“Shawn. Shawn, get up.” Gus prodded his sleeping comrade, who simply responded by turning over and covering his head with the blanket. Gus sighed and tried again, this time with the added persistence of pulling the blanket off the bed. “Shawn! Get up or we’ll be late! I swear you have 30 seconds to get out of this bed or your precious hair is getting an ice water bath. We can’t be late again!”
“You’re bluffing.” Shawn groaned in response, still refusing to open his eyes. “I don’t have any ice in my freezer.”
“Try me.” Gus challenged.
“I’m warning you, Shawn.”
“You said 30.”
“That was 15 seconds ago!”
Shawn pulled the remaining sheet over his head.
“5 seconds, Shawn.”
Shawn tuned his pesky best friend out, sure that he would soon enough walk out in a huff and give him a blessed 30 extra minutes of rest. Why did Gus insist on getting there so early, anyway?! It wasn’t as if….
“YEEEAAARRGGGHHH!!!!” The involuntary, yet highly powerful scream forced itself out of his lungs as he suddenly found himself jumping up onto his knees- only to get tangled in the sheet and end up falling flat on his back out of bed. It took his mind a couple seconds to register exactly what had happened, but the distinctly wet feeling and his body letting out an unexpected shiver from the cold were enough to clue him in.
“Really Gus?!” He exclaimed, clumsily working to untangle his legs from the sheet as he coughed and sputtered on an errant ice chip that had found its way into his mouth. “Some warning would have been nice!”
“I DID warn you, Shawn!” Gus defended himself, exasperated. “You think I can’t bring my own ice water? I refuse to be late to another training session. Not after what happened last time. I won’t be partnered with Lassiter again.” He shuddered at the thought of having to work with the Head Detective yet again as punishment for arriving late. The man was tall, thin, and lanky, but he had shown no mercy in their combat fight training. At least Gus felt like he now had a new expertise for his other job on pain relievers, anti-inflamatories, and ointments of various types. He stepped aside as Shawn groaned and finally seemed resigned to getting up. Even his best friend couldn’t justify laying back down in a cold, wet bed, after all.
“This is ridiculous.” Shawn whined, shaking out his wet hair. “And it’s all dad’s fault too. Why the hell should we have to take all this training, anyway?! My job is just to offer tips and…consultations. I’m a consultant, Gus. You know, all the fun, none of the green tape. It’s the cops’ job to do all the fighting and…stuff.”
Gus threw some clothes at Shawn as his friend stomped off into the bathroom. “It’s red tape. And he has a point, Shawn!” He called after him. “We’ve gotten into some pretty scary situations, it’s safer for us and the cops if we have an idea of how to protect ourselves out there. What better way to learn than with the cops themselves?”
“Even if I were to agree with you, there’s a major hole in the logic here, just like red tape isn’t logical” Shawn argued from behind the bathroom door. “Why the hell would dad think I of all people need firearms training?! I could teach that class! Hell, I could teach the teachers!”
Gus had to admit Shawn had a point, but he held his ground anyway. “There is always room for learning something new. Besides, you don’t pick up a gun often enough to keep up your skills. Think of this as a good refresher course. And I wouldn’t mind learning a few things myself. You never know when it’s gonna come in handy.” He figured he finally got through Shawn’s thick skull when the sounds of his arguments were replaced by the sounds of the shower running. Whatever the reasoning might have been, Gus knew that the SBPD insisting that they become better trained in basic self defense and weapons skills was a good way to make them more useful to the Department. He even had to admit that he was kind of looking forward to this. At the very least, it would have to be physically easier on him than fight training, right? He wasn’t sure how much more abuse his body was willing or able to take. At the same time, he felt more than a little bit nervous. He had never been one to underestimate the innate power and danger in a gun. Perhaps this training would help him overcome the frequent nervousness he felt at just thinking of having to hold or use one. It was times like these when he wished that Henry had included him in the firearms lessons he’d given Shawn so many years ago, but he assumed his parents would never have agreed to it, anyway.
Gus was relieved that Shawn continued to refrain from further argument once his shower was over. He simply insisted, as he worked some mousse through his hair, that Gus owed him a cheese Danish for breakfast. Gus shrugged and agreed, feeling like he could really use one as well.
“So what are some things that would be helpful to know about guns before we get there?” Gus asked once they were finally on the road.
