Breed Book 4, Part 47

Forty-Seven

“Okay, so, you want the good news?” Mahmoud asked.

“Bah,” Rui yelped, startled. “You’ve been so quiet and broody I forgot you were here.”

“I just thought he was planning to sew himself some Batman footy pajamas and go rid the night of low-level, poverty-centric crime, ignoring the good he could do with his billions of dollars to attack the systemic roots of same,” Ben said.

“That’s a little too close to home,” Rui said.

“Nah, man, I didn’t mean you. You’re rich by my standards, by which you could afford a fun size bag of Funions for every meal.”

“And the insulin ffor the diabetes inevitably following that diet,” Sonya added.

“I know,” Rui said. “I just like Batman.”

“Oh, sure.”

“Ahem,” Rox said. “And since I am clearly the only person in the room capable of answering deceptively simple but actually weighty questions, yes, I’ll take the good news first.”

“Raif is scrambling. Losing his gun, losing Mira, he had a meltdown. Their usual care and planning went out the window, so I was able to track them via their phones.”

“Or, alternately,” Anita said, “they didn’t think we had a technopath and weren’t being as cautious as we thought this whole time.”

“But wouldn’t the Feds have caught them?” Sonya asked. “Drump has been practically salivating at the prospect of setting up a gallows on the White House lawn- a guillotine would be too French- to execute the first proper Breed terrorist he could catch. I imagine he’d insist on pulling the lever himself.”

“Yeah, but they’re really bad at, well, everything,” Anita said. “The subtext of hiring the ‘best people’ was that the thing they would be best at was bringing the largest sacks of money to shove into the President’s trousers.”

“I may go into an asexual coma,” Rui said, shuddering. “All those white men, the President’s trousers, so many sacks…”

“It’s okay,” Ben soothed, rubbing his back, “just breathe through it.”

“Just keep going,” Rox said. “If we have to catch them up later we will.”

“Once I had their phones I could switch on their mics remotely- same shit the NSA does. And, well, I stored a recording in the cloud.” All of their phones began playing the message on speaker in unison.

“We don’t have the manpower,” a voice said on the recording. “Without Mira-”

“Well we don’t have her,” Raif said angrily. “Either the authorities have her, or her friends do. Either way, she’s off the board. But we can still make this work.”

“Not without mass casualties,” a woman piped in.

“That was her idea anyway,” Raif said, with a wave of his hand. “I always wanted to make a fucking statement, to wit: we’re the new dominant species.”

“Still,” the first voice broke back in, “with this timetable we can’t reconfigure-”

“We’re dumping the old timetable. The mission’s been compromised, and every second we give those little dropouts makes it more likely they find a way to screw us up. So we don’t give them that shot- we take ours. So everybody get some rest, because come the morning, we’re going to war with a man who declared war on us at the start of his fucking campaign.”

“Jesus,” Rui said.

“Yeah,” Rox said. “We’re going to have to try and sleep in shifts, difficult as that’s likely to end up being. Because in the morning we’re going to have to save someone who probably doesn’t deserve the effort.”

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