In the back of the yimca, with his back to the wall and his darkened faceshield pointed out over the pool area, there stands an LEP agent. His hands are on his gun, most of the time, just like they’re supposed to be. The gun is turned to full-safety, powered down, just like it’s never supposed to be when he’s on active duty. It’s electric and he’s standing in a wet room, though – he’s not a complete idiot, and keeping your gun turned off is a highly unofficial unwritten rule of the yimcops. His sergeant Carefully Didn’t Give An Order about it when he got his assignment.
The AR inside his helmet is set to cycle through the newsfeed, because otherwise he’d be insanely bored. It’s an eight-hour “patrol,” standing in one place in the back of the pool, moving only for two coffee breaks and a meal stop, and occasionally to yell at a ducklin for running. With the newsfeed on it’s only marginally better – reports from the dispatchers, updated arrest statistics, the occasional bit of entertainment news and commercials, but that’s better than staring blankly out at a bunch of kids in bathing suits for eight hours.
Of course, there’s also the lifeguard to stare at, and as long as he only moves his eyes and not his head, nobody even knows.
His name is Stivv, and it’s his third week on yimca patrol. He has had just enough time to really get to know that lifeguard, even though they only talk on meal stop. Her name is Kayt, she’s just moved out of familyhousing and into a housing block in Zone 3, and they have exactly complementary taste in snackpacks – so of course, due to the way luck runs, he always ends up with something she likes in his lunch ration, and she always ends up with something he likes in her lunchbox, and they trade. He is pretty sure he might be a little bit in love with her. He is totally going to ask her out if he ever has a chance to talk to her when he’s off-duty. Really off-duty, not in uniform and everything.
He’s interrupted from his studies of Kayt’s bathing suit by the pitter-patter of tiny feet, or rather the slightly splashy thud of tiny feet running along the edge of the pool. “YOU THERE – CITIZEN,” in his official voice, slightly distorted by the microphone inside his helmet, and he points at the kid; the AR updates to notify him that this is a second warning for that bioreading. Shit. “SECOND WARNING. FREEZE.”
The kid does freeze – they always do; they’re just little housing kids who watch their HappyBunny and listen to their dads, not the kind of troublemakers you might run into on an outer zone patrol – and Stivv recites the arrest announcement while escorting her back to the holding cell past the break room. Once she’s in the cell, shivering and sniffling but perfectly compliant, he has to take her key to the locker room, confiscate her stuff, and go through it for her papers to scan. Everything she said in the arrest interview matches up perfectly with the papers, of course. It’s a first offense for her, so he fills out his report with the standard action. She’ll be held in the cell for a few hours, her familyhousing notified of her location, and once she’s learned her lesson about doing what the cops tell her the first time and not pressing her luck, Stivv or his relief will let her back out into her dads’ custody.
He fills the paperwork out on his pocket reader, standing in the doorway between the break room and the main room so he can keep his eyes on his patrol. Meal stop is called just as he finishes it up, and he tucks the reader away into its pocket inside his tac vest. Once again his rations have coconut cookie for dessert; he checks that before he even tosses the rest of the packet into the heater, and shakes the little bag at Kayt with a grin – visible now that his visor’s flipped up – when she comes in. “I hope you got banana cookie again…”
It’s a four-week rotation, and the following Monday an LEP agent stands in the back of the yimca, in black-and-grey urban camo, darkened faceshield pointed out over the pool area, hands on his gun. At meal stop Kayt offers him a banana cookie, and he flips his visor up to turn her down.
“Oh, you’re not Stivv – ”
“No, my name is Stivv – ”
“Not the same one,” she amends.
She flirts with him anyway, though.
The two Stivvs meet in the milhousing that night, after the original Stivv gets back from his new patrol, walking a circuit through the shopping plaza in Zone 2. “Did you see Kayt?”
“Yeah, she tried to give me her banana cookie. Aren’t those things nasty?”
Crestfallen. Those banana cookies were their thing!
“I think I might ask her out later, if I ever run into her when I’m off-duty.”
Stivv determines to never talk to this other Stivv again. Woman-stealing, heart-breaking bastard.
But it’s okay, because there’s this girl who works in the coffee shop at the shopping plaza…
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