Chapter V

John Marshall and the woman Rozina slept together under the same blanket that night. It was cold, despite the shelter of a section of cement wall that stood lonely in the middle of a flat dusty field. Shards of small stones, probably pieces of old ceramic tile, cluttered the area. Marshall cleared a small space next to the wall. After a meager supper of Bean-O’s and juice bars, they went to sleep. Each felt a thrill to be lying next to another “safe” body. Each was careful, though, to avoid contact as much as possible. During the night, however, they had moved and woke up lying face to face.

Quickly they roused and set out in the early morning darkness toward the train station, which was only half a mile down the road. The sun rose ahead of them. A purple, and then a rosy vista greeted their eyes.

The train station, an express stop on the Hammond – Indianapolis Runner, sat next to one of the old, coal-powered electric generator stations – which still powered this section of the Train-Net.

She moved well on the crutches now. The question in their minds was: how was she going to “pass” through security? Both of them knew the technique of “passing along” or creating a double image on a security scanner. The maneuver required physically aligning yourself with another commuter and then to quickly and unobtrusively pass with that person through the laser turnstile.

But how was Rozina to “pass along” with these crutches?

Marshall and Rozina arrived at the station and stopped to rest on a bench outside. They observed the security arrangements. Just as Marshall had predicted, two cars and half a dozen “Special Op 4’s” were posted along the northbound platform. But on the southbound side there was only the standard array of “volvos”, or revolving sensors, plus the standard two sentries who patrolled in their standard elliptical patrol pattern.

Quickly seizing upon a rush of commuters who had descended from one of the air-buses and who were approaching the southbound platform, Marshal and Rozina joined the crowd and approached the sensors in “passing along” position. Marshall “passed” first. Rozina, just behind him and to his right, cast off her crutches just before she hit the laser. Marshall even reached his arm back to snatch the crutches before they hit the platform.

They were on. The other passengers were immediately busy with their screen links, all of them absorbed in their daily d’s, their daily downloads.

(Click here to go to Story of the P”s #14)

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