Breed Book 4, Part 62


“It’s off, for the moment,” Ryan said with a gasp, collapsing back in his wheelchair. “And not a second too soon.”

“Oh?” Mikaela asked.

“Yeah. Because we just intercepted a message from the Attorney General. He was instructing Stacey to start using live rounds.”

“Jesus,” Tucker whispered.

“We stopped it over the phone, and over their radios. We’re playing whack-a-mole with their digital signals, but the message will get through; it’s really only a matter of time before we miss one channel. Then we’ll be back at an invading federal army willing to use kids and their parents for live-fire target practice. Then it’s kill or be killed, fucked as that sounds.”

“And what did you mean by, ‘for the moment?’” Tucker asked.

“Yeah. This device is more sophisticated than the one that they used at the campus. For one, it’s hard-wired into the power-grid, so without taking that down or disconnecting it, it’s going to have continuous power. Two, it’s not supposed to turn off electronically, so it will keep trying to fire itself back up until the physical keys used to turn it on are all inserted and turned- it’s similar to the old nuclear setup.”

“How long can you buy us?”

“Best-case scenario, taking turns tag-teaming it? Hours. But if the feds start encroaching, or worse, shooting, all bets really are off. I meant what I said, it’s kill or be killed, and I’m not sure they’ll let us leave even if we try to.”

“What can we do?”

“I don’t think we have a lot of options,” Mikaela said. “But I’m not going to let them turn us into the monsters they say we are; I won’t let them make us murderers.”

“You sound like you’ve got an idea.”

“Not a great one,” Mikaela said. “Same one as before, really. I pull out as many dupes as I can, and we get everyone behind me. I can buy time. They’ll get their body count, and maybe America will finally stop letting them treat us like-”

“Puerto Ricans.”

“I was going to say second-class citizens, but I guess that’s kind of a crowded field right now in this country.”

“I’m not sure how to feel about you creating a huge pile of dead Mikaelas,” Tucker said. “No; that’s not true. I don’t like it. But I don’t know if I could handle it if you were one of them.”

Mikaela cupped his cheek. “I am one of them- and they’re a lot of me.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I do. But right now we don’t get to have a tearful maybe-goodbye. Because I need to concentrate on timing this right; and you need to coordinate everyone to get back, and start filing away. We may only get the one shot at this. And I don’t-”

“Wait,” Ryan said, holding up his hand. The federal agents, to a man, stopped what they were doing. They set their weapons at their feet, turned, and left. The sole exception was Stacey, who paused a moment, speaking into his phone, before setting down his sidearm and walking away. 

“What happened?” Mikaela asked.

“Play it back for me,” Tucker said, “and I’ll broadcast it to our people. Give me a sec.” “This is Tucker,” Mikaela felt the thought, a warm sensation in the back of her head. “The feds were just given an order to stand down. It came directly from the Oval Office.”

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