act four: saviors and traitors
Christopher Champion, the former pride and glory of New Lemmetview City's Western Bureau of Investigation. At one point in time, many would even have called him the Buraeu's finest captain, a true inspiration to the people he served and those who served under him. Retired with high honors, even given a parade to celebrate his historic leadership of the force... hell of a detective, hell of a leader, hell of a cop.
Hell of a fighter, too.
I still recall the days when Chris and I would throw down over the issues. We agreed almost all the time, but there were those rare moments when he and I clashed, and because of our own individual stands in life... we held strong to those opinions of ours. On occassion the two of us were hot-headed, never in front of our fellow members of the force but always at a crucial point in the Bureau. Chris would have one view of the future, I'd have another... and we'd fight, like men once did.
Used to be I'd win every time, but... as we grew older, the bastard learned my tricks. Had me up against the wall, started dominating our little showdowns. I tried to learn his in-turn, but... every time I thought I had the man called Christopher Champion pinned down, he always seemed to come at me with something new, something different.
Something to earn my respect more with every encounter. If nothing else, that stubborn, headstrong, vicious man that he was when fighting for his ideals... was a man who could not be moved when he set himself to stand for something. I learned that the hard way. I hoped to be a man like that someday myself. Some would say I am now... leading the force as best as I can, trying to keep this city from dying an agonizing death...
... if only the Bureau knew I was the vigilante, shit would hit the fan in a big way. In many ways, I was one of the key people holding this city afloat, and though my methods were unethical at best... they were helping. I take a hit there and get brought down by the law I serve, this city likely goes down with me... and that's the last I want to see.
"You seem just as lost in thought as I am, old friend."
I glanced up from my thoughts to see the ever-present smirk of the man as he stared me down for the first time in what felt like ages. We'd fallen out of contact for several months, I had no clue what'd happened to him, he just... disappeared on us all. In a way, I'd felt betrayed, but... seeing him standing there, smirking at me like he'd always done? It was... It was...
"... good to see you, Chris."
"Right back at you."
His smirk faded slightly as he pushed himself from the lightpost. I knew right away that he was preparing for his own job tonight, a bust that would likely go down in history for this place, like almost all of his had in the past... I'd heard some old faces showed back up in town looking to cause a little chaos, I was certain he was the one who took the case.
Whatever it was that he was planning... the look in his eye betrayed the business he meant. When he spoke, his voice was deadpan, lacking in the emotion it contained moments prior. It was a grim night for him, one I could tell wouldn't be easy, but... one he and I both knew would be better for him to tackle on his own.
"What have you heard about the old guns? Or the new breed of scum that's crawled through the gutters 'round these parts? I need all the intel I can get on them soon as possible... been making the rounds to gather what I can."
Just as I'd predicted... he came straight to the point. I studied his eyes for any sign of fear at the prospect of what was ahead of him, but all there was there was a supressed air of confidence and a slight impatience towards the knowledge he sought for. Relenting my studies, I recalled what I could from my own rounds throughout the night.
"Looks like the big exchange you were planning to bust got a bit bigger, Chris... those new punks from across the state lines sent two of their men over, heard someone like you might be showing up... we got a rogue dealer inbound to the area, hoping to push his product into their circle more than likely. As far as the old guns... you're looking at Castle, Skyler, Jackson and Dazz."
"And what about the new dealers in the area? I had intel saying there were three of them scheduled to show."
I smirked, whoever his intel was coming from had to be one hell of an inside source... I'd only gotten mine an hour before Drew Graham spilled his life out at my feet, some punk kid somehow got on the inside hoping to score some easy shit by offering one of the dealers to sample the trade of another. Sloppy work, whoever that one was... I could only assume it was one of the newer dealers Chris was asking about.
"Pericolo? Stay with me here champ, you've got that storied look in your eye, and I'm not about to stand around here watching you dream.We've got shit to do."
"Yeah, sorry... yeah, those new dealers are involved. You didn't get the names?"
"Was hoping you might know them."
"Sterling Silver-- which, by the by, the fuck's with a name like that? I'm thinking he deals Angel Dust or something..."
"Right, right... then there's this Kolby Danvers kid and Madison Kave--"
He lifts his hand up to silence my sentence, a look of confusion in his eyes after that last one. Quirking an eyebrow at me, he crosses his arms across his chest and lets out an unbelieving laugh, shaking his head in bewilderment.
"Madison Kave?! That.. she's fucking chipper as a squirrel, you're telling me she's out selling smack now?"
"We're facing hard times, Chris... I hate to say it, but a lot of people are resorting to the drug game these days. Worst part is I'm pretty sure those punks are just setting her up for a gang ra--"
"Ugh, say no more... that poor girl. Alright, from what I've seen she can defend herself decently, I'll see what I can't do about getting her corrected from all of this. You're after the roaring lion tonight, aren't you?"
"The roaring lion"... that was the name Carmine had earned over the past many months ever since he'd turned himself into king shit around the streets of the city. At first it was a cover name, he'd developed the moniker to cover himself while he was in the force, but... once his shit got exposed to the city, he went underground and stuck to living the identity he'd been hiding from us all before.
Sofar as we knew in those days, the roaring lion was called such because of the way he'd mouthed off about the incompetence of the force, how they'd never track him, how he owned the streets he sent his boys out on... and for the longest time, the bastard was right. In hindsight it's no wonder, he knew the damn streets we'd be patrolling each night and the fucker sent his guys out in other directions.
I was the one who eventually caught on to Carmine... I was the one who traced the line to the roaring lion back to him. Never saw that shit coming, either... didn't think a fellow man of justice, a fucking cop... would be living the secret life of a fucking druglord. At first I didn't want to believe it, too... I saw so much potential in the kid, I thought he was being set up by whoever was really doing the whole thing. Hell, when I confronted him on it, he was calm as could be, it just didn't feel like I'd found the right lead...
But then I saw him with my own eyes. It was a bust, I'd been planning it with the Bureau and as a precautionary measure I'd advised keeping it from Carmine, just to be sure. We gave him the wrong beat to go by, made him think our boys were out patrolling a certain set of streets and pulled a bait and switch on the whole thing. Sure enough, we caught over half his boys and got a glimpse of the bastard before he got away.
Never showed up at the Bureau again... smart move on his part, we thought we'd never see him again. Put out a warrant and everything, but the fucker knew how to disappear when the heat was on. Twice I'd stood against him, twice he fell short of what he needed to reach to keep his ass covered... and tonight? Well...
"Yeah, Carmine, he... I've got the son of a bitch cornered. It ends tonight."
"The Bureau know? Haven't told a soul since you mentioned it to me for tonight's meeting... I can only assume this is an undercover bust on your part?"
"Can't be too safe, you know? Besides, you're doing the same thing."
He grins. Chris and I... we're in the same boat tonight. Secret drug busts, going in without backup... go figure it would be the two of us pulling shit like this without the Bureau's knowledge. It was our style, always has been. Even as we grow older, there's just no changing the kind-of lawmen we are.
"Good luck, Dominic... be seeing you after?"
"You know it... and let's be honest with ourselves, Champ..."
We shake hands, the both of us staring each other dead in the eye. Any other men might be thinking of an impending night of death, carnage, and life-threatening stand-offs... but the two of us? We saw nothing more than another successful drug bust. Nothing more than a couple punk kids trying to lay claim to the streets dropping like flies before the feet of men like he and I.
We know we're going to make it out alive. We know these fucks don't stand a damn chance. As far as we're concerned... they were condemned to failure the moment we stepped out into the night.
"... we don't need luck."
We just need to show up.