Shannon leaned forward and turned the dial of his receiver with increasing concern.
The police frequency glowed softly within the crisp but dusty display, conveying nothing of the desperate pleas for help that cried from the little speaker.
"Attention all units, attention all units. Precinct 29 Shallows District is under attack, repeat, under attack!"
Shannon reached for his service pistol and checked his badge. The police station was only a block away, but the voice sounded like it was coming from the other side of the planet. He leaned out of his flat window but could only see the front entrance of the police building, with no outward sign of trouble.
"All units be advised, attacker is a single female, single white female. Armed response units have been neutralised and target may be armoured. Please send reinforcements!"
Shannon didn't wait any longer. He was out into the street and running through the pedestrian traffic as the distant wailing of sirens approached from every direction. In his entire career in the police, and the years that followed as a private investigator, Shannon had never known a direct assault on a police station to take place. Shallows District police station was a veritable fortress, the only response to a dangerous and restless population oppressed by years of hardship and uncertainty.
It made sense that the attack had been conducted at night, although in a place like this, the city never slept. What bothered Shannon more was the description of the attacker, nobody, no matter how well armed, could take on the entire police station.
Shannon arrived breathless at the rear entrance to the station, cursing the years that had taken his youthful energy away from him. The door hadn't been forced with explosives as he had expected, but had simply subsided into rubble. Nearby windows were unharmed, and footprints could be seen clearly in the dust. Shannon already had his gun ready when he crept inside and made his way towards the front desk.
There is never a moment of silence in Candor City, but the deathly still that greeted Shannon at the main office was palpable. An occasional chirp from a radio and the whir of computer terminals were the only sounds. Arrayed around him were the bodies of office workers, police officers and armed guards. He felt the pulse of one worker; he was alive. The armed guards however were not so lucky. One had been eviscerated with long slashing blades, while the other had been almost literally shot to pieces by a weapon he could only guess at.
The trail of bodies marked the route of the intruder, while strangely collapsed walls and doors opened views into the rooms and areas of the building, as though the intruder had been looking for something. The road of destruction stopped in the detention area, where Shannon found several dead or concussed guards. Cell cages and walls had been folded and torn like paper, leaving several prisoners crouched in the corner of their cells like children. Shannon felt a chill when he remembered the prisoner who he had seen here only a few days earlier.
A kid called Joshua had been here, a crazy mixed up guy who had been obsessed by a woman he claimed had saved his life. He told Shannon she was a supernatural being and a creature of infinite power and beauty. This goddess would come and rescue him, he said, but Shannon had dismissed the story as fantasy.
Now he was hiding in the shadows, acutely aware that the intruder was nearby. A soft glow was moving at the end of the cell block, a glow that emerged to reveal a woman clothed entirely in white. Her hair shone with the same purity of snow, surrounding a face of enchantment and perfect symmetry. As Shannon brought his firearm to bear, he could see that her body was surrounded by a complex film of light, a swirling storm of geometric shapes and lights that followed her every move.
Shannon saw himself stand and face the woman, barking the standard warning of an armed policeman. It was the training and years of facing dangerous situations that had taken over, heedless of the personal dangers and thinking only of the job he had to do.
The woman whirled to face him, as shards of light moved swiftly around her and formed blades from her finger tips. Something in her face told Shannon he had made a big mistake. She stepped towards him, ignoring the gun that was pointed at her; in a moment, Shannon realised, he would be dead.
"I know where Joshua is," blurted out Shannon backing away from the shimmering form, "he's been transfered to another facility."
For a moment, Shannon stared into those silver gray eyes and realised death might be moments away. She regarded him with a mixture of anger and hope, and together, neither of them noticed the hand grenade that rolled into the room until it was almost too late.
Shannon dived into the nearest cell as the explosion ripped through the walls and brought the weakened structure down around him. He was dimly aware of the woman leaping away from him, before he sank into unconsciousness.
Source images rendered in Vue 6 Pro Studio using custom shaders. Final image assembly in Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator CS2.