Tactical Alert

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"One Last Mission"

The parking lot triage. Yeah, we’re still here. Well, what do you know? I can actually walk! Not very far and certainly not very fast, but I can do it! Will wonders never cease? I even tried to eat some of those donuts, but other people already took all of the good ones. Most of the ones left in the box have coconut on them. Coconut flakes are God’s way of telling you that there’s evil in paradise. Hawaii may look like the Garden of Eden, but eat a coconut and you’ll understand why the serpent was there in the first place. Oh, well. If we’re not dead by the time we make it back to our neighborhood, there’s a 7-11 nearby and we can grab some candy bars there. I think I can eat those. I don’t think I could eat anything else. Well, maybe chicken soup. Solid food? That’s going to be on the back-burner for at least a day. I’m kind of amazed that I’ve still got all of my teeth, seeing as I’ve been punched in the mouth several times already. From now on, I’m going to get one of those mouth guards that the football players wear and keep it in my gear bag just in case. An ounce of prevention, right?

Our guys are at least moving around, though not very much. I saw Sergeant Gellar before he headed back to Woodlawn Station. He looked like somebody had used him for a piñata. Yeah, he was finished. Sergeant Hendrickson said he gave as good as he got back there, but that’s small comfort. I’s really worried that he’s going to end up with some injury that’s going to plague him for the rest of his life. After what he’s been through, that’s a real possibility. Sergeant Hendrickson’s shoulder is absolutely killing him. The paramedics gave him a shot of something to help with the pain, but I don’t know what it was. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough. He’s been holding his arm against his side for the last several minutes. That and the fact that his face looks like somebody used it for a punching bag tells me he might have to come out of the field, too. He’s in terrible shape. So are all of us. Then again, what difference does it make? We’re done. We’re out of here. We’re just waiting around for some senior officer to take over so we can inform him that we’re done for the night and we’re headed back to Central Division. And for tomorrow, and maybe for the next week! I don’t know who’s supposed to take over here. Judging by the number of units in the parking lot, I figure it’s got to be a lieutenant at least. You don’t dump a total cluster fuck like this one on a sergeant.

The people in the crowd? Once they saw the Transit cops wailing on them like a pack of rabid hyenas, most of them beat feet. Boy, were those Transit cops ever pissed! Signolo said they’d taken some pretty heavy casualties here and in Avalon Division, so they were out for blood. Hey, that’s fine with me. They can have as much as they want as long as it’s the assholes’ blood. They can take their fucking scalps for all I care. I’m done worrying about these fucking assbags. They’ve literally beaten the sympathy out of me and everyone else. As far as I’m concerned, whatever happens to them from now on, they deserve it. They’re certainly not stopping their bullshit. I was listening to the radio a minute ago and it’s going crazy. It’s one all-units or officer-needs-help call after another. I feel kind of bad for not being out there helping, but we’ve done enough for a lifetime out here. It’s time for us to stand down, lick our wounds, and let someone else worry about this shit.

I see Acevedo’s on his phone. I guess they’ve still got service in this sector. Normally, I’d say he was setting up a party for after we go end of watch or maybe placing a bet, but now? God only knows. He’s probably calling his girlfriend to tell her he’s still alive. He really needs to marry her. If she can put up with him for this long, then she’s got to be the one and only. Not many women would do that. Put up with him and his insanity, I mean. Most people would’ve bet he’d be dead by now. It certainly isn’t for lack of trying. He needs to settle down. Remind me to talk to him about that when this nightmare is but a distant memory.

“Don’t tell me you’re going out clubbing after this. I’ll strangle you right here.”

“No, I was calling the hospital where they took Garcia. No one would tell me anything. I don’t know if he’s in surgery or what. I don’t even know if he’s still alive.”

“He’s alive. He’s going to be fine. The paramedics at the scene said so. I don’t think they would’ve lied to me about it. You can go see him tomorrow.”

“I’ll go see him tonight. I’m not going anywhere until I know he’s OK.”

And he means it, too. I can tell. Unless you’ve been a police officer, you can’t imagine what losing a partner does to you. Acevedo will sleep in a straight-backed chair for a week if he has to, but he’ll be there when Garcia comes out of surgery. Harper and I want to be there as much as he does, but we have to get home to Emily.

“You just make sure you call us as soon as you know anything. I mean it. I don’t care what time it is; you call us.”

“I will. Hey, I heard Ruiz is back home. They stitched him up and discharged him last night. I’ll try to give him a call, too. He might be too doped up to answer, though.”

“I wish. He’s probably parked in front of a TV, watching this shit. He might even see us all get our asses kicked if he switches to Channel 4. That news helicopter had to have caught the whole thing.”

“Yeah, maybe they’ll make it into a training video?”

“Sure. They’ll call it ‘What not to do in a goddamned riot!’ It’ll be a big hit.”

“It never would’ve happened if it weren’t for that shit-brained Satterfield! I hope they fry his ass for that!”

“I’m not counting…”

“Don’t worry! We will!”

What? Commander Mancia! I didn’t even see him there. Jesus, he looks ten years older than when I last saw him! The strain is really getting to him!

“Sir, I didn’t see you there.”

“I’m surprised you can still see at all. How are you doing, Lynott? No bullshit, either. I already got a full report.”

Not from us, he didn’t. I wonder who he spoke to?

“Hanging in there by a thread, sir. Hey, thanks for buying us lunch. We really appreciate it.”

“That was the least I could do. Guys, I’m sorry this happened to you. Nobody knew that idiot was going to go wading into a hostile crowd. He didn’t clear it with anyone. But I’ve got to hand it to you for charging in there. I just saw the raw footage from that news chopper. That was something else!”

“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, sir. We didn’t know what else to do. Hey, there were two other officers in the crowd. What’s the word on them?”

