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» Star Wars Medley »  » [AU] Without me you would be dead

[AU] Without me you would be dead

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Cassian Andor, Kay Tooesso

: 11 BBY
: in a galaxy far, far away
: Cassian is old enough to start helping out on missions, but apparently he isnt old enough to do it on his own.

the timeline

10.V Cassian is assigned to be Kays trainee
11.V Kay and Cassian get their first mission and discuss how to approach it. Sometime later that day they go to Uquine.
20.V a woman comes to them with a job, a simple fishing tool which can provide access to internal messages of any network its implemented into. They suspect shes from a cell. (And she is from a fake one.)
21.V in the morning after finishing the job they talk about why Cassian things the Empire is bad. Cassian passes the finished job back to the woman. Kay tinkers with commlinks turning them into GPS, and in the evening they both go to a (rebel) talk at a cantina called Low Deck. There are people watching them at the cantina. Kay gets thoroughly drunk, and Cassian has to drag him home. The apartment didnt get searched as Kay thought it would.
22.V Kay tasks Cassian with asking around about the people who watched them in the cantina the day before. Cassian learns from his friends that there are two cells, one is fake, the other is not.
25.V a twilek and a woman (from a real cell) ambush Kay and Cassian on their home from a grocery store. They demand explanation about Cassian asking around risky question a few days ago. Turns out, the rebels know the woman, Marani, too. Cassian and Kay learn that Marani was about to switch sides when she was killedright after she collected their work. Kay is forced to show the twilek his slave marks so the rebels would let them both go. Finally, they exchange contacts.
26.V Kay suddenly leaves Cassian alone and goes looking for the Imperial cell.
27.V The next day the fake cell comes and searches the apartment while Cassian is out.
29.V a man (Elek), saying hes from a local rebel cell, comes to Cassian with a job, he wants a simple decoding program.
30.V Not succeeding in his endeavour, Kay returns to the apartment where he left Cassian. They exchange the news. Cassian explains what he did while Kay was absent and they come to the conclusion that their landlord is a part of the game, possibly helping the fake cell. They contact the rebel cell and learn that they got searched by the fake cell. Kay infects the datadisk Cassian is going to give their new client (Elek) from the day before with a virus to learn their hiding spot.
31.V Cassian goes to pass the datadisk to the client (Elek). His task is to get intel but instead he gets kidnapped by Elek.

[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-03-28 00:47:05)



    Kay smirks. Its the first human emotion he displays in Cassians presence. Although the smirk is fleeting, it is definitely Kaysnot Nigels, not any other personas he uses for work. He schools his features rather quick, and his face returns to being calm and collected and almost blank. Kay can appreciate an eager learner when he sees one. Even though he finds Cassians attempt weak and unconvincing.
    Remarkable. I just gave you the instruments to fool me, and you didnt even think to wait a couple minutes, he says in an even voice. You want to know how am I doing it desperately enough for it to be the first thing you asked me upon meeting. You know my name and my rank, and maybe a bunch of rumors, but nothing more. I know a lot more about you than you do about me. I know your homeworld, I know your story with the Rebellion, I can read you the same way I can read every last person on the base. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely be that desperate to know more about me. But even thenyou can never be sure if I lied or not.
    Kay isnt sure if the kid even considered that the answers to his questions still might not be truthful. He seems to trust Kay because Kay is his lieutenant, his appointed mentor, because the general trusts Kay, perhaps. Because Kay is a part of the Rebellion. He said he would answer any one of Cassians questions, if the kid managed to fool him. He never said the answer would be true. It clearly didnt occur to Cassian to ask.
    I lied. In that entire story I told you there was one detail that was based on true events, Kay says. Then nods his head to the door. You have twenty minutes to collect whatever you think is going to be useful for the mission and relevant to your Jeron persona, and I will meet you near the hangar. Off you go.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-04-25 00:31:42)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]"What was the..." Cassian falls silent. It may be a trick, a way to make him waste his question. It may be a test evaluating his patients and ability to wait. Even if it's not, Kay may answer, what the detail was, but not explain how he changed it to make it a lie.
He shourd be smarter than waisting his trophy and not knowing how to get the answer Kay can't twist to make uninformative and vague.
"I''ll ask when I want to," he stubbornly repeats, then remembers, that time he was given is running out. Cassian nods and turns like a soldier, a little bit stubborn one, but a soldier nevertheless. He used to be stubborn, when he was a child, but his incompliance was carefully washed out from him by years, his commanding people, his caring ones and - more than anything - by seeing how the very same trait killed other people and hurt the Rebellion.
He runs down the corridors and digs his stuff from under his bunk like a child. He packs quickly. There are wires, cables, cords, gears and cogs, base commands, bit nothing that has or used to have information about the Rebellion on it. He changes his clothes either and dresses in layers like festians do.
Cassian is almost late, but makes it on time.
"Sir," he tries to catch his breath standing in front of Kay. Then corrects himself, "Nigel."



    Kay turns, smiles cheerfully and nonchalantly. The starship next to him, an old VCX-100 light freighter, looks a bit worn but promises to endure another couple of years before either completely falling apart or requiring a major makeover. Its their ship for the mission, and up to this point Kay was busy acquainting himself with it. He has never flown it before but upon the quick inspection concluded that its nothing new.
    Kay looks Cassian up and down. The kid is dressed differently, more Festian-like, in multiple layerslike somebody who knows all too well what a harsh thing winter is. Kay himself is dressed differently, too. Instead of his usual black and dark green clothes, he now sports much brighter outfit, complete with a jacket which looks like something that was stolen from a drunk body in some cantina on the outskirts of the galaxy. Everything about him screams lowly born but highly professional, hire-me-and-you-wont-regret-it kinda guy.
    Ah, kiddo, go on in, he says after a moment, looking positively pleased with the freighter, with the companion, with the day, and with anything and everything that the universe might throw their way, and motions with his hand. Straight, then turn to the left, yours is the second door. Make sure it looks like you lived there for a while. We dont want anybody asking unnecessary questions.
    Kay stays outside for some minutes, examining the freighters condition one more time before going in himself and closing the ramp. Inside the ship, he goes straight to the cockpit and busies himself with preparing the ship for the take-off. The Uquine is quite some way away from the Rebellion base, and Kay is not the type of person who likes loosing time.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian can't help but smile back. It's not like Nigel wins him with his charm (although he actually does just that). Cassian starts to like Kay himself. The way he explains things, the fact that he looks more like a droid than a human being, but then he says something - and reveals how deep and mysterious he really is. The way he teases Cassian with his first won question. The way he dissolves into his character. He is interesting, he doesn't lie about important things, and somehow, in his own peculiar way, he cares. About their mission mostly, but it's fine. Cassian too cares about it more than about anything else. It's his first and he has to be good and to prove he is fit for the job.
His cabin is small, empty and terrifyingly clean. His cabin is his. For a first minute he just sits, feeling it, getting used to having so much personal space. It's not like he needs it - most of the time Cassian tries to learn something useful or to help someone anyway. In some way the base is his personal space. But still, still.
He deals with the emptiness and spotlessness fast enough. Imagines how he lives here for a long time, what he sees first when he wakes up and falls asleep. Where he works and where all lost details fall. What his life looks like and whether his cabin is too small, too big or just right for his taste.
Some time later he finds Kay in a cockpit.
"Let me help you," he says. "I've done with my place what I could, I'm free to help."
He reaches for a row of buttons, but never presses any, just feels them one by one.
"I know that we're on mission and I shouldn't talk about that, but... D'you think I'll get into those fifteen percents?"

