Bridge of The Broken

‘Some days I fuckin’ love my job,’ Venkman thought, returning the breacher to his belt and hefting the ram in one hand. There were few things he enjoyed more than taking doors; savoring the moment just before cracking a door, when all was in readiness against the unknown, but what lay beyond remained part of an unformed future.

Their informant claimed the target door was under two centimeters thick and bolted about a handspan above the handle. It certainly looked like solid alloy construction; not all that unusual in Starfall, with its high crime rate.

‘I wonder if the shot-callers don’t order a burg or two simply to make it easier to make the security on their labs and stash houses blend in better,’ he thought, keying his mic and saying simply, “Up.”

“Up,” Étienne’s voice, quietly confident. The back was covered.

“Copy that. When ready, Venkman, I’ll start the notice,” DuPlaissance said.

Venkman checked the stack, got all thumbs up. Sergeant Trudeau met his eye, smiled and nodded. He clicked his mic in the all-up signal.

“Police! Search Warrant! Police du Nouvelle Genève! Mandat de perquisition!” the lieutenant’s voice, blaring from the loudspeakers mounted on the body armor of all the officers.

Raising the ram, Venkman took a practice swing, lining up on the sweet spot. Satisfied, he drew it back until it was nearly touching the shoulder of the officer behind him. Pivoting the weight of hips into it, Venkman reversed the ram’s direction of travel, triggering the charges only as it gained forward momentum. The trio of tiny explosions cracked the heavy door loose in the instant before he brought the ram home.

The door didn’t fall as expected, instead sending the ram back the way it had come and Venkman lurching off-balance. He almost hit Trudeau with the rear of the heavy length of metal, the rebound was so unexpectedly hard.

The arrest team stalled, lots of wide eyes under helmet brims indicating their surprise.

“Shit, Venkman,” Baptiste muttered from his place two down in the file.

‘Motherfucker, no door takes two hits!’ Venkman thought, embarrassment spiking anger.

He quickly re-set his feet and launched another. This time the door thumped inward with the sharp report of snapping metal. Venkman stepped aside and dropped the ram as the door toppled into the hallway.

The stack hammered past, a shouting blue freight train of meat and aggression.

Venkman drew his sidearm. As door-cracker on a small building, he’d been given no specific assignment beyond getting the main door open, so he followed in their wake, ready to offer help should anyone need it.

Stepping off the fallen door, his boot clipped something that clattered down the hall. A broken stretch of metal about four centimeters on a side spun to a halt against the wall, the broken end the off white of shattered metal. The door hadn’t just been bolted, but also barred across the middle. He bent and picked up the piece, found it still warm from the breaking stress.

Bruised ego somewhat soothed, Venkman put the piece in his cargo pocket and followed the noise of the rest of the team.

“Resistor, front room left,” Baptiste said over the radio right as Venkman looked into the very room.

Probably a living room at one time, the place looked like a bedroom decorated by crazed and colorblind electronics technicians vomiting forth all the spare parts left behind in their labors. Wires went in and out of walls and stacks of archaic monitors, more modern displays, input ports, printers, cortex-cases, and other, less recognizable accoutrements of a sick mind far too interested in the internal workings of such devices. Speed did that to a body; motoring that long and that high gave lots of time to pick things apart.

Baptiste, his recruit, and a half-naked man were struggling on a narrow bed in the center of the disaster of a room. Venkman hesitated, wanting to help but also knowing Bap wouldn’t thank him for fucking up a training opportunity. The struggle looked low-grade, and Bap had already complained of a lack of opportunities to address his recruit’s lack of experience with the shit hitting the fan.

As Venkman dithered the suspect flexed, sending the young officer flying. She fetched up against a battery of monitors, waded back in with a snarl. Venkman admired her spirit, if not her technique: the charge ended on the point of one of the suspect’s knees, sending the air whiffing out of her in a high almost-whistle. She slumped to the ground in the narrow space beside the bed.

Decision made for him, the big man moved. He reached the foot of the bed as Baptiste managed to wrench one of the suspect’s sweat-slick arms back and into handcuffs. Grabbing an ankle, Venkman yanked the leg straight even as Caron began to climb the man’s arm from the floor.

Trying to avoid having his arm dislocated at the shoulder, the suspect rolled toward Caron, giving Venkman his first full exposure to the resister. Venkman didn’t recognize him, but from his thinner than-humanly-possible frame and the rank stench of burnt-out humanity he exuded, the man must also have been responsible for the decor.

Caron used the suspect’s movement in her direction to her advantage, bending his arm at the elbow to present the wrist to Bap for cuffing.

Never one to ignore an opportunity, Jean snapped the cuffs on. He rolled the man on his belly, pinning him to the bed under one knee. Realizing Baptiste was after something, Venkman stepped back to give his partner space and time. Caron didn’t. She took hold of the man’s arm, started to pull him upright.

“Don’t,” Baptiste said, hands diving into the bedding.

The pretty redhead either didn’t hear or was too amped to process her training officer’s words, either way, she continued to haul on his arm.

“Mawg!” the suspect moaned, wrenched between Baptiste’s knee in the small of his back and the upward pull of the recruit.

“Recrue Caron! Stop! He’s got something!” Jean shouted, hands busy.

That got through. Caron let go. The suspect fell flat again.

Baptiste yanked a short-barreled pistol from the prisoner’s filthy underwear. Holding it up and safely away, he bounced off his knee to his feet, coincidentally pressing the suspect hard into the mattress, forcing another groan.

Venkman keyed his mic, “One in custody, front room.”

A bit of shouting from the back of the house, the discharge of a stick closely followed by the all-clear over the radio from Trudeau.

“Vilnius, what were you gonna do with this?” Baptiste asked.

Memory clicked into place, ‘Vilnius, liked to think himself a gangster of the old school- never thought he’d be one to go with the sauce.’ Venkman glanced at the tiny coilgun in Baptiste’s hand, ‘Civilian weapon, a round that missed armor would still ruin anyone’s day. Hell, even a round caught in armor would make for a lot of crying and hair-pulling.’

“What?” Vilnius said without turning his head to look, “You planted that shit on me!”

“Yeah, I’ve got nothing better to do than risk my career on nailing your petty ass with a crime, asshat,” Baptiste muttered.

“No, man, you got nothing on me! I know how the NGPD works; framing us off-worlders for your dirt. I was just sleeping when you jumped me!”

Caron shook her head, “I’ve been on this job like two seconds, and even I don’t think that bullshit will fly, Vilnius.”

Venkman laughed, “Got that right, Caron.”

Bap snorted, slipped the weapon into the back of his gun belt, “Right, let’s get him up.”

“Lieutenant, two in custody, quite a bit of dope, lab fixings,” Trudeau’s voice on the radio, “Something else.  It’s a bit odd.”

“I ain’t got shit to do with that,” Vilnius hissed as Venkman dragged him to his feet.

“Of course you don’t, you were asleep while all that money and dope was passing back and forth right in front of you,” Bap said, rolling his eyes.

“Go fuck yourself.”

“With all due respect, I refuse to fuck myself.”