The Run DownMature

A knock on the door could be heard.

"Come in." 

Those words came from a man sitting behind a levitating desk. This guy was dressed in all black and carried a collage of medals and insignia consistent with that of NACPD brass. A young woman entered the office space. She wore the same colors as the high ranking officer but with less hardware to show her allegiance. That only made sense given the fact that she was only in the application process of her employment. 

"I hope you don't mind. I wore the uniform. I thought that if I stuck to black and didn't use the automatic color schemer it would be much more appropriate. It's just out of respect. Oh, uh, how rude of me. I'm Sam-"

She didn't get to finish those words as the man interrupted her.

"Have a seat Cadet."

She paused before saying something.

"Sir, with all due respect, I don't know where you want me to sit."

He pressed a button on his desk. Lights came on. His eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness slowly. The reflection of a bald head bobbed up and down briefly to look at the slender woman with brown hair and green eyes. He took notice to how her dark uniform didn't mesh, in theory, to her pastry white skin.

"Better?"

The young woman was a bit rattled. She thought that maybe she had said too much since this was the first time that she ever got to meat the chief of police. Her body obeyed the order. The cadet was sure to keep her legs as close together as possible since she had on a skirt versus the pants that most other females wore. 

"I told you before that the only reason why you're still on my watch and on my payroll is because you show promise. But I'm afraid that doesn't necessarily reveal to me why you think you're qualified for this job," the chief said.

"Yes, my work history isn't always going to show my ability to do this job. But I assure you that I can do this," she responded.

This was an interview. Some could say that this place given the view of a new applicant could have been intimidating to say the least. There were a myriad of firearms posted on each wall. Armed personnel walked around as if they had no care for anything. The marble flooring was dark as well as the coloring on the walls. Nothing about this section of the NACPD headquarters had a lightness to it that would be inviting. 

Relief was in sight. For this newly introduced recruit the fact that there were female officers as well as men was certainly a sight for sore eyes. In the current year females found themselves making more money than men did on average. In fact most of the higher ranking officers had a tendency to be women with the exception to the chief.

He pulled out a thin black sheet of paper. At least it appeared to be paper. It was actually an electronic tablet. It was placed on the desk followed by him placing his palm and fingers upon the surface. Floating numbers, words and pictures all depicting the cadet's vitals, employment history and combat readiness was displayed in large, holographic detail.

"Look, I'm going to be frank with you and I don't want you to take this the wrong way." The chief would have finished his statement but he cleared his throat. It was more of a cover up for a hesitant response than anything else.

"No, please, be honest with me. If you feel like I'm not ready I understand. I'll work harder to make myself ready."

"It isn't that."

"Then please tell me. Why won't you advance me to the officer candidate school?" she asked.

He sighed and removed his hand from the tablet causing the holograms to disappear. The swivel chair turned in response to him moving his foot in a way that would cause such an action. He stood up. The window behind him was tapped by his fingers as if he were putting in some kind of a code. Images of previous cadets dying in combat situations was displayed on the window. His head turned towards her.

"See that? Don't just tell me yes. I ask that question to everybody with the guts to want to be a NACPD officer. That's what I have to live with. That's what haunts my dreams."

Her response wasn't rapid fire like her previous words. Instead she viewed the horrors of being law enforcement. It was at that point where this cadet realized the thankless job she was asking this man to embark on. She felt his pain.

"Chief Henrick, I get it. I really do get it."

"For your sake I pray you do. This isn't a game. You're in Los Angeles. If we're dealing with drug dealers and gang bangers that's a piece of cake when you apply Amens. But this is a warzone Cadet Isenk."

As much as he wanted to separate himself from every officer under his command he could not. If one of them fell to violence or an accident or any other bad thing that could happen he felt personally responsible. Questions likes could he have trained them better or what could have been done differently were the queries he'd always have to ask himself.

"For my sake? Are you saying..."

"Yes, if you want to be an officer then it'd be a shame for an old fart like myself to hold you back."

She held back her excitement. Only a question of the utmost importance could contain a life's dream being realized.

"So then what was the point in showing me all of that?" 

A laugh came out of him. "The point? Only twenty percent of people remain in that chair after seeing this. You got some balls Isenk. You got some serious balls."

While she would have normally been insulted being formally offered a job made her rebuttal flee. "I'll just take that as a welcome to the force?" 

"I suppose. First things first. Go down to the armory. We don't do training here. We told you there was a school but that's obsolete now. We're finding that OJT is the way to go. Get your gear. You'll be partnered up with my best officer; Velincia Shiva."

"Shiva?! Her?!"

The cadet nearly fell out of the chair. This was any new recruit's worst nightmare. That woman had a reputation of being the most heartless and insensitive person to ever wear a badge. Even during the initial interview she was informed that no recruit lived past a second week under that woman's watch. The chief handed the new recruit a stack of papers that were not tablets but actual tree material.

"Not another word. You're still a cadet until she clears you. Report to alpha quarters. Dismissed."

Her finger went up to signal an attempt at asking another question. The gesture was met with a turned back and utter rejection from further discussion. Her head lowered and her eyes stared into her lap. The papers she had in her hand reading her full name of Cadet Samantha Isenk.

Samantha left the office and pressed her back against the closed door. She reached into her pocket and retrieved a small metal object that was turned horizontal to reveal a holographic keypad and a screen. It was a cellular device only smaller and more concealable. Her fingers proceeded to text the fate of her job to a friend. 

Jack: Got the job?

Samantha: Yes...but I'm wondering...

Jack: Wondering what?

Samantha: I'm wondering if it was worth it. I got assigned to...her...

Jack: ...you joking? Tell me you aren't serious. 

Samantha: I was warned babe. If I continued this I knew most new recruits are sent to her. 

Jack: Yeah. Guess it is an efficient way to make sure you don't have to keep paying recruits that aren't worth it. 

Samantha: This is their way of getting rid of me. Can't tell me no because I'm woman or because I don't look the part. So they sentence me to death by giving me that nut job.

Jack: Such is life.

Samantha: I know you want to say it.

Jack: ...say what?

Samantha: Just say it.

Jack: ...I don't know what you're talking about.

Samantha: Don't play dumb.

Jack: Oh, yeah, I know what you're talking about now. Yeah, I told you so. There I said it.

 

 

The End

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