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The Lackhart N-Series
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An interview with the Motorway Patrol

Chapman engages the overdrive as we accelerate. “Not good. At this time of night, that Mortario’s probably driven by some idiot of a combat footballer. If it’s an Elite, it can volley 6 rocket launchers at once. We need to shut him down fast.”

“And carefully,” adds Smith.

“Right.” Chapman grimaces. “The Patrol won’t be popular if it offs one of City’s key strikers.”

I’m concerned about the Shadowhawk. It is just a motorbike. Should it really be engaging such a powerful opponent.

“No sweat,” says Chapman. “With stealth and light-intensification engaged, the Mortario won’t even know she’s there, and the machine-guns are silenced. With luck, it will be over before we even arrive.” But I notice that he is starting to push the engine.

Ahead, we can see the flashes of rocket launches. “Ready, Jonah. We’re going in hard.”

We overtake the Shadowhawk on the right in the blink of any eye, its black paint almost invisible against the night sky. Smith triggers the Vulcan, targeting tyres. The Mortario shakes, totally surprised to be attacked from behind. “Christ, that guy didn’t even register that the Shadowhawk was firing at him.” Chapman stabs the firing stud three times in quick succession, then slams on the brakes.

“Why are we stopping?” I ask.

The three grenades detonate underneath the Mortario, blowing out all four tyres, and it crashes to the ground, miraculously not losing control. The pick-up continues on its way.

“Jonah, shut him down.”

Two foam grenades arc through the air, coating the turret and optics for the guidance laser. A quick burst of siren and the fight is gone from the Mortario. Quick, efficient and no civilian casualties.

Two hours later, and the shift is done. I buy Chapman another cup of tea as he clocks off.

“That was a good day. But we have bad days. I’ve escorted ambulances to Scourge districts, mowing down the crazy advanced cases to help those who still stood a chance of being cured. We emptied all our magazines that day, must have taken down fifty, a hundred victims, and we saved five. I find that hard to live with. Typically, we’re here to save lives. And usually we manage. That is why I love this job.”

Patrol Sergeant Chapman finishes his tea and leaves. In 12 hours, he will return, to keep the arteries of Britain alive with activity.

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