Chapter 8 continued
'The gravity dampers on my gun are detachable. It should be pretty easy to strop them to the plug-in. Then we just have to haul it to the car.' I suppressed the urge to add a 'Right?' at the end of that sentence. I felt that manly confidence was the best way to go.
'And where will the dampers get their power from?' Petrova made a point of examining the metal cylinder with great care.
'Power?' I had to control y voice to keep it from breaking.
'Yes. Power. Did you really think you get to break a fundamental law of nature for free?'
'I actually had never thought about that.'
'You do give a lot of things no thought, don't you?'
'That is a bit unfair. I am under a lot of stress here. It seems that everyone but the Triads are trying to kill me. Which isn't really helping my thought process. And really as long as it works' I gestured towards my gun that she was still hanging from her belt 'I really don't care how it works.' She rolled her eyes and started pacing up and down the pawn shops little vault. Two and a half steps up, two and a half steps down. Cursing under her breath pausing every once in a while to look at the plug-in and shake her head at me.
'How about this' I said 'I get us a couple of crowbars. We can use them as levers to get the plug in out. Then we just roll the thing to the car. Case closed.'
'Yes why don't we just drop a priceless cylinder stuffed full of fragile gears to the ground and roll it around in the dirt a bit.' her reserves of scorn seemed limitless.
'Fine. I'm not a tech guy. But you are hardly helping, are you? I can be sarcastic all on my own I really don't need your help for that. I need your help with this.' I pointed at the plug in.
'You wait here I will go and look if I can't find something useful.' she turned around and stalked out of the vault.
'Wait!' I called after her. 'My gun.'
Another judgement by glances only this time she gave me a court nod and handed me my pistol. I pushed the deposit box shut. Which gave me an idea. I ran after Petrova to share my latest brilliant idea.
She was upstairs browsing through all the junk that was ready to find a new owner looking for something she might use. She was in a state of constant head-shaking. When it came to look utterly disappointed with nice dash general disgust she could have given my father a run for his money.
'I think I might have thought of something.' I said.
'I admire your courage. What's it this time? Tiny helicopters?'
'No. I just noticed that the secure box which is holding the plug in is really easy to open and close.' One eye brow moved up and one corner of her mouth went down. 'No hear me out. When I dumped the plug-in into the deposit box it did not budge a bit. So I would guess that it has got its own gravity dampers.'
'Sounds plausible.' her eye brow and her mouth corner moved closer together again.
'OK. Those things are built to take a lot of punishment from outside. But not from the inside. I mean' I dropped my voice a few notches, the owner of the pawn shop was browsing some magazine but I really did not want to risk him overhear my fabulous plan 'who ever opens a safe deposit box and then tries to steal it?'
'I see where this is going but there is still the problems with the...' now her face was almost neutral. Just her crossed arms needed some more convincing.
'The energy I know. What ever reduces those drawers light is probably hooked to an external power-supply. But we could get a battery or something and hook it up to it. Right?' as manly as the class nerd eager to please the teacher.
'Hmmm... Yes that might work. OK. You know this place better than I. I need a charged high power battery. Do you know where we can get one?'
'Certainly. The Square of Desires is not 100 meters from here and on its market we should be able to get one of those without a problem.'
A tiny smile appeared on her face. 'Right let's go then.'
It did not take long to find a stall on the market selling all kinds of car related junk. Petrova had come up with a good enough cover story about a ridiculously overpowered quadrophonic sound system for her car which needed some serious juice. The vendor was all to happy to oblige her and was scuttling all over his stall like an over exited capitalist hamster unloading some of his choice morsels in front of her. She produced some kind of measuring device from her tool-belt. It looked like a cyborg popsicle with rainbow coloured wires for hair. She attached some of the wires to the first battery on offer. A solid silver ring the size of a small fist. She watched the data parade over the little devices screen while it made a rather sad noise that went from low to lower. Pertrova looked at the vendor, she sighed deeply and her eyes went to do their grisly work. They took the man's head and started to make a brain omelette.
'I could have better performance using a potato and a lemon. This does not make me want to buy your shit it makes me want to set you on fire.' The man looked slightly nervous and started to tell her how that was actually a very cost efficient device, but Petrova just silenced him with a glance. Now she tried a smile. It was mostly a baring of teeth.
'I am a reasonable person. So I will give you one more chance before I go somewhere else. Try and give me a really good battery. So far I am not very impressed with your performance.' her voice had gone from icy to malicious innuendo, 'So just try to think of what impression you are giving when presenting me with this tiny, useless, shrivelled piece of shit.' she opened her hand letting the battery fall down with an audible crash onto the stall, her eyes fixed into those of the vendor. The man had gone through some rather impressive colour changes in the last few seconds. A chameleon witnessing this would have probably turned green in envy and felt inadequate about that too.
