The streets of Brisbane were drowning in cascades of water. Rain flowed to clogged gutters, packing rubbish tighter into the strained drains. Swift winds splattered rainwater down glassy skyscrapers. The skies flashed blue and white as lightning raced in sinewy bands across burdened clouds. Thunder and growling gales drowned out the sounds of emergency vehicles flying around in the storm in distant corners of the city. Waves spun and crashed around the tires of another vehicle that rushed across the city. This lone rusting van moved with determination and urgency, racing to stop a toxic flood that threatened to poison the metropolis.
The man in the shotgun seat of the van focused his one good eye on a street sign that disappeared in a deluge of water like a wavering mirage. "Okay. Ten streets more, 'n we take a left."
"For God's sake, Tavish! There has to be a faster route!" the driver spat. The bridge of his nose crashed into his wrongly-sized helmet as he threw his head back in disgust.
"I was the one smart enough ta buy a damn map, Jane!" the Demoman rumbled. "And ya thought that I was bein' a peckerhead in the gift shop! Least I got somethin' useful!"
The Soldier was quick to shout back. "Hey! That boomerang will be extremely useful in our operations!"
The Demoman shook his head. "Maybe if ya jam it up someone's arse!"
"Oh, for cryin' out loud!" The Scout's head hit the back of his seat as he groaned. "Could ya mooks cram it? Focus on the drivin'! Then we can worry about the ass beatin'!"
Snapping his head around, the Soldier barked at the Scout. "Son, if anyone needs to be focusing on anything—"
The rest of his sentence was cut off by loud honking. The Soldier jolted back into position just as a series of white circular lights flashed in his eyes. Everyone in the van shrieked in fright as the Soldier whipped the van out of oncoming traffic. Tarp-covered trucks rushed past them. Each vehicle followed its predecessor in a straight, evenly spaced line. The trucks towards the back were covered in ash and char, their tarps blackened and burned. The van idled quietly as the caravan passed, its occupants still startled by their near miss. It could have been as bad as being hit by a freight car.
It must have been a minute before anyone could recover from the near miss. The Scout was the first one to break the quiet. "Told ya."
"Stuff it, hippie," the Soldier replied. He scowled as the Scout's mother struck him in the back of his helmet with an open palm. "Sorry, Ma'am."
"Let's get back to the mission. We don't have much time," Miss Pauling urged.
"Hold on." The Demoman nodded his head towards an oncoming vehicle. "There's another one."
It was another truck of the same build as the caravan's components. This last truck was black as pitch, paneling too dull to reflect from the traffic lights and claps of lightning. The fabric covering the back of the truck was completely burned away. It was hesitant as it approached the stopped van, water cresting at lower heights as it slowed down. The driver's side window descended. The truck's sole occupant leaned out, rain washing soot out of his dark hair. "Excusez-moi. Did you happen to see a large—Mon dieu!"
The occupants of the van erupted with cheerful whooping. The truck's driver pulled himself upright in shock. Crawling over Miss Pauling and her son, the Scout's mother leaned her head over the front seat. She flew back to her position, flinging the side door open. She leapt onto the road, bare feet and legs splashing in the streets. Rushing to the nearest door of the truck, she pulled herself inside the second vehicle and threw her arms around the neck of the driver. He leaned into her grasp, placing his right hand on her face.
They both blurted, "What are you doing here?"
"Came here ta save yer ass. Got kidnapped. Lost my shoes. Met up with yer coworkers. You?" The Scout's mother asked.
The Spy smirked. "Mostly ze same. However, I still have my shoes. New face, too."
"Eh, I've seen it before. Been twenty-five years, though," the Scout's mother teased. She pointed towards the direction that the caravan had headed. "Dat Marian 'n her group?"
The Spy nodded. "I was going to ask for police assistance in tracking zhem down."
The Scout's mother screwed up her face. "Forget about dat! We were already plannin' on kickin' her ass! Let's roll!"
"Just one moment." The Spy leaned out of the truck, peering into the van across the way. "Do any of you know of ze where-abouts of ze Sniper?"
