note: modern au
There was something about that case that just wasn’t right, he had a tingling sensation on the back of his neck: somehow his instinct was screaming. He just didn’t understand what it wanted to tell him.
There had been a murder, and had it been a murder, he had been called, as always.
Cassian Andor was one of the best Detectives of the precinct, assigned to murder cases and violent crimes he was a cunning and clever man, able to fix all the pieces and see the scheme and the plan hidden behind the crime.
«Oi, Andor» Kes Dameron called his name, and Cassian was brought back to reality «You still here? We have shit to work onto, look how this poor guy was killed».
«One clean shot between his eyes» said the coroner, showing the body to the detective «I don’t see any apparent sign of any other physical injury on the body, but I’ll have to run some tests before being completely sure. Although I’m fairly the bullet in the head is what killed me».
«Well, thanks for the meaningful insight on the- Cassian, are you sure you are okay? Bodhi doesn’t he look pale to you?»
The coroner looked at his detective friend and nodded: «Are you eating enough? Sleeping? Don’t tell me you are skipping both again».
«Well, thanks, moms. I’m perfectly fine. I was just thinking I have seen this guy before, I just can’t really recall where».
He scratched his beard, scoffing. He was sure he had seen that face before.
«Well, doesn’t really matter, it will come to me. Did we check everything, Kes?»
«I did, man, can’t really say what you did, though» laughed his partner.
«Asshole» Cassian voice was sarcastic, he was never able to get mad with Kes Dameron. His partner sarcastic spirit and ironic tongue were never meant for harm, but always just for laughter and he knew it.
«Boys, when you are finished we’d like to move the body» noticed Bodhi, shaking his head. Why on heart working with his best friend and his best friend’s best friend was so bloody difficult?
«Got it, man. Is the bullet still inside?»
«Nope, as I said it was a clean shot. Bullet came in from the window, passed through this guy’s head and ended on the kitchen counter. Might be difficult to take it out, but the CSIs are already working on it».
«Must have been one hell of a shot» said Kes, looking out of the window. They were on the sixteenth floor of one of many skyscraper of Coruscant higher quarters.
«Must have been one hell of a shooter, too» commented Cassian, heading towards the door «We hare having pancakes first, then we’ll meet with you at the precinct».
«This necessity of yours of eating every time you got a case it’s frankly quite disturbing» Bodhi raised an eyebrow, looking at duo.
«Well» muttered Kes, «You know what they say: You can’t fight evil on an empty stomach”»
His loft was on a tall building on the south side of the Market district; it used to be a factory of some sort, Cassian never really knew, he never really cared.
He let himself fall on the couch, not even bothering to take off his shoes; it had been a rough day, people kept coming and going from their office, there had been a lot of yelling and threatening. Everyone wanted a name, everyone wanted someone arrested for the murder and they wanted it fast. Cassian didn’t realize the importance of that homicide until someone casually dropped a name: Orson Krennic.
Orson Krennic had been a prominent exponent of a famous political party, scientific leader of a group or researchers of a not so secret hidden base on one of the many mountains near the city, military leader and a notorious asshole.
He wasn’t sorry about his death. Of course, being a detective, it was his duty to find out who did it, still he couldn’t feel any sympathy for the guy. He knew the stories: he had heard rumours, about thing Krennic had done in a not so recent past, about killing, robbing, corruption, mass murder even. He was certainly not sorry for his death, but hearing once again that name had made some old memories resurface and he had finally understood what that tingling sensation wanted to tell him
It was about the Jyn Erso missing person case. It was about the first case he ever witnessed.
Cassian Andor was just a policeman when this young girl, daughter of the famous scientist Galen Erso, disappeared. Her father was a prominent member of the scientific community of Coruscant, he was rich, loved and highly estimated by everyone. Yet in around a week he lost everything: his wife was killed, it was an accident, some sort of malfunctioning of her car; soon after his beloved daughter Jyn, was abducted, she was just fourteen. They searched for her everywhere, investigated everyone who potentially knew her or her family, every enemy of Galen was taken in to be questioned, every old friend was suspected. Every single one. In the end they never found her, and after some time the case become cold and was filed between the unsolved ones.
