Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Issue #4: Looking For Trouble

Walking down the dimly lit hallways of the old building complex, Nicholas Ward listened to the various sounds coming from each apartment. There were blaring televisions of unrecognizable programming, crying children, and other domestic disturbances all adding to the chaotic symphony that was Gotham’s Sunrise Estates. Nick found it humorous how some of the most rundown and poorly managed apartment buildings got the most colorful names. He guessed it helped people feel better about where they lived, because there was nothing ‘sunrise’ or ‘estate’ about this place and no manager could convince one otherwise.

The only reason Nick was there was to follow up on a domestic violence call. He heard the initial call about ten minutes ago, but had decided to investigate after another separate call came in shortly after in regards to shots fired in the same building. Most officers still would’ve waited for a homicide call, but despite the tumultuous nature of Gotham City as of late, Nick was a hopeful person. He believed in the capacity for people to change, even in a city void of a hero. The other officers blamed it on his naivety in being new to Gotham, but Nick had been a seasoned officer in London; he just preferred to believe in the power to change despite the world around him saying otherwise.

Apartment 13C. Standing in front of the door Nick could hear yelling. Good, he thought, at least maybe the shots fired weren’t related… unless they were arguing about what to do with the body?

He knocked on the door. “Gotham PD.”

An immediate silence fell on the apartment before more arguing ensued about Nick’s presence at the door. He could hear footsteps approaching the door, but they stopped as the couple’s argument once again took priority. Nick could tell the man was getting more upset about the woman having apparently called the cops. The man yelled a few derogatory insults towards her before he started to rant about not wanting to spend the night in jail because of her.

Nick knocked on the door again. “This is the Gotham City police department. You need to open up.”

Nick could hear the man telling her to wait, but before he could join her at the door she had opened it and began flooding Nick with the whole play-by-pay of their argument and their relationship.

“Ma’am, ma’am… please I need you to calm down and…”

“Wait a minute?!” the woman interrupted. She leaned forward nudging Nick out of the way, looking up and down the hallway, and then back to Nick. “I thought I called 9-1-1. Who are you?”

Confused at the woman’s actions, Nick looked back her, “Ma’am. I’m with Gotham PD.”

“Then why do you sound like Harry Potter?”

Keeping a stern look on his face and swallowing his initial sarcastic response, Nick replied, “My name is Officer Ward and yes, I am from England…” sighing, “like Harry Potter, but I assure you I am an actual police officer with the Gotham City Police Department. Now if I can speak to you about…”

But before Nick could continue two shots went off down the hall gaining both his and the couple’s attention.

Moving himself and the woman inside their apartment, Nick drew his sidearm and stayed close to the door.

“Oh man, that’s one of them sci-fi stun guns you guys usin’ now.” said the woman’s boyfriend.

Nick just half glanced back at the man before he peaked his head back around the corner of the doorway. At first he didn’t see anything, but then suddenly a man burst out of one of the apartments, followed by another chasing him. Nick figured he was the shooter but was out of bullets, as he didn’t bother to turn and shoot the man pursuing him.

Stepping out in the hallway, “Gotham PD, stop where you are!” Nick said as he aimed his weapon toward the on-coming man.

The man paused briefly as he saw Nick, but then quickly resumed his sprint down the hall towards Nick.

“I said stop.” Nick said again now standing squarely in the hallway, but the man didn’t stop or slow down.

Nick fired a shot; the man attempted to dodge as best he could, grinding against the wall after being hit, but never fully stopped. Nick was confused. He should’ve been stopped dead in his tracks. Even hyped up junkies stumbled in a haze of low powered shot.

“He’s got a magnetic pulse diffuser!” yelled the stocky man pursuing him.

Nick looked back at the man in pursuit and then back at the now crazed man still barreling towards him. He didn’t know what was going on, but Nick knew the look in this man’s eyes. He was getting past Nick one way or another. Nick felt otherwise.

