Puffing his cigarette appreciatively, he studied the woman’s fluid movements, the aroma of fine tobacco gently tainting the purified air. Her method proved better than her predecessors, the use of a contraband probe even more impressive. Though he understood that even chasers had hopped onto the technology bandwagon, he never expected to see such sophistication from the resistance. Of course the woman knew the car was rigged, but her determination to break the security code was admirable. He decided to skip the preliminaries and canceled protect mode.
The woman registered only brief surprise when the passenger door whispered open. Characteristically, she treated the situation with the respect it deserved and continued probing. A kaleidoscope of emotions crossed her face as she surveyed the state of the art controls blinking invitingly at her. Temptation, curiosity, hesitation⎯all briefly surfaced.
Her eyes crinkled in amusement at the sight of the quaint gearshift knob protruding between the smoky leather seats. McLachlin could only guess as to what she stood to gain by stealing the car. Certainly it meant great status in the resistance ranks for someone so young, and status in any echelon of society always meant power. The woman’s professional demeanor slipped back into place when she suddenly straightened and pulled a metallic object from one of her many deep pockets.
McLachlin knew it was a jammer even before she placed it on the door track. “Seen that movie before, sweetheart,” he said. Hooked and anxiously waiting for her next move, he withdrew his attention long enough to move to the neon-lit bar to pour himself a scotch on the rocks. She was painstakingly thorough in her checking. Knowing there would be no patrols on private grounds, she took her time.
Finally, she slipped into the driver’s seat. McLachlin’s fingers eagerly stabbed the matrix. Her head jerked as the door slid shut and crushed the jammer in the track. Switching the audio to maximum, McLachlin waited expectantly for the game to begin.
Silence greeted him. The woman did not panic. Sitting quietly, she carefully studied her surroundings and stared intently at the driver’s console. Only her slightly increased breathing betrayed her. McLachlin smiled with grudging respect. She was good all right, perhaps almost good enough to beat him at the game. His fingers caressed the matrix. The car purred to life, panel lights flashing in a myriad of colorful patterns.
With a lightning fast response, the woman’s fingers flew to the ignition controls, her concentration unwavering as the car veered onto the private driveway. Its midnight blue sheen flashed through the cover of trees flanking the lane. Ahead, the automatic gate to the property swung open, ushering her onto a little used country road.
McLachlin followed the woman’s darting movements in her attempt to disable the controls. The odd word or phrase floated from concealed speakers, but disappointingly, no real display of fear. His eyes narrowed. Deftly, he re-routed the car toward the abandoned quarry some forty miles distant. Usually the last phase of the game, he decided to put the woman to the test now and jacked the speed up to 150 mph.
She bit her lip and grimly hung on as the car bolted jarringly along the narrow, potholed road. Her eyes peered at snatches of whizzing landscape briefly illuminated by the halogen headlights. Anger etched her face. McLachlin felt a growing excitement in his loins. The quarry was over two hundred feet wide and ninety feet deep. The woman would definitely have something to say in those seconds before the retros fired and sent the car soaring safely back onto the road on the other side.