“Thank you, sir. I won’t let you down,” the newly minted Sergeant Henderson said, beaming a smile one could have seen from space. Angela nervously glanced down at the image displayed on Colonel Peter’s desk monitor and wrung her hands again.
“I’m sure you won’t. Now let’s go meet your soldiers,” Peters said, turning to face Angela as if to move through that area and around the desk. Angela didn’t move. “Miss Magdala, if you please?”
“Um, I,” she started but she still didn’t move. “Can we talk about this a moment Colonel?”
Colonel Peters sighed and turned to go around the desk the opposite way. “What’s there to talk about? We’ve got to put this issue behind us as fast as possible and get on with finding our target.”
Peters came around the desk, stopped briefly next to Sergeant Henderson, then both men turned and headed toward the door out of the office being held by the First Sergeant.
“Sir, I really think you should listen to her a moment,” the First Sergeant said, but he held the door open for his commanding officer.
“You too? Come on Jack, we’ve got a job to do and this is necessary,” Peters said, striding with purpose out of the office and down the short hall to a closed door.
“You don’t want to do that Colonel,” Billy said over the net as Peters and Henderson reached the door and opened it. Angela rushed out of the Colonel’s office and over to the doorway just as both Henderson and the Colonel entered the room.
“Billy don’t go in there!” Angela screamed as she ran. Colonel Peters dropped into a crouch and drew his side arm instinctively. First Sergeant Wilcox brought his rifle to bear and began scanning the room for targets from the doorjamb. Sergeant Henderson looked as if he fell off balance then righted himself to his right clear of both men’s fields of fire. Most of the people in the room froze while a few threw themselves to the floor and sought what shelter the sparse office furniture provided.
“What’s going on? What’s happening?” Colonel Peters demanded as he spun to check the hallway to try and identify a target.
“The delta in the room attacked Sergeant Henderson as soon as he entered the room, sir. Cherry and the chick in the white robes are engaging…Guardian Three’s dude just joined in,” Sergeant Sanchez said over the net. At that moment Angela shoved passed the colonel knocking him off balance and to the floor. She began circling the center of the room as her gaze darted this way and that.
“Oh crap! Those things are like piranha when they’re grouped together,” Sanchez said.
“Get’em, get’em,” an unknown voice said.
“Theliel help me!” Billy screamed.
Angela reached toward the ground several feet in front of Peters. He moved slightly forward searching for something that might need his help but saw nothing. “What’s happening?”
Realizing he couldn’t control the situation from where he was, Colonel Peters sprang off the floor and sprinted out of the company office in the direction of Heaven, the operational control room. First Sergeant Wilcox was close on his heels. “Sergeant Henderson, secure that room. No one leaves or enters without my orders, and draw a side arm.”
“Yes, sir!” Sergeant Henderson barked moving to block the doorway.
Colonel Peters dashed through the next intersection heading straight toward the bank of elevators leading up to Heaven. First Sergeant Wilcox cut left heading toward The Pit.
“I’m coming Cherry. Hang in there,” Wilcox said over the net.
Peters ignored the elevators and wrenched open the doorway to the stairwell on the left instead. He took the stairs three at a time covering the four flights in no time and burst onto a scene of chaos in the control room. An unlucky technician found himself in the way and the Colonel shoved him bodily aside as he continued his pace across the room to the main control screens where Sergeant Sanchez sat assessing the data feeds.
The main screen showed Billy Ransom writhing on the floor with two lemurs gripped, one in either hand. His image on the screen was cut and bleeding badly as two more lemurs moved over a desk and scrambled toward the prone young man. Theliel and Mihr, the two angels clad in white, wielded a flaming sword each. They deftly deflected fiery jets issuing forth from the axe held by the little grey-skinned demon standing on the back desk behind the oblivious freckle-faced Private McCoy. Mihr and Theliel split and began to circle the desk and the young private preparing to flank the demon. He saw he was about to lose the tactical advantage of cover from the young private and screamed in rage as he twirled his axe above his head, let out two quick bursts of fire before biting into the leg of the young private and smashing the haft of his axe onto the floor.
Private McCoy screamed in pain as cracks shot out from around where the axe handle struck the floor. Inky black smoke quickly engulfed both the grey demon and the young soldier. Mihr and Theliel let out battle cries of rage and sprang forward swinging their axes through the smoke but the strokes met no resistance.
Billy screamed in pain.
Both angels instantly focused their attention in his direction and crossed the distance in a flash. They stabbed their swords out twice each plucking writhing lemurs from Billy as he slumped to the floor. Colonel Peters dropped his eyes to the vital signs readout for Guardian Eight and saw dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity in the range indicating extreme pain.
“Billy, no!” screamed Angela again.
“I need the medics in The Pit NOW!” screamed First Sergeant Wilcox over the net.
Colonel Peters watched the monitor as Angela dropped to her knees by the boy’s ethereal form and reached out to him. The lemurs had bitten chunks out of his incorporeal flesh and blood flowed freely from the wounds. His vital signs all began dropping rapidly as Angela reached for his slumping form.
Suddenly, as Angela’s hands appeared to touch Billy’s ethereal form, a soft pulsing light shone. The light began where Angela’s heart was and rapidly moved out to encompass her chest, then down her arms and onto her hands. As the light reached her fingertips it arched across the short gap to Billy’s body and began to spread across his wounds. As the light covered each wound Billy’s vital signs began to stabilize and then improve. Peters moved to the observation window over the pit and saw his grizzled First Sergeant standing over the young boy, like a worried father trying to make his son better by sheer willpower alone as the medics arrived. The lad didn’t move on the gurney, but on the monitors he sat up and had a look of amazement on his face as he turned his hands over and surveyed the rest of his body. Every wound he’d suffered during the battle was gone.
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.