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Another Day, Another Credit
By
Brother Emund

(1078 words)​

Kashrin Boulevard and Main: 2am - Death shift. Solo Patrol. Reposition Inebriates and delinquents.

Emperors teeth, the night was dragging.

Arbitrator Second Level, Aabraham Lohmus had had a bad shift. First he was bawled out for turning up late, despite the fact that all the power systems were down due to a net wide fault. Secondly, a scaghead had puked on him after a narc arrest and he could still smell the filth on his uniform.

I hate these vermin.

Now he was tasked to clear one of the main shopping strips of the homeless and undesirables. The local merchants were complaining that it was bad for business and were making waves with the Judges.
Solo patrol sucked. The nearest backup was always too far away. He would tread carefully and pick his targets. Nothing too contentious, nothing too stressful. Just a few of the weak to keep his Sergeant happy.

The Fairnard Emporium was always a good place to find them. It sat on a thermal vent that was closed during the day but at night the built up heat was released. This made it very comfortable for the local down and outs.
As he approached the ten-story Haberdashery, he could already see small groups vying for the best spots.
Lohmus would give them a chance tonight… he felt uncharacteristically generous. He held up the mike piece and gave it a short burst of static.

“Citizens. You are in a restricted area. Leave immediately. Failure to comply will lead to censure.”
Dark, worn, filthy faces looked wearily over to him. He could almost hear the communal groan.

“You have one minute to comply.” To emphasise the point, Lohmus drew his power-maul.

A general movement. Most of the groups stuttered to their feet and began to move in the opposite direction. Lohmus heard some dissension; a few muttered curses and some gesticulating, but not enough to get their skulls tapped.

One group did not move. Lohmus marched right up to them and positioned himself so all of them could see him. He tapped the maul on the shoulder of the nearest hunched figure.

“Citizen. You have been warned. Move now, or you are in a world of pain.”
“Why can’t you just leave us alone?” hissed one of the huddled sacks. Lohmus raised an eyebrow. He could never remember anyone questioning his authority before.
“Who said that?,” he rasped. “Quickly, before all of you are taken in.. for questioning.”
One of the group stood up and Lohmus stepped backwards. The man was tall, and as the blanket fell from his head the Arbiter knew that this man was in charge here, he held an air of authority and presence.
“We just want a bit of warmth, that is all. We are tired of the cold.”
Lohmus placed his maul under the man’s chin.
“Deserter?”
“Survivor,” came a weary voice, full of emotion. “No one desserts from the Valhallan Regiments, no one. We are the last of the 305th. We came here after demobilisation. It was a safe planet, a warm planet…”
“Papers.. deserter.” Lohmus interrupted. “Then hit the dirt and spread eagle yourselves,” he waved his maul at the group. “All of you.”
“We deserve respect,” said the leader. “We have paid our dues to the Emperor and now we just want to be left alone.”

Lohmus laughed. This was his ticket back to the Sector House and a long drink of caffeine.
He brought the maul around in a wide arc and struck the leader on his left shoulder. There was a loud crack and spark of energy and the man dropped heavily to the ground. The rest of the group rose quickly to their feet and Lohmus struck a second man, this time on the right arm.

“Hit the deck citizens!” he roared, then clicked to internal.

+Sector 21, this is six-zero on Kashrin and Main, request back-up and a meat wagon to my location. Six to come in +
+Affirmative six-zero. Units to location. Officer requires assistance +

Lohmus had been on post for five years and was good at his job. The useless and infirm were one thing, but the Imperial Guard was another. One of the group leg swiped him causing him to topple backwards, a second brought a metal crutch crashing down against his helmet.
His protection saved him, but now he was in trouble. A third man stamped down hard on his wrist and he lost the maul.

+Urgent Assistance! + Was all Lohmus could scream before a heavy boot struck the lower part of his jaw.

His bolt pistol was in his other hand and he shot his assailant in the face. At this range the man’s head exploded in a cloud of red and gore. Coming up onto one knee he placed another round in a second man’s chest and winged a third with a snap shot.
He could hear the sirens now and it gave him renewed energy and confidence. He looked for the leader. The deserter would not be taken through the judicial system, he would dispense justice his way.

Useless Vermin.

He saw the Leader standing silent at the end of a dark alley. He was staring at Lohmus and muttering to himself. Lohmus drew himself up to full height and then stooped down to pick up his power-maul. A loud crack sounded above his head followed by a ping of a ricochet.

Emperors teeth. That was a high velocity slug.

As the leader watched on, a flood of humanity flowed around him from out of the alleyway. Hundreds of the dispossessed, needy, helpless and unwanted, many with weapons, some with firearms.

Lohmus blanched. What had he done?

The first Lander arrived and a dozen Arbites jumped down onto the hard surface, Power mauls and Suppression Shields at the ready. They were immediately swamped by the grey/brown tide of hate.
Lohmus’s earpiece exploded in a cataclysm of panic as the reinforcements were overwhelmed.
A rock hit his helmet and a second later a glass bottle exploded at his feet and a great cloud of fire engulfed him. He stepped backwards, holstered his bolt pistol and dropped the maul.

Training.

He put out the flames just as another rock hit his sternum, and another high velocity pinged off the top of his helmet.

He saw the leader. He was carrying a heavy stubber and smiling.

The man was at home again.

Kashrin Boulevard and Main: 2.15am - Death shift.
 
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