Welcome to the world...
where the right of way belongs to those with the biggest guns
where killing is ok, as long as it is not premeditated
where most of the world's food supply is divided into an edible species of algae,
fruits and vegetables grown in hydroponic vats,
and an experimental breed of grain made within a small town in the American Midwest
with the potential to feed the rest of the world,
where chaos is just a step away from your front door
and your own survival depends on your wits and weaponry.
Welcome to Anime Car Wars.
"The fate of a nation rests on one man." - Tag line for the political thriller movie "Air Force One"
Chapter 1 – Nightmares and National Security
Somewhere in the nation of Texas – Date unknown
For Luke fon Fabre, there's sleep, there's wakefulness, and then there's this. He was supposed to be asleep yet he had felt the warm sunlight on his face, its white rays pulsating with liquid energy.
Closing his eyes a little for a few seconds to block the incoming brightness; he could see the sun shining amidst the clear blue sky littered with natural and man made fliers. As he craned his neck looking around his surroundings, Luke had learned that he was in a city park in Austin, Texas.
More than that, a young blonde woman wearing a red sweat suit was running towards him from his left.
She was laughing at something, maybe the surprised expression on his face, he would never know. As she had stopped at his left side, she bent down to grab his left arm.
She had never noticed (nor cared) that in doing so, she had given the red head a free peek at her small chest through a little gap between the suit's collar and her pale neck.
Her laughter was so contagious that the young man could not help but join her as he had stood up and followed her on the park's asphalted jogging trail.
Neither the blonde nor the red head had actually noticed the teasing expressions of whoever they had met along the way, like they would care what the others had thought anyway.
Yet for the whole time that they were together, Luke did not even know the girl's identity. To him, the image of the said girl's face was blurry to the point of being unrecognizable.
A shame since the blond curls surrounding it had framed the face's rounded shape perfectly. Still, he had felt a strangely familiar sense of belonging as soon as he saw her coming.
Suddenly, the whole scene had changed right before the red head's very eyes while he and the girl had followed the path's curving route.
After feeling like floating at nothingness for a minute or two, as the previous background had de-razzed to nothingness and was promptly replaced by another, Luke had found himself settling down in the driver seat of a gray Chevrolet Carapace.
The car was armed with a twin laser at its pop up turret and a heavy duty flame thrower at its rear end. Once again, the blonde girl from before was with him. This time, she was sitting in the gunner or shot gun seat beside him.
They were traveling on the newly-opened Texas State Autobahn, the glorious new expressway built for combat maneuvering and duel speeds.
The red head had felt some uneasiness creeping into his mind, but he was unable to look more into it as the Carapace was rocked by five or six explosions, all of them caused by napalm mines that were laid by the metallic blue Honda Accura in front of them.
Luke had fought hard to keep the now careening car back in control while the girl armed the laser and clutched the joystick in front of her, ignoring the pain from her abdomen. Both were coughing from the whitish smoke made by the busted gauges and other electronics on their holed dashboard.
The girl had made a cry of joy upon hitting the Accura's mine dropper.
As the metallic blue car's rear weapon had blown up, the driver of the said car panicked. The Honda now weaved itself among the other vehicles plying the route, pieces of its armor and some body parts littering the road behind it.
After a brief moment, the car itself disintegrated as the flames had triggered the remaining ammunition of the rear weapon. Other cars had either steered clear of the burning wreck or moved to the side before stopping.
Luke had chosen the first option himself to further distance his car from the burning wreck.
With a loud whoop, the excited driver was about to turn to his gunner when he had heard another cry, this time it was in pain. While trying to keep his own cool, he tried to reassure his gunner that she would be alright and that he would take her to the nearest hospital.
In his panic, he did not notice the girl's face becoming clearer but he still did not recognize her.
In response, she had placed her right gloved forefinger to his lips right after she disengaged her seat belt. She had also added. "I-It's t-too l-late f-for that, L-Luke."
