on the way to destroy BLI.
Days turned out to be weeks, actually. Extremely exhausting, torturous, full of blood and tears of pain, long weeks. As Neon Vixen and Detonator Darlin had proven to us – we were in horrible shape. But as they said, it wasn’t entirely our fault – we stayed in coma for months and our muscles, not used for that long, couldn’t really handle what we wanted from them. And oh god, how it hurt! But it was the experience we needed a lot. Apart from running, crawling in the bushes, fighting with each other, sniping (it was way more difficult with ray guns that it seemed, especially since Kobra managed to set up the fire on our base. Needles to say Pony was very proud of us!) – we learnt a lot about BLI, their structures, people working there, their goals, methods and everything they did since they took over. We were also shown lots of specific maps of particular zones with drac’s bases drawn on them, along with locations of the reactors. We got to know that almost half of the tunnels in the Battery City was closed due to our voyage there. We felt really guilty about it, but Detonator Darlin explain that we wouldn’t use them now anyway. Well, not until we destroy rest of reactors.
All the information that sink in us really opened our eyes. We didn’t have doubts anymore, no more hesitation – we knew we wanted to do this. But like Poison said, not only because we wanted to defeat BLI and save the world we knew. We wanted to learn something about ourselves. We wanted our souls back. We wanted to know how it feels to be yourself. Because being in the state we were, it felt like walking in a dark room. We had to do everything by instincts or intuition and sometimes we stumbled on something we didn’t quite understand.
Like when Poison said something about his skeleton onesie and I told him that he actually looked like a panda in it (I actually could picture it) and we laughed about his problems with unzipping it. Skeleton onesie, seriously. Like if we couldn’t remember something more helpful…
Or maybe it had some meaning we couldn’t recall.
In the last week of our training with Neon Vixen and Detonator Darlin, when we felt much stronger and way more qualified, we started to discuss the main goal of all of our lessons. The mission.
We had to make a proper plan for it.
We were already waiting in the dining room… sorry, conference room, as Pony named it, when the amazing duo of our trainees walked in.
“Okay, it’s the last day before we have to leave you, kids” said Neon Vixen. We nodded and smiled, quite sadly to me honest. True, we had a bumpy start (especially me since Detonator Darlin had beaten absolute shit out of me), but those two taught us more that I would ever guess. “So it’s time to do some talking.”
Detonator Darlin, who was man of an action rather than words, pulled out the maps and placed them on the table in front of us. By a quick look I could say it was zone 6, where our base was, with neighborhoods of zones 5 and 4.
“This your aim” Neon Viven said, pointing her finger at a cross in zone 5. We bowed down over the table to inspect it better. “It’s reactor number 5. In short, you have to get there and steal the key. When you manage to do that – reactor stops working. Pony had explained that to you already, hadn’t he?”
“Yeah” said Jet Star. “But you make it sound so easy.”
From the observation I did, I could tell that he was always the most responsible from all of us. He always needed to have everything prepared in advanced, he had to know all the details and tried to predict all the possibilities. He sometimes was pissing me off with his over protectiveness, but in the end of the day I was always grateful he was here with us.
“Well, it’s not. Apart from drac’s, who are one clumsy shit, but not to nice to deal with either, you have to go into the building without triggering the alarm off. All the gates are closed immediately and Korse sends there his special divisions, which normally protect the main reactor in Battery City. And things get pretty nasty.”
“And how not to turn the alarm on?” continued Jet Star.
You see what I mean now? I would ask about how to get the key, how many people worked and stuff like that and he had to know everything step by step.
“It can be turned on automatically or manually. You have to give special codes before you take out the key. It starts the safe procedure of removing it, otherwise it could explode, rip your heads of and annihilate all the zones around.”
“And where do we gets the codes from?” I finally decided to ask something useful. With the corner of my eye I saw Jet Star opening his mouth and he smiled to me as I finished.
“No worries. We have them. We have one guy working undercover in BLI. He broke into their system and got some useful stuff. After that they were paranoid for months, but never got to know who did it. Since then we call him Paranoia Rock&Roller.”
“Awesome shit” I said beaming. I loved stories like that.
“Yeah. Apart from that, you have to act like you weren’t there. The best option is when no one sees you, ok? I know it’s really difficult, but otherwise you have to kill all of them.”
“But how do we get there unseen? I bet they have an extra protection ever the key.”
