Control Patrol
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14 Division Toronto Police, Toronto, ON, Canada

Later…

"Probably something about pants"

A varied gathering of 14 Division cops, of every sort and rank fill the classroom-like Parade Room first thing in the morning, as is the rule as they come on shift— except for numerous detectives who apparently already have their jobs for the day. The seats are mostly filled with blue, only a few detectives loitering around, waiting to fill in the officers on whatever new case is afoot in their division. Chatter volume's on high before anything official gets underway; the usual catch-up and goofing off, generally upbeat, occasionally conspiratorial, particularly among the more youthfully-faced officers who tend toward the front, friends, roommates, officers who came up together through training. The ages of the men-and-women in blue scatter after the first couple of rows, young and middling and near-retirement peppered throughout the back of the small crowd.

Officer Maslow is at the back — he's always at the back, when he's here, if he's here, and presently he's barely that: positioned at the door with his arms folded, an optimistic glance might paint him as a stoic guard watching over the room; another may think he has one foot out, already looking to leave, standing above everyone else like he's too good for them— or can't be bothered.

In earnest, Dominick can't be bothered— to give a damn. He's staring at a fixed, inconsequential point on the wall — a poster on summer safety: BEAT THE HEAT! — swamped in his own thoughts, focused on trying to tactically piece together his day in a way that won't get him fired.

It's an impossible feat without knowing what's in store for his work-day. He tries to prepare all the same, working on gaining several irreversible wrinkles around his eyes in the process.

The only thing that occasionally pulls his eye away from that goal is searching out newly shorn dark hair amidst the group.

There it is — finally; not because Annabelle Neely's late to her first morning check-in after getting back, but because the usually overattentive figure's sunken uncharacteristically in its chair, a sullen little ball of hyper-focus on the front of the room and not the shameless glances of teammates and colleagues. A guy who backed the two patrol officers from the guy for their 'unfair persecution'; two women who believe Neely's wolf crying's giving females in law enforcement a bad name.

Even less valid when Annabelle's not making a squeak; she sits, low but determined: the fact that she's present a single sign against the idea that she's taken action against the station. As for the locks of less than love, they've been tamed — trimmed, even, in places, to even out the disastrously violent cuts — but it's no professional hairstyle from the back view Dominick's afforded.

"Alright, alright," the familiar man standing at the front of the room says, his command not particularly strict, just tired, but not even as righteously annoyed as he tries to sound. MacMillan, round-faced and round-headed, balding away what red hair he has left; he's trained more than half of them sitting here at some point or another. "Settle down, it's not even Friday. Oh wait, yes it is, except if you children keep making noise while I'm standing here you're all going to be working weekend shifts. Ha! And how would that be for your get-outta-town, go-to-the-cottage plans? Long weekend, folks. That means people are eager to flee the city. Maybe startin' their weekend drinking a little bit early. That means checks along the highway today. Your favourite. We're going out in droves to catch 'em. Speeders. DUIs. Easy. Except Keenan, Guerrera… you're with Detective Jonas today… the rest've you— your names 'n' partners are on the list, blah blah blah. It's a beautiful day!" He claps his hands. "Get some fresh air."

The officers start to rise from their seats like kids dismissed from one class to go to another. Behind the rest, Dominick quietly eyes the crowd.

"And except you two!" MacMillan points — singling out Fitzgerald and Lee, the officers whose slack ultimately led to the current slump of Officer Neely. "You're on inventory all day. Everything needs relabeled."

It seems not everyone frowns upon Officer Neely from on high.

"Hey Neely," a voice calls out, trying to carry to her spot from the back: Maslow, who hasn't budged from his post. "I bet you five bucks I'm psychic."

Having diligently risen with the others but hung a few seconds back to let a few fellows out first, Neely's slow to note her own name not called in jest — or by an authority such as the respectful one in the front. A curious turn over her shoulder is a glimpse of her former prowess, then she excuses herself from the row and notes Dominick there with a flinch at the corner of her mouth that doesn't detract from the chin tic of questioning or her otherwise pleasantly greeting demeanor.

"I bet you," he carries on, crossing his arms solidly  in a strong, boastful pose as she comes near. "Five bucks that the schedule over there says you're riding with me today. Believe me?" The quick raise of Dominick's dark eyebrows  encourages: believe it!

Neely's long lashes lower and raise in a luxurious fashion due only to their length and not to her particular comfort or flirtatiousness. She eyes him afterward, then stiffly nods, "Okay." She believes. As if she's been given a command, she responds — and nothing more, as the sole word, even, stretches the half-patched carnaged skin across her cheek, buried under a layer of bandage but visible at corners.