A sharp cry of pain had cut her off temporarily. "J-just remember, y-you g-gave me t-the best years of m-my…life. I-I love you, Luke but this is g-good bye…"
Luke could not believe what she was saying before her light blue eyes had closed for the final time.
"No! Don't go! I love you too, damn it. Don't leave me here!"
The girl slumped on his chest, her pink lips still curved in a small smile. The image was enough to clear the red head's fuzzy memories as he had crazily swerved to the roadside and disengaged his own seat belt.
But before Luke had removed the safety device, he had stomped on the brake and clutch and pulling the handbrake up.
"Natalia, don't die on me. You told me that we'll be together until the end of time. Nooo!" Luke had removed the girl's own seatbelt before hugging her slowly cooling body in the vain hope that it would be enough to bring her back to life.
When he had finally let go when the girl's hands went limp and her heart fell silent, Luke saw a red and sticky fluid stain his gloved palm and fingers.
The said stain slowly had evaporated from his hands, turning into a red mist that filled everything in sight, smothering the red head as he tried to open the car doors or windows in his panic.
Luke had woken up with a start, trying to catch his breath only to realize he could not even open his mouth. He tried again, still with no success. He then tried heaving his entire chest, while expanding his biceps and moving his arms in an attempt to break free.
It was all in vain as something soft yet resistant was preventing whatever movement he had made.
As a last resort, Luke had screamed with nearly all of his remaining strength. A little difficult since his jaws were snapped shut thus what did come out was a gurgling noise that would make any sane man run in terror.
'Someone must have heard it,' Luke thought as some light had broken through his closed eyelids. He had never even noticed that they were closed the whole time in his panic, only thinking that it was too dark to see anyway.
He also felt like he was lifted out of some sort of liquid, yet another fact that he did not notice until now. His ears had made a popping sound as soon as he felt the cold draft rush past through his whole body.
Voices, quick footsteps, and other background noises had echoed through his exposed ears as Luke was being carried somewhere. It was only through the rocking motion of his own body that he finally went to sleep.
The last thing he had heard before loosing consciousness was this: "Five, four, three…watch the regulator …steady pulse rate…administer the bioplasm agent, hurry…"
Luke almost would have woken up as something sharp had pierced his bare left buttock. Again he felt like taking another nap to make up for last time. His thoughts now quickly centered on where was and what was happening before losing consciousness.
It took a while but he finally figured out that he may have been in a Gold Cross medical facility or a Lazarus facility to be precise.
This facility is where clones grown in glass vats were "activated" by the input of the original person's brainwave patterns thus bringing the original back to life in a way.
With a contented mental sigh, Luke had let the darkness swallow him up once again.
As he lost consciousness for the second time that day, Luke had slipped into another dream. This time, he had dreamt that he was driving a supercharged Mazda RX-8 with two linked machine guns in its turret in the busy streets of San Antonio.
Having a bad feeling, he looked to his right only to find a man with light brown hair tied in a pony-tail and a goatee. The man was raising his Beretta 92F at the unarmored red head. The gun's muzzle was deftly aimed at the latter's side.
Regaining his wits at the last minute, Luke had stabbed the eject button, placed underneath the single weapon targeting computer's LCD screen. The said computer screen was located in the center console of the vehicle's dashboard.
The said action had caught the bearded man unawares as he and his leather seat were ejected into the San Antonio grayish skyline via an explosive blast of steam and compressed air.
Back in the car, an alarming beep had caught the red head's attention and he looked at the four inch computer screen. On it, instead of icons and superimposed images, were the words – "Trust the nun."
Once again, Luke had woken up but had to close his eyes from the bright light that shined on him just overhead. Luckily for him, it was eclipsed by a silhouette of a man.
As the man had moved back a bit, the figure was revealed to be that of a surgeon wearing his green scrub uniform and similarly colored aseptically mask. The man's voice was a bit muffled by the said mask as he was making hand signals to someone beyond the red head's view.
