There were enough panicked onlookers that Dani felt safe hauling Amy behind her, out onto the sidewalk.
“Where’s your car?” She demanded, sweeping the crowd and trying to blend into the masses as she pulled Amy along. Dani couldn’t hear any sirens yet, that was both good and bad. It meant all she had to worry about for now was Geddon Corp black ops agents.
“No car,” Amy said shakily, “Bike.” She pointed to a top of the line Suzui 950 recumbent motorcycle that sat gleaming on the curb half a block up.
Dani growled to herself. The bike was not built for two riders. It could accommodate a passenger, if the pair were willing to get very cozy. But the only other vehicles handy were computer-driven autocabs and a few bicycles chained to phone poles. Of course, she grumbled to herself, nobody drove in the university district if they didn’t have to.
“Come on,” she tugged Amy towards the motorcycle. “I trust you can disable the traffic tracking signals on your bike?”
Amy came to a dead stop and some of the old fire returned to her voice. “Who the hell do you think you’re talking to?” She reached past Dani to punch a button on the non-standard control panel before pressing another to bring the electric motors to life. “We’re invisible to the city’s surveillance and traffic systems. Get on, I can’t see to drive if you sit in my lap.”
“Right,” Dani sighed. “Pass me your ppg.”
Amy surrendered the pistol, and Dani safetied the weapon, stowing it in her belt and throwing a leg over the bike, settling against its padded seat. Amy sat back against Dani and for a distracting moment, she got a full whiff of the coconut and cinnamon scent of Amy’s hair, taking her back to college days on the beach and nights spent in pillow forts in one dorm room or another…
She shook her head to clear it as Amy tore out onto the street. “Avoid freeways,” Dani shouted over the wind into Amy’s ear. “Too much traffic, too easy to box us in.”
Amy deftly avoided a robotruck before slipping between another and a over-crowded bus. “Leave the driving to me,” she called back. “Just keep an eye out for cops and bad guys!”
Bad guys, right. Dani tried not to think about the final words of the man she’d killed ‘target is omeg-” Omega, her classification in the corporate hierarchy. Omegas were the people who didn’t officially exist. The ones who made problems go away, usually with a bullet between the eyes or a knife to the throat. Not even Dani knew how many Omegas worked for GeddonCorp, but the fact that she hadn’t recognized any of their assailants spoke volumes.
Worry about that later, Dani scolded herself. Get out of the immediate trouble first. They had to escape the immediate area, then find a safe house they could hole up in and consider options. Hopefully Amy had such a place, Dani was loath to give up her only off-the-books bolthole in her homebase city.
Amy wove them through traffic, but outside the university area, the streets grew older, and narrower.
“If we can get through this choke point,” Amy cried over the wind, “we’ll be home free! It’s all industrial, and I know it like the back of my hand.”
Dani frowned and craned her head around Amy’s to get a glance in the mirrors. Crap, there they were. Two unmarked gray vans and a larger box truck. “Company,” she shouted in Amy’s ear.
“Half a block back, pacing us. They’re private, not cops.” It took a bit of doing, but Dani finally got the pistol free and in her left hand. Why, she demanded of the universe, is everything still designed for righties?
Amy whipped them around a corner tight enough to leave rubber and smoke behind them, along with a chorus of horns from nearby vehicles. Now they once again zipped through traffic on a crowded, but wider main drag. “There’s an overpass ahead,” she said, “we just gotta get past it!”
Dani saw one of the vans plow into cars left sideways from Amy’s maneuver. The van crunched through the smaller vehicles like a rhino smashing through tissue paper. Heavily armored then, double crap.
Amy screamed as a second box truck thundered into their path, and jerked the bike to the right, up an on-ramp.
“I said avoid the freeway!” Dani cried. From here, the route rose and bridged a wide arm of the Neo Galveston bay. It would be miles before they were over solid earth again.
“We weren’t gonna make it otherwise!” Amy snapped back. “Let’s hope you were wrong!”
With a grumble, Dani saw the box truck behind them open its side door, and three smaller, more nimble motorcycles roared out onto the onramp behind them.
“Yeah,” she said, trying to worm her way around to a good firing position. “Keep doing that.”
How they managed to not wipe out, Dani would never know. But somehow they wound up with Amy sitting and leaning far to her left, while Dani faced backwards behind her, clutching to the top of the rider’s seat for dear life as the first bolts from the pursuer’s own weapons blazed past them.
Grinning with feral pleasure, Dani returned fire.
Her first shot slagged the front tire of one of the wolves at their heels. The bike went up and over the damaged wheel in a spectacular crash that brought the rider down hard against the pavement, where he slid for maybe a dozen yards.
Unfortunately, now his buddies knew their sheep had teeth. Instead of charging hard up behind them, they wove into the traffic, slipping between lanes while they continued their advance.
“Where the hell are the cops?” Amy demanded of nobody as she slipped their bike into a narrow gap between a bus and a truck.
Dani gasped at the side of the truck in horror, as the metal zipped past less than an inch from her very fleshy and exposed forearm.
“You gotta hold it steady,” she called as the gap blossomed into open pavement. “I need a clean shot.”
“If I do, I give them clean shots back!” Amy snapped, and they dipped into the right shoulder.
“It’s a tradeoff,” Dami agreed as Amy gunned the engine, seizing the opportunity of open pavement.
One of the two pursuers poked out of traffic to their left for just a split second and Dani pounced, firing a pair of bolts at the rider.
She missed wide, but he panicked and lost control, getting crunched beneath the same truck that had nearly gotten Dani’s arm a moment before.
Traffic veered, drivers hit brakes and everything behind the fleeing ladies descended into mass chaos.
Ordinarily, the city’s traffic management systems would have prevented such a furball, taking control of each of the vehicle’s in the immediate area and changing their vectors and speed to avoid collisions, which is why Dani had Amy disable the bike’s transponder. It was a good system. It kept traffic moving at pace and traffic deaths were unheard of in the modern day, but it was an intricate matrix of inputs and control systems, terrifyingly complex.
Which meant all it took was one determined asshole to send everything straight to hell.
Dani smirked at the knot of damaged vehicles behind them as Amy sped away from the scene, but in that moment a frightening realization turned her guts to ice.
She’d lost track of the third pursuing bike.
It roared up beside them, the rider leveling his own pistol right at Amy’s head.
Amy screamed, Dani tried to aim for the rider’s own head, but couldn’t get an angle on him. Their bike juked to the right, hit a bit of debris and went airborne… right over the guard rail.
The elevated freeway whipped away from them as Dani and Amy fell screaming into the yawning darkness of the bay.
– To Be Continued