"Those who have seen the needle's eye, now tread-
Like a husk, from which all that was, now has fled-
And the masks, that the monsters wear-
To feed, upon their prey.
Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved-
The blackness of darkness forever."
K-2SO shot him.
An Imperial Security Droid shot an Imperial Commander and he enjoyed it. Thoroughly.
The slick, whirr-hum of his blaster was possibly the most satisfying thing he had ever heard. The second most satisfying thing he had ever heard was the thump of Commander Orson Krennic's body hitting the Comm Tower grate.
His master, Cassian Andor, was dead. Krennic had killed him. Kaytoo saw his body crumpled and broken at the bottom of the data vault gantry. It was just far enough to make retrieval impossible. Even if it was possible to climb down, there was no climbing back up again with the body. Not in his condition.
Droids were not built for vengeful anger, but there it was. Cassian's parting gift. The ability to seize retribution and savor it. It broke something inside his processors; he was absolutely certain of that fact. He could feel its influence cracking along his circuits, but he found himself not caring in least.
Over and over. The image of Cassian's body burned and burned and burned. K-2SO wanted Krennic to die in a thousand itty-bitty ways. Limbs ripping out of sockets. Eyes crushed in their orbits. Slowly eviscerated of the span of decades. Over and over.
"Kaytoo." A small voice snapped his world into a different focus.
Jyn for her part was wide eyed and heaving. Sweat, blood, and grime caked her face. She stared at him like he was the last thing she was expecting. Her mouth was agape, eyes bright with tears.
K-2SO almost shrank beneath her gaze.
His antics outside of the vault cost him almost everything he had. Diagnostics were screaming with one critical failure after another. One arm was completely obliterated at the elbow; the frayed joint was sparking and crackling. The other arm’s data jack was permanently jammed outside its casing. His upper torso was a nest of shrapnel.
He doubted that this was the kind of rescue she had expected. Not Cassian. Not some heroic X-Wing pilot. But a murderous and obviously malfunctioning droid rushing in to save her.
But then Jyn broke eye contact and teetered sideways. Her leg wobbling was precariously. She was a broken thing, just like him, fragile and utterly spent. They were two of a kind. Both shattered creatures trying to figure out if this was it.
K-2SO thrust forward, what was left of his long arm managing to carefully catch her. She must have been the last of the battalion. The last of Rogue One.
His optics flickered back to Krennic's body and a fierce protectiveness took hold. The very same powerful directive that made him almost sacrifice his existence down in the data vault. The Commander would not hurt Jyn ever again.
But then suddenly Jyn flew forward against his grip. Her face was all fury and stone. She fully intended to kick his corpse. He was reminded that he was not the only one with a retribution based agenda. Now was not the time, however. His one good hand seized her vest and held her back firmly.
“We need to leave.” He said. She yanked again, but he pulled back. “Please. You’ll hurt your leg even more.”
Jyn glared at him but didn't resist further. She was putting most of her weight on him now. He could feel it, her body settling into his like a stone. Not terribly heavy, but the weight of her seemed to pull him down somewhat. K-2SO didn't look down at her. They both were prideful beings at their core.
Instead, he focused on the sky and its distinct lack of tie strikers. So terribly clear and blue that something twinged in his sensors. Something was wrong. He scanned upwards towards what he had once assessed as a small moon.
“I did it.” She whispered hoarsely at his side. “The plans have been uploaded.”
K-2SO's audio receptors barely picked up the statement. His optics were now focused on the Death Star, massive and looming in its orbit. It would fire soon, there could be no other reason for its appearance. They needed to leave. Immediately.
“Can you run?” He asked.
“I can't even walk.” She winced.
“I see. Then please hold my gun.” He tossed it towards her.
He scooped her up with his one functional arm. Jyn yelped in surprise, but he kept moving anyway. Time was not something he possessed in abundance.
Or luck for that matter.
What he did have was a plan, a blaster, a wounded human female in his arms, and an eighty-six-percent chance of failure.
When he extracted the data from the other security droid he learned all sorts of things. For example, he knew commander Krennic's ship was docked on the Comm Tower’s private aerial platform- which was far closer than any beach cargo transport. K-2SO now also possessed all of the Scarif base’s communication, security and transmission codes.
Accessing the frequencies internally stressed his circuits, but a litany of evacuation orders were screaming across every channel. The only piece of promising information was that, from what it sounded like, the shield gate was down. The Rebellion could claim that small victory. Ships were free to come and go as the pleased - barring any blockades they might run into.
Even so, the odds were not In their favor.
K-2SO slammed into the elevator, jostling Jyn In such a way that she hung precariously from his shoulders. He ported himself directly into the elevator interface, dispensing with formal niceties like buttons and verbal authentication.
The descent to the landing pad was so fast that the mag rails screeched with the effort. K-2SO had offset the lift speed well past its operating parameters, forcing it down and down. Jyn paled even more, her face pointed upwards towards his like a small moon.
“Where are we going?” she rasped.
“If we're lucky, off this planet. No time for details.”
And with that the lid door slid open to reveal a long hallway filled with panicking stormtroopers.
It was absolute chaos. Human soldiers shouting, screaming, and running in all directions. There were security droids, much like him, trying to maintain order. Astromechs skidded around in small circles, directionless and completely lost within the tumult.
