"He's over there!

"You there, stop!"

Even as they barked out their orders, the knights charged after the fleeing figure through the narrow alleyways, the clanking of their armor echoing across the cobblestone. One knight lagged behind, panting hard as she tried to keep up with the squad.

"Damnit, keep up, rookie!" Captain Murdock screeched, drawing his sword as he egged on the others. "We've finally got that son of a bitch this time!"

Colette rose her hand in a weak salute as she sucked in her breath, pushing herself along as they finally came to a wide opening. Their quarry had fled into one of the city's large park areas, just as the city guard had intended.

She got a clear look at John Garvey as she followed her group out into the moonlight square, with other squads having blocked the remaining exits. He was dressed in dirtied overalls and was drenched with sweat, much like herself.

"Hands up, Garvey! There's nowhere left to run!" Murdock called out triumphantly, approaching with his sword drawn and flanked by two of his subordinates.

"P-Please…you have…you have to listen." Garvey wheezed, leaning against the large stone fountain for support as he rose his hand.

"I don't give a shit about what you want to say, after the things you've done." The captain snarled. "The headsman's waiting for you, and I reckon your head will be on a spike by tomorrow afternoon."

"I-I didn't want to do those t-things…!" Garvey broke out in sobs as he fell to his knees, gasping for breath. "Y-You don't understand.."


Even audible from where Colette stood, a loud clicking sound had echoed throughout the square. Murdock paused, his fellow guards hesitating as Garvey choked on his breath, weeping more. She soon realized that below the collar of his overalls was a heavy iron brace around his neck…or at least it appeared to be a brace.

"What the hell is that thing, Garvey?" Murdock demanded, apparently having seen it as well.

"No! You have to know that! I-I had to do it! I had to follow the rules—!" Garvey blubbered out, interrupted only by a second, nearly instantaneous, motion.


It happened nearly faster than Colette could see from where she stood, the collar around his neck whirring in a sickening squelch as Garvey's throat was torn open, a spray of gore splattering across the cobblestone and Captain Murdock's armor.

Colette could only watch in abject shock as Garvey slumped to the ground, the collar still mutilating his throat as her fellow guards all uttered a variety of curses and exclamations. Some even vomited, pulling off their helmets in time to drop to their knees.

Murdock stood in silent shock as well, his two backup knights stepping away in disgust as Garvey's head finally rolled away from his body, the collar having completed its apparent task of brutally sawing through his neck.

Only Colette stepped forward after a few minutes, clearing her throat as she approached the captain.

"…S-Sir?" She asked timidly, averting her gaze from the still-twitching corpse before her.

"…In…Inform the commander…that we…that we apprehended John Garvey." He managed to speak, his voice cracking slightly as he stonily looked down at the scene. "…Tell her that we need a cleanup crew at the scene."

Shakily leaning down on his knee as Colette began to walk away, Murdock carefully gripped the blood-soaked metal collar, pulling it with some difficulty off of the decapitated remains.

"Rookie? Tell her to send an engineer, too. I have a bad feeling about all of this." Looking at the complex device in his hands, Murdock's normally stiff and arrogant attitude had faded, replaced by uncertainty and a nervous expression.