Episode 1: The Train Heist.
Most people live in fear. They get all tied up in knots and what they were afraid of ends up becoming true on account of their own actions, or inaction, as the case may be. People like to worry and wait and down like a spiral they go, just as predicted. Their fears close their mind and they never accomplish what they set out to do…or never think of setting something up. They become too preoccupied with doubt and consequence…
They never plan, see?
The Outlaw Lusive Grainger is of another type all together. His plans and schemes showed no fear, not during my time in the gang at least.
Lusive maintained control over that nimble ghost, and the truth as I saw it, none of his plans would have worked without sure-fire gall and defiance of doubt.
His heists were never meant to fail, but they didn’t always go the way he saw them either…
My first heist with Bandit 3000 Alpha was innocent enough. We were to rob a train. Not in the usual way, either. We were to take every last railcar on some kind of mysterious boat ride.
I was recruited after my motorcycle broke down somewhere between Portland and the Yakima Indian Reservation. I needed a lift. A dangerous looking bike crew passed by, then one rider broke off and came back. He stopped and peeled off his shiny Indian Chieftain slow like he had ridden for days. His glare was both dangerous and carefree, like he owned all the road and all the forest, and knew it too.
His girl on the back of his Indian motorcycle, I couldn’t even look at her face. Her eyes did something to me then and I felt woozy like a spell come over me. I had to look away from the mirage that was her.
The rider approached, gave a big sigh at the sorry look of my bike and asked in the strangest accent that I just couldn’t place, “Were you given that ride, or did they make you pay for it?”
“I stole it.” I said and held his glare. At least I was telling the truth. He somehow made me.
He watched my lips. I could feel his eyes dig into me.
Then, he laughed so hard and almost fell over. I tried to smile, thought I did, but didn’t know what to think about this man, this creature in black leather and shade.
A fierce looking eighteen-wheeler was coming down the road and this joker flagged it down. He gave what seemed like hand signals and a whistle, and next thing I knew, my ass was sitting on a brand new Indian Chief Dark Horse which come out the back of that trailer. The bike I stole sat in a pile of flame, and a bandana with B3A was around my neck.
I was a part of the crew.
We rode hard and long but I never had a nicer bike. When we stopped in towns, people just got out of our way, let us do whatever, let us FEEL whatever. I had never felt safer than with that crew and the law didn’t dare cross us.
They handed me a gun and gave me my name. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The women in the gang were strange, wild things that caught your eye and stared right back into your soul, daring you to make one wrong move. They were dangerous to be sure, every last one of them.
You never heard the chitter chatter like in some groups because, as I found out later, they were all connected. I became connected too, but only just before the HEIST.
One of the nicest of the crew was a guy named Dyr. At a bar we took over outside of Devil’s Ladder, Dyr bought me a beer and asked me if I ever robbed a train before. I laughed but he genuinely wanted to know with his eyes and I had no clue how to answer. He gulped his beer down fast and ordered two more for each of us. The road made me thirsty, it was always like that and next thing I knew, we were laughing and carrying on like we was old buddies.
Then, I saw Lusive appear in the corner with his lady friend that I had a hard time seeing, and he pointed at me with a knife and I looked behind myself like a marked dog. He whispered something easy to his woman and she sauntered over like she was set out to gut me.
I squirmed in my stool, only thing to do, but Dyr put his rough hand on my shoulder and set me back down.
The mysterious woman connected something cybernetic to my temple, a kind of wearable tech, and I winced at the pain in my skull as a frozen Zen filled my body. All of a sudden, the room came alive with ethereal voices swirling around the room. Some looking at me, some not, some eating at my brain. The people I rode with came alive and talked to me. The room permeated with EDM Rock, Trap Rock, and dance rhythms that my mind whirled at first, then became comfortable with a tingling sensation burning my spine.
The Witch looked square into my eyes and for the first time, she let me see her. Her eyes were separate planets altogether, and her vibe was scary and chaotic. She whispered without moving her lips, her name, Dycmbr filled my ears and buzzed my mind.
I almost freaked out again. Dyr held me down and something about his booming, low voice was soothing, like a slow trap rhythm that had no end.
Suddenly, I was able to talk without saying any words and my meaning came out jumbled at first. I interacted as if moving around the room in sequence and my conversations became one on ones with whoever was willing to let me try. I jumbled things at first and eventually fell into the rhythm of the crew. The Bandits were willing to accept me and my newbie status.
Suddenly, three jolts ran through my body and my ears heard three hard-hits struck to the pub floor. Dyr had nailed the ground with his cane sword in such a thunder that everything and everyone became quiet.
