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[Class C] For the Public Health

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The line outside the offices of the Civil Defense Force had started out small, but grown exponentially as the opening hour approached. Fear had driven people from all strata of society to que up for one of the free inoculations being offered by the CDF. None of them seemed to question the motives for the program. Why would they? The CDF were a trusted part of daily life in the city. If they were offering shots, it must be on the up and up. No need to question it further.

Right?

Private Emile Gareau was set up on the roof of a building across the street from the CDF offices; viewing the scene through the scope of his rifle. The Doctor they were here to escort had left word she would be waiting at the bus stop in front of the office. Now it was just up to Robicheaux to make contact. 

@SweetCyanide

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LQpH1C3.pngrobicheaux, ramsey



Ramsey never trusted free vaccines. Nor will he ever trust any from Last Chance. His reasoning behind it was that: it's Last Chance.

It was clear that he didn't like Last Chance all that much. Maybe it was the air, the scent of wet garbage, the feeling of dread you get whenever you see a homeless human rotting by the sidewalk where everyone else walks right by. Gangs of street children resorting to sniffing glue to satiate their hunger, where the same kids get beat at the market for trying to steal a piece of meat. 

Ramsey wrinkled his nose and reveled in the atmosphere. Smells like a bunch of losers.

He stood near a bench—making his trust issues clear on sitting—and looked at the direction where his comrade scoped out the view. From a far distance, one could tell he had a handsome figure. Classy trench coat, black turtleneck. It was a shame that his good looks were utterly wasted on him. He made eye contact with Gareau as he placed his spectacles on, his attention now circling back to a woman coming his way. 

"Doctor Robicheaux," he said, with a voice of a smoker and the scent of one, "You're Miss . . .?" 

@danzilla3

 

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The young woman jumped a bit at Ram's approach, nerves frayed from the last twenty four hours. Ever since she had discovered the truth behind the inoculations she had been on edge. She turned to the well dressed man and offered a small smile.

"Doctor Hart," she clarified, "Are you my uh, contact?"


"Now we just wait for... the... bus..."

That was when Emile noticed two CDF officers talking to another man in a suit. All three were looking at the doctor, and the snipers suspicion was confirmed when the suited one pointed at her and the officers began to move towards her.

Shit.

"Ram, change of plans, they're coming for her. No time for the bus, you've got to get out of there now."

The guards had split up and were approaching the pair from the left and right; both with their hands on their side arms. Emile looked around for another path his companions could take, but there was only one way forward. 

"You need to get across the street. Meet me in the parking garage next to my building, fourth floor."

Though he had hoped that things would go smoothly, Emile had learned long ago to always have a backup plan. They would have to hotwire a vehicle and try to get out of there without drawing anymore attention. Slinging his rifle over his shoulder, he ran to the edge of the roof and jumped, landing on the fifth floor of the garage with a roll. Now he just had to meet up with Ram and the doctor.

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LQpH1C3.pngrobicheaux, ramsey



It was his worst nightmare. Fight or flight frantically pranced wild into his nerves.

"Ram, change of plans, they're coming for her. No time for the bus, you've got to get out of there now."

He adjusted his spectacles, landing specific targets on specific heads among other heads. "Yeah, I see them."

"You need to get across the street. Meet me in the parking garage next to my building, fourth floor."

He spoke in a mockingly deadpan voice. "Yes, sir."

His tone was code for: "You've gotta shitting me, Emile."

The moment when several men in uniform started swimming in the opposite direction of the crowd, Ramsey didn't even have time to think. He looked at Hart, smiled, and swung his arm around her shoulder and held her close to his side. It was a smooth gesture, as if they had known each other like chummy boyfriend and girlfriend. Ramsey, the boyfriend, and Hart, the unfortunate girlfriend. Both of them started walking, and so started the chase.

"Roll with it," he casually said, "we're going to take a shortcut."

