A/N: I'm not an expert on the minutiae of the structure of Chicago's streets, businesses, or apartments and houses, so there may be some unintentional contradictions in the story. I apologize in advance for them.
Once upon a time, in the not too distant future, the city of Chicago was crime-ridden and corrupt. Drug dealing was running rampant more than ever, and many kingpins were practicing illegal gambling, too. Homicide was also beginning to skyrocket, and the citizens of much of the city were scared. A lot of them had, in fact, relocated to the suburbs just outside of downtown Chicago, but they were always afraid that the crime would extend its hand to their quiet little neighborhoods someday, too.
And this was indeed starting to happen, as well. Even Hinsdale wasn't altogether safe, and the people were beginning to feel like they lived in an imitation of Detroit. The Chicago Police Department was up to their necks in citations, arrests, paperwork, bureaucratic red tape, and unsolved cases.
Fortunately, by that time, the Chicago PD was beginning to supplement the police force with some new weapons, including a new contingency of German Shepherds and other dogs as K-9 officers. These gallant dogs managed to sniff out evidence for all kinds of criminal activity, like smelling drugs and smoke in the most unusual of hiding places, detecting the strong-scented backrooms where kingpins played cards for illegal reasons, as well as more formidable actions like chasing down fleeing suspects and grabbing them, or scaring them into submission. Well over half of the cops in the CPD now had their own K-9 partners, even a chaplain or two, and with their maximum efforts, their police dogs were quickly becoming popular all around Chicago.
Of course, that meant that the crooks and troublemakers on the streets were starting to hate the brave K-9s, and some were making every attempt to eradicate the police force of their precious dogs. More K-9 officers had fallen in Chicago in half a year than fell in most other cities in the space of three years. In the police cemetery, there was even a private burial ground for deceased K-9s, where a chaplain would commemorate the dog's courage and loyalty and wish that God be with its soul if animals have an afterlife, like people.
This is the story of one of those K-9 cops, that has a brush with death and a date with mechanical destiny, and her owner, a dedicated policewoman with a passion for animals, especially altruistic ones…
Nancy Ferris was a good cop. Her career in law enforcement had gotten off to a rough start, when she was a little clumsy handling some domestic and automobile-related disturbances, and was the butt of many jokes from her male comrades. The Chief of Police thought she couldn't handle the job, even if she did make it through the police academy. But she was determined to show that a woman could do the job as well as a man, and nowadays, she was a veteran uniformed cop who had once won the "Officer of the Year" award for her outstanding efforts in crime fighting. One thing that made her stand out from other Chicago cops was her strength of will and heart; many cops were being weighted down by the mayhem and chaos in downtown Chicago, and had become bitter and cynical, but Nancy held true to her sense of duty and put her care for the citizens of the Windy City ahead of her concerns for herself. Her Sergeant thought she was a shining example of a cop.
But there was another reason she stood out as a cop, which she considered more important, and that was the matter of her German Shepherd K-9, a female like her, named "Karla." She was a fine dog, devoted to both her mistress and the duties of a cop with a passion. She was also quite feisty, taking down criminals with a feral disposition, but she never hurt them more than she had to. Somehow she just knew when a suspect had had enough. Karla also had one of the best noses amongst the K-9s on the force; not only could she sniff out the most well-hidden dope, she could sniff out the scent of a deck of cards like it was the scent of a fully-blooming flower. Of course, this got her and Nancy in trouble a few times, like when she smelled a deck of cards being used by a family of group of friends just playing a friendly card game like Gin Rummy or Crazy Eights, but Nancy trained Karla to tell the difference between a friendly "family and friends" game and a game of illegal business gambling, and soon all was better.
Karla and Nancy considered each other to be the best thing that had ever happened to them. Their bond was strong, their friendship was unbreakable, and their loyalty to each other and the police force was incorruptible. But on the day this story begins, things were going to change drastically, especially for Karla…
On one street block, some miles from the police station, K-9 Karla was sitting outside her mistress's patrol car, gazing at the street, watching for trouble. Nancy came out of a nearby deli with a couple sandwiches and a cup of coffee. She walked over to Karla and offered her one of the sandwiches.
"Hey! Karla, come here girl!" she said, squatting down near the dog, "It's your favorite, as usual; roast beef and turkey."
Karla gratefully took the said sandwich from Nancy's hand and began to chow down on it. Nancy smiled and began to eat her own sandwich and drink her coffee.
"We could be called to a crime at any time," she said, "I hope you don't need to pee, or anything like that?"
Karla looked at her sweetly for a moment and then resumed gobbling down her sandwich.
"No? Good," Nancy said. "Hey, listen, Karla," she continued, looking at her dog, "It looks like it's a little less rough out there today than usual. I've got a little surprise just for you after our shift, and I promise you'll love it."
Karla looked eager as she finished her sandwich, coming up and licking Nancy's face.
"Okay, okay," she said patiently, "We're on duty right now, Karla. This isn't the appropriate time for affection. But I promise you'll enjoy this evening at home. It'll be a night like no other for you. Think of it as my own personal reward for being my partner for so long."
