L: Dorado 3


The search for the Crypto Crypt continues! Fuck it, I have time to spare on this for a little bit. The only thing is, as I told the rest of the crew while we floated over Panama. “I wish I had something to try myself out on again.”

“We’re not far from Colombia,” Max suggested from his lab area. Erishka sat nearby, taking notes. She still doesn’t realize this guy’s stuff doesn’t work like chemistry. It’s super fuckery, the loophole to the laws of physics and math. A genius can design can do brilliant things, but a super genius can divide by zero and the answer will work.

“I got too much to do to get into the drug business,” I said. I sat on Sam’s lap, sinking her into the sofa while I scrolled through proxy bodies and internet feeds and everything. She wanted to hold me, I wanted to be held.

“Cocoa,” he suggested, pouring a sizzling yellow liquid into a beaker of water and watching as the mixture sizzled, turned green, and then froze all at once.

“I think it’s Africa with the child slaves,” I said. “Probably crappy working conditions here, though. Agriculture’s rough on the workers.”

Holly decided to interject herself into the conversation once she was done snapping a picture of Sam and I on her phone. “Why not go on a random killing spree?”

“No, a random killing spree is too predictable,” I argued. “They’d be onto me in no time.”

“Who’s they?” she wondered.

I smiled. “You know. They.” I pointed in two different directions. “They.”

There’s always a They. I’ve fought a few Theys in my time.

Sam grabbed my arms and guided them down with no resistance from me so she could wrap me in a hug from behind.

“You shouldn’t get so fired up anyway, the Shangrila’s coming in soon,” Max said.

He’s right. Once you’re in the right nautical systems, it’s not hard to track a cargo ship. Max continued, “This USB I have is only good before whoever is behind the Crypt changes the access code, which the organization intends to do at the first port on the other side. We can also steal one of the regular containers to cover up access to it. I hear it’s carrying a load of cocoa out of the the Ivory Coast.”

“I don’t suppose there’ll be anyone to beat up?” I asked.

Max shook his head. “There shouldn’t be. Anonymity is the computer’s defense.”

I shrugged. I could think of better ways to do the plan, but Max was in charge this time. As for me, I decided to head out and scout the canal. My recent wellness had inspired me. I wanted to pull off something weird. Being in Panama, the thought occurred to me to steal the canal somehow. I wanted to do the impossible, but I couldn’t come up with a way to make it possible.

Erishka was waiting outside when I got back, talking on a cell phone with red and blue lights glowing from the case. She turned to me and held up a hand. “Hold on,” she said to the phone, then said to me, “You were right. There is absolutely no sense to what he did to cure you. The chemicals he used should have killed you.”

I pretended to brush my shoulder off, “Well, you know me, tougher than tough.”

She reached up and thumped me on the head with her finger. “The cure’s useless to me, but you still provided valuable insight into the virus. I think I should monitor you on this adventure. After that, we can see about implanting a probe that lets me monitor your brain’s condition from afar.”

Huh. No more personal physician specializing in psychology and the brain just for me. I looked her over. “Hey… thanks, in complete sincerity. I don’t know what justification you needed to put up with me after everything but we both know I didn’t deserve it. I owe you.”

“We need to talk when I’m off this call,” she said.

I just nodded and went back inside. She didn’t remember or didn’t bother with the talk when she got done. We all wound down pretty fast. The Shangrila was coming through early in the morning, but not the fun portion when all the best decisions are made. No, nine AM is entirely the wrong time to make a good decision. If you’re already awake by nine, it’s because someone already made a bad decision that resulted in you waking up altogether too early. If someone needs that much of a day to get something done, they’re not too good at it.

We got up fresh and too early. It’s not like we needed help finding the canal. Not in Panama. The country only exists because of that thing and a hefty dose of Americans not wanting to spend as much money on things.

They don’t normally like villainous flying machines hover around the canals too much, so I made sure they didn’t see it. I dropped down, controlling a trio of bodies. Max used a robe to join me down there. The others stayed up top with orders not to touch anything. Sam did the best at following that order; she was still clinging to a seat and trying to avoid thinking about all the flying.

All my bodies were trying to look normal. Max didn’t bother with a disguise. Max pointed to the ship coming right up next to us. “There’s our train. Give me a lift onboard?”

