‘Woo!’ I yelled, as the rush of air hit me in the tray of the ute.
‘Did you make it?’ Teg asked, his concern obvious even over the crackly walkie-talkie connection and the roar of the wind.
‘I’m on the back of the ute!’ I called back. ‘Now I just have to make my way to the cab!’
‘Be careful,’ he warned me. ‘Something that valuable, it’s going to have their best men on it.’
‘I know,’ I grumbled to myself, without bothering to press the button. ‘I have done this before.’
I slowly stalked forward, head hunkered down, gripping the sides of the tray and thanking whoever was looking down on me that this wasn’t a situation with any aluminium ute canopies. Melbourne operations had taught us how to do a lot, but bouncing off a ute because it had a canopy wasn’t something they’d ever bothered to teach us how to survive.
I got to the end of the tray, and crouched down behind the cab. Luckily, the inside of the ute was packed with supplies and gear, so the window was blocked. As far as I knew, nobody had seen me come on board.
‘Scavenger!’ came a cry from inside the cab. I blew him a kiss, and his snarl deepened.
The back doors flew open and two men in heavy leather hung out the side of the ute, trying to get a good look at me. I whipped my head around for weapons, options, escape – anything.
For a brief moment, I considered places to hide. Anywhere, somewhere to get under. Tray tool boxes for utes crossed my mind, but I quickly pushed that thought away – there’s no way I would fit, especially not with them full.
The two men had shimmied their way across the body of the ute, clinging on tightly as it bumped and dipped its way across the landscape. I cracked my neck and stretched out my aching shoulders.
Here we go then.