Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heavy Type - Jacob's Day

by John Prins

As far as Jacob was concerned, it was a beautiful day in Mekong. Others might differ, though, with the leaden clouds hanging over the city, heavy with the promise of rain. The kind of rain that would wash the streets clean of trash and make footing treacherous. The kind of rain that could soak you to the bone in seconds.

Most people wouldn't classify that kind of sky beautiful. It turned the city into a giant shadow and carried with it an oppressive humidity. Combined with the seasonal heat, even the best air conditioning systems surrendered under the stress.

But Jacob knew beauty when he saw it. When you're standing out in the open in thirty kilograms of black riot gear, the last thing you wanted was a clear, sunny day. Humidity only made you wish you were dead. More than one officer would have passed out by now in direct sunlight.

The crowd, on the other hand, probably didn't care what the weather was like. They were too busy waving signboards and chanting slogans. Or selling things to people waving signboards and chanting slogans. People didn't miss an opportunity in the Dominion.

Jacob wondered if the politicians in the building behind him even knew what the weather outside was. Some might be watching the crowds. Others might be ignoring them, trusting the Peacekeepers to keep order if things got ugly. Others, so caught up in their own buisiness, might not even know about the protest rally. All of them were probably too focused to even look at the sky.

Jacob knew better. He paid attention to the important things - the sky, the ground, the wind. They couldn't tell you a great deal, but if you paid attention, you could avoid many of life's small aggrivations. Jacob always kept his footing and seldom got rained on. Small victories, to be sure, but valuable ones. Only an idiot stopped paying attention to his environment.

That included the crowd, which was getting bolder. An occasional bottle or signpost made a clumsy arc through the air, only to shatter on the street or an upturned shield. Probably the act of the odd drunken protestor or overzealous politico. Jacob, like the rest of the officers in the line tried to not take it personally. After all, they were just an obstacle at the moment. The real anger was directed at the people behind the lines, behind the walls.

Riot duty was always like this. It was a delicate dance between the respect afforded the officers and the anger of the crowd. Respect usually won out, unless something unusual entered the picture.

Jacob knew it was an unusual day. He smiled as it started.

It began small, like all things do. Just a few, here and there. Then more, and then more again. It would build and build until something broke.

Minutes later, Jacob was shaking his head and laughing with his fellow officers at the empty square. It was all over.

Jacob took off his helmet and leaned back his head to taste the pouring rain.

[Next: The Right Way]

[John Prins] [Heavy Type]

The above article was archived from Heavy Type: A Heavy Gear Fan Fiction Website as part of the Hermes 72 Archive Project. It has been edited from its original form and is used without permission.

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