war

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Clair ran back to the others, holding her pistol loosely at her side. Arcady and one of the drivers, a portly man in a black and white cap, came running from the opposite direction. Jesse was pointing over the top of the train. The drone was no longer visible, but he assured them it had been there. Derryn backed him up.

The driver tapped a code into the door of the nearest carriage.

"Better get you inside. The longer we sit here, the weirder it will look."

The carriage opened with a heavy, hydraulic hiss, revealing a long, empty space within. The three young farmers drove the vehicles inside, and Arcady hustled people in after them. Clair lifted her pack in one hand and waited her turn.

"It's back!"

Lorne pointed along the train, to the rear. The drone had dropped to head-height and was flying along the carriages directly toward them, its tiny electric fans whirring loudly.

"Shoot it!" Derryn called.

Shannon drew his pistol, but Arcady intervened.

"We can't," he said. "We don't want peacekeepers on our tail as well."

"But if it sees us the dupes will know where we are."

"It's already seen us, and how do we know the dupes are looking through this thing, anyway?" He stared down the young man's agitation. "We're legitimate passengers. We're not carrying anything illegal. Let's see what it does before we go off the deep end."

Clair crossed into the carriage ahead of Lorne, and he and Arcady followed. The train driver tapped at the keypad, but nothing happened. He stepped inside and tried a matching pad next to the hatch. Tried it twice, to no avail.

"Something's interfering."

The drone came alongside and floated there, looking at the driver, the train, and the people gathered within.

"Okay," said Arcady, reaching for the jammer. "Now we kill it."

"Wait," said Clair. The drone bobbed gently in front of her, fans whining.

Inside the drone, a war was taking place.

I won.

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