The Titans were in charge of security for the City. In addition to the guards at the gate and the guards on the Wall, the Titans were also the policing force. Generally, Hunters did not get along with Titans, and were often the subject of investigation. Some of the old prejudices of the past still remained and when something went wrong in the City, before looking to the Cities minorities, the Exos and the Awoken, the Hunters were often the first place that the Titans looked. As the pilot looked down, he rolled his eyes as one of the Titans began climbing the stairs.
Sev-Dax climbed the stairs to the Warlocks’ conclave and when he saw who was at the top of the staircase, his blood ran cold. As a general rule he treated everyone he came across with equal amounts of respect. This lead to him being a generally well-liked member of the Titan City Security Force, or TCSF, as the populace more commonly called it. The TCSF was the policing arm of the Titan Democratic Council, and was charged with keeping the peace within the City. The TCSF often worked with the Warlock Order in investigating a variety of crimes that happened within the City, and a trip to the conclave was a regular occurrence.
Sev-Dax was the TCSF liaison to the Warlock Order and usually liked coming to the conclave. Coming from modest beginnings, Sev-Dax was the child of a Titan and a Warlock. However, the “Magic” affinity had passed him up and took root in his sister, making him unable to join. By the age of seven he was given, as was tradition, the opportunity to join the Titans and later take his rightful place by his fathers’ side on the Wall. He then entered the “Titan Youth” program. Unfortunately for Sev-Dax, when he had finished the advanced placement course at fifteen, he was tapped to enter into TCSF due to his high marks in forensic science and reading comprehension, among others.
While Sev-Dax was disappointed to enter the TCSF, he had quickly developed a high aptitude in investigative politics, and was the only member of the Titans in the TCSF to ever solve the Soyez Enigma. The Soyez Enigma was named after the founder of the TCSF, the Titan Soyez. Soyez was one of the Titans depicted on the statue in the courtyard. She was a shrewd Titan, who realized that the City needed a policing agent, a group of elite and knowledgeable Titans who could maintain peace within the City. Only those who tested in the ninetieth percentile were selected and put through TCSF training. She also developed an impossible puzzle, which involved saving the entire populace of the City in the event of an attack. No one had ever solved the puzzle until Sev-Dax.
Sev-Dax was fast-tracked to TCSF command, and as part of this, he was tasked to receive specialized training from Task Force Titan Night. While working with TF Titan Night, he had developed a good friendship with the commanders’ protégé. As he continued to ascend the staircase he placed a hand on his sidearm. Even though he was nearly seven feet tall without armor, and weighed more than the Hunter, he had learned a long time ago not to underestimate this man.
As the Titan walked up the stairs, the Hunter remained still. The Titan wore the standard Titan medium armor; colored blue, with red highlights on his shoulder pauldrons, designating his position of commander. It was remarkable on how Titan armor reminded the Hunter of the armor he had seen in Holovids. In the Holovids the armor always seemed to cover the entire body. The Hunter remembered one such vid that was taken from an Old Earth Arthurian legend regarding a legendary sword and the ruler who wielded it. It always amazed him at how they could move in such a heavy contraption and how the heroes had always come out on top. The Hunter preferred his mobility as opposed to strength, so as the Titan lumbered up the stairs the Hunter couldn’t help but smile.
The Hunter well knew however, that Titan armor was deceptively light, and if needed, the Titan could move just as quickly as someone who wore little to no armor at all. As the Titan stepped up the last step, the Hunter quickly checked himself and realized that he had been unsheathing and retracting his hidden blade slightly. Elsibeth turned away as the Titan nodded in her direction. The Hunter remained leaning up against the wall of the conclave as the Titan approached him.
“Why is it that whenever there’s a major problem at the conclave you seem to be the one there?” Sev-Dax said, placing his hands on his hips.
“What no handshake, no ‘Long time no see’?” The Hunter asked as he continued to lean against the wall. “I mean don’t you usually first remove your helmet when you speak with a superior?”
“You’re not my superior Ver’verd.” The Titan replied. “You left the order long ago, and you were never even my superior to begin with.” The Titan then removed his helmet to reveal short cropped dark hair that was graying at the temples, and a lean but strong jawed face. Sev-Dax had a short trimmed beard and two red stripes flash-tattooed down his face covering each eye. The tattoo was a marking that only the top echelon of the Titan hierarchy wore and could be removed when the role they were placed in ended. There were only three stripes that could be worn that signified the role a Titan played in their leadership.
