Interlude: A Concerning Affection

Energia: Titans of Verità
Table of Contents (For Catching Up)

Jakob Milldrew sat in his office, leaning so far back in the comfortable leather chair that his feet hit the brown wooden desk. The artificial night of Unity’s atmospheric field darkened the city. Only the yellow glow of his E-suit, left to charge in a large glass containment tube, illuminated the room.

Not that he noticed. He sat unmoving with his eyes closed. Listening. Letting the memory of that day fill his mind. “It’s better to face your nightmares,” his therapist had said, “then to try and forget them.”

Shows what he knows. Jakob thought bitterly. He’d been facing that nightmare every day and night for years now. It was still as horrifying and haunting now as it was then. Still, he kept trying. Better that than to give up.

There was a quick, quiet knock on his door. It slid open, letting a woman dressed in a black suit and tie enter his office. Her long, golden hair was tied in a tight knot behind her. Her eyes, as blue as the sky of earth, seemed to glow in the darkness.

She stopped in front of him and cleared her throat. Jakob didn’t respond. She tried again, louder this time. Jakob sighed and opened his eyes.

“Commander.” The woman said in an expressionless voice. “May I have a word?”

“You’ve already had six.” Jakob yawned. “How many more do you need?”

She scowled. “Jakob, please. This is serious.”

He raised an eyebrow. She only dropped the title when she was truly concerned. That didn’t happen too often. “Alright, fine. What is it, Sarah?”

Sarah reached into her pocket, drew out a holo-phone, and flicked it open. The violet screen showed a tiny closet, where Lucas Brimley and Anna Ironchase stood. Even through the high-up lense of the security camera, he could see the empty takeout boxes scattered along the floor.

“You know it’s security’s job to look at that, right?” Jakob asked. “You’ve got to stop swiping it from them.”

“Don’t change the subject.” Sarah said. “You know as well as I do what’s happening here.”

“I do.”

“Then I take it that she’ll face executive punishment?”

He thought about that for a second, then shrugged. “Leave it be.”

Sarah blinked. “Surely you can’t be serious.”

“I am. And don’t call me-”

“Quit joking around!” She interrupted. “This is a clear violation of Order rules! How can you just let it go?”

“Where’s the harm? She won’t be allowed to use it until she finishes basic training. Why shouldn’t she have an E-suit?”

“You know damn well why not!” She stopped herself, took a breath, and continued calmly. “Why are you giving her special treatment?”

“What makes you say that?”

“This isn’t the first time you let her break the rules. You know as well as I do that Order doesn’t accept applicants with a criminal history. Especially not those in the middle of being arrested. And then, when she was about to turn herself in, you showed up like a knight on a white horse!

“Oh, but you didn’t stop there! You even went so far as to get rid of the officer trying to arrest her! I’d say you hunted him like a fox, but you don’t use a cannon when you hunt!”

“I had good reason to do that.” Jakob said coolly. “The chief had gotten drunk off of his own power. All I did was put him in his place.”

“By putting him in the ground?”

“He isn’t dead. I’m not the type to stomp an ant just because it thinks it is a lion.”

“But you are the type to give people you like special treatment.”

“Funny. I don’t recall giving you any of that.”

“I’m your sister. I don’t count.”

“Ah, of course. Who does, then?”

“The daughter of an old flame, perhaps?”

The comment stung, but Jakob didn’t let it bother him. It had been well over a twenty years since he and Emilia had been together. He’d had plenty of time to move on.

“I’m right, aren’t I?” Sarah pressed, leaning closer.

“No.” Jakob said. “But I can see where you’re coming from. Rest assured, her mother has nothing to do with it.”

Sarah raised an eyebrow. “So, you admit it?”

“That I’m being lax with her? Is that not obvious?”

If she had scowled any deeper, her eyebrows would have fallen into her eyes. “Jakob.” She said slowly. Her voice was calm, but the cold menace in her words was impossible to miss. “Would you be so kind as to stop joking and tell me what you’re up to?”

Jakob new better than to mess with his sister when she took that tone. Still, he knew he shouldn’t say too much. You never knew who was listening in these days. “I’m making a gamble.”

“A gamble?” She echoed, frowning. “What’re you talking about?”

He leaned forward, resting his hands on the desk. “You remember how her mother died, correct?”

“Of course I do. How could I forget? And didn’t you say that had nothing… to…” She trailed off, her eyes growing wider with understanding. “Oh my god…” She whispered. “You want her to try it!”

He nodded silently.

“Have you lost your mind?!” Sarah shouted. “It’ll kill her! Besides, we don’t even know where it is! Damn thing went missing years ago! And if you ask me, it should stay lost!”

“I understand where you’re coming from.” Jakob said calmly. “But we both know that, sooner or later, we’ll need it. And if anyone can use it, it’ll be her.”

Sarah stopped to consider that. Then she shook her head and said: “Why her?”

It was Jakob’s turn to pause. He remembered what had happened that day. The words he had heard before it all went wrong. It was difficult to recall them, considering what happened next. But if he remembered correctly…

“Like I said before.” He whispered. “It’s a gamble.”


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