The sky was darkening in the western zones, a dark orange color from the buildup of dirt and dust on the wind in the outer zones. Tiger Beatdown walked out of the orphanage he’d been working on restoring for the last few weeks, picking a rag up from one of the crates of supplies and using it to wipe the dust off of his forehead. Wincing as he bent over to pick it up he touched the scar on the back of his shoulder. The muscle damage that’d been done when he’d been stabbed in the back months prior had never healed properly. When he exerted himself too much it’d begun to ache and throb.
Looking at the orphanage that was still in disarray after what Phoenix Fury’s men had done to it when they’d been battling his men in the western camp, he wondered how much longer it would take to repair with just the two of them before he could start letting orphans live there again. The roof had recently been repaired and though the windows were still boarded over and there was no proper door or flooring, it looked world’s better than it had looked when he’d first come upon it after he’d been well enough to leave the infirmary.
Tiger distracted his thoughts instantly from the infirmary. Those had been the darkest days he’d ever seen in his life. The memory of what had happened with Disco Bitch weighed heavily in his mind. There were only three thousand questions that he had after what had happened and somehow he knew that there would never be any answers to any of them. Walking back inside and deciding he’d work on restoring the framework on the windows for the day, Tiger stopped to simply stare at the window. This had been where he’d been sitting when Disco had chosen not to kill him and to disobey the orders of her leader. He wondered if she’d had any idea what the consequences of her actions would someday lead to.
“Hey, are you alright?” Agent Alpaca awoke Tiger from his reverie when he realized his friend was staring into space. Alpaca hadn’t exactly wanted to sit and work on the orphanage, particularly when the western camp was in such terrible disarray after the attacks by Phoenix’s men months ago but he was worried. Tiger hadn’t been himself since Disco Bitch, the woman he’d fallen in love with through a whirlwind romance, had sacrificed herself to save them from whatever hell would’ve been in store had any of the experiments from the underground facility had made it out.
Agent Alpaca was spending time with his friend now strictly out of worry. He didn’t want Tiger making any stupid decisions if left on his own, at least without someone there to tell him that they were stupid decisions. Tiger looked at Alpaca curiously for a moment before shrugging his shoulders in response. Mentally deflating, Alpaca sighed heavily and started to drag pieces of lumber across the room so he could get to work.
Why had Tiger chosen to work on this particular place? It still drove him crazy when he thought about it. If it really had been for the benefit of the orphans, Alpaca wouldn’t have cared and would have been more than enthusiastic to help him out in the process. Sadly, Alpaca knew that wasn’t the case. There had recently been built a brand new state of the art orphanage in the Eastern zones and while Alpaca knew that another couldn’t do any harm he thought it was pretty low priority on the list of things that needed to be built for the Killjoys benefit.
When Alpaca had brought it up to his best friend and leader, he’d been met with confusing stories and circular logic. Deciding it was time to, once again, convince Tiger Beatdown to resume his duties in the western zones, Alpaca cleared his throat to garner his friend’s attention.
“You know, I hear that orphanage in Zone Two over in the east is pretty… fantastic. There’s this chef there that Party Poison’s hired to work in the camp as well as the orphanage who cooks for them and I hear she’s great. Plus, a lot of the people from the camp there have volunteered to take turns teaching the kids different skills… Phantom and Cutlass were homeschooled so they have a lot of surprisingly useful information.” Alpaca tried his best to disguise his concern in casual conversation.
“I’m not going to stop working on this place, Alpaca. So you can drop the act.” Tiger responded without frustration, not turning around to face his friend and instead using a hand written tape measurer to find out how long of a board he had to cut to replace the window sill. He contemplated making them longer, or even bringing down a few of the windows entirely so he could turn them into seats for the orphans.
He’d gotten used to Agent Alpaca harassing him about working on the orphanage. In fact, it had almost become a game for the two to play. Alpaca would skirt around asking if he was depressed or upset about something, Tiger would ignore it or assure him he wasn’t, and then Alpaca would get annoyed and insist they go back to camp to work on something there because apparently it was more important. Tiger had grown bored with their game and had chosen the shortest answers to get it to stop in recent occurrences.
