Dicslaimer: I don't own any of the Dredd characters, places, etc.
A/N: If you haven't read "Boundaries" I strongly suggest it or some references will go clear over your head in this story. :)
Chapter 1: Hostages
Dredd and Anderson stepped out of the elevator and made their way towards the lobby on the 300th floor. After a turbulent month long assignment outside the Wall both Judges were impressed at the look, feel, and function of the city. The Hall of Justice had seemed like a towering beacon of success and civilization rather than the last bulwark against absolute chaos.
Chief Judge Goodman's aide Ariel was standing up behind his desk, staring at a screen with a grim expression. He was slim with gray hair and bands of white at the temples, older than both Judges by a fair margin. Ariel glanced up at their arrival and did a double take at Anderson in her now loose fitting uniform and the slight tan on her cheeks.
"Judge Anderson," he almost stammered. She gave him a succinct nod. "Judge Dredd," Ariel hurried to remember him, too distracted to let the memory of Dredd reflexively dislocating his shoulder about a month back color his expression. "Chief Judge Goodman has been expecting you but..." he faltered. "Deputy Chief Judge Cal is in conference with her on pressing matters."
He twisted the screen on his desk around as both Dredd and Anderson stepped closer. It took a second for the image to make sense in his head. Somewhere in a wealthy district of the city there was a riot, the pavement covered in black oil. Staked like medieval victims were assorted servo-robots, several of them the George model from the Robot of the Year show. Canisters of riot gas and muted gun fire sounded in the background. Bodies hurried past the surveillance footage, some of them terrified civilians, others rioters, and one Judge shot past too quick for Dredd to even see the name on the badge.
"Its been happening all over the city in the last two weeks," Ariel informed them both. "The new personality programming has sparked a number of controversies and the public is reacting...poorly."
"Looks like the city missed us," Dredd remarked to Anderson. "What district?"
"Sector 8, Kaku Block," Ariel provided.
"Lets check in and hit the streets," the psychic nodded, almost shoulder length tawny curls swaying. Her bangs had fallen free of the clip she'd used to subdue them on the way over. As one they moved briskly down the hall for Goodman's office. Dredd didn't even bother with a knock, raised voices carrying clear into the hallway. He pushed in, Anderson on his heels.
"Judges Dredd and Anderson reporting back in from outside the wall. Permission to engage rioters in Sector 8, Kaku Block," Dredd announced, taking in the scene of Cal standing by an overturned chair with Judge Slocum to his right, Ecks opposite them, and Goodman in between with a dark expression. Goodman and Cal were squared off like perfect opposites, Cal with his blond curls and blue eyes against an alabaster complexion, and Goodman all dark skin and black hair cropped tight against her scalp. Her ebony yes fixed on Dredd with fury at the interruption.
"This was an unprecedented risk!" Cal shouted, pointing Anderson out with a natural flare for the dramatic. "Now she's been outside the Wall unsupervised we have no telling what sort of influences may have corrupted her!"
"We trusted Dredd to administer her Assessment and I trusted him again to monitor her progress during this extended training," Goodman replied with a careful rein on her tone and volume.
"I want her quarantined until the effects of her time outside the Walls can be determined!" Cal demanded. Dredd barely kept himself from drawing his Lawgiver as more members of SJS shifted out of the background, ready to obey the command.
"It was agreed upon by the council to begin Pis-Division's development and I was left in charge of the methods, not SJS," Ecks replied, his voice even but hard. His receding hairline and the slight weight about his middle – a side effect of sitting on the council rather than working the streets – didn't make him formidable but his dark eyes were as unyielding as stone. "And the method I chose to adopt was the bolstering of my chief agent's abilities and some field research with our Teks."
"Psi-Division's day to day tasks may fall to you but such a decision should have been brought before the entire council. It is the role of SJS to monitor the activities of Judges, is it not?" Cal hissed.
"I gave him permission and my decisions supersede that of the council," Goodman replied.
