ren höek

8

Every Kylux scene (3/??): Entering the room, Kylo Ren moved to join them. “Finding the flaw in your training methods won’t help recover the droid.” Although his mask concealed his facial expression, the rage simmering below his calm demeanor was almost palpable. 

“And yet, there are larger concerns,” Hux insisted. It was evident from both Hux’s tone and body language that he held no love for the newcomer. The feeling was mutual; neither took pains to hide his contempt. 

“Not for me.” 

Typical Ren, Hux thought. Self-centered, arrogant, indifferent to the interests of others. 

“The Supreme Leader made it explicit that the Resistance not acquire the map to Skywalker. Capture the droid if we can. Destroy it if we must.” 

Ren paused to consider the general’s words. “A simple enough task, or so it would seem. Find one droid. Just how capable are your soldiers, General?” 

Hux turned away from the trooper’s holofile. He respected Ren and his abilities, but he was not afraid of him. One did not rise to the rank of general in the forces of the First Order by showing fear.

“I won’t have you questioning my methods.” 

“What methods would those be, General? Those that allow a single common trooper to free an important prisoner from confinement, escort him to an operating hangar, and assist him in fighting his way to freedom? What methods teach such expertise? Obviously, at least some of your troops are skilled at high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using an army of clones.”

It was with great difficulty that Hux restrained himself. “My men receive exceptional instruction. They are programmed from birth to be loyal to one another, to their officers, and to the Order. The appearance of a single abnormality does not give you the right to question methods that have been refined through long —” 

Ren interrupted the general’s impassioned defense. “Keeping the map out of the hands of the Resistance shouldn’t be a problem, then. Yes?” 

“Again, this map. Which for all I know may or may not even exist.”

Ren’s voice darkened to a degree that caused Phasma to take a step backward. “I do not think I care for your implication, General. You would be wise to keep such thoughts to yourself. You would be wise not to think them. 

Hux held his ground. “My duty is to fight for the First Order with every iota of information, every scrap of material, and every functioning trooper at my command. That was in the oath I took. That is the oath I have sworn to uphold.” His gaze did not flinch from the mask. “There was nothing in it about accommodating the ancillary interests of individuals, no matter how high their rank or how exalted their perceived importance. Careful, Ren, that your personal interests do not interfere with direct orders from Leader Snoke.”

If Kylo Ren was affronted by the general’s boldness, he did not show it. As if nothing untoward had passed between them, he continued. “Have you and your techs reviewed the close-in scans of the area where the stolen TIE fighter was forced down? That region is home to only one settlement of consequence: Niima Outpost. If the droid is still functioning, it would instinctively try to hide there.” 

Glad of the opportunity to change the subject as well as to report something positive, Hux replied in a more amenable tone of voice. “I concur. Furthermore, we found the traitor’s armor. It was strung out along a single trail in the desert, where it had been abandoned. While the viewable footprints were interspersed among the dunes, they form a consistent pattern heading toward Niima.” He smiled thinly at Ren. “A strike team is already en route.” 

“Good. I am pleased to see that you are personally in charge of this, General. Of retrieving the droid— preferably unharmed.” 

Before Hux could object again, Ren turned and departed back the way he had come. If he felt the hate flowing in his direction from the senior officer behind him, he chose not to respond to it.