A forty something man with shoulder length messy dark blond hair had pushed his way through the four doctors surrounding the bed-ridden red head. The said medical practitioners had moved to the other side of the semi-dark operating room to provide even more space for the new arrival.
"Luke, thank goodness, you're alive." The man had paused briefly to catch his breath, probably from entering the room in a crazed run. "Some dumb ass had injected something in the clone tank where you were kept. It's a miracle that you're still alive and kicking."
Not seeing Luke's baffled look, he continued. "Are there any aftereffects? Anything that's wrong with you at all?"
The red headed duelist had mumbled that other than a splitting headache, he is fine.
"Alright, Luke. These quacks told me that you'll be back on your feet in a day or two. After which, you'll be spending the next three months in physical re..." The man's words had trailed off when he realized that the four surgeons were now glaring at him. "I was jus' joking, guys. Give the poor Colonel a break, will ya?"
Turning his attention back to the amused duelist, he had continued with a smile. "Well, I'm glad that someone in this room has a sense of humor."
It was then that his facial expression had turned serious. "Joking aside, things are going from bad to abysmal. Houston is in open rebellion and the famous Texas Guard may not be enough to stop it. So sleep well, Luke and I'll see you when I see you."
The man had left as quickly as he came with the surgeons shaking their heads in resigned disgust.
After Luke was brought to his private ward, he had thought about the wacky blond man that talked to him earlier.
A few minutes of running through his memories, he had realized that the man was his mentor and friend – Colonel Peony Malkuth the Ninth. He then tried to piece together who he really is.
A flood of memories then rushed through his mind, although a few were just too fuzzy to be of any use. This had made Luke remember his childhood in the Fabre mansion in Palestine, Texas.
The red head remembered that he was an only child of the Fabre family, thus making him the heir of a well known armor manufacturer in the Free Oil States. His father had died in an assassination attempt gone wrong almost twenty three years ago.
It was such that his mother has raised him alone while tending to the armor business of her deceased husband.
Thus, for most of his time in the Fabre manor was spent with his caretaker – Pere. His mother has never remarried as she had given more attention to the company as well as her only pride and joy – Luke himself.
The red head still visited his mother whenever he had the time while keeping his second job – a top ranking agent of Texas Intelligence a well kept secret. As such, she has always nagged him about settling down and having a family.
In his heart, he knew he could never fulfill that wish since he may die anytime, either as a professional duelist or as an elite agent, before he could even find the girl he would be marrying anyway.
Still there were a lot of things that he couldn't figure out like: who was Natalia and who was the man who tried to kill him in his second dream.
The surgeons had told him about the attempt to sabotage his clone- meaning that he had died and was only resurrected through the clone. The sabotage attempt had only affected the part of his brain where his memories are kept.
Therefore, some of his memories were lost for good. They also told him about some still unknown side effects that were bound to show up in the next three months that he would stay in the hospital for physical rehabilitation.
For the next three months, Luke had tried to walk with his hands on the stainless steel gym handrails on either side of him, lifted weights, swam laps in the hospital's indoor heated swimming pool, and jogged when he could finally support his own weight.
After each strenuous activity, he was escorted back to the nurses' office for some physical examination.
Whenever the red headed agent sleeps at night, an image of Natalia still haunted his dreams. Her face becoming more and more recognizable with each and every night he had dreamed about her.
Until now, he was still in the dark as to what was her relationship to him was and how she died.
Even the nurses were not able to answer his questions about her since they did not have any viable access to his personal file and whatever information they had been able to bring up was obviously sanitized.
As the third month was about to end, his personal nurse with long dark brown hair told him something strange. "Mr. Fabre, if I didn't know you better, I could have sworn that you're psychic."
Luke had laughed at the statement causing the nurse to make an irritated growl. "C'mon. Sayuri, jus' call me Luke since Mr. Fabre is just too stuffy fer a cool guy like myself."
"I'm not kidding, Mr. F- Luke. When I was about to take your blood pressure or take a sample of your blood, you had rolled your right arm. In either case, I had not even asked you to do so."
