Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd

(This story is a sequel to Dredd (2012) and a remake of Judge Dredd (1995) and based off the comic Judge Dredd. Knowledge of either film is not required to fully understand the story. TG is a prominent theme.)

The Aspen Penal Colony was in the middle of nowhere in a desert wasteland. It was a giant factory of steel and pipes that was converted into a prison for the worst offenders. Guards wore white armor over their entire bodies and were armed with high-powered rifles in case there were to be an escape. However, if any prisoner did manage to escape, they would most likely die within a few days in the dry inhospitable lands.

The prison’s most famous prisoner was Rico, a former Judge. The Judges were appointed by the Justice Department to act as police officers, jury, and executioner all in one. It became necessary to end common legal practices of reasonable suspicion, due process, legal representation, presumption of innocence, burden of proof, trial judge and juries, appeal process, and executioners. Now, all of these institutions and ideals fit into one man. After the nuclear war and fallout, most of the world became inhabitable. Scientists were able to create a living space free of high dosage radiation. In an area along the East coast of the former United States housed 800 million survivors. In this extreme urban environment, murder, theft, drug dealing, prostitution, vandalism, and other petty crimes became rampant. The justice system became overwhelmed and required the use of Judges to keep order.

Rico betrayed the Law by killing innocent people for her own ends. She was convicted of murder by Judge Dredd but not immediately executed, because she was a judge. Only the Chief Justice could condemn a fellow judge. She was given mercy by being sent to Aspen for life. She was placed in a force field cell with machine guns pointed at her in case she were to attempt an escape. The warden came before her to give him a package.

“Your mysterious benefactor has sent you a package,” the warden said coming up to her cell. It was a small metallic box.

“Deactivate shield, auto-guns only,” the warden said and then approached Rico.

Rico took the box and immediately it scanned her thumb print. It opened revealing her old Judge badge with her name on it. “It seems your benefactor wishes to mock you, Rico,” the warden smirked upon seeing it.

Rico reassembled the box to create a pistol and then fired into the Warden’s head killing him immediately. Rico then targeted the two auto-guns destroying them before they could be activated. Two guards rushed into the cell only to find Rico gone and the warden on the floor. Rico sneaked up behind one of the guards knocking him off the platform leading to her cell. She took the guards machine gun and fired into the other one.

***

Judge Dredd while wearing his helmet and body armor fired accurately into a body target. Judge-cadet Anderson awkwardly approached him as he continued to fire. She was a slender blond woman who had fought with Dredd in Peach Trees apartment complex. Four corrupt Judges had been killed and dozens of criminals in a drug bust. Dredd continued to ignore her as she stood standing before him. He eventually ran out of ammunition.

“Can I help you, Anderson?” Dredd asked gruffly.

“You passed me even though I lost my weapon. I want to know why,” she said. Losing one’s weapon was an automatic fail no matter the circumstances.

“I don’t have to explain myself,” Dredd replied. “You’re psychic, figure it out.”

Anderson could sense the reasons in Dredd’s mind. While no overly impressed with her combat abilities, he did see her psychic abilities as an asset in his work. He also felt disgust and rage for the corrupt judges that had betrayed him and the Law. He knew the battle with the criminals was a losing one, and if he intended to win would need all the help he could get.

“I just wanted to hear you say it,” Anderson admitted.

“Save your sentiments for someone else,” Dredd said rudely and prepared to reload his pistol.

“I have been assigned to you as your partner,” Anderson brought up.

Dredd frowned displeased. “Do I sense regret?” Anderson asked.

“Regret is unprofessional,” Dredd replied.

Anderson smirked knowing otherwise. “Some believe you are too strict and that you lack the personal approach to gain cooperation. They think I will balance you out.”

“Tall order,” Dredd doubted.

“Why do you always wear your helmet. Afraid someone may read your emotions?” Anderson said boldly.

“The uniform should always be worn on and off the street. I make an exception for you, because of your psychic abilities,” Dredd said.

“Your helmet helps you to aim doesn’t it? What if you lose your helmet? How will you be able to aim without it?” Anderson questioned.

Dredd hesitated to reply. He slowly removed his helmet and placed it on the gun counter. Amanda stared at Dredd’s face. There were no facial scars, missing eyes, or baldness. He looked like an ordinary man. His face showed no emotion, his eyes firmly on the target. Dredd picked up his pistol and fired perfectly into the target.