Looking down to his right, Nick grabbed a plastic tricycle that was left out in the hallway and threw it at the man just as he was about to barrel through him. The man, surprised, threw up his hands to deflect the flying object, but as the tricycle flew from the man’s body, Nick was there grabbing him before he could regain his focus on getting past him. Nick then spun the man around, slamming him into the opposite wall. The man grabbed and punched at Nick trying to break free, but was stunned when Nick’s left knee came bashing in just below his ribs. The man pushed off the wall trying to regain ground, but suddenly his feet were flying off the ground as Nick spun him around again—this time taking the man crashing down to floor, the air shooting right out of his body as Nick pinned him down.

Nick turned the aching man over and cuffed him as the other man came upon them. Still straddling the cuffed man, Nick drew his gun again. “And who are you?”

“Woah,” the man responded putting his hands up, “I’m a cop.” Still breathing heavily from his pursuit. “Detective Vincetti.”

“Where’s your uniform?”

“I’m undercover” Vincetti said as he put his hands on top of his head to catch his breath. “It’s kinda hard to get the drop on a guy wearing Wayne product placement.” He said nodding to Nick.

Nick glanced down at himself briefly before he resumed his questioning stance towards Vincetti.

Detective Marcus Vincetti scoffed. “Here, my badge is my back pocket. Don’t worry I’ll pull it out nice and slow” he said as he lowered his right hand towards his back pocket, Nick following his move the whole way. “See. Same team.”

Nick relaxed at the site of Vincetti’s badge and holstered his weapon before he got up and dragged the unknown criminal up with him. Marcus took over and grabbed the man moving down the hall as if nothing had happened. Nick was a little perplexed and frustrated as he turned to watch Marcus and the man walk away.

“Thanks” was all Vincetti said as the two continued toward the stairs.

“See. He sounds like a cop.” The woman said pointing to Marcus as he was walking away, having watched the whole scene from inside her apartment.

“Yeah baby, but Harry Potter here went all kung fu on that dude and messed his shit up!” the man said as he stood next to his girlfriend. “I know. I know. He’s like that… that ‘Transporter’ guy. You know the bald dude with the car and the kung fu and shit.” He said waving his arms about. “Haha, Transporter Guy!”

Nick looked back at the couple and stared at the man who had his hand up waiting for Nick to embrace him in some urban mutual handshake. Instead, Nick just looked at the man and shook his head.

The man dropped his hand, defeated, “Aw, that’s cold man. I let you into my house and…”

Nick interrupted him, “Just… just be nice to each other and keep it down.” He then walked away trying to catch up with Detective Vincetti.

# # # # # #

“Ms. Jannecki… Mizz Jannecki!”

Gabby Jannecki, busy doodling in the margins of her notes, looked up to see both her engineering professor and her classmates staring at her. Normally for Gabby this wasn’t uncommon, being one of the only two females in the mechanical engineering department. But this wasn’t the first day of class and the often asexual looking Zarina Hacknapple, an unfortunately named daughter of two hippies, had recently undergone an extreme makeover, care of her roommate, and was sharing some of the unwanted attention Gabby was used to.

“While I’d like to believe you are so enthralled by my lecture you feel the need to write down my every word, I and Mr. Lawrence…” her professor pausing momentarily to kick the desk leg of asleeping student as he made his way over to Gabby’s, “…both know I’m really not that interesting.”

Gabby moved to cover her notebook, but her professor was now standing in front of her.

“Ashamed of your notes Ms. Jannecki? Please, I’m excited to see what interesting things I’ve had to say today.”

Keeping her head down, Gabby moved her arm away from her notebook to reveal her page full of drawings with random engineering notes sprinkled here and there.

“Ah, I see.” He paused momentarily, wanting to admonish her. He knew that she was one of the department’s best students, but still he wanted to make a point. “Well, while I can admire your artwork for its mechanical elements this is not a design oriented class, so please try and hide your disinterest a little better.” He said as he walked back to the front of the class.

