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New England Run
Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 8:58 am
Even though there might not be much intrest, this is a short story I wrote years ago. It was the first piece of fiction I actually gave any sense of coherence to and finished. As it is so old, the writing style is not well developed, it is not reflective of my current ability. Just wanted people to know heh. Anyway, if you want to comment on it just make a separate thread, I might consolidate some threads to organize comments better if the comment threads get to plentiful. You'll also notice the writing perspective is not what I prefer use anymore. First Person.
May 7th, 1979
Chapter 1 Diner
I looked thoughtfully through the window at my blood red Piranha as I listened to the Wagon Wheel?s jukebox play Southern Man. It had been a long time since I offered myself the time to sit down to a decent meal and gather my thoughts. Contemplating my future, I find it hard to see past the present. Death can await around any corner, and I have found it no good to dwell on the future. I have lost much of the hopes I used to have and I hate myself for it. The past can be learned from, the present is what matters. The waitress, a slim young girl my age, brings my meal out and places it before me. She notes the troubled look on my face, but experience has shown her that it is better not to ask.
Instead she gives me a warm smile and says ?Enjoy your meal,? a sincere statement.
I admiring her as she walks back to the kitchen, she is indeed a lovely sight. But my lifestyle does not allow for such pleasantries, so I quickly chase such thoughts from my mind. Instead I focus on the delectable meal that has been set before me. Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and peas. A fine meal indeed, the aroma is intoxicating and I eat with vigor.
My thoughts once again wander to which direction I should steer my life. I begin to remember something I heard about a spiritual group that lives on Pike?s Peak. From what I can recall, the group has turned the mountain into a virtual fortress. They are wary of outsiders, but will at times allow travelers in to learn. Maybe it was time to reevaluate my soul. My thoughts bounce around the idea until I am finished eating. I make up my mind to make the journey to Colorado, test my fate. The young waitress comes back to take my empty plates and asks me if I would like any desert. Normally I would say no, and something in the back of my mind said ?This will take at least ten more minutes?, but I was feeling rather good and took her up on it. She brought me back a Boston creme pie, not just a slice mind you, the whole pie.
?We don?t get that many customers these days, and it will only be fresh for so long, so you may as well get the whole thing.? She said plainly.
I laughed a little, out of amusement and understanding of the lack of patronage. She winked at me as she placed my bill on the table, and I winked back. After she went into the kitchen, I blushed a little. I took my time eating the pie, sipping coffee, and admiring my ?Ranha; having a passing thought that it would be nice to have a missile launcher for her.
I was half way through the pie, when I noticed a police cruiser cresting the hill up the road. I was not overly concerned, since I knew the local sheriff and I could tell it was his cruiser. (Not like I could hide the NATO-Mini Gun and rocket pods my car carries in the first place. Ha, for that matter since when did local law even care about such things.) I would not mind catching up with him, so I watched to see if he would turn into the parking lot when he saw my car. My optimism faded when I saw two jet black
Courcheval Royales come over the hill with him. The three of them stopped in the road in front of the Wagon Wheel?s parking lot. The Sheriff pointed at my car, then made a gesture to indicate that I was inside.
My immediate impulse was to make a run for my car, but this of course would prove futile. The Royales where already pulling into the parking lot, as the Sheriff?s cruiser sped off. The Royales did not have any blatantly visible weapons. I noticed what looked like a four pronged hook sticking out of the grill work, a karpoon. I could also see the tips of what appeared to be three 50-Caliber machine guns protruding from under the bumper of each car. Feds, as far as I knew only Feds would have access to karpoon weapons, something the military has been keeping under wraps, but would not doubt find its way into the mainstream all to soon. Basterds would most likely sell the idea to a few private companies. The second car parked behind my ?Ranha blocking it in. With the windows tinted, I could not see into either car. I had to assume that they had plenty of back up. I tried not to sweat as two men in black suites stepped out of the first car and walked into the Wagon Wheel. The waitress attempted to seat them, but they ignored her and came directly to my table. She made a attempt to fallow them, but her father held her back and dragged her through the swinging double doors into the Kitchen. The Feds stared down at me, I stared back. One was tall and thin with a very pale complexion, short hair, and blue eyes that shone with slight amusement. The other one, shorter then the tall one but not short himself, was about my height. His hair was slightly longer, his skin held a better complexion, he was well built, lean and trim. However his eyes were a pale grey, that sent a cold shiver down my spine.
They both pulled out ID and the Tall one said, ?Allow us to introduce ourselves.? Pointing to himself, ?Agent Marlow?, Pointed to grey, ?And this is agent Cole, FBI.? He Places the ID away and glances out at my car and his friend?s. ?Are you Redline Fox??
Still locked with grey?s stare I replied ?That depends on who is asking, and what they want.?
Marlow smiled, ?I will take that as a yes.?
He pointed at my table and his comrade plopped a white folder in front of me.
?what is this?? I asked.
Agent Marlow said ?Something we thought might interested you.?
I eyed him with contempt and suspicion, but I opened the folder. What I read made my stomach turn. The voice in the back of my mind chimed again, ?Ten more minutes...?.
Just ten minutes.
Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2004 11:28 am
Chapter II Purpose
It seems a smuggler group has been having its run of things on the Canadian border along eastern upstate New York and Vermont. For the last 4 years they have been running drugs, guns, stolen cars, exotic pets, black market toilets, anything that could be smuggled, these guys smuggle. Although, the drugs and guns are the bread and butter of their operation. They would show up in force, then disappear for awhile laying low and
The real sick thing about these scumbags is that they are using public schools as holding areas for the merchandise. They have police, border patrol, and even teachers and board members in on the take. Teachers for god sake! These fuckers will take children hostage if anyone tries to move in on the school and seize the contraband. They will go as far as to blow up the schools. If one school goes up, another one goes up with it, destroying two schools if one is compromised. Since they never kept the merchandise in the same place for long, storming a building would more then not prove fruitless. It would put to many lives at risk and would blow the cover of operations. There are just to many public schools.
It was one of the sickest things I ever read, the span of the corruption was almost unimaginable. With so much attention focused on what has been happening in the South West, places like New England have just been lost in all this madness. Law enforcement has been pulled back into the cites, and the heroic vigilante is as rare there as snow is in Death Valley. No one cared, no one bothered, and no one remembered. I felt a pang of dishonor for making such a long journey from my home in New Jersey, just to fallow
foolish dreams, and stupid notions. I wanted adventure, HA! I have gotten my full of it that?s for sure, and all it does is eat a hole in my guts. All this time I could have been there to help. To at least try and bring peace to them. For god sake it was only a days drive! I cursed my own ignorance!
Marlow waited for me to speak. He was about to prompt when I asked ?Why me?? without lifting my head from the vile words that I had read.
Marlow grinned, not in a friendly way, but a grin of devious amusement. ?Well first off, your good. Oh we both know there are probably a few better, but you will do.?
I swept my head up from the folder, I noticed agent Cole had moved to the window and appeared to be transfixed by my Piranha?s red silhouette.
I stared Marlow straight on, ?And....?
Marlow said, ?And you are expandable. You have no gang, clan, group affiliation, so if you go missing, no one will care.?
He took great delight in saying the last part of the sentence to me ?.....no one will care.?
Part of me knew he was right; the other half was indigent at first trying to think if anyone would care, then gave in to the doubting half.
He continued, ?We also know that you are rather familiar with the area. You keep yourself out of trouble when possible, and try to avoid direct conflict if possible We need someone that can keep a cool subjective head. Many of your fellow vigilantes are rather...impulsive...to say the least. We need a coward not a hero?
He was goading me and it worked. I stood up ready to knock him flat on his ass. He backed up, but just as I was about to break his jaw, I felt a extreme pain in the back of my head. I thought I had been stabbed, but as I fell to my knees feeling through my hair I could not feel anything protruding. Almost as quick as it happened it was over.
Marlow muttered with malice, ?Impulsive...?
Bewildered, I looked around trying to figure out what had happened. Then I caught the gaze of Agent Cole. He looked down at me, but he soon found himself looking level as I regained my feet and stood with my face no more then seven inches from his. He still held that cold greyness, but I refused to be intimidated. I knew what he had done, and he knew I knew. We would have stood like that, face to face, all day if Marlow had not spoken.
?Agent Cole, please inform the others that we will be leaving shortly. Tell them to contact the air base and have a plane ready.? Marlow ordered.
Agent Cole obeyed. Before turning he judged my form with his eyes, then nodded, almost in a bowing posture. Instinctively I did the same. He turned and walked out the Wagon Wheel?s creaky door, my eyes following him all the way.
?Now Mr......fox......? Marlow sneered. ?The bottom line is that we want you to work for us undercover, help us crack this cartel wide open. We want the organization destroyed and the only way we can do this is to first expose the leaders, then bring them to justice. We want them for a example to the rest of the world, that the United States will not tolerate foreign aggression or subversion of any kind, not even from our own people if need be. You will accompany us by aircraft to the southern Vermont area. At this point
you will be provided with all the information you need to complete your mission. We will provide you with a automobile, weapons, anything else we think you will need. You will be paid a sum of $50,000 upon the successful completion of your assignment. Now, if you do not have any objects we can be on our way.?
I just stared out the window. Agent Cole was sitting on the hood of one of the Royales, once again gazing at my car. I was still tense, to be blunt, in a bad mood espically with Cole staring at my Piranha that I had named Poucer. I did not turn to look at Marlow when I said, ?What about my car.?
Marlow, ?You will be provided with one when...?
Interrupting him I snapped back, ?If my car stays here, so do I.?
Marlow was annoyed. ?Sentimental bullshit. You will do as we....?
I still did not turn, ?You will do as I say. From what you said, you need me for this job. $50,000 is a awful lot of money to offer up front. Don?t think I am going to walk into this blind. No car, no Fox. Make up your mind, I don?t have eternity.?
Under his breath Marlow muttered, ....?No you don?t have eternity Redline Fox, you will soon find yourself as hunted as the pathetic creature you take your name from.?....However he gave in. ?Fine if that is the way you want it. No matter, you will know why we did not feel it necessary to bring your vehicle in the first place.?
Finally I turned. He extend his hand, ? So we have a deal then Mr. Fox? You help us bring these criminals to justice, and you will be paid $50,000 upon the completion of your task.?
I nodded. ?You have a deal.?
Marlow smiled genuinely, ?Excellent.?
As I dug into my pocket looking for enough cash to pay the $7,78 dinner bill, Marlow drooped a $20 dollar bill onto the table.
?My treat,? he said with a certain degree of mockery.
Marlow walked back outside. Him and Agent Cole both slipped back into the Royales, waiting for me to get in my car.
Taking my time to walk out ot my car, Marlow leaned his arm out the window
casually observing me.
I was in settling into the leather seat, about to shut the door when Marlow called, ?Follow us to the airfield, we will have a plane awaiting you and your...car.?
I nodded my acknowledgment as they pulled away. Placing the keys in the ignition, but before I turned them I heard a whisper, ?do you know what your getting into??
Was it my subconscious or my Piranha reluctant to awaken from sleep just to be chained to my fate. I whispered back ?no?. ?Then why...?, she knew what I was going to say before I even said it. I said it out loud, Pouncer's engine echoed the words back into my mind.
Because I'm a fool that wants to do something noble even though I should'nt care.
(Side Note, You may notice by now that my writing style has improved considerably since then, at least I hope it has.)
(some of you might have the origional copy and I am making small editing changes as I post)
Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:36 pm
Chapter III The Dream Time
The sky was growing dark, making it seem much later then early afternoon. The rain steadily grew from a sprinkle to a steady shower. I flipped on my headlights for safeties sake and listened to rain drops pa tat pa tat on my Piranha?s metallic body.
?Hey Redline, I?ll race ya to Albuquerque. Last one there has to wash everyone?s car and buy a round of gas.? Uber Psycho squawked over the CB.
