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Table Of Contents

Another uncomfortable silence
I’ve just said to you? Answer, or I’m going to kick you in the
He closed his eyes again. If she had just let the ques-
Castillo’s irate voice jarred Mal awake. He might have
Maybe. All his sensations were vague and far away now, ex-
Roarke was silent. The vague sense of motion stopped
Mal felt himself lifted by his shoulder again, pulled out. He
I’m employed by the Old Man.”
Ridiculous. The Old Man was a ghost story they told
You answer his questions. You leave. Nothing else.”
The door whispered open. Large hands drew him to his
Then the room was quiet again for such a long time that
Mal was not certain he hadn’t dreamed the words. Maybe
Yes. Mal knew that
A moment passed as the monster breathed
Hands were on Mal again. They dragged him from the
Light stabbed through Mal’s eyelids. He was brought
And if you make it hard, we’ll take the girl. Find what he
His knees came down hard on cement, his hands still bound
He rose, a wounded behemoth swaying to its feet. He
He gave himself another moment before he tried to
The fawlessly polished window of a gourmet coffee super-
The plump woman opened her purse and scoured
She watched while Mal lowered himself heavily into
The façade of the apartment was a clean white, the windows
In the dome’s refective surface, the buildings warped into a
That was what he was staring at when he fnally let
The quiet noise of movement nearby stirred him, but
Of course she had. It was a wonder she could tell the new
She put her hand gently on the side of his face and held
He let his eyes close, touched the bandage on his face
It was a smile that recognized futility. Go? Go where? Would
She went up to it and took the seat at the side. A tall
She reached into her pocket and produced the slip and
He continued looking at her
She looked at the note again. It was true. She had as-
Josh was waiting for her in the café, seated with a large Coke
She walked over and stopped directly in front him, and
She took a sip and regarded him silently
“No. She said . . . nothing. It’s nothing.”
Quiet. How could I forget that one?”
She watched him clip the lenses back on
She had to clench her fsts to keep herself from tearing
He unclipped the lenses and looked across at an empty
The knock came again
Josh’s slackened jaw and confused eyes. She stormed back
He stared down at her silently for a moment longer and
Laura laughed harshly
Laura sat on the big, plush yellow sofa chair across from
She regretted it instantly. “Sort of.”
Something’s getting me down, and I’m putting it on him. I
Her hair was pulled into tight braids, and she wore a blouse
Terri. “But I . . .” — she was parsing it out as she spoke the
Like recognizing the taste of something but knowing that
I can see how it would leave you feeling confused.”
She searched inside her skull for the answer, and she real-
She didn’t know exactly what she was feeling, not now and
Or not
Again a small revelatory shudder
Not like a ghost. Not like something swirling. Like
Terri nodded again, clearly somewhat relieved herself
But Josh was empty. It felt like the foor was dropping
But for Rose, what always kept her attention rapt were the
The cords and planes of muscle fexed instinctively in
He blinked now, as if the eating the hamburgers had
She chewed on that for a moment. She hadn’t been
She came to her knees and reached aching arms to the
Rose’s eyes came open, and she only realized a knock on the
She sat up and waited with him. Instead of the sec-
She watched Mal bring himself to his feet with a
When Mal had slurred out the bit about the people
The two men on the other side of the door were dressed
Mal said nothing and didn’t move
The gray one produced a slim silver case from inside his
They stood in the room like cowboys about to slap
He went to the window and leaned on the edge and rested his
Mal walked them through the city with what appeared to
Mal from the bench he had nodded off on
He looked around himself and blinked at the aggravat-
He stared hard across the street at the glass and chrome fa-
Two women perched on one, eating their lunches and gazing
Rose had known Mal long enough now to see that his
Rose might have attributed to fear. Mal did not want to go
He turned to her with the eyes of someone lost in a
Rose felt cold and hollow when even casual eyes found
Mal looked at the man squarely and stepped forward
The man’s clear suspicion of them clicked into a differ-
They stepped into an elevator with a small group of
Rose was at once intimidated by the perfection of the
Mal stopped dead in the middle of a small open lounge
Mal walked right by him to meet a phalanx of men in blue
A young man radiating confdence from his platinum
The calm that encompassed the room was immediately
Mal straightened, having apparently found what he was
They entered an expansive offce that carried the silver
Towers behind it. A plaque outside the door read alan r
