What has Roulette gotten herself into???
Party had wanted to be the first, not willing to put his men at risk in this untested mission. However Russian Roulette had stipulated very strongly that it was a random draw. And so, the ex-drummer had been the first of them to go. Although he told Party that he didn't mind, Gerard was still anxious.
The plan was foolproof, that was for sure. He and the Gamblers had joined up with Electric Tango, Jettison, Cobalt Blues and Maverick, the other crew leaders and went over the plans numerous times to ensure that there were no holes. The whole process had been stressful. Cobalt Blues was always picking a fight with Harlequin and Maverick constantly had to check his chair for grenades. Him and Russian Roulette had broken up a few months back and she had been out to get him and his gang since. Party had endured the months of preparation, patiently breaking up fights when they got a little too heated. All the other crew leaders lived in the same valley and were used to bickering amongst themselves, but it wore Gerard out.
Luckily none of them wanted to pick a fight with the Killjoys. They were one of the few groups of rebels that had no interest in zone politics. Besides, they all knew that Party Poisons gang of five men had cleaned up more dracs in the local zones than the other crews put together. The only one that was possibly one up on him was Roulette, and that was only because she collected followers like a jealous kid hoards chocolate.
The end result was that the rotational system put in place was almost impossible to detect. There was no way that it could be sabotaged, short of someone on the inside screwing up. But Party knew that the seven leaders were all desperate for this mission to work, so the likelihood of someone blabbing to an undercover drac was pretty much at zero percent.
Misfits was perhaps the only bar in the zones that accepted all patrons, regardless of allegiance. Consequentially the (frankly seedy) establishment was a hotspot for troublemakers and looters. The owner, a grizzled ex-marine known as Glock, lived by the moto "If they pay for their drinks, they're welcome." Anyone who didn't settle their tab risked a new hole being installed in their head, courtesy of the ray-rifle that was kept behind the bar.
Glock was keeping an eye on his tavern whilst cleaning a glass when the door was kicked open by a high heeled foot. A buckets worth of sand was swirled in with the woman before the door was shut. The windy weather that had sprung up in zone 4 was causing havoc, sand and grit covering every exposed surface. Glock grumbled at the entrance and motioned to one of his workers to clean up the dirt now spilled across the floor.
The intruder had arrived just on dawn, when most people were due to come in and appreciate the numbing effects of third-rate alcohol. The early birds looked up from their glasses to evaluate the newcomer and went quickly back to minding their business as soon as they saw who it was.
Russian Roulette's bracelets jangled as she pulled a stool up to the bar and waved at a serving girl. "Give me that strongest thing that you've got in the biggest glass that you have."
Glock placed the now clean glass on the rack and shooed his employee away. "I'll serve the Gambler."
The wide eyed girl thanked him quietly and went off to serve a few harmless regulars.
"Haven't got your boyfriend with you I see." He addressed the notorious woman with respect.
She grinned at him; red lipstick smile as fake as the license on the wall behind the bar. "Turns out Jack was a gold-digger. I terminated our relationship."
Glock tried not to think about the no-doubt dismal end of Roulette's latest ex and poured her a shot of absinthe.
"Is that all you have?" she whined. "Come on Glock, I know that you've got a whole bottle of that new chemical shit all the dracs are drinking."
He shook his head. "No way. Sorry ma'am but we've been getting certain... visitors passing through. And I don't want to get caught giving my customers anything contraband to the public. Swing by in a few days and if they've stopped harassing us I'll happily give you a bottle."
Glock was lucky that Rabid liked the man. Anyone else would have gotten a swift hiding for denying the Gambler a requested drink. She however, didn't even put up a fight. The owner of the bar was surprised that she didn't even comment at the mention of dracs in zone 4. Although BLi was out to exterminate every zonerunner in America, they turned a blind eye to establishments such as his that served dracs. As long as Glock didn't cause any trouble he could continue to operate publicly. Bars such as his were neutral territory.
"And your Harlequin Diamond, where's she at?"
"Not here, evidently." there was a 'back off' note in her voice. Roulette didn't care to ever give information out that could jeopardize her friends safety.
"I apologize, it's just strange seeing you out-and-about alone." he paused before adding, "You're loved by some, but hated by many as well."
Roulette laughed, crossing her legs, feet up on her bar. "I think I can take of myself don't you?" she chuckled, gesturing at the two rayguns and multitude of knives she had hanging off her body.
"You know Roulette," Glock said leaning across the bench. "I usually wouldn't be this open because it really is none of my business, but Korse has stamped a hefty price on your head."
She nodded and took a gulp of absinthe. "Your point?"
"Well it's almost daylight out, and I'd hate to think that BL/ind caught you in my bar, on my watch." Although he couldn't call himself a friend of the cold woman, he didn't like the idea of an influential gang leader being taken out needlessly. "I know that you're a darn good fighter, but I dunno how well you'd hold up if a squad of dracs pulled a surprise attack on you half drunk."