There was a scramble from the back of the van. Miss Pauling scooted out of the way as the Sniper climbed over the back seat. Glancing out, he watched the Spy's eyes widen ever so slightly. There was a sudden hard beat in the Sniper's chest. Neither man anticipated seeing the other alive. At least, not so soon. There could have been hundreds of words shared between the two, vocalizations of the fears that each one had for the other's fate. At that moment, it would have just stalled them more. They smiled, knowing what had to be done.
The Sniper clambered into the back seat, then grabbed his supplies. "Soldier, lead the Spy back ta Marian's office. If her group opens fire on us, return it. I'm gonna have ta gun for him."
The Scout's mother had her own set of orders. She yelled into the other van. "Scooter Pie! You get over here, too!"
"Ma! I don't wanna—ugh, fine." Even the Scout knew that there was a limitation to how much whining he could do.
The Scout beat the Sniper out of the side door. The Australian hustled behind him. He paused once, stopping briefly as he caught sight of the Engineer. Another thud rocked in his chest, dread catching him in the throat. The other vehicle was lacking in medical support. He couldn't ask the Medic to leave the Engineer's side, especially not after how badly the exposure to that strange sap had drained him. He certainly couldn't ask the Engineer to step up to the plate so swiftly, either. The Sniper had barely been able to sit up after drinking the substance. He wouldn't have been able to function. It wouldn't be fair to ask more out of the Engineer than what he could have done himself.
"Doc. Take care of Truckie, yeah?" the Sniper murmured.
The Medic shooed the Sniper out of the vehicle. "Get going, Dummkopf! You are vasting time!"
The Engineer waved the Sniper out. "I'll be okay, Mundy. Just get—"
He grunted, leaving his sentence unfinished. Pain in his right arm pinched on nerves that had long been severed and dead. The Engineer tried wriggling the fingers in his Gunslinger. They were moving with strange starts and stops. Something was wrong with the contraption. He pulled the prosthesis off its base, then growled as he ripped the lower half free from where it had been fastened to his arm. The forearm beneath it was longer, growing out into a wrist. The Texan studied his stump, watching in surprise as new muscles moved under his control.
"Think my hand's growin' back," the Engineer mumbled.
The Sniper beamed. "Keep workin' on that!" He threw the door shut behind him, quick to leap into the open bed of the Spy's truck. He gave two pats on the top of the truck, then hunkered down. The rental van charged forward first, cutting an open path through the flooding streets. That didn't spare the Sniper from becoming drenched within seconds. Both vehicles sped to make up for lost time. At least they didn't have to guess which way to head.
Car lights flared in the raging storm. Citizens who had not made it to their shelters were quick to flee from the speeding truck and van. Traffic bulbs burned bright and green, swaying in the strong winds. They ushered the rushing duo of vehicles onward. Within a few minutes, rectangular, heavy trucks came back into view. They were plowing through flooded streets, drenching unfortunate citizens as they continued on. Every armed teammate loaded their weapons, preparing for a nasty battle. They weren't going to open fire until given a reason. Still, it didn't hurt to be ready.
The Soldier threw a turning signal on. As soon as oncoming traffic broke, he diverged into the opposing lane. The street opened up as he accelerated, two lanes splitting into four. The few people who were foolish enough to keep driving in such dangerous conditions were quick to swerve out of the way. They slammed on their horns, cursing in dialects too thick for the Soldier to properly understand. He pushed the van next to the tail-end member of Marian's caravan. With a quick spin of the wheel, he slammed into the truck, forcing it across another lane and into a street light pole.
"Careful, you imbecile!" the Spy shouted.
"Aw, am I being too violent? Are the cops gonna arrest me?" The Soldier was quick to yell back. "Get behind me, Frenchie! We're going to cut this caravan in half!"
Rolling his eyes, the Spy swerved his truck behind the Soldier's van. The Sniper clung onto the tarp support beams over his head, waiting for a perfect opportunity to counterattack. Marian's men were quick to pick up on the aggressors at their heels. Several of them opened fire. White hot bullets lit up the dark rainwater, burning past the vehicles with searing hisses. They trailed bright light across the churning streets.
More ammunition sailed across the dreary night sky. It did not come from any standard gun. The objects were round, covered with sticky barbs. They cascaded onto a stop light. A wild laugh escaped the Soldier's vehicle as the Demoman detonated his trap. The light crashed into the middle of the trucks. It took down the first vehicle in its path. Another slammed into the rear of the stopped truck. Most of the following vehicles were able to swerve out of the path. The Demoman drew a few more bombs, blasting the light out of the way for his team. The duo of vehicles raced on, quick to catch the caravan's tail once more.
