Conrad never returned to New Vail again. He’d destroyed the evidence of their break-in at Cheyenne Mountain, and Homeland Security was still after him. Someone had to pay for the death of the guard Axel had shot, and they seemed to have decided that that someone was him.
Conrad knew that the Homeland Security agents were simply biding their time and waiting for him to make a mistake, but Conrad didn’t make mistakes. Without all the digital tools he’d used before the world had fallen apart, Homeland Security was limited in their means to track him.
Conrad had already cut all his personal ties, but he knew that he could not return to any of the cities where he’d ever owned property. They would be expecting that.
Instead, Conrad and his dogs hit the road in search of a place they’d never been before. They drove all the way to the California coast and ended up in a tiny town that had once been landlocked. Billions of dollars worth of beachfront real estate was by then underwater, and property in less desirable towns was by then the best land in the state.
Conrad assumed a new identity, bought a small plane, and began offering private chartered flights up and down the coast. The cost of fuel was wildly inflated, but there were plenty of wealthy people with cash and valuables to trade who desperately needed air travel.
Conrad found himself a little house on the beach and took up surfing. The waves soothed his rattled spirit, and the dogs loved living on the beach. Conrad, Ophelia, Cordelia, and Desdemona spent their free days chasing the perfect wave, and Homeland Security never learned what had become of Colonel Kelly.