But hey, it’s still Sunday. Still time. Have a part.
Sort of an in-between so I won’t give too much buildup. But yaaaay here we go and catch up/read more if you’re behind/feel like being nostalgic.
and on we go to part 21!
Misfit, underqualified rescue team . . . assemble!
There were two other cars parked out front when I came tearing up to the Den. Fernsby’s car and a little VW Bug that I guessed was Kaity’s.
I bit my tongue, wincing just thinking of Kaity’s message again. Poor kid. Finding something like that . . .
And poor Dallas.
Dear God, I hope they haven’t killed him yet . . .
I pulled my car up next to Fernsby’s and put it into park. I yanked my keys out with one hand, popped open the door with the other and stood out of my seat within a second of parking.
I’d already been formulating something of a plan on my way here. I mean . . . it wasn’t anything particularly specific or brilliant. But as long as it ended in Dallas getting out of there alive, that was all that mattered in my opinion.
My shoes smacked and scuffed against the sidewalk as I strode towards the door. I stuck my keys in my pocket, tugging at my hair with my other hand.
It was getting late in the afternoon already. Every minute passing could be the minute that they’d planned to kill Dallas. My only reassurance I’d managed that they hadn’t already was that they might be waiting until the big move tomorrow. Something like that. I just had to get what I was going to get and burn tear up the road to get back there.
Even if this was ditching our chance to take them down subtly and with a ton of evidence . . . maybe Dallas’s eyewitness account could be enough.
I pushed in through the door at the side and into the building.
Two sounds overlapped each other, both coming from the back and dully echoing through the open space. Clanking as things were moved around, and the sound I’d heard over the phone of Kaity crying.
My stomach twisted at the sound and I bit my lip, keeping my stride towards the source of both of them.
I came around the end of one of the aisles and headed towards the area at the back.
Charles sat in one of the big old chairs, holding Kaity next to him like she was a little girl and patting her arm. Quietly reassuring her. An untouched carton of ice cream sat nearby, unnoticed by either of them.
News was behind the counter where the clanging sound was coming from, but only seemed to be looking down, not actively clanking on anything himself.
Liza’s head popped up from in back of the countertop, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. “There. Now those should be all hooked up and ready to go. I’ve got the attachments mounted on my arm and all charged so it should go just fine . . .”
She straightened up all the way, brushing off her pants.
I stopped in front of the counter and she and News looked up.
“Oh good, you’re here.” Liza let out her breath, collecting up a few trinkets from the counter. “I’ve got everything ready to go. We’d better be hitting the road pretty quickly here, ey?”
The crying sounds from behind me quieted.
I frowned, “We . . .?”
“Oh come on, Wolfy. Don’t tell me you just think you’re gonna charge in and do it all alone. I’m at least coming with you.” She elbowed News. “And he’ll handle radios from his truck, since there’s not much sneaking a guy like him can do.”
I looked between the two of them and the radio gadgets Liza had spread around and attached to her arm.
Well having some communication and backup certainly wouldn’t be a hindrance to the plan. I’d mainly just been planning to sneak in by as much as I could, then pull out a gun when I was discovered and start shooting people in the knees so Dallas could get away.
“S-so you . . . you know he’s alive?” Kaity’s whispery voice asked.
I turned a little to look at her. Her red eyes and splotchy, tearstained cheeks showed she’d been crying for quite a while. She still sat next to Charles.
I hesitated for just a second before nodding. “He was when I left. There was a guard and they don’t need to guard someone who’s already dead. I really see no good reason for them to . . . not just plan on killing him tomorrow.”
Not my best reassurance. But it was the best I had.
Kaity’s lower lip trembled, but she bit down on it for a few seconds, straightening her back and giving a nod. “Okay. I want to help.”
I put up my hands. “This isn’t supposed to be a party trip. This is a quick, in and out rescue mission.”
Kaity’s look turned stony and she pushed to her feet, glaring up at me through her tears. “And I’m more than qualified. I’m the only certified SPI agent here.”
