Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Infernal Affairs, Chapter 3: SWATed

Infernal Affairs, Chapter 3, fight

Originally, I wanted an entire book much like this.

Then I realized that it would suck even more for Tommy if I just kept upping the stakes of what came after him.

But it's going to end ... fun.

Chapter 3: SWATed
The rest of the day went normally. The schedule was normal: Church, breakfast, parish activity du jour, early dinner, and Jeremy goes to play with his friends, while Mariel and I play with each other…
What? How else did you think Mariel became pregnant?
Ironically, it was Jeremy’s recently found fame that allowed for Mariel’s current condition. After facing down a serial killer and being kidnapped by a deranged death cult, Jeremy had become a source of fascination for his classmates. This led to a lot of busy weekends of fun for Jeremy, and lots of privacy for us.
Remember, when Catholics get married, part of the marriage contract is to contribute to the gene pool as much as possible.
By nine o’clock that evening, we were all ready to sleep.
There is a reason that the first words of every angel in the Bible tend to be “Be not afraid.”
That is because angels of the Lord are totally terrifying.
In my dream, the body was made of fire. The wings looked like butterfly wings, taller and wider than the main body. And it looked like a Kaiju that would make Godzilla crawl back into the sea and ask directions for the Marianas Trench. Its sword was a cross between a big broadsword and a lightsaber, and big enough to cleave the world in half.
When it told me to Be Not Afraid, it sounded musical and lyrical, and at total odds with the creature in front of me.
Thomas Nolan! Judge and Prophet of the Lord! Awake and smite the agents of Satan!”
I was out of bed, on my feet, with a gun in my hand before I knew I was awake.
I turned and violently shook Mariel awake. Her eyes snapped open and she reached for her side table, then hesitated when she recognized me. At least she hadn’t shanked me with the flip knife at her side.
I told her, simply, “One-A.” It was the plan for her to hunker down and wait in Jeremy’s room—mostly because his room’s door opened almost straight into the staircase. Anyone who came up the stairs would get to the second landing, turn left, and go up four more steps.
She got up and grabbed her rifle, next to her side table. She slung the strap over her head, then grabbed the shotgun, next to the rifle. Then she grabbed her pistol, and held it in her other hand. I did the same, mostly to horde the weapons as they hunkered down.
We were, after a fashion, preppers. Mostly because after the first two home invasions by supernatural and demonic forces, we came prepared.
I led the way as Mariel carried the weapons behind her. I waited until she was in Jeremy’s room, then handed her the shotgun. I left the rifle slung over my shoulder, and carried the pistol in hand. It was a Browning Hi-Powered. It wasn’t exactly department issue, but I had started a collection of larger caliber guns since the death cult came for us.
I took the stairs carefully and quietly. I took one step down from the top landing when the door crashed in. I dropped to a crouch and waited. I didn’t scream out a warning, since I didn’t want to give away my position. And since the front door was made of metal, just kicking the door in wasn’t an option, so they weren’t simple home invaders.
Also, I was told to smite the agents of Satan, so I could only conclude that these dirt bags weren’t here to play.
They swept in like a well-oiled machine, a snake-like line of men carrying body armor and rifles. The first one looked up at me—directly at me, I’m certain—and whispered, “Clear.”
The leader moved the muzzle down and ahead.
I waited until I could clearly see the tail end of this serpent. There were only six of them.
After the third one moved into the living room and broke to their left (heading towards our dining room), the fourth one stepped into the living room and moved for the steps.
That’s when I opened fire. The first bullet slammed into the armored helmet, slamming the man’s head into the wall. The second round punched through the man’s neck. He collapsed without a sound, but I had already moved onto the next man in order. I took a step back, onto the landing, as I fired again. Both bullets found their mark, though not the way I wanted. One bullet merely collided with the Kevlar vest—but the force of the round cracked the collar bone. The next one punched under the arm, into the armpit, and pinballed around through the ribcage, caged inside by Kevlar.