“Satisfied?” Dredd mocked.

Anderson merely nodded. Dredd put his helmet back on and then handed her Judge badge back. “Pick up your weapon at the armory and try not to lose it this time,” he ordered.

Anderson smiled as she looked over the gold badge. Working with Dredd was going to take some getting used to. After everything she had been through, a cranky boss was of little consequence.

***

Rico moved through crowds of people as she approached a gun dealership. Upon entering the shot, she saw deactivated weapons from different wars in mankind’s history. They were all listed as antiques as the civilian population had been disarmed by the Judges.

“We’re closed,” the shop keeper told Rico.

“I am here for a package. Code name: Lazarus,” Rico said.

The shop keeper gave Rico a knowing look. “I’ll be right with you,” the shop keeper said. He proceeded to open a gate allowing Rico deeper inside. There was a metallic case with a Judge symbol on it. Rico opened the case and was about to the touch the pistol when the shop keeper stopped her.

“Don’t touch that. It’s a law-giver. Only a Judge can touch that weapon or you’ll get your hand blown off,” the shop keeper warned.

“Oh really?” Rico gave the man a crazed look. She immediately took hold of the pistol and pointed it at the shop keeper’s head. The pistol became armed in her hand.

“I guess I must be a judge,” Rico smirked as she fired into the man’s head.

***

Dredd and Anderson got on their bikes for a patrol of the city. A list of calls came in on the computer on their bikes. “Which one, rookie?” Dredd asked.

“There’s a riot in Heavenly Haven,” Anderson picked.

Dredd made no reply affirming the choice. The two sped across the highways towards Heavenly Haven. Upon reaching it, gangs on either side of the street were firing at each other. Dredd used a loud speaker on his bike to talk to the community.

“I am the LAW!” he said loud enough for all to hear.

“Drop your weapons! These blocks are under arrest!” he shouted.

The gangs ignored him and continued to fire at one another. “Should we call for backup?” Anderson asked.

“How many people will die before backup arrives?” Dredd asked rhetorically.

“Alright, what’s the plan?” Anderson asked.

“We clear one block at a time,” Dredd said moving inside the building.

The two went through the hallways and found a fallen Judge already on the floor. “Dredd? I fucked up,” he said wounded.

Dredd knew instantly that there was nothing he could do to save the man. “Anderson,” he called for her.

Anderson noted the fallen Judge and began to collect information on everything the Judge had seen. “I got it,” she said. The Judge then died from his injuries.

“Let’s move,” Dredd said determined as ever.

The two went through the building pacifying each room and hallway. Those carrying weapons were immediately shot. The two worked expertly as a team using grenades, rapid fire, and armor piercing bullets to take down each criminal. They finally came to the 40th floor where the lead instigator was held up. After blasting the door down, Dredd confronted the leader. He had his hands up in surrender.

“Sentence, rookie?” Dredd asked.

“First degree murder of a street Judge: Death,” she said softly.

Dredd fired on the leader without hesitation. He then turned to his communicator on his wrist. “We’re going to need a clean up at Heavenly Haven,” he ordered.

“Clean up crew on their way,” the operator replied.

“Do you ever feel emotion?” Anderson asked as they waited.

“You tell me, psychic,” Dredd said scornfully.

“I feel disgust and rage, but you have built up a wall that I can’t penetrate,” she admitted.

“Maybe, because I have had training against mutants like you,” Dredd replied.

“Bad experience?” Anderson asked.

Dredd said nothing making it awkward for Anderson. “You know…I wasn’t always…,” Anderson stammered.

“Female?” Dredd guessed correctly.

Anderson simply stared at Dredd. “How did you know?” she asked stunned. “It’s not in my…,” she trailed off.

“In your file?” Dredd interrupted. “I suspected as much when I first met you, the way you carefully control your voice, the use of make-up without authorization, your hands, and how your breasts move in your suit,” Dredd noted.

Amanda looked at her feminine hands in wonder and touched her breasts protectively. “How could you notice such things?” she asked.

“I’ve been a street judge for over twenty years. Nothing surprises me,” Dredd replied.

“You want to know why I did it?” Anderson asked.

“No,” Dredd said disinterested.

“Well, I’ll tell you anyway. When I was a teenager, I fell hard for a girl. I used my psychic abilities to know every thought she ever had. I didn’t know how to use my powers properly, and I fell hard. I started adopting her mannerisms without even knowing it. I became her, and I couldn’t get back to where I was before,” Anderson explained.

