Anne, Before I go right into what I’m about to say, I want to start by reminding you that I don’t just jump from decision to decision, I think things through. Anyway, I’m just going to come out and say it, I’m not so sure the UFH is for me. I know, I know, you’re really disappointed. This is what I’ve been talking about since we were kids, joining the UFH, serving in the corps of the elite, making a difference for all of us on the Heracles, all of that other crap I used to say. I don’t mean for it to sound like that, well I mean technically it doesn’t sound like anything because I’m writing this and I’m rambling on and on even on paper I have this problem so I’m just going to put a period and end this sentence so I can move on to my explanation. They’re not what I thought they were Anne, they don’t follow any of those damned values posted all over the sector walls, and they’re just stupid. They are inefficient, how they do things, how we do things, it’s just not the right way to go about it. I don’t want to start another rambling fit, so I’m just going to sum it up with this: This is NOT the way to live the lives we talked about. I can’t keep doing this Anne, I can’t keep wasting my time here. I need to do something else. Maybe the Harbingers have a point with their beliefs. Maybe— I put my pen down as someone comes into my room, the lack of a knock means one of two things: This is urgent, or it’s about to be. The words that come next are enough to keep me in a good temper. “Fair, sector 11, point 4B, stat.” With that he was out of the door and I was grabbing my helmet following out seconds after. I stepped off the pad onto the trans hall and was on my way to sector 11. On the way I couldn’t help but let my mind wander. What could they be sending me to? Lately it’s been nothing but false alerts or domestic disputes.
I look out the glass as the hall continues to propel me where I need to be, at the miraculous city that is Heracles. Riddled with crime, drugs, murder, how did it even come to this? We were all promised a fresh start, refuge, peace. Then soon the first assault occurred, then the first murder, it wasn’t long before the UFH was founded thereafter. They stood for something, something everyone believed in, something I believed in. I was willing to bet my future on this. Maybe they did mean all they said back then, maybe in some twisted way they still do, but the ends do not justify the means damn it. They just don’t. I refuse to believe that turning a blind eye to the helpless is the necessary choice to the future safety of the world around us. I don’t buy it. They say everything has to be followed by the book, ‘Only cases brought via the coordinator are to be followed up on.’ What about the mugging happening down the street? The murder in the supposed safety of a person’s home? If the coordinator doesn’t add that to the case files in time, what then? What about first response? Why doesn’t that exist?
Too many questions, and the only answer I get is ‘This is the way it has to be.’ Wrong. Just wrong. Just… “Wrong.” I utter the unfinished thought aloud to the perplexity of the woman to my left as I see what I can only assume I’ve been called out for. Five of my fellow guardians pinned at the entrance of an alleyway, kept out by one girl. She looked about 20, and she looked like she wasn’t a resident of this sector, but mostly she just looked scared. I wasn’t entirely sure how she was keeping all those armed soldiers out of the alleyway until I saw her lob a bomb over in their direction. The radius alone was close enough to catch them if they weren’t kept safe behind the entrance walls, they then poked their heads out from behind the wall and lay down some cover fire. I guess they want to keep her in the trap she set. I wasn’t sure how many of those bombs she had, but I knew that I had to hurry. I stop the hall as I drop down to point 4B and stand across the street from the others. It would be just stupid to go line up with the rest of them and hope that we outlast her bombardment long enough to avoid a getaway. Or I could be a little more unconventional.
I call the trans hall up again, as the floor rises to bring me into it I grip the opening and hang off of the gap. The pain shot up from my fingertips as the floor meets the gap, or at least tries to, with my hands in between. It’s worth it though as the hall continues down, over buildings, buildings I can use to get to the alley. Article 78-D states that there will be no standing on the top of buildings at any time, doing so would be considered a threat to the foundation of the Heracles, but you have to crack a few eggs sometimes if you want to get that breakfast. I’m not great at analogies. I pull my hands free from the hall and drop below onto the rooftop overlooking the opposite edge of the alleyway. At this point it’d be easy to just swoop down and take her down. That was the plan, that was the plan.
I quietly made my way down the ladder and saw this girl chucking another bomb over in my cohorts’ direction. She didn’t even notice me sneaking up on her, not at first. I think it was my shadow that gave me away, I’m not entirely sure, all I do know is that she turned to swing at me with some make-shift knife. She was surprisingly capable, she couldn’t catch me with it, but I couldn’t get the knife away from her. It was around this time that the smoke from her last bomb was just about entirely gone, and I saw my allies’ guns up and ready to fire.
Not one, many. Not at the ready, aimed. Not aimed low, but high. They were planning to kill this girl, not put her in the courtroom, but execute her right here and now. No, this wasn’t our way; she didn’t kill anyone and I refused to let UFH sink so far as to begin publicly executing people based on what they might do. Not today.
I hit the ground behind the small barricade she had made and pull her down with me. She screams out quick and stops just as quickly, I was going to say something but she gets the point as the bullet-fire sounds off. I don’t have time to worry about the awkward set up, I lay over her and cocoon her. “What are you—“
“Trust me.” That’s all I say as I as I push her body up against me. With my feet and one hand keeping us propped up off the ground, I put all my strength in that arm and roll us across to the corner and behind the wall. We would probably have a minute before they moved in closer. A minute to be down the alley and on the Trans Hall. I stand up and see her gritting her teeth, I was going to ask what was wrong but I see the blood off her hand as she clutches her arm. “Can you make it?” I ask as I pull her to her feet.
“I have to.” She says back as I get caught looking at her face for the first time since I’ve seen her. She seemed a little younger than I first anticipated, yet her eyes burned with an intent beyond her years. I wasn’t even sure to do with such fire.
We ran until I felt like I couldn’t keep going, the Trans Hall would have been way too conspicuous. All the way to Sector 5, but even so…
“We need to get off the streets,” I look back at her and see her pained eyes. “Tend to that arm.” She nods to this.
“I think I know a place.” She says as she leads me through some alleys.
We eventually come to a door and travel through it, almost like a hallway comprised of houses, and I find myself walking indoors for a bit. From door through door, it all just looks like small entrances to a full home that may never come.
I haven’t even begun to explore the thought about the action I just committed. If any of them saw me, were able to identify me, anything like that, I’d be done. I don’t even know what they would do, but I don’t regret it. I draw the line at executing people, I would rather be in a connex.
The sound echoes in the small hallway as the girl behind me collapses. There goes my map. I hoist her on my back and start to run, wherever we’re going we need to get there soon. About ten minutes down the halls we arrive at a small room with a bed and another door, a change of pace to say the least. I probably would have just kept us going but there was a first aid kit on a small desk beside the bed and she needed some attention.
She came to about halfway through the process and was scared for a moment, I had to calm her down. “It’s okay, we’re almost done here.”
“Do you realize what you’re doing?”
“Relax Alana, this isn’t the first wound I’ve taken care of.”
“That’s good, but I wasn’t talking about the wound. I mean saving me. You have to go all the way now.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean your new life starts now. Everything you knew, it’s over, you saved me and I appreciate it more than I can ever explain. But you’re a part of this now and if they find you they’ll kill you. So you might as well come with me.”
I finished with the bandages and sat back in the desk chair waiting for more. “Explain.”
“Are you sure you’re ready?” Alana said as she sat up in the bed.
“The walls will all come down, you’re about to learn the truth.”
The truth, which was ironic considering was life had been like lately. I wasn’t sure what to do with what she was saying, but I figured I needed to know all of the story before I made a judgment. I laid my helmet on the desk and sat forward in the chair. “You have three minutes. Go.”