An interview with the Motorway Patrol
Smith, the more silent of the two, is pointing out that Chapman has frequently intervened when the odds are very much against them. The most widely-reported incident involved a Scout bus, returning from an exchange visit to the Kingdom of Scotland. As they passed Carlisle, a vast gang of Scourge survivors set upon their bus, threatening to overwhelm it with sheer weight of numbers. Chapman and Smith, heading the opposite direction in their cruiser, turned and gave chase down the wrong side of the highway. Masterful driving by Chapman, combined with Smith’s gunnery skills, drove off the gang with not a single civilian casualty. Chapman got to visit Buckingham Palace to receive his second Police Medal for that encounter.
“I’m not sure I deserved it,” he shrugs. “Sure,” chimes in Jonah. “Everyone can drive at 80mph through oncoming traffic without accidents, while shooting maniacs off a Scout troop's back. No sweat.”
For Smith, that is a very long sentence, and he lapses into silence.
I ask Chapman what he enjoys most about his job.
“I enjoy the driving, but it’s the public service that keeps me coming back. With the railways gone, and the minor roads dangerous to travel, it is only the motorways that keep this country together. Sever those connections, and we’d be back to medieval times, where no-one knew anywhere more than twenty-five miles away. We’re doing our bit to keep the county together.”
The radio blares, and Smith takes the call. “Time to go, Dave.”
It’s a call from one of the Patrol’s Shadowhawks – silent motorcycles for surveillance and interception. She suspects that she has spotted an adrenaline-junkie, a duellist out looking for a fight to hone his skills, and wants back-up in case trouble flares.
We roll out, moving quietly through the still night, cruising east. After twenty miles or so, Jonah sighs. “Get going, Dave.”
It’s a sign of their long partnership that Chapman does not hesitate. The big cruiser is up to 110 in seconds. Smith points to the radar screen. Two dots are converging rapidly, with a smaller one hanging back.
The Shadowhawk calls in a secure frequency. “We’ve got an idiot in a Mortario Elite. Looks like they’re going for that pick-up truck ahead. I’m going to engage.”