“Why not?” Alpaca sighed heavily, dragging a few of the boards over to where they had a table with a hand saw set up. He’d also vowed not to let Tiger near sharp objects. It wasn’t that he thought Tiger Beatdown was suicidal or wanting to cause himself any harm but rather that he often stopped paying attention to the task at hand and the last thing he wanted was for his friend to cut off a finger or an arm because he’d spaced out using a saw. Tiger looked surprised by this question, and pondered his answer. Apparently the game had changed in a way he hadn’t anticipated.
“I need to keep busy. I think I’ve told you that before.” Tiger shrugged simply and walked over to the boards that Alpaca had set down, measuring out the length of the sill and making a mark on it with a piece of rainbow colored chalk he’d found inside the orphanage when he’d first returned to it. “After what happened a few months ago I just need to keep working so I don’t get too moody about it, you know? Sometimes it’s still hard to keep my head up.” The answer seemed logical enough but there was darkness hidden behind those words that Alpaca couldn’t put his finger on.
While Agent Alpaca had no concrete proof that something far more sinister was going on inside Tiger’s mind, he simply had the feeling that there was and he knew when to trust his gut. Tiger put the board on the bench and walked away from it to measure how big he wanted the window to be, having decided to extend it for the bench he wanted to put in. He knew better by now than to assume Alpaca would let him near the workbench. And honestly, he was grateful for the gesture. He hadn’t been sleeping properly, not for months. Ever since he’d been off the pain medicine he’d been given for his wounds he’d had nightmares, though he couldn’t remember of what. All he knew was that when he woke up he felt like he hadn’t slept at all.
Given what had happened to him and his friends six months ago, he didn’t find the nightmares surprising or out of the ordinary. In fact, he thought it was probably perfectly normal to have nightmares after what he’d gone through. So, he’d rationalized them away and forgotten that it was normal to sleep without waking up in a cold sweat.
“If you just need to keep busy there’s a shit ton of stuff to work on in the western zone. Half the houses are collapsed in and we’re starting to rebuild far more expansive underground now that we have proper supplies. With the way these dust storms have been lately, we need enough room to keep any visitors safe from the weather too. There’s been an acid rain shower nearly every day over the last month. It’s doing a lot of damage. But I doubt you’ve noticed given that you haven’t been to the camp in how long?” Alpaca reasoned, picking up the saw and waiting for Tiger to respond.
Instead of doing so, Tiger continued his measuring of the space in the wall he’d want for the window. This part of the argument he’d heard a thousand times before from his friend and wasn’t going to bother answering that, once again, he felt like this was where he needed to be. Annoyed that he’d been ignored, Alpaca felt his eye twitch and turned his attention to the hand saw, concentrating on cutting on the mark that Tiger had made on the wooden board.
Frustration had finally boiled over inside of Agent Alpaca’s head. Tiger had lost his mind. Setting down the saw, he took off his work gloves, tossed them to the ground and approached his friend without caution.
“I think you should step down.” Alpaca folded his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes. Finally growing angry with the situation, Tiger Beatdown stood up and approached Alpaca, standing close enough to cause intimidation.
“I think you should step down as leader of the Western Killjoys.” Alpaca wasn’t going to back down despite how much taller Tiger was than him. He wasn’t scared, not of his friend and he wasn’t afraid to put him in his place either. That had always been his way, and though it seemed harsh, he knew it was the right thing to do. “I’m done pussy footing around with you about this Tiger. You’re neglecting your responsibilities as a leader and our people are suffering because of your selfishness!”
“Suffering?” Tiger hissed, rage flashing in his dark eyes. “What right do you have to tell me how to do my job? And what do you know about suffering?”
“I am your second in command and even though you’re too stubborn to admit what’s going on, I see it! I refuse to defend your methods anymore, Tiger. And you know what? Everyone’s suffering! Not just you! Get over yourself.”
“You refuse to what? What kind of friend are you? Are you trying to take my job? You really think Party Poison will ever let you lead anything with your terrible temper and intolerance? You’re a hot head, Alpaca!”
“I’m not saying that I should take anything over. I’m just saying you’re not fit for the job any longer.”
“I’m perfectly fit and I won’t have you telling me that I’m not!”
“Disco’s dead, Tiger! She’s dead okay? You are going to have to get over it and do your job or step down and let someone else do it for you! I don’t care if it’s me or someone else that Poison appoints but it can’t be you anymore! You are not doing your job and it’s not fair for the rest of the Killjoys here to suffer because you’re being a selfish dick!”
