tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Lazy Mage Quests (Un)EZ Creds Ch. 09

A Lazy Mage Quests (Un)EZ Creds Ch. 09

bytisoz©

This installment contains no sex.

Spector closed his eyes and ducked away from the shattered window and awaited the coming pain. Time seemed to have stopped, but still, no movie of his life came. Instant dragged to moment and still no blow, then Spector heard a thump followed with a grunt by the window. He opened his eyes, grateful to still be able to do so and saw one of his spirits engaging his attacker, then another momentarily came into view and joined the first before getting hard to see, followed by another and another doing the same sequence of appear, attack, obscure.

It took Spector a second to realize what was happening as he took the respite to channel one of his spirits. His spirits were carrying out the last orders he had given them hours ago when he was worried Knuckles' buddies might turn on him. The fight, or at least the sound of thumps, continued outside the driver's side door. Spector pushed open the passenger side door to a fusillade of glass shattering, metal pinging fire. A masked man waited a few steps away, his gun pointed in Spector's general direction.

Not one to trust to just being concealed when other options were available, Spector cast a spell to make himself invisible. If he could have reached far enough to close the door without unduly exposing himself, he would have. The fight by the driver's door was silent, but now Spector could hear the sound of beaten flesh and pained outcries coming from in front of the car. Spector levered himself through the opening where the driver's side window used to be and flopped to the ground in a graceless roll, landing next to the body of his now subdued attacker. Lying on the pavement, Spector looked under the car to see the man on that side's feet shuffling side to side, going on tiptoe, shuffling some more, turning to face the front of the vehicle and shuffling back and forth some more. Spector's imagination interpreted what he was observing. He's trying to get a better look into the car so he can fire a shot, but he isn't seeing a target. My spirits probably moved from this guy on the ground beside me to the guys in front who stopped the car when they opened up on the passenger side door and now this guy is wondering what is going on up there. It isn't every day you witness someone under a spirit's confusion power getting taken down by spirits using concealment power. Pretty soon he is either going to move up to look inside the car, decide to help his friends at the front of the car or bug out. He looked around to see if there were any other threats or lookouts and saw none.

Drawing the machine pistol, Spector checked the magazine to make sure it was loaded with effective shells as he brought it in line to aim at the feet he could see on the other side of the car. He tried controlling his breathing and hoped the guy would run away. If his adversary decided to stay, Spector hoped he approached the car and took a look inside, bringing his target closer and to a halt. Spector watched the feet actually turn away and quickly took a few long strides, but then they slowed to a stop. They didn't move long enough for Spector to think just keep going. But no sooner had he thought it than they turned around and ran toward the car. When they got as close as the car allowed, they stopped as the gunman no doubt leaned into the car to get an unobstructed view and put Spector in his gun sights. Extending his gun arm under the car toward his target, Spector dropped his concentration from sustaining the invisibility spell, fired a burst and saw the rounds tear flesh from ankles a few feet from his muzzle.

The burst of gunshots knocked the man off his feet dumping him in the car's interior. The car jounced a bit above Spector and he quickly got up and ran around the car to cover the man. Pinning the man down with his knee and pressing the hot muzzle into the back of the man's skull, Spector smelled burning hair, likely branding the gunman. "Hand the gun back," Spector said. "If the muzzle points in any way toward me, I'll blow your fragging brains out."

"You shot me, man," the gunman said in a pained voice.

"You want shot one last time?" Spector asked. "Hand over the gun - carefully. Now!"

"Okay, okay," he said, handing back a shotgun by the barrel. "Please don't..."

Cutting him off, Spector said, "Shut up! Give me a reason not to blow your head off," as he took the shotgun and tossed it aside. The man didn't reply. "Who are you and why'd you guys attack?" The man didn't reply. "If you don't speak up, I've got no use for you. I'll go ask your buddies. Seeing your dead body will probably make them a bit more talkative."

Shifting his stance, Spector inadvertently kicked the man's shot up ankle in the process of hauling him out of the car and causing him to yelp in pain. One of the man's hands didn't go to the ground to break his fall and he fell to one side, dislodging the machine pistol from the back of his head. The man used the momentum of falling to one side to torque his hips around as he clamped his legs down on Spector's legs to trip him.

