Sergeant Moretti was technically a millennial, but he had the soul of a New York hardass—sardonic wit; deadpan stoicism, and zero interest in artisan food. He preferred old-school lifting to Crossfit-P90X-paleo-keto-bullshit, and rarely used social media. Moretti was the real deal—a throwback to the days when men were men, women were women, and life was simple.
“There.” He pointed at the windshield, at the flying car that was chasing a fifty-foot tall, demonoid wasp-girl. “Stay 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 gaping at the windshield, barely registering the 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.
Ain’t got room for twisted-ass science and flying fucking saucers. Gotta make things right. Turn the clock back to when things made sense and were a helluva lot—
“Holy fuck!” Hensley exclaimed.
Moretti glared 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 on 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…”
“No, I know,” Moretti whispered. “That’s not it. 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 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 nerdy 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: “Dispatch, they’re blinking in and out of existence—they’re fucking flying through time and space!” The wasp-thing and its pursuer were traversing the horizon in quick-flashing winks, leaving phantom duplicates trailing behind them. (Hensley suddenly realized that Moretti had 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 was a little kid, Sergeant Moretti had hated anything that wasn’t “real.” Anything that had to do with monsters, aliens, magic, etcetera. And now, he was chasing a goddamn wasp-monster and an interdimensional flying car. Moretti, 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.