The Dream Twister - September 2003
The Ringmax Gold Robbery - Alex Crosse
(page 8/14)

The Ringmax Gold Robbery

(a.k.a. A Conspiracy to be Foolish!)

Alex Crosse

It's funny how the most coincidental events can shape ones life. One thing just leads to another and before you know it your life is shooting off in a totally different direction to the one you expect it to go in. If you had come to me a week before it all happened and told me what the next few months had in store for me I would have laughed in your face. It all starts one Saturday afternoon...

It was just after my wife left me. A week before she had run off with this Porsche driving multimillionaire alien bastard called Bob, who had four arms... well I guess they're arms... I don't like to pry. My ex-wife can be pretty vicious when she is angry. Well, there I was, post lunchtime dead zone and all that, you know the time... Bored as "hell" I was. So what do you do when you're bored? Offy, right! So down I went, to tell you the truth I needed the funds. I took this shotgun. Not a real one you understand but a plastic one, back when we use to play spaceman and alien when I was little back on the founder's colony on Io. So down I went, shotgun in hand, but when I got there I found that Doogi was on holiday and the store was being minded by this purple alien thing, a kind of which I had never seen before. The problem was that this thing has no discernible face, so I wasn't quite sure where to point my piece. So I just waved it around, scary like, and told him to hand over the money. He said he couldn't. I asked why; and he explained it was because he couldn't see the till. I told him to his eyes, and he said he couldn't ‘cause his eyes were on the soles of his feet. Now, I don't know what sort of evolutionary selection did that to the poor creature but suddenly I came over all sorry for him. He apologised, saying that this place wasn't really designed for his kind, and then told me to help myself to whatever I needed. Well, I couldn't just take the money now could I? It just ain't the same if the victim's not defecating with terror, or at least looking a bit scared. Takes all the fun out of it. So I left without the money. A couple of hours later I get a visit from the police. The next thing I knew I was in the "slammer" for parking my get-away vehicle on a double yellow line. So there I was, sent up for three months for parking without due care and attention and where did I find myself? Well, I found myself all locked up, cosy like, with these three jokers in this hole of a cell; not enough room to swing a gerbil and all that. Anyway, I found that these guys are all up for minors, petty stuff that most decent police officers would turn a blind eye to. But, the more I talked to them the more I realised that I was actually in a cell with three real pros.

The guy that was in the bunk below me was called Zarg, a rotund from Tarak on Argos prime. Anyone who has visited Argos prime will know that it is the electronic centre of the universe. These guys invented the electron, they have electrical cabling for hair, they grow up in an environment that reeks of static electricity and are breast-fed transistors until they are five. And Zarg, he was no exception, hacker extra-ordinaire, claimed he could get into anything. Across the way from me was a true genius. His name was Malcolm and he was mathematician. He had spent the previous two years of his life coming up with a mathematical model for a twenty-seven dimensional universe and the last six months inside for performing satanic rituals on his neighbour's cat. These academic types, can't take your eyes of them for a minute. And Last but not least we had a creature who went by the name of Icarus. Icarus was an Amoeboid, from the planet Amoebo. Amoeboids are strange and formless creatures, commonly referred to as "jellymen" by humans. These pustulent balls of slime can assume any shape they please and this one's favourite shape seems to be a sort of bipedal humanish sort of shape with two wings sprouting from his back, which must have really pissed off his tailor. He claimed he is honouring the great human pioneer Icarus who was the first to fly from the island of Crete to Greece, thereby paving the way for humans to reach the stars. I had considered pointing out that actually Icarus hadn't actually made it, but anyone who has seen the twentieth century action flick Terminator 2 will know not to argue with anything that can take any form it likes. Especially when it's four times bigger than you are. Apparently a prison guard had mentioned it once. They had never seen him again. This guy was the pearl in our little group of oysters. As well as being an unstoppable mountain of "goop", he had the skill of skills when it came to criminal acts for he was a locksmith. Well, we talked. It passed the time. And over the course of a week or so an idea began to form. A job, a job to end all jobs, a heist that would cause our names to be immortalised in the books criminal history, assuming, of course, that no one had "nicked" them. We had it all, a hacker, a locksmith, a mathematician, and a getaway driver. The target, the Ringmax Corporation headquarters on the Harval orbital near Vegas One, the proverbial Fort Knox of this side of the galaxy. It was perfect. It could not fail. So over the next few months we waited and one by one we finished our time and were released. One by one we made our way to the Harval orbital. We rendezvoused in a motel room just outside the city sprawl and then made our way in towards our target.

The time was, 10pm, the place, Ringmax Corporation headquarters. A car pulled up and three men and a giant jelly got out. We entered the door. All was quite. The room was devoid of life save for a single security guard at the reception desk. "Leave this to me," Malcolm whispers, "I was always good at diplomacy." We nodded and watched as he walked up to the guard. As he approached he reaches into his coat and produced a large bottle of Chianti, which he then proceeded to apply viciously with wild elegant swings that would have made a ballet dancer jealous. There was no doubt about it. Malcolm's diplomatic skills were superb. We moved to the elevator and pressed the sub-basement button. The lift hummed and slowly descended. It was about halfway down when suddenly all the lights failed and we found ourselves plunged into darkness. The steady hum of the elevator was replaced with a high pitched wail of an alarm bell. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness we noticed the descent indicator on the lift had stopped. We all turned to Zarg. The hacker reached for his jacket pocket but instead of producing a screwdriver or wire cutters like we expect he didn't. To our amazement he produced this gun, which he then waved wildly in the direction of the lift maintenance panel. I asked him whether he really wanted to do that and he asked me whether I was a trained electrician or not. I must admit he had me there. I had to admit that I was not. He told me not to question an expert before emptying four rounds into the lift electronics. Immediately the lift filled with light. I was about to congratulate Zarg for his expert electrical knowledge when I noticed is was just the mains voltage arcing through the jellyman. This was followed by a lot of cursing and swearing, mostly on Zarg's part. He then in a fit of Tarak rage he proceeded to drive his fist through the roof of the lift, sending the emergency access panel flying. Zarg, despite what his size may suggest, proved to be actually extremely agile and before we could stop him he was up through the hole and out on the top of the lift. Moments later we were treat to the squeals of grinding metal and a shower of orange sparks from the gaping hole above. A few minutes later there was a twang and before long we were at the bottom of the lift shaft.

