Here's chapter three! I have a pretty good idea of where this story was going, but please continue to let me know of any ideas you guys have! I love incorporating them! Thanks and don't forget to review to keep the story going quickly and smoothly!
They continued up the stairs, checking through every room on every level to clear them of both enemies and un-evacuated employees. They found neither so far, and they were moving up to the seventh floor.
"Any thoughts on that plan, John?" Dorian asked after clearing the seventh level, "We're running out of floors." John grunted in response, and Soladat chose now to voice the idea she had thought of earlier.
"There's an air system that's interconnected throughout the building." She informed them, "On the twenty-third floor, there's an access door to the air system. If we could get up there, I could climb through the vents up to the twenty-fifth floor and access the situation." The detective looked less than pleased with her plan, but nodded nonetheless.
"Why you?" He asked, only sparing her a glance as they continued to move up.
"There air shaft is relatively small. If the blueprint's scale is accurate, which it is, both of you are too wide to fit. It will be difficult for even myself to fit with the police vest on." She told them. Dorian grinned, knowing by the slight scowl on John's face that he actually had agreed with her plan and thought it was absolutely horrible. The glare he had indicated that the detective knew she was probably right, even though he didn't like it.
"Alright, but I'm not keen on sending you in alone. Keep thinking. If it's the only thing we have when we get to the twenty-third floor, well, we'll deal with it then." John agreed as they scooped out the ninth floor, guns raised in case of enemies. Upon seeing nothing, he shouted 'Clear!' waiting for his two partners to do the same with the other rooms, before moving back to the staircase to continue to ascend.
Dorian's face lit up, blue cybernetic lines dancing around his face. Switching fern green eyes from Dorian to his new partner, Soladat, he saw the same lines lit up on her face, though red took place of Dorian's blue cybernetics.
"Hey, what's with the disco face? You got something to tell me?" He asked. He knew the light up lines meant they were going through data or some bullshit.
"Since the signals are now being jammed, every call being placed in this building is bouncing back to us because they can't get out." Dorian informed him as he looked through all the emergency calls that appeared in his vision.
"Answer the calls," John ordered, "We might get some information." The two half-human, half-synthetics nodded, and began to answer the calls. Dorian divided the calls between them somewhat evenly, taking the foreign language calls himself and giving Soladat the English ones, as he had learned she didn't have a multi-lingual chip installed in her vocabulary drive.
Dorian answered the foreign language calls, altering his voice to fit the profile he thought necessary for dealing with the panicking callers. After hearing a female voice spouting Portuguese from Dorian's mouth, John stopped in his tracks and looked at the DRN with confusion.
"What are you doing?" He asked, wondering why he decided it necessary to use a female voice.
"In Portuguese culture, it has been proven that people find a woman's voice more soothing in moments of crisis." Dorian stated.
Soladat ended the first call after repeated the procedures for nine-one-one phone calls that had been installed in her programming, informing the young man to move down to the second floor, that the police have arrived, and then picked up the next call.
"Hello?" A young woman's voice greeted her, the distress levels in her tone raging, "I-I'm trapped with the gunman." Hearing this, Soladat's hand shot out to rest on John's shoulder, stopping him. She touched his earphone, transmitting her call to his comm as Dorian tuned in.
"Please, help." She begged, sounding on the verge of tears.
"Everything's alright, just take a breath." Dorian told her, imitating John's voice, causing the man to look at him with disdain and a roll of his eyes.
"What is your name?" Dorian asked.
"It's Paige." She told him, taking shallow breaths and trying to calm herself.
"Hi, Paige. What can you tell me about the gunmen?" Dorian continued, still using John's voice in place of his own.
"I don't know. They have my sister, and others." She answered.
"Listen, Paige. I'm in the building." John spoke, taking over for Dorian, "I need to ask you a few questions, but first I need to know; are you safe? Are you out of harm's way?" He inquired.
"I think so. For now." Paige responded.
"Okay, listen to me." He demanded, "Where are you? What floor are you on?" He asked.
"I'm on the twenty-fifth floor." She answered, proving what they thought. They had seen the criminals exit the elevator on the twenty-fifth floor, but hadn't heard any absolutes, "I'm hiding in the utility closet." Loud screaming echoed through the comm, distant, but still clear enough for them to hear over the line.
"Paige, what's happening?" John asked, worried eyes looking at Dorian to see if he knew anything. Dorian simply shook his head, having no more information than John did.
"They shot him. Lou's dead." She cried, letting out a sob.
