Bodhi hears things around the base sometimes, about his family. He has been taken in by the rebel pilots—it had only taken a few days before they acknowledged his commitment to their cause. Half the fleet went to the Imperial Academy, from Biggs Darklighter on down the line. The other half had been criminals. Some had been both. Like Han Solo, who Chewie pushed toward Bodhi one day with a growl and a roar.
“Hey kid. How long were you in?”
“Three years,” answered Bodhi nervously. Chewie said something else to Han, gesturing emphatically with his long arms. Han glared at him and then turned to face Bodhi.
“Me too. At least you got out for an honest reason,” Han turned back to Chewie, “There. You happy?” Chewie’s grunt sounded satisfied this time.
“See you around kid,” said Han, clapping Bodhi on the shoulder so that his slender frame shook and then walking away.
So Bodhi knew he wasn’t alone as an Imperial defector, and that defectors had done great things for the Rebellion. And the other pilots seemed to close ranks around him when others on base gave him dirty looks. A seasoned squadron commander like Wedge Antilles having your back really tended to shut down insults—especially when they could apply equally to him. Bodhi was accepted, and tended to fade into the background, and that meant that people did not stop whispering when he came into the room. So he heard things. Things about Cassian.
“Andor has been here longer than anyone,” they whispered, “and his dedication has never wavered.”
“It’s not natural,” and “Are they sure he’s not a droid?”
Now, Bodhi knew that a lot of what he hears is fit for the trash compactor, but it made him think. Cassian is a very emotional man, unfailingly passionate about his cause. When Bodhi really looked at his face for the first time, he could see the ghosts lingering in his eyes and the set of his mouth. And so Bodhi had to wonder, did nobody know Cassian Andor?
Months of listening to whispers gave him his answer: no. No, nobody knew Cassian Andor. It was in the way that nobody ever used his first name without his last immediately following it. It was in the way that nobody except for Bodhi and people that Bodhi invited approached Jyn and Cassian in the mess. It was in the way that half the whispers about Jyn were about her bond with Cassian (the other half were usually about the beat downs she gave on the practice mats). It was in the way they called him a machine.
Bodhi could almost see it sometimes, the way that the others might think that Cassian was a droid. Cassian had a mask that he wore almost all the time. It looked more sad than neutral to Bodhi, but if Cassian had looked like that as long as they’d known him they probably thought it was neutral. And Bodhi got the distinct impression that Cassian had been with the rebellion for longer than anyone he could hear whispering. It did not really help, all the time that he spent in the droid bay, or the things they heard him talking about with K2SO. Because Cassian was alarmingly good at maths, and it showed.
Bodhi’s first inkling had been on Jedha. He could scarcely remember it, in shock from the recent double trauma of Bor Gullet and watching his city, his family be destroyed, but Cassian had told his droid that he would do the calculations for their jump. As if that was something that was completely normal and not something that most people relied on specially designed navicomputers and droids for. And K2SO had just accepted it without arguing. As if it was normal. He didn’t even spout a grim statistic!
And it did not end there. Walking next to Cassian and K2 in the halls, Bodhi could sometimes barely understand them. He and Kay seemed to spend a disproportionate amount of time arguing about the nature of statistics. An exchange that Bodhi witnessed in an out of the way nook in the hallway as he waited to ask K2 a question:
“I am a droid and droids experience optimum performance when dealing with quantifiable truths.”
“Precisely, the trouble is that your predictions of organic behavior are based on an aggregate of observations of organics, which are not necessarily cross-applicable to other organics and, since they do not intrinsically involve numerical data, are not by their nature quantifiable.”
“All things intrinsically involve numerical data,” said Kay, offended.
“No, all things can have a numerical framework applied to them after the fact by analysts like you. It is not the same thing.”
K2 folded his arms, and if he had a chin it would be jutting out stubbornly, and Bodhi interrupted their argument because he figured that they could go on for hours.
A few days later he overheard another fragment: “All I’m saying is statistics are not math, they are science, and when they deal with non-numerical data they are social science.” Cassian was almost smiling as he said it—or, well, his eyes looked a little less sad.
And it did not end there. Jyn told him that when she went on missions with the pair of them and Kay stayed with the ship, Kay would inform Cassian at the beginning what the standard deviation and tolerance of her expected behaviors was, and then after the mission Cassian would inform Kay what her critical value was. And then Kay would say “Adjusting Confidence Interval: Jyn Erso accordingly,” as he piloted them away from whatever rock they were on. Jyn acted like she was annoyed by it, but Bodhi could tell that she was touched that they cared enough to gather data.
