Han's first day as a rookie officer, tentative steps quickly leading to out of control consequences
Preserving Creata Part One, Chapter Two
*** Two ***
“Bloody Hell! What did you do to my Rogue?!”
It was Jack screaming me awake.
Now how did he get in?
I could swear I had locked the door. Well, maybe not in my intoxicated state.
“Now just hold on” I cautioned as he lunged into the bedroom. “What are you talking about?”
“There’s blood all over the front and the light is broken. Did you kill anyone last night?” he accused.
“Just a sick cat. I put it out of its misery by accident” I defended myself.
“A cat! You hit a cat with my Rogue! How could you?”
“You were passed out and I had to drive. I’m not used to alcohol either. Just remember that.”
Jack calmed down. “Okay, but I do not have insurance. Are you going to pay for repairs?”
“I will go half on it. If you had been drinking responsibly, your vehicle would still be in roadworthy condition.”
He took a seat on the chair by the window. Opening the curtain, he stared out into the mid day sunshine. We had slept the morning away.
“I know now why you stay here” he commented, more to himself. “You have a wonderful, clear view of New Haven. I can even see the ships in the harbour. There’s my parent’s house up on Maine, just behind the airport. It’s also nice and quiet here.”
I was up and dressed by the time he stopped staring out of the window.
“I will take your offer” he continued. “I will run the Rogue by a repair shop on the way home and get back to you on a price. That okay?”
“Perfect. Now, did you want some breakfast? I was thinking of having some very fat bacon and oozing boiled eggs.” I knew the reaction to that would be instantaneous.
Jack’s black face turned ashen as he stood up. “No, thank you. I have to be off. The parents want their children home before dark and all that.”
I laughed at his discomfort and saw him to my apartment door. “Drive safe.”
I made sure the door was locked before starting on breakfast.
It was really fun cooking for myself. The food came out exactly as I wished and I enjoyed a hearty breakfast.
Not planning on going out again, I loafed around reading adventure novels and watching home movies.
I still could not get reception from the local broadcasters. This had started about a month before I went to the academy.
All the equipment had been tested, but there was nothing wrong with it. The repair person said it might be some disturbance in the building. The neighbours were also complaining about this.
First Day came too fast. My best sleeping period was between 05h00 and 07h00. Now I had to be at work by 07h00. It was going to kill me.
Taking the EW1 Highway, I made great time and reached the Mountain Drive off-ramp twenty minutes later. The Precinct was situated near the docks.
We had been advised to park at the back of the building in the allocated parking bays. I found mine easily enough, with Stacey stopping next to me as I exited my Commoner.
“You ready for our first big day?” she asked with a smile on her pretty face.
“Only if my bets pay off” I joked back.
Smiling, we walked to the back doors of the precinct and into the locker area. The other three rookies were already busy putting on uniforms. We quickly found our named lockers and changed clothes.
There was no bantering between us now. It was serious business and we were all feeling apprehensive, not knowing what exactly to expect. I did not want to venture into a pre-sight right now, needing all my wits about me.
We were stared at by the other uniformed officers who were whispering and joking amongst each other.
“Probably taking bets on us” Jack commented.
Jack knew exactly where to go, his whole family already being employed by the NHSF. The Captain’s office was situated on the first floor.
We all stopped in front of the Captain’s attractive assistant. Smiling at us, she pressed a button on the comm system on her desk and spoke gently into it “They are all here, sir.”
Hearing a door opening behind us, we all turned around.
Five sergeants came over to us, each extending a hand to his particular Student, exchanging introductions.
I was immensely relieved when I suddenly realized I’d just won my bet!
Slick would collect our winnings this evening.
Jack seemed let down. Ryan gave me a sidelong glance. If looks could kill . . .
Tucker was greeting me and I gave him my full attention.
“Welcome Storm. I’m sure we are going to work well together.”
He had a solid handshake.
“I’m sure of it too, sir.”
“Please, call me Tucker.”
“Thank you, Tucker.”
The Captain joined us for a short speech. He was immaculately dressed in a grey, tailored suit. His hawk-like eyes and short-cropped grey hair completed the picture of a no-nonsense person.
“Learn from your Sergeants and you will survive in this city. You’re in the hands of some of my best men. Universal speed to all of you.”
“Come.” Tucker took my elbow and gently steered me to an elevator. We were on our way down before any of the others could join.
“We’re going to spend today getting you up to speed with procedures and then we’ll take a drive around our turf” he continued.
We exited the elevator opposite the Charge Office and turned left down the passage. There were double barred doors leading to holding cells to the left and interrogation rooms to the right. The officer cubicles were behind the door at the end of the passage.
Tucker took us to a quiet corner. It consisted of a desk with chairs on either side. It was small and felt crowded.
Tucker noticed the look of disgust on my face.
