The settlers called her Georgie Electric. He had heard them whisper about her in secret, as if she were some mythical figure. Nobody spoke of her openly, unless they wanted to be pulled in for questioning by the pigs. She was a beautiful woman, it was said, with hair so blond it was almost white, like an arc of lightning or pure electricity. Anyone buying government issued batteries or devices on the black market knew her name, knew it was likely they could only afford to power and heat their homes due to her notorious ring of battery bandits.
Life wasn’t easy for the settlers of X-95. The makeshift government rationed electricity like some precious metal, like they didn’t have storehouses of batteries and generators hidden out on the frontier. The warehouses weren’t a well guarded secret, but they were well guarded. But it was said that Georgie Electric had seen the inside of one, had made fools of the government and their shoddy guards. She wasn’t the most wanted criminal on X-95 for nothing, and for the first time since he sat down in the saloon that early afternoon, Morris felt a pang of anxiety at the thought of their meeting.
It wasn’t exactly a planned meeting, but he had caught word she would be around, and he was sure she had caught word that someone out in Greyton had been mentioning her name. She would show, he was sure of it. He took the poster out of his pocket and stared at the blurry photo of her face on the wanted ad. Georgie Electric. Three hundred thousand dollars. But she was too clever to be caught by a bounty hunter, and he planned to act nothing like the sort.
The pigs wanted to fire her up with as many volts as she had stolen from them over the years. They had the energy to spare, but they made a fortune rationing out batteries and generators. And she’d been taking a chunk out of their profits while making a killing of her own, stealing their power sources and selling them for cheap on the market. It was said she only worked with and sold to people she trusted, and it made sense. She made it this far without anyone betraying her. And Morris was determined to become one of her bandits, whatever the cost.
He was tired of slumming it on this planet, tired of living in the dirt and the dark. He would make enough money with Georgie to live always in the light, to eat the best foods and buy the newest technologies. He was tired of living like some dirty pilgrim. Some “settler” of X-95. He licked his lips at the thought of her, and downed his whiskey.
Two power pigs burst through the door, large men carrying a huge crate between them. Batteries. Of course. The saloons were never out of power. Everyone needed a good drink now and then, including the pigs. So the bartenders were well looked after in this town, in all the towns really. Morris tried to hide his scowl, he wasn’t about to bring any attention to himself. But the arrival of the pigs meant that Georgie was unlikely to make an appearance. Morris stood, grabbing his hat off the table and making his way towards the stairs to his room upstairs. He was renting it out for a few days in the hopes of catching sight of Georgie.
“Some luck it’s doing me,” he mumbled, before crashing down across his stinking mattress and falling fast asleep.
He woke with a knife to his throat, the room darkened, and a woman straddling his body. Striking blond hair obscured part of his vision, and wild green eyes took up the rest of his sight. Georgie Electric.
He felt his body betray him underneath the weight of her own, and he held back the urge to swear at himself. This meeting wasn’t off to a good start.
“Jesus, Morris,” he thought to himself, “one slice away from death and still thinking with your dick.”
He watched as the woman above him smirked, and felt the knife pressed closer to his throat. He wondered if she could feel his unwanted excitement.
“A secret admirer?” she spat out the words, laughing. Her eyes were mad, maybe even deadly. He needed to be careful. “I can see no other reasons why my name should be rolling off your tongue in this town, “she continued. “What do you want? Talk quick, while I decide whether you’re worth my time or not.” She tilted her head to the side slightly, sizing him up.
He stumbled over what to say before blurting out, “I want in.”
“In what?” she barked, moving slightly against him, the knife cutting at his neck.
He winced. She was serious. Had he taken on too much? He had taken part in his fair share of heists and sales to the black market, but Georgie was an entirely different game. And she hadn’t invited him to play.
“You know exactly what,” he stated bluntly, and saw her eyes flash coldly before lighting up like lightning. “I want in on the next run.”
“You sure about that?” she laughed, holding a crumpled up poster in her free hand. “Hard to trust a man carrying around a wanted ad. You a bounty hunter? A dead one, if you are,” she threatened. But he could see the interest in her eyes. Good.
“No bounty hunter. But I bet you already knew that. You don’t seem the type of girl to approach a man without knowing what he’s worth.” It was his time to smirk at her.
“You’ve got me there. And what do you think you’re worth, exactly?” she asked, an eyebrow raising.
“Certainly not three hundred thousand. But we can’t all be Georgie Electric, can we?”
She let out a short laugh, almost animal in nature, and he felt her grind against him, taking him by surprise.
“My momma told me there’s only one good way to know what a man’s worth. Not that she did a good job in choosing my daddy, mind you. So let’s see what you’re worth, secret admirer, huh? Anyone ever tell you I can tell a man’s intentions with just one touch?” she looked down on him, her face getting closer to his.
