Biohack: A high-tech conspiracy thriller
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“Fantastic! It's like a summer-blockbuster action flick with a brain. One of the year's top thrillers.”Denise Howell
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Kaden Baker, a hacker and covert ops specialist, finds her life turned upside down when she discovers that the parents who raised her were imposters.Were they hired by the same shadowy figure who's been financing her high-stakes secret missions beneath the Vatican and in Washington, D.C.?
She crosses paths with Valerie, a special ed teacher still haunted by her toddler's drowning accident. Together they're drawn to a mysterious biotech company where they make one startling discovery after another. But each step closer to the truth puts their lives at greater risk.
Can they uncover the truth about Valerie's surrogacy, escape with their lives and foil a plot against humanity itself?
From reader reviews of ‘Biohack'
★★★★★ “Kept me on the edge of my seat.”
★★★★★ “Riveting roller coaster ride.”
★★★★★ “This book cries out to be a movie.”
★★★★★ “Fast-paced, intelligent, gripping.”
★★★★★ “I read it nonstop in a single sitting.”
★★★★★ “The ending is a shocker.”
“Biohack blew me away.”
– Shel Israel
“Biohack is the Dan Brown-meets-Lara Croft-meets-Michael Crichton thriller we've been waiting for.”
– Saul Tanpepper
“Fantastic! It's like a summer-blockbuster action flick with a brain. One of the top thrillers of the year.”
– Denise Howell
Get it now! Biohack is a roller-coaster thrill ride that appeals to both the head and the heart—with a shocking twist you won't see coming.
Perfect for fans of Michael Crichton, James Patterson, Tom Clancy, James Rollins, and A.G. Riddle.
Release date: May 16, 2018
Publisher: Best of Indie Publishing
Print pages: 400
Reader says this book is...: action-packed (2) dystopian (1) entertaining story (1) thought-provoking (2) unputdownable (2) emotionally riveting (1) international intrigue (1) likable hero (1) satisfying ending (1) suspenseful (1) terrific writing (1) unexpected twists (1)
Content advisory: Violence, mild profanities
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Biohack: A high-tech conspiracy thriller
The Vatican, August 5
The three dark figures skimmed across the cold marble floor of St. Peter’s Basilica. Kaden raised her eyes to Michelangelo’s majestic dome, challenging the stares of the saints overhead. She genuflected, crossed herself, and smiled.
“Score one for the damned,” she whispered.
Kaden led Bundt and Nico into the confessional, where the advance team had stashed uniforms of the sampietrini, the Vatican work crew. They changed and found the door at the south wall of the basilica that led down to the Roman necropolis.
Kaden inserted the first pass key into the latch and the heavy wooden door groaned open.
The operatives eased down the steep concrete stairway through layers of history, moving past exposed masonry and the ponderous walls of the original fourth-century basilica. They circled downward, twisting through claustrophobic stone passages.
Kaden was the first to reach the basement chamber. She spotted the squat, decrepit stone structure that served as the entryway to the netherworld below.
She put her spelunking skills to use. She fastened a titanium grappling hook to a secure lip of the well-like shaft and tossed the long knotted rope into the dark hole. She grabbed the edge, tugged at the rope, and climbed down, descending deftly through the ancient vertical tunnel. A bright blade of light from the LED mini-flashlight wedged above her ear showed a dirt floor twenty feet below. She rappelled down and dropped the final few feet to the ground.
Bundt followed, and then Nico. They emerged into a world from another time.
Kaden advanced a few feet on the hard dirt floor onto a remarkably smooth cobblestone passageway in shades of faded ochre and gray. She led the two men through a semicircular tunnel lined with chestnut-colored brick walls on both sides. She turned up the intensity on her flashlight to brighten the pathway and saw they were in an ancient burial chamber. Carved into the walls were rows of long-buried Roman mausoleums.
“This is it,” she whispered. “Roman Street of the Dead.” She gave a quick military gesture with her left hand.
They moved forward through the deathly silence, past elegant redbrick burial houses that had a surreal freshness to them, as if the tombs had been built two years ago, not two millennia. Low-slung gabled roofs rose over the columned doorways of Roman family vaults.
She peered inside the nearest tomb and flashed her light. Inside were marble sarcophagi, cremation urns, stucco statues of Egyptian and Greco-Roman gods, prancing Pans, leering satyrs—a bacchanalian free-for-all.