Flanking my driver?s side, he revved the engine of his yellow Hacienda. Ahead of me was the rest of what I dubiously called a team. Nitro Rider and Wild Rider in their Dovers, both painted in a ?derby? style with lots of lettering and color schemes, where in the front of the formation. The King in his ?blue? (actually more like primer) Royale, Smoker in a red Cavera, and Proxy in a orange Manta rode in single file in front of me. We all had decided to head
into Albuquerque to look for odd-jobs since the team was low on cash.
Smiling I looked over at Uber and squelched back, ?All right you limy, if you think that tired Hacienda of yours will even make it to the city limits.? In response I was given the ?finger?.
The rest of the team came back....
Nitro Rider, ?Hey you two aren?t going to have all the fun...?
Wild Rider, ?You tell em Nitro, lets show these fools how its done....?
Proxy, ?HA, my Manta will smoke your Dovers into the weeds..?
Smoker, ?You bitches aint got shit....?
The King, ?OK ladies, talk is cheap...?
Uber, ?It sure is King...? The Hacienda?s exhaust roared as it surged ahead.
Smoker, ?Hey no fair! No one said go!?
I pulled my car out of fourth ready to drop it into third for more power, but the gear stuck. I cursed, moved into neutral, let off and one the clutch then slammed it into third with disgust. By this time the others all had gotten a huge lead on me.
Proxy, ?Hahaha...Come on Redline, get that crap Picard moven!?
Nitro, ?Hope you don?t have much to do this weekend, my car needs a coat of wax.?
I muttered a few obscenities to myself as I pushed the pedal to the floor. By now, I could barely make any of them out. Suddenly the CB crackled with a thousand voices at once.
?We have incoming!!? ?Code Zebra...? ?Break......!!!!?
I saw a explosion as I went over then down a rise. As I started to crest the other side I saw a flaming Lighting fly in the air with its nose to the sky. I crested the next rise just in time to see it crash back to Earth, then watch as Uber?s Hacienda and King?s Royale collide, exploding in a fireball. Next Smoker?s red Cavera just seemed to disappear. I saw it pull a 180, I blinked and the next second it was no longer in front of me. Proxy had slowed, I was only about 50ft behind him when a jet black Royale
appeared through the wall of fire like a ash covered demon flying out of hell.
I could see three, four, six weapons I could not count as it opened fire, bringing it?s hammer down to strike me into oblivion. Proxy?s Manta ignited like a match stick and barreled rolled directly between me and the charging Royale. I gunned the engine, pointing the nose into the inferno. The last thing I remember is the front of a black Royale appearing the split
second before the fire engulfed me, then a white flash and darkness.
My head ached severely. I blinked, trying to reclaim my vision. I was not upside down, that much I could figure out. It must have been a dream? No, my face was wet. I wiped my face with the back of my hand, the rain felt warm. I regained my vision and saw that my hand was stained red with blood. I tired to move, but when I did I felt a sharp pain in my legs. I looked down and saw them pined under the dashboard. I couldn?t speak, I looked around me. It was not a dream, I was trapped in my car bleeding. Rain poured through the broken windshield, soaking me. Panic set in as I once again tired to escape.
The pain was to intense, I almost passed out again. I tried to calm myself while I looked around me. I saw the fire?s of my friends cars burning faintly, being dowsed by the storm. Then I saw the Black Royale. The car itself seemed to contemplate my mortality as its headlights stared me down. I shielded my eyes with my lacerated hand and waited for something to happen. I did not have to wait long. I heard a car door slam, then footsteps approaching. A dark figure came between me and the car?s blinding light. I looked up into the barrel of a .45 and the face of Agent Cole. His grey stare held no pity or remorse, just a indifferent hardness. I croaked out my last words,
He nodded. The .45 fired.
Waking in a sweat, I heard the muffled drone of turbo-prop engines and felt a hand shaking my shoulder. I was sitting in my Piranha in route to New York?s J.F.K. International airport via a Lockhart T-130 Samson army transport. The hand shaking me was that of Agent Cole. When I saw his face I jumped in my seat. He was a little confused by my reaction and the look my face held.
He asked, ?Is there something wrong Redline??
The informality of his question was unexpected, but appreciated.
?Yeah...I?m fine. Just a bad dream.?
He nodded, ?I see. We will be landing in under 45 minutes. Marlow would like to go over a few things with you before we land. Please take your time in regaining your composure, then come to the main cabin when you are ready.?
He left me alone. I sat up straight, ran my hands through my hair and wiped my face of with a napkin from the glove box. I gathered myself up before walking to the forward section of the plane. Opening the door to the main cabin, I was greeted with a smile from Marlow.
He said, ?Please make yourself comfortable. Have a seat.?
I sat down on a small couch that was on the other side of the cabin across from Marlow. A small round table was in the center that was not much higher then 2 feet. Agent Cole sat in a chair off to the right of Marlow. There was a small cubicle in the one corner closest to the cockpit. A work desk was crammed into it, but surprisingly it was very orderly despite the lack of space.
Marlow said, ?We should go over a few things before landing. I want you to be familiar with some of the people you may...will...encounter on your assignment. Lets go over a few names shall we??
I nodded my agreement. He pointed to the papers that littered the round table. I began going through them as he talked. The dream still was fresh in my mind, so I found it hard to pay attention. Marlow noticed that I was spacing, and leaned into Cole.
Marlow, ?What is the matter with him??
Cole, ?He had a bad dream?
Marlow, ?What? A bad dream??
Cole, ?That is what I said.?
Marlow, ?Well he better snap back into reality. He is in for one or two rude awakenings.?
Cole, ?And I assume that you will not be the one to create them.?
Marlow narrowed his eyes, ?What is that supposed to mean??
Cole, ?Don?t play coy with me, you know what I speak off. Even if you lie, I will see through you like glass.?
Marlow sat back in a relaxed manner, ?Yes how very true. Then you should be able to answer your own questions.?
If Cole was irritated he did not show, he just remained still and thoughtful. ?Yes. I do not like the answers that I get.?
Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:59 pm
Chapter IV Inquiry
I was still going over information with them when we landed at J.F.K. International. Heading the organization was a British guy that went by the handle Iron Duke. They knew he drove a silver Aaron-Marvin BD5, had two sons, and operated legit businesses in Europe. However they have not been able to decipher his real name, or any other information that could be used to warrant his arrest. So far the only people that have gotten close enough to either identify him or capture him have ended up dead.
They had tried this same plan before with the local vigilantes of New England, but all had failed. The Green Mountain Men, which was the largest vigilante group out of Vermont, consisting of over 20 members, was wiped out when two of its best people tried to infiltrate a warehouse. Iron Duke?s people tortured the names and location of each GMM member out of them, then systematically killed them off.
Ever since then no other groups or individuals in New England are willing to work with the Feds to bring this guy, or those associated with him to justice. That is why they had to come out west to find me. I had no idea what I was getting into and I was silently kicking myself now.
I was given the handles of his associates. Nick Knack was speculated as being his right hand man and was thought to be responsible for the directing of cargo among the various holding, pickup, and drop off areas. Miss Sixx is thought to be in charge of the convoys, assigning drivers to specific routes.
Her off-white Daisan 420x had been reported as to having been spotted protecting these convoys in some of the fiercest fire fights. His top sniper was a man called Doctor Octagon. The good doctor was responsible for the deaths of many enemies of Iron Duke. He always left a calling card of a doctor?s bill with the black shape of his name drawn on to it. Other names were given, but information on them was sketchy at best. I was told that these three should be my main concern when trying to gain information.
After we landed in a secured area of the airport, the ground grew proceeded to unload the transport. One of them asked me for the keys to my Piranha so he could back it out. When I refused, he demanded. When I told him that if he even touched my car, I would tear his arm off and beat him with it, he went to try his luck bossing someone else around. After unloading, Agent Cole invited me to dinner at a private dining area that had been set aside for government use. I took him up on it. I ordered myself a chicken sandwich, found it to be a little on the dry side, but not bad. Conversation was non-existent so I made attempt to break the ice.
I pointed with my fork at his plate, ?So how is that steak??
He seemed to ponder for a moment weather to answer my question, then said ?They always over cook it. I have to order it rare if I want it to come back medium.? His tone was surprisingly friendly and he continued, ?If you ask my opinion, anyone that works for the government pays to much attention to Food and Drug administration. They become paranoid about germs and disease.?
He smiled a little, and I could not help but laugh. But the cheer of the moment quickly left the room. He must have sensed what I wished to asked, but he let me bring the question to bear.
?Your telepathic are you not?? I asked bluntly.
He was not surprised by the question, and replied in a low tone, ?in a way. yes. Though it is not that simple. And before you inquire further.? He held up his hand to stop me from speaking, ?I must warn that if I give you anymore information, your life will be jeopardized by you knowing to much. I am, as you say, telepathic, let us leave it at that.? He paused and looked at me. "It may help ease your apprehension to know, that what I did to you earlier, would be difficult for me to do again. You were full of misdirected anger and not aware enough of my pressence. Now that you know, doing that again would not be possiable. Further more, it hurts me just as much as it would hurt you so I generally refrain from such action."
I sat back in my chair, ?Then I will not ask anymore questions about your abilities.?
Shrugging I leaned back in to finish my sandwich. Cole was relived that I did not inquire any further and also focused his attention back on the meal before him. We did not talk again until Marlow called for us.
I walked out the small dinner and was greeted by Marlow and two other Feds that I did not know.
Marlow said, ?We will head up the New York Thru-Way until we hit Albany. From there we will head into the southern Vermont area where our base of operations will be located.? Behind him sat three black Royales next to my ?Ranha. ?You will fallow directly behind me and Agent Cole,? He pointed the men standing next to him, ?Agent William and Agent Stefan. They will escort us to base. Even though what you call ?creeper? activity, has been light. We are not willing to take any chances this time.?
I bowed to the two agents, whom a little confused by my greeting, staggered out a similar response in turn. We all climbed into our respective cars, then headed out of the airport in formation. Marlow and Cole in front, Agent William behind me, fallowed by Agent Stefan in the rear. I soon found keeping any kind of formation in New York City traffic about as easy as trying to smoke a fully armed Moth Truck with a sling shot.
?How are you enjoying the ride so far Mr. Fox?? Marlow mocked over the CB.
I hated cites, I hated traffic, and I hated Marlow. I looked down from the overpass at a street corner and smiled wickedly, ?Well I got a great view of you mother, so it has not been all that bad.?
I heard Cole burst into laughter over the CB, then the line went dead. I would not have been surprised if Marlow had ripped the mic off. I expected to see it fly out the window of the Royale any moment. Instead I was treated to a few comments....
Agent William, ?Wow Marlow, you never told me your mother was such a piece of ass! Hey she is waving to me!?
Agent Stefan, ?Hey Marlow can we pull over real quick? I think I owe her some money.?
I almost drove into the retaining wall while trying not to crack up. Both William and Stefan however were not shy about laughing over the CB. Marlow did not respond. After almost a hour and a half just trying to get out of the city, we got on the New York Thru-Way heading north. When we got into the Albany city limits Marlow finally crackled his voice over the CB.
?We will get on 767 East, head in and out of Troy, then stay on 9 until we hit Bennington. We will stay the rest of the night in town. then in the morning head for our base of operations.?
Looking down from the freeway overpasses into the Albany slums, it made me glad that we would just be passing through the decaying city. Once a proud American city, it had become nothing more then a hallow shell. Hallow people living.....living? From the looks of the place, I couldn?t imagine anyone calling it living. They probably stayed because at least they would have others to share their suffering. It made me wonder how cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia managed to stay relatively safe. But
the more immediate question on my mind, was why Marlow had decided to not drive straight on through the night since the base could not be that much further from Bennington as Bennington was from Albany.
?Why do we not just go directly there tonight, instead of having a stop over?? I inquired, ?Wouldn?t it only be another hour or so, and safer then traveling there in broad daylight??
