Breed Book 4, Part 17


“Thanks for taking my call,” Rox said.

“Well, technically, I’m not,” Ryan said, rolling his electronic chair absent-mindedly. “I’m talking to a telecom, trying to get me to switch my service. You’re talking to, okay, this is kind of genius, but your call is routed to the FBI tip line. Who watches the watchmen’s answering machine? That should buy us a few minutes of privacy. What do you need?”

“Lincoln’s phone. It was used to bounce a signal to me. I need to know where the phone physically is.”

“That’s all? It’s in Cuba.”

“You can’t narrow it down?”

“Nope. I can only tell you that much because I could trace the data packets to a particular cell tower. But I can’t triangulate because there’s literally one tower the phone’s in range of. The surrounding towers were all ripped out, courtesy of the U.S. Government.”

“He’s in Guantanamo.”

“Or the surrounding environs, yeah. I’d heard rumors, on the dark web, about the NSA stashing technopaths that wouldn’t play ball there. The rest they put to work; who better to spy than people who already naturally interact with data the way the NSA has spent year building systems to. But that’s why they removed the towers, to keep them from getting a message out. Of course, I thought it was bullshit, so much so that I didn’t think to check if the area around Gitmo was a dead zone, until right now.”

“Anything else you can tell me about the area, base included?”

“Why do you want to- no, I don’t want to know, nevermind. I’ll put my head together with a few of the other technopaths, see what we can scrounge up. We’ll send everything to your phone, just make sure you’re someplace with a good signal- over someone else’s wi-fi if you can manage it.”

“Got it. How,” she fumbled, because it had been a while since she’d made small-talk with anyone not in the next room, “how are things at home?”

“Everybody’s upset over the cops choking out Greg Lloyd. He was Breed. He was black. He died for being one or both of those things. Mikaela took a group down to Seattle to march in the protests.”

“And you didn’t go?”

“Protests aren’t renowned for their accessibility, or I’d probably be with them.” Ryan said. “I’ve also got lung nodules, so exposure to coronavirus and tear gas isn’t exactly a wise combination. You in-country?”

“Are we in the U.S.? Fuck me, I don’t even remember.”

“Might, if you’re in the U.S.; I’m not so hard up I’d expatriate just to get laid.”

“Not sure I’ll ever be that hard up.”

“Is it the chair?”

“No, it’s because you’re an unkempt dickhead into underage girls.”

“I’d have to take off my shoes to doublecheck, but I don’t think you’re underage. You’ve been on the road a while, now.”

“Oh my god, you’re right. That’s depressing.”

“Now you’re starting to hurt my feelings.”

“Not that you’re flirting with me, but that I was forgetting how old I am.”

“Well, that I can’t help with. We could probably build whole new identities for you and your friends, and make you minors again, if you wanted to come back to the school. But I’m not sure if that’s helping or hurting…”

“Just get me the info. And Ryan? Thanks. I know you’re out on a limb for us.”

“You know me, sucker for a pretty face.”

“Getting skeevy again. You haven’t seen me since I was fourteen.”

“No. I’ve seen you on TV pretty often, actually, and I’ve seen slash erased a lot of security footage of you. And pretty isn’t a statement of intent- nor is it fishing for reciprocation. Just take the compliment.”

“Okay. Take care.”


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