but reserved his grief and anger into the flaw within the planet killer.
The man straightened his aim, "You, on the other hand, will die with the Rebellion."
Better to die then to live under the Empire. Lyra, crow's feet at her eyes, the scent of vanilla at the crook of her neck, her refusal to die standing still, drove Jyn towards the man, then. She dodged the shot aimed at her head, so close the top of her bun was seared clean off, and dived for the man's waist. He yelled out, bringing down the barrel into her spine; Jyn manipulated her small frame and his momentum, flipping him over. The blaster fired again, before she kicked it from the man's hand, breaking his fingers. He landed on his back, long enough to be controlled by his surprise, just so Jyn could bring her foot down on his nose.
(Are you Andor? Andor? Cassian Andor? Where is Jyn Erso? Andor?)
Her hands were finally on the panel, but the precious seconds were lost as she fumbled; the man's hand closed around her ankle and pulled. Jyn credited her bloody leg and his bloodied glove that his grip slipped from her boot and just to kill two birds with one shot, she un-hooked the disk from her back and deliberately, cruelly - this is for Rogue One and my parents - bashed towards his chest, directly over his heart.
(Admiral! The shield's down! Rogue One, I repeat, the shield's down!)
The disk fitted in the panel with a hiss, and she almost didn't want to let it go. She wasn't the strength that pulled the broadcast lever down. Gravity did. The man in white's cry made her look back, anticipating him rushing at her, but she only saw the top of his body disappearing with the rest of him, over the ledge and down. She was tilting along with the structure, and the hand that was still attached to the lever was not her stronger one. Something mattered more.
She returned to the transmitter, letting her increasing weight weigh down the stick until the screen flashed, and a distorted voice, through the haze and the vertigo, told her: "Transmitting."
There wasn't the time for her to hold on. Her arm let her go. A crack and she was going down. Her jaw smacked on the floor of the lopsided catwalk, her teeth bit through her tongue, and then she was airborne, a pull hooked on her stomach.
The anticipation for land arrived so soon that shock came before anything else, before the pain. She was still airborne, but what broke her fall was also trying to tear the transmission tower apart.
The body of the AT-AT was all she could see, her fingernails tearing from her fingers as it swirled and she rolled with it.
Saw Gerrera's voice ricocheting in her brain: it's not about faith. Faith is for fools. You are just not trained, not prepared. It's not enough. Not enough. Not enough, notenoughnot -
(She wakes a day later in the very thing she has prepared to destroy just so she can watch as it destroys her.)