Tuesday Night; Ray’s Storage
Of course they were keeping a potential nuke at a storage facility. I mean, that just screamed common sense, naturally. I arrived fifteen minutes early with the charger prototype. Earlier in the day, Jenkins seemed almost pissed that the last test went off perfectly. I was surprised by that; I was expecting him to jump through the roof. I mean, he’d been working on it for the better part of the month I’d been there.
Stealing the prototype when you have the boss’s approval to do such things was easy. Again, once everyone was gone, it was a matter of overriding the locks and stealing it. Wonderton then went back in and erased the entry codes, making it none the wiser who stole the prototype. So that’s how it got here, in my car, while I waited for Esposito and Pabon to show up.
Not too far away were Massacre and DL. We went without comms just in case they patted me down or something. This had to look as authentic as possible or the two army rangers would try to kill me. I mean, they’d try and fail, and then the world would know The Negative Man was still alive. We couldn’t have that, at least right now.
I was listening to some good old classic rock, trying to keep the mood light. No sooner did a favorite song of mine pop on the radio than a black van rolled into the parking lot. I could see Pabon driving from here, but I stayed in my car until I was summoned. They parked and just sat there for a few minutes without moving. This was probably part of their training to make sure they weren’t being ambushed. When everything checked out to them, Esposito and Pabon got out.
They didn’t stray far. Esposito flashed a small light over at me, which must’ve been my signal. I got out of the car and opened the back driver’s door. Pulling out the charger prototype, I slowly walked over to the men. I stopped at about five feet away and set it on the ground. “Well, here it is, hot and ready just like you ordered.”
Pabon walked over and inspected it. “This is it and its running. As soon as we connect it to the plutonium core, we’ll have a way to detonate that thing.”
Detonate, that was a pretty cool word. I’d have to remember that if I ever got back into supervillain pursuits. Meanwhile, “So how much time do I have to get the hell out of here?”
“We’re going to set the charger to a timer that will go off in exactly twelve hours. If I was you, I’d stay making haste right now.”
Esposito had another idea. “No, we need him for one more task. Jericho, can you hook this into the core? We can, but it’d take a lot longer.”
Of course I could. Why would I want to though? Oh yeah, I was the diversion. “Something tells me this really isn’t a choice.”
“It is, but consider this a request. You do this for us and we’ll see whenever you land on your feet, you’re compensated.”
As he was yapping, I was wondering where the hell Massacre and DL were. What the hell were they waiting for?! “I like money. Let’s do this.”
Pabon picked up the charger and I followed the two of them into the air conditioned storage facility. Smart, keeping it a steady temperature kept the core stable.
We walked down the second hallway and Esposito unlocked the garage door and lifted it up. Sure enough, right in the middle of the storage locker was a freaking plutonium core from way back in the day. The casing around the radioactive material seemed to be in good order and there was a place prepared to set the charger in. The only thing that needed to be done was splice the wires from the core and the charger together.
The only thing missing was the timer. “I need to install the timer into the charger first before connecting it.”
Esposito reached into his pocket and pulled out a standard issue missile timer. Once I connected it to the charger, it’d go live for a time to be entered. That only took about a minute and we had a functioning timer. Trying to delay things, “We’ll add the countdown once it is in place. Let’s do the complicated stuff first.”
Neither ranger disagreed and I got to work. Splicing wires is tedious, especially when it is connected a charger to a nuke. One wrong move and the entire place goes to hell in a handbasket. The first three lines were pretty simple; it was the last one giving me some problems.
As I finished getting the last one set, my backup finally showed up. The problem is I didn’t see them right away and I set the charger into the prewired harness. Pabon did and immediately pushed me out of the way.
DL was charging forward but stopped. “Listen ranger, you don’t want to do that.”
“I’m not taking orders from a freak like you.” I’d just set the timer for twelve hours but Pabon changed the denomination from hours to minutes and hit the start. “Sorry suckers, you’re not walking out of here alive tonight.”
Esposito pulled a long, dangerous knife from his boot. “Rumor has it guns won’t work on either of you, but I bet you bleed like any other man.”
A rumble was about to go down but we had bigger problems. In less than twelve minutes, Pacific Station was going to be a crater, unless I disarmed this bomb. So while the two rangers began stalking the vigilantes, I pulled out my own smaller pocket knife and began to sweat. “Damnit Jericho, one wrong move and this thing goes off.”
Check please, I was ready to go back to being a villain.
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