He felt the kiss, electric on his lips, before he could really comprehend what was happening. Their bodies moved together, frantically, as he tried to undress. This wasn’t the way he expected their meeting to go.
“Just remember, Morrie,” she suddenly whispered in his ear, “nobody fucks me unless I want them to.”
Morrie. So she did know exactly who he was.
“We’ll see about that,” he thought to himself before kissing her wildly.
She felt like liquid fire in his arms. And she had no idea what was coming.
One week of planning and here they were, him and Georgie camping out on the frontier. It hadn’t taken long for her to put him on board with the rest of the battery bandits. He was surprised at how easy the whole thing had been. A “simple” heist, she had told him, to see how he did the first time around. Morris had no doubt in his own ability to be an asset to her team of scoundrels, and he was going to show her just how good of a heist man he could be.
He watched across the campfire as Georgie tinkered with one of the robo-horses, a large metallic creature with powerful legs that ran on batteries. Morris had never seen a real horse, but he didn’t feel like he was missing anything. The robos would do the trick, could run faster than any real animal. They were lucky to have taken two of the power pigs unaware, and even luckier to find the robos fully charged.
“Whatcha doing over there, anyway?” he leaned back on his elbows in the dirt, watching her.
“Checking for tracking devices, what’s it look like?” she mumbled, looking back at him over her shoulder.
“Looks like tinkering to me,” he said. “Don’t be fucking up our horses, now. We’ll be stuck out here with no way back.”
“Pssh, I could do this shit in my sleep. And I’ve got bandits surrounding these plains. There’s always a way back. Always a plan B. Don’t you worry, Morrie,” she said, and the pet name grated on his nerves. He would be glad to be rid of her when the time came. Bandits weren’t the only people out on these plains.
He watched as she cut a few wires here and there, and then adjusted the battery on his horse. She wore thick rubber gloves to prevent against electric shock, and looked like some mad scientist with her wild blond hair sticking up at all angles and her arms covered up to the elbow.
The sight of a remote, or something like it, caught his eye as she pocketed it in her dark jeans.
“What’s that?” he questioned her. She was up to something.
“Plan B. You’ll see tomorrow.” She said back, with a wink.
She could keep her damn secrets. He was keeping a few of his own.
“Well then, let’s go over it one more time,” she said, taking off her gloves and sitting down beside him. He rolled his eyes. They had already gone over it a hundred times.
“Make sure you’re wearing gloves. The pigs have been known to rig a few batteries here and there. Lost too many good bandits that way,” she looked down. He nodded.
“We’ll fill up three bags each,” and here she pointed to the thick rubber satchels attached to the sides of their horses. He had argued that the robo-horses could carry more than three bags each, but she had cut him off. They were playing it safe this time around.
“I’ll take out the train door, and you go for any security cameras. We’ll both be on guard for the pigs. Don’t hesitate to shoot, you know they won’t.” she stated. “You know how to use that thing?” she asked, gesturing to the pistol at his belt.
“You bet I do,” he said with confidence, shooting her a smile.
“Good,” she said, her face impassive.
“Good,” he thought, mockingly. If you only knew.
He wouldn’t hesitate.
Morris woke with a start, and watched as Georgie rubbed dark mud into her long blond hair. Her hair was unmistakable, and he watched her struggle to disguise it.
“Let me help,” he called out, approaching her.
“Fine,” she grumbled, turning her back to him. As he smoothed the cool mud through her strands, he wondered about how easy it would be to break her neck right then and there. He could do it, couldn’t he? But he had to be patient.
“Good enough,” she spat out suddenly, as if sensing his intentions, “let’s go.”
The train was set to pass around 10am, and they waited just out of sight of the tracks until they heard its whistle blow.
Georgie let out a cackle, then a whistle to mimic the train as her robo-horse sped forward. It was all Morris could do just to keep up with her.
There it was, the train. An older looking model, by the looks of it.
As they neared, he spotted one of the security cameras high up on one of the railcars and fired his pistol.
“Nice!” he heard Georgie cry out, as his bullet hit the target, raining down sparks.
Georgie gave a quick glance over her shoulder at him before smiling, all teeth, and pulling something out of her saddlebag. A magnetic bomb.
Her horse running alongside the train, she inched as near as she could before slapping the magnet onto the sliding door of the train car. She veered off violently, away from the train, and he followed as the bomb exploded behind them, leaving a hole in the side of the train.
A face appeared in the hole and a bullet appeared in that face a second later, Georgie taking no time in taking out the guard, shooting over her shoulder. Morris watched her wave her hand over her head, signaling him to turn and approach the train. Georgie followed right behind him.
The robo-horse kept up easily with the train’s speed, but hoisting himself into the train would be the hard part. He wasn’t about to fail, though. He leaped from the moving horse the best he could and pulled himself up into the moving train. He had all six rubber satchels attached to his back, and looked around warily for more guards before hastily donning gloves and filling them one by one.
