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9.7.5 Spike Bike #5: Armageddon in Detroit




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This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

9.7.5 Spike Bike #5: Armageddon in Detroit

Copyright (c) 1989 by Robert Fishell

[In the year 1998, one man fights the tyranny of the automobile...]
---

A cold November rain beat against the window. The hour grew late.
Yawning, I had set down my book and started off to bed when a knock came
on the door. I warily crossed the room to peer through the door peep.
It didn't look good. There were two grim-faced men in cheap suits
outside. I caught a glimpse of more men in the grey uniforms of CFGM
Security just on the fringes of the fish-eye view. This wasn't a social
call. My 9mm Walther was in my right hand. My left rested lightly on a
control panel next to the sill. I spoke into the intercom:

"What can I do for you fellows?"

"Spiro Bikopoulis?"

"Yes?"

"United States Secret Service. We'd like to talk to you."

"I'm all ears."

"Open the door, please"

"I can hear you just fine. Modern electronics, you know ---"

I saw the taller of the two men motion to the goons. Two of them
came into view, ready to kick in the door. I threw a switch on the
house's security controls. Instantly, a barrier slammed across the
threshold of the front door, and the house shuddered as similar barriers
simultaneously covered the remaining doors and windows. It was a
metal-polymer laminate I'd developed during my years as a metallurgical
engineer. Inch for inch, it was nearly twice as tough as armor plate,
yet it weighed only a quarter as much. It, and the reinforced
construction of my little ranch house would give me but a few minutes.
If they'd come for the reason I suspected, they'd have brought some
heavy firepower. I heard bullets thudding against the other side of the
barrier. They would try a battering ram next, then explosives.

I ran down to the basement. The sequence I'd set in motion
upstairs had already opened the sealed door to the secret room I'd built
five years ago. I threw aside my bathrobe and pulled on a rugged
jumpsuit and mountain bike shoes that awaited there. A gunbelt and
flack vest followed. I hopped on the black-anodized mountain bike and
opened the heavy door to the tunnel that led down to the river bank, 300
yards away. The chill and dank air seized me as I entered. I paused
inside and tapped out a code on the keypad just outside the door. It
quietly closed behind me, and I knew I'd never see my little house
again. The bike's powerful headlamp stabbed far into the darkness of
the tunnel, and I sprinted hard into its depths.

Halfway down the tunnel, I heard the muffled explosion behind. I
had set the charges to gut the house without causing too much damage to
the immediate area, or any innocent bystanders nearby. If, by chance,
any of the goons had bashed or blasted their way inside, though, they
were toast by now; those charges had been high-temp incendiaries. In
any case, they would not follow through the tunnel.

Opening the hatch at the tunnel's mouth, I was nearly overwhelmed
by a rush of knee-deep water. The heavy rains had swelled the river
beyond its banks. I tried to get the camouflaged hatch closed again,
but it was hopeless, jammed with mud. The tunnel would be easily
visible. Hoping to at least cover my tracks, I rode through the shallow
water for perhaps 200 yards before climbing up from the bank.

I rode along the river for another half mile before I saw the
chopper. A powerful spotlight swept across the landscape, paused, and
darted up and down the river bank in the direction I'd come from. They'd
spotted the tunnel, no doubt, and were trying to decide which way I'd
gone. The chopper turned to and headed my way. I offered a silent
curse and took off at a right angle to the river, into the back of the
railroad yard. I needed to get to cover fast. There! A freight train
was pulling out of the yard, and I sprinted to match speed, pull
alongside, and catch the open door of a boxcar. I struggled to get
myself and the bike inside before the chopper spotted me.

I didn't make it. The light played over the door and instantly
returned. The powerful beam followed the boxcar, and I heard the
chopper descending. I extracted a drab green cylinder from the mountain
bike's heavily laden panniers, extended the fore and aft tubes, and took
aim at the spotlight. A squeeze of the trigger and the LAWS rocket found
its mark. The chopper exploded and a huge fireball fell from the sky.

