FBM Antiterrorism Branch
It was the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year in the century, traditionally held to be an extremely ill-omened ate as 666 was reputedly the Number of the Beast. Lewyss’s tie sagged loosely around his neck. His clothing and robe were rumpled, stained with dirt and grease. He was driving back from the suspicious Hovercar wreck they had been examining which had carried clearly marked traces of Forbidden Magic left by the Imp which had tampered with the brake line, when he felt the wash of magic from the other side of the city.
“What was that sir?” The new man assigned to him inquired.
Lewyss regarded him with jaded eyes. Brewstyr was so fresh from the academy that he practically squeaked. His pants had sharp creases pressed into them, his tie was fastened perfectly, and his robe was fresh and spotless. His face projected the stoic facade the Bureau was famed for but Lewyss could practically see the enthusiasm bubbling just beneath the surface. Gods but the boy made him feel tired and ancient. “That was something bad Brewstyr, something very, very bad.” He said quietly. “Plot me a course while I call it in. Find out what was in the vicinity of that explosion and learn what lies beneath it.”
“Yes sir!” Brewstyr began typing madly on the dash console of the Hovercar.
Lewyss triggered his E-Mirror’s connection to the Ethernet. “Alert, alert, Agent Lewyss of the Antiterrorism Branch of the FBM to all emergency services. Large scale magical detonation detected coordinates X-175, by Y-294, by Z-086. All units respond immediately, repeat all units respond immediately.”
“All set sir! Estimated time of arrival, ten minutes at top speed.” He quivered eagerly. “The blast zone matches the registered flight path of the Airship Spirit of the Skies.”
The accident scene would take care of that, Lewyss thought. It had all the hallmarks of being truly gruesome. “Hit the lights and the siren and buckle up tight.” He ordered. He floored the gas pedal. The Eft providing engine power whined joyfully. Buildings flashed by in a blur as he raced down the road. A dark cloud of smoke began to rise from the scene, covering the city in a gloomy pall. Lewyss upgraded his assessment of the situation to horrific.
Minutes later his E-Mirror chimed demandingly.”Report!” Chief Crybb roared over the vidcom. His eyes smoked in fury.
“Sir, someone aboard the Airship Spirit of the Skies has sabotaged the coding for the salamanders and sylphs, releasing them to wreak havoc on the city.”
“Take care of the situation immediately!”
“Yes sir.” Crybb blinked off the screen
“You can tell that the salamanders and sylphs are free from here?” Brewster asked in awe.
“I’m rated a Level Six on the Magical Scale.”
“Wow!” He breathed in awe. “I’ve never met a six before, I’m only a 4.5.”
“I know that Brewstyr, you need to be at least a Level Four to be eligible to join the Bureau. Are you experiencing a burning sensation on the right side of your body and a tingling on your head?”
“Be still and concentrate like you’re going to perform a summoning spell.”
“I still don’t feel anything sir.”
“Keep practicing, it might just save your life someday. Fire elementals heat the right, air elementals tingle the head, water elementals dampen the left and earth elements dull your feet.”
“We never covered this at the academy sir.”
“It’s something I’ve learnt by hard experience.”
The console beeped. “Sir, the GMPS has located the debris zone.” He gulped and continued. “It’ll will rain down over the Slorch sir.”
Great, not only a nasty scene but one in the most desperate and lawless part of the city. “Order the area evacuated Brewstyr.”
“They’ll just ignore us sir.”
“Not all of them, we need to save as many citizens as we can.”
“Even the Zorch gang members sir?” He asked incredulously.
“Even them Brewstyr, even them.”
“First responders are on route sir they’ll be on site in three minutes. Emergency evacuation sirens and notices triggered, now.”
The Hovercar had hurtled across half the distance to the disaster. Faintly in the distance I could hear the wailing sirens and blasting warning horns. Red strobing lights flashed in my rearview mirror as a police car fell in on our tail. “I can feel the elementals now sir.” Brewstyr announced.
“Rember the sensation Brewstyr and practice scanning for it daily.”
