Home > BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(7)

BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(7)
Michael Grant

Each had an arm. Each had a leg. And there was the third leg as well, a leg that dragged like so much dead weight. As a consequence they moved with extreme difficulty and usually chose to get around in a motorized cart or wheeled office chair customized to fit their double width.

Charles tried again. “We have important matters to discuss, Benjamin. We are on the cusp of completing Phase Three of our plan, brother, don’t you grasp that? Don’t you see how far we have come? But we must deal with this crisis. Bug Man’s incompetence may upset everything!”

“It wasn’t you,” Benjamin snapped. “It wasn’t you. It was me. It was me she humiliated.”

“Look, we’ll deal with the girl when we get an opportunity,” Charles soothed. “Of course you feel violated. Of course you’re angry. But—”

It was part of the strangeness of dealing with the Twins that when they spoke to each other they could not look at each other. They had never made direct eye contact in their lives.

“You think I’m being irrational,” Benjamin said, sounding rational for the first time in several minutes. “But you don’t understand. This cannot be tolerated. If we can be humiliated this way, then we will lose credibility with our own people. Do you think our twitchers aren’t talking about it?” He stabbed a finger in Burnofsky’s direction. “Do you think Karl isn’t smirking?”

In fact, Karl Burnofsky was smirking, but he hid it well. His sagging, whiskered face and rheumy blue eyes did not appear to reflect any pleasure.

It occurred to him that this was his opportunity to speak. He said, “Perhaps a vacation. Some time off. We have come a long way. You’re both tired. Deservedly so, the weariness of a long battle.”

Charles shot a sharp, suspicious look at Burnofsky. “Are you out of your mind? This thing with Bug Man and the president, for God’s sake, target number one, the purpose for which we lost so many good people. The woman has to give Rios the go-ahead.”

“She did,” Burnofsky said. “The initial go-ahead, anyway. I can show you the video. She finished cleaning up the blood and went to her pad, pulled up the ETA mission, and approved it. Rios has long since started planning counterattacks on BZRK. The president has scheduled a meeting with him to discuss raiding McLure, blocking their accounts, arresting individuals on suspicion of terrorism. I am confident she will give him free rein; Bug Man has succeeded in that. And gentlemen, wasn’t that our goal?” Burnofsky puffed out his cheeks in a sort of world-weary gesture. “Bug Man screwed up, but—and it’s a very big but—he did accomplish the goal. We own the president, and we control ETA, the agency that will deal with any nanotechnology information.”

“Damn, Karl, you might have told us,” Charles chided, but he was too happy to be genuinely angry.

“This thing with Monte Morales, it’s a blip,” Burnofsky said. “It’s a bump in the road. And you’re …tired.” He tried to send a meaningful look to Charles without it being intercepted by Benjamin, but of course that was a physical impossibility.

What he wanted to say was, Look, your twin is losing it. If he goes, you go. Get him out of here. Get him some rest.

“I can handle Bug Man,” Burnofsky said. “Jindal will be here running the daily operation. I can go to Washington and supervise the wiring of the president personally. If I do have to take it over, I can do it without relying on signal repeaters. Meanwhile, Rios is moving immediately against BZRK in DC and New York. BZRK will be effectively taken out, in this country at least. We’ve been probed by Anonymous, but we’re confident they’ve been shut out. We have substantial control of the FBI, we have some assets in the Secret Service. Our overseas targets are being well managed. So…honestly? Now’s a good time for a break.”

Charles looked hard at Burnofsky, reading his thoughts. Charles knew his brother’s stability was tenuous at best.

“You’ll go to Washington yourself?” Charles asked, seeming oddly deflated. “You’ll take charge?”

“I will go. I will oversee the wiring. I’ll touch base with Rios. And I’ll deal with Bug Man.”

Benjamin frowned. Then his eye brightened, and the third eye seemed to join in sympathy. “The Doll Ship.”

“It’s in the Pacific. Somewhere near Japan, heading toward Hong Kong to pick up a very nice haul of Korean refugees, and one moderately good twitcher,” Jindal reported. He had deemed it a safe moment to speak up. Jindal was a true believer, a Nexus Humanus cultist, wired and, in the favorite Nexus Humanus phrase, “Sustainably happy.”

A sucker, in Burnofsky’s view. A fool. A middle manager with delusions of importance.

The mention of the Doll Ship soothed some of the anxiety from Benjamin’s face. Charles, too, softened a bit.

“The Doll Ship,” Benjamin said, and his bruised mouth smiled.

Sick bastards, both of you, Burnofsky thought. Sick, sad, screwedup freaks. It would be good to get them out of the way for a few days.

He had work to do.

THREE

“Rrrraaaaarrrrrgh!”

Vincent bellowed like a beast.

Like a lion at feeding time.

Plath put her hands over her ears.

“Rrrraaaaarrrrrgh!”

The sound was muffled, but the doors and walls of the safe house

were flimsy and sound carried, especially at night.

Plath was due to start receiving her inheritance: at the very least, she decided, she could pay for a better safe house.

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