A blue glow dropped in front of his face. He jumped in fright. No one should have been able to get near him down there. Audio white noise played from the speaker that was duct-taped to the circular drone’s belly.
“How’s that possible?”
“I worked as a spy for Cyber,” said Waltz. “You might think your computers are locked down, but you seem to have forgotten who I used to be and what I used to do. What do you think a cyber warrior is anyway? Do you think it was hard to hack your security’s little air force?” asked Waltz with scorn.
The bolt struck Joshua in the chest and sent excruciating pain through his torso that spread out to the tips of his fingers and toes. Such totalic agony was wholly unknown to him.
“Fuck you!” he said.
“No you won’t,” said the loud voice of Waltz. “And just so you know: that little guy I sent down to you . . . let’s call ‘em Hulk . . . Hulk won’t stop until you’re dead . . . and I am free.”
“STOP!” squealed Joshua. He swung clenched fists into the air, but his feeble attempts fell far short of the bobbing drone. His t-shirt burned. “STOPPPPPP!”
“This whole place will blow up,” he gasped, “and gas everyone with Ebola for twenty miles!”
“What did you say?” asked Waltz.
“I have to type in the failsafe code every hour or else you’re gone, I’m gone, everyone’s gone. Stop doing this to me, you fuck!”
“I’m listening. Talk fast.”
“Wangluo burrowed out the whole region for me. There are ventilation ducts running for a mile and a half radius around here. All around this, you’ll burn and boil your own putrefied organs!” cried Joshua. The electrocution ceased.
“Explain to me why you’d unleash Ebola on your own neighbors and betray your countrymen for Wangluo,” said Waltz.
“Because I read The Hot Zone and became inspired!” said Joshua with a mad bulge to his bloodshot eyes. Waltz felt sick to his stomach. The guy was joking about the mass murder. Can the Cyber protocol even make it on time?
But he was resolved to go forward. Risks were meant to be taken. Measured, not shaken, not stirred . . . just taken, Waltz thought grimly. God, I hope he doesn’t do it. He has a choice.
“If I can’t watch ‘em die of old age, then you can die watching ‘em suffer cellular liquefaction,” said Joshua. The drone steadied to a hover and began to shoot him again.
“You sick bastard,” said Waltz incredulously. The drone ceased. “Why?”
There was a sound of typing. Keys clacked hard for a minute, while Joshua writhed on the floor and tried to pull it together. The heli-drone floated in front of him with its blue taser primed and aimed.
“I grew the Ebola, they provided the dispersal tech. We felt Cyber needed to be crippled, and I’d just relocate to better facilities. So go ahead . . . kill me . . . and you’ll watch the second coming of the plague you fucking fascist pig.”
Smoke rose to Joshua’s nostrils as the bot sent thousand-plus volts of electricity into his gluttonous body again.
“You are a psychopath,” said Waltz. The air cracked with thunder.
What Joshua did not realize was that the drone recording his admittance and the threat to unleash the custom-grown Ebola virus strain went not only to the government’s communications system and their monitors, but the live feed carried though to the Cyber President’s TV in the White House and all of the Cyber levels of personnel up to the Cyber Warriors (who would hear about it soon enough once their government building was abuzz and then forward it on to get the attention of the Cyber Elite).
This is a small excerpt from the R.J. Huneke novel CYBERWAR upcoming in October from Pentian Publishing. PRE-ORDERS are available here: