Monday, June 4, 2018

The Sunshine City Chronicles: The Freshmen, Part 1- Derek's First Day


June 4, 2018
07:11 local time,
Sunshine City Police Headquarters,
Sunshine City, Sonora

Hey-hey, big guy!” said Wade “Deadpool” Wilson as he burst into the office of Police Chief Harvey Bullock. “How's it going, Chiefy?”

The portly, full-bearded Bullock was too groggy to do anything except give Deadpool a death glare, mustering only a growl in response.

Oh come on!” said the cheery Deadpool, clad in his usual bodysuit except for his mask which brought out his athletically slender physique. “It's Monday! It's a great day! Don't you want to take it on and tackle it?”

Bullock continued to give his glare.

If you keep this up,” he said, “I just may have to tackle you.”

Deadpool wasn't fazed, moving quickly to jump on Bullock's desk and sit on it.

What's wrong big guy?” said Deadpool. “Still waiting for your coffee to kick in?”
There isn't enough coffee in the world that would allow me to put up with you,” growled Bullock.

Deadpool got up and laughed.

Ah, Harvey,” he said, “always so cheerful and friendly.”

Bullock let out a frustrated sigh.

What do you want, Wade?” said Bullock. “Why are you wasting my time?”
Oh, I don't want anything,” said Deadpool. “I just wanted to say 'hello'.”

Well,” said Bullock, getting up and putting on his fedora and his blazer, which complemented his dress shirt and his khaki shorts. “I have to say 'goodbye', and you have to leave.”

Oh?” said Deadpool, suddenly curious. “Where are you going?”
The airport,” said Bullock.
Airport?” said Deadpool, looking confused.
Yeah, the airport,” said Bullock sarcastically. “You know, the place where people go to fly in and out of here?”
C'mon,” said Deadpool, “I know what an airport is...I'm just surprised you're going this early. You're not going on vacation, are you?”
As much as I'd like to get away, especially from you,” said Bullock, “I'm going there to pick up your new teammate.”
Teammate?” said Deadpool. “We've finally hired another guy?”
Yeah I know,” said Bullock, still moving towards the door. “The Sonoran government finally realized we need more than a shoestring.”

As Bullock started to open the door, Deadpool, somewhat nervous, stopped him with another question.

So, um,” he said, “who's the new guy?”
You'll find out,” said Bullock. “You might like him...or, at least I hope you do.”

Bullock then ushered Deadpool out of his office before locking it up to leave for the airport.

June 4, 2018,
08:32 local time,
Outside of Sunshine City Police Headquarters,
Sunshine City, Sonora

One...two...three...go!” said Derek Morgan as he and Bullock quickly opened their doors and ran through the front doors of the Police Headquarters. A rare driving rainstorm had just passed over the City, reaching its maximum intensity just as Morgan left the airport.

My gosh,” said Morgan, once he and Bullock got back to Bullock's office. “That's some rain...I mean, Florida is pretty intense, but that's something else.”
That's what the heat and humidity will do,” said Bullock with a chuckle. “Eventually it creates thunderstorms.”
So, Harv,” said Morgan, glancing at Bullock's window and seeing it was still raining, “when does the 'Sunshine' part of 'Sunshine City' kick in? Since I've landed there's been nothing but rain.”

Bullock chuckled as thunder boomed behind him.

Give it a few hours,” said Bullock. “It'll come out.”

Morgan chuckled as he took his seat. Though rain wasn't a rarity in Sunshine City, its presence on Kino Bay in the Republic of Sonora, on the eastern coast of the Gulf of California meant it didn't get the rain that the Baja California Peninsula to its west did. It was the perfect spot for a resort town, especially after the City of Los Angeles descended into chaos because of gang violence in the late 1980s. Sunshine City, and its effective neighbour the Sonoran capital Hermosillo, began surpassing Los Angeles as a tourist destination. Some Hollywood studios even relocated to Sunshine City because it offered better relative safety than Los Angeles did, giving the Sunshine City-Hermosillo area the designation of “New Hollywood”.

Despite its booming tourism and a good reputation for safety, funding levels for the City's police department struggled to keep up with the boom in population.

“So,” he said, noting his surroundings, “you guys really do put the 'shoestring' in 'shoestring budget', don't you?”
“What can I say?” said Bullock. “We've got 45 unis, a SWAT team that doubles as our lead investigative unit...and then me.”
“50 officers,” said Morgan, “for a resort city that has 200,000 full-time residents with a population that can balloon to 500,000, depending on what time of year it is.”
Yeah I know,” said Bullock letting out a heavy sigh, “but there's not much I can do. The guys in Hermosillo control the purse strings, and they need more cops over there...so I'm stuck with what I've got. Fortunately we don't have too many major crimes, just drunks and runaways. We do have drugs too, but the Sonoran National Police helps us with that, as does the California Bureau of Investigation...so we're not totally out to lunch.”
Then there's the Spitzenkreiger,” said Morgan, referring to the classification of specially-trained elite law enforcement operatives that frequently get termed as and act like “superheroes”. “Heard about your guy...a real head case.”

