The Empire is a prideful god. It will permit no higher authority than itself, no greater power than its armies, no eternity but its reign. (Those who might suggest otherwise are heretics, and are dealt with as idolaters must.) A militant kind of monotheism; there are no gods, there is no Force, there is just the Empire. There is only the Empire.
Bodhi had an aunt who—well, he was never entirely clear what, except that mother and father had stopped talking about her the same time the holo of the Emperor went up over the mantle. (His mother had cried in her room for weeks, and when Bodhi thinks of it he still tastes the charcoal of burnt rice, the awful tension of whispered arguments happening in other rooms.) But it had something to do with the clear, bright crystals she had sent them, because Bodhi’s father had gone room by room and scooped them up, shoved them in a box. Buried it under the floorboards.
No one was allowed to play Jedi and Separatists anymore. At least not where an adult would see, would go grey and gather all of them together in a tight circle, to say in a quiet voice, you can’t, don’t, stop.
(There are no Jedi anymore. There were never any Jedi. The Jedi never existed. How does the old adage go? The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them—)
Shykeli was thrown out of flight academy for meditating in secret. The administration had found ‘Jedi propaganda’ in her things, though they’d never really explained what that was, or what it meant. If the Force isn’t real, Cregha had said thoughtfully, why are they so scared of people venerating it?
Cregha was reassigned to skiffs soon after. Bodhi missed xir.
But after Galen gives him the message, Galen cups Bodhi’s face, tucks Bodhi’s hair behind his ears. Galen says, May the Force be with you.
“My auntie had—she gave us crystals like that,” Bodhi blurts out in Jyn’s vague direction, because he’s had may the force may the force looping through his head for a standard week; he can’t figure out why it won’t stop.
Jyn glances at him sidelong, still playing with the bright, clear crystal on the cord around her neck. It catches artificial light like something not artificial at all, more real than anything Bodhi has seen.
“It’s a kyber crystal,” Chirrut says into the awkward silence. “A conduit of the Force. Your aunt must have been a believer.”
“My father hid them,” Bodhi says absently. (may the force may the force…) “He didn’t want us attracting attention.”
“Smart man,” Baze offers, and then they are all silent again, waiting for Cassian to return.
(This is what Bodhi Rook thinks of in his last moments: of crystals, and the Force invisible but omnipresent; of being smart versus being good, and sending a message out into space, not knowing if anyone is listening.
His last words are for Galen. His last thoughts are for the aunt he did not know. If perhaps—)