Authors: Harold Bloemer
Caesar pauses for a moment before continuing his fiery diatribe. “Despite
Dictator Klaxton’s sanctioned crackdown on me and my fellow business
associates, she is not what this video is about. No, this video is about the
three individuals who tried to assassinate me earlier today. I’m referring to
the infamous ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’.”
The screen cuts away to a picture of me, Lance, and Krystal. Our faces are
plastered on ‘Wanted’ posters.
“Dear God…,” Lance mutters in a barely audible whisper.
“These are the people I am after… Lance, Boom Boom, and Krystal,” Caesar says
as the camera zooms in on our faces. “I want them captured and delivered to me.
Dead or alive, it does not matter. Although if they are brought in alive, I
could be convinced to add a significant bonus to the reward. I would love to
perform the same sort of ‘interrogation techniques’ our government uses against
That, of course, is a thinly veiled reference to merciless torture.
The video flickers and Caesar and Maxwell appear once more. This time Caesar’s
face is a hideous mask of pure, unadulterated, deformed rage.
In a quivering voice that builds to a mighty crescendo, Caesar bellows, “I want
these pieces of scum brought to me, and I am willing to pay a handsome reward
for their capture. As I said in the beginning, I realize times are tough. That
is why I am more than willing to pay
ten million dollars
Harpoon and Blade both gasp. Lance smacks his head and says, “Holy shit!!”
Krystal gags on her pretzels and cries, “Ah hell naw, I have got to get out of
My head starts spinning. I back up against the couch and sit on the arm rest.
“Ten million dollars for the heads of Lance, Boom Boom, and Krystal,” Caesar
repeats. “If you have a desire to live the rest of your days as a king, I will
provide the means. All I ask is that you help me exact vengeance.”
The screen flickers, then it goes dark. Seconds later the reporter comes back
on, looking as pale and shaken as the rest of us.
Harpoon starts crying and throws her arms around Lance’s leg. “I don’t want you
guys to die!” she wails uncontrollably. “You’re all we have!”
Lance hugs Harpoon back and calmly replies, “Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’ll be
okay. I promise.” His shaking voice suggests he doesn’t believe his own words.
I glance at Blade. He’s still on the couch, but he looks as frightened as he
did when he was younger, when the Boogeyman lived in his closet.
I sit down next to him. He sniffles and gives me a hug.
“Seriously guys, don’t worry,” I say soothingly.” We can handle ourselves. No
one’s going to come after us. We’re the good guys, remember?”
But the truth is, I’ve never been more terrified in my life. The concept of
good and evil is divided by nothing more than a blurry, gray line nowadays.
We’re in the middle of the worst depression in history. People are broke,
starving, and desperate. $10,000,000 is an unfathomable amount of money. It’s
why we went after Caesar for
of that amount.
Dagger used to always say, “His goose is cooked,” when we closed in on a target.
Now I think that phrase applies to us. Our goose has avoided the oven for
years, but now… thanks to the botched apprehension of one of the most powerful
crime bosses in America… our goose is about to be thrown straight into the
fiery pits of Hell.
“This is the place?” I ask as we approach the desolate warehouse.
“That’s what Al said,” Boom Boom says. There’s a slight quiver in her voice.
I grab Boom Boom’s hand and give it a gentle squeeze. “Don’t worry, it’ll be
fine. If things get out of control, Krystal will bail us out.”
Boom Boom stifles a chuckle. “Yeah, that’s not making me feel better.”
Yeah, me neither. Krystal is currently parked on some rooftop a mile away.
She’s supposed to be watching us with the new goggles and robotic mosquito we
just bought. But knowing her she’s probably watching some trashy reality show.
I look up at the star-filled sky through my own green-tinted shades, but I
don’t see any mosquitos buzzing around. I assume it’s up there somewhere. I’m
just glad it’s not raining. The government’s really gone overboard with all
their artificial rainstorms. I personally think they’ve screwed up the
gulf-stream with all their geo-engineering, and they don’t know how to control
it anymore. But of course the government would never admit that.
Boom Boom squeezes my hand back. She still seems tense. In an attempt to calm
her down, I seductively lick my lips and say, “You look good in leather,
Boom Boom smacks my arm. “Don’t be a pervert, we’re on a mission.”
I notice her lips twitch ever-so-slightly. Score one for me.
I’m not joking when I say Boom Boom looks good, either. I mean, she always
looks great, but right now she looks even sexier than usual. She’s dressed in a
low-cut shirt that shows off some of her cleavage. She also has on a leather
jacket, tight leather pants, and high-heel boots.
But Boom Boom’s leather outfit isn’t the hottest thing about her disguise. It’s
her dyed blonde hair. Since we’re well-known in the criminal underworld,
sometimes we have to go to extreme lengths to hide our identities. Boom Boom’s
red hair is a distinctive feature, so she occasionally dyes it. I love her
fiery red hair, but the blonde dye is really hot.
As we get closer to the factory Boom Boom slows down.
“What’s wrong now?”
Boom Boom looks around frantically. “I have a bad feeling about this. It’s
quiet… a little too quiet.”
Boom Boom’s right. The factory looks abandoned. There are no lights in the
parking lot, nor are there any cars. In fact, there’s no sign whatsoever that
thousands of people are here for an underground steel cage brawl.
