As Petrova drove back towards her home I drifted into sleep. While I had paid to get my liver enhanced so that it would party harder than a hazardous chemical disposal plant my brain was not up for this kind of punishment. All the drugs that had enhanced my thought process earlier had left my synapses wasted. The sudden collapse of the chemical framework that had given them the power to work miracles caused some serious confusion. Neurons were waking up in in the gutter filled with suspiciously coloured spinal fluid wondering where they were and where they had left their trousers.
As I slipped into the world of dreams I found my self again floating in the warm water that flowed under all of the infinite city of Europa. The only thing there apart from me was the long bridge extending into infinity in both directions. On top of a large round explosion slowly bubbled into existence in yellow and orange tones casting a warm comfortable light. High above me the sky was Jupiter again. There was nothing else in the heavens but the irate gas giant and its angry eye. The planets gaze filled me with cold dread. I looked around. I was no longer alone. Around me rough human shapes had floated into view. All of them dead. Limply moving along in a current which I could not feel. There was also movement now the pylons of the bridge. Here and there strange black clad people were moving along them like geckos. Casting beams of laser light from their eyes moving them around looking for something. Someone. But they never did get close to spotting me. Whenever they remained in one spot for to long they simply burst into little clouds of red mist. Staining the pylons and then drifting away enjoying their new found freedom.
As these things happened I started to become aware that I was dreaming but despite this realisation I could not wake up. The cold terror that I felt squeezed a little bit harder. It must be the drugs, I thought. Next time I see Louis I will kick his shivering arse. For a short moment I saw his image flicker past me, unnaturally quick with enough steel in his eyes to provide a small army with swords. This was not getting better. I tried to concentrate. If was lucid there must be something that comes from the waking world. I listened. Where was the whine of the cars alcohol fuelled turbine? Not in my dream. There were just the whispering voices of the dead around me. Strange. They had not been whispering before and instead of the expected lamentations from beyond the grave they seem to have a rather civil conversation. Also one of the voices was female. As far as I knew there had not been any female casualties among my newly acquired fan-club. Casualties... when that thought crossed my mind all the shapes around me suddenly looked into my directions their mouths open. '...fuel. You can try it yourself.' Not quite what I expected. It was also clearly Petrovas voice. I could not move. But I could now smell the car again, feel the faux leather seats and part of the door uncomfortably pressing into my side. My face was resting against the cold window. I was awake. My eyes open. The real world fading into my consciousness while the dream clung onto the back of my mind not wanting to let me go that easily.
'Are you trying to poison me Katja.' said a male voice I did not recognize.
'Of course not. I told you this car has a combustion engine and what a better combustible than some self made spirits? It fuels the car and it fuels me. Come on Evgeni I made it after my grandmother recipe. And I spent a fortune for getting a real earth yeast to brew it too.' while I did not dare to close my eyes again. The nightmare was still waiting for me to return. I also did not dare to glance towards the door. Outside I could only see a long street surrounded by darkness. We were on that bridge again. In front of us several Russian patrol cars blockading the street. Petrova seemed to have everything under control and I was not going to ruin what she was trying to pull off by stumbling into her conversation like the idiot I quite probably was.
'All right. I guess making sure that your fuel is up to government standards is part of my duties.' the voice carried a big smile.
'See. I told you that was quality stuff, didn't I? I'm still offended that you thought I was trying to poison you.' I could hear that this was some kind of ritual. The exchange had a certain playful well rehearsed air to it.
'Well you said it was fuel...'
I could hear the eyes rolling in Petrova's face.
'Mid to tell me what all this impressive show of police power is about?' she asked the policman who was taking another swig from the 'fuel' bottle.
'Looks like crime is getting a bit out of hand over in the European sector.' short pause 'Again.'
'And because of that you have to harass everyone crossing the bridge? What's happened have our criminals the week off?'
'No. But someone killed some high ranking Triad member here on this very bridge. With a bomb no less. Which has everyone nervous as you might imagine. Who ever did that obviously wanted to send a message and that message has been heard. Now we get to stop everyone passing the bridge to ask them if they by any chance happen to be criminal hit-men with a penchant for the dramatic.'
There was a bit of silence.
'This could be serious.' said Petrova.
'Yes. Very much so. the crime syndicates have been keeping a low profile over the last couple of years. But seems like someone got greedy and decided to kill the middle man. With a bomb. Damn I'm not getting paid enough for this...'
'You certainly don't. This is getting serious. But this has hardly anything to do with me hasn't it?'
'So can I pass now?'
'I'd say so. Only one question?'
'Who is the dead guy?' when the guard said that I felt panic rubbing its head against my heart.
'That one?' Petrova asked 'He's a friend. I showed him how to party like a Russian. He's till got a long way to go.'
'He's still got a long way to go.'
'Yeah. So. Anything else you need? Passports? Fingerprints? DNA profile?'
'It's OK you can pass. Have a good night.'
'You too. and if you need some more fuel just tell me and I'll give you enough to fill up your tank for a week.'
Not taking her eyes from the street in front of her Petrova started talking.
'What were you thinking blowing up the Triads anyway?'
'They were trying to take to some damp cold place where they would have tortured me until I had come up with a good enough story for them to believe followed by death.'
'That still does not explain the blowing up part.'
Come to think of it she was right.
'I was covering my escape?'
'What do you suppose would have happened after you jumped out of the window and down the bridge? That they sprout wings and come flying after you. You said that they weren't the people who were trying to kill you. Now you killed one of their bosses and publicly humiliated them. Were does that leave you?'
'I do admit that that wasn't the most clever plan I had but I was under a lot of pressure.'
'You were drugged and drunk. It's miracle that you came out alive in the first place.'
She was right. My chemical friends might have given me some confidence and made me think faster. But that way I just managed to do more stupid shit per minute. I took an upper out of my pocket and seeing that the 'fuel' was gone I put it in my mouth to swallow it dry.
'Did you just take another pill?'
'I'm still trying but its a bit sticky.'
'Spit it out.'
'What? Why?' the pill was stuck to my tongue and I could not produce enough saliva to unstick it.
'The last time you took drugs you turned an entire crime cartel against you, I don't want to know what you will do next.'
'It's just an upper to keep me going.'
'You will spit that pill out this very instant or I will kill you my self.'
'I just fell asleep. I was not even tired. I need all the help I can get.'
'You fell asleep because you took drugs in the first place you idiot. Spit it out. Now.'
I cranked open the window and spent the next minute spitting out the pill that had glued itself into my mouth.
'That's better.' she said. 'When we are back at my home we'll give you a strong coffee and a shot of vodka. That's all the uppers you'll need.'
I sulked for a couple of minutes until I remembered our luggage.
'What are we going to do with the large guy?' I asked.
'We will interrogate him to find out who paid him to get you. Then we'll get rid of him and be on our merry way.'
I did not like the sound of that. With each step I took trying to get my self out of this mess I seemed to just get myself into a position even worse than the one where I had started. From pianist, to escapee, to assassin of crime lords.
Suddenly being a burnt out musician in a third rate brothel sounded rather nice.