Retribution: Better The Devil You Know
Novel by David Smith
Available through Amazon and his official website.
“The strength of two connected neural pathways is thought to result in the storage of information, resulting in memory. This process of synaptic strengthening is known as long term potentiation.”
“Who can say where inside a man’s body his soul is kept? Who can pinpoint a part of his brain, or even a single synapse, and say this is or is not the essence of that person? Can one body be possessed by two souls, and if so is one equally as guilty of the crimes committed by the other?”
Is it another trap? Have I blundered into the clutches of my nemesis, believing his lies? I stand rigid, beaten, awaiting whatever fate will come to me. But the Dreeks take Jane, not me, lifting her off my shoulder and onto that of one of the Dreeks. Krillik steps smartly forward and jabs the needle deep into Jane’s neck. Her body goes completely limp, her eyes wide, blank and vacant.
I look at Krillik and he answers the question I don’t ask.
‘It’s a cocktail of Potassium and other salts. She’s still alive but brain dead.’
‘What if she dies?’ I ask.
My life is dependent on this bitch outliving me. Her mind controls my skull cap. If she dies then there will be no control over the fibrils, the microscopically thin tendrils that are wrapped around or penetrating throughout my brain. These will gradually tighten after her death, crushing my brain to pulp. I will die slowly and in agony. Krillik smiles.
‘The Dreek will leave her somewhere she’ll be found. The humans will keep her alive. They’ll take her to an intensive care unit somewhere and hook her up to life supporting machines. They’ll then argue for years through their courts about who has the right to switch the machines off. Their morality is a weakness I…we will exploit. Come with me.’
We move swiftly away from the lift and down the long corridor, leaving the Dreek to deal with Jane’s body and that of the waitress. The other Dreek walks smartly ahead of us. He stops outside the door to one of the better hotel suites. He pulls a door key card from his pocket and opens the door, going straight in, then holding the door open for us to follow.
I have to admire Krillik’s nerve. Here he is with the whole world, should I say universe hunting him down, hiding in plain view in the very building Noone, Abel and Jane had set up their trap to try and catch him.
The suite is typical of a high quality chain hotel, smart, clean and comfortable. There is a sitting area with a sofa and two wing backed chairs arranged around a coffee table. Krillik gestures for me to sit in one of the chairs as he sits down on the sofa next to it.
‘Coffee,’ he says to the Dreek who then goes over to a small kitchenette where there’s a coffee machine. He’s back almost immediately with two cups, one for him and one for me. It’s good Joe. Krillik would never tolerate crap coffee when down here. He takes a sip before he speaks.
‘Pretty ugly now, aren’t I?’
‘You look different,’ is all I can bring myself to say. He is uglier now, sure, but he was never a picture before. Now, though, his face is a mass of scars and deep puck marks and he looks so bad I almost want to avert my eyes. I have to maintain eye contact, though. If I flinch, or look away, it will show weakness and my guilt for the part I played in his disfigurement.
He puts the coffee down, leans back and says, ‘I have a plan. Have you?’
‘I have one I would put into action if I managed to escape down here.’
‘What is it?’ he says.
‘Isolate the planet, then take it over,’ I say confidently.
‘What? All on your ownsome?’ he says, a broad grin on the mess he calls his face.
‘You know these people are weak. It wouldn’t take much to have them eating out of my hands. Anyway, have you got a better idea?’
‘No,’ he says, ‘I was planning to do exactly the same. Grow is hanging me out to dry and knows I know what they’re up to. They’ll be putting together an assassination team to send down here to kill me, kill us both even as we speak. Now you tell me The Powers and the Phalks are gunning for us too.’
‘Don’t you believe me?’ I say. There’s something in his tone I don’t like.
‘Of course I believe you,’ he says, ‘Tell me more about what you had in mind.’
‘We destroy every portal on the planet,’ I say, ‘That way no one can land, a killer crew from Grow, Phalk terrorists, The Powers law enforcement teams, none of them. We’d only have to worry about the humans and they’re puppies by comparison. What’s more we’d have the whole of the Earth’s arsenal at our disposal in the unlikely event that anyone out there tries to use space craft.’