He tossed one down to Georgie, whose horse was also keeping pace beside the train. She secured it before catching two more. The batteries were heavier than he thought, and getting back to his horse would be even harder. He stood on the edge of the train car, the extra weight heavy on his back, and looked down at the moving robo.
“Aw, come on Morrie,” she shouted up at him, “don’t get soft on me now!”
So he jumped, and barely held on to the cold metal of his horse as he landed. He could feel the bruises already forming on his legs and arms from where they had made contact. But more than that, he felt the elation. He had done it, and the job was almost over. So close.
Georgie veered off towards the frontier, in the direction of Redton mountain, and he followed, his anxiety growing. He couldn’t mess up now. In a short few hours, the world would be his.
They were in sight of the mountain when her horse failed, powering down.
“What the fuck!” she shouted as the horse lost speed and stopped. She wasn’t the only one who had done some tinkering the night before. Her horse’s backup battery may have suffered a mishap in the middle of the night.
“This battery shoulda lasted til dusk,” she growled, hopping off her horse. “Sorry, Morrie, I gotta change this real fast.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he almost whispered, sliding gently off his horse. “I’m the one who’s sorry, Georgie. Truly, I am.”
At his tone, she looked up, fear in her wild green eyes. It was all registering now.
She felt the pain in her shoulder before she heard the shot, before she saw the pistol. She felt herself blown back by it, falling to the ground, her own gun flying wildly across the hard packed dirt and out of reach.
“You fucking bastard,” she laughed, spitting up blood. “My momma was right. I knew it from the moment I touched you.”
“Weren’t very smart about it, then, were you Georgie?” he taunted back.
“I took you for money hungry, not for a killer, boy,” she said back, as the bright red blood from her shoulder mixed with the ends of her hair. Even in this state, she was beautiful.
“Oh, that wound won’t kill ya,” he laughed, “not unless you’re a real bleeder. The pigs should be out here to pick you up before you know it. I’m sure you’ll make it til then, and I’m sure they’ll treat you real nice, Miss Georgie. We got it all settled. My crimes wiped cleaned and enough money to live like a king for the rest of my life,” he said, crouching down in front of her, “all in exchange for your lovely blond head.”
“Don’t look so angry,” he added, reaching out to pinch her cheek, “you had a good run.”
She spit blood, and he felt it land on his cheek, hot and sticky.
She smiled up at him, her face crazed, her eyes still glinting with electricity.
“I ain’t done running,” she hissed, “just you wait and see.”
He knew she was in denial, probably crazed from the blood loss. But he wasn’t going to wait around and listen to her taunts. He picked up her gun and pocketed it.
“See you around, Georgie. Say hello to the pigs for me, won’t ya?” he laughed, grabbing the satchels from her horse and laying them across his own. He looked back at her one last time, lying in the dirt like a dying animal, and then got on his horse and began to ride away. Georgie watched him tip his hat in her direction as he went, and felt the anger burn the inside of her stomach like pure battery acid.
She pulled the small black remote from her pocket and flipped the switch.
It was sort of funny, the way his body seemed to be dancing as the pure electricity flowed through him, and then the way he fell off his horse and continued to jerk around for a while on the ground. Like some bug. She watched from her spot on the ground and laughed, before pulling herself to her feet and striding over to where he had fallen. She flipped the switch on the remote again and heard the hum of electricity from the robo-horse cut out. Crouching down, she stared directly into his pain-filled eyes. Dying eyes.
“Plan B, Morrie,” she whispered in his ear as he lay sprawled across the ground, barely alive and badly burned. “The pigs aren’t the only ones who know how to rig a battery, you bastard.” She stood and kicked him, and he let out a groan.
Morris felt the burns covering his body, and the electricity that had flown through him like hot oil poured over his bones had taken him completely by surprise. He couldn’t move a muscle .
“You can’t leave me here,” he wailed suddenly, ashamed of his own desperation, “I’ll die.”
She clicked her tongue in mock sympathy.
“Maybe,” she said, shrugging, “and maybe not. You said you had friends coming. Let’s hope they’re more reliable than you were, yeah?”
He groaned again, trying to move and failing. He watched as she picked up his wide brimmed hat from where it had fallen to the ground and put it atop her head, smiling as she tilted it in his direction. Mocking him. Then he watched as she swapped out the rigged battery for a new one and climbed atop his horse.
“Poor Morrie,” she taunted, looking over her shoulder at him, fixing him with that wild green stare. “I tried to warn you, didn’t I?”
“Nobody fucks me unless I want them to.”
He watched the wind pick at the strands of her hair under the wide brimmed hat as she rode away, a few blond pieces poking through the mud and shining like lightning in the afternoon sun. Her laugh boomed out like thunder.
The perfect storm.