This story takes place a bit after the events of Men at Arms.
Copyright and all thanks to Terry P. for some amazing books, characters and all the rest.
"Corporal Angua, at ease." Captain Vimes brought his feet down off his desk. "Anything new to report?"
Angua stifled a yawn, then relaxed a bit. "Not really, sir. Dibbler hasn't seemed up to anything really... creative lately. The wizards have been a little edgy, but that's about normal for them around each other. The 'Heroes' Guild' building was destroyed by unearthly beasts and dark fire for the second time this week. The rest haven't had anything happening." She blinked a bit, then frowned. "Permission to speak freely, sir?"
Vimes took a thoughtful puff on his cigar, then nodded. "I suppose we could allow that, Corporal."
"Really, sir, what are we looking for? I mean, some of these people, sure. They've been involved with disasters that endangered the whole Disc! But others on this list you gave me, really... how can they possibly be important? Worst some of them could do would be a drunk and disorderly."
The captain sighed and stood up. Stretched.
"Well, Corporal, it's like this. True, by nature those people are law-abiding, for the most part. Hell, I've dealt with half of them since before I got my first stripes." He started pacing over to the fireplace. "The thing is though, you really have to get used to this city. I keep telling you that." He took down a small bottle from the mantelpiece, poured a glass and extended it. "Fruit juice? I can't really see the point of it, but Sybil tells me it's quite bracing."
"No thank you sir."
"Suit yourself." Vimes took a sip, and thought a moment. "Tell me, Corporal. Where you come from, were there those who seemed to... well, always seemed to be in trouble?"
Angua reflected a moment. All too many, and that was just within the family... She suppressed a shudder. "A few, I suppose. Sir."
"Well, most of those who are on that list are like that. Just, well, good old Ankh-Morpork won't do with just your average trouble magnets. No, sir! These folks have only the finest trouble finding them!" Vimes smiled mirthlessly, then took another sip of juice. He grimaced, then put it down. "The point is, Corporal, that while the last thing many of them want is to bother people, it usually finds them. And it's always best to head that kind of thing off."
"I see, sir." She wasn't able to hold this yawn back. "Sorry, sir."
Vimes stopped before his desk. "Corporal, are you all right? I know this has been a bit of a strain, between constant patrol and, well, your time of, er, month..." He coughed into his hand. "Well, it might be best if I assigned someone else for a while, let you have a bit of time off."
Angua smiled a bit at this. "Thank you for the concern, sir, but I really am fine. It's just a bit of fatigue after, you know. Happens all the time." She stretched a bit herself, then straightened. "Really, sir, I can finish out the next week at least; I know how restive Cable Street and Pleader's Row have been lately. They need all the men they have."
"Well, if you've really dealt with this well before." Vimes' hand seemed to feel about of its own accord until it found the cigar, then brought it to his lips. He took a long drag. Angua felt it time to go, so she turned toward the door.
The captain's voice lashed out. "You have not been dismissed, Corporal!"
She turned back toward him, her face carefully blank. "Yes, sir."
Vimes was walking slowly toward her now, cigar in hand. Its smell filled her nostrils, but couldn't drown out other, more urgent smells. The Captain was angry. And... a little afraid?
"Here's the problem, Corporal Angua. We can't afford to have someone of your... talents... in a cranky mood in the center of our fair city." He waved his cigar at her, then took a puff. "Tell you what. I'll trust your assessment of your own state for the moment. But if anything, and I mean anything, happens to make me doubt your fitness for duty, I will remove you. With the aid of the full Watch if necessary.Understood?"
Angua winced, deep down. Oh, dear Gods, did that bring up old wounds.
She nodded crisply. "Crystal clear, sir." She saluted, then turned on her heel and marched out the door as soon as Vimes had returned it.