Calliope Boulevard is the hardest beat in town some say. Wasn't always this way. It got its nickname of Lil Cal for being peaceful and uneventful originally. For the past few sweeps though Lil Cal has taken on another character. Along with English Street it had become a hotbed of Midnight Crew activity. The war against Scratch and his Felt was waging hot. And so in the spirit of defiance the brothers Strider made the visage of the Felt's mascot a symbol of the Prospit City Police Department. The hideous puppet was proudly dubbed Lil Cal and officers on detail in that stretch carried about pictures of the little thing as a subtle fuck you to any Midnight Crew sympathizers, as well as the Felt themselves. Officer Terezi Pyrope on the other hand carried the doll himself with her when on the beat.
Lil Cal, with his eery smile and garish clothes, happily sat in the satchel she carried with her. His head peeked out at the passersby as she walked the streets with purpose. She had someone to see and according to her RSA, Robotic Service Agent, her target was close by. By his count the woman was sitting in the rundown remains of the Fairy Bull. A grin spread on Terezi's face as she took in the incorporeal yet directive bits of color; the “words” that her RSA sent to her. Vriska Serket was so hideously predictable. People in general were, but Vriska had a delightful case of predictable chaos. It gave her a dangerous edge that Terezi both hated and savored. Justice may be king, but the pursuit of it might as well be fun.
She arrives at the front of the former cafe and walks in after a brief check of the perimeter. The orange creamsicle sign is still there making it easy to pick out when on detail. Upon entering Terezi cringes. The Fairy Bull's interior is a mishmash of tastes and smells. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if her synesthesia hadn't wrecked the neural implants meant to give her her sight back. She adored her ability to taste and smell color and light, but it made places like the Fairy Bull a living hell. It also made picking out Vriska among the debris and rats a simple task. Her shoes were a shocking cherry red.
Just as Mr Minty Swirl had said, Vriska is sitting on a decaying bar stool, her back pressed against the wall. “Hey there, Ms. Blueberry Burst. What a surprise to see you here,” Terezi calls out, leaning against her cane.
“Can it, Pyrope. I'm not in the mood for your shit,” Vriska says neglecting to shoot Terezi so much as a glance. Instead she stands up to the leave through the back door. Or what used to be the back door. There was a rather large hole there now about twice the size of what the door had been.
“That implies that you're ever in the mood for my pesterings, Serket. This evidence is delicious,” Terezi replies before laughing to herself.
Vriska turns to glare at her. There's just the slightest change in the color. It's starting to boil, like a lovely blueberry pie in the oven. Terezi can but giggled ever the more at the thought. “If you want to play Freudian Fuckfest: The Championship Edition go talk to Lalonde. Dumb bitch can't keep her mouth shut for eight seconds so I'm sure you'd have a blast.”
Terezi catches herself and responds, “As fun as it is to taste the delicate secrets of Dr. Lalonde's mind, I've more pressing concerns, Vriska.” Mr. Minty Swirl, her RSA, slides out from the ventilation duct, crawling his way to Terezi's side. Six of his seven legs hold him up, the seventh probing the air curiously. He stands ever ready to act, stark white with lines of tasty mint green running through him. Terezi takes note of him and continues, “You see the long arm of justice is reaching out for its gavel. Longing to bring down judgment. Bang, bang, bang! It can't though, as it can't see through the soft vanilla masks of the lawless.” She grins widely, “So tell me, Vriska. The attackers of the Fairy Bull were from the Midnight Crew? And they were behind the recent attack on the Vantas' Church as well?”
“You got what you wanted last time. I'm not repeating myself eight times because you're deaf.”
“I'm blind not deaf. That's so rude of you to forget.”
Vriska flips her hair, “Guess how many fucks I don't give. All of them. All the fucks!” Mr. Minty Swirl holds his seventh leg steady, pointing towards Vriska with warning. She scowls at the robot before spitting out, “You can take your government paid stalker with you. I don't need acid burns because it decided that poooooooor little Vriska was a violent perp.”
Terezi raises a hand and thinks of the dullest grey, the grey of submission and non-action. Mr. Minty Swirl drops his tendril and takes to merely observing the cafe. Vriska snarls at the sight of Terezi's lack of further movement. Hateful and angry, a deep lovely red like human blood. Vriska answers regardless, “Yeah. Same damn people hit that dump. Hit it reaaaaaaaaal hard. Bastards.”
A studious nod is made as Terezi walks over to Vriska, almost waltzing on her way. “Thank you. Yes, this process can be insufferable, but see how much easier it is to just answer!” Terezi says pausing only to chuckle at the bird that's been flipped her way, “Now tell me, Blueberry Burst, what do you know about the assailants?”