“It’s only for paperwork. The sooner it gets done, the sooner we’re back on the streets. I usually do it early morning. I arrive at 06h00 and expect the same of you.”
Did I have a choice?
I think the interior decorations were done on purpose to encourage an officer to spend as little time as possible here.
Tucker handed me a stack of papers. “Fill these out. It is for Government Taxes and general- and medical insurance. There are also a few disclaimers. Just sign everything that says signature.”
I never thought about paying Taxes. I would no longer be flying under the radar. If my name entered the system, it might come up as a flagged item.
Did I just hand myself over to be picked up by the Government?
I hoped to the Universe that it was not so. It was a bit too late for that.
I mentally closed my eyes and signed everything as required.
The general questionnaire asked a lot of personal questions. Parentage and siblings, schools attended, hobbies; your normal ‘I want to find out about you’ stuff. My form looked pathetically blank as I handed everything back to Tucker.
He glanced through the forms, raising an eyebrow at the very bare questionnaire.
“Wait here, I’ll go hand this in and then I’ll run you through the office procedures.”
While waiting for him to return, I sat looking at the things on his desk. It was mostly things you would expect on a desk, including a stack of case-files.
There was also a photograph of him with a woman and a young boy. It must be his family. I reached out and touched the images, then relaxed, and suddenly felt convinced that they were no longer alive.
Hearing Tucker coming back, I quickly brought my hand back to my lap, feeling sorrow for this man. Not knowing where this feeling suddenly came from, I reflected on it while clearing the lump from my throat.
Tucker sat down and went through office procedures with me. I did not pay much conscious attention, knowing I could retrieve the information if I missed something. The other rookies were also going through the drill, so I did not feel alone.
“There you have it. Can you run it by me now?”
I was a bit shocked. I did not expect him to throw me a curveball right away.
Taking a deep breath, I fetched the information from short-term memory and repeated it almost word for word and action for action. I consciously had no idea what I was talking about, but it seemed to impress him immensely.
“Do you have a photographic memory?” he asked as I concluded.
“Not as far as I know” I replied.
I was a bit puzzled as I did not perceive remembering things exactly as photographic memory. It was simply something I always did. I mostly did not comprehend the information I remembered the first time around. Comprehension took approximately 24hours with me.
Tucker did not push the subject and I let my breath out in relief. He was looking at the other Sergeants and their rookies.
We were done. They were still busy, with some having more success than others.
“Right, now that you understand all this, let us move out onto the streets.”
I followed Tucker, winking at Stacey and smiling at Ryan’s obvious annoyance with me.
We went out the front doors to the long row of parked squad vehicles just off the pavement. Our vehicle was marked clearly with a number 23. Tucker handed me the keys and settled in the passenger seat.
“I shattered a knee some years ago. It makes for uncomfortable driving” he commented on my questioning gaze.
The vehicle was larger than my Commoner and had a lot more engine power. Carefully backing out of the parking, I tested it for performance and handling as much as I could before we entered the city traffic.
“Where to?” I asked Tucker, not having an idea of where our ‘turf’ was.
“All the way to Market Square. That is were I have been placed recently. A nice, quiet neighbourhood until my retirement in six months.”
Was this co-incidence, or destiny that I was to patrol my own neighbourhood?
I did not believe in co-incidence.
My heart missed a beat as Destiny pressed heavy upon my shoulders once more.
Shrugging it off, I drove to the highway, catching all the lights green, as usual.
Tucker turned out not to miss much. “How did you do that?”
“You caught all the lights green.”
“Oh. Luck, I guess” I answered.
But for the first time I actually thought about how I managed all the lights to stay green. I was not sure exactly how I achieved it. I told them in my mind to stay green. They just did.
I shrugged again, noticing that Tucker was observing me closely.
I kept my concentration on negotiating the now very busy, four-laned highway. Everyone seemed to be on their way to work all at once. Tucker allowed me to drive without interruptions.
“Which off-ramp do you want me to take?” I asked, nearing my own neighbourhood.
“Take Pier. We patrol from Pier Street all the way to the cove at the end of Dunn Drive.”
It incorporated a huge area of New Haven, the business district around the pier, the whole Market Square residential area and the wilder, less disturbed area around Dunn Cove.
“Are two people enough for this whole area?” I wanted to know.
“At the moment it is mostly free from gangs and considered one of the safest neighbourhoods. We have not had any serious problems here for quite some time. The Captain feels that one vehicle is adequate for the area. We can always request back-up when needed.”
“What are we supposed to be watching out for?” I wanted to know. I had only a vague idea of the actual work we were supposed to do.
“Keeping the peace, by allowing everyone to see we are in the neighbourhood“ Tucker sighed.
“Criminals prefer not to work in randomly patrolled areas. We can be called out to other sectors at any time, so just keep an open mind and eye on everything.”
I brought the vehicle over to the Pier off-ramp. We made good time even with all the traffic. People seemed to move out of our way automatically when they saw a NHSF vehicle coming.