She glanced behind at Bundt, who pressed his lips into a half-smile. He seemed in his element down here, with his wide-set eyes and terse, pulled-back features that gave his face a slightly skeletal look. He drew his gun, an odd move given that the Vatican security force rarely patrolled belowground.
“Creepy as shit,” Nico said, taking in the long row of crypts.
This was the third job she’d taken him on, but it was by far the weirdest. She loved putting her covert ops skills to the test against big challenges and long odds, but after she got back to base she wanted some answers. What the hell am I doing in the bowels of the Vatican on this crazy-ass mission? For now, she set those doubts aside. Today she would make damn sure her team succeeded.
Kaden aimed her light to the left, up the gentle slope, and began moving through the subterranean cavern. After a minute she dropped to one knee to orient herself at the entrance of a low-slung brick tomb. She took out her Eyewear and slid it through her wispy blond hair tinged with purple. Combined with her wiry physique, her short cuts sometimes made people mistake her for a young man, which didn’t bother her a bit.
She skimmed her light across the ceiling and spotted an ancient mosaic of Christ as the Sun God, tunic flowing, ascending to heaven in a chariot drawn by white horses. This tracked precisely with the augmented reality map of the excavations provided by Contact’s advance team.
“Pretty sight, you down on one knee,” Bundt murmured, nudging his Sig Sauer P226 up her thigh and between the cheeks of her too-small hip-hugging uniform.
She turned, temper flaring. For most of her twenty two years, she’d put up with SOBs like Bundt making judgments about her looks, her gender, her very identity. Their assumptions were wildly off base. Just like all the others, she thought.
Kaden rose to face him. “Want to join them?” she said, nodding toward the row of crypts.
Bundt retreated with a grunt and a scowl.
The guy was a last-minute addition to the team, a bit of a wildcard, and she hadn’t had time to vet him. She decided she’d deal with him later. Contact’s orders were clear: Retrieve the bones—let nothing else get in the way.
They continued through the brick-lined tunnel and soon entered a small courtyard where a narrow alleyway rose to the right. Kaden’s flashlight glinted off the faded plaster of the Red Wall—Peter’s bones, she knew, were on the other side.
Near the end of the alley they found the spiral metal staircase and ascended to the underground chapel, sitting just below the high altar. She used the second key.
Nico, her tech lead, flicked on his infrared headset, and they entered. At one end of the small, rectangular chapel stood the stone remains of Constantine’s ancient pedestal shrine. On the far wall, just opposite the shrine, was a door that led up to the Confessio, the sunken area in front of the high altar. In front of that door, Nico reported, were two electronic sensing devices: a pair of infrared beams and a microwave motion sensor.
“Looks like the Church has gone high tech,” Nico mused. “Okay, keep still.”
Nico set his bag on the floor and pulled out a small black box—a microwave transmitter—pre-adjusted to the right frequency by Contact’s advance team. Nico aimed it at the motion detector and activated the switch to flood the signal.
“You can move now,” Nico told the others. “Nothing too sudden. Keep your distance from the far door.”
Kaden saw that the infrared beams were set up so no one could enter through that door without setting off the alarm. The security system appeared to have been set up to prevent a break-in from the basilica above, not from the Roman necropolis below.
“This way.” Kaden led her team past Constantine’s shrine, its slabs of porphyry sparkling a brilliant shade of dark purple in the glimmer of flashlights. She ducked through a jagged hole in the wall, shimmied through a cramped passageway, and came to a walled-in chamber.
This was it: the repository.
Through the bars of a heavy bronze-grill gate, her headset light trembled against the mottled blue-white wall tomb. The wall flickered with jumbles of Latin graffiti inscribed by early Christian pilgrims. Below the scrawlings, barely five feet from them, was a small cavity hollowed out of the wall, covered with a glass pane. The tomb of the Prince of the Apostles.
“Stand clear.” Nico went to work with his battery-powered reciprocating saw.
To Kaden, in the stillness of the chapel, the whirrr seemed deafening. The high-speed carbon blade made short work of the bronze gate. After three minutes, the opening was big enough for them to slip through the broken bars.
They crouched in front of the small window of the repository. The bones seemed to glow in their transparent plexiglass containers, nineteen small boxes in all, with fragments of Peter’s femurs, tibias, and mandibles resting on white foam rubber.
