I had never seen anyone flayed alive but had no doubt this would be the result, if someone was. There was no way to tell whether the raw, bloody corpse had been male or female, Caucasian, Asian, or Martian; it had been peeled like a grape. The lipless mouth was frozen in an agonized scream. No tongue. The caption read, This is what we do to traitors.
My stomach pitched again, but a second message vibrated "incoming," so I sucked a steadying lungful of air and called up the transmission. And inquisitive reporters. I quickly flicked to the next screen to read the rest. You’re out of your league, Ms. Gregson. Flick. Suggest you stage a tactical retreat.
They know, I realized, as my heart catapulted into my throat. And if they know they have a leak, they probably guessed I would tell ....
My head whipped up. My eyes locked on the van. I scrambled to my feet, letting my sleeve drop over the UpLink as I stumbled toward the street, screaming a warning. I was still screaming when the van erupted with a deafening roar in a blinding flash.
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