“Take the first street left, we’ll zigzag the streets today. I want to stop at the local grocer. They have the freshest pastries in New Haven.”
“I know. I actually live only two blocks from them. In the Heights Building.”
I did not know why I had volunteered the information. It was as if Tucker just knew how to extract it from me.
His thoughts became clear to me for a split second.
It was quite unexpected.
He was trying to fill in the blanks on the questionnaire. He really seemed interested in me.
“Han, you okay?” Tucker's voice came through the shock of the unexpected information.
I must have gone blank for a second, noticing that I had driven right over an intersection where I was supposed to have stopped. I continued on as if nothing had happened.
“Yes. Sorry about the stop. Habit. It never used to be a stop.” It was a poor excuse. All the traffic signs showed abuse, even bullet holes.
It was an inadequate start to a new job where lives depended on your undivided attention to detail at all times. I blew it on my first day.
Tucker did not ask me any further questions.
We reached Luke’s and I found an empty parking right in front of the wide double doors. Luke’s was always busy first thing in the morning.
“You’re one lucky man, Han. I never get good parking” Tucker smiled at me.
I felt more at ease, although I knew he would never forget what had happened five minutes ago.
“Well, are you coming?” he wanted to know as he exited the vehicle.
I switched the vehicle off and climbed out.
“Bring the hand-held in case anybody needs us” Tucker ordered.
Taking the hand-held communicator that was linked to the vehicle, I joined Tucker at the entrance.
After twelve years of buying at a particular shop, one gets to know the people and I was greeted by the owner and his wife. They seemed genuinely impressed by the uniform.
“Well, Han! Just look at you. Our very own Officer. We’ll really sleep better at night now. And who is this?” the aging woman wanted to know from me.
“Sergeant Tucker; Mr and Mrs Luke” I introduced.
“We’re so pleased to meet Han’s partner” Mr Luke lisped in his funny accent.
I’ve never quite figured out exactly where they originated from. They were neither from Oriental, nor one of the Equatorial Clans. They had the darker skins of the Mountain Clans, but did not fit in that category either, their skin-tone having a more metallic sheen to it. They always, very carefully, avoided any questions leading in that direction.
Right now, I just hoped they would not embarrass me in front of Tucker.
It was too late.
“It is so interesting that Han chose the path of Security Officer. You know, we met him when he was just so high” Mr Luke tapped his hip. “I caught him stealing food. His father left him without a thing in the apartment. No food and no money. We took care of him for a while.”
I remembered distinctly that I was a virtual slave for a few weeks, cleaning and packing the store until I had ‘worked’ off my debts.
It was soon after that episode that I had discovered my gift at gambling; and never looked back. I became a model citizen overnight.
“And now we really have to get some pastries and be on our way. Please” I encouraged Mrs Luke away from Tucker.
“What type do you want?” I asked an amused Tucker.
“Fruit and savoury. An equal mix, about twelve of each, and some juice.”
Well that was an easy order to fill. I hoped he was paying for it.
I came back with Tucker’s order and was relieved when he actually did pay for everything.
I bought some chocolate slabs for myself. I found it helped with the irritability I had been experiencing the last few months.
It was becoming progressively worse and I was thinking of having myself checked out by a proper physician. The medic at the academy had given me an all-clear on my physical, but I was still not feeling my old self.
We took breakfast in the vehicle.
Half a slab of chocolate later, I was starting to feel mellow again. Tucker had a few of his pastries. He offered me some, but I declined.
After he had finished up, I started the vehicle, looking at him for directions.
“Take it slowly up and down the streets. That is what I usually do, just showing everyone that the Law is around.”
We were both silent for a few blocks. I concentrated mainly on my driving, avoiding further incidents.
When we reached a deserted Dunn Drive, we made our first turn back to the city. There were no further houses beyond Dunn. It was all wild brush. The NHSF Academy lay somewhere beyond that wild patch.
Tucker was watching me again.
“You are not a talkative type, are you” he inquired.
I smiled at him. “No, I cannot be accused of that.”
Silence for another few blocks.
This was becoming extremely uncomfortable.
I thought of trying to scan his thoughts again, but decided it was too dangerous to do while driving.
“What happened to your father?” he suddenly asked.
Right, so that was what he was thinking about.
“Nothing. There never was one.” I kept my eyes on the road.
“Oh?” It was a question that was not to be answered.
I stopped immediately.
“Just a minute” I held up my finger to Tucker as I jumped out of the vehicle.
While opening the gate to a property on the right-hand side of the street, I saw four youths in the back yard, trying to break into the house.
No, that was not right.
They were thinking of breaking into the house.
I found all four as I had seen them just before they went into action in my vision.
“Okay, guys, break it up. You cannot play in this yard“ I ordered. “Now go! Get back to school before you get into serious trouble.”
They were stunned, then scattered in every direction.
