Dog Days in Hotlanta – Chapter 42: Family Values

And it is indeed true, the news tells me, that Mighty Slammer has broken out of jail.

Last night, deep in the dark, there was a big explosion in the jail that injured at least a dozen people, maybe more as reports show. Guess who was seen, fully suited up and wrecking an automat not two hours later? That same cackling weirdo we all know and sort of hate.

She’s broken out and gone on the run, just like Phil told me she’d been planning the whole time. For everything else about Phil, at least he isn’t a liar. Though in many ways I sort of wish he was.

The news should be all over this; the Atlanta Police Department has suffered yet another humiliating failure, and the boondoggle has left many people injured. But instead, it’s just the focus of a two-minute feature before it’s swept under the rug by the day’s more “important” news: More fucking politics.

The robot anchor on TV delivers the shitty news in exactly the way you’re hoping for. Dry, without any sense of irony, managing to keep a straight face solely through the fact that it is not able to emote whatsoever.

“In related news, there is a new entrant in the mayoral race this fall,” the anchor says. “The Values Party has found its new candidate.” It cuts to live footage, and I see a shockingly familiar face.

Chief Baranowsky stands before a huge row of microphones, adjusting his tie and looking stern while hundreds of cameras flash.

“Crime,” he says. Just that word, and then a long pause. “Crime is real the problem in Atlanta. You might have heard about the villainess who escaped custody last night. It’s the latest event in an epidemic. We’re staring down the barrel. Only question is, will we get blown away, or will we grab that rifle and turn it back around?”

The reporters, clearly unsympathetic to Chief Baranowsky’s cause, do not make much noise, which seems to surprise him. That’s the kind of line that plays well in a big stadium full of annoying people, but not very well when there are no fans around.

Nevertheless, he persists. “Our world is crumbling from deviants and criminals. We need someone tough on crime. I’m someone tough on crime. I’ve served the city of Atlanta as police chief for ten years, and I’ll serve you just as well in the mayor’s office. I’m happy to accept the Values Party’s nomination and fight for family values, peace and security, and the great Georgian traditions that made our society great.”

Finally, he looks right into the live feed camera and says, “Vote for the Chief on November 5th.”

Reporters start screaming out questions for the man, but the feed cuts off and the robot anchor appears on the screen once more.

So even though Mighty Slammer is on the loose on the day of J-District’s Summer Festival, the real news of the day is that the police chief of Atlanta has joined the most craven political party out there.

I always though of Chief Baranowsky as a pompous ass and a crony of the old Epstein order, but now it just makes so much sense to see that one of the most powerful men in the city is also a bigot who wants to return the city to a time when whites controlled everything and women knew their place. “Family values” my ass.

He wouldn’t even be with the Values Party except their previous nominee was arrested a few weeks ago for suspected murder. What a “lucky” break. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Baranowsky helped Mighty Slammer escape, just to make his own police force look bad and demand better funding and more brutal tactics.

No matter how this goes, it won’t go well, is all I’m going to say.

Worst of all, it’s completely distracting me from my actual duties, which is getting to the Summer Festival as fast as possible and figuring out how to stop the terrible things from coming.

I look out the window and see overcast skies. For all the scorching, sunny heat the past month, just seeing the cloud cover is sort of amazing. I nearly forgot there was any weather but the sweaty-ass kind.

Maybe this doesn’t mean anything, but I take these clouds with as many silver linings as I can see. A good luck charm if I’ve ever made one up on the spot.

Can I manage to pull this off? Can I really save the—

Knock, knock, knock.

Oh, no.

I open the door to find another extremely familiar face—the mouthless, mute courier robot R8PR uses. It hands me a note from “Lawrence Garfield,” asking me if I’d like to meet an important new ally before the day’s events.

Of course I’d like that. I’d much, much prefer an old ally, like pretty much anyone I’ve worked with the last few months, but hey, someone new is cool too, I guess.

The weather’s cool. A little too cool for the extremely comfy clothes I’m wearing. With a full gray sky overhead and a faint whistling in the wind, it can mean only one thing: Atlanta’s heat wave may be coming to an end. Please, let this stupid weather finally change just for once. All I want is a little rain… Even if that means it cancels the Summer Festival. Actually, that would be an amazing result, because it would mean that the Japanese mob’s big horrible plan would never come to pass. But I have a feeling that we’re not gonna be so lucky that we’ll actually manage to pull it off.

Well, at least R8PR’s sending me to someone he trusts, someone that might just help me save the day in face of the longest odds ever known in Atlanta history.

The courier robot takes me to a special address across town, eating up one precious hour of time.

And wasting a lot more of my mental energy when I find out that this “new ally” is actually the Crusader.

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