The train did not stop, but continued to roll out of the yard,
picking up speed. It was evidently a robot locomotive, and it would not
stop until it was programmed to do so. I didn't know where it was
going, but any place was better than here right now. I closed the car's
door and pondered my situation. In my bike's panniers and packs were my
usual armament of a MAC-10, 12 grenades, a .44 magnum, and extra
ammunition. But this particular bike had been especially prepared for
this occasion. I also carried two, make that one, LAWS rockets, two
satchel charges, and a sawed-off, 16 gauge pump shotgun. The rest of
its cargo was less destructive, but perhaps more essential: Dry
clothing, dehydrated food, $20,000 in small bills, some forged
documents, and a pint of Jack Daniels. I cracked the seal on the last
item and took one swig against the chill, replaced the cork, and set the
bottle aside. This bike and the gear it carried were now all I owned,
and I had to make the best of it.

I had known they might close in on me some day, but I had to learn
how. That and many other questions burned in my brain. But first, I
needed to sleep. I would need a clear head in the morning, wherever I
might be then. Where?

I awoke from a light sleep as the lurching of the cars made me
aware the train was slowing down. Through the space under the door, I
could see it was still dark outside. I opened the door a crack. The
weather had cleared considerably, and it was quite cold. I examined the
skyline silhouetted against the stars: Detroit. That was just about
perfect; just get accross the border to Windsor and I could make my way
to my Alberta cabin to decide on a course of action.

How had they found me? More importantly, why now? Corporatism was
finished. It had been a failure on all counts, social, political, and
economic. The early boom years, when the executive-politicians had had
the support of the people, had been financed by speculation, riding on
false hopes. Lately it had been falling apart. Economic growth had
ground to a halt, some consumer goods were growing scarce, and services
were deplorable. Dissension was widespread among workers at all but
senior management levels, despite harsh policies by employers -- The
Twenty -- to ensure loyalty. The "workfare" labor force, which amounted
to a pool of cheap conscript labor, could not absorb any more fired
workers, and the threat of losing your job if your district voted the
wrong way became meaningless as the quality of life deteriorated.

Though the Presidential election was still two years away, the
midterm Congressional elections and several key gubernatorial races
spelled disaster for The Twenty. Voter turnout had been unprecedented.
Despite lavishly orchestrated media coverage and huge PAC funds, nearly
every Corporatist candidate had been resoundingly defeated. The
Enterprise Party, the political party of the Anticorporatists, would be
firmly in control of the Congress and most of the states beginning in
January. My contacts in the Party had told me that impeachment
procedings against the Iacocca Administration would probably be the
first act of the new Congress.

I had rejoiced in the news. The long nightmare was nearly over. I
could soon go back to being Spiro Bikopoulis. Now, that dream was
shattered. My cover was blown. I'm Spike Bike, now. I can no longer be
any one else.

The train had slowed to perhaps 15 MPH. I slid the door open,
dropped the bike out, and jumped. I was just outside the railway yard,
near a crossing. I decided to take a chance on the road, at least for a
little while, in order to cover ground quickly while I still had the
darkness. It was early Monday morning. I would have to get near
downtown, dump the bike and the heavy weapons, taking only the cash and
my forged papers -- on foot -- to the bridge which led to freedom.

I covered about 5 miles before the morning glow made it too
dangerous for me to stay on the main roads. Now I wound my way through
alleys, through the poor neighborhoods near the downtown area. I would
ride for another half mile or so and then change into street clothes and
hoof it for the bridge.

My hopes were dashed. A block ahead, a dull grey Plymouth skidded
to a stop, blocking the alley. Almost immediately, another duplicated
the maneuver at the corner behind me. I immediately cut accross a back
yard, through the narrow space between two dilapidated garages, and
emerged with the MAC-10 drawn and ready for action.

This came immediately. As I rode out into the street, two of the
CFGM Security cars converged on my position. I sprayed the windshield
of one, and it changed course abruptly, crashing into a tree. The other
was closing fast behind me. I rode up onto a yard, between houses, and
into the alley paralleling the one in which I'd been spotted. To the
west were two grey Plymouths, and I cut hard to the east. I grabbed a
grenade and waited for the cars to close, but they kept their distance.

Up the alley ahead, I could see the walls of skyscrapers. I was
only a few blocks from downtown. As I crossed a street, I saw three
more of the CFGM cars closing in, but the way ahead was still clear.
Finally, I ran out of alleys beneath the heights of the tallest building
in Detroit -- the CFGM building. To the left and right of me were
roadblocks. I had only one place to go, the parking garage under the
skyscraper. I darted inside, my machine gun ready for an ambush, but I
found no one waiting. I looked around for a place to make my next
move. I felt a sting in my leg. Looking down, I saw a small dart
protruding from my thigh. I reached down to pluck it out, but my hand
wouldn't obey. The world tilted crazily and went black.

