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Fandom Fight for Control [closed]

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Despite their recent victory against the Resistance, the First Order was in disarray. The destruction of Starkiller Base, the damage of the Supremacy, and subsequent Battle of Crait, left them scrambling to reshift the ranks while wasting no time. There was one advantage they had on top of the Resistance though: they still had ships, money, weapons, resources.

But Kylo Ren was still furious. They almost completely won.

The Resistance were in the palm of their hands. And then he had Rey, someone with force abilities that even she did not know the true extent of, abilities that rivaled his own, in his clutches. But the girl escaped, and the remnants of the Resistance managed to crawl away to some corner of the universe while licking their wounds.

They may be nothing right now, but if Kylo knew the general, his mother, then they’ll become a pain again real soon. Now as the new Supreme Leader, he was able to call the shots as needed to get things done. And he will do whatever necessary to accomplish his goals.

Although General Hux served as a minor pain for him. He was the only man who would dare to question Kylo Ren’s orders, and one day, he would just love to take his lightsaber and do to Armitage what he did to Snoke. But for now he needed to leave the man alive, for he held some use. But once his use is gone, Kylo will not hesitate to end his miserable existence.

Speaking of the man...he needed someone to keep an eye on the general. And if the general took one step out of line, issue a command he strongly disapprove of, Kylo will know. Anyone could do this job, and with their new position near the general at all times, it would be easy to track them down to question about General Hux.

Kylo grabbed one of the first officers he saw in the hall. Tall and sinewy, yet he could feel the fear when he focused his attention on her. He relished in that power. “Congratulations, you’ve just been promoted. Effective immediately, you’ll be working with General Hux as his newest assistant.” Without another word he stalked off.

There was much that needed to be done, and soon. The First Order will soon be feared by all in the galaxy, and the Resistance will be nothing more than a long forgotten dream.

---

Lavinia felt her hands shake as she watched Kylo Ren stalk down the hallway. He served as her biggest fear in the First Order. A minor slip in her actions or, hell, her thoughts and he will immediately know about the lie she hid from everyone around her.

A lie that could cost her her life.

To everyone around her, she was Lieutenant Althea Storax, an astute workaholic who has not once stepped a toe out of line. No one around her knew much about her background, but as a lowly officer with a clean record, no one cared to delve into her life.

It was all a facade though. When no one looked, when she was in the safety of her quarters, she worked quickly to record all of the information she read and overheard over the course of the day onto her personal communications device. After careful encryption her messages were transmitted to the Resistance base on D’Qar.

And if anyone found out that she was a Resistance spy by the name of Lavinia Aburius, she was certain the next thing she would see was a blaster pistol to her head.

So as she watched Kylo, Lavinia reevaluated her position. She reevaluated the dangers that faced her every minute of the day. Nowhere could she slip up, for her life depending on it. And now she was just...promoted as essentially General Hux’s assistant. While at first glance, the man wasn’t intimidating, the power he held was. But the information he held...invaluable.

No one spared her a glance as she stalked off towards the hangars in an attempt to hunt down the general. Congratulations, you’ve just been promoted. What she wouldn’t give for a drink right then.

The journey lasted far shorter than she wanted. Get a grip Lav. Think of the opportunity, of what you can gain from this. Her words calmed her mind some, and just in time too. The hangar buzzed with activity, but no one paid the woman any attention. Locating the general took no time at all, but she was slow in making her way over to the man. Another woman stood next to him, conversing with him, and given their similar heights and hair color, she briefly wondered if the two were related in any way.

Once the woman walked off, Lavinia quickened her pace before the general had a chance to walk off. She did not feel like running all over the ship in order to talk to him. “General Hux, sir.” Her voice was as steady and confident as a woman in her position should be, no lingering effects of her brief mental battle from earlier. “According to the orders of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren,” which, in her opinion, was still weird to say, “I am now to be your...assistant.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
“Tell me you have something, Colonel.”

Reveille Hux, Admiral of the First Order, was not certain if she regretted those words as she replayed the audio that Colonel Garmuth sent to her, clearly wary of even sending it, or being discovered snooping – but he wasn’t Director of the Security Bureau for no reason, and Reveille was his direct superior. He had to answer to Armitage Hux as well, but generally speaking, the siblings kept things and officers divided for ease.

“Ben.”

The name echoed, more than Kylo Ren, spoken by the infamous Scavenger. Kylo’s obsession with her had been the ruin of Starkiller. The conversation in the elevator had been recorded, clear as day, and how they spoke of turning each other – Kylo using her parents as leverage. The audio from outside of the elevator, however, was also recorded. It was a bit muffled…but Reveille could make it out.

Snoke’s monologuing was annoying. He had always been annoying, but as he lauded title upon title on Kylo, Reveille took great pains not to roll her blue eyes. His monologuing, however, made it apparent what happened. He spoke of Kylo’s every action – that Kylo would strike down his true enemy – and then he spoke no more. There was the sounds of lightsabers, and then a final conversation with Rey that ended in an explosion of sorts. ‘Real charmer.’ The sarcastic thought came on the heels of him telling Rey she was nothing, but not to him.

They were doomed if he retained leadership and his obsession with the girl.

Knuckles rapped on her door.

She paused the audio. “Schaeffer.” She knew the sound of everyone on with her. She knew how Schaeffer knocked too well. While not her lieutenant-admiral, she kept the former cadet close at hand. Given he went through the same program as she and her brother, the odds of him stabbing them in the back were certain. She didn’t know when, or how, but she knew she wanted him close to monitor his actions.

It helped that he was also proficient in his position as a guard. “Admiral, we’ve arrived at the Supremacy above Crait. We’re docking in hangar 7.”

“Thank you, Schaeffer,” she said, and she waited until she heard his steps vanish, before she pushed up to rise, sliding her datapad into its place on her black belt, behind her blaster that was always at hand, even if it was hardly her preferred weapon. Her preferred weapons, however, were hidden – small blades up sleeves or in boots, hidden weapons that would be accessible in an emergency, in theory.

She quickly pulled her fingers through her hair to make sure there were no issues with it, and then strode out of her room, just as the ship was starting to land. Schaeffer was waiting near the door, “You’ll stay on the ship, Schaeffer,” she indicated, before her eyes moved to the only one who would be accompanying her.

The miraluka man with the silver hair pulled back on a low ponytail, and a black blindfold over where his eyes should have been was waiting, dressed as an officer, but with something of a formal black duster over it all despite belonging to the naval ranks. He was one of the rare inhumans among the First Order, but a necessary one. He, like the rest of his race, saw by using the Force. It made him naturally mildly Force sensitive, which was all Reveille wanted if she was going to be anywhere near Kylo Ren – someone who would know if he started to use his tricks.

“Are you ready, Jinah?”

He gave a silent nod, and as the ship shifted with the landing, Reveille pressed the button to lower the ramp, and strode out with Jinah staying three paces behind.

~***~

General Armitage Hux couldn’t recall the last time he’d slept.

He was fairly certain it hadn’t been since Starkiller’s destruction, and while he knew that was not that long ago – no more than a week – it felt both like it had been a lifetime ago, and only seconds. In that span of time, Phasma had been lost, and found, and then died. Kylo Ren stole command and was now the Supreme Leader, and on top of Starkiller being destroyed, the Supremacy was all but crippled, and somehow, somehow, they lost the Resistance on Crait.

No, scratch that, it wasn’t somehow, it was Ren.

It was always Ren.

The source of every headache, the reason he hadn’t slept, the loss of Starkiller – it all went back to Kylo Ren, the “Jedikiller”, who got his ass whipped twice by a so-called Scavenger from Jakku who, honestly, Hux would have loved to recruit to the First Order right then as he stared at the data that had come in from Crait as if staring at it would make any sense of it whatsoever. Somewhere, in the background, he could hear Mitaka droning on about something absolutely irrelevant as others tried to determine what to do next, while also, trying not to involve Kylo Ren in any of it.

Despite taking the helm, most of the First Order feared Kylo – and not the way they feared Snoke. They hadn’t known Snoke. They knew Kylo. They’d seen him lose his temper. Most would rather not work with him. It was something unspoken, but they were all hoping to create plans so that Hux himself would have to take them to Kylo, and deal with the fallout of it if the ideas were bad.

Presuming he told Kylo. He probably wouldn’t. Kylo wasn’t going to get far trying to navigate First Order bureaucracy. With any luck the idiot would get himself tangled up in personal vendettas and leave things to Hux and the other competent people of the First Order.

“General Hux?” The tone was what drew Hux out of his thoughts, and he turned his bleary gaze to the man in white who spoke. “Admiral Hux is here, and docking in hangar 7.”

The General’s stare remained blank for a few seconds. Why hadn’t she alerted him to her arrival? What did this mean? Well, he knew one thing – he was going to find out. He pushed himself up to stand, “This meeting is adjourned.”

“But General, the data indicates—”

“—that the Rebel Alliance used a lot of backwater planets to place their bases on, yes, Lieutenant, I understand that,” he snapped the last word at Dopheld Mitaka. He almost regretted it, seeing the way the man flinched. He was one of the few willing to approach Kylo Ren, he shouldn’t be so harsh with him, but he really wasn’t in the mood. “It has told us nothing about where the Resistance has actually gone, all we know is they had bases as the Rebel Alliance, and literally no one in the galaxy answered General Organa’s cries for help, so the Resistance is still destitute. They have nothing and no one.” That probably wasn’t true, but right now the situation as in their favor.

Armitage wasn’t unaware of General Organa’s reputation, or her history, though. Not even he would be at ease until he knew she was dead.

“If you will excuse me, I need to learn what has brought the Admiral from her duties in the Core.”

That was the last he’d heard of her, when she took the majority of their fleet and sped off to the Core to secure it after the Hosnian system was destroyed. He hadn’t thought he’d need much outside of the Finalizer and the Fulminatrix to deal with the Resistance.

He’d been wrong.

He hoped that his sister hadn’t lost the Core, though.

He left the meeting without further direction or words, making his way down the familiar hallways to Hangar 7, where he saw Reveille’s ship docking. It was a familiar enough sight, the design based on the Naboo’s royal ship. He knew it was a stealth model akin to the Carrion Spike that Terex had, and he knew that his sister would shank someone for so much as scratching the ship. It was pristine, practically glowing under the lights as they reflected off of it.

And he couldn’t help but feel a pang of anger and envy as he drew closer to see that she, too, looked just fine and just as pristine in all white, as if the stress of the war hadn’t hit her. No dark circles under her eyes. Her hair was perfectly cut and combed through - no product. His own hair actually lacked product right then. He hadn’t been able to sleep, but he’d forced himself through a shower to try and wake up a bit and feel ‘better’.

It hadn’t worked. But it washed out the product, and somehow that felt clean enough for right then. Like he might go to sleep soon.

It was a lie.

“Admiral,” he called up to her, words lacking familiarity where his tone did not. They were both careful and guarded people – expressions of affection were rare even in private.

“General,” she returned, stepping down onto the metal floor and seeming to assess him wordlessly. “I understand Supreme Leader Snoke has passed?”

“Unfortunately,” his own tone was rueful, but honest. He’d rather deal with Snoke than Ren. “The Resistance escaped us on Crait. What of the Core?”

“Coruscant is secure, and I am securing other planets as we speak,” she answered, and again Hux felt that prick of envy, old wounds threatening to open in his exhaustion, wounds he knew he shouldn’t feel after all this time – but how could he not? It was her who was the legitimized ‘Hux’, her who made those aware of their relationship consider that there was something to legitimacy or rank.

It was only because she didn’t have to deal with the constant bullshit he did. “Good,” he managed to say it, “Who did you leave in command? Schaeffer?”

“No, he’s here. I left Lieutenant-Admiral Kos’tel’lani.” The General’s nose wrinkled at the name, one he would have recognized even without being familiar with the individual as a chiss. Why his sister insisted on humoring them and not forcing them to adopt a more ‘human’ name was beyond him, they were trying to create Order and Conformity here for stability in the galaxy, this need to allow the differences to thrive was…irksome. Naïve, at best.

He didn’t speak to it right then, “Then what are you doing here?” He couldn’t fathom what business she had if there was an ongoing issue in the Core of securing worlds.

“I trust Kos’tel’lani to handle and secure things in my absence. I needed to learn what’s happened here and given the change in management, I thought it wise to reintroduce myself to our new Supreme Leader.”

“You have time for a meet-and-greet in the midst of a war?”

“The Core is hardly putting up a fight, General.” She gave a small smirk, but there was some tension to it. “Do you know where I can find him?”

The General took out a datapad. He still had a tracking device on Kylo Ren. He regretted it now. If he hadn’t had it on him on Starkiller, he could have left him for dead. He still wished that he had. Lied and told Snoke that he couldn’t find him, or that the fissures had already swallowed Kylo whole. Alas…, “East wing, level 3, currently.” He said, before putting the datapad back into an internal pocket of his coat.

Reveille nodded, “Thank you. I’ll be out of your hair soon, I’m sure,” she started to walk off, leaving Armitage wondering if that was a jab at his style, or….

“Wait,” he forced himself to speak up, before she passed him by, and he stepped closer, dropping his voice while holding her gaze. “Be careful.” It wasn’t a warning he’d pass on to most. Most knew to be careful with Ren, and he didn’t care if they didn’t. “Since taking power, Ren’s been…more reckless, and more prone to fits.” His own wounds spoke for themselves, though they were all covered by his attire. The red mark around his neck. The bruise on his back. “He won’t hesitate without Snoke to keep him on a leash.” With Snoke, he’d never dared.

If Reveille understood, she didn’t indicate. She just gave a slight nod, “Thank you,” and then continued on, the miraluka following behind her.

The General shook his head, thinking briefly he might want to check in on Schaeffer and make sure he wasn’t going to do anything stupid, before his attention was caught by another voice. ‘What now?’ He turned his gaze towards another officer who stepped towards him, poised and calm, as she stated with no confusion that she was to be his assistant. An order from Kylo Ren.

It wouldn’t have taken a genius to understand that this was Kylo’s way of watching him.

“Who, precisely, are you?” He asked. She didn’t stand out to him, even as he looked her over again, noting the brown hair, the brown eyes. The only odd thing about her was the tan of her skin that suggested she actually got off these ships once in a while. Which was odd in and of itself, “What qualifications do you even have for this position?” Just because Kylo wanted to assign someone to him didn’t mean he’d make it easy.

~***~

Reveille Hux took the base directions from her brother to move along to the east wing of the Supremacy, and up to the floor that Ren was on. She heard a hum from Jinah when they were on it, “He’s not far,” walls didn’t impede the sight of the miraluka, “go left,” he gestured as well as they stepped out of the elevator, and she followed the directions, until soon enough, they were in the same hallway.

“Seven.” The simple word was instruction enough for how far back Jinah should stay, as Reveille walked ahead.

“Supreme Leader Ren.” She resisted the urge to say ‘Ben’. “Admiral Hux,” they’d met, but she wasn’t going to assume he recalled, even if her appearance was akin to Armitage’s, and even if the golden bands on the right sleeve of her uniform should give rank away, “I would like to request a few moments of your time, at your leisure.” She could not come off as demanding.

She’d played the role of subordinate with Snoke, out of sight and out of mind, and it paid off. She had rank – but it was not above Kylo. She couldn’t outright demand his time.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo sensed the woman behind him before she called out to him, though he initially thought she was some passing cadet. As it turned out, this ‘passing cadet’ called out his name for a reason unbeknownst to him. That didn’t catch his complete attention though. No, it was the next two words she uttered that halted him in his tracks.

He was aware of the words she spoke after presenting her title and name, but it was the latter that allowed curiosity to win. “Admiral Hux?” he repeated, the words tasting like poison on his tongue. His dark gaze wondered from her sleek, ginger hair, color similar to that of the general’s, to her pristine, seemingly freshly pressed uniform in a clean white that served as a stark contrast against, well, anything else on the ship.

Her name and appearance struck a chord of familiarity in his mind. Yes, he could gauge that she was closely related to the man he oh so desperately wanted to see the life drain from his eyes. Sister? Cousin? Aside from that, he was certain he met this woman before, but he elected to not think on the matter. If he didn’t automatically recognize her, then he didn’t want to waste time trying to do so.

“Oh? And what is the nature of this meeting?” Although he had no other pressing matters to attend to, halting his train of thoughts and business he was about to attend to as the new Supreme Leader served as an annoyance for him. His hands tightened into fists as he fought off his rising ire at the second Hux in front of him. “It better be concern something of importance.”

--

Lavinia would lie if she said that the general didn’t intimidate her. As his icy gaze focused on her, she felt as if he could see through the lie she lived. But she mentally shook off the fear, the trepidation she felt. It was rational to fear Kylo Ren. He terrified nearly every officer around her. But General Hux was nothing more than another man. A man who wielded great power, yes, but a man nonetheless.

“Officer Althea Storax, sir.” Her answer was simple and delivered with no hesitation, as she grew to embrace the name as her true one over the months. The next question did cause her to pause. A gut instinct told her that the answer because Kylo Ren said so would not suffice the man.

“As we are in a state of…transition at the moment, you need an assistant to help with the more menial tasks.” A slight pause as Lavinia carefully thought out her next words, yet her façade remained collected. “I excel in my department of communications and decryption. You’ll find that my records are clean, and I always pass the blaster marksmanship tests with flying colors.”

Her mind went through the other skills she possessed that may be of use or impress the general, though none that may arouse suspicion. “You will find that I possess the capability to keep up and do anything you need of me.” She could only hope that her answers were acceptable. General Hux may be intimidating due to his status, but he was still only a man. She could handle him. An angry, powerful force user on the other hand…that petrified her.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Thankfully, Jinah stayed back, and though he couldn’t see in the traditional sense, the miraluka was watching Kylo carefully all the same. He did not see the man gripping at the Force that wove around him like a maelstrom. The rumors that Jinah heard were true – Kylo Ren was by far a powerful Force user, and Jinah really did not want to have to consider going against him.

‘That’s why Serenno is important.’ He knew that, and could tell that despite the maelstrom and anger he felt off Kylo Ren, he could still feel the calm from Reveille, as well. ‘Well, no surprise.’ It was fairly hard to shake her. Unlike her brother, who felt jarred even if he could portray otherwise outwardly, Reveille held it within, a core of steel he’d only really seen in Phasma in their few interactions.

Still…Jinah worried in those moments. Reveille could deal with any normal human, but someone with the Force was another beast entirely, and Kylo? More than that.

He was glad to hear that the cadence of her answer remained just as her earlier words. There was no demanding note to them.

“The nature of this meeting would be to discuss the matter of direction with the First Order and what has transpired. As I am sure you are aware,” for Reveille would not imply Kylo ignorant or stupid, “I have been securing the Core Worlds so that they could not scramble and pull together a resistant force against us, while I understand that General Hux and yourself moved to put an end to the Resistance.” And failed.

“Given the changes in leadership, I came to alert you to what has occurred, to understand what has transpired, and to learn of any directional changes so that I may accommodate them accordingly, Supreme Leader.”

There was no hesitation in the answer, no pause as if it were an unexpected question, for of course it wasn’t. It wasn’t even untrue…she was there to figure those things out, and to also bring up his treason, but that was part of the ‘events that transpired’.

~***~

Althea Storax was not a wholly unfamiliar name, but the General couldn’t say it was one that had drawn much attention to him. Not like Lieutenant Mitaka, who had earned his place as one of the few who would volunteer to speak to Kylo Ren when it was necessary, despite what that usually meant. His dedication to the First Order had earned him attention, even if not yet a promotion from Lieutenant.

Storax had her capabilities, and seemed to promise to rise to the opportunity to take on more skills or learn more on the way. While it was half-tempting to order her to go off and do something menial, like bring him tea, he refrained. It wasn’t like he’d drink the tea, anyway. He’d be too paranoid it was poisoned. Anyone assigned by Kylo Ren was not exactly favorable to him.

“If you are so skilled in decryption, it seems you would be better as an Agent,” and so someone under his sister’s thumb, rather than his, “Nonetheless, I suppose neither of us can argue with the Supreme Leader’s decisions,” there was no hiding the derision in which he spoke the title, nor did he even attempt to.

Everyone on the ship was more than aware of the animosity between the two, and likely wondered why Armitage wasn’t already dead.

Kylo at least knew the truth of that. Without Armitage, the First Order would fall. Kylo Ren didn’t know how to use the assets here, nor control the soldiers through more than fear. They’d fall apart quickly, realizing Kylo Ren wouldn’t bring them what they wanted. The vast majority were unknowns in the galaxy who could integrate into it.

“Given that skill – do you know of any development in examining the transmissions from Crait, or were you not a part of that?” He started to walk then, not deigning it necessary to tell her. He would return to the Bridge. He wouldn’t be calling for a new meeting just yet, not until he had a moment to actually speak to Reveille about what the hell she was doing there and what progress she’d made in the Core. That would certainly determine more about the direction of the meeting.

Much as the transmissions from Crait, “Colonel Garmuth seems to have decided to take his sweet time with them.” He had no idea Garmuth had been working on another project and shoved things off onto his inferiors for a bit.
 
