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Running Scared

This Page written by: Patrick Meaney

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Old Times

Tony Peters sat on a public bench, looking over the case files Bryant had given him. The three Tyrell employees, Mironova, Lee and Joseph had spotless records, and he saw no reason that they should be the targets of an assassin order. In the manila folder was also a sheet of information on Alan Thorne, his old partner on the rep-detect unit. Tony looked through his wallet, and found an aged piece of paper. Peters paper-clipped it to the sheet of information on Thorne. He closed the folder...

...And passed it across the table to Peters. Tony took the folder, then looked up at Bryant. "It's fairly simple, a nice first case. Just identify and retire. You'll be working with Alan Thorne, one of our best blade runners. If this works out, you'll be partners. The last five years, his team made more retirements than any other on the force."

"What happened to his old partner?"

"He's been institutionalized," a voice from behind Peters said dryly. He looked behind and saw Thorne. He was a few years older than Peters, but looked worn. As a thirty-year-old man, he could have passed for fifty. Still, he had an aura about him, the energy of a younger man. He had a black trenchcoat on that was made of shiny plastic. "You're Peters?"

"Yeah," Tony said. He extended his hand, "Tony Peters."

Shaking hands, Thorne said, "Alan Thorne." Peters sat down, and Thorne spoke, "What've you got for us, Bryant?"

"Two skinjobs, one apartment..."

"Two guns each," Thorne interjected. "This should be entertaining."

Peters could tell that Thorne had no problem with the job, no conscience issues with retirement, though apparently whoever his previous partner was did.

Tony didn't know what blade running would do to him. He had no real drive for the work. He was not even sure why he wanted to go into rep-detect. It seemed like the next logical step in a rising police career, but he hadn't yet killed a man, and to see the fallen body wasn't something he wanted to face. As a Blade Runner, he was little more than a hired murderer.

Thorne took the folder from the table, and looked at Peters, "Let's go kid, the future won't wait." Tony stood up...

...And walked off the bench. He wanted to contact Thorne as soon as possible, before he killed the three innocent Tyrell employees. As he walked the city streets, the wind was swirling, and an old newspaper hung in the air...

...Seemingly suspended after Thorne's shot hit an old table, instead of a diving rep.

Thorne looked at his gun, then shouted. "I'm out, take her."

Tony raised his gun, and stared at the helpless rep, on the ground under a table. "I've never done this before, I've never killed a man..." Peters said, mostly to himself. He had always been a setup man, Thorne made the kills.

"Don't make me take the gun, kill the fucking thing." Thorne was already putting on his sunglasses, getting ready to leave the scene.

The rep's innocent face stared up at him. She'd given up on life; she never deserved to live. Tony was just finishing the job. He fired once, then again, and again, until the weapon was empty. The rep's face was gone, and Tony was changed. He was holding back tears.

"You did what you had to. Don't worry about it. It's what we're paid to do."

It was only his second assignment, and already Peters was getting the shakes. "I'd never killed a man."

"If that," Thorne said pointing to the bloody mess on the carpet, "bothers you, you're in the wrong business." Peters took a deep breath. "Let's get a drink, we're two thousand dollars richer."

Peters walked into a small bar. He told the bartender to make him a scotch on the rocks, then walked into the vidphone booth. He opened the folder, and took out his piece of paper. It had Thorne's phone number, and address. He punched in the number, and soon...

...The phone was ringing as Thorne kicked through the door. "Warren Avery, we know you're in here. We can make this painless," Peters shouted. He hit the receiver on the vidphone, and a man's face came up. "Hi, Warren?" Peters put a bullet through the phone.

Thorne whispered to his partner, "You're worse than me now, if Bryant ever saw the shit you do on assignment..." After a pause, Thorne said, "He probably doesn't know there's two of us, go after him, I'll stake out the exit."

Peters nodded. "You could have made this easy," he shouted. Tony loaded his gun loudly, then took another out of his long brown coat. He walked out of the entrance way, and into the living room. There was a kitchen to his right and a hallway to left. He walked into the kitchen, cautiously. He quickly surveyed the small room, and knew it was empty. He took a bottle out of the refrigerator, raised it to Thorne, and finished a bottle of store brand cola. Thorne looked on, trying to suppress a laugh.

"It's not too late, Avery. I'm a reasonable man," he said walking toward the hallway. Four rooms, two doors on each side, not a good setup. He fired two quick shots into the doors closest to him, one with each gun. He heard the sound of nervous breathing. A small movement, someone trying to be stealthy. Peters prepared. The back right door flew open, and Avery burst out, an antique pistol in hand. He got off a wild shot in the direction of Peters, who flew backwards, landing still. Avery ran past Peters' body, toward the door, his freedom near. Lying on the ground, Peters heard the sound of Thorne's Magnum, then saw Avery's body hit his level.

Peters stood up, and dusted off his coat. "Bloody good show."