Cassian Andor (2018-05-19 08:43:40)



    Kay suppresses the startlethe kid almost caught him off guard, thinking through the infiltration plan. The ship is ready for the take-off, the engine working fine and dandyapparently, its much newer than the ship itself. The freighter is a good cover for their legend, its not new but, at least partly, its not old either. It consists of bits and pieces, some new and some old, just like it should, if youre living like Nigel and Jeronworking little jobs and scrambling up just enough money to replace the next worst part in the ship.
    Is this your question? Kay asks in return, then chuckles a little, looking at Cassian. Either way, I can count the probability for you, I cant predict future. And it was ten for the first mission. Sit down and hold on.
    As in most freighters, there is a seat for the second pilot. Kay returns to a console in front of him, switches some tumblers above his head, not even looking at them, and then slowly lifts the ship off the ground. An odd screeching sound comes from somewhere within the ship, and for a moment Kay frowns like a person who tries to remember something hidden very deep in their memory.
    Ah, he finally says and presses a button. The sound subsides and then disappears completely. You wanted to help. How much do you know about flying starships? Do I navigate you with red button and green button or with hyperdrive engine and accelerator?
    Kay talks not looking at Cassian, all his attention concentrated in front of him. They are clear for the planetary take-off. Kay navigates through the air above the Rebellion base with the ease of a person who has done it many times before, to the point of it almost being a reflex, something you dont even have to think about. For some time they ascend slowly. The sky above gets gradually darkeras if they were diving into the abyss.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian bites his tongue and sits. It won't be his question, he won't let Kay trick him into it. The one he has won must be about Kay, not about him or his chances. Besides, Kay in a way gives his answer. He shows he prefers counting and facts over opinions. And Kay's opinion is exactly what Cassian wants to know and fails to get. He's also angry a little bit with himself. It was ten, and he has forgotten, and Kay has noticed. He must be more mindful.
Cassian mentally scolds himself but stays quiet.
All that fades away along with the base's sky as they are ascending.
"The later," he answers keeping his eyes on space blooming around them. Then Cassian frowns and admits, "Although, back home they let me do on-planet flights only. I did interstellar ones on simulators."
He did, and did good. Cassian lifts up his hand and presses the button that has to be pressed at that stage. Kay has the same one on his side of console, but Cassian reaches his one the first, being only slightly worried he might kill them. There's a lot of buttons, and not all of them are good ones.
He does not kill them and that feels like a good start. Especially after he killed the Rebellion, according to Kay.
He falls silent again. Looks at the darkness outside their starship. Then at the console, at Kay. He has a strange feeling. His first real mission, his big adventure has been started, and yet he doesn't feel nothing special. Maybe, later, when he beats that ten percents chance. Ten on a first mission, then fifteen. Then five.
Cassian doesn't like the way his thoughts are leading him. After another moment of silence he breaks it.
"So, what are you doing to entertain yourself during flights? And no, it's not the question either. I'm asking that to learn, to know, how to apply my time and myself in a best way."

Cassian Andor (2018-06-04 00:11:08)



    Kay doesnt answer, just nods and keeps his eyes trained on the vast darkness of space in front of the cockpit. Piloting isnt his strongest suit. He can surely do it with certain ease that comes with practice, but he has never considered himself an ace, certainly not like the ones they have in the x-wing squadrons on the base. Kay lacks the grace of a true pilot, but he never cared enough to improve his skills.
    Out of the corner of his eye Kay notices how Cassian presses a buttonone of the stabilizers that lowers the effect of the G force on the ship. The kid is doing good if a bit somber for whatever reason. Kay doesnt care, he has more pressing matters at hand, piloting the freighter being one of them. The kid will probably come around on his own anyway.
    And he does, indeed.
    Kay switches off the take-off engine mode so they dont spend all of their fuel, and looks at the navcomputer, remembering the coordinates, punches them in. The question makes him think about what would Nigel be doing to entertain himself, but thats clearly not what Cassian is asking about. Kay locks the coordinates in the navcomputer.
    I contemplate the fates of the universe, he answers. Then thinks for a moment and continues, And read books on statistics and probability theory.
    Kay does nothing of the sort, but he still says it in all seriousness, watching Cassian out of the corner of his eye. The kid clearly thinks that being an intelligence officer is all work and no play, or, rather, that Kay is all work and no playwhich is true. Kay doesnt play games, and hes certainly not the funniest person around, but he has his moments.
    Kay switches between the engine and the hyperdrive and leans back in his seat. The ship keeps drifting off away from the planet, completely silent.
    Punch it, kiddo, Kay says and looks at Cassian.
    Despite all his observing skills, there is still much he has to learn about the kid. Take the interstellar flights, for example. Will he do it? Nowwill he try to fly the ship on his own, having only ever done interstellar flights in simulators? Will he get frightenedhe could, if they are completely out of luck, kill them. Will he ask for help? Is he too proud to ask for help at all? Cassian doesnt quite strike Kay as proud. As stubbornsure, but maybe not proud.
    Proud people do not survive next to Kay for long.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



Cassian gives a puzzled look to Kay. Then he just stares. Then he understands.
"You are joking," he says just to be sure there's no glimpse of Nigel in Kay.
There is not. He is talking to Kay, and somehow it amazes Cassian. It just doesn't go along with anything he managed to learn about his officer.
It means he has to start from the very beginning to know who he is working with. He can do that. Later, not right now.
Right now there are endless switches and buttons in front of him. Cassian places his hand on a lever he knows but takes a minute or so just to be sure everything that had to be pressed has been pressed and activated. He tries not to look at Kay. He doesn't need help, not right now. What he lacks is confidence, not knowledge. But the funny thing about it is that it can't be found anywhere but his own mind and experience. Found anywhere else it's not confidence anymore, just other people's opinions or lies foolishly taken as a proof of your competence.
Cassian takes a deep breath and enters a hyperspace. If he had made a mistake by now something inside the ship would have exploded. But all he can hear is quiet hum. Cassian smiles. His knuckles are white, and Cassian carefully avoids looking at them. He takes his hand off the lever.
"I'm too fast with leaving hyperspace. Too fast by the point where I burn the ship. So you probably would like to do it yourself this time. I''ll train more when we are back home, I promise."
"So," he finally looks at Kay and grins. "Now for the contemplating the fates of the universe?"[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]

