morning until midnight. He knew he'd put most of the weight back on, but his experience with Judy had reminded him that he wasn't going to be around forever.

And he'd been a really good boy.

Well, except for what he'd said to Judy. What he'd made her do…

Probably the best way to resolve the situation. It was the only justice she was going to get from herself. Society wouldn't give a damn about it.

Good excuse.

He pondered again whether he would have waited for the situation to resolve itself if he were the leader of the SWAT team. The doctors must have told them there was time, that Borland's condition; his wound wasn't going to be instantly fatal. He would suffer like hell, but…

They were willing to wait, to make a wager that Borland would have to pay.

He was never like that in the squads, and he tried to instill the attitude in new recruits: Gamble with your own life if you want.

But don't gamble with mine!

The television remote controller rang, snapping Borland from his reverie. He slashed and slapped out at the coffee table, finally managed to catch the multi-function device. He picked it up, pressed the 'talk' button and held it to his ear.

'Yeah,' he said, in a voice that was thick with emotion.

'Captain Borland?' A woman's voice chirped.

'Who's asking?' Borland set his glass down and refilled it.

'I am Natasha Drummond, secretary to David White, president of GreenMourning Environmental,' she said. 'Are you familiar with our work?'

'Who isn't?' Borland grunted.

'Mr. White would like to talk to you,' she said and went quiet.

'No,' Borland grumbled. 'Mr. White knows that's a conflict of interest for me or anyone in my place of employment. GreenMourning and the Variant Squads don't exactly see eye to eye.'

'It doesn't have to be that way,' she said.

Borland scowled at the blue screen.

'Mr. White appreciates the sensitivity of the situation and that is why he wants to meet with you in his car.' The secretary went quiet again. 'Discreetly. Downstairs. We're parked out front.'

'What's this about?' Borland felt a surge of anger. More mysteries . He kicked his legs, stormed up onto his feet. He moved to the window, glared out…and started zipping up his jumper.

Three stories down, a woman's hand waved to him from the rear window of a long black sedan.

'You come highly recommended by a friend of Mr. White's.' There was silence before: 'The late Robert Spiko sent him your palm-com.' Borland imagined her smiling, and then… 'Mr. Spiko recorded a message on it for you.'

'I'll be right down,' Borland growled, staring blankly at the glass, catching his own vague reflection there.

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