Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

She’s screaming like her life is being dragged from her using blunt instruments. Occasionally she’ll stop, but after a series of ominous ‘thuds’, she’ll start again.

“We ‘ave control of zis street.” This from the blue-uniformed Avantacop.

“Rubbiz. The rezonink places this addrez within oor control perimeter.” Response from the black-and-orange uniformed Fourgeecop.

“City statutes give prioridee response t’us.” A riposte from a grey-uniformed Spartacop.

“How about we co-operate to cover the premises from all sides, achieve entry with precision and numbers, then use superior force to area-neutralise whatever threat is inside?” The suggestion comes from my partner, in Carabinieri black – just like me.

We’re one of the six official police forces that could be here, were it not for the mandated EU ‘open-market’ rulings on civil policing. Now, in addition to the five ‘resident’ national police forces and regional police forces, there are twenty-eight ‘guardian’ (corporate) police forces and countless franchise mobs. It used to be a nightmare with just five or six of us versus the Cosa Nostra and friends. This? This is a new ring of Dante’s hell in the guise of policing, and criminals rarely enter the equation – or get caught, for that matter.

The screams escalate again and Armand looks at me, his brows creasing. We both think back to the meeting we attended four days ago. This is it. The moment that was discussed and everyone agreed to.

He nods at me and we both cross-draw paired Webley & Scott Suppressors. Armand takes both of the Avantacops and I drop the standing Fourgee and Sparta. Their companions show their uselessness by trying to exit their cars and join the firefight, instead of securing their positions and calling for assistance.

Ignoring the downed pseudocops for a while, we retool with compressor-pulse shotguns and storm the building where screams continue. It seems that sudden, decisive action involving the direct application of violence was something that our little gang of drug-crazed torturers were not expecting. They were waiting for hostage negotiators and news crews. They continue waiting until their bodies hit the ground from three floors up. Some people are a waste of the judicial system’s time.

By the time the ambulances pull away and the coroner’s van is loading, the pseudocops are reclining in their neatly parked vehicles, in the car park of a local convenience store four blocks away.

Four days ago we agreed that we would be police, and any jurisdictional arguments from competing forces would be treated as interference with the execution of our duties, if co-operation was refused or ignored. The people deserve to be protected when the threat is nigh, not to wait until the bureaucracy is done.

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