“There’s always a choice, rookie. Everyday when you look at yourself in the mirror, you choose to be who you are now or the person you were before. Don’t make excuses for yourself. You weren’t forced to be this way. You chose it. Now accept it and move on,” Dredd told her.

“Wow, I didn’t think you would react this way,” Anderson said. She expected Dredd to be disgusted with her and want to get rid of her.

“The only thing I care about is whether you can shoot straight, rookie,” Dredd said.

“Right, Sir,” Anderson replied.

***

Rico used her hand to access the apartment complexes meant to house Judges. She went to the top floor and used a hacking tool to get inside the apartment. Chief Justice Fargo turned around surprised at seeing her.

“Rico,” he said amazed. “How did you escape?”

“Never mind that, Chief Justice,” Rico said as she closed the door behind her. She pointed her pistol at the Chief Justice.

“Who helped you?” Chief Justice Fargo asked.

“Judge Griffin. He wants to restart the Janus project, and I am going to help him for a price,” Rico said.

“I treated you like my own…,” Fargo said outraged.

“Like a son?” Rico mocked. “As soon as I underwent my transition, you gave me lower assignments. You demoted me.”

“You needed time to adapt,” Fargo said defensively.

“For years I waited for you to change, but you were too prejudiced against me,” Rico said angrily.

“That doesn’t justify killing innocent people!” Fargo said forcefully.

“Innocence and guilt are only a matter of time. I knew who those people were. If I hadn’t done what I did, they would have killed innocent people. I stopped it from happening!” Rico argued.

“You broke the LAW!” Fargo replied.

“The LAW? Who decided the LAW? You? The people?” Rico questioned.

“Once order has been restored, there will be free elections,” Fargo promised.

“Too late,” Rico shook her head and then fired into the Chief Justice killing him.

***

As Dredd and Anderson left the apartment complex, several squad bikes arrived aiming their weapons at them. “Judge Dredd, you’re under arrest,” the leading Judge said.

“They’re charging you with the Chief Justice’s murder. You have to run,” Anderson warned him.

“No, justice will be served,” Dredd said walking towards the squad of Judges. They immediately disarmed him and took him away to a jail at the Justice Department.

***

Judge Fergee was an older slender black woman who had put Anderson forth as a cadet despite the reservations about her. Anderson stood at attention for her. “Do you promise to tell me that everything you have to say is truthful?” Judge Fergee demanded.

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied.

“When did you first see Judge Dredd today?” Fergee asked.

“He was at the shooting range this morning. We then received a call at Heavenly Haven,” Anderson answered.

“Did you see him before the shooting range?” Fergee asked.

“No,” Anderson said truthfully.

“Did he seem off to you, today?” Fergee asked knowingly.

“No, no more than usual,” Anderson said flustered by the question.

“We cannot use your psychic abilities at his trial, but I want to know none-the-less,” Fergee requested.

“If he committed the murder of the Chief Justice, I will see it,” Anderson said.

Fergee took Anderson to Dredd’s prison cell. Dredd immediately stood at attention even with his hands cuffed. He wasn’t wearing his helmet but showed no emotion on his face. Not even in the face of dishonor and death did he change his expression. There was no sign of sadness or anger. Just his usual frown.

“Did you kill Chief Justice Fargo?” Fergee asked.

“No,” Dredd replied.

Anderson searched Dredd’s mind and found nothing usual that morning before the shooting range. “He didn’t do it,” Anderson concluded.

“Thank you, Anderson,” Fergee said appreciatively. Fergee then turned to Dredd. “I’ll see to it that you are given a fair trial.”

“That’s all I can ask for,” Dredd replied.

Anderson then walked with Fergee away from the jail. “Why is he even being accused of this? What is the evidence?” she asked.

“Every bullet fired by a law giver has the DNA of the Judge that fired it. The bullets that killed Chief Justice Fargo had Dredd’s DNA on them,” Fergee answered.

“Someone could have taken his weapon,” Anderson suggested.

“No one has ever taken Dredd’s weapon,” Fergee said seriously and walked off.

***

At the trial, Judges and cadets filled the room. Judge Griffin became presiding Chief Justice. There were senior Judges to his left and right observing the trial. Dredd was placed in the center wearing nothing but dark blue clothes. Anderson was in the crowd sensing the emotions and thoughts of those around her. Most thought it impossible that Dredd could have done the crime.

