#29 Breakout Stars
It was early evening in the last week of January that the mother-daughter duo of High Voltage found themselves laying on their cots inside the San Fransokyo prison. The two women had been back in the system for about 2-1/2 months now since they last broke out of jail and had gotten back into the rhythm of being incarcerated: wake up, meal, recreation, meal, time in the yard, meal, and bed. Although the schedule was mostly monotonous, save for the occasional fight or new prisoner being brought in, the two had found solace in their time together and truly reconciling after their terrible fight.
It was actually thanks to their argument and realizing how much they disliked going to jail that an idea formed in Juniper and Barb's heads about criminal life not being for them. They knew they were both amazingly talented dancers with grace and not too shabby in the brains department since Barb had created their energy orb and suits for channeling the energy; the duo even passed around the notion of auditioning for "Top Feet" as the pink superhero suggested since they knew they'd win, but decided to put it on the back burner in favor of something more fulfilling/wouldn't have to actually audition for. Once the mother-daughter pair started fantasize about going back to a normal, non-thieving lifestyle, they began to really want it and felt a determination to make it happen. So now, Juniper and Barb found themselves talking to each other a few weeks after they made their decision, just like they did every night since then.
"Hey Mama, do you think when we get our own place that we could get one of those big bean bag chairs? I heard they're hard to get out of, but they look so fun and squishy," Juniper asked as she turned her head to look at her mom.
Barb gave a soft chuckle and replied, "Maybe, but I think getting us each our own bed and some new clothes would come first darling."
Looking a little deflated for a moment, the young woman perked up and inquired, "Oh, if we can get a nice kitchen, we can get to do family dinners again. I always loved that chicken soup you made when I was sick."
Her mom now sighed in sweet reverie at those memories, glad for the good times before life got harder than they expected and they turned to thieving to support their needs. It had started as a way of using their skills to survive, but the more they did it and the more people actually admired them for their talent, the more addictive it became and it began to be a major aspect of their life.
"That would be nice Juni, and I could even try my hand at improving my baking skills since I know I had a habit of things winding up on the burnt side," Barb fantasized with a touch of self-deprecation.
"You weren't a bad baker Mama. You never heard me complain about them, did you?" the plucky teenager told her mom with a warm smile.
With a small chuckle, the older woman turned her head towards her daughter and answered, "No, I guess you didn't. You were always my sweet little angel who would just sometimes refuse to make her bed." She then gave a small teasing smile to show her daughter she meant nothing by it.
Juniper put on a faux pouting face and replied, "Oh Mother, why must you be so mean to me?"
The two stared at each other for a moment before proceeding to share a good-natured laugh and letting out a sigh of contentment.
Unbeknownst to the dancers, as they talked about their future plans, someone they never met before was arriving at the prison and approaching the security station. He wore the standard beige uniform, complete with a brimmed hat, same as the other guards, and was both tall and fit enough to pass the look of it too; however, he was there on orders not to guard, but to release a couple inmates. The rather fetching blonde with tan skin named Chris opted for a few changes before he entered the building that night, thus minimizing the chance of being recognized should someone realize what he was about to attempt. He wore brown contact lenses to cover up his blue ones as well as marked himself with a few scars on his arms that would be healed up by morning; Chris also allowed some of his muscle enhancements to be activated so he was a little bulkier than his usual physique; lastly, he was sure to wear a pair of black gloves not just to prevent leaving fingerprints behind, but to also keep himself safe from a method he had for helping him to incapacitate the guards. He had a layout of the prison in advance and was able to memorize the key areas, routes and exits.
The augmented man quickly found the right door and was grateful he didn't need to use his strength to get to it. He merely entered the room where he saw two other men sitting and watching the monitors that covered the prison. One was tall and lean with slightly long black hair tied into a tiny ponytail named Kai while the other looked a bit bulkier and older with sandy-brown hair named Vance. They appeared to be in discussion about one of their kids wanting to learn to drive, but stopped when the hinges creaked on the door, making Chris's presence known.
"Uh, good evening," Vance greeted first, but was bewildered due to not expecting another guard to show up until the shift changed at 10pm.
"Yes, good evening indeed," Chris smoothly replied as he flashed a charming smile, but unable to hide the determined look in his eyes.
This gesture was not lost on Kai, who narrowed his own eyes in suspicion and slowly stood up as he kept his focus on the new arrival. "I don't believe we've met. Did you just start working here?" the younger officer inquired with a hint of distrust and curiosity in his voice.
"Oh, quite recently in fact and tonight is my first nightshift too, so I figured what better time to get really familiar with the security systems; this is the most likely time for someone to break out, is it not?" the scheming assistant answered without missing a beat.