"Paige, can you hold up the phone so I can hear what's going on?" John requested. There was silence on the line for a moment, but the silence was soon filled by a man's voice. From what they heard, they assumed he was talking through the negotiation drone to Captain Maldonado. He told her there were enough hostages to end her career if they died, but the three didn't know exactly how many that could be. He ordered for her to have the snipers stand down, as well as demanding for a fusion igniter. Once his call with Maldonado ended, with her promising the get the igniter after asking the snipers to stand down, Paige's voice returned to the phone.
"Hello, are you there?" She called out, still crying.
"We're right here, Paige." John told her reassuringly.
"Is anyone coming?" She asked. The three had begun to ascend the stairs once more, still paying attention to the call.
"You just hold tight. We're gonna be with you real soon." He reassured her.
"Did you hear the phone call?" She asked.
"Yeah, I did. Thank you. Just hold on a second, I'll be right back." His hand went up to the comm line, muting it as he turned to face Dorian and Soladat once more.
"Is a fusion igniter as bad as I think it is?" He asked them, eyes flickering from bright blue to steel grey.
"It's a trigger mechanism for a large explosive device." Soladat responded.
"Megaton level." Dorian added, looking proudly at the woman. He knew that when John found out she was actually useful and not the abomination he thought she was, she would grow on him. John and he were much closer than they were upon their first meeting, just last week, and Soladat was closer to human than he was.
"Megaton?" John repeated, surprised. At Dorian's nod, he shook his head in disbelief, before returning the call, taking the mute off.
"Paige, you there?" He called. "Can you tell me how many hostages they've got up there?" He asked, hoping to get a more exact number on the situation. They didn't want to burst in and get any civilians killed.
"Twenty-five or so, at least in this room. It's hard for me to see." She answered.
"You're doing great, Paige. How's your sister?" He asked her. He was trying to keep the conversation going to help calm her down.
"It's all my fault. She wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me. She's visiting from out of town. She just stopped by to have lunch. And now she's all alone." Another sob sounded through the comm line.
"Paige, can you tell me how many gunman there are?" He asked.
"People keep coming and going. I don't know. Five… six at least, but there were more." She told him, taking another deep, shaky breath, "I'm sorry, I can't do this. I'm so scared." She cried. John looked… unsure, maybe? Soladat couldn't quite tell. Emotions and expressions were certainly not her strong suit. The worry was still there; she could tell by the light frown and furrowed eyebrows. She had a list pulled up from her connection, telling her what emotions fit what expression.
"Paige, you ever been ice fishing?" John asked randomly, causing Dorian to look at him confused.
"No." She responded.
"When I was eleven years old, my dad took me ice fishing. Lake McFarlane. I was coming back, and all of the sudden, the ice cracked and I went right under. I couldn't see, couldn't breathe… thought I was gonna die. Water was so cold; it was like thousands of needles stinging every part of my body. Then my dad jumped in, and he grabbed me and started dragging me back to shore." John began, keeping his voice steady at all times as a way to calm her.
"Are you trying to put her to sleep?" Dorian inquired, wondering why the detective was going on with the long, and seemingly random, story of his ice fishing experience.
"And even though we were still in a lot of danger," John continued, ignoring his partner and continuing up to the fourteenth floor, now, "I felt safe. I felt like everything was gonna be okay, because I wasn't alone. Paige, you're not alone. I'm with you." He told her comfortingly.
"Everything is gonna be okay." He assured. There was another moment of silence.
"You believe me?" He asked her.
"I do." She whispered in response, her crying now gone.
"Alright, good girl." He prided, "You just hang in there." Dorian smiled at this, though Soladat wasn't sure why he was smiling.
"You know, everyone trips on stairs, and it's calculated to occur every one in every two thousand, two hundred, and twenty-two occasions." Dorian stated.
"That's very interesting."
"You know what would be interesting, John?" He asked rhetorically.
"What?" John asked in response, his tone dead and unamused as though he knew what was coming.
"If you told me that ice fishing story again, that-" Dorian's playful teasing was interrupted by Soladat's hand clutching the back of John's police vest, pulling him back a foot, just in time to avoid the shots aimed at him. His surprise didn't last long, and he soon had his pistol pointed far up the stairs at the man in black that had shot at him. Dorian and Soladat had since done the same, pointing their guns and shooting. They missed, as did the shooter, who dashed through the door into the room on the fifteenth level.
