The coffee-pot was gone from the officers’ kitchen.
This was the problem at present, but there was also her meeting with the admirals to contend with later, and the small trouble of—
A faint fizzing sound alerted her to the rest, the newest member of the Finalizer’s crew was once again on a rampage.
Armité refused to acknowledge that they were co-commanders, because no commander worth their salt would act like this. The knight called Kyla Ren had been here a week, and had already wrecked half the rooms on the ship.
Armité wanted to say this was done systematically, but something in her knew there wasn’t any logic to it. The whole matter would almost be comforting if she could figure out a system, if she knew that Kyla was trying to actually sabotage her operation, the star destroyer she still fought for control over, still wrested from admirals who resented her—but that wasn’t it. It was just thoughtless rage, frustration dealt with by destroying things.
And worse, she hadn’t been able to speak with the knight. At all. All week. Armité knew nothing of the other person except a name (a name which didn’t identify gender or species or anything else, it was only the absence of roaring that told her Ren wasn’t a Wookiee). Kyla was an incorrigible wraith. Kyla was faceless.
And what kind of name—well. She was called Armité. She couldn’t make fun of names, she thought, even as the fizzing and whirring, all too familiar already, got closer.
Not now. Don’t get to the kitchen before I get my coffee. She knew the goddess didn’t answer such inconsequential prayers, but it didn’t hurt to ask.
Armité grabbed a strainer from under the stove and put coffee-grounds in it, turned the kettle on, and poured. If the pot wasn’t there, damn it, she would still have her caffeine. She just had to wait for the water to run through.
The knight stormed in as Armité was waiting on gravity, and while she wanted to scream, she’d already tried that. At least the lightsaber was off. That meant the worst was over.
And yet, there was no telling when it would happen again, and perhaps no way to stop it.
She’d tried everything Brendol used to keep her mind disciplined, and everything Maratelle used to keep her appearance in line. Rage. Intimidation. Glowering.
If she still heard Maratelle’s voice sternly telling her to wear eyeliner when she was tempted to forgo it, something about sternness must be effective.
But it wasn’t. Not here.
She’d tried her personal threat, do this again and I’ll defenestrate you, and that hadn’t worked either. So, with her hands practically shaking, she chose another tactic. The lightsaber was off, she told herself. She could bolt before being run through if this provoked another tantrum.
“Would you like some coffee?”
The door slid shut in a flash, and black-gloved hands came up to some mysterious helmet-catch, just as Armité turned around to get another mug ready. This wasn’t what she expected. But then, there was hardly anything to expect—her past week had been spent with a spectre, and maybe the spectre was more drawn to coffee than scared of threats. It shouldn’t have been a shock.
What was a shock was the distinctly female voice that said, “absolutely.”
And the fact that Kyla Ren had an angel’s face, framed by thick black hair. It was no wonder she wore a mask. Wide eyes, quiet expression. No one in the order would take her seriously as she was, which was a failing of the order to be sure, but that was that. Beauty wasn’t met with much respect, especially not this kind. Ren looked gentle. Almost—
Armité coughed. Attraction to a co-commander--to someone this impulsive at all--was not acceptable.
“I trust you will accompany me to the meeting with the admirals?”
She handed Kyla the cup she’d intended for herself, and turned to make another. They might be a spare minute late. The admirals could handle it. She was punctual with her crew, to be sure, but the hatred between herself and the higher-ups was mutual, and everyone knew it.
“Really?” The other woman sounded far too sarcastic for her own good.
“Yes, really, we’re supposed to be co—”
“You just said I was an angel, and now you’re asking about meetings? If you’re going from flirting to business that fast, I’m not sure I can keep up.”
“I said nothing of the kind.”
“Not out loud. Where’s the sugar?”
“I wouldn’t know. I’m sure you can find it.” Of course someone so insufferable would drink their coffee with sugar.
“Hm. Figures you drink yours bitter.”
She would not let this get to her.
So anyone I should watch out for? I’ve heard the admirals can be a little—pushy.” the knight asked, after a moment of silent rustling. There had to be a punch line coming here, because the knight didn't have to watch out for anyone. She could throw you clean across a room as soon as she looked at you, and she'd do it without thinking. If she was trying to get Armité to admit weakness, she would have to try something less blatant.
“They’re really all right.”
This was perhaps the most severe lie Armité had ever told. The admirals were unbearable, especially with her, especially a certain one who -- she didn't want to think about him in the knight's presence.
Basically, he had some bizarre desire to make her straight, and some other bizarre desire to dictate her moral compass, and he made both of those quite clear whenever he saw her. It was enraging.
“You know I can feel how agitated you are. It’s radiating. You want me to come with you because you want a protector. Don’t you?” She wouldn’t give the other woman the satisfaction of turning, but was frightfully aware that the voice had come closer.
Armité straightened her greatcoat and washed out the makeshift coffee-maker instead of saying anything. She would not dignify such nonsense with a response, and settled on another question instead.
“What did you destroy earlier?”
“I’m not really sure.” She also sounded entirely untroubled. “It had buttons.”
“How terribly helpful. Buttons. And I’ve got to fix it, while you can you go around wrecking things as though it’s all—”
“You’re lucky, you know. Snoke goes after people.”
If anything was going to still Armité, stop her from really going off, it was that. Despite the knight’s nonchalance, despite the destruction, even the messy attempt at embarrassing her—even with all that, the admission halted her.
“I’ll allow that it could be worse. Now, let’s go. Are you going to put that back on?” She gestured to the helmet.
“No. It would keep me from drinking this.”
“It would also keep you from admiring my angelic face amid all those old admirals.”
“And wouldn’t you hate that.” She could play, too.
“I’m not sure yet.”
She might be able to play, but Ren was winning.