She hooted with laughter and raised her glass at him. "I may not live the week my dear advisor, but I'm glad to know that you'll still be here in ten years, giving the same advice to another me." She took a swing of the liquor and smirked.
Glock shrugged "Don't say I didn't warn you."
She shook her head and sauntered over to a group of young men. Glock shook his head at the strange behavior from the normally sharp woman.
Later on Glock replayed his conversation with Roulette through his head, and regretted not being more insistent that she leave. It might have prevented her being jumped right outside his bar. From inside the window he had watched a group of dracs knock her out and pile her into the back of Korse's car. The Gambler was so intoxicated she hadn't even noticed the BL/ind vehicle half-heartedly hidden behind a truck; something no zonerunner with a head on their shoulders should miss.
Glock had tossed up helping Roulette, but it was a lost cause. Besides, he didn't want to experience the same fate as the Dice's leader. Instead he left the tavern in charge of a barmaid and went upstairs to radio Cardz HQ.
"Base Cardz this is the owner of Misfits, Route Guano zone 4. Is anyone there?"
There was a brief interlude of static before a frantic voice responded. "Glock? Is that you? Oh god please tell me Roulette is at your bar."
Glock could tell by the accent that he was speaking to Harlequin Diamond. "She was here but-"
"Do you know where she's headed?"
"I'm sorry Harlequin. There was nothing I could do."
There was a rush of static followed by a chocking sob on the other end.
"They took her about 15 minutes ago. She was alive when she went into the car... but I don't know if that's the case now. They seem to be heading back to Battery City-" the connection was cut on Harlequin's end. Guilt tugged at Glock, but he knew nothing could have been done. The head of the largest rebel gang in California, possibly even the whole country, was now at the mercy of Better Living Industries.
"We're so fucked." he groaned.
Fun Ghoul was dozing when a call was announced through the radio. He took a look at the number and recognized it as the Cardz base.
"Hellloooooooo?" he spoke into the mic. "This is Fun Ghoul talking."
"Ghoul, can you get Party Poison for me?" the female voice replied. He wasn't sure if the connection was bad, but Harlequin sounded like she was crying.
"Sure thing." He jumped up and jogged to Gerard's room. "Hey Party," he knocked on the door "Diamond on the radio for you."
Gerard opened the door, hair sticking up like a porcupine. He had evidently been sleeping. "Thanks Frank." he clapped his shorter friend on the shoulder and ran into the broadcast room.
Frank stood still for a moment, listening to Party as he answered the call. It didn't happen very often but Frank had a gut feeling that something bad had happened. And when he got a gut feeling, it was usually right.
"Harley you there? It's Party." Gerard wondered why the woman was calling him in the day, by her timetable she should be asleep.
The voice that replied sounded strangled. "Party, the worst thing has happened and I don't know what to do!"
"Hey hey, calm down. Take a deep breath." He heard a rush of static as Diamond exhaled into her mic. "Now what's wrong?"
"Its Rabid, they've taken her-" Harley broke off in tears.
Gerard felt a lead ball drop in his stomach. "When?"
"T-this morning. She was at Misfits when it happened."
"Do you think she was set up? Roulette doesn't seem the type to get picked off so easily."
He could hear Harley trying to hold back her sobs. The whole situation was fucked up, but he felt bad for Diamond; she was a really nice person and she had just found out that her best friend was abducted.
"She wasn't set up, she had just found out that her boyfriend was using her to get money. She left early last night, planning to..." she struggled to find a good way to word it.
"Exact her revenge?" Gerard offered.
Harley hiccuped. "Rabid isn't a bad person, she just gets in really bad moods. I knew that she was going to his house with the intention of shooting him, he deserved it though. When she didn't come home I assumed that she felt bad about loosing her temper and killing him and just... needed some space. But then the whole day went by and I was about to send out a search party when I got the call-" her voice chocked off and she had to take in several deep breaths before continuing. "She would have gone to Misfits to get smashed and hook up with some rebound, she's always a mess after breakups..."
"And that's when Korse would have nabbed her." Party concluded.
"I hate it when she gets drunk; she just doesn't think!" Harley wailed.
Party scratched his head. "I'm really sorry Harley, truly I am. Roulette may have been a tyrant at times, but she was good at what she did."
"S'ok, not your fault." she sniffed.
"I just can't see how we can get her back. She'll be in Battery by now, and breaking into Bli HQ to break someone out... well it's impossible."
"Party, that's not why I called you." her voice took on an edge of stress.
"Oh, then what's the problem?"
On the other end Diamond sighed. "Roulette might appear pretty tough and put out a strong appearance, but she can't deal with pain."
"Your point?" Gerard couldn't see where she was going.
"Party, we've just sent in a bunch of spies to BL/ind HQ. Korse is going to squeeze her for information on rebel activity any way that he can. She wont last five minutes under pressure."