The third one turned his attention to me, and I triple-tapped him. Three rounds from the Hi-Power knocked him back, and he involuntarily opened fire with a string of bullets that cut right above my head. I dove up the stairs, getting out of the line of sight and line of fire.
I scrambled up the stairs. I swung around the wall at the top of the stairs. I dropped back to a crouch. The were well armed, and had good tactics. The first thing I could think of was: We’re screwed. Dear Lord. We’ll need some help here.
There were stomps as one of them charged up the stairs. I was ready to intercept them as soon as they appeared. But after only eight steps, they stopped. I couldn’t figure out why for a second.
Then I heard the distinct metallic scrape of a pin being pulled out of a grenade.
The instant the next attacker leaned over in order to aim, I fired twice. His arm had been up and ready to hurl his device. The helmet’s visor cracked and his head snapped back with the bullet. The second bullet punched into his wrist, shattering it. He fell back with a scream, and so did his grenade. There were a few gasps from down below once they realized what had happened.
I ducked back and covered my ears. Which was a good idea, because the explosion was bright and loud enough to make your eyes and ears bleed if you were too close.
Thankfully for my home, it was a flash bang, not a fragmentation or incendiary.
Since I only had two bullets left, I placed my handgun on the ground, then unslung my rifle. I grabbed the pistol and darted across Mariel’s line of fire for the little room leading up to the attic. We hadn’t decided what else to do with it yet, so it was still filled with boxes of random stuff we still hadn’t unpacked yet.
We all waited for a long moment, listening intently. The next one up came up quietly. Mariel hadn’t waited for the gunman to notice her. His helmet appeared, and she fired three times. His helmet snapped to one side. His head crashed into the window on the second landing.
It was followed by multiple rounds of blind fire in automatic bursts. Mariel rolled out of the way of the gunfire. This fifth gunman fired off a few rounds every step, keeping Mariel back.
I waited as he came up, one step at a time, one burst at a time. I pressed myself against the wall, I almost felt him coming closer.
Then I heard the slide of an empty magazine ejecting from the gun and thumping on the floor.
I wheeled around the doorway before the gunman had even had a chance to grab a fresh magazine. I jammed the muzzle of my Browning underneath the man’s chin and pulled the trigger twice. The brain and bone spattered out of the helmet …
And into the visor of the gunman right behind him.
Oh Nuts.
I dropped the pistol and brought up my rifle. It collided with the rifle of the other gunman, and he smashed into me. He drove me into the room of junk, slamming me into the door. The gunman reared back with his right fist. I jerked my head to one side, and he punched the wall. He cursed.
I twisted with my rifle counter-clockwise as I twisted my body the same way. The butt of my AR-15 cracked against the gunman’s helmet while I slipped out of the way. I shoved off of the gunman and raised my rifle.
The gunman spun. He smacked the muzzle of my rifle off line as he raised his own. I raised my knee as high as I could, then kicked down at the muzzle of his gun, shoving it to the floor. As my foot came down, I reared forward, shoving my left forearm into his throat.
I jammed my rifle down into the boot of the gunman, then fired. He screamed. My left forearm was still in his throat. I drove my elbow into the helmet, forcing him to look to my left. My fingers found the back of his helmet, hooking underneath it. I spun to my left and dragged the gunman down by his helmet, throwing him off the wall. He didn’t go far, so I didn’t raise my rifle level with him. I raised the muzzle just enough to shoot him in the back of the knee. He screamed and fell forward, away from me.
My rifle came up and I fired. I didn’t even count the bullets I fired into him. I only stopped pulling the trigger when he went down.
I took a slow, deep breath.
I swung around. “Mariel, don’t shoot. I’m crossing your field of fire.”
I moved into the hall, then down the stairs. I cleared the house in less than a minute. I lowered my gun about the time that the sirens rang outside. I placed the gun down and started turning on the lights, keeping at least one hand up at all times. I knew the uniforms that arrived, one of them was Sgt. Mary Russell.