Nico drew out a glove and a tube of liquid nitrogen. He aimed the nozzle and sprayed the bulletproof glass in quick, even bursts. The polycarbonate plastic pane frosted up. He waited several seconds. Then he smashed the window with a brick he’d grabbed.
Kaden, Bundt, and Nico grabbed the boxes and stashed them in three cloth satchels. Then they retraced their steps through the bronze-grill gate opening, through the thin passageway, and back into the ancient subterranean chapel. Nico turned off the microwave transmitter and placed it into the bag. Kaden opened the door to the necropolis—then stopped.
They heard the distant sound of footsteps clattering across stone steps.
Kaden stared into the dark stairway, then closed and locked the door. There were two ways out of here. The way they came, or up the stairway leading to the high altar, through the heavy wooden doors at the chapel’s far end.
“Can’t go that way.” Nico nodded toward the door on the far side of the room. “You’ll trip the alarm.”
Bundt checked his gun’s magazine. “They already know we’re here.”
The door handle to the necropolis began to twist back and forth.
“He’s right,” Kaden said. “Let’s move.”
The three of them bolted across the room, tripping the infrared beams. She heard the distant sound of an alarm.
“Do your thing,” Kaden said to Nico.
He crouched and began to jimmy the antique lock on the heavy Confessio door. Behind them, the necropolis door handle lurched violently.
Nico cursed and slammed his hand against the door. “Not opening.”
Kaden grabbed the reciprocating saw from the tool bag and moved Nico aside. The blade came alive, and she began cutting through the sturdy hardwood door. Within thirty seconds she’d sliced a ragged semi-circle around the bolt lock. She threw her shoulder into the door and heaved it open. She dropped the saw to the ground and retrieved her pouch of boxed bones.
“Let’s go!” she said.
Kaden, Bundt, and Nico scrambled up the double flight of centuries-old marble stairs, the air thick with incense from the votive lamps atop the metal railings.
They exited the stairway and leaped down the three short steps into the basilica’s vast open space. She felt the weight of the basilica press down on them. She glanced at the wording that circled the base of the dome: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and give you the keys to heaven.”
They dashed, saints glaring, across the marble floor to the south side of the basilica.
Kaden found the exit and they plunged into the courtyard. She activated her Eyewear and spoke with an efficient calmness. “Vanderhorst. Extraction. Now.”
They tore through the night, through lawns and hedge-lined gardens, past the ministerial-looking Government Palace, and headed toward the heliport landing pad at the west end of Vatican City. Behind them, beyond a row of yucca trees, Kaden heard a frenzy of shouts and the sound of boots on pavement keeping pace.
They reached the wall of a fortified tower. Kaden slowed to scan it with her headset. This wasn’t the planned escape route, but it could work. The heliport was around the corner to the right, perhaps 100 yards away. She led Bundt and Nico down the stone walkway that skirted the tower’s flank.
As Kaden turned the corner, a Swiss guard blindsided her from behind a statue, knocking her flat with the back of his elbow and sending her headset flying. He loomed over her, metal breastplate flashing, and pointed his long, steel-pointed spear toward her throat.
Stunned for a moment, she grabbed the ancient-looking weapon with both hands, yanked the guard downward, regained her footing, and with one seamless pirouette delivered a forceful side kick combo to the side of his metal helmet as she regained her feet.
She followed with three quick jabs to his body and face with the blunt end of the spear, then used a whipsaw roundhouse kick to deliver a blow that knocked his helmet off and sent him sprawling to the pavement. Now that he lay dazed and barely moving, she saw he was even younger than she was.
Bundt came up from behind, drew his pistol, and aimed at the guard’s head. “No witnesses.”
“No!” Kaden reached out and grabbed the gun barrel, spinning it away from the guard as the shot went off. She stepped toward Bundt, locked onto his right hand, and then surprised him and spun to his backside. She grabbed him around the waist and dropped him to the hard pavement, restraining him there. The pistol skittered away. Nico retrieved it and stashed it in his satchel.
Shouts in Italian erupted to the right of them, still in the distance but drawing closer. At the same time, a deep, angry rumble came from high overhead.
“No time for this,” Kaden shouted and released Bundt from her grasp.
The three started running toward the heliport, carrying their satchels of bones. Kaden tore across the grassy field and stooped down at the edge of the landing pad. Suddenly, a brilliant light startled her from above. Dust choked her throat, the air ripped at her hair, her head swam with the roar. The chopper dipped down and landed for a few seconds.
