“May the wind always be with you, Commander.”
Those final words left him with an uneasy feeling before he woke up. Gavin never had such an intense dream before until now. His unstable breathing and shivers lingered on his body. He questioned his dream as he recalled some parts and placed his left palm on his forehead. A notification interrupted his recalling. A message from one of his subordinates, and fellow officers, Vice-Commander Viridian Ark,
“Good Morning, sir, we have a confirmed location of fluctuation of Evol.”
It was a short text but it made Gavin jump off from his bed and get ready.
As soon as he finished getting ready, he strode off to his office. Vice-Commander Viridian Ark gave him a salute and provided him a concise yet comprehensive report of her findings as soon as Gavin settled on his seat, “We believe this fluctuation belongs to a certain Evolver. I have sent a team to do some recon.”
Ark put a photo of a man in front of Gavin, “Tell me, what was the last time you had a proper sleep?” A question that made Ark off guard, “I have a 5-hour of proper sleep, sir. May I ask the reason behind it?” Her brows a bit furrowed, “Your eyebags show a clear sign of sleep-deprived. You can have 2 days off now.” His words clearly show his concern about his second-in-command.
Viridian scoffed a bit before she counterarguments her boss, “Sure thing, but, before I have 2 days off, I would like to express my counter-argument as second-in-command. You know the one who needs holidays the most is you and Chief of Staff Eli Gu, perhaps. I assumed you do understand the role of the intelligence and information department is crucial in every mission. This department is never sleeping until the last Evol-related case is solved. If I took a couple of days off, the department will no longer stand a chance against every organization that opposed us. The command center also serves as my quarter, I bet you know where I sleep. Also, is it way too long for you to not visit her?”
Her counterargument left him speechless and dumbfounded, “Who?”
“Oh, come on, Commander. The producer you loved since high school.”
“She left me.”
A short answer left Viridian’s mouth dried. She apologized for being insensitive to her Commander and turned her back to leave the Commander's Office. Her vision blur, her head spinning around, her body could no longer support her and hit cold flooring. Gavin notices a difference happen in his second-in-command, “Ark? Are you okay? Answer me!” He calls a medical officer from his intercom and approaches her. Her heated body forced Gavin to remove her jacket and lose her tie to cool her down. A couple of medical officers came to his office and took Ark to the hospital wing. Gavin only could see his subordinate taken and let her rest.
Viridian opened her eyes and saw a familiar ceiling of the hospital wing. She tried to get up but could not move her upper body. A figure sitting nearby her with its head tilted towards her, “Commander? What are you doing here?” Her eyes refocus to the figure, “Good grieve, you awake. Let me get the doctor.” Gavin stood up but Ark held his wrist. She only shook her head and got off the bed, “I was exhausted, I will be fine in a few hours. Besides, I need to check with the recon team. They take too long. I am afraid the mission failed.” As she expressed her concern to her team, Gavin cannot interfere anymore. After all, Gavin and Viridian know each other since the beginning of the Academy years.
Gavin was aware that if he continued to interfere, she would not hesitate to shoot him with her beloved snipper, “All right, you win, stone-head. Under one condition, I will accompany you.” Viridian rolls her eyes, knowing her boss would not give up so easily, “Fine, suit yourself. I will join the recovery team as soon as the mission is confirmed as a failure. I apologized for making you worry about my current state. It would not happen again in the future.” She put on her jacket and tightened her tie. She left Gavin alone in the hospital wing and walked to the command center.
“Someone, fill me the details. What happens to the recon team?” Ark said as soon as the door opens before her and enters the room. An officer reported about the mission with eyes fixed on the monitor, “Mission confirmation: Failed, madam. The team was ambushed and held as a hostage.” Viridian sighed and ordered a recovery mission,
“I will also join the recovery mission.”
A voice made her startled, “Do not be stupid, commander. Your position is crucial here, STF could not afford to lose someone as brilliant as you. If you still insist on that stone-head and mind of yours, I will let you just this once and I will inform Chief of Staff Gu, someone needs to keep STF running while both of us go. Later I will make sure you will be locked up in your office.”
