Episode 2 – Magnetic Mayhem

     The borough of Uptown Dallas was busy as always on this most whimsical of Summer days. Cars packed the market streets both East and West of State Highway number 75, which had a smooth flow to itself being between rush hours in the midday. People outnumbered the cars, walking in and out and up and down the storefront ways; they filled the parks too, if and so you would believe it. All was in line with the norm, that is until The Metal showed up. He never really had much renown, but the few that recognized him knew that despite how peaceful things may be now trouble was soon to follow. The young man, still dressed in his rather new attire he ordered in bulk, caught the stares of many as he tried to find a particular office above one of the outlets. He doesn’t blame them for staring. Regardless of his specialized garb that would be almost nonexistent to the area, it isn’t every day you see a youthful chap wandering around town barefoot across concrete in ninety-five-degree weather. That’s just the way he likes it, but he doesn’t want to cause more trouble than what will already come his way so he keeps a pair of cotton shoes on him in case he must head inside.  

     The Metal finally finds the spot he so diligently pursued, only to see that his contact was already at street level awaiting him. She was a woman only a few years older, though instead of wasting most of her time waiting for the next opportunity to arise like a certain blonde haired lad and more likely spent tons of hard earned money to get through university. She had her auburn hair professionally pinned up in a bun and wore a black pantsuit to give off that aura of, “hey, I’m the boss!” The only reason he knew she was his contact was because within her arms was a messenger bag containing a package for him to deliver, just as the dossier had mentioned.  

     “Ah, you must be that ‘professional freelancer’ I hired.”

     “Yep, my name is…”

     “I don’t care. Listen, half the amount has already been transferred and if you get this to the American Airlines Center before sundown the other half will be placed in your account.”

     “Okay, that just gives me five hours to get to the other side of Uptown, no sweat.”

     “Don’t bore me with the details, just get going already.”

     He was a little irked by her attitude, but let it slide while understanding the problem. The files said that a man has been intercepting this shipment for nearly a week and that this was the fourth time they would have to purchase and ship it to the center. Not only was it coming out of their wallets, but this was the last day the delivery could be made before it ruined the company’s reputation. The Metal’s operations do get around the grapevine from time to time and with delivery trucks failing at every chance he seemed like their only option.

     Walking seemed like a good method since he had plenty of time left to go and it would allow him to observe his surroundings for that malevolent crook easier. The Metal looked around and noticed that he wasn’t that far from Mockingbird Station, one of many hubs for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), so it would be quickest if he headed towards the Katy Trail since it would lead him right to his destination and in way less time than he had to spare. There would still be quite away to that notable jogger’s path, but walking is how he spent most of his time. It was alright up until he came around the bend to the far end of McKinney Avenue, when suddenly what seemed like a rocket jolted by and almost seized the package. The human bullet stopped many yards ahead of him and turned so The Metal could see who it was. The man was very tall, pretty slender, and rather dark with special rollerblades strapped to his feet.

     “Kavi! You’re the one stealing the packages… but why?”

     “Do you even know what lies in that bag you carry!?”

     “That’s not part of my job, I’m just paid to deliver it, though I’m guessing you do with how many you’ve taken.”

     “Open it up and you’ll understand my reasons.”

     “Sorry, that’s against my professional policies.”

     “Then I guess I’m just going to have to take it from you.”

     “As if you even could.”

     Kavi clicked his heels together and electrical sparks began emitting from the wheels on his blades. He kicked off at The Metal with the speed of a Thoroughbred, which astounded the young man that he could even move that swiftly. Luckily The Metal’s reflexes were quick enough to evade the dash, but Kavi immediately spun around and tried again. The courier took off toward the Katy Trail as fast as he could, but he was only known to hit up to around twenty or so miles per hour on foot while his pursuer had to be going at least fifty. He couldn’t fathom how Kavi got so much faster in such a short time, but as the speedster gained on him, he noticed the sparks on the skates as well as an emblem that had a magnet, two gears, and the words “Pitaya Labs” stamped on it.

     “Ah-ha! I see Pitaya amped up your blades a bit.”

     “Just happened he was working with magnets again last time my birthday came around. I normally prefer to get faster on my own, but I wasn’t about to turn down electromagnetic rollerblades that charge as they ride.”

     “You know, something in me doesn’t blame you.”

     Kavi dashed at The Metal trying to knock him down, but luckily for the courier, his reflexes were still a bit faster despite the massive land speed differential. If he could manage to keep dodging and steer their swift, yet so far non-contact, combat in the direction of the parcel’s destination he’d make it there in plenty of time, but there were other factors at hand. Not only was The Metal’s breath falling short from running at full speed as well as trying to out maneuver the irate skater, but rolling around at such speeds keeps overcharging the circuitry which Pitaya designed to release as ambient electricity, because I guess why not, so every time Kavi missed loose lightning would jump from his blades to the bare feet of the ever persistent internuncio. The Metal is a tough and conditioned martial artist, but it is quite a task to run while your feet keep cramping tight from a surge of electricity and trying to avoid the lightning as well caused him to change paths many times and lose ground by five minutes in the opposite direction.  

