Quake by Patrick Carman Read Free Book Online

Book: Quake by Patrick Carman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick Carman
    â€œSo you’re saying it works like radio used to work, but it’s on a frequency almost no one knows about?” Hawk asked.
    â€œBingo,” Carl said, pointing his massively muscle-bound arm at Hawk. Faith was starting to get that Carl was an off-the-grid geek-junkie extraordinaire. If it was hacked or stolen, do-it-yourself or cobbled together from random parts, or shot with your own gun and cooked over a fire on wood from a tree you cut down, or, better yet, blew out of the ground with a homemade explosive, Carl loved it.
    â€œI built only three systems,” Carl went on. “Mine, Cloog’s, Meredith’s. So how is there a sleeper cell out there contacting us with intel?”
    Faith jumped in before another argument could break out between the two biggest guys in the room.
    â€œOkay, so someone else knows how to get on the frequency and has the right equipment to do it,” Faith said. She looked at Clooger. “How’s that possible? And either way, what are the odds this communication system has fallen into the wrong hands?”
    She and everyone else watched as Hawk projected a three-dimensional holographic map of the United States into the air in the middle of the room.
    â€œThe signal was sent from inside the Western State, that much we know,” Clooger said. “Millions of people have gone in over the past decade, and plenty of them were drifters before that. The comm unit is small, easy to conceal.”
    â€œSo you’re saying Meredith gave hers to someone?” asked Hawk.
    Clooger nodded. “And that someone is finally using it.”
    Clooger took two steps toward the fireplace and picked up an oblong device. It looked like something out of a 1950s science-fiction movie: clear Plexiglas encasing a row of diodes and bulbs and wires all soldered to a motherboard. The entire thing was half the size of a brick.
    â€œThe Plexiglas is solar powered; it absorbs heat and converts it into electricity.”
    â€œThat’s a Hotspur Chance invention,” Dylan said. “Kind of cool we get to use it against him now.”
    â€œOkay, so maybe the entire thing isn’t old-school, but the stuff inside is,” Carl said sheepishly.
    â€œIf a signal comes in, it gets recorded to a micro drive and the red light goes on. That way you don’t have to monitor it twenty-four/seven. You just watch for the light.”
    A thumbnail-sized red light inside the device was throbbing on and off like a tiny beating heart.
    â€œEleven years,” Carl said. “Eleven years and not a single red-light day. Now it’s lighting up like a Christmas tree, two alerts in as many weeks. First you guys, and now this. It makes me nervous.”
    â€œThis sleeper cell had one purpose, I’m sure of it,” Clooger went on. “To feed us intel from inside the States. The message we got verifies that. If they were trying to pinpoint our location they would have asked for it, but they specifically told us not to respond. They don’t know where we are and they’re not going to know.”
    â€œSo Meredith set up a sleeper cell inside the Western State and didn’t tell anyone else about it,” Faith said.
    â€œThey aren’t sleeping anymore,” Clooger said. “They’re awake.”
    Clooger set his pocket-sized Tablet on top of the Plexiglas and tapped out a few commands. The room filled with the sound of a female voice.
    â€œPrisoner One has escaped from maximum-security Western State detention zone. Message relay ordered. M4-ZTom unlock code Do not respond to this feed. Terminating.”
    Silence fell on the room as the flames cast moving shadows across the walls and ceiling.
    â€œPrisoner One,” Hawk said. “Hotspur Chance, most wanted man.”
    â€œIt’s not a very clear message,” Jade added.
    â€œIs it all you have?” Faith asked Clooger. “It sounded as if

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