Cassian Andor (2018-06-18 11:20:55)



    Kay watches Cassian carefully, and he isnt disappointed. The kid is either stubborn or sure enough to take care of the task without asking for help yet he tenses up so much Kay can almost imagine him snapping in half from all the tension. There is a 66% possibility this is a good trait if the time is right. Kay doesnt move closer to the console and seems completely nonplussed. Firstly, their flight has just begun and they will have to spend some time in hyperspace first. Secondly, he is about to disperse one of the most important lessons on his new trainee.
    I would like nothing of the sort, he says, completely ignoring Cassians grin. No training should ever be postponed when there is a perfect opportunity to practice. If we all only ever trained on the base, Alliance would have zero intelligence officers. You took us into the hyperspace and you will most certainly take us outin a calm, collected and careful manner. You will also ensure your piloting is careful enough for me not to spill caf from my cup. Is this understood?
    Kay raises from his seat, towering over Cassian. He isnt trying to sound threatening, if anything, his voice is calm, and the look he gives Cassian is also one of calmness and confidence.
    Yet he feels it necessary to add, What use as an agent are you if you cant escape on your own? You must know how to take yourselfand whoever else is lucky enough to travel with youfrom one side of the galaxy to another without burning the ship down and destroying its most precious cargo.
    Kay moves to exit the cockpit but turns before he does so.
    Just to be clearyou. You are the most precious cargo.
    He falls silent for a few moments.
    I will be back in two and a half minutes. Then we can talk of the fates of the universe if it keeps you calm and collected. Do not leave the cockpit unattended.
    Kay turns and exits.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-03 16:01:59)



Kay doesn't smile, but it doesn't matter anymore. Cassian who was just starting to like his officer decides then and there that he really likes him and nothing can change it.
Kay trusts him with the ship, with the mission, with his life and his caf - that last thing hits him more than anything else. Knowing about their possible horrible deaths by burning or exploding alive Kay still lets Cassian do the piloting and stays calm. His confident composure is contagious. Cassian finally relaxes his body because of it.
Somehow knowing that he is expected to do a lot more, than he believes he's able to do, works for him. Kay hasn't lied not has he flattered or taken Cassian as something he is not. Which means he is unlikely lying now. Which means it's his honest opinion. That doesn't make Cassian more competent agent, but it means that Kay trusts him enough to let him try to be one.
And Kay supposes that Cassian is precious. Every agent is, it's not about just him. But he is too.
And Kay cares about keeping him calm. Cares despite all his unconcerned facade.
"Yes, sir," he breathes out, looking at Kay and trying to hide how deeply Kay's words affected him.
He looks at a time on the panel involuntarily. Two and a half minutes is not much, and it's not a time to leave. Quite the opposite, it's the perfect opportunity to remember everything he has to do if he wants them to stay alive. And to save Kay's caf. Its safety just stucks in mind and Cassian can't get rid of it. He isn't sure he should. With a task so small, delicate and unimportant it's easy to stay calm.
It's not about him not burning the ship. It's about saving Kay's coffee.
Just like that.[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]



    Kay returns exactly two and a half minutes later holding a cup of caf in his hand and expressing no emotions whatsoever. They have another couple of hours in the hyperspace until Cassian willjust like he saidtake them out of the hyperspace in a calm, collected and careful manner. Kay isnt going to die due to a stupid mistake of a boy, and neither is he going to die due to a smart mistake of a boy. He sits down in his seat.
    Have you contemplated enough fates of the universe? May I disperse more wisdom on you?
    The change in the kid is very subtle but fundamental. He seems more relaxed, and that is definitely a big step forward. The one thing no one wants is a tense pilot who thinks he could only kill the ship and its crew. Kay is 57% sure Cassian is capable of perfectly fine hyperspace exit if he puts his mind to it and stays calmso that is his job now to ensure the kid is just about as calm as they come.
    Still, he waits for a permission, taking a sip of caf and watching Cassian out of the corner of his eye. He remembers the way he was trained to pilot and decides the method a tad too harsh for the kid. It has to be precision workKay has to boost the kids confidence just enough for him to get a hang of it and do it once. Then there wont be any hyperspace for a long while. The proper, harsh method isnt applicable. Besides, Cassian knows the basics. Or he says so. Kay will see.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ] Kay returns exactly two and a half minutes later. Cassian checks time so he knows it for sure. He wonders how does the trick work. Does Kay have a perfect sence of time or has he measured all his actions so he knows exactly how many time he would need.
He doesn't ask. But stares at a cup Kay has brought with him. That must be the cup, the one he should care about whilst leaving hyperspace.
"Yes, sir," Cassian makes himself to leave the cup and looks at Kay. "I like your wisdom and I'm starting to think that contemplating is just not my thing."
He smiles and shruggs not expecting Kay to smile back. He smiled - semismiled - just once. But it was on base. Here, away from it, Kay is different. Maybe he just needs time to get used to new people around. Maybe the rebellion base is the reason and somehow makes him stiffer. Maybe Kay is the same and it's Cassian who is changing. Anyway, he doesn't care much for the reason. He just likes Kay more that way.
Cassian looks one more time at the control panel and decides there is no use in stewing himself before he is really needed to pilot the ship manually.
"What was your first?"
For a moment Cassian is trying to find the way to tie his question to a mission needs. He fails.
"And yes, that is the question. I want to know about your first assignment."