At first there was only a blur of agonizing light and a noise like
a buzz-saw ripping through my skull. After a few moments, the blur
became a face, and I realized it was speaking.

" ---ming around, Mr. Bikopoulis. Can I offer you a drink?"

A pail of icy water was thrown into my face, and I sputtered for
air, choking and nearly throwing up. It began to clear my head though.
As my vision returned, I observed that I was in an opulent office.
Before me was a heavy mahogany desk. On it were my MAC-10 and a drab-
looking suitcase. Behind, a panoramic window displayed the city lights
of Detroit-Windsor, seen from the exhilarating heights of what I
realized was the top floor of the 103-story CFGM building. The last
fringes of twilight glowed in the west. It had been early morning the
last I'd been conscious.

I was bound to a chair with duck tape, uncomfortably tight across
my wrists and ankles. I had been stripped to the waist. A glance
assured me that my heart monitor was still there. Looking around the
room, I saw my specially-equipped mountain bike leaned against a wall,
its armament intact. My gun belt and flak vest lay beside it.

"Yes, the bike's here," my host offered, "We know about that little
electronic gizmo of yours, but we didn't have time to figure out how to
disarm it. We thought it wise not to fool with anything, in fact. It
was easier just to keep it in range of the transmitter for now. You're
quite ingenious, Mr. Bikopoulis. Or is it Spike Bike?"

"That'll be _Mister_ Bikopoulis to you, Butt-brain." A mistake.
That brought knuckles across my face.

"You should show proper respect for authority, _Mister_ Bikopoulis.
Don't you know who I am?"

I knew who he was. Ames Morgan, Secretary of Transportation and
Executive Vee Pee of CFGM, Iacocca's right-hand man. It was rumored
that Morgan was the real boss of the Corporatist government. What was an
important cabinet member doing smacking me across the face?

"The face and charming manner are familiar. You grunt for the
Prez."

"The President of the United States is rather upset with you,
Spike."

"The American People are rather upset with him, so I guess he's
entitled. But why does he care about me? Senator Crisp..."

"Joseph Crisp is merely the political leader of this disloyal
rabble. You're their folk hero. You inspire them. You're too much of
a nuisance to have around."

"Somehow I think it's Mr. Iacocca who won't be around, at least not
much after the 3rd of January. Is it true that they're just going to
impeach him, or are they going to throw his ass in jail, too?"

"That's rather outlandish, coming from a terrorist."

"Terrorist? I'm just a concerned citizen, doing my best to keep our
highways free of trash."

"Terrorist. Particularly after the little stunt you pulled in New
Mexico Thursday."

"I was in New York Thursday, filling out reams of your goddam forms
just to receive a shipment of Metaxa from Greece."

"Quite the contrary, Spike. You shot up a top-secret government
installation. We've got it all on video tape. Killed thirteen people,
including a janitor and a couple of secretaries, before you got away
with this."

He placed a hand on the suitcase sitting on the desk. He removed a
panel to reveal an array of switches and displays. Reaching into his
pocket, he extracted a key and inserted it into a slot in the control
panel. The displays jumped to life.

"The CIA whipped this up. Quite clever, really, only thirty-six
pounds, and most of that's the shielding."

"What is it, a crystal set? Captain Video decoder, maybe?"

"I thought you were a weapons expert, Spike. It's a thermonuclear
device. Oh, it's just a little one -- thirty kilotons, maybe -- but
enough for you to do a great deal of damage to this fair city and its
distinguished guests."

I suddenly saw what he was getting at. It was monstrous.

The Enterprise Party had fittingly chosen Detroit's Cobo Hall as
the site for its first Transition Planning Conference. Every important
member of the Anticorporatist movement would be in attendance. The
conference was to open this evening. So that was why they'd timed my
capture for this date! They intended to destroy the cities of Detroit
and Windsor, and make it look like an act of terrorism, with me the
perpetrator. A quarter mile in the air, this office would be ground
zero. We were half a mile from the convention center. None of the
delegates would survive, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people
would perish with them.