Shawn pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Dunno. I guess it depends on what guns they want us to shoot. Most likely they’ll have us on a 9mm or a .40 caliber, the kinds you’re likely to see out in the field with cops. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t push you too hard at first if you’re nervous. They’re pretty easy once you get the hang of them. Just point and shoot.”
Gus laughed. Of course Shawn would think they’re easy. About as easy as visually memorizing and re-creating an entire Civil War battlefield layout given only a couple minutes to look it over. Things never seemed to end well whenever Shawn said something would be easy, but he had to admit he had never seen Shawn goofing off around firearms. Clearly, even Shawn knew better than to do anything stupid with a gun in his hand. This thought was supposed to make Gus feel better, but instead, his stomach fluttered in response with even more anxiety. If something was serious enough to keep his infinitely immature best friend on the right path, it must really be serious. What if he didn’t do it right? What if he couldn’t get himself to fire the gun? What if he sucked horribly at it? He tried to think of times when he’d seen Lassiter handling his gun, willing any memory to come forward for him to use on how to hold it, or do anything with it for that matter. Strangely, he realized the only memories he had were of him looking away and basically avoiding having to look at the guns around him. He was perfectly fine being surrounded by heavily armed people, so long as he could just not look at the weapons and in a way, pretend they weren’t there.
“Hey, Gus, you ok?” The sound of Shawn’s voice brought him back to the present. He glanced over to see Shawn looking at him with a halfway concerned look in his eye. “Dude, you drove right past the bakery.”
Gus quickly registered where they were, and with a sinking feeling, realized his friend was right. “Uh, yeah. I guess I just spaced out there. Mind if we just grab something when we’re done? I’m not feeling so hungry right now.”
Shawn nodded, noticing that his friend had indeed started to look a little green around the gills. Considering what they were about to go do, he decided it would be in everyone’s best interest to keep Gus’ stomach empty for the time being. It could be quite temperamental when under stress, and when it became temperamental, anyone nearby was likely to suffer the wrath.
“Listen, buddy.” Shawn spoke again. “It’ll be fine. If anything, you’ll get to watch me school Lassie in sharp-shooting! How awesome will that be!” He actually found himself feeling somewhat excited at the possibility. His skills with a firearm were not widely well-known within the Department, but a few people had gotten a few peeks at his abilities. He had honestly been hesitant to reveal this to the Department as a whole, but in this case, he would have no choice. At least it would be impressive to those involved, he figured.
“So, where is this place again? It’s where we went for the Academy training, right?” Gus asked for clarification.
Shawn furrowed his brow. “Uh…no. It’s at the SBPD range…right?”
“Nope.” Gus corrected. “Chief and your dad said we’re going to the Tactical range. Open field, shoot house, all that good stuff. You were there when they gave us the info, dude, weren’t you listening?”
Shawn put on his best show of seeming offended. “Gus, in case you weren’t paying attention, I was a little busy running to get some ice for you after Lassie knocked you down for the 10th time in a row. Then I was busy covering for you so they wouldn’t hear you whimpering about how much you were hurting. I was too busy looking out for you to pay close attention.” He hoped his act would be convincing for the moment, at least convincing enough to keep Gus from noticing that he was suddenly nervous about this assignment. Tactical shooting? Really?? Of course his dad would throw this curve ball at him, knowing that he could easily blow everyone out of the water at simple target shooting. Tactical shooting, on the other hand, was not exactly his strength. He finally sighed and gave his friend directions to the SBPD’s Tactical shooting range. If this wasn’t something he was completely excited for in the first place, it suddenly was turning into something he was thoroughly unexcited for. He couldn’t help but sulk into his seat for the rest of the drive as he resolved to reward himself with some seriously good eats afterwards for having to put up with the trouble.
Shawn and Gus arrived at the West lot of the SBPD Outdoor Tactical Shooting Range a few minutes later. They stepped out to see that the range was quite different from what it was the last time they had been there during their ill-fated Academy experience. Most notably, their attention was drawn to the distinct ‘messiness’ of the area. Large parts of the ground around them were littered with unused construction supplies, left over cut board ends, and what basically appeared to be leftover clutter in general. Soon enough, they heard the familiar voice of the SBPD’s Head Detective speaking, but not to them. His usually pristine suit appeared unusually dusty, and he was seemingly unaware of their arrival, completely engrossed in what sounded like a heated telephone conversation.
