Authors: Harold Bloemer
Thankfully Boom Boom is a bit more clear-headed than I am. She calmly says,
“The password is
Klaxton is a dirty whore
. Now let us in, jackass. I
wanna see Sasquatch beat the crap out of Abyss.”
I smirk at Boom Boom’s amazing acting. She even bothered to learn the names of
the steel cage fighters, something I didn’t think to do.
I’m not the only one impressed, either. The guy behind the iron door chuckles
and says, “You’re a woman after my own heart. Just a second, sweetheart.”
The slab to the peephole slams shut. I hear the clinking and clanging of locks
being unlatched, then the creaky iron door slowly opens. Two large, muscular
men in black suits step out with large pistols. They both have shades on, and
scars crisscross their rugged faces. They’ve definitely earned their pay as
The guards proceed to pat us down. One of the douche bags rubs his hands up and
down my legs while the other swings his gun back and forth between me and Boom
Boom. After he’s done with me he moves on to her.
Boom Boom slaps the guard’s hand. “I think you’re doing molesting me.”
The guard turns to me and says, “You got a real firecracker on your hands,
If he only knew.
The guard reaches for Boom Boom’s goggles. She grabs his wrist and snarls, “Lay
off the merchandise, buddy.”
The guard yanks his arm out of Boom Boom’s grasp. “It’s just protocol, ma’am.
We wanna make sure these aren’t those fancy goggles that record stuff.”
“We like to keep our glasses on,” Boom Boom says, opening the large burlap sack
she’s carrying. “We have a lengthy rap sheet. We don’t want to be… recognized…
if you know what I mean.”
“A lot of people here have rap sheets,” the guard says, cocking his head as
Boom Boom dips her hand into the sack. “So, uh, what’s in the bag?”
Boom Boom pulls out her hand and opens it palm-up, revealing five gold coins.
Boom Boom tilts her head, allowing her shades to slide down her nose. Her bright,
green eyes peer over the top of the shades, sparkling in the moonlight.
“How about a little bribe to expedite the process?”
The guards exchange smiles and aim their guns at Boom Boom’s head.
“How about you give us
the gold coins?” says the guard standing next
“Yeah, then we can talk,” says the other.
I’m just about to take down both guards when Boom Boom calmly replies, “I don’t
think you want to do that. Unless, of course, you want to explain to Remy why I
wasn’t able to deliver his payment?” Boom Boom shakes the bag, causing the
coins to jingle.
The guards gulp and step back.
“Er, no, we wouldn’t want that at all. F… follow me.”
The guards hurry inside the dark factory. Boom Boom shrugs and follows them,
her burlap bag swinging at her side. I bring up the rear.
We walk down the dark, deserted hallway in silence. All the windows are boarded
up, preventing any moonlight from entering. If it wasn’t for my goggles I
wouldn’t be able to see at all.
We stop at a steel door in the back. One of the guards presses his finger
against a scanner, and the door slides open. Bright light floods the hall.
The guard gestures toward the door. “Enjoy your evening, kids.”
The guards quickly scurry off.
I turn to Boom Boom and ask, “You ready?”
“I guess,” she replies. “Let’s get this over with.”
We both walk through the doorway, which immediately shuts behind us.
When I first walk into the room, I’m nearly overpowered by all the sights,
sounds, and smells. The center of the factory has been remade into a
brightly-lit auditorium with stadium-style seating. In the center of the
auditorium is a 20-foot tall steel cage, and two bare-chested guys in shorts
are furiously trading punches as the crowd cheers like crazy.
There are over 2,000 people in attendance. A couple hundred are crammed on the
floor surrounding the steel cage. The rest are sitting in the auditorium
You’d think the people who’d attend an illegal steel cage fight would be
criminals, but I actually recognize a few famous and respected members of
society. A lot of them are wearing disguises (wigs, hats, fake mustaches,
shades), but our goggles can see through all that. One of the people I notice
is the son of a sitting senator. Another lady is an assistant to the Detroit
mayor. My goggles also point out a couple actors, athletes, journalists, and
television reporters. Apparently this is where the rich and famous go to have a
little illegal fun.
I have to hold my breath as we get closer to the steel cage. The combined scent
of sweat, body odor, perfume, and cigarette smoke is suffocating. Poor Boom
Boom gags a few times as we make our way down to the floor, especially when we
cut through a cloud of smoke.
I grow angry when I notice all the older guys gawking at Boom Boom and
muttering disgusting comments. One pervert shouts, “Hey baby, how much for an
hour?” Another douche bag actually slaps her ass and says, “Yeah, baby got back
Boom Boom ignores the catcalls and walks on. I, however, can’t ignore it. I
slug the guy who slapped her caboose right across his face. He tumbles out of
his chair, spilling beer all over his shirt.
Boom Boom grabs my arm and drags me into the crowd.
“Keep your cool, Lance.”
I swallow my pride and let Boom Boom drag me away. She’s right, of course. If I
make a scene, we can kiss our bounty goodbye.
We’re now so close to the steel cage that we can hear the fighters talking
smack as they trade punches.
“The short, feral looking dude in the white shorts is Wolverine,” Boom Boom
says. “The guy in the green shorts is Stingray.”
