I considered trying to pick one off before making a run for it, but at this range and with my electronic eye on the fritz I would probably just miss. No need to let them know I am armed until absolutely needed. It might even keep them from shooting back, for a little while. I ducked my head down and bolted a block down for an alley, just in case they were clever and had the one next to me covered. There was a loose bit of pipe on the way by that I leaned down and snatched up, never know when such a thing might be useful. I could make out the cycle engines gunning behind me, they weren’t in a hurry and wanted to play a bit first. Good that gave me some room to maneuver.
I hung the first right then a left as the rain started to come down ducking behind a corner as my shoulder impacted with the old brick. Just a moment to catch my breath as I caught a single headlight cruising my way. If he was just overconfident enough…I stepped out of my hiding spot taking a wild swing with the pipe as he came by. There was a solid ring as I glanced his head, the bike winding off into the wall with a crash. Damn, better aim and I would have taken him out completely. Fighting with one good eye is harder than you might think. I could hear more cycles closing so I took off in the other direction rather than stopping to put him own for the count. Call it a learning experience for him, I doubt he will make that mistake again. The sound of the ganger trying to start his bike while righting it and swearing up a storm echoed off the bricks as I doubled back and grabbed the first right turn I could find. The roar of cycles started in the distance from several directions at once. My pursuers were circling the main roads and if I was really unlucky calling for backup. I usually just assume I am going to be unlucky, it saves time.
Judging by the noise there were at least five maybe six bikes out there. I twisted and turned through the back alleys, taking a deep breath before sprinting across an open road and back into the relative safety of the alleys. As a small blessing my eye began to reinitialize, the world coming back into depth and color, and more importantly infrared. A pair of bikes made the turn into the alley, carrying a biker staring me down from under a pony tail, and a bald man with more weight than was really good for him. They revved up the throttle and sped in my direction to run me down. I kept an eye over my shoulder as they closed the gap between us then threw the bit of pipe at the last moment, diving to the edge of the alley. This time it was a perfect throw hitting pony tail right between the eyes. His bike veered off sending the both of them crashing into the opposite wall of the alley. The ear splitting sound of twisting metal filled the alley and I could hear the sickening crunch of at least one broken bone as they hit the pavement. The bald pile of trouble manged to throw his bike off and rush me as I lifted myself off the cold pavement, knocking me back into the wall. I dropped low and hit him with a quick one-two in each side of the gut, backing him off me with a stagger. He came back with a wild haymaker which I easily ducked and countered with a right handed uppercut, watching his eyes roll back in his head as my metal fist connected right under his chin and sent him sprawling to the floor. I didn’t have time to make sure he was down for the count. I turned to his friend, unconscious and trapped in the bike crash. Even at a glance I could tell the bikes were not going anywhere, at least not fast enough to matter. I saw a small comm unit laying next to his unconscious form and grabbed as I focused my mind back on the task at hand and kept running further into the dark.
A welcome voice lit up in my earpiece just as sirens started to sound in the distance. “Contact reestablished Detective. Was that an EMP?”
I ducked down behind a corner. “And a big one, and chance of finding me a way out of here that does not involve being shot, beaten, or both?”
“There is no local surveillance in the area I can access, the best I can do is a map and a call to the police…wait, they have already been alerted. The EMP and the noise you have been making attracted some attention.
Sure enough I could hear the sirens in the distance and the sound of cycles breaking off and making a run for it. I found a quiet corner and hid, as they were looking for bikers there was a fair chance they would pass me by, and I was too busy at the moment to spend four hours being grilled by John Law. I saw the last of the police cruisers pass by in search of bikers too dumb to run, before I stood up from by hiding spot. “The car back online yet.”
“Online and a block away Detective.”
“Perfect, let’s get out of here before I get myself arrested again.” I slid into the Fairlane, making a tight U-turn as I sped out of the area and back into the sane parts of Los Angeles, well less violent anyways. I set the auto drive and mulled through the night in my head. That was not a chance encounter. They wanted me for something and alive. Either they wanted to know why I was tailing their guy, or someone paid them to make my life difficult. Leaving the other question of who would be crazy enough to give those idiots military grade hardware. Let’s hope it was a one time deal or there might be blood on the streets before long. “Sarah check surveillance and the car, make sure no one is making a clever attempt to follow us.”
