Originally, Tumbledown Patrol was a filler short story to give readers an idea about a location the main characters would eventually visit. However, as you may have guessed that did not happen. With this revision and expansion, I insert an introduction to give readers a better idea of who Tanx and Ali are, what their respective species looks like, establish their relationship with each other and the world. This revision gives readers a better idea of what Tumbledown is. Lastly, Herg, Tanx’s species, was written two different ways-as a bipedal rhino with elephant tusks and braids and a quadruped centaur-like species (body of a rhino, human-like torso topped with rhino head). For a lot of reasons, too many to go into now, I went with the biped. However, since those original reasons no longer apply, I reverted to the quadruped, which I think makes Herg far more interesting than another bipedal species walking around. With all of that in mind, enjoy. 🙂
Two hours ago...
At eight feet tall, fourteen feet long, and over three thousand pounds centaur-like Tanx stood out in a crowd; with a rhino shaped head with elephant tusks topped with a Herg sized Stroud City Police Department conflict helmet, he stood out even more. Police officers stepped out of the way as he passed. Each of them greeting him with a “hey,” “morning,” or “ready for the day.” After ten-years on the force, Tanx was well known and well liked.
Squeezing through the patrol room doorway, Tanx searched for Ali, his newest partner. He felt tapping on his hindquarters, looking over his shoulders Tanx found tiny Ali waving at him from his rear leg. Grinning she walked the length of his quadruped body to his torso running her hand over his thick hide the entire way.
“Morning Sir,” she said just a hair too loud. Ali thought she had to yell.
“Morning Ali. Ready for the morning meeting?”
“Yes Sir, I am,” she grinned knowing how informal Tanx was.
Ali leaned against the back wall next to Tanx. Being an illietheril, Ali stood three tall, weighed next to nothing, and no amount of fitting could make any uniform not look oversized on her; her large pointed ears and long hair stuck out from her helmet and her standard issue sidearm looked like it was going to pants her at any moment.
“Need a boost?” Tanx asked.
“If you don’t mind,” Ali replied.
“Hop on up,” Tanx said while gesturing to his back.
Illietheril were known for their athletic prowess, Ali was no different; a single leap off the back wall and she perched herself on Tanx’s back looking around his shoulder to see the presentation at the front of the room.
“Not hurting you, am I?” She whispered into Tanx’s ear.
“Not at all.”
For the next hour, they listened to the day’s big activity, a sweep of the Eastern Corner of Tumbledown. The Staff Officer and Special Tactics Officer explained the usual reasons behind this raid, proliferation of drugs, isstas, weapons, keeping the people safe and so on. From Tanx’s perspective, the reasons never mattered, what mattered was keeping his partner safe and doing his job.
Ten minutes ago...
“Stick close to me,” Tanx said into the helmet mic. “Tumbledown is a mess and I don’t want you getting separated.”
“Anything else?” Ali replied her already big eyes bigger with adrenaline.
“Keep your mind on the job and remember your training.”
Ali and Tanx checked their gear while the combat bus, the only department vehicle big enough for Tanx settled to the ground outside of Tumbledown. The roar of the thrusters landing drowned out all other noises, Ali jumped out as soon as the doors started to open. Tanx had to wait until the doors were fully open.
Tumbledown, aptly named he thought; an entire city block collapsed into a giant pile of rubble. Despite that, people lived in and on the rubble and despite the best efforts of the SCPD and other agencies more people lived there now than any other time. From his street level view, he could see construction by the residents turning rubble into places to live and adding on. The combat bus lifted off, gusts of wind from the thrusters pushing against his back and almost knocking an unprepared Ali down; she covered her almost fall well he thought with a smile.
“Ready to go Ali?” Tanx asked as he keyed up his helmet’s heads up display. Milliseconds later his visor filled with information; locations of other officers, support, and suspected locations of gangs.
“Just checking my display,” she replied. “Our first target is down this…”
“We call them tunnels. No clue what that space used to be. Tumbledown is full of tunnels, hideouts, and more.”
As expected, Tanx shouldered and muscled his way down the tunnel, pushing rubble and garbage out of the way or trampling it flat. Gang tags, wall art, and other signs of life covered every available surface not covered in garbage, filth, or rubble. Signs of life everywhere and signs that the residents tapped into Stroud power, not his problem though.