Both William and Stefan voiced similar concerns. Marlow however did not seem to be open for suggestions.
In a angry tone Marlow snaped back, ?I am in charge of this operation and their is good reason for it.?, he seemed to calm down for a moment, ?The roads are very dangerous at night, creepers may have set traps, and a bad storm is coming through this area tonight. I do not want fatigued drivers being put under unneeded stress.?
He gave good reason, so no one argued the point any further. The next morning however, I would wish someone had.
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:03 pm
Chapter V Past Pain
I dreamt about my father that night. I dreamt about much. I had not seen my father
in more then four years, it was strange to me that I would think about him, while I was
involved in such as situation as the one I was in. We sat in the grandstands of a drag strip
that he would take me to when I was young. It was at this place that I competed and won
my first competitive races. I was only fifteen, not at legal driving age, but my father was
friends with a few of the track officials. The gas crisis forced it to be shut down after the
end of the season. Now it sat forgotten and neglected. Grass grew defiantly through
cracks in the black tarmac. The concrete retaining walls were covered with graffiti, as was
the dilapidated control tower. We sat saying nothing, just remembering the sound of
roaring V-8s, the sulfuric sweet scent of exhaust, the cheering and jeering crowd. In my
mind, I saw the ghost of my faded blue Cavera screaming down the quarter mile. My first
car, my first love. Into the speed traps it raced, I could almost see the numbers flash on
the timing board, then its form evaporated like a mist scattered by the sun.
My first car, or was it? My father had purchased the car for me and he always
would say that it was not mine but his. He felt that if he spent money on me, (and anytime
he did he thought I owed him something), he would not have to be around much. He
wasn?t ever around much. We grew apart because of this. My appreciation for him was
not enough. He cared more about doing his own thing then he cared about me. I had
sweat and labored on that car. When he sold it, it broke my heart.
I was seventeen, my senior year was winding down. I had won a number of races
and even a championship on the circle track. I was on cloud nine. I was away on a school
trip one weekend and had gotten home late Monday night. Going three days without
driving had made me experience withdraw. A few of my friends were feeling the same
way, so we all planned to meet at the local Axxon station, then all of us would head down
to the Jersey shore and whoop it up under the boardwalk. When I opened the garage door
to find my car missing, I of course became a little distraught, but thought either my father
or mother had just borrowed it for a quick errand. I went in the house to ask him who had
my car. Apathetically, (he did not even look at me), he said he had sold it to a guy from
Pennsylvania. I went ballistic. Screaming at the top of my lungs I swore and raved. Acting
like he had done nothing at all wrong, he got back in my face. He told me that I had no
rights in the first place, I was just a unappreciative bastard. So on and so forth he insulted
I broke his nose. As fast and simple as that. I was tired of him, I left that night. I
had saved up a lot of money from various jobs. The money was all to go into the Cavera,
but now that the car was gone, the money would serve another purpose. I walked to the
Axxon station. Upon arriving my friends inquired about my car. I told them all that had
transpired. It was almost as shocking to them as it was to me. I went with them to the
shore, because I knew I would not see them again after that night. I had made up my mind
to go west and fallow the path of the vigilante. I did not tell them my plans, they would not understand.
Sitting around a fire, they made every attempt to cheer me up. Bryan made jokes,
Dave bitched about collage and his parents, Paul and Matt offered me a joint which I
declined. Nothing could change my mood, I did not want to bring them down. I stood up
without a word, then walked away from the fire?s light towards the water?s edge. I stared
out across the vast ocean. The moon was full and its light danced across the waves. The
wind was silent, not offering any council. I felt a presence behind me, and knew it to be
Colleen even before her arms embraced me around the neck. She was strong for a girl, not
stocky nor fat, just strong in both mind and body. Strong and beautiful. I had known her
since 1st grade. Leaving this place would mean leaving her behind. She did not speak, nor
did I. We simply stood, her embracing me, my hands at my side. I wanted to kiss her, to
tell her I loved her and no one else was as perfect to me. I wanted to ask her to go with
me. The two of us, roaming the country, always at each other?s side. A dream within a
dream. A dream long dead. I remember turning to face her. The moonlight reflected in her
liquid blue eyes. I tried to speak but couldn?t. My soul screamed in my ears to just say the
words; she would go with me if I would just say the words! But I didn?t. I said nothing.
I tore myself away from her and ran back towards the boardwalk. But I did not stop there. I
ran past my friends and the fire. I ran past the shops, and the restaurants. Past dark
buildings, past streets, past everything. I did not stop running until I came upon a small
used car dealership. I stooped running, then slowly walked into the lot.
In the back, I found her. A blood red 1970 Piranha. A sign sat next to it reading,
?High Performance, Cheap!?. The gas crisis and rising insurance costs had made cars like
this almost hated by the general public, as I felt hated by my father and the world. I felt
the large roll of bills in my pocket, all money I had worked for.
That night I slept next to her on the lot?s cold asphalt. I was woken up by a rather
sleazy looking car sale?s men. Composing myself quickly, I stood, then asked him how
much he wanted for the car. He laughed while he looked me over. He then gave his price.
I told him it was to high, made him a offer, and told him I would not make another. He
sneered and gave me another price. I was done talking. I took a wad of cash from my
pocket, slammed it into his hand, walked into his office trailer and found the keys. He
was outraged and tried to block my path. I punched him in the gut, leaving him to pant on
the ground. I slid into the driver?s seat then started to engine. The V-8 growled like a
unchained beast prepared to destroy those that dared to imprison it. With a wicked smile I
growled with it. Out of the car lot, out of the town, the county, the state, out of all that I
knew and loved, I hurtled into uncertainly with nothing more then a roll of money and the
cloths on my back. I had great visions of the life that lie ahead of me. Great visions that
would be shattered like a beer bottle thrown from a speeding car. All of this flashed in my
mind as I sat in those grandstands with my father. Day dreams in a dream, that?s all it
was. The sun was setting and shadows crept in.
?I?m proud of you,? my father said.
The silence broke so fast it made me jump. I was snapped awake by it. I sat
upright in the motel bed, dizzy from all the memories. I stood up to walk to the window
then threw back the curtains. I leaned my head against the glass looking out at the town,
the mountains still hiding the sun?s full light back. Some how, I knew he was proud, I just
knew. The words I said came with ease and a great weight lifted away from me.
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:25 pm
Chapter VI Welcome Road
I took a long shower that morning, trying to wash away the nights troubles. So
many memories in such a short time, so many. Turning off the water I heard a insistent
knocking at my room?s door. The knock grew to a bang, so I skipped getting dressed and
answered the door with only my towel on. Little to my surprise it was Marlow, red faced
?You were supposed to be down stairs at nine a.m.. sharp!? he spat out
None to impressed, or in the mood to deal with him I replied, ?I will be down as soon as I
am dressed. Now, unless you would like to watch me, I suggest you find something to
keep yourself occupied. Like a nice ball, or something with flashy lights that makes neat
With that I slammed the door in his face. I could feel him standing there fuming,
trying to decide if he should break the door down and shoot me or not. Instead he just
stomped off, while I laughed out loud the whole time I was dressing. When I came down
stairs, I still had a smirk on my face and Marlow was still pissed off. Although he said
nothing more about it. William and Stefan inquired to my cheery demeanor. I told them it
was a inside joke, they took it at face value. While we walked around to the parking lot to
get our cars, Cole leaned in and whispered.
?You know, I don?t think Marlow likes you very much.?
I smiled and replied, ?What was your first clue.?
?And making fun of his intelligence level is not the best way to get on his good side.? he
said with his own smirk, ?Flashy lights eh??
?Unless you think he would like dolls instead??
Cole laughed out loud, prompting a nasty glance from Marlow, whom did not
make a comment. After we all had gotten into our respective autos, Marlow leaned out
the driver?s side window.
?Fallow me. We will stop at the local dinner and get breakfast there.? He said
We all nodded our acknowledgments and headed across town. Pulling into the
dinner?s parking lot, I noticed a beautiful silver Leopard XLC parked between three race
prepared Messernachts. One Messernacht was green with the number 420, one was pink
with the number 69, while the third was black with the number 666. How cute I thought
to myself as I parked my car. When we walked into the dinner, it was if someone had
flipped a switch that shut off all sound and movement. The patrons stared at us, as did the
help. We seated ourselves at a large round table close to the windows. The waitress come
over reluctantly. With rather nervous voice, asked us what we would like to have. We all
placed our orders, after which she made haste back to the kitchen. I cast my gaze around
the room. Whenever it would fall on someone, they would immediately turn away and go
back to their own business. It was obvious that they were either afraid or resentful
towards my ?federal friends?. It was not hard for me to understand that knowing what I
knew. What I did not understand was the negativity they held towards me; maybe they
had seen one to many heroes in their day.
?Not very popular are we,? I commented.
?No,? Cole replied bluntly.
The waitress brought out our food. While we ate, William and Stefan talked about
various topics from sports, to the stock market. Marlow simply took the time to explain
that we would take Route 9 East until we hit the New Hampshire border. Then we would
head North. Base was somewhere in the Mt. Ascutney region. Cole did not speak, I only
did to confirm Marlow?s directions. After breakfast we got back in our cars and headed out.
The road heading out of Bennington was rather narrow for two lanes of traffic,
with plenty of blind corners, dangerous curves, ups and downs, the whole nine yard
mountain road experience. Marlow led, I was directly behind him, behind me was
William then Stefan. Stefan was new to this kind of terrain, he voiced his discomfort
more then once over the CB. William was always quick to throw a insulting comment or
two back his way. Listening to the them bicker was becoming rather amusing.
About 30 miles outside of Bennington, the world went insane. I could almost feel
it before it happened. The birds, the trees, the mountain, the ?Ranha. We all held our
breaths for what seemed like a eternity. Then it happened, god blinked. I saw the rocket?s
contrail in my rear view mirror. It impacted with the gas tank of Stefan?s Royale,
shattering it like fine crystal dropped from the hand of a small child. One of the car?s tires
flew through the air in front of me, then smacked off the ?Ranha?s roof. Rockets and
machine gun fire whizzed past us. I turned looking back through the rear window. The
three Messernachts, with the Silver Leopard behind them, charged down on us. I focused
my attention on the road in front of me, barley avoiding the concrete barrier of a narrow
one lane bridge. William pulled a 180 as he came to the bridge, attempting to block the
pursuers from continuing after me, Marlow, and Cole.
?I?ll take care of them, get the hell out of here!? William yelled over the CB.
A EMP harpoon flew out from his Royale and hit the Leopard. Even though disabled, it
still managed to stop safely. The three Messernachts kept coming and William let loose
with his three .50 caliber. He did not even score one hit before a trio of rockets streaked
in at him. The First one missed, but the second and third both detonated inside the engine
compartment and blew the car over backwards off the bridge.
?Shit? I thought. I grabbed the CB, ?Marlow these basterds just waxed Stefan and
William, you got any bright ideas?!?
No answer. The Messernachts would be in firing range shortly.
?Marlow! You got any suggestions?!?
Silence again. I threw the CB mic against the dashboard, damning Marlow and his
mother. I took matters into my own hands. Up ahead was a sharp blind corner that
Marlow?s car was already rounding. I punched it. A bright yellow sign with flashing
lights warned ?Sharp Curve Speed limit 25mph?. By the time I got to the corner I was
doing 60+. Tap of the breaks, drop of the clutch, I power slide the corner scraping the tail
of my car against the guard rail. As I rounded the corner I open the napalm dropper up,
laying fire generously on the road. The car fishtailed left, right, before I regained control.
I pulled the hand brake, spun the car 180 degrees, jammed it into reverse, then waited.