Two made it over the high wall. The other two ducked past Tucker through the gate. They were all well gone by the time Tucker joined me at the back door.
“You know those kids?” he asked.
“I’ve seen them around the neighbourhood. I do not think they will trespass again any time soon.”
I tried to look as innocent as I could before carefully closing the gate behind us.
We resumed our interrupted drive.
We were barely two blocks away when I had another vision.
I tried to keep it as natural as possible.
“Something is not right at that house” I told Tucker.
I was referring to a white building without fences. The vegetables in the front garden were all limp with dehydration. I stopped in front of the house and did not wait for Tucker, knowing that the old man inside the house needed urgent medical attention.
I made a show of looking through the kitchen window first, then tried the locked door.
“Sir! It’s the NHSF. You okay?”
There was obviously no reply, so I promptly put a shoulder to the door and went inside.
Running up the stairs, I found the old man lying on the bathroom floor.
Tucker was looking for me.
“Call the paramedics” I shouted back. “We have an unconscious man in his sixties with a broken hip.”
Tucker went back to the vehicle as he had forgotten the portable.
I found a glass and brought water over to the old man. Moistening his cracked lips, I managed to drip some water onto his tongue. The old man was slowly coming to.
Sitting flat on my backside in a cross-legged position, I placed his head in my lap before giving him some more water.
“Stay still and listen to me” I cautioned him.
Tucker was standing in the door to the bathroom, observing us.
“Your hip is broken and you have been in this condition for a considerable amount of time. Your body is tolerating the pain at the moment. Excessive movement will send you over the edge again. It is your choice. Stay with me and have some more fluids, or be unconscious again. Just nod your answer. I’ll feel it either way.”
I was grateful to feel the slight positive nod between my hands.
It felt as if I was feeling this man’s physical pain. I willed the pain to flow out of his body, into my hands and through my body, dispersing into the floor.
Where this notion came from of doing such a thing, I did not care to think upon. I just knew that this was the only way I could help this man right now.
I breathed with the spasms of pain that invaded my body.
Closing my eyes, I ignored it, seeing it pass through me into the floor and away into Creata.
I could hear the siren of the emergency vehicle.
“The paramedics will be here soon. You’re going to be okay” I told the old man.
Again I felt the faint nod between my hands.
Tucker left his position at the door to direct the paramedics to us. I stopped the evacuation of the pain from the old man. He was already looking better.
Upon their arrival, the paramedics assessed the situation.
“Stay right where you are,” the team leader advised me, before checking their new patient’s vitals.
They seemed happy enough with it.
“We’re going to give you something for the pain” the team leader told the old man, who carefully nodded his understanding.
They found a vein and inserted an IV drip, then injected the painkiller using the drip.
Giving it a few minutes to kick in, they queried Tucker. “How long since you found him?”
“Fifteen, twenty minutes” Tucker answered.
“You found him in an unconscious condition?” the paramedic confirmed with Tucker.
“Yes” Tucker replied.
I was following this conversation with interest. My patient could not talk as yet.
What was I thinking?
“Anyway, whatever you did, he’s doing much better now.” The paramedic continued his conversation with Tucker.
“Han just talked to him calmly, explaining the situation he is in” Tucker explained.
The paramedic turned to me. “You did a good thing. Now, on the count of three, I want you to help us roll him onto the stretcher so his broken hip faces up. Ready?”
I nodded the affirmative.
On the count of three, we rolled the old man onto the stretcher. It seemed the most natural thing to do as I helped settle him. The old man ventured a tired smile at me, a huge thank you in his eyes. I touched his shoulder before the paramedics took him away.
Tucker followed them out.
I felt tired and drained, as if I had broken my own hip. It still hurt, so I willed the last of the pain to disappear.
I found Tucker outside, organizing security for the house and taking the old man’s details from the neighbours. They were unaware that anything was amiss until the Emergency Vehicle pulled up.
I had some more chocolate when I reached the vehicle. It picked up my spirits and I was ready to leave within minutes.
We were driving a grid pattern between Pier and Dunn and drove in silence until we made our next turn at Pier Street.
“You do notice things when you have all your attention on it” Tucker said.
Not sure whether it was a question or a conclusion, I kept silent, bracing myself for the next pre-sight vision.
My nerves were raw by the end of our second turn-around at Pier.
“You seem very tense. Pull over. I’ll drive for a while” he announced.
Not commenting, I brought the vehicle to a stop before swapping positions.
Tucker offered me the rest of his pastries. I did not decline, finishing them in record time.
He handed me his spare juice, which I promptly finished.
I was starting to feel better and made a note to pack some lunch tomorrow. Obviously, the chocolate was not enough.
We were entering a small business centre within the community and had almost reached the Pawn-shop when I ‘saw’ two men entering it, threatening the proprietor with firearms.
There was no time to put this over softly to Tucker.