"You're insane!" I hissed. I tugged and jerked at my restraints.
Morgan leaned back in his chair, placed his feet on the desk next to the
Bomb. His laughter filled every inch of the spacious office.

Morgan's laughter died down and my struggles ceased -- partly
because I'd managed to partially free my right leg, and partly because I
needed a cool head to size up the situation. I was alive only because
of Morgan's maniacal ego. He'd conquered Spike Bike, and couldn't
resist confronting me, just to gloat. I studied the device on the desk
before me. One of the displays on the suitcase Bomb was changing. It
read:

3:58:21... 3:58:20... 3:58:19...

I had to keep Morgan talking, to find out what he had planned, and
to divert his attention from my quiet struggles with the leg restraints.
He evidently hadn't realized the strength in a cyclist's legs. As I
exerted steady, concerted pressure, the strands of tape tore slightly on
the squared corners of the chair legs. Eventually, they would break and
my legs, if not my arms, would be free.

"You'll never get away with it. Even Iacocca wouldn't approve of
nuking an American city."

"Actually, he doesn't know anything about it. He's mainly a
figurehead, anyway. Past the age of retirement, you know. In any case,
four hours from now -- make that three hours and fifty-six minutes --
your friends down there will be radioactive vapor, and the people will
have to look to the only government they have -- us -- to see them
through the ensuing international crisis. And you, my friend, will go
down in history as the most infamous terrorist of all time."

"The bomb goes off in four hours?"

"10:00 PM sharp. Senator Crisp should just be finishing his speech
to the convention around then. I'll be long gone by then, driving west
toward Chicago. Couldn't take a chance on the airlines. You, on the
other hand, will be right here, snoozing away on another dose of
aneprazine -- that's the stuff we shot you with downstairs. You'll have
the whole building to yourself. We gave the cleaning staff the night
off -- not much point in mopping the restrooms in the middle of ground
zero, is there?

"Well, Spike, it's been nice meeting you in person, but I have
pressing matters to attend to. It seems there's no way to disarm this
thing once the countdown has started -- which it has -- and Detroit is
fast becoming a crummy place to be."

He extracted a hypo from a briefcase on the desk. My legs were not
quite free. I had to stall him a few moments more, fan his ego.

"One more thing. How did you find me?"

"The computers did it. Took us a long time. Seems you always
traveled under assumed names, paying with cash for your airline tickets.
But you used your family's business shipments to transport your weapons
and bicycles by rail and truck to the areas you hit. It was just a
routine audit of our shipping records, anything to get a lead. When we
found out that Spiro Bikopoulis, former bicycle racer, was shipping
merchandise to areas that were shortly thereafter visited by Spike Bike,
we had a pretty good idea who you were.

"That business you pulled back in Illinois confirmed it.
Incidentally, that was a half-million dollar chopper you blew up.
Fortunately for us, the pilot radioed your situation just before you
smoked him, so we had the train diverted here. Quite a stroke of luck
for us; we got some nice pictures. The security cameras caught your
entrance downstairs and got a nice close-up of your face before we
tranked you. It was not strictly necessary, but it will add credibility
to the story of the world's first nuclear terrorist. In a few days, the
tape will be on every TV screen in America, along with the stuff we got
in New Mexico."

"You got a ringer for me."

"Remarkable likeness, at least from a distance. Good with weapons,
too, an ex-Marine, like yourself. Down on his luck, poor chap. He was
more than happy to work with us after we got him off death row in
California. He took to a mountain bike like a natural. Did a great job
for us in New Mexico. We need more men like him. Pity you don't work
for us, Spike. Well, Spike, I could go on for hours, but I really
should be going. Have a nice nap."

He prepared the hypo and crossed from behind the desk. My legs were
free. I would have just one chance. As he drew close to administer the
shot, I rocked back on the chair and kicked up violently with both legs,
catching Morgan in the rib cage. The thrust hurled him through the air
several feet, until his back crashed through the expansive, mural
window. They say that from 103 floors up, you're dead before you hit
the ground. I always thought it was a myth, but I didn't hear him
screaming the whole way down, just 50 floors or so. Maybe there's
something to it after all.

My hands were still bound. I lay on the heavily carpeted floor,
alone with the Bomb.