All three of them pitched their bags into the bird. That was a relief. The package was safely on board.
She waited for her operatives to board first. Nico climbed in and extended his arm for Bundt. She looked back and saw a band of guards bearing down on them, guns glinting in the moonlight. A hail of bullets whistled by, slamming into the helo’s tail boom inches from her head.
As Bundt reached up to pull himself aboard, a bullet pierced his left shoulder, and he fell backward to the ground, writhing in pain.
Kaden bent down over Bundt’s prone body, choking on the whirlwind of dust. She draped his left arm over her shoulders and pulled him to his feet. She stumbled forward through the gunfire toward the chopper.
She helped lift Bundt into the cramped cabin, with Nico pulling him aboard. As bullets tore into the helicopter’s windshield, she saw the pilot signal that he was taking off. The chopper began to lift off, arching right to reposition the cockpit away from the volley of gunfire. The bird began to rise as it moved forward.
She sprinted to keep up—it was already too late to jump and catch one of the landing skids. The chopper rose five, ten feet above her head.
Nico threw down the rope ladder and shouted, “Grab hold!”
She ran, leaped, and grabbed one of the wooden rungs fluttering just above the ground. She hung on and yelled to the pilot, “Go! Go! Go!”
The chopper ascended swiftly above the Vatican’s tall brick walls as a final burst of gunfire deflected off the helo’s undercarriage.
It took another thirty seconds before they were out of range of the guards and Kaden began to raise herself rung by rung until she reached Nico’s outstretched arms and pulled herself up into the cabin. She lay there a few seconds to gather herself, then looked at Bundt. It was a flesh wound—he’d be all right. She finally stood and inspected the content of the bags.
The package was intact.
God knows what they were planning to do with it.
Dallas, August 8
Sterling J. Waterhouse climbed out of the limo—the first self-driving car he’d ever used—and emerged into the morning heat gathering above the pavement. He strode twenty feet across the slate walkway and paused in the middle of Birthrights Plaza.
He tilted his head skyward and took in his creation, the main building of Birthrights Unlimited. Set off from the Dallas skyline, the tower stood apart here at the city limits, where land was still pricey but cheaper than downtown.
Waterhouse had hired a world- class architect to design Birthrights Tower, a gleaming homage to the DNA double helix in the form of side-by-side blue-and-white spiral buildings that curved above the landscape like the writhing shape of a woman’s body during a night of steamy sex.
He stepped into the light-filled atrium—not a lobby, like most unimaginative office buildings, but a statement. A homage to wealth and taste.
The immense light-filled space featured an imposing but tasteful Carrara-marble guard desk … banks of gleaming glass elevators … the Visitor Empathy Lounge with its lush leather seats … a half-dozen customer service reps, tablets in hand, assigning clients to the proper genetic counselors. Hovering above them all like a mythical Greek god was the centerpiece, a custom-made metal art sculpture that glowed crimson red, royal blue, olive green, before it assumed a new position every five minutes.
Some people swore they could see a weeks-old embryo in the work, but Waterhouse saw nothing more than an overpriced, artsy undulating balloon.
“Mr. Waterhouse,” the guard at the front desk sputtered, no doubt surprised by his late arrival.
For the past five years he almost always strode into the tower straight up at seven a.m., assuming he had not spent the night in his furnished penthouse in the building—not a perk so much as a convenience for the hard-charging CEO who puts in a hundred hours a week.
He checked his Zenith Christopher Columbus watch. Fifteen minutes to go before the big event. To Waterhouse, his Zenith was more than a rare six-figure timepiece—it was a metaphor for boundless unfettered individualism.
“Sir, you have a visitor.” The second guard—whatever his name was—nodded toward the Empathy Lounge.
Randolph Blackburn rose from a cream-colored leather sofa, took a few short steps, and stopped, waiting for Waterhouse to meet him more than halfway.
“Randolph, you’re looking well,” Waterhouse lied. “What brings you out here from the Left Coast?”
Blackburn wore his usual dark suit, as if he might be invited to a funeral at any moment, but the formal look only accented the creases—no, fissures—on his seventy-year-old face. In recent months, for whatever reason, the miles were beginning to show, despite his being one of the wealthiest men on the planet. Can’t the man afford a facelift?
