Back away from them, Billy, Colonel Peters said over the command channel as warning indicators pulsed red in his peripheral vision, beckoning for attention. Billy didn’t move and neither did Angela. I said, back away.
Guardian One is down, Archangel, someone said over the command channel as well.
He’ll be fine, it was just ethereal fire, Peters responded, somewhat annoyed that whoever had spoken was new to this as evidenced by the fact that he couldn’t recognize their voice. Now clear this channel whoever you are. We’ve got a situation.
Damn right we’ve got a situation. This is Angel One, Guardian One is down in The Pit. I say again, Guardian One is down for real! I need a medical team right now.
Peters snapped Brandt’s perspective into his main view. The side of the stage filled his vision and all the data readouts spiked and the red warning indicators became more prominent. The colonel started to issue the command for the medical teams to be deployed but his screens started to short out and the command from his virtual data gloves didn’t seem to register.
“Get the medics down to the Pit right now!” Peters shouted as systems in his helmet began to fail. He didn’t wait any longer but started to rip the shrouded helmet off as all of Brandt’s displays went off line. By default Angela’s display moved into the center of his vision, showing her staring at Billy, the white-robed girl that had appeared out of Billy’s chest, and the black-haired woman standing on the stage. Both of the white robed figures held flaming swords but did not appear to be threatening in anyway.
Archangel, I’m getting massive system failures in Guardian One’s systems, Sergeant Sanchez said.
Do not engage them in any way, Guardian three. Acknowledge, Peters said over the command channel.
Acknowledged, Angela said, but she took a step closer to Billy and the young girl in white.
Medical unit on scene, Archangel, Corporal DeLuca reported over the command channel.
Keep me posted. Cherry, get your ass away from them. That goes for you too Guardian Three, Peters repeated.
They’re angels, Archangel. They won’t hurt us, they can’t, Angela said and her vision blurred until she wiped her eyes.
We got what we came for. We know who this guy is and where he works. We can locate him now and take him down. Get back here, Peters said as the dark-haired woman walked to the edge of the stage in front of Billy and Angela.
Oh, it smells like a field after a spring rain, Angela said as the black-haired woman smiled down at her.
Don’t know what you’re smelling but it smells like cookies baking to me, Billy said as the young girl in front of him smiled at him as well.
That demon called you Asher, didn’t he? Angela asked.
Yes, dear, Asher said as she willed her sword to disappear. The young girl next to Billy did the same.
And you said you’re my angel? Billy asked the young girl. Theliel?
Yes, she said simply.
Where is my angel? Angela asked.
You know where, Asher responded smiling but she reached out and placed her hand on Angela’s chest where her heart was. Instantly, the indicators in Peters’ helmet shot off the charts in all the five senses and her heart rate began to slow.
Get away from her! Move! Peters screamed but before he could finish, the screens in his helmet for Angela’s feed winked out and were replaced by Billy’s data.
Archangel, we’re getting more systems failures here, Sergeant Sanchez said.
Don’t worry Billy, I’m a friend. I’ll always be there for you when you need me, the young girl identified as Theliel said. Asher smiled down at Billy and moved off the stage following after Robert Dante. Billy turned to watch her go and felt an odd presence of peace come over him. When he turned around the young girl called Theliel was gone.
Colonel Peters’ helmet was completely black now. He finished removing it as there was no purpose for it at this point. Once the helmet was off he saw the beehive of activity in Heaven and an alarming lack of lights, screens with power, or other indications of electronic activity.
“Status, Sanchez,” Peters demanded cross the short distance to the sergeant’s work station.
“Efforting that as we speak, sir. Right now I’ve got nothing for you,” the sergeant responded without taking her eyes off what she was doing.
“I need answers Sergeant,” Peters said keeping his tone soft.
“Yes, sir. You’ll have all the answers I can give you as soon as I get them,” the sergeant said setting her teeth. Colonel Peters stood there a moment longer before tearing himself away and walking to the observation windows that overlooked The Pit where the Guardians hooked up to enter the ether. The sight below stopped the colonel in his tracks.
The usual web of wires, tubes, and cords that made up the systems that took care of Brandt in his quadriplegic state were nowhere to be seen. Instead, an inordinately large number of personnel in medical garb hovered around his bedside. Peters shifted and strained to get a good look at what was going on but too many heads were leaning over the bed for him to get a good look. Finally, several people leaned back and Colonel Peters got a glimpse of badly blackened portions of one leg that were in stark contrast to the pasty white flesh surrounding it. Brandt’s limbs didn’t thrash or move at all but someone moved and Peters saw Brandt’s face contort in agony as he writhed on his bed. Peters snatched the walkie-talkie off his belt and thumbed the transmit button.
“Angel One, report.”
“Guardian One is badly burned, sir. He’ll survive, but he’s in a lot of pain,” Corporal DeLuca said. “They’re taking him to the infirmary now, sir.”
“Roger that. Keep me posted.” Colonel Peters contemplated the reality of what he’d just been told as he slowly crossed the room back to Sergeant Sanchez’ work station.
“Sergeant, how does someone in the ether get third degree burns in the real world?” Peters asked.
“Beats the hell out of me, sir, but we’ve got a lot of data to go over. Maybe there’ll be something there,” the sergeant replied.
“Find it. Number one priority. Nothing else matters but that unless I say otherwise,” Peters ordered.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.