Day 5: No Shades of Gray
An 24-Alias-* Crossover
*Only those who read will find out what else
Summary: It's Fourteen Months since Day 4. Jack, Sydney et al were cashiered out of the government and have rebuilt their lives in New York. But as they try to finish what they think will be a routine bust with the NYPD, they will find that some jobs it is impossible to escape from. A new day is dawning...
Disclaimer: Jack Bauer, his daughter Kim and the rest of the team at CTU belong to Joel Surnow and all the staff at Real Time Productions. Sydney Bristow, Nadia Santos and any other characters from Alias who pop up are the property of J.J. Abrams and all the geniuses who worked on Alias. There will be other characters from other shows popping up; I'll disclaim them when the time comes.
Argument: Welcome back, ye few but faithful. For those of you who are following this, most of the characters from Day 4 will be present. I will also be adding some characters from both universes who Jack and Syd haven't run into yet. You'll know them when you see them. One exception. David Palmer has been forced to resign from office due to the events of the last hour of Day 4. For those constitutional scholars out there, that means we have a new government running the country. However, they won't be playing as big a role in this particular day. So far, anyway.
And for those of you keeping track:
Jack is 45. Sydney is 37. Vaughn is 38. Nadia, around 35. Kim, about 21.
I don't think I've said this often enough, so I'll be blunt. New Chapters will be posted in direct proportion to how many reviews they receive. I know I have readers. Prove it.
Enough of my jawing. Let's start the clock.
THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN 7:00 A.M. AND 8:00 A.M.
CROWN HEIGHTS SECTION OF HARLEM
Sydney Bristow had seen some pretty disturbing things in her years working counter-intelligence for the government, and after all the horrors that had come raining down on the country, and, to an extent, on her and her family, she had been pretty sure she had inured herself to just about all of the cruelties that the world could possibly revealed. For that matter, considering what had happened on the day that had led to them breaking all ties with the government, she was now pretty sure that there was nothing in this solar system could shock her. Hell, she had crashed a goddamn flying saucer, while her brother-in-law had been injected with an alien entity. Given the extremes that particular day had shown them, she hadn't fought as hard as she could have to keep her position. Anything else would have to be met with a blasé attitude.
She kept trying to convince herself of that while maintaining the perimeter, but despite herself, her vision kept coming back to the subject of their particular investigation.
That's right, her inner voice- the one that she'd pretty much managed to suppress while she was working with the Agency- kept telling her. Keep calling him a subject. That should keep you from thinking that the person whose life is about to come crashing down upon him hasn't even gotten out of junior high.
When the security company that they had founded had opened less than ten months ago, Vaughn had assured her that they would be handling less of the heavy work. Madeline was about to go into nursery school, and though he hadn't mentioned it, Jack and Nadia were thinking about children, now that for the first time in their lives the pressure was off. There was a reason none of them had put up as huge a fight as they could've to keep their government jobs- there was twice as much money to be made in the private sector and a quarter of the risk. Even the fact that the NYPD made up a third of their business had not been a drawback - narcotics and robberies weren't thrilling, but they more than made up for it by not having to handle labyrinthine conspiracies.
Then Commissioner Reagan had given them something that had been giving Narco a problem for the last two years. Low-level drug lord Marlowe Bell had been running up a substantial body count in the one-five, and every time they had a case, witnesses or suspects would either disappear or recant at trial. With the city budget half shot to shit, Deputy Commissioner Reagan had thought that this particular job called for the kind of work that Sydney and Jack had been capable of. And in a purely financial way, the Bell investigation had been a success story.
Three days of their surveillance combined with the gadgetry that only Marshall Flinkman was capable of had led them to a discarded cell network. By using a series of back-traces, in one week they had managed to identify nine major players in Bell's gang. One of those players had been a suspected soldier named Puck. Two days of surveillance had revealed that he had been one of the biggest enforcers, as well as where twenty bodies had been kept in a series of abandoned housing projects.
The problem had been finding a way to make all of this stand up in court. Bell hadn't been free this long just because he was scum; he also happened to know exquisitely good attorneys, who would have no trouble getting this excluded. It had taken the ADA three days to find a way to make this admissible, and another week to set up a bust that would start the dominoes that would lead to Bell spending the rest of his life at Attica.
