Chapter Eleven - Starlight Glasshouse
"News update. A bounty hunter has approached the A.P.D, demanding to Chief Daniel Polo about the price he wants for the live capture of notorious Thief, Silvia Grey. Mr. Polo has offered half a million dollars for Grey alive and a bonus of five-hundred if he can find details of her disreputably hidden hideout. The bounty hunter, who has come from planet Technox, has accepted the job and is now on the hunt for infamous Silvia Grey around every inch of Arcadia. Will our streets ever be safe from the B.B.D terror? Stay tuned for more and remember…! Sparks told you first."
The three boys had glared at Silvia once they turned news off from the TV. Silvia simply sighed, fidgeting at her sharp nails. She wasn't surprised that a bounty hunter had finally come to try and track her down. She had actually been waiting for it, as it only gave her another chance to murder someone. Lawrence Sparks, famous Arcadian news and weatherman, had mentioned that the hunter had come from Technox; a planet Silvia had never heard of. Barsy had already started explaining.
"Technox is a deadly planet with very few Thieves on it. The Humans there are highly trained in weaponry and combat, as well as use of technology. There's only a few-thousand Thieves on it from what I hear… but that's not the point, Silvia. Daniel wants you for money and he wants the details, too. Obviously some kind of deal he's got going on Trano. Probably with Conrad Glaxes… ew… what a horrible man. Thinking about him gives me the creeps."
Silvia had certainly heard of Conrad Glaxes, but all she knew was that he owned Trano. Many Thieves complained about him day in and day out, but she had no idea what he could be possibly looking for in her.
"What's so bad about Conrad?" she asked Barsy.
"He runs Trano and owns it. There's a clue. I've just heard that he tortures Thieves until they request to die, and he does all these wacky experiments on them to try and come up with schemes to wipe us all out. Some people say he's trying to take over the galaxy. That includes Humans. Not really right up here." Barsy said, prodding his head.
Silvia winced slightly, quite disturbed that she now had to worry about Max's romance, Daniel's mysterious deal and a determined bounty hunter from Technox. Again, she needed to take her mind off it and get back to B.B.D business.
"What do you guys wanna do now?" she asked.
"Let's get drunk." Sam said with a dumb smile.
Barsy rolled his eyes. "No. I refuse,"
"I agree with Barsy for once." Silvia sighed, snickering at the puzzled look on Barsy's face.
They all then went back to normal. Sam watched some violent film on the TV, Sean had lay down on the couch with some music and Barsy was tinkering in the kitchen. Silvia simply sat, giving her tail a frantic swish as she pondered on how to be random. For some reason, she wanted to annoy someone. Daniel was a good option, but Barsy seemed to be the closet. She got op on her feet, ambling into Barsy with an acquitted stare.
"What ya doin'?" she chanted happily.
Barsy gave her a stare of suspicion. "You know what I'm doing, Grey,"
"Yeah, but what contraption are you working on this time?"
"A coke that will turn Thieves hyperactive and even speedier, but make Humans dizzy and disorientated. It works because of how different our biology is."
Silvia nodded slowly, her mind shifting to her tail. "By any chance do you think you could upgrade my tail, Cades?"
A wide smile then sprawled on Barsy's face as he turned around. "Sounds like a challenge. What exactly do you want done to it?"
Silvia thought for a while. She knew Barsy could invent almost anything from everything. The bounty hunter was bad news, and she knew she needed a good elevation to surpass the events that may come.
"Could you make it poisonous?"
"Well, I could certainly go out and steal some chemicals from some shop in Neonia. Then blend them together so your tail can act like a scorpion's venom. However, since your tail is connected to your tailbone as well as parts of your spine, I'll have to inject it into your neck,"
"I've been through worse. Ok, there's something for you to do,"
"Aha. And what about me?"
Silvia frowned at him. "You don't need anything from me."
Barsy smiled mischievously. "No, I don't need it. But I certainly do want it right now. I've been a bit lonely."
Silvia raised an eyebrow at him, only to feel him thrust her into his chest and plant his lips onto her own. Silva didn't take it as a surprise, however. Barsy was quite known for being the catch around Suburbia, but he never really acknowledged it. Once he was done, Silvia simply gaped up at him emotionlessly.
"Don't tell Stars." Barsy mumbled, peering around the door to make sure he hadn't heard.
"Hey, Silviaaa!" Sam's cheery voice signalled. "Can I have a kiss!?"
Barsy had face palmed as Silvia frowned even more. Sean couldn't hear any of it, considering his blasting music and closed eyes. Silvia had ambled out to Sam, where had put on the most innocent smile he could.
"I'll tell Stars you kissed Cades if you don't kiss me." he giggled.
