Way Or Another
By Ryan Bodle
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon and all associated characters are the property of Takeuchi Naoko, and Toei Animation. JC and 13 are developed characters by the author.
The sun beat down on the city in a lazy fashion as it neared the end of the afternoon. The sky began turning amber as Aino Minako walked home after volleyball practice. She was particularly grateful that home wasn't far off. Today's practice was draining and she couldn't wait to get home and lay down for a few hours.
A familiar white feline crossed her path as she walked. She stopped and crouched down to pet him. "Hey Artemis," she greeted, fatigue clearly evident in her voice. Artemis purred as she stroked him. "Come on, let's go home." She started off again. Artemis fell in step with her, making sure nobody was nearby before he spoke.
"Are you ok Mina?"
"I'm just tired after practice. I'll be fine."
Mina crossed the road and past a police car that was parked up on the road. Instinctively she heard the radio buzz and there were mentions of a robbery in the area. She glanced down at Artemis. She knew he would be looking at her expectantly. She returned with a stern look that conveyed just how tired she really was. Besides, she could just tell one of the others if it was really that bad. Anyways, why not let the police handle it? How bad could it really be, anyway?
The officer in the concerned car barely looked like he cared himself. It couldn't have been anything major. Just some petty thieves. She carried on wearily.
Another burst of static came over, Mina had almost stopped listening. She heard enough to change her mind.
'Officer shot, request backup.'
The car ignition fired and the officer blared his two tones straight away. Mina looked over her shoulder. If it was that dangerous, perhaps she could check it out. Before she had even finished weighing out the decision she was about to make, she found her henshin pen in her hand already.
An erratic shot burst from behind the re-enforced door, a second warning for the police officers nearby to stay back. Officers Mizuki and Takashi took the hint to stay well back. Takashi raised his blonde head to peek over the bonnet of his car and scoped the situation inside the building. It was difficult to see. The glass window that usually showed off the inside of the building was fractured, but because it was re-enforced, like the rest of the building, it gave a hazy insight to what was going on inside.
He saw silhouettes of people inside. Most were cowered on the floor, avoiding gazes from those brave enough to walk around. Those few armed with guns. He ducked back down and crouched with his back against his patrol car. Mizuki, his partner crouched forward on one knee, his should propped against the vehicle.
"Do you know how many there are?" He asked. His voice was deep but smooth and often sounded cold, almost alien like. Under the situation, his breath heightened its pitch to make sound more human like.
"More than six," Takashi answered. "And about twenty hostages. We have to call for Special Tactics."
"For some armed thugs? Surely regular backup will do it."
"Their not armed with pistols." Just then another patrol car came screeching round the corner and stopped in front of theirs. A series of thunder cracks erupted and the occupants scrambled outside the car.
Both officers pounced up to see automatic fire pepper spray the unfortunate pair in the car. The first officer made it out safely and dove for ground, covering his head. The driver followed after him but took a bullet in the shoulder and was propelled by the impact out of the car.
Takashi and Mizuki wasted no time in running around and retrieving the two police officers. They pulled the wounded officer to the safety of behind their own vehicle. The uninjured officer followed and whimpered hysterically as fire opened up again. Takashi propped the injured officer up and glanced at the badge.
"Sergeant? You hold on, we'll call for back up and an ambulance."
The sergeant gritted his teeth and growled. "Sons of bitches had automatics."
Takashi gave a glance to his partner. Mizuki nodded minutely and reached for their car radio. "Dispatch. This is niner-zero-four-two."
"This is dispatch." A crackled voice replied.
"We're responding to the bank robbery in progress. Suspects are armed and have taken hostages. Request back up and an ambulance, officer wounded."
"Roger Mizuki, back up on its way."
"And call for S-T, suspects are armed with automatics."
"Confirmed. Automatic firearms, S-T will be dispatched. Over." A short static burst ended the conversation.
In the distance more sirens could be heard, screaming to get nearer to the area.
"Did you see that shot? Cops must be pissing their pants!" The young thug snickered. He wielded a small automatic rifle across his body, suspended by a strap over his shoulder.
"Don't get carried away Tanaki," an older voice replied. "We still have to get out of here without being caught." The older figure sat in a cushioned chair in the centre of the foyer area, maintaining control over the situation.
