“You have got to be kidding” Officer Vantas muttered to his partner as another hail of bullets raked over his squad car. “We ask for some XSWAT backup and this is what they send?”
The comments were indirectly focused on the lone XSWAT officer crouched behind a ruined truck. “Hey!” the woman responded, glowering at the APD officers through her metallic candy red sunglasses. “It’s not like I had a choice here. I think sending in a mecha or a couple of borgs would have been a much better choice than sending me to deal with something like this.”
Another burst of gunfire chewed up the scenery, scattering sparks, shrapnel and asphalt in all directions and forcing the three officers to keep their heads down. The assailant was piloting a reconfigured construction mecha, most likely serving as the strong arm of the now botched robbery. Likely involving rival mega corps. The target and accomplices to the rampaging mecha had managed to flee the scene. That’s gonna make things fun later on. Tyche spared a glance over the hood of the truck and then sat back down. “Hey, bright-boy! You’ve got a clear shot. Aim for the head.”
Officer Vantas looked incredulously at her. “What? That’s what you’re here for!”
Tyche held up both hands, showing that they were empty. “You’ve got a gun. Use it.”
“This thing? You’ve got to be joking! Besides, you’re XSWAT! Don’t you have magic or some other super powers or something?”
“Nope.” Tyche replied, glancing over to the hood of the truck once more.
“Then what are you even here for?!?”
“To help get you out of the shitty spot you’re in.”
“Really? Because it seems to me that you’re not only being completely unhelpful, but are making things worse by adding more to the body-count. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Tyche frowned. “Look, if you listen to me and do exactly as I say, everything will turn out alright. But you have to trust me.”
“That’s such a strong word.” Vantas frowned.
“Well, look at it like this then, doing or saying something that would get you guys hurt or killed is not in my best interest. Nor is letting this thing run around doing whatever it wants. So if you don’t trust me, then at least trust my motivations, and my motivations are to get out of this without getting any of us dead.” Tyche looked to the rampaging mecha again, its attention focused on another group of officers. “Now,” she continued, pointing to Officer Harley, Vantas’ partner “you go out and get its attention. Try shooting at the joints or something. Trust me, there’s no way it can hit you. And you, bright-boy, when he’s got that bot’s attention, shoot the head. Trust me; you’ll hit it, even from here.”
Both officers looked at each other. There was a moment of hesitation before they nodded.
“Great! Now, what are you waiting for? Go get it!”
At Tyche’s encouragement, Harley darted from behind the squad car, squeezing off two shots from his pistol. One of the bullets went wide, the other hitting the mecha’s knee with an ineffective plink. Instead of diving behind the nearest car, the officer ran more into the open, firing off three more shots; each hitting with the same lack of effectiveness.
“You’re harebrained plan is going to get him killed!” Vantas growled.
“Wait for it.” Tyche smirked, barely even acknowledging Vantas’ protest.
Almost as if on cue, the mecha turned its attention of the officer. The pilot laughed to himself and brought the heavy machine gun it was carrying to bear. “Die pig!” The machine gun roared to life again, unleashing a torrent of burning death towards the officer. Bullets screamed and tore through asphalt, concrete and air, filling the area around Harley with dust and smoke. Before the pilot could see his handiwork, Vantas rolled into the open and fired a single shot from his pistol.
Vantas’ shot hit the mecha’s head, the bullet penetrating the glass of the visor rupturing the cameras and sensors housed within. Suddenly blinded and confused, the pilot shifted the mecha suddenly to take a more defensive position as he fought furiously to bring the back-up sensors online. As the mecha moved, its feet gave out slightly as the system reacted to pivoting on gravel when it was expecting solid ground. Overcompensation then caused the mecha’s knee to give out, forcing the machine to the ground face-first.
The APD wasted no time in making the most of this unforeseen opportunity. Squad cars roared to life and surged forward, tires screaming as the cars devoured the distance between their prior positions and the stricken mecha. The intent was to box the machine in and prevent it from returning to its feet by using the mass of the vehicles to lock its limbs in place.
Officer Vantas watched everything transpire with amazed confusion. Five seconds, ten, tops between the time his partner started moving and the mecha’s lock down. “How did…” He scratched the back of his head. His partner, completely unscathed, shrugged his shoulders. “There’s no way…”
“What did you do?” Harley asked as he looked to Tyche as she approached.
“Yeah, there’s no way any of that could have happened on its own.” Added Vantas.
Tyche shrugged her shoulders and flashed a winning smile. “Nothing really, you all just happened to time everything juuuusssst right.”
“Yeah, but our guns aren’t rated against that sort of armor. No way our shots could have done anything on their own.” Vantas countered.
“I don’t know about that.” Tyche replied, shoving her hands into the pockets of her overcoat. “Stranger things have happened. I guess you could just consider yourselves lucky that it all worked out, right?”
Vantas and Harley exchanged glances and shrugged. “I… guess.”
“Glad you see it my way!” Tyche smiled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a slew of paperwork to go through now.”
* * * * *
“So let me get this straight, Serket.” Captain Normon Grayson began, leaning forward to massage his temple with his rune-encrusted mechanical hand. “You heard the request for XSWAT support and, despite also hearing acknowledgement that said support was en route; you still took it upon yourself to intervene.”
