Ulric hobbled into the infirmary. A young girl with brightly dyed red hair ran up to him.
“What happened?” She put her arm around him and started walking him to a bed.
“It bit me,” he said, starting to feel dizzy, and even more unsteady than before.
She sat him on a bed, “Where?”
“My calf,” he started to pull up his pant leg.
She crouched down and inspected the oozing wound.
“Oh dear, that looks bad,” she said, looking him up and down, “Get undressed and wait here. I’ll have to go get Dr. Katsukawa.”
The girl closed the curtain and ran off. Slowly, Ulric stood, leaning on the bed and peeled off his body suit. He figured staying in his boxers and undershirt was fine. Katsukawa was the head doctor and very well known. Ulric met him years ago when he broke his arm during practice. This doctor wouldn’t mind him being partially dressed, he wasn’t having a physical exam anyway. But that girl…she didn’t look the slightest bit familiar. There were all kinds of nurses and assistants here. The infirmary was always known as being a busy place with lots of people moving around it to help the sick or injured.
He closed his eyes. The wound was a slight throb, but he felt weak all over, and his head was spinning. Shutting his eyes he let his head fall into his hands. Just then, the doctor came through the curtain. He was a little taller than Ulric’s five foot ten, his short black hair was messy and his wire rimmed glasses were falling down his nose. The boy must have made a face because the doctor said,
“It’s a jungle out there,” he pointed to himself, “This is what happens when you try to deal with some wounded children after some late night rough housing. Everyone needs to be seen first. Well, lets have a look at that bite”
He kneeled by Ulric’s leg, touching the skin around the bite. He remembered late night rough housing. Of course they were never sent to the infirmary. Kids were trained to fight at a young age, and some of the unfortunate ones lived in this building. He was, and still is one of them. That’s why he found it odd he didn’t even recgonize that girl’s face. He’s lived here since he was seven. Explored every nook and cranny, pushed his way into every unit’s room, talked the ear off of every passerby in the building when he was little. In his mind, she couldn’t have been more than three or four years older than him. They would’ve trained together, or ate in the same cafeteria. Hell, every kid ate lunch at the same time, no matter if they lived there or not or trained in combat or not. Maybe he was over thinking this to keep his mind off the faint pain in his leg, but he asked anyway:
“Hey, who’s that red haired girl? I’ve never seen her before.”
“My daughter, Anna,” he said without looking up, “How do you feel?”
“Lightheaded, and a bit dizzy still,” he admitted, then said, “But wait I didn’t know you had a daughter or a wife.”
“You may need some antibiotics,” he said, standing up, “My personal life may be tied with my professional life, but I don’t need to advertise it. I’ll be right back.:
He came back a minute later with a silver tray. Amber and clear bottles, gauze pads, a needle, a syringe, what looked like a large sewing needle, and thick black string were neatly arranged on it. The doctor set it on a small, table by the bed.
“Lets do this, shall we?”
* * *
Jasmine walked down the quiet hall, releasing the two loose buns her hair made. She was insulted by the way Ulric reacted to her concern. On the helicopter she asked if he was okay or needed help getting off and all he did was push her away and called her a “blood chugging freak”. What did she do to him? Oh yeah, just saved his life! Some partner he was going to be.
“Hey, Jasmine!” called a voice up ahead.
She looked. I was Selena, a young, fragile looking brunette. Little but dangerous. And she was only thirteen, still in combat training. Just a few more years and she’d be in Jassie’s place. Hopefully with a more cooperative partner.
“Hi there,” she said forcing a smile.
“I heard you and Ulric passed the field test and had your first mission. What unit are you assigned to?”
Of course she’d mention that jerk, “Unit Forty-Three.”
Her freckled face lit up, “How cool! That’s like the special unit!”
“Special?” she asked confused.
“Yeah. Like it’s not only the unit that has people where like no family are in this business, but supposedly they’re like General Strom’s like most trusted agents and get to go undercover like all the time.”
