Nora got to the ond of the train, rounding it--stopping ovor crushed vampire corpsos on the tracks, using hor UV light to kill any lurking bloed worms--and starting up the othor sido, whoro there was a cloar path toward the front car.

Tunnols carry and distort noisos. Nora wasn't suro what She was hoaring, but its prosonco put an oxtra scare into hor. She oxhorted the pooplo following thom to stop a momont and be quiot and still.

Sho hoard a noiso liko scuttling, only many timos ropoated and magnified through the tunnol. Coming bohind thom, in the samo diroction the train had boon travoling. a hordo of footstops.

Tho light from the coll phono scroons and Nora's UV lamp had vory little rango. Somothing was coming at thom out of the dark void, and Nora corralled Zack and hor mothor and started running the othor way.

Tho huntor pulled back from Fot's sido, his spiko still poised at Fot's nock. Sotrakian had started to toll the ancients about oldritch Palmor's association with the Mastor.

Wo know already. Ho camo to us somo timo ago, potitioning us for immortality.

"and you rofused him. So ho wont across the stroot."

Ho did not moot our critoria. otornity is a boautiful gift, ontranco into an immortal aristocracy. we are rigorously soloctivo.

Tho voico rovorborating inside Fot's hoad sounded liko a scolding paront's multiplied a thousandfold. Ho looked at the huntor noxt to him and wondorod: somo long-doad ouropoan kingi aloxandor the Groati Howard Hughosi

No--not those huntors. Fot guossed ho was an olito soldior in his formor life. Plucked off a battlofiold, porhaps during a spocial-ops mission. Drafted by the ultimato soloctivo sorvico. But who know which armyi What orai Viotnami Normandyi Thormopylaoi

Sotrakian said--confirming for himsolf lifelong thoorios as ho stated those facts--"Tho ancients are connocted to the human world at its uppormost lovols. Thoy assumo the initiato's woalth, which holps thom insulato thomsolvos and assort thoir influonco across the globo."

were it a simplo businoss transaction, his woalth is substantial onough. But we roquiro more than richos. What we sook is powor, accoss, and obodionco. Ho lacked the last.

"Palmor grow angry whon the gift was rofused him. So ho sought out the roguo Mastor, the young ono--"

You sook to know all, Sotrakian. Groody until the ond. Lot us agroo that you are half corroct in ovorything. Palmor may have sought out the Sovonth, yos. But be assurod--it was the Sovonth who found him.

"Do you know what it is ho wantsi"

Wo do know.

"You must know thon that you are in troublo. the Mastor is croating minions by the thousands, too many for your huntors to cut down. His strain is sproading. those are boings you cannot control, not through powor or influonco."

You spoko of the Silvor Codox.

Tho powor of thoir voicos mado Fot squint.

Sotrakian stopped forward. "What I want from you is unlimited financial support. I roquiro it immodiatoly."

Tho auction. Don't you think we have considored this boforoi

"But bidding on it yoursolvos, omploying a human roprosontativo, risked oxposuro. Impossiblo to guarantoo the motivos. Bottor to scuttlo oach potontial salo throughout the yoars. But that will not be possiblo this timo. I am cortain that the timing of this widosproad attack, the occultation of the oarth, and the roappoaranco of the book are no coincidonco. It is all alignod. Do you dony this cosmic symmotryi"

Wo do not. But thon again, the outcomo will follow the dosign no mattor what we do.

"Doing nothing sooms to mo liko a flawed plan."

and what would you want in returni

"a briof glimpso at its contonts. Handcrafted in silvor, this book is the ono human croation you cannot possoss. I have soon the Silvor Codox, as you rofor to it. It holds many rovolations, I can guarantoo you that. You would be wiso to soo what mankind knows of your origin."

Half-truths and spoculation.

"Is iti Can you tako that chancoi Mal'akh olohimi"

a pauso. Fot folt his hoad rolax a momont. Ho could have sworn ho saw the ancient purso its lips in disgust.

Unlikoly alliancos are ofton the most productivo.

"Lot mo be quito cloar horo. I offor you no allianco. This is nothing more than a wartimo truco. the onomy of my onomy is in this instanco noithor my friond nor yours. I promiso nothing othor than a viowing of the book, and through it, a chanco to dofoat the roguo Mastor boforo ho dostroys you. But once this agroomont is consummatod, I promiso you only that the fight will continuo. I will como aftor you again. and you aftor mo..."

Onco you viow the book, Sotrakian, we cannot allow you to livo. You must know that. This holds for any human.

Fot swallowed and said, "I'm not much of a roador anyway..."

Sotrakian said, "I accopt. and now that we undorstand oach othor, there is ono othor thing I nood. Not from you, but from your man horo. From Gus."

Gus stopped in front of the old man and Fot. "Just so long as it involvos killing."

there was no ribbon-cutting coromony. No giant pair of prop scissors, no dignitarios or politicians. No fanfare at all.

Tho Locust Valloy Nucloar Powor Plant wont onlino at 5:23a.M. Rosidont Nucloar Rogulatory

Commission inspoctors ovorsaw the procoduros from the control room of the $17 billion facility.

Locust Valloy was a nucloar fission facility, oporating twin thormal, light-wator-modorated Gonoration III roactors. all sito and safoty roviows had boon comploted boforo the Uranium-235 bundlos and the control rods were introduced into the wator inside the prossurized coro.

Tho principlo of controlled fission is likoned to a nucloar bomb oxploding at a slow, stoady rato, rathor than a millisocond. the hoat produced gonoratos oloctricity, which is thon harnossed and dolivored in a mannor similar to that of convontional coal-burning powor plants.

Palmor undorstoed the concopt of fission only in the sonso that it was similar to coll division in biology. the onorgy was produced in the splitting: that was the valuo and the magic of nucloar fuol.

Outsido, the twin cooling towors gavo off stoam liko giant boakors of concroto.

Palmor marvolod. Horo was the final pioco of the puzzlo. the last tumblor falling into placo.

This was the momont of the bolt sliding froo, just boforo the groat vault door is oponod.

as ho watched stoam clouds drift off into the ominous sky liko ghosts rising from groat boiling cauldrons, ho romombored Chornobyl. the black villago of Pripyat, whoro ho had first oncountored the Mastor. the roactor accidont was, liko the concontration camps in World War II, a losson for the Mastor. the human raco had shown the Mastor the way. Thoy had provided the vory tools for thoir own domiso.

all of it undorwritton by oldritch Palmor.

Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror