High Octane

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Chapter 4- New recruits

Rich walked through the door- followed by Lillian. She sat down next to Hugo- resting her head upon his shoulder.

“You wanted to see me?“, she asked the helmeted figure before her.

“Yeah. Hugo and I’ve gotta plan. Wanted to see if you’re in on it... more on that later”, Mr Voodoo began. “But, first... where the FUCK did you learn to DRIVE like that?“, the man exclaimed- puffing out more plumes of Red Oblivion smoke. Lillian chuckled.

“I’m honestly not sure. Maybe just beginner’s luck?“. Voodoo shook his head. He was still as dumbfounded as a mule.

“Nah, I know beginner’s luck when I see it! That... was NOT beginner’s luck, Wraith. Once we go back to HQ, we’ll test ’ya and see if you really are Ghosty Boys material.“, Voodoo alluded. Lillian’s violet eyes lit up. They almost sparkled innocently in the LED lights.

“SO THE GHOSTY BOYS ARE REAL? ARE YOU FUCKIN’ SERIOUS?“, she exclaimed with a wide- almost maniacal- smile. She became suddenly hyper and giddy- like a damn child.

“Hold your horses, sister! Calm down!“, Voodoo replied- holding up a gloved hand, as if trying to stop a freight train dead in its tracks. “But... yeah, we’re real. And... we wanna recruit you, Wraith”. Lillian looked on the verge of imploding with excitement. Her cheeks blushed heavily. She breathed fast and hard. Adrenalin just kicked in- sending an overdrive of energy to her heart and brain- releasing an overdose of emotions, hormones, and whatever else cyborg blood consists of. She was lost for words. She couldn’t even usher a damn whisper. Until she exclaimed giddily again.

“I’M IN!“, she burst out. No explanations. No questions. Just ‘I’m in’. Told ’ya the Ghosty Boys were irresistible. You just can’t turn an opportunity like that down! Not in this city.

“So what’s our first port of call?“, Lillian asked excitedly- getting WAY ahead of herself.

“Well, we’ll head back to HQ to have a... more in-depth... interview, shall we say? I’ll introduce you to the family whilst we’re there. Just warnin’ ya... we’re an odd bunch of chooms.“, Voodoo explained. Lillian was still overwhelmed with anticipation, emotion, and excitement- synthetic heart pounding harder and faster by the minute, as if it were on the verge of combusting.

“Well, nobody’s protestin’! I’ll lead ’ya both to HQ. Just follow my car. Should be a nice night-time cruise!“, Mr Voodoo continued, cracking his knuckles and rubbing his gloved hands together. “I’ll wait at the entrance of the parking lot. Don’t wait up!“. Voodoo stood up and left- servos whirring as he walked.

As soon as Voodoo left, Lillian lunged at Hugo, kissing him frantically- overwhelmed by sheer joy and emotion. Hugo tried to push her off, but it was no use.

“Calm down, Lils! You’re gonna accidently kill me!“, Hugo exclaimed between heavy breathing as he managed to push Lillian off.

“I’m sorry, it’s just... I’m part of the fuckin’ Ghosty Boys now! And I’m guessing you’re re-joining, too?“, she asked eagerly.

“Yeah, I am. Voodoo wants us to help out on a job. He’ll get Krypto to explain it to you”. Hugo’s words appeared to amplify Lillian’s excitement to a new height.

“Well, what the fuck are we waiting for? Let’s go! But also... who’s Krypto?“, Lillian exalted- almost jumping from her seat. Hugo soon followed- as if he were babysitting a hyperactive child.

“You’ll see soon enough...“, Hugo responded cryptically.

Lillian practically leapt up the flights of stairs to the top floor. Hugo followed much slower. His body was still weary, recovering from the attack of adrenalin it received when his girl nicked his ride and took it for a race. Reaching the top floor, Lillian simply couldn’t stay still.

“C’mon, slowcoach!“, she called out to Hugo. He soon picked his pace up and reached the top.

“I call dibs on driving!“, Lillian exclaimed hastily- eager as ever.

