I did something stupid. I looked back.
The big, bald guy handled the door differently than I had. He leaned in and hit the metal edge of the door with his shoulder, smashing it out of the frame, and the frame partly out of the building.
Turning my head forward, I ran across the lawn toward the car.
Something in the car hummed, and the missile launcher popped upwards from the trunk and clicked into place.
I jumped toward the car, using the stealth suit’s artificial muscles to give me a boost, and landed right next to the passenger side door. My momentum didn’t let me stop there.
I fell forward, hitting the car.
It hurt, but it would have hurt worse if I hadn’t been wearing the suit.
As I fumbled for the door handle, the missile fired, roaring away from the car toward the Cabal trooper, and exploding as it hit… something.
The fireball was too bright to see exactly what.
A wave of heat that didn’t come from the afternoon sun washed over me.
Blinking away the afterimages, I found the door handle, and began to open the door when the door opened on its own.
Actually Rachel pushed it open, and yanked me face first inside.
She shut the door while I was still turning around in the front seat, and Haley hit the gas, sending the car forward with the engine roaring, and tires squealing.
I pulled on the seat belt.
“I hope I didn’t hurt anyone,” Haley said. “Not that I want him to catch us, but I don’t want to kill anybody.”
From the back seat, Rachel said, “I… Right now I’m hoping we all get to live to regret killing people. ”
I barely listened to them. I’d popped out the keyboard in the passenger seat, and turned on the 360 degree radar/camera view around the car.
It appeared on the screen in the dashboard, the one above the radio. I’d swapped out the 8-track player for a CD player with an Ipod connection sometime in the spring.
Clicking through the available views, I ran across the rear view just as Haley glanced up toward the mirror.
One indrawn breath later, the car accelerated even more quickly than it had been.
I was all for that because the screen’s rear view showed my driver. Instead of a shirt, he wore blackened rags, and his pants were on fire.
At first I wasn’t all that bothered that he was following us. I doubted he could catch up to a car moving at seventy mph down a country road.
Then he jumped, closing half the distance between us.
I didn’t want to find out what he could do with another jump or two.
Haley said, “Nick, here!”
The joystick that controlled the missile launcher extended out of the dashboard on a flexible arm. She pushed toward me, and I changed the screen to target mode.
Using the joystick to aim the crosshairs, I was about to fire when the man jumped, landing only thirty feet behind us.
With one more jump he’d be on, or directly in front of, the car. That was the bad news. The good news?
I had a great shot.
The car shook as the missile fired, roaring toward the man, hitting him in the shoulder, and exploding.
Not that I saw that. It happened too quickly, but the screen had instant replay. Surveillance was one of it’s main functions after all.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take him down any more than it took him down earlier.
Moments later, he’d jumped again. Not that he was close, but he was coming.
Zooming in showed that his shoulder was reddish, and that his left eyebrow had been burned off.
While that could have been a positive sign from one angle (“Look, he can be hurt!”), I found it easier to look at it from a more realistic angle (“Two missiles later, all we’ve done is singe his hair.“).
Rachel turned away from the window to look at me.
“Rachel, could you hand me my helmet and guitar? And Haley, could you open the roof?”
Rachel did, and I pulled the helmet over my head, and attached the guitar hero controller to the cable.
“Are you sure?” Haley glanced over at me, and I said, “Can you think of anything else?”
Rachel said, “Yes–”
The roof opened, and, I stood in my seat.
The last time I’d had to shoot an actual person with the guitar was back in Los Angeles, and I hadn’t gone far enough then.
I pointed the guitar at the man’s leg, and fired.
A blue beam crossed the distance between us, hitting his leg. The pants burned where the beam hit. He stared down, beginning to scream something.