Smirking at the shock present in the duelist's face, she had continued her tirade with a bigger smile. "You even held out your tongue when Dr. Saotome was about to check your tonsils when she hadn't said anything about it either."
Luke then rubbed his chin with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand as he had given the subject of his untapped powers of mental telepathy some thought.
"You're right, Sayuri. Too bad, I can't control it consciously." The red head said as he had shrugged the whole thing off as if it was nothing.
"I guess so, Luke. If you're finally able to, can you please take a peek at Daichi's head just to see if he only thinks about machines or if I'm in there too?" The brunette nurse- Sayuri Suizenji had asked with a slight blush in her cheeks that were framed by her dark brown hair.
"Sure, jus' bring the great 'Daichi Hayami' to me and I'll give it a shot." Luke answered with a roguish smile.
"Thanks, Luke. You jus' made my night. Merry Christmas," Sayuri said as she had kissed the taller young man's right cheek while standing on tiptoes before skipping away in joy.
The red headed duelist just laughed as he had unlocked the door leading to his ward and entered.
By the first week of the fourth month after he was revived (December 2038), Luke was finally released from the hospital.
A gray Cadillac Carapace was waiting for him outside the hospital's front door. The four door car had taken him to a non-descript yet well-fortified building at the south end of Austin. After entering the building, his escorts guided him to the elevator to their right.
After disembarking at the fourth floor, they had led him to a familiar office at the door nearest the end of the hallway. After a couple of knocks, they then entered the said room.
Colonel Malkuth had stood up from his executive's chair and greeted the red head as the latter had just entered past the cedar wood door. The two escorts had saluted and left the room immediately.
"Take yer seat, Luke." The Texas Intelligence chief had told his protégé and friend right after he returned Luke's crisp salute. Both men then took their respective seats.
Peony's seat was right behind the oak desk while Luke's seat was the stainless steel chair complete with cushion in front and just to the right of the said desk.
"Dr. Anna Saotome and her colleagues have apprised me of your present condition, Luke. I'm told that in your current incarnation, neither your physical prowess nor your memories are up to par." The colonel had paused as he took a set of stapled papers from the foot high stack on his untidy desk. "Nevertheless, whatever you had learned in yer last mission along with your newly discovered ability ta read minds, make you the best man for this mission."
"Wait a minute, whaddaya mean whatever I had learned in my last mission? Hello! Just revived agent with fuzzy memories here," Luke said as he abruptly stood up.
"Luke, calm down and shut up. I only meant that on your last mission, you were tracking these items." The blond colonel answered as he had disappeared behind his desk.
Colonel Peony then emerged from behind the desk carrying a large cardboard box in his brawny arms. He had unloaded the box to show the following items held within it – a rusted gate valve handle, some plastic buttons made for pneumatic systems, a piece of bent metal that could only be seen as a part of a submarine latch's spinning hatch handle and a piece of a submarine bulkhead.
"All of these trinkets are from the Texas Navy nuclear attack submarine- City of Corpus Christi," The colonel said as explanation for all the items he had showed.
He then gave a brief history of the submarine so that his best agent could understand how important his next mission would be with some help from his overhead projector and his desktop computer.
"The Christi's been down there in the Gulf of Mexico for over thirty years since it was sunk rather than be taken by either the U.S. Navy just off-shore or by the gangs who had just taken over Houston. It was the latter that had actually galvanized the captain and his crew to scuttle their beloved sub before their own surrender to the crew of the USS Augusta- a nuclear powered stealth destroyer that was sent in to capture the submarine, its captain and its thirty five man crew." The colonel paused as he had taken the opportunity to drink a bit of water from the hot and cold water dispenser to his left before continuing.
"We knew somethin' was up when these seemingly innocent trinkets started showing up in the local black market. We actually sent ya to investigate the matter when you were killed." The colonel said as he frowned at the memory of his best agent being killed in action. "Blew you up to kingdom come in pieces too small for even Gold Cross to resurrect. So we pulled out one of your spare clones but some nut job sabotaged your clone, or in this case- you, in an attempt ta keep you off the case for good."
