Chapter 55

Copyright© 2010 by Michael Wolfam

As they exited the tunnel, Finn swept the area with the gun camera. There was no sign of the snowmobiles or their drivers. With palms sweating, Liv idled through the canyon, heading back toward the main road.

For several minutes, the only sounds they heard were their breathing and the snow crunching under the treads. The tension built, as the mine faded in the rear camera view. Suddenly, the high-pitched sound of a powerful engine broke the silence. From a cave behind them, a snowmobile raced from its hiding spot. Finn swung the twins around and opened fire. Tracer rounds floated lazily toward the snowmobile, and the snow around the machine erupted, as bullets plowed into the powder. "Little f$%ker is fast!" Finn grunted as he tried to zero in on the snowmobile, which was performing a series of fast, tight turns.

"Shit, we've got more company!" Liv exclaimed. The two missing snowmobiles appeared on her screen, racing in their direction. The super heated bullets from their guns floated toward them like ghostly tracers.

"I'm gonna try taking out these f$%kers in front of us." Liv punched the gas, and the powerful growl of the Hemi added its voice to the cacophony created by the high revving engines of the snowmobiles and the sound of gunfire.

Finn's screen turned white when a tracer from the SAWs found their mark, bursting his target's fuel tank. Gasoline had spilled over the snowmobile's hot engine, turning the machine and its operator into a flaming fireball. "Yeah, suck it!?" Finn yelled defiantly at the monitor.

He slewed the twins around to face the next threat. The two machines were closing quickly, but sensing Liv's intentions to run them over, each tossed a grenade from an extreme range and pulled a quick u-turn. Finn's tracers were hot on their tail as they disappeared around a bend. Liv slammed on the brakes and the grenades exploded harmlessly in front of them. Snow flew everywhere, and two gaping holes appeared in the snow pack.

"These guys aren't messing around, are they?" Liv exclaimed. "f$%king camera got covered in snow by the blast."

"I'll cover you while you clean the snow off," Finn offered with a grin.

"Hey, I cleared the cameras last time! Besides, the snow looks really deep and you're taller."

"Yeah, well, you can't cover me from inside, and we need that camera so that you can see well enough to drive. No sense in both of us getting out and being exposed."

"You wish I was exposed," Liv grumbled. She checked that her Steyr was in place, shifted into park, and checked Finn's camera, one last time. There was no sign of the marauding snowmobiles. She grabbed a broom from the weapons locker, stuck her tongue out at Finn, and opened the door. The snow came up to her chest, making it difficult to move.

After much effort, she reached the front bumper, grabbed on to the freezing winch, and pulled herself up onto the bumper. With her left hand, she flipped off the gun camera, then started brushing snow from the hood.

With an amused smile, Finn watched Liv clear the snow. The rude gesture she made caused him to laugh. The inside of the Jeep was warm, and the heated leather seats felt great. "Fighting in Iraq should have been this cushy," he said, eyeing the expensive-looking trim. "Oh f$%k." Finn sat bolt upright and grabbed the joystick. The two snowmobiles, lit up by the thermal imager like the Fourth of July, were flying toward them at top speed. "Oh man, she's gonna kill me," he muttered, as he swiveled the guns and pulled the trigger.

Liv had just finished clearing off the pile of snow that was blocking the camera, when the SAWs abruptly swiveled past her head and ripped off a quick burst. The sound was deafening and the bright flashes from the gun barrel ruined her night vision. Copper-jacketed slugs raced past her. Desperate to escape, Liv scrambled to the driver's side of the hood and leaped into the soft snow below.

Liv yanked the door open and hopped back in the driver's seat, rubbing her ears. "Dude, not freakin' cool." Once she settled in, she punched him on the shoulder.

"Sorry 'bout that." Finn shrugged. "I didn't have any way to warn you. Looks like our friends just can't stay away ... must be my charming personality."

"Ha, you wish. Whatever it is, I wish they would take a hint and f$%k off." Liv buckled her seatbelt and popped the shifter into drive. She gunned the engine, and with a newfound vengeance, chased after the fleeing snow machines. The suspension groaned as they flew over the uneven terrain.

The rubber tracks clawed frantically at the snow, but the SRT-8 was no match for the faster snowmobiles, which were quickly pulling away. They were almost out of the canyon and back to the main road when the two drivers split off, heading in two opposite directions.

"Shit, who do we chase?" Liv asked in frustration.

"Go after the one to the right. It's heading toward that other mine. At least that way we can make some progress while we try and run this asshole down."

"You got it. Keep an eye on our ass, will ya?" Liv stomped the gas pedal and pursued the snowmobile. The narrow, canyon road was completely buried by the snow. She focused on following the small vehicle's tracks and hoped the man wouldn't lead them right over a cliff.

"The other guy is following, but he's staying just out of range. I can barely see him on the screen." Finn tried desperately to get a lock on the pursuing snowmobile.

"I bet he comes to us when we take out his buddy," Liv said grimly. She down-shifted the automatic into second, and revved the powerful motor. The twin turbochargers spun faster, force feeding cold air into the engine and dumping torque and power into the drive train. The SRT-8 accelerated rapidly.

"These guys are goddamn Houdini's," Liv muttered as the snowmobile in front of them disappeared. She slowed the Jeep, hoping not to drive into a trap. One grenade in the wrong place and they would be sitting ducks, stuffed conveniently in a decorative, tin can.

Her search ended abruptly when the missing snowmobile popped out from behind a hill, on the left side of the Jeep. The man held an object in his right hand and was less than five feet from the Jeep. Without hesitation, Liv flipped a switch on the dash. The inside of the Jeep shook from the resulting explosion.

The man on the snowmobile never had a chance to throw the grenade. Thousands of spherical projectiles tore through him and his snow mobile. In the view from the driver's side camera, she could see the snowmobile and driver disintegrate as the Claymore tore through him. "Holy shit, he just got f$%ked up!" Liv exclaimed while rubbing her ringing ears.

"Yeah, that was crazy." Finn held up a high five. "Uh oh, looks like our other friend wants to play. Don't move, I bet he thinks we're dead in the water."

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