Feather in the Tar: Steam Meets Lead

        Sergeant Samson steps with both feet hard on the breaks, and the Ford squeals to a stop. The passengers are lifted into the air. A crowd has gathered across the street from the Marina Lounge with a few brave souls just outside. Another squad car in full alarm squeals to a stop facing the Ford. Two blues exit.

        “I’m Lieutenant Cochran.” She pulls her badge out and hangs it around her neck. “Cordon off the street 30 yards from the entrance. Clear all the souls.”

        “Yes Mam.” The eldest of the two answers, Gibson is a 20-year veteran and he walks to sidewalk on the west side of the entrance. Gibson pushes the spectators back. The other officer grabs barriers and tape out of the trunk of the squad and systematical lays a barrier to the crowd. “Help me out here.”

        Another squad pulls up, one is a street Sergeant in the first car assumes authority. “Control that crowd and lets get the inner-barrier set up.”

        “Here Lieutenant,” Samson hands Cochran a communication kit and sets a bulletproof vest on top of the cruiser. She puts the com in her ear and connects it to the transmitter she clips onto her belt.

        “Lieutenant, this woman, Ms. Fields, says she was in the bar when it happened.” Gibson has a 5-foot blonde in tow. She wears professional drab and her face is covered in mascara.

        “Ms. Fields, what happened?” She pokes her 2nd arm through the vest sleeves, reaches down and pulls a tissue our of her pants pocket. The Lieutenant hands it to the woman.

        “Test, test,” Samson looks to Cochran. She turns toward him for a moment and shakes her head up and down. The Lieutenant turns back to the witness.

        “I, I don’t know.” She wipes her face.

        “Take a breath. Now as slowly as you can tell me what you saw.” Cochran encourages her.

        “I’m standing at the bar talking to some friends when this guy, he has a flashlight or something under the bar.”

        “Go on.”

       “Sarah, my girlfriend looks into the light and it blinds her for a moment. Her boyfriend, Michael, asks the guy to turn it off.”

        “Yes.” Cochran cinches and zips up her vest.

        “I don’t know what happened, but, but, the guy cut off Michaels head.” She goes quiet. She just realizes that one of her best friends and her friend’s boyfriend are dead.

        “What?”

        She tears up, “he, he cut off Sarah’s head too.”

        “Did he have a knife or axe?”

        “I couldn’t see anything just the blue light.” She wipes her face again. “I don’t understand how this could happen.”

        “Was he with anyone?”

        “I don’t think so. I just got the hell out.” She finishes.

        “Did he have a gun? A pipe, a weapon of any kind?”

       “I, I just don’t know. All I could see was a bright blue light.”

        “Is he still in there?” Cochran asks.

       “Yes, I think so.”

        “Anyone else?”

       “Yes. The bar tender and some guy fell down on the way out.” She says.

       “OK Gibson, sit her in the back of your squad car. We are going to want to get a formal statement later. Do you have a blanket?” Cochran instructs the blue.

       “Test, test?” Samson says again into the microphone..

       “YES, I can here you Sams. Test back, Test back?” She tests the microphone reception.

       “Clear, good. What’s the story Lieutenant?” Samson confirms the communication test. Both talkies are working

       “I don’t know.” She shakes her head. “It’s one man, and he must have a sword or some kind of knife. She said he cut their heads off.”

        “Sounds like our boy.” Samson says.

       “Maybe we should wait for SWAT.” Cochran pauses. Officer Samantha Pousnik flashes in her mind

        “Never bring a sword to a gun fight, Coch.” Samson adds.

       “Your right. Lets go.”

       “Lieutenant Cochran,” Seven calls out. He is standing at the back passenger side of the squad car. it is between him and the building. “Aren’t you going to wait for the black guns?”

       “NO.”

        “Genie and I should go.” Seven adds

       “Stay where you are at Bardo.” She shouts back at Seven, “You wanted to come.”

        “Ready Lieutenant?” Samson asks as he pulls out his service revolver.

       Cochran stands on one side of the entry and Samson on the other. Samson squats down and enters on point, Cochran follows, fully erect. They sweep the bar at the same time, left to right, right to left. Frank is standing at the far end of the bar. Cyan is frozen in place behind the bar. A head is starring straight at her. There is a white male on the floor. Samson sees the two decapitated bodies sans one head. It is out of sight. Broken bottles rest on the back bar just passed the female.