“They took a beating. Not nearly as bad as you people did, but they took their lumps. Lynott, I’m sorry about this. It wasn’t supposed to go down this way. I was told there’d be a dozen units at least. Unfortunately, there’s a major incident in Lafayette Division. A bunch of gang members got into a shootout with our people and they ran into an apartment building and took hostages. They’re still in there. SWAT’s there and Deputy Chief Doyle ordered most of the units assigned to Woodlawn to get over there and cordon off the area until the National Guard can relieve them. Some of the gangsters have got rifles. The perimeter is a mile wide in every direction. Major civilian evacuation. It stripped the division and I didn’t get the word that they wouldn’t be back here in time. If I’d known there wouldn’t be any backup, I’d have ordered everyone to steer clear of this protest. This is on me. I don’t have any excuses.”

“Sir, you’re not the one who beat the crap out of us.”

“I’m responsible for every officer in the south end for the duration of this alert. It’s on me whether I like it or not. I fucked up. I left you out there with no backup. I don’t have any excuses for you.”

Yeah, it really sucks when people suffer for your mistakes. At least he’s got the guts to take responsibility for it. I can think of plenty of people on the command staff who would be washing their hands of it. That’s almost par for the course anymore.

Here comes Lieutenant Hagan. Damn! Look at Mancia’s face! I guess he’s not used to seeing a lieutenant in that condition. Who is?

“Good Christ! Jack, are you all right?”

“Fine, sir. You should see the other guy.”

Commander Mancia’s not buying that bullshit any more than I am. The Lieutenant’s lucky to be alive. One look at him can tell you that.

“Was the other guy a Grizzly bear? Because you look like you got mauled by one! Fuck! Did that go through your vest?”

That slash across his chest. It sure as hell went through a few layers of Kevlar. I can see them split open from here.

“No, but I’m going to need a voucher for a new one. I think this one is history. What brings you here, sir? The festivities are over. This is just the aftermath.”

“How bad was it? What’s your status?”

“It was bad enough. Our status is we’re finished. Yesterday, I came here with fourteen officers and picked up another one when we got here. I’ve got six officers left. Maybe seven. I don’t know about Sergeant Hendrickson yet. His shoulder is pretty bad. Lynott, Harper, Acevedo, and Signolo are my only remaining patrol officers. Ivanell should probably be in a neck brace, but he refuses to stand down until the rest of the watch does. Commander, consider this my official notification: Central Midwatch is now combat-ineffective and end of watch. More than half of my people are in the hospital and the others should all be there right now. I’m putting the entire watch on IOD status until further notice. I’ll file the paperwork after I get home and soak in a tub for a few hours.”

Good idea. Just make sure you don’t accidentally drown in there. With the way he looks, I think that’s a real possibility. Hang on! I don’t like that look on Commander Mancia’s face! Oh, fuck no! He’s not going to order us back out there! “B” watch is down! He’s got all the people he needs! Fuck that shit! We’re going home!

“Jack, I hate to hit you with this, but I’ve got one last mission for you and your people.”

“Commander, look at these guys! Do they look like they’re in any shape to go back out there? They should all be in traction right now! The answer is no!”

“Hear me out, will you? We just got information from the Gang Unit: that suspect from the apartments? Tremell Boone? The one who killed Officer Valderama? He’s been sighted in the Royce Gardens Projects within the last hour. I need you and your people to go in there and arrest him.”

Is he fucking shitting me? Go back into the Royce? After everything we’ve been through? In this condition? He’s out of his mind!

“Commander, I told you: we’re done. My people can’t do any more. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all IOD. I’ll be happy to take them all to a hospital so a doctor can concur.”

“I know it’s a shitty thing to do, but I don’t have anyone else. Most of these officers around here? They’re from Valley Bureau. The majority of them have less than three years on the job and they’ve never set foot in a South Bureau division before. The Royce is huge and it’s as dangerous as hell. I need someone who’s been there before. Someone who knows the layout. Someone who can get the job done. This Boone character? The Gang Unit tells me he’s got relatives up and down the east coast and he’s already contacted people to get him out of the city. If he makes it back east, we may never get another crack at him. This asshole killed a cop. We can’t let him go. Look, I’ve got the warrant for him right here!”

He actually found a judge to sign that thing? I figured they’d all be hiding beneath their beds right now. Fortunately, Lieutenant Hagan isn’t having any of it.

“Sir, that sounds a lot like a job for SWAT. High-risk warrant service is their area of expertise.”

“SWAT’s tied up on that barricaded suspect in Lafayette. That thing isn’t going to end anytime soon. This asshole’s friends will probably try to drive him out of the city later tonight. We know where he is. It’s now or never. I need a fire brigade. As under-strength as your watch is, you’re the best I’ve got. I trust you people. I’ve seen what you can do. I know I can rely on you. We’ve got to move on this now.”

I think it’s time for me to chime in. He seems to be glossing over a few things.

“Sir, the Royce is one of the biggest housing projects in the city and it’s got more gang members than anywhere else in Woodlawn. Boone’s RGC. That means he’s got about fifty of his asshole friends watching his back right now. You’ll need an army to get in there and take him away from them.”

“That’s just it: our informant says there’s almost no gang members over there right now. They’re all out on the street. This is our best chance. We know what apartment he’s supposed to be in. Six or seven of you against two or three gangsters? I think you can handle them.”

“Uh-huh. And when one or more of them pulls out a gun and starts shooting?”

“Then you shoot the sons of bitches right between the eyes before they ever bring their guns up. This punk killed a police officer, Lynott. I don’t have any problems with you bringing his ass back in a body bag. The same goes for anyone trying to help him.”