Being the one who first arrived on the abduction site, Cassian had always felt deeply connected with this unsolved missing case. Thinking about it now, after seven years, it was what gave him the courage to pursue a career as a Detective. He was nineteen at the time, just a kid fresh from the training academy, not really sure what he wanted from life; after he worked on the case he found himself all grown up, he discovered he had been turned in a man.
Partially he had to thank prosecutor Bail Organa, who took him under his wing and guided him in the intricated justice system of Coruscant; partially he had to thank the small girl he couldn’t save, that for a couple of years visited him in his dreams, telling him stories of what had happened to her after he couldn’t save her. Rationally he knew he was just a cop, not a detective, and that wasn’t his case, it was Organa’s and Syndulla’s, not his. Still he couldn’t shrug off the sensation he could have done more.
It was during that time that he first come across Orson Krennic: Krennic was an old friend of Galen Erso, they met during university and worked together for several years, at least until Galen resigned. They did multiple checks on him, not trusting his persona, but nothing dirty ever officially came out, and, eventually, they had to give up. For the longest time Cassian – and both Bail and Hera, thought that he was the one behind the missing, but Jyn was never found, not even when Galen came back to work with old friend.
In the end, there were no proofs.
This homicide hade made all those memories resurface, and Cassian wasn’t quite sure how he should feel about it.
«I’m probably just imagining thing, as usual» he muttered to himself, opening a bottle of wine and getting a class from the white cupboard.
He stopped, his hand still mid-air, and squinted.
«Even so… I should give a look to those old files, just be sure. Just to be sure».
«Shooting the guy, that was a dick move».
«Shut the fuck up, would ya?»
«Don’t you get all butthurt on me, Stardust. The mistake was yours, not mine. Besides the boss’s asking when you’ll be back, the next target is waiting».
«Tell him I got shit to fix, Idanian. You can do the job on your own, whatever it is» muttered the girl, working on her rifle.
«Shit to fix, uh? Like that guy?»
«Would it be so terrible for you to mind your own fucking business?»
«Would it be so terrible for you to show some goddamn feelings? I was just asking».
«Anyway, Onderon said someone might start digging stuff up. Old cases and shit».
«He was already digging shit up, I did what it had to be done. Probably just a bit sooner».
On the other side of the line, the man sighed.
«I’ll be back when I’m done. Don’t worry. Stardust out».
The Motel room was small and dirty.
It smelled like sex and humidity, but she wanted to save money, so she had chosen the cheapest room of the cheapest motel of the Uscru Entertainment District. If she were to chose to stay for a while, she’d probably have had to move.
Liana Hallik sighed loudly as she put on her coat, and grabbed her bag, ready to adventure in the outside world. She hated Coruscant. There were memories about that place, about that hellhole of a town, that still came to hunt her at night. Memories of her past, of her mother, of her father, of the life she once led and that was brutally teared away from her.
She was but a child back then, she knew better now. Better than trusting someone like Orson Krennik, better than not taking precautions when it came to her old life.
Protecting her new self was the main reason why she had acted on her own, although she was not new to those kind of impulsive behaviour; more than once she had found herself in a pinch because of that, and more than once her father – her other father – had had to come to the rescue.
Saw Guerrera – code name Onderon, like that small town where he was born – was one hell of a man. Many would have considered him just a criminal, killing people for money wasn’t, after all, much of a noble gesture, but it wasn’t how he saw himself. He considered his organization the armed arm of justice: they were patriots, rebels who killed dangerous and horrible human being that law couldn’t touch.
Liana knew that being angry as he could have been, Saw would never really blame her for killing a lowlife scum as Orson Krennik: he would had wanted to kill him himself for years, the only thing that prevented him from doing was protecting her.
As usual Liana Hallik, once known as Jyn Erso, wasn’t very good at protecting herself.
The room was resonating with voices.
She looked around, scanning it with expertise; according to the intelligence she had received, the man she was looking for should have been around there. They had told her the detective was a handsome man in his mid-twenties, he was bearded and had a thick southern accent. As she approached the counter she wished she had a picture of him, but his contact didn’t bother to provide her with one.
He just told her he was investigating the case, also he mentioned he had made some sort of connection, but he wasn’t certain of the extent of it.
