Read The Infected 3: Cast Iron Online

Authors: P. S. Power

Tags: #Horror, #General Fiction

The Infected 3: Cast Iron

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Orange Cat Publishing

 

Electronic Publishing Division

 

2012

 

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Orange Cat Publishing books by P.S. Power:

 

 

 

The Infected:

 

Proxy

 

Gabriel

 

Cast Iron

 

 

 

Gwen Farris:

 

Abominations

 

Monsters

 

 

 

Dead End:

 

A Very Good Man

 

A Very Good Neighbor

 

A Very Good Thing

 

 

 

Keeley Thomson:

 

Demon Girl

 

Keelzebub

 

 

 

The Young Ancients:

 

The Builder

 

Knight Esquire

 

Knight of the Realm

 

Ambassador

 

Counselor

 

 

 

Stand alone titles:

 

Crayons

 

 

 

 

 
Contents

Cast Iron

By

P.S. Power

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Marcia stared at the black suited man in front of her wondering if she should buy what he was trying to sell her at all. The uninfected IPB agent, Reyes, was solid in general and one of her oldest friends, but taking her for a long walk outside the compound without there seeming to be a reason was more than a bit strange. They knew each other too well for things to just spring up out of the blue in general. Worse, when they got to cover under an evergreen tree he’d pulled out a phone and claimed that someone wanted to talk to her. If she wanted to play at being a spy anymore she wouldn’t have left the CIA. Not that she’d had a choice at the time, but it was the principal of the thing. She wasn’t a spy and shouldn’t have to do garbage like this.

“This is potentially sensitive Turner, you know how it works, a friend got in touch with me and asked that I open a line of communication for you. I can’t vouch for anything past the fact that my friend once saved my life and that you know them too, so, take the rest of this with a grain of salt.” The man had slightly dusky skin and wore the same kind of sunglasses that all the regular agents did to hide his eyes. Mirrored. It made them look tough, not being able to see their eyes, which was the point, no doubt. The gold rim glinted in the sun just a bit, catching her attention. From the white puff her breath was making in the air it was probably cold out, even though she couldn’t feel it. To her it was a bit cool maybe, but even that could be ignored.

She moved closer to the cover provided by the evergreen trees, back to the bark, so she couldn’t be seen from space as easily. Not that it couldn’t be done, but there was only half a chance that anyone was bothering to watch her anyway. At least that closely. For now. If they stayed out too long, or alerted any of the Pentagon’s watch systems with what they were doing, that might just change. Taking a few precautions wouldn’t hurt. Not making any other outward sign or show of concern, she held out her right hand, the pale skin smooth and hairless in the bright light sticking out of her brilliant white uniform sleeve.

“Let’s get it done then.” She couldn’t feel happy about the cloak and dagger stuff anymore, even when she tried. Things had been too screwed up for her for much too long and odds were that this was some kind of trap. Reyes might be alright in general, personally, but they were dealing with people behind the scenes that could control minds and set up complex plans that no normal person could beat. She couldn’t at least. Not easily. That meant being extra careful all the time now. It grated on the nerves.

Since being suspicious was her first mode of mental operation it came to her easily enough, but that didn’t mean Marcia couldn’t be fooled by a friend leading her down the wrong path. Anyone could. It had happened before. More than once. That was the life of a spy, which was a portion of why she wasn’t in that life anymore. The rest was being Infected, which kind of trumped her personal decision on the matter, but if she wanted to keep the illusion of being in charge of her life, what harm was there to it?

The agent didn’t smile at her, looking more than a little suspicious himself as he hit two buttons on the tiny black phone and waited for it to ring, then handed it over carefully, not making contact with her skin. That could mean anything, his avoiding her like that. It wasn’t something she remembered him ever doing before, but it could be a sign that he didn’t want to get to close to her now. People often did that if they thought things had gotten dangerous. They avoided contact with a potential victim on a subconscious level, distancing themselves from what they were about to do.