Cassian Andor (2018-07-17 13:00:40)



    Smile comes easy to Cassian, Kay learns that rather quicklythe kid either cant help it or doesnt want to. He doesnt smile back, just turns his head. Precision work. Hes never been good with people, and he didnt miraculously become good with them in the past 24 hours. Funnily enough, Kay actually finds this more difficult than the mission itself.
    Well, then, he says, taking another well-calculated sip, always remember the Three C rule. Calm. Collected. Careful. Thats what you are when you pilot, or pretty much do anything outside the safety of the Rebellion base, Kay points at Cassian with his cup. Do whatever helps you stay like thatsing a song, count to nine thousand, remember all the blaster parts you know, take deep breaths, swear in Huttese. Be as loud and noisy as you need. Im not gonna laugh at you. But I will be watching.
    Kay takes the last sip, leaving precisely half the cup full, and puts it on top of the control panel in front of Cassian. He hates pep-talks, so the kid isnt getting any. What he is getting are tools to deal with whatever he needs to overcome in order to not kill them both. Kay doesnt display neither worry nor anxiety, trusting Cassian with his life just as easy as the kid smiles. Or as if his life doesnt matterand it doesnt. Failing the mission would be a pity, though.
    The question Cassian shoots at him makes Kay take an inquisitive look at the kid. He remembers both his first missionswhich one is of interest to Cassian, though? For several moments, maybe an entire minute, Kay sits there silently, thinking, deciding whether he should give the choice to the kid or pick himself. When the silence becomes too much, Kay exhales.
    The first assignment in the Rebellionor the first assignment?
    Its Cassians question, after all, so he holds the right to specify it.
    Its true, what they never say out loud about him on the base. Kay has been there for three years now, served the Rebellion just as loyally and restlessly as anyone else, yet the Imperial mark on him doesnt seem to come off even a bit. Not that he does anything to help that, either. Kay cant tell if Cassian knows it yet, knows just how unluckyin some wayshe is to have someone like him as his superiorand how lucky he is in other ways for this same reason. Nobody can teach you how to fight the Empire better than an Imperial deserter.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian nods. Calm. Collected. Careful. That he must be. That he will be. He looks at the cup one more time an nods one more time. It's not even full any more. How hard can it be?
Kay puts the cup in front of Cassian but he never reminds him about his task. He doesn't encourage him eather, and Cassian likes it very much. There's no need to encourage someone you know for sure is capable of coping with the task, no need to patronise someone you are willing to take as an adult.
He worries about one thing only. The way Kay falls silent makes Cassian think that he asked the wrong thing, something he sholdn't have touched on. Then Kay talks. Cassian frowns. He doesn't understand it at first. He knows almost nothing about Kay that's true, but it is now when he understands the depth of that nothingness. The first in the Rebellian - or the first... where? Who did give Kay his first? Whose symbol was printed on the first brief he has read? To whom did he help with his amazing skills?
Against whom did he use them?
Cassian knows he can get the answers if he wants them, that's exactly why Kay is asking. He's not sure if he wants, but he knows the value of information well enough. The ignorance is not a bless, it just covers the reasons you should be alert. Cassian isn't sure he needs - wants even - to be alert. But he has to know.
"The first one."
Suddenly his voice is too high-pitched. Cassian clears his throat and starts once again, remebering about being calm this time.
"I want to know about the very first one. Whatever it was and whoever you worked for."



    And just like that, the smile is wiped off from Cassians face. Kay stays as seemingly indifferent as he was before. He doesnt need the kid to like him, and he is fairly certain he will stop after he hears the answer to his question. Thats why information is the best weapon. It changes people. It changes those who hear it, and it changes those who deliver it. Kay knows that general couldnt have possibly known this factyet it still feels like a wicked coincidence.
    He weighs his words for a few moments, then he begins with, Whatever I will tell you about myself now or at any point in future should not affect the mission, is this understood?
    Kay is still looking at Cassian, he still holds this calm, almost blank expression glued to his face. Even his question sounds unconcerned, easy. The mission is above everything, and it is especially above anything personal, but Kay does take into account that this is Cassians first field mission, and he is just a kid. Kay turns his gaze away from Cassian and looks into the endless hyperspace corridor.
    My first mission was for the Galactic Republic. My task was to deliver an execution order to Fest, Kay doesnt stop. Calm. Collected. Careful. It was nine years ago. Which I did successfully, and so the extermination of the insurrectionist cell began, and Fest was eventually wiped out, he sounds exactly like a droid would sound, if ordered to read its logs out loud.
    Kay falls silent, slowly turns his head to look at Cassian. Nine years ago he was fresh out of training, a youngironically, just like these dayslieutenant, and his first job was nice and easy, and it did not at all get his hands dirty. Not like the one after that, or any other mission he has gotten ever since. Kay considers how much this information might affect Cassians performance and what he should do to compensate for it as to not let the mission go sideways.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]"Yes, sir," Cassian says, but then he hears what Kay has to say and at first all he can process is the way Kay is talking. Calm, careful way. Snipers on their trainings use that confident pace. And Kay sounds just like that; he takes an aim, then shoots, then hits the bull's eye.
It may be some kind of a test. Cassian tries to look calm. It's just a test, it can't be truth. There are Imperial defectors among rebels.The general himself used to work for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. There was no Rebellion at the time. People shouldn't be judged for that.
The shouldn't be. But he knows for sure that if not the general Draven's wish he would be long dead. He knows that his cell was destroyed in a weeks. Days even. He would be dead, but it's not important. All people he knew as a child are - that is important. They are because of Kay.
If he's telling the truth.
If it's not a test.
Cassian clinges to that idea, but he knows it isn't. Because he has won that small peace of truth. He had earned it, and now it crushes him, and he can't even show it. Because they have a mission ahead, and he promised, and there are defectors, and his personal opinions don't matter at all, and Kay is his commanding one, and he likes him, he liked him. He really liked him just a moment ago, and somehow it feels like he has betrayed his people. Like they have died a long time ago because of him liking Kay.
He feels dampness on his cheek and wipes it in one fast move as if he brushed a fallen lash.
Cassian waits a little longer to make sure his voice is not hoarse.
"Understood," he says looking at the spot above Kay's head because he just doesn't trust himself to look at man's face and to not remember another faces of ones who raised him and loved him.

Cassian Andor (2018-07-18 19:49:54)