“Judge Dredd, to the charge of first degree murder of Chief Justice Fargo, how do you plea?” Griffin asked.

“Not Guilty,” Dredd replied with a frown.

“The Court has been presented irrefutable evidence that the bullets that killed Chief Justice Fargo have your DNA on them. How do you explain this?” Judge Griffin asked.

“I cannot explain it,” Dredd admitted.

Anderson scanned Chief Justice Griffin’s mind and found herself completely blocked. She tried it on the others and easily accessed their minds. The only one in the room, she couldn’t read was Griffin.

“This Court therefore rules that Judge Dredd be pronounced guilty and sentenced to death,” Griffin declared.

There was murmuring in the court room as the verdict and sentence were given out. Anderson peered into Dredd’s mind. There was no hint of fear in his mind, only disappointment. Dredd was taken away to a jail cell to await execution.

Anderson couldn’t believe Dredd had murdered the Chief Justice, so she entered the locker room. Knowing Dredd’s thoughts, she knew the combination to the locker and opened it. She searched through his things and found nothing out of the ordinary. She then found a picture in a case hidden away. It had him and another man in the picture. Anderson peered closely and saw a reassemble between the two. The other man was slender and appeared a little sickly compared to Dredd. The two were smiling in the picture. Anderson had never seen Dredd smile before.

“Twins,” she realized.

***

Chief Justice Griffin entered his new office and found an occupant in his chair. “Chief Justice Griffin, congratulations,” Rico mocked. She was flung out in his chair.

“We were supposed to meet some place safe,” Griffin said annoyed.

“So, you could ignore me for weeks or months and pretend I don’t exist,” Rico objected.

“I require you to create chaos in the streets and kill Judges. You must do your part,” Griffin demanded.

“I killed Fargo,” Rico reminded him.

“And I convicted Dredd,” Griffin said defensively.

“He’s not dead yet. If they find out about the little detail that we’re twins, he will be released,” Rico said displeased.

“I must follow procedure. It is the LAW,” Griffin said.

“The LAW!” Rico mocked getting close to him.

“Be a little patient, Rico. Soon, Dredd will be dead and the Janus program will be restarted. These clones will all have the DNA of our top Judges including yours. They will clean up the streets lacking empathy, prejudice, or mercy. They will be like machines,” Griffin said.

“What do I get out of this?” Rico asked.

“In time, you will be the wife of the Chief Justice and we will run the world however we want. These clones will be our children. We will be like gods,” Griffin said.

Rico smiled and gave Griffin a mock kiss. “Now, we’re talking.”

***

Anderson put on her combat uniform including her helmet, took her badge off, and marched to the jail cells. “Stun,” she said to her pistol before she reached the guards. Two unsuspecting guards were hit with stun cells knocking them down. She touched their faces accessing their minds. She then inputted the code and entered the jail cells. One-by-one, she caught the guards by surprise stunning each of them. She finally came to Dredd’s cell.

“Grenade,” Anderson said to her gun and pointed it at the door. She fired blasting the door open. Anderson looked inside and felt relieved that Dredd wasn’t dead from the blast. “What do you think you’re doing, rookie?” he asked.

“I am getting you out of here. You’ve been framed,” Anderson said to him.

“What’s your evidence?” Dredd asked.

“We don’t have time for this,” Anderson said as alarms went off.

“I’ll be in my cell,” Dredd said turning his back to her.

“You have a twin, an identical twin who was a Judge. He used a law giver pistol and your DNA on the bullet,” Anderson revealed.

Dredd froze upon hearing of this. “So, you figure it out.”

“You knew?” Anderson asked amazed. “Why didn’t you say anything at your trial?”

Dredd hesitated to reply. “He was my brother, and I judged him. I sent him to Aspen for life. No one knew we were related.”

“How could anyone not know?” Anderson questioned.

“He was taking…medications…at the time to make himself look different,” Dredd said vaguely.

Anderson did note subtle difference between them. “Alright, but we have to leave,” she pressed.

“I was convicted of murder. My sentence is death,” Dredd replied not moving.

“For God’s sake, you’re innocent and your twin is guilty. The man who killed the Chief Justice is on the loose,” Anderson said to him.

Dredd paused. “You make a good point, rookie. What’s your plan?” he asked.

“We get outside and steal a bike,” Anderson said lamely.

“Great plan, rookie,” Dredd said sarcastically.