Russell stood in the doorway between the enclosed front porch and the living room, stopping before the first body. She looked down at the body, then at me. She considered me, then shrugged. “Nice boxers.”
I rolled my eyes. “Gee. Thanks.”
She laughed as she shook her head and holstered her gun. She looked over the bodies. “Dang, Wyatt. Don’t you have quiet days?”
I narrowed my eyes. “It’s been quiet for months.”
Her eyebrows went up, and smiled. “Twice in one day, though? At least you’re making up for lost time.”
I sighed. “Apparently.”
She looked down at the corpse, and I did as well. The Kevlar was strange, mainly because there was black masking tape on it… and the helmet. I glanced to the other corpses in the room and on the stairs. The masking tape was on all of them.
What the?
I stepped forward and crouched down by the nearest corpse. I reached over to the edge of the masking tape, gently teasing the tape over. I only needed a corner to come off. It revealed the upper corner of a letter: S.
Russell said, “What’s the matter?”
I rose, and started to work my way up the stairs. “I’m getting dressed. Call the LT. Call the Captain. Then call Statler and Waldorf over at IA.”
Why?” she called after me.
I stopped on the second landing, around the corpse under the window. “Tell them that the people who tried to kill me are members of a SWAT team.”
Russell gave me a long look. “Congratulations. I guess you’re a cop killer.”

Chapter 4: Picking Up the Pieces.
The SWAT team had invaded my home at two in the morning. By 2:30, the neighbors were awake, and it looked like my station house was having a block party on my street. The SWAT van the team had arrived in was parked around the corner, so the entire intersection would be blocked off until the scene was processed. Ten patrol cars were used just to secure the area. CSU was already there in record time, and they weren’t happy that Mariel, Jeremy, and I had already walked all over the crime scene, since it was mostly on our staircase.
CSU took photos of me and Mariel, then confiscated our sleepwear. They collected rug fibers from the front of Mariel’s night shirt to prove that she had been on the floor. They took my clothing since I had blood spatter on it. We were already informed that parts of the carpet on our staircase would be taken away because of the burns from the flash bang. We were processed before the rest of the crime scene, and we needed to get dressed for the day.
Jeremy hadn’t been involved, except in making the 911 call, and another call to the station. He was already asleep on the couch. After being threatened at knife point by a serial killer, and kidnapped by a cult with it’s own Voodoo man, this was relatively boring. I was half afraid that when puberty hit my son, he was going to turn into a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie. I could see a lot of ER visits in our future.
My Captain was there not long after CSU finished with us. My Lieutenant barely beat him to it. Both were in full dress uniforms, as though they were showing up to a full-court press conference, or to a funeral. I didn’t relish either prospect. They sat at the opposite end of the table while Mariel sat at the other. She had been making coffee since the coast was clear. They were all disposable cups, purchased after one of the last CSU guys broke a cup the last time the house had been a crime scene.
Then Alex Packard showed up. My partner burst in through the front door barely dressed. He wore loafers with no socks. His gray slacks were buckled, the fly only half up. The buttons on his shirt were misaligned, but he’d given up on the top two buttons, so it didn’t matter. His bright yellow tie was draped over his neck, untied. What was left of his hair stuck up at all sorts of odd angles.
Tommy! Don’t say a thing!” Alex called. “I’m your PBA rep, and I insist—”
I held up a hand. He stopped raving for a moment as he stopped at the dining room table. He grabbed the edge, and panted heavily. “Sorry. I ran. I lot. Gotta never do that again.”
I restrained myself from rolling my eyes. “Now that you’re here, we can start.”
Alex started to object. “Tommy—”
I lifted a tablet from the seat next to me. It was normally Jeremy’s, which is why the case was black with an Alex Ross rendering of The Shadow on the back. I tapped into the house WiFi, then turned it around to my superiors and my partner.
Mariel left to go the kitchen. She’d been here for the next part.