The rest of the class remained fairly uneventful for Gabby and the other students. She hated being rude to her professor, but he had agreed himself that he wasn’t that interesting. Plus, it wasn’t him so much as it was her. She enjoyed engineering, but it wasn’t her passion. For Gabby, engineering was her way of repaying her mechanic father who had raised her all by himself. He tried his best to surround her with maternal figures, often asking if she could tag along with the wives and girlfriends of the guys in the shop whenever they went shopping or took their own daughters out, but Gabby loved her father and enjoyed being near him. For Gabby, this meant she spent a lot of her time in the shop with him asking him questions and learning about the cars and machinery he and the others worked on. While she loved making her father smile working on cars and other machinery alongside him, her favorite thing to do was to help the custom design guys with various metal work and fabrication.

Even after discovering her previously dormant girly gene her freshman year of high school, she was still happy to put on one of her father’s old shirts and do a little work around the shop. Often times some of the guys would slip her a little money whenever she helped them out on a project or came up with a really good design, but her father always tried to discourage them, saying she needed to focus on her schoolwork and not do their work for them. Still, they managed to sneak her money here and there, telling her it was for college, saying her father couldn’t argue with that.

And if he’d known, it would’ve been a hard argument to win. He knew she was smart and he believed in her, often telling her she could become an engineer and work at some big company like Wayne Enterprises, and live outside the city like most of the wealthy of Gotham, but he still worried about her. He worried that she would want to become a mechanic or, worse, a custom fabricator helping people to ‘pimp’ their rides. It wasn’t so much that bothered him, as a lot of fabricators made good money-- but he knew in Gotham City most of the clients in that line of work were crooks and thugs, some even Arkham Asylum’s most notorious.

He wanted better for her and he knew if she could get a good education, and get out of Gotham all together, the better off she would be.

Issue #3: "An elegant weapon..."



“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to wear this crazy getup,” Detective Jackson Davies complained as he wiggled around in his Wayne Body Armour… or WBAs as they called them. “If I wanted to look and dress like one of those Quick Response Team guys I would’ve joined them years ago.”

Jackson Davies or “Sarge” as he was known around the MCU was an old school detective and Gotham’s new style of law enforcement did not suite him at all. He had a point though. Things had become so bad in Gotham that every cop was required to wear their WBA before going out on duty. Gotham had lost so many cops during the initial onslaught of criminal activity post—Batman; something had to be done. Wayne Enterprises noticed the problem too and stepped in to offer aid. Having dabbled in military contracts in the past, they had developed some cutting edge battle gear and weapons-- but sadly the battle was a bit closer to home.

“And don’t get me started on this thing,” Sarge grumbled as he motioned to his foreign sidearm, an electronic pulse weapon also provided by Wayne Enterprises. While many at Gotham PD grumbled about the change, the idea was to provide a non-lethal weapon as many officers and citizens had taken up the mantra of shoot first, ask questions later, soon after things got really bad. “I feel like a damn space man or something.”

Detective Jacob McGentry just looked out the passenger window as Sarge continued his usual grumbling about all of the Wayne technology that seemed so foreign to him. Having served overseas, McGentry found the gear and weapons eerily comfortable. They were much lighter and allowed much more movement than the body armor he and the guys wore in the desert. Not to mention they provided a lot more protection. McGentry thought about all of the guys that might have made it back had they had this sort of tech over there.

Where was Wayne Enterprises then? McGentry thought. Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal since it wasn’t in Bruce Wayne’s back yard. Hell, rumor around town was that he didn’t even live in Gotham anymore… at least no one had seen him in months, but that was the case for most of Gotham’s elite. Most of them had either moved out or hired their own private armed security to keep them and more importantly, their assets, safe. It was strange that someone so rich, like Wayne, would care enough to even try to help, but…


Jacob McGentry snapped out of his daze.

“Don’t be going all PTSD on me and shit. We’re here so get your game face on and don’t forget your damn space helmet.” Sarge grumbled as he waved his tactical helmet at Jake-- another one of Wayne Enterprise’s contributions; a helmet with on-board camera for video evidence, built in night vision and infrared on the bulletproof face shield.

