Kickback drove between the lanes, speeding toward the crime scene. When we arrived, she parked on the corner next to the jewelry store, it was part of a row of buildings installed on the first floor of a narrow apartment complex. We got off and Kickback opened a compartment on the side of the bike, retrieving a semi automatic shotgun with beanbags and another weapon that looked more like a militarized supersoaker with a fire extinguisher nozzle than anything else.
Kickback threw me the second weapon.
“Foam launcher. The foam will expand and harden to concrete-like durability. It’s also fireproof and insulated against electricity but it lets air pass through so no danger of suffocation. It’s the pinnacle of non-lethal capture technology.”
I’d seen foam launchers before, the DART used them all the time but theirs were larger, either used with a larger tank held with minigun grip or a back-mounted tank with a small nozzle rod.
“Didn't you say it was dangerous for me to use weapons untrained?”
“Unless you use it to hit someone over the head or shoot it directly inside of someone's mouth the chances of hurting someone are next to zero. Not so with pepper spray and tasers.”
She turned to the face the store, the jeweler was the fourth store in the row, it’s window was broken, the grid ripped off and a pick up truck was parked diagonally in front of it.
“I’ll go in the front, you go around the alley and find the back door. If you see a tango, fire at will.”
“Roger that.” I answered, trying to put myself in my superhero headspace.
I started jogging, went into the alley and found the right door, there were no markings but I just had to count until I found the one on the fourth building, past a woodshop, antiquarian and a bookstore.
“In position.” I said over the comm glued to my face. “Beginning lockpicking.” Remembering the procedure handbook, I took out the automatic lock pick from my belt and used it to unlock the door, it gave me a low ‘click’ sound, indicating that it was open. “Ready.”
“In three, breech the door. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Go.”
Using my ability, I kicked the door down, before awkwardly going inside after a delay to regain my footing. I definitely had to practice entries some more. There were three men inside, all wearing masks and wielding handguns.
“Police! Drop your weapons, hands in the air!” Kickback screamed as she came in, shotgun raised and aimed at the criminals. I left the tiny backroom and came into the mainroom, at arms length of one of the perp.
He turned my way and froze for a moment before he raised his gun in my direction. He wasn’t fast enough and I sprayed him with foam before he could get a shot out. The foam hit him and quickly expanded, encasing him in a thick cocoon of rapidly cementing material, covering his gun too for good measure.
One tango down. Two more to go.
Kickback used her ability and a second guy was projected backward, hitting the wall next to me and breaking a glass display case, a shower of glass shards falling down on him. He was stunned and it gave me the opportunity to foam him too. Two were down.
Foam launchers might have been fairly heavy and cumbersome, but they were really useful when it came to neutralizing threats.
The last guy smartened up and dropped his weapon, raising his hands in the air.
“Shell, cuff him.” Kickback told me. I remembered more or less how it was done in cop shows, got the man on the ground, hands behind his back and tied them down with a long tie wrap from my utility belt. At Kickback’s insistence, I got the guy to his feet.
“Shell, listen close and memorize what I’ll say.” She came closer and faced the guy.
“You are now under arrest for the crime of burglary. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you if you request it. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
He didn’t answer and I lightly poked him with the foam launcher’s nozzle in the kidney.
“Yes.” The guy grumbled.
Kickback called a pick up and police van came to pick up the thieves, loading up the still foamed criminals into the back along with their smarter buddy. We got back on KB’s motorcycle and followed them to the mundane police station while another car secured the crime scene.
Once the perps were set in a secure room, an officer came with a spray and it dissolved the foam almost instantly, leaving this odd, smelly liquid in it’s wake.
Kickback left the criminals in the police’s care and walked out. I followed her until she stopped in the middle of the hallway. She hit a pair of vending machines and took out a pair of vitamin water and sandwiches, giving one to me. We sat down and ate.
After a moment, she broke the silence.
“What I asked you to memorize, do you know what it was?”
“Those were Miranda rights, right?”
“Yes. We have to read them to anyone who is brought in for questioning, if we don’t recite them their rights, any confession or evidence we get if they talk during interrogation will be irreceivable in court. We don’t have to do it straight away, but it’s better to do it diligently than compromise a trial. As it says, they can remain silent as it is their right not to self-incriminate. If they ask for a layer one must be provided before the interrogation continues.”
It took it all in, making a mental note for later.
“Do you remember what crime did I accuse them of?” She then asked.
“No, it was Burglary.”
“Aren't they synonymous?”
“Not legally. Theft is the act of stealing something. Burglary adds the element of illegal entry. Then there’s robbery that adds the personal element as well as threat.
If someone steal your phone while it’s in the left unattended in public, that’s theft or larceny. If the person had to break into your room to steal it, it’s burglary. If you’re intimidated into giving your phone, that’s robbery. They are all punished differently.”
“That makes a lot of sense.”
“To be a guardian, you need all of this memorized. Once you finish your basic training, you’ll have to go through legal matters, knowing the right protocols, types of crimes and how to handle situations. The courses take about six months.”
We walked through the station and into a small closed office with frosted windows, the window at the door was marked ‘Guardian Program.’ It was empty of people and Kickback locked the door behind us and removed her mask. I did the same and sat down next to her.
“You know, you did good tonight. Slight mishap on the entry but dynamic entries are a difficult art to master. You handled yourself well with the launcher and didn’t panic under the pressure. I’m proud of you Paige.”
“I’m glad to be of assistance. And thank you for bringing me along, it was a very enriching experience.”
“And now to continue enriching you; you get to discover the true joy of patrols. Filing arrest reports.”
We spent the next two hours filling a document for each perp we’d caught. Or rather Kickback filled the forms while she explained every detail to me and had me fill in duds as practice. It was about as exciting as it sounds.
When we were done, she dropped us back to headquarter only to change and then brought me back home on her motorcycle.
“You’re back late.” My mom said when I came in. “I thought this was your off evening. Did you got to Chuan’s house?”
“Not this time. She and the others were called away to do some other thing. I hung out with Kickback.” I explained. “That’s Kimberly’s cape name.” I then specified.
“What did you do?”
“You promise you won’t be mad?”
“Paige, just tell me.”
“She took me on my first street patrol and we ended up arresting three guys who broke into a jewelry store. But there was like no danger at all for me. I just used this foam gun on the guys, escorted them to the station and then she showed me how to fill an arrest report. It was fun, not the arrest report, that was just tedious.”
“I’m just glad you’re safe.” She said, dragging me into a hug and kissing my forehead.
I returned the hug.
“Really, The most dangerous part was riding on the back of Kimberly’s motorcycle, it was insanely terrifying.”
“Of course, you didn’t think twice before fighting supervillains, but a motorcycle is what really scared you. Exactly the kind of logic I’ve come to expect from you.” She teased me.
“Moooom.” I answered.
“Come on, you look exhausted, sit down, pick a movie and I’ll make you some cocoa and join you in a minute.”
I gave her a kiss. “Love you, mom.”
“I love you too sweetie.”