Carpenter rose after praying for Jama's healing and moved to the fallen sorcerers they had just fought. He reached the one whose arm had been lopped off by Carpenter's strike and frowned. The sorcerer was dead, his body marred by the mark of a Maser fired at short range. Standing up, he looked toward Tyger.
"Tyger, did you shoot this man after he was down?"
Tyger gave a slight, nonchalant shrug. "Yeah."
Carpenter's frown deepened. "Why?" he demanded.
"I think it's quite obvious, Nate. It was him or us. If not tonight, then some other time. Better to stop it, all of it, now than have to put up with the fallout later."
Carpenter's words were measured and even. "He was unconscious and injured, not a threat. We are not judges and executioners. That's not how we work, Tyger. I would have thought you'd learned that by now."
Tyger frowned as he placed his weapon on safe before holstering it within the confines of his longcoat. The Clade's own voice was measured and cool as well, his feline eyes narrowing slightly as he gave his reply. "Injured? Sure thing. You took off his arm. Unconscious? Maybe. He could have been playing. A threat? Not any more. You, of all people, knowin' what you know, doin' what you've done and seein' what you've seen, should know better. We've seen the aftermath of what bastards like this are capable of. Whether they did it intentionally or not, we've been there, we fight it on a daily fucking basis."
Tyger pulled out a cigarette and lit it, taking a long drag before he continued. "I have learned a lot of things, Nate. I know that is not how you work. I know that is not how XSWAT. works... usually. But last time I checked, we, as XSWAT officers, were sworn to support and defend folks who can't do the same for themselves. Angelus wasn't ready for Van Doren all those years ago. You think this place would be ready for these rat bastards now? I sure as hell hope you haven't forgotten what sort of hell we went through two months ago and what it cost every single fucking one of us already."
"You think Cadbury would have told us to show restraint after learning what these guys were trying to do and what it is that they could have done if there was any chance that these guys would try again later on? I don't. I don't know about you, Nate... but I ain't ready to be sitting in the center of Omega, or any place like it again, any time soon. And I'm sure as fucking hell not going to let one of these bastards get away with fucking up one of our own or try to waste an entire city."
Carpenter's eyes widened at Tyger's words. He stepped up to the Clade, plucked the cigarette from Tyger's lips, tossed it away, then set his grim face inches of the other's. Tyger's eyebrows raised at Carpenter's approach and stance.
"Listen to me, Tyger, for this is your last chance to get it. Whatever rules for life you picked up before you joined XSWAT no longer apply. You do not kill a man simply because you think he deserves it. The badge you wear is NOT a license to kill."
"It's not a given that your victim would have become another Van Doren. He could have gone on to live a normal life. Who knows? He could have even decided to atone for his sin and help us in our battle. But thanks to you, we'll never know, won't we?"
"Let me put it to you in as clear a manner as I can. YOU WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN. Or you will answer to me. Is that clear?"
Although Carpenter's voice never rises in volume, the wrath burning in it is clear and unmistakable.
Tyger stood in silence during Carpenter's tirade, his own anger simmering deep inside of him even as he tried to maintain a cool exterior. As Carpenter spoke, the creak of his hardened leather fingerless gloves could be heard as he flexed his fingers into tight fists and then released them, only to clench his fingers once again, slowly.
"Nate," Tyger began slowly, his voice even. "I'll give you three seconds to back off before I lose my cool. That is not a threat. That is a promise."
Yiska was suddenly there, standing to one side. "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:36-39."
Carpenter stepped back, looking questioningly toward Yiska.
"Yes, I've read your book. Cover to cover many times. I see you pray for the dead and speak of redemption, Carpenter, but a man lies dead at your feet today. Killed by a weapon given to you to fight evil."
"You may claim to know the good book, but as far as I can see I follow it better."
"I've never killed anyone."
"Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 26-27."
"We're a team and this should be discussed back at HQ in a proper setting. As far as I'm concerned we all need lessons in how to be Cops again. We didn't know what we were getting into, we didn't coordinate the attack, which left two of us very vulnerable, Hemelshot shot someone in the back, and a myriad of other things went wrong and left all of us vulnerable. People aren't Entities and we need to regain that perspective."
"If you're done tending to Jama's wounds, Carpenter, there are others here who need your assistance. Deal with your sin on your own time."
Yiska turned and walked away.
Carpenter looked toward Tyger, his face devoid of emotion. "Yiska is right in that. This is not the time or place to get into this. But this is not over."
He walked away, not waiting for a response. As Carpenter moved among the recuperating victims, he called out to Yiska. "Yiska. I look forward to discussing religious ethics with you."
"As do I, Nathan." Yiska answered as he helped a semiconscious man up.