She had cursed the moment she had heard the name: Cassian Jeron Andor.
Liana had studied Jyn Erso’s case, her own case, for the longest time, digging up old files and researching the lives of all the people who had been working on it. She had been focusing her attention in particular to the Detective, Hera Syndulla, and the prosecutor, Bail Organa, but she didn’t fail to get information on the policemans.
She had been surprised to know how hard and for how long they had been searching for her, but in the end she was just glad no one ever found her.
Cassian Andor was, she remembered, the first one to reach the abduction site, he was he one who had been yelling her name for hours, who had searched the entire facility, the woods, and part of the mountains looking for her. He must have been a good man, he probably still was, being a detective and facing crime and shit.
She sighed, he probably didn’t deserve what she was about to do.
He walked in the room with a smile on his face, waving at a waiter he probably had known for a while, and sat at the counter. He was still smiling when Jyn approached him and sat next to him.
«Do you mind?» she asked, moving the chair so that she would be able to adjust.
«Of course not, Ma’am» he moved, just a bit, to make her fit more comfortably on the spot and smiled, again.
Jyn smiled back before she could even realize it. No one had ever called her “Madam” before, once Han had tried to call her Lady, she had punched him in the face.
«Are you here alone?» he asked, looking at his beer with unexpected joy.
«Are you asking for a reason?»
«It’s just that this area it’s not very… safe, not for a young girl on her own».
«How chivalrous of you, Mr…»
«Andor, Cassian Andor. And I’m a Detective» he gave her his hand to shake.
«Nice to meet you, Detective Andor. I’m Liana».
«That’s a very nice name, a very unique one».
«My parents had me in a hippy community in Lah’mu, during their younger days» she replied, softly, playing with her hair «Eventually I got used to it, even in these large, modern, huge cities where it’s easier to come by with easier names».
«I’ve heard of that place, lots of crops, small cottages, an unusually low crime rate».
«Told you, a hippy phase».
«Hippy or not, I still like it. Can I offer you something to drink, Liana?»
Jyn laughed, it was a rarity to hear someone say her name with such intensity; usually, her friends, Saw, everyone she knew, were well aware that Liana was only an alias, a few selected people knew her real name, but no one ever used it. It was better that way.
«Wine» she muttered, leaning closer to the counter «I’ll take just a glass of wine».
She didn’t particularly like it, but it was sexier to see a woman drink wine than beer. She had been doing tests on the matter, mostly while seducing targets, and most men liked to watch her drink, taking pleasure in the delicate movement of her silhouette. She had come to the realization that it wasn’t the substance that mattered, but the glass, and the impression in gave of her persona: classier or easier, louder or sophisticated.
Men were, after all, easy to read, at least those she used to target for her jobs.
«Wine?» he asked, raising an eyebrow «I’d have said you were more the beer type».
It was her turn to raise and eyebrow.
«And why is that?»
«Call it intuition. It usually works, though» he scratched the back of his head and smiled faintly.
«You said you are a Detective, didn’t you? So what is it that you do? Catch bad guys? Stop robberies?»
«It’s not exactly a pleasant topic for a drink» he scoffed «But if you insist…»
«I do, I’m not easily shock anyway».
«I’m in the Homicide and Serious Crime Command section».
«Oh, so you investigate murder cases! Scary, I guess, but cool».
«And what is it that you do, Liana?»
She smiled, faintly.
«I’m a photographer, I travel a lot, always have, always will» she looked at the glass of wine, staring intently at the red shades reflecting on the surface «I was never able to sit still, to feel completely at home. Travelling does the trick. To remember every place I go, everyone I met, I always take tons and tons of pictures, then one day, I realized I was pretty good at it».
Cassian looked at her, and she thought she had seen stars in her eyes.
«That sound incredibly fulfilling and beautiful».
And fake, she added in her mind.
Well, she did take pictures and she was good at it, but it was mostly a cover for her real job. Not that she could go straight to a detective she was stalking and tell him she was a payed killer.
«Can I see some?»
«Of what?» she asked, not really following, lost in the trail of her thought.
«Your pictures, Liana. I’d like to see them, of course, just if you don’t mind».