“Take it back!” Tiger grabbed a fistful of Alpaca’s shirt, his lip twitching in anger, clenching his fist and prepared to take a swing at his friend. Alpaca saw the anger in Tiger’s eyes, anger unlike anything he’d ever seen from his usually calm friend and felt instantly betrayed. Depression or whatever Tiger was going through had completely consumed him. The best friend he’d had before Tiger had met Disco was just a memory.
“I gave you a chance. Remember that.” Alpaca shoved Tiger off of him and brushed his shirt off after his friend had let it go. “I’m not going to fight you, Tiger. You should seriously consider stepping down for your health.” Shaking his head in disappointment, he walked out of the orphanage and into the desert sands. He’d talk to Party Poison about what was going on with Tiger and see what advice he had for dealing with the situation. Every time that he’d been to the eastern zone recently Poison had been either away in the City doing some work, or busy doing a thousand other things. This time, Alpaca would make sure Poison found time to see him. The situation couldn’t wait for action any longer.
Tiger watched Agent Alpaca walk out of the orphanage, partially surprised that he’d walked away from a fight. Alpaca had always been the first to throw a punch or yell about something irrationally. Maybe he’d grown up in the last year, or maybe Tiger really had jumped to conclusions. Sitting down against the wall near the door on the dirt floor, he sighed heavily and pushed his long hair out of his face with his filthy hand. Alpaca didn’t want to hurt him and no matter how many times Tiger told himself that he should listen to his friend’s advice, he didn’t really want to and couldn’t seem to find the drive to pull away from the orphanage.
“Damnit.” Tiger purposely knocked his head against the wall in frustration. Why couldn’t he say what was on his mind? Instead he’d jumped to conclusions and started screaming like an idiot at the only person who had been by his side through this entire ridiculous situation. Alpaca had practically held his hand through the last six months and it was true, he’d been covering for Tiger’s absence since the very beginning. Tiger knew he couldn’t expect anyone to make excuses for his poor behavior.
The truth was that Tiger Beatdown had already considered stepping down as leader of the western Killjoys, and several times at that. Ever since he’d fallen head over heels in love with Disco Bitch, the assassin he never should’ve trusted in the first place, he’d made decisions revolving around his wants rather than the camp’s needs. He’d known from the very beginning that it was bad practice as a leader to do such a thing but he couldn’t stop himself.
Tiger had always followed logic, he’d always been the kind of guy to thoroughly think out a scenario before jumping into it. But ever since he’d met Disco Bitch he’d been making decisions without thinking or looking before he leapt. It hadn’t been Disco’s fault. In fact, he’d felt bad that he hadn’t gotten to spend more time with her. She likely would’ve helped him regain his level head.
Something inside of him had snapped when he’d realized that his fragile dream of a white picket fence life wouldn’t be a reality in his lifetime. Though he was slowly picking up the pieces of his shattered mind, it hadn’t been an easy go.
Tiger wasn’t sure what he would do if he stepped down from his position as leader of the western Killjoys. What would be left for him then? He didn’t want to slip into another pit of despair. The one he was in was already deep enough. Being leader of the Killjoys was the only thing he knew how to do. His whole world would change if he stepped down!
But he hadn’t been the true leader of the western Killjoys for a very long time. Now that he thought about it, what had he done for his men and women since he’d met Disco Bitch? Nothing. He had done nothing to contribute and nothing to deter the impending deaths the storms in the western zones would cause. Instead, he’d hidden inside his orphanage and had even built himself a room in the attic so he wouldn’t have to leave.
“Why can’t I just… leave this place? Why can’t I go home?” Tiger looked up at the ceiling while he spoke to no one in particular. No matter how logical it seemed to follow any piece of Agent Alpaca’s advice, he’d instead fought to continue building the orphanage where he’d first been targeted by the beautiful woman who had stolen his heart so quickly.
Despite how he told himself what he needed to do, something in his heart knew he was meant to be in this place. If only he knew what he was doing. The wind rattled and howled outside the window and for a moment Tiger hoped that Agent Alpaca would be okay in the oncoming storm.
