Today’s Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge is to write up a background story for another one of the side characters in my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel, The LZR Project. In this short snippet, I go into a bit of detail about my character, Ridley Grant, a policewoman who went undercover within one of Lysallis’ worst gangs and got her own brother killed in the process. While she deals with the guilt of that atrocity, she is approached to join the Lazerblades in their quest to put Mr. Big behind bars once and for all…
“Get on the ground!” Ridley shouted. As she pointed the gun at the young man, she stepped carefully over the branches and loose forest foliage, careful not to lose her footing or slip on the moist leaves.
The man slowly lowered to the ground and fell flat on his stomach, interlocking his hands over the top of his head.
Ridley pulled a pair of handcuffs from her waist and carefully locked the man’s wrists together. She let out a sigh of relief and then stepped back from the man, taking a seat on a nearby stump to catch her breath before she would have to make the walk back to the clearing where her cruiser was parked.
“You don’t know what you’re about to bring down on your head.”
Ridley kept the gun aimed on the young man, chewing on the pride that came with the fact that she had just chased down one of Merana’s toughest gang members. “If you think you’re going to scare me, you’re wrong.”
The young man peered out from under his mop of dark brown hair, his green eyes a bit translucent in the foggy haze moving lazily through the forest. “You’re dead.”
Ridley caught her breath, her side in pain from the chase, and took out the pack of cigarettes she kept in the front pocket of her police uniform. Staring at the Lucky brand logo on the package, she traced the way the L met up with the U, evoking memories of roller coaster rides when she was a child, while the four-leaf clover after the word ‘Lucky’ reminded her of how lucky she was to be alive.
“Did you hear me?”
Ridley took the pack of cigarettes and tossed it at the young man, hitting him the cheek. “Today is the day I quit smoking.”
“What? Today’s the day –“
“Yeah, I know. Die. Today’s the day I die. Apparently you don’t know me too well.”
“Ridley Grant. Thirty-two. Cop on the force for nine years now. Your brother was killed by one of my crew a few months ago.”
“Yeah. I started smoking a few months ago. I promised myself I would stop after a few weeks. Better late than never, I guess.”
“I don’t care about your smoking habits. I’m telling you, you better let me go.”
“I’m not holding you down.”
The young man shifted his legs, and Ridley positioned the gun toward one of his knees. “Go ahead. Get up. You’ll be missing a kneecap when I’m through with you.”
“You think this is a joke?!”
“You young ones are so arrogant, you know that? You’re the one who’s finished. You were the head of the Rolenda gang, and I just cut you off. Your associates will scatter. Your name – Rolenda – whatever that means, will fade. You’re done. And did I mention I quit smoking today? I’m pretty proud of that fact. Can you just let me enjoy this one accomplishment?”
The man turned his head so he was facing away from Ridley, mumbling incoherent words to himself.
Ridley heard the shuffling of leaves and quickly aimed the gun toward the line of trees to her left. A group of officers came out of the fog and surrounded Ridley and the young man on the ground.
Captain Scott, his face always carrying his trademark thick gray beard, approached Ridley, grabbing her arm to help her to her feet. “You look a little winded, Grant.”
The group of officers lifted the young man off the ground and escorted him through the trees toward the clearing.
“I’m just tired.”
Captain Scott smiled. “Tired, huh?”
Ridley nodded. “Yeah, tired. I quit smoking today.”
Captain Scott slapped her on the back. “Well, congratulations, Grant. I’m happy to hear that. You’re going to need your health for the next assignment I have for you.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that sir?”
“A transfer. And a promotion. Both, actually.”
“I put in a request for you to become the head of a special project the government is putting together.”
“As long as I don’t have to work with an office full of women, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”
“You’ll be working with the Lazerblades.”
Ridley said nothing, simply stared down at the pack of cigarettes laying on the ground, wondering if she should pick them up. The amount of credits a pack of cigarettes cost nowadays made it a waste to just leave them there in the foliage like that…
“Take a day or two off. Get some rest. You’re going to need it.”
She looked into her captain’s eyes. “Why me?”
“You’re the best.”
“Really, sir, why did you pick me?”
Captain Scott gently placed his hand on her shoulder. His massive emerald class ring stuck out on his old-man-hands like a zit on a model’s airbrushed face. “The Lazerblades have managed to get themselves in more trouble in the last few years than all of my officers combined. But they’ve also gotten results – locking away many of Lysallis’s criminals. The Enera Government wants the big fish put away though…for good.”
He nodded. “The Lazerblades have agreed to join forces with the government to create a special task force. In other words, they are being given the government’s resources to stop Mr. Big. We’re calling it – well, David Corbin is calling it – the LZR Project. I want you put in charge of their task force. See to their needs, and be the liaison between the government and the Lazerblades. I want this project to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. You’ll receive a promotion – both in title and pay – and we’ll get you set up in housing in Lysallis.”
Ridley smiled. “I’m honored that you thought of me for this, sir.”
“Just do me proud, will you? It’s not an assignment I regard lightly.”