“You’re not the one with the key-“, Hugo began- patting his pockets. Lillian then held the keys up for Hugo to see- jingling them whilst smiling widely. “Oh, son of a...“. Watch that tongue, Hugo! Lillian stood and laughed at Hugo’s seemingly feigned incompetence.

Stepping into the car, Lillian quickly put the keys in as the beastly Nissan whirred to life once more. She set off immediately down the car park- drifting every corner perfectly. Alright, show-off!

“Hey, hey, watch the tyres, Lils!“, Hugo said- appearing panicked. She seemed too overwhelmed with thrill, adrenalin, and joy to even hear him over the sounds of tyre screeches and engine revs. Reaching the bottom floor hastily- and in typical TC racing style- the Nissan was soon face-to-face with a powerful, monstrous force. Mr Voodoo’s Bugatti Chiron- restored from 50 years ago. He revved its fearsome, brutal W16 engine- shaking the floor around the vehicle, before pulling a tyre-screeching U-turn and flooring it down the quiet back alleys- lighting them up with the blazes of unburnt petrol and leaving behind the smell of high-octane fuel. The best kind of smell in the city.

Soon enough, the two vehicles were blazing down the TC highway at full vigour and ferociousness- their engines rumbling wildly like a stampede of racehorses. Mr Voodoo must’ve had around 1500 horsepower underneath that beautiful hood. And that spoke for itself- as the Bugatti continued screaming down the highway. Lillian and Hugo could barely keep up with a racer so powerful. Even with top-end parts, fuel, and tyres. Maybe all that drifting had done something in after all!

As the two racers continued pelting towards the Ghosty Boys HQ- in god knows where- the shine of the dystopian skyscrapers of Twilight City reflected perfectly off of the polished paint of their chariots. The Spire shone- illumined in a sky-blue colour- stabbing through the clouds like a jagged blade. The Spire belongs to Vector- that rich dude who started the TC Street Racing League 7 years ago. And, man, it definitely spoke for his wealth! It stood at 900 metres tall- and shone like a damn dystopian Christmas tree. If you don’t look up to admire it every time you see it- you’re either blind, drunk, high, or dead. The thing looks like it shouldn’t even be able to stand! But it does... and it stands damn proud. To describe it to you, think of a katana that’s 900 metres tall. Made of glass. And now add some, no loads, of blue lights. That’s The Spire.

Surrounding The Spire were numerous monolithic skyscrapers- each shaped in impossible ways, with fluid sweeping curves like liquid. They were all unique- and all had a different character to them- reflecting the character of whoever owned them. Each of them proudly held up heavenly lights of rainbow colours- either just for the aesthetic, or to advertise mega-corporation propaganda. Whatever brings the most attention. And money. As for the slums below- cramped underneath the feet of the rich- they were also illumined beautifully. Especially Japan town. But you gotta be there to actually experience its true beauty. And the food there is just to die for!

Soon enough, the pair of cars were off the dim, quiet highway and back onto the narrow side streets and alleys- all still illumined with LED lights and constructed from convoluted pieces of metal- like the mind of a madman. Mr Voodoo then pulled up to a dead end. Slat-bang in the middle of nowhere. He rang Hugo.

“Alright, pull up behind me. As close as you can.“. Lillian did so with great care and caution. She didn’t want to dent her new boss’ prized ride. That’s another thing about Mr Voodoo. Be very, very careful around his rides. They’re like his kids. You hurt them... he hurts you.

“So... what now?“, Lillian questioned over the phone.

“Give it a sec.“, Voodoo responded cryptically. A few seconds later, the wall before him opened up to reveal a steep ramp underground. “Welcome home, chooms.”

“You guys have an underground base? That’s sick!“, Lillian responded- her excitement reaching a new high. Voodoo steadily rumbled his Bugatti in- followed by Hugo’s Nissan. The wall closed up behind them- like the maw of the earth itself. They were greeted by a wide rectangular tunnel- finished in pristine sheet metal and plastered with a symbol of a wispy, hooded reaper holding two smoking pistols. The fearsome insignia of the Ghosty Boys.

Time for Lillian to meet her new family.

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