I have got this guy...
- Hidden Data 1
On the second page in the right hand bottom corner is a braille code
- Hidden Data 2
on the last page are highlights in different colours. The hex codes of these colours are:
which converted from Octal gives: 6za8��devz9w7s
000000 is the code for black so the keyword is blackdev and the final code is: 6za8blackdevz9w7s
- Hidden Data 3
On the 5th page, next to “shut up and drive” there is a faint code:
Alignment - Ingress
An Exotic Matter
A novel Written by Felicia Hajra-Lee that seems to follow what Devra is doing now , although it was written years ago.
Book Cover Contest
An Exotic Matter Book Covers
The Niantic Project: Ingress
The book was renamed when it got published
- Hidden Info
If you up the levels of the cover you will see some remains of a QR code
Putting them all together we get
Reading it gives 2vb8carriew5s2u.
An Exotic Matter - chapter 1 (Zurich to Zagreb)
An Exotic Matter 1
- Hidden Info
- The word Zagreb is a passcode
Dear Mr. Chapeau (yes, I know that's not your real name),
If you want to find out what's going on with Devra Bogdanovich, read this. It's the first chapter of my novel, An Exotic Matter. This novel, and I have proof, was set to be published in 2009, but my publisher went under. It's been tied up in their bankruptcy ever since. It's very upsetting. I've got half a mind to put it out digitally. The contract doesn't say anything about that.
The other thing that upsets me is that I'm the first writer I know of who's been plagiarized by reality. That is, if indeed these stories about Devra Bogdanovich are real. I can't tell. I think maybe somebody found ‘An Exotic Matter’ and is stealing it from me.
I'm sending the first chapter to you for free. If your investigators want to see the rest of it, they've got to pay. There's a lot of stuff in there that might be of value to your fans.
I'm enclosing the galley proof from my publisher. There's more where this came from, but not for free. And if somebody’s ripping me off, I'm going to find out who it is.
Zurich to Zagreb
Something was very wrong. But Devra wasn’t sure what that something might be, because the escape from CERN had gone perfectly.
The calamity happened just the way they were afraid it would. Or maybe the way Devra had secretly hoped it would. The sirens. Security personnel running everywhere. Distraction and chaos.
Then, the escape. A motorcycle race through the city. The crossing gate. Getting on board. Separating from Jarvis.
Now, Dr. Devra Bogdanovich was alone. Almost.
She stared out the window of the passenger car. The foreground was a blur of lights, signs, poles, passing cars, and towns. The mountains were somewhere in the darkness, stately and fixed. Devra was looking for reassurance in a chaotic and increasingly dangerous universe, but instead, her eyes caught
glimpses of the barely visible European countryside.
Everything had gone perfectly, Devra thought. Yet something was wrong. Maybe it was the perfection. The Swiss
precision of it all. A complete lack of friction. As a scientist, Devra knew that perfection was an intellectual concept: it didn’t exist in the real world. But she'd just witnessed it. Lived it. And it wasn’t sitting well with her.
She closed her eyes. Thoughts and memories crashed together in a swirl of motion that mirrored the rhythmic clanking of the tracks and streaking lights racing past. Each second Devra was more distant from the flawless escape, and closer to an uncertain future.
Jarvis was at least fifty kilometers away by now. Devra had explained that this was part of the plan, but the look on Jarvis’ face told her that he didn’t know. He expected them to stay together. She remembered him as she stepped away. Jarvis, hiding his anger and sense of betrayal and failing miserably at both. She would make it up to him. Besides, they would look for the two of them traveling together. Alone was better.
Well, Devra wasn’t traveling totally alone. She had a guardian angel. A non-corporeal spirit that haunted every possible piece of equipment and technology that she had and would come in contact with as she ran. It was ADA. A Detection Algorithm. An artificial intelligence of vast, limitless capabilities and unknowable intentions.
ADA had choreographed their escape from Niantic. But what had she choreographed that Devra hadn’t seen? Were there operatives on the train with her? The businessman who either wasn't enjoying his novel or was just pretending to read it. What about that couple? Young. Hip. The guy had been eyeing her. She’d flattered herself into thinking it was because
she was attractive. And what about the girl? Devra had caught her looking.
She knew she could literally drive herself crazy projecting the possibilities. If ADA had some sinister plan… IfADA was even capable of hatching sinister plans… She wasn’t going to figure it out now. She closed her eyes, uneasily. It didn’t stop the data flood. This didn’t surprise Devra. She’d been
overloaded with XM just like the rest of them only a few hours ago.
Devra was the scientific lead on the Niantic Project, which comprised a team of investigators to detennine the “Threats and Opportunities Inherent in Exotic Matter”, “XM” for short, for the National Intelligence Agency, a.k.a. the “NIA”. It was an open ended think tank populated by both scientists and sensitives“ - people who were receptive to the influence of exotic matter. Jarvis, the famous sculptor. Enoch, the musician. A symbologist - Carrie. Misty, the magician/psychic who claimed to have no gifts beyond being a sensitive. A theological physicist/conman named Stein. And a select group of physicists of various different types. Scientists like herself. It was an odd group. Reminded her of the old Donovan song Atlantis”
Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the Earth. On board were the Twelve: The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist, The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends. Though Gods they were And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
An Exotic Matter 2
The word “Niantians” rolled across her brain, and she
smiled, keeping her eyes closed. She had to calm things.
Exotic Matter, long theorized, had recently been officially discovered and quantified at the CERN Laboratories as part of the Higgs-Boson research. Without a flashy name like “The God Particle,” XM was ignored in the media. But not by those in the know…
XM was a bit of cosmic substrate whose very existence
was, until recently, barely accepted. Its only observable characteristic was a very faint gravitational tug felt in the aggregate across vast stretches of the universe, gently slowing the ceaseless expansion of everything from the core out to the edge of nothingness. But in a lab, their lab, recently, they had isolated and observed the subatomic particles that comprise XM. Actually, ADA observed them. The humans merely double checked the results, but the scientific glory would be theirs.
Troubling though, was the strange pattern of irregular pulsations detected at the very margin of XM's fragile existence. A thrum of vibrations at the particle level. Entirely normal in the general case but this thrum was different. It was irregular in the most intriguing way. There were patterns. A logic. ADA's cold summary delivered in an almost human voice still hung in the air. “This dataset contains ordered information. Preliminary analysis suggest encoded communication.” It was most certainly an error, some contamination of the delicate measurements used to analyze the particles. And yet, so far, inexplicable.
