Driving around with Martialla trying to fire on the move proved to be useless. Part of the reason was my wrist was hurting so badly that I couldn’t grip the wheel with that hand. I had one hand on the wheel and then I jammed my forearm through the wheel-hole on the other side to kind of make it so I could steer. Point being it was much easier to turn one way than the other. Shifting was a problem.
But shattered wrists aside, I figured out quickly that it made more sense to get into what I thought was a good field of fire and then come to a complete stop so Martialla could shoot from a stationary position. Then when a clump of enemies started coming our way, I’d take off again. That worked better than the old run and gun, until Martialla ran out of ammo. Which happened in very short order.
She switched to the crappy plastic assault rifle from the swap meet and we were able to take out a couple of Invincible vehicles (the drivers really) by way of me pulling up aside them and her firing off a burst. Their machines seem to have a lot less armor on them than J-Lo. Which I wish we were in at the time instead of that fucking flimsy dune buggy. I heard Martialla cursing and slamming her rifle into the buggy frame, I think it jammed almost every time she fired and had to be cleared. That ammo was gone even more quickly. Quicklier?
Looking back on things, that is the point when we should have gotten the hell out of there, if not before. In the moment it’s hard to realize what’s going on. The defenders were fucked. Nothing we were doing was going to make a difference. And what’s worse was we had done enough damage to the Invincible to start attracting too much attention. I wonder if there’s a military term for getting into a fight and kicking ass at first so hard that it makes you blind to the fact that you’re about to get bent over the barrel. I suppose that’s just called overconfidence.
Two very clear things stick in my memory. One is that I was mouthing the words to “Got Your Money” under my breath while I was driving. I’m not much of a rap fan, I don’t know why I was chanting that like a mantra, but I was. The second thing is that one of the Invincible-mobiles tried to sideswipe us with spinning blades on the side and it made me think of Grease and how strange that drag race scene is.
So these are high school kids right, and they’re racing around, and one of them pushes a button and some whirling blades of death come out of the Scorpion guy’s car like it’s James Bond and tear the shit out of John Travolta’s car? What the fuck is that about? Where did that come from? That would be like if Anna suddenly lashed out at someone with a lethal karate kick to the head in the King and I. It’s nonsensical. But when you’re a kid you just think “oh yeah, that’s how street racing works, why wouldn’t it?”
I turned to get out of the path of the spinning blade machine and I cut too hard and the buggy went over on its side. When I was a kid once I fell off a horse and broke my collarbone. That was bad. I must have learned something from the experience though because somehow I managed to come through flipping that damn buggy without much more than bumps and bruises – honestly it barely felt different to me than when you’re drunk and you go to sit down and you fall on your ass because there was no chair there.
Back in Martialla’s position there was no harness exactly but there was like a cargo net thing that kept her from flying off the back. When we went wheels up, I distinctly heard a thud-ping that I’m pretty sure based on the massive amount of blood on her face was Martialla’s skull smashing into the bar she was holding onto on the back. I scrambled out and saw Martialla hanging onto the net with one arm and clutching a pistol with the other. Somehow she didn’t drop her gun, it looked like she was eighty percent unconscious. Points for persistence.
I drew my pistol and fired at the spike-car as it wheeled around towards us until it went “click, click, click”. I must have hit something (or someone more likely) because it veered slightly and then continued our way at like three miles an hour. I didn’t slap Martialla so much as I pushed her in the face with my hand and I yelled for her to help me get the thing back onto its wheels. When she didn’t move, I yanked on her hair and demanded that she help me but she barely even moved then.
I think I could have rocked it back over on my own, like I said before it didn’t weigh a ton and it seemed like it was kind of built to flip back around, but it turns out that I didn’t have to because while I was trying to push on the frame, another Invincible car (with a limbless torso stuck into the front grill) came at us with a sideswipe maneuver. I think technically a sideswipe is when both vehicles are going in the same direction, and it’s called a rake when they’re coming at you head on, but no one would know what I was talking about if I said it tried to rake us.
I jumped up out of the way and did like a hanging crunch on the frame of the buggy to avoid getting my pretty little guts splattered across the plains. My trainer Maurice would have been so proud of me if he wasn’t long super dead. He was always on my ass about working out my core. I told him a hundred times that I don’t need core strength because I’m a sexy actress not a lady athlete but he never listened. He was Algerian or something so his grasp of English wasn’t great. I doubt I could do that again under normal circumstances, adrenaline is a hell of a thing. I didn’t even feel the oblique I ripped to shreds doing it until later.
The impact of the rake ram sideswipe knocked the buggy back upright and I jumped back into the seat and floored it. Martialla wasn’t shooting anymore but I don’t know if that’s because she was out of it and wasn’t able to shoot on account of being bashed or because there was nothing much more she could do because our two longarms were both out of ammo.
I realized at this point that more and more hostiles were buzzing by us subjecting us to wildly inaccurate gunfire and stabbing at us with various long implements and/or trying to ram us while simultaneously realizing that there seemed to be no defenders left in our area at all. Aside from the looming threat of death, the scariest part was how fast it happened. Even though we were engaged in a deadly fight, it felt like we were safe until then you know? It felt like we were on the side (the flank they call it in the army I think) and we had better range and maneuverability and we were kind of okay. Then all of a sudden we were surrounded in like eight seconds flat.
I tried to get off the dirt tracks and cut through the fields hoping that we had better ability to travel through the wheat crop (or whatever the hell it was) but this backfired horribly as we were immediately slowed down and the Invincible machines seemed to handle it just fine. I jerked to the right to avoid a fucking rocket that someone fired off the back of a truck at us and moved directly into the path of a thing that looked like an airplane engine that someone had put wheels on. Out of all the insane bullshit vehicles I’ve seen in this junkyard of a world, that one was the insanest and bullshitest. It slammed into us a dozen times harder than that rocket would have, I bet.
I remember a brief feeling of weightlessness and then boom, lights out.