â??Can I ask youâ?¦ a question?â?
E flinched slightly at the explosion of noise through her earpiece but continued nonetheless to tie up the unconscious guard. After ensuring all four of his hands were tightly bound behind his back and to the ceiling, she peaked her head out of the storage closet. Not a soul in sight.
â??Easy as AllReadies,â? she murmured before slipping through the opening. As she stepped away from the door her suit shifted appearance; an assortment of supply closet cleaning brands morphed into a combination of taupe walls, white border and green carpet. Freezing boring as freeze. Rich gangster types never had any imagination when it came to decorating their buildings. All that mattered was the coup de grace-- their personal living chambers. Nothing spoke more highly to a criminal's wealth the gold-lined bedpans. Her father actually put a freezing golden eagle the size of a Goldovian in his room. A Goldovian. What a load of giantshit.
â??I know youâ??re there, so Iâ??m just going to ask my question anyway. Why the â?â?? am I the one being fired at by a roomful of toontime villains?â? The voice interrogated. E's legs buckled underneath her and, unable to correct her balance, she slammed her head into the wall. She could barely feel her head throb due to her actively suppressing the desire to vomit up all of her insides. Extreme vertigo and nausea were a common side effects of listening to a Bleez swear, but that was common knowledge. And in this instance, knowledge was not power. Nothing prepares you for a Bleez profanity. Swearing is considered a terrible sin by the religious lot on Bleez specifically because of the destructive power. E remembered it had something to do with the frequency of their vulgarities having some sort of reality altering ability, but really, who gave a flying or floating freeze? E's head was throbbing, and she had given away her position. Muffled grunts and the loud whine of energy weapons charging up filtered through the wall she had just become acquainted with.
â??Damn it Klara,â? she hissed over her com. â??What in the blue hills did you do that for?â? E sprang to her feet and bolted down the hallway, just past the entrance to the room she had struck. The door burst open and a couple of hired hands flooded out. Luckily they looked right past the camouflaged E and proceeded to check the rest of the hall. Holding her breath, E tip-toed into the room and quietly closed and locked the door behind her.
â??Iâ??m just saying,â? Klaraâ??s voiced buzzed from Eâ??s earpiece again, accompanied by a chorus of blaster fire, â??Youâ??re the bounty hunter. Iâ??m a detective. One of us should be snooping around and the other engaging in illicit affairs, yes--but I feel as if weâ??ve gotten the roles reversed.â? E chuckled despite herself and then began to survey the room. It was mostly empty, save for the overturned bottles of Edaxian Cider and still pulsating nano-cigs. She grabbed the nearest chair and propped it underneath the door-handle, which, she noticed absentmindedly, a surprisingly large number of 22nd century buildings still sported in lieu of the much more fashionable hard-light knobs. E didnâ??t particularly care for one or the other, although the way the hard-light knobs always just appeared used to give her a startle back homeâ?¦
Why in the blue hills was she thinking about any of that garbage? Thinking about her freezing home, all those freezing lightyears away, filled with people she wanted to put on iceâ?¦ Being around crime lords must brought out the little girl in her, she figured as she wrapped a contact explosive around the leg of her makeshift barrier.
â??And I donâ??t trust this blue dude who hired us. Heâ??s not the right shade of blue. You know what I mean?â? Klara whispered, or at least did whatever the equivalent was to whispering when lasers fly by your face. E sighed lightly and cupped her hand over her mouth.
â??No.But I do know that that sentiment is pretty racist,â? E pointed out, simultaneously taking a few cautious steps towards the next door. She ran her hands along the frame and felt a slight tingle travel through her body. The longer her hands stayed connected to the wood the stronger the tingle became, and in a matter of seconds she felt as if a stray bolt of lightning was desperately scorching its way through her veins. Eldritch wood, she thought as she withdrew her sore finger tips. A popular material for those with coal to hide and a hefty account full of credits needing to be spent. It could only be found on one planet--aptly named Arboria-- and the trees on said planet were either cursed to Hel or possessed some natural form of energy stored up within their cells that reacted negatively withâ?¦ everything. Once again, E was less than interested in sorting out the science behind the pain shooting through her body.