A goon cried out in the night as his hand exploded with pain. The weapon he had been wielding went sailing harmlessly down the street. The Sniper moved from his standing position, leaning forward on the truck's roof as he picked another target. A shotgun disintegrated into pieces. A tire blew, air hissing as rubber slapped into water. Another truck stalled, unable to keep after the enthusiastic gunmen and the escaping caravan.
Olive green mist billowed into the streets. A putrid stench washed over the two vehicles. Both the truck and the van rolled up their windows. The Sniper hunkered down, grabbing a hunk of tarp to throw over his mouth. The rain did its best to dispel the stinking cloud of poison, but it hit him hard. He abandoned his position, throwing himself over the side of the truck. The Scout's mother forced open the door nearest to him and pulled the Australian inside. He wretched twice, his eyes burning in irritation.
"Gonna be a few minutes before I can fire again," the Sniper gasped.
"We will just have to keep on zhem, in ze meantime," the Spy muttered.
The Scout cupped his hands around his eyes. "Man, I think we lost da odders."
"Patience, Scooter. We're right behind dem. Dey won't leave us." His mother gave him a bright smile, then turned her attention to the Sniper. She pushed his head down towards his knees. "Here. Sit like dis until yer better. Atta boy."
Both the Soldier's van and the Spy's truck broke free from the gas attack. The Pyro popped his head out to attack first. He snaked the head of his flamethrower out of the vehicle. He pressed on the gas feed twice, then squeezed a heavy burst of air out of its tanks. The gust of wind was enough to rock an opposing truck's occupants backwards. The vehicle tipped just a touch, baring its underside for one moment. The Pyro ignited the gas feed, bathing the truck's belly in a plume of fire. In panic, the opposing truck fell backwards. It slammed rear-end first into an oncoming truck, taking out two vehicles at once.
As the Pyro fell back to reload, the Heavy threw open the sliding door to the back of the van. His minigun growled as it chewed through metal and rubber. Water splattered and hissed under impact from a few strange rounds. Some of Marian's men turned their attention to opening fire on him. Their bullets were no greater deterrents to the Heavy than mosquito bites. He was bathed in a heavenly glow as the Medic kept his medigun aimed at him. As the last round left his gun, another truck peeled away in disgraceful defeat. He leaned back, reaching for a fresh belt of ammunition from the Engineer's dispenser. He gave the tired little man a grin, then fell back to his position.
"Ah, man! How many more 'a dese vehicles does dat bitch have?" the Scout whined.
The Spy tipped his head. "Not too many more. She should be in ze first vehicle."
The Sniper lifted his eyes. Marian's truck was not too far out of his sight. It was skittering across two lanes of traffic, weaving back and forth indecisively. With a large wake of water, it thrashed to the left. Its following vehicles shook back and forth, splitting randomly in different directions. The van in front of them scrambled around, not sure which way to follow. It continued straight past the intersection, following after most of the remaining trucks.
"Left! She's left!" the Sniper shouted.
A man with less faith in his teammate would have disregarded the Sniper's command. It made sense to keep with the majority of their companions. The Spy made no such hesitation. He turned to the left, narrowly avoiding an oncoming car. He slammed on the accelerator, catching up to the rear end of Marian's last following vehicle. Water churned beneath his tires, splattering against his windshield in a thick veil.
The Scout's mother readied the gun that Miss Pauling had given her. "Let's get dis guy outta da way. With me, kiddo?"
The Scout gave his mother a nod. "Hell yeah! I've got my side!"
Mother and son rolled down the window, leaning out in unison. They lowered the barrel of both their pistols towards the truck's tires. Two cracks fired in quick succession. The right tire popped, then the left. The truck bounced as its tires deflated, rims sparking beneath the flood waters. Swinging around the vehicle, the Spy pressed onto his last target.
A toxic plume rolled over the vehicle as the Scout and his mother fired two more shots. Their rounds had burst the final truck's tires just as before. Both family members reeled back from the gas. The Sniper was quick to roll up the Scout's mother's window, pressing his soaking shirt over her mouth to prevent any further inhalation. The Scout took care of his window, but threw up on his shoes shortly afterwards.