Thorne smiled, then walked over to Avery's refrigerator. He pulled out a half full bottle of Vodka, and two glasses from Avery's cabinet. Peters stepped over the corpse and walked to the kitchen. "Here's to ten years together, eh? It's been fun," Thorne said.

"And to another ten, hell another twenty. You've got to work 'till you're sixty, right?"

"Yeah, another twenty," Thorne said. Tony sensed a distance in the comment. He took a deep breath...

...and looked at the vidphone again. Still no answer. The easy way had failed. He would have to deal with Thorne personally. Peters hoped he could hide his feelings, hide his nerves. He stepped out of the booth, and sat at a barstool. "Bartender...

... "Refills on both of these," Peters said, passing both his and Thorne's glass over the bar.
"I've got something to tell you Tony. I haven't even told Bryant yet, but I think you're the one who should know first. I'm leaving the department."

Peters was confused. "You're only fifty, you're retiring already? You have some deal..."

"No." Thorne's serious reply silenced Peters. "I'm going independent, do some work for the private sector."

Tony was outraged. "You're going to be one of those bounty hunters. I thought you hated them."

"I don't agree with the morals, but I'm fifty years old, and all I've got to show for my life is 250 dollars in the bank. I want to have a chance to get out of here, go up north maybe. I've lived my whole life in this city, I don't want to die here."

"There's other ways, you can do things within the department." Peters was pleading with him, hoping for a reprieve.

"I'm sick of working for nothing, Tony. It's been a great twenty years, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I have to move on. I'd love to have you in business with me."

"I wouldn't do that, I have an obligation to this city, to do the right thing. I won't be a part of what you're doing, it's wrong, Thorne."

"I'm sorry you think that way, but it's the same job, just for different people. You don't understand yet."

Tony stood up. "I understand completely, I don't want that money. Good luck, Thorne," he said walking out of the bar.

"Wait, take this." Peters turned around and took a piece of paper from Thorne's outstretched hand. As Tony walked out, Thorne said to him, "You've been a great friend, I'm gonna' miss you." The door slammed. Out on the street, Peters looked back, and saw his friend for the last time. He walked...

...up to Thorne's door. It had been five years since he had last seen Alan at that bar. He was nervous. There was still anger, but Tony remembered the good times, and knocked on the door. After two minutes, he started to walk away, then heard the lock turning.

The door opened, and Tony saw Thorne, much the same as he was five years ago. "Tony?"

"Yup, it's been too long. I'm sorry."

"Don't worry about it, take a seat inside."

Tony walked in, and sat on Thorne's couch. He knew he was supposed to bring in Thorne for questioning, or at least stop him from going after the Tyrell employees, but he didn't have the heart to talk about that now. He had forgotten about the department, and was lost in his good memories.

"So, Tony, what brings you here after all these years?"

"I'm here to warn you, you've been assigned to kill three humans, and I don't want that to happen."

"How do you know?"

"The department told me, they sent me after you."

"So, you're here for Bryant?" Thorne looked disappointed, though he tried to guard it.

"It's not just that. I'm trying to protect you, if you kill those people, they'll arrest you. I won't even tell them that I was here if you don't want me to. I never gave them your contact information, they wanted me to, but I wouldn't."

"How did you know about my assignments?"

"They just told me, I'm not sure how it happened," Peters lied.

"I knew someone was tracking me, but I didn't think Bryant was behind it. And I didn't think you would have been party to it.'

"We're trying to protect you, sometimes you have to sacrifice freedom for protection," Peters said, doubting his own words as he said them. "It's not just that, I've wanted to apologize to you for years now. I'm as worn down now as you were when you quit, and I can see your logic. I don't agree with what you did, but I respect your choice, and I don't hold it against you."

"That means a lot to me," Thorne said. "I'm always looking for a partner in the business if you're interested."

"Thanks, but I still have a duty to the city, more than to myself." Peters regretted that as he said it, he had unintentionally insulted his friend in what was supposed to be an apology.

Thorne nodded. "That's fine. Thanks for the warning, I'll keep it in mind."

At that moment the door broke down, and Peters saw five police troops in the door of the apartment. They were an elite unit, dressed all in black, with reflective helmets covering their faces. Thorne leaped behind his couch, unsheathing his two pistols. Peters pulled out his gun as well, but was stuck between Thorne, and the police, not the best position in the shootout to come.

"Alan Thorne, you're under arrest for murder. Put the gun down," the squad leader said.

Thorne answered him with a bullet to the face, his helmet shattered, and he hit the ground, blood oozing out of the facemask. Tony was scared. His friend was murdering police, men he probably knew, but then again, those men were trying to kill the man he worked with for twenty years. Peters knew he had to move, and at that moment he ran...



Option 1 - To Thorne

Option 2 - To the Task Force

Pages in white continue the story. Pages in yellow are yet to be written. Note that the unwritten options are just suggestions for how the story might continue - you can add something completely different if you like.

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Date: 2002-08-02 23:30