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Do Androids Dream of Love or Justice

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Shit, Kouichi thinks. Shit, shit, shit, not now.

He can barely hear the beep beep of his low power alert over the blaring of the sirens and gunshots and Lupin’s mad cackling, but he doesn’t need to hear it. He can feel it in his core. He’s been chasing Lupin and his gang all over the city since dawn, and he’s been burning through energy faster than Lupin burns through money. He needs to recharge, and he needs to do it soon. He takes his eyes off the road—a stupid thing to do, especially during a car chase of this magnitude, but he’s got no choice—and frantically searches for a charging port. There are supposed to be at least two in every police car he uses, one accessible through his hand and one through his foot, but this car doesn’t have either. Damn. Interpol’s been getting stingier and stingier with funds lately, but it’s his own idiotic mistake to get in a car without making sure it’s been upgraded.

The first thing to do is turn off his Wi-Fi connection, then. He tries to keep it on as often as he can, but it’s an undeniable power drain, and he’s probably not going to get any urgent orders in the next—fifteen minutes. Shit. 

Something ahead of him explodes, and he curses, jerking his head up. Lupin’s got grenades today, because of course he does. Can’t pass up any chance to make Kouichi’s life a living hell, now can he. At least Fujiko’s off wooing a millionaire in Switzerland. No one believes it when he says it, but Kouichi swears she’s more trigger-happy than Jigen. 

His alert is still beeping insistently, and Kouichi groans. There’s nothing for it; he’ll have to retreat, for now. He switches off his siren and turns on the radio with no little reluctance.

“All units pull back,” he says. “Repeat, all units pull back.”

He can see two officers in a car next to him exchange baffled looks, but his men trust him, and they follow his orders without question. They slow down, falling into a line behind him, and he peels off the highway at the first chance he gets. In the rearview mirror, he sees the fiat slow down, and Lupin pokes his head out of the top. He can’t make out his expression, but he bets it’s dumbfounded. It’s a small comfort, but knowing he’s thrown Lupin for a loop does lessen the sting of a failed chase a bit.

He taps his fingers on the steering wheel in frustration. He was so close this time. It couldn’t be helped, though. He’s only got ten minutes of charge left, if that, and he’d rather die than leave anyone else in charge of Lupin’s arrest, no matter how capable his men may be.

Once everyone’s off the highway, he turns his radio back on.

“Any units with a charging port, pull over,” he says. “And make room in the driver’s seat.”

Instantly, four police cars stop at the side of the road in a perfect line. One by one, the doors on the driver’s open, and an officer pops out of each. Usually Kouichi would be proud at how well he’s trained his men, but right now he’s just humiliated. Four cars out of seven—he really needs to stop jumping from car to car in the middle of a high speed chase. It was only a matter of time until he ran out of energy while stuck in a chargerless car. He’s honestly surprised it took this long. 

Kouichi gets out of the car and resists the urge to slam the door closed. It would be immature, and it’s his own damn fault. Besides, it would be an unnecessary waste of energy, and he doesn't have any to spare. Just walking to the nearest car leaves him drained, and it takes him two tries to get his hand on the port.

He closes his eyes as electricity and relief flow through him in equal measure. This was too close. He’s too reckless, and he knows it, but when he’s on Lupin’s tail it’s hard not to get carried away. This was a warning, though, and he’d be an idiot to ignore it. He can’t keep chasing Lupin like this. He’s not Interpol’s shiny new toy anymore; he hasn’t had proper maintenance in months, and he can’t wear himself to bits and expect them to fix him up good as new. They’ve only given him four cars with charging ports, and a quick check confirms this one doesn’t have a port for his foot. He’d worked so hard to get that upgrade. It’d taken a lot of begging to convince Interpol that being able to charge when his hands weren’t free was, in fact, important, seeing as he usually needs both hands to drive.

“Sir? Is everything all right?”

Kouichi waves a tired hand at the officer.

“I’m fine. You and the others should go back to the station. Take my car, I’ll catch up in this one.”

“If you’re sure, sir,” the officer says, and marches off to relay his orders. 

Kouichi watches as his men file back into their vehicles and drive off.  He’d give them all raises if he could, but Interpol doesn’t even let him give them bonuses. Kouichi himself doesn’t get paid at all, for obvious reasons, but he’s officially classified as a business expense, and his general upkeep costs enough that it more or less evens out.

He’s going to be here a while, he supposes, so he might as well make the most of it. He rummages through the glove compartment one-handed. There’s more junk in there than there should be, but he keeps searching, until finally, his fingers brush a shape he’d know anywhere. He triumphantly pulls out a cup ramen—and it’s shrimp flavored. God damn it. He leans back in his seat until his head knocks against the headrest and closes his eyes again. 

It’s been a very long day.