The Hazmat Sisters (Part 2 of 2)
by L.X. Beckett
Another sundown, another night on the quest. Mom’s check-in is perfunctory: hand out XP, confirmation of their route. No mention of abnormal battery use, so they got away, once again, with their secret confab. She seems distracted. Things must be getting hot at the Chicago call center.
The girls push Mule along in the refugee fast lane, passing slower-moving families with kids and the occasional masked elder. Some of them are dragging smartcases. The real unfortunates are chipping the wheels off actual antique shopping carts, mile by brutal mile.
There’s no sign of Baron.
Around midnight they are crossing a bridge when the border of their hex runs up against the fairhair family, Papa Bear and his baseball bat mace and baby makes three. They’re riveted, watching something downriver.
Fee calls a stop before they get too close. She activates the infrared in her visor and shares the view with the others.
It’s a firefight. A clutch of warm bodies sheltering under a trio of armored cars exchanges fire with a thick concentration of autonomous platforms hovering over the blackly glinting river. Spotlights, tracers, and of course machine guns all pour fire into the ground position.
“Can we tell who’s who?” Wilmie subs.
Tess has shut off her display, opting to instead keep an eye on the family on the bridge. “Who cares?”