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Not a word was spoken within the quiet, fuel-cell-powered vehicle until after it had merged into the computer-controlled traffic headed up Interstate Ninety-five and had pulled into its assigned ten meters of space between a Jaguar and a Mercedes traveling at one hundred kilometers per hour. To the faint background noise of Howard pounding against the trunk's interior walls in terrified frustration, a faint question was asked. "So, how was he?"
"Better than you," Svetlana replied as the Department of
Transportation computer accelerated traffic with the northward
passing of the rain storm.
Bradford Bettmann pushed his glasses closer to his face, as was his habit when he was sliding into deep concentration, and leaned closer to the screen. That concentration was broken when his supervisor in the CIA's Intelligence Directorate remarked from the doorway to Bettmann's cubbyhole office, "Workin' late again, Bettmann?"
Bettmann's eyes shifted to the virtual clock in the lower righthand corner of his mounted e-book's current two-page spread, a clock which read "Nine-eleven." "One last report from the FBI Miami office."
"Go home, Bettmann," Randall Peters instructed him. "Give the brain a break."
"Will try, boss. Just one last--" The rest of Bettmann's sentence trailed off and he leaned over again, as his eyes refocused on the text of a report that had been recently filed by an FBI agent and placed in a database accessible by several government agencies, including the CIA: