Massive spoiler alert: everyone dies at the end of Rogue One. (That’s okay to say now, right?) The rebel crew, after a long-fought battle on Scarif, get the plans for the Death Star out to Leia Organa, but are all killed in the destruction of the planet. It makes sense from a storytelling perspective; if Jyn, Cassian, and everyone else were good enough to survive Scarif, it wouldn’t make any sense if we didn’t see them fighting alongside Luke and Leia in the original movies. So they had to die. However, if you, like me, left the movie asking yourself “did they really have to die, though???” today’s fanfic is for you.
the sharp edge of survival imagines a Star Wars universe in which the Rogue One crew somehow do escape Scarif, only to find that the new Rebel Alliance, with its shiny Princess and actual Jedi, has no real room for a bunch of morally grey misfit mercenaries. Though they continue working for the Rebel Alliance, they soon end up leaving for a little-known planet called D’Qar and setting up a base there. At first they only mean to settle down out of the way, but as the seeds of the First Order start to spread across the universe, the Rogue One crew are quick to pick up their weapons and launch themselves back into battle.
Aside from the quiet found family relationship between all the crewmembers, my favorite part of this fic is how it connects the plot of Rogue One seamlessly to the plot of the original movies and to The Force Awakens. D’Qar, as you might know, is the planet on which the Resistance set up its headquarters against the First Order. In this fic, it’s the Rogue One crew who set up the first semblance of an outpost on the planet, and it’s the crew who rescue First Order refugees and bring them back to the D’Qar outpost to live in relative peace. Most of all, I love the idea that though it seems hopeless, sometimes all you can do is stand up and fight back, even if that enemy is the same fascist enemy over and over.
This time it’s cocky young Poe Dameron from Yavin 4 and a desert rat girl and a defected Stormtrooper that brings the planet killer down.
Rogue One hear about it from the other side of the galaxy, huddled around a comm, everybody’s knees pressed tight together.
“Well, it’s not my fault I was designed with metal joints,” complains K2 when Jyn swears at him for clonking her and giving her a bruise, and the others shush them both as they wait for Bodhi to get the transmission clear enough to hear.
When they hear, nobody cheers. There’s dead silence, everybody staring at everybody else, and then Bodhi says, “I wonder how long until the next one.”
And then Cassian says, fierce and uncompromising, “However long, we fight it. We fight it, right? We fight it.”
Jyn reaches out. Her fingers find the Kyber crystal hanging round his neck, familiar and worn, and press it hard enough that it leaves indents in his chest.
“We fight it,” she agrees, and hears the other four concur.
In the movie, the actions of the Rogue One crew brought hope to their fellow fighters, and this fic shows how the continued survival of Rogue One inspires others like Poe Dameron to join the fight. The message of hope carries through even in real life—reading the sharp edge of survival reminds me that our actions of resistance may not pay off immediately, but it’s in the nature of resistance that they will pay off in the future. You can find the fic here on the AO3!