The planet continues to spin, people still die, and no one gets a free ride. Despite the last bit, it's better than the second. My partner finally died 4 weeks ago, after not much hope - he certainly didn't get a free ride.
He and I bonded over the last two years of service in Psi-Enforcement. Class of '47, we had our moments. We had some great busts together, breaking the Bohroy Bros. slavery ring and tracking down the infamous Animus Cowboy. After hours, we'd kick it at my place or his apartment ... nothing beats a long day, like chilling out with a buddy. More often than not, we hung out at his place because of his dorky kid brother.
It wasn't John's fault. Their parents died in the riots, after that crazy meteor hit the atmosphere. That same meteor that rained dust down over the northern hemisphere for several weeks. Eventually, it cleared up, but nothing would ever be the same again. That group of skeptics on the paranormal declared bankruptcy immediately, there were that many freaks running around.
Recovery took twenty years, but the system is slowly falling back into place. Sure, there's a lot more brilliant criminals out there, but there's always that balance that comes in. Folks like John and I, willing to step in and stop the chaos before it kills us all. John has some expertise with his emotive control, and I can kinda fix anyone that's broken. Except ... except ... once.
About 6 months ago, we busted up a mad scientist's lab. Literally. John pumped up the scientist's thugs with blind, berserking anger, while we were battling against Melossor the Magnificent. It was one of those over-the-top scenes you see on the vids, dodging needleshots filled with god-knows-what. Mel was wearing some metal helmet, stopping most of John's attempts to end things neatly.
We ended up catching Mel alive, knocking him down with bullets. John secured him, while I saved the criminal's life. The trials go by a little faster now, but it wasn't a question of if he was guilty - just how much he had done. He had stolen a lot of equipment, killed some random people that were in the wrong place, and most importantly, not paid taxes on his capital gains. I wish the last part had been a joke. Anyways, we were heroes. We collected our brass penny and celebrated.
Celebrating at John's place was always that weird feeling of having someone stare at you all the time. Alex was a pretty normal kid for a dork, as usual, dressed in the slack clothes of high schoolers everywhere. John tried to keep him interested in things, but I bet his brother would have been just as happy sitting in front of a computer, jacking off to whatever porn kids read these days. Except, when I come over ... of course.
Blond hair, blue eyes, flattering figure ... I swear John uses me as bait sometimes. Not only do I bring the thugs out into the open with a little 'come-hither', unfortunately it also works on 16 year-old, socially inept telekinetics ... who need to learn a little more manners. Fortunately the beeper is useful for keeping minors in line - measuring some kind of brain wave, it can tell when they're doing something abnormal. It doesn't stop them, of course, but when you start hearing the beeps, you know the little pervert is up to something.
I think John and I would have hooked up over the past several years, except for a couple reasons - one, I wasn't willing to be Alex's mom. Two, John took his gift very seriously ... he swore that he liked me more than a friend, which I knew we shared. He just couldn't get off his high horse - he thought his powers may have spilled out, removing my free will to resist him. I figured over time, I'd be able to prove him wrong. In the meantime, my bedside drawer got opened on a nightly basis.
After the second time that night where I caught Alex out, I shoved him into his room. John is just way too easy on him. Yeah, he's just a teenager. He's got the hots for a hot girl. Hot girls shouldn't break him as he's coming out of his shell ... blah, blah, blah. Trying to tweak my nipple is NOT something junior kinetics should try. We did some mutual shouting, I managed some 'make-up' kisses before John sent me home ... Alex had school the next day, but we'd 'talk' long-term tomorrow. Finally!
The next day couldn't come fast enough. We'd be assigned new partners, but we were totally going to try things out. John left a message for Alex not to have dinner ready, and that they'd be having a guest over tonight. I could tell John's glances were a bit heated during the day, and mine were too. I was going to get laid tonight, then go home and retire my other best friend for the past 18 months.
When we finally got off shift, we picked up some carry-out on the way home. John explained that he'd be firm with Alex, and make sure I was made welcome without the funny business from last night. It was everything I dreamed of and more. Except when we got to John's place.
That fucker Alex ruined EVERYTHING. Again! He must've thrown a tantrum after heard the message. The place was wrecked. The furniture, the plants ... even their TV. I bet his beeper must've burned out, screaming that loud. I know I was screaming about that asshole. All of a sudden, it was like the lights turned out all of sudden. John's done this once before at work, during a high-tension setting ... my feelings were damped down, but I could think. He was clearly in shock, hopefully at how much his brother was a jerk, not from my outburst.
But we weren't at work, and he shouldn't have tampered with me - it's one of those things you're not supposed to do. I glared him and left. Eventually I'd get out of his range, go home, and cry it out. I'd still take that reassignment, just so I wouldn't keep putting myself through the wringer with John. He'd understand of course, but it wasn't what either of us wanted.
I didn't see him the next couple days at work. Either he was fixing up his place, spending the day with his brother, or just blowing town. He needed his downtime, so I guess it was fair. I did paperwork most of the days, waiting for the shift to be over. I kicked Brady, one of the patrollers, in the shin when he asked how soon John and I were getting married. He'd heard through the grapevine about the mutual reassignment requests due to 'personal reasons', and assumed. I was never going to live this down.
