*I must preface this with I am not a writer for TRS. I just got inspired by the story of Val posted and I really wanted to do something for my favorite character. *
The walls of Griffin Hallsey’s trophy room were a monument. Every creature native to the solar system was present in one way or another. Along each wall, floor to ceiling, were the gaping maws of beasts ranging in size from the vicious skelk to the colossal ragnar.
The monsters did not stop at the walls though. High above his head Cabot saw the bones of an undoubtedly carnivorous flying predator, the likes of which he had never seen. Even the glass coffee table at which the time tested hunter sat in front of was held up on the spine of what Cabot assumed was a magnur, a monster he had only seen in old holobooks due to their extinction.
“William Cabot.” The grizzled veteran interrupted his thoughts. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I’m putting together a team.” The ship captain said sharply, once again glancing around the famous hunter’s trophy room.
Griffin abruptly stood up from the couch, nearly knocking the pelt hung across the back to floor. He walked towards the small liquor cabinet at the back of the room, removing a crystal bottle of scotch.
“I hate to break to to you boy, but I’m retired. And last I heard so were you.” he said, pouring the dark liquid into a short glass.
“NORDITA brought me out. Specifically for this.”
“These beasties must have been mighty impressive to get you back out in the field.” He said with a smirk.
Cabot strode to the armchair at the end of the coffee table and sat down on the edge of the seat.
“Not only that, the pay off is eight figures. We’re all looking at four million… after expenses. Anyone could retire for good anywhere they chose with that kind of money.”
“Tell me of the quarry.” Griffin said, returning to the couch.
“The limited intel we have says it’s like nothing we’ve ever encountered. The lab coats are calling it Extreme Rapid Evolution. We’re talking dynamic changes in a matter of hours if not minutes. On a cellular level. Not only that, these things are smart. They’re exemplifying understanding of basic tactics. Divert. Surround. Kill. Run when outmatched but return when things tip in their favor.”
Griffin leaned forward, his interest piqued.
“This is all just the tip of the iceberg. There are reports of them being over fifteen feet tall. Some are breathing fire, summoning lightning strikes out of thin air. There are even rumors of teleportation. Entire squads of militia being grabbed one at a time, plucked from their fellow soldiers without even a scream.” Cabot said, his hands shaking.
The fire in Griffin’s eyes was apparent, he hadn’t even taken a drink since Cabot started talking. He leaned back, the gleam in his eye fading as he took a drink of his scotch.
“I know why you retired.” Cabot said, cutting the silence.
Griffin still sat silently.
“You did it for her. And in your situation I probably would have done so for the same reason.”
“Dinah never liked me going out on these expeditions…” Griffin trailed off. “She was always supportive of what I did, but I could always tell… I could always see when she saw me leave. That look in her eyes. The look of maybe she would never see me again. I’m just not sure I would be honoring her… Doing this.”
He drank the last of the scotch in his glass.
“I’m not going to claim I know how your wife would feel about this, but I’m going to ask your this: Do you want to spend the remainder of your days sitting in your house, drinking scotch and reminiscing about days gone by? Or do you want to spend them doing what you loved, and the thing your wife knew you loved?”