Beautiful and Bad Things
Guard Commander G-7555-277-760 sat in a briefing with the press officer. The guard press officer was really a propagandist. Good looks, friendly habits and manners optimized to win over the hearts and minds of everyone around. Rhetorically perfect. When not doing any press work those were used for recruitment or censoring guardsman electronic mail with their families. Well the censoring was mostly done by GUMS but sometimes a human guide was an advantage.
„Just keep it to the three points: We care for the security of all citizens, we are proud to serve and because we look after our own and our needs we need find the kidnapped Guardsman.“
They rehearsed for the press conference and possible questions. Afterwards the commander went down to await the regional security director and the press officer went to arrange for the practicalities of the press conference.
The dark limousine slowed down at the concrete barriers in front of the vehicle gate at the guard station then stopped as the large metal gate opened. It drove in, then the gate closed. A guardsman in a tank suit stepped towards the drivers window.
The window lowered, a guardsman in R-Class Uniform looked at him. A scanner was held to the palm of the hand.
„Who is with you?“
„Guardsman B- 5432-033-094 and Guardsman E-5430-808-003 accompanied by a civilian: Regional security director.“
The Guardsman looked into the car.
Then received the clearance from GUMS.
The Guardsman saluted and the second gate opened.
The limousine proceeded to the central building of the guard compound.
In front of the entrance the Guard Commander G-7555-277-760 and his adjutant C-7555-277-761 waited. Both wore their parade uniforms. The limousine stopped. The drivers door opened. The driver left, put on his beret, checked the surroundings, walked around the car and opened the rear door, while bowing.
The regional security director stepped out.
760 and 761 fell to their knee, lowered their faces to looked down.
761 asked: „How can this guardsman be of service to you?“
The regional security director looked at booth of them, waited and then answered.
„Take me tot he briefing room, I want to be informed about the operations.“
„Your will is my duty, Mistress.“
The Guardsmen led the regional security director to the briefing room, close to the operations center. 761 walked in front of them, clearing the way. 760 next to the director, followed by the directors adjutant. Whenever they encountered other Guardsman those went to their knees and looked down. Showing their signs of respect and servitude for a superior women.
The briefing room was set up with several comfy chairs and refreshments for civilians. It even featured some plants and was less spartan and brutalist then the rest of the guard station.
The director took a seat at the head of the table, her adjutant left of her, 760 on her right. He briefed her about the situation: The mountain quarter was sealed off, an announcement to the media would be made to inform the citizens, everyone to go in and out would be cheeked. Civilians vehicles would only be allowed out and only supply trucks in. Further they would start checking at all food distribution places. Now this was not only a question about finding their lost brother but also about showing that the state was able to act. They hadn’t received and demand for ransom or any demand form the kidnappers. But they were sure that D-8007-399 -033 had been kidnapped. There was no body in the basement and also his uniform but not his baret were missing.
But there had also been a pamphlet found by a group „The Free Europeans“ and they were calling upon resistance against state and Guard. This could not be tolerated.
Right now all resources were either resting, patrolling or manning the checkpoints and metal barriers. Operation Derbent was successful.
761 was always inspired and awed when 760 talked and briefed this superior women. How open and determined but also subservient he managed this. He was proud on his partner.
The director was satisfied with the actions, but not with the kidnapping itself and after some time they started discussing the line for the press conference with the adjutant of the regional security director and the guard public relations specialists.
761 hoped the punishment for getting a member of the Guard kidnapped would not be to severe.
Everything had been prepared for the press conference. All Guardsman who would appear, had put up their parade uniforms and were prepped and ready. Some graphics had been prepared and a room close to the entrance of the guard station in cleaned, put up with chairs and decorated with a flag.
The media had assembled and some TV cameras had been placed.
The spokesman stood up and announend: the Regional Security Director and the Commander of the Guardstation“
Both went straight to the lectern.