“Stop the vehicle!”
He promptly did, looking around to see what the problem was.
“The two men walking towards the Pawn-shop. I know them“ I explained. “They are old hands at holding people up in this neighbourhood. I bet you they are trying to do it again.”
Tucker switched on the vehicle siren for one turn.
The two men started running and the pursuit was on.
They ran down a closed-off alley at the side of the Pawn-shop.
I jumped out of the vehicle, continuing after them on foot while Tucker drove the vehicle around to the other street.
Flashes of pre-sight invaded as I tried my best to concentrate on running and keeping the would-be perpetrators in sight.
The visions were annoying and absolutely disorienting.
Somehow, I caught hold of the slower perpetrator busy pulling himself over the wall. Grabbing both his legs, I brought him down hard.
He grappled for the firearm in his trousers.
I hit him, all my frustration channelled into my fist.
He went down in a heap.
It would be a long time before he would wake up.
Scaling the wall, I felt, and saw Tucker in imminent danger.
Knowing by the timing of the other visions that I had only seconds to spare, I took a flying leap from the top of the wall onto the second perpetrator.
He had been preparing to fire on Tucker as he drove down the alley. The bullet grazed the squad vehicle and I heard it hitting a tree with a dull slap.
The cuffs were on the perp before he could orientate himself.
The adrenaline was pumping throughout my body as I took a step back from the secured man. I wished I could take my frustration out on him too.
Tucker allowed me to stand where I was while calling for back-up.
“Where’s the other one?” he wanted to know from me.
“Other side of the fence.
Needing a medic by the looks of it.
He tried pulling his firearm on me and I did not have time to fool around.”
I heard my voice.
It was not me speaking.
I drew a deep breath and tried to control my racing heart.
Tucker looked at me for a long minute, before requesting an emergency vehicle to be dispatched as well.
He brought over a slab of chocolate. “Here. Finish it. It seems to calm you down.”
Tucker picked up the firearm with a pen and placed it in a forensics bag. Then he read the perp his rights before manhandling him into the back seat.
He was talking to me.
I climbed into the vehicle.
We drove around the block to reach the alley on the other side of the fence.
“Stay in the vehicle.”
I was not planning to go and inspect my handy-work.
Tucker came back with the other firearm, also bagging it for forensics.
“You did an excellent job on that one” he remarked sarcastically.
“Let me see you hand.”
I presented my right hand. The knuckles had a reddish hue, but the skin was not broken.
“Okay, let us set the record straight. You hit him with your baton, right?”
I caught on. I was not supposed to be strong enough to break a man’s jaw with my bare fist.
Our back-up vehicle arrived. It was Stacey and her friendly dark-skinned sergeant.
Tucker took the sergeant to inspect the unconscious perp. We were still waiting for the emergency vehicle.
Stacey came over to my window. “You look spooked. Did you see a ghost?”
Good Universe, I thought to myself. At the rate I was going I would probably end up having to deal with those as well!
“No, we just had a very busy morning. For such a quiet sector, it turned out to be quite exciting” I answered. “And you?”
“Booor-ing! We are on back-up duty this week, so we lounge around the precinct until someone needs us.”
“Bummer” I agreed with her.
“At least you are providing some excitement on my first day.”
She looked at me closely. “Are you sure you are okay. You do not look so great.”
“I’m sure. I’m fine.”
The sergeants were returning.
“Stace, get that perp out of 23 and into ours” her sergeant ordered.
I let her do it herself. She was strong enough to handle most men twice her size, and she would be extremely offended if I were to try and help.
She transferred the prisoner without any effort. Her sergeant beamed at her.
“See” he told Tucker “she is as strong as any of us. Besides” he glanced at me “I’m more inclined to say you drew the runt of the litter.”
I was not impressed with his comment.
Stacey was to escort the unconscious perp to the hospital, so was left behind by her sergeant.
When the Emergency Vehicle arrived, the medics stabilized the unconscious man and wheeled him into their vehicle.
The head medic wanted to know what we had used on the man and, as pre-arranged, Tucker replied that it was a baton. They nodded and fiddled some more with their patient.
Stacey bent down to look me in the eye.
“I grew up in a house with professional boxers. That was a well-placed fist. That was you, was it not?”
I did not need to answer her.
“Keep your temper under control” she continued. “You’re going to land yourself in serious trouble. Do you hear me? Do not blow this. You’ve worked far too hard to just give this up.”
With this heartfelt advice she entered the EV, winking at me as it sped off.
Tucker sighed as they drove off.
He climbed stiffly into our vehicle.
He did not seem angry, more exasperated than anything else.
“Let’s find some coffee” he announced and drove over to the tiny café that served this small business centre.
He sat me down at the first of the three tables on the pavement before going inside to place his order.
The tables looked pleasant with yellow and red chequered cloths over, adding warmth to a nice late-summer day. I took a few deep breaths to prepare myself for the inevitable lecture.