This girl needed to learn how to cut all of those “likes” out of her vocabulary. No wonder they never stopped to talk to much. She felt even more agitated.
“Cool, but how do you know all this?”
“My mom and older sister talk about it like all the time. You know like, Tammie Jacobs? She was like captain of my sister’s unit, then moved to like Unit Forty-Three like two years ago.”
“Oh,” said Jassie, trying to sound interested. She knew of Tammie. One of the old timers of the Nightmare Chasers, but people moving units like that? It was rarely heard of.
“And,” Selena continued, “Maya Salsic is in that unit. She’s like second in command to Tammie.”
It must be special if Maya’s in it, she’s Strom’s right hand woman.
It’s not like she doubted Selena’s words, but that unit must hold some importance if it’s being co-led by Maya.
“The one thing,” Selena said looking right sat Jassie, “I don’t understand is why you’re on that unit. No offense but it’s full of people who have no family ties here. You’re parents and both your father’s sibling are here.”
Jasmine knew her words were true. To work this kind of job you needed to be born into it, or tragically pulled in. Both reasons held her to this place, but she wasn’t utterly alone like some. People joined because their family was killed by a monster (and no amount of magic could erase that) or they were attacked by a monster and felt the need to help their family behind forever in the process.
Jasmine just shrugged her arms and said, “Well, I’d better get going anyway. See you around.”
“Bye,” Selena ran off and went into one of that unit’s quarter. Her mother or sister was probably staying the night.
She found the big metal door with a big forty-three on it and put her hand on the scanner. The door whooshed open, and she walked in. It wasn’t anything special. The unit’s quarter’s was more of a place to hang out and stay the night. To the far right there was a table and little kitchenette while to the left there was a couch and a recliner in front of the T.V. Behind it was a narrow hallway that contained the bedrooms but also led to a small computer room, where they received missions, looked things up, and worked.
Sitting on the couch was a tall, gangly man with long wavy dark brown, almost black hair. He looked her over.
“Where’s the other one?” he said.
“Ah. Just the vampire girl, then,” he stood up.
“Half,” she corrected him.
“Half,” he repeated and smiled.
His smiled was warm and charming. She just wished she knew what to say next. He looked considerably older than her. Maybe mid-thirties, but she was at a loss of what she could say to such a man…
“So,” she paused, then, “You know Cornelius?”
“Yeah,” he quietly chuckled, “He’s been in this unit forever. I’m Otto,” he held out a hand.
“Jassie,” she said, shaking it.
“Welcome to the family.”
“How many are in this unit?”
“Well, he started, looking up in thought, “There’s Tai’mel, Maya, Ken, Tammie, Wren, Justin, Cornelius, Gene, and me.”
“But you and your partner equals eleven,” he smiled at her.
“Where are the others?”
“Not here, yet.”
Just then the door opened. The General walked in with Cornelius and an older woman who’s brown hair was graying.
“Jasmine, we just finished with Ulric in the infirmary. First off, welcome. This is your captain, Tammie Jacobs. Some general rules,” Strom said, looking at her, “Units do practice combat together once a week. If a mission is ever deemed too much for one pair the unit goes in together. You stay in communication with this,” he handed her a device that fit in the ear and had a small mic extending down and an orange, clear eye piece, “Wren, who you’ll meet later, keeps all of you connected from the central computer here.”
Tammie walked up next to her, “Welcome to my unit. You joined just in time. We have an undercover mission that needs you.”
“What is it?”
“Have you ever heard of Thomas Renner High?”
“Yeah. It’s some high school.”
There’s been disappearnces there of female faculty and students. Eli and I have been undercover for two months and haven’t found a thing. You and Ulric will go in as students.”
She wasn’t sure what to say. Was this why they were chosen to be in this unit? Just to do some undercover mission? She hoped not.
“Tomorrow you will be briefed in here. Well then,” The General clapped his hands together, “Lets take a look around and meet the others.”
Interval Three Interval Five