“So, when were you planning on letting me know what’s going on?” The car deftly wove its way in and out of traffic. “It’s my upholstery on the line here.”
“Just busy work, as usual.” Danny had leaned the drivers seat all the way back and was staring unhappily at the ceiling. “Go in, do the normal once over, bring back the samples to the lab. Then lots and lots of paperwork.”
“And here I thought we were headed into a politically tense situation between two warring species where peace depends on our ability to find the thief.” Becker gave the detective a disgusted look. “I must have been reading the wrong reports.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Danny went back to sulking.
“Were dealing with Gravercats?” The car narrowly missed the guiderail. “Uh-uh, no way, I am not getting my finish ruined. Do you know what those claws can do to sheet metal?”
Becker just shuddered.
“I don’t see why you two are so scared, they’re just cats.” Danny shrugged. “Shoot ’em and they go to sleep just like everybody else.”
“Since when do the rest of us get guns?”
* * * * *
Some cars have nice jobs. Hearses for instance, they only have to deal with dead humans. Limos get the celebrities, taxis at least do honest work, but me? Me? I get stuck with vehicular death on two legs. Not bad enough that he keeps trying to grab the wheel, but everyone else is trying to kill me! Car bombs, wire cutters, you name it, it’s been tried.
Doesn’t help that some compnerd slipped me the kind of brAIn they use in military hovercars. Yeah, I really want to see death coming. Really. Ah, for the days when a complete thought consisted of ‘Buckle-up Moron.’
You can never go home again.
* * * * *
“Talk about high class,” the hovercar grumbled as it pulled off the service road and into the clearing that passed for the Gravercat’s garage. “Haven’t they heard of pavement?” The car rocked unsteadily on the rough terrain as it searched for a level parking space. A few hundred curses later a mud-covered jeep rolled into the clearing.
“‘Bout time you got here.” The jeep popped its doors open, “You’re almost late. Hop in!”
Becker and Danny looked at each other for a long unhappy moment.
“I don’t remember the military anywhere in the speech Captain gave,” Becker yawned nervously, “and I don’t trust talking cars.”
“There’s a shock,” Danny’s hovercar muttered, then opened its own doors. “Come on, get going. I’ll be safe. Really.” It bobbed a bit as they clambered out. “All by myself. In the middle of nowhere. I’ll be fine. No problem.”
The instant they were out the doors slammed shut and the hovercar flicked up its riot shield.
“I don’t like this.” Becker glanced around the clearing, “Someone should have met us here.”
“That would be me,” the jeep revved its engine impatiently. “Why send a man to do a car’s job? Now get in, time’s a’wasting.” It waited for them to move. After a few minutes it gave up. “Fine. Name, rank, and serial number it is.” The car flipped on the projector in its windshield.
Three Gravercats appeared in the display, none looked happy. “We are waiting. We do not want to wait,” the middle alien glared out from the projection. “You will be getting in the car.” It bared ebony teeth. “Now.” After a parting glare the transmission ended.
“Well then,” the jeep said smugly, “can we go?” Danny and Becker reluctantly climbed into the car. “I thought so.”