Okay,” the older cop repeats in highly embellished mimicry of her response — which is to say, he makes himself sound like a robot. In a flick of his eye, a microscopic diversion, he’s looking at the bandages on her face. There and hey, pay attention, he’s nodding off toward the sheet on the wall. “Since you have so much faith,” he goes on, back to himself although even that’s a slight exaggeration. “You don’t even have to look at the schedule. Wow, amazing,” Dominick falls utterly dry, but his eyes flash with an elusive amusement and subdued search of Annabelle. “Let’s hit the road. I know it’s what you’ve always wanted. Standing on the side of the highway in the sun watching cars go by. That’s why I made sure you were on for it today.”

Annabelle's lower lip rides up, ducking under her upper one as she just stares down his diatribe with a stiff-jawed nothingness that melts, but briefly, as she nods in the direction she starts to walk and says, "… Okay," in a straight-faced exaggeration of his impression.

* * *

The day's duty is, thus far, exactly as described and as mundane, as police duties go, as anticipated — some might even prefer a desk than sitting around alongside the hot highway, but at least the officers are on equal footing. More or less. It hasn't been as uneventful as it could be, thanks to two speeding drivers headed for the 401 out of the city and both in a hurry to do so. Tickets issued by Officer Neely — urged by her partner for the day — were sent on their way and the cops are left sitting in their cruiser half an hour after the last bit of action.

While numerous opportunities for conversation arise within a car that would otherwise be silent except for the occasional radio chatter, Dominick's preoccupied with his phone, which rings to interrupt every possible attempt until he gives up and stares out the windshield with creases embedding deeper and deeper around his eyes. If it's police business, it lies somewhere out of Annabelle's realm of need-to-know; if it's personal, he seems to deem it just as private— and, this time when the phone rings, he heaves an irate sigh and gets out of the car altogether, taking his call outside between the increasingly bright sun and simmering pavement. "A what that does what? I don't see how this is my problem if you can't even tell me where it …" His conversation degrades into a grumbling murmur as he strolls a few paces from the car, oncoming traffic whipping by.

As Annabelle's left alone in the car, the radio, as it does, comes to life. "All units be advised of a possible 10-40, red Elantra marker GBT-179, last seen at King & Tyndall headed west."

They're west.

Several red vehicles dot the highway coming up on the cops' less-than-surreptitious spot, their exact make and model, let alone license, impossible to tell through the distance. The sun glints and glares off of hoods, windshields. One vivid red sedan is trying to nose around the SUV in front. Dominick turns his back, shutting one ear with the palm of his hand as he listens to the voice on his cell.

Unleashing her seatbelt, the radio speaker jumping into her hand, Anna scoots until her thigh bumps straight up against the car's middle section of varied cop technology. "Sir!" Then, catching herself with one hand on the curve of Dominick's empty seat, she raises the radio: "This is unit 1463. We have a possible on that 10-40 on the Gardiner Expressway. Stand by for confirmation."

Her call draws Dominick's attention enough to swing his head in her direction. His focus nearly slingshots back away — he double-takes — but the potential importance draws him into a jog back toward the car. "I'll keep my eye out," he assures whoever's been splitting his attention on the phone. He diverts to Anna as the cell is scraped down from his ear. "You got— ?"

Determined to speed even in full sight of the poised cruiser, the red sedan Anna had eyes on makes a sharp and precise pass around the SUV and the two vehicles in front, bullying a car with a camper hitched to its back to barrel perilously close to the side of the road as Dominick falls heavily in next to Anna. Craning his neck to see the cause turns out to be unnecessary — the sedan flies past in a blatant hurry, several blaring horns erupting in its wake. It's indeed an Elantra — indeed license plate GBT-179. It's unit 1463's lucky day. "Well, that's not obvious," Dominick says dryly as his eyes track the fast-moving car, flipping lights and sirens on even as he's just catching up to what the hell is happening — even with Anna's quick spotting of the vehicle and its eye-catching escape down the expressway, it's already getting well ahead of them as Dominick makes to pull out in pursuit.

Anna's butt glides to the side, knocking her elbow into the passenger window as she makes to reestablish her safety belt. She's still holding the radio, so as one hand tries to click herself in place, the other one snaps the radio into action faster. "Confirmation on that possible 10-40. Unit 1463 in pursuit of the red Elantra, west on Gardiner Expressway." Click off. A glance to the driver's side doesn't quite complete; she has eyes on the suspect car too importantly. "Standing on the side of the highway in the sun watching cars go by, eh, sir?"