Instead of radioing his friend as he usually did to check on him, he took his radio, walked outside and buried it in the sand. What was the point of communicating with people when he didn’t understand what was happening in his own mind? Of course, he could ask for help to try and figure out what the tattered pieces of his fragile sanity meant but he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
Tiger knew deep down that he would never be okay if he didn’t figure this out on his own. Alpaca was right. His needs were more important to him than the Killjoys now and he needed to step down. Doing so would be the hard part. Tiger had sacrificed enough of his life to the Killjoys and it was time for him to find something that would be for his own sanity.
Disco had helped him see that even if she hadn’t meant to. She had made him realize that he could have dreams that would come true and he could make a future for himself outside of rebellion. He had never been meant to be the leader of an army.
All he’d ever wanted was a family and a life. He would never find that as leader of the western Killjoys.
Poison parked his car just outside of the entrance to the eastern camp, deciding to walk back to his house from there. He’d given up on looking for Fire Frenzy pretty quickly when he hadn’t been able to find her at the bunker or the graveyard. If she wanted to be found, then she’d come back to camp on her own. The nagging doubts in his mind had finally gotten the best of him. It’d only taken six months to admit to himself that there was a chance he had made the wrong decision. Maybe what he had with Frenzy really was nothing at all. The time they’d spent together fighting Better Living Industries and each other had been wonderful and it had changed Party Poison more than he liked to admit but perhaps it had just been that.
There had been so much adrenaline and excitement fueled between them every time they’d had a moment alone, that perhaps the reality of the situation was that what they had both felt had simply been the adrenaline of battle and the thrill of possible death. How could Party Poison know there was anything else there? Walking with his mouse-kat gas mask on over his face so he could avoid conversation about why he’d been roaming the desert in the first place, he trudged back toward his home.
At the same time he felt guilty for considering there was nothing to pursue with Frenzy. Even if there was nothing romantic between them he had practically forced her to keep on living after what she’d done in Central Command. If nothing else, he had to take responsibility and help her find a new purpose in life if she hadn’t done so already. Perhaps that was another part of the problem. Neither one of them talked about anything when they were together. They instead always fought about something trivial that got quickly blown out of proportion.
You know what would be really great right now? Poison tried to ignore the whispering nagging voice in the back of his mind. It hadn’t been the first time he’d heard it and it wouldn’t be the last time he was sure. Come on Poison, you know you want to. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to will the thought away.
Drinking would be the stupidest thing he could do at the moment. Alcohol had always been an escape and a mask for him in the past. One shot would ease his mind, a second would give him a thrill and a third would make him forget his troubles. But a third always led to a fourth which almost always led to a fifth. This would continue until he’d black out and do things he’d regretted.
Drugs always seemed to closely follow drinking, since eventually the alcohol wouldn’t do the job of wiping his mind of the stress he felt. Eventually his body would become crippled by the abuse and he’d become violently ill and unable to perform simple things such as walking or talking properly. This train of thought was enough to sway the dark voice in his mind for the time being.
Drinking was a bad idea and though Party Poison had begun to sweat buckets during the attempt to resist doing so, he felt immensely relieved to have gotten through the urge without giving into the temptation it offered him.
Realizing he hadn’t been paying attention to where he was walking, he’d bumped right into something small. Stopping instantly with his hand on his gun’s handle instinctively he looked down through the eyes of his gas mask. Aaron had stumbled backwards after running right into Poison but after he’d regained his balance he waved and smiled at him pleasantly, clearly glad to have run into him.
Poison instantly melted, the stress fading from his mind as easily as it had arrived. Aaron and Grace were his favorite orphans, though he would never actually tell the orphans that. Fire Frenzy had saved their lives in Central Command and though Aaron was missing his arm and had gone through intense rehabilitation he was happy and healthy, even getting a little chubby. On top of that he had the brightest blue eyes, just like Frenzy did and a smile that got so wide and excited upon seeing Poison that he couldn’t help but find the happiness infectious. Though, Poison couldn’t help but wish Frenzy smiled just as happily. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually seen her smile like that before.
Next to the little boy stood Grace, who was taller than Aaron but also older than him. She had unruly hair and the group had taken to calling her Mini-Jet at times. The girl was feisty and well on her way to joining her rank amongst the other tough vixens that had joined the Killjoys. She patted Aaron on his head after making sure he’d regained his balance then waved to Poison as well.
Poison went to ask what the kids were doing outside when there was a dust storm on its way but realized no one would hear him inside of his gas mask. Pulling off the mouse-kat helmet, he held it under his arm and shook out his sweaty black hair, running a hand through it to get it out of his face, aware that it would stick up at odd angles. He didn’t care, he knew the kids thought it was funny and referred to him as ‘the mad scientist’ at times due to it.