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Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
He paused for only a brief second to consider her words. Kylo didn’t want to bother with such a monotonous task, but as he was now the Supreme Leader, ensuring communication with other leaders within the First Order was vital. Even if it was with the admiral who shared a similar appearance to the man he detested, as well as his last name.

“Follow me.” Kylo turned and stalked off with long strides. Such a conversation with potentially sensitive material was best left not left in a public corridor, with anyone able to walk past them and overhear their words. He made no notice to the miraluka in Admiral Hux’s company, but he was quite aware of his presence.

He didn’t walk for long. Soon he paused in his steps, right in front of a closed door to his left. With the punch of a few numbers on the keypad, the steel doors slid open to allow entrance into an unused conference room. More privacy, as a precaution.

“The power of the Resistance has been greatly reduced. Nothing is left of their fleet, and they have no hope to rebuild. We are in the process of examining some transmissions sent from Cait in order to tie up loose ends.” He was confident in his words. Sure that the First Order would wipe out the Resistance once and for all.

Though while his mother still lived, a part of him feared that they would become formidable once again. Even with the Hosnian system, the heart of the New Republic, destroyed. “How sure are you of the Core Worlds being secured?”

--

When it appeared that Armitage wasn’t going to dismiss her after presenting her case, she could’ve sighed in relief. Not only would she not rile Kylo Ren’s anger, but now she was presented the opportunity to learn more about the First Order than her previous position. If she didn’t screw things up.

Lavinia suppressed a knowing smirk at Hux’s musing of her better suited to be an agent. A part of her wish to watch his face whenever he discovered her little secret, but she hoped that she would be long gone when that day came. Unless she wished for a public execution. “I agree. Arguing against his orders would probably not be in our best interests.”

The mutual distaste between the two leaders was not unknown to her. Some officers even made bets on which one of their leaders would snap first and by which method they would use their killing blow. A lightsaber in the gut? A shot to the head by a blaster pistol? Shot into the vacuum of space?

But Lavinia knew that Kylo wouldn’t kill Armitage. The man did not know how to command an army or any of the technicalities behind running the First Order. But Armitage? With Supreme Leader Snoke gone, she wondered if anything stopped him from finally ending Kylo Ren’s life, minus his command of the force that scared her.

She did not hesitate before following General Hux. “We are currently doing our best with the transmissions, sir. Colonel Garmuth decided to let others deal with them as he finished his own project.” Lavinia Aburius left out the tiny detail of how she did her own part in slowing down the development in order to give what remained of the Resistance an extra step.

“But I foresee the examination of the transmissions being completed very soon.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Reveille followed as directed, though it was not far. She took a moment to consider Jinah’s presence, and paused as Kylo was putting in the numbers, taking note of them quickly before approaching Jinah and placing a hand on his shoulder. The gesture was a silent command, the hand on his shoulder telling him to stay, and he gave a nod.

At this point, it would be better if he were outside the room. He’d still be able to see if Kylo used the Force from outside, and might be able to get help, or report, if it was necessary.

With that, she stepped into the room and heard the door swish shut behind her. She took in the room quickly, noting where Kylo chose to stand. She would not linger near the door, nor take one of the empty chairs, though she did step so that the conference table was between them. She made an effort to keep her hands from going behind her back.

The habit was so ingrained from watching older officers and their stances, but right then she knew it would just call to mind her brother. She couldn’t maintain them at her side, so she lightly crossed them over her chest and nodded as he claimed the fleet entirely destroyed, though she wasn’t convinced they were without hope.

This was General Organa, after all. No one to take lightly, even if Reveille thought their focus was better put elsewhere. “I am certain of some of the Core worlds being secured, and I am certain of progress on others. Coruscant handed itself over on a silver platter when my fleets showed up – but the Senator there was already in our pocket, so that is no surprise. I have turned Coruscant into a base of operations within the Core, and we are reaching from there. Chandrilla provided resistance, but I saw that they fell first, personally.”

Their ships destroyed, Hanna City left burning, and the senator killed. She left behind officers to keep things in line. “Tepasi will also prove difficult, and potentially Spira. Tepasi is actively rallying its forces from allies in the Seswenna Sector in the Outer Rim.” The Old Guard – The Tarkins, the Tagges, and the Mottis, hadn’t fallen to the First Order. “We may be able to negotiate with Governor Tarkin, and I intend to make the attempt later. At present, I have the Lieutenant-Admiral overseeing the continuing security of the Core Worlds, and moving our fleets and soldiers where they are needed to make sure we maintain it.”

Reveille did not linger there. She was confident in the success of her own forces, and that the Core would be secured. She understood what was going on there, the agents kept her well-informed, “I can certainly go in depth with numbers and other such matters if you would like, Supreme Leader, but I imagine that is a tedium you have no time for, and I would not wish to waste it on such matters. At the present time, we outnumber the forces in the Core who stand against us, and with our move into the open, I have been able to call on our allies on worlds like Coruscant and Arkanis to further bolster those forces.”

She hesitated, a moment, though it was more an act, a glance down and a brief expression of being contrite, before she turned her gaze back to Kylo, “I also do not wish to remove discussion of it, but I had a matter I wanted to bring to light in regards to rumors that have reached me. I understand that Supreme Leader Snoke is dead, but the rumor is that he was killed by someone on the inside. General Hux has shared with me that it was some nameless scavenger from Jakku,” her brother really should know better than to underestimate those from Jakku, “I wanted to ask you – what happened to Supreme Leader Snoke? If there is an internal threat to the Order, it seems that should be our focus. I understand the need to ensure that those on the lower rungs have no worries for our stability, but those of us running things should be made aware of any potential for a break.”

She doubted he would confess – but she had to ask. And then, she would play her card if it was needed.

~***~

Armitage’s sharp gaze shifted to Althea as she claimed that Garmuth went to another project. He almost spoke aloud, but fortunately, even for all his agitation, he was able to keep them firmly shut behind his lips as it dawned on him. Reveille’s arrival, and her need to see Kylo Ren, likely tied together with whatever ‘project’ Colonel Garmuth went off to do, because there was no other authority he would let override this sort of project.

He clenched his jaw, and tried not to be too angry that he was out of this loop. ‘What would it be about?’ That was the question that remained, and would remain, until he had an answer. He shouldn’t have let her walk off that easily. He should have demanded more, but with the audience of the hangar and her clipped words, he hadn’t.

He hated the feeling of idiocy that followed, that nagging insecurity that came with not knowing what was going on. He used to be better at keeping track of things, when Phasma….

His jaw clenched tighter, before he forced it to relax with a deeper exhale than he intended. He would not get over the fact Phasma was dead easily. He hadn’t had time to mourn her. To think it was necessary almost seemed ridiculous, but with her gone, he realized how much of an impact she had, to both his mental stability and the functioning of the Order.

No matter.

All of this would be cleared up, immediately. And perhaps Althea would actually be useful, if she could keep up like Phasma could. Despite that silver armor and intimidating height, Phasma had been wickedly intelligent – a ‘jill-of-all-trades’ who learned to do whatever he needed, be it slicing into First Order systems, or creating her own armor to stand apart.

She was worlds better than Cardinal had ever been – her one error had been not finishing him off.

He forced himself to dismiss those thoughts, blue gaze ever ahead as he moved through the halls, auto-pilot taking over so far as his understanding of the direction they were moving in. “The Supreme Leader wants information on where the Resistance has gone as soon as possible,” and so did Hux. General Organa remained a beacon of hope to others. Seeing her disposed of would secure their hold. It would put out those embers of hope that still burned in the hearts of others across the universe, those who didn’t understand what was best for their own good. “We’ll go down and take a look at the situation.” He determined.

At least with Althea, she might be able to better explain what, precisely, was going on. What they were still trying to work through. Garmuth seemed to prefer to speak in a purposefully obfuscating manner at times, and it was honestly infuriating. Not to mention he had the bad habit of making anyone who asked for clarity feel like an idiot in the way he dumbed down his language and spoke slower.

Garmuth was from the Imperial times, though. Their methods, and their ways, had all but required that sort of behavior and cattiness. Something Hux himself didn’t realize he had played into with Snoke.

As he strode into the Bridge, the doors opening for him, his hands automatically went behind his back, posture shifting, as he spoke out to the room, “Have my shuttle prepared, I intend to head down to Crait. Send a message to Colonel Garmuth that I wish to speak with him as soon as I have reached the ground.” He’d get to the bottom of this, and he spun then on his heel to Althea, “You will be sure to call Colonel Garmuth out on any obfuscating.” He stated, leaving no room for her to question it.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo observed Reveille’s movements, his eyes focused on her familiar features as she chose to stand on the other side of the table, across from him. Although he would never dare say it, it bothered him to wonder just this much of how she was related to Armitage. And why did it matter so much? No, it doesn’t.

“You’re right, that’s certainly of no surprise. Some of our biggest benefactors live in Coruscant, and no doubt they hold great influence over the government there.” The mention of Chandrila sparked a slight interest in Kylo, though he was quick to squash the thought. “With Chandrila under our control, more planets will soon follow.”

The presence and influence of the New Republic was great in Chandrila, but with the planet now under their control, they proved themselves as a great might in the universe. No one could challenge the First Order, and if they did, they would soon find themselves outmatched. He continued to listen to her list of the accomplishments in the Core Worlds. Once they were fully under their control, then who would dare go up against them?

General Organa flashed in his mind. She would be stubborn enough to try and destroy them.

But as quick as her image flashed in his mind, it was as quick to disappear. “Good. Continue your actions in the Core Worlds as planned, and we will soon hold command there.” As she continued, he expected her to continue to list off her achievements of recent. What she did ask caught him off guard greatly.

“Supreme Leader Snoke was indeed killed by a scavenger from Jakku. We underestimated her ability with the force, but it will not happen again.” Kylo Ren held no regret in murdering Snoke. He did, however, regret not doing so at a more opportune time to give the appearance of an unfortunate accident. “She unfortunately escape when the Resistance used on of their last ships to split the Supremacy in two.” The one truth he spoke about what happened in the throne room.

“Does that satisfy your inquiry?”


--

Lavinia kept her eyes trained on Armitage after she told him what Garmuth had done, and she found herself briefly wondering what was going through his mind. He was not pleased, as far as she could tell, but then again, the general seemed to always be in a state of displeasure. Maybe it was his natural state.

Then Armitage brought up the fact that their new Supreme Leader wanted the whereabouts of the remainder of the Resistance. Hell, Lavinia wanted that answer as well. Her last contact with them had been before the First Order destroyed their base on D’Qar, and now, she wasn’t sure how she would get in contact with them should the need arise. And it will.

“We’re currently doing the best we can in tracking down their location.” The lie easily slipped through her lips like a trained professional. As much as she also wanted to know their location, she needed to make sure they already a step ahead when the transmissions were fully evaluated.

