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Day’?s Verse:
Therefore, as God’?s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12
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Police in riot gear had started moving in by the time Marion reached Pike Street. She glanced left and right, hoping to catch a glimpse of her erstwhile partner or his prey, but yelling protesters, signs, and police all moving up the street towards the Convention Center blocked her view. Dang! She felt her purse again—at least she hadn’t lost her last resort, although Marion doubted she would need to take that serious of action. She had never shot anybody in ten years with N.U.N.S., and she had no intention of starting because of some little protest riot in downtown Seattle.

As she paused on the corner, undecided, her phone rang again. Snapping it open, she answered brusquely: “Yes?”

Drake’s gasping voice came to her. “Still—trailing—heading—for—Conv—ent—ion—Cen—ter.” Just then, an angry group of youths in green EarthFirst! shirts tipped a car over in the intersection of Pike and 5th Avenue, completely cutting traffic off in all directions.

“I can’t get to you easily now,” Marion told her partner’s heavy breathing. “A car’s tipped over. I’m going to go down Pike away from you for a second and then cut down Fourth Avenue and try to catch you up.”

“’K,” Drake gasped. “By—Center—now.” Marion began jogging briskly down Pike Street, away from the crowds, the now-burning car, and the Convention Center, then took a smooth left onto 4th Avenue. The crowds were less here, so Marion dropped into a brisk walk. Her clothes really weren’t suited for serious physical activity; the slacks were dry clean only, so she really wanted to avoid sweating too much. Let Drake take care of that part.

Continue reading.

Drake was, in fact, sweating copiously. After following Laptop boy and his speedy sidekick for what felt like half a marathon, but which he knew could hardly be half a mile, Drake was ready to take some drastic action. Sure, he could run a 10K without trouble, but he’d never tried to sprint half a mile before! What were these guys, Ironman triathletes? And the one had shown no inclination to ditch the laptop, either.

He had to call Marion; she would definitely need to help out at some point. Awkwardly, Drake fished his Motorola Razr 2 V9 from his pocket and pressed “2.” Good thing he’d put Marion in his speed dial—he couldn’t waste time looking up her number now.

“Hi honey,” came his mother’s voice. “I was hoping you would call—I just got off the phone with Thelma, and she was saying that her doctor told her an enema worked wonders for her hemorrhoids. Thelma’s going in for one on not this Thursday but next Thursday. I wonder if I should ask my doctor about an enema? Although, I’d want to be sure to have a comfortable rectal nozzle, otherwise I’m sure it would chafe something fierce. And that would not be good, not with my thrombosed hemorrhoids right around there…”

Drake, not even answering, hung up. Marion was number three in his speed dial, he remembered now, not number two. Boy, would he have some explaining to do when he got home tonight. Mom certainly would not understand being hung up on by her own dear son.

As he ran up Pike Street towards the Paramount Theater, passing the Convention Center and trying to weave through increasingly thick crowds of green-shirted, sign-waving people, Drake was just able to keep Laptop boy’s banging bag in view. Pressing “3,” he heard Marion’s irritated voice: “Yes?” Oh, sweet dulcet tones! That was the sound of backup and a little less sprinting—possibly ever.

“Still—trailing—heading—for—Conv—ent—ion—Cen—ter.” Even to gasp out that sentence, Drake slowed, seeing Laptop boy’s lead widening. He couldn’t escape now, not after this far! Still holding the phone to his ear, Drake put on a burst of speed, hoping Marion would say she had a half-dozen Seattle Police cruisers heading his direction right then.

Instead, she told him oh-so-coolly, “I can’t get to you easily now.” Drake’s heart sank. His legs nearly gave out right then, hearing that he would have to keep trailing these two punks. Marion continued, explaining in the world’s calmest, slowest tone, “A car tipped over here. I’m going to go down Pike away from you for a second”—away? Drake wanted to scream, Not away! I’m about to collapse here! So he missed a bit of what she said, coming back in on, “…rth Avenue and try to catch you up.”

It took all Drake’s excellent physical condition to gasp out, “OK—I’m—next—to—the—Center—now.” Marion would be heading in his direction, and until they met up, Drake would just continue following these kids.

Fumbling the phone back into his pocket, Drake told himself, You are an ex-Navy SEAL. You have run much farther than this. These kids are out of shape wimps, fueled by adrenaline. They will give out soon, and then you will get to beat the crap out of them for the trouble they’ve given you. Just keep running. Legs pumping, arms rhythmically “pulling” him forward, Drake slowly gained again on his quarry.

Which was good, because suddenly the duo took a sharp right turn under the Convention Center. Drake almost missed their slick move amidst the crowds, which were now very heavy.

