American Chimera – 26.2

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The interrogator left the cabinet near the window and threw open the kitchen door. Gun still in her fingers, eyes scanning each of the four towers, she made a mad dash to the identified van and pulled open the sliding van door. Dani, never far behind, jumped into the open door before the interrogator joined.

“Dani!” Janie sat up in the front seat. “Dani, thank God, my beloved baby girl!”

Dani stuck a claw between the front seats and scrabbled to get as much vantage as possible.

The interrogator pulled Dani out of the way. “Reunion later! Go!” She pointed to the facility gates, secured by a chain and a few ancient hinges. “That gate’s the weakest point – ram through it!”

Dani sat back on the bench in the second row, and Janie fought back tears. She pressed the button to start the car, released the emergency break, and set off toward the gate.

“Faster!” the interrogator shouted. “I chose an armored vehicle – the bullets won’t matter unless they hit the windows, and even then we might be ok.”

The screens showed the draw on the battery’s electrical reserves as Janie put the pedal to the floor. The van rammed the gate, which flew off its hinges, and Janie stopped. The gate fell to the ground, and Janie backed up to go around it.

“West,” the interrogator said. “Nearest water is Reno, and they’ll know it’s our only option. Road’s there – take it. We can’t afford to get lost right now.” The interrogator climbed up between the front seats and pointed to part of the console. “Dani, rip this out.”

“What? Like, just rip it out-”

“Yes. It’s GPS – they’ll track us. The rest of the car will function without it.”

A few strong claws reached up between the seats, pried out the GPS and governor computer, then ripped it from the console. “What do I do with it?”

The interrogator took the box from the spider and tossed it out her window. “It’s already going to be too easy for them to find us. Reno’s got the only major water supply within a reasonable distance, so they know what road we have to take. Our only hope is that they can’t follow us when we do go offroad” She leaned back in her seat. “That’s why I stole a bunch of water from the banana tree supply and put it in the back of the van. We’re going to need to hide, cleverly, for a week or two.”

“What’s a banana tree?” asked Dani.

Janie interrupted the silence when the interrogator didn’t answer. “It’s supposed to be extinct, ain’t it? You crazy Yanks, wasting water in a desert on a banana tree…Speakin’ of crazy, you sure you know how to hide? How to run from the gov’ment?”

The interrogator nodded. “I was in the Chimera War. I was in the force that made its way to the Pyongyang gulags. If you wanted a safer person to be with, you couldn’t have chosen better.”

“Alright. Let’s say I believe you ’bout that. What’s yer grand plan when we get to Reno?” asked Janie. She eased up on the pedal, increased the mileage she could get from the battery. “You good at hidin’ us for decades to come?”

“No,” the interrogator said. “I can’t hide a chimera for that long. But I am very good at something else: espionage. Blackmail. Leverage.” She smiled, leaned on Dani’s side, and closed her eyes. “After Reno, we steal a new car and go to San Fransisco. I have contacts there who can help us. Wake me when we have about twenty miles of battery left.”


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