Tom Scott turned the temperature dial to the hottest setting he could stand. He bent his head slightly, palms flat against the wall as the water pummeled down down on his shoulder blades. Taking deep breaths, the supposedly invigorating aroma of the citrus body wash did little to make him feel any better. Scott had always scoffed at the fact that the average life expectancy for someone in his field of work was thirty-five. Now scarred, broken and aching at twenty-two, he doubted he'd even live that long.
Scott wrapped a towel around his waist and went over to the sink; wiping away the mist on the mirror. He ran his thumb across his chin, the light brown hairs prickled. To hell with it! He had neither the time nor inclination to shave. Given his recent, unusual run of injuries, he'd probably end up accidentally slitting his throat with the razor anyway. His eyes travelled down his chest and he grimaced at the sight of his bruised body. The doctor had insisted on strapping up his ribs, but Scott wasn't having any of that.
The door to the locker room opened and Zeke entered; his light blue t-shirt wringing with sweat.
Zeke nodded briefly, walked over to his locker, took out a towel and placed it on the centre bench. Scott picked up his wash kit and pile of dirty clothes.
"Huh!" Zeke turned to him. For an instant Zeke couldn't seem to place Scott.
"I asked how things are going."
"Err... good, things are good."
"So, what's happening?" Scott threw on a grey t-shirt from one of the four sets of clean clothes he kept on standby.
"The General's just left for the evening and taken the girl back to his. One of the biggest security details we've ever run."
"I thought she was supposed to be going back home."
"Yeah, so did we, but he changed his mind."
"I bet Hannah wasn't too impressed with that!"
Zeke looked at Scott puzzled. "Hannah?"
"Hannah Page, the girl. Hey, are you okay, you seem a little... off?"
For a moment Zeke stood still, staring into his empty locker. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just tired from having had to find and save your sorry ass."
Scott laughed lightly and stepped into a pair of standard issue, black fatigues, pulling at the drawstring waist. He pushed a little further.
"When was the last time you took a break?
Zeke stared into the distance. "You know, I don't remember."
"You need some downtime. Go home, take a break."
"I wish, but I've got a long night ahead of me downstairs."
Scott immediately recognised what the term downstairs meant. "Who've you got down there then?"
Zeke looked at Scott, clearly unsure whether to answer him or not.
"Matheson, I've got full clearance remember and if it wasn't for my recent absence I'd be down there too." Scott tied the lace on his training shoe.
"Yes, of course," Zeke replied. "We think we've got a big-catch down there. Someone Briggs is very interested in."
"Who's that then?"
Scott stopped tying his shoe lace. "What, how?"
"Cecily Waring. You know, the woman that Briggs has had every department looking for, for years even though every report suggested she was dead." Zeke began to undress. "To be honest, I thought she was long dead, but here she is alive, downstairs and being quite forthcoming; I haven't had to exert too much pressure, yet."
YOU ARE READING
The NumberedScience Fiction
Imagine the second you're born, a consultant removes you from your mother's grasp and runs a battery of genetic and physiological tests on you. Thirty minutes later they give you a score out of one hundred which denotes your level of perfection. If...