This was Devra’s field. She had been curious since the beginning why a physicist like herself who focused on the collapse of quasars and a lifelong passion for SETI had been
invited to a particle physics research group. It was Devra’s algorithms that ADA had run against the dataset. That had never been intended. Why would one search for signs of extra-terrestrial life at the subatomic realm? And yet, what surfaced was beyond anything she had dared to dream in decades. Dialtone. A signal of ordered information with no organic explanation. If there was dialtone, somewhere there was a sender, or at least that was what she had argued in her doctoral thesis.
Without explanation, this result had been anticipated by the Niantic Project coordinators. She had been invited, seemingly in anticipation of such an impossible discovery. That made no
sense. She batted the thought away for the hundredth time. “Thoughts come, but you do not hold onto to them,” she repeated to herself as a mantra, as she attempted to relax.
An image of Zeke Calvin broke in, shattering her nerves again. Calvin, the single neurobiologist on the team, had been calm when the results came back. Too calm. He should have laughed out loud. Instead, without missing a beat, he had launched a series of experiments off-site with colleagues in a commercial drug company in Basel. They first bathed rodent, then primate brains, with the dialtone signal encoded into electrical pulses. Calvin's work had not yet been published, but he was clearly excited. He talked about behavioral and morphological changes.
And then there were the intel geeks. The worst kind of geeks, in love not only with technology, but secret technology, and most definitely unbearable companions at meal-times. They had been flying a new sensor. They didn't say, and she didn't understand if it was on some type of aircraft or on a satellite. It had a specific mission, to look for XM
concentrations on earth. Again, this made no sense. When Devra joined the project, there was no published knowledge of XM concentrations of any observable levels anywhere on the planet. Such a sensor would have taken months to build and launch. Possibly years. And yet it existed. Devra had seen the mapping of XM projected onto a globe. There were tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of sites.
If the XM existed, presumably the dialtone signal was pervasive as well. Calvin wanted to continue his studies, but this time on humans in the field. Lynton-Wolfe was working on a smart-phone app that used the map to guide humans to XM concentrations. An embedded XM modulation core would allow resonating XM constructs to amplify these naturally occurring XM anomalies. Their plan was to expose civilians, en masse, to vast quantities of XM. They spoke of XM constructs resonators” and “fields” - in ways Devra didn't understand.
And now she had seen what a mega-dose of modulated XM could do. There was some kind of effect on the human nervous system. She herself had been largely immune, but the others… No, she couldn't yet process what she had seen.
Some believed that the XM anomalies were portals. Beacons. Giant trans-dimensional signposts, subconsciously detected by all humans, but acutely evident to sensitives… a beautiful invisible artifact of a greater universe. Like the Alps somewhere out there in the dark, Devra thought to herself. Inspiring, but carrying no particular meaning.
Others believed that they were spewing ordered data which was translated by the human brain as ideas, impulses, thoughts and emotions. Still others believed that they were executable code: brain viruses that actually inhabited and influenced the mind.
Devra didn’t know what she believed, but she saw the
potential risk. And to her, the least mathematical on the science team, the arithmetic was easy: if small amounts of it could cause men to build Chartres Cathedral, imagine what large amounts of it could do. Be careful. Move slowly. Yes. This could be the gateway to an amazing future. Or it could be a portal to hell. No reason to hurry. But that’s not what happened.
When Devra discovered that Lynton-Wolfe’s team was deploying resonators out in the world, with no sense of the consequences, she knew she had to leave… escape. But how and to where?
That’ s where ADA came in. And, ironically, Jarvis.
ADA sympathized with Devra’ s need to get out. To contact associates. To counter Niantic, or at least have a plan to minimize the damage if the worst happened. Devra’ s success would count on the advantage of surprise because she was not trained in what she was about to attempt. The plan meant leaving during the Lynton-Wolfe test. It would give her “panic” as a plausible motive if she were caught. What she lacked were the mechanical skills to escape.
But that’ s where Jarvis came in. He wanted out for his own reasons. Certainly not as noble or important as her own, but no less passionate in desire. Jarvis had seen enough of Niantic. Of XM. Of the influence of what they had come to call the Shapers. Jarvis was a man determined to create his own destiny, as far away from Niantic as possible.
ADA had convinced them both that this would work. That running together gave them the maximum chance of success.
Unless maybe running was a mistake.
A cold chill ran down Devra’s spine. Doubt. She tried to
An Exotic Matter 3
focus on the moon out the window, but even it was distorted to
her eyes. Perhaps this was some residual effect of the XM.
How much had she been exposed to, she wondered. More than
was safe, she assumed. But not enough to be lethal. But that
was the question. Was XM ever lethal?
She advised caution, but Lynton-Wolfe and even Calvin had ignored her. Or, at best, humored her. Now she would fight them. She would build a team to counter Niantic’s research.
The thought of this filled Devra with equal doses of excitement and dread. The NIA would be coming after her. Even they knew that something was very wrong. Her.
No, the moon, Devra thought. That is what’s wrong. She looked again. It shimmered in the night so low in the sky that it seem ed below the windows of train. Devra realized that wasn’t possible. She was seeing a reflection. The train was moving by a large body of water. A lake. She could make out boats moored at docks alongside it. Then a large building. A sign that read “See Hotel Kais…”
A loud bump jolted Devra’s attention back into the train car. Ahead, the young couple she’d noticed earlier struggled with a large duffel bag. Hikers, or college students seeing Europe while they could, she imagined. No threat. Maybe even Americans like herself But she wasn’t sure. That gift was reserved for Europeans. Spotting Americans came second nature to them.
Having traveled the world, Devra was struck by how often people would recognize her as not only being from the States, but even from California, before she even opened her mouth. Something about the way she looked. Her attitude… Her bearing as her father used to tell her. The way she moved and
carried herself. A swagger, she was once told. The tilt of her head. The movement of her eyes. Her clothing. Something besides her accent had given her away many times in the past.
She kind of liked it. But then again, she had never been hunted before. She would have to learn to vanish in a crowd. Not easy for a tall, blonde, attractive woman. But she'd have to
learn. She’d heard a story one about how Marilyn Monroe could walk down the streets of Manhattan unnoticed and then turn it on with a giggle and a wave of her hair. Devra had to learn the opposite. Tonight, she was going to be just another Swiss businesswoman - or maybe a housewife - on her way to a business meeting or a relative's funeral.
