14 – Inspection

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“Line up. Stand straight.” Superior shouted at the officers. However, her shouts weren’t aggressive. She was commanding and loud, but she didn’t really feel like she wanted to inconvenience anyone.

Superior had finally showed up to investigate our Officers and Commander, after the apparent betrayal of Holland.

Superior was in her fifties, and had only aged so gracefully. You could see a certain amount of youth hidden behind her lightly forming wrinkles. She seemed exhausted, yet still excited for something. It was nothing that I would have expected from a Superior. She made me uncomfortable.

“Tell me your name, Officer,” Superior gently demanded from me.

“Fifteen, Superior,” I told her. I stood at attention, and looked beyond her just slightly.

She gave me a look of slight confusion. Then she returned to her own attention. “Everyone, take a look at Officer Fifteen. Notice the way that they stand at attention? That is exactly the way that you should look when you are standing at attention. Now, imitate Fifteen.” The rest of the Officers returned to their positions of attention, and- hopefully- fixed their stances.

“Better. You are all improving. That is good. Now, I will interview each of you one by one. On that merit, Commander, come see me in your office. The rest of you stand at attention. Fifteen, ensure this is done properly while I talk with your Commander.” Everyone else in line didn’t move, but I would be right to presume that they were disappointed in knowing that the freak they all dislike has just been favored by a Superior.

I stepped out of line, and relaxed my stance. I was currently Commander- not Officer- Fifteen. I had no need to hold myself as high as all of the Officers in line. They were beneath me, now more than ever.

I noticed that one female Officer was moving her hands around behind her back.

“What are you doing with your hands?” She was startled by my question, and tensed up.

“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,” she sputtered out quickly.

“I didn’t ask for an apology. I asked for a reason.” Her eyes darted from side to side, and she looked unsure of herself.

“I- I wasn’t sure how to hold my hands. I waited for Superior to be gone before trying to figure it out.” She was still incredibly tense, and telling the truth might have made her tenser.

“Hm,” I mumbled before stepping further away from the line. “Who else doesn’t know what to do with their hands?” I was surprised to see at least a third of the officers salute.

“Fine. Pay attention to me, and I’ll show you proper hand stance.” Many of the officers pulled their heads away from attention, and stared at me. I put my back to them, and placed my hands into the proper attention position.

“Do all of you understand where your hands should be?” A collection of yes sir’s and yes ma’am’s poured out of the mouths of the officers.

“Perfect. Now, stand at attention once more, and turn your backs to me. I will ensure your hands are correct.”

Every turned around, then stood at attention once more. Nearly everyone’s hands were proper, with only a few mistakes here and there. By the time I had finished correcting those, Superior called me to the office, and Commander took my place.

I stepped into Commander’s office, and stood before Superior. I was supposed to stand at attention when speaking to a Superior. I didn’t. She had promoted me to Commander just a few moments ago.

“So, Fifteen. What are your relations to the arsoned homes?” She stared at my eyes. I could understand now how she had gotten the reputation of a totalitarian and a megalomaniac. It was odd, considering the way she carried herself in the room before. There was something she was looking for in me.

I replied after letting the air sit between us for a moment. “The only relation I have to the fires is as an investigator.”

Her next question came to me after a similar amount of time. “What is your relation to the deceased Officer Jade?”

“Co-worker,” I chose to reply immediately, and refused to hold a pattern.

“What is your relation to the deceased Officer Smith?” She replied at the same speed, clearly keeping up with me.

“Co-worker,” I replied just as hastily as before.

“What is your relation to the arsonist or arsonists?” She continued the haste, as if she had memorised a script.

“My goal is to see them, singular or plural, arrested, as they are a criminal who needs or criminals who need to be detained. I am an Officer, and therefore they need to be arrested.” I continued the rate of speed I was currently at. I realised that if I tried to throw patterns out of the window, I would appear suspicious.

“You answered with quite a bit of haste. It’s almost as if you knew what I was going to ask?” She leaned forward in her chair, obviously suspicious.

I continued the haste in my answers. “There isn’t any need to be slow with the truth.”

Superior slammed her fist against the desk. She stared at me for a moment. “Why did you delay your answer with the first question?”

“I decided to take a moment to collect all of my thoughts before I answered any questions. I need to ensure I remembered all of the details.”

Superior leaned back. “Interesting. Go out and line back up. I’m done questioning you.”

“Superior.” I saluted her, then stepped out.

“Hero,” Superior called out from the office. I got back to attention, and Hero slipped into the office. Commander gave small pieces of advice here and there to Officers, and they would change what they needed to.

This continued for a while, before Superior arrived from the office, having already interviewed everyone. “All of you are dismissed from duty for the rest of today. Meet back here tomorrow at 6:00 sharp.” Everyone piled out, then went into the locker room. I needed to stay, and follow Superior back to her hotel.

I got out of my uniform, kept my gun and concealed it, then went out into the streets. I needed a place to hide, so I looked for one. I thought about climbing onto the roof, but that would mean that I’d have to get back down. That means that the only other two places are these: I can either stuff myself behind and inside of the nearby- and overgrown- bushes, or I can slink around a nearby alley way. The alley is too conspicuous.

So, I decided upon the bushes. I’m always the first to get dressed and leave the locker room, so there was no risk of being seen at this moment. Swiftly, I jumped behind the bushes, forced my way inside of them as much as I comfortably could, then waited and watched.

Plenty of people walked out of the police base, but none of them were the girl I was looking for.

It took a full thirty minutes of waiting in a bush for Superior to finally appear from the doors. I watched her walk for about twenty meters before I got out of the bush.

Prepare yourself, Superior. You’re going to attract some attention.

Next Chapter

Author: Kaleb Kathleen Walker

I write short stories, and post them to my site justmynarratives.com

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