Sergeant Moretti was technically a millennial, but he could have easily passed for a New York hardass. He had the sardonic wit; the deadpan stoicism, and zero interest in artisan food. He preferred old-school weightlifting over Crossfit-P90X-paleo-keto-bullshit, and didn’t use social media. Moretti was the real deal—a throwback to the days when men were men, women were women, and life was simple.
“Right there.” He pointed at the windshield, at the flying car that was chasing a fifty-foot tall, demonoid wasp-girl. “Stay right on its ass.”
“Holy fuck!” his partner, a young buck named Bryce Hensley, exclaimed. “I knew ANOS was up to some shady shit!”
“Eye on the ball,” Moretti replied tightly. “
Typically, Hensley would have mumbled an acknowledgment, but the drama in the sky was too fantastic. He couldn’t help but gape at the windshield, barely registering the line of cars speeding by in the oncoming lane.
“Hensley!” Moretti snapped. “Watch the road!”
“Sorry,” Hensley said (but by his tone, not really). He looked at the road again, sneaking glances at the sky whenever he could. Moretti gritted his teeth and pretended not to notice.
There’s no place in this world for twisted-ass science and flying fucking saucers. Time to turn the clock back to when things made sense and were a helluva lot—
“Holy fuck!” Hensley exclaimed.
Moretti turned sideways and stared at his partner, not irked this time, but full-on pissed. “Asshole, I told you to keep your eyes on the fucking roa—”
Moretti, despite his raging desire to punch his stupid partner in his stupid millennial face, turned and looked. His expression went slack with fear and awe. Without taking his eyes off the heavens, Moretti clicked his radio.
“Go ahead, 597.”
“They’re…they’re…” Moretti trailed off.
The dispatcher, a no-nonsense woman named Sally Lemons who’d been on the job for over fifteen years, snapped, “Maintain your comms etiquette, 597. We’ve already heard the on-site reports: giant wasp-creature, a flying car with exotic weapons…”
“That’s not it,” Moretti whispered. “They’re…they’re…”
“Spit it out, 597.”
There was a long pause on the other end.
Then: “You mean they’re airborne, right?” Sally’s voice took on a hesitant tone. She knew that Moretti was an old-school hardcase. He wasn’t someone who dawdled or froze.
“They’re teleporting,” Moretti repeated. He only knew that word because he’d overheard it from a nerdier officer named Pebble, a guy he made fun of for watching SyFy instead of ESPN.
“What do you mean, ‘telepo—’ ”
Moretti spoke with conviction and anger: “They’re flying through other dimensions!” The wasp-thing and its pursuer were blinking across the horizon in quick-flashing winks, leaving phantom duplicates trailing behind them. Moretti was unaware that he’d reiterated the cop from Batman Begins, the guy who’d frustratedly exclaimed, “He’s flying on rooftops!” while chasing the Bat Mobile across Gotham.
Ever since he could remember, Moretti had hated anything that wasn’t “real.” Anything that had to do with monsters, fantasy, etcetera. And now, he was chasing down goddamn wasp-monsters and interdimensional flying cars. Moretti, who was a stolid believer in Monday Night Football, The American Flag and Apple Pie, a Hard Day’s Work and a Respectable Family, had just had his worldview beaten and shat on.
Peter Lee would have understood.
And he would have laughed his ass off.