High Octane

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Chapter 12- Sabotage

“Alright, this job is a straight car hit. We jack the auto-hauler and bring it to the buyer. Be on the look-out for Ace. He might be lookin’ to sabotage this one.“, Mr Voodoo explained. It had been 2 days since Krypto had his talk with Hugo. So far, he’d gone dark. Off-grid. Nobody had seen or heard from him. Same went for Lillian. Krypto must’ve really gotten to him.

“How do we know he’s looking to sabotage us?“, Natasha asked, concerned by Ace’s sudden switching of sides. Mr Voodoo pointed to Krypto, who sat atop the bonnet of his lime and white Dodge Conqueror. He pressed a button on a tape recorder. Hugo’s earlier words played out for Natasha to hear.

“I’ve got a plan. One to commit to that promise I broke.”

“And what’s that?”

“I’m gonna sabotage the next job.”

The triage sat in silence, sombrely listening to the tape recording. Mr Voodoo sighed. Ace used to be family. But now he’d thrown all that away. All for his girl. All for love. Voodoo admired it a little. Such commitment. But he couldn’t ignore the fact that Ace was plotting to betray his former family- despite the stern talk Krypto had given him beforehand. It was up to Hugo to take it to heart or not.

“What do we do if Ace shows up?“, Krypto questioned. Mr Voodoo sat in silence for a moment, before answering with words Krypto didn’t want to hear.

“You shoot him”, Mr Voodoo ordered sternly, “He’s a threat to the job, and therefore he’s a threat to us. We can’t allow him to intervene.“. Voodoo’s voice had become far more stern and far less colloquial and laid-back. He was more serious than ever. Krypto appeared taken aback by his eagerness to kill Hugo. The kid wanted to protest, but he knew it was best not to. He knew in the back of his mind that Hugo didn’t need to die.

“I’ll go ahead and get set up here. You two set off soon. Good luck, amigos.“, Krypto said as he ran towards his room- waving back at Natasha and Mr Voodoo. Nat then nodded towards Mr Voodoo’s Bugatti Chiron- eager to get on the road, like an excitable child. As the engine rumbled to life once more, Mr Voodoo took his place in the driver’s seat with Nat riding shotgun. They soon left the headquarters and established a communications link with Krypto.

“Alright, according to the route plans, the hauler should be leaving the city centre in 10 minutes. Hit it before it gets on the move, and this’ll go a hell of a lot smoother!“, Krypto ordered. He pulled up numerous surveillance feeds from across the city. One was from the Bugatti’s dashcam. Another had eyes on the truck. The third had eyes on the surrounding area. And the fourth had eyes... outside of the bunker. Krypto was watching his back. Smart.

The Bugatti was soon cruising towards city centre. Mr Voodoo estimated they’d have two minutes before the hauler got moving. With that thought, he floored it down the abandoned highway. His arm trembled as it clutched the rattling gearstick. It wasn’t long before Natasha started making small talk.

“Reminds me of Tokyo! Remember that job?“, she asked Mr Voodoo. The Tokyo job went down a long, long time ago. Or, at least, the one Mr Voodoo didn’t want to remember. An ice-cold shock was sent through Voodoo’s spine.

“Which Tokyo job?“, Mr Voodoo asked- slowing his speed a little. Traumatic thoughts had suddenly flooded his head.

“The one we did a few years back! Don’t you remember?“, Natasha responded.

“Yeah, yeah, I remember...“. Mr Voodoo’s voice was clouded by hesitation. “It’s just, uh, I’ve done a few jobs in Tokyo.“, he continued. Voodoo began staring off into the void of a highway before him. The trauma of the first Tokyo job filled his mind. The day he lost his daughter.

“Stay with me, Nat! Help’s on the way!“, Mr Voodoo shouted- voice filled with pain and emotion. He was clutching Natasha’s head tightly- begging her to stay alive as he kneeled beside her blood-wrought body. Her face was pale. Blood trickled from her mouth. Her heart was slowing.

“C’MON, NAT! DON’T DIE ON ME!“, Mr Voodoo continued- trying to motivate his dying daughter to live. From behind the helmet, agonizing tears were rolling down Voodoo’s face. Natasha reached up and wiped a bloody hand on it’s right side. Her breathing was pained and laboured.

“Let me see you... one last... time.“, she pleaded between excruciating breaths. Mr Voodoo took off his helmet- giving freer passage to tears of utmost pain. She reached up to her father’s sorrowful face- leaving a mark of blood underneath his left eye- before her body grew cold. Lifeless. Dead. Mr Voodoo frantically searched for her no longer beating pulse. His daughter was dead. Mr Voodoo had lost everything.

He clutched Natasha’s lifeless corpse tightly. It was heavy with the limp weight of regret. Sorrow. Pain. His own daughter... dead. Mr Voodoo’s mind flashed back to the present.

“Yo, you good, Voodoo?“, Nat asked- snapping her finger in his ear.

“Uh, yeah. All good.“, Voodoo responded, feigning a brave tone. However, his mind wandered aimlessly through the hallways of lies which his relationship with Natasha was built upon. She believed Natasha was just a ‘nickname’ of sorts. But no. It was the only thing tying Mr Voodoo to his dead daughter- who shared the same name. He just... couldn’t let go. No matter how painful the grip was. No matter how weak the grip became. No matter how much he tried to let go. Mr Voodoo couldn’t bring himself to release those thoughts. He tried his hardest to focus on the job at hand.

