Among the many, many reasons I like the idea of Lyra Erso as a rejected Jedi-hopeful relegated to the Jedi Engineering Corps is because it gives her a reason to know Saw Gerrera before the rise of the Empire.
Also, I just like imagining graduate student Lyra being assigned to answer all the inquiry transmissions received by the Corps. Most of them are boring—scientists across the galaxy double-checking their facts, senators or contractors requesting results of geological surveys, the occasional oddball request for treasure maps, or a list of which mineraloids are poisonous if ingested.
But one day, she gets an inquiry from a man on Onderon. And though he’s circumspect about it, it’s very clear to her that he’s talking about making chemical weapons. (The war against the Separatists has been raging for some time now. She’s only surprised it’s taken someone this long to ask.)
She opens a new transmission, and keys out:
Dear Master Gerrera,
Thank you for your inquiry to the Jedi Agricultural Corps, Engineering Division. The official uses of the cyanogen silicate compound known as “Sith’s breath” are limited to the construction of Celegian life support chambers, due to the compound’s extreme toxicity to most carbon-based sentient life. Additionally, the components are difficult to procure, and their synthesization without proper licensure under Galactic Republican Statute 1184.2-4 Aleph constitutes fraudulent business practices and illegal production of a controlled chemical compound.
The Jedi Order must warn you that should you pursue this course of action, it will have no choice but to enforce the law to the fullest extent of its authority.
On an unrelated note, baradium bisulfate is an accessible liquid compound, used frequently in mining. Unlike cyanogen silicate, it does not sublimate at 20°C, but it is highly unstable and a very small amount can do a surprising amount of damage. Several years ago, a careless engineering trainee did not calibrate a suspension field carefully, and leveled a small mountain.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions.
May the Force be with you,
Lyra Inair, Geological Engineer, Jedi AgriCorps
She expects that to be the last of it, and so she’s extremely surprised when he replies directly. Less surprised when she realizes he’s asking how one goes about constructing a suspension field. Possibly one that would destabilize with some sort of trigger or timer or maybe on impact…?
And they keep—writing one another. Even after she’s moved off the transmissions desk, to actual geological work. Rocks and weapon mechanics turn to small talk, turn to little details of their lives, turn to the Force and the Republic. He talks about his sister, about the warfront; she complains about the internal politics of the Corps and Galen (though he’s not Galen, yet, he’s just the handsome Republican engineer with cheekbones like sheered silicate). They argue theology, and justice, and violence. She cries for him, when his sister dies. They—are friends.
Saw is the only one she tells, when she decides to turn her back on the Order. She is in love and Galen has friends in Coruscant, a prestigious job with an engineering guild—
Please do not stop writing me, she begs.
I will be here, Saw writes, if you ever need me.