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Snippet #3 for Investigating Deceit

Yes, it’s time for another snippet! This time, Erik means business!


Snippet #3:

Erik’s MX 60 hovered about two hundred meters away from the warehouse.

Erik had adjusted its color to gray and black to better blend with the shadows. That didn’t do anything for the dozens of other police vehicles in the area, but they weren’t using their lights, and a swarm of drones kept an eye on the warehouse.

Only a few minutes remained until go time.

Erik patted his tactical vest, his heart offering a steady beat. There was something routine about the whole affair, so it didn’t trouble him.

His TR-7 was nestled in his lap, and the pockets of his duster overflowed with magazines. Two hours’ notice might not be a lot of planning time, but it was better than the almost monthly surprises involving terrorists or killer robots.

Jia wore her dual holster with both her stun pistol and her slug thrower.

In theory, neither detective would have to worry about running out of ammunition as they had in previous encounters, but there was no such thing as being overprepared when your life was on the line. Emma had even rehashed a recent scenario where they’d had to clear a building with only one full magazine.

They’d run out and had to depend on hand-to-hand for the last few opponents, but her point was well-taken.

Emma spoke up. “I’ve taken the liberty of examining some of the drone feeds. There are a sizeable number of gun goblins inside, based on the thermals. The warehouse’s systems have enough basic security that attempts to hack them might alert the criminals, so I’ll avoid doing any of that until the raid has begun. As far as I can tell, the CID and rest of the NSCPD are operating under the same assumption.”

“We’re a minute out,” Erik noted. “Go ahead and take us that way nice and slow.” He cracked his knuckles and picked up his rifle. “When we land, I want to head straight into the fun.”

The MX 60 headed toward the darkened warehouse. The lack of nearby external lighting, even in the Shadow Zone, was suspicious in and of itself, but if the locals understood it was controlled by organized crime, that was all the reason they needed to avoid it.

Jia pulled out her stun pistol, turning it sideways to check out the small status lights. “CID trusts the 1-2-2.”

“Huh?” Erik slapped a fresh mag into the rifle.

“We’re one of the few EZs they’ve selected, and the only one of the closer EZs involved in the raid.” Jia smiled. “I’d like to think that’s because we’ve proven ourselves.”

“It’s because we’ve kicked criminal ass,” he offered. “Nothing gets you noticed like success.”

“All units, we’ve got movement,” announced the incident commander over their PNIUs. “Go, go, go!”

Emma accelerated. Red and blue holographic lights lit the area.

Men scurried from nearby alleys in fear, their worn clothes and ragged appearance suggesting they were homeless rather than gangsters. The police vehicles descended on the warehouse, several circling the area, along with the drones. The MX 60 stopped a few meters from their appointed entrance.

Erik threw open the door and leapt out, pointing his gun. Jia exited at the same time. “Hey!” Emma shouted as Jia vaulted over the hood to catch up with her partner.

He grinned but chose not to point out that Jia’d copied a move she had previously mocked.

CID agents and police flowed out of their cars to form an instant army. Large TPST transports opened their back doors, allowing exoskeleton-clad specialists to leap out with loud, resounding clanks as they hit the ground.

Another officer arrived at the door first and slapped a small black metallic patch on it. They didn’t have time to hack it, so the override patch would have to do unless they wanted to blow the entire thing open.

The door slid open a second later and the officer charged in, followed by Erik, Jia, and several others.

Several large cargo flitters were parked in the main bay. Judging by their appearance, they were either disguised or stolen from different companies, including local delivery specialists such as Windward and Lee and Sons.

CID could follow that up later.

Dozens of criminals with pistols took up positions behind the vehicles, crates, tables, and even overturned chairs. Additional police and CID agents rushed into the room. The large bay door rose with a rumbling hum, revealing several officers in exoskeletons.

“This is the police,” bellowed a loud voice from the intercom. “This facility is completely surrounded. Drop your weapons and put your hands up.”

The criminals loudly spewed profanities in a number of different languages. Neo SoCal was where the best of the world gathered, and after the best came the worst, hoping to make a few dollars of their own. The criminals kept looking around, hoping to see a way out as cops continued to pour into the building. Finally, they dropped their weapons and raised their hands, spouting curse words that impressed Jia with their comprehensive command of the language.

“Erik,” Emma transmitted. “Someone’s escaped the cordon.”

Erik spun, catching Jia’s attention, and they started running back out of the building. “Where?” His head swiveled from left to right.

“Multiple suspects.” Emma transmitted a green directional marker to Erik’s smart lenses. “Alerting 1-2-2 Incident Command.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll catch them.” He sprinted toward the fleeing suspects with Jia following, looking for anyone trying to ambush them.

The two detectives now led a small force of four other cops. The group rapidly closed on the six fleeing criminals. The suspects broke into two groups and ran in different directions. Erik and Jia followed one group, and the other cops rushed after the second.

The chase led Erik and Jia away from the darkened warehouse to a narrow street between distressed buildings in need of repair, but at least the occasional light shone to fight the gloom.

Jia jumped a pool of stagnant water. “Why always the stench?” she griped. “Couldn’t they choose an alley with better airflow?”

Eric snickered. What he was thinking, she was willing to say out loud. He dodged a shaky-looking pillar of boxes. “Why aren’t they shooting?”

“Maybe they don’t want to risk additional charges,” Jia called to him. “Or they realize who they’re dealing with?”

A bright yellow Taxútnta MX-60 hovered down the street. The car’s doors popped open, and the suspects picked up the pace of their desperate charge toward the vehicle.

“You obviously…share…similar tastes,” Jia remarked, panting as the two of them continued their effort to catch the criminals.

“Now they’re just pissing me off,” Erik growled. He ejected his magazine, catching it and slipping it into his pocket as he selected a different one, pulled it out, and popped it into his gun. He whipped up the weapon and narrowed his eyes. Using aim assist wouldn’t hurt, given the distance and the lighting.

Jia glanced at him, having overtaken him while he was switching magazines. “You haven’t fired a shot yet. Why did you reload?”

“You’ll see.” Erik slowed his run and waited until the three suspects had jumped into the car. He fired three times, satisfied with the blue arcs his shots produced. The flitter fell a meter to the ground, throwing out brief sparks.

“Disruptor bullets,” Jia observed.

“Trying to be more prepared,” he admitted as the two resumed their run.

The suspects hesitated for a few seconds before opening the doors, and the two detectives closed the distance. Erik shoved his weapon into one man’s face as he turned around, gun in hand. Jia stunned a second.

The third man, the driver, had his gun out but shook his head and ran for a nearby alley.

“Damn it.” Erik shoved his suspect to his knees. “Take care of this guy.”

Jia hurried around the front of the car and fired a round, stunning the suspect. “There.”

“That’s not what I meant, but that works.” Erik chuckled as the two of them hurried after the remaining suspect.

“You want to take him down, or should I?” Jia’s voice was getting a little strained. The run wasn’t a normal jog in the park.

“Knock yourself out,” he answered, looking around for any issues on their six.

Jia lined up her shot and fired once. The man yelped before collapsing. She winced at the hard impact and the two teeth that launched from his mouth.

“They shouldn’t run.” She shook her head. “This kind of thing wouldn’t happen if they didn’t run.”


I LOVE how Jia is coming along. Hehehe, she’s totally kicking butt and not asking questions!

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