Viridian ordered a map to be put on the interface table nearby her and discussed her plan with Gavin, “Things may look nasty in the future; I will have someone guarding you.” Gavin shot a confused look at her, “Yes, I can do that because this is my mission and my responsibility to my department’s lack of competence.” Arguing with her will be a waste of time indeed, “5 minutes! I want a team fully equipped and ready to go!” Her shout was responded by a unison of ‘Yes, Ma’am’ of her subordinates. Viridian and Gavin headed to the changing room, replacing their uniform with bulletproof vests and other equipment.
A team of fully and heavily equipped member stood and gave a salute as Viridian and Gavin emerged from the changing room, “The plan is simple; myself, Commander, and one sniper will enter a building next to it, we will provide cover and clear ground for rooftop team to enter the building if needed, if do not, we will join the main force as soon as possible; remaining will enter from the main. Do not waste any bullet, we lack funding, make sure each bullet fired is worth it, and put your martial art and Evol in use. If one of you messes up, you will be transferred to the archives department for the rest of your career. Understood?” A ‘Yes, Ma’am’ echoed in the room, and the team moved out to enter the prepared vehicle.
“Nervous?” Viridian looked at Gavin sitting uncomfortably across her “It is just a while since the last time I joined a mission was 6 months ago, and here I am the Commander of STF joining and leading rescue and recovery missions.” He leaned back and crossed his legs, “I hope you do not get yourself rusty, it has been a while since the last time we had a mission together.” Viridian kicked Gavin’s sole, an ‘ouch’ escaped from his mouth and caught the attention of fellow officers in the vehicle “Your legs are too long, I barely have space.” Recovering from his pain, Gavin managed his composure back, “After all of this is done, I have a wedding party that needs to be attended, and I need a plus one.” “Let me guess, the producer x CEO?” Gavin only nodded, “Very well.” Once the vehicle stopped, Viridian made a little announcement, “We are here. Final Brief! We will enter the building, make sure all communications are loud and clear. If there is a jammer, I trust your judgment. Now, move out and place yourself in a prepared position!”
Gavin thought the girl who saves his life through her music is the love of his life. However, he never becomes her Romeo. The girl who unconsciously saves him, will be someone else’s arm and wear a wedding ring. What he never thought was he managed to move on and fell in love with someone else.
That someone else is the one and only Viridian Ark, the one who gave him a cold drink after the cross-country multi obstacle run. That simple act of her made him attracted.
How they interact for the first time was also quite unusual. An encouragement from Gavin to her after he was considered as an ‘ungrateful child’ by Ark.
From time to time, they know each other's secrets, they argue a lot, they fight a lot, even they shoot each other with rubber projectiles until Eli smacked their head.
The young Gavin once asked her to have dinner with him on the weekend. When she shows up with a knee-length minimalist black dress with a boat neckline and an updo hair, Gavin silently swears to God and his life; he is willing to spend a domestic life with her for the rest of his life. Her charm and smile make him blush on the tip of his ear. He shall cherish the moment as long as he lives. The past is passed after all.
The weather was supposed to be cloudy; it turned out to be raining.
Gavin carried the body of his love as he exited the building where his team was supposed to be rescued and recover the hostage team. He stopped at the stairs and indulged in the scent and wetness of rain. The criminals anticipated the plan by the well-fabricated counterplan. Gavin managed to pull out the last resort as he unleashed his uncontrollable Evol to save the survival team.
As for Viridian, her action to protect her subordinates caused her to use her Evol also until the very last bit and injured the lower abdomen. For the first time, Gavin saw Ark’s Evol. It was eagle eyes and supersonic move, even faster than Gavin’s movement with a booster of his Evol. It would be fascinating if the situation were right since someone with a double Evol is extremely rare. He does not expect the same person would protect him, regardless of the oath he made in the past. A sentence ringed in his head, “May the wind always be with you.”
That sentence was the last one before she left Gavin’s side and shielded one of her subordinates from a sniper shot. Her unprotected lower left back was shot, and the bullet stayed in her body.