Christmastime in Ohio used to mean bright lights all over, moderately snowy weather, and people who were normally the scum of the Earth giving some token effort to donate to the Salvation Army or the like. Now, it meant that while there were still bright lights, the only snow was the one that appeared on the television screens playing Christmas specials, and the scum of the Earth… well, they were being dealt with by a woman wearing a red wool beanie, a long white scarf, a brown winter coat and makeup under her eyes to make her look like she had been staying up for the past five days, high on something that was a mixture of rocket fuel and an octuple espresso.
The woman toyed with her scarf, while her partner on the other end of an ear piece and a few other agents watched from the top of a building. It was a classic sting op; dealer comes by, maybe with a couple of friends, and tries to sell her drugs. She buys some, and the boys follow them back to their den, seize the rest. Classic honeypot; almost too classic. The woman was afraid they would see right through it.
She breathed into her hands and shivered, her hand brushing up against the gun under her coat as she held herself. Why her partner wasn’t doing this was beyond her, but then again, women were less likely to be profiled as law enforcement of any kind. One of the few times where sexism was useful.
Soon, she heard boots hitting the pavement, and turned to see two men (she put a question mark after that word in her mind; they were so bundled up she couldn’t tell) carrying a metal briefcase with them. Classy, she thought, For a bunch of low-level Cinncy Dealers.
They stepped up to her and opened the case, grinning at her as they revealed several glass vials filled with bright green powder, with dots of blue scattered around in it. The people grinned with rotten teeth, and one of them spoke.
“See this, girlie? V.D.. 100% pure Spirit Dust with chunks of Vic mixed in. Imported straight from Japan; it’s one hell of a fuckin’ trip.” The man, as she could now tell by her voice, howled like a wolf and cackled. “It’s good stuff. What’s your offer?”
“Well,” the woman said, “It’s hardly pure if you mixed it with Vic. That devalues it by about a hundred alone. Also… how does it smell?”
The dealer frowned, showing off his meth-mouth. “Smell?”
“Yes, smell. Good smells like nothing; the bad stuff smells like rotten Bender Blood.” She held out her hand. “C’mon, if it’s good, I’ll give you an extra 200.”
The dealer grumbled and presented the case to her; in return, she took out a vial, uncorked it, held it slightly away from her face, planted a small tracking device inside the briefcase, and took in the scent of the Spirit Dust. The smell wasn’t exactly nothing; it was more of the scent of reality, ready to be turned into putty in your hands. But reality smelled like wherever you were right now. The woman grinned, taking out a bundle of Benjamins and handing it to them. “Thank ya kindly.” The dealer counted the bills and handed them to his partner, who took them in his hand, put them up to his face, and ate them. The woman blinked at this. “Uh.”
“What’s the matter, girlie?” grinned the dealer. “Ain’t never seen a Banker before? He eats money and shits out unmarked bills. It’s great stuff; sometimes he even shits gold.”
“Useful,” the woman said, scratching at her ear. “How Can this Man do that?” She heard cursing from her partner on the other end of the earpiece; he had picked up on the slight emphasis she had put on the words “Can Man”. The dealer just shrugged.
"I don't question it, girlie, and neither should you." The dealer grinned and walked off, chatting with his Banker colleague. Once they were gone, the woman heard a voice in her ear.
"Special Agent MacAllister, do you copy? This is Agent Christman, over."
"I'm here, Darnell, don't be so formal." She paused just to mess with him. "Over."
"Protocol, Mac. I got the big boys up here. Over."
"I got some of the merch. They had, like, ten vials of the stuff in there. Over."
"All right. Get back to the car. Over."
"Right. Go after them, with the chance that they could find the tracker and ditch the briefcase, making off with the merch. Great plan. Did Higgins come up with that? Over."
"We already have a shadow on them, Quinn. Don't do anything stupid. Over."
"Darnell, do I ever do anything stupid?" asked Agent MacAllister as she walked off after the two people in the darkness of the December night. "Give me a little credit. Over."
"…Shall I call Harley? Tell her you'll be home late again? Over."
"If you'd be so kind. Over and out." Quinn said into her earpiece, before bundling up and continuing after them in earnest, and hoping they weren't using portable doorways or insta-holes or anything like that.
The west side of Cincinnati wasn't exactly the nicest part of town. That much was no secret; granted, the worst part of it, Over The Rhine, was showing significant improvement, and it was nowhere near as bad as some parts of Cleveland (or, as Quinn liked to call it, 'The Serial Killer Capital of the World'), but it was still pretty bad. And honestly, if it weren't for the fact that weird shit was happening here, Quinn wouldn't have bothered coming, and probably would have asked the P.D. to handle it. But, this was unusual, so she kind of had to do it.
So, Quinn MacAllister tromped around in the cold December night, going after a person who made and/or sold drugs that could turn you into a demigod and his friend who ate money, and all she could think about was what life decisions had led her to this.