Mal looked around him somberly and dropped heavily
Mal nodded slowly
Silven looked up at her as if stumbling on an entirely
EARLY IN HER SENIOR YEAR of high school, Laura’s boyfriend
Until the day he brought her home while his parents
Where had Mike come from? Mark was slim as a razor, with
Ari across the face so hard that the echo of it rang off the
One might’ve thought that the slap and exit would
That had been it through the end of high school. She
Laura looked down, shaking her head
She was one to talk. She hadn’t even attended a class
Josh closed and widened his eyes at the same time. The
She wasn’t even sure herself
Ari. You needed to be clear where you stood for everyone’s
She was. She was going to say that, God help her
He stared longer, his eyes going shiny
She was crying. Crying for him
She locked her door — her roommate was in class, wouldn’t
They felt like a child’s tool now, an affront to this impossible
Turn the table on him
A tall boy with cellenses and a leather jacket sitting
Did he have that last week? Did everyone suddenly have them
Now she kept thinking she was going to see Josh. Or
Laura rose and walked quickly from across the green, along
She pulled onto the shoulder and got out and walked
Observed from the road, she must have simply seemed to
The footsteps stopped; the fgure spun toward her
But if he was surprised, his face remained resolutely unper-
He nodded, as if this sort of trouble was inevitable
She spun around in time to see another fgure closing
Josh, the boy looking for the Librarian was clearly quite
There was an instant to decide: Run or not? But could
Dunphy opened his front up completely, and Laura actually
Jon Remak — asked, sharp eyes cutting out of the polished
The eyes seemed cast of another material, a part of sculpture
The man came around to face her and stood before the
Rose nodded. Bandaging was something she knew. She
The world is going to look different to you for the rest of
. . . He doesn’t speak to them. He can’t. They . . . they don’t
Let me get you something to drink. This is just the begin-
Mal uses these places to get through the city. Being in that
“No. I’m . . . not like Mal.”
I imagine that’s what Mal meant when he said he wasn’t in
The man turned away then and went to the window
Rose, like a body being controlled by remote. She looked
When he talks.”
I wasn’t jumping from a real window. I was jumping from
Idea could enter people and control them.”
Rose nodded. She didn’t really need anyone to explain
There was no telling if she meant anything unusual to this
Laura. The enemy that had wrapped its tentacles
Mal’s slack grip tighten in twitches and jerks. “They won’t
The doctor arrived with a severe face and a business suit
The doctor peered into Mal’s eyes with a dimmed fash-
He nodded once at Mal and Rose, then shook hands with
Remak and departed
Rose took in each beat of the diagnosis as though the
Mal’s eyes didn’t fx on anything in particular. Rose was
Remak nodded, rearranging his equation
Rose had heard of the Old Man. Everyone had. He was
Rose watched Mal go through the nearly imperceptible
The answer was implicit in the question; even Rose could
Remak straightened from his beseeching posture
Mal isn’t in any shape to fght.” Despite the doctor’s recent
There was little purpose in draining resources to fx up these
Mal? He led her and Remak over to the place where the wall
Remak’s eyes were scanning the area from behind cel-
Mal brusquely took Rose’s hand
Mal nodded. “They can’t trace me here. No one can
She looked at the walls of the apartment buildings
Mal would still not look at the place
So I know that you’re safe.”
Mal looked at the fading walls around them
“What about Remak?” she asked. “Can he get me?”
The last word echoed through the terrible space and
He was so still that when he fnally spoke, she started
Rose knew about being alone. Until Mal had come to
THE BOY GLARED AT LAURA with a smoldering superior-
Laura was the frst to break away and look at Dunphy
A big red splotch was plastered across the center of his face,
Laura just barely managed to hold herself back from apolo-
Unhurriedly, he caught up with them by the time they
She turned to the boy and held out the keys
But for Dunphy’s intermittent moans and garbled at-
He looked out with already blue and swelling eyes at
English professor were saying them. “I will pay you an eye-
He made his shoulders slump in melodramatic disap-
Your conversation of June of last year was what made me
But now they were getting somewhere, somewhere that
Laura’s heart beat a little faster
Though that Laura was no older than she was now, obvi-
Laura’s body tingled. How could she possibly make
There was a pause as the two fgures stared at each other
Then they both saw something at the same time and moved
Laura looked up at the boy next to her as though com-
He shook his head
He didn’t bother with a response. The evidence spoke
New York City?”