And if they were to make a visit to Crait, then she would have no choice but to do her job properly, lest she wanted to plant a seed of suspicious in the general’s mind.

Lavinia easily matched Hux’s strides as they continued into the Bridge. The way General Hux commanded his soldiers left no room for questions or hesitation on their part, and she watched as several people immediately stopped their previous task to fulfill the command of their general. Her gaze snapped back to Armitage as he turned back towards her. “Yes, sir. I will.”

While she held no true opinion on the colonel in the same way she did about Kylo Ren, General Hux, or even the now deceased Phasma, she did found his condescending manner at times a bit...annoying. And she would derive joy at seeing him on the other end of Armitage’s ire.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Of course, Kylo lied as expected, fluidly, with no hesitation at all. It was always interesting to learn how someone lied. Some did it as easily as they breathed. She knew that her brother did. She was fairly certain that she could. She had not expected the emotionally unstable Supreme Leader to be able to manage it, though.

She would allow him due credit it.

It was likely how he survived so long among these ranks, and right under Snoke’s watch. No doubt, it was how he even managed to pull it off. Reveille’s smile was a lie, the nervousness and the quick way it waned meant to suggestion that hesitation any sane person would feel, “Not quite. If I may…?” She didn’t actually wait for a response, as she reached for the datapad, “There was a matter brought to my attention, and I think it may help to explain the rumors. I would need something more to quash them,” she spoke mostly to buy those few seconds of time as she brought up the recording on the pad.

And then, it played – the spot of Snoke’s monologuing already marked, as he spoke of Kylo Ren striking down his true foe.

When Reveille glanced up, all hint of that nervous smile and anxious energy were gone, and she stopped the recording shortly after, as the sounds of so many weapons echoed.

“Do you know how easy it would be to have you executed for treason, Ben?” Her voice flattened, deadening completely with that expressionless mask. “The rest of the recording paints quite the vivid picture, as do the visuals from the elevator."

She fully expected he’d try something with the Force. If she died in there, she knew he’d be ousted by the moves of Garmuth and General Hux. Kylo was still one man...and the Empire had proven even Jedi could be overwhelmed, so there was little fear in her decision – Kylo was smart enough to lie, and he might be smart enough to think before killing her, to realize either his own fate, or that she hadn’t gone on to report it, or let Jinah come in to be a further witness.

Either way, she did brace a bit.

And there was that hint of fear present that hadn’t been there before, but it wasn’t going to make her back down.

~***~

No arguments. Well, Althea did at least take orders well. Perhaps there was hope for her yet, presuming she wasn’t just a rat who was looking for an opportunity to get rid of him, or rise in the ranks of the First Order – appeal to Kylo’s good side by giving Kylo reason to dispose of him. He would soon see, just as he would see how capable she was of recognizing such obfuscations.

“General,” a woman addressed him then, and he let his attention shift to her, “Your shuttle is in hangar two, and will be prepared within ten minutes.”

Hux didn’t smile, but his expression lost some of its stiffness as he managed a curt nod of acknowledgment that his order had been followed, before another voice spoke up, “General, Colonel Garmuth has stated he will be prepared to meet you within the old rebel base. He is within the mines themselves, but he will have Lieutenant Mitaka meet you.”

‘What the hell is Mitaka doing down there?’

Mitaka gave him such a headache sometimes, but at least Mitaka was still brave. He had last seen Mitaka at the meeting before his sister’s arrival. He hadn’t given Mitaka leave to go down to the base. He had to wonder why – but supposed any excuse to get off the same ship as Kylo Ren might be appealing to the designated messenger. Or perhaps that was why he was there – messenger.

“Excellent.” His back straightened a bit more, and he walked to exit the bridge, fully expecting Althea to continue following as she had done before. There was no need for him to keep reminding her to follow in his footsteps, after all, unless she had some need to tend to before they went planet side.

The General really was not a fan of going planet side. Armitage had been brought up in ships, and preferred them to the natural world. They were a controlled environment that he understood well, unlike the unpredictable natural world. Even his supposed home of Arkanis inspired no love from Armitage; it’s horrible weather didn’t help, being constantly rainy as it was.

Though he did not mind walking in silence, he did toss back the query, “How long have you been with the First Order?” She did not seem like one of those within it from its infancy. That brought up some questions – certainly, how she became a part of it, and why. The timing of her entry might help to narrow down those possible answers. Though the First Order wasn’t exactly recruiting, they found allies outside of brainwashed children all the same. Phasma had been one of those found as an adult and brought in, after all.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo found himself curious when the woman continued, as she continued to express curiosity over the rumors. He would be certain to find out where the rumors were coming from and squash them. No one else can question him about what really happened in the throne room.

But then she brought out the datapad, and before he could interject, the recording played, revealing the lies Kylo told to save face. With every word uttered, every sound he recalled in vivid detail, he could feel the anger swirl within, rising and threatening to spill in a fiery display only a few had been unfortunate enough to witness.

He didn’t know how she came across the recording. Someone else with the First Order dared to show the footage to someone else, and he need to know who.

His eyes were unfocused, downcast towards the table, while his mind raced before him with possibilities as what to do next. But in the midst of his racing thoughts, his eyes snapped back up to Reveille, eyes blazing with fury as his thoughts quickly switched to one thing. Rage.

One hand reached out as he commanded the Force to snatch the datapad, and with a quick movement of his arm, he sent the datapad flying into the far wall, shattering the device in many pieces all over the floor. No doubt copies of the recording existed, but it was still satisfying to watch the offending device break so easily with his power.

He focused his attention back on Reveille, the woman who now reminded Kylo so painfully of the general. The family resemblance was definitely there. “And do you know just how easily I can end your life?” His arm still stretched out, he slowly tightened his fingers into a circle as he commanded the Force around her neck, depleting her of much needed oxygen. He didn’t pull her over the table and towards him, nor did he slam her against the wall. He kept her where she stood, depriving her of oxygen.

But there was that miraluka that stood just outside the door. And considering there was no battle currently going on in the Supremacy, people would be suspicious of her death. The death of the old Supreme Leader and the death of a First Order admiral, with Kylo Ren present for both? The risk was too great for him.

His hand relaxed and fell back down to his side as he released his hold on her throat. The anger still swirled in him, and he wanted to continue to choke the very life out of Admiral Reveille’s body and hand deliver her corpse to General Hux, but he resisted. “So what is stopping you from doing just that? Surely you Huxes,” he emphasized with a snarl, “will have much more to benefit from my death.”

~***~

The fascination and constant activity that swirled around Crait made Lavinia a little anxious. She truly did not know what was on the old Rebel Alliance outpost. Hell, she never even heard about it until she overheard that the Resistance were fleeing there as a last ditch effort to keep the movement alive. While others came up to General Hux in order to discuss his brief mission down on Crait, Lavinia stood behind him, quiet as her mind raced through possibilities.

When Armitage started again, so did she. Like a loyal lap dog. And to think this is my new position. But if she somehow managed to get Armitage to trust her, or if she stumbled across any great First Order secret, then it would be worth it.

The unexpected question surprised Lavinia a bit. She didn’t gather the man to be one for small talk, and she definitely didn’t pin him down as one who interested himself in the life stories of those under his command. But the question he asked was one she prepared well. “Nearly two years ago, sir.” Her answer was well rehearsed and straight from the file she fabricated with some inside help. Her actual time in the First Order was a lot shorter, only six months.

And she yearned for the day she could breathe freely once more.

“Though my actual time aboard the Supremacy is a lot shorter. I transferred several months ago from the Fulminatrix.” It was merely sheer luck that her falsified files had her as starting out on the ship destroyed by the Resistance. She hoped that her lie would be harder to detect.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
The datapad being ripped from her hands and broken against a wall was a surprise, but Reveille’s expression remained muted as her gaze followed its path, nose wrinkling only slightly in disgust at the waste. Thankfully she’d learned in her youth to have a few datapads and to sync them up often, otherwise it’d be a major loss of information, as well. She had briefly thought that might be the extent of Kylo’s rage – but of course, she did not deal with him first-hand.

She was already aware of what happened to her brother. It was one of the few things he mentioned in their conversation about the shift in leadership.

Yet it wasn’t from Armitage that she knew the gesture that her eyes recognized a moment before she felt the pressure at her neck, and the oxygen was stolen before she could get a good gasp of air. Reaching for her neck was pointless, but of course, that’s where her hands lifted to try and remove the invisible offender, only to find nothing – only to end up resting over her neck instead, as if their presence would do anything to lessen the pressure.

‘Calm, calm….’ Jinah wouldn’t budge if she stayed calm, and while time might be a precious commodity, there was still that vain hope he’d snap to his senses. Of course, there was only so long she could hold. Only so long before her expression faltered and she shut her eyes. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck.’ She stamped her boot and tried to pull back, even if that was completely pointless. ‘Hand, just…fucking hand.’ One hand dropped to pull her blaster, but before it could so much as wrap around it, the pressure released.

Her hand fell to the table instead, catching her weight as she fell forward with a gasp, keeping her on her feet as she bent over it, and glared down at the table and splayed fingers. She wasn’t sure if Jinah had run off then, but she wouldn’t blame him.

The hand at her throat relaxed its grip to apply a gentle pressure, to try and massage away some of the remaining pain. She idly wondered if it was going to leave a mark. “I think a blaster dart to the head would be easier,” Reveille wasn’t sure what possessed her to make that comment after she’d swallowed, hard, and shook her head a bit to reorganize the chaos of her mind.

People feared Kylo Ren because of the Force. They couldn’t see it, and most couldn’t understand it, but Reveille was not among them. It was another weapon, like anything else. She didn’t yet have a way to defend against it, but she was aware of some of the rules, thanks to her funding of a few projects on Serenno. She might not be able to see it, and that, in some ways, was frustrating – but it was nothing more fearsome than a blaster. A sniper.

As she cleared her throat, she forced herself to stand up straighter again, her gaze now a hard glare on Kylo Ren. “No one liked Snoke, Kylo,” she dropped the act of titles, and didn’t shift to Ben, either. “Turning you in for something I would have liked to do myself seems pointless. I did not lie when I said I wanted to figure out the direction of the First Order. Under Snoke, it was no better than the Empire. He saw himself an Emperor, and he saw you as Vader, and both of them failed.” She gestured back, lifting the hand from the table, “He even had another Death Star made,” a Starkiller by any other name…, “But you killed him. Which means you might have different ideas, or actually be willing to listen to some sense. I came to figure that out, because I am not going to see the First Order crash and burn because of incompetent Force Sensitives running amuck and abusing their powers.”

She had the leverage right then, which did encourage the plain words, all tactful diplomacy dropped to make things clear.

Perhaps her father would have wanted her to aspire to Supreme Leader, but in truth, she didn’t care who led, so long as the First Order succeeded. Armitage wanted it – she knew that, but he had always been the more ambitious of them. It’s why he had played Snoke’s game.

~***~

Two years, and based on the Fulminatrix. Armitage couldn’t help but snort as he heard that, thinking of her spectacular luck in being moved off of it only to end up on the Supremacy. If it weren’t for the size of the ship, they all would have been killed when that rogue rebel slammed into the ship and severed it in two. “You must feel quite fortunate.”

His mind tracked back to worlds she could have come from, given her age, and the time period. It could have been Sibensko, after the chaos there with the Amaxine warriors and Rinnrivin Di’s cartel, it had been easier to find down-on-their-luck recruits for the First Order who were upset with the New Republic. Even though that started some years ago, it continued.

Batuu was another planet in the Unknown Regions, among plenty of others there.

His sister had picked up a few from Serenno and other planets within that sector. “How did you hear of the First Order?” The question came casually, but Armitage certainly wondered, given they hadn’t stepped onto the world stage as a notable presence until Starkiller’s attack on the Hosnian System.

Most found out either by being at the right place at the right time, or through chains of informants that operated in the universe. Even then, most of those didn’t become actual recruits working within the Order. “Most of our recruits were brought up within the system, or come from planets in the Unknown Regions, as I’m sure you’re aware. You don’t seem like the latter.”

It was more in her accent. Perhaps she picked things up quick. Phasma had picked up the clipped mannerisms of Brendol in hours, but Phasma was always an exception to most rules.

Besides that, most humans of the Unknown Regions weren’t the best at communications and decryptions, given that they weren’t a part of the larger galaxy. Unless that was what she was trained to do, but he had a feeling she came to the First Order with skills. Canady wasn’t known for being forgiving with those who came aboard the Fulminatrix.

He was just as frustrating as Garmuth, in truth.

All those old Imperials had the same attitude. They thought they knew better because they came from a failed organization, seeming to forget that they lost.

The hangar was not far from the Bridge, thankfully, and Hux’s command shuttle was apparent not by looks, but by the Stormtroopers waiting outside, the ramp down. There would be a pilot within – Hux himself had no intention of piloting the ship, even if he knew how. He didn’t enjoy it, as some did. He’d prefer to take a few moments to sit and go through his datapad, or quiz Althea a bit more.

If he had to deal with her as his aide, he would need to make sure he understood what brought her there in the first place, and make sure she would come to understand her position just as well, since they were both forced into this situation by Supreme Leader Ren. He idly wondered if she had as much dislike for him as he did, but of course, that wasn’t a question to ask.

He shouldn’t be creating chaos for Kylo or the First Order by trying to figure out how many would support him in a coup. At least, not yet. Not until that idiot got himself distracted again by another Force sensitive girl who could kick his ass. Then he’d likely be able to manage a coup. ‘Perhaps I should just try to speak with General Organa and ask her to send Rey over here.’ It’d solve literally all of his problems.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Instead of only raising his ire more, Reveille’s comment on the use of a blaster amused him. “It’s not exactly my style.” No, he preferred more...dramatic methods. Such as bending the Force to his commands or utilizing his skills with the lightsaber. And he relished in the fear his victims displayed when he lit the lightsaber.

And with the Force, he can always deflect a blaster pointed in his direction.

Any amusement he held from her statement vanished when she started speaking. She was right, no one liked Snoke, and he very well knew that. He himself held great contempt for the man. But the comparison...his fists clenched in anger. Darth Vader was powerful, strong, and what he yearned to be. Everything else she said, though, was accurate. While the First Order thrived on the ideals of the old Empire, they need not to repeat the errors of their parents.

He considered her words. “If anyone ever finds out of what happened in this room, you will find no mercy from me.” He will not stop the next time he found himself using the Force to choke her again, and once the job was finished, he would personally hand deliver the body to Armitage.

“But consider that you now have my attention.” There were very few he would listen to in regards to the leadership of the First Order. But with the leverage she held, and, he even admitted to himself, with her position and upbringing, Kylo had no choice but to hear what she had to say.

It seemed that the ability to annoy and aggravate him was a Hux family trait.

--

Lavinia wanted to scoff at Hux’s mention of her fortune. Was she fortunate to have ended up in the middle of the First Order? She was still debating that one. The way she saw it, if she never had to interact with Kylo Ren again, then maybe she would be fortunate. “I certainly thought so. That is, until the Supremacy was cut in half.”

The moment the Raddus plowed into the Supremacy, Lavinia panicked as she did not know what was going on. All she knew was that she suddenly ended up on the floor with the corridor lights flickering. Times like that was when she missed being back on a planet. On stable ground.

Hux’s questioning into her past was a little unexpected for the moment, though not surprising. “You would be right. I’m from the Core Worlds. Coruscant, to be exact.” Since the files on her in the First Order did not detail her familial background, she saw no harm in telling a little truth about her past.

“My parents were sympathizers of the Galactic Empire. They tend to stay in the social circles of those who thought the same thing, and so it was easy to hear about the beginnings of the First Order.” None of that was a lie. The upper echelon of Coruscant was filled with those who believed that a restoration of the empire would aid their status and wealth, and her parents were very much a part of that society.

She eyed the Stormtroopers guarding the command shuttle, the soldiers that acted out commands without hesitation. Trained from birth, they absorbed the First Order indoctrination without any questions, with the exception of Finn. A soldier who managed to fight through his brainwashing and escape the Order, and while she never met him, she admired the man greatly.

Lavinia could only hope that she was long gone before she found herself with a laser ax on her neck.


“It was only natural that I enlisted.” Oh how she wished to see her parents’ expression if they found out she was in the First Order, next to the general nonetheless.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
There was a hint of the human to the monster in the subtle amusement that Kylo Ren took to her comment. Reveille made note of it, put to the back of her mind as she knew so many others would be, as she learned Kylo Ren and determined his fate, much as he would be determining hers.

She had his attention.

It was never what she wanted from Snoke, and in truth, she didn’t want it now – but her brother needed her to step up. ‘And I assure you, if it comes to the point that I tell anyone, I will have already realized the consequences.’ This was not her first rodeo. Kylo would hardly be the first she played this dangerous game with, though he was likely the most deadly of those she had stepped to and challenged.

She didn’t acknowledge his threat. She gave a nod of acknowledgment instead to having his attention, “Thank you.” If it took a bit of drama to get here, so be it. “Rest assured I do not intend to control you or your decisions, Supreme Leader. Should I question you and your choices, it is to better understand why they are being made, or to assist in bringing better ideas to light. I have my areas of expertise, as you do, so I expect we will not always understand everything immediately. I mention this, because I do not understand why the First Order remains above Crait.”

Her posture had returned to her, and so her hands folded over her chest once more. “We are exposed out here, and to me it seems that our soldiers languish in waiting for repairs to finish. I can pull the Supremacy to the Core, or back to the Unknown Regions, where it will be better protected and not require our forces be spread out here. I am also aware that we have already sliced into everything on that base and made copies of it, and it seems that the base has been mapped. I understand we have not broken the decryptions just yet.”

They would. Garmuth would return to his duties shortly, “but I do not believe we require even this much of a presence to protect our agents. I would like to understand why we remain at Crait, and what your next moves are. I have shared mine.” Continuing to close up the Core, to attempt diplomacy with Governor Tarkin, “We should stay in sync so we do not end up crossing lines.”

~***~

Coruscant was no surprise, though Armitage’s brows furrowed and he brought to mind the surname again. It was no name he knew – Storax. It was not one that had been brought to his position as a family, or even an individual, on Coruscant worthy of note amongst the other names that had come up. He made a note to mention it to Reveille – perhaps it would be more familiar to her.

“One would think so, and yet your parents remain outside of our ranks.” General Armitage noted as he came into the shuttle, and moved around it to a bench set alongside one wall. There were more comfortable options available, but some habits died hard.

He was still a soldier. The soldier’s bench, where Stormtroopers would have sat, was to his preference. Of course, those who entered didn’t sit with him. They sat at another bench, and as the door shut behind them, the shuttle began to start up around them, coming to life to bring them down to Crait where he could finally confront Garmuth about this other project he had not authorized.

“Why didn’t you stick to their path – out of the war zone, safe and comfortable on Coruscant?”

There was no hiding the disdain in his voice.

Those sorts hardly knew what was going to come to them, in the end, how their luxuries would be stripped away this time, and shared with the rest of the galaxy. The General had seen enough atrocities in the Outer Rim, and heard much else about how the Core only cared about itself, to know he would take some satisfaction in tearing it all down and making good on the First Order’s promise to equalize things.

One government.

One rule.

And under it, all would be equal. Outer Rim, Core, Mid Rim – the elites would cease to be as they were now. There would remain elites – those who had to guide – but there was at least a few things that were promising within the Order. The minimalist ways would help to keep them from the kind of corruption that plagued others. It was one of the few things he shared with Kylo Ren – though not Snoke and his opulent golden robe.

Honestly….
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo considered her words carefully. To better understand or offer her own ideas. He didn’t care for those who questioned his choices, but he elected to not challenge Reveille on that front. Should the moment come where she did what she said, he would decide then the appropriate course of action.

And yet he already found himself annoyed by her questions. “With the extensive damage done to The Supremacy by that martyr,” he spat the word with such malice, “some repairs were necessary before our next move.” Not to mention the Star Destroyers they lost in the incident. While they by far fared better than the Resistance, they still had their own wounds to lick.

“And Colonel Garmuth is still on the planet while others worked on the decryptions. A bit slow on them, though.” And here he thought that the First Order prided itself on its officers and their top-notch skills, but the length at which it took them to work through the decryptions was irritatingly slow. Surely any random cadet he picked could do just as good as a job.

"Besides, it’s imperative that we search every nook and cranny of that damned base." There had to be some clue as to where they went next, or even a location of where another old Rebel Alliance was located. If they could destroy the old outposts, then the Resistance’s remaining resources would dwindle, as well as their hope.

“As soon as we determine there is absolutely nothing left of importance on that base, we can retreat and fully repair.” Kylo’s plans for his next moves...well, he didn’t have any. There’s barely even been a moment of silence since they arrived at Crait, and Kylo begrudgingly admitted to himself that he didn’t know what to do next. “Our next move will be determined by what we find with the decryptions.”

--

“They preferred for others to do the dirty work.” Her own disdain for her parents was evident in her slightly clipped tone. She followed Armitage into the shuttle, but as Armitage took a seat on a bench along the wall, she paused in her steps to wonder where would be appropriate for her to sit.

Oh come on, Lavinia. It’s just a seat. She opted for the other end of the bench that Armitage sat on. Completely foreign to her, she was not sure if there was a certain...seating protocol for a general and his assistant. And she felt completely ridiculous to be stuck on a thought as trivial as a seat.