“Now wait a minute,” I say. “You just assured me this is the right place. Why
are you suddenly having doubts?”
Boom Boom sighs. “I don’t know. Can we really trust Al?”
“I wouldn’t if he was sober. But he was totally wasted. Drunk people don’t lie.
They just blurt stuff out.”
“I just don’t like walking into these things unarmed.”
I know exactly how Boom Boom feels. I always feel naked without my gun. But we
have to go in unarmed. The guards are going to frisk us. At least, according to
drunk Al they will.
We continue our long march toward the deserted factory. I flash back to what
led us to this mission in the first place.
It all started two days ago, one day after we got back from Cincinnati. We
spent most of our savings replacing all the weapons, armor, and ammo we lost
going after Caesar. We also bought a crappy used car that barely flies. (It
stalled twice in mid-air on the way over.)
Basically we’re broke. With rent coming up, we’re in desperate need of a big
. So my pals and I do what we always do when we’re strapped
for cash: we go looking for high-bounty bad guys.
We spent a couple hours searching through our database of wanted criminals and
eventually decided to go after Remy Pelletier, the U.S.’s most wanted financier
of Canadian terrorist groups.
The main reason we decided to go after Pelletier is because of the whopping
bounty on his head: $750,000. According to our intel (and what we heard about
him on the news) Remy is a pretty sleazy guy. But he’s also super smart and
ruthless. His biography says that his dad was a rich and powerful pharmaceutical
tycoon who died under ‘mysterious circumstances’ a few years back.
Shortly after his dad’s death, Remy embezzled the pharmaceutical company
out of hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing it into bankruptcy. He then
went on the run and used his money to fund terror groups around the globe,
especially Canadian and Russian ones. He’s rumored to be one of Mikhail
Rasputin’s major American backers.
Apparently Remy isn’t good at handling his finances, though, because he soon
ran out of money. He’s rumored to be a high-rolling playboy who spends millions
a year on booze, women, drugs, and high-stakes poker games (which he seems to
always lose). Nowadays he raises money for his playboy lifestyle and terrorist
funding by being a sort of ‘universal’ bookie who puts together underground
steel cage brawls. The government outlawed the brawls years ago because people
kept getting killed. The fights still go on, though, and Remy is the
ringleader. People come to the fights and place bets, and Remy skims a percentage
of all the winnings.
Practically every bounty hunter in the country has tried to track down Remy at
one point or another, but no one’s ever come close to nabbing him. He’s too
clever and he has too many connections. We, however, have a secret weapon that
helped put us on his trail.
During my uncle’s 20-plus career as a bounty hunter, he created a giant
database of all the fugitive criminals in America. He even made a list of
international fugitives in case he ever came across them during his travels.
The database not only includes the names and faces of the criminals, but it
also has all their known aliases and past residences, plus a list of all their
friends, family, enemies, and casual acquaintances.
After Uncle Dagger died, Boom Boom continued to update the list whenever
we stumbled upon new information, or heard it on the news. Boom Boom also
spends countless hours each week doing her own research. She looks stuff up
online, hacks into government databases, and infiltrates criminal networks.
Boom Boom is like some computer genius, and I quite frankly don’t know where I
would be without her. She’s the reason we were able to track down Caesar, and
she’s the reason we got a lead on Remy.
Boom Boom only had to spend a few minutes on Remy’s file before she discovered
one of our neighbors, Al Shank, was recently arrested on suspicion of attending
one of Remy’s fights. He apparently tried to deposit a crap-load of
undocumented money into his checking account. That caught the attention of bank
investigators, who called the cops. Fortunately for Al, he was never convicted
for lack of evidence. With that being said, everyone knows Al used to gamble at
the fights when they were legal, so he was placed on a watch list of Remy
Al is basically an older, lonely guy who likes to spend his evenings passed out
on a bar floor. Boom Boom and I knew we could get him to talk as long as we
liquored him up, so we offered to take him out to dinner. We then wined and
dined him until his speech became slurred and he staggered when he walked.
After that we took him back to his place and wined him some more.
we asked him when Remy was hosting his next fight. Al freely gave us that
information. The next steel cage brawl was today, in Detroit, at the abandoned
warehouse less than 100 feet away from us.
I take a deep breath and walk right up to the front door. Boom Boom holds my
hand, but she lags half a step behind.
When I reach the door I knock ten times. (According to Al that’s the secret
knock.) I hear nothing but the dull clang of my knuckles against rusted iron.
After that, silence.
Boom Boom and I wait for about a minute, but no one answers the door.
Boom Boom sighs irritably. “Al gave us the wrong address. What a waste of
“Oh well,” I say, stepping back from the door. “I guess we can go after Maxine
Irving, the chick who killed those two cops in Cleveland. We at least have a
decent idea of where she might be hiding.”
“But her bounty is only $50,000,” Boom Boom points out. “We’ll blow through
that money in no time.”
I’m about to say something when I’m interrupted by a creaking sound. I spin
around to find a small rectangular peephole near the center of the door. I
didn’t notice it before, so someone must have just opened it. I lean closer to
get a better look and immediately jump back when a pair of sunglasses appears.
The man wearing the shades gruffly barks, “What’s the password? And hurry up
with it if ya don’t wanna get shot.”
A gun clicks from behind the door. My mind draws a blank. Al told us the
password, but I can’t for the life of me remember it.