Hearing the words "Break out" now caused Vance's internal alarm to go off since the statement was not said in jest, making him stand up too as he began maneuvering around the counter that separated them. "Well, you must have had a poor instructor not to already know the kind of setup we have here Mr.…" The older officer trailed off to glance at the intruder's name tag before slowly adding, "Mr. Mira."
They certainly are catching on quicker that I would have expected, Chris thought in annoyance, sniffing signs of raising stress and fear using his heightened olfactory senses. He then smirked as he glared at the two men steadily getting closer, followed by cooling replying, "Really the only logical reason, isn't it?"
Faster than Kai or Vance could react, Chris jumped over both of their heads and gracefully landed onto the polished countertop as he spun to face their backs. Rather than incapacitate them by force in such a small space, the enhanced human pulled out two indigo discs (transdermal patches) and placed them on their necks. The two guards yelped for only a moment before their eyes glazed over and they fell to the ground unconscious.
"Those little things sure do pack a big punch," Chris smugly quipped as he made his way over to the control center for the cameras. Humming to himself as he began typing away, he eventually finished inputting the right command that would rewind the security footage from 10 minutes ago and put it on a loop for about 20 minutes; plenty of time to get his targets and essentially be a ghost to anyone else in the facility. He then found the right cell for where High Voltage was being held and used the proper shutoff switch to the more powerful portion of the containment bars.
Better take care of these two sleeping beauties quickly. Good thing Di laced these with amnesia properties too so they'll think they just fell asleep, the augmented blonde said to himself, with the thought making a wicked grin cross his face. Chris promptly lifted Vance and placed him in his rolling chair with ease followed by doing the same to Kai. He positioned them in front of the security system before removing the patches and pocketing them. He briefly thought about taking a security pass to make opening doors easier, but nixed the idea as he knew he was plenty strong and it would only increase the chance of his presence being noticed; besides, since he was breaking two prisoners out, law enforcement might think all the damage was done by them. Giving one last look at the passed-out guards, Chris couldn't help but snidely go, "Now there's no need to get up on my account." With a final smirk, he left and made his way to the personal affects room, which was only one corridor over.
Now walking a little more briskly because of the time limit, he quickly made it to his target, where a window protected by bulletproof glass and a tough security door served as his only entrance. Child's play, he remarked internally as he took hold of the handle and with a steady amount of force, managed to free the locking mechanism after it groaned in protest for a moment. Turning the lights on, he swiftly browsed the shelves looking for the names "Juniper" and "Barb." Chris located the bins when he went up the second aisle and took the black containers off the top rack, followed by promptly opening them, grabbing the contents and placing the empties back where he found them.
The fast-working man left and shut the door behind him (although it was rather pointless since the latch was askew now), before taking a left to make his way deeper into the prison. Chris came face to face with another locked door, where he didn't hesitate to repeat his actions with the only difference being him needing to balance the garments he gathered in his left arm. The groaning sound came again as his enhanced strength aided in his mission and he found himself smirking yet again when he broke the mechanical obstacle. On to the next one.
As the agent for Sycorax worked his way to the main prison cells, the mother-daughter duo still found themselves talking about their future. "Hey Mama, you know what would be really great?" Juniper said with a touch of wistfulness as she turned her head back towards the ceiling.
"What sweetie?" Barb quickly responded before laying on her side to face her child.
"Since the people of the city seem to really like it when we dance, maybe we could become dance instructors. Everyone already knows who we are, so advertising would be easy, plus we could get to spend time together and do what we love legally," the young woman answered, letting out a sigh at the idea becoming true.
Her mom smiled affectionately and her eyes got a little misty as this was not the first time Juniper brought this up, making her wish desperately she could give it to her, but was unsure at the moment how it would be possible. She was about to say something when her gaze fell on the security bars and noticed they weren't glowing with energy like they usually do. "Huh?" she said out loud as she sat up and really focused on the cell gate.
"What is it, Mama?" Juniper inquired, sitting up too in curiosity.
"I'm not sure darling," Barb responded with a slight head tilt, now sliding off her mattress to stand up. It was then that she heard something like a gasp and a low thud, making her and her daughter stay still as they waited and stared outside their cell to see what happened next. A moment later, the sound of shuffling and footsteps came as an unknown figure came into view.
"Oh good, you're still awake. I was worried I'd have to be rude and wake you," the intruder in disguised charmingly spoke, flashing a pleased smile. The two women looked at each other, then back at the man just outside their cell; they continued to watch as they saw him grab the bars and easily swing it open, much to their amazement. Chris then stepped in and quietly showed that he had their outfits before informing the dancers, "These will be returned to you shortly once we're free of this place. Congratulations ladies. I've been tasked by my boss to present you with an extraordinary opportunity at freedom and potential employment, but we must move on now or else their will be…undesired consequences." His tone was polite and enticing enough, but the underlying threat of trouble, either from the guards or this man's boss they weren't sure and that was enough to make them go with him.
