As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception. I swear to protect the weak against oppression or intimidation, the peaceful against violence and disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.
I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.
I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously, without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession…
Samed stared into the bottom of the plastic cup. The remains of his coffee were cold and viscous like bog peat. The memory of his graduation played back in his head. It seemed like a ludicrous braindance, a cheesy flick that you could swear was a box office hit, but really never got past the producer’s desk. He glanced out the window as a carful of freaks barreled down the street, knocking down cans and mailboxes. The sleepy-eyed waitresses hissed to themselves, turning up the crooning chromer on the radio.
He wondered where the cops went wrong when building this massive institution. The gangs ruled the streets, and they were just there to pick up the corpses, dropping by Dunkin’s on the ride home.
Was corp-sec really better than this half-assed clean up job they were doing? He tried his hand at the CBD security for a while once. Had to transfer for pulling a knife on an acknowledged perp. Slid it right through the fabric of the perp's shirt, gliding the flat of the blade along the base of his neck, and pinned him to a warped and bubbled expanse of vinyl siding on the wall of the house that the perp was trying to break into. Thought it was a pretty righteous bust. But they fired him anyway because the perp turned out to be the son of some vice-chairman of a nameless subsidiary. Oh, the weasels had an excuse: said that the dagger was not on their Weapons Protocol. Said that he had violated the SPAC, the Suspected Perpetrator Apprehension Code. Said that the perp had suffered psychological trauma. He was afraid of butter knives now; he had to spread his jelly with the back of a teaspoon.
Long fingers looping up to his wrist, he found his pulse and pressed a sensor, the biomon lazily shifting under his skin and sculpting symbols. He thumbed them over like braille. 早上五点. He had no idea if this time could be called late or early. Tuning in to the police frequency, it was a lively buzz of murders, rapes and robberies, thefts and pursuits. 321, 21, 49... Numbers rattling off like gunfire, the avenues and streets reported flaring up like symptoms of a malignant tumor.
The whole night the service cars were there, speeding through the roads, following the braided filaments as they all fed into one superhighway crazier than the Ho Chi Minh trail. He didn’t even want to get started about the Combat Zone. Last days its’ inhabitants were rowdier than ever - practically tearing themselves apart, starting a gunfight bitchin’ even by Night City’s standards. Cops on the ground were calling at first calling in birds, then they called a dozen meatwagons to pick up the cold ones. In the Morgue he knew they’d run them through the registry, celebrating as a dozen wanted criminals were deleted from the database.
Nights like these were either like birthday parties or nightmares. Fellows from the office were always happy to juke the stats, but they needed to maintain a careful balance between saying “See? We can handle it.” and then tearing their hair out in tufts when crime spilled over where it shouldn’t. Bureaucrats always want to blow problems out of proportion to get more funding whilst still looking competent enough to deserve it. Samed knew all too well that when the paper-colossus fails to walk that tight-strung rope, it falls and everyone follows. Maybe that’s why they’re calling me in.
He thought with a scowl.
Samed pulled on his coat, flinging the coffee cup in the bin and missing by an inch or two. “Sorry.” He patted the janitor bot on its’ tinplate visor and walked out onto the street.
His Loafer stood parked on the curb, a myriad of scratches and nicks on the bumper and sides for him to see. Fucking punks.
He closed the door and gripped the wheel. The beat sedan peeled out along the street as he took little-known shortcuts, the car’s trackfinding processors guiding him toward the epicentre of schizoidia.
The meatwagons were lined up in a crescent, folks from the Trauma Team milling about and inspecting the mangled up stiffs strewn around like broken toys. A few weren’t even covered with blankets, just circled off and surrounded by strange dudes in black and white suits. He flashed his badge and stepped over the perimeter, joining another detective as they squatted near a fried poser.
“What’s up, Mike?” He shook the thin Laotian’s hand, bending down to take a look.
“Just admiring some good handiwork.”
His sensors zoomed in on the tattoos to try and discern their gang affiliation. It was a punched through haze of flesh and gore. He gave up quick, lest he wanted to lose his lunch.
“You’re not too thorough,” Mikey quipped, adding; “Boss wants to see you.”
Sam grimaced, throwing a glance over in the direction of the elongated, tipi-like portable strongholds. Admins and detectives on site would sometimes bunker down in these things to keep watch over crime scenes and have shelter from outside threats and hazards. A bizzare technological result of Big Pharma’s arrival in Central China’s cancer-infested industrial towns. The genius engineer who created this thing surely didn’t expect to be sponsored by the napthalene-soaked halls of pharmaceutical deities, but the invention gradually began to be used in a wider range of spheres. Police security protocols, for example. Sam dipped his head and went on in, not knowing what to expect.