“Waterhouse. I’ll cut to the chase.” Blackburn thrust out his plutocratic jaw. “We got the job done on our end. What about your end? No time to waste!”
Impatient as always, Waterhouse thought. But he had to be respectful. After all, Blackburn was the big money behind Birthrights Unlimited. This tower wouldn’t exist without him.
“The Lab is running tests on the bones right now. It’s too early to say what we’ve got.”
Employees started to gather along the edges of the lower wings to peer out into the atrium, and an excited buzz began to build.
“Listen, Randolph, now is not a good time. Let’s get something on the calendar for next week.” He plucked out his smartphone and set a reminder to update Blackburn on the DNA Legends project.
Blackburn frowned and nodded, then returned to his seat.
Looks like Blackburn will be staying for the event.
Waterhouse climbed the large spiral staircase trimmed with Swarovski crystals. He crossed the walkway bridge connecting the two wings on the second level. At the top, he noticed a smudge on the balustrade, pulled out a handkerchief, and wiped it clean. From the corner of his eye, he saw Sharon Sullivan approach.
“Ready? Big day!” Sullivan gushed.
He allowed her an extra dose of fervor, given her role as chief marketing officer for Birthrights Unlimited. She was wearing black high heels and a form-fitting, ruby-red sheath dress with black panels that ran up her thighs and across her waist. Waterhouse approved.
They approached the protruding overlook where they’d be giving their annual State of the Startup talk. Henry Lee didn’t move but extended his hand.
“Partner,” Lee said. The two exchanged a lifeless handshake.
“Lee,” Waterhouse grunted, a little more effusive than he intended.
Lee was under the mistaken impression that they were co-equals—partners! Waterhouse found the notion preposterous, even though it was technically true that Lee was co-founder and CTO of Birthrights Unlimited and they were both quite rich on paper. Waterhouse could have put any gene geek in charge of the Genomics Lab.
“Randolph Blackburn is here,” Waterhouse said, pulling Lee aside. “He’ll want an update soon.”
“My team hasn’t had a chance to start in yet.”
“All right. Make it a priority.”
“Do I want to know?”
Lee was asking, Do I want to know anything about the specimen or how we managed to acquire it? The answer was always the same.
“Need to know,” Waterhouse said with a wry smile. Their little ritual.
Right at nine a.m., Sullivan stepped forward and welcomed the assembled staff. She gave a pep talk so laced with superlatives that he pictured her lighting a school spirit bonfire in the Visitor Empathy Lounge. A real spitfire, this one. Her talk nicely aligned with the brand tone and public messaging they’d approved.
After Sullivan finished, the famously gruff Henry Lee stepped to the mic and said, “Good morning.” He then did an about-face and returned to his seat.
You’ve heard of a people person? Waterhouse thought. Lee was an anti-people person.
Time for the main act. Leave it once again for the alpha dog to save the day. … The Trailblazer of the New Epoch … Pioneer of Genetic Enrichment … Father of the New Enhanced Family. His head swam with new titles to try on like so many Armani suits.
Waterhouse straightened his handmade foulard necktie and brought his lean six-foot-one frame to the railing. He scanned the sea of faces. Perhaps half of the 1,240 employees in the company’s Dallas headquarters had gathered in the foyer and along the atrium’s railings.
“Good morning! As you may know, today is a special day. Ten years ago Henry and I founded Birthrights Unlimited. And five years ago we moved to our new campus. We had—what was it, Henry?—just sixty employees in the Genomics Lab back then.”
“Sixty-two.” Lee’s voice was barely audible.
Waterhouse turned back to the collage of faces. “Even in those challenging days, we had a strong and clear vision. To usher in a new age. To become the go-to brand for planning an optimized family. To become the world’s leading center for safe, innovative genetic screening and enrichment. To fight for freedom of genetic choice and to champion the right to be born with the right kind of genes! As we’ve scaled up our team here and worldwide, we’ve held true to our core mission and recruited the world’s best and brightest. All of you!”
He spread his hands, and the atrium erupted in cheers.
“Damn straight!” someone in the crowd shouted.
Waterhouse’s eyes lit on the faces below him. Gregor Conrad, his veteran security chief. Lance Harrison, general manager of Bioinformatics. Brilliant young microbiologists, genetic sequencing specialists, big data engineers, lab coats—I’ve put together an all-star team.
