Strange how things can change so quickly. When she'd left the hospital, Jamadigni Renuka had felt elated. Nathan Carpenter had made his decision—he was going to live. He had seen he was still needed on this world and would remain among the living, doing God's will. As for Tyger, he was calm... well... calmer, and less angry. A vast improvement from when she'd seen him last, at the bridge. But now... now she sat in the back of a Sentinel Watch cruiser, pressed between two men dressed in full riot gear, who regarded her with wary eyes from under their helmets.
She'd parted ways with Tyger at the front gate to the hospital. The Clade heading off in the nearly-wrecked Blue Steel Zero to Santa's Workshop, where he'd park the machine and get some much-needed rest. He'd gone so far as to offer Jama a lift, but she'd taken one look at the current state of his beloved mecha and politely declined, saying she'd walk instead.
So she'd headed off in the opposite direction, enjoying the far-more-gentle rain and trying not to look at the billowing clouds from Omega. She needed rest herself. She was tired, worn-out, and felt like she could sleep for a week. Of course, the only problem was where? Her magcard to her apartment was in her desk back in the 9th Squad office, the 13th Precinct was probably closed anyway, and XSWAT HQ was still in the hands of Hart's supporters. To top if off, her ID Card was still shut down, cutting her off from any bank funds. Perhaps she had sufficient cash to rent a coffin motel? Her only real option was the Workshop, but that was over in Rho Section, virtually across town. Sure, she could walk, but it would take hours, and as for flying there... she could do it, but she'd asked enough from the spirits for one day. They'd done all she'd asked and more, they deserved some time off.
With a sigh, Jama stopped at a street corner. It was incredibly late, probably past midnight, and nothing seemed to be open. The streets were empty (no surprise there), and the only noise was the hiss of falling rain and the faint sound of sirens as emergency response teams tended to the untold numbers of injured from Gurzorath's attack. She seemed to be the only person out and about in this section of Angelus.
Brilliant, Jama. You're alone in... in... what sector am I in? With no money, no vehicle, and no passcard. Perhaps you should have taken Tyger's offer? You could have been alseep in a nice warm cot by now.
The sudden flash of a spotlight took her by surprise, causing Jama to raise a hand to shield her eyes against the glare. "ATTENTION UNIFORMED XSWAT OFFICER. STEP FORWARD AND IDENTIFY YOURSELF."
A spinner hung there, a score of feet in the air, lights flashing. She could barely make out its markings, but it didn't seem to belong to either XSWAT or the APD. In fact, she suspected it was a Sentinel Watch vehicle. Jama lowered her arms and was quiet for a moment. Should she run? Should she fight? Or should she simply face them? In truth, she was too tired to do much of anything. Gurzorath was gone, Angelus was safe (for the most part), and Nathan would heal. She had done her part and what would come would come.
Tilting her head up, she returned the spinner's unseen gaze. "Sergeant First Class Jamadigni Renuka, 13th Precinct, 9th Squad. Badge number 3579."
The silence that followed was deafening. She could almost hear the gears turning as whomever was in the spinner conferred. Here was one of Hart's most wanted. Alone, without backup or fellow officers. Theirs for the taking. On the other hand, she was second on Hart's list. She was the sorceress, the spirit caller, summoner of the Digital Angel. She was not someone to be trifled with.
"JAMADIGNI RENUKA, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE OR YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON."
Inwardly she smiled. Despite the echo of the PA she could almost hear the tremor in the speaker's voice. Still, she had to give them their due. The men in the spinner hadn't fled. It took a certain kind of courage to stand fast in a fire fight, or against a surging mass of Entities... or to arrest a lone sorceress of unknown power and skill.
The spinner settled, bathing the surrounding buildings with blue and red. A hatch opened and then another. She could barely see the figures of armed and armored men. They fanned out before her, weapons trained, while one, obviously their commander, stood behind an open door.
"JAMADIGNI RENUKA, YOU WILL GET ON YOUR KNEES AND PLACE YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD."