“Kaity . . .” Charles pushed out of his seat. He opened his mouth to say more, then closed it, looking between all of us with a pained expression on his pale face. “Well, all of you, really. Are we absolutely sure we couldn’t just put this in the hands of the SPI? Dallas’s life isn’t something that . . .”
“I told you, they wrote it off as a suicide,” Kaity cut him off, her voice trembling. “His handwriting matched. Nobody would believe that he got taken by mind control. They’re ‘looking further into it’ because a night guard saw something possibly suspicious, but they’d never take action in time. We have to go.”
There was the “we” again. Did she seriously think I was going to throw a little fluff like her out into the line of fire on something like this?
I opened my mouth to interject, but Charles started speaking again.
“I . . . really, I’m just as worried about Dallas as any of you, if not more so. But . . . I’m not sure if this is the wisest course of action.” He ran a hand up over his hair. “After all the research he’s done over the months being gone . . . Wolfgang, your cover in this organization is really important to taking these people down, and I’m sure that if we just go to the SPI and tell them that . . .”
“They won’t listen!” Kaity snapped out. “They’re too wound up in the procedures! They think he’s dead already!”
“And my ‘cover’ might just be the only thing that can get Dallas out.” I spread my hands. “Maxine is second in command of the whole SPI for crying out loud. She’ll know the second we send out anything. She’s smart enough to cover all of their tracks and camouflage the whole project back into invisibility without breaking a sweat.”
“And who’s to say she still won’t if her precious little prisoner escapes?” Liza put in as she fiddled with something on her metal arm. Her gaze flicked over to Kaity. “When, I mean. Not if. When Dallas escapes.”
“Well at least a reliable source eyewitness should be enough to pull her down at least,” I returned. “If I’m not a trustworthy enough person to provide testimony against her, Dallas is infinitely more qualified than me.”
My thoughts raced off along that track without my wanting them to. If we got Dallas out and his research and evidence had been destroyed . . . no way of me getting another video or anything . . .
News spoke up as if he’d read my mind and reached the conclusion before I did. “Man, that puts you right back at square one without a job or a way to get one, doesn’t it?”
Going through all that torture . . . getting horrible superpowers and an even worse reputation, all for adding absolutely nothing to the Dankworth name . . .
I clenched my fists for a second, chomping my teeth down on my tongue. I nodded slowly and pushed back the tiny twinge of remorse over that before speaking again.
“Yeah. Yeah, it puts me right back where I started. And I don’t love that idea, not gonna lie.” I let out my breath and raised my eyebrows over at News. “But having a shot at a great life, or having Dallas is barely even a decision.” I spread my hands again. “This already came up with Maxine. Sacrificing other people’s good for your own and all that crap. And you know what, with that sort of policy, I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my cover around there much longer anyway. I’m not with Silverwing. On anything. And especially not amoral junk like that.
“If Dallas still able to testify and get us out of a jail sentence: great. And if he’s not: to h*** with it, we’re going in there to get him anyway. If you guys are coming along, fine. They could kill Dallas any minute and we’re wasting time, now come on.” I gestured broadly to the door at the last statement.
Everyone else had gone quiet and were just staring at me.
I dropped my hands, barely realizing the heatwaves coming off of me and clamping down on the energy before I spontaneously combusted.
Charles’s expression had changed to one of amazement and almost pride.
Liza let out a low whistle as she collected up her things and came out from behind the counter to follow me. “Well. Just never know when you’re gonna go full-blown inspirational speech on us, do we?” She smirked.
Bad News followed after Liza. “Hey, that was a great one, though.” He adjusted his tie. “Okay, so Kaity’ll be coming with me in the truck I think, then . . .”
I nodded, reforming the plan in my mind a little. So Kaity and News could be the backup and handle the long distance stuff. Since Franklin had talked to Liza I bet that it wouldn’t be too far fetched for me to say Liza was just in on this with me and I was bringing her as a guest. Something like that . . .