Lusive spoke without moving his mouth, and his voice echoed in my very being. I never felt so warm, so comfortable, and so terrified in my entire life.
“All of you must say to yourselves, more than me, what you want out of this venture. Leave it off the network, leave it in your own mind. I agree with selfishness, think it's necessary even. I thrive in that mode and you should too…”
As Lusive spoke, a wave of agreement swept over the crowd and micro conversations were had that spiked my curiosity but never stuck. I thought about my own reasons for doing what I was, just as he said, and I wanted more…
“Now, back to the plan…All vital roles, truly, and I will not accept anything but your best effort, beyond what you think is your best effort even, leave nothing on the table…”
“Ladies and Gentleman, the train is on time and we leave at dawn. You all know your parts but I will go over them again just so.
Ramshank, you are to blow the bridge with your crew at the precise time. No alteration will be acceptable. Dyr and his crew will then take one car down at a time using the orbital emitter. The rest of you have your platform boats assigned to capture each car. The ship captains have already been made fat in half and they will do their job as expected or die later. Each car will be eased down to their assigned boat one at a time but the engine lead is mine.”
He paused for what seemed like effect and his eyes met everyone’s in the room until a cadence was struck and the music continued…
“I’ll take the new guy with the Queen here, and we’ll rendezvous in a few months or so when you feel the signs. Whatever is in your car, that’s yours along with your usual fee. I suggest you dismantle the cargo, sink the cars as you go down Snake River and we split ways. Will take two hours before authorities are made aware of what we done. By that time, the entire train will be scattered and dismantled to the tributaries. There are thirty-six tributaries in the Snake River, I suggest you choose the best one that suits you…Are there any questions?”
There were no questions and I kept my mind quiet.
Later, I found a place to lay down in a booth corner of the bar. My mind wandered to places never felt before and a rhythm filled my bones into a comfortable ease. A ritual filled my dreams and I felt myself become more and more a part of the crew as the music ripped at my soul.
Next thing I knew, I was being kicked by Dyr and handed a horse’s reigns. Before I was ever truly awake, I was clinging to a trotting horse as I followed Lusive and his lady Dycmbr for what seemed like forever through thick forest and sunny meadow.
After a few hours, we came upon a beautiful track bridge in the middle of nowhere, with snow-capped mountains in the background. I was in awe at the beauty and had to hold my head as I saw the bridge from every angle, every person’s eyes.
Lusive broke off a hundred feet with his Queen Witch. They both had fierce looking horses and I just gazed in wonder as he pulled out a long monocular telescope and stated timelines and hard facts without moving his mouth.
The sleek train arrived in a slow burn and honked a few times before approaching the bridge. Lusive strained his one natural eye into the monocular and I swear for a second, I could see what he could see.
The explosive crew blew the bridge with a sonic EDM blast just as the train was about to go over.
A blood red light pulsed from a device in Dyr's palm and it caught the train cars individually with ease. It pulled the engine car down first, and the others followed, landing without a sound on each individual barge. I felt like my ears were lying to me.
As soon as the engine was about to land on the first barge, Lusive’s lyrics emanated in my ears
We rode so hard and fast, I felt like my horse was going to explode in some kind of race to a trap rhythm that I could feel in my veins.
When we got to the barge, Lusive and Dycmbr jumped their horses straight onto the ship. I hesitated, but my horse did not, and I gave out an actual “whoa!” yelp as I was brought aboard. Lusive gave the Captain a stern nod and the barge was directed down river.
Behind me, other cars fell from the bridge in controlled succession, each time a red ray of light stopped their demise, just short of total destruction before being gently placed onto their separate barge with awaiting crew.
Lusive Grainger whistled the whole time, was handed a Gibson Future SG guitar from the Captain of the ship, and started to rock like I never heard before. This was his early celebration I supposed, and his girl danced like I never felt or seen anyone do. The Trap Rock was so intense in my head that I nearly fell off my horse.
The last thing I remember, Lusive was rubbing his hands together about some kind of power source, hidden in the belly of the train’s engine, now floating with us down river.
I wanted to ask, but I already knew from the connection we shared that the Witch Dycmbr broke shortly after. Under the belly of that engine, was the real cargo of the train, a power source so intense, that only Lusive Grainger knew what it was used for. At the center of a large crystal, pulled from the belly of the locomotive, contained more power that all of the Earth’s fossil fuels combined. I could only guess, but the words space and escape filled my consciousness before they broke the connection.