Sergeant Moretti was technically a millennial, but he could have been cast in an old-school, NYPD cop show. He had that dry, sardonic wit; the deadpan stoicism. He had no interest in artisan food, preferred old-school weightlifting over all the Crossfit P90X paleo keto bullshit that was always in the news, and he didn’t use social media. (What kinda jerkoff spent half their day arguing about political philosophy on a goddamn phone screen?) Moretti was the real deal—a throwback to the old 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, half-wasp, half-teenage-girl. “Stay on that thing.”
“Holy shit!” his partner—a young buck named Hensley—exclaimed. “I knew ANOS was up to some shady shit, but up until now, it was all just rumors and hearsay. I can’t believe we’re chasing a no-shit alien!”
“Eye on the ball,” Moretti replied tightly. “Keep your mind on the job.”
Typically, Hensley would have mumbled an acknowledgment, but the drama in the sky was too fantastic. He simply gaped at the windshield, barely registering the other cars that were speeding past him in the oncoming lane. A disconnected part of his mind noted they were full of civilians.
“Hensley!” Moretti snapped. “Eyes on the road!”
“Sorry,” Hensley said (but by his tone, not really). He looked at the road again, sneaking glances up at the sky every few seconds. Moretti gritted his teeth and pretended not to notice.
It’s fucking game time, he thought. Civilization ain’t got a place for twisted-ass science experiments 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 glanced sideways, not irked this time, but full-on pissed. “Asshole, I told you to keep your eyes on the fucking roa—”
“Moretti, look!” Hensley’s face was slack with wonder.
Moretti, despite his raging desire to punch his stupid rookie partner in his stupid millennial face, turned and looked. The muscles on his cheek drooped in astonishment, his expression was overtaken by something between fear and awe. Without taking his eyes off the heavens, Moretti clicked his radio.
“This is dispatch. Go ahead, 567.”
“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. 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, 567.”
There was a pregnant pause on the other end.
Then: “You mean they’re airborne, right?” Sally’s voice had taken on a hesitant tone. She knew that Moretti was an old-school hardcase—this was completely unlike him. He wasn’t someone who dawdled or froze.
“They’re teleporting.” Moretti only knew that word because he’d heard it from some of the nerdier officers (who he loved to make fun of for watching science fiction instead of ESPN).
“What do you mean, ‘telepo—’ ”
Moretti spoke with conviction and anger. “They’re flying through dimensions!” The wasp-thing and its pursuer were blinking across the horizon in quick-flashing winks, leaving phantom duplicates trailing behind them. He 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 City.
Ever since Moretti was little, he’d hated anything that wasn’t “real.” Anything that had to do with monsters, science fiction, fantasy, etcetera. But now, he was chasing down goddamn wasp-monsters and flying cars that could bend time and fold space. Moretti, a stolid believer in Monday Night Football, The Flag and Apple Pie, a Hard Day’s Work and a Respectable Family, had just had his worldview torn to shreds.
Peter Lee would have understood, and he would have laughed his ass off.