Tucker sat down and stared at me. It made me extremely uncomfortable. I could not face his eyes and kept my attention on the surrounding neighbourhood.
I had not been prepared for what I had experienced today. I did not know that this was going to happen and that my body would have this reaction to the pre-sight visions.
It felt as if someone had opened my psyche up to do things I could not control. I desperately wanted to understand what was going on with me.
The coffee came and Tucker thanked the waitress. I eyed the sugar-cakes covered with cinnamon that was delivered with our order.
“You may have them. I thought you might feel like something to eat.”
He was right. I was feeling hungry and the plate was cleared in no-time. The cakes were delicious. The coffee was strong, black, and very hot. I took it a sip at a time, trying to postpone the conversation that I knew was coming.
Tucker sipped his coffee too, not taking his eyes off mine. I still could not face him.
Finally he spoke up.
“I have been an officer my whole life. I’m trained to see detail. You are an open book to me, Han Storm. I know what you are and have a notion of what you can do. Even if you try to keep it under control, you just cannot, can you?”
Incredulous relief flooded throughout me!
Now I could meet his eyes.
He was right, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not keep my psychic visions under control.
“Are you not afraid of me now that you know?” I asked him.
It baffled me that most people on Creata took psychic abilities for granted.
“No, should I be?” he questioned back.
I could not answer him, but somewhere, deep down, I suspected that he should be.
He continued and I listened attentively.
“We all know that psychics are special people with special skills. People born with psychic abilities are more open to the ancient knowledge of the Higher Worlds.
You are a very special person, Han. Untrained in your skills, I have to admit. Very rough at the edges, and that is where your slip-ups happen.
But you can train yourself and grow within your skills. I feel it in my gut. I also feel that you are destined for things far greater that the Security Forces.”
He took another sip from his coffee.
I was battling a growing feeling of utmost panic. The Destiny issue was being driven home again.
“At the moment I can only support you by giving you the opportunity to learn and grow within your skills. A slip-up in front of me is no damage to either one of us. A slip-up in front of others could get you picked up by the Government.” He let that sink in for a bit before continuing.
“So, what do you say? We work together and get your skills working for us, instead of against us. Deal?”
Of course it was a deal.
“Okay, on one condition” I answered him.
“I need to work things out for myself without interference.”
“I can live with that.”
I was suddenly feeling much chirpier and confident.
“Vehicle 23, please respond.”
It was the operator at the precinct.
Tucker picked up the hand-held from the table. “Vehicle 23, go ahead.”
“Domestic disturbance reported at 105 Fishery Road.”
“We’re on our way. ETA 3 minutes” Tucker replied.
The comm disconnected.
I had drained the last of my coffee while Tucker was speaking on the comm.
“This is your home turf” Tucker said, handing me the keys.
I drove around the block to Fishery Road. The address was at one of the old packing plants that had been converted into apartments, providing much needed accommodation for the working class.
People were standing around outside the apartment building.
I carefully drove through the crowd that separated to allow us through. We stopped in the clearing the crowd had left in front of the building.
Only one man was standing in this clearing, broken glass, furniture and clothes scattered around him and on the pavement. A woman was screaming from the first floor, hurling a bottle of alcohol at him.
He ducked, the bottle missing him by a whisker. Hitting our vehicle, it shattered.
Tucker kept his cool. “You go up and fetch the lady for a little chat. I’ll speak to the boyfriend.” He left the vehicle and started interrogating the man. It made the woman livid. She hurled abuse at Tucker and the man.
I received a scowl from Tucker and hurried over to the building. Running up the stairs, I quickly found the apartment.
“NHSF, open up!” I called in my most authoritive voice.
I saw the bullet coming through the door before it actually happened, jumping out of the way just as the bullet tore through the door, slamming into the wall.
It was a small calibre, but would have killed me if I had not moved. In any case, any sized bullet meant for you sounds and looks huge.
Not waiting a moment longer, I drew my own firearm, kicking the door open.
The woman seemed to be in shock. She threw the weapon away from her, where it discharged as it hit the floor. Thankfully, the bullet slammed harmlessly into the opposite wall.
I replaced my firearm in its holster at my hip and arrested her on the spot. She was so high on drugs, I was not sure she comprehended anything I said to her anyway.
Still struggling to get my heart rate below a gallop, I heard Tucker calling me on my comm, concern clearly audible in his voice.
I dragged the woman over to the window.
“You okay?” Tucker wanted to know, calling up from the pavement.
“Yes,” a flash of small scared faces under a bed invaded my thoughts. “We’d better get Social Services in here as well” I finished.
I knew Tucker had picked up on the slight lapse between sentences, realizing that my ‘gift’ was working overtime again.
I dragged the woman to the bedroom and sat her down on the bed, feeling sure she was not going anywhere.
Three small boys were hiding under the bed. I tried to calm them as best I could.
