Deleted Scene – Clair is not a Killer

(The entire sequence from the safe-house to the Skylifter was heavily edited, line by line, to keep it pacy. This is one scene that got left behind. Our heroes are fleeing across the Californian countryside when they have to face a difficult choice.)

Clair kicked out with her chin.

“Someone’s coming after us,” she told Jesse. “One of the bad guys.”

He sat straighter and glanced back at her. The bike slowed minutely. “How do you know?”

“My friend Q told me.”

“Just then? We’re supposed to be off the grid, Clair.”

“She’s given me a mask so I’m invisible. That’s not the point. Get us off the road, now.”

Jesse accelerated for a turn-off leading to a clutch of ruined farm buildings. He braked, turned, pulled half in behind a shed so they could still see the road, and switched off the engine.

“We have to warn the others,” he said. “They may be mad, but they deserve that much.”

“We’re not supposed to call unless it’s an emergency.”

“This is an emergency, Clair.”

“Not if we can deal with him ourselves.” She pulled the loaded pistol free and trained it on the roadway.

“You’re going to ambush him?”

“Can you think of anything else?”

He turned and stared at her for a long second, then shook his head.

An audio message icon flashed.

“I can’t trace the origin of ‘Dylan Linwood’,” said Q. “That means the people behind this hostile agent are at least as smart as me, and I don’t like that, Clair. Be careful.”

Q sounded hurt and puzzled, as if the universe had personally reached out and slapped her. Maybe she deserved that, Clair thought. If this was a game to her, maybe now it was becoming real.

The rising hum of an approaching vehicle sound very real to Clair.

Clair braced herself. The red crosshairs appeared again, and she lined them up on the space where the hostile agent would appear. It was going to be a tricky shot. She would only get one chance.

“That’s not one of Dad’s designs,” Jesse said. It’s too noisy, too inefficient. But powerful. A PK bike, I’m sure of it.”

Clair phased him out. There were no flashing lights or sirens to indicate that its rider was a peacekeeper. Just the engine, getting louder and louder.

Time slowed as the bike hit her peripheral vision. A split-second later it was in front of her, dark and gleaming, sweeping across her field of view. She had a clear shot. Her finger tensed on the trigger.

Her finger wouldn’t close. It was one thing to fire at someone firing at her, quite another to kill someone in cold blood. Every civilized instinct in her resisted.

“Shit,” she muttered as the bike roared by, its pitch shifting dramatically downward thanks to the Doppler effect. She knew boys who dreamed of playing first-person shooters competitively. They could do this kind of thing in their sleep. Clearly, she wasn’t like them, even when it mattered.

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