“I don’t know. How about the chow hall?” she asked.
“I’m not hungry,” he replied.
“You don’t have to be hungry to go to the chow hall. Let’s get a cup of coffee,” she suggested.
“I don’t like coffee,” Billy responded, but he mentally laid out the route to the chow hall and pushed slightly faster now that they had an actual destination in mind.
“Learn to like it. You’re going to be on a military base for a long time, Billy. It’s the one drink you can always find on military installations,” she said.
“Is Theliel here?” Billy asked after a long pause.
“Of course she’s here, Billy. She’s your angel. That’s like asking if the Colonel is in uniform. She’s always here,” Angela answered.
“Teach me how to see her.” Billy stopped pushing the wheelchair and came around to face Angela. “Teach me how to go inside without the gear.”
“You haven’t committed yourself to the cause yet,” Angela reminded him. “And we shouldn’t be talking about this out here either.”
“I couldn’t jump to that Hugh guy’s location when I went in to do the inspection. Colonel Peters was watching everything we did.” A realization struck Billy and he decided on a course of action immediately. Billy dashed around behind Angela and reversed their course back toward the Pit and Heaven.
“Where are we going?” Angela asked.
“To see Colonel Peters,” Billy answered.
“We have to scan more people on the base,” Billy said.
“We scanned everyone already.”
“Who’d we miss?”
Billy pushed Angela’s wheelchair through the base corridors at a rapid pace. They made several twists and turns before arriving at a door with a nameplate on it. It was Colonel Peter’s office. Billy knocked three times and then opened the door at the clerk’s response.
“We need to see the Colonel please. We missed some people in the sweep,” Billy said as they entered the ante room where the Colonel’s clerk sat at his desk. The clerk began to rise just as the door to the Colonel’s office opened.
“Who’d we miss?” Colonel Peters asked.
“The guy that came to visit Angela,” Billy started.
“Hugh de Payens,” Angela finished. “He doesn’t have a demon. I promise.”
“And Farrow, yes. We didn’t do the brig at all. That’s on me. Head down to the Pit and we’ll take care of that now.” To the clerk he said, “Have all Heaven personnel report to their duty stations.”
Billy wheeled Angela out the door and toward the elevator as the PA system blurted out the call to duty stations. Corporal Williams met them at Angela’s couch and helped her into position as Billy began gearing up on his own couch. First Sergeant Wilcox arrived just as Billy was reaching for his shroud.
“Guess the Colonel isn’t perfect after all,” Billy said as Wilcox untangled wires to the shroud.
“Don’t let any of these guys hear you say that, kid. They all think he walks on water and we gotta keep up appearances” the First Sergeant said in a stage whisper. Williams and two of the medics tending to Brandt shot ugly looks over at the First Sergeant. Wilcox chuckled as Billy settled the helmet over his head and powered up his systems.
Straight to the holding cells in the brig Guardian Eight, Colonel Peters said over the net as Billy’s displays came online and he centered his mind for the jump into the ether.
Roger that Archangel. Billy paused a moment as he replayed what the Colonel had said. Hey, no more Cherry?
Your attention to detail may have gotten us a break on this one, kid. That deserves a little notice, but one slip up and it’s back to rookie status for you.
Yes, sir, Billy said. A few moments later and Billy’s displays began to fade in. The limited confines of the holding cell Hugh de Payens sat in coalesced, filling his vision as though he were standing there.
Hugh de Payens and another man were sitting at a small table. Each man held a number of cards in one hand. Two piles of cards sat on the table, one face up and the other face down. Both men also had an enormous number of the glowing energy ropes connected to various parts of their bodies. The intense light emitting from the sheer number of ropes was intense. Billy instinctively threw up an ethereal arm to shade his view before he realized the light wasn’t hurting his vision.
Both men put their cards down and looked around.
“Are you sure, my lord?” the man sitting opposite Hugh said.
“She assures me he has already joined our side,” Hugh replied.
“And these others, what of them?”
“That is for God to decide.” The other man nodded. Then, both men took out identical crosses, clasp their hands over their cross, and bowed their heads.
“Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen,” both men intoned together in practiced ritual. A moment later two figures stepped away from each seated man; one, a woman clad all in white, and the other an ethereal representation of the man himself.
Hugh de Payens, third of that name Grand Master, the Knights Templar, and this is my varlet Planche Dumas. We are at your service, Colonel Simon Peters.
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.