“Just stay there. We are bringing someone that can help you” I advised them.
A short while later, Tucker entered the apartment, followed by the man.
The woman started screaming and swearing again, making it necessary for me to manhandle her out of the bedroom.
I did not stop to speak to Tucker, but took her straight to our vehicle, fighting her all the way. She was a handful and I was thankful when she was finally secured in the back seat, where she continued to scream and hurl abuse at me and everyone else in the vicinity.
When I saw Stacey driving up, I knew Tucker had called for back-up.
Stacey brought their vehicle to a standstill next to ours. Her Sergeant made his way over to Tucker in the apartment, while Stacey came around to me.
“Wow. You are really keeping us busy. What is it with you? By the way, you’re looking better than this morning.”
“Thank you. I’m feeling better.”
It took both of us to transfer the intoxicated woman from one vehicle to the other. She struggled and kicked and head-butted us.
Eventually we had to pick her up and dump her into Stacey’s vehicle.
Breathing hard, we finally slammed the door on her. She was still going insane in the back seat.
“Drugs” Stacey breathed out. “I’ve seen them like that before. My mother used to volunteer at a re-hab centre. I visited a couple of times. It is not a pretty picture.”
“It makes one think twice about starting” I commented.
Substance abuse was a common occurrence on Creata, especially within the Cities. The Planetary Security Forces had marginal success in eliminating some of the drug plants.
Privately, I felt sure that the Government took some of the profits of this very lucrative industry. They definitely had the power and resources to eliminate the problem totally, it they wanted to.
Social Services arrived and we directed them up to the ruined apartment. Tucker came out as they went inside.
“Sergeant Picanté is looking for you” he told Stacey.
She nodded at me and went into the building.
Tucker gave the still ranting woman in the back of Stacey’s vehicle a hard look.
“I hate the cases where children are involved. It always feels personal.” He straightened up. “Anyway, time for us to go. Picanté will finish up here.”
We continued down Fishery Road, heading west, back towards the industrial area, crossed over Pier and continued into our section of factories.
Tucker allowed me to drive around the area to familiarize myself with this lesser-known section.
There were loads of dead-ends and tiny alleys, a real nightmare if you did not know where you were going. I had a map at home, but it would have been useless compared to the actual layout of the factories.
When Tucker felt I would find my way around, we drove down to Beach Road. This was the south boundary of our turf, running along the waterfront between Pier and ending in a dead-end before it could reach Dunn.
The houses along this road spoke of upper middle-class people. Nothing fancy, yet distinctly separated form the rest of Market Square’s factory worker population.
We turned around at the dead-end and headed back the way we came. Traffic was picking up as daily life continued. Children were returning home from school. It took careful driving with full attention to negotiate the oncoming traffic and the children in the street.
Tucker indicated that I should drive back towards Dunn.
“Not much will go on from now until after dark” he remarked. “Too many people about. The factory workers will be joining the crowds soon. So let’s make a last run up Dunn, then take the Snout on-ramp and head back to Head Quarters.”
I had no more pre-sights and was extremely relieved when we finally reached HQ.
Tucker showed me where to refill the vehicle behind the NHSF building.
Taking out a pass-card from the holding compartment within the vehicle, he swiped it over the scanner and the organic fuel was released through the pumping mechanism into the vehicle.
Tucker showed me what was required to be filled in on the log-book. Just one more mundane task learnt today.
We drove to the front of the building and parked the vehicle in its appropriate parking space before joining the other officers returning from their rounds.
The nightshift was heading the other way and everything seemed total organized chaos.
I stuck close to Tucker, apprehensive to get lost in the crowd of dark blue uniforms.
We steadily worked our way to our quieter cubicle. Tucker sat down heavily and indicated the chair opposite him. He gave me one of his thoughtful stares before he spoke to me.
“You’re not one for crowded places either” he observed. “I’ve decided to do the paperwork this evening. Then you can see how it’s done and you can do it tomorrow.”
We worked through the ‘cases’ we had encountered throughout the day. The two arrest files were to go to the detectives for further investigation. The incident with the roaming children was duly noted on a separate Incident form by Tucker. The episode with the old man was filed under Public Services and the one with the woman under Public Disturbances.
By the time we were finished, the precinct suddenly felt deserted.
Tucker stacked the files neatly on his desk before we headed for the lockers.
“I shower at home” Tucker remarked when we reached the locker room. “I’ll take my leave as soon as I have my civilians on. Try and get some sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Thanks, until then.”
We split up. His locker was right on the other side where the officers had private cubicles. I headed for the lockers nearest the back door.
The other rookies were all dressed in civilian clothes, and I noticed that Slick had already collected our winnings from them. He had a broad grin on his freckled face.
“I’ll wait outside” he said, before heading for the door.
Ryan and Jack avoided contact and followed Slick. Stacey waited for me.
