The Russian Robber


So it’s another day to the job as an FBI special agent, Science and Technology Division.

I get a shower for the second day in a row and a kitchen where I can make a real breakfast. I should call in sick for work. I could enjoy a boring day of lying around watching TV and raiding the refrigerator.

I find the number and call in sick. They sound suspicious. I’d care if I thought I’d be around tomorrow. Fat chance.

I get to the nearby Metro station with the plan of visiting the local museum for a casual look at the natural history of this Earth of an alternate universe. It’s gloomy outside, a good day for a museum.

The train grinds to a quick stop throwing passengers forward. We’re in a tunnel. It’s completely dark outside the car, which isn’t too crowded and no one reacts until we hear something at the far end of our car. A thunderous clamp jolts us. The sound of a drill on metal shrieks as sparks fly.

I creep to the end of the car and peer out into the dark, shading the window above my eyes with my hands. There’s a suited up dude with a cubic head uncoupling our car by force. In seconds it’s done. Obviously on wheels, he zips around to the other end of our car. Passengers see him and concern grows. One man tries to force open the door. It doesn’t give. There’s another loud clamp at the other end of the car. We start moving in that direction.

“He’s towing us!” somebody yells from that end. “He’s fucking towing us all by himself!”

Strangely, we are unimpeded for miles of track while this unusual hijacker hauls us along at about 50 miles per hour, just slow enough not to tip over rounding some of these corners!

There’s panic starting up among the passengers. I suddenly remember that I’m an authority figure. Heck, I even have a badge. “Listen up!” I spontaneously announce in a voice I rarely use. “I’m a special agent with the FBI. I will deal with this situation. Everybody stay seated and hold on to something. How many of you have weapons?”

One man raises a hand, showing me his pistol tucked under his shirt. A woman also raises her hand displaying her pepper spray. “Okay,” I suggest, “stand by if needed.”

Strapped to my side under my jacket is a Class II pistol with a 5.2 inch barrel and a magazine capacity of 21 rounds, with night sights and six magazines. I wish I knew how to use them. I pull it out. I know guns have a “safety” so I make sure that’s off. There’s a magazine up the barrel. I’m pretty sure from here it’s point and squeeze the trigger.

We rise up out of the tunnels onto a bridge crossing the river, moving rapidly. Many passengers cower in their seats, not wanting to see what’s happening.

One passenger quickly utilizes cell reception to discover, “The news says our car is headed on a collision course with a freight train carrying explosives! The freight train is stalled in an underpass beneath American Mall! It’s impossible to evacuate the thousands of people in the mall before we hit!”

I get to the front of the car. Like every car this one has both front and rear control booths. The controls here have been snipped. But the loudspeaker works. I address the perpetrator towing us.

“Hey there, box head. What’s with the Picasso headgear? Taking us along on your little suicide mission?”

I’m amazed when his response comes over the radio. His voice is slightly labored and he keeps his eyes forward as the track stretches ahead on a bridge over rocky waters.

“Laugh all you like. This is our anti-traumatic brain helmet with skull inertia dampener. Your football players would be spared their stupefying  concussions with these. They could bash heads like rams with these. My partner Uri designed. Good, eh?” brags the Ukraine-accented perp proudly. “This is not uniform, this is vehicle. I have an emergency parachute, skid-proof armor, a welding flame, AC/DC electrical systems and towing capability of 21 tons at 77 of your miles per hour maximum. But I don’t promise to be able to stop 21 tons at that speed.”

“Okay box head, or Boxcar, how do you think you’ll get away with this? You’re on rails,” I point out. “There’s only so many directions and so many places you can go.”

The eerie mask of the helmet grins cunningly. “I am capable of utilizing any and all of the 621,373 miles of railway and magnetic levitation track around the world. My top speed when alone is 360 miles per hour. The whole thing is driven by a revolutionary compact fusion engine that cannot be commercially replicated. Plus, my accomplices are making sure I have plenty of clear track where I’m going. I don’t need to be there at the end when momentum will do by itself.”

“Bomb threats and booby traps?” I ask. He said he has a parachute. He could detach from our car and launch himself into the sky before impact. That’s his plan.

“People seeking safety are easily distracted,” Boxcar tells me. “I was raised on 5,771 miles of the Trans-Siberian Railway, I learned trains and their keepers well.”

“You were born in the Soviet Union,” I somehow know. My FBI brain is kicking in instinctively.

Boxcar looks surprised. “I had barely started following my father’s footsteps into railroad engineering when the Soviet Union crumbled and the economy changed overnight.”

“Is that how you became a murdering terrorist? No other options?”

“Our economy changed but our personnel did not. As criminal gangs took over, looting much of my family’s holdings and demanding extravagant protection payments,” explains Boxcar, “my father failed to meet their demands and one day ‘stumbled’ on to the tracks at the wrong time. My father was murdered by former KGB operatives masquerading as ‘police.’ I saw the truth of this world.”

I slide the side window open, stick my head and hands out and point the gun at the back of Boxcar’s head.

Luckily for a few thousand people and their families, that “anti-traumatic brain helmet with skull inertia dampener” is not immune to the repeated, concentrated pummeling in the back of the neck from 21 rounds of an FBI firearm.

Some day off.