If he ever was a beat cop, Frank Magnussen sure seemed like a shriveled up corpo more than anything. The man was shorter than Samed, yet stocky and wide in the shoulders. The Chief Superintendent kept a leveled gaze, cold eyes embedded with retinal upgrades tracking the smallest movement of facial muscle. Two gorillas fitted with pitch black arachnofiber weave stood by close, though Sam wasn’t sure why Frank needed them present for this sort of meet-up.
"So, you’ve seen the mess." Sam’s analyzer picked up on the fatigue in his chief’s tone.
"Yeah. You won’t be able to hold the media at bay much longer."
"Rub some more salt on my wound, would you? I called you here for a different reason." Frank lit a synthetic Bhutanese cigar. "Management needs us to look into a serious matter. You’re relatively off-the-radar, so I figured you could get a part in this."
One of the superintendent’s goons passed him an e-file. Plugging in for neural processing, the data was brief and precise. He diverted his attention away from it. Perhaps he didn’t feel at ease reading it right there and then. Perhaps he didn’t like what he saw.Sgt. Richard Evans Morse, assistant deputy to the NCPD Armory, was last seen leaving the workplace on Thursday 5:23 PM. Approximately half an hour later his biomon went dark.
"What’s the catch with him?"
"Man’s in hot water with the department. No one’s seen him since the the start of the inquiry over his ties with the gangs.”
“You mean he bailed after you caught him red-handed. Why wasn’t there a tail?”
“There was. That’s what we’re asking you for. Either he skipped, or someone made sure he disappeared. We need you to make sense of this.” Frank’s gaze was unnerving.
This was a surreal request that Sam had not expected. He had a half-genuine hope that this was his chance. A big case. Yet he bore no illusions about the nature of Magnussen’s occupation - he was not a man particularly vested in doing real police work.
“I’d need a team. Zimin from the Weapons Division and Mike from Homicide.”
Frank made a stern face. “If you can vouch for them. We want this thing to be solved with a hush.” He puffed on the cigar as Sam turned to leave - “Don’t fuck up.”
He grimaced, finding the slim Laotian at a small ramen stand by the corner. The latter greedily sucked in the noodles, grinning as he saw Sam approach.
“What’s he say?” Mike asked, his tired eyes still twinkling with mischief even after a night of looking at corpses.
“That you’re a big pussy. Also you’re working with me now. You and Velimir.”
“Zimin? Not that freak. What are we up to?”
“He’s a good guy, give him a break." Sam frowned, continuing in a lazy tone, "I’ll need you to carve out the visual cortex off each dead punk’s neural processor from the scene. Bring it to the docs and try and make a picture out of it. Who these guys ran with, what started off the fight. Some of them must have survived and can spill more info. We just need to find and pinch them.”
“Aight. Love this necrophiliac business.” Mike sighed, beginning to dial up the morgue. His bald head glistened with sweat, vein-like cables connecting various compartments with elaborate, Singapore-made wiring.
Man loved his cyberware, and Sam couldn’t fault him for it.
“Good for you, Mikey. Hit me up when you find something interesting.”
The Turk patted him on the shoulder, shoving his hands in his pockets and briskly walking to his Loafer. He knew a case like this would have leads. Way too many to keep track of and sufficiently investigate each one, especially if there was only a three-man team to take action. He began to drive, his lights dimmed down in order to not attract undue attention, and his visual implants helped scan the road ahead. He was lost in thought.
Karga was baffled. Just what kind of bone were they tossing him? He didn’t need more than a few brain cells to put two and two together. Whoever this sergeant was, his absence ‘coincided’ with the surge of gang-related warfare creeping ever closer to city limits. Sam wasn’t sure about the others, but he had his suspicions for years that some folks from the armory were doing business with the underbelly.
If their source was gone, it made sense why they were so panicked as of late. Worst of all, someone would try to fill the vacuum. Maybe that's why management was so scared, too. Could be that the guy was an easy to control middleman. If someone more unpredictable would replace him, things could get out of hand. Fuck, I'm beginning to sound like a conspiracy nut.
He rubbed his eyes, nearly missing his stop. He looked around. Only the dark red tint of the neon sign illuminated the street. He walked inside the gym, the only place he knew he could find Zimin.