by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
Despite his predicament, Brogan kept his cool. The weapon in Lerr’s hand commanded respect, even if that was the last thing Brogan would have given its owner. Lerr’s voice was a harsh sneer as he taunted Brogan for breaking in unannounced.
Lerr motioned to the a section of wall near the door. Brogan backed up as indicated. He didn’t dare reach for his own weapon, the odds weren’t in his favour. Lerr straightened his arm, the gun still aimed squarely at Brogan’s head. His finger tightened on the trigger. There was an explosion.
The blacked-out window shattered as Sergeant Costello crashed through it, hurtling straight for Lerr. Lerr spun to face the new threat, but was unable to fire before Cathy’s right boot connected with his face. Then passed right through it, followed by the rest of of the officer. She crashed onto the floor in a heap. Lerr turned and looked down at her, amused, before flickering out of existence. So it had been a hologram all along!
The sound of a hopper’s engine firing up caught their attention and they dashed to the broken window just in time to see a flashy red sports-hopper blast off from the roof-mounted garage unit. Costello snapped a hi-res image of the licence and transmitted it back to the 44 East Station House as she and Brogan tore down the fire escape and back to their cruiser.
Bats was the officer on duty when the message came through and she wasted no time having Slomo run the information through the criminal database. Bats wasn’t surprised to learn that the car had been reported stolen two days earlier and relayed the details to Brogan and Costello. They took to the sky in their cruiser and were soon in hot pursuit.
The sky-lanes were heaving, despite the lateness of the hour. Personal hoppers, commercial hover-trucks and customised craft of all shapes and sizes whizzed past the police cruiser. Giant electronic billboards covered the facades of most of the buildings, advertising everything from Grunge Cola to Dick’s Spanner Store. The flashing blue lights of Brogan and Costello’s vehicle were almost drowned out by the bright lights and flickering patterns of the adverts.
Costello sighted the stolen hopper ahead, weaving in and out between the slow-moving stream of vehicles in front of them. She called it out to Brogan, activated the external speaker system and requested the target vehicle reduce its speed and return to ground level. If Lerr heard, he took no notice. Brogan grinned at Cathy and floored the accelerator. The cruiser jumped forward like it had been kicked.
Brogan was reminded of countless pursuits through the streets of New York back when he had served with the NYPD, but of course back then there had only been left and right, not up and down. Still, he navigated the stream of traffic in a manner that years of experience had helped perfect.
When they were within range, Costello armed the Stinger emitter in the cruiser’s nose. Giving Lerr a final warning, she prepared to fire. Brogan swung the cruiser around a huge Tarpey-Tech haulage barge and then nodded to Costello. A bolt of blueish light blazed from the front of the cruiser and struck the rear of the sports-hopper with a burst of electromagnetic discharge.
In seconds, the speeding craft began to drop, falling towards street-level in a relatively controlled manner. Brogan knew the Stinger device had a built-in safety feature that allowed minimal power to flow to a vehicle’s levitation system even when forward propulsion had been knocked out. After all, they wanted to capture the criminal, not see him crash and burn on the sidewalk far below.
The cruiser hit the street with a thud and skidded to a stop beside a nearby building. Brogan landed close beside and Costello leapt out, weapon at the ready. As she approached the sports-hopper, another weapon appeared in the window and fired. In the blink of an eye, Cathy’s skin had changed to brilliant silver plating and the deadly projectile bounced harmlessly off her forehead. She returned the favour, blasting the weapon out of Lerr’s hand.
Lerr raised his hands through the sun-roof, his jaw dropping in amazement as Cathy’s features became human once again. Getting Lerr back to the Precinct was the easy part, but sorting his huge collection of stolen artifacts was another matter. Lieutenant Brogan has his team working with experts to identify and return each item as quickly as possible, adding “It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!”