Tuesday, February 21, 2051
The Six, what was once known as Interstate Six, is one of the busiest freeways in the world. After the quakes of ’43, the other two major arteries connecting SoCal and NorCal, the 99 and 101, were both closed due to damage and a mess of red tape emerging as a minor border war between NorCal and SoCal, halting any hope of reconstruction.
That leaves The Six as the only major road connection between the two sister states. Repaired, repaved, and expanded on primarily by the megacorporations – as opposed to the state actors supposedly in charge of the operation – The Six now operates as a paragon of industrial efficiency – at least, when the automated toll collection system is working. On those days when it’s down – hacked, damaged by the elements, or just plain broken down – things slow to a crawl as The Six’s privatized police force, 6Sec (supported by both NorCal and SoCal police) collect tolls and make border inspections.
This is one of those days. The Lazarus team is in the middle of one of the greatest gridlocks of recent memory, some two miles from the NorCal/SoCal border. It’s already gone dark, and in the past two hours the team has moved forward all of four miles. 6Sec vertols are hovering above The Six, their spotlights shining down upon the horrendous backlog of cars waiting in line.
Mac sighs, stretching his arms as best he can, feeling trapped like a ferret in a cage, hopped up on caffeine. “Are we there yet?” Pitbull switches the song over to Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”, before wrestling himself out a cigarette. Wormwood munches on a skewer of chicken tikka he bought from one of the many scooter-born vendors working the massive jam and muses “Pits, we need to find an alternate route, and maybe an alternate pick-up point for the rest of the gear too.” Basically trapped in his seat, Pacoy intently explores the intricate features of the media capabilities of the buzzbot, focusing on the streaming data as it changes from optical input to visual output. This, he thought, is something I should have learned to manipulate at master levels before getting into a situation like this. What was I thinking signing on to be filmed?