420 came around the corner first. Frantically slamming on the breaks, 420 slid to a stop
right in the middle of the fire. 420 exploded just as 666 ran into the back of it at full
speed. Both cars flew off the road and over the side of the mountain. 69 rounded the
corner, hit the fire, blew out its tires, but kept coming. I floored the ?Ranha, the Mini gun
screamed to life as I back peddled. 69 hobbled towards me with its rocket launcher and
machine guns blazing at me in desperation. The car got so close I could see the driver?s
face. A women with a disgusted and bitterly evil stare, a stare that tried to burn in on me.
The Mini gun?s rounds ripped through the windshield, into the driver?s compartment. The
clear glass was painted as red as my Piranha. 69 veered off into the side of the mountain,
hit the rocks, the engine sputtered briefly before dying. I skidded to a stop in the middle
of the road. As I looked around at the battle scene, I realized I was not breathing. I put my
car in park, grabbed one of my 9mm and stepped out of the car.
Surveying the scene with caution, I approached the pink 69 car, then stopped
short. All of the car?s windows were red, I could already smell the slightly metallic scent
of blood. The scent almost made me vomit, but I managed to keep it together. Next, I
walked over to the edge of the cliff and leaned over looking down at the twisted wreck of
666 and 420. They did not even look like cars anymore, just smoldering heaps of metal.
As I was looking down, I heard the distinct sound of a V-12 at high revs. The Silver
Leopard rounded the corner. It hit the fire that was still clinging to the roads surface,
blowing out it?s tires before slamming into the guard rail only seven feet from where I
was standing. The front end of the car had actually gone under the rail, the front window
shattered. I pointed the gun at the driver?s seat looking for any motion. Not seeing any, I
walked around the back of the Leopard, coming around to the driver?s door. I looked into
the car at the driver. He did not move. I pulled the door open with some effort. With
shock, I realized that the driver was just a teenage kid. I could see him breathing, so I
shook his shoulder to try to get a reaction. He moaned and opened his eyes. He stared at
me bewildered, I could tell he was out of it.
God his eyes! They seemed so innocent, what the hell was he doing out here. I
told him to relax, while I surveyed his injuries. He had a cut on his head, that was leaking
blood down his face. The forward machine gun and come through the firewall, jammed
itself into his leg, cutting it wide open to the point that you could see the bone. The leg
injury was my main concern, since it was bleeding badly and needed to be treated fast
before he lost to much blood. I had to get him to cooperate, so I started asking him
questions to make him alert. He told me he was seventeen, his name was Alex, and he
liked The Beetles. I told him about myself, that I was from Jersey, and he said he always
wanted to visit Philadelphia. He asked me if I would take him there some time. I said sure
and smiled at him, he was delirious.
?Look, Alex!? I snapped my fingers in his face, ?Alex, I need you to help me. When I pull
up the gun, I need you to move your leg out from under it. I know it will hurt, but you
have to do it. Do you understand Alex??
He shook his head yes and swallowed hard.
?OK Alex, ready. On three. One...two.....three..?
I put all my strength into lifting the gun, he cried out with pain as he moved his
leg out from under it. He fainted from the exertion. I pulled him from the car with great
care trying not to damage him any further. I was worried that the Leopard might explode,
so I carried him back to my car, leaning him up against the passenger door. Quickly I
retrieved my first aid kit from under the passenger seat. I treated the leg well enough to at
least stop the bleeding, then I bandaged his head. He was going in and out of
?Alex, Alex! Wake up!.? I slapped my hand gently on his face, ?You need to stay with me
Alex. We can make Bennington in 20 minutes but you have to stay with me Alex.?
As I was thinking of a way of getting him into the car safely, Marlow, who had
left me on my own, rolled up. The fact that he left me behind did not even enter into my
mind, as I was to involved in keeping Alex alive. Marlow and Cole stepped out of the car.
Cole just stayed back, while Marlow approached me. I stood up, pointing at the kid
leaning against my ?Ranha?s door.
?Marlow look, we need to get this kid to a hospital fast. He is dead if we don?t help him?
Marlow just stared like a statue at me. I crouched down ready to help Alex get up.
Marlow pulled a .44 Revolver from his coat and shot Alex in the head. Blood splattered
across the car door and my face. In shock I stood slowly, my gaze fixed on the hole that
was now blown into his head. I couldn?t believe what had just happened.
Marlow leaned in whispering in my ear, ?You kill the enemy, or you are killed by your
enemy. You should know this. Maybe we made a mistake with you. You are...weak?
He walked back to his car, getting into it with a slam of the door. Cole leaned
against the Royale?s hood watching me. I rubbed the back of my hand across my face;
blood stained now too. I was numb, I could not feel. I felt Agent Cole approach me. In his
hands he held a bottle of water and a dirty towel. I cleaned myself of the best I could
while he took Alex?s dead body to the side of the road, pushing it over the edge. I had to
swish the water in my mouth, I could taste the blood on my lips.
?Get in the car Redline,? Cole said as he took the bottle and towl, throwing them to the
I shook my head, ?Marlow is a basterd, He will pay goddamn it. He will pay.?
Cole said, ?I am sure he will one day. But not here, not now. Redline, get in the car.?
I did as I was told, to follow them to the end of this welcome road. With blood of
innocence staining me and my Piranha.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:10 pm
Chapter VII Remember
We drove on to the base, reaching it in the late afternoon. I felt sick inside, not
able to erase the vision of what Marlow had done out of my mind. I wanted to forget it, I
tried to forget it. I told myself it was over and nothing could be done. Dwelling on it was
eating a hole in my guts. My Piranha seemed to mirror my feelings. The engine lulled
unwillingly, the chassis seeming to exaggerate on its suspension.
There was not much to recall, nor was I paying much attention. As we neared the
base, we turned off the main highway, onto a dirt access road. The road was rather steep,
but not as rough as you would expect. A large Victorian style house rose into view as the
access road came to it?s end. The house was separated from the road by a picket fence
that had seen better days and care. We turned into the house?s ?driveway?, which was
basically two grooves in the grass where a driveway used to be. Coming closer, one could
easily see that the old house was run down from lack of use. Paint flecked off the siding,
a second story window had a nice crack in it, the over hang looked ready to crush anyone
daring enough to try and sit on the dilapidated porch. The ?driveway? rounded to the back
of the house, where a large rickety old barn stood.
Although it was only 5:00 PM , with the sun slipping behind the mountains, the
night was already creeping in. Parking the cars, I waited for Marlow and Cole to step out.
Marlow stepped out first and immediately went to the task of opening the barn?s massive
twin doors. Cole took a few steps towards my car then stood still, waiting for me to get
out. I did so slowly, showing my lack of enthusiasm for the world. Marlow opened the
barn doors as I approached, the collection of vehicles inside became visible.
Marlow motioned with his hand to the cars, ?This is way we did not feel the need to bring
your Picard Piranha.? He walked inside the barn?s threshold, ?As I said, you will now be
provided with a vehicle. Your Piranha is to well equipped. This guy likes to hire dregs,
those with nothing to lose, or those who are just getting into the auto-mercenary business.
That mini-gun you got is high-end hardware. Your car is also heavily modified. It is too
I interrupted, ?So basically, your going to give me some bombed out boon dock blaster.?
Marlow cocked an eyebrow and gave a amused grin, ?Interesting choice of words, but
yes, that would be what we are going to do. Of course, we are not interested in loosing
our investment, I think you will find at least one of these cars acceptable.?
I walked into the barn staring dubiously at the row of cars in front of me. I
immediately passed over either of the two 70s pickups, one a Dover Stag, the other a
Pheadra P-150. Next in line with my sight was a white ABX AMZ. I walked over to it,
inspecting the 25mm cannon mounted on the roof. Finding it in rather solid shape, I
checked the body over finding little rust. Tires in good shape too, I opened the door and
leaned in. The keys where in the ignition. I sat down expecting to hear the car?s V-8 purr
to life, instead, when I turned the key I heard a sound as if someone was ripping the soul
out of a skinned cat. A loud BOOM, like the sound of a navel battleship firing its main
guns, echoed through the barn while at the same instant something exploded through the
car?s hood. What ever it was left a hole in the roof of the barn. I am not really sure who
said, ?Holy shit!?, maybe we all did. But after I jumped out of the driver?s seat, I checked
my pants to make sure it was not a reference to my underwear.
?What in the fucken hell!? I screamed.
Marlow and even Cole shared my surprise.
Marlow said, ?It shouldn?t have done that.?
?No shit?, I spat back.
I opened the hood, seeing a giant hole in the valve cover, I could only guess that a
cylinder had blown up. Blown up rather extraordinarily I might add. With no clue on how
what had just happened, could have happened, I slammed the hood in disgust.
Immediately I walked up to the next car, a Bushmaster Mail Truck. It had two forward
firing 50s and a old mortar mounted to the side. I considered it for a moment, but a
Bushmaster was not at all my style. A faded green Palomino was the next in line. The
car?s body had quite a lot of rust in it, short of being terminal cancer, but still more then
one would prefer. Two 30 Caliber machine guns stuck out of the beaten looking grill. A
rough looking flame thrower turret was strapped to the roof; on closer inspection of it, I
found that I wouldn?t have put much faith in its ability to work correctly. Taking into
consideration that the 25mm from the ABX could possibly replace it, I continued looking
the Palo over, noticing the name Iron Heart written in cursive above the driver?s door. I
titled my head slightly, and considered the name. Cole noticed my interest in it.
He said, ?Iron Heart was a member of the Green Mountain Men. We salvaged his car
after finding it in a ditch abandoned. Iron Heart was found dead the next day. There is
some speculation that he was related to Iron Duke, for obvious reasons but nothing was
Still with my eyes fixed on the fancy cursive words, I nodded a somber
acknowledgment. Moving around the car, taking great care in my inspection, I wanted to
make sure this car would not give me any surprises. I crawled under, climbed over,
knocked on, kicked, sniffed, pushed, pulled and prodded every thing until I was ready to
try starting it. 15 inch Kragers, A tuned 298 V-8, coil -overs, disc brakes. The car looked
rough but it had good parts. Two 30 Caliber, a 25mm and oil slick. Good enough
firepower. Now, if it would only run. I slid into the driver?s seat wrapping my hands
around the wheel; rubbing my palms against the cool leather. Cool seats offering gentle
support, as I breathed in the cool air and let out a deep breath. I put my hand to the key.
I spoke quietly, ?Ok Iron Heart, time for you to live again.?
The key turned.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:16 pm
Chapter VIII Forgetting Something
A bright flash of silver light. Reflections in the barrel of a 44. Bullet, recoil, flash
of light, bullet, reflection, bullet. A loud clang snapped me back into reality. I had
dropped the wrench I was using for the third time. Looking down at the floor, the work
light I was using to clean out the Palomino?s carburetor reflected a soft glow in the
wrench?s surface. Standing frozen from the shock of the latest flashback, I tried to get a
hold of myself. Shaking my head in disgust with my lack of composure, I kneeled down
to pick up the wrench. Pulling a dirty rag out of my pocket, I wiped the dirt and bits of
straw away. Poking my head back under the car?s hood, the carb stared back at me
already in place. Obviously I had finished the task before my last episode. It was really
unnecessary to clean it, but I wanted something to keep my mind occupied. Moving out
from under the hood, I heard the barn door creak open. Rubbing my hands in the rag
instinctively I said.
?Bored Cole?,? I asked without turning.
Cole, not surprised at all that I had guessed that it was him behind me, replied in a low
tone. ?More like concerned.?
?Concerned for me?? I chuckled, ?How sweet.?
Cole smiled slightly, ?I am glad that you still have the capacity to show humor. And as a
matter of fact, boredom is a mood that prevails. You have the cars to work on, I have
Marlow to converse with. It may be hard for you to imagine, but he is not really much
Laughing I said, ?Jeez, I figure he be a regular laugh riot. He is so friendly and full of
Cole leaned against the barn door with a big smile. It was the first time I saw him
as a friend. Through everything that had happen so far he had not only proven helpful, but
genuinely concerned for my well being. I shut the Palomino?s hood, threw the rag away,
then dug into my pocket for the keys.
Walking over to the driver?s door I called to Cole, ?Want to take a ride? I Figure
Iron Heart here needs to stretch his legs.?
?Why the hell not.? He responded.
Iron Heart roared out of the barn and down the driveway to the main road. I could
feel the car?s eagerness to run. The energy melted into me as I gunned the engine. Rocks
and dust kicked up behind us as we barreled down the dirt access road. I glanced over at
Cole whom gave me a cheery smile to show his own eagerness to be out running free for
awhile. The night had long since set it, the darkness being cut only by the Palomino?s
bright gaze. With windows down, the cool night wind whispering in our ears, we hit the
end of the access road then headed down the main highway into town. Not until the sign
reading Dawson?s Dive: A Pub, did the first mark of civilization appear. Both me and
Cole gave each other a bemused look, noting that it would be a bar of all things that
would be easy to find even in such a sparsely populated area as this.
?Care to drown some troubles Redline?? Cole asked in a low tone.
Slowing the car, I thought for a moment, deciding thought was not what I wanted, replied,
?If your offering to buy me a drink, then I?ll take you up on it.?
Pulling into the Dive?s dirt parking lot, I was sure to take note of which of the
other car?s did or did not have weapons. To my surprise, none of them did. Back in the
Southwest, seeing a car without weapons would identify someone who did not know any
better to stay alive usually giving a good indication that you probably wouldn?t see that
person again. Cole gave a explanation as we walked into the bar.
?These people are scared Red. They lost the will to fight back a long time ago. Nor is the
local law in anyway tolerant of Vigilantes. Most of the cops are on the take.? Cole said.
?No other choice but acceptance.? was my response.
Walking into the bar, we managed not to get much attention. Pulling up some
stools, the bartender, a short heavy set man, came over with a friendly expression.
Slinging a towel over his shoulder, he stood with arms crossed.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:19 pm
In a deep voice he piped, ?So what will it be boys??
?Scotch?, Cole replied.
?Black Berry Brandy,? I said.
The bartender cocked a eyebrow at my choice of drink, ?Fancy aint we,? he smiled and
poured the drinks.
?Leave the bottle,? I said.
Shrugging, he did as I said. Cole looked at me with a small degree of concern.
?Don?t get carried away Red.?
Moving the shot class aside, I took the bottle in hand and sipped. The sweet taste
clinging to my lips, I reveled in the warm feel the alcohol left in my throat. With a heavy
sigh and exhale, the fiery breath of the mythic dragons was mine as well. Cole and I did
not talk much, for I was lost in the brandy, where as Cole did not wish to bring me back
to the pain of reality. Soon my head was swimming in a sea of comfortable ignorant bliss.
Few things become important to a drunk man, but one of them is something to expel
energy. I took to hanging my arm around Cole, leaning into him in that certain drunk way.
Suddenly three police officers burst into the bar. One was a short sheriff whom
held a look of malicious anger. The entire bar went silent, everyone looked at the floor.
Even Cole used his better judgment to not look in their direction. I on the other hand,
under the influence of the brandy, turned in my chair with a big smile and leaned my back
relaxed against the bar. Sheriff did not take long to take notice of me. With his two
lackeys behind him he stomped towards my position.
Some one to play with I thought with a evil laugh. Standing only inches away in a
attempt to intimidate me, I could not help but laugh at this short man?s attempt to threaten
?And what exactly is so funny boy?!,? He said with malice.
?Why you of course charky!.? I said
His eyes flashed fire, while his two lackeys suppressed a chuckle.
?Is that your green Palomino out there?? He asked
?Yepper offic-slur...hahaha,? I put my head in Cole?s arm laughing.
?Citizens are not allowed to have weapons on their cars. You are in direct violation of the
law and will be placed under arrest.? He backed away, to let his two underlings take hold
Laughing out loud, I yelled, ?Oh! Yay now we get to play!?
Cole took the que. Picking up his chair. he threw it into the gut of the first cop. I barreled
into the next tackling him to the ground. Pinning him to the floor, I breathed hard into his
?I am a dragon! I will burn your face off! HAHAHA!!? I whooped.
I felt some one grab me. It was Cole. He pulled me off of him, dragging me outside to the
?Redline, give me the keys!? He demanded.
?I?m the driver here damn it! I?ll drive the car Damn it!? I said indignantly.
Cole was not in the mood to argue with me. As he advanced, I took something out
of my pocket and threw it across the parking lot. Cole thinking they were the keys, cursed
as he went searching for them. I grinned wickedly pulling the real keys out of my pocket.
?Oh Cole! Here boy!,? I called.
Before Cole knew what I had done, I was in the driver?s seat gunning the engine. I
put the car in gear and took off. Cole ran and dived into the passenger window. Crawling
in the car he cursed at me as he looked back at the three police cars that had gained
pursuit. The sound of bullets bouncing off the Palo?s armor, along with yellow tracer fire
hinted that the police-cruisers did have weapons. Three cruisers vs. one Palomino was not
something hard to realize as a bad thing, even to a drunk person. However, a drunk
person may be more prone to take unorthodox action to accomplish his or her means. I
turned onto a access road that I thought to be the one leading to base, however a sign with
flashing lights soon told me that this was not the correct road.
?Bridge out! Redline! Stop!,? Cole screamed at me.
?Relax, I saw this on TV.?
The Palomino broke through the warning barrier, launching off the edge of the broken
bridge. I howled, the V-8 revved in surprise....
With a heavy thud the car landed on the other side sliding sideways to a stop. I
hung my head out the window and yelled across the gap at the pigs. Who had decided I
was not worth it.
?AAAUUUUWWWW PIGGIESS!!,? I howled.
Cole made a attempt to get me out of the driver?s seat, but I stomped back on the gas
taking off once again.
?We jumped into a golf course! Whoo haa! Lets have some fun now!? I yelped at Cole.
The car bounced and dived over the finely manicured greens. Tearing tires marks
and slamming through sand pits. Cole held on for dear life. A pair of dim headlights came
over one of the hills heading straight for me. I spun the car around to cast my own
illumination upon a little security golf cart. The golf cart must have noticed the 25mm
cannon on the roof, turned sharply and ran the other way.
?All right! A friend to play with!? was my drunken reaction.
I gunned the Palo charging down on the little cart. It ran in terror, but couldn?t
hope to outrun me. The headlights shone into the cart?s back window as I brought the
bumper only inches from it. Bumping the cart playfully, it took a sudden sharp turn and
flipped onto its side. I brought the Palo to a stop to watch the fat security man crawl out
of it. I laughed, but then felt very dizzy. My head lulled, my body started to get numb. I
opened the Palo?s door, vomited, then blacked out.
The next morning I awoke with a knife stabbing pain in my head. I rubbed my
eyes trying to see. When I regained my vision, I saw Marlow and Cole looking down on
me. Cole held a expression of slight amusement and pity. But Marlow was red hot angry.
I smiled sheepishly, ?Uh.....morning guys. Did I miss breakfast??
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:41 pm
Chapter IX Get a Job
Holding a cold rag on my head, I sat in the old house?s living room as Marlow
stomped back and forth in front of me. He went on yelling about how I put the entire
operation in jeopardy, screamed about my irresponsibility, hollered about the damage I
had done to the Palomino. Cole sat on the other side of the room in quite observation.
Glancing at him every now and then, we exchanged a slightly bemused grin at Marlow?s
mannerism. Of course a person can only go on for a certain length of time like that, as
was the case with Marlow. When he eventually shut the hell up my headache eased off a
Marlow pointed to a folder on the coffee table that I had put my feat up on. ?Its time to
get down to business,? He opened a map of Vermont and pointed, ?You will drive into
Manchester to meet Iron Duke?s best driver Miss Sixx. She is in charge of assigning
driver?s to the shipping routes. All other information you will need is in that folder. Just
be sure you dispose of any sensitive material before meeting with her.?
?How did you get this setup?? I asked.
He said, ?We have been finding driver?s for them for the past few months. As far as they
know, you are just another person we have found for them to use. They trust us as a
supplier of personal.?
Nodding my understanding, I wiped my face with the rag, then threw it in the corner and
said, ?I suppose I should get ready then. Should I expect any back up from here on out??
Cole stared away from me, Marlow gave a crooked grin. I hadn?t expected any,
with that I went out to prep the Palomino. Giving the car a once over, I checked for a full
ammo load, adjusted tire pressure, then pulled what used to be a rose bush out of the grill
work. The bush being one of the night?s floral casualties. A cracked headlight and dented
front bumper was the only real damage sustained from my drunken escapade; Marlow had
exaggerated. I pulled the Palomino out of the barn, then went to my Piranha.
Sitting in the driver?s seat, feeling the loving embrace of the leather, we shared the
similar pain of pending separation. It is a strange thing to feel your car?s emotions. Hell
maybe I am just plain nuts, but that is what I felt. I backed her into the barn. Before
getting out, I took my Virgin Mary necklace of the rear-view mirror and grasped it my
hand. It always struck me as ironic that I was about the furthest thing from Christian but
put faith in something like that.
Opening the trunk, I gathered up a few things including my black jacket, jumper
cables, and a first-aid kit. I threw the few things I had into the Palomino?s back seat,
placing the Mary necklace with care around it?s rear-view mirror. I walked back over to
my ?Ranha, leaned under the driver?s door, flipped a little white switch, pressed a button,
then flipped the switch back. A guarantee that no one, including Marlow would tamper
with her. I had warned him not to try anything, saying that if he did, he would not be alive
for me to kill him. If anyone did try, I would have to get a new car, but at least I wouldn?t
be dead. I kissed my hand, then rubbed it on the ?Ranha?s hood.
?If any one tries to screw with you, show them what?s for.? I whispered
I was ready and climbed into the Palo. Almost before the engine was even started
I was beginning to pull away. At the same moment Cole walked out. Keeping the car?s
forward motion slow, I looked over at him.
?You take care of yourself Redline Fox,? He said.
?Always do Cole.? I replied.
With that I roared away. Down the driveway, down the access road, onto the
highway. It was early afternoon, by all standards a very pleasant day. The air was warm,
but a slight breeze kept it from becoming hot. Various thoughts crossed my mind during
the half hour or so it took me to make Manchester. The mountain road would often give
glimpses of towns and lakes far below. Towns where people could sit on law chairs
staring at the clouds, sipping cold iced tea, enjoying such a fine day. Lakes where one
could swim in when the wind felt like taking a break from cooling the Earth. But the town
was far away and so was I. I was not like the people in that town anymore. That town was
not my home, for I no longer had one. The highway was where I belonged now. Forever
to remain there to wander like Moses waiting for God, any god, to tell me I can finally
rest. In all to short a time I was at the place where I was to meet Miss Sixx, the remnants
of a small dinner, that was actually about five miles outside of the Manchester city limits.
Sliding the Palo into park, I searched around for her off white Daisan 420x. My CB
crackled with a female?s voice.
?Redline Fox, this is Miss Sixx. Get out of your car slowly with your hands visible. Put
your keys on the hood with your gun.?
I picked up the mic and radioed back, ?I?m not getting out of this car until you show
yourself. Even then you may be lucky if I do.?
Small arms fire chewed up the dirt around my car, sending clots of dirt into the
air. Looking around for the source of the gunfire, I noticed what appeared to be a
camouflage painted Strider on top of a nearby rise. A Dr. Radar Missile launcher sat on
its roof, the driver was no where to be seen. Evidently, Miss Sixx was smart enough to
?Redline Fox, once again, I will ask you to step out of your car with your hands visible. If
not, I will be forced to have you disposed of.?