Once, Bodhi asked how Cassian calculated Jyn’s critical value for Kay. And then regretted it immediately as Cassian’s eyes lit up and he started scribbling down the organic-probability-matrix algorithm that Kay shared with him, explaining what each old Festian variable meant (because of course Cassian and K2 would use old Festian to write their variables) and saying things about how organic behavior is never a bell curve and R values and honestly Bodhi’s eyes glazed over before Cassian even got to the part about how Kay converted it out of binary with a reverse binomial Bernoulli sequence so that Cassian wouldn’t have to do it. As if that were something that normal organics could do when given a complex algorithm in binary.
Another time, Bodhi sat down across from Cassian and Jyn in the mess just in time to hear Jyn ask him about calculating blind spots in security systems with fixed camera angles using a system of linear equations. She winks at Bodhi and mouths that she got the question off Kay (charging in the droid bay like he usually does during meals) as Cassian launches into a rambling explanation involving matrices and linear algebra. His posture relaxes, he starts talking with his hands a little bit, and he’s almost smiling in truth. Jyn twists her body toward him, propping her elbow on the mess hall table and leaning her head against her hand as her eyes glue themselves to his face. Bodhi sighs and acknowledges to himself that it is nice to see Cassian happy, even if what he’s talking about is nearly incomprehensible. He knows Jyn knows how to find those kinds of blind spots too, though he doubts she usually thinks about algebra for even a moment while doing it.
And that did not even touch on the frankly odd distribution of duties on board their ship. Usually in a droid-organic piloting duo, the organic is the pilot and the droid is the copilot and takes on all navigational duties not completed by the navicomputer. This is true at least in part because of ego and the fact that most droids can complete complex navigational calculations at approximately twenty times the speed of the average organic, respectively. Not so with Cassian and Kay. Given the choice, Kay pilots and Cassian is the copilot, and they share extraneous navigational duties. Now, Cassian clearly has a healthy respect for droid rights and seems to have rather the opposite ego problem that most pilots experience, so after you get to know them it’s not altogether surprising that Kay pilots. What Bodhi keeps getting stuck on is their shared navigational duties. That’s not just unusual, it’s unheard of.
Now, Bodhi will grant the KX series is a security droid not meant for calculating complex vector pathways and base programming would dictate that Kay should go through obstacles rather than around them, but his reprogram appears to have included extensive upgrades to that portion of his programming. There had been a KX on board Bodhi’s shuttle a few times as things heated up on Jedha, and the kriffing thing was so annoying, just looming in the background and not able to do anything useful, so he usually powered it down once they were in hyperspace. So thinking about it in that light, Bodhi did have to concede that K2 was no astromech. But still, Kay’s navigational computation speeds beat the hell out of Bodhi’s, and he’d gotten good grades in Hyperspace Vectors at the Academy, which was considered a washout class—you could not pilot anything long range without it. You could pilot a TIE without it, because TIE’s could not jump to hyperspace, but most TIE pilots were arrogant sons of banthas and took it anyway just to say they did.
The point is, for Kay and Cassian to think nothing of Cassian helping with navigational calculations means that Cassian is really, really good at maths. And for Kay to never rib him about it and Cassian to never be even a little bit smug—they don’t realize it’s not normal. Most organics cannot do what Cassian does with numbers. And the people on base who hear snippets in the halls about accounting for the volume of a U-Wing in jump calculations or watch Cassian shrug off navicomputers from decades before the Clone Wars like they won’t slow him down any even though they can only run one set of calculations at a time just chalk it up to the way that Andor is secretly a droid.
And so Bodhi gets it, he does. Based on what he hears from organics who have been around for a while, Cassian spends all his free time in the droid bay and only talks to Kay about things that do not have to do with work. And Bodhi’s heard enough of Cassian’s conversations with Kay to know that they do not provide proof of anything except Cassian’s love of algebraic proofs—the sort of thing that ignorant people imagine that droids talk to each other about.
It’s Jyn that really gets the whispers going. Her impassioned speech before the council solidified her as an organic of strong sentiment in the minds of the Alliance. And suddenly, Cassian is spending time with a confirmed organic. Suddenly, Cassian is not fitting the mold that they built for him. The first time somebody spies them holding hands in the mess, the whispers do not stop for days. Now Cassian can be seen speaking softly and passionately to someone in the corners of the base. Nobody seems able to confirm what he is saying, but they all agree it isn’t work, and probably isn’t maths. He goes to her as if magnetized any time they are in the same room and he is feeling secure—and Bodhi knows that he almost always feels secure in the same room as Jyn on base. Cassian touches Jyn, on the shoulder, on the forearm, and apparently this is highly unusual for him. It just looks to Bodhi like an organic interacting with someone they care about. Familiar touches like that were common on Jedha.
Bodhi listens to the gossip because he likes to know what people are thinking. He appreciates Jyn and Cassian and Kay—they are the closest thing to family that he has left, and so he listens and if he hears anything that he thinks they need to know he’ll share. But as far as Bodhi is concerned his family doesn’t need to know about the organics who thought Cassian had no feelings for years, and think that droids have no feelings. Those organics deserve a little bit of confusion.