Inspired by a conversation with Tinandel
LAPD Chief of Police Ronald Chua was the last police officer in the entire world.
He was the only known police officer in two entire universes - Equestria did not have, nor need police. He had been officially designated a Living Planetary Cultural Heritage Treasure by the Worldgovernment just about two decades ago, after a large campaign had started on the Hypernet, the result of a single post by his great, great, great grandaughter, Amy Fong-Torres, who had decided he was wonderful after staying with him for a week.
The Worldgovernment had dispensed with ordinary police and detectives long ago. Even before the Great Collapse, the police of the world had gradually become militarized, folded into the existing military structures of the many nations that existed then. When the Austerity War broke out, the nations of the planet collapsed. The multi-national, global corporations swiftly joined together as one to deal with the angry multitudes, who were incensed to violence at the near total loss of all jobs, wealth, access to food and medicine, and the breakdown of both the social order and the infrastructure that supported it.
The beginnings of the nanotech revolution had come far before the war, and the new World Regularization Forces were clothed in flexible spun carbon nanostructure suits. The pitch-black webbing acted like an advanced non-Newtonian fluid - soft and yielding during normal movement, harder than diamond when impacted with sudden force. The material was invulnerable to all but a very select set of corrosive substances, and made the WRF impervious and unstoppable to the conventional weapons held by the impoverished masses.
When the planet had been properly set to order, the nations of the world had become irrelevant. The corporations, now one planetary corporation, had succeeded where Alexander and Napoleon and Gengis Khan had failed. They had not precisely set out to conquer the world, but had achieved total control purely by default. Thus arose the Worldgovernment, really the Worldcorporation, and its universal peacekeepers and enforcers, the Blackmesh, so named for their nanocarbon web armor.
But through it all, through the Great Collapse and the Last Harvest and the Austerity War, and the rise of the Worldgovernment, the LAPD Rampart Division survived. It survived because of Little Tokyo, J-Town, the famed ethnic Japanese-American district of Los Angeles. Insular, private, almost a world unto itself, it maintained alone, despite the changes flowing around it. When Japan and parts of Korea and China became uninhabitable, refugees from what was called the Japan Exclusion Zone swelled the population of J-Town. Little Tokyo became a fortress, and within it the last remnant of a civilian police force survived.
Ronald Chua had started as a Rookie during the Austerity War, and in the end, he became Chief, because he was the only officer left.
For decades he walked his beat, and because there were no judges nor juries anymore - the Worldgovernment had no interest in micromanaging the impossible masses - personally handling matters of justice for the common man. The Blackmesh could not be bothered with the day to day lives of the nineteen billion that arose all-too-rapidly when universal food and water had been guaranteed. Despite every effort to educate the billions, they bred and bred to the limit of the capacity of the planet and beyond. Justice came at the end of a board with a nail in it, or in local militias, such as they were, or roving gangs, or the fiat of walled communities, or not at all.
And in the vast walled community that was J-Town - not New Little Tokyo, not New-New-J-Town, for it had never stopped, not even for a moment, but had continued, a perennial flower in the garden of what was left of Los Angeles - the fiat was to keep the last policeman, forever, if possible.
Ronald was supported by the community. They had paid for every one of his Total Organ Replacements. They had raised the credits for his augments, his nightvision, his permatech hypernet link, his augmented hearing and strength. On his one-hundred and twentieth birthday, they had a huge celebration and provided him with a new uniform - traditional styling from before the Collapse, yet hidden within it was real blackmesh fiber, rendering him all but invulnerable. Ronald had put on his cap and smiled, and the crowd had cheered. He was a global treasure, but he was even more their treasure, he was the last policeman on earth. He united the former Japanese, Chinese and Korean refugees that now called J-Town their home. Everyone knew him, everyone respected him. Some had committed petty crimes just to have the honor of being arrested by him. It was an honor, and a matter of bragging even in polite circles, to have a framed record signed by Great Chief Chua.