Luke was dumbstruck at the short summary of his last mission for Texas Intelligence. He had asked his mentor on how he was killed.
"Funny you should ask 'bout the sabotage of your cloning process, Luke. The answer is we don't even know the dumb ass that did it. I personally cleared anyone with access to that Gold Cross facility thus the one who did it is probably one of us."
"Colonel Malkuth, I was askin' on who killed me not who tried ta kill me the second time around." Luke tried to ask a second time, his voice steadily rising in volume.
"Sorry, Luke. Must be gettin' old, y'know. You must 'ave been askin' on how far along were ya on tracking those trinkets." The colonel said as he had tapped his temple with his forefinger. "Well, it was actually a lead from one of your contacts. Oddly enough, I knew them only by the code names that ya gave them like Ali Baba, Miss Moneybags, and the Old Lady."
"Colonel Peony Malkuth the Ninth!! Stop beatin' around the bush. I'm sure you know who killed me along with whoever's behind him and I want ta know who they are," Luke had snapped as he again stood up and even banged his fists on the desk to get the desired effect.
"Ok, ok. Just don't go postal on this. Let me start at the beginning. You were actually married, early in your career or about five years ago. The girl's name was Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvadear. You guys were a model couple, not only did you two live together but you fight together as well." The colonel had waited until Luke had calmly sat down before continuing. "While you were competing in Colorado for the Autoduel Gran Prix last year, I sent her along with two other agents to assassinate a two-bit hood named Vandesdelca Musto Fende or Van Grants as he is now known."
"Lemme guess, they failed and he got even." Luke said with a scowl. The older man had wisely ignored the interruption.
"Yes, he made plans ta bait your wife a second time, about seven months ago. This time around, you were involved for all that it was good fer." This time, the colonel made a sneer at the stubbornness of the couple to finally take down the rising star of the criminal underworld. "He had caught both of you in an elaborate trap. It was only through your wife's selfless act that you were able to run to safety."
Luke had tried to remember his last moments with his wife, only to fail miserably. He had concluded that only in his dreams could he see those critical moments. The older man had cleared his throat meaningfully just get things back on track.
"Alright, boss. How does that…incident have anything ta do with my own recent death?"
The blond colonel had looked at him in total shock before saying. "You really don't remember, don't ya?"
He then turned his back on the confused red head before answering the latter's question. "When Van killed your wife, he had also stolen one of our cloning chambers in one of our allied hospitals and used your wife's cells ta make for himself a bodyguard after he had the clone's mind wiped clean. When you had gotten too close to completin' the mission, he sent the clone to kill ya along with herself with a hidden time bomb under your shared hotel room bed, no less."
"Oh boy, I guess I must 'ave blown her mind 'n more ways than one. He he he," Luke joked dryly.
"Ha ha ha. Good one, Luke. Now let's go thorough some basic Texan history since ya may have forgotten all 'bout it." The Colonel had cheerily laughed despite the lame joke to keep the atmosphere upbeat even for a moment.
After taking a green Morocco folder from the mass of paper and office supplies on the desktop, he started the history lesson. "After the Secession War with the United States at the turn of the millennium, Houston was pretty much knocked out of civilization. Things got worse during the Grain Blight of 2012 and Food Riots of 2018."
After a pause, Peony had continued. "Unlike the rest of Texas, it never recovered. It's now a lawless urban jungle that's home ta uncivilized gangs and tribes, with a tight cordon made around it by the Texas Guard. This is to ensure that the gangs and other lowlifes stay there and not cause harm to other Texans."
The blond had flipped a worn page before continuing once again. "Three years ago, Van Grants was just a minor gang leader. The guy's certainly has a lot of charisma since he's now in total control in Houston as gang-king. Nobody could touch 'im since he's surrounded by his personal bodyguards of female fatales – 'the Rebeccas'. He promised to lead his followers in a holy war against Texas, to throw down the republic and proclaim himself as the country's first monarch."