â??Itâ??s not racist when you have empirical data defending your argument. In our lifetime weâ??ve known ten people with his specific shade of blue skin. And all of them literally shot one of us in the back. LITERALLY ALL OF THEM,â? Klara emphasized. E shook her head, deciding to ignore her friend and get back to business. She produced a small, half circle shaped item. Hundreds of miniature, tiny suckers lined the flat side of the object and a black, blank screen covered the reverse. E stuck the item against the door and the display on the rounded portion lit up. It flashed for a moment, and then another, and then another, and then a single bar of battery appeared. It was energy, E thought with a smirk.
â??Youâ??re not making a strong case for yourself. And, as your friend, Iâ??m going to suggest you donâ??t tell that to other people. Also, please stop talking to me, I have a decoy to shoot,â? E declared, taking a step back from the door frame. She pulled out her pistol, Honey, and deactivated the safety.
â??Perfect timing! Everyone here is dead,â? Klara announced triumphantly. â??50 credits on the line here. Yours is gonna be the right one. I can feel it.â? She was, of course, referring to the bet the two made prior to entering the building. E watched the tiny console of her DrainDame12 fill up with battery bars and readied her weapon.
â??Itâ??s going to feel so good taking your money,â? she said with a small smile before "unleashing the chains" into every inch of the wall. A handful of enemy shots whizzed pathetically by her, but after a few moments of continuous, merciless blasting the counter shots ceased. E kicked open the door and stepped aside just in time for three more shots to not hit her. She knocked a light crystal pillar into the opening of the door for good measure, but it seemed as if her targets were spent. Satisfied, she walked into the room; unfortunately her satisfaction instantly morphed into disgust.
â??Oh, Ew. Ewwwww. You owe me 50 credits,â? E announced. The room was lined with deteriorating insectoid husks, all copies of the original gangster they had come to abduct. That was her markâ??s special ability; he had learned to actively manipulate the genetic skill of his species, which allowed them to shed their exterior shell and control them through telepathic impulses. â??Multiple Mundus,â? as he had apparently and disappointingly named himself, forcibly instigated this molting to create dozens of â??clonesâ? which he could use as distractionsâ?¦ As was the case right now. Having the wrong man, or men, or insects, or whatever, never felt so good though...
BANG. BANG. Two loud shots rang into Eâ??s ear, absolutely ruining her celebration.
â??Klara. Klara!â? E shouted. The sound of miscellaneous debris being shuffling around echoed into the comm, and then the line went silentâ?¦ for approximately two seconds before some oaf began breathing heavily into it.
â??How does it feel E? To have someone you care for taken from you?â? A voice spoke dramatically through Klaraâ??s comm. Freezing blue bullfrog! She gripped her pistol tightly but said nothing. Klara was most definitely going to rub Loboâ??s betrayal in Eâ??s face after this was all over.
â??Fine, play the silent game with me. But Iâ??ll make you pay for the sins of your Harpy sisters---â? â??Ugggggggh, the Harpies? This is about the freezing Harpies? ****!â? E grunted. No matter where she went, she had to hear about the gods damned Harpies. They stole my life savings. They took my mechanical kneecaps. Blah, blah, blah. They werenâ??t her problem anymore, and she was tired of freezing hearing about them.
â??You can have Multiple Mundus and you can kill as many other, actual Harpies as youâ??d like, just give me Klara back,â? E bargained, wanting this hellish mission to be over with already. She could practically taste the stream or liquor she would need to wash away this day. After a brief pause, Lobo responded.