Shit I mumbled under my breath. The driver of the Strider was most likely Doctor
Octagon, the sniper. I felt his eyes peering through the scope at my head as I stepped out
of the car, doing as I was told. Even if I tried to run, that Dr. Radar would be locked on as
soon as I started the car back up and the Palomino was sorely lacking in advanced
defensive counter measures. Placing the keys and my gun on the hood, I held my hands
away from my sides. I stood there waiting, apprehensive, trying to find a way out if need
be. At last her Daisan appeared around from the back of the old dinner. As it approached
with its roof mounted Bruding-Nanger gatling gun trained on my fragile body, I became
more annoyed at this little fiasco then afraid. Rolling to a stop, the Daison?s engine cut.
Miss Sixx stepped out with a casual grace. Tall and slender, with short dusty blond hair, it
was not hard to notice that she was striking to say the least. I judged her to be a little older
then me, late 20?s early 30?s. She shut the car door, then walked towards me confidently.
?Ah, Redline Fox, how may I ask are you this day? Good I hope, I want the people that
work for me in a good mood. Oh don?t look so sour, this was of course to insure my
protection, I am sure you understand. I have many enemies to say the least. Even though
you where sent here by a reliable source, one can never be to careful yes no??
I nodded grimly, ?I guess the answer would be yes,? I said somewhat sarcastically.
?Oooh aren?t we a tad bitter.? She said. ?Well, you appear honest enough. Plus your more
then ten minutes early. I like promptness.? She smiled ?Kinda cute too.?
I would have rolled my eyes, but I was trying to make a impression here, so I just
remained still and quite.
?Well, you can relax.? She said as she waved a hand signal in Octagon?s direction. ?Get
your things, follow me. I will take you to meet our employer. He will make the final
decision about you. If it was up to me, I?d have you as my partner...,? she emphasized the
word partner to suggest something besides back up in the convoys, ?...already.?
She slipped back into her car in a rather seductive fashion, she was rather
attractive, but that distraction would have to be ignored. Gathering my things off the
Palo?s hood, I heard Octagon?s Strider start up; start up rather quietly for a Strider. It
bounced down the hill, then sped past us. Very good silencer on the exhaust I thought.
Good trick to do if you need to get in and out of situations without being noticed.
Getting back in my car, the CB cracked, ?Just fallow me sugar. And do try to keep up.?
?Got it,? I called back.
Her Daisan peeled out of the dinner?s parking lot, with me right behind. It was
time to meet the slime ball running this outfit.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:02 pm
Chapter X Merry Meet
Looking down at the river valley below me, the burnt out wreck of what used to
be a strong, proud automobile laid rusting on the rocky bank. It was the eleventh wreck
like it that I had noticed since starting out from Manchester with Miss Sixx. The day was
getting late. I had the feeling that we where not heading directly to our destination.
Obviously she wanted me to be confused about my location so that I could not easily find
my way around the area. Approaching a intersection, I glanced in my rear-view at Doctor
Octagon?s Strider. He turned left, heading under a covered bridge spanning across the
river. I wondered who was next to die by his hands. When I returned my eyes forward,
Miss Sixx had gained a huge lead on me in her Daisan by blowing through the
intersection and accelerating hard up the hill ahead. She had a number of times tried to
lose me, this was just her latest attempt. My driving skills where being tested. Although I
always enjoyed a good race, the importance of what was happening, not to mention the
frequency of times she had done this sort of thing already was testing my patience.
Drooping down a gear, the Palomino?s engine roared in a echo of my frustration. The
little Daisan was surprisingly quick, but still no match for a American V-8?s horsepower.
It did not take long to close the distance. However we where now approaching a winding
stretch of road; this is where the Daison?s handling would give her a advantage.
The Krager tires squealed in protest as we headed into the first corner, the rear end
losing traction threatening to spin the car out, while the Daisan stayed poised and sure
footed. Even so, we both blasted out of the corner side by side. Heading into a series of
switch backs, I taped the brakes, letting her slide in front of me so I could set myself up to
fallow her line. Left turn, right turn, left turn, both cars now on the edge of control. The
final corner was coming up fast, I stuck the Palo?s nose down on the inside, if she didn?t
give me the line we both would crash and burn. I could feel her making quick glances at
me, not believing I was willing to take the corner so tight, risking a collision. A bead of
sweat rolled down my cheek, the corner was here, hard and fast, every fiber of the
Palomino?s being screaming at me in horror, barley griping life?s sanity, my brain not
able to calculate what my eyes where seeing. The corner was over. I had come out on top,
more importantly alive.
Grabbing the CB mic I radioed, ?Are we done playing games now??
Silence for a few moments, then she answered, ?What, you don?t like to play with
me?::hmph::Some people just cant have any fun....?
?This is not exactly my idea of fun.?
In a playful tone, ?Well honey, maybe I?ll have to show you what fun is later.?
Christ I thought.....this lady. And no sooner did I have that thought, then did she
pull past me to start the games all over. Growling out loud, I gave chase once again, but
stayed content on sticking to her bumper. Thankfully it was not much longer until we
finally arrived at Iron Duke?s mansion. We where somewhere in northern New
Hampshire, where exactly I was unsure of. She had not managed to confuse me as much
as she hoped. I knew New England, having taking many trips to the area in my childhood.
Mansion was a understatement when referring to this place. Palace would have
been more appropriate, castle not a overstatement. The huge black gates could have
stopped a tank in its tracks, the ten foot tall fence led away on both sides, peaking in and
out of the tangle of thorn bushes and vines hanging from the cold metal. The gates swung
open like the mouth of a giant beast as we drove onto the long driveway. Forest
surrounded either side of the narrow road. Little of the dying day?s sunlight penetrated
through the trees. We both flipped on the headlights, the road led on and down. The
winding road eventually opened up to the valley floor, which scenery was dominated by
the gigantic complex that comprised Iron Duke?s home, garages, warehouses, and various
other buildings. The driveway here was lined with flowers and artistic statues that
reminded one of Rome. At the entrance to the mansion, the driveway wrapped around a
large fountain with a likeness of Poseidon on top of it. Stepping out of my car, I looked
around at the extravagance, knowing how all of this was paid for. With some effort I bit
back the rage that was building in my mind.
?You should turn your headlights off sugar..? Miss Sixx chastised
Distracted by what I was seeing, I had forgotten to switch them off. I leaned into
the window and killed em, then followed Miss Sixx up the stairs to the front doors. She
knocked. As we waited I took notice of the garage sitting off to the one side of the
property. Inside where a number of little British sports cars. The Aaron-Marvin BD-5 that
I had seen pictures of was among them. But to my utter shock, a Rolen-Reese Golden
Cloud sat along side of it. All I could do was stare in amazement at a car that was worth
more then the entire economies of some 3rd world nations.
The huge double doors flew open so fast and loudly, that I jumped, luckily no one
noticed. Standing in the threshold was the man, the one in charge of the entire New
England Cartel, Iron Duke. He stood with perfect poise, casting a dashing impression.
If you want a stereotypical Brit., you had to look no further then him. He was
about 6 ft even, medium set, wearing a plain but no less expensive casual suit. In his left
hand he held a smoking pipe that he puffed thoughtfully for a moment as he looked me
He put one hand in his pocket and produced a small silver watch which he opened then
closed, ?Prompt as always Miss Sixx. Nick Knack wishes to meet with you in the dinning
hall to discuss some business I think, best be on your way.?
?All right then, tell him to keep his shirt on. I?ve got some work to do on my brakes
before I can deal with him.? She turned to leave giving me a wink, ?See you around Foxy
I rolled my eyes.
Iron Duke said, ?So your Redline Fox I presume. I have heard some very good things
about you. Please, do come in, we have much to discuss.?
The inside seemed more like a museum then a home. Various art, collectibles,
furniture from various places and eras filled the senses with a rich taste of culture. A
bitter taste for me though. Even though I would have liked nothing better then exploring
this lavish estate, I couldn?t help thinking about how this all had gotten here. I looked at
the huge oriental rug and thought of guns, the elegant tapestry was heroine, the art work
of a African Safari painted by one of the world?s most prestigious artists was nothing
more then extortion. All of this beauty and knowledge brought about by theft, murder and
lies. It took a lot just for me to keep myself from lunging at Iron Duke in a fit of righteous
rage. But I restrained myself, for that would not bring about the destruction of his
organization. I needed to bite my time, get names, get information. Then the Feds could
put a stop to this shit and I could go back west to continue the long twilight struggle.
?I say Redline, do you hear me?? His voice chimed.
He looked at me a little disapprovingly, ?I said right this way to my den, where we can
discuss your future here.?
?Right, sorry, just distracted by your.....uh...wonderful home here.?
He smiled broadly, showing great pride. ?Yes it is rather lovely I must say, but no time
for pleasantries I am afraid, please fallow me. Right this way now?
I followed into the den. Upon making the step down into it, was immediately
struck with a severe nausea. Hanging on the walls, along within various corners where
stuffed animals of all sorts. Deer, buffalo, a pair of lions, ducks, a bear posed on its hind
legs, in the middle of the room on a small table a red fox.
I almost had to laugh. One thing after another I thought to myself as I walked up
to my lifeless name sake. Staring into the blank glass eyes, I was far away unknowingly
petting the fur as if I could bring it back to life with only a touch or a wish.
Iron Duke spoke up, ?Ah yes, I scored that little rascal just outside of Dublin. It was quite
a chase I must say. Chased him for what must have been 2 straight hours. We all where
worn out from that one.? Either he was smart enough not to bring up the connection of
my name, or he just plain didn?t think twice about it. ?Anyway, let us get down to
business shall we? Please have a seat.?
I took my seat. He asked me questions, I answered them. Sometimes I lied,
sometime I told the truth. He asked about my experience, where I came from, why I
wanted to work for him. I told him what he wanted to hear, that I was new to the
auto-mercenary profession. That through my contacts had heard that his organization took
fine care of it?s driver?s and paid well. He asked me about my Palomino. After telling him
what it carried for weapons, he let out a chuckle.
?You are new aren?t you?? He said with humor.
If you call four years new you limy basterd I thought, ?Yeah...don?t got much cash at the
moment. But that car has seen me right so far.? I said in a calm tone.
?Well, you have been recommended to us by a very reliable source, so I am prepared to
offer you here and now a monthly salary of three thousand dollars. What do you say to
I new better then to take the first offer, it would have shown weakness, ?Its too low, I can
not work for anything less then double that.?
He was in mid-puff on his pipe and almost choked. ?::Cough:: Six thousand! Absurd!?
?You said yourself that I am coming from a reliable source. You also seem eager to get
me on the team. So that is my asking price.?
Considering he said, ?How about this. forty five hundred a month. If you live up to our
expectations, you will receive a percentage bonus based on our profits. I do not normally
offer this to anyone, but I have a good feeling about you.?
Feel all you want jerk-off, I thought to myself with grim satisfaction of having gotten on
my enemy?s good side. ?That sounds fine to me. I look forward to getting to work for
We stood to shake hands, symbolically closing the deal. He was prepared to offer
me a drink for a toast. I declined remembering the other night?s escapades, then excused
myself from his presence. He shrugged saying he would send for me later to make
arrangements for my first job. One of those arrangements would be getting the Palomino
re-fitted with better armament.
Night had fully fallen by the time I walked out outside. Glancing at the Palo, I
thought about taking a drive, then decided against it. I wanted to take a walk, a long walk,
so I did. I walked the huge estate, giving everything a good once over. Finding a narrow
foot path leading into the forest and up the side of the mountain.
By the time I reached its end, I was little winded, but felt very good to be getting
some exercise. The end of the path was a small clearing on top of the mountain, from
where one could look down into the valley. I sat on a large rock staring at the huge
complex below me only now able to take in its sheer size. Shifting my gaze from down to
up, I peered into the clear night sky. The stars shone bright, the moon was in its crescent
phase. The night was warm, critters singing their various night songs. I considered what I
had gotten myself into, ?Deep shit? I said out loud to myself with amusement. I looked
back down into the valley wondering if I had just made a deal with one of the devil?s
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:13 pm
Chapter XI Wake Up Call
I was awoken abruptly by the alarm clock next to my bed. Taking it in my hands, I
did not bother to shut it off, but instead threw it against the wall of my room with such
force that it smashed into a thousand pieces on impact. Again I had had nightmares
during the night, I could not have peace even in sleep. Taking drawn out breaths, I ran my
fingers threw my hair then held my head in my palms to get my thoughts together.