The director started talking: „Today we are going to inform you about special security measures that have been taken due to recent terrorist activity in the mountain quarters or Bergviertel in the local language. We have decided to declare the area to be a danger zone. This will give the guards special rights and abilities to secure the area and help the law abiding citizens. A curfew is in place from 23:00 to 6:00 in the morning. The guard will also monitor all persons entering and leaving the mountain quarters. For this the guards have installed checkpoints.
Honest law abiding citizens have nothing to fear.“
The lady stepped down from the lectern.
760 steped to the lectern: „The operation will be conducted in accordance with the highest professional standards. I can confirm this is in connection with the bombing of a house recently. “The Guard ensures peace, order, and the dominance of the State, as it is our mission.“
Now questions were taken:
The first journalist stood up and asked a question: „Isn’t closing off an entire city quarter not a little bit extreme?“
760 looked at the guy: long hair, unshaved, a wrinkled shirt. Typical civilian who was not properly under control of his women and then smiled and answered: „Of course it is a strict measure, but it is only a little bit of inconvenience for every citizen. Crime will go down and everyone should be happy to contribute to the safety of her or his community. People can leave and enter as they wish, they just have to see that they may be checked. Which is a reasonable and proportionate limitation of their rights, on this circumstances.“
The next journalist stood up, this one had a youngish face and even though teh seemed not old already a little belly: „I have heard rumors that your harsh actions are connected to the property deals and the plans to redevelop the mountain quarter. Is this true?“
Now the regional security director replied: „These plans as you know are under discussion, there has not been a decision yet. The regional security directorate is concerned with the security and safety of all union citizen, no matter what gender and where they live. We have strict no crime and no tolerance policy and that does not matter if that crime happens in the mountain quarters or anywhere else in our region or our city or our union.
The next question came: „I have heard that you want to lock a control collar on every man’s neck in the quarter?“ There was a murmur in the room.
760 tried not to move his face. „There are no such plans. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety and the freedom of the citizens. If we take such measures they have to be authorized by the regional security directorate.“ There was murmur in the room but 760 did not add anything to the answer. „Next Question!“
A male blogger asked a question: „I have heard of several people having been disappeared? Taken away by the guard? A youth has apparently been taken away from his parents and put into a guard academy?“
760 answered and was rather annoyed „No such things have been happened. We have taken people into custody and we have taken people for questioning. That is normal procedure… One last question please.“
A journalist held up a piece of paper: „This leaflet has been distributed in the mountain quarters. It is from the ‘Free Europeans’. They call upon all the citizens of the mountain quarter to resist the guard, its gender order and help them. Are the Free Europeans responsible for the explosion?“
760 replied: „We are investigating in this direction but not exclusively.“
The director answered: „We ask all citizens to not cooperate with the terrorists. Who does such will be punished heavily. If we work together and stand up against these vicious terrorist we can defeat them and the current security state can be lifted. It is to every citizen to make a decision. Those who have done to wrong, have nothing to fear.
760 and the regional security director left the podium and the room.
After washing the leader of his kidnappers and the nurse had left the room. 033 had been exhausted from the washing and eating. Strangely in the Guard both things had needed about 15 min every morning, including suiting up. Here it took longer but it was also more intensive. Not just the pre prescribed movements or food pulp pumped into your stomach. It took so much effort to eat youself. But there was also the sensual experience of food.
The door opened and the kidnapper and his nurse came in pushing a wheelchair into the room. The nurse gave him long pants and a hoodie sweater. „Put that on.“
„We are leaving.“
033 was not sure if he should comply or not. On the one hand he should try to get back to the guard, escape, overwhelm the kidnappers and run. On the other hand, the nurse was a women and to be obeyed. Something hit him into the neck. He felt getting week. They had injected him with something.
033 tried to fight it but he lost his consciousness.
Far away in another part of Europe. G-5050-022-400 the father of 033 was standing in the control room supervising the training of new guard material. B-6550-368-086 sat rigidly at control console and monitored.
„Sir, there is a call for you, its flagged urgent and personal, coming from another guard station.“
„This one will take it on his personal console“
G-5050-022-400 went to his duty station and activated the privacy screen. The face of C-7555-277-761 came on.
