I wake up when the SUV comes to a sudden stop, my head flinging forward and hitting the passenger-side seat.
“Oof” I push myself back, that's what I get for not wearing a seatbelt. I look around, we were in the middle of a parking lot near a mall. 101 and Torrent had switched places at one point and 101 was back in his human form, cursing some guy who had pulled suddenly in front of him which had quickly backed out and sped away. 101 pulls into the now empty space and shuts off the SUV.
“Where are we?”I ask to Torrent, who looks up and over to me“Not where we need to be. We need to get another vehicle, one less noticeable. I shake off some sleep and think for a second “We're gong to steal one aren't we?”
“Not much choice. But it there's plenty to choose from.” We get out, Nova had taken off the chest plate of his body armor, giving him a more civilian look. Still the bare feet of both me and 101 could attract attention, if anybody actually decided to look down. Most of the lot was devoid of people surprisingly, but it was late evening, so that might explain it.
101 rests an elbow on the hood of the SUV “It's best if we go by twos and each get our own car.” It actually did make some sense, if the government had out a bounty or anything on our heads it might be wise to stay in less numbers and attract less attention.
So I say “That can work, you and Torrent pair up, and me and Nova will find a vehicle.” He gives Torrent a sideways glance “Why are you pairing me with him?”
“What? Can't stand each other?” Nova says, with his back turned no less. “No, Just don't trust him.” Both Torrent and 101 say at almost the same time.
Torrent kept his calm face on, but I could tell he was going to make some stinging remark to 101, so the moment he opens his mouth I cut in with “Well in that case you two will fit perfectly together, always have your guard up around one another. So if you don't kill each other before we get out of country there might be a chance that you can actually trust one another.”
101 snorts “Since when did you become my relationship counselor?” I chuckle and say “The moment you decided to stick around me.” He was about to say something else when a family of three comes down the parking row, passing by us, he stays silent and watches them like a wolf does it's pray, or rather a dragon watches it's pray. The family was speaking Spanish but I could hear and understand them clearly thanks to the implants of long ago.
Little boy: “Papa, who are they?” the little kid says as I feel a finger get pointed in our direction.
I could almost imagine the father looking over us. He says after maybe a couple seconds “Americans, best not to bother them son.” I don't think the boy heard the tone in his voice, the man was afraid of us... could it have been the SUV's insignia? They get out of earshot, the boy saying something like a question.
Nova suggests we get those vehicles. And none of us hesitate to agree. 101 and Torrent head towards the back of the lot as me and Nova descend towards the front rows. We looked for something that could catch our eye, most of the cars had the standard looks, but when I skip through a row I see the spot designated for motorcycles, a large area with a sign and the yellow diagonal lines that signal a car shouldn't go there. I see four in said space, two choppers, a powder blue moped for some reason, and.... nice.
A sports bike leaned against the sign, a retina-scan lock chain going through the space between the handlebars and around the pole of the sign. Like all the motorcycles I've seen, it had the rimless wheels and a sleek design, this one was pitch black with flames curling around the fairings and body.
“Yeah... that's not noticeable at all.” Nova says with great sarcasm when he follows my gaze, then adds on “Also i'm not going to ride shotgun with you on that thing.” I shrug “So be it, find yourself a car and wait for me.” I could feel his eyes roll and hear him head off. This was a nice bike, Just needed a way past the retina-scan...
A little menu pops up in my vision, aurora's app feature no less, and it sifts to the hacking module, selects it, then goes to retina.
[Place display to retina.] I look at the thing on my arm, the blue circle that projected images must have been what it's talking about. I hold one end of the lock and tilt the display projector to face the scanner, one blinding flash later the scanner pops and smokes, before clicking open.
I chuckle a bit and toss the retina scanner under the nearest car... now how to start it... I put my hands in my pocket while trying to figure it out and find that I still had the key to Shane's bike. Hmm, if he was such an inventor... I place the key into the ignition and there's a small spark before it revs to life. Whoo hoo! I kick the helmet compartment and get a full face helmet that was the same coloration as the bike.