He had slowed to a polite jog, but felt bad because he kept jostling and knocking people. But Drake knew he would get the rough side of Marion’s tongue if he didn’t keep these boys in view—they were hard enough to spot in the crowds, and only Drake’s superior height had allowed him to follow easily so far—so he continued running, despite the fact he stepped on toes, shoved people, and even once pushed somebody off the sidewalk and into the street. Angry protests rose at his passage, increasing Drake’s guilt. He wanted to stop and apologize to every single one of these nice people, but he couldn’t! Didn’t they understand? It sure would help if there weren’t quite so many signs waving all over the place either. For a second, Drake lost sight of the two running young men ahead of him—they seemed to have no compunctions about shoving people, those jerks—but then a huge globe-shaped sign moved out of the way, and Drake just caught a glimpse of Laptop boy dodging onto Convention Place beneath the Convention Center.

Moving out into the road, Drake pushed himself yet harder. His quarry was in clear view now, as the road here had been cordoned off and was mostly free of crowds. The police that had blocked this road seemed occupied keeping protesters out, and made only feeble attempts to stop Drake or the two young men, somewhat to Drake’s disappointment. He had hoped the cops would grab Laptop boy. Now deep beneath the Convention Center, Drake struggled to keep the kids in view; with the power out in this area, the dimness down here played to their advantage. Thankfully, they really had nowhere to go but down that road.

Dashing down the dimly-lit street, muscular arms and legs moving in smooth rhythm, Drake was quickly closing the gap on the rapidly tiring environmentalist kids. They turned onto Union Street, leaving the darkness of the Convention Place, and reassuring Drake that his wily prey had not yet eluded his grasp. Down Union Street they ran, past the glittering Two Union Street tower, through the slowly thinning crowds, heading towards the water.

Drake wished Seattle was a little less hilly. Why couldn’t this chase have taken place in Kansas City?

The kids, now slowing significantly, reached 5th Avenue
and turned sharply onto it. He had to let Marion know—she would be around here somewhere. Drake was only fifteen feet behind them at that point and closing quickly, so when the dodged back onto University Street, cutting around the improbable base of Rainier Tower, he was ready. He had his phone in hand again, and started talking before Marion could even answer. “On—Uni—ver—sity. Heading—for—Fair—mont—Hotel.”

“I’ll be there,” came Marion’s reassuring reply, and Drake snapped the phone shut again. As he tried to slide it into his pocket, he fumbled and tripped, sprawling headlong onto the sidewalk with a yell and a crash. The phone, still in his palm, hit the ground with a heart wrenching shattering sound. Scrambling up, Drake’s hands and knees dripped blood; he thought that maybe some bit of cell phone may have embedded itself in his right hand, but this wasn’t the time to worry about that. The two kids had disappeared!

Slowly, Drake pushed his bruised, aching limbs into a trot. He could only hope that Marion had picked up where he left off. Passing a wide expanse of windows, he glanced in. The power outage hadn’t affected buildings this far away, apparently, because the store remained brightly lit and apparently open. There were people inside, anyway.

Turning away, Drake started to make his way back to the N.U.N.S. headquarters, when he suddenly slewed around. That was Marion in there, with the two kids—only now there were four men, closing in on Marion in a distinctly ominous way. Fueled by desperation, Drake charged for the doors, throwing his full weight into them—and crashing heavily into the solid and unyielding glass of the locked doors. No! He had to help his partner!

Now he could see Marion holding her National Underground Network Security badge out, looking just like an FBI agent apprehending bad guys—which she almost was, Drake realized with a surge of pride. But she would need his help! That was four guys in there. One lone lady could hardly hope to hold them off, desperate as they had to be. Drake felt for his Derringer. He would simply have to blow the lock open and rush to her rescue.

…Although, watching, Marion seemed plenty calm. But she couldn’t see one of the men, out of her line of sight, had crept back into the Baseball section and was picking up a massive hickory bat. Now he was raising it over his head as the other three distracted Marion, seeming to talk reasonably to her.

Drake had to act! Quickly he pulled out his little gun, crossed his fingers, put the muzzle against the lock, and pulled the trigger.

“Wow,” Drake shouted to himself—he could hardly hear over the echoing report—“I didn’t think that would really work! That was sweet, just like in the movies!”

The explosion drew the attention of all five people inside the sporting goods store, and they froze a moment in tableau. Then Drake wrenched the door open—what? The lock was a steaming wreckage, but still the door refused to open! Glancing up and down, Drake realized that he had shot the lock of the door bolted at the top, permanently locking that entryway. There only one option left: Drake would have to shoot the glass plate window itself. But that would use up his second bullet. Drake hesitated, afraid to the last bullet in his tiny gun in case he needed to protect Marion.

He saw the man with the baseball bat come up behind his partner, swinging with enough force that he surely would have hit a baseball right out of the park. Drake flinched, imagining his good friend’s head splattered¬—but she had ducked, simultaneously swinging her sensibly-shoed foot directly into her assailant’s solar plexus. He doubled over, the bat falling to the ground with a heavy thud. Marion dove for it as the three remaining bad guys moved in, looking very angry.