“I have the gun. I make the rules,” Anderson said more assertively.

Anderson and Dredd made their way through the halls. Upon reaching a stunned Judge, Dredd started taking off his uniform. In no time, Dredd was fully dressed as a Judge with a different badge name. Since the station was on lock down, they couldn’t just go out the front door. Anderson raised her pistol and blasted out the entrance with a grenade shell. Judges immediately descended upon them.

“Let’s move, rookie,” Dredd said to her.

The two ran outside and stunned a confused Judge. Using his palm, Anderson accessed the controls of the bike. “I’m driving,” Dredd said taking over the bike.

Anderson sat behind him on the bike and stunned some of the Judges as ran after them. Dredd sped off into traffic. Judges from all over the city were called in to find them. Dredd parked the bike in an alley and took off his helmet.

“Lose the uniform,” he ordered.

Anderson simply stared at him until she realized what he meant. “Right,” she said taking off the helmet and battle gear. Dredd then found a homeless man on the floor. “Vagrancy, sentence: your clothes,” Dredd said taking the man’s jacket, shirt, pants, and boots.

Anderson gave Dredd a shocked look. “Find your own,” he told her once he was done.

***

Eventually, Anderson and Dredd both looked like homeless people in the slums. They ditched the Judge bike and walked around the city. “Where are we going?” Anderson asked Dredd finally.

“A place to stay and weapons,” Dredd replied obviously.

Dredd and Anderson came to an apartment complex and took the elevator to the top floor. As they entered the floor, they were immediately ambushed by a criminal gang.

“I’m here to talk to your leader,” Dredd said not intimidated by them.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” one of them said pointing his weapon at Dredd.

“The name is Dredd,” Dredd replied.

The gang members became spooked by Dredd’s deadly confidence. “Come with me,” he said escorting Dredd and Anderson.

Dredd came upon a kingpin gang boss. He had stacks of money on his desk, wore rings on his fingers, and had several guards around him. “Judge Dredd…the Judge Dredd,” the crime boss said amused.

“Just Dredd,” Dredd corrected.

“I heard on the street you killed the Chief Justice. That’s some bold shit there,” the crime boss said impressed.

“I need your help,” Dredd said bluntly.

“Why should I help you?” the crime boss asked unimpressed.

“Do you remember when I busted your drug competitors on Peach Tree? You owe me,” Dredd pointed out.

“You didn’t do that as a special favor to me. That was just coincidence. What stops you from busting my crib tomorrow? The crime boss asked skeptically.

“You have my word,” Dredd replied.

The crime boss laughed and so did his men. “Give me something I can work with.”

“The real killer of Chief Justice Fargo is former Judge Rico. He executed several of your family members and close associates. I need your help to kill him,” Dredd replied.

The crime boss looked at Dredd seriously. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

“Something like that, yeah,” Dredd agreed.

“What do you need?” the crime boss asked finally.

“Guns…lots of guns,” Dredd replied.

***

Dredd and Anderson spent the night looking over the weapons, cleaning them, and making sure they functioned. “I think I understand why you create a wall around your feelings. You have the same thoughts as Rico, but you don’t act on them,” Anderson said after a long silence.

“Is that your psycho analysis?” Dredd asked sarcastically.

“That’s it, right there. You over compensate to cover up your true feelings,” Anderson said.

Dredd stared at her. “When I was young, I felt different than my peers. I didn’t behave as other boys did in my class. Leaving the cadet program wasn’t an option. I was created to be the perfect Judge. I couldn’t disappoint Chief Justice Fargo.”

“Created?” Anderson questioned.

Rico and I were created through the Janus program. They took the DNA of the senior Judges and took the best attributes while discarding the worst to create the perfect Judge. If it was successful, they were going to mass produce clones. Rico is not my twin, he is my clone,” Dredd explained.

“But the experiment didn’t work. Rico and I both had defects in our personality. He succumbed to madness, tried to change his sex, and murdered innocent people he believed would commit crimes in the future. I tracked him down and judged him. He was sent to Aspen for nine years and during that time the formula that begin to change him took its course. He should look female now,” Dredd continued.

“How did you resist the urges, the desires, the needs of your mind?” Anderson asked.

“The LAW,” Dredd replied.

Anderson looked at him a little ashamed. She would never have had such dedication. “What if we can’t bring down Griffin and Rico? What if we do, and they don’t reinstate you?”

