Four men in peak physical condition sit in the concrete lobby of the University Library, an ugly building from the 70’s that towers over the eastern side of the city. Their uniforms are all different, but they all seem to possess a certain air of confidence and coldness in their eyes. They’d seen combat.
They waited in the sleek furniture the university had let them have, each with varying degrees of patience. They eyed what appeared to be roombas with rectangular masts meander around the lobby, tracing indecipherable patterns. Their wheels were the only noise besides the hum of the air conditioners straining against the summer heat and the thudding of helicopter blades.
The elevator dinged open and a young woman stepped out and approached the men. She gave a sharp salute and held it as one of the men extracted himself from the beanbag chair, trying to maintain the proper composure.
“Sirs,” the woman began, “Please follow me.”
The men followed the solider into the elevator and she hit the button for the second to top floor. The ride happened in silence save for a barely suppressed giggle from the PFC as the elevator music switched to “The Girl from Ipanema.” She tucked an errant strand of blonde hair back into her bun.
She led the four men down the hall where sentries were pacing back and forth at irregular intervals. She opened a door and kicked a roomba as it tried to escape. It stopped for a second and shifted directions back into the room. Indicating that they should enter she stepped in behind them and gave a “Tench-hut!” The major behind the desk stood and returned the salutes.
“At ease gentlemen. In fact, take a seat. All the protocol for the unit’s still being sorted out so don’t worry about it for the time being. Thank you Private, please return to your post.”
“Yes sir.” She turned and exited through the door, the hydraulics pushing it shut and the lock clicking automatically. The Major sat down and steepled his fingers.
“I’ll be brief, you’ve all read the material, so it shouldn’t take too long.”
* * *
Major Damon reminds the four men that as veterans they’re all seasoned fighters, but they each have qualities or experiences that put them apart from their fellow soldiers.
He informs that their old ranks are not important, and they all have the rank of “Trooper”, which will give them First Lieutenant status for anybody outside of the organization.
He explains, slightly embarrassed, that the roombas and pacing sentries are to prevent a form of teleportation magic from working, since it requires a good knowledge of the layout of a room.
He than hands each man a folder and takes them up to the roof. A civilian helicopter is waitng for them.
“They haven’t attacked one yet, but we had an Apache squad go down in Virginia not too long ago, the bodies that we recovered were just dead, the hearts had just stopped pumping, but the canopies had been smashed. Not sure how they did that part, but gun cams show some Whiskey’s on broom sticks go down as well. We’re working on getting Sidewinders sensitive enough to home in on body heat, but in the mean time it’s dog fighting out there. Your transatlantic escort will be Russians; they still teach their flyboys how to mix it up with guns.”
There’s barely time to break the seal on the envelopes before they arrive at the airport and board a Concorde. The four men sit in the First class section, along with everybody else. Gear takes up most of the space behind the first 10 rows.
Sharing the flight with them is a man in a blue suit with a crew-cut, purple tie, and piercing green eyes. He holds a briefcase tightly.
Already asleep is a grizzled man with facial hair not seen since the civil war. The hostess, since the plane is still only on lease, offers the men drinks once they’re airborne.
edited 17th Dec '10 4:01:32 PM by HungryJoe
Charlie Tunoku is a lover and a fighter.