…teeth grinding and clacking one against the other.
The visitor had heard the sound countless times before. He had even heard it through the padded armor helmets – the gritting sounds of determination, anxiety, and fear.
They were soldiers, of a kind. They had jobs to do and they had deadlines. The deadlines were the worst and the best part of preparing for a melee.
“Crack,” he thought, “why even prepare? Just get out of your cube and run. Take out anyone or anything that gets in your way. You’re either in this to win or to die.”
“Besides, who wants to sit in a crackin’ office all day?” he whispered to no one.
The approaching mass gained his attention. He knew the guard had been there…waiting. He also knew he was not in proximity, so why bother wasting cycles on a non-threat. The bulk of the guard seemed to block out the sun as he approached, casting a welcome shadow over the visitor.
“Good,” he thought, “I lost my visor in the last campaign. To hard to squint at the sun anyways.”
He observed the guard with loathing as he approached. The man had seen more of the gym, or maybe the mess, than he had actual battle. His gait was lumbering and slow. Possibly meant to be more intimidating than confident.
“One quick angular move and you would be out of the game, my friend,” he half chuckled to himself. “Hmm, what are they feeding these guys nowadays?”
The guard’s muscles seemed unusually large. The guard’s eyelids even had strangely bulging muscles. The guard could barely see through the paper-thin slits on either side of his nose.
“Ayll need to escort yu sah,” came the rumbling bass of a voice. The guard’s lips barely moved.
“They must have wired your jaw shut. I’ll bet you slipped in the shower,” the visitor murmured to himself.
“Sah?” the guard asked.
“Nothing. Lead on.”
As they approached the building, the visitor took note of its ambivalence. No windows anywhere to be seen. Flat gray reinforced concrete with gray brick trim along the top and bottom…
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