Devra set out to create a plausible fiction of who she was now. Choose a story. Fill in the details. She grabbed her smartphone to capture the ideas and edit them into a narrative. Better than trying to make out shapes in the night. And certainly a mind that had imagined into the farthest reaches of human knowledge, and had explored theoretical abstracts of time and space itself, could create a plausible reason for being on a train in the middle of the night. Just in case someone should ask. Which Devra was sure they wouldn’t. No one would ask her anything.
“Business or pleasure?” a voice asked.
Sorry?” Devra replied.
“Pleasure for me, obviously. And her. That’s Mika. I’m David.”
He smiled from the aisle next to her seat. Mika waved from further down as she nudged the rest of the duffel bag onto the seat. Devra made a mental note to improve her situational awareness. David had moved right next to her, and she hadn’t noticed.
- Hidden Info
There are 2 passcode hints in this text
rorschach - the train stop
kaiserstrand - The Hotel Devra sees http://www.seehotel-kaiserstrand.com/
An Exotic Matter 4
“Sorry about the noise.”
“Nothing to worry about, David,” Devra smiled.
“Plenty of room on this train. I heard they were crowded this time of year.”
“Not this time of night.”
“Oh, yeah. That makes sense, I guess. Mika and I are
hoping that this club is still open when we get to our stop. It’s called “The Night Gallery”, I think. You can join us if you’d like.” David had that cocky-cool demeanor she had run into so many times with her students. Guys who think a smile is all it takes.
“Business,” Devra said as she looked again at Mika. Pretty girl. And that’s when she noticed the duffel bag. Something wasn’t right. It was filled with angular objects… she could make out comers and flat surfaces pressing against the cotton fabric.
“You asked, earlier. Remember?”
“Right. An ice-breaker. Don’t care really…”
Devra looked at David again, and it was as if she was seeing him all over again with new eyes. She began to think that the XM that must still be coursing through her had enhanced her senses - she was studying its effects on the human mind - perhaps it was able to do more than excite the creative impulse, but the survival one as well. Because now, David was a threat in Devra’ s eyes. Not a physical threat, but she was sure something wasn’t right. Time to end this.
“Just an opener to say ‘hi’ to a fellow traveler, then?” Devra smiled.
“Fellow American. We’ve got to stick together, huh? Come on. The Night Gallery. That’s gotta be cool…”
“Probably not,” Devra said. No fight or flight. Night
Gallery. The name had sinister overtones. Rod Serling. Creepy stories, like “The Twilight Zone”. Like right now, she thought. Of all the names a club could have, she hears “The Night Gallery”.
David smiled, shrugging. “Change your mind, you know where to find me, uh… What was your name again?”
“Connie,” said Devra, with as much conviction as she could muster.
“You don’t look like a Connie,” David whispered as he moved closer to her.
“But I do look like an American,” Devra said looking back up at him, her eyes suddenly cold. “You know I might be old enough to be your mother. Do you invite your mother to
David smiled as he turned away. “I like my mother.”
David stepped back to Mika and gave her a long kiss, obviously for Devra’s benefit. She tried to make out words that they exchanged. Mika gave a look back Devra’s way as she dropped down into the seat.
Devra turned her attention back out the window. The train was slowing down. They’d reach the station soon. She’d made it this far, but if a frat boy from halfway around the world was able to see through her, what chance did she stand against the NIA?
She got up from her seat and moved quickly back to the next car. A little more crowded than the first. She moved to an empty seat and plopped down into it.
Half the car’s passengers got up as the train stopped. From her new vantage point, Devra could see David and Mika head out across the platform. They looked happy. Carefree. Children in adult bodies, blithely unaware of what was coming for them
- Hidden Info
In the thumbnail of the document
There are several dots and lines. After a bit of arranging (it involves some reversing of some lines) you can obtain this image
Just reverse it and replace calvin with ezekiel and you get another passcode - 4zc7ezekielw5u5q
- Hidden Info2
the text refers a club called the Night Gallery - That is a new passcode - Nachtgalerie
A club in Germany (Munich) http://www.nachtgalerie.de
An Exotic Matter 5
in life. What comes for everybody, eventually. The problems of adulthood. Devra envied them. Could she have that back? Ever. Why does it really end? She repressed the urge to jump off the train and see if the Night Gallery lived up to the billing David was trying to sell.
Oh that’s right. I have a world to save,” she thought to herself. She was almost giddy. It was the non-violent version of what Dashiell Hammet referred to as ‘blood simple.’ That moment where thrill and fear disabled brain function. Where life is so terrifying that it becomes comedy.
With the subtlest of jerks, the train was once again in motion. The gentle rocking was comforting. She knew the crash was coming. You can’t have that much adrenaline without a crash. It was pure physiology or body chemistry to be precise. The barely audible sound of the train pulling itself through the European countryside at night reminded her that there was an app of ambient audio which was the very sound
she was fighting to ignore. The sound of rest. Sleep.
Devra smiled and closed her eyes. There would be many others she would need to open in the next few weeks if she had any hope of success. But for now, she closed her eyes. And kept them closed.
Hours later, Devra was returning back to the station with a cup of coffee.
“Always with the horses,” she thought to herself as she passed a statute of a military poet. Ahead, she could see the two-story yellow building that was the station. Numbers in blue circles were aligned across its front. A single clock tower jutted out of the center. She looked at the time and compared it to her smartphone. On schedule.
She flashed the phone again to the conductor as she
reboarded the train. Devra marveled at how quickly this part of the world had become comfortable with its new reality. From Soviet rule to Western chaos. The human animal was remarkably adaptable. Once it got over the shock of change, it learned to cope. To accept. And then to modify its code as needed until it could thrive. A micro-scaled version of cosmic reality.
As soon as Devra began to walk down the center aisle of the train car, she caught sight of David and Mika. They were focused on each other but it was clear to her that it would be impossible to pass them without acknowledging their presence. She steadied herself.
“Night Gallery wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, huh?” Devra said flatly.
“Closed. Who knew?”
“Not you, obviously.”
“Obviously,” David smiled back. He didn’t get the American accent right with that one. He was tired. Frustrated.
For a reason she couldn’t quite comprehend herself, she gently kicked the duffle bag on the floor by David’s feet. He reacted with a start as her shoe made contact with something hard.
