Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010
Mister Trouble never hangs around
When he hears this Mighty sound.
"Here I come to save the day!"
That means that Mighty Mouse is on his way.
Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right
Mighty Mouse will join the fight.
On the sea or on the land,
He gets the situation well in hand.
Not having much of a budget for a new vehicle there is but one place to turn for extravagant at low prices — the Police auction. It was sweaty, smelly, seven hours of humid male stench before Vasha left in her new vehicle: A cherry red 2009 Alfa Romeo for the low price of 20G's, a complete steal.
It's dusk before Vasha finally makes her way down the Henry Husdon Parkway. The view of the river seeming almost serene against the orange glow of the sun and purple hues of the sky. While keeping one eye on the road, she looks out over the water and to the hypnotic waves. Admittedly, she's daydreaming.
Traffic is usually fairly dense along the roadway but tonight it's fairly mild, giving her room to open up the throttle in short spurts. Right now though, she's going a little less than the speed limit. When the first of the tinted black cars slides along side her, she doesn't seem bothered. Until the window is rolled down and the familiar cylinder of a muzzle is pointed in her direction.
The car veers, Vasha tries to keep it under control but she finds herself boxed in from the front, side, and behind. There's only one direction to go… With a scream, she wrenches the wheel…
Spies spend a lot of time waiting in real life. Waiting to meet a contact. Waiting for a target to walk through your crosshairs. Waiting for an interrogation subject to crack.
Waiting for an important conversation that may or may not ever occur…
That's what Porter is doing. He's dragged a tall, three-footed stool in front of the workbench in his apartment. The long, narrow table is laden with receivers for the many audio bugs that he's planted since he arrived in NYC. Right now he's only interested in one, though. It has a strip of masking tape stuck to it with 'VASHA - PURSE' written on it in black marker. He switches it on.
While he listens, Porter digs in one of the worktable's drawers for his tobacco pouch and a sheaf of rolling papers. Anticipating a long wait, he assembles several cigarettes in quick succession. He's lighting up as the general noise of daily life blends into the roaring of a sports car's engine. It brings a smile to his face, but not for long. When he hears the shots, his cigarette falls from between slack lips, bounces off the table, and smolders against the carpet. The splashing noises aren't particularly promising, either.
Porter is up in a flash, pausing only long enough to scoop up a light leather jacket, his toolkit, and a silver attache case. The jacket is slung over his simple black t-shirt and jeans, the toolkit and attache case are tucked under his arm, and he's on his way out the door. As he leaves, he's punching numbers into his cell phone. "Raptor One-One? I have to borrow your ride."
Forgotten, the cigarette continues to burn.
The car was chosen for its speed, its looks, its handling. The way it hugs the road on a corner going 50mph was particularly impressive to Vasha. There are so many reasons why a person would buy a vehicle like this, its ability to float is not among them. At first, the vehicle bobs in the water, like a starboard bouey in the middle of a harbor.
The tinted black cars stopped the moment the woman drove into the water, their black clad passengers stepping from the vehicles. Each of them holds a semi-automatic pistol, all of which are soon pointed toward the little car. They're waiting.
After her initial scream, Vasha is relatively silent. She's concentrating, trying to think her way out of the situation. Unfortunately, improvisation isn't one of her strong suits. «"Shit.."» she curses in Afrikaans, no need to speak English when there's no one here. The car is quickly flooding with icy water, dirty American water. Slowly, she leans over to the passenger side of the vehicle to test the door. The pressure from the outside is too great, it just won't open.
"How are we doing, Jarvis?"
"We're quite close, sir."
"Good… Good. So. How's life as a helicopter?"
"I enjoy it, sir. I know you miss the DeSoto, but this is a very nice arrangement."
"As long as you're happy," Porter replies distractedly. He checks one of the readouts on his control panel, reaches above his head to flick a switch, and then settles his feet more comfortably at the pedals. The line of black vehicles is coming into focus. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on.
As soon as they're in view, Porter jinks his Little Bird to the left and lets out a withering stream of .50 caliber rounds from the chopper's twin M134 miniguns. He wags the tail of his craft to a fro, and thus the stream of bullets is sprayed back and forth like water from a garden hose, saturating the area around one of the black cars.
The men on the ground scatter when the rounds begin to ricochet off the pavement and pelt off in different directions. There's the squeal of tires as one of the vehicles peels off, leaving its passengers to make other arrangements. hisssss — POP! One of the tires on the last vehicle goes, but that doesn't stop its driver from tearing off down the road in a spray of sparks as the metal rim tries to keep up with the other wheels.
The last one, its a little braver. Its passengers a little cooler in the head, ducking down behind the body of the black car to fire off some rounds of their own. Cover fire while they pile into the vehicle to disappear into the night.