«Of course, sorry, I’m a bit distracted lately», she answered as she took her phone out from her bag «Here».
She passed it to him, leaning in to show Cassian the details of the story, scrolling down the gallery.
«Here, this was in Jakku, a few months ago, the desert was magnificent; here I was in Xagobah, unpleasant canyons, but outstanding twilights; Gamorr, I hated the people, but the plantations, god! They were magnificent! And this last one is -»
«Alderaan, isn’t it?»
«Oh, yes! Have you been there?»
«Yes. A couple of times, I know several people from Alderaan, an amusing place, filled with beauty, culture, nature. I’d love to live there».
«And yet you are still here, stuck on Coruscant» she smiled, looking at him, they were closer than she thought they’ll ever be «Tell me, do you have any regrets?»
«That’s a very personal question, Liana» he stopped, and looked at her, right into her eyes «Just one, but there’s nothing I can do about it. And you, Liana, do you have any regrets?»
It was the time of a blink, and in a moment, as he smiled again, driving away nostalgia from his eyes, she realized she wanted him to call her Jyn. She wanted, desperately, to hear him calling his name, at least once, just once.
«Not many, no Detective. I try to act in a way that I won’t regret later».
«Exemplar, Miss, but not always easy».
«Not always possible either».
«In my case, the job I do doesn’t help»
Jyn smiled, holding her glass with the tip of her fingers.
«Have you ever shot a man, Detective?»
«I did. I was military before being in the force, a Captain in my old country’s militia».
«Captain Cassian Andor, fascinating, and you why didn’t you become an NCIS?»
He laughed; his accent was perceptible even then.
«It was down south, in Mexico, Liana. I was not American enough to serve the country. Besides I was very young and I wasn’t even a real soldier».
«I don’t see the problem in that, Detective. Violence is rarely the answer, I like you better as a Detective».
«It suits you, you look like someone who cares».
He smiled sadly, looked away from her and stared at the bottom of his empty glass.
«Sometimes I think I care too much».
«Is that a bad thing?» she asked «At least you do, sometimes I think I’ve stopped doing that a long time ago, I find myself lost in the vastness of the world and instead of being scared I find myself thinking there’s no point. In this endless walking on, I mean».
«Maybe you should just settle down, you know? Find your roots or something like that».
«I’m trying to, I still don’t like that part of my life. I don’t like having roots».
«You are a strange woman Liana».
«And you are a very good listener, Cassian Andor».
«Not everyone would agree, I’m afraid».
«I’m not everyone, though» Jyn laughed «Could I ask you to escort me home?»
Sleeping with the detective that was investigating the murder she had committed wasn’t exactly her idea of being subtle, moreover he was the very same man who had once obsessed over her old ego’s disappearance. She was never famous for having a good temper, nor for reasoning before acting: she used to regret her stupid impulsive behaviour too often, lucky for her not that night.
The next morning, she found herself with a stupid grin on her face and with a small piece of paper on her bedside table – he had teared it away from his own organizer, and she had laughed because who still used paper to write down appointments and notes?
He was old fashioned and a bit vintage, everything in him rejected both technology and progress, Jyn found out she liked him for that: suddenly the thought of killing him seemed too distant and too unreal to be acted upon.
She looked at his number and groaned.
«I’m an asshole» she muttered, rolling in the big empty bed, the soft white sheets rolled up her naked legs.
She sat up and brought her knees up to her chest; he fingers run though her dark air as she tried to collect her thought.
«What? Who?» Jyn suddenly turned her head as her prepaid phone rang «Liana Hallik, who is this?»
«Yo, Elle, Sana here. How ya doin’?»
«Oh god, how did you even get this number?»
«That useless friend of our, that sorry son of a bantha».
«I was about to say the same thing» Jyn muttered, cursing Solo.
«That’s why I like ya, girl. Now, I’ve heard you’ve fucked up, wanna talk?»
The girl groaned and let herself fell down on the bed again, she closed her eyes and rubbed them with one hand; the image of Cassian’s cranky smile crossed her mind.
«No… Maybe? Yes».
«I’m all ears, kid».
Jyn inhaled deeply and took a moment to find the right words.