‘That would never happen. The fleets out there are obsolete. They haven’t been used in thousands of years. Why risk moving people or goods in rocket ships or interstellar freighters once shuttle portals have been built? Why would there be a need to transport any raw materials when nano technology can manufacture any substance needed from any other substance available? No, they won’t land craft. Besides, it would take decades if not centuries to reach Earth…’
‘…and we’d blow them out of the skies as soon as they approach,’ I add, ‘Apart from Melville, how many portals are still down here?’
Information is power, so he thinks long and hard before he decides to share this gem with me.
‘…apart from Melville, only one. There were two but you toasted Grow’s base on Anglesey.’
‘Where’s the other portal?’
He doesn’t answer but I believe him when he tells me there is now only one of Grow’s portals still remaining after the UN blitz two years ago. It must be well hidden to have escaped detection this long.
‘We’ll talk about that later,’ he says, but I want to know more.
‘Any more mobile portals like the one in the back of the Reach?’
‘A few,’ is all he’ll tell me after a moment’s thought, but his eyes darken just enough for me to know he’s lying. I know Krillik. I can read him like a book, and I can see now that he had no knowledge of the mobile portal.
Why wasn’t he told about it by Grow? Does Grow even know there was a mobile portal down here?
I figure the portal set up in the back of the Reach, the one that transported Jane and me to Anglesey, was nothing to do with Grow. Then how did Grow think we got to the portal in the base at Anglesey?
Grow must believe the UN handed us over to face trial. Abel must have reported this was the case back to Grow. But the portal at the base in Anglesey would show the location of the device transmitting the data packets. Therefore the mobile portal must have the same location data as the Melville portal. Each portal has a unique transmission code that is extremely difficult to corrupt or alter. It’s technically possible but it would need a highly skilled portal technician to do it.
Then I see.
This is the work of Noone. The Powers must have made a decision regarding the human species on Earth. I reckon the ruling is that Earth has been granted the right to exist independent of Grow. As Grow is under separate investigation for its crimes on other planets, in particular Arginet, the ruling has not been made available to Grow, a little secret between The Powers and Earth.
Grow doesn’t know its endeavors to exploit this planet are now a lost cause. Krillik doesn’t know this either. Noone and The Powers must be providing equipment and technical assistance to Earth. So, if they’ve transported mobile portals and technicians to Earth, then what else? It won’t be weaponry. Earth’s arsenal is better and more destructive than anything else in the universe.
Technicians? Definitely, but with what specialist skills? Portal shuttle technicians for sure, but what else? Where is Earth especially weak?
Nano Technology specialists!
Noone must be working with the UN to develop the Earth’s frontiers in this sphere. The rest of the universe is centuries more advanced. I now can see what’s happening. The Powers are preparing to welcome Earth into its fold. Earth is set become part of The Powers protectorate, a member planet. Over time it will be fully integrated with equal technology and equal rights to those of any other developed planet in the universe.
Knowledge is power. I will keep my deductions to myself.
Nevertheless, Krillik and I must act fast. We have to destroy the existing portals and isolate Earth before more portals can be constructed and The Powers consolidate the absorption of this planet into their protectorate.
‘How do we destroy the portals?’ I ask Krillik.
‘Not with nuclear missiles,’ he says.
His face hardens. He knows what I did at Westfield, and he knows that, despite the mass destruction and thousands of deaths it caused, what I did was with the single intention of frying him alive.
‘We have to work together now,’ I say, ‘We’re no longer enemies. You were once head of the armed forces in America. What weaponry do we use?’
‘By now the United Nations will have every army, navy and air force base secured with elite troops all protected with anti-vision equipment. There’s an exclusion zone operating in the Long Island skies above Melville of five hundred miles. We can’t use missiles from other countries. The Melville portal is well protected with high tech ground to air anti-missile devices.’