So out we rolled, a little shaken, but all in one piece. The jellyman was glowing slightly, which was helpful in the semi-darkness of the sub basement. Anyway, after a lot of searching we finally found the main vault. To our surprise we found it was guarded by one security guard, who happened to be a jellyman. Malcolm went for him with usual diplomatic flair, swinging that bottle like a fiend on fire but unfortunately his diplomacy didn't prove to be so affective this time. He was, of course, dealing with a jellyman here. So all he managed to achieve was a series of horrible squelching sounds and a bit of temporary disfigurement. But he seemed to be having so much fun so we didn't want to interfere. We were just considering giving Malcolm a bit of a hand to speed things along a little when there was a tinkle of shattering glass. Somehow Malcolm had managed, in all his enthusiasm, to break the bottle. I instinctively groaned as I imagined the horrible red wine stains on the kneedeep snow-white carpet... but no, for not a drop of wine reached that obviously very expensive flooring. The jellyman security guard just seemed to absorb it, glass and all. What was even more surprising was that the jellyman fell to the floor with a crash! Well, it was more of a "splodge" but you get the idea. I edged forward and nudged the stationary jellyman with my toe. I turned to Icarus. "Is he dead," I asked. I was slightly worried at this point ‘cause I was only here for the money and no partic- ular desire to hurt anyone. (Deep down I'm a big softy really, but don't tell anyone I said that, OK.) But, before Icarus could utter a word, my question was answered by the security guard breaking into song. I never thought "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" could be sung with so much vigour! Apparently Jellymen have a low tolerance of silicon dioxide. Anyway, with the guard incapacitated, and somewhat merry, we got to work on plan A. The vault. More gold than we could ever dream of lay beyond those doors. The only think that kept us from it was a simple combination lock, surely no problem for a locksmith Icarus' calibre. It was at that very moment that our amoeboid friend decided to admit that he was actually a plumber and the only reason he could beat most locks was because he could ooze his way through the keyhole. Without a keyhole it was impossible for him to get into the vault. Bummer. It suddenly crosses my mind that if Icarus could get through he could have just oozed his way out of his cell when he was in jail. So I asked him and he looked momentarily shocked before he turned to me and said... he said... well, something very rude actually. It was then that I had this brilliant flash of genius, this moment of pure and perfect inspiration so far unequalled in my lifetime. The proverbial light bulb went on above my proverbial brain. If Icarus dressed himself up as the security guard maybe we could bluff our way out. The gold being well beyond our grasps now my only thoughts were on getting out alive. It seemed like a good plan and so we stripped the security guard and Icarus dressed up in his uniform and we all headed back towards the lift. Except Zarg had all but destroyed the lift on the way down so we spent the next few minutes desperately looking for a way out of our predicament. We found it in the form of an air duct just big enough for us to squeeze down. So far, so good. Then Icarus had the idea of staying behind and impersonating the security guard and thereby being able to throw the police of our track. It made sense so we agree, but now we had to hide the body of the intoxicated security guard. In the end we decided to take him with us. Have you ever tried to pick up a blancmange without it using a bowl or plate? Tricky, ain't it! Well, now imagine trying to pick up a blancmange four times the size of you and feed it down an air duct while it's sing "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" It was tough, but somehow we managed it. We managed to drag that thing all the way down the duct to where it emerges into the city sewer system. To this very day I still wonder why the air duct led to the sewers, but I have never managed to find out why (Yes, it's a plot device! Deal with it! – The Author). There we were in the sewers with a giant singing jelly. After a while of wandering around we finally found a manhole, out of which we could climb. Malcolm and I climb out first and Zarg passed the security guard up to us. Then Zarg climbed up but owing to his slightly large nature he managed to get wedged firm in the manhole. After Malcolm and I got over our giggling fit we left him, dragging the vocal security guard behind us. But when we reached our getaway car we found it had been clamped for being parked in a slot marked permit holders only. Malcolm used his keen mathematical skills to point out that we had actually been clamped twice. I was beginning to have my doubts about Malcolm's mathematical skills, any mathematician could have told me that. Realising that we would have to abandon our escape vehicle we moved to pick up the security guard again only to discover that he had oozed his way down a nearby storm drain. We shrugged and headed off towards the bus station.

So that was the story of the Ringmax gold robbery. It didn't quite work out the way we originally intended but that's life, nothing quite works out the way one wants it to. For Icarus it turned out quite well. He was given the medal of bravery for his work in preventing the burglary (humans have trouble telling jellymen apart). Shortly after he quit his assumed job for a role in television. He is now running for Orbital governor. Zarg was arrested and sentenced to ten years for obstructing the course of a public sewer. As far as I know he is still in detox. As for Malcolm I don't really know. Before we went our separate ways we exchange phone numbers. I tried to call him once, but I couldn't find Pi on the handset. And me? What of me? Well, I am inside again... and will, be for a long time this time. And all because I ran into my ex-wife's boyfriend... I was in my car... he wasn't in his. A perfect accident, I didn't know he would be there... Ok so I did know he would be there. I had been stalking him for two weeks. Well, how was I suppose to know his brother was a lawyer?