Chapter 3: STRANGE SIGNAL
Back at the CC, Kimberly undid one button on her blouse and turned one of the monitors into a mirror to then primp herself. She put the original screen on the monitor back up just as a knock came and Brad and Quinn walked in.
“We’re back!” Brad announced.
‘There he is,’ Kimberly thought of Brad, ’He’s young for a cop. I bet he makes a good living with his job. Maybe he’ll settle down. I wonder if he has a girlfriend. I don’t see any ring! I wonder how interested in me he’d be if I asked.”
“Just in time,” Kimberly smiled, “It should happen again any minute now.”
“We’ll just wait then.” Brad said.
Quinn crossed his arms and said, “Like you waited at the waffle house?”
Brad was shocked, “How the,” he began, “You could see me?”
“No,” Quinn answered, “Witnesses are a part of the job remember?”
“What happened at the waffle house?” Kimberly asked.
“Long story short,” Brad began, “We just came from the waffle house where we, or rather Quinn, had a run in with three wanna-be thugs who tried to hold him up and rob the place. I saw they only had knifes and couldn’t hurt him so I went back to eating.”
“How could they not hurt you?” Kimberly asked.
Quinn held up one hand and turned into a mace with spikes.
“Just for the record,” Brad said, “He’s an Odian. A shapeshifter. There isn’t much that can hurt him.”
“Still,” Quinn said, “It would have been nice to have backup.”
“I didn’t want to cause a panic,” Brad retorted, “Besides, like I said – I knew those guys were no threat to you and you had the situation under control. Considering everyone involved lived I’d say you handled it fine, better than if I’d tried something.”
“So that’s what I saw at the police station,” Kimberly said, “I’ve heard of Odians. Seen one too but, never actually met one.”
Quinn’s mace morphed back into a hand and he extended his arm to shake hands with Kimberly, “Then it’s a pleasure.” he said.
“Likewise,” Kimberly replied.
“I’m just a human,” Brad said, “Nodes, nanites and all.”
Kimberly smiled, “You still look pretty impressive to me,” she replied before realizing what she said came out wrong, “I mean what cop isn’t?”
“How about you,” Brad asked, “Anything exciting?”
Kimberly shook her head, “Just a regular, boring work day.”
‘Boring huh?’ Brad thought, ‘Yeah, I bet it was. Maybe I can make it a little more exciting’
Kimberly sat and faced the monitors, “It should be happing right…now.” she said.
As predicted, the signal appeared.
“There it is,” Kimberly said, “Just like I said. Again, there’s nothing to read. It’s just a signal, like a beacon and like before, I can’t tell where its coming from.”
“Quinn and I will go get a tracer.” Brad said.
“We’ll be back tomorrow and run it.” Quinn added, then walking away.
“You guys need a ride?” Kimberly asked.
“No, thank you,” Quinn answered, “We can walk it.”
“I’ll also need your number,” Brad then said before quickly correcting himself, “We, we need your number!”
Kimberly chuckled, “Sure.”
‘This is it. It’s now or never.’ Brad thought, ‘She did say she was bored.’
“Since I’m getting your number,” Brad began, “I was thinking you can give it to me over dinner tonight, your number that is.”
‘Yes.’ Kimberly thought, “Um, let me think a little. I think I can,” she said, “I’m a little busy later but, it shouldn’t be a problem.” ‘I’ve got NOTHING going on.’ she then thought.
“Good. Chavrens, 8pm?” Brad said, shaking hands with Kimberly. ‘Oh, thank goodness!’ he thought before turning to leave.
Once the door closed, Kimberly raised a leg and pumped her fist.
Outside, the men walked.
“I got a date with her,” Brad exclaimed, “Can you believe it?”
“One date,” Quinn said unimpressed, “Sorry for my lack of enthusiasm. Tell me when you and her are actual boyfriend and girlfriend.”
Brad wrapped one arm around Quinn, and said, “Steps, my friend, steps. Little ones.”
As they walked, Quinn spoke, “I’ve never understood this fascination with courtship. My kind doesn’t believe in it”
“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Brad laughed, “Now that I think about it. I’ve never seen you with another person.”
“We shapeshifters procreate differently,” Quinn said, “Relationships as you know them are meaningless to us.”
Now with a bunch of stores at their sides, Brad kept thinking, then asked, “You know I’ve been wondering and don’t take this the wrong way but, how the heck do you…know procreate?”
“It’s quite a pleasurable experience,” Quinn replied, “It just takes any two of my kind. We merge together into one entity for a while and when we split apart. There it is right in the middle. A baby Odian or just a little puddle of goo.”
“That makes me wonder,” Brad said, “How do you know if it’s a boy or girl if it’s just…goo?”
“We’re a genderless species,” Quinn answered, “I’m not actually a man.”
Brad grew shocked at the revelation.
“I’m not female either,” Quinn continued, “I based my look from an image of a model I saw.”
Just down the street, a bank was being robbed. An alarm could be heard when one of the robbers crashed through a glass door in a hurry to get in his getaway cruzer.
Brad quickly phased on his suit and jumped a long distance onto the cruzer as it began to ascend. The cruzer became damaged from the suit’s impact and fell to the ground.
Four men with guns rushed out in different directions.