«Do you remember what I told you before coming here? About my past, putting an end to my nightmares and shit?»
«Oh, right, that old ass you wanted to meet and thank. Deeply».
«Yeah, that guy I met. I also met this guy, a Detective».
«He’s one of the guys who once investigated the young Erso’s disappearance…»
«For fuck’s sake!»
«And a certain murder that has been recently committed in town».
«For the chosen’s sake!
«We fucked -»
«Well, girl, you most certainly fucked up» yelled Sana.
«To be fair, I fucked him» Jyn laughed, amused by her own joke.
«Oh god, please» her friend’s voice was almost a plead «Please, tell me you are still going to do something about him».
«He’s not a threat» Jyn tried to defend herself – or maybe Cassian, she wasn’t sure.
«And what if he becomes one? What if he becomes nosy and starts asking questions?»
«It’s not like we are married just because we fucked once».
«You don’t fuck just anyone, Jaybird. You are a cautious little star who sometimes doesn’t think before acting, but usually not to this extent».
«I swear, he has a very charming accent».
Sana didn’t reply.
«Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I promise I’ll be careful».
«You’d better be Jaybird, I don’t wanna come and save your sorry ass».
Cassian sighed. He shouldn’t have slept with Liana, he shouldn’t have even considered her someone to date.
There was something that woman that made his fifth sense and half scream inside him; his instinct was telling him she was hiding something, and Cassian was rarely wrong.
He never believed in coincidences nor in destiny or fate, her arrival – right the same day of Krennic’s murder, the very same day he was brought back to the Erso’s case – was far too precise to be just coincidental. And, even if it was, Cassian was sure that Jyn was hiding something, something important, something huge.
«Maybe she has a kid» said Kes «Maybe she’s married».
«Or maybe she’s a reporter, and not just a photographer» Shara intervened, leaning in from her desk.
«I don’t know, I mean maybe you are right, maybe it’s nothing. Still I feel like I’k missing something and it’s bothering me» he muttered, organizing the papers on his desk.
«But you are going to see her again, aren’t you?»
«I don’t even know what I’ll eat for lunch, Dameron, shut the fuck up, please».
Kes laughed, he knew his friend too well not to notice how interested he already was in that mysterious girl; he barely knew her, yet she seemed to have caught his eye the same way a complex case would have.
«Right, sorry, partner. On a side note, we should pay a visit to Lord Tarkin to ask him some questions. I’ll buy you a coffee and I’ll let you drive».
«I’m still bothered, but thanks anyway» Cassian laughed.
Wilhuff Tarkin was a prudent man. He was also a Lord, an established and well-respected member of the military and of the government, he was rich and, in a way, untouchable. Being also an extremely intelligent man and a careful planner, he never forgot all those things, and most of all he never forgot his position, which was – needless to say – superior to that of most people. Orson Krennic’s death had been an unpleasant inconvenience, an unexpected one; Tarkin was planning to use Krenninc for a couple of months more, before getting rid of him. Of course, someone must have had an unsolvable dispute with the man; he couldn’t really blame them, whoever they were, as Orson was a very annoying human being, as many would have defined him: a pain in the ass.
Even in his death, he was bringing him some troublesome problems, such as the visit of those two nosy detectives.
«Did he have any enemies?»
«He was into science, military and politics, what do you think, Detective? The right question in not whether he had or not any enemies, but how many he had».
«Noted, Sir. Pardon my next question, were you one of those?»
«No, Detective Andor, although I won’t hide the fact that I despised Krennic. His dreams and his ambitions were tiny and miserable, exactly as he was. He had no vision and no perspective, yet he thought he was a genius. The real genius, though, was his friend: Galen Erso».
Cassian raised his head in surprise.
«Galen Erso? Since you brought this up, Sir, do you think this could be linked to Galen Erso’s daughter? She disappeared years ago, Krennic was a suspect in that case».
Tarkin shook his head.
«I doubt that. As far as I know, every single member of that family is dead, except for Galen himself. But I doubt he would have done anything to hurt Krennic, he was – in the end, his only friend. His only real friend».
Cassian didn’t reply: so, Galen Erso was still alive.
He hadn’t been thinking about him much, not near as much as he had always been thinking about Jyn Erso, his mysterious daughter, vanished in the void.