The three were quick to follow, Soladat dashing up the stairs first, taking position by the door the man in black had just entered. Dorian was right behind her, John shortly behind him, though the human was breathing a little heavily.
"If you wanna get in shape, we can run the O-course every weekend." Dorian suggested.
"O-can we?" John responded sarcastically, taking spot just next to Dorian, who looked through the window of the door to try and see where the enemy was. With a nod to Soladat, she opened the door and walked in first, gun raised and ready to fire.
"Let's split up." John ordered once all three of them were in the room, the criminal nowhere in sight. Dorian and Soladat nodded in response, before moving in separate directions; Dorian breaking in to the right room, Soladat taking the left room, and John moving forward, into the front room.
He walked forth, scanning the room, pistol aimed. He saw the man rise from one of the desks, quickly shooting at him as he dashed to take cover in one of the office squares. The guy's shots went straight through the weak paper used to separate each of the cubes, forcing John onto the ground to avoid getting shot at. He stood out of cover when he heard the shots cease, rising and shooting at the enemy, before taking cover again. He continued to do this a few more times, each time he took cover he would shuffle to the left, trying to get closer to the enemy.
The rounds stopped for a while as the man searched for John, during which he pulled out his phone and enabling the emergency calls to be directed towards it, before pushing it down the hall he was in. He moved around the corner and got away from the phone as quickly as it could. It started to ring from the emergency calls in the building being directed towards it, and the enemy dashed out of cover and began to shoot towards where the phone rested, still ringing.
With the enemies cover blown, John stood from his own cover and began to fire the rounds at the man. He shot eight consecutive shots until the man fell down. Taking this time to reload, John did so quickly, before walking in the direction of the fallen body. When he arrived, the body was not to be seen, only a puddle of blood lay in its wake.
He followed the drips of blood on the ugly carpet, hearing gunshots from either Dorian or Soladat, possibly both.
"Dorian, you okay?" He asked through the comm, purposefully not directing his question towards Soladat.
"John, you need to get over here. We were both shot." Dorian informed him. With a frown, John quickened his pace and walked over to where Dorian had walked off. He found the DRN standing above Soladat, who was kneeling to observe something she found on the recently deceased body in front of her. She didn't appear to even care, let alone notice, the bullet that had lodged itself into her shoulder, just past the police vest. Blood was pouring out of the wound, seeping through the long sleeved, light grey shirt she wore under the vest.
Moving his eyes from the woman to the DRN, he saw that his partner had also been shot, though the bullet had pierced into his forehead. Dorian seemed fine at the moment, as it was nothing but metal plating and he couldn't feel pain like Soladat could. Dorian's eyes were trained on the object she was holding, his cyber tech lighting up and dancing blue, as her own red cyber tech danced around on her face, scanning the red circle she held in her hand.
"You okay?" He looked honestly concerned as he stared at the bullet lodged into the flesh of Soladat's shoulder.
"She's not feeling any pain due to the adrenaline, but that will end soon. She needs to get to a hospital, John." Dorian informed his partner, looking over to him in a silent way of asking him to get her out of here.
"No time." The blonde stated, "I can take the bullet out and wrap it up. I will see a professional when we are done." She told them, standing up from her kneeling position and handing the object she took from the body to John, who still looked a little concerned.
"Dorian, you took one to the head." He added, shooting his eyes towards the opened crack in the DRN's forehead, the synthetic skin split open by the bullet.
"Yeah, ricochet." Dorian responded, before nodding his head to the small object John now held in his hand.
"What is this?" John asked, looking at the small red circle. He could make out the word 'START' printed on it in white.
"Not sure. It says 'start'." Dorian stated, examining the object once again. His scans had shown up empty, as had Soladat's. The two of them continued to ponder the meaning while Soladat scanned the dead man to I.D him.
"Michael Demaris. A member of the Holy Reclamation Army." Soladat informed them once she I.D'd the body.
"So they're behind this." John grunted, looking over the dead man's body while Dorian continued to try and scan the red chip to find something.
Michael's face flashed, like a data error, bringing all eyes onto his glitching face. Dorian squinted his eyes, before moving his hand to the man's jacket, pulling the zipper down and revealing a small mechanical device.
"It's a face maker." Dorian announced, recognizing the item the man wore. With the press of the button, the black man turned into a white man, the real man behind the face.
"So who's this guy?" John asked as Soldat did another facial recognition scan.
"Gregor Stone. A few priors for armed robbery." She announced.