“Alright, you’re comin’ up on city centre now. Swing a right and you’ll see where the truck’s bein’ kept.“, Krypto ordered.

As the Bugatti pulled up, sure enough, the truck was waiting in an alley- guarded by numerous Yakuza- each of them adorned with tattoos of myriad designs. On arms, legs, chests, backs, faces. Wherever a needle could fit, ink was there. That wasn’t what mattered, though. What mattered is that they stood between the Ghosty Boys and their job. Mr Voodoo stepped out of the car, along with Natasha, as they tucked themselves up against the wall.

“Hit the truck with the disk I gave you!“, Krypto asked enthusiastically. Mr Voodoo did so. Throwing the disk, it magnetised to the bonnet of the truck. Krypto then ran over to his steering wheel set up- excited to try out his new toy.

“Alright, let’s take this bad boy for a spin, chooms! Hop back in your ride!“, Krypto ordered. To Mr Voodoo’s and Natasha’s surprise, the car hauler whirred to life, its monstrous engine shaking the floor around it. A Yakuza ran up to the driver’s seat, but it was too late. The hauler began rolling off- with Krypto laughing hysterically back at the bunker.

“This is gonna be great!“. A live feed of the road in front spanned on Krypto’s largest monitor. “But please keep the hauler protected!“, Krypto begged. He was clearly enjoying himself- speeding down tight alleyways. All from the comfort of a gaming chair.

“From what? Krypto, we stole the hauler from criminals. They literally can’t call the cops on us!“, Natasha mused.

“Oh, yeah! Don’t worry, then! Just, uh, take the lead!“, Krypto responded- chuckling to himself loudly. One hand on the steering wheel, other hand pouring Juice down his throat. Chucking the empty vial away, Krypto shook his head wildly before flooring it down the abandoned highway- following the Bugatti’s screams.

“So, uh, anyone got any good stories? Jokes?“, Krypto mocked as he continued driving steadily.

“I don’t think we got time, brother. We got company...“, Mr Voodoo responded. Taking a glance in his rear-view mirror. Staring back was a helmeted figure- driving a Nissan GTX. Voodoo could feel the fury behind that helmet. The determination. The focus.

“Nat, give us suppressing fire! Krypto, I’ll lead us down another route! We’ll try and lose ’im!“, Mr Voodoo ordered- like a general issuing commands to his soldiers. Natasha rolled the window of the Bugatti down. She clutched an automatic rifle in both hands tightly. Looking through the scope, she opened fire on Ace. He began swerving. But the bullets... just bounced right off. Not even phasing the car. No scratches, no holes, not even a bit of chipping on the glass or paint.

“Bullet’s ain’t doing anything, Voodoo!“, she shouted from above the roaring engines and the whines of turbos.

“Shoot the tyres!“. Natasha reloaded the rifle and opened fire on the road before the Nissan. The tyres didn’t seem phased, either. As if shrugging off the bullets, disregarding them as bee stings.

“Tyres ain’t popping, either!“. Mr Voodoo cursed under his breath.

“Get back in here! And hold onto somethin’!“. Natasha swerved back into the Bugatti through the open window. She clutched the door handle tightly. Mr Voodoo slammed the brakes. Hard. The Bugatti began sliding down the highway with screeching, burning tyres- plumes of toxic smoke billowing towards Ace’s car. Breaking the smoke cloud, Ace darted to the right. He overtook the Bugatti expertly. Mr Voodoo slammed the accelerator again- pedal down to the wire. Ace was headed straight for the hauler.

“Krypto, he’s on your tail!“, Mr Voodoo warned.

“I’m at top speed, choom! This is a car hauler, not a Lambo!“, Krypto replied loudly- complaining about his ride’s lack of speed. Ace rolled his window down. He stuck out a grenade launcher- clutching it with one hand. Finger on the trigger. He pulled it firmly. The explosive shot out. Hitting the hauler with an explosion of devilish flame. The force knocked several vehicles off as the hauler fell on its side. Krypto’s feed cut dead.

“SHIT! Chooms, you good? What’s goin’ on?“, he asked frantically over the comms. Krypto rushed to his chair. Scrambling over his keyboard, he looked over the surveillance feed in shock. Disappointment. There it was: the hauler he had been ecstatically driving. Knocked on its side- like a beached whale.

“Voodoo, Nat? Can you hear me?“, Krypto continued in a panic. Mr Voodoo sat in the Bugatti’s seat on the empty highway. Natasha could feel his anger as he squeezed the steering wheel tightly- almost snapping it off. Voodoo was pissed. Smouldering, blazing, and boiling over in anger. He then punched the roof of the Bugatti with a gut-wrenching thud. Metal crunched as he did so.

“FUCK!“, he yelled loudly. Natasha placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “He got away.”

“Shit”, Krypto said with a sigh- as he sat back in his chair. His eyes were casted downwards. Not because they failed the job. But because Hugo hadn’t listened to him. He didn’t take anything the kid said to heart. Not one bit. Krypto thought he got to him. Apparently not. He had a rough idea of what came next. Something very, very unpleasant. Almost inhumane.

“What’s our next move, Voodoo?“, he asked anxiously over the comms. Krypto awaited his dreaded orders.

“Track Hugo down.“, Voodoo ordered sternly- his voice still filled with spite and anger.

“Let’s cut some loose ends.”

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