Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 12

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Rook Hawkins

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Nol, a politician if there ever was one.  He moved with a fluid grace that was only matched with his silver tongue.  He talked and others laughed, smiled, and others smiled.  And if he pointed, those under his finger would quiver.  It was an awesome power to have, to control and manipulate as he did.

Rook had not so much as opted on an opinion of the Tau, after all he had just met him and Nol did grant his squadron some impressive rewards.  But Rook had seen politics in action before.  Even as a lonely police officer, politics would dabble into the precinct in the form of local officials who sought nothing less then the approval of the people in their districts.  Whether that meant breaking the laws or not.

There was no doubt in Rook's mind that Nol was somebody to look out for.

Despite his thoughts on the matter, Rook quickly put them aside as Nol came to Rook with the same vigor and cheer he usually expressed.  Perhaps even more-so as this was his sort of battle.  The political climate made for a more impressive way for Nol to show off his skills, as the battlefield was a way for Rook to show of his.  "Gue'vesa'vre, I'm pleased to inform you that we have a replacement for you."

Rook pursed his lips, "Replacement?"  It was a shock hearing those words, as the Hawk's hadn't even been through combat yet.

"Yes," Nol took on a surprised look himself, "Shas'ui Va'tol tells me that you are down one man.  A Gue'la by the likes of Harris?"

"Oh!"  In all the confusion of the trials and with the success of his team he'd completely forgotten about the incident that launched him this far.  He had to hand it to his team even more now, as he realized they'd completed the tests undermanned.  Albeit they were only one man under, the advantage was lost and they'd still pulled it off. 

Rook took a moment to reflect before asking, "Who is it?"

"She's a veteran, actually.  All that's left of a Gue'vesa unit that was caught in an Ork ambush off the coast of the Flacae Sea on D'yanoi.  Apparently she fought through the ambush and escaped to her cadre."

Rook had to have been hearing things, "Wait, did you sayshe?"

Nol nodded, "Is that a problem?"

Rook shook his head, "Of course not.  I've just never heard of such a thing before."

"Tau aren't as gender-bias as the Imperium tends to be."  A soft, purely feminine voice came from behind.  Rook turned to face the mysterious voice.  His lungs tighten at the first sight of her, wondered if he was as clumsy looking to others as he felt.  He tried to stop his eyes from traversing over the contours of her body, not knowing whether to judge her as a Godsend or the devil herself. 

She was definitely gorgeous.  Her natural red hair was offset only by her athletic physique.  Her smile was equally attractive, but nothing grabbed his attention more then her violet eyes. 

He rubbed his neck uncomfortably, extending the other hand.  She shook it lightly.  "Gue'vesa'ui Kaerin Reese."

"A pleasure, Kaerin."

"This is Gue'vesa'vre Rook Hawkins, your new Squadron commander."  Nol said. 

Kaerin flushed white, pulling back her hand as if uncertain if she breached some sort of protocol. "Gue'vesa'vre?"

Rook shrugged, "Long story." 

"Apparently."  Kaerin seemed to note that Rook was still at ease, for she gained some color back into her cheeks and relaxed her stance, "I'll have to hear it then, Rook."

"I wasn't aware we were at informalities."  Rook smirked a bit.

"You started it, sir."

"I suppose I did."  Rook blushed.  "Fair enough, I suppose I should get acquainted with you as you are a new member of my team."

"Perhaps later,"  Nol interjected, "Gue'vesa'ui Reese needs to debrief with Shas'O So'ka before anything.  It's her first time back to Sa'cea since she left here from her own graduation several months ago.  She needs to know what she's getting into."

Rook nodded, feeling a bit sullen without fully knowing why.  There was a pause, an irky silence, but Kaerin broke it.  "Perhaps tonight then?"

Rook smiled, "I need to get briefed shortly myself, but it sounds like a date, Gue'vesa'ui."

"A date?"

"Well, whatever you want to call it."

Nol fixed an approximation of a large smile, "Well, you'll have to speak later.  As of now we must get going."

"Bye,"  Rook waved as they turned and walked away.  "Kaerin."

He felt a shove into his stomach.  Ralus rolled around to his left side, a large grin on his face.  It was as if he couldn't keep from letting out the fact that he had witnessed the entire exchange, and now looked on Rook with a predatory smile.  Rook shook his head, "Don't say anything.  That's an order."

Ralus tilted his head, "I wasn't aware we were at such formalities?"

"All right, what do you want."

Ralus shook his head, "I'm here to retrieve you oh-great Commander, for the Shas'O wants to talk to you." 

Rook stared at him for a second, "I don't like her you know."  Rook started walking towards the briefing hall, just a few dozen meters away from the parade field.

"Sure you don't."  Todd said as he trotted after, a disbelieving tone to his voice.

"Drat!  You know, it'sher fault, she was the one who said 'hi' first.  Then she showed an interest in my story, how could I not respond to it?"

"You're only human."

"And then she started asking personal questions.  I had to answer her or she would have felt as though she offended me."

"You're too nice a guy."

"And then she gave me the look."

"Thelook?  You don't say."

"Yeah, you know, that look a girl gives when they know something that you desperately need to know yourself?"

"Like what?"

"Like that I-am-so-hopelessly-attracted-to-her-that-it's-killing-me-and-she-knows-it look."