Bullock smirked.

Girl, actually” he said. “Neena Thurman...or 'Domino' as she calls herself, is the Spitzenkreiger we actually hired.” Bullock's mood soured as he continued. “She doesn't get the press because we have to deal with-”
Deadpool,” said Morgan with a chuckle. “Yeah, heard a lot about him...thought he had cancer but then it turned out he was misdiagnosed...used it as an opportunity to become a hero in his own right.”
...and a pain in my ass,” said Bullock. “I realize he has value so I let him do his thing...and he respects me and the force so he can actually be quite helpful.”
He just has his...tendencies,” said Morgan, eliciting a wry smile from Bullock.
...and a trespassing conviction,” said Bullock, “from his early days a hero...I came to his defence since he met the legal qualifications for entering a location but the judge didn't agree with me...so, unfortunately, Wade had to wait before he could join the force.”

Morgan shuffled in his chair and leaned forward, intrigued.

Had to wait?” said Morgan.
Yeah,” said Bullock. “Had a chat with that same judge the day before I hired you...I convinced him to wipe out Wade's conviction and allow him to join the force...and today is his day.”
Oh wow,” said Morgan. “Does he know about this?”
Nope,” said Bullock. “Not yet. I'm going to announce it when I introduce you to the team...because with his hiring...I'm going to need you.”
To keep Deadpool in line,” said Morgan.
Yeah,” said Bullock, “because you were once reckless...but you learned from your mistakes. Now I need Wade to do the same thing.”
...but it's not just about Wade,” said Morgan.
No,” said Bullock. “You'll also be introduced to Neena, as well as SWAT officers Christina Alonso and Jim Street...they can be a handful too, but they're a good group.”
Your report says Neena is brilliant at forensics and science but is a notorious overthinker,” said Morgan, “while Alonso is decisive but can be a bit of a hothead while Street is as cool as they come, even if he is too daring.”
Sounds about right,” said Bullock. “They're all top-level agents, I assure you...they just have some things to work on.

As for you,” continued Bullock, “we'll probably be in touch a lot. Since we're the two senior officers, we're the lead detectives, so we're partners in a sense. When we need additional detectives- and we always do- we bring in SWAT, Neena and Deadpool.”
Sounds good,” said Morgan with a smile. “I think I'm ready to meet them.”

June 4, 2018,
09:24 local time,
Sunshine Beach Bar,
Sunshine City, Sonora

So…do you live around here?” said Deadpool, unable to hide his nerves as he was talking to a young woman.
No,” said the woman, whose shoulder length hair was still a glistening blonde despite being soaked in rain. She wore short, cutoff shorts that brought out the most in her strong but slender legs with a cropped T-shirt that brought out her bronzed skin and her washboard abs. What really struck Deadpool was her smile, a broad inviting smile amplified by her illuminating azure eyes.

Oh,” said Deadpool, wearing his suit without his mask. “I…I see. Where are you from?”
Wood Buffalo,” said the woman.
Oh! Buffalo!” said Deadpool with excitement. “I love the Bills…are you a fan too?”

The woman let out a heavy, frustrated sigh.

No,” she said, not hiding her annoyance. “Not Buffalo…Wood Buffalo. Fort McMurray…Alberta? North of Edmonton?”
Oh,” said Deadpool, “so,” he then started to playfully elbow the woman, “you're Canadian, eh? Eh, eh eh?”

Deadpool let out a few nervous laughs as the woman let out a heavy sigh. She then motioned to the bar.

Oh,” said Deadpool, “I can get that!”
No,” said the woman curtly, “I can get my own beer.”

Deadpool let out a sigh of defeat when he saw a man occupy another seat at the bar and begin talking to the woman.

He was a well-built light-skinned man, babyfaced with a charming smile. As he talked, his laid back style oozed confidence, endearing the woman to him instantly.

Deadpool could only look on, incredulous.

Jim!” he said to the man, Sunshine City SWAT member Jim Street. “What in tarnation are you doing?”

Street heard Deadpool but played it like he didn't. A frustrated Deadpool got up from his stool in a huff, turning towards the exit. He was about to leave before Street's words to the woman stopped him in his tracks.