Your likeness was on record; you were in certain systems.”
The questions sped around her in such a violent whirl-
His expression fell into deep distaste. A scowl looked
hand. “As in Alan Argaven.” He stopped again and the si-
He expelled a gust of air and shook his head before
Of course she knew that. Its implications on a variety of
Corporations are turning the fate of the world on a dime
But you don’t know how, exactly. No one does. That’s the
And her stomach dropped out. His father. She remembered
How much help do you think I had with all that? Was any-
That’s trying. And guess what? Now that I’m here, I still . . 
A year just to fnd her. He was writing programs, inventing
Dynamic, a kind of a theory of human interaction that could
In examining his pain, Laura’s own whirlwind had quieted
They couldn’t have. They didn’t. I know it.” She looked out
MAL SET HIS CHIN ON his hand and watched the city pass
But the energy was all directed back at themselves, used for
I’ll be out of Silven and into the guards, ready to assist you
The stimulant the doctor had put into him was making
Mal was aware that even at this distance he was already
He gladly left it at his back and came around the towers
But there was never any mention of it in newsblogs, on the
HD. To the world of people hungry for a new sight, a new
Mal turned in disgust from the river that was not re-
Probing the warm pulp of his missing tooth to pain-
Mal scanned the expanse of street; these were loading
. . . something. A signal
It took him a full minute to notice that the blinking
Mal leaned slowly around the corner
Mal gripped the banister and began hauling himself
The narrow hall was thick with a plush carpet that
The eyes of ancient faces glared at him from out of marble
Where were Roarke and Castillo? Off on a mission? Or
Kliest was speaking to the president of the United States
Not simply speaking to him: berating him
The room — and the hallway Mal stood in — fooded
Kliest, I’ll have you know that I’m working toward a time
Force holds steady at pacifcation-level yellow. A move di-
Therefore a heightened state of readiness is necessary. There-
Therefore I have mobilized corporate interests to this end. I
Roarke’s performance-enhanced body had a matchless
Never had Mal felt so physically helpless. He had
Below, the door shuddered. Remak had it locked so that
Mal made it to the fnal landing and cast a glance be-
The door behind him hissed shut and sealed itself
Mal’s labored breath choke in his throat, was the insect crawl
Then his hands came down and found the ledge, and his feet
His hands moved; his feet moved. He pressed his body
Like before. Like climbing down from that mountain
Laura
An impact shuddered against the window that Mal
Mal looked back up at Castillo. He thought to smile
Castillo threw his body against the window. His frus-
The trembling in his arms was uncontrollable now. The
For a single moment both chokingly terrifying and
He came down on the roof of the walkway on his feet
Minutes passed before he could even raise his head up
Mal again, and he began climbing from the window. If his
Castillo went down to his hands and knees, began
Both the plastic and the metal were too strong to crack un-
Mal came to his feet and lumbered forward as Castillo
Mal was in a climate-controlled outer hallway. He hob-
The car drove down. The light of the elevator was spear-
The door slid open onto the nearly empty parking lot
Castillo and Roarke were charging toward him from
There. Beneath a metal ramp that led to an upscale to-
Mal’s fngers found the rusty edges of the forgotten
Roarke’s response was lost as the sound of their voices
Beat you, Mal thought as he tumbled down. I beat you
The pool of muck had formed because, while people had for-
He bit into his tongue with the jags of his cracked
Roarke had been right. Nothing could stop this now
But just because he was going to die, didn’t mean he was
Laura bent and put her face closer to the screen. The frst
The commercial future of the state of California, collected
The paragraph following concerned an airplane bound
Paragraph after paragraph of this stuff unfolded before
Laura as she scrolled down: bookstore employees opening up
Western Europe, Asia. Long before the progress bar showed
“You’ve got to be kidding. I told you I don’t remember any-
His eyes smoldered at her
City,” he said bitterly. “And you just got through telling
HD after he fnished his homework. “That’s the whole idea
I assume you won’t have any trouble getting into the records
He watched her start picking through the detritus on
Writing it made Laura think of the class she was miss-
She signed the note and laid it on her roommate’s pil-
He rolled his eyes and assumed an impatient posture
She turned to the unfolded cell screen and keyed the
What’s wrong?”
