by Joseph H. Ficor -
The Enforcer at the checkpoint, just off the elevator, at Upper Level Six smiled after he cleared Shouhei for entry.
“We’ve been expecting you.” He said while maintaining that ominous smile.
Shouhei just said, “Thank you,” as he passed the still-smiling Enforcer.
The orders that had been printed out at the checkpoint stated that he was to proceed to Stateroom 14. He was there in five minutes.
Two guards, both Peacekeeper Level Twos, stood on either side of the door leading into the stateroom. They wore immaculate navy blue uniforms with white berets and broad white sashes extending from their left shoulders to their right waists.
Shouhei saluted and the salute was returned. The PKL2 on Shouhei’s right inserted Shouhei’s ID card into a portable reader. He showed it to the other PKL2 who just grunted and mumbled something about Shouhei being the one.
The ID card was returned to Shouhei. The door opened and Shouhei entered a large office with white walls and red carpeting. Many abstract paintings hung neatly on the wall. A large luxurious desk made of smoothed Zirconian black coral stood four meters in front of the young Enforcer.
A large man with skin as dark as the desk and wearing a robe of bright orange and red came from behind the desk and greeted Shouhei.
“Welcome,” the man bellowed, “Enforcer Third Class Fiko! I have been looking forward to meeting you for a few months now.”
Shouhei’s training brought him back to his place. He straightened and saluted, but his face betrayed his confusion at the Governor’s greeting.
The Governor just smiled. “My boy, I can see that you do not understand that I’m your benefactor.”
Shouhei’s face betrayed more confusion.
“I am your sponsor. I chose you from the dregs of Adagio to become an Enforcer. You are my act of charity.”
“I’m sorry sir. But I don’t understand. I thought that I was accepted because of my scores on the entrance exam.”
“Don’t be silly,” the Governor said, and laughed. “The test was just a formality. You were already in by my word. You see, I had a small wager with some of the members of my club that I could choose anyone from that waste on Eclectia and sponsor him through the Enforcers. They doubted me, but you proved them wrong…”
Each of Governor’s words was like the beating of a hammer driving a spike into Shouhei’s heart.
“…and my boy, you paid handsomely—two platinums. So I’ve decided as a special reward to make you a member of my personal security detachment. What do you think about that?”
Professionalism—and his faith—prevented him from expressing the words.