It is said that silence is the absence of sound. In a way that is true; where there is no sound, it is silent. But silence can have an existence of its own: a heavy, suffocating air that covers everything within its grasp.
RC log e was covered in such a silence ever since a couple of DIA officers forcibly removed the not-so-sane Anebrin from the Sunflower Official's office. His erstwhile partner, Desdendelle, did not leave his bed. The console didn't even [bip], somehow feeling the atmosphere, and even the minis quieted down after Des shouted at them to shut up.
Des alternated between sleeping fitfully, having bad nightmares, and chewing himself out for his partner's insanity. His bed was a mess and so were his clothes; his goatee was growing wild, and he positively stank. His belt was lying on the table, its loop still torn. He still hadn’t mended it after he tore his axe from it in a futile attempt to stop Anebrin from executing the Sue and the other two OCs in their last mission. He would have roused from his stupor — by pangs of hunger if nothing else — sooner or later. As things were, it was ‘sooner’.
A few days after the mission, when even Arctic circle (who was an animated circle of ice) couldn't bear the stench, someone opened the RC's door. The creak of the wooden door's hinges caused the minis to stir in their corner of the RC's main room.
The person who stood in the doorway, leaning on the doorpost, was tall — even taller than the five-foot-ten Anebrin — and wore black, high-quality clothes and a billowing brown trenchcoat. A hood denied any glimpse of the person’s face.