Standing Orders

The Headmaster nods to himself as he stares out the window of his well-appointed office located well near the top of the central tower of Balamb Garden.  Outside his window, the horizon could be seen as well as the gold and blue halo that slowly circled the air above the military academy.  In Remeck’s mind, the school had always looked like a giant fondu pot, except painted blue, and overflowing with greenery and of course, the halo which could be seen miles away even in the daylight when it didn’t glow.  Keeping his hands clasped behind him, perhaps subconsciously mirroring the at ease pose of the 3rdClass SeeD, the headmaster turned and moved around his desk to stand directly before Remeck. 

“In any case, I suppose it does no harm to help the girl find ‘The Heart of Baron.’  After all, we have been contracted by King Cecil himself to find all the hidden temples.”

“Sir?” 

The Headmaster stared at Remeck for a moment and then began to pace to and fro.  “Perhaps your parents never had the time to tell you this story, seeing as your town was always under attack by the Yevonites.”  He sighed, “Baron is a somewhat superstitious nation.  There are legends that it is protected by magical crystals secreted throughout the country.  Some of the temples housing these crystals are well known, and well-guarded, but many more have been lost to us due to time, or Sin’s attacks.  Now, though we are mercenaries, we still have some ties to our sovereign nation.  After all, Balamb Garden recruits primarily from the surrounding country side, so a fair number of us are Baronites.”

Remeck nodded slowly, recalling what he could of the Legend of the Crystals that his mother had once told him.  The ‘Heart of Baron’ was supposed to be where the largest and most powerful of the crystals was located.

The Headmaster stopped his pacing and frowned, concentrating on thought.  “Unfortunately I don’t have any other SeeDs available to give you a full squad, Remeck.  This mission is far too dangerous for the cadets, so you’ll have to make do with just yourself for the time being.”

Remeck blinked in surprise.  The mission he had been on just previously with Andriel and Kerrin, had been to locate and secure one of the hidden temples in the Misty Blue Mountains.  Then he had been attached to a team of 1stClass SeeDs, now he was to undertake a similar mission with just himself?

The Headmaster seemed to have noticed Remeck’s discomfiture, and smiled.  “Don’t worry.  I’m not throwing you to the wolves.  Not yet anyways.”  The Headmaster returned to his desk and sat down.  Planting both elbows on the desk, he leaned forward and laced his fingers together.  “Pay attention Remeck, this will be your briefing.”

Remeck stiffened and saluted the Headmaster nervously.  This was the first time he’d ever been on a mission without another SeeD member to back him up.

“In conjunction with your reports of the Ochu so deep within our borders, we have pinpointed a new location of possibly fiend infestation.  A sweeper team, SeeD 2ndClass Danielle and SeeD 2ndClass Kilkin, had been previously dispatched to investigate the increased aggression of Goblinoids against the lumbering town of Timber.  Their last report indicated that they had found a structure of unknown origin and make deep within the woods near Timber.  Our analysts have concluded that this may be the source of fiend activity in the area, and may well be the location of one of the Crystals.  Your mission is to rendezvous with the sweeper team and help them clear the nest and ascertain he nature of the ruins found.  If there’s a crystal, secure it.” 

The Headmaster leaned back in his chair, running one hand against the leather bound arm.  “Now, since this isn’t a typical mission, and you aren’t operating in a normal squad, I’ve set aside a fund for you to access.  You are given permission to hire independent contractors as needed to complete your missions, so feel free to bring along that Roxanne girl that seems so interested.  Just remember, as I’ve said, keep an eye on her, and remember, your objectives are Delta class classified.  Don’t tell them anything that they don’t need to know.  Questions?”

Remeck shook his head.  “No, sir.”

“Good.  Dismissed then.”

***

Remeck found Roxanne sitting in the cafeteria, idly watching the cadets going through their daily routines.  He still wasn’t sure what to make of the girl.  All attempts at being friendly and sociable had been rejected outright.  He still felt like he knew next to nothing about her, and now, he was going on a mission with her.  If he could convince her to travel with him.

“How are you finding Balamb Garden?”

Roxanne blinked at him, “It’s a nice enough place.  Not that it matters, I wouldn’t want to stay here anyways.”

Remeck sighed to himself before slipping into the chair opposite hers.  “Well that’s fine.  I think you might be too old for the academy, and in any case, I think you said you had more important things to do.”

“Maybe, but I never said anything about joining your little club.  I’m more interested in finding my father at the ‘Heart of Baron’.”

Remeck nodded, “Well, in regards to that, I think I might have a lead for you.  I’ve been contracted to explore some ruins within the Timber Woods.  It’s near that town that we stopped in on the way here.  Might be the place you’re looking for.  What do you say?”

The End

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