"Why would they impersonate members of a radical organization?" John wondered, eyes flicking over to Dorian, whose head was sparking with electricity.
"What's wrong?" He asked, now taking full notice of the damage done to the DRN.
"My dynamic voltage scaling has been damaged by the bullet." Dorian told him, causing the human to only stare in confusion.
"You wanna say that a little less complicated?" He requested.
"I won't be able to walk in five minutes." Dorian answered. Another spark lit through his forehead, casing into the hole. He was already starting to black out. He managed to lean against one of the walls of the office cubes, lowering himself to sit down as he tried to concentrate on not blacking out.
"Soladat, I need your help." He requested, turning to look over at the woman, John doing the same. Their eyes widened when they saw the blonde laying on the ground, eyes closed and blood spilling onto the floor. John was quick to pull her over to the wall, resting her in a sitting position. He gently slapped her face, trying to wake her so she didn't fall into a coma or something. He knew it was unlikely to fall into a coma purely from that amount of blood loss, but she could also have a concussion. Luckily, the tap of his calloused hand against her cheek managed to wake her, her eyes fluttering open to see his face.
Her hand moved to her wound, wincing upon touching it. She looked at the blood that stained her fingers after pulling away; she was bleeding profusely.
"Not sure how much help she'll be." John grunted, not even bothering to ask if she needed or wanted his help before pushing his fingers into the open wound, making her gasp in pain. He clasped the bullet between his index finger and thumb, and pulled out, more blood pouring out as the bullet was freed. He grabbed the sleeve of her shirt with bloodied hands, and pulled on it with force, tearing the sleeve off of the shirt. She didn't seem to mind.
He held her now bare arm up and pulled the ripped off sleeve to her underarm, wrapping it over the wound and under her arm until he ran out of fabric from the sleeve, before tying it tightly. It wasn't professional, and she probably needed stitches, but it would do for now. Now it was Dorian's turn for his help.
He rummaged through the drawers of every desk in every cube, pulling out whatever he thought necessary. He managed to get his hands on a pair of nail clippers, a q-tip he fished out of the trash, and an energy drink.
"Based on the frequency at which these transmit, I detect seven face-makers within the building. If they hide their identities… why not just wear a mask? Why pretend to be someone else?" Dorian wondered, looking over the face-maker in his hand.
"That's a good question." John noted, walking back over to him. He handed the energy drink to Soladat, opening the top and demanding she drink up. She did as she was told, and threw back the energy drink while he focused on Dorian.
"Alright, let's try and fix you." He sighed, before looking into the swirl of purple inside Dorian's head, clippers and dirty q-tip in hand.
"How's it look?" Dorian asked, concerned.
"Yeah, it's uh… totally fine. You can hardly see it." John lied. Soladat sensed the lie through his vitals, and turned to look at him, about to call him out on his lie.
'Don't.' The voice commanded, and as quickly as her mouth opened, it closed. She looked at her lap for a moment, contemplating something, before returning to chugging down the drink John had given her.
"So what do I do?" John asked, looking for instruction from the DRN.
"Alright, there's a magenta colored tendon. I need you to cut it." Dorian instructed, looking nervous. John nodded, and moved the q-tip and clippers to the exposed wiring.
"Is that thing clean?" Dorian asked, seeing the q-tip out of the corner of his eye.
"Of course it is." John lied, rolling his eyes before turning back to the wiring, looking for the magenta tendon Dorian needed him to cut. He touched what he thought was the magenta tendon, sending a wave of electricity through the q-tip to his hand, causing him to pull away with a harsh 'ow!'.
"I said magenta." Dorian scolded, glaring at his partner.
"That was magenta." John defended.
"That was not magenta, that was lavender." Dorian argued, looking thoroughly frustrated with John. He wanted Soladat to do it because she could actually tell magenta from lavender.
"There's fifty shades of purple in there!" John accused snarkily.
"I'm telling you, that was the lavender one." Dorian explained. John sighed, then moved the clippers towards the purple tendons.
"Okay, no, no." Dorian pulled away once he saw the nail clippers.
"What?" John asked, exasperated, wondering why this was taking so long.
"That's not going inside my head." Dorian stated defiantly, glaring at John.
"Trust me." John responded, already moving the q-tip and clippers back to his head.
"If Rudy were here, you would have a really big issue right now." Dorian complained, sucking in a breath and deciding to just deal with it, that they didn't really have any other options.