Police Chief Chua walked a different beat for each day of his week. J-Town had grown very large and he could not cover it in a single day. He did not need to, crime was constant but fairly low compared to outside the walls of J-Town, though over the decades there had been some truly ghastly incidents. He had handled them with skill and finesse born of timeless patience and experience. Chua was known as a kind man, a perceptive man, but also a stern man, with a strong belief in the value of order, and of law - tempered by a fatherly wish to see genuine justice before rigid adherence to arbitrary rules.
Thus it was that he was more annoyed than shocked when he approached the crime scene at the New Yaohan Cafe at East Second and San Pedro.
There was quite a host of suspects and Those Involved, and all were either mum or overly eager to rat out someone other than themselves. They were all outsiders, let in through the gates of J-Town, lesser corporate with jobs in the global corporation, except for one, a pony, which no one had any idea how he had got in. There were many ponies now in J-Town, most of the population in fact, but this pony was different. He was clearly PER, Ponification for the Earth's Renewal, and he had been caught red-hoofed in the act.
The blood covered the tiles outside the rebuilt cafe. The citizens of J-Town did not call their reconstruction a favela, and truth be told it was more than that. They had worked hard to make the buildings lovely, the gardens perfect, even the roofs pretty to look upon. J-Town was the queen of all favelas, built with a dedication astonishing to contemplate in the post-Collapse world. So much blood, a crimson pool that reflected the pegasus-cleared sky.
In the blood were drenched clothing, cut and torn, and in the clothing, unconscious in the middle of a Conversion Dream, was a brand new pony. Barely alive, Alex Bennet-Addams, age 28, Caucasian, had been ponified almost beyond the moment of irreversible death. That was the work of the pegasus stallion PER agent Flitterwing, age 24 who had swooped in at the last moment to save the man, apparently.
On the ground was a handgun, a Taurus PT 92, a 9mm clone of the much more famous Beretta, many claimed it superior. It had been fired once, at relatively close range. Who had fired the weapon was a matter of some contention.
Brooklyn Bennett-Addams, human, age 32, African-Caucasian, claimed to be the wife of the newly ponified Alex, and she sat at a table in the cafe, fiddling with a package of Golden Heaven brand Nanotine Rods. She had one stuck in the side of her neck, just under the left ear, near her carotid. The small, dull black cylinder was half gone, attached to her tissues it gradually self-administered a dosage of nicotinic acids, tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, and other 'brain activators'. Nanotine Rods had replaced smoking, because of their greater effect and the lack of any byproducts such as second-hand smoke. Chief Chua felt they were every bit as disgusting though, and the small, reddish welts on neck or wrist were a dead giveaway of a Rod fiend.
"I demand the immediate arrest of that man!" Brooklyn had been going on for some time now about a thin Asian man, likely Korean, named David Dokgo, human, age 26. "That... that monster MURDERED my husband!" Chua noticed instantly that the woman did not seem to be genuinely upset. He had seen authentic grief in his hundred and fourty-six years, and this woman had none within her heart. She was lying, he was sure of it, and she was playing a game, of this he was also sure. It was going to be another soap opera, another drama performed at the expense of everyone for some selfish gain. It was going to be a wretched mess, and Police Chief Ronald Chua did not like wretched messes.
"Are you saying that Mr. Dokgo shot your husband, Mrs. Bennett-Addams? Is this your contention? Did you see him fire the weapon?" Pin them down. Just pin them down. They always fail when things get pinned down sufficiently, and then like a boil the situation is lanced and the often disgusting truth oozes out. Chua waited. If she said she could not be sure, then this was a clusterfuck. If she could be sure, then maybe, just maybe, this wouldn't be the pile of steaming turd Chua felt so sure it was.
"Well... officer... um..." The smell of feces was almost palpable, and it was everything Chua could do to avoid sighing. "... I thought I saw him shoot my husband, but I was returning from the ladies room, and... well, I am pretty darn sure of what I saw!"
Pretty darn sure. It was a clusterfuck.