3:42:01... 3:42:00... 3:41:59...


The silent, florescent display counted down the seconds until an
inevitable 30-kiloton nuclear blast. Morgan had said the Bomb could not
be disarmed, and he'd had no reason to lie.

I got myself turned around and managed to get on my feet. My hands
were still bound to the arms of the chair. I gingerly hobbled over to
the shattered window, through which poured the chilly November air. The
jagged glass cut through one of my bonds, giving me a gash across the
wrist in the process, and soon I was free of the chair. Glancing down to
the street, I saw tiny flashing red lights converging on the area where
I knew Morgan's remains must be splattered. Not good; I'd hoped to get
out of here unnoticed. The surrounding streets would be crawling with
CFGM Security by the time I reached the ground floor.

I turned my attention to the Bomb. Within just over three and a
half hours, it would have to be taken to a place where it could be
detonated with relatively little harm. There wasn't time. Morgan and
his henchmen had kept the theft of the Bomb a secret from the public,
and I could not deal with CFGM Security, which policed the city. It
could not be exploded on the surface anywhere in the populous East. A
fast military plane might get it to the Nevada desert in time, but how
could I convince the Air Force or the Navy of the urgency of the
situation? And how could I trust them? I had no idea how extensive the
conspiracy was. Searching my memory, I thought of one place it could be
taken that might suffice: the extensive salt mines under the city. I
knew I would have to take it there myself.

I retrieved my MAC-10 from Morgan's desk and checked out the bike.
It was undamaged, and Morgan had been afraid to tamper with its
extensive array of armament. That was good; I had a feeling I'd be
needing it. I patched up the cut on my wrist and replaced my flak vest.
Then I set about lashing the 36-lb Bomb to the rear rack. It was more
weight than I was used to carrying, but I was able to maneuver the bike
around the room. I boarded the private elevator which connected
Morgan's office to the parking garage under the skyscraper. A brief,
sinking feeling assured me I was on my way. On the way down, I broke
all the lights in the car's interior. I readied the machine gun,
prepared a grenade, and straddled the bike as the elevator slowed to a
stop. As the door opened, I saw two grey Plymouth sedans waiting
outside.

I burst through the doors firing in a wide arc. The guards
crouched behind the cars instinctively ducked, and did not return fire
for a critical second while I sprinted past the roadblock, tossing the
grenade as I passed. One of the guards got off a shot before the blast,
and I felt something hot laid across my shoulder. The wound was
superficial, but bloody. I waited for more fire, but none came. The
next wave would be at the garage's entrance. There was no time for
stealth. Repeating my bold move at the elevator, I sprinted up to the
street. The Bomb's weight slowed my progress up the ramp, but I still
burst out of the door with enough speed to maneuver. Fanning the
machine gun at the row of grey Plymouths just outside, I cut towards the
alley I had come out of this morning, right between two of the Security
cars. This time, none of their shots connected. A second grenade went
off behind me and the guns fell silent. A block away, I knew I had made
the first hurdle, but I could not get far this way. A mountain bike has
tremendous advantages in rough country, but it's not much help on city
streets. I thought for a moment about where I should go, and had the
answer.

I wound my way through the alleys toward the sea of light four
blocks from the CFGM building. There was one place in this city where I
might find friends, but there would not be any time to explain. Firing
into the air, I burst forward into the light. A stretch Lincoln
limousine was just pulling up in front of the glittering entrance to
Cobo Hall. It would do nicely. Riding up onto the sidewalk, I grabbed
the first person in reach, a terrified woman. I hated to do it, but I
needed to hold off the guards while I got the limousine door open. I
rolled the bike inside and dove in after it, releasing my hysterical
hostage. There was a distinguished-looking man inside, rubbing his
knee. The bike had jostled him some.

"Senator Crisp, I presume."

"So. I finally get to meet Spike Bike."

I instructed the Senator's driver to get away -- fast. The Bomb
silently counted away the seconds.

3:08:18... 3:08:17... 3:08:16...

"... and you're sure the Bomb can't be disarmed?"

"We can't afford to try. We've got less than three hours, and I
have a feeling the people who built this thing won't help us much. No,
Senator, the mine is our only chance. You have to help me get it
there."