“You travel light,” she said sarcastically. Suddenly, Mika’s face hardened. David tried his best to hide it, but Devra could tell he was raging inside.
“I’m a…” David mumbled.
“Photographer?” Devra asked.
Sure. Why not?” he replied.
“Or maybe a programmer?”
“Okay. Whatever you want.” David forced a smile.
Devra stared hard at him. He wasn’t cocky now. He was off
- Hidden Info
- There is a reference to a statue in the stop that Devra makes. That statue is the Rudolf Maister in Ljubljana. This gives us a new passcode rudolfmaister
An Exotic Matter 6
balance. He was wondering at some level whether he had gone from predator to prey. Off balance was where she wanted him. She turned her attention to Mika.
“I want you to stay away from me, David. You and Mika both. I know that bag is filled with stolen gear - phones and computers and tablets that you’ve been taking from passengers. I know that you think you can charm your way into the confidence of people traveling solo. I can imagine that Mika here has no problem with the men, and you handle the marks like me. Do I look like a mark to you?”
“A ripe one,” Mika replied, forcing a smile through her clenched teeth.
“And am I acting like one?” Devra said, her eyes locked right back on Mika.
“No,” David said.
“When you met me, you told me you were traveling for pleasure. I told you I was on business. You do not want to know what my business is…” Devra said slowly.
Mika and David both reacted as if they had just looked into the face a demon. Whatever power the XM was giving her, Devra realized it included the ability to intimidate. Or was it a new ability? Certainly she’d had it before. She didn’t get to her position at Stanford or on Niantic without it. But now, she had a sense of mastery. A sense of total understanding.
And with that, Devra stepped away, barely able to maintain her composure. She wanted to scream out loud, not from fear, but from triumph. The XM was affecting her in ways she had never anticipated. She had accused the two thieves because in a flash she had seen their every action as if she had been there herself. A two-hour movie in the blink of an eye, and yet she could remember every detail. Every theft. Every con they had
run on every victim.
Devra found a seat near the back of the passenger car and hunkered down as the doors closed with a pneumatic whoosh. The train pulled out of the station. Across the aisle, a single middle-aged man surfed the internet on a tablet. Devra turned to him, pointing toward Mika.
“She doesn’t want you. She wants your stuff,” Devra said.
“So, a woman then?” The man smiled back to her. Devra laughed. The first laugh in as long as she could remember.
She laughed longer than she should have. A laughter that seemed to release all of the pent up energy and fear and anxiety and stress and confusion and doubt within her. Devra took a breath, picked up her phone and dialed. The ringing seemed to go on forever, until finally, a voice on the other end of the line. Devra hesitated for only a moment.
“Hello. It’s Devra. Yes. Really. I’m fine. Thanks. You?
Good, good. Look, I’m coming into town. I know. It has been too long. Well, I’m making up for that now. Literally. Yes. In about two hours. Only if it wouldn’t be an inconvenience. I can take a cab. Or the metro. They still have those lovely blue trains? Really? You’re sure? Okay, yes. I can find it. The statue out front. Dalmatians, yes. I’ m sure it’ s not that ridiculous. Oh, is it? Okay. I will see you there. Thanks, you have saved my life. Again. Now I might be able to save yours. What? Yes. I will tell all when I see you. Bye.”
Devra touched the screen to hang up the call as a text message suddenly came through.
Stick to the plan and I will keep you safe.”
There was no point in trying to respond. It wouldn’t change anything. Instead, she dropped lower into her seat. She would be there in a few hours.
An Exotic Matter 7
Blink. She could feel the brakes slowing the train. Had she dozed off‘? No, she was sure of it. Yet the train was arriving at her destination. She could hear the announcement. Another two-hour movie instantly experienced.
Devra shook her head.
“We’re here already?” she said to the man across the aisle.
“Time flies,” he replied.
“Except when it stands still,” Devra said.
“At least we made it out of Zurich alive…” the man replied.
“What do you mean?”
“The murders. At the Zurich HB. You didn’t hear?”
“What? When?” Devra tried to hide her reaction. The panic started to build back up inside her.
“Last night. They are treating it as a possible hoax. Or stunt,” he said as he passed Devra his tablet.
She looked at the story on the screen. There was a picture of Jarvis laying by the Escher statue. And the body of a woman sprawled next to him. Devra took a deep breath and prayed her reaction was controlled. She steeled her eyes.
“Thank you,” Devra replied as she handed the man back his tablet and got to her feet.
Suddenly, her phone buzzed again. She read the text message on her screen. “Devra. Stick to the plan. Your meeting place is set.”
Buzz. “I will keep you safe.”
Devra could not get the image of Jarvis out of her mind. They had killed him. And killed a woman with him. Her build. Her hair color.
“I will keep you safe.”
That was supposed to be her. The woman. They killed her, but Devra realized she was the target. Her guardian angel had\
saved her again. Buzz.
“I will keep…”
And only the angel would know.
Devra turned off the phone with a start as the blood drained from her face. She quickly composed herself and moved forward with the other passengers, toward David and Mika who were making their way to the exit doors.
Devra shoved her way past them, pushing Mika aside and trying to her best to not break into a full run, even though her
legs so desperately wanted to.
The doors barely opened when Devra practically leapt onto the train platform and quickly made her way into the crowd.
Devra didn’t stop to look back at David and Mika’s reaction and to see whether she was being followed. She thought to herself as she walked that the old Devra would have turned back. That her curiosity would have gotten the best of her. And that is how the cat got killed, she remembered. So she kept her eyes focused ahead.
They didn’t know. They hadn’t seen it happen.
Mika was so busy being territorial she didn’t notice Devra drop the phone into the pocket of her duffle bag of goods as Devra had brushed her aside. One more stolen piece of tech that David and Mika would eventually pawn.
But for now, though they couldn’t know it, the angel would travel with them.
An Exotic Matter - chapter 2 (Eight Five Five)
Chapter 2 seems to expand a bit more the events surrounding Devra but now also Farlowe and the mysterious 855
Eight Five Five
Farlowe unscrewed his silencer, holstered his pistol, and turned to Phillips, who scanned the scene around him.
“Eight hundred heavy, times two,” Phillips said into his Bluetooth headset.
Farlowe studied his handiwork. A clean entry wound on Jarvis' forehead only hinted at the horrors that were once the back of his skull.
“Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown,” he muttered under his breath as he listened in on Phillips. Farlowe could see Devra' s body laying on its side, partially obscured by shadows.
