“Plasma Spike” Bob and “Grinning” William were just two low-level thugs running a protection racket until they got a little too rough with one of their clients. With three dead at the scene and two more injured during their escape, they had shot up to the top of the wanted list. A one million credit bounty had been issued for their capture, dead or alive.
One of my sources tipped me off that the two were holed up in one of a warehouse on the dark side of the station. I’d been to three so far this cycle and was beginning to think they had fled planetside. I snuck in a side door of the next warehouse and started working my way around the inside perimeter to the office. A radio played softly inside but not softly enough to keep Bob and William hidden. I placed a hand on the office doorknob and pulled my gun from its shoulder holster. The radio cut off suddenly and chairs scrapped against the floor. In a single motion, I pulled the office door open and stepped inside. The bullets slapped into my guts before I heard the boom of their guns. Red blossomed on my shirt. This wouldn’t do.
I stepped back one minute. The door was still closed. I turned the doorknob and flung the door open staying out of the doorway. Three bullets thudded into the plastisteel crates nearby.
“Why don’t you make this easy for me and just give up?” I called around the door frame.
“Slag off copper!” one shouted.
“Yeah slag it!” the other said followed by a round of laughter.
“I’m not a police officer but they are on the way. I’d rather have you all wrapped up for them but if you want a big shootout that can be arranged.” They answered with another round of bullets.
I sidestepped into a frozen moment and walked into the office. I plucked Bob’s gun from his hand and emptied the bullets into one of my coat pockets. After doing the same with William’s gun I returned to outside the office. Time restarted.
“Is that your final answer?” I shouted. I slowed time and strolled into the office. They raised their guns slowly, from my perception, and tried to shoot me. I savored the looks of confusion on their faces as their guns clicked on empty chambers.
I punched William in the forehead and felt something snap in my hand. That wouldn’t do. I stepped back five seconds. Using the butt of my gun this time, I knocked William out. Bob followed right after. Time resumed it’s normal flow, while I secured their hands with disposable handcuffs. Their guns went into the same coat pocket with their bullets. I dialed the police.
“What the nature of your emergency?” the operator asked.
“Hello, what is the current response time to my location?” I asked.
“Current response time is twelve minutes. Do you require police, fire, or medical?” I hung up, stepped back ten minutes to call the police, and returned to present time hear sirens just arriving outside.
After giving my initial statement, I moved off to one side and stayed out of the way while allowing time to slip by at twice normal speed. When a CSI approached, I slowed down to hand over the guns and bullets then I sped up again. A detective I knew walked up to me. I stepped back a minute so I could catch her eye just before she walked over and give her a grin of recognition.
“Another pair of criminals put behind bars. How many is this for you? Fifteen?” the detective asked.
“Eighteen. I nabbed three of the Red Shift Gang over the weekend,” I said with a smile.
“Why does a fifth-dimensional alien care about catching criminals on a backwater space station?”
“I’m just trying to do my part.” I casually leaned back against the wall.
“I’ve been reading up on you fifth-dimensional beings.”
“Have you really? And what have you read?”
“Well a lot of the technical jargon went over my head but one thing I think I understood is you can move through time like we move through space.” The detective paced as she talked.
She spun to face me. “Then why don’t you just go to when these scumbags committed their crimes and stop them?”
“I could do that … but what would be the fun in that? Where’s the game for me?” I leaned forward to watch as the meaning of my words sunk in. Her face twisted into a snarl and she raised a hand. I stepped back one minute thirty seconds.
“… when these scumbags committed their crimes and stop them?”
“Unfortunately my people have Time Laws that prevent us from altering the past in certain ways. For the safety of the universe, we dare not violate them,” I said as sincerely as I could.
“Huh, I didn’t read anything about that,” she said doubt soaking her words.
“It’s not something we talk about.”
“Well, your help is always appreciated.” The detective walked away.
“I’m sure it is.”