Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Jams took the offramp still pressed flat against the fuel tank, arms outspread, hands clutching the handgrips with intent. The suspension fought to press the tires into the asphalt while mass and velocity tried to launch bike and rider into the night sky. He could feel his heart beat once, twice, thrice before gravity pulled everything back under his control, and he let his muscles begin to unclench.

“Goose, ride. I’m out.”

He let his arms fall away from the grips as the bike took over control, throttling down and navigating onto the local route beneath the interstate. He lay his head on the tank, felt the steady pulse of the massive gasoline power plant beneath him radiate through his helmet and into his head.

“Goose, find fuel. Wake me when you do. Don’t engage the locals.”

Maps and scrolling lists of possible targets splayed across the inside of the bike’s armored bubble. Goose knew he didn’t need to see them, but she also knew he never stopped soaking up information.

“There’s a farm on the fringe, taken delivery of fuel two days ago, self-con.” Goose spoke in low tones right into Jams’ head.

Self-con. Self contained. Off the grid, or at least as off the grid as was corporately possible. Fuel and power regulations kept the wires in, but if they were truly offline, they might not know yet, and it was only with the unwired that Jams could stay ahead of the information. He was fast, but nothing could outrun the data; lies spread at the speed of light designed to ensnare and entrap. All the stealth tech in the world couldn’t keep them safe forever, he could elude the eyes on the highways, slip unnoticed beneath the satellites, but as soon as he pulled fuel off hours from a farmer, a light would go on somewhere and someone would turn to look. He’d have to be well on his way somewhere else by then.

If they was lucky, Goose could get them over the border and into Mexico in a few days, and if their luck held up, into South America.

At least down there he’d have no illusions that he could trust anyone, as long as he had data, there would be money and people would maintain a respectful distance.

Compared to the freedom of home, that would be paradise.

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