As I leaned over her, I saw signs of chafing on her wrists, and bruising. A Marauder prisoner, not a “partner”—this put a different face on things.

I carried her back to the car and put her in the passenger seat. “What do we do now?” Sweeper asked.

I leaned against the driver side, looking east. Before long the sun would be up and the temperature would start to rise. We’d roast if we weren’t out of the desert by noon. “Are you positive your matrix capture system still works?”

“I triple-checked it.” He wasn’t happy.

I took out a pack of smokes and tapped out a cigarette—the last one I would ever have. “Damn, pack’s still half-full.” I tossed it onto the driver’s seat. Even if I wasn’t going to be smoking ‘em, it felt wrong to waste them somehow.

I tossed the smoke and walked around to the trunk. “Have ‘em put me in a fast motorcycle, issue it to my ex-girlfriend. She needs a ride anyway.”

“Will do.”

“Been fun working with you, pard.” I climbed into the trunk, pulled the lid shut behind me. “Now do it.”

This story has no comments.