They knocked out the lights in the hallway. The glass from the lightbulb crunched under her boot and she heard someone moving towards her and the palm strike to her nose, feeling it crunch and then the knife punching through her vest. She falls back, bangs the back of her head. She didn’t get to draw her gun.
She came in low, drove the tomahawk into the meat of his thigh and dragged it down. There is an artery there, and he was dead before she went up the stairs.
The shotgun came as a surprise and the force of the round slammed her back down the hallway.
Next time, she had the revolver up, squeezed off a clean shot which clipped him in the temple before he brought the shotgun up. His blood and brains made a comma shaped mark on the wall behind him. She looked back at the bodies and crept up the stairs.
She died twice before she shot through the floorboards with the shotgun, took out two people before she walked up, cruising on adrenaline like a migrating bird on the thermals. Every swallow tasted of copper as she cut down a young man who pointed a cheap revolver from a doorway at her.
He fell onto his side, stared out at nothing. Imogen had been at the last Thanksgiving turkey hand out, he couldn’t have been over ten sporting a swollen lip from another of his mother’s endless loop of men and she’d gone into the apartment, shot out a hard right which took him by surprise, gave the kid a twenty and warned his mother if she saw the boy with so much a frown, she’d come back and fuck her up.
That had been before she’d volunteered for the enhancement programme, laid in a hospital looking at three dimensional images of her brain and body as the doctors explained where they were cutting and why.
The implants in her brain. Carbons in her bones. Artificial muscle grafts and fullerenes to strengthen her and heighten her reflexes.
She was recovering from a knife in her gut when the man from the government visited her. He smelled of the curry he’d eaten for lunch and he had a spot on his cheek where he had missed it when shaving. He discussed her record, her former military service.
Policing was becoming militarised and once the military had installed the enhancive program, deploying them in Venezuela, it became a matter of time and public acceptance.
Politics was downriver from culture and culture was downriver from biology. A woman officer was good optics and the man explained it all in a warm, soft voice which cut through the fog of painkillers and antibiotics. She was thinking about the box cutter digging through the skin of her stomach, how her last thought had been if she lived, she’d never be able to wear a bikini again.
Two years later, she walked into the squad room, claps on the back and hard hugs, the wary light in the eyes of her crew as she sat with them.
Imogen closed her eyes, visualised the teeming mist of the valley and the warm, damp earth beneath her feet. An image of tropical perfection, part of her meditative practice as she ignored the rumble of the road beneath her feet. The darkness was a blanket draped around her shoulders, and she sank into it as they drove to the warehouse.
Her crew were quiet, saving their nerves for the job.
The car stopped and she felt a hand at her shoulder. Imogen opened her eyes and smacked her lips.
She knew her enhancements frightened them and she compensated by going on point. It kept them alive, and grateful for having her there. Detective Imogen Capaldi was better than any vest, any gun but they didn’t know the cost she paid to be a better breed of cop.
Imogen got out the car, breathed in the warm, dank air of a summer midnight in New York and looked at the scarred front door of the drop house. Precognition ran its nails down her spine as she checked her revolver and looked at the rest of her crew.
They asked her if she saw their deaths but she shook her head.
It was what she told them if they pressed her.
She knew it would be another eight years, defusing a dirty bomb planted in Grand Central Station, without a child or a family to mourn her passing. The job would bury her with reverence, but it was no comfort against feeling her flesh melt on her bones from the brutal waves of radiation.
She smiled and nodded towards the building, watched the future roll towards her as she smiled and went to face it.