, Living Dead
, End of the world
, walking dead
, permuted press
, george romero
time like the present.”
Dr. Crispin started off without them. Neither Holly nor Luke hurried to keep up. Donovan noted this and lengthened his stride to measure up.
“Dr. Crispin,” he said. “I would like to start as soon as possible. My predecessor must have left some notes behind, and the sooner I start on them, the better. I’m not unfamiliar with his work, but the Dogs intrigue me.” He licked his lips. “How long will Beta Samson be in the recovery ward?”
The project director shook his head. “Not long, Doctor. The Dogs’ healing processes are much faster than ours. But really, I must insist that you limit your exposure to the Dogs, at least for now.” He turned a sharp eye to the neurotechnician. “We mustn’t confuse them in any way.”
This brought Donovan up short. “How do you mean?”
“We’re here,” Crispin said, punching in a four-digit access code to the radio room. The locking mechanism clicked and the door popped open an inch. The man in the blue jacket rushed forward to open it the rest of the way.
The radio room was a cold, dark office, jammed full of a dizzying array of equipment. Donovan turned to take it all in. He saw a radar screen, then another screen full of contoured static. The tech in the blue coat saw his gaze and said, “SONAR array in the waters off-island.”
Donovan nodded absently, noting the name WINCHESTER stitched neatly on the jacket’s right breast.
Several species of radio equipment shared space within a custom-built frame: a Thrane & Thrane cozied up next to a Furuno, their faces staring out at him. Under those sat an expansive JNC unit. Next to the radio frame squatted a set of screens; a control console of an AN/BQQ10 was mounted above, and Donovan recognized it as a piece of Army/Navy hardware. The other pieces... he was lost among it all.
A man sat in the room, wearing a pair of headphones and jotting on a piece of paper. Dr. Crispin and Luke Jaden stood patiently by, each with their hands clasped behind their backs. The head of security stood ramrod-straight, and Donovan knew he had to be ex-military.
“That’s Morse,” Holly said to Donovan as he watched the radioman translate and transcribe the beeps coming over his headphones. “Sometimes we catch messages on the Ham Radio. I think they’re the only ones who still use it.”
“It’s the same message,” the radioman said, putting his pen down. “Better get the old man and the n—”
“Ah, they’re here,” Winchester said.
The other tech stood, sending his chair spinning. “Sir!” he said.
“What’s the same message?” Jaden asked, ignoring everything else. “What have we got here?”
The tech licked his lips. “You’re not going to believe this, sir.”
“ YOU’RE NOT GOING to believe this,” Jorge said over the phone. “Pileup, man. And not just any garden-variety pileup. This is the mother of all—”
“Will you just say it?”
“ Whatever, grandma. Check it. There’s a Greyhound on its back, and it looks like it’s being humped by a big rig.”
Ken snorted at the description. “Is there even a wrecker on the scene?”
“ Well, yeah, but they’re not moving anything yet. The paramedics are still dragging people out of the bus, which is lying on top of a motorcycle, I think. Jesus, it looks like an all-day thing.”
Ken cursed under his breath, and his mind referred back to his Anger Management card. “There’s nothing we can do about that. Is it really bad?”
“ You should see this. I don’t know how many dead there are, man. I haven’t seen anything like this, not since the roller coaster went off-rail at—”
“I remember,” Ken said. “I was there, too.”
His fingers beat another quick tattoo on the steering wheel. Fatalities meant the road would be closed. And not just the part of the road where the crash had happened, either. The whole road, for a ways on either side of the accident. He was already thinking about an