"Not if the council deems you unfit, Judge Goodman," Cal snarled, his perfect gold locks swirling around his head as he whirled to face her with vehement conviction. "She poses a threat to Mega City One with unimaginable power. The data from Al-Sayid's recording device has only begun to filter in and already she surpasses anything we've ever seen. Do you know what you could be inviting into the Hall of Justice? I feel she's a threat and as head of SJS I command her given over to SJS until this 'training' can be studied!"
"Judge Cal!" Goodman thundered. "You sir are out of line! I suggest you remember your place and recall that threats and demands are not the place of the Deputy Chief Judge. I am in charge of this city and you will remember that I do not take orders from you. Now recall the city is in upheaval and there are more important matters to attend."
"If you will not recognize her as a threat and insist on continuing this dangerous track without suitable precaution then I will take it to the rest of the council and ensure this beast is properly contained."
"Watch your tongue Cal," Goodman snapped.
"There is a riot in Sector 8," Dredd called attention to himself, stepping up as his temper surged. "These politics can be settled later when the situation is under control. Judge Anderson is needed on the streets."
"You don't have the qualifications to make that decision," Cal accused, his pretty features contorted.
"As her commanding officer for the duration of the past operation and a senior Judge I'm telling you she's fit for duty and I want her on the streets," Dredd answered, bristling at the unprovoked rancor directed at Anderson.
"Step out of it Dredd. You have no authority here," Cal spat.
"But I do," Goodman assured him, angry tremors threatening her tone. "If it is your wish to pursue this matter then you will follow the appropriate channels Deputy Judge."
"Rest assured," Cal vowed with glittering diamond blue eyes. "Slocum, I'm sure you can find some way to assist in the riots. The streets need good Judges."
"Sir," Slocum nodded succinctly.
"As for you Anderson, expect a summons," Cal pointed at her.
"Sir," Anderson replied, her face a perfect mask of calm. It was as if she had expected such open loathing. Her calmness made one of Cal's eyes twitch and he swirled away, presumably to get hold of himself.
"See to Sector 8," Goodman instructed darkly. "A moment before you go Slocum."
"Lets go," Dredd instructed of the tawny haired psychic. She turned away and walked with him. Ariel was still standing behind his desk, eyes narrowed at the monitor. He glanced up at their approach, eyes flicking between Dredd and Anderson.
"Good luck," he said. Anderson gave him a smile while Dredd only nodded.
In the hallway as they waited Dredd watched Anderson from the corner of his eye, searching for some reaction. She offered none for a long time, not even when Slocum's boots clicked down the hallway after them. He had green eyes like a cat, helmet under one arm as he sauntered towards them. Somewhere in his forties with beginning threads of gray in his chestnut curls he was always serious. Dredd had never known him to smile and he was efficient and exact, perfectly attuned to Cal's variable mood swings and harsh pronouncements. The pair of them together ruled SJS with an iron fist, making brutal examples of Judges who opted to break the laws they swore to uphold. Dredd had always respected them and while he understood reservations about Psi-Division he couldn't help the bristle of anger on Anderson's behalf. It had been a ludicrous display of some animal fear.
"Welcome back Judge Anderson," Slocum nodded to her. His voice was smooth, the lower notes rasping slightly. "It would seem your time in the Cursed Earth was fruitful. I look forward to hearing about it."
"Of course Judge Slocum," Anderson nodded. Her tone was perfectly congenial but something felt wrong. Her posture was upright and relaxed and though she smiled he saw she was uneasy in the small curl at the corners of her mouth, like the muscles in her face were trying to prevent some other reaction. "You'll have a full report."
"You're famous for your details. Be sure to leave nothing out," Slocum advised raising one eyebrow in an almost friendly expression.
