Evelyn's Last Day
Detective Evelyn Gerrard sipped her coffee as she sat on top of a building in Jefuedo Sector 9. All around her was the tangled mess of the lowercity. Buildings were stacked and arranged haphazardly, with tangled messes of wires running between them. Lights of various colors lit all up in the darkness of night. Evelyn’s slimming, dark blue Echosuit, which went from her neck to the tips of her fingers and toes, kept her warm despite the gloomy weather. The rain soaked her hair as she sipped her coffee and tried to ignore the water dripping down her face.
The foggy night was like any other in the slums. Evelyn wasn’t technically on-duty, but she had taken on an extra initiative on her own. She had decided to clean up the lowercity. It was an impossible and unrealistic goal, but Evelyn didn’t feel like she had anything better to do.
She had questioned a junkie who said that deals happen in the alleyway that Evelyn overlooked now. A man in a tattered coat walked up to the alley. His face looked hollow and his coat looked too big for his tiny frame. He looked around, nervous.
There’s my junkie, Evelyn thought. Where’s the dealer?
Evelyn checked the time, it was five minutes past when the deal was supposed to happen. The junkie was late, and the dealer was a no-show. Maybe he saw me and bailed.
Evelyn stood, and the man glanced her way. They made eye contact for a brief moment before he started scurrying down the alley. Evelyn cursed and jumped down off the building. The six meter drop was effortless in the shock-absorbent suit she was wearing. It was meant for extreme outdoor athletics, and Evelyn didn’t think there was a more extreme activity than being a police officer.
This would be so much easier if I had someone else to work with, Evelyn thought. Her partner on the police force was not trustworthy, as she suspected he was involved in much of the activity she was investigating. Unfortunately for Evelyn, this wasn’t the first time she had a less-than-honest partner.
Evelyn’s form blended into the darkness as smoke vented out of a building into the tight alleyway. As she exited she nearly ran into an old woman with a basket of laundry.
“Sorry!” Evelyn shouted behind her as she continued running. The old lady cursed at her, but Evelyn didn’t understand it. She hadn’t been here long enough to pick up the lowercity language yet. She saw her man dart around down another alley to the right. Can’t lose him!
As Evelyn turned the corner she found herself in a low lit marketplace. Despite the time of night, there was a surprising amount of people walking about it. Evelyn moved forward cautiously walking through the crowds. Evelyn expected it to trinkets and junk, but everything being sold was useful. Vegetables, water, and repair parts were some of the things she noticed. The people here can’t afford to buy anything that isn’t essential.
“Hey, you look like you don’t belong here.” The voice came from a young man who obviously thought he was a big-time gangster. Even if he was part of a gang, Evelyn knew he was small-time. Not of any use to Evelyn. She ignored him and continued walking, scanning the crowds for her junkie.
The gangster picked up his pace and came up walking next to her. Get lost, kid.
He jumped in front of her and grabbed her right wrist. “Let me take you away from this place, huh? I’ve got a sweet car parked nearby.”
She moved her other arm, which was an artificial limb made of a durable metal, and grabbed his hand, ripping it off her wrist. He yelped as she twisted his wrist around, and then she shoved him to the side. Evelyn kept walking and saw someone making eye contact with her through the crowd ahead. It was the junkie. He turned and ran frantically.
Evelyn left the gangster behind and took off running. She weaved through the crowds and darted down a side street. Ahead she saw the junkie turn down another street. Guy, can’t we stop running now? It’s been a long day.
She veered around the corner and ducked as a metal pipe swung where her face was only a second before. It cracked into the cement wall beside her. She reached up and grabbed the pipe out of the junkie’s hands, and then knocked him in the face with her natural hand. The man fell back to the ground, seemingly unconscious.
“That was relatively easy,” Evelyn muttered to herself.
Evelyn pulled him up and drug him over to the wall. Evelyn pulled out her mag bindings and locked each of his wrists to the wall behind him. Evelyn rummaged quickly through his pockets, and found what she was looking for. She leaned back across from him on the opposite alley wall and waited.
Fifteen minutes later he came to. He looked up and seemed delirious. He attempted to move his hands. He turned and saw that he was bound to the wall. He looked back at Evelyn and saw what was in her hands. His shoulders sagged and it looked like he might cry. The man was clearly addicted to probably several different kinds of drugs. The tongue absorbent ones were the new fad. It was a tiny little square that you stick on your tongue, dissolving within twenty seconds or less. And he had previously had a baggy of them in his pocket.
