Read The Infected 3: Cast Iron Online

Authors: P. S. Power

Tags: #Horror, #General Fiction

The Infected 3: Cast Iron (2 page)

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
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“Can you get to Miami, in… Fifteen hours?”

That would be tight, but something could be thrown together, she thought. More time would be better though. Especially if she needed to bring a team in with her. The IPB had some good people, but there were only a few of them that she’d drag in to personal business like this seemed to be. It was going to take some juggling to work out how to get them all into play though.

“I need a full day. I’ll hurry. Anyplace in particular, or do you think you can locate me there? We won’t be that low key, coming in. We can’t be, not the crew from here. Nature of the beast.” A group of Infected IPB agents got attention anymore when they traveled. Especially if she had to bring some of the people she thought she might along with the others for cover.

“Get into a downtown hotel in Miami and that should be close enough. I’ll contact you there, on an unsecured line or through a messenger depending on the needs of the moment. Codeword: Rally gryphon.”

“Got it… There then. Twenty-four hours or sooner.” Hopefully. She didn’t bother to add that part though, it was just understood. Things could and, given everything, probably would, get in the way.

Rally gryphon… Holy hell.

It was an old phrase they used to use in order to signify something going totally fubar back in the day, when they knew they’d be overheard, secured line or not. Cal was basically telling her to come, but that she couldn’t trust anyone. Even people from their own crew. Possibly not even him.

Great, more spy shit. Not that she would have trusted anyone anyway, but for someone normal like Morris to see that level of danger meant that things had to be a lot worse than he’d said. It probably meant a trap too. Within reason she wouldn’t leave her old unit in trouble if she could help it, even if she’d only tolerated half of them, but her new people shouldn’t be forced into anything stupid either because of it. They were a tough bunch, overall, but not all of them were exactly good about keeping a low profile.

This would have to be that. Low to the ground and nearly silent, or else they’d make the papers for sure. The news anyway. The print industry too, but no one read that stuff anymore, so it wasn’t the threat it used to be twenty or thirty years before.

Hitting the button to hang up, she handed the phone back to Reyes, who didn’t take it at all, holding up his right hand to stop her.

“Crush that for me, will you? We don’t need evidence of this.” The agent smiled and pointed at the phone in her hand.

She didn’t wait, or ask if he was sure. If he wasn’t the man wouldn’t have asked her to do something like that at all. Hand convulsing, the black plastic shattered and with only about ten seconds of grinding worked down into small pieces, none larger than a dime. She found the important looking bits and made sure they were totally gone, then dug a divot with her heel and buried the whole mess just to keep the area tidy looking. Too many missions had been destroyed by trash being left around out in the open. Very few people dug around looking for evidence though.

Glancing at the black clothed agent Marcia grinned and moved closer to him, putting her hand on the back of his heavy winter jacket. It was done in black, like everything the non-Infected agents wore day to day. If he was going all anti-Infected on her it should be enough to get a reaction from the man.

“If anyone asks we came out here to make out.”

The guy shook his head, but grinned.

“Like hell. Start saying things like that and you’ll ruin my reputation. Then my girlfriend will cut something off while I’m sleeping. Let’s tell them we were planning some kind of exercise for the slackers or something. Unless you really want to make out, but again, the girlfriend thing makes that a bad risk for me.” He gave her a hard, blank look, and didn’t waiver at all for a long time, until she finally shrugged.

“Fine. Day long forced march with packs?”

“Sounds good to me.”

They chatted about the idea as they walked back into the compound. Nothing worked as a cover as well as something real. True, they didn’t need to meet in secret for a training exercise and everyone on the base knew to leave if you wanted to talk about anything more pressing than the weather now, since they were being spied on openly by at least two or three different government bodies. Other than their own that was. That meant no one would really think they’d been doing anything too naughty though. People left to talk about gripes and bitches anymore, on purpose to throw the watchers off, to give them cover for things that were more real. It had been hard to get people to go along with that idea at first, but Brian had helped her with it, taking people outside the wire every time he wanted to gripe about anything or make even the simplest plan.