Her mother’s brow collected between her eyes
Laura thought the connection had gone bad and there was a
of school and because of Josh and because I’m not — ” She
Your father would love that.”
“I can’t help you. I don’t understand it myself.”
Laura.”
She brought her face back up and let her mother see her
I know what’s wrong. Leaving school is the frst thing that’s
Claire studied her daughter — the image of her daugh-
The sense of loss she had been feeling welled up in
They looked at each other while an ad for Kleenex
“Laura. I was wrong. You’re not a child.”
Laura managed to hold herself together until the screen
She was dimly aware of the door starting to open. Aaron
She used the balls of her hands to scrub away the last of
Fisher. He’s been subjected to a standard interrogation array
There’s no indication that he knows Mal.”
She nodded, her eyes unfocused before her
Mal’s escape.”
She nodded, offering no indication of her own feelings
There was a vein of sympathy in the question, and some-
She gathered in Roarke’s rigorously self-imposed dis-
Roarke?”
A new and powerful tool, I’m sure. What is the tool?” She
A beast lived inside Lee Castillo. Sometimes he imagined
Years in the marines had taught him the advantages of stay-
Five startled faces shot up toward Castillo as he entered and
The beast held staunchly at bay — for the moment — he
A murmur of confusion rose from the bystanders. Tal-
We’ve got it all on security cams.”
Talby’s failing foot caught the outside of Castillo’s knee,
Castillo had fnished
He stepped over Talby and walked out of the briefng
That was the beneft of being able to control the beast
This was the third motel room she’d awakened in in
She stood under the burning water until she could look
She stepped out into the steaming bathroom and started
Her blue eyes were bright enough that they were practically
Nothing here? On to the next. And the next. And the next
And who was there for her? Who kept pushing her?
Laura pulled the towel from her hair and swathed her-
Laura studied the boy with the acne and the nervous
They drove from the motel in silence, but for Aaron’s call-
The mature thing to do at this point would just be to admit
The green and white of a passing sign snatched her at-
He paused, collecting the information
Laura made no comment
They came into Pope Springs and found it to be nearly indis-
The empty spot still resonated with the absence of a
She took the space in with eyes desperate for something
No point lying about it just to keep Aaron’s spirits up
She did have the feeling about the house, but that was just
She didn’t recognize this place in the normal way, but it con-
Mike. So instead of thinking up new ways to — ”
“You just called me ‘Mike.’”
“What? Who’s Mike?”
In less than thirty minutes, a red pickup pulled up behind
Slate examined the offer hard but could not seem to
Laura looked at the fesh-colored bump at his temple
Proper shielding and less than a quarter the electromagnetic
Slate’s crew fnished just after lunchtime the next day. As
Slate had not been deceiving them. There was nothing
Aaron dig around for hours with a spade and a claw he had
The one time she inquired, she received only a frustrated
The wind had acquired a chilly edge and the shadows
But also because I found what I was looking for.” He held
No fre would reach one of these. This was blown free from
One that must have been specifcally calculated to damage
Aaron was preternaturally calm. She had never seen
This was the frst scratch she’d gotten for the tickle in her
TIME WAS LOST TO ROSE in this forgotten park. The sounds
There was no sense of seconds ticking by. Perhaps she
It was from within one of these stretches of oblivion
Hands came up from the hole and anchored themselves
His cargo pants and hooded sweatshirt were soaked
She could not have cared less about the geographical ex-
Trapped in a middle ground between relief at his return
gled with Mal’s blood. “I can’t do this. This isn’t . . .” She
her sobbing. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to work.” He was
Remak.”
Remak. Yes. Sense stirred in her head. She had been in
One instant she was staring at the prison of concrete
Alan Silven. She could only hope that Remak was “in” Silven
The tone of the voice suddenly and distinctly changed on the
Her fngers fumbled to key it in. An ad for car rental
Had Remak left him on purpose? Why was he leaving her
Remak pushed open. By the time they rested Mal’s body on
Essentially, I’m made of an energy that can enter other bod-
Mal’s life.”
Jon Remak anymore.”
embodied idea of a man to give himself up. “And . . .” She
Remak’s head came up, his eyes opened
“You’re going into Mal’s mind?”
