Monday, July 29, 2013

Baxter: Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Four

This time it was her turn to give a little grunt, down some pills and take a hot shower, but she did it with considerable less drama than Baxter had. 
He took another shift sleeping, drifting away to the sound of the water in the shower. He awoke to the smell of bacon.
“I had to walk across the street to that Denny’s,” she said. “I realized you were right about ordering stuff now that we look so different. Not worth it.”
He tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes. She pointed at a steaming paper cup of coffee. “I got us the works.”
She had, and he tucked in ravenously, somehow disregarding that he’d eaten a fairly substantial steak just a few hours before. 
“We need a plan,” she said.
He nodded, his mouth full of French Toast.
“Obviously I need a clean ID, so we need to clear one of my caches, at least one--”
“Where are the rest,” he asked after swallowing more coffee.
“I’ve been largely international lately, and like I said, in the States its only the East Coast, so...Chicago, Philly, I’ve got one in New Orleans, Orlando...”
“Gotcha.” He took another bite and considered her. Her hair was not styled, he could see the hat she’d worn to get the food. She looked young, fragile, her cheekbones prominent without the softening of her ordinary brown hair.
“What?” she asked, suspiciously.
“The hair makes you look really young.”
“Perv,” she said.
“Well, that’s what people are gonna think of me, isn’t it?”
She laughed. “Oh, well.”
“So much for not drawing attention.”
“I’ll settle for the wrong kind of attention. Still nothing on the news,” she added.
“You think we’re clear of satellites?”
“I think we’ve got a head start at least, I’m sure the truck helped, but they can’t know we’re here, we settled in for, what, 12 hours? they’d have made a move.”
“If they’re not leaking our IDs to the public, maybe not. They could be here and waiting for us to make a move.”
“You don’t think they’d have made a move on me when I went to get food. Or you?”
He nodded slowly and drank some more coffee. “I can go along with that.”
“So,” she said, getting back on track, “a plan.”
“Well,” he replied, “long term, are we on the same page?”
She looked up from spreading jam on a piece of toast. “Smith?” she asked.
“I think we’re on the same page with that.”
“So we don’t have a plan, but at least we have a goal.”
“Okay, then here’s what I suggest. Before we get your cache, caches actually, it’s not going to be cheap to go against someone that far up the food chain--”
“You’re asking me to spend my money to clean up your mess?” 
“I think it’s safe to say it’s our mess now. And that was not my fault.”
She shook her head and took a long drink of OJ. “I can still resent you,” she said.
“Feel free, doesn’t change anything.”
She nodded, satisfied.
“So before we start pooling resources, I think we need to go to ground for a while. If we get out of here without trouble, we get a new car, I think we can start assuming we’re in the clear. That being the case, instead of making a move right away, I say we hole up somewhere. Let them keep drawing that circle bigger until it’s the whole country, or the whole continent, and then we can come out and play.”
“That’s your plan?”
“Well less a plan than the next step, I guess,” he said. “But it gives us stages. We go to ground for a week or two, let things settle a bit, then we go collect some of your caches, maybe get us both passports with pictures that look like us now so we’re less obvious and then--”
“Won’t work,” she said.
“What won’t?”
“Passports,” she said. “If they get scanned, they’ll be flagged. The algorithms are too good now, it’s why you were flagged enough though you were presumed dead. Long presumed dead. We can’t use passports. Period.”
“So we can’t leave the country.”
“And they’ll know that. So the circle’s not that big after all.”
“It’ll have to be big enough. And while we’re in hiding we can be putting together our bigger plan, mapping your caches...”
“You really don’t have any more?”
“We’re living off the last one. I cleared all the old ones years ago, actually put most of the money in the bank like a schmoe.”
“So we’re going to spend some time collecting all my guns and money and while we’re doing that, we’ll be figuring out what to do with it?”
He shrugged and dipped a piece of bacon in a puddle of syrup. “Best I got.”
“And where will we be going to ground?”
“Oh,” he said, grinning, “you’re gonna love this part.”

No comments:

Post a Comment