Johnny Kitt Episode 12: Hello, Matthias.

“Madge, get out the car,” Johnny said patiently as he shifted himself behind boxes of explosives and other apparel.

“But I wanna come with you guys,” she whined, stamping her foot on the ground impatiently.

Johnny climbed out the car, causing boxes to tumble to the ground, much to Takondwa’s annoyance. He stepped over them and held Madge gently. “Look, Coco Puff, I know that you’re up to the challenge, but now you have someone else to look after.” He kissed her forehead gently, and she let out a sigh.

“He’s right you know,” Ngala said, as she sidled up to the car. “Besides, I just got word that Matthias is out of the lab today. While these guys are gone, we can look for Bella.”

Johnny tried to hide his excitement at that and focused on the task at hand. He patted Madge very gently on the arm as he squeezed himself into the car again, upsetting the boxes Takondwa had stacked.

“You’re cleaning this up, boy.” He growled in irritation, as he got into the driver’s seat. Tobias climbed into the passenger’s side and begun to hand out burner phones to everyone.

“I wanted to wire up some walky-talkies but those are too easy to intercept via radio waves. So I got these babies. Each of the numbers is already preinstalled in the phones so communication will be simple enough.”

Johnny looked through his and nodded with satisfaction until Madge burst out laughing. “Who did you save as Big Headed Pretty boy?”

Everyone else burst out laughing as they all turned to Johnny.

“It’s okay Johnny,” Madge cooed, “you’re my pretty boy.” She stifled a giggle and stepped back.

Johnny gave a huff and said, “whatever guys. Pretty boy or not, let’s do this.”

Ngala and Madge backed away, waving them off as they sped out the city and into the dust.

***

They didn’t take long to reach the substation and as soon as they reached the plan was in full swing. Johnny ran behind the building as Taks ran the opposite direction. They began to rig up the explosives, strategically situated next to the manual transformers. They already knew that the manual transformers helped run the nuclear chambers, thus stopping the transformers cut off the nuclear supply without any threat of nuclear leaks. Tobias had been telling the city engineers that the plant was heating up and close to the explosion, so Johnny found them at the perfect time. The plan was for Tobias to give the signal and then they would detonate. The wait for the signal was agonizing, as Johnny feared they would be caught at any moment. When half an hour had passed, he crept into the building, to find Tobias sitting on the floor with his laptop.

“What are you doing?” Johnny said incredulously.

“There’s a security by-pass. If damaged externally, the transformers are programmed to continue working. I have to hack the by-pass.” He sighed. “I wrote these codes and they’re near impossible!”

Taks walked in and raised his eyebrows. “Well-?” he asked nervously.

Tobias exclaimed triumphantly, “Got it! Back to your stations, boys!”

Johnny scurried back outside and rechecked the explosives. Just as he had finished, the phone rang three times. Johnny set the timer to 30 seconds and ran for his life back to Tobias’ car. Taks followed closely behind him, with Tobias not far behind in tow. The explosion caught them just before they reached the car, and pushed them forward onto the sandy ground. Johnny exhaled audibly as he turned around and saw thick black clouds billowing from the substation.

Taks smiled broadly, “Well done, gents.” Almost as soon as he said that, Tobias’ regular phone began to buzz.

“I’m getting notification from the city engineers. All the power is out. We need to head out before we’re found.”

Dusk was beginning to set as they sped back to the city. Just as they entered, Johnny received a call on his burner. It was Madge.

“Johnny. We found her. We found Bella. Come to the southern labs, that’s where she is.”

Johnny tried to push Madge for more information but she refused to say anything more. Johnny’s heart skipped a beat. His sister was still alive. Despite the lack of information, it was something to hold onto.

“Tobias we need to go to the Southern Lab now!” Johnny said urgently.

Tobias chewed his lip thoughtfully. “Okay, tell you what – you guys drop me off here, and I’ll deal with the engineers. Taks rush to the lab and get the girls.” Taks nodded his ascent and waited for Tobias to get out before he climbed into the driver’s seat. The silence as they drove towards the lab was strained. Johnny felt expectant yet hesitant to hope too much.

Presently, they reached the lab. To both their surprises, they found the door wide open and Madge was standing outside, wringing her hands nervously. As soon as she saw Johnny she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.

“Johnny I love you so much, okay?” She said urgently. There were tears on her face and her voice was raspy.

“What’s going on? Where is my sister?” He asked, as fear took over him.

“l-let’s go inside,’ Madge stuttered.

Johnny motioned at Taks, who followed him with trepidation. They wound through the corridors and found one of the doors ajar. Johnny entered the room carefully and found Bella sitting on a small hospital-like bed.

“Bella?” Johnny whispered, barely believing it.

Before she could say anything, a gruff voice said, “Hello Johnny.”

Johnny spun around and narrowed his eyes at the man standing in the doorway. Even without meeting him, he knew who he was.

“Hello, Matthias.”

▪֍▪

M. Nanchengwa

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