It was the subject of that bust that had Syd's conscience coming out of hibernation - a fourteen-year old with the unlikely street name of Snot Boogie. It wasn't the fact that this kid, real name Kenny Williams, had been a ward of the state since he was a toddler or that he'd been in and out of juvie practically since he could walk. No, it was the eyes that Sydney kept coming back to every time she looked at him.
They were the eyes of rebel soldiers in Sarajevo; of dissidents in China, and they had no business being on a face of someone who looked like he should still be playing with his Wii on Saturday mornings.
"You keep staring at him, he's going to know something's up," Syd's husband said to her.
"We're a hundred yards away behind a dumpster," Syd pointed out. "If he can do that, he'd be hanging out with Charles Xavier instead of Bell."
"You've spent too much time with Marshall recently," Vaughn recognized how half hearted her attempt at banter had been. He moved a couple of feet closer to his wife. "How many sales have we seen Williams make the last week?" he pointed out. "Twenty? Twenty-five? This kid isn't an angel no matter how young he looks."
"In less than five minutes, this kid is going to be in NYPD custody charged with narcotics possession," Syd replied. "Third bust, which means he'll be spending the rest of his life behind bars. And you know what bastards like Bell think when guys like this go in. This kid'll get iced for the cost of a pack of cigarettes."
Vaughn had known about his wife's unease with this for the last few days. He knew that ever since they had left the Company, a lot of her inner toughness had been fading away. For the most part, he considered this good - Syd's compassion had been one of the things that he had fallen in love with her for. But if they were going to keep doing work with the NYPD, they were going to be facing a lot of jobs like this, with an unreasonably high number of similar cases.
A vacation might not be the worst idea, he thought to himself. Maybe down to the Caribbean... then again, with our luck, we would probably be attacked by pirates.
He was about to make this suggestion to Syd, when there was a beep in his ear. "Guys, blue SUV about a block away," Marshall told them. "License plate and make says it belongs to Freddie Mack.'
Frederick McKenna had been identified as one of the suppliers to half a dozen major gangs, including Bell's. It had taken a fair amount of effort on the parts of their surveillance to figure out this much, as well as coordinating a wiretap to learn that this particular time and place would be when a new 'package' was going to be delivered.
"All right, everybody, radio silence, this is what we've been waiting for," Lieutenant Goldblume sent out over their radios, under a scrambled wire. "Our bug is in position. Let's make this clean."
It seemed like a scene out of a poorly crafted PSA- a small group of kids were gathering around a strange vehicle, disregarding everything they'd ever been told about taking gifts from strangers. Of course this bunch probably never saw those kinds of announcement, and, if they did, probably would've argued that all the kids in those ads were white, so what did they know?
One thing a month of surveillance had taught everybody that Bell had a level of paranoia that your average sleeper cell would envy. Everybody was a possible cop; didn't matter what race, sex or age you were. So the two-block stretch that this particular resupply was taking place on was absent of any possible cops. The meeting was being recorded by a series of spyware that Marshall and Edgar had spent the last week configuring to look like it was nothing more than ordinary refuse. The only person that anybody didn't seen was a dirty, middle-aged, disheveled homeless man with a sign that said: 'GULF WAR SYNDROME: PLEASE HELP ME.' Jack Bauer had spent the last week at this position, with a devotion to character that a lot of actors would have found impressive.
Once upon a time Sydney would've thought Jack playing a war vet and a burnout would have been typecasting.
"All right, boys, time to get healthy," Using the high powered binoculars Sydney could tell even from a hundred yards away that McKenna was handing out Ziploc baggies filled with heroin. "Hurry up, gotta get to those boys with their back to school money."
Seeing this made Sydney feel a little less guilty about throwing Kenny Williams to the sharks. Only a little less.
The bug that was in the tin can of pork and beans that Jack was pretending to eat from was picking all this up, but any half-ass public defender, much less the bloodsuckers Bell employed, would be able to get this part tossed. What they were waiting for was McKenna to finish his errand and do what he did the three other times they had seen this happened.