Just barely having clicked his own belt into place, Dominick urges the car down the expressway on a quick turn and spur of wheels that, to the other drivers who are cued to get out of the way, looks like one big rush but is, in reality, safe and controlled … alright; maybe a little rushed. Looped around the rearview mirror, a string of metal beads, empty of whatever object it once dangled, twirls wildly before the cruiser settles into a straight course. "Disappointed, Neely?" He asks — sarcasm, rhetorical; a grin at the corners of his mouth only just allowed to escape while his eyes are all serious. Like Annabelle, he's trying to track the fast-moving Elantra. The driver seems know where it's going and wants to get there fast; it doesn't weave, it doesn't falter. It's a straight-shot ahead — it's just a matter of catching up. "If you lean close enough to the window," he adds, "you could still work on your tan."

She has no clever retort, choosing the seriousness of the chase over it — or else something in their banter has struck a chord, for she falls into a trace-like soberness. Anna slides forward, knee bumping the dashboard before they level out and she can snap the belt into place with a little, unreliable, wiggle. More important is the radio in her hand as she listens for the static of any additional vehicles.

"This idiot," Dominick observes more like he has dully simmering road rage than the pursuit of a suspect in a stolen vehicle. "Went right by us like he didn't care we were there." If the driver ahead is under the influence of any substance, however, he maintains remarkably strong control of the vehicle — less clear now that he needn't swerve around so many cars, but his path is nevertheless straight as an arrow. "Acting like he's being chased before we were even on him." Yet the lanes stretching out behind them reveal no more than regular, inconvenienced citizens.

The thieving suspect disregards everything; lights, sirens, pursuit— he's determined. "Get on the speaker," Dominick tells Anna, not wanting to take his hands off the wheel as he speeds up, the last of the vehicles between them and the red target easing off to give them the right of way. The Elantra doesn't follow suit, pushing on and on and on as fast as it can manage—

It's only when they're almost on it that the driver becomes erratic.

The vehicle swerves without precedence — without logic — into the other lane, its rear-end jackknifing abruptly out in front of the police and braking. "Hold— !" Dominick swerves the other way, harder than ideal. The cruiser's tires burn asphalt, jarring the whole vehicle and the officers in it as it comes to a brutal but effective halt, each car facing opposite directions just short of side-by-side in a jagged near parallel.

Activated, the speaker projects something of Anna's "hh— " before jumping off. She's sent across the seat, caught by the strap across her chest from being fully flung into anything. It holds all the way until the very end when, stretched, the insecurely stuck seatbelt clicks out, giving her an extra jolt as the car stops by which she slams her shoulder into the passenger door. Adrenaline pumps the slight ache out as she fumbles hurriedly with throwing the shoulder strap off, the metal buckle smacking noisily against car interior. "Are you okay?" is queried as she unclasps her gun, kicking the door out to the open street. "You alright?"

It takes a few seconds for him to respond, pushing into his seatbelt, hunched at a uncomfortable angle toward Anna with his hands firmly glued to the wheel, staring ahead like he wants to make sure the car's actually stopped moving. When he does look to her, he's studying her quickly rather than answering right away — more concerned whether or not she's alright, first things first. "Great," he confirms, breath tight, unbuckling his seatbelt. Suspicious glances through his window to the other car show that it's still unmoving, but tell nothing of the driver — all Dominick has a clear view of his the modern grey nothingness that is the highway system, the Elantra's driver-side window too far behind him. "You have eyes on the driver?" Idiot, his tone carries for said stranger.

What driver is the question; the view through the window is a clear sail straight through to the other side.

He makes a grab for the radio, his low murmur into the device more hurried than his usual pace; he's gotta get out, get in control of whatever's happening in that other car. "This is 1463 requesting backup, we have the suspect blocking traffic on the expressway, we're about ten km out from Lakeshore." As another unit chirps in confirmation, Dominick is second to unclasp his gun and open the door.

No, she doesn't, but the quick sling of her leg out of the car assures him that she soon will. Typically not done without back-up, but the circumstances — and a slight headache — propel the scarred policewoman up to her feet, one hand on the cool metal of her weapon and the other on the dustier hood of the car as she uses it to pace around towards the Elantra's driver's side. Keeping close and towards the back, Anna notes what previously looked like nothing to be the lump of a person, possibly laid out. "Driver of the red Elantra," she calls, firming her stance and widening her eyes to try and keep them over-attentive. "Can you sit up and please show me your hands!"