"Oh, how horrid."  Ralus dusted his fingernails on his jacket, then examined them.

"I mean, how could I help but fall for her?"

"You're flesh and blood, it's not your fault."  Rook opened the door to the briefing hall and let Ralus in first before shutting the door behind them.

"I'll show her, I'll take up smoking and get lung cancer."

"That's one way to win her heart."

Rook glared at him, poking a finger into Ralus' chest, "You're mocking me aren't you?"

"Was itthat obvious?"

"I'm hungry."  Rook sneered and continued walking. 

Ralus trailed close behind again.  "Getting in touch with your sensitive side can do that to you."


Shas'O Vior'la Tyon'fa was a Tau of considerable height. His presence alone was enough to command attention, but his absent left eye with a bionic replacement drew most of it. Rook had to wonder how so many Tau remained so fervent in their cause, to tolerate so many atrocities that human beings had committed in the name of their destruction which raged on account of their anti-imperial beliefs.

So true that many of those in the Auxiliary forces of Tau cadres were sons or - as he just learned - daughters of those who fought against Tau. It was a theme that Rook could see over and over again, although couldn't quite understand.It's human to destroy. Human nature forces us to expand and conquer all which we choose to be ignorant of. Tau seemed to have overcome that primal nature, only accepting war to create death based on a necessary evil. In self defense rather then in all out campaigns.

The room was filled with a great deal of mementos from a few of such human campaigns. There were what seemed to be war trophies in the form of power armor bits and several bullet casings which littered shelving and furniture tops. The seats in his office followed a similar theme as many were taken from Imperial vehicles. The chair in which he sat looked as if it were from a tank of some sort.  But the thing that seemed to be the centerpice of Tyon'fa's office was the very-decorated helmet from what must have been a very decorated Space Marine. 

It was littered with ribbons and battle honors - and a charred hole right through the eye-piece of the armor which could have only been caused by a pulse round.

Tyon'fa gave an approximation of a human frown, "That is there to remind me that armor is not what saves us in war, but rather a purpose and conviction to ones duty.  Do you agree?"

Rook nodded, "I do, but I also feel that armor doesn't hurt either."

The Shas'O did not say anything in return, yet considered the answer instead.  The Tau command complex was a bit hotter then what he'd call a comfortable temperature. The heat seemed to melt the chair, as it stuck to his full dress body suit like it were glue, forcing him to fidget around as if he were caught on a hook at the end of string.

But that may have been what the Shas'O wanted. Shas'O Tyon'fa was known for his implicit discipline, he carried out orders with an unusual accuracy usually seen in most older-generation commanders. It was Rook's impression that feeling superior to any of his subordinates kept them in line, making them uncomfortable was a way to ensure that they didn't have the confidence to stand against orders. If those were his true intentions, they were working.

"Gue'vesa'vre, I heard about your tactics at the training facility. I was impressed." The Tau commander sat tall at his desk, intimidating.

"Thank you Shas'O," Rook bowed his head in respect.

His words suddenly took on a cold, inexorable tone.  "This is not training anymore. You and the rest of your Squadron have been selected for a mission of the utmost importance." The Tau stood slowly, as if to somehow insinuate his position through size.

Rook was starting to see his brilliance unfold. The Shas'O was testing him. Probing his reactions, judging constantly. It was a game, but Rook bet it was a game he needed to play.  Instead of cowering or shrinking into his seat, he leaned forward. The idea was to do what was unexpected, show he was not afraid to show some backbone without being disrespectful.

"Permission to speak frankly, Shas'O?"

The Tau looked him over with his good eye, no doubt gauging Rook's response, and then nodded, "Please."

"Why us?"

Tyon'fa paced, "It's not a question of why, Gue'vesa'vre Darksky. It is not your place to know."

Rook leaned back, folding his hands at his lap, "No disrespect intended, sir. But if I am commanding my men into a mission of as much importance as you say, in order for me to carry my orders out as effectively as some of the greatest of Tau Shas'O's, I will need details."

Tyon'fa fixed his lips in what Rook considered to be mock of an evil grin. "You know as well as I that you can work effectively without specific details. Your last engagement in the trials was more then enough evidence to show that.  In the world of real war, Gue'vesa'vre, real knowledge of the conflict you are in is a rare commodity.  You should grow used to the idea of not knowing what to expect.  It is something we all must become accustomed to."

Rook smirked, "I was able to win the last engagement, at the loss of practically my entire Squadron."

Tyon'fa shut his good eye, "We all have to make sacrifices for the cause, Gue'vesa'vre Darksky. In the first days of my trial by fire, I fought and ledů" The Shas'O touched his bionic eye, "And sacrificed."

"Understood Shas'O, I meant not to offend.  Merely to understand and be understood.  I appreciate the need for sacrifice, but I also recall the value of efficiency.  And to be as effective as I seek to be, I ask questions in hope to prevent as many deaths as possible."

Shaking his head solemnly, Tyon'fa seemed to heave a small sigh, almost inaudible, "Gue'vesa'vre Darksky, you still have much to learn. I can promise that you will get details as you go along. What I will tell you is this; the very survival of our outer worlds will rest in your Squadron's hands. I think however, as green as you are, you have promise and that is all I needed to see in you right now.  Report to Orca Bay Three-Oh-Four in sixteen hours. May the Ethereals keep you in their thoughts. Dismissed."

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