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Old 08-13-2010, 04:20 PM   #6
bosky
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canada
Default Re: Highway Cowboys - CW fan fic in progress


Excerpt 4
Screaming from behind the arena came the green car. The sun glimmered off the lasers and gave Trask all the glimpses he could want. Even through the tinted glass he could feel the bounty hunter's piercing gaze.
Pike approached from the left side, covering the open ground away from the arena as quickly as the terrain allowed. Splitting his mouth into a yellowed smile, Trask fired a double salvo from the left rocket launcher. A smokey tang filled the air as the missiles streaked towards his foe.
Reacting purely on instinct Pike swerved hard left, avoiding the first projectile. The rocket spiraled harmlessly into the concrete, exploding in a shower of rock. Luck was with Trask though for the second shot smashed into the oncoming vehicle. The ground shook as the hungry rocket exploded against armor, tearing apart a piece of Jodi's hood. Smoke leaked from the opening, but was quickly swept away as Pike continued to close.
As soon as he fired Trask sped up and tried to keep his left flank aimed at the bounty hunter. Pike continued his soft angled approach, which gave the murderer another chance to fire.
Pike now knew what the truck was capable of, and had been dodging rockets since before Trask was a child. The incoming missile didn't have a chance. A deft nudge right sent the explosive sailing past.
Still he did not return fire. Patience was one of Pike's favorite tactics. Lulling the enemy into false confidence before striking with the fury of a rattlesnake had served him well for many years.
Boasting to himself at the earlier hit, Trask returned to his ninety mile an hour speed and fired again. His smile turned to a cry of confusion as the green car braked and dropped from view.
Having closed to the ideal distance, Pike was done waiting and moved to attack. Nearly parallel on his approach, he drifted right and simply tapped the brakes to bring the lasers on a direct line to the rear of the truck.
Before Trask had a chance to swerve or counter brake, invisible beams of energy shattered his rear axle. Silently passing through the air like an archer's arrow, a second beam devastated the right tire.
Suddenly ninety miles an hour seemed eighty miles too fast for Trask. The split axle and popped tire sent the vehicle into a violent end over end flip. His truck groaned and protested as the roof slid along the concrete. Two hundred feet had passed before the wreckage slowed to a halt.
In full control came the green car, decelerating to bring it level with the flipped vehicle. Whimpering and barely conscious, Trask wiped blood from his eyes and heard the menacing jingle of spurs.
"Trask, by order of the Nevada Prostitution Guild, throw down your weapons and come out with your hands up." In a rare show of emotion, Pike, savoring the victory, added a taunt, "If you can."

----

"Well I just think you're being a bitch about this."
"Then I clearly have not explained myself, nor my situation, adequately."
"Who even talks like that? Nor? Adequately? Jeez man contract a word every once in a while." Fiery hair matched the fire in her eyes as the driver continued her tirade, "Hell maybe your wife wouldn't cheat on you so bad if you did."
The victim of the harsh words, a squirrelly young man in gray overalls, pushed up his glasses and sighed.
Rolling her eyes and matching the sigh, she continued, "You're just going to take that ****? From a total stranger?"
The unlikely pair had been driving through southern Colorado for close to two hours. Highway 160 was their trail, and Cortez their eventual destination. The driver was a plump woman named Sassy Sass. In her own way, in the right light, she was quite beautiful. She exuded energy and every motion seemed vibrant with life.
Beside her was an already balding passenger, although he couldn't be older than eighteen. Introverted and uncertain, he distantly looked at the rolling mountains out his window. For the small fee of six dollars a mile he was being safely transported in her armored taxi from the city of South Fork. The man, Pierre, would have paid far more to escape his wife.
"We are not -" Pierre caught himself and contracted the word, "aren't...aren't really strangers. I heard all about your childhood, and you know about my family situation."
"'Family situation' is right," was the gruff reply. All types of clients came through her cab, but some rubbed her the wrong way the entire trip. "Still", she thought, "$880 is $880 bucks".
Uncomfortable silence settled on the car for a handful of miles. Lakes, forests, and cold mountains drifted past as the taxi cruised through the winding turns and slight descents. The sun lazily settled on the horizon and prepared to retire for the night.
Feeling herself being absorbed by the simple pleasure of driving, Sassy tried to snap out of her trance and keep the conversation rolling. "Let me ask you this, if you don't mind." Pierre absently nodded his accord, "What stops you from driving this stretch yourself? It looked like at least one of the cars in your driveway was capable."
"I'm just not like you Miss Sassy. I've been an algae farmer for so long that I can barely drive the commute into work."
This time Sassy contained her eye roll and settled for a venomous thought, "What a loser."
An abandoned post office at the junction to 140 solemnly watched them pass. Sassy preferred to work in the safer, populated routes, so seeing the slumped building depressed her.
The emotion lead to a moment of weakness, and she finally apologized to Pierre. "Hey, I'm sorry for earlier."
Stoically tightening his lips and nodding, the man returned to his scenery watching.
"Say, tell me a bit about farming the pools. I don't eat the stuff as much as I used to, but I bet that's an important job." Flattery came hard to Sassy, and the words sounded strained to her ears.
Pierre however brightened immediately at the invitation and became rambling about algae growth, transportation, and other mundane details.
Sassy wasn't quite old enough to remember the devastating grain blight. Instead she suffered the after effects for most of her difficult childhood. Starting in Nebraska in 2012, the outbreak destroyed the staple food stocks in the world. Growing up during the ensuing food riots and gang warfare had been hard on Sassy. Her parents were tough, intelligent survivors and protected the girl until the age of sixteen. Then a road gang brutally killed them while driving across Montana.
Sorrow mingled with the wishful thinking of youth pushed Sassy to become a courier soon after. She figured if armored taxi services had been as plentiful years ago, her parents might still be alive.
Her attention drifted in and out of the conversation. Algae farmers were indeed important and gained respect far exceeding their pay grade. Without a steady supply of food, countries had squabbled and warred for the last scraps from civilization's table. Harvesting thick, gooey algae from vast pools had helped solve that.
For her first few years of driving Sassy had lived on the stuff. Eventually her reputation at making reliable, consistent deliveries landed her a job running the illegal drug Wish. From then on side jobs in black market goods kept her well fed on week old fruits and vegetables. She considered that a step up from algae soup.
"...and after losing that much product my company stopped transporting to the smaller towns. Fortress towns only now!" Pierre exclaimed, beaming with pride as if he was the CEO and not a muckslinger.
Pandering to the man, Sassy faked excitement. "Wow how interesting. I never knew gangs could be so daring."

She was swaying through the curving road before the ruined town of Mancos when the radar pinged to life. Instantly Pierre began fussing, "Who could it be? Some other travellers?" Silently biting her nails she checked the map, noting a solid nineteen miles until Cortez.
An additional four blimps on the radar made her look up, then firmly answer "I wish."
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