In 2036, Gladiator was treated like a head of some nationalistic religion that was sprouting under her feet, thought Jackson. She was now a spokesperson for Amnesty International and publishing a guest column in the Economist praising female leadership as the means to weave a stronger fabric of society in every nation. And it didn’t hurt that she was friendly, beautiful, and Earth’s first alien. And she’d chosen Canada. Us.
So what? Faith thought, smiling and shaking the alien woman’s hand for the photos, a little nervous about being hurt in the process, for Gladiator could throw a tractor like Faith could a medicine ball. But could Gladiator deal with the horrors of war? She was a PR dream. Was that why she was leading this team? She had trained in her world’s special forces but never served. Time would tell. Faith basked in the crispness of the moment as she turned and waved to the crowd, smiling. Hmm. Being a costumed hero… the maroon was her favourite lipstick colour.
Faith trained every member of the current JT2 forces, all 350 operatives. She’d turned them into flexible forces as comfortable ferreting out nests of terrorists as fighting militias of irregular fighters that conscripted child soldiers. She was always an active field operative though an instructor and had bled and killed for Canada throughout her career.
2037. Months after Gladiator was named leader of the newly created Shadowforce team, Colonel Jackson was invited to join Shadowforce by Director Pamela Quinn-Singh, an inscrutable woman who ran the Forces’ skunkwork projects.
In the following weeks Gladiator had impressed Faith, who took the codename Wargod. Gladiator could lead in dangerous, morally confusing situations—find the truth to fight from. Faith thought back to the destroyed subway station: Gladiator had found a girl broken under a slab of rock, clinging to failing life, dying in pain. Gladiator was bent over her, trembling.
“Okay, let me.” Faith put a gloved hand on Gladiator’s shoulder.
“It’s okay. It’s done. She’s at peace now.”
Peer pressure. Gladiator had nearly failed to do what someone had to do. Gladiator was a good woman. But she would need all of the pressure Faith put on her, all the trust Wargod had in her, to keep Shadowforce balanced on a very narrow bridge across a long, deep chasm.