"I wouldn't dream of it sir," she assured him. The combination of Cal's outburst and Anderson's previous remarks about SJS set Dredd's hackles up. The elevator arrived and the doors whooshed back to expose a stubbly Judge with sandy blond helmet hair and another, taller man, broader through the shoulders and still with his helmet on.
"Gibson," Dredd nodded at the Judge with his helmet on. "You here to report?"
"Already did on 289. Thought we might as well step on one headed up rather than wait. On the way back to Sector 8," Gibson replied. "You too?"
"Yeah," he nodded.
"We'll follow your lead then. This is Judge Jack, on loan from sector 56," Gibson gestured at the younger man without his helmet.
"An honor sir," Jack saluted. Dredd only motioned Anderson ahead of him. "Judge Slocum," Jack acknowledged SJS' right hand. Dredd pointedly put himself between Anderson and Slocum, practically smothering her between he and Gibson.
"Anderson," Gibson read the badge, cocking his head to one side. "You're Dredd's rookie. Its a real pleasure to the meet a Judge that lives up to his expectations."
"That might be a stretch sir," Anderson answered, craning her head back to look up at Gibson.
"Judge Cassandra Anderson of the 140th?" Jack asked and she twisted around to look at him.
"I'm on special assignment under Judge Ecks for now," she nodded. Jack whistled, arching tapering eyebrows over hazel eyes.
"Dinner says she rounds up more rioters than you Jack," Gibson challenged.
"Gambling's illegal," Dredd reminded them tersely.
"You still owe me dinner after this," Gibson rephrased. Jack smirked at Gibson before he looked over at Anderson.
"We'll show these old boys a thing or two," he told her as Dredd wondered what Jack would make of the Valley of Hearts. "I've been a Judge for about five years now. How long since your Assessment?"
"Seven months," Anderson replied.
"You still forget your helmet seven months out?" Jack asked.
"Sometimes I'm out of my mind," she gave him a wry smile as Dredd appreciated the humor. Slocum beside him actually smirked.
The elevator released them and the group of Judges made their way to the garage which was eerily empty. Dredd hadn't been sorry to obtain the choice parking but then there were no new bikes for either he or Anderson. The crew stopped and looked at the stripped, skeletal remains of the Lawmaster that Teks Radkov and Rosenberg had resurrected back in the Cursed Earth. Dredd simply swung on and Anderson settled behind him.
"That a new model from Tek?" Gibson asked with barely contained laughter, his Lawmaster revving in a throaty display of power.
"Custom made," Anderson answered. "We'll see you boys in Sector 8."
"We'll try to save you some action," Gibson nodded. Anderson's little hand settled on Dredd's shoulder and he juiced the throttle. Their bike whizzed past Gibson and took the lead, Slocum right behind them calmly as Gibson laughed and Jack brought up the rear.
Lightweight they pulled ahead of the others and Dredd's driving proved superior, weaving through traffic and hauling towards Sector 8. The closer they got the more traffic thinned. Around them looming buildings and towering blocks swept past, the twisting highways snaking over and around each other in complicated patterns like the arteries of a great beast. After the wide open spaces of the Cursed Earth it was comforting and claustrophobic to be back in his Mega City One. Behind him Anderson studied the view.
"What about Slocum?" Dredd asked when the barricade ahead manned by Judges appeared and he was forced to slow down. They were a good couple of miles ahead of the others.
"What about him?" Anderson prompted.
"You go back?"
"He was assigned to me once it got out what I was," she nodded.
"Judge Dredd," greeted the leader of the men assigned to the barricade. "Go on through. Most of it is centered around Kaku Block." Dredd eased past the barrier and took off again through streets absolutely still and strangely quiet. Dredd considered what he might say to Anderson as some part of him wanted to offer guidance. She didn't like Slocum or was it...fear?
They were silent as the sounds of the motor echoed off emptied streets in Sector 8, home to many of the wealthiest businessmen and politicians in Mega City One. Expansive, outrageously expensive boutiques lined the streets, their windows shattered and merchandise looted. It wasn't unheard of for a sector like this but usually riots happened in poorer places. This particular district of this particular sector should have been untouched. But then this was where robo servants like the George models would be considered affordable.