It took another two minutes for this little drug give and take to get finished. When it did, Freddie Mack took out his cell, and made his call.
"Chloe, it's about to happen," Sydney whispered. "Tell me the bug is going through."
"Saying it is isn't going to get this guy in jail any faster." Chloe had been as snappish about this at Sydney had been, but then by now this was what they've expected. 'Besides, this is the NYPD's play, not mine."
Sydney decided she would be better served by staying silent, even though it was taking all her restraint to keep from pulling her gun and shooting out this asshole's tires. It was a moot point, because a few seconds later, they heard the call go through on their wire.
"Kids got their milk and cookies, my man," Freddie Mack's told them.
"All right, come in and get your allowance." Pause. "Oh yeah, that other thing we talked about. Take care of it."
"Now what the fuck are they talking about?" Vaughn asked.
"You can ask him yourself," Goldblume told them. "We got what we need. Set up the road block."
The SUV drove off, officially becoming the police's problem. Jack, Sydney and the rest were essentially there to follow through on the next part - helping gather up all the little birds before they tried to fly away.
Just keep reminding yourself that this kid slings poison for a living Sydney told herself as she began to move closer to where the youthful offenders were beginning to move away.
A young twenty-ish blonde made her way towards the fourteen year old black kid. "I need a dime-bag." she asked in a strung-out voice.
Snot Boogie looked at her with utter disdain. "Trust fund check come in today, bitch?"
"Don't be this way," their plant replied, taking out a wad of bills.
Another disdainful laugh. "She-it. How do I know you're not a cop?"
It would've been laughable under other circumstances. "When was I recruited? Middle school?" Another long pause, in which their subject was trembling. "Trust me. I'm not a goddamn cop!"
The irony was, she was actually telling the truth here.
Snot Boogie still looked skeptical, but like all dealers, he had to worry about his profit margin more than anyone else. He reached into his pocket and measure out a little more than a gram. "Special Paris Hilton discount," he said giving her exactly what she asked for.
All of this was SOP. At that moment, however, Snot Boogie's cell began ringing. He seemed to be getting some kind of text message, but before their techs could sweep in and intercept it, he turned his phone off. Everybody on the ground froze.
Snot Boogie then reached down into his pocket- and pulled out a .38 police special. Until that moment, none of them had even suspected that he had been carrying. Looking at it, it seemed to be bigger than him.
"Hey, pretty girl," Everybody froze at that, even Jack Bauer. There was no panic or fear in the blonde's eyes but there was a very good reason for that.
But the kid didn't point the gun at her. Instead, he lifted it above his head, seeming to make sure that he had a clear field. Then he fired. Once.
Kim Bauer had no intention of giving this kid a chance to rethink his decision. She whirled around, and delivered a perfect Krav Maga kick right at Snot Boogie's groin. Never had the sight of textbook martial-artistry been so welcome.
The police all stampeded the site - none of them had a chance of reaching Snot Boogie before Jack did.
"You know, I'd think that by now you'd have a little more trust in my aunt's self-defense classes," Kim didn't seem even a little shaken by how close she seemed to have come to death.
This actually rated a smile from Jack. "At the risk of sounding like Danny Glover, I may be getting to old for this shit."
"Does that make me Rene Russo in that scenario?" Kim asked.
"Enough with the movie trivia, everybody," Goldblume brought them all back to the present. "Help us pick up the youthful offenders and let's finish up what we came here for."
"Still feeling sorry for that kid?" Vaughn asked his wife, as they moved in to finish up their part of the gig.
"Ask me again in half an hour," Sydney replied.
In retrospect, she should've known far better than to put a time limit on a thing like this.
Double B Security Offices
"What do you mean, you don't have the text?" Chloe demanded. "The tech you created supposedly can hear a gnat buzz at fifty yards."
Marshall was going to be glad when this particular assignment was over. He was in tech design and Chloe was in field work, so in theory, never the twain should have met. But ever since the assignment had started, Chloe had been more on edge than usual, snapping at him what seemed to be every few minutes. Edgar had played peacemaker so many times, he was beginning to consider applying to the U.N. "If they ever rebuild from where they crashed the UFO."