Again with the PA. She wondered if he'd managed to wake up everyone in the surrounding buildings yet. She wasn't sure, but some windows showed light where there hadn't been any before. Moving slowly, she knelt down on the rain slick sidewalk, the armor plate of her boots making a slight crunching noise. Raising her hands, she placed them at the crown of her head, right above the knot of her pony tail.
With the spotlight in her eyes, Jama couldn't see much of anything, which she figured to be a deliberate act. There were four of them, that much was obvious, wearing complete suits of riot armor and visored helmets. Two trained weapons on her, while the third carried a tactical baton and what looked like handcuffs. Their command remained at the spinner, his presence known only by the sound of the PA.
As the one with the baton stepped closer, the spot put her features into sharp relief. Jama felt surprised to see it was a woman—for some reason she seemed to think Hart had no use for females. At any rate, this particular member of Sentinel Watch was tall, broad, and blonde, and looked more apprehensive then intimidating. She kept the baton close, ready to strike, and flipped out the cuffs with her other hand. They clattered as they fell open, and Jama's eyes widened. The woman was carrying a pair of hinged binders, triple thick and intended to restrain cyborgs. Obviously her reputation had preceded her and the Watchmen were taking no chances.
"Jamadigni Renuka." Well, he'd turned the PA down, what was something. "We are placing you under arrest as a declared traitor to the City of Angelus, and for suspected acts of terrorism, insurrection, and aiding and abetting enemies of the state. Do you understand?"
The binders were thick and heavy, the metal cold despite the bodysuit. Her arms were raised over her head, held there while her equipment belt was removed. With it when her maser, stunstick, and worst of all, her kris. Jama sighed. Carpenter had endured the same thing and come out okay (well, mostly okay), she could do no less.
And just like that she was bundled into the back of the Sentinel cruiser. The woman sat up front, with the commander, while Jama ended up in the back, squeezed between the other two members of the squad. They both were a head taller than her and she felt more than a little embarrassed at the absurdity of it all. Worse yet, the slightest movement on her part (like, say, to get her cuffed hands into a more comfortable position) was enough to put them into a panic.
"I don't bite, you know," she finally said irritably.
Her flanking 'bodyguards' glanced at each other but remained silent, their hands close to the rectangular shapes of their tasers.
"Do not speak unless spoken to, understood?" The commander glanced at the woman next to him, who turned in her seat. She glared darkly at Jama from under blonde bangs before speaking. "We're prepared to blindfold and gag you, if needed. We've been briefed on how your kind works.
My kind? MY KIND? The depths of Hart's madness baffled her. His self-centered world view was apparently quick to divide things into easy-to-label categories. Thus, Clades and espers were the enemy, to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible. Magicians were a useful tool, but still weren't human enough to treated as equals. Only his son matters, and he was willing to sacrifice all of Angelus and the world to bring him back. She swallowed and looked at the woman directly, who nodded. "I understand. But..."
The woman raised a finger and the men to either side tensed. "No more until we land, understand?" Jama blinked slowly and nodded, settling back into her seat. She closed her eyes and tried to maintain a degree of calm. It was what Nathan would have done.
After what seemed like an interminable flight the cruiser banked and started to descend. Jama cracked an eye and supressed a smile. They were getting ready to land at XSWAT HQ. Her day had come full circle.
"What was that? Repeat, over."
Jama perked up. The commander had been talking to someone in XSWAT HQ and now sounded less than pleased. In fact, he sounded more than a little upset. Angry even. At what she wondered? That he wasn't going to be allowed to see justice done the moment they landed? He certainly didn't seem to agree with whatever he'd been told, as he asked for a confirmation. Twice.
"--been dropped." The blonde was speaking to her again. Jama blinked and focused her attention on the woman's words. "Coordinater Hart has seen fit to pardon you... and the rest of your 9th Squad." She paused and shook her head, looking bitter. "Disaster Coordinator Hemelshot has asked to see you personally."
It took an extreme act of will to not blurt out "Really? The Lieutenant's okay?" Instead she settled for a far more sedate and controlled "Understood." The spinner banked, and dropped down to where landing lights flashed. Jama closed her eyes for a moment and let her smile loose. She was coming home.