Silvia simply just clutched his cheeks and snogged him, letting go as quickly as she could. At least my mind is more of regret than fear now, she mumbled in her thoughts. Sam sighed blissfully, slopping back onto the chair with a broad grin. Barsy had entered the room, a leather backpack on his back.
"I'm going to do some shoplifting in Neonia for your tail, Silvia. Wanna come?" he asked.
Silvia shook her head, a very different idea coming to her mind. "No thanks. Be safe, Cades."
Barsy simply shrugged, pacing over to the space and thumping the button to disappear. There was no motorbike starting, so he was obviously going to free-run his way there. Silvia now knew what she wanted to do. She turned to glare at Sean, who had now fallen into a deep sleep. Sam gaped up at her, tugging her on her arm like a child.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked.
"Sam, promise me you won't tell Sean that I'm going to see Max."
Sam widened his eyes. "What? Silvia, why?"
"Because that Human boy needs me. And like you say, he has our secret in his hands, eh?"
Sam nodded, reluctantly agreeing. He made his promise as Silvia wandered away to the space, pressing the button and disappearing. The alley flashed in front of her and the heat was beaming on her already. It got surprisingly warm and dry all of a sudden. Once figuring that taking a bike to a school would look silly, she decided to clamber up the pipe and run her way to Edua. She had only ever been twice, considering that Barsy wanted to get some cheap lab equipment from the schools. But, Edua was more of an open and hard-to-hide in area, regarding that it was were all the schools and universities were seated. It was also very clean and eco-friendly, so Silvia didn't like it too much.
She sprinted across the buildings, quickly making her way out of Suburbia. Neonia was next to pass, which would certainly take a while. Some travel tubes went right past buildings, so she had to avoid being seen by the mindless Humans that would hover on by in their fancy cars. The noises of the place bustled into her ears as she kept traversing and scaling. The thousands of hover engines all mashing together was the typical traffic in Arcadia, and the immense chatting from the streets didn't have many conversations that would interest her. The smells of hot dog stands or coffee shops would make anyone drool, however. Far in the distance, she could see the green space of Edua, where most buildings were strangely white or glassy.
Half an hour passed, and soon Silvia had leapt off the last building of Neonia and into the province of Edua. She landed on the lush grass, creeping behind a bush to stay hidden. There was a large school in front of her, but was it Max's? She didn't have much of a clue, but the time for the student's to leave was drawing near. She waited patiently for the digital bell to sound off, and when it did, the whole place burst into life. The pupils had sprinted out with bags of money, all chanting about going to cafes and sweet shops in Neonia. Silvia kept her eye out for Max, but it was quite hard. She saw a girl in mostly yellow stomp down the steps, and she was seemingly very angry about something. Once she disappeared, three other pupils paced a few metres behind her. One was Max himself, wearing his usual red. Mark and Henna were there, too, but Silvia didn't know who they were.
"What's Cindy angry about?" she heard Henna say.
"I actually have no clue. When she woke up this morning, she didn't speak to me at all. She didn't eat or anything. She just packed up and left. Daniel was asking the same thing."
He's still staying with Daniel? Silvia though irritably.
"Haha, very unlike Cindy to not talk to you." Mark chortled, folding his arms.
"I know." Max said simply, shrugging.
"Well, me and Mark are gonna hit Café Neon in Neonia. Wanna come?"
Silvia clenched her teeth, knowing she had to Max's attention somehow. She glared around, searching for anything that would work. She snatched a pebble from the ground, aiming it carefully at Max's head. And with a powerful fling, she managed to hit him. Max grunted slightly, turning around to catch sight of Silvia beckoning him over. Max smiled broadly, putting one finger up to tell her to wait.
"Uh, guys," Max said to Mark and Henna. "I forgot. I have to phone Daniel about something. Go on without out and I'll meet you there. Save a seat."
Mark and Henna nodded, only to shrug at each-other and then pace off to Neonia. Max sauntered over to the bush, hoping no one was watching him. Silvia stood up past the tree, smirking at him.
"Nice to see you, Human." she giggled.
"Hey, what are you doing in Edua? This is risky business, Silvia!" Max hissed.
"I just wanted to check in on how you were doing." Silvia mumbled shrugging.
"Well, I'm happy to see you. But, well, one of my friends have been acting funny ever since last night and I'm kinda confused,"
"Ah, is that the blonde girl your two friends called Cindy?"
Max nodded, scratching the back of his neck. "Yeah, even Daniel noticed it,"
"When are you gonna move away from Daniel? It's a risk for me to ever come see you,"
"My dad is getting busier than, ah, what I want. Daniel just keeps offering me to stay. Don't worry, I don't choose to stay with him. It's kind of awkward."
Silvia nodded, understanding partially. "So, do you wanna do anything now?"
