"I'm thinkin' probably not," Max glanced back over her shoulder, keeping her voice fairly low, "Turns out they're doin' random checks at sector points, so we gotta gotta make with the do-it-yourself tattoo removal."
Grimacing, she turned to face the road, and gunned the engine, heading in the direction of a cosmetic surgery clinic within the sector.
Jondy grimaced herself, hugging Max a little tighter. "Tell me there's a 'good news' part after the 'bad news'."
"Hmm, lemme think, you're less likely to get locked up like an animal?" Max ventured, trying to think of a good side to the situation, but not coming up with much.
She zipped along a series of a side streets, then pulled into an alleyway, cutting the engine, "It's in the building across the street. We really gotta get you some wheels, huh?"
"This is true," Jondy said, sighing and biting her lip. She'd been through the tattoo removal thing a few times before and knew that it had to happen here eventually, but that didn't mean she had to like doing it.
When Max mentioned getting her some wheels, though, she perked up. "That would not be a bad thing," she said, a smile growing across her face.
"Maybe we oughta see about that after we're done here," Dismounting from the Ninja smoothly, Max cast a quick smile at her sister then led the way out of the alley and across the street. Lights glowed in the clinic lobby, and an admissions nurse could be seen behind the counter, flirting with a uniformed rent-a-cop who leaned against it.
"This way," Max murmured, slipping around the side of the building, and pointing upwards before grasping a drainpipe, and climbing the four stories to the roof. There was a rooftop garden with benches and an abundance of potted plants, clearly a place designed for staff and patients to get a breath of fresh air, elegant sand filled urns catering to those who preferred a puff of smoke.
The door to the stairwell was unguarded, but Max was cautious as she led the way down a couple of flights of stairs and eased open the door, peering up and down the hall to make sure the coast was clear before heading toward the room that she knew from past experience contained the equipment they required.
Pausing by the door, Max produced a slender wallet of lock-picks from her vest pocket and went to work on the lock. She managed to get the door open just as the elevator at the end of the hall announced its arrival with a quiet chime. Ushering Jondy into the room, Max eased the door closed behind them, letting out a breath as the footsteps passed the door without faltering.
Close call. Max signaled to Jondy with a slight smirk, then, expression becoming sympathetic, nodded toward the medical table which dominated the room, indicating that her sister should climb up onto it.
Jondy nodded, following Max the whole way silently. She smirked back at her big sister, then grimaced when Max gestured for her to climb onto the table.
Taking a deep breath, she climbed it easily and lay flat on her stomach, reaching to move her hair off of the back of her neck so Max could get to work and the whole painful thing could be over with.
Picking up the laser, Max flicked a few switches and turned a knob, adjusting the beam strength.
"'k Sis, try to hold still okay?" Max whispered to Jondy, giving her shoulder a brief squeeze. She went to work on the barcode, meticulously removing each dark bar with sure, even strokes.
"So what kinda wheels would you want?" she asked quietly, trying to distract Jondy from the painful procedure, "Bike? Car?"
Jondy gritted her teeth as Max went to work, gripping the sides of the table tightly and trying her hardest to keep from thinking about the pain.
She considered Max's question briefly. "To be honest, I really like the idea of a bike. Don't know if you noticed at the time, but I was really excited to take it to save Pulse."
"And here I was thinkin' you were just glad to be getting away from me for a few hours," Max remarked with a smirk.
She started running the beam of light over the lines a second time. Even with the intensity and pulse-rate of the laser beam increased to a level which would be unbearable for normal people, it would take a few passes to get rid of the genetically encoded identification mark.
"Bikes are more versatile too - can take 'em places cars just can't go, which is real useful when you got people on your tail, lemme tell ya. And, you can keep it inside," She began the third meticulous sweep, "Plus, I happen to know a place with a good selection to choose from."
Setting the Laser-pen in its holder, Max rummaged in a drawer, finding a small tube of soothing gel, which she applied to the barcode-less but inflamed skin on the back of Jondy's neck, "All done, you can consider yourself a clean-skin. For a while at least."
Jondy winced as Max applied the gel to the back of her neck, then slowly sat up, gingerly moving her hair back to cover it. "Thanks."
She turned around and hopped off the table, grinning at Max. "Now let's go get me a bike!"
"Nothin' I'd like more," Max smiled wryly, then turned, lifting her hair so Jondy could see the back of her neck, showing her barcode, "But I need a touch-up first."
Climbing up onto the table she lay face down on it, curling one arm beneath her throat supportively, the other hand moving to the edge of the table.
Jondy sighed, then took the pen out from it's holder and went to work with on her big sister's barcode.
"So what kind of bike do you think would be good for me? And how'd you decide on yours?"
Max winced as the laser began burning the skin on the back of her neck.
"You want something fast, efficient, and reliable," Her fingers curled around the edge of the table, gripping it hard, "I got mine on the fly and decided I liked it, so I kept it."
Max sucked in a quick breath, then eased it out, "Sports bikes are good. Personally I'm partial to Kawasaki, but Yamaha and Ducati made some nice machines."