“I didn’t want that kind of life.” Lavinia took note of the contempt in his tone, and she had to agree with it. Living the life of comfort and luxury while others fight the hard battles and spill blood do they could continue that life. She’s seen the apathy in many of the Coruscant elite and loathed their voluntary ignorance. “I grew bored way too easily, and if I had to follow in my parents’ footsteps, I think I may have gone mad.”

Which wasn’t far from the truth. She was bored back home, which served as a major reason in her leaving. But she wasn’t about to tell the general about her series of odd jobs she served over the next few years. Or the small trouble she got into once in a while before joining the Resistance. Although she didn't imagine that every cadet in the First Order held a squeaky clean record.

“Did you always expect your life to turn out the way it did?” She didn’t think before she blurted out her curiosity. Clearing her throat, she shifted some on the bench as she felt the embarrassment creeping towards the surface. “Becoming general, a leader of the First Order.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
The annoyance was apparent, and filed away. Kylo would have to get used to being questioned, and this was not a battle that she needed to win. Lieutenant-Admiral Kos’tel’lanni would have things handled in her absence, and they would check in. Well, she’d need to get to one of her other datapads and inform Kos’tel’lanni of the change, but otherwise she had a set schedule for these things.

It was important to make him understand there was not hostility here. While there was the hope of bending Kylo to be someone who did listen, so that the First Order would thrive without a coup that would threaten it from the inside, she would have to work from that angle.

It was with that in mind that she hummed as he made his final statements about why they remained, as if they weren’t foolish reasons but things she hadn’t considered. Of course, she considered that the damage to the Supremacy may have been so severe at the outset, but at this time, it seemed as if it could be tugged back to the Core. As for the data – it had all been copied over. They didn’t necessarily need to be on Crait.

Not to mention they could just take the things with them. ‘You don’t need this battle. Drop it.’ “Thank you for elaborating.”

Others would be important. “I will go down to Crait and see to it that this is done so that we can move the Supremacy to safety and ensure the Resistance’s work to destroy us is harder.”

Garmuth would already be back on track, but she could reach out to a few others, as well, who weren’t down on Crait.

~***~

Elites always did prefer for others to do their dirty work. That was no surprise, though he did arch a brow a bit at her choice of seat. Not even Phasma would sit besides him on these flights, though Phasma usually preferred to stand. He supposed it wasn’t terribly unusual, and so he let it be for the moment without comment.

It wasn’t like it was actually difficult, and it certainly would make conversing on the way down easier.

Which, it seemed, they were going to continue to do, although he wasn’t sure how he felt about a question being pointed in his direction. It was such a stupid question that he couldn’t help the brief snort of laughter before it faded and he shook his head, stoic expression returning as he offered his answer.

Perhaps it wasn’t so stupid to someone who had only been there two years. “My father was Commandant Hux,” later General Hux, and then dead. “I am sure you are aware of that, but he, along with Grand Admiral Rae Sloane,” the only founder worth anything, “founded the First Order. I was brought up to be a leader, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. This galaxy needs order. To turn away from that would be…something loathsome.”

He had grown to accept it and to feel as if it was his duty to make this galaxy better. It required the ability to make plenty of hard decisions, and sometimes seemingly heartless ones, like the Hosnian Cataclysm, but it was all for a better tomorrow.

A tomorrow where elites wouldn’t trample others. Where the galaxy made sense. “I couldn’t live any other life and just allow the injustices in the galaxy to go on while I lived something greater.”

He could recall hushed conversations among the cadets, of what else there was, of what happened if they failed. He had never thought once of failure – failure was death, something the others didn’t understand. Though, he could recall Reveille pestering him to play those ‘what-if’ games when he was just trying to sleep in his bunk.

He just…couldn’t imagine another life. “I’m afraid I didn’t have the luxury of boredom to spur my decisions. What else did you consider?” She must have thought of other things if it was boredom that helped to bring her here.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Reveille seemed placated by Kylo’s response, but he still held his guard. She was a Hux, and as such, their verbal sparring was far from over. Plus she held great leverage over him from the knowledge of what truly happened in the throne room to Supreme Leader Snoke.

And Kylo Ren tended to not put his trust in anyone. Especially not a Hux.

He readied himself to dismiss her and to continue on with his previous task, before she interrupted him. She announced her decision to travel down to Crait, and Kylo paused. If he traveled down as well, he could assure himself of one last sweep of the outpost. The soldiers who were sent down to do a thorough search and map out the location could have missed any tiny detail.

And he needed the assurance for himself that nothing of the Resistance was left behind. “I will go with you.” His tone left no room for argument, for he was set on his plan. He started for the door that led back out to the corridor, not sparing her a glance as it slid open before him. “We need to ensure that we’re on and off that planet as quickly as possible.”

No, you just want to revisit the scene of your most recent failures. One hand clenched into a fist and quickly released as he fought against the anger aimed at himself. There would be time for self-reflection later.

--

Lavinia felt her body tense up when Armitage initially responded to her question with a snort of laughter. Obviously she had asked a ridiculous question, and she wondered if there was some magical force that would allow her to turn back time and rethink asking the question.

Armitage didn’t say anything else in respect to the sudden laugh, but instead answered her question. Brendol Hux’s name was whispered around in the idle gossip of those her parents socialized with, but Lavinia never paid them much attention if she found herself in the same room as them by a great misfortune. And Admiral Rae Sloane...she struggled to recollect any passing mention of the name.

This galaxy needs order...Lavinia didn’t react to his words. She just...listened. The galaxy crawled with criminals and vermin of every type, but order, subjugation from fear, would never change that. Her own sardonic view of the galaxy painted it in the image of one that will forever be corrupted in its darkest shadows, yet good still persisted, and it was worth holding onto.

Childish fairytales, as her mother would say.

Armitage continued on, mentioning the injustices of the galaxy, and she casually wondered if he saw himself as a crusader for the greater good. Indoctrinated since birth to uphold a certain ideal. “A noble cause,” she mumbled, more so to herself than to the man sitting on the bench.

“That luxury was a curse.” The words slipped out. They were only meant to have stayed in her thoughts, but she casually continued. “I didn’t really consider anything else. I decided to take some time to hone a few skills, and the rest is history.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Well, this was going to impede her ability to get a word in alone with Garmuth. Reveille’s expression didn’t slip to show her irritation with it, nor did her thoughts or emotions linger long on it. She did not want Garmuth discovered, though, even if it should be obvious that the head of the Security Bureau was behind much of her information.

When it wasn’t him, it was disavowed agent Terex. And she could already hear his commentary about this entire situation – the urgings to run, and run fast.

“That would be good,” she said instead, “with your direct oversight we should both be able to make short work of the delays keeping us here.” She almost regretted leaving her droid with Kos’tel’lanni now. He was fairly good at picking through other devices.

She followed Kylo out, and was pleased to catch sight of Jinah. He fell in step behind her, not speaking a word to what he saw or his personal concerns. “Supreme Leader, I will need to stop by my ship to obtain a datapad before we head down to Crait. If you prefer we can then use my ship to go down, or we can leave it to a ship of your preference.”

If she was going to be of use, she’d need a datapad in case she had to hook it up to anything to send back to others to work out some of the issues.

~***~

Armitage hardly needed to be told it was a noble cause. Perhaps, in theory, it was. In reality, it didn’t feel noble. He knew a large part of that was due to the kinds of work required. They weren’t yet at the golden age of the First Order, there was still a lot of dirty work to get through before it seemed ‘noble’.

Before it was ‘easy’.

But…it was worth it. He was certain of that.

It seemed that she also had little else in mind when it came to escaping her boredom. Either she was just as noble in her thoughts and actions, or she saw a path to greatness here. Given she had risen to the ranks of officer, either could be possible, but her distaste of her parents’ choices at least made it seem like she might understand the necessary evils of the First Order.

“At least you’ve made the right decision,” he noted. “One day, the galaxy will see that.” One day, when they had secured their rule and showed them what it was outside of war times. When there were jobs and stability for all, when the Outer Rim was just as significant as the Core. When it balanced.

The ship shuddered as it hit the atmosphere of Crait, though there was no window through which to see the planet where they sat, Hux still knew the familiar jostling. He didn’t rise until he felt the ship land, sliding a bit on the salt-covered planet.

The door opened, and with it, the ramp fell.

Outside was not Garmuth in his white, but BB-9E and a few Stormtroopers. The droid beeped up at General Hux, letting him know it would take him to where Garmuth was working.

Armitage couldn’t help but be annoyed by it, and he considered demanding Garmuth be brought out to him so he wouldn’t be deep in his distractions and dismissive, but he bit his tongue on that petty demand. “Take us. Now.” He said to the droid instead, who was quick to start rolling away.

He hated that droid.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo did not care to observe her for any signs of objecting to his coming along to Crait. Her wants did not concern him at the moment, especially given the revelation just a few minutes earlier.

“I’m glad you could see the need for me to come along.” Slight sarcasm tinged his words, as if Reveille just made a declaration of the obvious. “Every moment we lag behind, the Resistance gains that much of a lead.”

His eyes focused on the path ahead and did not waver when she spoke up. He wanted to be petulant and demand why she couldn’t make use of any datapad on the Supremacy. Rationality won and he stopped himself from voicing his immediate thoughts. “Very well, we’ll use your ship then.”

He could find no reason to object the use of her ship on their brief mission, aside from personal pride. How long would she be with them…? “Prepare Admiral Hux’s ship for immediate departure for Crait,” he barked out at a lieutenant who had the luck to be in Kylo’s line of sight. With no hesitation the officer repeated the orders in his earpiece. He did not once advert his gaze from Kylo, who continued down the corridor.

“What are your plans for when you finished here?” He also wanted to ask, how long will her visit last, but refrained from doing so. She already knew of his animosity. “Will you return to the Core Worlds?”

--

At least you’ve made the right decision. It was almost humorous, to her, how they defined what was the right decision. The two held two widely contrasting ideals of what was better for the galaxy, yet both stood firmly by their decision, believing it would make things right. Finding herself in the heart of the First Order, she hoped that she made the right decision.

The ship jostled as it passed through the planet’s atmosphere, and Lavinia braced each hand on the bench on either side of her. Although not very clumsy, she didn’t wish to embarrass herself in front of the general by accidentally losing balance on the bench due to the sudden movement.

An astromech droid greeted them on the surface. As a BB series, the size and shape reminded Lavinia of Poe Dameron’s own droid, although its black-plated exterior was quite reminiscent of the First Order’s stark design. More menacing than the bright attitude of Poe's droid.