Remak looked up at her
Mal has. I can help bring him back.”
Rose?”
She twitched a nod. Her body was spasming with fear
This is the neuropleth. Remak’s voice flled her conscious-
The spark of Remak leaped out and joined the synaptic
“Do you think I’d be using one of these if I wasn’t — ”
Her shoulders were tighter than ever and her knuckles
“You’re in a position to help them. Why don’t you?”
Other people try to tear them down — out of jealousy, gen-
Read some Nietzsche, and get back to me when you know
She choked down the astonished shriek of rage boiling
Don’t let his memory choose your side for you.”
Laura sighed
He looked at her with clear disdain for that idea
With six billion voices going all at once, how can anyone
Laura practically as she was saying them. She hadn’t spent
Pope Springs, and they’re picking it out of the air around
She turned away from him and back to the road. He had
She was going to ask him how he knew the small road
GPS on his cellens. Laura’s head was still mired in the idea
The road acquired a gentle curve over the course of three
“Where to?” she asked. “Do you want — ”
Laura looked again at the tranquil town around her
The chaos he was recounting was hard to imagine, like a still
The signs outside the few businesses announced the
Laura jump
Laura didn’t even slow down
“So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we going there?”
She pulled the car up to the sidewalk in front of the
Laura looked around again and confrmed what Aaron
Aaron and into the pharmacy. Like the town itself, the rows
Laura had picked up the facial ticks by now. “That’s forty
Laura nodded, the smile never leaving her face
Laura had to allow that this was true. She and her par-
The library
More skittering fog opening brief apertures: the man in
Rose felt a sense of pressure: Remak guiding her else-
Tommy was hammering a nail into the wall — almost
Mal nodded. Good. If Tommy could knock opponents
Rose felt the emotions sweep through her as if they
Glass splintered outward
She looked at the two of them. This was a place they of-
She began screaming at him about respect and how he
Mal’s face. Had she meant to hit him with it or merely scare
Rose knew that scar, had touched it tenderly with
Remak to take her in here because she could help bring Mal
Mal didn’t understand at all. He had never seen his fa-
The other boy had a tight dark blond cap of slicked-back
Each of the six in the clearing was disclosing whether or
Betrayal. Rose felt it as sharply as Mal had. His life was
Between Mal and the suspended fgures was a man in a
But he can be saved. They both can. All you have to do is
Mal stared at Man in Suit without moving
Man in Suit waited. The door to Tommy and Annie
The Rose in the memory studied Mal’s face, looked past the
Rose pulled away from that memory, found another . . 
Rose turned away, moved to the next memory . . 
Rose felt helpless. Was this the life they had shared?
No more than this? She searched for another . . 
Rose yanked back from the memory
What is it? Her voice was empty. She knew the answer
There was no denying that. The memory of Laura
Fighting Remak was not in her. But here was an op-
But she barely moved at all. Remak’s dominant will
No! She used all the force of her mind to throw the
Next to her, the body Remak had been in was still and silent
ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO, A shot rang through the upper
Old Man.” That name had been invoked in Aaron’s presence
There would be no more of that. The shot was not the
Laura walked — nearly skipped in her unconsciously
It was not lost on Aaron that the glass doors were an open
Through the small foyer papered with the clumsy
One could never be sure what sort of gobsmacking idi-
Ms. Hubert remained silent for a stretch — a peculiar
Her hand touched something beneath her work surface, and
Aaron heard — felt — the nearly subsonic snik of the cellock
Passing between the towering rows of books was dis-
Aaron felt the technology of a cellock — a whiff of the mod-
She shrugged
Again, it was Laura who ended the stalemate
She’d given no sign that she remembered any of this
She was working as she had up to this point on her instincts,
Hubert. “Who are you?”
She looked at it, then back at him
Laura stepped up to the door without even sparing
Aaron another glance
The steady hum of electricity that was a constant stim-
Stifing a desperate sound boiling in the pit of his stom-
The room was small and stark white from the Hoffman
Hoffman space Aaron had ever seen, though he had heard
The only objects within were a white table and two
He yanked the chair out angrily and put himself in it
The greeting jolted Aaron like a lightning bolt. Call-
He was falling into this meticulously designed trap. But he
Trying to scare me with your portentous warning. I came
You’ve brought your anger in here with you, and it colors
I’m warning you because I have no cure for the truth. Once I
It is going to break the world apart for you, and you’re going
Aaron glanced up at Laura, for presumably he was being
What person doesn’t? Isn’t that what you’re trying to do right
Aaron offered nothing in return
Aaron’s hands were balled into fsts on the table. His
Old Man.”