A nice sentiment, but there’s that pesky little thing called reality standing in the way. I’d better bring him down to earth.
“Yeah, but you won’t be sitting on the Shooting Review Board after we storm a housing project and end up blowing away another black kid. We’re already going to be raked over the coals for the shootings we’ve had so far, sir. You know that. And they’re going to say that the chances of us shooting this asshole were so high that we never should’ve gone in there to begin with. We were there when Valderama was killed, sir. They’re going to say it was payback, plain and simple. They’ll say we never should’ve gone near it. They’ll rule it a bad shooting and they’ll crucify us. I’ve been through the political bullshit before, sir. I know how it works. So do you.”

This thing has disaster written all over it. As much as I want to get that son of a bitch, I’m not about to have the squints throw us to the sharks after the public screams bloody murder. They’re already going to scream from the mountaintops over everything that’s happened so far. Just watch.

“Lynott, if it comes to that, I’ll tell them that I gave you a direct order to go in there and get him no matter how it turns out. I’ll even put it in writing: you’re authorized to use any means necessary to get that son of a bitch. This isn’t going to come back on you or the watch. No matter which way it goes, it’ll be on me. What do you say?”

God, I want to get that asshole! And I’d be more than happy to blast his ass right where he stands! But we’re wiped out! I don’t know if we can do this! I mean, if the gangbangers are all out raising hell, we’ll never have a better opportunity. He says he knows what apartment this little shithead is in right now. We get in, kick down the door and grab his ass or blow him away when he reaches for his gun. We could do it in about five or six minutes. I don’t want him getting away. Not in this or any universe known to man or God.

“Harper, what do you think?”

“That depends. Sir, how good is this intelligence? You said it came from an informant. How reliable is this source?”

“The Gang Unit tells me it’s solid. I’m taking their word for it.”

They’re usually pretty good about things like this, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had some spectacular failures. I know. I’ve been there for some of them.

“I don’t know, Dani. We’re taking a lot on faith in pretty uncertain circumstances. Sir, will there be any backup for us if we run into anything?”

“I’ve got six units ready to go in there at a moment’s notice if you guys run into any shit. That’s guaranteed. I can move them into position as soon as you people are inside the gates. I’m telling you, there’s almost no gangbangers in there right now. You’ll be in and out in a flash.”

Uh-huh! Famous last words!

“Acevedo? What do you think?”

“I say we get the son of a bitch!”

Like I even had to ask!

“Signolo?”

“Yeah. He killed a cop. We don’t let that shit slide. Not ever!”

All right, if they’re up for it, then I guess we are, too.

“We’re all in, sir. But give us that order in writing, just in case. Lieutenant? How do you want to handle it?”

“I was hoping you and Acevedo could come up with something. You know that place better than any of us. But you’d better make it fast. It doesn’t sound like we’ve got a lot of time.”

“All right. Commander, where is this little shithead?”

God, I hope this goes fast and easy! I don’t know why I’m trusting this information. I mean, nothing else has gone right since we got here. Well, maybe we’re due for a break? Fine. One last mission. One more and then we’re out of here! I don’t care if they find the devil himself hiding out in this division! We’re fucking done!


Here we are again: the Royce Gardens Housing Projects. The last time, we were at full strength and none of us had been beat to shit or gone without sleep for two days. What a difference a day and a half makes! Now we can barely walk! My legs feel like they’re on fire! Every one of us is hurting, but the chance to catch a cop killer pretty much trumps your pain. I agree with Commander Mancia: if this little shithead has relatives all along the east coast, then he could disappear there forever. I’ve heard the detectives talk plenty of times about assholes who ran east and were never seen or heard from again. Contrary to what you may have heard, it’s pretty easy to keep a low profile when you’re three thousand miles away. The odds of any of the local police actually identifying you are pretty slim. I don’t want this guy getting away with it. I want his ass locked up for the rest of his life, at least. And if he tries anything? Then I’ve got a load of buckshot with his name on it. Either way is fine with me.

Sergeant Hendrickson didn’t make it on this one. His shoulder’s too fucked up and he’s got a lump on his arm that’s probably a fracture. At least, that’s what the paramedic said. He couldn’t tell without an x-ray and they don’t have x-ray machines in ambulances. The Sarge was definitely in a shitload of pain from it. I didn’t need an x-ray to see that. So now he’s back at Woodlawn Station with Sergeant Gellar, monitoring this thing on the radio. You should’ve seen him when the Lieutenant told him he couldn’t come with us. He practically exploded. It was the right call, though. He could barely move that arm. Fracture or no, I’m sure he tore something in there. Just fucking great! More surgeries! That’s all he needs! So now it’s just me, Harper, Signolo, Acevedo, Sergeant Ivanell, and Lieutenant Hagan. Even Harper wouldn’t call that a fearsome force. I just hope it’s enough. Six of us. That’s all that’s left of the mighty Central Midwatch. I knew our luck was running out. I just hope we get through this last mission. In spite of what Commander Mancia said, this one may be the most dangerous one of all.

We’re going in through the hole in the fence. This place is too big for us to make it across the whole complex if we go through the main gate. He’s supposed to be in “K” building, so we’ll have a ways to go once we’re in there. Fortunately, he’s supposed to be in a ground floor apartment: 2206. That’ll make the approach easier. Jesus, I can’t believe we’re doing this! None of us is in any shape for a fight. But if the information we got is correct, then we shouldn’t have one. A couple of his gangbanger buddies? We can handle them easy. And as for the rest of the people in here? If they give us any shit, we can make enough of a show of force to get us out of here. After our last visit, they won’t want to fuck with us. Not if they want to keep their teeth. We’re in no mood for any bullshit. Anybody who raises a hand against us is getting a nightstick right in the mouth – or worse. We’re not going toe-to-toe with anybody at this point and we made that absolutely clear to Commander Mancia. He was true to his word, too. He signed a written order telling us to get this asshole by any means necessary. God help him if that thing ever comes to light. The idiot fringe will crucify him for it. They might even indict him for it.