Denis had really stepped up that way too, in the last month or so. That was a bit of a surprise, but she’d taken him for a walk and explained the concept, which had gotten him to do the same almost every day with different people. It was hard to remember that the guy was actually trying not to be a complete tool anymore he was doing such a good job of it. It seemed almost effortless on his part, like he’d always been a team player. He used to be a real piece of work, but after he got out of the prison on the thirteenth floor of the underground complex it seemed like he was a new man.

She didn’t really trust it yet, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t real. It just meant he had to keep it up to really earn her trust. Not that anyone ever really did manage to earn that, thanks to her first mode, but he was starting to get into the category of people she thought probably weren’t trying to do something bad to her at the moment. That was pretty much the best she had for anyone now.

Inside the rebuilt glass and metal first floor of the headquarters, which she hated compared to the really nice wood building they’d had before, Marcia had to stop for a minute and figure out what she needed to do first.

It wasn’t that hard really, she decided. She needed to take a team to Florida, which meant she needed some kind of reason to go there. The time frame was short, but there was always something to be done, in most places, if you were willing to stretch the idea of what was important a bit.

There hadn’t been rumors of any anti-Infected riots or demonstrations planed in that area, or her special team would be on their way already. It was required by law after all. That meant she’d need to come up with something else then. Probably with Team one. They were good people, but not the ones she needed for a mission. Not a real one. Too high profile for one thing and often too nice. She was on that team too now, of course, but a decent looking thin white woman with dark hair could hide almost anyplace with a little make-up and a change of clothing. People didn’t see her and think government agent most of the time. There was no hiding Prime or Argos though. Too good looking and distinctive by far. Robert would work though. He might be the team leader, but most people didn’t even know he existed.

He’d have made a great spy really. Nice and bland looking. Good looking enough that no one noticed him, plain enough that no one took his picture too often. Get him out of the business suit he always wore and he’d be nearly untraceable. Smiling a bit, trying to look friendly even though the whole phone call thing had set her back a half step, she took the elevator to the first floor, stopping at his office before heading to her own room or trying to talk to the Director. It was a normal enough thing for her that no one would think anything of it. Hopefully.

She knocked on the frame of the open door, getting the dark haired man to look up and paste a pleasant look on his face. His first mode made him a workaholic, which was handy, since he always did a good job at everything he tried, but it meant he also kind of got a bit annoyed with frivolous distractions. If she didn’t want him to melt down at her, this would have to be something good enough to get his attention.

“Hey Rob. I need to get a crew to Florida by tomorrow. We need a cover, photo op or event, but I want some of the people from other teams on it too. Team building and all that. Can you come up with something? Miami by preference. Near downtown if possible.”

The man blinked, shook his head for a few seconds and looked pissed, which was totally atypical, but he didn’t sound more than a little bland when he spoke. Calm and relaxed.

“I can come up with something. Go away and pack. I need a list of who’s going though. I also expect you to back me up if…” He looked down at his desk, then over at his computer monitor. Without speaking he started tapping on the keyboard, and after about two minutes looked up.

“Can you work with the cast of “Steinberg and Friends” instead of Team one specifically? There’s a Food Network conference event in Miami this weekend. We weren’t going to send anyone if you remember, but we actually have an invitation and it’s good PR. Is that workable for you?” He stared for a moment, as if the idea might not be good enough.

It was though. Nearly perfect really. Almost too perfect.

“That… Yes… that will work very nicely. Really well in fact. Can I call you with the rest of who’s needed in about an hour?”

He nodded, suddenly happier than before and started typing, not saying anything for a bit.

“Do I need to book plane tickets?”