David Dokgo was more specific about who had gunned down the former human Alex Bennett-Addams. "I saw the bastard blow him away! It was Christopher. Chris did it, that sick fuck, I saw it, he did it, and don't even listen to that stinking fish!" David was gay, and apparently involved with Alex Bennett-Addams. They had sex, he claimed, twice a week, and Alex had been planning to divorce his wife. She was wealthy, and with half of her credits under corporate law, he and Alex could move to South Africa to spend the next five or six years - however much was left for the world - in luxury. Together, until they died, bravely, as men in each other's arms. They were in love, David claimed. Chua had seen love, in all of its forms, gay, straight, and everything in between. David was not in love. But he was worried about losing something, and that something was almost always going to be money. It was always money.
Christopher Cox, human, age 30, Caucasian, very blond, was equally absolute in pointing the finger at David - the two hated each other, that was clear, and it was also genuine. After a hundred and fourty-six years, simple things like true hatred were childishly easy to spot. One of the two was likely the triggerman, but which would be a problem to find. Clusterfuck. "I am telling you, gendarme, that Mr. Doggy over there is the man you need to arrest. Those... people... faggots, excuse the term... are driven to insane acts, and it is no wonder that Brooklyn's husband was shot by the freak. I don't even know why I am being detained. I have corporate business to attend to!"
Cox was a piece of work, that was clear. It was so obvious he had a part in all of this - he was here, at the time of the shooting, waiting as if wanting to be questioned. It was like dealing with children, and considering the vast gap in age, Chua felt like he was in the middle of Murder For Kindergarteners... only it wasn't murder. The victim was right there, still alive, only as a pony. As soon as he had gained his wits, perhaps this could be solved with one simple question: who the hell shot you. Police Chief Chua could not wait for that moment.
Evelyn Esterházy, human, age 19, Caucasian, had a different tale to spin. She had been waiting, she said, because she knew of the plot. Brooklyn had shot her husband. He was divorcing her, and she would lose half of her fortune. Everything the others claimed was all lies, personal vendettas against each other. They were all consumed with jealousy and had used the event to destroy each other. Dokgo hated Cox, he always had, and Cox, he was a closet case, he had always wanted Alex for himself, despite what he said. And Brooklyn had 'stuff' on them both, they would never indict her. She alone knew the truth.
"How do you know these things, Miss Esterházy?" It was a simple question. Simple like a boot kicking over a rock with horrifying insects underneath.
"Because, I was Brooklyn's little toy! She needed a little pussy on the side, and I was her kitty. I loved her! She dropped me like an old sock... but not before I ended up caught in her nasty little web. She did it, she manipulates everyone and everything around her! Put the pressure on those two pricks, they'll cave. Men always do. Give 'em the torture treatment, hear the truth for yourself!" Esterházy licked her lips at this. She wanted to see men suffer. Chua had seen her kind too, over the many years. Angry lesbians unable to separate patriarchy from the males also caught within it. She definitely had it in for Brooklyn, though. Jealousy and spite were more childish, easy to spot emotions. Clusterfuck Soap Opera.
Police Chief Ronald Chua did finally sigh. He took off his cap and ran his fingers up and over his close-cropped, dark gray hair. It had started out to be such a nice day.
Chua had regular deputies he used, they were already helping out, keeping the people at bay, warning the newfoal citizens to not even come near - ponies didn't do well with blood and awful stuff, and this was both physically and emotionally awful - and they kept the suspects in place. No one argues with well built Samoans, and Tasi, Sefo, Aumavae and Mapu - not to mention Big Siliva alone, well. The suspects were going nowhere unless the police said so, which is to say, Chua said so.
Alex Bennett-Addams the newfoal was still not conscious. Chua sat down to check his Flatpad notes, but also to watch, from the corner of his vision, what the clusterfuck did when they thought he was otherwise engaged. Brooklyn Bennett-Addams scraped the last of her Rod from her neck and stuck another in the very same spot. It adhered instantly, dissolving itself at a measured rate through her skin and fat and muscles into her blood. Nasty things.
