Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The metro swishes past while I tap my fingers in frustration on the dashboard. I may have priority, but nothing out-prioritises fifty tons of autotram.

“Where are you, Lime?”

“Watching the metro. The collision avoidance system in my car decided that playing chicken was a losing game.”

“They’ve brought down the SWAT drones. No jokes.”

“I had no intention of mentioning swatting.”

There were collective groans over the airwave. Tony had company.

“What’s the book say?”

“What book?” Tony’s voice radiated innocence.

“You know, the one where the audience around you bets on how long it takes the thuglifes to realise that they’ve left toytown.”

“Oh, that one. Current favourite is two minutes and one magazine.”

“From sidearm or main?”


“Oh, ye of little faith. Oop! Metro’s gone, taking emergency measures. Route me a waiver.”

“Chief says to keep the damage under six figures.”

He would. They need me to catch these bad guys, so I need to do something they won’t – manual driving at excessive speeds. As a getaway car is only a vampire conversion on a standard grid runner, they can’t do what I’m about to. I hang a left through an advertising display and cut across the rough ground behind, collecting bruises as the suspension they upgraded for me proves to be as crappy as the last set they did. Next time, I’m doing it. My granddad taught me how to fettle cars. Time for me to revive another redundant art.

Exploding through a vending kiosk – showering seven people with Instablend gel as a side effect – I reach the on-ramp for the interstate. Slewing the car sideways, I exit and retrieve Gertrude from the rear seat.

“Lime, that’s not a service piece.”

“No, Tony. It’s something a bit older and a lot more effective.” A hybrid of Anzio 20 and 20/50, to be precise.

“I’ll get another waiver en route.”

“Cheers, buddy.”

Down the road comes my target, feeling smug now that they’ve EMP’d all the drones for six blocks, crashed the city grid, all local CCTV and jammed the air-op frequencies. Unless their pursers are using off-grid vehicles and personally present to drive, they’re clear. Which is why I am tolerated in a police force my granddad would have ridiculed.

My first shot would have won me a shooting competition a century ago. It enters the front of their vehicle, taking out their frontal interference unit. After passing through the central power core of the car, it enters the passenger compartment through the centre-console display, spraying hot LED shards everywhere as it disappears through suspect number four and comes to rest in the trading system core they dropped into the boot after their raid.

The car comes to a smoking, sparking halt and all four doors open. Suspects one, two, three and five throw themselves face down.

Across the road, an old man pauses his exo and shouts: “Ya gottem’ Sheriff! Good goin’!”

I wave and grin. At least the older folk appreciate what I do. Everyone else seems intent on suing me for contraventions of noise, weapons, vehicle, and ‘humanitarian rehabilitation of criminals’ statutes.

The four I didn’t shoot are rehabilitating just fine. I can hear them from here.

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