Part of his job was to ignore the self-imposed roadblocks that lesser genomics companies had erected. Birthrights’ Genomics Lab was a magnet for scientists from countries that weren’t so squeamish about the new frontiers of reproductive genetics. A shortcut here, an end-run there, rafts of experiments that would make a bioethicist blanch. But it was the only way to achieve growth that was not just incremental but exponential.
“What does the next decade hold?” Waterhouse lowered his eyes to the foyer and spotted Blackburn, who had financed last week’s grave team operation at the Vatican as a trial run. That’s just a taste of bigger things to come.
“Our great journey will encounter obstacles, resistance, pushback from the religious right and doctrinaire left. We’ll face opposition from special interests making billions by preying on people’s misery: drug companies, the cosmetics industry, the therapy lobby. After all, we threaten the status quo. Well, I welcome the battle. Let us disrupt the old order. Let’s move fast and break things. We’re all biohackers here, hacking the future of humanity!”
This was the mindset he had impressed on every employee. They were joining a company that embraced disruption, change, experimentation—the very spirit of hacker culture.
Was Birthrights still a startup at the ripe old age of ten? Yes and no. Internally, the company culture still reminded him of his years as a product manager at various Silicon Valley startups—better that than the alternative of a timid, restrained, slow-as-you-go research center and fertility clinic. He was determined to emulate the handful of startup unicorns—now tech behemoths—that had kept their mojo going past age ten. So signage and messaging throughout the campus emphasized growth hacking, rapid testing, prototyping—the whole Lean Startup package. The goal was to grow at such a rapid pace that it would usher in a dominant, compelling, irreversible reality for humanity: the New Enhanced Family.
Externally, though, Birthrights Unlimited told a somewhat different story. The company was touted as an ultra-safe, venerable, trusted, exclusive upscale brand where clients could design the family of their dreams. Waterhouse was the unifying force that brought the private vision and public brand together. No easy task, given the colossal supply chain challenges with scaling Birthrights’ offerings to a global audience. The more successful the company became, the more serious the shortage of surrogates. But his connections with the right business syndicates in Belarus, Moldova, and China were already paying dividends.
Time to wrap this up.
“Over the next ten years, let us not shrink from being bold, from pioneering the new nuclear family, a family that’s personalized, optimized, and enriched. Family planning once meant planning not to have kids. Today it should mean planning for the right kind of family. Why is it okay for people to choose the best schools, the best neighborhoods, the best houses and colleges, but it’s not okay to choose the best child possible? Let this be the last generation where children are born based on a roll at the genetic craps table. Let us seize the power to reshape humanity’s destiny!”
Another burst of applause.
“I’ll end with one announcement. The first Birthrights Unlimited Island Retreat takes place this weekend in the Caribbean. We’ll be unveiling our Virtual Profile Simulator to a select group of clients for the first time. And we’re sold out.”
Murmurs of approval from the crowd.
“As always, we’re in a trust bubble. Everything said here today falls under your confidentiality agreement. Now, I’ve kept you long enough. Let’s get back to our mission.”
A final brief flurry of applause. Waterhouse lingered a moment, watching his people disperse to their offices, labs, and data centers. As the crowd thinned on the foyer floor, one figure stood motionless, hands in pockets, head tilted up, meeting Waterhouse’s gaze with an unwavering stare.
Waterhouse turned from Lee and Sullivan without saying a word and descended the marble stairway to the ground floor. He had last seen the man back when Birthrights Unlimited was just eighteen months old and nearly out of cash.
Dmitri Petrov removed his yellow-tinted sunglasses from his too-prominent nose and tucked them in his linen blazer. He wore a white silk shirt and gray slacks that ran down to—what was this?—a pair of red sneakers. He was wearing a pair of red Keds for his visit. The insolence! Petrov smoothed back his dark hair—thinner than Waterhouse remembered and now sporting a gray flare around the temples. He still looked fit—more bulked up in his upper torso. Must be hitting the gym back in Minsk.
“My friend, we need to chat.” Petrov gestured toward the doorway.
“Of course.” Waterhouse followed him out of the tower. Waterhouse knew Petrov liked to discuss business affairs outside, always avoiding conversations in offices, cars, or other enclosed spaces. Can’t be too careful these days.
They walked side by side across Birthrights Plaza toward the row of low-slung office buildings in the Data Zone of the business campus. A large black Mercedes SUV with dark windows and a military pedigree shadowed them. ...
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