One of goons on the walkway turned to Pasquale. "What are your orders, Sir?"
Spike's eyebrows knit even as his lip lifted. He spared a swift venomous glare at the cringing Taveon. "Your brother is the leader? That's hardly his life at risk, you liar!"
Pasquale shook his head and replied smoothly, "What a disappointment you turned out to be. It shames me to call you brother. Once more I am left to rectify your incompetence. This shall be the last time." He raised a hand and the dozens of men at the railings locked eyes on him. "And what a heroic deed it shall be cut down in the act of bringing these enemies of ours to bear. Right?"
The men all grinned, their guns aiming down at their targets. Roy squirmed behind Dingus and Jax trying to use them as shields. Taveon had no such support and remained whimpering with a worker drone blade inches from his neck. The Bebop crew wasn't spared. Grimly, they all noted they too had gained the attentions of the gang. Except Ed with Ein still curled happily in her lap. She continued to harass the cornered bunch.
From the center of the room Spike did a quick inventory of what hell was about to break loose. Things were not in their favor, save one thing. The remote in Ed's hand, if it was linked to the rest of the drones spread around the factory … he whistled to Ed. She glanced his way, cocking her head. He pointed up toward the walkway. Leaning backward, Ed stared up at the machines and instantly wriggled with glee. A second later, LED after LED brightened the darkness.
Pasquale and company didn't notice. He pantomimed great sorrow. "Oh what horrendous fate befell Taveon. At least he did not shame the family in his death."
Flattened against the wall, Taveon shrieked, "Brother! Give me another chance. I won't shame the family. I promise, I swear!"
With hard eyes, Pasquale glared down at him. "Too late. Take your death like a man."
A sharp saw blade cleaved through the air. Pasquale tumbled to the side, squealing like a stuck pig. From the top of the cabinet, Ed giggled madly as she leaned over the controller. Drones sprang to life spreading chaos throughout the entire building. Grown men became as panicked sheep darting from the threatening blades coming from all over.
In the midst of the distractions, Spike drove for the stairs to the walkway. A goon pressed forward holding a machine gun, he pumped the trigger. Only a clink sounded. Spike grinned and kicked the muzzle up into his face. The kick dislodged the kinked machinery and a barrage of bullets went off directly into the goon's chin. He fell like a blood-soaked rock. As Spike launched himself up the stairs he heard Jet's ramrod thud into several large, soft bodied objects. The rapport of Faye's gun echoed, men tumbled forward over the railings.
Clearing the stairs, Spike pressed on toward the stumbling Pasquale. He'd lost his wide brimmed hat and his sweat-slick hair flung droplets everywhere in his panicked flight. Hot on his trail several of the machines pursued him. In a full throttle run, Spike vaulted over several goons still debating whether to let the machines tear the Boss apart, or to wring his neck himself! Neither would be a pleasant fate.
Ed's joyous laughter filled the room accompanied by the most prominent sound, the whir of the machines she'd hacked.
"Ed!" Spike called out in mid-vault. "Hold up, we don't get a bounty for just the head."
The machines in pursuit of Pasquale slowed to a crawl, a rather death impending crawl. For Pasquale had managed to force himself into a end of the walkway. Backed against the wall, with his hands flat on the metal, he babbled and shut his eyes. All around the warehouse the goons now lay in either dead or incapacitated heaps.
Leaping up onto the shoulders of one of the worker drones, Spike crouched and grinned. He fixed his gun on Pasquale lazily and waited for him to open his eyes. "Yo. You've been a bad brother."
"Me? Me? I didn't screw things up—"
The muzzle of the Jericho bearing between his eyes cut him off. Spike clicked his tongue. "Brothers are supposed to look out for one another. Not sign them up for a death ride. Pitiful. Your kind are all alike, you'll do anything to rise to power."
Pasquale shook his head. "He's been nothing but a shame to the family since he learned how to walk. I gave him plenty of chances."
"To become a thug? Huh, that's rich." He flicked the gun. "Well, now you get to show him the price for betrayal."
"Who the hell are you?" Pasquale shuddered as he stared down the muzzle.
Leaning forward, Spike grinned down the site of his Jericho. "Some one who knows."
He shut his eyes and screamed, until the blow from the butt of Spike's gun bashed him into unconsciousness.
Jet glanced up and chuckled. "He still breathing?"
"Alright, let's see if we can score a nice hit on this security ring."
Ed's worker drones commenced tethering up the gang with bailing wire.
Jet stirred the meat and vegetables in the pan. Beside him, Faye leaned against the wall, the smoke from her cigarette drifted up into the vent. "I can't believe those bozos were worth two-million woolongs. At least we get to eat again."
"Bustin' up a whole ring like that, complete with lackeys, is a pretty nice score. Shame about the kid, though."
Faye glanced out of the kitchen vaguely toward the crew's quarters. "Can't believe Spike didn't spring him. You know, with how … protective he was there."
Jet heaved a sigh and turned down the heat as he added a sauce. "Guess it makes sense, though. Young or not, Taveon chose his path. A stint in a local jail should wake him up. The pressure of a family already involved in crime is hard to shake."
"Still, he was just a young punk."
"So was Spike," Jet's voice faded off, "once."
"Sounds like a fairy tale." She sniffed. "But at least there's food this time. Mmm, real protein!"
"Right, it's almost done. Go tell Spike."
"Isn't he in the living room?" She blinked from the door only then noticing the empty couch.
"Nope." Jet flipped the food in the air and caught it in the pan. "Check his room."
She sighed and wandered off to the crew quarters. Just down the hall an alarmed cry hastened her. She tore around the corner and stared through Spike's open door.
He sat up in his bed, the white t-shirt clinging to his gasping frame. A gun dangled from between his fingers. "How the hell did Taveon's gun get under my pillow?"
Faye scratched her head.
"Cartwheel, dartwheel!" Ed sang as she tumbled down the hallway. "Ooo la la la dee day!" On her heels Ein barked. However the corgi paused in the door and cocked his head to deliver a snuffling sneeze before romping onward without a care.
Disheveled and confused, Spike watched the circus and heaved a sigh. "Why do I even ask anymore?"
See you, Space Cowboy!