You know,” he said to the woman, “my friend, Wade, here once caught a shark with his bare hands. Live...and it was a big one too.”
Really?” said the woman, suddenly interested in Deadpool.
Uh...uh,” said Deadpool, his nerves returning. “Uh...yeah. I, um, did a few times, actually.”
Really?” said the woman, her eyes locked on to Deadpool's which startled him.
Yes,” said Deadpool with a gulp, which allowed him to regain some composure. He then showed the woman some pictures as he talked, which impressed the woman some more. “Yes...a few times. Last summer I caught two...I love catching them and eating them later. I do this thing where I add some butter and then some rice,” Deadpool then made the “OK” gesture while making a sound with his lips before continuing, “and it's to die for. Shark cooking is one my favourite things to do.”
Believe me,” said Street, “I've had it...Wade is very good.”
Oh,” said the woman, smitten with interest. “I might want to try that some time.”
Why don't you give Wade your phone number,” said Street, “and he'll call you when he's cooking some shark.”
Or, you know,” said Deadpool, his excitement getting the better of him, “I'll call you for other reasons too.”

The woman then wrote down her number on a napkin.

Wade, right?” she said, handing over the napkin. “I'm Becky...whatever reason you want to call me, just call me...and relax. I don't know why you're so wound up.”

Deadpool put the napkin his pocket as Street patted him on the chest, telling him they have to leave.

Bye, Becky,” said Deadpool, giving Becky a wave, which she reciprocated with a smile.

Once outside, Deadpool wondered why Street was so eager to leave.

Dude,” said Deadpool, “I don't know what you did, but I was killing it with her!”
Sometimes you gotta know when to stop while you're ahead,” said Street confidently.
I thought you were going to steal her from me,” said Deadpool. “Don't know if I could accept that.”
Wade,” said Street, “how many times do I have to tell you that women make choices of their own...sometimes, they're just not into you and they're into someone else. It's human nature.”

Besides,” said Street, putting his hand on Deadpool's shoulder. “You looked like you needed some help...you're a good guy, Wade, but you've got a lot to learn.”

Deadpool then let out another sigh.

Yeah, I do,” he said. “What's the point, though? I'll forever be a vigilante...under the margins of the law...of society...and it won't be long before my dashing good looks are gone. What's the point?”

The point,” said Street, pulling something out of his pocket, “is this.”

Deadpool's eyes widened with shock when he saw what it was.

A police badge!” he said, giddy as a schoolchild. “With my name on it! Wow.” Deadpool's mood then soured when he had a thought, “but...I have a criminal record...I can't be a cop.”
Harvey wanted to tell you in person,” said Street, “but we've got a case, so I'm telling you...you've officially been pardoned, so now...you're a cop.”

Deadpool was beside himself with happiness, stuttering because he didn't know what to say.

Wow, uh,” said Deadpool, who gave Street a hug which was reciprocated. “Thank you...from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
You're welcome,” said Street with a smile. “We'll celebrate later...right now, we've got a case.”

The two then walked along the beach- it had stopped raining, but it was overcast- for several minutes before meeting up with the rest of the SWAT team.

Street, Wade,” said Morgan, introducing himself to Street and Deadpool once the two of them crossed the police line. “I'm Derek Morgan, your new SWAT commander. I wished I could introduce myself under better circumstances.”
It's OK,” said Street. “Work is work...I'm just glad the department found some money for the help we need.”
Harvey's happy to have me and I'm happy to be here,” said Morgan.
...and hopefully for many more years!” said Deadpool with anxious gusto that drew a few looks.

What?” he said. “It's my first official case...I'm a little nervous.”

A little, Wade?” said Christina Alonso with a smile.
OK, a lot,” said Deadpool.
Congrats on officially joining the team,” said Neena Thurman. “Now you'll have your own access card and you can let yourself in to the building.”

Deadpool laughed before getting down to business.

So, who's the stiff?” he said, walking forward.

He's not quite stiff,” said Bullock, referring to the dead man on the sand. “He was killed just this morning while he was lying on the beach.”
The question that I have,” said Alonso, “is why there are four empty chairs beside him...what happened to his guests?”
Did they not show up?” said Deadpool.
They were here,” said Thurman. “You can see their prints in the sand.”
So we've got a dead man,” said Street, “four missing people...and all these witnesses. Surely someone saw something, didn't they?”
Nope,” said Bullock. “These guys kept everything quiet...plus they struck early enough in the day that there weren't a lot of people on the beach to notice what was going on in the first place.”

Morgan looked on and analyzed the situation before he made his determination.

These guys,” he said, “they're pros...they knew what they're doing. This also has to be a targeted operation...they knew the victim well enough that he'd be here at the beach at this time with his family, giving him the perfect time to kill the dad and kidnap his family.”

The rest of the team nodded in agreement.

Comb the area,” said Bullock with urgency, “and we'll need to check the missing persons log later. Once we figure out who was targeted and why, we'll be able to figure out who did the targeting...and chances are, he'll strike again, so let's move.”