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Further Adventures of the Borderland Biker -Chapter 19

“We’re too late;” shouted Shaun aka velociraptor aka chameleon, “save yourself…I’ll hold them off…”

By Derrel Whitemeyer
5/4/2015


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Editor's note: The following story is from the book, "The Further Adventures of The Borderland Biker, In Memory of Indian Larry and Doo Wop Music," by Derrel Whitemeyer.

For Chapter 18 Click Here
 
 To fifty, and I’m being generous, my Wide Glide might’ve kept us in sight. From fifty onwards the M109 was, with the exception of the Road Warrior and Raider, like no other V-twin I’d ever ridden. Top speed became a relative term when we began to encountered dips and rises in the otherwise perfectly straight road. Larry, on the Raider just ahead and to my left and with Kate clinging tightly to him, would become airborne cresting some of the rises. Only the severest rises and dips were slowing him down.
Fourth and fifth gears are the Suzuki M109’s and Yamaha Raider’s trump cards, with their fifth gear being as high a ratio as sixth gear in many other bikes. My speedometer at one time read over 120 mph and I had no doubt there was more. Whether that speed was accurate, I couldn’t be sure.
 
Twice I glanced at the gray land paralleling us then stopped; it was too depressing. It reminded me of a picture I’d once seen of Hiroshima taken right after the atom bomb had been dropped. The gray land paralleling us was a panoramic print of that picture but with more devastation. Caught in the whirlpools of dust devils were clouds of ash that swirled around the skeletons of buildings that extended out as far as the horizon. Was this one of our alternate realities? For a moment I felt like the Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge being shown the ‘if we don’t all get our shit together’ future by the third Christmas ghost.
 
More than two minutes into our ride the dips and rises disappeared and our road leveled; the landscape was becoming less gray, less desolate and then suddenly we were surrounded by fields of tall wheat. We’d crossed from one Borderland into another so fast I couldn’t remember seeing where one ended and the other began. Speaking of fast, Kate’s added weight wasn’t slowing Larry down. Could he have programmed vitamins or steroids into his remap to override the Raider’s rev limiter? Could we have gotten to or exceeded 140 mph? We’d never find out. Looming ahead was an elevated highway.
 
To reach it the end our road had become a climbing sweeping left turn onto an on-ramp. We were down to our final fifteen seconds. With Kate’s head tucked behind his back, Larry was holding his present speed. If anything it had increase a bit. Was it to compensate for the on-ramp’s two hundred foot rise in elevation to reach the highway or because we were nearly out of time? Whatever the reason for the increase in speed we’d be testing the limits of our tires. There’d be no room for mistakes, no prisoners. Midway through the turn we were both leaned so far over our foot pegs were dragging. Don’t lower my heel or toe…had become my mantra. Sparks coming off Larry’s pegs reminded me of when I was a kid and my younger brother would run around our backyard with a Fourth of July sparkler. 
 
At one point I glance over my shoulder. There was no sign of the wasteland we’d passed through or of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Quickly looking forward again I was able to see Larry’s Raider pass between two trucks…I followed. Had either of the trucks an extra coat of paint we wouldn’t have made it. The trucks had been coming straight for us. The on-ramp we’d entered was really an off-ramp and our two and a half minutes had just ended…and I could only hope we’d crossed into the final piece of Ma n’ Pa’s Borderland and joined them together…
 
…and we’d made it…but to where?
 
Larry was slowing; he must’ve known the two and a half minutes were gone and that we were in another Borderland. Navigating between oncoming traffic brought home the reality we really were going the ‘WRONG’ way. To Larry’s credit he wasn’t slowing too much. Slowing too much would have given oncoming drivers time to swerve or hit their brakes and maybe lose control. Slowing to a mere eighty made our relative speed manageable; manageable meaning time enough to maneuver between them before they could react. Any slower and they would’ve panicked. A turnoff to a maintenance lane allowed us to finally pull off to the side and stop.
 
“This place has some serious negative vibes,” I was shouting over the sound of traffic.
 “It doesn’t seem at all like a Borderland Ma n’ Pa would’ve had created.”
 
“It may,” said Larry, “be an echo of what they ‘didn’t’ want to create.”
 
“What do you mean?” I asked.
 
“It’s sort of like when we can’t keep ourselves from dreaming of what we don’t want to dream of…,” Larry replied.
 
I followed with another question, “If that’s the case, can we backtrack across the wasteland and return to the portal at Kate’s place? It should be open in another couple of hours.”
 
“Yes and no,” answered Kate. “Hours in our time could be years here. I’ve instruments in my backpack that’ll tell me when and where we can leave but I need to set them up and to do that we need to get off this highway.”
 
“The drivers are slowing;” Larry shouted pointing at the traffic, “it’s just a matter of time before they call the police.”
 
“Speaking of drivers,” I interrupted, “have you two taken a look at them? They look like, and I know this sounds impossible, insect versions of humans.”
 
Human in shape and size but with hard exoskeleton surfaces; were they what we might’ve looked like if we’d evolved from insects? Had we ridden to an alternate universe peopled by some sort of human and insect hybrid?
“You’re traveling the wrong way,” said a driver with a segmented face and that’d just pulled to a stop. “More importantly your kind isn’t allowed here. Humans are not allowed out of their sector unless accompanied by an Alpha.”
 
“Are you an Alpha?” I asked.
 
“Hardly;” answered the driver. They’ve no compassion or understanding beyond the task of keeping everyone in their designated sectors. They’re not to be trifled with by my kind or your kind, especially your kind, for any reason.”
 
