Unlikely Singularities – Chapter 18


Joe Louis: Scared I’ll Kill Schmeling

October 21, 2016

Wanda curled up tighter on herself, easing her weight from left to right to keep her thighs from cramping. The hood of her sweatshirt did an admirable job keeping the rain off her face, but to keep her butt dry she had to crouch. It got old after the first hour. She spoke quietly into her comm.

I think I would prefer Nomad’s methods now.” She knew Natasha couldn’t answer, she could see her shadow against the shipping containers across the flooded street. There were suspected terrorists inside and arms dealers. Natasha was supposed to be planting trackers in the shipments. “I would like to hit something, rather than stay out here. Ebat!” she swore, barely managing not to flinch away from the largest rat she had ever seen. “I’m fine,” she quickly assured over her comm.

Perhaps it was a dog. A very small dog. With a…hair condition. Wanda shivered. A truck pulled up, blocking her view into the storage yard.

Red, you have visitors.” Two men hopped out of the truck, smoking and talking while they leaned against the rear bumper.

Natasha spoke so quietly that the sensitive Stark made comms barely picked up her voice. “I need five minutes. Keep them outside, Glinda.”

There was no one else in sight. It was two in the morning, and the low-class industrial area was deserted except for the illegal activity Natasha had brought them there to monitor. The situation called for a small, mundane distraction. That had not been a big part of her training with the Captain. Steve’s idea of a distraction was to blow up a building. Natasha, however, had already taught Wanda thirteen ways to occupy groups of four men or less. And six ways to distract women. Wanda bit off a groan of pain as she stood up. Pins and needles pricked along her legs as she slowly made her way through the three inches of water and what smelled like sewage that flowed down the street. The used fishing boots Natasha had insisted she wear were slightly too small, piss yellow, and smelled of octopus that had gone bad – but Wanda was supremely grateful for dry feet.

She allowed herself to stumble on her way to the truck, slowing down and catching herself before she actually fell. The movement pulled her hair loose from her hood and several strands dangled out, quickly becoming soaked. She kept her head down, but she could still see the men shifting as she drew their attention. One of them spoke, but Wanda didn’t speak the language.

Avez-vos de la argent?” She kept her right hand in her pocket, but held out the other, palm up. Her fingers trembled. “Do you- I need – just few dollars. Ringgit?”

Fuck off,” the shorter man said in heavily accented English. The other man shoved him, pointing with his cigarette and smiling. Wanda didn’t need translation to know what he was saying. She fingered the zipper of her sweatshirt.

Do you- just some money. I need it. Is there- Can I?” She dropped to one knee, suppressing a shudder as the filthy water soaked into her jeans.

You need drugs?” The shorter man didn’t look very interested, but his companion was already adjusting the front of his pants.

Not drugs! I’m not…” She stood and brushed her hair away from her face. Her eyes and nose were shadowed by the hood, but she was certain they could see her licking her lips. “Just one hit. That’s all.” The two men had a quiet discussion, and then the shorter man beckoned her forward.

He fuck you. You suck me off. One hit.”

Two,” she demanded. “Two of you, two, two hits. I just need. God. Do you have some? Pay me first.”

The two men had another discussion, and Wanda had to work hard not to roll her eyes. The shorter guy was obviously in charge, and hadn’t planned on actually paying her. This is how sex workers get taken advantage of, she thought sourly. Countries that ignore rather than regulate leave vulnerable people open to-

Suck first, then we pay.” The taller guy had his hand down his pants, obviously prepared to enjoy the show before he took his turn.

Do you have it? Show me the drugs.” Short man frowned, but he opened the back of the truck, reaching in to pull a duffel off of a pile of similar luggage. He unzipped it a few inches and pulled out several small plastic bags. Even from ten feet away Wanda could see the black cross against the white pill inside.

Work for it,” the short man said, shoving the drugs back into the duffel. Wanda took one step forward, then paused. Both Steve and Natasha had stressed that she should attack from a distance if at all possible. She hadn’t been training in close combat long enough to ensure success. Especially since she didn’t know if the two men were fighters.

Someplace dry?” They talked over her suggestion and then the shorter man hoped up into the back of the truck. The other guy grinned, showing yellowed teeth and gestured for her to follow.

Her comm came to life. “All done, Glinda. Meet at extraction in two minutes.”

Wanda whipped her hand out of her pocket and slammed a ball of red energy into the smiling man’s mouth. It took all the precision she had been working on, but she shoved it down his throat, watching him claw at his neck for air even as the shorter man stuck his head outside to see what was taking so long. With her right hand she tossed a thin cord of power around his wrist and yanked. The man yelled in surprise, but he was already off balance. He knocked the open duffel into the street and his knee slammed into the metal bumper as he fell into the water, face first. While he sputtered. Wanda lifted his friend into the truck, tossing him hard. There was a muffled crack but he did not make any noise, even after she released his throat. It took all her energy to keep the shorter man quiet while she picked him up and threw him after his friend. There was noise inside the storage yard headed her way. Wanda scooped up one of the little plastic bags floating in the water and dashed down the side of the truck, pausing only long enough to remove the gas cap. She was back into her alley before she turned and flung one of the tiny detonators Natasha had given her. Red mist swirled around it, making sure it hit its target.

The first explosion rocked the street as Wanda disappeared into the shadows. By the time she reached the car where Natasha was waiting, flames were shooting into the sky. The spy raised one eyebrow as Wanda slid into the passenger seat, her clothes uncomfortably wet and smelling like a toilet.

What? Sometimes Steve’s way is more fun.”