Tense Words

Daciana had taken her lunch and chosen a seat at the far end of the dining hall. It was an exquisite meal, fresh salmon and seasoned rice. The Brotherhood understood the value of good food and the role it played in motivation and performance. She savored a bite, letting the salmon flake and practically melt onto her tongue, her eyes closing in enjoyment.

Opening her eyes she let her mind wander from the food to the remainder of her day. She had already placed the requisition order for her new firearm and was to report for training before she departed for the day. It was unarmed combat, an essential skill set, although not her strongest. In case she was detected and disarmed she needed to be ready for all threats. Her cell of Watchers were selected for a variety of missions, anything from dealing with a war criminal who was selling weapons to all sides to guerilla tactics in South America.  Daciana was specialized in urban warfare, meaning that her missions were solo.. 

“Hey Pup, so Hyena’s pet is finally making an appearance?” a coarse voice rang behind her. Her team-mate took his place beside her and she felt her lunch sour in her stomach. She detested that voice and the man that came with it, Raven; he was loud, irritating, and tended to favour a very messy weapon, something she felt was highly unnecessary. The last one she had seen him using was a minigun, and she had taken two rounds to the leg when he was deployed to rescue her when a mission went badly. Considering how capable he was with his weapon, she was quite certain he had hit his intended target. The thing she hated most about him was the enjoyment he took in his job. Hyena taught her to be cold, objective, keep her head clear and focus on the goal. Raven took a pleasure in killing, in causing pain, that bothered Daciana.

“Why thank you for noticing, Raven,” she replied, not looking at him but finishing the last bite of her salmon before placing her silverware on the tray. It was only fair after his comment about her being “Hyena’s pet.”

“Maybe after unarmed combat, you can come with me to the firing range and I’ll help you with that accuracy issue you were having last time we worked together.” She gave a coy grin before standing up. She felt a rough hand grab her wrist as Raven pulled her back to a sitting position before growling softly enough so only the two would be able to hear. 

“I don’t care who’s pet you are, or who brought you into the Brotherhood. Talk down to me again, bonita, and I’ll make sure I teach you why I’m Hyena’s second-in-command. I’d hate to have you off duty for a good month again.” Releasing her hand Raven began his dinner. Rubbing her wrist, Daciana left without another word. She could feel the fire burning in her veins. It screamed to for her to fight back, but he wasn’t a target. He was not one of those whose evil needed to be wiped from the world for the good of the many. Besides an attitude issue, Raven had not done anything wrong. Well, attitude and shooting her twice. But that did not put him on par with those they were sent to eliminate.

Before heading to unarmed combat practice, Daciana had another stop to make first. The supplies department was run by another branch of the Brotherhood. It was made of some of those not cut out for field operations: Very analytical, but they lacked the killer instinct the others had earned. A man named Tortoise was behind the counter. He gave a grin as the Wolf leaned against the wooden surface. “Heya Wolf, how’s the battle? Did that ceramic work as good as the real thing?” She nodded, remembering how easy to assemble and fire off the weapon had been. 

“Perfect, I didn’t intend to need it, but I have to admit you’ve outdone yourself.” She smiled as he placed a single firearm on the counter; it had a heavy silver barrel leading a jet black grip. Daciana picked up Skorne, her constant companion, and felt the familiar grip.  

"Thanks for watching Skorne,” she said with an uncharacteristic warmth in her voice. Glancing up at Tortoise, she absently rubbed her hand over the barrel. “Did you have time to do the modifications needed?" Tortoise grinned as he gestured to the barrel where her hand rested. 

"I've filed the chambers and added the trigger you requested. She was strong before, now she's a naildriver." He adjusted his glasses before looking away uncertainly. "Daciana?"

She gave him a cautious look."Yes Tortoise?" She could see his discomfort and her reply might have been sharper than had been necessary. That was confirmed for her when he gave her a nervous look and hunched his shoulders slightly, looking more like his namesake.

"S..sorry, just wanted to ask you something?" he stammered. It took him a moment to work up to whatever he wanted to ask and Daciana got more and more impatient when he finally burst out with, "How can you kill like that? Such conviction and without question. I like making guns for you, I know you can put them to good use, but I don’t understand.” Before she could even consider a reply, however, he shook his head and shoved his hands into his pockets, no longer meeting her eyes. “Sorry, forget I asked.” He gave her a wave as he slunk off to his room, but he had closed in on himself. Daciana barely noticed though as she placed Skorne back in her holster before heading to combat training, dismissing the exchange. 

The End

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