Vriska sends a dark glare Terezi's way, “And what makes you think I know anything? I told you what I know. Fairy Bull got shot to shit and then the Crew put a bullet in Pastor Vantas' head before shutting Captain Yellsalot up for good.”
“Don't play the fool, Serket. You and I both now I could ask any old chump for that much, but,” Terezi begins while placing a hand on Vriska's shoulder, “You have connections and oh so much in that lovely little head of yours. You're caught in a web of deceit and violence that stretches throughout Lil Cal. I can taste your lies, Vriska. You know something, something useful, and I can tell you this. Playing the hero will only leave us with another pretty smelling stain on the street.” Their faces near one another, Terezi's cheeks lightly brushing against Vriska's. Fingers dig down into her shoulders as Terezi continues, “Your theatrics will just leave our fussy little Ms. Mint with another mess to clean.”
Vriska shakes Terezi off and gives her a fierce slap. The sound alerts the RSA and he begins to raise himself up, glowing a sickly green. A hand is held up and he sits back down. Grey. Dull grey is stand by. “I'm not telling you shit. Yeah maybe I do know something, but guess what! I'm not telling you a damn thing. What's it done me anyway? Got me shot at for being a cop loving bitch! So just. Go. Away!” Vriska cries out loudly. Loathing radiates from Vriska, such a lovely red.
Still there's something else. Something more shocking. Stark yellow. The sweet mango taste of hopeful fear. Terezi asks Mr. Minty Swirl what he's picking up. He can't confirm anything. Well that settles that. It's up to the famed PCPD Seer of Mind. Smirking away she grabs the retreating Vriska. Her hold is tight, firm. It's commanding and Vriska halts at its touch. “A name is all I need, Vriska. Then maybe our little Ms. Mint can sleep soundly.”
“She'll cry and bitch regardless of who dies. She's a pansy, biggest one ever!”
“Better a dirty copper than someone she relies on, surely?”
Vriska bites her lip and sighs. She looks at the wall to her left. Pictures hand from it. That stupid photo of her and Kanaya is still there. The frame's cracked but you can see the fussy woman well. Her face is so bright, so cheery, as she clings to Vriska. The moment caught forever in time.
“Ampora,” Vriska hisses out, “Ampora and that's all you're getting.”
Terezi gives Vriska a light peck on the cheek. She gets another slap to the face for this. Vriska takes the effort to drag her nails into the flesh this time. Small trickles of teal seep out, staining her face. Despite this Terezi continues to smile away and says, “Thank you, Ms. Blueberry Burst. You've been a lovely help as always.”
“Yeah, fuck you too.”
“Is that a date?”
Vriska snarls again and scrunches up her face in disgust. “It's a 'I'm leaving and you better go the hell away or I'm gonna stuff your stupid red chalk down your big mouth!'”
“Mr. Minty Swirl wouldn't at all appreciate that,” Terezi says with a hint of affected sadness. Then she cackles before saying, “He does love the thrill of the hunt though.”
“Yeah, yeah. Just can it!”
“Hmph. You've never been much fun, Vriska, but if you insist,” Terezi says while pushing herself off her cane. She gives Vriska a wave, “I must be off anyway. The streets reek of the foulest orange chaos. Justice never sleeps you know. Because crime doesn't either.”
Vriska waves her off dismissively and heads out the backdoor. She thrusts her hands into her pockets as she storms away. God, she hates that woman so damned much. Which just makes her hate her even more. Stupid fucking cop. Vriska pauses for a moment. A date. She had asked it it was a date. Pissed as she is Vriska may as well take it out on Terezi. And so Vriska stomps back into the cafe meaning to force the stupid woman against a wall. She's gone though. Terezi moves swiftly, ever on the bounce. Vriska bites her lip and swears mentally before leaving. Lousy, stupid, goddamned sexy cops.
The next five days creep by slowly. It's sickening how lazily time moves by when she's not doing anything. When watching turf or on a ride there just wasn't enough time. Too many irons in the fire, way too many. Now though Vriska can but march about to her lame convenience store job and smile against her will. Watching people pick up bags of chips and cans of Med-gel. She should be out there doing something. Like grabbing that candy ass Ampora by his ugly hipster scarf and planting a bullet between his eyes. She can't though. Terezi's a stupid bitch who thinks she's right all the time, but this time she really is right. Vriska would just end up dead and Kanaya would be broken. That ain't happening. Even if all Kanaya does is fuss and meddle.
