Opening Chapter “Ambush!” – Excerpt from Perfects
‘Ambush’ is probably the (very short) opening chapter of my novel, which will be edited professionally over the winter. I’m also thinking about re-titling the novel to avoid confusion with the original novella that it was expanded from. Ideas accepted in the comments.
Pandora’s driving scared the hell out of all of us, but the simulator couldn’t lie. She was way safer and faster than any of us, even me. We didn’t buy that though, given how scary she was driving on manual, so I got Han to compare her real driving performance with the simulations. She was slightly slower and safer when we were actually in the car with her, but still faster and safer than any of us could do in the sim. So we reluctantly agreed that she should be the driver.
We were hurtling down a range of country roads to our rendezvous with a private charter flight when we came on the police checkpoint. I was busy holding on for dear life as we slid round a ninety degree bend at 40mph. Two police cars were stopped dead ahead of us blocking the road, I braced for impact before we crashed into them. Pandora somehow managed to stop the car within inches of the nearest police car.
My window was open and nearest the female police constable standing at the side of the road. She looked like a rookie, unsure of what to do and dazed by our sudden arrival. She was a good looking young woman, so I turned on the charm and greeted her with a smile ‘Good Morning!’ I said, ‘What’s going on here officer?’
‘Sir, can I ask you to turn off the ignition and step out of the vehicle?’
‘Doesn’t look good’ Rosie messaged me using her terminal’s secure direct link.
‘Well of course, but why is the road blocked? Has there been an accident?’ I asked. Pandora killed the engine
‘Just step out of the car please.’ She said.
I gave her a nod and then turned to Rosie and Roger in the back and said, ‘Looks like we all need to get out. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs.’ We all got out of the car, Pandora got out the off-side but the rest of us got out on the hedgerow side, Rosie following Roger from the back of the car.
‘Could you all stand off the road over here please’ said the woman police officer.
My attention was fully on the female police officer, who I wanted to talk about why we were being stopped. She avoided eye contact, looking over at her colleagues behind the parked police cars for support. Pandora messaged me ‘Charlie, whatever is causing the blocked road has just happened.’ as she walked round the front of the car. How did she know that? It surprised me enough to turn and ask her orally, ‘How so?’
‘Cars still warm. Friends in the hedgerow.’ Pandora signalled me and a bunch of contacts appeared in the shared tactical display that the new terminals provided us. I also realised that a police van had appeared from somewhere and blocked the road behind us.
I closed up to the police officer, she was backing away to her car, and asked her ‘What’s this all about?’
‘Just stand there please’ she said, pointing at the space between our car and hers. I was just at the edge of it, so I stopped moving towards her. Roger was right behind me, and Rosie was standing next to our car. Pandora was in the middle of the road, between the two police cars and ours. Suddenly ‘RUN!’ flashed red across my vision, and I lunged towards the police woman. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Pandora overtake me between the police cars.
My lunge became a dive for cover when gunfire erupted from the ambush in the hedgerow opposite. The police woman dived into her car and slammed the door behind her. I crouched down using her car as cover and turned to see what had happened to Roger and Rosie.