“Why the long face?” Evelyn asked. “I bet the cops who usually bust you aren’t as pretty as me.” The man gulped as she held up the clear bag of ‘toungers’, as they were called on the street. “Name your dealer.”
“I. . .I’m not telling you anything!” He cursed several times in a row and looked around nervously. “They’ll slag me!” His gaze darted back and forth down the alley erratically. “They’ll slag me for sure. Bam! And then I’m dead.”
She considered threatening the druggie, but it was evident he was far more afraid of the drug lords than of cops. “I can protect you,” she said.
“You...you think they can’t get me in lock-up?!” He looked around frantically. “Copper you’re cra—” He stopped mid-sentence when a door shut down the alley. A person stepped out and looked towards Evelyn and the junkie. They turned down and walked the other way quickly. “Here, I’m dead. Lock-up, I’m dead, dead. Bam!”
Evelyn nodded, she had been on the planet less than a year but she believed him. She suspected her partner had killed someone in overnight custody once, but had no proof.
He responded, grasping her understanding. “You believe me dontchya? They run things here.” He seemed to zone out for a moment, then he looked around nervously. “Oh! I. . .I can’t be here!” He wriggled his hands around which only made the mechanisms clasp down harder on his wrists. The man winced in pain.
She leaned off the wall and walked towards him. “Whats your name?”
“Uh.” He looked around nervously again. “Its. . .uh. . .Tek.”
“Tek, what if I got you out of this sector? I could arrange transportation for you out of here.” She could see the wheels turning in his drug-addled mind, he was considering it. “If I could give that to you, would you tell me where the men that gave you these are?” She held the bag up again, his eyes darted to it longingly.
“Could I. . .if I tell you. . .can I have the toungers back?” He looked like he might slobber at the sight of the drugs.
“Sure,” she said. Okay, I’m totally lying on that one. But I don’t think getting him out of here could be too hard. There was a couple cops on the force Evelyn thought were probably trustworthy, and she thought she could do it even do it herself. He probably would tell me anything just to get the drugs back at this—
Evelyn’s thoughts were interrupted when a low sound echoed, and a small flash of red light hit Tek in the head. His head hung charred and smoking. Evelyn turned and saw her partner, Ronei Jovans. He waved cheerfully at her with a devilish grin.
“That junkie was about to pull a weapon on you, Gerrard.” He took a few steps closer, his eyes looking at the body, then back at her. “Good thing I showed up to help!”
“What? Jovans, he’s locked to the wall! He couldn’t have done a damn thing!” Evelyn’s hand slowly reached to her hip onto her own gun.
“Oh, I dunno...maybe. But you can never be too careful with these junkies! They’re desperate.” He spoke with perfect calmness, not threatened at all by Evelyn’s combative stance. More than that, his gaze boldly idled on her body.
I should shoot you right now. Her hand tensed around the grip of her gun, but she hadn't pulled it off her hip yet.
Jovans looked back at up at her with a fake smile. “You’ll have to buy me coffee tomorrow for saving your ass tonight.” And with that, he turned and walked away.
She pulled her gun out and aimed it at Jovans. “Who do you work for? Who pulls your strings, Jovans?”
He stopped and turned to look at her. His previous composure seemed to crumble under a new wave of anger. “People you should be afraid of,” he hissed. “Why don’t you fear them? I don’t get you, partner.”
Evelyn narrowed her eyes, keeping her gun pointing straight at his chest.
“I did a bit of research. Your ex-husband was your partner and a dirty cop. You turned him in.” He took a few steps towards her. “Now you’re here, and want to turn in another partner, huh?”
Her body tensed up. “Don’t pretend like you know me. I just want to be a good cop. What do you want?”
“You know,” he continued, seemingly ignoring her. “Some people get off on being snitches. Are you one of those people? Does it make you feel good to ruin people’s lives?”
“You tell me, you’re the one who just shot someone who was defenseless.”
“I got rid of a druggie, who was dangerous to himself and those around him. I’m doing my civic duty, I’m a damn hero. They should give me a medal.” He stared at her down the barrel of her gun, and after a moment he chuckled. “You’re not gonna shoot me.” Jovans turned and walked away.
“Stop!” Evelyn shouted.
He ignored her and continued walking. As he did so, he said something under his breath that she didn’t quite catch.
“What did you say?!” She was angry, but there was a slight wavering in her voice.