Oil slicks were the first indicators of the chaos. Dredd and Anderson both put their respirators on when they approached the riot gas rising like mist. Muted blats of gunfire sounded ahead, small fires sizzling on puddles of oil illuminating the way in ghoulish orange a touch reminiscent of the Tooth Collector's cavern. Anderson's only reaction was to remove her Lawgiver from its holster.
A parameter had been established outside Kaku Block, the base of the building splashed with sooty explosion marks and blown out windows, the glass glittering like angry embers in reflection of nearby fires. Dredd brought them to a stop as another Judge waved to them. He had a heavier duty respirator something akin to a gas mask that would allow him to speak where their smaller ones remained clenched between their teeth, effectively silencing them.
"Judge Dredd," this Judge, one Carter, called. "Sir, command is set up this way under Judge Hunt."
Hunt was not unknown to Dredd. They'd graduated the same year from the Academy and Hunt had distinguished himself as capable and risen to a Sector Chief in 8. They hadn't spoken in years but Dredd recognized him immediately despite all the gear. His willowy frame was elegant and he moved with the grace of a dancer, something that had earned him scorn until he'd effectively turned the brute strength of his bullies against them in a series of masterful defeats in self defense classes. Instructors still talked about Hunt's uncanny close combat skills reverently to their cadets.
"They've holed up in the building with hostages," Hunt informed Dredd in a soft spoken timbre when he turned to look up from the schematics laid across a damaged car. Around them were bits of robo-servants, some twitching and smoking, others warbling in demented loops as they short circuited on their stakes. Hunt passed them each a larger respirator.
"How do you feel about negotiating?" Dredd looked at Anderson once they'd switched the respirators and could talk again.
"I'll get you what you need," she nodded. Hunt looked between the pair of them before motioning at another Judge nearby. He took the radio handed to him.
"I have a negotiator here," Hunt informed whoever was listening on the other end.
"We told you we ain't got nothin' else to say!" crackled a snarling man. "No Judge is gettin' in here! We want you to clear out and give us space to go!"
"She's here to work that out for you and check on the hostages. In fact she's about the only thing keeping me from taking the risk on the hostages," Hunt answered. "And if you don't return her none of you will walk out of this alive. So, do you want to talk to her?"
There was silence for a long stretch.
"No Lawgiver," the reply came warily. "Fifteen minutes and she's back out."
Anderson removed her gun belt without so much as batting a lash as Hunt's jaw muscles worked. He watched her give it to Dredd.
"She'll be at your door in two minutes," he replied, his voice almost grating on his throat. Putting the radio receiver down he crossed his arms. "You sure about being unarmed?" he asked. Anderson nodded. Hunt glanced behind them at more approaching feet.
"Zippy little thing, whatever that bike was," Gibson remarked. "Hey Hunt."
"Judge Slocum," Hunt ignored Gibson in favor of the immensely powerful Judge standing behind them.
"I'll be fine," Anderson assured Hunt.
"Have you ever negotiated before? Outside the sims?"
Hunt did growl this time. His helmet turned towards Dredd once before he looked at Anderson again.
"Those men in there are part of a group recently that's cropped up calling themselves the Neon Knights. They're technophobes to an extreme. They started this over the new personality implants developed by Wex Corps. Fifty people died today because they were counted robot sympathizers. Don't underestimate them kid."
"I plan to go in and get their numbers, locations, and leaders," Anderson replied. "And once I have them you will have them."
"Anyone ever tell you a helmet was important?" Hunt asked, passing her a small ear piece.
"All the time," she smiled, discernible only as a slight easing of the skin around her eyes. She taped the little mike against her throat and then turned away on a heel. Taking a deep breath she stood poised to go as Hunt took the radio again.
