Authors: Harold Bloemer
Machete and Arrow hop into their car. As it lifts into the air, Arrow blows a
kiss to Boom Boom.
“See you around, Red,” he says before they streak off toward the horizon.
Boom Boom’s cheeks turn redder than ever.
“Are you seriously blushing over that creep?”
“Shut up, Lance! I’m not blushing!”
Krystal fans herself with a handkerchief. “Don’t be embarrassed, Boom Boom.
Arrow is one sexy ass little dude. He may even be hotter than you, Lance.”
“Thanks for the support,” I gripe.
Wailing police sirens off in the distance pluck me out of my grumpy mood.
“Crap, I bet those coppers are headed this way.”
“They still have cops in Detroit?” Krystal says.
I glance at the dead bodies around us. “It’s probably best we get out of here.
We know how corrupt the Detroit cops are. Well, the few cops that are left.
They’ll try to pin this on us so they don’t have to do any work.”
The three of us hop into our crappy car. Krystal revs the engine a few seconds
until it finally starts. We then shakily lift into the air and fly off. Krystal
swerves down a back alley so we’re not seen by the police.
As Krystal flies overtop a nearby building, I notice two people standing on the
rooftop. It appears to be two girls in dark ninja costumes. They have bandanas
around their heads and swords are strapped to their backs.
Boom Boom leans out the window and gasps. “Is that Yin and Yang?”
We never find out for sure because the two mysterious figures vanish out of
“What do you think they were doing?” I ask, even though I already know the
“They were probably checking us out,” Boom Boom replies. “Like Pitbull, they’re
probably thinking about handing us over to Caesar.”
I hope that’s not the case. Yin and Yang are twin 21-year old bounty hunters
who are almost as successful at capturing crooks as Pitbull. And they’re
totally ruthless. They’ll chuck throwing stars into your skull if you so much
as look at them funny.
Our car suddenly starts stalling again.
“Damn it!” Krystal curses as he pounds the dashboard.
“The engine is over-heated,” Boom Boom says. “Land on that rooftop over there.”
Krystal swerves to the building and makes a bumpy landing. I pop open the front
hood and step back as steam spirals into the air.
Boom Boom groans when she sees the steam “Let’s wait a few minutes for it to
I hear some loud talking off in the distance, but I don’t pay too much
attention to it. I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself for all of our bad luck.
Krystal draws my attention to the talking when she grabs my arm and says, “Look
guys! They’re showing something about Mikhail on the news.”
Boom Boom and I turn around to find a giant holographic TV screen on one of the
smaller skyscrapers. A small crowd has gathered to watch on the streets below.
I lift my goggles so there’s not a green tint.
On the screen is an image of Mikhail. Because we’re so far away it’s kind of
hard to hear the reporter, but fortunately for us they have the closed caption
“…and because the Chinese claim they are 100% positive their satellites have
captured images of Mikhail entering a nightclub in New Las Vegas, they are
accusing the U.S. of harboring and abetting an international criminal.”
The report shows a grainy video image (I guess from the Chinese’s spy satellites)
of a short, squat, bearded man entering some club. The satellite homes in on
the person, showing a clearer image of his face. It’s still kind of fuzzy, but
even I can see it’s a dead-on image of Mikhail Rasputin. His long, stringy
black hair is blowing in the breeze, and his beard descends down to his chest.
He’s wearing a dark purple cloak and a flowing cape. But more damning is the
image of a purple dragon plastered on his chest. The Purple Dragons, of course,
is Rasputin’s terrorist organization.
The TV screen reverts back to the reporter. “Empress Xing has put out a
statement saying the United States has one week to locate Mikhail and hand him
over to Chinese authorities. If they do not, they will send special forces in
Boom Boom and I trade alarmed glances. If the Chinese were to send forces into
America, that would ignite a war.
The report switches over to an image of short, pudgy woman with dirty blond
hair marching up to a podium. It’s President Klaxton. Her pinstriped pantsuit
makes her look like some mob kingpin.
Klaxton steps up to the podium and, in a cold, clear voice, says, “Good
evening, my fellow Americans. As you all know by now, the Chinese have accused
us of harboring the world’s most wanted fugitive, Mikhail Rasputin. While I can
assure you that certainly is not the case, it does appear, according to China’s
satellite images, that Mikhail
in America. He’s rumored to be
somewhere near New Las Vegas, Alaska, about 100 miles south of Washington, D.C.
While we cannot confirm for sure Mikhail is still in the country, I understand
China’s concern. That is why I am authorizing an unprecedented bounty for the
head of Mikhail Rasputin. I hope every bounty hunter in the country will take
me up on this offer. If anyone is able to locate and capture Mikhail, dead or
alive, the United States government will award that individual, or individuals,
Krystal starts coughing. “What did she just say?!”
“Oh my god, $25 million?” Boom Boom stammers.
I shake my head in astonishment. I’m literally speechless.
I stop paying attention to Klaxton as she regurgitates some propaganda about
how the United States does not support terrorism. I begin pacing on the roof as
my mind races.
Boom Boom walks over and says, “Well, what do you think?”
I finally stop pacing. “I think we should do it. We should go after Mikhail.”
“I don’t know, Lance. You heard Klaxton. Every bounty hunter in America will be
after him. And New Las Vegas isn’t exactly the safest place in the world.”
