Sunday driving with Bella, out near the exclusion zone. Top down, trunk woofer pumping electroclash and hip hop, us whooping it up and elbowbreezing past those pathetic shanty towns. Behind wire, recessed red eyes in cracked baked faces watch us without expression. I take a long swig of spring water and toss the half full bottle over the side. Further along, Bella guns it. 150. 180. 210. Soon we're ten feet off the ground, rotors maxed, dodging wrecks, craters, exoskeletons, and jackknifed concrete. We're leaving the road behind, and the ruined city's up ahead. Tiny moving dots are Outriggers, scavenging among the heaps.
Off to the left, a quick glint of sun off metal, then a plume of smoke as a missile leaves its launch tube. Tag. Our favorite game. I grab the sonic cannon from the dash, Bella slams a 180, flips up the blast visor and floors it. Sonic array set to wide, I swivel the chair and wait for the tip of the warhead to come within range. Might take some shrapnel on this one, but that risk's part of what makes it fun. So will following the smoke trail to the source, then smoking them with the phased emitter array Bella had installed where the headlamps used to be. Nobody ever sees that shit coming. Or even feels it until they're post toasty to the bitter, their organs liquefying while we're still 200 feet out.
Bella maxes the volume and trance bass moves throughout the vehicle in slow sinuous waves, like an amplified heartbeat. Its repetition and consistency becomes my body's mantra as I zone in on my target. Five, four, three, two