The Esperanza’s are keeping a steady eye on the flanks of US-54 as they make their way to Dalhart on the road to the Oklahoma border. They slow the truck down and switch over to their electric engine as they begin their stealth approach.
Although the drought has hit Northern Texas as well, the billions of revenue gathered over the years from fracking the Eagle Ford Shale formation to the south has given the state a buffer from which to import water and food from Alaska to feed its residents. Texans take care of their own, but their foresight was lacking for the love of black gold.
Southern Texas sees torrential downpours and is free from the arid conditions afflicting most of the American Southwest, however, their environmentally destructive natural gas extraction processes have permanently tainted the groundwater as far as the lifespan of the human species on Earth is concerned. The overabundant rain that hits the ground simply flows straight into the Gulf of Mexico to reform into more storms as the water evaporates with the persistent heat waves.
Foreign family operated rain harvesting operations like the one Iris and Umberto have are wise to stay well clear of the south. The “big boys” protect their turf violently regardless of whether legal permits appear to be in place.
Trust is a virtue that dried up with the gas wells.
Umberto’s legal savvy can get them through the Texas border patrol in the north, but the well-entrenched corporate water interests in the south defend their rights to the 6 inch layer above the surface with force. Their handsomely paid mercenaries know where their allegiances lie…all anyone has to do is to follow the money.
“Their rights,” mutters Umberto under his breath.
The environmental lawyer within him still fumes at the entitlement governments feel or rather express because they don’t actually feel for anyone except for their own special interests. When it comes to water, Umberto considers himself a modern-day Robin Hood. And Iris is his kick-butt irresistible Marian— a Woman Not Waiting with attitude.
It’s coming on to 1 AM and the citizens of Dalhart are sleeping behind their barricaded homes. Iris stops the truck and slowly maneuvers her body over to the passenger side as Umberto monitors the proximity sensors. A quick soulful lock of the eyes and they switch positions. Umberto takes control of the next half of the journey.
After a good 4 hours of driving up from Albuquerque in the pitch black, fresh reflexes are needed for the tight detour through residential streets. This way, they can avoid the surveillance cameras in the city core. Their converted tanker does the trick quite well as it curves around corners with it’s articulated frame. The ingenious re-design also gives them a surprise advantage in the event of a chase.
When they clear the city, Iris taps on the display on the dashboard and brings up the Bandito Chaser Live feed over their target. Umberto switches the big engines back on and the empty tanker picks up speed. At their present velocity, they will reach Hooker in just under 2 hours. They will then veer east towards Turpin and sneak their way into the hills just north of the Beaver river.
“The storm is picking it up speed and curving south,” Iris reports. “Crap! We’re going to miss it.” Iris starts flipping through satellite maps for the northeastern tip of Texas. “We’ll have to travel east to Perryton if we want to catch it.”
Umberto leans over and shakes his head. “No way. That’s open farm country. We can’t set up there. Storms move around. She will push north again.”
All of a sudden the proximity monitor flashes red and a loud explosion blows a hole in the road in front of them. Umberto swerves right and drives the tanker into the ditch.
…to be continued in Storm Chasers On The Run