"Both Syd and Jack told me they would only need audio-tech for this mission," Marshall told them. "You should know. You were in the same meetings."
"I know you, Marshall. Sometimes I really wish I didn't, but I do." Chloe replied. "You put in more extras on your devices than you get with a Blu-Ray. Please don't tell me you didn't prepare for just this occasion."
Do either of them know that this is a compliment? Edgar thought. Instead, he looked at Marshall. "Do you have one or not?" he asked gently.
"Normally, yes, but, um, since the NYPD has on a much smaller retainer than the last government contract," Marshall finally answered. "We couldn't afford to include one. Sorry."
Edgar thought that this was over now. Then the same idea crossed his mind that was currently crossing Chloe's. "Where's the back door?" he asked.
Marshall considered this. "If you were to stand in the exact location that Williams was when he received the text, I think I could use a GPS tracker to find it on our feed."
Chloe had the expression that made her look like she wanted to throttle the tech. This was why they operated on separate floors for most of their work. "Run the video feed, and get ready to send it to my PDA," she told him. "I'm going to take a run down to Brooklyn."
"Shouldn't you clear that with Jack or Sydney?" Edgar asked. "I mean, they're there."
"They're going to be busy filing the papers that get us paid," Chloe countered. "Right now, loose ends are the last thing they want to deal with."
Edgar could've pointed out that half the reason that this company had been formed was to deal with the 'loose ends' that came when all those crises they'd spent years averting finished up. But, looking at Chloe's face, he could tell the last thing she wanted to hear was a repeat of Double B's mission statement.
"Try to stay clear of the Bloods," he told her instead. "And take your weapon," he added, knowing full well what a lousy shot she was.
Chloe considered reminding Edgar that they'd just made a major dent in one of the biggest gangs in the city, and that usually the bullets wouldn't start flying until the gangstas had finished their morning coffee. But having worked at CTU longer than anybody else in the room, she knew better than most how quickly a situation could boomerang.
So she walked over to her desk, took out her weapon, checked the clip and holstered it. "Start mainlining the rest of the data," she told them. "NYPD's going to want it the second that they walk in the door."
Even though they had prepared for the breadth of the haul they were making, the precinct was filled with low-level pushers, many of whom weren't old enough to vote. Sydney knew that these 'boys' were responsible for enough felonies and misdemeanors, and, in the case of three of the dealers, at least four open homicides. Still, the disconnect between what she saw and what we knew was enough to give her pause.
Jack could see that his sister-in-law was rapidly going into a brown study. "Still wish you were dealing with Sloane?" he asked, trying to jolly her out of it.
Syd shook her head. "Thinking about my father, actually," she told them. "Dad would be a little surprised that he had to search so far and wide to develop a new stream of wunderkind spies. He would've done better to drive down here, and start promising heroin. Line would start outside."
"Being a criminal isn't the same thing as doing what we do," Jack said slowly.
"Really?" Syd raised an eyebrow. "I believe we all forfeited our pension because people in high places thought otherwise."
Syd was clearly in a prickly mood. Jack the government agent would have told her to stow her emotions, and remind her one of those boys had threatened his daughter not ten minutes ago. Jack the father was having his own problems dealing with the same issue. The big difference was, he had always been better at compartmentalizing. So he just turned to Syd, and said: "Let's just file the paperwork, so we can get paid. Besides, you would never have survived having to guard movie stars."
Sydney nodded, and started to walk towards the back of the squad.
Josh Goldblume the lieutenant who they'd been reporting to on this assignment, was finishing a couple of congratulatory phone calls when Jack and Sydney approached his office. "Look, we have to make sure all the i's are dotted, so I'll get back to you. Thank you, Don." He hung up. "Typical politicians. Their congratulations always go to guy who had the least to do with the bust."
"Technically speaking, that's not true," Jack reminded him. "You did hire us."
"Bureaucratically speaking, that's not true," the lieutenant reminded them. "As the DA has made more than clear, your particular work on this case can't be made official. Bell's asshole lawyers will get the charges tossed otherwise."
"Hey, I can live without taking a bow, as long as the city pays us," Sydney told them.