Phillips turned to him. “Cleaners are en route. Two minutes.”
“Shoulda been center-mass. We wouldn't need so many sponges,” Farlowe said. “That's the way it came in,” Phillips replied as he moved An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 20 toward Devra' s corpse. Farlowe surveyed his surroundings. He didn't see anybody, but he did hear a voice. Female, Swiss-German accent. Frantic. Phillips grunted and stepped over to Devra. Blood had sprayed onto the statue behind her. Two head-shots, just like the mission request. But something was wrong. “She's calling the police,” F arlo we said. “What?” Phillips was distracted, which is precisely what he shouldn't have been at this moment. Farlowe moved closer to Phillips. “I can understand what she's saying. She's calling the police.” “It's not her.” Phillips rolled the body at his feet onto its back. Phillips looked at Farlowe as a dark panel van pulled up next to them. Three cleaners, all in their late twenties, two men and one woman, quickly jumped out of the van and moved to the bodies. “It's not Bogdanovich … What the hell?” IfFarlowe was surprised by this news, his years of training and fieldwork had taught him how to hide it. Farlowe reached for his weapon and started to screw back on the silencer. “I'll take care of the witness.” “No. We assumed somebody would see this. We're in a very public place.” “So now what?” Farlowe asked Phillips. “Now we clean up this mess and get the hell out of here. Now Bogdanovich is on the run. So now you find her. I want no open communications. You talk to nobody but me. I'll give you your next move when I know what it is. Now you go.” 21 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 21 Suddenly, they both were bathed in green light. Like a plasma. Farlowe looked for a source. There wasn't one. Still, he kept looking. It was coming from Jarvis' corpse. Enveloping them. “What the … ” Phillips grabbed hold of Farlowe' s arm and pulled him backwards as the cleaning crew covered their eyes. “Everyone get back! It's XM!” Phillips yelled, but to Farlowe, it was like listening to someone from below the surface ofwater. Distorted. Muffled. Farlowe had a sense of falling backwards as his eyes locked onto the glowing plasma floating near him. It was assembling itself, like a mist with intelligence. Farlowe heard a deafening hiss. It sounded like something he had heard many times before. The final exhale. A death rattle. Then, the mist drifted towards the base of the Escher statue and was sucked into the earth. “Farlowe! Farlowe!” He would never know what happened for the next few seconds. Farlowe tried to force his thoughts into focus, and when he did, everybody was gone. He was alone in front of the statue. His pistol and silencer were missing. “Farlowe!” The agent looked down at his hands. The woman cleaner was swabbing his hands with disinfectant, removing gunshot residue. The cleaner next to her was dropping his pistol and silencer into a large plastic bag. “You with us? Or are you with someone else?” Phillips asked Farlowe. “Completely with you, sir,” Farlowe lied. He realized that he was momentarily out. He didn't remember them taking his 22 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 22 gun or starting on his hands. “We got clear, but you were in the stuff for a few seconds.” “Felt like longer,” Farlowe said, studying Phillips. “I'm good.” Phillips handed his Glock 31 chambered with .357 SIG to Farlowe. “You'd betterbe.” An hour later, Farlowe was driving south. There was little hope that he would overtake Bogdanovich, but he'd catch up with her sooner or later. If she was still on the train, there were only so many places she could go. He just had no idea what he was going to do when he did catch up with her. The Glock in his waistband told him what Phillips had in mind, but Farlowe wasn't so sure. Instead, he felt a sense of purpose. He just didn't know what it was yet. Farlowe reached for his phone. Not in his jacket. The cleaners had taken that, too. He found this simultaneously annoying and liberating. The car he was driving was a company vehicle, so Phillips could track him and find him when he needed to, Farlowe thought to himself as he drove into the night. The blur of thoughts that had been ripping through his mind had been reduced to focusing on a never ending dark horizon. The vanishing point. Still, things were coming into focus. A new clarity. He was connecting ideas and thoughts and facts and experience into an emerging pattern of what had happened in Zurich, and who might have been behind it. And to Farlowe, none of it looked good. Either someone botched the order, or Devra had somehow been tipped off to what was coming and was able to make a switch. Or she had gotten very lucky. 23 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 23 Uncertainty was something he always tried to avoid in his career. But now Farlowe had the sense that this was precisely where he found himself He was in the dead center of swirling chaos. Maybe it was the XM that had hit him earlier that had him thinking this way. Farlowe realized that he felt different. He didn't know why. But he did know that nothing would ever be the same again. And something inside of him was happy about this. And for reasons he couldn't yet comprehend, Farlowe also knew he was heading in the right direction. Toward Devra. Toward the dark horizon and the woman who had vanished. A bus with wings. That is what flying has become, 855 thought to himself as he dealt cards onto the fold-down drink tray in front of him. His job was full of little indignities - people begging for their lives. Others trying to kill him. The isolation. The lack of any steady personal relationship. The blood. His life was constant movement, like that of a shark who can never stop swimming. Actually, now that he thought about it, he liked all those things. But damn it all when he had to fly coach. Still, it was the luck of the cards. He turned the deck over and pulled out the kings and jacks, setting the rest of the cards aside. He looked at the eight face cards. For each, he had a storya story that he had rehearsed so many times and played so many times that each was a part of him. He had spent so much of his life telling the detailed lies of each of the painted men in front of him that he had given up trying to keep them straight from his own life before the agency. 24 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 24 Now, each was a unique cover identity. Kings were married men. Jacks single. Clubs were workaday Joes. Spades: technology. Diamonds: wealth, of course. And hearts: family and romance. He tried to remember how many times he had stared at these cards before. Too many to count. But they provided the chaos - the random chance that he relied on, and that had served him well up until now. That was the thing about his job that people didn't understand, if he would have ever been allowed to explain it to them. Which he wouldn't. This line of work was about detail and procedure. Like the pilots who currently had his life in their hands, he had his pre-flight checklist. And like the pilots, he followed it religiously. But he had also learned that ordered routine eventually breeds complacency and carelessness, and that patterns were how he tracked his victims. So he came up with the cards. Eight chances to be someone else each time he started a new hunt. “Is it a trick?” asked the teenage girl seated next to him. She was about fourteen. Slightly overweight. He could hear Katy Perry coming from her headphones as he turned to her. “No. Pick a number between one and eight,” he said as he studied her. He hadn't killed anyone her age in months. She