|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Matter|
The Amphibious Motorcycle
He steadily exhales a smooth stream of smoke as he shakes his head in cool admiration. “Well if that ain’t the coldest piece of work I’ve ever seen, you can slap me in the ass and call me shugga’plumb,” said to the open air in an empty room.
‘I know, right?’ said by the voice in his head.
Chuck is standing alone in the top floor of a dark warehouse, the ambient sounds of sheets of metal steadily growing and shrinking against each other offering a veritable orchestra of things which go bump in the night. Well, he isn’t really alone; he’s got his joint, a wicked high, and of course there’s the amphibious motorcycle in all of its glory. It looks just like a normal motorcycle really, one of those hybrid Japanese/American racer/chopper bikes that started popping up around New Manhattan a few months after the collapse of the United States government. This bike is special though, and Chuck knows it’s special. He’s looked at the schematics, read through all the scans; this thing tears asphalt like Alvey rips ass, and then when it hits the water, the wheels go flat and boom – instant watercycle.
Out of nowhere a booming, bursting, tearing sound broggets through the room, nearly knocking Chuck off his feet. What appears to be a massive brown leathery hand seems to have punched through the back wall of the warehouse, followed by another leathery punch right next to it. The hands join, fingers interlocking, and then pull back out, ripping a massive hole in the wall and letting the cool evening air leak in, adding a chill to accompany the foot of floor fog that seems to be emanating from a small machine that’s plugged into the outlet in the corner. There’s another cable running from it that goes outside, almost like it’s attached to a remote contro–
Chuck, thinking quickly, raises his left hand and points it at the motorcycle. On its way up, his hand morphs into a teleportation gun and he shoots the bike, dematerializing the thing, sending its atomic blueprint back to Sigmund’s lab underneath Cape’s main building where the vehicle is immediately reconstructed. Chuck’s hand is a hand again by the time he puts it in his pocket, which he does after stepping into the space once occupied by the bike.
Through the wall, her feet shrouded in party fog, steps a hulking woman with a sassy blue haircut and disproportionately large hands that don’t match the rest of her body, as far as skin color goes. The two stand off, saying nothing, their eyes meeting in the middle of the floor and engaging in battle, each waiting for the other to blink and confer situational dominance.
Finally, Chuck breaks the silence. “Well aren’t you built like a brick shithouse.” He cups his hands around his goatee, “CHRIST!”
Another long, uneasy silence ensues. Chuck breaks it again. “It was a compliment. So uh… come here often?”
The woman smirks, the mole on her left upper lip folding in ways that Chuck didn’t know were possible. “Only when there’s private property I was hired to protect, honey.”
“Well that answers one question and spawns two more, you hydra-ass character. Who hired you, and what’s with the gloves?”
The woman reaches back and peels a piece of metal off the wall like she was peeling the skin off a grape. She then folds the metal into the shape of a paper airplane, and then impales her right palm, jamming the nose of the toy into her hand until the tip is sticking out below her middle knuckle. Gripping the bloody tip of the shiv with her teeth, this party animal then pulls the shaped shrapnel halfway through her hand before aiming the nose of the plane at Chuck. The woman then claps her hands together, sending the toy gliding across the warehouse. The wound heals itself mere milliseconds after the dripping metal airplane tinks against the wall behind Chuck.
Chuck’s eyebrows peek out from behind his sunglasses to have a little looksee at what in the fuck just happened. “Oh… well okay. Let me rephrase: who or what the fuck are you, and who in their right mind would put themselves at risk by hiring you?!”
“Sorry sweetie, I’m not paid to answer questions. Just to protect the…” as she realizes where Chuck is standing. “Did… did you… how did you steal the bike already??”
Chuck looks at the empty spot on the floor under his feet, the stark absence of amphibious motorcycle leaving an amphibious-motorcycle-shaped clear spot in the dust that Chuck didn’t even notice when he stepped into it. ‘Fuckers need to clean this place, sheesh.’
Chuck’s sunglasses, and the rest of his head for that matter, look back towards the strange woman who hopefully calls herself The ManHandler and says, “Well, I guess it depends on who’s asking.”
The woman reaches into her pink handbag and brandishes an oversized chromed-out .65 caliber Forest Osprey handgun, aiming it directly below Chuck’s terrified fedora.
“Excuse me, young man?”
‘Chuck. Get that fucking gun away from her.’
Chuck’s power armor melts up around his shoes and shins. “Listen, lady. I came in here smoking; I wasn’t looking for smoke. But, I’m ‘boutta leap. Once I leap, there’s no unleaping, so I’ll give ya some last chance here, ah-kay?”
The lady clicks off the safety on the gun. Chuck’s power armor creeps up his body like a swarm of metallic ticks, encasing him and his fedora in bulletproof protection.
“Who are you?”