High Octane

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Chapter 7b- The job

Krypto stood up. He cracked his knuckles in anticipation. Jumping up and down on the spot, his jittery right hand hovered over the button. He couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Couple more seconds...“, Krypto said to himself. “And... and... NOW!“. Slamming the button down, Krypto looked to the sky. The first round pierced through the sky like a dagger through flesh. With an ear-splitting whistle, it hit the first truck dead-on. It was blown to pieces in a matter of milliseconds. And then the second. And then the third. And finally... the fourth. Four separate explosions rang out.

“FUCK YEAH! THAT WAS AWESOME!“, Krypto shrieked over the comms with a peak of excitement and adrenalin. He made sure to record the spectacle using his mask. “Alright, hit it, you four! I’ve disabled the guns!“, Krypto ordered- like a drugged-up army general.

The four sped off towards the final truck- which lay dead in the ocean of desert. Churning up sand, the two bikes followed the swat van towards their target. Pulling up, Nat swerved the machine gun round to point at the two men in the front- frantically searching for anything to defend themselves or call for help, but it was no use. What idiot decided to ship top-end parts through the Dead Zone?

Ace and Wraith pulled up next to the truck. Ace began ordering out the two drivers. One pulled a pistol on him, but Krypto had hacked those, too. Frantically pressing the trigger, the gun felt like a water pistol as its hammer clicked in a panic.

“Hands up, heads down!“, Ace ordered, pulling the driver out of the truck and onto the hot desert tarmac. Wraith kept the co-pilot detained. But Ace noticed something. Her gun arm was shaking... not from the weight of the gun, but from... fear? Maybe regret? Guilt? Wraith still kept strong form as she ordered the co-pilot out. Natasha vaulted over the gun seat of the swat truck and took her place in the driver’s seat.

“Krypto, disable the hack on the trucks! Payload secure!“, she demanded over the comms.

“What do we do with these two?“, Wraith asked. Mr Voodoo finally spoke up.

“We let ’em drive us into the city. Only way we’re gonna get back in without being lit up at the border. Krypto, can you get our rides back to HQ?“. Mr Voodoo already knew the answer to that question.

“’Course I can, amigo! I’ll hack a couple cargo drones to bring ’em back in automatically, including my ride. Wait up and I’ll rendezvous with you in a sec!“, Krypto explained. Ace and Wraith began ordering the drivers back in- as they clambered into the back with the parts, along with Nat. Mr Voodoo soon joined them- like sardines in a heavily armoured can.

Sure enough, Krypto had soon arrived on his prized dirt-bike- speeding down the highway- hoodie billowing in the hot wind. Tapping away at a few buttons, he soon climbed into the back of the truck. He was ordered by Mr Voodoo to keep it down a few notches until they got back to HQ. There, they could celebrate. Krypto examined the parts excitedly. Sure enough, it was top-dollar stuff. He then... smelt the parts, breathing in their fresh fumes.

“Drones are all set to pick up the rides. I’ll be surveying them in case anyone comes to nick ’em. Sebastian’ll shoot anyone who comes near!“, Krypto explained- pressing a few more buttons on his phone.

“Sebastian?“, Mr Voodoo retorted curiously.

“Yeah, my pet killer drone! He was the one watching ’ya pull of the job!“, Krypto admitted.

“You got a weird relationship with technology, you know that, right?“. Krypto simply nodded slowly. Mr Voodoo then ordered the drivers to get a shift on- and fast. Soon enough, the truck filled with armed convicts was rumbling down the hot desert highway- right back to Twilight City.

“Do we have to give the parts to the cops?“, Krypto whined

“Yes! You wanna be able to walk on the streets safely again, we gotta get rid of the parts.“, Mr Voodoo snapped. Krypto looked disappointed. Sad, even- despite being underneath a mask.

“What we gonna do when the truck gets searched? Shoot our way out?“, Ace asked as he reloaded his micro-SMG.

“Don’t worry, I got a trick for this!“, Krypto exclaimed excitedly, snapping his fingers. Pulling a cloth which folded out into a large tarp, he presented it to the team- like a piece of modern art. They all looked dumbfounded.

“A... tarp?“, Mr Voodoo questioned.

“Not just any tarp, stupid! You ever seen that really old movie ‘Harry Potter’? The one with the magical dudes?“. The team seemed even more dumbfounded. Nat was shaking her head, looking down- as if in shame.