They paced towards the street, something the CDF had suddenly noticed, and the officers changed their course. Ramsey was so focused on getting away, he hadn't noticed that a wet flyer had glued itself onto his shoe. His body language and facial tics seemed to imply nothing of a daring escape; but the same couldn't easily be said for Hart.

Under his arm, she was in a cold sweat. Ramsey continued playing his part, occasionally engaging in lighthearted small talk in an incredibly dull tone. It would jarr Hart, but it was better than leaving her frightened.

In the corner of his eye, the officers inched steadily closer. Red targets bobbed on their heads, displaying the distance he had from them.

He pushed his glasses up, stopping dead in their tracks now that they've arrived at the street. As a crowd began to cross, they moved with them and blended in, but they never left the CDF's sights. Amidst the locals, someone like Doctor Robicheaux and Doctor Hart looked embarrassingly foreign. Ramsey pulled his arm off her and technically started to rush. 

It took fifteen seconds to get to the street and took five seconds to cross it.

They entered the parking garage and Ramsey shot a look at Hart with a straight face.

"Alright, now we run." 

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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It had taken Emile only a minute two get down to the fourth floor, but Ram and Hart where starting from the first floor, and would take a bit longer. He used the time to locate a vehicle and get to work on it. Back in training he had assumed he would never need to remember the hot wiring techniques they taught him. Fortunately he had retained more of them than he thought he had. In a few minutes he had opened the door, disabled the alarm, and started the engine. Just as it turned over he saw his two companions appear.

"Get in," he said, then looked at Hart, "Get in the back, keep low."

The doctor nodded numbly and did as she was told. Once everyone was aboard, he drove them out to use the opposite entrance from the one they had come in from. He hadn't seen the officers yet, but that could change at any minute.

"Are you carrying?" he asked his partner.

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LQpH1C3.png


Ramsey got into the passenger's seat with a big heavy sigh. The car started rolling the moment they went in, and he rolled down his tinted window just a little. He didn't want the car to smell, so he flipped off the AC. 

"Are you carrying?" The question seemed to confuse him. Ramsey adjusted his seat with a crank, relaxing into the cushion before actually saying anything.

"No, Emile," he said, tapping the side of his spectacles to scan for the previously marked targets, "I don't even know what that means."

Their driver eventually brought them to the parking exit; the type where you had to roll down your window and put your coins in. Ramsey pulled out a cigarette just as Emile rummaged for some coins - casually igniting his tobacco stick by huffing a tiny gust of fire unto it. Half the stick caught fire for a brief moment before sinking into orange-hot embers, then fading to heated grey ash. When he puffed a smoke, half of his cigarette was gone, much to his annoyance. Many of his coworkers thought that he looked like a fire-breathing lizard doing that. 

They pulled out of the driveway. Emile, their trusty driver, began to bring them to the main road. Ramsey watched the cityscape roll by, decorated by the depression that Last Chance always gave off. The people here were miserable, and it reminded him of himself many years ago. He scoffed at them, then to himself, begrudgingly puffing another lazy drift of smoke. Ramsey instead looked somewhere else, eyes drawn to the rear view mirror where the doctor was anxiously fidgeting in the back seat.

"You're not looking so fresh, doc," he said, taking yet another puff. It was a miracle how he hadn't already died - from this - smoking until his lungs were charred, black and burning. But then again, he did breathe fire. How's a little smoke gonna hurt him? He took a pack of cigarettes and offered it to Hart without looking at her, not directly, at least. "Don't worry. We'll get you to the news agency safe and sound." He pointed to the soldier then to himself. "Private Gareau and Doctor Robicheaux at your ser-?" 

A red target bobbed up behind Hart in the rear view mirror. Fuck. 

"Ah, fuck," Ramsey muttered. A police car behind them was hot in their tracks. It signaled them to pull over. "Emile," he said to the sniper, tapping his shoulder with a knuckle and nodding to the mirror between them. Hart started to grow pale. "We pulling over?" Ramsey asked. It was a rhetorical question. He grew steadily anxious as Emile plastered on a devious look on his face. Oh god. Oh fuck.