Sarge had parked just outside the warehouse grounds, so he and Jake would have to make the rest of the journey on foot. Sarge had gotten a tip about an illegal drug operation being run out of a series of warehouses just outside downtown. After watching the place for a few weeks, Sarge figured out that Gil Sandori, the head of the operation, would be there making his weekly inspection. He knew that if they were going to make a bust, they needed to get Sandori and not just the drugs. Even with all of Wayne’s money and new toys, resources were still limited and they needed to be sure before calling in ‘the troops’.

“Remember kid, we need a good visual on Sandori before we call it in.”

Jake hated it when he called him ‘kid’, but it was a force of habit for Sarge. He still saw Jake as a rookie. Jake, in fact had just made detective before he left to go overseas and had only been back a few months before he ran into Commissioner Gordon one day. Gordon had convinced him that he needed some more good officers down at the MCU and, given his military background and previous service as an officer, he would be a huge asset to the department. Jake needed a job and agreed to come back as a detective, despite Gordon’s urging him to join the QRT, Gotham’s version of SWAT.

“I got it old man. Just make sure your bi-focal setting is turned on.”

Sarge scoffed.

Sarge parked his Caprice Classic just outside the warehouse grounds. Without a department approved tactical vehicle, they needed to play it safe; plus they needed to catch Sandori on sight with the drugs.

Jake and Sarge made their way through an old rusted gate and on between two of the warehouses where they finally spotted Sandori outside his car talking with his guy in charge. There were at least four others standing watch. Jake had a good vantage point to collect video evidence, but was slightly exposed in the doorway of the adjacent warehouse.

“Sarge,” Jake whispered over his com, “call it in.”

“We need good video kid.”

“I got it, just call it in.”

Sarge was too stubborn though and tried to duck around the dumpster to get a better view, but then his hand slipped on a spot of grime. Sarge slipped and fell forward nudging the dumpster. Alerted by the sudden noise, Sandori and his men jumped, and turning, saw Sarge’s head laying out in the middle of the street like a giant watermelon ready to be shot to hell.


Their cover was blown. Sarge was able to scramble back behind the dumpster narrowly escaping the bullets that slammed into the metal and brick around him.

Sarge was now taking heavy fire, but they still hadn’t seen Jake across the way tucked in the warehouse doorway. Unfortunately, he would have to give up his position as Sandori was about to escape. Setting his sidearm to max output, Jake stepped out and took one quick shot at the front of Sandori’s car, blowing the hood open and completely trashing the engine. Sandori’s men were knocked back, but now knew Jake’s position.

Jake crouched back into the tiny doorway, but knew it wouldn’t serve as good cover for long. He and Sarge were stuck and at best could hope that back up would be there soon.

“Jake! Fall back, I’ll cover you from here!” Sarge yelled out.

“Where the hell am I going to go?!” Jake pointed back behind them.

Jake had a point. They had come in through the fence and most of the area was wide open except for the warehouse buildings. They were now located at a long stretch of warehouses nestled together. There wasn’t much need for cover on the way in, but retreating back out the same way was not an option.

In between fire, Jake popped his head back out just in time to see two of Sandori’s guy’s going into the warehouse. They were coming for him, and Sandori had most likely alerted several more to come around and get Sarge. They need to move, but Sarge was boxed in against the wall and Jake couldn’t wait for Sandori’s men to come barging through the door he was up against. It would be too late then. Blasting the lock, Jake moved inside hoping to catch the two men off guard.

“Jake, where the hell are you… Jake?!” Sarge shouted.

Jake didn’t respond, but turned off his com as he quietly made his way through the warehouse. Sorry Sarge, just trying to save both our asses.

Moving around for cover, Jake could tell that Sandori had not expanded to this warehouse yet. It was filled with rows of old metal shelves, garbage, and other scraps of junk. Looking around he could tell that it had once been a mechanic’s shop, but its most recent occupants were probably homeless. Turning on his infrared, Jake could make out both of Sandori’s men moving toward where he had been outside the warehouse.

