Shades of Gray: Part 02.
The rain slammed into the cops like bullets as they quickly exited the ground van. They ran toward the building entrance, scanning the area left and right as they charged ahead. The intensity of the rain forced the detectives to squint, almost blinding them, reducing the view of the warehouse to a hulking, grayish blur. They were almost to the entrance, when a shabbily clothed male emerged from the doorway, clutching his pathetic possessions in a black plastic bag. Det. Bill Scott was the point-man and promptly shoved the startled street-dweller aside, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground in a wet, crumpled heap. The man only managed an indignant grunt as he attempted to gather his pitiful belongings. Sgt Gray felt a brief wave of pity wash over him as his team members scrambled into the entranceway, almost trampling the poor son-of-a-bitch in the process.
Det. Ryez kicked the rest of the derelict's "property" out of the way, sending it into the flooded street gutter. A metallic scraping sound caught the attention of Det. Ryez as he was about to enter the doorway. He jerked his head around trying to locate the source of the metallic noise with such force that he briefly thought he may have snapped his neck in the process. He saw the street bum writhing on the ground, furiously trying to reach for something in the gutter. Det. Ryez brought up the muzzle of his service weapon and bolted toward the street, his worst nightmare beginning to materialize right in front of him as the bastard was bringing the business end of a compact, low-tech submachine to bear on the doorway. Det. Ryez had barely enough time to scream "GUN" as the derelict sprayed the warehouse entranceway with a deadly burst of automatic gunfire. Det. Ryez convulsed like a marionette whose strings were suddenly operated by a crazed, hyper-kinetic puppeteer, and began to sputter and gurgle as he slowly fell face first onto the cold, wet, garbage-strewn sidewalk. The bright crimson fluid that leaked profusely out of his body became a diluted brown as it mixed with the rainwater that continued to assault his lifeless body.
Eddie Gray heard Ryez's scream and the sickening, violent reaction to his shriek of "gun." He barked into his police Netcom for assistance and raced for the door. Det. Marks was mumbling "I knew it." over and over as Det. Bill Scott screamed a warning that the warehouse elevator was rapidly making its way down. There was no cover between the entrance way and the elevator at the end of the dilapidated hallway. Detectives Marks and Scott were now faced with the worst case scenario; retreat to the street and face a fate like that of Ryez's or face what was coming down in that freight elevator with nothing in between them whatsoever.
The antediluvian gears and mechanisms of the elevator groaned loudly as its carriage made its descent to the ground floor. Det Scott flung himself on the floor and then pointed the barrel of his assault shotgun at the metal doors that were slowly creaking open. Det Marks began a half run / half stumble toward the front entrance, occasionally turning around, pointing his weapon in the direction of the elevator. The elevator doors slowly opened, like the jaws of a steel beast from the depths of some metallic Inferno, revealing its contents to the two Detectives. As Bill Scott shouted, "POLICE! DON'T MOVE!" Graham Marks pulled the trigger of his weapon as fast as he could.
Sgt. Eddie Gray was now a man possessed by only one emotion: Rage. He cautiously approached the entranceway, his body in combat shooting stance, his automatic clenched tightly in both hands. He could see Victor Ryez's bullet-riddled body lying face down on the sidewalk. Eddie Gray's eyes narrowed to slits and he began to breathe heavily, his heart pounding in his chest with the ferocity of a blacksmith's hammer smashing onto an iron anvil. He inched his way forward and now he could see the front of the ground van and saw the shabbily dressed male beside it, furiously working the magazine out of the low-tech sub-machine gun. The shooter was oblivious to Eddie Gray's presence by the entranceway, completely focused on trying to extract the clip from the weapon. The shooter cursed repeatedly, apparently unable to reload his machine pistol fast enough.
Eddie Gray stepped out the darkness of the warehouse doorway and calmly walked out into the street. His breathing became shallow and controlled, his heart easing back into its normal rhythm. He could see the world around him slowly shrink, getting dark around the edges of his peripheral vision. The rest of the world was slipping away to Eddie Gray. He barely heard the roar of gunfire inside the warehouse. Nothing mattered now. The only thing that mattered was emptying his entire magazine of hollow-point rounds into the unkempt, murderous S.O.B. before him. He stopped by his fallen comrade's body, softly muttered a plea for forgiveness, and pulled the trigger of his service weapon until the slide of his pistol locked back with a sharp click. He mechanically disposed of the spent clip and inserted a full one into the pistol, charging a round into the chamber, as the shooter slumped against the ground van, staring lifelessly at Eddie Gray. The shooter's body then slid to the right, leaving a bloody streak across the passenger side wheel well of the ground van as it fell to the rain soaked pavement.