       “Two confirms, one unknown, one standing, and one target,” Samson says.

       “Confirm.” Cochran acknowledges.

        “Cyan, don’t you recognize me?” Frank says as loud as his mechanical voice will transmit. “It’s me, Frank. Remember?” Cyan doesn’t make a move.

       “STOP! WE ARE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE OFFICERS. RAISE YOUR HANDS!” Sergeant Samson yells at Frank.

       “CYAN, YOU MURDERED ME.” Frank steps toward the bar and raises his hand.

       “HALT! STOP WHERE YOU ARE!” Lieutenant Cochran shouts. Her voice of command is loud, direct, and emotionless. “WE WILL FIRE!”

        Frank turns toward the officers, the plasma rail raised above his head. His boiler turns on, and his drive spins more quickly.


        [SEARCH: ID Function]


       Samson stands up, and slowly moves closer. He keeps his gun pointed at the target. Cochran steps to the right. She is aiming at Frank’s heart. A whiff of steam pours out of the backpack and the plasma rail glows hotter. It brightens the floor of the bar. Samson stoops down over the unconscious man, and while holding his aim on Frank he drops his left hand and checks for a pulse. Frank is motionless.

       “We’ve got a live one, ready the ambulance.” Samson says.

       “Help me.” Cyan says.

       “STAY WHERE YOU ARE MAM.” Cochran answers. “Are you hurt?”

       “No.”

       Samson rises up. Cochran takes a few steps closer, but does not relax her aim. Frank does not move. “Is that a Halloween costume or something, man?” Samson holsters his gun, and takes out his cuffs. He hears bubbling and girgling. He moves around to the back of Frank. Cochran steps closer. Samson can feel the heat coming off of the pack. “What do you have in here? Put your arm down, behind your back.”

       “Go, go outside. Officers should be waiting.” Cochran says to Cyan.

       Frank’s drive beeps and stops spinning. Police officers flashes across his visual readout, and the purpose of the weapon and the handcuffs plays as a retrieved movie video.


        [STOP: police; STOP: Cyan]


       “I SAID, PUT YOUR ARM DOWN.” Samson pushes.

       Frank’s boiler sputters, he spins 360 degrees and swipes the plasma rail down through Samson’s wrist. Samson grabs the stump, as his hand drops to the ground. He falls backwards; his mouth and eyes are as wide as Cochran has ever seen them. Lieutenant Cochran exhales and squeezes off three shots in succession. The 9mms strike Frank in the chest with a thud. A wave rolls through his body and he steps forward. Cochran fires again, 3 more thuds at point blank into where Frank’s heart should be. Cyan is at the entry and she turns around as the shots hit Frank.

       “CYAN. STOP CYAN.” Frank mechanically rasps as loud as he can.

       Cyan turns and runs through the entry. Frank’s boiler rumbles.


        [SPRINT STOP cyan]


       He runs toward the door and bumps Cochran hard. She flies backward towards the wall, from her perspective, all is moving in slow motion. She pulls her gun around and aims. As she hits the wall, she fires twice more at Frank’s back. A gush of steam spews upward from Frank’s backpack as he passes through the doorway.

       Seven Bardo’s listens to a police radio through the open door of a squad car. Before the shots, Events inside sound like the case is a wrap. Genie and him are standing on the sidewalk just outside the entryway of the bar. One of Cochran’s 9mms strikes him in the arm. Genie leans toward him as he spins around. Frank burst through the doorway onto the walkway and Genie is standing in his path.

       Frank raises his arm and the plasma rail like a football freight train running through the defensive line. The pressure gauge in his visual readout turns blue and begins flashing. Steam pressure is crashing. He pitches forward and collides with Genie, knocking her down and severing her in two. The crowd gasps and a momentary ghostly quiet is followed with screams. The Sergeant, watching the scene unfold as his squad manages the crowd, draws his revolver and rushes forward. He shoots at Frank’s head as he hits the concrete between Genie’s two halves. The bullet grazes his skull, flattens on the concrete, and tumbles to the wooden bar.


        [EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN; EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN]

        [REBOOT: Safe]

        [EXECUTE DIAGNOSTICS]


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