The food they prepared for their families was the manifesta-
The psychoanalysts came up with a solution. Do you know
Aaron’s expression went dead in the face of this revela-
And it’s going to get worse. The Old Man subscribes to the
I’ve told you all of this. That’s why you were even let down
WHEN ROSE WAS SIX YEARS old, she was in her cousin’s
When Rose was ten, she was awakened one night by voices
She listened at her door as a man her father worked with be-
Rose’s mother hissed angry accusations at her husband. That
Her eyes grew larger. She couldn’t turn away
When Rose was ffteen, a man in a suit showed up at the
He walked back into the living room and saw Rose
He grabbed a pillow and put his weight on her chest
Rose found work at a diner, a place her mother had worked
Rose was transfxed on the dim world on the other side of the
The person standing there was broad and tall in cargo
She needed to close but couldn’t imagine turning him away
He looked at her with dark eyes that did not belong
It took him a moment to study the body. The windows in
Roarke slid closer to Mal. He moved his hard hands
Mal was going to live. The joy over this was muted, not
The car rolled to a stop. Castillo hustled Rose roughly
Castillo went down the hallway and through the door that
The space beyond looked like the back room in some
Remak healed him.”
The blessed relief of it: the thing didn’t just believe the
It hung there until Rose had no choice but to fnish it
“I’ve lived . . . a long time. I’ve spent all of it . . . com-
My will is far beyond . . . what Remak’s was. I will be able
Strong forever. And I will be able to control those brains
. . . make puppets of their bodies without losing my own,
Again the room fell silent as the thing accumulated the
what I want . . . if I have to peel his brain open . . . and take
Rose’s arms clenched around her body. Remak had said
But to save Mal, she could give it to him herself
The sensation of it brought the world more sharply into per-
The head creaked and swiveled minutely to take in a
You could fght . . . you know. I am old and weak. You could
. . . kill me easily. My man is outside the door. He wouldn’t
She shivered listening to him
. . . will not stop you or the boy from leaving. Now . . . do
Even in the sweating humidity of the place, the fngers were
She gaped at him, her face slack with disgust
Rose could not swallow. The air whistled dryly through
Mal, she thought. Mal
But as soon as their lips touched, she felt his consciousness
She felt the aperture to the neuropleth in her head open;
Hoffman tiles. Or perhaps Aaron was reading that into the
cause it’s not mine. I know it isn’t. It’s like — ” Aaron watched
The room throbbed with a heavy silence. Aaron looked
What had woken Mal up was a tight pressure on his
Mal, squeezing tightly with shaky strength. Rose pressed up
Its body was gnarled, its face cracked with the deep lines
He could feel the bone-splintering pressure of the fngers in
He looked at her
Roarke,” the Old Man’s commanding new voice reached out
The gray man nodded and stepped in
An ample amount of Rose’s time and concentration over the
He seemed at times to lumber when he walked, to tread
She wanted to see him wired and ready for a fght, or return
Roarke’s whipping thrust, slipped beneath his lateral chop
Roarke didn’t register the blow. He feinted with an
Rose realized only now what Mal was doing. He kept
Man said? Fighting to her was a fction, a story she could
The last blow had shaken Roarke enough that his ri-
Mal’s darting head. Mal came back with two quick jabs,
Roarke’s next attack was already set up, and his stiffened
Roarke stumbled and found his balance just in time
Mal brought his fst hammering down on Roarke’s elbow
The fesh-muffed snapping of arm bone made Rose
Mal dropped his fst
He looked up to fnd Rose but instead looked past her
She followed his line of sight. The Old Man was standing in
Two men in coveralls looked up as Rose and Mal came bar-
They ran
lake. This is Aaron. Is this Tommy Jericho’s house? Are you
Annie?”
I think you might be able to help us. Kind of.”
