FN-2187 finds the book that changes his life in with his stash of training manuals about an hour before he’s deployed on his first combat mission. They’d been waiting for this their whole lives. Actual combat. Not just training simulations or scut work, actual combat. His squad mates are eagerly speculating about the number of Republic scum they’ll get to kill but, as usual, FN-2187 is sitting apart. Sorting through the manuals is the only thing keeping his hands from shaking.
The new mystery manual is the strangest he’s ever read. The entire thing is blank except for a single paragraph on the first page. In Life’s name and for Life’s sake, it reads, I shall work in Life’s service alone. I will fight to protect that which lives and grows, changing no being against its will unless its life or system are threatened. I will put aside fear for courage, darkness for light, and life for death from this day until the end of all things.
A book like that had no business hiding in with FN-2187’s collection of First Order propaganda and blaster rifle maintenance manuals. A book like that is dangerous, treasonous, blasphemous even. Maybe that’s why FN-2187 slips it inside his armor when the order comes to move out.
Their arrival on Jakku plunges the once-peaceful village into chaos. It’s loud, disorienting, terrifying even. Blaster fire. Actual fire. People screaming in fear and pain. Slip goes down and FN-2187 rushes to his side, protocol be damned. His dying friend leaves a bloody smear across his helmet and it’s all wrong. They shouldn’t be here. They shouldn’t be doing this.
Gripping Slip’s bloody hand, FN-2187 recites the oath from the strange book as if in a dream. “In Life’s name and for Life’s sake, I shall work in Life’s service alone…” The words sink into his bones, his being, and he means every single one. When the order comes to execute the villagers, FN-2187 lowers his blaster instead.
Back on the Finalizer , FN-2187 discovers that the mystery manual is no longer blank. Good thing too, considering how much trouble he’s in. The book shows him how to override security protocols and to make himself invisible. It’s everything he needs to get the hell away from the First Order short of flying lessons. Luckily, there’s a Resistance pilot in custody.
“Why are you helping me?” he asks when FN-2187 frees him.
“It’s the right thing to do,” FN-2187 says and means it. He’s in Life’s service, he can’t leave this man here to die.
The other man narrows his eyes. “You need a pilot,” he says because he’s cynical and not entirely wrong.
“I need a pilot,” FN-2187 agrees and means that too.
Poe’s droid slumps and warbles forlornly when FN-, no, when Finn, he’s Finn now, explains what happened. The beautiful and intimidating girl with him looks at Finn like’s his the hero from a war story. “Are you with the Resistance?”
Finn’s tempted to say yes, if only to keep that look on her face. It’s wouldn’t be a complete lie. He rescued Poe. He’s Resisting, just not with the actual organization. He opens his mouth, but it’s words from the manual that come out. “I am on errantry and I greet you.”
The girl’s whole face lights up like she’s been handed all her promotions at once. “You’re well met on the errand,” she says, and offers Finn a hand up. “Let’s get to work.”