It worked and Spector felt himself tripping. He fired the machine pistol as he went down, the bullets stitching into the man's shoulder blade and bicep, then ricocheting off the pavement and into his bicep. Spector rolled free toward where he had flung the shotgun and tried keeping his gun trained on the man. He was in the middle of telling the man to show him his hands when the spirits descended on the man. It was over in short order.

Spector pressed the machine pistol into the man's ear and rolled him over revealing a pistol in the unconscious man's hand. He took the pistol away from him, tossed it in the back seat of the car and shut the door. Going around the back of the car, Spector picked up the shotgun along the way and tossed it into the back seat through the driver's side window. As he searched the downed men taking weapons, keys, phones and cred cards, Spector heard the sound of nearby gunfire. The weapons went into the back of his car, the cred cards into his pocket after checking their names. Then he pulled out his phone and on a hunch, called Skid Mark. As he waited for the call to be answered, he looked at the keys for identifying logos, then tried buttons on key fobs. The third one activated horn and lights on a nearby car as Skid answered

.

As he approached the discovered car, Spector checked it for occupants and saw none. He sat in the driver's seat checking the autonav as he talked to Skid. "I got ambushed," Spector said, "was that gunfire related to you?"

"That it was," Skid said. "I'm not sure what they were trying, but they should have expected a rigger's ride to be armed."

"Who do you suppose they are?" Spector asked. "Joey's or some mystery backer just happened to move on us now?"

"I'm pretty sure these guys are Joey's," Skid said, "I'm working on verification as we speak."

"Is this in his best interest?" Spector asked. "I mean, I thought you knew him. Wouldn't this hurt his reputation?"

"Maybe there's just too much cred involved and he figured he could pull it off without anyone being the wiser," Skid said. "Ambushing me was a stupid move, but I'm surprised they botched getting you."

Not what I wanted to hear Spector thought now you are a suspect. "Well, I have a vehicle, IDs, and prisoners. I'll find out what I need to know."

First I need to get away from here and to someplace private Spector thought, searched his memory and recalled a place nearby suiting his purposes. Spector was about to order a spirit to help load the four unconscious men in his car, but then tried to estimate how much time had passed since the first gunshots, and decided he didn't have time to do all he'd like to do. He took the weapons from the back seat of his car and stowed them in the trunk and out of sight. After sending his car away programmed to cruise around in a wide circle until called, Spector picked up the man who had shattered his window (since he wasn't shot or bleeding much and was closer than the other two in front of the car) and throwing him in the trunk of the commandeered vehicle, left the scene.

Spector went through the confiscated phones as he drove. All four had Teflon Joey's number in their contacts. He pulled into an abandoned warehouse and went to the trunk. Already the man inside was banging and demanding to be let out. Spector waited, using the time to organize his thoughts and make plans. Even after the noise died down, Spector waited.

Spector popped the trunk remotely from the key fob. At the first sound, the man started threatening, so Spector immediately closed it. "Teflon Joey will kill you for this!"

"Who's Teflon Joey and why would he care?" Spector asked.

"You know who he is. He's connected and I work for him."

"Why would he care what happened to you just because you messed up pulling some job on your own?" Spector asked.

"What? What are you talking about? Joey sent us to get all that cred back."

Spector walked away from the car and outside, out of earshot of the trunked man. Spector used one of the confiscated phones to call Skid, then played the recording he just made from his own phone? "So who exactly is Joey and how connected is he?" Spector asked.

"He's mobbed up for sure. You know, the mafia. But I don't think he's a made man or nothing. Else he'd be in charge of more than a chop shop. Then again, he might just be running his stuff from there," Skid said.

Spector asked, "Are you saying killing him is out?"

"Definitely out. Maybe if you got permission, but that isn't likely."

"What about destroying the place and making him wish he were dead?" Spector asked.

"Not a smart move. I get the feeling you want immediate payback, but everything you suggested so far would require getting permission and that would involve time and presenting your reason. And they are about as likely to decide against you as for you. So even if they decide you are owed some payback, It isn't going to be killing him or destroying one of their money makers and putting the guy running it out of commission for who knows how long which is about the same as destroying a money maker," Skid said.