Only a noise arises from the vehicle, a muffled wail that's more distraught than defensive; either way, it's disagreeable.

Back in the cruiser, Dominick is also disagreeable — the layout of this situation isn't exactly ideal. Keeping a close eye on his fellow officer outside the car, he changes tactics; exposed on his side, he slams the door shut again and hurriedly gets the car, sirens cut, lights insistent, moving again. It's parked at a safer angle in front of the stopped Elantra, frowning deeper for every second he is separated from his partner who is outside with a unknown threat.

The form in the car roughly appears to be that of a slim man, his physique solidifying as he lifts a bright blond head and reaches for the passenger door, squirming like his life depends on it.

"Show us your hands!" Dominick underlines Anna via the loudspeaker before he's outside with her, shielded by his door.

The driver's hands only squeeze the passenger door-handle and push it open a crack as he tries to ooze out of the vehicle. A dull, rapidfire thudthudthud thud, thump wholly incongruous to the soft sound of the door easing open tests the cops' ears; it seems like it's coming from within the depths of the vehicle, possibly the trunk.

"Sir, the trunk!" comes Anna's instant assessment, based on a layer of assumption; she, herself, has another task. Swinging a leg around the back of the moved police vehicle, she swoops towards the front of the suspect one, coming up around the opposite side of the passenger door so that it might provide some last-chance cover. Her gun's been drawn but remains lowered as she jogs, shouting, "Don't move! Police! Hands up."

Trunk noted but unattended to, Dominick moves around his door with his gun readied, slowly coming around the suspect car following the same careful route as Anna. A soft galloping series of thuds assault the interior of the vehicle once more, and once more calm. Behind them, the flow of traffic is becoming an issue, but sirens in the distance denote that aid is at least on the way.

The once-driver has fallen out of the vehicle as though boneless, his pushing palms on the road doing nothing to prevent the scrape of his cheek against it, half his body still sprawled within the car. He has no visible injuries, but he's sweating profusely through that attire boasts a more expensive taste than the car he purportedly chose to steal. A whine escapes him as his hands shake to lift a few inches off the ground toward his bleached, frosted and wispy hair. "I'll do whatever you want!" He hasn't the energy to shout; it's a trembling plea to Anna. "Don't hurt me!"

It echoes in Anna's searching eyes; a touch of tremble speaking through a flare of nostrils and that slide up and down of her finger against the half-lowered weapon. "I'm not going to hurt you," she affirms, tone gentling. A sweeping gaze attempts to glean a story— and lessen the chance of surprises— while keeping a note on the man. "Just— just keep your hands," a little shake of her head, like a glitch— like that hitch in her voice, "where I can see them, sir, and tell me if you're injured or on anything I should know about."

His hands are empty as they raise above his head, jarred about as he crumples fully on the pavement. He manages to focus on the police officer with a flicker of recognition for her purpose, his eyes bloodshot but not necessarily from anything but pure lack of sleep; he looks like he's been worn ragged. "No, I'm done," he says, truly sounding defeated. He's speaking at Anna, but not, exactly, to her. "I give up. I'm— whatever, I'm done— I'm done." He makes a sudden, determined effort to get to his knees, but loses all traction and simply collapses on his stomach, hands clasped loosely behind his head, which turns toward the cop. His pale cheek presses into the pavement, blurring his speech. "Just get me the hell away from it. Lock me up, I don't care anymore."

All things considered, Dominick, standing suspiciously by, is less than encouraged by these words; particularly, the contents of the trunk, which he now nears while keeping his eyes and his weapon trained cautiously on the once driver of the car. "Hey, buddy," he calls over past Anna, keeping his tone vaguely low so as not to startle the guy who seems pretty anxious to begin with, "Am I gonna regret opening this trunk? You got something in here you wanna tell us about?"

The man on the ground mumbles incoherently, hardly more than an exhausted, end-of-the-rope moan, and shakes his head, not caring that he risks scraping his skin on the pavement.

"Right," Dominick replies curly — colour him unconvinced. He delays the dubious task of opening the trunk to eye his colleague carefully, watching her interaction with the man. A dull thud from within the vehicle kicks him in the metaphorical ass and, with a roll of his eyes that transforms into hard-edged concern, goes for it: he moves to open the trunk.

Naturally, it's locked.

