“You know, when dispatch said ‘dragons’ I sort of assumed…”
“Metaphor?” Walsh fills in.
Casey nods. “Yeah. Or, you know, man wearing crocodile skin and a flamethrower. The regular stuff. And yet here we are and…”
Walsh shrugs. “There you go.” He turns around to look at the crowd assembling behind them. “If I tried ‘nothing to see here’ what do you think would happen?”
“Mostly? I think they’d laugh in your face.” Walsh’s expression indicates that he had expected that answer. Casey raises her voice. “Okay, people, this is a police line. See here?” She points at the tape. “With us and the dragons on one side, and all of you lovely people on the other. We’d like to keep it that way, so if you can all just step back. Great.” Walsh is grinning at her. She does not stick her tongue out at him. “Even for us, this is a weird day.”
“Tuesday,” he says solemnly.
That explains a lot. “Did I miss Monday?”
“You slept through most of Monday.”
“True. But I deserved it.”
“I’m not arguing.”
Alvarez coughs pointedly. “Are we just going to stand here?”
Casey supposes one of them should probably do something. She fires off an experimental warning shot and three scaly heads turn around to look at her. She meets reptilian eyes (possibly - who can tell with dragons?) until they decide she’s not that interesting and go back to spitting fireballs at the wall.
Walsh says, “I’m not sure that was our best idea.”
Alvarez points his gun straight at the nearest dragon.
Walsh puts a hand on his shoulder. “Not what I meant.”
Alvarez’s expression is closer to a pout than Casey is comfortable seeing on a grown man, but he does stop. He says, “If they’re endangering the city then our duty is-.”
It’s not that she blames him for wanting to see his name attached to a ‘NYPD Detective Saves City From Dragons’ front page, because she really doesn’t. It’s just that the effectiveness of a Sig 9mm against magical lizards has never been tested. Plus Casey has been watching the dragons. “They’re not doing much.”
“Aside from tearing into innocent storefronts?” Walsh asks.
Casey shakes her head; she knows she’s right. They aren’t eating people, or trying to eat people. The only things they seem to be doing are exploding walls, and steadily coming down the street where the crowd – idiots – are still standing around.
Walsh, because he isn’t always the brightest himself, moves towards the dragons. This, she doesn’t get. It’s possible he’s trying to herd them. Alvarez follows him, because he’s Alvarez, and there’s no way he’s going to let Walsh face dragons by himself. But if the dragons weren’t especially bothered by Casey firing shots into the air, they definitely notice two NYPD detectives walking towards them. A fireball flies way too near Walsh’s head. The other two dragons look up from their attempts to burn through the wall of the jewellery store and then all three of them are focussed on Walsh and Alvarez.
Casey sighs. At least this is a move she and Walsh have practiced (in the barebones if not the specifics). Casey walks up behind the dragons from the other side, puts two fingers in her mouth and whistles. When everyone is looking at her again, she snaps the pendant from around her neck (her mother is going to kill her) and swings it back and forth. On the plus point, she was right, that ‘attracted to shiny things’ trait is not a myth. The dragons are very attracted to the knot of gold and diamond dangling from her fingertips. It’s easier pickings than finally getting through the wall of the jewellery store and then into a safe. On the minus point, they definitely won’t regret biting off her hand to get to the sparkly things. Casey pulls her hand back and sends the pendant spinning into the air. The dragons turn, all at once, diving after it. The phrase ‘dogs fighting over a bone’ comes to mind.
This is about the point the cavalry arrives, in the form of a black helicopter and a guy in a black uniform dangling from it on a rope. He fires what may honest-to-God be a bow and arrow and the dragons go down one by one, tranquillised. Black vans screech into the street, and secret agent looking guys pour out of them.
Casey says, “The US government has made contingency plans that include dragons?”
The nearest spook nods at her. “Oh, we’re prepared for tougher things than dragons. Thank you, Detective, we’ll take it from here.” And then he just walks off.
Walsh appears at her shoulder. “You’re rescuing me from dragons now?”
“You make an excellent damsel in distress. Although if I’d known I was going to need to play knight in shining armour today, I would have brought my sword. Rather than family heirlooms that my mother always knew I was going to lose.”
“Why did she give it to you then?”
Casey smiles. “For luck. She’s a complicated woman.”
“Well, say thank you when you tell her you had to feed it to a dragon today. Did you even know that was going to work?”
“Did I know that the fire-breathing lizards - creatures no one has claimed to have seen for hundred of years, mostly thought to be imaginary - were going to love gold just like in the fairytales? No, Walsh, that was pretty much a guess.”
He pats her shoulder. “Okay then.”
“Okay. Anyway. Do you think we’re going to need to write a report on this?”
Alvarez is talking to the local media, and the spooks seem to have crowd control under control. Walsh looks over at the men in the vans, hauling the dragons into the back of them. “I think we can let the professionals deal with it.”
She hums. “Hey, the Robin Hood one looked a bit like you.”
Walsh shakes his head. “Nah, I don’t take down dragons. That’s what I have you for.” He does the thing where he nods at her sideways, and says, “Back to the precinct?”
“Sure. Unless dispatch is planning on letting us know about any more escaped mythological creatures.”
He shrugs philosophically. “Well, it’s Tuesday. So who the hell knows?”
Second Squad, this is dispatch, reminding you to look on the bright side. If dragons are real, who knows what else could be out there? So if you see a rainbow, go ahead and follow it right to the end. Especially if it takes you near Grant Street, where either someone is setting cars on fire, or there’s a phoenix on the loose. Doesn’t it feel good to live in a city that’s even stranger than it was yesterday?