‘The Heist, Part III’
“Listen up, ya baldy-heads!” yells Joule. “You all know what this is! Flatulo-virus! All I gotta do is open it and we all drop dead!”
When the smoke clears, Joule’s in front of the mechs in the middle of the hangar, waving a little corked vial around. SBD’s leaning on her, breathing hard. Guards flood in, including the ones holding our friends. Two of ‘em tackle Gator, anchor and all. Echoing in the back we hear Chatter wailing. “It’s ooooover! We’re deeeeead!” Soldiers pour in through the choke point, some of ‘em holding us while we struggle, some of ‘em pointing guns right at Joule, who laughs all crazy.
“We’ll never surrender! We’ll die first!” she howls, and yanks the cork outta that vial so hard her elbow bashes into SBD’s belly.
With an “Oooooof,” SBD doubles over and a familiar silent but deadly stink fills the room.
Bell collapses in a guard’s arms, her eyes rolling up. Petey groans, Gator foams at the mouth, Chester chokes. Joule spins and drops, tongue lolled out. Soldiers flee the hangar in a panic, gagging and gasping for air in the massive stench. All around the compound doors slam, sirens wail and a calm female voice on the speakers announces full lockdown due to biological weaponry.
“Eeny meeny,” mutters Joule, wiggling her finger between the two closest mechs. Bypassing a slick black one, she climbs up into the one with the sweet yellow stripes. Bashing on buttons and poking the key card in random spots makes it roar to life. “Look at this thing! Look how cool this is!”
“There’s no way out, dummy!” Bell kicks at the mech’s leg. “How’re we supposed to…”
With loud whirring and a clu
nk of machine joints, the mech lurches forward. Joule nearly falls outta the thing, rights herself and takes another clunky step forward. The huge machine’s fists open and close. There’s zapping sounds from inside the guns. We’re all running for cover while she spins the sword around, whooping like all of us aren’t about to get dead. “One ‘a these things should…” she mutters, then pushes the big red button…
Everything goes silent. The sirens and announcing lady voice stop. We scream without sound, and when the mech starts walking again, we can’t hear it. Whatever button Joule pushed left us all deaf, and a big freaking hole in the opposite wall of the hangar.
We all bail, running like mad for that hole, jumping out and fleeing toward the fence. Joule comes last, Chatter held in one ‘a the big mech fists. There’s no point in opening the fence anymore; she slams it flat under those big metal feet. Ringing starts up in our ears, then we start to hear each other shouting. Slam, slam, slam go the mech’s footsteps as we all trip and sprint toward our meeting spot outside town, where the jungle grows up on the city walls.
“Toldja we could do it,” says Joule, powering it down. She hops off and hides it under thick vines and weeds.
“Yeah sure,” says Bell, “but what’re you gonna do with it?”
Joule stops, looking up at the lumpy, camouflaged shape of her new toy. “Um…”
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