    Kay notices how the kids eyes get a glint, and a second later he wipes the wetness away. Kay says nothing. He knows any other person in his shoes would say theyre sorry, but Kay isnt sorry. He has done worse things than thatthe Rebellion has made him do worse things than that to prove his intent. He isnt sorry for any of them. There is no practical point in being sorry. Its not going to change the past.
    One may say what Kay does here, in the Rebellion, is his way of saying sorry, and thankfully it doesnt require words. Its unlikely he will ever redeem himself in the eyes of people like Cassian, so Kay doesnt spend resources trying. There is one thing he would like the kid to know, though.
    For what its worth, the general had no way of knowing this about me. There wasnt any malicious intent on his part, when he put us together, he says. There is nothing else to add, so he proceeds, I will call for you when its time to take us out of the hyperspace. Notify me, if you are unable to concentrate on the task. Be honest. I strongly advise you against acting tough. Dismissed.
    Kay doesnt know who it is that Cassian grieves here and now, is it his parents or other siblings, or friends, or anybody else he liked there on Fest before newly formed Galactic Empire purged it with blaster fire and giant AT-ATs. He doesnt remember the names on the list he handed to the Galacticat that point stillRepublic officers in that sector. He remembers it took them a couple of months to process the order within the bureaucratic machine, and when they finally moved on to the execution stage, the emblem on AT-ATs was already different. Kay, who worked on Fest gathering bits of intel before the final sweep, then was dismissed and returned to the Inner Rim for a new assignment. There is no place for an intelligence officer amidst the battleor, rather, a massacre that was Fest that month.
    Kay doesnt add anything else, and the only little way in which he shows how it makes him feel is this advice he bestows upon the kid before letting him go and do whatever he feels like doing. Kay has no idea how Cassian deals with things like these, and he is relatively sure the kid will not let him find out now, when he doesnt have to stay in the cockpit. And its alright. Kay understands how not letting anybody in works, maybe, better than anyone else in the entire kriffing galaxy. It got him so far, and hes still in one piece.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-18 22:11:31)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian doesn't know why Kay mentions the general. He doesn't try to justify himself yet does that for another man. It's wrong, he should be evil. He is evil. Cassian knows pretty well that evil and good are sandy concepts. Alliance as it is and as it is stronger than it was before is bizarre conglomeration of people who should hate each other but decided to work together instead. There are former separatists; many of them were hated and prejudiced just as Imperial defectors are now. This war and the Empire rising in a lot of ways are the result of separatist cells tearing the Republic apart. Everybody know it, it's not a secret, it's common knowledge although it hurts Cassian every time to think about that.
But his people, his parents and their fellow separatists - they are not some concepts. They were real people who lived their real lives and then met their real death because of Kay and how good he was. Because of Kay who has chosen to blanch over the general, who is almost nice. It's easy to like him and even easier to hate him.
Cassian chooses escape. He retreats to his cabin, shuts the door and slides down on the floor. He sits for some time, tries to breathe, tries to count, tries to memorize everything around him, tries everything to stop thinking and remembering. He doesn't remember much, doctors on the base have told him once that many people remember just a bits from before they were seven. It's just unlucky coincidence the was taken from Fest when he was six. Unlike for his memory, but very lucky for his life. But sometimes he remembers voices, faces, lullabies, places. Everything that can't be returned. Because of Kay.
He moves to his bed. He cries, but just a little bit, and after that he furiously rubs his eyes to erase red puffiness around them. Most of the time Cassian just lies on the bed curled up and stares at the wall trying not to think at all. He will think after the mission.
In the couple of hours he understands that he doesn't want Kay near his cabin. He doesn't want to be called for either so he drags himself from the room and to the cockpit and slips on his place not looking around.
He isn't afraid this time. He's relaxed, almost absent-minded. If he kills them, Cassian decides, it would be OK. Nothing to worry about.



    Kay can name the exact amount of time Cassian spent away from the cockpit and he almost goes for it, but then decides against it. He just watches the kid out of the corner of his eye, still pretending he is doing something on his datapad. He spent that same amount of time filling the tech with all things Nigel Harr. Kay has always been praised for his remarkable memory, and so he doesnt really need his datapad to hold anything related to the mission on it. When there is nothing else to add to the personality of this person hes building, Kay switches the screen off and lays the datapad aside.
    Nothing remarkable about you this time, he says in that same voice he used in the cantine back at the base, in their first meeting. I made you remember, and you fell straight into the endless well of grief. There is a bit of a survivor guilt in you, you may ask yourself why did you deserve to survive when everyone else died. What made you so special. The answer isnothing, nothing you can come up with, anyway, just blind chance.
    Kay talks as if he reads Cassian again, he sounds sure in his words, as if he knows exactly what he is talking about, first-handand he wasnt reading the kid this time. He doesnt let it on, his face calm. He doesnt need the kid to know this to add weight to his words. If Cassian chooses to ignore him completely, thats his choice.
    So now, when you calmed down enough to face meI understand, you think of me as an enemy nowbefore going here, you retreated deep inside yourself, because thats what people do when they are in pain but have a task at hand, and they cant just wallow in their pain endlessly. I doubt you care about disappointing mefor your information, to disappoint me, youd have to impress me firstbut you certainly care about not disappointing the general. He was the reason you escaped death, after all. The connection you feel to him is understandable and predictable. Yet, you also feel like nothing matters anymore, because everyone you knew is dead, and the general can never replace them. You may decide it is okay to die, to follow them, even if so far away from Fest. Take me with you in a feat of revenge. You cant possibly kill me any other way, I am way more experienced than you, but this would be a mistake of an inexperienced piloteasy.
    Kay cant help himself, he likes laying people out like this, and the things he sees in Cassian, can deduce about his state, are so deliciousand so painfully familiar. Maybe, there was a hidden point about putting them together, that the general had in mind. He just didnt know the entire story, and so his brilliant plan failed spectacularly. The thought flickers in Kays mind and fades.
    Easy on the conscience, too. Nobody would ever know what happened, Kay pauses. I could stop you, order or force you to get back to your cabin, because that would ensure that we will proceed with the mission, and the mission is above all. However, it would also ensure that I have to always watch my back and keep an eye on you, and what you might do because I deprived you of this choice here and now.
    Kay thinks it funny how people always believe that, just like them, he values his life, when he doesnt. But he finds it liberatingthe complete and utter absence of the fear of death, as if he was a droid that could never die because it was never truly alive. Just mimicking.
    Kay looks at Cassian, unblinking, I will not stop you. It is completely and entirely your choice. But once you make ityou will have to stick to it.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-19 12:43:25)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]He is covering the ears, because it's painful to hear Kay's voice - calm, always calm, was he calm back then either? can he be not calm? - and telling, asking, shouting him to shut up until he's out of his voice and there's quiet. But it's only in his mind.
In reality he is biting his cheek and enduring the dissection Kay thinks he needs. He doesn't need it, the man's trickery is not interesting and fascinating anymore, it's just cruel and twisting him into doing just what Kay wants him to do.
Cassian doesn't want to listen, but he does. Moreover he knows that under the pain, and hatred, and pity, and everything he is feeling at the moment there is a part of him that is carefully memorizing everything Kay is saying. Because it might be useful. Because Kay is right.
Is that what it takes to work in Intelligence? To suddenly learn that not just someone who is close to you is a monster, but you are turning into one as well?
Cassian clenches his teeth and takes a deep breath. He won't cry, he won't show what he feels although it might already be written on his face.
"I am not going to kill us," he says and rubs his face to clear his vision. Cassian reluctlantly looks at Kay for the first time since he has heard about Fest from him. "I was worried and afraid before, I might do it. Now I am not. If we die, it would be..."
He quickly looks away picking the right word.
"Fine. It would be fine. So I am calm. You wanted me to be, remember?"
He wished he could hurt Kay with his words just like the man does, but he doesn't have enough knowlege, so his only option is to add some defiance into his tone.
He returns to the control panel and prepares the ship. Cassian doesn't hurry this time, because he has no idea how they are going to work now, what is going to happen. Now. He is almost stalling, and for the first time his pace is right.
"Why are you here?" he asks without looking at Kay. He has spent his one personal question, but Cassian doesn't care. It's not a game any more for him. "Why did they let you in after what you have done?"



