Burning Burners - Part 2 (Khao Yai , Day 2 Evening)

“Hello?” The woman’s voice was drowsy as she arose from a deep sleep.

“Ah apologize fah tha late hour,” Dorian said. “May Ah speak with Leona?”

“How did you get this link?” She was now alert, her tone wary.

“Leona gave it tah me…fah urgent use only. Please tell her it’s Dorian Adler.”

He could hear rustling, then the voices of two women, muffled by the obvious palm covering the pickup. After a brief exchange, the woman returned. “She isn’t taking calls.”

“Excuse me?” he asked, surprise lifting his brows. “Ah’m a client.”

“Then I’m obligated to tell you that she is currently under investigation, pending a possible disbarment. Until resolution, she is not permitted to work on behalf of her clientele.”

He ran fingers through his hair. “Very unsettling.”

“Goodnight.” As the line went dead, Dorian palmed the device. He walked slowly through the oppressive air, a man utterly restrained. The two burner cortex units had cost him the last of his money, and his hat. He thought to call his handler…perhaps Garrison herself, but no. The Alliance had his attorney by the throat. No need to place anyone else within their reach by a hasty call for aid.

The game had entered a chilling new phase. They’d taken Keller, but their denuding of the infirmary and removal of his medical bag were a direct signal to him. “Now, Kidjo,” he muttered to himself. Power, he thought. This must be some sort of power play. And for the moment, he had none.

The flicker of a burning trash barrel caught his eye. He approached, gaze fixed upon the dancing tongues of yellow flame. A moment’s silence befell him as he looked into the fire.

The cortex dropped in, launching a cloud of sparks. Acrid smoke billowed upward, inky blackness masking the rejuvenated flame. He could hear the sizzle and pop of electronics and their poly housing consumed by fire.

Dorian watched it all burn.

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