I sit atop the bike and see that Nova wasn't far off, I drive over and...
“And you were saying about this bike being being conspicuous? That’s a freaking Ferrari!” And it was. The thing about Ferrari was that it had reigned as the 'king of cars' since 2039, acquiring both Lamborghini and Mercedes and started making the most top-of-the-line cars. The car was open-top, with the classic red paint, but with two black racing stripes up the middle, it was recorded that the car could reach over 300 miles an hour, and the average cost of one was enough to take up a year's working salary, for a very high quality job owner... and I just realized I went into recall, barely even noticed.
“I have my own reasons.” He says while holding up the anti-theft GPS transmitter, a part that looked like it was a part needed in the transmission. He drops it to the ground and stops on it, reducing it to dust, next to the other pile of dust... he must have gotten the secondary 'ghost' transmitter too, which is usually installed by the owner.
“How did you know where those were?” I ask, while he just laughs “Didn't think you were the only one who went through a full learning implant did you?” Wait, how did he- “And before you ask, I can tell by the way you look at things, not as much wonder as someone kept ignorant... speaking of ignorance, did you take out the GPS on yours?” I feel the pins and needles of embarrassment climb up the back of my neck. Luckily aurora was ahead of me, before I could ask to put an overlay showing GPS transmitting parts, it does so, painting three parts in yellow.
I shut off the bike has he smirks “Thought so.” I look at what I was supposed to remove, it was placed in there deep, right next to the mobius core. I feel around and several wires connected to an orb-like part, I switch my fingers to claws, then cut each one, before pulling the orb out, it was solid black and gave off no shine, I drop it onto the ground and let it roll off, the second part was in the helmet compartment, a simple round bug in the hard plastic lining. I pull it out and crush it promptly. The last one was surprisingly in the rear wheel. I sit there stumped, how am I going to get that out? Nova just walks up behind me “Move.” I stand up and move to the side, he literally peels the wheel and rim away with his bare hands, and tells me “Pull it out now.” I reach under and scrape it off with my claw, a bug like the second, I toss it way over the parking lot, then shake my hand back to human.
“Good, now that's done with, can you help me start this damn thing?” He points to the Ferrari. I sigh and just think for a second.
-Aurora, link with nearby Ferrari and control system.- Nova had his hands on the hood, so when it starts suddenly he jumps, giving me a good opportunity to laugh. “Get in, it won't bite Nova.” He opens his mouth to ask how I did it, but then closes it, shrugs his shoulder and gets in.
-Aurora, activate manual control of Ferrari.-
I start the bike and get out of the way so he can get out of the parking space. He drives out smoothly and goes around the front. I was about to follow him when I hear a gunshot and yelling. I snap towards the back, that's where 101 and Torrent were. I burnout and flip the lid of my visor closed. In seconds I could see them, two guys were on the ground unconscious, a third was pointing a handgun at 101, who was giving an evil stare. Torrent was nowhere in sight.
I pull out full throttle as adrenaline kicks in and get within ten feet when he notices me and starts to turn, I wasn't going to run the guy down though. I hit the brakes, slide sideways, and lift the back, doing an awesome spin and smacking the guy in the head with the rear-tire, he goes down and I finish the 360-spin, cross my arms over the handlebars and say “I can't leave you for five minutes without someone pointing a gun at you can I?” Reveling in the awesome moment.
“I had that handled.” He says in his defense, and I nod my head and say “Suuuure.” I look over the side at the guy “I think he's got a permanent tire-track on his face now.” I look back to him. “Anyway, what did you do to provoke this attack? And where's Torrent?”
