“LET’S GO! YOU’RE GONNA GET LEFT BEHIND!”
Her head was screaming to leave them and get away from the semi-truck. Their carrier was loaded and running and they were just being greedy at this point.
“IF WE GET CAUGHT OVER THIS!!!!” She yelled over at the grey and unlabelled trailer.
The women inside yelled something in response but it was indiscernible over the windy whine of the carrier’s turbines.
“Damn it..” She said to herself. She turned and, with creaking steps that moved the entire ramp, she walked up the mouth of the carrier’s rear and headed inside to approach the driver’s seat. There she addressed the man seating in it:
“Is there anything on the horizon?” She asked him. Her words were impatient and the spine of them was weak with agitation.
“No,” He replied. His accent drug out the o in “No” like a drawl, except it was somewhat refined and brought aggression to his cadence instead of dullness. “and it’ll stay that way. Don’t start panickin’.”
“I’m not,” She replied, more defensively than intended, and quickly readjusted herself before continuing “I just don’t want to linger. There’s no reason to and there’s really no reason someone might not come by.”
“It’ll be fine.” He responded, and maddeningly said nothing else.
Too anxious and frustrated with him to remain in his company, she turned and retraced her steps back outside. Perhaps she was hoping to see them heading towards the carrier or thought that they would meet her at the entrance, but unfortunately neither were the case. She stood still for hours disguised as seconds before it was too much for her to tolerate any longer. She marched just short of a run towards the trailer lying sideways in the sand that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Upon reaching the ajar doors, she paused herself and looked to her left at the stretch of asphalt coated in a dust of blowing sand.
“It’s a quiet stretch of road with nothing more than one, maybe two transports a day.”
She repeated Cole’s words in her head and found conflict in the confidence they had once given her. It had put her at ease to know how well suited the conditions were for their heist, but she now felt that that confidence relaxed the others in to a place of complacency that lacked urgency.
She pulled one of the doors open enough so she could duck under and enter, where inside she found her two companions at ease and in conversation.
“….it was really just a matter of everyone doing their damn job when they needed to. One of the guys was moving soooo slow though that he ended up being shot. Almost meant us getting caught but it was all good in the end. We got out with our haul and got paid.”
It was Coleman that was speaking. She was a tall woman with a strong and elegant face. She wore a black baseball cap and a dark green jumpsuit that was decorated with stains and dirt so liberally that it could never be mistaken for new. It was her lucky uniform, she had told her when she first pulled it on during their first heist many years ago.
She was speaking with a small wiry man with as many tattoos on his skin as Coleman had stains on her jumpsuit. He was several inches taller than Coleman and had greased back hair and a well trimmed beard. He turned towards her as she entered with far away eyes that had a look in them that struck her as seeing too much as opposed to not enough.
Coleman turned towards her as well and greeted her.
“Tucker. We’re pretty much done here. Just gonna grab this last crate.”
Not as relieved as she thought she would be, Tucker responded “OK. We should get a move on, no?”
“Daaaamn. Bit antsy now, are we?” teased the Wiry-Man, “Is someone comin?”. His accent was the same as the driver’s. They were partners that Tucker and Coleman had recruited specifically for this mission, as they were both well accomplished in driving Carrier Crafts and maintain them. Plus extra hands were always useful for moving a haul.
“No, but I’d rather not wait for someone to. Would you?”
The Wiry-Man laughed but said nothing. He and his partner spoke in a skillfully frustrating manner that burrowed under her skin and crawled the length of her body.
Coleman smiled along with the Wiry-Man, but she knew her partner and so she told him to grab one end of the crate.
“Tucker, give him a hand please? I’m gonna head back and prep for departure.”
The Wiry-Man grabbed one end of the crate and waited for Tucker to take hold of hers. With two hands each, they lifted the crate and made their way out of the trailer, with the Wiry-Man waking backwards in the lead and Tucker following. They traveled about ten feet before the man paused in a quick and jerking manner that caused Tucker to bump in to the crate.
She begun but he had already resumed walking. She figured he had been readjusting his grip and they carried on. Another ten or-so feet had been covered before he paused again in a quick and jerking manner. The crate pressed in to her abdomen more forcefully this time and she let out a small gasp. She looked up and met the eye of the man to see a wicked grin lifting the corners of his gaunt face.
“Oopsie.” He smiled at her.
“Don’t.” She said. “Let’s just get this stupid thing to the carrier.”
In spite of her word the wiry man repeated his taunt several more times before they reached the carrier. When they were near the edge of the ramp she dropped her end.
“Oopsie,” she sneered. “Imma bit too antsy I think. You’ve got the rest?”
She walked up the ramp triumphantly but was met by Coleman at the top.
Her demeanor had stiffened and her sense of alertness instantly replaced Tucker’s annoyed feelings with a fresh wave of tension.
“Radar’s got something. Some kind of vehicle. Not sure what.”
“Shit. Shit shit.” Tucker replied, and ran back down the ramp. Together with the Wiry-Man they hauled the crate up in seconds.
The ramp was drawn up and the driver revved up the engine. Tucker fastened in to her seat and peered over the Coleman’s shoulder at the green screen of the radar.
“Inbound from North-West.” The driver informed them. “We gotta get in the air.”
Coleman was strapped in beside him and called over her shoulder towards the wiry man:
“Is everything secured?!”
“Yea.” He replied, and he took his seat next to Tucker. ‘Would’ve ben quicker if this one hadn’t kept pausin.”
Tucker ignored him and watched out the window as the dust around them was blown away by the carrier’s exhale. The ground gave out from beneath them as they rose up a distance of fifty feet, then began rotating counter-clockwise.
“If that thing has a radar it’ll detect us.” Coleman shouted over the crescendo of the engine building power.
“We have a good anti-radar cloak.” The driver shouted back “It’ll have to be closer than fifty feet to see us, and by then they could just stick their head out the window and accomplish more!”
The carrier started moving forward at an increasing speed in the north-west direction.
“We need to gain height to avoid it. The wind and sand should cover us!
They shifted in to an incline like they were driving up an invisible hill. The carrier shook with increased violence and all the while the all kept glancing nervously at the radar. The dot was almost directly below them and they teetered on the moment of truth like base jumpers.
Thirty-feet. Twenty-feet. Ten-feet.
The dot was directly below them and they held their collective breath as they all stared at the radio. If they were detected they would receive a transmission any second now.
A full minute passed with a silence over the radio as prominent as forces rattling their vessel. At last the wiry man broke the muteness.
“Should be good now?!”
“Yup!” The driver responded, and Tucker let out a breath.
Coleman, who responded in exactly the same manner as her partner, beamed back at Tucker and held up her hand.
“Made it!!” She shouted with glee, and Tucker high-fived her.
“Never doubted we would!” Said Tucker with a smile that radiated joy, but did not convey half of the relief she felt at a clean get away with their haul.