"Can't we just call them back?" panic began to creep into Gee's voice.
"We didn't give them transmitters, incase they were caught and the signal was traced."
Gerard wanted to be sick. "So all the zonerunners that we just sent in..."
"Wont be coming home." she moaned.
Russian Roulette woke up sputtering, cursing at the drac who had poured water over her head. She blinked furiously, trying to clear her foggy, hungover head. The room she was in was painfully white, the fluorescent light above her glaring sharply in her eyes. She tried not to groan at the handcuffs the tightly held her arms behind her back.
"Leader of the Rebel gang Dice, aka Russian Roulette, you are under arrest for theft, impersonation, destruction of goods and property, numerous counts of murder and consorting against Better Living Industries. You are also guilty of association with the following terrorists; Harelquin Diamond, Renegade, Party Poison, Maverick, Jettison, Kobra Kid, Fun Gh-"
"Yes yes, we know all that. You can shut up now." Roulette interrupted the drac and shot a glare at the bald man sitting across the table from her. She knew that if the drac continued he would be reciting names for at least another ten minutes, and her raging headache would not appreciate that.
"Just explaining why you're in here." The drac mumbled.
"I think it's a bit given, don't you? We all know who I am." she snapped.
Korse spoke for the first time. "Well no, actually we don't. See I was taking a look over your history while you were having your little nap, and was most surprised to find that there is no record of either you or your 'best friend' attending BCGG. However word among all the zonerunner guests here is that the academy is where you two originated from." He smiled menacingly.
"What can I say?" Roulette grinned back, unfazed by her dangerous situations. "I didn't leave anyone or anything around that you BL/ind fuckers could use to trace back to Diamond or I."
"Yes well, you've wasted a great deal of the Industries time and money the past few years. Not to mention the amount of death certificates I've had to personally sign..." he sighed and ran a hand over his hairless head. "I really do think that you owe me."
"You've brainwashed and manipulated everyone I love. I had to kill my own classmates who graduated into dracs because of you. I've been living on the edge of survival for eight long years." she screamed at him, struggling against her bonds. "I owe you nothing!"
Korse's eyebrow twitched at her outburst, trying to keep his temper in check. "Look, I'm going to make things very simple for you. Tell me where your friends the Killjoys are living, and you get to keep your fingers."
He saw a flash of fear pass over the young woman's face. She shook her head frantically, "That I can't tell you. No one knows where Party Poison hides his gang."
Korse yawned melodramatically and gestured at the dracs in the room. "Hold out her hand."
"No!" she shouted, "Korse I'm not lying, I don't know where they are!"
The dracs unlocked her cuffs and held her hands out on the table before the S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W.
"Now," he mused, "which are you; right handed or left?"
"Please," she gasped, "not my hands!"
"Hmm, I hear you and miss Harley are quite the artists. Left a few marks on Battery City walls in the past."
A drac handed Korse a thick knife.
"Please... I don't know..." she pleaded.
"And I can always tell which of you bitches has been bullying my dracs, because you're kind enough to leave a nice Dice or Ace stamped onto their face. Very creative." Korse stroked the long fingers on her left hand.
"I'd tell you if I could. Please don't!" she cried, face down on the table.
"Maybe I'll just cut a finger off each hand, it wont matter then which hand you use." He declared cheerfully. Roulette only sobbed louder. "This may sting a little, just so you know."
He lined the blade up against her left hand trigger finger, judging the place to cut. He bought his hand up and swung it back down towards her finger.
"Wait!" she cried.
Korse paused, knife centimeters from her exposed digit.
"There's a spy network infiltrating BL/ind Headquarters!" she blurted out.
Korse placed the knife on the table. "What did you say?"
Roulette shook her head, wishing she could take back the words.
Korse's temper snapped and he swung a fist at her face. She took the blow on her cheekbone, yelping with surprise. The dracs holding her started at the attack.
"I'm sick of all you zonerunners playing games with me! So here's what's going to happen; you're gonna explain to me, right now how you have set up a surveillance on BL/ind."
She shook her head mutely, waiting for him to strike her again. He didn't disappoint.
"You will tell me!" he shouted in her face. Spit flecked her cheeks, but she didn't give him an inch.
Korse picked up his chair and threw it across the room in a fit of anger. Roulette flinched at the the action and tried to contain the terror that was shaking her body. The dracs that stood holding her also trembled at the display.
"Fine then; have it your way." His voice took on a calm tone, filled with hatred. "Rather than take off your fingers, I'm going to leave you here with my two dracs, and they can do whatever they want to you. I hear they're very popular with the ladies." He stalked to the door, opened it and before leaving added "Oh and just so you know, that drac you ghosted in zone 2 last week? His brother is the one holding your right hand."
The next four hours Korse spent in his office, quietly contemplating what he would do to Russian Roulettes fingers during his next visit. His mood improved over the day, lightened by the shrieking that reached his ears through the thin walls.