The Arctic Incident

Extract: The Arctic Incident

‘Butler,’ said Holly. ‘Listen carefully. That gun pointed at you is a wide-bore low-frequency blaster. We call it a Bouncer. It was developed for tunnel skirmishes. If he pulls that trigger, a wide arc laser is going to ricochet off the walls until it hits something.’

‘I see,’ muttered Butler.

‘What did you say?’ asked Carrère.

‘Nothing. I just don’t like having my photo taken.’

A spark of Luc’s greedy personality surfaced. ‘I like that watch on your wrist. It looks expensive. Is it a Rolex?’

‘You don’t want this,’ said Butler, very reluctant to part with the com screen. ‘It’s cheap. A piece of trash.’

‘Just give me the watch.’

Butler peeled back the strap of the instrument on his wrist. ‘If I give you this watch, maybe you can tell me about all these batteries.’

‘It is you! Say cheese,’ squealed Carrère, forcing his pudgy thumb into the undersized trigger guard and pumping for all he was worth.

For Butler, time seemed to slow to a crawl. It was almost as though he were inside his personal time-stop. His soldier’s brain absorbed all the facts and analysed his options. Carrère’s finger was too far gone. In a moment, a wide-bore laser burst would be speeding his way, and would continue to bounce around the room until they were both dead. His gun was of no use in a situation like this. All he had was the Safetynet, but a two-metre sphere was not going to be enough. Not for two good-sized humans.

So, in the fraction of a second left to him, Butler formulated a new strategy. If the sphere could stop concussive waves coming towards him, perhaps it could stop them coming out of the blaster. Butler touched the screen of the Satefynet, and hurled the device in Carrère’s direction.