Wear Iron

Free Wear Iron by Al Ewing

Book: Wear Iron by Al Ewing Read Free Book Online
Authors: Al Ewing
Tags: Science-Fiction
Gotta f-fight the death signals. Any minute, one of them death signals could come outta the sky and—”
    Rico nodded to the switch, and Hoenikker flipped it. Tellerman continued to rant behind the glass, unheard. “So, does he come with sedatives?” Rico asked. “Because I take your point about suggestibility, but there’s a... jittery quality there that I’m not exactly in love with. He’s going to draw attention if he has to stand in a queue for hours—even assuming he doesn’t freak out, someone’s going to ask him what the matter is.”
    “Well...” Hoenikker considered it for a moment. “Right now he’s been without medication for some time. I can start him on a few things to remove the jitteriness, as you call it—obviously, we want to calm him down without curing the basic delusions.” Hoenikker gave Rico a quick, almost apologetic smile. “But then, if I could cure those—on our budget, I mean—well, I wouldn’t be selling him in the first place, would I? I’m not a complete monster.”
    “Of course not, Doc. None of us are.” Rico grinned, amused despite himself, then reached past her and flicked the switch again. “So, Rocky—can I call you that?” He grinned again, even wider than before. “How would you like to never have to be afraid of the death signals again?”
    Tellerman looked at Rico for a long moment, and then started to cry.
    Rico almost felt bad for the guy.

 
     
    Nine
     
     
    “S O WHAT THE hell’s this wacko gotta stay with me for?” Mooney’s voice was shrill and a little slurred. Tellerman, shaved clean now and dressed in a suit and shirt, watched him nervously from the armchair in the main room, his hands fidgeting in his lap. He didn’t say much unless he was prompted to—the pills Hoenikker had left with Rico seemed to have mitigated some of the terror that gripped him, so much so that he’d pass for normal unless you had a conversation with him. Rico figured he’d probably have to be coached a little, but they had time.
    “Rocky here had to be signed out in somebody’s name, Buddy-boy. I figured I’d use yours.” Rico shot Mooney an amused glance, then directed his attention back to the plans on the kitchen table. “Don’t worry. He got lost in the system years ago—I doubt anybody outside of you, me and Hoenikker even remembers he exists.”
    “But he’s gonna—” Mooney started, before casting a fearful glance at Tellerman. He walked quickly over to the kitchen door and slammed it shut, then turned back to Rico, whispering at a volume a little louder than his natural shouting voice. “He’s gonna blow himself up! They’re gonna know he exists then, ain’t they? They’re gonna know and they’re gonna trace him right back to me— ”
    Rico rolled his eyes. He was starting to wish he hadn’t told Mooney about that part. He’d got it stuck in his head. “He’s not blowing himself up, Buddy.” He watched Buddy-boy exhale for a moment. “ I’ll be the one sending the detonation signal. And if you’ve got a better way to start a riot indoors, I’d like to hear it.” He grinned, enjoying the way Mooney had tensed up again. “Here, take a look, I’ll show you how it’s going to work.”
    Carefully, he placed the liquid explosive—disguised as a bottle of soda gum—on the kitchen table, along with a detonator small enough to swallow. “Eat, drink. This is my body, this is my blood. Rocky ingests these before he starts queueing. Friedricks and her squad won’t have the tech to scan for it—the Judges on the gate will, but I’ll be the one who scans Rocky, so that won’t be a problem. Rocky blows on my signal, and that’s when the panic hits. Suddenly we, by which I mean the good men and women of Justice Department, are all looking after the crowds and not looking after the take sitting in the money room. Any questions?”
    “Why does it gotta be a human bomb? We could just plant one—”
    “They’ll scan for that before the

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