Wanting to be out and about as quickly as possible, I took a short shower. After
which I dressed myself quickly. Without even bothering to clean up the remains of the
alarm clock, I hurried down stairs going over in my mind what kind of work Iron Duke
would have in store for me today. Being that I was distracted, combined with the fact that
the driver?s quarters and main house where part of the same huge building, soon I would
find myself a little lost. Being so, I decided to take in the mansion?s sites. I wandered in
and out of a few large open rooms, one with a grand piano, another contained a indoor
Olympic size swimming pool. Duke had certainly done well for himself, done well
Turning a corner, I walked into a long and wide hallway. On either side of the
walls where photos and paintings of Iron Duke?s ancestors, relatives, family, a hall of
bloodline so to speak. Taking slow steps with my hands clasped behind my back, I
perused the hall looking at the various images with slight interest. I regarded a photo of
Nick Knack standing with his arm around Iron Duke?s shoulder, a dark blue Pheadra
Clydesdale behind them. In the bottom left the words, ?Thanks for the truck pop? and
Nick?s signature was written in blue ink.
Rich daddy, new car, I thought to myself with a slight amused sigh. From the
picture combined with adding on the couple years from when it was taken, I guessed
Knack was about 23-25. Figuring I should check in with someone so I could get to work
on upgrading the Palo?s weapons, I was ready to make haste. Turning to leave, a sudden
flash of silver from the opposite wall caught my eye.
With a puzzled expression, ?The hell?? I thought out loud.
I went over to a large hanging photograph, took one look at it and froze in place. I
rubbed my eyes in half disbelief half shock. I couldn?t believe what was right in front of
my face, a brand new silver Leopard XLC. And standing next to it, Alex. Just like on the
other picture, something was written on the bottom left in purple ink? Purple?! ?Thank
you so much dad, this car is awesome!?, in purple, written in purple! I started sweating
finding it hard to breath for a moment.
?Holy...god,? my mind echoed. ?This whole damned situation just keeps getting better
Running my fingers through my hair, trying to get my composure, I felt like I was
in a bad dream hoping for that buzzing sound to come to my ears. But it didn?t, besides I
broke the clock anyway. Feeling someone coming up behind me, I turned to be greeted by
one of Iron Duke?s servants. He asked if I was lost. I told him to just show me the
quickest way to the front door. He pointed me accordingly. I thanked him before hurrying
out of the room.
I passed through the kitchen, catching the whiff of various good smells. The cook
was placing a tray of sandwiches on a large counter, he saw me looking and invited me to
take a few. I declined, a cold ball of ice in my stomach took away my appetite. I had to
get out of the house, I needed something to do, something to get my thoughts together.
The sun was blinding bright when I stepped out the front doors. Shielding my
eyes with one arm I used the other to get my sunglasses on, then went around to the
garage area where the Palomino was sure to be getting worked on without my permission.
Engines revving, hammer?s banging, air wrenches along with mechanic cursing could be
heard as I rounded the side of the main building. I glanced at the various cars. Caveras, a
Lisbon, something else...another car....a sliver Leopard....a silver Leopard. I shook my
head and shivered trying to snap out of the daze induced by the revelation.
A rasping voice called, ?Heya Redline! Redline Fox! HEY! Ugly, you hear me!??
The person calling me was one of the mechanics. Standing next to the Palomino,
he waved me over.
?Come over here and let me know what you want me to do with this POS.? He mocked.
Letting out a deep breath, I walked over to tell him what I would need done. It was
a pleasant surprise to see that the car had not been pulled apart behind my back and
refitted without my input. Iron Duke at least knew the value of letting his driver?s take
advantage of their own fighting styles.
I spent the next five or so hours taking part in the Palomino?s refit. The mechanic
that had called me over was a little rough around the edges, but really a friendly guy.
Plenty of extra help was on hand. The garage had every tool one could need. It was a
simple affair to pull the two 30cals out of the front. The 25mm on top came off just as
easy. After pulling off the main guns the car was given a once over, with all the standard
odds and ends. Oil change, brake work, etc.
Then it was time to mount the new weapons. We left the oil dropper in the back,
while reinforcing the front bumper with a Structo-Kit. On the roof, for the main guns, we
mounted up a pair of 7.62mm. I would have liked to have used a 30mm cannon on top as
a second gun, but it took a little doing just to get the smaller 7.62s mounted next to each
other on the Palo?s narrow roof line. As I was kicking back with the garage staff praising
them for their excellent work, talking about various subjects like football and females,
Nick Knack?s dark blue Clydesdale pulled up. The most prominent weapon it had was the
Bruding-Nanger heavy machine gun turret on its roof. I could not tell what it had up front,
but in the rear was mounted a Gun-Co. mortar. He stepped out of his truck. Nick Knack
walked into the garage, inspecting the Palomino on his way in. The garage staff threw a
few insulting comments at him, causing him to glare in a unfriendly way. This was Alex?s
Nick Knack commented at me, ?Rather nice setup you?ve managed here. Two fixed
Staying put I replied, ?I am not a big fan of turrets. I find them unreliable, easily damaged
and largely ineffective. If one is skilled enough, then they know how to use the car?s own
?Heh,? he snorted. ?Your first mission will be tonight. You?ll be escorting cargo into
Albany. I?ll go over the rest of the information at the driver?s meeting. Bring your car to
the lower field. Be ready to move out.?
?All right.? I acknowledged.
He turned to leave, then one of the mechanics spoke up.
?Hey Nicky, where is Alex at anyway? He was supposed to have that fancy car of his in
this morning so we could replace......?
Nick Knack paused, that ball of ice moved into my throat. I walked over and
popped the Palomino?s hood as to hide my face.
Nick Knack said slowly, ?Alex, is dead. His body was found this morning. He was shot in
The garage was silent, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. Knack
reminded me to be in the field at sundown then walked out. The mechanics started talking
among themselves, cursing and swearing oaths of vengeance on who ever had murdered
Alex. It was time for me to get out of there. I shut the Palo?s hood. before I went to the
field I shook hands with those that had helped work on the car with me. They all grunted
a grim farewell.
The head mechanic said as I shook hands with him, ?They?ll get that bastard who did this
shit to our kid. I guarantee it.?
?Yeah,? I replied.
I got in the Palomino, started it up, then pulled out of the garage to head towards
the field. The day was not even over, yet I wished it was.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:30 pm
Chapter XII Thunder
It was late in the day, grey clouds where moving in on the valley. The Palomino
bounced down the hill to join the ring of cars awaiting the night?s orders. Rolling to a
smooth stop, I surveyed the other drivers and their cars. Miss Sixx was leaning on her
Daisan going over some papers with Nick Knack. I cast my gaze around, which next fell
on the driver of a white Pheadra Coupe, who was fiddling with his intake manifold. On
the cowl was written ?Speed Kills?, which I found to be a rather amusing pun. Next was a
pair of ABX Leprechauns, both baby blue, whom where driven by two women that
seemed to have a, how to say, more then just friendly friendship. Miss Sixx?s presence
obviously had opened up opportunities for female drivers. Next, a grey, black striped
Courcheval Courchelle that seemed in near mint shape. The driver was a older tall man.
Rounding out the group was a maroon early 70?s Dover Stag with a camper attachment
that sat on a lift kit. It was driven by a middle aged farmer type. I had not noticed, but
Miss Sixx had made her way over to my car and was standing next to my driver?s side
door looking down at me.
She said, ?You going to sit in there all day suga??
?Only if your going to stand their all day.? I replied.
She smiled as she leaned in the open window, ?That depends on if you like what you
I looked her up and down, then opened the door without warning in a not so
friendly way that miffed her slightly.
?Whats with you,? she said. ?You married or something??
I shut the door then leaned on it, regarding her advances with apathy.
She turned her lip up in a slight snarl, ?Not into men are you??
?What are the orders for tonight?s run?? I asked without regarding her snide remark.
She gave up harassing me for the time being to explained the mission. We would
be escorting a pair of Moth Trucks into Albany, New York out of Rutland, Vermont.
From what she said, it was supposed to be a fairly easy run. They had not experienced
much hostility in the last two weeks. The route was also the safest one they used since
operations began. A ?Milk Run?, Sixx called it. Once we got into Albany, the authorities
would not prove a problem since they where the buyers of Iron Duke?s product. Albany,
like some other major cities, had turned into a hell hole. The police force was under
funded, so they looked to Iron Duke?s outfit as a supplier of equipment so they could at
least have a chance of enforcing the peace. I found it ironic and frightening that the police
force was knowingly buying weapons from a big time smuggler outfit. I would not be
given much time to dwell on it though. Nick and Sixx finished going over all the details
with the driver?s, then gave the order to move out. Miss Sixx would set the pace in front
of the Moths, the two Leps would take position between the Moths. The rest of us would
bring up the rear. In formation we drove up the driveway, then out the main gates.
My first thought when cannon fire began to chew up the pavement around my car
was ?Milk Run?. Two helicopters where barley visible in the darkening cloudy sky.
Barely visible until their guns began firing furiously at the convoy. A bullet ripped
through the Palomino?s roof, into the passenger seat, then out the floor panels. Whatever
the hell kind of guns they where firing at us, they where defiantly powerful. With fixed
7.62s, I would have been fucked on my own. Lucky the Moths had some 30mm turrets,
while the Dover Stag carried a high end Dr. Radar launcher. The 30mms were too slow to
hit the helicopters, but they kept them nervous enough as to not be able to get a good
firing solution. I heard the ::beep beep:: warning of a incoming missile. I killed my engine
then swerved to the right. My arms wrestled with the wheel, the car was difficult to
control while in neutral. It was very frustrating going into combat with such a poorly
equipped auto-mobile. Pouncer could have easily evaded the missiles and even returned
fire with the proper setup. The missile impacted just to my left, sending pieces of the road
slamming against the body panels. At the same instant a bright flash erupted from the top
of the Dover Stag as it launched a Dr. Radar at the offending flyers. To busy avoiding
incoming fire to wait for the inevitable explosion, all I saw was bright flash of red light.
The remaining chopper, deciding this attack was a mistake, turned to run. But another
missile from the Dover Stag blew it clean out of the sky before it could launch its counter
?Nice work Ditch,? Miss Sixx radioed over the CB.
?Yesum it was,? Was the response.
About a hour or so later, we arrived in the smoking wretch of Albany. The
firepower of the convoy was enough to deter any would be car jackers or hoods that lined
the dirty, poorly lit streets. As we drove into the city?s center, Miss Sixx called out a code
over the CB. Two Albany police cruisers pulled into our formation. One up front, the
other in back. The cruisers where covered in thick armor plating; armed with the newer
.57 caliber guns, one on a turret and rocket pods They were imposing looking vehicles.
We turned a corner, coming to a stop in front of a massive concrete wall that
blocked the entire street. Intermittent drops of rain began falling, dotting my windshield
as we sat there. My first reaction was that we had been lured into a trap, but then the road
up ahead lifted into the air revealing a ramp that led underground. As I drove down the
ramp into the tunnel dim over head lights reflected in the Palo?s windshield and battered
body. Even though it was appearing not to be a trap, I could not help but feel on edge.
After a few hundred feet, the tunnel arched up. It opened into the main police parking lot,
where various police vehicles sat. The Moths were led off to the docking bays to unload,
while the rest of us parked our cars to wait. Looking around, I noticed guard towers on
the edges of the concrete walls that blocked up the space between the buildings, securing
the police barracks.
Yawning with fatigue, it would have been nice to take a nap, but I was still feeling
nervous. Being in this horrible city selling guns to the police was enough get anyone?s
nerves a little strung, but something else kept me extra jumpy. I did not know what it was,
just a feeling. I was never one to just ignore something like that.
