25: THE NEED FOR SPEED(BOATS)

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My boots thudded lightly against the street as I ran, ducking and dodging everywhere I could. I could feel more than hear Gunner's presence behind me as I ducked down a tight alley, though even then I didn't stop. There was no way the SUV could've followed us through in such tight quarters -- Gunner was having a hard time fitting -- but I was beyond coming up with a new makeshift plan. 

I wasn't just running off of the adrenaline that had been dumped into my system. I was fueled by my complete and unrefined fury at the entire situation: wrath felt toward Gray for putting Rebel and I under, toward Team Charlie for turning on LASAR and killing their own kind. The mere act of unearthing those thoughts caused my energy to spike, and though I distantly heard Gunner ask me something, his words went uninterpreted. 

I cut across traffic fearlessly, ignoring the chorus of car horns that sounded off at my intrusion. The docks were close now, and already the second half of my plan was formulating. 

"Risk!" Gunner hissed a little more desperately.

It was just enough to get me to slow, my feet already falling onto the wood of the dock as I turned toward him. Visibly out of breath, Gunner looked a mess, one hand gripping the machine gun with pale knuckles as the other flapped my way in an indistinct gesture. 

"What are we going to do, steal a boat?" he asked thickly as he approached me, his dark gaze slipping between myself and the docks behind me. 

I was more focused on the SUV that was tearing down the streets at breakneck speed. "Yes," I answered shortly, and without further explanation I turned and rushed down the docks. 

With an audible groan, Gunner followed.

I looked over each of the floating machines with a critical gaze, never slowing in my pace. I was no longer running -- speed-walking may have been a more accurate term -- but my sense of urgency had not faded. I took an abrupt and sharp turn without warning, grabbing Gunner by the front of his shirt in the same moment and coming to an abrupt halt before a small speedboat.

The look in his eyes portrayed his every protest to me loud and clear, and rather than get into an argument with him then and there, I rolled my eyes, climbed into the boat, and signaled that he do the same.

"I sort of hate you right now," Gunner informed me.

"I'm sure you'll get over it," I responded calmly, already assessing the boat's controls. A key would apparently be necessary, but that wasn't an issue. I set to work on the ignition, only half-listening as Gunner continued to speak.

"Do you even know how to drive a boat, Risk?"

"Yes," I answered patiently, still not looking at him. I was a little busy working, after all. "I do boats and cars -- anything bound to the earth, basically -- and Rebel does anything sky-bound."

Gunner was surprisingly silent at that. "I didn't know that."

"There's a shocker," I muttered under my breath. No sooner had I spoken than did the boat roar to life, allowing me to rise back to my full height. I flashed Gunner a catty smile then, though my gaze did not linger on him for long.

Apparently, our pursuers had a boat of their own. A trio of men in all black, toting guns galore, rushed down the docks, though they stopped just short of us, climbing into their own boat. I scoffed under my breath. "Gunner, mind undoing the rope that's keeping us to the dock?"

"I--" His gaze had followed mine, and he had not missed the men who were getting into the boat. 

"Now, Gunner," I said strictly, turning away from him and manipulating the boats controls without any more hesitation.

It took him approximately three seconds to announce, "You're good," and from there it took me only four seconds to tear away from the docks completely, a spray shooting up around the boat as we ripped through the waters with a vehemence that matched what I always felt while driving.

The ocean shone under the sun, the cool breeze cutting through my hair intensely. I could both smell and taste the abrupt salt in the air, and a slight smile lilted my lips as I tore around other boats, out further into open water.

It didn't take long for the sound of gunfire to rise up again, but this time, I was prepared for it. I ducked instinctively, my grip on the boat's controls never wavering. "You can shoot now!" I shouted over the roar of the boat's engine, and that was all that Gunner needed to hear. 

"About time!" he retorted. Then the rapid sound of a machine gun going off resounded in my ears, and my shoulders relaxed ever-so-slightly.

But not enough.

According to the dash of the boat, I had just over half a tank of gas. According to my knowledge of weapons, and the fact that I knew all of our extra ammunition had been left in the car, Gunner wasn't going to be able to keep firing at our tails forever. It was only a matter of which would run out first; the fuel, or the ammo.

I had had worse. 

I had also had better.

It took me a fraction of a second to make my decision, and in deciding I turned the boat as abruptly as it would allow for, redirecting us toward the shore. 

"What are you doing?" Gunner shouted. 

"We're going to run out of fuel," I shouted back, not turning to look at him. 

He was quiet for only a second as he let off another round of fire. "Or I'm going to run out of ammo," he realized aloud.

"I would prefer neither," I said, glancing behind us at the oncoming speedboat for only a moment. "But we can't always get what we want. So . . . either we lose them, one way or another, or we're going to end up swimming with those sharks we were talking about earlier!"

I didn't miss Gunner's grumbled cursing. "Have I mentioned I don't usually do this kind of field work?"

"Shut up and shoot, Gunner," I retorted with a smirk of amusement. "I'm going to slow down-- give you a better shot!" And that was all the warning I gave him before I did just that, dropping our speed down drastically. I hit the floor in the same motion, my free hand falling to one of my guns as the gunfire roared over the sound of the engines. 

I vaguely heard what sounded like yelps of surprise, mingling with shouts of pain, before Gunner shouted, "Go, go, go!"

The boat practically jumped at my command, and I spared a glance over my shoulder to see that one of the men from the boat had fallen into the ocean, red already tinging the water around him. The other two were out of my line of sight, but I had seen all I needed to. "Looks like you've still got it, Gun," I laughed aloud, turning us ever so slightly so we could ride along the shoreline at a safe distance.

"Yeah, thanks," Gunner chuckled, still leaned against the floor of the boat. 

Now all we had to do was find Gray's beach house . . . and try not to draw too much attention to ourselves in the meantime. I wasn't concerned, though; if I knew Rebel (and I did) he and Bravo were already there, just waiting for us to find them. 

As we sped along, I realized that this too would be an acceptable situation to use comms, and a small smile tugged at my lips.

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