‘Botulism,’ he says, ‘To be more precise Botulinum toxin. It doesn’t destroy the real estate. We kill the people at Melville guarding the portal then blow it up.’
‘That means killing everyone on Long Island. Nerve gas is indiscriminate.’
‘They don’t matter.’
‘How do we get hold of it? All stocks will be well protected.’
‘Not all,’ he says, ‘only the military ones. We need to get to Boston. There’s a small stock in the biochemistry research laboratories at the university. It’s guarded but only by the feeble minded. There’ll be sufficient toxin there to do the job.’
‘Yes, and foggers. Everything we need.’
‘What about explosives for the portal?’
‘We won’t need explosives. We invert the portal mat. It’ll blow itself up.’
I finish my coffee and smile to myself. We’ll be wearing biohazard protective clothing while fogging Botulinum toxin. Jake knows how useless biohazard suits can be. I can destroy the Melville terminal and be rid of Krillik in one easy move. I’ll be taking a gamble that Krillik hasn’t lied to me about there being only one other Grow terminal as yet undiscovered on Earth but it’s a risk I’m prepared to take. The reward will be avoiding execution, freedom, and my dominance of this planet.
Krillik leans forward and looks me in the eyes, deep, as if he’s calculating whether or not I can be trusted with something.
‘Together we’re stronger than anything they can challenge us with down here if we isolate this planet,’ he says, ‘With you at my side we’ll have our own kingdom. This is a beautiful and bountiful planet, Jek. It’s big enough for both of us working together to rule these people. Will you be my right hand man?’
‘It would be my honour,’ I lie.
He reaches out to me and takes my head in his huge hands, then leans further forward and touches his forehead against mine. I feel a sudden, sharp stab of pain and suddenly I know exactly what he wants me to do. I know where I need to go. I know how to find what I’m looking for.
‘I’ll take care of the other portal. It isn’t well guarded. We’ll meet again here when our tasks are completed then together we’ll destroy the Melville portal.’
In that instant, that tiny moment in time when our foreheads touch his instructions are passed to me. It is so simple. I’m to travel alone to Boston. There I’ll go to the biochemistry research laboratories at the university, steal the botulinum toxin and rendezvous back in this room at the Melville Marriott. I know how he wants me to travel there and return. I know exactly what I should bring back with me.
This isn’t the first time I’ve received instructions from Krillik by mind contact. When instructions are given this way the determination to succeed, the details, the desire to please Krillik are all massively reinforced. I not only want to please him, I now need to. I understand that the desire to fulfill his commands to the letter will dominate my actions till I’m once again back in this room with Krillik with my tasks completed to his satisfaction. Then I’ll be released. I will feel the deep joy of his pleasure in my having completed my task successfully. Then this bond will be broken. Then, and only then, will I have the free will I need in order to murder him.
This is not the first time Krillik has used mind contact to strongly reinforce a command he has given me. It could be argued in a court of law that when Krillik has given instruction this way the recipient no longer has the free will to exercise his own moral choices. He is bound to carry out Krillik’s instructions to the letter no matter how evil or repulsive those instructions may be. When Krillik ordered me to release the Storret culture into the oceans on Arginet I could argue this morality in my defense. I had no free will at the time, no say in the matter. I was to all intents and purposes Krillik’s puppet. But it would be a lie. I was happy to do it. I was being very well paid for this vile and murderous act.
No, it wasn’t about free will or morality. It was simply that I needed his detailed instructions. I needed to know how precisely to release the culture into the oceans. Grow had to gain maximum impact from the fatal damage to the atmosphere the culture’s release would cause. The Phalks meant nothing to me then and still don’t. So they would die in their millions. I wouldn’t miss a single one of them.
Krillik releases my head and sits back on the sofa. I stand and leave the room. Nothing is spoken between us.