"It could always be worse, you're gonna be fine." John argued, the clippers latching onto one of the tendons but not yet cutting it. Before he could do anything, Dorian went blank, his lights fading as he fell into what appeared to be sleep.
"Dorian?" John called out, waiting to see if the DRN responded before turning back to Soladat, who stared at him with hazed grey eyes, clearly still in pain.
"Cut the magenta wire." She told him, repeating what Dorian said earlier.
"John, are you there?" Paige's voice returned to the comm.
"I can hear you, Paige." John affirmed, still looking through Dorian's head to find the right tendon.
"They've moved. They keep going to a window. They're doing something." She whispered.
"What are they doing?" John asked, pausing in his search for the magenta tendon.
"I don't know… My sister, she's crying." Paige whined, "One of the guards, he keeps looking at her."
"Look, I promise I'll get to you soon, Paige." John told her, returning to Dorian's 'fifty shades of purple', as he had called them earlier.
"What's your sister's name?" He asked, keeping the conversation to calm the woman on the other side of the line.
"Jenna." Paige responded.
"Jenna?" John prompted.
"Her middle name's Gertrude." Paige added with a light chuckle.
"Ooh, that's rough." John sympathized, eliciting another chuckle from the crying woman.
"What's yours?" Paige inquired, wondering what his middle name was.
"Oh no. No, no. We're not doing that." John replied, refusing to give up his middle name. After cutting the wire in Dorian's head, the magenta one, he was sure, he looked around for something to seal it with. Finding only a piece of chewed gum in the nearby trashcan, he grimaced, before putting the piece of gum in his mouth and chewing, getting the pink substance sticky once more.
Soladat watched him with observing eyes as he did so, watching his every move.
"Please?" Paige begged.
"Alright," John agreed, disgruntled, "But you better not tell anyone, okay? Police orders." He joked, though he didn't really sound like he was joking. He pulled out the piece of gum from his mouth, looking at it disturbed, before moving it towards Dorian's forehead.
"It's Reginald." He complied, answering her. He was sure to send a glare Soladat's way, but she only responded with blank grey eyes, before taking another chug of the energy drink.
"My dad was a big Elton John fan." He added.
"Who?" Paige asked, not knowing who the old singer was.
"Elton John. He's an old time singer. Apparently his real name was Reginald." He explained, pressing the gum into the hole in Dorian's head, gently piecing the synthesized skin on top of the gum. As soon as the skin was mostly back in place, Dorian was startled awake, gasping like he had been suffocated.
"You okay?" John asked him, pulling away from the poorly sealed crack on his forehead. Dorian reached up to touch the affected area, pulling away when he felt the sticky and wet substance of the bubble gum.
"Gross." He mentioned, looking at the fingers that touched the gum to see if any of the substance had stuck to his fingers, "But good." He added, indicating that he was fine.
"Something's happening." Paige spoke, worry returning to her tone, "One of the men, he's hurt." She informed them.
"John, they know you're in the building. They sent a couple of guys that had guns to guard the stairs." She told them. Hearing this, Dorian and John were quick to stand on their feet, Soladat quickly downing the rest of the drink before she struggled to get up. Dorian grabbed her uninjured arm to help her stand, but let go once he was sure she wasn't going to fall down. After throwing the empty bottle into the trash, the three set off, heading back to the stairwell.
"Even if you do get up here, how are you going to get in?" Paige asked.
"Trust me, Paige, we'll find a way to get to you." John assured her, raising his gun once more as they began to ascend the stairs again.
"John, I'm going out there." Paige declared, "I can't leave Jenna alone."
"Paige, that's a bad idea." John warned.
"I have to." She whined, another sob sounding through the comm.
"We're a few floors away." John told her.
"She needs me… I need her. If we're gonna die, I wanna be with her. She's my sister." She cried, "Now's my only chance to blend in without anyone seeing."
"Paige, just stay where you are." He ordered.
"I'll leave my phone on. You'll be able to hear what's going on." She decided.
"Paige, it's too risky. Listen to me, just stay put." He warned again.
"I have to. I have to." She repeated.
"Paige, please just listen to me." John commanded, but only silence followed, "Paige, Paige?" He called. She didn't answer, and they all knew she had left her only cover. With more of a motive, they rushed up the stairs.
At the nineteenth floor, they began to scope the rooms once more, searching for the enemies the leader had stationed. Thanks to Paige, they could hear the conversation going on with the assailants on the twenty-fifth floor. The last thing they heard was the leader telling one of his band to tell the other crew to start up.
