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A Slice of Izera, Part 1

Chryna Rezal was a thirty-two year old human female. She had spent the last several years of her life as a pilot for the Royal Izeran Space Force, having flown everything from sluggish cargo shuttles to strategic bombers and even the prestigious and nimble TX-170 Tarokai. There was true joy in piloting that craft; it was so responsive that she’d often found herself wondering if it was telepathic, and the advanced G-Diffusion systems made any maneuver seem possible. Though, she was also glad that she wasn’t the one who had to recalibrate all of its complicated innards every week.

Regardless, and as much as she’d enjoyed her time in the Space Force, she had never planned for it to be her career. What she truly wanted in life was to be a police officer. It had been her dream since she was a little girl, having seen how heroic and just plain cool police officers looked in her favourite holo-film “Szera City Crimes: Never Say Never.” Many dismissed the film and mediocre and predictable, but she’d loved it when she’d first seen it and she still loved it today.

And today was a day she wished she could have stayed in and watched it again, because even though she knew every line by heart, on most days it was still more interesting than actual police work. Having only finished her formal training a few months ago, she was still considered a rookie, and was therefore assigned to the least important, least dangerous and least interesting tasks. Like Pedestrian Patrols, for instance. While it was less of a “patrol” and more of a “station,” as she was instructed not to wander too far from a specific location, it certainly was pedestrian. And boring.

Leaning against the guardrail, off to the side of Adams’ Walkway, she had, thus far, spent the past two hours standing around, walking up and down the street, and just generally watching the constant flow of people pass her by. Ostensibly, such “patrols” existed to keep crowded areas safe and reassure the general public of the police’s presence. But Rezal very much doubted that anyone in Izera – much less anyone in Lanayru, Akanda’s largest city – needed to be reassured that the police were around, and the only “threats” to public safety she’d ever had to deal with so far were unlicensed buskers and the occasional ticket scalper. Most of the time, giving directions to tourists was the most eventful thing that happened to her in a typical day. Though, every once in a while, someone stopped by to thank her for being a police officer, and that was always nice.

She took off her dark blue, silver-trimmed cap and fanned herself with it, revealing her short, black hair. She had the sleeves of her light blue shirt rolled up, but that was about as casual as she was allowed to get. On days like these she was especially glad that the protective vest she was wearing was thin, light and a shade of grey; and although she did wish it wasn’t quite so snug, it was much better than the heavy, bulky, black vests she’d seen in old archives.

She straightened out her black trousers and adjusted her belt, briefly inspecting its many handy pouches, her holstered sidearm, and the “Warrant Ticker” opposite it; a little black cylinder with a button on top, it looked totally innocuous but was arguably her most important piece of equipment. There was a lot she couldn’t legally do without a warrant, after all, and that little device, in conjunction the A.I. housed within it, let her quickly and efficiently apply for one.

Information would be instantaneously gathered from her various pieces of equipment and micro-cybernetics, and the A.I. would make the call, determining what was authorized for the situation, and what wasn’t. Actually pushing the button was optional, too. The Ticker could be activated by voice commands, and even by thoughts, provided the necessary implants were also installed. It was a fast process that was well-liked by officers, but many also saw it as lacking effective oversight, and so anything not involving a “clear and immediate threat” still had to be authorized by a court.

“Unit 2-1-9, 2-1-1, you there? Over.” The voice sounded in her ear, projected from the microscopic implant that triggered the small bones in her inner ear, meaning only she could hear it. With a thought, she activated a second micro-implant, one installed near her lower lip which acted as a microphone. “2-1-1, 2-1-9 here. What can I do for you? Over.” She said.
“2-1-9, requesting your presence for lunch and a cold drink, because it’s damned hot outside. Over.” Came the reply. She chuckled. “2-1-1, can confirm that it’s too damn hot out, but my shift doesn’t end for another couple of hours, so that’s a negative to lunch. Pray to Mila that dispatch doesn’t hear you using the comms like this. Over.”

2-1-1 was Najil S'Tenar, a fellow rookie cop who was just a few months ahead of her. He was stationed just a few blocks away with a senior partner and a squad car. Apparently, his job was about as dull as hers, because he would often contact her for casual chats. These conversations often ran the risk of annoying the chief, and possibly also the dispatcher, but they were almost always too busy with more important things to take the time to reprimand a few bored rookies. S'Tenar’s partner was apparently also okay with the chatter, or else he probably would have stopped him by now. Rezal could only assume that he sympathized with them; presumably, he had also been a bored rookie, at some point.

