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Neon dragon Part 2 Syndicate in the Wasteland

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A strange black bird flew from under the arches of the bridge and hung at the water tower. The motors were buzzing inside the bird, wings were replaced with tiny screws, and ultra-thin lenses were its eyes: it was a miniature scout-copter. The machine scanned the terrain —sandy off-road and pits with turbid standing water. But the sullen scenery of Clean Island was not its target.

A long shadow slid over the wall of the transformer cabin. The cameras came to life, focusing on the object — an old armoured car that was jumping on road bumps. Then the analyzers and the alert system turned on: “The object is identified, transmitting coordinates”. The drone gained altitude in the sky above the shallow water and froze like an evil ghost.

Meanwhile, the armoured vehicle was approaching the shore. Several full twenty litre canisters were jamming in the trunk - in the settlements behind the Ring very few saw so much water. When the shabby car climbed the bridge and drove halfway across, they were already here – people in masks with fluorescent grins. An entire battery of vehicles blocked the road, merging into a large color spot in the distance.

“Hold still, Lloyd!” a voice reinforced with a horn pronounced. – We are the Syndicate. Your interest is to hear what we have to say. Confirm that you understand us.

A lonely raider glanced into the mirror - strange trucks were approaching from the back too. Outsiders surrounded him on a concrete platform, in a semi-flooded wasteland that emitted poisonous gases - the best place to attack was impossible to find. Contrary to ordinary bandits, these fighters were led by a cold mind.

- You don't have a chance to leave!, the megaphone threatened.

- And no reason to stay! - the raider shouted back. – I don’t know any schmindicate! I’m closed for a maintenance break. For the next visit, consult my secretary!

With a crazy laugh, he pushed the pedal to the floor. The screaming wheels rolled into the concrete, and the old armoured car fell off the bridge, slipped into a pit with a bubbling slop. The car burst into the mud, its bottom drove through the sand with a moan, but the engine growled and began to gain strength.

- Adios, pilots! - the runner saluted, muttering. - Behave we…… Damn, want to take me alive?

A huge harpoon broke through the roof of the cabin. The raider drowned the gas pedal again – the car roared, pulling the rope to its limit. Whipping fountains of dirt, the runner got to land and realized: there are really no chances. The Syndicate rushed at a wild speed, virtuously entering dangerous turns.

Colorful trucks surrounded the victim – he had nothing against their maneuverability and power. The raider shut down the engine, raised his hands as a sign of reconciliation, but he was pulled out of the cab, twisted and thrown face down.

- You’ll be first, I get it, - the prisoner whimpered, spitting out the sand. – What’s the deal anyway?

- You're Lloyd, you were with Dawn’s Children, - said a tall, wide-shouldered man with a dragon tattoo.

Survivor snorted.

- Who do you say I am? Bravissimo, detective!

The man seemed not to hear this.

- I am Heaven’s Blade, and this is my Syndicate. We know you stole the secret of the Ravagers. Though we are surprised that this was done by an old man. If you tell us the secret, we leave your pathetic life to you.

- What a clever robber I am, though! I had no idea...

The raider once again drowned in sand – one of the capturers pushed his head into the ground and twisted his hands even harder.

- Fine... suppose I have something, Heaven’s... Is that really your name? I’m afraid the secrets of the Ravagers will upset you.

- The dragon gets upset when he gets teased. Don’t test your luck, Lloyd. I’m waiting.

- The information is in a different place, - the prisoner cried. - You don’t think I’m carrying it with me, do you?

- Then get back in the car. And you take us there. And don’t try to fail. As you can see, we will split your wreck in two.

- It’s not “fail”, it’s “bail” - the raider grumbled. - Whatever you say, boss. Let’s take a ride together.

Soon the group reached the grim ruins of either an abandoned factory or a former military unit. The raider stopped in front of an inconspicuous hangar and gave everyone a sign to exit their cars.

