Feeling like an impostor, Gromov stood nervously in the middle of the room and took a deep breath. Then, he roared like an injured lion.
In surprise, people stopped whatever they were up to, looking toward the source of deafening noise. Several ladies from Ministry of Defense, including Mrs. Corbin, covered their ears, expressing their deep disapproval.
"That's my man," said Andrey Jerzinski to his cadets. "I recognize that sweet voice. I've told you about his charm, haven't I?"
And with no further ado, he joined Gromov's effort, bellowing loudly in the best manner of training sergeants right to the face of baffled officers.
In a few seconds, Gromov had full attention of the hotel lounge.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he went on sternly, observing them with calmness he rather did not feel. "This is the emergency under command of Space Forces. My name is Captain Gromov. I am acting on behalf Major Sholto who had appointed me to manage things from now. Nobody is allowed to speak unless told otherwise. Understood?"
"Wait a moment..."
One lady from before stepped forward. "With all respect, you possibly ..."
Before she could continue, Akane sprung to the action, jumping on the woman and twisting her hand behind her back, so the woman shrieked in pain.
"Haven't you heard properly, you stupid hag? Nobody is allowed to speak, including you. Next time you open your foul mouth, I'll kill you on the spot."
Gromov glared at Akame in utter disbelief. Is she really thinking she was helping? Is she possessed by a demon or what? On the other hand, the instant outburst of violence persuaded all civilians the situation was serious. Few pilots seemed like they were more than willing to assist Akane to sort things out. One MP, probably incidentally, half-turned, and the blaster, aiming until now at arrested chef, frightened people around reception desk.
"Do not resist," Mrs. Corbin pleaded the crying woman. "Or you get us killed. They are DOZOR."
She tried to whisper but in the hushed room the sentence was as good as shouted out.
"Did she just say DOZOR? That DOZOR? She should know it since she is from Ministry."
Gromov fought his desire to order some cadet to shoot that woman. At that moment Captain Chi entered the lounge, followed by suit of remaining pilots. For some reason, he decided to organize them in the column of route, resembling regular infantry unit, and led them directly to Gromov.
Saluting, he said, "Captain Chi reporting, sir. By your orders, I gathered all available pilots. The sick stayed in their rooms. I am afraid they all need immediate medical attention, sir."
"Thank you, Captain. Good job. As for now, gather all battle-ready pilots. Who is checking the hotel rooms for the incapacitated?"
“On first floor, I encountered the hotel physician. She agreed to do the task. She had already hotel keys and some assistance at the hand. Is it OK?”
“Not enough I presume. Space Forces must be present during the visits. I don’t want to repeat myself, so let’s make a short meeting with you, Sergeant Jerzinski, Lieutenant Schubert, and one representative of Military Police. However, before that, let me handle one more detail… Akane, release that pitiable woman and come over here. We need to talk.”


About the author

Pavel Morava

Bio: Born in the Czech Republic, Pavel Morava is not a native English speaker. Having been twenty-two years old, he published his first book, which did not become an international bestseller. After a few other attempts, Pavel Morava abandoned the literary career for over twenty years, during which period he has been focusing on processing of plastics, programming, and raising of children.
Recently, with more time at his disposal, he returned to the forgotten ambition, fighting a futile battle with English language, procrastination, and the tendency to give up too early.
Being vivid reader of not Anglo-Saxon origin, Pavel Morava was fortunate enough to experience books from different countries, including Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, French, German, and English. Such a vast literary variety heavily influenced his own work, which typically relies on an one-point-of-view narrative, consecutive storytelling, and elimination of unnecessary details.
Web novels and online publishing made him reevaluate his approach to style and building blocks of the text; the result should be, hopefully, lighter, shorter, and more intelligible for reading on electronic devices.

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