"He sure dreams big, doesn't he?" Luke unknowingly mused aloud.
The colonel had heard him before answering. "Yes, he does. The Chirsti may actually be the answer to the riddle on how will he and his goons plan ta seize control of the republic."
"Well then, what do we know 'bout that submarine that makes Van so sure he can take down the government?"
"Nice ta know that you're willin' to learn more about your mission. Luke." Peony then scribbled a little note and telling the agent to give it to Dr. Tsuyoshi Utada before resuming the meeting.
After tapping the wall charts with his rubber tipped pointer to get Luke's full attention. The red head had realized that they were actually a set of deck plans, all brown with age.
"The Christi carried six nuclear missiles on her action deck when she went down. She actually had more tubes on her maiden voyage in the early 1990's but they were taken out in her reconstruction as a stealth sub in 1999, both to make room for advanced sensor jamming equipment and for some needed streamlining to make her much faster in the water."
After moving to the second deck plan, he then said. "The missiles themselves will be useless after all these years in the bottom of the sea, but the warheads themselves should be intact. Fortunately for us, the fledgling Texas Navy of the time had a strict security policy – those warheads won't do anybody any good without the special atomic detonators, all of them kept under lock and key in the sub's vault."
"None of the detonators could be duplicated?" Luke said as he had pondered on how that fact would be to their advantage.
The blond had answered with a wry smile. "Yes, since each detonator was custom-built for a different warhead. So whoever salvages the Christi has ta come up with a warhead and its corresponding detonator. No more, no less."
The colonel then pulled down the deck plans and rolled it up with his agent's then replaced them in the wooden box placed at the right light green wall of the office.
After cleaning their hands of the grime, Peony added. "There are only six detonators, one for each warhead so you only have ta take all six and Van's plans will go kaput."
Suddenly the desk intercom lights had flashed intermittently. The angry Colonel had pushed the talk button and almost yelled "I said ta hold all calls."
The desk intercom instantly transforms into a mini-television monitor. Colonel Peony's aide was seen on the small screen, his voice a bit tinny from the little speakers beside the screen. "Sir! We're under att-"
Both men had heard the gunfire from the intercom's little speakers. The bullet ridden aide had slumped over the screen before the bloodied screen itself had blanked out. A loud bang had caught their attention as something heavy crashed into the door of the office.
"Seems that our 'guests' have just arrived, take cover behind the desk with me." Peony said as he had taken an item from his desk drawer.
Luke complied and the colonel had given him a Walter PPK/E as they overturned the desk drawer after placing the desktop computer and printer on the floor beside it and waited.
They did not have to wait for long since the door was broken through quickly enough. Two gunmen, their faces planted white to look like skulls and their teeth filled to points, had entered the room with their guns blazing.
Bullets and buck shot had dug into furniture and computer hardware, sending wood chips, pieces of cotton, pieces of plastic, and ceramic chips from the rare Ming vases placed in two farther corners of the room everywhere.
"Hey, I paid good money for those vases." Peony exclaimed as he had tagged one of the surprised gunmen with two full metal jackets to the head. "That'll learn ya."
The colonel had to duck as a rain of twenty four lead pellets rushed past where his head had been. Luke had jumped to the side and got two shots at the second man, one at his left leg and the second at his stomach.
The gunman had gone down to the carpeted floor and slowly let go of his 12 gauge shotgun, blood oozing from his two wounds.
He shakily withdrew a red capsule filled with poison from his right back pocket as he had landed on the floor in a heap and swallowed the capsule before Luke and Peony could stop him. "Too late, dorks. Master Van rules…"
After the mess have been cleared (including the two dead bodies) and everything was either replaced or repaired, Peony had told his top agent that this very incident proved how desperate Van's minions were to complete their plans.
"I'll bet my whole weapons collection that Van has known where the Christi lies and may have even sent some of his men to board it. Right now, he may already 'ave taken all of the warheads from the submarine and then have the warheads sent to his base. It's only a matter of time before he can make good his threat against the government and start a civil war."