"We're sending her in. Shoot her and you'll wish you were dead when I'm through with you," he informed the other end. Anderson gave it three seconds before striding out past the barriers, her boots splashing in oil and firelight gleaming on her hair through the riot gas. "Dredd, take your posse and meet up with the team working up into the building via the sewers. I want you in that building before her negotiation time is up," Hunt tapped a spot on a map next to the block schematics. "Tune to comm link 6.56-9."
Dredd only made his way back to his light bike, Gibson taking long strides to catch up.
"So we feel good about her ability to walk in there alone and unarmed?" his old Academy mate asked. Dredd nodded as his bike revved to life. Gibson pursed his lips. Scruffy Jack with his helmet on turned his bike around sharply.
When they arrived a few city blocks away at another knot of Judges and made their presence known they were hurried down a manhole and led through the sloshing, reeking sewers along slick steps and slime coated walls. They came upon a team of Judges cutting through the steel doors sealing off the chambers beneath the residential Kaku block just as the biggest of them, a hulk both wide and tall, set his shoulder against the cut metal and pushed. Dredd was about to throw his shoulder in too when the metal gave with a groan and then thumped free. The brute clapped dust from his hands and looked back.
"Judges," he nodded to them before he fixed on Slocum's distinctive helmet with its skull. "Didn't know SJS had an interest in this riot." His tone was neutral.
"Kadivar," Slocum replied simply.
"Change in plans boys. We all go in the southeast hatch." He seemed to glance at Dredd's badge. "Judge Dredd, if you'll take your team in the northeast we should have them on both sides." He pointed out the route on a map held out by a Judge beside him. Dredd glanced at the route, memorizing the way through the catacombs ahead.
"Fifty three Neon Knights," Anderson's voice came through low in Dredd's helmet, almost husky. At the sound of her voice Kadivar's shoulders pulled back a little and his helmet shifted to bore holes through Slocum. "231 hostages all in the local supermarket, northeast corner. Six gunmen are mixed in with the civilians, happy to escape with them or snipe any rescue depending on the tides. Eight men are openly in charge of the situation there. The rest have taken cover near the entrance. Far as I can tell there are three men keeping this together. One with the hostages, and two at the entrance. They wear cross rings on their right index fingers."
"Are you being sent out?" Hunt's voice came over the comm.
"Oh no, I'm inspecting hostages still," Anderson replied. "All in good standing barring a few wounds and maybe a concussion. Sit tight sweetie," Anderson intoned to someone on the other end. "I can buy you a full minute once the action starts, maybe another thirty seconds and then it'll go off like a pop gun in here."
"Give us two to get in place," Dredd replied via his glove comm.
"Sir," Anderson agreed.
"You three go with Kadivar's team to handle the men in the entrance. I'll assist Anderson with the hostages," Slocum instructed. He was technically a superior officer and refusing a direct order from him could lead to backlash but something didn't sit right with Dredd about this. Slocum was good for a fight as SJS had to be exceptional fighters to tackle crooked Judges but something was different.
"Too many gunmen to hostages," Dredd shook his head. The small skull on Slocum's helmet seemed to leer at him as the SJS officer turned to look at him. "Gibson, Jack, go with Kadivar. We'll meet up with you once hostages have been secured."
"How will she keep those men distracted?" Gibson asked curiously, before Slocum could make a reply.
"Move it," Kadivar and Dredd growled in unison. They both shared a split second of surprise at the other's snarled distraction tactic before seeming to immediately pick up the suspicion that the other knew what Anderson was. Both teams filed into the opening swiftly, Kadivar gesturing Dredd ahead of him before following with the grace of a wolf.
Moving swift and silent Dredd and Slocum split off from Kadivar, following the twists and turns along until they reached a service door in the northeast end of the building. Hurrying up the ladder Dredd eased the hatch open, peering around in a deserted maintenance room. Shouldering it open he pulled himself up and made for the door.
