Therefore, to avoid any undue attention, he decided to take a circuitous route across rural roads far off the standard maps, one he had experimented with years ago while exploring the countryside. As his Mustang left the truck stop's driveway, Ray noticed another black car starting up and quietly turning in the same direction. He smiled, glad to see that these NSA folks were going by the book that he knew well. It would make it easier to lose them before he finally reached Gonzales.

Instead of returning to the main highway, Ray headed onto a dirt road in the opposite direction. The black vehicle rapidly swerved and followed him.

Ray turned again and headed back toward the highway. He passed the black vehicle as he sped behind the truck stop. It took a few seconds before his pursuers reacted, but when they did, it wasn't a pretty sight. The vehicle spun back and forth on the dirt road and kicked up a fair amount of sand in its wake.

Once underway, the car followed Ray out of the truck stop, past the on ramps to the highway, and proceeded under a highway bridge. Now the black vehicle slowly began accelerating.

Ray had been watching the clumsy maneuvers carefully and laughed to himself. He revved the classic V-8 engine in his Mustang, which he had tweaked up considerably in recent weeks and floored the gas pedal.

However, he was surprised that the black vehicle matched his pace. To the onlooker, Ray's car looked like an old wreck, with a dented body and torn upholstery but it was packed full with the latest technological gadgets. He had added them in the last few months, when he feared that he might be tracked by NSA agents when it finally came time to return to Area 51.

Within minutes, the black vehicle almost caught up with Ray, and he knew it wouldn't be long before it was running neck and neck; an obvious attempt to flee wouldn't look very good.

Ray's heart pounded faster and faster as the black vehicle came closer. He made one last attempt to increase his speed, but the Mustang was already moving as fast as it could. Finally, he saw what he was hoping for, and slowed down as the road swung around and headed northeast. If his pursuers would concentrate so much on him they'd miss the turn and he would be safe from further pursuit, at least from that vehicle. He breathed slowly for a few seconds, in an attempt to attain the state of calm he needed and accelerated to top speed. His car quickly shot forward at almost twice the speed, completely confounding his watchdogs.

About thirty seconds later, he tossed his car around the bend watching in his rearview mirror as the black vehicle struggled vainly to react in time.

Ray observed the black car careening out of control as it attempted the sharp turn. Within seconds, the vehicle plowed right into an old barn, coming to a stop right in the middle of a pile of hay. Soon the coughing, gasping agents stumbled out of the car, cursing the twilight sky and shaking their fists at him.

Seeing that they did not appear injured, Ray simply laughed and continued on his way. His magical lucky streak had saved him for the second time today. Next time he did not expect to be so fortunate. As the old phrase went, three times is a charm.

Night had fallen by the time Ray arrived at the home of Gonzales' friend. He parked the car in front of the house, a rather shabby and run-down structure and rushed inside where his friend was sitting on a couch, looking impatiently at his watch. The old soldier seemed ageless, with only a few wrinkles around his mouth to betray his advanced years. He was clean-shaven, bespectacled, with thinning gray hair. Yet in contrast to his own sloppy appearance, Ray didn't miss the fact that Gonzales' slender frame was neatly tucked into a dark, smart suit and tie, looking not unlike a senior NSA agent, one clearly accustomed to command.

He deliberately ignored Ray for a moment that seemed like an eternity before acknowledging his presence.

1 2 3 4 Print Version