Excess Baggage Goes in the Trunk

Unlike the Marauders’ “partners,” we didn’t wear uniforms most of the time, so she wouldn’t know I was from Aegis. “Sure, I’ll get you back to the car.” I lifted her easily and carried her back with me.

Pop the trunk, I subvocalized over my mastoid implant. I don’t want to have to watch.

Are you going to be okay with this? Streetsweeper asked.

I didn’t answer. Honestly, it didn’t sit well with me. Using humans as portable fuel supplies was what the Marauders did. They rounded them up by the truckload—the reason for their name. Using hydrocarbon-based fuels would have been more efficient—but the Marauders took sick pleasure in rendering thinking beings down into fuels and lubricants, storing their minds in holographic matrices to be picked through for any interesting data. Even the Marauders’ highly-paid “partners” were, unbeknownst to them, little more than fresh meat to be expended when the Marauder felt like a change.

But I didn’t have a choice. I placed the girl in the trunk and closed the lid.

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