"Can't. I promised Mark and Henna I'd meet them. But, you've got a transmitter, right? Give me your code and I'll contact you through it later."
Silvia simply nodded without much choice. "01999."
Once Max had scribbled it down onto his phone, he told Silvia to hide around Neonia until he called. Silvia nodded, watching him jog off. She then sighed, slopping down onto the grass from boredom. She knew she had to keep Max safe. He was different; a Human that liked Thieves. She also was quite fond of him in a ways she couldn't understand, one which Sean would never accept. With another breath, she stood up and strolled towards a drainpipe. Once clambering up it and leaping over a few buildings, she found a nice space to relax on, high above the streets and not near many travel tubes. She lay down on her back, letting the sun embrace her with its kindling warmth until Max would decide to phone her.
"Mark! Henna! Wait for me!" Max called, just appearing around the corner to the vibrant Café Neon.
Mark and Henna had spun around, waiting impatiently for Max to enter with them. When he did, they chose a few hover seats close to the window, deciding what to get. Henna simply scoped through the menu, making Mark roll his pale eyes.
"Henna, we're only getting a snack."
Henna shifted her eyes around to him. "You know I don't eat the school's food. It's disgusting so I'm pretty hungry right now." she mumbled.
Max knew Henna was somewhat right about the food. It was rather processed and the canteen was much too small for his tastes. When Henna finally decided on a burger, the three headed up to pay the bored-looking shopkeeper. As Max took his change, Henna had clutched his shoulder and quavered him rapidly.
"Max! Max! Look who it is!" she hissed.
Max glared over to who she was looking at, but he did not recognise the man sipping on some coffee in the far corner.
"Who is it?" Max asked, as Henna dragged him back over to their table.
"That's Lancer Aztrox!" Henna whispered once Mark had sat down with an ice cream.
"My God, Max, of all people I would have guessed you knew who Lancer Aztrox was." Mark sighed.
"What? Why? Who is he?" Max asked.
"He's a horrible man." Henna barked, until Mark butted in.
"Henna, he kills Thieves for money. So what? That's good."
Henna kept her mouth shut, nibbling at her burger slowly.
"Wait," Max said. "Is that the bounty hunter my uncle was dealing with? The one from Technox?"
Mark and Henna nodded at the same time. Max bit his lip, peering back over at the man, who seemed to be in his thirties or so. He was quite serious-looking and rather tall. He had dual blaster calibres strapped to his waist, and he wore some black jacket and shirt with metal boots that seemingly attached to his trousers as they went up. His grey eyes were sharp and his brown hair was gelled neatly, but he was much more focused on the hologram newspaper he was reading.
"So… he's out for Silvia then?" Max mumbled, turning back to Henna and Mark.
"You bet he is. And he won't stop." Mark said, his ice cream already near done. "My dad's a soldier and fights in those wars across the galaxy against Thieves. He supports the likes of him."
Max gulped, knowing Mark was being brought up to destroy Thieves like he was. Except Mark would be travelling around and murdering them, and Max would stay in Arcadia to wipe out the ones here. Henna was quite sceptical about it all. She never spoke much of her ideal careers or her parents, but Max knew they were both doctors working in Medicana, which was the smallest part of Arcadia.
"What would you like to do when you grow up, Henna?" Max asked her.
"Um… I haven't really thought about it. Maybe an artist or something? I dunno." she grumbled, picking bits of the bap off the burger.
Max nodded slowly, announcing he was ready to go. Once Mark and Henna had finished, they ambled away from the café and to the board park, where their hover-boards where stashed. Mark pulled out his black one with skull tattoos littering it, while Henna appeared from the corner with a baby blue one spattered in bubbles. Max announced he was going back to Daniel, so Henna and Mark simply scooted off the other direction. Once hovering on his board, Max pulled out his phone and entered the code, hoping to the dearest that Silvia would pick up.
Silvia awoke from her heated nap, instantly pulling out her transmitter and tapping the centre of it. An audio of Max's voice appeared instead of his torso, so she simply had to listen to what he was saying.
"Right, we can meet somewhere now." Max said.
Silvia thought for a while. She had not considered it all the way through, and she simply had to hide from the public. But, a place soon came to her mind as she stared across the way to Neonia.
"Do you know where Starlight Glasshouse is?"
"Yeah… you wanna go there? But, Silvia… your metallic scars. You can't just waltz on in there. It's a huge attraction among Humans. I don't even think I'm old enough to go."
Silvia smiled to herself. "Just meet me at the side alley."
