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The Shell

Chapter Text

The Shell

*

            “General?” Mitaka’s soft voice calls over their open comlink channel.

“Yes, Lieutenant?” General Armitage Hux could have switched on the holo projection function, but he’s up to his elbows in reports that need to be reviewed, responded, and approved.

“Stormtrooper JB-007 has an urgent matter to bring to your attention, sir.”

“Put him on, and then take your lunch break.”

“Thank you, sir.”

In half a second of static, the Stormtrooper is patched through.

“General, I have found Lord Ren wandering in Sector 1138.” Hux furrows his brows but continues his headway into his folio-work.

“Lord Ren isn’t scheduled to be back for another two days.” But it would be so like him to break that like he does with everything and everyone else around here. No wonder General Eclipse sent me that crate of Corellian whiskey when she found out that Lord Ren would be my co-commander for the foreseeable future!

“I’m certain that this is Lord Ren; no one else has his face. But it appears his hair is blond now, sir.”

“I didn’t think he fancied blondes.” Hux dryly jokes, and he knows that the older Stormtrooper is smiling wryly at that.

“At least not Petty Officer Thanisson. With all due respect, Lord Ren is in a state of complete undress, sir.”

“……Is he responsive?”

“He doesn’t recognize his own name and hasn’t really said anything.”

“Take him to medbay and you can resume your patrol, JB-007.”

“Understood, sir.”

Hux halts his writings and sighs deeply. He wishes he could continue his work for another hour, let Ren wait for him, paying him back for all those times that he had to wait for the so-called Master of the Knights of Ren while the furious Force-user wreaked havoc on his ship. But he knows Ren. He knows him all too well. So he gets up from his fairly comfortable hoverchair and makes his way to the medbay. Wishing as he wished nearly a week after meeting Ren that the Supreme Leader wasn’t such a sadistic layabout.

*

The medbay is miraculously empty save for the meddroids and the patient in question. The patient is thankfully covered in a standard-issued medbay gown, but Hux notices the lack of underwear lines in the gowns and wonders if Ren has a silly hatred for those too.

“MD-5, what is the status on Lord Ren?” Lord Ren in question is busy looking into the void; Hux nearly rolls his eyes.

“General Hux, there is nothing physically wrong with the patient. He is merely overwhelmed from being outside the quarters.”

“Overwhelmed? Why would you be?” Hux looks into Ren’s brown eyes and tightens his frown. In the privacy of his quarters, Hux would admit that Ren’s eyes were his second-best feature. They’re brown, but they pop like firecrackers bursting with his emotions, mostly anger. Now, Ren’s eyes are strangely dull and remind him of a filthy mirror that his uncle once owned. He tried polishing it, spent a better part of a morning doing so, but he could never get his reflection to shine through. His uncle informed him that it would require a special, expensive polish, but it wouldn’t come close to covering the cost. So he burned it with the refuse.

 “General, the patient is not Lord Ren, but his clone.” The droid intones emotionlessly.

“Why does he have a clone of himself?” He quickly and quietly demands. Ren nags him nearly every time that they review the troopers together that clones would be better soldiers than they are. And if Ren didn’t always insist like a spoiled know-it-all, Hux would’ve happily debated him on the issue like an adult.

“I cannot divulge such sensitive information to you.” You lack the clearance because Supreme Leader likes riling you up and making Ren feel superior. Hux is well aware of this old song and dance; he’s partially glad for it because when he ends it, there’ll be little guilt to sour his victory.

“What will happen to the…clone?”

“He will be released into the custody of Lord Ren.”

“Lord Ren isn’t here and won’t be for another two days.”

“Then, he will remain here until Lord Ren returns.”

“But as his co-commander, the clone can be released into my care.” The droid spends half a second to run the request against his protocols.

“Very well. The clone is yours until Lord Ren returns.”

Hux allows himself to smile and holds out his hand to the clone.

“Will you come along with me?”

The clone looks up at him with his dull eyes for a moment and then back at his hand. After a heartbeat, he takes it.

*