1.12: Laser Boy: Weak and Afraid
When Vince saw the slavers leaving, he jumped down from the hideout ledge. Zombie Lisa landed next to him a moment later. He was embarrassed to be caught by her sneaking out after the violence was over. Lisa seemed oblivious to him. Vince was a little annoyed, and then he was annoyed that he was annoyed. They started walking in the artificial night toward where the fighting had taken place. It was several hundred yards away. The prime source of illumination was the black walls, which were replaying Skum Bunny’s savage attack. There were also live aerial scans of the area with the word, “LIVE,” plastered across the bottom or the screens. One of these scenes passed over Vince and Lisa and immediately zoomed in as the facial recognition software tagged him. Lisa noticed it and grabbed his arm and turned him to see himself staring down out of the screens looking weak and afraid, his glorious zero g mane hanging limp and stringy across his face.
And only now, with a frightening immediacy, the PIGS showed up, not to stop the slavers, but to catch the so-called Laser Boy who had so captured the hearts and minds of the downtrodden of the station.
If the slavers were like demons marauding, the PIGS were like giant locusts descending, hulking and hunched, oversized matt black horrors. They came on floating chariots that resisted artificial gravity with magnetic generators. They came from the core and the floor and from all directions. Vince could hear from the distance, the sound of Black Elvis’s machine guns, followed by other gunshots around the ring, and an alarming number of sounds of the PIGS’ energy weapons crackling with ozone.
Lisa’s nails dug into Vince’s arm and she pointed at the black wall. Elvis and Bunny were surrounded by rippling red energy waves for a few moments and then they collapsed on the ground. Several PIGS surrounded them and sealed them quickly into plastic bags and tossed them onto mag chariots. Lisa screamed in rage and pulled out two long knives and charged toward her imperiled friends. She stopped when she realized Vince was not with her and turned to look at him. Vince grimaced but continued to back toward the hideout. He tried not to meet Lisa’s eyes, but then he gave up and they locked eyes. He thought she would be disgusted or accusing, but she smiled tenderly at him and yelled out, “Good luck Laser Boy!” and turned to charge at the PIGS.
Vince crawled under some old sheet metal so the cameras would lose him. He counted to five and then dashed for the ledge of the hideout. He made the jump on the first try and scurried to the bolt hole. As he turned to pull the cover closed behind him, the last thing he saw was a giant video of a PIGS trooper punching Zombie Lisa in the side of her head with a fist that was actually larger than her entire head. Vince winced and closed the hatch.