“Who can blame them for what they do?” Sergeant Dobbs sipped his coffee as he leaned back in the patrol car, musing to Lieutenant Carson. Through the windshield, the morning throngs of people left their homes and crowded the streets on their way to work and life as they knew it.
“I can blame them, Roger. It’s the same thing as blaming a drunk driver for killing someone on the road. It just ain’t right, and it’s not excusable.”
It was then that their mark came into view. He must have been wandering the streets for at least a few nights with a sawed-off shotgun and a roll of cash. The kid had the usual glazed look in his eyes, and the twitch of a gamer in his stride. The epidemic was easy to follow. That wasn’t the issue; the issue was how randomly it occurred.
“There he is,” Dobbs said. He sat up and poured his coffee out the window as he moved to open the door.
Carson knew that making a scene would be a mistake. “Shit, Roger. Wait a sec.”
Too late. The kid saw the cops and raised his gun, blasting a slug right into the hood of the cruiser before taking off. The blast left Dobbs diving for cover and Carson revving up the engine as he grabbed for the radio.
“We got another one headed east on Union, requesting back-up. This ones been in the game a while.” He threw the car into gear and the cruiser jerked into traffic just in time to see the kid yank a driver from the door of a hybrid Honda. It definitely wasn’t his first car-jacking either.
Sergeant Dobbs pulled his Beretta from the holster and cursed, but the Lieutenant grabbed his hand before the gun could be leveled.
“Roger, we can’t kill the kid. He’s gotta do his time in rehab just like the others.” Despite his anger, Dobbs complied and let the gun return to its holder. Besides, up ahead, the lights and sirens indicated the barricade had already been set up. The trap was sprung.
Moments later their car came to a screeching halt as they nearly T-boned the kids’ jacked ride as it met with the barricade. Six cops weren’t going to point their weapons and wait. The ring began to tighten.
“Out of the car, now! Get the fuck out of the car!” The boy seemed more perplexed than he was nervous. He looked around and tried to rev the engine, hoping to break away from the two cars that had wedged him in. Eventually, the cops pulled him out and gave him a taste of asphalt before cuffing him.
Sergeant Dobbs glared at the kid as the boy struggled, kicking and screaming as they dragged him off. Carson came up behind Dobbs and gave him a pat on the shoulder. “It’s all nice until they fire at you, eh?”
“Yeah, it is.” Dobbs was still watching the boy as his pale frame was shoved into the police car and his shrill voice was screaming about the tragedy.
“I have a saved game! I want to go back to the save point! Fuck! You can’t stop me from resetting!” The slammed door muffled the final words, but Dobbs thought he caught something about an upgrade.
Lieutenant Carson just sighed. “Back in my day, the console and the LCD were all you needed. Poor bastards.”