As Dominick anticlimactically ducks over to pop the trunk from just inside the stolen Elantra, he's hesitant to remove his gaze from Anna — and doesn't, for more than split-seconds at a time — but gives her room to carry this through on her own. The man on the ground seems to be reaching out for her — not in violence, but for help. "I'm so tired," he's saying, mumbling brokenly, "I can't get up. Help me."

Relative to an anxious agony swirling in her eyes and keeping her teeth hammering around at her lower lip, once Anna inches incrementally forward, she reverses it just as soon, keeping her professionally shiny officer of the law boots well out of the man's distinctly feeble reach. "Please stay right there, sir." All the moisture squeezes off of her mouth through her bite. Casting a glance towards Dominick reads simultaneously as survey and question, but she voices nothing except to the groveling figure in front of her, lacing in veins of attempted firmness to try and get him to focus. "Can you tell me what's wrong?" A bit deflated by her immediate need to reassure, "Someone's coming to help."

"I gave it back," the man replies as a lamentation rather than a confession. "I'm— no, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm just… I thought I was being followed. I wasn't, was I? Shit. Oh Jesus, I'm so tired."

His vague answers have Dominick eyeing him sideways, clamping his own mouth shut. "Tell him he can have a nap in a minute, in the back of the squad car." He didn't clamp his mouth shut firmly enough.
Sirens near and halt as vehicles convene on their location, giving traffic safer boundaries.

Planting one hand on the loosened trunk, the other on his tentatively holstered weapon, Dominick urges it open; it lifts with a swoosh and the officer steps back quickly, ready to help or hinder whatever— whoever?— may be trapped inside.

Nothing happens, the trunk is mostly cavernous, and Dominick's shoulders slump in an abrupt, short-lived release of tension that mimics disappointment. He nevertheless engages professional caution as he steps in for a look-see, only to find himself staring down at a dark wooden box no taller than a pizza box and assorted trunk junk: a spare coat, a tire iron, an eco-friendly grocery bag, and some scattered twigs and trash. "There's nothing in here," he reports; nothing, anyway, that could have plausibly caused those noises.

A pair of officers from their division approach, but Dominick, glancing over his shoulder at them, holds the back of his hand up. "Stolen car; driver's surrendered. All efforts should be going to making sure we don't cause another accident. I think we've got this." With his hand still resting near his weapon, he comes around toward Anna, standing near the downed man's feet, raising his eyebrows up out of his otherwise stern countenance, lightening just so toward encouragement. "You got this, Officer Neely?"

"Mmmhmmm." The first part of Anna's noise comes from somewhere else, but the second is swift confirmation. Swinging her hand to her side, she holsters her weapon with efficiency then approaches the strewn position of the suspect. Now with her partner— and superior— casting a watching shadow, she easily drops to a knee to get a grip on the man's raised arm. Slight pressure means his security rather than hers, she keeps her weight dependent on only herself. That there, the other hand seeks to pat down his expensively suited sides. "Can you tell me your name, sir?"

"Zane," the man sighs out, reluctant but already resigned. "Daniels." He's absent any weapons beneath Anna's check, and though he tenses under the weight of the cop, he continues to put up no fuss, except to mumble occasional tired curses under his breath. Dominick waits until he's sure the man's going easily into custody before — on the slightest of nods to Anna — he returns to the trunk to further investigate its contents and that of the rest of the car.

Using the capped tip of a pen, he flicks the old metal latch on the wooden box and inches the cover open. A wide gold disc glints back at him, briefly looking molten in the summer sun. It's etched with many concentric rings, like an aged tree. Mouthing "o-kay" to himself, he lets the cover fall. "Got some kind of… gold… plate thing in here," he calls out.

"Zane" abruptly goes rigid. Just as abruptly, he sighs it off, but his face is left pinched, distraught. "It's yours now."

Words lock into Anna's memory without any further pushing; her aim now only to glide her hands in support to heaving the weary car thief off of the unsuitable ground. Keeping one of his arms under her control proves difficult when she has to plant, shuffle, and bounce her foot here and there to get his dragging weight to accept itself. Getting him to his feet is a tiny marathon, but once Anna's hoisted him there, the bizarrely limp stranger can look forward to clasped hands and a soothingly bumpy ride in the back of a police vehicle.

"What's a minor car accident before lunch?" Dominick aims for a positive note as he returns from checking the stolen vehicle, swiping his hands together. "And an arrest! That's exciting," he can't quite reach that upper level of voice that would actually make him sound exciting, as he lies, for posterity, "I had this planned all along."

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