Second Variety

became hard. “Major, see for yourself. Bones. Flesh.”

Hendricks bent down beside her. The remains were human remains. Seared flesh, charred bone fragments, part of a skull. Ligaments, viscera, blood. Blood forming a pool against the wall.

“No wheels,” Tasso said calmly. She straightened up. “No wheels, no parts, no relays. Not a claw. Not the Second Variety.” She folded her arms. “You’re going to have to be able to explain this.”

Klaus sat down at the table, all the color drained suddenly from his face. He put his head in his hands and rocked back and forth.

“Snap out of it.” Tasso’s fingers closed over his shoulder. “Why did you do it? Why did you kill him?”

“He was frightened,” Hendricks said. “All this, the whole thing, building up around us.”

“Maybe.”

“What, then? What do you think?”

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