"Mark, I can't magic the traffic away."
"Understood," he managed. He wasn't sure he could be civil for longer than that, even though Jason was completely in the right. He'd been sent out by Anderson.to collect something top-secret from one of their off-site labs - sending the Condor guaranteed its safety, while sending a single junior staff driver wasn't going to draw attention to it. Jason had gone there, picked it up, started back, taken the approved route, and was now caught in gridlock on the interstate after a huge smash half a mile ahead of him.
Inevitably with hindsight, now there was an emergency, and they had neither the Condor nor the G-2.
"Can you get off the interstate?"
"Sure I can. I can transmute and jump off the edge of the bridge. You can pick me up. I'll leave the G-2 here with the A-76 prototype in the trunk, shall I? I'm sure nobody will notice me." His tone was frustrated and exasperated.
"You can't get the car to the edge?"
"If I could, I would have. Look, do you want me to transmute? Is this mission worth blowing my cover?"
Mark looked again at the short report on his screen. Localised earthquakes, apparently non-natural, and in a geologically stable area. Not a mecha in sight. No chance they'd have to go off-planet. If he'd been asked - and he never was - this was a job for local ISO forces, not G-Force at all. Or maybe a geologist.
Jason swore, which took away any lingering doubts Mark might have had as to whether his second was making excuses. "Good luck."
"Thank you. Out."
Mark took a last glance at the aerial shot on the viewscreen. Miles of snaking stationary traffic, three lanes wide, sitting in the baking July sunshine. Yes, he could well believe that Jason preferred a mission.
He turned to the rest of his crew. "Just the four of us today. Tiny, set course for Latvia. Standard cruising speed."