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She hesitated only fractionally. "Good. We absolutely need Vorpatril to hold, repeat,hold any strike
force of his. Corbeau confirms the badoes have some sort of a remote control or deadman switch on his
person, apparently linked back to the biohazard it has hidden aboard Graf Station. The ba is not
bluffing."
Miles glanced up in surprise at his silent vid of Nav and Com. Corbeau was seated now in the pilot's
station chair, the control headset lowered over his skull, his expressionless face even more absent. "
Corbeauconfirms! How? He was stark naked the ba is watching him every second! Subcutaneous
com link?"
"There was no time to find and insert one. He undertook to blink the ship's running lights in a
prearranged code."
"Whose idea was that?"
"His."
Quickcolonial boy. The pilot was on their side. Oh, but that was good to know. . . . Miles's shivering
was turning to shudders.
"Every adult quaddie on Graf Station not on emergency duty is out looking for the bio-bomb now,"
Greenlaw continued, "but we have no idea what it looks like, or how big it is, or if it is disguised as
something else. Or if there is more than one. We are trying to evacuate as many children as possible into
what ships and shuttles we have on hand, and seal them off, but we can't even be sure ofthem , really. If
you people do anything to set this mad creature off if you launch an unauthorized strike force before
this vicious threat is found and safely neutralized I swear I will give our militia the order to shoot them
out of space myself. Do you copy, Admiral? Confirm."
"I hear you," said Vorpatril reluctantly. "But ma'am the Imperial Auditor himself has been infected with
one of the ba's lethal bio-agents. I cannot I will not if I have to sit here and do nothing while listening
to him die "
"There are fiftythousand innocent lives on Graf Station, Admiral Lord Auditor!" Her voice failed for a
second; returned stiffly. "I am sorry, Lord Vorkosigan."
"I'm not dead yet," Miles replied rather primly. A new and most unwelcome sensation struggled with the
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tight fear grinding in his belly. He added, "I'm going to switch off my com link for just a moment. I'll be
right back."
Motioning Roic to keep still, Miles opened the door to the security office, stepped into the corridor,
opened his faceplate, leaned over, and vomited onto the floor.No help for it. With an angry swipe, he
turned his suit temperature back up. He blinked back the green dizziness, wiped his mouth, went back
inside, seated himself again, and called his link back on. "Continue."
He let Vorpatril's and Greenlaw's arguing voices fade from his attention, and studied his view of Nav and
Com more closely. One object had to be there, somewhere . . . ah. There it was, a small, valise-sized
cryo-freezer case, set carefully down next to one of the empty station chairs near the door. A standard
commercial model, no doubt bought off the shelf from some medical supplier here on Graf Station
sometime in the past few days. All ofthis , this entire diplomatic mess, this extravagant trail of deaths
winding across half the Nexus, two empires teetering on the verge of war, came down tothat . Miles was
reminded of the old Barrayaran folktale, about the evil mutant magician who kept his heart in a box to
hide it from his enemies.
Yes . . .
"Greenlaw," Miles broke in. "Do you have any way to signalback to Corbeau?"
"We designated one of the navigation buoys that broadcasts to the channels of the pilots on cyber-neuro
control. We can't get voice communication through it Corbeau wasn't sure how it would emerge, in his
perceptions. We are certain we can get some kind of simple code blink or beep through it."
"I have a simple message for him. Urgent. Get it through if you possibly can, however you can. Tell him
to open all the inner airseal doors in the middle deck of the central nacelle. Kill the security vids there,
too, if he can."
"Why?" she asked suspiciously.
"We have personnel trapped there who are going to die shortly if he doesn't," Miles replied glibly. Well,
it was true.
"Right," she rapped back. "I'll see what we can do."
He cut his outgoing voice link, turned in his station chair, and made a throat-cutting motion for Roic to
do the same. He leaned forward. "Can you hear me?"
"Yes, m'lord." Roic's voice was muffled, through the work suit's thicker faceplate, but sufficiently
audible; they neither of them had to shout, in this quiet, little space.
"Greenlaw will never order or permit a strike force to be launched to try to capture the ba. Not hers, not
ours. She can't. There are too many quaddie lives up for grabs. Trouble is, I don't think this placating
approach will make her station any safer. If this ba really murdered a planetary consort, it'll not even blink
at a few thousand quaddies. It'll promise cooperation right up to the last, then hit the release switch on its
bio-bomb and jump, just for the off chance that the chaos in its wake will delay or disrupt pursuit an extra
day or three. Are you with me so far?"
"Yes, m'lord." Roic's eyes were wide.
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"If we can get as close as the door to Nav and Com unseen, I think we have a chance of jumping the ba [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]