Sharing an uneasy look before Barb gave Juniper an "It'll be okay" smile, they soon listened as Chris turned around and instructed, "Follow me if you would be so kind," then leaving through the shutoff security doors and taking a left.
So far, their actions had not been noticed by the other inmates or guards, most likely because of their cell's placement near the exit door, their quietness and general apathy the prisoners got if the action wasn't right in front of them. Juniper did get wide-eyed and grabbed onto her mom's hand when a guard came into view shortly after they walked past the first cell; however, her fear was soon replaced with confusion as she saw his eyes were closed and was propped against the wall.
"Don't worry," Chris reassured her in a quiet voice, sensing the initial thought going through the young girl's mind. "They're just napping. My employer's just so excited to meet you both that we didn't have time to make a nice deal with the guards here," he coolly added as the trio found themselves coming across a set of stairs. They ascended them steadily with a metallic ping softly ringing with each step until they reached the top, where a slightly ajar door was waiting.
High Voltage and Chris made it through the first two security doors without issue as their footsteps echoed in the corridors; things changed however when they came to the last door, where an officer turned down the hallway, presumably making his rounds.
The blonde-haired guard quickly pulled out his taser and yelled "Stop," but not nearly fast enough to halt Chris, who swiftly jumped to the left wall followed by the right and then maneuvering around to the backside of the now flustered man (and all with one arm occupied with his stolen load). The augmented assistant once again placed a transdermal patch on his target, managing to knock him out before he had a chance to fire his weapon. Falling to the floor unceremoniously, High Voltage stood in awe at what they witnessed as they watched Chris proceed to remove the indigo disk and adjust the other uniformed individual against the wall.
"See, nothing to worry about. It'll be like we were never here," the disguised intruder matter-of-factly stated before gesturing for the mother-daughter pair to follow him again.
The duo was silent for a few seconds as they tip-toed passed their obstacle, and only after they all made it through the last broken door did Barb compliment Chris with, "That was some mighty fine moves you used back there."
"Why thank you Ms. McClaire. I do try to keep myself limber," Chris replied with a flattering smile, turning his head slightly to tell her so. "My boss only employs the best and clearly she sees something very special in you both; in fact, she may even help make you better than you are now, provided you at least hear her offer," their liberator informed them, facing forward again so as to not show his knowing smile at what that truly meant.
His words did bring a ripple of excitement through the dancers, making them whisper to one another as they still walked down the hallway. "Mama, he's talking about us getting a job! We might actually be starting that life on the outside we were talking about," Juniper told her mom in a hushed but happy tone.
"I know sweetie. May not know who he's talking about, but I'm eager to find out none the less. This man did say we just had to hear his boss out, and if they think we're worth all this trouble, she must have a lot she can offer us," Barb replied with a small smile, still holding her daughter's hand and giving it a reassuring grip. A moment later, the main foyer of the prison's entrance opened up before them, making their footsteps echo all the more in the larger space. The trio promptly made their way to the front door, although the two women gazed around the room before they crossed the threshold to the outside. The cool night air that greeted the small group caused a shiver to run through the two women as they continued behind Chris, who seemed unbothered despite his exposed arms. The outside lights of the jail were on, so they all casted long shadows that stretched to the inky blackness of the road.
"Where's our ride?" the older dancer couldn't help but ask as she looked left and right in the sea of darkness.
Giving a soft chuckle, the disguised assistant replied, "It's just down the road Ma'am. I couldn't very well risk having it be picked up on security cameras now, could I?"
Barb nodded in understanding before she and her child were urged to walk just a little further. They turned left once they reached the pavement with the dancers sparing one last look at the place they'd resided in for the past several months, hoping dearly this excursion would be their ticket to a better life.
The trio had traversed along the edge of the street for about 200ft, grateful for the streetlamps providing some very necessary light, when Chris pulled a remote from his uniform pocket shirt. With a smirk, he pushed the big button on it, causing a nearby rumble sound to be heard a moment later. The high-strength beam of headlights soon fell on the people, although only Juniper and Barb needed to shield their eyes from it as Chris already knew it was coming and squinted in advance.
He then turned around and proceeded to finally hand the women their outfits before courteously ordering, "You can change over there behind that bush in privacy, but please be swift. We are on a tight schedule after all."