But rebellion was disorder. K-2SO knew that much. But because of it he grew and evolved and was now subsequently more adaptable than his previous counterparts. One could either push through the chaos or be overwhelmed. He decided on the former.
He ran as fast as he was able. Jyn steadied the blaster against her chest, ready to fire at anyone who would stop them. The ship was forty meters away. They could make it. Their chances of survival rose to fifty-three-percent.
But as if on queue, the entire base shuddered. Panels fell from the ceiling and all of the lights went out. An explosion ripped through the left corridor.
Make that seventeen-percent and falling.
The Deathstar was swallowing the horizon. He knew the cataclysm would not be far behind. By his calculations the entire tower had three minutes at most. Probably less.
K-2SO ran so fast that the servos left in his pelvis were grinding themselves into oblivion.
The hangar door was ajar. All they had to do was to get there, if he managed to not fall apart before making it to the ship.
“Go! Go! Go!” Jyn screamed.
“Cover me! Cover me! Cover me!” His vocabulators boomed back.
A veritable platoon of stormtroopers had the same idea. In the near-distance white armored shapes wrestled their way on the platform. Laser fire flashed and banged across his vision, crimson and bright - leaving after-images his processors struggled to untangle. Shouting, screaming and barking voices rose in a cacophony as they made their way to the docking platform entrance.
It soon became clear that these supposed Imperial elite were fighting each other for a place on the ship. Jyn and K-2SO were close only ten meters away now, but the fighting crowd made proceeding almost impossible.
But Jyn was vicious with a blaster. One soldier. Two soldiers. Three. They slid the ground one at a time, black burns scorched into their helmets. K-2SO stepped his way through the melee undeterred. He was stronger, taller, and largely ignored. No one expected an Imperial droid to steal a ship.
Then, a green flash. So bright his optics offlined briefly.
There was a sudden rush of wind - the tower screeched and moaned as if anticipating it's inevitable demise. Pyroclastic clouds engulfed the horizon and torn pieces of durasteel rained down from above. Flaming bits of molten metal showered the platform, knocking out soldiers and officers alike. His olfactory sensors picked up the stench for scorched ozone.
The platform shook so violently that those who were left fighting toppled and lost their footing. Droids were the only beings left standing fully upright. It was a small miracle K-2SO managed to stalk up the ship’s loading bay.
Unfortunately they were not alone.
Inside the ship were three stormtroopers, a Security droid and what looked to be a very confused captain rank Imperial officer. K-2SO and Jyn had their undivided attention.
“What are you doing here?!” The imperial officer snarled from the aft deck. “Detain them! Throw them off the ship!”
K-2SO miscalculated. He did not expect the ship to already have passengers. They did not have time for this. He made a run for the cockpit, a desperate dodge past it's interlocking doors followed by a rush of blaster fire. A shot grazed his shoulder and his vocabulators let out a hiss of static.
The fight in the data control room had taken almost everything. He was at 23 percent functionality. His fuel cells were leaking at an alarming rate, the servos that powered his legs were bruised into rounded edges. Even his optics were beginning to fail; he could feel them flickering precariously within their sockets.
But then Jyn looked at him, with her dirty mammalian skin and grey glossy eyes. It was the way she looked at Cassian. It was like he was worth every bit of everything that his dead master was.
And if he was anything close to Cassian, he would get them off this planet. Alive.
K-2SO threw Jyn into the Co-pilot seat and bashed his hand against the cockpit door control. Metal fingers dug their way inside. He grabbed the internal circuitry and pulled.
The cockpit blast door abruptly snapped shut and K-2SO flung himself into the pilot chair. The sound of laserfire pinged off the door. By luck and luck alone he managed to brute force his way into an access panel and was now rerouting all security permissions to himself. His fingers were flurry of initiation sequences.
“Now we’re trapped! What are we going to do about them?” She pulled herself out of the seat and stood up then on wobbly knees “ We’re out numbered.”
“Jyn.” he replied in an exasperated tenor. “We have approximately 33.5 seconds to initiate the lift-off sequence. I cannot pilot and kill people at the same time.”
He also neglected to mention he was attempting to pilot single-handedly.
“Then what good are you!?” Jyn roared. She readied the blaster, fully prepared to kill them all herself. And possibly die in the process.
“Please hold on.” He replied cooly.
“I mean physically hold on.” He elaborated.
The craft jerked violently upward, then backward. Jyn lost her footing and hit the floor hard.
“What the hell was that!?” She snarled.
“Piloting and killing people at the same time. I did tell you to hold on.”
They took off from the citadel tower inelegantly, but they were rapidly gaining altitude. Unfortunately The ever expanding blast radius was keeping pace. It wasn't until thirty thousand units that he closed the cargo bay door.
Jyn now clutched the back of the co-pilot seat as if her very life depended on it.
“You left the loading bay open.” She wheezed.
The ship shuddered again. They were high in the atmosphere now, accelerating at a pace that was dangerous. The ship was not built for this kind of ascent. Even so, The cloud was gaining faster than they were climbing. The hull groaned under the pressure.
“Initiating jump to hyperspace.” He called out, hoping Jyn would take the hint.
His fingers gripped the lever.
“Is that safe? Don't you need to run calculations or something?” She called out, arms still gripped firmly around the seat.
And K-2SO pulled.