Chapter 47: Talk of the Town

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

The dining hall was still abuzz, even a week after the disaster. Just about everyone was talking about it. Some were spouting falsehoods about how they were there and they deserved some of the credit. Others wondered how such a thing was allowed to happen at all. Some shot a glance at the four who had been there and whispered spiteful comments or doubtful questions.

Anna, Tommy, Eitan, and Hinata all sat in the corner closest to the desert table, where Anna normally sat. She was currently halfway through a chocolate éclair that was leaving her sweet tooth rather unsatisfied. Eitan had given up on his green bean casserole and was now nervously glancing around at all the onlookers. Tommy had finished his steak with frightening speed and was now eagerly scrolling on his holo-phone. Hinata sat as still as a statue, her plate empty, waiting for a chance to leave.

“Have you guys seen the news?” Tommy asked, passing his holo-phone around the table. “We’re celebrities! Hear, listen to this! ‘When the creature first broke out, four Operatives arrived on the scene before major damage could be caused. Veteran Hinata Kurosaki was joined by newcomers Eitan Avidan, Tommy Decker, and Anna Ironchase brought the beast down with-“

“Hold up,” Anna cut him off with a hand. “There are a couple problems there. Problem one: I was there first. Problem two: I did most of the work. Problem three: why are you all sitting at my spot?”

“Don’t ask me,” Hinata sighed. “Decker was the one to drag me here. Quite literally.”

“You too?” Eitan asked. “He basically dragged me right out of my bunk. By the time I woke up, I was already in the dining hall.”

“You were sleeping in! And hey, you beat the lunch lines,” Tommy said, grinning like a fool. “You’re welcome! And what do you mean you did most of the work, Anna? I saved your life, like, twice! Remember that?”

Hinata rolled her eyes. “All you two did was flail about like children. I did most of the real work until Avidan killed it.”

Eitan shied away. “Y-you don’t need to give me credit for that. In fact, I’d prefer if you didn’t.”

Anna wondered if they could hear her teeth grinding. “First of all: that’s a load of bull, I was there first and I did most of the fighting. Second of all: how does any of that explain why you three are here at my spot right now?”

Tommy gaped as if he couldn’t believe he had to explain this. Anna resisted the urge to plant her fist in his open mouth. “Because we’re heroes, the four of us! The talk of the city! People are saying that we’re going to be the next super-squad!”

Eitan buried his face in his hands. “Great. So we’ll soon be the laughing stock of the city.”

“What? Why?”

“Because,” Hinata said with a hint of annoyance in her usual cold tone, “Operatives don’t work in squads anymore. The idea of doing so is basically a joke nowadays. Just because Operatives work together on the same mission doesn’t mean they’re going to start working together all the time.”

“I know I’m not,” Anna grumbled.

“Oh, come on!” Tommy leaned forward on the table, an eager smile on his face. “What’s wrong with being in a squad? Sure, people might laugh! But people won’t be laughing when they see the kind of stuff we get done! We’ll shoot straight up the ranks in no time!”

Great, Anna thought, sensing where the conversation was going. Here we go again. Why he didn’t become a salesmen, I’ll never know.

“I’m already high enough in the ranks as it is,” Hinata said coldly.

“And I don’t want to go any higher,” Eitan said. “I’m fine right where I am. I’m already making more than enough money.”

“And I want nothing to do with you,” Anna growled at Tommy, though she spared a brief glance for the other two. “Go away now.”

Tommy looked as if each of the three had slapped him. A small part of Anna felt bad. Another much larger part was extremely satisfied with her work. Still, he didn’t look glum for long. His eyes came alight again and he opened his mouth to speak. likely to make another pitch.

Before he could get the words out, a hand fell on his shoulder, then another on Eitan’s. “Well, isn’t this a treat! The four of you, sitting together! Makes my job easier.”

Lucas stood there, dressed in a suit so yellow you’d think he was a bee. He smiled when he saw Anna, then raised an eyebrow at Hinata. Whatever comment he was going to give Anna died in his throat at her glare.

“I hope you four at your fill,” he continued. “Because our high and mighty leader would like to speak to you.”


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