I make my way through the warren of corridors back of house in the hotel, heading for the loading bay at the rear of the building. No one takes any notice of me. I can’t plant visions any more because of this fucking skull cap bonded to my head but at least I’m no longer at risk of having my brain crushed by Jane Krieff. She’ll be lying in a hospital bed somewhere, her vacuous eyes taped shut, tubes and wires all over her body keeping her alive. That brain dead bitch will never get in my way again. Luckily for me the first cop I see is about my build. He’s leaning against the loading bay wall skiving, having a sneaky smoke, daydreaming away in the sunlight. I’m on him in a fraction of a second. I don’t bite him, though the temptation is there. Instead I snap his neck in one fast, sharp movement. There’s no blood this way, nothing to stain his nice clean uniform.
I drag his body behind a dumpster in the corner of the loading bay and I’m confident that no one has seen what I’ve done. The clothes are a snug fit. I bundle the dead cop’s body into the dumpster then walk out the staff gate at the rear of the hotel. I’m back on the streets of Melville, just a normal cop on the beat.
I head towards the train station. On my way I pass a gun shop. It’s time to get armed. Inside there’s a young pup behind the counter all cocky and full of himself. I can tell straight away he hates cops. He’s sure gonna hate this one. I walk up to the counter.
‘Had a report you’ve sold an unlicensed Glock to a minor.’
‘Bullshit!’ he says, all anger and outrage, his acne-ridden face turning crimson with guilt.
‘Show me your stock room then go get your records.’
Minutes later he’s dead, a huge bite out the back of his neck, his spinal chord severed. I don’t care if his clothes get bloodied. I close up the shop so I can select what I need in peace. By the time I walk out I have my own Glock as well as a nice little Intratec TEC-DC9 semi automatic pistol and a bagful of ammo. I also take a hunting knife and a kit bag to carry my new toys in. I boost the dead guy’s topcoat as well, a three quarter length thin jacket with a hood. It’s warm outside and the sun is shining brightly. I’ll have to risk looking a little out of place but I need to cover the cop’s uniform for the next part of my journey. I’ll be traveling on a train into Penn then on to Boston. There’ll be enough high profile nut jobs around anyway, the trash that hang around big stations, so I won’t look too much like one of the crazies. Besides, people tend not to look too closely at someone that’s a little odd, a little risky.
I sleep on both trains. I know sleep will be hard won in the next few days. No one bothers me. There’s a guy sitting next to me when I wake. He’s using his laptop to work on the table in front of us. I have only Jane’s word that I can no longer put visions in people’s heads. Also she’s had her brain wiped by Krillik’s drugs, so whatever control she had over this device they’ve fitted me with may not be active now. I dip my toe in the water and tell the guy what I want him to do.
He switches off the pointless non job he was working on and pulls up the search engine he uses. Seconds later he’s gaping at the 24 hour rolling news channel as if his life depended on him catching every word. I read the ticker-tape headlines running across the bottom.
They’re still rolling the item about the manhunt for me and Jane. They’re still putting up Jake Redwood’s mug shot. Idiots. I stopped looking like Jake Redwood when I reclaimed my body from him. I’m Jek now. Put us side by side and you wouldn’t even think we were brothers.
Then there it is, a news flash. It’s not the usual candy floss celebrity claptrap that runs all day, who’s now fat, who’s dead, this is big. A massive explosion has occurred in a grain silo at a small wheat processing plant on a farm. Guess where? Polk County! So, Grow had hidden one of their portal shuttles and were bringing in all sorts of shit right under my nose. I read the rolling bulletins as the train pulls into its final destination, Boston.
‘…Breaking News: A huge explosion followed by a ferocious fire has been reported at Dempster Grain Products in Polk County. As yet the cause of the blast is unexplained. Over twenty employees are missing feared dead. Over fifteen fire rigs and fifty fire fighters are at the scene but as yet the fire has not been brought under control…’
Krillik has done his job. It’s now down to me to do mine.
The train slows to a halt and I trudge off along with the other passengers. It’s drizzling in Boston and that’s good. I won’t look so odd walking round with my hood up.