David Dokgo alternated between staring at the unconscious newfoal Alex and glaring back at Mr. Cox. Christopher Cox, for his part, kept weaponized eyes only on David, as if trying to stare him to death. But wait... ah! A furtive glance at the missus, at Alex's wife Brooklyn. It was only a glance, but the look was old as time itself. The two were in cahoots somehow, and in his ancient, augmented bones, Chua would not have been at all surprised to find the two were secret lovers.
Oh what a mess. He considered his first impressions. Over the decades, he had come to trust his initial assessments, his gut, and it had, with experience, become ever accurate. What then was going on? The wife had money, that was likely the focus and motivation behind everything. David had been probably servicing the former human Alex Bennett-Addams in exchange for financial support, he doubtless was the driving force behind the divorce. Cox was almost certainly bisexual, but closeted, the girl, Esterházy was half right about him. But there was clearly something going on between Cox and Missus Alex Bennett-Addams, and Chief Chua could think of a half a dozen ways that could play out.
Total, utter, clusterfuck.
Worse, with no judge, no jury, and the Blackmesh uninterested, it was entirely up to him, Police Chief Ronald Chua of J-Town, to work it all out, figure out who did what, and meet appropriate justice as he alone saw fit. He thought briefly of just having them all shot. Legally, he could do it. The Worldgovernment would not care, and the only local law was himself. Damn, but that would just be so damn nice. Kill 'em all and let God sort them out. That was still a popular phrase, each new generation thinking they were clever to say it. Idiots the lot of them. Chua's head began to ache.
Police Chief Ronald Chua needed a break. There was still one involved individual that he hadn't talked to. The pegasus. The PER agent. That might be worth a laugh. At least the ponies were usually fairly straightforward. No big dramas with the ponies. They had a purpose, they drove towards it, and they were not often shy about talking openly about it. Yeah, the pony. It would be refreshing, and despite the fact the pony was a PER terrorist, comparatively clean.
The foodlocker had no windows, and only one door. It had once been a refrigerated locker, but that was long ago, when there was more than two hours of electricity per day in the city. Everyone dealt in fresh items now, which were easy to come by thanks to the conversion of the vast majority of the population to Equestrian form. The earthponies had turned Los Angeles - they called it Los Pegasus now, Chua felt he would never get used to that - from a gray on gray urban sprawl into a lush green cornucopia of fresh produce grown in minutes or hours. No one bothered with the guaranteed government ration any longer, and there was no need for refrigeration in a city where a new crop could be created in less than an hour.
Tasi and Sefo had put the PER pony in the foodlocker, which, living up to its name, could be locked. There was a hole for air to get in, where the old refrigeration system used to be, but it was far too small to be used for escape. Outside, on the prep-table, they had set the saddlebags the newfoal agent had worn. Chua checked them, they contained a wide assortment of weaponized ponification devices.
With his white gloves on, Chua examined the devices. There were eggs, the four-ounce neoplastic ovoids that could be tossed with a flick of a pony head, or used with devastating accuracy in clusters by unicorns. Chua found a selection of vial-like cylinders, presumably also for throwing. All of these were designed to impact and break, covering a single target in more than sufficient serum to ponify them.
Also in the saddlebags were several gas grenades - a recent advance had permitted 'potion' to be distributed in an effectively aerosolized form. The reality was more complex than merely misting serum, some kind of rapid nanostructed metamaterial created a false liquid, a sort of gas-like nanofoam that acted like a fluidic mass that did not dissipate for hours. He had heard it described as a stable cloud that filled every corner yet would not evaporate. It could be scooped, as though it were heavy soap suds. After a programmed time, the nanofoam self-destructed, collapsing to a slick on the floor. It was very effective at converting large numbers of humans relatively safely, the humans falling under the calibrated anesthetic while being exposed to sufficient serum.
Flitterwing, the PER pegasus, had clearly come with the intent of mass conversion of the few remaining humans in J-Town, but had been caught because he had stopped to save the life of the shooting victim. Curious villains, these PER.
Chief Chua straighted his uniform and his cap. He glanced at his white gloves, still spotless. Then he headed to the foodlocker. He rapped his knuckles sharply on the metal door three times, then opened the self-locking door.
