1.17 – Christian

Christian walked into the third outpost of the day. The first two had caused a pounding headache to take residence right behind his eyes. As Christian rubbed his temples, he gestured to the new recruit to hand him the checklist for this barracks and soon handed it back after a brief attempt at reading.

“What do we have here?” Christian asked.

The boy with the paper brought the paper close to his face and read, “Well sir, this outpost is almost complete with the renovations after the attack. They need your signature that the repairs so far are satisfactory. After that, you just have to attend the briefing on the new laws.”

Another speech. He had been captain of the police squad for a whole week and he was already ready to strangle everyone on the force. There was never a break, between the combination of office stupidity and/or just plain cruelty. Not to mention the city’s current situation. It had been a bad time to be selected for this position.

“Okay, thank you. What’s your name, again?”

“Cyrus, sir,” the boy reminded him for the second time.

“Thank you, Cyrus. Lead me to the rebuilding project.”

The boy nodded and began quickly walking ahead. Christian followed with a brief sigh. Every officer saluted as he passed. He’d have to do away with that, the attention was obnoxious. He just wanted to turn this force into something respectable. They were too stiff now. Stiff yet not united.

When he had been chosen, Christian took a tour of the duties of nearly all the different types of officers under his command, finding that half were incompetent. Between the officers who let two boys destroy an outpost to the ones that allowed one rogue officer escape the city with half the city prisoners, Christian had no hope. The other half of the force was a troublesome group. They were behind attempting to control the city while the King was away. Foolish, Christian thought. Although, the worst part was their backward way of thinking. The police would one day have the power that the prejudiced faction had sought. Christian shook his head as the boy led him into the main operating room.

The room resembled the rooms of the last two barracks, but this one had a broken window and structural damage due to an attack from his father’s two minions. Shaking his head was becoming a habit as captain.

“What’s the progress, officer?”

A short and squat officer with a hammer turned around. “Uh, good, sir.”

Christian stood and stared, urging the engineer to expand with silence. The short officer slowly began to turn back to his work, apparently not getting the hint. Christian closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Cyrus, the paper please,” he said as he held out his hand.

With his signature down, Cyrus and the captain reached the location of the new law meeting a few minutes later. Christian sat at the front of the hall and crossed his legs, watching officers file in.

“Is there anyone from this outpost that belongs to the tax collection department?”

Cyrus shuffled through some papers, dropping a few on the floor in the process. He pulled out one and scanned through it. “No, sir,” he said meekly while picking up the dropped papers.

Christian nodded. In that case, he could skip the tax portion of the lecture. Explaining the difference between now collecting only one-fourth instead of one-half of a citizen’s wealth was surprisingly difficult. These law changes would be the death of him. Why was he even the one explaining this? He was the highest ranking individual in the police force. Christian grabbed a paper from Cyrus and jotted a note to himself.

By now, the assembly hall had filled to Christian’s satisfaction. He stood up straight and walked to the podium. The crowd went quiet. At least they were disciplined in one way.

“Hello, all. As you know, my name is Christian Acetate, also known as your new police captain. Since my appointment as captain, I plan on bringing us to a level of efficiency and prosperity that has not been known yet. Does anyone have any questions regarding my appointment?” No hands were raised. Christian had kept his introduction short. His reputation preceded him and he didn’t need to make idle threats. Bamudo had been evidence of that.

“Okay, I will continue with an overview of the new laws that have taken effect with the new year. You will be receiving more details on these laws, but I did want to stress a few points. First, and most important, I will not tolerate discrimination. You better hope no reports of such bigotry reach me because I will have you following Bamudo’s example in half a heartbeat. As evidenced by this outpost’s inability to keep two boys from running amok, some hybrids have the potential to be even more useful to society than you. Every single one of you. Some of you might be thinking you are special. You’re not. Need I explain further?”

A chorus of “No, sirs” rang out through the air. That tradition would have to be done away with – it only served to magnify headaches. Regardless, Christian continued his speech.

“Finally, I would like to touch on three things. One, if you bring in anyone who is under the influence of Lilypad and they haven’t broken any other law, then you better hope your superior doesn’t pass it on to me. Focus on worthwhile crimes. Two, let’s not bring in citizens if they are outdoors after sunset. We don’t have room for that in our cells. I know the laws did not change regarding that but please, give them some leeway. Third, protect the maids. I’m sure a majority of you have visited the lovely men and women of the streets, and it is a shame that we as a force have not protected them better.” Christian heard a few murmurs regarding this latest statement. He had no tolerance for the disrespect of sex workers or their bodies. “See me after the meeting.” Christian pointed to a pair of officers. “Actually, come – sit here next to Cyrus.” The two officers got up and walked onto the stage, taking a seat next to the young assistant. Christian returned his attention to the crowd.

“These individuals will now be the guinea pigs for the new change in the recruiting process. I’ll have more information on exactly what that is once it’s finalized, but just know that these two will not be having fun in the meantime.” Christian walked from the podium and waved for Cyrus and the two officers to follow him. It was true that he’d be utilizing these two for testing purposes. A new, more demanding recruitment process was necessary to eliminate the aforementioned incompetent officers from leaking into the force.

The four individuals headed back toward the outpost entrance with Christian and Cyrus leading the way.

“Please tell me this was the last location to visit.”

“Yes, Sir!” Cyrus beamed.

“Good good,” Christian responded. “And how is the progress on the patrol revamp project?” Christian had earlier asked Cyrus to brainstorm how to overhaul the police patrol system. There were two problems with it, one being there were too many patrols between settlements that did as they pleased, which was the main problem for Christian. However, the King also wanted the new captain to take a look into preferential treatment for rich areas with patrols. The King had urged him to look into balancing the patrols so that there wasn’t a disproportionate amount of poorer folks being arrested.

“It is going well, I believe we can have progress made within the month,” the boy replied.

“Good, keep thinking about it and share it with me later.” Christian hoped the boy would succeed with his brainstorming, it would be nice to have a capable assistant and possible apprentice. Cyrus seemed nice enough, a little green behind the ears, but nice enough.

That left Christian with the task of figuring out how to weed out any further Gohama-like traitors in the force, individuals who didn’t believe fully in the mission. He brought his hand to his temple again and attempted to will the headache away. They reached the carriage and he climbed in. Cyrus followed and the two guinea pig officers were motioned to the back. Relief was not a strong enough word to describe how Christian felt as he leaned his head back and waited for the carriage to drop him off at his residence.


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