One stripe was for the leader of the Titan Democratic Council and was either worn across the right side of the face, or could be worn down the center. Often the leader would choose the right side of the face, because having the tattoo down the center looked too silly. The second in command had two stripes that could either be worn with one down the center of the face and the other across the eyes in the shape of an Old Earth Christian cross, or down each side of the face covering the eyes like Sev-Dax had chosen. The third leader of the Titan Democratic Council Triumvirate wore three stripes; one over each eye, and the third could either be worn across the lips or over the eyes.
Sev-Dax held his helmet, visor forward, against his left hip so that he could salute junior officers as they entered and left the building. Dropping such salute as a junior TCSF officer left the building. “Are you not going to offer me the same courtesy?” Sev-Dax said as he looked coldly at Ver’verd’s helmeted face. “I assure you that you are safe here.”
“If its all the same to you, I’d rather leave my bucket on.” Ver’verd replied with a shrug. “Half of the Titans idolize me, the other half want me dead, and I’m allergic to both.”
Sev-Dax shrugged. “So what went on here, since I take it that you were inside?” He asked. “Does she know anything?” Sev-Dax nodded towards Elsibeth.
“I don’t know anything.” Elsibeth said; her voice modulated to sound male. “And what makes you think that I’m a female?”
“One.” Sev-Dax said, not looking away from Ver’verd. “You responded when your head was turned. I could easily have been talking about Darmata. Two, Ver’verd’s not the only one to know about you. How else do you think the daughter of our greatest member could have gotten off planet without setting off alarms? Everyone is gene-coded upon first entrance to the City, whether by birth or through customs. The Titans still conscript children who fit a certain genetic profile. Your mixed-blood DNA, and your father, saved us from doing such a thing. Usually, children of Titans are given a choice.”
“Whatever.” Elsibeth turned her voice modulator off. “You-“ But she was cut off by Ver’verd.
“Switch your modulator back on.” Ver’verd cautioned. “We don’t want people looking into why a female is in male armor.” To Sev-Dax he said. “All I know is that the elevator stopped and that’s about it.”
Sev-Dax raised an eyebrow. “Really, well there was also an earthquake, and sensors told us it radiated from this location. Weird thing, since there are no fault lines underneath the City.”
Ver’verd shook his head. “That’s all I know. Darmata was with me; she might be able to shed some more light on it.
“Hmmm.” Sev-Dax said as he placed his helmet back on his head. “I’ll make sure to ask. In the meantime don’t leave the City, and if you do, let me know where you are going.” With that the Titan strode past the two Hunters and entered the conclave.
“He’s still a jerk.” Elsibeth said as the pair walked down the steps. “What about the ‘Hog?”
“It’s a ‘Puma’, and no, we can get it later.” Ver’verd replied as they walked to the nearest public transport station. “I’m sure the TCSF will need to examine it, although I’m also sure they won’t find anything.”
“Hey, when do I get a cool moniker?” Elsibeth asked as they reached the station and entered into a transport. “All I get called is kid. I’m twenty-six now you know.”
“That depends, are you ready to wear female armor, or to have that chest piece modified?” Ver’verd said, as he tapped in the location that they were headed to on a holo-panel in front of him.
The transport began moving. “I don’t know yet.” Elsibeth said, softly. “I don’t know if I’m ready.”
As the transport continued to move through the City Ver’verd said. “Well if you want to you can always choose ‘Bespada’ in honor of your father.” Elsibeth shook her head, and Ver’verd added. “You could say that you admired the man, no one has to know that you are his daughter.”
“I don’t know.” Elsibeth said as she placed her head on Ver’verd’s shoulder. “Where did you get yours?”
Ver’verd stiffened slightly and then relaxed. Ever since Elsibeth turned twenty-two he had a hard time thinking of her as a child. Well your father was a fan of those old books like I am, and he gave me one that had a fictional language which was created in it. Unfortunately the author never finished the narrative, so the language also remained unfinished. In this language the word ver’verd means ‘mercenary’ so when I decided to become a Hunter, I chose that word to go by as my moniker. Several Hunters change their name when they become Hunters because to them it’s like starting a new life and having a new identity to go along with it. Only Darmata remembers my birth name. The others who knew me way back when don’t want to mention it, because to them it’s like a stab in the back. Most Titans never leave the order and those that do are either listed as ‘missing in action’ or are shunned. Only in special cases are former Titans given the honor of being considered ‘Titan for all time’ and most of those that are given that title are all dead.”
As he finished his explanation he noticed that Elsibeth’s chest was rising and lowering slightly, indicating that she was asleep. Ver’verd looked out of the side view screen and watched the City go by in silence.