The white salt that composed the planet’s surface kicked up some as Lavinia stepped on the ground.The sun reflected harshly against the white salt crystals, but she had no trouble in seeing before her as she followed behind the general and the spherical droid. Wasn’t this the droid that exposed Finn and Rose?

She had no idea what Colonel Garmuth was up to on Crait. He probably classified her as someone he shouldn’t bother with unless he wanted to pass off a menial task to her. With everything on the outpost meticulously scanned, she thought there would be no need to remain on the planet. “Does he make a habit out of undertaking unexpected projects?”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Well, at least Kylo was capable of sarcasm. Somehow, Reveille had thought him too serious to play at it, even with his earlier comment on their preferred methods of killing. He was also capable of some rationality, bending to the need for haste and allowing for use of her ship.

Though, she almost laughed as the order was passed to some lieutenant. She could imagine someone on the Supremacy stupidly trying to step onto her ship and Schaeffer putting a blaster to their head. The message would come across. Someone would be terrified.

Still, she answered his query, “Was that not obvious when I wanted to bring the Supremacy to the Core?” Perhaps Reveille shouldn’t answer a question with a question, but she did. “My intent is to help the First Order depart here and bring the Supremacy somewhere safer, be it the Core or the Unknown Regions, Supreme Leader. From there, it is most likely I will head to the Core, or to Eriadu, depending on how things continue to play out in the Core in my absence.”

Indeed, when they reached the hangar, the blonde officer himself would be leaning in the doorway of the reflective silver ship, and he seemed to curse to himself when he saw who Reveille was with. He pushed from the doorway and called out, “I’m piloting,” before anyone could say otherwise, “And Rani’s on co-pilot duties!”

“Wha—why am I—” a twi’lek, blue, appeared in the doorway briefly as Schaeffer vacated it, and her eyes shifted outwards and widened at the sight of Kylo, “Yes sir!” and she sprinted past, attire indicating she was more akin to piloting TIEs than stealth ships as Reveille’s corvette, Mirage, was.

There was a lack of Stormtroopers around the Mirage, and within it, a purposeful decision on Reveille’s part, though she would not stop Kylo Ren if he decided to order a few on the ship. Just as Reveille didn’t shout at Schaeffer to command him to hand over the reins of her ship. She understood too well why they might think hiding in the cockpit was a good idea. As soon as she was on the ship, she took a turn right to head deeper in the vessel, intent to take a datapad from her quarters, “Jinah, stay near the door, you’ll be coming onto Crait,” Reveille ordered.

Jinah immediately stopped following, “Understood, Admiral.”

~***~

General Hux shook his head as he walked, not quite denial, but also not agreement, as he thought of how best to explain Colonel Garmuth’s penchant for moving on to other projects. “Colonel Garmuth’s position as head of the Security Bureau does mean that projects can crop up suddenly that he has to tend to. It is understandable, he is our intelligence, but it is uncommon that I am not alerted of it.”

Unless it came from Admiral Reveille, in which case Garmuth had the clearance to pursue the project without needing to inform anyone else. He never wasted his time reporting to the higher-ups if he didn’t need to, for he did think it was a waste if he could see something that needed to be handled, immediately.

The Security Bureau was full of people with those thoughts, and he was glad the worst of them was gone.

BB-9E rolled along, beeping at some people who got in their way rather angrily and seeming to threaten to roll right into them and knock them off their feet. It certainly cleared the path well enough in the base, and on to one of the monitors where Colonel Garmuth was, running the transmissions he had through a program on his own computer that he’d brought down from the Supremacy.

The older man just gave a sidelong glance to the arrivals as BB-9E chimed its introductions. “General Hux, Lieutenant Storax.” He said, before his hazel eyes shifted back to the monitor. “To what do I owe your visit?”

“I understand that you took on another project while we were working to decrypt the Resistance transmissions. You are aware that any waste of time here allows the Resistance to get further, so I would like to understand what this other project was, and why you felt the need not to report?”

“Sir, your sister asked it of me,” the man answered, exasperation seeping into his voice, “If she did not see fit to have you informed of the importance of the project over looking into the whereabouts of the Resistance, then she must have a reason.” His tone was bored, clearly distracted, clearly only giving a portion of his attention to the conversation.

I am asking you, Colonel Garmuth, and you will answer.”

Colonel Garmuth took a moment to glance down to BB-9E, who beeped out that it would take over watching the monitor for abnormalities, before he turned his focus to the younger man, “General Hux, I do not wish to get in the middle of any family drama or squabbles. I have my orders, and I take them from you both. Admiral Reveille gave the order. I am not in a position to question it or hypothesize why. If you want the reasons, she would have them. I just do my duty.” He was clearly trying to get out of the conversation and redirect Armitage’s focus.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
He questioned her no more on her plans, for he was temporarily satisfied. Though not with the knowledge that Admiral Hux may be with them for some amount of time.

Kylo raised an eyebrow at the seemingly motley crew piloting Reveille’s ship. Ever the professionals, they were. The manner in which they reacted to his presence did not go unnoticed. It seems that my reputation precedes me. Good.

For the sake of appearances more than anything else, Kylo commanded for two Stormtroopers to follow them. The man was able to stop a blaster bolt in mid-air with his ways of the Force. Unless heading into battle, they weren’t necessary for him, but he still elected for them to accompany the duo down to Crait.

Maybe some would call him dramatic. He preferred threatening.

Kylo turned his head in the direction Reveille walked off. If the man wanted some sort of truce between the two, he would take a seat and not question every decision she made. But his stubbornness won out. He followed after Reveille down the path she took, easily catching up to her with the length of his strides.

“Why is the miraluka joining us on Crait?” In his eyes, he saw he action as unnecessary, and with the miraluka’s Force abilities, a small part of him, not so deep down, saw the action as a potential threat.

--

Lavinia hummed at General Hux’s response to her inquiry on Colonel Garmuth. “Is it possible that someone is trying to keep you in the dark about something?” With what she knew of the First Order, she knew that Kylo Ren may just be petty enough to do so. Anyone else, she had no clue.

Plus, she wanted to see if she could place the seeds of doubt in his mind about others in the First Order. Or if Armitage already held distrust for some.

Her line of sight followed BB-9E, and its erratic movement, until it rolled up to the man they came to speak to. Older in his years and with the fine lines on his face to prove it, Colonel Garmuth did not intimate Lavinia. She suspected that without his blaster or BB-9E, he may even be harmless.

Lavinia nodded her head in polite respect when the man in question greeted the two. She stayed back a step while Armitage interrogated Garmuth. A sister of the general was mentioned in Garmuth’s defense, and the woman did her best to conceal any shock her face revealed. She didn’t know this...did she?

The manner in which Garmuth evaded giving Hux an answer he so desperately sought intrigued Lavinia. “I’m sure any task being worked on that involves the nature of the Resistance is surely one that General Hux should be informed of.” She could only hope that Hux appreciated her attempt at squeezing the information from Garmuth.

“Unless there is something you are trying to hide?” If he wasn’t impressed, then she may have just pissed off two of her superior officers.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Two Stormtroopers did join them, which Reveille found entirely pointless. Of course, she did not say that, though she was tempted to as Kylo followed and questioned ‘the miraluka’ joining them. At least it was easy to defend his presence as she stepped to a door that led to her room, placing her fingertips over a pad to have them read. The level of security was likely unnecessary, but one didn’t earn the respect of the Security Bureau by making things easy.

“You may be unaware of the miraluka’s particular abilities, notably what they term Force Sight,” most in the First Order didn’t understand anything about other races.

Most wanted to follow the xenophobic footsteps of the Empire. Even her brother was difficult to deal with, absorbing the idea that humans were naturally superior with ease in his youth. She was forever grateful to Kos’tel’lanni for not giving up on her when she was younger, and came upon the Chiss in the Unknown Regions – for reminding her of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

The door to her quarters slid open and she stepped in. “It allows them to see in ways that I cannot,” she did not know if Kylo could see in such ways, so she left him out, “and so Jinah may be of assistance in locating passages that have been covered, or in otherwise noticing things that others would overlook.” Of course the real reason was Kylo Ren's existence near her, but that didn't need to be said.

Reveille moved straight to her desk and opened the bottom drawer, pulling a datapad out and turning it on immediately. The room was fairly organized, bed made and pajamas already resting in one corner, every surface barren of even so much as a sentimental dustable. The hues were shades of gray and blue, stormy, perhaps notable for the blue, but otherwise wholly bland. The only thing out of place was a hairbrush that lingered on the end table besides the bed.

Reveille hardly intended to let Kylo Ren go walking through her room to get more than a surface look, though, and she strode right back out once she had the datapad. Her corvette wasn’t used all that much for lengthy trips so it did not have so much as her room on her Destroyer did, but that didn’t mean she was comfortable with the thought of him lingering.

~***~

Armitage was certain many would try to hide things from him, and Reveille was on that list, even if from her it seemed more benign. There was a lingering thought that she was still looking to usurp him, one day – that she’d only been using him from the start and letting him clear the way. It was the paranoia that came from the Cadet training.

Half of the class died, after all. Many died even after that. The few survivors found ways to appear harmless or loyal, when they all knew it was far from the truth.

Brendol’s teachings had been horrible – only the strong survive. Only the strong lead.

Garmuth’s expression remained utterly bored with Althea’s line of questioning, though, and Armitage did glance back briefly to her with an arched brow. Her questioning it of him was one thing. Of Garmuth, when he made it clear he was going to be difficult?

“Yes, if it had anything to do with the Resistance, it would be significant to report to General Hux. As it does not, a limited audience was what Admiral Reveille requested, and as I’ve indicated before, I am not in the position to question her, or get involved in a family matter. If she wants to hide anything, her motives are her own.”

“If it has nothing to do with the Resistance, what does it have to do with?”

“I imagine the First Order.” What else was there? “We have found spies in our ranks before and we have dealt with them. I still believe we need a Loyalty Officers program.”

Armitage ignored that, “Who did it concern? Who were you told to investigate?”

“I was not told to investigate anyone. I was told to provide footage of an event that Admiral Reveille could not witness in person.”

“What footage?” Armitage was getting more and more irritated with having to ask specific questions, but he continued. He seemed to be gaining some ground.

That was where the Colonel shook his head, “She has asked me to remain mute on that.” It was for Armitage’s own good that he didn’t know, and he would only know if Reveille disappeared or died. Garmuth knew both were possible given what he’d heard and what he’d seen. He’d prefer Kylo Ren done away with, but his luck was never that good.

Just as he’d once lived in fear of Vader, now he had to live in fear of that petty asshole. He hadn’t signed up for this.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
He didn’t felt the need to stroll on in Reveille’s room. While Kylo had no qualms in invading anyone’s personal space, he was content, or as content as he could be, in standing right outside the doorway.