Tanaki snorted a laugh and continued to spy outside the door. Motomiya Kazu regarded his subordinate for another moment. The young man was good at what he did, if not a little rash. Kazu would have liked to keep their arsenal under tabs for a little longer. Tananki was still wise to not kill any of them. The last thing they wanted was to have the entire Tokyo police force looking for them as cop killers.
"Kaneda? What's the time?" He asked, his mind far from caring. He needed something as a distraction
"Twenty minutes, boss."
Time had gone by quicker than Kazu had counted. He was losing touch, or perhaps he was nervous. He tried to dismiss that, he never got nervous. Then again, this was a high profile job, and he hated them. He even hated more that was asked to do this job personally. It was a strange demand, even his own employer preferred him to use other people for things like this. It didn't matter now, he was here and he'd have to do his job, and do it well, as he always did. Professionally.
He scanned the room of the hostages they had. None were harmed. He planned to keep it that way. An injured hostage didn't go down well with the police. As instructed they all lay down, facing the floor and hands above their heads. All of them scared out of their wits. Some cried or whimpered out of fear. That was ok with him. Personally he didn't like the noise, it was a distraction, but he had to put up with it. At least they weren't hysterical or worse, stupidly brave. Violence is one thing he could do without right now.
Some of the hostages lay their heads sideways, uncomfortable in looking at the floor. None of them dared look at him or his team. Except one. His eyes glanced directly at Kazu for a second and then looked away. The culprit was foreign, Caucasian. He looked back at Kazu again and this time locked eyes with him. Kazu thought about how to rattle him. Someone who wasn't afraid was a threat. Kazu needed to maintain fear over all his hostages.
"Kazu," Kaneda interrupted. "I have the call."
Kazu got up from his seat to take the cell phone he was offered. He paced over to the white man and delivered a short, sharp kick to his face. "Motomiya." He stated as a welcome.
"Your transport is on its way." The line went dead. Kazu hung up the phone and slipped it in to his pocket.
"This is it," with that he raised his own rifle and chambered a round with a snap. Five heads in front of him nodded. Tanaki was behind him and snorted an approval. They all took positions behind cover. "Remember the plan."
One member of his team was up by the window applying suction pads with electronic equipment. Kazu stood halfway behind a pillar and brought his rifle up so the sights were at eye level.
The man wiring the window, unreeled a cable back to a covering position and continued to configure some electronics. "Get them back!" Kazu barked.
His team shuffled the hostages from in front of them and behind the counters. He didn't want them in the cross fire, they'd be safe there. They were filed through and Kaneda stood in the staff door, watching them, just in case.
"Ready," his electronics specialist said. Kazu nodded. His team assembled in a tactical formation, ensuring they could see every angle outside.
"Short, controlled bursts," Kazu re-iterated. "Go!"
The electronics expert pushed a button and there was a low whine, within a second it turned high-pitched and then supersonic. The window fractured more and then burst into a million pieces. Kazu scanned the area across the street, no civilians and just two patrol cars. The police took their time.
He squeezed his trigger and fired three shots in to the first patrol car. His team followed his example, always waiting for him to fire first. They sprayed the street ahead with bullets, making sure any police backup didn't move in close.
"Shit!" Takashi screamed as he ducked further to the ground, bullets ricocheting above him.
"They're breaking out!" Mizuki shouted to him. "They must be expecting company!"
"We have to hold them!" Takashi answered. Mizuki answered with a nod. He took out his pistol and paused for a second. Then he took a quick glance over the back of the patrol car and ducked again.
Another pause and he raised himself just over the trunk and aimed letting off two shots in to the bank. Fire was returned at him and he ducked. Takashi took his own pistol and aimed over the bonnet firing twice as well. He quickly counted bodies. No hostages, four bodies were in cover. He ducked again.
"How many did you count?" Mizuki asked.
"One on the left behind a corner, two in the middle. One looked like he was standing in a door way, looking the other way."
"Watching the hostages," Mizuki deduced. "These guys are good."
The firing stopped at Kazu's command. He scanned the area. There were two cops out there with enough balls to return their fire. He knew they were trying to keep them pinned to the confines of the building. For all the good it would do. In the dead silence a muffling sound distracted him. He turned around.