     He had to change the trajectory this encounter was heading in if he was to complete his job. He knew this wasn’t the best idea, but it was the only one he had. As Kavi came bulleting back at him, The Metal made a feint on the direction he was going to dodge and kick Kavi in the gut while he was trying to adjust to the repositioning. Kavi lost control for a moment and went flying into an unkempt shrubbery, but striking an object with so much more momentum resulted in The Metal landing elsewhere as well. Kavi wasn’t down for long, but by the time he resurfaced from the tattered bush filled with litter and sharp twigs The Metal was nowhere in sight. Speeding off to scour the area, Kavi failed to see that he was hidden inside a nearby convenience store, which in itself was oddly convenient.

     “That should give me an hour or so,” he said to himself whilst examining his battle damaged feet. “It is a good thing I don’t scar, but I really need to avoid more of this. Where is my phone?” He reached into the recesses of his dōgii and pulled out a cheap old phone that could most likely only make calls. “Come on, pick up!”

     “Hey Metal, did you wanna hang out today?”

     “No man, I’m working. I actually need a favor.”

     “Figures. What is it?”

     “I need you to run to the sporting store, buy a pair of size forty-five rollerblades and some lubricant, and then meet me this 7-eleven near the Katy Trail. Oh, and all in less than an hour.”

     “Less than an hour? I’m all the way down in Midlothian helping the church right now, how do you expect that? Can’t you just use that weird fetish delivery service you always use, I guarantee you they’d be there in about five minutes?”

     “One, it isn’t a fetish delivery service, at least I don’t think it is. Two, I’m on a delivery myself and you know they’d try to hustle me out of my job for more than it was worth. Just charge it, the gas, and any ticket you get on the way to the business account. See you soon!”

     *click*

     “Metal. Metal! Ah, here I go again.”

     So without much say in the matter, Sentri did exactly as his -friend- demanded and made it there without so much as ever being pulled over. He asked if The Metal wanted his help finishing the job since he was already there, but he told him that this was the best way he could help. The Metal slipped on his skates, lubed the wheels up as much as he could, and as Sentri pulled away he could hear his friend’s crazed laughter echoing throughout the town.

     Following the sounds of laughter, it took only minutes for Kavi to pinpoint the source. Barrelling on in, he noticed that his adversary was moving along a lot faster than before. Though his electromagnetically enhanced blades still gave him the edge in speed, the difference had now become so little that Kavi was finding it hard to gain on him.

     “How are you going so fast, you have to at least be going forty?”

     “I don’t know. My stomach is cramping up, my breaths are short, and sweat is pouring down my spine, but I’m doing it.”

     “But it doesn’t make sense!”

     “Ever since I was young I’ve always seemed to pull out that extra burst of strength when I needed it. I don’t know where it comes, possibly my ass. Maybe I’m so good at bullshitting it comes true. Regardless, there is only one thing you need to worry about and it isn’t this.”

     “Yeah, and what by chance may that be?”

     “Stopping me within the next mile.”

     Scanning ahead, Kavi became aware of just how close they were to the American Airlines Center. As he panicked and reach for the package, The Metal surprised him and managed to speed up even more. A normal person would have broken already and gave up, but there was just something about The Metal that made him too stubborn to lose, even if it was what was good for him. Kavi, now putting his own strength into his strides, caught up alongside the determined courier and slammed his elbow right into his ribs. Between the stress his body was under and the blow, The Metal coughed up a few ounces blood, but if it was a fight he wanted it was a fight he’d get.

     The two laid strike after strike into each other all along the final stretch. Kavi even planted blades across The Metal a few times to really let the electricity set in. Both of them were battered, bruised, and bleeding, but they kept on down the road avoiding cars as they fought. At the end of the mile was the Airlines Center. Kavi failed to stop The Metal from reaching his destination, but looking at the arena up close he concluded that he was too late.

     “Ha, all was for naught. I still won! You failed to get the package here before the show started, so you might as well hand it over now.”

     “I would, but I don’t have it.”

     “You… what?”

     And just as he said that Sentri came walking out from the back entrance of the edifice with a receipt of delivery.

     “You see Kavi, I knew that even if I could keep up with you pushing myself on the blades, even by the time Sentri got them up to me, I would lack the necessary remainder to deliver it. So, I stuffed my messenger bag enough to look like I still had it, gave the package to Sentri, and started laughing as loud as I could to get your attention as I played decoy. I think my plan went pretty well, wouldn’t you say so Sentri?”

     “You look like you are about to die, and for what, all to make sure some childish pop star gets her limit edition pony that she refuses to perform until it arrives?”

     “Eh, I’ve been through worse. Now to get milkshakes!”

     Sentri shrugs as they both walk off to his truck so they could go purchase the aforementioned dairy treats. They pull away and Kavi fell to his knees as if everything he knew was wrong. All he could do was mutter to himself, “But… she doesn’t deserve it.”

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