He stopped for a moment. “Shuerte,” he responded without turning around. “Lowercity slang, it’s used for someone who is a rat. Originally, it referred to a dead rat found in a trap in the back of a restaurant.” He turned around and looked at her, no smile this time. “Rats are already dead, they just don’t know it yet.” Promptly he turned to continue walking and waved a hand in the air. “See ya tomorrow partner!” Jovans said, using that fake cheerful voice again.
She stood there, motionless for a moment. She kept her gun pointing at his back until he disappeared around the corner, and then slowly lowered it after that. Her hands were shaking. He called my bluff. He knew that I wouldn’t shoot him. What good would that do? She placed the gun on her hip and looked down at the corpse. The junkie’s face was unrecognizable now. Records were not accurate in the lowercity, and even if she got his real name from a sample, she didn’t know what difference it would make. She needed him to identify his dealer and he couldn’t do that now. Evelyn thought for a moment that she could try and report what happened, but the top brass were corrupted too. They’ll all take Jovans’ side. Jovans used his police gun to shoot the man. The death could be blamed on her, if she did try and report it. She reached out and took her bindings off the man’s wrists.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Then she turned away and left the body in the alley.
Evelyn got home a little under an hour later. As she approached her front door, the lock panel on the side had clearly been broken into. Not subtle, these guys.
Her apartment was dark and looked mostly undisturbed. Small bits of light came in through a few windows. She took her gun out once more and slowly stepped into the apartment. She glanced around her living room to the left, and there was no sign of anyone. Connected to the living room was the kitchen, which jutted out from the living room and ran alongside the hallway to her bedroom. The kitchen had only a half-wall between it and the hallway.
She stepped closer to the kitchen and the hall. There was a sudden movement in the kitchen and some pots fell to the floor. Good thing I forgot to finish doing the dishes. She fired blindly into the kitchen as she ran to the side into the living room. Red flashes of light exploded all around the apartment as decorations and appliances were hit. She threw over the table in the living room and ducked down behind it.
Evelyn glanced back up above the table and saw a figure crouching in front of her in the kitchen. Now exposed without cover, he tried to jump the half-wall and dart down the hall. Evelyn got up and shot the man twice in the back. Keeping an eye on her surroundings, she crept forward. She knew that chances were high that the gang had sent at least two enforcers. She slowly approached the figure and found him dead, smoke rising his back.
She turned her attention to the rest of the apartment. It was the first time she was glad she had a small apartment. Less places for her enemy to hide. She steadied her gun ahead of her as she slowly moved down the hall towards the bedroom. Evelyn slowly opened the door to the bathroom and peered inside. It was dark, but it didn’t look like anything was there. As she pulled her head back out of the doorway and turned towards the bedroom a large form darted at her.
The man knocked the gun out of her hand and slashed at her with a knife. The knife merely left a faint scratch mark across her tough athletic suit. But she wasn’t prepared for the jab from his other fist into her jaw. She staggered but still managed to kick him hard in the stomach, sending him backwards. He heaved in pain and struggled to get up from the floor. Evelyn, her own face aching, searched frantically around the floor for her gun. Her hands came across the gun in the dark.
Evelyn rolled from her stomach to her back as the man got to his feet. The hulking figure looming over her, Evelyn raised her gun up and shot him in the head. The man fell back down to the ground. After a moment of gaining her composure, she finished her search. After sweeping her room and closet she was momentarily relieved to find no more intruders. But Evelyn considered the possibility that they had left listening devices, or worse some kind of bomb. She rushed to pack up the necessities and a few changes of street clothes.
As she left, Evelyn was able to get a better look at the two attackers with the lights on. Both carried police issued weapons. The second man she was not able to identify because of his now charred face, but unfortunately she did recognize the first one as a cop.
Evelyn cursed and darted out into the night with a bag swung over her shoulder.
Evelyn’s speeder quickly zipped in between slower-moving air speeders and huge skyscrapers. A transparent, blue arrow appeared in front of her on the windshield directing her to her destination. Her hands gripped tightly around the controls and a bead of sweat dripped slowly down her face. Evelyn’s actions seemed foreign to herself, as if perhaps some being from the unseen world were controlling her hands. But Evelyn did not believe in such creatures, and reasoned that she was feeling this way because her current course was different than normal.
Evelyn was angry, and she was going to do something about it.
“You will arrive at your destination shortly,” the navigation program reported.
Evelyn had not planned on doing what she was about to do. Following the attack in her home, she had driven around in circles in case she was being followed. She found a dive hotel on the other side of the sector and assumed she was in for a sleepless night of looking out for another set of goons. At some point in the early hours of the morning, she had finally fallen asleep with her gun cuddled against her chest.
