“I’ve always had an affinity for Magitech - in fact, I did all my own modifications on the scout frame I piloted in the last Olympics.”
The Therian recruiter’s ears twitch. “A Frame pilot, eh? Licensed?”
You nod. “Commercial license for Scout, Utility, and Search and Rescue frames.”
“Commercial, not bad. Those are all light frames, though - anything heavier?”
“No, sir - I’m not a full Necromancer, I can’t even raise a Wraith, just guide them.”
“Damn - not gonna be much help on extended deployments, then. Anything more combat-oriented?”
You gesture towards the weapon lockers at the entrance. “I brought along my rifle and bunker shield - I was top in my class in Marksmanship three years running, and I built my first bunker shield when I was five.”
“Okay, now THAT is something useful in - in -“
Oh, damn - does he know?
The old Therian gives you a strange look. “Five years old? That was twelve years ago, right? And you said your last name was Tinir?”
“And did you go to Starshadow Vale Elementary?”
You can practically feel people staring at you... Not trusting your voice, you nod.
Once again, the recruiter stands, and looks down at you. “The scar - the one they kept out of the news - show it to me, and tell me what caused it.”
Wh-what- “How... how do you -“
The recruiter leans forward. “The scar. Now.”
How could he... You reach up, and pull back your hair, just above your right ear, to reveal a straight line of scar tissue, stretching from just above your ear to nearly the base of your skull. “An armor-piercing round from one of the SWAT officers... the shooters were wearing body armor, but they only had publicly available firearms, so my shield stopped their bullets - but not this one.”
The aging Therian nodded once, then stepped around the recruiting desk - and surprised everyone by wrapping his arms around you and lifting you into a bear hug! And - holding you for several seconds...
Eventually, he set you down, and you finally saw the tears running down his cheeks. After a few moments, he wipes his face on his sleeve, and says, “My dumbass of a brother is the one who shot that assh*** at point-blank range - putting the bullet that left that scar through the shooter’s body armor and your shield. And my daughter is one of the students you saved that day.”
But - but - “... but I couldn’t save them all...”
“Hey, hey! Enough of that, Cadet Tinir - if you hadn’t blocked off that hallway, those boys would have evaded the SWAT officers, and Starshadow Vale Elementary would have been the worst school shooting of the last fifty years.” He them extended his hand to shake yours. “And if you show half as much dedication to protecting your assigned Immune as you did those students, then maybe we might finally make some real progress against the Corruption.”
You accept the offered hand, and nervously say, “Thank you.” But, in all honesty, there’s really only one Immune you’re worried about...
- - -
Of course, now that you’ve signed up, you find yourself in a unique situation - apparently, you’re the first person to ever join the Immune Guardians without an MP’s rifle pointing at you, or threat of courtmartial held over your head.
At least, that’s the impression you get, when they give you your personal belongings, and show you to a corner where you can wait for... whatever happens next.
You spend about an hour with your rifle set to safety, practicing your shield drills. Another hour working on your support weapons - your repulsor mines don’t have anywhere near the recharge rate you’d like, and the mortar’s cover fire mode leaves a lot to be desired. You even spend an hour doing full-kit PT - all 150 pounds of gear on all 150 pounds of you...
Continued next post...