The new lieutenant

Jane Immelheim leaned against the wall of the situation room, her face a picture of zen-like calm. Her hands were wrapped around a coffee mug, and the mug in turn was wrapped around a viscous, day-old sludge. She sipped absent mindedly as she watched the semi-organized chaos around her. After a few minutes more of the buzz of people and machinery, one man glanced up from his computer screen. “Got him. ST-7, near the midtown line.” Jane smiled.

“Black Tab and Montag go. User D stays on the com. Call Water & Sewer and get an emergency lockdown on 7.” The sound of receding boots was replaced by the dull hum of computers. The room was all but empty now, save for Jane, her junior com operator, and Janes new lieutenant. The latter was watching her with something approaching awe. “I'll never be that relaxed, will I, captain?” It was a leading question. Jane sighed. “You got any military service, lieutenant?” “No ma'am.” “Not a problem, of course; not for what we do. It's just that military people are more likely to encounter synthetics in their day-to-day. Makes working in the RCD a lot easier.” “Understood, ma'am.”

Jane shook her head and smiled. “Ackley, I hope you earn my respect sooner than later so that we can drop this ma'am crap. Now, the question I think you're really asking me is if there's some way to turn off the panic. And the answer is yes. Sure, I could turn it off—we've even got a name for it: 'running dead'. Most of the synthetics in the military run dead when they're on missions. But the problem is that we're policemen here, not soldiers. Feeling anxious is part of what keeps us alive.”

Lieutenant Ackley nodded. Intuition resonated with him. Cops understood things like that. “The trick is, I still do my job. For officers there are more pieces on the board, but the game is ultimately the same. You're ready to play the bigger game, too, Ackley. I know because otherwise they wouldn't have promoted you and sent you to the RCD. Are we square, then?” Another nod from the Lieutenant, and the flicker of a smile. “Yes, ma'am.”

“Good, because I'm making this Viridian 9 your problem. You've got two operatives on their way to a locked down section of sewer. Inside you've got an old military synthetic that's gone rogue. Your connection to them is the talented com operator to my left. Make your move, L.T.” Ackley hesitated, but only for a moment, before spinning to face User D at her seat by the com and starting to hand out orders. Jane smiled and resumed her supported position against the wall.

Aaron would have loved to see this, she thought to herself. She stared into space for a moment before breaking the spell and turning her eyes back towards the activities of the situation room. There were some feelings that couldn't ever be turned off, and for that, Jane silently cursed her maker.