I stopped by his place on the way home. If we're going to break up, it'd be on my terms. The apartment was dark, but I knocked anyways. As the door eased open, I could hear his dry whisper. "Alex?" I flicked on my flashlight and scanned the main room for John.
It was obvious that he'd cleaned up some of the trash during the day, but somewhere he'd become broken. Blood-shot eyes wrenched away from the light, with sweat stains marking his clothes that he was still wearing from the last time I saw him. I could almost feel the tentative touches of emotion which is not normal - he had rock solid control ... I didn't know what was going on, but whatever it was...
As he released a deep sigh, his voice cracked on a single word.
The revolving door of Justice had smacked us on our asses. As cops, we're not supposed to take things personally. Criminals get a free ride, and a quick exit from jail if their lawyer is good enough. Melossor was out and about, and a goon of his had already paid John a visit to deliver the message. If he wanted to see his brother alive, he'd play by Melossor's rules — no cops, and show up at a certain warehouse at midnight tomorrow.
John took it hard. He wouldn't even consider not doing it, that Alex was facing certain death and/or torture because of John. I love him for it, but it made him blind to other options. The two of us beat Mel before, we could beat Mel again — if it was the two of us.
We'd have to work it out ourselves — bringing in other people would up the risk factor, and spoil any of our chances in hiding our involvement. John was evasive — he didn't want to bring me into it, but he listened to reason. He had a hard time looking me in the eye ... all I wanted was us. He wanted to be everything — noble, pure, a good brother, a good boyfriend. We eventually agreed to meet back here at 11pm, giving us just enough time to get there for the midnight meet. Before I left, John held me for what seemed like an hour. I know I love him, and he loves me — once this mess is straightened up, he's not going to be able to leave his bedroom for a week.
The next day was rough. John was still "out sick", and all I wanted to do was talk to him. I was nervous about the hit tonight, but there was no way I would disappoint John. Hell, maybe I'll even let my camisole slip to give Alex a free look. Probably not, but I'll cut him some slack.
The evening dragged on, and it took too much effort not to show up early. Having checked my weapons and defensive shields multiple times, I finally took off. Arriving at John's place, I could see a light on in his bedroom — he's still getting ready. I swiped my passcard at the door, and headed up. Heading in, the apartment was cleaned up a lot. He must have needed to get it out of his system, and he was always kind of a neat-freak.
Strange. He's not responding to my call out. I drew my pistol as I approached his room — maybe Melossor struck again? The only light came from the desk lamp. He wasn't here. I went to check out his desk, only to find a fucking note.
"Dear Stace —
I love you. I will always love you, and I am ashamed of my cowardice — I can't lose you to my folly. It's me or Alex, and Alex shouldn't die in my place. That said, I lied to you — the meet was set for 10pm. Hopefully, when you arrive at midnight, it'll be to take Alex and I home. If Alex survives by himself, look after him. I've left papers naming you his guardian if something bad happens. He's not easy to deal with, and I don't think I've been the best father figure for him, but if you could do this for me ... well, I can't promise you anything. In love, John"
I started heading out the door, tears falling as I moved faster and faster. The warehouse he mentioned was 45 minutes away — I could call the cops, but it would probably end up with both of them dead and me out of a job. I could only hope that John knew what he was doing.
When I pulled up, the warehouse was dimly lit inside. Doing a frontal assault would get a single person killed. John had the finesse skills — he could get the guard feeling like he needed a leak, and we could take guards out one at a time. I had to hope to stealth in through a backdoor.
Fortunately, Melossor had been running low on goons. I only had to zap one watching the back door, before letting myself in. I almost stumbled into some barrels — the amount of cables strung across the floor was ridiculous. There's some kind of talking going on deeper in the warehouse, but it's going to take some time if I want to get there quietly. It doesn't sound like John's voice, but I still have hope.
The stage is set almost like a crappy 3V movie. Alex and John are laid out on operating tables underneath spotty lighting, while a metal-capped Melossor is traipsing back and forth between them and his screens. I count 3 goons, but Melossor is the dangerous one. He needs to go down with the first shot. Alex and John seem drugged, but that also means they're still alive. If they're alive, that means there's time for a little bit of prep, setting up some distractions. As I get closer for my shot, I start getting the shakes from what he's saying.
"This will put all of us into the history books, boys. A little bit of sacrifice, but it will all be worth it. John, what do you say, are you in?"
There's a muffled sound from John, and one of the guards twitches slightly involuntarily, but it's clear that this will all have to be my effort.
"Excellent sir, the show must go on!"
With that, he flips a switch — shit! John and Alex start writhing in pain, strapped down to their tables. With the goons distracted, I take a shot at Melossor, hitting his right shoulder and paralyzing that half of his body. As the guards start realizing I'm here, I close my eyes and pop the remote flares — I might have some after-images, but they're running blind. I switched over to killing shots, and shot them as they were tripping over the cables I cussed out earlier. The flares started some small fires around the lab, but weI'll have time to get out.
Hunting for a mad scientist is not my favorite thing — they have gadgets, a poor moral code, and there's no way you can guess what they'll do next. Unfortunately, it turns out he's also left-handed, and zapped me right in the back as I crept around the wrong edge of John's table.
He turned me over so he could look at me in the eyes. He knew me, obviously.