Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gods Playing Poker: A Bold Bluff

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: Sitting Up With a Sick Friend

East guides his GMM Camvette II around the corner, through a brushed chrome traffic director signaling in vain for him to stop - it line-faxes his driving demerit directly to MCEE HQ. He's doing well over 200 kilometers per hour in a 40 zone. He doesn't know where he's driving, just that he needs to drive.

He looks up and sees Sirius twinkling red and blue in the night sky. Oh.

"Call Normandy," he screams into his mo-comm.

"Normandy," the Captain answers, obviously before she checked her comm ID. "East?"

"I know where Silver's gone to. Where he was taken. Send everyone you've got to the hotel." East doesn't really know where his partner's gone, but he's got a pretty good idea.

"We're on it, East. Half of Scene Control is already there. We've been calling you for 15 minutes."

"What? Why?" Apparently, everyone's got a pretty good idea.

"Silver shot up the lobby. He's in the room. SWAT says he has hostages."

East hangs up. "Fuck."

***


***

The Camvette II pulls up to the hotel. It's completely surrounded. Scene Control already has the street in front of the building and access way in back locked down. Sentries and fire guards man positions carefully selected to block both freedom of movement and enable as complete a visual picture as possible. The SWAT van is parked at the corner of West Southern Avenue and Fortune Circle East. Velocicopters circle in tight formations with at least two directly overhead at any given time.

All that and the Feds, too. They're subdued - as Feds sometimes like to pretend to be - but East catches a glimpse Colm Baker's visage. Even for Silver's obvious mental state, this overwhelming police reaction seems like overkill. Then again, he was going to suggest such a reaction before Normandy informed him that the response was already underway. What can he do? Silver's not just East's partner, but his best friend.

East parks his Camvette II and runs to the command and control van, waving his PDP and badge in plain sight. He bolts into the open door.

"What is going on?" East's tone is more incredulity than surprise.

"Gotta department dick in a tenth floor room. At least two hostages." Commander Jameson "Jimmy-Jimmy" James doesn't look up.

"Yeah, that's my partner. Gary Silver."

Two-Jims looks up now. "You Steve East?"

"Yeah. Two hostages?"

"Sniper identified one as a missing department employee, Emily Hyra." James doesn't notice East's jaw hitting the floor. "The Feds think they've IDed the other. Some European rapist. Dario something." He doesn't notice the popping eyes, either.

"Ganganelli." East exhales the name.

"Yeah, that guy."

"You got Silver's jacket already?" East glances around. Doesn't see his partner's personnel file anywhere.

"No, not yet."

"Then how do you know who I am?"

"Silver's been asking for you." James-Jimmy hands East a phone-set.

East stares at it for a moment, a confused expression hiding a thought that's anything but confused. Maybe a little angry. East grabs the set and keys the receiver.

Silver's voice crackles to life. "Steve-o?"

"Yeah, Gary. It's me."

"Come on up here. Got something you need to see." It's an invitation. Open, welcome. Perhaps a tiny bit sinister.

East shoots a questioning glance at the commander.

"It's your call," the James' responds.

East hands the commander his sidearm, who snaps his fingers, signaling a techie to bring over a surveillance radio, but East declines.

"I hope you know what you're doing," Jim-James says.

"What difference would it make?" East mumbles.

***

The magnet lifts all deactivated, East winds his way up the stairwell, passing dozens of SWAT dogs and Hostage Rescue cats. East recognizes a few of the higher-ups - some were patrol officers with East back in the day. He's surprised to find Marquitez outside the door, but then realizes Marquitez is the only other officer here who's actually been in the room.

"Switch to non-lethal, boys," East commands, doing his best impersonation of confidence. "Might need to come rescue me and I'd rather not be perforated."

A few quiet laughs. Everyone knows this might go down poorly. Silver's one of the best. He knows the MCEE and its tactics well.

"You sure about this, East?" Marquitez looks worried, which should worry East. But the fact that Marquitez is even present makes East feel a little better.

East nods and pauses at the door. Knocks.

"Come on in, Steve. It's unlocked." Even though the voice is muffled, it sounds cheery.

East pushes the door open and steps in, taking care to let the alpha SWAT dog see into the room for as long as possible. The door snaps shut. East checks the perimeter. Empty, save for Silver's pet project. There's no one else in the room. Silver and East. Alone on a mission. Just like old times.

Silver's been busy rebuilding his gadget, which someone called a re-reflector. Where Silver picked up the engineering and design knowledge to do such a thing is beyond East. Then again, that might explain the Tinker Toys, Erector sets, and Build-O-Break-OsTM East found in Silver's trunk one day.

"What are you doing, Gary?"

Silver, leaning over one of his creation's support stands, tilts his head up and smiles. Broad. Beaming. "Fixing the door."

East, out of reflex, turns to check the door behind him. The way Silver spoke made East think of a booby trap. It takes a few seconds, but East gradually realizes what Silver actually meant.

East needs to bring Silver back to reality, and tries to change the subject. "Surveillance says there were two people in here with you."

Silver doesn't look up from his work on the re-reflector. "Maybe."

"Maybe?"

"They're here when they want to be." He turns his spanwrench another quarter-turn, satisfied at the support's stability, and heads into the kitchenette.

East continues to check out his surroundings. The door to the bedroom is cracked open, but the lights inside are off and East can't hear any movement. He sees Silver's short-round protruding from the belt-line in his trousers. Silver's definitely gone crazy. He'd never put a firearm in his pants.

"You going to tell me what's going on? What's that a door to?"

Silver laughs, then runs to the window and checks a couple of mirror mounts. He tools a lens, spinning its modifier until it changes from convex to concave, then spanwrenches another blocknut. East almost thinks Silver's oblivious to the company surrounding the building, but then Silver stops and peers out the window.

"Wow, dude. They send everybody?" He almost sounds like old Silver.

"Almost everybody." East almost sounds like new Silver. He's getting impatient. Worried.

"Tell them to go home." Silver sounds like new Silver again. He hopscotches across the floor into the kitchenette.

"What's that a door to, Gary?"

Pirating a gyro from a wall-maid, Silver sticks his head up. Another wicked grin. "Isn't it obvious, Steve? The other side."

***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: Post Mortem


The Complete Gods Playing Poker

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