Time was slipping past them as the Slocum emerged. They opted for silencers in the event of trouble and passed through the hallways swiftly. Dredd took point and got them to an access terminal. Slocum covered the nearby doorways as Dredd scoured the information in the terminal. He found the supermarket Anderson had mentioned and navigated both of them towards it until they encountered a nervous guard standing watch in the hall, finger twitching near the trigger of an automatic weapon.
He was in a strange uniform, dressed in what looked like a traditional tabard from stories of knights, black with an almost painfully bright neon green cross running down the chest in a plain pattern. Strapped to his face was a mask bearing elements of a skull and what looked like patterns of circuitry and gears. A hood was pulled up over the back of his head and he shifted his weight repeatedly. Beyond him Dredd could see another guard in the hall outside the market.
"We're ready Kadivar. You?" Dredd asked.
"Ready here. Hunt?" Kadivar replied in the same soft burr over their communicators.
"Team ready to blaze through the front doors once you give us the word the hostages are safe Anderson," Hunt answered. Dredd watched the men in the hallway seem to suddenly still, their restless shifting coming to a halt as they stood in a mindless daze.
"Go," Anderson advised. Dredd and Slocum had set their Lawgivers to stun and dropped both men in the hallway. Slocum stopped and zip tied wrists together as Dredd moved on forward, dropping the mindless four guards as he entered the supermarket where they stood.
"Where are the others?" Dredd asked over the sound of Kadivar's voice distantly commanding the Knights surrender their weapons before the Judges applied lethal force. Anderson was crouched beside him as the ocean of gathered faces looked up at him nervously, the sounds of Slocum zip tying men seemingly overly loud.
Anderson lifted her head and six men stood up. They were all middle aged and healthy. Anderson's eyes narrowed and they all sort of mechanically drew pistols, removing the clips before they dropped them. People jerked back and away like ripples in water. Dredd dropped each one with a well placed shot and Slocum hurried forward to secure them as well. Stiffly Anderson got to her feet.
"Are you good for this?" Dredd asked, handing her back her Lawgiver and holster.
"Absolutely sir," she nodded, buckling it in place with practiced familiarity.
"You people barricade yourselves," Slocum instructed as he zip tied the last man. "These men don't get free. The Hall of Justice will return to collect them." Mute nods went around and the three Judges departed. "I'm looking forward to our conversation Anderson. You've improved quite significantly," Slocum informed her as they moved towards the sound of opening fire.
"Hostages free Judge Hunt," Anderson said into her microphone instead, Lawgiver in hand.
It was barely five minutes before the gun battle had finished with more Judges blowing through the barricaded doors, Hunt leading the assault. Anderson directed the clean up, tracking strays and Judge Jack did an admirable job in catching four of the ones she pointed out. When the dust settled and 46 of the 53 men were rounded up and packed into pat-wagons – the other 7 had been killed in the firefight – Dredd and his team went to report in to Hunt.
"Cas," Kadivar nodded at Anderson as they approached.
"Raj," Anderson nodded back.
"Good to have you back in the city." The giant Judge held out a fist to her and she bumped knuckles with him.
"What unit are you with again?" Hunt demanded.
"Right now I'm under special assignment with Judge Ecks sir," Anderson replied.
"Any chance of getting you into Sector 8 here? I'd take you on in a heartbeat kid. Whatever skills you've got we need 'em."
"Thank you sir but you'll have to take that up with Judge Ecks," Anderson shook her head, a smile in her voice.
"Ecks huh? He's got an eye for talent and doesn't share," Hunt folded his arms across his chest. "I'll have my eye on you Anderson. Ecks is my only real competition since Dredd'll never make Sector Chief with his aversion to paperwork. As for you Kadivar, not bad at all. Thought I was in a bind once Brock ate a bullet but you're a born leader."
"Thank you sir. Brock make it out okay?"
