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Story Time Contest: Hero Edition
The other one
9th Jul 2012 at 7:52 AM
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Blood Red: Beware the Nice Guy
Growing up I was always very aware that I wasn’t the same as the other girls. As the governor’s only daughter I was dragged around many a black tie function in poufy dresses and made to mingle with the city’s elite on a daily basis. Primped and preened young ladies clamoured to make friends with the Governor’s daughter; I had more offers to go out shopping or attend high-class luncheons than I knew what to do with. That is until word got around that I was... different. I was the sort of girl that was more comfortable in a pair of scuffed, old boots than in a pair of Manolo’s and the only interest Daddy’s credit card held for me was for jimmying open the door to his office where he kept his gun safe.
If he was disappointed to have such an awful excuse for a lady as a daughter he hid it well. That was until it came to my career choice. He went as far as lining up an administrative job for me at a prestigious law office and begged me to give it a chance. It was literally the dullest week of my life! I tell him it’s partially his fault. If he hadn’t instilled such a sense of patriotic pride and loyalty I probably wouldn’t even have consider a life in the military!
Being a serving member of the National Guard is the ultimate honour, even for a lowly Inner circle guard (ICG) like me. Of course I would love to work the outer circle where all the action’s at,
God knows I’m tough enough...
but Daddy didn’t want his “little girl” on the front line. He only reluctantly obliged to let me join the ICG when I threatened to leak it to the press that the governor thought ‘The Guard’ was good enough for the thousands of young citizens he recruits every year but not for his precious daughter. Ever since he’s played the proud, patriotic father role without complaint.
We circle guards make up a good chunk of the city’s defences but we specialise in border patrol and policing our most prominent enemies; the Reds. Reds tend to live in tribes or packs -whatever they wanna call themselves- in abandoned areas of the outer limits. They use the ancient and long since sealed sewers to move around usually since their presence above ground, within the city limits is prohibited and will result in them being cautioned and/or imprisoned (unless they have proper slave certification and can be vouched for by their owner, of course – I’m referring to non-domesticated reds only). Reds are awful creatures, prone to violence and fits of insanity. Often outer circle guards (OCGs) are required to use force in order to restrain some of the wilder reds which often escalates to the termination of that red if they insist on being difficult. That’s why only the toughest guards work the outer circle.
Rarely does one make it through to the inner circle but we remain vigilant none-the-less. We are entitled to challenge anyone that looks sub-human or has Red characteristics and perform a field genome test looking for the telltale MC1R genome indicating a positively ID’d Red. We carry a nifty little Genome Interrogator (GI) for that exact purpose since it’s all too easy for Reds to disguise themselves as normal humans. Just point and aim. It’s a proximity detector so as long as the suspect’s within 4-5ft you’ll get a reading within 10 seconds. My GI has sadly never left its smooth, shiny holster. In fact I’ve not even met a real red yet, only the captive and sedated ones in basic training not so long ago. I can’t wait for my first catch!
On the way back to the patrol base we’re informed the alert state has just been elevated from the relatively safe green state to amber indicating increased danger. This means more soldiers on the streets and longer patrols for us. We’ll also have to field test all civilians who enter our patrol district, not just the suspect ones. This is great; I might get the chance to play with my GI now!
After my patrol I decide to take a trip to Dad’s office in city hall, see if he is willing to shed any light on the alert states situation since they were tight lipped about the reasons on camp. OK, so it’s probably not public knowledge but it’s my ass out there and I know he’ll want to do what he can to protect it. He reveals there’s been intelligence to suggest the Reds have more numbers than we’d previously estimated. Thermal imagery shows large concentrations of probable Reds in camps along the outer limits.
“We’re trying to decipher their intentions. All I can say is, if the alert state goes up again expect things to move quickly.”
“It might go up again?” I’m shocked; I’ve never seen it at red. That means we’d impose a cordon around the city and our orders would be to shoot on sight
“Don’t worry, Sweetie. They won’t even break the outer circle: we’ll be sending pre-emptive strike teams across the border before they get the chance”.
territory?” my mouth gapes.
“They don’t have territory, Jada”, his voice is stern, “they’re nothing but vermin on our property and you know what happens to vermin”
What?! He can’t mean... mass extermination? I hate reds as much as the next guy but... they’re still technically human beings!
Just then Dad’s receptionist, Violet interrupts with a visitor for Dad stood behind her. Still a little dazed by what I’ve just heard I make my excuses and head back to my quarters.
Just as I’m about to jump into my bunk I see the corner of an envelope sticking out from under my pillow. Inside is a print-out of what looks like the paternal lineage of my family. There’s me, Dad, my late Granddad and two more I don’t recognise but are presumably my ancestors. The last one in the line is a straight up Red. No mistaking that day-glow ginger mop. Scribbled in red ink on the back of the page are two words:
No doubt one of my squad mate’s idea of a joke, ha-ha very funny. I scrunch the paper and toss it to the bin before flopping on the bed. My sleep is fitful and unfulfilling.
As anticipated the next day is a long one. We’d been upgraded to Red Alert before my shift started and rumours were rife about Dad’s advanced teams that were already nicknamed the “Red Raiders”. My blood ran cold at the memory of my father’s crude analogy. Reds are hated and reviled for countless reasons but is extermination really the answer? Are they
that close to breaching the city limits...I mean, by all accounts they’re nothing but a bunch of un-educated savages!
I’m patrolling district 7 of the inner circle; my patrol partner, Ray’s, about 100ft away when we see the first blasts. Heavy fire. It’s closer than I expect. My heart sinks; there’s no going back now, this is happening. For so long I wanted the glory and honour of battling those animals but in the here and now with flames scorching the horizon I suddenly feel the full weight of my soul as if there was a shift in the gravitational force rooting me where I stand. Just watching.
Movement out of the corner of my eye pulls me out of my dazed stupor. I’m in the open in the middle of a warzone with enemies potentially all around. I need cover! My eyes dart around looking for my partner but I’ve lost visual.
. I sprint toward the abandoned building where I saw the movement coming from hoping I’m running towards a friendly face rather than a freckled one.
Scoping the room inside, my eyes dart wildly searching for movement, for Ray.
“It’s you...” the gravelly voice comes from the shadows in the far corner. I freeze, my heart pounding against my chest; that’s not Ray. “Jada, I’m not the enemy. Did you use your GI? It will show you see the truth?”
What the... It knows my name, who I am – How!? Use my GI - when?...oh,
“The envelope... you sent it? Who the hell are you?”
It steps forward enough for me to see a shock of red hair poke out from under his hat. I gasp and once again I’m rooted, unmoving. He moves toward me and I hear Ray cry out from the doorway, “Jada, down!” Before I know what’s happened I’m leaping in front of the red...
I wake to screaming hot pokers piercing my shoulder, my limbs are lead. A burst of flames dances in front of me, “Jada”... The fire calls me.
Pictures:14 (Run out of time to make girls for the first pic).
Word Count: 1486 (without title)
Hero Type: Chosen One
Plot point: Beware The Nice Guy
Sidekick: Highly competent (hint: they sent the letter with the family tree)
CC: Lots, will try to draw up a list when I don’t have 10 minutes left till deadline :p
Guys, rules are good! Rules help control the fun. ~ Monica E. Geller