Now that his vision wasn’t obscured by the visor inside of his helmet, Poison realized someone stood with the kids and it took him an entire minute with his mouth hanging open to recognize who it was.
“Cherrybomb?” Poison pursed his lips and looked confused, then nodded to his friend as if to ask what the hell happened. Black Cherrybomb had been an ex-Killjoy turned jack of all trades who had come back to serve the Killjoys six months ago when the rebels had taken over. The man was a Casanova but nowhere near in the same respect that Party Poison had been. Instead, Cherrybomb had always been the kind to go out of his way to flatter women rather than objectify them. And usually he had worn a skin tight leather cat suit that left way too little to the imagination with a black tie around his neck.
This Cherrybomb was far easier on the eyes, Poison thought. He’d always found himself grimacing when he looked at the cat suit before but now the man was wearing some old slacks, a white button up shirt unbuttoned at the top to show just the top bit of a white undershirt, his slacks held up by suspenders. Now that Party Poison could look at him without having disturbing thoughts about chaffing, he’d realized very quickly that Cherrybomb was Asian. How had he missed that before? Poison snorted with laughter for a moment upon realizing his error.
“What? This? Well, have you ever gotten sand inside of a leather cat suit before? I had to get rid of it with all these dust storms. Besides, suspenders drive the ladies wild.” Cherrybomb chuckled as well, wondering what Poison found so funny.
“I like it. No offense, but the last outfit was a little too revealing.” Party Poison cringed with disgust.
“Yeah, I find men have that reaction.” Cherrybomb shrugged.
“Hi Poison!” Aaron called to him again and waved excitedly, bouncing on his heels.
“Hey you two!” Party Poison smiled then crouched down so he could talk to the kids at their height. “What are you guys doing out in this nasty weather?”
“They insisted we find you.” Cherrybomb answered for them. Aaron and Grace gave Poison a hug in greeting. Before Aaron could let go, Poison grabbed onto him and picked the boy up, propping him against his side. Aaron smiled in delight.
“Come on you guys, this weather is really bad… You should be taking refuge.” Poison frowned.
“We wanted to make sure you were safe! And Frenzy too. You two never do what you’re supposed to do. Besides, we haven’t seen her all week either… I was starting to get worried.” Grace pouted. She’d taken a real shine to Fire Frenzy, and Poison couldn’t blame her after all they’d been through together. Grace had gone out of her way to help take care of Frenzy when she’d been sick and injured and Poison didn’t have the heart to tell her that a lot of what had happened to Frenzy had been of her own making.
“Well, Frenzy’s not here right now.” Poison forced a smile at that and then put Aaron back down. “You two should get to shelter before the storm gets any worse, okay?”
“We’re starting to get everyone underground or into their homes.” Cherrybomb answered for the kids. “Jet-Star is letting people stay in the hospital still until we have enough shelter for everyone to hide in their own spaces during these storms.”
“I honestly don’t know how that is ever going to happen now that these storms have been happening nearly every other day.” Party Poison sighed heavily then handed his gas mask to Grace as she tugged on it. The kids often played with it when they were visiting Frenzy. He was unsure how they possibly could stand the stench of the funk he left in the gas mask when he got sweaty.
“What’s going on with that? We never used to have this many dust storms before… the battle you know? It almost feels unnatural.” Cherrybomb frowned but couldn’t keep that expression for very long when he watched Grace and Aaron playing with Poison’s mouse-kat mask.
“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t think there are any Killjoys who specialize in meteorology so… it’s not like I can ask anyone to figure it out.” Poison chuckled.
“You know, there are meteorologists working for the City. Now that they’re not our enemies anymore you could ask for some help at least on that subject.”
“I might consider that.” Poison shrugged then shook his head. “It smells like a rotting foot in that mask, I don’t know how they stand it in there.”
“You stand it, don’t you?” Cherrybomb laughed out loud in response to Poison’s description of his mask.
“Yeah, but it’s my rotting foot stench. I can stand my own funk.” Poison smiled then sighed heavily, preparing his goodbyes. “Alright, continue to get everyone tied down. I’m going to head back home.”