„This C-7555-277-761. Please be seated.“
G-5050-022-400 was already seated and face the screen, he knew such a call was not made without any need.
„Why are you calling me?“
„This is to tell you that your son Guardsman D-8007-399-033 has been most likely kidnapped and so far not been found or recovered. On this Guardstation we are doing everything to return him to the fold of the guard and his brothers.“
G-5050-022-400 was shocked. As the head of training he knew that being a guardsman was not without risk: the Ukraine integration, protecting the border, preventing terrorism were all not simple and with out danger. He knew how many of his material had died and wounded over the years. He also knew how their training and the condoning had helped to keep them safe and the casualties down.
„What are you doing?“
C-7555-277-761 explained the measures and they were taken stern measures he added „I see from D-8007-399-033 personal file that you are married to a women, his mother. Should we arrange for her to be informed or do you want to take this burden?“
„This one will call her.“
„Please keep this one updated on the situation“
The connection went off and G-5050-022-400 decided to take a little bit cool down. And then ordered some more push ups and burpees for his trainees exercise.
The wheelchair was shaking and 033 came wake. He noticed how the wheelchair was pushed and next to him was the nurse and two other people . He also recognized the leader of kidnappers. They were outside.
He slept again.
Again 033 woke up. They were on the market of the mountain quarter. He had been there before on patrols and talked to the people. Now the mood seemed different. Much more angry. The wheelchair was pushed over the market. He had always tried to be friendly with the market people and talk to them and make jokes. Some brother had accused him of fraternizing with civilians but he thought it was good to know your way around as the areas was confusing and of course to have good connections to the locals. They would tell you stuff.
There was a guardsman standing next to a market stall. 033 tried move his head and see who it was, his head and all the parts of his body still felt heavy from the sleeping medication they had injected him with.
033 tried to see the number of the guardsman, was this C-0500-878-605? His big brother. He tried to make a sound with his voice. It was difficult to see as 605 and the other guardsman next to him wore tank suits. Why? Since when was the market so difficult.
Suddenly the guardsman moved and pushed the market tender to the wall. It seems they were trying to intimate him. Why?
He noticed how his handler speed up with the wheelchair.
The could hear the voice of the Guardsman coming through the helmet and vocoder: „You need a permission to sell and you need to log how much food you sell to whom, new regulations.“
Suddenly even more tanked guardsman were moving in from the other side. There was upheaval, a commotion on the market. He tried to move, but felt to weak.
The wheelchair was pushed faster
E-5430-803-121 entered the room. His assistant C-7555-277-658 was already sitting at the computer and reviewing a file.
„So what do we have to do?“ 121 asked and smiled. He was of an athletic built but not muscularly impressive, had light brown hair that ended in tiny curls on his head. He was a little bit younger then 658 his assistant. None of them were tall of physically imposing. 658 kept his had bald in traditional Guard fashion. Both did the good cop bad cop routine really well. That fitted their function as l interrogation specialists. The difference between them: E-5430-803-12 had come from the guard academy and was a senior guardsman while C-7555-277-658 had risen through the ranks. Both had been a team for over two years now. They also enjoyed each other in different ways. While 658 was more strict and physical and often played the bad cop 121 had been the more relaxed and mentally flexible.
„My mind space is just bigger then yours, our conditioning is different, but to each what he is.“ 121 had told his assistant once before they had snuggled together in bed.
His assistant replied: „So 658 is just going through the biographical information, nothing to not worthy.“
„Is our subject awake?“
„Awake and in one of the interrogation rooms, strapped to the intervention chair and ready.“
„But let us first review and then make the instruments ready.“
„Sure, precision is what counts.“
121 smirked. The standard Guardies did interrogations but often they were not really subtle and clever. Well what did you expect from the grunts. So that often caused complained when they just resorted to violence. But the specialist knew how to extract information. Often when they were clever the subject would volunteer and they wouldn’t even need any force.
The both good up and walked through guard station to the interrogation cell. Neither their office nor the cell looked really different: bare concrete walls, hardened rubber nup industrial flooring. They carried with them a suitcase filled with the instruments they needed for an effective questioning.
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