Felix was awoken well before his alarm to an incessant pounding on his door. He groaned and rolled over, content to ignore whoever it was and go back to sleep.
"Felix!" Mary’s voice was frantic. “Sergeant Calhoun’s on her way!” She had his attention.
"What? Why?" he asked, frenetically dressing himself with his work clothes from the day before. Once decent, he opened the door for Mary, muttering apologies for making her wait and inviting her inside if she pleased.
"I’m alright, Felix, dear. I just wanted to make sure you were, uh, prepared. I think she’ll be up shortly. I’ll leave the two of you alone."
Felix thanked her as she left and slowly closed the door after her, his heart pounding rapidly with anticipation. Why would the sergeant be in Niceland? How much did she know? Why was she looking for him?
His thoughts were interrupted by a louder knock, the distinct sound of metal against wood.
Felix nervously opened the door again and looked up at the tall woman. “C-can I help you, ma’am?” he asked nervously.
"I sure as hell hope so," the sergeant replied grimly. "Can I come in?" she added, tone softening slightly.
"Oh, uh, of course. Come in." He stepped aside to let her enter, surprised to find she’d come alone. He didn’t mention it. His left hand fiddled with the ring on his right; he didn’t notice until he saw Calhoun’s gaze follow the motion. He muttered an "Excuse me," and moved nervously across the apartment. He disappeared into his room momentarily and reappeared with his gloves and hat.
"Sorry about the mess, ma’am. Wasn’t expectin’ company." Felix glanced around the room, anything to keep from meeting the sergeant’s eyes. "What can I help ya’ with, ma’am?"
Her expression hardened again. “The beacon won’t start. Can’t even get it to start manually. I was told there wasn’t much anything you couldn’t fix.”
Felix’s eyes widened; he knew exactly how severe of a problem that was, not only for Hero’s Duty but for the entire arcade.
"I see the problem, ma’am, but- how d’you think I could make it up the tower?"
"I can escort you. I assure you that you’ll be well-protected." That was the response he’d been dreading most. "Look, I know it may be hard for you-. I mean-" Calhoun struggled to find the right words. "I can’t even begin to empathize, and I’m sorry that I’m part of the problem, but I need your help. You’re the only one in the arcade capable of fixing it."
Felix tried desperately to think of a reason he couldn’t help, but he knew there wasn’t one. If it were any other game, he’d have been halfway there already, not sitting around making excuses. He sighed, knowing he had no other choice.
"Of course I’ll help, ma’am," he assured her, patting his hammer and tipping his hat.
"No time to waste," she said tersely. She abruptly left the apartment and started down the hall; Felix was taken aback momentarily but then followed her, having to run to catch up. She stopped at the train station, muttering “We don’t have time for this.” She yanked out the hoverboard that had been folded flatly against the back of her armor and dropped it so that it hovered just off the ground. She boarded with ease and pulled Felix onto it with a yank to his arm, releasing her grip as soon as he was somewhat steady.
When the thrusters kicked in and they began to move, Felix tried his best to balance on his own, but for fear of falling had to hold onto Calhoun for support. She didn’t even seem to notice through her thick armor, and if she did she paid it no mind.
It had been some time since Felix had been in Hero’s Duty, but he still could clearly tell that the war-torn terrain was more ravaged than usual. More obvious as to their blight was the sheer amount of the cy-bugs that roamed the skies freely. Calhoun had to veer sharply on the hoverboard on more than a few occasions to avoid crashing into them and was firing at them while she steered.
She stopped the hoverboard in front of their base, and Felix stepped off haphazardly, glancing around nervously. He flinched slightly each time a cy-bug neared, even though not a single one made it nearer than ten yards before Calhoun obliterated it. A flicker of worry could be seen through Calhoun’s stoic stare as she surveyed the damage.
“Never was pretty, but I’m sure you can understand my urgency.” Felix nodded in agreement, and the sergeant’s expression hardened to one of sheer determination.