smiled. “Five,” she said. “Right. Five it is.” He turned the cards over and scrambled them, then dealt them face up, counting as he did so. “One, two, three, four and five. The king of diamonds.” “What does that mean?'' she asked. “I have no idea. Here, you try it.” He gathered up the cards, and as he scrambled them, slipped a folded twenty dollar bill 25 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 25 that he had casually palmed from his pocket under the fourth card. “I'll say a number. You deal.” “Okay.” “What's your name?” “Sandra,” she said. “Nice to fly with you, Sandra. Four.” She dealt the cards. “One, two, three … ” On the fourth card, she stopped. “Twenty.” She smiled at him. “I thought you said this wasn't a trick.” “I lied.” “Can I keep this?” “Not the cards. Those are mine. And since that is all I handed you, I really have no claim to anything else you may have found.” “Is this like a 'pay it forward' thing? I bet you probably surprise a lot of people.” “That I do,” he said, as he got up and headed for the bathroom. Sandra shrugged, then stuffed the twenty into her purse and turned Katy Perry back up. In the airplane lavatory, 855 looked into the mirror, staring at his face. Still handsome, but now with deep lines forming around his eyes and on his forehead. Green eyes, but he could change those when needed with contacts. He wasn't sure what his real hair color was anymore. For now, it was brown, and just starting to go grey. Early forties but keeping it together. He opened the hidden area in the lining of his jacket, and pulled out a small envelope labeled “King of Diamonds.” Inside were a passport, a health insurance card, and three credit 26 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 26 cards, all identifying him as Karl Ameston. He tucked them into his wallet, removing the previous ones in the process. He washed his hands, and then wrapped the old passport and cards thoroughly with a paper towel. Satisfied, he tossed the bundle into the waste bin. As he sat back in his seat, Sandra turned to him. “I forgot to say 'thanks' and ask your name.” “You're welcome. And Karl,” he said. Christie was being extremely polite. He hadn't asked Devra for any details when he picked her up at the train station. Hadn't prodded for information on the car ride to the small pub they now found themselves in. Even now, he was seemingly content to drink his beer and make small talk. “You see all the graffiti on the side of the building on the way in? That's been there for over twenty years.” Devra looked up from her drink and studied Dr. Christie Novosel, one of the best chemical engineers she had ever worked with. He was a big man, broad shouldered and with glasses as thick as his neck. His moustache was grey and full and bounced around the top of his lip with each word he spoke. “Hmmm … ” “In most places, it would be a sign of neglect. But here, it is a sign of pride. All around Zagreb. When the wall came down, the first signs of revolt were seen on the sides ofbuildings that had been sprayed with a rattle can. So it stays. And is transformed. From vandalism into an expression offreedom.” Christie looked around the room, then back at Devra. “They call it 'street art' now. Some of the most famous sell their works for millions. It's gone mainstream,” Devra said. “Well then, all I need is a sledgehammer and some nice 27 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 27 frames and my retirement is assured,” Christie laughed. Devra smiled back at him. He's doing well, she thought. It must be eating him up inside not to ask her the obvious question. “How about your legacy, Christie? What if I could help with that?” Devra said. Suddenly, Christie's face seemed to change. His expression became serious. Focused. He'd been waiting for this, and Devra had given him his opening. He intended to make the best of it. “So this is about CERN? What you have been up to and why do you call me out of the blue for the first time in three years, and two hours later we sit together having a beer? How much can you tell me? Well, how much are you willing to tell me?” Devra leaned back in her chair and studied the room. Nobody else seemed interested in them. She had intentionally picked a booth in the comer and was seated so she could keep an eye on the door. “It's called Niantic. Named after some ship that's buried under San Francisco. The NIA names all their projects after shipwrecks. That should have been my first clue.” Devra exhaled, seemingly for the first time in days. Christie raised his beer and took a long swig, indicating that he had no intention of interrupting her. “We had been studying the effects of a substance we call Exotic Matter. I believe that it has an extra-dimensional component that, as of yet, I can't explain. We saw it first on the sub-atomic scale, but now. .. it flows into our … reality. And it's being crafted … ” “Crafted?” 28 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 28 “Like DNA, it's a building block that can be used to create-” Christie cut her off. “DNA creates life, Devra,” he said with a blank look on his face. “Right now the NIA are using it to create weapons. For the moment, they only seem able to affect other XM constructs,” Devra replied. “But that is not where you think this will end, do you?” asked Christie. The seriousness of what they were talking about was washing over him, and Devra could see it on his face. “That is why you are here now?” Devra nodded as she reached out and touched Christie's hand. “That and the fact they tried to kill me,” she said. Christie's eyes widened. “What? When?” “Hours ago. In Zurich.” “So you are on the run?” Christie sputtered. Devra nodded. “And you need my help, obviously … anything … just tell me and ifl have it, it is yours.” His voice was rising. Adrenaline was kicking in for the big man, and he was becoming more animated. Devra gestured towards him and Christie composed himself “Anything,” he said. Devra squared herself From the looks of it, she had her first real ally. “I'm going to need your expertise, Christie. I'm going to fight fire with fire. You know more than anyone else on the planet about converting raw materials into useable forms. And that's what I'm going to do with XM.” 29 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 29 The sun was just starting to rise as the plane landed in Zagreb. “Karl” breezed through customs and quickly navigated his way to the baggage claim area. Finding his suitcase, he pulled it from the carousel and popped open the collapsing handle with the skill of a seasoned traveler. He caught Sandra out of the comer of his eye as she waved goodbye. He waved back, then rolled the bag a couple of carousels over, toward a crowd waiting for their luggage from another flight, this one from London. He observed the people as they scanned the moving baggage, each hunting for an end to this part of their journey. He moved toward the back of the carousel - only a few travelers here - and deftly pulled the baggage claim tag from his suitcase without anyone noticing. Then, as if he had taken the wrong bag, he dropped his suitcase onto the moving metal, and watched as it joined the others on their orbit past the impatiently waiting travelers. The man he had been for the past three weeks was now just another piece oflost luggage. Any evidence that might link him to the necessary violence he had unleashed in Shanghai was now thousands of miles away and soon to be locked in storage, forgotten for months on end. Satisfied that all remaining possessions of Raymond Stiber had been dealt with, 855 got on the with the task of being Karl Ameston, successful father of three, here in Zagreb investigating local craft