"What other crew?" John wondered as they looked through the nineteenth floor.
"Maybe there are more of them in the building." Dorian suggested.
"Maybe they're outside the building." John mentioned.
"With the jammers still on, if they had people outside, they wouldn't be able to talk to each other." Dorian noted, "Unless they were talking some other way." He seemed to realize something, John and Soladat hitting the same conclusion as John pulled the circular chip from earlier out of his pocket. He handed it to Dorian, who took it and walked over to the window. He set out a ray of light from his eye to hit the circular object, which then projected the word 'START' outside the building.
"They must be using it as some sort of point-to-point communication with someone in proximity of the building." Dorian mentioned.
"Paige said the man in charge kept going to window." John added, wrapping up their theory. With this now in mind, they began to move once more.
"We're not taking it anyway. It doesn't matter." The leader's voice from earlier speaks, talking about the fusion igniter.
"He doesn't want the tech, that doesn't make sense." John stated, confused, "Why take hostages and negotiate for tech you don't want?" He wondered.
"Maybe it's a diversion." Soladat suggested, speaking up for the first time since Dorian blacked out. Her arm still hurt, but she refused to let her face show the pain.
"Yeah, but for what?" John wondered, turning to the window to look at the buildings.
"Are there any targets of value in any of the adjacent buildings?" He asked. Both Dorian and Soladat began to scan over each of the buildings in view of the window.
"The only target of any value is a precious metal waste station specializing in palladium." Dorian informed him after the scan completes. Soladat nodded her head in confirmation.
"It's a heist." John realized, "Palladium. That would make all this worthwhile." He adds. Before they can expand anymore on this, they all hear a familiar taunting beeping noise.
"What's the beeping?" John asked, hoping Soladat or Dorian would be able to recognize where the sound came from.
"John, they've activated a light bomb." Dorian told him, his wide blue eyes showing his concern.
"They're planning on killing the hostages." Soladat notes. John's on the move before they can say anything else.
"What are you doing?" Dorian asked, following shortly behind the detective.
"We're sticking to the plan. We're going up." He informed his partners.
"John, they know we're here. They're expecting us to come up the stairs. We won't make it to the twenty-fifth floor alive." Dorian warned him, Soladat nodding once again in confirmation and agreement. John stopped in his tracks and turned to look at the two with demanding eyes.
"You heard him. We have no choice." John stated, glaring at the two of them.
"I don't have a choice." Dorian informed him. Without a word, he walked over to the elevator, pulling it open with his hands and looking at the long line in the middle of the empty shaft.
"People's lives are in jeopardy." Dorian reminded John, who protested his actions.
"Dorian, you've been shot. You're head's full of bubble gum, you can't do this alone." John snapped. Dorian turned to look at him, frowning but determined.
"I have to." He told him.
"Then I'm coming with you." John demanded, refusing to back down.
"You can't." Dorian shook his head, "I'm designed to this, John." He mentioned, before jumping off the edge, latching onto the cables with his hands, his feet dangling below him. John and Soladat watched as he climbed up.
"Come on, with me." John demanded, tugging on Soladat's arm with a plan in his head. She followed him without a second thought, running down to the floor they shot Gregor Stone at. He never filled her in on his plan, but she supposed it was an improvement that he even bothered to consider her apart of it.
He had her help him remove the man's clothes, a task she did without hesitation. John dressed himself in the dead man's clothes, pulling them atop of his own, including the police vest, before picking up the face-changer Dorian had left there, and attaching it to himself. It didn't take much thought for Soladat to realize what his plan was.
Now taking the form of Michael Demaris, he ordered her to remove her own police vest, and she did so, concealing her pistol by tucking into her pants, hiding the rest under her shirt. They ran back up the stairs until they returned to the nineteenth floor, where he grabbed her in a threatening and secure lock without a word, gun pointed at her back. She didn't need any instructions, nor did he bother to give her any.
The assailants that must have been guarding the stairs were gone, signaling that Dorian had made his move and called all the enemies within proximity to him. John walked as Michael, who was really a disguise for Gregor, holding a gun to Soladat's back.
"Nice of you to show up, Gregor." One of the men greeted him, taking notice of the hostage in his arms who struggled weakly against him. The leader, his foot on Dorian's wrist with his pistol pointed at his head, observed Soladat, taking notice of the wound on her shoulder. He turned to face the man leaning against the wall, injured; the man John had shot earlier.
"Is she the one that shot you?" The leader asked the injured man, who shook his head.
