Chapter no 25

Quantum Radio

At the DARPA facility, Ty was returning from the bathroom, making his way through the crowded team room, when he spotted Richter and Bishop standing near the elevators, arguing.

The two men could hardly have been more different. Bishop was animated, his diatribes long and winding. He held his hands out and shook his head and rolled his eyes. Richter was a statue, his retorts rarely more than a few words.

Ty wondered what they were talking about. His brother, more than likely

—and what would happen when he arrived.

At Bishop’s office, Ty opened the door and found his mother standing by the large window, looking out at the team room.

“We need to talk,” she said, glancing at Richter and Bishop, who were still arguing by the elevator. “While we can.”

“About what?” “Your brother.”

“What about him?”

“If it is his genome that matches… we need to figure out what we’re going to do.”

“Okay.” Ty wasn’t sure where she was going with this. He closed the door behind him.

“I’ve begun making a plan to get him out of here.” “As in…”

“Disabling the marshals guarding him and getting out of the building—” “Mom, are you serious?”

“If the device really is going to harm him, we can’t let them turn it on— not when he’s close by. That’s our only hope.”

“We don’t even know if it works that way.”

“True, but we can’t take that chance—that it could kill your brother.”

“Yes, but do you really think we can even get him out of here?” Ty held his hands out. “We’re scientists, not secret agents.”

“We’re a family.”

Ty nodded. “Of scientists.”

“You’ll understand when you have children. You do what you have to— to protect them.”

“Mom, let’s take it down a notch. I’m just trying to be practical here.”

“Practically speaking, there’s no way a mother would allow them to do that to their child. I wouldn’t let them do it to you either. Or Sarah.”

“Even if we get out of here, they’ll come after us.”

“Yes. They will. But they might test it on the other three first.” “Mom, listen to what you’re saying.”

“I know. I know. I don’t like it, but I won’t let them harm him.”

Ty knew his mother had been deeply saddened by what happened with Tom. Though she had never said so, Ty thought she blamed herself. He sensed that now she saw this as an opportunity to set things right, at least partially. Or maybe it was really just what any parent would do. Ty didn’t know, but he feared that what she was planning might make things even worse for Tom. And all of them.

He massaged his temple. “Have you… talked to Richter about this?” “No. And I won’t.”

“He could help us.” “I don’t trust him.”

“Why? He saved me in Zürich.”

“There are things you don’t know about him, Ty.”

“Mom, to be exact, that covers pretty much everything about him.”

The door opened, drawing panicked glares from both of them. Richter paused in the doorway. “Am I interrupting?”

Ty and his mother spoke simultaneously. She said, “Yes.”

Ty said, “No.”

“Well,” Richter said casually, “thank you for clarifying. Thomas has arrived.”

Helen glanced at Ty, silently reminding him of what they had just talked about.

Richter continued, “Bishop is waiting by the elevator to escort you.” He paused. “I assumed you would not want me to join you.”

Helen marched toward the door, not meeting Richter’s gaze. “You assumed correctly.”


In the elevator, Bishop hit the button for basement level one and, when the doors opened, led Ty and his mother through a maze of abandoned cubicles. The dust on the desks was thick, and the floors were grimy. It gave Ty the impression of some post-apocalyptic office building.

Bishop seemed to read his expression.

“We typically work on the floors above ground. The lower levels are for more discreet operations.”

At the far wall, Bishop stopped at a set of double doors and placed his hand on a palm reader. The door buzzed, and Bishop swung it open, revealing what looked to Ty like a wet lab. There were three rows of counter-height steel tables, all bolted to the floor. Ty could imagine microscopes sitting atop them and scientists moving samples around. But all of the equipment was gone.

The left-hand wall was lined with steel cabinets with glass doors. They too were empty.

Dead ahead, a woman in a black pantsuit was talking, waving her hands in the air at two men in suits who were listening. Ty assumed they were US Marshals. One laughed at the woman’s joke, putting his hands on his waist, brushing back his jacket, revealing a sidearm in a holster.

Two marines stood by a stainless-steel door to what looked like a walk-in freezer.

“Sandy,” Helen began, but he cut her off.

“I know, I know, Helen, but they requested the most secure room we have. What do you want—”

“You’re not keeping him in a meat locker.” “We’ll figure something out.”

Ty was still sizing up the five armed guards. He didn’t know what his mother was planning, but he did know it was likely to fail.


“Yes,” she said, voice level.

“I’ve decided. When this is over, I don’t want to do that vacation. I want to stay right here in DC. Just hang out.”

Bishop glanced between the two of them. “Is that some kind of code?” “We’ll see, Ty,” she said, ignoring Bishop.

As they approached the freezer, one of the marines removed the metal pin on the door and pulled the long handle while the other took several paces back, hand on his sidearm. The three suited US Marshals took notice but seemed mostly unconcerned. They watched the door but continued their conversation.

At the threshold, Bishop stood while Ty and his mother entered. Ty was relieved when he felt the air, which was only slightly cooler than the room temperature outside. The freezer wasn’t on, and hadn’t been for a while. The inside was lined with metal racks, and sitting on one of them was Ty’s mirror image, his twin brother Tom, who rose as the door closed behind Ty and their mother.

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