Bob edged up the stairs in the construction site. Beads of sweat dripped down his forehead as he fought to keep his steps from echoing in the chamber. His watch read seven-twelve. The only sound was the wind gusting through the structure. He shivered even though the humid evening still clung to the warmth of day. The shadows grew long in the setting sun around the looming mass of Jupiter.
A ruckus rose above him. He ducked into the shadows and reached for his gun.
A flock of birds took to flight from a ledge.
For a long moment, Bob's heartbeat thundered in his ears. He re-holstered his gun and climbed the next flight of stairs. The half finished eighth floor stretched out before him. Bare concrete lined with naked columns, cords from tools snaked along the floor, chains for construction use lay abandoned in various lengths. No windows cut off the wind. This place gave him the creeps.
Footprints? He bent down and the disturbed construction dust displayed layers of footprints. Some far more recent than others. Following the tracks he glanced into a hidden alcove and his breath locked in his chest.
Two men lay unconscious, back to back. A chain bound their wrists and ankles. On the ground, a busted phone the same model as the burner he'd found. He recognized both of the men. Orlov from Callisto lay with his head lolled to the side, a gigantic goose egg blossoming through his hairline. The other man was an officer from here, Bob had glimpsed him in the halls and suspected he worked in evidence as he was most commonly seen there.
Standing upright he quirked a brow. What the heck happened here? Silence stretched out, the gears clicking into place. Ganymede evidence man sneaks out the Red Eye to Orlov on Callisto. But … that was only two. Who was the final man?
The crack of knuckles echoed in the space between the floors.
Bob turned slowly, his eyes locked on the V-shaped scar. Jackson huffed a breath, "Well, well, well, would you take at look at who showed up. So you're the piece of shit that's been tanking my scheme. Little piss-ant. Never woulda thought it was you. Heh, it's always the guys you don't think have shit for brains."
Fortunately there was a distance between them. Unfortunately, Jackson blocked the route to the stairwell, the only way out besides an eight story drop. Panic rose in Bob's chest, but he did his all not to show it.
"Pretty slick that you took out my boys. Looks like there's more fight to you than meets the eye." Jackson pulled out a vial of Red Eye and squirted a generous amount into each eye. He twitched and smiled the toothy-grin of a predator. "Time to pound the cement with a beat cop!"
Bob darted backward, the drug's savage reputation driving his instincts. He fought to coordinate a grab for his gun and missed. Jackson's massive fist careening toward him.
There one moment in-coming like the grill of a speeding semi-truck. Gone the next in a harsh exhalation of forced air as a shadow dove down from the unfinished overhang of the ninth floor. Bob fell back against the wall, his assailant diverted by some intervention from above. Across the shadow strewn floor Jackson rolled, tangled in the clanking chain wielded by … Spike?
No words left the two, in a round of brutal blows, the men tussled. Spike lashed out with the chain, tangling Jackson's limbs until he grew sick of the thing and wrenched it free, discarding it across the flood. Every time one tried to gain footing the other dragged them back into the fray. Jackson's bloodshot eyes remained wide as Spike drove his fist into the man's cheek. He'd just narrowly avoided a blow to his nose. Now on the receiving end, Spike rolled his shoulder out of a direct strike, turning it into a glancing blow.
They rose to their feet, grappling one another. Sweat droplets flung into the dusk, gleaming red in the dying light. Spike's expression bore grim determination as he fought to stay outside the blows. If they landed, he rotating with the motion in an obvious move to lessen the blow. Jackson's no-holds-barred attacks advanced. Despite Spike's efforts, he was loosing ground, backing toward the construction elevator shaft.
Bob's fingers twitched on the gun, but he abandoned the effort. The men were two close, any shot stood a chance of nailing them both. He held his breath watching the ferocity of Jackson's accelerated pace. He'd never witnessed the full blown fury of the drug. The fists so fast that he could not even hope to follow them. How Spike was managing even a partial evasion was beyond him, let alone landing blows. Jackson sported a few growing bruises.
Teetering on the edge of the shaft, Spike spared a glance over his shoulder as soon as Jackson backed away long enough to wipe blood from above his eye. Jackson spat out a mouthful of blood. "You. Hah. So it wasn't that beat cop, it was you who started the syndicate."
Spike rasped out a breath and laughed. "What's the matter, don't like competition, Jackass?"
Jackson snorted, "I'll show you what I do to those who steal from me!" He rushed toward Spike.
The moment the distance closed, Spike grabbed onto his arm and spun him around throwing him over the edge of the shaft. But Jackson seized his wrist and Spike's alarmed expression was the last thing Bob glimpsed as they plummeted into the immense crash below.
"NO!" Bob screamed and darted to the edge. Peering down he spied Jackson laying on the floor face down. Spike had landed in an awkward heap on a pile debris on the elevator. Both figures remained utterly motionless.