“I told you a damn week and a half ago to make sure all this crap gets cleaned up!” He exclaimed, kicking a loose board in the process. “I needed it to be done before today because as I told you at least three times already, I have an active shooter training session to conduct!...When?! Are you kidding me?! The training is today! I was extremely clear about this!....No, it’s not okay. I’m training beginners here. And now you’re telling me that I have to put loaded weapons in their hands and expect them to manage while trying not to trip on this shit and fall on their asses?! I already had to go inside the damn house to clean out a bunch of this junk, and believe me...No. No, this is ridiculous. I don’t care who didn’t talk to who. You all need to get this mess cleaned up! You’ve had more than enough time to get this done!”
Shawn and Gus exchanged glances, neither daring to speak while Lassiter said a few more choice words to the person on the other end of the line, then slammed his phone shut and stuffed it in his pocket. He kicked another board and took a few deep breaths before turning to finally notice the consultants’ presence. He straightened his suit jacket and tie as he stepped forward in what Shawn recognized as his method of brushing something off his mind before moving on.
“On time for once? To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” He attempted to tease once he met up with them.
“Motivation to get this done and over with.” Shawn replied. “I have much more important things to do than chase after cardboard cutouts in a non-air-conditioned house.”
“I’ll have you know that there is little more important than being able to get in and out of a situation like this alive, Spencer.” Lassiter scolded. “But I do agree with your first statement. Let’s get this over with. I’ll get you two set up while we wait for O’Hara and McNab to arrive. Chief wanted to keep this group small so we could make sure to focus on giving you two as many training turns as possible.” He reached into the trunk of his car and pulled out a couple of duty belts, which he tossed to Shawn and Gus while instructing them to put them on. Shawn examined his belt and saw that it contained a holster and a double magazine pouch.
“Going for full gear here, Lassie?” Shawn asked curiously.
Lassiter continued pulling gear from the trunk, this time two cases, each containing an unloaded Glock. He removed them from their protective foam surroundings and inspected each one before passing them to the consultants, making absolutely sure that the guns were completely empty before Shawn and Gus laid hands on them. “Carrying a weapon doesn’t mean you’re running around with it in your hand all the time.” He replied. “You need to know how to draw, too.”
“I can draw!” Shawn joked as he expertly tested the slide and trigger on his gun. “My kindergarten teacher said I had the most excellent stick figures of anyone in the class!”
Lassiter rolled his eyes. The last thing he needed was for Spencer to insist on making a joke of a training exercise such as this one. “I meant ‘draw’ as in drawing your weapon, Spencer.” He corrected. “And you’d better be getting rid of all this childish nonsense now before we actually get started, because I sure as hell won’t….Oh for the love of…Guster!” he looked over at Gus, who was looking at his own gun as if it might explode in his hand at any moment. “Don’t try to tell me you’ve never handled a gun before. I know for a fact you at least had some firearms training during that Academy debacle a few months ago.”
“That was only a few hours’ worth.” Gus defended himself. “Aside from that, we were only allowed to carry the rubber guns.” He stopped short of adding in the time when he had handled Juliet’s gun while chasing after Mr. Yin. That experience had not ended well for him either, as far as him being able to do anything to help her. Thinking about it didn’t exactly give him any sort of confident thoughts about anything related to weapons handling.
Lassiter sulked and kicked the dirt a few times, upset at discovering that this training session would end up going much longer than he expected now that he would have to acclimate Gus to shooting a gun first. “Ok, Guster. Get over here. I’m sure you just need to go over it again since it’s been a while.” He pulled Gus aside just as Juliet pulled into the parking lot and stepped out of the car, phone in hand.
“Buzz is busy on a call that got pretty involved.” She announced, “So it might be another hour or so before he can get out here.” She smiled and waved at Shawn while ignoring the curses coming from her partner’s general direction in response.
“Hey, Lassie, this is a good thing!” Shawn called out. “You can take Gus to the station’s range and practice there for a while now before Buzz gets here. Jules and I can get set up here in the meantime.” He, in turn, ignored the glowering death-glare that his friend was now shooting at him in response for being forced to spend some very close 1-to-1 alone time with a very cranky Head Detective…yet again. Shawn bit his lip in a vain attempt at hiding his amusement as both Gus and Lassiter sulked and pouted their way to the blue Crown Victoria. This would be a scene he’d be only too happy to replay in his mind a few times over. “Jules and I can go grab some breakfast for you two while you’re out! What d’ya like on your breakfast burrito, Lassie?” He called just before they reached the vehicle. He giggled again when both men specifically ignored him while they got in the car and drove off.
