Cloud Nine

I don't know about you, but its mighty difficult getting a strong signal to broadcast with. Not my problem though, Techie takes care of it for the ship. Though he tells me part of the problem is how we operate. Can I help it if we need to be trailing a pleasure vehicle in stealth in order to piggy back off their signal? I mean if we don't hide our signal, this pretty hide of mine could end up in the hands of the authorities.
          At least this time we were able to hack the Bebop Cowboy Cruise. Now she's towing us on her power.
          I unhook myself from the rewired dentist chair that we use for uplinks. Off to my left are a row of similar chairs, holding my crew. Some are rising just as I did, others stay connected, they have tasks to complete still.
          "Techie, see to it that all the proper personnel head for the bridge in a quart. I'll be in my ready room till then." As I address my trusty engineer it strikes me that he looks like someone just stole his puppy. I know I didn't steal his puppy, so I saunter over and wrap my arms around him. Didn't I mention he was my engineer?
          "Trevor, what is it love?"
          "I'm sorry, Nica. He's not on board. The intel was wrong! It's just his youngest brat and a security squad."
          "His kid?" I let go and begin to think of contingencies. "Get everyone to meet in the war room instead. We got a change of plans on our hands."
          "What about Mad Max and the Girls?"
          "They still have their mission."
*        *        *
          Mad Max is a funny one. While most of the crew take pleasure in traveling about UNI-Net as themselves, he uses a pseudo-identity. I asked him about it once. He told me that he was a man without normalcy, one who had slipped in the abyss of madness.
          "I get the mad part," I mean two thirds of crew wish they had a screw loose, "but your name's not Max. Where'd you get that from?"
          "It rolls off the tongue."
*        *        *
     At the bar of the "Nines" sat a nondescript Caucasian male. His hair was close cropped, and he wore a black biker jacket. An antiquated ballistic projectile weapon slung across the back was the only weapon seen on his person. Odd that he should take the time to code such a thing for the virtual world. To either side of him sat a lovely young girls. The one to the left had skin as fair as porcelain, and hair a dark shade of burgundy, like the deep shadows of the autumn forest. The one to the right had skin the rival the first, except for a smattering of small brown flecks in random places. Her hair was a vibrant hue of copper, like the reflection of flame on polished brass.
          These three companions concentrated their gaze upon the currently empty floor before the bar. In the midst of the rarely vacant space a third girl, whose skin was akin to the seated pair and whose hair was as dark as the void between stars, stood over a rumpled figure on the floor.
          "Is that really all you got? A poor excuse for a assassin you are! My mother could thrash you good, and she lost her leg to a pressure door!"
          "Show him who's boss, May!" The burgundy beauty called.
          "That's right! A sad sack of spit like that don't deserve mercy!" The coppery counterpart hollered. Their male companion continued drinking his ale.
          By now most of the clientele of the bar were adding cat calls of their own. The defeated assassin lay limp on the floor as his opponent began tying his feet together.
          "April, June, ya'll just gonna sit all night, or what?"
          "What." They replied in unison.
          "Max! Make them lazy bones help a girl out." May shook her finger as she spoke.
          "Darlin' you forget. Wrangling that bum is the easy part. Your sisters and I will be extracting valuable data from him. Delicate work it is." Max arose from his stool and sauntered over to the hogtied victim. "We must be cautious. Even though pain can't really be felt by the body plugged into this cyber world, the brain does track all the info being thrown at it. Wouldn't want to over stimulate it, would we. Be a shame to fry his implants." He leaned down to peer at their victims face. "Think of the cortical damage."
          "Wonder if his employer would cover the costs of repair.?" May asked as she began to press her foot into the back if her preys neck.
          "Naw. He didn't achieve his goal. Didn't retrieve any information. He also didn't get away unscathed." June, still seated to the right, countered.
          "Hell, he'll be lucky if he still has a job." April, the oldest of the three girls finished the conversation. With that Mad Max pulled up their quarry and looked over to the bartender.
          "Lancer. The girls and I need a room for the night. Put it on the captain's tab."
          The barkeep nodded and tossed a key through the air. April and June each lifted a leg and helped carry the bound man to a room upstairs.
          May sat at the bar "Might as well enjoy myself until I need to check back. Lancer! Vodka!"
*        *        *
          "Aboard the Bebop Cowboy Cruise a gala is underway. Horace Hawkins, youngest son of Governor Henry Hawkins, is celebrating his 13th birthday. Some low rate performer had been scheduled for the festivities, but I think an appearance by his favorite group, "Cloud Nine" would be better." I gaze at all of my attack squad seated in the war room. "We have some lovely new toys to play with. Suit up, tune up, and lets beam up!"


  1. I like the way you went in and out of the Uni-Net. The crew sounds seasoned and ready to deliver mayhem. Can't wait to see what happens with the mission, and I LOVE the line at the end.

    I'm glad Lancer was a character everyone can use.

  2. I really love stories about people wrecking things... and this crew sounds like they specialize in this. So, I look forward to hearing more from them ;)