Was there a note of apprehensive hopefulness in such quick
“Are you two from New York?” Annie asked
Allies had come in at the close of World War II. This was a
The effort of dealing with the scandal and the fnancial
Arielle’s mind gorged on the ripe fruit of stories about his
Plagued at no time in her life by the vulnerabilities
The arrival of a man with gunmetal gray hair and the bear-
Man had proffered his hand
On the other end of that car ride was an apparatus un-
France ft into the project of another corporation in Japan,
American corporation. Pieces ft together, but only if you
Old Man did
Roarke looked at her just that one telltale moment too
“What?” she pleaded in a harsh whisper. “Tell me.”
And then . . . it just wasn’t. He beat me down. I knocked one
She could scarcely believe it when the next words came
The Old Man stood perfectly still in the center of the
The dim red light deepened the crevices in his fesh, exag-
He was a bull trapped in a pen
The Old Man didn’t break stride. He moved forward
MCT. Things will be very different soon.”
She pressed her fngernails into her palms so hard that
Rose’s heart
She remembered the future she had made, sweated and cried
She remembered everything up to the point where Mal
Some malicious surgeon had grafted a mockery of a life
Mal
I need to fx it.”
Librarian is — ”
Rose was nodding
That’s all he’s ever been about, and now he wants more of it
All of it.”
Remak from memory. “The neuropleth was where he inter-
And didn’t help us.”
How did she feel about that? Considering that it was
Remak who had obliterated her memory and created the
Mal’s hand with angry propriety
The room was silent in tension. Rose and Mal did not
“Wait.” Laura cut him off. “How did he get it?”
Mal’s eyes were resolutely not shifting toward Rose
Rose’s eyes fickered manically beneath the strands of
Laura? Where were you?”
Laura’s offense instantly dwindled. Her eyes went
And he can draw strength from the minds in the neuropleth
Rose’s eyes became instantly desperate. It was not lost
Laura and Mal looked at each other across the empty
Her own face was held together with no small act of
I love you.”
She felt his arms clutch her tighter. It was almost pain-
What a wonder it was to have his voice bring her around
Mal sat and swung his legs over the side of the cot. His
Needles of ice raced down Laura’s back
Laura’s heart clenched and froze solid
And I had no life to go back to. We were trying to keep away
But I found him and I promised him that I would take on
I made him do it. To make you happy again.”
Mal’s head bent and his body shrank beneath the on-
She would have laid a comforting hand on anyone else in the
ROSE AND AARON SAT IN a booth in the back of the diner
Rose, and slunk back into the kitchen. The diner was empty
Such was his eternally diverted attention, Rose was not sure
Rose’s sense of Laura was only that Laura was
Aaron’s attention was consumed completely by some-
Her eyes wandered. An MCT truck rumbled by out-
Old Man. What I mean is, how did you get pulled into this
Helped you knock over a liquor store? Helped you what?”
“What do you mean? Why wouldn’t I?”
I’m assuming. You look like a fully functioning human be-
The words lit her up like a live current. She had always
A child and his mother had pushed the boy’s father out
A group of fremen fghting a fre simultaneously broke
hell? — to strangle his partner. That’s in Jersey City. A group
It’s spreading outward. Whatever the Old Man is doing, it’s
The one thing the owners of these prison-like slum apart-
A moment later, rolling his eyes and expelling a gust of dis-
She squeezed her eyes shut tight as it came open
Mal’s head cocked up
Mal was standing now. He took a step closer to Aaron
Laura’s eyes were riveted on him
Aaron reported. “There’s . . . This is . . . there’s a group
He’s using the people he can control to kill the people he
What was it about Laura that flled these two with such con-
Mal took a quick, dangerous step forward
Annie’s lives for your own. But you couldn’t do it. Or you
Mal wrestled with the words, the accusation
It’s just saying that the fght is more important than you
Rose felt unable to move. Her awe for Laura weakened her
Towers.”
She nodded
She turned to the door without anything further. The others
Laura turned to her, waiting
She turned to Aaron
good news. Do you remember what Mal said? The MCT is
“Then I’ll fnd a way — ”
I’m the only one who can put you there.”