When I’m away from the station I dump the top coat and hail a cab to take me to the university. The driver doesn’t bat an eyelid when a guy wearing a cop’s uniform and carrying a camouflage patterned kit bag asks to be taken to the Yale Biochemical Research Centre.
The YBRC shouldn’t still be in existence. The university received massive funding from the military to carry out highly secret new product development projects on its behalf. This laboratory was the front runner in the development of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Successful projects were absorbed into the military’s secret weapons development programs but when these types of weapons were outlawed the projects were stopped. So was the money. The university made a song and dance about the loss of funding, and the military did the same to congress about the risks of exposure if the good old US of A didn’t have these nasty little weapons in its armory.
A compromise was found. Yale would work on a special project for the military, highly secret and extremely well funded. The project was for the development of tactical chemical and biological weapons delivery systems. Rather than wipe out a nation these would be designed to wipe out an enemy bunker or a fox hole. Work has continued at this university steadily and productively since the ban, all highly secret and well under the media radar. But Krillik knew about it. He knew all the army’s military secrets. He’s visited the laboratories and been given presentations by the top brass there. He’s been shown how accurate and surgical these new weapons are. He knows exactly where the stock is kept and what I have to bring back to him.
In order to keep the work as low profile as possible security at the laboratories is minimal. If the place was surrounded by armed guards even the dumbest of students would smell a rat. I know how easy it will be, especially as I can now use the power of visions. It’ll be like taking candy from a baby.
The taxi drops me at the gatehouse and the driver disappears up the road a happy man. He thinks he’s been paid and given a big tip. I walk up to the so called security guard manning the gatehouse, an old crock a few years over real work retirement age.
‘Tom Good,’ I say, all official and cop like, ‘I’m here to see Professor Brooks.’
‘Is he expecting you?’ says the fossil.
‘Yes and no. This is his annual unannounced security inspection. I need to have immediate access to the laboratories. Professor Brooks may accompany me if he wants to but it’s not necessary, so get him on the phone now, or take me to the labs.’
The old fossil frowns. He’s been given a job to do for once that requires him to use some initiative. Senior members of the faculty don’t like to be disturbed. They are Gods on the campus. So the fossil takes an executive decision. No need to disturb the big man, he’ll walk me over himself.
It’s a ten minute walk to the laboratories. They’re located in a separate block well away from the other buildings. There’s a pathetic attempt at a security cordon around the building, a fifteen feet high fence with some razor wire running along the top, and a coded entrance gatehouse, unmanned of course. The university is too tight to pay for a security guard here as well.
The fossil punches in a code and a minute later we’re inside the main building.
‘How does this work?’ asks the fossil. He doesn’t know because there’s never been an unscheduled security check before but he’s too dumb to figure that out.
‘You need a nap,’ I say and he’s out of the game. He steps away from me into a restroom to find somewhere to go to sleep. I know exactly where I’m going. I walk along a long corridor till I find the laboratory I want. I look through the glass wall next to the entrance airlock. Inside there are three technicians, all in head to toe protective suits, but no face masks or breathing apparatus. They only need that when they enter the chamber in the centre of the laboratory, a small glass walled room about eight yards square.
Inside this there are work benches and extraction cupboards, and a whole bunch of sophisticated and expensive looking equipment that means nothing to me. I see what does though, a large ceiling to floor safe in the middle of the chamber. I nod at the three technicians in turn. They stop whatever they’re doing, sit on their stools, rest their heads on their arms and drop off to sleep. It’s good to have the power of visions back. It would have been carnage in here had I used the TEC on them all. It would have been worse having to shoot my way out once I had what I came for.
I suit up before I go inside, picking the biggest sized suit on the racks to make it easier to slip on. I don’t want to take the chance that something’s airborne in there, one of their little projects not put back in its bottle. I don’t want to die that way. Once in my biohazard suit and wearing breathing apparatus I go through the rigmarole of the air lock. They’re so dumb they haven’t even fitted this with security biometrics. The fucking cleaners could steal what’s inside.