Bigots did that too, avoiding Infected people when they could, as if they could catch it, like it was a real disease instead of something that just happened, but Reyes wasn’t that kind of person. He might have been turned against them, anyone might these days, but if so it wasn’t about that kind of thing. It would take money or blackmail to do it. Maybe sex… but probably not. The guy was good enough looking for that not to be a big issue for him. If you can get something easily, it’s hard to use it against you. She’d had his mind searched for that kind of thing though, and did as often as she could.

She had everyone done, of course, to make sure no tampering had taken place. Christian wasn’t wild about spying on their own people, but she did it anyway, since they really couldn’t trust anyone day to day anymore. Not even them… so she had herself checked every few days. If Chris got taken over they were in trouble though. Hopefully her telepathy would give her some resistance to mind control if it came up. Otherwise they were really screwed.

Marcia felt the shape in her hand, smooth and flat, but not if it was hot or cold. It could have been on fire and she wouldn’t have felt it as more than slightly warm, which wouldn’t matter anyway, since it couldn’t hurt her. It was one of the few cool things about being her now, after the Infection had taken hold. She couldn’t be hurt by almost anything. Even if the thing was a bomb, she was safe, putting it up against her face like she was to listen to it ring. The worst it could do to her was ruin her outfit and possibly burn her hair off. That would bite, of course, but she had more clothes, wearing her standard heavy white outfit, made of multiple layers of cordura, which was what they used to call ballistic nylon. It was heavy, but didn’t tear too easily, which was nice given everything. The IPB paid for them too, so it didn’t even come out of her salary when the outfits got destroyed.

There was no explosion however, the line just picked up, as she kind of expected it too. Reyes would have moved away if it was a bomb. If he knew about it at least. He wasn’t suicidal.

“Turner?” The voice was familiar, male and sounded a bit rough edged, like a person that habitually growled instead of speaking normally. That could be any of over a hundred people she knew, maybe more. She had a lot of contacts in the military and most of them liked to act tough when they could. It helped them feel like they weren’t perpetually scared out of their minds.

“This is Turner. Supposedly on a secure line. Go.” Her voice had gone cold and hard, responding to how odd the situation was more than anything else. It was what she did in suspicious situations and hardly noticed it anymore, but the person on the phone did.

“Fuck Marcia, don’t get all weird on me yet. I haven’t even started to describe how messed up everything is. You’ll want to save something as a fallback position.” The words sounded tired, not joking, to her ear at least.

“This is Morris. Cal Morris. We have a situation involving some of the old team. It’s bad… We need to meet. They need help and I don’t know who I can trust on this. My mind popped to you and some of the others there, since you still have some connections. I don’t know who to trust.”

She froze for a moment, not knowing exactly how to respond. It was the lack of information that did it, not that she couldn’t think of a plan. Several came to mind in fact, the best one being hanging up the phone right then and there and not taking the next call. It wasn’t her problem after all. Except that it might involve the old crew.

 That just meant she had to get more out of the voice on the phone, who claimed to be an old friend. The voice sounded right, but that didn’t mean that much now. Anyone could fake a voice on the phone with a few hours work and the right equipment. She could do it at least, so she had to assume everyone else could too. School kids had the computing power to get it done and a lot of them probably had the brains. It meant being careful about things like that in the modern age.

“More information. I’m not doing anything based on what’s said in some vague spy novel conversation Cal. First, why don’t you start by proving who you really are?” It wasn’t a perfect plan, of course, not with mind readers and coercers around, but it was better than not asking by a good bit. It would at least narrow the odds that she was just being set up by a stranger.

The voice on the phone laughed before speaking.

“Crap, I almost forgot who I was dealing with. Paranoid Marcia. Um, OK, Remember that time I tried to get you to blow me on that training mission? You grabbed my junk and told me “you’ve got a choice, I can rip this thing off now, or you can run down to the stream, wash up, let me blow you… and then I’ll rip it off.” Is that good enough? Or I suppose I could use the password from Lisbon, since that was the last time we worked together.” The voice went soft, almost whispering into her ear.

“Halcyon.”

