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Zero Fox

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Fox stifles their groan of dismay. It’s their name and they’re proud of it. But every single shiny thinks it’s their right to pester them about it. 

“Yes, my name is Fox. Yes, serial 1010.”

They put on their fiercest glare and enunciate with emphasis, “Cee TEE- zero zero zero zero slash, ten ten.” The shinies quake but don’t flee. 

One bold bastard in the back jauntily asks, “What if we accidentally call you commander,” and winks obnoxiously. Fox takes note of that one. Extra cleaning detail looks like it has a volunteer. 

They address the whole cluster, “You had damn well better not ‘accidentally’ call me the wrong rank! I worked hard to earn the one I have; unlike an officer, I labor for a living. Yes, you can fucking tell His Majesty of the CG I said that!”

The gaggle of shinies giggles nervously. 

“Commander Fox would kick his ass,” someone whispers. 

“Commander Fox would kick the messenger’s ass and then kick his ass,” another brat whispers back. 

Fox lunges, easily avoiding contact with anyone. “I’ll kick all your asses,” they shout after the scattering crowd. “And my pronouns are they/them/theirs, don’t disrespect!”

“I heard you were breaking in the new crop of shinies today, Corporal Fox,” Sergeant Appo says, sliding in next to them at the table. 

Fox swallows their bite of protein cube. “As usual, Sergeant, they were asking for it,” they tell their supervisor, wearily. 

“Shall I add it to the inprocessing brief for you?” Sergeant Appo proposes dryly. 

Fox gives him a baleful look, “No, thank you, I suspect that would not help matters one iota.”

“I’m beginning to suspect you actually enjoy terrorizing the kih’vode, Corporal,” he says politely, tactfully. 

Appo does not suggest they change their name. He had, once upon a time, back when they were both still brand new to Akk platoon, Torrent Company, and the 501st Legion. Fox had proceeded to make his life a series of microaggressions for the insult. Cold caf, bent binder clips, misplaced power packs, camouflaged stickyplast over connection ports, swapped datapads- nothing dangerous, merely inconvenient. The most inspired bit, Fox thought, had been when they started randomly calling him Appa. 

None of it was against regs, so Appo couldn’t write them up. When Appo had tried to discipline them off the books for it, they had trounced him on the mats. Holding him pinned, Fox had hissed in his ear, “My name is Fox.”

Appo knows now which of Fox’s buttons not to push. They are even friends, after a fashion. 

“Of course not, Sergeant, how unprofessional,” Fox answers, tone also carefully uninflected. Appo hums in a conciliatory manner and digs into his own meal. 

Fox waits until he has his mouth full of liquid to add, “I simply… have zero fox left to give.”

Appo chokes. Fox watches him dispassionately, and suggests, “Maybe you should get that cough looked at by a medic, Sergeant.”

“I hate you,” Appo wheezes. “You shabuir, how do you have such a good sabacc face, kriff you, d’you have to undermine me in the middle of the mess?”

“I hate you too, Sergeant,” Fox smirks, leaning their elbows on the table, “I practice my sabacc face on unsuspecting shinies, no thanks, and yes of course. Keeps you humble.”

Appo glares and mutters, “keep yourself humble, why I oughtta trip you on the track, you upstart punk vod’ika pain in the ass.” Fox smiles to themself. This is how they show affection. Appo straightens himself up and appears to change the subject. “Still hooking up with what’s-his-name from Pirate platoon? Got a packet for transfer with his name on it.”

It’s an idle threat. Fox knows there is no such packet; they’re the ones who compile those packets. “My riduur is just fine, said to tell you hi.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Appo dismisses gruffly. “Probably what he actually said to tell me was something like ‘Oya Pirates, sooran Akk’ika’, right?”

Fox grins and doesn’t deny it.