- We’re here, - he told the leader of convoys. – Wait outside. I’ll unload the water first and disable the security. Then I’ll look for what you need.

- The syndicate doesn't need you to just look, - Heaven’s Blade cut him off. - We need a specific, clear coordinate.

- Don’t worry, you'll get your “coordinate”. And trust me, it’ll shake you up.

The old man disappeared in the depths of the hangar.

Heaven’s Blade shook his head in disbelief. He turned to the fighters - without any words they understood the commander and quickly moved on reconnaissance. Having left some people to guard the vehicles, the Syndicate lieutenant also went inside.

The hangar was occupied by a giant motley truck. Looking like a mixture of a tank and a circus tent, it looked at the people with eyes painted on the sides. Fans of metal tubes hung from the roof, hovered by a net of extinct garlands, and the sign «Six Frags» was seen below.

“Hey, Lloyd, why do you keep a circus?” shouted someone from the Syndicate.

The old man smirked.

- Think about it, which normal scientist doesn’t have a circus ? That’s not how it works in the east? I just don't understand one thing - where did you go? I asked you to stand at the entrance!

-You talk too much, - Heaven’s Blade. – My Syndicate is here to inspect, and you will give me the coordinates immediately.

- I'll give you the data and goodbye, - the raider said seriously. - Here, I found the right cord. Connect to my system, take whatever you want.

The lieutenant raised his eyebrow.

- How do you have our standard connector?

- Meh, big deal. It's not the rarest thing in my workshop. Buddy! - the raider called out the fighter who had passed deep into the hangar. – I said don't hang around in the garage!

The team tech brought a laptop computer.

- Scan the system, - said the lieutenant in his native language. - the last thing we need is to catch some virus.

- I’m on it. No threat detected. Looking by the mask. GPS. I see one match... Commander, these are the coordinates!

- Excellent, - Heaven’s Blade nodded. – Download.

-Yes, - replied the technician, glancing at the screen. – More than sixty percent already.

While download was in progress, other fighters were carefully studying the truck. Having noticed that it was covered with a tarpaulin on the side, one of the lieutenant’s men pulled off the protective tent.

- Alert! Ravager!

The Syndicate quickly steadied their weapons. The raider exploded.

- What are you blabbering about? Don’t you dare to shoot! I need it! I reworked it!

Heaven’s blade glanced in the direction of the barrels and saw the hull, which was wrapped in wires. The robot was completely mounted in the truck, its lamps went out, and the manipulators were hanging stationary.

But the lieutenant ordered:

- Open fire!

Ninety-one percent.

The bloading menu was replaced by an error window, and at that moment there came a monstrous rumble. The speakers hidden inside the truck revived, unleashing the basses from which the floor trembled. The floodlights quickly lit up, blinding outsiders with a powerful stream of light, and the hibernated Ravager instantly enabled active mode.

But now the Syndicate didn't care about the Ravager. It seemed like a bomb had exploded in the air. One by one, the fighters threw their weapons down and collapsed on their knees, pressing their palms against their temples. The leader’s face was distorted by the grimace of pain, and then the electrical impulse pierced through the whole team. Shaking in convulsions, strangers spinned in place, having ceased to distinguish between the top and the bottom.

- I told you - it will shake you up! - the old man, left unharmed, was laughing. – You like Master Caligari’s surprise show? Can’t do otherwise with the guys like you, apparently. Words can’t prove anything.

He lifted the gate lever. The canvas crawled up with the creaking sound, clearing the driveway.

- Poor Lloyd! They got him all right. Now they’re going to be twice as angry. Hey, what’s your name? Right, Blade, if you find him, don’t torture the guy!

Caligari jumped behind the wheel and looked thoughtfully at the squad beating in convulsions.

- Although... I don't care...

Whistling, he pushed the gas pedal, crushed the Blade’s cabin while exiting the hangar, drove past the guards and disappeared in a cloud of dust.

Continued: part 3 >>

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