"Put her over there." The leader demanded, motioning his head to the other hostages who were cowering with their backs to the walls, watching the incident with wide eyes. John only grinned, removing the gun from Soladat's back and pulling at the face-changing, revealing his real face. He pointed the gun he stole from Gregor's body at the leader, and fired the rounds.
Soladat, now released from John's death grip, pulled out her own pistol and shot the other assailants, quickly finishing them off as Dorian crawled over to the bomb. Once they were all on the ground, John bent down to the leader and pulled off his face-changer, also taking the phone the hostage drone sent. He quickly called the Captain.
"Maldonado," John called out in distress.
"John?" Captain Maldonado greeted in surprise.
"The hostages are secure. The whole thing is a palladium heist. Shut it off, now! They got us to block the alarm system. Turn the jammer off!" He informed her of what they learned, commanding her to turn the alarm and communications jammer off. She did as he demanded, telling Detective Paul to shut the jammer down immediately.
Dorian pulled out the light bomb, preventing it from exploding. John let out a sigh of relief, before turning around to find Soladat. He found her hunched back against the wall, clutching her wounded shoulder with a hiss. She couldn't stop the pain from showing on her face now. He walked over to her, pulling her uninjured arm over his neck to help her walk back towards the staircase, while Dorian stayed with the hostages until the rest of the police force arrived.
"Thanks for…" John trailed off as they walked down the stairs. He was practically carrying her, she was using almost none of her own strength- mostly because she lost it due to the blood loss. She looked at him with the same blank eyes, the ones he just couldn't read. Didn't even know if there was anything to read. Seeing how she wasn't going to put the pieces together and he really just needed to get out and say it, he did.
"Thanks for saving me from those bullets earlier. And going along with my plan, even though I didn't let you in on it." He finished, looking away from the blank grey eyes.
"I am to follow your orders." She told him, her voice much softer than it had been since they first woke her up. He didn't know if that was because he thanked her, or the fact that she was beginning to fall into unconsciousness. Either way, it was much nicer than the stoic tone she had been using the last few hours.
He walked her down all twenty-five flights of stairs, continuing to hold the majority of her weight as they made their way to the closest ambulance. A paramedic was quick to come get her, asking her to sit on the edge of the truck as he examined the wound. Though she didn't speak, John stayed with her the entire time the paramedic was checking over her, patching the bullet wound up with six stitches and some gauze, throwing the blood-soiled shirt sleeve into the waste basket.
Dorian showed up not long after the paramedic had given her some pain medication, checking in to see if she was alright. Seeing the woman about to fall asleep, Dorian helped her into the police cruiser, laying her down in the backseat just before she drifted off. John had gone to find Paige, and he needed to find Rudy to patch the bubble gum covered mess up. He watched Paige hug John, thanking him, while Rudy checked over the damage.
They took the cruiser back to the station to sign out, Soladat sleeping peacefully in the back, though she woke up as soon as the car stopped and she got out with them. When they entered the building, they were all greeted with applause for a job well done. Though Soladat was still drowsy when Captain Maldonado came up to them with info on the perps, she managed to catch a few bits. The perps had been linked to four high-value robberies in the last two years, and it was elaborate for a bunch of thieves.
"Just for the record, I did tell you to get out of the building, right." The Captain reminded him.
"I swear, all I heard was static!" John lied. Maldonado turned to look at Soladat, asking her if what he was saying was true. John frowned, knowing that the half-human, half-synthetic woman would call him on it. He was surprised at the words that next came out of her mouth.
"There was interference, and the comm was glitching. There was nothing but static." Soladat confirmed, surprising the hell out of the detective. The suspicion dropped from the Captain's eyes, and with a nod, she walked away. John looked at his new partner just in time to see the tiny uplift of her lips, before it disappeared into a straight line again.
"Oi!" Rudy called, marching over to John, "I've got a bone to pick with you, detective. Chewing gum, really?" He asked accusatory.
"Would you fix a race car with chewing gum?" Rudy asked, hands on hips in displeasure.
"Uh, yeah. If it was busted and I needed to win a race." John replied snarkily. Rudy stood there, clearly unamused.
"He'll need extensive diagnostics." Rudy informed the detective, pointing to Dorian. John just waved his hand dismissively.
"That can wait. Come on you two," He lightly tapped Dorian on the shoulder, "Let's go get some noodles." He chimed, already heading out.
"You are aware that I don't eat?" Dorian inquired, looking curiously towards his partner that wasn't practically sleeping on his feet.
