Smuggling arms across the border.
“What are you hauling?”
Tomlin scratches the sweat-heavy elastic of her bra, cracks her neck. “Luxuries. Cigarettes, genever, uh, wrist watches, virtual boys… I’ve got the manifest here, hang on…” She keeps her feet perfectly still, crossed far away from the button that’ll blow the lid off. The guard looks through her papers, cross-stamped and stained now with fourteen state-crossings. He’s sun-dark, but pale around the jaw and neck; recently shaved, she guesses, of a heavy beard. A new recruit?
“Wait here.” He backs into his shed, speaks into a hand-cranked phone. Tomlin uncrosses her feet, tries to read his lips through the bullet-scarred glass. Sign and countersign… Rebel or conquistador? She rests her hand on her swaggerstick, crouched invisible and lethal against the door.
Back again, face bland. “Go on through. Welcome to Interzone, ma’am.”
“Keep to the highway,” she tells him, slack with relief, and he laughs, unreadable mirth in a face gone all teeth.