"Your final payment is being cleared as we speak," Goldblume told them. "I gotta tell you, seeing that number, I'm tempted to ask if you'd hire me to work for you."
Sydney and Jack smiled, knowing that this wasn't a remark being made entirely in jest. For some reason, the Commissioner had been more willing to pay money for a private security firm than to hire more cops to handle just this kind of work. It was bureaucratic bullshit like that made them glad they were no longer on the government payroll.
"Just for fun, how long will it be before the charges get filed?" It sounded like a casual question, but Jack knew his sister-in-law well enough to know she had an aim into this.
"DA's filing the warrants as we speak. We'll be able to bring in Bell before noon," Goldblume told them. "DA wants to bring in all the lesser defendants simultaneously."
"He can find a courtroom large enough?" Jack was only speaking half in jest. They had enough indictments to bring in a dozen other men on the totem pole.
"He's counting on the fact that Bell doesn't have enough attorneys to handle all of them at once."
"And the ones who get caught short are the ones that'll crack first," Sydney was new to working within the system, but she had enough insight to know that little fish got the big fish. "Any chance Williams be one of them?"
"I know you've got a soft spot for the kid, but this isn't our first dance with him," Goldblume told them. "He knows the score better than half the others. Unless he's willing to give us anything that we don't already know, he's looking at five to fifteen."
Sydney wasn't going to let this go. Jack didn't know why she had focused on this particular young felon - there were probably a lot better cases waiting in observation- but he knew better than to argue with her.
The lieutenant clearly could tell as much. "Look, I know what it's like to get worked up about these kids," he finally told him. "And I know that you feel like you know him. But you get invested in them, it'll eat you up from the inside out."
This was good advice, and she might have been able to take it, but right then, one of the other uniforms rapped on the door. After some minor apologizing about the interruption, he told them than they had Williams in interrogation, saying that he was demanding to talk with an attorney.
"The one who his boss has on retainer isn't good enough?" Goldblume raised an eyebrow at this.
The uniform shook his head. "Says that guy ain't gonna have his back. Says he's got someone a lot higher up on the food chain, but he ain't saying word one without a suit."
"Great. He's in custody ten minutes, and he's already testing our bullshit meters," the lieutenant said shaking his head. "Let him stew a little while before getting the PD involved."
Syd wasn't sure what caused the next impulse. "What if I were to pose as a public defender? Consider it one last freebie before cashing out."
Now Jack was a little puzzled. "There are other people here who are capable of doing this,' he reminded her.
"Just give me five minutes with him. You can observe, and you think I've gone to far you can pull me."
There were a lot of reasons that this was a bad idea. But Sydney had been on a long journey trailing this particular bad boy. Talking with Snot Boogie might make it easier to put all this behind her. "Lieutenant?" he asked.
"You save one of my people the trouble of tracking down this kid's crap; I'll recommend you for a bonus," Goldblume responded. "Just don't expect him to give you Jimmy Hoffa."
What none of them knew yet was that ever since the cops had swooped in, a small crowd had been gathering it that same section of Brooklyn. It had been so gradual that neither of the local units that had been called in for patrol had noticed it at first, or that all of the passerby seemed to be listening to the radio.
"How much longer until were ready?" a voice one on of those whispered to a man in the crowd.
"Less than ten minutes," he replied.
Chloe O'Brien had arrived in the calm before the storm.
Sydney had gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that no one in Bell's crew knew what she looked like. She then ducked into the ladies room to put on a coat and glasses that she kept on standby for meetings with higher ups. Nadia had been in there as well, reminding her of what she couldn't promise him. (Ironically, ever since they had gone into the private sector, they had to deal more with government issues far more than they had when they actually had been working for CTU.)
Nadia had then asked the question that was foremost on everyone's mind. "Can you do this without making this personal?"
"I don't even know this kid," Sydney reminded her. "This will be the first time we've been in the same room. Of course I could be impartial." This hadn't been the question, but Nadia let this go. Having spent the better part of a month listening to some of the dialogues Williams had engaged in, she figured all her sister would have to do is sit in a room with him for five minutes, and she'd be fully committed to locking him away.