Vriska curls up against the couch in their small apartment. Wasn't a damn thing on the nets of interest and she doesn't have anyone to call about what's going on now. They're all dead, liable to arrest her, or want her dead. It's just so boring and it's all Terezi's damn fault, but Kanaya comes home. She shuts the door behind her carefully, her touch delicate and soft. Like she's afraid she'll break it. Or get it dirty. Kanaya is fussing and worrying like she always is. And glaring at Vriska's more off color jokes. It's lovely though, oh so lovely. Kanaya is her fussy twit and by god she's going to be a happy, fussy twit. There isn't going to be another Tavros or Karkat for her to mourn over.
This gets Vriska through the week. Until the day Kanaya doesn't get home. That happens at times. She works at a crisis clinic after all. A call comes from her as it always does on these days. This time though Kanaya sounds on the verge of cracking. “I will be late in returning to our abode this evening as the clinic was assaulted most recently. I believe it was an hour ago or so, give or take twenty minutes. The patients have made it through, though Rose was regrettably added to the list of people I must tend to lest Mr. Bec Noir makes us a visit, which would be absolutely dreadful.”
“What?” Vriska asks stupidly. Her hands are numb. As is her mind.
“She's been shot.”
“I got that. What do you think I'm stupid? Do we really fucking need to do the Vriska's a stupid bitch thing all the time?”
Vriska feels like hell. Who says that to their panicking matesprit? Vriska apparently. She really isn't cut out for tender jobs. That becomes all the more apparent as she hears Kanaya choke back a sob. She just wants to hit the whiny twit. Or kill the fuck who did this all.
“I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply as such,” Kanaya returns pathetically. The woman is just a walking mass of pity.
“Look I am a stupid bitch, okay? So sorry,” Vriska says, angry that even her sincere apologies sound so fake. And it's all Terezi's fault. Cops can't be trusted to do things efficiently. We have to pretend scumbags have a right to life even though they're just one petty step away from our Robotic Strangle Assassins throttling them.
And it becomes apparent what needs to be done. Kanaya starts up again, “Oh no please don't say that, it's fine really it's-”
“Hey don't you have stupid doctor things to be doing?”
“Well yes but-”
“Then go do it! I mean seriously we're gonna be covered in bodies at this rate. Coverrrrrrrred.”
Kanaya gasps on her end. “Yes that's true isn't it, but there's little more I can do.”
“But check up on the chumps fifty times in eight minutes?”
“Yes, observation is important in such situations.”
Vriska cracks a smile when she hears that. Yes. She's home free now...
“Just don't do anything foolish, Vriska.”
“Hah! Like I could. I have all the awesome. All of it.”
A small laugh comes from Kanaya. It's weak, but there is a touch of joy in it. This further steels Vriska's nerves. That laugh is special and fucking Terezi is trying to steal it.
“This is true. At the least you say as such quite often. Do stay safe though.”
“Course. Now go play doctor. Or was it Lalonde's job to strip people in the name of science?”
“You know well that she is the psychiatrist.”
“Oh my gaaaaaaaaawd. Yes, I know she's paid to ramble about how everyone, but her is thinking of bone bulge 24/7. That was the joke. Now go keep Bitchybutt alive. I mean. She's gonna be fine anyway with how OCD you are, but dammit just go do the doctory thing!” Vriska rambles off hurriedly. God, she's horrible at this talking people down thing... She throws a pillow across the room in frustration about that.
“Yes of course. Do stay safe,” Kanaya says with a hint of knowing in her voice. Her tone is firm and serious.
“Course. Bye, Fussyfaaaaaaaaangs!” Vriska drawls before hanging up on Kanaya. The naggy jade was trying to get a farewell in. It can wait though. There's things to be done and irons in the fire to attend to. Vriska slings on her leather jacket and slips out of the apartment. Might take a while to find fishface, but by god she was going to get to him before Terezi and her due process bullshit. And Ampora was going to hang. Oh yes, he was.
Ampora was turning out to be a hard man to track. So few wished to speak about him. Especially with a cop. She got some useless info on English slick - the Felt's particular brand of brain killing bilious slick, the latest in neurotoxin related fun on the street- dealers that everyone at HQ already knew. She relayed it anyway. Now what few useful words she had coaxed out with promises of witness protection weren't much. Mr. Eridan Ampora was a tyrian blooded seadweller with a vendetta. He was out to clear Lil Cal of anti-Crew individuals and anyone else he just didn't like. Tavros Nitram was picked off for his associations with Vriska and her Mindfangs. The Mindfangs had been hit hard as well, leaving only Vriska standing. Next was a pastor named Vantas and his family. The man had been open in his opposing of Jack Noir's reign of terror as well as his sacrilegious stealing of the dark raven Bec Noir's name and symbols. And that's all she had. Most of that she already knew.