She didn’t know. They had use of a private jet, which belonged to Christian Pours, the Team three leader, but where it was specifically at the moment she didn’t know. The woman would actually know what she had planned the second she walked into her office if not earlier, but that didn’t mean she’d agree to help her. This wasn’t strictly IPB business after all. It had to do with her old life with the CIA. Chris knew about it, of course, but it hadn’t really ever come up like this before.

Just because it was important to Marcia, maybe at least, that didn’t mean she should get anyone else involved in her problems. In fact it was probably a horrible idea. Of course if it was a trap or trick, having some friends along for backup wouldn’t hurt. Unless it did. If it was about marring the image of the Infected or making the IPB specifically look bad, it would be a horrible idea for anyone to get involved, including her. If it was just about her old friends being in trouble, then having her current buddies along might make all the difference in the world. They had skills.

“I… Let me talk to Christian about it. I’ll… Ten minutes?”

He just waved at her, a contented look on his face, now that he had something to do again. Rob was good that way, once he knew what the plan was. It was why the man was in charge of Team one, really. That and, Marcia allowed, a lot of people thought he looked pretty good in a suit. Honestly he probably did, if you liked that kind of thing. She was always more of a fatigues and hunting jacket kind of girl herself, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t see the basic idea, did it?

The trick to finding Christian at any given time wasn’t exactly something clever, it just meant a trip to floor nine where her office was, which meant going down in the elevator here, or taking the stairs. She opted for the later this time, since it was, in general, harder to trap someone in a stairwell than in a tiny box. She used the thing about half the time, so that her patterns varied a bit, but she always felt better using her own feet when she had the chance. They were a whole heck of a lot more reliable than any machine. The elevators had shut off twice during the last year, but her legs had worked the whole time.

The steps were heavy concrete, covered with a light colored tile, giving the whole place a hospital type of feel to it. The main hallways on the living floors were nicer, more like a hotel, done in different colors meant to influence people’s minds. She didn’t know if it worked, but the light colors of the first floor looked pretty good and the ninth floor wasn’t too bad, with cream colored wallpaper and light gold floors that some people might think of as tan, if they weren’t paying attention. They’d gotten new carpet just a few weeks before so it still had a crisp and clean look to it.

Christian had her door open, which was a little odd, since the woman liked her privacy. The pure fact of the matter was that people in general annoyed the crap out of her, so she tended to not be around them very much when she could get away with it. She was rich, good looking and even slightly famous after a fashion, but between the high level telepathy and her first mode, the woman was halfway to becoming a hermit. Marcia walked to the door anyway, wondering who was bugging her, slightly surprised to find it was Brian.

Proxy. Possibly one of the biggest bad asses on the whole planet, though no one had really bothered to explain that to him yet. He still pretty much thought of himself as a normal person. A regular guy that got randomly switched out with other people to fight their battles for them. If you didn’t account for the extremely powerful precognition and combat oriented mapping skills he obviously had and didn’t really acknowledge as being real, that was very nearly true. He was only about as strong and fast as anyone would be if they worked out a lot. Really she thought he needed to work out less for a while, if anything. He’d been way overtraining for months.

He could also kick her behind, if it came down to it. She didn’t know that for a fact, but she suspected it was the case. Oh, not in training, or anything like that. She was still a better fighter than he was, but when it came down to it, the vast majority of the time, he just… won. Against almost anyone. It should have been scary, except for the fact that looking at him tended to just make her so damned sad instead.

They guy was tough, no doubt, and didn’t whine about anything, but his power was ripping him apart, physically and mentally. He was always hurt, even with the nano-armor they had him wearing almost all the time now, and he had a thousand meter stare that even combat vets would have found spooky. If he lasted the year Marcia was going to be surprised. That he hadn’t stuck a gun in his mouth already was mainly do the fact that his first mode was a strange type of self-sacrifice, no doubt. It had come way to close at least once already hat she knew of for a fact and probably more times that she didn’t.

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
2.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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