“Ah, you’re all old!“, Krypto said, kissing his teeth. “Look, basically, the main character has a cloak which makes him invisible, through like magic or some shit. This is basically the same thing!” , Krypto continued enthusiastically. The team continued to stare at the kid- almost cringing.

“So we’re gonna use magic to hide ourselves?“, Ace questioned sarcastically.

“NO! It uses reflective plates to hide us from sight! Trust me, it works!“, Krypto replied, clearly frustrated by his less tech-savvy companions. He got back to playing games on his phone. In reality, he was sending spam emails to top executives of corporations- which installed a virus onto their system when opened, essentially getting them fired from the company. Kid’s got the devil on both shoulders. And those devils are damn loud.

“We’re nearing the border now!“, the driver blared out anxiously. Krypto proceeded to unfold the invisibility tarp again.

“Alright, keep your cool, you two! You snitch, and you’re dead.“, Mr Voodoo said- holding a pistol to the driver’s head. That guy’s damn intimidating. Ace proceeded to pull the tarp over the group. Sure enough, they were perfectly obscured as Krypto switched the reflective plates on. You wouldn’t suspect that five armed convicts were sittin’ in the back of the truck.

Pulling up to the checkpoint, the driver rolled down his heavy window.

“Credentials?“, an officer clad in a gas mask and heavy armour asked. The driver pulled out a card with a barcode. The officer scanned it into the system. It worked.

“Thought there were supposed to be 5 trucks?“, he piped up again. The driver paused for a moment- frozen by fear. He felt a cold pistol barrel pressed to his neck. Mr Voodoo stared him down- even though the driver was facing forwards.

“Uh... they took a different route, sir.“. The officer squinted his eyes- staring the driver down.

“Alright, we’re gonna have to search the vehicle.“, he responded- as two more armoured officers appeared. The driver unlocked the doors. Shining powerful flashlights into the darkened cabin, one pulled a tarp over. He examined the parts in the shipment closely- before scanning it for danger. Nothing came up.

Meanwhile, the crew were still obscured. They all held their breaths in painful, gut-wrenching anticipation, as if they were being prowled upon by a lion. Each had their muscles (or servos) tensed. Teeth clenched. Tongues bit. None moved a damn inch.

“Nothin’ back here, sir. Just a shipment of car parts.“, the two officers searching the back announced. The officer still looked suspicious. Staring down the driver.

“You run into anythin’ in the Dead Zone?“, he interrogated.

“No, sir. Just desert, rocks, and more desert.“, the driver replied between gulps.

“Trust me, officer, he’s tellin’ the truth.“, the co-driver added. The officer shook his head.

“Alright, head on through.“, he said hesitantly. The crew waited until they were well past the border before removing the humid tarp. All of them breathed sighs of utmost relief. Ace, Wraith, and Natasha had thick beads of sweat running down their faces- their skin now glistening. Mr Voodoo opened all of the vents on his helmet to let more air in. Krypto even loosened his mask a little.

“Hey, check it out! We’re on the news, chooms!“, Krypto said excitedly, pointing at the live feed on his phone. A news woman spoke sternly.

“Just moments ago, roughly 5 miles outside of Twilight City, an armoured convoy was struck by what appears to be some form of orbital satellite. Four of the trucks have been destroyed; however, the police are unaware of the whereabouts of the 5th. A drone has also been recovered from the site, but upon being picked up, it self-destructed.“, the woman explained. Krypto appeared suddenly disheartened. He looked down.

“They got Sebastian! Bastards!“, he whimpered. Mr Voodoo placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Ain’t you got, like, 50 other drones, Krypto?“, Ace asked- bemused by the kid’s sadness.

“Yeah, but he was... my first! At least he went out with a bang...“, Krypto continued as his voice faded into silence. Mr Voodoo ordered the driver to pull up in a dark alley- before forcefully throwing them out.

“Listen to me damn good, you two. You tell anybody about this, and you ain’t gonna see the next day. Neither is your family. So keep quiet like good boys, alright?“, Mr Voodoo warned sternly. The drivers nodded frantically at the helmeted figure before them. Told ya he was intimidating!

Taking the driver’s seat, Mr Voodoo set off towards the Ghosty Boys HQ. The job had gone off without a hitch.

Like Ghosts in the night.

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