Saturday, July 13, 2013

Metal In The Moonlight - Episode 23.



Episode 23

Chief Gnaeus stormed forcefully into the squad room where he had issued orders for the Night-Watch Squad to be assembled and waiting. It was long before nightfall and he was certain there would be questions that they would be looking for answers from him for. He would answer the ones he could but his primary concern was to explain just exactly what his intentions were for the night. And while those intentions were anything but complex, he needed his Night-Watch Squad rallied for the night ahead of them.

“We are going to hunt down that deranged demon,” Chief Gnaeus affirmed angrily as he passed clear of the open doorway with fire in his step. His old disheveled uniform had been replaced by a fresh crisp tactical deployment one with his Python resting comfortably slung along his hip. It did feel so good to be back out from behind that frustrating old desk. He felt a good 10 years younger as his blood was already pumping and he yearned to get out there and take this terrible tyrant down.

“But, Chief,” Vedia objected behind confusion and a raised eyebrow. “What about regulations; you’re required to remain here at your post. You cannot go out into the field. So what’s with the outfit and the ‘we’?”

“As of now,” the Chief boomed with every ounce of thunderous authority he had earned over the years. “I have re-categorized this threat to warrant additional man-power. And as such I can assign any duly capable officer that I deem fit. As for regulations Officer Corvan; you can stuff them. This is bigger than regulations and I am going to see to it that whatever it takes we finish this job. I will not permit some monstrosity to roam loose through the night to slaughter for sport at its leisure. One way or another we are going to stop this thing, tonight.

Now if you don’t mind we have some important matters to get past before we get started,” Gnaeus declared as he placed his hands behind his back and dared anyone to challenge him. After a few moments pause he decided he seemed to be getting his point across and continued. “As I understand it, Mr. Vincent, you have something important to share with me – officially. Is that a correct assessment?”

“Yes, sir,” Gabriel admitted truthfully. “You turn into one of those monsters yourself,” Chief Gnaeus pointed out more precisely. “Yes, sir,” Gabriel confirmed. “And yet you have managed to overcome these tainted impulses to safeguard my officers and innocent civilians?” Gabriel once more nodded and added another “Yes, sir,” for good measure.

“Honestly, young man, I have to admit that I am proud to have known you. You are every bit the man your grandfather was and a worthy legacy of his good name. Thael would have been proud of you. And, for what its worth; I’m sorry to have misjudged you. Can we still count on you to help us fight this thing, Gabriel?”

“The job isn’t finished, sir,” Gabriel explained firmly. “And I do not walk away from a job until it is. So you can count on me until everyone is safe.” A flexed metal fist shined in the light of the squad room as Gabriel slowly studied the steely exterior. “This creature has taken from me as much as it could and left me with this patchwork existence. I would see no one else suffer a similar fate.”

“Agreed,” the Chief replied simply. “How effective was your alternative equipment Officer Corvan?” Vedia could answer him with facts and figures easily enough, but instead hefted her Phoenix into her hands reassuringly. “I would say they proved to be more than adequate for the task, Chief,” she confirmed with a grin. “Indeed,” Oliver added confidently.

“Well then, let’s get down to business then, shall we?” Chief Gnaeus began to pace back and froth, his hands still squarely held behind him. “We have found a certain pattern forming with these attacks, and if my understanding is correct this beast begins its hunt just as dusk is falling. So, what we are going to do is gear up and make sure we are already out waiting for it to show its fearsome face. Then when it does; we smash it in.”

Gabriel reached down to find his trust hammer still hung at his belt. “I’m ready for work, Chief,” he said easily. Vedia slammed in a few more power cells into her Phoenix and pocketed a fresh handful. “Awaiting your orders, Chief,” she announced automatically. Oliver eagerly rammed a clip into his waiting Thunderbolt and chambered a round. When he answered himself there was no longer any waiver in his voice, no doubt or anxiety. “Just give me a clear shot, Chief,” he said.

Chief Gnaeus felt a measure of assurance as he looked on at his specially assigned squad. When he had thrown this group together he had never expected it to be facing a serious threat, much less handling it this well. He had every confidence that they would resolve this matter completely. “We best be on our toes though,” Gnaeus warned as he stopped pacing.

“I have reason to believe that this thing didn’t arrive here by random chance. It was delivered here by design, and it was done so by the Magistrate Council itself,” the Chief explained. Everyone looked on in silence at the unbelievable news. “If the Council itself is acting covertly against the safety of Gallu then I think it is wise to assume that this is only the beginning. We can take nothing for granted and must keep our guard up. Once this beast is buried we cannot rule out that other threats might still exist.

Do we have any way of knowing for sure that there aren’t more of these dead creatures you encountered before still out there somewhere? Or, Gabriel is there any assurance that we have that you are the only person this monster has so afflicted? I am afraid we do not…” Guilt still wormed its way around in Gnaeus’s middle to bother at him.

“Whatever the answers are we will have to take them as they come. Tonight, I bid us all happy hunting, but I do want to make sure you are all – each and everyone aware of the bigger picture. If the Council has reasons to endanger us then we can expect no outside aid. There is just the Night-Watch Squad to stand against the nefarious nightmares and the people they intend to prey upon. So, let’s go kill us a monster!”