“You’re having a lot of fun with this.” Juliet noted once Gus and Lassiter pulled out of the parking lot. “Didn’t you tell me once that Gus isn’t comfortable around Lassiter?”
Shawn finally let out a laugh. “Of course he’s not. The man scares the crap out of Gus. I would feel bad about it, but let’s just call it payback for me getting a pitcher full of ice water in the face this morning. Besides, he’s my best friend, and he deserves the best. He may not like it, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have training him on this.”
Juliet nodded while she pulled out her own gear as well as the necessary magazines, and began arranging them on the equipment table. Shawn’s way of being thoughtful to those he cared about was strange indeed, and he rarely actually admitted to it, leaving most others thinking he was only interested in pulling pranks on people. She was grateful that he felt comfortable enough with her to admit what his real motives were for forcing Gus to take private shooting lessons from her partner.
“Well, I guess we could go grab something to eat, but let’s take a look around here first so you’ll know what we’re gonna be working with.” She announced. “You’ve been out here once before, haven’t you?” Shawn nodded. “Ok. They have actually completely remodeled the shoot house. We’ve got loads of time, apparently, so let’s go take a look around.”
Shawn didn’t even try hiding his extreme approval of getting to spend some alone time with Juliet, even if she did seem focused on her work at the moment. He followed her as she led him down range to where the shoot house was, then began pointing out what had been changed, moved, or replaced. Most of the changes, naturally, Shawn was able to pick out almost immediately, but it was still interesting getting to see them from Juliet’s point of view.
“Ok, so here…” She continued, leading Shawn to the building. She carefully side-stepped a mound of construction debris a few feet from the house as Shawn moved some stuff out of the way. “Here are some new targets that they’ve added,” Juliet noted once they were inside, “and replaced some of the ones that have been shot a few too many times. Lassiter actually helped with the strategic placement of some of these based on which ones get hit the most, which ones don’t get hit at all, how they move, all that good stuff. I really like this setup, actually. It’s challenging and realistic.” She sighed heavily, looking out through one of the windows. “Yeah, this place is a major mess. Sorry. Lassiter really tried to make sure it would get cleaned up for you guys. It’s great we get to use it first with the all new layout and everything, but this…”
“Don’t worry about it.” Shawn waved her off. “We’ll work around it. More realistic anyway, right?”
Juliet smiled in response. The two of them spent the next twenty minutes studying every room in the house, and with each passing minute, Juliet was more and more impressed that she had not lost Shawn’s attention yet. After explaining to him the details of the final room, she glanced over to see him busy looking over the parts that she had pointed out. “Hey, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you clear a room before. Did you get a chance to do that at the Academy? How about we do a quick run through together so I can see where you’re at with this.”
Shawn looked up at her and his eyes brightened. “Sure! You mean like taking some shots now?”
Juliet shook her head. “Not yet. I want to make sure you’re good with the basics of this first, like draw & fire, trigger control, grip, form, and how you put it all together. Then we can move on to using a loaded gun.”
Shawn pretended to sulk, throwing his arms up in defeat.
“Ok, see! That’s what I’m talking about.” Juliet snapped. “You’re really lucky Lassiter didn’t just see you waving your arm around with a gun in your hand.”
“But it’s not loaded! It’s perfectly safe!”
“Doesn’t matter!” Juliet admonished. “Safety first, Shawn. Always! Now, holster your weapon and let’s go through some Draw & Fire exercises.”
“Don’t you mean Draw & Dry Fire?” Shawn teased.
“Yes, of course, but…Shawn! Focus!” Juliet took off her jacket, revealing the short sleeve satin shirt she had underneath, thoroughly dazzling Shawn in the process. The fact that he could now also see the holster she kept on her back only added to the appeal of the vision before him. Unfortunately for him, Juliet was deep in ‘training’ mode, leaving Shawn with no choice but to go along with her instruction. Besides, he figured, the better he did, the more impressed she’d be by him, and surely she’d reward him for it later once she was back in ‘girlfriend’ mode. The two of them went through some basic drills and exercises throughout the house, and even were able to move up to a couple intermediate level skills once Juliet saw that Shawn was picking things up very quickly. She was admittedly impressed at his instincts and reflexes once he actually let go of any immature antics, and even saw that his ability to move around a building was reminiscent of someone who already had more training that she would expect.
