Brogan stood on the roof of the NYPD building and watched as the hovering ambulance took to the air and screamed away across the city.
By some miracle Donovan was still alive, but in critical condition. The reinforced glass of his office window had deflected the shot just enough when it shattered to give him a slim chance of survival.
Brogan knew things could have turned out differently. His face contorted in an involuntary snarl of anger at the thought that they still might. He banged his fist on the hatchway of the landing pad.
“Take it easy, Brogan!” Haldane said, barely keeping the frustration out of his own voice.
“Come on, Jack! It’s a one in ten shot that the Captain pulls through. We’re staring down the barrel of an impossible molehunt and you’d better believe someone’s already got us marked”
“How do you figure?”
“The window in the Captain’s office was made by Armatech. Mono-directional translucence and resistant to strikes from most weapons. Few places have it fitted and even fewer people know about it. Whoever took the shot knew exactly what they were doing and had some way of seeing through the glass from the outside. That means they would have seen us in there too. Two Demeter City cops who used to be under Donovan’s command. Given the circumstances it’s enough to put a target on our backs.”
“Okay, that checks. But you’re wrong about the field being wide open.” Haldane countered.
“Like you say, whoever took the shot also knew the Captain’s widow was fitted by Armatech. From what you’ve just said, that makes our list of potential moles a bit easier to handle. Am I right?”
Brogan looked at Haldane for a moment and then with a brisk nod he replied, “Right. Let’s get started!”
A thorough search of the NYPDs mainframe computer yielded the name of the Armatech contractor who had fitted the window in Donovan’s office. Brogan and Haldane took their cruiser to the man’s last known address at the Hudson Heights luxury apartment complex across the bay from Liberty Island.
The elevator doors slid open on the 42nd floor and the pair made their way along the expensively carpeted corridor. Brogan pressed the gold-plated bell buzzer beside the door’s micro video screen. There was no reply and no sound of movement inside.
Brogan tried the buzzer again and spoke towards the speaker grille, “Mister Bickle, this is the police. Please open the door.”
Again, there was no answer. Brogan raised his fist and knocked loudly. As he did so, the door swung inward slowly.
“It’s already open.” Brogan said, turning to look at Haldane.
Haldane raised his eyebrows as he replied, “Maybe the neighbours are real honest in this part of town.”
Both men reached for their guns. Brogan pushed the door open further and stepped inside. Haldane followed.
The entrance hallway was even more lavishly decorated than the corridor outside. The hallway opened into a huge living room with a floor-to-ceiling panoramic window covering the far wall.
The centre of the view was dominated by the Statue of Liberty, clearly visible in the brilliant bright sunshine of the mid-afternoon. The rays of light shone into the apartment and turned the soft yellow of the carpet to a vivid shade of gold.
Red that was moving across the gold at an alarming rate.
“Brogan!” Haldane called and rushed across to the body on the floor.
Brogan hurried over. “Is it Bickle?”
“It was Bickle.”
There was a sudden sound of glass shattering from an adjacent room.
The two men whirled around as one and charged towards the door leading to the bedroom. It was locked. Brogan blasted the lock and smashed against the door with his shoulder. It gave way immediately and he and Haldane hurried through.
They were just in time to see a figure dressed in black take a flying leap out of the broken window and into a waiting sports hopper before the vehicle zoomed away into the chaos of the sky-lanes above.
Brogan stared after it, his fists clenched tightly.
“Well…”, said Haldane, following Brogan’s gaze, “At least we know we’re on the right track.”
TO BE CONTINUED…