“I will go into exile outside the walls and take the LAW to the uncivilized,” Dredd replied.

“You really are just a machine. Do you not feel love or empathy?” she asked.

“I buried it deep down,” Dredd said.

“Let me unbury it and bring it to the surface again,” Anderson said to him.

Before Dredd could answer, Anderson was already in his head. She found it empty as Dredd put his mental defenses up against her. “I didn’t give you authorization to enter my head, rookie,” Dredd said scornfully.

“Smile for me once,” Anderson asked him as she became naked in his mind.

Dredd circled her as if inspecting her. She then became the teenage boy she was before. Anderson became shocked at her male appearance. “A little scrawny. I can see why you became a woman. Easier to promote as an attractive female,” Dredd insulted.

“Like what you see?” Anderson said trying to catch him off guard.

“I prefer your girlfriend,” Dredd said and instantly Anderson’s ex-girlfriend appeared before them.

Anderson was starting to freak out as she was losing the mental battle with Dredd. She couldn’t break into his mental defenses though, and he was rummaging through everything with ease. Anderson then saw memories of Dredd and Rico both as men in the academy. They smiled, enjoyed each others company, and believed in the ideals of the LAW. Rico was Dredd’s only real friend growing up.

She saw the fateful conversation between Dredd and Rico in the locker room. “I can’t stay like this. I need to change,” Rico said to Dredd.

“You won’t pass the physical and mental evaluations. You will be kicked out,” Dredd warned.

“We’re the same, Dredd. If you follow my path, then they will be forced to accept us. You’re the great Judge Dredd. I know you have the same feelings as me. We’re brothers, more than that,” Rico said.

“I’m sorry, Rico. Being a Judge is more important than my feelings or yours,” Dredd replied.

Anderson exited Dredd’s mind. “Satisfied?” Dredd asked angrily.

She nodded stunned. Dredd stood up and walked over to her. “You look like you need a morale boost. Ordinarily, this would be unprofessional but since we’re both no longer Judges, it is allowable,” Dredd said to her.

She merely stared at him with a blank face unable to detect his meaning. “Take your clothes off, rookie,” he ordered.

Anderson hesitated and then discovered herself. She started taking her clothes off to his expressionless face. Dredd then took off his clothes so that the two were naked. “Now, get on the bed,” Dredd said roughly referring to the one bed in the room.

“Not even a kiss or…,” Anderson questioned.

“Do you require it?” Dredd asked.

Anderson was about to just do as he ordered but then became more assertive. “As a matter of fact, I do,” she said more confident.

“Very well, rookie,” Dredd said giving her a kiss.

Anderson was surprised by the kiss. On the technical side, he was excellent. This was by far the best kiss she had ever received by a man or woman. After a long dry spell, she would have taken anything. Yet, there was no sense of passion or love in it. Even now, she couldn’t break into Dredd’s strong mental defenses. She figured she would just go along with it. Getting laid with no passion was better than nothing.

Anderson broke from Dredd and got on the bed. Dredd followed her and got on top of her. “We’re not supposed to be here, so keep your mouth shut,” Dredd warned her.

She merely nodded. Dredd entered her hard causing her to almost scream out. Dredd warned her again to be quiet and then continued. The two made love quietly using a number of positions. When she finally came, she had to close her jaw tightly as she felt it surge through her. Dredd then withdrew from her and began to get dressed.

“But you didn’t finish,” Anderson pointed out.

“No need. Now, get dressed,” Dredd ordered.

***

Rico started organizing crime gangs to ambush the Judges, and they gladly obliged. Judges were called in on a bank robbery only to have the entire bank explode on them. Judges became ambushed in gun battles. Judge bikes were rigged with explosives. Assassinations were occurring all over the city.

“There have been 96 Judges assassinated in the last week. Along with Dredd escaping, this is a crisis,” a senior Judge said at the council.

“Someone knows our procedures, our security measures, even our scrambled frequencies,” a female senior Judge added.

“With no Judges on the streets, riots are breaking out,” another senior Judge said.

“We can’t replace those Judges, not even if we put the cadets on the street,” another said.

“There is a solution,” Griffin began. “Project Janus.”

“This council tried to play God once before,” a senior Judge objected.

“If this slaughter of Judges continues, there won’t be a council,” Griffin argued.

“A new batch of test-tube babies isn’t going to solve this problem. It will take twenty years before they’re ready,” another objected.