"What about the detonators?"
"He'll have them too as soon as he locates the ship's vault," Peony said with a heavy sigh as they had no way to make sure of that theory, other than breaking into the enemy's stronghold itself. "I have three agents on the inside – all of them loyal, I believe- who will help ya enter Van's base. Getting the detonators shouldn't be that hard, but getting out of Houston with them would be a worthy challenge for an agent of your caliber."
"I'll do my best, Sir." Luke answered with utmost confidence.
"That's why I called you for this mission, Luke. I'm sure that you can infiltrate Houston, get the detonators, and get out with the said items on hand. All of it while remaining in one piece," Peony said as he had shaken the younger man's hand. "Good luck and Merry Christmas."
"Thank you, sir and Merry Christmas to you too." Luke replied as he had made a crisp salute before heading for the Outfitting wing of Texas Intelligence headquarters.
As Luke was approaching the said wing, he entered a door on its right side. On the door is a sign – Dr. Tsuyoshi Utada, Director. As he entered, a thirty two year old chubby man with corrective glasses had greeted him.
"Marry Christmas, Luke. The Old Man has cleared you for Special Equipment. I already called Ginji and told him to set up the items ASAP. Just tell him your file number – A 287."
"Thanks, Doc and Happy Holidays ta you too. I jus' hope that your toys will be workin' properly," Luke replied as he had shaken the older man's hand.
"Luke, I can assure you that they do work. Have a little faith in my inventions, will ya?" Dr. Utada was saying as he had led the young agent to the main outfitting counter or "Utada's Showroom" as everyone in the Intelligence HQ had playfully called it.
As both men had entered the door, they saw a blond haired twenty seven year old staring intently at his personal computer. The said young man's face was actually in deep concentration as the two visitors had neared him.
A quick peek on the seventeen inch LCD computer screen showed why – he was actually flying an F-22 Raptor fighter jet through his flying simulation software. He even had a white joystick on his right hand moving this way and that as his eyes never even left the screen.
His ears were covered with headphones so he could only hear the sounds of the plane he's "flying."
"That nitwit, he's always getting his head into the clouds. I guess I'll have to chew him out later for playing computer games on company time," Dr. Utada was saying as he went behind the counter, opened the oak door behind the blond, and headed on into the store room beyond the said door.
As the door to the store room was closed with a loud slam, Ginji (the young blond) had suddenly shot up from his seat only to be stopped by the thin wires of his headphones. With a hiss of pain, he had thrown the offending items back to the counter and faced an amused Luke as soon as he stood up.
"Um, are ya alone by any chance?" The slightly older blonde said as he had closed the simulation program and opened the required accounting program instead.
"Nope, I was with Dr. Utada earlier." The red head answered with a chuckle.
"Oh shit." Ginji said as he had hurried to the store room after grabbing a piece of paper that was placed beside his mouse pad.
Luke had sat down on the fiberglass chair leaning against the right wall. Muffled shouts and other sounds of pain were heard through the door at random moments.
After about half an hour's waiting, both Ginji and Tsuyoshi had emerged from the door, each one carrying various items including a back pack big enough for most of the said items. The blond was also rubbing a few bumps on his head from the items that probably fell on him earlier.
A quick check had revealed that Luke would be given two leather holsters, one for his waist and another to his right shoulder. Both holsters would be holding a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle pistol and a Glock 18 machine pistol respectively.
Both guns had come with a silencer (for the Desert Eagle only) and laser targeting scope (for both guns).
Inside his black leather backpack were: six flash grenades (or flash bangs), six fragmentation grenades, a stun gun, four limpet mines, an Infrared black suit (that hid his body heat from IR sensors), an ID scanner, some commando face paint, a Beretta 418 pistol, and tinted goggles.