“Last time we did this, we closed them in a shed” she laughed. “Really. That was fun…” she trailed off for a second and we got a bit confused. It wasn’t really helpful advice, was it?
“The best idea is to make some unexpected noise on the other side of building, it will get them distracted for some time. You have to be creative, because we don’t exactly now what you will find there. Each reactor is a bit different than other ones. Since we already have 4 of their keys, they work hard on their safety net…. But when you get what you want, you gotta deliver the baby to Sharky Ringer.”
This is how they called a place where they stored all the keys. All we knew that the person who will pick up our package is a girl with violet hair.
“I think that’s all… Any questions?”
“No…” I stammered.
I tried really hard to fall asleep, but this just wouldn’t happen. I felt this bundle of nerves vibrating in my stomach and every time my consciousness was fading away, it was becoming more buzzy and woke me up. I knew I had to be well rested for the next day, but the only thought about it made my eyes snap open in terror and I felt sick. Yes, we did have everything prepared in details, we discussed all the possibilities that came to our minds, but honestly, anything could happen.
I sighed and bit my lip.
I turned on my side and took several deep breathes, trying calm myself down. All in vain. I just couldn’t stop thinking and analyzing.
Surprisingly to me I heard Party Poison also shifting in his bed above mine. Soon after I heard him calling my name quietly.
I rolled my eyes. “And what do you think?”
He giggled softly and seconds later I saw his legs dangling from his bunk and then he hopped down. He turned on his heels to face me and bent over my bed.
“Can I?” he asked. He dived into my bed seconds after I nodded in agreement.
“You comfy?” I mumbled, trying to suppress the giggle.
“Uhmmm… You could gimme your duvet.”
“Jeez” I moaned and uncovered myself a little so he can hide underneath it with me. “Happy now?”
Party Poison was… someone I really wanted to spend my time with. Sure, I liked Kobra and Jet Star, but it was because of the strong belief I had inside of me, that they were really close to me and I could trust them. With him I had that also, but I simply liked talking to him. We could be goofy together and forget what we were here for. Or we could do some serious talking, analyze everything, make plans. But most of all, his presence made me feel less lost.
“Uhm, why don’t you sleep?” he asked after a while.
“Because I have to protect some dumbasses from bed monsters with my magical blanket.”
“It doesn’t make sense. Your bunk is nearer floor, there is more monsters” he stated seriously.
“But these are flying monsters, ok? Only magical blankets can protect you!”
He felt silent for a second and I thought about how unbelievably stupid was what I just had said. But then he said “Ok. That seems legit. But I don’t understand why you have such blanket and I don’t” he whined and I had to giggle.
“Quiet, idiot. You’re going to wake up everyone.”
“Sorry” he whispered, hiding under blankets.
I rolled my eyes again and smiled. “You’re so adorable sometimes” I said without thinking and bit my lip. I had no idea where that came from.
He shifted a little more, so he could lay on his side with his arm lying on my shoulder. I looked at him and cocked my eyebrow.
“Only sometimes?” he asked making the puppy eyes.
I uncontrollably beamed to him.
“And you? Why can’t you sleep?”
“Because of the monsters.”
I nodded. We weren’t talking about the bed monsters anymore. “The thought of dying is not that thrilling, is it?”
“We’re not going to die” he whispered and lifted on his elbow to look properly at me.
“You don’t know that.”
“No, I don’t. But we are well prepared. It’s gonna be ok” he said squeezed my shoulder.
“Still, I’m scared” I confessed, looking away. Sometimes I felt like such a helpless child.
“Don’t be. I will watch your back. No one is gonna hurt you. Promise.”
“It looks boring” I said as we sat in our car, belts fastened, mirrors checked, everything done, like you would expect from the good boys we were.
Just seconds before Dr. D. was giving us some last instructions, reminding us some obvious stuff. He still looked kinds scary to me, with his long beard and motor jacket on, but now I knew he had huge heart too. Show Pony on the other hand, packed us some water and told us not to die.
“What?” Poison asked cocking his eyebrow.
“Our car. I was actually looking for some paint or something, but just couldn’t find anything here” I confessed and sighed.
“And what would you paint on it?” asked Party Poison as he started the engine.
“Dunno. It would be colourful. And something scary on the bonnet. A spider, perhaps.”
Jet Star just giggled. “Spiders, seriously?”
