Aisha’s careful instructions lead them to a small shack that looked completely inhospitable.
“Wait here,” she ordered, then disappeared before he agreed to anything.
A man met her in the doorway and Oz watched her as the guy realized there was someone else in the driver’s seat.
The man, broad and burly, strode forward and yanked open the passenger door.
“I said acquire a vehicle, not a driver,” he grumbled.
“Well, I acquired both,” she said tartly, voice lowering a few octaves. Oz thought about telling them to get a room, that their bickering probably wasn’t fooling anybody, but decided against it.
He waved and said, “Hey,” instead.
The two standing out in the rain blinked at him, then turned back to one another and started arguing.
Apparently, it didn’t matter what Clay, who Aisha identified while screaming in his face, said. People started piling out of the shack, three guys, two women, and, Oz was dismayed to see, two kids. Not that he didn’t like kids. He did, just not when he had to spend hours trapped in a moving vehicle with them.
Oz’s renovations didn’t actually leave a lot of options for seating or safety but he moved into the back to help affix the baby seat to the one remaining chair that was bolted to the floor.
By the time he’d gotten the kid secured, a bald black man had slid into the driver’s seat, Aisha and Clay had finished their argument and clambered into the van, and there was more stuff
crammed in the back than Oz had ever owned.
Big-and-Bald started the van and got turned around. They were pointed in the right direction when it died and Oz smiled as Aisha sighed.
“You have to let Oz drive,” she said as Big-and-Bald kept trying to start the van. “It doesn’t seem to allow for other drivers.”
“Baby’s persnickety,” Oz nodded.
“And we have to go to San Francisco, before he’ll take us wherever we want to go,” she added grudgingly.
“What’s in San Fran?” The bespectacled blond guy asked.
Oz looked at him. He’d memorized every face, every name, every voice
of every person he came into contact with during the Initiative. He’d never seen this guy before but he knew that voice.
So, instead of being vague, he said, “The Council.”
And the blond guy paled as he squeaked, “They got blown up.”
“They got rebuilt,” Oz said with a smirk.
The blond guy blinked and said, “You…you were one of the hostiles. Please don’t eat me.”
Oz thought about saying he’d rather eat the baby but he didn’t think these people were ready for Scooby humor just yet. So he rolled his eyes instead and slid into the driver’s seat that Big-and-Bald, still protesting, had vacated.
He patted the dash gently and turned the key. The engine roared to life and they puttered off into the night.