The SS, that crimson 8 cylinder beast

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT (6)

i.


Flo and the captive White Pendragon were blasting through Melbourne’s grim, post apocalyptic ports region with a long, wailing tail of VicPol pursuit cars and a buzzing escort of police and news choppers fussing overhead.

It was pissing down.

Flo’s improbable automotive feat back at the Pier was now national news, unbeknownst to the sexagenarian anarcho-terrorist and her groggy, Christian white supremacist MC passengers.

Corporal Poo Poo, Snake Power, Skinny Vince and Cupcakes were recovering from the wild roofies Flo had slipped them. They’d briefly tried to form a consensus on how best to deal with the mad old battleaxe who’d kidnaped them, but had quickly found conversation impossible owing to the egregious howl of the Commodore’s red-lining engine over the wail of amassing pigs on their six.

The West Gate Park dogging beat screamed past and then Flo’s SS was on the long Lorimer St stretch into south Melbourne, accelerating past cargo ships, endless walls of containers and shipping yard blurring by.

The amassing squadron of pissant VicPol Ford Falcons struggled to keep up with Flo’s heavily modded SS, that crimson 8 cylinder beast.

Up ahead, a police barricade had choked off every lane in both directions.

Flo, balls of steel, stamped the accelerator and aimed the Commodore directly at the centre of the blockade.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Snake yelped, bracing himself in shotgun.

They gunned it directly at the barricade as panicked cops scattered, two tonnes of Adelaide built automotive sledgehammer bearing down on them.

Pendragon’s sphincters collectively puckered as Flo flicked the NOS about two hundred metres from impact.

The SS pounced forward.


ii.


The Arcadia Trust Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was at about 10,000 feet, descending rapidly into Melbourne airspace.

Hume and Berd - bricking it, bathed in the hot red glow of a warning beacon - were strapped in and heavily armored up, gurning in terror as the mighty bird vibrated through layers of pants shittingly violent turbulence.

Mo had, of course, delivered the requisite invective riddled briefing before they’d lifted off from the Trust’s private north shore airstrip.

The ex-USAF military transport craft was pregnant with Trust spec ops cannon fodder. It birthed them from its wide rear end like a long streak of paratrooper based pelican shit.

The Globemaster broke through a thick, low lying bank of pollution as it plotted a wide downward curve around the desolate ports region, its payload now ejected and forming up around 3000 feet above the capital’s CBD and to the south west.


iii.

 

They were bearing down on the barricade, about fifty feet from impact, when Flo stabbed the SS’ brakes and heaved back on the handbrake, quickly downshifting into second and spinning the wheel - sheep skin cover - hard as the Commodore jacknifed left, thumping up over the kerb in an arc of burning rubber and blue metal, then fishtailed onto a barely developed marina’s harbourside expanse.

A few maxi-yachts with names like SunSeeker, Liquid Assets and Rusty’s Reef Queen were moored nearby.

The SS sat, rumbling and expectant, as their pursuers peeled off and piled up in a calamity of honking sirens and rending iron, victims of Flo’s almost supernatural stunt driving capabilities.

She downshifted again and punched the accelerator, launching the SS - White Pendragon had frankly been far too shitscared to make the obvious goose stepping connection yet - up the deserted dockside promenade towards the CBD.

A few straggling cop cars optimistically gave chase.

Above and ahead of them, thirty six tactical gear clad Trust paratroopers circled on the thermals, preparing to deploy ‘chutes and engage their target.


iv.


The Globemaster was executing a long slow turn over Port Philip Bay.

Cruising at a very illegal altitude of roughly 500 feet, the pilot found the mouth of the Yarra and set a course to intercept White Pendragon.

According to the crackling police scanner, the Harvest’s errant headlining act had taken an elderly woman hostage and were presently attempting to elude a large proportion of the VicPol’s finest.

Hume and Berd didn’t give two flying fucks about kidnappings or high speed pursuits or collateral damage incurred - they were one hundred per cent fixated on extracting that fucking band and hopefully avoiding a couple of random spontaneous castrations at Mo’s talons on the off chance they somehow managed to get their arses back to base intact.

The hapless pair were presently locked off on the Globemaster’s lowered cargo ramp, acting as spotters for a Trust sniper.