"Mr. Williams, is it?" Sydney asked, never lifting her eyes from her notepad. "I'm Sydney Bristow with Legal Aid." She offered him her hand. Williams didn't take it. He just looked at her like she smelled bad.
"So you are being charged with trafficking in narcotics, illegal possession and discharge of a firearm, threatening a police officer," She took a practice sigh. "I get all the solid citizens."
Williams scoffed. There was no other word for it. "You're the best they could come up with?" he muttered.
"It's barely even seven-thirty. All of the rich lawyers are still snug in their beds. I'm the best you're going to get," Sydney peered at him, "unless you have better options."
"Nah, that's okay," Williams was smiling. She had to admit it wasn't attractive. "I ain't gonna need for you long."
Sydney was beginning to question Williams' sanity. "Son, from what I understand, the cops have you dead to rights on all these charges. Unless you are willing to give someone up."
"You must think I'm fucking crazy," Williams seemed far more comfortable her that she was. "Like I don't know you don't have the cops watching me right now."
"Do you know what kind of situation you're in right now?"
"Here, where I am, I'm safe. It's those motherfuckers who have to watch out."
She was beginning to wonder how she could have felt anything like sympathy for this kid, fourteen or not.
"Now here's what gonna happen. You are going to get the DA on the phone. Right now. And you're going to get me a Get Out of Jail Free card."
"You do understand the charges against you, right?" Sydney told him.
"Course I do. I been in lock up more often than my mama's house. Don't matter." Williams sounded like he was enjoying this. "When I tell them what I got, they'll let me walk right out the front door."
Something here just didn't compute. This kid was too sure of himself. "Look, if you're talking about giving up your boss-"
"Shit, my boss is probably dead right now." Williams said this so casually, it took Sydney a few seconds to understand what she had just heard. "How you like that, bitches?" Williams shouted into the looking glass. "All that work you po-lice put into chasing Marlowe, and he gets whacked before you can slap the cuffs on him!"
A very cold but familiar feeling was starting to pass through Sydney. The feeling that they had tapped into something that might me a hell of a lot darker than just some drug dealer.
"Now you go back in there, and you get me my deal, " Williams told her cheerfully. "And you might want to hurry, counselor. Cause a lot more people gonna die today, and if they don't hurry, they gonna be part of it."
"Why the fuck should the cops help a little pissant like you?" All pretense of her role had disappeared; Agent Bristow was back in the room. "You just threatened their lives. That's another charge right there."
"Cause in about ten minutes, bodies are going to start falling. Now I know the bulls don't care about gangstas killing gangstas, but every time a stray bullet hits a tourist, they about shit themselves," Williams looked right at the clock. "There about to be a whole shitload of them."
Sydney got to her feet, looking at Kenny Williams like he was some kind of poisonous insect. Before her body started working ahead of her mind, her cell rang. She let it ring twice before she picked it up. "Yes?"
"Syd, get out of there now." It was Vaughn, and he sounded worried. "I just got a call from Marshall. We've got another problem."
The detached feeling that had been surrounding Syd was enough to make her realize where she was. She hung up, and looked at Williams. "I'll get back to you in a bit." Then she got out before her hands could betray her by wrapping themselves around his neck.
The three of them were waiting in the aisles. Phones were ringing, and cops were walking a bit faster. "What the hell is happening?" Sydney demanded.
"Marshall called a minute ago. Before he could take the cameras offline, he had one last loose end to tie up at the drop site." Nadia told them. "He just read the text Williams got."
"What did it say?" Sydney asked.
Jack presented her with a Palm Pilot. BAIT SET. READY THE FIRECRACKER. "No idea what it means, but we can start making some good guesses."
"Disturbances have been breaking out all over Brooklyn, including where the bust went down. Incidents of gang violence in Flatbush, Crown Heights and Hell's Kitchen," Vaughn told them. "No one can give an explanation as to why or over what."
"How does any of this pertain to our bust?" she demanded.
"All of the violence is breaking out within proximity to known stash-houses," Jack replied.
"But the warrants probably haven't been filed yet," Vaughn reminded them. "This is far too organized to just be drug related."
