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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Shell [Episode 6]

She hopped into a taxi.

"Island Spire, please," she told the driver.

"I would request you to sit in front, ma'am," the taxi driver said without turning back. He was wearing a low lying hat that almost covered his face.

"Why? It doesn't make any difference. Just go. You're the driver," she said, taking out her compad, scrolling through her contact list.

"In front, ma'am," the driver emphasised. His tone was sharp and commanding, like he was from military.

"Sheesh," she exclaimed in disbelief and digusted with the idea. She opened the back door and entered the front. "Happy now? I am rushing on something. Make it quick."

"As you wish, ma'am. Enjoy the ride," the driver said. He clicked a few buttons and started driving.

Singapore was somewhat not as advance as the US. The taxi here was still using buttons to operate. Fortunately there were no acceleration and brake pedal. Everything was done with buttons and toggles. But, she reminded herself, US had the free-floating pilotless taxi.

She continued scrolling her compad, finding the Godfather's message. She was thinking, how would the Godfather knew where she was heading? How did he know that she was going to Singapore? Island Spire was just a little landmark off Singapore shore, between Sumatera and Malaysia.

Built in the year twenty ninety-six, right after another earthquake that sunken several major cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and several islands, the Island Spire was a new landmark that rose a kilometre and three hundred metres into the sky and deep down into the ocean base below. It was made out entirely of thick ceramic-glass, home to thousands of people and place for business and trading.

She wondered why the Godfather wanted to meet her there. Most importantly, who was the Godfather. Perhaps he was someone that could explain everything to her especially when she was at ...

A strong impact had lurched her to the front. She held on to the dashboard, stopping her face from crashing forward.

"What the hell was that?" she screamed.

"Buckle up tighter, it's going to be fun," the driver said, unfazed. He veered the car sharp left and clicked a few more buttons. The taxi was moving much faster than before.

"Who are you? Are you kidnapping me?" she gasped for air as the taxi veered at another corner. Another bright light lit up the cabin and the car shook to the left.

"Be quiet. Why would I kidnap you?" the driver was still not looking at her, or had any sense of panic.

She gazed at the back. There was another car. But there was something extra at the roof. An energy pistol. It was nothing something unusual, but a mounted energy pistol could mean one thing. Whoever it was in that car was someone from a very high-tech facility, or rich enough to purchase that energy pistol because energy pistols had a very bad problem which was the energy shell it fired would disperse in air, especially in thicker atmosphere like rain and snow.

Unless, someone had figured out how to solve that problem.

"Sit properly, or you will be killed," the driver warned.

"You still haven't answered my question," she said. "Who are you? Who do you work for? You seem like you know a lot of things about me than yourself."

"Good," the driver said. "At least you are gifted with the ability to join the dots of different events and create a conclusion on your own."

"I take it as a compliment."

"It was intended as an insult, Jane," the driver replied. "What you said was only a theory. Merely a conclusion."

"You knew me name all along!" she exclaimed.

Another blast sent the car turning like a top. The driver was still expressionless under his hat. He raced his fingers across the keyboard, keying in inputs that she never understand. The car soon stabilised and he drove it even faster than before. She could see the sharp bright spire of Island Spire ahead. But she knew she would be dead because they needed to take a ferry to cross the Straits of Malacca. They needed to wait for the ferry before the attacker caught up.

There was another surprise attack. Someone dropped a gas bomb from above, nearly blasting the entire taxi. But the shockwave blast had shoved some extremely near cars to aside. She looked up the roof and saw a low flying plane dropping bombs at them.

"Go to the backseat," the driver instructed. "Remove the cushion. There is a Platzen gun. Three cycles per charge. I take you have limited military training? Now, fire that Doppeldecker down."

"What?" she was still scurrying the back seat even the order was ridiculous. She flipped open the cushion and saw a gleaming oily blue cannon-gun inside with some pink canisters. She knew what was it. The Platzen gun was only used to fire down flying ships. Very powerful. She rearmed it and the roof of the taxi opened.

"Don't disappoint me," the driver said.

She aimed at the Doppeldecker, the ship, above. The ship seemed to fail to detect her holding the cannon. When the timing was right, she fired. A pink flare raced to the belly of the ship and burst into sparks. The Doppeldecker flickered like a dying light. This was meant to happen because usually it took at least two shots to shoot down a plane like this. The first shot was to cripple the inflight systems, and the second shot was to jam the engine and the final shot was used to vaporise the hull.

Three cycles per charge.

She fired again. This time the ship was tumbling wing over wing. The third shot would be difficult now for her because the ship wasn't staying still.

She fired one last time and it was a direct hit. The Doppeldecker burst into jagged pieces and fell to the road, inevitably crushed some cars and shops.

She sat back down and the roof closed.

"You want me to fire the car behind?" she asked.

"The car is not of our concern anymore." the driver smiled. Finally she saw an expression on his face. This time, he veered the car even sharper, taking them off the jetty and fell to the sea. And before she thought she would die under the sea, the taxi turned on a jet turbine and sank under as a submarine.

The attacker's car was not amphibious.

"I think I can make a conclusion now," Jane said, confidently, with the cannon in her arms.

The driver was still not facing her.

"You are working for the Godfather. Or you might be the Godfather himself," she said. "Am I right?"

This time, the driver looked at her.

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