“Boom Boom, the reason we went after Caesar was so we could make enough money
to take a few years off from bounty hunting. If we nab Mikhail, we’ll make
enough money to where we’ll never have to work again. This bounty is the answer
to all our problems.”
“I’m with Lance,” Krystal says, cocking her gun. “Let’s go get the bastard.”
Boom Boom sighs. “Let’s at least go home and talk about it first.”
“Fine,” I say, checking on our still smoking engine. “But no matter what you
guys decide to do, I’m going after him. We’ll never get another chance to make
this much money.”
Boom grumbles about how insufferable I am, but I already know she’s made up her
mind. She’s coming with me, and so is Krystal. Boom Boom would never let me go
on such a dangerous mission by myself.
As I tinker with the engine, I smile grimly. We’re going to get that $25
million, or die trying.
The cool breeze blows a cloud of smoke in my direction. I gag as the noxious
poison enters my lungs. I cover my mouth and glare at Lance. He’s sprawled out
on a lounge chair, smoking a joint.
“Lance, put that out!”
“You know it helps me relax. But if you’re going to complain…”
Lance smashes the joint against the ground. The breeze picks up some of the
burnt cinders and blows them my way. A few of the cinders singe my bare legs.
I lean back in my chair and continue reading the intel scrolling across my
goggles. Lance and I are on the roof, trying to come up with a plan to locate
and apprehend Mikhail Rasputin. Right now I’m looking up Mikhail’s profile on
Usually when I look a fugitive up, there’s not that much intelligence to go on.
Mikhail is the complete opposite. We have so much intel on him that I’m
struggling to absorb it all.
My train of thought is occasionally interrupted by Krystal and the kids.
They’re watching some game show, and I can hear their laughs through the open
skylight. I’m tempted to close it, but we decided to open all the windows to
air the place out. An apartment can get quite stinky when you have six people
Sometimes I get annoyed that Krystal never participates in our intelligence
gathering sessions. She’s more than content to leave the brainy work of our
operation to Lance and me. (Although to be honest, Lance doesn’t do much work
either.) Then again, Krystal would probably get on my nerves. I’m better off
doing the research by myself.
A sharp pain erupts behind my right eye. I groan and massage my throbbing
head. I need more pills, but they’ll just fog up my mind. We need to get going
if we’re going to have any shot at nabbing Mikhail. It’s only been one day
since Klaxton placed a bounty on Mikhail’s head, but that still leaves us less
than a week to capture him before the Chinese start a war. We need to formulate
so we can begin our cross-country odyssey first thing in
the morning. The journey between Sanctuary 7 and New Las Vegas isn’t one you
can make in one day. Even in a flying car it will take at least several days to
cover that monstrous distance.
Our late start could work in our favor, though. We were watching the news
earlier, and they kept talking about how Alaska is being flooded with bounty
hunters. Several of those bounty hunters have already been killed in skirmishes
with other criminals. The bounty hunters have also been fighting with each
other. Alaska sounds a little hectic at the moment. Hopefully things calm down
by the time we get there. That is, if Mikhail isn’t already apprehended. Then
our odyssey will have been for naught.
There is another bit of good news that has arisen as a result of the national
manhunt for Mikhail; people seem to have forgotten
have a bounty over
our heads. The only people who tried to take us down were these middle-aged
bounty hunters who haven’t had a successful apprehension since the 2130s. They
confronted us this morning when we went to the market. Needless to say, we
incapacitated them in short order.
My mind stops wandering when I come across Mikhail’s biography. The report
claims Mikhail had a wife and six kids who died when the Chinese carpet-bombed
his compound 15 years ago. That would explain why he hates them so much. Ten
years later Mikhail got his revenge when his terror group used rocket launchers
to shoot down a plane carrying the Chinese Emperor and Empress. That forced
Princess Xing to ascend the throne at the ridiculously young age of 12, and it
ignited a civil war between the Chinese and Russians that continues to this
Historians still aren’t exactly sure what Mikhail hoped to gain by killing the
Emperor and Empress, as it was counterproductive to his stated goal of
reclaiming Russian sovereignty. The Emperor was in the process of giving the
Russians back some of their land to ease tensions between the two peoples, but
that all went out the window when Mikhail assassinated him.
I personally believe Mikhail was so devastated over the deaths of his family
that peace simply wasn’t an option. It’s estimated Mikhail and his followers
tens of thousands
of Chinese over the last ten years,
including prominent military and government officials. The Purple Dragons have
won the distinction of being the most polished, organized, and effective terror
organization in history.
I use my brain waves to telepathically switch over to a list of Russian clubs
in the New Las Vegas area. I only have to scan the list for a few seconds
before I find one that piques my interest. It’s actually a fairly large casino
that doubles as a club. The club is called the Purple Palace, and it’s owned by
a guy named Igor Bolshevik. The name sounds familiar, so I pull up his file. It
says he’s a rumored Mikhail sympathizer who has been accused by the Chinese of
harboring Russian refugees.
In recent years China has been hammering America to hand over people like Igor
so they can “question” them. That, of course, will never happen. The government
likes to leave Russian refugees alone for two reasons: one, they’re helping
keep China at bay with all their suspected terror acts. And two, Russian
crime-lords like Igor are at war with home-grown American crime bosses like
Caesar. Basically the government gets to kill two birds with one stone.