"So what do you suggest?"

Skid thought about it then said, "Enough to let Joey know not to mess with us, but not so much that Joey can't hide it from those above him."

Spector asked, "And how much is that?"

Thinking some more, Skid said, "I'd love to let the Iron Tiger™ loose inside the shop, but I could damn near destroy everything in there and maybe kill all the help if I tried, but that hurts the bottom line profit. And killing their guys would have the rest of their guys wanting payback and it turns into a feud."

"We need something that scares Joey enough to leave us be, like pointing out to him how this could hurt his rep if it becomes generally known, and we need to hurt him a little just to show we can hurt him and he better take it for trying to double-cross us and is getting off pretty light," Spector said.

"Well, yeah. That sounds pretty good. Have you got anything that fits that bill?" Skid asked.

"Maybe," Spector said. "I am thinking I go grab him, you make up a data dump showing where he tried to cheat us with the short count on the vehicles, then tried killing us. You probably have something to use from his attack on you. You can go to," Spector gave Skid the location of the attack on himself, "and get evidence of the aftermath, maybe add to it any media coverage that turns up later, and the guys confession I played for you. Set it up to go public if we don't delay it every day. I try to get an even better confession from him, which gets added to the data dump, but even if I don't, he's got to take responsibility for his guys and control them in the future. I tell him about the data dump, then I tweak his nose a bit more and let him and his guy go."

"What is this nose tweak going to be?" Skid asked.

"I'm going to take a Phaeton, tell him to fix my car his guys damaged trying to kill me and tell him I'll want papers for the Phaeton when I come back to pick up my car and I'll want the VINs switched on the Phaeton while I wait," Spector said.

Skid let out a long low whistle. "That might be more than a tweak."

"What do you think I should take? A Dodge Scoot? Maybe, if he convinces me he's sorry and was stupid to try the double cross, I only take another Porche, but on second thought, I really liked the ride in that Prairie Cat. He gave us about thirty-five thousand for it. Thirty-five thousand seems like a good nose-tweaking to me. Yes, I think that is what I'll do. When we go back in a couple of days, we will see if he seems to have accepted the new reality or if we need to get permission to really hurt him. When you get the data drop put together, send it to my phone so I have it after I grab Joey. Oh, and I have another car I need fixed so it can't be tracked."

As Spector went back inside the warehouse and to the car, he checked his weapons, loading the machine pistol with a full magazine. After following Skid's instructions to disable any tracking, Spector got the taser out, opened the trunk and tested it on his prisoner. It incapacitated the man. "Seems to work," Spector said. He got in the car and consulted the autonav and drove away.

Spector entered the bank and was immediately met by a security guard. The guard held out his hand and Spector remembered the weapons he forgot he had been constantly wearing the past couple days. Spector handed over the pistols and the guard told him he could pick them up before leaving.

"Who would I see about getting a safe deposit box?" Spector asked and was directed to a pretty receptionist. Again inquiring about the box, Spector was told to have a seat. No sooner than he'd found a seat and settled into it, a woman not nearly as beautiful as the receptionist approached him and asked him back to her desk. Seating himself in front of her desk, Spector asked how long it would take to open a safe deposit box and was told it shouldn't take more than a few minutes. She was as good as her word and in no time, Spector had signed the contract, prepaid six months rent, put most of the certified cred cards in it, retrieved his weapons and left. Getting back in the car, Spector rechecked his weapons, tiring of the string of double crosses.

Calling his car, he told its autonav to meet him at a not too far out of the way shopping center then proceeded to drive the commandeered car there. Spector spotted where his car parked and pulled in beside it, then transferred the weapons from the trunk of his car to its back seat. After tasering his trunked prisoner for good measure, Spector cast invisibility on him and moved him from trunk to trunk, then dropped the spell. He secured the commandeered vehicle and hurried to Teflon Joey's.

