Amy gasped as a close-up of a helicopter appeared. It looked just like the one that had been blown out of the sky at the campground. Beside her, Alex stood rigid, arms now at his sides, and she imagined him experiencing the same sense of dread.

“Where is that?” Alex asked David, his voice emotionless.

David glanced at one of three small monitors that newly occupied the operating space in front of him. “Three miles north of the city offices, closing fast on that position.” He opened a fourth window on the screen, which showed a map of the city and several slowly moving multicolored dots. “The blue dot is the helicopter and the red dots are the observer drones.”

The window showing the fire panned toward the direction of the helicopter, and showed in detail that the streets around the fire were totally filled with motionless cars. Lights flashed several blocks away, which Amy suspected were coming from fire trucks stuck in the gridlock.

“Do you think the people in the helicopter spotted the drone?” she asked Alex.

“And if they know it’s friendly,” he said, anticipating her concern. “We’ll find out soon enough.”

Barb asked David, “Can you at least try calling them?”

“We’re kind of doing that already,” he replied. “There’s an identifier signal being sent by all the drones, which they should be able to recognize if their onboard recognition software hasn’t been hacked.”

“‘Should’ is the operative word,” Derek said.



© 2018 Bradley Jarvis