Regardless, she soldiered on, always staying one corner or a block behind her marks, who were illuminated by the lights from televisions playing through windows late at night, or the occasional street lamp that actually worked, or even the headlights from a car passing by. And they were easy to follow, anyway; the dealer, it seemed, took joy in smashing trash cans and car windows with a crowbar. Quinn half-thought of a snarky comment related to Gordon Freeman on meth, but decided that it was best to save the snark for later.
Soon, the pair came up on the most stereotypical-looking Drug Lab Quinn had ever seen. Broken windows, a strong smell of… something highly illegal, weird graffiti everywhere from various gangs, overturned trashcans… all of that good stuff.
One piece of graffiti stood out to her; she'd seen it before in other, bad parts of town before, and it wasn't associated with any gang. It looked like a set of quadrants, with 2/3rds of a triangle in the upper-left corner, the number two in the upper-right, and a square in the lower-left. What was odd about it was the chalk seemed to give off a soft glow; luminescent chalk, Quinn guessed.
After a bit, she looked at the address on the building, and called it in. She wasn't stupid, nor was she Batman; she knew full well she couldn't take on a house of possibly anomalous individuals on her own, so it was probably best to call in a team.
However, as she was talking into the earbud, she heard the unmistakable click of a 10mm pistol behind her. "Well, well, well… Girlie's a cop. More than that… Girlie's a Skipper."
"…call me Girlie one more time. I dare you." Best to keep him talking. Druggies liked to gloat.
"Girlie. Girlie Girlie! Girlie." Methmouth the Dealer stepped around her, to the front, keeping his gun trained on her. "That explains why you didn't say nothin' about Terry."
"Your 'Banker' is hardly the weirdest thing I've seen in this city." Quinn rolled her eyes as she knelt on the ground before him. "Also, I'm not a god-damn Skipper. Don't call me that."
"What are you then? Gawker?"
"…Hi-Guy? You guys usually ain't about doing bee stings- ah!" Methmouth the Dealer grinned. "You're a UIUseless! Fuckin' hell."
Quinn laughed softly, looking up at him. "Really? That's the best nickname you guys have come up with? Not Useless Idiots Unit?" Quinn tried desperately to keep him talking.
"Shut up. Nobody cares if a UIUseless dies in a back alley. The Skippers'll just say that it was a… raid gone wrong or something." He turned the safety on his gun off. "Where should I shoot you fi-"
Methmouth's speech was interrupted by a punch to the nose. It glanced off slightly, but sent him reeling nonetheless. He hissed in pain, rubbing his nose and growling. "Oh… you…" he took a step forward with each word. "Fucking… bitch!" He aimed his gun at Quinn.
Just as he pulled the trigger, Quinn grabbed his arm and twisted it upwards. The gun went off next to her ear, causing it to ring as a bullet grazed her beanie. She winced at the noise and tried to swat the gun away from his hand. No good; he had it in a vice grip.
Fortunately, Methmouth was also in a state of shock from the gunshot, and momentarily forgot the gun was in his hand. He punched Quinn in the chest, and she winced as she felt a rib crack. The sound of it made her adrenal glands wake up and have a pot of coffee made with pure antimatter. All of Methmouth's action's seemed to slow down.
Quinn, despite the pain, swung around her hips into a cutting kick, trying to take him down before he could raise the gun again. One well-aimed kick to the side put him on the ground like a deflated tungsten zeppelin, and as his head asked the sidewalk if he could have its hand in marriage, he fell unconscious.
Quinn radioed in her position, and then promptly proceeded to practically pass out next to the building. She hissed as the adrenaline stopped, the danger now passed. The rib fucking hurt. It was minor, but it hurt.
By the time the FBI squad got there, Quinn's endocrine system had compensated enough that she could stand up, albeit shakily. Agent Christman came up to her, looking at Methmouth the dealer passed out on the sidewalk. "…you okay, Mac?"
"Please," Quinn spat out a clot of blood; she had bitten her tongue when she got punched. "The trainers at Quantico prepare you for hard stuff." She grinned as trucks filled with an FBI Raid Team pulled up, and quickly overtook the building. She didn't go in with them; her work was done.
Carla Bosch: Earlier this morning, some drug dealers got an early lump of coal in their stocking when the FBI raided their drug lab in East Westwood. The lab was purportedly used for cooking a hallucinogen similar to LSD, the name of which the FBI is not releasing due to public safety concerns. The raid was reportedly carried out with help from SpearCross Protections, a private security company, who had an unknown interest in the property…
Quinn watched this on the 8:00 news with a smug look on her face, sipping at some coffee while her wife sat next to her. Harley Sterling smiled back at her. "Another good night?"
"Yeah," she said. "Nobody really got in the way at all. Plapps is thinking of writing me a commendation for my work. I don't think I really did anything that good. Just shut down one of several dozen meth labs around here."
"Hon," Harley said, kissing her cheek. "You did fine. Now, you should probably get along to work."
Quinn nodded, finishing her coffee, kissing her wife goodbye, and heading down to her black station wagon. She drove off into the Cincinnati morning, leaving her mundane life behind like she did every morning, and entering the unusual.