The whole area was surrounded with police tape and the worksite was packed with President Business' super secret police, all searching the ruins for the suspect. Bad Cop surveyed the situation grimly, then turned to the person who had phoned in the report. "You did good, kid."
The construction worked beamed. "Really? I was just following the instructions!"
Bad Cop didn't want to waste time entertaining this guy. Good Cop, however, had other ideas. The cop's head spun around and Good Cop grinned back. "That's a valued skill to have nowadays, mister..." His eyes glanced at the name tag on his leg. "...Emmet."
"Thank you!" Emmet had already seen Bad Cop and Good Cop switch between each other, so he didn't flinch when it happened like he did the first time. "Wow, I'm glad my instructions blew away, then! Otherwise I never would have seen the suspicious person, and who knows what would have happened then."
Who knows what will happen if those darn robots don't find them! Bad Cop grumbled. Good Cop frowned. "You're right," he said. "Thank you for your help, Emmet. We're going to go down and help with the search. You've told us everything you know, so you're free to go."
"I dunno, this is cool! Could I stay and watch?"
Bad Cop switched in and glared at him. "Beat it before you get in someone's way."
Emmet jumped. "Oh, sorry! I'll just, uh, go now."
Bad Cop watched him for a moment to make sure he was really leaving, then made his way down to where the search teams were. In the back of his head, Good Cop said, You didn't have to be so rude.
"We've got work to do." Bad Cop walked up to the leading robot. "Status report! Have you found anything?"
"Yes," said the robot in its tinny voice. "We have discovered a network of caverns beneath these ruins. It is possible the suspect escaped into them."
"Search the whole caverns! Find them or else!" Bad Cop paced around the ruins. "I don't want to be the one to report to President Business telling him that we let the one thing that could ruin his plans get away -- and neither do you!"
"I don't want to hear any objections! I'm sure Business would be pleased to turn you into scrap metal himself!"
"Sir, watch out!"
There was a cracking sound beneath his feet, and Bad Cop had barely enough time to look down before the ground broke beneath him. The robots rushed to the hole, but they were too late to stop him from falling, and the next thing he knew he had crashed into the wall and ricocheted off it deeper into the cavern.
"Ow! Ow! Darn -- ow!" The fall seemed to never end, and Bad Cop wasn't able to slow himself down. He felt Good Cop trying to switch in, and stopped him. "You don't -- ow! -- want to -- ow! -- deal with this!"
It's not fair that you have to be the one to deal with the pain, Good Cop complained, and before he could stop him, their head spun and Good Cop took control. Bad Cop was cut off from their body's physical sensation, and Good Cop started screaming.
I told you!
By the time they hit the floor, Bad Cop had switched back in. He picked themselves off the ground gingerly, checking each limb to make sure nothing had fallen off or broken. "I think we're good," he said.
That was horrible, said Good Cop.
"I know, I know. Those darn, incompetent heaps of scrap..." He reached down to his belt for his radio, only to discover that it wasn't there. "Darn!"
Don't worry, they'll find us soon!
"Always the optimist," Bad Cop grumbled, and stood up. It occurred to him that there was light down here; had they somehow bounced their way back to the surface?
No, that wasn't it. He squinted and tried to make out his surroundings in the dim light. There was something glowing in front of him, a red brick embedded in strange... clear... stuff. Except it wasn't a brick at all, it was something that didn't fit into the grid of their world, and when he realized what it was, Bad Cop's eyes widened and he took a step forward.
"Oh my gosh," he said. "It's the Piece of Resistance."
It's what? Good Cop switched in to get a look at it himself. "Oh my gosh!"
Bad Cop could hardly believe it. The piece Lord Business had been searching for for eight and a half years... and they had found it. Just like that. Bringing this to Business would definitely please him. And maybe then...
Good Cop, said Bad Cop, you should be the one to present this to Business.
"What, me? I mean, we both found it, really. It's hard for us not to."
You know too darn well that he hasn't been pleased with your work lately, said Bad Cop, and Good Cop flinched. If we say you found it, he'll be more forgiving of your past mistakes.
"Well, what if we..."
Bad Cop switched in and scowled at nothing in particular. "Look. Just take the Piece, present it to Lord Business, and say you found it."
I don't want to lie.
Bad Cop groaned. "It's hardly a lie. If it means you don't get fired or worse, I'm willing to lie. Are you?"