Ducking behind the cluttered shelves, Jake was ready to make the jump on Sandori’s men when all of a sudden a strange hiss came from near Jake’s head.

“What was that?!” one of the men said.

Jake ducked. Looking up Jake saw the old radio that had apparently picked up on his headset. He flipped off the power to his headset, but not before making out one of the men nearing the door he had come in while the other was coming his way. He needed to make his move or else Sarge would be boxed in. It was now or never.

Jake took off his headset and flipped it back on before ducking around the shelf and bolting around the corner outside the rows of shelves. Temporarily distracted by the radio noise again, Jake had just a split second as he came around the corner and fired off a shot mid-sprint, knocking the first guy near the door completely off his feet. The man’s automatic weapon fired several rounds into the air as he flew backwards.

Jake dove for cover between two shelves, knocking into a bunch of metal scrap in the middle of the aisle, losing his gun in the process. Fumbling around to find it, he made too much noise revealing his location.

“I got you now, pig!”

All of sudden bullets and metal shards starting whizzing by as Jake scrambled to get up and move out of the aisle where Sandori’s man had begun firing. Jake needed to move quietly now. This guy was trigger happy and Jake needed to use that to his advantage, but he still needed to be quick about it since Sarge was still outside under fire.

“Here piggy, piggy, piggy!” the man taunted.

Jake grabbed a few small items off a nearby shelf as he crouched around the warehouse. He then tossed one of the items over his head across the warehouse. As expected he heard the man yell and fire off several rounds in the direction of the fallen object. Jake then threw another, this time a bit closer, mimicking apparent movement from his supposed previous spot. Again, another display of crazed shooting. Meanwhile, Jake had doubled back around the guy as he moved away from his actual position.

Moving outside the aisle adjacent to Sandori’s guy, Jake was at the end of the row as the guy backed outside the aisle he was in.

“Hey Dumbass,” Jake whispered right before he stepped into guy.

Just as the man turned, Jake grabbed the man’s head and smashed his elbow into the man’s face. He then slammed his knee into the man’s gut before finally slamming his head into the nearby shelf.

Outside, Sarge was still taking heavy fire, but had managed to move the dumpster forward as he returned fire, alternating between his electronic side arm and the .45 he secretly carried. Unfortunately, both were running low on ammo. His .45 on bullets and his ‘ray gun’ as Sarge called it, low on charge. It wasn’t really built for firefights – it was sort of a one and done type thing.

Retrieving his gun, Jake made his way to where Sandori’s men had come into the warehouse. He could still hear the exchange of fire and knew Sarge was okay, but Jake knew he didn’t have time to waste. There’d most likely be more men and he didn’t know if Sandori had gotten away.

Just as Jake made it to the door, he looked out and saw Sandori coming out of the warehouse as another car pulled up to take him out of there. Jake was thankful the guy wasn’t smart enough to go around and pick off Sarge, but he guessed Sandori thought his two guys would’ve gotten the drop on him and Sarge.

“What the hell are guys still doing out here and where the hell are Franky and Vic?! They should’ve taken care of these guys already.” Sandori questioned before he motioned to his new driver. “T-Bone, finish this.”

Just then, T-Bone, a giant black man who looked more like a body guard than a driver stepped out of Sandori’s backup vehicle and made his way to the trunk of Sandori’s first car. He slammed his foot into the trunk, forcing it open. T-Bone then reached in and pulled out a RPG-7 grenade launcher.

Shit! Jake thought.

Jake needed to act quickly. He could knock out T-Bone before he got the RPG ready, but he’d then have to contend with the rest of Sandori’s crew, not to mention Sandori himself would probably get away. At the very least, he could knock out Sandori’s second car and still maybe take a shot at T-Bone.