High Voltage took their uniforms and did as they were told, warily searching around them as they shed their orange prison suits to be sure no one was coming or watching them. In less than three minutes, they were both in their '80s-fabulous clothes and were being ushered into the backseat of the still running car. Chris shut the door as soon as they were in and got into the driver's seat, removing his hat and shifting the vehicle into gear. Now the escapees' driver, he turned the wheel hard left so they wouldn't be going passed the prison again.
The gentle hum of the engine was all that was heard for the first few minutes before Chris said in an apologetic tone, "How inconsiderate of me. Would you two like some music on?"
They both nodded and Juniper quietly replied, "Anything with a nice beat would be great."
The handsome assistant obeyed and turned on the radio, changing it to a pop-rock station, giving the car a little more levity as it got closer to its destination. Although the two women tapped their feet in rhythm to the songs, they mainly stared out the window into the dark night and noted that they were traversing along the edge of San Fransokyo, which shone like a giant beacon.
Chris continued to drive without speaking a word as Juniper and Barb remained silent as well until they finally came upon a lone building. After what felt like forever (but was only around 20 minutes), the car approached an ominous green, glowing building with what resembled a double-helix esthetic. It was tall, rectangular and sleek with its diamond-shaped glass windows allowing for an almost 360° view of the interior.
Both women leaned against one another as they went to get a better look of the looming building, which proved unnecessary as Chris drove all the way up to the front entrance. Once there, he immediately shut the engine off and got out to hold the door open for the mother-daughter pair. They slid out as gracefully as they could, followed by casting their gaze from the lobby and moving their heads back to look all the way up to the top.
"And now that you've seen the outside, why don't we venture in? I'm sure my boss just can't wait to meet you both in person," the loyal Sycorax employee slyly said as he began to walk up the set of stairs, who was soon joined by the two prisoner escapees. They continued to stare as they made it to the sliding glass doors, where the inside was cast in dimly lit light as an orange set of steps led further up and inward.
"Such a fancy place," Juniper couldn't help but comment as she looked on in awe at the giant tree living inside the structure.
"Must do a lot of important work for sure to need all this," Barb added while nodding in agreement.
Chris smirked with his back to them as they complimented their surroundings until the trio made it to the elevators. He pushed a button to open it up before all of them promptly stepped inside. He then pushed for the top floor, leaving an air of awkward silence and anticipation as they all waited for their vertical ride to stop.
Barb, in wanting to fill the time, cautiously inquired Chris, "So, what is it you all do for this boss woman, sir?"
The blonde man merely smiled charmingly and simply answered, "Why, anything she asks me to do. Someone in charge always needs a righthand man."
The dancer returned a polite smile and nodded, getting the message. She then looked at Juniper, who seemed to be feeling just as excited/anxious for this meeting, so she took her daughter's hand yet again and gave it a comforting squeeze. The younger woman smiled as she looked at her mom, knowing that whatever came next, the most important person to her was right there.
The sound snapped the duo out of their moment as Chris ushered them out, leaving an eerie green light down the hall as the obvious destination. The inhumanly strong gentleman escorted them the remaining short distance, only to stand guard to the side of the office doors.
"Aren't you coming in?" Barb asked with an eyebrow quirk.
With a small chuckle, Chris replied, "Nope. My job is done…until she needs me again that is. Hope all goes well."
As he finished talking, the glass panels slid open with a whoosh, where an impressive-looking office laid before them complete with awards, a large desk and a beautiful coral fish tank with fish and eels swimming about. Standing between the two orange high back chairs meant for High Voltage was a tall, young blonde woman in a red dress with a black belt. She eyed both of the dancers expectantly before cordially saying, "Ladies. Thank you so much for willing to see me. Please come in. I was hoping we could have a nice chat."
Without more than a half-second delay, Juniper and Barb stepped inside the office of Liv Amara with the doors closing shortly afterward, representing the new prison this place soon would become to them.
We never found out how exactly High Voltage got broken out of jail by "Liv" Amara, but this is my take on it. I figured Chris would definitely have been involved given his augmentations and other skill sets. Sorry it couldn't end on a happier note, but I think we all know what happened after Juniper and Barb enter that office to merely "chat." O_O In addition, I figured Chris would have had a plan to take care of the security cameras and could have been trained ahead of time on how to play the old footage over so as to remain unseen on the feeds.
I'm currently typing up a separate story about Globby's birthday that was going to be part of "Cutscenes," but wound up being much longer than I planned, so I felt it should just be on its own. My short stories will resume a few weeks afterwards though, so hopefully you'll check out the new one in the meantime. :)
The next story will be about Baymax watching Mochi, which admittedly is just adorable filler and antics between these two. ^_^3