    I didnt want you to be calm because of pain.
    Kay shrugs. It truly wasnt his intent. But he promised the kid to tell the truth, and he did. However, this is the extent of it, and when Kay hears the next two questionsbecause, of course, Cassian cant resist, he has to know nowhe laughs breathily. These are childish questions. The kid is still so, so unbearably young and wide-eyed in his belief in the infallible Rebellion. And maybe he should be, at least while he can. Kay isnt going to answer. To him neither Galactic Empire nor the Rebellion have ever been good or merciful. They were at war, and both sides acted accordingly.
    Like Ive told you already, you are very quick to judge. You judged Uquine in the same way you judged me now. You learnt one little sliver of truthand suddenly you think you know everything about me, or anything worth knowing, at least. You think I committed the biggest crime out thereyet the question you should be asking yourself is, what does the Alliance Intelligence do, if that was what Galactic Republic Intelligence did. What were you so eager to sign up to? The general didnt tell you. I will not tell you. Nobody will. Youre a smart kid. Youll figure it out on your own. But then there wouldnt be anybody to call a liar, just yourself and your critical thinking, which you hopefully will develop over the course of your training. I will answer your question when you earn it, Kay turns his head and looks away from Cassian. Thats enough truth for now. Were on a mission.
    And just like that, he relaxes in his seat, languid and content, and smiles easilyNigel Harr, the slicer about to become a part of a rebel cell on Uquine.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-19 13:36:45)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]"Do whatever helps you stay like that," Cassian reminds mimicing Kay. He doesn't have the voice of the man, but he catches the intonation and the way Kay is talking. "That's what've you told."
He shouldn't say that, shouldn't do that. There is nothing useful or satisfying about that, it certainly doesn't hurt Kay - Cassian wonders if he can be hurt at all, would he even bleed if someone cut him - but he simply can't let it go and listen, or nod, or smile again, or let Kay know, that he can't stop thinking about his future Intelligence jobs now, and what he might have to do while doing them.
Leaving the hyperspace helps him to distract himself from the thoughts. The caf is never spilled, but Cassian barely notices it. There's no quiet hum anymore and there's a darkness outside illuminators, not bright noodlles of hyperspace. Uquine lies ahead, as well as the mission.
Cassian packs himself along with his self-pity, his pain and his doubts, drowns them deep down and covers with Jeron. With the last glimpse of himself he turns to Kay, who is hiding under Nigel.
"You won't turn it into another lesson. You can't. You won't dare. It's not a nice occasion to spill your wisdom and to tell me what I should do or think ot wonder. It was my planet. It was my life."
He's not defiant now, just very serious. More serious than his new persona have ever been in his life. It's almost nice to be Jeron if only he didn't know it was his father's name. His father wasn't killed on Fest, but it's only because he was killed earlier.
"Were on a mission." He breathes out getting rid of what remains of his true self. "May I handle the landing, Nigel?"
He turns to Kay and smiles. Smiling is easy, except when it's not.



    Kay almost warns Cassian he shouldnt turn pain into a habit but then realizes the kid is unlikely to do it. He will come around, eventually, and if he doesnthe can always go and plead with the general to be reassigned. Kay doesnt even allow the thought of telling Cassian the entire story, of telling him exactly why did they let him in after what he has done, and he has done a great lot of things for the Empire. There is no point in proving himself to some kid. There is no point in the kid knowing just how similar they are. The company of rebels didnt interest Kay before and it doesnt now. He is fine with being judged and scoffed at. He is even fine with being mockedCassian mimics him well enough.
    Life is an endless string of lessons, kid. But you only ever find that out after youve learnt them, thats the trick. You never know the lesson until you leave the classroom. Kay doesnt say it out loud. He smiles in a warm, Nigel-y way and nodsanswering the last question, undoubtedly. Kay doesnt do warmth with people, only for work, only when he pretends to be someone else. Someone who didnt have to do so much to earn their place under the stars and exert themselves completely.
    We travelled here from Corellia, my homeworld. We did a job there for a small business, worked on their defense systems, helped to calibrate them. The business was a travel agency. Now we are here looking for a new job, heard there might be someone interested in slicers services. We walk around and get acquainted with the place for several days. Then we get ourselves a job as close to the cell as we can get, he says it all nonchalantly, nothing in his voice indicating there was such a drama going on just mere moments ago. I always wanted to fight the Empire. This is going to be exciting!
    Kay winks at Cassian, before putting his headphones on to listen in on a conversation with a dispatcher. He picks up his datapad and turns the screen on, searches quickly for something before showing Cassian the spacecraft documents, which contain all the information needed for the communication and legal landing. The dialogue they just hadnonexistent. The emotions he still feels washing over himunimportant. The pastforgotten.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian is not sure about exciting part, but it doesn't matter because Jeron certainly is. He smiles again, more natural, more effortless this time, and connects with a dispatcher. He answers her questions and talks with that special kind of confidence, that marks all newbies, and soon there's a smile in her voice clearly heard in headphones. She doesn't skip any procedure steps, but she is melted with idea that she is the first dispatcher ever in somebody's life, and it leaves no place for her to be suspicious or double-check anything.
All their data should be just fine. But you can never know when 'just fine' will turn to be not enough.
Cassian is the first to leave the ship. Uquine harbor looks like any harbor, but the sky is different, smells are different. It's completely new world, and it's easy to become a new person here. Cassian is going to do just that, but there's a small voice in the back of his head that reminds him about his mission and Kay. It also tells him his second question was wrong. It's not about the Rebellion taking Kay in. Cassian already knows why they did it. Because he is too good. Why has he decided to switch sides, that is a question. If Cassian cares about Kay's wishes and motivation and reasons he has for anything.
He's not.
He shouldn't be.
He thinks about Kay and remembers about Nigel. He's returning to their ship with that eagerness he had back home. He remembers it so it's easy to portray.
"Need any assistance?" he asks looking longingly at the city he never saw before, ready to dive into it, just as a teenager hungry for life would do.



