“So what’s the plan?” asked Gadget as they walked out back to Dizzy’s garage—which was more of a small aircraft hangar, in truth— in which wonders untold were stored, as well as The Fangirl, Dizzy’s own version of a Battlestar Galactica “Viper jet”: An ambulance-conversion-model of a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style end-loader combination car—in other words, a jet-black clone of the Ectomobile from Ghostbusters, only with its own bevy of specialized enhancements that had nothing to do with the busting of ghosts, but rather made it resemble the tricked-out LTD from Men In Black, as the improvements Dizzy had made were specifically geared towards flight. This included structural reinforcement with a framework of roll-bars installed at fixed positions outward from the cabin and door-frames, and a wide pair of wings that stretched for fifteen feet in either direction from out underneath the doors. The body of the car was jacked up on specially-designed struts engineered from special materials available only to Mjolnir Technologies Aeronautics Division. Four gigantic monster-truck tires protruded from the struts, driven by a four-way power-train extending from an enormously powerful electrodynamic motor hidden beneath the hood. Attached to the back of the vehicle—and extending its length another five feet and attached via a special framework of spiral-shaped girders—were two gigantic jet-thrusters, replete with afterburners, and two large fuel compartments on either side of the cabin, just aft of the rear doors. Cables and wires and hoses snaked all over the car’s body, and it had a large pair of follow-spot klieg-lights for headlights. Written across one of the thrusters were the words: STARBUCK LIVES! The other one, on the other side, bore the hull-registry, DEFIANT II, NCC-75634. Coolant vapor steamed off the valves and hoses as Dizzy pressed a button on her keychain that activated the engines . . . a low rumbling hum and a high-pitched whine emanated from the car’s fuselage. The repulsivators—mounted on the underside and intended to provide additional lift—lit up with a cold, cobalt light, bathing the hangar in a pale luminescence.
“I am not getting in that thing,” said Victor, still carrying the EVI.
“Don’t make me beat you, Victor,” grumbled Misto. “Now get in the freakin’ car, asshole.”
“You call that a car?” he retorted.
“No,” corrected Dizzy, grinning. “She’s not a car. She’s the Fangirl. And she’s our ticket back to the university. The roads will be too dangerous . . . too packed with cars and trucks and people trying to get the frak outta Dodge. We’ll be flying the unfriendly skies instead, than you very much. And to answer your question, Gadget dear . . . well, right now, there is no plan. First, we get to safety. Then we plan. We can’t very well fight back—which I reckon we’ll darn-tootin’ have to do real soon—if we’re all dead and shiznit, right? We’ll begin by finding out where Harkonnen has taken Buffy and Lorenna—I’m assuming Victor is correct in that he’s absconded to the old mental institution just outside of town—and get them back, and then we’ll tackle this alien-invader business. Easy-peasy.”
“Says you!” muttered Angelus.
“Shush!” she quipped. “Okay then. Let’s go to school.” She punched another button on her key-ring. All four of the sedan’s doors opened. “Misto, you’re up front with me. Victor, you’ve got Schrödinger-and-EVI duty. Angelus and Gadget, you take the far side in the back with Victor.
One by one, they piled up the steel stepladders and into the car. Dizzy’s exoskeleton proved no trouble; it was sleekly-designed enough to just barely allow her to fit in the vehicle. Presently, she tossed a giant, lumpy duffle bag onto Misto’s lap.
“Oof!” he said.
“Supplies,” she offered when he frowned at her.
“Oof! I’m squished!” said Victor, snug between Gadget and Angelus.
“Buckle up, children,” said Dizzy. “Safety first.”
“Yeah,” said Angelus, “Ya don’t wanna be air-pizza, Vic. Do as your mom says. Like I do what Gadget’s mom says every night.”
“Fuck you,” said Gadget.
“Roger, Tower, we are ready for take off, roger, roger, wilco,” said Dizzy into a make-believe microphone. “Inertial dampener circuits are online and functioning within parameters.”
“Dizzy, what are you doing?” asked Gadget.
