Why did we ever have to go and save that’ kid? They never told me why he was important enough to risk one’s life over. Just seemed like a waste of space – a crying, pissing, shitting waste of space. What’s the point of rescuing something like that?
Flared bullets raced at us as we drove our beat up scrap of a car towards the compound. They penetrated the hull of the vehicle enrupting in miniture red light shows leaving behind melted and scorched metal. One managed to hit the ratty seat besides me. The cushion sunk in a bit and began to stink of rancid melted chemicals. I remember glancing at Petros with a screwed up face, trying to convey my disapproval.
“You’ll understand once we get the kid. Have faith.”
Ten years of roughing it in the Dunes with that guy. Shit. He was the son of crazy missionaries preaching some serpant god’s word to the “flock” as they called us. Their god did not spare them from the Chem Fog Crisis. Guess they didn’t preach hard enough. Their demise gave Petros a critical mind that I could rely on. For him to put himself at risk like this for some stupid kid is something maybe he would do if his parents would have lived; but the Petros I knew, he didn’t take stinking risks like this based on something unreliable like faith. Faith got his parents killed.
“Petros have you gone mad!?” I wanted to jump up front to him and shake him around. Clearly he had lost it.
“Don’t worry man,” croned out a suave voice from behind Petro’s seat.
Don Carlo. Where Petros was rational to the point of sacrilege and ideological destruction (Did the words “faith” really just leave his lips just now?), Don Carlo was pure unchanneled creative insanity. Oh he may be silent and brooding most of the time, but that’s his version of self control. If he were to let go, truly truly let go, desruction would greet the world, violently rape it, and then send it flowers the next morning with a long love note attached asking for a second date with more of that sweet loving violent rape. Twisted. I could not trust Don Carlo as he would roll along with madness. He was grinning at me now because he knew Petros used the word “faith”. He was loving this, this whole mad excursion - violent rape with loving. I felt a little unwell at that thought.
A car racing beside us had its tires shot out by Don Carlo. The car flipped and landed with the loud sound of crunched metal and glass breaking. Judging by the agonized shrieking howl I heard as we raced past the wreck, the driver must have survived, albeit horribly. Don Carlo was grinning harder now. I wonder if he planned it that way, the homicidal genius he was. He was not merciful; no, he just loved hideously scarring people.
A rocket exploded next to the car before I could say anything more. It sprayed us with searing hot air and shrapnel and pushed the car out of control.
Crazy Darla was at the wheel . She got serious in an instant, fighting with the wheel and the destructive terrain in our path to maintain control. She slammed the brakes and we skidded around a gaping hole in the road infront of us, before gunning the gas again and plowing us through some small wrecks of cars and off the side of a ramp onto safer side streets. It was brilliant driving but it left me screaming and my head a brilliant mess.
I knew Crazy Darla was going along with Petros because this was what she lived for – driving machines through mad situations. Didn’t matter if it were a horse, a jet, a cobbled together piece of crap like what we were in now; she just had a knack for these things - a savant at driving and riding. She hardly ever talked about her past, and bore a robotic false leg and a missing right ear which she kept covered by the “ear” equivalent of an eyepatch – both from a mysterious accident from long ago from something she could not expertly operate. Don Carlos imagines it was a man, but then he is a pervert when he opens his mouth sometimes.
In the seat in front of me Bleep flashed his helmet lights to alert us all he was about to get serious too. He strapped himself down nice and tight to the seat, pulled out Lil Lady and loaded it with high grade explosive rounds. Each explosive pull of the trigger would rock the car and send Bleep bouncing around into Don Carlo despite being restrained. It was insane to fire a weapon like that in this rust heap at this speed, but Bleep understood the danger inherent in this situation and him and Crazy Darla had a silent understanding when it came to her driving and his crazy weapons.