The agent would also wear an armored battle vest over his black fatigues where his three dimensional binoculars with range/vector read out, walkie-talkie, Personal Digital Assistant with Voice command program (allowing voice commands), Radio link program (to remotely trigger radio detonators), and Physical Monitor program (to monitor vital signs of whoever its needles and wire is attached to) installed, lock tool kit, and extra ammo clips were kept.
After all the items have been given, both Tsuyoki and Ginji had given the red head a pat on the back as they sent him on his way to the Dispositions office, just down the hall.
The Dispositions office is the only section authorized to make travel arrangements for its agents. Along the way, Luke had thought about the many ways to travel surreptitiously to Houston.
The first would be by water, either through fishing boats or by submarine. The second would be by land, either by driving around the hostile gangs or by doing the same on foot. The third would be by air, either by using a parachute or glider.
Out of the three given, the third option is the fastest and the least dangerous of all (especially at night) since he could easily be spotted and captured if he had used the first two options. He had fervently hoped that he would travel by air, since Texas zeppelins are supposed to be awesome.
Luke had arrived just in time as the clerk had just arrived from his mid afternoon coffee break carrying with him the agent's travel folder that was usually kept in a safe.
Luke's gut feeling was alarmed when he had noticed that the clerk seemed to be a bit too jumpy for his own good, the skinny man was shaking like a leaf on a blustery day.
The clerk's hands were visibly shaking as he slowly placed the bulky plastic envelope on the counter top as he said. "You arrived just in time, Agent Fabre. Here are your travel documents."
The redheaded agent had closely examined the envelope since he saw something weird on the item itself. It was sealed by a top security electronic lock, which could only be opened by the red head's fingerprints.
He wondered why there was even a need for this type of security but Luke was more concerned about the scratch marks around it. It was as if someone was trying to disable the lock itself.
Knowing that something was wrong, the red headed agent had calmly taken his seat behind a table where he had placed his back pack and slowly reached for his Glock 18 at his shoulder holster while leaning downwards as if to ties his shoelaces.
As soon as the agent saw that a SIG Sauer P226's barrel had come from behind the counter top, he had toppled the oak table, where his bag was placed, on its side and hid behind it.
As the first shot jad narrowly missed hitting his head and made a small hole at the table's upper edge instead, Luke then switched his Glock to burst mode and shot the man at his own head- the only thing visible from the red head's position.
The clerk had died instantly as Luke called security and explained what had happened. The agenet then left the room immediately with his backpack, ignoring the security men placing a blue blanket over the dead body and carrying it outside to be buried in a nearby empty lot.
Welcome to the fifth and final story of the Anime Car War series, Mean Streets. It's not Auldrant but the whole picture is kind off the same as that world.
For example, life outside the city is just as dangerous as in the game. Only the people there do not face monsters and bandits but cycle gangs, drifters and people who kill others just to survive themselves.
My apologies to Natalia fans, but just like in Badlands Run, I had to kill a character off so you can see how desperate the various enemies in the Anime Car Wars world really is. On the other hand, I still think that the death scene itself needs a lot of improving but I'll leave that for another time.
By the way, the Luke fon Fabre in the last chapter of Green Circle Blues is actually the original Luke or Asch the Bloody in contrast with the one here who is the Luke fon Fabre that we all know and love (maybe even hate for some) in the game.
As before, I cannot promise that I can keep every anime character (yes, Tales of the Abyss also has been made into an anime) in character but I'll give it my best shot in doing so.
Also, I do not own Tales of the Abyss but Namco (JP) or Namco-Bandai (US) does. The same could be said for Car Wars, the vehicles and weapons shown here, and even the flying simulation software that Ginji has been using.
Oh yeah, I don't own Machine Robo Rescue and its characters but Sunrise does.
Speaking of which, Sunrise recently made the anime of TOA too. So both Machine Robo Rescue and Tales of the Abyss actually have something in common other than having their characters borrowed by me for the purpose of this fan fiction.
Having said way too much, I'll leave you guys for the moment while I prepare the next chapter for posting. No previews this time since they're not that useful anyway.
Just read and enjoy.