It was a full audio-video of the entire attack. The cameras on the front porch, the stairs, and the upper hallway caught every last moment. Not once did anyone hear the word “Police!” or “Freeze!” The only verbal communication was between me and Mariel. Everything between the officers was communicated purely in hand gestures.
When the recording was over, both of my superiors looked pissed off. They said nothing, and I didn’t blame them. Officially, Internal Affairs should be the one to talk to me right now, not them.
Right now, they were in an awkward position. On the one hand, among fellow cops, there was nothing more despised by the rank and file than a “traitor”—but then, there is no one in the world more despised than someone who turns on “his own.”
In the world of cops, if there is a corrupt officer, most of my brothers in blue would probably prefer to handle it internally.
If the situation is “I’m going to take this drug money off of you as punishment for you being stupid enough to deal in front of me,” most citizens would find that illegal and corrupt. Many cops would dismiss it as being more harmful to the dealer than the minimal jail time the dealer might eventually be given, eventually. If it grows to be an institution of extortion, that’s when most cops start getting uncomfortable. They start splitting hairs with the question, “Is he extorting a citizen or a career criminal?” If a cop starts abusing his authority to the extent where the law-abiding are abused, other cops would much rather take him into a dark alley and beat the crap out of him before turning him in.
If the extortion and abuse of authority extends to sexual favors, that’s more or less the point where my fellow cops would rather throw him down a flight of stairs before turning in said officer.
But really, the only person below a traitor is a cop killer.
Now imagine the treatment that would be given a police officer who tried to kill a fellow officer.
If you cringed, you have the right idea. It’s one of the many reasons why even the most corrupt cops would rather eat their service weapon than shoot at fellow cops. If a cop killed another cop, the killer might risk having an “accident” akin to falling into a wood chipper, feet first.
So both of my superiors were facing a nightmare scenario, and doing the math on which was worse.
1: Headline, “THOMAS NOLAN MURDERS SIX COPS.” This is the headline that wins a cold shoulder from everyone in the department, and even future backup to “arrive too late” to a full shootout.
2: “SWAT TEAM TRIES TO KILL SAINTLY COP.” This headline gets every cop in the department to buy me beers for getting them before they got me. Meanwhile, this also puts every cop in the city under a magnifying glass, especially the department out of which SWAT operated.
3: “COP ON COP VIOLENCE: EVERYONE WINS.” This makes for a police department that closes ranks and act amazingly cranky to the entire population.
This didn’t even count what “Hizzonor” the Mayor, Ricardo Hoynes, would do.
Hoynes was already against cops in general, and me in particular. Given that his Deputy Mayor for Social Justice Programs was a zombie-raising Voodoo Bokor who had tried to murder me a few months back, I could count on hearing a few tasteful sound bites from the mayor during this entire ordeal.
Whether or not Deputy Mayor Bokor Baracus (yes, this particular demonic presence was that subtle) was just using the Mayor to further a Satanic agenda, or if the Mayor was the greater darkness, was unknown. Even my ability to smell evil was useless around City Hall—there was so much evil in the air, it was impossible to get directionality on its source. Alex dismissed it as being the usual scent of politicians. I wasn’t so certain. The only bright side of a Mayor Hoynes character assassination would be that everyone who hated him (i.e.: every cop in the city) would be buying me drinks until the press died down or until Hoynes found a new target.
So my Captain and LT had a lot to think about.
Let’s have a conversation about who just tried to assassinate you,” my LT said, taking the lead. “The patrol guys outside already ran the SWAT truck and the IDs inside. The team lying dead on your stairs are out of the Bronx. They’ve had a high casualty count, but then, they’re SWAT, so that’s expected.”
I frowned. “The Bronx? I’m happy I can even find the Bronx. I’m just as happy to forget that the Bronx even exists. If I want to go the mainland, I go through Staten Island.”
Everyone smiled, except for the Captain. “What’s the joke?” he asked.
I maintained strict control over my face. There was always at least one person who never got the joke. “I mean except for the Bronx, the entire city is on an island.”
“…Oh. Right.”