Old Man in the neuropleth, you have to have . . . Remak
Laura and Mal cataloged this, added it to their arsenal
Laura stood before him like a big sister seeing her
The quiet between Mal and Laura was dreadful. It felt
He pulled them out of the last forgotten place within
She could almost feel the Old Man here: the air seemed
Why was she not terrifed? She was walking to her
Aaron had tried to chat at her in a futile effort to gain a
He was responsible for expediting Laura’s entrance to
Goddamn her
He spun on Rose as though he were going to take out
Cracks began to form in her poise
not believing. “Are you Aaron Argaven? How are you . . 
What are you doing here?”
Knowing that she knew of him and the way she reacted
Her head jerked about with shock that she was even
agitation. “I work for the Old Man. I’ve been his right hand
for years. But he’s gone over the — No. He’s just gone. It’s
He’s going to tear us down. He’s going to tear everything
Arielle Kliest from the Lazarus Towers bore down upon
The door did not bother with a knock this time but was
A small group stood before the sprawling courtyard
Laura as she entered, Mal following behind. The uniformed
The man in the suit guided them silently through the
The man took them through passages that wound be-
The man tilted his head in mild surprise at this
“Certainly I do. I work for the Lazarus Corporation.”
Lazarus. The corporation is its own entity, you understand. I
Laura nodded. She understood perfectly. He was noth-
The door slid open
She took a fnal look at him and tugged the Mets cap on
There was no doubt at all which direction they needed
She felt the heat from beyond, the choking heaviness of
Laura held out her hand. He looked at it somberly for
She was in the neuropleth and could feel the doorway to
He finched away, unable to keep his eyes on her
We’re not going to see each other again once we walk into
His neck was corded with the strain of holding the
I’m strong because of you.”
She tore herself away from him and shoved open the
The twisted metal looked like a hand stretching upward,
This was the question Aaron Argaven asked himself
He found his answer, as he did with so many personal dilem-
Roderick Van Allen had been recruited to usher Intel-
Corporations had entered a suddenly dangerous and uncer-
To Van Allen’s question, Aaron replied with a curt nod
Allen said, “why your plan does not ft Intellitech’s strategic
Aaron considered him as he might a pile of trash that
Aaron didn’t wait for an answer or for further comment
Aware that he was more capable than any ten CEOs currently
Aaron explained his fve-year plan for the downfall of
Intellitech and several of its ilk, through an aggressive strat-
New York City’s East River; a plan that would fall directly
Kliest had long ago come to this conclusion. Imme-
Which was what Aaron had been waiting for. It was
Kliest shook her head absently, her icy eyes distant
The power inherent in accurate cultural forecasting was
Her right eye was blurry with tears; her left was swollen
Dwell on the shredding physical pain, and she could hold
Binges of liquor, stammered whispers about how he got
The girl sat and flled the silence with more soft words
Help her? It was almost — almost — enough to make
Maddie saw something in the brown eyes. She saw the pain
Rose said. “I promise you, you can fnd the strength.”
A young woman named Laura drove into a small town. The
Laura had driven through more than one of these towns
This was her life for the time being, driving from place to
She shared a day with them, or a week. She shared their
They might mention her in an offhanded conversation
You start writing a book in solitude, carrying it on its jour-
The keenly intelligent and impossibly dapper Will
Lippincott for his masterful guardianship and for swooping
The Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Li-
P. 1
What We Become

What We Become

Ratings: (0)|Views: 48,061|Likes:
Two years ago, teenagers Mal and Laura destroyed a corporate empire intent on controlling human thinking through technology. For a while, life was good. But now a new force has arisen: the Old Man. He’s hungry for power and he knows who holds the key to getting it: Mal. Mal needs his beloved Laura’s help to defeat the Old Man, but is he willing to risk her life in another battle to save humanity? What We Become combines mind-bending thrills with the hot immediacy of corporate greed. It will leave readers wondering who is really in control…
Two years ago, teenagers Mal and Laura destroyed a corporate empire intent on controlling human thinking through technology. For a while, life was good. But now a new force has arisen: the Old Man. He’s hungry for power and he knows who holds the key to getting it: Mal. Mal needs his beloved Laura’s help to defeat the Old Man, but is he willing to risk her life in another battle to save humanity? What We Become combines mind-bending thrills with the hot immediacy of corporate greed. It will leave readers wondering who is really in control…

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Publish date: Feb 26, 2013
Added to Scribd: Jan 30, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780547550800
List Price: $16.99 Buy Now

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