Terezi was preparing to head home when, much to her joy, Roxy Lalonde called in. A crisis clinic had been hit just now. Could be Ampora. Might not be. Either way Terezi marches on down to the address. Standing before her was the clinic Kanaya and Rose worked at. The only staff member left inside was the burly orderly Zahhak sans Rose. She was currently resting, sleeping off a plasma bolt wound. This left a question in Terezi's mind. Where was Kanaya? It didn't match her profile to just leave patients unless she had to. Let alone her wounded moirail. Thinking this over Terezi called out, “Zahhak, my boysenberry flavored friend, can you tell me where Ms. Maryam has headed? Is she safe?”
Equius wiped his brow with a towel. He was overworked and calming from a panic. “She is most certainly safe, Officer Pyrope. The doctor stepped out a moment ago to pick up supplies. She should be back shortly.”
“I see...And the perp? Can you provide any info about him?”
“Unfortunately no. He wore a mask. He was a troll however, Ma'am.”
“Troll? Did he have fins by any chance?”
“Not that I'm aware,” Equius said with a shrug of his shoulders as he struggled to administer medication to a patient. It was almost painful watching his large hand fumble with the syringe.
Terezi put his difficulty from her mind. There was a one in a thousand chance this was Ampora's work. Or was before the blinding wave of crimson it her. Danger. Mr. Minty Swirl was on the run and from the taste of it it was Vriska he was after. Well now. There was now a one in a hundred chance that it's Ampora. Oh Serket, why are you so helpful yet so dumb?
“Mr. Boysenberry thank you for your time. I need to move out. You seem to have things under control here, but an emergency unit is on route regardless,” Terezi states coolly as she steps out of the clinic. Equius gives a raspy, “Thank you,” that she ignores. Vriska has to be stopped and soon by the taste of it. Pinkish purple, the color of confusion and questioning, along with cherry red and blueberry. These colors dance before her eyes and travel off to Mr. Minty Swirl as she breaks into a run. He's close from what he tells her. Oh so very close. Now to get to Vriska before her RSA does.
Vriska spent the day searching for Ampora. She hit up seedy bars, a net cafe or two, and even consulted that cyborg nooksuck named Sollux. Eridan was on the move. Where to she wasn't sure yet. Sollux heard from good sources that he was pissing away his time in the Black King. This info came at the cost of being turned in by Captor, but that didn't matter. Showing up Terezi and killing fishface did. And so Vriska walked on down to the Black King. It was tucked away neatly on the upper level of the street. She trudged across the sky bridge with purpose in mind. Past it in an out of way alley was the Black King. Home of Midnight Crew sympathizers. Or members in the case of Ampora.
Ampora who was just tossed away by a large carapace. “Yeah vell fuck ya too! I'm a member a the Midnight Crew!” he calls out as he picks himself up. Even with the Crew he's as unpopular as ever. The thought brings a smile to Vriska's face. Eridan catches that smile and a look of dread comes to him. None of the patrons care. They all hate him anyway. And when Ampora pushes his way out of the bar in a full sprint he loses the last bit of protection he possibly had. Vriska follows close behind, running as fast as she can. He runs quickly and he ducks and dodges past everything in his way with ease. A lifetime of running has trained him well, much to Vriska's annoyance.
That doesn't amount for much when he heads down a dead end though. Dumbass took a wrong turn and now he's trapped in Vriska's web. He stares up at the wall hatefully before turning back to look at Vriska, fear in his eyes. He begins to beg, “Now come on Vris, ve can talk this over ya know. Ve don't have to be enemies, but ya just won't listen to me! Noir's all this fuckin' town's got left!”
“Sure he is, but that doesn't mean we need you smelling up the joint, you fishfaced fuck,” Vriska spits out with glee. This is what she should have done those days ago. It's just so wonderful. So wonderful that she has to have a laugh. A good, cruel laugh that sounds throughout the alley. So wonderful that she doesn't notice that, while he's sobbing away, Eridan is reaching for his gun; it's the beat up plasma bolt pistol that belonged to his father.
He doesn't get a chance to fire it though as a bullet catches him in the head. The shot alerts Vriska and she turns around in shock as Eridan falls against the wall, life slipping away before his eyes. Behind her stands Kanaya looking both shaken and upset.
“I do believe I asked you to be careful,” she says while hiding her own weapon once more. “Yet when I contact Sollux to check on matters I come to the knowledge that, yes, you have decided to forgo my wishes completely.”
