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"You can't talk like that to me!"

"Oh really, and why not?" he was staring straight at me. He'd got up, my palms were sweating, BROOKS was immobile, the others watched with varying degrees of interest.

"Because I'm.... I'm..." Because I work for the Ministry and you can't talk to me like thatbecause I can have people like you locked up for a very long time? The threat in my head sounded hollow. And the mere thought of it coming from my lips made me feel disgusted with myself. It was all I could do to squeak "Run..." as I felt BROOKS finally move from my side, realising the failure I was about to perpetrate.

.uneasy riders

"That's more like it son," he said, deftly sidestepping BROOKS, and in a quick movement swung what I later discovered to be a crank puller from his pocket, bringing it down on the back of BROOKS' held with a metallic clang. The robot stumbled, regained his footing, issued an electronic gutteral warble, and the lights in his eyes dimmed. He remained stood, legs at an awkward angle, an upright slump. Sheldon still staring at me.

"Bullshit, because you're a government man. I can tell from a hundred yards any backside that has been used to the cosseted comfort of a car seat, and that has just covered ten miles for the first time, possibly ever, on a saddle filled with a gel pack. First we're gonna to escape; then we're gonna find you some leather to sit on; and then, my boy, you are gonna tell us everything you know and then...."

He paused, my palms sweated anew, the others now gaping at me, while Marcus prodded BROOKS into a slow rocking motion and giggled. "And then?"

"Well then we're gonna go ride."

.to be continued

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