She had woke up with a start, cursing herself for falling asleep. She looked over at the alarm clock and the time read as being a quarter past noon. Evelyn was stunned she could have slept so long, particularly since she found the hotel room pretty disgusting. The bed was uncomfortable, the walls were covered in drab wallpaper that was peeling all over the place, and the bathroom was small and mold-ridden.
She had jogged down to the main office where they had complimentary coffee and brought a cup back up to the room. There was no computer system offered, but thankfully there was free network access which was rare for a place like this. So she pulled out her own mobile workstation and began to decide what to do with her life.
For a brief moment she had contemplated going back to work like nothing happened. Evelyn figured that Jovans had reported the incident in the alley to his bosses in the crime world. If he didn’t suggest the hit himself, he knew one would have been ordered anyways. She imagined the look on his face if she walked back into work and sat across from him. It was deliciously bold. But Evelyn decided that making decisions based on getting satisfying looks out of people was not a good decision making process.
So she settled on skipping town, and spent the better part of the day looking for transportation to a planet somewhere on the other side of human space. By the end of the day, Evelyn had a plan to start her new life. She closed up her workstation and considered the fourth cup of crappy coffee sitting on her desk. Four cups seems a little extreme.
Glancing around the crummy hotel room, Evelyn thought about the situation she was in. She cursed herself for not trying to get away from this life sooner, and for a lot of other things too. She knew the person she had become was because of her choices, and she liked who she was. She wanted to be a good cop. She just wished the other cops felt the same way.
Evelyn had been surprised that Jovans knew her life before Jefuedo. She did her best not to mention anything about it. But she hadn’t necessarily done anything to abandon it. Evelyn hadn’t changed her name or attempted to wipe away her past. Maybe I should have worked harder to bury it.
She moved from the desk and walked over to her suitcase. She pulled out her handgun and sat down on the side of her bed. Evelyn started taking it apart, piece by piece. Not many guns these days let you do that, most companies tried to keep you from seeing what was under the hood.
“Shuerte,” Jovans’s voice came back to her mind. “Rats are already dead, they just don’t know it yet.”
“Who the hell does he think he is? Who the hell does he think he is?!” Evelyn asked aloud.
Who the hell does he think he is? She repeated the words in her mind over and over again. Nobody should be able to control people through fear. That piece of crap thinks he can do whatever he wants. She thought about the things he had been involved in, and she got more and more angry. She put the gun back together, slipped into her Echosuit, and headed out into the night.
The arrow on her windshield disappeared and a message appeared stating she was arriving at her destination. Finding Jovans’s address was easy using the internal police database. He lived on the top floor of a high-end midcity apartment building. Nicer than someone on a police salary should be able to afford. Evelyn brought her speeder up to be level with the roof, and kept it suspended there. She hopped out and crept along the roof to a skylight that looked down into Jovans’s penthouse suite. There he was, sitting at a desk.
She took out a small device, a triangle with a single red button on one side and an adhesive grip on the other. She placed it on the window, hit the button, and darted a few feet away. After a few more seconds, the window blew out, and she jumped down into the apartment amid falling glass.
Evelyn landed in a crouch and stood up. Jovans came to his feet, and knocking his chair to the gorund. They made eye contact for a split-second, and then he was grabbing at a bag desperately on his desk. Evelyn picked up a shard of glass and threw it into Jovans shoulder. He screamed in pain as he fell backwards, his gym bag spilling out onto the ground. His gun slid towards her feet.
She picked it up and pointed at him. He whimpered as he pulled out the shard of glass.
“Do I have your attention?” she said. Her voice sounded foreign to herself.
“What the hell do you think your doing?” His wound was bleeding profusely.
“I’ll help you get medical attention, if you rat out who you work for.”
“Do you take me for some stupid dreg off the street? I’d be dead for sure if I did that.”
“Wouldn’t that be a shame?”
Her gun wavered a little in her hand.
“You’re not going to shoot me.” He noticed.
“I ought to. One less dirty cop wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”
“We’ve put away some legitimate criminals during our time together, haven’t we?”
Have we? She couldn’t remember. She just thought about the threats and the death of that junkie. Right in front of her. She stared at him, narrowing her eyes. “Anything good you think you’ve done doesn’t make up for the wrong.”
He didn’t say anything for a moment, clearly in a lot of pain. “Fine, its on the computer.”
Jovans cursed. “Fine. Help me up?”