Sitting on the floor, in the back, was the PER stallion, Flitterwing. He had only given a short statement to Chua's deputies - his name, that he was PER, that he had saved the life of the injured man. He had given up without a fight, which was a pleasant surprise - that meant he wasn't one of the twenty or so 'special' ponies that led the PER, the genetically altered ones that retained a human mind, and the human capacity for violence and even sociopathy.
"Hello, son." Chua tried to take a fatherly approach whenever possible, and it seemed appropriate here as the young stallion was sitting legs splayed out like a clumsy foal, sucking on a candied carrot. He'd apparently been taking advantage of the place he had been confined, and Chua couldn't really blame him. He was surrounded by tasty treats, the temptation would be too much for anyone, really. "Would you be willing to talk to me?"
The pegasus looked up at him with guileless pony eyes. "Sure! It's kind of lonely in here." Flitterwing gobbled the candy carrot and smiled. He seemed nice enough for someone classed as a criminal in two universes.
"Flitterwing, is it?" Chua did not doubt his deputies, but it was a simple way to put the subject at ease.
"Yes sir! Just Flitterwing, I didn't take a last name. No real need, unless you are part of a clan or something, or so I understand. Once I learned the basics, I just couldn't stop flitting about, I'd even hover in the halls. So... Flitterwing." He smiled again. "Want a candy carrot? They're really good!" He nodded to the box he was sprawled next to.
Chua shook his head, but smiled back. He liked the talkative ones. Not the ones that blathered, or tried to hide behind a screen of babble, no the genuinely open ones, the ones that just couldn't help themselves because they were just that way. It made everything so much easier.
A few things had already become clear, just from this short exchange to the old policeman. Flitterwing must have been converted fairly recently, fresh newfoals tend to talk about their time at the bureau a great deal because it is still new and exciting to them. They like to explain their names and talk about why they converted.
That meant that this was probably Flitterwing's first mission - or close to it - for the PER. He wouldn't have had much time to do anything if he had only recently been converted. He might have been recruited only a week or two ago. He certainly hadn't been trained not to talk to his captors. Either the PER was more disorganized than everyone imagined, or this poor kid was just raw meat to throw at the world.
"You saved a man's life today, at your own personal risk. Did you expect to be caught?" Chua studied the stallions eyes and body language. He had become familiar with the ways of ponies now. Most of J-Town was ponies, now.
"Um..." The pegasus looked down at his forehooves. "I... I kind of didn't give it any real thought. He was hurt!" Flitterwing's eyes went wide with the memory as he looked suddenly up at the Chief. "He was hurt really, really bad! It didn't even look like he was breathing, and there was blood... blood everywhere... and... and..." The pony's eyes were very watery now, and a tear was beginning to trace a trail down the stallion's cheek. The increased compassion and empathy made the sight of violence all but intolerable to Newfoals. To natives too, probably.
"There, there, son, he's alright now. I checked him, he's still dreaming, but he'll be fine. A unicorn, but fine. Really." The gentle words seemed to relieve the young pegasus, and he gradually managed a small smile. "Can you tell me what you were doing in J-Town today son?" The answer was obvious, but Chua wanted to hear how the fellow would describe things.
"I was here to save everypony, before the Barrier comes. It's coming, you know, less than a month away! There's still so many who haven't converted yet... like you! And you have to, because when the Barrier comes, when Equestria gets here, if you haven't converted..."
Chua interrupted the excited pegasus. "Or moved away."
Chua repeated himself. "Or moved away."
The pegasus stallion seemed almost confused by the statement. He appeared to be pondering it, as though the very concept had never been a part of his understanding. "I... I guess that's a possibility. Though it wouldn't accomplish much. I mean, maybe a few more years, five, six at the most... I hadn't...."
"So you were here to convert any humans you could find then?"
The stallion snapped back to reality. "Yes. Yes sir." He had said the words as if it were the most matter of fact thing in the world.
"Have you been converting humans a long time?" Chua knew what the answer must be, but he could be wrong.
