Chapter 14: Plan "B"
"If we're lucky, Zartan will be pulled over for speeding by one of the two police officers in this area," I said sarcastically. No one replied, so I shrugged and spoke again. "Seriously though, he was going, like, sixty when he turned that corner down there."
Snake Eyes just looked at me, obviously not in the mood for my witty comments. Hi-Tech looked inconsolable, scuffing his shoes in the reddish water that was pooled below the bench The Freak had been lying on mere minutes earlier.
"Oh come on guys, this isn't a big deal, we just move to plan B," I said.
"What is plan B?" Hi-Tech asked faintly.
"I think we've discussed it several times," I snapped. "Hi-Tech, you're a computer maniac, and I'm sure your experience history entails a few less-than-legal skills."
"Yeah, so?" Hi-Tech asked defensively, a challenge in his eyes.
"I'm not trying to pick a fight," I snapped. "Don't tell me I'm the only one who remembers plan B!"
"Wasn't that the one where we went to Safeway for your apple fritters? Plan A was following Hi-Tech's lead," Snake Eyes said after a moment.
"No, I've already had my apple fritter, fortunately. I'm feeling much better now, though I only got half before The Freak made me drop it," I scowled.
"Then what, pray tell, is this plan B you speak of?" Hi-Tech demanded.
"Capture the flag," I replied. "Or, well, The Freak-flag. A seek-and-retrieve mission."
Snake Eyes glanced up, intrigued. "I see…"
"But there's the problem of not knowing the location of COBRA's base," Hi-Tech said.
"Au contraire, my technologically gifted compadre." I smirked condescendingly. "Unlike you, I remembered to waterproof the tracker I put on The Freak."
"You waterproofed… wait, you put a tracker on him?" Then Hi-Tech scowled. "They'll find it easily."
I grinned. "No, I don't think so."
Snake Eyes gave me a wary look. "I don't like the sound of this…"
I smirked viciously. "You shouldn't." Turning away, I glanced across the street. "Ah… revenge. It tastes like apple fritter. I am revenged! And a little hungry. Anyone up for some clam chowder?"
"Do I get a bandage for my back?"
"How about a donut? Come on guys, I haven't eaten in twenty-four hours." I sighed, leaning my head against the cool cement wall. "I feel faint. I might not remember the formula at all if you keep this up."
"We don't need you to tell us the formula," A strange, warbling voice said.
I glanced around, wondering who had said that. "What?"
"Patience, we are currently under attack. Rest assured, your scan will commence as soon as the threat has been annihilated."
I scowled. "Scan? Threat? Annihilate? Wait, what scan?"
"It's a simple matter to retrieve information from your brain. Unfortunately, it's quite another to keep that brain in pristine condition while retrieving the data."
I jumped to my feet. "What are you--" I toppled back onto the cot I'd been seated on, gasping in pain and shock. My vision blurred and, for a moment, I thought I would faint.
"You've lost quite a bit of blood, but you should survive until the scan. Don't worry, you won't remember a thing."
I scowled. "You didn't even fix up my wound! What if it gets infected? Why didn't you clean the wound?"
"Why bother?" the voice replied. "You won't be able to care once the scan is complete."
I gritted my teeth angrily. "How cruel! How dare you--"
Chilling laughter interrupted my complaint. I had a bad feeling about this…
"I can't believe you're counting on COBRA not cleaning his cut," Hi-Tech said.
"His strength is provided by a virus that's stimulated by a certain chemical," Thomas replied breezily. "They'll just suck the info out of his head and dispose of him."
"How do you know that?"
"We --er-- they have done it at least ten times that I know of. Top-secret military weapons research scientists don't give up their info without a fight. They're usually brain-dead by the time we're done… but it works great at getting their info. It hasn't failed yet."
"That's just sick."
"And illegal. Which is why Sigma 6 doesn't do it," Thomas said breezily. "Otherwise I'm sure we'd be all over this sort of operation. It'd make beating Cobra a lot easier."
"I would never--" Hi-Tech began indignantly.
"Yeah, yeah, Mr. 'I hacked into the Pentagon once'," Thomas said dismissively. "Now come on, have you finished that soup yet?"
"Well excuse me for being a slow eater," Hi-Tech snapped.
"You're in the military, for Pete's sake! Didn't they teach you how to eat a full meal in thirty seconds?" Thomas demanded irritably. "I learned how to eat that way before I was five years old!"
"Eating that quickly isn't good for you," Hi-Tech said imperiously.
"Waiting isn't good for me. It makes me twitchy," Thomas said, fingering his steak knife with a glint in his eyes. A moment later, he tossed it across the room, narrowly grazing Hi-Tech's head. The knife buried itself in the wall with an ominous thump.
Hi-Tech gulped the rest of his clam chowder down frantically. "I'm done," he gasped a moment later. "Let's go."
"Finally!" Thomas said exasperatedly, jumping to his feet. Just then, his cell phone rang. "Hello?" he barked irritably, then, "Go away, I'm in the restroom."
I rolled my eyes at him.
"Stop thinking that at me!" Thomas hissed. "It's vulgar and unnecessary!"
Hi-Tech gave the two of us funny looks.
Thomas waved his hand dismissively in his direction and spoke into the phone. "Yeah, yeah, Connie, I know I'm supposed to meet you for a date at six, but I have a previous engagement."
"Are you talking to Duke?" Hi-Tech asked after a moment.
"Oh, don't start with the whining again, darling, it just makes me irritated. I can play the silent game better than you can-- though Snakes has both of us beat, I daresay."
I scowled at him.
Thomas grinned evilly in my direction and continued. "No, we're going to Cabro laboratories for an antidote to this trouble I've been having with enjoying my shore leave. You understand."
Hi-Tech looked ready to blow a gasket. "Cab-row labs? Kaab roe laboratories? Storm Shadow…"
"Hsst," Thomas snapped. "I'm trying to listen to Hauser."
"He is a fascinating conversationalist, if a bit cliché," I agreed. "But he starts repeating himself after a few minutes. His conversations tend to go downhill after the two hundred and fifty-sixth second."
"I suppose you've counted," Hi-Tech sighed.
"I have to do something to amuse myself since I can't talk," I replied defensively.
"Okay, okay, honey, see you tomorrow, love you too and all that." Thomas closed the phone with a decisive snap. "They have no leads and Connie wanted to make me as miserable as I make him. Can't say I blame him, honestly."
Hi-Tech sighed. "So where are we going."
"To Cabro Laboratories," Thomas said simply.
"Where is that?"
Thomas scowled. "Ever heard of anagrams, smart one? We're going to the Cabro Laboratories, retrieving something we need so I can ENJOY MY SHORE LEAVE!" Snorting, he marched out of the restaurant.
"Oh, he meant the COBRA base," Hi-Tech said after a moment, following Thomas out. "I get it!"
I sighed and threw down a tip before leaving also. It was going to be a long day…
A/N: Mweh. I can't believe I had this written for four months and never uploaded it... hmmm...
Anyway, hope you liked!