As they drove back towards the city, Cassian asked Kes if he could drop him on the side of an old building; its walls were made of bricks and there were old graffiti over exterior, they were almost fading away.
«I’ll take a taxi, don’t worry about me, Dameron».
«Don’t worry, Andor. I don’t, I know you can shoot».
The building was empty; but Cassian already knew that, it had been abandoned many years before. Stones and debris were scattered all around the floor; the was an old broken chair in the corner of one of the rooms, Cassian looked at it, he slowly pressed his fingers on it and looked at the marks he left on the thick layer of dust.
A noise, coming from the floor above, captured his attention and the Detective slowly but carefully climbed the old stairs to peak who was intruding in his private inspection.
Liana Hallik was standing in the centre of the room. Her camera had been gently put on a large group of unused bricks, and the girl was momentarily busy observing the wall right in front of her.
«What are you doing here?» Cassian asked, he was holding his gun into one of his hands, as he was expecting to find someone else, everyone else.
Liana jumped and her hand instantly went to her front pocket, right where she was hiding a small knife; she stopped the moment she realized who he was. Her face relaxed and she smiled, faintly.
«You scared the hell out of me, Detective».
«What are you doing here, Liana?» he asked again, putting away his gun.
«I was here to take some pictures, but the I noticed that» she pointed towards the wall.
There were small graffiti on that wall too, but they hadn’t been made with spray, but with a small stone.
«I see, you found the message on the wall» he laughed, but it was a forced laugh, and in the end it sounded like he was about to burst into tears.
«Is everything okay?» she asked.
Cassian Andor was a good man, maybe a little bit too invested in his job, a little bit obsessed with a certain old case, but he was a good man; he wanted to trust people, and there was a part of him that truly believed that Liana could be trusted. His other half, on the other hand, was screaming not to trust her.
«I’m sorry. It is, it’s just that I didn’t expect to find you here, nor I expected to be this overwhelmed by memories».
She said nothing, but she came closer and sat on the bricks; Cassian smiled as Liana held out her hand, inviting him to sit next to her.
«I wasn’t expecting to see you either» she explained «But if you want to talk, I’m all ears».
«There was a girl once, her name was Jyn Erso» he started.
As he said her name, Jyn shivered.
«I was just entered in the force, I was so young and naïve, and that was my first real case. A girl had vanished, she was abducted; every clue pointed towards this location and I was the first to arrive here, unfortunately I found nothing. Well except for those writings on the wall».
«Did you ever found her?» she asked, although, of course, she already knew the answer.
«No, never. We searched for her everywhere, she had vanished. Completely disappeared in the void, into nothingness».
«I’m sorry», she didn’t mean it.
«I’ve been hunted by her ghost for years, blaming me for not being able to save her, for letting her die, for forgetting her».
«I…» she stopped, then, one again, Jyn said: «I’m sorry, Cassian».
This time she believed in her words, he didn’t deserve the nightmares, nor her hate.
«It’s okay. Besides, I might have a new lead now, I’m investigating a murder that might be connected, I’m going to pay a visit to an old friend» he stopped «Actually, we’ve never been friends. His name was Galen Erso, he was the father of the girl who vanished».
For a brief moment, Jyn forgot to breathe.
She had thought him death; for all those years the thought of his death had reassured her and made her feel better. She had been convincing herself that no one was missing her, no one would have looked for her. But Galen Erso was still alive, and she suddenly understood the sad, nostalgic look she had often caught into Saw’s eyes.
«I’ll come with you» she blurted out, without thinking.
«What? It’s an official investigation, Liana. I can’t bring you with me».
She nodded, she knew, of course she knew, she had been careless.
«Right, I don’t mean with you, if you have to question him, but I’d like to meet this man. Can you imagine losing everyone you love like that? Being completely alone, it’s so sad. I could take a picture of him, tell him about the places I’ve seen. He might feel better. And you wouldn’t have to go there alone».
Cassian stroked her hair, gently.
«Thank you, I’ll think about it».
He stood up and offered her his hand.
«So, Liana Hallink, any plans for dinner?»
continua qua perché LJ mi fa tagliare i post lunghi