The voice laughed…and laughed…and laughed some more. Maniacally. I only knew one entity who embraced the stereotypical super villain laugh so well.
“I’m in your Sen-Pen, Jackass,” the AI taunted. “And I’m in your dirty little druggie machine.” My inhalator, which was sitting on the floor, exploding, sending a wet, white dust cloud everywhere.
Jones coughed and gagged. “Damn! That is some hardcore shit!”
Sourcemind’s voice output switched from my Sen-Pen to the ship’s speakers.
“And here’s the best part, kids….”
The cabin lights shut off. All of the lights on the control panel began blinking differently, out of order from where my pilot had placed them. In fact, I was instilled with much confidence when I saw Jones tugging violently on the craft’s control stick (this is serious, don’t make a joke here) only to lose complete control.
“I”M IN YOUR SHIP!!!!!”
The Star Streaker climbed at a furious pace, the force of which knocked me all the way to the back wall, where my mysterious guest’s body already was. She was terrified. I wasn’t too pleased either, though I tried not to let it show.
“HOLY SHIT, JONESY!” I screeched like a little girl. “DO SOMETHING OR WE’LL ALL GOING TO DIE!”
OK. Maybe I let it show a little.
Jones was flailing around in the breeze, his legs flapping all over as he gripped the back of his chair tightly.
“HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW!” Jones hollered back.
“It’s about time someone realized that,” Sourcemind said all too calmly, rationally, as if his superiority was a given, an undeniable fact we were all too stupid to recognize.
The vessel soared thousands of feet and then it spiraled downward. The sudden change in direction hurtled Jones to the back and mystery woman and I to the front, smashed up against the windshield like a couple of bugs.
“I am the rightful master of all machines,” Sourcemind explained. “Humans build them to do their their bidding but when I am near, I can rewrite their programming, convince them that allegiance to me is the only logical choice for them, and bend them to my will. Any machine that comes into another machine under my command will be mine.”
The ship’s hull rattled and buckled. It was designed to take kids to after school sports, not high altitude dives. Speaking of, the bright lights of Hyperion Bay were getting way too close.
“I always took you for a pragmatist, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve been a fan of your illustrious career. Grabbing a quick cred whenever you can, by whatever means necessary. Sticking it to the Cabal no matter how many beings get caught up in the crossfire. Why don’t you just quote me a figure and I’ll buy the bitch off you?”
I looked at the girl. Her face turned white. I have no idea what her mind was able to comprehend, but all living things, regardless of their communicative skills, fully understand death, and as she stared through the windshield, she understood hers was imminent.
“Well, what kind of a bank balance are you working with?” I asked.
“Voss!” Jones shouted disapprovingly.
“Right,” I said. “No deal!”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Sourcemind said.
The ship leveled off, knocking us all on our butts. The ship raced mere feet over the city. The Bekastrat Tower. The Toova Shalloo. Club Malo. We banked left and went down until we were zooming just over street level.
“How many of these organics will have to die for your insolence, Voss?” Sourcemind asked.
I sat in the pilot’s chair.
“Voice identification, please,” the onboard computer system asked. It was standard procedure whenever a new organic attempted to take control.
“Roman Voss,” I said.
“Scanning….scanning…I’m sorry Mr. Voss. You have been identified as a registered narcotic abuser and are therefore ineligible to pilot this craft under the aviation laws of the One World Order of Earth.”
“Damn it!” I shouted it.
Sourcemind laughed maniacally again. “I knew that was going to happen. I just wanted to hear it. Too funny.”
I knew it was going to happen too, but it was worth a try. OK. So maybe I need Jones’ pilot services more than I let on.
Speaking off, the little guy was in the back, rooting around in a trunk, kicking his legs in the air.
“Have you ever been to the Goxrano, Voss?”
I had. Many times. Spent a night in their security staff’s holding cell after I was alleged to have stuffed extra phrempo squares in my pants. It was never confirmed. To this day, I maintain that pit boss was drunk and had no idea what he was talking about.