"Medics got him patched up. He'll be back up in a day or so though he'll be restricted to paperwork for a good week." Hunt replied. Slocum took a step away from the small gathering and murmured something into his glove comm. Dredd saw Kadivar's bear paw hand settle on his Lawgiver and the muscles in his jaw tighten. Between the helmet and the larger respirator nothing else was particularly visible. Anderson pulled her respirator free and wiped copious amounts of thick, dark blood away from her face, some of it peeling and flaking away. It made sense that stupefying fourteen minds at once was a strain on her but she seemed sound enough. When she'd wiped the respirator clean of excess blood she put it back in place and drew a breath deep enough to lift her narrow shoulders.
"We've still got to make our report Anderson," Dredd reminded her.
"Dredd, thank you," Hunt held out his hand and the two of them shook. "Just like old times."
"I always thought 8 was a soft assignment," Dredd remarked and Hunt snorted.
"Hardly. They hire out all the dirty work is all. More paper trails maybe, but they're as violent as anyone else. More money at stake," Hunt shook his head. "I'll have my eye on you Judge Anderson. You too Kadivar."
"Actually I'll be taking Judge Anderson back to SJS," Slocum stepped forward and laid a hand almost possessively on her shoulder. Kadivar curbed a visible impulse to snatch her away from him. "The orders were downloaded into your glove computer Dredd if you care to check." Dredd did so, not because he thought Slocum was lying but because he wanted to know exactly what they said. It was notification that SJS was investigating the recent activities outside the Wall and assessing the training Anderson had received to ensure nothing untoward had occurred outside MC1's jurisdiction.
"I'll get those reports in to you Judge Dredd," Anderson shirked Slocum's hand. "Raj, can you ask Colt to keep watering my plants and tell her I'm back in the city rather than still outside the Wall?"
"The quick tempered red head in the 140th?" Kadivar asked. Anderson nodded. "Done."
"It's been an honor sir," Anderson gave Dredd a salute, her dark eyes looking up at him. He saw in them she had a tight rein on her emotions, resignation showing through most clearly. There was no plea for help, no silent communication for him so he nodded instead and watched her walk away with perfectly squared shoulders and climb on behind Slocum. As they pulled away he saw Kadivar roll his shoulders and heard the joints in his neck crack as he tilted his head to either side.
"What's SJS want with her?" Hunt asked.
"Slocum's been trying to attach her to SJS since the Academy," Kadivar answered.
"Must be classmates," Hunt observed. Kadivar just nodded. "Well, we here in Sector 8 can handle cleanup. I'm sure the rest of the city's been having a field day. See you Dredd." Hunt excused himself to issue rapid fire orders to the Judges under his command.
"Neither of you like Slocum," Dredd told Kadivar. The big man stared at him for a long moment.
"No sir," he answered finally. "I don't like the way he looks at her."
"Why?" Dredd asked. He knew he didn't like something about the way Slocum looked at her but Kadivar could have ulterior motives. Kadivar sighed heavily.
"We look out for each other sir. Always have. And sure as I'm a man I know Slocum sees a woman, not a Judge and not a..." he broke off.
"Psychic," Dredd supplied with a succinct nod. "She ever say anything?"
"No," Kadivar shook his head. "And Slocum's not stupid. Far as I can tell he's never stepped out of line. But I don't like his eyes on her. Feels like its just a matter of time, sir."
Dredd stood still as he thought about this. There was nothing that could be done about a physical attraction and if Anderson didn't say anything herself about being uncomfortable there was no way for him to intervene. There again he got the feeling she had learned how to separate herself from the urges of others around her and was just dealing with something the same way Slocum should be. Judges were human. They felt things and there was nothing that could be done about that. It was acting on those feelings that was dangerous.
"If something changes you call me Kadivar," Dredd instructed. "I'll handle it."
"Thank you, sir," Kadivar nodded, relief evident in his voice.
"Gibson! Jack! We're going!" Dredd barked, his temper writhing in black veins of unrest.