“Ok. You’re definitely ready.” She finally announced. “I’m going back to load up and grab the magazines. You stay here and keep practicing. I’m thinking Lassiter will actually like going through some of the more advanced stuff once he sees what we’ve been working on.”
“Aww you flatter me, Jules!” Shawn smiled. “I’m a target shooter. This kind of stuff isn’t nearly my strong suit.”
“It’s strong enough for someone who’s supposed to be a beginner.” Juliet argued. “Now stay here. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She stepped outside, then shook her head in frustration at seeing that the wall hanger for the red “safety” flag hadn’t even been mounted above the door yet. Safety First! If there was anything to remember on any kind of shooting range, it was this. No way would she leave a civilian alone inside a shoot house without raising the red flag to declare that there was someone inside.
Well…what now? She thought as she picked the flag up from the ground. She looked around for ideas on how to improvise, finally settling on staking it upright in the ground right next to the front door. It was big enough to be easily seen, and being right at the front door meant there was no way anyone could enter without seeing it first. Satisfied, she dusted off her hands and trudged all the way back to the equipment table at the edge of the parking lot. For once, she was glad that she had finally begun wearing boots to work, especially knowing that her feet would most definitely not forgive her this long walk on uneven terrain in high heels…no matter how cute they looked.
Shawn ran through some of his exercises on his own after Juliet left, actually finding it quite interesting to consider the thought of honing his sharp shooting skills by combining them with the actions involved during a tactical situation. He had only been at it for a couple minutes when he heard some movement outside. Was Jules back already? That couldn’t be possible. Maybe she forgot something? He decided to step out and see what she might need. Instead of Jules, however, he discovered what appeared to be some construction guys milling around the house.
“Hey guys!” Shawn greeted, assuming their presence had something to do with Lassiter's phone call from earlier “Can I help you?”
One of the men raised his hand in greeting. “No, sorry, we didn’t know someone would be here already.”
Shawn shrugged and leaned on the door frame. “No worries. We’re not really getting started with heavy live fire for a while yet. Detective O’Hara and I were just gonna take some practice shots in a few minutes.”
“In that case,” The construction guy replied, scratching his head as if to think through the situation, “We’ll just get this area cleaned off if you don’t mind, then come back and do the rest. We just thought Detective Lassiter wanted this done immediately.”
Shawn had to admit to feeling bad for the guy. Lassiter had a way of shaking people up like that. “Hey, I’m just doing some dry practice runs inside. You’re not in my way.”
The man nodded in agreement. “Ok, thanks! We’ll just be a few minutes, then we’ll be on our way out.” He watched the young man go back inside, then commenced to barking orders at his crew. Getting an angry earful from the Department’s Head Detective first thing in the morning had not been his idea of a good way to start the day, so he was determined to minimize the damage as much as possible. He even got personally involved with helping out his crew in an effort to get done quickly, because surely, the last thing he wanted was to come face to face with either Detective at the moment. He directed his crew to hurriedly clear the surrounding area while he filled his arms with the remaining clutter around the front of the house- a few boards, a left over empty tape roll, and a dusty red flag that he assumed had been placed to mark a paint line of sorts.
Buzz McNab pulled into the North parking area of the Tactical Shooting Range a short while later, somewhat perplexed to find himself all alone. He could swear Detective O’Hara had told him they would still wait for him and still wanted to use him on their training even if he was delayed. Even with his delay, he had still finished half an hour faster than he thought he would thanks to a helpful fellow officer who had agreed to take over for him. He assumed this meant he could at least arrive just as things were really getting going with the training. Could they have actually finished up and left already? He pulled out his cell phone to dial Lassiter’s number.
“Hi Detective, Buzz McNab here.” He greeted. “I’m just arriving at the shooting range, but I don’t see anyone else here.”
“That was fast. We weren’t expecting you back for at least another 30 or 45 minutes.” Lassiter grumbled. “Well, Guster and I went to do some shooting at the indoor range while we waited for you.” He declined to mention Guster’s queasy stomach and the complete lack of any kind of useful shooting practice they’d had because of it. “Oh you know what, Spencer said something about going to get breakfast. I’ll bet that’s where they went. You know how he is, he likely convinced O’Hara to go out for pancakes again. Just like the annoying little twerp to delay important training for food, so you’re on your own for a while.”
“Understood.” Buzz nodded. “I can just go down to the shoot house and set things up for us then.” He informed.
“Good idea, McNab.” Lassiter replied. “I’ll give O’Hara a call and see where they went. Hopefully she can manage to drag Spencer’s ass back out there so we don’t waste time standing around waiting for them.”