“Yes sir!” He sat up at attention and almost saluted me.
Three minutes out I had to brake to avoid the stream of vehicles and people spewing down the narrow street. “See Brewstyr, some of them listened and believed.” The rank stench of rotting garbage overlaid with wood smoke, spilled fossil fuels, melting plastics and burnt flesh seeped in through the ventilation system.
“What’s that awful smell sir?” He gulped.
“That Brewstyr is the odor of disaster.” I said somberly. The tall tenements opened up revealing the scope of the situation. Scattered buildings were covered by raging fires while fierce winds gusted and swirled around them, as we watched they grew larger.
“The salamanders and sylphs appear to be working together sir.”
“Yes they are Brewstyr, they’re feeding each other.”
“That can’t be good.” He understated.
“Sadly that’s true. Listen up, the Rules of Engagement are in effect the moment we set foot outside of the Hovercar.” I pulled the Hovercar to a stop and parked against the curb. “See that little salamander there next to stairwell?”
“They’re reproducing.” he said numbly.
“That’s right, think you can handle the baby?”
“Then get to it, but don’t take on any of the adults, leave them to me.” We climbed out and drew our wands. I focused intently, putting all my energy into constructing a cage strong enough to hold the huge fiery salamander.
Hours later I stumbled to a halt and slumped to the rest against a convenient wall. “Take a break Brewstyr, we’ve done it. All the elementals have been confined.” He dropped beside me exhausted and completely drained of power. His charming, boyish handsomeness had vanished, the true steel of his soul had been revealed by the crucible he had just experienced. He was covered in filthy black soot and grime, I knew that my appearance matched his. My throat ached with thirst. Despite the terrible things he had witnessed, like the little girl who had been turned into a living torch by caressing fingers of flame, or the gang member sliced to bloody ribbons by hundreds of flying pieces of glass, he had remained beside me step for step. “Good job Brewstyr, very good job. You’ve helped save a lot of people today.” He glowed at my praise.
My E-Mirror chimed. “Report Lewyss!” Chief Crybb said brusquely.
“All elementals have been contained and are ready for transport, sir.”
“File your report and take the rest of the day off.”
“Yes sir. C’mon Brewstyr we can leave the scene to the MTSB. We need to fill out the paperwork then we can call it quits.”
“I want a long hot shower and a tall cold beer sir.”
“I’ll buy the first round.” I hauled my partner to his feet. Arm in arm we staggered back to the Hovercar.
DICTIONARY OF TERMS:
Airship: Blimp whose lift and propulsion are provided by Magical means.
FBM: Abbreviation for Federal Bureau of Magic, government agency responsible for Federal oversite and control of High Level Magics, also tasked with tracking, preventing, and responding to terrorist incidents involving Magic.
E-Mirror: Magical mirror connected to the Ethernet allowing communication and access to information resources.
Elementals: Magical creatures linked to one of the Four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They respond to and control their element. Most can be extremely dangerous unless properly controlled.
Ethernet: Global system of interconnected Magical webs networking public, private, business, academic, and government devices allowing billions of users to trade communications and access information resources.
GMPS: Abbreviation for Global Magical Positioning System, a Magical space-based navigation system providing time, location, and weather.
Hovercar: Floating vehicle propelled by Magic.
Magical Scale: The amount of personal power required to perform a magical function.
Magical Level: The amount of magic a person is capable of performing. The average ability is Level Three.
MTSB: Abbreviation for Magical Transportation Safety Board, responsible for investigating all major traffic accidents and making safety improvement recommendations.
Salamander: Fire elemental.
Slorch: The section of a city filled with those poor in or lacking in magical ability. Combination of the words slum and Zorch.
Sylph: Air elemental.
Vidcom: Video communications channel.
Zorch: Derogatory term for a person unable to use magic or having a Level One rating.
In response to Multiverse Fiction Challenge: March 3,2014
Fantastical: The universe is a place of magic, dragons and fantasy but still as highly developed as our current universe. I want to know your take on this universe.