Mariel came back from the kitchen with a mug of coffee so large, I could put my fist in it. She slid it in front of Alex. He muttered, “Bless you,” and took a healthy drag from it.
I held up my hands to refocus us back on the matter that brought everyone into my living room. “Back to the primary topic: Why try to kill me? I don’t even know these people. Better yet, I don’t even know any of their friends, relatives, or passing acquaintances.”
Alex jabbed in my direction with the mug. “But they know you. You’ve been in the news a lot. Curran? The Women’s Health Corps? The death cult? The Mayor?”
Thankfully, Alex had phrased everything in terms that wouldn’t get the three of us thrown into a padded cell. What he really meant was Curran, that serial kill possessed by a demon, and that Moloch-Worshiping cultists who brought home sacrifices from their abortion clinic day jobs and … okay, in the case of Mayor Hoynes, everyone knew that the man hated my guts. Hoynes probably hated me even more since I had leaked some especially damaging insults about his constituents that he boasted about to me and to Alex … and to our body cameras. Seriously, for a politician, he wasn’t that smart. I wish there was a good reason that he had been elected Mayor, but he was merely a supposed libertarian who ran on the Democrat ticket.
But in response to Alex’s questions, I rolled my eyes. “That was months ago. Why didn’t they come after me back then? I wasn’t exactly in hiding. Hell, I had reporters stalking Mariel and Jeremy for months. I’d think a few SWAT guys could come and find me. The shooter at the church this morning? He and his friends could have been random EDPs from the internet who hated my guts. But them and a SWAT team?
Alex frowned, shrugged, and drank deeply from the coffee mug. “Well, I don’t have any better idea. How about you, L.T.?”
My Lieutenant held his hands up like he was being threatened with an armed weapon. “Don’t look at me.”
I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. I’d gotten nearly five hours of sleep, but the adrenaline letdown was getting to me. “We may have to table this for tomorrow. Maybe someone can look into the SWAT team and maybe we can piece together what their problem was? Preferably before one of their friends on the force takes issue with how they tried to kill me, and I got them first? I think—”
My train of thought was derailed by a phone call. I hesitated for a moment. The ring tone was the “Imperial March” by John Williams—Darth Vader’s tune. It was the ringtone for “D,” the self-proclaimed “gangster” Daniel David DiLeo. I knew he was a criminal, but I’d never seen him do anything, so I’d never had to arrest him. And he wasn’t evil, I would have smelled it on him. Crime was his business, not “thug life”—his and his associates’ business uniforms were black leather jackets, black button-down shirts, button-down collars with the top button undone.
As D himself would put it, “You can’t think you’re gangster if you can’t pull up your damn pants.”
There were a few scattered black jeans, and they wore their pants belted around their waists.
The short version was that D was a work acquaintance. Very much like the cartoon with Sam the sheepdog and Ralph the coyote, who punch in and punch out of the sheep meadow at either end of the Warner Brothers cartoon. Only D and I were far more cordial when we were both on the clock.
I had listed D as a confidential informant, so I didn’t hesitate long before answering the phone. I held it up and explained to the others at the table, “This is my CI, Mister DiLeo. I presume he knows something… I can’t think of another reason for him to call.”
Everyone shrugged and nodded.
I picked up. “Hey, D. How are you doing?”
Don’t you hey me, Detective. Someone just tried to whack me because of you.”
I blinked. I had rarely heard D raise his voice. It was even more rare for D to yell in my general direction. But given what he just said, I understood. “Would you care to elaborate on that?”
Yeah, I’ll happily elaborate,” D roared. “I nearly got shot by the damn gang squad. The gang squad. I am a white collar criminal, man. The freaking gang unit? Just because I’m black. This is insulting. I should’ve known you’d be a pain in the ass.
I frowned. “Explain what this has to do with me?”

Don’t you pay attention to what happens in your own station? There’s a hit out on you on the Dark Web. It’s $10 million for your head. They don’t even want you alive. It’s dead all the way.”

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