The Ghost of Vuadeville PastMature

As they approached the weapons testing facility, Logan stopped to clear his throat. "Drake... I, uh, have something I need to tell you before we continue."
Drake's grin slowly transformed. The outer curvature of his smiling lips straightened as his face began to show signs of concern. "Logan. I have never known you to beat around the bush about anything. If something has you stammering, I get... uncomfortable.".
Logan places a hand on Drakes shoulder and draws him in closer. His voice now quiet and secretive, he clears his throat again. "The company has asked for a special representative to accompany your team through the shift.".
Drake slowly backed away. "If this is going where I think it's going, Logan, you have just officially gained the nickname Buzzkill!"
"My hands are tied on this one. The order came straight from the brass upstairs. It has been awhile since the two of you have crossed paths. It is ordered that you two play nice. This is the biggest event since the invention of sliced bread and they want the best buttering their toast!"
"That was a lovely metaphor, Logan."
"I've been a baby sitter for a long time. After a while, you learn how to speak to the brats."
The seriousness of the conversation quickly eases into quiet laughter. Drake slightly shakes his head and runs his hand down his face. "Alright, alright. I promise not to piss in anybody's corn flakes. But, I want it made perfectly clear, this is MY mission! I make the calls once we are in the Shift."
"It has already been explained during his briefing. He knows you are carrying the leash on this one."
"If I had a dog like that, I would throw him in the doghouse and bury it!"
"Say what you want, but while you have been flying solo, he has been the company's go-to guy for most of our dirty work. He isn't much on finesse, but he gets the job done."
"Then, why bring me in?"
"We needed a cool head. Someone that thinks before they fire. We want to explore in the Shift, not riddle it with bullets and burn it down! This could save our species. Yes, we need to walk through that portal prepared for hostility, but if diplomacy is possible, we want a smart, intelligent representative."
"You are a silver tongued devil."
"You haven't heard anything yet. Wait for the female operatives to arrive. Now, let's make some magic and re-unite you two love birds."
Logan raises his arm to signify they continue through the door of the weapons testing facility. Drake straightens his shirt and places his hand on the door handle.
"Thunder dome." he mutters.
"What was that?"
Drake smiles as he turns his head towards Logan. "Two men enter, one man leaves."
Logan jokingly pushes Drake through the door.
The room smells of gunpowder. Several targets lay decimated on the bright white floors. Along the north wall, weapons wait patiently to liberate their payloads. Target dummies stand in patience. Their tan skins and red target chests bring back memories of testing sessions early on in Drake's career. One of the dummies begins to sway from side to side.
"Look gang! It's Drake! Our long lost friend! We saved a spot for ya!"
Drake turns to see Logan smiling and shaking his head. Logan claps his hands together and rubs them vigorously. "Now you kids play nice! The testing op will be here soon to make sure there is no rust in your strut." He Sighs and leaves the room. Drake turns back to the target dummies. "It's been a long time, Vaudeville."
"Not long enough from the look on your face." Vaudeville steps out from behind the dummy. His clothing appears purposely disheveled. A throwback to the Manson family seems to be his intention. Messy long black hair, torn jeans, white long sleeve thermal shirt, biker vest, combat boots, two shoulder holsters and enough silver jewelry to make a pawn store owner giggle like a school girl. Some things never change Drake thinks to himself. "I see you got some new ink."
Vaudeville looks at his hands. His knuckles now adorned with the words BOZO MOJO. "Poetry, isn't it? He pulls up his sleeves to reveal his clown tattoo covered arms. "I got these in Afghanistan shortly after our falling out. Right after the artist finished, I tipped him twenty big ones. By big ones, I mean bullets. He was the brother of a mark I was hunting. I was having trouble finding him, so I paid his family a visit. Vengeance. It is the ultimate motivator."
"You were always the master of subtlety." Drake said. "Thunder dome" he whispered to himself.

The End

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