    When Cassian leaves the cockpit, Kay stays behind for a few moments. He drops the easy smile, exhales a long, dragging breath. Now, this is interesting. Why did this put him off balance, even if so briefly? Nothing ever does. But then again, he has never met anyone from Fest before. They were all dead. Wherever he went, he has never had to meet his past in such an intimate, personal way. All his missions for the Empire were successfula mind-blowing, almost unattainable record for an intelligence officer. Everyone has at least one mission gone sideways, but not him. Not ever.
    This is not going to be the first.
    Kay makes sure the sleeves of his shirt cover his wrists and leaves the cockpit. Commenor Run makes Uquine spaceport a busy place, buzzing with all kinds of languages, people and spacecrafts, and there is even more diversity in the city. Kay stops in the doorway, looking around with a pleased smile. Nigel likes places like this, where he can feel the life around, a never-stopping blur of movement, people hurrying to different destinations. He likes them especially, because he has services to offer, and there certainly are people here who would like to purchase them. Content with his primary observations, Kay lands his glance on Cassian. He digs out a comlink from his pocket and throws it to the kid.
    Heres your comlink, kiddo. Go find us a place to stay while I sort out the parking. Dont get into trouble, Kay points a finger at him, as if Cassian always got into trouble, but not the bad kind, rather the fun kind of trouble. When in doubt, call me. Dont forget what I told you. Were here to look for a job, not to get carried away with fun stuff.
    What he means is, were here on a mission.
    What he means is, dont forget you are Jeron now, not Cassian Andor.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-19 23:56:37)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]"Those are not troubles," Cassian catches the comlink grinning and switches it on and off to give it a try. Slicers who work with what they can get never trust a device until they try it themselves.
"Those are adventures."
He understands what Kay is really saying. He is right; that irritates Cassian. It's pretty hard to hate someone who is constantly right about everything and takes your hatred for granted. Cassoan is not sure he can manage it. He is not sure he should.
He leaves the spaceport without looking back and with every sort he is more Jeron. It's good to be Jeron and it's good to be on a new planet after the flight. A new place where one can start a new life and then fly away to start another one if that one wouldn't work. And fight the Empire, but that's a default stage in every life. And Nigel thinks so too.
Uquine is big, and noisy, and full of color, and it's everything Cassian dreamed it to be. There's just one thing to bother him, but he doesn't notice it at first. Uquine looks like everything but the world dying and lamenting under the durasteel rod of Empire.
But what does he know. It might be just a surface, a veil over the ruins and dreams. He's here for a half an hour. No one can guess the planet in a time that small. But he have guessed Kay in a couple of minutes, and...
Cassian shakes his head getting rid of his thoughts. He is to keep his eyes and ears open, not to reflect. He wonders deeper in city. Cassian feels safe in a crowd on streets of unfamiliar city. That is something he took from his childhood and mastered on bases they had. He easily spots ways he can use to escape or to hide, he feels the rhythm of hurrying people. He knows how to stay out of sight and he does just that.
He isn't looking at a place to stay at first. But he catches a glimpse of scared teenager running somewhere with a badly printed cheap paper posters turned that way no one could see what is printed on them. He notices couple of people who don't acknowledge or show they know each other but one gives a little nod without looking at the other one, and another one follows in careful five step distance. It might be something.
Then he is finding a place. A nice and small, close to the center, not far from the spaceport, with additional space they can use as a workshop. It takes some time, but he finds it, and that's the point when he can't proceed without Kay's help.
He waits a little bit to be sure they have a connection.
"I''ve found one, but the owner doesn't want to talk to me. Says I'm just a kid," he scowls and doesn't even have to pretend to do so. "So I need you. Can I catch you somewhere? Or you can find me. It's on the north from the port. There's a blue door and really strong cad smell."

Cassian Andor (2018-07-25 23:33:41)



    Not even once does Cassian look back, but Kay still follows him with his eyes, until the kid is the one with the crowd. Then his gaze drifts away, catches a bunch of faces here and there, sweeps the area, checking the escape routes, anything and everything they might need to know if there is going to be a haste departure. Then he stretches his limbs, content and nonchalant and goes back into the ship. Picking a handful of different money chips, Kay stashes them in all pockets he has, one he even drops in his boot.
    Minutes later he leaves the ship and casually strolls across the spaceport to the cashier to pay for parking. He banters humorously with the guy behind the counter, but the deal is goodUquine spaceports are a friendly place for a tired traveler. At least for the first month of parking. After that you better find a better place to store your ship. Kay doesnt mind. His best assessment is that this mission isnt going to last longer than three weeks. After a certain point it is very easy to understand if a cell is for real or not.
    Done with the parking, Kay walks back to the freighter, whistling some Corellian tune. He busies himself with packing and making sure the ship doesnt give away anything. He stops only in front of Cassians cabin door, he even opens it but doesnt venture in. Just gives it an inquisitive look, but the kid has done a good job on making sure it looks like he lived in it for some time, and so Kay leaves it untouched. He isnt good with people, but he understands the rules of privacy and how unwanted him trespassing would be in this particular case.
    When commlink lights up, and Cassians unhappy voice pours in, Kay almost thinks the kid decided to do something stupidlike run away or try to tackle the mission on his own without Kays knowledgebut he just reports on his little task. Kay huffs in the commlink.
    And here I was, thinking you are old enough to do these things on your own, Kay goes for the light teasing tone of voice, and it feels unfamiliar to him, but sounds convincing. He puts one more detail into the puzzleNigel is the type of person who teases his young protégé, reminding him of his age here and there just to make sure the kid doesnt get his head too big. Ill be right there.
    Kay doesnt pick up any bags from the ship yet and locks it so nobody else picks them up either, and hurries to the north of the spaceport. Uquine is breathing with sun, golden rays striking from every corner, dancing on windows and on the speeders hoods. Kay goes through the streets, primarily concentrated on looking at different doors. He does notice, however, one of the money chips getting stolen by a kid not much younger than Cassian. Kay lets him go, doesnt do anything. Slicers like Nigel dont notice these things. And they certainly dont possess the skills needed to apprehend the thief.
    Once the blue door is finally found, Kay pushes it and steps in, immediately assessing his surroundingsthe people, the exits, the best place to hide from the blasterfirein one brief glance. His eyes stop on Cassian.
    One day you will be big and strong, kiddohe says in that same teasing tone of voice which he actually comes to enjoyand they will believe you can pay them with real money.
    A money chip appears in his fingers seemingly out of nowhere, and Kay turns to the owner of the place. He doesnt double-check it, he doesnt let Cassian know there are probably better places just down the road, he works with what he has been handed. And its not a bad placejust a bit inconvenient. But people learn from their own mistakes, however many times they tell you they learnt from somebody elses.
    Three weeks. Me and the kid. He can be a bit of a troublemaker, but were generally quiet. How much?
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]