He crosses his arms “These punks were in the market for a car too, but they seemed to think I was encroaching on their 'turf' and as for Torrent... I think he went to the mechanic over there, you can ask him why while I finish hacking this Toyota.” The truck was white and a four-door setup, and winch attached to the back, the one thing about it was the tinted windows, which would make it hard to see someone inside.
I shrug and wait instead of going over there, Nova shows up, and 101 gets envious right off the bat. “The fuck? I thought we were going with 'less noticeable?”
He laughs, giving off the sense that something might be a little loose up there. “I don't do 'less noticeable' however I do fast.”
101 gives me glance, which told me “Why did you have to bring this kid?” before crawling back under the truck. Torrent comes by a few minutes later, getting rid of the thought that something might have happened to him. He gives a hard stare at both me and Nova, silently criticizing our choice in vehicles. But at least he doesn't say anything about it. Several parts come out from under the truck, before I hear the door locks click, and 101 comes out with the GPS beacon, and promptly playing football with it, as in punting it all the way out to the building over.
“Did you honestly have to do that? Torrent asks, and as 101 opens the driver door “No, but i wanted to.” Before Torrent could get into the truck I ask him “What were you doing at that mechanic shop?”
“Getting a GPS jammer.” He says while pulling out a single orb from his pocket, about the size of a golfball, with a thin silver chain looped through the circle cut through the middle.
101 looks at the jammer “Nice ornament.”
“That's the idea.” He hangs it around the rear-view mirror. And get the question “You got that from a mechanic shop?”
He nods “Many cars don't break down easily now, so most mechanics have an alternative source of income.” as he was looking at me saying that, I notice 101 look at Torrent with the 'Bullshit” look, then he shifts his gaze to me, with a hardened look. I don't return the gaze, but I knew what he was thinking.
“There's no real need to get it you know. But... forget it, where are we headed? Considering I just ripped out the GPS of this bike.”
“We are going towards...Monclova.”
“Monclova?” I ask “Shouldn't there be plenty of airports between here and there?”
“Thought you would say that. With the war going on, only certain airports are allowed to give inter-territory flights, any aircraft from an unauthorized airport is shot down, no hesitation, no mercy.”
Nova shouts from his car “Lovely, let's get going then... or would you rather wait for somebody to come out and realize they've been jacked?”
“Right. We'll lead then.” 101 says as he revs the truck. Torrent gets in and the truck pulls off the lot and onto the highway... maybe it wasn't good to mention that 101 left his gun back in the truck. They were followed by Nova, still wondering about him. I was about to follow when I hear a cry of rage echo from the parking lot, looks like someone found their missing vehicle... time to go, I hop the curb and screech onto the highway.
We go for miles on end, must have been near the border when I woke up, but as we went I started to see a change in the landscape, and often townscape, I started to see graffiti and a much more watchful eye from police, who were militarized just like in dallas... we kept going and I started to think that we had made it clear when a police siren turns on behind us.
“Aw damnit.” I get the idea that they might not be after us and pull to the side of the road, resting my right arm against my pocket, where the machine pistol sat, I see Nova get the same idea... for some reason 101 thinks different and speeds up, the cop vehicle whizzes by, an armored SUV with a 360 degree manned turret on top. That's when the chase started, because 101 punches the breaks, forcing the cop to stop and avoid ramming him, even though they could have and not had a single dent in the bumper.
As the cop stops, 101 peels out, kicking dust into the cop vehicle, I'll admit, they were going fast, but cop cars were designed to outrun just about anything. The cop starts going after them and I pull upside Nova, who was looking calmly at the radio.
“We need to head onto Monclova without them.” he says while switching it to a different channel.
“Don't blame me, it was Torrent, he called me through the this...” he taps the radio/phone system “And told us to go on without them, and no, he didn't explain why. But from the looks of things they're probably going to make it on 'world's most dangerous police chases' or something like that.” I shake y head “Let's go before more cops show up.” He nods and taps the touchscreen on the radio “Got thirty miles to go, i'll lead, by the way this guy has a really nice computer build into his car.”