“There is new technology that can accelerate growth. We can have them ready immediately,” Griffin said. “All I ask is that we unlock the Janus files, so we at least we have an option. If this council decides not to go forward, I will accept that decision and resign.”

***

Dredd and Anderson put their armor back on and attached sub-machine guns, pistols, and ammunition on their belt and shoulder straps. Dredd carried a large grenade gun while Anderson took a shotgun. The two drove up to Hall of Justice and were immediately confronted by Judges standing outside. Dredd quickly shot them both in the legs crippling them. He quickly disarmed them and then went inside. He immediately shot the Judges at the reception desk.

“Cuff them,” Dredd ordered as he looked around for more threats.

Anderson took their own cuffs and linked the Judges together. Dredd and Anderson then went through the halls. Occasionally, Dredd would shoot a Judge in the leg or Anderson would blast a Judge with a non-lethal rubber shell. Dredd fired his grenade gun on doors blasting them open and calmly stepping through them. He crossed through a class of cadets and their instructor. Anderson blasted the instructor with a rubber shell dropping him. Dredd turned to the confused class.

“Class dismissed,” he said and then walked through the room.

As he approached the council room, two Judges tried to tackle him. Dredd slammed the butt of his grenade gun on the Judge’s face knocking him out. Anderson used her martial arts to free herself of the Judge and then blasted him with a rubber shell. As before, she cuffed the Judges together.

***

Meanwhile, the oblivious senior-Judges gave Griffin access to the Janus program. Griffin immediately ordered the computer to begin the process. “We only gave you authority to unlock the files,” one of them objected to Griffin.

“You’re playing God, Griffin,” another said.

“It seems this council lacks the will to do what is necessary,” Griffin said frustrated. Rico entered the room at Griffin’s side. The senior-Judges barely recognized the now female Rico. She took out her law giver and fired on the council killing them all.

The room exploded open as Dredd walked through. He immediately saw the dead council members with Rico and Griffin standing over them. “Joseph,” Rico sneered.

“Get out of here,” Griffin said to Rico upon seeing the heavily armed ex-Judges.

Dredd approached the Chief Justice. “You going to kill me?” he asked sarcastically.

Dredd nodded to Anderson. She came forward and looked into his mind. “There is a cloning facility in the basement level. He’s manufacturing clones as we speak.” she revealed.

“You’re too late, psychic,” Griffin spat.

Guards entered the chamber. “They killed the council!” Griffin accused them.

Dread and Anderson retreated from the room and took the elevator to the basement level. The Judges worked to pry the door open. Anderson blasted the helmeted Judge to the face with a rubber shell. The doors closed allowing them to get to the basement level. Entering the hallway, they found additional security doors. Dredd blasted the doors apart with his grenade shells and the two cleared each room.

As Dredd and Anderson fought the guards, Griffin quickly went down to the basement level on the other side and used his clearance to access the doors. He found Rico already programming the clones. “What are you doing?” he asked her as she worked.

“I am replacing the original sample,” she said obviously.

“That sample was DNA from all the best Judges,” Griffin said outraged. “What did you replace it with?”

“Me, of course,” she said.

“You? Your defective. Just look at you,” Griffin said insultingly.

“What do you mean by that?” Rico asked offended.

“You’re a wreck. You had a nervous break down and wanted to pretend you were a girl. You, like Dredd, are unfit for the Janus project. You were a mistake,” Griffin continued.

“I am going to be what biology wouldn’t allow. I am going to be a mother,” Rico said to him.

“You’re insane,” Griffin replied. He reached for her arm to apprehend her. Rico slowly overpowered him and twisted his arm behind his back.

“I didn’t lose my strength in the transition,” she said dislocating his arm.

Griffin cried out as he was forced to the ground. Rico then took hold of his head and broke his neck.

***

As the two went down the halls, Rico suddenly grabbed a hold of Anderson and placed his pistol to her head. Dredd turned around and pointed his own sub-machine gun at her. “Drop the gun, Dredd, or I kill her,” Rico ordered.

“She’s using her own DNA as the sample,” Anderson revealed to Dredd.

“Shut up!” Rico shouted at her.

“She’s bluffing. Continue without me,” Anderson lied.

Dredd hesitated. “We both know I would shoot through her to get to you,” he said to Rico.

Rico wasn’t certain of that. “He’ll do it,” Anderson told her.

