I come thundering around the corner, dripping sweat. My car wouldn’t start: I ran all the way here. I pluck off my fedora and fan my face. It’s too damn hot today. I pray I’m not too late, that I haven’t missed my chance. I tune to the right frequency and hear spotty banter, chit chat. Everyone’s in a holding pattern. No-one’s spotted her yet: I still have my chance.
I put my hat back on and try to act casual as I make my way across the bus station tarmac to the ticket office. To my spot. Where I would be best positioned to keep watch.
My heart is finally slowing down as I scope out my surroundings in more detail. The ad screen behind me is too loud, so I pay the few bucks to mute it. I can claim back on expenses later, anyway. Probably. Maybe.
A quick visual and I spot two, three, maybe four familiar faces. The guy outside the diner. Newspaper, briefcase. So obvious. The ticket inspector waiting at lane 5. He’s good, real subtle. Something about the way his eyes are moving, though. Enhancements, maybe? Looks a little more sophisticated than anyone in his job should be. And the cleaner, far end. Uniform’s all wrong. Looks like he should be bell-hopping at the hotel down the road, not sweeping the floors here.
Intel says she’ll be coming here tonight. I check my scanner: due now. Due right now. Due in thirty seconds, according to predictions by our best analysts. I ping my recorder to make sure it’s on and rolling and initiate a scan. I start filtering out unwanted targets. Not her. Not her. Not her. Not even close.
I get that feeling that I sometimes do. Call it a hunch. Call it instinct. I leave my post and walk around behind the diner. And there she is. Beautiful. Incredible. Intel warned us that she would be pretty. They didn’t say she’d take my breath away.
10 wheeler. Diesel and electric hybrid. Two decks, bar on both. Solar panels on every surface that isn’t a window. My god. She’s a monster. A beautiful, amazing, monster.
I send out the call over the network: I’ve spotted her. She’s mine. The responses come in. Acknowledge. Acknowledge. Acknowledge. Curse, spit, curse. Acknowledge. Acknowledge. I pull out my pad and key in the sequence that Intel gave me. The pad connects, checks, changes, and I now have a ticket for her. The Luxuron Plus. “The most advanced, sophisticated, luxury road travel vehicle in the world.”
Now it’s down to me. Get aboard, take notes. See what else she has that we don’t. Find ways of taking her ideas, making them better. There’s no way that we’re settling for second place this year. We will be best in class.
She pulls to a stop and I board, settle into my seat. I’m welcomed to her inaugural journey with a glass of champagne. It is delicious. Industrial espionage can be hard work. Today? Not so much.