“But what about Fire Frenzy?” Aaron asked, pouting out his bottom lip. Grace took the mouse-kat gas mask off and set it down in the dirt.
“Yeah, she’s still out there all alone. What if she isn’t safe?” Grace knew more about what was going on with Frenzy than she let on. He’d found her hinting to things in the past and even trying to nudge the two together at points. Poison felt guilty when he looked at Grace. The little girl seemed to think Frenzy was some sort of maternal figure for her. He felt even worse that the kids had taken to him like some sort of dad. The last thing on earth he was fit to be was a parent when he couldn’t even talk himself out of drinking himself into a stupor the way he used to be able to.
“Yeah, what if she isn’t safe?” Aaron parroted Grace’s worry.
“You’re right.” Party Poison nodded his head, guilt dropping into his stomach like a stone. How could he have just left her out there in the sands to sit through the dust storm? Frenzy was, of course, capable of taking care of herself and would probably make fun of him for worrying about her during something as simple as a dust storm but she’d become so terribly self destructive that Poison couldn’t help but worry. Besides, all she rode around was a motorcycle and rarely with a helmet on. She could get into an accident and he’d never know because he hadn’t gone looking for her.
Even if whatever romance was between them wasn’t more than an illusion created by the things they’d been through together, she was important to him and if it had been anyone else important to him he would’ve gone after them.
“So you’ll go find her?” Grace nudged him forward, picking up his gas mask and handing it to him. Poison sighed heavily and took it from her.
“Yeah, I’ll go make sure that she’s safe and sound in this dust storm. Just for you though, remember that.”
“Thank you, Poison!” Grace smiled happily and then looked to Aaron, exchanging a few whispers before looking back up at him. “Can we stay at your place until you come back with her? We really wanted to see her today.”
“Oh, don’t bother him about that you two.” Cherrybomb put his hands on their shoulders and started to lead them away. “They’re troublemakers you know.”
“Please, Poison?” Grace wiggled away from Cherrybomb and looked up at him with sad puppy dog eyes. “We haven’t seen her all week! Or you! We’re overdue for a visit anyway.”
“Yeah, overdue for a visit!” Aaron parroted again, though he didn’t make an attempt to wiggle away from Cherrybomb. Poison thought about it and considered that. He couldn’t let the kids hang out in his place alone. There were dangerous things all around his living room and kinky things in his bedroom that he didn’t want them finding and asking questions about. Their lives were hard enough and he was hoping that he could prevent them from growing up in that respect for just a little bit longer. Poison hated that somewhere along the road to self destruction he’d become a responsible adult, at least in front of the orphans. He was still a pretty big asshole in all other respects.
“Sorry Poison…” Cherrybomb offered a small smile.
“No it’s fine. You guys can stay at my place as long as Cherrybomb agrees to watch you guys. I can’t have you there alone, it’s just not safe.”
“Do you still have those bombs lying around?” Grace put her hands on her hips disapprovingly.
“Yeah… though to be fair, that’s Frenzy’s fault so you can yell at her when I find her.” Poison smiled a bit. “Do you mind Cherrybomb?”
“Not at all. As long as it’s okay with you I’ll keep an eye on them.” Cherrybomb nodded to the kids. “Come on you two, we need to let Poison go look for Frenzy.”
“Bye Poison!” Aaron smiled, waving to him again.
“Keep safe.” Grace added on. Before he joined the kids walking to Poison’s home to take shelter from the dust storm, Cherrybomb turned to him and looked at him seriously.
“You’re really going to look for her right? Those kids are worried. It’s all they’ve talked about since I told them about the storm.”
“Yeah, don’t worry. I won’t come back until I’ve found her. Keep your radio on, I’ll check in periodically in case it takes longer than I hope it will.” Poison flipped his radio back on and plugged it into his helmet that had been rigged up to feed into his radio without him having to pick it up.
“Thanks Poison.” Cherrybomb gave his comrade a pat on the arm then chased after the kids yelling at them to wait for him. Poison shook his head as he watched Cherrybomb rush after the kids.
“I can’t believe I didn’t realize he was Asian.” Poison put his mouse-kat helmet back on and turned back toward the outside of camp. He decided he was meant to find Frenzy in this mess. When he’d given up Grace had given him reason to go and search again. While he didn’t necessarily want to keep searching, he knew it was the right thing to do.
