“Well, at least we didn’t get knocked out this time,” Jessica said. “That part gets old fast.”
“They did take our blood, though,” David said. “So they’ll be able to tell us our blood types, I guess.”
The stars had moved a little. The party was raging fully now; the shouting, laughing and engine sounds had magnified tenfold and were now all Tesla Squad could hear. The boxes in between them and the party proper provided meagre sound-proofing, if any. They couldn’t hear whispers, only normal talking volume or higher.
Jarred wasn’t paying attention to their discussion. He had more important matters to focus on, like burning through his ropes. All it took was an almost nonexistent spark, closer to a static jolt than his normal lethal bolt of lightning, to burn through the rope. It took concentration to control it so, but it wasn’t a hard task, nor was he at risk of burning himself—the benefits of a secondary, but no less important, power. But he had to concentrate to direct the spark.
He could smell burning rope, the scent like cheap tobacco and almost exactly what he imagined it would be; could feel the scorching heat close to his hands. Finally, the restriction on his arms let go and his hands were free. He held them out in front of him.
“Did you just burn through your ropes?” David asked.
“Yep,” he replied.
“Okay, me next!”
“What about ladies first?” Jessica asked.
“I thought that only applied to lady-like damsels and such,” David countered.
“Oooh,” she said. “Touché.”
Jarred burnt through David’s ropes and then worked on Jessica’s. As he was working on Modok’s bonds they heard a bandit coming closer, muttering about checking the prisoners.
“Get ready to jump the bandit,” he commanded, leaning in close to whisper. David and Jessica hid their hands and ropes behind themselves. Jarred wasn’t going to risk burning the rest of Modok’s rope with the bandit present. He was only halfway through the most important part of the knot, but the smoke that continuing would cause would just attract attention.
The bandit produced the keys and unlocked the cage. Modok twitched, clenched his considerably-sized hands into considerably-sized fists. He was shaking.
He snapped the ropes, which miraculously didn’t give Jarred whiplash—his reflexes just that fast—and sprang up. Modok lunged at the startled bandit and smashed both fists against his head.
It took a total of two seconds.
“Well,” said Jarred. “That was easy.”
“Now we just have to sneak past the partying bandit horde,” David said. “Maybe we should lock this guy in here?”
“And steal us some phat bandit wheels,” Jessica added.
“Should be a walking cake, or whatever that phrase was,” Jarred stated.
Jarred led the way. He carefully pushed the door open, though it was doubtful anyone would be paying attention due to the partying—he hoped—nor would anyone hear one little gate opening amongst the much-louder anarchistic revelry taking place.
Still, he breathed a large sigh of relief when they found their weapons and got to some bandit vehicles apparently undetected.
“Jess, you’re up,” he said, indicating the nearest van, a maxi taxi. “You can hotwire a van, right?”
“Yeah,” she replied, “but why do we need a van?”
Modok spoke. “Because I turn to stone in daylight. I need to be inside something.”
“Ah. And that would be bad because we wouldn’t get paid.”
“Exactly,” Jarred replied.
“One stolen—er, liberated—van coming right up.”
Jessica moved to the right side, picked the lock on the driver’s door and disappeared into the foot space. After some tinkering a spark ignited and the engine roared to life.
Loud enough to draw attention.
“The prisoners!” someone shouted.
“Move it!” Jarred ordered.
Before the door had even finished sliding shut Jessica embraced her lead-footed nature and the van sped away from the amphitheatre, tearing up the yellowed lawn as it ventured out of the parkland, onto the car-strewn Roma Street.
The chase was on as six bandit vehicles came roaring after them: two quad bikes, three sedans and a van, each covered in various spikes, bones, and graffiti.
Jessica drove crazy. She tore down Roma street heading east to avoid the major debris on the direct path. The road turned into Albert street, then it was a right turn onto Turbot.
She accelerated then braked hard coming into the turn onto George Street. That road was a winding path between abandoned cars, the wheels crushing all manner of paper and plastic litter underneath as the van ploughed ahead. Adelaide Street was a bad idea—another gang of bandits were known to live there somewhere—so she sped on to Elizabeth Street just as the bandits began firing assault rifles at the van.
Braking hard she turned left and almost ran into an overturned bus, narrowly squeezing between it and the nearest car. The left mirror went flying.
“I know this is a chase, but please don’t crash us,” Jarred called out.
“Can’t make any promises,” Jessica replied. Another hail of assault rifle fire tore at their back, this time connecting with the window. Jarred fired back, spraying bullets at the pursuing bandits. He hit one of the two quad bikes, sending it swerving into a lane off the right side, but there were still five to go.
David also fired back, but a shotgun was almost useless at ranges much greater than in-your-face. They reached the spot where they’d encountered Modok a month and a half ago. The car pile-up was still there. Jessica turned up Albert Street and headed to Queen Street over the bricks and coke bottles. They narrowly avoided some emo kids near Hungry Jacks as they sped past amidst another hail of bullets on Queen Street proper.
“They’re still on us!” Jarred called out, ducking below the shattered back window.
“You have an assault rifle!” Jessica replied. “Assault them!”
Jarred emptied the clip into the pursuing bandits, taking out one who then careened into another, the both of them flying into a throng of emos and cutting them up on their vehicle spikes.
The ammo spent, he dropped the gun and clenched his fist. Electricity crackled around it, and with a shout he unleashed that gathered power at the bandit in his direct line of fire. The resulting lightning bolt tore into the bandit sedan’s bonnet and set it on fire, followed by an explosion as the fuel and oil ignited in one great fireball. The car landed on an angle and crashed to the ground, the glass fracturing and the tyres blowing out. It was spectacular.
“Score!” Jarred yelled. Then ducked as more bullets battered the back door. He felt dizzy, and his eyes and ears hurt. All this, the cost of using his power.
“How are we doing?” Jessica asked.
“Down to three!”
“We’re almost out of fuel!”
The remaining pursuers closed in, and Jarred ducked to reload as David unloaded buckshot into their faces.
The bandits backed off at the end of the street. Jessica veered right.
Right onto Adelaide.
Right into another group of bandits.