"No sir, this was only my third mission. It's my first solo mission. I just did support on the first two. I figured it would be easy, and it probably would have been, if... if I hadn't gotten caught immediately." The stallion's ears drooped and his head hung. "I completely failed J-Town."
Interesting. It was always interesting how ponies put things, Chua thought. A human would be likely to say something along the lines of 'if that guy hadn't gotten shot' or 'if I'd just ignored that guy'. The first found blame for failure, the second covertly demanded additional praise for bothering to do the right thing. Ponies always tried to do the right thing, they didn't expect to be praised for it. It was just what they did. And they didn't need a scapegoat for their own failures. They'd reject putting false blame on another in any case, because they'd feel so much empathy that it would be like blaming themselves anyway. Ponies were refreshing to interrogate.
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm really glad I managed to save the guy that got... that was hurt, but I'm sorry I failed you, and everypony." The stallion was deeply sad.
"Failed... us? In what way?" Chua was taken aback.
"All the unconverted humans, all the nice people are going to die now, because I failed!" The stallion was almost wailing. "If they were going to convert, they would have by now, I mean, less than a month! And there's so many left, and a lot can't afford to travel, and it's all hopeless now because I failed! I failed you all, and now you're going to... going to..." The boy had a lot of tears in him, but interestingly, not for himself.
"Son, son... listen... come on..." Chua had come closer, and gave a few comforting pats on the stallion's poll with his white gloved hand. "It's their choice. The Bureau is throwing that big emergency conversion thing right now, and I know for a fact a lot of the remaining humans here intend to go later this week. Others intend to move back east, so you can relax. Nobody is in any danger, not even now."
"But they are!" The pegasus looked up with his tear-streaked face. "Stormcloud says that a lot of humans just ignore things until it's too late, and the loss of even one life is too much!"
"He's the head of our barony. Baron Stormcloud of the Los Pegasus Crusade. We... oh... I'm not supposed to talk about all of that. I'm really sorry, sir, but... I promised, and I always keep my promises!" Flitterwing hung his head again, at the realization that he had already said too much, if only by a little. "Or at least I really, really try! Oh... fooey."
Chief Chua had to stifle a laugh at that. 'Fooey'. Even when he was growing up, ten year olds would regularly use 'fuck', and here was a twenty-something swearing, and his word of choice was 'fooey'. He'd asked a newly converted member of the Fuschidas about such language. Apparently a lot of profanity was concerned with violent, angry, or negative matters, or used positive things in negative ways, implying they were somehow wrong. There were all kinds of connections to violence in most profanity, and this made ponies feel uncomfortable or even sad. Human swearing had no payoff for them.
Big Siliva had once said that conversion turned everyone into Quakers. He probably wasn't far wrong.
"Ok, son, I won't ask any more questions about your PER background, alright?" It wasn't really relevant anyway.
"Oh, thank you! You're really nice, and I don't want you to be mad at me." He was a sweet kid. Misguided, but sweet.
"Here's the big question, and it would be a really big help to me if you could answer it. Did you see who shot the man today?" Chua noted that Flitterwing jerked ever so faintly at the word 'shot'. The ponies really were incredibly empathic.
"No sir. I'm sorry, but... I heard the... loud sound... and I knew what it was. I was on a roof, getting ready to, well, you know, when there was this 'BANG', like a firecracker, but I knew what it was, and so I went to look, and I saw the man on the ground, and he was... he moved a little, but then he stopped moving and all this blood kept coming out, more and more and..." The stallion was trembling now. It couldn't have been a pretty sight, that's for sure.
"Do you know any of the humans involved, or have any other connection to this situation at all? Tell me the honest truth."
"I... I wouldn't lie to you, sir! I mean, I won't talk... more... about the stuff I promised not to talk about, but I won't lie. It... it would be wrong, and it would impede your investigation and..." Chua interrupted the pony again. The kid had been pretty shaken by today's little... event. "Sorry, sorry. No, sir, I don't know any of those humans. I'm not sure I would want to know them, really. They didn't seem very nice."