Kaneda was being held at gun point by the white man he kicked before. More importantly, by his own gun. Kazu raised his rifle, the man ducked behind Kaneda. "Cease fire!" Kaneda spoke stonely. Kazu wondered why he spoke, he knew Kaneda would prefer to be shot by him than anyone taking him hostage. Then Kazu remembered, his team member, and friend spoke English. "Cease fire!" He repeated.
"What are you doing with my man?" Kazu demanded. Kaneda translated. The man spoke, Kaneda translated.
"Getting your attention, I have a proposition for you."
"I don't care about your proposition."
"Look in the bag," Kaneda answered. Kazu looked down to a duffle bag. It was open to reveal several wads of cash. Thousands of Yen, Kazu couldn't make a guess how much just by looking. "I can't be taken in or questioned by the police. You let me go with you, I pay a hundred thousand yen."
"No deal, you let my man go first," Kazu ordered.
"If I let him go, I have your word you won't fire at me?"
Kazu remained silent and nodded in agreement. The white man released the barrel of his gun from Kaneda and let him go. Kazu levelled his rifle at him again. Kaneda dived, so did the white man as he squeezed the trigger. The door closed and Kazu's rounds tore through the wood, making it splinter in several places. He stopped firing and kept his sight trained on the door. Kaneda drew a pistol and levelled it at the same place.
Kazu's attention was distracted by the flicker of a shadow, it came from above him. 'Impossible,' he thought. All that was there was the air conditioning vents. Nobody would be climbing about in there. He would have heard them. He tightened his lips into a snarl as he watched it carefully. Where was their transport?
Sailor Venus settled and kept still, she was sure one of them noticed her. She waited, holding her breath, waiting for a moment when she could move again. She needed a distraction and prayed one would present itself. There was another crack of gun fire, just what she needed. She didn't hesitate and kicked out the vent guard just behind her and in one swift motion, pushed backwards. Her feet swung through the gap and she pivoted her body through. Grabbing the edge of the hole, she swung forward and held her feet out. She connected with the torso of one man, square in the chest, he flew back and hit the wall before crumpling to a heap on the ground.
She landed nimbly and avoided the sights of a gun barrel. With her super-human speed she charged down the small gap, grappled the man's arm that held the weapon and twisted it, forcing him to release his grip. She ducked and swept the man off his feet with a kick. Convinced both men were disabled, she looked about for further, immediate danger and hostages. The staff door to behind the counters was open, someone stood there. He was reaching for a duffle bag. It was filled with cash on top of an assortment of clothes. One thing she recognised. Sitting there and gleaming back at her was a metal mask. A mask she had seen many times before.
The owner grabbed the mask from the bag. He took it to his face before she could get a good look. Her jaw started to hang as she gasped at him. "JC?" She managed. The masked man acknowledged his name by raising a rifle and firing. She side stepped to avoid the line of fire. He missed. He knew he would miss, it wasn't his aim to hit her, but it gave him enough time to retreat behind the counters. She started after him.
As she rounded the corner another short burst of fire erupted in her direction, each round missing again. She caught JC heading to a rear fire exit. He levelled the gun at the fire alarm and emptied the magazine into it. The safety lock released and set off the sprinklers. He barged the door open and disappeared again. Venus chased him through the door, closing the gap in seconds. The bank backed out into a wide alley and JC was running for the main road.
As she came close enough to grab him, JC ducked to the floor. She was left staring at two police officers covering the rear exit. Before they could restrain themselves, two shots were released from their pistols. Sailor Venus dropped backwards, letting gravity doing its job to beat the speed of the projectiles. One shot grazed her shoulder, searing heat erupted from it as she crumpled to the floor. She regained her senses and looked for JC. He was gone already, the police officers haring off in his direction.
She was about to join them when her communicator beeped. She stopped to answer. Sailor Mercury appeared on the screen. "Sailor Venus, what happened? I thought you were already at the bank."
"I'm out the back. One of them got away."
"He got away? How?"
"I didn't expect to see him, have you cleared up the other thieves?"
"No, they got in an escape vehicle before we arrived."
"Damn," Venus cursed. "Let's meet tomorrow, I'll fill you in. Venus out." She closed her communicator. She knew well enough JC would have disappeared by now. He was good at it. Her face turned sour at the thought of him suddenly turning up again.