"Cheatin' bitch," the Scout huffed.
The Spy smirked. "Zat is my opinion."
Shots broke through the windshield of their truck. Everyone ducked down as bullets rained overhead. Even if Marian's vehicle had been stopped, its occupants had not. The Spy threw a hand over his mouth. He spared a glance over the dashboard. Three unique bursts of gunfire were coming from Marian's men.
He scowled. "Sniper. Scout. Wizh me!"
All three men loaded their weapons. The Scout's mother kept low, preparing to fire if she had to. The Spy commanded them swiftly, giving each man a direction to fire with a flick of his right index finger. He took a deep breath, then counted to them. "Un…deux…trois!"
The Scout was the fastest to fire, as always. He buried three rounds into the arms of his target. The Spy was next, blowing a revolver out of his target's hands. Not to say there was much of the guard's hands left after his round embedded into them. The Sniper took his shot last. It was well aimed, honed in on his target's neck. His shot went off course as an unaccounted fourth gun fired. The last guard was struck in his lower abdomen, collapsing in a heap in the back of the last truck. The Sniper fell backwards, grabbing at his left cheek in shock. A trail of blood gushed from his face.
For a man that had nearly been shot in the head, the Sniper was not grateful for having survived. "Sonnova bitch! Just got rid 'a this bloody scar!"
Hearing the Sniper's voice was enough to snap the Spy back on track. He raised his gun once more, threatening the last firer. He roared into the storm, "Mademoiselle Grey! Surrender now!"
Marian responded with another shot. The Spy winced as it bounced off the dashboard. He opened one irritated eye. The toxic smoke had saved them from her fire. She mustn't have had as clear of a shot. The Spy smirked. He knew when to take a good opportunity. Slamming on his wristwatch, he pushed out of the truck and waded through the stormy waters. He sloshed to the passenger's side door, finding Marian trembling, an arm thrown over her face and another unsteady hand shaking. Thunder clapped overhead, and she shivered once more.
The Spy might have had pity on her, had she not so grievously wronged him.
He grabbed her armed hand. She shrieked in terror as his invisible hand came into view around her wrist. She fired once, striking a street light. Glass and electrical sparks rained down. The Spy wrenched her arm back, smashing her hand against the door's window frame. Marian responded with a punch to his solar plexus. Wincing, the Spy fought to hold onto her. She wasn't all that strong, but she fought dirty. She hit him once more, striking a sensitive cluster of nerves. He fell backwards, landing next to a surging water main.
Marian threw herself out of the car. She glanced down the street, loading her gun once more. She did not get far before an ominous click stopped her. Three dark figures rushed to the Spy's aid. Glancing up, the Spy saw his petite standing at his side, the Scout next to her. Both of them had guns drawn towards Marian's forehead. As the Sniper lifted the Spy out of the gutter, the Frenchman could not take his eyes off the Scout's mother. Never before had she looked so powerful, her shoulders held high and proud. His heart palpitated.
"'Kay, Ma'am? Gonna ask ya ta cut the crap," the Scout's mother demanded. "Unless ya want me ta make dat beauty mark 'a yers a little bigger."
Vehicle lights flooded the street behind Marian's head. She turned her neck, watching as a thick, dark automobile pulled in. Giving the Scout's mother her attention again, she smirked. "Cute. Really, darling. I admire your style. Still, my ride is here. I've got to be going."
The Scout's mother tipped her head towards the parking vehicle. "Yeah. Yer goin' somewhere, alright."
Marian turned around once more to find herself staring into the eyes of six angry men and one perturbed assistant. Each one of them had their own unique and intimidating weapon pointed squarely at her. Her eyelids lowered as she smiled. Of course. She'd forgotten about the rest of the Spy's little friends. She looked once more at the two men she had held captive, then sighed. It was easy to tame them when they couldn't resist. Now, they had the upper hand. Even she had to know when to let a business partnership end.
Marian dropped her gun. "Fine. You win."
I should have the ending up shortly. Just wanted to get the climax over and done with.
Although, I think really it's not advised to shoot at car tires while they are in motion. Tends to have a bad ricochet habit.
Hmm…probably shouldn't have caused so much collateral and bullet wounds…
Eh, the cops can sort it out.