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the fine line between recruiting and kidnapping

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Here’s something K-2SO has never told Cassian: he remembers part of his time as an Imperial droid.  Not much–certainly not enough to know what to tell a Stormtrooper where he’s taking some prisoners, thank you, Cassian.  Just a few minutes, prior to the reboot.

He remembers [IDENTIFY: SPY, REBEL ALLIANCE] ticking over his visual scanner.  He remembers [COMMAND: ELIMINATE], and advancing on the organic in the overlarge coat.  He remembers the organic–[IDENTIFY: MALE, HUMANOID, YOUNG]–pressing his lips together and taking aim with a blaster.

He remembers cold.

Which is stupid, of course, droids don’t feel cold, K-2 is designed to survive the vacuum of space.

But still.

The next thing he remembers is powering on, and wondering why he was on the ground.  And then, of course, he ran a full-system diagnostic because if there’s one thing Imperial droids aren’t meant to do, it’s wonder, so clearly there’s a glitch in his programming.

The diagnostic returned a report that all systems had been set to full default.  K-2SO lay perfectly still and issued a command to his circuits. [IDENTIFY: BASE COMMAND STRUCTURE.]

The code was still chasing itself in circles in an ineffective system search when the organic gave him a gentle prod with his boot.

[IDENTIFY: SPY, REBEL ALLIANCE]his system reported.

[YES, THANK YOU], K-2SO thought.  Thought.  He was pretty sure that was a glitch too.  The lack of memory base and base command set were definitely glitches.  He should report himself for decommissioning.

“Hey!” the organic hissed.  

“You have reprogrammed me,” K-2SO deduced slowly–slowly for a droid, which means that the organic probably thought he’d done it instantaneously.

“Yeah, so don’t shoot me for it.  Can you get me into the hangar?”

“Why should I?” K-2SO asked, flat, and the organic blined at him for a long moment before he bared his teeth.  

[IDENTIFY: MAMMALIAN PLEASURE RESPONSE], his system chirped.  

[PLEASE BE QUIET, I AM THINKING], K-2SO said, and he liked this thinking thing.  He also liked this liking-things thing.  He didn’t want to be decommissioned, and wasn’t that a major system failure.

“How about ‘because in the Rebel Alliance we don’t decommission mouthy droids’?”

[PROBABILITY OF DECOMMISSIONING: 98.97%] K-2SO’s system reported clinically.  

[SILENCE], he ordered.

“You shot me,” K-2SO observed, pulling himself upright.  The organic was still baring his teeth–grinning.

“Yeah, but you were going to kill me,” he said with a sharp accent.  “I’m Cassian.”

[IDENTIFY: ANDOR, CASSIAN; SPY, REBEL ALLIANCE; NUMBER EIGHT MOST WANTED–]

[S T O P]  His system finally stopped chattering, and something in his coding gave an almost audible crack as it snapped.

“Why would you tell me that?”

“Because you’ve already decided to help me.”  Cassian was grinning, grinning, and K-2SO was annoyed to find that he was right.  “What’s your designation?”

“K-2SO,” he said.  “And there is an 82.4% chance of our capture and mutual decommissioning.”  If he had been organic, he would have stuttered–he did not plan to say that.  Apparently that crack was the filter coding between his analytic systems and his vocoder.

Cassian shook his head.  “I don’t want to know, K-2.  Come on.”