Evelyn put her hands on her hips and stared down at him. He grunted and slowly got to his feet on his own. He pulled the chair back right-side-up, and sat down at the computer.
“I’ve kept a lot of records.”
“Course, a weasel like you would want insurance.”
He shook his head. He navigated to a folder full of documents.
“Its all here.”
She took the mouse from him and clicked on one. He cursed under his breath. “Maybe not that one,” he said as an audio file began to play.
“Jovans, I need you to take care of someone for me.” This voice sounded familiar to Evelyn, but she couldn’t quite place it.
“Consider it done.” His voice was so cold sounding. Was taking an order to kill that easy for this man? She took a step back from him and placed a hand on her holstered gun.
“The target is a whistle-blower that you have hanging around the station.” Evelyn knew she had heard this voice before. “Cellblock 23-A.”
A flash of recognition came to Evelyn’s mind. “23-A. . .”
Jovans stopped the message playback and there was silence for a moment. Evelyn knew that the voice had sounded familiar.
“That was Fermani Southerband of SB Inc. I knew it was you. You killed our witness and screwed up the whole case.” She raised her voice, her blood boiled under her skin. “Its because of you that scumbag is still getting his crap out on the streets!” She didn’t realize that she had drawn her weapon and had pointed it at Jovans’s head. “How much did you get paid?”
He turned in his chair towards her. He was losing a lot of blood and was looking pale. “I. . .”
“HOW MUCH?” Her hands were shaking. Pull the trigger, an angry voice shouted within her.
“Ten thousand.” His voice was weak. She hoped it was from guilt and not just blood loss. But she didn’t think so.
“You don’t even care, do you?”
“This is how the game is played. This is how you survive.”
She knocked him upside the head with her gun and he fell to the floor again. She connected her tablet to the computer and downloaded the data. He had a quite a bit of evidence. “Clever bastard,” she muttered. She looked at one of the documents while the transfer occurred.
The document incriminated the Sector 9 regional council, and the chief of police. The evidence was pretty damning. There was a message in which Chief of Police Jeff Addison, a guy Evelyn regarded as a slime ball, reported to Chief Councilman Lek Paul that "the shipments were arriving unhindered." As she scanned the document, she could not find any specific reference to what the shipments contained, though it was not hard to imagine which narcotics that were currently raging in the streets it could be. The message also stated that, "our men are assigned to the main distribution areas." Evelyn assumed she was not included in "our men."
There was a beep and the computer indicated that the files had been successfully transferred. She disconnected her device and got up. Replacing her device on the back of her belt, she pulled from another part of her handy utility built to pull out a grappling hook. She pulled out enough to toss it up to the lip of the sky light, and then retracted it to pull herself back up to the roof.
Evelyn darted back towards the edge of the building and jumped in her speeder. "System top down!" she instructed the computer as she grabbed the speeder controls. The cover came down over the cockpit as she sailed away from the building. She dialed up the police, and claimed to live in the apartment underneath Jovans. She said that she had heard some sort of disturbance from his apartment. They would probably get there in time, though she couldn’t be one hundred percent sure. But it was more of a chance than he deserved.
"Are you kidding me? You better have some proof to back that up," the journalist exclaimed. "I ain't gonna stick my neck out on this if you don't." Lester Wu was a top reporter at a major news outlet. He had his ear to the ground and got wind of most everything. Evelyn had found him quite useful in getting helpful information for her investigating. Now it was time to return the favor.
"Oh, I got proof alright." Evelyn replied with a huge smile. "I am sending it to you now.”
There was a pause. “Slag me. . .Evelyn how did you get all this?”
Evelyn hesitated a moment before jumping into her carefully prepared story. “This comes from my partner, Detective Jovans of the Jefuedo Sector 9 police department.”
“Your partner?” Wu asked in confusion. “Evelyn. . .isn’t he a dirty cop?”
“Between you and me, he’s decided to turn his life around.”
"Yes, really," Evelyn said. "He wanted me to leak the information."
"And you’re giving me an exclusive on this?" Wu asked.
Evelyn scoffed. "Seriously? Hell no, I don't like you that much. I'm just giving you a head start."
"Fair enough," Wu replied with understanding. "So who else gets it?"
Evelyn hung up the call. Leaking the truth wouldn’t change the fact that she needed to leave. Jovans could still implicate her, and she hadn’t had time to check for any surveillance in his apartment. She wouldn’t give Wu very long of an exclusive. In an hour she would send the story to every media outlet and journalist she could think of. Then she would run for her life.
Not a bad way to inform the precinct that this was her last day.
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