Inside the vehicle, Vasha is beginning to gasp for air. The red vehicle jumps in the water, one last time, before it drfits down… down… down… Like a feather through the air, it tips and twirls its way to the bottom. Closing her eyes, the woman slowly reaches for the pistol in her purse. Only a few more minutes to wait…
"Ohohohoho! I'd forgotten how fun this was!" Chortling merrily, Porter jinks right and fires a few more rounds to encourge the last of the rabble to disperse.
The reedy voice of his GPS cuts through the laughter. "Sir? Sir. Collateral damage, sir? I doubt the Agency would approve of you using military ordinance inside city limits."
"Jarvis!" Porter snaps. "This really isn't the time for— ahhh, hell. I hate it when you're right." Making quiet noises of protest, he cuts the chopper's engines and lands. Hands a blur, he digs an automatic center punch from his tool bag. "Keep your mouth shut when I get back."
And he's off toward the water at a dead run. He dives in, heedless of any onlookers or remaining combatants.
The car is completely flooded, the electrical shorted out a long time ago. This means the windows don't roll down. Slowed by the water, Vasha's attempts to smash the side window are just a little better than feeble. Being under water, her trusty Jericho isn't working either.
She closes her eyes and stills, two bubbles escape from her nose and float up to the roof of the car. They slide along the felt, squirming their way through the current in the car. Bracing herself against the opposite door, she gives another two kicks to the window. It accomplishes nothing.
A car isn't exactly a small thing, but Porter only knows the approximate area that this one sank. It takes him almost a minute to find it, during which he has to resurface for air. Not promising for poor Vasha.
He dives back down and knocks against the window to catch Vasha's attention, then waves her back to the far side of the car so he can bring his center punch into play. As soon as the tool's steel tip comes into contact with the glass, the spring-loaded action drives it forward, shattering the window and allowing water to rush in. Gamely, Porter clings to the roof of the car and pokes his hand in for Vasha to grab onto.
The knock on the window surprises Vasha, the shock on her face is as plain as the morning sun. She follows the gesture and presses against the opposite window as he makes his attempt at rescue. INwardly, she smiles, such a boy scout. She closes her eyes again and covers her face with her arms, just as the window shatters.
The last two inches of air escapes the vehicle in a rush of bubbles headed for freedom. Lowering her hands, she opens her eyes to see Porter's hand reaching out for her. Reaching for her clutch, she grips it tightly and then extends her other hand to him. She's still holding her breath when he pulls and when her head finally peeks out of the vehicle, she smiles slightly at the sight of him.
Porter tugs Vasha up to eye level and winks at her, looking boyish despite his forty-plus years. Then, still clinging to her hand, he swims vigorously toward the surface. He, for one, is sorely in need of a breath.
When he breaks the surface, he shakes his head, flings water everywhere, and gasps for air. He tugs insistantly at Vasha's hand. "Don't know… how many are left," he pants. "We have to get out of here."
Despite being under water for more than a few minutes, Vasha's gasp when they reach the surface is just a little less pronounced than Porter's. "Hold on to me… Captain," she heaves, trying to fill her lungs as much as possible with the sweet oxygen that until a moment ago might have been robbed from her forever. Then she wraps his arm around her neck, her arm about his waist and begins to kick toward shore.
Her chin is trembling from the cold, she's not used to this climate. Her skin is icy to the touch. Through combined effort, they finally make it to the edge. The ladder is several feet off, but she pauses a moment to watch him before gliding along the embankment toward it.
Being starved of oxygen not only exhausts you, it slows you down. After clinging to Vasha and kicking his feet to assist their passage, he makes a slow, dogged ascent up the ladder behind her. He wants to flop down on the bank and gasp for air, but that urge is suppressed. Instead, he drops into a crouch and lays a hand lightly against his companion's back.
"I have a chopper," he whispers, pointing. "Just over that rise. Forty meters."
After his daring rescue, Vasha has no problem allowing Porter to rest against her for a few minutes. She even goes as far as to lean up against him to support his weight. The tall woman is also breathing a little heavily, more to pump her blood full of air to strengthen a little more quickly. Gripping onto him tightly, she pulls on him to encourage him to walk with her.
"Come," she breathes against his cheek, "we can help each other toward your helicopter." Though she does a little more supporting than allowing him to help her, the pace is quite brisk. She jogs the forty meters, her arm wrapped solidly around his waist, her fingers clasped against his around her neck. The position allows her to almost carry him… almost. With her bare feet, the little rocks in the pavement pierce and sting, leaving little droplets of blood in their wake.
"I don't normally come on command," Porter replies. "But this time I'll make an exception." Grinning, he seperates from Vasha and slips around to the pilot's side of the Little Bird, hugging the ground all the while to make himself as invisible as possible. As soon as he hops in, he flips the trio of switches that spin up the rotor and then waves to his cohort. "Get in!" he cries over the roar of wind and engines. Quickly, he retrieves the pilot's headset from a rack behind his shoulder. When the unit is fit around his ears, he sighs and relaxes visibly. No more defeaning noise.
