“Christine, what’s the word on the situation? Did the Chief tell you?” her partner questioned, only leaning in slightly. He was young like her, but had been on the police force for less time.
“Apparently it’s a robbery at the jewelry store downtown. We don’t know much yet about the perpetrator. No hostages have been confirmed, but the perp is detained on the spot. All canine units are being called in, but I’m not sure why. This must be something big,” Christine commented as she pulled her blonde ponytail tighter and then checked her phone and scanner, among other equipment. It had been awhile since she had seen the Chief looking that distressed. What did he know about this case that he wasn’t mentioning?
“Right,” her partner answered with a note of worry mirroring her own. “What about the plug? Why is he coming?”
“Don’t worry, it’s just temporary. He’s being handed off to his new partner there. The Chief says he’s going to the new guy, and on the short notice we have to meet him there,” Christine explained.
“You mean Torres? It’s awfully early in the week to be punished.”
“I’m sure Caleb will handle him fine. Maybe he’s the breath of fresh air Bandit needs,” Christine said, but even she didn’t sound convinced. She glanced at the dog in the backseat with pity as he lay on the seat and looked at them. Even though he was just a dog, Christine still felt inexplicably guilty about talking in front of him, especially any disparaging comments. “Maybe having a bit of responsibility will reign in Torres, as well.”
The squad car pulled up behind the line of already-present cars that formed a blockade outside of the jewelry store’s smashed facade. Christine let Bandit out of the car and led him over to the Chief, who waved to them after speaking through a megaphone at his officers, and to the perpetrator inside. Bandit followed close at her heels as she approached, with his head down and eyes wide. Standing next to the Chief was a young man that looked fresh out of the Academy, who was peering over the cars. His hand twitched near his gun in order to be ready, but the Chief was keeping an eye on him. Perhaps he was instructed to observe for now, unlike the more seasoned officers, Christine mused.
“Here he is, Chief. What’s going on?” Christine asked with a redness in her face that betrayed both her nerves and her excitement.
“Thanks, Christine, and Brad,” the Chief nodded to her and her partner. “This is Caleb Torres, and he’s going to be Bandit’s new partner.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Christine reached forward and shook the young man’s hand. He held eye contact with his dark, shining eyes and he had a confident grip. A small smile started to spread across his subtly tanned face before he let go. “Take good care of Bandit.” Christine handed over Bandit’s lead and smiled, while Brad stood behind her and smirked at the idea of Bandit needing excessive care, especially at Caleb’s next comment.
“I’m sure he’ll be taking care of me,” Caleb reassured, while even the Chief seemed tight-lipped. “Thank you.” Caleb placed his hand on Bandit’s head and his ears perked forward again from their previous skewed position. The canine’s nervousness seemed to have dissipated, at least until the pressure broke through again as pedestrians and civilians started to crowd and be pushed back by officers.
Caleb petted him a few times to reassure him and noticed his unusual features. Although he didn’t have much experience in the K-9 unit, Caleb couldn’t recall seeing a similar color, although he knew that it was called sable. The black and cream-like hairs mixed in all throughout Bandit’s body, but the concentration of black fur was very heavy in his face, which Caleb realized probably lent to his new partner’s name.
“Very well,” the Chief interrupted, and also brought a couple more officers closer. “We have evidence that the perpetrator is still in there, but no one can get a clear shot. The store owner is still in there, along with two staff members and three patrons. It appears to be a robbery gone wrong.”
“It looks more like a massive vandalism,” Christine muttered, and Caleb nodded in agreement. Brad grunted as he surveyed the scene.
“We don’t know if the perp is armed, but considering the extent of the damage done already, we suspect explosives. We’re at a bit of a stand-off right now, but-”
The shattered tinkling of glass from the other side of the store window interrupted the chief as the silhouette of a man burst through and sent shards of glass washing over the sidewalk. The Chief yelled for everyone to hold their fire, because the man didn’t seem to be armed, but he did seem to be in pain. He clutched his stomach and doubled over.
He appeared to be a normal man, except for being rather large. He appeared to be approaching middle-aged, and wore torn flannel over tattered jeans. His short cut hair was dark brown and matched his stubble, and his eyes screamed in agony as his skin took on a sickly gray color. Before anyone could react, he took off running through the blockade.
When officers tried to block him, he leapt onto the cars and started running over them, leaving huge dents in the metal. Shots were fired, and the man swayed to the side upon impact, but kept running. There wasn’t the sign of blood, and if anyone had asked Bandit, there wasn’t even the smell of blood.
“Did that hit him?” Christine asked.
“It had to,” Caleb said. “I saw him lurch to the side like he’d been hit. But who could keep running after that?”
“It might be adrenaline,” the Chief hurriedly said as he rushed over to his own squad car, “or that man could be on something. We’ll have to find out. Robinson! You and Blue Steele go in pursuit and we’ll get a squad car to back you up. Torres! Do you think you can handle it?”
“Yes sir,” was all Caleb said as he ran with Bandit in the direction of the perp. He had seen him veer down an alleyway and it would be too difficult to follow in a car in such a tight space. Plus, he was sure the man had been shot. He wouldn’t be getting very far, adrenaline or not. He had his gun at the ready and Bandit stayed at his side as they rushed into the alley, and that’s the last thing Caleb would remember as his world went black.