“You know I can do that.” Yet he didn’t. His initial trip down to Crait was focused solely on destroying the last of the Resistance, and Luke, until he realized the derisive trick, which only fueled his anger and hatred.

When the woman left her room, Kylo turned on his heel to strode back down the corridor. “I can do what they can do.” He did not know the extent of his statement, though. They shared some common abilities, that he knew, but Kylo knew nothing about the miraluka Reveille brought with her.

Of course, there was the issue that if the miraluka managed to find something that Kylo, or everyone else, overlooked during their initial scavenging, then he would be greatly irritated.

--

Lavinia started to wonder if she stepped out of line, but Hux’s line of questioning against Garmuth overruled that thought. She found herself curious as to what exactly Garmuth was doing, and on Crait, at the outpost they picked apart and left no stone untouched.

She maintained a cool facade when Garmuth mentioned previous spies in their ranks, but her heart skipped a beat. She’s heard of the Loyalty Officers program of the Galactic Empire, specialized officers trained to detect any wavering loyalty to the empire. Such a program would have the potential to remove any spies left in the First Order, herself included.

Garmuth’s continuing evasion of Hux’s questions and vague description of the footage still left Lavinia with some anxiety, although Garmuth didn’t say anything to her that could suggest that the footage was anything of that nature. So then, what was it?

“If it doesn’t involve the Resistance, then why are you on Crait?” Though it appeared that the man would not be budging.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Reveille had already begun to type her mass message to let everyone know what datapad to send messages to when Kylo seemed to be protesting her reason for bringing Jinah with her. It was almost childish how he insisted he could do the same thing. “I actually do not know the extent of your capabilities with the Force, Supreme Leader, though I would certainly appreciate a lesson in the future. I am still learning much about it myself, though strictly from a theory standpoint, given I cannot use it.”

Theory was important. Theory was leading to great strides among her engineers in creating things that worked against it. She knew there was progress in the Void Stone project; Jinah already hated it, though he understood the necessity.

“However, I imagine you do not live with only that sight, as Jinah does. Given the necessity and constant application, I trust Jinah to notice things that we may not, given we both have eyes.” There were no eyes behind Jinah’s blindfold, which was precisely why he wore it. It unnerved other people, and it was difficult enough blending in. “We tend to trust them over other senses.”

She was aware of how Kylo Ren had fought an illusion of Luke from Hux. She did not know what that meant for his Force sight, or his sense, but she imagined it was a sore point. Sore enough that he’d either concede it, or argue more. She was still figuring him out.

The message was sent, and she tucked the datapad back into its usual place as she returned to where Jinah was, standing rather than finding a place to sit as the starship jetted forward.

Schaeffer and Rani clearly gave no fucks about making it a leisurely trip.

~***~

Garmuth heaved a sigh at Althea’s question, and fixed his gaze on her then, seeming equally irritated and disinterested. He did not know why she was around General Hux, he’d never noticed the two interacting before. “I have finished my side project for Admiral Hux. I am now working on things with the Resistance. It would be going faster if I were not being peppered with questions. Nine-Ee is not quite as adept as I am at noticing discrepancies in patterns. I’ve only just figured out there is a second layer to the decryption, so I have decrypt that to even get at the original.”

“Only?” Hux sounded more irritated. “How is it taking—”

“—distractions, sir, like now.”

Hux’s lips became a tight line. It was clear he wanted to say something, but Garmuth had a point, didn’t he? Crait hadn’t exactly been quiet, what with people tearing things apart and generally moving in a disorderly fashion. Not to mention Colonel Garmuth was tending to some side project he didn’t even bother to inform General Hux of. “May I be allowed to resume, General?”

Of course, it was at that point that his datapad lit up with a message, and Hux could spot the name ‘Admiral Hux’ across it, before he felt his own pad buzz. He reached back to take it out and noted the quick message of a new datapad.

He was very tempted to question if it was destroyed because of Kylo Ren, but when he saw the relief play across Garmuth’s face, he knew that he, too, was aware she had gone to see Kylo. And more. “Were you investigating the Supreme Leader, Colonel?” His voice was a bit softer, the way it became when he knew he was right.

Garmuth looked a bit startled then, and BB-9E had the audacity to ask ‘which one’ – basically confirming it, without confirming it. If it mattered which one, that meant there had been an investigation.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo wanted to give her a further lesson right then, showcasing his capabilities with the Force against her. She already tasted it earlier before he showed mercy. “No doubt you will see more of it in the future.” Whether that was a promise or a threat was unclear. But if they would be spending more time together in the future, she will have a front row seat to what he could do.

He was in silent agreement on Reveille’s statement about Jinah. The use of the Force to see, in a way, was in near constant use for the miraluka, while Kylo rarely experimented using the Force in such a manner.

If he did, then maybe he would’ve been able to see the illusion Luke sent him. His blood still boiled when recollecting that moment.

Kylo returned to find the two Stormtroopers he commanded along sat on a bench pressed against a wall. He knew it was useless to bring them along. With two Force sensitives and no likely enemy on the planet, they were nothing but show. A testimony to Kylo’s own ego and stubbornness.

He remained silent, having nothing more to say until their arrival. Kylo remained standing, eyes fixated on the viewport as Crait drew closer.

--


Lavinia felt a twinge of smugness at Garmuth’s irritation on the decryptions. No doubt her own contributions aided in the set back, and the annoyance displayed by the two men in the room made her feel a bit proud. If not at her, then at the Resistance.

She looked over at General Hux with a raised eyebrow. An investigation on the Supreme Leader? That was new information. She didn’t think anyone would dare investigate Kylo Ren, and on what grounds? As far as she knew, the First Order only looked into those who were traitors to their cause.

“Why would there be an investigation into the Supreme Leader?” Lavinia wasn’t even sure to whom she was asking that question, or if it was a verbally expressed thought. But at the very least, maybe she could distract Garmuth further from the decryptions.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Reveille took the words as a threat, fairly certain she’d find ways to piss off Kylo in the future, intentionally or otherwise. It was better to see it that way, anyway. She’d be as prepared as she could be. ‘Check with Serenno tonight….’ She needed an ETA on a prototype.

She shifted through a few messages as they came in, some people confirming the shift-over. She did not see a reason to respond to them, and was grateful some were under code names as a short message from Terex came in, questioning how the first one was destroyed ‘this time’. As if her datapads couldn’t just die or have a strange tech malfunction.

Count Demici also sent a message, and that one she clicked on and sent a quick message back regarding a meeting that evening, offering a couple of times she thought she would be free.

That was when they finally hit the atmosphere of Crait, and Reveille returned it to its place behind her blaster, prepared to step out as soon as they landed. She was grateful that much of the salt had been tossed about, revealing the red underneath. The white, in this sun, would have been too blinding.

Rani and Schaeffer didn’t return to join; no doubt they’d stay in the ship. She frowned though when she noticed the Command Shuttle there. She was fairly certain that couldn’t be used by just anyone, but she didn’t question it, walking towards the gaping hole into the base, until she noticed Jinah had paused. “Hm?”

Jinah shook his head, “Just…quite a bit of energy here,” he gestured to the space just outside, the space that still lingered with the imprint of Kylo and Luke’s fight. Luke’s energy from the illusion, in particular, held on so well he could almost see the Jedi, and it was quite curious to him. “But nothing important,” he added, turning back to follow in line with Reveille, “Imprints of the past, as in Naboo.” He explained, not as much as he would have thanks to Kylo’s presence.

Reveille accepted it without question before stepping inside the bustling base, where Jinah felt that all-too familiar sensation of hostility being flung his way – and likely, Kylo’s way. People didn’t like the strange.

Reveille just walked to the nearest officer, “Where is Colonel Garmuth?” For beginning any investigation into the encryptions began with him.

The officer arched a brow, but noted the rank bands, and Kylo’s presence, “I can show you,” better than just trying to offer vague directions.

~***~

Garmuth let out an irritated sound, “Why is there an investigation into anyone?” He let the question hang in the air, meant to be rhetorical. An investigation implied there was reason to suspect they had done something against the First Order – the Supreme Leader was not above suspicion in this kind of organization.

Even if he could read minds and choke the life out of people.

At least Garmuth hadn’t heard any stories of him doing so between ships, through screens. He’d heard too many of those about Darth Vader; thankfully, he’d avoided having to deal with that so far.

“Was evidence found to support it?”

“I do not make the judgment, General, I just provide what is asked,” he didn’t often play so heavily on the fact he was just a pawn in the game, but right then it was his only option, even as he tried to turn his gaze back to the aurebesh in front of him.

“What was asked?”

He sighed, “Audio and visual of the Supreme Leader.” He left out the particulars of what audio, and what visuals, knowing how vague that was.

“Are you really going to keep this up, Ansiv?” Armitage finally snapped, dismissing titles and even surname in frustration with how he kept avoiding it. “I am as much your superior as my sister.”

“Yes, but Admiral Reveille is directly over the Security Bureau,” he reminded, “An agreement the two of you came to years ago, if I understand correctly. I have told you to go talk to her.” A hundred times by now.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo didn’t wait a moment before departing the ship the moment they landed, the stormtroopers loyally following behind. Instead of the usual layer of white salt that dominated most of the planet, the layer of red rhodocrosite instead lingered, only hinting at the battle that occured not long ago. The battle against Luke Skywalker still rested heavily on his mind, and the sooner they could complete their mission, the better.

He frowned when he noticed the Command Shuttle. It would be his luck that two Huxes would now be in the same place as he, wouldn’t it? It may be a near miracle if everyone left the planet unscathed, yet it may not be wise to asphyxiate the general with an audience. But the question that lingered was, what was the general doing there as well?

The miraluka still irritated him. The words lingered with Kylo, and he fought the anger that threatened to consume him. Imprints of the past. Yet they weighed heavily on his future.

He, like the others in their group, followed the officer, who quickly led them to Colonel Garmuth. A seemingly popular man as of recent, as they weren’t the only ones wishing to speak to him. As they approached, Kylo noted General Hux and the random officer he assigned to watch the general.

~***~

Lavinia stayed silent, listening to the conversation with rapt attention. An investigation into the Supreme Leader...she could certainly use that for her advantage. If anything came from this investigation, then all of their attention would shift to Kylo Ren. And everyone knew of the animosity shared between Armitage and Kylo Ren.

If she played her cards right...then she could certainly benefit.

While the two men bickered, Lavinia picked up on some extra footsteps behind them. She glanced over her shoulder, and her eyes widened slightly at the unexpected appearance of Kylo Ren, followed by the woman she saw talking to General Hux earlier, a miraluka, and two Stormtroopers.

Keep your mind clear.

Before Lavinia could warn Armitage of their approaching company, Kylo spoke up. “I thought you had more pressing matters to attend to, general.”
 

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