manufacturers for items he could sell as part of his home decor business. He stopped at the money exchange window and pulled his AmEx card from his wallet. He slid the card under the glass at an attractive, if tired, looking young woman behind the 30 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 30 counter. She smiled at him as she took it. “English?” he said. “Of course, Mr. Ameston,” she replied as she looked at his name on the card. “How may I assist you?” “I need a cash advance. Ten thousand kuna.” “That will be approximately seventeen hundred U.S. dollars, plus fees. Should I proceed?” she smiled. Karl reached into his jacket for his passport. “I'm assuming you're going to need this?” “Yes, please.” She took his passport and opened it up, studying him for a moment. As she was trained. Thorough enough. But by tomorrow, he would be forgotten. As he was trained. “Thank you, Mr. Ameston. One moment, please” she said as she slid his passport back under the glass. “Tell me, is there a place where I can purchase a prepaid cell phone in the airport? I need a local number,” he asked her. “Not in the airport, no. Sorry.” “No problem. I will figure it out when I get to my hotel.” He smiled at her. In the cab, he looked at his watch. The one artifact that he could not part with. Ever. He had picked it years ago, after one of his first jobs. A trophy. He had decided to make it look like a robbery, and it was the obvious thing to take. Huge dial. Stainless steel linked chain. Heavy. A diver's watch that would never see the ocean. Expensive but subtle. And he had incorporated it into each of his cover stories. In his line of work, it was one of the most valuable tools. But not the most valuable. He needed one of those, too. But first, the phone and a few other essentials. 31 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 31 Even though the cab ride wasn't that long to the Avenue Mall, Karl made sure to overtip the driver enough to get his attention. Never too early to start chumming the waters, and he had learned that any cab driver around the world could help you find a girl or trouble. Or both. After buying a small laptop computer and hitting a few clothing shops, 855 picked up a new suitcase in which he would be burying Karl Ameston at whatever airport his job would take him to next. Then, he found a kiosk selling pre-paid phones. He purchased two with local sim cards. One of the phones in hand, he texted the number to his contact, then headed into a small drug store. He knew better than to put the phone in his pocket. It began to ring almost instantly as he reached the stationery supplies aisle. “You pick up any trail?” Phillips said. “Haven't started. Been on-site about an hour. I just got the burner and messaged you once it was activated. I still have some prep to do first, but it won't take long.” “Two targets are now a priority. Link to follow.” “Last words from either? Anything keeping you up at night?” “Plenty. But not from them. I'm authorizing both orders. Do what you do. Quickly.” The line went dead. Mter a moment, a text message with a compact URL. He clicked the link and entered his passcode. Two dossiers - one for a Dr. Devra Bogdanovich, a researcher, another for a company man named Farlowe - appeared on the screen. No wonder Karl thought he heard stress in Phillips' voice. This job included family business. So be it. Karl had long ago gotten past asking about the “why.” Only the “who and when.” Now he had both. 32 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 32 He committed the URL to memory, and then deleted the text. Karl dropped the phone into his coat pocket and turned his attention to the shelves in front of him. He found the scissors he wanted almost instantly. The duct tape wasn't far away. If flying coach was the part of the job he hated most, this was the part he loved most. Zagreb was like many of the former Eastern Bloc cities he had visited. Soviet box architecture had created the apartment buildings, but the center of the town, its shopping and dining districts, retained their old-world charm. Twisting streets and facades recalled another era, when men like 855 would have worked for the king. Or the church. Karl had been to four restaurants he knew were frequented by the Croatian mafia, eating good food and drinking cheap liquor. At each, he played the part of the loud-mouthed American, complaining about or complimenting on the Zagreb Steak - which in reality he always thought was delicious no matter where he had been in the city - and generally waving around too many kuna and U.S. dollars. So far, no takers. But now, on his fifth trip out that evening, as he started to believe he might need to default to option one or two, he got the bite he was waiting for. Across the almost empty room, two men in leather jackets, one with sunglasses pushed up on his bald head, were giving him the once over. Years of experience had taught Karl that there were a number of ways to get a gun. You could buy it. Steal it. Or let it come to you. Because he always arrived at his destination clean - only movie spies got their weapons through airport security - 33 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 33 he had gotten very adept at acquiring firearms around the world. This was the part of the job he loved. “One more,” he said loudly toward the waitress in broken Croatian as he held up his glass of Rakia, a sweet liquor of fermented plum and grapes. She returned with the bottle and poured him another, still forcing a smile. Cute enough for what he had in mind. He took another bite of his steak. “And I will give you a thousand kuna if you give me the recipe for this.” “I'm sorry, sir, but that is not…” He cut her off as he pulled two thousand kuna from his wallet and slammed them on the table-top. Loud enough that he was sure the men across the room would hear. They did. The rest of diners in the restaurant turned his way momentarily before returning to their meals. The two men kept their eyes on him. “You didn't let me finish. One thousand for the recipe. Two thousand if you deliver it to me in person. At my hotel. And an additional five hundred U.S. if you give me a recipe for breakfast. .. ” “That's not on the menu, sir,” she said, slightly blushing. Karl caught a look of the men out of the comer of his eye. The hook was set. Karl smiled. “You can't blame me for trying, huh? I guess I'll just leave a tip instead.” He slid a thousand kuna across at her. “Take your boyfriend out someplace nice. Someplace that is not… this place.” He laughed. She was too stunned at the size of the tip she picked up to protest. “Your loss.” 34 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 34 And with that, Karl gathered up his coat and staggered to the door. In the glass, he could see the reflection of the men plotting their next move. He had walked for about ten minutes. The restaurant was located in Cmomerec, an older district in the city, and near a number of industrial buildings. The tourists didn't get out this way as often, which would lead the two men following him from the place to believe he was lost, or stupid, or both. Their mistake. Ahead was the textile factory he had scouted on his way to the restaurant. This time of night, no one would be there. He continued on toward it as his pursuers closed in. Karl put his hand out to steady himself, reaching a comer of the crumbling building. “You lost?” The voice was closer than he anticipated. They had closed the distance quickly. Clearly, they had done this many times before. So had he. “Is this Zagreb?” he replied. “Yes.” “Then, no. Not lost. But I could use a cab.” They hadn't bothered to notice that his Croatian had improved, as they were already too focused on their own actions. Any second now. The man with the sunglasses on his forehead did the talking. He was taller. Thinner. More urbane. Clearly the senior member of the duo. The second man was older. His face had been pockmarked with acne when he was younger. Now the cratered flesh pulled taut over his cheekbones and protruding jaw with a five-o'clock shadow that only added to the menace he would have projected in almost any situation. A primitive creature. 