Jake checked his gun. “Damn!” The charge indicator showed low-- probably damaged from the fall earlier. At best, he’d knock out the radio in Sandori’s car or stun T-Bone just enough to piss him off and shoot the rocket right up Jake’s ass. Come on Jake, think.

Just then, Jake’s foot hit a propane tank near the door. Bending over, he checked it. Half full at least.

Taking one more peek out, Jake knew he had one shot at this.

Opening the tank, he poked his head around the corner and tossed it right between the two vehicles across the way. Before T-Bone, Sandori, or any of his men could react, Jake crouched down and fired one quick shot at the tank. The spark of the blast ignited an explosion that blinded Jake and sent Sandori and his men flying off their feet.

Jake managed to just duck back inside as he felt his whole body rattle from the explosion. Then all of a sudden another explosion a few seconds later at the far side of the building, the blast shaking the building and forcing Jake away from the wall. The RPG. T-Bone must’ve still managed to pull the trigger. Luckily it missed Sarge and himself seeing as Jake caught T-Bone’s attention right before hitting the propane tank.

Jake took a moment to gather himself before venturing out the door. He’d have to go outside the door he was near to check on Sarge. The RPG blast had taken out a chunk of building near the door he first came in.

Walking out, Jake could hear sirens.

Good. Sarge made the call after all. Looking around though, Jake began to regret his relief.

“Well holy shit, kid!” Sarge yelled out as he emerged from behind the bullet ridden dumpster.

Jake looked around worriedly. “It’s not that bad, right?”

“Well it looks like we got Sandori, but also looks like Sawyer’s gonna have your ass.”

“We huh?”

“Hey, I kept ‘em busy while you went all ‘Rambo’ looking for ways to blow us all to hell. Where the hell did you run off to anyway?”

Back at the MCU, Jake and Sarge were met with a barrage of hazing and questions from the other officers who had heard what happened over the radio. One person heard they blew up an entire warehouse building. Someone else heard Sarge hid in a dumpster during the whole thing and one rookie thought Sandori blew himself up in his own meth lab. It wasn’t even meth that Sandori was running, but either way, it didn’t sound good for the two officers.

“Davies! McGentry! My office now!” yelled Captain Maggie Sawyer.

Sawyer was a tough as nails, by the book, no bullshit sort of cop-- at least that was the nicest way to describe her; others had their own colorful and less favorable descriptions.

Gordon had promoted her when he needed to spend more time in the overall day-to-day duties of running the police department. Since Batman’s disappearance, he had been under the gun to turn things around for Gotham after all hell broke loose those first few months. Gordon liked Sawyer though. She was a good cop and ran a tight ship. She wasn’t his first choice, but he knew appointing her would win some points in the Attorney General’s office –and he needed all the points he could get.

When Jake and Sarge emerged from Captain Sawyer’s office several minutes later, the unusually quiet precinct resumed its chorus of ruckus. Just like kids, they had all quieted in attempts to listen in on the thrashing the two officers had just received. Unfortunately, they were not rewarded, as Maggie Sawyer knew well enough to compose herself just enough to address Jake and Sarge and not the whole department. This didn’t mean though that they didn’t get an earful. Their faces showed that much when they emerged from her office.

“Thanks for the back up in there Sarge.” Jake stabbed.

“Hey, you’re the one that nearly blew up Sandori and all his men. Not to mention the evidence.”

“What happened to ‘We’?” Jake joked.

“Yeah, WE’re lucky we only got a suspension.”

Jake just shook his head as he walked over to his desk.

“You just had to wake up the dragon didn’t you McGentry?” Officer Josephine MacDonald said to Jake. “And right as I’m startin’ my shift and you’re endin’ yours.”

Jake just shrugged. “Sorry Josie.” Jake sat down at his desk. “At least you know you can’t piss her off any more than I have today.”

“True, but I better find an excuse to get out of here, just in case.”

Jake chuckled as he started to clear things out from his shift. Looking inside his top drawer he saw a large postal envelope addressed to him with no return address. Opening it up, Jake found a small note.

To Be Continued…