“There was a small device placed on the car, most likely right after you left. It was not well concealed and has already been neutralized.”
After verifying the state of the car, I took a shortcut back to the office and Sarah was waiting for me as I came through the door. “Are you in need of any medical attention Detective?”
“No” I plugged the communicator from the goon into our computer. “See what you can make of this.”
“Appear to have been several messages on here forwarded from another person. The text has been deleted. I may be able to recover the point of origin.
“Start on that.” I opened Burke’s file scanning it for an reason he would be having clandestine meeting , besides the obvious. Their back alley get together in gangland did not strike me as particularly romantic. I loaded the pictures I had of her into our case database, tapping my fingers as the machine tried to match her to public records.
“Have you figured out why someone tried to harm you this time detective?”
“I have a few working theories, the two most likely being that Burke has more protectors than he knows or the small possibility that Timothy is taking an early swipe at me by drawing some violent attention my way. It would be a perfect set up. His hands are clean and I go away. I don’t think he has worked himself up to that point though, at least not yet. Since they were trying to take me alive it is a fair assumption they are not quite sure what I am doing there. Any working ideas on where they came up with an EMP of that grade?”
Sarah sat on the edge of my desk looking over my shoulder. “None of their known contacts would have access to that kind of hardware. They must be making new friends.”
I spun around in my chair to face Sarah. “That’s what worries me. If they can get their hands on that, they may have other high end weapons, possibly of the armor piercing or explosive kind.
“Someone is entering the building Detective.” My hand went into my coat resting on the automatic pistol I had stashed their earlier. “Wait, police access. I do not recommend shooting at Lieutenant Bruno.”
“I don’t think a bullet or three would kill him, he would just get mad at me, more than usual anyways. Let him in.”
The front door of the office slid open and in came Lieutenant Anton Bruno. Only one robotic BULS unit stood outside the door, so he probably wasn’t planning to arrest me this time. I stood from my desk. “To what do I owe the pleasure Lieutenant?”
Bruno adjusted his suit taking in the view of the office with a mild disdain. “The usual, trouble that I think you might know something about.”
“Oh, What did I do this time…hypothetically.”
“A car matching your description was seen near the midnighter’s territory. BULS units and a few officers cleared the area as multiple motorcycles were discovered in a search pattern. Which means to me they did not find what they were looking for. My bet is it was you.” Lieutenant Bruno walked up to my desk staring down at me. “Care to enlighten me?”
“I don’t think I match the description of any kind of car Lieutenant. That being said I was working for a client last night, and cannot give you information on my activities without proper warrants.” I returned the good Lieutenant’s glare with a smile. “Because I do like to help the police when I can, I will contact my client and see what information I can give you tomorrow.”
“Ok play it that way Sloan. We both know I don’t have enough for a search yet. Hope that does not change. If it does I’ll be back with a pack of BULS to turn this place upside down until I find something I like. I might even have them turn you upside down just to be thorough.” Bruno turned around on his heel and headed out the door. “You spend to much time talking to the air Sloan. It’s making you more difficult then usual.” I could just make out the sound of the door sliding closed behind him.
Sarah tilted her head. “Was that directed at me? How rude.”
I turned my attention back to Sarah. “I am afraid the Lieutenant is a traditionalist. Back to more important matters. Do we have anything on Burke.”
“Actually yes, He is on his way to the Greater Los Angeles Launch Pad. In a related note several messages from your captured communicator lead to Zeta Station.”
“If I move now how far behind will I be?”
“Scanning schedule…4 hours is the best I can do.”
“Then let’s hope Burke can wait a few hours before doing something interesting.” I am going to stash this comm unit then head out.”
“Ticket booked detective.”
I made my way to the car and headed off to be launched to Zeta Station.
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