“Is there any way I could . . . lend a hand here?” Charles broke in. “Not the best at radio communications, but I could . . .”
Just thinking of Charles coming near that organization, Bad News, Kaity and I all stiffened at the same time.
Liza frowned. “What?”
Charles looked between all of us.
News raised his hand slightly and squinted one eye. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, clearly still missing the lack of sunglasses. “There was sort of a . . . something Frank said. He said they could turn anyone with the superhero nanites into killing machines or something? And if they see you . . .”
“I was supposed to fight you,” I continued. “Some sort of function on the hero nanites that would override your brain and make you evil, so they’d have an insta-villain for all their fake heroes. I didn’t say anything because . . . well . . .”
“We thought it wouldn’t even be around anymore by now,” Kaity finished.
Liza and Charles both stared, looking at each other for a few second.
“Overriding their user’s brains . . .” Liza muttered. “That would take some serious energy output, man . . .”
Charles looked back at me, his brow furrowed. “Well then what do I do about it? I was told they’d turned the nanites completely off.”
“Maybe you could go back to the SPI and see if they could fully deactivate them?” I shrugged a little. “I mean . . . that way if the switch ends up going live anyway, you couldn’t be effected . . .? And you could warn them of that possibility as well. It’s a sort of virus in the system, from what I heard.”
Charles nodded slowly as he considered it, his frown still in place. “Right. Well, then I’ll . . . yes, I’ll do that.”
And with that, we split to our respective vehicles. Charles took off pretty quickly. News and Kaity took most of the radio equipment with them, leaving us only what Liza still needed to work around her arm or hook up to my car.
That, and I needed to go inside for a minute to grab some . . . ah . . . extra supplies.
I got distracted from our intense time crunch for a few seconds while watching our two assigned radio operators head over to the truck.
News and his nigh on seven-foot height, then Kaity barely crossing the line into the realm of five feet tall. She was only up to his elbow. He lifted her up into the truck like he would have done to Leif.
I shook my head, clearing my thoughts again as I slid into the driver’s seat. Liza got in next to me and set her wires down on the glove compartment. She threw the hair from her ponytail over her shoulder and looked over at me. “Well. Fire ‘em up, mate.”
I jammed the keys in and turned them, getting my hands on the wheel as the engine came to life. The smooth, quiet noise of the Mustang’s motor was lost in the diesel rumble of the Newsmobile.
Since I was the one that knew the way to where we were going, I took the lead out of the parking lot. Again, there weren’t a lot of cops on the backroads route we were taking. And every minute could be Dallas’s last. So yeah, I felt quite justified in my speeding.
The wind rushed up over the windshield and through the car, making Liza’s loose hairs fly every which way and my hair get even messier. The air was colder than it had been when I’d been driving here.
Weird, for the middle of June.
I looked up to see a nice fluffy blanket of clouds creeping in from the edge of the sky, edging to block out the sun.
Well. Summer storm, maybe it’d wash away our tracks or something when we took off and they couldn’t follow us.
Dallas likes rain.
I adjusted my grip on the steering wheel and swallowed. The tremors in my hands were starting up again. Well, let’s hope he gets to see it, shall we? Get him out in time to get soaked and catch his death of cold.
Liza followed my gaze up to the sky. “Yeah, heard it was supposed to storm on the radio earlier.”
“That won’t mess up any of your radio stuff, right?”
“Nah, I’ll be fine. I’ll get the sensitive stuff under cover.” She looked over at me. “So, I’ve got the communications handled and can probably work with the security devices. You got a plan aside from that?”
Well, I had a membership in this hellhole of an organization for the time being. I had my gun. I now had extra bullets. And I’d burn the place to the ground before I’d come out without Dallas.
Did that count?
I waited only a second before nodding back. “Yeah. I got a plan.”
Ah, the classic Wolfgang plan. -nodding- So wise.
Tune in on Thursday for the next part and I’ll see you guys next time!