Truer words had seldom been spoken. Chua sighed. It might have been so simple, if only the kid had seen the shooting. It could have been any one of those freaks out there.
"Thank you son, you've been very helpful. Don't eat too much of the candy - I don't think they'd appreciate you being sick in here, alright?" Chua stood up, preparing himself to face endless questioning of a bunch of people who pretty obviously were all connected somehow, and in ways that were not nice. He'd already built up a likely set of connections, just from his long experience.
The daylight was bright, and he shielded his eyes with a gloved hand as he studied the suspects. The victim, Alex, was awake and marveling at his new hooves, swishing his tail and testing his new ears. He seemed happy at least. They always were, right after conversion, all smiles and laughter, wide eyed like children. Innocent, happy. Chua wished he could feel even a tenth as happy. When constabulary duty's to be done, to be done, A policeman's lot is not a happy one. Chua sighed yet again, under the hot sun.
Alex, the victim, was almost certainly involved sexually with David, and was probably supporting him. David wanted financial security, so he wanted Alex to divorce his wife Brooklyn, and it was clear she didn't want that because she'd lose half of her wealth. That Cox guy... he was certain that there was something between him and Brooklyn, and the Esterházy girl was a jealous and spiteful little thing. Any one of them could have pulled the trigger. Brooklyn because she didn't want to lose half her fortune, Cox because he was in with Brooklyn and they wanted to be together, Esterházy because she was jealous and spiteful... hell, even David could have shot his own mealticket, if Alex had refused him brutally enough.
It would take days to worm the truth out of them. And who really cared? Seriously, what was the point? The Worldgovernment didn't give a crap, in a month the entire city would be gone... who really cared at this point?
What was even the point?
Police Chief Ronald Chua, human, age 146, Chinese, stared at his spotless white gloves. Underneath the fibers, his old hands ached, even with the rejuvenation treatments and the anagathics and the implants. Sour bones. That's what his Grandmother had said. She had sour bones. Oh, to have sweet ones again.
The Cox man was in his face now, blond and impatient. "I demand to be released from this farce! I am an important employee of the WORLD CORPORATION! I can't be held in this run-down bandit stronghold filled with squinty-eyed... ah... you know what I mean. Beside the point. You WILL let me leave this INSTANT or I swear I will hold you personally..."
Somehow the wife, Brooklyn had darted away from Mapu's watchful eye, and had joined Cox, competing with him for volume. "I WANT THAT DOGFUCKER MAN ARRESTED FOR THE MURDER OF MY HUSBAND!"
In the distance, Alex Bennet-Addams, now a Newfoal, raised the argument that he was right there, very much alive. No one seemed to care.
"My name is not DOGFUCKER, it's DOKGO - that's DEE OH KAY GEE OH you lousy, stinking bitch of an excuse for a beard!" David Dokgo did not seem at all worried about Alex, any more than was Brooklyn, Alex's wife.
Esterházy was struggling against Mapu, who had run and grabbed her when he realized what was happening. The rest of Chua's deputies began pulling the enraged suspects away from the Chief, apologizing profusely for not being more alert.
"Just one moment." The words were quiet, but it was enough for his deputies. Big Siliva made everyone shut the hell up. Nobody messes with Big Siliva. Nobody.
"Just one moment." Chief Chua repeated. "I'll be right back. Aumavae, Tasi?"
The two massive men ran up.
"I think this is a community matter. Would you round up everyone... no, wait. Murder isn't a matter for ponies. Only round up the humans left in the community. Could you do that for me?"
Aumavae and Tasi looked at each other. A trial. Of course. Chief Chua was going to have a proper trial. Ponies were useless for human trials. They were nothing but forgiveness and compassion, and that was fine in a world without violent crime. But in the real world, the human world, a jury needed to have the edge required to deal with real issues, with serious issues, with human issues.
Issues like attempted murder and conspiracy.
Ronald Chua walked back into the cafe, into the shade, back into the kitchen. He thought over his many, many long years of service as a policeman, the last policeman in all the world. All the cases. There were so many petty ones, of course, but this was Los Angeles, or at least it used to be. In Los Angeles, the crimes were as big as the movies that once were made here.