K-2SO (2018-07-25 19:13:54)



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]"Yeah, and that day they wouldl start to wonder if I have stole them."
Cassian frowns, but then a smile breaks the frown, and so he's not. With that tone of Kay it's hard to be mad. And if Nigel uses it often, which he apparently does, considering he's used it twice in a very short period of time, Jeron must be OK with it. Nigel doesn't look like someone who would take with him a boy who doesn't like him, he just has no reason to do so. Unlike Kay, of course, but it isn't about Kay. It's about them completing their mission. It's a mission, not some pleasant walk where one can freely choose a partner or decide to not complete it due to personal reasons.
Besides, he needs Kay. Cassian can count on the fingers of two hands times he has been off base, it's his first mission, and it very clear now why it is so. Few people take him seriously. What use he is to Rebellion if he can't persuade the owner of a building to talk to him instead of waiting for someone older. And he can't. He has tried, and he failed.
He fails.
The owner names a price, and it's cheaper this time. He has something reminding about Toydarians in him. Clearly human, but there's something is a way he moves. So it seems just plain odd for him to cut the price. Cassian doesn't mention it now and isn't sure he has to do it at all. He doesn't know the reason of it. The man might have fell for a Correlian charm, he might have dislike the way Cassian talked or looked like. He might have been probing the amount of money they are ready to pay or just tried to scare him off with the price. It doesn't matter. And he should't be so quick to judge. With a new price the place is even better, and all saved credits are used to fight the Empire.
It's a little bit easier to look at Kay now. Cassian gives it a try, and again, and again. He tries to see through Nigel knowing this is probably a bad idea. But when he thinks he's got it, he doesn't feel like crying, shouting, pitying or hating. He doesn't need that pain anymore to stay in line, and it feels good.
He tries to talk later, when they are alone again.
"I've noticed some people who may be interesting. But not sure about anything yet. Anyway, what kind of clients do we need this time?"
He's asking about the cell people but thinks he hides it well enough. The lighter is disguise the better, that's what older agents liked to teach him over and over again.



    All people are interesting, Kay mutters under his breath, not really intending for Cassian to hear him.
    Now, that their living conditions are settled and they are left alone in their flat, he looses the smile but keeps all the mannerisms. He wanders around the rooms, checks the windows, the two queen beds, opens the wardrobes, peeks in the bathroomnothing interesting or fancyand finally examines the little room perfect for a workshop. When he returns to Cassian, he clasps his hands together and clicks his tongue.
    Your question, Kay says. We need the type of clients who can make some noise for us. We need all the wrong people who will talk with anyone who is interested. Potentially we need that one client who will land us in jailbecause we would be doing a very, very dangerous thing but we would be doing it so brilliantly, so spectacularly that the word will catch on. And when there are people in needthere is always somebody willing to help in exchange for those brilliant services they heard so much of. Do you catch my drift, kiddo?
    Kay has a plan, but not the solid one like they do in headquarters. Life has taught him to never ever have a solid, rigid plan, so his plan is versatile. They will begin with a couple of jobs for people one would typically find at a black market or an equally unpleasant place. Kay knows how these cells workhe knows it from the inside and he knows it from the outside. They have very limited field of operation, and they are even more limited in terms of recruitment. The word of mouth is what gets you in a cell, but only if you prove you are opposed to their enemy first.
    Nobody trusts anybody on planets like this one, and Kay cant blame them. He used to be an Imperial officer, he knows exactly where a misplaced trust can land a person.
    But first things first! We need a map of the city, and we need our bags from the ship. Then we can go look for the clients, Kay spins in one spot, surveying the room. And maybe some decorations to make this place a bit cozier. Cant stand the empty walls, makes it feel like Im in a cell, he stops and clicks his tongue again. Then he steps closer to Cassian, lowers his voice, dropping the charade for a few fleeting moments, Tell me about the people. And tell menice and shortwhy did you pick this place.
[nick]Kay Tooesso[/nick][status]what are the odds[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<br><center><a href="">IDENTIFICATION CARD</a><br><br><img src=""><br><b>Kay Tooesso</b>, <br>Alliance intelligence officer</center>[/LZ]



[status]odds? what odds?[/status][icon][/icon][LZ]<b>Cassian Andor</b>, <br>your trouble[/LZ]Cassian doesn't want to but still watches Kay carefully. He memorizes the casual inconspicuous way Kay glances at the place and checks it later. The way he stops smiling but keeps moving like Nigel. His plan. Everything he can catch, every small detail.
He is here to learn after all. He can hate the man in his spare time.
Cassian thinks about it but then he hears about a cell. Is it Nigel's words or Kay's? Was he ever in a real cell? More importantly, was he ever there as a prisoner? He has too many questions for Kay, and it doesn't look like he's going to have another chance to ask any of them.
He flinches just a little bit when Kay comes closer, but he doesn't recoil. He has to be calm and collected. And careful, but that's not the point right now, so Cassian drops the third C. He looks at Kay - and it is Kay, there's no Nigel to scrape him with a glance to find the real man underneath - looking for something he's not sure he will see or even want to. A remorse, probably, to know for sure Kay is a human being, not some masterfully disguised droid. A lack of it to know he is a completely different person now. Something else to memorize the way one can cope with something like that, because he is a smart kid. Kids of another kind tended to die being left alone on his home planet.
He sees nothing and lowers his gaze staring at Adam's apple on Kay's neck. He turns it away for a bit, just to make sure nobody is listening.
Cassian gives a nonchalant shrug. "It just fits. Not far from the spaceport, so we could flee if we have to. Not far from a center when it's easier to find clients and to know people. it has a workshop to maintain... to continue our job. It's not too expensive. It's good. Is it?" Cassian breaks his confident look just once but retains it quickly. "And people are just people. There was a kid with something printed. It can be nothing, or it can be an underground press. It's common to have one. We used to have it. And it's common to have kids as a messengers and carriers. The are less likely to be stopped, and even if they are, they know less. Less dangerous that way." He doesn't add this time they did it on Fest either, just shrugs one more time. Kay must know how these things work, that must be the reason he has called Cassian a troublemaker - to cover with it everything that might go wrong. "And there were two another people, adults who didn't talk and didn't even show they knew each other. But they did. It might be something else, it's too early to make any conclusions."
He tries very hard not to show that last part is a result of short Kay's mentoring.
"Are you... Will you... You are going to ask to reassign me, aren't you? After we finish this."


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