All right, here we go! Through the hole in the fence. God, just stooping over makes me want to scream! I’m sure everyone feels the same way. Just focus on the job and get it over with! In and out, as fast as we can. I’ll say this much: that shithead had better be in there!

That’s everybody. We’re all in the complex now. Time to make our way over there. Just like the last time: hug the buildings, go slowly, and watch, look, and listen. We brought the rifle and the shotguns just in case. Can you believe Harper’s already run through most of that ammunition already? That should tell you what the last two days have been like. I just hope we don’t need what’s left. Since we don’t have as many officers this time, we’re going in single-file. I’m up front and Acevedo is bringing up the rear. That way, one of us is always there to lead everyone out if this goes to shit. And if it goes to shit, we’re not taking any chances. We’re getting the fuck out of here. We’ll be able to say we gave it our best shot. That’s all anyone can do.

“Harper, stick close. We’re not as stealthy as last time. Take it nice and slow. Watch the second story balconies.”

“I’m on it. I don’t hear anything. Compared to the last time, this place is practically deserted.”

Yeah, I’m counting on that. I guess even the assholes got exhausted from the riot. Then again, it probably means they’re out on the street fucking up. Well, that’s “B” watch’s problem now. I’m not even going to worry about it.

“Sarge, you keep an eye on the east side buildings. If anyone comes out of one of those apartments, sound off. If we’re seen before we make it to the target, we’re getting the fuck out of here. Understood?”

“No argument. When we get there, we’re going to have to kick the door. How strong are these doors?”

“Not very. They’re cheap, like everything else in here. Some of the apartments have screen doors, though. When you open them, they make a shit ton of racket. I’m hoping this one isn’t one of them. It’s apartment 2206 in ‘K’ building. That should put it about a third of the way down once we get there.”

“Where do you suppose everybody is?”

“Where else? Stealing shit, setting fires, shooting people, and jacking off. This is their idea of Disneyland. They’re going to go for it while they can.”

Let’s keep moving, guys. Lieutenant Hagan’s got his earpiece in one ear. The rest of us have our radios turned all the way down. He’s the only one who can hear the broadcasts. If he hears anything to suggest the assholes are headed back here, he’ll give us the signal and we’ll get the hell out before they get here. The last thing we need is fifty assholes between us and the way out.

We’ll go between the buildings. It’s a little less safe, but we can cover a lot more ground that way. We need to get over there. Here’s hoping we don’t run into someone doing her laundry or taking out the trash. All it takes is one asshole to sound the alarm and we’re fucked. All right, go!

“This way! Through the space! Cut right when you get to the end of the sidewalk and wait for the rest of us there! Go! And keep it quiet!”

Fuck! It’s hard to keep quiet when you’ve got six officers with bad knees wearing combat boots and scurrying along a fucking sidewalk! Just try not to make any noise. Go! Get there! Stay away from the bushes! Don’t brush up against them! Yes! That’s the last of us! So far, so good! Now I need to get up there. Once around that corner on the left, we should be able to see “K” building. That’s our target.

There it is! It looks like half of the lights are off in the apartments. Let’s see…two, four…six! That’s it! And it doesn’t even have the light next to the door turned on. We may have just lucked out!

“Harper, take a look. It’s that one, two past the post. See it?”

He’s got his rifle and it’s got a scope. He can see it better than any of us.

“I see it. There are no lights on in the window. I don’t see any flickering. If anyone’s in there, they’re not watching TV. It looks like nobody’s home.”

Shit! Maybe they already moved him? That’s possible. Well, we need to make sure. We’ll check it out.

“Sarge, pass the word: that’s the apartment. We move in on it two at a time. Deploy on either side of the door. Acevedo kicks it and we go in. Got it?”

“Got it. Good luck.”

Yeah, to all of us! All right, let’s do this! Go! Get up there! Hurry! Keep the noise down! Just a little further…we’re here! This is it! God, I’ve got a sick feeling in my stomach! Don’t think about it! Just listen. I don’t hear a sound. Jesus, I don’t think anyone’s in there! Not unless they’re asleep! Could we be that lucky?

All right, we’re all in place. This is it! Once through that door, it’s us against whoever’s in there! Stand by! Hang on! Acevedo sees something! Something’s wrong!

“Guys! This door is open! Check it out!”

I don’t believe it! They left the door open? Is this a set-up? Or did they just skedaddle in a hurry and forget to lock it?

“Sarge, Signolo, you’re on flashlights. Harper, you and I go in and cover down. I’ve got the left, you take the right. Ready? Go!

We’re in! Its pitch dark in here! There isn’t a single light on! Scan the room! No one! There’s no one in here! Cover the door to the bedroom! Lieutenant Hagan’s moving up. He’s got a flashlight. Harper’s signaling that the kitchen is clear. Fuck! If they’re not in the bedroom, then they’re all in the bathroom or they’re not here! The Lieutenant’s in the bedroom! And he’s giving us a thumbs-down! Fuck! There’s nobody here!

“Acevedo, check the bathroom. Sarge, check the closet. Fuck! We’re too late!”

“Maybe not! Listen!”

Signolo’s got something, but I don’t know what. What does he hear? It’s not like anyone can hide under the floorboards.

“What is it? What do you hear?”

“Outside. I think it’s coming from the back parking lot. I hear voices.”

Jesus, not only is he the fastest man on the planet; he’s got superhuman hearing! If there’s somebody in the parking lot, we’ll clear it and make sure the suspect’s really gone. I hate to admit it, but part of me is actually relieved. I’ll bet I’m not the only one. The Sarge and Acevedo are both back. No luck. Our asshole is in the wind.