"Hmmm...are the ones they make as gorgeous as yours?" Jondy asked, trying to be gentle and trying to get her sister's pain over with as soon as possible. She patted Max carefully on the back as she finished up, going over the lines for a second time. "Almost done...there."
She put the pen back into it's holder, took the tube, and opened it, applying it with care to the back of Max's neck. "All right, you're all finished."
"They do have some really nice bikes, yeah, but we'll just have to see what's available," Sitting up, Max gingerly touched the stinging flesh on the back of her neck with a wince, then brushing her hair back over it. She smiled at her sister, "Thanks."
She hopped off the table, and changed the settings on the laser equipment back to what they had been before, "C'mon, let's blaze."
Leading the way to the door, Max opened it a crack to scope out the hall before stepping out into it. She gave a jerk of her head to indicate Jondy should follow her out. Heading back the way they'd come, she was halfway to the stairwell when a security guard rounded the corner.
"Hey!" he yelled, drawing his weapon as he ran toward them, "Stop right there!"
"I don't think so!" Max responded, blurring as she broke into a run and disappeared into the stairwell. She was halfway up the flight of stairs when she realized that Jondy wasn't right behind her. Shit.
Stopping in her tracks she began descending the stairs again...
While Max had started running, Jondy was making sure that the security guard wasn't gonna follow them by punching him upside his head, then karate chopping the back of his neck.
When she looked up, she saw Max running back down the staircase and grinned at her, stepping quickly around the unconscious security guard before catching up with her. "Just wanted to make sure we wouldn't have company later."
"Nice work," Max grinned her relief at her sister, then spared a glance at the guard, who seemed to be down for the count, for the moment, "Now let's get outta here before sleeping beauty wakes up."
Wasting no time Max headed back up the stairs and out onto the rooftop, vaulting the waist-height wall, and quickly climbing down the drainpipe to the ground, and making a dash for her bike.
"Thanks," Jondy replied before following close behind Max and hopping on the bike right after Max did, securing her arms around her sister's waist.
"So where are we going to get my wheels?"
"A police impound lot," Max gunned the engine and peeled out into the street, heading the the direction of the lot.
Raising her voice to be heard over the roar of the engine and the whipping wind, she continued, "The cops have this scam goin' where they impound your vehicle, then charge you a fortune to get it back. If peeps can't afford to buy it back, they sell it."
She turned a corner, "Quite a neat little moneymaker. I hadda steal my bike back off those rat bastards last year."
"Well, at least you got it back," Jondy called out over the roar of the engine. "I gotta say, that is a clever idea, though. Too bad it's not benefiting anyone besides themselves."
"Well, I don't know about that..." Max glanced back over her shoulder, flashing her sister a sly smirk, "Afterall, tonight it's gonna benefit us. Gotta make a quick stop."
Pulling over to the curb, she climbed off the bike, "Back in a minute."
She disappeared into an all night drug and convenience store, emerging a few minutes later with a paper deli package and a bottle of pills, putting them in the Ninja's small storage compartment, then climbed back on the bike, "Hadda get a snack for Fido."
Starting the engine again, she headed toward the sector point they'd have to pass though to get to the impound lot, her nerves slightly on edge. The sector-pass Logan had provided her with was an A-grade forgery, but she couldn't change her face, and if the wrong person recognised her, they'd all be in deep shit.
"You've got your sector pass on you, right?"
"Right here," Jondy said, pulling the clip with her sector pass on it out from her jacket. Being a bartender didn't really require her to have to sector-hop, but Crash had provided them with sector passes, knowing that cops were checking them more thoroughly. "But I thought we were sneaking in?"
"We are," Max joined the short queue of early morning traffic delayed at the sector point, "But we gotta get there first."
"You ladies got sector passes?" the Sector cop inquired with a leer as they pulled even with the sector point.
"Sure do, Officer," Max gave her best impression of a flirtatious bimbo as she held out her sector pass for the officer to see. He looked it over, checking her face against the photo on the card.
"You look kinda familiar..." The officer trailed off, trying to place her.
"Been to any bachelor parties lately?" Max giggled flirtatiously, "I work at the Cherrybomb and sometimes do private parties too."
"Well, that must be it then," The sector cop grinned leeringly, returning her card, "Andy had his party a couple of weeks ago."
Max eased out a breath of relief, smiling and batting her lashes at him. He seemed to have bought it.
"So do you two dance together?" The sector cop asked conversationally, leering at them both as he held out his hand for Jondy's sector pass.
"Oh yeah, all the time," Jondy said in a high, bubbly voice, leaning forward as she twirled her hair and held out her Sector pass. "Sister acts are really big sellers."
"You two are sisters?," the cop asked, raising an eyebrow at her before leaning over to check out her pass - and her cleavage.
"Step-sisters. I've been dancing for years, and dared this one -" she nodded to Max - "to join me one night, and we've had the best act down there ever since."
The sector cop cleared his throat, his eyes bright. "Well, you two have a nice evening."
"We sure will. Bye-bye!," Jondy said, blowing him a kiss as the cop waved them through.
"You enjoyed that way too much, little sister," Max accused with a snicker, reaching back with one hand to poke Jondy in the ribs as they cleared the sector point, "You know he's gonna go home and whack-off picturing us doing nasty things to each other, right?"