Energia: Titans of Verità
Table of Contents (For Catching Up)
Tommy watched the other three leave the Commander’s office, feeling confused. What was wrong with them? Couldn’t they see how good this opportunity was? He felt as though common sense had suddenly taken a different definition than he was familiar with.
Of the three, one of them confused him far more than the others. So much so that he had decided to stay behind and ask the one man who might have some answers.
“Is there a problem, Mr. Decker?” Commander Thomas Milldrew asked without looking back at him.
“No, sir!” Tommy responded stiffly.
“Then why are you still here?”
“I had a question, sir. About Hinata.”
That made the Commander turn back to face him. He raised an eyebrow. “What? Does she not meet your expectations?”
Yes, that was a part of it. He had heard the stories of the Shinobi, just as most other would-be Operatives had. In the years before taking the entrance exam, he had studied her, Emilia Ironchase the Dragon, Wes Tiller the Spider, Eric Payne the Gardener, and many other legendary Operatives. Hinata was not like any of her stories made her out to be.
But he had more than stories to go off of. After all, he was a member of an ORDER family. The Deckers and the Kurosakis had a history, albeit not an extensive one. He had seen her a few times before either he or Hinata had joined ORDER. Although he had been too small to remember her pre-Operative days.
“It’s just- she looks like she wants to quit, sir. I was hoping you could shed some light on that.”
The Commander nodded. “Observant. Just like your brothers and father. Yes, Hinata wants to quit. Her reasons are her own, I can’t explain them to you. If you want to know more, you’d best ask her about it.”
“But, sir, if I may: if you knew about that already, why are you asking her for help? Wouldn’t Ironchase, Avidan, and myself be enough, given her reputation? Why not just let her leave?”
“It is precisely because of her reputation that I need her here. You three are new blood. The people don’t know you or fully trust you yet. Everyone is watching you now not because they rely on you after the incident. They’re watching to see if you can do it again or if the incident was beginner’s luck. Having Hinata among the four of you would set their minds at ease.” The Commander locked his fingers together and leaned on his desk. “I could get someone else. One of your brothers, perhaps.”
That offer put a taste so sour in Tommy’s mouth it became bitter. He had a bet going with his brothers to see which of them could become the Operative to outdo their father first. If he was forced to accept help from one, they would all but disqualify him from the contest. He wouldn’t do that unless there was no other choice.
“But,” the Commander continued, “if I did that, our plan would become obvious. My connection to you four must remain unknown, or at least be seen as light. If people think I am manipulating you, it could defeat the entire purpose of the plan.” A darkness fell over his eyes. “Besides, it could give our enemies something to use against us.”
That last made Tommy’s mouth turn dry. Enemies. He knew they must exist, especially after the incident; someone must have brought the beast into the city. Still, it didn’t comfort him to think that someone might be bold enough, or dumb enough, to actually oppose ORDER.
“We need her, then?” Tommy said.
The Commander nodded. “She is crucial to the plan’s success.”
“Then you’ll have her.” Tommy saluted cleanly. “By your leave, Commander.” With that, he turned to go.
“Decker?” He stopped and turned back to him. He was surprised to see a smile on the Commander’s face. “Out of curiosity, let me ask you this: what is it you’ll ask of me if you succeed in the ORDER Olympics?” His face turned sour at the name.
Tommy grinned mischievously. “I’m not sure. I might just ask you to stick the other three into my squad permanently. I’ll need them as much as you need Kurosaki.”