“So much for the intelligence report!”

“Sir, Signolo says he heard someone in the back parking lot. We should check it out, just to be thorough. Look on the bright side, guys: at least we didn’t get into another fight.”

Nobody seems too broken up about that, and I don’t blame them. Let’s check the back parking lot. If it’s somebody stripping a stolen car, I think they’ll get a pass tonight. You know, I’m amazed no one has come out here yet. People in this place don’t miss much. They sure as hell don’t miss six cops going into an apartment with a rifle and shotguns. All right, let’s see what’s back here. Hang on! That’s more than one voice! That’s a lot of voices!

“Guys, we’ve got a lot of people back there! I can hear them. Somebody’s having a get-together. Lieutenant, Commander Mancia said the gangbangers were all gone. They’re the only ones who hang out back there.”

“Check it out. If they’re gangbangers, try to see if the suspect is with them. If he is, we sit tight until they can send more units. Don’t engage! Just stay low and see what you can see.”

He doesn’t have to tell me twice. So who’s back here? Get behind the bushes and take a peek into the parking lot. And the winner is…holy shit! Look at that! There’s a whole shitload of them! Gangbangers! Hanging out with their cars! Fuck! The Gang Unit got it all wrong! There’s got to be at least fifteen or twenty of them! And look what we have here! Sitting on the hood of that Toyota! That’s Boone! He looks just like his fucking mug shot! He’s here! I’ve got to get back and warn the others!

“Guys, we’ve got trouble! At least fifteen gangbangers hanging out with their cars. And Boone’s with them. I saw him sitting on the hood of a black Toyota, drinking a beer. Royal blue t-shirt, baggy jeans, blue and white tennis shoes. Guys, if they’re hanging with their cars, then they’ve got guns. They also outnumber us almost three to one.”

And now everybody looks like they just took a knife through the heart! I can see Lieutenant Hagan’s already on the radio, relaying the information. I hope to God Woodlawn’s got that shitload of units standing by to get in here! If they’re leaving from the station, it’ll take them at least ten minutes to get here! Fuck! This fucking sucks!

“I say we head across the complex and set up on the edge of the driveway. It’s the only way they can get their cars out. We stake on it and wait for backup. Lots of backup!”

They’re all in agreement. Good! Let’s get the fuck out of here! Move out! That way! Across the courtyard! We can…

“Cops! Fuckin’ cops are here!”

Shit! Where the fuck did those two come from? Oh, fuck! They’re pulling guns! Both of them! Open fire! Take them out! Shoot before they do! Got you, motherfucker! One down! And Signolo just nailed the other one! God damn it! We’re too far inside! We can’t get out of here before they’re on us! We have to stand and fight! And here come the rest of them! Jesus, it looks like every one of them’s got a fucking gun! Shoot! Take them out! God damn it! I’m wide open! I need to get to cover!

“Dani! Break right! Go! I’ve got you!”

Harper! He’s got the rifle! Holy shit! They’re all shooting at once! They must be fucking drunk! Stay down! Move! Get behind that fucking car! Go! Get there! Oh, hell! I’m out here alone! I’m cut off from the rest of the watch! Shit! And now the assholes see me! Stay down! There’s too much gunfire! Stay the fuck down! Christ, there’s three of them shooting at me! I can’t get a shot!

“Dani! Stay down! Stay there! I’m coming up behind you!”

Sergeant Ivanell! Crazy son of a bitch! Don’t come over here! You’ll get your ass shot off! Stay there! Fuck! He’s not stopping! Shoot! Give him some cover! Two rounds! Now! Fire! Again! That made them duck! He made it! Great! Now we’re both stuck back here!

“Are you out of your fucking mind? You could’ve been killed!”

“I wasn’t going to leave you back here! How many rounds do you have for that thing?”

“Not enough! Did anyone call for help?”

“Yeah, Lieutenant Hagan! He’s over by the wall! He’s pinned down!”

We’re all pinned down! Fuck! Those assholes must’ve ripped off an ammunition shop! They’re spraying lead all over the place! And they’re not running out! Damn! What the fuck? That was no pistol shot! That guy’s got a fucking rifle! Jesus Christ! That went right through the goddamned car! It hit my radio! Blew it to pieces! We have to take him out before he zeros us! He’s shooting like a maniac! Stay down! He’s got to run out soon!

“Sarge! Stay down! One of them’s got a rifle!”

“Yeah, I noticed!”

He hasn’t lost his sense of humor! Wait! He stopped! He’s got to be reloading! Look! There! Shoot his ass! Shoot him before he can reload! Aim and fire! Got him! Right in the chest! He’s fucking history!

“Dani! On the right! Two of them moving forward on us!”

And spraying lead so we can’t look up! We’ve got to get them before…fuck! They’re down! Two shots! I know that sound! That’s Harper’s rifle! He got them both!

“Dani! Sarge! Go for the corner on the right! I’ll cover you!”

“You heard him, Sarge! Go! Go!”

Christ, it’s fucking Omaha Beach out here! How the fuck many guns do they have? A lot more than us! Run! Get there! Get the fuck over there! Hurry! Shoot! Keep them pinned down! Made it! Yes! Thank you, God!

“Harper! Where are they? We took out at least two along the wall!”

“They’re coming between the buildings! On your two o’clock! Five or six of them!”

And he isn’t waiting to chat! He’s firing! Jesus, they’re keying on him! They see he’s got the only rifle! Get out of there, Harper! Get the fuck out of there! Oh, my God! That guy’s running straight for him!

“Harper, look out! Left!”

He can’t hear me! He can’t…

“Hey, motherfucker!”

