Blaze (in All Troops)
Scene III: Elite Corps Barracks
[SFX: Murmuring Walla]
Cap: All right troops, fall in!
[SFX: Scurrying of boot feet]
Cap: I’d like to introduce the newest member of the Fighting 7th Elite Corps. Troops, this is First Rate Norman, he is naturally the best of the best from his transfer, and I want you to give him an Elite Corps welcome. HO!
ALL TROOPS: We are the Fighting 7th Elite Corps! Bringers of Light and Might! HO!
Cap: At ease.
[SFX: Slight sound of boots moving]
Cap: My expectation is that you fall in together seamlessly and are in no less than maximum potential for our next assignment. Do you understand?
ALL TROOPS: YES SIR!!
[SFX: Cap’s boots receding]
Norm: I just want to say from the start, everyone, that I am sorry for your loss, and I don’t intend to replace Glory—
Wrath: Don’t you dare SPEAK his name until you know how to respect it!
Norm: I only meant to say—
Wrath: You dishonor him with your ignorance.
True: Cool down, Wrath, he meant nothing by it.
Wrath: Well someone better teach him the code before I brand it on him.
(SFX: Wrath’s boots receding)
True: All right, let’s break it up, soldiers. We’ve got inspection coming up.
[SFX: Boots milling about]
True: You’ll have to give Wrath a little time. He and Glory were real close, and he’s still smarting.
Norm: I expected as such. Not uncommon in a tight squad dynamic, a unit must reidentify itself as a whole and individually with the loss of a comrade. And you are…
True: TrueShield. Handle is True. Now what’s all that chatter you’re spitting out? You’re sounding like a Unit Counselor
Norm: I’m rated for counseling and examination, individual and group dynamic, military application for maximization of performance.
True: You’re gonna shrink us, as the Mortals say?
Norm: Profiling is in my orders. Helps me to be able to assess stress situations and exercise dynamic application.
True: Man, speak the King’s Language…
Norm: I need to profile the personnel individually and as a group to better lend support.
True: Well, why didn’t you just say so?
Norm: Sorry. Habit when I’m talking the trade. It develops a language all it’s own.
True: “Stress situations”. You mean combat.
Norm: Combat’s one. Losing a squad member is another.
True: Well, looks like you’ll have your work cut out for you. Lemme put you into the loop and get you introduced. But if I were you, I wouldn’t mention you were profiling them at first meeting.
Norm: They’re going to know sooner or later. If not up front, they’ll think I was hiding the fact from them and being dishonest.
True: Yeah, but being known as the “The New Guy That No One Will Get Within Ten Cubits Of – But At Least He’s Honest” is not the best way to make a first impression. Let them get a chance to know you first. Then they’ll be better prepared to accept your orders. Now, over here you’ve got Brimstone. Hey! Brimstone! Yo!
Brimstone: YoTrue! What’s up.
[SFX: Whetstone upon long blade]
True: Give a hey to Norm here.
Brimstone: Welcome First Rate. This is the finest Elite Corps in the Host. Best of the best. We expect nothing less. Pull your weight and you’ll get along fine.
True: Brimstone here is the baddest bladesman when it comes to dealing out punishment to Dark Ones. He’s our Enforcer. You want him at your back when things start getting ugly.
Brimstone: Got that straight.
[SFX: Sword put into scabbard]
True: But be careful, he’s earned a name among the Dark Ones that they both fear and hate. There’s not one of the Dark Legions who wouldn’t love to bring his head to the Fallen One and get an instant promotion. So they tend to swarm at him when it goes toe to toe. And that can be a liability.
Brimstone: Ain’t met a Black Scourge yet that could stand up to this arm and Retribution.
[SFX: Sword blade drawn out of scabbard, singing of metal reverb]
True: And that’s not bragging you’re hearing. Brim’s speaking the truth. Though there might be a hint of pride I’m hearing, eh Brim? You better not let Preach hear you talking that way.
[SFX: Brim snorts]
Brimstone: Heh. I’m only extolling the exploits of this fine sword.
True: Why don’t you take Norm to meet Preach, Brim? Might do you a bit of good.
[SFX: Brim snorts again]
Brimstone: Come on, First Rate. The farther I get from TrueShield, the better my day will get.
[SFX: Sword back into scabbard]
Brimstone: Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up, real funny. Hurry it up, First Rate.
[SFX: Boots walking x2]
Brimstone: Now over here is Preach. He’s old school. Talks like it, too. No one’s quite sure how old. Joke is he had the first assignment to guard the Garden. When you see his outfit you’ll understand why that’s so funny. YoPreach! Meet the new guy.
Preach: (Scottish accent) Blessings, Brimstone good to see thee. Ah, Master Norman, greetings, my son. Blessings to you, and to Him who sits on the Throne and unto the Lamb be blessings and honor and glory and power forever.
Norman: Uh… (pause) Hello.
Brimstone: (low tone, dryly) Try not to stare, kid.
Norman: Is that… standard issue?
Preach: What say thee, son?
Brimstone: I think he’s asking about the scrollwork on your body armor, Preach.
Preach: Yea, verily ‘tis so. ‘Twas the time when all the Host was bedecked in like manner. Of course, our purpose was more Honor Guard in that day than truly for combative purpose. After the Rebellion came the Great Conscription and the uniform became more… practical.
Brimstone: Show him the shield, Preach.
Preach: Granted to me by Sir Gabriel himself.
Norman: The lion, the lamb and the crown. Why that’s…
Preach: Crest of the first Honor Guard. And yea, His Highest Personal Seal. I have been allowed to retain it. ‘Tis my greatest honor. Save for continuing service in this unit.
Norman: I didn’t know any still existed.
Preach: Those that carry them do not trumpet the fact like some town square herald. That would be Pride. Something we all must keep on the watchguard for, is that not right Brimstone? Thou hast been boasting again, hasn’t thou?
Normal: No, really he hasn’t—
Brimstone: Yes, Preach, I have. Watchguard is the word. I thank you for your correction.
Preach: And you, Master Norman, are harboring a slight deception, aren’t you?
Brimstone: He knows, First Rate. Just by looking, he knows. It’s unsettling and a bit eerie at first, but you get used to it. Somewhat.
Preach: Thou hast received good counsel in this matter. Follow this path but for the briefest of seasons. But cleanse thyself as quickly as is expedient, or thou shalt reap a bitter harvest.
Norman: Uh…. Thank you.
Brimstone: Why don’t you take First Rate here to go and see Righteous, Preach? Maybe you’ll be able to calm him down.
Preach: Aye, perhaps a Word will be the calm to the storm that rages within. Come then, Master Norman.
Brimstone: I’ll see you at inspection, First Rate.
Norman: It was an honor to meet you, Brimstone.
[SFX: Boots fading]
Brimstone: (off) Ahhhh. Save it for someone who deserves it.
Norman: How did you know about…
Preach: Your little secret? Yea verily I know not its substance, simply its nature. Hast thou ever heard the Mortal term, “Read him like a book”?
Preach: All are as open books to me. It is gift.
Norman: But could it not also become a curse if everyone you meet bared open to you?
Preach: When thou passeth a shelf of scrolls, dost thou open each scroll in thy beholding?
Preach: Only the one that thou seekest. Is this not so?