“Don’t go down that alley!”
“Their cars will catch up to me otherwise,” I yelled back at the voice coming from my headphones. I ran down the alley.
“They are wai-” I heard my brother sigh. “Why do you never listen to me?”
Police cars were blockading the alley in front of me, and the ones that had been chasing me screeched to a halt behind me. Techtor had been right about the alley, but I couldn’t let him know that I acknowledged that. If I hadn’t come down the alley, I would have had to fight them soon enough anyway. No clean escape this time. “I do listen to you… when I agree.”
“We’ve got the grey one trapped in an alleyway,” my keen ears heard one of the officers talking into his radio amongst the commotion. “Keep your eyes out for the other.” The police hurried to take shelter behind their vehicles, before training their firearms on me. They knew what was coming. Flicking out my tongue, I could practically taste them, their fear and the pathetic confidence that some had that this time
they would catch me.
“I’m coming for you, bro. Time to save your butt again
“Not this time. They know our routine. They’re watching for you this time.” Red energy crackled and sparked around my right forepaw as I readied to summon a weapon.
“They tried that last time t-”
“Ready to get beaten again?!” I shouted at the police, interrupting my brother.
“Surrender peacefully and no one will have to get hurt,” came the megaphone response. Did they ever
get tired of saying that? Sure, it’d be nice if they
would surrender – but I could take what they usually dish. My regenerative abilities made sure of that. It also helped that they were not allowed to use most types of explosives in civilian areas.
The red energy around my hand coalesced into a ball, as I willed, from which a light assault rifle appeared in my hand. Looking around, I analysed the situation. The alley was straight, with only a dumpster for cover. However, the dumpster would be the worst place for me to go – as one group of police would then be able to openly fire upon me. The cops were to both sides of me and, out in the open, they risked friendly fire. They had left their shotguns in the cars. I would just have to move a lot.
For a few seconds, each equivalent to an eternity, there was a tense stillness that not even the sirens penetrated. I flicked out my tongue, tasting the air, and then the first cop pulled the trigger on their pistol.
The shot hit my side at a shallow angle and ricocheted off my scales. In quick, reptilian movements I zigzagged irregularly in the small alley – trying to keep my movements unpredictable. I was still hit, but it wasn’t enough to take me
down. When I wasn’t bouncing off the walls, I also returned fire upon the police – forcing them to take cover and occasionally hitting one.
Eventually, I noticed something was a bit off. The group of police behind me hadn’t shot once. While it was probably best for them to be cowering behind their cars, I hadn’t heard either side communicate to the other who was going to be the ones getting shot at, and who was going to be doing the cowering. The cops firing upon me had also already been there when I arrived. To what extent was this planned?
I heard a soft tink… tink tink
of something metallic bouncing behind me, too big to merely be a bullet. I looked behind me to see what it was. Big mistake. The flashbang exploded, blinding, deafening and disorienting me. I cupped my forepaws to my eyes, dropping my weapon – which would dissolve into red sparks. I felt something pushing me over, and I fell.
When I gain my bearings again, I found myself under a weighted metal net. Sneaky humans
, I mused as I struggled against it. Getting one arm free, I summoned a pistol and shot – rather inaccurately, due to the afterimage still looming in the centre of my vision – at the humans who were advancing on me. They ducked in cover. My clip ran out. I saw two of the humans holding strange looking guns. Tranquilizers
, I realised. Hurriedly, I willed my handgun’s clip to refill. Red sparks jumped around my hand, and I forced the officers back into cover before they could shoot at me. But I’d only be able to keep them at bay for so long.
“In a pickle?” I barely heard the voice in my headphones over my still-ringing ears.
“Stop gloating and help me!” I growled.
Suddenly an unbearably loud and high pitched sound issued from all the police cars’ megaphones at once. It caused everyone present, including me, to squirm in pain and cover their ears. Then white noise played over my headphones, and I was able to concentrate again. Using the opportunity my brother had created, I continued freeing myself from the net. Techtor didn’t come flying in heroically to free me from the net, but I could survive without seeing his smug face at the moment.
Just as I was about to free myself, some humans started shooting at me again. It hurt, but I needed to keep going. I tugged my last foot free of the net and ran towards the side of the alley I had come from, where the tranquilizers were. I took a moment to stomp upon each of the two weapons, before jumping over the humans and their vehicles and running around the corner.
I ran-limped onwards, following Techtor’s instructions to avoid the police – who I had not seen since escaping the alley. I knew he was leading me in a random and pointless route, over walls and through narrow alleys, but I also knew why. I mustn’t head back to our hideout until my wounds had healed enough that I wasn’t leaving a glowing orange trail of blood saying “follow me”. I could already feel injured flesh knitting itself back together again.
Eventually, Techtor directed me on a roundabout route to our secret hideout, once I was no longer leaving a trail. When I got there, I went inside, unstrapped the pack I was carrying, handed it to him, and flopped onto the ground.
“Another successful raid,” he said.
“Next time, you go and get shot at. I’ll stay here and tell you
what to do.”
“Can you hack into their systems from here and tell me where to go?”
“No. Fine, we both go. Or you come and save me in person even if they’re expecting you. You need some dents too.” I chuckled and reached for my brother, who was standing over me, and patted his snout. It was good to have my brother, even if we had our differences.