Good Cop switched back, frowning. "He can't fire me and not you, that's impossible, we're the same person, sort of. But if you really want me to," he added before Bad Cop could say anything, "then I'll do it."
Good. Look, don't worry about it. It'll be fine. Bad Cop tried to sound reassuring, but he had never been good at reassuring people, not even Good Cop. It just wasn't one of his strong points. Those darn robots better get down here soon. This place gives me the creeps.
The Piece seemed to fill the cavern with a mysterious energy, and the strange echoes that almost sounded like whispering didn't help. It's just the wind, he told himself, or water, or something. It still creeped him out.
Lost in thought as he was, he almost didn't notice when Good Cop started walking towards the Piece.
What are you doing.
"I think..." Good Cop frowned in concentration. "I think I should touch the Piece."
Oh boy. No, you should not touch the Piece, that is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing, what the heck!
"Don't swear. Besides, it couldn't hurt."
Didn't you read the instructions? Don't touch strange pieces! Bad Cop tried to switch in, but Good Cop stopped him. No, stop!
"Just one touch. It's... it's the right thing to do." Good Cop reached out a hand to the piece.
Darn it, don't do it!
His hand collided with the piece with a gentle tap.
Their minds were assaulted with visions and words that they could barely make out, a cacophony of color and sound, and their head hurt and their thoughts mixed and they struggled to keep the mind that was Good Cop and the mind that was Bad Cop separate.
"The prophecy foretells that you --" "-- aren't special, you aren't anyone --" the Piece of Resistance "-- the man upstairs -- " a cat poster "-- believe --" "-- don't tell me it's --"
It felt like forever before it finally all stopped.
The two of them returned to consciousness slowly, Good Cop blinking his eyes and squinting in the bright light that was shining down on him. In the back of his head, Bad Cop was more alert, and was mentally berating him. Why did you do that, how could you ever possibly think that was a good idea, where are we now, what the heck --
"Hey," said a tinny voice. The bright light shone right in his eyes, and Good Cop tried to shield his face, but when he went to move his hand, it was handcuffed to the chair.
Uh-oh is darn right! What did you do?!
"Stick to the plan. We get all the information we can out of him, and then we bring him to President Business."
Good Cop had a sinking feeling in his gut. His eyes had adjusted to the light now, and he could make out two robot police officers standing in front of him. He was sitting in a chair behind a desk, in a familiar interrogation room, which was... bad. Very bad. This was the room that he and Bad Cop normally used for high-profile criminals. Good Cop put on a smile and tried to wave to them, forgetting for a moment that his hands were handcuffed, and said, "Hey, fellas, what's going on?"
The robot lowered the flashlight. "Good Cop, Bad Cop, you're under arrest."
Good Cop's mouth twitched. Bad Cop cursed. Gosh darn it! Gosh darn it to heck! Let me handle this.
Their head spun and Bad Cop switched in with a scowl. "There's been a misunderstanding," he said. "I have no time for this. I need to report to President Business immediately."
The two robots looked at each other. "We can't let you do that," said one.
"Oh come on!" Bad Cop slammed his hands on the arms of the chair, rattling the handcuffs. "What could possibly be more important than informing President Business that the one thing, the one thing that could ruin his plans has been found, and that we need to destroy it as soon as possible!"
The robots made a whirring sound. "Informing President Business that his head officer has not followed the instructions and fused with the Piece of Resistance."
There's something stuck to our back, said Good Cop nervously.
Bad Cop twisted his head as far back as he could to try and get a look behind him. There it was, the Piece of Resistance, stuck on his back as if it were a part of him. Bad Cop opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
Bad Cop struggled to find something to say. "You're telling me," he said to the robots, "the Piece of Resistance has been stuck to my back all this time... and nobody got it off?!"
"It's fused with you somehow," said one of the robots. "We can't get it off."
"You can't get it off, of course you can't get it off!" He slammed his hands down again, wishing he could get the handcuffs off so that he could unleash his anger on the chair. "You incompetent heaps of scrap metal! Let me go so I can report to President Business how utterly useless you are -- and deliver the Piece to him while I'm at it!"
A phone rang, stopping him before he could continue with his tirade. "Hold on," the robot said, and held the phone to its ear. Bad Cop rolled his eyes and groaned loudly while it listened to whoever was on the other end. "Yes. Yes. Absolutely. We will bring him to the melting chamber at once."
"The melting chamber?!"
Please don't tell me you said what I think you said, Good Cop said timidly.