“Rodger that, 2-1-9.” Said S’Tenar. “How about tomorrow? Over.” She was about to reply when she heard a distinctive chirping noise, indicating a priority message coming in from dispatch. “Dispatch to all units in the Caithla District vicinity.” Said the voice. “Crime-in-Progress reported. 22119 Malai Path. Code 530.”

Malai Path? She thought. That’s just around the corner! She quickly put her cap back on and lightly tapped the underside of it, bringing up a holographic display projected before her eyes, giving her all the details she needed about the situation and who the suspect was, and also serving as an augmented-reality heads-up display. “Dispatch, unit 2-1-9 responding!” She said, drawing her sidearm and sprinting for the street corner. “Rodger that, 2-1-9.” Said the dispatcher. “Backup is on-route. Recommend you apply for a class 4 warrant.”

Keeping her weapon at low-ready, she ran around the corner and down the street, weaving through the unending stream of people as quickly as she could. “Need a warrant.” She said, hurriedly. “Class 4!” A moment later, the words “Class 4 – Approved” appeared in her H.U.D.

Her destination quickly became evident; a small-but-growing crowd of people was gathering just off to the side of the walkway, in front of an apartment complex’s entryway. She pushed her way through the crowd and spotted the suspect immediately; an older, light-skinned male human, brandishing an old kitchen knife. Near him was a young woman, the apparent victim of this man’s attention and the person he was brandishing his knife and yelling at. Rezal didn’t hesitate to spring into action.

“Police!” She shouted, levelling her weapon at the man and advancing away from the crowd. “Everybody stand back!” From the back of her belt, a small collection of hovering, black, spherical droids emerged from a pouch. Each one only a few inches in diameter, they rapidly spread out in a wide circle around Rezal, then projected holographic police tape between themselves. While they couldn’t physically stop anyone from breaching the perimeter, that wasn’t their purpose. Their purpose was indicate a space that civilians needed to avoid so that officers could work without fear of hurting anyone not involved.

The man froze, his eyes darting back and forth between Rezal and the woman. “Sir, drop the knife. Drop it now!” She said, and then tapped a small button near the trigger on her sidearm, just to make sure it was on the right setting. The button made an audible click, and upon hearing it, the man gulped and took a moment to consider his options. Then he slowly started to put his hands up. “On your knees.” Said Rezal, still pointing her gun at him. He seemed to be cooperating, so she glanced over at the woman he’d been addressing. “Ma’am, get clear.” She said. “Are you hurt?”

The woman said that she wasn’t, thanked her, and made for the entrance of the building. Rezal could hear the quickly-closing siren of a police cruiser in the distance. That’s probably S’Tenar and his partner. She thought. Just then, the suspect made a sudden move. He lunged at her, and he still had the knife in hand. She pulled the trigger without hesitation, and a blue bolt fired out the muzzle of her weapon. The crowd gasped and the man dropped immediately.

She’d never shot anyone before, at least not since becoming a police officer, and never in a face-to-face confrontation, so it took her a moment to come to grips with what just happened. Then she shook her head and remembered her training. Still pointing her weapon at him, she walked over to him, kicked the knife away and carefully knelt down to check his pulse. She’d known her gun was on its “stun” setting, but it was still a relief to know that she’d hadn’t accidentally killed him.

She holstered her weapon and put his hands behind his back, slapping handcuffs on him. They were thin and rigid pieces of metal that looked rather fragile, but although they were stronger than they looked, they were mainly useful for the miniature forcefields they generated; effective, mauve-coloured restraints kept the hands together, behind the back and close to the waist. Just as she had finished cuffing the man, S’Tenar and his partner ran over to her. Things wrapped up quickly after that. She told them she was alright, told them what had happened, and then she and S’Tenar were set to work clearing the crowd and securng the area while the senior officer among them, S’Tenar’s partner, set about rousing the man and hauling him into the squad car.

The standard police sidearm’s “stun” setting didn’t render a person fully unconscious, after all, but it did render them dazed, confused and numb all over. The man was read his rights, but he would be read them again once he got back to the station, seeing as he was currently still a drooling mess.

“Hey,” Said S’Tenar, as the crowd cleared up. “You did good today, rookie.” He grinned and slapped her on the back. She chuckled. “Yeah, I guess so, huh?” She said. “Now, about that drink…”

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