Few people know exactly how much English (or any other spoken language) dogs can actually understand, but Karla was a pretty intelligent German Shepherd, and she seemed to understand that Nancy was proud of her, as usual. She wagged her tail happily.
Just then, a call came through Dispatch, saying that there had just been a robbery of a bank vault deep in the West Side, their jurisdiction on the police force. The suspects were fleeing in a red van, and were headed east down Randolph Street. They had just passed the Park Grill on North Michigan Avenue two minutes prior.
"Uh oh," said Nancy, "Sounds like that's near us." She discarded the remains of her sandwich and coffee cup. "Come on, Karla! We need to get there fast. Get in the car."
Karla faithfully took the passenger's seat, while Nancy, evidently, drove the car.
It took them less than five minutes to catch up to the van. Inevitably, the criminals tried to escape by putting on some more speed and swerving through traffic, but Nancy was an expert patrol car driver, and her patrol car also had some futuristic armor on it, so after activating her siren, she kept up the pursuit, and began to ram the van from behind when she caught up.
The back doors of the van opened and a couple of the suspects fired their guns at her and Karla. They both ducked, and still managing to look outside her windshield, Nancy rammed the van very hard, pushing it off the road and making it roll into a deserted alley between two businesses.
The robbers quickly bailed out of their vehicle and into an apartment building on the other end of the alley by means of the fire escape. Nancy called for backup, which Dispatch said would arrive in ten minutes.
"Blast!" she said, "We probably don't have ten minutes! Looks like it's up to us now, Karla." She quickly got out of her car and put Karla on her leash. Then they proceeded to chase the suspects into the apartments. Nancy quietly wondered how they had gotten their stolen money up the ladder.
They entered through the second story window, which was where the suspects had entered the building, which Nancy had to wrestle with to get open. Obviously the suspects had closed it tight, or jammed it. Inside, she had Karla sniff around for a sweaty human scent, like those of fearful criminals trying to escape punishment by the law.
Soon, Karla found the scent, and she began to lead Nancy up the stairs outside the empty apartment they entered. They went as high as the fifth floor, and then Karla led her mistress to a door marked with the number 513. She became excited and barked as she smelled something more than just money and sweat from under the door.
Nancy drew her revolver, loaded it quickly, and shouted, "Police! Open up!" No one came to answer the door.
"Police!" she shouted again, "Open up now!"
Another door opened, and a curious tenant peeked out. "You talking to me?" he asked.
"Get back in your apartment, sir," Nancy ordered, "And lock your door. It isn't safe out here right now."
"Uh, yes, officer," he said, and returned to his room.
513 remained closed. Finally, Nancy kicked the door open and pointed her gun inside. Karla growled. They swept the entryway of the apartment, and found nobody and nothing. They came to the main bedroom, and found nothing. Beginning to think that the enemy got away again, Nancy went into the kitchen, and found five kilos of cocaine on the counter in clear plastic bags. Karla barked again. Nancy knew now that the robbers were still there, but she learned it the hard way.
Suddenly, another gun shot her in the leg, twice. Crying out, she started to sink to the floor. She tried to swivel her gun on her enemy, but he fired another two bullets at her other leg, and she couldn't walk or stand. She dropped her gun and Karla's leash, and the K-9 started to charge the gunman. She tackled the man and began to bite his gun arm, forcing him to drop his own weapon.
But then, two more suspects came out of the nearby bathroom and fired a couple of illegal automatic rifles at Karla. The poor, brave dog cried out and whined in pain, but still tried to pounce on her new attackers. Unfortunately, most of the bullets hit their mark, and bones shattered and blood spilled within Karla's body. She sank to the floor and looked up at her attackers as if begging for release from the pain and suffering.
"Karla!" yelled Nancy, forgetting her own pain temporarily. She crawled toward her gunned-down dog as best she could, but her own attacker retrieved his gun, snatched away her own, and with a cruel laugh, he shot Karla in the head once. Once was enough to finish off the poor thing.
"KARLA! NO!" Nancy screamed. She managed to reach her dog and hugged her close, not caring if Karla's blood was ruining her uniform.
The gunman who shot Nancy laughed again. "Let that be a lessons to you bastard cops and your faithful bitches. Your police force's dogs are getting too popular, and we'll see to it, as will others of our kind, that so-called 'K-9s' are on the way out."
"You're a monster," Nancy said through clenched teeth.
"Everyone's a monster, bitch, get used to it," the man said. "But I say that at least my kind admits it. Your kind pretends to be righteous. Hope your beloved pooch sings with the angels." He gave her an insincere wave goodbye, and he and his men gathered up their coke and weapons and left.
Nancy heard her backup finally arriving about three minutes later, but she knew it was too late to stop the killers, and too late for her precious Karla as well. Staining her face with some of Karla's blood, she put her face in her hands and cried.
At a hospital a little while later, Karla the K-9 officer was pronounced dead. Poor Nancy spent some time at the hospital too, due to her wounded legs, but the holes in her legs hurt nothing compared to the loss of her favorite dog.
Little did she know that, at that very moment, the wonders of future science and technology were going to do her and Karla a favor no one had ever imagined before.
To be continued…