I make a 'lead on' motion and he heads off, getting to the speedlimit in less than a second. I pull up behind him and we keep going through the desert going 125 miles an hour. There was no sign of Torrent or 101 as we head into city limits, there was a small rundown look to certain parts of the city, as if the area had designated spending cuts, other than that it looked similar to Dallas, only smaller and with no airbusses. He leads me to the airport parking lot and I kick off the engine and slam the helmet into it's compartment.
“What do we do now?” I ask Nova after walking over to him and as he reclines in his seat, car still running and playing
“Wait, that's what, I have no idea on how to beat the system here.” He folds his arms behind his head and stares at the sky... almost longingly.
I sigh “You know what? Neither do I. I don't feel like stealing planes, not to mention it's probably a bad idea. So... no way to call Torrent back?” I ask, suddenly getting the odd idea.
“Tried it, just got voicemail... I honestly think he has a built-in phone somewhere.”
“He's an automaton, or at least to some degree. So I wouldn't doubt it.”
“That brings another question, do you trust him?”
Good question, I really had to think on it. “I honestly... I'm just unsure about him. Torrent is questionable sometimes.”
He keeps looking at the sky “I was talking about your friend, one-oh-one was it?”
“Um, yeah... he was an experiment like me, so there's not really good cause for him to betray me, but the question is, do you trust them?”
He chuckles “I don't trust anybody. Not you, not that sweet ol' granny over there, nor the little kid on the street across from us, call me paranoid, but anyone could be against me... and another thing. I don't trust big black vans with blacked out windows either.” He looks toward the main entrance of the terminal, and there was. Big, black, unmarked and even the blacked out windows... it drives around out of sight.
“Riiight. Neither do I, I'm starting to think we should go on and leave them behind.”
“He keeps somewhat of a cheerful gaze. “That quick to suggest leaving them behind are you?”
He loves trying to make me question myself... and he was good at it. So I sigh and go with “I honestly don't know, self preservation is screaming run. While some other part of my mind is saying to wait for them.”
The semi-cheerful look on his face drops “Means you are a bit too trusting.... as for your options... how about a little of both? Look behind you.” I stiffen, usually when someone says behind you, it isn't something good. I slowly turn around...
“What? And I think you were beyond being surprised.” 101 says, looking tired and was breathing hard, add a bit of dust and it only made 101 look more ragged. The thing that was missing was Torrent, and the truck.
“Torrent? Leading a merry chase through the city, should've seen the amount of bullets that truck took. And I know you're going to ask, but he dropped me off on the first run through, he's going to lose el policia and make his way back.” I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. “And you have a way to get us on a flight out?” to which he nods his head. “Sure, just need a bit of tact. And what I mean by that is be able to cause one hell of a scene, then slip away.”
“Really?” Nova asks, seemingly unconvinced. “Well that seems so easy, create a scene, drawing everyone's attention, then just slip aboard a plane that has a dozen detection systems?” Good point, they really cracked down on stowaways since the war started.
“We'll improvise.” And he heads off towards the terminal, trying to pat off as much of the dust as he could. I hear the Ferrari's door shut behind me “Remember what I said.” And Nova brushes past.
A feeling of dread creeped it's way in as I followed 101, something was wrong. There was plenty of people to be sure, and we got the usual stares, mostly directed at 101, but still I could tell something was not right, I flashback to the van, that might be where my unease is coming from. We have several corridors to go through, we had looked at the flight board and saw there was three flights for Britain, the earliest one leaving in a half-hour.
“Terminal 14... which should be that way.” 101 heads off. Nova gives me this deep frown, telling me his senses might be telling him to run also. I do a quick scan of the crowd... no one out of place, or even at least worthy of note, except this one man in a suit, who must have weighed at least 300 pounds, arguing with a security guy.