As Spector approached Joey's, he cast the invisibility spell on himself, and hidden by it drove into the chop shop. Spector exited via the open window as the shop occupants started drifting toward the car. Avoiding the nearest, Spector circled around them and started tasering those in the rear, catching them as they fell and easing them to the floor as silently as possible. He'd gotten through about half the crew before they realized something was going on. The need for stealth partly gone, Spector managed to taser about half the remaining crew before they managed to attempt to attack him. Their attacks triggered his spirits to once again respond to their earlier command to confuse, conceal, and subdue. Spector and his minions finished downing the remaining crew quicker than ever.

Standing to the side, Spector opened wide the door to Teflon Joey's office then ducked his head around the door jamb and took a quick look inside. Joey sat behind his desk, feet up on the desk, hands clasped behind his head in repose. Infuriated the man was napping after ordering his attack, Spector rushed to Joey, hooked him under the ankles by the taser-free hand and toppled him over backward. Joey bounced off the floor and was trying to gather his wits as he tried to regain his feet. Spector booted his behind, then tasered him. Joey slumped unconscious on the floor and Spector took the opportunity to search him.

The search revealed more than a few cred cards, several sets of keys, a couple of phones, a pocket secretary, penknife, and a small automatic pistol in an ankle holster. Spector put the items on the desk then picked them up individually for inspection. Checking the cred cards revealed several certified. Spector noted the address on what looked like Joey's personal card. One phone looked like a burner. The other phone had a directory of saved numbers, so Spector made sure to hold onto it until he copied its directory, but took the opportunity to remove the battery and SIM card. He decided to leave the knife and was about to pocket the pistol when he decided to unload it and replace it in Joey's holster. Then Spector grabbed him by the back of his suit jacket collar and dragged him across the office and over to his car.

Popping the trunk open, Spector jumped back as the prisoner in the trunk swung at him. Spector's spirits subdued the man before he could get himself out of the trunk. Having had enough of these little encounters, Spector searched for something to use as restraints. He found duct tape but not enough, zip ties that were too small, wire that might work and some hose clamps that might be large enough. Taking them all to his car, Spector restrained hands first. Zip ties were tested and discarded as being too small and flimsy. The duct tape worked but there was only enough to restrain one man's hands. Recalling the morning's events, Spector got a couple shop rags and blindfolded them, using zip ties poked through the material to close the small gap and hold the blindfold in place. Left with only the wire as an option, Spector used it to bind Joey's wrists then heaped both men in the trunk. He programmed the autonav to return to where it had parked in the abandoned warehouse, then checked to make sure the Prairie Cat still had the keys in it. Finding them in its ignition, he sent his car on its preprogrammed way then followed in the Cat.

Along the way, Spector detoured into a Grab-N-Go™ and bought a few rolls of premium duct tape, pliers with wire cutters and several bags of extra strong extra large zip ties. He contemplated what else to buy since he was going to use Joey's card, and added the best medkit they stocked and a few restock kits for it, a package of ten ballpoint pens, super glue, a fine point permanent marker, a carton of cigarettes, a pack of disposable lighters and finished the purchase with a couple cans of engine starting fluid.

Spector rolled up to the warehouse and parked along it in the shade not wanting to deal with clearance issues or getting turned around in the debris-strewn interior. Drawing his pistol, he popped the trunk open from a few yards away. Teflon Joey sprang into view brandishing the pistol from his ankle holster, his hands still bound with wire but now in front of him and the blindfold off. Spector reacted like the old flat vid Superman didn't even flinch when Teflon Joey tried shooting him. He did remember his plan to put some magical fear into the man by mumbling some magical sounding mumbo-jumbo and doing a bit of hand waving. Then Spector reacted like the old-timey flat vid Supes and dodged the gun when Joey threw it at him. Crap Spector thought I should have levitated that right out of his hand or at least in flight. Put some more magical fear into him.

The attack once again triggered the command to subdue his attacker. Spector got to the trunk and tasered the gunman who had ambushed him, then Spector rolled Teflon Joey out of the trunk and closed it. Using the pliers' wire cutters, he freed Joey's hands, then bound them in place behind his back with zip ties. Spector dragged Joey away from the car, choosing to go over to where the thrown gun rested, picked up the gun and waited for Joey to regain consciousness. He went through the plan again in his mind, decided to get the items he'd bought and not wanting to have to chase Joey down if he revived before Spector returned, Spector zip tied Joey's ankles together.

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