â??**** you Harpy *****!â? E heard a muffled commotion from afar, and then the distinct shatter of glass through her earpiece. Oh gods, she thought, piecing the situation together. She scanned the room for the nearest window and sprang right through it. Reflexively she extended her arms to full wingspan, triggering her feathers to emerge from her back pack. She gracefully swooped out of her descent and increased the energy output of her boot thrusters to quicken her climb. Klara was right above her, plummeting helplessly--and, E couldnâ??t help but notice, somewhat indignantly-- to the ground. She flew past her comrade and then banked sharply. She had learned long ago that the best way to catch a falling target wasnâ??t to just fly willy-nilly into it--the force would send them both reeling. You had to make the momentum work for you. She dove again, scooping Klara up in her arms, and then increased output again to initiate her gradual ascent.
â??Ugh. I hate it when we fly so f---Mmmf!â? E planted a kiss on Klara to keep her from swearing and potentially dooming them both. Using her one unimpeded eye she steered them toward the nearest rooftop and landed. Klara crumpled onto the ground and exhaled.
â??So I was right about the blue guy and you were right about the mark. That makes us even, I think,â? she said between gasps.
â??Sure babe. Sure,â? E shrugged. She extended her hand to Klara to help the woman up, but was interrupted by a loud roar from the building they had just exited. E could clearly make out Loboâ??s VTOL transport as it began powering up. Like Hel this guy is getting away with our money. She telepathically patched her comm to Corâ??takâ??s, who had been left behind on the Strix for this mission due to his relative lack of stealth capability.
â??Corâ??tak! Metallo! Fire at Loboâ??s ship!â? E ordered. Corâ??tak merely sighed.
â??So he did betray you. Klara was right,â? he opined. Klara nodded in agreement from the ground.
â??Oh ha freezing ha. You two can have a good laugh about it after we donâ??t get paid for this job because you let freezing Lobo get away with our freezing money!â? E shouted. Corâ??tak scoffed.
â??Rude. You know I literally do not care about the money. And even if I wanted to, I couldnâ??t shoot him down. Our turret would probably kill Mr. Multiple,â? he stated with his usual unhelpful demeanor. Loboâ??s ship began to rise slowly.
â??Fine! Send down Dionysus, Iâ??ll rip him o--â? â??Dionysus is still being repaired,â? Corâ??tak reminded her. E groaned and watched as Loboâ??s ship prepared to blast off. Doubly fine! We do this the fun way, then. She withdrew her rifle from her back and telescoped it to full length, the light bars gleaming as each additional section unfolded.
â??Metallo! Initiate plan Oh Gee!â? E commanded, punctuating her sentence with an explosive round right into the engine of Loboâ??s ship. The back end exploded like an antimatter warhead. The ship faltered in mid-air and then crashed into the side of the rooftop. It teetered precariously for a moment and then slowly began tipping in the direction over the ledge. E holstered her weapon and smiled, waiting for Corâ??takâ??s tinkering to take effect. Her smile began to falter, however, as the ship continued to tip.
â??Metallo!â? She screamed. The ship then slipped entirely off of the ledge.
â??This kind of thing takes a moment!â? He screamed back. â??Done!â? The ship continued its trajectory toward the ground, but no longer gained momentum. It simply floated along; everything was simply floating along, in fact. E hovered slightly above the spot she previously occupied, and Klara frantically waved her extremities in an attempt to balance herself. Relieved that Metallo didn't cock her genius plan, E activated her feathers and grabbed Klara by one of her flailing legs. The two rocketed over to the sinking ship to save their well-deserved prize. Luckily Lobo and Mundus were still knocked out cold from their all-too-exciting-big-boy-roller-racer ride. E grabbed Mundus with one arm and gestured to Lobo with the other.
â??Heâ??s all yours,â? she offered. Klara smiled and floated closer to Lobo, eyeing him devilishly. Before she continued, however, she motioned for E to turn off her earpiece. She then placed her lips right against Loboâ??s ear, and, quietly, muttered a steady stream of profanities into Loboâ??s ear. Lobo violently woke up, thrashed around, vomited for two minutes straight, and then, exhausted, passed back out. Klara gave a satisfied huff and then floated back to E.
EDIT: I edited this post to make it better in virtually every way. I should stop writing so early in the freezing morning. It either ends up as a steaming pile of garbage or something mildly palatable. Blurgh.