Brad phased out a stun gun and took aim. It was synced to his visor, so he got a perfect aim. He fired a bolt that struck one the men and knocked him down.
Quinn chased after one of the men briefly, as a flying creature that easily caught up. He morphed into his human form in midair and fell right on top of the guy, knocking him out. Quinn then morphed handcuffs on him and went back to the scene of the crime.
One of the robbers had grabbed a woman on the street as a hostage.
Brad had already ran after one of the robbers and was in hot pursuit.
Quinn ducked down behind a large sign and morphed into a small flying bug to land on the gun of the robber with the hostage.
“Shut up!” the robber told his hostage and readjusting his hold.
Quinn began to morph, and his growing weight caused the robber to lose his grip and look on in shock as Quinn morphed into his human form, gun in hand.
The robber had lost his hold on the hostage as well, as she ran away screaming, and he put his hands up at the sight of Quinn.
Police cruzers then began to show up.
The last robber ran into a building with Brad not far behind.
Brad then phased out a small flying tracker and targeted the man he was chasing.
The tracker then flew over, ignoring everyone else and onto the robber’s shoulder.
Brad stopped and seemed to give up.
“That’s it” an onlooker curiously said, “You’re just going to let him get away?”
The robber never noticed the tracker, “Outta the way!” he screamed, waving his gun in the air and going up a stairwell. He ran up to roof. It was large enough for him to get a good running start and hop over to a nearby building. Inside, he jumped down half of the stairs but, he ran so fast he lost his footing on the last flight and managed to ‘slide’ down as he gripped the rails. It was impressive considering he was also holding a bag of money in one hand and a gun in the other. ‘I actually did it.’ he thought as his pursuer was nowhere to be seen but, he wasn’t about to slow down. He ran outside right into Brad’s waiting fist.
A police cruzer then pulled up and Quinn stuck his head out, “Need a lift?” he asked.
Back in the police station, both men walked down a hall.
“I gotta ask,” Brad began, “If you don’t really need anything. Do you own anything?”
Quinn thought for moment, “Other than my practice hub and my sleeping jar, no,” he said, “I carry everything in that duffle bag and I don’t even really need any of those.”
“Thank goodness for zero-space,” Brad said, “Still, moving must be a breeze.”
“There’s benefits.” Quinn said.
They then entered an empty room with multiple indentations of glowing hand prints.
“Welcome to the armory,” a disembodied voice said, it was the police station’s own computer, “Please, feel free to take what you need.”
Brad phased on his suit and placed his hand into one of the indentations, “I need a signal tracker.” he said.
The indentation glowed as the data could be seen traveling along the wall and into the suit’s hand.
“Transfer complete.” the voice said as the indentation stopped glowing.
Brad pulled his hand back and phased his suit off, “Good, now we just need to plug into Kimberly’s monitor.”
Later that night at Chavens, Brad was sat with Kimberly across the table. Both were in conversation, laughing and wearing casual clothes, but nice ones.
“So, you’re fresh out of the academy?” Kimberly asked.
“Yup,” Brad answered, “Spent a year training before I got back.”
“I’m your first case?” Kimberly asked.
“Yeah,” Brad smiled, “Call me lucky.”
“How’s it going so far?” Kimberly asked.
“Not bad,” Brad answered, “Already got some bad guys. You know about that bank that was robbed, not far from your work?”
Kimberly nodded, “It was all over the news.”
“I was there,” Brad said, “I stopped it with Quinn’s help. How long have you worked at the CC?”
“I just started a little over a year ago,” Kimberly replied, “I began as an intern then just got the job since I was already doing it.”
“Any crazy exe’s or nick names I should know about,” Brad asked, “I heard the computer call you Kim.”
“I don’t have any exe’s,” Kimberly replied, “Everyone who knows me calls me Kim. It’s just shorter, so you can call me either or.”
It was getting late.
Brad picked up a pen from the table and placed it in his shirt pocket, “We should probably call it a night and get to bed,” he said, “Our own…beds. Sorry.”
Kimberly chuckled lightly, “If you say so.” she replied.
“Here, I’ll walk you to your cruzer.” Brad said.
“Do you need a ride?” Kimberly asked.
“Sorry” Brad answered, “I got a rental. Maybe next time.”
‘Damn!’ both thought.
After walking Kimberly to her cruzer Brad kissed her hand then briefly on the lips.
“This weekend?” Brad asked.
Kimberly nodded and then kissed Brad on the lips a little more sensually, “Goodnight.” She said.
“Goodnight,” Brad replied, slowly backing away before turning around to head for his ride. Once in, he pulled the pen from his shirt pocket and tossed it in the passenger seat, “Now, that was a date and the last one I ever take you on.”
The pen began to morph until Quinn was sitting in the passenger seat, “Interesting but, why the glum face?”
Brad ran his hands over his face, “She offered me a ride,” he said, “Do you know what that means? Do you know what could’ve happened and of all things I have to say no and makeup some lame ass excuse because of you!”
“I could’ve walked home.” Quinn said.
“I’m not going to make you walk that far.” Brad said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily walk,” Quinn explained, “I could have turned into bird and flown there.”
“Thanks for telling me that now.” Brad said sarcastically.
“It was very informative.” Quinn smiled.
“Shut up,” Brad said loudly exasperated, “Next time, you stay home!”