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the escape that turned hunt

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When the police caught sight of us? I'm not sure actually. They weren't there before we got onto road 73, I know that. I was the lookout and odd-jobs man. Yes, there were three of us at that time, in Conny's old Golf. We'd been driving towards the old airfield, Conny and Stina and me, trying to herd two wasp-yellow Escapees that way.

No, no, they weren't aggressive when we met them. We'd signaled them with the headlights when we save them and Stina tried to get radio contact. Explain that we were only trying to lead them off the highway, to the smaller roads. But we couldn't find the frequency and then Conny tried to horn to get their attention.

In retrospect, that might have been when they first got a bit…. tetchy. But they were following us.

So, we kept driving. Conny nailed it best he could, but they were slowly catching up. And, you know, Escapees, usually friendly. Usually. But these two were truck-sized, so…

Conny took off over a field and it slowed them a bit. Slowed us too, but they weren't used to the soft ground. Then we passed an enclosure, with sheep, and they began to get distracted so I lit a signal flare. Now, you have to understand, we'd often use these to call Escapees to us when the radio wouldn't work. Most of them came with heat-sensitive equipment, see? And none, not a single Escapee ever, had ever reacted negatively to flares.

So I lit my flares. They both turned away from the sheep quickly enough, our lost Big Yellows. And then... If you've never seen a truck-sized robot totally freak out when you light a signal flare, you haven't lived.

Turned out, military models react a bit differently to intense heat than construction or mining models.

Yeah. They were even more hush-hush about that, then the rest, but as we learned that day, the IPPR weren't above dabbling with military contracts. And when two teens and the only punk in the entire valley tried to "steal" – though we always made sure not to trespass, or touch them in any way, so they couldn't actually get a conviction. Where was I? Yeah, steal two experimental military robots; not on. Nor did they like that we provoked them into firing their missile shells.

Of course they were carrying blanks. You think I would be sitting here otherwise?

We were getting a bit nervous they began galloping towards us, because the vibrations made the entire car shake. I tried to wave the flare in a peaceful way, leaning far out of the window to show that we were humans and nothing else. Stina kept flipping through the radio channels. But it wasn't until the closest one raised its missile ramp and we saw these two red X's move on the grass in front of us, that we really got scared. Then the markers weren't on the grass, because they were on our rear window.

Stina pulled me inside while Conny turned the Golf round its axis so quickly we almost toppled over. I thought for sure we were going to die, but we just cut down into that wet grass like a rally car and then there was this immense noise. Dirt and grass everywhere, I was screaming, Stina was screaming, and Conny kept yelling "go, go, go!" as if the car would understand him as well as an Escapee.

Big Yellow number two then decided that the flare wasn't dead enough for its tastes, so it took aim – and yes, I had dropped the flare when I got back into the car and Conny was zig-zagging his way away from it as quickly as the engine managed – and just, blammo! That was one dead signal flare and like any good squad, they went over to investigate the remains of the enemy.

Letting the Super-Golf and its three intrepid adventurers get away with only a few scratches and a fright.