Those were both right, though the first one was a little over the top if he was trying to get her help on something. The kind of thing meant to embarrass her into making a mistake? Possibly. If so then whoever was doing it wasn’t as smart as they thought they were. She wasn’t a prude and was still single, so a bit of dirty talk didn’t do more than get her interest. That could be the point too though, so she’d still need to be careful. Not that she’d ever done anything with Morris. The guy had been an ass the whole time she knew him. The kind of guy that thought that being in shape and having a dick meant she should be putting out, even when they had work to do. Worse, she was pretty sure the guy hadn’t ever really cared for her at all, just making plays for her because she was the only woman around most of the time. Every girl loved to know she was that valued, but there had been a lot of other guys around too, so it had been surprisingly easy to ignore him.

“Fine. For now at least. Let’s hear enough of the situation to let me understand what’s needed. Sudden offers to meet like this make me uneasy. You haven’t even been sending Christmas cards, so it’s not like we’ve been close.”

There was silence for a while, and finally the man who claimed to be Cal cleared his throat.

“Weathers went missing about three weeks ago. At first no one thought much of it. He goes dark about four times a year, working as a security consultant overseas. His wife hadn’t heard of any missions coming up though, so she got in touch with me since we’ve met a few times. That wouldn’t have been an issue, except that over the last seventy-nine hours I’ve gotten reports of two others from the old unit vanishing. Some of them were still loosely in the business, but Harpo just runs an ice-cream shop in Florida and Mic does computer repair in New York. Both legit businesses as far as I can tell. Not guys that would just go missing for the most part. Not like this. If it was just one of them it might make sense, or just be a camping trip or whatever, but this many says something to me. I don’t know, I might just be paranoid myself. It just doesn’t feel right to me.”

Taking a few seconds to think Marcia finally nodded a little, making a point of walking away from Reyes so he couldn’t easily hear what she was saying. That didn’t mean no one was spying on her, just that it would take more work to do it. She liked the agent and he’d been in the old unit, but that only went so far… and with things getting strange, she needed to pay attention, didn’t she? Like figuring out why Reyes had been contacted by “a friend”, instead of her just being called directly. Cal Morris was closer to him than her by a long shot, sure, but they’d all been connected at one time. It meant he could call if he needed to. It seemed convoluted to her. Get too complicated and you made mistakes. It was in the training manuals for almost everything. CIA, NSA, Special Forces and fast food restaurants employee information, it didn’t matter, everyone knew not to try and get fancy if you didn’t have too.

“Alright. What do you need from me? I know you want to save something for the meet, but give me some mission specs so I know what to bring. I swear though, if this is just about trying to score with me, you better have something better than a half assed mystery for me Cal. Dinner and a movie at least… and no action flicks. I’ve had enough of that kind of crap to last a lifetime.” She tried to sound light and playful and did it decently well, though the whole thing didn’t feel right to her.

Cal was right. Harpo had been well and truly out of the life for a long time as far as she knew. No special ops work, no spying that she knew of. Just a high end ice cream parlor for tourists. Mic did the occasional bit of off the books computer related stuff to make some extra cash around the holidays, but neither of them should have gone dark like that. Not on purpose. Someone would have to know where they were. If they were alive at least.

The harsh voice spoke again, using low tones.

“I don’t know what resources you have right now, but this… Could be an op. I know your personal situation, being with the IPB, and I have more data than I’ll give even over an encrypted line, but… Can you get players for us? This could get dirty fast and we need to be running silent. We need bodies and solid players. No amateurs if possible.”

Anything they did involving her would have to be done quietly, she knew. As the Deputy Director of the IPB she could bring a lot of power to bear on anything she wanted, for a short period of time. Enough that army’s would soil themselves if they knew she was coming for them if they had half a brain. It meant she was watched very closely, twenty-four hours a day, so if she wanted to help her old buddies it wouldn’t be some minor thing for her. She needed a plan that wouldn’t look too obvious or the whole thing could be stopped before she got ten feet out the front door.

“Where’s the location?” Marcia knew she didn’t have to say more than that. The meet would be someplace relatively secure, but she just needed to be in about the right place, since it would change at least two or three times before it actually happened. She knew that because that was her personal plan for such situation. If Cal wasn’t going to insist on at least the same, he was losing it. That or he really didn’t think anyone would be watching them.

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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