What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?
The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon —"the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured" – Publishers Weekly ) —imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Feb 2014
From the cover
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
Copyright © 2014 by Daniel Suarez
I'm gonna hunt you down like a rabid dog, Sloan." Albert Marrano clenched his teeth on an e-cigarette as he concentrated on a tiny screen.
"Don't joke. My sister's pug just went rabid."
"You're kidding." Marrano thumbed the controls of his handheld game console.
"Raccoon bite. They had to put Mr. Chips down. Her kids are still in therapy." Mashing buttons on his own wireless console, Sloan Johnson sat in the nearby passenger seat. Then he let out a deep "Heh, heh."
Marrano cast a look at him. Johnson had that Cheshire cat grin on his face again. "Shit . . ." Marrano tried to rotate his player around, but Johnson's avatar was already behind him.
Double-tap. The screen faded.
"You really do suck at this, Al."
"Goddamnit!" Marrano tossed the device onto the car's stitched leather dashboard and pounded the steering wheel. "You have got to be kidding me. Worse than playing my goddamn nephew."
"That's two thousand bucks you owe me."
"Best out of five?"
Johnson powered down his device. "It's a lousy two K. What are you complaining about?"
Headlights swept across them as another car turned into the nearly empty parking lot of a gritty industrial building.
"Here we go." Marrano pocketed his e-cigarette.
"'Bout fucking time."
They exited their parked Aston Martin One-77 as an older Mercedes pulled toward them.
"Jesus, look at this thing."
"They go forever, though."
"You ever get stuck behind one of these on the highway? Like breathing coal dust." He motioned for the driver to pull up to them.
The Mercedes parked, and a distinguished, if disheveled, elderly South Asian man with spectacles and a full head of unconvincing jet-black hair got out. Slowly. He buttoned his greatcoat against the cold.
Marrano and Johnson approached, removing their leather gloves and extending hands. Marrano smiled. "Doctor Kulkarni. Albert Marrano. Thanks for coming out so late."
"Yes." They shook hands. "I don't usually drive at night. But your CEO said this couldn't wait."
"That she did." Marrano turned. "This is my colleague, Sloan John- son. He manages the portfolio for Shearson-Bayers."
They shook hands as well. "Pleased to meet you."
Marrano pulled his lambskin glove back on. "So you're our physicist. Princeton, right?"
Kulkarni nodded. "Yes, but I live close by in Holmdel. No one would tell me what this is about."
Marrano grimaced. "Not over the phone, no. Legal says they already have you under contract, so I'm supposed to remind you about your nondisclosure agreement and noncompete clause."
The elderly Indian nodded impatiently. "Fine, fine. Now what is this 'physics emergency' of yours?"
Marrano waved his arm to encompass the drab, windowless building before them. "Tech start-up. Run by a couple particle physicists developing chiral superconductors. The investment predates me, but these guys claim they've made some big breakthrough. I'll be damned if I can understand a thing they're saying."
Johnson edged in. "We need you to evaluate their scientific claims. Tell us if they're on the level."
Kulkarni nodded. "Is there a business plan or lab report I can review?"
Both men exchanged looks. Marrano answered, "We can't part with printed material at this point, Professor. You'll have to review this firsthand."
"Then I'll need to speak with the founders. Tour the facility." Kulkarni eyed the darkened building.