Crimes of passion, of terror, of greed. Violent nightmares of butchery and depravity. Men and women turning on each other over the most trivial of reasons, Chua had seen it all. He had broken up snuff holography rings, slavery rings, blackmail and murder, serial killers, rooftop snipers, and wife slashers. The gang of religious nutballs that melted the faces of women with acid, the cult that poisoned an entire school system, or just the occasional person who, for reasons they themselves could not understand, just one day picked up a gun or a knife or a board and just killed a stranger. Just because. Just because.
A policeman's lot is not a happy one. Chua had always loved Gilbert and Sullivan. They'd survive Equestria. Ponies would be performing Gilbert and Sullivan, thousands of years from now. The Worldgovernment had been busy, transferring the works of Man, if approved by the princess Luna, to blank Equestrian books that would survive the Barrier. He had recently learned that Gilbert and Sullivan had passed approval. They had made it to Equestria, those songs, those plays, they were in a library there right now, somewhere. Many libraries. Gilbert and Sullivan would live forever now. Forever in an eternal land, even when the Earth's former sun had gone dark, even when all the stars had faded into endless night, some future pony would just be discovering, for the first time, The Pirates Of Penzance.
The locker opened easily to human hands. Ponies had to work a little harder, so there was a string now that pulled the catch. A small convenience for the majority population forced to work with objects not designed for them.
Chua stood there, his hand on the locker door where Flitterwing sat, and doubtless was eating too much candy. Ponies had an insatiable sweet tooth.
It was Aumavae. How long had he stood there, hand on the handle of the foodlocker, daydreaming about Gilbert and Sullivan, about good things from his long, long past?
"Yes?" Chua did not move, it would look silly to startle now.
"Everybody's here. Collected, I mean. Quite a little crowd. They're all waiting."
Chua thought for a moment. "Go out and make sure they are sitting and comfortable. I will be right there. I just need to collect a few things, alright?"
"Yes sir!" Aumavae left, excited at the prospect of a proper trial. Maybe there would even be an old fashioned hanging!
The old policeman thought of the approaching Barrier, of Equestria, of what ponies were. He thought of how they acted toward each other, how they spoke, how they treated the world around them. He thought of how there was no Equestrian word for 'police'. Sefo had told him that. They didn't even have the concept of an enforcer. They just didn't need such things.
Murder and blood and butchery and theft and greed and endless angry faces screaming at each other. A policeman's lot is not a happy one.
Police Chief Chua released the catch and opened the locker door. Flitterwing was, as expected, stuffing his face with candied carrots. He looked ashamed as he swallowed. "I'm... I'm sorry! You told me to be careful, but I've eaten almost all of them. I got carried away! I'm sorry!" And he really, genuinely was. It was obvious and clear. Even a rookie could have seen it.
"It's all right, son. Would you come here, please?" Chua smiled warmly.
Flitterwing got up on his legs and trotted immediately to stand in front of Chua. He made no effort to run past him to freedom. Of course he wouldn't. Ponies.
"Are you willing to help an officer of the law, duly appointed by the former Los Angeles Police Department and the Worldgovernment of Earth to maintain peace and dispense justice howsoever he deems fit?" The Worldgovernment had actually given him a plaque on his hundred and twentieth birthday enshrining those very words into planetary law.
"Yes sir?" The pegasus looked confused, but willing.
"Then I now officially make you my one and only deputy, with all legal rights and privileges and constabulary duties as defined by me, the only extant Chief of Police in the world. Congratulations, officer Flitterwing!"
"Yes SIR!" Flitterwing stood proud and tall. Chua took off his cap and set it firmly on the pegasus' large head. It might stay on.
"We do not have much time, deputy Flitterwing. Your first duty is to show me how all the things in your saddlebags work, to make sure I understand them, especially the gas grenades." Chua smiled, his face the face of a man ready to go home.
The pegasus flicked his tail, uncertain. "Sir?"
"Do you.... do you like Gilbert and Sullivan?"