The turd brown Yarra River wound beneath them as the Globemaster bellied ever lower, dipping under the West Gate bridge.

They were at about 200 feet as they hit the barren industrial hell of the Docklands precinct.

Berd spotted the SS bombing up the south side of the river.

Up ahead, the paratroopers were deploying their chutes and vectoring in on the vehicle.

Wind shrieked over the rumble of the transport’s twin prop as he screamed and gesticulated wildly:

“There!” he mouthed, voice immediately sucked into the void.

The sniper - Commander Tilden Refund - swung the muzzle of his rifle and bore down on the streak of red, adjusting his scope with nimble, fingerless-gloved digits.

Refund fed a high velocity tranq dart into the chamber and tracked the SS as it shot towards Clarendon Street and the building site beyond it.


v.


The skeleton of the Crown Casino hoved into view through the SS’ tinted windscreen.

Up ahead, Trust paratroopers executed manoeuvres between cranes and tall scaffolding, zoning in on the asset shrieking in their direction.

The rain had intensified, visibility next to sweet fuck all.

They were going to make contact somewhere in the middle of the sprawling, treacherous casino complex build site.

Flo nudged the SS harder, RPM needle vibrating in the red zone as she launched it through gridlocked peak hour traffic, weaving narrowly past a frantically dinging 96 tram and careening through the chain link gate on the south west entrance to the construction site. The SS hit the mud and aquaplaned through a flimsy series of demountable offices, destroying them. Flo wrestled the SS’ steering wheel and aimed the car in the rough direction of King St.


vi.


The Globemaster was now cruising at a frankly ludicrous 100 feet altitude, its 50 metre wingspan pitching, swaying and rolling as it attempted to pace the SS storming through the building site, while also avoiding becoming a flaming trail of wreckage strewn across the loose bowel movement that was the Yarra.

Cmdr Refund steadied himself against the hull of the plane and locked his shot, accounting for the monsoonal rain as the transport pulled ahead of the target for the first time.

“Take the fucking shot!” Hume was screaming impotently against the all erasing roar of rain and two Pratt and Whitney PW2000 engines.

Refund didn’t hear him and would have ignored the painful slapheaded fucker anyway if he could have.

The transport was now directly ahead of the SS, allowing Refund a shot through the windscreen. The opaque veil of rain was presenting a considerable issue, but he was a professional and he was gunning for promotion to Paraguay Unit, distinct lack of South African-ness be damned.


vii.


The Trust paratroopers hit the ground at a canter, ‘chutes detached and weapons drawn as they made landfall in a procession and foolhardily ran headlong into the sheets of driving rain.


viii.


The SS cut through the building site in a torrent of mud and NOS fumes, toppling scaffolds and starting chain reactions through the foundations of the future gaming mecca.


ix.


The Globemaster made another suicidal dip over the site, affording Refund the shot.

He squeezed the trigger as the approaching paratroopers breached a blinding wall of rain and ran directly into the belly flopping Globemaster’s propellers, fans of pink exploding outwards as yet more were crushed and smeared under the transport’s belly.

Refund’s high velocity dart hit the SS’ windscreen with a crack and caught Flo directly in her bony sternum.

She blacked out immediately.

The Globemaster heaved up over an unfinished ramp overlooking the casino site’s partially excavated lower levels, trailing twin storms of paratrooper offal.

Refund stowed his weapon. They’d make another pass for extraction once whatever was left of the ground team had secured the assets.

Hume and Berd were looking at one another, cautiously elated.

The driverless SS hit the ramp, still moving at a terminal clip.

It launched, for the second time that morning, charting a short graceful arc into the Globemaster’s open hold, where it made gruesomely short work of Refund.

The SS rolled to a halt - bloody, ruined bumper to crotch -  in front of Hume and Berd.

It had been all of ten seconds since Hume ordered his now very dead sniper to take the shot.

White Pendragon disembarked the SS in a surge of enraged and confused Christian white supremacist limbs.

They stared down the Trust flunkies.

“Oh for fuck’s actual sake,” Hume moaned, resigned to a highly violent comeuppance.

Below them, the casino site collapsed inwards as that series of muffled underground explosions consumed the entire precinct, destroying it utterly and irretrievably.

That was good, at least, right?

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