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Contested Inheritance

A story by John Aegard

The last remaining video feed, from Geneva, had dissolved into static several hours before.

Doctor Kelley clicked the screen off. Biting her lip, she carefully inserted her launch key into the console and twisted it counterclockwise, per the posted instructions.

The ascending missile rumbled the bunker faintly. Minutes later, it exploded high in the stratosphere. The hook-fanged Predator mutant tribes far below were none the wiser to its contrail of hardened seed, to the lurching, three-legged doom it had sown.

“Godspeed, Triffidus lux,” the botanist murmured. In just three months, the first sprouts’ laser emitters would begin to glow.

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Dee and Kelley came to blows at last, over, naturally, the royalties for the book. “Autolycus!” hissed Dee, his voice echoing off the tiles of the natatorium.

Gestas!” bellowed Kelley, and shoved Dee’s head under the water.

They both called on Enoch to judge between them, but xie didn’t want to get involved. The angel perched up in a corner of the balneator’s office and watched the fight unfold. “Tragic, really,” xie muttered to Mister Boots.
Mister Boots kept his own council, and pretended to concentrate on grooming his tail, but his eyes missed nothing. Mister Boots was canny; he wasn’t paid enough to get involved in this kind of rumpus. Casaubon was going to be very interested, though — very interested, indeed.

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