35 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 35 Dangerous in the way a large piece oflivestock is dangerous. “We can help you with that. Why don't you give us the fare, and we will get you a driver,” Sunglasses said. “Sure. How much do you need?” Karl said, just the hint of fear creeping into his voice. He was an expert actor, capable of conveying almost any emotion instantly and convincingly. His life depended on it. And the life of others would often end because they believed him. “Why don't you let us count it for you.” And with that the first gun was out. He turned around to see Shadow had his trained on him as well. Front and back coverage, standard morons. He was in the middle, but they had each other in a crossfire. Still, he wouldn't underestimate them. That was the biggest mistake men made with firearms. Complacency. There is a right side and a wrong side to any gun. The man on the right side assumes the man on the wrong side has been completely subdued by the prospect of sudden death. It is a false sense of security, and one which leads to missing the details, like the eye ring of a single shear blade from a pair of scissors that slipped from Karl's jacket sleeve into the palm of his right hand with the skill of a professional magician. Easy as slipping a twenty dollar bill into a deck of cards. It was unexpected by the mark. Which makes the sleight that much easier to pull off successfully. Karl reacted to the semi-auto pointed at his face. “1, uh … I…” “Wallet. Watch. In that order.” “I … ” “Now!” Sunglasses moved the barrel of the gun forward for emphasis. “And don't crap yourself” 36 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 36 Shadow chuckled behind them. Karl handed over his wallet, then popped the locking clasp from the band of his watch and slid it down his wrist and onto his fingers. “See, American. You were willing to pay to get screwed. And you did. So successful night for you after all, huh?” Sunglasses was laughing now along with Shadow. “You don't know the half of it,” Karl smiled back at them as he suddenly tightened every muscle in his body. His fingers clenched into a fist, compacting the slack in the watch band and instantly turning it into a makeshift pair of brass knuckles. What followed was quick, efficient violence. Karl snapped his watch-encased fist forward, jabbing Sunglasses directly in his larynx, twisting slightly upward as he did so and separating the man's voice box from his trachea. Sunglasses barely had time to register his surprise as the overwhelming pain of his injury short-circuited his brain. As Karl anticipated, Shadow was the slower of the two. With his fist still completing its destruction of Sunglasses' airway, Karl kicked back and downward at Shadow's left knee. It broke with a sickening, loud crack. In one fluid motion, Karl turned, wrapping his fingers around the eye ring of the scissor blade and pulling the rest of it from his sleeve as Sunglasses collapsed, choking and gasping for breath. Shadow, still trying to comprehend how something so mundane as robbing a drunk American had suddenly gone so wrong, tried to focus his aim and get off a shot. But before he could squeeze the trigger, agonizing pain shot through the left side of his body. Karl's aim was true. Through the ribs and straight into the 37 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 37 lung. Karl used the leverage of the eye ring to drive the shear blade all the way to the hilt. Shadow tried to scream, but Karl was quick to cover his mouth with his hand and guide the man along the brick wall behind him all the way to the ground. Little blood was spilling onto Shadow's clothing. As always, perfect, Karl thought. “What you are experiencing right now is called hemopneumothorax, which is a fancy way of saying air and blood in the chest cavity.” Karl looked directly into Shadow's eyes as he held onto the eye ring of the shear blade. He kicked Shadow's gun out of his reach. “Also known as a sucking chest wound. Ironically, the thing keeping you alive right now is also the thing that is killing you. So be careful not to move around too much.” Karl crossed back to Sunglasses, and turned the gasping man over on his stomach. He pulled the roll of duct tape from his jacket and quickly hog-tied him, using the second blade from the disassembled scissors to cut the tape. Then, he returned to Shadow and tightly bound his feet, feeling something on his calf as he did so. “Hands, please,” Karl said. The man painfully extended his arms out, and Karl quickly wrapped them with duct tape. “Interesting line of work you fellas have chosen. Let's see what tools you've brought to the job site.” Karl reached over and picked up Shadow's handgun. “A Rook,” he said as he looked over the weapon. The gun was an MP-443 Grach. “Very nice. Chambering 9mm Parabellum. Seventeen round magazine. Can be chambered for the 7N21, commonly 38 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 38 called the PBP, hot-load overpressure variant armor-piercing round.” He ejected the magazine from the grip. “Not that lucky. And there's something else.” He slid up the man's pant leg. An XD Compact in an ankle holster. “Here we go. Think globally, buy locally, right?” Shadow did not respond. Anger was taking hold of him, overcoming the fear and pain he was experiencing. “Croatian HS2000, XD Compact. Grip safety. Ten round magazine. Almost as good as Zagreb Steak. I think your friend had a GSh-18.” Karl stepped to the choking man and picked up his pistol off the ground. “Yep. I was right. GSh-18. The eighteen references the mag capacity. Standard Russian sidearm. 9mm Parabellum as well, and this one is … ” He ejected the magazine and looked at the ammunition. ” .. .is loaded with PBP. Capable of defeating body armor. Heck, it'll pierce 8mm of steel at 20 meters.“ Karl turned back to Shadow as he took the sunglasses from the gasping man, whose wheezing was more shallow now. The lack of oxygen was causing him to slide in and out of consciOusness. “You boys must run into a lot of trouble if you need this for protection.” Shadow stared bullets at him. “We are connected. You know what these tattoos on our arms mean? We are mafia, and we will hunt you down. And your family. As long as it takes.” “Of that, I have no doubt. Don't worry, we're almost done 39 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 39 here.” Karl smiled back at him as he tucked the guns into his belt. He pulled the rest of the kuna from his wallet and tossed the bills at the feet of Shadow. “That should cover it.” With that said, Karl tugged the upper shear blade from the man's chest. Shadow immediately began gasping for bloody breath as air and fluid rushed into his lung. “Thanks for the chat,” Karl said to Shadow. “I needed a little time to pass. It will lead the authorities to believe that you were interrogated as part of a mob hit when they do your autopsies.” Then he shot both men in the back of the head. 40 An Exotic Matter, F. Hajra-Lee 5/16/09 Page 40
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An Exotic Matter - chapter 3 (Running on XM)
Chapter 3 continues the story of the events that connect Devra, Farlowe and 855 over in Europe.