Once Max had cut off, Silvia sighed to herself. She had been to Starlight Glasshouse once, but she loved every bit of it. Sean had taken her there on some kind of date (he wouldn't admit it) and the top of the place where he had shown her was truly captivating. Quickly, she made her way down buildings and pipes, only to leap her way across to the far side of Neonia. Soon, as the sun started to set, Silvia had managed to set her eyes on the majestic building, which was half made of shining glass. It took yet another while to reach the place, but once she had leaped off a building and straight the bottom of an alley, she caught sight of Max waiting across the street. Like a darting mouse, she made her way over and into a more shaded part.
"Nice to see you." Max said, parking his board at the wall.
"You, too, Maxy." Silvia sniggered.
"So what is it you wanna show me?"
Silvia pointed to the top of the building. "Can you climb?"
Max's face wiped to a pale colour. "Err… I'm afraid of heights to be honest."
"Aw, that's cute." Silvia giggled, leading him up a stairwell at the side.
They kept clambering for a while, entirely in silence as it grew darker. The neon lights were beginning to come out of hiding, and some of the clubs had already started booming their music. Sirens went off into the distance, but it was no longer much of a surprise. It took a while to get Max to climb a drainpipe, announcing he would have to vomit his fears out later. Silvia let him go first in case he fell, carelessly alleging that she'd catch him. More steps were to be climbed up the huge building, and it was rather risky since the glass would easily reveal them to the Humans inside. Silvia scanned around for a vent high up in the wall. When she caught sight of the gleaming metal it harboured, she beckoned Max to head for that direction. It was awkward, since Silvia had to shuffle past him and then open the vent with her incredibly strong nails. She simply flung the entrance away, hearing the faint clang on the ground soon after.
Max clambered in first, silently going through the one-way system and waiting for Silvia to catch up. Soon enough, another entrance came into view and with a clang and a curse under her breath, Silvia had led Max into the most phenomenal room she had ever been in. It was dark; the only lights were the ones the stars beamed through. The whole place was shaped like a circle, and comfy, red seats aligned the whole outside of it. There was a large and bubbling Jacuzzi in the centre, the water in it glowing neon blue. A whole table packed of fresh food was near the automatic door and the ceiling was a glass orb, showing the majestic Arcadian sky.
"Wow…" Max gasped, his jaw dropped.
Silvia had locked the door, hoping no Humans would show up just yet to spoil the fun. Max had immediately dashed over to the table, indulging himself to all the foods his hands could maintain. Silvia wasn't up for food, so she simply sat herself on the outlining couches, crossing her legs.
"How'd you know about this place?" Max asked as he turned to her.
"Well, Sean took me here in mid-2050. You know, right after the Thieves took over Suburbia? But, then again, you weren't alive by that time,"
"Yeah, I know, but we studied it at school,"
"Oh, well, that's it really. He took me here for a celebration. This place just doesn't change."
Max nodded slowly, taking some cupcakes off the table and pacing over to her. He offered them, but Silvia just waved her hand, shaking her head. With a shrug, Max sat beside her, his eyes twinkling with the stars. Silvia bit her lip, wondering what to talk about. But, her mind was shrouded with Daniel and his ticking bomb to just find her off-guard. When would Max finally move away from him? And what was Max to do if he liked Thieves? She turned her head to him, sighing.
"Max," she said firmly, waiting for him to look at her. "You realise the galaxy won't accept a Human who likes Thieves. They'll think there's something wrong with you. They might make you one of us."
Max smiled. "That's what I want-"
"No," Silvia barked, a little angrily. "I mean… they'll treat you like us. You'll be called scum and you'll be in cage no matter where you go. The galaxy will hate you. There's only one safe place for Thieves, and that's Solarous,"
"Well, let's go to Solarous. Together,"
"I can't. The car that gets you there is beyond reach,"
"Daniel has one… I think."
Silvia gaped at him disbelievingly. "I expected so. But, would you really wanna risk that?"
Max smiled more broadly. "Yeah… for you. You can take those three boys with you, too. We'll just escape our lives."
Silvia sighed heavily, flowing her eyes back to the magnificent stars. Could she steal Daniel's car and escape to Solarous away from Conrad Glaxes and the bounty hunter? It seemed just right at the tip of her dagger-like nails, but it instead would end up in a pitfall of loss. Max was overly hopeful, and she knew that terribly. Quickly, she decided to change the subject.
"We better get going."
Max nodded reluctantly, followed by the clambering of the vents and the long walk down the stairs. Once the safety of the ground was reached, Max had unearthed his board and looked to Silvia, who was smiling weakly.
"It was nice to see you again. Think we could do it again?" Max asked.
"Surely, but this time you can go hunting for me." Silvia giggled, rubbing his shoulder.
Once the busy streets were reached, Max had mounted his board and sped off with a wave, leaving Silvia in the shadows. She sighed to herself once again, turning to climb up a drainpipe. But, what came before she could even think about touching it was much too sudden and agonising for her head to handle.