Jesus fucking Christ! Nice work, Lieutenant! He shot that guy point-blank in the face! He’s out of the game! Run, Lieutenant! Get the fuck behind cover! Christ, would you look at him? He’s standing like he’s on the goddamned firing range! He’s picking them off one by one!

“Get to cover, Lieutenant! Get to cover!”

I don’t know whether to kill him or kiss him! Un-fucking-believable! All right, he’s moving! We’ve got to move, too! We’re sitting ducks back here! They could come around the corner and blow us away!

“Sarge, we need a better position! Where do we go?”

“Over there! That transformer! They can’t shoot through that! Go! Fire as you move!”

Good call! That thing can stop a rifle! Run! Get there! Shit! We’ve got a shooter! Kill him! Shoot! Missed! Again! Shoot his ass! Got him! Oh, fuck! I’m hit! I’m fucking hit! Right in the fucking leg!

“I’m hit! In the leg! Left leg! Sarge!”

“Oh, fuck! Dani! Can you walk? How bad is it?”

“I’m still in the fight! There! Eleven o’clock! Brown shirt! Nail his ass!”

Good shot, Sarge! Jesus, it fucking burns like shit! It’s not squirting blood. I don’t think it’s too bad! Stay in the fight! Shoot! Kill these motherfuckers! Every last one of them!

“Officer down! Officer down! Signolo’s hit!”

That’s Acevedo! Signolo’s hit! Oh, God! Where? Where is he? I can’t see him!

“Acevedo! Where is he? Where’s Signolo?”

“Stay there! I’ve got him! Fuck this! Fuck these motherfuckers! Hey, homie! Time to fucking die! You hear me, motherfucker? You’re fucking dead!

He’s out of his goddamned mind! He’s charging them! Three of them! He’s fucking insane! Jesus, he got one! No, two! He got two of them! And the third guy’s trying to run!

“You ain’t going nowhere, homie! Fuck you!”

Three for three! He got all three of them! I don’t fucking believe it! They’re all down! And they’re not moving! I think he killed all three of them! Yes! Way to go, Acevedo!

“Sarge! Move that way! We have to get to Harper! They’re shooting the shit out of his position! Go! Run!”

Oh, fuck! It hurts! It fucking hurts like a motherfucking bitch! Don’t think about it! Get there! Harper needs help! Get to him! Don’t think about the pain! Run!

“Harper! Harper, are you all right?”

Where is he? Behind that low wall? Don’t see him! Please, God! Please let him be all right! There! There he is! He’s firing! I can’t see who he’s firing at! There! He’s giving Acevedo cover! Come on, Acevedo! Get Signolo back behind the wall! Hurry! Drag his ass! Drag him back behind that wall! Jesus, Signolo looks bad! He got hit bad! Is he all right? Is he going to make it?

“Lynott! Get down! Get down!”

What? Jesus! I didn’t even see him! Shoot! No! I can’t! Lieutenant Hagan is in the line of fire! Drop! Hit the fucking deck! He’s firing! He got him! He got the suspect! Right in the back! He’s down! No! He’s trying to get back up! Finish him off! Kill his fucking ass! Do it! Fire! Got him! Right in the fucking face! Now you’re dead, asshole!

“Harper, I’m hit! In the leg! It’s not bad! I can fight!”

Oh, that was fucking stupid! Tell him I’m shot and expect him not to freak out! Way to go, Dani! I am such a fucking idiot!

“Jesus Christ! Dani! You’re hit?”

“It’s nothing! I’m still in it! It’s not bad! I swear! We need to get over to Acevedo! He’s got Signolo! I don’t know how bad he’s hit!”

“Bad enough! I saw him go down! Dani, you can’t run over there! You’re hit! You stay here and stay the fuck down!”

“I’m not letting you go out there by yourself! Reload that thing and get ready to move, Marine! And give me your shotgun shells! I’m running out!”

Six shells! It’s better than nothing! I need to get to Acevedo! He’s got at least a dozen in a pouch on his belt! How many of these assholes are left? I think we’ve taken out at least half of them! Why the fuck aren’t the others running? Because they’re all drunk and fucking stupid, that’s why! Move! Get over there! I saw them go behind this corner! Stay low! God, it fucking hurts! Just stay in the fight! Jesus, now I know why they didn’t come out! They’re pinned down! Four assholes shooting left and right! Shoot them! Starting with that fat guy! Aim…fire! I got him! Hit him again! Knock his ass down! Yes! Gut shot! He’s fucking finished!

“Lynott! Harper! Ivanell! Lay down covering fire! Get Signolo the hell out of there! Fuck!

Oh, my God! He’s hit! Lieutenant Hagan’s hit! He’s down! He’s down!

“Harper!”

“I see him! Over there! It’s fucking Boone!”

He shot him! He shot him in the back! Lieutenant! Get up! Get out of there! Boone’s still up! Oh, that’s it, you fucking piece of shit! You’re going to die right here, right fucking now! Yeah, look at me, asshole! Watch me fucking kill you! Fire! Got you! Shoot him again! Again! Again! Chest hits! Twelve-gauge! You’re dead, motherfucker! Rot in fucking hell!

“Dani, stay there! Sarge! Get the Lieutenant! Go! I’ll cover you!”

Fuck! I can’t run! There goes the Sarge! Hurry! Get him behind cover! How bad is he hit? He’s still moving! He’s still alive! But I can see where he got hit! Square in the back! Rifle shot! How bad is it? It’s bad! It’s very fucking bad! Drag him, Sarge! Drag him behind cover! Fuck! He’s having trouble! The Lieutenant’s too damned big! He needs help!

“Harper, cover me! I’m going to help them!”

“Dani, you stay where you are! I’ve got them! Cover me!”