I grabbed him under my arm and hopped aboard, along with those other enhanced and armored bodies. He squirmed free all on his own to start wandering around. “We need to find Container B41W8K.”

I pulled out a recon grenade and sent it some orders, free of the fear of my body turning against me for using my abilities. When the grenade activated, out popped a trio of flying robots that spread out and began checking over the numbers on the sides of cargo containers.

Max went up to the nearest container and pulled a spray bottle out of his coat. A couple of squirts and the locks melted off, along with parts of the bars that secure the doors. And then a portion of the bar. And the door of the container. He reached his phone inside, snapped a photo with the flash on, and pulled it out. “Palm oil? No.”

I hung along with him as he tried another. Socks. “Tempting. You should know Sam’s feet get cold if you two are going to date.”

“I didn’t think we were dating. She kissed me and has been hugging me a lot lately,” I said.

He looked to me and raised an eyebrow.

I nodded. “Oh. Is that going to be a problem then? I always figured you and them were a thing. Wasn’t any of my business either.”

He wagged his head from side to side. “We’ve fooled around, but I don’t want anything serious.”

I did a double-take. “Somehow I’m the serious relationship-haver?!”

Max checked another container in his own special way. “Nice, cocoa.”

“Got a sweet tooth?” I noted, hoping this conversation steered away from talk about relationships.

“I dislike slavers.” Max’s smile showed a lot more teeth and the corners of his eyes were different. It was a predatory grin. “I’m happy to take money from the beneficiaries of that system.”

I brought the Flyer in overhead and lowered the main cargo door. I tore the container open. With three bodies onboard, it was actually pretty easy to toss bag after bag of cocoa beans up into the thing before I got a hit. I stopped and pointed, “Thataway! Container’s right over there. Look for the robots hovering above it.”

Max ran off, fist pumping in the air. I concentrated on stealing the chocolate. Well, it’s not chocolate yet. Still some processing. I probably have that Brexit mess to thank for someone shipping these things through here.

Gunshots interrupted that. In what would probably be really freaky to watch, the three bodies dropped what we were doing and ran toward the sound of gunfire, near the container. One proxy body hopped onto a stack of containers. Max was waiting outside the container. He’d left some incense burning in front of the open cargo container door and had made his way around toward the rear of it. He was spraying down the side of the container, waiting for all the metal to eat away in a circle around the middle of it. He waved me over when he saw me. “Automated gun!”

Once the hole was big enough, he reached in and sprayed it a few times. Rather than head back to the front, he cracked open the back. Inside was a laptop and router hooked up to a set of batteries. He pointed to the smoke for me. “Bulletproof incense. Thickens the air to stop anything with too much velocity. Can’t fix it to let people move through it but stop swords. Any trouble going on?”

All three of my shook our heads in sync. Hmm… in sync. I could start a pop group if I figured out how to make one or two more bodies work together this well.

I motioned to the computer. “Need me to do my thing?”

“I don’t know yet. Hold on, I need to get this just right.” He took out a flask, uncapped it, and had himself a swig. Then, taking an excruciatingly long time, he lined up the USB drive perfectly on the first go and slipped it right in.

“Witchcraft!” I yelled.

He tapped away at a few things, scrolled on the touchpad. “Formal channel to meet with a guide into the Crypt, or what this thing calls the Eighth City.” Max pulled out a phone and took a photo of the screen, scrolled, then took another. “We can go now, unless you want more cocoa.”

“The Flyer’s that way, we might as well. I think they’re going to know we broke in,” I told him.”

Max winked. “I have an idea about that.”

We loaded a few more bags in before I boosted him up into the Flyer and hopped up myself. Or myselves?

“Get us just ahead of it,” Max said.

I pulled the Flyer ahead. In the cargo hold, I noticed Sam still holding tight to a chair, eyes fixated on her phone’s screen. Holly was lugging some of the bags deeper into the Flyer and off to the side. I helped out, with one body staying to watch Max. He pulled out a thermos and dumped yellow liquid into the water just off to the left side of the ship’s front. There was a groan from the Shangrila and it swerved to the right and crashed into the side of the canal.

Max walked over and pressed the door button. “I’d say we have about six days.”




2 thoughts on “L: Dorado 3

  1. Pingback: L: Dorado 2 | World Domination in Retrospect

  2. Pingback: L: Dorado 4 | World Domination in Retrospect

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