I watch as Wolverine breaks Stingrays nose. Blood gushes from his nostrils as
he collapses to the mat. The crowd roars as if their favorite team just scored
a game-winning goal. I notice a few people put their heads in the hands and
tear up their tickets. I guess they picked Stingray to win.
Someone slides their hand under my shirt and rubs my stomach. I spin around,
ready to fight. I’m shocked to find a gorgeous, scantily-clad girl standing
beside me, her hand still pressed against my abs. Her long, black hair creates
an open curtain around her bronze face, and her slender body glistens with
sweat from the hot and humid auditorium. She’s wearing a skimpy bikini, and it
takes all my self-control to look into her eyes and not… elsewhere.
“Hello handsome. Would you like a dance?”
I gulp and struggle to keep my voice from cracking. I see her name stitched
across the top of her bra.
“Uh… hey, Ivory. That sounds… um…”
Ivory grabs my shades and slides them over the top of my head.
“You have such pretty blue eyes. Why don’t you come with me into the back and
I’ll give you the first dance for free?”
Boom Boom storms over and shoves Ivory, nearly knocking her to the floor.
“Back off, lady. He’s
Boom Boom snatches my hand and drags me away yet again.
I crack a grin. “Aww, you’re jealous. How cute.”
“I’m not jealous. We have a mission to complete, and you keep fooling around.”
I wring free from Boom Boom’s iron-clad grasp. “So what are we doing? You’re
stomping around like you’re looking for something.”
“I’m looking for a bookie,” Boom Boom says, adjusting her goggles as she scans
the faces of people walking by.
“Hm. I still don’t understand where all these people came from. I mean, where
are their cars? This factory is in the middle of nowhere. They couldn’t all
Someone else brushes up behind me. I know it’s another stripper when Boom Boom
starts to growl.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation,” the blonde-haired beauty
purrs. “The parking lot is
the factory, deep in the woods. Did
you guys really walk all the way over here?”
“Er, no,” I say, struggling to find my voice. The way beautiful women can make
me stumble over my words is embarrassing. “We, uh, had someone drop us
The girl chuckles and leans in so close that our lips nearly touch. She opens
her mouth, and the scent of strawberry gum filters into my nostrils. “You’re
cute. Why don’t we go in the back for a little fun?”
Boom Boom shoves the girl so hard she actually does fall to the floor. She then
drags me off yet again, grumbling about how I’m an idiot.
While Boom Boom searches for someone to place a bet with, I continue looking
for celebrities and politicians. I could totally blackmail half these people.
If the government found out they were here, they’d go to jail for many, many
I continue scanning faces until I come across one that causes my heart to skip
a beat. And my heart nearly
when the person looks directly at me.
I grab Boom Boom’s arm and yank her behind a concession stand.
“What is it?” she asks.
I place my finger against my nose. “Shhh. I think I saw Pitbull.”
Boom Boom’s face turns pale. “R…really?”
I nod and slowly stand up. Boom Boom does as well. Off in the corner a massive,
muscular man is watching the steel cage brawl. A hulking trench coat conceals
his body and a hat obscures most of his face. Long, greasy black hair tumbles
over his shoulders. He’s no longer looking in our direction; he must not have
“Yep, that’s him all right,” Boom Boom says. “He dyed his blond hair, and you
can’t see his robotic arm under his trench coat, but our goggles can see past
Pitbull is one of the most successful bounty hunters in the country. Over the
years he’s nabbed even more people than Uncle Dagger. Dagger and Pitbull were
actually rivals, fighting over the same crooks. That’s why I was afraid he’d
recognized me, since our paths crossed quite often. I’m surprised he was able
to sneak in undetected. One look under his coat would have revealed who he was.
Cyborgs aren’t all that common, and Pitbull is probably the most famous one in
America. He must have bribed the guards like we did.
“C’mon, let’s go find Remy before Pitbull does,” Boom Boom whispers, weaving
her way through the massive crowd. I have to jog to keep up.
We finally find a bookie near one of the exits. He’s in the middle of taking
bets from two guys who my goggles claim are high-profile attorneys from
Sanctuary 23. They hand the bookie several large bills, and the bookie hands
then a receipt. All wagers are made with cash or gold coins so the government
can’t track suspicious money transfers. It’s why we emptied our savings and
brought along a sack full of gold coins.
The bookie is a middle-aged bald man with a bushy mustache and even bushier
eyebrows. His fancy silk shirt is unbuttoned at the top so he can show off his
hairy chest. If he thinks that will help him woo the ladies, he’s sadly mistaken
(that is, if you go by the look of disgust on Boom Boom’s face).
When the two guys walk off with their receipts, Boom Boom saunters up to the
bookie and says, “Hey there, handsome. My friend and I want to place a bet.”
The bookie’s eyes nearly bulge out of his sockets. “Well hello, pretty lady,”
he says in a raspy voice. He glances at me, apparently jealous I have such a
hot lady friend. His gaze returns to Boom Boom’s chest. “So, how much are you
wanting to wager, beautiful?”
Boom Boom opens her burlap sack. “Two thousand gold coins.”
The bookie’s jaw nearly drops to the floor. He reaches for the bag, but Boom
Boom yanks it back. “Not so fast, buddy. If I’m going to hand over this
much money, I want to do it with
The bookie narrows his eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The slight tremble on his bottom lip says otherwise.