Chapter Two: Cazak

I enjoyed working the night shift. It was quiet, simple, peaceful, and the best time for me to sit back and think. The night shift was a great chance for me to get away from the insanity and the stress of the day-to-day comings and goings of our jobs.

Of course, ever since the Xathi were defeated, our jobs had changed. We were no longer strike teams being sent out to conduct covert acts against our enemies. We were now being used for supply runs, security work, and the occasional protection details for whoever might need it.

Like tonight.

Tonight, Jalok, Navat, and I were on security detail, helping out the local police force maintain sanity during their New Year’s celebrations.

I liked New Years celebrations. They were always a time to throw worries and concerns to the side, at least for an evening and celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning on a new one that would hopefully be an improvement over the previous.

Then again, it was also a time to throw inhibitions and will power on the back burner in order to enjoy one evening of fun, debauchery, and insanity.

As long as you maintained a semblance of control during your actions. I used to be one of those people that would lose control and just focus strictly on the fun and debauchery.

It had cost me as well.

However, after a life-changing moment, followed immediately by a universe-changing moment, I was no longer that person and I was now the one that tried to help control and save people that lost control. That’s what we were working on tonight, trying to control insanity.

“Cazak, we got a call,” Jalok, my cousin, said as he clicked off his communicator with the police. “They want us at a party near some place called Leverage Tower. While it’s not out of hand yet, they are worried that it will be soon, so they want us there to help keep an eye on things.”

“Okay, let’s go watch people dance in the snow,” Navat said with a smile. I turned my head up for a moment and watched as the snow fell through the lights.

Dancing in this would have been fun in my younger days. Of course, humans were the only ones that held their New Years celebrations in the middle of winter, the rest of the sane universe held theirs either during spring or just before the summer equinox.

“Drive or jog?” I asked as I turned my head back to the others.

“Jog, it’s not far from here,” Jalok smiled. He started jogging, Navat and I only a few paces behind. The city was unnaturally beautiful with the holiday decorations, the snow, and the lights. The revelers that were walking and dancing in the streets stayed away from us.

As we jogged, Jalok put his hand up to his ear and spoke to someone. I couldn’t hear his words, but when he started jerking his head around in anger, I got the gist of the conversation. “Move it, people are starting to argue and there’s some minor physical activity. They’re worried it’s gonna turn into a fight and we need to get there, now.”

We picked up our pace, turning our jog into a run, but not quite a sprint. We were at Leverage Tower within six minutes. As we were arriving, there was a small scuffle happening between two groups of party goers, and I could hear their argument from where we were.

“You fucking alien lover! You’re probably pregnant with one of their babies, aren’t you?” The current speaker was a large man, not muscular, and he was picking on a young lady, yelling at her. When her date, or just someone trying to help her, stepped forward, the large man pushed him.

I stepped forward and he turned to me.

“Yeah, you, you alien dumb fuck,” he growled as he pointed at me. “I asked, what the hell are you looking at? You staring at one of our women? You thinking of taking one of our women? What, you think we’re here to serve you, to get down on our knees and bow down to you?”

“Don’t respond,” Jalok said quietly. “Let’s not provoke them.” Then he turned to the crowd. “We’re not here for any trouble. We’re simply here to ensure that everyone has a good time without anything untoward happening.”

“Go fuck yourself,” the loud man yelled. He was a young one, possibly mid-twenties, if that. He was dressed very well, with a bright green shirt, dark gray vest, gray tie, and gray slacks. It was an impressive ensemble. Too bad the clothes were filled with an idiot with a big mouth.

“I’m going to apologize for my friend here,” I said as I took a step forward. “He forgot to mention that we’re working with the local police force and that we have jurisdictional rights to arrest anyone causing trouble. Now, we’re simply here to ensure that everyone has a good time and that no one does anything to mess up said good time. Let’s simply leave it at that, shall we?”

The human rolled his eyes and stumbled a bit to the side. His friends laughed, but one of them leaned into his ear and started talking, pointing at us. “I know, shut up,” Green Shirt snarled. He turned his attention back to us. “It’s simple, alien bitch, get the hell off our planet.”

“Come on, man. Leave him alone,” another one of the men said.

“Shut the fuck up, Eric, or I’ll stick your head up his alien ass. You know what? Screw this.” Then Green Shirt started walking towards us, almost stomping.

“Don’t do this,” I said. “It’s not going to end well for you.”

He was only a few paces away and snarling. His eyes flashed and I knew right there that he was being taken over.

“He’s possessed,” I warned the others as they raised their weapons.

I, instead, let go of mine and let it swing on the strap behind me. “Don’t do this,” I repeated. “I really don’t want to hurt you. Just go back to the party and celebrate.”

I stepped a few steps forward, my hands held out to my side, palms out.

This didn’t calm him down as I wanted. Instead, it seemed to infuriate him instead. He got within swinging distance and threw a left hook. It was an easy blow to block as he was off-balance, and in his slightly inebriated nature, he didn’t have the power that he would have if it was simply anger driving him.

So, I blocked it and pushed him away. His eyes went wide and he charged me. He tried to tackle me, but I grabbed out, caught his shoulders, spun him around, and pushed him away again. “Please, stop. I warned you that this was not going to go well.” I turned back to Jalok and Navat. “When are the police getting here?”

Jalok shrugged.

“Great.” I turned back to Green Shirt. He rushed me again. This time, instead of trying to tackle me, he jumped into the air, his knee aimed at my face. I caught him, but his knee connected with my shoulder, driving me off balance as I held him and tried to throw him off me. Instead of merely throwing him off to the side, he was thrown into the side of a trash can. When he shouted out in pain, his friends shouted out in anger and rushed us.

“Koso, Cazak. What did you do?” Navat cursed as he slung his weapon behind him and caught his attacker. Jalok side-stepped his and threw a quick punch to the back of the head.

I shook my own head and turned back towards Green Shirt. He charged, again, but this time he actually caught me off guard.

He feinted to my left, then went to my right, except he went low instead of high like I had been expecting. He caught me in the knee, dragging me down to the ground. He climbed on top of me and started throwing punches. I managed to cover up and block most of them, then reached out, caught a punch, and put him into an arm-bar.

I pulled and snapped my head up, headbutting him. I rolled him over, pulling his arm behind him and there was a sickening pop from his shoulder.

At his scream, I let go and reached behind me for the handcuffs the police had given us. I snapped them onto one wrist, then onto the other and looked up to see Jalok and Navat standing, their weapons pointed at the rabblerousers and the police finally arriving.

Statements were taken, the three men were taken away, and I was double checked to make sure my knee was fine.

“That was fun,” Navat said with a smile.

I let out a bark of laughter, making the others look at me with arched eyebrows. “What?”

“You thought that was fun? I was making a sarcastic comment,” Navat said.

I shrugged. “Eh. The night has only just begun. Maybe we’ll get to see some more nice cars, or another idiot in nice clothes being possessed.”

I knew I wasn’t acting like myself, but that’s why I loved the night shift.

Nothing was normal.

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