Vriska throws her arms up and says, “Well what the fuck am I supposed to do? Let fishboy murder everyone we know? Hell I was on his hit list too, you know!”
“We could have enlisted the aid of the authorities,” Kanaya states while turning her gaze away from Eridan's corpse. She looks to be ill. Some doctor, Vriska thinks derisively, can't even look at her own work.
“Yeah let's tell the authorities so they can waste their damn time when what they should be doing is killing the bastard. Great plan!”
“We're not animals, Vriska. Please.”
“Sure, we're trolls. Same fucking thing!”
Kanaya prepares to retort, but she doesn't get the chance. From the shadows leaps an RSA. Terezi's Mr. Minty Swirl grasps onto Kanaya and his tentacles slither up to her neck. The white limbs squeeze down as hard as they can manage and the smell of burning flesh fills the air. RSAs are dreadful creatures. The word of the law given form, mind, and acid. Lots and lots of acid.
Vriska rushes to Kanaya's aid, grabbing onto the horrid thing. It burns and aches and just plain hurts, but she needs to get it off soon or Kanaya is just as dead as Ampora. The bastard just won't let go though and drastic measures are needed. Vriska grabs for her small plasma knife and stabs at the thing. She stabs and stabs at as many places she can and finally the thing lets go of Kanaya. It curls about Vriska's arm and reaches forward, intending to strangle her. It doesn't get the chance though as Vriska drops her knife and Kanaya swiftly picks up Vriska's job of butchering the robot. And though persistent and hardy it finally gives up because it no longer has the strength to move. The grip loosens and the RSA falls to the floor, inert and useless.
Seeing that the danger has passed Kanaya falls to the floor. Vriska steals the bag the doctor was groping about for and pulls out the small container of Med-gel. Her left hand is nigh useless but at the least it can hold the can as she scoops out globs of blue mush. She rubs this onto the burns on Kanaya's neck. Thankfully they weren't in the second degree level, let alone the third. Still Kanaya bites down on her lip in pain. Once the bandages are applied, messily as per Vriska's work, she squeaks out a small, “Thank you,” and insists on treating Vriska. Vriska who has yet another reason to hate Terezi. The moment is nice though. Kanaya's hand has a strangely soothing edge to it. One that pushes Vriska down from her hate filled high and love of victory. As the bandages are secured she cracks a grateful smile. Kanaya's still pissed, beyond pissed. Regardless Vriska can tell the woman is relieved. If she wasn’t she'd be nagging up a storm and telling Vriska to sleep on the couch.
They take a moment to rest before Vriska heads over to Eridan's corpse. She rifles through his pockets and, luckily enough, finds the small trinket that was missing from Pastor Vantas' body when he was found dead. Eridan wanted a trophy and the bastard was dead for that and so much more. Vriska holds up the necklace, a old set of beads with a metal Cancer symbol. Kanaya spies the necklace and a smile comes to her face. Her throat aches but she manages a weak, “Thank goodness...”
Vriska hands it over to Kanaya who turns it over in her hands a few times with a look of saddened relief. She soon places it in her bag and slumps against the wall for a moment, needing to catch her breath still. The panic has worn her out. Vriska continues searching Eridan and finds nothing of worth save his bolt gun and she damn sure doesn't want it. Done with that she stands and goes to check on the robot. It's not moving, but she fires at it once just to be safe.
And then a bolt runs through her chest. It cuts deep, burning flesh and bone as it passes through her. Kanaya shouts something she doesn't understand. Vriska turns her head to catch a glimpse of Terezi. She looks ragged and weak. Vriska stumbles and falls. Her descent seems so very slow as she stares up at that polluted sky. Her hate isn't slow though. It builds and builds, quicker than quick. Terezi falls too, but she isn't dead. She won't die either because that bitch always wins. Kanaya is still shouting, Vriska can't tell what. She's so fucked. Fussyfangs will be taken in and charged with murder and aiding a criminal and no one will care. Because Terezi Pyrope always win. Even the battles she didn't know she was fighting. Vriska clings on for as long as she can. Her hate wills life into her, but it can't hold. It doesn't keep and it slips away as does the world. There is no last thought, no last feeling. Just black, all consuming black.
Terezi is hunched over on the floor, struggling to find the piece of her mind that's no longer there. It's been torn out, harsh and quick, and it's not coming back. Mr. Minty Swirl is dead. As are Ampora and Vriska. Justice has been done. A danger to society was stopped in her tracks and a confused and hurt accomplice will be carried away to safety and justice. But it means absolutely nothing. It was as empty as black, devoid of all meaning and light. Noir would be free to wage his war on Scratch and a chance was lost. Because Vriska always wins.