"Perfect!" John announced, "I'm buying. Let's roll." He said with a grin, Soladat following lazily after him, the painkillers given to her making her incredibly sleepy. The three got back in the cruiser, Soladat taking this time for a nap she desperately needed. Enhanced senses and stamina or no, that paramedic gave her enough pain meds to kill a horse.
Dorian and John's voices were soothing to her as she slept, catching some quip about a coffee warmer, as well as a mention of John's ice fishing story. She was fast asleep by the time 'Bennie and the Jets' by Elton John came on.
She woke up and went into some noodle diner with John and Dorian, even managed to eat a bowl of chicken ramen without her face falling in. She thanked John for offering to pay for her meal, before pulling out a ten and handing it to him, already out the door before he could insist, which he didn't. She sat in the back seat, eyes closed as Dorian and John returned the vehicle. Before John could ask where he was to drop her off, she was fast asleep.
"So… where am I taking her?" John asked Dorian as he began to drive, wondering where the woman lived. Since she was technically human and not considered police property, as Dorian was, she could have her own place. Dorian's cybernetics lit up and starting dancing again as he scanned her files for her place of residence.
"Embrace Eternity apartments. It's a block away from Templar's Bar, right off Willow Street." Dorian replied. John nodded at this information; he knew where Templar's Bar was, and headed in that direction, Soladat still sound asleep behind them as Elton John continued to play.
"So…?" Dorian asked, looking at John expectantly. The man cast him a confused glance.
"'So' what?" He asked, not understanding what the DRN was asking of him.
"Come on, man. I know you hated her at first, but what about now?" Dorian asked, looking over his shoulder to the sleeping woman, spotting the slightest trail of drool falling from her mouth onto the leather seat.
"Dorian…" John spoke exasperated, rolling his eyes when Dorian nudged him with another "Come on,"
"Fine. My first impression of her was pretty much the same as it was of you." He began, scoffing at the grin Dorian gave him, urging him to continue.
"But she's not as bad as I thought. She is human, just… lost, I guess." He admitted, rolling his eyes once more at Dorian's accomplished laugh. His eyes darted to the rearview mirror, seeing Soladat sound asleep.
"Alright, what now?" John asked Dorian once they arrived at Embrace Eternity apartments.
"I'll help her in. Just wait for me, I'll only be a minute." Dorian responded, hoping out of the car and opening the door to the back seat. He gently nudged Soladat awake, helping her out of the car. Seeing that she wasn't going to lift any of her own weight, Dorian hefted her over his shoulder, before walking towards the apartment, leaving John to wait for him.
He caught the elevator up to the tenth floor, the woman still slung over his shoulder. When the elevator dinged, he hopped out and made way to her apartment, 10B. Soladat had reached into her back pocket, pulling out the key to the old fashioned lock, tossing it over his shoulder. He caught it in midair, and went to unlocking the door.
Once it was unlocked, he opened it and walked inside, closing the door gently behind him. It was a nice apartment, though he hadn't seen too many in person to be a very good judge. It was very empty, though. Not that he had expected pictures, since she didn't have a past she could remember, but was a little surprised at the lack of character. The walls were all stark white, the floor was oak wood, and the countertops were black marble. It was all very plain.
"Bedroom?" He asked, wondering where to set her down.
"End of the hall." She muttered sleepily, her head resting against his shoulder blade as he carried her down the hall, opening the door at the very end, walking into her bedroom. Just as the rest of the apartment, it was very plain. Same floor, same walls. A metal dresser was placed on the right wall. A large, plush bed on the far wall, accompanied by a metal nightstand on each side, both with a black-shaded lamp resting upon it.
He moved over to the bed, pulling the sheets down and laying her in it, pulling the sheets back up once her head was on the pillow. He turned the light out and left the apartment, locking the door behind him. He hurried back down to the entrance to meet back up with John.
"She alright?" John asked as soon as he stepped into the vehicle. Dorian nodded with a smile.
And there we have it! The relationships between John, Dorian, and Soladat will progress somewhat slowly throughout the next chapters. Pretty long chapter, though. Compared to the others, anyway.
The easter eggs here weren't too subtle, but here they are:
Templar's Bar: Templar referring to one of two things- Templars from Assassin's creed or Templars from Dragon Age. Both are considered 'bad'
Embrace Eternity Apartments: Embrace Eternity is a phrase used in the Mass Effect games, mostly used by the Asari race.
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