Wet blond hair fell over pale shoulder blades illuminated only by the glow of the receding city lights like microelectronic circuitry.
“I don’t see how 50 metric tons of benzethydrine can just vanish into thin air,” Zoë said, toweling her hair with plush Egyptian cotton.
Michael Dukakis sat up in the temperfoam bed, the vat-grown leather blanket falling across his rippled abdominals. “I’m a nihilistic loaner at odds with society,” he said, “so don’t fall in love with me.”
Tokyo, a million blinking lights spread out beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows like a 21st Century Neo-Aztec tapestry, presented a vertiginous diorama, but he had no time for such fripperies. His mind turned to the man who’d almost found them in Shinjuku, the cloned ninja assassin. The Yakuza kept him on ice in their orbital platform and unthawed him for special occasions.
Like hunting down the thief of a recipe for monoclonal antibodies.
The recipe that occupied 566 kilobytes of RAM in a Kawasaki wetware chip in the slim black Nintendo attache case tossed nonchalantly in the Oshimitsu Polymers chrome-and-leather chair across the room.
“The detective said there’d been no calls to or from the Patagonia bio-dome, so Konovolev couldn’t have called in the hit at the Hayakawa Geneva labs.” Zoë wrapped the towel around her body. “Unless they wiped the comsat memory cores…”
A soft chime from the Akai console indicated an incoming transmission. Jarred from his reverie, Michael Dukakis reached across the table and flipped the lid with the languid grace of a jungle cat. The call was from the Disco Volante.
The screen came to life, revealing a wrinkled face washed in Mediterranean sunshine.
“Are you there, old son?” It was Baron Lucian Samosata. “You must come visit me on my yacht sometime.” The Baron looked seventy but was at least twice as old, his metabolism distorted by an extensive synthetic hormone regimen. “We’re off the coast of Monaco now, I believe. Now listen, old son, I’ve got a job for you.”
“Being a stylish, street-wise computer criminal is a full-time job already, Baron,” he replied.
“Oh, you want to take this one as well, I assure you.” The Baron lifted a flute of Daihatsu-brand pink champagne to his florid lips. “It’s custom-tailored for a failed Democratic presidential candidate. You’re the perfect man for the job.”