“Pretending,” she said with a shrug. “I figured we could use a bit of fun to distract us, y’know? Leastways, I could. Except of course for the part about the inertial dampeners. We kinda need those if we don’t wanna get squished.”
“Oh, Jeez, Diz,” said Misto, “Can we just—”
“Shush!” she said again. She cleared her throat and resumed: “Roger that tower, we’re ready for take-off, roger-roger. Okay, prepare for compartment closure—”
Dizzy punched a button on the purple-leather-plated dash, and the doors closed with powerful, mechanical latching noises. A hissing noise indicated oxygen flooding the compartment as the seals engaged.
“Roger that, alpha, zulu, pea-knuckle, chrysanthemum,” said Dizzy, “Betamax, eagle-eye, dichotomy—”
“For Christ’s sake, Dizzy!” said Misto. “Newsflash! There’s an imminent alien invasion and our friends are in danger! Jeez!”
“Oh, yeah, right, sorry,” she said with a sigh, and stuck the key in the ignition. “Got caught up in the moment, I guess. Okay. I gotta go slower ‘cause there’s so much weight. Ahem, Misto. But don’t worry. I think she’ll still McFly.”
“That’s so reassuring,” said Victor. “So instead of dying at the hands of a madman within the confines of my own mind, I’ll die in the wreckage of a flying car with a madwoman at the controls. I’ll bet that when the University crafted their policy on gender equality, such a thing was not in the fine-print, Roentgen.”
Dizzy poked her tongue out at him, turned the key in the ignition, the electrodynamic engine snarled into life like a rabid hellhound leaping at the throat of Cerberus. She punched a button on the steering wheel, and the glove compartment popped open. In it was a leathery bunch of straps, a small metal cylinder, and a lighter. She reached in and unfolded the leather, and a pair of old, World War II bombardier’s flight-goggles emerged. Dizzy strapped them on, pulling the cap down around her moussed-up hair. She opened the bluish-metal cylinder, and a cigar fell out. She popped it into her mouth, bit off the tip, spat, and then replaced the cigar between her teeth. She opened the Zippo and flicked a flame into life, lit the cigar, and sucked once or twice on the end of it.
“Boy, you really know how to torture a guy, don’t you,” said Gadget.
Acrid smoke filled the compartment. Victor coughed.
“Wussy,” observed Angelus.
“Fear not, Vic,” said Dizzy. “The air-filtration system will take care of the smoke. I just had to have my ‘Starbuck moment,’ if ya know what I mean.”
“Er, no?” said Victor.
The snarling, growling engine revved up as Dizzy fired the accelerator. The hellhound sounded ready to chew through its chains.
“There is no earthly way of knowing . . .” singsonged Misto, just loud enough to be heard, “of which direction we are going . . .”
The aircraft gauges lit up a bright yellow. Their needles ticked up and down. Dizzy punched a button, and an enormous, rumbling whiz-whir came from outside the car as the garage’s roof split in half. The halves began moving apart on clanking chains.
“And the rowers certainly aren’t showing any sign that they are slowing,” sang Gadget.
“Or is the grisly reaper mowing,” finished Angelus, looking up at the saucers above.
“Ready, everybody?” asked Dizzy, puffing on her cigar, and turning her head toward Gadget, then toward Victor.
“I’m gonna go ahead and say no,” said Angelus. “Safe answer.”
“I’ve had safer things to do,” said Victor, nodding.
“Whoever thinks this is a bad idea,” said Gadget, “Raise your hand.”
Four hands went up, all except for Dizzy, who merely rolled her eyes. “You guys, I swear. What a bunch of pussies.”
“That’s my girl,” said Misto, mussing Dizzy’s hair. “Now then, can we please get going?”
“Don’t mind if I do!” crowed Dizzy. “Ladies and gentle-dudes, without further ado”—she yanked back on the wheel—”YEEEEEEEE-HAW. . . !”
The car shot up and into the blazing morning sunlight, flying just below the armada of alien flying saucers. Then the car shot forward, rocketing toward Wenzel University, with the twin STARBUCK LIVES! and DEFIANT II, NCC-75634 thrusters blasting out bright, orange hellfire.