The Senator finished bandaging my wounded shoulder. He'd been
reluctant to volunteer any help at first, but I had convinced him of the
urgency of the situation. I turned my attention to the limousine driver.
Could he be trusted?

"Your driver, Senator. Secret Service?"

"Yes, but..."

I held the muzzle of my MAC-10 against the driver's neck. I told
him to pull the car over and struck him sharply on a well-chosen point
at the base of his skull. He slumped over unconscious. I pulled his
limp form into the back seat.

"You'll have to drive Senator. I'm going to be busy back here. Is
this heap bullet-proof?"

"No, it's just an ordinary limo," the Senator replied as he took
the wheel and sped off. I tied the driver's hands and then busied
myself with smashing out the back window. Flashing red lights pursued
from behind.

"Step on it, Senator!" I implored. Several CFGM Security cars were
gaining on us. I waited until they were just in range and opened up on
them with the MAC-10. The lead car went out of control, creating a
spectacular smash-up. Only one car came through the chaos to continue
pursuit. Bullets struck the limo and I felt it swerve. I turned my
head to see that Senator Crisp had been struck in the arm. It was only a
scratch, but it proved that our pursuers were not overly concerned with
the Senator's well-being. I took careful aim at the driver's side of
the Security car and hosed the windshield. It veered crazily off the
road and crashed into a utility pole.

"Are you all right, Senator?"

"It hurts like a bitch, but yes."

"We've got to get help. The CFGM Security force is loyal to the
Corporatists. They'll kill us both. Is there any one you can trust?"

"Maybe. There's a mobile phone in the back seat. Give it to me."
Crisp thumbed a number, spoke a few words to the person who'd answered,
and turned to me.

"The Coast Guard is sending up a chopper. The Base Commander and I
go back a number of years."

I hoped the relationship was a congenial one. Up ahead, a few
miles yet from the entrance to the mine, was a massive roadblock. More
grey Plymouths approached from the rear. We could not stop, and we
could not turn back. I reached into my ATB's bag of tricks and readied
my remaining LAWS rocket.

"Put it to the floor, Senator!" I opened the door and leaned out,
took careful aim at the center of the roadblock, and squeezed the
trigger. The explosion blasted a hole through the roadblock, setting
the vehicles ablaze and taking out most of the guards who'd awaited with
pistols drawn. The limo crashed through the inferno and continued down
the road towards the mine. I had to hand it to the Senator; he was a
hell of a driver!

A flood tide of red lights was still in pursuit. My MAC-10 was
empty, and the extra mags were in the bottom of one of the panniers. I
didn't have time to hunt for them. I extracted the 16-gauge sawed-off
from the bike's arsenal and took aim at the center of the parade. It
would not be enough. So close, dammit, so close. Another mile to the
mine entrance, but we wouldn't make it. I pumped the scattergun again
and again, but they kept coming. As they were almost on us, a bolt from
the heavens struck in front of the lead car. The Coast Guard chopper!
The Security cars scattered to the roadside and gave up pursuit as the
chopper engaged them with rockets and machine guns. The way to the mine
entrance was clear.

More resistance no doubt awaited at the mine. That chopper was
busy; I had to deal with it myself. A quarter of a mile from the mine
entrance, I bade the Senator to stop the car.

"Thanks for the lift, Senator. Sorry about your wheels."

"I think the taxpayers can afford it. What now?"

"I take the mine. You've got to get as many people as you can out
of this area. The mine should contain the blast, but there will be a
hell of a shock."

"Good luck, Spike."

"You're the one who'll need that, Senator. You've got to put this
Country back together. All I've got to do is dispose of some of the
last Administration's garbage, here." I patted the deadly suitcase. Its
flickering blue display continued the silent, businesslike counting.

1:58:33... 1:58:32... 1:58:31

The Senator sped away and I mounted the bike. I could not try the
main gate, it was too heavily guarded. I would have to get onto the
grounds some other way and find my way to the entrance to the mine
shaft. Though time was of the essence, I would have but one chance to
do this right, so I took my time in careful preparations. I blacked out
my face and donned black gloves. I taped together the remaining MAC-10
magazines and tucked them into pockets in the fresh black jumpsuit I'd
obtained from the panniers. Six grenades hung from my belt.

