The third time Dave drove the President to Gate City to visit his grandkids, Dave got twitchy and got off the freeway an exit early.
Foo, riding shotgun opened his mouth . . . then shut and subvocalized something to the escort, half of which they’d just lost. “Your reputation . . .”
“I know, or rather I don’t know.” He turned right, left, ahead four blocks, then abruptly left. “Sorry.”
Foo snorted. “Don’t be, the other guys are reporting suspicious activity, cars now running what looks suspiciously like a semi-organized search of alternate routes to Paer’s house . . .”
“Hold on!” Dave wrenched the wheel and hit the brake then the gas. A skidding U-turn and burn rubber as something exploded behind them. A skid turn at the next intersection.
Foo was cursing. “Rocket propelled grenade. You do realize you turned before you could possibly have seen them?”
“That’s how my magic works. In the clutch, not in practice. Now be quiet for a minute, I think we’ve lost contact for a moment.” Dave glanced in the mirror, “Do we have any escort, at the moment?”
“Right, that makes this easier.” He turned up an alley, turned into a driveway and pulled up until the front bumper touched the garage. Put the car in reverse, foot on the brake. And relaxed. “I think it’s over. But lets sit here for a moment and be sure.”
The President sat forward with a grunt. “Despite what everyone keeps saying, I wasn’t quite prepared for Lucky Dave in action. Good job. Any of our guys hurt?”
Foo grunted. “Nothing serious. A couple of local cops injured—car crash. We’ve captured three cars and have nine men in custody, most of them heading for the hospital first. City cops have IDed some local gangsters, probably just hired . . . Oh and an Al Iadrah mid-level—not that they can’t be hired, but they tend to be . . . self-motivating.”
The President picked up his comm. Glanced at it. “Paer says they’re all evaccing to the SGA. We’ll meet them there.” He sat back with a huff. “I wonder what set this off?”
Qayg, who had been silent throughout snorted. “They’re voting on whether to bring the Reclassification Bill out of committee. A general alert—which is no doubt in progress—will postpone that. A successful assassination would put it off until this session expires and all unapproved bills die with it. And the next session? During an election year? Even our side probably won’t bring it up.”
Orde winced. “Well, they always say to not interrupt the enemy while they’re making mistakes. But I wish they’d chose less violent way to lose the next election.”
Dave looked around in surprise.
“If they vote on the bill and it loses, the One First Party will fall apart. They’re a one issue party. Even if the bill passes, there’s a year before the election, for everything to settle down. But right now, the One Firsters are pulling votes from both the Isolationists and the War Party, making it easier for one of the more sensible party candidates to win.”
“Ah. I see. Mostly that I was mistaken in thinking the future was so amazingly civilized.” Dave shook his head. “Is this normal for a Presidential campaign? Murder stating six months ahead of the candidates even announcing that they were running?”
“No, but the one with a lame duck President—me this time around—do tend to be livelier than the ones with an incumbent running for reelection.”
“I see. Maybe someone should drop a hint about the efficacy of just setting off the fire alarm, next time?” Dave backed out and drove onward, through a maze of streets and alleys, and then finally onto a main thoroughfare, onto the freeway and immediately off and through the SGA gate without even slowing.
The president snickered. “I will drop that on someone at an appropriate time.”
Oldy and Itsy both armed to the teeth were waiting just inside, with Ahsi at the wheel of their car. They ducked back into the car and it took off and trailed them all the way to a street full of warehouses . . . All alike except for the numbers . . . except for number Fifty that sported graffiti style 3-D forced perspective rendering of its number.
Ra’d waved them in and pointed at an open vehicle bay. There were other men . . . Right Scar and his team, another couple that he recognized.
Dave turned off the car and stalked to the entrance. “Was meeting here, where everyone in XR knows Paer’s team works a good idea?”
Scar grinned. “The building is very strange. The four of them—Nighthawk is a regular visitor—have put up amazing shields, and they all have bubbled rooms, Plus the three of them are probably the most dangerous people we’ve ever met. I will exclude you from that last, just in case.
“And because we have on record at least three times you took evasive maneuvers before you could possibly have known about it, and the way you went through a couple of intersections was jaw dropping. I’ll bet there’s not a scratch on that car.”
Dave shrugged. “That’s how it works. Generally. I’ve also been known to drive straight into a mess. Ask Davos.”
“We have. Did you really get a tank stuck in a pigsty?”
“Yes. And the stench haunts my worst nightmares. And no, we never got it out.”
Scar looked innocent. “The tank or the smell?”
“Embrace the power of ‘and’ and you will understand many things in this world.”