“It isn’t fully dark just yet,” Oliver squeaked as they geared up for their first patrol. “Technically speaking our mandated assignment doesn’t say that we must actually begin our duty until nightfall. Can’t we just wait until then, or perhaps take a bit to observe and plan from here first?” Oliver Novius had never quite been comfortable with the idea of being out after dark. And he liked the concept far less now that he had orders to go out there and seek out monsters.
How on all of Gallu had he managed to draw the short lot for this assignment anyways? He had just graduated from the prep program and all he expected was to be assigned to a desk or something safe. Somehow he was being issued full patrol and combat gear instead. For some crazy reason he was being asked to march out into the darkness and fight something that shouldn’t exist. The whole thing was all together terrifying. And to make matters worse he was being asked to escort a man that everyone whispered might just be the monster himself.
“Don’t cite technicality to excuse your own fears,” Vedia advised in her own cool analytical tone. She seemed so caught up in checking her equipment that he almost didn’t think she had even been paying attention. As she holstered her sidearm and began to clasp a series of buckles on her standard issue Arete Fidei reinforced jacket she continued her commentary.
“Because if you want to address the nature of our directive it specifies quite clearly that we are to be ready to see to our duty before our designated patrol begins. As such we are required to be suited up and on the streets prior to nightfall. Furthermore, if we are being thorough in our in-depth review here I could point out a number of other points that all re-emphasize the fact that should we show any disregard for our duty we could face official reprimand.”
Officer Corvan raised her head to level her attention back at Oliver who made no attempt to hide the fact as he tried to swallow the building lump from his throat. “We will see to our assignment, we will complete it and everyone will sleep better. I don’t think you want to face the Chief’s disciplinary procedures; much less what may happen if whatever this is gets worse when we could have stopped it. Do you?”
“No ma’am,” Oliver admitted more than just a little ashamed of himself. “What about you, aren’t you scared to go back out there after what happened to you? Gabriel was it, or do you prefer Mr. Vincent?” So far the shiny armed man had remained silent as they prepared. He couldn’t imagine what must be going through the man’s mind right now. Nor did he want to try; the idea of having to face anything with nothing more than a hammer to protect yourself with was suicide if you asked him.
“Every task I take I take seriously and with the understanding that I will see it through to the best of my ability,” Gabriel explained. “I have lost more to this monster than anyone ever should have had to endure and if my service can spare even a single soul such pain then I think it will be worth it. You might say that I worry about what will happen to others if we fail but no, I am not really afraid for myself. It has already done its worst to me. Now it is my job to help see that it is repaid in kind.”
Vedia made it a point to observe this Gabriel very closely as he spoke. She noted everything he said as if she was back in class and logged them to memory. If they were ordered to keep this man under surveillance then there had to be good reason. Especially if he wasn’t to be permitted anything other than a simple hammer; the man had to be considered dangerous somehow. This was her big chance to prove herself; she was going to do everything in her power to make sure that she did just that. Rumors or not, Vedia was not about to let some builder try and mess this up for her.
“What can we expect if we encounter this creature and engage it?” Vedia allowed her question to be tossed out casually while she watched Gabriel and waited for his answer. She wanted to see just what he could actually tell them, if anything. And even more importantly she just couldn’t stand not knowing about something. Officer Corvan had spent countless hours examining any volume of records or data she could come across. She adored reading up on and studying anything she discovered that she didn’t know about. Vedia desperately longed for more information that she might be able to use to explain things or that might lead her to something new she could research.
Gabriel looked at the time to try to redirect his thoughts, it would be dark soon and already he could feel himself growing restless. He tried to carefully order his thoughts and choose just how to answer her probe. Closing his eyes he took in a deep breath to steady himself and allowed his hand to brush the handle of his hammer dangling at his hip.
“It came at me from behind in a full run,” he recalled the grizzly events aloud and tried to describe the details as best as he could. “The thing approached me on all fours before rising to stand on its hind legs and attacked with its arms. Most of my memory is still not clear I am afraid, but I can tell you that its claws can cleave flesh easily and its teeth can snap through bones. I think I lost my arm by trying to defend myself from a blow, but I just can’t remember. If it gets in close, and this thing moved quicker than you will expect, I would say it is a safe bet that your armor will do little to stop it. Your best bet will be to put it down as fast as you can before it can close in on you.”
“Duly noted,” Vedia acknowledged with a quick nod. “Let’s begin our patrol gentlemen.” Without waiting for any further objections from Oliver, Vedia marched out the door in a briskly measured pace. “Well she is all business isn’t she,” Gabriel remarked softly under his breath before he moved to follow suit. Oliver’s hand was still trembling as he patted his weapon to remind him it was there before he could bring himself to go through the door himself. In the back of his mind all he kept thinking was one thing; ‘I’m a dead man.’ He didn’t want to believe Gabriel’s account; he wanted this all to be some elaborate misunderstanding. But the thought of it even possibly being true still scared him to the core. And right now he was certain that he would never live to see the dawn again.