The Last Town #2:Preparing for the Dead(6)

By: Stephen Knight

“All right, all right, enough of this bullshit. Let’s go, Captain. You guys will need to leave your weapons out here, can’t bring them with you to where we’re going.”

“Uh, not a problem,” Narvaez said, though Reese understood it was, in fact, a problem. Just the same, both he and Plosser handed their assault rifles and pistols to some of their teammates.

“Good to go,” Narvaez said.

“The vests,” the sergeant said. “Can’t go walking around with magazines of ammunition strapped to your chests, gents.”

Narvaez and Plosser exchanged glances. The first sergeant shrugged and removed his tactical vest, handing it off to one of the men. Narvaez did the same.

Reese walked toward a steel door that the desk sergeant buzzed open for him. He led Narvaez and Plosser through it and heard it slam closed behind them as they walked down the corridor. The cops in the area all looked at the two soldiers with suspicious eyes—the LAPD wasn’t used to having troops roaming the halls wearing combat gear, even if there were no weapons present—and Reese found himself repeating, “They’re with me.” It didn’t stop the stares.

Reese led them through the stationhouse to where the command post was set up. It was a fairly large room with several workstations set up, and two large monitors on the wall which conveyed all manner of information: location of patrol units, unit status, video feeds from cameras installed throughout the district, and information on other first responders, including the fire departments and emergency medical services. Just a quick glance at the screens told Reese all he needed to know. There was a hell of a lot going on in Hollywood’s area of operations, and the district wasn’t even a hot one yet.

He found Pallata at one of the desks, talking with other senior members of the watch. Pallata glanced over at him as he walked up, still talking, and Reese watched as she flicked her eyes from him to the uniformed Guardsmen beside him. Reese waited for her to finish up while Narvaez looked around the center, hands at his sides.

“I guess it’s old school to you, huh?” Reese said.

Narvaez shook his head. “Man, we’re so behind the times from a technology perspective, you’d be amazed.”

Pallata turned to them finally. She was a short, busty woman with dark hair and skin, and chocolate brown eyes a man could lose himself in. Reese knew that for a fact, since he’d spent some time looking into them when they were sleeping together, about a million years ago. Actually, it had only been ten—since then, they’d both gone their separate ways in the LAPD, finally coming together again at Hollywood Station, where she was the vice commander. She’d never mentioned their old affair, and neither had he. The past was the past.

“What’ve you got for me, Reese?” she asked, looking more at Narvaez than him.

“Meet Captain Bobby Narvaez, California Army National Guard. Captain, this is Captain Two Miriam Pallata, second in command of the Hollywood Division,” Reese said, getting the introductions out of the way.

“Ma’am,” Narvaez said, sticking out his right hand.

“Hello, Captain—thanks for coming in,” Pallata said, shaking his hand. She looked at Plosser, standing behind Narvaez. “And who’s this?”

“First Sergeant Dean Plosser, my senior noncommissioned officer,” Narvaez said.

“First Sergeant, how do you do,” Pallata said, shaking hands with him as well.

“Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” Plosser said, and Reese saw he did a full visual surveillance routine of Pallata’s rack. He tried not to roll his eyes.

“Seems that Narvaez is bringing in an entire company with him, not just a dozen or so troops like we thought,” Reese said. “We’ll need to know what to do with them.”

“How many men, Captain?” Pallata asked.

“Just under a hundred,” Narvaez told her. “We were plussed up at the last moment, seems that the AG wants to surge as many troops into the Los Angeles basin as possible, and we were the designated team for your district.”

“AG?” Pallata asked. “The only AGs I know of are attorney generals.”

Also By Stephen Knight

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