Edited by SweetCyanide

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"It means, do you have a gun," Emile sighed. He reached into his jacket, retrieved one of his revolvers and handed it to Ram, "Which, considering the kind of mission this is, you damn well should be."

The sniper did everything in his power to give the appearance of a normal driver just going about their day. He paid the toll at the garage exit, then took care to follow all the traffic laws as he navigated them through the city. Glancing at the rearview mirror, he saw the doctor numbly take a pack of cigarettes from Robicheaux. It was clear the young woman was scared, and she had every right to be. Emile doubted that things would have gone well for her if she had been taken by those guards. Whatever it was she knew, it was clear that somebody didn't want her sharing it with anyone else.

Suddenly a siren flashed, and he cursed their luck. In response to his partner he answered, "Yeah, but strap in. I got a bad feeling about this."

Emile guided the car to the side of the road and came to a stop. Looking in the mirror he saw the driver of the squad car get out; walking towards them with his hand on his sidearm. His partner was on the radio, most likely calling for backup. The sniper waited until the driver was almost to their car before peeling out. He turned a corner just as the cop drew his weapon.

"Shit. We've gotta get off the street before-"

Cutting him off, another squad car came around the corner, lights flashing, siren blaring. It was soon joined by three more cars.

"Fuck."

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Emile knew that their time was now limited. The window just after a police chase began was the time when the pursued would have the best chance of shaking their pursuers. If things dragged on long enough for air support to show up, they would be finished. All they had to do was shake their current tails and get out of sight. From there they could make the rest of the journey on foot. With some luck, they would even be able to avoid the checkpoints the authorities would surely set up.

But he didn't know the streets of Last Chance as well as Law Enforcement would. They seemed to predict every turn they would make, and soon it was clear that they weren't going to shake them by out driving them. Handing the wheel to Ramsey, he opened the sun roof, and hoisted his rifle out with him. Then he shouldered the weapon and took aim.

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Sniping was not easy.

Obviously distance and wind direction and speed had to be taken into account. Currently the distance was only a dozen meters or so, but the windspeed would be tricky considering he was hanging out of a moving car. Thankfully at this range he wouldn't have to take the rotation of the earth into account. Weather was sunny and clear. He knew that he would most likely hit whatever he fired at.

But he still had to decide what to fire at. 

The cops behind the wheel of the car were an obvious choice; but one he dismissed quickly. Most of these guys were just doing their job, and he felt that he couldn't fairly kill them for that. Tires? No, too much chance of a ricochet if he hit the pavement. That only left one option.

A normal rifle probably wouldn't be able to take out the engine of a car, at least not with one shot. But Emile's rifle was by no means a normal one. He fired three shots, and scored three hits. Smoke and flame billowed up from the hoods of the vehicles which quickly slowed to a stop.

 

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Once he was back in the vehicle, Emile took the wheel back from Ramsey, and turned down the next street. He found an alley, and pulled the car into it. As soon as the vehicle had come to a complete stop, he got out of the car; his companions doing the same. 

"We need to split up," he said, directing his words towards Ramsey, "I'll take the doc and meet you at the office."

Exchanging a nod, the two men made for opposite ends of the alley before turning out onto the streets. He kept one arm looped through the Doctors, gently urging her forward as they made their way through the crowds. As they moved, he could hear Hart whispering to herself.

"Oh Gaia, oh sweet mother Gaia what have I done? I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna-"

Emile squeezed her arm and got her to look at him, "Neither of us is dying today. I'm gonna get you out of here, and everything is going to be fine, okay?"

Hart nodded, and the pair kept going. Soon they came upon the entrance to the subway, and descended the stairs.

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Rush hour was winding down, but there were still enough people moving through the subway system to make Emile nervous. On the one hand, it was difficult to pick two people out of a crowd. But it also made it harder to tell if anyone was following you. He tried to push the thoughts aside as he purchased two tickets from a bored-looking clerk at the ticket desk. From there they moved to the platform to wait for their train to arrive. 