Vasha isn't as invisible as Porter, nor does she try to make herself so. She crouches a little, just to make certain her head stays intact but soon she is scrambling into the chopper behind him. The whine of the engine and the roar of the blades is too loud for the woman to handle. Dropping her clutch to the floor, she cups both of her hands over her ears and searches for another headset.
She doesn't find one right away, the noise is much too distracting. Her hazel orbs turn toward him and give him something of a pleading expression. "PLEASE HURRY!! I CANNOT STAND THE NOISE!!"
Porter swiftly unplugs the headset from the pilot's communications jack and transfers it to the secondary position. "PUT IT ON AND FIND ANOTHER ONE FOR ME!" he urges her, pantomiming the process to help get the message across.
Then, wincing at the assault on his battered eardrums, he pulls back on the sticks and urges the chopper skyward. It zooms up until the wreckage they've left behind is little more than a scattering of polygonal images against a flat, grey background of asphault.
Blinking, Vasha takes the headset quite hesitantly before swiftly placing it over her head. Without the distraction of the noise, she manages to dig under her seat and pull up another quite soon after. Plugging it in and unwilling to allow him to free his hands (they are hanging in the air), she gently pulls it over his head. "There you are.." she mouths, adjusting them to fit a little more snugly on his head.
Once he is taken care of, she reclines back in her seat and closes her eyes. She's not relaxed, not by far. Her white knuckled grip on the sides of her seat begins as soon as there is nothing more for her to do.
Each second that passes feels more awkward than the last. Porter makes popping noises with his lips, inaudible below the sound of the chopper. He glances over at Vasha. No relief there. Time to take matters into his own hands.
Porter reaches up to adjust his mic. When it's centered in front of his lips, he clears his throat and breaks into song.
"Ahemhem. HERE I COME, TO SAVE THE DAY~!"
Her eyes fly open and Vasha turns her head, cracking her neck in the process. She'd been so grateful that someone came, that Porter came, she didn't even question it. Not until now. Pulling her own microphone down, she taps the mic a few times until she hears it through her earphones. Then she gazes at him with a rather puzzled expression. "That is… Superman?"
"Perhaps that is what I should call you from now on." She murmurs to herself, then to him she adds. "How did you find me? How did you know that I was in trouble?"
"Mighty Mouse? You don't know Mighty Mouse?" Porter clucks his tongue reproachfully as he manuevers the controls, banking the heli. "That's my shit. As for finding you, you actually have your own satellite now. CIA comandeered one from NASA. See it? It's right…" he reaches out to point a few ticks above the horizon. "…there."
Paranoid is an understated way of describing Vasha's disposition the very moment that Porter mentions the words satellite, CIA and 'her own'. "I… have a satellite… of my own?" She says very slowly, trying to comprehend the weight of the question that she just posed. "Captain," her words are clipped short, annoyed, "I thank you for saving my life, but how is it that I have a satellite?"
Porter glances at her, his face solemn and stony. "You're a subject of interest, Vasha. It's nothing personal. But your relationship with your father, the people he does business with…" he trails off and shrugs ruefully. "You understand."
Beat. Beat. Beat.
"Oh man. You should see your face." The helicopter shimmies as Porter quivers with laughter. "I planted a bug in your purse. Oh, Jesus. I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. Look at you! You look like someone fed you a spoonful of warm poo!"
The sour expression on her face smooths, still unamused. "Perhaps it is time that you set this helicopter to the ground, Captain." Her voice is held in a rather neutral tone, she's obviously uncertain of what to believe. The first story is quite plausible were it not for the fact that the CIA has had more than a decade to do something about her father.
The second… "Why would you plant a listening device in my purse? Not that I am ungrateful for the rescue, I am. Truly," Then realization dawns on her and she smiles a little, turning her head toward the bubble of a window. "You do not need to answer, I think I know."
"In that case, I will graciously accept your offer to stay silent." Porter bobs his head in an abbreviated bow. After a moment of quiet contemplation, his brown eyes narrow and he pushes on the pedals, sending them into a turn. "Okay, I //really have to get this helicopter back. My pilot is going to be pissed."//
"Very well Captain, I would appreciate a lift somewhere I would be able to find a way to Sol's apartment." Vasha freezes as he veers the chopper in the direction of the Upper East Side and grips the seat tightly. When they've set down, before she takes off her headset, she slides over his lap and straddles him at the hip. "Farewell, Mighty Mouse, if you are listening every night, I will be certain that you hear an interesting program." Then she brushes her lips against his briefly and slips out of the chopper.