The sound of thunder echoed in my ears, a storm was moving into the
area......wait. That wasn?t thunder.....I was half asleep. I had managed to drift off even
with all my nervousness. I heard the sound again.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:36 pm
?ALL CARS SCRAMBLE!! WE?VE BEEN HAD!!? Miss Sixx yelled over the CB.
Thunder echoed again, I started the Palomino and stabbed the gas pedal all the
while frantically looking around for the source of that sound. My eyes finally zeroed in on
a 50mm battleship gun firing from one of the guard towers. One of the Leprechauns was
splattered against the far wall, a shell from that cannon had throw it more then 200ft
through the air until it slammed against the concrete and exploded. A police van along
with two cruisers joined the fray, taking aim on the Dover Stag. The police began ripping
into it with machine gun fire. The Courchelle and remaining Leprechaun fired mortars at
the guard towers, trying not to get blasted to pieces. The little Pheadra Coupe fired off
two AIM-NEIN missiles at the police van, blowing it over sideways as it exploded. The
Dover Stag, smoking badly from the assault, fired its Dr. Radar at the police cruisers.
They both launched countermeasures while keeping intense fire pouring into the Dover.
A 50mm shell suddenly ripped into the truck?s bed, blowing it in half. The front
half rolled to a stop, the police cruisers broke off the attack on it, turning on the
Leprechaun and Courchelle. Forming up with Miss Sixx on the rears of the cruisers we
opened fire on them. The cruisers tried to evade, my target?s trunk burst into flames then
swerved into a wall. Miss Sixx blew the other cruiser?s turret clean off right before she
penetrated the car?s fuel cell. We both drove through the fireball, coming out on the other
side we both saw the Pheadra Coupe fire its missiles at a tank.
A firkin tank! These police didn?t fuck around. The Pheadra realizing it may have
bitten off a little more then it could chew, barely escaped being blown to bits by the
tank?s cannon. Although the Lep and Courchelle had taken out most of the lighter gun
emplacements, that 50mm kept blasting down at us. I managed a glance over at the
broken Dover Stag. Ditch slowly climbed out of the wreck. Then I saw bullets rip into his
chest, he coughed up blood before falling dead on the ground. Miss Sixx lined up the
three cops on foot that had shot him. She ran them down, splattering blood on the
Daison?s off white paint.
Distracted, I had not realized I was closing in on the tank. A panic jerk of the
wheel kept me from ramming right into the side of it. Skidding away from it I thought fast
and hit the oil slick. Power sliding around the massive beast, I managed to spray oil into
its treads. Without traction, it could not maneuver, but it could still swing its turret
around. Rounding its rear, I put my car in reverse then backpedaled while pouring
7.62mm rounds into it. The tanks turret was swinging around to line me up. I hope to god
someone saw what I was doing. Lucky, the Lep and Courchelle did. The Lep fired
mortars that dented in the roof on the tank breaking the turret. Then the Courchelle came
in close, dropped a number of mines, then accelerated away launching cluster bombs out
its rear weapons pod. The combination of clusters hitting the proximity mines blew a nice
hole in the side of the tank, killing the people inside.
But the 50mm kept firing. It turned on the Moth Trucks that had been sitting idle,
their driver?s already shot. The 50mm fired, blowing the pair of them apart just as the
Pheadra Coupe was speeding by. The explosion?s shock wave knocked the little car over
on its side. The 50mm cannon then took aim and blasted the Coupe away.
I yelled into the CB, ?We need to take that goddamn cannon out, everyone fire at its
support tower. We have to compromise its support beams. Bring it crashing down!?
The Lep and Courchelle formed up on my flanks. Together we poured fire into the
concrete. When we got close enough the two of them hammered the wall with mortars. At
this point we had to slam on the brakes to keep a constant fire. The 50mm saw this. Its
metallic silver barrel swung downward on our three stationary cars. One shot with us this
close together could wipe out all of us in a flash.
?STAY ON TARGET!!? I ordered.
They did, and suddenly a huge crack spiders up the wall.
?THAT?S IT! EVERYONE BREAK OFF! MOVE!!?
We all peeled wheels in reverse, a 50mm shell blew a crater in the ground where
our cars had been. All of use sped away from the tower as it came crashing down. The
gunner screamed as he was crushed under the falling debris.
Miss Sixx, ?Watch it boys, a pig got to his cruiser, he is incoming.?
Without missing a beat, the three of us lit up the approaching cruiser, destroying it
in a cascading fireball.
Miss Sixx called again, ?Ok, help me keep the rest at bay.?
We all took positions around the lot, holding back the police from their cruisers.
The Courchelle driver said over the CB in a very calm and deep tone, ?So...exactly how
do we get out of here??
Miss Sixx, ?Some one needs to get out their car and pull the switch to open the tunnel up.
?I?m not getting out of this car.? I said.
?What, are you scared suga?? Sixx mocked.
Without a answer I spun the car around to the switch, slamming the brakes when I
was close enough. The other cars slowly backed in on me, keeping their guns trained on
the police. I stepped out of the car, grabbed the switch and pulled it. A gun shot wizzed
by my head prompting me to dive into the driver?s seat. Miss Sixx opened fire on all of
the cops. They returned the favor with small arms fire. Some of them made it into their
cars, while others where mowed down.
We headed into the tunnel, all of us laying our droppers in the narrow passage. As
we roared into the city streets the sounds of screeching metal and explosions echoed out
of the tunnel as the cruisers hit the oil, fire, and mines. For good measure, a few cluster
bombs from the Courchelle blew the entrance in on itself.
Miss Sixx, ?We?re not out of this yet, everyone split up! Get out of Albany as fast as you
can. Once you out of the city, call over the CB. If your out of range, then see you back at
base. Good luck.?
With that her Daisan fishtailed around a corner. I kept going straight ahead, as the
Lep and Courchelle broke off at opposite angles on the next street. Blasting down the
broken streets, through ghettos and slums that used to be fine places to live, I did not give
any of it a passing thought. The clouds finally opened up bathing the night in a cleansing
I had to get out of the city, I had to get out fast. What had I just done? I just fought
for the bad guys? I killed police officers! Where they not just doing what they had to do
to keep the peace?!? If so, why did they turn on us?? Did they not need a supplier?? What
in gods name just happen!?
I found a on ramp and got on the highway, speeding away from Albany as fast as
the Palomino could go. The engine droned, the rain fell, the thunder rolled. My body
ached, my head spun, my stomach churned. About 45 minutes out of the city I stopped at
a small dinner. The rain soaked me as soon as I stepped out of the car. I walked in the
dinner and asked to use the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, I preceded to throw up in
the sink. What the hell was I fighting for? What the hell was I doing here? This place was
a fucking madhouse. Why couldn?t this be a dream I thought as I looked in the mirror.
Damn it! Do you even know who you are anymore? I cleaned myself up before stepping
out of the bathroom. I took a seat at the counter. Only a very few people sat around the
dinner, none payed much attention to me. The waitress placed a ginger ale in front of me.
?It helps with the nerves,? she said.
I thanked her, and sipped at the drink.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:49 pm
Chapter XIII No Peace
I had been sitting in the dinner for a good two hours, not realizing how late it was.
The waitress behind the counter told me it was closing time, she was sorry but I had to
leave. Without saying anything I dropped a five dollar bill on the table, put my coat back
on, then walked outside. It was still raining, not as hard as earlier, but still steady. I stood
under the overhang of the dinner?s roof not ready to get wet again thinking about what I
It was time for me to get the hell out of New England. The situation I had gotten
myself into was way over my head. Looking across the dark unlit parking lot I located the
Palomino then pulled my jacket tight around me. As I stepped out from under the
overhang something hit me in the left shoulder and spun me around violently. The ground
seemed to come at me in slow motion as my face impacted with a cold puddle. Water
splashed into my nose causing me to choke for a moment. I coughed the moisture out
forcefully. It did not take much for me to realize I had just been shot. I heard footsteps
approaching so I laid still for a moment. I heard the sound of a rifle being reloaded. Pain
shot up my arm as I pulled out my .45 and shot wildly into the general direction of the
sound. My assailant let out a scream. I heard the rifle fall to the ground. It must not have
been a mortal wound, because I heard him start running. The world came back into focus.
Breathing heavily, I staggered to my feet. Getting to the Palo was my only thought.
Another car?s engine could be heard starting up, then the sound reverted to a low whine.
?Wait, I know that sound.? I thought.
The parking lot was suddenly flooded with light. The Strider of Dr. Octagon
aimed in on me with its headlights. I dove out of the way as the car charged at me. As it
screeched out of the parking lot I crawled into the Palomino. I used the interior light to
inspect the gun shot wound. The bullet had gone clean through without hitting anything
critical, but my shoulder felt like it was on fire. Gritting my teeth I started the car,
slammed it into gear then floored it. Fishtailing out of the parking lot, the tires spun
chaotically on the wet pavement. I checked my ammo counter. I had plenty of oil, but my
guns would be running low real soon.
I slammed my fist against the dashboard, ?Son of a bitch! SON OF A BITCH!!?
My foot held the accelerator down with such force that I thought it would break
the pedal through the floorboard. Nothing else existed except the engine?s roar and the
blur of motion in my peripheral vision. The radar pinged, the Strider?s taillights where
barely visible in the distant night. A warning beeped of a incoming missile. Putting the
car in neutral, I killed the engine, the missile lost its tracking, flew straight up and
exploded. Clicking the engine back to life, I had to close the gap before he was ready to
fire again. I was just about in firing range when the warning beeped again. A torrent of
explicit language flowed out in enraged randomness as I smashed my fist into the
speedometer. Forced to repeat the evasive maneuver, I lost ground as the Strider kept it?s
?Piece of shit car!?
Regaining the chase, it was not long before I was back in firing range. Putting my
fingers on the 7.62mm?s trigger, I lined him up in my sights. Again the warning beeped,
but I was to close, to goddamn close. Nothing was going to stop me from killing him.
Both of us fired at the same time. My guns blazed away as the missile came head on at
me. I kept the accelerator down, the guns firing. A bullet round impacted with the missile,
detonating it less then 100ft in front of me. I ducked my head under the dashboard as the
explosion?s shock wave blew off the Palo?s hood. The windshield cracked. Looking back
up, I regained shooting, but ran out of ammo in a few seconds. A pair of headlights was
coming up towards us in the opposite direction. Octagon had fired another missile, but
not at me, at the oncoming car. The missile impacted with the it. The unfortunate car was
blown upside down in a fiery wreck. His Strider managed to get by before it?s burning
chassis could block the road. Slamming on my breaks, I realized the burning car was a
Pheadra Estate Wagon. Burning luggage was strewn all over the landscape.
Luggage...luggage of a family just trying to get out of the blast radius. I didn?t bother to
check for survivors, one could barley even identify the car. Looking away, I rubbed my
face with my hand then hit the accelerator and rammed through the fiery wreck.
Dr. Octagon?s Strider was badly damaged. With both rear tires blown out he was
forced to pull over about a mile down the road. Inspecting the engine, he found a fuel
leak. He considered himself lucky that his car had not exploded. It only took a few
seconds to plug up the hole. However he only had one spare tire, so he was forced to
decide which tire to replace. Adopting to replace the driver?s side rear, he jacked up the
car removing the badly shredded tire. As he inspected the brake drum for damage, the
sound of a revving engine came to his ear?s. He looked back in the direction of where his
target had turned the tables on him to see a sight that made his blood run cold. In the
middle of the road was a car Satan himself could just as well have been driving. One
headlight shone through the fire that licked at its front bumper and quarter panels. The
hood was no longer attached. Fire reflected in it?s shattered window. The car?s engine
revved again. Suddenly it dropped into gear, spinning its wheels as it bared down on him.
By the time his brain finally started working again it was to late to run.