Author Topic: Reunion  (Read 579 times)

Offline MarcoSkoll

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« on: August 16, 2020, 02:28:46 PM »
"Corporal Kinde!"

The shout echoed along the barracks. Rivian snapped up off his bed, immediately regretting that his fatigue shirt wasn't neatly tucked in as the junior commissar swiftly paced down the row of beds.

"Corporal. Tidy that uniform."

This time Rivian noticed the hint of panic in the commissar's voice. Not that he wasn't grateful that the order hadn't been bellowed four inches from his face, but somehow that scared him all the more.

He swiftly straightened his shirt down before reassuming his stance.

"Sir, is there a problem, sir?"
"Your presence is demanded at headquarters. Are you showered?"
"Two hours ago, sir."
"That will do."

He beckoned forwards a private who had been following in his wake. She was cradling a dress uniform in her arms, that from its pristine appearance seemed to have been pulled from the officers' supplies.  Atop the stack was a similarly immaculate laspistol and dress sword.

"We checked your sizes, Corporal, but if there are any problems, let me know immediately."

She passed over the uniform, snapped to attention, turned and strode back to the barracks' door. The commissar locked eyes with Rivian.

"On the double, Corporal."

The order was firm, but quiet. He paused for a moment before deciding to nod subtly at Rivian and himself retreat to the entrance.
Rivian set the stack down, quickly checking the labels; all in his size. Stripping back to his undershorts, he quickly started donning the uniform.

It was almost on auto-pilot. He'd done it a hundred times before, but it was hard not to be distracted. He'd been alongside commissars long enough to know that they were indeed human, but they were still made of stern stuff. To be around one that wasn't sure of themselves was unnerving.

He strapped the ceremonial weapons into place. Satisfied everything else was in order, he picked up the peaked cap, pulling it into place. He stepped out from his billet space. It was impossible to miss the confused and concerned expressions of his platoon mates.

The junior commissar didn't speak a word as Rivian came up to him, merely looking him up and down before leading off. The stairs were equally silent, with the quiet only eventually broken by the engine of the staff car waiting as they got outside.

Commissar Leyton was stood next to it, waiting.

"Get in Corporal. We're already running late."

Rivian climbed in, the Commissar following in kind.

"Headquarters, driver."

The car pulled softly away. Rivian inhaled, steeling himself.

"If I may, sir?", he asked.
"You have a question, Corporal?". Commissar Leyton's view remained fixed firmly forward as he answered.
"Nobody has informed me why I am being summoned, sir."
"An Interrogator of the Inquisition arrived half an hour ago. He specifically requested your presence."
"... I'm not sure what to make of that, sir."

He hoped the Commissar didn't pick up on the lie. The Inquisition asking after him had to mean that someone had worked out who he was. Glancing down, he checked the charge light on the laspistol. Ceremonial though it was, it was showing a soft green glow. He carefully disengaged the safety.

The journey was only a few moments. At the headquarters, a guard stepped forwards, opening the door. A blink later, Rivian and the Commissar were sweeping into the lobby, in front of the main desk.

"Sergeant.", Leyton said, "We have Corporal Kinde."

The batman barely waited for the Commissar to finish, snapping to his feet mid-sentence, throwing up a salute.

"If I may be excused, Commissar, I should fetch the Colonel."

Leyton nodded at the sergeant, who quickly turned and hurried away up the stairs. It was barely thirty seconds before he returned, Colonel Harton in tow.

Rivian offered the formal salute to the commanding officer as he came off the last step.

"Corporal. Good, you're here. Come with me."

Harton gestured up the stairs. Rivian obliged, making his way up.

"I'm certain you're wondering what's happening.", the Colonel said.
"It was briefly explained to me on the journey, sir. The Inquisition have requested a meeting with me."
"That is the case."
"Did they give any indication of what they wanted me for, sir?"

His hand hovered as close to the grip of his laspistol as he dared.

"With what little experience I've had with the Inquisition, Corporal, I've found that the fewer questions I ask, the less trouble it results in. However, if you wish to push your own luck, then she's in here."

The Colonel rounded the doorway into the office. Trying to contrive plans for how he could possibly survive this, Rivian's brain stalled on the detail the Commissar had falsely assumed.

"... wait, she?"

Indeed, there was a woman in the middle of the office. She stood slightly above average height, in a long formal coat that trailed on the ground. Her right arm was bionic from the shoulder down, she had dark woolly hair, and her skin was a light brown with an ethnicity that was hard to pin down.

Rivian froze in shock. It was a face he'd not seen in nearly six years. And it was smirking.

"Ah. I think, Colonel, that there may have been a misunderstanding. When I said to your batman that I was Interrogator Rosaline Xenati and I was looking for Rivian Kinde... I meant that he's my fiancé."

She stopped to look him up and down.
"Although I do appreciate the effort to make him presentable."

"Your fiancé?", the Colonel queried, unsure he'd actually heard.
"Assuming he still wants the job. I'm really hoping he does.", she looked over at the officer for a second, hooking her thumb through the leather cord around her neck. Dangling from the end was a brass vow key, a tradition that hung about the shoulders of many of the Ismene-founded regiment.

The office fell into quiet for a moment, punctuated only by the rhythm of the Colonel's clock.

"... he used to talk. I'm pretty sure of it."

Still dumbstruck, Rivian stumbled forwards, throwing his arms around Rose. She started to speak, but the words died in her throat. Six years of emotion came to a head, and she embraced him in kind, tears flowing freely.

"I thought I would never see you again.", he croaked.
"I'm stubborn."

After several moments, Rivian loosened his hug, stepping back and straightening himself up.

"You alright?", he asked.
"I will be... saints. I'm snottier than a fourteen year old girl. So much for the stoic façade."

She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket, and started emptying her sinuses with a medley of unflattering snorting sounds.
Commissar Leyton shot an unimpressed glance at the Colonel, then cut in, gripping his holstered pistol.

"Forgive my confusion, Corporal, but I was under the understanding that your fiancée was a historian in the Administratum."
"She was, sir. It's..."

He stalled, trying to piece together the vague messages they had been able to share.

"... it's been a very long six years."

Rose reached into her coat, pulling free a small obsidian emblem edged in silver and pressing her left thumb down on a patch on its surface. A second later it spurred itself into life, holo-emitters spitting out a weave of light - a disembodied projection of Rose's head and a list of credentials, bracketing a ghostly version of the dread mark of the Inquisition.

"... longer than I'm actually allowed to tell you.", she said, "I trust that eases your concerns, Commissar?"
"I suppose it must... Interrogator. What does the Inquisition require?"
"Well, that depends on what Rivian tells me."
"About what?"
"About whether you still want the job?"
"What?? I have to decide right now??"

She gave him a knowing glare.

He smiled, sinking to one knee.
"Because, to tell the truth, I decided years ago. There hasn't been a day where my thoughts haven't been of you, there hasn't been a battle I didn't fight in your name. Rosaline Xenati - will you do me the honour of letting me be your husband?"

Rose held out her hand, reaching out to him.

"... get up off the floor, you silly sod. I won't let you beg on your knees."

He took the open hand, and she pulled him up.

"Well, with that in mind, Commissar, Colonel... I believe we need the use of your chapel, and the services of one of your chaplains."
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

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