Against my instincts I follow 101 then, down a thin corridor... I look behind me and see that Nova had dissapeared... what the hell?” I speed up to get beside 101 when it happened.
We were about to break out of the corridor when he rounded the corner casually, a T-SAF soldier in full armor time seems to slow as he does. He sees us in a millisecond and starts raising the gun which was held in his left hand casually, 101, who was closest kicks upward, sending the gun flying up into the air, it went off, but no report was heard... it was silenced. Time immedietly ran back to normal... and this is where things go wrong.
101 throws a punch that should have spun the guy in a 360, but the guy effortlessly lifts his arm and blocks it while stepping into the blow, wraps the blocking arm around 101's... and delivered a jarring helmeted headbutt. I hear 101's nose break and he goes flying to the ground, groaning. He comes at me like a demon from hell, doing a jump kick that knocks the breath out of me and I go flying across the corridor.
“Gah...” I cough and wheeze as breath comes back to me, I could see the soldier walk slowly towards me, when Nova appears behind him and should have delivered a lethal blow to the neck, but he turns and diverts the punch like lightning, then get's into a heavy fistfight with Nova, who was clearly loosing. I get up as Nova gets his arm caught, and twisted, followed by a swift kick to the throat, the soldier lets go and grabs Nova by the head, kneeing him, he rebounds off the knee with a crack and falls to the ground, 101 recovers from his daze, turning draconic, and rushes this impossibly strong assailant.
He roars, and as about to charge the soldier over, but that's not what happened, their arms lock, and the soldier skids back a foot, a look of surprise flashes on 101's face before he get's judo flipped into the wall, a foot planted in the gut as the soldier rolled backwards. When 101 tries to get up, a punt to the chin sends him to another impact with the wall, but with a few teeth flying along with it.
I stare in shock, he just took them both out without any apparent effort. Then instinct kicks in and I shift draconic, pushing it as hard as I could without going fully dragon. My clothes started to rip as a result. I slowly start limping towards him, I was still recovering from having my breath knocked out of me, but I had enough for what I was going to do.
I rear back and use my fire breath aimed at his top half. He doesn't even move and five seconds later he should have been half ash... instead when I shut my muzzle I stare as he stands there, smoke curling off his armor. “You done?” He asks with a robotic voice... strange... it sounded familiar. I let out a focused breath to calm my heartbeat, and let out a growl.
“Guess not.” A part at his right thigh opens up and with a pneumatic hiss as a knife shoots up into the air, which he catches and wields in the reverse-handed position, then it started discharging electricity along the blade... two could play at that game, I hit aurora and it folds out to cover the back of my hand with a plate, and electricity started to flow around.
I'm the one to make the first move, ending the limp and ducking forward then faking a strike at his gut, before leaping to drive a kick to his upper area. It worked out nowhere near where it needed to be, it struck him into the chest, but he only moved back a foot... and came in with his own counter-attack, knocking away my arm, and smacking the back of the blade to my muzzle, I nearly pass out right then and there as my brain gets scrambled by electricity, I try and comeback with a punch from my left arm, but he grabs it, and hits the button to deactivate aurora. He twirls behind me, pinning the arm against my back, kicking out my legs, then the world suddenly becomes blurry, as my face suddenly is lying on the ground, I could see cracks seep out, everything felt so numb, the world was tilting like mad and everything was blurred.
“Reaper, this is Chimaera, targets are down... understood.” I see his booted feet walk in front of my sight. I see someone's head poke from a doorway... Torrent. His eyes were focused on me, and they showed shock, he ducks back as I get pushed onto my back, moved by the tip of the soldier's boot. He looks down, the bright lights shadowing his top half. I see him reach for his head, and take off the helmet. He slowly lowers it to his side, holding by the rim, the light was still hiding his features, but he leans down, and I see a familiar face... my own.
“Hello... me.” He says, then chuckling at something. “Night night..” The last thing I see is a fist then blackness.