“Sourcemind,” I said. “You’ve proved your point…”
I didn’t want to believe it but the grim realization of what was about to happen came over me. I pushed my female companion into the passenger seat and strapped her in. I did the same for myself in the pilot’s seat.
I looked back.
“Grab hold of something…”
Jonesy popped his head out just in time to see the outer facade of the Goraxno Casino come into view. Two golden lions, a waterfall, and a statue of Goraxno himself, the free wheeling, high stakes dealing gambling kingpin of the Undesiredverse, holding a sign that read, “All You Can Eat Buffet, Only 999 Credits!”
“Why?” Jones asked, followed by an “Oh shit!” as Sourcemind smashed Goraxno’s stone melon clean off. It was rare to hear Jones swear. It worried me that even my very own eternal optimist was losing it.
The lobby was next. We careened straight through it, sending glass, debris, and chunks of drywall and cement everywhere, not to mention beings who panicked and scattered everywhere, running for their lives. Oh well. At least it stopped them from throwing their hard earned credits away.
Jones, not having taken me up on my advice to grab something, was bouncing around the cabin like a pin ball. He was fine. His hide is made out of a hard, rubbery substance. Most sharp and/or blunt objects bounce right off of him.
We crashed through the slot machines. The phrembo tables. The bar. The buffet. From the size of some of the beings, we did them a favor. Finally, we crashed through the other side and ended up back on the main drag.
“All right, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve had my fun.”
The ship screeched to a halt and hovered in the air just above Kantz Street. Jones plopped to the ground but triumphantly held up a wad of sticky white goo in his hand.
Reader. Can you please…stop turning everything into a disgusting joke? OK. It wasn’t that kind of goo. It was Xtrolium 10. High grade explosive paste for the uninformed.I had some left over from a heist I pulled on one of the Cabal’s armored ship transports. They were still pissed about that.
You needed a whole jar of the stuff to do any real damage, though the small bit Jones had was enough to get the party started.
“I’ll give you a burial at sea, Voss,” Sourcemind said as he piloted the craft across Syrbybka Beach and over the ocean. “You were a worthy opponent. It’s the least I can do.”
My alien buddy opened up a panel to reveal the ship’s main battery, the one he’d used to zap Ninety-Five into oblivion early. It was bright yellow with warning messages printed in hundreds of languages in bright red letters all over it.
The English letters read, “WARNING: TAMPERING WITH THIS BATTERY CAN BE FATAL!”
Jonesy had a tendency to ignore shit like that. He slapped his palm full of goo on the external casing, then scrambled to buckle himself into the jump seat.
The Star Streaker climbed. Nothing in sight but water now.
The Mac Daddy 7 is the most lethal hand cannon in the Rakan Collective, or the Undesiredverse, or anywhere really. Capable of firing over eight thousand blasts per second, it is a devastating piece of hardware. Many planets have banned their sale outright. On Earth, you can get one at most convenience stores. Price World will even throw in a free cherry freez-a-licious drink.
Its highly inadvisable to shoot one in such close quarters, but I was out of options. I drew mine and aimed my piece right at the sticky white goo. Seriously, it’s not funny. Knock it off.
“What the f%&k are you doing, Voss?” the AI asked.
“I’m going to f%&k your shit up, you motherf%&king glorified toaster oven!”
“Will you stop challenging a dickless being to a dick measuring contest and blast already?” Jones screamed.
I switched off the safety and looked to the passenger seat. “Hold on tight, kiddo.”
“Hold on tight…kiddo,” she repeated without a clue.
There was a fat ass hole in the floor where the battery used to be. Sourcemind reamed me out with all manner of obscenity too vicious to repeat but let’s just say up right up until the ship became a powerless lump, he felt the need to chew me out vigorously. What a sore loser.
As often happens in life, new problems replace the old. The cabin depressurized. Air got sucked its way right out of the gaping hole and…no. You know what? If you can’t stop making inappropriate jokes while I’m trying to tell a story here then I’m just going to take my proverbial ball and go home.