Rico opened the blast doors leading to the lab. “Come in,” she invited them inside.

Dredd kept his gun on Rico even as he entered the lab. “The only difference between us is that you embraced the LAW and destroyed your life. I destroyed the LAW to embrace life,” Rico said.

“Keep talking,” Dredd said as he looked for an opening.

Rico walked Anderson over to a computer console and activated the machine. Canisters filled with human clones dropped down. They were white and skinless. “They all have our DNA with one exception: all female,” Rico said to Dredd.

“That is what we were supposed to be: sisters, you and me. You rejected your nature repressing all emotion and desire within you. You thought the LAW was more important than happiness or freedom. Did you expect I would be the same?” Rico asked rhetorically.

“There are advantages to being a man, Rico. I am stronger and faster than you. I can intimidate and interrogate criminals with greater force. I have more endurance and less sensitivity to pain. I can kill you without being sentimental,” Dredd replied.

“All in the service of the LAW. You have no life, no spouse, no children, and no friends. You’re an empty shell, Dredd,” Rico said.

“Did you make a lot of friends in Aspen?” Dredd insulted.

“You put your own sister in a cage for nine years! You judged me!” Rico shouted at him.

Anderson then entered Rico’s mind and saw chaos. There was anger, sadness, and a sense of betrayal. Anderson created a projection of Rico in their minds only as a man. “What is this?” Rico asked outraged. She looked exactly like Dredd, her twin brother.

“No! Get out of my head,” she said filled with self-loathing.

Anderson advanced on Rico becoming naked in front of her. “No, get away from me!” Rico screamed in her head. She tried to punch or shoot Anderson but nothing happened. In the real world, Anderson got out of Rico’s hold while she was distracted. Dredd immediately shot her a few times in the gut. With no leverage, Rico let go of her gun.

Dredd stood over her with his sub-machine gun. “Are you going to kill the clones? They committed no crime,” Rico asked.

“No,” Dredd replied.

“Can you at least let me see them born?” Rico requested.

Dredd hesitated but then put his gun away. He placed Rico in a sitting position as the clones finished their development. Anderson watched in amazement as she felt their brains developing. “They’re almost awake,” she said.

Dredd paid no attention keeping his stare on Rico. The clones eventually became whole, all of them female. Rico smiled seeing her dream accomplished. Each clone was of the same DNA as her, only female. They could now live a life that was denied to her. Fulfilled, Rico passed out and died.

Judges and guards swarmed into the facility. Dredd and Anderson dropped their weapons. A leading Judge approached the two of them and then saw the clones. He then noticed Rico hunched over and Griffin’s body nearby.

“Well, what’s your verdict, Judge?” Dredd asked.

“Inconclusive. You’ll be detained for questioning,” the lead Judge said to Dredd.

“Take us into custody,” Dredd put his hands forward.

The lead Judge then considered the clones. “Take all of them to the medical wing,” he ordered.

Dredd nodded approving of the decision. Anderson sighed with relief. “Come with me, Judge Dredd,” a Judge said with a friendly tone.

***

Dredd and Anderson were released after a lengthy interrogation. Dredd immediately got dressed in a new uniform, helmet, and a new weapon. “You have been nominated to be our new Chief Justice,” the lead Judge said to Dredd.

“I must decline. I’m a street Judge,” Dredd replied.

“Who do you nominate then?” the lead Judge asked.

“Her,” Dredd said referring to Anderson.

“A rookie?” the lead Judge asked skeptically.

Her psychic abilities can detect plots against the council, and she has a quality we street Judges lack,” Dredd replied.

“What quality is that?” the lead Judge smirked.

“Empathy,” Dredd answered.

The lead Judge just shook his head and walked off. “Chief Justice? Really?” Anderson wondered.

“Did I stutter, rookie?” Dredd said to her.

“Hey, you can’t talk to me like that if I am Chief Justice,” she said mockingly.

“When and if, rookie,” he replied.

“You want to come to my place for drinks sometime?” she asked.

“A Chief Justice shouldn’t fraternize with a street Judge,” Dredd said.

“As Chief Justice, I make the rules don’t I?” she smirked.

Dredd nearly cracked a smile before going back to his typical frown. “You have much to learn about the LAW. You could use a study partner,” he allowed.

“Want to go now?” Anderson asked anxiously.

“No, I have patrols to run,” Dredd said as he got on his new bike. Anderson just smiled as he took off into the city.



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