“Heeeey!” I moaned. “This shit IS scary. They have too many legs” I mumbled, turning my head to watch the desert as we speeded by. With the corner of my eye I saw him and Kobra exchanging looks and heard them giggle.
“Ugh… I wish we had radio here” said Kobra after a while, to break the silence. “It seems we’re gonna be driving a lot and some music would be appreciated.”
“You talk like if we were on some sight-seeing trip” I mumbled to the back of his seat.
“Huh. And what would you listen to?” asked Jet Star.
“Well, for sure something like…” he started, but then suddenly fell silence. “I don’t know” he confessed finally.
Poison looked at him and bit his lip. “Oh… There is his band, on the tip of my tongue… uhmmmm….” He said, more to himself than anyone else, and frowned. “Green Day!” he exclaimed finally and beamed. “Do you reme…”
“GREEN DAY!” I squeeked before he finished. “Fuck yeah. I feel almost complete now” I said grinning and they laughed from my sudden excitement. “Thanks Poison. Now some songs gonna run through my head…”
“Give it to me!”
“Ugh… Silence is the enemy, against your urgency, so rally up the demons of your soul” I sang quietly, not sure about the lyrics. But Poison soon broke my anxiety by screaming “DO YOU KNOW YOUR ENEMY? DO YOU KNOW YOUR ENEMY? WELL GOTTA KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!!”
We laughed like crazy, but then sang along with him. He had really nice voice, I had to admit. I wish we remembered more songs so I could listen to him more often.
“And it sounds quite appropriate for the moment” stated Jet Star.
“Hell yeah. Especially since we’re getting close” said Kobra, looking on the map. ”We better leave the car over there” he added, pointing at some bushes. We nodded in agreement. Poison slowed down and started to maneuver to find a perfect spot to park in. It took some time, but when he finally did, I was pretty sure no one would notice the car.
“Which direction?” I asked Kobra after we jumped out from the vehicle.
“And how I am supposed to know that? Everything looks fucking the same on the desert!” he complained, looking kinda hopeless. I though the stress was eating him out.
Kobra was the biggest mystery to me. He rarely talked, so we just assumed he was really shy. But when he did it was either something really important or ridiculously hilarious, like now. However, from the way he acted it seemed he really felt lost. Thankfully he had his brother here, though it was really hard from them to rebuild the bond between them. With almost nothing they knew about each other? Seemed almost impossible.
“Oh, jeez. Who let you operate the map!?” I whined and poked his ribs with my elbow jokingly.
Jet Star rolled his eyes, took the map from Kobra, looked at it for the moment and then pointed somewhere on his left and said “There”.
“Guns ready?” asked Poison before we headed off.
“Yeah!” we exclaimed. By we, I meant all of us except for Kobra, who looked distressed.
“I left it in the car” he murmured, blushing.
I just cocked my eyebrow and looked at Poison. “We ARE going to die” I mouthed to him.
He just shook his head in disbelief and as Kobra Kid was back several moments later, we started to walk. Surprisingly there were some bushes all around, so we weren’t that visible. Also, it protected us from the Californian sun and I, having the darkest hair from all of us, was really thankful for that.
I sighed to myself. The drive here was rather carefree – we were goofing around, trying not to think too much. But just then the seriousness of the situation hit me. We were really about to do this and I was scared as fuck.
“You okay there, Fun Ghoul?” Poison whispered to me. I was so deep in my thoughts I haven’t even noticed that he walked next to me, so I jumped a little in surprise.
“Yeah… You gave me the pinky promise after all” I answered and gave him a weak smile. He nodded.
We continued our march until Jet Star stumbled over something and hissed. “The fuck was that?”
He stood up from the ground and brushed the dust from his clothes and I approached myself to where he was standing. The thing he tripped over was small metal handle. I got on my knees and swept the sand. What it revealed was a square lid. I grabbed the handle I tried to open it.
“What the fuck you think you’re doing?” Jet Star yelled at me.
“First of all, you better shut up cause you were probably heard in all the zones around. Secondly, I try to open it, you dumb fuck” I said to him and continued on jerking at the handle.
“Jet Star, calm down. I think we should check it out.”
“Yeah, just keep your guns close” I mumbled rolling my eyes at Jet Star.
After several moments more I finally managed to open it. It was dark inside and I just really couldn’t tell what was inside. And I was really curious about it. Before I even thought about, I jumped inside.
