ASN 3.0 Of All the Police Stations in the World…

by Matt P.

By Monday morning, Walter was thinking that Lacey might even have been right. There were apparently some leads in the murder of Troll, some drug dealers who he had crossed a few months before that might be vicious enough to tear him apart. It was a long shot, because Walter still wasn’t certain that what had happened wasn’t from Morgan’s side of the street, but it was something.

He was seated at his desk at 8:30 AM, working on paperwork. The Deputy Marshals, what Border called detectives, all had desks clustered together by team on the main floor. The teams were further broken apart by division, with Homicide having what were considered the prime seats: Straight back from the front desk, near the break-room and with a straight shot either back to the employee parking lot or front to the front doors. His desk was actually against the back wall, and gave him a clear line of sight to the front door and the back exit. After the attacks the previous year he had requested that specifically, and in light of everything that had happened it had been an easy request for Marshal Alexander to grant.

Walter could hear Tania and Ryan talking to the Marshal about some security matter for an event Tania was throwing, and he was waiting for Morgan to come back from the copy machine with the autopsy results. As a result he didn’t see the woman enter until he heard the desk sergeant say his name, and point back to where he was. He looked up to see a woman coming for him. She was of middling height, thin but whipcord lean with what looked to be well-defined muscles, and ash blond hair kept in a close crop around her head. Her eyes matched the gray suit she wore, and the expression on her face was a kind of neutral boredom that bordered on the arrogant; like nothing could possibly trouble her.

Her eyes caught his in that moment, and he saw the familiar sly smirk in them. His lips were in a snarl without realizing it, and he was moving. He stood up, chair sliding back from him to hit the wall, and by the time he had risen he not only had his gun out but he had finished racking a bullet in to the chamber. The sound of the slide slamming into place on the Border PD standard issue .45 brought all activity in the room to a stop.

“You’ve got thirty seconds to get the hell out of here before I follow up on my promise to put two into your skull, Ashland. Thirty…” Walter all but shouted, his voice angry and his counting staccato and firm. “Twenty-nine…”

Ashland smiled sardonically, shaking her head from side to side. “Walter, Walter, Walter…Major, is this any way to greet an old friend?” She walked toward him unconcernedly. Walter saw someone going in to the Marshal’s office out of the corner of his eyes, but he kept his focus intently on the woman in front of him.

“If we were friends, I wouldn’t be twenty-eight seconds away from saving a war crimes tribunal from having to do their job,” Walter answered. “Twenty-seven…” The end of the Springfield Armory 1911 didn’t waver, the sights putting his aim directly between her eyes.

Morgan stopped in the other corner of his vision, stacks of paper in her hands, and he could tell she was taking stock of the situation carefully—trying to decide if she needed to start using her powers, or if it was handled. “Now now, I thought we at least had an understanding. At least me and the puppy did. Do you still keep in touch with him?” She asked with a wry smile.

Marshal Alexander chose that moment to step out of the office to investigate the incident evolving on the main floor of his police station, along with Tania Summers and Ryan Aquino. “Ah…” Ashland’s smile took on a decidedly lascivious turn at the sight of Ryan’s tanned and handsome face. “There’s the puppy. I wonder if I can get you to play fetch for me again?”

Walter and Tania both blinked, although only the woman turned to look at Ryan. Ryan, meanwhile, looked stunned beyond action for a moment, his mouth open in shock as he stared at the woman thirty feet away from him. “Tell me you didn’t screw the crazy, Ryan…” Walter asked almost pleadingly. “Twenty-five,” Walter counted, skipping twenty-six since time had passed.

“Walter, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Alexander demanded, his voice a drill sergeant’s bark. “Put your weapon away right now!” But he was forced to do a double-take when Ryan, spurred in to action, also drew a gun in a smooth motion; all he did was turn off the safety, his own personal weapon a double-single action that could be kept with a bullet in the chamber and the hammer down, because pulling the trigger would pull the hammer back as well as drop it and fire the bullet. “Aquino, put your fucking weapon away right now. I will not have another shootout in my station! This woman is an FBI liaison the Bureau sent to help us with the Salvation dealing problem.”

Walter shook his head quickly. “Bullshit. If she’s an FBI agent I’ll eat this whole station. Her name is Ashland, and she’s CIA. Not just CIA, but Special Activities Division, and the third deadliest person I know alive on the planet.” Walter didn’t have to look over to know Morgan had gotten that last hint about how highly he ranked Ashland; she tensed up suitably, since she could be reasonably sure that she and her sister were in the first two slots.

Ashland sighed, leaning against a desk and shrugging. “Trying to blow my cover, Walter? That would be a shame, it would have only lasted what…five minutes?” She laughed, but it was only a cousin to something actually mirthful. “But if you look, I am wearing the badge on the outside of my suit, so I wouldn’t even have to reach in to my jacket to pull it out.” She wiggled her shoulders a little bit. Tucked in to the breast pocket of her suit was a badge jacket, with an FBI badge hanging from it.

“NOW!” Alexander shouted, and Walter’s face locked in to a grimace while Ashland just smirked. Walter thumbed the safety on and holstered his weapon, leaving it more unsafe (because the hammer was back and could theoretically drop and fire if he dropped the gun) because it was also more quickly ready to fire. Ashland was worth the risk. He saw Ryan doing the same, and looking about as happy about it as she was.

“Let’s all go in to the conference room and have a sit down, so we can decide whether I’m going to fire Walter and ban Ryan from my station, or if there is some merit to their accusations. And brandishing of weapons,” he continued with a glare at his officer and guest. Walter started to comply, but then he paused—never taking his eyes off of the woman.

“Have her call in her crew, before we all go chat.”