Jesse: "Well, damn. It actually worked."
The conversations between Clair and Jesse were hidden from me until hours later. Having secured their safety, thanks to Clair's quick thinking, I wasn't going to expose them with an ill-timed data packet. Despite my near-crippling anxiety, I could wait until they rendezvoused with the quadricycle to catch up. I told myself to be confident in her demonstrated ability to keep them safe.
Jesse: "How did you figure this stuff, Clair? You been moonlighting in the peacekeeping cadets on top of college?"
Clair: "You have your own skills. You can drive, for one."
Jesse: "And I'm killer with a screwdriver. Never underestimate that."
They lay in the shadow of the dam as their pursuer sped off into the distance. Apart from their voices, the only sound was the wind whistling downriver and the river's basso continuo, a distant hammering of turbulence against concrete and steel piping.
Jesse: "Clair? Clair, wake up."
Clair: "Shit, sorry. I just closed my eyes for a second."
Jesse: "Yeah, right: you were snoring. If we're caught out here when the sun comes up, we'll regret it." (sound of wind) "Come on, Clair. This was all your idea, remember?"
I had overlooked the crippling nature of fatigue. It wasn't something I suffered from. If I had thought of it, I would have been more anxious for them. Only later did I realize just how much I owed Jesse Linwood for keeping her moving.
He got her upright and together they plodded up the slope to the top of the dam. There, they stopped to have a drink from the bottles in her backpack. At that moment I was watching the map. "Dylan Linwood" had jumped via d-mat from Modesto to Columbia.
Wordlessly, they set out on their long walk to meet the quadricycle.
YOU ARE READING
113 (Twinmaker)Science Fiction
A post-scarcity world transformed by free, instantaneous travel should be paradise, but nothing is ever as it seems. When an ordinary girl uses Improvement, a meme promising a complete physical makeover by little more than wishing for it, she brings...