An interesting meeting .....
Party pulled into one of the units and got out of the car, waiting till Kobra had pulled his bike in behind us before pulling down and locking the door. It was pitch black until he and Jet produced torches and used the tiny beams of light to point the way through into the main part of the building. It was clever, from the outside it looked like nothing but inside, well inside it was kitted out.
“Thought you said he hung out with you at the diner ?”
Ghoul looked back and grinned.
“He does, and here and a few other places. This is the comfy base though.”
He had that right. I could see the man himself in one room broadcasting while outside a cute looking guy in roller skates that Grace introduced as Show Pony was bustling around making room for us on large sofas.
“He won’t be long sweetie.”
I tried to hide my smile as Pony patted Kobra on the backside and then nimbly moved to one side before Kobra could smack him. I noticed that when he did the same with Party he merely smiled. Interesting. There was a sharp rap on the window and I could see the DJ beckoning. Party stood up and grabbed my hand.
I wasn’t quite sure how to react to that as he dragged me into the room and closed the door. Party grinned and put a finger to his lips as we sat down. The DJ sort of smiled at me and then spoke into the mike.
“Big news in the zones children, seems like our friend Korse has given us a present for being good motor babies. See he has sent us a rainbow, he was so busy thinking she was one of us so now she is. Well Mr. Sad Man, the zones say thank you and you can be sure the Killjoys will make good use of our newest ally. Here’s the latest track from Mad Gear.”
With a twist of a dial, music started filling the room and the DJ turned his gaze on me. It wasn’t exactly friendly. Now I got a good look at him I was surprised, he was a lot younger than I expected although the rumours about him being crippled and in a wheelchair seemed to be true. I met his stare with one of my own.
“So Rainbow, this for real or you gonna try and run ?”
“I’m not running.”
He looked sceptical and I fought down a smile. Party was watching both of us closely.
“You know if you run they will kill you. If Korse doesn’t first.”
I nodded slowly. I was pretty sure they would try.
“So what do you have to offer us ?”
I had expected this. I knew of my reputation around the zones. People thought I was a thief, an outsider who would do business with all sides and when necessary, would double cross them too. Of course it was all true but none of them were aware of the scope of my little raiding parties and the stuff I knew about the inside of the City. I had kept that back as my bargaining chip in case of just this sort of situation. Now I was prepared to give just a little.
“As in what ?”
Party winked at Dr.D.
“As in we saved your ass and we know about your bunker a couple of miles from here.”
I smiled at him and nodded.
“You can have whatever you find useful in there. We can go tonight if you want.”
There was actually not much in this zone’s bunker. I kept my good stuff elsewhere but there were a few bits and pieces I knew they would like. It would buy my safety for a while anyway. The DJ still looked suspicious but shrugged at Party.
“Ok then, go do that and come back in a couple of days. Got a job I might want doing.”
It was clearly a dismissal so we went back into the other room and he resumed his broadcast. We sat with the others and tried not to think about the fact that we had been passed the dreaded Pup and a fork. Hungry enough to eat anything I tucked in and then looked back toward the door.
Kobra smiled and looked at me.
“You can’t expect him to like you. Didn’t you rip off that shipment of spare parts coming in from the east a while back.”
I tried to look offended but was obviously not convincing anyone.
“Didn’t know it was yours when I nicked it.”
“You did when you sold it back to us.”
I couldn’t help the smile on my face.
“Just business. You get a discount now.”
Ghoul immediately cracked up which set the others off. It was weird, I was so used to being on my own I had forgotten about having a sense of humour until now. It felt good to laugh. Looking around I noticed someone was missing.
“Where’s Grace ?”
Jet looked up, setting his tin on the table.
“She’s staying here tonight with Pony and Chimp. Crater Club is no place for her.”
I was suddenly interested, there was fun and money to be had at the Crater. Would be interesting to be on the inside of the action for a change. It was a Killjoy hangout, high tech enough to keep BLI goons away and full of people getting drunk, high and indulging in all the things your mother tells you never to do.
“So do you guys wanna go to my bunker first or after ?”
“First. We won’t be in any state after.”
“Ok, ready when you are.”
I could tell they were curious and more than a little surprised that I was offering to do this without the slightest resistance. I admit my sense of honour is limited but I did owe them and it seemed this would be a fair trade. I had decided not to mention my other stashes unless directly asked.
We said our goodbyes and headed back out, turning the car north and heading out of the units and back into the desert. It was cold now, night had extinguished the last of the sunset and the moon was riding high. I carefully pointed the way, not that I couldn’t find it in the dark but you never knew what was out there.
“Pull over here.”
Party turned, frowning at me from the gloom.
“There’s nothing here but a clump of rocks and the sand.”
“Yeah I know.”
He braked and waved Kobra in as I got out of the car and walked over to the rock. Undoing my watch from my left wrist, I carefully extracted the thin wire key before bending down and pushing it carefully into the almost invisible slot in the base of the rock. There was a click and the keypad slid out. I grinned at the sounds of astonishment from behind me as I keyed in the code and the hatch clicked open.
“Give me a hand.”
Kobra and Ghoul bent to help me sweep the sand back so we could lift the hatch and descend. I looked back over my shoulder.
“Let’s make this quick. The car makes us a bit visible.”
It wasn’t a big room and with four tall guys in it, slightly claustrophobic but on occasion I had slept here and the shelves held some weapons, bits of tech and some food. My rucksack was also still in the corner with some changes of clothes so I grabbed that first and then started handing things to the guys.
“Pulse charges, dynamite, couple of guns, radio and yes I do know it’s a BLI one, umm oh and how about this ?”
I passed the small metal object over to Jet and watched the smile grow on his face as he examined it before looking up.
“A jammer, what frequency ?”
“BLI’s. Carry that and they can’t track you if you need to broadcast. Do you guys use radios ?”
“Not much but will come in handy when we need to get in touch with other Killjoys.”
I nodded, passing them a few other gizmos and some first aid stuff that I had tucked away. It left hardly anything to take but at least they seemed happy. Deciding one last little piece of generosity would seal the deal, I reached for a box on the top shelf and took out two more wire keys.
“Here, code is 7842. If you ever need a place to hide you can get in here. We’ll need to re-stock with food but its cover and its shielded so you can call for help if you need to.”
Party stared at me again and there was something in his eyes that made me a little uncomfortable.
“Thanks, this is working out good for all of us.”
I shrugged, not wanting to admit that I found myself agreeing.
“I owe you. So we still gonna hit the Crater ?”
Ghoul immediately hugged me again, making them laugh as I squirmed.
“Hell yeah, we need to toast our new alliance. Do you drink Rainbow ?”
This time he kissed me which was absolutely the last thing I was expecting. His lips were soft against mine and I was kissing him back before I realised it. Blushing I pulled away. Ghoul just grinned lazily at his friends.
“I’m in love.”
Party pulled a face and winked at me.
“But Ghoul baby, I thought you loved me.”
Ghoul blew him a kiss from the ladder and we climbed back out. They stood back as the hatch clicked into place and I keyed the code back in. The keypad disappeared and the sand moved itself back into place.
“What the fuck ?”
I turned to Kobra and smiled.
“Don’t ask me how cos I don’t know. I found this place on an old military map. Saves a lot of kicking and getting your hands dirty.”
We walked back to the car and turned back for the road. Settling in for the ride, I had started looking forward to the nights entertainment.