Pattern Repetition

Kurst’s men carried Hue, arms twisted, until they reached a room with a carpeted floor. They threw her down on it.  

Hue groaned as she tried to pick herself up.

“Again, you come to bother me.” 

That voice. “Kurst, you bitch,” Hue said. 

Kurst lounged in an easy chair, a drink in one hand and a pistol in the other. “Me, a bitch?” she said, unctuously. “After you sneak into my home, heavily armed, bent on who knows what?”

“You know why I’m here,” Hue spat. “Don’t toy with me.”

“I know you trespassed on my property. That’s about to end,” Kurst said, raising the pistol.

“I’m backed up, Kurst,” said Hue. “Even if you kill me, I’ve got another body ready to go.”

“I know you have a backup,” said Kurst. “That’s what you said the last time.”

Hue blinked. 

Kurst smiled, showing disarmingly perfect teeth. “Officer Hue. Always by the book. When was the last time you backed up? Right before coming here, of course. Tell me, what good are your saved memories if they don’t include the same trap you fall into, every time you assault my house?”

“You’ll never get away with this!”

“That’s what you said last time,” said Kurst, and pulled the trigger.

* * *

Far away, in a biolab, Hue opened her eyes. A nurse leant over her. 

“Again?” Hue asked.

“Yep. That’s eleven now,” said the nurse.

“I need a different strategy,” said Hue.

“That’s what you said last time,” said the nurse.

ship-picky said:

What is your headcanon on what happened to Backup?

Maybe it’s because my own big dogs are getting up there in years themselves right now (ages 7 and 10), but I don’t want to imagine a dangerous situation for Backup’s end. I want to see Backup living out his life as an everyday hero, going peacefully in his sleep as we all hope to do sometime in the far-off future.

Backup would have willingly made any sacrifice necessary to protect his people from danger. But mostly, he didn’t need to. Although he routinely accompanied Veronica or Keith on cases, he didn’t often find himself in pursuit of the bad guys. Most of Neptune’s less upstanding citizens were well aware of Backup’s exceptional man-stopping abilities. The smarter ones concluded it just wasn’t worth it to make a run for it and get tackled by the muscular pit bull.

Backup missed Veronica when she left for Stanford. Her visits home were too few and far between, and were even fewer once she moved to New York for law school. Backup didn’t mope, though. He had things to do, helping Keith whenever canine skills were needed for a case. When Keith had to go out of town, Backup was happy to spend some down time with Wallace. He didn’t even mind the few times he had to stay at the boarding kennel. He was a favorite of Sharon, the owner, who spoiled him with extra treats and playtime.

As Backup grew older, he didn’t go out on cases any more. But Keith still took him to the Mars Investigations offices at least twice a week - he was a working dog with an important job to do, after all. Since he wasn’t a police dog, he wasn’t up for commendations or trophies or awards. But everyone knew that Backup deserved some of the credit for Keith’s safety and Mars Investigation’s success.

Backup’s twelfth birthday fell just before Veronica started her final year of law school. Veronica wasn’t planning to come home that week, but with an unexpected break in her schedule and some frequent flyer miles about to expire, she found herself back in Neptune, reminiscing with her dad and celebrating their beloved dog’s birthday with a meat loaf cake frosted with spray cheese.

On the last day of Veronica’s visit, Keith got called out of town on a case. It was just Backup and Veronica, spending the day at the beach and then relaxing at home, just like old times. “Now you be a good boy for Wallace,” Veronica told him, as she gave Backup a big hug before handing him over to her BFF to await Keith’s return.

Three weeks later, Veronica got the call. Backup had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge peacefully in his sleep the night before, after a routine day at the office and a relaxing night at home. No, he hadn’t been ill. He was just… old. Yes, twelve years is a good long life for a big dog. But it’s still not enough time to spend with a good dog.

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