In the end he produced some below the counter batteries which elicited some slightly bored coos from the little device. Good enough.
We were walking back to the pawn shop when a large man stopped us. He was wearing a wide brimmed hat against the rain and a long coat to conceal his arsenal of weapons. Either that or he disliked leaving his house without his golf clubs.
'Piss off missy.' he was also very charming.
'And a good evening to you to.' I said while keeping an eye on Petrova who I was sure was already planning a murder.
'Shut up Kane. You're coming with me now. Nice and quiet and we will see that your girlfriend here goes home in one piece.'
'See I told you I was famous.' I told Petrova using this to have a proper look at her and see if there was someone behind us that might be a colleague of the large man. Petrova to my surprise looked terrified. But at least the streeth behind us seemed to be clear. There where only the usual patrons of Leftover street who now minded their own business with utmost concentration.
'Now missy do piss off before daddy gets angry!'
'Oh... OK... Just please don't hurt me... Sir.'
I started to believe that I had slipped into a parallel dimension. The new Petrova retreated hastily backwards almost falling down in the process.
'Now to you Kane. Are you going to come with me or do I have to beat you up a bit first?'
I answered that by pulling out my gun.
'How about you turn around and piss off mate?' I said.
I just got an ugly smile full of ugly teeth as an answer.
'Don't think I will shoot you.' as I said that I pushed the button that let the laser aim points light up for dramatic effect.
The large man was still not impressed. He pointed with one thumb over his shoulder saying: 'And you should not think that 'I have come alone to get you.' Taking a step back to avoid a surprise attack I looked up to where he was pointing. Far above the ground sticking to the wall like a strange bug was another person. Clad in black wielding a rather evil looking rifle. The sniper also turned on his laser sight for dramatic effect. That worked pretty well I had to admit. Then he exploded. Also very surprising but not as intimidating. The large man hearing the explosion turn around with one of his hands moving inside of his coat.
That was all the invitation I needed. I covered the distance between us with all the sweaty nervous excitement that comes with an old fashioned rush of adrenalin. I raised my arm holding my gun high into the air ready to strike. The large man turned around to me again his eyes still wide in surprise. When he saw me coming he pulled his arm up with shocking speed intercepting the gun on its way towards his face. When the the practically weightless barrel was slowed down by the block it released its entire mass again. The gun broke through the bones pulverizing them and there was still enough momentum left to smash right into the large man's face sending him into the ground in an awkward pirouette leaving a spiral trail of blood spit and broken tears.
The passerbys had all frozen for a shocked second when they suddenly remembered that they had some pressing business to attend to far away. Petrova walked back to me her rifle leaning over her shoulder.
'Well done Kane. If a bit excessive.'
'Excessive? You just made that sniper explode!'
She shrugged. 'Explosive rounds tend to do that. He still alive?' she prodded the prone figure with the tip of her boot. There were some gurgling noises coming from the heap that had once been the large man. 'Brilliant. We'll take him with us.'
I had to agree with her 'Some answers would be nice for a change.' I could not shake the feeling that things were going more and more out of control with every passing moment.
'Can you drive?' she asked?
'OK you get the car then. You pack this idiot into the boot.' another prod with the boot. 'While I try to modify drawer in the pawn shop.'
I got the car. Shoved the still unconscious puddle of a man into the boot. Tied his hand and feet with the the car's jumper cable to avoid some unpleasant jack-in-the-box action later. That done I drove back to the pawnshop. Inside Petrova was working on the safe deposit box.
'Will it work?' I asked.
'I think it will. The dampers are integrated into the drawer itself and the connection to the mains is actually pretty straight forward. And the best part is that the boxes are actually made to be easily removed. Looks like we can leave the cover plate intact. No one will even notice that we took it.'
'Brilliant. I brought a tarpaulin to cover our new toy.' bought for one measly credit from this very pawn-shop.
'Good thinking Kane.'
Five minutes later we were hauling out the plug-in with its new handy drawer. The gravity damping was not as good as with the carrying case, but at least we were able to get it out. I checked out my 'parcel' paying for the day it had been in the vault and because I felt guilty about demolishing the shop I had left 250 Credits behind the cover plate of my former safe deposit box.
Then we were of on the streets again with a failed murdered in the boot, a miracle of modern technology on the back seat and a goal before our eyes. Now we could finally go and teach a terraformer how to speak.