I go straight over to the safe. It’s a combination type. Krillik let me know the combination when we touched heads, so opening it up is easy-peasy. The door is heavy fireproof steel constructed in a single sheet floor to ceiling. It glides open. In front of me is an array of flasks and bottles, all coded up. If you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for it would be daunting.
But I do.
I reach out and take the flask I want. It’s a steel canister about six inches tall, pressurized, with an aerosol disperser mounted on the top. We won’t even need the foggers for this. It’s marked;
‘Botulinum Toxin Type 23b/77/1339/N2 Propellant/Airborne – 10 Minute.’
This is the one Krillik wants. The toxin has been chemically modified to degrade rapidly after ten minutes exposure to the natural atmosphere. It’s the perfect battlefield tactical weapon, provided the wind is in your favour. Just squirt a little into the air and all the bad guys are dead. It takes about five minutes for the target to die, mainly from asphyxiation. It takes just a few molecules of the toxin on the victim’s exposed skin or inside the lungs and the nervous system shudders to an agonizing stop. The victim’s fingers go numb, then the arms and legs. All movement stops. Breathing becomes labored then impossible. It’s a very nasty way to go. A thimble full of pure Botulinum toxin released into the air with a favorable gentle breeze behind it would wipe out everyone in a packed Superbowl in less than ten minutes.
Krillik’s plan is to stand upwind of the portal at Melville robed up in protective suits, release the toxin and be inside the buildings just as the toxin hits the skin and lungs of it’s intended victims. Minutes later we’ll be inside the room that houses the portal mat. It only takes a few minutes to invert the mat itself, one of us either side to re-route the terminals and reverse the polarity. The hard part will be getting far enough away from the portal before it blows, but I figure we’ll only need a couple of minutes to be at a safe distance.
I don’t hang around. The exit procedure for the air lock involves giving the biohazard suit a chemical scrub just in case. It takes about thirty seconds, longer than I feel comfortable with, so I’m in a hurry to disrobe once outside. As I pull the suit over my knees I notice I’ve caused the cloth to tear. It’s hardly visible but it’ll be enough to kill one of us later. I toss it on the ground, then change my mind, picking the suit up, folding it carefully then putting it into my kit bag. Krillik is a huge guy, bigger even than me. So I pick another suit from the rack that’s a fraction too small for him. Krillik can have the damaged suit. If he dies then all well and good, it’ll save us having a showdown later.
Exactly as per Krillik’s instructions I take a different route back to Melville. I boost a car and drive to Bridgeport and catch the evening ferry to Port Jefferson. No one bothers me on the ferry, though I do get some sideways looks from the bad types. A cop isn’t welcome to share their space anywhere they go. I’ll need to lose the uniform before I get back to the hotel.
I dump the car in the ferry parking lot and switch to a nice neutral white van for the drive back to Melville. I stop at a mall and pick a clothes store. The guy behind the counter is only too pleased to give me whatever I want free of charge, feeble minded bastard. I finish my journey in a diner car park a few hundred yards from the entrance to the Marriott. As well as the toxin dispenser and the suits I take the Glock but leave the TEC in the van without ever having to fire a single shot from it. Now I know I can plant visions again it’s just extra weight to carry.
I follow Krillik’s instructions and retrace my route through the hotel back of house areas to Krillik’s room. He’s stood in the corridor waiting for me, a broad grin on his face when he sees the kit bag.
‘Everything you want,’ I say, holding up the bag and smiling.
‘Good. Let’s get going,’ he says, striding past me and heading for the rear exit of the hotel. I feel exhilarated when he gives his approval for what I’ve done for him. It’s an incredible feeling of happiness that only lasts a moment, like a brain orgasm. Once over, his grip on me to do his bidding is released. I have my free will back in its entirety.
‘Won’t we need Dreeks?’ I ask, turning to follow him as he passes me.
‘No, they’d just be in the way. All we need is each other for this job. Let’s get transport.’