After several moments more, just as sweat started to cover my forehead, I finally managed to open it. Of course, it was dark inside and I couldn’t see anything. I frowned. I wasn’t fighting with that lid in vain, I had to know what was inside. And before I actually thought about that, I jumped inside.
“Noooo!” screamed Poison in the second I landed.
Surprisingly to me (not that I really complain) I landed on something quite soft and springy, but soon after I started to cough because of the dust floating in the air.
“Fun Ghoul? Heeey, you there?”
“Poison, stop panicking, shall ya? I just can’t see anything…”
“Cause you’re an idiot” he argued with me.
Well, he was right. Jumping here without checking anything, wasn’t the best idea. Just my inborn curiosity took over and now I had to face the consequences. Which, in this case, meant fucking darkness. Soon I realized that the thing I landed on was an old leather sofa. I started to wonder who and for what would store furniture underground. Thankfully the ray of light coming from the entrance was helping a little. Purposely I didn’t look up, so I could get use to the darkness. After a moment I started to notice different objects and shapes, so I decided to roam a little over the room. It turned out to be smaller than I thought, so I happily started to dig through it all. It
“Anything interesting in there?” Kobra asked.
“Just gimme a minute…”
“I just wonder how we will get him out of there” I heard Poison whispering to the guys. I giggled and shook my head.
“I found a ladder in here, you dumb ass” I informed him.
“Oh…” was all his said.
It turned out that there was more pieces of furniture, but also about 30 wooden boxes of different sizes. As I started to open them I just thought it looked like someone just packed all their stuff from the house and moved it there. Nothing especially interesting nor helpful. Just some old magazines, comic books, CDs (I even found one from Green Day what made me really happy and I decided to keep it) and stuff like that. But then it just hit me.
I took the ladder and positioned it on the edge of the entrance so I could exit. As I crawled out they looked at me awaiting.
“Aaaaand?” they asked in unison. I took a deep breath started to explain.
“It’s the stuff that BLI requisitioned from people after they took over, I reckon. Everything that would remind someone of their previous life. All the magazines I found were published before 2017, same with CDs, books, movies, anything you could put in the category of art or originality. Also some awesome furniture. We just have to come back here later” I said.
“But it’s not going to help us to win over BLI” frowned Jet Star. “Why bother with that?”
“And how do you know that? You have no idea what could we find in there… Also, the fact it wasn’t destroyed means it’s somehow important. And I found some awesome CDs. It reminded me of the music I was listening to. I feel it was a huge part of my life. It may help us save ourselves in the first place and that’s a huge step to get Korse down” I stated angrily. I hade no idea I got so defensive over this, I just really wanted to see all the material and I knew that we didn’t have much time.
“He’s right, you know. And we will come back here, but for now we really should get going” said Poison.
I closed the lid, kicked some sand over it and started walking again.
After another ten minutes of quick and silent march, Jet Star grabbed me by the back of my shirt and pulled me down on the ground. I wanted to yell at him, because I was still a little angry on his disbelief, but with the corner of my eye I noticed two dracs passing by, oblivious to our presence. I held by breath and waited until they walked in the different direction.
“Is there more of them?” I whispered.
“Naaah… I can’t see anything” said Jet Star.
I took my gun out of its sheath and aimed it on two men in front of us. I felt Poison shifting next to me and I noticed he was holding his gun too.
“I take the left one” he informed me and I nodded. “Ready?”
I didn’t have a second to think about it. He said it and two bright green flashes zoomed through the air and hit both drac’s precisely in their chests. Instantly, without even making a sound, they fell on the ground.
Me and Poison high fived and got up from our laying positions, but we were still squatting, looking around carefully. My heart was beating like crazy. It was probably the first time I actually hurt someone and (though I refused to think about it at that time) there was high possibility they were dead.
“It was us or them” said Poison, evidently the concern on my face well visible.
“Yeah… Yeah…” I mumbled to myself. I had to pull myself together. “I think we’re getting close. We have to be extra cautious” I finally managed to say.
“Yes. It’s clean for now, though” said Jet Star and we got up to keep on walking.
The silence between us was really heavy. Not only because we had to concentrate in order to not to miss any danger, but mostly because of what just had happened. I couldn’t let myself to think about it now. I had to dull my emotions and focus.
I realized that we were slowly walking up and now we were at the top of little hill. When I looked down I could see a copula of a building. It looked like it was half sank into the sand.
“Here we are” announced Poison.