As for the understanding between Bleep and Petros, I could not figure out. Why would Bleep go along with Petros on this mission to save this kid? Bleep was smart, calculating. He knew risks and acted accordingly. Having a conversation with Bleep was like having a conversation with a blender. He had his helmet flashes that let us know whether he was going to start blowing things up, or if he needed first aid, or whtever else; but lights just aint like flapping one’s tongue. No one knew what the hell he was underneath his helmet and synth suit, but I always felt safe having him around the few times I worked with him. I wondered how much Petros was paying him, and I wondered what would make Bleep so desperate for pay to accept going on such a mad mission like this? Surgery for the possible hideous mess underneath his armour perhaps? Heh. Maybe he wanted to look fresh for Crazy Darla … Or Don Carlo. Hell who knew what he liked.
I sat alone at the very back of the car, which was converted into seats. Surviving had always been my motto up until a few years ago when it suddenly became profitable to risk one’s life for others and survive. Petros got me here because everyone agreed to this mission. I admit at the time I had no idea how serious it was or even what the real objective was, and Petros knew that. He knew me all too well. All I heard was that Bleep, Crazy Darla, and Don Carlos were in on it, so I was definitely there too. A team up like that seemed perfect and seemed like one where I would definitely come back alive. It also seemed like it would be an interesting challenge with so much talented mercenaries in on it and Petros leading. High stakes usually meant lots of cash. I will also admit, Petros had this way to him that made me follow him. NO not like a sucker, but just I could trust him. Following his lead has kept me alive. I felt that trust shatter when “faith” left his mouth. Insane and I was a fool for not asking what the hell we were getting into and being too damned addicted to this sort of stuff. But everyone did not seem to have a problem. Yea Petros got us all by the allure of a challenge in our respective areas of destructiveness. If they knew Petros like I knew him, they would know they were dealing with someone off the deep end.
Don Carlos knew but, yea as established, the crazy fucker wasn’t telling and loving it.
Crazy Darla whipped around a turn too fast trying to avoid a rocket. The car teetered on one side and another rocket hit nearby causing it to tip. Not even Crazy Darla’s expert driving could prevent the car from flipping, and flip we did. It was just too hot an area and too weak a machine. I saw Petros crash through the shattered front windshield. He went flying from the car and landed in a heap as the world spun in front of my eyes. The car flipped right into a wall with a sickening crunch. Being in the very back saved my life. My vision was still spinning and my head was foggy. Somehow Petros was up and limping with a few scratches on him. I saw him make his way toward me and the rage snapped me out of my funk. He grabbed my hand and I shakingly climbed out the wreckage. I wanted to be angry at him, but the car had caught fire and we needed to get the rest of the team out of the wreck.
Bleep was slumped forward, his harnesses slightly ripped. Don Carlos was bleeding from a head wound as he hadnt been strapped down that well and must have hit something. Petros helped me cut them out of their restraints and we pulled them from the wreckage. There was nothing to be done for Crazy Darla. Her beautiful face was smashed into the dashboard, brains everywhere. That made me so angry at the waste. Crazy Darla … I really liked her, especially since she was the only other female on the team. There was no time to mourn. The fire was getting intense and we had to move. Any moment that rust heap would blow so I went back and grabbed some of Bleep’s weapons; and Petros and I grabbed the still unconcious Don Carlos and Bleep and we hauled tail behind some buildings. We just got to safety when the car blew. It was spectcular as the bombs I couldn’t grab from Bleeps weapons stash ignited and went up with the car. I remember it always as a fitting funeral pyre to one maverick femme.
But I was angry and it was safe to be angry now. I grabbed Petros by his mangled arms and screamed at him. I don’t remember what I said, just angry foul words and lots of spit. I then punched him in the face, trembling all over with rage and the like. I wanted to continue being angry at him but my hand was sore and and his nose was bloodied. I didn’t want to damage him, and I could so easily do so; besides it still wasn’t safe to be completely enraged with him. The exploding car, which was still exploding at that point, was a shining beacon for letting the goons know our position. Petros merely grunted when I gave him a hardened look and we dragged Bleep and Don Carlo into a nearby sewer opening. That was part of the plan anyway - get as close as possible to the compound where the hostage was being held and then head to the sewers – dangerous place but not for a bunch of hardened mercenaries like ourselves.
To be continued