“Yep” Tyche replied.
“A ‘yes sir’ would suffice.” Grayson frowned. He did not bother to wait for a reply of understanding from the young officer; he knew it would not come. Is this really the sort of officer we’re getting now? I’m getting way too old for this. “Then, without authorization or acknowledgement from the APD OIC, you took command of two APD officers and ordered them to engage a threat that they were by no means equipped nor trained to handle.”
“Ahh.” Tyche raised a finger in protest. “I did not take command, nor did I order them to do anything. I… just suggested that they do the things I said. That is something I’m allowed to do, right? Suggest and advise?”
Grayson sat back and folded his hands on the surface of his desk. “Fine, you ‘suggested’ that two APD officers take your ‘advice’ to engage a threat that they were by no means equipped nor trained to handle.”
“Exactly.” Tyche nodded.
“What? Everything worked out and nobody got hurt. Well…nobody else got hurt and those who were already hurt weren’t hurt any more. Heck, even the pilot got out with only his pride being bruised. I’d call that a win.”
Grayson’s eye twitched.
“Look, who knows how many more people could have gotten hurt if I hadn’t stepped in when I did? And isn’t that what we’re all about, getting results? If you ask me, you can’t get better results than that! If anything” Tyche said, puffing up her chest. “I deserve an award or something.”
Yeah, or something alright. Grayson sighed and massaged his temples with both hands. “Alright, I’ll give you the results over procedure argument. Both the past and current director are far more concerned with results, so your actions are a reasonable extension of that policy. But that doesn’t mean you can just outright ignore it! There are reasons why we have SOPs in place. If you start ignoring them…” Grayson paused. About the same time that he realized that he had had this conversation with the officer across from him several times without any real effect, was about the time that he realized that he was on his feet leaning on his desk almost yelling at her. He could not help but be infuriated at this point; he had lost count of how many times he had to have this conversation with the woman.
At times it was like talking to a brick wall, Officer Serket did not listen quite simply because she did not want to listen and she made that abundantly clear almost every chance she got. He often wondered why she was here in the first place. But when he thought about her record and accomplishments he realized that despite her abysmal work ethic, perpetual habit of completely ignoring any sense of discipline and following regulations only when it suited her, she was a valuable asset. Every team that he attached her to had resounding successes. Situations where he fully expected casualties were minimized and many officers considered her some sort of good luck charm. In addition, she actually saved his precinct thousands of credits simply due to lower repair and maintenance costs. All of which was something that Grayson could not figure out for the life of him. She hardly ever fired her pistol and all reports repeatedly state that her actual actions were limited to almost hanging around.
While correlation is not causation, he could not discount the numbers, facts as presented and reports. They were quite clear: despite Officer Serket’s attitude and behavior, which was among the worst he had seen since the days that all hell broke loose twenty years ago, the precinct was enjoying a significant improvement in performance that started on the day of her arrival.
“…you know what? Never mind.” Grayson sat back down with an exasperated sigh. “While the report was certainly appreciated, that is not why I called you here in the first place.”
Tyche lifted a delicate brow in genuine curiosity. “What? You mean to tell me I told you all of that and then got yelled at for nothing?”
“Not really.” Grayson replied with a shrug. “I had already heard about what happened. Your report just gave me your side of the incident without the required paperwork. Just as well because I know that I would be waiting until the end of the world for you to actually file a report correctly.”
Tyche made a face and genuinely thought about sticking her tongue out. “So what did you call me in for then?”
Grayson produced a data pad and handed it to Tyche. “Seems you’re being transferred out of here. You aren’t my problem anymore.”
“What? Where? Why?” Tyche stammered, genuinely confused.
“No idea, didn’t read beyond the subject, date and the signature block.”
“HAH! Going to headquarters!” Tyche grinned. She wasted no time in powering on the data pad and going over its contents. “No… wait… temporary duty…new recruits… Awwwwwwww daaaaaaaammit! Babysitting duty! What the hell Grayson?!?” It was now her turn to be on her feet .
It took a good portion of Grayson’s willpower to keep from smiling at her displeasure. Though he found it was difficult to blame her; after all, he wouldn’t want that job either. “Captain Grayson. And it’s not as if I’m happy with it either. As much of a pain in my ass and the asses of pretty much everyone in the chain between us you are, I would rather keep you around.”
Tyche gave Grayson a sarcastic smile. “I’m touched. Isn’t there anything you can do about this?”
He shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “Unfortunately, no. It seems that you’ve managed to get someone’s attention and that someone has a particular need for your unique skillset. ”
“Bluh…” Tyche slumped her shoulders in defeat and sighed. “Fiiiiiiiine… I guess I’ll make the most of it.”
Grayson sat back in his chair. “Glad you see it that way. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some paperwork to go over, and you have a desk to clean out.”
Tyche left Captain Grayson’s office without a word, taking the data pad with her. After closing the door she looked at the data pad and keyed went over her transfer orders again. “…yeah…maybe they’ll put me in Alpha Sector or something when I’m done…”