I bit back the tail end of that rant and looked up the stairs to see who was chirping at me. Great, I said, as I saw the little Phremlin Inspector standing at the top of the stairs.
“As you should feel looking upon the majesty that is the Phremlin male. But that is neither here nor there as your behavior with those tourist was beyond embarrassing for both this station and the service!”
He kept on talking but there comes a time when it’s hard to listen to a two and a half foot tall frog admonish you: and that time is always. He was getting madder and madder as I lit up my cigar and started trying to remember if killing him was considered a punishable offense or if it was considered an acceptable practice that required two hours of paperwork. Back in the summer of ’26 the Phremlins had immigrated here from Delta Xenon Prime – illegally immigrated I should say. They came down in the rain and sprang up in every puddle, bath tub, and toilet on the East Coast. Two hundred and fifty six million of them in New York state alone. For the next seventeen years, as they matured, there was a mandatory hunt conducted after each rainfall to slow their re-population. At first people were afraid to eat them, but then some rednecks in Georgia started beer battering their legs and next thing you know they’re everyone’s favorite snack.
At some point it was discovered that they could talk and the Ovum Sect started trying to get them recognized as people. I think it was President Tonkawa who finally granted them personhood in the summer of ’47. Fat lot of good it did them too, as Tonkawa declared them hostile invaders and unleased the Planetary Defense Core on the little froggy bastards. Five years later and their numbers had dropped to what Tonkawa would call “unacceptably high” levels and the Phremlin King Nephrim sued for peace in the intergalactic courts. Who knew that the invaders could become the victim?
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Can I shoot the little bastard without having to fill out paper work?
“Officer Jones! Are you incapable of performing your duties? I have been talking to you for the last five minutes and you have ignored three direct orders! What is going on in that tiny, human brain of yours?”
I was trying to remember if I had to fill out paperwork for shooting you in the face.
That did it. He was gone before I could savor the look on his face and I could see a six week sensitivity training course in my future. Knew I should have shot the little bastard.
Things were not going well inside the station house.
In the last four hours three more attacks had occurred in Low Town and one up on Pilkington Ave. next to this little bistro my ex used to drag me to every Thursday. Estimates on the dead, and we could only go with estimates, had the number hovering around six thousand. The PDC had officially been tasked with finding the remaining members of the Orphius Circle and with the elimination of Man-one.
We were the first and only responders now as the police had been put into crowd control. Can’t say I envied them either as a city with twelve million panicked souls would be hell to control. Already there were reports of riots in half of Low Town and making their way north towards Hasidic Ave., it was going to be hell out there and we were about to jump into the middle of it.
I already had my body armor on and was getting my jump boots on when Lt. Garber sat down beside me. “Listen, John,” he said in such a serious way that it sent my heart up into my throat, “I need to see you in my office in five minutes. Bring your weapons.”
Right Lt., I said knowing full well that only one of two things would be happening in that office at this point in time. They were either going to take my weapons and imprison me for any one of the more than a dozen intergalactic and planetary laws I had broken over the last two weeks, or we were in bigger trouble than anyone realized – and we were going into the shit storm of the century right now.
I walked into the Lieutenant’s office and saw Commissar Stubbs sitting behind his desk. This couldn’t be good for me as the Commissar would only come down Earth side on those rare occasions when a deserter or a traitor were found so that he could personally oversee their interrogation. Lt., Commissar, I said in my most official manner as I tried to remember if I still had my insurance policy or if I had left it in my locker. What can I do for you gentlemen?
“We need you to retrieve something for us, son,” the Commissar said in a voice that vibrated the walls.