Rise Again Below Zero

Free Rise Again Below Zero by Ben Tripp

Book: Rise Again Below Zero by Ben Tripp Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ben Tripp
He turned his headlights off for long stretches to make himself invisible, but couldn’t lose his pursuers because his brake lights still worked. That was all Danny knew about the driver, except he might have a confederate to do the shooting. But he might not. He hadn’t been aiming for effective fire.
    Danny, however, planned to make her next shot count. There were sabot rounds in her tactical shotgun that would punch right through the Chevelle from end to end, if she could get a clean bead on it: Sabots were sharp steel projectiles with fall-away boots around them to increase velocity and accuracy—like a two-stage rocket out of a gun. A gift from a SWAT locker in Nebraska. Right now she was mostly struggling to keep the interceptor on the road. The pavement was in rough shape, and at 95 MPH the steering wheel needed two complete hands, not the seven digits she was working with. She realized the unknown driver must have been waiting all along, concealed near the truck stop, knowing they would come that way. This was all part of a plan, and it might be a diversion.
    “Smokey to scouts, go back and seal up the defenses,” Danny barked into her radio handset. “I think this is a decoy, over.”
    There was a broken reply; she couldn’t understand it. The damn radios were still clouded with choppy static. The scouts continued to follow after her on their motorcycles, so they hadn’t gotten the message. Maybe they all ought to turn around, but Danny wanted to know the driver’s motive. Then she wanted to crucify him on the roof of his own machine. It would be a public service message to others who came along, in case they thought her clemency toward Mike was some kind of standard behavior: Hi, I’m Danny Adelman. Do not fuck with the Tribe.
    “If they’re trying to lure you away,” Kelley said, “it’s working.”
    “No shit,” Danny said, gripping the wheel like it was a venomous snake. “You worried about it?” Danny took her eyes off the road to look at the bandaged face, as if there was anything there to be learned.
    “I’m already dead. Nothing to worry about.”
    •   •   •
    The Chevelle’s taillights were out of view between a couple of small, knobby hills. Danny thought she could make the curve between them faster than the Chevelle had, maybe get within firing range. Then she saw dust spiraling up in her headlights, and her foot went to the brake pedal. She battled to keep herself from flying off the road. The Chevelle must have left the pavement.
    She lost some traction as the interceptor decelerated, slewing over the tar, and then she turned the wheel over so the nose of the vehicle was pointed up a dirt track that cut in a straight line far out into the rolling grass, well beyond the range of the lamps. A tail of dust boiled through the light, the Chevelle racing away down the track. Danny didn’t punch the gas again. She waited.
    The bike scouts rumbled up and put a leg down beside the interceptor.
    “You have any idea what they’re up to?” Topper called out, once Danny had her window down.
    “Feels like a decoying action. You guys go back. I’ll check this out.”
    “I’m not alone,” Danny replied. Topper threw a glance at Kelley, but didn’t say anything. Yeah, right, the look meant. Danny was slow-burning now, but Topper waited.
    “If you’re volunteering, get in,” she said. “The rest of you get the fuck going. Fast.”
    Topper pulled his bike off the road and laid it down out of view, then climbed into the cramped rear seat of the interceptor. Danny switched off the light bar on the roof, doused the headlights, and eased down the farm road into the darkness. The rest of the scouts passed a look around between them, but the sheriff had spoken. They turned their cycles in a half-circle and hightailed it back toward the truck stop.
    •   •   •
    The moon was thin and low, but starlight meant they could see shapes in the darkness. Danny pulled

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