Home > BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(4)

BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(4)
Michael Grant

Die.

The human DNA was most evident in the face of the biot. In addition to blank, soulless insect eyes, each biot also had structures that looked like human eyes, almost. Human until you looked closely and saw that these were as blank and soulless as the spider eyes.

The intimate connection had a very major downside. A biot wasn’t just a limb, it was an extension of the mind of its controller/ creator. Lose a biot and you would lose your mind.

That was why Vincent howled. Bug Man had beaten him in battle and killed one of Vincent’s biots.

Noah kissed Plath, a kiss that was full of regret, and she accepted it passively.

Down deep inside her brain where a scalpel could never reach, Keats’s biots, K1 and K2, stood atop the Teflon fiber barrier that had been built so painstakingly around the aneurysm. It was a bulging artery, a thin spot, a swelling, like an overinflated balloon where the blood might break out at any moment and tear apart the drum-tight membrane to flood and destroy the brain tissue around it.

Pop.

A blown aneurysm could lead to anything from strokes to localized brain death to all-over, whole-body death.

The membrane was leaking. From Keats’s position it was a floor not a wall—gravity meant very little at the nano level. A floor that was gushing tiny red Frisbees, like a jet of licked cough drops. These were the red blood cells, platelets. They shot up in a jet from a tiny tear in the artery wall and floated off into the cerebral–spinal fluid, where blood was normally not allowed.

Within that garden hose of platelets were things of a paler color that looked like animated sponges, wads of mucousy goo—the white blood cells, the pale soldiers, the defenders of the body.

Keats saw this through two sets of biot eyes. The biots saw each other as well. And all the while, up in the macro, he was looking at Plath as she stood, and he gazed with intense regret on the curve of her breasts, and the narrowness of her waist, and saw—at least in his imagination—many other details as well.

It was painful, wanting her this badly.

Keats’s two biots scampered to the stash of titanium fibers. The fibers looked a little like strands of razor wire, each only about half the length of the biot itself. The jagged edges allowed them to be woven together. But care had to be exercised to avoid cutting into the artery wall and making things far worse.

“Can’t you do two things at once?” She leaned into him and he did not pull away. Her open mouth met his and her tongue found his and he was breathing her breath, and his heart was pounding, pounding crazy crazy crazy.

His body, his bruised, battered, painfully taut body, did not really give half a damn about doing the responsible thing but wanted very much, very excruciatingly much, to just do, and it was almost beyond his power to restrain himself and if she kept that up then things were going to move forward to the next step, a step he wanted to take more than he had ever wanted anything else in his sixteen years of life.

His words were a rasp and a groan. “Not those two things. No. Not at once.”

He held her back, his hands on her arms, and really why the hell were his arms taking sides with his brain when his body so clearly, clearly, clearly had other ideas in mind?

“I don’t want to be paying attention with half my mind,” he managed to say.

Plath liked that. She didn’t want that to be his answer, but she liked it anyway. Yes, he wanted it to be important. He wanted it to stay with him forever. Keats was always …She stopped herself in midthought. She didn’t know what he was always, did she? She barely knew him. They had met just weeks ago. Not a single second of that time had been anything like normal. It had been lunacy from the start.

We take the names of madmen, because madness is our fate.

Terribly melodramatic, that. Ophelia had denied that it was hopeless. Ophelia, who lay now, presumably in FBI custody, with her legs burned off.

And Vincent was the proof. Vincent, their pillar of strength. The best of BZRK, if there was a best.

How long until this beautiful, sweet boy with the sometimes difficult to understand English accent would be raving like his brother, Kerouac?

How long until he was howling like Vincent?

How long until she was alongside them?

He wasn’t the only one who wanted this, he wasn’t by any means the only one. She wanted him, all of him, not later, now. But that meant all of his attention, too, she supposed.

She was arguing with herself now, and either way she was losing. Plath was not good at losing.

Down deep inside her brain, Keats lifted the first of the fibers and slid one end into the weave. The platelets were pouring out, a fire hose of flat red discs. His biot bent the fiber against the current, pushing the flow aside, and shoved the loose end down, held it down while his second biot came running up with a second fiber. The platelets battered the biot’s head, a Nerf machine gun.

“How bad is it?” Plath asked.

“Not bad,” he reassured her. “Just an hour’s work.”

Plath smiled crookedly, and they both felt the moment slip away.

“You realize we may never get the opportunity again?” Plath asked him.

“Horribly aware, yes,” he said.

She laid a palm softly against his cheek. He closed his eyes. He couldn’t help it. He had to close his eyes because he could not look into her eyes or notice the tremor in her lips or the pulse in her throat or any of a hundred things that would destroy his ability to focus on saving her.

She kept her hand there. “I’m afraid,” she said.

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