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Running Scared

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Tony Peters sat down in the tattered seat of his worn out ground car and made his way to the small café where Enrique Gonzales made his business. He'd rough up Gonzales if he had to, to find out where his old partner was hiding out now. And then after all this time, he'd see Thorne once again. It had been what? Five years since he'd seen him? Peters had been keeping a close track on all of Thorne's hits as a hobby but he hadn't actually seen him personally for so long.

Peters remembered the first time he'd met Thorne. Bryant was giving Peters his first job in rep-detect.
"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. Peters looked behind and saw a tall man close the door. He turned around and Peters saw he was a few years older than himself, 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?", he asked in a voice that was obviously home grown here in L.A. however it wasn't an ugly voice. It sounded like the voice of the American hero in old war films. Bold and honourable, it didn't quite match the job he was in.

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

Shaking hands, he introduced himself, "Alan Thorne." They smiled and Thorne sat down next to Peters. Thorne spoke, "What have you got for us, Bryant?"

"Two skinjobs, one apartment..."

"And two guns each I think," Thorne interjected. "I think this should be quite entertaining, hey Tony?"
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, never mind a rep, and to see the fallen body of his first kill wasn't something he wanted to face. As a Blade Runner, he was little more than a hired murderer.

Thorne took the case folder from the table, and looked at Peters, "Let's go to work, the future waits for no-one. See ya Bryant" Tony stood up and walked out with him.

The car trip was eerie. Neither Thorne nor Peters said much, they talked a bit of the way about where they were from. Peters originally from New York and Thorne being a native of L.A. Most of the journey, though, the only sound was the classical music coming out of the speakers of Thorne's stereo. 20 minutes later it was very different…

…Shots blazed out of the two guns Thorne held in front of him ripping into the body of one of the reps until both clips were empty, it's body falling to the floor in a heap. Tony stood over the other replicant, a female, which was lying on the carpet staring up at him.

Thorne shouted over to Peter's. "I'm out, take her."

Tony raised his gun, and looked into the eyes of the helpless rep on the ground. "I can't do it..." he said, mostly to himself.

"Do it man, kill the fucking thing and we can go home." Thorne was already putting on his sunglasses, getting ready to leave.

The rep's innocent face stared up at him.

"If you don't shoot her Tony, I'll relieve you of your guns and do it myself."

She'd given up on life; she never deserved to live. Tony was just finishing the job. He aimed one of his guns right between her eyes and fired. Then again, and again, until the weapon was empty. The rep's face gone, and Tony changed forever. He held back the tears swelling up in his eyes.

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

Peters stared at the rep's body, his hands shaking. "I've never killed anything before."

"If that bothers you," Thorne said pointing to the bloody mess on the carpet, "you're in the wrong line of work." Thorne sighed deeply. "Let's get out of here Tony. You need a drink, and so do I. Cheer up damn it, we're two thousand Chinyen richer."

The years had passed and Tony and Alan became close friends. As Tony became more used to the job he found skills in him he never knew he had. He became a born killer on equal par to Thorne. The pair became one of the best Rep detect teams in L.A. They were feared by skin-jobs and respected by police. However, Tony reflected as he turned off the motorway into the Latin district, "all good things must end". And those good times ended soon after the last job the pair pulled. Hunting down a skin job called Warren Avery at his house.

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? I'm James Patterson from the IRS and I'd like-" Peters put a bullet through the phone.
Thorne whispered to his partner, "God damn, you're worse than me now, if Bryant ever saw the shit you do on assignment..." then Thorne's mind returning to the job, "He probably doesn't know there's two of us. Go in for him, I'll stay out here in case he makes a break for it."

Peters nodded and continued his work. "You could have made this easy Warren!" he shouted. He 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 of store brand cola out of the refrigerator and drank it down.

"Hey Warren you have a damn good selection of beverages here, did you know that?" Peters called out.

Thorne outside the front door tried to suppress a laugh.

"It's not too late, Avery. I'm a reasonable man," he said putting the empty bottle in a bin and walking across the living room and into 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 himself. 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, towards the living room and the front door, his freedom near. Lying on the ground, Peters heard the sound of Thorne's Magnum, and saw Avery's body hit his level with a thud.

Thorne gave a hearty shout. "Damn that was fun. Did you see the way he was running? That was good."

"Yeah, good for you maybe. You're not on the floor lying next to Rambo here, help me up will ya?"
Thorne smiled, pulled Peters up, 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 into the kitchen. Thorne handed him a full glass of vodka and said, "You were right, you know. He does have a damn good selection of beverages. But anyway, here's to ten years together. It's been great".

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

"Yeah…right," Thorne said, then he smiled and gulped down the cool liquid. Tony sensed the distance in the comment. He took a deep breath...

The comment hadn't made sense until later that evening; the pair were sitting at a bar when Thorne revealed what he had been hiding.

"Refills on both of these," Peters said, passing both his and Thorne's glass over the bar.
Peters turned to face Thorne, who spoke.

"I've got something to tell you Tony. I haven't even told Bryant yet, but since you're the best friend I've had, I think you're the one who should know first. I'm leaving the department."

Peters hadn't been expecting this.

"You're joking? You're only forty years old man, you're retiring already? Are you feeling too old for the job? Cos that's..."

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

Tony was outraged. "You're going to be one of those bounty hunters. I thought you hated that scum."
"I don't agree with the morals, but I'm forty years old damn it, and all I've got to show for my life is 250 Chinyen in the bank and a beaten up car. I want to have a chance to get out of here, go up north maybe. I've lived my whole damn life in this city, I don't want to die here with nothing."

"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 in the world, but I have to move on. I'd love to have you in business with me though, Tony."

"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, Alan."

"I'm sorry you feel that way, but. It's the same job, just for different people. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and know that everything I do amounts to something. Don't you understand?"

Tony stood up, hurt. "I understand completely, I don't want anything to do with it. Good luck, Alan" he said walking out of the bar.

"Don't end our fucking friendship this way, Tony." Alan said as he grabbed Tony's shoulder. Peters turned to face Alan. Tony expected Thorne to plead with him but he didn't. Alan took Peters hand to shake it and simply said, "Goodbye Tony, see you around". Tony smiled at him but after a few seconds he turned away and walked out of the bar...

That was the last time he had seen Thorne but he'd see him again very soon Peters knew as he pulled up to the café where Enrique Gonzales waited.



Option 1 - Enrique Gonzales

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Date: 2002-09-01 15:50