Ulrich Collins: Character Development

Gabriel’s Sword began as a tribute to the lonely walk every patrol officer makes when they turn on their emergency lights to signal a violater to pull over and stop. You just never know what may happen. Some folks will stop right where they are. Others may continue to drive for blocks, or even miles, looking for a safe place to stop. Some may decide they don’t recognize your authority to delay them and take off in an attempt to elude you. For the most part, the average violator will find the first available safe place to pull over and stop. Such was the case when Patrol Officer Ulrich Collins turned on his emergency lights and signaled for the 2017 White Toyota 4-door sedan to stop.

Ulrich had decided to stop the vehicle because a routine license plate check, called a 10-28/10-29 in police vernacular, had revealed that someone driving that vehicle had a misdemeanor traffic warrant for their arrest. That meant someone got a traffic ticket while driving that car and had failed to pay the ticket. Not a big deal although if the person who got the ticket was in the vehicle now, they might be arrested and carted off to jail to settle up with the courts. Still not a big deal, just an inconvenience.

Ulrich or Rich as his friends called him, had made plenty such traffic stops in the years since he becoming a patrol officer. He was well-practiced in his safety routine and had radioed in he was stopping a vehicle with possible warrants. He gave the vehicle location, the number of occupants, and his location. That way if something went bad during the stop, responding officers would know how to find him. He also firmly believed in the 7-step violator contact and still used it on every traffic stop he made, even when it brought ridicule from his fellow officers. For those that don’t know, the 7-step violator contact is a process traffic officers use to ensure their safety during the entire traffic stop. It includes several steps that assist detectives in identifying the vehicle and occupants should something bad happen to the officer and the violator flee the scene.

Ulrich was very thorough like that. Even as a child growing up in a small town on the southwest coast of Ireland, he recognized the importance of developing and practicing routines, especially if they made him more efficient and safe. Ulrich was Irish and came from a family of Irish police officers, lawyers, and judges. Many of them still resided and worked in Ireland, but several had relocated to the United States, just as Ulrich had done. Another going for Ulrich was he was an educated man. He had obtained his medical degree from the University of Galway in Ireland, one of the most prestigious medical universities in all of Europe. He had passed his medical boards but only then did he decide that he wasn’t ready to become a doctor, so he packed his bags and moved to the United States.

He originally settled in Boston. He had no family here, only a few distant friends. He began taking classes at Boston University and soon transferred to Harvard where he later graduated with his degree in law. Before he was ready to join a firm or hang out his shingle, he wanted to experience the law as a police officer first, so he applied and was hired by the Frisco, Texas police department. Actually, several large departments offered him jobs for way more money, but he was attracted to Texas, specifically Frisco, for unknown reasons. Once he arrived, he went through their training and became a police officer assigned to their patrol division. He and his Sergeant, Cain Marshall, became friends and soon afterward, he met and fell in love with Cain’s daughter, Ailison.

He and Ailison were engaged to be married and he kept a photo of her in his squad car to remind him to be careful while out on the job. It is no surprise then that he was thinking of her as he approached the driver of the car. Ulrich peered into the car, ready for any surprises and ready to deliver his well-practiced speech about why they had been stopped. For a brief moment, he was stunned. The driver was the prettiest woman he had ever seen in his life. She had well-tanned legs and a toned body. She was tall like Ulrich who stood 6’1″. She had short blonde hair and piercing dark blue eyes. Oh, and she was completely naked except for a towel that barely covered her genital area.

Ulrich was speechless at first and took a step backward when the driver opened the car door and attempted to step out of the vehicle. He regained his voice in time to warn her that wasn’t a good idea since she wasn’t wearing any clothes. The driver ignored his warning and stepped out and stood up allowing the towel to fall to the ground. In the same motion, she moved her hips forward and thrust her right arm toward Ulrich in a fast violent manner. In her right hand, she held a large Bowie-styled knife. Ulrich saw the knife and managed to tilt his body sideways just enough to avoid her stabbing him in the stomach, but not enough to avoid the blow altogether. She buried the 12-13″ blade completely to the hilt in Ulrich’s side.

Ulrich fell to his knees, then slumped over on his side. He watched as the driver got back inside her vehicle and drove away. A bystander ran up and saw he was losing a lot of blood and used the towel in an attempt to stem the flow of his blood. The last thought Ulrich had before losing consciousness was don’t use that bitch’s towel.

As you can see above, I think it’s more important to intersperse the scene with character development at the risk of delaying the plot. I know there may be better ways. I just haven’t discovered them yet. Ulrich is a primary character in Gabriel’s Sword. He appears frequently in the first several scenes, then disappears as other characters join and new primary characters are introduced.