Eight cruisers had somehow veered into a Hauler robot dragging twelve long tons of raw NA-16 through the middle of Angel City North and right across my doorstep. The first smacked into the Hauler, and from my ground level office I heard the groan and wail. Haulers sometimes develop personalities, and even a few like to adopt emotive traits.
Plasteel doesn’t burn, especially the kind they use in civilian cruisers, which aren’t terribly fragile anyway. That was the problem, in this case. It was better to think of that than the head of the girl clean cut at the neck. Tears would come later, because I couldn’t do anything about the scrand driver probably half-asleep in his seat when they all compressed his cruiser into mash. Maybe CDI Milne would slip me a look at the coroner’s report.
Danvers Avenue sounds middle of the road, and it is that, home to a few gangs, middle-of-the-road businessfelors and average citizens. It is also next door to Whitegraft Police Department, my ex-haunting ground. Bethany Hospital was ten minutes away, but emergency services were twenty, and even though they were fast, I still was angry when they did arrive.
I tucked it aside, knowing some of the crew personally. Masurani lives not far, and being off shift and within earshot, lent a hand. We didn’t say much, but when we were done, Jain Dowery thanked us for the assist and not taking any ‘stupid risks’. A few inexperienced KnightsMage were hurt last year, and that put the pressure on me to get the kids in line.
Eleven victims: Four dead, six wounded and one unaccounted for, Jain told me by way of Scramble Relay. I thanked her and her crew. Masurani was hungry, so we stopped by Morse Cafe for a drink and some food. I ordered a twist-bread sandwich with the house dressing and assorted sliced protein. Masurani seemed more interested in the quarter-pound burgers.
“They’re fast here,” she said, drying her hands while I washed mine. “Better grab a table …”
“Away from the window.” Thumbing a curious self-conscious looking journalist who didn’t quite manage to notice us. Maybe he did, though, and maybe my glare told him ‘later.’
She nodded understanding. “Picked up enough hardware for today. Blasted Hauler. Who sent it through here?”
Representative Castlegar would be cutting air rations offside, but it wasn’t our problem. Masurani pulled a black clip out of her pant pocket and pinned her hair with it, off to one side. I said, “Local relay should have blocked off the roads. There’ll be an investigation.”
She lanced me with a harsh glare. “You saying the Hauler didn’t know?”
“You know how fast a Hauler isn’t?”
She scoffed. “It’s blasted waste. No self respecting Hauler gets into a mess like that on its own.”