The seconds ticked by agonizingly slow. He tried not to make a show of himself as he kept watch all around them for anyone watching them. It looked like they might get away untroubled, but then two police officers came onto the platform just as the train pulled in. In the sudden rush to board the train, he and the doctor were momentarily caught out in the open. 

One of the men pointed in their direction, and they started approaching; but the door closed before they could get in. This didn't mean they could rest however; as Emile watched the two men enter through a door further down the car.

Then the train lumbered forward, and they were in motion.

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The two cops didn't move forward right away. Really there was no reason for them to. All they had to do was wait for the train to reach the next station and they could arrest the two suspects at their leisure. Emile knew that they would have to keep moving if they wanted to remain free. Taking the doctors hand, he led her forward. As soon as they were moving, the cops were right behind them. 

"Where are we going?" whispered Hart.

"Changing carriages."

Pushing their way through the crowded car, the two of them eventually made it to the front of the car. Emile opened the door and ushered Hart through it. Once she was through, he smashed the opening mechanism with the butt of his pistol. It wouldn't keep their pursuers out for long, but it might buy them a few precious seconds. 

Continuing through the cars, they stopped when they came to the last car before the engineers cabin. It was mostly empty, and this seemed like the opportunity to get the jump on their pursuers. Emile gestured for Hart to take cover behind a row of seating, and waited for the cops to come through the door.

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In the moments before a fight, there are a lot of things that go through a mans head. 

Did I plan this well enough? Is there any way I can win? Would it have been a better idea to just run away? A thousand questions, a thousand doubts all with one thing in common; that it was too late to do anything about them. Once things go that far, all you can do is hope you've made the right decision.

As the first cop came through the door, Emile punched him square in the jaw and sent him reeling to the side. Before his friend could react he threw a knife hand strike into his throat that stopped him in his tracks. The first man recovered quickly and threw a wide right hook. Emile blocked with his left at the same time he threw a jab into the mans ribs, then used his blocking hand to deliver another solid blow to the mans face.

Suddenly he was blindsided by the second man and taken to the ground. He managed to get his feet between him and his attacker and shoved him away before rolling backwards and getting to his feet. As he rose to his feet he drew his sidearm and took aim. He put a round in each of their legs as they were drawing their own weapons, and they went down in a heap.

Glancing at Hart, he now moved towards the Engineers cabin.

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It took disturbingly little effort for Emile to force his way into the Engineers cabin and hold the man at gunpoint. He felt terrible for victimizing the man, but he had no other choice at the moment. The mission was all that mattered, and he needed to get it done.

"Go past the next station."

"What? Why?"

Emile cocked the hammer on his pistol, "Because the man with the gun said so."

The engineer nodded, "Aye, that's a good reason."

Soon the next station was in view, and he could see the crowd lined up, waiting for their ride to arrive. They must have been surprised when the train blew right past the platform without so much as slowing down.

"What now?" asked the Engineer.

"Keep going to the end of the line."

Once again the man complied, and they passed on station after another until they came to the end of the trains route. This had been where he had wanted to go from the beginning, but circumstances had forced him to go faster. Now he turned to Hart.

"Almost there. Let's go."

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Getting out of the station had been fairly easy. It seemed like the railway was still trying to make sense of the train that had blown through all of its stops. Once they were street side, he flagged down a cab and he and Hart got in back. Giving the driver his destination, he leaned back in his seat; allowing himself to relax just a little. It seemed like they might finally be at the end of this.

"So much for a simple mission," he mumbled.

"What?" asked Hart.

"Nothing."

The relative peace was shattered by the squawking of the cabbies radio. He overheard the dispatcher giving the driver a description of two people who sounded a lot like him and the doctor. When the driver glanced back, Emile pulled back his coat to reveal his gun.

"Keep going."

Wisely, the man decided to do as ordered, and the car kept moving down the road.

 

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