Hurry! Get him the fuck out of there! Harper’s limping! Did he get shot? Oh, my God! He got shot! He’s hit! Jesus, how many of them are left? There can’t be too many more! Not unless they called for reinforcements! And where the hell is our backup? This shit has been going on forever! They should be here by now!

“Hey, Dani! Hold your fire! Behind you!”

Acevedo! He’s got Signolo! Fuck! He’s hit high in the leg! His shoulder, too! He’s bleeding like shit!

“Signolo! God, you’re hit! Just lie there! Help’s on the way!”

“Kiss my ass! I’m not dead yet! Somebody give me another magazine! I want to get some payback!”

Thank God! If he can talk like that, then he’s not dying! All right. Give him one! Here you go!

“Use it in good health! Lieutenant Hagan’s hit! I don’t know how bad!”

“So are you! Where’s the Lieutenant?”

“Over there! Harper and the Sarge have him! Harper’s hit! I don’t know how bad it is! Give them some cover! Find an asshole and blow him away! Kill anyone who moves!”

There they are! They got him back by the building! Drag him behind the wall, damn it! There’s another one! Shoot his ass! Fire! Missed! Shoot him again! Got him! He’s still in the fight! Shoot his ass! Kill him! Oh, fuck! Sarge! They hit the Sarge! He’s down! He’s hit bad!

“Sarge! They got the Sarge! He’s down! He’s fucking down! He’s hit bad!”

“Fuck this fucking shit! This shit ends right fucking now!

“Acevedo! Wait!”

He’s running out there! He’s got no cover! He’s firing! He got one! He got the guy by the car! Get the Sarge out of there! Get him the fuck out of there! He got another one! Good shot! Oh, God! He’s hit! He got shot! Acevedo got shot! His fucking shoulder exploded! What the fuck is he doing? He’s insane! He’s going after the shooter! He switched his gun to his left hand and he’s going after the fucking shooter!

“Try again, motherfucker! I’m coming for you! I’m going to kill you! Say goodbye, motherfucker! You’re going to die! I’m going to kill you! You’re going to die! Look at me, homie! You’re going to die!

I don’t believe it! He’s still going! He’s walking straight for the shooter! He got him! He fucking shot him! He shot the living shit out of him!

“Acevedo, get back here! Get the fuck back here!”

Oh, Jesus! He got hit again! He collapsed! He’s down! He’s all fucked up! That hit was massive! I have to get him! I have to get him and the Sarge! Go for the Sarge! He’s closest! Hurry! Run! Forget the pain! Run! Get to him!

“Sarge! Sarge, how bad is it?”

Oh, my God! It’s high in the chest! Just above the vest! That’s a bad hit! He needs a doctor! Shit! Drag his ass! Drag him behind the wall with Harper! Pull! Fuck! It hurts like a fucking son of a bitch!

“Harper, he’s hit in the chest! It’s bad! It’s fucking bad!”

“There’s nothing we can do about it! Not until we get some fucking backup! I’m running low on ammo!”

Christ! He’s bleeding! He’s been shot! His forearm! He got shot twice!

“You’re hit!”

“We’re all hit! Stay in the fight! There’s at least two left! Maybe more! Over there, on our three o’clock! I saw them duck behind the corner of the corridor! Dani, we need a way out of here!”

“We can’t carry four guys ourselves!”

“We can’t stay here! Every asshole in the division is probably headed here this minute! They’ll come in through the front gate and the back driveway and we’ll be boxed in! We’ve got to move while we still can! Look out! Everybody down!”

Jesus, he’s firing! It’s blowing my eardrums out! How the hell are we going to get out of here? We can’t carry everyone and there’s no way to go for one of the cars out front! We could try to get inside one of the apartments and…oh!

“Dani!”

Oh, God! Oh, God! I’m hit! I’m shot! It’s…in the chest! I’m hit! It went…went through my…through my vest! I can’t…can’t…stand…

Dani! Dani, talk to me! Talk to me! Look at me! Dani! Dani, look at me!”

I can’t…can’t stand…stand up! I can’t…I can’t breathe! I can’t…breathe! I can’t breathe! Oh, God! Oh God, it hurts! It hurts so…I can’t stand it! I can’t breathe! It hurts! It hurts!

“Dani, talk to me! Say something!”

“I can’t…I don’t…I don’t want…want to die! Harper! Help me! I don’t…I can’t! I can’t…breathe!”

“Dani! Dani, you’re not going to die! Look at me! You’re not going to die! I won’t let you die! I’m going to get you out! I swear! I’m going to get you out! You’re not going to die! You…you motherfuckers!

He’s shooting! Shooting at…I can’t breathe! It hurts! It burns! Like fire! It hurts so fucking much! I don’t want to die! I don’t…Emily! I want to see…I want to go home! Emily! God, please don’t let me die! No! Not now! I can’t! I can’t…

“God damn it! I’m out! Fuck! Dani! Dani, stay with me! Stay with me! I won’t leave you! I love you! I won’t leave you! No fucking way! Just stay with me! Dani, please! Stay with me!”

I don’t want to die! Please, God! I don’t want to die! I want to see my little girl! Emily! Please! I don’t want to leave her! Please don’t let me die! I don’t…what? What is that? Gunshots! Machinegun! They’ve got a machinegun! Harper! They’ll kill him!

“Harper! Harper…run! Run! They’ll kill you!”

“Dani, it’s all right! Look! Look! Over there! The driveway! It’s the Guard! It’s the fucking National Guard!”

The Guard? They’re…they’re here? They’re…oh, God! It hurts! It hurts so much! I can’t…there! I see them! I see them! Lights! Bright lights! The air unit! Up there! I see it!

