Sergio swore and increased their speed. He hoped to be able to outrun them on the highway. But try as they might, they couldn’t outrun the drones. The machines stayed a safe distance, easily keeping up with the speed of the car.
Kat looked at Sergio, and he met her gaze. Neither knew how they were going to get out of this one.
“They’re not trying to kill us.” Kat said, for all that was worth.
“They’re probably just tracking us, reporting our position back to Invergence.”
“Is there any place where they can’t follow us?”
“Not that I know of, we’re in the middle of a flat desert.”
But, suddenly, Sergio had an idea.
He made a quick u-turn, going back in the direction of the drones. They both hovered in the air, and let the car pass underneath them before following.
“What are you doing!” Kat yelled.
“I’m trying something crazy.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have no idea, but we’ll see if it works.”
He stepped on the pedal, moving back down the highway until he found the right exit ramp. He had seen this place before when they first drove through Las Vegas.
Once he had made the exit, he quickly found a road leading east.
He drove very fast. Cars and trucks honked their horns as he shot past them, weaving in and out of traffic. Their car jostled and careened back and forth as they seemingly hit every conceivable bump in the road.
He continued driving for several agonizing minutes. All the while, he wondered if they were going to make it. Had Invergence already started converging on their position? It had been months since they last saw Sergio’s doppleganger. Was he on his way as well? Sergio tried his best to push those thoughts out of his mind as he drove. A few moments later, and they were getting closer to his destination. He started to slow down, knowing that speeding here might draw unnecessary attention. In fact, he was relieved that no one had pulled him over yet. That was the last thing they needed, another brush with the cops.
A red laser hit the road in front of them, sending gravel flying everywhere. Sergio yelled and swerved the car to the right. The drones were firing at them now. It looked like they were no longer content to just watch where they were going. Another blast came close.
“Why are they firing at us now?” Kat asked.
“They probably figured out where I’m going.”
“And where are you going?”
“There’s an Air Force base up ahead. I saw it the last time we were here.”
Kat didn’t take long to understand. “Sergio, you’re brilliant!”
He didn’t have time to acknowledge her compliment. At that moment, a third laser blast came dangerously close to Sergio’s left arm as it sliced through the side mirror, which fell off behind them.
He made a left turn, heading north again once they were close to the air base. He would try to circle the area and hope that someone was watching the skies.
The drones continued to fire, and Sergio was forced to swerve multiple times, almost hitting another car on two occasions. He did his best to drive straight though. He didn’t want any of the local authorities on his tail. But at this point, with two drones on his back, firing dangerous lasers in a no-fly-zone, apprehension by the authorities was probably inevitable.
It took a few seconds before he realized that the drones were no longer firing at him. Two armored trucks had emerged, carrying some heavy firepower. Two men sat in the back of the trucks and were firing warning shots at the drones. The drones started firing back. Big mistake. A few moments later and the drones were scrap heaps on the ground.
Sergio quickly stared ahead at the road again. They needed to get out of here, fast. And they needed to ditch the car. Surveillance video would almost certainly give them away and they didn’t need another group searching for them. He made a quick left turn and headed back towards the highway. He made several more turns, to throw off anyone who might be following them.
Kat breathed a sigh of relief once they were far enough away. Sergio still didn’t feel like celebrating just yet.
Before they reached the highway, Sergio spotted a car-rental service. Perfect. He rounded the block and pulled over.
“Let’s take everything we can carry. We’re not going to have much time before someone finds the car.”
Kat nodded. She had clearly thought the same thing. They needed a new car. Thankfully, they had the resources for it.
They didn’t have too much to carry, having packed light ever since their first encounter with anti-Sergio. So it only took a few moments to stuff all of Alice’s baby things into a backpack, then Sergio carried the large carseat. They set off and rounded the corner where the rental service was located. It took a few minutes to negotiate, but they soon settled on a large gray truck, bigger than anything they had used before. But it had power and stamina, and after their last chase, Sergio needed something with horsepower.
They heard sirens just as they were getting into the new vehicle. And they were growing louder.
Sergio turned on the engine and sped away from the rental agency as fast as he dared, which wasn’t too fast. He didn’t want to attract attention. He thought he saw flashing lights approaching the place they had just left as they made a left turn, safely away from the authorities’ line-of-sight.
A few moments later and they were back on the highway, safely in a new vehicle, speeding north towards Utah. Now, Sergio let himself breathe. It felt good.
Alice, who had remained cheerful throughout the entire chase, now started to cry. Kat and Sergio looked at each other. Tensions lifted, and they both busted out laughing. They laughed until their sides hurt, while Alice wailed. Kat was still laughing when they paused at a gas station and got out to change the baby.
Despite it all, that had been an exciting experience. And the encouraging thing was they had survived it, based on nothing but their own ingenuity. It was a relief, almost, knowing that they stood a chance against Invergence, that they didn’t always had to stand on the sidelines, helpless to the situation, only saved because of someone else’s intervention. They had a chance.
With Alice properly changed and fed, they left the gas station behind and continued on towards the Nevada border. Kat put her head on Sergio’s shoulder as they drove. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
They didn’t see the tall, dark shape running in their direction a couple of miles behind.