McNabb ended the call with a big smile on his face. He hadn’t missed his chance after all! He had been looking forward to this training exercise with Detective Lassiter for the past week, and couldn’t wait to show off the new skills and techniques he had learned from spending some time with the Department’s new Tactical Defense Instructor. He was only too happy to get to set up the shoot house, and while he was at it, maybe he could even practice his moves a bit, just enough to make sure he had them straight for when Lassiter and the rest of the group came back.
There was something about approaching the shoot house all alone that got McNab’s adrenaline running and set his mind into ‘on-duty’ mode. He decided if he was going to make this approach, he might as well do it ‘properly.’ He drew his gun and held it up close to his body, then proceeded to come up onto the building as if he were making a real-life tactical approach. He truly loved the feeling of his adrenaline and his instincts beginning to take over once he got into that ‘mode,’ and felt even better being able to just let go and allow his training to take him forward.
Shawn sighed and squinted out through the window of the house, noting that the construction workers had departed, and wondered how much longer until Jules came back. Perhaps she needed some help carrying all the gear back? Shawn felt a pang of guilt at the thought of not being around to help her out if she needed it, but assumed she would have called him if that were truly the case. Speaking of ammo, he wondered how Gus and Lassie were doing. They should be on their way back soon, perhaps, unless they really hit a groove and decided to stay a while longer. Shawn figured that basic shooting practice was what Gus really needed anyway to get comfortable with a gun before trying a tactical situation.
He squinted out the window again, trying to see if Juliet was on her way back yet. Seeing nothing, he decided to pull out his gun and practice some of the exercises again. At this rate, he could already sense his boredom beginning to grab hold of him. He moved around the back rooms of the house, taking steps and corners just as Juliet had instructed him. He covered the entire back area of the building before deciding to move towards the front rooms.
Front rooms are wide open. He reminded himself, considering how he would tactically manage moving from his current more constrained space to an open space. Just then, his imagination grabbed him, making the pretend situation more interesting for the moment.
Bad guy’s out there. He imagined. Whoa, that must be a really good imagination! He could almost swear he was actually hearing footsteps just outside. Just waiting for me. I’ve got to get out of here before he comes in after me. He stood just inside the back bedroom door for a few seconds while he counted himself down, then took a deep breath and quickly stepped out of the room, holding his gun out in front of him.
Buzz was beginning to feel his heartbeat increasing- a sure sign, to him at least, that his adrenaline was pumping and that he was ‘in the zone.’ Some might have trouble getting into such a mentality for a pretend operation, but not him. Not if he intended to make it to Detective and higher someday. He knew that Lassiter never did anything half-assed, and if there was anyone worthy of emulating, it would be the Head Detective himself. The world around him began to fade away as he focused on the house, taking in every inch of it visible to him with every step forward that he took. Out of habit, he glanced at the front door to make sure there was no safety flag up, then snapped back quickly into his mental process. How would he manage in a situation like this, if he were forced to do this alone? What should he be looking for? What should be going through his mind? He ran through his mental checklist, determined that he would get one good round in before the others arrived. He even led himself to dive into a fictional tactical situation where the others were counting on him to have this house cleared before their arrival. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else even existed in this moment- except that house in front of him, and his mission to take out any threats lurking inside of it.
He made it to the front entrance, carefully making his way inside while using every single one of his senses to remain aware of anything that might be inside. In his mind, this was even more realistic than usual, because he hadn’t seen the new additions or improvements since the renovation. At least in that sense, he honestly had no idea where trouble might be brewing. He carefully cleared what would be the front living room area and the adjacent dining area. Taking a deep breath, he prepared to move into the hallway leading to the bedrooms. That’s where the real danger would likely be. His ears confirmed this, alerting him to a sound in the far back bedroom. He stood very still, focusing on that one sound in the back bedroom, and reminding himself that he could not forget about the two other rooms between him and that sound.
There it was again, except this time, the sound materialized into a moving form that suddenly appeared in the hallway. This form was in the shape of a man- holding a…
Without another thought, Buzz raised his own weapon and pointed it at the form, his finger curling in from its extended position and coming in contact with the trigger.
In that instant, his eyes registered the image in front of him…it was not just one of the targets, or any threat for that matter.
Too late. His mind had already given the order. Even as he tried to halt his actions and lower his weapon, his finger was already in motion.