I scouted the perimeter of the grounds until I found a stream bed
which ran under the chain-link fence. It was a tight squeeze, but I got
through, dragging the bike after me. The area into which I emerged was
isolated and poorly lighted. The mine shaft was located on the other
side of the complex. To get to it, I would have to cross an open field
and wind my way through huge piles of salt, thence across a brightly lit
yard. It was not going to be easy. A force of about 25 CFGM security
men guarded the mine complex, and they had by now been alerted that I
was in the area. I rode through tall weeds parallel to the fence for a
ways, staying out of the open until I could cross the field to the salt
mounds at the narrowest point.

I spotted a jeep patrolling the perimeter service road, sweeping a
spotlight over the fence. I laid the bike down in the weeds and kept
low. The light did not come near, but the jeep stopped when the guards
passed the breach in the fence. One of them got out to look more
closely, shining a flashlight along the stream bed. He abruptly drew
his pistol when he spotted the crushed weeds that betrayed my arrival.

I could wait no longer. I tossed a grenade at the jeep and opened
fire on the flashlight. Both the grenade and the burst found their
targets, but I no longer had stealth to my advantage. I sprinted hard
for the salt mounds, darting between two of them as I caught sight of
headlights flickering and heard gunfire from several points.

The salt mounds covered an area of three or four acres in an
irregular pattern. It would be easy to get lost winding my way through
the maze -- on the ground. I shifted into a granny gear and started my
way up the steep slope of a large mound. I took a spiral course around
the mound, staying just out of sight of the grey Plymouths that prowled
through the grounds.

At the mound's crest, I had a much better view. I could see the
entrance to the mine and was able to pick out a course through the salt
mounds. Below, three cars systematically searched the mound area,
supported by half a dozen men with flashlights. I would need a
diversion.

I readied a grenade and observed the progress of one of the
security cars. As it drew behind one of the mounds adjacent to mine, I
lobbed the grenade over the top with a throw a major league outfielder
would have been proud of. I don't know if it hit its mark, but after it
went off, the searchers converged towards the area of the blast.

I rolled down the mound at a reckless speed, fighting to keep the
overweight bike under control. As I neared the bottom, I caught sight
of a lone searcher. He swung his flashlight in my direction; too late,
I was on him. There was no time for either of us to shoot. I ran the
bike squarely towards him, with all the momentum of my quick descent
behind me. At the last moment, I pulled back on the handlebars and the
front wheel left the ground to catch him perfectly in the chest. The
bike skidded crazily as he went over, but I kept it up. No gunfire
followed as I made the first turn through the course I'd scouted.

The last hurdle was yet ahead. Emerging from the salt maze, I
sprinted for the entrance to the mine. To the left and right, two grey
Plymouths sped towards me. I took aim at the windshield of the nearest,
fired, and watched the car spin out of control. The other car spat fire
from the passenger's window. I felt something thud solidly against my
flack vest and nearly lost control of the bike. Bringing it around, I
fired again, off balance, but I hit one of the Plymouth's front tires.
As the driver fought the wheel to regain control of the car, I opened up
on the passenger's window and the return fire fell silent.

I reached the entrance to the mine shaft as the security force
began to regroup near the salt field. I rode straight into to the
elevator, slammed the doors, and threw a switch which I hoped was for
"down." Reassuringly, the car began to sink.

Several minutes passed before the elevator lurched to a halt. I
wondered what awaited me outside. I threw the doors open, submachine
gun ready, but saw only a few startled, unarmed men. I bolted through
the door, into their midst.

"Everybody into the elevator! You have to get out of here!" To
convince them, I fired a burst into the air. Salt rained down from the
high ceiling. The frightened workers packed the elevator.

"Is this everybody?" I snapped.

"We're all there is. Most of the mine's automated, now. We're just
a maintenance crew, going off shift"

"Then get the hell out of here! And don't bother punching out.
You won't be working here tomorrow."

The doors closed and the elevator began to rise. The adjacent
shaft would bring the other elevator down, teeming with armed men. I
would not be able to deal with them directly. I set one of my satchel
charges at the bottom of the shaft and rigged it to explode when the car
contacted it. In the mean time, I had more urgent business to attend to.