One of them dodged to the side, breaking the glass of the knife display. Drake watched the young man snatching—but carefully—for the largest hunting knife in the case, and the N.U.N.S. operative cringed again, thinking of Marion disemboweled with that enormous weapon.

Now she had the bat in her hands and was standing firmly, swinging it to keep her assailants at bay. Two of the young men moved towards her left and right, trying to flank her. Marion stepped back to Drake’s left, and Drake helplessly moved left, mirroring her movement. Should he shoot the window down? What if the man with the knife charged? Drake knew how to deal with knives, but he hated cuts, and he hated hurting other people. But Marion’s life was at stake—

Resolutely, Drake aimed at the huge window and the attacker farthest from Marion. He pulled the trigger again and was already moving towards Marion in anticipation of the window shattering. He hit the glass with an audible thud, smacking his face against the still-solid bulletproof glass. Now he wouldn’t be able to help Marion at all, and on top of that, he had cracked his forehead open with the impact against the window.

As blood dripped into his eyes, Drake watched Marion’s defense helplessly. The two thugs had managed to flank her, but as the one on the right stepped in with a twenty-pound weight clutched in his hand, Marion leaped into the air, kicking his face while swinging the bat into the left-hand attacker’s head. Both went down like sacks of potatoes. The bat shattered. Drake uselessly punched at the air, totally absorbed in Marion’s fight.

The last attacker stood back warily, realizing that perhaps he had underestimated this middle aged mother. He and Marion slowly circled one another; his knife flicked out wickedly, seeking an opening, as Marion tossed aside the splintered bat. She crouched warily as he approached, blade slicing the air. Stepping back and sideways, Marion stumbled up some stairs. Drake, watching from outside, saw her slip and fall.

The attacker rushed in, knife raised to stab the mother of four. But as he hurled himself upon her, Marion bent her legs and caught him in the chest with her feet, straightening her legs and thrusting upwards at the same time. His momentum threw him over her and onto the floor with a heavy crash. Drake jumped up and down, cheering, even as Marion rolled swiftly back onto her feet.

The young man had lost his weapon in the fall, but quickly regained his feet and dashed at Marion before she had a chance to firmly plant herself. Drake cringed, his hands coming unconsciously to his mouth in horror. That impact threw Marion and her attacker back against a display of GPS units, watches, and compasses, shattering the glass. They slid through the glass and crushed electronics, pummeling one another viciously.

Drake hop-skipped in agitation towards the door again, following their slide, once again clenching his fists and attacking the air. Marion really needed his help now! If only he could break down the door! But Drake could not tear his gaze away from his partner and her attacker long enough to look for something to break the door glass with. If Marion died when he wasn’t watching…!

The man was on top, his hands around Marion’s throat. She did something with her leg Drake couldn’t see, and the man’s grip seemed to loosen, his eyes tearing up. Good shot, partner! Drake thought. Go for the family jewels—works every time. Marion wasted no time, but gouged at the man’s eyes with her fingers, poking viciously. The attacker, thoroughly beaten, rolled to the side, curling into a defensive ball with his hands over his eyes.

“Yeah!” Hollered Drake. “Way to go, Marion!” She jumped up out of the wreckage of glass and GPS units, leaving the fourth man weeping on the floor, and motioned to Drake.

“What?!” Drake yelled as loudly as he could.

Marion ran up to the window and yelled, “PHONE! COPS!” Drake threw his hands up helplessly: his beautiful new Razr was spread across the pavement back up University Street a way
s. Marion shook her head, and Drake could see bits of glass glittered in her disheveled hair. Her lips moved, but Drake couldn’t make out what she said. Now she was turning her back to Drake, walking back to the first man she had kicked, who was stirring slightly.

She leaned over him and extracted a cell phone. He reached out feebly, trying to grab her arm. Heartlessly she kicked him again, this time in the groin, and he curled into a weeping ball the mirror image of his partner in crime’s. Marion dialed and talked for a moment as Drake watched. He pulled at the door handles: “Let me in!” he called. “Let me in!”

Marion shook her head and pointed to the lock Drake had shot: She couldn’t unlock the door, either, with his bullet lodged in the lock like that.

Just then, red and blue flashing lights rounded the corner and blue-clad officers poured out of the squad cars, yelling instructions. Drake stood in the midst of it, watching the police officers breaking the door down with crowbars, flooding the wreckage of the store. The flashing lights sparked off shattered glass, turning Marion’s tired face a ghastly blue and a bloody red by turns.

Drake, looking at the four incapacitated young men, felt more than a little sorry for the bad guys as the police handcuffed them and led them away. Honestly, nobody really had deserved the beating Marion had given those four thugs.

His victorious partner approached, face and hands lacerated from shattered glass, hands swollen, clothes in tatters. Assessing the situation, though, Drake decided it was probably best not to share his sympathy for the environmentalists with Marion. After that demonstration, Drake was sure that Marion could take him out in a second.

Or: My NaNoWriMo profile.

KF quality

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