“Dani, just hold on! Please! Hold on! They’re here! Help’s here! They’re going to fix you up! I swear it! Dani, I love you! Don’t leave me! Don’t you fucking leave me! Dani! Look at me!”

I can’t…I can’t…it hurts! It hurts! I’m on fire! It burns! It burns so much!

“Get a fucking doctor! Dani’s hit! She’s been shot! Get me a fucking medic now! Right fucking now! Officer down! Officer down!

I feel sick! I feel so…so sick! I’m going to…I’m going to puke!

“Harper! Harper, I need…I’m going…going to…”

“Dani! Dani, stay with me! Stay with me!”

Oh, God! I puked! It didn’t…it’s in my…

“Dani! Dani, I need to move your head! You puked! I need to clear your airway! I know it hurts! Dani, I know it hurts but I have to do it! Turn! Turn your head!”

Oh, God! Stop! Stop! Please! Please stop! It hurts! It hurts so much! I can’t stand it! I can’t…footsteps! People! Lots of people! Who are they? The Guard? Soldiers! Uniforms! I see them! They’re here!

“Officer! Where is she hit?”

“I need a fucking medic! Get one! She’s hit high in the gut! Rifle shot! AK! Get me a fucking medic, corporal!”

“He’s coming, sir! Medic! Over here! Priority!”

“Dani! Dani, we’re going to fix you up! I swear! You’re going to be fine! Just hang on!”

“Son of a fucking bitch! Ms. Dani! What happened? Harper! What the fuck happened?”

Officer Woodward! He’s here! He…I don’t…where did he come…come from?

“They shot her! Those fucking shitbags shot her!”

“Ms. Dani! It’s me! Elias! You just hold on! We’re going to get you out of here! You’re going to be fine! Who did it? Who shot her?”

“All of them! Every fucking one of them! Shoot them all! Staff Sergeant! Line everyone you can find up against that wall and fucking shoot them! Do it! Every fucking one of them! Shoot them all!”

“Sir, we can’t do that!”

“Yes you can! Line them up and shoot them! Throw their fucking bodies in the street! That’s a fucking order! Do it! Kill every last one of them! Officer Woodward! Help me line these shitbags up!”

“You heard the man! Line them up! Against the wall! All of you motherfuckers! Get against that wall and kiss your motherfucking asses goodbye!

No! He can’t! Don’t…don’t do it!

“Harper! Harper, no! Don’t…please! You can’t…”

“Dani! Dani, just hold on! Please! They’re going to get you out of here! You’re going to a hospital! They’re going to fix you up! You’re going to be fine! I swear to God! Dani, don’t leave me! Please! Don’t you fucking leave me!”

“I won’t…I won’t…I can’t…breathe! I can’t…”

“Somebody fucking do something! She’s dying! She can’t breathe! Do something!”

What’s…what’s that? That thing…a mask…on my face. It’s…air! It’s air! Breathe! It hurts! It hurts! I can…I can breathe! Better! It’s better! I can…oh, God! It hurts so much! It hurts so much!

“Lynott! Lynott, you hang in there! Do you hear me? You’re not going to die! That’s a fucking order! Breathe! You stay with us! Look at me! You stay with us!”

It’s…Lieutenant Hagan! He’s alive! He’s alive! I can’t…I can’t see him…see too well! My eyes! Blurry! I need…I need…

“Get that fucking gurney in here! I’ve got officers down! One critical! Move it! Get your asses in here! What the fuck? Not me, asshole! Her! She’s critical! She goes first!”

“Sir, you’re shot in the back!”

“I’m going to shoot you in the fucking head if you don’t get to work on her! Now, corpsman! Right fucking now!

Uniforms! Paramedics! EMS! The gurney! God, it fucking hurts! It fucking hurts! I’m on fire! It burns! It burns! Make it stop! Please! Somebody make it stop!

“Officers, give us room to work! Rescue Fourteen, we’ve got a female in her thirties, GSW to the abdomen just below the chest. Breathing is shallow, pulse is elevated. Pete, get an I/V started…”

What’s he saying? I can’t…can’t make it out. They’re doing…something around my neck. A neck brace. A board…they’re sliding a board…under me…my arm! What? A needle! The put a needle in…it hurts! I can’t stand it! It hurts so much! Don’t let me die! Please, God! Don’t let me die! Emily! I want to see…Emily!

“All right, strap her in! We need to transport her right now! We’ve only got room for one. We’ve got more units on the way. They’ll transport the others. Corpsman, we need your medics to start a triage and prioritize the wounded. Jesus, this was a goddamned battlefield! Pete, advise the station we’ve got bodies and wounded all over the place! I count at least a dozen! We’re going to need every unit they can send us! What a goddamned mess! Nice fucking riot you’ve got yourselves, officers!”

I don’t…Harper! I don’t want…don’t leave me! I’m afraid! Don’t leave me!

“Harper! Harper, don’t…don’t leave me!”

“I’m going with her!”

“Officer, you’re shot yourself! You need to stay here and get that wound treated. You’re losing a lot of blood.”

“Fuck that! I’m going with her! She’s my wife! Try and stop me!”

“Guys, he’s going with her! I’m their lieutenant and I’m authorizing it. What hospital are you taking her to?”

“Henry Hudson! We’ve got to move! Now! She’s not stable!”

They’re moving me! It hurts! God, it fucking hurts! I can’t stand it! Make it stop! Please make it stop!

“She’s crashing! She’s crashing! Officer, step back! She’s crashing! Defibrillator! Now! Stand by with an injection of…”

I can’t see! I can’t see anything! My eyes! I can’t…I can’t…my chest! It hurts! It’s…something’s wrong! I can’t breathe! It hurts! God, it hurts! No! I’m not going to die! I won’t! I won’t! No! I won’t! I won’t die! I won’t!

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