Sydney really didn't want to say the next statement, but she figured it had to be said. "How exactly is this our problem? We don't work for law enforcement anymore. And as helpful as we were, the lieutenant probably wouldn't be happy if he knew that people he hired to resolve a situation are considering going rogue."
"We're already involved," Jack told her. "The only reason we got the text is because Chloe went back to the drop site. Marshall got the message; two minutes the whole place starts reliving its Golden Oldies."
"Are the cameras dead?"
Nadia shook her head. "Marshall and Edgar are rebooting, but as it is, we're blind down there. And she's not answering her cell."
"Fuck," Sydney muttered. "Where's Kim?"
"She's finishing up her debrief," Jack told her.
"Grab her out. Tell her meet out me front in two minutes. I'm going to call Marshall, get a fix on Chloe's last location."
Jack nodded, then walked over to Goldblume, who looked like he was in the middle of a war room already. "Lieutenant, I know you've got enough problems, but you need to call the New York CTU ASAP."
Goldblume knew their history but was still puzzled. "What makes you think this is anything other than what it looks like?"
"I don't. Call it intuition."
"From what I understand, your intuition can raise the national threat level. Are you sure this rates?"
"I don't," Jack hesitated. "But we're rarely this wrong."
Despite the chaos spreading around her, Chloe had not begunto truly panic until she had tried to call Edgar and had not been able to get any reception on her cell. Her phone, like all of the ones at Double B, had been improved by Marshall's tinkering - she was pretty sure that you could get reception on it during a blizzard in Antarctica. So there were only a few real possibilities as to why she wasn't able to reach anybody - none of them very pleasant, and all of them involving situations that she was definitely not prepared for.
The chaos had been unfolding since the minute she had arrived - the closest equivalent was Simi Valley after the verdict in the Rodney King trial. However, there were two major differences between that and what was happening. First, the violence there had been mainly racial. As far as Chloe could tell, the attackers didn't seem to much care what color their victims were. Secondly, half the people were causing the violence were also packing heat. As many bullets were flying as bricks and rocks. And even though not half an hour ago the place had been swarming with cops, the police presence in this part of Brooklyn was severely lacking. Her vehicle was set to handle just about anything, but not when the streets were crowded with people, all of whom seemed to suddenly to bear a grudge against her SUV
Chloe knew that Jack, Sydney and the rest had a 'leave no man behind' mentality. Edgar and Marshall had no doubt alerted them to her predicament, and the cavalry would no doubt soon be arriving. What was critical about the next few minutes was survival and making sure that they would be able to find her. And since her car had a GPS in it, all she had to was barricade herself inside and wait. That idea got shot to shit when, through all of the noise and violence, she could distinctly hear someone yelling for help.
Wait for the people who are qualified to do this get here, she told herself. That resolve lasted until she saw the likely victim- a man around Sydney's age, kneeling by a prone woman with a large pool of blood already gathered around her side.
I can't believe I'm about to do this, she thought to herselfThe health plan better cover it.
She left the safety of her car, hoping like hell the gun didn't slip out of her hands, and started running towards the injured parties. The violence didn't mass around her as she ran towards them, but it sure as hell didn't ease up- Chloe had to dodge three rocks and at least four bullets before she had gone fifty feet. Unfortunately, several other realities set in by then, not the least of which she was going to have to rely on help from the person she was trying to save.
"Hey, um, you!" she shouted. How did Jack and Syd do this without sounding as futile as she did? "Can you carry her?"
"You a cop?"
"Sort of," she shouted. "If she's to have any chance of living, we have to move her now!" Even as Chloe shouted this, she could tell this would be a problem- the woman had a gaping wound in her stomach.
"Can you get her to a hospital?!" The man sounded calm, but she could tell there was a thin edge of panic in his voice.
"Not in my car!" she admitted. "But I have friends coming to get me. They'll be able to get us to safety, but we have to move now!"
Chloe could tell this didn't seem to fill the man with confidence, but he clearly realized his options were low, because a few seconds later, he whispered something in the woman's ear, and picked her up.