"You can't melt us!" Bad Cop shouted, while the robots picked him up along with the chair he was handcuffed to. "You're making a huge mistake! When Lord Business hears about this --"
"On the contrary," said the robot, "Lord Business was the one who ordered us to."
As they carried him away, Good Cop's fear flooded their skull, and Bad Cop frantically searched for something to say that would stop this, give them more time to find out what the absolute heck was going on -- "Let me speak to Lord Business, there's got to be something wrong!" He was afraid too, and it was difficult not to let the fear creep into his voice. "He wouldn't just throw us away like this!"
The robots didn't deem it necessary to respond. Bad Cop continued to try and reason with them even as they strapped them into the machine, while Good Cop panicked. Oh no. Oh no. What have I done this is my fault --
"Blame won't get us anywhere," said Bad Cop, gaining a few odd looks from the robots. "Now listen --"
He couldn't see it from how he was strapped in, but he could feel the heat from the laser when it hit the Piece on his back. "Ow, ow, okay, we can still fix this, just get me out of this thing before this starts hurting!"
The robot manning the controls turned the laser's strength up higher. Bad Cop squirmed in the straps, but they held fast, and he was still handcuffed. "You gosh-darned --"
He was interrupted by someone crashing through the door, and then things got completely out of hand.
The hooded figure kicked the first few robots advancing on them to the ground and leaped over them to behind Bad Cop, where the melting device was. Bad Cop felt the heat from the laser move off his back. The robots began shooting at the figure, but they expertly dodged the storm of lasers and quickly incapacitated them. The figure landed in front of Bad Cop, took their hood off, and for the first time, the woman got a clear look at exactly who she was rescuing.
"You have got to be kidding me!" she said. Something behind her exploded.
More robots burst through the door, and the woman grimaced. "I can't believe this," she said, jumping up on top of the machine where Bad Cop was strapped in. "I can't believe this," she said again, pulling off the straps and grabbing Bad Cop by the shoulders.
"You and me both," Bad Cop grumbled. "Unhand me before --"
"Shut up before I leave you here to not live." She yanked Bad Cop off the machine and dragged him behind her, towards the window.
What's going on? Good Cop asked.
"See for yourself."
Good Cop switched in and blinked. "Hi," he began, and was thrown out the window.
He crashed into the alleyway below and got his head stuck in a trash can. He tried to get it off, but his hands were still handcuffed together. "A little help?" he said, trying to sit up.
The woman landed beside him and kicked the can off him. "Don't even think about trying to escape!" she said, pulling him to his feet.
"I'm not," Good Cop said, "really. But, erm, could you please explain what's going on?"
She ignored him and instead darted around the alleyway, grabbing bricks and clicking them together at a fantastical rate until the frame of a motorbike began to form in the center of the alley. Good Cop was still recovering from the events of the past five minutes, so it took a while before he realized exactly what this woman was.
She's a Master Builder, said Bad Cop.
"You're a Master Builder," said Good Cop. "Oh no."
The motorbike was completed, and Good Cop was unceremoniously thrown into the back of it. "I can't believe this!" the woman shouted over the roar of the engine, and they started moving.
The next few minutes were very loud and very confusing. The master builder weaved through the cars on the crowded highway, while police sirens blared behind them and robot cops shot at them. It was a horrendously bumpy ride, and Good Cop was nearly knocked out of the vehicle a few times. They approached a barrier of police cars and helicopters and gosh knew what else and she leaped out of her seat, tearing off pieces of the motorbike and rebuilding it. With one last click, she flipped the front wheel around, and the newly-created hovercraft rose up and above the barricade, towards the city limits.
"What do we do?" Good Cop said, quiet enough so that the woman couldn't hear him.
Even if we do manage to escape, Bad Cop said, we've got these darn handcuffs, and those 'bots think we're supposed to be melted! Darn it all, I don't know!
Well, if nothing else, perhaps she could be reasoned with. Good Cop cleared his throat. "Miss Master Builder," he said, raising his voice to be heard over the wind. "I know, I know, I've captured a lot of the other Master Builders and brought them to Lord Business to be enslaved, but I'm sure we can work things out if you just --"
"Ugh!" The plane jerked to the side and Good Cop banged his head against the wall. "This is the worst possible thing that could have happened!"
Good Cop decided not to bother her anymore. Instead, he stayed quiet, listened to Bad Cop's stream of darn darn darny darn, and wondered how in the world he was going to get out of this.