Eddie Gray made his way over to the corpse of the shooter, studying the dead man intently. His heart leapt into his throat, his eyes were fixed not upon a dead man, but a dead WOMAN. Her dress was consistent with that of a street person or narcotic abuser, except for her shiny black boots. They were of a military design, like that he himself used to wear when he was in the U.N.'s military service. Eddie Gray realized that this shooter was a foot soldier in the URFF's cadre of "conditioned" youth. He further inspected the female corpse and instantly recognized the face of the dead shooter. He had seen her picture a thousand times before this fateful day and knew she was the daughter of the U.N. diplomat that he had so desperately wanted to take into custody unharmed.
His entire body went numb and he stood there, unable to move. They were far deadlier than he had initially thought, and poor Victor Ryez was the end result of that nearsightedness. He also now knew that this cell was tipped off and that this "soldier" was sent out to ambush them. Eddie Gray's mind raced with the possibilities on how they were set-up and one thought nagged him the most; it had to have been his informant. He had placed too much credibility in the bastard's mercenary "integrity". Eddie Gray made a silent vow that he would hunt down the rat bastard and send him to his eternal reward…….Hell.
The roar of gunfire had suddenly stopped. Or had it? He gradually became aware of his surroundings, his murderous rage dissipating like the vapors of his breath in the cold November air. The police Netcom crackled with excited chatter that help was on the way. Eddie Gray did not respond and quickly ran to the rear of the ground van and extracted a short, compact tactical assault rifle. He charged the weapon and was heading back to the warehouse entrance with grim determination etched on his face when a deafening whoomp emanated from inside the warehouse.
He raced toward the entrance, calling out his detectives names, hoping they were still alive. He made it to the doorway and was greeted by a series of short, intense explosions. Shattered Plexiglas and bits of building rained down upon the street. He shoved his head into the doorway and screamed for his detectives once more. He could barely make out the dark silhouettes that approached him. Smoke began to billow out from the hallway and he could barely see Det. Marks long frame dragging what appeared to be a body toward him. Eddie Gray ran in and grabbed Det. Marks and pulled him outside, painfully aware that the body was that of Det. Bill Scott.
When they were out of the smoky darkness of the hallway, Eddie Gray gasped when his gaze fell on the two detectives. Bill Scott was a charred, steaming mess, his facial features almost entirely unrecognizable. Graham Marks was severely burned, his clothes seared into his flesh. He was a grotesque mockery of what was once a human being. He collapsed onto the street, muttering "They sent down some poor bastard with a damn bomb strapped to his body. OH GOD. It hurts like hell..OH GOD..OH GOD." His voice trailed off and he became motionless, his eyes fixed squarely on Sgt. Eddie Gray, but they did not see the Sergeant's tortured expression that was his face.
There were shouts of anguish coming from the warehouse, voices crying out for help. There were people fleeing from the entranceway, scattering in all directions, ignoring Sgt. Gray and his fallen detectives. More and more bits of debris fell from the sky as the warehouse was now being racked by more explosions. Eddie Gray could see more occupants of the warehouse fleeing from the building. Some were armed and he pointed the T.A.R. in the general direction of the doorway and opened fire. He emptied the magazine and stared blindly at the figures writhing and moaning on the ground. He heard the spinner take off from the roof and circle above, the whine of the purge generators momentarily drowning out the cries of the wounded. An ear piercing blast shattered the air and sent charred pieces of building in all directions. The concussion of the blast knocked him off his feet and sent him crashing into the ground van. The explosion shattered the safety glass of the ground van, and tinkling bits of glass cascaded down upon Eddie Gray, like the Devil's twisted version of a snowfall.
He tried to shield his eyes from the blinding myriad of colored strobe lights that cut through the smoke and dust. He was fading in and out of consciousness, trying to make out the black clad figure in front of him. He could see the yellow turret lights dimly revolving on the spinner directly behind the person in front of him. The figure crouched down and stared intently at his ashen, battered face. She had the most brilliant blue eyes he had ever seen in his life. An Angel? He thought for a moment. He quickly deduced that the female before him was no Angel from heavens, but an Angel of Death, because she clutched a big, black ominous handgun used almost exclusively by Blade Runners. He grimaced and a short, bizarre cackle burst from his mouth. He just now thought of his wife and newly adopted daughter, Claire. His mind played their images over and over until they became blurred and distorted. One last thought popped into his delirious mind as his world faded to black: Hell, at least the rain is letting up.