Wilhelm Axelsson was early.
Then again, he had to be. His superiors had recently designated him to be the head. He had to set the standard for his subordinates after all. His actions weren’t determined by choice. It was by duty. The higher ups were expecting him to produce satisfactory results in his leadership capabilities, which included being early to the meeting area. Will had to admit to himself though, it was getting a bit bothersome to wait for a group of strangers, regardless of their acquaintance later on.
Patience. He was stronger than that. He can resist the temptation to leave the meeting hall. It was only another hour more, surely he can handle that much.
Five minutes elapsed.
Damn it all, he was going to get a drink. The base had to have a bar somewhere, right? Right? The designers wouldn’t overlook a major detail such as a place to store ale for the soldiers, surely they couldn’t have been that inept.
Will pulled out the map he kept inside his coat pocket, swiftly scanning the barely legible handwriting. Yup, there was one. Perfect.
He folded the map and neatly placed it back in his coat, briskly walking towards the small bar placed in the bowels of the base. It was a bit troublesome to get to, but it was for the best. Having the bar in such an out-of-the-way area placed it safely away from any of the more essential parts of the base. Will certainly did not want to receive any reports of someone vomiting all over the command center, nor accidentally blowing up all of their munitions.
He stopped in front of an iron door. It was sealed shut by a number of different locks, all of them masterfully created to be military-grade and near fullproof. It might have seemed that they were going a bit overboard with the security for a mere pub, but in a base full of veteran soldiers and warriors, it was a necessity. Beyond this door was the base’s entire stock of alcohol. There was ale, whiskey, rum-booze that any good military base would have. However, there was only a limited amount of booze they could store in there. Will had to make sure that it would last until the next town, and that meant enforcing strict regulations to ensure that their alcohol stock is properly rationed. The only people with the keys to unlock the pub are the bartender and Will himself. It would be impossible for an ordinary solder to-
The door creaked open as soon as he touched the knob. He frowned. Strange, he thought that the bartender would be arriving later. Perhaps he decided to be early, just like him?
Will pushed the door open and walked in. He took the time to let his eyes explore the rest of the bar. So this is where he’ll be spending time with his subordinates.
The place was colored a shade of olive green, typical of most military establishments. The walls were covered wall to wall in military memorabilia. Three of them were, at least. One was left completely empty. Only he and and a few others knew exactly why. There were numerous wooden tables, circular in shape, all over the bar, with wooden stools accompanying them in sets.
If he hadn’t met the man before, Will would’ve assumed that the other person inside the room was the bartender himself.
He wasn’t. The bartender held an air of class around him, and he dressed and groomed himself as such. But instead of that classy image, Will was greeted with the peculiar sight of a rather unkempt man wearing an extremely personalized version of the Kaiserreich military uniform. If that wasn’t odd enough, the man was currently behind the gunmetal bar table, rifling through the cabinets and shelves for what seemed to be a particular kind of drink. That was his guess, seeing as none of the bottles had even been opened yet. All of it seemed to be the ale though, so he was probably looking for the-
“Ah-ha, there’s the bloody whiskey!”
Whiskey. Well, that answered that question, but. . . ah? Hold on a moment.
Red hair? Check. Leather jacket? Check. Heavy Alban accent? Check.
Incredibly colorful language?
“Bloody fucking ‘ell that took forever!”
Ah. So this was the infamous Richard Atlas. He didn’t think he would meet the “Berserker Hound” of the northern regiment this early, but then again, he probably should have expected it. The man had quite the list of infractions stacked up on his office desk, but he didn’t really care about those. The only thing that Will was expecting from the man was the single most reason why his services were in such a high demand.
“You do know sir-” Richard took a swig before continuing-”That you haven’t exactly been very quiet?”
To say that Wilhelm was surprised was a lie. In fact, he expected as such. He closed the door behind him and walked towards him, his hands in his pockets, cooly regarding him as he answered, “Of course I do, Atlas.”
The red-headed drunk snorted. He took a long gulp of his whiskey before putting it back down on the counter, leaning over it. He gave Will a cocky grin. “So you’ve heard about me, eh? Guess that means you’re the new boss of this operation. Did my last superior complain that much about me?”
“Amongst other things,” He stopped in front of the counter. “Your record speaks for itself in that regard.”
Richard only laughed harder. “You’re talking like I give a damn about it! It doesn’t matter how the job gets done, just that it gets done. Sure, you blow a few things up, kill some guys you ain’t supposed to, but it ain’t that bad. You got anything to say about the ol’ tossers’ collective bitchin’ about me?”
“I only care about results ‘Berserker Hound’, nothing else.”
The light-hearted laughter in the room instantly ceased. Richard immediately sobered, rising from the counter and putting the bottle of whiskey on the wood. He placed a hand on the bar and drumming his fingers across it. He looked away for a brief moment. He pursed his lips and nodded to himself, turning his gaze back to Will.
“I’m guessing your ‘results’ include the bloody kind then?”
“You wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
“Damn, this bad huh?”
Richard seemed to let the thought simmer for a nanosecond, before immediately going back to his rather smug disposition. In fact, he seemed a bit amused.
“Well then, when do I start my work boss?”
“Only after the others arrive of course.”
“Haha!” Richard threw his head back and laughed. He grinned, letting the sharp corners of his mouth stretch upwards. “That’s more like it! Boozin’ and fightin’-that’s my kind o’ story! Hey, hey! I remember this time in the Kikongan Badlands when I was in a fancy, decked-out white collar base like this. I’ll tell ya now, it ain’t a pretty story.”
“Oh?” Will smiled, enjoying the taunt. “Do tell. We’ve got an hour before the others arrive.”
Richard guffawed. “I’ve gotta feelin’ that we’ll be buddies, you and me. Now, about that war story. Me and me buddies were deep into a merc camp and we had our guns, ready to blow the place up with hand cannons and bazookas-”
The door to the bar slammed open.