Breed Book 4, Part 39


“So what are we doing?” Ben asked, hiding behind a parked car to avoid a burst of gunfire.

“We’re keeping Mr. Statutory Rapist away from Rox and Mira,” Rui said, carefully not to give Raif a shot.. “Well, you’re keeping me from doing that by asking inane questions because you slept through the part where we planned it, then ignored me while I went over the plan because you were enraptured with a chilli cheese burrito.”

“I remember the burrito,” Ben said wistfully.

“I’m going to haunt you when you inevitably get me killed,” Rui said.

“Not as much as that burrito will,” Anita said over a walkie. “I know you two are supposed to be bait, on account of losing the coin toss, but I meant more distraction than fish in a barrel.”

“How did we end up as bait again?” Ben asked.

“Because I let you flip the coin.”

“That wasn’t it.”

“You also picked tails even though I’ve never seen you flip anything but heads.”

“I’m due a tails. Statistically.” Another volley of fire struck the front of the car near Ben. “I think I may be forming a plan. Lean left,” Ben said. “Give him a hot foot. Draw just enough attention for me to knock him on his ass.”

“And if he shoots me?”

“Then I’m sure he’ll get me next, and you can kick my ass in Heaven.”

“I’m very amused you think we’re both getting in…” Rui said. He saw a tree a few feet from Raif, and pushed a wave of heated air towards it, lighting several low-hanging branches.

“I said a hot foot-” Rui leaned out again, even as Raif peppered the car with rounds. Rui pushed plasma along the ground, flash-frying a puddle into steam and catching Raif’s right sneaker. “I should boss you around more often,” Ben said, sending a shockwave through the asphalt. With Raif distracted, the movement beneath his feet made him stumble.

“So we’re doing our part,” Rui said into the walkie. “Where’s-” he was cut-off, as the cars to either side of Raif were lifted off the ground by small explosions. Immediately, gunfire chased Raif away from his vehicle into an alleyway. “Showoffs,” Rui said into the walkie. “I should probably,” Rui kicked off the ground, his entire body and his clothes becoming a heated a plasma.

“Negative,” Anita said over the walkie Ben was holding. “Just heard from Rox. She’s got Mira to agree to sit this one out. And if we follow Raif we’ve got a better chance of catching a bullet from D.C.’s finest/most racist than of ending the evening with Mai Tais. So I say we skip straight to the Mai Tais instead.”

“Which one was a Mai Tai?” Rui asked, landing and transmuting back into a solid.

“How do you not know that?” Sonya asked, crouching beside him.

“Because I left Brazil when I was thirteen, and even then it’s not like we all spend our lives on the beaches

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a real, functional country. Okay, so, not right this second, it’s not, because of how badly we’ve dealt with the pandemic, but neither is this one.”

“Ouch,” Sonya said, “but fair.”

“And it’s got rum in it,” Ben said. “And cure-a-cow-”

“Curaçao,” Sonya corrected.

“Along with almond and lime.”

“That does sound good,” Rui said. “Or maybe I’ve just been shot at a lot tonight- and a lot recently, come to think of it- so maybe I just really need a fucking drink.”

“You fugitives aren’t old enough to drink,” Anita said, disarming the alarm on their van.

“I still don’t understand why we got that,” Rui said. “The alarm is worth more than the van you installed it in.”

“Ah, but if we hadn’t gotten it, the van would have either been stolen or used as a communal toilet by a group of homeless people last week. Either way, well worth the hundred whatever bucks.”

“I’m not sure you could get the smell of urine even more strongly caked into that upholstery.”

“It’s not just that it was a urine smell, it’s really unhealthy urine. I don’t know the whole story, but infections that went years without treatment, probably some late-stage liver failure; can I say, as a Canadian, fuck your for-profit healthcare system.”

“Not mine,” Rui said, “Brazilian.”

“I mean, I technically have citizenship both in the tribe and in the US, but I’ve always considered the tribe more

“I still count it,” Anita said. “And you?”

“Yeah,” Sonya said, half scowling. “I’ve got no excuse, other than I voted for Bernie when I had the chance.”

“Regardless, this greedy system is bad and you should feel bad.”

“I do.”

“Me, too,” Ben said. “Half-bad, at least.”

“Anyway, I’m doing you a massive favor sparing you, even if I already had to smell it and still kind of can. It’s all I can do not to jam a hot poker up my nose.”

“All the way?” Rui asked. “Or just into the sinuses?”

“Either way, it would just become the last smell I could remember, which somehow makes it more vivid. So I need that drink at least as much as the rest of you.”

“So,” Ben said, swallowing. “I hate to have a one-track mind, here, but Mira? You didn’t say she was coming with us.”

“I didn’t get all the details, but it sounds like she’s still fence-sitting, though this time she’s sitting on the fence from the sidelines, which sounds like an upgrade. Ride the terrorist pine is preferable than actually being in the game-”

“Unless that’s a euphemism,” Sonya interjected. “Sorry, Ben.”

Sirens made Anita cock her head to the side. “All right, they’re playing our exit music.” She got into the driver’s seat, and the rest filed into the van.  

“So, it kind of feels like we only slowed them down,” Rui said as she started the engine.

“Well, the good news is he’ll ditch the gun. He’ll have to, to get through the police cordon. Bad news is we have to ditch ours, too- mine, I guess.” She threw her pistol into a bush as they passed. “But we should have an easier time replacing handguns; less regulations, more per capita than assault rifles. Unless he decides to go old school, pick up a long gun. But that changes the game; if he’s sniping there’s really only a handful of models that will get the job done- especially against a group of prepared, organized defenders like the Secret Service. I mean, if he were a professional I might be sweating, but I’ve seen his service record. He’s an acceptable shot, but he’s not even a designated marksman. It was probably always a baby blanket, anyhow.”

“So we’ve maybe got our friend out of a collision path with treason,” Sonya said.

“But otherwise left their assassination plot in progress,” Rui said.

“Half of us deserves a drink, the other half needs one.”

“I have a solution,” Ben said. “We’re all drinking for two tonight.” “Sometimes even a stopped clock. First round of doubles is on Tso.”

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