He moved as quickly as he could, but he could've been Carl Lewis, for all the good it was doing the woman- the patch of blood beneath her shirt quickly took up the bottom half, and she could see the blood spewing as he ran. Chloe did her best to cover him, but she imagined it was like combating a swarm of locusts with a flyswatter.
When he got to the car, she hauled the door open, and pushed the woman in the back seat. "There's a medical kit in the driver-side compartment," Chloe said. "Get all the gauze and morphine you can find."
The young man- blondish brown hair, and a lot closer to her age than was clear from far away- began to remove the bandages with more alacrity and skill then she would have expected. "I'll do the best I can," she told him, "but I'm even less of a medic than I am a cop."
"What exactly do you do?" the man asked.
"Ill tell you when we get out of this," Chloe assured him, hoping that she had said used the right modifier.
From the moment they had driven out of the police zone, Sydney and Kim had descended into a world of chaos. They had only gone into the station half an hour ago; how could things have broken down that fast?
Sydney was going as fast as she could, but the closer they got to the GPS on Chloe's vehicle, the more society seemed to be disintegrating. People were in the streets, packing heat and causing trouble in inverse proportion to how far they were from the station. And they knew enough about gang colors to know that this was more then just some kind of riot, and that they weren't going to go unchallenged by the police for long. When that happened, things would go bad fast. They'd spent enough time among the Bell crew to know how much firepower a gang can carry when they are determined to take over some corners. Wars had been won with less firepower, and they were pretty sure one was about to be fought.
"What the hell started this?" Sydney muttered.
"It sure as hell wasn't what we did," Kim had been listening to the police scanner. "When they went to arrest Bell, the son of a bitch had already been taken out."
Kim shook her head. "Five shots to the chest and groin, all delivered at close range. Someone wanted to send a message, but not to us."
"Whoever did this is trying to send a message to everybody," Sydney told her. "Who that somebody is-"
She stopped short. The GPS told them Chloe's vehicle was right in front of her, but she could've told that without looking. Her car was fifty feet away, but it looked like half a dozen people were trying to overturn it.
"How do you want to handle this?" Kim asked, as she opened the back seat.
"Non-lethal weapons. Until we know more of what the hell's going on, we don't add to the body count," Sydney replied, reaching for a tear gas grenade. Kim reached for a couple, and began loading the shotgun with rubber bullets.
When they got out of the car, the people remained intent on overturning it. Before they were completely there, however, a guy in a red baseball cap whirled around. "Hey Kim and Khloe, this the wrong neighborhood for you, sweetie."
Sydney had no intention of letting them get any closer. She pulled the pin, and rolled the grenade at them. The three closest to the car remained intent on what they were doing, leaving them completely at the mercy of the gas.
One of the rioters who remained standing had the good wisdom to run away. The remaining two- the wiseass in the cap among them- started charging them. "Why do they never go quietly?" Sydney said to herself.
The guy in the cap took out a crowbar, so Kim unloaded a slug in his chest. He fell to the ground "Next time, we do the real thing. Don't fucking doubt me."
The one still standing finally seemed to get the message. But Sydney had no intention of letting a source just disappear. She grabbed him by the collar. "What the hell started this?" she demanded.
"You the cops?" the man demanded.
"A concerned citizen. Answer the fucking question."
The bastard started smiling. "You actually think you can stop this?" he told her. "This is just a little dust-up. Real rumble comes later."
"What the fuck are you-" And then Sydney heard something she shouldn't on a Brooklyn street corner. She hit the dirt. A split second later, the world exploded.
It took a few seconds for the ringing in her ears to dissipate. By then Kim, who had had the same reactions Sydney did, was already upright, asking after her well-being.
"Thought I was through dodging those," she muttered. "Our friend is dead."
"Dust in the wind." Kim nodded.
They both looked up to see Chloe's head sticking out of the car, looking shocked for her. "I thought you were kidding when you said this shit followed you around!"
They let this slide. "Not that were not glad to see you," Kim started.
"I need your help. They shot a woman. I'm pretty sure she dying."
The three women ran to the car, which, amazingly, was still intact. "Sir, can I check on your..." And then Sydney got a look at the man. "Will?"
Will Tippen looked up, but didn't let go of the other woman's hand. "Syd?"