Pondering where else he could search for Fire Frenzy, Poison got into his car again and drove back into the desert sands. Where would she go if she wasn’t at the bunker or the graveyard? He considered that she might go into the City to get into some kind of trouble but was secretly hoping she was beyond that now even if he was nearly positive she wasn’t.
Perhaps she’d be at the Crow’s Nest in the second zone. It was a long shot but for some reason he could picture her getting along really well with Captain Phantom. The woman who headed up the Crow’s Nest was often just as self destructive as Fire Frenzy was.
What a disastrous friendship that would be. Poison contemplated but smiled at the thought then grimaced at the reality of the idea. If she had become friends with Phantom then her risk factor went up a considerable amount. What if they somehow convinced each other to do something crazy in the zones? Without a voice of reason around to keep them from getting into trouble, the results could be fatal.
Shaking the thought from his head, he considered talking to Phantom about it or at least Bad Medicine so she could try to keep the girls from getting into too much trouble. Bad Medicine was very likely the only down to earth person amongst the Killjoys.
Driving through the dirt, the car swayed dangerously as the wind very suddenly picked up. Poison pushed his foot harder on the accelerator to try and beat the storm to the second zone but it was no use. Nature was far faster than he was and soon enough he was lost in a wall of thick sand.
Flipping his flood lights on, Poison pulled off his gas mask so he could see better through the cloud of dust. He hoped that Fire Frenzy wasn’t out in the middle of the storm and worried about all of those people in the camp who had been rushing around trying to get everyone to safety before it hit. The air was toxic, blowing in from the outer zones and though it wouldn’t kill them to breathe it in, it certainly couldn’t have been good for them. The last thing they needed on top of the aftermath of the war was some sort of toxic outbreak.
Slowing down as he drove when he realized he couldn’t outrun nature, Poison felt the car jump and sputter despite his consistency on the accelerator.
“Oh come on, not now… God damnit, fucking shit…” He grimaced, stepping on the break. Before he knew it, smoke was coming from beneath his hood and the engine stopped responding entirely. The old Trans Am slowed to a stop in the sand and soon enough all Poison could hear was the wind whipping against his car and Frenzy somewhere in the back of his mind laughing at him for being an idiot.
Slamming his head against the back of his seat in frustration, he cursed multiple times for several moments before relaxing and taking a deep breath. Turning off the ignition, he pulled out his key and popped his hood. He slipped the mouse-kat gas mask back on and opened the driver’s side door which whipped out of his hand and slammed open due to the force of the wind. Sand instantly blew inside his car and all over his seat.
Stepping out of the car as quickly as he could, he slammed the door closed and stumbled through the sand, pushed forward quicker than he intended thanks to the winds from the storm. Walking around to the front of the car, the hood thankfully blocked the wind as he opened it fully and propped it open. He kept his hand on the hood of the car and looked down at his sand covered engine.
“Well, that’s probably not good.” Poison grimaced. He knew a bit about cars and had always been able to do simple things like change his brake pads or his oil and had been making an effort to become more and more familiar with such things so he could take care of his without assistance. His original motive had been knowing that most women found it sexy when a man got his hands dirty, but now it’d simply become something to do to occupy his mind or to be able to maintain his vehicle since he’d run into so many problems in the months past.
Wiping some of the sand off of the engine block he looked to see if maybe something was clogged but before he even got the chance, more sand from the storm covered what he’d swept up. Sighing heavily he leaned against the arm that held up the hood of his car, unsure of where to go from there.
He had no idea how to fix this problem and if the problem was sand caught in the engine then there was no chance of him fixing it during a dust storm in the desert. Unless the problem could actually be fixed by sand, cursing, hitting things, or sexual innuendos, Party Poison was screwed. Slamming the hood shut he sat on top of the car and propped his head up against his hand resting his elbow on his knee.
All he could do was sit and wait for the dust storm to subside, which could take hours, and then continue on foot until he found another vehicle. He’d have to come back later for his beloved Trans Am since it was nothing but an overly extravagant anchor at the moment.
“Well, I might as well get comfortable.” Poison muttered, leaning back against the hood of his car, looking up at the sky, only to find his vision obscured by a mixture of heavy clouds and dust. “What a view.”
After a few moments, Poison put out flares around his car, so that no one would crash into him and that maybe if someone was passing me they’d pick him up and keep him from dying of boredom.