I saddled up and headed down a tunnel. There was a fairly steep
grade; good, I was getting deeper and deeper into the earth. After
perhaps half a mile, I reached a large chamber at the tunnel's end. I
did not know if this was the deepest part of the mine, but it would do.
I detached the suitcase-Bomb from the bike, set it down, and examined my
surroundings. This was evidently a center of operations. There were
tracks and conveyers leading through various tunnels, and there were
crude offices set up.

That's where I found this terminal. The mine, like everything else
these days, is run by computers. This one has an operating system I'm
familiar with, and it was fairly easy to get an outside link to access
the main computer at Bikopoulis Imports. I brought up my diary file and
began typing.

This, you understand, will be my last entry. I heard the satchel
charge go off a few minutes ago. It had to be done in order to seal the
mine shaft and contain the blast. It also leaves me with a problem.
That was the only elevator. When the Bomb detonates in thirty-nine,
make that thirty-eight minutes, Spike Bike will be no more.

Men like me are, I suppose, an inevitable consequence of harsh
times. But when the times change, we are out of place in the World. I
am a killer. The men I've killed were trying to kill me, but they're
still just as dead. The Bicycle Act freed them to act on their basest
instincts, but it allowed me to do the same. I hunted them, baited them,
and killed them without compunction. Some kind soul may argue that my
motives were noble, that the ends I achieved were for the greater good,
that what I did was for the benefit of everybody who claims the right to
ride a bicycle. I told myself all of this often enough. But the quest
for justice isn't enough to make a man kill. I am driven by a rage that
is neither good nor evil, but animal. Again and again I have felt it
boil over, surge through my nerves, and burst forth in a stream of fire
and lead. It sickens me now. I am sick of rage, sick of killing. It is
well that it should end here.

Do not lament. I have longed for this day. Although it is an end
for me, it is the beginning of everything I've fought for. But the
fight isn't mine any longer. It must be won with law and order, not
guns and bombs. Make it happen for me. I never made it to the Olympics.
Let Spike Bike go out a winner.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I've still got a pint of Jack
Daniels stashed away on the bike somewhere. I've got about half an hour
to kill, and I could sure use a belt. It's been a long day.

---

[Epilogue:

It was Spiro Bikopoulis's wish that his diaries be made public in
the event that something happened to him. Had I not known Spike, albeit
briefly, and seen the climax of this adventure unfold, I might not have
believed the fantastic accounts recorded on the diskettes that were sent
to me by the Bikopoulis Family. I am honored that he chose me to be
among the first to read it.

The nuclear blast was well contained by the deep mine. There was
considerable structural damage from the shock, but little radiation
escaped, and Detroit-Windsor has remained safe for habitation.
Casualties were minimal, and an international crisis was averted, thanks
to Spike's sacrifice.

We do not know, as yet, how widespread the Morgan conspiracy was.
We are searching for Morgan's accomplice, the man who, posing as Spike
Bike, stole the Bomb that was almost the end of us all. He should be
able to tell us much, if we ever find him.

President Iaccoca resigned in lieu of impeachment. We decided not
to pursue criminal proceedings against him, in deference to his age and
satisfactory evidence that he knew nothing of the Morgan affair. Vice
President Turner has resigned as well, although there are charges
pending against him. The Cabinet has, of course, been dissolved.

House Speaker Trump has resigned in scandal, leaving the job of
U.S. President to me, as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. It is
with great reluctance I have accepted the Office. Spike was right; I'm
going to need some luck.

The new Congress has a staggering agenda. The Corporatists did an
incredible amount of damage, and it will take more than a decade to
overcome it all. Yet Spike was wrong about a few things. The first Act
of the new Congress was a unanimous resolution to repeal the Bicycle Act
of 1992. The legislation left in its place provides for a nationwide
effort to improve the roads to better accommodate bikes, and outlines
severe penalties for motorists who engage in "willful acts of hostility"
against cyclists.

Attached to the bill was a resolution, passed by acclimation,
granting a general pardon to Spiro Bikopoulis, a.k.a. Spike Bike, for
"all crimes and misdemeanors, known or otherwise," committed during the
years the '92 Act was in force. It also ordered that a medal be struck
in his honor. However, the Cities of Detroit and Windsor have upstaged
us. On an artificial island in the center of the Detroit river stands a
statue of a man astride a mountain bike. Twenty feet tall, it is
appropriately larger than life, as was the man it honors.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joseph Crisp
President of the United States
July, 1999]



 

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