Tarick nodded as the acolytes before him finished giving their reports, each outlining the part they’d played in uncovering the nature of and capturing the creature hidden in the depths of the Malfian hive. Though the thought that the beast had been allowed to rampage unchecked for so long distressed him, he was pleased with the end result.
“Thank you for your time, acolytes. Zolomon, Angus; The supply shuttle will be returning to Port Wander in the next couple of…”
“Daddy!” A little voice floated down the corridor outside.
“… hours. You’ve earned some R and R gents, there’ll be some loaded credit chits waiting for you out with Sorrell, grab them and go have a good time on me and the Lady E. Irie, the creature’s body has been…”
“DADDY!” The voice was louder now. The burly Interrogator tried to hide an expression that was somewhere between a fond smile and a frown of exasperation, wanting to finish debriefing his acolytes as expediently as possible so he could carry on with the rest of his duties. He could see the temptation to snicker coming to the faces of the men before him and fixed them both with a heavy-browed look.
“Ahem. As I was saying, Irie my apologies but the creature’s body has been taken to the labs and the Magos is not in residence right now, so I’ll need you to oversee the dissection and examination. However once that is done I’m quite happy to sign off on that trip to the Lathes that you requested. The Lady has some items that need picking up from there and you’re more than welcome to accompany the delegation when they go...”
As he finished speaking the door to his office was hurled open by a tiny form throwing herself bodily at it and his six-year-old daughter tumbled in, her eyes half obscured by the entirely-too-large guard helmet perched atop her raven-haired head and slumped forward over her brow. She nearly tripped on her way through, her mother’s combat boots swimming about her minute feet and tangling in the hem of the long dress-up skirt she’d paired with her grey tank top. One hand clutched the hilt of a wooden sword, the other held a scruffy wodge of paper wrapped with a red ribbon under her left arm.
Tarick sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he turned to look at his daughter “Cassie, please… Daddy’s in the middle of very imp…”
“DADDY!” Came the triumphant shout as Cassie caught herself and straightened up, march-shuffling over to the desk in the too-big boots to deposit the grimy package before her father “I HAVE SLAYEDA FILFY XENOS!”
A stifled snort of laughter came from Angus but when Tarick looked up again the man’s face was perfectly still and he was looking forward with a steady gaze. The Interrogator looked down again at the “gift” and despite himself found himself smiling at the proud little face beaming up at him. He reached for the package with another quiet sigh and a shake of his head “Cassie, really. This could have waited until…”
He fell silent as he spread open the papers, revealing the slightly blood-spotted inner of the package. A severed bird’s leg with a tack of semi-congealed blood extended between the cut end and the paper lay before him. He looked over at his daughter as she lifted her sword above her head and waved it in roaring triumph, noting absently that one edge of the dull timber blade appeared to be stained darker with blood. For the third time he sighed, this time reaching out to key in the vox.
“Elle… I have bad news.”
The faintly amused voice of his Inquisitor came back with a slight crackle “Oh? How many this time?”
“The bird, actually. I’ve got a leg on my desk and I suspect it might be yours…”
There was a moment of pause, then an affronted cawing came back over the vox followed by Elle’s voice once more “Ohh, well as you just heard, Godai’s here so I don’t know which one she’s gotten.”
Tarick nodded, still watching Cassie as she tried to menace the acolytes in front of his desk with her battle cry, waving her sword and shouting at them for being ‘Stinky xenos lubbers’ “Well at least there’s that… Though if you want I could send her down to deal with him.”
A snorted laugh was returned to him “No thanks, jerkface and I have an understanding. Though really, you might want to consider getting her a bell or something, so she can’t keep sneaking up and catching the rest of them unawares.”
“Yes… A bell…” Tarick mused, looking thoughtfully down at the braid draped over his daughter’s slender shoulder.