Rebel Heart (Chapter Two, page 3 of 14)

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"The good thing is recruitment is up," Brady said.

"Just be leery of who you trust." The silver-haired man offered a distracted smile. "Seems like so much death should be avoidable in this day and age. All my charm and diplomacy is hitting a brick wall."

"War isn't pretty," Brady agreed. "We'll keep sending refugees west."

"The feds sealed off the Mississippi using the equipment left over from the war fifty years ago. You'd think the plan was to help the survivors, but I'm in a constant battle with others who want to wipe out everything east of the Mississippi and just start over. I figured it was all talk. Looks like some of them might be serious." Tim looked up from the images on his micro.

"Jesus," Dan breathed. "Please warn us if that happens."

"If I find out first, I will." Tim's frustration was plain on his face.

Brady shifted uneasily. He'd never seen the politician up against something he couldn't defeat. Tim looked worn. His friend was keeping secrets.

"I may need you to act quickly in the near future to interfere," Tim said. "And, I might need a few assassinations called in to keep things from blowing up on your side of the river."

"You know I'll do anything you ask," Brady said. "Just contact me when you need me."

"Will do. I'm off to another meeting."

"Take care."

"You, too."

Tim's face disappeared from the screen. Brady glanced at his best friend, who shook his head.

"I can't see how this could get much worse," Dan said.

"I'm sure there's a way," Brady said.

"At least you got Angel to talk to. It's about time for your daily chat, isn't it?"

Brady eyed his friend, who tried hard not to smile. What had started out as a pain-in-the-ass babysitting favor to Tim had turned gradually into something he looked forward to. He checked in daily with the soft-spoken woman he'd nicknamed Angel. He'd known Tim his whole life and knew all of Tim's consorts and children by name, if not by sight.

Tim had never mentioned Angel to him before asking him to take care of her.

"I'll contact the helo," Dan said with a wink and left.

Brady opened his channel. "Checking in."

"Good evening to you, too," Angel replied after a pause.

"You sound beat."

"I am. I started learning to shoot a laser gun today," she said. "I'm not very good."

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