“Sort of like soldier ants or bees,” Kate had gotten off the back of Larry’s bike and had walked over to the driver’s door. “So if they’re Alphas, what’s your kind called?”
 
The driver was quick with his answer, “Humans are simply referred to as the ‘Others’. We’re known as Betas.”
 
Kate had casually taken off her backpack and moved it to where it was between her and the driver. Noticeably agitated now that Kate had come close, the driver moved back from his open window. It was obvious the ‘Others’ were not to approach Betas or Alphas unless given permission?
 
“Not to be rude,” the driver had become calm again, “but I’ve never seen any of your kind operate anything but farm machinery or heavy mining equipment. To find the three of you on motorcycles free to ride the roads away from your compounds and without an Alpha escort, is, well to say the least, unexpected.”
 
All the while this seemingly harmless banter was taking place the driver’s car was inching slowly forward; at the same time another car that had pulled up was inching in behind us. Soon we’d be trapped. Was the movement of their vehicles simply the innocent creep of two drivers unknowingly releasing their brakes or a deliberate attempt to block the three of us from escaping? At the same time the driver’s car was inching forward Kate was inching her backpack upwards to where it was level with the car’s window.
 
Speaking so softly Larry and I could barely hear, Kate said to the driver, “Back your vehicle up and give us the room we need to turn around.”
 
“You’re too late; the authorities are already on their way.”
 
“If you don’t move,” Kate responded still using her soft voice, “you won’t be here to see them arrive.”
 
“You forget,” came at the end of a short laugh, “we’ve exoskeletons like Alphas; we’re much stronger than you.”
 
“Are you stronger,” Kate had pulled her Colt 45 Model 1911 automatic from her backpack and was pointing it at the driver’s head, “than my little friend here?”
 
“Not even Alphas have firearms…how were you…?
 
“What you really want to be asking me, not to be rude, is will I shoot if you don’t move your vehicle?”
 
Immediately the driver, with Kate walking beside his window, began backing up and emitting a high pitch chirping. The driver behind us chirped in response and began backing up seconds later…so much for cell phones.
 
From far away came the sounds of sirens; I had to assume the police would be made up of Alphas. The large, growing larger crowd of the curious would hopefully slow their arrival.
 
Larry had gotten off his bike and walked to where Kate was standing, “We’ve got to go.”
 
Kate wasn’t moving; it was as if she wanted an excuse to shoot the driver.
 
“…NOW!”
 
Seconds after Larry shouted ‘Now’ he picked Kate up, slung her over his shoulder and began carrying her back to his bike. It was too late, the Alphas had arrived. Heading straight for us they looked as if they were wading through the gathering crowd of Betas. Much taller than the Betas and formidable in appearance, the first two had gotten out of a large van about a hundred yards behind us. Another four Alphas had exited the rear of the van and were following.
 
Suddenly fifty feet ahead of us a rusty old, old as in antique, dump truck entered from a side street and screeched to a halt. Expecting to see more Alphas we were instead surprised to see Hilts sitting in the driver’s seat waving for us to get in the truck as quickly as possible.
 
For a moment I was hoping Hilts might’ve transformed into the quintessential spaghetti western gunfighter that had saved us from the Cyclops Paul E. Femus and that maybe he’d brought Ma n’ Pa with him as backup.
 
“If you want to live,” shouted Hilts, “leave your bikes and get into the truck as fast as you can.”
 
Directly behind me came sounds that reminded me of the clicking of a steam heater in a rundown hotel. Without looking I knew the Alphas were already here and that I didn’t have time to turn and shoot. I didn’t have to. Kate and Larry had already drawn their pistols and were firing.
 
<b>An antique dump truck to the rescue</b>
An antique dump truck to the rescue

 
Larry and Kate then ran around to the passenger side of the truck and jumped in, at the same time waving their arms for me to follow. The few Alphas that were left were bent over the Alphas Larry and Kate had shot. The crowd of Betas, which had up until a few seconds ago been cheering the Alphas on to attack us were now quiet. It was as if finding out Alphas were not indestructible had immobilized them.
 
“We’ve got to leave now,” shouted Hilts.
 
Hilts had already turned the dump truck around so it was pointed back down the narrow side street.
 
“Get in;” Hilts shouted again, “I know where there’s an exit out of this Borderland. But we can’t wait.”
 
“Go, I’ll follow on the Raider,” it was my turn to shout. “The M109’s parked closest to the entrance to this side street and I’ve an idea how to use it, sorry Mr. Suzuki, so that it will slow down any pursuit.”
 
Instead of trying to argue me out of my idea, Hilts put the dump truck in gear and accelerated down the side street. When he’d driven about fifty yards and was near where it intersected with another street he pulled to the side. After I’d followed him on the Raider for about forty feet I stopped, turned and fired three shots at the M109’s gas tank.
 
Glock’s 45 GAP puts big holes entering things and bigger holes leaving. With three big and three even bigger holes the gas tank was quick to empty its contents. Almost as quickly the crowd of Betas led by the remaining Alphas turned and started running towards me. My fourth shot was meant to ricochet off the gasoline soaked pavement underneath the M109 and cause a spark…it didn’t. My fifth shot did and the area surrounding the M109 as well as where the gasoline had flowed into the side street’s entrance erupted in a wall of flame enveloping both the bike and my pursuers. I could feel the heat and was glad I wasn’t any closer.
 
“Follow us, hurry,” yelled Kate from the passenger window of the dump truck…Hilts was already turning left and accelerating away while Kate was yelling, “Hurry!...”
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