“You’re working late already” she commented.
“Seems like it.” I was tired and just wanted to go home.
“I’ve ordered a meal for you from Hankley’s. They are just down the street, so stop there and ask for the order placed in your name. Here, it's on me.” She held out some Crata notes towards me.
I’ve never turned down money, and I was not about to start. I took it from her.
I had to give her credit. She really seemed to like me.
“You’re welcome. See you tomorrow?”
I looked up at her.
Why did she make it a question? Did she know something I did not?
“Yes, of course.”
She seemed relieved and retreated towards the door, giving me one more glance over her shoulder before stepping out, leaving me feeling comfortable with her body language.
After finishing up, I joined Slick outside. As we reached my vehicle, I saw Tucker coming out of the back door, heading towards his own vehicle.
Slick required my attention and I turned back to him. He counted the Crata notes in front of me.
I knew Tucker was watching and tried to ignore it.
“And I’m taking my commission, so that leaves you with a healthy profit of 115.”
I realized I had only caught the last part of the sentence, but could not care.
My mind was racing with all that had transpired today, as well as a perception of hostility in the locker room.
Taking the money from him, I secured it in my wallet before squaring off against my friend.
“What is going on Slick? Why is everyone so upset with me?”
“You really do not get it.” Another statement. It was infuriatingly irritating.
“No, so spit it out!” I held onto his arm, getting very upset.
“Please let go of me.” He was firm but sympathetic toward me.
I released him. “Sorry. Please, just let me know what I’m missing.”
“That seems strange, coming from you. But okay.
First, you have all five sergeants right. That confirmed beyond a doubt that you are definitely psychic.
We feel that you had an unfair advantage in all bets since the Academy.
The stories of the arrests made by Tucker and yourself today have spread like wildfire through the Precinct.
To the few people that know you, it was most unlikely that you would act like a pro on your first day out, just strengthening their conviction that you must have had ‘help’ through psychic abilities. They feel cheated that you did not confide in them about your abilities.
Secondly, Jack is jealous of you because of your abilities, Ryan hates your guts because you used your abilities for self gain. You know that he can be self-righteous at times.
And of course, Jack and Ryan both have a crush on Stacy, but realized today that their chances have been dashed. All of us could plainly see that Stacey is head over heels in love with you and if you cannot see that, then you are definitely not psychic.
To recap your first day on the job, what the hell did you expect was going to happen when you start working?
Pre-sight is like cancer. Start fiddling with it and it grows out of control.
You somehow slipped passed the Government.
Why do you think the Government takes control of people with your abilities?”
He tapped a finger on my chest.
I backed off half a step.
“To train them how to use their powers wisely, without fear of accidental misuse” he concluded.
He sighed before continuing in a softer, more sympathetic voice.
“You know, I pity your kind. You do not have a life of your own. Whatever path you choose, you’ll always end up serving others.”
He backed up a pace, gaining some space in case I wanted to hit him.
But I felt no anger towards him. I felt drained and tired.
I knew he was right. I’ve never felt like my own person.
“I understand. And our friendship?” I wanted to know from him.
Slick sighed. “You’re a great business partner Han. You’re loyal and fair, but I just cannot relate to you socially. I never could.
If you need a bookie, just give me a shout.
I’m sorry man, but you really scare me, scare all of us. Get control over your abilities. That will make things easier for all of us, including you.”
He turned to go.
“Will the guys keep quiet about me?” I asked.
He turned back, looking me straight in the eye. “Your abilities have nothing to do with them. They just want to get on with their new lives, no complications. None of them will rat on you.”
I knew he was right.
I watched him as he drove out of the precinct parking area.
What a day, I thought to myself as I slipped behind the steering wheel of the Commoner.
Glancing over at Tucker’ parking bay, I saw him patiently sitting in his vehicle, waiting for me to leave. He probably knew what this conversation was about. I needed to practice keeping a straight face.
On the way home, I picked up the food Stacey had ordered for me from Hankley’s take-away section.
It was a full warm dinner. The kind you have on Seventh Day with your family. I was thankful for her wisdom as I drove back to my apartment.
Avoiding the Highway, I took the quieter streets through the business district which was mostly deserted after dark. I reached my building as full darkness swept over New Haven.
The basement light had been replaced but the lift was still out of order. The stairs really kept my body in good condition, so I did not mind too much having to climb up to my apartment.
But not today. By the time I reached my door I was out of breath and soaked in sweat.
Maybe I was really coming down with something. I unlocked, took a shower and finished Stacey's dinner.
I had probably lost three friends today, was bought dinner by a woman that apparently loves me, and having to eat it alone only served to confirm the great divide between me and normal people.
I fell into bed, hoping that tomorrow would be easier.
Copyright © H Gibson Chronicles of Han Storm. All rights reserved. 2009-2016
A full excerpt of Chronicles of Han Storm, Part 1 is available on Wattpad