Author : Timothy Marshal-Nichols
I never did like Manzoor’s driving. I much preferred the modern way. Put your license in the Drive Slot and then the Transport Device does it all. That’s conventional, easy and, above all, safe. But that methodology was far removed from Manzoor’s temperament. And he always insisted on driving.
As soon as we set off I wished I’d never given in. “I’ll drive carefully,” he had promised. “Be in auto the whole way,” he had insisted, “we’ll just relax, chill out, some sounds.” I knew these promises, knew them well and I knew what he’d do. I was the elder brother so why did I always gave in?
No sooner was the Transport Device on the roadway than it was clicked out of auto. Manzoor was doing 350 plus in a 200 zone.
“You promised me,” I screamed.
But he was enjoying himself way too much to listen. As brothers we could not be more different. Five minutes later it happened. Inevitably we shot passed a Patrol Unit loitering at the roadside. Inevitably the Unit started after us. Inevitably there’s no outrunning these miserable androids.
Everyone hates these Patrol Units, even I do. These androids lurk at the roadside scanning for any minor traffic offence. Attached to speed bikes they can outrun any conventional Transport Device. Mostly they do not need to. They can force most Transports stop automatically. It’s all an easy source of state funds and the fines imposed are exorbitant. Even worse, as my brother has no income, it will be me who’s culpable.
“What did I tell you,” I said, I was not at all happy, “I knew this would happen.”
“Relax wimp,” Manzoor said, “no hassle,” and the transport unit glided to a standstill.
“I got this,” he said calmly, “so shut your mouth.”
The window of the Transport Device slid down and a nonchalant Manzoor poked his head out.
“Problem?” he said.
The Patrol Unit dismounted and mechanically strutted up to Manzoor.
“Do you know what speed you were doing?” the units synthesised voice rattled in a dull monotone.
“I afraid not, sir, were in auto the whole way.” I could not believe Manzoor could utter such a flagrant and obvious lie. How could he expect not to be caught out?
“Can I see your license sir.”
Manzoor took his license from the Drive Slot and held it out to the Patrol Unit. The Unit’s hand scanned it. The demeanour of the Patrol Unit immediately changed and adopted a somewhat less aggressive and intimidating stance.
“Have a nice journey sir,” the Patrol Unit’s voice crackled. Then it – gulp – saluted. Really, it saluted.
What? I was just amazed. I could just not believe what I saw. Manzoor just smiled on benignly.
The Patrol Unit returned to its bike, mounted, and set off at a pedestrian pace. I still could not believe it and stared at Manzoor. These Patrol Units are always, but always, extremely harsh on even the most minor traffic infringement. As the window of the Transport Device slid shut Manzoor grinned.
“Viral,” he said.
“Viral, the license, it’s viral. Suckers.”
I had heard of such things, rumours always rumours, but had never know anyone who possessed such a thing.
“Where you’d get it?”
“That’d be telling. Did you get that sucker ‘have a nice journey.’ What a mug.”
Manzoor smirked. It was that smug superior smirk that always annoyed me so. And Manzoor knew it, yes he knew it. That’s why he enjoyed it so.
He shoved the license in the Drive Slot and put his foot down. Almost instantly we were back on the 350 plus. In seconds we had caught up with the Patrol Unit and Manzoor gave a friendly wave as we sped passed.
I hung my head in shame.