I tell him I have a van parked up already and soon we’re walking along the road to the diner. It’s a warm evening with a cloudless sky which is nice, but a light gentle breeze makes it just that little bit better. I drive. It’s a short hop from the hotel to the site of the portal. I’ve read about the increased security but it’s the first time I’ve actually seen the place since Jake waved his fond farewells to Noone here nearly two years ago. Boy has it changed. It wasn’t much more than a field when the portal was first discovered. Now it’s like a high security prison.
The total site now covers about twenty acres and has an exclusion boundary encircling it. The first obstacle any intruder would have to tackle is the perimeter security fence. This is about twenty five feet high and made of tight metal mesh and topped with razor wire. The fence is both electrified and alarmed. There are major stanchions about every fifty yards with the usual high tech cameras, floodlights and IR lights, but in addition each stanchion has a couple of armed soldiers on watch.
There’s a second fence just like the first about fifty yards inside. The space between the two fences carries signs every fifty yards telling anyone approaching that the ground is heavily planted with anti-personnel mines. A wire mesh chicken run about ten yards wide has been built around the inside of the second fence where we can see attack dogs roam freely. All this surrounds the outer wall, thirty feet high, solid concrete. This also comes with the usual high tech trimmings. There are anti-missile batteries housed the other side of this in case someone gets too close by air or there are incoming missiles with warheads.
There’s only one way in and one way out and that’s very heavily guarded with troops. Once past these, though, you’re into the hallowed ground that houses the portal itself. This is where security ratchets up a notch. But humans are stupid. All the security both surrounding and inside the portal building is flawed. It assumes people will be alive to operate it. Our plan is that they won’t be and we’ll simply walk in.
There’s a perimeter road that follows the outer fence. We drive around it twice, each time stopping somewhere we won’t be spotted by the surveillance cameras mounted on the outer fence. We get out of the van and check the wind direction to select the perfect spot to launch our attack. Neither of us speaks to the other. We know what we have to do instinctively.
We choose our location, a place where the breeze will gently carry the toxin straight towards the site’s main entrance. It’s about two hundred yards upwind of the main gate on a small lane that joins the outer perimeter road. It’s dark and quiet.
I stop the vehicle and kill the engine before we both climb out of the cab and walk to the rear of the van. I open the rear doors and pull out the kit bag, open it and take out the two biohazard suits, laying them on the floor of the van.
‘Pick one,’ I say to Krillik and he selects the one I intend to use.
He strips off down to his underwear and starts to pull on the suit. This surprises me. I know Krillik always carries his own personal portal device on him at all times. Not now though. He’s either prepared to take a risk and not have it with him or he’s afraid to use it. The portal device would have been given to him by Grow and would be set to return him to its headquarters. I figure this is the reason, my confirmation if any was needed, that he no longer trusts anything connected with Grow. The biohazard suit he’s chosen is too small so he tosses it to me and picks up the other one. This one’s a much better fit for his huge frame. It’s dark at the back of the van so no chance he’ll spot the slight tear in the material, small but big enough to be fatal for him.
I don’t strip down. The suit is big enough to cover my frame without the need to take off my top clothes. I do however have to abandon my precious Glock. It’s of no use to me stuck in my belt if it’s inside a biohazard suit, and Krillik would smell a rat if I carried it in with me.
It takes a couple of minutes to secure the suits and breathing apparatus. He checks mine then I check his, making sure the joints and seams are totally secure. When we’re confident the suits are fitted correctly Krillik picks up the canister containing the toxin. We walk round the front of the van and we’re in full view of the main gate security surveillance cameras. We know they’ll be able to see us now and alarm bells will be ringing everywhere inside the facility. They’ll be running round like chickens with their heads cut off.
I figure the security camera images are transmitted live to the FBI headquarters at Quantico. There’ll be guys sitting at their stations down there scratching their heads and shouting, ‘What the fuck!’ as two men fully kitted out in biohazard suits start walking slowly towards the main gate of the most highly secured facility in the world.
End of Part Eleven