2.4: Officer Stark

     The clouds above do little to erase the sheen on Stark’s silver uniform. Her badge glistens in waves as she strides across the campus, her gaze level and pointed at her upcoming destination. She raises her hand to the front doors when a soft breeze ruffles her hair. She pauses and whirls, hastily fixing her gaze on her intended audience.

     “We should discuss this in your office, sir,” she says bluntly.

     “On such a beautiful day,” Neth replies casually. “A walk seems more fitting than my business quarters.”

     Stark hefts her shoulders slightly before marching into step with her superior. “Very well. As I informed you already, I received a phone call from Warden Crata. He had a few vague warnings for me to pass on to you.”

     “Vague warnings?” Neth parrots back. “You seemed distressed by the news.”

     “I am, but if we are to talk of these things in public, I will disguise the facts as I see fit.”

     Neth regards her with a swift sideways glance. She doesn’t express the haunted countenance he searches for, but rather an on-guard gaze, remaining as still as it can while constantly absorbing every pertinent detail of their surroundings. The moment she shifts her eyes and notices his focus on her, she stops her surveillance.

     “You’re expecting trouble here?” Neth fishes for information with an urgent whisper.

     “Potentially. He said he’s heard whispers of– Sir, we really should discuss this inside.”

     Neth chuckles and waves a hand to his right. “I know. I simply wished for us to do so here instead of my office.”

     Stark takes notice of the security sign over the trellis framing the entrance. She smirks as she shakes her head. “Why not just come to me immediately?”

     “You spend more than enough time in your office, as do I. Even if very brief, we should take time to be outside more.”

     “I’m outside as much as needed.”

     “Not for yourself,” he says.


     “I’d like you to change that, Stark.”

“As long as I’m responsible for these students, that’s non-negotiable. Shall we?” She adds the question swiftly to force him into the conversation she finds more comfortable. Though given the news she has to deliver, it’s a meager consolation.

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