The first Q&A off the rank!
If you want your own answered, simply send a question to a character at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Taylor felt a muscle in his face twitch.
Andrea gave an overdramatic sigh. ‘It’s mandatory.’
Useless. It was useless. There was no point to it. ‘No.’
The Scholar lifted the single piece of paper. ‘It’s just one to start with. We all have to do these at one point or another, Taylor. It’s just another sim.’
He set his jaw, and grunted. ‘There is no tactical value in it.’
Andrew perked up at this. ‘Luckily,’ she said, ‘there doesn’t have to be.’ She pressed the paper against his chest, then tucked it into his jacket when he refused to take it. ‘It’ll be two minutes out of your life, you could have finished if you hadn’t been arguing with me.’
‘There is no tactical value in it.’
Andrea smirked, stepped back, then slammed the door in his face. [By the way,] the Scholar said, a video chat appearing in his HUD. [You’re shift-locked for an hour. Finish it, or do push-ups for an hour, either way it’s a point on your behaviour chart.’
The video chat disappeared, and Taylor turned to look at his prison. The room was overly large for the intended exercise. Six metres by six metres. There was a desk and single chair in the centre. There were no other doors, windows, or obvious exits.
He walked to the desk, removed his jacket, then fell to the floor and – as Andrea has suggested – began to work a set of push-ups.
After eighty-five, a weight manifested on his back. ‘You’re failing the test really badly,’ Merlin said in a sing-song – presumably mocking – voice said as the child balanced on his back.
‘There is no tactical value in this.’
‘I know,’ the boy said, ‘I heard you tell mumma.’
Merlin weighed less than he should have – more than when and Magnolia had pulled him from the demon’s home, but less than someone of his presumed age should. ‘Your mother is wasting my time.’
Merlin turned, and began to slap Taylor’s shoulders without rhythm.
Merlin did this on occasion – he would appear, talk without fear, interfere in whatever routine that he was trying to complete, then wander off, sometimes straight through a wall. The boy was not a threat. He had never displayed any offensive capabilities, other than his ability to read the thoughts of others, and confined within the agency, it was unlikely that power could be used against the Agency at large.
‘It’s like the recruit tests,’ Merlin said, then rolled off Taylor’s back. He scrambled to his feet, put his lab coat next to Taylor’s jacket, then did his best to mimic Taylor’s push-ups.
Taylor grunted, stopped at the top of the next set of ten, then crouched, and offered a few tips to the child’s technique. Jones was doing nothing to enhance the child’s combat ability, so he took every opportunity to give input. Recruit or not, Merlin was the agency’s responsibility.
Merlin collapsed to the floor after eight push-ups.
‘It’s like the recruit tests,’ Merlin said. ‘Yanno, how it’s more important how you do it than what you actually do. They show if you’re calm or scary or pro-ceeed-ural. Words are scary, but-’ The question paper appeared under Merlin’s hand, still folded. ‘Answering is better than being stuck in detention for an hour.’
Merlin looked down. ‘Squishy has cookies,’ he said with a smile, then sank down through the floor, only his arm popping back up to grab the trailing end of his lab coat.
Taylor sighed, picked up the piece of paper, then moved to the desk.
He had things to do. There was no point to unnecessary detention.
Taylor unfolded the paper.
Does your cock crow or does it magpie?
He required a pen.
| I do not own a chicken. |
| Magnolia is a magpie. |
He narrowed his eyes. There was innuendo. The word cock did not only refer to poultry. There was no logical way to answer the question.
| My penis does not make any significant noise. |