Time: Directly after "The Fourth Hallway" (two years prior to Hell for the Company)
"What…is it?" Sagnessagiel turned the object over in his hands, completely baffled. While he didn't want to sound ungrateful, when Captain Iaoth had mentioned new weapons, he had envisioned a new sort of sword. This stubby tube with a handle had neither point nor edge. How could it be a weapon?
"This isn't a time for jokes, guardian." The trainer frowned, stern and forbidding, her huge silver wings marking her as one of the older martial angels, a veteran of the first rebellion.
Sagnessagiel shook his head. "Forgive me. I truly don't know."
She stared at him long and hard until he squirmed. He had just come to the conclusion that he should probably drop to his knees and beg forgiveness for his stupidity, when she let out a breath through her teeth.
"Seventh sphere guardian?"
He answered without raising his head. "Yes, sergeant."
"I understand you're a bit sheltered there but you never took the time to look down into the human world?"
That puzzled him even more. "No, sergeant. It wasn't…I wasn't…is that something I should have done?"
"You…" She stopped glaring and patted his shoulder. "You're a good, obedient guardian, Sagnessagiel. Let's leave it at that. It's a gun. A projectile weapon like a bow, but more powerful."
"Ah," he said, as if he understood. He didn't.
She held her palm up, twitched fingers inward to request the weapon and Sagnessagiel handed it to her, more than willing. "It's a plasma cannon, handheld, rapid fire."
She held the stocky part below the tube in both hands, pointed the end of the tube toward the dark cloud target and…did something. A blinding ball of light shot from the tube and struck the target where it was absorbed and the glow dissipated in little forks of lightning.
"Oh. And it…?" He let the question hang, unable to complete it.
"It kills, guardian. Specifically attuned to demons. You aim center mass. Head or heart. Nothing else will kill them."
Sagnessagiel nodded, though the words simply rattled around in his head, refusing to settle. Killing demons. They were evil. Made of it, spawned from it. They lived for it. And yet, a life was a life. Could he do that? Take up a life in his hands and crush it? End it?
He supposed he would do as he must, as he was ordered. The legions would never use him in a way that he was ill suited. Guardian. He would keep his comrades, his shipmates safe. Defend them. That's why he was here, and if he had to kill a demon to do that…well, no sense getting ahead of things.
"Please show me," he finally said as he straightened his wings and steeled his resolve.
She gave him a nod, obvious approval, and did just that. One hand here, the other there, how to stand, how to aim, how to compensate for the kick that came not from the ball of ionized gas but from the firing mechanism. Plasma, projectile, sidearms and rifles, laser knives and bolas, long-range and close fighting, she showed him everything.
Much to his, and most likely his instructor's astonishment, Ness found that he was not only a fast learner, but that he was good. Frighteningly good. It stirred something deep within him, something hot and fierce, that he tucked away as quickly as he became aware of it. He was no killer, after all. He would simply be a guardian on a spaceship.
Surely, it would be more challenging than guarding a hallway.